The Keiths Blog


Okay, first-time buyers… it’s time to turn the dream into the dirt you can stand on. Your very own home. I’m sure you have questions. In fact, I’m sure your questions are like most first-time buyers. Which is why I’ve put together this down-and-dirty answer guide for the most common questions home buyers have.

1. What kind of credit score do I need to have?
Generally, 630 or above is what you’ll want to have. The better your score, the better the terms will be on your loan. Some lenders may give you wiggle room on this, but it all depends on the circumstances. A loan professional can help you navigate this as you go.

2. How much of a down payment is required?
There are loans which will let you in for as low as 3% - 5% of the value of the home, but I

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On line learningSo much of our attention gets focused on the Internet as a tool for entertainment. While I enjoy streaming videos and social media as much as the next person, I’ve also found some incredible resources for free learning online. More and more companies, universities, and leaders in fields of business, technology, and literature are placing free courses online. Want to learn how to code? It’s out there. Want to learn a foreign language? You can do that, too.

Below is a list of some of my favorites, and hopefully you’ll share this list with others. I know that many of my real estate clients have enjoyed using some of these resources to brush up on helping their kids with their homework as well as taking the time out to learn a few things about new software

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I wanted to have a conversation about renting versus buying. I definitely understand now may not be the right time to buy, especially if affordability is a concern and you may be unsure were you’d like to live in the near future.

That said, I thought you might find this article on the hidden long-term cost of renting compelling. It’s called “The $700,000+ mistake nearly 6 in 10 millennials may make.” You can check out the article at the related link below.

Renting in the short-term may be your best option, but waiting to buy can have a high cost. For example: “At current rates of appreciation, in 10 years the average home (now priced at $190,000) would be selling for about $249,000. If interest rates return to their historical norm (from over the

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MLS data sheetOdds are you have spent a little time online searching for homes. After all, most home searches begin online. You may have used one of our a our Hittner Group websites or a site like Realtor.com, Trulia or Zillow to help you browse listings.

But where does listing information come from?

Way back in the day, prior to the Information Age revolution, brokers used to gather and exchange information about their properties. The idea was fairly straightforward: I’ll help you sell your properties if you help me sell mine. It’s a “private offer of cooperation and compensation.” Cooperation meant the real estate industry could thrive and buyers and sellers could enjoy smoother transactions.

This spirit of cooperation gave rise to Multiple Listing

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Unlike earlier generations of retirees who paid off their mortgages and retired in their family home, today's Baby Boomers are looking to capitalize on home equity to enhance their retirement savings. If you’re thinking how relocating might stretch your retirement dollar, below are a few points you should consider before relocating, downsizing, or trading up:Tiny house

1. Speak with your spouse or partner first, even if you think you’re both of the same mind. Don’t assume that you’re in agreement. When the moment to make the leap comes, feelings may change.

2. Consider the cost-of-living in a different part of the country. There’s a pretty big swing between rural Florida and urban San Francisco, for example. This might also mean factoring fuel costs if you’re

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Lake Home In Northern MinnesotaWith favorable interest rates still at hand, you may be considering the possibility of a vacation home. A vacation home can be an excellent investment, providing you with a tangible asset you can also enjoy when you want to take a little time off.

 Here are some tips to keep in mind before you start your search for the ideal vacation home:

 1. How far do you want to travel? A remote cabin in an unspoiled wilderness might be a lifelong fantasy, but how much fun will it be if it takes half your vacation time to get there? Ask yourself how often you might use this vacation home and how much time you’re willing to spend to get there.

2. Have you spent time there before? Don’t buy before you try. Certain locales may sound romantic or exotic, but if

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New KitchenOver time, almost any home could use an upgrade. Not only is wear and tear an issue, but our needs change as we do. Birth, death, marriage, the kids going off to college… all can have a profound impact on the utility of our home and the pleasure we take in it. Home renovation can be an excellent way to improve your quality of life, but is it always the best choice? By asking yourself these five essential renovation questions, you can gain real insight into the right decision.

1. What are your renovation priorities?

Yes, if you could do it all, it would be great. But odds are you won’t be able to do it all. So brainstorm all of your renovation desires and write them down. Next, rank them by order of importance. Some will be large and some will be

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Interest RateHave major medical debts kept you from securing a mortgage? Have you found the terms of loans you’re able to qualify for too expensive? All of that might change soon due to an upgrade to the FICO credit scoring system. The new score is called FICO 9, and it aims to provide assistance to millions of Americans who have found themselves hit by major medical debt and cross-agency reporting problems. Here are the highlights about the FICO 9 score:

A more refined look at debt collection

With FICO 9, your credit score will be calculated considering medical versus non-medical collection agencies. Debts in collection due to medical bills will be treated differently than non-medical debt in collection. According to FICO, because of this change "the median

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If a person or family is ready, willing and able to purchase a home, we believe that owning is much better than renting.

And we believe that now is a great time to buy.

 

We are not the only ones that think owning has massive benefits or that now is a sensational time to plunge into owning your own home. Here are a few others:

 

Benefits of Owning

 

Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord…Having to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings.”

 

The Federal Reserve

“Renters have much lower median and mean net worth than

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Another snowy day here in Minnesota! At least the kids are back in school, and I hear that we will soon be up to a high in the 30s. Spring is here! Not quite... but it is in the real estate market. There is much to prepare for our busiest time of year.

I thought you might enjoy a brief real estate market note. 

In 2012 the median sales price increased 12% and in 2013 the median sales price increased just over 14%. Hooray for 2 consecutive years of solid price gains! 

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to the home they have always dreamed of or considering buying their first home (maybe someone you know?). Prices are still below those of a few years ago as they are not yet near the peak and…
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