Work From Home

15 Best Work-From-Home Jobs

Some work-from-home jobs receive a bad reputation because they pay low wages, involve repetitive work, and are heavily micromanaged.

But if there’s one positive outcome of the pandemic, it’s that it’s never been easier to land work-from-home jobs.

If you’re looking for a way to work from home in a way that will push you to grow professionally — whether you’re a software engineer, a web developer, a technical support worker, a product management professional, or anything in between — there’s no shortage of full-time jobs for remote workers.

If you need some extra cash on your journey to homeownership, a work-from-home job may be just what you need to get over the finish line and cobble together a down payment.

With that in mind, check out our list of the 15 best work-from-home job opportunities.

1. Social media manager

Would you like a remote position that goes beyond ads and plain marketing? Maybe you’d enjoy working as a social media manager.

By improving their company’s online presence, connecting with potential clients on a deeper level, and increasing brand awareness, social media managers can help their organization get to the next level. If you’re keen on using platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, this gig might be the perfect fit.

If you’ve got a full-time job already, you might be able to last a side hustle managing a startup’s social media properties.

Earning potential: $16-$22/hour

2. Web/software developer

Web and software developers are tasked with creating and maintaining websites, programs, and applications. Remote work has been prevalent in this field for a long time, even before the pandemic.

If you’re a creative problem-solver who’s a solid programmer and isn’t against connecting with colleagues over platforms like Slack and Zoom, this could be the ideal job for you.

Earning potential: $98k-110k/year

3. Customer service representative

One of the easiest work-from-home jobs is working as a customer care representative, who answers questions, solves problems, and assists with orders. Instead of doing this in a call center, job seekers can land customer support jobs that enable them to work out of their own homes.

These positions, however, aren’t as flexible as other work-from-home positions, many of which allow you to set your own schedule. If the shift is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., reps are expected to be available the entire time.

Earning potential: $12+/hour

4. Content writer

Every industry requires a wide variety of written material, so writers are always in demand. Writing is perfect for home workers since you only need a laptop to do the job.

In the advertising and marketing industry, copywriting is a top choice for anyone looking to make money. Reporters, product reviewers, and bloggers are always in need of editors and proofreaders who can polish copy — and SEO professionals who know how to get content to rank near the top of search engine results.

Additionally, there are also money-making opportunities in technical writing and transcription. In a nutshell, having good writing skills can help you earn a decent amount of money while working from home.

Earning potential: $36k-$100k+/year

5. Grant writer

Nonprofit organizations, universities, and hospitals often apply for grants. Due to the difficulty of writing these applications, these businesses often post job listings on job boards looking for talented grant writers. 

If this is something that interests you, conduct a quick job search on sites like Upwork and Flexjobs to see what you can find.

Earning potential: $40k-$67k/year

6. Tutor

To many people, tutors are thought of as the valedictorian of the class who teaches other kids in the library after school. Nowadays, anyone with a knack for teaching others and great expertise in a particular subject can be an online tutor and earn decent money from home. 

Earning potential: $14-$22/hour

7. Data entry clerk

Data entry is among the oldest online jobs available. Despite all the technological progress we’ve made over the decades, many businesses still need humans to convert unstructured data and PDFs into typed text.

Those who lack the skills needed for some of the more specialized jobs on this list may find data entry to be the perfect flexible entry-level job. Anyone who knows how to use a computer can take on a data entry job; you probably don’t even need a bachelor’s degree to do it, either.

Luckily, there are a lot of part-time roles that allow you to pick your own hours, so you can balance work and family obligations. 

It can be challenging to find jobs in data entry because it’s a job most people can do. In some cases, you may need to wait a long time before you get hired by a top-paying company. But if you have the patience to wait, it could be well worth it.

Earning potential: $15-$35/hour

8. Travel agent

Travel agents assist clients in finding the best deals and experiences for their trips. If you enjoy traveling and helping people plan their dream vacations, you might love this job.

When your clients book trips through you, you’ll earn a commission. You can easily convince clients to work with you because deals tend to be pretty competitive.

Who knows? If you find this line of work particularly exhilarating, you might launch a small business of your own one day.

Earning potential: $34k-$43k/year

9. Virtual assistant

Do you possess a strong work ethic and skills in social media, editing, graphic design, tutoring, researching and writing, administrative duties, and data entry?

If so, becoming a virtual assistant could be a great choice for you. You’ll get to work with executives and may even be able to land jobs with several different companies.

Earning potential: $25-$100/hour

10. Medical transcriptionist

A medical transcriptionist must transcribe recorded audio dictation of a physician or other healthcare professional. In most cases, you can choose flexible working hours that suit your schedule.

Earning potential: $22k-$36k/year

11. Virtual recruiter 

Employers hire recruiters to find qualified candidates for open positions. In addition to working directly for a company, recruiters can also work for headhunters or staffing agencies.

As generalist recruiters, some recruiters connect candidates with positions in many different fields. Others specialize in a particular industry, such as healthcare or technology. Screening applicants via video calls and over the phone is a large part of the job, which makes it possible to work remotely as a recruiter. 

If you’re the kind of person who likes meeting new people, this could be an ideal job.

Earning potential: $29k-78k/year

12. Bookkeeper

You don’t have to be a CPA to start bookkeeping. In fact, you can take a bookkeeping course online or at a community college. Upon completion of said course, you’ll be eligible to start earning money managing other companies’ books.

Play your cards right, and you may be able to land several clients as a bookkeeper and grow your own business that way.

Earning potential: $34k-$70k+/year

13. Translator 

The translation industry offers a wide range of work-at-home jobs for people with fluency in English and a foreign language.

While the concept of being a translator may conjure up images of world leaders conversing with each other through interpreters, it’s important to note that translators work in a wide variety of industries and occupations, such as marketing, healthcare, and customer service.

We live in a global economy where it’s highly advantageous for professionals to be fluent in more than one language. If you’re an expert in multiple languages, it’s time to start searching job postings to see if you can find work as a translator.

Earning potential: $49k-$64k/year

14. Animator

Similar to regular animation jobs, remote animation jobs require artists to create animated works for games, websites, television shows, and commercial ads, among other things. There’s only one difference between these two kinds of work: You work from home instead of an office or studio.

Earning potential: $46k-$101k/year

15. Graphic designer

Would you like to work remotely as a graphic designer?

Remote graphic designers have a wide variety of job titles and options, including commercial artists, conceptual professionals, art directors, layout managers, and creative directors. The flexibility and freedom of remote graphic design jobs make them attractive to creatives who want to work from home.

Earning potential: $45k-$80k

Work-from-home jobs are easier to get than ever before!

The chance to work from home is more available in today’s world than ever before. For individuals looking for remote work, opportunities abound. You’ve just got to poke around.

There are a lot of benefits that come with working from home, including eliminating your commute, becoming your own boss, having a flexible schedule, and being able to watch your children.

Even if you have a full-time job, you may want to look into landing a work-from-home job as a side hustle. You never know when the money you make while sitting on your couch might add up to down payment on your first home.

Whatever you decide, here’s to finding a work-from-home job that meets your needs and helps you thrive as a professional!


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.

1st Time Homebuyer Mortgage

Mortgage Pre-Approval Checklist

It’s an exciting time! You’re ready to begin the home-buying process by going house hunting and purchasing your dream home.

Before you start packing boxes, however, you need to get your financial affairs in order. 

The first step in preparing to buy a home is getting mortgage pre-approval. To decide if you qualify for a home loan, lenders assess your credit history to determine your ability to make monthly payments and maintain a favorable financial situation.

To make the assessments needed for mortgage prequalification, lenders require documentation to verify income, assets, and expenses. 

A checklist of documents to get started

As you begin the quest for a mortgage preapproval letter, you’ll have to turn over a bunch of documents containing financial information. Depending on the loan type and loan amount you’re pursuing, the required documentation can vary slightly.

Below is a checklist of the five most common documents you’ll need to prepare when you submit for your mortgage pre-approval.

1. Personal identification

To obtain a preapproval letter, you must provide a valid form of ID to prove your identity. State-issued driver’s licenses, passports, and US. alien registration cards are all acceptable forms of identification. You’ll also have to give the lender your contact information.

2. Social Security card

This is an added layer of identity verification. The lender can match your Social Security number with your personal identification to verify that they’re lending to the right person. Additionally, mortgage lenders will use your Social Security number to run a credit check.

3. Proof of employment

Borrowers will also have to show lenders evidence that they can afford monthly mortgage payments. As such, lenders will need proof of current, full-time employment.

When you’re applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide pay stubs that verify your monthly income. Additionally, lenders will require your tax returns (usually the two most recent W-2 forms) to confirm your long-term employment, further verify income, and assess other financial information.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll be asked to provide tax documents and business returns for the past three years. Additionally, the lender will request a year-to-date audited profit and loss statement. Whether it’s fair or not, self-employed individuals may have a harder time securing loans than their counterparts who work full-time for someone else — particularly if they’re first-time homebuyers. 

4. Bank statements

Borrowers also need to show credit union and bank statements for the most recent two to three months to verify their ability to afford the down payment and closing costs (e.g., origination fees and underwriting expenses and, for home sellers, real estate agent commissions).

Additionally, lenders review bank account statements to confirm income deposits and uncover potential red flags. Large deposits from unknown sources, bounced checks, or evidence of insufficient funds can negatively impact your approval. 

5. Investments

Investment accounts can help lenders recognize assets and other potential sources of income. that being the case, it’s a good idea to disclose additional financial information via investment account statements from your 401(k), 403(b), IRAs, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Permission to pull your credit report

After you provide the required financial documents and other information, lenders will ask for permission to pull your credit report from one of the main credit bureaus before your mortgage application can move forward.

The credit report shows your payment history, the diversity of credit you have established (e.g., credit cards, mortgages, and car loans), and credit utilization. Essentially, it’s a way to gauge whether you are a serious buyer and are in the home-buying journey for the long haul.

Generally, your credit report will reveal a good credit score if you make on-time payments, consistently pay off debt, maintain a low credit utilization rate, and refrain from opening too many new lines of credit, due to hard inquiries. 

On the flip side, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, have delinquent accounts, and consistently use most of your available credit (e.g., maintaining high credit card balances), your credit score will be adversely impacted, which could reduce your mortgage options by making it harder to qualify for loan programs.

A good credit score of 670 or above will improve your chances of getting a loan with a decent interest rate. However, some lenders offer conventional loans to borrowers who have credit scores of at least 620. What’s more, some FHA loans can be offered to borrowers with credit scores as low as 500.

If your personal finance situation is less than ideal, you may still be eligible for a loan. Shop around to consider which lender and loan type is best for your needs. 

Monthly expenses list

Part of the loan application process is to assess if you can take on more monthly debt. Loan officers want to know what fixed expenses borrowers are already responsible for each month, which helps them determine how much house they can afford and what purchase price is reasonable for their budget.

While your credit report will likely show the list of your fixed expenses, the lender may also ask you for more details. Fixed expenses are considered regular, recurring payments. Common expenses include:

  • Current rent or mortgage
  • Car loans
  • Student loans
  • Credit cards
  • Medical bills

You do not need to disclose a list of variable expenses, such as gas or groceries. The fixed list of debts is more substantial for the lender to assess, as these expenses require a monthly minimum payment that you will always be responsible for making. Recognizing these fixed debts helps a lender determine your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which helps them come up with a better loan estimate for what you can afford. 

Debt-to-income ratio

Assessing your debt-to-income ratio helps lenders determine if you can take on more debt in the time frame you’re hoping to make a home purchase. This ratio shows how much money you have going out versus what you have coming in.

To qualify for a loan, you cannot exceed the maximum debt-to-income ratio, which varies depending on the type of loan you’re applying for. It’s wise to ask your lender about their debt-to-income ratio requirements because if you exceed the maximum, you may find out the hard way that your dream home is out of your price range. 

Supplemental documentation

In addition to the standard documentation that most applicants must submit, depending on your unique circumstances, you may be asked to provide supplemental documentation. In this section, we’ll highlight some of the other documents you may be asked to produce to determine your loan eligibility.

Homeowner documentation

If you already own a home, you’ll likely be asked for recent mortgage statements to assess the equity in your home, principal balance, and current monthly payment. If you’re selling your home, this information can help lenders assess how much you should qualify for moving forward.

If you are keeping your home and applying for a new home mortgage to refinance, your current homeownership will be considered part of your debt-to-income ratio.

Rental information 

Lenders want to know if you can make your monthly mortgage payment on time. One way to assess this is to consider your rent history. As such, you may be asked to provide the names and contact details of former landlords. That way, lenders can verify whether you have consistently paid rent on time.

Gift letters

If a loved one provides a gift to help you cover the cost of your down payment, your lender will require a gift letter to prove this money is not a personal loan. (Remember, a personal loan would alter your debt-to-income ratio.)

If you’re receiving a gift, check with your lender about the rules regarding who can provide gift funds. 

Preparing for a smooth pre-approval process

Getting a mortgage is your gateway to owning your own home!

Now that you know what a lender will expect, you’ll be prepared to manage the pre-approval process efficiently. By understanding what a lender will request, you’ll have a better idea about what mortgage rates you can afford, and you’ll be better prepared to prove that you’re a good candidate for a mortgage loan. 

Keep in mind that this process is anything but a short one. You’ll have to wait several business days for your application to be processed. Still, you’ll want to move quickly once you get preapproved, because your mortgage preapproval letter will likely have an expiration date.

At this point, you know the ins and outs of the mortgage preapproval process. So what are you waiting for? Get the ball rolling and get that much closer to landing the home of your dreams.

Good luck!


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.

1st Time Homebuyer Mortgage

Different Types of Mortgage Loans

Many home buyers are so excited and eager to jump into their journey to homeownership that they don’t educate themselves on the many different types of mortgage loans that lenders offer.

Are you one of them?

If so, it’s time to rethink your approach. One of the most important steps to doing that is to learn about the different mortgage loans available to aspiring homeowners. After all, some types of home loans may work well for other homebuyers but they may not be right for you.

In this post, we provide some key information about the loan options available for both first-time homebuyers and seasoned pros. Keep reading to learn more about which one is best for you.

Types of mortgage loans for all homebuyers

There are several types of mortgage loans that fit the needs of different homebuyers, whether you’re a military veteran who’s lived in several homes or a first-time homebuyer.

Down payments, mortgage terms, interest rates, closing costs, and eligibility requirements vary by the type of loan, as well as the loan amount.

Conventional mortgage loans

As the name suggests, a conventional mortgage is the most common type of real estate mortgage. Like all other loans, these loans have eligibility requirements. For example, qualifying typically involves a need for a higher credit score (minimum of 620) and a lower debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

With a conventional mortgage loan, you can buy a home with as little as 3% down upfront as long as it’s going to be your primary residence. But if you have a down payment of at least 20%, the mortgage lender won’t require you to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI). And that’s a pretty big deal because a mortgage insurance premium can really put a strain on your cash flow.

Mortgage insurance rates are usually lower for conventional loans compared to other loan types like Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. If you’re a borrower who wants to take advantage of lower interest rates with a larger down payment, then a conventional loan is a great choice.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages

One of the most common mortgage options for single-family homes is a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which has an interest rate that doesn’t change throughout the life of the loan. If payments are made on schedule, the loan will be completely paid off once the 30-year term is over.

This loan is best for home buyers who want a lower monthly payment since the loan will be stretched out over a longer period of time than, e.g., a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. At the same time, borrowers have the flexibility to pay off the loan faster by paying more than the minimum amount.

Who knows? If you win the lottery, you might be able to pay of your loan in one lump sum!

15-year fixed-rate mortgages

Want to pay off your home faster? Do you want a mortgage loan program that allows you to refinance your home for up to 97% of its value?

If those options are appealing, consider a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loan. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is similar to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, except that the interest rate stays the same over a 15-year term, instead of 30 years.

Of course, this route means you’ll have higher monthly payments. But by paying off your mortgage sooner, you’ll be able to save money in interest payments.

Adjustable-rate mortgages

An adjustable-rate mortgage is the opposite of a fixed-rate mortgage. It’s a home loan in which the initial interest rate is set below the market rate on a comparable fixed-rate loan. Then, as time goes on, the rate rises.

At first, borrowers can benefit from a lower interest rate as well as lower monthly payments. If you don’t plan on having the mortgage for long, then this may be a good option for you. You might also consider an adjustable-rate mortgage if you believe interest rates will be lower in the future.

FHA mortgage loans

If you’re looking to finance a home purchase, the federal government may be able to help. The government offers several mortgage options, including FHA loans.

FHA loans are government-backed mortgages geared towards borrowers with low to moderate incomes, who are often purchasing a home for the first time. With an FHA mortgage loan, buyers can often put down as little as 3.5% of the home’s purchase price.

These loans also have lower credit score requirements. Believe it or not, you may be able to qualify with a minimum FICO score as low as 500.

VA mortgage loans

A VA loan is a type of government loan backed by The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This financial vehicle is designed for veterans, service members, and their surviving spouses.

They can purchase homes with a low down payment, or even no down payment, as well as no PMI. Thanks to their service to the country, these borrowers can also benefit from more competitive interest rates, which can make it easier to afford higher home prices.

USDA mortgage loans

A USDA home loan is a zero-down payment mortgage for eligible rural home buyers. Backed or issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA loans typically don’t require a down payment.

So, if you’re considering buying a home in a rural area and aren’t keen on putting any money down, then a USDA mortgage may be a viable option. You can also use USDA funds to build, repair, renovate, or relocate a home.

Jumbo mortgages

Are you thinking about financing a home that’s too expensive for a conventional conforming loan? If so, you might consider a jumbo mortgage loan. In most counties, the maximum amount for a conforming loan limit is $647,200. So, if you’re looking to buy an expensive home in an expensive state like New York or California and the price tag exceeds this amount, you may be able to get a jumbo loan.

Because they’re larger loans, jumbo mortgages typically require a credit score of 700 or higher. You might also need a down payment of 10% or more. For these reasons, you should absolutely apply for pre-approval before beginning the house-hunting process.

Interest-only mortgages

An interest-only mortgage is a type of mortgage that requires the borrower to pay only the interest on the loan for a certain period.

This makes your monthly mortgage payments lower when you first start making payments. However, you’re not building up any home equity during this time. And, once your interest-only period ends, you’ll start paying the interest and principal. Also, the amount of time you have for repaying the principal is shorter than your overall loan term.

This type of mortgage may be ideal for you if have ample assets, good credit, and a short-term ownership outlook. You can also pay down the principal balance if you receive large annual bonuses.

Reverse mortgages

If you’re thinking about refinancing or are looking for extra cash, you can also consider a reverse mortgage. Essentially, these vehicles are geared toward older homeowners who are looking for cash. Each month, a lender sends the homeowner a check, and those funds essentially turn into an interest-bearing loan.

Unless you are interested in giving up equity in your home, you probably should avoid this financial instrument.

Purchasing a home with a more informed outlook

Now that you know about the different types of mortgage loans, you can make a more informed decision when choosing a mortgage. And that’s a great thing. When you go into purchasing a home without knowing your options, you could be stuck in a situation that isn’t ideal for you and your family.

For most folks, buying a home is usually a massive long-term financial commitment. That being the case, it’s best to embark on your journey with as much knowledge and insight as possible.

Good luck finding the perfect loan and ending up in the home of your dreams!


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.


How to Get out of Debt Fast

Debt can leave you feeling trapped, so learn how to get out of debt fast!

Even when you’re making minimum payments against your credit card debt, interest eats up the bulk of what you pay, and you see only minor gains — if you see any gains at all.

Even worse, when you have multiple debts, it can feel like you’ll never get ahead. After all, you’re already working hard enough as it is, and you’re still struggling with repayment. 

If all this sounds exactly like your personal finance situation, it’s time to ask yourself a very serious question: What more can I do to get out of debt fast?

First, you have to prioritize your debt and attack debts with the highest interest rates first. Second, you need a debt repayment solution that fits your unique financial needs.

While every person’s portfolio looks different, there are best practice solutions most people consider to break free from the shackles of debt and achieve their financial goals.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the options you can explore to get out of debt, improve your credit score, and otherwise strengthen your personal financial situation. 

Americans are accustomed to financing everything

If you’re considering how to get rid of your debt, the first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone. In fact, most Americans seek financing to cover everything from big purchases, like home mortgages or car loans, to small purchases made with credit cards.

Overall, from 2020 to 2021, debt levels increased by 5.4%. By staying laser-focused on debt management and coming up with a repayment plan that helps you pay down your debt, you can save a significant amount of money over time instead of having your extra cash whittled away by high-interest debt.

Debt-free living made easy

If you’re looking to improve your financial health, raise your credit score, and get debt relief, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tactics you can use to keep extra money in your pocket. 

Pay the minimum payment plus principal

Unfortunately, if you just cover the minimum balance on credit card payments, you’ll usually end up spending more money on interest than the actual balance.

When you pay more than the minimum monthly payment, the excess funds will help pay down your entire balance. This means high interest rates won’t hurt you, and you’ll be able to whittle down your debt faster. 

Even better: Try as hard as you can to pay your credit card bills in full each month because this type of debt is super expensive. If you’re in a deep debt hole, consider taking on a short-term, part-time job or starting a side hustle until you climb out of it.

How it works

There are two ways to ensure your payment takes a chunk out of the principal of your loan payments: 

  • You can continue to make monthly payments while increasing what you pay to ensure at least some of the funds are applied to the principal. For some debt payments, you can specify on a payment slip or online portal what amount is being applied to the principal.
  • If you can’t pay your bill in a lump sum, you can also schedule a second payment to be made before the due date in the current billing cycle. This will help you spread out your payment allocations but still achieve the same result of paying extra each month — getting you started on your debt reduction journey.

Prioritize payoffs with the debt snowball method

If you’re going to get out of debt fast, you must begin paying some of these debts off. Start by putting your list of debts in order from biggest balance to smallest. Using the snowball method, you pay off your debts with the smallest balance first. By focusing on one debt at a time, you can prioritize which debts to eliminate first.

How it works:

Continue to pay at least a minimum payment on every debt to ensure credit bureaus like Experian still look at you favorably. Then, make additional payments against the debt with the smallest balance until you pay it off in full. After that, start the process over with the next smallest debt balance on your list. 

Or use the debt avalanche method instead

If you’re not keen on the snowball method, you can try the debt avalanche method, which encourages you to focus on the high-interest debt first and work your way down to debt with lower interest rates from there. It’s essentially just a mirror image of the snowball method.

When paying off your debt, there’s no right or wrong method to use. You just need to create a debt management plan and stick to it.

Ultimately, everyone has different financial preferences and is working with different lenders. So, while someone might benefit from the snowball method, another might find the avalanche method to be more effective.

Refinance debt

When you’re trying to get out of debt, keep a pulse on the financial markets and try to recognize you may be able to get better interest rates on your debt compared to your current agreements. If you can, take advantage of these lower rates by refinancing current loans using a debt consolidation loan.

If this sounds intimidating, don’t sweat it. A loan specialist can help you through the process of refinancing a mortgage, home equity loan, auto loan, personal loan, or student loan.

Similarly, you can use credit card balance transfers to lower your credit card debt. If you have a credit card with a high balance, look for opportunities to transfer that balance to a card offering 0% percent APR for a set amount of time. Usually, this will give you six to 21 months to pay off the credit card without any interest fees. That should help you repair your credit report — making issuers happy, which comes in handy if you ever need to take on new debt.

How it works:

This solution requires you to do your research — or at least enlist the help of a credit counseling service. You’ll need to know the current terms of your loans and credit card interest rates. When you recognize opportunities for better interest, work with a trusted financial institution to refinance your loan. If you’re comfortable doing it yourself, just search for 0% APR credit card opportunities. A word of caution: If you plan to transfer a credit card balance, make sure you can pay off your debt by the time the promotion period passes.

Make lump sum payments

If you’re lucky enough to get a significant cash gift or a hefty tax return, put that money towards your debt (assuming you’ve already got an emergency fund built up). One large lump sum extra payment can significantly impact your debt-payoff goals. 

How it works:

This one is easy. When you get a windfall of extra funds, apply it to your balance as fast as you can. 

Settle your debts

At the end of the day, creditors just want to get paid. So, if you’re having trouble making payments while working your way out of excess debt, you might want to try your hand at negotiating with creditors. In many instances, creditors will agree to settle your debts, often for less than you already owe. Keep in mind that debt settlement can adversely affect your credit score if you stop making payments during negotiations. So, choose your course of action wisely. 

How it works:

Pick up the phone and call your creditors if you’d like. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, hire a third-party settlement service to assist with this process for a fee. Just make sure you do your homework to confirm that the settlement company you select is credible. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are risks associated with debt settlement. You just need to be on the lookout.

The road to financial freedom

Now, you have the blueprint to help you achieve financial freedom! Commit to tackling at least one of these solutions and watch your debt dwindle before you know it.

As you work your way out of debt, continue to analyze your current budget and make a spending plan. By doing so, you will continue to free up resources that can be applied to your debt.

As an added bonus, you’ll learn improved money management skills that can help you avoid future debt. By decreasing your debt, you’ll see your credit score go up — and your pulse rate go down — because living debt-free means living stress-free. 

Here’s to getting out of debt — quickly and painlessly!


The content provided on this website is offered for educational purposes only. While we endeavor to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content for any purpose. Visitors are advised to consult with qualified experts before making any financial decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this website.

1st Time Homebuyer Downpayment Savings

How Much to Save for a Down Payment

Your down payment is one of the most important things to consider when buying a home.

But figuring out how much you should save can be a challenge, especially if you’re pursuing homeownership for the first time. 

How much you should save for a down payment depends on a variety of factors, including the type of mortgage you’re applying for, the loan amount, your financial situation, and the price of the home you’re purchasing. 

In this post, we aim to help you determine how much you may need to put down for your house and how to save for your down payment in the first place.

How Much Do You Need for a Down Payment?

There’s no one-size-fits-all down payment amount. How much you’ll need to save will differ from another borrower because all real estate prices are different, and home values are influenced by a variety of factors.

With that said, let’s look at the different down payment options that are available to you. The first option we look at is a higher down payment — which you can think of as a funding fee that often results in lower monthly payments over the life of the loan.

Benefits of a Higher Down Payment

You may have heard that you should put down at least 20% of the home’s purchase price. That’s because it’s usually the most ideal option, for a variety of reasons:

  • Increase your chances of getting your loan approved. A bigger down payment gives you a better chance of home loan approval than if you had a low down payment. This shows lenders that you’re a good saver, which means a lower credit risk. 
  • Take advantage of lower mortgage rates. A higher down payment reduces your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, a figure that lenders use to determine how much risk they’re taking on with a loan. A lower LTV ratio typically means lower interest rates — and lower monthly mortgage payments.
  • Pay your loan off sooner. The more money you can put down on your home, the less you’ll end up owing on your loan. This means that you can pay off the rest of your mortgage faster, which prevents you from having to spend even more on mortgage interest and allows you to build equity faster.
  • Get a lower mortgage payment. It bears repeating: The higher your down payment, the lower your mortgage will be every month.
  • Avoid paying for private mortgage insurance. If you put down at least 20%, you likely won’t have to get mortgage insurance. Putting down less than 20% means the lender won’t have as much protection. Lenders often offset this risk by requiring borrowers to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). If you want your monthly income to stretch the farthest it can, you’d be wise to avoid having to pay for PMI.

How much down payment do I need?

Even though it’s probably best for home buyers to put at least 20% down on their home, it may not be feasible for every homeowner — particularly folks with massive credit card debt. Plus, there are many mortgage loan options — including government-backed loan programs available through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac — that allow borrowers to put down less money while still securing a home. 

In fact, across the entire housing market, the average down payment is less than 20%. According to a recent report, the average down payment on a home in 2021 was just 7% for first-time home buyers and 17% for repeat buyers. Why? Because most borrowers can get mortgage lenders to sign off on loans that have much smaller minimum down payment requirements than 20%. 

The Minimum Down Payment

Down payment requirements typically depend on the lender you use as well as your credit health and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. 

To get a better idea of how much you can put down, let’s look at the minimum down payment requirements for different types of mortgage loans:

  • Conventional mortgage loans: With a fixed-rate conventional loan, your down payment could be as low as 3%. But the catch is you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance premiums each month until you’ve accumulated 20% home equity.
  • FHA loans: For an FHA loan, you only need a down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price if you have a minimum credit score of 580 (10% if your FICO score is between 500 and 579). For this type of loan, you’ll have to pay both an upfront mortgage insurance premium and an annual premium over the course of your loan.
  • VA and USDA loans: Loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) don’t require a down payment. If you’re looking for a new home and are a military veteran, service member, or surviving spouse, you may qualify for a VA loan. To qualify for a USDA loan, you must purchase a property in an eligible rural area.
  • Jumbo loans: If you’re looking to get a mortgage for a more expensive property with a higher sales price, you may need a jumbo loan. These loans tend to have higher down payment requirements and you may need to put down at least 10% of the purchase price.

How can you save for a down payment?

Unfortunately, saving for a down payment can be tricky — particularly in a world with higher interest rates. But with some sacrifice and dedication, it’s definitely possible.

The first step to saving for your down payment is to determine how much you need. Consider the type of loan you want to apply for and the purchase price of your desired home. Then, think about a realistic timeline in which you can achieve your savings goal.

For example, imagine that you want to buy a home in three years, the homes you’re interested in are worth about $400,000, and you want to put at least 10% down. That means you should save about $1,100 a month to hit that goal. (Of course, your specific situation may vary. Look for mortgage calculators online to crunch the numbers that apply to your unique circumstances.)

So, the next question is, where will you get the extra cash? If you don’t have it, try to cut spending, stick to a budget, and automate your savings. And remember, even if you can cover the down payment, you’ll still be on the hook for closing costs.

Still can’t find the extra cash? Consider a side hustle or even request a raise at your current job. If worst comes to worst, you can also apply for a down payment assistance program or down payment loan.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, there’s no set amount of money borrowers should put down when purchasing a home. But one thing is certain: It takes some dedication and commitment when making such a big investment decision and saving up for it. 

When it comes to saving for a down payment, it’s best to take your time to save as much as you can. This will allow you to make your dream purchase. When you do, you’ll be happy you waited.

Guides Real Estate

First Time Renter’s Guide: Finding the Right Rental

While you might be incredibly ecstatic about finding your first apartment, chances are you have a ton of questions on your mind that are giving you doubts.

For example, you might want to know which area has the lowest rent. What is a good rent price anyway?

There’s no denying that the process can be daunting. If you’re a first-time apartment renter, follow this step-by-step guide to find your new apartment.

Steps to finding the ideal rental

1. Work out your budget

When you go apartment hunting for the first time, the first step is to determine how much you can afford to spend. Depending on your financial situation, you’ll have to decide what kind of property and neighborhood works best for you.

Many factors can affect rental prices. Get a general sense of how much rent and other expenses you can afford by looking at your pay stubs and figuring out how much money is in your budget. This will help you narrow down your apartment search to neighborhoods you can afford, making it that much easier to find the perfect home.

Generally speaking, renters should set aside up to 30% of their monthly income for housing expenses. That being the case, use this simple math equation to calculate this number: Take your annual income, multiply it by 0.3, and divide it by 12.

2. Decide where you want to live

Here are five things to consider when choosing a location:

  • Proximity to work or school. Walking may be an option if your house is close to your job or school. You’ll have to drive or take public transportation if it’s further away.
  • Transportation options. Find out if there are subways, trains, or buses nearby.
  • Neighborhoods. Explore the local shops, restaurants, and businesses in the area.
  • Safety. Keep things like parking and lighting in mind. Also, neighborhood apps are great for investigating crime and other safety concerns. 
  • Convenience to neighborhood attractions. Whatever you enjoy, make sure it’s convenient for you and easy to access. Whether you want to work out at a local fitness center or go bar hopping, you want amenities that are convenient.

3. Determine your needs and create an apartment checklist

As you continue your search for the perfect apartment, you need to understand what your specific requirements are. After all, there’s a big difference between your rental needs and your rental wants. Ultimately, everyone has certain necessities they need to feel at home — whether that’s a pet policy, a dedicated parking spot, or access to a swimming pool.

Unless you own a car, you’ll need a home close to public transportation. For pet owners, it’s important to find a pet-friendly community that accommodates their pets.

A “want” is what you’d like to have in your home but can live without it. This category might include your own laundry room, an on-site weight room, or an extra bathroom.

4. Do your research 

When you’ve had a busy day, your home is where you’ll rest and recharge. So, when you visit a showing, make sure the home meets your needs.

Check every space in the home, including shared areas, outdoor spaces, parking, gyms, and laundry rooms. It’s common practice to test faucets, appliances, doors, and locks. While you’re at it, do some quick measurements to make sure your furniture will fit.

At the same time, you’ll want to consider the level of security in the building, the amount of noise in the building, and the quality of lighting in the home. Take note of how long it’ll take to move in, if there are stairs or an elevator, what floor you’ll be on (if it’s an apartment, condo, or townhome), and where you can park for moving day.

When doing a virtual showing, ask the landlord or listing agent to confirm anything you’d check in person. Ask the agent about room measurements, try out appliances or fixtures, and ask to see outside spaces. 

Other things to consider when searching for an apartment for the first time

Type of management

It’s important to think about whether you prefer to rent from a landlord or a property manager when looking for your first rental. Even so, you might be wondering why this even matters. Besides, aren’t they both the same thing? Not really.

Landlords own rental properties, such as houses and apartments. It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide habitable rental housing, which includes maintaining the plumbing, gas, heating, and water systems. In order for a tenant to live safely and comfortably, they must ensure that a building is functioning properly.

Property management companies, on the other hand, are third parties that manage all types of properties. Typically, these companies are involved with setting, collecting, and adjusting rent. Depending on how big the complex is, property managers might conduct background checks and credit checks, and ask for proof of income.

At the end of the day, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to choosing between a landlord and property manager. In some cases, landlords can provide a level of customization. Moreover, they might be more more concerned with keeping the property in good condition and keeping you happy.

The downside of having a landlord is that you may lose accessibility and timeliness when it comes to repairs. In addition, landlords may become overwhelmed by their responsibilities, especially if they do more than just oversee properties.

Property managers clearly outline what you can expect. While the arrangement is more rigid, it can also be beneficial. When you go this route, repairs are generally completed faster and 24/7 support is more likely.

However, a property manager may not work with you if you encounter a difficult situation. The same may be true of customized lease terms.

Ultimately, you have to decide what’s most important to you. Based on your needs and preferences, you can then move in the right direction.

Get familiar with the different types of rentals

Rental properties come in a variety of types

Consider how much space you need for everyone living with you when choosing a rental property. The next step is to consider your budget and what amenities you want. Listed below are six types of rental properties, along with their pros and cons.

Among these larger categories, there are also countless subcategories. Still, these five types of rental properties are the most important.

  • Single-family homes. A single-family home is a detached dwelling that is designed to be occupied by one family only.
  • Small multi-family buildings. Unlike single-family homes, these small rental properties feature two to four separate rental units, including duplex apartments, triplex apartments, and fourplex apartments.
  • Townhomes and row houses. In contrast to the above categories, these rental properties share an entryway, yard, and/or a connecting wall and may be either single-family or multi-family.
  • Condominiums. Unlike apartment buildings, condominiums and cooperatives are privately owned units within multi-tenant buildings.
  • Apartment buildings. One of the most diverse types of rental properties, apartments can be found in walk-ups, low-rise buildings, or high-rise buildings. Apartment complexes can have hundreds of rental units in different buildings or they can have as few as a half dozen units.

This list doesn’t include luxury properties, typically marketed to wealthy renters, and vacation properties, designed for short-term stays. There’s a possibility that both of these types will fall into more than one of the categories above.

Don’t forget: Ask questions during real estate tours

In spite of how helpful online photos are when it comes to narrowing down your options, you may important miss details — like how well the community is maintained, if there is ample parking, or how spacious the laundry rooms are.

Before filling out an apartment application, visit the community if possible. You can learn more about an apartment community by scheduling a tour or attending an open house. 

During your tour, make a list of questions to ask. While searching for your first place, there are some things you need to know. The landlord may be able to answer your questions for you or you might have to do some research on your own. The following questions are must-asks, but you may add others to this list based on your circumstances:

  • How much does rent cost?
  • Do you allow month-to-month leases?
  • What utilities are included? If not, what’s the average cost?
  • Is there a security deposit? Do I have to pay first month’s rent and last month’s rent at the same time?
  • When and how do I pay for rent and utilities?
  • Do I have to pay for parking? 
  • Does the home allow pets, and if so, what are the fees?
  • Can I get my deposits or fees refunded at the end of my lease?
  • Is renters insurance required?
  • Are there any fees associated with the application process?
  • Approximately how long is the lease?
  • Are rent increases frequent and how much?
  • Can I make alterations to my house/apartment?
  • What is the process for home maintenance? 
  • Do you have a property manager?
  • Is maintenance my responsibility?
  • Are there any nearby amenities?
  • Should I be aware of any particular policies?

These are just a few questions to get you started. You will likely have special needs or preferences that should prompt additional questions. Whatever you decide, make a list of these questions and record the answers while touring. 

Get a feel for the neighborhood

Choosing a safe and comfortable neighborhood is important. First-time renters often sign a lease without fully exploring the neighborhood before signing on the dotted line.

When you’re renting a home for the first time, you need to take your time. Try visiting the community at different times of the day before committing to a rental — perhaps in the evenings and weekends when most residents are home.

Does the neighborhood seem quiet? Does it feel safe to you? While you’re at it, you might want to ask some locals for their opinions about the neighborhood, too.

Learn the amenities

Since you’ll likely be living in the rental unit for 12 months or longer, it’s important to determine what amenities you want. An apartment or condo’s amenities include the features and services that renters have access to while living in the unit. Amenities include things like gyms, parking garages, and game rooms. Pet-friendly rentals often include pet-friendly amenities, such as pet runs and backyards. 

Evaluate the condition of the property

When it comes to renting, never judge a book by its cover. There may be more to that quaint, retro-style kitchen than meets the eye. For example, even if it looks nice at a glance, it could be a nightmare of rust and broken silverware drawers.

Instead of rushing into the process, make sure to inspect the property from top to bottom, inside and out. It can be awkward to have the landlord present for this. But you have no choice. If the landlord has any qualms about it, maybe they’ve got something to hide.

Before signing your lease, schedule a final walk-through with your landlord and conduct an inspection. The landlord may keep the water and power on so that you can test the faucets, hot water, shower, toilets, and light fixtures. If the electricity is on, ensure the appliances are working. Make sure the refrigerator and freezer are at the right temperature. Fire up the stove and the oven. Make sure the roof isn’t leaky, and inspect the home or apartment for evidence of insects or rodents, such as droppings beneath the sinks.

As a result of normal wear and tear, the home may have some scratches on the floor or on the countertops. Take pictures of any damage before signing the lease and notify the landlord. You never know when the landlord might try to make you pay to repair things that were already broken.

Make sure the price is right

The last thing you want to do is move into a new home and realize it’s too much for your budget. To avoid that fate, consider some of the expenses you might face when choosing a home. This includes:

  • Rent. Most people immediately think of rent when they think about monthly expenses. For a more accurate comparison, you should calculate the total cost of renting different homes (e.g., adding renters insurance and utility costs to the calculus).
  • Security deposit. The security deposit can vary depending on where you want to rent. For example, both Boston and New York require a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. Depending on the type of home, however, the security deposit will vary in San Francisco. The amount can’t exceed twice the monthly rent amount for an unfurnished home and three times the amount for a furnished home. Wherever you end up settling down, make sure your security deposit complies with local housing laws.
  • Application fees. Some landlords levy application fees in order to screen applicants. Checking the applicant’s credit history, past rental history, and other pertinent information are all part of determining their suitability. In many cases, the applicant pays these fees. In some states, these fees are refundable.
  • Utilities. Utility costs include water, electricity, and heat. There are two ways to charge the costs: either as part of the monthly rent expense or separately. Since every property is different, you just need to know what you’re getting into before signing a contract.

When renting, you might have to pay pet deposits, smoking deposits, or parking fees. You should review your lease carefully to understand how these deposits work and how much you’ll receive back at the end of the lease.

Go over the lease before signing it

Be careful when signing your lease agreement. While it’s tempting to glance over every page, don’t. The purpose of a lease is to protect the renter and the landlord. Take the time to read it carefully so you will know what to expect.

Can you have a pet? Do you have permission to smoke inside your home? Is there a subletting policy? The answers to these questions should be found in the contract.

Landlords are also held accountable under the contract. The document specifies how much notice they need to give before raising your rent or showing up at your home, as well as other provisions that protect you. Before signing a contract, read through it thoroughly; you’ll thank yourself for it.

Think about renters insurance

Whether or not your new place requires it, consider adding renters insurance, which helps you recover losses and damages to your personal property (e.g., in the event of a fire). If you’re interested in protecting your belongings, contact a licensed insurance provider to obtain renters insurance.

What you need to qualify for a rental

A good credit score

Before you sign a lease, you’ll need to prove to your landlord that you’ll be able to make your rent payments on time every month. Your credit score will be one of the ways they assess this. Having a good credit history indicates that you pay your bills on time, which reduces risks for the landlord.

Before applying for a rental, consider:

  • Getting a better understanding of credit and what factors influence it.
  • Finding out what your credit score is.
  • Improving your credit score if needed.

Prepare the necessary documents

During your application process, you’ll probably need a variety of documents, including:

  • Photo identification such as a passport or driver’s license
  • A copy of your last two paycheck stubs or other proof of employment and income, including tax returns, bank statements, or letters from employers
  • Personal and contact information (e.g., Social Security number, email, and phone number)

Some landlords will require contact information for your previous landlord (or a personal or professional reference if you’re a first-time renter) to verify your rental history. This will help them determine how trustworthy you are as a tenant.

If you always paid your rent on time, maintained a clean home, and never caused any disturbances at your last residence, you have a higher chance of getting your application approved at your next one. If you’re bringing a pet along, you might also be required to provide vet records (e.g., to verify vaccinations and general health).

It’s time to move into your new home!

After all that hard work, your dream rental has finally come true! Congratulations.

Check your budget to ensure that you have considered all the upfront costs you may encounter. The costs may include a security deposit, moving fees, and insurance.

Once you’ve moved in, take the time to deep clean your home — either on your own or by hiring a cleaning service. After all, you don’t want to settle into a dirty place.

To say that the search for your first apartment will be easy would be a massive understatement. By doing your due diligence, researching your options, and taking your time, you’ll end up with a place you can call home before you know it.

May this guide help you in your journey!

1st Time Homebuyer Downpayment Grants

Homeownership Assistance Programs to Know About

As a homebuyer, chances are you have a lot on your plate. Maybe you’re worried about how you’re going to save for a down payment. Or perhaps you feel like your income is too low to be able to cover mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes on your dream home. You might not have a perfect credit score, and you might have no idea what might happen in the event you encounter financial hardship.

Whatever the case may be, there’s a lot to be concerned about.

The good news is that, if you’re having trouble with any of these roadblocks, you may qualify for a homeownership assistance program. Keep reading to learn about some of the more common homeowner assistance programs to see if they might apply to your personal situation.

Homeownership Assistance Programs Every Homebuyer Needs to Know

1. FHA Loan

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a government agency that fits under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The FHA offers loans, which are government-backed mortgages that help homebuyers secure properties without having to cover huge down payments. First-time homebuyers love FHA loans because you can secure them with lower credit scores and less money down. 

Third-party mortgage lenders underwrite and administer these loans while the government insures them. To qualify for an FHA loan, you must have a:

  • 500–579 FICO score for a 10% down payment
  • 580 FICO score for a 3.5% down payment
  • 38–57% debt-to-income (DTI), depending on your credit score

*Important First Step!* – If you are currently in debt, or even unsure about your DTI ratio, there is a high likelihood you aren’t going to qualify for a FHA loan right now. If this is the case, resolving your existing debt is the most important step you can take.

Have no fear because we’ve partnered with National Debt Relief to provide our readers with more direct assistance. National Debt Relief is a reputable company that’s dedicated to helping people resolve card debt faster, and easier. With their service, you could pay off your existing credit card debt with just one low monthly payment. Getting Started is simple – just sign up for a free debt assessment here. You’ll be glad you did, and also one major step closer to purchasing that home!

2. FHA 203(k) Loan

FHA 203(k) loans help homebuyers finance the purchase and rehabilitation of a house with a single mortgage insured by the FHA. In addition to refinancing to make housing payments more affordable, homeowners can also use the 203(k) loan for home improvements.

Unlike a construction loan, part of an FHA 203(k) loan is used to buy the property or pay off an existing mortgage. The rest is put into an escrow account to cover rehab costs as the work is completed. There are two types of 203(k) loans: fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans. If you’re interested in giving these loans a shot, talk to a mortgage servicer about which type makes the most sense for your unique situation.


  • Minimum 500 credit score
  • Minimum down payment of 3.5% for a credit score of at least 580; 10% for lower scores
  • 31-43% DTI; higher with a higher credit score

3. USDA Loan

A USDA home loan program offers mortgages to low-income rural residents who can’t otherwise obtain conventional loans. It’s primarily designed to assist low-income renters living in unhealthy or unsafe rural conditions in purchasing a house with adequate space and modern utilities.

Applicants can choose between two options depending on their circumstances: a federal guarantee of a mortgage or a direct loan from the government. Both loans require no down payment.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a minimum 620 credit score
  • Have an adjusted household income that’s equal to or less than 115% of the area median income
  • Be located in a USDA-eligible area
  • Have a stable job history

4. Local Homeowner Assistance Programs

Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for a number of local assistance programs that can make it easier to purchase a home. Just like there are rental assistance programs that provide emergency rental assistance to folks who are struggling to cover rent in the wake of the pandemic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—which is loosely affiliated with the U.S. Department of the Treasury—offers a Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) similarly helps folks impacted by the coronavirus make mortgage payments and pay utility bills.

To learn about state programs administered in your area, contact your state housing finance agency or state HUD office and see whether you qualify for the HAF program. 

Besides providing housing programs, HUD also funds housing counseling programs throughout the country. In these programs, housing counselors provide guidance on many housing-related topics, including home buying. Eligibility requirements vary by program, so be sure to research your options. 

5. VA Loan

One of the most useful military benefits is the VA home loan (also known as the Department of Veterans Affairs home loan). If you qualify, you can buy or build a house or refinance an existing mortgage with no down payment, great rates, and no cap on financing.

Veterans and active service members who qualify are able to take advantage of one of their most valuable benefits, making it an easy decision over other more traditional mortgage types. Simply put, veteran and active-duty service members can take advantage of VA loans to make home-buying more affordable.

To qualify for a VOA loan, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Served in the military on active duty for at least 90 days
  • Be a member of the National Guard or Reserves for at least six years
  • During peacetime, have served at least 181 days on active duty
  • Completed 90 days of cumulative service under Title 10 or Title 32. A minimum of 30 consecutive days of service is required for Title 32 service.
  • Be a spouse of a military service member who has died on duty, or who has been disabled on duty. 

To learn more about VA loans, visit

6. HomePath Ready Buyer

By selling properties it owns on the HomePath market, Fannie Mae aims to help stabilize neighborhoods and ensure families find their perfect homes.

Fannie Mae HomePath properties are those acquired through foreclosure or deed instead of foreclosure. Freddie Mae offers this loan program in which buyers cover a 3% down payment and receive a credit of 3% toward their closing costs.

How can you qualify for the Fannie Mae HomePath loan? You must be a low-income borrower, have a credit score of at least 620, and have a maximum DTI of 36%. Plus, you must have limited cash to qualify for a down payment and be a first-time homebuyer. Even if you’ve owned a home before, you can still qualify, as long as you haven’t owned a home in the past three years. 

You’ll also need to hire a real estate agent and complete the HomePath’s Ready Buyer program, which is an online course that covers some of the most common mortgage and homeownership topics. Despite the $75 cost of the program, Fannie Mae reimburses you when you close on a HomePath home.

7. Dollar Homes

HUD’s Dollar Homes initiative is aimed at giving low-income families the opportunity to own a home. To date, thousands of homes have been sold on this website for just $1 each. 

The homes are intended to be purchased by local governments or non-profit organizations for renovation and resale. However, a HUD-approved broker can make an offer on the home, according to the HUD website.

If you’re interested in learning more about this program, make sure they are accepting applications before diving in too deep.

8. Homebuyer Dream Program

Those who qualify for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s (FHLBNY) Homebuyer Dream Program (also known as the First Home Club) can receive a grant of up to $9,500 toward a down payment and closing costs. The program is available to eligible first-time home buyers who are purchasing a home through a community-based lender. 

Through this program, eligible applicants can seek financial assistance to pay the upfront costs of homeownership, such as the down payment, closing costs, and prepaid items required to become homeowners. 

To qualify for the Homebuyer Dream Program, you must:

  • Be a first-time homebuyer
  • Have a total household income that’s at or below 80% of area median income 
  • Make a minimum equity contribution of $1,000 towards the purchase of an eligible property in the FHLBNY District
  • Complete homeownership counseling
  • Sign a 5-year retention document at closing

If you don’t live in New York, you might be able to qualify for similar programs in your own state. For example, there’s the California Mortgage Relief Program, which gives HAF funds to folks who qualify.

9. Energy Efficient Mortgage

Often referred to as a green mortgage, energy-efficient mortgages give you the opportunity to finance and pay for energy-efficient improvements. EEMs are available in conventional, FHA, and VA mortgage formats, which include funds that can be used to make energy-saving improvements to your home. Unfortunately, you can’t use this money to cover past-due mortgage payments.

You can use the energy-efficiency mortgage program to enhance your borrowing power by receiving loans that cover the costs of installing energy-saving features in new or existing homes. Buyers can take advantage of this opportunity by obtaining a government-backed or conventional mortgage to help purchase or refinance a home (e.g., a reverse mortgage).

You can qualify for an EEM by having:

  • A 3% minimum down payment
  • A credit score of 620 or higher
  • A DTI ratio of 45% or lower
  • A steady and reliable income

10. Freddie Mac’s Home Possible

Freddie Mac Home Possible mortgages are designed to help low-income borrowers who might not otherwise be able to qualify for home loans. With a Home Possible loan, you only need a 3% down payment and a 660 credit score to become a homeowner.

The Freddie Mac Home Possible program offers a variety of options to suit the needs of borrowers. The program provides low down payment options and flexible sources of down payment funds for people whose income is 80% or less of the area median income.

Believe it or not, there’s no need to cover the 3% down payment yourself with Home Possible. It may be possible to receive funds from a down payment assistance program or even as a gift from a family member. Though Freddie Mac backs this loan program, it doesn’t lend the money itself.

Private lenders originate Home Possible loans, so borrowers can compare interest rates and mortgage lenders before making a decision.

The qualifications for the Home Possible mortgage are:

  • A credit score of 660 or higher
  • A DTI ratio of 43% or lower
  • A minimum 3% down payment
  • Proof of stable employment and income
  • A combined income for all borrowers of no more than 80% of the area’s median income

11. National Homebuyers Fund

The National Homebuyers Fund was founded in 2002. Under this program, first-time and repeat homebuyers can receive closing costs and/or down payment assistance.

The NHF can provide assistance up to 5% of the amount of your mortgage loan. For example, if you get a $250,000 mortgage, the NHF might give you up to $12,500 as a grant or forgivable loan.

The requirements to secure an NHF loan are flexible, including FICO scores and DTI ratios. You also don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify. Plus, there are generous income limits, which may be higher than you might expect. To get an NHF loan, you must work with a participating mortgage lender.

12. Good Neighbor Next Door HUD Loan

Individuals working in specific public service jobs can purchase qualified homes at a discount with HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) program. The public service category includes law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

With GNND, you can purchase HUD homes in revitalization areas at a 50% discount. No, this isn’t one of those scams. HUD homes are single-family homes acquired by the HUD after they have been foreclosed on by an FHA lender. In addition to promoting homeownership, GNND strives to strengthen communities.

Here are other qualifications for the program:

  • Prior to bidding on a property in the program, neither you nor your spouse must have purchased a Good Neighbor Next Door home.
  • As a law enforcement officer, teacher, firefighter, or EMT, you must certify that you intend to continue working in the field after purchasing the home.
  • For three years, you must own and live in the home as your sole residence, and you must certify that you do so each year. Each year, HUD mails a certification to the homeowner, who signs and returns it.

13. Native American Direct Loan

Those who wish to purchase, construct, or improve a home on federal trust land can apply for a Native American Direct Loan Program. One caveat: You must live in the home as your primary residence. The program can also be used to refinance an existing Native American Direct Loan.

To qualify for this loan, Native American homebuyers must be:

  • Veterans (including reserve and National Guard members who were called to active duty)
  • Active duty service members
  • Current reserve and guard members (usually after six years of reserve service)

Also, you must be a member of an American Indian tribe or Alaskan Native village, a Pacific Islander, or a member of a Hawaiian tribe. Alternatively, you must be married to someone who meets these requirements.

Additionally, you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Through the Automated Certificate of Eligibility (ACE) program, you can get one from VA or from a lender.

Which program works best for you?

As you can see, there’s no shortage of homeowner relief programs designed to help people like you achieve the American dream without hardship.

If you’re interested in securing relief or mortgage assistance, expect to go through a lengthy application process. But once you’re approved, that process will be entirely worth it once the money rolls in.

Whatever you decide, here’s to making the best choices as a hopeful homeowner!

Real Estate

How to Grow Your Real Estate Business Online

There are many things you can do to grow your real estate business. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day.

When you own a small business, you must ensure that your time is spent on activities that will accelerate lead generation, provide a good return on investment, and are not a waste of your time and resources.

As seasoned realtors know very well, one of the best ways to grow your business is by investing in real estate marketing. Keep reading to learn about seven marketing strategies real estate professionals can use to attract new clients, bring more certainty to the home-buying process, and otherwise take advantage of the benefits that come with having a robust online presence—like more real estate leads and a stronger personal brand.

7 tips for growing your real estate business online

1. Leverage the power of content marketing

While content marketing isn’t a new concept, you might not be aware of its importance. Or, you might think that it isn’t as relevant to the real estate industry as it is to other industries.

Simply put, content marketing—which includes blogs, infographics, podcasts, and ebooks—needs to be built into the business plan of every realtor, from new agents to seasoned pros. Just like people looking for jobs or home improvement materials go to Google to research their decisions, clients visit real estate websites when searching for real estate agents to partner with.

But how do you ensure that your brokerage website appears high enough on Google search to actually deliver results? By incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) into your content, you can increase the chances it ranks higher.

In case you’re unaware, Google prioritizes websites that appear authoritative, active, and engaged. A good way to attract Google’s attention is to regularly post informative content, which can include step-by-step guides that outline what the home-buying process is like and testimonials from past clients.

Whatever you decide, it’s critical to post content to your website on a regular basis. This might include images, thought leadership articles, and market research insights.

2. Create consistent social media accounts

While the idea of managing different social media accounts may seem impossible, tons of people are on social channels, so they can’t be ignored. Having a social media presence on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can help you share content, run ads, and get new leads. Think of it as a modern business card of sorts.

You can use social media marketing to grow your business in a few ways:

  • When new homes hit the market, conduct live video tours. On Facebook, if no one tunes in during a live broadcast, the video will remain on your timeline. That way, your audience can access it on demand. This helps you improve your time management skills since you don’t have to keep doing the same video over and over again.
  • Use Instagram to congratulate new homeowners, particularly when they’re first-time homebuyers. This is an excellent way to make people feel special and to let them know how you’re making a difference in their lives by making it easier for your clients to buy and sell homes. It’s an easy way to increase word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Make your listings more visible on Facebook by boosting them. Your real estate team doesn’t have to break the bank, either; even a $10 boost can make a big difference. The ability to target your audience along a number of criteria—including where they live, the type of job they have, their age, and much more—allows you to reach an audience of potential clients that’s more likely to be interested in your services.

3. Optimize your website

More and more prospective buyers are searching for the best real estate agents who are adept at marketing their properties online or facilitating virtual open houses, tours, and walkthroughs.

Even with the pandemic in the rearview mirror, it seems likely that this will remain a reality because innovation rarely reverses course. As such, it is important to reevaluate your website.

Does it convey the impression that you are a modern, technologically savvy agent? Is it professional? Does it convey your expertise in the real estate industry?

The best agent websites offer value to prospects. As an example, you may offer a free home valuation or market analysis in exchange for a client’s contact information. When you provide them with something valuable, they are more likely to connect with you.

4. Build a strong online reputation

Review sites are the new currency for online real estate.

In today’s digital age, the level of customer service you provide as an agent is measured by online reviews. Customers can gauge whether you’re the right agent for them by the number of five-star online reviews you have.

You can get online reviews on sites like Google, Zillow, and Yelp. Encourage your happiest clients to review your services online to boost your ratings whenever possible. It may make sense to give them a small incentive, like a $10 Amazon gift card, to take the time to do so.

5. Use a CRM to get referrals

Staying top-of-mind with previous clients is an easy way to generating real estate referrals. It’s likely that many people in your sphere of influence would be willing to pass your information along to their friends. But in order to do that, they need to be able to recall your name, contact information, and where you’re located.

CRM software, or customer relationship management software, can enhance your ability to communicate efficiently with leads, as well as current and former clients. The more your business grows, the more difficult it will be to keep track of all your contacts on your own.

For this reason, your business needs a CRM system for tracking and managing contacts and communications.

6. Email your leads

Marketing emails and newsletters are common ways to communicate with clients. However, writing alluring copy is not always an easy task.

The first step in creating a newsletter is to determine a theme. To keep clients engaged with your emails, talk about various topics that are relevant to your target market’s interest—like how mortgage rates are changing in an era of rising interest rates. Additionally, you might want to focus on things like home repair tips or easy cleaning and organization strategies.

Be sure to include a few listings at the bottom your newsletter so that your audience can quickly see your listings and access your contact information.

7. Forge strategic partnerships

A strategic partnership can significantly increase your long-term client list, which is the key to your business’s success.

Establishing alliances and networking with other businesses and organizations can go a long way toward helping you close more deals. When you build relationships with other entities, you can refer clients to each other, making it that much easier to generate quality leads.

Partnering with other agents is another option. If you are a rural property specialist, for example, make referrals across state lines or form an alliance with an urban agent. Real estate referrals allow you to cultivate relationships and earn extra income at the same time.

Digital marketing: The key to growing your real estate business online

Real estate can be exceptionally difficult to navigate in a challenging market even when you use all of these tips effectively. This holds true for both new and experienced real estate agents, both of whom may be struggling with figuring out to generate more business.

Ultimately, it’s important that you invest your time in activities that will help you make money. Whether this is prospecting, marketing, or asking for online reviews is up to you.

By combining your dedication, hard work, and determination to succeed, you can grow your real estate business to new heights. Good luck in that endeavor!

Real Estate

Real Estate Agent Tips: How to Become the Best Realtor in Your Area

Read these real estate agent tips to become the best agent you can be and win more business because of it.

While there’s a lot to love about working in the real estate industry, it can also be exceptionally challenging and full of fierce competition.

As a realtor, you must strive to stand out as one of the best in the business whether you’re working with seasoned homeowners or first-time homebuyers. You understand that successful real estate agents are always trying to learn new skills to expand their sphere of influence, generate more real estate leads, close more real estate transactions, and otherwise grow their personal brands.

Whether you’re a new real estate agent or a seasoned real estate professional, use these nine tips to rack up more referrals, connect with more home buyers, and grow your real estate business.

1. Value building relationships over sales

The most effective real estate agents understand the importance of building relationships. After all, relationships are at the heart of an effective agent’s work.

Why? The answer is simple: Sales can’t occur without good business relationships. If you poison the relationship, you will poison the sale. Do this too often, and you’ll start striking out in the local market as word gets out. By prioritizing relationship-building, you’ll make clients feel comfortable working with you—whether they are first-time buyers or homeowners who are looking to downsize after living in their dream home for 30 years.

How exactly do you develop good business relationships? It starts with asking questions and listening well. This will help you prioritize the items that are most important to your clients and their family members. For example, do they want to sell as soon as possible or do they want to get the highest price? Which marketing strategies are they most comfortable with? By understanding their situation as thoroughly as you can, you’ll be able to offer them the right options.

Also, keep your clients’ time in mind. Don’t cancel last-minute meetings unless there is an emergency! Value their time and they’ll value yours. It’s that simple.

2. Build your communication skills

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy hearing your own voice since you’ll be using it quite often as a real estate agent. During your career, you’ll do a lot of talking, whether you’re dealing with clients or engaging with colleagues. Sometimes, you might feel like a salesperson. Other times, you might feel like a guidance counselor steering a client toward the best deal.

Either way, you need to hone your communication skills if you want to do well in the real estate market—even if you’re not a talker.

Here are some real estate agent tips you can use to improve your communication skills:

  • Be a good listener. In order to communicate effectively, you have to listen to the other person. Whether you’re on phone calls or decide to follow up in person, give them a chance to talk and listen to what they have to say.
  • Ask questions. It’s a conversation, not a monologue. Get to know the other person by asking questions for clarity. Pro tip: People like to talk about themselves. By asking questions and letting your clients drive the conversation, you should be able to generate new leads as clients enjoy their experiences with you.
  • Make eye contact. While you don’t want to stare at someone continuously while you’re talking to them—that’s kind of creepy—you do want to glance at them occasionally. If you don’t, it may seem like you’re withholding something from them. Maintain eye contact with the other person when they are speaking to you or it may seem like you’re not interested.

3. Generate new business with open houses

Here’s something to add to your business plan: Consider open houses as opportunities to sell yourself rather than just an event to sell a home. Providing a sign-in sheet for buyers to fill out at these events is a great way to add their contact information to your database.

However, contacting them after the open house won’t suffice. It’s essential that you leave a lasting impression at the event. To do this, you need to show attendees that you’re professional and prepared. But how should you start the conversation? When buyers come to see a house, ask them how it fits their home search criteria.

This opens the door to discussing timelines, financing, and other topics. Based on what they’re looking for, you can then drop some data on the different areas and what price differences to expect. 

You can also show them other active listings either on sites like Zillow or through the MLS, a service real estate companies use to share information about listing. By doing so, you’re able to significantly increase the chances that these buyers will start home searches, which is a huge step toward supercharging lead generation and gaining new clients.

4. Build a strong online presence

In addition to investing in continuing education, successful agents are known to have excellent professional websites. Even if you’re just starting out or are only working part-time, you should build a website as soon as possible.

You can use your website to provide content and build your brand. A good website brings would-be clients to you, perhaps even enabling you to ditch cold calling for good. Even if you move to a new CRM service provider or brokerage, your Google rankings and SEO will still be intact and you’ll own the site outright.

Leverage the power of social media to showcase the properties you’re representing and display your expertise in your field. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even TikTok can be great platforms to connect with potential clients and show your audience that you’re an authority in the real estate industry. While you’re at it, why not launch a podcast?

5. Make sure your finances are in order

To be a real estate agent, you must have a mobile phone, a car (in most places), a computer, and a WiFi connection. A lot of brokerages expect you to handle these things yourself and cover other startup expenses. On top of that, it may take you a few months to earn your first commission, and you’ll still have to cover your living expenses while you wait on your first check.

If you’re planning on earning a real estate license in the next year, start saving as soon as possible. It’s best to put aside a little bit of money aside to create an emergency fund that ensures you can cover your costs for a couple of months. 

Likewise, if you do have to dip into your savings account, try to replenish it after you begin collecting commissions. The market fluctuates, and there may be some lean times ahead. As Miguel de Cervantes once wrote, being prepared is half the battle.

6. Network and make great connections

Opportunities abound to network with folks in your neighborhood. When you meet with friends and the subject of work comes up, tell them who you are and what you do. Strike up conversations because you never know when someone might need your services.

Being open and willing to answer related questions when you’re talking about your industry is one of the best ways to provide value to people. When or if people need an agent, they’ll be more likely to hire you because you’ll be on their minds.

7. Qualify leads

Top-performing real estate agents are able to gain a better understanding of their prospective clients before they work with them. That’s because they possess the market knowledge and communication skills needed to easily differentiate between clients who are actively looking for new properties and those who are passively browsing.

If you want to increase the chances of making a sale, focus on individuals who are ready to buy a new property or sell their homes. That way, you won’t waste time on folks who aren’t ready to move forward at that moment.

8. Invest in email marketing

Email marketing is a critical tool in the successful real estate agent’s belt.

Don’t worry: You don’t have to send emails to all your clients by hand. Using email automation software, you can easily keep in touch with previous and current clients, without much heavy lifting on your end.

Use email marketing to educate clients on current trends and other areas affecting local real estate, using drip campaigns that send messages explaining what you can do for them on a recurring basis. Your email marketing efforts can also be used to highlight free supplementary guides and eBooks. Use call-to-action buttons in these guides and others incentives to monitor which clients are most qualified and most interested in buying or selling real estate.

9. Pitch stories to reporters

The more established you become in your field, the more publicity you should seek. News outlets frequently write about real estate and reporters seek out real estate agents to use as sources for their articles.

When agents pitch stories to reporters, they increase their exposure, establish themselves as experts within their fields, and boost their perceived trustworthiness among potential clients.

Although you can pitch full stories to reporters, offering your expertise through websites that connect sources with journalists is the easiest way to get your name in print. In exchange for free publicity, journalists send out queries to sources on sites like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and ProfNet. By contributing to articles, you’ll be able to elevate your brand and attract new clients by getting your name out there.

Final thoughts

As every real estate agent knows too well, success doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, a successful real estate career is built on a foundation of hard work and patience.

Use this advice to improve your career plan based on the knowledge of people who’ve already demonstrated success in the industry. With the right approach, you can continue sharpening your skills—closing more and more deals over time because of it.


10 Questions to Ask Before Making an Offer on a Home

If you’re like most people, a home is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make. That being the case, you’ll spend a lot of time and energy finding the right place—particularly if you’re going to be a first-time homeowner.

When you’re ready to begin the home-buying process, you’ll probably already know a lot about the house you hope becomes your dream home. However, it’s a good idea to do a little more investigation and get some answers to key questions upfront. As a result, you’ll be able to make your purchase with greater peace of mind.

Reviewing public records as well as talking to the seller and the seller’s agent can fill in details that will help you make a more informed decision. Here are the 10 great questions to consider before making an offer on a home—whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market.

1. How much did the seller pay for the home?

You should always ask about the original purchase price even if it has nothing to do with the current value of the home.

If the seller bought the house five years ago and didn’t do any renovations, you might not want to come in with a high offer price unless the local market is a very competitive market.

When you know how much the homeowner spent on the house, you may be able to negotiate a better sale price in good faith.

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you might also want to ask the seller why they’re selling their current home in the first place. You might be able to get the inside scoop from their realtor, which could help you win the bidding war with a lower price.

2. What’s the real estate market Like?

As you continue the house-hunting process, spend some time researching how the housing market is doing in the neighborhood you’re considering. You may want to compare all of the homes that have recently sold with all the active, under contract, and active listings in the past year or two.

See how the home’s listing price compares with other homes on the market. Is it the most expensive or least expensive property? Does the home price fall somewhere in the middle?

If you’re able to find a dream house that has a reasonable asking price, you may end up entering into a purchase agreement that leads to strong financial returns down the line.

3. How long has it been on the market?

In the real estate world, DOM stands for days on market. Generally speaking, the longer a home is on the market, the less it sells for. The DOM clock starts as soon as a house is listed for sale. Only when a transaction is categorized as “pending” does the clock stop.

The longer a home sits on the market, the more questions you should be asking. Maybe the listing is sloppy or has inaccurate information. Or perhaps there’s something wrong with the house that keeps coming up during home inspections, which is causing the seller to experience a pattern of failing deals.

Whatever the case may be, the longer a house sits on the market, the better the chances are that you will get a more favorable sales contract if you continue pursuing the property.

4. What is the market value of the home?

The market value of a home is a key factor to consider before making an offer. After all, the last thing you want is to pay New York City prices if you’re buying a home in a rural area of Iowa.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy question to answer. For the best results, you can enlist the help of a real estate agent to answer this question by conducting a comparative market analysis.

Comps, or recently sold properties that are comparable to the one in question, can help you determine what to offer based on sales in the area. Agents who are familiar with the market know what houses sell for, what sort of offers people are making, and how to compete. They can also walk you through the earnest money deposit process and help you figure out how much to put down for a down payment, whether you need to make a cash offer to win a deal, and how much to counteroffer when there are multiple bids.

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to know whether you’re getting a good deal on a home sale unless you know how the local market has been performing.

5. Are there any problems with the house?

Even though they’re not legally required to do so, some sellers will share information about the home that paints it in a negative light. For example, a seller might say that the septic tank will need to be replaced within the next year.

Sellers do this so that things like an inspection contingency or an appraisal contingency don’t kill the deal. After all, they don’t want a prospective buyer to get to the inspection

It’s not in their interest that you get to the inspection stage, discover a problem, and subsequently back out of the deal. So, be attentive to the seller’s information about the home’s condition. You may find out that key fixtures have been updated lately, which is good.

6. What’s the resale value like in the neighborhood and what will it likely be in the future?

Since a house will be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, your investment should hopefully become more valuable over time. Getting the perspective of your real estate agent and your mortgage loan officer will increase the chances you make a good investment.

The ideal house should be located in an area where property values are consistently rising. By buying a house in such a location, you can get better gains from the sale of your home at some point in the future.

Of course, just because a neighborhood is performing well now doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Population changes, new construction, and other events could cause your home’s value to decrease over time. If you think a house is likely to depreciate soon, pass on the deal.

One way to gauge whether a neighborhood is trending in the right direction is by attending a few open houses in the area and just talking to owners and agents. Keep your ears open; you never know what you might hear.

7. What are the closing costs?

When you’re buying a home, money is incredibly important. This is why it’s critical to find out whether you qualify for mortgage preapproval before submitting an offer letter. After all, the last thing a seller wants is to enter a deal that has a financing contingency.

As your mortgage lender will tell you, a preapproval letter is only the beginning. There are tons of costs to consider during the real estate process, including closing costs, which are one-time fees that you’ll pay when you complete the sale.

In most cases, closing costs tack on an additional 3% to 4% of the total purchase price. For example, if you purchase a $300,000 home, closing costs will amount to $9,000 to 12,000 on top of that. These costs include appraisal fees, inspection fees, lawyer fees, notary fees, and taxes related to land transfers.

Additionally, there are some one-time costs that aren’t included in closing costs. Plan for any renovations you may need for your new home, including moving expenses and utility setup costs.

8. How old are important components of the home?

A home’s appearance is less important than its age or how recently it’s been renovated. Eventually, important components of the house—such as the water tank, air conditioner, heating system, septic system, plumbing, electrical system, and appliances—will need to be repaired or replaced.

Of course, no equipment lasts forever. But before you sign on the dotted line, you need to be aware that old or poorly maintained appliances might need to be replaced, and that you may have to spend a great deal of money sooner than later if the seller hasn’t updated them in a while.

9. Are there any other offers on the table?

Unfortunately, you may be up against multiple offers when you go to buy a home. That being the case, it’s good to understand what you’re up against so you can prepare a well-timed, competitive offer for the property.

10. How soon can the seller close?

Before making an offer on a home, it’s also important to understand the seller’s timeline. How much time does the seller need to move out? Has the seller found a suitable property yet? What is the seller’s preferred closing date?

The seller’s timeline is not only important for ensuring that your offer fits within their timeline but it also helps to structure your offer in a more attractive manner. 

Suppose you’re currently renting and must leave your apartment in 45 days but the seller wants the deal to close in 90 days. In this scenario, entering into an agreement may not be the best idea.

Get informed to make the right offer

A real estate transaction is one of the most important investments you’ll ever make in your life.

That being the case, you need to ask important questions to determine whether the house is right for you and what the best price might be.

To do that, identify a trustworthy agent you can work with to find your dream home and make an offer that meets your needs and budget.

Here’s to landing an awesome property you’ll love for years to come!