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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 4/5/2019

The home appraisal is the process of re-evaluating or revaluing your property to determine the market value either because you want to put the house up for sale or because you want to refinance your mortgage. When you put up your property for sale, you want to have it appraised by a professional as this will give you a fair idea of how much your property is worth.

Financial institutions giving out loans order a home appraisal to ensure the value of the house they are taking as collateral is equal or more than the amount they are providing as a loan. The evaluation helps lenders to avoid losing money if they decide to sell off the property due to failure by the borrower to pay up at the specified time, also known as foreclosure. A certified professional handles a home appraisal and usually has years of training and experience. After the assessment, the expert is expected to give an unbiased opinion about the value of your property. Some things would present your house in a better light and impact on how valuable your property is.

Fix All Damaged Safety Equipment

Ensure all safety equipment that is not working is fixed before the day of appraisal, as lack of these would make you lose points during the inspection. Ensure safety equipment like smoke alarms, security alarms, water heater straps among others are present and functional in your property.

Document Your Renovations

Inform your home appraiser of recent renovations you may have done on the property, the time when you did them and the cost of such repairs. The appraiser might not notice all the changes since it’s not their house, which is why you should bring it to their notice.

A Little Touch Up

Houses with cracked walls, a leaking roof, water-stained walls, signs of pest infestation, damaged floors, or moldy smell will get valued at a lesser amount. Repaint your walls, replace your leaking roof, fix any broken kitchen cabinet, change the doorknobs and generally improve on the appearance of your property. Also, take a walk around and assess the visual appeal yourself to know the things that need fixing ahead of time.

The $500 Rule

Appraisers value property in $500 increments. To be assessed at a higher amount, it’s better to have things like broken doors, damaged floors, old wallpaper, leaky faucets, broken windows repaired immediately. By doing this, you will recover the amount you spent on such repairs in your home appraisal report.

Check Your Yard

You want to take a walk outside your property and do a thorough scan of what might devalue your property, and have it fixed before the home appraiser arrives. Keep your grass and shrubs neat, add some colorful flowers, remove dried leaves littering the yard and whatever clutter will make your yard less attractive. Houses with a welcoming curb appeal receive better appraisals and are considered more valuable in the market.

Your seller's agent can help you prepare for your appraisal so heed their advice.




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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/22/2017

At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it's your first time buying a home you're probably hearing a lot of terms that don't mean much to you like "rate commitment," "prequalify," and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM. What many first time homebuyers don't realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It's a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer. The lender will require some documentation on your part and you'll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you're confused about where to begin, here's everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They will also ask for your permission to run a credit check. Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:
  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt - credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number. When you apply for a loan you'll also be determining if you're applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn't easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won't come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to "lock-in" their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one. This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don't want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 1/27/2017

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a home loan with an interest rate that may move up or down. Therefore, with an ARM, your mortgage payments may rise or fall depending on a variety of market factors.

For many homebuyers, an ARM remains a viable home financing option for a number of reasons, including:

1. Lower Interest Rate at the Beginning of Your Mortgage

An ARM enables you to purchase a home that may exceed your price range. As such, it frequently represents an ideal option for a young professional who expects his or her income to rise over the next few years.

With an ARM, you are able to lock in an interest rate for the first few years of your mortgage. For instance, with a 5/1 ARM, your interest rate will remain in place for the initial five years of your home loan. This means that your mortgage payments will remain the same for five years, then rise or fall based on market conditions.

Ultimately, an ARM may help you secure your dream home. In fact, an ARM often allows homebuyers to pay a lower interest rate at the beginning of a mortgage than the interest rate associated with many traditional fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) options.

2. Extra Savings for Home Improvements

If you choose an ARM with a below-average interest rate, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to improve your home.

For example, if you want to overhaul your residence's attic or basement or add an outdoor swimming pool, an ARM may help you do just that. Because you'll know exactly what you're paying for the first few years of your home loan, you can budget accordingly and invest in home improvements that may help you boost the value of your home.

3. Affordable Short-Term Financing

If you intend to live in a home for only a few years, an ARM may be preferable compared to an FRM.

In many instances, an ARM will feature a lower interest rate than an FRM. As a result, if you take advantage of an ARM, you may be able to secure a great house at an affordable price. Plus, if you sell your home before your initial interest rate expires, you can avoid the risk that your interest rate – and monthly mortgage costs – may rise.

Homebuyers should evaluate both ARM and FRM options. By doing so, a homebuyer can assess his or her home loan options and make an informed decision.

If you ever have ARM or FRM questions, banks and credit unions are happy to respond to your queries. These lenders will enable you to evaluate your financing needs so you can acquire your dream house.

Furthermore, consulting with your real estate agent may deliver immediate and long-lasting benefits. Your real estate agent can offer home loan recommendations and put you in touch with local lenders.

Dedicate the necessary time and resources to assess your home financing options, and you can move one step closer to securing your ideal house.




Tags: Mortgage   mortgage rates  
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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/14/2015

Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among the things a first time buyer has to do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase: 1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price. 2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments. 3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too. 4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than 30% of your household income. 5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.      





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 6/12/2015

Mortgage rates are at historic lows and there is no better time to buy a home. Do you qualify for those low advertised rates? Will you be able to secure a mortgage? Studies show that 6 in 10 people do qualify for mortgage loans. For those that can't qualify here are ten reasons why a would-be borrower might face rejection: 1. A low credit score will keep you from getting a mortgage. Typically, a score less than 620 is unacceptable by most lender standards. 2. A maxed out credit card threshold will stop a mortgage in its tracks. If your balance more than 30 percent of the allowable credit lenders will take pause. 3. Multiple credit inquiries may drop your credit score. Limit your credit inquiries to mortgage-only credit pulls within a 30-day period. 4. Did you Co-sign a loan with someone? If so, plan to provide 12 months of canceled checks showing they make the payments to the creditor. 5. Other housing liability payments or a consumer loan for a vehicle may prevent your loan approval. Lenders are looking for you to have double the income to offset each dollar of debt you carry. 6. If you are self-employed you may not be showing income under a Schedule C. This reduces your borrowing power. 7. Claiming many unreimbursed business expenses and losses on your taxes may help you pay less taxes but it also can reduce your borrowing power. 8. If you change jobs often this could also hurt your chances at a mortgage. If you occupational status has changed in the past two years it can hurt you. 9. If you are planning on using cash for your purchase think again. All monies must come from some kind of a bank account. 10. Don't plan on transferring money from different accounts during the loan process. Be prepared to show full bank statements and a chain of deposits etc. Your mortgage professional should be able to look at your credit, debt, income and assets and make a determination of whether you qualify for a mortgage.







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