Posts Tagged ‘Closing costs’

Home Warranty Companies-What Do They Do?

home warranty when buying a san diego homeWhat Exactly Is A Home Warranty Company And What Do They Do?

If you’re purchasing a re-sale home in San Diego be sure to ask for a home warranty. They normally cover you, the home buyer for one full year. Companies like American Home Warranty, Old Republic, and First American Buyer’s Protection are some of the more common ones.

Home Warranty programs are normally paid by the seller. They cover most mechanical systems in a home. They cost from $300.00 to $800.00 depending on the size of the home, options such as a pool/spa, and the company. Most will have a service call fee of around $30.00 to $60.00 per visit.  Home warranties don’t cover structural issues and should never be used in lieu of getting a professional home inspection.

Home Warranties benefit home sellers as well because it reduces their post-sale liability. At times, disputes arise when something goes wrong after close of escrow. Rather than argue about a non-disclosure issue, the home warranty will fix the problem for a nominal fee.

Benefits for buyers include peace of mind knowing that appliances, heating systems, and plumbing are covered.  It’s nice to know there will be no unexpected expenses for that first year. Let’s say your garbage disposal stops working a month after moving into your new home. Instead of paying for a new one along with installation, for the cost of a service call, you now have a brand new one installed!

Home Warranty options can include the following (depending on the plan):

  • Refrigerator – normally considered personal property unless a built-in like a Sub-Zero.
  • Washer & dryers.
  • Roof leaks (Limited)
  • Garage door openers – some provided in upgraded coverage.
  • Pool and spa.
  • Central air conditioning.

The basic warranty plan is normally around $350.00 for a standard size home.  Options run around $150.00 for pool and spa coverage, $75 for washer and dryer, $25 for refrigerator, and central air conditioning around $60.00.  Each company is different, however.

Check the fine print on each Home Warranty Company for coverage and exclusions. Here are three that I have had satisfactory service from.

  1. American Home Shield.
  2. Old Republic Home Warranty.
  3. First American Home Buyer’s Protection.

Notice that I said only SATISFACTORY service.

Just do a Google search on Home Warranty programs to find out many customers are unhappy. This is likely from higher expectations of coverage and the various sub-contractors that the services use.  Sometimes you get lucky, other times you don’t.

For more information on this topic:

619.384.2248
Ryan@RyanYourRealtor.com
Visit my Website: http://ryanyourrealtor.com

Don’t Stress Out When Buying A Home

Buying a home can actually be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mindno stress these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a huge financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Just remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to time interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on a home you love. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, however, a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it even harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will actually be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, but perhaps the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs some repairs. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Don’t sweat the minor ones.

don't stress out when buying a home5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to get that extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in all the physical aspects of the house itself — room sizes, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues such as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Making an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers. Preparation goes a long way.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and not be able to afford upkeep.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a huge financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you bought.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4% annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live first, an investment second.

For more information on this topic:

619.384.2248
Ryan@RyanYourRealtor.com

Direct Lender or Mortgage Broker–What’s the Difference??

Suppose you were in the market to buy a new car. Would you go to a single dealership and expect to find the perfect car at the perfect price simply because you’re buying directly from the dealer? Of course not. It is very similar with mortgages and mortgage lenders.

There are countless mortgage programs based on countless ‘guidelines’ for determining acceptance. The variety of programs and rates varies greatly from lender to lender. Because of this, the odds are very much stacked against you finding the ‘perfect’ mortgage from a single direct lender. Direct Lenders have one group of programs. That’s it.
direct lender mortgage brokerBut why are direct lenders in favor right now over mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers?  One word-SPEED. Since direct lenders are using their own money and their own guidelines (most mortgage brokers will need to go through two sets of guidelines-the bank’s and the investor’s), they can close loans very quickly. They normally have their underwriters in-house. Closing loans quickly (or at least on time) is huge, especially on short sales. When a lender(s) approves a short sale, it has an expiration date. If the transaction doesn’t close by that date, an extension has to be requested (which isn’t always easy to get). That can lead to problems with appraisals, credit reports, and financial statements being outdated.

The advantage of a mortgage broker is that they can choose from the thousands of lenders to select the program that offers the lowest rate for your specific loan. Brokers will counsel borrowers on the loan options available from these different lenders and find the best “fit.” Some people fear higher costs by using a broker as opposed to a Direct Lender. This is sometimes the case. What must be kept in mind, though, is that Direct Lenders make their money off of the interest you pay on the loan– over time,  the amount of interest will far surpass your closing costs. In other words, closing costs must be viewed in relation to your interest rate. In fact, interest rates are more important than closing costs (especially since there are laws in place that prevent excessive loan charges). So sure, sometimes a direct lender offers lower closing costs. The interest rate, however, is rarely lower and that is what will affect you the most over the coming years.

My best piece of advice? Shop around for a loan before settling on one lender.

 

For more information on this topic:

619.384.2248
RyanYourRealtor@gmail.com
Visit my Website: http://ryanyourrealtor.com

Things To Know Before Buying A House

Purchasing a home can be confusing, overwhelming and make buyers feel completely broke by the time they get the keys. However, being freed from a landlord and throwing away rent payments can also be extremely liberating. From finding the best Realtor to making it through a bidding war, here are 10 things homeowners wish they knew about taking the big step into being a homeowner.

1. Get pre-approved first.

It might be tempting to start hitting open houses every Sunday, but before beginning your search, get pre-approval letter for a mortgage. The last thing you want it to fall in love with a place before being prepared and able to put offer in on it. Without this pre-approval letter, no seller will take you seriously as a pre-qualified buyer.things to know before buying a house

Research recommendations on trustworthy mortgage brokers, then set up a time to talk with each one. If they won’t provide firm information about their rates and fees, or if they start giving advice before fully understanding your financial situation, keep searching. Any good loan officer will save time and money by researching loan terms and rates that work in your best interest

2. Work with an experienced agent.

Before buying a house, going through online listings is a great start. However, don’t underestimate the value of working with an experienced real estate agent. They will help navigate the confusing process of buying a home, and once you find a place you love, they can research comparable listings, advise on what your opening offer should be and negotiate for you. And since home sellers pay all broker commissions, having an agent represent you as a buyer is FREE!

To find the best one, make a short list of possible agents based on word-of-mouth recommendations and/or internet research. Then meet with them to get a feel for their personality and their knowledge on the neighborhoods.

If you are new to the home buying process, stick with a buyer’s agent. They will negotiate, point out any problems with the house that they see, and handle potential issues whenever possible.

3. Don’t be turned off by an ugly bathroom.

A funky paint color or outdated design can cause a buyer to overlook a home that’s otherwise has tons of potential. Remember, cosmetic changes are easy to make once move in, and pointing out any dated features can actually help the negotiation process.

Instead of focusing on the pink-tiled bathroom or that ugly light fixture, pay more attention to the layout of the property, the view, the amount of sunlight rooms get, ceiling height, outdoor space and of course, the location.

4. Find out about the neighbors.

Once you find a home you love, walk the neighborhood to make sure it will be a livable situation. It also helps to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and week to get a better feel of what life there is really like. Talk to neighbors and get their take on the area as well.

5. Be prepared to move fast.

The best properties receive multiple offers after the first open house, so it’s possible to miss the chance to submit an offer. Your agent will include your pre-approval letter in the offer so the seller knows it is serious. If there is a lot of interest in the home, write a letter to the seller explaining why you’d be the best next owner. You can even included a picture of your and your family. This is also referred to as a “seller love letter” and can work wonders to getting your offer accepted.

6. Be careful about overbidding.

If you plan on financing your home and get caught in a bidding war, beware that overbidding can come back to bite you. Your bank will require an appraisal of the home. If the appraisal comes in under the amount of the loan you need, you might have to make up the difference in out-of-pocket cash in order to complete the deal. Before you make an offer, research comparable listings or ask your real estate agent for advice. If you can, consider increasing your down payment instead of going up higher in price. Cash is king, so putting more money down can give your offer an edge over other buyers.

what to expect when buying a home7. Expect a ton of paperwork.

When applying for a loan, be ready to provide a ton of paperwork, including tax returns, pay stubs and proof of your current assets. You may also be asked to provide updated information on some of the same documents right before closing. This is not the best time to switch jobs or buy a new car, since your income and credit will be closely scrutinized.

8. Hire a home inspector.

Protect yourself and hire a professional inspector to look over the home before you compete the purchase. For $300-400, their inspection will help expose potential problems that could cause you problems and a ton of money down the road. A good inspector will attend to seemingly insignificant details. It also provides a negotiation point to ask the seller for any repairs to be made at their expense.

9. Expect to feel like you are hemorrhaging money.

It’s surprising how quickly costs add up. Fees of $200 here, and $150 there can be unexpected. Besides the down payment, there is the deposit, appraisal fee, home inspection, moving, and more expenses besides the actual buying price. Additionally, most lenders ask that a buyer has enough to cover at least two mortgage payments after closing, which means there needs to be cash in the bank. Go over all of the closing costs with your lender and agent to avoid surprises.

10. It will feel like it will never happen.

Buying a home is not easy. Finding a great place to live takes time, and once you find it, you can easily get outbid. Just remember that new listings are always coming onto the market and, eventually, there will be something you love.

For more information on this topic:

619.384.2248
Ryan@RyanYourRealtor.com
Visit my Website: http://ryanyourrealtor.com

Should You Refinance Your Home?

should you refinance your homeWith current interest rates still historically low (4.29% as of the writing of this article), you may want to refinance your home to a lower rate. Here are five questions you should answer before you take the leap:

1. How long do you plan to stay in the home?

It makes a big difference in recouping the cost of refinancing a home loan. If you don’t plan to own the home for at least 3-5 years or more after refinancing, it might not make sense to incur the costs of refinancing.

2. What are the closing or settlement costs for refinancing?

You should expect to pay about the same amount as when you purchased. Expenses will include a new title policy or abstract, a new appraisal, and lender’s fees.

Lenders normally charge an origination fee or a “discount fee”. If it’s a “no-cost” refinance, there’s really no such thing – the fee will actually be rolled into a higher interest rate. Count on your closing costs to be similar to what you paid when you originated your first loan. In other words, it’s a new loan, with all-new fees.

3. What percentage rate are you currently paying?

Mortgage lenders used to only advise refinancing only if you could save two percentage points on the loan. That’s so you can get your closing costs back if you need to sell a year or more later, assuming your home doesn’t go down in value.

But you can refinance by getting as little as 1/2 percent lower than your current mortgage interest rate and still be able to sell within a reasonable time – 3 years or so. What you need to do is figure how long it will take you to pay back your closing costs before selling your home.

You have a $200,000 mortgage, 30 yr. fixed rate, 6% interest, with a monthly payment of $1199 in principal and interest or PITI. Assuming $2,000 in closing costs, you refinance for another 30 years.

At 2 points lower, or 4% interest, your new PITI (principal and interest) is $ 954.83 With a monthly savings of $244.17, it would take you just over 8 months to pay back the cost of the refinance.

At 1/2 % of a point lower, or 5.5% interest, your PITI is $ 1135.58. With a monthly savings of about $64, it would take you a little over 31 months to break even, a good strategy if you plan to stay in your home at least 3 years.

4. What type of loan do you currently have? Do you have a hybrid adjustable rate mortgage that needs refinancing?

Many hybrid loans change from fixed rates to adjustable become adjustable after a year, three years, or five years. If you qualified for the adjustable rate loan originally, but have since increased your income or paid down your mortgage and built some equity, now may well be the time to refinance.

Interest rates have hovered near 5% or lower for well over six years, making it likely that adjustable rates have nowhere to go but up, so it may be a good time to get into a fixed rate.

5. Have your plans or circumstances changed from when you first purchased?

If you are doing well and want to accelerate your pay-off by refinancing to a 15-year term. Additional payments to principal can be voluntarily added to your 30-year fixed rate loan payment, so refinancing is only wise if you can get a much lower interest rate than your current term.

But say your intentions of paying off a 15-year note have changed, due to decreased income, family obligations or some other reason. In that case, a refinance to a 30-year term will ease your payments, but the majority of your note will be to pay interest, with little going toward your principal for several years.

Get professional advice from your mortgage banker or broker, and your financial advisor or tax preparer to help you decide if refinancing is the right answer for you now.

For more information on this topic:

619.384.2248
Ryan@RyanYourRealtor.com

Top 5 Real Estate Trends for 2014

It’s a brand new year! With the new year, RealtyTimes predicted the top changes in the Californa real estate market, now in effect.

INCREASING MORTGAGE RATESreal estate trends for 2014

Mortgage rates are predicted to rise, but not too far, up to 5% or 5.25% in 2014. The
Federal Reserve will begin tapering soon and the greater the reduction in Federal government purchases, especially of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), the more rates are likely to grow.

It’s a great time to buy now because mortgage rates are still below the historical average so if you’re thinking of making a move, 2014 is the perfect time to jump into the market and start looking! With low rates and increasing home values, now’s the time to buy in order to make a smart investment for your future.

Speaking of mortgages, home buyers also need to be prepared for stricter qualifications on home loans. Lenders are now required to prove borrowers’ ability to repay a loan according to new “qualified mortgage” standards. An important statistic to keep in mind is the maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43% that borrowers will need to qualify.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has also announced plans to reduce the maximum loan limits for conventional conforming loans some time in 2014.

INCREASING HOME PRICES AND VALUES

Predictions show that home values and prices will rise in 2014.  Moderate predictions are clocking in at a 6-8% increase for California markets whereas others foresee a 10-15% increase.

According to Bill Plattos, Execute Vice President of First Team Real Estate, “2013 has begun the upward progression of the real estate market in California. In the next 3 to 4 years prices and sales will continue to rise bringing us back up to a peak.”

FEWER INVESTORS

Investors swoop in when home prices bottom out like they have in the past few years, seeking foreclosed homes and short sales to snatch up.  However, as our economy strengthens and home values come back up in 2014 there are fewer distressed homes on the market to interest investors.  The rise in home values in and upswing in the economy will also make it easier for current home owners who’ve built up equity to afford a down payment and enter the market in search of a bigger and better home to fit their needs.

Fewer investors also means less price competition and fewer bidding wars for buyers shopping for primary residences.  2014 will be the prime time to buy and sell for home owners who are ready to move on to a better neighborhood, larger home or location offering a more convenient commute.

CONTINUED HOME SELLERS MARKET

The seller’s market will continue in 2014 for California and on a national level.  However, it will be much cooler than the one we’ve witnessed over the past two years. “The market will get closer to normal – or as normal as the market can be,” says Plattos. “It will continue to cool and inventory will come up to a moderate level, not too low or too high.”

HOME BUYERS NEED TO START SEARCHING

With the seller’s market leveling in 2014, that means buyers need to be realistic about the home they can afford.   Home buyers, now is the time to start searching the best deals in real estate in order to get the most for your money.

For more information on this topic:

619.384.2248
Ryan@RyanYourRealtor.com
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