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A few “good” things to keep in mind when obtaining a mortgage in today’s challenging environment

February 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Donna Baker, monrovia real estate, city of monrovia, real estate agents 91016, buying a house, home sales,

My good mother taught me to be optimistic and make the best of your circumstances. I grew up in a rented home, with 8 siblings and 1 bathroom. We took our lunch to school each day. Even if there had been a free lunch program there was no way my dad would have allowed us to participate. Baloney Sandwiches, Moon Pies and Milk in a Thermos, life was good! Oh yea, we even recycled! You folded the lunch bag and brought it home with you in your back pocket to use the next day.

You had “good” pants you wore to school and “play pants” you put on when you got home. Those used to be your “good” pants but now they had patches on the knees with grass stains from a game-winning diving catch made in the end zone of your own “superbowl”. Our after school program was walking home with your friends.

Now, I don’t tell you this because I had it any better or worse than anyone else. Heck, most everyone I knew was in the exact same circumstances as we were and I had a great childhood!

So why am I sharing you with this today? I was thinking about our country’s difficult times. I was thinking about what makes this country so great and so resilient. It is the individuals and families of this great nation. Everyone who gets up each day and does what they need to do, that’s what makes us great! We don’t sit around and complain, (at least not for long), we get out and we do what needs to be done. We don’t run away from our troubles, we face them! Most of us do not control the big picture but we do control our actions in our daily lives and that is all we can do. Sometimes we do great things, mostly we just do good things.

With that in mind, here are a few facts. A few “good” things to keep in mind when obtaining a mortgage in today’s challenging environment:

Fact #1. It is important to keep things in perspective. Lenders are absolutely making home loans! Paperwork intensive but they are making lots of loans!

Fact #2. Be prepared and be patient. As I stated above, lenders are making loans but everyone, and I mean everyone, is documenting (and sometimes questioning) each and every aspect of each loan request and the process is taking longer than we are used to.

Fact #3. Don’t take it personally. Your 800 FICO score, your 30% down payment, your great employment status does make it easier to qualify but it does not make the process perfect.

Fact #4. Make it a team effort. We are all in this together and many are feeling the stress. I love the quote “First seek to understand, then be understood”. I need to do more of that.

Bottom line, Life is Good! The challenges in the world of mortgage lending continue. My personal opinion is that the challenges we face will continue for some time. While we cannot control the big picture we can control what we do, individually, to help get us back on our feet, where we all want and need to be. Call me if I can help and in the mean time, hang tough!

All the Best!

Floyd
BWA Mortgage
La Canada Flintridge
Phone 818.952.2726

 

Avoid Home-Buying Mistakes That Could Cost an Arm & Leg

January 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Buying a home can be a harrowing experience, fraught with unforeseen dangers. But it doesn’t have to be! You can stay out of trouble and make the most of your home-purchase dollars by avoiding the mistakes other home buyers commonly make.
The Wrong Home
Homeownership is not a short-term investment. If you select a home that’s too large to maintain, too small for future needs, or too expensive for your income, you may have to live with your mistake for awhile – or spend a lot of money getting rid of it. The same is true if the home is too far from work, too close to traffic, or in need of extensive repairs that you can’t handle. Be sure to take a realistic look at your financial situation – income, debt, future expenses – before selecting a home. Also factor in your housing needs, time constraints and home-improvement skills.
Bidding Blind
Some buyers offer a contract above the true market value of the property or fail to bid on a great value because they don’t know the market. Research the market you want to purchase in by reading local newspaper articles and ads, touring a variety of homes, and talking with people in the area. Your best source of information about home values may come from a professional buyer’s agent who specializes in the area.
Title Troubles
A title search may reveal encumbrances on the property title, such as tax liens, easements, leases, or an undisclosed co-owner. Have the title search done as early as possible. You can protect your investment from another person’s claim of ownership by purchasing owner’s title insurance in addition to a lender’s policy, which you’ll be required to purchase if you take out a mortgage.
Last-Minute Defects
During the final walk-through, some serious defects may become apparent that hadn’t been noticed before. Do you back out of the deal? Settle on the home anyway? These are difficult decisions that can be avoided by inspecting the home carefully before you make an offer. You can also include a home inspection contingency in your contract, then hire a professional inspector to check the home inside and out. You’ll be supplied with a report of items that need attention, the cost to repair them, and possible repercussions if they are left as is.
Pre-paid Shockers
Some items, such as real estate taxes and homeowners association dues, are pro-rated at settlement, while others, such as hazard insurance and taxes, have to be paid a few months ahead. Make sure you have enough cash for settlement by asking for those charges a day or two in advance, and check them for accuracy. Remember, if the settlement date changes, so will the pre-paid costs.
Seller Slip-Ups
Repairs not made, items that haven’t conveyed, and other contractual hang-ups can delay settlement. Be sure to take the list of agreed upon conveyance items with you to walk-through and check to make sure they’re present. Be prepared to set a dollar amount for an escrow fund for items that have fallen through the cracks.
Closing Rush
Get settlement sheets the day before closing to avoid last minute problems, such as an interest rate or points that may be different from those you agreed upon. Missing the settlement date because of a last-minute snag could endanger the locked-in interest rate or the entire sale. Minimize the problems by asking for a long lock-in, say, 60 days.
Wrong Mortgage
Lots of different mortgage programs are available to choose from, but find the best one for your situation and goals can be pretty confusing. Do your homework and make sure your lender has the experience and expertise to offer you a good selection of loans.