Getting Preapproved- FAQ’s

Getting Preapproved- FAQ’s

Can I apply before I find the home I want to purchase?

Yes! When you apply in advance, we can issue you a pre-qualification letter that will affirm to the seller of the home that you are a qualified buyer. We can also help you determine a comfortable price range to look in and keep your payment within your budget.

What is a rate lock?

A rate lock is an agreement between the borrower and lender that allows the borrower to secure an interest rate range for a specified period of time. This can offer you protection from fluctuations in the market. It is your choice whether or not to lock your interest rate, your loan officer will be able to advise you on whether and when to lock.

Who do I contact if I have a question about the servicing of my loan?

If you need additional information regarding the servicing of your mortgage loan, please submit the following information in writing: your name, your loan number and the additional information you are requesting.

If you believe an error has occurred regarding the servicing of your mortgage loan, please submit the following information in writing: your name, your loan number, and the error you believe has occurred.

What are title and escrow?

Title companies act as a neutral third party during a real estate transaction by handling the transfer of funds and documents between the parties involved. As a neutral party, the title company protects both the buyer and seller by ensuring that all conditions are met for the sale prior to the exchange of funds. Title companies also offer title insurance for property owners, this provides insurance against loss due to title defects, liens and other issues.

Can I still qualify for a loan after short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy?

This will depend on a number of factors: whether your waiting period has expired, whether you have been able to do any credit repair needed and your current income and employment situation. Contact us anytime for a no obligation, free evaluation to see what we can do for you.

How do points work?

Points can be paid upfront at closing in exchange for a lower interest rate throughout the life of the loan. One point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. Although this means you will be required to pay at closing, you will lower your payments by doing so.

By comparing the costs of the points at origination to the savings you would gain from your lowered monthly payments, you can judge how many payments it would take to recoup the money spent on the points. If, for example, you plan to move or refinance in 3 years, but it would take 4 years of payments to gain a savings from the points, then paying points would not be a good investment

How will my credit score affect my mortgage?

Your credit score is determined by a credit bureau and used to determine the likelihood that you will repay the loan, the number can range from 300-850. The amount and type of credit available to you, the balance owed, your consistency in making payments, credit inquiries and any defaults or late payments all factor into your score. You can view a copy of your credit report from the 3 major bureaus once every 12 months for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com

Your credit score can play a big part in qualifying for a mortgage. Depending on the type of loan you are interested in, there may be a minimum score required and your credit score will also be reflected in the price of the loan. If you are in need of credit repair we would be happy to advise you on ways to improve your score.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are the costs incurred during the loan process. These costs can include origination fees (the charge for processing the loan paperwork), credit report fees, appraisal and inspection fees, title insurance, recording fees and underwriting fees. Depending on your loan, closing costs may also include fees for escrow deposit or discount points as well.

Typically, closing costs will be between 2 and 5% of the cost of the home. Your loan officer will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) after you submit your loan application, which will outline the expected closing costs. The GFE is only an estimate, though, and closing costs can change during the transaction.

You may choose to pay your closing costs at the time that the loan closes, or finance them into the loan. You can also consult your realtor about the possibility of asking the sellers of the home to pay some or all of your closing costs.

Most lenders will be happy to run your information for you. Some local lenders will also help you do FREE credit repair.

 

Posted on July 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers
Nearly 60 percent of the real estate agents polled said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago.

Everyone is talking about the connected home. Smart home technology is becoming the new norm and now according to a survey of more than 500 Coldwell Banker sale associates it’s taking off in real estate as well. Nearly 60 percent of sales associates surveyed said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago, and one in three sales associates noted that properties with smart home features and technologies sell faster than homes without them.

The relevance of the smart home was also apparent at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas earlier this year. Members of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate marketing team attended CES. The team couldn’t walk more than a few feet without encountering a new piece of smart home technology. From security systems with advanced motion sensors to innovative systems that allow for lighting control from mobile devices, the connected home was ubiquitous.

Inspired by CES, Coldwell Banker compiled a list of the top 25 smart home products and technologies that matter most to buyers, based on the Coldwell Banker survey and CES favorites. The list is grouped into seven categories: security, temperature, safety, lighting, entertainment, appliances and overall connectivity.

Check them out below, and follow along all week as we continue to highlight smart home technology on the Blue Matter blog and through social media with #smarthomeweek.

Smart Security

1. Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock – With Kevo the smartphone is now the key. Home sellers can allow their realtors, or anyone else such as a neighbor or a housecleaner, to have access to specified doors for a designated time. Eventually when the new buyer moves in all they have to do is download the app and they’re ready to go.

2. iSmartAlarm –Meet one of the DIY smart home security leaders, with no monthly fees and no contracts. This easy-to-install wireless DIY system is great for apartments or small homes. The iSmartAlarm system is almost infinitely expandable via door and window motion sensors, smart switches, and iCamera and iCamera KEEP models with streaming video and video storage. Packages start at $199.

3. Oplink Connected– Oplink Connected is great for a slightly larger home, and provides a premier service for a low monthly fee. The DIY alarm package includes door and window sensors as well as video cameras which are controlled through its mobile app.

4. SAGE Security & Home Automation– Coming soon — SAGE allows for management of the entire connected home through mobile devices and televisions. The television-centric SAGE system enables consumers to check on children in another room via a video feed, see who rang the doorbell or lower the room temperature — all from the comfort of the TV room couch.

Smart Temperature

5. Nest Learning Thermostat – Tell a buyer that the home has a Nest thermostat and their ears will perk-up. The Nest Learning Thermostat absorbs its owner’s daily routine and adjusts the temperature accordingly. The Nest thermostat can be controlled through a phone, its built-in sensors detect an empty home allowing Nest to set itself to an energy-efficient temperature. Oh, and it also saves customers about 10 – 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills per year — a huge win.

6. Honeywell Lyric Thermostat – Honeywell is known for temperature control and their new smart thermostat, the Lyric, is a solid entry into the smart home market. The most talked about advantages of Lyric are its geofencing feature and humidity sensor for more accurate comfort, control and savings. All of these qualities are definitely pluses for families.

7. Canary – This sleek-looking product is mostly about security, but it made this smart temperature list for its ability to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity. It’s cool enough to make an impression with potential buyers, at only $249. The Canary system is available in white, black or silver.

8. Big Ass Fans’ Haiku with SenseME – The world’s most advanced ceiling fan knows exactly when to speed up and when to slow down. Not to mention, it is a gorgeous and luxurious addition to any room. Starting at $1,045 it’s a better fit for luxury homes, but it will certainly set any listing apart.

Smart Safety

9. Iris Safe & Secure Kit – With Iris, Lowe’s is making it simple for just about anyone to make their home smarter. Feel more confident that families, homes and pets are safe and secure with the DIY, self-monitored home security system. Receive notifications directly to a smartphone, tablet or computer whenever an alarm event is triggered.

10. First Alert Onelink – This suite of smart home safety products is fresh to the market. Included in this offering (and available for presale on Amazon.com) are a Wi-Fi combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm as well as a watch, both of which send phone notifications if something is amiss. The First Alert Onlink safety products, including the already available Wi-Fi thermostat, will be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.

11. Nest Protect – This smart home device is a smoke and carbon monoxide smart alarm that speaks in a human voice, telling the user if there’s smoke or CO, which room it’s in, and if there is immediate danger. Definitely comforting for families!

12. Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight – This genius little nightlight keeps track of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and home climate. If something’s not right, it sends immediate phone notifications.

Smart Lighting

13. Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb – This combination light and speaker had everyone buzzing at CES 2015. Simply twist the bulb into an existing light socket, download the app and connect to the Pulse bulbs. The Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb can stream music and control lighting at the same time.

14. Lutron Caséta Wireless – This connected home solution allows for lights, battery-powered shades and temperature to be controlled from a mobile device. An easy DIY solution that’s affordable, these products are less than $150. For example, hit “morning,” lights will turn onto a certain level, shades will rise and room temperature is adjusted to the desired level.

15. Philips Hue – Philips Hue delivers more than 16 million colors and all shades of white light to personalize lighting to suit any occasion, mood or moment. With more than 230 apps, Philips Hue can sync lights to music, or even simulate a sunrise effect. Bulbs and lamps are now all controllable via the Hue app or MyHue portal.

16. Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set – With this simple starter set, turn lights off-and-on from anywhere, create schedules and dim to create the perfect ambiance. The set includes the WeMo link, which allows users to connect up to 50 WeMo Smart bulbs. Can’t get enough of Belkin WeMo products? Get tricked out with complete Belkin home automation.

Smart Appliances

17.LG Studio Collection – LG Studio, LG’s premium line of kitchen appliances, seamlessly blends best-in-class innovation with an uncompromising approach to design. Its full suite of appliances — including refrigerators, cooktops, ranges, ovens and microwaves — delivers integrated and timeless styling, embodying LG’s finest expression of aesthetics and performance.

18. Whirlpool Smart Duet Washer and Dryer – Whirlpool has made it easy to control every load at anytime from anywhere. The Smart Front Washer and Dryer now work with the Nest Learning Technology, helping to keep clothes fresh if the cycle ends while the user is away.

19. LG Mega-Capacity French-Door Refrigerator – LG’s Mega Capacity Refrigerator boasts incredibly impressive size. As the largest in its class, families have room for even the biggest shopping expeditions with space to spare! It also includes the Slim Spaceplus Ice System and the Smart Cooling Plus System, which help keep food fresher, longer. The LG Mega-Capacity Refrigerator includes a 10-year limited warranty.

20. GE ChillHub This first-of-its-kind smart refrigerator has two USB hubs, WiFi and an open-source IOS-compatible app that integrates with the refrigerator by allowing access to sensor data and control of fridge components. The first ChillHub accessory, Milky Weigh, will even tell you how much milk you have left!

Smart Entertainment

21. N’FINITY PRO HDX Dual Zone Wine Cellars – The N’FINITY PRO is the most advanced wine cellar on the market. Equipped with an energy saving cooling system, telescopic shelving and dual zone cooling, these smart wine cellars will take care of all wine storage needs in the most cost efficient way!

22. Vizio 60″ P-Series Smart TV –This Ultra HD TV is crystal clear and lets users stream popular apps and favorite shows in UHD quality and use UHD playback from next generation cable and satellite receivers, Blu-ray players and more.

23. TCL Roku TV – The TCL Roku TV was released in August 2014 and quickly became a favorite because of its price and comprehensive smart TV features, such as its selection of more than 2,000 streaming channels, easy-to-use interface and simple remote. Recently, Roku announced plans to support 4K UHD streaming in future Roku TV models.

24. DishWorld TV App – The DishWorld app allows viewers to stream live TV on any smart phone, computer or tablet. The app can be used on Roku, Slingbox, Samsung Smart TV, Apple, Windows or Google Play devices.

Connected Home Platform

25. Iris Smart Kit: With so many ways to make a home smart, it can be a lot to digest and manage. Thankfully Lowe’s is making it easy with a single app to manage a Smart Home. Iris offers three starter kits and basic or premium service plans.

 

Source: Lindsay Listanski/ CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Degrees With the Shortest Savings Path to Homeownership

Degrees With the Shortest Savings Path to Homeownership


College students taking specific courses of study have the potential to become homeowners sooner after graduation than others, according to a new report by realtor.com®.

Engineering majors have the most promising prospects, with petroleum engineering majors able to become homeowners in an average 2.6 years—the shortest time of all the degree tracks analyzed by realtor.com. Petroleum engineering majors earn a starting salary of $96,700, according to Payscale.com, which allows for $19,340 savings each year—enough to accumulate a 20 percent down payment on a $250,000 home in roughly two-and-a-half years.

“When it comes to homeownership, degrees in engineering really pay off,” says Joe Kirchner, senior economist at realtor.com. “While this analysis leverages averages and assumptions, it shows just how powerful a high starting salary can be when it comes to early homeownership.”

Other degrees with short timespans to homeownership include: physician assistant studies (2.9 years); computer science (3.5 years); chemical, computer, mining or nuclear engineering (3.6 years); and electrical engineering (EE), electronics and communications engineering or electrical and computer engineering (ECE) (3.7 years).

On the other hand, homeownership is some years away for education majors—according to the report, education majors average seven years saving for a down payment.

“Our analysis also underscores the importance of consistently saving, especially if you aren’t making a high starting salary,” Kirchner says. “While seven years may sound like a long time, putting away 20 percent each month could have education professionals in a home by their late 20s or early 30s.”

 

Source: Rismedia

Posted on May 21, 2017 at 8:23 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Things to Look for in a House if You Have Children

 

10 Things to Look for in a House if You Have Children

If you have kids (or are planning to) and you’re shopping for a house, your what-to-look-for checklist is probably already a mile long. To avoid getting swamped by the home buying process, focus on what you really want from your home. Beyond the basics of location, price, condition and school district, what would really make a home a great fit for your family? Consider adding these 10 items to your home buying wish list — and then share your own ideas in the Comments.

1. Entry storage. From the strollers and car seats of the baby stage to the sports gear and backpacks of the older years, a never-ending parade of stuff comes with having children in the house — and the more places you have to put this stuff when you walk in the door, the better! Look for a house with built-in entry storage, from closets and cabinets to cubbies and shelves. Having an entry out of view of the rest of the house is ideal, so you can enjoy your home without staring at the gear in the entryway all the time.

2. Convenient laundry. A laundry in the basement may not be the first thing you notice at an open house, but if you have young children, you might want to give the laundry zone a little more thought. Having the washer and dryer on the main level — in a mudroom or off the kitchen, for instance — comes in incredibly handy when you’re wrangling small children who go through more wardrobe changes in one day than Lady Gaga. A laundry near upstairs bedrooms is another good option, since this will likely mean a lot less schlepping of heavy baskets up and down the stairs.


3. Stairs that can be safely gated. Speaking of stairs, if you are looking at homes with more than one level, pay attention to the stairs and railings. Look for stairs that can be gated easily at the top and bottom, and sturdy railings without any wide gaps. Airy, open staircases may look beautiful, but if you can’t easily block them, life with a little one will be very stressful.

4. Ditto for the kitchen. While being able to see what’s going on in the living room while you chop veggies for dinner is a definite plus, it still pays to consider how you can gate off the cooking area to keep curious little hands out. Door openings that are larger than standard size may require custom (read: costlier) solutions. Of course, you may decide you don’t need to separate this area … but it never hurts to think about it before you buy.

5. Built-in storage. Built-in storage means more places to neatly stash your family’s stuff, without worrying about anchoring tall, topple-prone pieces of furniture to the wall. Ideally, look for built-in shelving in the living room or family room with open shelves above and closed cabinets below.

6. Kid-friendly bathroom. We’re not talking about a themed bathroom here, but a functional space that will work well for your family. Look for a bathroom with a tub and plenty of room to maneuver — you may be spending a remarkable number of hours perched on a stool beside that tub, so comfort and spaciousness count! Other details to look for include a bathroom mirror that comes down close to the sink (so little ones can actually see themselves), and storage space for bath toys and extra towels, and if you have a large family, multiple faucets are a big plus.

7. Bonus space. When you have kids, extra space is always a good thing. Look for an area of the home that has the potential to be used in a number of different ways, from playroom to home office to nursery for a future sibling. If the space (attic, basement) is not finished, find out what it would take to make this area usable in the future.


8. Fenced yard. Even a small yard can offer big possibilities to a child, from building play forts to digging in the dirt. For your own peace of mind, look for a backyard that is fully, securely fenced, so you can let creative play happen without worrying your little explorer will go toddling off toward the street.

9. A view of the outdoors. Being able to take care of a little chore inside and still have a view of your child playing can be a huge help. A bonus benefit of having a good view of your outdoor space — whether through generous windows, sliding glass doors or French doors — is that it will encourage you and your family to actually use it!


10. Master suite. As a parent, having a space to call your own is so important. Sure, you may end up sharing the space with a toddler who had bad dreams or a random pile of Lego bricks more often than you would like, but knowing that this space is officially yours is worth it. Look for a master bedroom with its own private bathroom and a spacious closet. French doors leading to your own private balcony or patio? Major bonus.

Source: CB Blue Matter Victoria Keichinger,Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Buy a Home With No Down Payment

Do you want to achieve the dream of homeownership but dread the looming down payment you’ll need? Figuring out how to come up with a down payment for a house can seem like a huge hurdle, especially to those with little to no savings.

down payment assistance (1).jpgConventional loans can require a 20% down payment, but did you know there are many loan programs available, some which require a minimal or even no down payment at all? It’s important to understand the different loan options available. Find out more about each of these low or no down payment programs and determine what you might qualify for.

Local Down Payment Assistance Programs
Many state or local down payment assistance programs reduce or eliminate the need for a down payment. They are often in the form of an interest-free, “silent” second mortgage that doesn’t need to be repaid until the house is sold, refinanced, or paid in full.

One example is California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) MyHome Assistance Program, which offers a second loan up to 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value to help with down payment and/or closing costs.

Programs vary by state and city. To find down payment assistance programs near you, contact your state’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage(SM)
The Home Possible Advantage program is attractive because it allows for a low down payment and flexible sources of funds to qualify. In addition to flexible funding, it provides up to 97% financing and offers down payment assistance programs, which can be through a silent second.

Home Ready by Fannie Mae
As an alternative to an FHA loan, Home Ready is a conventional 3% down loan with even more flexible income qualification guidelines. In addition, Home Ready may have reduced mortgage insurance options, including no upfront mortgage insurance fees and may be cancelable per servicer/Fannie Mae guidelines. Gift funds or Community seconds are also allowable for the down payment.

FHA Loans
FHA loans have been specifically designed to help first-time borrowers get into homes. Because these loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and come with a government guarantee, lenders are more willing to have flexible qualifying guidelines.

With an FHA loan, the down payment can be as low as 3.5% and can be provided from a family member as a gift fund. Credit scores to 640, lower debt ratios, and seller contributions are all allowed with a FHA loan.

VA Loans
VA Loans are available to veterans, actively serving military personnel, and surviving spouses of veterans. They are government backed and encourage lenders to lend with more lenient qualifying guidelines.

VA loans offer up to 100% financing, without mortgage insurance. Veterans can qualify for a VA loan with suitable credit, adequate income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility.

USDA Loans
USDA loans offer a no down payment requirement for buyers. These loans are government insured 100% purchase loans for rural property outside of major metropolitan areas.

The requirements for a USDA loan are very specific, so our specialized loan experts at American Pacific Mortgage can help determine if you qualify under the current guidelines. As long as you meet the USDA requirements, you can get 100% financing when you purchase your rural home.

Qualifications include a fixed-rate mortgage loan up to $417,000, single family-dwellings, PUD or condos as the owner’s primary residence, and up to 97% LTV financing.
Saving for a down payment may seem overwhelming, but with the plethora of programs available, we are confident that we can help find a loan program that is right for you. Talk with one of our loan advisors today to learn more about the different down payment options and find out which ones you may qualify for.

 

Source:

Loli Lonso and Alix Branson- American Pacific Mortgage

Posted on March 31, 2017 at 5:27 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Love Less Clutter: A Guide to Moving in Together

More Love Less Clutter: A Guide to Moving in Together
Read this before moving in with a significant other

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It’s sweetheart month and you’ve found the one! Sure there’s music, trumpets and fireworks, but mostly it’s just about finding that someone who you want to share your remote control. When you find that special someone that feels like home, moving in together is often the next step. While cohabitation is an exciting step forward in any relationship, merging two homes, decor styles and closets can be a challenge. Moving in with your significant other is more than just moving in with a roommate, it’s about finding a balance and creating a home together.

So, how do you reduce the landmines scattered through the experience of moving in together? Like most things moving related, it’s all about the planning. Tackling difficult decisions before the moving trucks arrive will prevent your shared space from turning into a war zone on moving day. Here are eight tips for making moving in with your partner more about the love and less about the stuff.

Clear Communication

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Instead of speaking negatively or critically of your partner’s furniture or strange collector items it’s probably a good idea to ask why he/she is attached to certain things. Is it a family heirloom? Moving unearths a lot of memories and emotional baggage and sometimes it’s hard to deal with it all at once. Listening and showing an interest goes both ways, make sure you are as invested in his/her important items as much as they are. Perhaps, giving it to a family member or putting it into storage is an option. Asking ahead of time in a respectful manner will give each other time to think in a cool-headed manner.

Pick a Floor Plan

Before your move, it’s a good idea to make a simple floor plan of your new place and decide how to use each space. Take important measurements beforehand and plan out what furniture fits where. You might find his couch fits better than yours into the new space. A floor plan will also help the movers move your items and boxes a lot faster.

Blend Styles

Try to pick an aesthetic you both agree on using Pinterest boards to pin styles you both like. If you have very different styles, find a neutral style that can fuse both in the details. You might love shabby chic details while he’d prefer modern industrial loft style, but together you create industrial farm house, that blends the two together.

Take Inventory

Before you pack take an honest inventory of both places. If you have duplicates decide which is in better condition or which fits best in the new shared home. If you are choosing to start fresh sell, recycle or donate your unwanted items. Finding out what you have already, what you need and what you can’t do without, will help you scale down on how much you are moving before you move.

Give Yourself Some Space

Moving in with your partner might mean taking time away from your things. If there are some items that neither of you will compromise on, but they don’t fit into your new shared space, put them in storage for a while. If after six months you still miss or want that item, you can discuss it again with your partner. If after the time apart you realize you don’t miss the item as much as you thought, take it out of storage and donate or recycle it. When it comes down to it, ask yourself who would you miss more? Your partner or your things?

Edit Closets

Closet space is often a sore spot for couples when moving in together. Moving is a perfect time to de-clutter and clear out all of that clothing you don’t wear. Remember the less you have the less you have to pack or move. Divide your items into three piles: donate, trash and keep. De-cluttering is a cathartic experience so it’s only right you do it yourself, don’t see it as a chance to attack your partner’s closet.

His & Hers

It’s important to create a space to call your own when you’re moving in together. Although you’re probably moving in together to be closer, remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder! Find a little space to call your own; where you decide what goes and how it’s used. Whether it’s a workspace decked out with your unique style or a reading nook with piles of your sassy pillows, a little space for yourself will allow you to later regroup and compromise regarding the rest of the shared space.

Home is Where Your Heart Is

A new home is a like a blank canvas. Joining two styles creates great possibilities to create something new together. Once you have the basics installed in your new home, as your joint style takes form only buy new decor items little by little,. Try to make something crafty together. Whether you design or order your wall art together, these joint experiences will be the beginning of many happy memories together.

Remember: Love conquers clutter!

Source: LINDSAY LISTANSKI CB Blue Matter/ Laura McHolm

 

Posted on March 10, 2017 at 7:07 am
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,