Do you remember the days when, in order to buy a house, you scrimped and saved until you had a big enough down payment to go out and find your dream home?
How about the days when you could buy a house with no money down (you could even get over 100 percent financing to cover closing costs), even if you had a sketchy credit score? (Probably easier for all of us to remember the latter because that was how it was not too long ago, until the mortgage crisis hit and the real estate market took a turn for the worse.)
Now the pendulum is swinging back to the other side. In an effort to correct the errors made by the lending industry, lending requirements are getting tighter and tighter. The days of easy 100-percent financing are becoming a thing of the past. Down payments and good credit scores are once again coming to the forefront.
But don’t let all that doom and gloom stop you. There are lots of ways to get creative and to make it work. It is a great time to buy. Interest rates are still historically low, housing prices are down, and right now a lot of sellers are willing to work with you in an effort to get their house sold.
First check out what you can do through the conventional loan process. It is very important you find a good lender – one who’s aware of all the loan programs out there. (I recommend that you shop a few lenders to be sure you’re getting the right information and learning about all the loans available.) The government and the banks are changing things so often these days that most of us can’t keep up with it all, but good lenders will work to find the best possible options for your situation and they will give you an idea of what you can spend on a home.
Next, start thinking outside the box. What can sellers do to help you on the financing side? Well, depending on your situation — whether it is not enough cash for down payment and closing costs, or you’re worried about the high monthly payments or you just can’t qualify for a conventional loan — there are some creative things you can do. Here are some suggestions:
· Ask for closing costs to be paid by the seller. Here in Shasta County, title and escrow fees are typically split 50/50 between buyer and seller. But to keep down the amount of money you need at close of escrow, request the seller pay these costs.
· Ask the seller to buy down your loan rate. If monthly payments are an issue for you, it may be worth your while to pay a little more for the house but ask the seller to contribute to buying down your interest rate on your loan to bring your monthly payments where you need them.
· Seller financing. There are sellers out there who are willing to carry the loan on the purchase of their home. If, for some reason, it is difficult for you to qualify for conventional financing, see if you can find a seller willing to carry the loan on the house.
These are just a few suggestions of things you can do. Look at your own personal situation and then ask yourself if there is a creative way the seller can help you get into the home you want. And then just ask for it! There are a lot of sellers out there who, in an effort to sell their home, are willing to work with buyers and be creative. Talk to your Realtor and your lender and start thinking outside the box.
Contact Lara Wells Osborn at Coldwell Banker C&C Properties – Westside, 1801 Buenaventura Blvd., Redding, CA 96001. Cell: (530) 276-3026. Fax: (530) 419-1167. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or larawellsosborn.com.