Kimberley Martin - Homes of New Hampshire Realty

Posted by Kimberley Martin on 3/11/2018

Buying a home is a lengthy process that requires months or even years of planning. The end result, however, is to have a home you can truly call your own and to own equity that you can then use later down the road.

Figuring out the right time to buy a home can be difficult for prospective homeowners. You’ll need to have a firm grasp on your finances and personal goals for what you want your life to look like for the next 5 or more years.

Buying a home in more than just a financial commitment. It also means you take on all of the responsibilities of owning that home. Maintenance, both inside and out, can take up a significant amount of your time.

Furthermore, owning a home ties you down to one area. You’ll need to determine if you’re ready and able to settle in one area for the next 5-7 years. This has implications for careers and for family life. Will your job bring you elsewhere? If you change jobs, are there ample opportunities where you live? These are just a couple of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before deciding whether you’re ready to buy a home.

To simplify the process, I’ve created a checklist for some of the things you’ll need before you’re ready to buy a home. While this list does cover the basics, there may be other factors unique to your circumstances that you’ll have to take into consideration.

So, if you’re thinking about buying a home sometime in the near future, read on for the checklist. And, keep in mind that these are not necessarily mandatory before buying a home. But they will give you the best chance of making a solid investment and securing financial stability.

The home buyer’s preparedness checklist

  • Raise your credit score to 750 or more. A score in the “excellent” range will help you get the lowest possible interest rate on your mortgage. It’s possible to get approved for a mortgage with a score that is much lower, but a high score is ideal and can help you avoid PMI and a high interest rate.

  • Have an emergency fund saved. You don’t want to buy a house and then suddenly find yourself needing money for an emergency. Save a month’s worth of expenses before your down payment.

  • Have an active budget plan for saving up your down payment. Creating a dedicated savings account that you automatically have a portion of your pay deposited into is a good way to ensure that you meet your savings goals.

  • Bolster the case for your financial stability. Lenders will want to see that your income is predictable and regular. Keep records of your income, tax returns, and anything else that can help show that you’re making more than enough money to safely lend to.

  • Have open conversations with your family. If you’ll be buying a home with a spouse and/or children, discuss what you’re looking for in a home. This can include location, size, etc. It’s a good idea for everyone to be on the same page before you ever start shopping for a home.

  • Get preapproved. Getting preapproved for a home loan will make you a better prospective buyer in the eyes of sellers.

  • Run the numbers again. Aside from your mortgage payments, you’ll also have to pay utilities, trash removal, property taxes, and any other expenses related to the home. Make sure you can comfortably afford these while still contributing to savings.

Tags: Buying a home   checklist  
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Posted by Kimberley Martin on 2/25/2018

After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.

At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.

A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:

1. What did the home inspection reveal?

A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.

Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.

Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.

Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.

2. Are there major home issues?

As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.

For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.

On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.

If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.

3. What should I do next?

An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.

Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.

If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.

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Posted by Kimberley Martin on 1/7/2018

It’s always a goal in life to be happier in our jobs and make more money. When it comes to buying a home, your job status can have a big effect on whether or not you’ll be able to buy a home or not. You will be able to buy a home using a new source of income. Even refinancing can be a breeze when you have a new job and the right knowledge. 

Many people believe that changing jobs or having gaps in between employment is a certain type of black hole when it comes to getting a mortgage. However, if you approach all of the changes in the correct way, you should be able to land the mortgage deal and secure a home.

Average Income

One of the most important numbers that your lender will calculate when you’re buying a home is that of your average income. This will be based on the pay that you had earned in the past 24 months‘ time. If you have had the same job and pay, this won’t be much of a big deal, However, if any of these things have changed (or will soon change) your lender may have some questions. This doesn’t mean that your mortgage application will be struck down completely. 

Information That’s Needed In The Event Of A Job Change

If you have recently changed jobs in the process of trying to refinance or buy a new home, your lender will need a few pieces of information from you. These items include:

  • An offer letter for the job
  • A role or title change letter (if applicable)
  • Compensation package change confirmation
  • Verification of employment
  • Most recent pay stub

Hourly Employees

If you’re an hourly employee, unfortunately, you’re under the tightest type of scrutiny when it comes to applying for a mortgage. Your income will be averaged for as long as you have been an hourly employee. If you work full-time, this won’t be too much of a problem. If your hours fluctuate from week-to-week, this can make things a bit more complicated.

If your hourly rates have recently gone up, you’ll need a bit of info from your employer to help you get the income verification that your lender needs. These items include:

  • An offer letter
  • Recent pay stubs
  • The new compensation structure or offer

If you have any sort of extenuating circumstances like a relocation or a new position, this information can help to bridge the gap in any information that just doesn’t add up as far as your employment history goes. 

Salaried Employees

If you’re a salaried employee, things are a bit simpler. Your lender will have a much easier time calculating your average income. The only issue that you may encounter is if you have had a gap in employment. For this, your lender will require a written explanation of what occurred during that time period.  


Lenders want to protect themselves, but in a way, they also want to protect you from getting in over your head with how much you can afford for a home. With some proof and a little explanation, you should be able to get a house you can afford if you have all of the information that you need to back up your financial history and employment history.

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Posted by Kimberley Martin on 12/31/2017

Buying a home should be a fun, exciting experience, one that ends with you moving into your dream residence. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent you from accomplishing your ultimate goal.

No homebuyer should be left in the dark, especially when it comes to navigating a competitive real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you kick off your homebuying journey on the right foot.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you launch a successful homebuying journey.

1. Know Your Homebuying Budget

You know that you'd like to buy a house, but how much can you afford to pay for a residence? With a homebuying budget in place, you can determine exactly what you can afford.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables you to enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. Many credit unions and banks are available nationwide, and each lender is happy to provide details about a wide range of mortgage options. That way, you can select a mortgage that matches your finances perfectly.

Also, don't forget to consider the costs of utilities when you budget for a home. And if you need to commute to work or school, you may want to consider your transportation expenses as well.

2. Examine the Housing Market

The housing market usually features a large collection of high-quality houses. Take a look at some of the houses that are currently available, and you can better plan for your homebuying journey.

For example, if there is an abundance of homes available in a city or town where you'd like to live, now may prove to be the ideal time to enter the real estate market. The sheer volume of residences indicates a buyer's market may be in place, so you might be able to boost your chances of acquiring an exceptional house at a budget-friendly price.

On the other hand, if homes are selling quickly in a particular area, it likely means a seller's market is in place. As such, you will need to be aggressive if you want to secure your dream residence at an affordable price.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

The homebuying journey can be daunting, particularly for those who are interested in purchasing a house for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can share real estate insights with you to ensure you can purchase a great house that meets or exceeds your expectations.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new properties, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns or questions, a real estate agent can respond to them immediately.

Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enter the real estate market as an informed homebuyer.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Kimberley Martin on 12/24/2017

The real estate market is filled with many high-quality residences, and after a comprehensive search, you've found a residence that fits your personal needs and budget perfectly. However, you may need to think twice before you submit an offer on this residence. There are many factors that homebuyers should consider before they make an offer on a house, including: 1. Neighborhood Ideally, you'll want to find a home in a community filled with friendly neighbors. But in many cases, homebuyers may focus exclusively on a residence and ignore the neighborhood entirely. Taking a walk around a neighborhood often allows you to get a better feel about what it is like to live in a neighborhood and may give you a chance to meet some of the neighbors as well. Also, a simple walk around the block will provide you with a better idea about whether a house's value may rise or fall in the foreseeable future. For instance, a neighborhood filled with houses with well-maintained front lawns, nearby parks and schools and other local amenities may prosper for years to come, and home values may rise in this neighborhood over the next few years. 2. Crime No one wants to live in an unsafe area, and you can learn about crime near a prospective home before you submit an offer on a residence. Contacting a local police station usually is a great idea for homebuyers who want to find out about crime statistics in a particular area. Furthermore, your real estate agent can provide insights into crime in a specific area and help you determine whether a particular house is the best option. 3. Traffic Although your dream home features all of the amenities you want, it might fail to provide you with quick, easy access to your office day after day. For example, traffic can be a problem if your house is located in or near a major city. And if you need to travel to work every day, it is important to understand how traffic could affect your daily commute. To better understand traffic patterns in a particular area, try driving to a residence at different times during the day. By doing so, you can learn about traffic patterns near a house and be better equipped to make a more informed decision about whether to submit an offer on a residence. 4. Taxes You've been pre-approved for a mortgage and have established a monthly budget for a new home, but taxes may vary depending on where you move. Thus, you'll want to learn as much as possible about potential taxes that you could face at a new residence before you submit an offer. Taxes may add up quickly, but homebuyers who budget accordingly can minimize the risk that they'll fall behind on tax bills. And with support from your real estate agent, you can learn about taxes that you may encounter if you purchase a particular residence. If you're fully satisfied with a residence after you consider the aforementioned factors, you'll be ready to submit an offer and move one step closer to moving into your dream house.

Kimberley Martin