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Homeownership: The Benefits May Surprise You

Your home is more than just where you lay your head and where your heart is — it’s also one of the most significant financial investments you will ever make. While some of the advantages of homeownership are immediately apparent, there are some you may not think about as you consider purchasing a home. 

Aside from being a place to create treasured memories with your family, owning a house offers many financial benefits, and these advantages aren’t limited to tax season. June is National Homeownership Month, so it’s the perfect time to learn about why owning a home is a smart investment you can make for your future. 

Homeownership Financial Benefits

Build Wealth

Owning a home allows you to build your wealth over time as you strengthen your financial future. In a strong economy, home values increase, so owning a home is like putting your money into an investment account that continues to grow. However, it is important to note that this is only true if you buy a home you can afford and continue to afford for the life of your mortgage.  

Grow Equity

When you purchase a home, you are also amassing equity that you wouldn’t if you were renting. In a rental scenario, you pay your rent each month, and that money doesn’t accumulate. When you buy a home, you build equity as your home’s value increases and as you pay off more of what you owe on it. 

You are also able to use the equity you’ve built for home improvements or paying off other debt, to name just a few uses. At 78.6%, homeownership rates are highest among Americans aged 65 and older, indicating that equity also contributes to retirement savings for many. 

Predict Costs

When you rent, you aren’t guaranteed the same rate year over year. Rather, the amount you pay to live in your home is at your landlord’s discretion and subject to change. On the other hand, with homeownership, you most likely have a fixed rate and can better budget predictably for the life of your mortgage loan. Further, when you own your home, you can set goals such as installing more energy-efficient appliances that continue saving you money in the long run. 

Strengthen Credit 

Another benefit of homeownership is that a mortgage is sometimes referred to as “good debt” and increases your credit score provided you pay it on time. It may also help your creditworthiness when you apply for other forms of credit. 

Pay It Off 

A benefit that may be hard to fathom, especially if you have just started mortgage payments, is that you will eventually pay off your home loan. Once the terms of your mortgage have ended and your house debt is satisfied, you will be able to use the money you previously spent on your mortgage each month to invest elsewhere. 

Homeownership Tax Benefits 

At tax time, you can file for deductions for the mortgage interest and property taxes you have paid out in the previous year. As most of your mortgage goes toward owed interest rather than principal in the first few years of the loan, these deductions help put money back into your pocket. 

If you have private mortgage insurance (PMI), you may also be able to deduct these payments. And, if you’re in the first year of repaying your mortgage, you can also write off any mortgage points you have paid as well as the origination fees as part of your closing cost deduction. 

Chris Doering Mortgage Is Your Homeownership Dream Team

Are you tired of renting and ready to experience the many benefits of owning your own home? Finding trusted advisors to walk you through the mortgage process and be there for you long after closing is easier than you may think. Let the experienced team at Chris Doering Mortgage offer you our expert guidance on the mortgage that will best suit your family’s needs. Contact us today to find out more about how owning a home is a wise investment for your current and future financial health.

How to Build Your Home Buying Dream Team

If you are a potential home buyer who is unfamiliar with the industry, it can be overwhelming to know the processes’ inner workings and how it all fits together to take you from the mortgage pre-approval to move-in day at your new house. But, just as with football games, it takes a passionate, competent group of people working together behind the scenes toward a favorable outcome. These people make all the difference because without them, buying a home would be stressful, intimidating, and downright frustrating. Read on to learn who should be on your home buying dream team and how these important players make your home buying experience a positive one. 

The 6 People You Need in Your Home Buying Line-Up 

The Real Estate Agent 

As the person who may hold the key to showing you your dream home, your real estate agent plays a vital role in the process. A knowledgeable buyer’s agent can help you find exactly what you are looking for regarding your new home’s location, features, and price. They can also negotiate on your behalf to ensure you do not overpay for your home and may have the resources to notify you of pocket listings, homes that have not yet been released to the public. 

The Accountant 

Accountants on your home buying team provide valuable advice on the tax breaks that come from homeownership as well as any associated annual benefits. They can also help you ensure your finances are in optimal health for your monthly and long-term budgeting needs. 

The Home Inspector

A home inspection protects buyers by disclosing any existing defects that can cost the buyer in repairs later if not addressed before closing. These discoveries include the home’s structural and mechanical systems. Further, they are a snapshot of the future of your home and what may need to be fixed down the line. 

Some people confuse the home inspection with the property appraisal. The inspection reveals the home’s condition, while the appraisal tells you how much the home is worth. 

The Lender

Unless you are a cash buyer, your mortgage lender is an integral part of your home buying team, without whom purchasing a home may not be possible. Your mortgage lender underwrites your home’s purchase and fronts the funds you can pay back over time through your mortgage.  The lender should be the first party that you contact when beginning the home buying process.  It is imperative to know if you are qualified to buy and, if so, what price range you should be looking in.  A qualified, experienced loan originator will also help you customize your financing options to meet your immediate needs as well as your long-term goals.

The Attorney

Once you choose a home to buy, one of the first things you do is submit a purchase and sale contract. As this is a legally binding document, having an attorney on your side who can walk you through it and protect your interests is invaluable. Home purchasing requires understanding complex procedures and documents, including deeds, mortgages, court orders, and wills, and other legal rigmaroles not easily understood by the layperson. 

The Title Company 

A title company is responsible for verifying that a home’s seller legitimately owns the property they are selling and subsequently guaranteeing that information through title insurance. This insurance protects the lender and owner against financial losses and court defense costs if another party tries to lay a claim on the property later on. In some instances, the title company may also provide the home closing location, as that is where escrow accounts and closing costs are held. 

Chris Doering Mortgage Is Your All-Star Team

At Chris Doering Mortgage, our experienced loan originators and processing team are on your side as you allow us to knowledgeably walk you through the home-buying process with passion, competence, and excellence. Buying a home for yourself and your loved ones is a significant milestone, and you should not feel alone or uninformed. Contact us today and let Chris Doering Mortgage be the Most Valuable Player on your home buying dream team!

Things to Look Out for at an Open House

Whether it’s your first home or not, it’s important to know what you’re looking for when purchasing a home. Attending open houses is a key step in getting a feel for what you like, what you don’t like, what’s on the market, and what’s within your budget. It’s critical to know what to watch out for during each tour considering that the next house you walk into could be your next home. To help you understand what to look out for, here are a few key things to keep in mind  during every open house you attend.

Location, Location, Location

If you’ve ever watched an episode of House Hunters, you know why we’re covering this as an important thing to keep in mind. As you arrive at an open house, pay close attention to the part of the home you can control the least… the neighborhood. There are a few things regarding location that we encourage you to take note of during your next house hunting venture:

  • Condition of the neighborhood property – How well kept is the overall neighborhood? Are lawns maintained, driveaways taken care of, homes washed? Your home is an investment, and how your neighbors treat their own investment will actually affect the value of yours.
  • Family-friendly – If you are looking for a neighborhood that is family-oriented, look to see if there are children around that are of a similar age. What school zone does the property belong to? Does it meet the expectations you have for your children’s education? If you are hoping for families but instead find a college-aged population, you may want to reconsider that community.
  • Noise – Look to see if neighbors have pets on their property. If they do, are they kept outside? Are they barking and making noise? For some, pets are a welcome sight in the neighborhood, but for others they can be an unwelcome nuisance  or even a danger. Is the house near a busy highway, train tracks, or a hospital? Keep in mind that heavy traffic can be difficult to ignore at night which could negatively affect your family’s sleep habits.
  • Nearby hazards – In Florida communities, small bodies of water are common, creating a hub for the ever-present local wildlife. This can create legitimate safety concerns if you have small children or pets. Be on the lookout for hazards like these because of drowning risks, wildlife like gators, or flooding hazards during the rainy season. Small standing bodies of water are also breeding grounds for mosquitoes which can make any outside space a nightmare during the humid summer months. Proximity is very important when considering how to enjoy the beauty of Florida’s wildlife, ponds, and lakes. Other hazards include things like busy roads, forestry, and even local crime rates.

If you feel comfortable with some of these initial impressions of the neighborhood and surrounding area, make sure to take a walk around the neighborhood before or after the open house. You can even come back to the neighborhood at a different time of day to get a better feel for it.

The Home and Property

It’s important to know what you’re getting into with an open house. A few key home aspects and red flags to look out for at an open house include:

  • Foundation issues – While some small hairline cracks are normal for homes settling, larger cracks could indicate an issue in the foundation of the home. Are the floors level? Do the doors close properly? If you see any of these issues with a home, be wary.
  • Water damage – As you explore the house, pay extra close attention to any staining, warping, or damage as they could be due to past water issues. This includes flooding, busted pipes, or even a leaks in areas like the roof.
  • Mold and mildew – Related to water damage, keep a close eye out for mold and mildew around the home. Open up cabinets, check crawl spaces, and explore corners of the home that could be susceptible to these threats. If the open house smells too strongly of cleaners or air fresheners, it could be an attempt to mask the smell of mold and mildew.
  • Ventilation – The layout of your home will have a large impact on air flow and ventilation of your home. Are the windows and doors set up to be opened to welcome a summer breeze into your home? Is the interior ventilation system designed to remove that extra moisture afterward?
  • Neglected maintenance – As an all-encompassing issue, look out for smaller issues that may have been ignored and not for the betterment of the home. This could be something as small as a burned out lightbulb or as big as a leaking window or faucet. If you see a pattern with these issues adding up, it could be indicative of more problems that haven gone unnoticed and unattended. A house which is cheaper up front could quickly end up costing more than you expected just six months down the road.

While these are all important things to look for during an open house, this is not an exhaustive list and every home (and buyer) is different. We always recommend participating in a couple of open houses to get a feel for what makes a house a home for your family and knowing what to look out for.

The Next Steps

Once you find that perfect house that fits all of your criteria, our team of mortgage professionals can help you live where you love throughout North Central Florida. Contact our team to learn more about the financing options available.

Why Now is the Time to Buy a Home

June marks one of our favorite occasions, National Homeownership Month. Recognized by The White House, we like to take this time to celebrate and highlight all of the homeowners nationwide, but especially our family of individuals who we’ve helped achieve their homeownership dreams in the North Central Florida area including Gainesville, Ocala, Jacksonville, Orlando and more.

Achieve the American Dream

The real estate industry is constantly evolving and at Chris Doering Mortgage, we strive to keep up with these changes. We’re committed to being transparent about the available financing options for our clients to set them up for the best success in owning a home. Becoming a homeowner is often the ultimate achievement for Americans; a testament to the American Dream. It doesn’t just stand as a roof over their heads, it stands as an investment for the homeowner for the present and the future.

Now is a great time to begin exploring the possibilities for buying a home. With a wide selection of homes available now in the summer months, you can find the home of your dreams. Even if you are not ready now, the Federal Reserve indicates potential interest rate cuts for the remainder of the year; a welcomed sign for the mortgages of new homebuyers. While these interest rate cuts may not sound large, they will quickly add up when paying off a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned buyer, we want to celebrate National Homeownership Month and homebuyers everywhere.

To further celebrate National Homeownership Month, we’d like to share some of the many economical, physical, and social benefits to buying.

Benefits of Ownership

  • Predictability – Owning a home gives you a predictable fixed monthly mortgage cost, rather than a changing rental rate
  • Stability – Owning a home prevents you and your family from having to continue moving or facing the risk of eviction
  • Retirement – Owning a home provides a source of income into your retirement whether you look to use the house for yourself or to rent it to others while you travel the world
  • Privacy – Owning a home provides a higher level of privacy to you and your family by not having to share walls and listen to your neighbors or vice versa
  • Customize – Owning a home lets owners make continual changes to their place of residence for their dream home; a luxury not available if renting
  • Pride – Owning a home offers a sense of pride and community connectivity as you will be a valued member of the community for longer and able to make friends with your neighbors

To learn about some of the many other economic benefits of owning a home like tax benefits or equity, check out our blog post “Renting? 4 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Home.” If you’re considering beginning your home buying journey, make sure to learn about the countless benefits!

Home ownership is a challenging but rewarding process for everyone. Our team of mortgage professionals are here to help you navigate the process. Now celebrating our twelfth year in the mortgage lending industry here in North Central Florida, we offer a variety of flexible options helping local homebuyers. From home loans like FHA loans or VA loans to refinancing options, our team of consultants can help you choose the best financing option.

While not every month can be National Homeownership Month, we always like to take the time to celebrate the homeowners in our community and beyond. If you’re interested in learning more about the variety of financing options we can help offer in owning a home, contact our team. Let us know how we can help!

What You Need to Know About Foreclosed Homes

When a homeowner is no longer able to afford their mortgage payments and ceases to make their payments, the mortgage lender is forced to take ownership of the home. When this happens, the home goes through what is called a foreclosure and will go up for sale to a new owner.

If you are willing to navigate some of the challenges inherent in purchasing a foreclosure, they can be a financially friendly option. However, there are a few things you’ll want to know before making the decision to buy a foreclosure.

Foreclosures Can be Financially Friendly

Often times, the lender who owns the foreclosed home is eager to sell the home at a discounted price to remove the house from their books. For this reason, foreclosures can be a great option for a home shopper looking for a larger home, or interested in a certain neighborhood that would be typically outside of their budget.

Before you start the buying process, make sure that you check comparable prices around the neighborhood to make sure you understand what level of discount you may be getting.

They May Require More Work

One reason a foreclosure may be discounted is because of the amount of work it requires. The home was foreclosed on because the previous homeowner didn’t have the funds to pay their mortgage, which may mean that they may not have been able to keep the home in good shape.

The longer a home is vacant, the more susceptible it is to vandalism and theft. Break-ins and property damage aren’t unusual and can lead to costly repairs and fixes. Here are some additional issues that may be a problem the longer a house is unoccupied:

  • Mold
  • Vermin
  • Broken pipes
  • Missing wiring
  • Ripped out appliances
  • Structural damage

This is why it is even more crucial to have the home inspected prior to purchasing. If the remodeling is severe, what seemed like a financially good deal may no longer fit your budget taking the repair expenses into consideration.

There May Be Red Tape

Buying a foreclosed home requires extra steps not present in the typical home buying process. It can take weeks to hear back on an offer you put down on a home. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will secure the home during that time because the lenders selling the home will wait as long as possible to make sure they’re getting the best deal.

Patience is the key, but it is not always possible. If you are looking for a new home and need to move in quickly, foreclosures may not be the best option. Along with longer closing times, the previous owner may need to be evicted, which in itself can be a long and difficult process.

Other Things to Consider

Securing a mortgage for a foreclosure can be difficult for several reasons:

  • If you haven’t worked out financing before you put an offer down, the home may go to someone else.
  • Not all lenders will loan money for distressed properties. Make sure that you know who will offer a loan on a foreclosure.
  • FHA and VA loans may not be an option because they often require the home to be in good working condition.
  • Conventional mortgages may appraise the value of the home low based on its condition and require improvements before you secure the loan. Unfortunately, foreclosures often require you to buy the home as-is.

If you need help navigating the process of buying a foreclosure, your first step is getting pre-approved. Understand the challenges that may be ahead, and weigh them against some of the pains and aggravations.

We are here to help make the home-buying process easy and headache free. If you need help and are interested in buying a foreclosed home, come in and see us. We can help walk you through the pre-approval process and work with you so that you can get into the home of your dreams.

Mistakes Made When Buying a New Home