General Real Estate News back to homepage

Simple Fixes To Help Your Home Sell More Quickly Simple Fixes To Help Your Home Sell More QuicklyComments Off on Simple Fixes To Help Your Home Sell More Quickly

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to sell your Lombard home, there are a few simple steps you can take to help prepare it for showings.

With a prospective buyer in mind, take a tour of your home, making a list of the good, the bad, and the not-so-bad. You may spot areas in need of major renovation; and areas which could benefit from just a basic touch-up.

It’s these latter areas which will likely yield the biggest return on your investment so, in preparation for making your home “buyer ready”, consider these steps.

Landscaping
The first thing a buyer will notice is the outside of your home. Sometimes called “curb appeal”, first impressions are very important to the sale of your home. Therefore, be sure to trim bushes, rake leaves, and clean up the yard in order to make your house seem more inviting. Clear unnecessary clutter from the yard and walkway to your home.

Bedrooms
Paint the walls of the room a light, neutral color to “open up” the space. Replace old light fixtures with new modern ones; replace all old bulbs; and consider adding a ceiling fan to each bedroom. This can increase the room’s appeal.

Bathrooms 
If your tub has seen better days, have it resurfaced. Remove mildew stains in, or around, baths and showers. Replace stained silicone seal and grout, where needed. Check all light fixtures for burned out bulbs. Add lighting, if necessary, to make the bathroom brighter.

Kitchen
Your kitchen might also benefit from sprucing up. Do not gut-renovate your kitchen. Rather, refinish or paint its cabinets. Install new, clean-looking handles. Add a new back splash, if you think it will help.

You’ll spend a small sum to make these improvements but the rewards can be more home showings, which can lead to more home offers, which can help you get the price you want for your property.

Your home may also sell more quickly.

Best Jumbo Lenders – How to Source the Best Mortgage Rates Best Jumbo Lenders – How to Source the Best Mortgage Rates(1)

Best Jumbo Lenders – First, what is a jumbo mortgage?

Jumbo loans and mortgages are similar to traditional mortgages, only they are larger.  Some would argue that the name is somewhat silly seeing that these mortgages are typically a higher-end type borrower but the name has founds its place within the mortgage industry.  Generally speaking in most markets, any mortgage over the $417,000 Conventional limit is considered a non-conforming or jumbo mortgage.  There are some exceptions in “high cost” areas of the country but for this article we will stick to the standard $417K+ realm for finding the best jumbo lenders.

Best Jumbo Lenders – Guidelines to Watch Out For:

Due primarily to the higher loan amount and overall risk of these these mortgages, jumbo loans typically come with more stringent lending guidelines than their Conventional counter parts.  First, the down payment(or equity, on a refinance) requirements are generally more strict, typically 20%-25% down at a minimum.  Next, expect the debt-to-income ratios to be a bit more restrictive than a Conventional loan.  Another aspect that is different will be the cash “reserve” requirement.  Typically lenders will want to see at least 6-12 months worth of mortgage payments in the bank, in liquid form.  This helps ensure that the borrowers can continue making payments if something unexpected were to occur such as a job loss, large home/auto repairs, or any other emergency which may cause money to get tight for a stretch.  Even the best jumbo lenders may also require additional documentation, such as three years worth of tax returns vs just two, additional asset statements, and often times additional documentation pertaining to corporate entities owned by the borrowers.

Best Jumbo Lenders – About Interest Rates?

As you may expect, jumbo loans typically carry a bit higher interest rate.  This is not only due to some added layers of risk, but also because they are generally “portfolio loans” or mortgages retained by the lending institution after closing and not sold in the secondary market.  Because portfolio loans are “shelved” and retained, the loss is much greater if a borrower were ever to go into default.  For this added risk, the interest rates are generally anywhere from .25% – 1.00% higher depending on the loan term and other layers risk factors.  This sometimes can work to a jumbo borrower’s favor, however.  Since the portfolio lender has full control over structuring the loan, they may sometimes grant special ultra-low interest rates to very well-qualified borrowers and/or borrowers who also happen to have large asset accounts with their lending institution.  That being said, you can sometimes put your current bank among the best jumbo lenders by virtue of simply having large asset accounts there and being on their “VIP list” of sorts.

Remember, sometimes your best place to find the best jumbo lenders is your own local bank.  If you have large asset accounts at a local bank, or you can move some money there, it is quite likely that bank may grant you special rate incentives on your mortgage in return.

In conclusion, jumbo loans are just larger mortgages with more strict guidelines and slightly higher interest rates.  Though they are often times “portfolio loans” retained by the lending institution, the process for obtaining a jumbo mortgage is generally the same as that of a Conventional loan.

Author Brad Troendle of PNC Bank is a seasoned mortgage professional dedicated to bringing his subscribers relevant and useful information on how to compare jumbo mortgage rates. Want a free jumbo mortgage quote? Check out the following link for more a FREE consultation and expert advice on helping you identify the best jumbo lenders.

How to Find the Best Refinance Lenders in Today’s Market How to Find the Best Refinance Lenders in Today’s Market(1)

Best Refinance Lenders – How to find the pro’s?

During the past couple years in which the mortgage market has been in turmoil, determining who are the best refinance lenders has become a real challenge.  While current interest rates are still at historic lows, the fact remains that the lending guidelines have tightened up to a degree that is unprecedented.   So much, in fact,  that the average loan officer has trouble keeping up with the constant guideline changes and hoping to provide a high level of customer service.  This challenge is resulting in the weaker loan officers leaving the industry and the pro’s within the best refinance lenders now getting the lion’s share of the market.

During your search for the best refinance lenders, its crucial to remember that the same primary hot buttons remain unchanged:

1) Keep in mind that the lenders with the lowest rates may not be the best deal overall.  Even the best refinance lenders often forget to properly disclose the fact that their apparently low rate includes “discount points”.  This additional fee may be getting you what appears to be a great low rate, but you do not necessarily need to pay any additional fees to get a good rate.  Always ask even the best refinance lenders to give you options and proceed carefully.

How to find the best refinance lenders?

Whenever you embark on a search for the best refinance lenders, you will find numerous lenders trying to attract you with their seemingly lucrative offers.  However, you must know that not all of them can offer you the best loan.  Some of the best refinance lenders’ reputable brand comes from millions of dollars they spend on expensive advertising.  Those TV ads and billboards may help you recognize their brand, but it works against you in regard to their ability to get you the lowest rate.  All that overhead costs money, some of which is passed down to you, the customer.  The key to remember is that the best refinance lenders are not always the ones with the most well known brand name.  Do your research on websites like HotRateQuote to compare mortgage rates and terms so you have all the necessary information to form an education decision.

Here are some points to consider while searching for the best refinance lenders for your your home loan:

1) Start by leveraging the power of the internet.  A simple search for the best refinance lenders on online will yield thousands of results, but the key is to start with the more reputable “portal sites” such as BankRate.com, LendingTree.com, and HotRateQuote.com.  Try to not be diverted by flashy-looking promotional ad banners and buzz word offers but instead try and focus on the numbers:  rates, APR, total fees, etc.  These websites have gotten really good and organizing the best refinance lenders’ rates and terms so check to see what the top 3-5 offers appear to be within the name loan type category.

 

2)  Be weary of excessive fees.  In most cases, the  “lowest rate” offer often comes with some hidden costs, which can quickly add up since they are usually percentage-based figures tied to the loan amount.  These extra costs, also known as ” junk fees”, can make your refinance a costly transaction and sometimes not even worth it anymore.    These “junk fees” include but are not limited to:  “processing fees, application fees, doc prep fees, courier fees for mortgage brokers, etc.”  A good rule of thumb to use when considering the total cost, even with the best refinance lenders, is “how long will it take for the proposed monthly savings to exceed the total cost of this transaction?”.  Example:  Lets say you stand to save $52/month but the total fees are $3572.  It would take you a whopping 68 months (over 5 years) to break even!  Any break even point longer than 24 months is not a good deal.

3) Think you’ve found the best deal now?  Be careful, you might also want to ask what documentation is going to be required.  This is a major factory in getting any refinance transaction closed these days.  Some bank’s guidelines have got so ridiculous that it seems like the hurdles between you and the closing table can never be overcome.  Most banks follow the same set of guidelines nowadays, all requiring the standard two years tax returns with W2’s, last two pay stubs, and last two bank statements.  However, I’ve heard of some real world situations recently that you probably wouldn’t even believe.  A good friend of mine was trying to get the third round of underwriting conditions satisfied when she was then told that she also needed to produce the original building permit for the apparent renovation work that was done to her kitchen from 9 years ago, when she had only owned that home for the last 5 years!  This means that she was forced to take a full day off work and beg City Hall to dig up old building permit records just to satisfy the lender and get her refinance closed.  Crazy, huh?   But you’d be surprises how often even the “best refinance lenders” come up with these crazy underwriting conditions.  The key is to always ask what documentation will be required up front.

Go with the “pros” – Go with the best refinance lenders

Finally, once you have narrowed the best refinance lenders down to your top two or three, and you’ve asked all the right questions, its time to compare their rates, terms, cost, and most of all:  their reputation and credibility.  If you “go with the pro” and grade the best refinance lenders on their credibility and experience first, you will have the best chance for a smooth and efficient transaction.

Author Joe Karns is sales and marketing leader dedicated to bringing his subscribers relevant and useful information. Want a free mortgage checkup? Check out Joe Karns at the following link for more a FREE refinance consultation and expert advice on finding the Best Refinance Lenders:  Best Refinance Lenders

VA Streamline | IRRRL | Mortgage Refinance Loan VA Streamline | IRRRL | Mortgage Refinance Loan(22)

VA Streamline – What are the benefits and do I qualify?

Whether you are active military looking to secure a lower interest rate to help the financial well being of your family back home, or even retired military just looking to lower your monthly payments, it is a great time to consider a VA Streamline refinance.

VA Streamline – Tip#1:  Understand the benefits of this program.

VA Streamline refinances, also known as “IRRRL” loans (interest rate reduction refinance loans) are very popular among veterans because there are many benefits while the underwriting guidelines are more lenient than your average conventional or FHA loan.  First, if you currently have a VA mortgage, many lenders will qualify you based on the original income and assets from when you were originally approved for the mortgage during the purchase and therefore not require updated income and asset documentation during the VA Streamline refinance.  Also, on VA Streamline transactions, there is usually no appraisal required as long as you go through the same lender who is currently servicing your mortgage.  In today’s tough real estate market, any loan program that doesn’t require an appraisal is very popular and that is definitely the case with a VA Streamline refinance.

VA Streamline – Tip#2: Find out if you meet the general guidelines.

When you compare mortgage rates on a VA Streamline refinance, its important to first determine whether you will qualify based on the general guidelines.  VA Streamline refinances’ guidelines are fairly easy to meet.  Generally speaking, as long as you are a member of and of the Armed Forced, you currently have a VA loan that you’ve been paying on time, you have at least a 640 middle credit score, and you are still employed, you should qualify.  There are other criteria but those are the primary requirements for qualifying for a VA Streamline refinance.

When you compare mortgage rates for a VA Streamline Refinance, many would argue the most important factor is to go with your current lender, or, a different lender that will not require a new appraisal.

VA Streamline – Tip#3: Really try to keep your finances in order.

Since there are few qualifications for becoming approved for a VA Streamline refinance, its essential to focus on those few criteria that exist in an effort to stay eligible.  We realize that time are hard right now and especially for military families, but if times get really tough and some bills need to be paid late, its essential to prioritize and try to make your mortgage payment on time.  The reason is that when you apply for a VA Streamline Refinance, most lenders will require you have made timely mortgage payments for at least the last 12 consecutive months. Those who don’t make timely payments likely wont qualify for a VA Streamline refinance and would therefore miss out on today’s historically low interest rates that would otherwise be able to provide real financial relief.

Author Joe Karns is sales and marketing leader and master of the VA Streamline dedicated to bringing his subscribers relevant and useful information. Want a free mortgage checkup? Check out Joe Karns at the following link for more a FREE refinance consultation and expert advice on finding the Best Refinance Lenders. Or, click here for a free quote on a  Va Streamline.

Best Refinance Lenders – How to find the pro’s? Best Refinance Lenders – How to find the pro’s?(2)

Best Refinance Lenders – How do I find the pro’s?

During the past couple years in which the mortgage market has been in turmoil, determining who are the best refinance lenders has become a real challenge.  While current interest rates are still at historic lows, the fact remains that the lending guidelines have tightened up to a degree that is unprecedented.   So much, in fact,  that the average loan officer has trouble keeping up with the constant guideline changes and hoping to provide a high level of customer service.  This challenge is resulting in the weaker loan officers leaving the industry and the pro’s within the best lenders now getting the lion’s share of the market.

During your search, its crucial to remember that the same primary hot buttons remain unchanged:  1) Keep in mind that the lenders with the lowest rates may not be the best deal overall.  Even the best refinance lenders often forget to properly disclose the fact that their apparently low rate includes “discount points”.  This additional fee may be getting you what appears to be a great low rate, but you do not necessarily need to pay any additional fees to get a good rate.  Always ask even the best refinance lenders to give you options and proceed carefully.

How to find the best refinance lenders?

You will find numerous lenders trying to attract you with their seemingly lucrative offers.  However, you must know that not all of them can offer you the best loan.  Some of the best refinance lenders’ reputable brand comes from millions of dollars they spend on expensive advertising.  Those TV ads and billboards may help you recognize their brand, but it works against you in regard to their ability to get you the lowest rate.  All that overhead costs money, some of which is passed down to you, the customer.  The key to remember is that the best refinance lenders are not always the ones with the most well known brand name.  Do your research on websites like HotRateQuote to compare mortgage rates and terms so you have all the necessary information to form an education decision.

Here are some points to consider while searching for the best refinance lenders for your your home loan:

1) Start by leveraging the power of the internet.  A simple search for the best refinance lenders on online will yield thousands of results, but the key is to start with the more reputable “portal sites” such as BankRate.com, LendingTree.com, and HotRateQuote.com.  Try to not be diverted by flashy-looking promotional ad banners and buzz word offers but instead try and focus on the numbers:  rates, APR, total fees, etc.  These websites have gotten really good and organizing the best refinance lenders’ rates and terms so check to see what the top 3-5 offers appear to be within the name loan type category.

 2)  Be weary of excessive fees.  In most cases, the  “lowest rate” offer often comes with some hidden costs, which can quickly add up since they are usually percentage-based figures tied to the loan amount.  These extra costs, also known as ” junk fees”, can make your refinance a costly transaction and sometimes not even worth it anymore.    These “junk fees” include but are not limited to:  “processing fees, application fees, doc prep fees, courier fees for mortgage brokers, etc.”  A good rule of thumb to use when considering the total cost, even with the best lenders, is “how long will it take for the proposed monthly savings to exceed the total cost of this transaction?”.  Example:  Lets say you stand to save $52/month but the total fees are $3572.  It would take you a whopping 68 months (over 5 years) to break even!  Any break even point longer than 24 months is not a good deal.

3) Think you’ve found the best deal now?  Be careful, you might also want to ask what documentation is going to be required.  This is a major factory in getting any refinance transaction closed these days.  Some bank’s guidelines have got so ridiculous that it seems like the hurdles between you and the closing table can never be overcome.  Most banks follow the same set of guidelines nowadays, all requiring the standard two years tax returns with W2’s, last two pay stubs, and last two bank statements.  However, I’ve heard of some real world situations recently that you probably wouldn’t even believe.  A good friend of mine was trying to get the third round of underwriting conditions satisfied when she was then told that she also needed to produce the original building permit for the apparent renovation work that was done to her kitchen from 9 years ago, when she had only owned that home for the last 5 years!  This means that she was forced to take a full day off work and beg City Hall to dig up old building permit records just to satisfy the lender and get her refinance closed.  Crazy, huh?   But you’d be surprises how often even the “best refinance lenders” come up with these crazy underwriting conditions.  The key is to always ask what documentation will be required up front.

Go with the “pros” – Go with the best refinance lenders

Finally, once you have narrowed the best lenders down to your top two or three, and you’ve asked all the right questions, its time to compare their rates, terms, cost, and most of all:  their reputation and credibility.  If you “go with the pro” and grade the best refinance lenders on their credibility and experience first, you will have the best chance for a smooth and efficient transaction.

Author Joe Karns of Bridgeview Bank is one of the very best best refinance lenders and is a seasoned mortgage professional dedicated to bringing his subscribers relevant and useful information. Want a free mortgage checkup? Check out Joe Karns at the following link for more a FREE refinance consultation and expert advice on finding the Best Refinance Lenders:  Compare Mortgage Rates

HARP 2.0 Mortgage Program – What are the benefits of the program? HARP 2.0 Mortgage Program – What are the benefits of the program?(3)

HARP 2.0 – What are the

benefits of the program?

Everyone we know seems to be talking about the new “HARP 2.0” program which is the newest edition of government-sponsored mortgage relief.  So what can HARP 2.0 do for you?  In short, this newer version improves on the initial HARP program by removing the 125% LTV limitation.  In plain terms, many folks who couldn’t qualify for the first edition of HARP because their homes are horribly under water would qualify now.  Other new features of HARP 2.0 include reduced pricing hits at these higher LTV’s for shorter term loans (15yr fixed) and transferable PMI, but the key enhancement of HARP 2.0 is definitely the no-limit LTV.

HARP 2.0 – Tip#1:  How to know if you qualify:

There are a few key requirements to qualify for the HARP 2.0 program.  First, to qualify for HARP 2.0, your mortgage must currently be insured by Fannie Mae(DU Refi Plus) or Freddie Mac( known as “Open Access”).  Next, you need to have been making your mortgage payments on time to qualify for HARP 2.0.  Finally, the loan had to close on or before May 31, 2009.  One additional requirement for HARP 2.0 is that you cannot have already refinanced using the original HARP.

HARP 2.0 – Tip#2: Relaxed underwriting guidelines.

One additional benefit of the HARP 2.0 refinance program is the somewhat relaxed underwriting guidelines.  Specifically, the guidelines related to late mortgage payments on your existing loan.  Under the new HARP 2.0 program, you can actually have paid your existing mortgage late one time within the last 12 months, as long as the late payment occurred more than six months ago.

When you compare mortgage rates for a HARP 2.0 refinance, the most important factor is  talking to a lender that is an expert in the HARP 2.0 guidelines.

HARP 2.0 – Tip#3: What does this mean to the industry?

One thing is for sure, this new HARP 2.0 program should definitely help kick-start the mortgage industry a bit while also helping many homeowners enjoy month savings that come with historically low interest rates who otherwise would not be eligible to refinance.  While there will likely still be millions of homeowners still left high and dry, this updated version of HARP looks like it will help some folks who need relief the most:  those who are seriously upside-down on their mortgage.

Author Joe Karns is sales and marketing leader and master of the HARP 2.0 is dedicated to bringing his subscribers relevant and useful information. Want a free mortgage checkup? Check out Joe Karns at the following link for more a FREE refinance consultation and expert advice on finding the Best Refinance Lenders. Or, click here for a free quote on a  HARP 2.0.

Fill out my online form.

Contacts and information

Most Popular Articles
VA Streamline | IRRRL | VA Streamline Refinance Loan
Compare Mortgage Rates the Smart Way
VA Streamline Refinance Rates - How to Get the Best Deal
Best Refinance Lenders - How to Find the Pros

Hot Rates, Clear Terms, Cool Savings

Social networks

Most popular categories

© 2012 HotRateQuote.com theme by Joe Design All rights reserved. Compare Mortgage Rates Lower Interest Rate