Buying a House

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Veteran Loan 2020

Our REALTORS® have worked with many clients who make use of VA loans to buy their first home. The VA home loan, available to most service members, reservists, and National Guard members, can be genuinely life-changing.

In 2020, benefits associated with the loan will get even better.

If you are looking at Chattanooga homes for sale – or even just considering whether it's time to buy – it's important to know about these pending changes. Many of them can make it easier to get the home you want.

Two crucial adjustments are coming as of January 1, 2020.

VA Loan Limits Will Be Eliminated – For Good

As part of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, signed into law in June, VA loan limits will be removed for all qualified loan applications in 2020 and beyond.

Loan limits specify the highest sum the Department of Veterans Affairs can guarantee with zero down payment. Naturally, the lack of down payment is one of the most attractive aspects of the VA home loan. It can save loan recipients thousands of dollars.

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Saving Money During Holidays

The holiday season is often a busy time of the year — especially when you're planning on moving into one of our Chattanooga homes for sale. Whether you're trying to save up for a down payment or tightening up your budget in anticipation of moving, our REALTORS® have gathered money-saving tips that keep your holidays stress-free!

  1. Know Your Finances
    Before you spend or save, you need to be aware of your current financial position. Determine your monthly income and expenditure average, taking into account consistent bills like utilities and grocery expenses. Next, determine how much you'll estimate needing for your down payment or to facilitate relocation. Once you have solid numbers to work with, you can begin planning.

  2. Set a Budget
    A firm budget will be a good friend to you not only during the home buying process but throughout the rest of the year as well. It's especially important to maintain a strict budget when buying a home or moving during the holidays, as it's easy to exceed your budget when purchasing holiday gifts.

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Closing Costs Guide

Closing costs are inevitable when you purchase Chattanooga homes for sale. It is essential to include these in your accounting when choosing your home. Knowing what these fees are, and how much they will cost, will protect you from "sticker shock" during the closing process. When closing on a home, be aware of these potential closing costs you may run into. 

  • Origination Fees & Points
    As a general rule, you can expect all of your closing costs to run between 2% to 4% of the total purchase price. The final amount is heavily dependent on the origination fees and points assessed by the lender. The law requires lenders to provide a loan estimate to buyers that provides a full accounting of application/origination fees, and points.

    Points are fees paid to the lender at closing to secure a lower interest rate. This can be a wise investment that can save you significant money over the years. 
  • Title Fees
    Roughly 70% of your closing costs will be related to title fees. These fees cover the cost of conducting a title search, securing title insurance, and settlement services.  

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Improve Credit Score
So you're itching to get started shopping Chattanooga homes for sale to become a homeowner, but you'll need a mortgage loan to realize that goal. Given that fact, you'll certainly want to get your credit report in shape to ensure that you can get approved for that loan – and that you can get the best possible interest rate on it when you do. So how does an aspiring homeowner go about raising their credit score? Here are tips that can help:

  1. Check your credit report for errors
    Your credit reports are documents that detail your track record with credit, outlining factors that include how much debt you're holding in relation to your income and how responsible you have been in paying off that debt. There will be three major reports detailing your credit history, held by three major credit bureaus; Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. While these bureaus know their business, they rely on information collected from your creditors to compile their reports, and errors are fairly common. For that reason, getting copies of your reports from all three companies and examining them for errors is an important first step if you're working to raise your credit score. If any of your reports do contain errors, contacting the credit bureaus to get them corrected is your next step.

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Mortgage Interest Rates
You negotiated a good deal on your dream home with the beautiful kitchen, and you are approved for a mortgage. Now, all that's left is to sign the paperwork. All those pages you are signing detail what you will pay for the house you are making a home. One specific number to pay attention to is the interest rate, which of course, adds to the final amount you pay back.

So how is the interest rate calculated for people buying Chattanooga homes for sale? Here is a quick primer:

  1. Debt to income ratio
    This number shows lenders how much income you have to the amount of debt you are responsible for paying back. If you have a lot of debt payments already, you might find it difficult to pay a larger mortgage. One of the best things you can do before buying a house is pay down as much debt as possible. Not only will this let you get a better interest rate, but it will also give you breathing room as you begin homeownership.

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5C's of Credit
The process of buying a home starts long before you start looking at listings. It starts when you begin building credit. The ways you spend money and the debts you carry will have a significant impact on your credit. Our REALTORS® are here to help you understand the "Five C's" of credit and what lenders are looking for when you're buying a home.

  1. Character Counts
    Lenders will examine your credit report to determine your credit risk. They will look at how long you have worked for an employer and how long you have lived at the same address. Lenders want to see stability and consistency as these are the foundations of good character.

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Understanding the Mortgage Process
If you are ready to become a first-time homeowner and are itching to get started shopping Chattanooga homes for sale, it is time to learn a few things about how to get the mortgage you need for your purchase. The mortgage process can often be the most complicated part of buying a home, but being well-prepared to tackle it can make things easier and less stressful. Here are some key points to understand the mortgage process:

Preparing Before You Apply is Essential

Having all your ducks in a row before beginning the mortgage process can help ensure that you can make the process work to your best advantage. Here are some important steps to take to get ready to apply for a mortgage:

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Chattanooga Holiday Home Buying List
Is a new home on your holiday wish list? Whether you've just started searching for Chattanooga homes for sale or have been considering it for a while, we've created this home-buying checklist to make buying that perfect house simpler.

  1. Review Your Credit
    Your first step is to check your credit score and review your credit reports. Errors are more common than you think. If you find any, you'll want to contact the credit reporting agencies and have them corrected immediately. Checking your credit early also gives you time to work on improving your score if necessary.

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Saving for a Down Payment Five Down Payment Saving Tips 

The first and biggest hurdle when looking to buy one of the many Chattanooga homes for sale is coming up with the down payment. The minimum down payment that you can expect to make is 3 percent which means that you'd have to come up with $3,000 on a $100,000 home purchase. However, to avoid mortgage insurance, you would need a down payment of 20 percent. That's $20,000 on a $100,000 home.

Don't let these numbers scare you from buying that dream home. Here are five tips from our REALTORS® that can help you save for that down payment by showing your money who's boss.

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Steps to Buy Your Perfect House
Finding your perfect home is exciting! You've looked at many Chattanooga homes for sale and found the one! You probably can't wait to move in! But there are a few things that have to be completed before you can officially call it yours. These next important steps will get you through to closing day.

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