5 Tips for Home Buyers to Find the Best Interest Rate

When the time comes and you’re finally ready to buy a home in Woodstock or Roswell, topics like mortgage interest rates may feel overwhelming and start giving you cold feet. Take a breath. At Frank Pallota Law, we are here to help you navigate the convoluted real estate market in Metro Atlanta.

A high interest rate could be the one thing between you and your dream home. So we’re going to take you through a few things you can start TODAY to ensure you will get the best rate once the time comes to apply.

Because there are a few components that determine your rate, you can’t anticipate a certain rate by simply asking your neighbors even though their home is in the same area and, most likely, comparable in price. So spend less time asking around and more time doing these 5 things…

1. Have the Highest Credit Score Possible

Needing a high credit score to get the best interest rate seems like a given for obvious reasons, however, there are a few things you can do to get a leg up! Pay down your credit card balances as much as you can each month without closing them. The goal is to get into the habit of only spending as much as you’re bringing in each month without building any unnecessary debt. Having a history of responsible credit usage will work in your favor when applying for a mortgage rate.

2. Have a Large Down Payment at Closing

As you prepare to make your home purchase, you want to start saving as if you already have a mortgage payment. Put that extra money into a savings account to apply towards your down payment. The larger the down payment at closing, the better the interest rate!

3. Lower Your Debt to Income Ratio

When applying for a mortgage interest rate you typically want a debt-to-income ratio smaller than 36%, with 28% (or less) of that debt going towards your mortgage. To figure this out, simply take your total debt amount and divide it by your income. If your debt totals up to $1,000 per month and your monthly income equals $4,000, your DTI is $1,000 ÷ $4,000, or 25 percent.

4. Pay Bills ON TIME

A history of how you manage your credit plays a significant role in the outcome of your interest rate. With a high credit score, a large down payment and a reasonable debt-to-income ratio, the lender will see you as a trusted borrower thus approving you for a great interest rate.

5. Avoid Adding New Lines of Credit Until After Closing

Try holding off on opening any new lines of credit until after those closing documents are signed, sealed & delivered! Adding new lines of credit make it more difficult for the lender to get an accurate sense of how you manage your finances. The more predictable you are in regards to your financial behavior, the greater confidence the lender will have in your ability to pay your mortgage on time.

If you have more questions or concerns about locking in your interest rate before closing, we’re here to help! Give us a call today and let our expert team guide you through the process.

Selling Your Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The term “new normal” has been used a lot lately when describing the rippling effect the Coronavirus, COVID-19 has had on our country and the world. But there is nothing normal about empty parks, clear roads or long-term school closures. And there is certainly nothing normal about selling your home when you literally can’t be anywhere else.

So far, the real estate market in Metro Atlanta remains open for business but gone are the days of running to Starbucks to pass the time while potential buyers tour your home.

All the medical experts will advise you that the safest route right now is to hold off on putting your home on the market. The rules of the past regarding the best times to sell your home, currently do not apply.

Life, however, isn’t always that simple and you may be facing circumstances that require you to move forward with your home selling process regardless of a shelter-in-place order from your city.

It’s time to get creative and flexible…

1. Create a Video Walk Through of Your Home

Clean the house, turn on all of the lights, organize closets, remove any clutter, pick up the rugs and take down any personal photos… then start filming! You’ll want to film in a “POV” (point of view) style using a DSLR camera or the newest smart phone you have. If you’re using a phone, remember to hold it horizontally while filming.

If your realtor doesn’t have the equipment or experience to do this for you, there are so many resources available online to help guide you through the process. Here’s a great example to get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWtK4berZ2s

2. Teleconference Live Virtual Tours with Realtors & Buyers

Technology is playing the biggest role in keeping our economy afloat while we navigate through this current health crisis. Be open to giving potential buyers as many virtual home tours as they request until they feel ready to make an offer. At that time discuss with your realtor about a plan for physical home showings. Discuss a plan that allows sanitizing between appointments and precautions you would like the buyers to take when in the home; i.e. No shoes inside the house, no touch policy unless wearing gloves, only the essential people attend (no children) and if anyone is having symptoms of any kind, they do not attend.

3. Move Out, If Possible

Moving out before your home sells is not an option for everyone unless you have the financial means or a generous friend or family member that can offer you a place to stay without adding any extra risk to either one of you (i.e. someone in the house is a health worker and you are immune compromised or vice versa).

If you have a parent or a grandparent who could use the extra company, it’s a win-win for the both of you! What sounds better than spending some precious time with grandma while your empty house remains open for potential buyers?

Now once you move onto the closing process, we can take it from there! All of us at Frank Pallotta Law are working day and night with real estate agents in Cherokee and neighboring counties to ensure business continues for our clients. You can read more about the steps we are taking to keep your closing process moving forward while also maintaining everyone’s health and safety in our Message To Our Clients About COVID-19 and check out our Facebook for updates as things progress.