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By: Karen Behfar

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Starting To Look For A Home? 

Know what you need vs. what you want.

In this day and age when we can shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you're looking for before you start your home search.

If you've been thinking of buying a home for some time now, you've probably come up with a list of things that you'd LOVE to have in your new home.

Would a two car garage be a necessity or a convenience? Perhaps the modern gray countertops or Viking oven in the kitchen of the home you’re looking at right now would be satisfactory, even if not your first choice? Could the master suite of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make it or break it deciding factor right now?

Make a list of your needs and wants, and qualify them as follows:

Must haves:If the property does not have one of these items, then it should not even be considered.

Wants: If the property has some of these I would be thrilled but they are definitely not a deal breaker.                

I have seen many buyers initially reject certain homes, blocks, or neighborhoods, but after checking out the homes available in this very tight market, they reconsider and start looking at homes they thought were outside of their initial comfort zone.

Real Estate Fun Fact:

Did you know that New York City's Central Park has an estimated land value of $512,626,276,800?

How's that for luxury city living?!

Mortgage Musings

Are you thinking about buying a new house? Whether you are a first-time or experienced buyer, if your credit score isn’t looking so great it can affect how much mortgage financing you receive – or whether you’re approved at all! But don’t fret. It is still possible to get a mortgage approved, even if you have credit issues. Below we’ll share a few ways that you can get a mortgage loan even if your credit is less than perfect.

Consider an FHA-Guaranteed Mortgage

For many individuals with credit issues, the Federal Housing Administration’s guaranteed loan programs are a good choice. In essence, the FHA guarantees your mortgage with select lenders, which allows them to worry less about the risk of lending to someone with past credit problems. It’s worth noting that FHA programs do come with some additional costs attached. Mortgage insurance may be required, which helps to protect the mortgage lender in case you default. And there may or may not be an additional monthly premium cost as well.

Do Everything You Can To Improve Your Credit Score

Before applying for a mortgage, you’ll want to ensure your FICO credit score is as high as possible. Call or visit the website of one of the major credit reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. You’ll want to review any outstanding issues in the report, and eliminate anything that should not be there. For example, in the past, you may have had a credit card or small loan that went into collections, and even though you paid it, it is still in the report. Contact the credit agency to challenge anything that should not be in your report.

Don’t Stretch Beyond Your Means

If and when you’re approved for a mortgage, it’s critical to remember not to reach beyond your ability to pay the mortgage payments each month. Yes, it might seem like an excellent idea to get a larger or more luxurious house if a larger mortgage is offered to you. However, don’t forget that you’ll need to manage payments each month for many years, and it’s tough to predict the future.

Karen Behfar is a Licensed Real Estate Broker of The Behfar Team. She can be reached at 718 309 0439.