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We hope you find the "What to Expect" information a helpful resource as you purchase your new home!

 

 

Decision-Making Process

  • First Meeting: This is a relaxed meeting where we simply want to get to know you better and understand how you live in your home. We will ask questions that will help us determine your lifestyle and every day living needs.
  • Second Meeting: We will walk you through a home design and price range. This meeting is designed to get your feedback on your floor plan, standard features and options.
  • Third Meeting: The price and final options will be determined and any final changes will be discussed during our third meeting.
  • Fourth Meeting: Paperwork will be finalized and the contract to begin your new home will be signed.

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Mortgage Basics

A mortgage is a long-term loan that uses real estate as collateral. A mortgage loan is commonly used for buying a home. Mortgage loans are usually fully amortizing, which means that the monthly principal and interest payment will pay off the loan in the number of payments stipulated on the note. Mortgage loans are also described by the length of time for repayment, such as 15 or 30 years, and whether the interest rate is fixed or adjustable. A mortgage loan where the downpayment is less than 20% usually requires private mortgage insurance (PMI) or government insurance or guarantee.

Most mortgage loans require monthly payments of principal and interest plus additional payments that are set-aside in escrow accounts to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance. In addition, loans with PMI or government mortgage insurance may require payment of a monthly mortgage insurance premium as part of the regular monthly payment.

Some lenders offer bi-weekly mortgages, which call for 26 payments per year. The details of bi-weekly mortgages can differ, so it's best to ask the lender to outline the details of how these programs work.

Homebuyers who can afford the higher monthly payment sometimes prefer a 15-year mortgage to a 30-year mortgage. Interest rates on 15-year mortgages usually are slightly lower than 30-year rates. In addition, a homebuyer financing a home purchase with a 15-year mortgage will repay principal substantially faster and will pay far less total interest over the term of the loan.

Conventional Mortgages
A conventional mortgage is one that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. Conventional loans with a downpayment of less than 20% typically require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects the lender if the homeowner defaults on the loan. For more information about conventional loans, please check the Web sites of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two primary purchasers of conventional loans.

FHA-Insured Loans
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is a part of the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), operates several low-downpayment mortgage insurance programs that buyers can use to purchase a home. FHA-insured loans generally require the buyer to make a three percent cash contribution to the downpayment and closing costs. FHA-insured loans are available from most of the same lenders who offer conventional loans.

The maximum FHA-insured loan amount for a one-family home ranges from about $172,632 to $312,895 depending on local area median home prices and other factors. Your lender can provide more details about FHA-insured mortgages and the maximum loan amount in your area, or find information on FHA’s loan limits directly from HUD’s Web site.

VA-Guaranteed Loans
If you are a veteran of military service, reservist, or on active military duty, you may be able to obtain a loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which requires little or no downpayment. Get more information about the VA Loan Guaranty program.

Rural Housing Service Loans
The Rural Housing Service (RHS), which is a part of the US Department of Agriculture, offers Section 502 Direct and Guaranteed Rural Housing loans to homebuyers located in rural areas. Section 502 Direct loans offer reduced interest rates to lower-income borrowers who qualify, and are arranged directly through local USDA County Agents or through USDA Rural Development state offices.

A limited amount of funding is available for Section 502 Direct loans, so some lenders also offer “Leveraged Loan” programs. Leveraged loans combine a Section 502 Direct loan that carries a low interest rate with a conventional, market-rate loan. The “blended” interest rate on the resulting loan is lower than the current market rate as a result of the combination of the rates on the two loans.

The Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loans are arranged through participating local lenders and are available to a broader range of borrowers. Click here to find out more about RHS loan programs.

State Housing Finance Agency Loans
State Housing Finance Agencies (HFA) provide loans to first-time homebuyers, often at below-market interest rates. Program availability and eligibility requirements vary from state to state. You should check with your state HFA for programs that are currently available. Find a link to your state’s HFA from the National Council of State Housing Agencies Web site.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs)
With a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate stays the same during the life of the loan. But with an ARM, the interest rate changes periodically, usually in relation to a specific index such as a cost of funds rate or the Treasury bill rate. Payments may go up or down accordingly. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are characterized by the time frame for adjustment, such as 1 year, or 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. Hybrid ARMs have grown in popularity because they may offer a favorable fixed rate of interest for a time, such as 3, 5, 7, or 10 years, after which the loan becomes a 1-year ARM.

Lenders generally charge lower initial interest rates for ARMs and Hybrid ARMs than for fixed-rate mortgages. This makes the ARM easier on your pocketbook at first than a fixed-rate mortgage for the same amount. It also means that you might qualify for a larger loan because lenders sometimes make this decision on the basis of your current income and the anticipated monthly payments for the few year or two. Moreover, if interest rates remain steady or move lower, your ARM could be less expensive over a long period than a fixed-rate mortgage.

Against these advantages, you have to weigh the risk that an increase in interest rates would lead to higher monthly payments in the future. It's a trade-off: you get a lower rate with an ARM in exchange for assuming more risk.

Here are some things to consider with an ARM or a Hybrid ARM:

  • Is my income likely to increase enough to cover higher mortgage payments if interest rates go up?
  • How long do I plan to own this home? (If you plan to sell soon, rising interest rates may not present the risk they do if you plan to own the house for a long time.)
  • Can my payments increase even if interest rates generally do not increase?
  • What index will be used to adjust the mortgage rate? Ask the lender for a table showing movements in the index over the previous 10 years to see how your mortgage payments would have changed.
  • How often will the interest rate be adjusted? Every year? Three years? Five years? The longer the adjustment period, the better you will be able to plan your future loan cost.
  • What is the initial mortgage interest rate? Does it include a special discount or “teaser?” If so, you could face a large increase in your monthly payments when the interest rate is adjusted for the first time.
  • What is the margin on the interest rate? The margin is the amount that the lender adds to the index rate to calculate your mortgage rate. For instance, if the index rate is 7 percent and the margin is 2 percent, your overall interest rate would be 9 percent.
  • What limits or caps have been placed on the adjustments? One of the most important items to discuss with your lender is the maximum amount that your mortgage rate can increase in any single adjustment period and over the life of the loan. Find out the "worst case" situation in the event of a sharp increase in your index rate.
  • Is the loan convertible? If so, is there a cost to convert? Convertibility allows you to change your ARM to a fixed-rate loan at some designated time in the future.
  • Is there a prepayment penalty? If you refinance your loan with a new loan, you may be assessed a fee.

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Construction Process

Our team will be with you every step of the way, and we will be happy to answer questions throughout the entire process!

  • Foundation
  • Framing
  • Mechanicals
  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Trim and Finish
  • Final Touches
  • Closing

At closing you will receive a package of information, which will include your manufacturer warranty information for the products used in your new home, as well as the keys to your new home.

You're home...Congratulations!!!

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Home Buyer's Dictionary

When you start shopping for a new home, you may encounter some words and terms with which you are unfamiliar. The following glossary will help you to be a better informed shopper.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). A loan whose interest rate is adjusted according to movements in the financial market.

Amortization. A payment plan by which a borrower reduces a debt gradually through monthly payments of principal and interest.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The annual cost off credit over the life of a loan, including interest, service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance, and other items.

Appraisal. An evaluation to determine what a piece of property would sell for in the marketplace.

Appreciation. The increase in the value of a property.

Assessment. A tax levied on a property or a value placed on the worth of property by a taxing authority.

Assumption. A transaction allowing the buyer of a home to assume responsibility for an existing loan on the home instead of getting a new loan.

Balloon. A loan which has a series of monthly payments (often for 5 years or less) with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end.

Binder. A receipt for a deposit paid to secure the right to purchase a home at terms agreed upon by the buyer and seller.

Buydown. A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce the monthly payments on a mortgage loan.

Cap. A limit to the amount an interest rate or a monthly payment can increase for an adjustable rate loan either during an adjustment period or over the life of the loan.

Certificate of Occupancy. A document from an official agency stating that the property meets the requirements of local codes, ordinances, and regulations.

Closing. A meeting to sign documents which transfer property from a seller to a buyer. (Also called settlement)

Closing Costs. Charges paid at settlement for obtaining a mortgage loan and transferring real estate title.

Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC and Rs). The standards that define how a property may be used and the protections the developer has made for the benefit of all owners in a subdivision.

Condominium. A home in a multi-unit complex; each purchaser owns an individual unit, and all the purchasers jointly own the common areas, such as the surrounding land, hallways, etc.

Conventional Loan. A mortgage loan not insured by a government agency (such as FHA or VA).

Convertibility. The ability to change a loan from an adjustable rate schedule to a fixed rate schedule.

Cooperative. A form of ownership in a multi-unit complex; the purchasers own shares of the entire complex rather than owning individual units.

Credit Rating. A report ordered by a lender from a credit bureau to determine if the borrower is a good credit risk.

Default. A breach of a mortgage contract (such as not making monthly payments).

Density. The number of homes built on a particular acre of land. Allowable densities are usually determined by local jurisdictions.

Downpayment. The difference between the sales price and the mortgage amount on a home. The downpayment is usually paid at closing.

Due-on-Sale. A clause in a mortgage contract requiring the borrower to pay the entire outstanding balance upon sale or transfer of the property. A mortgage with a due-on-sale clause is not assumable.

Earnest Money. A sum paid to the seller to show that a potential purchaser is serious about buying.

Easement. Right-of-way granted to a person or company authorizing access to the owner’s land; for example, a utility company may be grated an easement to install pipes or wires. An owner may voluntarily grant an easement, or in some cases, be compelled to grant one by a local jurisdiction.

Equity. The difference between the value of a home and what is owed on it.

Escrow. The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA). A federal agency which insures mortgages that have lower downpayment requirements than conventional loans.

Fixed Rate Mortgage. A mortgage whose interest rate remains constant over the life of the loan. The payments are not necessarily level. (See Graduated Payment Mortgage and Growing Equity Mortgage).

Fixed Schedule Mortgage. A mortgage whose payment schedule for the life of the loan is established at closing. The payments and interest rate are not necessarily level.

Graduated Payment Mortgage (GPM). A fixed-rate, fixed-schedule loan which starts with lower payments than a level payment loan; the payments rise annually over the first 5 to 10 years and then remain constant for the remainder of the loan. GPMs involve negative amortization.

Growing Equity Mortgage (Rapid Payoff Mortgage). A fixed-rate, fixed-schedule loan which starts with the same payments as a level payment loan; the payments rise annually, with the entire increase being used to reduce the outstanding balance. No negative amortization occurs, and the increase in payments may enable the borrower to pay off a 30-year loan in 15 to 20 years, or less.

Hazard Insurance. Protection against damage caused by fire, windstorm, or other common hazards. Many lenders require borrowers to carry it in an amount at least equal to the mortgage.

Housing Finance Agency. A state agency which offers a limited amount of below-market-rate home financing for low-and moderate-income households.

Index. The interest rate or adjustment standard which determines the changes in monthly payments for an adjustable rate loan.

Infrastructure. The public facilities and services needed to support residential development, including highways, bridges, schools, and sewer and water systems

Interest. The cost paid to a lender for the use of borrowed money.

Joint Tenancy. A form of ownership by which the tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the other would automatically inherit the entire property.

Level Payment Mortgage. A mortgage whose payments are identical for each month over the life of the loan.

Mortgage Broker. A broker who represents numerous lenders and helps consumers find affordable mortgages; the broker charges a fee only if the consumer fins a loan.

Mortgage Commitment. A formal written communication by a lender, agreeing to make a mortgage loan on a specific property, specifying the loan amount, length of time and conditions.

Mortgage Company (Mortgage Banker). A company that borrows money from a bank, lends it to consumers who want to buy homes, then sells the loans to investors.

Mortgagee. The lender who makes a mortgage loan.

Mortgage Loan. A contract in which the borrower’s property is pledged as collateral and which can be repaid in installments over a long period. The mortgagor (buyer) promises to repay principal and interest, to keep the home insured, to pay all taxes, and to keep the property in good condition.

Mortgage Origination Fee. A charge by a lender for the work involved in preparing and servicing a mortgage application (usually 1 percent of the loan amount).

Negative Amortization. An increase in the outstanding balance of a loan when a monthly payment is not large enough to cover all of the interest due.

Note. A formal document showing the existence of a debt and stating the terms of repayment.

PITI. Principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (the 4 major components of monthly housing payments).

Point. A charge of 1 percent of the mortgage amount. Points are a one-time charge assessed by the lender at closing to increase the interest yield on a mortgage loan.

Prepayment. Payment of all or part of a debt prior to its maturity.

Principal. The amount borrowed in a loan, excluding interest and other charges.

Property Survey. A survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost will depend on the complexity of the survey.

Rapid Payoff Mortgage. (See Growing Equity Mortgage).

Recording Fee. A charge for recording the transfer of a property, paid to a city, county, or other appropriate branch of government.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). A federal law requiring lenders to provide home buyers with information about known or estimated settlement costs. The act also regulates other aspects of settlement procedures.

R-Value. The resistance of insulation material (including windows) to heat passing through it. The higher the number, the greater the insulating value.

Sales Contract. A contract between a buyer and seller which should explain, in detail, exactly what the purchase includes, what guarantees there are, when the buyer can move in, what the closing costs are, and what recourse the parties have if the contract is not fulfilled or if the buyer cannot get a mortgage commitment at the agreed-upon terms.

Settlement. (See Closing).

Shared Appreciation Mortgage. A loan in which partners agree to share specified portions of the downpayment, monthly payment, and appreciation.

Tenancy in Common. A form of ownership in which the tenants own separate but equal parts. To inherit the property, a surviving tenant would either have to be mentioned in the will or, in the absence of a will, be eligible through state inheritance laws.

Title. Evidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a person’s legal right to ownership of a property.

Transfer Taxes. Taxes levied on the transfer of property or on real estate loans by state and/or local jurisdictions.

Veterans Administration (VA). A federal agency which insures mortgage loans with very liberal downpayment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses.

Walk-Through. A final inspection of a home before settlement to search for problems that need to be corrected before ownership changes hands.

Warranty. A promise, either written or implied, that the material and workmanship of a product is defect-free or will meet a specified level of performance over a specified period of time. Written warranties on new homes are either backed by insurance companies or by the builders themselves.

Zoning. Regulations established by local governments regarding the location, height, and use for any given piece of property within a specific area.

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