Rent vs Own… Advantage or Disadvantage???

Rent vs Own… Advantage or Disadvantage???.

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Mortgage Loan Approval Tips


Getting a mortgage loan is a little trickier these days, but if you follow the list of helpful tips below you can ensure a more effortless loan process. 

The following DO’s and DON’Ts may help avoid delays with your loan approval.


1. DO continue making your mortgage or rent payments on time

2. DO stay current on all existing accounts

3. DO keep working at your current employer

4. DO keep your same insurance company (if this is a refinance)

5. DO continue living at your current residence

6. DO continue to use your credit as normal

7. DO call your lender if you have any questions


1. DON’T make a major purchase (car, boat, jewelry, etc.)

2. DON’T apply for new credit (even if you are pre-approved)

3. DON’T open a new credit card

4. DON’T transfer any balances from one account to another

5. DON’T pay off charge offs without a discussion with us first

6. DON’T pay off collections without a discussion with us first

7. DON’T close any credit card accounts

8. DON’T change bank accounts

9. DON’T max out or over charge on your credit card accounts

10. DON’T consolidate your debt onto 1 or 2 credit cards

11. DON’T take out a new loan

12. DON’T start any home improvement projects (refinances)

13. DON’T pay off any loans or credit cards with discussing with your lender

If you encounter a special situation, it is best to mention it to your lender right away so they can help you determine the best way to achieve your goals.

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FSBO vs REALTOR, an Attorney’s perspective

FSBO vs REALTOR, an Attorney’s perspective.

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Buying a House: Is Now the Time?

Buying a House: Is Now the Time?.

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How The JUMP in Mortgage Rates Actually Effect Your Purchase

This is a note to all of my Real Estate Referral Partners:

Okay, so rates went up sooner than we all thought and certainly much faster. We all should know that rates will always rise faster than they will fall and this time is no different. We can all look at the technical side of things and follow all the charts, but for our clients and our referral partners, we need to get the information out quickly and clearly as to what it all means and what we should be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all of you who want to show charts of rates and graphs with ceilings and floors of resistance. However, the important thing to do is to share information that people can understand, use and relate too.

What we need to share is useful information to help people make choices. We aren’t going to cause a panic if we just “Have the Talk”. What do we talk about? The answer is, what does it all mean when rates go up? First thing we need to do is make everyone aware of rising rates. The actions steps are:

1) Share this information with your clients.
2) Call all of your current pre-approvals and recalculate the numbers.

What information do we share? Here are a couple of charts that might help.

What is the monthly P&I on a $250,000 – 30 year fixed rate loan?

3.5% $1,122.50
3.75% $1,157.50
4% $1,192.50
4.25% $1,230
4.5% $1,267.50

The recent rise in rates from about 3.5% to 4% means a difference of $70 a month in payment. But what if your borrower no longer qualifies at a higher payment? What if the maximum P&I for your client was $1,125 per month? Here is what $1,125 per month gets you on a 30 year fixed rate loan.

$1,125 a month @ 3.5% = $250,556
$1,125 a month @ 3.75% = $242,980
$1,125 a month @ 4% = $235,849
$1,125 a month @ 4.25% = $228,658
$1,125 a month @ 4.5% = $221,893

So a client that qualified for a $250,556 loan when rates were at 3.5% now only can qualify for a $235,849 loan when rates are at 4% and a $221,893 loan when rates are at 4.5%.

All Realtors® must look at every pre-approval they have and certify that the information is now accurate and current. We don’t need “practice” putting deals together, we need to put real deals together that will close. I am here to help out all of my referral partners and I can offer to review each client and prepare for them an updated –pre-approval.

Remember, just last week rates moved a long way. Almost $15,000-$25,000 in purchasing power has been lost to higher rates given our scenario.

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How To Reduce Your Property Tax

InspectionAs the sluggish economy drags on, county boards everywhere are looking for ways to replace lost income–re-assessments of residential real estate taxes is just one of those ways. Sometimes it’s fair, other times it avoids belt-tightening. If your property taxes have been raised and you feel it’s unfair, here is how to prepare to meet your assessor for a review to lower them:

1. Look for reporting mistakes. Examine the assessor’s entire property description. Note discrepancies and document them with blueprints, surveys, photos or other inspection reports.

2. Compare neighborhood assessments. Are other homes in your neighborhood assessed similar to yours? Check the web first; some counties post assessments online.

3. Compare current sales. Talk to a local real estate agent (if you need a referral, I’m glad to help) and get a report of comparables sold within the last 6 months. Sold homes count, listings don’t.

4. Take pictures. Document where your home needs repair compared to other homes in better shape in your neighborhood.

5. Get a new appraisal. If your home is unusual or hard to “comp” this is the one time it can work in your favor. If you recently refinanced and the value is lower, use that report instead.

6. Get your contract. If your taxes increased soon after you purchased, values probably haven’t changed that much. Document with your purchase agreement.

7. Are you exempt? There are many special exemptions: homestead, mortgage, senior citizens, veterans, disabled persons, and even energy-efficiency. Check with your county and check them all.

8. Prepare your case. In writing, briefly and professionally describe why you are entitled to the reduction, followed by documentation of your reasons. Make sure you have any required forms completed and know all deadlines for your appeal.

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The Difference Between Expert Advice and Perfect Advice

Don’t be afraid of those two words-expert advice. Remember:

  •  An expert doesn’t mean you’re going to give perfect advice.
  •  An expert means you’re going to give excellent advice.

Here’s the difference:

If you go to a doctor with a serious illness, she can’t tell you how it’s all going to wind up in the end. She can’t know for sure. Therefore, she can’t offer perfect advice.

However, your doctor can only give you excellent advice. She can tell you about your illness and your options, whether it be surgery or medications. She can also explain what she believes to be the best option for you based on your history, symptoms, and overall health. Ultimately, though, you’re going to make the final decision of whether you go through with the treatment plan.

Once you make that decision, your doctor will take you by the hand and walk you down the road to recovery. She will explain to you that there might be adjustments that need to be made to the treatment plan, because no one can know for certain how things will turn out.

She might have to adjust your medications or increase or decrease your treatment schedule. But every step of the way, she’s there with you, helping you get to your ultimate goal. This is called excellent advice. (By the way, does this sound like what we do with our clients?)

Similarly, if you went to an attorney, he can’t tell you how the case is going to end up or how the judge or jury will rule. That would be perfect advice. What an expert attorney can do is explain your options. He might pick one or two he believes to be the best ones to pursue. He will then leave you to make the decision on which option you want to take. Once you decide, he will help put a plan together based on the facts at hand. He will help you get to the best possible resolution of the case. And along the way, he’ll make whatever changes are needed. This is excellent advice. (Again, does it sound similar to how we help our clients?)

Our roles as  Real Estate Professionals and Mortgage Professionals are similar to the role of the doctor and the lawyer. We can’t give buyers or sellers perfect advice because you don’t know what’s going to happen—you can’t know the future. However, we can give excellent advice based on the information and situation at hand. We can guide them through the process and help them make the necessary changes along the way.

And that’s exactly what your clients want…and deserve!


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The Art Of Handwritten Notes

According to a report by the U.S. Postal Service, the average household went from receiving a personal letter once every two weeks in 1987 to once every seven weeks by 2010. It’s no surprise that number dwindles ever lower given that we live in the age of instant messaging, tweets, and email.

But there is a bright side. Handwritten notes now have much more value and impact than at any other time in history. They’re the perfect way to show clients and referral partners how much you value them.

Here’s a six-point formula suggested by etiquette experts. It is not necessary to write more than one sentence per point.

  1. Greeting. Simple: Dear Name.
  2. Express your gratitude. Thank you for trusting me with the financing for your new home.
  3. Make mention. One of the best parts of my job is seeing my clients find a home they love.
  4. Allude to the future. I wish you many years of happiness there.
  5. Repeat your gratitude. Not word for word, a short “Thanks again” will suffice.
  6. Salutation. End with regards such as “Sincerely” and sign your name.
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How Much of Your Paycheck Should You Be Saving?

We all need to prepare for our future, and your savings account is one of the top priorities that needs total attention.


By Carleton English

Let’s talk about the six month milestone.

That is, you need to have three to six months of your annual salary in savings in order to befinancially secure.

The advice sounds simple and all financial advisors will tell you the same, regardless of how they dress it up to appeal to their demographic.

This is a real number. For more mathematical minds, this means that 25 to 50 percent of your annual salary should be sitting in a savings account. If you’re earning $50,000 a year, that’s between $12,500-$25,000.

You have the advice, and I’m sure I’m not the first one to give it to you, but the question remains: Why is this number important, and how do you get there?

To answer the first question, three to six months salary is enough to cover you in just about any financial hardship. It’s enough of a cushion…

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Why you need a Realtor

Anyone in the real estate industry for any length of time realizes that the education required and the resources necessary to be a true industry professional have dramatically increased over the last two decades. In today’s volatile market, it is necessary to have a true real estate professional if you want to sell your home for the best possible price in the shortest amount of time – and make sure the deal gets to the closing table!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has recently reported that as many as 15% of all deals never make it to closing. Tighter lending requirements, stronger disclosure forms and tougher appraisal standards have all contributed to the more treacherous minefield through which today’s seller must navigate.

Bottom Line – If you are selling a home in today’s confusing real estate market, it is best to take on the services of a local real estate expert. He/she will guide you through each step of the transaction thereby increasing the likelihood that there will be fewer inconveniences for you and your family.

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