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Why You Should Work With a Local Lender Instead of a National Lender



Why should you work with a local lender instead of a national lender? Today we’ll explain.

Lots of online lenders that have a nationwide reach can be misleading when it comes to getting information about quotes, interest rates, and the fees and services they offer. This is especially problematic for first-time homebuyers in the market who are trying to figure out what their monthly payment would be if they bought a home.

In places like Florida and the Bay Area, things like homeowners insurance rates, property taxes, and closing costs tend to be much higher. A local lender will be more familiar with the specific nuances of your area’s market than a national lender would be, so they’ll be able to use that information to give you a more accurate picture of what your monthly payment would be. They’ll also be able to tell you, for example, whether or not the home you’re purchasing is in a flood zone, which would mean you’d need to get a flood insurance policy with the home—this could also greatly affect your monthly payment.



A local lender will be more familiar with the specific nuances of your area’s market than a national lender would be.

Additionally, national lenders sometimes send you an online calculator that allows you to punch in some information and then shoots out an estimate of your monthly payment. You might think that that’s a great service, but often that estimate is lower than everyone else’s because they use a standardized, fake number for taxes and insurance. They can’t know the taxes and insurance on the house until they actually have a house to assess. So, when it comes to using online calculators, be sure to only pay attention to the principal and interest.

Another thing to consider is that a national lender may offer you a great interest rate, causing you to think you’ve struck gold, but once you look at the loan origination fees, closing costs, and the points that you pay in order to get that rate, you’ll learn that the overall costs may be substantially higher. Make sure that when you’re comparing different lenders, you’re comparing apples to apples.

All in all, working with local lenders will help prevent you from making certain, potentially costly mistakes when it comes to purchasing a house, on top of saving you time and money.

If you have any questions or would like recommendations regarding local lenders we know and trust, reach out to us. We’d love to speak with you.


Steps Homebuyers Should Take Before Looking for a House



Many people like to begin the home buying process by window-shopping for homes. But if you’re truly serious about purchasing, there are a few steps you need to take first. Robert Johnson, president of the Duncan Duo Team, is here to help mewith the preliminary steps to take before going out to view homes.

1. Speak to a lender and get pre-approved first. Yes, this is a scary part of the process to many, but it’s also very important to do this before becoming attached to one home or another. If you get pre-approved before going to view homes, you’ll have an idea of how much you’ll be approved for, which will narrow down your choices. It will also give you an idea of what sort of monthly payment you’ll be looking at once you close on the home. Additionally, the home you’ve chosen may get taken before you even complete the approval process.

Further still, many agents won’t work with buyers who haven’t been pre-approved. If you’re concerned about your credit getting in the way of your approval, at least you’ll know where you are, and most lenders can help you form a gameplan to get your credit to where it needs to be in order to qualify for a home loan. Imagine finding out that you don’t qualify for a loan after you’ve set your sights on a home!



Imagine finding out that you don’t qualify for loan after you’ve set your sights on a home!


2. Instead of just looking for homes online, try driving around to see what’s out there. You might see homes you love online, but you may find that when you get there, they’re not what you thought they’d be. By driving around, you can see what the home looks like in person.

When you find a home you like, it’s also a good idea to measure your commute times. You don’t want to move to a place that will add unnecessary amounts of time to your daily commute to work! Additionally, observe the surrounding neighborhood after dark; this will help you get a well-rounded perspective on the neighborhood so that you can be sure it’s a right fit for you.

If you have any questions about buying a home or about real estate in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Duncan Duo. We’d love to help you navigate the process so you can find the home of your dreams.


How to Determine the Best Offer for Your Home


To really know if an offer suits your needs as a home seller, there are three factors you need to look at: time, money, and terms.


Once you start getting offers, how do you know which one is best for you?

To determine the quality of an offer, there are three factors to consider: time, money, and terms. One offer might have the highest price, but its terms might require a longer closing. It’s like we always tell our clients—you can have two offers that are both worth $250,000, but each offer can vary in terms of risk once you analyze their terms.

Typically, there are two types of sellers: those who prioritize time and those who prioritize money. Some sellers prioritize each equally, but you need to know who you are as a seller. Do you need your sale to happen in a timely manner because of outside circumstances (e.g., a job relocation) or do you just want to get the most money possible out of your sale? Once you figure that out, you’ll know what kind of offers to look for.



Always communicate with your agent what factors are most important to you so they can advise you on which offer best suits your needs.


If time and convenience are more important to you, you should consider going with an instant offer program. These types of programs guarantee quick, convenient, all-cash purchases. However, you usually have to sacrifice something for that convenience. Companies that buy homes do so in order to resell them and make a profit, so you typically won’t sell yours to them for maximum value.

Of course, if you prioritize making the most money possible from your home sale, you’re better off listing it the traditional way. You’re not required to accept an offer just because it’s the highest price, though. Highest doesn’t always mean best. It’s not unusual for a seller to accept a lower-priced offer from another buyer because they’re further along in the pre-qualification process and they’re working with a lender you and your agent trust.

On that note, always communicate with your agent what factors are most important to you so they can advise you on which offer best suits your needs.

If you have any questions about this or any other real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to speak with you.