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Home Sales in Bloom

New Home Sales blossomed in March reaching their highest level in nearly a year, the Commerce Department reported. Sales were up 5.8 percent from February and nearly 16 percent from a year ago. New home inventories edged lower to a 5.2-month supply in March. A six-month supply is considered “normal” inventory.

Existing Home Sales hit their highest pace in over 10 years in March, according to the National Association of Realtors, with sales climbing 4.4 percent from February and 5.9 percent above a year ago. However, existing home demand continues to outweigh supply with inventories down 6.6 percent from the same time last year.

New home construction didn’t fare as well. Inclement weather during March in the Midwest and Northeast chilled residential home construction after unseasonably warm weather in February. March Housing Start numbers fell nearly 7 percent from February, per the Commerce Department. The year-over-year picture was still rosy, however, with Housing Starts up 9 percent from March 2016 to March 2017.

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Divorce and Your Home

During this difficult time, there are many questions you might be asking, including “Can I keep my house – what are my options?” Let’s break it down so you hopefully have one less thing to worry about!

If I am the one to receive the home in the settlement, does it make sense? Take into consideration home size, utilities, payments, family needs, etc. You will now be entirely responsible for the house payment, upkeep and other related bills. Your income will most likely be decreasing, so it is imperative that you be aware of what your expenses will be.

Will my spouse receive marital interest in the home? If so, the equity in the home needs to be determined by an appraiser. The appraised value – less the costs of selling (commissions and seller closing costs) equals equity to be split between the parties. This may be the amount you will be obligated to give to your ex-spouse.

With the divorce, your spouse may put a marital lien on the property or there may be a court-ordered mandate for distribution of the equity. This means that you have a specified amount of time to obtain the funds needed to give the ex-spouse their portion of the equity. This can be done by cashing out the equity in the home with a new mortgage or selling the home.

If you choose to stay in the home, you have two financing options to pay your ex-spouse. You can refinance your home to get cash out, or you can obtain a new home equity loan. This is where you will want the advice of a trusted mortgage professional.

There are specific rules to qualifying for a new mortgage. With good credit and income, you can quality on your own (child support and alimony can be counted if received for three months and likelihood of continuance for at least three years).

What if I am the one leaving the home? It is important to know that even though the divorce decree awarded the home to your spouse, you are still obligated for this debt in the eyes of the mortgage company!

Many people assume that by filing a quit claim deed removing themselves, they are no longer responsible for the mortgage. A quit claim eliminates your name from the title of the property, not the mortgage. The benefit of a quit claim deed is that if the one on title passes away, the property will go to their heirs rather than the ex-spouse.

How might it impact my credit – what can I do? Unfortunately for many, divorce is a time of great financial hardship and credit challenges. Because you are obligated on the mortgage until it is paid in full, it is imperative that the person responsible for the payment remains current. One possibility you have is to do a name delete assumption. If this is done as a none-qualifying assumption, the spouse not receiving the property can have their name removed from statements, but the financial obligation remains the same.

This process can also be used if you are staying in the property and changing back to your maiden name or a new married name. There is a way to do a qualifying name delete assumption that would relieve the non-occupying spouse from their obligation, but you would have to check with your mortgage servicing company for their procedure and fees.

What about if I want to go buy a home – am I still obligated because I am on the other loan? Once you have your final divorce decree, a lender will look at your income and credit to qualify you on your own. Again, in most situations, child support and alimony must have been received for three months and have at least a three year likelihood of continuance for this income to be used for qualifying. If the divorce decree states that you are not obligated for the mortgage and the mortgage on the home awarded to your ex-spouse has not been delinquent during the last 12 months, you may be able to qualify without this obligation.

Taking the time to talk to me before your divorce or before you decide to start looking at a new home can help eliminate many of the concerns and problems that surface in these situations. Choosing to work with a Trusted Advisor as a mortgage lender is crucial to your financial well-being, especially during this difficult time.

Take advantage of our FREE mortgage analysis and financial consultation. Let me help you with all your homeownership need. Call me at 847-441-4116.

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No Cost Mortgage Loans – Fact or Fiction?

Are there really “No Cost” mortgage loans?  While some banks advertise that their loans are no cost to you, actual fixed costs which are roughly $2,000 are “buried” in the higher rate that you’re charged.
Fixed costs are those for the appraisal, lender underwriting fee, and title charges. These are part of EVERY loan regardless of the advertisement or bank.
Very roughly, there’s a 5 to 6 year payback for these No Cost loans. The higher monthly mortgage payment will total these fixed costs in 5 or 6 years.
Why would you want a No Cost loan? If you’re short of cash at the closing,
or if you’re planning on moving in less than 7 years, this loan would make sense.
Otherwise you’re better off with the lower rate especially since rates are trending upwards.

For specific numbers for your own loan, call me at 847-441-4116 or email me at herb@1steaglemortgage.com.

 

 

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Can you buy your dream home with no money down?

Yes, if you’re a veteran of the Armed Services or National Guard. This is the only true “no money down” loan.

I recently closed a $300,000 VA (Veterans Administration) loan.  The total the buyer brought to closing was $274; the 30-year fixed rate was in the 3’s.

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Homeownership Satisfies Family Needs

According to a recent study performed by The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, there are five important reasons why owning a home makes Americans feel satisfied.

  • It means having a good place to raise children and provide them with a good education. Even those without children at the time of purchase, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of their home.
  • You have a physical structure where you and your family feel safe. It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason.
  • It allows you to have more space for your family. Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in with you, how this fits your needs is a close third on the list.
  • It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates. Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?
  • Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to your family. Lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can also borrow against in the future.

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, I can help you find a way to successful and satisfying homeownership.

Call Herb Levin, 1st Eagle Mortgage, @ 847-441-4116

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Mortgage Approval Before You Start Your Home Search

Realtors and home sellers want to know that the buyer is “approved” for a mortgage. There are several levels:

  • First, a brief look at credit and income
  • Next, an automated underwriting system
  • Lastly, a complete underwriting approval that guarantees your status as a ready and willing buyer

1st Eagle Mortgage offers this complete underwriting approval system while you’re looking for a home. We don’t need an address.

This results in the assurance that you’ll get the mortgage once you find a home, and also shortens the time from contract to closing.

Call 1st Eagle Mortgage at 847-441-4116

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Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy

  • If you must buy a car, focus on transportation as opposed to style. Buy an inexpensive, used car, and try to get a loan for it. It’s a good idea to figure out what your budget allows in terms of a dollar amount first. This means obtaining financing prior to looking for a car.
  • Get a secured credit card. Secured credit cards allow for the cardholder to deposit a said amount of money into an account, thus establishing the spending limit of the card. Missed payments result in deductions from the account. Some of these cards will reward responsible borrowers by upping the limit without an additional deposit. Some will even convert the account into a traditional credit card (be wary of offers of “easy credit” or any card which asks you to call a 900 number-you will be charged for the call). I can recommend several banks.
  • Meet with a credit repair specialist or myself. While they can help you clean up the damage to your credit report, I can advise you on specific ways to rebuild the credit you lost as well.
  • While it does take time, there is definitely life (and credit) after bankruptcy. Some of my lenders will even lend to you within a year or so after a bankruptcy with extenuating circumstances. If you’re in serious financial trouble, the trick is to get the help and advice you need from professionals you trust.

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Vital Strategies For Homeowners In Bankruptcy

Follow these steps while in bankruptcy:

  • Save all paperwork regarding your bankruptcy, and keep it organized. This will prove beneficial after your bankruptcy as you now have all of the pertinent information in one place. Also, be sure to write down your discharge date. It’s surprising how many people forget to do this.
  • Establish a household budget. This can be accomplished in many ways, but there are several inexpensive computer programs available which do an excellent job.
  • Throughout the bankruptcy, do your best to not only live below your means, but to save as much cash as possible. You never know what you may need it for once the process is completed.
  • Be prepared for a barrage of junk mail. There will be sharks on the loose who are hoping to capitalize on your need for credit.

 

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Mortgage Restructuring To Avoid Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is an uncomfortable subject for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is the potential havoc it can wreak on your finances. Running a close second is the negative stigma which is often attached to the process. This negativity is important to mention because strong emotions can sometimes lead to unsound financial decisions with devastating results. Bankruptcy becomes a viable option for someone who is “upside down” in terms of cash flow. In other words, when a person has more money going out each month than coming in, bankruptcy should be considered if no reversal of this negative cash flow is within sight. The longer someone waits to explore the various options available, the more serious his or her situation may become.

One of the worst things people can do in this situation is to borrow more money to try and pay off their debts. On paper, this is clearly an unwise financial decision. In the real world, however, it is very common for individuals to pursue this strategy in an attempt to buy time and hold off on filing for bankruptcy. On the surface, this is certainly a noble notion; but, it can often compound the problem and serves only to delay the inevitable.

For many homeowners in the midst of this upside down cash flow, speaking to a qualified mortgage professional is a much better option.  An experienced loan officer can objectively look at your finances and help you determine if restructuring your mortgage would not only help, but possibly even alleviate any need for bankruptcy.

When filing for bankruptcy, be completely honest and accurate regarding every aspect of your financial situation. This includes any changes to your income which may occur throughout the process. Bankruptcy is a federal procedure, adjudicated by real judges, and scrutinized by representatives who coordinate with the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the IRS.

If bankruptcy is the only option, seek out a reputable bankruptcy attorney and credit counselor. I can provide references for you as well, as I work with these professionals on a regular basis. Reliable references are essential in this case because experienced professionals greatly increase the odds of a successful bankruptcy experience. It’s that simple.

 

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Preparing Your Home for an Appraisal

hands holding home  You’ve sold your home. Or, you are thinking of refinancing your current mortgage.

One of the things that the lender will require is a property appraisal. While the actual appraisal inspection may take only an hour or two, the appraiser must go back to the office, research other homes that have sold in your area, and write a 20 to 30 page report.

Here are some tips to help the appraiser with additional information–and in most instances a faster turn-around time to complete the report.

  • Compile a list of recent improvements. If possible include “before and after” pictures, copies of paid receipts for work completed. If major updates were made, provide a detailed copy of the bid from the contractor.
  • Make sure all areas are accessible, including the attic, basement and crawl spaces. This includes the garage.
  • If the home is part of a homeowner’s association, include a copy of the fees paid, and the name and phone number of the association president or executive director.
  • Straighten up each room. Appraisers are required to photograph each room, and while it may not make a difference to them if the room is messy, there may be an underwriter who is less objective.
  • If there are any unfinished projects, make sure they are completed before the inspection.
  • If there are any easements, encroachments or unusual deed restrictions, you may want to provide a copy of the list.

A little help from you goes a long way to make sure that the appraisal report is complete and accurate.

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