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Looking to Buy a Home? 5 Mortgage Steps You Need to Know

by Tucker Robbins

home buyer

The home loan process can seem intimidating, especially for a first-time homebuyer. It is not a simple process, but it doesn't have to be too complicated. There are many resources available to help you prepare for your home buying journey, and your mortgage lender can answer the questions you have throughout the process.

Here are some of the key steps to the home loan process, as well as some tips to help you understand what you can expect:

1. Preparation and self-assessment

Before you dive head-first into buying a home, make sure that you know how much you can afford.  The first step is to calculate your "debt-to-income ratio." You can do this by adding up your current monthly bills then subtracting your total current income. This will help you determine whether you can afford a mortgage payment, and if so, what amount might fit into your budget. Using an online mortgage calculator is a good way to help you determine what the estimated cost of your monthly mortgage payment will be. Doing these calculations first will help you assess your resources and determine your budget to purchase a home.

2. The loan application

Download a blank loan application ahead of time so you can look it over and familiarize yourself with it. This will give you an idea of the information you need when completing and submitting the application. The necessary documents may include: proof of income, proof of employment for the past two years, proof of identity, proof of residency and your social security card.

3. Origination and Underwriting

Origination - The loan officer will review your financing options, work with you to complete the credit application and create the loan account.

Underwriting - An underwriter will review the application and determine the level of credit risk you represent based on your credit score, income, existing debt and down payment. You may be asked to provide additional information about your finances during this step.

4. Satisfying loan conditions and full loan approval

In this step, you will receive a "conditions to approval" list from your lender, which outlines the tasks you must complete before the loan can be closed. For example, the lender may ask for additional documentation to verify income, savings or emergency funds or other proof that you can afford to repay the loan. At this point in the process the lender may offer a conditional loan approval and start the document verification process. If you accept the conditional loan approval offer, once all conditions have been met, the lender will issue a full loan approval.

5. Processing

Once you've selected your dream home, you'll sign a purchase agreement with the seller. The purchase agreement tells the lender how much you have agreed to pay to purchase the home. The lender may then have the home appraised and will provide you with a copy of the appraisal.

6. Closing

In the final step of the process, the lender works with a title company to obtain and review a title report and then finalize your title on the home. The titling company receives a closing package, which contains the documents that need to be signed, recorded and become part of your mortgage loan file. At the closing, you will sign all closing documents and pay any closing costs. The lender then receives all of this signed paperwork to complete the process.

Once this process is complete, you're ready to move into your dream home. The home loan process may take some time, but these steps are well worth the wait. (BPT)

10 Seasonal Tips: Simple Ways to Save Time and Enjoy the Holidays

by Tucker Robbins


It may be the most wonderful time of year, but at times, it can also feel like the most stressful. This holiday season, take a fresh approach to your "to-do's list" to save time and energy so you can be merry and bright. These 10 tips and tricks will help you relax, unwind and enjoy all the best parts of the holidays.

1. Wrap while shopping

 It's a given that shopping early avoids the last-minute frenzy, but you can save even more time and stress by getting gifts wrapped while out and about. Many department stores offer gift wrap services, all you need to do is ask.

2. Streamline holiday cards

 Sending cards is a holiday tradition, but it shouldn't cause unneeded stress. No need to worry about a dated address book - an easy trick is to cut return address labels from each card you receive and place in an envelope. Now it's easy to send cards to loved ones and update your address book without hassle.

3. Use baking hacks

Using pre-made foods is one of the simplest (yet yummy) ways to create holiday bakery delights. While you're baking, double the batch to have an extra on hand for a hostess gift.

4. Go tech free

Smartphones ringing, emails beeping, texts buzzing - technology is time consuming. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by designating tech-free times for your family each day. Use this time (1-2 hours) to relax and focus on each other, perhaps with a hot cup of cocoa - the emails and messages will still be there later.

5. Schedule a salon visit

With a long holiday to-do list, it's hard to find time for you. That's why treating yourself to a haircut or manicure can do wonders for your holiday spirit. Plus, you'll look and feel fantastic when you attend all those festive get-togethers.

6. Opt for an open house

Having a holiday gathering adds to the season's merriment, but where will everyone fit and how will you feed them? Instead of a formal dinner, opt for an open house with hors d'oeuvres. You'll have less work and more time to spend with love ones as they come and go.

7. Embrace holiday breakfasts

Start every day off right by enjoying a delicious breakfast with your family. No need to spend hours in the kitchen cooking; instead include iconic breakfast classics that you and the kids love. (BPT)

New Castle County Real Estate Market Watch for October 2015

by Tucker Robbins

The New Castle County Real Estate Market report shows home sales are trending upward with 502 homes sold in October 2015 compared to 487 in October 2014. However, the average sales price dropped 1.91% in October to $238,478 from $243,113 in October 2014.

Courtesy of New Castle County Realtor Tucker Robbins.

4 Things You Don't Want Your Home Inspector To Miss

by Tucker Robbins

home inspector

Home inspectors are good at their jobs but they are not above missing some things because they are human.   There are several things that home inspectors have been known to miss during a home inspection so you might want to keep your eyes open and pay close attention during the inspection so that you don’t end up having to pay for expensive repairs once you move in to your new home.   A few things that may be missed by your home inspector  are below.

  1. Inspectors do not always go over all the bells and whistles of a home and appliances are on the list of things they do not always pay a lot of attention to.  The last thing you want is to move into your new home to find out that you have a leaky dishwasher that needs to be replaced.  If you want to make sure appliances have not been overlooked you may want to check them yourself. 
  2. Leaky faucets are also things that can be overlooked by home inspectors.  Take your time to walk through your soon to be new home and check the faucets for leaks just in case your inspector may have missed something.   It’s a good idea to check outdoor faucets as well.
  3. Cracked sewage and drainage pipes might also be something that your inspector doesn’t take a look at and may therefore miss.  It may be worth your while to pay a bit of extra money to have an in depth look at your drainage pipes. 
  4. Sometimes home inspectors will not pay a lot of attention to decks, porches and balconies.  There can be problems in these areas such as safety issues and cracks that may not arise until right before you make the purchase of the home.  Perhaps a second follow up inspection may be a good idea if you feel that one of these areas may be a potential problem. 

Again, home inspectors are human and they are not above missing some potential problems  with your new home.  Realize this fact before you have your home inspection so that you too can keep your eyes open for any potential problems you see in and around your prospective new home.  Once you move in you will be able to rest assured that you have not bought into a money pit. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins!

Veterans Housing Update

by Tucker Robbins

veterand day

Over the years there hasn’t been that much to talk about when it came to housing for Veterans but as the months and years go by things are beginning to look up for those who have protected our country and are still continuing to do so.  With Veteran’s Day being this week, it seems a good time to look at a few ways that veterans housing is improving for the better.   

  • Many companies are beginning to get on the band wagon of helping out veterans in our country.  One of those companies is the Arizona Fisher House.  This facility will provide housing for vets and their families who are being treated in medical facilities in Tucson Arizona.  This housing will be temporary while the vets are being treated but it will be provided at no charge to the veterans.   
  •  Homes For Heroes  is an awesome program that allows veterans as well as other home town heroes a chance to own a home of their own.  In order to find out more about homes for heroes you can look them up online.  This program offers great discounts to veterans and their families so that their dream of owning their own home can become a reality. 
  • Marmion Apartments in Los Angeles is offering housing for 24 veterans and their families as well as 24 low income families.  There are almost 3,000 homeless veterans in Los Angeles alone.  That number is not acceptable and this is one of the reasons why changes are finally being made. 
  • In Green Bay Wisconsin Veteran’s Manor will be opening in June for Veterans who need a place in which to live.  This location will offer 50 one bedroom apartments in which to house 50 veterans and their families. 
  • If Tennessee is where you call home you may want to check out Patriot Place which is a 34 unit apartment complex for Vets and their families. 

These are just a few ways that things are beginning to look up in the housing market for veterans.  I believe as time goes on we will see programs like this in our local community.  After all veterans have done and how much they and their families have sacrificed their lives for our country’s freedom, this is the least that can be done.  If you see a Veteran today, be sure to offer them your sincere thanks and appreciation for your freedom! 

Courtesy of Wilmington DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Tips for Creating More Privacy in Your New Home

by Tucker Robbins


So you have just made one of the biggest purchases of your life by buying a home of your own and now you need to make it a bit more private.  You have come to the right place!  Let’s look at a few tips for creating more privacy in your new home. 

  • If you happen to live in a big city where the houses are basically on top of each other you may want to line your floors with a lot of area rugs.  While this simple step to making more privacy in your new home sounds like a silly thing, it really will help to keep the noise level down to a minimum if your neighbors tend to be loud. 
  • Lined curtains are a perfect way to help your home feel like an oasis in the middle of the country even if it is not.  These types of curtains also help to filter out loud noises as well. 
  • If you have a spot on your windowsills to put planters they can aid you in making your home more private.  All you need to do is put some tall plants in the planters and voila, you will have more privacy from your neighbors. 
  • One good way to have privacy outdoors for your new home is by putting up a privacy fence.  Privacy fences can help to keep pets safe as well as make your outdoor area a nice place to “get away from it all”, which we can all use every now and again. 
  • Tall scrubs and trees are a great way to shield yourself from your neighbors and make your home feel more private.  Scrubs and trees will also help to make your new home more beautiful and help the environment as well. 
  • If you simply cannot feel enough privacy in your new home, you can hide in a reading nook under the stairs or in a small attic space so that you can escape from time to time from those around you.  If your new home doesn’t have a small space like this, you can likely make one quite easily. 

Lastly if privacy is extremely important to you, it may be worth your while to look for a home in the wide open country so that you don’t have to make any previsions for more privacy. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)