Shashank Shekhar Best-selling author, Shashank Shekhar (NMLS 8176) is a mortgage lender with Arcus Lending, offering loans for home purchase and refinance. Shashank has been featured as a mortgage expert on Yahoo! News, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. He has been named "Top 40 under 40" most influential mortgage professionals in the country.

Home Values

Benefits of Knowing Your Home’s Value Whether You are Staying or Selling

Benefits-of-Knowing-Home-ValueAny valuation of your house is an estimate. Even a professional appraisal is an opinion, although an educated one, of what the property might sell for if it were on the market. A property’s value is also a snapshot in time, because its value changes over time: the local housing market might improve or decline. Also, the condition of the house over a period of time will have an impact on the value of the house.

Whether you are staying in or selling your home, there are several benefits of knowing your home’s true value… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Should I Rent or Buy

Factors to Consider

Making the decision to buy your first home often starts rather casually. It often begins at the dinner table or out for a walk in the most innocuous way possible.

From that initial discussion to completing the home purchase process can take 3 months, or 3 years. It all depends on where you stand – financially and with credit – along with the standing position of the housing market as a whole.

Potential homebuyer(s) need to weigh all the options, access all the factors and do what they can to make a wise decision… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Why Selective Compromise Is Key

When to Compromise & When to Stand Firm

Before we start it is important to understand there are a few parts and pieces of the home purchase process that you should never compromise. Comprise here – like choosing a mortgage lender based solely on interest rate or a real estate agent based on how much commission they will rebate at closing – will yield the same results as the craps table would.

Sometimes you win, but most of the time you lose… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Am I ready to buy a house?

Five Signs You May Not be Ready to Buy, Yet.

There might be some dissent amongst some housing professionals, but not everyone needs to own a home right now. Let’s face it reality, some people out there have no business owning a home at all, ever.

Most of you, however, will eventually buy a home and be perfect homeowners. You just need to do a little legwork and address a few poor early 20’s life choices.

Whatever your boat, here are some of the reasons you might consider waiting… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Credit Scores

Your credit score, the algorithmic scoring model of your overall credit worthiness, comes into play frequently and consistently. Many times you may not even know it.

America operates in broken model of impersonal lending. A model far too heavily weighted on even more impersonal – and often inaccurate – FICO credit score.

From buying a car to getting a mortgage loan, your credit score matters. It even matters on less complex transactions; like getting a cell phone plan, activating utilities or renting a car… [read more]

woman budgeting for her first home
First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Mortgage Pre-Approval

You don’t have to search hard to find mortgage horror stories. Lost money, broken moving arrangements, and countless hours of wasted time all because one piece of the home-buying process was half-heartedly completed – the pre-approval.

Sometimes the loan officer is at fault and other times the borrower fails to disclose deal denying information.

Set aside and focus on how to avoid costly issues that can often pop-up on a weak pre-approval… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Searching Smart

Selecting Your Target & Making Your Offer

At this point we will work under the assumption that you have followed – to the letter – our other fantastic guidance.

You have used our formula to narrow your search to the homes and neighborhoods you can afford, you have used the tools provided to check out the neighborhood variables and potential and you have an awesome loan officer with a rock solid pre-approval.

You did do all of that right? Good… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Down Payment Options

You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy Your First Home

The 20% down myth, purveyed by uneducated media, scares far too many would-be homebuyers out of purchasing. Here are 5 very legitimate ways to avoid the 20% down myth.
Your down payment can come from your bank accounts, investments, stocks or mutual funds, inheritance awards, your retirement portfolio, a gift from a family member and even a bridal registry.

Requirements vary based on loan type and homebuyers purchasing a primary residence will always have lower down payment requirements than an investor or second home buyer… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Down Payment Assistance

What is Down Payment Assistance?

Down payment assistance programs have been around in some form for decades and they have proven a valuable resource in helping some of our underserved demographics secure the home-ownership dream.

Even though we tend to talk in terms of “down payment” assistance, most of the programs mentioned below can also be applied to your closing costs that are incurred on every purchase of a home… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Home Buyer’s Motivations

12 Primal Motivations Most Buyers Share

I have a secret to tell you. I “borrowed” the 12 motivations listed below from the selling guide that a prominent real estate brokerage provides each and every agent that comes on board. These motivations – hot buttons if you will – are anchored in years of surveyed data that Realtors have collected on their potential buyers from coast to coast.

These are the buttons that agents push to discover your true internal motivations. Some agents apply the information beautifully in order to find you and your family the perfect home… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Picking the Perfect Neighborhood

What to Consider When Targeting the Perfect Neighborhood?

Many potential first-time buyers enter into the home purchase thought process with a clear idea of exactly which neighborhood they intend to call home.

Most first-timers quickly realize that your favorite neighborhood is also one that you are not close to being able to afford.

Keep your mind open, pick several neighborhoods you consider primary then go back and pick another few that you consider secondary preferences… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Energy Efficiency Homes

Avoid the Myths – Why Energy Efficiency Should Be a Priority Home Feature for ALL Buyers

Energy efficient homes are not a political statement. They are a simple dollars and sense decision that every first-time homebuyer should emphasize.

The majority of new homebuyers understand the value presented by energy efficiency although some still believe the myths presented by those with a motive… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Earnest Money

How Earnest Money Works

When you make an offer to buy residential real estate you pay a sum acceptable to the seller by way of earnest money. The amount varies based on geography, home price, local regulation and the state of the market at the time of negotiations.

In a real estate market with limited inventory that will typically be referred to as a “Seller’s Market”, your earnest money – or lack there of – can make or break your deal for several reasons… [read more]

First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Home Warranties

Home Warranties: An Extra Layer of Protection, or a Waste of Money?

When you buy your first house the offers will descend on you like a plague of locusts: yard services, cleaning services. home security and, of course, home warranty offers. Chances are you might have even received a home warranty paid for by the seller or real estate agent when you purchased.

It will eventually expire and you’ll have a decision to make just like those that are considering one of the offers received in the mail… [read more]