Posts Tagged ‘first time homebuyers’

The Return of the 97% Conventional Mortgage Loan

December 22, 2014

return_of_97_loanDuring the “anything-goes” mortgage days, 97% LTV (3% down payment) mortgages were readily available to homebuyers. In fact, a 97% LTV wasn’t a big deal since many mortgage lenders were offering the 100% mortgages. Then the mortgage foreclosure crisis hit and the mortgage industry experienced extreme new regulation and tightening of loan programs.

Over a year ago in December 2013, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both announced that their specialty First Time Homebuyer 3% Down Payment loan Programs were also being discontinued. Now, almost one year to the date, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced the RETURN of the 97% Loan Programs for First Time Homebuyers. (more…)

FHA vs. Conventional: Which is the Better Option?

July 7, 2014

fha_or_conv_loanMany homebuyers are seeking a loan with very little down payment. If they aren’t eligible for a 100% VA or USDA loan, they have two choices: FHA with 3.5% down payment or Conventional with 5% down payment. Determining which is best can be challenging. There are pros and cons to both loan types.

Most people have heard that FHA loans are good because they offer lower interest rates and are easier to qualify for than Conventional loans.

This is true, but if the buyer can qualify for the Conventional loan, it could be cheaper overall, even if the interest rate is a bit higher. Remember, there is more to a monthly mortgage payment than the principle and interest payment. The big factor that separates FHA and Conventional loan monthly payments is the Private Mortgage Insurance for each loan type.

Let’s break down each loan type: (more…)

Interest Rates – One Size DOES NOT Fit All

November 11, 2013

ice_cream_interest_rates“What are the current interest rates?” This is a very common question from real estate agents and buyers. Answering the question of what’s today’s interest rate is as difficult to answer as “What’s the price of a four bedroom home in the Atlanta area?” The answer to both of these questions is, “It depends!”  There are many factors that impact both of these numbers.

The price of four bedroom homes in the Atlanta market area ranges wildly based on location, actual size of the home, amenities of the subdivision, quality of construction and construction materials, and a very long list of other factors.

Interest rates also vary wildly based on the individual borrower’s credit score, loan to value, borrower’s assets, borrower’s income, borrower’s debts and loan options such as waiving escrows, and if the property is a condo.

Interest rates are like ice cream. The price of a plain vanilla cone is one price, but if you add hot fudge, nuts, fruit and cherries, the cost goes up! (more…)

Considering Buying/Selling? Pack Your Patience!

August 19, 2013

bhgre_metro_brokers_agentToday’s real estate market has revealed countless components of people’s character. Many of those components are of the not so pleasant type. The extremely competitive market in which we operate today has its challenges for everyone. Whether you’re buying, selling (or both), representing a buyer or seller, facilitating financing or conducting the closing, the tension in the normal course of doing business can be anything but normal.

Today, I’ll focus on the experience from the consumer’s perspective. A later blog will focus on the service provider’s perspective.

A more thorough understanding of a consumer’s perspective can be instrumental in the service provider’s ability to accommodate the needs of the consumer. Likewise, a more educated consumer can contribute greatly toward less frustration for the service providers. (more…)

Renovations May Impact Your Home Insurance

July 15, 2013

home_renovationsAs home sales continue to pick up, many sellers are thinking about putting their homes on the market. A lot of homeowners feel that they should make those last minute renovations before listing the home, so it can have a better chance at selling and even give them a higher price.

If you’re planning a renovation to your home and don’t take the time to speak to your insurance broker, you could be making a big mistake. During and after a renovation, your current policy may not cover your home and contents if something bad happens. (more…)

The Digital House Hunt

March 25, 2013

digital_house_huntAt FUSION 2013 in Las Vegas, I sat in on a session called “The Digital House Hunt: Using Data Search Trends to Tailor Your Online Marketing” hosted by Heather Elias of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). She discussed a special NAR report called “The Digital House Hunt” that was performed with the assistance of Google.

Released in Jan. 2013, this report connects the dots between online home searches and shopping patterns. It shows how shoppers use online tools and sites as they progress through the process. More importantly, it gives you a blueprint for how to market to these consumers.

Here are some highlights from the report: (more…)

The Power of Craigslist

March 4, 2013

craigslist_blogDid you know that Craigslist generates more than 20 billion page views per month, making it the 7th overall most trafficked website in the world? Many sales associates take advantage of Craigslist as a listing resource, but they aren’t using it effectively.

Craigslist isn’t like eBay or other auction sites that charge you to post an item and takes a percentage of the selling price. It’s free to have an account, and you aren’t charged for posting or selling a home, so it’s no wonder that agents across the country use this tool to augment their selling power.

Here are some tips for using Craigslist successfully: (more…)

Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

February 18, 2013


How do I know what price range to look in? How do I make sure my offer is accepted? These are two of the most commonly asked questions from first-time and experienced homebuyers alike.

Give your buyer the added advantage of a true pre-approval, not just an empty pre-qualification in this highly competitive market where multiple bids are common and sellers are considering every aspect of every offer they receive.

Identify your property price range and strengthen your bargaining power by understanding the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval. Here’s the difference: (more…)

Spice Up Your Love Life; Buy a Home!

February 20, 2012

If you’re single and on the “dating scene”, there’s no better aphrodisiac than homeownership!

According to a recent survey by Trulia of 1,000 single people, more than a third of women and 18% of men stated that they’d rather date a homeowner than a renter. (more…)

Condo Complications: Some Issues With Condo Ownership

September 27, 2010

Condo Ownership is the perfect lifestyle for some, but not for others. If you’re thinking of buying a condominium, you must do your due diligence regarding the Condo CCR’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions). Also important is the financial stability of the Condominium (Budget and amount in Reserve Account).

“Condominium” is a form of ownership, not a physical description. In Georgia, stacked flats, mid-rises and high-rises are almost always condominiums. However, town homes can be fee simple ownership or condominium ownership. In condominium ownership, the unit owner owns everything from the sheetrock in as well as from the floors up to the ceiling. The outer walls and roofs are commonly owned by and maintained by the HOA. The land is also commonly owned and maintained by the HOA. There have been cases where a contract is written up as fee simple, and at the last minute the closing attorney’s title report shows it as a condo, and the entire loan has to be redone, causing a long delay in the closing.  (more…)

It’s Official – Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended (and expanded)!

November 9, 2009

It’s going to be a very happy holiday season now that the bill that includes the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit extension and the new Current Homebuyer Tax credit was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Friday, November 6! Best of all, it’s effective immediately!

The bill extends the existing $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, plus adds a new credit for current homeowners of up to $6,500.


Should First Time Buyers Avoid Short Sales? Right Now…Yes!

September 14, 2009

short sale warningIt’s already September and the $8,000 First Time Homebuyer Income Tax Credit (ITC) ends on November 30, 2009. That means that buyers hoping to take advantage of the ITC need to close on or before November 30.

Assuming that the “average” conventional loan is taking 30 days to close, 45 days for the “average” FHA, 60 days for the “average” VA loan, these buyers need to be UNDER CONTRACT on a property within the next 30 days! It’s time for the last-minute lookers to get in gear and begin their searches.


$8,000 in Hand is Better than $15,000 in Legislative Committee

September 2, 2009

out of timeIt’s baffling to me why there are still thousands and thousands of folks still paying rent when they could own a home of their own and get up to $8,000.

What’s even more baffling to me is that many of these folks could own a home for the same or less per month than they pay in rent….and get the $8,000.

What’s most baffling is that most qualifed homebuyers could buy a home, pay the same or less per month then they do in rent and have money left over from the $8,000 tax credit.

No, the tax credit can not be used as the down payment, but it would replace the funds used.


Waiting to Buy is Risky Business

June 18, 2009

clock-waitWhat are you waiting for? Is it worth the wait or are you waiting for the sake of waiting?

Many buyers in the market are literally waiting to buy a home until there is more! More of what, many of them don’t know. And what these “waiters” are risking is far greater then the illusive “more” they are waiting for.