How I Bought My First Home – Part 3

 First Time Homebuyers  Comments Off on How I Bought My First Home – Part 3
Sep 082017
 

My first day in the mortgage business was very exciting.  I learned I could buy a home with an FHA mortgage with only 2.25% down payment!  Average prices were $125,000 so I thought I could easily save up the money for that down payment.

Day 2 in the mortgage business wasn’t as exciting, in fact, it was a bit of a letdown.  I learned that closing costs here in New York would be approximately 6% of the purchase price!

First day calculations to become a homeowner quickly went from saving $3,000 for a down payment to realizing I would need more than $10,000 for the down payment and closing costs!   Back in 1989, beginning a new career after losing a good job, I knew this would be a real challenge, especially with the high cost of living here in New York City.

But then I learned about “Seller’s concessions.”  When I made an Offer to buy a home, my real estate agent could negotiate to include some of my closing costs (up to 6%) into the purchase price of the home.

I translated my education into something I could use for my clients.

And I’ve been helping many of them the same way ever since: with different loan programs including the FHA program and its low down payment (today it’s 3.5%) and a Seller’s concession to help out with the closing costs.

I hit the streets in earnest, travelling to different towns in Long Island to survey property types and price ranges so that I could make the best decision possible as to where I would buy my first home.  It was hard work, I will tell you!  But it was an investment well worth the time because I knew I made the right decision when I finally bought my first home.

Next week: How I bought my first home in 15 minutes.

Take a look around and fine more great advice on buying your first home.

Follow me on Twitter! @tcurranmortgage

https://twitter.com/tcurranmortgage

 

How I Bought My First Home – Part 2

 First Time Homebuyers  Comments Off on How I Bought My First Home – Part 2
Sep 062017
 

Last week I told you of the real estate agent who laughed me out of his office in 1987.  I was dejected yet determined that one day I would own a home.  Today I want to share with you the nasty surprise I received on my birthday and how that led to my becoming a homeowner.

It was my birthday!!!   

It was October, 1989 and I was unwrapping a beautiful red Fender Stratocaster guitar for my birthday.  We had a few friends and family over to my apartment in Astoria.

The phone rang; it was my boss, Rich.

Trevor I have some bad news.  The company is out of business; don’t come back to work tomorrow.  Human Resources will be in touch about any s

Yeah, this is me!

everance you might be owed.”

I was shocked because I thought we had been working for months to save the company from disaster.  I was obviously wrong.  I had a great position as Regional Manager in Customer Service and I had worked my way up from lowly Customer Service Rep at the company.

Happy Birthday to me, by the way.”

Three weeks later I had an invitation for an interview with a mortgage company on Long Island.  Someone in the family knew someone whose brother owned a mortgage bank.  I met the man and soon thereafter began my career as a Mortgage Banker just 30 days after losing my job in electronics.

I was determined to accomplish three things:

1.       Work on commission and never work in the corporate world again

2.       Buy my first home

3.       Help my Mom and Dad buy their first home.

I’m happy to report that I have accomplished all three goals thanks to that nasty birthday surprise.

Stay Tuned: Next week, my mortgage education and house hunting

Take a look around here and find more great advice on buying your first home.

Follow me on Twitter! @tcurranmortgage – https://twitter.com/tcurranmortgage

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in
New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

How I Bought My First Home – Part 1

 First Time Homebuyers  Comments Off on How I Bought My First Home – Part 1
Sep 012017
 

In 1987 I walked into a real estate office.  I wanted to buy a home in New Hyde Park, Long Island.  I worked in the electronics industry and I knew nothing about buying a home.  I only wanted to become a homeowner.  I felt if I put my trust in the real estate agent he would guide me along the path to my goal.  I WAS WRONG.       

The man in this office in New Hyde Park in 1987 basically laughed at me.  He asked some key questions about salary, cash I had saved up, and credit.  I answered honestly and in complete detail.  He said, “You can’t afford a home here in New Hyde Park,” then turned his back on me.

Not being a person who takes, “No” for an answer, I pushed him.

Is there nothing here in this town we can afford?” I said.

He grudgingly took out the MLS book (no computer back then, it was a BOOK the size of a phone book) and pointed to a tiny black and white photo of a house.

I looked at the photo and said to him, “Well, okay, I guess that looks like a nice house.”

You should know it doesn’t have a driveway or a garage.”

I was a little flummoxed because I really wanted my own driveway.  I was tired of driving around Astoria looking for a parking spot and my dream of homeownership in New Hyde Park included a driveway.  BUT I really wanted to buy a home and so was willing to compromise.

Okay,” I said, “I really wanted a driveway, but I’d be willing to settle if it meant I could buy a home of my own.”

He had a “poker face” on, looked me straight in the eye and said, “You should know there’s no on-street parking allowed after Midnight every day.”

I walked out of that real estate office feeling very dejected.

Stay tuned: Next week, I discuss my nasty birthday surprise that turned into Homeownership.

You can find more great advice on buying your first home on this website. Take a look around.

Follow me on Twitter! @tcurranmortgage – https://twitter.com/tcurranmortgage

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in
New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

NEGOTIATE Your Offer: Hit Them Like a Freight Train!

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate, Uncategorized, Veterans  Comments Off on NEGOTIATE Your Offer: Hit Them Like a Freight Train!
Jan 182017
 

I have a client making an Offer tomorrow on a multi-family house in The Bronx. This client—a First Time Buyer and a Veteran of the Armed Forces using VA financing—has been working very hard to find the right house.

Three weeks ago he was moments away from signing a contract to buy a home. He had done the home inspection and there were serious concerns about the property. He presented these concerns to the Seller through the Seller’s Agent, notably, a very bad roof and a serious water and mold problem in the basement. The Seller’s response: not gonna fix it. Have a nice day. Home inspection fee of $550 out the window; in the garbage; down the drain. Not really. “Money well spent,” I told my client. “You found out for minimal cost the potential money-pit-nightmare this house could become for you. Walk away.”

And walk away he did. Yesterday he saw another house he really likes. This time, I suggested we go at the Seller like a freight train bearing down on him.

Hit ’em hard. Provide a clear and concise layout of the price and terms of your Offer. Let me, the Mortgage Banker, speak to the Realtor about how well-qualified you are and the rapid timeline for an approval and closing. Put it all in writing. Have all your “ducks in a row” with the Offer spelled out with price and closing timeline, Attorney information, date for the home inspection, and your Prequalification Letter for VA mortgage financing.

As if that isn’t enough of a speeding train on the tracks, give the Seller a deadline: just over 24 hours to respond. Present your Offer mid-day Thursday; require a response by 3pm Friday. Tell the Seller’s Realtor you have appointments to look at other houses starting Saturday morning.

WOW. FREIGHT TRAIN!

Listen, anyone, any Buyer anywhere can do this. You need two things to see this through. One, have your Prequalification letter and your “team” lined up: Attorney, Home Inspector, Mortgage professional. Two, just DO IT. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You’ll find out if the Seller is serious; if they really want to have a constructive dialogue with a Buyer; if the Realtor is a serious professional.

Line ’em up on the tracks, make your Offer, run at them like a freight train and hit ’em hard. I promise you, this method WORKS.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

In Motion

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate  Comments Off on In Motion
May 172016
 

You’ve made your counter-offer to the counter-offer. Now is the time to continue moving because everything is in the hands of the Seller. This is the best place for you to be in a negotiation: leaving the decision to deal, or not to deal, on the other party.

When you have made your best effort to negotiate by making a prompt and reasonable Offer, with all your details set in place, and with arriving at your best price you’re willing to pay for a home, then you leave it alone and stop thinking and worrying about it. If the Seller is truly serious about selling the home in a reasonable manner (that includes price and terms and knowing the market activity), then you’ll get your response in a positive way.

Playground

Plenty of homes out there!

If the Seller is not serious then you have just avoided a potentially difficult situation buying a home under the wrong price and terms.

 

Motion on green meadow in nature

Motion 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay in motion: continue looking at other homes, asking your Realtor to schedule appointments.

 

Never fall in love with the house. Be prepared to walk away. Keep moving, keep house hunting. It works, I promise.

abstract-speed-motion_7yKstZ

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

Never Fall In Love With The House

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate  Comments Off on Never Fall In Love With The House
Aug 162013
 

RULE NUMBER ONE in my Playbook for First Time Buyers: NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH THE HOUSE.

Of course, you often have no choice. The reason is simple: buying a home is a very emotional process. You’re going to LIVE there! You’ll create new life experiences and, frankly, that’s emotional.

But when you’re shopping for a home and you want to win at negotiations with a home Seller, or, you just want to be treated with respect by crazy aggressive real estate agents, you have to tamp down your emotions.

 

I believe in the negotiating tactic of “first one to leave the negotiating table wins.”

That’s really what I mean by “never fall in love with the house.”

How To WIN:

1. Move quickly: Offer your price promptly, don’t explain your price, and sit back and wait for the Seller’s response.
2. Be prepared to sign a purchase agreement (contract of sale) and get your home inspection immediately your Offer is accepted.
3. Watch the Seller’s reaction to your prompt, efficient moves.

  • Does the Seller respond in a timely manner?
  • Does the Seller’s real estate agent put up barriers to your Offer being presented/accepted?
  • Is communication between all parties clear and concise?
  • Are the other parties driving you kinda sorta NUTS with ridiculous statements and/or demands?

 

If you get a negative or confusing reaction to these focus points then you need to WALK AWAY. Let the Seller chase after you. IF the Seller is serious about selling the home, they’ll come running after you. IF they have unrealistic expectations on price and/or terms then your walking away is going to save you a lot of headaches.

Don’t fall in love with the house;

be prepared to walk away so you can get what you want.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Ask Trevor A Question

Weekend House Hunting

 First Time Homebuyers, Rent Vs. Own  Comments Off on Weekend House Hunting
Feb 112011
 

I know it’s cold outside, but the weather this weekend is shaping up to be incredibly mild in comparison to our very nasty winter so far, you might even say this weekend will be “Spring-like!”

Thus a good weekend to get out there House Hunting!

Here then some links to previous posts First Time Buyers need before hitting the streets looking for a home. Spend a few minutes with your Saturday morning coffee and tcurranmortgage.com preparing to visit Open Houses, FSBO’s and real estate offices.

Buying a home is not about “investing!” It’s about owning a piece of the rock and those intangible benefits of homeownership!

Learn from others’ mistakes: BUY A HOME YOU CAN AFFORD! All those crazy people buying houses during the “BOOM” over-stretched their housing budgets. Know what you can afford and Use A Blanket That’s Big Enough!

I learned early in my career as a Mortgage Banker: It’s All About The Monthly Payment.

Okay, now that you are ready to hit the pavement shopping for a home, you’ll need some insight so you can get the house you want at the price you’re willing to pay:

How do you guess what the house is worth? Use your Personal Market Value “Divining Rod!”

Don’t be put off by the List Prices! EVERYTHING is negotiable! Asking Prices Don’t Matter To Realistic Buyers. (That would be YOU!!!)

Let’s say you have an awesome weekend and lo and behold you find a great house in a great location at a price reasonably close to what you’re willing to pay! WOW! Now it’s time to hunker down and negotiate. Cast aside your fear of rejection through preparedness. Prepared Buyers WIN negotiations by showing a Seller how serious they are!!! Follow these FIVE Steps to Get YOUR HOME THIS WEEKEND!
Five Steps To Making An Offer To Buy A Home

Good luck, enjoy the weather, have fun and Happy House Hunting!

Apr 092010
 

There is a deliberate process to making an offer. I include step-by-step instructions on how this works. My instructions will help you get the house you want, even if you are dealing with a difficult Seller, a Bank-Owned property, or if you are competing against another Buyer for the same house.

I have seen these methods work many times over with my clients over my almost 28 year career as a mortgage professional.

My basic methodology here is one of making your Offer a very formal proceeding. When you take these formal steps you are demonstrating to everyone involved in the transaction just how serious a Buyer you are. You will set yourself apart from the crowd. I have seen this method work time and time again for my Homebuyer clients.

5 Steps To Making An Offer:

STEP 1. Always make offers in writing. Yes, it is absolutely true that offers can be presented verbally. Don’t do that. Put your offer in writing every time. Even if you are in a situation where you and the Seller are sending counter offers back and forth, every new offer should be in writing.

When your offer is in writing, you come across to the Seller as serious. Think about it, anyone who is taking the time to go in to the real estate office and sign the form is serious about buying a home.

Include the following into your written offer:

  • * The amount of your “earnest money deposit” or “good faith deposit.” That is the amount of money you’ll put into escrow with the Seller’s attorney upon signing the contract of sale.
  • * The amount of your mortgage financing. Of course you’ll back this up with a prequalification letter, but you must include the amount of your mortgage in the offer.
  • * Items included in the sale. If the appliances and the chandelier in the dining room are to be included in the sale, make sure they are written in to the offer. This shows the homeowner you were paying attention when you inspected the home and asked, “What’s included in the sale?”
  • * Attorney Information: the name and complete contact information for your attorney.
  • * Anticipated contract date. Always make this date within 48 hours of your offer. Present the assumption the Seller will accept your offer and immediately forward a contract to your attorney.

Again, this demonstrates to the Seller how serious you are. You are in effect saying, “I am so serious about buying this home I want to sign the contract immediately!” Imagine how many other Buyers out there are delaying things like signing the contract (and potentially changing their minds).

  • * Anticipated closing date. This is an interesting point for the offer. I always recommend putting the closing date for an offer within thirty days of the contract. The fact is most closings take place within 60 days of contract, and your attorney will most likely change that date in the contract, but if your offer says “thirty days,” once again you demonstrate how serious you are about buying the home.

STEP 2. Prequalification letter. Your mortgage professional should be available to fax a prequalification letter within hours of your making your offer; even on Saturdays or Thursday evenings.

STEP 3. Mortgage pro phone call. I think a phone call from your mortgage professional to the Listing Agent is a home run. When the Listing Agent hears from the mortgage person directly how eminently qualified you are, imagine how that raises your profile in the mind of the agent and the Seller!

STEP 4. Home Inspection ready to go. When you sign your offer, be sure to tell your Realtor that you’ve already spoken with your Home Inspector and you can have the inspection done tomorrow. Whoa, that’s really the mark of a serious Buyer!

STEP 5. Get ready with your counteroffer. If you offered less than the asking price, then you need be prepared with your counter offer if the Seller either declines or counters your opening offer. All of the steps above should be repeated with the new price replacing the original number. Organization and swift responses rule the day! Oh, you may not want to counter offer. That’s okay, too.

Close-up shot of keys in the lock of open door. One key is in lock another hanging on the ring

Unlock the door to homeownership with this method

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

I welcome Comments for all my blog entries.  I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of tcurranmortgage.com.  If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

 

Jan 172010
 

I had lunch with my good pal and Realtor Extraordinaire Phil Faranda the other day. As I gobbled some crazy good pizza Phil lectured me (kindly, as it were) that I need to be blogging again.

In between chomps on the pizza I responded.

GULP. “Been there done that Phil. I used to blog on tcurranmortgage a LOT.” BITE. CHOMP. GULP. YUM.

“Do it again,” says the JPhilip man.

So he got me to thinking. Not just about Pizza, but about blogging again. Then he drew me in ever so craftily when I responded in a rather lengthy way to his posting on his Facebook blog. You can read for yourself how my pizza-enabling-pal became my new blogging-enabling-friend. And I quote: “Trevor, you just wrote a blog post! See how easy?”

I did it again this morning. Got on my soapbox and came real close to ranting and raving in reply to one of Phil’s eloquent and passionate blogs about our interesting business we all work in.

Am I back to blogging BIG-TIME? Since I’m crazy busy in my new role as Director of Business Development for a busy mortgage company, I truly don’t believe I have the time, but I’ll try to come back here to tcurranmortgage.com more often and enlighten y’all with my thoughts and information on mortgages, real estate and the homebuying experience.

Speaking of blogs, do check out Phil’s and also my good friend Gary’s (also known as Dedicated WebMaster of this here tcurranmortgage blog) blog about his search for a home in Babylon.

Hey Phil, here’s a re-cap of a bunch of articles I done blogged “back in the day” about the negotiating process. These are the lessons I’ve learned over my 20 year career as a mortgage professional and the distillation of the advice I have given (and continue to give) my HomeBuyer clients:

How To Make An Offer: Redux 2009

Asking Price Doesn’t Matter To Realistic Buyers

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Buy A Home?

FSBO’s: For Sale By Owner

And, in a more-detailed response to Phil’s FaceBook posting this morning about the Seller who didn’t counter-offer, an excerpt from a rather old blog entry here on tcurranmortgage.com, Negotiating An Offer In A Changing Market. The excerpt from that article is posted here to further illuminate Phil’s point that a Seller should ALWAYS counter-offer a Buyer’s offer no matter how low it is. Phil says that Buyers are so hard to come by that, when you have one in front of you, you (The Seller) must react with more than a “NO” to a lowball offer.

My personal spin on that is the Seller isn’t really serious about selling the house. See more below.

Serious Sellers. Oh boy there are a lot of houses on the market. Don’t let that fool you into thinking they are all ready for the taking by smart Buyers like you.

Assume there is a percentage of Sellers out there who are not serious about selling their homes. They still think it’s last year and the prices are still mega-millions. Note to Sellers: the market has changed!

You want to discern who is serious about Selling and who is standing there thinking their homes are cash cows waiting to be milked by an unsuspecting Buyer. Note to Buyer: that’s not YOU!

Some folks don’t need to move. The job is not relocating to Arizona; it’s not time to retire; they don’t need to buy a bigger house to accommodate the elderly Mom who is moving in with them. Some folks just have this idea they can sell their home and make tons of money. That’s not “serious about selling” in my book.

You can ask a lot of questions to get at the “truth” behind a Seller’s motivations to sell. You may not get answers to your questions, or the answers may reveal nothing of the Seller’s intentions, or, worse, you may be lied to.

In my long experience I have found the best way to get at the secret of whether or not a Seller really wants to/needs to sell a home is to make an offer.

The person who doesn’t respond to an offer probably thinks he’ll just sit tight to get his price. That’s fine, but if the house isn’t worth that price anymore, then you, educated Buyer, will be moving on to greener pastures.

If your original offer is seriously low, and there is no response, try raising it. If still there is no reaction—a counter offer from the Seller is what I consider a reaction—then this Seller probably isn’t serious.

Time for you to move on. There are plenty of houses out there. Keep going until you find a Seller who really is serious about selling their home.

These are just basic suggestions to help you chart the mysterious waters of a cooling market.

You really must be out there looking, looking, and looking some more, making offers, and making more offers in order to develop a good sense of where the market is going and how you can achieve your goal of homeownership.

Thanks Phil for dragging me back here! Let’s see where it goes from here…
TC

I welcome Comments for all my blog entries. I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of tcurranmortgage.com. I do not permit unfettered access to comments for obvious reasons: mortgage spammers and their ilk. If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve. Thanks for reading tcurranmortgage.com. Hope that helps!

Oct 042007
 

The methods used to determine asking price on any given property are so wildly varied as to defy clear definition. Especially as emotion plays such a large part in the ultimate decision.

In this market, in my opinion, the Buyer should set their own price.

A Buyer who worries while shopping about asking price and list price is missing the bigger picture of how to negotiate the [tag]purchase of a home[/tag].

The [tag]Realtor[/tag] doesn’t control you—and you should never let them, either!

1. Create your wish list for the home you want.
2. Identify the neighborhood(s) you like.
3. Get out there and shop, shop, shop (that means: do NOT sit at home looking at internet listings; all you’re seeing are ADVERTISEMENTS, not homes).
4. Being out there you gather personal data to compare/contrast against your wish list.
5. Being out there you develop your own personal “gut-feeling” of [tag]market price[/tag].
6. Make offers. That’s how you, the Buyer, determine the market price. (btw: I gave the SAME advice during the boom).

If a Seller is truly interested in selling, you and the Seller will work out your differences on price (in other words: your opening bid is almost NEVER your maximum price, nor is it the Seller’s bottom price) and find that equilibrium wherein both parties are happy and there occurs a “meeting of the minds.”

If a Seller is unrealistic, you will walk away from the [tag]house[/tag] because no amount of patient negotiating is going to convince that Seller of the “true” market price.

This isn’t rocket science: it’s just patience and a realistic appraisal of the market for [tag]home buying[/tag].

[tags]Word Press, Technorati, appraisal, SimpleTags[/tags]