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Archive for the ‘Mortgages’ Category

FHABackToWorkProgram

FHA BACK TO WORK LOAN PROGRAM – A minimum of 12 months have elapsed since the date of foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, short-sale, bankruptcy CH. 13 or 7.  FHA is allowing for the consideration of borrowers who have experienced an Economic Event and can document that:

  1. 1. Certain credit impairments were the result of a Loss of Employment or a significant loss of Household Income beyond the borrower’s control.
  2. The borrower has demonstrated full recovery from the event.
  3. The borrower has completed housing counseling from HUD- approved housing counseling 30 days before but no more than 6 months prior to making a loan application.

This program is now available from many lenders.  Contact us today for a referral to a participating lender

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tax-creditWhen you are looking to sell your home, there are a lot of fees that can be associated with it. Some of these you cannot avoid, some you can and others you can reduce. Today, we are going to look at how to reduce the closing costs on selling a home.

Since the lending industry is highly competitive, many of them are willing to offer a reduced closing cost when finalizing the sale. It’s similar to buying a car in the way that you can negotiate down from a sticker price when you threaten to go to another dealership.

Use your own bank

If you are already a member of the bank that you are attempting to get a mortgage from, it will be a lot easier to reduce these closing costs. Many banks offer this as a way of customer retention (which is the most important part of business since new customers cost more to acquire.)

If you say that paying a closing cost is a deal breaker and that going to another bank is a possibility, your bank is likely to waver and give you the deal you want. It can seem like it’s the wrong thing to do, but you have to be competitive in a competitive finance world.

Acquire a Good Faith Estimate

Lenders are now required by law to give out a Good Faith Estimate to anyone that is borrowing money from them. This will help prevent mortgages that may be deemed as taking advantage of customers by means of nickel and diming them.

What is a Good Faith Estimate? It is the estimate of all costs and fees that are involved with a sale, and can not exceed 10% of the price. There’s a short time frame in which the lenders are required to give out a Good Faith Estimate after a customer applies, so you can quickly look to save a few hundred dollars on the closing costs.

Be assertive

Have the lender explain in detail what fees you are being charged and why you are getting charged in the first place. Too many people blindly agree to a mortgage without getting the details first.

Asking why the fees are there will keep the lender on their toes so you know you are getting the best deal and not being taken advantage of. Now, some of the fees are not actually charged by the lender, but you can possibly have them reduce the fees in order to seal the deal.

Just don’t accept the first deal on the table and always ask questions. Being assertive can save you hundreds if not thousands overall.

Make it part of the loan

There is a way in which you don’t have to pay any closing costs right away by making it part of the overall mortgage. Closing costs aren’t always cheap and can be up to 5% of the overall cost. If you plan on staying in the house for a considerable amount of time, this may be the way to go as it is included in the monthly payment.

It’s not as likely to have the closing costs reduced if you do this method, but if you are unable to dish out the large closing fees before moving into the property, this may be the only way.

It’s always important to really do your homework before getting involved with a mortgage. Always shop around for the best deal that has the lowest fees and interest rates. Skipping over the details can cost you thousands over the course of a mortgage. Stay knowledgeable and you will save money in any form of business.

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Credit_reportYou just found out your mortgage interest rate from your lender and it’s much higher than advertised rates. You know your credit is better than that so why is it costing you more than it should to buy a home?

Before you lock in your rate, do some quick investigating.

You could have an error on your credit report that is affecting your credit scores, which in turn, affects your interest rate.

According to a study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), approximately one in four U.S. consumers have an error on at least one or more credit reports that could be serious enough to lead to higher rates on loan products. Worse, only one in five consumers were able to obtain a modification to their report.

The three credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Transunion and Equifax, collect data independently – which increases the margins for error. Your lender has no way to know if your report is correct, so it’s up to you to get copies of each of your credit reports and check for errors.

Once a year you are entitled to see a free copy of your credit report. You can go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com and order the reports separately. This is important because banks typically run one report to help set your interest rate. They also check credit reports again just before your loan closing, so you want to make sure that all three credit reports are correct.

If you find an error, you must report it in writing to the appropriate credit reporting agency. Include your name, social security number, date of birth, a copy of the report with the error circled; and copies, not originals, of documents such as social security cards, final payments, release of lien, court orders, or whatever you need to get the report changed.

Make sure your lender has copies of everything so you can prove the credit bureau is in error, not you.

The work you put in is well worth it. According to the FTC, consumers were largely successful at disputing erroneous data.

  • 25% of consumers said the error was corrected by credit reporting agency
  • 80% of consumers said some modification was made to their credit report
  • Over 10% saw their credit scores changed after filing disputes
  • Credit scores changed up to 25 points for 5% of consumers
  • One in 250 consumers saw their scores rise 100 points or more

Once you’ve been able to get each report corrected, you’ll be able to get a better loan rate.

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loansComparing mortgage loans is one of the most important things you can do when you’re buying a home. The decisions you make will determine the size of your monthly payments, how much you pay upfront, and how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

You might find it simpler to compare loans if you ask each lender a series of questions, including:

  • What is the loan’s interest rate?
  • Will I be charged points?
  • What are the closing costs and all other fees?
  • What is the annual percentage rate, or APR – the rate you’ll pay per year for all the costs associated with the loan?
  • Is there a pre-payment penalty?
  • How is the loan amortized, meaning how quickly is the principal paid off?

Find out the answers to these questions no matter what type of loan you’re considering. Each can affect the overall cost of your loan.

If you are considering an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, you can compare loans by asking:

  • When does the rate adjust?
  • How often does the rate adjust?
  • Is there a cap limiting the amount by which the rate can adjust? What would my monthly payments be if my interest rate hit that cap?
  • What is the index and margin that will determine my rate? How has the index changed over time?

ARMs are inherently more risky than fixed-rate mortgages because you’re gambling on whether interest rates will go up or go down before your rate adjusts. Understanding the best- and worst-case scenarios can help you weigh the pros and cons as you compare loans.

But there’s one other big question to consider before you get an ARM:

  • How does the discount introductory rate compare with rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans?

If there’s not much difference when you compare the two, the fixed-rate loan might be a safer bet. You won’t save much in the short-term, and could save a lot over the long term. Plus, you reduce your risk if interest rates shoot up and you can’t refinance before the rate adjustment.

Finally, to truly compare loans, you have to ask yourself some questions:

  • How long do I expect to stay in my home?
  • Are my job and income secure over the long term?
  • Will I be able to afford higher payments in the future?
  • How comfortable am I with risk?

In the end, the best loan is the one that works for your needs.

Written by Lending Tree on Monday, 07 October 2013 13:30

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short-sale-see-sawWhat does “SHORT SALE”  mean?

Short Sale  means the lender has to accept LESS than what is owed on the mortgage – or the house can’t be sold.

Homes purchased at the TOP of the MARKET (often with a minimal downpayment and/or with a hefty mortgage) can be tough to sell in this market … simply because the expected SALES PRICE is below what the owner needs to repay on the loan.

Given the current real estate environment  (and significant drop in real estate values)   mortgages can be higher than a home’s market value, what it’s worth or what it will likely sell for.  That can make a house virtually unsellable unless the current owner can cough up the difference and  pay-off his or her mortgage  …OR  convince the bank to accept a reduced pay-off.

What constitutes a SHORT SALE:

1) IT’S  NOT A SHORT SALE if the owner can come to  the closing table with sufficient funds to pay off the loan.

2) IT IS A SHORT SALE IF THE BANK  AGREES TO (even if just in theory!) A SHORT PAY-OFF (ie. less than the amount due on the loan).

The difference between Approved & Unapproved Short Sales:

1) With an APPROVED SHORT SALE  the lender has already agreed to the SALES PRICE.

2) With an UN-APPROVED SHORT SALE  the  lender is aware of the predicament the seller is in (having to sell in a market where the value of the property is less than what’s owed on the loan).  An unapproved short sale  means that the lender  has theoretically agreed to the idea of entertaining an offer on the property (for less than the amount owed on the mortgage).  But the lender’s commitment is rather nebulous.  An official commitment  from the bank won’t come until well after the contract offer-to-purchase has been accepted by the seller,  then presented to and reviewed by the lender (AND IT’S THE LENDER WHO HAS THE FINAL WORD!).  The lender is free to entertain the offer in any fashion they please: counter, accept, or reject it outright … Typically an un-approved short sale is a long and drawn-out process (3-8 months).

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downpayment

To successfully purchase a home today, you will need a down payment of at least 3.5 percent of the purchase price. Gone are the days of no down payment alternatives, down payment assistance and seller-offered programs to come up with the money needed to buy a home. Instead, let’s look at the five ways you can come up with a down payment to seal the deal.

1. Gift Money: Gift money is simply that — a gift from family or documented close relationship. The giftor needs to provide a gift letter and paper trail for the monies they are gifting for the benefit of the buyer. In other words, they’ll have to provide a bank account showing that they had the ability to gift the money. In short, gift monies cannot be funds sitting at home in a safe.

2. 401(k)/Retirement Loan: Typically, borrowed funds for a down payment are a no-go, but the exception is a 401(k) or equivalent retirement account (or current home equity line). If you can borrow money from your 401(k) for your down payment, this is accepted for obtaining a purchase mortgage loan. Note: Depending on the terms of your loan, this could be counted as a liability and factored into your debt-to-income ratio.

3. Sale of a Good: Believe it or not, you can sell your recreational vehicle and use the net proceeds from the transaction as your down payment. Let’s say that you decide to sell your motorcycle for $10,000. You’ll need to provide the full bill of sale — as well as the bank statement depositing those funds, matching the bill of sale — to your mortgage lender. Same goes for any other recreational vehicle, or other item that “makes sense.” The key is as long as it’s plausible and passes the litmus test and you can paper trail the monies from start to finish, you should have no problem using those monies for the house purchase.

4. Trust Funds, Settlement Awards, etc.: If you come into a chunk of change via an inheritance, settlement, lottery winning, trust fund disbursement, family buyout, even a gambling victory, all of these monies can be used for the down payment as long as the sourcing of the monies is fully documented from A to Z with no stone left unturned. Matching of the amounts of monies used to the original deposits will be required when it comes time to secure the loan.

5. Line of Credit: Where a down payment lacks, enter strength in income. You can take out a line of credit or a personal loan, deposit the full funds into your bank account and after two months, the funds will be eligible for use in the transaction.

While a down payment is needed to purchase in the current real estate market, a prudent homebuyer should also have plans for having available funds for closing costs. The same out-of-the-box strategies listed above can also be used to procure funds for closing costs.

Closing costs run at about 3 percent of the purchase price, on average. So the total funds to close would be 3 percent of purchase price plus 3.5 percent down.

Do your homework. If you don’t have a down payment for a house, or your down payment is coming from more than one source, make sure that you talk to a lender upfront so they can help you navigate the best way to properly support and document your monies used. Doing this on the front end will save you from wasting time creating and gathering unnecessary paperwork.

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Houston Real Estate Milestones in July
  • Single-family home sales increased 23.3 percent year-over-year, accounting for the market’s 26th consecutive monthly increase and the largest one-month sales volume of all time;
  • Total property sales rose 26.3 percent compared to one year earlier, accounting for the second greatest one-month sales volume ever (the largest was in June 2006);
  • Total dollar volume skyrocketed 43.0 percent, increasing from $1.6 billion to $2.3 billion on a year-over-year basis;
  • At $187,760, the single-family home median price reached the highest level for a July in Houston;
  • At $260,968, the single-family home average price also reached a July high;
  • 3.4 months inventory of single-family homes is up from 3.3 months in June 2013, but down from 5.3 months in July 2012 and compares to the national average of 5.2 months;
  • Sales of townhouses/condominiums shot up 29.3 percent year-over-year.
  • Rentals of single-family homes and townhouse/condominium units rose 5.0 and 7.7 percent, respectively.

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