5 Common Escrow Deal Breakers

5 Common Escrow Deal Breakers

  You’ve put so much time, money, research, blood, sweat, and tears into finding your dream home, you don’t want the deal to fall apart at the last minute.  A survey by the National Association of Realtors® found that 1 in 16 home deals fall through.  Here are a few of the most common reasons a deal can go sideways, and how to avoid them.   Not Getting Pre-Approved You’ve been shopping for houses for months, found your dream home, and your offer was accepted!  But you never spoke with a lender about your loan options, and now you realize...Read more
Unanimous Vote For FHA Condo Legislation

Unanimous Vote For FHA Condo Legislation

  Both the House and the Senate approved a bill by unanimous consent that will change FHA condo rules.  New legislation will streamline the FHA’s certification requirements, relax owner-occupancy requirements, and make condo financing more accessible.   On July 14, 2016, the Senate passed H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” that has been long supported by the National Association of Reatlors®.  The bill passed by unanimous consent (427-0) in the House of Representatives in February, and will now continue on to President Obama’s desk for his signature. The new bill will make the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) recertification...Read more
Property Tax Benefit For Seniors

Property Tax Benefit For Seniors

Two California initiatives provide senior residents with property tax savings.  If you are over 55, find out how to transfer your property tax rate to a new home!   California has a program where senior residents can roll-over low property tax rates to a new home, a practice that saves homeowners thousands per year.  For example, my grandparents purchased their home in the 1960s for about $80,000, paying about $1,000 per year in property taxes.  After 40 years, the same home was worth about $400,000.  If my grandparents, who were by then senior citizens, wanted to sell that house and...Read more
Demand Wanes For Luxury Homes

Demand Wanes For Luxury Homes

  A surplus in the market of high-end homes may mean big deals for homebuyers.   The U.S. has seen a growth in inventory of high-priced homes.  Homes for sale between $500,000-$750,000 rose 15.9% in March compared to the same time last year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  Homes over $1 million rose 12.6% year over year.  But many of these high-priced homes are lingering on the market for months and not fetching the desired purchase price. The real estate market in the U.S. is strengthening, for sure, but consumers are much more wary post-recession.  Stock market volatility ...Read more
Wire Fraud Warning For Homebuyers

Wire Fraud Warning For Homebuyers

  The threat of wire fraud is real.  Find out how to identify home buying scams and protect your money from scammers.   In our ever-advancing hi-tech society, much of our information is shared online and via email.  Real estate transactions are no exception, with electronic signatures and online wire transfers becoming the norm.  As convenient as this may be, it also creates a vulnerability that hackers can exploit. The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors recently issued a warning to homebuyers about email and money wiring scams.  Millions of dollars have been lost because of sophisticated...Read more
12-Month Home Buying Countdown

12-Month Home Buying Countdown

  The home buying process is not one to enter lightly.  Start planning early for your new home to avoid unexpected hang-ups and frustration.  If your goal is to own a home in the next year, here is your preparation timeline:   12 Months Out Check your credit score.  If you are applying for a loan, they will definitely check your credit score.  A Federal Trade Commission study found that one in four Americans identified errors on their credit report, and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates on a loan.  Reviewing your credit history early is important...Read more
What Brexit Means For U.S. Real Estate

What Brexit Means For U.S. Real Estate

Britain’s vote to exit the European Union may have positive consequences for the U.S. real estate market.   It’s still business as usually even after the recent Brexit vote 2 weeks ago.  Economists are still uncertain of both the short-term and long-term affects of the U.K. seceding from the E.U.  But some speculation suggests this could mean good news for U.S. real estate as the dollar is strengthening, at least in the short-term. The Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors®, Lawrence Yun, suspects the demand for real estate in the U.S. could rise.  Investors are showing additional interest...Read more
FHA Tightens Eligibility Requirements

FHA Tightens Eligibility Requirements

  It just got a little harder to get an FHA loan as the Federal Housing Administration tightens eligibility requirements.   FHA mortgages account for nearly 1 in 4 mortgage loans nationwide.  FHA loans are attractive to borrowers for the low 3.5% down payment, and attractive to lenders as payment is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But borrowers are finding it more difficult to qualify for an FHA loan after the Federal Housing Administration recently changed its mortgage guidelines, affecting how lenders underwrite and approve FHA-insured loans.  In particular, the FHA has tightened its income verification for self-employed and...Read more
Buy Your Home With Only 1% Down

Buy Your Home With Only 1% Down

  In an effort to provide as many options as possible to potential homeowners, Quicken Loans has collaborated with Freddie Mac to provide a purchase mortgage loan that only requires a 1% down payment.   Here is yet another example of why you should shop around to find the best mortgage loan to suit your financial situation.  Mega banks such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have only recently been able to offer loans with a 3% down payment.  Quicken Loans’ 1% down mortgage is 66% lower.   The program was spawned out of the partnership between Quicken and Freddie...Read more
What Is A Home Warranty?

What Is A Home Warranty?

  Whether you are buying your first home or selling a home and moving into another, a home warranty could be a valuable protection for your finances and your peace of mind.   A home warranty plan appears on the standard California purchase agreement under “other costs,” and may be paid by the buyer or seller in the transaction.  Many buyers opt for a home warranty plan, which average $350 to $500 for a basic warranty and $100 to $300 more for a warranty with extra protection. Buyers, particularly first-time buyers, like the fact that they can rely on a...Read more