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February 2012
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February 17, 2012

A Brief Outline on Home Mortgage Loans

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:00 pm

Mortgages play very crucial role in the economy. The importance of the mortgage industry was realized during the last economic crisis that the country had faced. Rising number of mortgage loans default cases were reported and housing prices plunged to very low levels. This led to the crash in the real estate market in the economy. The negative effects of the crash in the real estate market were percolated to the other sectors of the economy soon. Eventually, the country, as a whole, went into recession. Anyways, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the mortgage lenders have become more cautious and they are keeping in more stringent eligibility criteria for obtaining a home mortgage loan. In other words, they are checking the credit worthiness of the borrowers like never before.

Anyway, before taking out a mortgage loan, you must conduct a thorough research about different mortgage loans and rates available at the market place. After examining the different mortgage loans, you will be able to find the most suitable mortgage loan. In other words, the home mortgage loan that you have taken out, must be very affordable to you. In order to find out your affordability, you can also take the help of a mortgage calculator. A mortgage calculator calculates your affordable mortgage payment amount. Anyways, if you face difficulty in repaying your original mortgage loan, you can opt for home mortgage refinancing too.

A mortgage refinance replaces the original mortgage loan with a new one which is affordable to you. In other words, the aim of mortgage refinancing is to help the borrowers pay off their mortgage loans. This can be done through by lowering down the monthly mortgage payment amount or by raising the term of a mortgage. If you want to pay off your mortgage loan earlier before the scheduled time, then also you can opt for mortgage refinancing. Mortgage refinancing can lower down the term of the mortgage loan but at the cost of increased monthly mortgage payment.

Again, if you want to switch to the safety of a fixed rat mortgage from that of an adjustable rate mortgage, then also, you can opt for mortgage refinancing.

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February 16, 2012

Selecting Mortgage Companies Can be Tricky

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:16 am

Caller…..”A yeah, I am interested in a mortgage for a condo”
Company….”Great, where are you calling from?”
Originator….”Perfect….we are licensed in Pennsylvania”
Caller…”OK, where are you?”
Originator….”Kansas. But, we do lots of loans all over the country.”
Caller…”Have you done any loans in Philadelphia?”
Originator….”Not personally. But the mortgage process is pretty much the same no matter where you are. ”
Caller…”Alright. I am looking for a $250,000 loan. I’m thinking about putting down 30%. Can you give me an idea of the rate?”
Originator….”As long as your credit is above blah blah, your rate is blah, blah, blah”
Caller…”Wow, that’s an awesome rate. Do you think we can close in two weeks”.
Originator….”Ohh sure. Not an issue.”

And…prepare to punch yourself in the face.

Almost everyone who has been active in the mortgage market over the past decade has heard horror stories of botched financing courtesy of working with mortgage lenders and brokers from far outside of their communities. Today, selecting a mortgage professional you’ve met online is not that big of a deal anymore. Technology has overcome many hurdles and there are plenty of great companies who have streamlined the origination process. BUT, and it’s a big but…if you are looking to buy a home which is not a “vanilla” property, your originator’s past experience and knowledge of the market may determine whether or not you want to refer them to friends or back over them with your unpacked moving truck.

Condo loans certainly fits that description and especially when it comes to high-rise units and properties where not all phases of the building have been completed.  There are multiple underwriting guidelines which can determine if a unit is considered “non warrantable”. Non warrantable condos are not eligible to be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac due to a presumed higher risk for default. Thus, the loans have to be placed with lenders who do accept these types of properties in their portfolio.  One of the most important items you’ll need to get completed is a condo questionnaire. This typically is a 1 to 2 page form that is sent from your mortgage company to the condo’s management company. This step will help the mortgage company in determining whether the condo will meet their lenders’ guidelines.

Back to the aforementioned conversation. The originator did a couple of things that should raise a red flag. First, they did not ask any questions about the condo which could immediately help them determine if they had  a matching loan program. Most experienced loan officers will rattle off some questions immediately such as, “Are all of the units complete? Are most units owner occupied? Is there an active homeowners association? Are there commercial spaces in the development?”  The list of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac requirements is lengthy. That’s why it might be worth your while to work with a mortgage professional who has already financed a property in the development. They have already walked down the path.

Ask your real estate professional for a list of three mortgage professionals that they recommend. Try to find ones from different companies and who all have experience with financing condos in your area. And perhaps most importantly, be sure to give yourself enough time to gather the necessary documentation from the management company. 50% of the time the mortgage company gets a half completed condo questionnaire back two weeks after they sent it in. Of course this does not work and it has to go back to the management company who kicks and screams that the “Joe’s Perfect Mortgage Company” down the street does not ask for any of this stuff. Does it sound like I’ve lived it? Almost every mortgage professional  past and present has. Work with your real estate agent and the seller’s agent to help facilitate the paperwork from the management company. You’ll also want to make sure that the appraisal happens quickly in case it produces information that makes the unit not fit the mortgage program that your originator had selected for you.  There are options for non-warrantable condos. Just be sure to give yourself enough time to shift gears if you need to.

About the author:
Nat Criss is a home financing expert based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is the CEO, a consumer directed website focusing on mortgage rates, insurance, and personal finance.

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February 8, 2012

Four Lighting Tips To Help Sell Your Condo

Filed under: For Sellers,General Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:06 pm

When you’re trying to make your space more alluring to potential buyers, it’s all about presentation.

Most people know that. Before a showing, they make sure the place is picked up, cart out extraneous furniture and, take out the trash. But what about the lighting?

Lighting is the one thing that can give your condo a warm, inviting atmosphere. Follow the tips below, and you’ll have buyers making offers:

-Use the sun to your advantage. Natural light is an incredibly attractive feature, so use what you’ve got. Trim any outdoor plants that are blocking that sun from streaming in, take down bulky window treatments, and move furniture away from the windows.

-Layers are key. The basics of lighting design involve incorporating at least three “layers” of light in each room. One layer is general lighting – you get that with ceiling fixtures. One is task lighting – that includes your floor/desk lamps and any focused lights such as under cabinet fixtures or desk lamps. One is accent lighting – that’s what will really highlight your decor and bring in the majestic feel. One of the most popular forms of accent lighting is indirect cove lighting via LED light strips installed in a recessed portion of the ceiling.

-Be critical. When you’re selling a condo (this especially applies if you’ve lived in it for years), you have to put yourself in a stranger’s shoes. If you were seeing the place for the first time, what would you think of the light fixtures? It’s easy to accumulate outdated light fixtures and forget to judge them with a discerning eye. Replace any tacky light fixtures with a more contemporary style.

-Go green. Sustainability is such a selling point for potential buyers. They want to hear they won’t get slapped with a huge power bill after move-in. They don’t want to go to the trouble of replacing inefficient light bulbs you installed. If possible, replace light bulbs with low-energy models. You can add it on to the list of benefits you tout to the buyer.

Emily Widle
E-Commerce Marketing Specialist
Pegasus Lighting
P 724.846.5137 x 102
F 724.846.8833
“Unique Lighting Products for Your Special Needs”

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February 3, 2012

Top Signs You are Possibly Dealing with a Desperate Seller:

Filed under: For Buyers,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:33 pm

1) You see that the condo is vacant, and the front desk tells you they moved
over a year ago.

2) You Google the sellers, and You see that they own multiple properties,
and all of them are for sale.

3) You search the history (in the MLS) of that listing, and see the seller is on
their third listing agent.

4) You walk into the condo, it is vacant, the appliances are gone, and it looks
like the seller left in the middle of the night.

5) You read some unique language in the MLS listing about “seller makes no
warranties”, or “ corporate addendum must accompany…” usually means
corporate owned- aka REO.

These are all possible signs that the condo is ripe for an insulting offer.

Good Luck!

Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Phila., PA 19106

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