What are the steps to take while refinancing your home mortgage loan?

After the credit downgrade by the S&P, though most financial experts thought that the interest rates on the home mortgage loans will spiral out of control, the fact was far from being true. With record low interest rates, you must be thinking about refinancing your home loan in order to be current on the original loan and retain your home ownership rights. However, before you refinance home mortgage, are you prepared to go for it? Do you know how much your home is worth now and did you gather all the required documents? It has been seen that most people are too eager to refinance their home loans but are not aware of the exact steps that they need to take in order to make the entire process successful. Have a look at the steps that you need to take in order to opt for a refinance.

1. Identify your needs: Most homeowners are only considered about refinancing their home loan without even being aware of the fact that they need to identify their needs in order to take the best step forward. If you’re just capitalizing on the drop of the interest rates, you’re grossly mistaken. There are some considerations that you must keep in mind before going for a refinance. Determine what you actually need out of the refinance option, whether a revised interest rate or lower monthly payments. All struggling homeowners must first identify their goals before taking the plunge.

2. Gather all the required documents: When you’re getting ready to approach the mortgage lenders for getting a refinance home mortgage loan, you must gather all the documents that the lenders may check before granting you the loan amount. You must be sure about the information on your current loan, your present credit score and the monthly income that you presently earn. With all this information, the lenders get a better idea about whether or not the borrower can repay the loan on time. You must also include the tax returns, investment information and other monthly debt load that you need to repay.

3. Shop around for the loan: The homeowners must apply to various lenders to ensure whether or not they’re being offered the best mortgage loan in the market. You must be aware that there are lots of mortgage servicing institutions in the market and you have to make sure that you strike the best deal by getting multiple mortgage quotes from the lenders.

4. Narrow down to a handful of options: When you have lots of mortgage quotes and terms to compare, you must then get down to brass tacks and narrow down to a handful of options. Each and every loan that you compare must include appraisal fees, origination fees and other closing costs.

5. Close the deal: After you’ve completed all the above mentioned steps, select the best one that meets your needs. Inspect the terms and conditions of the loan to avoid further discrepancies and act accordingly to close the deal.

Therefore, if you’re a perfect candidate for refinance home mortgage, you need to follow the exact steps that can complete the process successfully. Manage your personal finances so that you can repay the refinance loan on time and retain your homeownership rights.

Article above published by Tampa Homes in the bay area by Robert Lipply. Find your perfect home now while home mortgage rates are at such a low level.

Real Estate: Newer Homes vs Older Homes


There is a general perception among potential homebuyers that newly built homes are in good condition. But, what if substandard materials or practices were used when the home was originally built? The age of the home has nothing to do with the quality of it. Both newer and older homes provide advantages for homeowners. It’s just a matter of what’s important to the homeowner and potential buyer. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages to both.

Four Advantages of Buying a Newer Home

1. Maintenance
Newly constructed homes have a slimmer chance of needing new roofs, electrical systems and plumbing materials. Because everything is new, chances are they will last a while.

2. Modernization
In newer homes, many amenities are standard built-ins. This may include refrigerators, stoves, ovens, microwaves, dishwasher, deep freezers, even wine coolers. They come with master bedrooms that include master bathrooms. There are exercise areas, media rooms and networked wiring and computer systems.

3. Energy Efficiency
Many newly built homes come with solar panels installed. They are excellent for making a home more energy efficient, meaning they help homeowners use less power. The new, installed appliances are energy efficient appliances as well. The entire house is insulated, including the walls, ceilings, even the floors. They are equipped with dual pane windows, which help keep houses cool during the summertime and warmer in the winter.

4. Built per Newer Codes
Newer homes are built according to the current building codes at the time of their construction. As these codes change to improve safety, newer homes are built to keep up. Homeowners can feel confident that newly constructed homes are up to current standard building codes.

Four Advantages of Buying an Older Home

1. Stronger Construction
Older homes have stood the test of time. Some of them have made it through decades, even centuries of bad weather and other natural disasters, only to remain standing stronger than ever. They were built by dedicated professionals who were very meticulous about what they produced.

2. Yard Sizes
Older constructed homes were build at a time when land sold for much less. Builders were able to construct homes on much larger lots than those of today’s newer homes. These large lots accommodate larger homes, while leaving space for garages, front yards and backyards.

3. Established Neighborhood
Older homes are usually located in older, more established neighborhoods. The zoning laws have been in place since “forever”, and are not likely to change. The chances of a strip mall or night club being built in these areas are very slim.

4. Mature Trees and Vegetation
Trees and vegetation in older areas have been growing and cared for since the neighborhood was first established. After decades and centuries have passed, the “greeneries” continue to grow and stay strong. Older homes and their neighborhood streets and parks have been known to have one-hundred year old trees that provide an excellent of shade during hot, sunny days.

Do Your Own Inspection

When comparing the quality of a newer home versus an older home, a professional home inspection will be able to provide more definitive answers to help you make an educated decision with your home buying choices. If that’s not possible, there are some things you, personally, as a potential buyer can look for to judge the quality of a house.

    Step back and look at the house from a distance. Check to see if the walls are smooth and flat. Cracks could mean problems with the foundation or the physical structure of the property.

    You can usually get a decent view of the rooftop from the middle of the street and backyard. Make sure the roofing materials look neat and properly applied.

    Make sure there are sufficient drainage pipes and downspouts for draining excess water and carrying it away from the structure. Be weary of water damage. Evidence of it can include brown spots on the ceiling, wet wood under cabinets, rusted water pipes, etc.

    Be sure to turn on faucets and flush the toilets to ensure proper water pressure. Low water pressure could mean a leak somewhere, clogged pipes, inefficient faucets, etc.

    Test the air conditioning systems, heating systems and furnaces. They should turn on within a minute. You should also start to feel the cold or warm air coming out within five minutes.

    Check the piping. Fixture and heater pipes should be made of copper.

    Take a really good luck at any stairways in the house. Tilted, crooked stairways are an indication of an unstable foundation. They also become more and more dangerous to use over time.

    Look in the attic to ensure the insulation has been installed with quality workmanship. In moderate climates the recommendation is R-19 (6 inches of fiberglass).

Initially, the above list can provide enough information to avoid the costs of a house inspector. You can save yourself time and money by making sure the home is in good, quality condition before even giving the seller an offer. You’ll be proud of yourself in the long run.

Whether you are looking for Tampa new home construction or Dunedin Historic homes for sale, we can help you find the right property!

Five Reasons for Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Whether you are buying or selling Madison WI homes for sale, a Real Estate Agent is worth the commission you pay based on the benefits you receive. It is the same as hiring an attorney or accountant. They can save you money and valuable time. A professional agent can guide you through the pitfalls of the housing market. There are two ways you can sell your home:

  1. You can try to sell the home as a “For Sale by Owner” property.
  2. You can hire the services of a professional realtor.

In the unpredictable Real Estate market of today, it is highly recommended to obtain the services of a professional. He/she is responsible for ensuring that the deal closes successfully, and in a timely manner. This is important to your agent because, if the deal doesn’t close, he/she will not get their commission.

Seller’s Market

In today’s housing market, selling a home means competing against many foreclosures and short sales available on the market. These homes are currently selling at record-low prices. That’s why finding a buyer that is willing to pay the fair market value for your home can be easier said than done. A knowledgeable professional, like your selling agent, will be able to assist you with this.

Buyer’s Market

When buying a home you need a true expert, like a buying agent, that can negotiate on your behalf. The entire buying process can be stressful, if you are not experienced in real estate negotiations. Here are just some of the hoops a buyer must jump through to get the deal started:

  • You have to make an offer, and after the home inspection, you may have to renegotiate.
  • The lender will want to protect the investment by making sure the mortgagor can repay the mortgage loan.
  • The lender will want to make sure the property has sufficient value.
  • The lender will request an appraisal. Note: Deals often get canceled after the appraisal.
  • According to the National Association of Realtors, 11% of deals are canceled from an appraisal coming in below the price negotiated between buyer and seller.
  • 14% of successful deals are renegotiated to a lower sales price.

Five Reasons for Hiring a Realtor

In order to cause yourself less stress, it would be wise to hire a real estate agent. They will be in charge of negotiations and required administrative processes, while you can be concentrating on other aspects of your life. This may include working overtime to save more money, shopping for the right home, even getting your current home prepared to sell. Here are five great reasons for hiring a realtor, whether you’re a buyer, or a seller:

  1. ExperienceThis goes without saying. Your RE agent has experience you do not possess. You don’t need to worry about the process every day, because your agent will keep you up-to-date.
  2. Buffering A buyer’s agent will act as a buffer between the buyer and other seller’s agents. They can help to weed out unwanted deals, according to the buyer’s wants and needs. While, a seller’s agent will weed out unsolicited phone calls and lookie loos who are not really serious about buying a home at this time. They will only refer serious buyers who are ready to make an offer.
  3. Neighborhood Information Realtors are very knowledgeable about their markets. If they don’t know the “industry buzz” about a particular neighborhood, they have the access to resources to find out about the area. They can help with comparable prices, as well as data on schools, crime stats, etc…
  4. Pricing Leadership Your real estate agent knows the right factors to consider when helping you price your home. They do not set the prices. They just provide you with enough information to guide you through the pricing process. Remember, an overpriced home, probably will not sell in the current market. A buyer’s agent will advise them of current market values, as well.
  5. Market Conditions Expert Your expert realtor knows the current housing market conditions that will effect both selling and buying property. He/she will share any information to help you make the right decision on costs and other data that will effect your selling and buying decisions.

Hire a Realtor for Assistance

You need an expert to keep the deal together until it closes. That’s where your real estate agents skills come in handy. Hire a Real Estate Agent and negotiate the commission. In this maze of Real Estate complexities your agent will be worth it.

Article provided by Jolenta Averill and posted by Tampa Bay Condos. You can see all Madison WI homes by visiting Jolenta’s website. Jolenta is the Broker/Owner of Lake & City Homes Realty, a boutique real estate brokerage in Madison, Wisconsin.

What You Need to Know About Buying Foreclosures

Buying a foreclosure can be an excellent way to save money on a new home or on an investment property. Still, whether shopping for Colorado luxury condos or a sprawling home in Tampa Bay, before you decide to purchase a foreclosure there are several things that you need to keep in mind.

The Inspection Process can be Tricky

When purchasing real estate, most homebuyers chose to have the property inspected by a professional. This way, they can be sure they are aware of any problems with the property and they can make sure these issues are addressed before actually purchasing the home. With a foreclosure, however, an inspection may not be an option. In fact, some foreclosures are not open to inspection at all. In this case, you will have to make your decision based solely on the information that is contained in the listing. Furthermore, even if you are permitted to complete an inspection, you will not have the option to have repairs made before you purchase. Rather, you will have to calculate the cost of the necessary repairs when determining how much you are willing to pay for the property.

If you are unable to complete an inspection, there are a few guidelines that will help you determine if the home will make a worthwhile investment or will become a money pit. First, keep in mind that homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint. Second, consider the current market value of other homes in the neighborhood. This way, you can determine a reasonable resale value after you have completed any necessary repairs.

Financing Procedures Differ

Obtaining financing for a foreclosure is different from financing a traditional property. If you will require financing for your purchase, you will need to check with the lender before you place a bid on the foreclosure. In fact, in many cases, you will need to be able to hand over the cash almost immediately after winning the bid.

Several Types of Foreclosures are Available

Many people who are interested in purchasing a foreclosure are unaware that there are actually several different types of foreclosures available to select from. The most familiar type of foreclosure is the REO, or real estate owned, foreclosure. With an REO foreclosure, the owner has defaulted on a traditional loan and the bank has regained ownership of the property. Since an REO foreclosure may involve any number of different banks, lenders and trusts, the procedures for purchasing an REO foreclosure may vary significantly.

In addition to the REO foreclosure, VA and FHA foreclosures are also available. With these types of foreclosures, the owner took out a loan through either the Department of Veterans Affairs or through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since the government regains ownership of the property in both of these types of foreclosures, there is a very specific process that must be followed in order to purchase a VA or FHA foreclosure. Therefore, it is best to contact a real estate agent to help with this process.

About The Author – Brian Kinkade works with homebuyers within the Denver luxury condo market, including Art House Condos Denver, and is a licensed real estate agent with The Home Cart team. This guest post is brought to you by the Clearwater Real Estate team; hope you find it informative.

Selling a House During the Christmas Holidays – Yes or No

Inevitably, the question of whether or not to have a house on the market during the Christmas holidays comes up every year around this time. Some people will suggest you do, others will vehemently oppose. Personally, I don’t see what the fuss is about.

If your goal is to sell the house, then sell the house. If anything, you stand to benefit from the lack of competition created by those who did decide to take their house off the market. And, if your real estate agent suggests otherwise, then kindly remind them of the reason you hired them in the first place!

What if the house sells and I have to move out during the holidays?

You don’t have to. For example, your contract can stipulate that you require 60 days to vacate, or that you can’t move out until after the first week of the New Year. Furthermore, it takes a while in most cases to close on a house – inspections have to be done, appraisals, escrows, and mortgage approvals. On average, it takes about 30 to 60 days from acceptance of a contract until the date of close – plenty of time to vacate.

I don’t want to have to show the house during the holidays!

Why not? I can’t think of a better time to show it. A nicely Christmas decorated house with an inviting, warm fuzzy, home sweet home feeling is a wonderful enhancement to your property. It only takes one person to get taken by your home’s Christmas look to achieve your goal of selling the house.

People are too busy to go out looking for a house

While that may be true for the majority of people, there is always a percentage of folks that do look for a house during the holidays. What do you have to lose? It doesn’t cost you anything to have the house up for sale, but you may just miss out on potential buyers if you don’t. Again, it only takes one buyer.

People looking to buy a home during the holidays are highly motivated; otherwise, they’re not going to take time away from Christmas holiday activities like getting their Christmas shopping done, decorating their home and so forth to go look for a house. You can be certain that you won’t be wasting your time showing the house to tire kickers.

Statistically, the inventory of homes for sale during the winter is lower than at any other period during the year; which makes it the perfect time to have your house up for sale. Not only will you have a better chance at getting offers, but you also might get more for the house.

One other advantage of having your house up for sale during the holidays is that many people take time off of work during this period, this provides ample opportunity to go house hunting. Couples are not pressed for time and will stop to look at houses.

Buyers who are out house hunting during the holidays are serious buyers. Not showing them your house is tantamount to turning down good, if not the best, prospects. So the answer is yes, keep your home on the market during the holidays!

If you live in Madison, Wisconsin any other snow covered northern city, decorating your home for the holiday season is as common as Palm trees here in Florida ~ and many of them are currently Selling a home in Madison WI. Sellers there don’t think twice about selling during the holidays! Why should we?

We have been a realtor who sells homes in Tampa Florida for years ~ if you have any other questions or concerns call us, we’d be happy to discuss them with you.

Mortgage broker: How they can help you in real estate investment

When you are planning to purchase any real estate property, the mortgage brokers play a very important role. The mortgage brokers are called the business people since they help you in taking out the most suitable loan within your afford-ability. It is the mortgage broker who brings the borrower and lender in close connection with a real estate transaction. The mortgage brokers have thorough information about the mortgage market and they work with more number of lenders in order to help you find out the most suitable loan.

A mortgage broker examines your exact loan requirement and then shop around thoroughly to help you search for the right mortgage lender. A good mortgage broker will always have a clear understanding of the different types of mortgage loans that each lender can offer you and as such, have connection with a large group of lenders. However, it is the mortgage lender who will ultimately approve your loan request. But the mortgage broker assesses your financial condition and borrowing capability. The brokers will check your credit report and collect all the necessary papers that the lender checks before approving your loan request.

The role of a mortgage broker is same like that of a loan officer of any bank. They check your credit report and financial condition so that any unnecessary problem does not arise in the loan approval process in future. Most of the mortgage brokers are trust-worthy and they will help you take out the most appropriate loan. You need to know that the brokers are paid certain amount of fees by the mortgage lenders for their services. However, if any lender can pay higher fees to the broker, then the lender will have a much better deal. It is advisable that you should never reveal the mortgage brokers about the terms at which you will accept the loan but rather allow the brokers to tell you at what terms they are offering you the loan. Shop around thoroughly to find out whether or not the terms and conditions of the loan are appropriate for you. You can use your own copies of credit reports when you visit the mortgage lender initially so that they do not ask you to show your credit reports several times.

There are some borrowers who would like to work with the mortgage brokers in order to fulfill their real estate needs. However, after you complete some real estate transactions, you will be able to have a much better idea about the type of mortgage lender you can work with in the most successful way.

Article brought to you by the Clearwater Real Estate team in Tampa Bay. We, along with your mortgage broker will help you along the process of buying a new home.

3 Buyer Tips on Short Sales and REOs

Thinking about a short sale? Lately, it seems as though everyone is. Sellers are looking for a quick way to get out from under the threat of foreclosure. While buyers, on the other hand, are seeking a great deal on a home being sold below market prices. Here are a few facts that every buyer should know before actively pursuing purchasing a property in a short sale.

1. Short sales are never short.

The average short sale can take 60-120 days from the date of “mutual acceptance”, meaning all parties agree to the terms of the sale. Although the seller must agree to the initial offer, the bank is who gets the final word. And, as we now know, these banks can be very difficult to work with. Getting answers from them is like pulling teeth. Sometimes, it can take the bank months to even acknowledge the buyer’s request, let alone respond to it. If they don’t like the offer, more than likely, they’ll just ignore it altogether. If they do like the offer, it will still take weeks to negotiate inspections, closing terms, etc…

2. There are NO guarantees.

Buyers have been known to have to wait weeks, sometimes months for a response from the bank. Then, when they do, the buyer finds out the bank never even saw the offer, or they got a better offer from elsewhere and jumped on it.

This, of course, is not the best scenario for the potential short sale buyer. They spend all this time just hoping that the bank accepts their offer. This can be even more stressful for the buyer looking to buy a home to live in with their family. So, to homebuyers who are looking for a place to live, rather than investment property, keep this in mind. If you have a deadline to finding a place to call home, a short sale may not be for you. Explore other options to find a deal on a home you can afford

3. Banks really aren’t that motivated.

The banks are not in a rush to change the way they behave or to do anyone any favors. Between using distressed properties as tax write-offs (losses), Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) that covers those losses and the US government providing unmentionable amounts of money to bail the banks out, they don’t need to be in a rush to change or assist.

You would think that the banks would be eager to cut any deals they can with delinquent homeowners. It almost sounds like common sense to me. Here are some of the positive effects this could have:

=> Help provide relief to the homeowners in trouble.
=> Put some of the housing money back into circulation.
=> Slow up the acceleration of home value depreciation.

Sounds like a winner. Right? Well, not with the rewards the banks are receiving for being greedy. Instead of holding them accountable for their failures in the housing market, the government is willing to buy them out of the crisis situations they, themselves, created.

Weigh Your Options

All homebuyers have options. This includes short sale purchases. Be sure you have the time needed to go through this long, tedious process. If you and your family are in need of a home, short sales are a good option for getting a great deal. But, the process takes time. So, make sure that you are not under any time constraints or strict deadlines when making an offer on a short sale. Not only can it take months for the deal to close, there is always a possibility that the bank won’t agree to the terms of the short sale anyway, leaving you starting your search from the beginning again.

Have additional questions or would like to search for buying a foreclosure home>? Visit our website’s search home pages. We also have a Tampa Homes website where you can search for Tampa Short Sales and Foreclosures.

How Do Lenders Make Their Money?

Asking a lender for their current rates is as common as asking the weatherman for the forecast. Lenders are often competing against one another based on the current APR (annual percentage rate) they are offering, so a busy lender would answer the ‘What are your rates?’ question numerous times each day. Though they are often very close, they can and do vary from one lender to another. Let’s look into why that is.

The Rate Sheet

Each morning, rate sheets are distributed across different mortgage organizations. Since mortgage bankers are lending their company’s own money, their rate sheet comes from their company. Mortgage brokers coordinate across many different wholesale lenders, so they get several different rate sheets each morning. These used to be delivered via fax, but more commonly come via e-mail or secure website now.

If the stock market is particularly unstable, there could be rate sheet revisions mid-day. Though every lender has them, these rate sheets are not for public consumption. Basically, they detail what a loan will cost the lender. For example, on the chart below, for the 4.25% rate that is being offered, the loan will cost the lender 2 “points” or 2 percent of the loan.

Rate Cost
4.250% 2.00
4.375% 1.50
4.500% 1.00
4.625% .500
4.750% .000
4.875% (.500)
5.000% (1.000)
5.125% (1.500)
5.250% (1.875)
5.375% (2.125)
5.500% (2.375)

Arriving at a Price

As you can see, different rates incur different costs. Higher rates cost less than lower rates. The reason being that the lender will make their money earning more interest over the life of the loan. Because of this, they are able to charge less. The same is true for the lower rates. Since they will earn less in interest over time, they need to charge more upfront.

At zero points, the loan is set at what is called ‘par’ pricing. If inquiring about a mortgage, always ask for the par price. If you want to tweak rates, you can do that, but find out what the lowest cost option is first.

The numbers in parentheses are called rebate prices. At these rates, instead of incurring a cost, the branch or loan officer paid back this amount for originating the loan. The rates get higher as credit scores decrease, as the loan officer will likely have to track down more documents and do more research, etc. those with higher credit scores.

Loan officers are almost always paid on commission just like REALTORS®. Also like REALTORS®, their commission is subject to a split, meaning they keep some and their branch keeps some. Any fees collected at closing that are not discount points go to the lender and are not part of the loan officers split commission.

What This Means For You

Each lender has parameters of how much they need to make per loan, so prior to quoting a rate to the public, they factor in what they need to earn. They usually have some flexibility between the minimum and maximum that they will charge but most have a set price they work for and that’s that.

If we look at the rates above, if the lender decides to earn 1 point, they just add that to the price. The zero point loan would be 5%. If you wanted a rate of 4.75%, it would cost you 1 point. Going further, if a lender were to advertise ‘No Fees, No Points,’ they would charge you a higher rate and use the rebate for the fees.

Now you know where all those numbers come from. Lenders costs are usually pretty close throughout the industry. The only thing you really have to worry about is getting your loan done on time. Asking your Realtor for recommendations is the best way to ensure you get a lender who can make the deal happen.

Article Provided by Mitch Ribak a Melbourne Florida real estate agent. You can learn more about Mitch by visiting his Brevard County real estate website.