Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pay Off Your Loan in Half the Time!

Normally, when buyers plan to purchase their home, they first think of the traditional fixed rate 30-year mortgage. It's the most common form of financing, maybe because it has the lowest monthly payment. Adjustable rate mortgages can give you less up-front payment, but the monthly payment can significantly go up few years 
down the line when the rates are recalculated as per market rate.

With historically low mortgage rates, buyers naturally want to take advantage and lock in their 30-year fixed rates at the lowest possible rate before the Fed allows the rates to increase. 

However, there will be a new option available to the low income buyers and those buyers that are still tied to their student loans but earning a steady income.  Currently, the Wealth Building Home Loan or WBHL is at it's test stage.  The WBHL has a generous credit requirement, incomes bears more weight than FICO scores. It also offers faster equity build up as compared to the traditional 30-year mortgage.  "In the first three years of the WBHL, 77% of monthly mortgage payments pay off the principal, creating huge amounts of equity," says Edward Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute International Center for Housing Risk. While the payment for the first half of the 30-year fixed mortgage rate goes to the interest alone. 

In the WBHL, majority of the mortgage payment will go to equity in the home.  Home buyers have the option to use their down payment to buy down the interest rate. Or, if they don't have money for down payment, they can use a 3% seller concession to buy down the interest rate to near zero. For every 1% paid upfront, buyers can get .5% point discount in their interest rate, twice the industry standard for rate buydowns. Bank of America will hold the 15-year mortgage loans and subsidize the interest rate buydown. (Source:www.realtor.com) Mortgage payments are slightly higher with WBHL, but the buyer can pay off the loan in half the time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

HOW TO SHOP FOR THE BEST MORTGAGE RATES

Mortgage rates are still at historically low levels, they haven't changed much this year.  But this may change anytime soon. 

Both home prices and mortgage rates are expected to rise as season changes.  Mortgage rates vary depending on what product you choose and how you shop.  So how do you get the best rate? Here are some tips on how to shop for the best rates. 

Choose a term on your mortgage based on how long you expect to be in your home.  

30-year fixed rate is the most expensive among all mortgage products because the rate is the highest and you are paying for the longest term.  If you are planning to stay in your home for five years or less, then it is advisable to take a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) which is fixed for 5 years - it is a much cheaper option.  If you're conservative, try a 7/1 or 10/1 ARM - both rates are lower than the 30-year fixed rate and you can save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. 

Complete the Required Documents

Make sure that you have the complete documents before even applying for a loan.  A great mortgage rate can turn into a bad rate if you have to extend it because you still need to complete your documents.  Remember, ALL lenders will not waive any of the required documents.

Beware of Hidden Fees 

Make sure that you review the full breakdown of closing costs before even committing to a lender so there will be no surprises come payment time. Also read all the fine prints to understand your contract. 

Compare Zero-closing Cost Mortgage 

At 12.5 basis points (.125 percent) added to your mortgage rate or equivalent of monthly payment increase of $30 to $50 may save you $4000 in closing cost or more. This of course, depends on how long is the term of your loan. 

Get One Credit Report Done

Asking multiple lenders to run your credit score can actually damage your score. Choose one lender to run your credit report,ask them to do a three merge score from Experian, Transunion and Equifax all together.

For a list of lenders, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Parade of Homes Special


Parade of Homes is a yearly showcase of both new and remodeled homes in several parts of the United States. The annual event was started by Salt Lake Home Builders Association back in 1946.  The Showcases include single family homes, condominium, duplex and townhomes. You'll find a wide range of prices, sizes and styles featuring the latest in construction, design, and decorating techniques. 

This year, the Anchorage Home Builders Association will present the 50th Annual Parade of Homes in Alaska.  Some of the finest homes in Anchorage and Eagle River will be open to the public during the dates and time mentioned below:

Open House Times 
Friday, September 12, 5 - 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 13, 12 – 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 14, 12 – 6 p.m.
 
The Golden Parade of Homes will feature "Made in Alaska" products which includes asphalt and insulation to windows and decorative finishes. "Made in Alaska Home" showcases building products that manufactured in Alaska.

James Team Real Estate listing is part of the entry in this 50th Annual Parade of Homes - featuring 12286 Vista Ridge Loop, Eagle River - a brand new townhouse in Eagle River minutes from schools, shopping, restaurants and bases minutes from schools, shopping, restaurants and bases. 15 minutes from Downtown Anchorage with 
great views of Alaska Range and Sleeping Lady! 

Big names in community development such as Spinell Homes, Spenard Builders Supply, FM Home Builders, Colony Builders and Petersen Group to name a few will be joining this year's Annual Parade of Homes.

Enjoy the weekend and hope to see you on the tour! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Specialty Room - A Selling Point

We all know that kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom are main selling points of a home.  For sellers, you can generate buyer's interest if you have a room designed for special purposes where buyers can relate.  If you have an extra room or space that isn't really being used, consider staging it as a specialty room. It can be a media room, kids' study hall, art studio or a home office.  

If you have exercise equipment lying around your home, consider combining the exercise pieces into one room. Once you combine the pieces into one room, the buyer can see this room designed for exercising.  It also removes the extra clutter from bedrooms and living room. 

If you want to have a children's study area set up. Just remove excess toys and memorabilia from the children's bedrooms and create a small space for a reading/study nook.
Home offices are very popular these days. Refrain from combining your office furniture and your kid's toys in one room.  It's hard for the buyers to visualize them getting the work done if all the toys are lying around in the room. Take the toys and other items that don't belong in an office. 

There's no need to redo entire rooms to create that look and feel of the specialty rooms. You can easily convert a room into a specialty room by gathering out items that don't belong in a particular room. Maybe just shift some furniture to other rooms and then reorganize so it has a purpose. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Energy Efficient Mortgage Loan

Nowadays, new home buyers look for energy efficient homes when shortlisting their homes. Good news for potential buyers that are looking for energy efficient homes! The government is providing assistance to potential home buyers that opt for energy efficient homes. 

The Energy Efficient Mortgage Loan program is an FHA insured mortgage loan that helps current or potential homeowners significantly lower their monthly utility bills by enabling them to incorporate the cost of adding energy efficient improvements into their new home or existing housing. (Source: www.fha.com)

It is also used to purchase an energy-efficient new home or to purchase or rehab an existing home in need of energy improvements.  If the borrower is purchasing a new home, the home must be rated by a qualified energy "rater" to qualify for the loan.  

Typically, the loan is increased by 5% of the purchase price if a borrower applies for the EEM loan.

The borrower must meet FHA's Section 203(b) income requirements and can make the monthly mortgage payments for him/her to qualify for the EEM loan. Maximum amount of $200 - inspection report cost, may be included in the mortgage. 

Energy efficient home not only saves you money but it is also good for the environment in the long run.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Winning the Bidding War

With low housing inventory, properties are receiving multiple offers left and right and sparking bidding wars among buyers.  Here are some strategies on how to win your dream home:

1. Make sure you have a pre-approved financing before making an offer. Nowadays, you may be competing with all-cash buyers, having financing ready to go can help reassure the sellers that you will not back out of the transaction.  

2. Make a competitive first offer. Always put your best foot forward when making an offer. Buyers often regret not making the right offer because they would have paid the price anyway.  Also, make sure that your paperwork is complete and organized - this can help make a good impression on sellers.

3. Be available to your agent. Once you make an offer and the seller responds, you will have a limited time for accepting or countering their offer.  If the seller needs a reply ASAP, then your agent may need to reach you quickly, and if you turn off your phone or miss your emails during a bidding situation, you may miss out the property.

4. Be flexible. While most sellers look for the highest bidder, but it is not always the case. Sometimes terms and conditions are as important.  Flexibility can be a factor as well.  If you know the seller needs a quick escrow because they just bought a new house, give it to them.  If they just had a baby and need some extra time, have a longer closing time. 

5. Be prepared to offer full price or sometimes offer even over full price of the property.  If the seller requests that all offers submit their final and best offer then there are techniques, like an escalation clause, that may win the bidding war.  Being strategic and aggressive with the initial offer and final offer may win you and your family your next home.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call, I'll be happy to help.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation

Are you planning to take a long vacation this summer? Now that summer has officially begun, a lot of families are planning a long out of town trip to enjoy the good weather.  Whether you're hitting the road for a getaway or flying out of town to visit another country/state do not forget to take safety precautions to avoid harm to your home while you're gone.  Here are some tips to assure your home is secure before you leave for vacation:

1. Stop mail and newspaper delivery.  Hold your newspaper subscription while you're away.  A pile of newspapers or letters sticking out of the mailbox gives away a signal that you haven't been home for a while.

2.  Store valuables - and not just electronics.  Burglars are out for more than just jewelry and electronics these days.  Lock away any highly personal information like social security cards, insurance and banking or credit card details to secure not onlyyour identity but your cash flow.  Also safe keep your computer's hard drive to protect the sensitive information kept in your computer. 

3.  Empty refrigerator of perishable items.  No one wants to come home to a stench of rotting food or have to go on a cleaning spree immediately from your enjoyable vacation.  Stock up on a few nonperishable items in the house to ensure you have food readily available to eat and won't need to dine out post-vacation. 

4.  Pay bills before travelling.  Do you know that almost all electricity, water, credit, insurance companies, etc., allow you to schedule a future payment or pay in advance. Take advantage of this! You won't have to worry about late charges and will know ahead of time how much money you have available while on vacation. 

5. Keep porch lights on a timer. Do not leave your porch lights on while you're away.  Leaving it on gives the "I'm not home" signal.  If possible, keep the lights on a timer from dusk to dawn, just to keep your home and valuables safe.  

6. Keep off social media.  Keep your travel plans quiet and away from the public.  While it is fun to share your photos enjoying your vacation, delay uploading your photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram until your return.

Follow these simple tips and take your mind off your home during vacation.  With these safety precautions, you are more prepared and protected against burglaries.