Washington County full time residential real estate agent focused in luxury lake homes,lake homes,luxury homes, residential single family,condos, vacant land & investment properties. Serving the greater Milwaukee metro area including:Waukesha County and Lake Country areas,Jefferson,Dodge, Washington,Walworth,Milwaukee & Dane Counties. On-line markets, MLS search access, buyer agency, Home Warranty, all with outstanding service!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Discover REAL ESTATE in Wisconsin, Lisa Bear

Check out the MLS for homes for sale: www.wihomes4sale.comWisconsin Real Estate - Please feel free to call me for any of your real estate needs, including an online market if you are a seller, or finding a home in Waukesha County, Jefferson County, Dodge County, Washington County, Milwaukee County or any county in Wisconsin. Real Estate is an excellent investment!When you are looking at buying a Waukesha county home , real estate agent, finding a Waukesha real estate agent, finding a Delafield, Chenequa, Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Hartland, Waukesha, Wales, Mukwonago, Wales,New Berlin, Brookfield, Dousman, Eagle or any other of the great municipalities in Waukesha County,Wisconsin.If looking for LAKE COUNTRY LIVING on one of Waukesha County's great lakes: Nagawicka, Pewaukee, Pine, Beaver, Okauchee, Moose, North, Oconomowoc,I would be glad to help you in any relocation to Waukesha County, or help in buying a home in Waukesha County, or selling a home in Waukesha County. I strongly encourage any seller that is looking to market their property this year to get a sound feeling for what it is worth. Real estate in Waukesha County, Real Estate in Wisconsin is now an excellent investment, prices of superb, selection is great, and the rates are outstanding.When you are looking at buying a Jefferson County home , or DODGE County real estate agent, finding a Watertown real estate agent, finding a Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Fort Atkinson, Ixonia, Lake Mills, Hartford, Ashippun, Slinger, Beaver Dam,or any other of the great municipalities in Jefferson County or Dodge,Wisconsin.Please feel free to call me for any of your real estate needs, including an online market if you are a seller, or finding a home in Waukesha County, JEFFERSON County, Washington County, Dodge County, Milwaukee County. Real Estate in Waukesha County is an excellent investment! 262-893-5555 Office/Cell888-893-5534 Direct Fax Proudly Serving Southcentral and Southeastern Wisconsin with Referrals from my Clients Look for properties across Wisconsin on MLS at http://www.wihomes4sale.com Lisa bear southeastern wisconsin waukesha county lake country lakes "HELPING YOU MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION"Wisconsin Real Estate, Waukesha County Real Estate, Waukesha County Real Estate Agents, Waukesha County, Waukesha County Lake Homes, Waukesha County Life, Buying A Home In Waukesha County, Waukesha County Lake Homes, Waukesha County Life, Buying A Home In Waukesha County, Waukesha County Commercial Real Estate, Waukesha Real Estate Agents, Waukesha County Lake Homes For Sale, Real Estate Waukesha County Wisconsin, Waukesha County Realtors, Oconomowoc Wisconsin Real Estate, Delafield Wisconsin Real Estate, Hartland Wisconsin Real Estate, Pewaukee Wisconsin Real Estate, Oconomowoc Wisconsin Real Estate Agents, Delafield Wisconsin Real Estate Agents, Hartland Wisconsin Real Estate Agents, Waukesha County Real Estate Companies, Search The MLS, Waukesha County Wisconsin Real Estate, REMAX AGENT

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Did You Know? Basic Mortgage Traps and Pointers

Did You Know? Basic Mortgage Traps and Pointers

By: Deb Conrad

Mortgage Basics

What is a mortgage? In legal terms, a mortgage is a conveyance of a security interest in real property to secure the payment of a debt, typically evidenced by a mortgage note. The note imposes personal liability for the amount of the note on the person or persons who sign the note. The mortgage is a lien on the property.
From a REALTOR®’s perspective, a mortgage may be viewed in a variety of ways: as that “necessary evil” that the buyer typically needs to arrange so that the buyer can purchase a property, or maybe as part of the long lists of items printed in a title insurance commitment, or the major obstacle in the way of a smooth short sale. There is no end to the trouble that mortgage loans can cause, but REALTORS® can’t conduct a successful real estate practice without them!

There are two basic varieties of mortgages: fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). Fixed rate payments are steady and predictable, while the ARM payments start at a much lower rate yet pose the risk of dramatically higher payments later on. Beyond that basic distinction, mortgages comes in a whole array of varieties including FHA loans, VA loans, interest-only loans, home equity credit loans, Rural Development loans, reverse mortgages and so on.

For those embarking on the quest for a mortgage loan, or assisting a party in that endeavor, there are many traps for the unwary. The following practical pointers may help them steer clear of pitfalls, minimize the pain and derive the optimum benefits from the mortgage loan.

Consumer Misconceptions 

Buyers, particularly first-time buyers, may often have misconceptions about the mortgage loan process, including the following:
  1. Mortgage lenders are required to give borrowers the lowest rate available. That would be wonderful, but currently there are no federal or state laws requiring a mortgage lender to give a borrower the best rate available.
  2. The principal balance will go down each month as long as the borrower makes the required monthly payments. While this is true with a fixed-rate mortgage, with some option-ARMs and interest-only loans with teaser rates, for instance, the balance may not fall and instead may go up. This is the result of negative amortization that occurs when monthly payments cover only a part of the monthly interest owed and none of the principal. The interest not paid is added to the principal balance and thus the balance due actually increases.
  3. The monthly payment will stay the same from month to month. Unfortunately a borrower’s monthly payments could increase dramatically, if the borrower does not have a fixed-rate mortgage loan. Interest-only loans and option-ARMs feature lower initial payments but also carry a significant risk of payment shock – a large and sudden increase in the monthly payment amount when, for example, the interest rate adjusts or the interest-only period ends.
  4. If the lender is willing to lend the money for the home, then the borrower must be able to afford it. While reputable mortgage lenders will not lend beyond a person’s means, some others will. They may not consider the borrower’s ability to repay the loan over the long haul.
  5. Discounted interest rates are a good deal because they lower the monthly payments. Paying “discount points” or a “discount fee” in return for a lower interest rate may be beneficial in the short term, but the lower interest rate may only last until the first payment amount of interest rate adjustment.

Mortgage Practice Pointers

Lock-In Policy 
Savvy consumers ask the lender to “lock your loan,” which is basically an agreement from the lender that states that the loan applicant is entitled to a certain interest rate through a certain closing date, and get the lock in writing. Most companies have a rate lock form that spells everything out. If the lock expires, any changes will not be to the applicant’s benefit and the applicant will likely need to accept a higher rate. The lender generally cannot increase the loan fees to cover the cost of the higher rate.
PMI Tips
If borrowers put down less than 20 percent on a house, they should expect to be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects the lender in the event the borrower defaults on the mortgage loan. That means the borrower will have to pay PMI premiums, roughly $50 to $100 per month on average, in addition to the monthly mortgage payments.

Getting the PMI tax deduction    

Starting with loans issued or refinanced in 2007, and continuing through 2011, borrowers can deduct each year’s premiums paid on PMI for the principal residence and for a non-rental second home. Unless it is extended again, the deduction won’t be available beyond the 2011 tax year.
In general, the borrower can deduct PMI premiums in the year paid if the borrower itemizes deductions on his or her income tax return. However, if the borrower prepays PMI premiums for more than one year in advance, the borrower can deduct only the part of the PMI payment that will apply to that year. Rules can vary for mortgage insurance provided by the FHA, VA and Rural Housing Service, so it is always best to consult a tax adviser with any questions. 
The deduction begins to phase out once the adjusted gross income reaches $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) and disappears entirely at an AGI of $109,000 ($54,500 for married filing separately). Depending on the specific circumstances, this can potentially save a few hundred dollars each year. For more information, see the Internal Revenue materials at www.irs.gov/publications/p936/ar02.html.

PMI cancellation  

Canceling the PMI as soon as a borrower is entitled can save thousands of dollars. Under the Homeowners Protection Act (HPA) of 1998, when a home is purchased after 1999, the lender is required to automatically cancel the PMI once the mortgage is paid down to a 78 percent (0.78) loan-to-value ratio (LTV), or once the homeowner has 22 percent equity. To figure the LTV, divide the outstanding loan amount by the original price of the home.
When the LTV reaches 80 percent, the homeowner can submit a written request to the lender to end the PMI. This can be a lengthy process and the lender may require an appraisal or other property valuation to confirm the property has not declined in value. See the Federal Reserve materials at www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/caletters/2004/0405/CA04-5Attach1.pdf for more information.

Mortgage Terminology 101

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): A mortgage where the interest rates are tied to an interest-rate index. If the index rises or falls, the mortgage interest rate and the monthly payment amount go up or down accordingly.
Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): This ratio represents monthly fixed expenses divided by gross monthly income, which is the income before taxes and deductions. The lender uses this ratio to help determine how much they will lend a potential borrower. If the percentage is greater than 36, the ratio could negatively impact the ability to obtain a mortgage loan because the lender considers that the borrower has too much debt.
Interest-Only Mortgage: The borrower is required only to make interest payments for a specified number of years. When this initial period expires, the mortgage may begin to fully amortize and monthly payments of principal and interest make the payment amount increase significantly.
Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV): This ratio compares the value of the loan with the fair market value of the home.
Negative Amortization: If the monthly payment amount does not cover the interest owed each month, sometimes as the result of a teaser rate, the unpaid interest becomes part of the principal. Thus, the principal balance increases and may eventually exceed what was borrowed in the first place.
Option-ARM: This loan typically offers the borrower three different monthly payment options: 1) payments of principal and interest, 2) interest-only payments, or 3) minimum monthly payments that don’t cover the monthly interest such that the unpaid interest is added to the principal loan amount. To ensure that the loan is repaid within the agreed-upon time, these loans “recast” after a set number of years (usually three or five) and monthly payments increase significantly so that the loan fully amortizes.
Payment Shock: Payment shock is a large and sudden increase – sometimes as much as double or triple – in monthly payments, often seen with interest-only loans and option-ARMs.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): PMI is required by lenders when a borrower has less than 20 percent down. PMI protects the lender from default losses in the event a loan becomes delinquent.
Teaser Rates: These are low rates that lenders offer to make mortgage products more attractive. When the “teaser rate” period expires, the lender raises the interest rate for the remainder of the loan period.

Types of Mortgage Loans

Rural Development: www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-HCFPLoans.html
FHA loans: www.hud.gov/buying/loans.cfm [The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of HUD, insures the loan, so the lender can offer the borrower a better deal, as well as low down payments, low closing costs and easy credit qualifying.]
VA loans: www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans
Home Equity Credit Lines:www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea02.shtm and www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/equity/equity_english.htm [A home equity line of credit is a form of revolving credit in which the home serves as collateral.]
Reverse mortgages:www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea13.shtm [Those 62 years or older can convert part of their home equity into cash without selling.]
Interest-Only and Option-Payment ARMs: www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/interest-only/index.html
Published: March 07, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bathroom Improvements to Draw in Buyers

Bathroom Improvements to Draw in Buyers

 by Alicia Murphy - 15 August 2012

For many homeowners, keeping their home in tip-top shape is a task that requires constant attention. Over the years the features that were once so en-vogue in your home become outdated and unattractive, not only to you and your family but also to potential buyers. One room where a little updating can go a long way is your bathroom.
© Wichittra Srisunon – Fotolia.com

Making The Master Masterful
The master suite isn’t really sweet without an en-suite. In particularly for those who own an older home many master bedrooms weren’t originally designed with a bathroom, and those that were often got a measly half bath. For today’s homebuyer in many markets a half bath can be considered sufficient while in other markets this simply wouldn’t do.
Before making costly changes check with a local REALTOR® to see what master bathroom features are trending in your area. If it is customary for homes in your area to have an en-suite you may want to consider adding one if your home is lacking that feature as this can be a huge turnoff for buyers. Fortunately bathroom improvements often carry a good rate of return so you’ll not only increase your home’s appeal to buyers but also increase your value.

Small Changes with BIG Impact
Many bathrooms suffer from dating in two key ways: wallpaper and old fixtures. If your bathroom suffers from wallpaper circa 1992 coupled with some nice gold fixtures chances are that it won’t be a top selling feature with buyers. By simply stripping the wallpaper and repainting the walls in a more neutral color you’ll move mountains. Fixtures such as drawer/cabinet pulls, towel rods, water faucets and lighting implements can be purchased for just a few hundred dollars. Adding some storage to a smaller bathroom is also a great way to maximize the space and buyer appeal.
Just remember that bathrooms are an important room to homebuyers. Updating or increasing this space not only increases your home’s value, it also gives it an edge on competing properties on the market.

We Can't Get A Mortgage, What Are Our Other Options? | REALTOR.com® Blogs

We Can't Get A Mortgage, What Are Our Other Options? | REALTOR.com® Blogs

We Can't Get A Mortgage, What Are Our Other Options? | REALTOR.com® Blogs

We Can't Get A Mortgage, What Are Our Other Options? | REALTOR.com® Blogs

we Can’t Get A Mortgage, What Are Our Other Options?

Q: My wife and I are looking for a house but can’t get a mortgage with our credit rates. How do I go in to a rent to own home? We have two kids and live in a townhouse, now it’s too small for us. What can I do to get a house?
–Anonymous, Clairton, PA

A: Hi Ryan,
I would suggest you sit down with a local lender or attend some first time home buyer classes if they are offered in your community. A lender can review your financial picture and help you come up with a plan to reach your goal. It might take some time, so be patient, you will get there.
Rent to own is usually not a good option for most first time home buyers as usually you have to come up with non refundable option money, which in this market would be better put to use as a down payment (in my opinion)
Teri Andrews Murch is a Realtor® with Lyon Real Estate in Auburn, CA.

A: The only thing you can do at this point is to find an owner that is willing to do a lease with option to purchase. Normally, in this area I am in, the seller normally wants a large payment up front to do so, but in that area, maybe they will just do a first and last like you do with rent. An agent there should be able to help you get started. It may take time to find someone with enough equity in their home that they can do this though.
Lana Lavenbarg is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Ideal Brokers, Inc. in Grants Pass, OR.

A: Rent to own, or lease to own, or rent w/options to buy (essentially all the same) is not the only option to becoming a homeowner. Also, if you did go that route, the options are very limited. Most owner who want to sell their homes are in a position where they have to sell, they need the money to move on so they’re not to keen on renting or leasing their properties. Before exploring the rent to own option, consult with a local lender in your area, get some recommendations from friends who’ve recently bought a house. The Lender will set you on the right path for becoming a homeowner, it may take a few months or even a couple years before you’re ready to buy, but it may also be the very best option and in the meantime you can begin working on saving a 10-20% downpayment.

Maria Jeantet is a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker C & C Properties in Redding, CA
Are you interested in having a qualified REALTOR answer your questions? Click through to Ask a 
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Related posts:
  1. How Do I Do Rent To Own In San Antonio?
  2. Lease Options Make For Viable Options
  3. How Do I Find A Rent-To-Own Home In North Carolina?
  4. How Do I Rent To Own In Phoenix, Arizona?
  5. Can We Qualify For A Mortgage Without A Down Payment?

Read more: We Can't Get A Mortgage, What Are Our Other Options? | REALTOR.com® Blogs

Thursday, August 2, 2012

5 Home Features Young Home Buyers Love | ForTheBestRate.com

5 Home Features Young Home Buyers Love | ForTheBestRate.com

5 Home Features Young Home Buyers Love | ForTheBestRate.com

5 Home Features Young Home Buyers Love

Couple with their young daughter.Selling a home can be contingent on the property's value, condition and desirable features. Depending on the type of home buyer, there are certain features that may help seal the deal.
Here's a list of some popular home options for the younger home buyer.

1. Move-In Ready
A lot of young buyers are busy starting careers or families and will appreciate a home that doesn't need a lot of transition time.

2. Low-Maintenance
Most young buyers are also first-time buyers, which means they won't have much experience in home maintenance. They'll be attracted to a home that runs smoothly, and doesn't require an extensive knowledge of plumbing, electricity or construction.

3. Great For Entertaining
Young, hip homeowners often enjoy an active social life, which means they will be on the lookout for a home that's conducive to entertaining. An open kitchen or a large, screened-in porch are a few great examples.

4. Modern appliances
The generation of young home buyers who are hitting the market now are of the information age. They want "smart" technology, and that doesn't just apply to their phones. High-tech home appliances are big selling points, especially to younger buyers.

5. Convenient location
A home that's situated close to shopping, dining and entertainment is an attractive option for any buyer - but young home buyers will be especially drawn to good locations.

Keep in mind that every home buyer is different. Despite the common similarities in certain buyers, this list may not apply to everyone.

Find information on mortgages that are popular with first time buyers such as FHA loans and USDA rural housing loan programs.