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Down Payment Resource
By Michael
August 6, 2017

I'm very excited about a brand new service I'm providing for buyers!   Check out the DOWN PAYMENT RESOURCE TOOL!  There are programs that can save you THOUSANDS of dollars in down payments and closing costs.   And there are additional programs that give tax credits that help reduce the costs of home ownership for years to com!

Check for down payment assitance programs and whether you qualify!Click on the image here and fill out a short form.   This tool has been designed so you can use it whether you have found the specific home you want to buy or you are just starting to investigate different neighborhoods.

Some programs limit the income your family may earn to qualify.  Others are open to any home buyer.   Take a moment and check it out.  

Here's an examply of what you may find.  If you are a first time buyer, or if you are buying a home and have not owned one in the last three years, you may be able to get up to $15,000 in funds you never have to repay for a home in Fort Worth, TX, provided you stay in the home for five years!!   That scales back your down payment, gives you instant equity in the home and saves you money on your monthly mortgage payment.   And even with that help for down payment and closing costs, you can still qualify for a tax credit that could take and additional $2.000 a year off your federal income tax each yea!

Even if you're not a first time buyer, use this valuable tool!   Most tax credit porgrams are open to anyone, but may require you apply for it BEFORE you sign the mortgage papers at closing!   Don't miss out on thousands of dollars in savings.

And, as always, I'm here to help with any question you may have.

I am proud to offer this free tool.  It's just one of the services I provide as your REALTOR®.  Call me at 817-692-5026 or contact me here on the website.  It's my goal to provide service that exceeds your expectation.

 P.S.:   PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH A FRIEND!!!!  THEY'LL THANK YOU FOR IT!

Have Paper Checks for your Real Estate Transaction
By Michael
May 16, 2017

Today's banking convenience with electronic processing and debit cards is great but they can lead to one problem in your real estate transaction.    It's important to have a "Paper Trail" that shows everything that goes in and out of your accounts related to the transaction and the amounts have to be an EXACT match.  Here's some simple rules to follow that will make things go smoother as you work with the lender and title company to get things moved from offer to closing:

  1. Be sure you have PAPER CHECKS for your account so you can pay earnest money and option fees with them.  If you don't have paper checks for your account, your local branch MAY be able to help by printing some temporary checks, but most banks will let you order a small quantity on their website.  But it can take a couple  of weeks to process your order.  Plan ahead.
  2. For any funds you receive for the transaction like option fees, gifts to help with down payment or closing costs, be sure to deposit the ENTRE amount into your account.  Don't make a deposit that gives you cash back in the same transaction.  If you need cash out, deposit the entire check and then withdraw funds from your account on a separate transaction.
  3. Keep in mind that for large amount of cash or checks from other branches or banks, your bank may not make funds available immediately.  There may be a "hold period" to make sure it clears.   
  4. Take a picture of any check you receive before you deposit it.   That way, you have a backup image if something happens.

New laws like the Patriot Act, regulations designed to reduce mortgage fraud and conservative lender underwriting requirements may seem like they give you hoops to jump through, but keep in mind  tha you're asking the lender to trust you with a large amount.  They don't loan their own money, but the funds deposited by investors and have an obligation to make sure that investor has the best possible chance to get a return on their investment.  Help them help you by staying organized and doing things in a way that not only gets it done but show independent verification it was done right.  You'll save time and reduce stress for everyone!   

If you have a question about any aspect of the process, remember, your agent is there to help and answer questions. 

Speaking the Language of Real Estate
By Michael
May 5, 2017

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? | Simplifying The Market

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo?

Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home.

Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender.

Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items.

Credit Score – A number ranging from 300-850, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750.

Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage.

Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month.

Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years.

Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017.

Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you're a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.

Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click here.

Real Estate Professional – An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate professionals can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process.

The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first.

Slaying The Myths About Buying a Home
By Michael
April 21, 2017

Slaying Home Buying Myths [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying the Market

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates are still below historic numbers.
  • 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
  • The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.
Will You Be Going Up or Going Down?
By Michael
March 28, 2017

Five years from now, a renter will have paid out tens of thousands of dollars and actually owns no more than they do today.  A homeowner will own an asset that is like worth much more than they paid AND enjoy the benefits of a higher credit score through on time mortgage payments that were LESS than renting.

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy Now! | Simplifying The Market

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy Now!

Self-made millionaire David Bach was quoted in a CNBC article explaining that "the single biggest mistake millennials are making" is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is "an escalator to wealth.”

Bach went on to explain:

"If millennials don't buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter."

In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:

"As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!"

Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show appearing more than 100 times, has been a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS, and has been profiled in many major publications, including The New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.