Pat Cray

Did You Know?: 4 Ways That a Real Estate Attorney Can Make Your Home Purchase Easier

Did You Know?: 4 Ways That a Real Estate Attorney Can Make Your Home Purchase Easier It is common for home buyers to take steps to keep their out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum, and many will try to avoid paying for optional services for this reason. While you may not want to pay for all optional services, there are some that can be truly beneficial to you even if they are not required. After learning more about the services provided to you by a real estate attorney, you may be ready to seek out these professional legal services for your upcoming purchase.

Explaining the Contract

A real estate sales contract can be confusing to understand because parts of it use real estate or legal jargon. Your real estate attorney can review the contract for you to ensure that your rights are protected, and he or she can also help you to better understand your obligations and requirements under the contract.

Assisting With Title Research

A real estate attorney can also assist you with researching the title. Everything from liens and covenants to easements and more may impact your ownership of the property. The real estate attorney will provide you with more information to ensure that you have title to the property free and clear.

Helping You With the Mortgage Documents

A mortgage is a legally binding agreement. You will be contractually bound by the terms of the mortgage. From the monthly payment obligation to the ability of the lender to foreclose on the property if you do not follow through on the terms of the mortgage, there are many legal nuances to consider. The real estate attorney can review these documents on your behalf before you sign them.

Representing You at Closing

Your closing is both a financial and a legal process. This is where you will sign all of the mortgage, title and sales documents to finalize the purchase. Generally, after closing, you will own the property and will be contractually tied to the mortgage. While many documents will be available for your attorney to review before closing, there may be last minute changes or other documents available at closing that your attorney has not reviewed. Your attorney can represent your interests and answer your questions at the closing table.

You do not need a real estate attorney to assist you throughout the purchase process. However, you can see that there are many beneficial services provided to you by an attorney. Contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

May 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

4 Neglected Home Maintenance Tasks That Are a Must

4 Neglected Home Maintenance Tasks That Are a MustThere are a number of home maintenance tasks that are easy to forget about in favor of more obvious renovations, but forgetting to do some of them can end up costing you a lot down the road. If you’re hoping to keep your home in tip-top shape, here are a few tasks that you shouldn’t forget about.

Sealing Off Access Points

Small rodents and insects can wreak havoc on your home if they gain access, so ensure that you maintain the foundation of your home and seal off any areas where these pests might get inside. Check all the windows and doors, and survey the foundation of your home, making sure to patch up any areas where sealant or mortar has come loose.

Cleaning The Shingles

The reality of algae eating away at your roof shingles can be an unpleasant, expensive renovation, so clean your roof on a regular basis before any black streaks can take your shingles with them. Simply mix together hot water, bleach and detergent and spray this from your garden hose on a cooler day so you can save your roof from rot. This will also save you the cost of having to hire a professional

Maintaining Your Wood Deck

There are few things that will age your yard like a poorly maintained deck, so take the time to re-stain and seal your deck so it doesn’t quickly see the effects of time and weather. While harsh weather can have an ill effect on your deck’s appearance, properly maintaining it will mean you can avoid the high cost of replacement that will be required.

Keeping It Clutter Free

Many homeowners get pretty comfortable in their home, and this can often mean that many boxes of unused items get stored away. Instead of keeping old items though, do a clean out once every 6-12 months to get rid of the things you don’t use. By having a clean basement and garage, you’ll also have the ability to notice many other maintenance issues that might not be visible with all the extra stuff.

There are a number of maintenance tasks around the home that people often forget, but neglecting to complete them can often times cost a pretty penny down the road. Contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

May 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

Need to Discuss – How to Refinance Your Adjustable-rate Mortgage with Better Terms

How to Refinance Your Adjustable-rate Mortgage with Better TermsAn adjustable-rate mortgage was once a great mortgage product, at a time when home buyers wanted to avoid locking in high interest rates. But with historically low interest rates now available to millions of buyers and rates expected to rise in 2017, lots of mortgage holders are trying to find a deal and negotiate better terms before rates go up. One great way to save on mortgage costs is to refinance your adjustable-rate mortgage.

So how can you make a mortgage refinance work for you? Here are a few tactics you can use to get better terms through a refinance on your adjustable-rate mortgage.

Get Your Finances In Order

In order to successfully refinance your adjustable-rate mortgage, you’ll need to be in a strong financial position for a variety of reasons. Firstly, having a strong credit score gives you much more leverage when negotiating with a lender. And secondly, refinancing a mortgage will come with closing costs that you’ll need to pay out of pocket.

Make sure your finances are in good shape before you try to refinance it’ll be much easier.

Extend The Loan’s Term For Lower Monthly Payments

Recasting a mortgage is a popular way to reduce your monthly mortgage payments without giving up other favorable terms in your loan. When you recast your mortgage, you make a lump sum payment directly toward the principal amount of the loan, which reduces the loan balance, decreases your interest payments, and lowers your monthly payments. The loan maintains its original term, but it becomes much easier to manage.

Interest Rate Reset Coming Up? Negotiate An Interest Rate Cap

One little-known tactic that you can use to get better terms is to take advantage of an interest rate reset to negotiate a rate cap. In order to take advantage of this, you’ll need to get a mortgage approval and loan estimate for a fixed-rate mortgage. Once you have an approval in hand, your bank may have the option to offer to cap your interest rate.

Refinancing an adjustable-rate mortgage is becoming increasingly common, and for good reason. A mortgage advisor can help you to navigate the refinancing process. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more.

May 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

3 Ikea Hacks That Can Be Done in a Weekend’s Time

3 Ikea Hacks That Can Be Done in a Weekend's TimeWhether you’re moving into your first apartment or preparing to purchase a second home, Ikea is a favorite for those trying to economically fill up the extra space in their home. While Ikea may have plenty of inexpensive options that you might not think can be dressed up, there are actually a lot of simple pieces that you can add to for a stylish, DIY look that will take no time at all.

Cue The Cocktails

The popularity of the bar cart has seen a resurgence, but many of these decorative pieces can be quite pricey for the person who isn’t sure they want to commit to the cost. Instead of shelling out of for this overpriced piece, purchase the BYGEL utility cart from Ikea for less than $50 dollars and spray paint it in the color of your choice. While this will serve as a basic bar cart, it will easily look the part with some glasses, liquor bottles and an ice bucket.

Bring On The Board Games

With its four square legs and flattop, the LACK table is one of the plainest items in IKEA, but this inexpensive table can be fixed up as part of a fun activity with your kids. Once you’ve purchased your own brightly colored table, pick up some paint and using stencils paint the family’s favorite board game right onto its surface. Whether it happens to be backgammon, chess or Monopoly, this will add a lot of personality to the family room.

Create Your Own Sitting Table

The EXBY ALEX shelf is a relatively simple shelving unit that attaches to a wall for extra storage space, but it can also serve as a perfect starting point for an item that’s completely different. Instead of attaching this shelf to the wall, add a set of legs so the unit will serve as a cabinet without any need for wall mounting. While this will still serve as an understated piece, it can say a lot more about your room than the average wall cabinet.

Many people head to IKEA for the economical furniture options, but it’s also a great place for coming up with your own home DIY projects that are sure to make for a unique look. If you’re planning on purchasing a home contact your trusted local mortgage professional for more information.

May 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?

How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?If you’ve been paying attention to the mortgage rate news, you may be wondering exactly how it is banks decide what mortgage rates to offer. Do they just pick a number at random? Mortgage rates may seem somewhat arbitrary, but there’s actually something of a science to them.

So how does your bank or lender determine what your interest rate will be? Here are just some of the factors that go into the equation.

Rates Always Account For Inflation

First and foremost, every mortgage interest rate needs to account for inflation. Inflation is the average annual change in purchasing power brought about by changing economic conditions. When inflation goes up, money loses purchasing power and when it goes down, money gains purchasing power.

For example, an annual inflation rate of two percent means that a $100 bill minted in 2014 would be able to buy just $98 worth of goods in 2015. Mortgage interest rates always take the inflation rate into account, because if your bank’s mortgage rate were lower than the rate of inflation, your bank would actually lose money on your mortgage.

The Default Risk Premium: Your Likelihood Of Default Impacts Your Rate

The default risk premium is a rate that your lender adds to the inflation rate in order to mitigate the risk of not recovering the loan. Different kinds of loans carry different risk levels, and your lender needs some way of staying profitable even when losses happen. The default risk premium helps your lender to profit more on high-risk mortgages, which mitigates the problems associated with a default.

The more at risk of defaulting on a loan you are, the higher this premium will be.

The Liquidity Premium: Can Your Lender Recoup Potential Losses?

The liquidity premium is similar to the default risk premium, but rather than addressing the possibility that the borrower might default, this premium mitigates the risk of not being able to re-sell the property after the borrower defaults. If a borrower enters default, the lender’s only option is to sell the property in order to recover its losses. However, a home is a non-liquid asset, and it’s very difficult to turn a home into cash and the liquidity premium compensates the lender for the additional time and effort it takes to sell a non-liquid asset.

Mortgage rates may seem like sorcery, but there’s a clear science and a logical method involved in calculating rates and premiums. To learn more about mortgage rates, or to find out what kind of a mortgage rate you may be eligible for, contact your trusted local mortgage professional.

May 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

How to Determine the Price of Your Home for Sale

How to Determine the Price of Your Home for SaleMany people rely on the price they paid for their home as a starting point for selling, but with the ever-shifting tides of the real estate market, the price paid is not always the best metric to go by. If you’re putting your home up for sale and are looking for the ideal price point, here are some ways you can arrive at a number that will keep potential buyers interested.

Check Out Your Neighborhood

Your house may have a lot of different features than the homes of your neighbors, but checking out what real estate in your area is selling for can still be a good means of determining the price you’ll be able to ask for. Instead of just perusing the pricing, ensure you’re looking at the listings for what’s been successfully sold in your neighborhood as only this will allow you to determine the conditions of the market and what people will be prepared to offer.

Complete A Home Inspection

Instead of being surprised by repairs that need to be completed after an offer price has been accepted, organizing a home inspection before your home is sold can make a difference in the price you’re able to ask for. Not only will this provide you with a determination of what needs to be repaired or overhauled, it can be a boon to potential buyers who won’t have to worry about your inspection revealing any hidden flaws.

Utilize Your Agent’s Advice

Even if you’ve done your research and carefully considered the value of your home, it can still be complicated to come up with the right price, so be sure to enlist an agent who will be able to determine a fair amount with you. Since your agent has no attachment to your home, they’ll be able to objectively strike the right balance between what won’t sell and what’s too low. The right price, after all, may mean you’ll get to spend a lot less time selling it.

There are a lot of factors that go into arriving at the proper asking price for your home, but by organizing a home inspection and being aware of what’s going on in the market, you should be able to arrive at a reasonable sum. Contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

May 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

‘Free Pizza for Life’ and Other Crazy Home Sales Gimmicks from Across the Nation

'Free Pizza for Life' and Other Crazy Home Sales Gimmicks from Across the NationWith the real estate market going through constant fluctuations, it can sometimes be a matter of strife to sell a home. Some will take the familiar road of staging and hope the offers come in, while others will do some crazy things to prove their home is worth buying. While you may not want to take the risk of making these bold moves yourself, here are the unusual things that some people did in hopes of getting their home off the market a little sooner.

The Perk Of Added Incentives

While there are a variety of goods that can be an added incentive to purchasing a home, one homeowner in Virginia Beach offered a 42-inch flat screen television to the lucky person who would make them an offer that couldn’t be refused. While this owner managed to sell in just a couple of weeks, other offers like expensive cars and gift certificates have long been attached to houses in the hopes of getting a more spontaneous sale.

A Real Ingenious Raffle

In the state of Maryland, log cabin owners Tom and Diane Walter opted to host a raffle so they could raise enough money to pay off the loan on their home. While the winning raffle ticket buyer would go away with a new home for only $50.00, the profits from the raffle would go to a local non-profit and the Walters loan fund. With the toughness of the real estate market, it’s a tactic that has gained popularity given the excitement of getting a house at a very economical price.

Testing Out The New Home

It’s certainly the case that being able to test something out might lead to more sale success, but a local builder in Portland, Oregon took it a little bit further than usual. Instead of offering up a staged suite, potential buyers were provided with a stay in a home at Atwater Place that was free of charge and included restaurant gift certificates, a gym pass and a lovely view of Mount Hood.

Staging a nice home at a reasonable price is always a great way to achieve selling success, but some have gone out on a limb to offer things that went well beyond the benefits of a new home. Contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

May 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

5 Uncommon Mortgage Terms You Need to Know

5 Uncommon Mortgage Terms You Need to KnowWhen it comes to finding a new home, there are lots of complex ratios, terms, and contracts that you’ll encounter – and at times, it’ll feel like you’re trying to navigate a minefield. Here are five mortgage terms you may not encounter regularly that you’ll need to know when buying a home.

Escrow: Money Held In Trust To Pay Taxes

An escrow account is a bank account that your lender maintains on your behalf. When you close your mortgage, you’ll need to deposit a certain percent of your annual property taxes into the escrow account, which your lender will hold in trust and use to pay your property taxes.

PITI: How Your Lender Calculates Your Monthly Payments

Your lender uses a specific formula used to calculate exactly how much money you need to pay your lender each month. Each month, your mortgage payment will include portions that go toward your principal loan amount (P), your interest payment (I), your property taxes (T), and your homeowner’s insurance (I). If you have private mortgage insurance, it’ll be included with this PITI payment.

Rate Buydown: Lowering Your Interest Rate With A Larger Down Payment

A rate buydown, also known as a discount point, is a chunk of your mortgage interest that you pre-pay in order to get a lower monthly interest rate over the life of the loan. Each point you buy reduces your interest rate by a small amount.

Loan Estimate: What Your Lender Must, By Law, Give You

A loan estimate is a form that your lender is required to give you when you apply for a mortgage, as per the Truth in Lending Act. Your loan estimate will include your estimated costs of carrying the loan – including monthly payments, interest rates, and processing fees. Loan estimates allow you to compare terms and rates across different lenders.

Loan-To-Value: Determining How Much House You Can Afford

Your LTV (loan-to-value) ratio is a ratio that is used to calculate the amount of equity you have in your home and to assess your risk as a borrower. Typically expressed as a percentage, your LTV is determined by dividing the total amount of your mortgage loan by the property’s fair market value. Borrowers generally prefer to see lower LTV ratios.

Mortgages contain a variety of legal terms that can be challenging for the uninitiated to understand. But with a qualified mortgage advisor on your side, you’ll have no difficulty navigating mortgage contracts and finding the right mortgage for you. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more.

May 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

How to Smartly Leverage Your Home Equity

How to Smartly Leverage Your Home EquitySo you’ve been a homeowner for some time. You’ve been faithfully paying off your mortgage for years, and you have a fair bit of equity built up in your home – and that makes you proud. But now, you’re wondering what good equity is if you’re not using it.

How do you actually use home equity? And how do you leverage it to get a high return for low risk? Here are just a few options you may want to consider if you’re looking for something to do with your equity.

Use A Home Equity Loan Or HELOC To Pay Off High-Interest Debt

If you have a certain amount of money invested in your home, you can borrow against that investment by taking out a home equity loan or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity loan is ideal for borrowing a large amount of money for a specific purpose, whereas a HELOC works much the same way a credit card does – you can use credit as needed, then pay back what you owe. And if you have a lot of high-interest debt, one of these vehicles could be a great way to pay off your creditors – while it may seem like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, you actually save thousands of dollars in interest rates by paying off high-interest debt using a lower-interest HELOC or home equity loan.

Buy An Investment Property With A Home Equity Loan

If you’ve been looking to enter the real estate investment market but haven’t had the liquid funds for a deposit, leveraging your home equity in the form of a loan can get you into the landlord game quickly and easily. This is a smart move because while you are taking on more debt, you’re doing so in order to create a new income stream. Ideally, you’ll want to buy a duplex or a home with a granny suite so that you can maximize your investment by renting out more than one dwelling space.

Downsize To A Smaller House And Invest The Difference

Perhaps you’re living in a large house that has seen its value appreciate in recent years, and you’re looking to move in the near future. Selling your large home and moving into a smaller, less expensive home is a great way to simply turn your home’s equity into cash – cash that you can invest.

Leveraging your home equity can be a smart move if it’s done with a larger goal and a solid strategy in mind. But when done irresponsibly, taking equity out of your home can have severe consequences. Talk to your local mortgage professional today to learn more about smart options for leveraging home equity.

May 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

Avoiding Home Buyer Remorse: 5 Tips for a Happier Homeowner

Avoiding Home Buyer Remorse: 5 Tips for a Happier HomeownerThe rush of excitement that comes with finding the home you’ve been looking for is ideal, but just because it seems like the perfect place, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other factors to consider. Instead of getting hit with buyer’s remorse, here are some tips so that your home purchase doesn’t become something you’ll regret.

Forget About The Competition

If you’re contemplating a house and happen to be dragged into a bidding war, it’s important to take a step back and determine if it’s really the right home for you. It can be easy to get carried away and up your offer, but make sure you determine what the home is really worth to you.

Take A Second Look

If you’ve been to a lot of home viewings and have finally found a place you feel good about, it can be easy to overlook the minor details. Instead of trusting your memory, make sure you visit the home a couple of times before putting in an offer so you’ll be aware of any major flaws you might have missed the first time around.

Visit The Neighborhood

The instant appeal of a home that seems perfect for your family can be unexpected, but it’s worth considering the neighborhood you’re going to be living in to ensure it’s livable. A home is one thing, but local amenities and an area your family feels comfortable will come to be equally important.

Avoid A Fixer-Upper

The kind of home you can fix up might make for a fun project for the DIY person, but biting off more than you can chew in an effort to save can be a mistake. A few small renovations may not be a big issue, but a home that needs a lot of changes will likely end up being more of a burden once the deal is sealed.

Stick To Your Purchase Price

Many people get so overwhelmed when they find a unique place to settle that their price point flies out the window. However, instead of making allowances for a purchase price you can’t really swing, keep what’s affordable in mind and be sure you don’t veer too far above it.

It can be exciting to find the kind of home you’re looking for in a center you love, but it’s important to pay a price that’s affordable and get the home you really want. Contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

May 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

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