3221 Harrison Pike Chattanooga, TN 37406 Phone (423) 624-9992 | Fax (423) 624-9435
www.hbagc.net
Local News and Information Archives for 2017-02

Simple Steps to Financing Your First Home

 

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

 

As the Chattanooga area continues to enjoy a growing economy and steady rise in consumer confidence, many first-time home buyers – including millennials – are gearing up to become home owners. Yet, the abundant amount of paperwork involved in the home financing process can intimidate even the most eager of prospective home buyers.


Fortunately, with advanced preparation and a personalized to-do list, new home buyers can easily stay on top of the financing process. You need to decide how much to spend on your home and which type of mortgage will work best for you, as well as understand the settlement process.

 

Before you visit a sales office, model home or open house, you should take advantage of the many sources that can help ensure you’re in the best possible financial situation.

 

Be Realistic About What You Can Afford

Figure out what you can comfortably pay on a monthly basis. Write down all your monthly expenses including loan payments, utilities, insurance, credit cards and don’t forget food, clothing and entertainment expenditures.

 

When determining the monthly payment that’s within your reach, remember that in addition to the monthly principal and interest, you will also be paying into escrows for property taxes, hazard insurance and possibly mortgage insurance or a home owners or condominium association assessment. Many real estate-focused websites have mortgage calculators that are a great way to figure out what your monthly payments would be based on current interest rates and down payment amounts. 

 

Pay Down Your Debts

Debt that you carry on your credit cards will limit the loan amount that your lender will approve. Lenders typically want to see a total debt service ratio that is less than 40 percent of your monthly income. 

 

Get Objective Advice

Attend a first-time home buying seminar or talk to a credit counselor who does not work for a lender. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers free housing counseling and seminars. You can find more information by visiting hud.gov or calling HUD's interactive voice system at (800) 569-4287. 

 

Pre-Qualify for Your Home Mortgage

To ensure the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.  Pre-approval also enables you to quickly make an offer when you find a home, and is attractive to sellers who are considering multiple offers. A lender’s pre-approval would still be subject to a final verification of your credit and a satisfactory appraisal.

 

Qualifying for a mortgage and saving for a downpayment remain primary obstacles to homeownership. To address these issues, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer low-downpayment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market. These lenders will now offer mortgages with 3% downpayments, allowing more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large downpayment to obtain a home mortgage.

 

After taking these steps to get your financing in order, finding your first home will be a much more enjoyable experience. For more information to help ease the first-time home-buying stress, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992.

 


Top Design Trends for 2017

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Curious about the latest home design trends making their way to the Chattanooga and North Georgia areas? At the start of each year, the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) recognizes dozens of new projects from this past year that featured the most innovative layouts and eye-catching design elements.

 

Among a wide variety of award-winning homes, several design trends are evident and will be sure to gain the attention of those who might soon be buying, selling or remodeling a home. Some of these trends include:

 

Modern farmhouse. Demand continues to rise for farmhouse sinks, repurposed wood siding for interior design details and barn doors customized for a more contemporary feel that incorporates glass, white tints and metal hardware.

 

Natural wood beams. From remodels to new homes, wood beams left in their original state add a natural touch and create a focal point in interiors. Also, this year’s BALA winners included several homes with natural wood ceilings which add warmth and can be used in either traditional or more contemporary designs.

 

Shiplap inside and out. Horizontal shiplap – or long, overlapping panels of wood – is an increasingly popular choice for exteriors and is also featured in entryways, stairwells and living rooms.

 

Board and batten.  Many BALA winners used this type of wainscoting either as exterior siding or to add a classic touch to today’s contemporary interiors. Some designs featured a unique spin by adjusting the width of the boards to create a more customized feel.

 

Repurposed space. Designers are increasingly utilizing the space under staircases for more than just storage. These areas are great for installing bookshelves, displaying art or creating a nook for pets. One BALA winner even included an entire bar under the living room stairs.

 

Prominent wine storage. Many new kitchens today include floor-to-ceiling wine storage with customized wine racks, glass doors and display lighting.

 

White on white. A long-standing trend remains intact, as many BALA winners featured a clean combo of white on white, most notably in kitchens.

 

Big showers and tubs. Showers keep getting bigger and free-standing tubs have become increasingly luxurious. Walk-in showers with wall-to-wall glass are the most sought after.

 

Metal roofs. A large number of new custom homes in regions across the country are favoring metal roofs. The trend isn’t solely among modern homes, but traditional homes as well.

 

For more information about the latest designs that could be incorporated within your home, or to find a builder in your area that can create the new home of your dreams, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net. 


Best Bets for Happy Pets

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Chattanoogans love their pets, and there are several ways you can show your pet how much they mean to you by incorporating certain design elements into your home. Many features will not only cater to your pet’s lifestyle, but they also can enhance your home’s appearance and add to its value.

Whether you’re looking to buy a new home, remodel your existing home or just need some inspiration for how to use your current space, here are a few ideas to get started.

 

Improving Comfort and Convenience

 

Designing areas within your home where your pet can eat, sleep and bathe tells them that they are just as much a member of the family as everyone else. And having these dedicated locations can also help reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up after your pet.

 

   ·Built-in eating areas are among the most popular designs concepts for homeowners with pets. Beneath the kitchen counter, under an island or within a pull-out drawer are all great options to help save space and minimize spills.


   ·Custom nooks provide your pet with a quiet retreat to nap or play. Look for opportunities to incorporate these nooks beneath bay windows, or convert a cluttered crawl space beneath stairs into your pet’s private refuge.


   ·Pet-washing stations in laundry/mud rooms can significantly improve the cleanliness of your home. An enclosed tiled area with an extended faucet can be used to give your pet a full bath or simply to clean paws after a romp in the outdoors.

 

Selecting the Right Flooring

 

With the appropriate flooring, both you and your pet can live amicably without pointing fingers (or paws) at one another whenever a new scratch or a spill is discovered. Flooring options today are seemingly endless, and each type comes with varying levels of durability, so you’ll want to do your research as well as consult with a professional before making the investment. 

 

    ·Bamboo flooring is becoming increasingly popular, especially among pet owners, for its hardness and resistance to stains. And for those who are trying to be green, both bamboo and cork flooring are also good for the environment.

 

   ·Hardwood floors have long been among the most desirable options, though many different types of wood and finishes are highly prone to showing wear over time.


   ·Laminate, stone and tile floors might not be your best option if your pet’s comfort is a top priority. While they are much more durable and typically resist scratches better than other flooring, some pets will find them to be uncomfortably hard and exceedingly slippery.

 

To find a home builder, remodeler or designer that can help you make the best home design choices for your pets, visit the Home Builders of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net.