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What all you should consider when buying a new home

When buying a house, many people have checklist of what they want included in the property itself.  But there are a few additional things home buyers should consider looking into before making their final offer.  While the house might meet be the home of your dreams, the surrounding areas and other necessary information should be a priority as well.

Two generation family looking at a house for sale

Two generation family looking at a house for sale

Crime Report: Look into the crimes that have been reported in the area. Check the sex offender’s registry.  Be aware of your surroundings

Schools: Every school is given a rating and when having school ages children; it would be beneficial to know what school your child will be zoned for.

Surrounding businesses: How far away is the closest grocery store or gas station? Be pleased with the businesses you will have to frequent.

Noise Factor: Is the home close to the freeway? Airport?  Will outside noise be a big issue for you?

Visit home at different times of day: The home will look different at night compared to the day.  Check out the street lighting.  Pay attention to any additional outside noise that might occur at night.

Consider the commute: Try to find multiple ways in and out of the neighborhood you are considering in order to get to and from work.

Street Parking: While this isn’t always an issue, some neighborhoods have only certain areas for vehicles leaving very little space for visitors or additional cars.

Drive around the neighborhood: Are there a lot of kids? Are the yards nice? Most HOAs take yards and community cleanliness into consideration but it is also a great thing to look into yourself.

Remember to be happy with your surroundings and the perfect house will be there for you.

Saving for a down payment

Purchasing your own home is one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences you can have. However, one of the hardest parts of becoming a home owner is getting your down payment together.  While there are many different loan types available, several require a 20 percent down payment.  Trying to get that money together can be difficult and will require a few years of commitment.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help to reach that 20 percent.

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Calculate what you can afford– First thing you need to decide on is your budget.  How much do you want to spend on a house and what will the down payment be?  What is the ultimate goal?  Knowing what you need and having a set number in mind can help ease anxiety and help jump start the savings.  I can help you calculate numbers to see what best suits your life.

Budget– Decide how much money needs to go to specific areas in your life (bills, grocery, gas, play) and any overage can allow for a small amount to go towards your savings goal.

Open an account– Have one account that is strictly for your down payment.  Do not borrow money from this account for other expenses.  Budgeting in a small amount to be deposited in monthly will help slowly, but surely, build the account.  When bonuses are given, put these directly into this account.

Splurge less– Try to skip a coffee run and instead prepare your drinks from home or eat in more than dining out.  These few dollars every day can add up quickly over the years.

Visualize the goal– While it may take years to get the whole 20 percent together, visualizing and setting steps towards that goal can be very rewarding.  Setting small yearly goals (save $2000 this year) and meeting them will very satisfying to see how much closer you are to owning your new home.

Don’t force it– Remember to be consistent and in time it will all work out.  It may be a long process but in the end, you will be happy to have that 20 percent down, with lower payments and a great investment.


Fall is the New Spring for Homebuyers in Las Vegas

Do you want a new home for the holidays in the Las Vegas, NV area? The Tuesday after Labor Day through Thanksgiving marks one of the busiest times of the year for those in the market for a new home. As summer begins to fade out (and with it those 100 degree and higher temperatures), folks in Vegas begin to take an interest in extending their lives past the tethers of air conditioned spaces. One of the reasons? Fall is an exceptional time to find a new place to call home.

Imagine spending the holidays in a new homeFirst Time Home Buyers and welcoming the New Year with living space to match the needs of your family. Do you want your next home to have a fireplace for romantic winter nights or a pool and spa to complete your own home resort and health club? Your home is your castle – humble or extravagant – so make sure it has the features that best suit your lifestyle.

The first step in home buying is to become pre-qualified for a home loan. When home shopping already prequalified for a mortgage, you’re signaling to any potential seller that they are dealing with a serious buyer, ready to pounce on the chance to upscale (or downsize) the minute you find your dream home.  Fall is also a perfect time for first-time home buyers including young couples and single professionals or snowbirds ready to invest in their winter home, unencumbered by the need to move based on the annual school schedule.

Another benefit of making a home purchase before the first of the year is that many of the costs associated with the purchasing process are tax deductible. The tax benefits may be the strongest driver for some buyers. Pair the benefits for buyers with motivated sellers and great deals can be had in places like Las Vegas and surrounding communities since sellers generally want to seal a deal before the holidays get too close.

Don’t wait too long to start looking if you plan a home purchase this fall. According to Vegas Inc., sales were up 8 percent in the three months ending June 30, 2015 from the same period last year. That means you’ll likely have some competition from other buyers. The right lender is a critical partner in helping you make an offer on a home with confidence. Contact Sydnee Johnson Las Vegas Home Loans at 702-830-2271 today or email her at to get prequalified.  Ask about her no-fee loans and how she’ll get the lowest interest rates available for your home mortgage.


Preparing to Apply for a Second Chance Mortgage

I provided an overview of second chance mortgages in my blog a couple of weeks ago. For many consumers with a low credit score or a history of bad debt, it’s important to understand what steps you can take prior to applying for a second change loan to increase your chances of success. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with some borrowers I met through Hali’s Angels Second Chance Mortgage– Keller Williams Realty group.

Despite being declined three times due to past financial hardships, we were able to work together to document their situation and present a cohesive story that ultimately got them approved for an FHA loan and close the transaction. It was an awesome experience for me to be able to help these people who had experienced so much hardship in their lives. Here are three lessons that I would share with any buyer in a similar situation.

Be crystal clear on your credit situation

If your credit situation is less than perfect, it’s important that you understand your current standing. Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus, and scour them for inaccuracies. Contact each of the credit bureaus to remove mistakes. Look for debts that you need to pay off, such as accounts that may be in collections. Can you do other things, such as reduce your debt ratio, to improve your score? Be objective when looking at your report and find simple ways to improve your score and overall picture.

Clearly document the source of your issues

In many cases, credit troubles start with a major precipitating event such as a job loss, divorce, or health crisis. Once the issue has been resolved or some time has passed, people get back on track. Other situations might revolve around poor spending habits that improved as you grew older. Whatever the situation is, work with your loan officer to determine the best documentation to show the cause of your issues. For example, problems that extend from a period of unemployment might include letters from past employers showing no fault and letters from your current employer underscoring the stability of your present position.

Focus on documenting your assets and growth

An important part of the package for a second chance loan is showing how you’ve turned things around. Have you managed to secure steady employment? Pay down debts or build up savings? Met all your obligations regularly for a period in time? Discuss options with your loan officer for showing your current stability. Examples might include letters from past creditors explaining that debts are resolved or copies of bank statements and 401ks.

If you’re a home buyer in the Las Vegas area that’s been rejected for a mortgage, don’t lose hope. Call me today at Sydnee Johnson Las Vegas Home Loans to discuss your situation and look at the options available to you.

Is a Second Chance Loan Right for My Mortgage?

The last few years have been difficult financially for most individuals and families. Issues ranging from long-term unemployment to the housing bubble that affected many cities have left individuals with previously stellar credit with blemishes and lower credit scores. While the issues range from late payments to foreclosures or short sales, thanks to the recent economic improvements many people are getting back on their feet. If you’re one of those individuals, you’re probably wondering – are there mortgage options that can help you reach your dream of home ownership even if you’ve had credit troubles in the recent past?Second Chance Loans

The good news: second chance loans

The answer is yes. While traditional banks or credit unions may be hesitant to make a home loan to someone with a recent foreclosure or job loss, there are a number of alternatives to consider. Money is available from private individuals and institutions with more flexible lending portfolios. Initial interest rates may be higher than the industry average, but this may be your key to rebuilding stellar credit. Speaking to an experienced mortgage lender with connections that include second chance loan providers is the first step toward understanding your options.

You’re more than a number

Second chance loan providers understand that you’re more than just your credit score. In addition to your credit history, these lenders dig deep to understand what happened to get you off track and what steps you’ve taken to get your life back on an even keel. They look closely at factors such as whether you’ve become reemployed, whether you’ve paid down debts, how your recent payment history looks, and other factors. Understanding the story behind what happened and what steps you’ve taken to improve your current situation provides a better foundation for making important credit decisions.

Keep an open mind

Many individuals that have faced recent financial difficulties have talked themselves out of their second chance at home ownership. It’s easy to assume that no one will place their trust in you, but it’s important to remember that it’s not true. Everyone faces financial hardships at one time or another. If you’ve made honest efforts to rebuild your financial life and you’re headed in the right direction, home ownership may well be within your reach.

Are you a Las Vegas area resident that would like to learn more about second chance loan options? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to arrange for a personalized consultation to discuss your unique situation, goals, and learn more about whether alternative mortgage vehicles might be right for you.

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