Home Buying Terms Explained: What to Know to Help You Through the Process

When you’re a new homebuyer, it’s hard to know the difference between a large number of real estate terms. Don’t worry; we’re here to help. At Hamlet Homes, we strive to be a support for our buyers, helping them keep their escrows and their down payments straight.

Before you begin the home buying process, becoming familiar with these terms will help make your journey into your new home a bit simpler.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM):

A mortgage that has a lower initial rate that could possibly raise or lower over time. After a set number of years, the rate will fluctuate based on the index rate used for determination.

These types of loans are great options for short-term buyers. If you see yourself in a home for 3-5 years, a low, temporary fixed rate could be a great fit.

If, however, you plan on staying your home long-term, consider a mortgage with more stability. Sure, you could save money on your monthly payment if the market is low. If interests rise, on the other hand, you could be stuck paying a much higher rate than you anticipated.

Closing Costs:

Fees you will need to pay that are outside the property sale price. Some elements of closing costs include the loan origination fee, insurance fees, appraisal fees or attorney fees. Costs can vary from market to market or even house to house! Before submitting your mortgage application, your agent and broker will go over what costs you will need to pay prior to close.

Earnest Money:

You’ll pay this deposit when you sign a contract with the seller. The deposit illustrates your sincerity in purchasing the home and is deducted from your closing costs. If you decide against purchasing the home, you will be forfeiting your earnest money.

Escrow:

Possibly one of the more confusing of the homebuying terms because it has two meanings.

During the home buying process, your escrow agent acts as a safe keeper of funds. The seller wants to ensure you’re serious about buying the home, but you don’t want to hand over money until the home for sale passes inspection.

To fix this problem, the agent will hold certain monies from the buyer and certain documents from the seller and then distribute the assets to the correct party after close.

After close, escrow takes on a new meaning. Your mortgage lender will retain extra money from you each month for taxes and insurance. Then, your lender will pay these important bills each year on your behalf.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage:

Exactly as it sounds, a fixed-rate has a fixed interest rate that stays the same throughout the duration of your loan. While this option can be more reliable, there are drawbacks, too. For instance, if the market interest rates happen to drop, you’re stuck with your higher rate.

Title:

The title is your written evidence of property ownership. Through title ownership, you can access your land and property and transfer your ownership to others as you see fit.

We realize that this list isn’t exhaustive, but that’s what we’re here for! Call us to get started on the homebuying journey. We can help you through the process and make sure you understand every aspect, so you can feel great about getting into your new home.

 

 

 

What to Purchase as a New Home Buyer

When you’re thoughtfully budgeting for your new home, have you stopped to consider what you will need after the papers are signed? We would hate to see you reach the finish line — and sign piles of papers — without thinking about the last hurdle you will need to cross: furnishing your home.

When you cross the threshold of your new Hamlet home, we want you to step into a cozy and personalized retreat, not a barren wasteland.

Things like furnishings, appliances, curtains, and décor, can all add up quickly. So, before you step into a house asking yourself why it feels so empty, we have some tips to help you with your shopping.

The Essentials

There are multiple items that you’ll need to purchase to maintain your home. These items will also help you during your move, so keep them easy to access.

  • Garbage Bags. During the move, you will have trash from boxes, snacks, and miscellaneous items you didn’t realize made it through the move. Rather than leaving a pile to clean later, clean as you go. You’ll save time and not have to work in a cluttered space.
  • Basic Tools. If you don’t have a homeowner’s arsenal of tools, start building your collection now. You’ll need them down the line to maintain your home, and they will be handy during your move. A few necessary tools include things like box cutters, hammers, screwdrivers, and a drill.
  • You never know when you’ll need some AAs. We suggest keeping a variety of batteries on hand to save yourself from multiple trips to the store.
  • Toilet Paper. This one is a no brainer. You’ll need it eventually, so you may as well have it on hand sooner rather than later.

Furniture & Appliances

Our list for furniture and appliances can get very long very fast. Think about what you use on a daily or weekly basis, and make sure you have the items in your home to accommodate.

Another good tip is to list the rooms in your home and consider how much furniture you need to fill each one. If you are moving into a four-bedroom home from a 2-bedroom apartment, your list could be quite long. Number items according to priority and purchase them as your budget allows.

Décor

One of our favorite parts about moving into a new home when new buyers make it their own. Filling your home with furniture is great, but your home can look sterile without the added personality that décor provides. Items like pillows, curtains, rugs, and other thoughtful touches can make your new house feel more like home.

Smart Home Technology

More and more desired by new home buyers are smart home devices. You can simplify your day-to-day activities and save money on your utilities from smart heating and cooling systems and thermostats, robot vacuums, command systems like Alexa and Google Home, and controlled lighting systems.

All of these devices can be controlled by your smartphone, and some can even be accessed remotely.

Have the listed items but nowhere to put them? Contact the selling team at Hamlet Homes and get started building your dream house today. Or, take a look at our move-in-ready new homes for sale throughout the greater Salt Lake area.

7 Tips for Moving into Your New Home

Moving to a new home is stressful. After selecting your home from all the houses for sale in Salt Lake and going through the purchasing process, you’ll likely feel like you’re in need of a break. Then comes the move. To help you keep calm and pack on, we have a few tips to simplify your move and make changing homes a breeze. Follow these steps to moving safely and efficiently into your new home.

1. Plan the Date

Did you know that moving rates are typically less expensive on weekdays and midmonth? Not everyone has the luxury of hand-selecting a specific date for their move. However, if you are so lucky, note that the best days to move are during the “off-season” — November to March — when demand is the lowest.

2. Choose Your Strategy

If you’re moving a job and a hop across town, you might be able to get by with soliciting close friends and family members to help with your move. If you’re moving a big family or across the country, you’ll want to select a moving company. Consider your options and choose what’s best for your family.

3. Pick Your Mover

Vet your mover before you hire them. You are going to entrust all of your belongings to your moving company; be sure they deserve it. We suggest looking for a mover that has great online reviews and offers their services at a fair price.

4. Get Organized

Plan your move to help save time both packing and especially unpacking. For each room, group like-items together. Sure, you may end up with boxes of books that weight 100 pounds, but at least you’ll be able to put your office together in a matter of minutes.

5. Label Your Boxes

After organizing your items, label each box according to the room and the items inside. For instance, you could label a box “office, books.” Staying organized makes your move easier and the unpacking a breeze.

6. Keep Your Mover Updated

After labeling your boxes, let your movers know which room belongs to each label. In fact, we like to suggest taping “room names” to doors, so there is no confusion on where items belong. With each box ending up in the correct room, you can shave hours off of your unpacking.

7. Pack an Essentials Bag

Even when with labeling and planning, you likely won’t be able to unpack all your essentials in one day. Before taping up your boxes, be sure to set aside items you’ll need over the next few days, so you don’t spend hours rifling through multiple boxes to find your necessities.

Are you ready to follow these steps, but you’re still looking for a new home? Contact Hamlet Homes to see our move-in ready homes for sale in Salt Lake. And then get packing!

5 Benefits to Having a Basement in Your New Home

New Homes for sale that feature basements have a number of benefits, not just the added value for your home! Learn our top 5 benefits to owning a Salt Lake home that features a basement. Once you know all the benefits, we are certain you can’t live without one.

1. Extra Storage Space

Even an unfinished basement can add convenience to your daily living by increasing the amount of storage space. Over the years, it’s easy to build up your collection of recreational equipment, holiday décor, and the odd memorabilia. With a basement, you can create an organized storage space where all of your precious items are easily located and accessed. Additionally, the basement is a perfect place to store backup food storage and other canned goods that can become cluttered if kept in your normal living space.

2. Added Privacy

Basements allow for a stunning in-law or guest accommodation. If you frequently host guests or have family members stay for extended periods of time, there are few better options than a private suite in the basement. Your guests can enjoy privacy and independence during their stay.

3. Additional Bedrooms and Bathrooms

For growing families, the basement can be the perfect solution. You could, perhaps, purchase your home with an unfinished basement, giving you the potential for more square footage. Then, when you welcome new members to your family, you can add more bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate.

4. Increased Home Value

Until your basement is finished, the square footage isn’t considered “livable” and therefore isn’t considered during a resell. However, if you decide to finish your basement, you’ll enjoy a great return on your investment. In fact, the average basement remodels returns 70 to 75% of your investment. And you get to enjoy the added space, too.

5. Recreational Space

We love the kids, but sometimes it’s nice when they can rough-house away from the main living space. Recreation rooms are perfect for the basement! You can store toys and a second T.V. for the kiddos to have their own, personal spot to play. If your family is a little older, the basement can be the much-needed space to partake in other hobbies like woodworking, yoga, board games, or a game of pool. Whatever your family enjoys, the added space will make the activity more fun and less of a burden on the main living space. To see the floorplans for new homes offered by Hamlet Homes that include basements, visit our community pages or call one of our expert sales representatives. We can go over all your options and find the right new home for you and your family.

 

5 Tips for Getting Settled in Your New Neighborhood

Moving to a new neighborhood in Salt Lake can be stressful. You need to unpack, make new friends, have your services set up, and locate new grocery stores and restaurants. And, if you have children, you’ll need to set them up with a new school! To make the transition easier, we compiled a few tips to help get you settled in your new neighborhood.

1. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Having relationships with your neighbors is both practical and fun. Not only can they help keep an eye on your home when you’re out of town, but they make for great friends who are easy to socialize with. When moving into your new neighborhood, offer a smile and introduce yourself. Typically, your neighbors will be as interested in getting to know you as much as you are them. Consider taking them baked goods or hosting a house-warming party to break the ice.

2. Find New Favorite Spots for Entertainment

Find out where the locals spend their time, from restaurants and farmers markets to shops and dog parks. Eventually, you’ll discover your new favorite places to spend your time.

3. Discover Your Utilities

Whether you are moving across the country or across town, you may discover different utilities offer better pricing. Compare and contrast the packages from cable, internet, and electricity to find the best fit for your new neighborhood.

4. Forward Your Mail

Be sure to have your mail forwarded while you’re waiting for address change requests to update. The postal service can either make this change permanent or temporary, depending on your needs.

5. Get Involved

The best way to feel like a member of the community is to get involved. Ask around and see where others in your neighborhood volunteer and spend their time. Is there a community garden? A homeowners’ association? If you have children, consider becoming active in their school or participating in a carpool.

Moving to a new home is exciting! Though you have a lot of changes to make, most of them will set you up for success and happiness for years to come, if you’re willing to spend the time. Before you know it, you’ll find your place in your new community.

 

 

What to Expect with Your New Home Warranty

After placing you and your family into a new home in Salt Lake City, we want you to be more than happy with your purchase. Of course, that is why each home comes with an extensive warranty on a wide variety of features. To see a complete list, visit our Customer Care and Warranty Manual page.

If you’re like most homebuyers, a new home will be the most expensive purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. For this reason, it’s important to understand the ins-and-outs of your warranty before you purchase.

Final Walk-Through

After closing on your home, you’ll have the opportunity to do a final walkthrough with Hamlet Homes to make sure your home is move-in ready. Be sure to take your time. To help, we suggest going through a list that will help you locate common causes for concern.

Coverage

Most areas inside and outside your new home are covered under warranty. However, some warranties last longer than others. Additionally, each home area will have different definitions of how or when a contractor will make repairs.

In general, most workmanship warranties — like carpentry, damp-proofing, roof systems, etc. — are covered for one year after you purchase your home. We understand it’s hard to notice every single detail during your final walk through. In fact, it’s natural to notice flaws after you’re a bit more settled in. A year gives our home buyers ample time to inspect each corner of their home and make sure it is up to their expectations.

Making a Claim

Making a warranty claim with Hamlet Homes is easy. Simply visit our website and submit a form. After submission, an expert from our team will assist you throughout the claim process. During the first year you reside in your home, our team will visit your home for warranty concerns twice: once during the first 30 days and once during the 10-11 months after closing.

To make sure everything you see is covered, we suggest keeping a list of concerns during the first year. That way, when we visit your home, you’ll be able to point out each area of interest.

Buying a new home is different than buying a car. The use of warranties for repair work is a common part of the homebuilding process. Make sure you know what is included in your home warranty, so you can keep an eye out for flaws once you close on your new home in the Salt Lake area.

Form vs Function: How to Find Your Ideal Townhome

Townhomes for sale in Utah come in all shapes and sizes. Determining your ideal space can be a tug-of-war between form and function. Consider your options and make the most of your big move with the help of Hamlet Homes.

Find Your Ideal Space

While searching for your new Utah townhome, the first decision you will face is deciding your ideal layout and desired square footage. These two items can work together or against each other, depending on design. You may find that, while beautiful, a townhome that has a complicated floor plan may not use the best options for their square footage. The good news is, Hamlet Homes townhomes maximize their square footage, without sacrificing style. By incorporating large windows and open floor plans, Hamlet Homes creates living spaces that feel larger and more customizable.

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade

Throughout your search of townhomes for sale, you will encounter options to upgrade your space. It might seem fun to max out your budget now. However, we suggest considering the functionality of your upgrades and whether or not they will be useful for your family in the future. Consider your daily actions. Do you enjoy cooking regularly? If so, a kitchen space that has high-end appliances may be an amenity that suits you. Do you love to entertain? Consider townhomes with private decks attached to your living room. Paying attention to what is important to you will help you find the most functionality out of form in your new home. With features like these in every Hamlet Homes townhouse, we take compromising out of the equation. Granite countertops, walk-in closets, and private patios are just a few of the built-in amenities our residents enjoy. In addition, we outfit our townhomes with the latest in eco-friendly appliances and solar power capabilities, giving you the power to reduce your carbon footprint while still enjoying modern luxury.

Function in Form

With the wide array of townhomes for sale in Utah, the task of finding the right place for you may seem daunting. Remember to identify your ideal space, and the way you plan to use it. With these points in mind, your new townhome will fit your lifestyle like a glove. Finding the function in beauty is easy with Hamlet Homes. Contact us today to get started with one of our experienced agents. We’ll help you find a townhome that’s the perfect fit for you and your family.

5 Reasons to Work with a Sales Agent and a Homebuilder

Buying a new home from a homebuilder is different than purchasing an existing one. You’ll want help from an agent that has experience in the process. Find out our top reasons on why it pays to have an experienced agent by your side.

1. Your agent will help you select the right floor plan for your family.

The floorplans offered by Hamlet Homes are thoughtfully designed to maximize your living space and provide an open and airy atmosphere. That being said, we have different floor plans — of different square footage — and choosing the right one for your family might seem a little daunting. Your agent will help you ask yourself the right questions so that you can choose the right home for your family size and lifestyle. Ending up with a home that is too large to maintain or one that is so small that it feels cramped doesn’t happen to our clients.

2. The sales agent will help you understand what is standard and what is extra.

The Utah homebuilders at Hamlet Homes don’t believe in nickel and diming our buyers. We think every home should have your desired features as soon as you purchase it. That’s why our standard features are other homebuilder’s upgrades. You won’t have to weigh the choice between upgraded cabinets and granite countertops. We include both! When you are looking at constructing a new home, the agent will provide a feature sheet. With their help, you know all included amenities.

3. Your agent will ensure your paperwork is correct and complete.

Even for those who’ve purchased homes in the past, new home construction is a different ball game. There are contracts and warranties to scour and doing it by yourself is too challenging for most. Fortunately, your agent will go through the documents with you, making sure you understand the transaction before closing.

4. Agents who work with homebuilders understand the intricacies of new construction.

An experienced agent who works will the homebuilder can better assist you in understanding everything that’s required for your new home construction. This includes deadlines for requested changes, money necessities, as well as completion timelines.

5. Get help managing the transaction.

Financing with your homebuilder and the sales agent is typically easier than purchasing a previously-owned home. The main reason is that we have preferred lenders and title companies with whom we work with on a daily basis. Because of these close relationships, our lenders are able to fast-track your paperwork by knowing the ownership history, area restrictions, and HOAs in advance, making your closing a smooth one. Who can say that about their mortgage financing?

If you have questions regarding new home construction or if you would like to work with one of our experienced agents, contact the experts at Hamlet Homes. We can help you pick the right community for your dream home and get to working with you on the build right away.

Tell Tale Signs of Great Homebuilders

Choosing a new homebuilder in Utah is a tough decision because there are many builders to choose from. That being said, if you watch for signs of a good homebuilder, that list is drastically shorter. Check for these signs, and you’ll know you’re in good hands with your homebuilder.

Reputation & Trust

Word-of-mouth goes a long way, and luckily, you don’t need to hear from a friend or family to get an understanding of a business’s reputation. Instead, you can see their reviews and ratings online. The best places to check are Google and Facebook, both of whom will vet out seemingly false or profane reviews and show you ones from real customers. If you see there are more negative reviews than positive ones or very few reviews in general, you may want to rethink your relationship with the homebuilder. Alternatively, you can try to find a personal connection who can vouch for their abilities.

Great People

Choosing a homebuilder isn’t just choosing one person — you’re hiring an entire team. If you have great experiences with the folks who answer the phone, the agents, and the builders, you found a great crew who will clearly work for you. When the people are great, that means the company has clear values and guidelines on how to treat their customers. If your interactions are left wanting, you may want to choose a different group.

Easy Communication

Are you able to get through to your homebuilders? Most are quick to respond to the first couple calls, but if your builder continues to get back to you when they know you require something of them, they value your time and business. On the other hand, if your homebuilder doesn’t respond to you fairly quickly, they either don’t value your time, or they may have organization issues. Either way, we suggest finding a more responsive group to work with.

Quality Brand

An easy way to tell if your builder strives to make quality work is if they have a quality brand. Brand-cohesive business cards, websites, and other printed or digital materials demonstrates that they care about their reputation. In effect, they will strive to produce quality work.

Are you ready to work with the premier homebuilders of Utah? Call Hamlet Homes today to discuss communities and availability and begin the journey to your dream home.

 

 

Tips for Getting Approved for Your New Home in Salt Lake

At Hamlet Homes, our team is there for you throughout the entire home-buying journey — pre-planning, financing and on through construction. We know buying a new home can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be! Let us help you prepare, so you can get into your new home in Salt Lake, without the heightened anxiety.

1. Get Your Credit in Order.

Like most consumers, if you aren’t getting ready to make a large purchase that involves some sort of financing, you may not be very familiar with your credit score. Some homebuyers don’t even check their scores prior to submitting a new home loan application.

Don’t be left in the dark. Pulling your credit score only takes a few minutes, and it can prevent your mortgage application from failing from a low score or identity fraud.

If your score could use a little improvement, pay your bills on time, lower your debt, and fix any crediting errors on your report.

2. Save, and Save More.

Though you can find options for home loans with zero percent down, most lenders require some form of down payment, usually 3.5%. In fact, the more you can put down on your home, the better. Higher down payments — above 20% — lower your monthly payment and negate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Down payments aren’t the only cash expense during the home buying process. Be sure to have enough cash saved for:

  • Closing Costs (typically 3 – 5% of mortgage balance)
  • Home Inspections
  • Appraisals
  • Title Searches
  • Application Fees
  • Other Moving Expenses.

Your personal mortgage may not require each of the above-listed expenses, but we suggest being prepared for them, so you aren’t blindsided half-way through approval.

3. Maintain Job Consistency.

Any changes to your employment can delay or stop the mortgage process. Taking a new position that is lower paying, commission-based, in a different field, or becoming self-employed requires your lender to re-evaluate your finances. Occasionally, it can derail your mortgage entirely.

4. Pay Down Debt.

The amount of debt you owe compared to your income (debt-to-income ratio) determines the amount of money you can obtain from the lender. If your ratio is too high, meaning you carry a lot of debt, the lender may approve you for less or reject your application altogether. For this reason, we suggest keeping your monthly debt payments lower than 36% of your gross monthly income.

Even if you’re approved, be sure to avoid obtaining new debt until you close on your new home. You can stop your mortgage from closing by financing a new car or purchasing items for your single-family home on credit. Be sure to wait until after close before making these purchases.

5. Get Pre-Approved.

Pre-approval for a mortgage loan can put your mind at ease and help you determine the amount you can spend before you begin the bidding process. These days, pre-approval is a fairly quick and simple process, so don’t wait to ensure you have the funds available to purchase your new home.

If you’re still concerned about getting approved for your home, speak to the experts at Hamlet Homes today. We can offer you advice specific to your situation, and help you qualify for the right mortgage.