Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The mystery of refinancing



“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you.

For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.


For years now, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate.

The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.


Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes.

There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?


Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages.

You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Home Inspection

Home inspection is an important part of the home sale process, both for buyers and sellers. When it’s time for you to hire an inspector, here are five things you should be thinking about:

1. It’s your choice: You are not bound or obligated to use any particular inspector. Your real estate professional may have some recommendations, but it’s ultimately up to you. Ask around and choose wisely—better to pay a little more now for a highly-respected inspector than to be surprised by a problem that the inspection didn’t reveal.

2. Looking for big problems: The inspector will be focused on the integrity of the home—safety, electrical work, foundation, load-bearing walls, etc. The inspector is not there to point out problems with ugly paint colors or light fixtures.

3. The report: There are hundreds of items to inspect in a home, so the inspector’s report will focus on the basics: What’s damaged, what needs repaired, etc. The report should be easy to read and understand.

4. Code of ethics: Though the inspector is working for the party that pays the inspector’s fee, the inspector will not deliver a report that intentionally hides or omits damaging information about the home. The report is private between you and the inspector, but if you’re the seller, you’re required to disclose any problems that the inspection reveals.

5. The inspector is not liable: Even the best inspectors can’t find every single problem in a home. They can’t see inside the walls or through the floors, so there could still be problems lurking. If a problem is revealed down the road, the inspector can’t be held responsible.

Friday, August 24, 2018


In a sellers market, homes - especially the ones that are well priced - disappear just as quickly as they appear on the MLS. As markets heat up across the country, buyers should know that the first to the table doesn’t always come out the winner. Here are a few tips to make sure your offer gets noticed.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: Sellers today want the sale to be void of too many complicated contingencies. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should give up on things that are important to you as a buyer. Rather, make sure your offer is reasonable and doesn’t put too much weight on small issues that would distract the seller from what is otherwise a reasonable offer.

GO HIGH ON THE DOWN PAYMENT: Before you make an offer, contact a local mortgage broker - preferably one who has worked with your agent before - to get pre-approved for a loan. Once you know how much financing you’ve secured, you’ll be able to estimate how much you can put down on a home. And the larger the down payment, the stronger the offer.

BE A KNOW IT ALL: In the best way possible.  Typically, listings have a disclosure package which details listing price, inspection reports, seller disclosures and other items that can influence the offer. Have your agent review the disclosure package so that together, you can develop an offer that meets both yours and the seller's needs.

COME IN WITH CASH: Not everyone will be able to purchase a house with cash alone. But if you can, you should. Sellers prefer cash offers because they take the risk out of the home not appraising or the loan falling through.

WRITE A LOVE LETTER: Writing a personal letter to the seller is a new trend that has emerged over the years. And it’s proving effective. Explain what attracts you to the home, what you love about the neighborhood and how you hope to make their home your new humble abode. It’s an especially helpful tactic if you can find commonalities between you and seller.