Category Archives: Buyers

What is a Short Sale?

SP_EWP_029-300LA short sale is when the lien holder bank takes less than the debit owed on the property. Often times better than a foreclosure (but not always). When a homeowner can no longer pay their mortgage for reasons such as job loss, divorce, health status or death of an adult family member, or even a job transfer with the housing market not baring a sale price to cover what is owed on the property. These are the same reasons you run into foreclosures.

The seller usually has to call the bank and request to go through this process. This can be before the home is listed or while it is listed. The home owner often times has to prove hardship and explain reasons for needing to do this.

A short sale will effect your credit, but from what I have been told from mortgage lenders that I work with is that a foreclosure hits your credit worse and for a longer time than a short sale. Many sellers want to get the challenging situation behind them. Often times you can recover quicker in a few years and go on to re-purchase a new home if you get things cleared up and work on your credit.

In the transactions that I have processed, the some of the banks often want to get 85% of the appraised value at minimum for the home. There is also a lot of paper work for the sellers and the buyers need to be patient. I have had short sales take 6 weeks and even up to 5-6 months. The processing time can depend on the co-operation of the buyers and sellers and even the bank processes. The larger the bank the more red tape.

If a seller is going into bankruptcy, it is advised to speak to your lawyer. Often times, a short sale is not worth the effort if the property is going to be included in a bankruptcy.

If you are considering a short sale, you need an agent that has the patience to work through the process with you. One of the nice things about the short sale process is that some banks have actually paid my seller’s to close as a short sale rather than let the home go into foreclosure. It was not the case with all situations and all amounts were different. So the bank is rewarding the seller to avoid foreclosure.

Change Flooring on a Budget

Today buyers are really paying attention to the flooring in homes. You would not believe how many buyers want to rip out all the carpet (even if it is nicer carpet). I had one buyer who was able to replace all the flooring in their home and it looked amazing. But not all buyers can afford this, especially first time home buyers.

So I was searching around and found some great options if you have vinyl or linoleum or even a beat up floor that needs refinished but really is at the ends of its life.  There may be this fabulous estate but very dated, you want it but don’t have the money to change out (right now) that old vinyl that is in great shape but from the 70’s or 80’s.   Why not try paint? It sounds crazy but check out this article, I came across.

 

 

New Changes for Home Buyers

Yesterday I was at a meeting regarding new changes in the home buying industry. There is a lot to know for all parties involved in the process and starting October 3, 2015 (unless it is delayed again), there will be new waiting periods in the buyers paperwork for the mortgage due to the requirement to re-disclose new or updated information to the consumer.

The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), has initiated new waiting periods to protect the consumer/home buyer. If a loan is originated before October 3, 2015, it will fall under the current rules.

So basically why is this important? Because it can affect your closing date. This is really MY main concern for both my buyers and sellers. I will tell you that if you have all your life’s belongings in a truck and you are thinking you are driving it right over to the next house, hmmm, maybe not. This can and does happen now (on occasion for various reasons) but the risk from what I am seeing may be higher.

Ok, my point is if you are buying a home after October 3, 2015, (and you are not paying cash) you need to have good people working with you can keeping up on paper work. Buyers and sellers also need to diligently participate with the process. A buyer needs to get info and paper work to the lender as soon as possible. Do everything they tell you to do and what they tell you NOT to do. ( Don’t go buy new furniture on your credit card before you close or anything else large for that matter like a new car – it will change your debt to income ratio if you are right on the edge – just don’t do it!) You can buy the furniture or whatever after you close. Your credit and employment is checked again before closing.

So one of the things that can trigger a re-disclosure: If the fees to the buyer changes more than 1/8 of a percent at a certain point, it can trigger a re-disclosure. If this re-disclosure is with in 3 days of closing, hmmm, your are not closing on your scheduled date. This is one example of a re-disclosure scenario. Now I was also told that all banks do not do 3 days some may make it as late as 7 days. If the buyer does not have access to email then it will be the later time period.

One of the lenders that I work with is trying to make this process as smooth as possible for the buyers and everyone involved.

Attached are a few videos to explains some of the process. If you have bought a home before, then you may be familiar with terms and paper work that is mentioned already. If not you will be seeing it, if you are buying a home. Make sure you surround yourself with good, efficient, and knowledgeable people. You will be fine.

I do not necessarily endorse the companies providing information in this video.  The buyer is free to choose their own lender and closing/title company.  These video were made with the original deadline date of August 1, 2015 which has since been delayed to October 3, 2015 of of this blog entry.

 

 

Holiday Time, a Good Time or Bad Time to Sell Your Home?

In most cases, you would think that the holiday time is a bad time to sell a home. “Sixty percent of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because it’s a good time to sell, according to a new survey conducted by Realtor.com.” – Daily Real Estate News, December 5, 2011.

According to Daily Real Estate News, Almost 80 percent of agents who were survey said that buyer who are out during the holidays are more serious. Over 60 percent of agents said that because there are less homes on the market that there is not as much competition for the seller since less homes are generally for sale during that time.  Interestingly enough, almost 20 percent of agents said that the homes felt more cozy due to the cold weather.

During the winter season photographs the the property are even more important for the sale of the home according to the interview by Realtor.com. Sellers don’t tend to offer open houses as much during the holidays, therefore relying more on the photos and videos. This also helps the buyer bypass listings that do don’t interest them.

Helpful Tip: Find an agent that takes good photographs. I am a photographer on the side and I have had many people remark on the photos and how the photos got them to look at the property.

Photo Copyright 2006 Amy S Myers

Private Transfer Fees Now Prohibited in PA

“Pennsylvania has just become the 28th state to ban private transfer fees. Gov. Tom Corbett today signed HB 442 into law, becoming Act 8 of 2011.

Private transfer fees are part of a covenant attached to a property deed that forces the seller to pay 1 percent of the purchase price to a private third-party entity every time the property sells over the next 99 years. These fees cost unsuspecting homeowners thousands of dollars in additional closing costs.”

Quoted from:

http://www.parjustlisted.com/archives/8065#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed

PA New Construction Does Not Require Sprinklers

Consumers who are building a new single family home in Pennsylvania are now not required to install a sprinkler system. This just came in from the PA Association of Realtors:

“Sprinklers no longer a mandate in Pennsylvania!

Governor Tom Corbett today signed his first bill, House Bill 377 which removes the sprinkler mandate on all newly constructed one- and two-family homes. The new law is Act 1 of 2011.

Now that sprinklers are a consumer choice, builders must offer a buyer the option of installing sprinklers. Builders must also provide the buyer with information made available by the State Fire Commissioner on the possible benefits of installing a sprinkler system.

Among other things House Bill 377 will also change the codes adoption process in Pennsylvania and require increased standards for fire protection of flooring.

As of January 1, 2010, sprinklers are mandated in newly constructed townhomes. Act 1 will not change this requirement.”

When Buying a Foreclosure, Avoid These Mistakes

There are still plenty of foreclosures out there in the market in many locations across the country. It is a great time to cash in on these deals. Buyers do need to be cautious when purchasing. Sometimes you are not always getting a great bargain. Here are some things to consider:

1. Just because a house looks good does not mean it is. There could be”mold like” substances hiding behind walls and floorboards which could lead to costly repairs. Sometimes a foreclosure or fixer upper can look run down and have an excellent shell and important interior parts. Recently I took a buyer into a an older $22,000 – 4 bedroom foreclosure. You could tell the home was wonderful in its day. But what we found out was that some of the beams in the basement were burned. Insurance money, we thought, had made some nice upgrades but . . . there was also the hidden issue of the home being required to tap in to new sewer lines in the town – ouch! I made sure any interested parties were aware.

Also, don’t rely on any previous inspections if there would be any. Empty homes can deteriorate quickly. I always suggest buyers have an inspection. Also you should check the sewer/septic and water statuses as some banks claim to know nothing about whether these systems exist or are currently in working order.

2. Price is should not always be the focus. The price will get many people’s attention. You want to research quality of the school district, location, crime rate and even the view, and accessibility. Also financial problems are not always the main reason for every foreclosure.

3. Don’t be tempted to “flip” the house. Sometimes the price is not always low enough for a neighborhood to get your money back out of the flip. Always consult a real estate professional, home inspector or a contractor if you lack that knowledge.

4. Stick to a budget. Buyers need to make sure that they have the money to repair what they need or want repaired. Buyers should avoid taking additional loans. A great option in some cases is a rehab loan. For example, there is a loan called a 203K rehab loan (not all loan agents have knowledge of how to run them nor do all want to). This loan will escrow money for needed repairs that are are required to get financing or even additional things that are desirable to do.

Here is a neat article with before and after photos of a remodeled fixer upper. You have to have vision when purchasing a home like this. As an agent, is amazing to see what different people see when they walk into a home.

Stylish Remodels: A Foreclosure Gets a Dramatic Makeover

Is this a Good Time to Buy a Home? Yes and Here’s Why . . .

Today is one of the best times to go for the American Dream of home ownership or upgrade if you need to expand to a larger place. Here are key points to keep in mind.

1. Low Interest Rates. Interest rates are still hovering at historic lows. This means that you can qualify for more house for your money than you may if rates shoot up. If you wait, you could be priced out of a home that is at the top of your comfort range if rates increase. No one knows how long rates will stay low.   If you are on the fence about buying this is definitely a reason.

2. Mortgage Interest Deduction: Currently home mortgage is deductible on your taxes saving you money.

3. Affordability: Low interest rates along with recently falling prices in some areas have given buyers even more of a reason to buy. Price is the number one reason a home sells.

4. Paying Towards Ownership. Each payment you make on your own home goes towards your future equity. You are paying yourself instead of the Landlord.

5. Appreciation: Besides paying toward ownership you have the opportunity to get more value as the equity as your home value increases. So, in most cases, you will gain more value in staying in your home longer.

6. Home equity: As you build home equity, you gain value by being able to borrow against it for repairs and improvements.

7. Stability: Owning a home builds stronger communities, people take pride in their homes and neighborhoods and get involved in their community.

8. Monthly Payments: Once you have paid off your 15, 20, or 30 year mortgage, you will be free of that monthly payment. You will still be paying property tax, insurance and some maintenance.  In most cases, reduction in monthly obligation will be less than what you would be paying a landlord.

Here is a photo of one of my puppies, to share from the February 2010 blizzard, since the snow season is upon is. We can hope we don’t get that much this year.

Shop Around Before Selecting a Mortgage

You shop around when buying a house, so you should seriously consider shopping around for your mortgage. If you want to get a great deal on the house, you should also try to get the best deal possible on the mortgage. Here are some tips to help you in the process:

1. Shop for the best rate possible. Pay close attention to the points you will be charged. This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

2. Ask the lenders to give you a good-faith estimate (GFE). This statement will itemized the closings costs for you. Ask the lender any questions you may have regarding any of the fees.

3. Prepayment Penalty. Make sure you do not have a prepayment penalty. Life changes and you may need to resell. In addition, you may want to refinance or pay additional or your principle loan amount.

4. Be comfortable with your lender. This can avoid closing time surprises. Make sure your lender is responsive and gets back to you in a timely fashion.

5. Find a lender that can work with your specific situation. Not all lenders know how to run all types of loans. Some can work with tough credit and some can’t. Some now how to run through state programs and some not. Ask specifically if they can help you with the kind of program you need. Ask multiple lenders these questions.

6. Ask how long your rate lock period is. Each lender has a different lock rate period for you to choose the rate. The lock length rate can vary from 30-90 days. Some lenders charge a fee if you want to change the rate once locked in. Interest rates may be increasing during the time you are applying for your loan. So keep a close eye on rates and ask your lender to assist you. They know the market’s rate history and trends well.