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Have you received an advertisement offering to save you thousands of dollars on your thirty-year mortgage and cut years off your payments? With email spam becoming more pervasive as everyone tries to get rich quick on the Internet, these ads are popping up with troublesome regularity.
The ads promote a Biweekly Mortgage and for the most part, do not come from a mortgage lender. Exclamation points punctuate practically every claim:
What kind of lender is best?
If you ask a loan officer, “What kind of lender is best?” the answer will be whatever kind of company he works for and he will give you a list of reasons why. If you meet the same loan officer years later, and he works for a different kind of lender, he will give you a list of reasons why that type of lender is better.
An alternative to a non-conforming loan is the use of a land contract, which is allowed in some states. A land contract is an agreement between a buyer and a seller, where the buyer agrees to make periodic payments to the seller. The title to the property only transfers to the land contract buyer on fulfillment of the land contract obligations.
Have These Items Ready When You Apply For a Loan
It used to be that lenders mailed out verifications to employers, banks, mortgage companies, and so on, in order to verify the data supplied by borrowers. Nowadays, the interest is often in speed and getting answers quickly so alternate documentation has become more widely used. Alternate documentation means that underwriting answers can be obtained with information supplied directly from the borrower instead of waiting around for verifications to come back in the mail.
Years ago, credit scoring had little to do with mortgage lending. When reviewing the credit worthiness of a borrower, an underwriter would make a subjective decision based on past payment history.
Then things changed.
When you apply for a mortgage loan, you expect your lender to pull a credit report and look at whether you’ve made your payments on time. What you may not expect is that they seem to be more interested in your FICO® score.
“What’s a FICO® score?” is a common reaction.
When buying a home, it is not enough to just come up with the money. With the exception of no asset verification loans, lenders want to verify where the money for your new home will be coming from. If you can document that the funds are coming from your personal savings, the lender is more confident of your strength as a borrower.
This is a detailed summary of costs you may have to pay when you buy or refinance your home. They are listed in the order that they should appear on a Good Faith Estimate you obtain from a mortgage lender. There are two broad categories of closing costs. Non-recurring closing costs are items that are paid once and you never pay again. Recurring closing costs are items you pay time and again over the course of home ownership, such as property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) has an interest rate that fluctuates periodically. This is in contrast to a fixed rate mortgage, which always has the same interest rate.
Every ARM has basic components:
- An index
- A margin
- Adjustment Period
- An interest rate cap
- An initial interest rate
Now that you know what an ARM is and how it works, you may be wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are. So let’s explore that issue.
It’s a term we hear and see frequently – we see reference to it in the Sunday real estate section, in advertisements and in conversations with real estate brokers. If you’ve purchased a home before, you’re probably familiar with the benefits and procedures of title insurance. But if this is your first home, you may wonder, “Why do I need another insurance policy? It’s just one more bill to pay.”
What is title insurance? Newspapers refer to it in the weekly real estate sections and you hear about it in conversations with real estate brokers. If you’ve purchased a home you may be familiar with the benefits of title insurance. However, if this is your first home, you may wonder, “Why do I need yet another insurance policy?” While a number of issues can be raised by that question, we will start with a general answer.
After months of searching, you’ve finally found it — your perfect dream home. But is it perfect?
Will you be purchasing more than just a beautiful home? Will you also be acquiring liens placed on the property by prior owners? Have documents been recorded that will restrict your use of the property?
The preliminary report will provide you with the opportunity, prior to purchase, to review matters affecting your property which will be excluded from coverage under your title insurance policy unless removed or eliminated before your purchase.
Lower interest rates have motivated you to refinance your home loan. The lower rate may save you a tremendous amount of money over the life of the loan, but you should also expect to pay the lender the typical closing costs associated with any new loan, including service fees, points, title insurance protection and other expenses.
In today’s world of busy probate courts and exorbitant death taxes, the living trust has become a common manner of holding title to real property. The following may help you understand a few of the requirements of the title insurance industry if title to property is conveyed to the trustee of a living trust.
What is a trust?
An agreement between a trustor and trustee for the trustee to hold title to and administer designated assets of the trustor for the use and benefit of one or more beneficiaries.
Title Insurance: As a homebuyer, the term is probably familiar – but is it understood? What is your dollar actually paying for when you purchase a title policy?
Buying or selling a home (or other piece of real property) usually involves the transfer of large sums of money. It is imperative that the transfer of these funds and related documents from one party to another be handled in a neutral, secure and knowledgeable manner. For the protection of buyer, seller and lender, the escrow process was developed.
What’s in a name?
When a title company seeks to uncover matters affecting title to real property, the answer is, “Quite a bit.”
Statements of Information provide title companies with the information they need to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from others with similar names. After identifying the true buyers and sellers, title companies may disregard the judgments, liens or other matters on the public records under similar names.
Sellers of real property will have certain information regarding the sale reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
This required reporting is a consequence of the Tax Reform Act of 1986; it is intended to encourage taxpayer compliance and aid in audit and enforcement efforts by the I.R.S.
To help you better understand this subject, the Land Title Association has answered some of the questions most commonly asked about Required Reporting to the I.R.S.
Creative financing: You’ve heard of it, and, as a seller, the idea sounds pretty attractive. But, do you know everything you need to know about carrying back a second; essentially, about becoming a lender? You better know the same things that financial institutions know – you better know about lender’s title insurance.
It’s the big day.
The day you go to the title or escrow company, sign your name on the dotted line, hand over a check and prepare to take ownership of your new home.
It’s also the day that you and the seller will pay “closing” or settlement costs, an accumulation of separate charges paid to different entities for the professional services associated with the buying and selling of real property.
It’s too often a day filled with uncertainty and stress.
It is an unfortunate commentary, but when economic activity declines and housing activity decreases, more real property enters the foreclosure process. High interest rates and creative financing arrangements are also contributing factors.
Underground heating oil tanks can pose many potential problems to both home buyers and sellers. They have been the source of many environmental problems such as contamination of surrounding soil and ground water.
Leaks are generally caused by the rust inside underground tanks or by an electrical condition sparked by electric utility lines.
In purchasing your new home, your future monthly payments will be made up of principal, interest, real property taxes, and insurance. But what is the tax for the Community Facilities District, otherwise known as a Mello-Roos District? The Land Title Association (LTA) has answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act.
What is a Mello-Roos District?
The Mechanics’ Lien law provides special protection to contractors, subcontractors, laborers and suppliers who furnish labor or materials to repair, remodel or build your home.
If any of these people are not paid for the services or materials they have provided, your home may be subject to a mechanics’ lien and eventual sale in a legal proceeding to enforce the lien. This result can occur even when the homeowner has made full payment for the work of improvement.
Estate planners often recommend Living Trusts as a viable option when contemplating the manner in which to hold title to real property. When a property is held in a Living Trust, title companies have particular requirements to facilitate the transaction. While not comprehensive, answers to many commonly asked questions are below. If you have questions that are not answered below, your title company representative may be able to assist you, however, one may wish to seek legal counsel.
Who are the parties to a Trust?
Lead poisoning is a serious problem that can lead to adverse health problems. In children, high levels of lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, behavioral and learning problems, slow growth, and hearing problems. In adults, lead poisoning can cause reproductive problems, high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorder, memory and concentration problems, and muscle and joint pain.
When purchasing a piece of property, it is important to be aware of any environmental liabilities associated with it. For example, you should find out if there are any registered underground tanks within several miles of the property, known contaminated properties in the neighborhood, or property owners who have been fined by the government for failing to meet environmental safety standards.
Builders, in an effort to combat the dual problem of an increasing population and a declining availability of prime land, are increasingly turning to common interest developments (CIDs) as a means to maximize land use and offer homebuyers convenient, affordable housing.
The two most common forms of common interest developments in many states are Condominiums and Planned Unit Developments, often referred to as PUDs. The essential characteristics shared by these two forms of ownership are:
An increase in foreclosure rates will inevitably bring with it an increase in short sales. But what is a short sale?
A short sale happens when you sell your house for less than your remaining mortgage balance, the proceeds of which go to the lender and in return the lender forgives the remaining balance. Selling your home as a short sale is one way to avoid foreclosure.
The price is the first thing buyers notice about your property. If you set your price too high, then the chance of alienating buyers is higher. You want your house to be taken seriously, and the asking price reflects how serious you are about selling your home.
Several factors will contribute to your final decision. First, you should compare your house to others that are in the market. If you use an agent, he/she will provide you with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). The CMA will reflect the following:
- Analyze why you are selling – If you understand your motives, you will be able to better negotiate and to get what it is that you want, whether it be a quick sale, high price, or somewhere in the middle.
- Prepare your home for the buyer – Maximize the strengths of your property and fix up its weaknesses.
If you want buyers to be interested in your home, you need to show it in its best light. A good first impression can influence a buyer both emotionally and visually, thus prompting them to make an offer. In addition, what the buyer first sees is what they think of when they consider the asking price.
A bad first impression can dissuade a potential buyer. Don’t show your property until it’s all fixed up. You do not want to give buyers the chance to use the negative first impression they have as means of negotiation.
If you know exactly why you are selling then it is easier for you to follow the right plan of action for getting what you want.
If you are a seller who needs to close a sale as quickly as possible, then you should know that getting the highest price possible is not one of your priorities. It does not mean that you won’t or cannot get the highest price, but it means that the price is not the deciding factor. A buyer who can give you a quick closing time will appeal much more to you than a buyer who can offer you more money but the negotiation and closing time drag on.
A professional home inspection protects both you and the buyer. It allows both you and the buyer the opportunity to learn about the property’s defects.
A home inspection usually covers the following:
In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want.
FSBO (pronounced fizz-bo), or For Sale By Owner, is a way of selling your home without the use of a professional real estate agent or broker. The idea behind FSBO is that by selling your home yourself, you save the approximate 6% that would be the agents’ commission.
6% may not sound like a lot, but it can add up, especially on more expensive homes. But before you run off and decide to sell your home FSBO, you must remember that to get a savings like that, there must be a cost. So what’s the catch? Selling FSBO is hard. A lot harder.
Not all agents work the same way. The most important attribute of an agent is that he/she is well connected to the real estate industry. He/she should know the market and provide information on past sales, current listings, his or her marketing plan, and at least 4 solid references. In addition, you also want to look for an agent that is honest, assertive, and one that best understands your needs.
When reading an offer, keep in mind that you are out to get the best price AND the best terms for you. If you focus solely on the price, you may overlook terms that could be favorable to you as a buyer.
Some terms that may work in your favor:
Don’t go on a spending spree using credit if you are thinking about buying a home, or in the process of buying a new home. Your mortgage pre-approval is subject to a final evaluation of your financial situation.
Every $100 you pay per month on a credit payment could cost you about $10,000 in home eligibility. For example, a car payment of $300/month could mean that you qualify for $30,000 less in a mortgage.
It’s important that you choose an experienced agent who is there for you. Your agent should be actively finding you potential homes, keeping you informed of the entire process, negotiating furiously on your behalf, and answering all of your questions with competence and speed.
First, find an agent who represents you and not the seller. This is beneficial during the negotiation process. If you are working with a buyer’s agent, he or she is required not to tell the seller of your top choice. In addition, he or she is also focused on getting you the lowest asking price.
With the housing bubble burst and the subprime mortgage crisis, millions of homeowners found themselves unable to make their mortgage payments. Many found themselves owing more on the house than the home was worth. Many just walked away from their homes. As a result of these complicated issues, millions of homes were foreclosed.
While this isn’t the only reason for which homes are foreclosed, it has been a widespread one. With all the foreclosed properties, there has also been extensive interest in buying these properties at a bargain price.
With the burst of the housing bubble, credit crisis, and millions of foreclosures across the country, you may wonder if buying a home is such a good idea after all. However, it’s important to consider all of the facts. The important message to take away from these events is not that buying a home is a bad idea, but that you must be smart about buying your home.
As a buyer, you are entitled to know exactly what you are getting. Don’t take anything for granted, not even what you see or what the seller or listing agent tell you. A professional home inspection is something you MUST do, whether you are buying an existing home or a new one. An inspection is an opportunity to have an expert look closely at the property you are considering purchasing and getting both an oral and written opinion as to its condition.
It used to be that buyers could go house shopping and when they have found their dream home, then they go to get pre-approved. However, in today’s market, that has proven to be one of the least effective methods in landing the dream home.
The best seller is one who is highly motivated. A highly motivated seller is more likely to sell at a price that is less than his or her house is actually worth. And it matters that you find out why. Learning the reason why can help you get the price you want and help the seller get what they want: a timely sale.
The City of Boynton Beach ha a great web site on all their wonderful parks and beaches.
When preparing to buy a home, the first thing many homebuyers do is look at the real estate ads in newspapers, magazines and listings on the Internet. Some potential buyers read how-to articles like this one. The next thing you should do – before you call on an ad, before you talk to a REALTOR®, before you shop for interest rates – is look at your savings.
How would you like a mortgage loan where you did not have to make the whole payment if you did not want to? Or would you like a loan with an interest rate about 1% below a thirty-year fixed rate mortgage and pay zero points? Or a loan where you did not have to document your income, savings history, or source of down payment? How would you like a mortgage payment of only 1.95%? You can have all that with the 11th District Cost of Funds (COFI) Adjustable Rate Mortgage.
Sound too good to be true? Sound like a bunch of hype?
In the olden days, when someone wanted a home loan they walked downtown to the neighborhood bank or savings & loan. If the bank had extra funds lying around and considered you a good credit risk, they would lend you the money from their own funds.
It doesn’t generally work like that anymore. Most of the money for home loans comes from three major institutions:
FICO® stands for Fair Isaac & Company and is the name for the most well known credit scoring system, used by Experian. The credit bureau’s computer evaluates a complete credit profile and assigns a score, which is used to estimate credit worthiness. Each of the three bureaus (Experian, Trans Union, Equifax) employs its own scoring system, so a given person will usually have 3 separate scores. Someone with a higher score will be viewed as a better risk than someone with a lower score.
Mortgage Bankers are lenders that are large enough to originate loans and create pools of loans, which are then sold directly to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, jumbo loan investors, and others. Any company that does this is considered to be a mortgage banker.
Buying a home will probably rank as one of the biggest personal investments one can make. Being organized and in control will contribute significantly to getting the best home deal possible with the least amount of stress. It’s important to anticipate the steps required to successfully achieve your housing goal and to build a plan of action that gets you there.
Before you can build a plan of action, take the time to lay the groundwork for your decision-making process.
By asking the right questions, and knowing exactly what your needs are, you can find the right loan for you. There are certain approaches that you can take while mortgage shopping that can cost or save you money.
It is still true that the better qualifications you have, the lower your interest rate will be. However, there are mortgages available for almost everyone; it’s the interest rates or the down payments that vary.
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Meet Your Broker
Laurie Dubow is the Co-Broker of one of our Luxury Divisions, Signature Paradise Realty International, LLC, as well as Co-Broker of our Commercial Division Signature Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Laurie brings a unique perspective to the current Real Estate Market. Along with her extensive Real Estate and Mortgage expertise, she has a 20 year background in counseling, with a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy and a Post-Masters in Business Administration.
As the founder and owner of the full service Real Estate Company, Paradise Realty International, LLC, Laurie merged her Real Estate Brokerage with the Signature Real Estate Companies in September of 2014, forming the Signature Paradise Realty International, LLC and one of our referral divisions, Signature Paradise Realty Associates, LLC. This marriage has created the best of both worlds, offering the opportunity to continue providing the personalized “Concierge Service” that she has become known for while utilizing the infrastructure of the expansive Signature Real Estate Companies. The result has become a true Real Estate Concierge, and we are very proud of the work that we do.
A Licensed Real Estate Broker and a Licensed Mortgage Broker, Laurie acquired her CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) Designation as well as her (REOS) Real Estate Owned Specialist Designation in order to better navigate through the challenges of our current market. This training included instruction on how to perform a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) or Letter of Opinion of Value, which she has utilized in her extensive experience testifying in court as an expert witness regarding the value of homes and circumstances surrounding the sale of homes. She is a published author of more than 20 articles on a variety of current real estate and mortgage topics, and is currently the Real Estate Editor of Attorney at Law Magazine.
In addition to helping her customers consider their housing options, and mentoring her Team of over 20 REALTORS®, Laurie is often asked to give workshops and speak to organizations on a myriad of Real Estate related topics.
Specializing in working with couples going through divorce and individuals going through other types of life transitions, she was the sole Real Estate and Mortgage presenter for 4 years at a monthly workshop entitled “Second Saturday: What Women Need to Know About Divorce”, where she was referred to as the
"Real Estate and Mortgage Expert". Other related projects have included being the speaker at the Divorce Expo, and a guest on two internet TV shows, Divorce Connection Network and Good Karma Designs.
Laurie’s presentation and perspective of “the Emotional, Psychological, and Financial Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether or Not to Stay In Your Home” is the culmination of over 35 years of experience. She is uniquely qualified to help customers, REALTORS®, and other professionals understand and analyze Real Estate options and achieve goals through real estate and mortgage restructuring, and follow through with a plan that best suits individual needs and circumstances. Known as a "Real Estate Concierge", Laurie's mission is to coordinate each transaction in order to reduce the stress and make the process as easy as possible.