Spring is approaching fast and it is usually the busiest time of the year for home buying. After a long and cold winter, many people are ready to enjoy the nicer weather and begin to shop for a new home. Spring is also the perfect time for home buying for families with children because it allows them to move during the summer without interrupting school.
Home buying has costs associated with it other than the mortgage itself. Known as closing costs, these fees are a part of the home buying process and they are due at the time that the mortgage is finalized. Buyers, however, can negotiate these costs and reduce the expense with a little bit of effort and with the help of a good mortgage professional.
If you are thinking of buying a new home in the spring here are three helpful tips to reducing your closing costs.
Compare All of Your Mortgage Options
If you’re using mortgage financing to cover some of the up-front purchase cost of your home you’ll have other closing costs to pay including lender fees, mortgage insurance and more. Be sure to compare all of your options with your trusted mortgage adviser to ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal and paying the least amount in fees and interest.
You may also be able to save a bit on your closing costs by choosing a “no points” mortgage. In this type of mortgage you’ll end up saving on closing costs but you’ll be left paying a higher interest rate. Spend a bit of time doing the math to determine the best course of action.
Third Party Fees
Some of the closing cost fees will be associated with third party vendors that must perform required services. Home appraisals, title searches, and costs for obtaining credit reports are some of the items included in this area. While these may be a little harder to negotiate because the lender uses specific companies to perform these services, it does not hurt to ask if you can use your own appraiser or title search company.
Zero Closing Cost Mortgages
Buyers may also wish to inquire about a no closing cost mortgage. This type of mortgage eliminates all closing costs. The lender covers all of the closing cost fees in exchange or a slightly higher interest rate on the loan. In most cases the increase is less than one-quarter of a percent. This type of loan can be very helpful to buyers. Buyers can then use the money that they saved on closing costs to help with the move.
With a little preparation, you can find the best mortgage product for the up-coming spring season. Be sure to contact your experienced mortgage professional, as they will be able to help you find the right mortgage for your specific needs with the lowest out-of-pocket expenses.
If you have good credit and savings, now is a great time to buy. According to Zillow.com, “Homes are more affordable than they’ve been in the past 35 years.”
Not only have home values fallen in many key markets, making homeownership more accessible to the average buyer, interest rates are at historic lows, meaning that once a home is purchased, monthly payments are smaller than in our recent past.
Zillow notes that “today’s median home buyer can expect to pay about 17% of his monthly gross income on his mortgage, compared to a 25% average since 1975.”
In the 1980’s, when interest rates were dangerously near 20 percent, this would take up nearly 45 percent of a buyers gross monthly income. In comparison, today’s rates are an extreme bargain.
The main road block to homeownership at this time is access to credit. Although nearly one-third of all home purchases in recent months have been all-cash, that leaves the majority of the market shares requiring financing.
The tightening of lending standards in recent years, though, has been in direct response to the subprime lending trend during the housing boom.
Federal Reserve research indicates that a quarter of all mortgages in 2006 were subprime. This means that these loans were made to borrowers with credit scores below 620-660 and who were unable to put down the traditional 20 percent.
Today, buyers need credit scores in the 700s, with the higher the better. According to Zillow, “Applicants with FICO scores under 620 were virtually unable to get loans at any rate, thus being effectively excluded from the home-buying market. And those with FICO scores below 620 represent almost a third of the population.”
There has also been a return of the 20 percent downpayment. This is in your best interest, as it means savings when it comes to closing costs. “The difference between a 10% and 20% down payment means she now has to save up another $17,220 in addition to any closing costs.” (Zillow)
So, while it is more difficult for many homeowners to get into the market in today’s economy, for buyers who have good credit and adequate savings, homes may never have been more affordable.