How Much House Can I Really Afford?

Knowing what you can afford is one of the first things you’ll need to figure out if you’re thinking about buying a house. The best way to find out how much house you can afford is by getting pre-approved with a mortgage lender. The lender’s loan officer will be trained to ask you the right questions to get the most accurate picture of your financial health. Continue reading “How Much House Can I Really Afford?”

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent as a Buyer

You don’t necessarily have to use a real estate agent, but if this is your first time buying a home, it’s always a great idea to get one. Your agents’ entire job is to get you a good deal on a home you’re happy with. Since they work off commission, it’s always in their best interest to make your homebuying process as easy and stress-free as possible. Continue reading “How to Choose a Real Estate Agent as a Buyer”

Realtor Highlight: Carla & Kale, Keller Williams, Use Loftium to get Buyers into the Seattle Market

Carla Clark and Kale Corey of The Results Team at KW went from skeptical to true fans after helping first-time homebuyers Mike and Kacie get in the Seattle market using Loftium’s down payment.  Now they’re working with multiple buyers who see Loftium as the leverage they need beyond a wait and save approach to home-buying. Here’s how Loftium went from being “mysterious” to actually simplify the financing process.

Loftium CEO Yifan Zhang spoke with The Results Team to get the full story.

Yifan (YZ): Your team has extensive experience in real estate. Can you share a bit more about your background and approach?

The Results Team (RT): The Results Team is made up of 7 of us at the moment. What we believe is that purchasing a home is one of the most stressful decisions you’ll make. But it doesn’t have to be. We work toward understanding what our clients need and being able to walk them through the process, and that takes away the apprehension.

Our team has represented over 1000 families, practicing real estate for over 20 years.

YZ: How did you hear about Loftium initially?

RT: We heard about it through Mike and Kacie, who said they saw [Loftium] scrolling through Instagram. So we were super skeptical!

YZ: I bet! What were some of those concerns, besides the Instagram part?

RT: With many down payment programs, everybody’s first thought is: “What’s the catch?” A lot of lenders offer down payment assistance but they raise the interest rate or just hide the cost in fees the consumer doesn’t understand. We often say, “If it seems too good to be true, I’d be nervous.”

The biggest concerns were a) How transparent will this process be, and 2) How will any lenders wrap their minds around this.

Kacie and Mike and everyone on our team involved with Loftium and Dulcie felt like you were additional team members. We were extending ourselves with the same goal of benefiting Mike and Kacie.

YZ: What alleviated these concerns for you about Loftium?

RT: The transparency concern was immediately gone – Mike was able to go in and talk with a human being, which was very helpful in alleviating fears. The other piece was solved because you already had the relationship with the lender [Umpqua Bank].

I honestly expected that we were going to have to have two lenders going through this. Two different parties with different agendas, asking different questions, different documentation. But it did not turn out to be a problem at all. Loftium and Dulcie [Patner of Umpqua] were so in sync, it actually simplified the financing process.

Everything [Dulcie] said she would do she did, and all timelines were met. A couple of instances we thought “this is where it’s going to get tricky”, and it never did.

YZ: What was that tricky moment and what was the process like working with Loftium and Umpqua?

RT: There was a term in our contract that was not a standard term. Mike and Kacie needed to be able to prove that they had the funds 10 days before closing. This was a relatively new process for Loftium but it wasn’t a problem at all. Mike made a call, [Loftium] made it happen, within a day we had funds sitting in title and escrow. It turned out to be easy.

YZ: What was your favorite part of working with Loftium?

From the consumer perspective, [real estate] is a business that people forget the end result is always the satisfaction of the client. Kacie and Mike and everyone on our team involved with Loftium and Dulcie felt like you were additional team members. We were extending ourselves with the same goal of benefiting [Mike and Kacie]. That doesn’t happen as often as it should.

We’d all like to believe that if we just practice discipline and save, we’ll make a better investment.  The truth is over time it is almost impossible for an average person to save at a level that puts them ahead of the increasing market.

YZ: Why do you think your clients wanted to use Loftium, and how are they feeling now?

RT: For Mike and Kacie, trying to maximize their buying potentials given interest rates and in geographic area and trying to make numbers work, they either have to pay significantly more or get less house. [Loftium] enabled them to take current rates and get exactly what they were looking for in their desired area. For them as an amazing byproduct, they’re only a month in but every conversation we have with them, Kacie tells us how much she’s enjoying the process of being a host and a homeowner.

YZ: Do you think Loftium would apply for other clients too?

RT: We often have conversations with buyers, especially younger ones, who because of prices of homes going up, it’s hard to have a conversation when they don’t have a down payment but understand that time is of the essence. It’s hard to not have a good option for them.

We’d all like to believe that if we just practice discipline and save, we’ll make a better investment.  The truth is over time it is almost impossible for an average person to save at a level that puts them ahead of the increasing market.  We’ve run the numbers over and over but where and what they want to buy is often out of reach.  Saving does not give them enough leverage.

It’s a net zero at best, wait for 3 years and end up at the same spot.  Most of the time you have less buying power after waiting.

Loftium for Mike and Kacie provided that leverage. It made them feel like the deck was stacked in their favor this time.

YZ: How are you using Loftium now for your clients?

RT: We’re talking about it a lot right now. It’s an opportunity to touch point, and very early on in the conversation there doesn’t exist other opportunities to do so. This is a real opportunity for people who don’t see Airbnb as a burden – This is free money to them. It’s a very different conversation than trading off rates vs down payments. Everyone is very interested in the idea because it feels very different, fresh, hip.

There a generation that has the desire to live in the city and it’s getting expensive. A lot of people buy a house and don’t use half of it so why not just use it. We’re working with 2 other buyers using Loftium now.

Questions? Reach out to The Results Team at josh@results.team or (206) 437-8341
Sign up for Loftium at www.loftium.com.

Loftium is now launched in Greater Seattle to help with your down payment!

We are so excited to introduce all of Greater Seattle to Loftium! Loftium provides you with down payment funds in exchange for a share of future Airbnb income. Homebuyers who need Loftium’s down payment help simply agree to rent out a spare bedroom and split the income with us for 12-36 months after buying their new home.

Loftium has been working with Umpqua Bank to bring our down payments to Seattle homebuyers, and we are excited to continue that work from Everett and Lynnwood in the North to Tacoma, Puyallup in the South to Redmond, Bothell, and Snoqualmie in the East.  If you’re looking to buy a primary residence home (not an investment property) in Greater Seattle, Loftium can offer up to $50,000 (not to exceed 10% down) on a conventional mortgage. Best of all, Loftium does not have income limits or home price restrictions.

Here’s how it works:

  • You choose the home, qualify for the loan amount with Umpqua Bank, and put at least 1% toward the down payment.
  • Loftium will estimate the income potential of renting the home’s spare bedroom on Airbnb and will then offer a lump-sum prepayment to use toward the remaining down payment.
  • In exchange, you’ll be required to list a bedroom(s) on Airbnb and manage the rental process for a fixed period of time, ranging 12-36 months.

Benefits to the homebuyer:

  • Only 1% down payment is required by the homebuyer.
  • Homebuyer will receive approximately 10%-40% of the Airbnb income each month.
  • Loftium provides a starter supply kit, software, pricing and support in kickstarting your Airbnb hosting!

This down payment assistance is not a loan, financing, or other extension of credit to the purchaser. The homebuyer must still meet the lending requirements of Umpqua Bank.

Sign up at www.loftium.com to see your down payment offer! 

Have questions? Send us an email at hi@loftium.com or call/text us at 844-LOFTIUM.

Buying a Home Takes Longer Than You Think – See the Timeline to Buy

One of the biggest surprises for first-time homebuyers is how long the homebuying process can take, especially in the Seattle area. Even if you’re thinking about buying a home 6 months from now, the reality is you should probably start the process now. Here’s an overview of how long the home buying process can take. Continue reading “Buying a Home Takes Longer Than You Think – See the Timeline to Buy”

Get debt free when you buy a home – here’s how.

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, most people focus on their income. But it turns out that the fastest route to getting approved for a bigger home loan is to pay off debt.

With Loftium, you can speed up this process: use Loftium for the down payment, and free up your own funds to get debt free.

Why does paying off debt matter?

Simply lowering your current debt level doesn’t help much if you still have monthly payments to make. Even if you only have $6000 remaining on your car loan, if your monthly car payment is $500, that’s $500 per month less you can put towards your mortgage. This can mean ~$100,000 less when it comes to your bank approved purchase price, all because of a $6,000 car loan.

If you have the savings to do it, totally paying off debt could be a smart move. You’ll get debt free (woo hoo!), potentially improve your credit score and likely get approved for a bigger home loan.

Think it’s impossible to pay off debt? Loftium can help.

Use Loftium’s down payment to offset the savings you put towards your debt payoff. Get debt free and get a down payment from Loftium, in one fell swoop.

What this actually looks like.

Here’s a typical example of how our homebuyers use Loftium’s down payment, pay off debt and boost their max home price:

 

Interested in paying off your debt and using Loftium to boost your max purchase price?

Send us your info to get a custom plan.

Take advantage of our down payments – customize them!

Your down payment, your way

Customize Loftium’s down payment estimates to suit your homeownership and financial goals: Airbnb multiple bedrooms, choose your contract length, and select the split of the monthly Airbnb income you take home.

Airbnb Multiple Bedrooms

Airbnb more bedrooms to get more down payment. Should you find a 3 bedroom home you love, but the price tag is too steep, Airbnb 2 bedrooms to get closer to $50,000 down.

Contract Length

Select an agreement length of 12, 24, or 36 months. The longer we work together, the more down payment you’ll get up-front.

Monthly Split

Choose to receive 20%, 30%, or 40% of the monthly Airbnb income each month depending on your needs. If a bigger down payment is more important, choose a smaller split. If help with your monthly mortgage payment matters more, choose a bigger split.  

Customization in action 

Airbnb multiple bedrooms and choose different contract lengths for each space. Check out this example:

Get $50,000 towards your down payment when you buy a new home that has a mother in law unit, plus 2 bedrooms on the main floor.

  • Airbnb the mother-in-law for 36 months and,
  • 1 bedroom upstairs for 12 months
  • Choose to take 30% of the Airbnb income home each month
Ways to boost your down payment
  • Live in the mother-in-law, Airbnb the main living space
  • Airbnb the master bedroom and bathroom
  • Set up a small kitchenette in a space with a separate entrance

Start customizing today on Loftium.com

Why use Loftium’s down payment? Here are the top 3 reasons our buyers keep telling us.

Affordability is at the top of every homebuyer’s mind. Depending on your income and savings, there are different reasons why you may need a boost from Loftium to afford a home. Let’s take a look at the top three scenarios why using Loftium can make a substantial impact on your affordability.

1) Your income and small savings are keeping you from getting pre-approved for a loan, period.

You want to get your foot in the door of homeownership but with little in savings, combined with a household income of less than $80K, it’s difficult to get pre-approved at a home price where you can actually buy something with in Seattle.  Given 5% down is required up-front for a conventional loan, you need Loftium’s down payment to buy.

Here’s a very common Seattle homebuyer profile:

  • Total household income: $75,000
  • Down payment savings: $5,000
  • Max home price without Loftium: $100,000
  • Max Home Price with $50K boost from Loftium: $497,306

Loftium is the key to homeownership for you. If you’re in this scenario, you’ll likely need to budget a little more tightly for the monthly mortgage payments, but if that means the difference between owning a home or not, cutting back on some expenditures could be worth it. Plus, the Airbnb income you’ll receive each month with Loftium can help add room to your budget.

2) You’ve got high income but low down payment savings.

You can easily afford the monthly mortgage payments but your down payment savings are too low to qualify you for a home price at which you’d like to buy. Want another bedroom? A better neighborhood? Enter Loftium.

Check out the before and after:

  • Total household income: $100,000
  • Down payment savings: $20,000
  • Max home price without Loftium: $400,000
  • Max Home Price with $50K boost from Loftium: $659,742

Loftium’s down payment boost combined with your income means you can get pre-approved for a much higher home price. Don’t let your down payment savings keep you from buying when you can totally afford the monthly payments. Prices in Seattle are outpacing income growth – it may be the perfect time for you to buy with Loftium’s help.

3) You’re crashing up against the conventional loan limit.

You don’t want to or cannot qualify for a jumbo loan or secondary mortgage, but in Seattle, you can only borrow $667,000 on a conventional mortgage before you have to look for other options. Jumbo loans generally require months of backup cash in the bank, and a 10% down payment. Secondary mortgages come with fluctuating, high interest rates. Either way – it can be very costly & you may not qualify for either one.  Use Loftium to keep your loan size under $667,000.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Total household income: $150,000
  • Down payment savings: $60,000
  • Max home price without Loftium: $727,000
  • Max home price with $50K boost from Loftium: $777,000

Adding Loftium’s down payment can keep you in the conventional loan limit range so you can use one, clean conforming loan with a lower interest rate – saving you thousands over time.

You can afford to buy with Loftium.

From buying a home you love to owning one at all, our down payments can make a big difference in your personal affordability. See how much home you can afford with Loftium’s down payment.

 

In each case we assume 5% down payments and 43% debt to income ratio, the highest you can have and still get approved for a mortgage.

 

You don’t have to put 20% down and why it’s smart not to.

We hear this from homebuyers a lot: “Wait, I don’t have to put 20% down?” Nope! You don’t have to. In fact, you can put as little as 5% down and there are legitimate reasons why it’s actually a good idea. Depending on what you choose, 20% or less, there are pros and cons. Let’s take a look.