Mary and Ed Ask… Should we help our daughter buy a home?

photo1With student loans and a tough job market, I hear this question more and more. There’s a lot to consider. Can you afford to help your son without making it hard to meet your own expenses — and without jeopardizing your retirement? Is this a good time for your son to buy a house, with or without your help? Or will he have trouble making his house payments once he’s in his new home? Finally, do you help with a gift or a loan? Will he be able to repay a loan? Can you afford to help him if you never get your money back, regardless of what it’s called? If your help comes in the form of a gift, try to make the gift far enough in advance that lenders don’t view it as a possible loan masquerading as a gift. Lots to think about and consider! Want to talk over your situation? Give me a call and let’s chat.  303-696-6933

 

John Asks… Should I hire a Home Inspector ?

YES ONLYAbsolutely. Some lenders & banks – require a home inspection as a condition of issuing a loan. But hiring an inspector is a good idea even if the lender doesn’t require one.

No home is perfect… not even brand new homes.  An independent inspector may save you thousands of dollars in repairs that should be made by the current owner, not you.

The inspector’s job is to point out safety-related concerns or conditions needing repair. They’ll check electrical wiring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, roofs, chimneys, doors, crawl spaces and similar items. If warranted, they may also test for radon. They generally won’t comment on purely cosmetic conditions. And they don’t check behind walls or under flooring.

The inspector works for the person paying them. And their report to you is confidential unless you choose to share it — if you ask the seller to address certain problems, for example. Expect to pay $350-$500 for a thorough report. You may chose to move forward regardless of the findings of the inspector – but you will know exactly what you are buying.

Your Realtor or mortgage lender can help you find a qualified  inspector. Or you can locate one through the National Association of Home Inspectors. Hiring professionals to help you through this whole home buying process is in your best interest. Call me to discuss any questions you may have… 303-696-6933.

 

Sarah Asks… Should I buy a fixer upper if I can’t afford the house of my dreams?

Maybe. But there’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking of doing this.

Your purchase price will be lower. But you need to factor in the costs of fixing up your new home. Unless the changes you’re considering are minor, don’t guess at the fix-up costs. Have a contractor or another knowledgeable person give you an estimate of what needs to be done and how much it’ll cost before you make an offer to buy.

Can you do the work yourself or will you have to hire someone else to do the work? That will affect the cost of the repairs/improvements. Can you live in the house while the work is being done? If not, you’ll need to factor in the cost of living somewhere else and paying the mortgage on your new fixer upper.

FHA has special loans, called 203(K) loans, specifically designed for people buying a house to fix up — or to rehabilitate a house they already own. But specific conditions apply.

The bottom line: Let’s talk if you’re thinking about buying a fixer upper to make sure we come up with the best solution for you.

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Debbie Asks… What mistakes should I avoid as a first-time homebuyer?

  1. Don’t start shopping before you have loan approval. Sellers won’t take you seriously if you don’t have your financing lined up before you make an offer. And until your financing is approved, you don’t know for sure how much you can spend. You’ll be wasting your time and everyone else’s if you’re shopping for houses you can’t afford.
  2. Don’t be afraid to keep looking until you’ve found the right house for you. We’ve all heard of love at first sight. And there can be love at first site, too. The very first house you look at may be just the one. But chances are you’ll need to do a lot of looking — and comparing — to find the right home. That’s okay. Buying a home is the biggest investment most of us will ever make. Don’t buy until you’re sure the home is right for you.
  3. Don’t appear too eager. The sellers may hold out for a higher price if they know you’ve fallen in love with their house.
  4. Don’t tell sellers how much you can spend. If they know you have approval for more than you’ve offered, they may make a counter offer that’s higher than they would have accepted otherwise.

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Tony Asks… How do I find the right house to buy when the good ones sell so quickly?

First, make sure you have your financing lined up before you start shopping for a new home.

Buyers are snatching up houses quickly in the Denver area even though the average price of single-family detached homes reached a record high in May and continues trending upward. In some cases, buyers are engaging in bidding wars for good properties.

So, here’s my advice:

  • Work with an energetic realtor who will take the initiative to help you identify suitable houses as soon as they hit the market.
  • Don’t be rash, but be ready to make an offer if you see a house you really like.
  • Have your financing lined up in advance so you know you qualify. In today’s market, sellers won’t wait if you’re not ready with an offer they know will stand up.

Sold Home for Sale Real Estate Sign and House

Karen asks what all do I need to gather for a mortgage?

This is an easy one for us to answer!  Reference this list, and you will be prepared!!

  1. Valid driver’s license – To comply with the Patriot Act, this will verify your identity.
  2. Secondary ID – Either a passport or Social Security card
  3. One month’s pay stubs – If you are paid hourly or salary
  4. W-2 forms from employers from the past two years – To verify employment and earnings history
  5. Two years of signed federal tax returns (all pages)  – These are essential for self-employed, bonus, and commission income.  Even if you are paid a salary, this proves income.
  6. Two months of bank statements – These provide evidence of assets for down payment, closing costs and reserves.
  7. Purchase contract for the property you are buying
  8. If refinancing, a copy of the deed
  9. Landlord contact – If you are a renter, the name, phone, and address of the landlord can help verify that you pay timely
  10. Attorney contact – May help coordinate the closingTax 1040

Roy Asks… How can I make my mortgage work for me?

The equity in your home can give you a financial advantage if used correctly.

  1. Consolidate Debt.  Use your equity to pay off high-interest debt and consolidate your payments into one lower-interest payment.
  2. Cash Out Refi for Renovation.  Remodel your kitchen or bathroom or add a bedroom.  It may be cheaper than buying a new home and you will still have all the familiar comforts of your current home!
  3. Cash Out Refi for Major Purchase.  Cars, tuition, weddings, travel, second homes are just some major purchases.  Using the equity in your home allows you to loan money to yourself without putting it on a credit card.
  4. Accommodate Changing Needs and Goals.  We provide an annual fiscal check-up by phone in less than 10 minutes to see if your mortgage makes the most sense for you.
  5. Cash Out Refi for Other Real-Estate Investments.  Cashing out your equity for wise investments can be very lucrative.
  6. Increased Interest Rates.  Adjustable rate mortgages can be useful at times, but you must be ready to act quickly when the time comes.
  7. Decreased Interest Rates.  In the financial market cycle, there are short term “windows of opportunity” you can use to refinance your loan for significant savings.

Having a Loan Officer watching the market for you and ready to act is a valuable asset in your financial tool box.

Cheryl is ready and avaialble to help! YES-button

 

Martin asks….I am ready to buy a home. Do I need my own realtor or can I just go through the seller’s agent?

 keyYou are not alone in your thinking, Martin.  Many buyers believe they could save money and have an advantage if they use the realtor who listed the home.  You may have an opportunity for a reduced commission – but don’t count on it. The agent has the right to make this decision, so have that discussion in advance.  One thing to keep in mind is that now the agent has responsibility for BOTH sides of the transaction.  Also don’t be so quick to believe that just because you worked with the seller’s agent you will automatically get the house.   It is often in your best interest to have your own agent working for you.  A buyer’s agent will be your advocate and negotiate the best price and terms for you.

Ask the agent about agency agreements and laws in your state.

The bottom line is that buyers should consider the risks as well as potential rewards before they decide to forgo buyer representation. Having a real estate professional on your side will ensure the closing goes well, you are represented and will avoid costly mistakes throughout the process.

Mary Asks… Is there a tax advantage to making my January mortgage payment in December?

Mortgage ToolsYES, by making your January 2014 mortgage payment before this years end, you may in fact save yourself a substantial amount of money. If you were to pay your January 1, 2014 mortgage bill in advance, by the end of December of this year, your interest deduction from January would be shifted to this year’s deductions. This translates into you saving money and receiving a greater tax break for 2013. This should be incredibly appealing if you anticipate that you’ll be in a lower tax bracket next year.

In order to do this properly, you must take into consideration the following information:

◾January is the only month that this tax saving situation will apply

◾Make sure that your payment is received in time for it to count towards this year. Keep in mind that December 31, 2013 is a Tuesday (not to mention New Years Eve) so mailing in your payment a few days earlier or making it on –line would be best to ensure it posts in December.

◾Make a quick phone call to your mortgage company to discuss your intentions. They can also help you assure that this is credited as an interest payment for this year.

◾You MUST be certain that you’ll be in a lower tax bracket next year. Otherwise, you will not be saving much money other than getting and get ahead on your mortgage – which is never a bad thing – just know the facts!

Making your January mortgage payment in advance is a great idea that will save you some money, that is if you fit the criteria above and of course are in a financial situation that allows an additional payment in December!

Tricia asks….I have heard that buying a home in the winter months can be beneficial. I have SO many other things to do right now, why should I add this to my list?

Oh the weather outside is frightful….Buying is so delightful!!

Determined buyers can find so many benefits during the cold holiday season. It may truly pay off for you to add one more thing to your TO DO list:

  • During the nice weather months, MANY people  are out looking for a new home.  This means you are in competition with all those people and you may pay more for a property, miss a good-value, or even receive less attention from busy real estate and mortgage professionals.
  • The holiday seasonal sellers are just as determined as you are as the buyer!  These sellers are committed to selling, the professionals can give you more of their attention and you will have full view of the good-value listings.  When there is less competition in the buyer’s market, you will get more personalized service, more for your money, and have the time to feel confident in all of your decisions.

Although the holiday season typically means putting life on hold to eat more, spend more, be with family more, it doesn’t mean it is the right choice to ignore real estate opportunities.  Your real estate goals and dreams just may become a reality during this special time of year which would make it an even more thankful time.86528300-1.

The most important thing to remember is sellers that have listed during this time of year are very serious about selling.  Understanding their needs and wants during this time will go a long way for you as the buyer as well.  Perhaps they have a hard close date in mind.  Try to meet that date for them and maybe they will be likely to accept your purchase price offer.  Take advantage of the “worst time” weather and learn what you can expect from a property:

  • Walk through a home during a rainstorm and you’ll see how well the eavestrough system does its job. Observe the gutters, corners, and exterior walls. Ensure there is no exterior water damage or water in the basement.  Does the water collect on the property or move into the street?
  • Drive by houses after a fresh snowfall and you’ll discover which are well insulated (snow on roof) and which are losing heat (melted snow).
  • Tour a house on a very windy day and drafts, insufficient insulation, and poorly-sealed windows and doors will be revealed.
  • If it is an especially cold day, investigate if the furnace heats the whole house. Are the back rooms cold?  How is the upper floor and the basement?
  • During the holiday season when parties and cooking are popular pastimes tour condominium units and you’ll see how far noise and smells travel in the building and into the suite or townhome you’re considering.
  • Ask an experienced real estate and mortgage professional for their “best things” about “worst times”.

 

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what customers are saying

"Annie and I wish to say thanks to ALMC Mortgage for all they have done for us in getting the mortgage we wanted." –John W.

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"Cheryl, Thank you so much for all you did for us to help us buy our first HOME!" –Matt & Alicia

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