Archive for Real Estate

An Overview Of Private Mortgage Insurance

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

An Overview Of Private Mortgage InsuranceWhen you are going through the process of looking for a new home, you are probably focused on the sticker price of that home. Even though it is important to think about your down payment, your monthly mortgage payment, and the total amount of the loan, there are other expenses that you might need to cover as well. If you do not put down enough money, there is a chance that the lender could ask you to pay for something called private mortgage insurance. What is private mortgage insurance and how much do you have to pay? There are several important points that you should keep in mind.

Why You Might Purchase PMI

Private mortgage insurance is something that the lender may ask you to purchase as a way to reduce their risk. If you do not make a sizable down payment, then the lender is responsible for funding most of the cost of your home. If you end up defaulting on the cost of that loan, the lender will lose a major amount of money. With PMI, the lender will be able to get his or her money back in the event that you default. Even though the exact cost of PMI will vary, you should expect to pay somewhere between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of the loan. You might be able to ask the lender to check with multiple options to find the least expensive policy possible for you. Once the PMI policy is instituted, this is something that you will have to pay on top of your monthly mortgage payment.

Avoiding PMI Payments

Importantly, there are ways that you can avoid PMI. You might be able to avoid this insurance policy altogether if you are able to increase the size of your down payment. If you cannot do that, the PMI policy will usually be canceled when you reach a certain threshold in equity. This is something that you should negotiate with the lender before you sign on the dotted line. In some cases, the PMI policy as waved when you reach 10 percent of the loan amount paid back. Even though you should check with a professional accountant, PMI is likely tax-deductible, similar to mortgage insurance.

 

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What Homeowners Must Do When Behind On Mortgage Payments

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 23rd, 2021

What Homeowners Must Do When Behind On Mortgage PaymentsThere are lots of homeowners who fall on rough times from time to time. For example, some people may be in the midst of changing jobs. Other people might be going back to school. When this happens, it can be hard for homeowners to keep up with their mortgage payments. Even though they might be thinking about waiting for the bank to do something, this would be the ultimate mistake.

There are ways to handle late mortgage payments as long as homeowners reach out to the lender to discuss their options. What should homeowners do if they start falling behind on their mortgage payments?

Let The Lender Know Why They Are Falling Behind

If lenders do not hear anything from the homeowners, they are not going to know what is going on. Therefore, they may end up taking drastic action. The first thing that homeowners need to do is to let the lender know that they are falling behind on their mortgage payments. That way, the lender understands that the homeowner knows he or she is behind on the mortgage. Then, let the lender know why the mortgage payments will be coming in late. For example, there might be an unexpected medical expense that took the mortgage payment that month. Or, the homeowner might be looking for a new job. These are all understandable reasons why the mortgage payments might be late. 

Ask The Lender To Go Over The Options

Next, the homeowner also should discuss with the lender all of the options when it comes to late mortgage payments. There are lots of options available. If there is a one-time unexpected expense, the lender might simply break up that payment and spread it out over the upcoming payments without charging any extra interest. Or, the lender might be willing to simply add a few months to the mortgage in exchange for not charging a late fee. These are a few of the many options the lender has at his or her disposal.

Do Not Ignore Late Mortgage Payments

The only mistake that homeowners can make with late mortgage payments is not communicating with the lender. As long as the lender understands what is going on, homeowners should have options at their disposal.

 

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The Top Ways To Upgrade The Exterior Of Your Home On A Budget

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 17th, 2021

The Top Ways To Upgrade The Exterior Of The Home On A BudgetThere are a lot of people who are spending more time at home these days. As the temperature starts to warm up once again, there are some homeowners who are looking for ways to upgrade the outside of their home. Even though there are some people who are looking at installing a brand new patio or deck, this can be extremely expensive. Fortunately, there are ways that homeowners can completely transform the exterior of their home without breaking the bank. Take a look at a few of the top ideas below.

Consider Adding An Outdoor Rug

First, homeowners should consider adding an outdoor runner or rug to the exterior of their home. Because this run is going to be outside, try to go with bright colors. Furthermore, there are also specific runners and rugs that have been designed specifically to stand up to the wear and tear of the outdoors. Consider adding a rug that leads from the patio door to the deck. Or, think about placing an area rug underneath the table outside. This can completely change the look of the patio.

Think About Installing A Swinging Chair

For those who are looking for a way to relax outside, consider installing a few swinging chairs. In some situations, homeowners might be able to attach a swinging chair directly to the awning outside. In other situations, it might be a smart idea to install a swinging chair that hangs from a tree in the yard. It is important to make sure the awning or the tree is able to support the chair before it is installed. Then, add a bright cushion to the chair and relax outside with a great book! 

Use Citronella Candles

Anyone who likes to spend evenings outside under the stars should consider using candles. Specifically, think not using citronella candles. Citronella candles will help keep the mosquitoes away in addition to adding a majestic fuel to the outdoors. Think about using them on top of poles that line the walkway. This is a great way to add a little bit of ambiance to an evening party.

Consider a few of these ideas to completely change the exterior of the home in a budget-friendly way.

 

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The Top Tricks For Updating A Home On A Tight Budget

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 4th, 2021

The Top Tricks For Updating A Home On A Tight BudgetThere are a lot of people who are looking for ways to get the most money out of their property when they put it on the market. One of the tricks to doing this is to update the home before it goes on the market. Unfortunately, this can also be expensive.

Even though it is true that many homeowners will be able to recoup the price of the renovations when they list the home on the market, we still need to pay for these updates out-of-pocket. This can be incredibly expensive and could take money from other important areas, such as a car or someone’s education. Fortunately, there is a way for people to update their home without spending any money out of pocket. 

Refinance The Home And Free Up Some Cash

The first option the people need to consider is the opportunity to refinance the home while also freeing up some cash. Those who have been in their home for several years might have some equity built up in the home. They may be able to refinance their home, reducing their monthly payment while also getting a little bit of cash they can use to complete the renovation without paying anything out of pocket. Those who are interested in this option should speak with their lender about some of the ways they might be able to finance their renovation project.

Set Up A Payment Plan With The Contractor

Another option that homeowners might want to consider a set up a payment plan with the contractor. A lot of contractors are willing to provide homeowners with very low interest rates, or 0 percent interest rates, on the home renovation project. Most contractors understand that a lot of families are operating on a budget and might not have money to pay for the project in its entirety up front. This is another topic that homeowners should discuss.

Finance A Home Improvement Project On A Budget

These are just a few of the many ways that homeowners can finance a home renovation project without spending an exorbitant amount of money out-of-pocket. Think about these options ahead of time and make that next home improvement project more affordable.

 

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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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