| DOES PAYING POINTS MAKE SENSE?
Points are up-front fees paid to obtain a better interest rate on a loan. One point equals one percent of the loan amount. A lower interest rate may result in a lower monthly payment, but it is important to consider how long you intend to be in the loan, and to compare current rates to historical market trends.
If you take out a $300,000 mortgage and decide to pay one point, this translates into an up-front closing cost of $3,000. Paying a point up front saves $100 a month but it will take 30 months to recuperate the cost of that point. If you decide to refinance or sell the home before the 30-month mark, your money is lost. In this case, you would benefit financially by remaining in the home longer than the 30 months.
Rates run in cycles. When rates are at historical lows, it is sensible to pay points if you plan to live in the home for an extended period of time. It is unlikely that rates will go down; hence, there will be no need to refinance.
When rates are up, there is a strong likelihood that they will come down. This is no time to pay points. The chances of refinancing in the future are extremely high, and you will likely not be in the loan long enough to recuperate the cost of the points.
|Mortgage Interest Rates* CRAZY LOW!!!|
|Rates as of Saturday, 3rd December, 2011:|
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Estimate Your Expenses Before Buying a Home….
Personal Letter Lands a Home Sale ~ www.RealEstate.AOL.com
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Looking for someone to help you organize your home or office? To stage you sell your home – or staging for youself – contact Details Home Staging!
As you probably know, “piggy back” loans to avoid mortgage insurance are non existent and therefore homebuyers have no choice but to pay mortgage insurance when the down payment is less than 20%. What you may not know is that PMI IS tax deductable (see article below) which makes it more palatable.
Congress Makes PMI Tax Deductible
The federal government’s Private Mortgage Insurance legislation is great news for the real estate industry! Enacted on January 1st, 2007, the bill makes Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) tax deductible for borrowers whose personal adjusted gross income is $100,000 or less. For millions of home buyers, the bill creates an amazing opportunity to finance a more expensive home or potentially obtain a lower payment for the same-priced home, while reducing annual income taxes by hundreds of dollars.
What is PMI?
It wasn’t until the 1990s, when lenders began allowing “piggyback” financing, that homeowners and home buyers had an opportunity to finance a home without PMI. Under this scenario, buyers would take out two loans to cover the total amount borrowed. The first mortgage accounted for 80% or less of the purchase price or appraised value of the home; and the second mortgage, or “piggyback”, covered the remaining amount required to fund the transaction.
It’s also important to remember that PMI doesn’t last forever. If a home appreciates at a rate of 4% annually, borrowers will be in a position to remove PMI within four years, resulting in an automatic reduction in the mortgage payment.
What to Do Now
If you would like to discuss how your clients can take advantage of the benefits of PMI, please call me! I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.
How to Pack Household Goods from MarthaStewart.com
Spring Breathes Life Into Prices – a Video from RISMedia.com
Ways to Make Your Home More Appealing from RIS Media Real Estate….
6 Things to Know Before You Buy That Short Sale House
The Wrong Short Sale House Might Not Ever Close
By Elizabeth Weintraub, About.com Guide
Qualify the listing agent and the seller before writing an offer on that short sale house.
© Big Stock Photo
Comparable Sales For That Short Sale House
The short sales I list in Sacramento are all priced below comparable sales, yet they are priced in line with pending sales. Why? Because short sales take anywhere from 2 to 4 months, on average, to close, and pending sales will become the comparable sales at closing.
Some short sales are priced ridiculously low. So low that the sellers’ bank will never accept them. These types of listings receive multiple offers. But all is not lost. To get your offer accepted, it will need to be priced near market value. If you’re not prepared to pay above a superficial price on a lowball short-sale listing, then pass.
Mortgage Amounts, Number of Loans and Lenders
Ask your agent to research how much is owed against the home and find out the number of loans that are recorded. A second or third mortgage lender will receive peanuts as compared to the amount a senior lender in first position will get.
Moreover, some lenders, deserving or not, get a reputation for being difficult to work with. If your agent is an experienced short sale agent, he or she will know who these lenders are and can advise you of the difficulty you may encounter.
If your offer is 20% or 30% of the mortgaged amount, it is unlikely that your offer will see the light of day on the negotiator’s desk.
Short Sale Listing Agent’s Track Record
A listing agent who is advertising a short sale but has never closed a short sale is a risky proposition for you. That’s because it’s up to the listing agent to submit the short sale package to the lender and negotiate. Your buyer’s agent can’t talk to the bank.
Some listing agents hire outside companies to do their job, and the results of those negotiations are sketchy at best. Ask yourself, do you want to risk rejection of your short sale purchase because the listing agent has no experience?
Short Sale Seller Qualifications
Find out if the listing agent has received a completed short sale package from the seller, and ask about the contents of that package. A complete short sale package consists, at minimum, of the following:
- Sellers’ hardship letter
- Tax returns
- Payroll stubs
- Financial statement
- Bank statements
Some sellers do not want to cooperate and are slow to return these documents. Others have never been told by their agent that these documents are mandatory. You don’t want your short sale purchase delayed because the listing agent doesn’t have the required documents.
Number of Short Sale Offers Received
Homes priced under market value will receive multiple offers. An agent is not required to disclose the terms of those offers, but you do want to know how many offers you are up against.
Here’s how it generally works:
- When a short sale home first comes on the market, the first offer will most likely be a tad below list price.
- The second, at list price.
- The third offer will be slightly higher, maybe by a $1,000 or $2,000.
- The fourth offer will be significantly more.
You want to make an offer that will beat the competition yet still be below market, or don’t waste your time.
The Listing Agent’s Short Sale Procedures
Although REALTORS are required by the REALTOR Code of Ethics to treat everybody fairly, not every agent is a REALTOR. This means the short sale listing agent may decide to submit only the first offer to the bank and withhold all other offers.
Withholding other offers could be considered to be a violation of the fiduciary relationship formed between the listing agent and the seller. The seller is entitled to receive the highest and best price. Realize that even if your offer is submitted to the bank, as time marches by while waiting for short sale approval, another buyer could outbid you.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.
Home Inspection Checklist from About.com
First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide from FrontDoor.com
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Homeownership… Still The American Dream
7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home from HouseLogic.com
7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home
By: G. M. Filisko
Published: February 10, 2010
By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.
1. Decide how much home you can afford
Generally, you can afford a home priced 2 to 3 times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.
2. Develop your home wish list
Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top-five must-haves and top-five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.
3. Select where you want to live
Make a list of your top-five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.
4. Start saving
Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your downpayment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a downpayment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small downpayment preserves your savings for emergencies.
However, the lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your downpayment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.
Finally, if your downpayment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and downpayment assistance programs for first-time buyers.
5. Ask about all the costs before you sign
A downpayment is just one homebuying cost. Your REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area—including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.
6. Get your credit in order
A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. Most require a minimum credit score of 620 for a home mortgage.
You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.
7. Get prequalified
Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.
If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.
Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.
More from HouseLogic
Other web resources
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has thrice survived the homebuying process. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.
Simple Tips for Better Home Showings
Realtor.org – Realtor Magazine
Flickr.com – granite-charlotte
1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.
3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.
4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.
5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.
8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.
10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.
11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.
12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.
13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.
14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.
16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.
17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
5 Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly in Today’s Market
By Dan Steward Print Article
RISMEDIA, November 22, 2010—It’s one thing when someone says “Things are looking up,” but quite another when the numbers actually bear that out. Happily, the latter is the case, evidenced by the latest statistics that show that home prices may be stabilizing. Namely, national home prices jumped an impressive 3.6% in the past year, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released in late August. Prices also climbed 4.4% in the second quarter, which contrasts with a 2.8% decrease in the first quarter.
This uptick in prices leads to a simple conclusion: Sell now if you can. And you certainly can. A fast sale, taking advantage of these numbers, is entirely possible, and can result in a lot of profit and a very happy client. But telling your client to “sell quickly,” without backing it up, can inspire fear and even ire. Instead, give them these methodical, easy tips to selling fast and successfully, taking advantage of a market uptick, without inducing panic or stomach aches.
1. Don’t raise the price. The uptick in home prices doesn’t mean that you should get all excited and raise the price. The trick is to leave your price the same as it was—that will encourage a bidding war. Hearing news about home prices going up, and raising your price immediately as a response to that, is typically not the way to go; the home will likely sell for more as a result of two buyers fighting over your reasonable price, rather than walking away due to a price that’s too high. Remember, the goal is ultimately to get more money, not to have a higher list price.
2. Remain flexible. Selling quickly means making some concessions—and we’re not talking price. It’s those little extras that may inspire a buyer to sign on the dotted line. Obviously, no one has the right to get your vintage grand piano in the deal. But if a buyer wants your stainless-steel fridge with ice-maker, give it up. There’s more ice waiting in your new home.
3. De-clutter. For a quick sale, you may not have time to fully “stage” your home down to the accent pillows and entirely new living room furniture. But you do have time to clear out the clutter. If we saw a home we’d like, we’d look past the clutter, but most buyers won’t. So, before you worry about making your home pretty, focus on making it neat. In a better market, neat is often all you need.
4. Schedule more open houses—and don’t attend your own. When you have a longer time frame for selling, you can schedule open houses at your leisure, but if you want to sell fast, try for as many open houses as you can—and do not attend them, as a homeowner at their own open house often makes a potential buyer too nervous to comfortably look around.
5. Go big—and go local. If you haven’t listed in MLS (multiple-listing service), it’s a good idea, especially if you want to sell fast. The math is simple—more eyes on your listing equals more potential bites. But a lot of people who use the MLS forget that local advertising is important as well. Advertising in local and regional publications—as well as simply putting the word out with friends and family—are often skipped, expecting that the Internet will get the job done on its own.
Dan Steward is president of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspections.
For more information, visit www.pillartopost.com.
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