Common Fees During Refinancing

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 3rd, 2022

Common Fees During RefinancingAs interest rates fluctuate, you might think about refinancing your mortgage. This is the cost of taking out a new home loan to replace the one you currently have. If you get a significantly lower interest rate, you could save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. On the other hand, you need to think about potential expenses you might incur during the refinancing process. Because you are taking out another home loan, you may need to pay closing costs a second time. What are some of the most common expenses you might have to pay?

The Mortgage Application Fee

One of the most common expenses is the mortgage application fee. Essentially, this is a fee that the lender will charge for opening up a new application on your behalf. The fee can vary significantly depending on the lender you use, but it is usually a few hundred dollars.

A Home Appraisal

When you took out your first mortgage, the lender probably required you to get your home appraised. The lender wants to make sure they are not financing a home that is not worth as much as its price tag. You still need to get your home appraised again if you decide to refinance your mortgage. The lender wants to make sure they understand how much the house is worth before they give you a loan for it. A typical home appraisal is also a few hundred dollars.

Title Search And Title Insurance

The lender might also require a title search and title insurance. This is important for making sure you protect yourself in the event someone else still holds the title to your house. A title search is usually a few hundred dollars, and title insurance could be $1,000 or more.

Loan Origination Fee

Most lenders charge a loan origination fee that is approximately one percent of the value of the loan. Again, this can vary from lender to lender as well. 

Understand These Fees

There are lots of potential fees that a lender might tack on. Fortunately, you do not necessarily need to pay for all of them. Always ask the lender whether they might be willing to waive some of these fees to make the cost less expensive. 


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Comparing Long-Term And Short-Term Rentals

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 31st, 2022

Comparing Long-Term And Short-Term RentalsOwning rental properties is a great way to diversify investments. Similar to the stock market, homes come in many shapes and forms. Some people are looking for short-term rental properties while other people are looking for long-term rental properties. What are the differences between them, and why might one person choose to own one of these properties over the other?

What Is A Long-Term Rental?

In general, long-term rental property is defined as any property that has a standard lease that is longer than 12 months. Many people think about apartments, condos, and single-family homes as long-term rental properties.

There are several reasons why people might choose a long-term rental property as one of their investment options. With longer leases, there is a consistent stream of income. There is also less to do because there is not as much turnover between residents. Property owners also have fewer responsibilities, as the renters are often responsible for handling utilities.

On the other hand, vacancies in long-term rental properties can last a long time. Some people prefer flexibility in a rental contract, so they might not be interested in a minimum 12-month lease. 

What About A Short-Term Rental?

A short-term rental property is defined as any property with a standard lease that is shorter than 12 months. While this often includes vacation homes, they can also include single-family homes, apartments, and condos.

Many people like owning a short-term rental property because the income is generally higher. People tend to stay for only a few days or weeks at a time, so property owners can charge more for an average night.

One downside of owning a short-term rental property is that this requires more work. The property owner has to clean more often between residents, and there might be more variability in the income stream.

Choose The Right Property

These are just a few of the most important points people need to keep in mind regarding long-term and short-term rental properties. The right option for one person is not necessarily the right option for someone else. Property owners need to think about their personal preferences, the location of the property, and how much work they are willing to do. That way, they can decide whether to go with a short-term or long-term rental property. 

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How To Deal With An Appraisal Gap

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 17th, 2022

	Three Tips To Get The Best Financing On Your Second Home PurchaseThe vast majority of people will need to go through a mortgage lender when purchasing a home. One of the last steps in the purchase process is the home appraisal. The lender wants to make sure they are not lending more money than the house is worth. If the appraisal value comes in above what the buyer is paying, then the buyer is happy because they might be getting a great deal. On the other hand, if the appraisal comes in below what the buyer is paying, this can be frustrating. What is the appraisal gap, and how does it work? 

Buyers Might Be Asked To Bring More Cash Or Pay PMI

In many situations, buyers will be asked to pay PMI if they are not putting 20 percent down. For example, if someone is buying a $250,000 house, they might be asked to put down $50,000 to avoid dealing with PMI.

Ultimately, if the lender is financing more than 80 percent of the loan’s value, PMI might be required. In the example above, if the house only appraises for $200,000, then the lender will only finance $160,000 before asking for PMI. Therefore, to get the lender down to $160,000, the buyer would have to bring another $40,000 to the closing table (for a total of $90,000 down) to avoid paying PMI. 

If the buyer is not willing to pay PMI or close the gap, the sale could fall through, leading to other ramifications.

Get An Accurate Valuation Before Making An Offer On A House

If there is an appraisal gap, it can be frustrating for a buyer who is asked to bring more cash to the table. Furthermore, if the sale falls through, the buyer could lose his or her earnest money. Depending on the market, earnest money could be tens of thousands of dollars. That is why it is important to get an accurate valuation of the house before making an offer. No matter how beautiful the house might seem, it is important not to overpay, as it increases the chances of dealing with an appraisal gap. If there is an appraisal gap, buyers need to carefully evaluate their options before they decide how to proceed. 


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Increase Your Home’s Value By Handling Minor Repairs

Posted in Uncategorized by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 15th, 2022

Increase Your Home's Value By Handling Minor RepairsA house is an investment, and it is important to treat it as such. Homeowners must capitalize on the value of their homes when they go to sell them. One of the best ways to do so is to handle minor repairs before listing the house. Minor repairs do not take that long, so homeowners don’t have to worry about delaying their timeline. Furthermore, they are not that expensive to fix, but they can have a significant impact on the value of the home. Why is this the case?

Repair Broken Items in Rooms

Even though broken items in certain rooms might not be a big deal, they can send the wrong message to a prospective buyer. For example, if there is a door that doesn’t latch well, try to repair it. If there is a drawer that doesn’t close properly, fix this issue. If homeowners see that there are no broken items, they will immediately realize the house has been well taken care of.

Ger Rid of Annoying Noises 

Annoying noises can be incredibly distracting as someone walks through a house in which they might be interested. If there are creaky stairs, try to figure out where this is coming from. If the ceiling fan rattles, try to tighten it. Annoying noises can detract from the value of the house by distracting potential buyers. 

Fix Any Leaks in the Home

Small drips and leagues can have a significant impact on the value of a home. If someone believes they are a sign of bigger plumbing issues, they might not make an offer. Inspect all faucets, toilets, and outdoor spigots to make sure they work properly. If anything is dripping, try to fix it before listing the house. 

Maximize the Home’s Value

Ultimately, the biggest reason why minor repairs can make a big difference is that they can drive up the amount of money someone is willing to pay for a home. A lot of people steer away from houses that require repairs because they don’t know if something more serious is lurking underneath. When homeowners address minor repairs, they increase their chances of making a positive first impression on a buyer. This can make the difference between someone walking away and someone making an offer. 


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Buying Property As-Is: How To Protect Yourself Accordingly

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 12th, 2021

Buying Property As-Is: How To Protect Yourself AccordinglyIf you are looking for a home, your agent may tell you that a home is being sold as-is. This means that there may be major defects with the home that the seller is not willing to repair before offloading the property. As a result, their problems may become your problems if you purchase that property. How can you protect yourself during the sale?

Look At All Disclosures

Even though disclosure laws can vary significantly from state to state, the homeowner may be required to disclose certain problems to you. Real estate agents should always point out disclosures from sellers, so take a look at what the seller is sharing with you. Examples could include problems with the roof, lead paint, or natural hazards such as flood zones or fire zones. 

Add An Inspection Contingency

You should always get an inspection before you purchase the home so you know what defects might be present. If you purchase a home and do not get an inspection, you might be surprised by certain defects when you move in.

Furthermore, you should add an inspection contingency to the home. This means that you have the opportunity to negotiate for certain issues to be resolved if they are found on inspection. Or, you pay a lower price for the home if the seller is unwilling to resolve them.

Ask For Help From A Lawyer

If there are major defects in the home, and if the seller is refusing to budge, you may want to reach out to a real estate attorney. This is helpful for learning more about the real estate laws in your state. You need to protect your rights, figure out how you can get the defects fixed, and how you can save money on the price of the home. Your real estate agent might be able to refer you to a real estate attorney. 

Negotiate A Lower Price

Ultimately, the best way for you to protect yourself is to negotiate a lower price. Because you will have to spend a lot of money repairing the home, the seller should be prepared to reduce his or her asking price. In a seller’s market, you may not have that opportunity, but you may want to ask for a discount. 


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A Review Of Government Vs Conventional Mortgages

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 21st, 2021

A Review Of Government Vs Conventional MortgagesThere are two broad categories of mortgages. The first is government mortgages, which include USDA, FHA, and VA loans. These loans are backed and insured by the United States government. The other category is conventional mortgages. These are mortgages that are insured by private lenders, such as banks and credit unions. What are the differences between these two loan options?

Government Mortgages

The qualifications for government mortgages are usually more lenient than conventional loans. For example, FHA mortgages are usually backed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans could be a smart option for borrowers who might not be able to make a large down payment or who are taking out a loan for the first time. In addition, borrowers with higher debt to income ratios and lower credit scores might also be able to qualify for an FHA loan. While it is possible to qualify for an FHA loan with a lower down payment mortgage insurance might still be required.

Another government mortgage is a VA mortgage. This is a mortgage that is insured by the United States government that is available to members of the military. In order to qualify for a VA loan, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is required. While VA loans do not charge mortgage insurance, an upfront funding fee could be charged if certain requirements are not met.

Conventional Mortgages

Conventional mortgages refer to home loans that are created and financed by unions, banks, credit unions, and other lenders not associated with the United States government. When compared to government loans, they usually have stricter guidelines. Borrowers seeking a conventional mortgage usually must have a higher credit score, a larger down payment, and a lower debt to income ratio. If borrowers are not able to put 20 percent down, they might be charged private mortgage insurance (PMI); however, some borrowers might be able to negotiate lender-insured PMI if they are willing to accept a higher interest rate.

Speak To A Loan Officer

The right loan for one person might not be the right loan for someone else. Everyone should speak to a loan officer to figure out which type of home loan is right for them. That way, everyone can negotiate favorable terms on a home loan.

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Top 8 Things New Homeowners Need

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 21st, 2021

Top 8 Things New Homeowners NeedMoving into your first home is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. To manage the move properly, you need a wide variety of tools you may never have considered before. You may not realize you should have purchased a certain item until you need it. 

To prepare for the move into your new home, make sure you have all of the items listed below. 

Storage For Documents

As a homeowner, you will need to keep and organize a variety of documents, including receipts, warranties and even your mortgage papers. Consider buying a fireproof box or cabinet to store these items.

Fire Extinguisher

Every homeowner should have at least one fire extinguisher on hand. Make sure your fire extinguisher is stored in a location that can be accessed easily in the event of a fire. 

Extension Cords

Extension cords can be useful in a variety of situations, from plugging in appliances that are too far from an outlet to decorating your home for the holidays. Be sure to buy multiple cords in different lengths so you can use them for different purposes. 

Smoke Alarms

If your home is not already equipped with working smoke alarms, you need to purchase and install them as soon as possible. Be sure that you check your alarms every four months and change the batteries as needed. 

Cleaning Supplies

Another important purchase for every new homeowner is cleaning supplies. While some of these supplies may be used on a daily basis, others may be used less frequently. Nonetheless, it is a smart idea to have all of these items on hand. Examples of cleaning supplies you may need include window cleaner, toilet brushes, brooms, mops, sponges and paper towels. If you have carpet in your new home, you may need to buy a vacuum cleaner as well.

A Basic Tool Kit

Every new homeowner will need some basic tools. Purchasing these tools in advance will make both small and large tasks easier. Be sure your toolkit includes a utility knife, flashlight, measuring tape, screwdrivers, wrenches and hammers. Having some different kinds of tape on hand is also a wise idea. 

Exterior Door Locks

When moving into a new home, it is always a good idea to change the locks. Although the previous owner is asked to turn over all the keys to the home, it is impossible to know whether other keys exist. Buying your own door locks will protect against break-ins and give you peace of mind. 

Lawn Equipment

If you will be responsible for maintaining your own lawn and landscaping, you will need to invest in the proper lawn maintenance equipment. Examples of items you may need include snow shovels, sprinklers, rakes, shears, shovels and water hoses. You may also need a lawnmower. 

You may still need to make additional purchases after you have everything on this list. However, this list covers many of the basic things you will need to begin life successfully in your new home. 

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How to Become a Homeowner: First Time Home Buyer Guide

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 14th, 2021

How to Become a Homeowner: First Time Home Buyer GuideBecoming a homeowner for the first time is exciting. However, for many potential buyers, the process can also be confusing. Below is an overview of the steps you need to complete in order to buy your first home. 

Work Out The Finances

The first step in buying a home is deciding on a price range. This price range will be determined by your income, as well as your own comfort level with home prices and monthly payments. Consider all of these factors to determine the maximum amount you are willing to spend on your new home. 

In most cases, you will be required to pay the downpayment and closing costs upfront, even if you are financing the rest of the home’s purchase price.

In general, most lenders will expect a downpayment equal to 20 percent of the home’s purchase price. Otherwise, you may be required to pay mortgage insurance. Before buying a home, set enough money aside to cover these expenses. 

For most homeowners, the next step in the home buying process involves looking into different mortgage options. Unless you have enough money to purchase your home for cash, you will need a mortgage. Be sure to compare quotes from different lenders before making a choice to be sure you are getting the best deal.

Once you have chosen a lender and a specific type of mortgage, ask for a preapproval letter that you can attach to any offers you make so that you will be a more reliable and attractive buyer. 

Hire An Agent 

When searching for the perfect first home, hiring a real estate agent to represent you throughout the process is highly recommended. Your real estate agent will act as a buyer’s agent, which means they will have your best interests at heart. When you don’t have a buyer’s agent, you will be dealing only with the seller’s real estate agent instead. Because this individual has been hired to represent the seller, they will always put the seller’s needs above yours. 

Find The Right Home

Once you have a qualified agent to represent you and a preapproval letter from your lender, it is time to start looking for your new home! Your real estate agent will help you comb through listings and choose the properties you want to see. Next, you will walk through each home until you find the one that is right for you. After you have chosen a home, your real estate agent will help you prepare and submit an offer to the seller. 

The process of buying your first home may seem overwhelming at first. However, by following these steps, you can simplify the process and become a homeowner with ease. 

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How Much Income Should People Spend On A Mortgage?

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 24th, 2020

How Much Income Should People Spend On A Mortgage?When people are looking for a home, this is an exciting process. There is always something fun about looking at potential homes and envisioning a future there. This is a big decision. At the same time, it is just as important for people to think about how much of their money they should be spending on their mortgage. There are a few rules of thumb that people should keep in mind. 

The 28 Percent Rule

One of the most common rules that financial advisors and lenders are going to talk about is going to be the 28 percent rule. This rule states that people should not be spending any more than 28 percent of their pre-tax income on their monthly housing payments. This includes not only the mortgage but also any potential homeowners association fees, real estate taxes, and home insurance payments. Once people figure out how much they can afford on their monthly mortgage payment, they can work backward to see how large of a house they can afford. 

The 36 Percent Rule

The other rule that homebuyers are going to hear is the 36 percent rule. This is a rule that pertains to all debt. Therefore, this rule includes not only the monthly mortgage payments but also any car payments, credit card payments, utilities, and student loans. In general, no more than 36 percent of someone’s pre-tax income should be going toward debt. This is very important for taking out a home loan because it is going to impact someone’s debt to income ratio. If the debt to income ratio is too high, then potential homeowners are going to have a hard time getting a great deal on a mortgage. Furthermore, they could even be denied completely. 

Find The Right House

For those who are looking for a home, this is an exciting time. At the same time, it can also be hard to find the right home when people don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. When potential homeowners understand what their budget is, this process gets much easier. Therefore, everyone needs to think about how big of a monthly mortgage payment they can afford. This will help them make the right decision.


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The Home Buyer Assistance Program Provides Assistance To Local First-Time Homebuyers

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2020

The Home Buyer Assistance Program Provides Assistance To Local First-Time HomebuyersRecently, the local region’s subcommittee held a meeting using videoconferencing and discussed a new version Home Buyer Assistance Program. The Home Buyer Assistance Program has been designed to help first-time homebuyers by providing a down payment of up to $25,000. The funding for the Home Buyer Assistance Program is going to come from the city’s reparations fund.

The local city council agreed to deposit up to $10 million in tax revenue from the city into this fund. It appears that some of it will be used to help people purchase their first home.

An Overview Of The Home Buyer Assistance Program

The Home Buyer Assistance Program has been put together using feedback from the local community. All of these recommendations were taken into account when looking at how to remedy the situation. It was clear, across the board, that the priority was housing. Minority communities in the local area have been struggling for decades. One of the ways to help these underserved populations is to provide them with stable housing.

The Home Buyer Assistance Program is going to provide no-interest, forgivable loans that come from the reparation funds. Now, thanks to this program, first-time homebuyers will be able to purchase homes anywhere in the city. The goal of this program is to remedy historical segregation, which will help increase diversity across the city.

Who Is Eligible For The Home Buyer Assistance Program?

The Home Buyer Assistance Program will limit those who qualify for assistance. Some of the key conditions of the program include:

  • Applicants must be a resident of African-American descent
  • Applicants must have suffered discrimination in some way as a result of the city’s policies
  • Applicants must be a direct descendant of someone who lived in the local area between 1919 and 1969 or suffered discrimination in some other way

These criteria are fairly broad and should open the door to plenty of people who can take advantage of the money provided by the Home Buyer Assistance Program to purchase their first home. With the current state of the housing market, there are countless individuals and families in the local area who might be able to move to a safer area of town.

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