Archive for the ‘credit’ Category

Preparing for Home Ownership

March 15, 2010

1. Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.

2. Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.

 3. Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.

 4. Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

6. Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.

7. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to pre-approved you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.

 8. Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal. Can you receive a gift from family?

 9. Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

10. Contact a REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the process.  Not everyone real estate agent is a Realtor®.  Contact me today for more info: 310-398-2332,

Advertisements

California Real Estate buyer tax credit

March 3, 2010

H.R. 3548 provides both for the extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit and expansion of it to qualified non-first-time buyers as well.  A few of the provisions of this new law include the following: 

(1)  Both the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and the $6,500 tax credit for “move-up” buyers (see 4 below) would sunset on April 30, 2010. However, purchasers who have binding contracts as of April 30, 2010 (before May 1, 2010), would still qualify for the credit as long as they complete the transaction within 60 days (or June 30, 2010).

(2)  The amendment establishes income limits of $125,000 for an individual or $225,000 for a couple for both credits.

(3)  The cost of the home being purchased cannot exceed $800,000 for both categories in order to be eligible for the credit. 

(4)  “Move up” buyers (an individual or his/her spouse, if married) are qualified if he/she “has owned and used the same residence as such individual’s principal residence for any 5-consecutive-year period during the 8-year period ending on the date of the purchase of a subsequent principal residence.”

For purchases made in 2010, taxpayers would be able to claim the credit on their 2009 income tax return. Homebuyers would not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their principal residence for 36 months after the purchase date. However, this recapture provision would not apply in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, military intelligence or Foreign Service who is on qualified official extended duty. In addition, members of the military who have been deployed overseas for 90 days or more in 2008 or 2009 would have until April 30, 2011, to claim the homebuyer tax credit.

The amendment also includes anti-fraud language that gives the IRS the authority to do greater oversight during the processing of the return rather than waiting for an audit situation. The amendment requires the taxpayer claiming the credit to be 18 or older and requires a HUD-1 settlement statement to be attached when claiming the credit.

Do I have to give the buyer my furniture?

February 11, 2010

It is a good idea to begin this conversation with your agent before your property hits the market.  There are laws on the books about what is a fixture: “The California legislature has declared that a thing is affixed to the land when it is attached and imbedded into a wall permanently by means of cement, plaster, nails, bolts and screws is a fixture.  Also, it is affixed to the land so as to be regarded as a permanent part of it, such as a building, a tree or bridge, as well as anything that is similarly affixed to an already affixed object such as the doors of a building, or permanently installed cabinets, or built-in appliances”.   California Department of Real Estate Reference Guide.

So how does this affect you?  You may have a lovely chandelier in your dining room that was given to you by a family member and it holds strong sentimental value, the best advice is to remove it and put another one in its place.  Invariably the new buyer will want what you want.  You should have your agent insert the exclusion in your contract with your agent and in the MLS.  I have had buyers ask for flat screen TV’s, patio furniture (a lot of furniture), bar stools, furniture, fish in the coy pond.  Jokingly, some buyer’s upon first seeing the house may ask for the family pet or that fantastic car in driveway.   The most common requests are for the refrigerator, washer, dryer and stove, and sometimes fireplace equipment, which may match the fireplace screen. Some refrigerators and stoves are built-in, or built as part of the structure, and it would damage framing around these items to remove them.   I had one transaction in 22 years where the lender disallowed the transfer of the washer, dryer and ‘frig, and considered them personal property.  All we had to do was remove the items from the contract.  If there are a number of items, for instance, a house full of furniture, the lender may ask for it to be taken out of the contract as they lend on real estate and not personal property.  Some buyers offer to buy some of the seller’s personal items.

If you think about when you bought your home the thought of forking out more money after the closing may not figure into your budget.  You might be able to ask for them on a subsequent purchase.

For info on what your house in Los Angeles is worth or to search your new home go to my site DonnaBenton.com.

How to buy a bank owned property

November 22, 2009

This was so popular, I am posting again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM7oWKgCVo4&feature=player_embedded

Real Estatte 101 Glossary “I, & J'”

November 8, 2009

Lola and me

Been in LaJolla for Tom Ferry seminar.

Enjoy the I’s and J’s.

IMPROVED LAND   Any parcel of land which has been changed from its natural state through the creation of roads, buildings or other structures.

IMPROVEMENTS   
Any item added to vacant land with the intent of increasing its value or usability.

IMPROVEMENT RATIO   The comparative value of an improved piece of land to its natural, unaltered state.

INCOME APPROACH   The process of estimating the value of property by considering the present value of a stream of income generated by the property.

INCOME PROPERTY   A piece of property whose highest and best use is the generation of income through rents or other sources.

INDEPENDENT APPRAISAL   An estimation of value created by a professional, certified appraiser with no vested interest in the value of the property.

INSPECTION   The examination of a piece of property, its buildings or other amenities.

INSURABLE TITLE   The title to property which has been sufficiently reviewed by a title insurance company, such that they are willing to insure it as free and clear.

INTEREST RATE   A percentage of a loan or mortgage value that is paid to the lender as compensation for loaning funds.

INVESTMENT PROPERTY   Any piece of property that is expected to generate a financial return. This may come as the result of periodic rents or through appreciation of the property value over time.

JAMB   The side of a door frame.

JOINT TENANCY   A situation where two or more parties own a piece of property together. Each of the owners has an equal share, and may not dispose of or alter that share without the consent of the other owners.

JOISTS   Horizontal beams laid on edge to support flooring or a ceiling.

JUDGMENT   An official court decision. If the judgment requires payment from one party to another, the court may put a lien against the payee’s property as collateral.

JUDICIAL FORECLOSURE   A type of foreclosure conducted as a civil suit in a court of law.

JUMBO LOAN   A mortgage loan for an amount greater than the limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Often called non-conforming loans.a REMAX logo

How to buy a bank owned Foreclosure (REO)

October 29, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM7oWKgCVo4&feature=player_embedded

 

 

 

Tax Credit Extended

October 29, 2009

Lola and meYeah

a REMAX logo Senators agreed Wednesday to extend a popular tax credit for first-time homebuyers and to offer a reduced credit to some repeat buyers. The tax credit provides up to $8,000 to first-time homebuyers but is set to expire at the end of November. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new home sales fell 3.6 percent in September, and some industry representatives blamed uncertainty about the tax credit. Senators agreed to extend the existing tax credit for first-time homebuyers while offering a reduced credit of up to $6,500 to repeat buyers who have owned their current homes for at least five years, said Regan Lachapelle, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The tax credits would be available to homebuyers who sign sales agreements by the end of April. They would have until the end of June to close on their new homes, according to a summary of the legislation being circulated among lawmakers. House leaders have said they support extending the tax credit for homebuyers. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been negotiating for several weeks with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to craft an extended tax credit for homebuyers that would pass the Senate. Lawmakers didn’t release a cost estimate for extending the tax credit, though similar proposals were projected to cost about $10 billion. Industry representatives said uncertainty about the tax credit is hurting new home sales. September’s decline was the first since March. It takes 45 days to 60 days to close on a house, making it unlikely a sale made today would be consummated by the end of November, said Lucien Salvant, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. “Buyers right now have an incentive to hold off, not knowing whether the credit will be extended,” Salvant said. About 1.4 million first-time homebuyers have qualified for the credit through August. The National Association of Realtors estimates that 350,000 of them would not have purchased their homes without the credit.

Real Estate 101 Glossary “F”

October 25, 2009

Lola and mea REMAX logoToday I will tackle “F”.

FACADE   
The front exposure of any building. Often used to describe an artificial or false front which is not consistent with the construction of the rest of the building.

FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT   
A federal law regulating the way credit agencies disclose consumer credit reports and the remedies available to consumers for disputing and correcting mistakes on their credit history.

FAIR MARKET VALUE  
The price at which two unrelated parties, under no duress, are willing to transact business.

FANNIE MAE   
A private, shareholder-owned company that works to make sure mortgage money is available for people to purchase homes. Created by Congress in 1938, Fannie Mae is the nation’s largest source of financing for home mortgages.

FASCIA   
The boards that enclose the eaves.

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (FDIC)   
The U.S. Government agency created in 1933 which maintains the stability of and public confidence in the nation’s financial system by insuring deposits and promoting safe and sound banking practices.

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA)   
A sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created in the 1930’s to facilitate the purchase of homes by low-income, first-time home buyers. It currently provides federally-subsidized mortgage insurance for private lenders.

FEE APPRAISER   
A certified, professional appraiser who forms an opinion of the fair market value of property and receives a set fee in exchange.

FEE SIMPLE   
A complete, unencumbered ownership right in a piece of property.

FEE SIMPLE ESTATE   
A form or ownership, or holding title to real estate. It is the most complete form of title, having an unconditional and unlimited interest of perpetual duration.

FHA MORTGAGE  
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

FINAL VALUE ESTIMATE   
The opinion of value of a piece of property resulting from an appraisal following the USPAP guidelines.

FIRST MORTGAGE   
The primary loan or mortgage secured by a piece of property.

FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE (FRM)   
A mortgage which has a fixed rate of interest over the life of the loan.

FIXTURE   
Any piece of personal property which becomes permanently affixed to a piece of real property.

FLASHING   
The metal used around the base of roof mounted equipment, or at the junction of angles used to prevent leaking.

FLOOD INSURANCE   
Supplemental insurance which covers a home owner for any loss due to water damage from a flood. Often required by lenders for homes located in FEMA-designated flood zones.

FLOOR PLAN   
The representation of a building which shows the basic outline of the structure, as well as detailed information about the positioning of rooms, hallways, doors, stairs and other features. Often includes detailed information about other fixtures and amenities.

FLUE   
The furnace exhaust pipe, usually going through the roof.

FLUSH VALVE   

The valve between the toilet bowl and the tank.

FOOTING   
The partially buried support for a vertical structural member such as a post.

FORECLOSURE   
The process whereby a lender can claim the property used by a borrower to secure a mortgage and sell the property to meet the obligations of the loan.

FORFEITURE   

The loss of property or money due to the failure to meet the obligations of a mortgage or loan secured by that property.

FOUNDATION  
The solid structural element upon which a structure is built.

FRONTAGE   
The segment of a property that runs along a point of access, such as a street or water front.

FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE  
A decrease in the value of property due to a feature or lack thereof which renders the property undesirable. Functional obsolescence can also occur when the surrounding area changes, rendering the property unusable for its originally intended purpose.

Real Estate 101 Glossary

October 21, 2009

Lola and mea REMAX logo

Give me an “E”

EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT  A cash deposit made to a home seller to secure an offer to buy the property. This amount is often forfeited if the buyer decides to withdraw his offer, after contingencies are removed.

EASEMENT  The right of a non-owner of property to exert control over a portion or all of the property. For example, power companies often own an easement over residential properties for access to their power lines.

EAVE  The part of the roof that extends beyond the exterior wall.

ECONOMIC DEPRECIATION  The decline in property value caused by external forces, such as neighborhood blight or adverse development.

ECONOMIC LIFE The amount of time which any income-producing property is able to provide benefits to its owner.

EFFECTIVE AGE  The subjective, estimated age of a property based on its condition, rather than the actual time since it was built. Excessive wear and tear can cause a property’s effective age to be greater than its actual age.

 EMINENT DOMAIN The legal process whereby a government can take ownership of a piece of property in order to convert it to public use. Often, the property owner is paid fair-market value for the property.

ENCROACHMENT  A building or other improvement on one property which invades another property or restricts its usage.

ENCUMBRANCE  A claim against a property. Examples are mortgages, liens and easements.

 ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATIO  An efficiency rating system for air conditioning units that corresponds to the number of BTU’s output per watt of electricity used.

EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY ACT (ECOA)  U.S. federal law requiring that lenders afford people equal chance of getting credit without discrimination based on race, religion, age, sex etc.

EQUITY  The difference between the fair market value of a property and that amount an owner owes on any mortgages or loans secured by the property.

EQUITY BUILDUP  The natural increase in the amount of equity an owner has in a property, accumulated through market appreciation and debt repayment.

ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE  (E & O) An insurance policy taken out by appraisers to cover their liability for any mistakes made during the appraisal process.  Other’s,  such as real estate agents, mortgage brokers, ect. pay for  E and O insurance

ESCROW  An amount retained by a third party in a trust to meet a future obligation. Often used in the payment of annual taxes or insurance for real property.  Also, the independent third party that exchanges the buyer’s money for the seller’s deed in the sale of real property.

ESCROW ACCOUNT  An account setup by a mortgage servicing company to hold funds with which to pay expenses such as homeowners insurance and property taxes. An extra amount is paid with regular principal and interest payments that go into the escrow account each month.

ESCROW ANALYSIS  An analysis performed by the lender usually once each year to see that the amount of money going into the escrow account each month is correct for the forecasted expenses.

ESCROW DISBURSEMENTS  The payout of funds from an escrow account to pay property expenses such as taxes and insurance.

ESTATE  The total of all property and assets owned by an individual.

EXAMINATION OF TITLE  The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.

EXCLUSIVE LISTING  An agreement between the owner of a property and a real estate broker giving the broker exclusive right to sell the property. 

EXECUTOR  The person named in a will to administer the estate.

Real Estate 101 Glossary

October 18, 2009

Lola and mea REMAX logoAre you ready for “D” Day?

 

DATE OF APPRAISAL The specific point in time as of which an appraiser designates the value of a home. Often stipulated as the date of inspection.

DEBT  An obligation to repay some amount owed. This may or may not be monetary.

 DEBT EQUITY RATIO The ratio of the amount a mortgagor still owes on a property to the amount of equity they have in the home. Equity is calculated at the fair-market value of the home, less any outstanding mortgage debt.

DEED  A document indicating the ownership of a property.

DEED-IN-LIEU (OF FORECLOSURE)  A document given by a borrower to a lender, transferring title of the property. Often used to avoid credit-damaging foreclosure procedures. DEED OF TRUST  A document which transfers title in a property to a trustee, whose obligations and powers are stipulated. Often used in mortgage transactions.

DEED OF RECONVEYANCE  A document which transfers ownership of a property from a Trustee back to a borrower who has fulfilled the obligations of a mortgage.

DEED OF RELEASE  A document which dismisses a lien or other claim on a property.

 DEED OF SURRENDER  A document used to surrender any claim a person has to a property.

 DEFAULT   The condition in which a borrower has failed to meet the obligations of a loan or mortgage.

DELINQUENCY  The state in which a borrow has failed to meet payment obligations on time.

DEPOSIT  Cash given along with an offer to purchase property, Also called EARNEST MONEY.

 DEPRECIATION  The natural decline in property value due to market forces or depletion of resources.

DETACHED SINGLE-FAMILY HOME  A single building improvement intended to serve as a home for one family.

DISCOUNT POINTS  Points paid in addition to the loan origination fee to get a lower interest rate. One point is equal to one percent of the loan amount.

DISTRESSED PROPERTY A mortgaged property which has been foreclosed on.

DOWN PAYMENT  An amount paid in cash for a property, with the intent to mortgage the remaining amount due.

DOWNSPOUT  The pipe that water moves through to reach the ground from the rain gutter.

DUE-ON-SALE PROVISION  A clause in a mortgage giving the lender the right to demand payment of the full balance when the borrower sells the property.

DUPLEX  A single-building improvement which is divided and provides two units which serve as homes to two families.

 DWELLING A house or other building which serves as a home.