Archive for Real Estate

Understanding The Role Of A Mortgage Prepayment Penalty Fee

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 26th, 2021

Understanding The Role Of A Mortgage Prepayment Penalty FeeWhen people take out a home loan, it is important to think carefully about how the home loan works. At first, the majority of the monthly payment is going to go towards interest. For example, it is not unusual for 90 percent of the monthly mortgage payments go toward interest during the first year. Then, during the latter part of the loan, most of the payment is going to go towards paying off the principal.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a lot of homeowners are looking for ways to reduce the amount of Interest they pay on a home loan. 

For example, some homeowners consider putting a larger down payment on the home in order to reduce the amount of money they have to pay in the form of interest. Another possibility involves paying off the mortgage early; however, a mortgage prepayment fee may apply. 

What Is A Mortgage Prepayment Fee?

A mortgage prepayment fee is exactly what it sounds like. This is a fee that some homeowners have to pay if they end up paying off their mortgage early. For lenders, they know that a lot of the money they are going to make comes in the form of interest. Therefore, they also understand that if their home loan gets paid off early, they are going to lose a significant amount of money. Therefore, as a way to disincentivize homeowners from paying off their home loan early and posting them interest, they apply a mortgage prepayment fee. 

When Will A Mortgage Prepayment Fee Apply?

Of course, it is also important for homeowners to take a look at the contract carefully and see when a mortgage prepayment fee applies. For example, if homeowners are paying one extra monthly payment per year, then it is highly unlikely that a mortgage prepayment fee is going to apply when the home loan gets paid off early. On the other hand, if a homeowner is looking to pay off an entire home loan in 3 years, then there is a high chance that a prepayment fee is going to apply. In order to avoid this mortgage prepayment fee, every homeowner has to take a look at their contract carefully.

 

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Many Buyers Are Willing To Go Over Their Budget For The Perfect Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 7th, 2021

Many Buyers Are Willing To Go Over Their Budget For The Perfect HomeFor those who are looking for a new home, it is important to take the time to get this decision right. For a lot of people, a home is the most valuable investment they are ever going to make. As a result, it is critical to evaluate all of the options that are available. That way, everyone will get the most out of their time. What about setting a budget? How important is this and should people think about going over it?

It Is Important To Budget First

When someone is looking for a home, the first step is to know the budget. As a rule of thumb, those people should try to avoid spending more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing expenses. This is monthly income before taxes. For those who are having trouble doing this calculation, this is an area where a trained professional can provide assistance. That way, everyone will know how much money they can spend on a home after their down payment.

Make A List Of Must-Have and Nice To Have Features

Next, it is important to come up with a list of features they must have and features that would be nice to have. Everyone has to make sure they know what features they want to include the budget. There are some things that homeowners need to have, such as a certain number of bedrooms. Then, there are features that people would like to have but aren’t necessary. What happens if someone finds a home with everything? Should they go over budget?

Finding The Perfect Home Is Worth A Few Extra Dollars

In the end, a home is more than just a number on a piece of paper. Because a home is also about intangible values and benefits, it is okay for homeowners to go over their budget slightly for the perfect home because there is a great chance that they are going to be there for years to come. At the same time, everyone also has to make sure they know how far over budget they are willing to go. Then, they can find the perfect home. 

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What Do You Need To Know About Buying And Selling A Home During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 6th, 2021

What Do You Need To Know About Buying And Selling A Home During The COVID-19 Pandemic?For those who are thinking about buying or selling a home during the pandemic, they may feel like this is a difficult task. Even though it is true that this is going to be a challenge, people are able to increase their success rate by adapting to a new environment. When it comes to buying or selling a home during the pandemic, there are a few tips that everyone should keep in mind.

Many Showings Are Going To Be Virtual

Make sure that everyone is ready to provide a virtual tour or go on one themselves. Of course, everyone is currently living in an era of social distancing. Therefore, everyone has to make sure that they do not unnecessarily expose themselves to anyone. Virtual tours are a great way to adapt to this measure while still purchasing or selling a home. For those who are thinking about providing a virtual tour to someone else, make sure to take the time to explore all of the options available. Some software programs are going to be better than others.

Ensure There Is A Safe Way To Buy And Sell A Home

It is critical to think about other safety measures that people can take as well. Everyone has to make sure that they endear themselves to as many buyers as possible. In addition to providing virtual tours, it may also be helpful to provide hand sanitizer. Or, people need to make sure that they bring hand sanitizer. Of course, make sure to wear a mask at all times when someone is going to be within 6 feet of someone else. This is another important safety measure that everyone should take.

There Is Help Available During The Pandemic

Finally, it is also a great idea to note that there is financial help available. Lots of people have struggled during the pandemic. That is why there are financial resources available. Be sure to speak with a trained professional and figure out if there are ways to make the process of buying or selling a home just a little bit easier. This could end up saving someone a lot of time and money during the process.

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Remove The Flood Insurance Risk From The Closing Process

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 30th, 2020

Remove The Flood Insurance Risk From The Closing ProcessMany homeowners do not realize that the risk of a flood is a significant factor that plays a role in not only homeownership but also the closing process. Even though flooding is a major risk, many homeowners do not carry enough coverage. Without proper flood insurance, homeowners risk losing millions of dollars. Therefore, it is prudent for those who are looking for a home to factor flood insurance into their home search. This can streamline the closing process down the road.

Exploring Options For Flood Insurance

When homeowners think about flood insurance, they are often directed to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While this is one option, there are also private options available that could provide better prices and more favorable terms. Private options exist in all 50 states in addition to the Washington DC area. They can be used to satisfy the requirements of banks, credit unions, and lenders at the time of closing.

Calculate The Risk Of Flooding

While a flood can happen at any time, some homes are in riskier locations than others. Therefore, homeowners need to take a look at the individual risk of flooding at a specific property in which they might be interested. In some cases, homes might be located in high-risk areas where flood insurance still might not be required. Homeowners need to make sure that they understand the risk of flooding of a potential property and protect it accordingly. Homeowners’ insurance usually does not cover flood events, so a separate policy is typically needed.

The Requirements Of The Lender

There are some situations where homeowners might have their closing process delayed purely because they did not realize that the lender required flood insurance. During the preapproval process, it makes sense for homeowners to ask the lender if they require flood insurance. That way, homeowners will be able to factor the cost of flood insurance into the search process and expedite their closing later.

Invest In Quality Home Insurance

For many homeowners, their home is the most valuable investment they will ever make. Therefore, it has to be protected appropriately. This includes flood insurance. Check out flood insurance options ahead of time to streamline the closing process later.

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Purchase The Right Amount Of Home Insurance

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 29th, 2020

Purchase The Right Amount Of Home InsuranceFor most people, their home is the most valuable investment they will ever make. Therefore, it needs to be protected. This is where homeowners’ insurance is critical. At the same time, buying the right amount of homeowners’ insurance can be a bit of a challenge.

A home that is underinsured leaves the homeowner vulnerable to situations involving fires, floods, and theft. On the other hand, nobody wants to throw away money unnecessarily by over-insuring the home. How can everyone purchase the right amount of homeowners’ insurance?

Review The Coverage Every Year

First, people’s needs are going to change from year to year. Therefore, everyone should review their policy annually. For example, actual cash value only reimburses someone based on the current condition of the home. For example, if a home was built ten years ago, the actual cash value will only provide someone with the depreciated value of the home and not the original value. While this might be enough at the beginning, it may not be enough ten years from now. Everyone has to make sure they purchase enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding the home, excluding the cost of the land.

Overlooking Valuables And Liability

Another common mistake that people make when it comes to homeowners’ insurance is overlooking issues such as valuables and liability. Most people have enough insurance for the structure of the home. Most people do not have enough insurance to cover liability claims and valuables. Liability claims might arise if someone gets hurt on the property and the homeowner gets sued. Valuables are important if the home burns down or if someone steals something from the home. All homeowners must have enough homeowners’ insurance to protect themselves against potential liability claims (such as someone slipping and falling in the home) and the loss of valuables (such as electronics and jewelry). Everyone has to make sure they document these valuables appropriately.

Purchase The Right Amount Of Homeowners’ Insurance

Make sure you include everything to purchase the right amount of homeowners’ insurance. Review current construction costs as part of the process. Finally, review the fine print of the homeowners’ insurance policy every year to avoid being underinsured or over-insured.

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Getting A Lower Interest Rate During A Refinance

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 22nd, 2020

Getting A Lower Interest Rate During A RefinanceThere are a lot of people who have spotted the record-low mortgage rates right now and are wondering if they can refinance successfully. While many people apply for a refinance of their current home loan, not everyone will be approved. Furthermore, a home refinance is not the best option for everyone. Those who want to qualify for record-low refinance rates need to keep a few key points in mind.

Be A Strong Refinance Candidate

First, homeowners need to make sure that it is actually worth their time to refinance to a lower home mortgage rate. In general, homeowners want to make sure they are able to save at least three-quarters of a percentage point when compared to their current home loan to make a refinance worth their while. If they cannot save this much money on their home loan, then they may end up spending more money on the refinance in closing costs.

Act Quickly

The real estate market is volatile right now. Therefore, home refinance rates are often moving targets. As a result, the interest rates that are published this week could change in the span of a few days. By the time loan packages are returned to the lender, the rates might not even be accurate anymore. Therefore, all homeowners need to be willing to act fast. Have pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns ready to go when the lender asks for it.

Have The Money For Closing Costs

One of the most common reasons why homeowners lose out on the best interest rates is that they do not have the money ready to pay closing costs. By the time the homeowners get the money together, the refinance rate might have passed them by. Usually, closing costs fall somewhere between two percent and five percent of the total loan amount and this amount is usually due at signing.

Qualify For The Best Mortgage Rates During A Refinance

With mortgage rates falling to record lows, now is a good time for many homeowners to refinance. On the other hand, homeowners need to set themselves up to qualify for the lowest mortgage rates. Following these steps can place homeowners in a position to be successful when they apply for a refinance.

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Easy Repairs To Do At Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 17th, 2020

Easy Repairs To Do At HomeDuring the past few months, many people have been stuck at home. Whether this involves working from home or going to school from home, many home appliances are receiving more use than usual.There might be more breaks, clogs, and leaks than most families are used to dealing with.

Many families are tired of spending money on technicians and mechanics and might be looking for a more cost-effective way to deal with home repairs. There are a few key home repairs that homeowners can handle on their own.

Stopping A Leaky Faucet

Leaky faucets are among the most common issues homeowners deal with. There are two shut-off valves under the sink that need to be turned off first. Then, make sure there is nothing coming out of the faucet. Remove the handles from the faucet using a screwdriver and look at the cartridge, ceramic disc, and ball underneath. Remove these parts and replace them with new parts (in the reverse order) and the faucet should stop leaking.

Repair The Window Screen

If there is a tear in a window screen, this is a great way to let bugs in the house. The screen is usually held in place by tension springs or small clips. Remove the screen and locate the cord that runs on the outside of the screen, which is called the spline. Pry the spline up using a screwdriver. Then, remove the old screen. Finally, cut a new piece of screen that is slightly larger than the frame and secure it in place by pushing the spline back into place.

Unclog A Drain In The Bathroom

If the water level keeps rising during the shower, then this can be concerning. While many people are tempted to use chemical cleaners to unclog the drain, this could be dangerous for the pipes themselves. Instead, use a reliable hair snake (which looks like a zip tie with edges) to pull out the gunk. To access the drain, you may need to remove the stopper or unscrew the drain itself. Pull out the material with the snake and discard it.

Handle Repairs At Home

These are a few easy home repairs that homeowners can handle themselves. This can save a lot of time and money.

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A Few Simple Ways To Upgrade The Kitchen Pantry

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 16th, 2020

A Few Simple Ways To Upgrade The Kitchen PantryDuring the past few months, people have been spending much more time at home than usual. Therefore, many people are looking for ways to upgrade their homes. A common area of focus is the kitchen.

Even though many people are thinking about upgrading cabinets and countertops, the kitchen pantry should also be a target for home improvement. There are a few simple ways that everyone can improve their kitchen pantry. 

Use Vertical Storage

One of the top tips for everyone to follow is to use vertical storage capacity. It is a smart idea for everyone to build in a few extra storage areas by thinking about under-shelf baskets. These baskets can help people instantly create space for various items and ingredients. Furthermore, think about using the insides of cabinet doors to create some extra shelves, walls, or baskets. This can significantly add to the storage space of a pantry.

Think About Specific Needs For The Pantry

When looking at a kitchen pantry, it is a great idea for everyone to think carefully about specific needs they might have. Consider what items need to be stored in the pantry. Then, shop for the right items. For example, many people like to store wine bottles in the pantry. These are awkwardly shaped items that might not fit on typical shelves. Therefore, thinking about a wine rack that will fit in the pantry is a great way to create some extra, specific storage.

Relocate Bulk Items Somewhere Else

Too often, people end up trying to store bulk items in the pantry. While it is true that shopping in bulk is incredibly cost-efficient, bulk items can also take up valuable space in the kitchen pantry in the blink of an eye. Think about finding alternative locations for paper goods, canned items, and other large, non-perishable items. This will instantly open up some more storage space in the pantry.

Upgrade Storage In The Kitchen Pantry

Upgrading the kitchen does not always have to be expensive. There are simple ways that everyone can create extra storage space in their kitchen pantry by simply moving some other items around. Consider adding storage baskets to the kitchen pantry to create some new storage space.

 

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A Few Creative and Effective Ways to Save Money for a Down Payment

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 15th, 2020

A Few Creative and Effective Ways to Save Money for a Down PaymentFor those who are looking to buy a home, they know that this is one of the most exciting experiences in the world. There is something special that comes with looking at a bunch of homes and envisioning a life there.

On the other hand, the prospect of saving 20 percent of the home’s value to put down might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few creative ways that people can save up enough money to purchase their starter dream home.

Talk To The Seller

One of the first tips that people need to keep in mind involves talking to the seller. There are a bunch of items that need to be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. One of the most important is the closing costs. Ask the real estate agent to speak with the seller. Even if the seller is able to take half of the closing costs, this could amount to a few thousand extra dollars that could be put toward the down payment.

Crowdsource The Down Payment

Another creative option involves asking the crowd to help with the down payment. It is not unusual to see people try to go the crowdfunding route for everything from medical bills to student loans. Why not give it a shot with a down payment as well? First, anyone who has a wedding coming up should add “money for a down payment” to their wish list, as this is becoming more common. Second, think about exploring platforms like Feather the Nest to try to raise money for a down payment.

Check With The Employer

Finally, it is also critical to look at your Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAH). While not everyone is going to qualify, those who work for an employer who falls under this category might qualify for a substantial loan for the down payment and closing costs. The best part is that this loan comes without interest. 

Save For A Down Payment

These are a few of the top ways to save money for a down payment. Using these tips, everyone can get over that last hurdle and buy their home.

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A Guide To Understanding Mortgages And Marriage Agreement Settlements

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 10th, 2020

A Guide To Understanding Mortgages And Marriage Agreement SettlementsWhen people end up taking out a mortgage, there is a lot they need to consider. This includes the size of the down payment, the term of the loan, and the interest rate. At the same time, there are a few issues that could complicate the way a mortgage is paid off.

Nobody enters into a marriage planning on divorce; however, if this does take place, it is critical to think about how a marriage settlement agreement is going to impact the mortgage. There are a few important to keep in mind. 

Refinancing The Mortgage After The Marriage Settlement Agreement

When looking at the assets that the couple shares, it is important to think about not only assets but debt as well. One of the largest sources of debt is going to be the mortgage. Obviously, it is impossible to split the house down the middle. Therefore, it is important to think about how the mortgage itself is going to be divided.

When dividing a house following a divorce, the equity should be considered an asset and the mortgage should be considered debt. Then, when the settlement agreement is finalized, the best practice is to ask a spouse who is retaining ownership of the home to refinance the loan and just his or her name. This will eliminate the liability of the other spouse and remove his or her responsibility for paying off the mortgage. This is the fair and equitable way to divide a house following a divorce.

Include the Mortgage Among the Other Assets

It is important for everyone to think about how the mortgage is going to impact other assets as well. Some of the other factors that will have to be addressed during a divorce include alimony payments, child support, credit cards, financial accounts, and other types of property. When looking at the grand scheme of things, it is likely that the house is going to be the largest asset. Therefore, it might be helpful for couples to start with the house first and then worry about the smaller issues later. That way, this will streamline the divorce process and ensure that everyone ends up with a fair and equitable divorce settlement.

 

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