While the Internet is a great resource to locate information about food, travel and a number of other things, it isn’t necessarily the best place to find a local service provider.
Sure, you can run the search, get quick results and may even see some fairly impressive websites. The problem is that sometimes, those sites are run by companies that sell the leads to providers who may not be as experienced as you’re expecting.
Instead of taking a chance on a total stranger, a personal recommendation could yield you more satisfactory results. Most real estate transactions require some work to be done to the house either in preparation prior to the sale or to meet requirements from the buyer or inspector after the sale is made.
Looking for a service provider on the Internet is easy. Contact me for a recommendation is easier still and you can trust that they’ll be reputable and reasonable. I want to be your personal source of real estate information.
FHA loans require mortgage insurance premium to cover a possible loss to the lender if the property has to be foreclosed and sold. The premium is substantial and eliminating the MIP would reduce the payment considerably.
The MIP must remain in effect for five years but after that, when the balance is 78% of the original purchase price, FHA will release the requirement and your monthly payment will go down. Since amortization is affected by interest rates, the normal time to reach this 78% point could be from 9 to 12 years at today’s interest rates.
In the example below, the MIP would be released in 9 years 6 months with normal payments. An extra $100 a month would allow the borrower to reach the release point in 7 years 1 month. To reach the release point in the minimum five years, the borrower would have to make an extra $268.04 per month principal contribution.
Releasing the MIP in this example would save the borrower $177.67 per month. The borrower would also save interest, build equity and shorten the term of their mortgage. Once the MIP is released, the borrower could continue the same payment schedule to further accelerate the debt reduction.
To make some projections on your mortgage, click here.
A quick once-over of the items on this list may improve the safety and security of your home and could protect your family and friends. It is important to periodically pay attention to these things because things change over time.
- Does each exterior door have a deadbolt?
- Does the lock on each window work?
- Have you added pins or clips to your windows for additional security?
- Do you have dowels or broom sticks in the track of windows and sliding glass doors?
- Do you have security company labels or signs displayed prominently?
- Do you have an alarm system? Is the system monitored?
- Do you have a dog that barks when strangers approach the home?
- Are emergency numbers posted near the telephones?
- Do you have smoke detectors near all sleeping areas?
- Do you check the batteries monthly and change them annually?
- Do you have two carbon monoxide detectors?
- Do you have an escape ladder for upper floors?
- Do you have fire extinguishers near exits and in the kitchen?
- Do you have an emergency escape plan and is the family familiar with it?
- Are any outlets or switches warm to the touch?
- Are kitchen ventilation systems working properly?
- Is the dryer ventilated to the outside and is the exhaust free of lint?
- Is the furnace cleaned and serviced yearly?
- Is the space around the hot water heater clear of combustible materials?
- Are all electrical and phone cords out of the flow of traffic?
- Are rugs and runners slip resistant?
- Is your step-stool sturdy and in good condition?
- Are stairs clear of objects that could cause a fall?
- Are all entrance ways, exits, halls and walks well lighted?
- Do bath tubs and showers have non-skid strips or suction mats in them?
- Do you keep drugs and medicines out of reach and sight of small children?
- Are interior doors designed so small children cannot lock themselves in rooms?
- Are pool and play areas fenced to keep small children in and uninvited guests out?
- Are firearms kept out of reach and sight of children?
- Is a well-stocked first aid kit available for emergencies?
- Is there one member of your family trained in first aid, CPR and the Heimlich maneuver?
The latest Housing Affordability Index from the National Association of REALTORS® shows an interesting trend taking place this year that needs buyers’ attention. Most people know that the mortgage rates are still at incredibly low rates but don’t feel there is much sense of urgency.
This report shows that mortgage rates have fallen from 4.37% in January to 3.81% for June. However, the report shows that the payment as a percentage of income has gone from 12.1% to 13.9% which simply means that buyers have to spend more of their income on a home.
The reason is that the median price of homes nationally has gone from $154,600 in January to $190,100 in June which is a 23% increase. The two major components of housing affordability are the price of the homes and the mortgage rates a buyer must pay.
Even if one of those components is going down, the other could have a significant affect as is shown in this year’s trend in housing affordability. In the past few weeks, the effects of which are not show in this report, mortgage rates have been moving up.
Home buyers and investors who have been taking a wait and see approach need to make a decision if now is the time to act.
It can be unsightly and upsetting when a home in a neighborhood isn’t being maintained like the others. It might be an overgrown yard, a fence in need of repair, paint peeling on the home or even a car parked in front of the home that hasn’t moved in weeks.
I believe most people want to be good neighbors and may be willing to correct the issue once it is brought to their attention. In some cases, they may not agree with the same urgency and it might be necessary to seek other remedies.
The most expedient solution may be to contact the responsible person and describe your perception of the problem. An owner-occupant may be sympathetic to the neighbors and more than willing to correct the issue.
However, if you suspect that it is a rental property, check with the county tax records to identify the owner. They may be unaware of the situation and would actually welcome the “heads-up” to protect their investment.
The next step might be to notify the homeowner’s association if there is one. The covenants or bylaws will specify how properties must be maintained and the association can enforce them.
The final step would be to notify the city for a possible code violation. Most cities have a separate code and neighborhood services division and some cities have 311 for non-emergency assistance.
Knowing the current value of your home is important when you’re considering a move, refinancing or getting a home equity loan. Prices are determined by recent sales and the supply and demand of current inventory.
The process of selecting comparable properties involves matching similar features like bedrooms, baths, square footage and updates. In addition to price, there are other factors that affect the value and ultimately, the sale of a home.
Location plays a significant role because by the unique combination of improvements and land. Beneficial considerations would be convenience to schools, shopping, transportation and proximity to freeways. Undesirable concerns could include being in the vicinity of busy streets, high-tension lines, commercial property and other things.
To receive a computerized estimate on the value of your home that includes prices of comparable homes that have sold recently and homes currently for sale, click here.
Value is not totally objective and does require a certain amount of subjective considerations. If you have questions after you receive your report by email, contact us and we’ll be happy to talk to you about your concerns.
Buyers ranked photos #1 as the most useful tool in their buying decision. *
The American Dream of owning a home is still alive. People still want a place of their own; where they can raise their family; share with their friends; feel safe and secure. Homeownership creates emotional and financial benefits.
The government supports that dream by allowing deductions for mortgage and home equity interest as well as property taxes. The capital gains exclusion on profits from a home is incredibly generous and a low long-term capital gains tax rate applies to excess profits.
It’s reported that some of the social benefits of owning a home include higher voter participation, better physical health, higher student test scores, lower teen delinquency, neighborhood stability and pride in the community.
If for no other reason, the decision to buy a home should be considered when it costs much less to own a home than it does to rent. With the unusually low available mortgage rates, the payment is generally less than comparable rent. However, the decision becomes more obvious when the other benefits are considered like amortization, appreciation and tax savings.
It’s not uncommon for the net cost of housing to be half of the actual mortgage payment. In most cases, it is significantly more to rent than to own which could amount to more than the down payment in the first year alone. Calculate your cost of Renting vs. Owning.