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Buying & Selling

The 2016 Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate figures are just out (March 2017)… and with inventory so very low right now it appears that we might be leaning into a Sellers’ Market soon.

Buying a house: What can I afford?      F R E E   B R I D G E   R E A L T Y :  610.252.2552

Maybe you are getting sick of throwing money away in rent – Once you have decided that you are ready for a little more responsibility; mowing the lawn, shoveling your sidewalk, paying mortgage every month on time, fixing a leaky faucet or repairing a roof – decide what $$/month would be most comfortable for you to live. Owning your own home can be a very nice investment if you maintain it, improve it and build equity. It can also bring a great sense of pride.

Why use Free Bridge Realty as your buyers’ agent.? Solid local knowledge and real estate experience. Guess what – most of the third party real estate portals are headquartered on the opposite coast of the nation; I would not call them an ‘expert’ in recommending who the best real estate broker is for you. Agents need to buy their own zip codes in order to show on the sidebars of these websites. We are trying a different approach by investing some of these marketing dollars into in our local community instead.1a8bf560dddb324fc5c9bb1e3a80d091_-equal-housing-logo-steve-equal-housing-symbol-clip-art_400-395

We love this area and know it well; we are invested in the local community. If you are buying real estate, our marketing philosophy is not to pour money out to third party real estate portals such as the zillows and trulias of the world, in order to ‘buy back’ our local zip code real estate leads… we prefer to invest some of our time + marketing money directly into making the local community better, because a nice local life is what we are selling.

Step 1 is taking a close look at what you can afford, then you will have a nice clear range to focus on for your home search.

In general, when you look at monthly mortgage payments / PITI it is not a good idea to go beyond 1/3 of what you are bringing in each month. A good lender will be able to help you assess the target $ range for a home purchase. A no-obligation discussion with your banker or lender is a very good place to start – this will help focus your home-search so that you are not wasting a lot of time. Here’s a handy mortgage calculator if you want to check out PITI (mortgage Principal + Interest, Taxes and Insurance).

Another factor that’s important is your credit score. If it’s below 630 but you do hope to own a home – most lenders would not mind having a look with you at the credit report and pinpoint which items will best get you there; create a roadmap to bring it up to a mortgage-worthy level.

Here’s a nice NY Times article that helps you decide is it better to rent, or buy? And, for all you formula-fans there is also this rent vs. buy calculator.
As a buyers’ agent we’ll help you find a great property and guide you through the process once you are ready, we help get it done.

Check out the Greater Lehigh Valley mls app. for mobile devices, so you can search properties on the most current local mls website.

Here are a few lenders in the area, that clients have reported good experiences with:

  • Broker-Banker Mike Bower with The Mortgage Company in Allentown.
  • Vince Palumbo with Quaint Oak Bank or Leonard Tabone with the Quaint Oak Bank team 610.351.9970
  • Cathy Hamerstone with Lafayette/Fulton bank: 610.332.7116
  • Considering a ‘fixer upper’ or does the house you are buying really need a new roof or kitchen upgrade? Guess what: there are renovation loans for that!
    Did you know you can get an FHA renovation/rehab loan? These are excellent for some of the ‘fixers’ in our area that have loads of potential (add a bath, renovate a kitchen, put a new roof on) – so many possibilities! The renovation loan becomes part of your mortgage – if you have the energy it’s a good way to improve a house & make it your own/build equity. Jean Pinelli is the local wells fargo expert on these 203k loans.
  • Cathy Hammerstone is also an excellent resource for an alternative renovation loan, from Fulton/Lafayette bank’s portfolio lending.
  • Invesment property or mixed use? Jeff Barber with Lehigh Valley Financial Group is a good resource. So is Vince Palumbo with Quaint Oak Bank. 610.351.9970
  • For lower income ceilings, PNC has a ‘PNC Grant’ product where they might be able to help someone in a lower income bracket with some help on closing costs and they partner with local counties to also help avoid the monthly insurance on these loans. It’s a riskier loan and there are many qualifiers but a potential way to afford a home for some that are on the borderline. Nick Jacoski is a good resource to ask about these: 908.235.6303.

** We like to avoid the last-second stress that some lenders seem to almost relish…Make sure your lender is licensed and experienced in doing loans in the state you are buying a house in **

IMG_5066Selling a house? We customize the marketing so that it gets excellent exposure. Contact us 610.252.2552 for your no-obligation market analysis if you are considering selling. Coming soon (August): local charities and thrift shops that will take your extra stuff, when you de-clutter your home + more selling tips.

license: RB 067985 * 610.252.2552