Jill, Home Buyer in Northeast Philadelphia...

I am soon to be a first-time home buyer and have no idea where to start the process- bank? mortgage broker? an awesome real estate agent? Help!

Asked by Jill, Northeast Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA Wed Jul 6, 2011

I will not have much to put down (any?), but have extremely minimal debt, steady income (from my salary I assume I will no qualify for a lowincome housing), strong 401K, etc. I am looking for a "fixer-upper"- I am just clueless as to how to start this process.

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Danielle Gurst’s answer
Hello Jill,

Have you yet to begin this process? I have a loan officer from our inhouse lender who can prequalify you immediately and we can begin house hunting! There are also many great programs for first time buyers with good credit that I can advise you to. You are going to need money out of your pocket to cover down payment and closing costs; there is assistance out there that I can help you get however you will typically need about 4% of purchase price. Please give me a call!

Danielle R Gurst
REMAX Affiliates NE
267 423 2623
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 10, 2012
Hi, Jill.

Your first step is to speak to a bank and make sure you can afford what you want; this should only take a day or two. Once you have that in place, you can start looking at homes and potentially get one under contract.

Typically, it takes anywhere from 30 - 60 days to close on a home that you have under contract. Once under contract, that's when the clock starts ticking for the mortgage, inspections, title, etc.

If you need any help, please let me know.


Timothy Garrity | Realtor & Consultant
215-829-8850 Office
267-879-2716 Mobile
tim@usspaces.com http://www.phillyurbanliving.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
As far as a fixer-upper goes; it may not be the best move. First of all everyone has a different interpretation of what is a fixer upper. Does it need paint in some of the rooms? A new kitchen or bath? OR Are you ready for a major construction project. If it is more than paint then who is going to do the work and how are you going to pay for it? If it is being financed you need an approved contractor and a consultant. You are also going to need lots of information on values and the costs of the repairs before you even know if you are saving any money on the fixer upper or if you would be better off with something in good condition. Plus don't forget about the time it will take to get the repairs done while you are making a mortgage payment and still paying rent...

First thing you don't need is an awesome Realtor. None of us are really that great anyway.

How about housing counselling? This is the best first step that pretty much everyone skips. There maybe some free money available to you and if you are making less than $80K/yr there may be some programs that will work for you. Most counselling agencies get their money from HUD grants and there is little or no charge to you.

The second thing you don't need is a mortgage broker. Ditto on the greatness factor. Unless there are some other factors you didn't mention or you are looking to get into a particular program (like a 203K which requires some expertise) start at your bank or credit union and get pre-qualified for a loan.

Once you have the Pre-Qual then you get the Realtor and start looking at houses while you are shopping for your best deal on a mortgage.

Better yet go directly to the source for the real information. See link...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
I would love to work with you. I've been writing mortgages in the Philadelphia area since 1984, and have done hundreds of FHA 203k loans for fixer uppers. Please email me at efallon@gateway-funding.com or call me directly at 610-308-9001.
Ed Fallon, MBA NMLS#144708
Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage Services
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Oh, start with an awesome real estate agent, one who is familiar with the areas where you want to look for a home, one who know the ins and outs of buying a 'fixer-upper,' A good experienced agent will know several good mortgage people, and will know which ones have experience with the type of financing that you are most likely to need. Want more details? You can contact me for a no obligation consultation about buying your 1st home in today's real estate market.
Kathleen Sheridan
Weichert, Realtors - McCarthy Associates
6901 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Office: 215-843-1414 x 230
Direct: 215-740-3320
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Find a really awesome realtor first and they can direct you to a really awesome bank to get pre-approved. Any bank can get you pre-approved but can they get you to closing. Hmm. Your really awesome agent will have awesome contacts that they have worked with successfully. Also your agent should specialize where you want to live. Like myself and listed below are a few that actually live and work in Northeast Philly. Good luck in your search and I wish that I could help you as I am only AMAZING. Should you want to relax your standards… :)

Carolyn Mosley
Re/Max Affiliates NE
267 971-9373
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hello Jill,

Find a good realtor or a good Mortgage Broker. Ask friends for recommendations. Interview them as they will be working for you. Go with whoever you feel a good comfort level with. We all have different styles so find one that suits you. Also if you want to finance the fixing up of a home you may need someone familiar with FHA 203k Loans ( like me)

Best Regards,

Alan Openshaw
Cornerstone Lending Inc
Southampton Pa 18966
215 953 0800
cell 267 992 7276
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
The first step is to set up a meeting with the bank to get pre approved. After this you should contact a recommended real estate agent in the neighborhood you are looking to purchase in. If your not sure on which bank to go to and which lender to work with, usually your Realtor will have a good insight and have good recommendations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
Talk with a "good" local lender first, get pre-approved. Once you do, establish how much you can borrow and want to borrow, create a ceiling in price. Next, what are your "must have" list of criteria? Finally, do you have any friends, family, or co-workers that had a "positive" experience with a local agent or Realtor? I put a lot more faith in a personal referral than what someone tells you about themselves, or an ad they pay for.

Best of luck, buying a house can be stressful but should be an exciting and educational experience.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 19, 2011
First time buyer n looking for a fixer? HUD property is your answer, low down payment and 203 loan. The market is for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 19, 2011
Jill, Please give me a call. I would be glad to explain the process to you and answer any of your questions. It can be a little overwhelming but it helps to have a game plan even if you are not ready to purchase today. Look forwarding to hearing from you. Regards, Carol
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 19, 2011
Hello Jill,
First of all congrats on thinking of purchasing a home because this is a buyers market.
I recommend finding an agent that you are comfortable with, you may interview a few. Then, they will guide you to a mortgage broker, which they would recommend a few for you to interview or go directly to your local bank and ask for a mortgage broker to "Pre-Qualify" you. He will ask you a few questions and within 24 hr should be able to give you an answer as to HOW MUCH HOUSE YOU CAN AFFORD.

But your real estate agent should be your guide and your advocate in a real estate transaction.
Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 19, 2011
I would love to help you through the process, please give me a call at 610-613-6988 I am a license real estate agent.. HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAY. Tony P.S.. I have a property i am listing that may interest you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 18, 2011
Hi Jill,

I'd love to take a few minutes and chat with you over the phone or in person to see that all your questions are answered.

Feel free to give me a call.

Warm Regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 18, 2011
Hi Jill,

The first thing to do in the process is to start with a mortgage specialist who is well versed with the different types of mortgage programs available to you. I am not sure, because of the housing bubble, if there are any more 0 down programs. I have seen some 3% down come accross my desk. Check out Citizens bank. They have a new low rate program being offered to people with good credit. I often work with an individual there and he is dinamite. I can refer him to you if you like.
Also Jill, I am a license Realtor in Pa. and I would be more than happy to help you get started.
If you have a smart phone or Droid, you can download a free app. called Smarter Agent. Here you can see all of the homes listed on the market in any zip code in the Tri-State area.
Send a TEXT Msg. to 87778. In the body of the Text msg. type--- les1. This will enable instructions for downloading the free Real Estate app. You will also be able to contact me thru the app. if you still want a realtor to help you.
Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
I recommend looking into the PA Housing and Finance Authority. They have some good programs for little money down. FHA is only 3.5% down. "Fixer Upper" is a relative term and it may be difficult to get a standard mortgage on a fixer upper. FHA requires that the house be in move in condition. FHA does have a program called the 203K loan which allows for an amount of money to be held in an escrow account until repairs are made. That may be your best option. I would contact a lender such as Wells Fargo when doing a speciality loan like that. Any major lender should offer the 203K program so shop for the best rate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hi Jill,

You are going to want to start out interviewing prospective agents and see what their game plan is for you and how they work and your level of comfort with them. A realtor is a great asset to have when you are trying to wade through all the options you have available to you when looking at a home. Then you will want to get a least prequalified for a mortgage so that you know how much you can afford and that will also give you and the seller the piece of mind knowing that you are prepared to purchase. Once you have a picked the house of your dreams sign the contract and then pick your title company.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hi Jill! I LOVE first-time home buyers! That's actually why I became a Realtor. I was working in corporate America and had a such a good experience buying MY first home, that I made a career change!

I recently helped a Northeast couple buy THEIR first home (on Chippendale St) and can give you their name and phone number as a reference.

You only have to put down 3.50% and while you may not qualify for "low-income" housing, you may qualify for some incentive programs. You can also consider what is called a "203k rehab loan". Alternately, there is a little-known product called a Fannie Mae HomePath reno loan. I can help you navigate all these.

You do need to get preapproved first. You can contact 1 of the mortgage reps who have answered this question, or you can contact me for a personal referral.

Whatever you decide, good luck to you! And most of all, HAVE FUN!
Web Reference: http://www.FamousEric.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
I would absolutely start with a mortgage broker that has experience with 203K loans. They are the best for fixer-upper homes . I know Bank Of America has aggressively been pushing this lately and you may be able to get a great deal. Please be wary of internet mortgage offers that seem too good to be true, they are exactly that. If you have any interest in getting a property on the Jersey Shore, let em know. Thanks, and best of luck, Ron
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
First step. Mortgage broker. Find a good one, answer his or her questions honestly and find out how much you qualify for. Second step. Find a good buyer agent. Sit down in a professional setting and let them interview you then go through MLS and find some listings that interest you. This interview will save you countless hours on the road. Third step, get out on the road with your agent and find the home you're looking for!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Most Realtors will recommend that you speak with a mortgage lender/bank first to find out if you are a qualified buyer (sounds like you are!). Once you have your preapproval letter in hand, you can talk to family and friends that have bought or sold a home and ask them for a trusted recommendation for a Realtor. Give the Realtor a call and let them know you are ready to start looking for your very first home, that you have already been preqaualified and that you would like to get started with the process! The Realtor will handle all the details from there! Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hi Jill,
I know you have a lot of great advice from professionals here in this forum; let me just say, that I specialize in helping first time home buyers with finding "fixers" , buying them with a special loan called a 203K FHA Loan (this is a loan where the "fix-up" costs are included in your loan amount so that you don't have to spend the money out of pocket!)....it's a great way to buy a first home - especially in this market where there are so many options to choose from.
I am also an investor/rehabber who buys fixers and "flips" them for profit - so I have 9 years experience doing this - plus a great team of contractors & 203K consultants & specialists already in place - including mortgage professionals.
Give me a call / or email - maybe we can meet for coffee to get acquainted and help you get educated on the process.
Kathy Gilmore
Agent & Rehab Investor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
...I forgot to add that you should take your time when selecting a licensed realtor or mortgage broker. Interview several before making a decision. It's important to work with someone who is knowledgeable and professional. And be sure you're comfortable with them, you may be working together for several weeks or months until you find the property you are looking for...Best!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
I agree with Mike Rosania. Pick that Awesome Realtor first. They will explain to you the entire process from start to finish. The Realtor will also review your financial information and and help you decide what type of financing is best for you given your current situation, Income, down payment, etc. The Realtor can then guide you to banks that can provide the best financing for you (which you bank may not offer). The are many first time Buyer programs, low income programs and even grants that might be available to you depending upon your personal data. So, seek the advice of an EXPERIENCED professional Realtor to help you make the RIGHT decisions.

Bob Weiss
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Jill, Call me immediately and I will fill you in. I need to know what you need/want in a house; how many bedrooms, baths, etc.; what you are paying currently in rent, and gererally would want to pay as a monthly mortgage payment. Also, where do you work and where would you prefer to live. Once I know these things I can help you begin the process, and hook you up with good people to find the best mortgage.
Jan LeSuer
Elfant Wissahickon Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Since you are just beginning this journey, a consultation with a real estate professional is a great start. It is extremely valuable for 1st time buyers to understand the process from A-Z prior to searching. Imagine buying a car and knowing the entire process prior to going to a dealer? It is stressful (and many feel helpless) sitting at the dealer waiting for answers from the sales manager's office. A real estate transaction has so many components to it, it really should be approached as an educational session. Think of it as Real Estate 101. This way, when you come to certain topics during the process of home buying, you will grasp it much better. I provide my clients a homebuying book to assist them to review areas that are unfamiliar to them. I grew up and owned homes in Northeast Philly and am a Real Estate Broker. If you would like to discuss further, please feel free to call, email or text. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hello Jill,

That's awesome. The first thing you should do is educate yourself as much as possible about the home buying process. You need to know how to prepare and plan for this exciting lifetime event. A good place to start is the U.S. Department of Housing website. There you'll find a plethora of information, allowing you to become an informed, confident first time buyer. Best of luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hello, I will be glad to help you with the process. Please give me a call at 610-613-6988. THANKS AND HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAY. Tony
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hi Jill,

Hope all is well with you today!

My suggestion would definitely be to talk to a lender first. You're on the right track with minimal debt, steady income, and a strong 401k. Just have to confirm what your credit score is and you are on your way. The prospect of a fixer-upper with little too put down could be quite an uphill battle, unless you are speaking more of a place that is structurally sound and needs more updating than anything else.

If you have any further questions about real estate or the pre-approval process, don't be shy. I grew up in the Northeast. Best of luck to you!

Kristoffer Lehman, ABR
Keller Williams Real Estate
Licensed in PA - #RS299648
Office # 215-646-2900
Cell # 267-254-4755
Fax: 800-686-7534 or 267-419-2974
Email: klehman@kw.com
Web: http://www.KrisLehmanHomes.com
Referrals are the heart of my business.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Jill..Would be happy to answer any questions that you have. Direct Lender in business for over 20 years and I have been in the mortgage industry for over 10. Will be able to provide solid information so that when you do contact a Realtor you will feel confident that you will be approved to buy your first home. Can also recommend a couple of great realtors in your area

Joe Cafiero
Superior Home Mortgage
office: 610 594-6611
email: jcafiero@supmort.com
web: http://www.joecafierosmc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hello Jill,
I think the first thing you should do is speak to a mortgage specialist where you bank. Find out how much you qualitfy for and if your are eligible for any special programs. Then call me, I work with many first time hone buyers and I would luv for you to be my new VIP client so I can show you what I do.
Please give me a call with any questions day or night.

Farrah Robinson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Hi Jill, I am an agent who works most of the northeast. Please email me your email address, and I will explain to you in detail the whole process and together we can determine where to start. My email is lpaster@weichert.com.

Best regards,
Lorri Paster
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
An awesome real estate agent is a great start who will in turn refer you you to an awesome mortgage broker. Fee free to contact me anytime. I am a full time PA and NJ agent. You can call me directly 267-879-3556 or email to SellWIthMikeRgmail.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
An awesome real estate agent is a great start who will in turn refer you you to an awesome mortgage broker. Fee free to contact me anytime. I am a full time PA and NJ agent. You can call me directly 267-879-3556 or email to SellWIthMikeRgmail.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
Go to the bank and get approved, then over to the Realtor with the letter from your bank. Now the hunt is on and if you ask your Realtor to only look at this or that, then that is what they will show you. You first time I assume, so ask for the best house for the money you wish to spend, Tell them you want it to be move quality if you are not handy or it is okay for a home that needs a little TLC if you are handy, note TLC homes mean better savings too or leave them alone! All homes you put an offer on need to be inspected by a professional when or if you go to contract, You need to be sure that you have enough time to closing to secure the mortgage, you need to be sure that the house comps, which you Realtor should do for all the homes you like, and the home will have to appraise in order for a loan to come about! I would always try to offer slightly less than asking, as a buyer but not too low or it insults people, sellers in particular. If there are items wrong after the inspection, then you negotiate to have these repaired before the sale or compensation to you at the closing table. Put as little as possible down for good faith money, you will eventually have to make a full down payment at time of closing and there is no need to tie this up until then. And Good Luck and best wishes to you search and hopeful purchase of your first home!

Vaya al banco y sea aprobado, entonces sobre al agente inmobiliario con la carta de su banco. Ahora la caza está en y si pregunta a su agente inmobiliario sólo mirar este o eso, entonces que es lo que le mostrarán. ¡Usted primero tiempo que asumo, así que pide la mejor casa para el dinero usted desea gastar, los Dice que desea que ser calidad de movimiento si usted no está cercano ni está bien para un hogar que necesita un TLC pequeño si está cercano, hogares de nota TLC significan que mejores ahorros también o los dejan solo! Todos los hogares usted pone una oferta en la necesidad de ser inspeccionada por un profesional cuando o si va a contratar, debe estar seguro que tiene suficiente tiempo a cerrar para asegurar la hipoteca, debe estar seguro que el comps de la casa, que usted agente inmobiliario debe hacer para todos los hogares que usted quiere, y el hogar tendrá que avaluar en la orden para un préstamo para venir ¡Acerca de! Yo siempre trataría de ofrecer un poco menos que preguntando, como un comprador pero no demasiado bajo ni insulta a personas, los vendedores en particular. Si hay artículos mal después de la inspección, entonces negocia para tener estos reparado antes de la venta o la compensación a usted en la mesa final. Ponga lo menos posible hacia abajo para el dinero de buena fe, tendrá finalmente que hacer un desembolso inicial lleno en tiempo de cerrar y no hay necesidad de atar este arriba hasta entonces. ¡Y la buena Suerte y mejores deseos a usted buscan y compra optimista de su primer hogar!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
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