Answering 5 FAQ's from First-Time Homebuyers

Answering 5 FAQ’s from First-Time Homebuyers

Answering 5 FAQ’s from First-Time Homebuyers

The whole homebuying experience can feel overwhelming – especially if this is your very first purchase! These are the top five questions we hear from first-timers in Houston.

1. “Which loan program is best?”
The FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan program was actually made for first-time buyers. You may have heard a 20% down payment is required to buy a home – not true!

Here are some of the big benefits with the FHA program

  • Only 3.5% down payment required
  • Credit scores as low as 580 may qualify
  • Condos and multi-unit properties are eligible

It’s a good idea to get pre-approved for your loan before you start looking for a house. That way, when you find the right one, you’re not scrambling with paperwork.

[block quote, WP design element] What do you qualify for, and how much can you afford? The Wood Group of Fairway Mortgage was named Houston’s mortgage lender of the year! Get started with their easy online questionnaire.

2. “When is the best time to buy?”
This doesn’t have one single answer. But, the housing market tends to have its seasons.

During the summer months, the market’s hot. Lots of buyers are looking to move into new homes. Kids are out of school, and work is in rhythm. The summer months may be more competitive with other buyers, but there’s generally more properties to choose from, too.

On the other hand, the winter months tend to slow down. Home owners that didn’t sell in the summer may be more flexible with pricing. The downside is that your selection may narrow a bit. An experienced agent with the Lippincott Team can help you see what’s available in your area.

3. “How much lower can I offer below asking price?”

The simple answer: making an offer 10% below asking price is seen as aggressive. It’s not rude, but it’s a significant drop for the seller.

But with seller concessions, your closing speed (and lots of other factors), sellers may be willing to budge a little more. If there’s multiple offers for the same house, the seller may be less prone to budge.

4. “Is buying more cost-efficient than renting?”

In general, yes! Texas is a great place to become a homeowner.

When you pay rent, your landlord has to make a little profit. When you rent, you’re never getting that money back. When you buy, you have the opportunity to sell later. Your monthly payments when owning a house can easily match or fall below the cost of renting.

Check out this step-by-step guide to find out if buying a house is worth it for you.

5. “What are the ingredients in a good property?”

1. Structure

When you’re buying a home for your family, the property needs to be structurally sound. That means the foundation, roof, and “bones” of the house are in good shape, and are set to last. A professional third-party inspector makes a checklist to ensure your new home is good to go.

2. Location

When new offices and centers for entertainment are built around your house, your property value goes up. Texas is a very fast-growing state – good news for new homebuyers.

3. Schools, crime, similar comps

The quality of schools will affect how much you’ll be able to sell your home for later. Crime statistics are also another thing families look out for before buying. Take a look at how homes similar to the ones you’re interested in have increased in value over time. That may give you an idea of what to expect after a few years.

4. Your own preferences!

Are you close enough to the places most important to you? Does the floorplan accommodate your living situation? Stats and data are important to pay attention to, but remember that you’re living in your investment!

New Year, New Home!

New Year, New Home!

Happy New Year! As we welcome 2019, most of us begin to think about goals we’d like to achieve in the new year. While we can’t help you cut back on fast food or make it to the gym more often, we can most definitely help you make your next move!

If you’re in the market to buy this year, The Lippincott Team proudly boasts some of the hottest properties on the market in the most desired subdivisions and neighborhoods in Northwest Houston! You can browse through our current listings here. Our team of friendly, experienced agents are ready to show you the property of your dreams and we’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home in 2019.

If you’re looking to sell your home in the new year, there’s no time like the present! January is an excellent time to list your property because people looking for a new home now tend to fall into the ‘serious buyer’ category. Typically, we tend to find that more homes are sold with less viewings during this time. While spring is traditionally a very popular time to list your home, the market is more congested. Let the Lippincott Team list your property now and we’ll market your home to stand out from the crowd!

We wish you good health, prosperity, and best wishes sticking with those New Year resolutions! If moving tops that list for you in 2019, The Lippincott Team would be delighted to help you. Store our number in your phone and give us a call when you’re ready! 713-494-8818

Buying Your First Home: A Beginner’s Guide

Buying Your First Home: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you looking into buying your first home? Congratulations! If you’re ready to put down some roots in Cypress, The Lippincott Team is here to help you every step of the way. But before we get started, there’s a few questions you should ask yourself to make sure you’re ready to take the leap into home ownership..

1. Do you have a stable income?
You wouldn’t be able to make a monthly mortgage payment without one, and you probably wouldn’t be approved for one either. If you haven’t established much of a work history, it may not be the right time for you to buy a home. While you work on beefing up your resume, don’t forget to build up your financial snapshot too! This way, you’ll be fully prepared to apply for a mortgage and buy a home when the time is right for you.

2. Credit matters!
Is your score good enough? It’s a major part of your financial picture. Get familiar with your credit score and read more about how it affects your home buying options in our previous blog post.

3. Have you been saving?
Did you know some mortgages require the buyer to save up to 20% of the price of a home? While some down payments are less, a considerable amount needs to be saved before you can purchase a home. Don’t forget – a down payment isn’t the only thing you need to be saving for during the home buying process. Inspections, appraisals, titles, and closing fees can all be costly for a first-time buyer.

If you answered “yes!” to all three questions, it may be time to buy your first home. Buying for the first time can be overwhelming and confusing, but The Lippincott Team stands prepared for today’s market and every buyer’s unique situation. We look forward to working with you! Get started today by calling our office at 713-494-1818.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Getting Settled Into Your New Home

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Getting Settled Into Your New Home

Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where you never really knew the people living on the other side of the fence? With busy family lives and demanding occupations, it’s all too common! After a move, meeting your new neighbors may not be high on your priority list, but it will help to quickly give your new neighborhood a sense of home. Plus, knowing your neighborhood and the people around you provides a sense of a safer community. And who knows? You could make some long-lasting friendships in the process!

Finding the time to introduce yourself to the neighbors is usually left to chance, but there are things you can do to take matters into your own hands. A fun option is a housewarming party! Planning a party can seem like a lot of work after moving, but it’s a perfect way for you and your family to meet the neighbors and make new friends. Just keep it simple; nobody’s expecting an elaborate get-together after you’ve finished unpacking.

Getting involved in your new community is another great way to meet new neighbors. Cypress has the best master-planned communities around, and there’s always tons of local events to attend! Also, getting involved at your child’s school will help bring a sense of community to your new neighborhood for both you and your kids. Another easy way to connect is social media. Several of our local neighborhoods have groups to join that are updated regularly with events, school topics, and other local happenings.

Feeling at home in your new neighborhood takes some time and effort. Once you’re settled, getting involved in your new community can greatly benefit you and your family. If you’re interested in learning more about the amazing master-planned communities Cypress has to offer, The Lippincott Team has all the latest details. Call our office at 713-494-1818 today!

Your Quick Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Your Quick Guide to Homeowners Insurance

You’ve found your dream home and everything is falling into place beautifully. Congratulations! There is so much to process when buying a new home, it’s enough to make your head swim. When looking for a home loan, for example, you may be uncertain about homeowners insurance and you’re not alone. Use this quick guide to familiarize yourself with it before making a decision.

Homeowners Insurance 101

Insurance is purchased to allow you to rest assured knowing your investment and future is safe and secure. There are a lot of things you may consider important in your life and your family, pets, and your home likely top the list. Consider the following tips when looking for a homeowners insurance policy for your new home.

Go Into The Details and Supplemental Policies

Generally speaking, details are important regardless the venture, but with your home and future at stake, taking the time to go over the details and fine print of your plan is vital. You want to think comprehensively, making sure to consider every possible angle and outcome. Detailed supplemental policies include, but are not limited to:

  • Additional personal property “valuable articles” endorsement.
  • Protection from flood damages.
  • Sewer backup.
  • Protection from damages caused by earthquakes

Don’t Forget About It

Explore all possibilities of what could go wrong so you don’t unintentionally leave anything out in the initial setup of your homeowners’ policy. Remember, a general rule of thumb is that it’s never safe to assume. No question is a dumb question and there’s nothing that could happen that isn’t worth discussing. As the years go by, it’s good to review your policy periodically to make sure you didn’t leave anything out.

Find Ways to Lower The Cost

You may notice that your homeowners insurance premiums will rise every year.  Don’t be alarmed, however, as the cost of insurance rises along with inflation. However, there a few things you can do to get your cost down as low as possible.

  • Before you sit down to speak with an insurance representative do research on their competitors’ pricing. They may state that it is a fixed price, but don’t be deterred. Now is the time for negotiation. Sometimes you may even find better luck with a different agent. The point is, don’t be afraid to stand your ground in negotiations.
  • Don’t include your land value in the equation of overall value, you’ll be paying more when your land isn’t at any risk.
  • Look to add multiple policies with the same insurer which may give you leverage for lower pricing.
  • If you’re a loyal customer, seek out a discount. Often times, customers who hold policies for 5 years or more can save up to 10% with the same insurer.

Shop Around and Negotiate

It may take some time, but the savings can be well worth it. Check out this price comparison tool and ask around. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) has information that can help you choose, including complaints filed which can tell you a lot about what to expect. Keep in mind that price alone should not be your only consideration. Ensure that who you decide to go with is of quality service that will deliver what you expect during a claim year after year.

Find the Homeowners Insurance Plan to Fit Your Needs

There are so many decisions to make when buying a house and it can be overwhelming. Taking one thing at a time and working with an experienced real estate agent eases the load. It’s important to protect your investment with comprehensive homeowners insurance. Use this guide to get started today.

The Lippincott Team is your Cypress and Northwest Houston area source for real estate investments and information. Contact Us to learn more about buying a home or for assistance with any real estate need.

4 Must-Have Contingencies for Your Real Estate Contract

4 Must-Have Contingencies for Your Real Estate Contract

Buying a house is a dance of negotiations, offers, and counteroffers. As a buyer, you want your offer to stand out among all other potential offers. There are several tactics buyers often employ to make their offer more attractive. One such tactic is waiving certain contingencies.  

The Most Crucial Contingencies for Your Real Estate Contract

Contingencies allow you to back out of an offer on certain conditions. They’re there to protect you in case things aren’t as they seem or when certain events occur. While waiving some contingencies can be a strategic move to ensure your offer will be taken, there are other contingencies you really don’t want to remove. The following 4 are the most important contingencies to keep when buying a home.

The Appraisal

The appraisal contingency is the most important one, if for no other reason, because it could potentially save you a lot of money. Once a seller accepts your offer, your lender will order an appraisal. A problem arises, however, when the appraisal comes back lower than your offer price. With an appraisal contingency, you can place certain conditions on the offer in terms of the appraisal. You can stipulate that the appraisal must come within a certain percentage of the sale price. This will allow you to back out of the offer if you feel you’re overpaying.

The Inspection

The inspection contingency protects you against unseen structural and other issues in the home. It allows you to have a licensed inspector to check the property once you sign the purchase agreement. After the inspection, you can negotiate with the seller concerning repairs you want them to make. If no agreement is reached, you can back out of the offer without losing any money.   

The House-Sale

This contingency is important if you’re needing to sell your current home in order to buy the new one. If you’re current home doesn’t sell in the specified time, you can back out of the offer on the new one. While this is crucial when you need the equity in your current home to purchase a new one, it may drive some sellers away.

The Financing

What happens when you make an offer on a house, but the financing falls through? A financing contingency ensures you will get your earnest money back in the case that you can’t get the home loan. You typically will have a certain amount of time to obtain a mortgage, often as many as 14 days. If the financing falls through, you are no longer obligated to buy the house.

Protect Yourself When Buying a House

You want to make sure you’ll get the best price possible for your new home. While waiving some contingencies may give you the edge you need in some cases, those contingencies are there for a reason. They’re for your protection. Make sure these 4 must-have contingencies for your real estate contract are non-negotiable.

Contact Us to learn more about buying a house with The Lippincott Team or for assistance buying a new home.