Julianne Krutka
Park Square Realty | 413-297-6718 | julianne.krutka@gmail.com


Posted by Julianne Krutka on 10/5/2017

For the generation that grew up at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis, buying a home is a scary concept. Many young people in the 18-34 age range are dealing with high rent, a poor job market, unpaid internships, and student loans the size of a home loan. Yet, others are finding their footing and realizing that owning a home is advantageous in the long run. If you're thinking of delving into the world of home ownership for the first time here's a crash course in Home Buying 101.

Figure out your finances

You should be an expert at you and your significant other's personal finances if you are thinking about buying a home. The first thing to look at is your income and expenditures. Put the following information in a spreadsheet:
  • Total monthly income
  • Total monthly expenditures (bills, gas, food, etc.)
  • Total monthly savings
  • Total savings and assets
  • Credit and FICO score (request both of these online)
When crunching these numbers you should (hopefully) find that your income is higher than your expenditures and your savings should account for most of the difference. If your savings is lower than it should be, you either missed something on the expenditures list or you are spending more than you should be if you want to buy a home. Down Payments Down payments on a home, post-financial crisis, range from anywhere between 0-25 percent of the price of the home, 20 being the median. A down payment ideally shouldn't break your savings in case you have any unforeseen expenses once you buy your home. Moving is time-consuming and can be pricey, so you'll need to account for this in your finances.

Lock Down Your Financing

There are several types of mortgages that you'll need to choose from, and you'll want to learn about fixed and adjustable mortgage rates. This information should be informed by your long-term plans. Are you looking for your first home or your forever home? If you don't plan on fully paying off the home you might look for a low, adjustable rate while you earn money. But if you want to stay in your home until it's paid off, a fixed rate might be better for you.

Finding and buying your home

Once you've determined your price range, start thinking about things like location and the kind of home you can afford. If you're handy with tools and have the time, it might be in your best interest to buy a home than needs some work at a lower cost. If you'd rather put in more hours at work, go with the home that needs less work and save money that way. Depending on whether or not you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, the ball can be in your court or the seller's. In a seller's market, which is more likely today in many parts of the country, the seller will have more leverage in negotiations, including closing dates and move-out dates. Due to high competition, you should also be prepared to miss out on some offers. But be patient, and you should find the home you're looking for.  





Posted by Julianne Krutka on 6/22/2017

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re probably learning many new vocabulary words. Pre-approved and pre-qualified are some buzz words that you’ll need to know. There’s a big difference in the two and how each can help you in the home buying process, so you’ll want to educate yourself. With the proper preparation and knowledge, the home buying process will be much easier for you.  


Pre-Qualification


This is actually the initial step that you should take in the home buying process. Being pre-qualified allows your lender to get some key information from you. Make no mistake that getting pre-qualified is not the same thing as getting pre-approved.


The qualification process allows you to understand how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will look at your income, assets, and general financial picture. There’s not a whole lot of information that your lender actually needs to get you pre-qualified. Many buyers make the mistake of interchanging the words qualified and approval. They think that once they have been pre-qualified, they have been approved for a certain amount as well. Since the pre-qualification process isn’t as in-depth, you could be “qualified” to buy a home that you actually can’t afford once you dig a bit deeper into your financial situation. 


Being Pre-Approved


Getting pre-approved requires a bit more work on your part. You’ll need to provide your lender with a host of information including income statements, bank account statements, assets, and more. Your lender will take a look at your credit history and credit score. All of these numbers will go into a formula and help your lender determine a safe amount of money that you’ll be able to borrow for a house. Things like your credit score and credit history will have an impact on the type of interest rate that you’ll get for the home. The better your credit score, the better the interest rate will be that you’re offered. Being pre-approved will also be a big help to you when you decide to put an offer in on a home since you’ll be seen as a buyer who is serious and dependable.  


Things To Think About


Although getting pre-qualified is fairly simple, it’s a good step to take to understand your finances and the home buying process. Don’t take the pre-qualification numbers as set in stone, just simply use them as a guide. 


Do some investigating on your own before you reach the pre-approval stage. Look at your income, debts, and expenses. See if there is anything that can be paid down before you take the leap to the next step. Check your credit report and be sure that there aren’t any errors on the report that need to be remedied. Finally, look at your credit score and see if there’s anything that you can do better such as make more consistent on-time payments or pay down debt for a more desirable debt-to-income ratio.





Posted by Julianne Krutka on 4/23/2015

If you are in the market for a mortgage you will need to know how a lender determines if you are a good candidate for a loan. When you apply for a mortgage or look to refinance your current mortgage there is a mortgage loan underwriter who who has the job of reviewing your loan application and all of the accompanying documents. After you have completed all the paperwork on your end, you may be wondering what exactly is the underwriter looking for? Typically, the underwriter is looking for two things: 1.) your general creditworthiness and 2.) your debt-to-income ratio. How does an underwriter evaluate creditworthiness? Your creditworthiness will give the lender an idea of your willingness to repay your debts. The most common way to determine creditworthiness is to use your credit score. The lender usually uses your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score. Your FICO score is based on an analysis of your various credit files by the three major credit repositories, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. How does the underwriter determine debt-to-income ratio? The second thing the underwriter wants to determine is how the new mortgage payment will impact your ability to repay. The underwriter will use a calculation called debt-to-income ratio (DTI). When calculating DTI the underwriter compares your monthly gross income (before taxes) and your monthly debts. DTI requirements vary but typically the underwriter is looking to see if the ratio of debt to income— after the cost of your mortgage principal, interest, real estate taxes, insurance and any private mortgage insurance — is less than 40 percent. There are many other factors that go into whether or not you will be able to obtain a mortgage but these are two of the biggest factors.





Posted by Julianne Krutka on 7/19/2012

It is almost impossible to predict the future and predicting where mortgage rates may go can be difficult too. But if you know how to watch the indicators you will have some degree of advantage. It may help you decide whether to borrow funds or wait until rates drop. Consider that with any prediction there can always be a great deal of margin of error. Here are a few things to consider to make a more reliable mortgage rate prediction: History History can always be a good predictor. What is the economic climate? If rates are high in economic down times that you should predict that rates will rise when the same crisis hits the market. Look not only to long-term history but also to rates recent history. Watch for the changes carefully, track them by the month. Factors to consider are: Are the rates going up or down? What factors are causing them to behave in such a way? Influencing Factors Factors that influence mortgage rates can be controlled by you. One of those factors is the amount of down payment you have or if refinancing the amount of equity you have in the home. Also for consideration on the rate you will receive is your debt to income ratio and your credit score. Some factors you cannot influence include the state of the real estate market, the inflation rate and the funds available for consumers. Inflation Inflation drives most everything and always is a constant consideration of the mortgage interest. If inflation is higher, the interest rate will go up as well. Conversely, if inflation is low rates do down. Credit Availability How much credit is available? If limited funds are available than mortgage interest rates will be higher. The Bottom Line The bottom line is you have to be flexible. You can never predict what the exact mortgage rate will be. Instead, look to the factors that influence rates. This will give you an idea of where rates are and a better picture of if it is the right time for you to take on a mortgage.