Jody asks…. I found the home of my dreams – but the inspection shows issues – what should I do?

I have dreamt of being a homeowner for years.  But the inspector I hired found a few issues.  Is my dream shattered? You still may be able to follow through with that dream. You did the right thing by hiring an inspcector – the money it costs upfront can save you thousands in the long run! So the inspector’s findings should be considered very seriously if they fall into the following categories:

  1. Mold: If you smell anything musty in the home, be on the lookout for mold.  Mold could be caused by poor air circulation or water leakage issues.
  2. Pests: Damage caused by termites and other pests can lead to costly repairs.
  3. Faulty wiring: Outdated wiring and electrical problems in a home can cause fire hazards. Be on the lookout for any indication of faulty wiring, such as exposed cabling.
  4. Poorly done projects: Ensure the previous home owner’s do-it-yourself projects were done correctly and are up to code. A poorly done flooring and  wallpaper that has been painted-over can be time-consuming and costly to fix.
  5. Drainage problems: Test sinks by running water and checking the drains.  Flush toilets to test for any potential problems. Look in the yard for potential flooding areas.

Not every finding on an inspection report is a reason to cancel the dream, just make sure you are protecting yourself from any known future issues that could be time-consuming and costly. Asking for a 2nd opinion is an option as well. Make sure you are working with a professional Realtor and Mortgage professional to ensure your needs are being met and rights are being protected as a buyer!

Paolo asks…What are the top things I should focus on to maintain my good credit score?

Credit CardIf you keep these tips in mind – your credit scores should always be high.

  1. When possible, make automatic payments so bills get debited from your checking account at the same time every month.
  2. Pay on time – every month.
  3. Pay down credit card balances – pay more than the minimum payment.  You should stay under 50% of your available credit, even if you pay the entire bill every time.
  4. Do not close a credit card, even if you do not use it.  When you add up the balances of all of your outstanding debts and compare it to the credit limits –  there should be at least 50% credit available.
  5. Do not get tempted to apply for instant accounts at department stores, even if you get a savings.  In general, it is not good for your FICO score.

Our IN-HOUSE Credit Services Department can evaluate the credit report and offer personalized recommendations that could potentially improve a borrower’s credit rating.  This is a FREE service to ALL applicants of NOVA Home Loans!

 

Robert Asks… My agent showed my wife and I a house that is known to be haunted by local legend. It’s a little freaky – any way to know for sure?

Yes. If you currently have your eye on a home and are considering purchasing it but have a sinking suspicion that it may already have an “occupant” or two, there are in fact a few things you can do.

First and foremost, you should check the seller’s disclosure. This disclosure is a form which reveals what the seller knows about the property’s physical condition and they are required to complete it. In this disclosure the seller may in fact reveal what oddities or paranormal activity they may have experienced while living in the home.

If the seller’s disclosure shows no sign of haunting activity, there are a few more things you can do to help with your peace of mind. Take some time to talk with the neighbors and ask questions about the home. Ask what exactly they know about it. The more you know the better. And odds are the neighbors would know the most about it and know the history of the home. Use the local library to research records and previous owner’s names and information. You can check the police records as well to check for deaths and or criminal activity at the home. You may even find newspaper articles about the home if there was ever any unusual activity! These types of reports typically get media attention.  The Internet will be a good tool in your research as well. You never know what a simple Google search may turn up.

Now in the rare case that you are seeking a haunted home as your next residence or are currently trying to sell your haunted home, you’re in luck. There are resources available, that will direct you to real haunted home listings. Search on line for paranormal home listings and make sure your agent details the activity in the listing- many people are fascinated by haunted houses and you will most likely have a buyer in a very short time!!

If the thought of buying a “haunted home” is still a little freaky to you  – then move on – this is just one of thousands available and the right one is just waiting for you to be the rightful owner.

Sharon Asks….How do I choose a mortgage provider I can trust?

Smiling business teamFirst Things First – Do your Research!!

There are great resources for you to use when researching which mortgage provider is best for you.  Check with your local Better Business Bureau and ask for a company reliability report.  Also, seek referrals within your own network of friends, co-workers, neighbors family and a trusted Realtor.

Gather a list of potential mortgage companies and ask them questions:

  • Are you affiliated with Industry Associations?
  • Are you a Lender or a Broker?
  • Do your loan officers have experience and education?
  • Will you provide a written estimate of loan terms and costs?

Kep in Mind:

  • No money should be required up front for your loan application other than a credit report or an appraisal
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Be prepared to answer personal questions about your employment, income, and credit history.  Consider how much you want your monthly payment to be and understand you may qualify for a loan and payments for more than you are wanting to spend. Do your research and make decisions comfortable for you.

You can check Cheryl’s credentials at the following places.

 

Josh and Karen Ask…We want to move soon. How should we prepare our home to sell?

home_for_sale_sign_11Sometimes a little planning can make all the difference in selling a home.  Remember you only get one shot for your home to make a wonderful first impression! Some Pro Tips for preparing your home to sell are listed below.

  1. De-clutter: Donate it, dump it, or if you really need it, store it.
  2. De-personalize: Remove family photos, personal memorabilia and keepsakes.
  3. Remove furniture: Create the feeling of space, especially if square footage is limited.
  4. Clean: A clean home tells buyers that it is well-maintained.
  5. Paint: Keep the walls neutral to appeal to more buyers.
  6. Bring in the light: Remove heavy window treatments, clean windows, and bring in lamps.
  7. Add curb appeal: Clean up the yard, trim shrubs, add a nice doormat to welcome visitors.
  8. Minor Repairs: Replace light bulbs, fix leaky faucets, make sure closet doors are on track and clean grout.
  9. Update kitchens & baths: Buyers place a huge value on updates

Remember to create a positive first impression and showcase the best attributes of your home.

Doug asks…We will be in the market to purchase in three months. What can I do to ensure I get the best mortgage deal?

Congratulations on taking the first step – PLANNING!  Purchasing a home is a major life event and taking appropriate steps can really pay off.  Here are some great actions to help you make the most of your planning process:

  1. Know your credit rating.  You want to ensure you correct any errors and work towards paying down your debt.  With a score below 620 will find it difficult to qualify for a mortgage.  The best rates are available to those with scores higher than 740.
  2. Get pre-approved.  By qualifying for a mortgage, you will be a stronger buyer when the time comes.  Sellers will know your finances are strong and you will feel comfortable with your purchasing power limits.
  3. Choose fixed or ARM.  An Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) offers a fixed rate for the first 5 or 7 years than can rise every year.  Determine how long you expect to be in the new house and choose the option best for you.
  4. Determine loan length.  Typically you can get a mortgage loan for 15 or 30 years.  You can get a lower interest rate by choosing the 15 year option, however, you have to be able to afford the higher monthly mortgage payment.  The benefit is you are free of a mortgage payment sooner.  However, typically home buyers need the 30 year mortgage to lower their monthly payment to fit in their budget.
  5. Lock your rate.  Once you find a rate you are comfortable with, lock it in!

Now is the time to do a credit review and make sure everything is in order so there are no surprises when you are ready to make an offer.  Utilize our FREE credit services review program  anytime. Contact us for more details.

Sarah Asks….I will be moving to Denver soon with my job. Should I rent or own?

Sarah, we come across this all the time and it is a great question!  In Denver, it is 45% cheaper to own a home than to rent, making Denver one of the most affordable cities to live in!  Currently, apartments are being built all over and STILL cannot keep up with the demand, so rental rates are high.

Interest rates are still low and that means it is more affordable to own your own home.  However, don’t expect them to stay low forever! An increase in the rates will narrow the margin between a mortgage payment and a rental payment.  So if you are undecided, now is definitely the time to own your home and avoid increasing rental rates across Denver!

Cheryl Braunschweiger of ALMC Mortgage Named 2013 Five Star Mortgage Professional

Senior Loan Officer Cheryl Braunschweiger of ALMC Mortgage at NOVA Home Loans has been named as a Five Star Mortgage ProfessionalSM by 5280 Magazine and Five Star Professional.

The coveted award recognizes mortgage professionals for outstanding performance based on high client satisfaction ratings, experience and production levels.

Emblem_Horizontal-MP2013_LO

“Buying a new home or refinancing your home to make improvements is a special time for most people,” Braunschweiger noted. “The one part that can be a hassle is securing a loan. At ALMC, we focus on making the loan process as pleasant as possible. We treat clients the way we would treat a friend. And many of them have become friends. Our name means All Loans Must Close. And we do everything we can to make that happen.”

A mortgage professional for nearly 20 years, Braunschweiger founded ALMC Mortgage in 1996. She joined the NOVA Home Loans team last year.

Henry Asks… How can I avoid my emotions when it comes to home buying and ensure that I make a sound financial investment?

Often times, it easy to get caught up in the moment as a homebuyer, especially when come across your “dream home.” This can lead to you making a decision with your heart rather than your head. It is important as a homebuyer going through the process of finding a home, to remain level headed. This way when it actually comes time to make an offer, you know you’ll be making a wise financial decision.key

Review the following advice to help avoid the most common emotional mistakes that homebuyers are making these days.

 

  1. Avoid love at first sight. When it comes to real estate, you must avoid falling head over heels for the first property you see. Shop around and be sure to look at a multitude of homes even if you love one of the first few that you see. By doing this you may avoid the buyers remorse, skipping necessary details, and overlooking the true value of the property.
  2. Be realistic about the housing market. As a general rule thumb, you must always remember that there is not necessarily a better deal waiting for you. Do your research on the area in which you are looking to buy and you should definitely get a general feel for what you should expect to pay. By sitting and waiting on a better deal, you may miss the opportunity to buy.
  3. Nothing hurts more than overpaying. We all want to find our dream home and unfortunately for many, when they do they overpay greatly. One of the worst things that you can do as a homebuyer is to overextend yourself financially. Always remain within your budget, even if the home of your dreams is right in front of your eyes.
  4. Understand that lowballing can ruin it all. Like anything, it is common for us to want something at the lowest price possible. But when it comes to home buying it is of utmost importance to make a reasonable bid on the home. A seller will see right through what you think of as “negotiating” and what is in reality, lowballing.

If you do your best to follow the advice listed above, you should be in a home and feeling financially comfortable in no time.

James Asks… Do you have a check list to help me be prepared to do my taxes?

TAXPAYER CHECKLIST

Whether you have scheduled the appointment with the accountant or purchased the     do-it-yourself  tax software, you are now going to have to get organized.  Following is a reference guide of all the data you might need.

Information You Need 

Personal Data

  • Social security numbers (incl. spouse & children)                
  • Your child care provider’s tax ID or Soc.Sec. #                      

Employment & Income Data 

  • W-2 Forms for this year                                                                        
  • Partnership and trust income                                
  • Pensions and annuities                                                                          
  • Alimony received   
  • Jury duty pay                                                                                          
  • Gambling and lottery winnings             
  • Prizes and awards 
  • Scholarships and fellowships
  • State and local income tax refunds      

Homeowner / Renter Data 

  • Residential address(es) for this year                                    
  • Mortgage interest                                                                 
  • Sale of your home or other real estate 
  • Second mortgage interest paid                                                             
  • Real estate taxes paid           
  • Rent paid during tax year                                                      
  • Moving expenses    

Financial Assets 

  • Interest income statements  
  • Dividend income statements
  • Proceeds from broker transactions       
  • Tax refunds and unemployment compensation   
  • Misc. income including contract or freelance work              
  • Retirement plan distribution 

Financial Liabilities 

  • Auto loans and leases           
  • Student loan interest paid                                                     
  • Early withdrawal penalties on CDs                                       
  • Personal property tax information         

Deductible Expenses               

  • Gifts to charity       
  • Un-reimbursed expenses for volunteer work                       
  • Un-reimbursed expenses related to your job       
  • Investment expenses             
  • Job-hunting expenses                                                                            
  • Education expenses               
  • Child care expenses                                                                               
  • Medical savings account       
  • Adoption expenses
  • Alimony paid          
  • Tax return preparation expenses and fees                            

Self-Employment Data 

  • K-1’s on all partnerships        
  • Receipts for business-related expenses                                               
  • Farm income          

Deduction Documents 

  • Estimated tax pmts for current year                                     
  • IRA, Keogh & other retirement plan contributions               
  • Medical Expenses                                                                  
  • Casualty or Theft Losses                                                                        
  • Other miscellaneous deductions                                                           

 

 

MORE THAN YOU EXPECT...EVERYTHING YOU DESERVE. APPLY ONLINE NOW!
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.

"I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to ALMC for hustling to meet my desired closing date." –Debi

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

"Cheryl and Jessica were great at getting my loan done. Very professional and always looking out for their customer." –Lindy

"Our loan went smoothly and it was hassle free. I will recommend ALMC to all of my friends!" –RJ Ramirez

"You kept us informed and went out of your way to take care of our needs. Thank you!" –Doug & Dotty Smith

"ALMC has twice exceeded my expectations. A great big thank you!" –David Moylan

ALMC accredited by Better Business BureauVisit the ALMC Facebook PageMember of Tom Martinos Exclusive Referral List