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The 10 Best Apps For Home Buyers

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

The 10 Best Apps for Home Buyers

Man, on his phone, eating breakfast at home

 

How do you go about looking for the perfect home? Long gone are the days when house hunting meant sifting through stacks of newspapers with your trusty highlighter. So what’s the latest and greatest way to buy a home?

Ever heard someone say there’s an app for that? Well, there definitely are some great apps for perspective home buyers.

Your smartphone has the ability to lead you right to the home of your dreams. From three-bedroom ranches to grandiose mansions, here are the best home buying apps to help you find your perfect place and then make it yours, and all of them are available on iOS and Android.

How Much Can You Afford?

Before you go and look at just any home, you’re going to want to know your exact budget. This will prevent you from looking at $400,000 houses when realistically, your budget is $250,000.

Here are a couple of Quicken Loans apps that can help with that.

Mortgage Calculator App

Are you looking to buy a home, but you’re not sure whether you can afford it yet? Check out the Mortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans app. The cool thing is, it’s actually several calculators combined into a larger app.

The home affordability section of the app will let you input your debts and your income along with an interest rate to get an idea of what you can afford. If you’re not sure what a realistic rate would be, you can view our current rates within the app. Once you input all of your information, it’ll let you know how much you might be able to be preapproved for based on your estimates.

The purchase calculator works similarly. But once the process is completed, it will show you what you can expect your monthly payment to be.

In addition to these resources for home buyers, existing homeowners can see how much they would save by refinancing. Our Amortization Calculator will also show you how much interest you can save over time by making extra payments toward the principal of your loan.

Rocket Mortgage

If the Mortgage Calculator is a hypothetical, the Rocket Mortgage app is what you use to get an official preapproval regarding how much you can borrow for a home.

Whereas the calculator app inputs your debt and income, you can use the Rocket Mortgage app in order to actually import your tax information and bank statements so we can see your income and assets. Pulling your credit with the app allows us to see all the existing debts you have, calculate your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and check your credit score. This helps us determine what loans you qualify for as well as how much you can afford.

Getting a preapproval is the single most important thing a home buyer can do to show a seller they’re serious. It shows you worked to secure financing for the offer you’re making. You can even get a rock solid preapproval in minutes* if you want.

House Hunting Apps

Once you have your financing in place, the fun part starts. Now you get to shop. All of the following apps will help in your home search.

Redfin

The Redfin app says its listings are updated every 15 – 30 minutes. The app enables you to draw a map around the area you’re looking and only see homes in that area. Areas are also rated on how walkable they are.

Realtor.com

The nice thing about The Realtor.com app is that it’s backed by the National Association of REALTORS®. This means that it will have all the listings in your local area that are handled by members of that organization. It’s a pretty big nationwide organization of real estate professionals. There is a large variety of houses on this app.

Zillow and Trulia

In terms of big-name real estate sites and apps that many people are familiar with, there used to be two big names in the game: Zillow and Trulia.

Then in 2015, these competitors in the real estate space turned friends in a merger, and they’re now owned by the same parent company. As a result, this section is a two-for-one.

Zillow and Trulia both offer listings for both purchase and rent. Because these companies have been the big names in the online listings game for a while, they have many listings, including those that aren’t necessarily listed by a real estate agent because the general public can list their own properties. Having a cross section of these two apps will enable you to have the best overall picture of your local market.

Help with Your Homeowners Claim

When you’re about to close on your home, you’ll have to get homeowners insurance in case your home needs to be rebuilt or renovated in the event of damage.

One of the things covered by most homeowners insurance policies is personal property protection. If your property is stolen or damaged in a disaster, your homeowners insurance policy can help you replace your belongings up to a certain amount.

However, you’ll need proof of ownership for the items you want replaced when you make a claim. That’s where the Encircle app comes in.

Even available for BlackBerry, Encircle allows you to take pictures of all of your stuff. As you buy things, you can put in the receipts and document the purchase price. Filing a claim is much easier with documented evidence.

Home Decor Apps

The final three items on this list are great apps for decorating your home. This is the part where you get to make your space truly yours.

Homestyler

Have you ever wondered whether that leather couch you’ve got your eye on will fit in the space you want to put it, let alone look good there? Homestyler can help you answer these questions.

The Homestyler app will let you take a picture of your room, choose color and flooring options and get a good idea of how different types of furniture would look in the space. It’s a design playground without any commitment.

Houzz

Houzz, also available on the Windows Phone, allows you to get design ideas and helps provide you with the resources you need for completing a remodel or decor project. Not only can you share ideas and shop for products, but you can also get advice and find professionals who can help you with anything that goes beyond DIY.

Benjamin Moore Color Capture

The Color Capture app from Benjamin Moore takes a simple concept and executes it well. If you see a paint color you like, take a picture with your smartphone or tablet. With this app, you can find out what the color is so you can re-create the effect in your home.

It’s worth noting that all the major paint manufacturers have an app like this, so for the most variety in color palettes, you might check out multiple apps.

White Cabinets With A Big Island, Please

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Waiting Will Cost More

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Waiting Will Cost More

With the first quarter of 2018 in the books, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is nearing what Freddie Mac predicted it would be in the second quarter. If this pace continues, rates will exceed the five percent mark expected by the end of the year.

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The Fed has had its first of an expected three raises for this year and two more are expected in 2019. While these rates are not directly related to mortgages, they certainly have an effect.

Delaying the decision to purchase or refinance could be an expensive missed opportunity. A $270,000 mortgage at 4.44% has a principal and interest payment of $1,358.44 per month. If the rate were to rise one-percent in the next twelve months, the payment would be $1,522.88.

The $164.44 increase would cost a homeowner an additional $13,812.97 in seven years and close to $60,000 over the full term of the loan.

The question facing people is "what would you spend $164.44 each month if you had acted sooner to get the lower rate?"

If you're curious to know what your "missed opportunity" could be costing you, try this Cost of Waiting to Buy calculator . Use 0% increase on price change if you are refinancing a home you already own.

Read Judi's Newsletter

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Be sure to check out my latest newsletter.  This quarter it features:

 

  • 3 Tips For Selling Your House Faster
  • Buying A Rental Property?  You'll Need This Tip
  • The Best Spring Home Improvement Investment You'll Ever Make
If you are thinking about Selling or Buying a house in Green Valley, AZ...give Judi a call at 520-241-7780.  Your real estate needs are her TOP priority!

 

If Views Are Important...This Belongs On Your List!

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

 

If views are important, this distinctive home definitely belongs on your list! You'll be intrigued by the outstanding curb appeal that greets you when you pull up to the house. Enter through the beautiful gates into a large courtyard that has a gas fireplace. One step inside the house and you'll know you've found a unique place with upgrades galore. Graceful arches define spaces while allowing them to flow seamlessly together. Among its many features are: custom security doors; upgraded lighting throughout; designer fans; 3 sets of French Doors; tile floors everywhere except 2 bedrooms; 2 gas fireplaces & a firepit; & far too many more to list. In back you'll find SW outdoor living at its very best w/built-in BBQue & panoramic mountain views that will take your breath away.

RE/MAX Breaking News!

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

RE/MAX Vs. Industry

FHA Advantages

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

FHA Advantages

The Federal Housing Authority, operating under HUD, offers affordable mortgages for tens of thousands of buyers who may not qualify for other types of programs. They are popular with both first-time and repeat buyers.

The 3.5% down payment is an attractive feature but there are other advantages:

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  • More tolerant for credit challenges than conventional mortgages.
  • Lower down payments than most conventional loans.
  • Broader qualifying ratios - total house payment with MIP can be up to 31% of borrower's monthly gross income and total house payment with all recurring debt can be up to 43%. There is a stretch provision taking it to 33/45 for qualifying energy efficient homes.
  • Seller can contribute up to 6% of purchase price; this money must be specified in the contract and can be used to pay all or part of the buyer's closing costs, pre-paid items and/or buy down of the interest rate.
  • Self-employed may qualify with adequate documentation - two year's tax returns and a current profit and loss statement would be required in addition to the normal qualifying and underwriting requirements.
  • Liberal use of gift monies - borrowers can receive a gift from family members, buyer's employer, close friend, labor union or charity. A gift letter will be required specifying that the gift does not have to be repaid.
  • Special 203(k) program for buying a home that needs capital improvements - requires a firm contractor's bid attached to the contract calling for the work to be done. The home is appraised subject to the work being done. If approved, the home can close, the money for the improvements escrowed and paid when completed.
  • Loans are assumable at the existing interest rate with buyer qualification. Assumptions are easier than qualifying for a new mortgage and closing costs are lower.
  • An assumable mortgage with a lower than current rates for new mortgages could add value to the property.

Finding the best mortgage for an individual is not always an easy process. Buyers need good information from trusted professionals. Call (520) 241-7780 for a recommendation of a trusted lender who can help you.

7 Financial Mistakes To Avoid When Building Wealth

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

7 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Building Wealth

7 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Building Wealth

Financial success stories can be incredibly motivating. When we read an article or hear an interview about someone who went from zero to millionaire hero, it instills a sense of hope for achieving our own personal finance goals.

After interviewing dozens of self-made millionaires, personal finance experts and financially independent entrepreneurs, I have learned a lot about what it takes to win with money. Being persistent, resilient and goal-oriented were some of the common traits among these money gurus.

Although incredibly successful today, these high-achieving individuals stumbled quite a bit on their pathway to financial victory. There was a consistent set of mistakes that they all wished they had avoided.

With the blessing of hindsight in our favor, here are the financial pitfalls that were common among this group of money masters.

Spending Without a Plan

By living for today and not planning for tomorrow, we’re letting our money control us instead of the other way around. This can happen when we live without a monthly budget and spend our money haphazardly.

If we’re able to give every one of our dollars an assignment each month, unexpected financial surprises will start to fade away. Strategies like the 50/20/30 rule can be an excellent place to start for your monthly cash flow plans.

Living Without an Emergency Savings

When we have little or no money in savings, we’re leaving ourselves vulnerable to financial attack. These unexpected money surprises can come in the form of a flat tire, a broken HVAC unit or even a deductible payment for a trip to the hospital. These everyday problems become huge nightmares when you have no money to pay for them.

Leaving yourself a cushion of three months of expenses can help you avoid this trap. Not only will you be better prepared to pay for these unwelcomed surprises, but you’ll also be able to rest easier at night knowing you’re protected.

Taking on High-Interest Debt

If we spend with no plan and live without any emergency savings cash, high-interest debt will undoubtedly become our go-to solution.

Credit cards can get us what we want fast, but they can also leave us paying for our purchases for much longer than we wanted. We can be hit with double-digit interest payments if we’re not paying off our credit card balances each month, which can severely slash our chances of building wealth.

With credit card debt reaching an all-time high of over $1 trillion in the U.S., it is more important than ever that we take a hard look at our high-interest debt. Balancing our needs versus our wants and creating a monthly cash flow plan can help us rid high-interest debt from our lives for good.

Investing in Something You Don’t Understand

Investments like mutual funds, real estate, stocks and even cryptocurrencies have made certain people very rich. They have also completely bankrupted others.

Outside of luck, the major difference between these two camps is the education and research that investors have personally put in. If you’re going to invest a great deal of money into anything, you need to fully understand what you’re getting into.

“Get rich quick” plans are often flawed and lead people into financial trouble. Take your time to investigate all of the details of an investment. It’s easy to get drawn in by the allure of high returns and financial freedom, but sometimes the pitfalls are more important to discover.

Living Without Proper Insurance Coverage

One thing is for certain: None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Based on that reality, we need to protect ourselves (and the ones we love) from the unexpected. Proper insurance coverage is an excellent place to start.

Here are five important insurance policies to consider:

  • Homeowners or renters
  • Health
  • Long-term disability
  • AutoTerm life

Insurance may feel like a costly payment each month, but without it, you’re exposing yourself and your family to the potential of a much larger financial burden.

Buying More House Than You Can Afford

When we find a home we absolutely love, the temptation to buy can be overwhelming. This is when the house has shifted from a want to an “absolute need” in our minds.

Unfortunately, our dream home can turn into our worst nightmare if we don’t consider the total costs associated with homeownership. It is important to remember that the monthly mortgage payment is only one piece to this pricey puzzle.

Other important homeownership costs include:

  • Closing costs
  • Inspection fees
  • Furnishing the home
  • Utility bills (natural gas, electric, water, cable/internet)
  • Monthly home maintenance

After you factor in all of those costs, ensure you’re working with a provider that makes the mortgage process simple and easy to understand. Signing up for a mortgage product that is confusing can ruin your homeownership experience.

Relying on a Single Income Source

We quite often hear about the importance of diversification regarding our investments. The same line of thinking goes for our income as well.

If, for some reason, your single income source goes away, you could truly be stuck. An emergency fund will definitely help for a period of time, but your sense of financial security may be shaken at this point.

Protecting yourself with diversified income streams will help you avoid unneeded financial stress and allow you to build your wealth at the same time. Routes like index fund investing through a taxable brokerage account, rental property investments or even small-business development are excellent ways to help ensure your income will remain stable during tough times.

Trial and Error For the Win

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. The positive side of making financial blunders is that we learn from them.

Even the richest and most successful among us have had their fair share of money problems. It’s our ability to get back up and try again after we’re knocked down that really counts.

Stock Tank Style: The Garden And Patio Edition

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Stunning Views And Starry Nights In An Irish Cottage

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

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Judi Monday
RE/MAX Valley Properties In Green Valley, AZ
210 West Continental Road
Green Valley AZ 85622
Direct: (520) 241-7780
Fax: (520) 648-2221