5 Things the Seller Should Never Say

5 Things the Seller Should Never Say

Are you selling your house to move up into that dream home with more space and all the wonderful upgrades? It can be an anxious feeling, an unsettling feeling, not knowing how soon it will sell or where you will be next. It’s imperative that we put our home’s best face forward so its decluttered and looks perfect. Well, it’s also imperative to be smart about what we say and how we present our home’s condition.

Don’t Spill the Beans

When selling your home, there are certain things you should never say to you potential buyers! The last thing you want to do, is to alarm a buyer as to problems with the home, or to put expensive fixes into their head. Plus, you don’t want to create a potential liability by unknowingly give misleading or false information. This is one area where your Real Estate Agent is a great asset. Most folks that hire an agent never see or talk to the potential buyers, the agent does that! And your agent will advise you on what you must disclose per the law, and what you should disclose that may be found in the home inspection anyway.

What Not to Say

So, let’s talk about 5 things you should never say to people who come over to view the home:

  1. “We’ve always wanted to renovate that…” stop right there! Don’t indicate you are leaving because it’s cheaper than doing the renovations or moving a wall. This can make a buyer think there will be significant costs involved in making the home theirs.
  2. “This home is in perfect condition.” In your eyes, it may seem perfect, but the home inspection could reveal otherwise, so be careful about making claims that may not be true.
  3. “We’ve never had a problem with that…” You could set yourself up for potential liability on a problem you may not even be aware of, and it could translate into more than just an embarrassing moment upon inspection. So be truthful about what you know and admit what you don’t know.
  4. “We just need to sell, as it’s been on the market for X” No, no, no… This info is available on the home’s information sheet, and bringing it up can give sellers the wrong message. Either it’s a white elephant no one wants, or they may think they can get it dirt cheap.
  5. “We spent a ton of money on that…” The buyer doesn’t really care whether you spent $10,000 or $100,000 on upgrading your kitchen, they will only offer what they feel the home is worth. It may sound like you are trying too hard or are desperate to sell.

It’s No Longer Your Home

When you make the decision to sell, for whatever reason, your home is no longer YOUR home, it’s an asset you are selling. And, I’m sure you want top dollar. We all get it! Before selling, you go through the process of getting your home ready by decluttering, removing personal pictures and all the extras that make it your home. This helps take the emotion out of the transaction. So, this is the time to be realistic and open to offers within a reasonable range. Before you sell, be sure to get preapproved if you plan to purchase another home. Give us a call to get the process started so you are prepared with a strong offer when the time comes. Remember, the market in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Counties is hot right now, so be ready to go all in when you find that home you love.

FHA 203K Home Loan

FHA 203K Home Loan Folsom & Sacramento, CA

The FHA rehab loan program, otherwise known as the 203(K), has been requested more and more by our clients, so I think it’s a good time to talk about it here. The 203(K) is broken into two programs, the Streamline and the Full. This loan program can work with FHA or Conventional home loans. The streamline permits work up to approximately $35,000 including the contingency holdback, and the Full permits more extensive work over $35,000. One thing to note is that this programs is not for any work the FHA deems as a luxury item, such as a pool.

203(K) Streamline Loan

Let’s just talk about the 203(K) Streamline. The Streamline permits homebuyers and homeowners to finance up to $35,000 into their mortgage to repair, improve, or upgrade the home they want to purchase or refinance. The Full 203(K) can go much higher than the streamline. Now, this includes work such as a roof, carpet, kitchen, bathroom, paint, downspouts etc. It’s a pretty extensive list of repairs and upgrades, and you can really improve the value of the home. The actual loan amount is based on the projected value of the home with the repairs and upgrades. Which may mean you walk in with more equity than if you bought a move in ready home. This program may not be used to do major structural work such as adding a room, moving a load-bearing wall or for projects that that will take over 6 months to complete.

203(K) For Homeowners

Are you not sure if you should Move or Improve? If you own a home that needs updating or repairs, you may be able to use a 203(K) Refinance to either make property repairs and improvements, or prepare your home for sale. It’s a great way to make your home move-in ready by remodeling the kitchen, painting the interior or purchasing new carpet. Plus, you have a better chance of getting top dollar for your home when you go to sell, as well as, potentially, a quicker sale when its move in ready! This type of loan product can also help you increase your equity faster. You won’t know unless you check it out.

203(K) History

The mortgage must be a first lien on a one-to-four unit owner-occupied dwelling. Over the years, lenders have successfully used the FHA 203(K) loan program in partnership with state and local housing agencies and nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate properties. This program was critical to municipalities that needed to revitalize neighborhoods and reclaim them as desirable areas to live. This revitalization is also good for the homeowners in the area, that felt helpless as their neighborhoods fell into disrepair, taking their home values down with them.

Everything Good Takes Time

As a loan product, it takes a little extra time and work for all, but this program can be very useful for homebuyers that are interested in a property that needs a little TLC. Buying a property that needs work means you may often get it at a lower price so you aren’t paying for someone else to do the renovations. As a result…instant equity!

5 Tips to Start the VA Loan

5 Important Tips to Start the VA Loan

For military home buyers, the VA loans offer some unbeatable advantages, like a $0 down payment, no mortgage insurance, and more lenient credit requirements. This is a hard-earned benefit for those that qualify and isn’t all that different from buying with other loan products. Having the correct information and the right mortgage and real estate team in place can make a big difference.

The 5 Tips to Get Started

Whether this is your first VA loan or your 10th, you will want to have these tips:

  1. Start with the right Loan Officer – Not all mortgage professionals have experience and knowledge of the VA Loan. When selecting your Loan Officer, find out how many VA loans they have done in the past and if their team has experience in processing these loans. A lender that stays up on the VA requirements will facilitate the speed in which you can close your loan.
  2. Start with the right Realtor – To save yourself a lot of time, look for an agent who has VA experience, or is also a Vet. Buying a home isn’t any more complicated for veterans, but it helps to have someone who knows the ropes to negotiate your contract.
  3. Budget extra time to find the right home. – Do your research up front, to know what neighborhood you want to live in, the affordability of that area, and how much you can spend. Inventory can be tight in the most sought after areas. They may be experiencing multiple offers on homes in your price range. It may take several offers to get into contract. This is another reason, having the right Real Estate Agents is essential.
  4. Use technology to help your home search – If you are moving from out of state, you can do your home search online. Most Realtors will view homes for you and guide you in the decision-making process. Online searches will also be valuable in understanding what neighborhoods are attractive, school systems, and the median home prices.
  5. Be familiar with the VA rules on what homes are eligible – The VA has specific guidelines on what properties are eligible for VA financing. If you are looking for a condo, make sure it is on the VA Condo list. If it is a fixer upper, the VA appraisers require certain aspects of the property be in acceptable condition.

Great Benefit for Veterans

The VA Loan is an awesome loan product for Veterans and their families. It’s one of the only loans that requires zero down and doesn’t require Mortgage Insurance. It’s definitely a benefit you should take advantage of if you are an eligible Veteran. If you are unsure of your eligibility, give us a call and we can assist you with that as well. With the right lender and real estate agent, you can use this great benefit you deserve. I have an eBook on the VA Home Loan you can download. Thanks again for taking time to read my blog.

We love to serve our Veterans and our Loan Officers have experience in the VA Loan process. Have a great day.

Why Attend Open Houses in Sacramento

Why Attend Open Houses in Your Neighborhood?

Is your neighbor’s home for sale? I bet you are curious and want to go look as soon as they have their first open house, right? It’s a good idea, even if you aren’t buying or thinking of selling because it can be a wealth of information you may need to gauge your own interest.

A Good Agent Welcomes Visitors

Real Estate Agents know that not everyone who attends open houses are looking to buy. Having the neighbors come check out the house can be a great advantage for the agents, as it gets everyone invested in selling the home next door. In addition, many times the neighbors provide a lot of insight as to what they love about the area.

4 Reasons to Check Out Open Houses

Here are 4 opportunities that open houses present if you put on the brakes when you see an open house sign and stop in.

  1. Get the listing agent’s perspective. You check out the open house to not only see what is for sale and the price of comparable homes but also to learn about the local housing market. Talk to the listing agent. Pick their brain about the inventory available, affordability, and home values in the area.
  2. Check out design current trends. Getting your home ready to sell isn’t always a quick task. Sellers generally want to have their house perfect so they can demand the highest price possible. So, they may do a few upgrades to make it more desirable and therefore, sellable. Even if you aren’t considering selling at the moment, you might get design inspirations to make your home feel like new again, and keep it current. There is a point when you have to make a decision to Move or Improve.
  3. Get referrals. If they did upgrades or staging, you can check out the quality of the work. Although getting referrals from friends and family is always a great idea, seeing the finished product at an open house can provide you with a sneak peak as to the quality of work they would do for you. If you are impressed, you can ask the listing agent to get the contractor’s information from the Sellers.
  4. Food for thought. For those of us that are dedicated house hunters, always browsing the listing sites, attending open houses may just fuel that need. Plus, keeping abreast of the market in your area and the home values just might give you the information you need to pull the trigger on getting into homeownership or reselling your home to move up.

Most realtors won’t mind you coming through the open house, even if you aren’t looking to buy. You just never know when you may get inspiration to do some upgrades, redecorate, or even to list your home. Well that’s my tip for this week. Give me a call if I can help with a consultation for a preapproval or refinance to use the equity for those upgrades. Have a great day.

Redfin’s 2017 Housing Predictions

Redfin’s 2017 Housing Predictions with New Administration

The Redfin leaders predict what the 2017 housing market will look like, under a new president, administration, and policies.  The Trump administration touts three major policies that could significantly the U.S. real estate market: infrastructure spending, tax cuts and changes to immigration policy.

Recently, action was taken to deregulate the CFPB, or mortgage industry. But, as these policies take shape, they will primarily affect new construction and mortgage rates. They still see strong buyer interest, with more access to credit and a slight increase in inventory, yet home prices will continue to rise at a steady, controlled pace.

Here are 5 of their predictions:

  1. The housing market will continue to grow at a slower pace. Baby boomers will be less relevant as the largest generation of Americans, referred to as Millennials, will continue to become of home-buying age. It’s hard to believe they outnumber the Baby Boomers! The strength of sales by area, will depend on the inventory of starter homes, that will meet the demand from millennial homebuyers. In the Sacramento area housing market, construction is abundant on the South 50 corridors, along with areas of Roseville, Auburn, Elk Grove, Granite Bay, and Rancho Cordova.
  2. 2017 will be the fastest real estate market on record. In 2016, nationally, the typical home stayed on the market 52 days, which is the fastest market since they have been tracking this data. In the Sacramento Housing Market, the median time on the market in December was just 22 days, and in some areas like the Folsom Housing Market, a mere 17 days!
  3. Nationally, new-construction growth will slow due to the lack of workers. Nearly 1 in 4 construction workers are foreign-born, so stricter immigration policies can make the problem worse. This is the number one issue in the Sacramento home construction industry. Their workforce is only at 40% of the pre-housing crash construction boom. This also attributes to the lack of affordable starter homes for first-time buyers.
  4. Mortgage rates will increase slightly, but not too much or too fast. Redfin says no higher than 4.3 percent on the 30-year fixed rate, but we are almost there already. Many experts are predicting the mid to high 4s. Although, there are many factors that can move this needle higher or lower, so this one is truly a “wait and see.” Mortgage rates are tied to Bond Markets, which can heavily be affected domestically and internationally. The history of mortgage rates can be viewed here.
  5. More people will have access to home loans. The government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie will increase the loan limits to $424,100 from $417,000 in most regions of the U.S. Those loans are generally through FHA. You can view the FHA series here. Conventional loans also allow lower interest rates with Private Mortgage Insurance, see the conventional loan product here. With the current efforts to modify Dodd Frank and the CFPB, the qualification requirements could be relaxed. If the HUD effort to decrease the Mortgage Insurance percentage is back on the table, it could have an effect on affordable mortgages.

You can read the entire article on the Redfin website for more of their predictions. The bottom line is “wait and see” what this new administration holds for the mortgage and real estate industry as their policies take shape. Thanks for joining me, feel free to comment, and have a great week.

Clean Hard Water Spots

Clean Hard Water Spots from Dishes

For many reasons, you should remove hard water stains from glasses and dishes. Not only the dirty appearance it gives, but it can affect the health of your family.

What are Hard Water Spots?

Hard water is water with a high amount of mineral deposits like lime, silica, and calcium. When the water dries, the deposits are left behind, leaving unsightly spots on glass or ceramic surfaces, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens. Depending on the type minerals left behind, they can be harmful to your health as well as ugly! So, keeping these spots off your glassware and dishes can be important for your family’s’ health, too. We are lucky in the Folsom, CA area, where our water comes from Folsom Lake. Roseville, Granite Bay and other Sacramento area communities get water from Folsom Lake as well. Our water is considered “moderately soft” with very little mineral deposits.

Water Quality by Community

If you want to know where your water comes from and the quality of your drinking water, you can find out through your local governmental agencies. Here are a few of the local municipalities that manage the local water supplies:

Hard Water Spots Are Embarrassingly Ugly

Yes, those unsightly spots can be embarrassing when you are serving your guests a great wine in a glass with spots… or that beautiful table setting is marred with stains on your beautiful plates. Plus, they can be difficult to remove no matter how many times you wash your dishes. So, I came across a method for removing hard water from your dishes. For this method, you will need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Cold water
  • Paper towels

Here’s How to Remove the Spots

First, be sure to buy a one-gallon jug of distilled vinegar to ensure that you have enough. Next, soak the dishes in a sink with half vinegar and half cold water between 3 and 4 hours. Take the dishes out one at a time, being sure to dunk them several more times in the sink before putting them in a drying rack. Use paper towels to wipe them all dry. You should repeat this every few months to make sure you keep removing hard water stains on your dishes. This will keep them extra-clean and sparkling.

Well, that’s my tip for this week! If you want to know today’s mortgage rates, or have questions, please give me a call! I’d be glad to help. Thanks for joining me. Have a great day.

How to Pick a Mortgage Professional in Sacramento

How to Pick a Mortgage Professional

How to Pick a Mortgage Professional in Folsom, El Dorado Hills and Greater Sacramento

As you know, buying a home can be exciting and hopeful but it can also be emotional. The Mortgage Professional or Loan Officer you select to start the process can be critical. It’s advisable to team up with a Loan Officer in the very beginning, that is local to the greater Sacramento area, whether it is Folsom, Roseville, El Dorado Hills, and so on.

Getting Pre-Approved on a Home Loan in Greater Sacramento

Now, you have the advantage of getting preapproved and knowing just what you can afford. Sometimes, you may have to spend a little time getting your finances in order before you can be pre-approved, and a good Loan Officer can direct you on where to go or what your options are upfront.

Start Shopping for a Home Loan Expert in Sacramento

So, let’s say you are all set, you got preapproved and you know how much you can afford to spend. Great! Now, you can start shopping. You find the home of your dreams and are so excited to make that offer! How does your preapproval help in your home buying experience? Well, honestly, most real estate agents won’t spend a lot of time showing you homes until you are preapproved.

From the Realtor’s perspective, it can waste everyone’s time if you can’t qualify for a loan, or if they are showing you homes you find out later, you can’t afford. It’s also a huge benefit when you finally find that dream home and you go to make an offer.

Your Loan Officer will usually supply you with a preapproval letter for the amount of the offer you intend to make. This shows the seller you should qualify for the loan as long as nothing has changed financially for you. In today’s market, where sellers may be looking at multiple offers, having a strong preapproval can go a long way. A good Loan Officer may also call the listing agent and give them input as to how strong of a borrower you are. Now, you should have a very competitive advantage over other offers.

Now let’s talk about what to look for in a Loan Officer.

First, you want someone you feel like you can trust. Buying a home is a life-changing experience. Next, look for how they communicate…

  • Do you click with them?
  • Do they understand your needs?
  • Are they customer focused?
  • Are they knowledgeable about the Housing Market in your area?
  • Do they work alone or have a team?
  • Do they look for the loan scenario that fits your goals?
  • Do they have access to all of the loan products available?
  • Are they up to date on the guidelines?

Another question to ask yourself is, “If I need Down Payment Assistance, is this Loan Officer able to assist me through that process?”

Selecting a Loan Officer

Selecting a great Loan Officer isn’t like picking your BFF, its more about trust and competency, with a high sense of urgency to get the job done, right, and on time. Every Loan Officer isn’t right for every person. Here at Iron Point Mortgage, in Folsom CA, we have Loan Officers that work with a highly skilled team to get the job done, throughout the Sacramento area. One of them should be the right one for you! Remember, I’m here to help, so give us a call.  Get started right and have a great home buying experience.

HUD Announcement Reduction in Mortgage Insurance

NEWS ALERT: HUD ANNOUNCEMENT REDUCTION IN MORTGAGE INSURANCE

This is great news coming out of Washington! As the nation’s housing market continues to improve, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, announced the FHA will reduce the annual premiums new borrowers will pay by half of a percent.  It is projected to save about 2 Million FHA homeowners an average of $900 annually and incite 250,000 new homebuyers to purchase their first home over the next three years.

In the aftermath of the nation’s housing crisis in 2008, the FHA had increased its premium prices in order to stabilize the health of its MI Fund.  Today’s reduction will significantly expand access to mortgage credit for these families and is expected to lower the cost of housing for the approximately 800,000 households who use FHA annually.

FHA’s new annual premium prices are expected to take effect towards the end of the month. FHA will publish a letter detailing its new pricing structure in the days to come.

With mortgage rates increasing slightly, this should help the FHA Home Loan borrower with their monthly payments. The rates are still hovering at half of the average mortgage rate of 8+% over the last 40 years. So, with that perspective, borrowing money to purchase a home continues to be affordable.

If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please feel free to call us. Thanks for watching, and have a great day.

6 Out of Top 10 Hottest Real Estate Markets are in the West

6 Out of Top 10 Hottest Real Estate Markets are in the West – Sacramento is #4!

Top 10 Metro Housing Markets

According to Realtor.com, who predicted a minor slowdown for the U.S. real estate market next year, most of the hottest metro markets are going to keep blazing in 2017. And where do they predict the heat to come from? Well, six out of the top ten hottest markets, are in the west! The western U.S. will continue to lead in prices and sales.

The top 10 in order are:

  1. Phoenix AZ
  2. Los Angeles CA
  3. Boston MA
  4. Sacramento CA
  5. Riverside / Ontario CA
  6. Jacksonville FL
  7. Orlando FL
  8. Raleigh NC
  9. Tucson AZ
  10. Portland OR

These top 10 markets have specific conditions in common

They all benefit from relatively affordable rental prices, low unemployment, and large populations of millennials and baby boomers. They are forecasted to see average price gains of 5.8% and sales growth of 6.3%, exceeding this year’s anticipated national growth of 3.9% and 1.9%, respectively. And while the limited availability of homes for sale continues to be a problem for home buyers, but an advantage to sellers, these markets are seeing growth in new construction that eases the supply shortage somewhat.

Here is the Sacramento valley, we have several areas experiencing high growth. The South 50 corridor from El Dorado Hills west, will start having homes on the market later this year. Rancho Cordova is growing in the Anatolia area and beyond. Elk Grove continues to expand south. Realtor.com actually expanded their list and western cities account for 11 of the top 25 metro markets on our list, including five in California. Again, this is just another source projecting our area to be a hot housing market this year. If you are considering buying or selling to move up, or even downsizing, get started today.

Give us a call, we can help. Thanks for reading my blog and I hope to hear from you soon.

History of Mortgage Rates

The History of Mortgage Rates (1981 – 2016)

You may be inundated with lenders tooting their horns about the near record low mortgage rates we experienced all of 2016. You hear it so often that you’ve tuned out. Well, it’s hard to appreciate where we are today if we don’t look at the past.

So let’s take a quick look:

Mortgage_Rate_History

  • In July 2016 – rates hit the lowest since 2012 = 3.44% with a cost of ½% and in August went even lower to 3.36%.
  • Today – average rates are about 4.02%
  • In December 2012 – The lowest since FNMA has kept records, rates were 3.35%
  • 10 Years Ago, in 2006 – we had a 6.41% annual average rate
  • At the turn of the Century, 2000 – 8.05% was the annual average
  • 20 Years Ago, in 1996 – it was 7.81%
  • 30 Years Ago, 1986 – it was 10.19%
  • The All-Time High was in October 1981 – at 18.45% with 2.3 points. That was the month that President Reagan was shot, Pope John Paul was shot, and the stock market reacted.

So, to put this in perspective, if you bought a house in October 1981 at $200,000 with 20% Down, your payment would be $2,471.17 plus taxes & insurance. If you bought a $500,000 house with today’s rates, your payment would be about $1,824.21 plus taxes and insurance. The mortgage interest rates play a huge role in affordability, balancing out today’s home values. My point is that looking back into history may be the dose we need to really appreciate where we are today and help you understand why lenders keep shouting from the rooftops.

As we go into the next year, the bond market is uncertain, so rates may continue to climb modestly, per many of the industry analysts. Regardless, rates historically are still very affordable and now is a time to lock it in. Whether you are buying your first home, moving up into that forever home, downsizing into a luxury home, or refinancing your existing home, don’t procrastinate or hedge the market.

FHA Home Loan and VA Home Loan

For many first-time homebuyers, there are low down payment options such as the FHA Home Loan and VA Home Loan. There are also down payment assistant programs like the Sapphire Grant Program, CalHFA Plus with Zip, and several others. There are even programs that help pay for part or all your closing costs like the one for teachers called the CalHFA Extra Credit Teachers Program.

If you’d like more information on any of these programs, for today’s mortgage rate, or to get preapproved, give us a call today to get started. We get it. We love to help you meet your homeownership goals.