American Mortgage Resource, Inc.

Providing the Best Financial Resources for Boston and Massachusetts

Using a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

When it comes to selling your home, knowing its value can help you gauge how to price it effectively on the market. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) reports can help with this by allowing you to compare your property to other properties recently sold within the area. Comparables have similar square footage, age, conditions, upgrades, and locations. A CMA can be generated with the help of a real estate agent and can act as an informal appraisal before you make things official. Interested in getting a CMA for your property? Continue reading to learn more about the data generated in a CMA and how to understand it.

Data found in a CMA

CMA reports can vary in length and complexity depending on the market and the real estate agent’s business practices. Generally, the type of data found in a CMA includes:

  • Active listings – Homes that are currently for sale.
  • Pending listings – Formerly active listings that have not closed yet and are in a pending sale.
  • Sold Listings – Homes that have been sold within the past 3 months. These are your comparable sales that will be used when appraising your home’s value. If there are not enough sales within the past 3 months, then comps within the past 6 months can be used.
  • Expired Listings – Properties that were not sold. This can be due to a number of reasons such as being unreasonably priced, not being marketed, or it was in need of repairs.
  • Withdrawn/Cancelled Listings – Properties that were taken off of the market for a variety of reasons. These were also most likely too expensive. In general, expired and withdrawn listings have the highest median prices which made them undesirable along with other potential factors.

Understanding the CMA Report 

Now that you understand the type of data found in a CMA report, it’s time to understand how to use the actual report to your benefit. Once your real estate agent has generated it, look at each comparable and see how it matches to your property. Each comparable listing will include a description, floor plan, number of rooms and bathrooms, square footage, sales price, any dollar adjustments, and the fair market value.

There will be at least 3 to 5 comparables to analyze and this will help you appraise the value of your home. However, a consideration to be aware of is that there may be a difference in value if there were any upgrades or amenities involved. For example, a comp may be very similar to your property but if their property was completely renovated rather than fixed-up, then the value will be much higher than yours. Another consideration would be the property location which can also play a major role in its value. 

Learn More

Overall, a CMA will allow you to set a competitive listing based on the average price the comps were sold at. American Mortgage Resource, Inc. is the premier choice when it comes to loans and mortgage advice. Visit our website to learn more or call (617) 972-8588 to speak with an expert.

How to Tap Into Your Home Equity

Are you feeling strapped for cash and unable to expense the high priority responsibilities in your life? In this month’s blog, we outline several convenient and accessible remedies for this common concern and how homeowners can determine which option is best for them based upon their individual circumstances.  

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan, also called a second mortgage, is a fixed or adjustable rate loan that is secured by the equity in your home. With a home equity loan you borrow a lump sum of money to be paid back monthly over a set time frame, much like your first mortgage. The process for a home equity loan is similar to a first mortgage except the closing costs are usually lower and, although the interest rate is higher on a home equity loan, the interest paid is tax deductible.

Refinance

Refinancing is the replacement of an existing debt obligation with another debt obligation under different terms. With interest rates as low as they currently are, refinancing today can grant homeowners the opportunity to lower their monthly mortgage payment more than they could’ve imagined possible. When refinancing it’s crucial to lock in a low, fixed-rate loan rather than an adjustable rate loan to ensure the monthly payment will not increase over time.   

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit is a line of credit backed by the equity of the home and gives homeowners a revolving credit line for that amount.  With these loans you only have to pay interest on the money you actually withdraw, but should feel confident in being able to repay that entire balance by the time the repayment period expires as per the terms.

Which Option is Best for You?

Determining the best way to tap into your home equity depends mostly on what you want to do with the money. If you’re needing to pay off a major expense all at once such as a debt consolidation, college, or medical bills, then a home equity loan is most likely your best option. To qualify for this typically your credit must be in good standing, you must be able to document your income, and you will need to have your home appraised to determine its current market value.

Refinancing is optimal for those who have at least 20% equity in their home and are seeking lower monthly payments or shorter loan terms. The best time to refinance is when interest rates drop, credit scores improve, or when annual income significantly increases.

Those looking to use their equity to expense a prolonged activity such as a major home renovation or building a business will need cash more sporadically, meaning a HELOC would be most suitable. These loans can be very cost efficient as they have lower interest rates and are free of closing costs. HELOCs are typically granted to those who have at least 15%-20% equity in their home, are in good credit standing, and have a low debt-to-income ratio.

Final Thoughts

Tapping into your home’s equity can be confusing and tough to navigate, but with help from the right lenders can be the most rewarding and money savvy decision you’ve ever made! American Mortgage Resource is recognized as one of the top brokers in Massachusetts, with reliability and professionalism at the forefront of their values. Visit our website or contact the team directly at (617) 972-8588 to discover the best way for you to finally tap into your homes equity for good!

Is It A Good Idea To Use Your 401(K) To Buy A House?

401(k) Rules

A 401(k) account is usually used to save up for retirement and that’s why investors get tax breaks for holding it. Due to its benefits, the government strictly regulates and limits access to these funds. If you are not of the required age to withdraw funds, you will be charged a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the amount taken. Also, there will be an additional regular income tax on the amount withdrawn. So if you decide to use the funds to purchase a home, you can either borrow from your 401(k) or withdraw from it.

401(k) Loans

Most people who take money out of their 401(k) account prefer to borrow from it because it does not have an early withdrawal fee or income tax. However, you have to pay it back with interest.  The repayment plan is administrated by the plan provider and the max loan term is up to five years. 

However, these repayments are not treated the same as ordinary contributions. There are no tax breaks, employer matches, and reduction of taxable income. Also, you can only take out 50,000 dollars or less.

401(k) Withdrawal

Not every plan offers 401(k) loans and if that is the case, then you have to withdraw from your account. This is called a hardship withdrawal, which results in a 10% penalty. It’s best to withdraw what you need so that you won’t have to pay it back.

Disadvantages of 401(k)s

Whatever you choose, taking out your 401(k) affects your retirement savings. You lose potential growth and won’t have as much money in the future. Diminishing your savings will mess up the amount of money that you saved up.

Conclusion

Trying to find a way to get money to buy a house can be difficult. Some people take out their 401(k) savings to purchase a home, but there are other options too. If you don’t want to make money from your retirement funds, it would be beneficial to take out a mortgage loan. At American Mortgage Resource, Inc., we offer many different mortgage loans for home buyers. Check out our website for more information.

Tips for Selling Your House

As much as everyone wants it to be, selling your property is not a simple and quick endeavor. Listing your house and finding a qualified buyer can be a long and tedious process. Your house may also stay on the market for longer than expected depending on the pricing and location. However, there are a few factors within your control that can help with selling your former home. In this month’s blog, we will discuss a few tips to help with the selling process and help your house be more appealing to prospective buyers.

Hire the Right Agent

Hiring a real estate agent who knows the market can be very beneficial in selling your house. Some homeowners may be hesitant in hiring an agent because they want to save on the cost of paying real estate commission. However, an agent will be able to expose your listing to a much broader audience and can negotiate on your behalf. You can sell your house by yourself of course, but it can be a very stressful process as a result. You would have to deal with personally managing the property, marketing the listing, reviewing offers, and handling all negotiations and closing details. A good agent will relieve you of a lot of stress so you can focus on other things.

Spruce Up Your House

When you’ve made the decision to move forward with selling your house, it’s time to focus on its marketability and appeal. Thoroughly inspect the house and identify areas that need to be fixed or renovated. Perhaps your walls need a fresh coat of paint or the carpet needs to be replaced. Don’t forget to inspect the exterior and landscape of your property as well. This is an important process because you want your house to have a good curb appeal and be enticing as possible to potential buyers.

However, don’t waste your money on needless upgrades unless the new additions will have a high return on investment. If your house is in good condition, it wouldn’t make sense to do a full renovation if its costliness will cause you to lose money on the sale. In general, making updates to the kitchen and bathrooms can be more beneficial, such as replacing your old cabinets and sinks for something more modern.

Market Your Property

Having online listings with clear photos of your property can greatly boost interest and gather more attention. The value of professional photography should not be overlooked because the photos of your home could be someone’s first impression. Make sure to add well-written and informative descriptions of your property to garner more interest. Online buyers want to know as much as possible before they decide to spend time visiting and touring your property and neighborhood.

Creating a 3D virtual tour is also another option that allows online buyers to tour your house. They are efficient because unlike in-person showings, 3D tours are available 24/7 and can be accessed at any time.

Set a Competitive Price

Give yourself room for negotiation but also keep it realistic. A common mistake that sellers make is overpricing their property and then reducing the price the longer it stays on the market. Multiple price reductions can also give the impression that something may be wrong with your house. You don’t want to underestimate your house’s value either because that will cost you. Instead, take references from a real estate comparable, which is a similar home that has been recently sold in the area or market you’re looking to sell in. This will inform you of average prices other homes comparable to yours are selling for and help you set a competitive, yet reasonable price.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many moving parts to selling your home. We hope these tips help first-time home sellers find the best deal possible. If you’re selling your property and you’re looking for a new house, rely on American Mortgage Resource, Inc. for expert advice and help. Learn more about our services by visiting our website or contact our team at (617) 972-8588.

Tips for Winning a Bidding War

It’s no secret that the current real estate market in the U.S. is a sellers’ market. Properties in most cities and towns across the country are selling at record breaking highs with no clear or definite end in sight.

Those hoping to purchase a home this year have a high chance of engaging in a bidding war, which happen when a property has multiple offers, but not all bidding wars are won by the person with the most money. Follow along for some top tips for winning a bidding war and ensuring you and your family get your dream home.

Find Homes Before They Hit the Market

The competition homes are facing the day they’re listed sometimes leaves purchasing a home up to chance as much as anything else. You can guarantee that the odds will weigh heavily in your favor by finding homes to buy before they officially go on sale. Network with friends, coworkers, and virtually anyone in your local community to ask if they know anyone who may be selling in the near future. Knock on the door of your dream home and ask if they’re willing to sell, you never know what they may say.

Offer Cash

Even when you can’t outbid the highest bidder, many of those selling their homes will accept a lower cash offer instead over a higher financed offer. Not only does offering cash help expedite the entire process, it shows how serious you are about making a final deal.

Write a Personalized Letter

Countless happy homeowners have a heartfelt and personalized letter to thank for their home buying success. Buyers struggling to win their bidding war oftentimes write letters directly to the sellers explaining what they love most about the home, why it is perfect for their family, and other moving details that can help set them apart from the competition.

Agree to Waive Contingencies

Buyers who have been preapproved for a mortgage have the advantage of being able to waive contingencies. Contingencies are clauses that give the parties the right to back out of their contract under specified circumstances that are negotiated between the buyer and seller. These can include home inspections, appraisals, time constraints, financing and other random conditions.

Final Thoughts

Those hoping to buy a home soon should equip themselves with the best real estate agents and loan officers around. There’s nothing like having the support of a highly knowledgeable, reputable, and experienced team on your side when it comes to purchasing the home of your dreams. Head to our website to get the process started today or contact our team for help directly at (617) 972-8588.

How to Qualify for a VA Loan

The Veteran Administration’s Loan was created to provide veterans with a federally-guaranteed home loan with no down payment. It is granted by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to eligible veterans and current active military members. Eligible borrowers can use it to purchase a home as their primary residence or refinance an existing mortgage. If you currently or formerly serve in the U.S. military, you may qualify. Read on to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply for a VA loan.

Benefits of a VA Loan

VA loans are the one of the best mortgage options for veterans and come with many benefits and advantages that allow you to achieve your dream of becoming a homeowner. This includes:

  • No down payment
  • Better terms and interest rates
  • You can apply and receive more than one VA loan
  • No private mortgage (PMI)
  • Fewer closing costs
  • No penalty fee for prepaying the loan

Who is Eligible?

As mentioned above, VA loan eligibility extends to current and former military service members, such as combat veterans and troops who served in peacetime, active-duty personnel and reservists. Spouses and surviving spouses of service members – including those who are disabled, missing in action, or held as a prisoner of war – are also eligible. The list of eligibility requirements is very specific and varies according to the date you served, the type of service, and the length of time. In a nutshell, you are most likely eligible if you were not dishonorably discharged and meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime (WWII, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War).
  • You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime.
  • You have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves.
  • You are currently on active duty with 90 continuous days.
  • You are the spouse of a service member who has a service-related disability, MIA, or is a POW.

If you don’t meet the minimum service requirements because you were discharged, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, you may still be able to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) if it was due to one of the following reasons:

  • Hardship
  • The convenience of the government (you must have served at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment)
  • Early out (you must have served 21 months of a 2-year enlistment)
  • Reduction in force
  • Certain medical conditions
  • A service-related disability

However, if you were dishonorably discharged due to bad conduct and other grievous offenses, you may not be eligible for a VA loan. You can try to potentially qualify by applying for a discharge upgrade if you have a strong case that it was due to mental health conditions, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and more.

Borrowing Requirements

Now that you understand the eligibility criteria, there are three more general requirements that VA loan applicants must meet. The first is obtaining a COE after providing documentation that proves your service in the military. The other two requirements are that you must have a stable source of income and an adequate credit score. There is no minimum income required to get a VA loan but there needs to be evidence of sufficient income to cover the monthly loan payments. As for your credit score, it can vary from lender to lender but most prefer at least good or better, which is at least 670+ on the FICO scale.

Conclusion

When it comes to researching and applying for loans, it can be overwhelming trying to understand all of the eligibility conditions. The process of trying to buy your dream home can be stressful without the help of professionals. If you find yourself in a difficult situation and in need of loan help, American Mortgage Resource, Inc. is here to help you every step of the way. Consult with our experts today at (617) 972-8588 and we’ll help find a solution based on your needs. For more information, visit our website to learn more about our services and loan options. 

What to Expect With Buying a House in 2021

In 2020, 30-year mortgage interest rates plummeted to momentous lows. The highest interest rates ever recorded was in October 1981 where mortgage interest rates skyrocketed to 18.45 percent.  When it comes to purchasing a new house, the process can be complex. There are so many factors to consider including house price, extra fees, job stability, neighborhood safety, and much more. In 2021, finding the perfect “home” requires knowledge of lender qualifications, waging war against other buyers, and socially distancing from others. In this blog, here are some things to expect when buying a house in 2021.

Competitive Housing Market

            The search for an ideal home at an affordable price is overwhelming and exciting at the same time. And when a sensibly valued house in good quality is found there will be many other people making an offer. According to Christopher Arienti, broker and owner of Re/Max

Executive Realty in Franklin, Massachusetts, he states, “It is a seller’s market in just about every part of the country.”  The solution to coming out on top of a seller’s market is to be flexible and make some concessions. Also, it would be best to offer contingent on the sale of a current home.

However, there are risks of any concessions and don’t make an offer that is unreasonably unaffordable. Speaking to a professional real estate agent can help make a solid offer.

Home Prices Rising

            According to an average of the latest forecasts from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, and the Mortgage Bankers Association, they saw the costs of existing homes are increasing 5.9% in 2021. In 2020, the housing market saw an increase of 10% in house costs. The price of houses depends on the time of year, however, it does not change the price significantly.

Mortgage Rates Still Low

            30-year fixed mortgage rates have only increased by about 1% from 2020 to 2021 according to the economists at the National Association of Realtors and Mortgage Bankers Association. The low rates can help future homeowners who have good credit get an excellent mortgage rate. However, this all depends on financial circumstances, mortgage lenders, and finding the best deal.

Buying a House Digitally

            Digital tools are helping people keep safe during the COVID-19 pandemic while looking for a new home. E-closings, small open houses, virtual home tours, and webcam meetings are helping real estate transactions to be simple and safe. Each state, county, and city have different laws and regulations concerning social distancing and the reduction of the COVID-19 virus so it would be important to find out the rules.

Shopping for a Lender

            A rookie mistake that homebuyers make is looking for a house rather than a lender. Finding the right lender can help get finances in order, check credit score, and get a terrific financial loan. Lenders will need details about income, debt, employment, and financial accounts to get pre-approved. Getting a pre-approved loan shows real estate agents and sellers that the buyer is determined to purchase a home. 

Conclusion

            Buying a home in 2021 does not have to be difficult especially when you have understood these few tips given. However, it is still not easy to purchase a house without having somebody to help you with a mortgage loan.  At American Mortgage Resource, Inc., we can help you with getting the best mortgage loan. We provide various services including jumbo loans, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, and much more.  Set an appointment with us by visiting our website today!

Difference between Down Payments and Closing Costs

When it comes to buying a home, it’s important to be prepared for all the costs that may come up and making sure that you are able to afford it. Most future homeowners tend to focus on acquiring enough money to cover the down payment but are then taken back by the closing costs that they need to cover at the end. It’s critical to be aware of how much money you’ll need to fully close the deal on your new future home. In this month’s blog, we will discuss the difference between down payments and closing costs to help better prepare you for the home buying process.

Down Payments

A down payment is the portion of the money you must pay upfront when you begin the process of purchasing a home. It is the minimum amount that you need to put towards the total cost, while the remaining amount is funded by your mortgage loan. This is basically your first investment into your future home and the price may vary depending on what type of loan you have. Another important thing to remember is that your down payment will be due at closing, which is the final step for buyers when the sale is finalized.

Closing Costs

Closing costs occur when the title of the property is transferred to the buyer and the total amount will depend based on the location of the property and its value. The amounts associated with your closing costs consist of an assortment of taxes and fees from entities and services handling your loan. All of your closing cost fees will be listed on your loan estimate. These costs are completely separate from your down payment and are paid at closing. They can also be paid on the same check as your down payment.

Closing costs can be incurred by both the seller and the buyer and the fees can be split depending on the negotiation and contract. A mortgage lender can help decrease these costs by negotiating the sales contract.

Conclusion

Overall, the process of buying a house as a first time homeowner can be tedious and stressful. There are many fees associated with it and the terms can be confusing. That’s why at American Mortgage Resource, Inc., we dedicate ourselves to helping homeowners while providing worry-free solutions that best fits their needs. To consult with an expert, please contact us at (617) 972-8588 or visit our website for more information about our services.  

How to Know If You’re Buying the Right Home

What steps are you taking to ensure you are not buying a faulty home? When purchasing a home, it could be nerve-racking because of the financial commitment that is required. The time you invest in a house could be a few years or a lifetime. Many factors come to mind with purchasing the right home, such as the size, design, quality, and location of your home. All these elements define your future life and the comfortability that you will enjoy with your new home. Also, you may want to think about if your preferences will change over time. It is not necessary to get crushed by all weight of all these things to consider. It would be best to have a checklist, an understanding of numbers, and knowing your particular tastes.

Home Aesthetics

The architectural wishes of an individual are the starting line for choosing the perfect home. The best plan to take is to make a checklist before making any rash decisions. A person needs to contemplate what they desire, such as the number of bedrooms. It is crucial to consider the size of shared spaces like the kitchen, living room, and even back porch. Bearing in mind family gatherings, this will allow the house to bring comfort and breathing space.

Additionally, narrow hallways might not be an individual’s cup of tea. Potential homeowners need to look at the convenience of the house as well. They need to look at the floorplan, cabinetry, kitchen style, window lights, and so much more. It is essential to ask these important questions when evaluating a house because it will shape the home experience.

Making an Offer

Future homeowners who find their perfect house that consists of all their needs, wants and desires need to offer confidently. Putting an offer down can be challenging—however, read through the checklist to ensure that the house is the right home. Going back to the list can confirm that the house has the correct amount of rooms, space, size, aesthetics, and more. A prospective homeowner should walk through the house and imagine what life would be like. They need to open the cabinets, explore the closets, and try to look for a reason not to purchase the house. In the end, a perfect home is a perfect home. A homeowner should put down a bid without any doubt.

The Numbers

Budgeting is vital in making any significant and costly decision. An individual needs to know the numbers of expenses and their realistic price range. The budget needs to consist of escrow, real estate price, mortgage interest amount, and closing costs. Also, the house may need minor repairs, upgrades, or renovations after moving into a home. It isn’t easy to know all the numbers of a house, but some professionals can help you understand what you need to consider before buying a house.

Conclusion

If you’re deciding between several houses, it can feel overwhelming. However, when you have a checklist and know the numbers, it can make everything a lot easier. Find the best financial strategy in negotiations, bidding, and mortgage by visiting American Mortgage Resource, Inc. We specialize in home loans for home refinancing or first-time buyers with very competitive low mortgage rates in Waltham, MA, the Boston area, and the entire Massachusetts state.  Contact us at (617) 972-8588 to learn the appropriate loan program for you.

The Massachusetts Housing Market in 2021

This year as Massachusetts slowly transitioned from winter to spring its housing market also experienced a noteworthy shift. Within the first quarter of 2021 the real estate market in The Bay State has made countless headlines, most deeming it as ‘white hot.’ Follow along this month as we provide unique insight about the market’s current climate, when to buy or sell, how to win a bidding war and where to go for financial help.

Supply vs Demand

At the moment Massachusetts is experiencing an unprecedented demand for homes in a market with what presently seems like has little to no supply to offer. These circumstances are making it increasingly difficult for bids from potential home buyers to be accepted. There are even reports of some homes being bought for as much as $100,000 over asking, and others that have received nearly a dozen offers within days of hitting the market.

Should You Buy or Sell?

The incredible demand for homes across the state have left many residents wondering whether or not it’s a good time to make their real estate move. While rising property values are tempting many homeowners to sell, the likelihood that their home will be bought swiftly is a very real possibility to consider. On the other hand, those hoping to purchase a home should to be prepared to act quickly, face hefty competition, and have a strategy for being successful in the likely event of a bidding war.

How to Win a Bidding War

In today’s climate home buyers need to be ahead of the competition to ensure their bid will be accepted first. The following tips and tricks will immensely help increase your chances of closing on the home of your dreams:

  • Provide a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender
  • Write a personal letter to the home owner
  • Skip the inspection
  • Drop any contingencies
  • Offer all cash

Final Thoughts

Stay ahead of the red hot housing market in Massachusetts this year will professional financial help from a local broker. For more than a decade the loan experts at American Mortgage Resource, Inc. have helped thousands of local residents acquire the loans they need to renovate, refinance, and purchase their dream homes. Contact our team Monday- Saturday at 617-972-8588 or anytime via email at info@visitamr.com.

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