Thursday, October 31, 2013

Finding the Best Loan Officer

Buying a home involves a lot of players on your real estate team, and a loan officer is one of them. Unfortunately, in the mortgage industry, it only takes one bad loan officer to mess up a deal. The loan officer is the front person for a mortgage company. You will interact through them through the entire loan process, so it makes sense to get the best loan officer you can find.

Good loan officers have been in the real estate business for many years. They rely on repeat business, and one way to do this is to establish a good long-term relationship with a realtor. In fact, one of the best ways to find a good loan officer is by asking a realtor for a referral.

It’s up to you to find the best loan officer when buying a home or refinancing a current mortgage. The following information should help you to find a skilled and qualified loan officer:
Qualities of a good loan officer
·         They look out for clients’ best interests before their own.

·         They are professional.

·         They are helpful in answering your questions about the home buying/refinancing process.

·         They have excellent salesmanship skills.

·         They can effectively communicate.

·         They are friendly.

·         They are good with numbers.
As stated earlier, loan officers are the front people for mortgage companies. There are no education requirements and you don’t need a degree to become a loan officer. There is a required test and annual certification process, and a loan officer must meet the state licensing requirements. Other than those things, almost anyone can be a loan officer. A loan officer needs salesmanship skills as well as the ability to effectively communicate. It’s also helpful if they have a good grasp with numbers.

Questions to ask your loan officer

·         How long have you been in the business?

·         What is your availability?

·         What lenders do you use?

·         How much money will you make off of my loan?

·         What are the lender closing costs?

·         What is the APR and interest rate for this loan?

·         What is the rate lock policy?
In the midst of selecting a loan officer, consider the advantages of knowing the true value of a home. Be sure to obtain a free home valuation report from Neighborhood IQ to find out how much a property is worth before you buy. Or if you are refinancing, it helps to know the value of your home.

The Home Loan Advisor can analyze your property, current market conditions, local market comps, and other variables in our proprietary algorithm, but we match you with potential lenders who have products that may help you and provide you with a sense of stability.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10 Most Costly House Problems

Every homeowner experiences problems with their home sooner or later. The intensity of these problems depends on the level of maintenance the house has received over the years. Whether you are buying a home or selling your current house, you may want to check for certain problems that have been left unattended to. If you wait until after a home appraiser or inspector flags the issues, it could result in a lot more money out of your pocket. So, don’t wait until closing to fix the problems or address them with the owner.

Some of the following home problems are so common that many homeowners simply learn to live with them. However, the problems can be avoidable by providing proper maintenance and checking out the most common ones periodically.
Here are 10 of the most common problems that homeowners encounter while buying or living in a home:

1.       Problem roofs. The roof of your home is one of those things that you don’t pay much attention to. That is, until you see a leak. The roof can be one of the most costly things to fix, so use binoculars to check for warning signs. Also, get a professional roof inspection before putting your house on the market.

2.       Water in the basement. These problems should be solved as soon as possible to minimize damage that can include mold and mildew.

3.       Deferred maintenance. Keeping your home in top condition is an investment that will return the more you spend.

4.       Flaws in the foundation. Older homes and even newer ones can settle unevenly. Look for sloping floors and cracks in the foundation walls as well as above windows.

5.       Poor ventilation. The effects of poor ventilation on your health are huge, so make sure places like the attic are properly vented in order to avoid mold or roof rot.

6.       Faulty plumbing. It’s crucial to keep a close eye on the water supply system. Trace leaks to sources immediately, and replace corroding pipes.

7.       Defective HVAC systems. If you have just bought a home or you are thinking of selling your current home, it’s a good idea to contact a HVAC contractor for an inspection.

8.       Faulty gutters and downspouts. Constant checking is needed to properly maintain the gutters and downspouts in order to avoid water damage.

9.       Drainage problems. Homeowners often overlook landscaping issues which can which allow water to drain into the house’s basement or crawlspace. Water damage can be costly to repair and lessen the value of your home.

10.   Faulty wiring. Many electrical problems are caused by homeowners who try to do the work themselves or hire someone unlicensed. Look for dangling hotwires, open receptacle boxes, and aluminum wiring.
In the midst of checking your home or home-to-be for common problems, consider the advantages of knowing the true value of the property. Be sure to obtain a free home valuation report from Neighborhood IQ to find out how much a home is worth before you ultimately buy or sell! Also keep n mind that Home Loan Advisor can analyze your property, current market conditions, local market comps, and other variables in our proprietary algorithm as well as match you with potential lenders who have products that may help you and provide you with a sense of stability.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Thinking about buying a home for the first time? It may seem like purchasing a house is rather daunting, but if you are armed with the proper steps that you should take, the process will be easier. You want to get the most that you can out of your purchase without being overwhelmed.
It turns out that finding the right house is only the beginning of the home buying process. You need to invest the time necessary in order to avoid sloppy shopping and financial disaster. Your goal is to be happy with the home that you decide to buy.

Here are some steps that you should take in order to ensure a successful buying experience for first-time home buyers:

1.       Decide whether or not to buy. Does a home purchase fit into your financial puzzle? Figure out if now is a good time to buy a home. If you’re renting, be sure to weigh the pros and cons versus owning your own home.

2.       Get your finances in order. Assess your budget and survey your spending. Be honest about your financial situation and trim the unnecessary spending from your budget.

3.       Figure out what you can afford to buy. Take into consideration the numerous costs associated with owning your home such as property taxes, homeowners insurance and closing costs. Accumulate your down payment and figure out the size of your mortgage payments.

4.       Know and improve your credit score. Lenders try to determine your credit risk level according to your credit score. A better score may mean better and cheaper loan options.

5.       Choose a mortgage. Should you get a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage? Or would a balloon loan or hybrid loan be better for you? Work with a good, straightforward mortgage lender that has your best interests in mind.

6.       Decide what and where to buy. Location and value are the most important aspects of buying a home. The price you pay for your home as well as where you home is located are factors that greatly affect your home’s value.

7.       Get a real estate team. A good lineup includes a real estate agent, real estate broker, lender, property inspector, tax advisors and escrow officer. You complete the all-star team!

8.       Negotiate. Good negotiators base their strategy according to the price of a property, how long it’s been on the market, and how motivated the sellers are. Don’t be afraid to play ball and push the envelope.

9.       Inspect the property. Skipping this step could be extremely detrimental, as this protects your investment. Don’t find out about foundation flaws or poor plumbing after you’ve bought the home.

10.   Close the deal. A closing officer will prepare the transfer of the title. Keep in mind the many closing costs that are associated with this step.
Following the above steps could make the difference between a successful sale and a disaster. They can also assist you in deciding if buying a home is for you, and if now is the right time for your purchase.

To make sure that you have successfully paid a fair price for your property, you can get a free home value report from Neighborhood IQ to learn the value of your new house.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Home Refinancing 101

If you’re considering getting your home refinanced, you need to know what exactly is involved in the process. This is an important decision and if you go about it in the right way, you’ll be able to save a lot of money. But if you take one wrong step, it might prove to be a really expensive mistake.   Here are some basic concepts and information about how you need to prepare yourself.

A home refinancing transaction is one in which you swap out an existing loan for a new and more favorable one. The old loan is paid off with the amount received from the new loan. Sometimes borrowers apply for an extra amount while refinancing to get some equity out of an asset. This is called "cash out" refinancing.

Advantages of home refinancing

By going in for refinancing, you can better your financial situation in many ways. The benefits include lower interest costs which result in a reduction in the amount that you are required to pay monthly. You can reduce your risk and get cash out which can be used for other necessities. When you opt for home refinancing, you can consolidate debt and probably get some tax benefits as well.

Home refinancing and associated costs

Just like everything else in this world, home refinancing is not for free. You will need to pay fees to the new lender to make it worthwhile for him to disburse your loan. You may also have to pay for legal documentation and filing, appraisals, credit checks, and other related things.

Understand that even though a lender may advertise a loan as one having no closing costs, you will be paying those fees as part of other charges. This generally happens through a higher rate of interest.

Is home refinancing worthwhile?

Before you make a final decision regarding whether or not to go in for home refinancing, you need to consider both the plus and minus factors of your old mortgage and the proposed new one. In normal circumstances, home refinancing is a sensible move when there is a lower rate of interest or a lower monthly payment. If you can optimally restructure debt or get your loan term shortened, it’s definitely worthwhile.

Once you’re clear of all costs involved, you need to look at how much you’ll be saving over a period of time and how long it will take you to recover the associated up-front costs. An important consideration is whether you plan to live in the home and keep the loan for long enough so as to make it worthwhile.

Home refinancing makes real sense when you reap sound benefits from a new loan. Some guidelines that it might be a smart move are:

·         Rates of interest are substantially lower than your earlier mortgage

·         You plan to keep the loan and live in the home long term

·         Your credit rating has seen an upward movement since you got your earlier loan

·         You are eligible for an amortizing loan in place of an interest only loan

·         You can move out of a high risk mortgage

Home refinancing offers a lot of benefits but it can be a bad idea if it leads to increasing your risk and wasting money. It is best to understand the worth of your house before you decide to get a refinance. An online home value report can be generated at Neighborhood IQ for free. You also need to make sure that you’ll be able to recover all the refinancing costs before signing on the dotted line.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Own Home

If you are selling your home, will you get an agent or are you thinking about going at it alone? The answer depends on many different aspects. The obvious reason to sell your home yourself is to save the realtor commission fee, which can be a big chunk of change. However, in most cases, a realtor can get a higher selling price than what you can get yourself.
But the question is: Do you have what it takes to successfully sell your own home? You should really weigh the pros and cons to decide if you can take on the task by yourself:


·         You can save money. You could potentially save thousands of dollars in real estate commission fees. The extra money can help if you still owe on the house you are selling. You won’t know if you can be successful concerning “For Sale by Owner” unless you try.

·         You know the house and neighborhood. You will likely be more educated about the strengths and weaknesses about the house. You will also know your neighbors and the surrounding area pretty well, so you can talk about how great they are when showing your house. Plus, you can let prospective buyers know personally about all of the home improvements you’ve done.

·         You may already have a ready buyer. In this case, you can save the real estate agent’s full commission because much of the work is already done. Or, you can hire an agent for a reduced fee to complete the transaction.

·         You are in control. Some people simply prefer to be in charge, especially when it comes to such a big financial decision.
·         Selling is very time-consuming. Do you have the time to sell your house? It may be difficult to schedule appointments and show prospective buyers your home if you work full-time.

·         You have to take care of all the paperwork. There is a multitude of forms and paperwork to fill out, and an agent can seamlessly keep track of all signed documents. In order to be organized, you must be willing to do the same.

·         You have to prepare your home yourself. You may be blind to some of the flaws in your house, and a fresh pair of eyes can help get your house in selling shape.

·         You might not know how to market your home. You need to do some research to learn how to use useful forms of advertising such as the internet and classified ads. You also need to hone some important marketing skills to be successful in your sale.
As stated earlier, selling your own home means that you are the boss. You won’t have to succumb to overbearing agents or deal with unprofessionalism of any kind. You can call the shots, but it also means that any mistakes that are made rest solely on you.

If you decide to sell your own home, one of the most important pieces of information for you to know is the value of your home. You can rely on a free home value report from Neighborhood IQ to learn what your home is worth in order to ask for an appropriate price.