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Posts from the ‘Home’ Category

Buying a home? Misc. fees could cost you thousands. Here’s what to expect.

CHOOSE A TRUSTED and RECOMMENDED MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL! I read this article this past Sunday.  I was astounded that this even happened.  As a mortgage professional, it is my job to prepare an accurate Lending Estimate (formerly known as the Good Faith Estimate) for a borrower.  I’m responsible for quoting all closings costs, most of which aren’t even lender fees.  If I get it wrong, I/the lender am/is responsible.  The article does talk about Home Owner Associations in which the lender may or may not find out certain info.  Each lender will have their own requirements of what they want to know about a particular HOA.  So I recommend buyers and their attorneys vet the HOA about special assessments, budgets and reserves.  But closing costs?  This is my job; to disclose all costs associated with closing on a loan, refinance or purchase.

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by Danielle Braff Chicago Tribune

 

You’ve likely heard of closing costs when buying a home, but this umbrella term includes a whole host of expenses — from appraisal and attorney fees to transfer taxes and title insurance — that you may have to pay before you get the keys to your new abode. And the jig’s not up once you own. Depending on the type of property, you may be shelling out other unexpected sums, such as special assessments. If you’re planning to purchase a home, make sure you plan ahead for these often-overlooked fees.

That’s something Nors Beatriz, 54, wished she’d done before buying her first home, in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, about 12 years ago.

The artist and jewelry-maker saved $20,000 for a down payment on a $235,000 home, but she wasn’t prepared to pay an extra $10,000 in closing costs. (According to online real estate marketplace Zillow, closing costs are typically 2 to 5 percent of a home’s purchase price.)

“There were so many more fees than I expected,” Beatriz said.

“I hired a lawyer who was supposed to look over the contract, but he never read it, and a couple months later, I found out that I had three mortgages — and they were balloon mortgages,” she said.

She struggled to get them consolidated, but then the market crashed, and her bank went out of business.

read more via http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-re-0910-unexpected-costs-20170906-story.html

 

 

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Don’t leap into buying a home based on school district alone — dig into these details first

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Danielle Braff Chicago Tribune

When Marisa Dunn was trying to decide where to live, she considered three things: good health care, proximity to family and fantastic schools.

“We could travel for health care, we could travel to family, but we wanted to be in a school district that would provide the services our daughter would need, and would be good for future services,” said Dunn, 32, a labor and delivery nurse.

A year and a half ago, Dunn, her husband, Ed, and their daughter, Eleanor, who is nearly 3 and has Down syndrome, moved from Florida to Illinois. The trio resided with Dunn’s parents in Riverwoods for nearly a year while she delved into research on specific school districts before deciding where to settle.

After an extensive search, she chose Deerfield.

Then, the Dunns made some sacrifices to live in this relatively expensive suburb.

Instead of a four- or five-bedroom home, the family bought a three-bedroom ranch with a tiny kitchen, even though Dunn said she swore to herself that she’d never have a small kitchen again. She and her husband, a mechanical engineer, traded in their cars, too, in pursuit of more affordable auto payments.

“My husband gave up his beloved BMW sports car — that was his baby — for a Subaru,” Dunn said.

The Dunns aren’t unique. They join scores of other homebuyers placing an emphasis on school districts.

In a 2013 survey by Realtor.com of almost 1,000 prospective buyers, 3 out of 5
homebuyers said school boundaries would affect their purchasing decision; nearly 21 percent said they would pay 6 to 10 percent above budget to live within certain school boundaries and about 9 percent would pay 11 to 20 percent above budget.

But when several homebuyers want to purchase properties in the same school district, houses in those coveted areas become difficult to score. Competition can be stiff; even homebuyers without children recognize the value….

continue reading via http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/

2016 is Off to a Great Start!

First business day of the new year.  What could be better than a closing for a home purchase with first-time home buyers!  Congrats Tim and Sheli!!  And the closing only took 45 minutes from start to finish.  I just need to get back into the swing of things as I forgot to take a photo.  Feeling good about 2016!!

Last-Minute Real Estate Tax Deductions For Homebuyers

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If you’re a homeowner, or looking to buy soon, here’s what you need to know about your tax burden for 2016.

Let’s face it: The last thing you want to worry about after that second glass of eggnog during this year’s holiday festivities is what you might need to deal with during next year’s tax season. But it’s well worth paying attention to real estate tax deductions now so that you can save later.

In the summer of 2015, a Senate committee approved many tax extender bill provisions into 2016. The bill extended a collection of tax-related deductions and credits that had expired, and this could give taxpayers a break through the end of 2016 if the bill is fully passed by Congress before the end of the year.

This act amends sections of the IRS tax code and can change what you’ll owe come April. Yes, the extenders bill is packed with many tax breaks targeted to special interests, such as the research and development credit, so you may be tempted to think the changes don’t apply to you — but they do!

If you own a home or are hoping to close on a home for sale in Santa Fe, NM, your tax picture for 2016 may look different than it did previously. Here are a few of the breaks up for consideration in Congress that could help lower your federal tax bill.

Mortgage debt forgiveness

When a mortgage lender writes off all or any part of a forgiven debt, the amount that is forgiven is “passed back” to the borrower as taxable for federal income tax purposes. The rule applies to all debt, including home mortgages. However, in 2007, in the midst of the housing crisis, Congress pushed through the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which allowed for an exemption.

Under the rule, qualifying homeowners who have either lost their homes to foreclosure or qualified for some kind of repayment adjustment don’t have to pick up the forgiven debt as income on their tax returns. The rule was intended to be temporary but has been renewed several times, and Congress is currently debating whether it will renew this rule for 2016.

Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums

In a tough market, lenders are a bit more cautious. Buyers who financed homes in the last few years found that many lenders required private mortgage insurance (PMI) to protect the lender in the event of a default.

But here’s the rub: Even though the lender required you to purchase PMI as a condition of getting a mortgage, you couldn’t write it off. Unlike the interest paid on your mortgage, mortgage insurance payments are generally not deductible for tax purposes.

It was possible to claim and deduct PMI payments in 2015. If the tax extenders bill is approved and enacted through 2016, those who qualify and itemize may now claim a tax deduction for the cost of paying PMI for their homes.
– Read more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/2015-real-estate-tax-deductions/#sthash.VD5ghDIL.dpuf

Source: Last-Minute Real Estate Tax Deductions For Homebuyers – Money Matters – Trulia Blog

3 Key Tax Deductions Renewed for Homeowners

Thought this would be helpful at this time of year…

If you are anticipating a rough year when it comes to filing taxes, don’t turn those forms into new year’s confetti just yet. Several key provisions for homeowners have been retroactively renewed for 2014—and they might provide you with some much-needed tax relief.

If you did any of these three things in 2014, you still have reason to celebrate (OK, maybe not really celebrate, but celebrate as much as anyone can while doing taxes).

Short sale

In the third quarter of 2014, 8.1 million homes in the United States were seriously underwater, according to the real estate research firm RealtyTrac. If you were a homeowner who decided to short-sell your home last year, it’s not all bad news: Congress once again extended the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.

read more two more via http://www.realtor.com/advice/three-key-2014-tax-deductions-still/?MID=2015_02_MonthlyNewsletter_2010-13_sl1_ro&RID=10250946&cid=eml-2015-02-MonthlyNewsletter-sub2_renewed-blogs_buy

Heartwarming thank you

Jennifer,

We had such a great experience, that you can rest easy knowing that you have two new outside sales reps working for you now! I would also like to thank you once again for all of your effort and knowledge that you put into getting Cyndie, Elizabeth and I into a new home. We now have just enough time to get the house ready and settled to welcome baby #2 in April! I would be lying if I said there weren’t days that we were anxious and nervous after reading online horror stories of denied applications and closings that fell apart because of this or that. It seemed to me that our process from application to closing went relatively smooth considering what you hear from others that have recently purchased a home, and that was a pleasant surprise; I have a co-worker whose closing took over 3 hours, Yikes! I’m sure that I had millions of questions at times, but you seemed right on the ball and had an answer every time. Thank you once again! -Bob

Interest rates are driven by various factors. Here is what you may not know…

There are a few other factors such as property type and occupancy status. But this is a good start to understanding how interest rates are determined.

If you’re like most people, you want to get the lowest interest rate that you can find on your mortgage loan. But how is your interest rate determined? That can be difficult to figure out for even the savviest of mortgage shoppers.

Your lender knows how your interest rate gets determined, and we think you should, too. That’s why we’ve created a new interactive tool that lets you explore the factors that affect your interest rate and see what rates you can expect.

Armed with information, you can have confident conversations with lenders and ask questions to make sure you get a good deal. Here are seven key factors that affect your interest rate that you should know:

1. Credit score

Your credit score is a number that lenders use to help predict how reliable you’ll be in paying off your loan. Your credit score is calculated from your credit report, which shows all your loans and credit cards and your payment history on each one. In general, if you have a higher credit score, you’ll be able to get a lower interest rate. You can use our tool to explore how your credit score impacts the rates available.

Before you start mortgage shopping, get your credit report. Check for errors, and make sure to get them fixed. Examine your debts, and see if there are any you can pay down to improve your score. Learn more about how to raise your score.

Credit scoring is complicated—in fact, you have many credit scores, not just one. You can learn more about how mortgage lenders evaluate your credit history and use credit scores.

It’s a good idea to try to get a sense of your credit score range before you start mortgage shopping. Once you have an idea of your credit score range, put it into our tool to get more accurate rates.

2. Home location

Many lenders have slightly different pricing depending on what state you live in, so to get the most accurate rates using our tool, you’ll need to put in your state. If you live in a rural area, you can use our tool to get a sense of rates for your situation, but you’ll want to shop around with local lenders as well. Making a loan in a rural area can be more complicated, so large lenders may not serve that area.

3. Home price and loan amount

Your home price minus your down payment is the amount you’ll have to borrow for your mortgage loan. Typically, you’ll pay a higher interest rate on that loan if you’re taking out a particularly small or particularly large loan.

If you’ve already started shopping for homes, you may have an idea of the price range of the home you hope to buy. If you’re just getting started, real estate websites can help you get a sense of typical prices in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.

4. Down payment

In general, a higher down payment means a lower interest rate, because lenders see a lower level of risk when you have more stake in the property. So if you can put 20 percent or more down, do it—you’ll usually get a lower interest rate.

If you can’t afford 20 percent down, experiment to see how lower amounts affect your rate.

5. Loan term

The term of your loan is how long you have to repay the loan. In general, shorter term loans have lower interest rates and lower overall costs, but higher monthly payments. Learn more about your loan term, and then try out different choices with our tool to see how your term affects your rate and interest costs.

6. Interest rate type

Interest rates come in two basic types: fixed and adjustable. Fixed interest rates don’t change over time. Adjustable rates have an initial fixed period, after which they go up or down based on the market.

In general, you can get a lower initial interest rate with an adjustable-rate loan, but that rate might increase significantly later on. Learn more about interest rate types, and then use the tool to see how this choice affects interest rates.

7. Loan type

There are several broad categories of loans, known as conventional, FHA, and VA loans. Rates can be significantly different depending on what loan type you choose. You can learn more about the different loan types in our Owning a Home loan options guide.

Now you know

That’s it—know these seven factors and you’ll be well on your way to getting a great interest rate for your situation. And just remember:
•You don’t need to have all seven of these factors decided before experimenting in our tool.
•As you consider your budget and learn more about your options, come back often. The more you know, the more accurate the rates will be.
•As you start talking to lenders, compare their offers to the rates in the tool to see if you are getting a good deal.

Now go forth and find a great mortgage rate!

See more via http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/7-factors-that-determine-your-mortgage-interest-rate/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=01202015_oahlaunch

HARP refinance-helping homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments, but who are “underwater” on their mortgage

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Last night I left my client’s home after a refinance closing with an awesome feeling. They are saving just shy of $500/month! Yes, you read that correctly. It’s what the HARP loan is all about.

• They lowered their rate from the 6% range to the 4% range
• Their loan to value was higher than 100% (the underwater part-they owe more than the value of their home in today’s market
• They did not need an appraisal
• I was able to cover their closing costs

This is one of the reasons I do what I do for my career, and feeling great about it!

Do call me if you wish to talk over your mortgage situation to see if you can get HARPed 630.362.6405.

Calling All Home Buyers! The 3% Down Payment Makes a Comeback

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New programs available for first-time and lower-income homebuyers.

Socking away enough for a down payment isn’t easy. In fact, recent research found that, with Americans’ current savings rate, it would take the average buyer as long as 12 years to build up a 20% down payment on a median-priced home. Fannie Mae announced an option for qualified first-time homebuyers that will allow for a down payment as low as 3%.

As a result, many first-time, younger and lower-income homebuyers have been largely left out of the housing market in the years since the recession.

Now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hoping to change that. The mortgage giants announced on Monday that they would begin backing mortgages with down payments as low as 3%. Fannie’s program will start this month; Freddie’s will begin March 2015.

The catch? Borrowers would have to meet strict standards to be eligible, such as a credit score of at least 620. The program would also only be available for first-time homebuyers, those who haven’t owned a home in a few years, and people with lower incomes. Further, borrowers would be required to undergo home-buyer counseling and purchase private mortgage insurance before signing on the dotted line. And those eligible for the program would likely have to meet other measures to offset the increased risk, like boasting a low debt-to-income ratio.

“This will be particularly helpful to those who are strapped by wealth rather than credit challenges,” Jim Parrott, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, told The Wall Street Journal. – See more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/calling-home-buyers-3-payment-makes-comeback/?ecampaign=cnews&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Fcalling-home-buyers-3-payment-makes-comeback%2F#sthash.yY8d4i4n.dpuf

Make 2015 the Year You Get Off Your Butt and Buy a House

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Treat your home-seeking experience seriously and make finding your new home a reality.New Year’s resolutions are in full effect. An overwhelming number of us have committed to hit the gym, sweat it out, and shed the extra pounds we managed to pack on over the holidays. Eating, drinking, and then more eating — it’s time to get serious!

Getting in shape is the standard New Year’s resolution, but by February, the new gym membership is languishing and we’re back to eating pasta for dinner. Forget all that sweaty talk, let’s set a goal that we can really work toward: committing to finding and buying a home in 2015. So what can you do to ensure this is the year you score your dream home?

Tell people

“Making yourself accountable to your friends and family is one of the best ways to reach your goals,” says Molly Cain, an experienced life coach and Forbes contributor.

It makes total sense, doesn’t it? Sharing your plans with your friends and family gives you a group of instant cheerleaders and makes you more beholden to the goal. So take the plunge, hop on the interwebs, and start updating your social media profiles.

You can even give yourself a public deadline for extra accountability — let everyone on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter know that this is the year you will be hosting Friendsgiving in your new home.

Seek referrals

Working with solid real estate professionals is a critical component to a smooth homebuying process. Begin asking your network of contacts for a referral for a real estate agent — but only if they had a positive experience. Take the time to interview and learn about the agent’s experience and geographic specialty, as well as discuss his or her communication styles and habits.

Elizabeth Weintraub, a broker-associate with Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, CA, suggests taking it one step further and asking the agent to provide references from previous clients. “Everyone has references; ask for them.”

Get your credit in check

We all know how vital our credit history is when purchasing a home. If your credit is pristine, congratulations! If not, then do yourself a favor and start the cleanup process now. Start by reading these nine steps to boost your credit and heed these words: “If you think you can get your credit spruced up and ready to go in a matter of days, think again.”

Credit agencies are unwieldy bureaucracies and take time to navigate, so planning far in advance is the key.

Apply for a mortgage

Once you have identified the mortgage professional you will be working with, begin the loan application process immediately. Not sure how to choose whom to work with to finance your home purchase? No problem. Follow these tips to select the best loan officer or mortgage broker.

Having an approved loan application and a prequalification letter in hand before searching for a home gives you a serious advantage when making offers. Jump this financial hurdle early in the process and you’re well on your way to achieving your goal in 2015.
See more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/make-2015-year-get-butt-buy-house/?ecampaign=cnews&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Fmake-2015-year-get-butt-buy-house%2F#sthash.zleonLYS.dpuf