Brenda Kellen: How do I know how much to offer for a home? |

Brenda Kellen: How do I know how much to offer for a home?

Q. I am ready to make an offer on a home, but don’t know how to decide what to offer. Any advice?

A. Your realtor can provide comparable sales information. Review the information carefully to determine what is the same and what is different with each property.

Maybe one house had a garage, while another sold listing did not. Use the sold comps that are most similar to the property you want to buy. This helps determine a base price range. Adding in various factors such as property condition,

improvements, market conditions, and seller motivation help determine whether a “fair” price would be at the upper limit of that range or the lower limit.

The “fair” price should be close to what you are willing to agree on at the end of negotiations with the seller. The price you put in your offer to begin negotiations is up to you and depends on your negotiating style. Most buyers start off lower than the price they want to pay.

Although your agent may provide advice and guidance, you are the one who makes the decision. The price you put in the offer is completely up to you.

Q. Why choose an FHA loan?

A. There are lots of good reasons to choose an FHA loan, especially if one or more of the following apply to you:

– You’re a first-time homebuyer

– You don’t have a lot of money to put down on a house

– You want to keep your monthly payments as low as possible

– You’re worried about your monthly payments going up

– You’re worried about qualifying for a loan

– You don’t have perfect credit

You’re worried about what will happen if you fall behind on your payments

If any of these things describe you, then an FHA loan may be right for you. Why? FHA-insured loans offer many benefits and protections that you won’t find in other loans including:

Lower cost: FHA loans have competitive interest rates because the Federal government insures the loans for lenders. Always compare an FHA loan with other loan types.

Smaller down payment: FHA loans have a low 3% down payment and the money can come from a family member, employer or charitable organization as a gift. Other loan programs don’t allow this.

Easier qualification: Because FHA insures your mortgage, lenders may be more willing to give you loan terms that make it easier for you to qualify.

Less than perfect credit: You don’t have to have perfect credit to get an FHA mortgage. In fact, even if you have had credit problems, such as a bankruptcy, it’s easier for you to qualify for an FHA loan than a conventional loan.

More protection to keep your home: The FHA has been around since 1934 and will continue to be here to protect you. Should you encounter hard times after buying your home, the FHA has many options to help you keep you in your home and avoid foreclosure.

The FHA does not give money to people for a home and it does not set the interest rates on mortgages it insures. FHA insures loans for lenders against defaults. For the best interest rate and terms on a mortgage, you should compare mortgages from several different lenders. An FHA-approved lender can help you start the loan application process.

You may use an FHA-insured mortgage to purchase or refinance a new or existing 1-4 family home, a condominium unit or a manufactured or mobile home (provided it is on a permanent foundation). There are maximum allowable loan limits on FHA loans depending on the area you live in. A lender can tell you what those limits are.

* FHA Information provided by

Brenda Kellen works for Omni Real Estate in both Grand and Summit County. She can be reached by calling (970) 485.1115 or by e-mail at

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