New Home Buyer? Don’t Make These 3 Common Mistakes!

buying-a-new-home-checklistLooking for your new home can feel like a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time going through the home buying process. Sometimes, all of the choices may feel overwhelming. You want to make the best decision for yourself and your family.

Here’s a quick list of three common pitfalls that some home buyers experience:

Choosing to Skip the Inspection

A home inspection is a necessity. This is your opportunity for a professional to uncover any potential problems in a property that you cannot see. Or even something that you might not have known to check. Your new home is likely the largest financial investment in your life, so think about your home inspection as a type of safety net to prevent you from getting repair surprises right after you move into your dream home.

Not Planning Ahead For Life Changes

Life happens in ways that cannot always be planned ahead. Sometimes home buyers get excited about looking for a perfect home that will fit their immediate needs. Alternatively, if you take the approach of looking ahead and seeing how your new home might also meet future potential changes, you can save the time, trouble and expense of moving again.

For instance, if you are a young couple buying your first home, you might not think you want more space than you can use right away. In the event that you are thinking about starting a family in the next few years, it can be a cost effective decision to purchase a home with extra space to accomodate your future growing family now.

Trying To Avoid Using A Real Estate Professional

A common misconception among home buyers is the idea that they can save money on the purchase of a home if they can skip utilizing a buyer’s agent in the purchase of their property. While that may seem like it makes sense, the reality is that the buyer’s representative in a real estate transaction is paid by the person selling the home.

Not only that, but if you were trying to negotiate a transaction directly with a seller, you might overlook very important opportunities to create a stronger offer. Your seasoned real estate agent can point that out and help you maximize your purchase power.

A buyer’s agent also has access to real-time market information through their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which can uncover homes that may fit your needs better than anything you can find on your own. Even with all of the property search services that have been developed over the last few years, the active, professional real estate agent still has their thumb on the pulse of your local market.

Buying a home is a big decision and finding your dream home might take some time. Don’t forget that one of the first and best things a buyer can do is find out how much house they can afford. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to get your pre-approval underway so you are ready to put in an offer when you find just the right property for you.

How To Turn A Profit Flipping Land Into Residential Property

buying a brand new homeReality TV shows have inspired people to flip houses for profit. They make it look fun, easy and the type of business anyone with some capital can get into.

Every once in a while, house-flipping episodes show an underperforming sale and a financial loss. That is why people in the flipping business need a cushion in case things don’t pan out.

This brings us to a slightly different approach. Some speculators start out flipping land. Yes, that’s right. Land.

Flipping Land Can Be Less Risky Than Homes

Rough land can be far less expensive to invest in than blighted homes. There are also fewer unknowns in terms of flipping. Investors won’t need to worry about replacing an electric box, mold behind walls or failing a building inspection. Land flippers can also start with a modest out-of-pocket investment and work their way up to short-term lending to finance endeavors.

The Basic Considerations

There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a parcel. Property that abuts a street with sewer and water are preferable to scrub land in areas without services. It is not uncommon to run into difficulty drilling an artesian well or getting a permit for a septic system. Developers know this and will jump at street-ready parcels first.

Make certain the parcel qualifies as a buildable lot with the town or city. Then, hire an excavation team or clear the brush and trees yourself. The goal will be to create an open area where a home can be built while leaving suitable greenery.

The next step is to call a real estate agent and list the property. Quick land turnovers can earn several thousand dollars in profit with minimal effort. Remember to factor in hidden costs such as taxes, interest, and recording fees, among others.

Upping The Ante To Spec Homes

After gaining experience in the land flipping business, take that knowledge and apply it to homes. Rather than scoop up a dilapidated structure, employ that land development acumen and take the next step.

Select a parcel that is in a prime residential location. What a surprise it would be to find a wooded lot at the end of a desirable neighborhood that can be developed.

Create A Budget and Obtain Financing

Work closely with a real estate agent to understand the types of homes that are trending and the average sale prices. With that information in hand, come to an agreement with a general contractor who can oversee the spec house project.

Decide on a design and calculate the total costs. Don’t forget to add 15 percent for overruns. Contact your loan originator to help you secure a building loan and put the team to work.

Get The Listing On The Market

Spec home projects can be listed with real estate agents even before the first nail is driven into a 2X4. A savvy real estate agent can get a property up online with design information, an artful rendition of the finished home and key selling points. In a perfect world, a new home buyer may be found before construction begins.

It’s important to realize that it doesn’t require significant wealth to get into the home buying and selling industry. By starting with modest, low-risk land deals and working up to spec homes, a solid living can be earned in the real estate industry. If this idea intrigues you, contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss financing options and start planning your new real estate endeavor today.

Ensuring A Stress-Less Closing

mortgage-preapproval2Buying a home is an exciting and exhilarating time. Between the time your offer is accepted, and when you finally have keys in hand and you are ready to step into your new home, it can be stressful. The escrow period, also known as the closing, can take the most easygoing home buyer to the brink of insanity.

After you have negotiated your best price and come to an agreement, there are ways to make the escrow process less anxiety-provoking. Here are some tips from top real estate agents to help you get through the escrow process without losing your cool.

Utilize Your Professionals

Trust your real estate agent to walk you through the entire process is key to a smoothly closing escrow. Rely them to do their job, but don’t be afraid to express any anxieties, and lean on them during negotiations and inspections. They are the experts, so ask questions and ask for advice, but try not to second guess their guidance or recommendations.

Your additional trusted partner is your mortgage professional. They know how important the financing piece is to this equation and they will be sure to know your timeline and be available to answer questions and assist you throughout this process.

Stay Organized

Chaos rarely inspires confidence. Stay on top of all paperwork and make sure you sign and return everything to your lender promptly to eliminate delays. The lender and escrow company want the sale to close in a timely fashion, too, so don’t slow them down by being disorganized or failing to return important documentation such as income tax information or bank statements.

Maintain A Healthy Perspective

No home is perfect, so be prepared for inspections that bring some daunting news. Ask to be present when the inspections are performed. The more information you have about your prospective home, the better you will be prepared to negotiate for repairs before they surprise you in the future.

Ask for credits and repairs as needed, but try to remain objective. Some seemingly minor fixer projects can lead to a much longer time table. You may decide that, when considering the bigger picture and a timely transaction, a couple thousand dollars might not actually be a worth negotiating.

Be Flexible

Retain as much flexibility as possible during the closing process and focus on the big picture, rather than all of the details. When opening escrow, ask your agent to give you an overview of the expected timeline from beginning to end. Knowing what to expect, and when as well as being aware of projected milestones goes a long way in reducing anxiety. You can, and should, ask to be notified when important milestones are reached.

While you might have it penciled in on your calendar, it’s common for closing dates to change. Instead of thinking of your closing date as set in stone, think of it as a flexible target. Do not book movers until the last minute, so you won’t be stressed if your belongings are all packed in a truck and the escrow date is set forward a day or two.

Don’t forget to breathe!

This is an important time to take care of yourself. Take a run, meditate, or do yoga. Read a book or enjoy a hobby. Moving can be a physically taxing event, so take the time now to relax before the big move.

Before you know it, you will be moving into your new home. Being informed, staying organized and taking care of yourself are key elements. Most important, though, is to rely on your trained professionals to guide you through this process and help to ensure a stress-less closing.

Don’t Let a Renter Assume Your Mortgage Payment as a Landlord

mortgage refinance calculatorWhen it comes to a property that’s been financed with a mortgage, homeowners can experience the need or desire to live elsewhere from time to time. Renting may be considered as a way to recover some of their costs when they are not using their home.

In some cases, homeowners – when acting as landlords – may also consider that it’s more efficient to have the tenant pay their monthly mortgage payment directly to a lender. After all, the money is just being received and turned over in another check to the lender anyway. It may seem like a logical idea to skip the two-step hassle but, in reality, it’s not a great idea.

Equity Matters

First off, one has to understand and remember what a mortgage payment actually does; it pays down financing debt which in turn creates equity in the home. Typically, that means that the owner’s payment shifts more of the clear title to his name and lessens the lender’s collateral lien.

However, if a third party gets involved, the legal title to the home can get complicated. From some legal arguments, it could be interpreted that the owner is letting a third party buy into the equity in the home. That may not necessarily be the case, but when money gets exchanged, it can be a very powerful element in the legal world.

Lenders Are Not Fond of Assumptions

To prevent potential title problems, most mortgage lenders refuse to let a borrower allow a third party to assume their mortgage loan. Instead, the original mortgage needs to be paid off to release the collateral lien on the given home to the homeowner responsible for the purchase.

However, not every home loan provider includes the right language in their loan contracts. Some even make it possible for a third party assumption to occur. If that happens, regardless of what the original homeowner wants, the third party could then make an argument that they now have equity title of the home and the basis for lien if taken to court. While this could be thought of as an extreme situation, weirder things have happened in a court room.

Keep It Separate

To avoid any kind of title confusion from occurring, it’s best to simply not let the tenants have anything to do with the mortgage on the home or the lender. Period. Collect their rent and then issue an entirely separate check payment to the mortgage lender. This keeps the equity title clean and the tenants remain just that, temporary occupants of the property and nothing more.

As you can see, precautions are often taken to protect the homeowner and the lender but that is not always the case. The best thing you can do is talk to your trusted mortgage professional about this issue and others to ensure the long term protection of your valuable asset.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 14th, 2018

private-money-financing-my-mortgagenewsdailyLast week’s economic reports included readings on consumer prices, consumer sentiment and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Consumer Price Index Increases in April

Consumer prices rose by 0.20 percent in April according to the Commerce Department. Analysts expected prices to rise by 0.30 percent based on a negative reading of -0.10 percent in March. Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and energy sectors, eased to 0.10 percent growth in April after growing by 0.20 percent in March. Analysts said that Fed policymakers’ concerns over inflation growth could wane with the easing of core consumer prices.

Mortgage Rates, Mixed New Jobless Claims Unchanged

Freddie Mac reported mixed readings for average mortgage rates; rates for fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.55 percent and were unchanged from the prior week. Average rates for a fifteen-year fixed rate mortgage dipped by two basis points. Rates for a5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.77 percent and were higher by eight basis points.

New jobless claims were unchanged 211,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 215,000 new claims. In other news, the University of Michigan reported that consumer sentiment was also unchanged with an index reading of 98.80 in May.

What‘s Next

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings From the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Financing Your Solar Roof – Good Idea?

remodeling-greenGoing solar can make life sunnier for some homeowners. In addition to reducing energy dependence by “borrowing” energy directly from the sun, purchasers may also enjoy a 30 percent federal Solar Investment Tax Credit and other incentives, according to SEIA.

Solar roofing can boost a home’s equity in some cases, while making it more attractive to future buyers in sun-drenched parts of the country. Best of all, financing that solar roof may be a more attainable goal than homeowners think.

Leasing vs. Owning
Perhaps the first question a green-minded homeowner should consider is whether to own solar roofing or lease it. Leasing solar panels from a third-party provider bypasses the need to take out a traditional loan or purchase a solar roof with cash.

Energy.gov notes that PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) allow homeowners to pay fixed monthly payments based on the amount of energy the roof will likely generate over the period of the lease. But it’s worth noting that leasing also bypasses the tax credits and other financial benefits and incentives of ownership.

The Traditional Loan Route
Traditional loans can finance solar roofs just as they can other major home renovations or improvements. For homeowners who already own their homes outright, this approach offers a simple, cost-effective way to enhance the property. Other homeowners may want to look into the Department of Energy’s Residential PACE (Property Assessed Clean energy) loans aimed at promoting energy-efficient modifications.

Those who seek to take out a mortgage on a solar-roofed home, however, should watch out for the proverbial fine print. For instance, PACE loans trump mortgage loans, so having a PACE loan in place can make getting that mortgage loan impossible.

Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Energy Mortgage
The HomeStyle Energy Mortgage from Fannie Mae offers an attractive alternative to traditional loans, according to the Washington Post. This product includes the solar roof (or other energy-efficient modification) within the overall mortgage loan.

A HomeStyle Energy Mortgage factors in the anticipated energy savings offered by the modification in figuring the loan terms. It also lets borrowers take out larger amounts that they might receive through traditional mortgages — up to 15 percent of the home’s “as-completed” appraisal value.

Some smart financing strategies can turn the objective of owning a solar roof from an out-of-reach dream into a practical reality. A skilled mortgage expert can help homeowners weigh all the available options and come up with a sensible plan that suits their needs.

Understanding the Basic Interest Rates Difference Between Fixed and Variable

homes-sales-improvingHome loans are available in an assortment of lending packages, but the big difference that consumers need to pay attention to at a minimum is how the interest charge is calculated. Interest is the margin that represents the profit and risk offset for a lender financing a consumer’s home purchase.

With loans lasting over 30 to 40 years now, the amount of money that can be made can be two or three times the purchase value of the home involved. So it’s calculation method is important for the borrower.

A Fixed Rate

A fixed rated is one where the home loan interest rate does not change. So, if a person takes out a 30-year home loan with an interest rate of 5 percent, that interest rate charge per year will not change at any time during the 30 years of repayment. It provides stability for financial planning, especially for buyers who just want to pay the same payment monthly and not fuss about anything else.

A Variable Rate

A variable interest rate is one in which the interest on a home loan can change over time. The most frequent set up involves an introductory rate period where the interest rate on a 30 year loan is attractively low for the first one, three or five years. Then, if the loan is still in place, the interest rate may adjust up or down and starts to track an index, usually based on a stock or bond market. Then a “margin” is added to the index to determine the current mortgage interest rate.

The risk is whether that newly adjusted interest rate is higher than what was available previously as a fixed interest rate. The variable rate may work very well for those who only want to hold a home for a short period and then sell it for a profit. It can become a problem, however, if the loan is held longer than the change period when the variability kicks in with a market index.

Pros And Cons

The major advantage of a fixed loan is that is very straightforward, simple and can be refinanced years later if the market starts to offer much lower rates. That protects a consumer from fluctuating costs, especially when running a household on a set budget. However, the same formula is often more expensive in the first few years, especially if the home will only be owned for a few years.

The big advantage of the variable interest rate loan is realized by investors or those who only plan to stay in their home or home loan for a short period of time. Investors who think the real estate market will go up can make big profits with far less carrying costs in interest since variable rate loans often have a low introductory period. However, if they guess wrong or are forced to keep the loan longer than planned, the buyer could get stuck with a more expensive, fluctuating monthly loan payment.

Which one works best often depends on the buyer and his specific interests in a home purchase. Talk to your trusted mortgage professional today about interest rates to help you determine which option is best for you.

5 Ways Millennial Buyers Can Snag Their Dream Home In This Sellers Market

buying a brand new homeAccording to the 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, Millennials bought 34% of the homes sold; the largest of any generation last year.

Millennials looking to buy their first, or second, home need to ready themselves for a surprisingly competitive market. Lack of supply causes attractive homes to garner multiple offers in just a few hours!

What can a Millennial buyer do to appeal to sellers and be the one who ends up with the home? Here are 5 ways they can snag their dream home in this seller’s market.

Get Pre-Approved

Figuring out what a home buyer can afford is a crucial step and no different for these savy Millenial home buyers. Sellers like to avoid nasty surprises. Being pre-approved shows the seller that the homebuyer is serious and financially able to purchase their home.

Meeting with a mortgage originator and getting pre-approved is how it’s done. This professional will pull credit history and look at current financial infomation to determine precisely how much of a mortgage is affordable. The pre-approval can then be used as part of their offer letter.

Be Decisive

A hot real estate market is no time for cold feet. Millennials should proactively create a list of must-haves and be ready with an offer when they find a home that meets their requirements.

Taking too long to mull over whether they like the house, the neighborhood, or the price can result in a dream house being sold right out from under them.

Get Real

Millennials should research pricing in the neighborhoods they like, and lean on their real estate agent for helpful guidance. Low-balling an offer is not likely to be received well in this competitive market. Making a fair, reasonable offer close to, or even above, the asking price is the best course of action to land the home they want.

Show Personality

If sellers feel like they know the buyer, they are more likely to choose them over a faceless offer. Include a personal letter with the offer. Go into detail about why the house is appealing. Add personal details about what the Millennial buyer wants to do in the house like raise children, plant a garden, or enjoy baking in the kitchen.

If all buyers are equal, a heartfelt letter just might tip the scales.

Agree to the Seller‘s Timetable

Some sellers prefer unloading their house fast. Others may want to wait to move until their kids are out of school or the new home they are building is ready.

Millennial buyers may need to dig to get this information but it can be used to their advantage. Being flexible might just set them up to be the best choice for the seller.

While challenging, it’s not impossible for Millennials to end up with the house of their dreams. With a bit of planning, decisiveness, flexibility, and a preapproval from their trusted mortgage professional, Millenials can make homeownership a reality in the very near future!

5 Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage Rate

calculatorMany first time home buyers often wonder what factors determine their mortgage rate. Is it their credit score? Is it the type of loan chosen? Is it the size of the loan?

The truth is, there are many factors at play. Mortgage interest rates are not standardized across the board, so they vary from lender to lender and from borrower to borrower.

Here are 5 common factors that determine or affect your mortgage interest rate:

1. Default Risk

Risk is a key consideration when determining mortgage interest rates. Banks and other lenders are in a risky business because there is always a chance of a borrower defaulting on their loan repayments. This is known as default risk.

Banks and lenders therefore charge riskier borrowers higher interest rates to discourage them from borrowing, as well as to be able to average their returns between risky and non-risky borrowers. Risk is one of the prime factors that influence your mortgage rate.

2. Credit Score

Perhaps you are wondering how banks and other lenders determine if you are a risky or non-risky borrower. There are many tools they can use, but your credit score plays a big role. You credit score is based on the borrowing history in your credit report, which summarizes all details about your credit card balances and timely bill repayment.

If you pay your bills on time and sustain relatively low credit scores, your credit score stays high and lenders view you as a low-risk borrower. Consequently, your mortgage interest rates tend to be lower than a person with a low credit score.

3. Type of Property You Are Purchasing

Some properties have a higher risk of default compared to others. This is determined by analyzing the historical likelihood of default on different properties; lenders use this analysis as the reason to charge higher mortgage interest rates on riskier ones.

For example, vacation homes tend to have a higher rate of default compared to single-family homes and lenders charge higher rates for such homes.

4. Size of Down Payment

The amount of money you pay upfront on the mortgage also influences its interest rate. A large down payment gives you a lower LTV ratio (loan-to-value), which also decreases the level of risk borne by a lender. A small down payment, on the other hand, gives you a high LTV ratio and thus a higher mortgage interest rate.

5. Loan Amount

A large loan bears a higher risk than a smaller one simply because there is more money at risk. Most lenders therefore charge higher interest rates on large property loans as compared to smaller ones.

All in all, different lenders offer different rates depending on their style of operation, appetite for risk, or competitiveness in the market. It’s important to search intensively for offers from different lenders for the best mortgage rate. Contact your mortgage professional to help you find out more about mortgage rates and what that means for your next home purchase.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 7th, 2018

fha-cash-out-refinancesLast week’s economic releases included readings on inflation, construction spending and private and public- sector payrolls. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also posted.

Inflation Meets Fed Goal, Construction Spending Lower

March inflation reached a year-over-year rate of two percent, which is the Federal Reserve’s goal for inflation. Inflation rose by 0.20 percent in March to 0.40 percent; analysts expected inflation to rise 0.50 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, met expectations with 0.20 percent growth.

Construction spending was lower in March with a negative reading of -1.70 percent. Analysts predicted an increase of 0.50 percent based on February’s one percent increase in construction spending. Construction costs were five percent higher year-over-year, and builders cited long-standing concerns with lot shortages. Tariffs on building materials fueled rising materials costs. Analysts said construction spending remains strong.

Mortgage Rates, Jobs Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped three basis points to 4.55 percent. Rates or a 15-year fixed rate mortgage were one basis point higher at 4.03 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged five basis points lower at 3.69 percent.

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee elected not to raise the target federal funds rate from its current range of 1.50 to 1.75 percent; when fed rates are raised, private lenders including mortgage banks typically raise home loan rates.

New jobless claims were lower last week with 211,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 225,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 209,000 new jobless claims.

ADP Payrolls reported 204,000 private-sector jobs added in April as compared to the March reading of 228,000 jobs added. The Commerce Department reported 164,000 public and private sector jobs added in April, which was lower than expectations of 184,000 jobs added. The national unemployment rate for April dipped to 3.90 percent as compared to expectations of 4.0 percent and March’s reading of 4.10 percent.

What‘s Ahead

This week’s economic readings include job openings, mortgage rates and new jobless claims. The University of Michigan will also release its monthly Consumer Sentiment Index.