Do’s and Don’ts for First-time Homebuyers

Buying your first home is an exciting, yet serious decision. It might seem intimidating to take the first step, but if you follow these tips you’ll be headed in the right direction long before you get pre-qualified for your home loa.

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Are You Ready to Buy Your First Home?

People have many motivations for wanting to own a home, including providing family stability, having control over their living space and creating financial wealth. As a renter, it can feel like you’re throwing money away each month and only building net worth for your landlord. Ask yourself these four questions to determine if you are ready to become a homeowner.

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Buying a Home Together Before You Get Married

Whether you are a couple living together or engaged, it might be tempting to buy a home together while interest rates are still historically low. But is it wise?

State law governs what happens if a marriage dissolves before the mortgage is paid off. For unwed, domestic partners who want to jointly own a home together, the law is less clear. This includes same-sex couples, depending on the state where they reside. Again, it all depends on the laws of the state of residence. So, couples are best advised to proceed with some caution and invest in professional advice.

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How Do I Qualify for a VA Home Loan?

how to qualify for a VA home loan

VA home loans can be used to buy a house or a condominium, purchase and renovate a home, or build a new home, with no down payment required in many circumstances. To be eligible for a VA home loan, applicants must meet the basic service requirements as stipulated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn the eligibility requirements and how to apply for a VA home loan through Starkey Mortgage.

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How to File for Homestead Exemption in 2017

how to file for homestead exemption

A homestead exemption on your residence can help you save on your property taxes. The exemption deducts part of the value of your residence from taxation and lowers your property tax bill. Learn how to file for a homestead exemption on your primary residence.

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Mortgage Programs for First-Time Home Buyers

mortgage options for first time home buyers

A mortgage is a serious long-term financial commitment and a legally binding contract which should not be entered into lightly. As a first-time home buyer it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many home loan options available in the market. Here is an overview of home loan options available to first-time home buyers through Starkey Mortgage.


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When Does It Pay to Buy a Fixer-Upper?

Low housing inventory is making fixer uppers more appealing to many home buyers. Home buyers can stretch their budget by buying a fixer upper home in a more desirable location or with less long-term compromises than their budget would usually allow. For first-time home buyers, a fixer upper provides the opportunity to enter the market at a lower price point than a fully renovated home. We look at the factors to consider when deciding if a fixer upper  is a good investment for you.

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Credit Score Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

young couple reviewing their credit score

If your News Year’s Resolution is to buy your first home, before you start looking at houses you’ll need to get your finances in order. To know the state of your finances, you’ll first need to review your credit reports and obtain your FICO® credit score to better understand your creditworthiness.

Knowing how the data influences your FICO® credit score will enable you to monitor your score which will affect the type of home loan and interest rate you qualify for.

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Increases in Conforming, FHA & VA loan limits effective 1 January, 2017

FHA, VA and conforming home loan limits increase January 1, 2017

December 2016 saw announcements that increased the loan limits for three of the most common home loan products. These increases should make it easier and cheaper for some first-time homebuyers to enter the market, as the down payment and credit requirements for government-backed mortgages are often looser than those of jumbos. Repeat and first-time homebuyers in higher-priced markets should also find it easier to qualify for a mortgage. Here is an overview of each home loan option with the loan limit increases as of January 1, 2017.

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Giving & Receiving a Down Payment Gift

home down payment gift funds

Mortgage lenders allow gift funds to contribute to the down payment on numerous loan programs including FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans and conventional loans.

If you receive a check towards your down payment this holiday season, there are specific guidelines you must follow to not jeopardize your home purchase. Share this post with the donor so they know their obligations, too.


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When can I remove private mortgage insurance (PMI) from my home loan?

removing private mortgage insurance

If you were unable to purchase your home with 20% down payment, or refinance with less than 20% equity, it is likely that your mortgage program required you to pay private mortgage insurance or PMI, in addition to your monthly mortgage payment. There is a standard way to remove PMI, or you can request to have it removed earlier.

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