What Is A Mortgage?

 

The original phrase “mort gage” translates as “death pledge”! But as this video explains, a mortgage is a loan obtained to purchase real estate.
The “mortgage” itself is a lien – a legal claim on the home or property that secures the promise to pay the debt.

All mortgages have two features in common: principal and interest.

The principal is the amount you are borrowing which is “secured” by the lender’s claim on the property.

The interest, usually stated as the percentage rate is the additional amount paid for borrowing. Mortgage interest is ‘compounded’ – interest on interest, over time.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port, Florida

Are There Special Mortgages For First-Time Homebuyers?

 

Yes. Like the video shows, lenders now offer several affordable mortgage options which can help first-time homebuyers overcome obstacles that made purchasing a home difficult in the past.

Lenders may now be able to help borrowers who don’t have a lot of money saved for the down payment and closing costs, have no or a poor credit history, have quite a bit of long-term debt, or who have experienced income irregularities.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port

What Are “Home Warranties”, And Should I Consider Them?

 

You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later, but essentially, home warranties offer you protection for a specific period of time, such as one year, against potentially costly problems like unexpected repairs on appliances or home systems which are not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Warranties are becoming more popular because they offer protection during the time immediately following the purchase of a home a time when many people find themselves cash-strapped.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port

What Is Earnest Money, And How Much Should I Set Aside?

 

Like the video shows, “earnest money” is money you put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions.
If your offer is accepted the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your earnest money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you may forfeit the entire amount.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port

What About A Home Located In A Flood Plain?

 

A flood plain is an area of land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences flooding during periods of high discharge. Watch this video and it’ll make sense.

If you live in a flood plain lenders will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home.

Check the National Flood Insurance Program site  at FloodSmart.gov  for more information. And work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port, Florida

What Does A Home Inspector Do, And How Does An Inspection Figure In The Purchase Of A Home?

 

As we show you in this video, an inspector checks the safety of your potential new home.

Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs that are needed.

The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you’re getting good value for your money.

Generally, an inspector checks (and gives estimates for repairs on):

  • the electrical system
  • plumbing and waste disposal
  • the water heater
  • insulation and ventilation
  • the heating and AC system
  • water source and quality
  • the potential presence of pests
  • the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof.

Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced. It’s a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since once the deal is closed you’ve bought the house as-is.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port

What Questions Should I Ask When Looking At Homes?

 

As you’ll see in this video, many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues.

Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance like paint, roof, heating and AC, appliances and carpet?

Also ask about the house and neighborhood focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller’s or real estate agent’s answers are clear and complete.

Like the video says, ask questions until you understand all of the information they’ve given.

Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. The HUD Home Scorecard can help you develop your question list and keep a record for each potential home.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port

What Should I Look For When Walking Through A Home?

 

As we show you in this video, in addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists use the HUD Home Scorecard and consider the following:

  • Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
  • Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
  • Is the yard big enough?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Will your furniture fit in the space?
  • Is there enough storage space?

Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions and write down your measurements.

  • Does anything need to repaired or replaced?
  • Will the seller repair or replace the items?

Imagine the house in good weather and bad and in each season. Will you be happy with it year-round? Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Keep the scorecard and notes for each one.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port

Is An Older Home A Better Value Than A New One?

 

Well, as this story shows, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. You should look at each home for its individual characteristics.

Generally, older homes may be in more established neighborhoods offer more ambiance and have lower property tax rates. People who buy older homes, however shouldn’t mind maintaining their home and making some repairs.

Newer homes tend to use more modern architecture and systems are usually easier to maintain and may be more energy-efficient. People who buy new homes often don’t want to worry initially about upkeep and repairs.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port

How Can I Find Out Information About My Credit History?

 

Watch this video and take a few notes! There are three major credit reporting companies:

  • Equifax – www.equifax.com 1-800-685-1111
  • Experian – www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742
  • Trans Union – www.transunion.com 1-800-916-8800

Obtaining your credit history is as easy as calling and requesting one. Once you receive the report, it’s important to verify its accuracy.

Suncoast One Title has offices in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port