What Is The Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI)?

 

Starting the home buying process in the Fort Myears or Cape Coral areas? One term you may hear your lender use is “DTI” or Debt-To-Income Ratio.

Measuring your existing debts against your existing income is one part of a lender’s required assessment of your ability to repay a loan.

Like the video says:  debts are existing financial commitments like a car payment for example, whereas a grocery bill is not.

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio add up your monthly debt payments and divide them by your GROSS monthly income. (Gross income is generally the amount of money you earn BEFORE taxes and other deductions.)

The Federally-established debt-to-income target is a maximum of 43% for Qualified Mortgages.

If your ratio is higher there may be other loans available  – however, there may also be additional questions to establish your ability to repay, and the rates may be different than those available for Qualified Mortgages.

Studies suggest that a high debt-to-income ratio puts a homeowner at greater risk of challenges making monthly payments. So consider your situation and risks carefully before exceeding that suggested ratio.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Should I Sell My Home?

Should I Sell My Home?

Are you currently living in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas and wondering if you should sell your home right now?

It seems like a simple question, yet ask 10 people and you will likely get 10 different answers. Within real estate markets there always seems to be so much conflicting information. Plus, everyone thinks they are an expert! Even people who have never owned a home suddenly have profound real estate insights to share. With all the confusion, how do you decide if selling your home is the right move?

Let’s be clear on a fundamental truth, the decision to sell your home is a deeply personal decision. Naturally, factors such as market conditions, equity in the home, and your financial situation are factors to be carefully weighed. Ultimately, you need to do what feels right for you and your family even if the market stars are not aligning perfectly. There are always great reasons to sell your home and we are going to share three of them with you.

You Need More Space

This is one of the most common reasons for selling a home. Single individuals and young families often buy a “starter home”. These tend to be affordable, small homes that fit a first time home buyer budget. Over time, there is a need for more space. A single adult may have more furniture, want room for guests, adopt pets, or get engaged. Young families may need more room for kids that are older and need their own space, to accommodate more children, or to make space for a beloved elderly relative.

“Moving Up” to a bigger house can be exciting. Imagine not having to share a bathroom with the kids or with guests? A bigger home can provide a lot more than more bedrooms and bathrooms. You may gain a garage, a bigger backyard, a finished basement, larger entertainment areas, and…a full sized kitchen with a pantry. Divine, right?

Beyond the changes in daily living, a more spacious home can offer a delightful change of lifestyle. Your new, larger home will likely accommodate guests more comfortably, especially for extended family visits. Instead of cramped dinner parties, you may host events that flow between spacious rooms and outdoor areas. Your new home may even become the family favorite for celebrating holidays!

If the thought of dozens of people walking around your house gives you anxiety, remember, you don’t have to host guests! Whether you invite people into your space or not, a bigger home gives you a lot more space to enjoy. If you are not into having guests, that spare bedroom can become an office or a beautifully appointed library. Your days can be filled with light, air, and silence – all in a spacious home that is all yours.

You Need Less Space

Oh, we can wax poetic about the joys of a dedicated laundry room, but we recognize that not everyone is looking for more space. The opposite may very well be true. You may find yourself at the stage in your life when the big house is more hassle than comfort.

“Downsizing” can be equally as exciting as “upsizing”. There are so many options ahead! Whether it’s a cottage on the beach, a high-rise condo in an urban area, or even a well-appointed apartment in a retirement center, shopping for a smaller home can be an adventure.

If you are truly adventurous, you may even decide to try a Tiny House. These small, portable homes are typically hand-built and can be “parked” on designated lots, backyards, tiny home communities, and more. Providing between 100 to 500 square feet of living space, these homes comes with a crash course in economy of space.

Yet tiny homeowners love it. They can build their house to their own specifications with many features of the home serving double duty. Everything has its spot and there is a designated spot for everything! It’s not for everyone, but those who have adopted the lifestyle often talk about the incredible feeling of freedom that comes with living in a tiny house.

Sea-side living, urban dwelling, senior communities, and tiny homes are all great options for enjoyable housing solutions once you sell your home. Many individuals who downsize report a feeling of “lightness” once they let go of all their “stuff”. Regardless of where you downsize to, take the time to evaluate what needs to go and what keepsakes need to adorn your new, streamlined world.

You Need a Change of Venue

Sometimes it’s not about more space or less space, it’s about different space. If you have spent all your life in quiet country living, maybe you are craving the faster heartbeat of city life. Or conversely, maybe urban life has worn you down and small town life is calling. You need a change and the one thing you can’t take with you is your home (well, unless you own a tiny house!).

Renting your home to tenants may be a reasonable solution, but often a permanent change of venue requires selling your home. The proceeds of the sale may support your move and fund a whole new life. In some circumstances, the financials are a not a factor and selling the home is more a symbolic “letting go” that allows you to fully embrace your new adventure.

Make sure you are prepared for the logistics involved in selling your home to move away. You will need to decide whether to stay in the home until it’s sold or to go ahead with the move and leave the home vacant to sell. Both are viable options that require planning and patience.

If you stay in the home, you will likely need to stage it for sale. Be prepared to have buyers viewing the home and to accommodate open house events. If you move, you need to ensure you can financially maintain two residences and that you have excellent communication with your real estate team. Either way, remember the sales process is only temporary and eventually you will be fully rooted in your new home.

Embrace the Sale

Regardless of your reasons for selling your home, relocating can be immensely exciting. Not only do you gain a new place to live, you will likely have a new job, meet new neighbors, and build new friendships. New places can bring wonderful new experiences and introduce you to exciting new cultural vibes – enjoy it!

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Is A Mortgage?

What Is A Counter-Offer?

 

Have you ever wondered about what an “offer” or “counter offer” means when buying or selling a home in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral area?

The video puts this in more visual terms, but basically, a seller can respond to a buyer’s offer with changes – a “counter” – that improves the terms.

You need to put yourself in their shoes and construct a modified offer that you think they might take that meets more of your needs. Then it’s their turn – accept, reject, or construct yet another counter.

It’s an efficient market process, but beware: clauses and costs matter. Your broker should be closely involved in constructing a counter. Successful bargaining is best done with a win/win approach where each side is meeting their biggest needs and compromising others to reach an agreement.

Remember that outside conditions like interest rates, and supply and demand, will keep evolving so you’ll need to be patient but decisive to craft an counter-offer that works for both sides.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Are Commissions?

What Is Loan To Value (LTV) And How Does It Affect The Size Of My Loan?

 

Are you purchasing a home in Fort Myers or Cape Coral? Have you heard of the term “LTV” and wonder what it means?

While this video simplifies things to help you remember, the loan to value ratio or “LTV” is the amount of money you borrow compared with the price or appraised value of the home you are purchasing.

Each loan has a specific LTV limit. For example: With a 75% LTV loan on a home priced at $100,000 you could borrow up to $75,000 (75% of $100,000) and would have to pay $25000 as a down payment.

The LTV ratio reflects the amount of equity borrowers have in their homes. The higher the LTV the less cash homebuyers are required to pay out of their own funds.

So, to protect lenders against potential loss in case of default, higher LTV loans (80% or more) usually require mortgage insurance policies.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How Does Purchasing A Home Compare With Renting?

How Does Purchasing A Home Compare With Renting?

 

Struggling whether to purchase or rent your next home in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral area?

Like the guy in the video says, the two don’t really compare at all.

The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity take advantage of tax benefits and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may be at the mercy of the landlord for housing.

Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity increasing YOUR net worth. Owning a home also qualifies you for tax breaks that assist you in dealing with your new financial responsibilities like insurance, real estate taxes, and upkeep which can be substantial.

But given the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home they maybe worth it.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How Does The Interest Rate Factor In Securing A Mortgage Loan?

Are There Special Mortgages For First-Time Homebuyers?

 

Thinking about buying a home for the first time in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas?

Yes. Like the video shows, lenders now offer several affordable mortgage options which can help first-time homebuyers overcome obstacles that made purchasing a home difficult in the past.

Lenders may now be able to help borrowers who don’t have a lot of money saved for the down payment and closing costs, have no or a poor credit history, have quite a bit of long-term debt, or who have experienced income irregularities.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Steps Need To Be Taken To Secure A Loan?

What Details Can I Ask Brokers In Advance?

 

Selling a home in the Fort Myers, Cape Coral or surrounding areas? This video tells you what any real estate professional would tell you.

Ask them:

  • How long do homes in my neighborhood currently stay on the market?
  • How would you price my home?
  • What data did you use to arrive at that price?
  • How would you market my home?
  • What activities would you expect of me to market my home?
  • How will you handle representation if one of your buyers is interested in my home?
  • May I speak with sellers you’ve recently represented?
  • How long a period would you want on a listing agreement for my house?

It’s best to ask these questions, and be comfortable with your choices before signing a listing agreement.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How Do I Set The Price On My House.

Why Use A REALTOR®

 

A state license is required to sell real estate. But roughly half of those licensed take the additional step of becoming a REALTOR®.

As we show you in this video, only members of the National Association of Realtors – NAR – are entitled to use that registered trademark and call themselves a REALTOR®.

As members, they adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and have access to classes, seminars and certification. Their aim is to be experts in their community aware of real estate trends and local and neighborhood issues. They apply that expertise to help buyers and sellers succeed.

You can find a certified REALTOR® in Fort Myers or Cape Coral by looking in local sources, asking around or searching here: http://www.realtor.com/realestateagents

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to learn more about How Do I Make A Home Ready To Sell?.

How Do I Make A Home Ready To Sell?

 

Have a home to sell in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral area?

As we show you in this video, start several months before the property is made available.

Look through the eyes of a buyer:

  • What needs to be cleaned?
  • Repainted?
  • Repaired?
  • Or tossed?

Ask yourself – or a friend If you were buying this house what would you want to see?

The goal is to show a home that looks good, makes the most of its assets, like space and location, and attracts as many buyers and as much demand as possible.

Allow yourself enough lead time – not just a day or two – to make the most of the sale.

Lastly, get help from a real estate agent early in the process.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to learn about What To Look Out For During The Final Walk Through?.

What Should I Look Out For During The Final Walk-Through?

 

About to close on a home in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral area?

Well, as this story shows, a Final Walk-Through will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture giving you a clear view of everything.

Check the walls and ceilings carefully as well as any work the seller agreed to do in response to the inspection. Any problems discovered previously that you find uncorrected should be brought up prior to closing. It is the seller’s responsibility to fix them.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to see What Are Home Warranties And Should I Consider Them?.