Archive for Mortgage

The Three Essential Habits That Successful Home Buyers Must Embrace

Posted in Home Buyer Tips,Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 22nd, 2021

The Three Essential Habits That Successful Home Buyers Must EmbraceWhether you are preparing to purchase your first home or it has been many years since you last walked through the home buying process, you may be starting to feel overwhelmed at the thought of all of the work that lies in front of you. From concerns about finding the right home to the physical act of relocating all of your belongings after the closing, there is certainly a lot to think about. While each home buying transaction is unique, the most successful home buyers have typically adopted a few behaviors. You may keep these in mind to help you navigate through the process with success.

Keep An Eye On Your Budget

Financial stress when buying a home is common. You may have saved for years to afford your down payment, but there are various expenses that some may have not calculated or planned for. It is important to leave extra funds available for unexpected expenses, such as paying for the appraisal up-front on the home you have fallen in love with. Likewise, keep a close eye on your budget so that you are aware of your financial situation at all times.

Be Available And Flexible

It is imperative that you remain available and flexible as much as possible. Your real estate agent may call you at the last minute with a great new listing that has come on the market, and you may need to be flexible with your schedule to see this property before other buyers do. In addition, you may need to be flexible and accommodating with regards to contract negotiations, working with title company requests and more.

Seek Advice And Knowledge

Buying a home does not have to be stressful, but it also is not something that you do every day. There is a lot for even an experienced home buyer to learn, and you should be prepared to seek advice and to educate yourself along the way. Ask questions as necessary, and use the Internet for additional research.

Home buying is a process, and you may consider taking one day at a time as you proceed through the journey to reach your ultimate goal. A skilled real estate agent can guide you through the process and can help you to more successfully reach your goal. Reach out to a real estate agent today to begin looking for your new home.

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Do Not Procrastinate On These Spring Maintenance Tasks

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 14th, 2021

Do Not Procrastinate On These Spring Maintenance TasksAt the flowers begin to bloom and the weather starts to warm up, everyone is thinking about spring cleaning. It is critical to make sure the house is ready for the warmer weather. What are the top spring maintenance tasks that have to be completed? Do not procrastinate on these tasks, as the price could be high.

Prune The Trees Before They Start To Bloom

Take a closer look at the trees, particularly those that hang over the house. As they begin to bloom, the weight on these branches could start to increase. If that happens, branches could snap over the house, leading to serious roof damage. Prune these trees before they start to bloom. If they are too high, it may be better to reach out to a trained professional who can prune them safely. 

Always Look For Signs of Leaks And Water Damage

Check around the house for signs of leaks and water damage. If the floor is buckling, the walls are starting to change color, or the water bill is going up without an explanation, these could be signs there is a leak somewhere. Address any signs of water leakage now. Waiting to address a water leak could lead to serious repair bills down the road. Be sure to get the plumbing system maintained regularly. That way, these leaks can be avoided. 

Inspect The Water Heater

Take a closer look at the water heater. It is important to get it inspected by a trained professional once per year. Over time, mineral scaling and gunk can accumulate in the water heater. It needs to be flushed regularly. Even though online tutorials can be helpful, it may be better to reach out to trained professionals who have the equipment to do this properly. In addition, professionals may take a look at other areas of the water heater that might have to be addressed.

Get Ready For Spring

These are a few of the most important spring cleaning maintenance tasks that have to be completed now. Make sure these systems are ready to go before they are called upon. If homeowners do not procrastinate on these important tasks, they could save a lot of money down the road.

 

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The Top Tips For Impressing A Potential Buyer At Showings

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 25th, 2021

The Top Tips For Impressing A Potential Buyer At ShowingsFor those who are getting ready to put their home on the market, they want to make sure they get as much money as possible for their home. This means making a positive first impression. There is never a second chance to make a first impression. Therefore, homeowners need to make sure they do everything possible to “wow” potential buyers at open houses and showings. What are a few of the top tips that homeowners should keep in mind?

Listen To The Agent

Homeowners know their home the best. Therefore, they feel like they are able to show their home in the best manner possible. Even though they should have some input, homeowners are ultimately selling a building. They are not selling their memories.It is a prudent idea to listen to the agent. For example, the real estate agent may recommend staging the home in a certain way. The real estate agent may even recommend that he or she hosts the open house personally. Homeowners will need to listen to the experience of their real estate agent in order to have the best showing possible. 

Clean The Home Thoroughly

Homeowners also need to make sure they clean the home thoroughly. There is a high chance that the real estate agent may even recommend a cleaning service to scrub the house from top to bottom. Even though a potential buyer is probably going to clean the home after he or she buys it, nobody likes to see a dirty house. If there are any children or pets living in the home, try to eliminate all traces of them. 

Put Away Family Photos And Memories

Finally, homeowners also need to put away any family photos or personal items they have left out. When someone is looking for a new home, they want to envision what their life might be like in that home. This is going to be challenging if the current homeowner has family photos all over the walls. Remember, selling a home does not mean selling the memories in it. As a result, homeowners should try to put away their family photos and trinkets before the open house or showing. This will increase the chances of getting a great offer.

 

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How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation Project

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 8th, 2020

How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation ProjectEvery year, homeowners spend billions of dollars renovating their homes. It almost seems expected that homeowners are going to end up going over budget on any project. On the other hand, this doesn’t have to be the case. In reality, there are a few tips and tricks that homeowners can follow to help them save big money on that next home renovation project.

Serve As The General Contractor

Many homeowners hire a general contractor to control the staffing of each individual project. While this might reduce stress levels, it also costs more money. Hiring a general contractor adds an additional middle man to the project who might charge a premium for each individual project.

Homeowners that need to renovate the kitchen, replace the roof, and find a new water heater should hire professionals to handle these individual projects; however, they don’t necessarily need to hire a general contractor. Skipping this step can save money.

Seek Out Multiple Bids On Each Project

Some homeowners don’t like making phone calls and filling out paperwork to collect bids for various projects; however, collecting multiple bids can help homeowners save money. On any given home renovation project, try to collect at least three bids. For larger projects, it is better to collect even more. 

Then, once all the bids are collected, they can be leveraged against each other for a lower price. Homeowners are often surprised by the wide range of bids on a project. Some proposals might even be thousands of dollars apart.

Take Advantage Of Sales

Just as food goes on sale at the grocery store, the materials needed to complete a home renovation project might go on sale from time to time as well. Taking advantage of sales at department stores can be a great way to reduce overhead costs. There might even be cheaper options online. 

Reduce Home Renovation Costs

These are a few of the most important tips for reducing the cost of that next big home renovation project. Home renovation projects don’t have to break the bank! Be sure to collect multiple bids and leverage inventory sales. 

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Are Home Warranties Worth The Money?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 6th, 2020

Are Home Warranties Worth The MoneyThose who own homes might regularly receive mail advertising something called a home warranty. Many people end up tossing these leaflets away because they think this is just another form of home insurance, which many people get through their mortgage lender. In reality, a home warranty is not home insurance. Therefore, some people might be wondering whether or not a home warranty is worth the money.

There are a few important points that people should know.

What Is A Home Warranty?

A home warranty is similar to insurance is that people are going to pay a set premium per year to protect them against the risk of larger expenses down the road; however, people need to know what a home warranty is going to cover. This is where people need to read the policy. 

Typically, a home warranty is going to cover the cost to repair or replace certain appliances or home systems is they are damaged or break down. If someone needs to file a claim, this is usually done online or over the phone. Then, the homeowner is going to bring out a professional and pay a service fee (which is similar to a deductible) to get the repair completed. In some cases, the homeowner will have to pay the entire bill and get reimbursed later.

Is The Home Warranty Worth It?

In general, if someone has purchased a brand new home, this policy simply isn’t necessary. In many states, the builder is required to repair defects for a few years after the home is built. The common time-frames range from two years to ten years. Therefore, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage and, thus, unnecessary. Furthermore, brand new appliances are almost always protected by one or two-year warranties. Again, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage.

On the other hand, if someone has an older home or older appliances, the home warranty might be worth it. Older appliances are more likely to break down and, thus, require repairs. Therefore, people need to think about their own individual circumstances and weigh the risk of a broken appliance against the cost of the policy. A home warranty may be right for some people but not others.

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How Does A Home Appraisal Work?

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

How Does A Home Appraisal WorkWhether you’re a buyer or a seller, a home appraisal is a critical component of the home selling process. An appraisal is also required in situations where a home is gifted to a family member, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of what it entails. 

What Is A Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an unbiased estimate of a home’s fair market value conducted by a professional appraiser. All 50 states require that appraisers be licensed and/or certified and demonstrate knowledge of the specified area. The purpose of a home appraisal is to determine whether the home’s asking price is appropriate based on its location, condition, size, and amenities.

Appraisals are done in almost all purchase, sale and refinance transactions, with the exception being when a buyer uses cash and doesn’t have a mortgage. They are typically coordinated by the mortgage lender to ensure the loan isn’t too large in relation to the home’s value.

How Are Appraisal Values Determined?

Licensed appraisers calculate a home’s value based on comparable recent sales in the area and current market trends. Factors such as the home’s floor plan, size, number of rooms, and any upgrades or amenities are also considered. Upgrades and amenities could include things such as a pool, an expanded garage, or a remodeled kitchen.

The appraiser conducts a visual inspection to appraise a home, noting the home’s condition and whether any major repairs are needed. It’s important to note that this differs from a home inspection in that the appraisal assesses a home’s value, while an inspection assesses its condition. In an inspection, the home inspector actually makes repair recommendations. During an appraisal,the appraiser notes any necessary repairs but does not make recommendations.

When Is An Appraisal Done?

After an offer is made, an appraisal is one of the first steps in the closing process. Everything will proceed as planned as long as the appraisal value comes in at or above the price in the contract. If it appraises for below that amount, closing can be delayed or canceled altogether.

What Does A Home Appraisal Cost?

Costs vary based on the mortgage type, but a home appraisal generally costs $300-500. It is almost always paid for by the borrower as part of closing costs.

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How Do Mortgage Points Cut Your Interest Costs?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 28th, 2020

How Do Mortgage Points Cut Your Interest CostsThose who are involved in the real estate industry likely know that mortgage rates are at an all-time low. At the same time, nobody wants to pay more for a house than they have to. Some of the most important factors that dictate how much someone is going to pay for a house include points and interest rates.

While interest rates are incredibly low, there is a way to make them lower. This comes in the form of points. This is additional money that is paid upfront to get a better deal over the life of the loan. Even though this sounds great in theory this might not be the best option for everyone. There are a few important points to keep in mind.

What Are Points?

Often, the lender is going to offer someone the option of paying points when the mortgage is created. This should be viewed as paying interest on the loan in advance. In exchange for paying interest upfront, the lender should offer to lock in a lower interest rate over the life of the loan. The more points someone purchases, the better the rate.

For example, paying one point of interest may reduce the interest rate on the loan by 0.25 percent. This is standard. Take, for example, a $200,000 home. One point on this loan would cost someone about $2,000. In exchange, the interest rate on the loan is going to drop by 0.25 percent. This might be worth it in the long run.

Discount Points

Other people might have heard about something called discount points. This is another term for mortgage points. The two terms can be used interchangeably. Typically, people can purchase as many discount points as they want, up to the limit of the lender. 

An Overview Of Origination Points

Another type of points that people might have heard about is origination points or origination fees usually expressed by a percentage of the loan amount. These are points that are charged to the borrower to cover the of processing, or originating, the mortgage loan. These fees are included in the total closing costs disclosed when you apply for your home loan.

Origination points are almost always negotiable. The number of origination points that a lender is going to charge can vary from place to place. Therefore, always be sure to ask about origination points. There might be a way to get these points waived, saving the borrower a significant amount of money.

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Mortgage Relief Refinance Programs For 2020

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 24th, 2020

Mortgage Relief Refinance Programs For 2020There are lots of people out there who are searching for options for mortgage relief. A quick search will reveal options for programs such as FMERR and HARP; however, many of the articles regarding these programs are a bit outdated. This makes them misleading. Sometimes, people might think they can apply for these programs when, in reality, they cannot. These programs have expired. Fortunately, there is another option for HIRO.

What Is HIRO?

HIRO is the mortgage relief refinance program for 2020. Run by Fannie Mae, this program does have some similarities to its ancestors (HARP and FMERR); however, it also allows homeowners to refinance even if they don’t have any equity. Furthermore, there isn’t a maximum LTV (loan to value) ratio. The biggest difference between HIRO and prior programs is that only people who currently have mortgages through Fannie Mae are able to qualify.

Some of the other conditions of this program include:

  • The loan must have been originated on or after October 1, 2017
  • There is a long history of making payments on-time
  • There cannot have been any more than one late payment in the prior year
  • There cannot be any late payments in the last six months
  • The loan to value ratio is at 97.01 percent or above

If these conditions are met, someone might be able to find mortgage refinance relief through HIRO.

Reasons To Refinance

Of course, if someone is looking to apply for this program, there must be some tangible benefit. Some of the reasons why someone might want to refinance include a lower monthly payment, a loan with an earlier end date, or a transition from a risky adjustable-rate mortgage to a much safer fixed-rate mortgage. These are a few of the common reasons why someone might want to refinance through HIRO.

Options For Government-Backed Loans

If someone has a mortgage through a government program such as USDA, VA, or the FHA, they will need to apply for other mortgage relief programs. This means looking for streamline refinances. These are specific refinance programs that are meant for people with loans backed by the government. These programs often have less paperwork because there is no need to verify income or employment. Furthermore, there is no need to get the home appraised.

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How To Retain Your Sanity While Working From Home

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 23rd, 2020

How To Retain Your Sanity While Working From HomeThere are a lot of people who enjoy working from home; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who are not used to working from home are forced into this new arrangement. It can be hard for individuals o stay focused when they are stuck in the environment at home. Particularly if the kids are home from school, it is easy to get distracted. Fortunately, there are a few ways people can retain their sanity as they work from home.

Get Into A Routine

One of the first steps people need to follow is to find a routine. It can be tempting to sleep in every day, procrastinate while watching TV, and take long breaks for meals; however, it is critical to remember that there is still a job to do. Try to wake up at the same time every day. Start work at a consistent hour. Take a consistent break for lunch. Finding a routine will make working from home feel more like a job than a vacation.

Take Advantage Of Technology

Even though working from home can feel lonely, it doesn’t have to be this way. With technology, it is easy for people to stay in touch with their partners from work. Use technology to talk to people. Check up on others and see how they are doing. Ask for help when it is needed. Communicate with multiple people at a time. This is incredibly important for those who work in a team. At the same time, those who typically work alone should make sure this doesn’t become a distraction. Talking to others can be a great way to break up the monotony of the day.

Learn Something New Every Day

Finally, take the time to learn something new! Those who no longer have a morning or evening commute are going to wind up with some extra free time on their hands. Take this opportunity to learn something new. Even though some people might feel like they are being forced to work from home, turn this situation into a positive one. use the extra time wisely and find a way to expand those horizons ever so slightly. Learning new skills can pay big dividends down the road.

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Wealthy Seniors Can Benefit From Jumbo Products

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

Wealthy Seniors Can Benefit From Jumbo ProductsIndividuals who own their homes with a considerable amount of equity should consider looking into proprietary jumbo reverse mortgages. These can be helpful tools that may allow seniors to either pay down an existing mortgage or fund their retirement. 

These tools are particularly helpful in areas of the country that have high property values, such as California and New York. In these states, jumbo reverse mortgages may provide seniors with up to $4 million in potential loan proceeds. These funds can be applied to a variety of possible purposes.

A Changing Thought Process Surrounding Reverse Mortgages

In the past, mentioning reverse mortgages was seen by many as an option of last resort; however, it seems like this reputation was largely gained because they were new and unfamiliar to most people. Over the past few years, financial experts have done a tremendous amount of research into reverse mortgages and have uncovered their potential to help someone’s financial portfolio.

There are numerous ways that reverse mortgages can help someone’s retirement portfolio ride the ups and downs of the market. Reverse mortgages can even be used to help someone postpone the claiming of Social Security benefits. 

A Potential Use Of Reverse Mortgages

One potential use of reverse mortgages follows a simple formula. The goal of this formula is to buy low and sell high. When the market goes up, draw on the retirement account for income. After all, the market is high, so shares of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are going to be at their greatest value.

When the market starts to drop, avoid using the assets in the retirement account. Wait for those assets to come back up before using them. During this time, it is better to use a reverse mortgage and draw on the equity in the home instead.

A Mountain Of Untapped Equity

Proprietary reverse mortgages are becoming more popular in locations that have high housing values. In these locations, retirees might be sitting on a large amount of equity and might not even know it. In these locations, jumbo reverse mortgages can help individuals and families who might be short in their incomes. For this reason, retirees should consider using a jumbo reverse mortgage to help cover their living expenses and long-term care needs.

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