How To Crowdfund A Renovation Project

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 27th, 2019

How To Crowdfund A Renovation ProjectCrowdfunding came into prominence with the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that President Obama signed into law during 2012 and subsequent enhancements. The JOBS Act made it easier for startups to raise money and for the first time allowed the legal ability to advertise the investments and accept small investors.

Innovate And Renovate

Crowdfunding is useful for many projects. The method raises money to create new products, make documentary films, and for many kinds of fashion items. Crowdfunding successfully raises money for real estate transactions. 

Smaller investors participate in real estate projects that they would otherwise not have enough investment money to create on their own. They may invest a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. When their smaller investment money combines with all the others, the project raises enough money.

One thing that makes crowdfunding projects work is their popularity. Affinity groups who have a special interest in certain things invest money in projects related to something that they like.

One application of this motivational factor is to raise money using crowdfunding to renovate buildings with a historical value or that otherwise attract the interest of the public. The process does not have to start with money. It can start with crowd sourcing ideas.

The CLUE® Mansion

A fun example is the Hasbro Company teamed up with Houzz to get innovative ideas from interior designers about how to renovate the CLUE® Mansion. The mansion is a backdrop for the popular board game.

This promotion celebrates the game’s 70th anniversary. The mansion’s style in the game stayed the same since the game debuted in 1949. The winning room designs, selected by fans, will be part of a new version of the game.

There is no reason to stop there. A real mansion can be renovated to match the game. This could be a CLUE® museum and could offer escape rooms as a money-making enterprise. This is just an idea at this moment. Perhaps, someone will take this up and run with it.

Crowdfunding Renovations

The point is, historic buildings that are of interest may need renovation funds that can be raised using crowdfunding. Those who have an interest in the building from the local community and elsewhere can support the project by investing in the renovation with a small comfortable amount.

Summary

Renovation projects are not easy to finance using traditional lenders. However, if a thousand people invest $100 each that is $100,000 for a renovation project in your community. Paying back the loan can come from a portion of the entrance fees.

Hopefully, this will spark continued interest in preserving and restoring historic homes, which are a terrific part of the American heritage.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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What Makes Up A PITI Mortgage Payment?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 25th, 2019

What Makes Up A PITI Mortgage PaymentMany mortgage payments are made up of four parts, called PITI. PITI is an acronym that stands for principal, interest, tax, and insurance. It’s important to understand PITI because it is the real number you need to use in order to find out how much mortgage you can afford to pay each month.

One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make is using only the principal plus interest figure to calculate how much they’ll be paying every month for their mortgage. Then, when the lender comes back and denies them, the prospective buyer is confused. Knowing and understanding PITI will put you back in the driver’s seat with your home buying goal.

Principal

The principal part of your mortgage payment represents the amount of money that you borrow over the terms of the loan. For instance, if you borrow $100,000 and you have 20 years to pay them back, the principal that you’ll pay each month equals $100,000 divided by 20.

Interest

The interest portion of your mortgage payment is the percentage rate that your lender is charging you to borrow from them. Another way of looking at the interest is to think of it as the cost of borrowing money. Interest will be spread out over the length of the loan, just like the principal payment.

Tax

The tax portion of your monthly mortgage payment pays for real estate and/or property taxes. Real estate taxes are assessed by the local government where the properties located. The tax rate is determined by the government and is not influenced by your personal credit score.

Insurance

The insurance part of your monthly mortgage payment pays for homeowner’s insurance and/or private mortgage insurance. If you put less than 20% down on your home purchase, you’re required to have private mortgage insurance. This amount can add considerably to your monthly mortgage payment, so it’s worth it to try to hit that 20% threshold.

Otherwise, you have to wait until your loan to value ratio is 80/20. After that, you can request to drop the private mortgage insurance, but the homeowner’s insurance will still be part of your monthly payment.

Now that you understand what makes up a PITI mortgage payment, you’ll be better prepared to plan for your monthly budget that includes a mortgage payment.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

 

 

 

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What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 11th, 2019

What Is A Reverse MortgageA reverse mortgage is a way to use the equity value that built up in a home to improve the quality of life for those who have appropriate circumstances when they reach the retirement age of 62 or older. With a reverse mortgage, a person continues to live in their own home and retains the title to it but does not have to make any monthly reverse mortgage payments.

A reverse mortgage may be helpful; however, not everyone qualifies for one. The benefits come with disadvantages as well. Here is a list of the advantages and the disadvantages for reverse mortgages.

Be sure to discuss this option with a qualified professional when thinking about a reverse mortgage before making any commitment.

Reverse Mortgage Advantages

  • Reverse mortgage funds may be used to pay off an existing home loan balance. The funds may be taken out in a lump sum or paid in monthly installments for a certain period.
  • The reverse mortgage creates a lien on the home but does not require any monthly loan principal or interest payments. This continues as long as the person lives in the home and takes care of it (paying the property taxes, home insurance, HOA fees, etc.)
  • Usually, a reverse mortgage has no effect on social security payments or Medicare benefits. It does not usually cause any tax consequences because it is a loan structure, not income.
  • If repayment of the loan happens at some point, any equity remaining is still available to the homeowner for any purpose, such as giving something to heirs.
  • It is a non-recourse obligation. There is no personal liability to repay the reverse mortgage loan if the equity value in the home is not sufficient to pay it off.

Reverse Mortgage Considerations

  • Since a reverse mortgage has no payments, the loan balance increases and the interest accumulates over time.
  • A reverse mortgage reduces the equity in the home that would otherwise be available to heirs. If the remaining equity exceeds the loan, the home can be sold off to repay the loan and the balance can then go to the heirs.
  • Medicaid eligibility or disability payments (SSI) may be affected.
  • A reverse mortgage loan becomes immediately due if certain things happen, such as the death of the homeowner, the homeowner vacates the house for six months or more for a non-medial reason and 12 months or more for a medical reason. It becomes due if the home is no longer the principal residence of the reverse mortgage borrower.
  • The loan is immediately due if the homeowner does not pay the property taxes, home insurance premiums, HOA fees, and other things necessary to maintain the home.

Summary

A reverse mortgage is a special financial tool that needs to be used only when appropriate. Typical rates for these loans may be higher than standard home equity lines of credit and other traditional home-refinancing options. Consider all the details very carefully before and as always, consult with your trusted home finance professional to get the best advice for your unique situation.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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How To Buy A Bargain Home As A Short Sale

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 2nd, 2019

How To Buy A Bargain Home As A Short SaleA short sale is when the mortgage lender(s) agrees to sell the property for a lower amount than the loan-balance remaining.

During the worst moments of the 2006 to 2008 real estate crisis, homes sold as short sales for a fraction of their value. Lenders had so many properties with loans in default that they could not manage the ones that they had in foreclosure.

Foreclosure is an expensive legal process that causes a lender to lose more money on a property. This is one of the motivators that encourages lenders to accept a short sale because sometimes through a short sale the foreclosure process is avoided.

Are Short Sales Still Available?

The number of short sales peaked in 2012. The inventory of homes available for a short sale transaction is much lower than the massive numbers caused by the 2006 to 2008 real estate crisis; however, they still do exist.

Short sales are still worth exploring as long as a qualified buyer has enough cash on hand or is pre-qualified with home-purchase financing that is acceptable for a short sale transaction.

A short sale may be a bargain; however, the buyer must be careful because there are some pitfalls to avoid in short-sales transactions.

The Challenging Dynamics Of A Short Sale

There are three (or more) parties in a short-sale transaction. They are the seller, the buyer, and the lender(s). All must agree to the closing sales price of the home and the terms and conditions of the sale in order for the transaction to succeed. The lender(s) forgives part or all of the mortgage loan that is secured by a lien on the property and agrees to take a loss on the sale.

A short sale only occurs when the home cannot sell for the amount of the mortgage loan(s) on the property. The home is considered to be “underwater,” which is a colloquial term for a home, with a loan(s) that is more than the home is worth.

Short sales do not close quickly because the paperwork is complicated. If there is more than one lender on the property, the process is even slower. Buyers in short sale transactions need to be patient. They must be approved for financing and also approved by the existing lien-holder(s) on the property that is for sale by making a successful short-sale application.

A buyer may need to make a “good faith” security deposit to initiate the short sale application process. The deposit, which is refundable, may sit in a trust account for quite some time before the deal is approved.

Even with proper planning, a short sale deal can still fall apart. Buyers must also take on the risk that the property may need significant repairs and buy the property “as-is.” Homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages usually are not very diligent at taking care of their properties.

Summary

Short sales are an important strategy to consider when searching for a bargain property. Buyers must have cash or significant financial strength and be willing to complete the complex process for the transaction.

To reduce risk, a buyer needs to get careful inspections of the home and have a very clear idea of the costs to bring it up to a nicely-repaired condition, in order to profit from this strategy.

Your trusted real estate agent will be a reliable and necessary ally in your short sale transaction. 

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4 Tips To Ensure A Successful Closing

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 10th, 2019

4 Tips To Ensure A Successful ClosingAs you come up to the date of your closing, there’s time to reflect on everything that led to this step. Your real estate agent, mortgage broker, title company and others all work hard to ensure a successful closing for you. They’re all in your corner, hoping for the same outcome as you. They’ve had to do a lot of work behind the scenes that you may not even be aware of. Their diligence and professionalism has already benefited you.

But did you know that it’s not all riding on your team of real estate professionals? There are things you can do to ensure a successful closing, too. 

1. Bring Your Checkbook

In other words, have extra funds available to cover unexpected costs. Anything could happen at the closing table. If there was an error in calculations, or the seller all of a sudden asks for some kind of additional compensation, you could all go home empty-handed. If you bring your checkbook, all those problems could go away and you end up with a successful closing. 

2. Don’t Forget Your ID

You probably don’t need to be reminded to bring your driver’s license with you when you drive. But did you know you’ll probably need to present your ID at the closing table? Funnily enough, people do forget, especially if you’re a woman and you’ve changed purses recently. Before you head to the closing table, double check that you have two forms of ID on you to be on the safe side.

3. Preview The Paperwork

Although everyone’s a professional, human error does occur. If possible, ask to preview the paperwork associated with the closing. Your real estate agent can help you with this step. Read through everything with a fine-toothed comb. Look for spelling errors, mistakes in addresses, and even transposed numbers. The earlier you can review paperwork, the longer the available time to get any errors corrected before the closing.

4. Bring Extra Documents With You

You don’t have to carry your filing cabinet to the closing. But it’s wise to bring relevant financial documents with you and leave them in your car. Lenders may ask for things last minute like old bank statements, a certain cancelled check or something else. 

With the help of your trusted real estate agent and home mortgage professional, your closing will likely go off without a hitch. But, just in case, keep these tips in mind.

 

 

 

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Can I Qualify For A Mortgage Without W-2 Income?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 4th, 2019

Can I Qualify For A Mortgage Without W-2 IncomeIt’s more common these days to have non-traditional income that doesn’t fall into the W-2 category. Many people work in what is referred to as the “gig economy,” where income might come from a variety of freelance sources.

Other times, people don’t have W-2 income because they are retired or have an independent source of wealth that generates interest income. Still other times, an individual may own their own business and take draws instead of a paycheck. In all these cases, it might seem impossible to qualify for a mortgage, since there’s no W-2 income. 

Lenders Are Understanding

Thankfully, many lenders understand when a prospective lender doesn’t have W-2 income. Since it’s becoming more common, lenders have come up with alternative ways to qualify borrowers who want to buy a home. While more paperwork is usually involved, it is still possible to get a mortgage, assuming you work with certain lenders. Your real estate agent can help you in this regard; sourcing lenders that work with non-traditional borrowers.

Rely On Your Tax Returns

Even without W-2 income, you can prove income by relying on your tax returns. If you can show at least two years of qualifying income levels on your tax returns, your lender will have an easier time of finding underwriters for your loan. 

Maintain Your Bank Deposits

Some states offer a Bank Statement Loan Program that looks – not at your W-2s – but at your bank deposits for the last 12 to 24 months. These programs are ideal for people who own their own business and take draws rather than paychecks. 

Try For An Assumable Mortgage

Sometimes you may be able to find a property that has an assumable loan. In these instances, all you need to do to qualify for the mortgage is to have sufficient money for a down payment, have a decent credit history and be able to prove your income one way or another. Assumable loans can be harder to find, but your real estate agent can help you with that part of your home buying process.

Bear in mind that each of these options require a strong credit history in order to qualify. Credit scores and histories are always the cornerstones of acquiring a mortgage, whatever your income source may be.

Two important partnerships in your quest for a new home are with a trusted real estate agent and a home mortgage provider. Be sure to rely on these professionals to answer all of your real estate and financing questions.

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Loan Servicing Companies

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 30th, 2019

Loan Servicing CompaniesWhat happens when you suddenly get a notice to pay your mortgage to a company you may have never heard of? How do you determine if this is a legitimate request or a scam?

A borrower may get a written notice or an email that their mortgage sold to another entity or that a new loan servicing company will now be collecting the mortgage payments. The borrower needs to exercise extreme caution before just sending in a payment to the new company. It is prudent to double check to see if the communication is legitimate because many people get scammed by this type of notice.

Borrowers must receive a letter in the mail from the original lender notifying them of the change before getting any communication from a new company. If there was not a letter from the original lender, it is probably a scam.

How To Verify A Legitimate Request With The Original Lender

It is important to be 100% certain that communications are with the lender. DO NOT respond to any notice received by email by clicking on any link in the email, even if the email looks legitimate.

Fraudsters on the Internet use a technique called “phishing” to trick people into thinking they are getting a request from a legitimate company when the email comes from a criminal. These emails are very convincing. They look exactly like the real company; however, they are fake.

Borrowers who want to communicate with their lender online, should type in their lender’s website address and make contact through the company’s official website. 

Better yet, call the customer service number listed on the company’s official website and talk directly to a customer service person to verify that the request is legitimate. They will ask you for identification information and then be able to tell you your loan status.

What Is Loan Servicing? Can A Lender Sell My Loan?

Companies may choose to have the collection of the loan payment done by a third-party vendor. Usually, in any loan, there is a provision that allows the lender to sell it to another party or to change loan servicing companies. These legal rights are normally in the part of the loan document called the “Mortgage Servicing Disclosure.”

This legal right is usually held only by the lender and the borrower has no option but to comply with a legitimate request. Since almost all lenders sell off their loans to other companies or investors, so that they can get more money to loan out, the chance of a new mortgage loan selling is extremely high.

Troubles With Loan Servicing

Many make a smooth transition from one loan servicing provider to a new one by simply following the instructions. Others have troubles. Besides actual fraud by fake companies, there may be problems with real companies if the information in the records is not accurate. The date of a loan transfer may cause an overpayment or a late payment.

Any time there is confusion with regard to a mortgage loan servicing transfer, it is best to be proactive and stay in touch with the original lender for guidance in connecting with the new loan servicer.

Conclusion

Lenders sell their loans all the time. Loan servicing companies change frequently as well. These can be a simple legitimate transfer of the business process from one company to another. However, this is an area that is ripe for scammers to trick people and for bad companies to take advantage of their customers through loan servicing fraud techniques. Be aware of this problem and take care to avoid any negative consequences of loan servicing fraud.

Remember that two of your best partnerships in real estate will be with your licensed real estate agent and your trusted home mortgage professional. Be sure to rely on them if you have questions or concerns about your property.

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Finding ‘Hard Money’ Lenders Is Easier Than You Think

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 17th, 2019

Finding 'Hard Money' Lenders Is Easier Than You ThinkAre you the type of real estate investor that has an interest in a treasure hunt? A real estate investment strategy based on hard money is, at its core, a treasure hunt. There must be an underlying value, the “treasure,” for a hard money opportunity to exist.

Collateral For A Hard Money Loan Is Only The Property

Hard money loans rely only on the value of the real estate property for collateral. The credit history of the borrower is not important. Usually, the limit for a hard money loan is a 60% loan-to-value. The hard money loan must be in the first position, as a first mortgage lien on the property, in the case of a default on the loan.

If the loan amount needed is only 60% of the property value, finding a hard money lender is easy. Just conduct a search on the Internet for a hard money lender in the area of the property.

Please note that the sale amount for a property is the value so it is not possible to use a higher appraisal for a higher hard money loan and then purchase a property for a lower value than the appraisal.

Hard Money Lenders Want To Make Loans

Hard money lenders want to lend money to deals that are qualified. They typically charge higher interest rates plus points (a percentage of the loan amount paid at the close of escrow). They almost always have more money available to lend than qualified deals. The qualified deals are harder to find than the money!

Advance Fees Are Usually A Bad Sign

One word of warning. NEVER, ever, under any circumstances, pay an advance fee for a hard money loan “commitment.” Any fees for the lender come out of the escrow closing when the loan funds the deal and not one second before.

No matter how convincing a lender is, about requiring an advance fee, do not pay it. If you cannot find a real hard money lender, who does not ask for an advance fee, your deal does not qualify for this type of loan.

Joint Venture With The Land Owner

If the land is owned free and clear, a joint venture can be arranged to borrow 60% of the land value for a development project and then a hard money loan can be used on a short-term basis while the land is improved and permitted for development. Then, a property can be reappraised at a higher valuation after improvement and permits are in place.

New financing can pay off the hard money lender. For example, a construction loan that converts into permanent financing can retire the initial hard money loan when the project hits certain milestones.

Advertise For Investors

Under the JOBS Act of 2012 and subsequent revisions, the regulations allow general advertisements for investors. Many real estate developers are now using crowdfunding platforms to fund their deals, as another way to raise capital. Using this method, investor funds can be pooled from smaller investors to provide working capital that can be used along with hard money loans to do real estate deals.

You could surmise that finding and/or creating the deals that are hard-money worthy is the more difficult task than finding the hard money loan funds for a qualified project. Before making a rush decision, consider discussing your options with a mortgage lender. This trusted professional can offer information about a variety of financing options.

The best person to help you find just the right property is your trusted real estate professional. 

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4 Ways To Get Your Home Loan Closed Faster

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 24th, 2019

4 Ways To Get Your Home Loan Closed FasterYou’ve finally found the perfect home for your family. Now the only thing standing between you and domestic bliss is the loan process. Use these techniques to shorten the amount of time between placing your bid and getting the final approval on your new home mortgage.

Perfect Your Credit Rating

Your credit score is a measure of your financial responsibility. Lenders look closely at your creditworthiness in their attempt to decide your loan’s risk. Before you start shopping, take some time to clean up your credit history.

Some credit habits that help shorten your loan approval period include:

  • At least one year of on-time payments for utilities, loans, and other regular obligations.
  • A low debt-to-income ratio.
  • A credit utilization rate of 20% or less.

Lenders spend less time researching your financial history when your credit report is clear, which means you spend less time waiting to move in.

Practice Patience

Driven by the excitement of their new home purchase, many buyers spend the closing period investing in new furniture and appliances for their potential home. However, it’s better to wait until the final paperwork goes through before committing to new lines of credit.

Even after applications are filed, lenders still monitor your credit usage. Suddenly spending large amounts of money can cause red flags that delay your loan processing. Practice a little restraint and wait until you’re sure the process is complete before indulging in a spending spree.

Stabilize Yourself

Your ability to repay is a big part of your creditworthiness. A long and solid work history is your best ally in the fight for quality loan products. Establish at least one year of solid work history before starting the loan application process. Hold off on any career changes until you’re comfortably moved into your new residence.

Open The Lines Of Communication

Stay in touch with your trusted home mortgage professional to ensure a smooth loan process. If you move or change your phone number, be sure to update your information right away. While most institutions are very professional about keeping loan applicants updated, don’t be afraid to call and ask about the status of your account. If you feel you haven’t heard back in a timely manner, send a short email or leave a voicemail to ensure you haven’t missed any important requests.

These tips help you spend less time waiting and more time enjoying your new home purchase.

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4 Ways To Pay Off My Mortgage Faster

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 23rd, 2019

4 Ways To Pay Off My Mortgage FasterFor most people, the mortgage payment is the biggest monthly expense. Whether you’re facing retirement or still working, it would be nice to be free of this debt. Although you probably can’t pay it off in one lump sum, it is possible to pay off your mortgage sooner than expected.

Here are four strategies to try.

1. Make Bi-Weekly Payments

You could shave eight years off a 30-year mortgage simply by breaking down your monthly payments into two payments instead of one. You’ll pay the same amount each month while the interest paid over the length of the loan is reduced. 

2. Make Principal-Only Payments

If you look at your mortgage payment slip, you’ll notice that the majority of your monthly payment goes toward interest. Slash years off your mortgage by making occasional principal-only payments on top of your regular payments. Consult your lender to see how many of these are allowed per year. If they’re limited, maximize each opportunity by making as large a principal-only payment as you can manage.

3. Refinance When Rates Drop

If your mortgage originated when interest rates were high, refinance it now that rates are still historically lower. You may need to pay closing costs, but you’ll still end up dramatically lowering the amount of interest you are paying on your mortgage. While you’re at the refinancing game, consider getting into a shorter term length. This tactic will probably increase your monthly payment, but if you can afford it, it’s a good strategy for paying down your mortgage quicker.

4. Pay Extra Each Month

If you can afford it, pad your monthly payment with a little extra as often as possible. Just paying $50 or $100 extra will enable you to get rid of your mortgage a little faster. Find the extra money by cutting back on small niceties, such as subscriptions, take-out food and more. You won’t notice the lack of small conveniences, but you will certainly notice a shortened mortgage loan term.

When you work to pay off your mortgage faster, you essentially save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. Implement one or more of these ideas to become mortgage-free just a little bit sooner.

If you are interested in purchasing a new property or listing your current home, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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