Newbie Mistakes: Common and Costly Myths About US Home Buying
Buying a home is a tricky financial transaction, so it should come as no surprise that there are many myths surrounding the purchase of real estate. Unfortunately, these common beliefs can come at a cost in the end. They can cost you money or prevent you from becoming the owner of your dream home. Writes about it MoneyTalksNews.
Before starting your house hunt, make sure you don't fall prey to the following misconceptions.
1. Down payment of 20%
You may have heard that you cannot buy a house without a down payment of 20% or more.
It is not.
“There are many loans that will allow you to buy a home for less than a 20% down payment,” says Stacey Johnson, founder of Money Talks News. For instance:
- FHA loans requiring a 3,5% payment;
VA loans that may not require a down payment at all.
In addition, banks and lenders are offering conventional mortgages at 3% or less, according to Spokane, Washington-based mortgage broker Tony Byrne.
By paying less than 20%, you can get into the house faster, but just because it is possible, you are not obligated to choose this option.
“Usually, if you don't invest 20%, you pay for mortgage insurance,” Stacy says. "If you take out a $ 200 loan, you can pay an extra $ 000 a year to insure your mortgage."
“The average annual cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI) typically ranges from 0,55% to 2,25% of the original loan amount,” reports NerdWallet, citing information from the Urban Institute, Genworth Mortgage Insurance and Ginnie Mae.
Stacy points out the benefits of a 20% down payment:
- you will have a lower mortgage payment amount;
- you will pay less interest on your mortgage over the life of the loan.
2. Preliminary assessment is better than approval
Did someone tell you that a prequalified mortgage is better than a preapproved? Don't be fooled. A preliminary estimate, however it may sound, will not help you buy a home. It only shows that your lender has given you a loan estimate. This does not prove that you will get money.
Get prior approval instead. A pre-approval letter is one of the best ways to save money on your mortgage. In it, the seller shows that you have everything ready and you can make a purchase immediately.
3. The only purchase price is a mortgage
Home buyers may be surprised to learn about the additional fees they will have to pay for the services and products needed to complete a mortgage. According to Stacy, be prepared to pay between 2% and 5% of the mortgage to cover such costs.
These fees can be included in the total mortgage loan amount. But this means that you need to borrow a large amount and pay more interest on this larger amount of the loan. To get the best deal on closing costs, save to pay cash costs.
4. The only running costs are mortgage payments
When calculating the cost of home ownership, buyers can assume that paying off the mortgage is their main expense and not worry about anything other than that.
Unfortunately, you will also face other, often unforeseen expenses, including property taxes, homeowner's insurance, repairs, and ongoing maintenance. Saving on these running costs is an important part of home ownership. Otherwise, you may pay even more over time.
5. The lowest starting interest rate is always better
A higher interest rate means a higher monthly payment. But don't base your mortgage decision solely on the interest rate, at least not on the initial rate.
Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) often have lower starting rates than fixed rate mortgages. But the interest rates on these mortgages change periodically. When this happens, your rate may rise, leading to an increase in your payments.
Adjustable rate mortgages are sophisticated loans for borrowers who understand the risks and can manage them. If you are planning to sell your home or refinance before your interest rate drops, this might be a good idea.
On the other hand, you are likely to feel more secure with a fixed rate mortgage. Even if it is slightly higher, your payment and interest rate will remain the same throughout the life of the loan, with less risk that the payment will become unavailable. Therefore, choosing an adjustable mortgage based solely on the initial low interest rate can be a mistake.
6. When buying a house, an agent is not needed
You might think that you don't need an agent, but in fact, one can help you cut down on the time you spend searching and even walk you through the process of getting your mortgage.
Working with a listing agent can work against you. As Realtor.com explains, "Listing Agents have a fiduciary duty to the home seller." In other words, their legal obligation is to the person selling the house, not to you.
With a buyer's agent, you can be confident that your agent has no conflict of interest because of the seller.
Plus, using a buyer's agent may cost you nothing. In many cases, the seller pays a commission to both the sellers 'and buyers' agents. This way, you don't have to pay a cent for first-class assistance.
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7. You don't need to look for a mortgage
Unfortunately, many home buyers aren't looking for the best deal - and this could be the biggest purchase you'll ever make.
Comparing offers to get the lowest mortgage rate available can save you thousands of dollars in interest. Get an assessment from three to four lenders before deciding on a mortgage. Look for the best deal and get savings.
8. Buying is always better than renting
One of the most common home buying myths is the idea that rent is always a “waste of money,” so you should buy a home as soon as possible.
In fact, buying a home does not automatically lead to more wealth. Depending on the situation, renting sometimes makes sense. If you can get a good rental deal and are investing diligently, you may be better off financially staying among the tenants.
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