The purchase of a home, for the vast majority of individuals, is the single biggest financial decision made in their lives. Clearly, then, it becomes evident that the selection of a real estate agent is a serious consideration which should not be taken lightly. But what factors should be considered in the selection of a real estate agent?
Not all real estate agents are the same. Some real estate agents have a reputation for being difficult to work with. For example, an agent that is pushy, argumentative, unprofessional, is late for appointments, or misses deadlines can frustrate the buying process. A real estate agent should have a reputation for getting along well with all parties to a transaction, buyers and sellers included. An agent that takes a lawyer-like approach of zealous advocacy for one side in a real estate transaction cause the other side to walk away from the deal. Communication and “people” skills are important, as well as diplomacy and tact in the event a difficult situation should arise. And clearly, honesty is tantamount.
Communication skills involve more than just communicating information – in fact, the primary test of effective communication skills is the ability to listen. An agent should listen to your needs, consider them, and then use that information to guide you to the neighborhood and home that is perfect for you.
Ascertaing the reputation of a real estate agent requires some detective work. It is wise to ask for references, on both sides of the transaction. Ask about problems that occurred during the process, and how they were handled. Continue reading
When you are hunting for a mortgage, you will find that there are many different types of mortgages available. I will list some of the more common ones and their uses.
15 vs 30 Years
Your mortgage term can be just about anything you choose. 15 and 30 year terms are popular these days, although 10 and 20 years also are available.
The shorter the term, the lower the interest rate. But the main attraction of shorter term mortgages is the money you save.
For example on a $200,000 mortgage with a fixed 4.5% rate, you would pay $1013.38 a month for 30 years and $1529.99 a month for 15 years. Over 30 years you would pay $364,816.80 versus $275,398.20 over 15 years, a savings of $89,418.60 or 24.5% in interest.
If you cut a very conservative quarter of a percent off for reducing the lenders exposure by 15 years, your savings will be nearly 26%.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM )
ARM’s are mortgages whose rates adjust according to the terms of the contract you made with the lender.
Usually interest rates are fixed for the first 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 years. After that period is up, Continue reading