Quantcast

Closing The Sale


There is nothing more awesome than taking ownership of your new dream home. But before you do that, you better loosen up your writing hand. Did someone say paperwork?

The Offer


Here you are, ready to make an offer on your first home! And since you’re about to part with an insane amount of money, it’s time to get close to your REALTOR®.

The Home Search


You’re really doing it! You know what you can afford and you’ve got your pre-approval letter. But before you buy the home of your dreams, you’ve gotta find it first.

Mortgage Lending 101


Unless you have a boatload of cash under your mattress, buying a home usually costs more money than you currently have. First, you’ll need a competitively-priced loan.

Knowing When You’re Ready


Buying a home is so grown-up and impressive, but there are a few things you should think about before you start telling everyone how grown up and impressive you are.

FHA Waives 3-year Foreclosure Waiting Period

Effective for FHA Case Numbers assigned on, or after, August 15, 2013, borrowers with a recent history of bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgment, short sale, loan modification or deed-in-lieu can apply — and get FHA-approved — for an FHA-insured mortgage.

The FHA has waived its 3-year foreclosure waiting period. If you’ve experienced any of the following financial difficulties, you may be program-eligible :

  • Pre-foreclosure sales
  • Short sales
  • Deed-in-lieu
  • Foreclosure
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • Loan modification
  • Forbearance agreements

The FHA realizes that, sometimes, credit events may be beyond your control, and that credit histories don’t always reflect a person’s true ability or willingness to pay on a mortgage.

FHA mortgage insurance is available for any loan which meets the following two conditions :

  • The loan must be made by an approved FHA lender
  • The loan must meet the minimum standards of the “FHA Mortgage Guidelines”.

The minimum standards of the FHA mortgage guidelines are straight-forward.

Some of the more well-known rules require mortgage applicants to show a minimum credit score of 500; to make a downpayment of at least 3.5% on a purchase; and, to verify income via W-2 or federal tax returns.

The guidelines also include such arcane topics as U.S. citizenship requirements for borrowers; relocation rules for trailing homes and income; and, minimum standards for condominiums and co-ops.

Loans failing to meet FHA mortgage guidelines do not get insured and the Federal Housing Administration has been steadily tightening its requirements since last decade’s housing downturn.

On August 15, 2013, though, the Federal Housing Administration moved to relax its guidelines for borrowers who “experienced periods of financial difficulty due to extenuating circumstances”.

Dubbed the “Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances Program”, the FHA removed the familiar waiting periods that typically followed a derogatory credit event.

Use the Q&A below to learn more about the FHA’s Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances program. 

What is the FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program?

The FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program is the FHA’s “second chance” for mortgage applicants who have experienced financial hardship as a result of unemployment or severe reduction in income.

Can I use the Back to Work as a first-time home buyer?

Yes, you can use the program as a first-time buyer.

Can I use the Back To Work program as a repeat home buyer?

Yes, you can use the program as a repeat home buyer.

Can I use the Back To Work program for an FHA 203k construction loan?

Yes, you can use the program for an FHA 203k construction loan.

Does the FHA Back To Work program waive the traditional 3-year waiting period after a foreclosure, short sale, or deed-in-lieu?

Yes, the program waives the agency’s three-year waiting period. You no longer need to wait three years to apply for an FHA loan after experiencing a foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu.

Does the Back To Work program waive the traditional 2-year waiting period after bankruptcy?

Yes, the program waives the agency’s two-year waiting period. You no longer need to wait two years to apply for an FHA loan after experiencing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Which types of “events” are covered by the FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program?

The program can be used by anyone who’s experienced a pre-foreclosure sale, short sale, deed-in-lieu, foreclosure, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, loan modification; or who has entered into a forbearance agreement.

How do I apply for the program?

You can apply for an FHA Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances mortgage with any FHA-approved lender. The mortgage approval process is the same for any other FHA-insured mortgage.

What are mortgage rates for the FHA Back To Work program?

Mortgage rates are the same as mortgage rates for any other FHA loan. There is no premium on your interest rate, nor are there additional fees to pay at closing. Your mortgage rate will be unaffected by the FHA Back To Work program.

My current lender says that it’s not participating in the program? What do I do?

If your current lender is not participating in the FHA Back To Work program, you can find another lender that does.

What are the minimum eligibility requirements of the FHA Back To Work program?

In order to qualify, you must meet several minimum eligibility standards. The first is that you must have experienced an “economic event” (e.g.; pre-foreclosure sale, short sale, deed-in-lieu, foreclosure, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, loan modification, forbearance agreement). The second is that you must demonstrate a full recovery from the event. And, third, you must agree to complete housing counseling prior to closing. You must also show that your household income declined by 20% or more for a period of at least 6 months, which coincided with the above “economic event”.

How do I document a 20% loss of household income for the FHA?

In order to document a 20% loss of household income, you must present federal tax returns or W-2s, or a written Verification of Employment evidencing prior income. For loss of income based on seasonal or part-time employment, two years of seasonal or part-time employment in the same field must be verified and documented as well. Income after the onset of the economic event, which should represent a loss of at least 20% for at least six months, should be verified according to standard FHA guidelines. This may include W-2s, pay stubs, unemployment income receipts, or other. Your lender will help you determine the best method of verification.

How do I document a “satisfactory” credit history since my “economic event” for the FHA?

Your lender will review your credit report as part of the FHA Back To Work approval process. All accounts will be reviewed — ones which went delinquent and ones which remained current. Your lender will attempt to determine three things — that you showed good credit history prior to the economic event; that your derogatory credit occurred after the onset of the economic event; and, that you have re-established a 12-month history of perfect payment history on major accounts. Minor delinquencies are allowed on revolving accounts.

Does the “20 percent loss of income” eligibility condition apply to me only, or to everyone in the household?

The “20 percent loss of income” eligibility condition applies to everyone in the household. If one member of the household lost income as the result of a job less but the household income did not fall by 20 percent or more for a period of at least months, the borrower will not be FHA Ba Extenuating Circumstances-eligible.

Is the FHA Back To Work Program limited by loan size?

No, the program is not limited by loan size. The FHA will always insure up to your area’s local FHA loan limit. Your lender, however, may not. If your lender will not make a loan big enough for your needs, find another FHA-approved lender. There are many of them.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after foreclosure?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after a foreclosure.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after a short sale?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after a short sale.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Is there a counseling requirement in order to use the FHA Back To Work program?

Yes, in order to the use the program, you must agree to attend housing counseling.

Will my housing counselor help me shop for mortgage rates?

No, your housing counselor will not help you shop for mortgage rates. However, many counselors can help you read a Good Faith Estimate which may help you make better lending decisions.

Why do I need to take housing counseling?

The housing counseling required by the FHA Back To Work program will address the cause of your economic event, and help you consider actions which may prevent reoccurance.

How long is the housing counseling session I am required to take?

The housing counseling required will typically last one hour.

Do I have to take housing counseling in-person?

No, you do not have to take the housing counseling in-person. Housing counseling may also be conducted by phone or via the internet.

If I complete counseling, am I automatically approved for the FHA loan?

No, you are not automatically approved for the FHA loan if you complete the housing counseling required. You must still qualify for the FHA mortgage based on Federal Housing Administration mortgage guidelines.

What is the minimum credit score requirement for the FHA Back To Work program?

There is no minimum credit score requirement for the FHA Back To Work program, necessarily. The program follows standard FHA mortgage guidelines. Credit scores below 500 are not allowed, but borrowers with no credit score whatsoever remain eligible. The Federal Housing Administration doesn’t change mortgage rates based on credit score.

Are modified mortgages eligible for FHA Back To Work?

Yes, modified mortgages are eligible.

Are loans on a payment plan eligible for FHA Back To Work?

Yes, loans on a payment plan are eligible.

I lost my job because my employer went out of business? Does this qualify for the program?

Yes, job loss resulting from an employer going out of business is Back-to-Work eligible. Your lender will ask you to provide a written termination notice or publicly-available documentation of the business closure.

Can I use Unemployment Income receipts to document that I was out of work?

Yes, you can use Unemployment Income receipt to document that you were out of work.

I am unemployed. Can I still use the program?

Yes, you can use the FHA Back To Work program if you are unemployed.

I am still in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Do I need the court’s permission to enter into the mortgage?

Yes, if your Chapter 13 bankruptcy has not been discharged prior to the date of your loan application, you must have written permission from Bankruptcy Court to enter into the purchase transaction.

When does the FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program end?

The FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program ends September 30, 2016.

CLICK HERE to read the release from HUD

SOURCE: The Mortgage Reports

5 Ridiculous Seller Sayings That Kill Deals!

When I need a good laugh, I like to read Vanity Fair magazine’s ‘Actual Complaints from Actual Rich People’ column. The monthly column is a super-short, super-funny compilation of woes of the very rich, as overheard by the author.  My guess is that most of these sayings seemed totally sensible to the person who said them in the course of the conversation. In retrospect and out of context, though, they seem crazy and out-of-touch, even ridiculous.

Here’s a recent example: “I don’t ask my wife how many horses she has, she doesn’t ask me how many cars I have.”

Ridiculous, right?  Well, while these folks are easy to poke fun at, many of us say things during a heated moment or emotional experience that we have a hard time standing behind later. Selling your home is one of those experiences that causes even the most stable, calm human being to feel panic, outrage, anxiety, and sometimes all of the above, all at the same time.

These volatile emotions give rise to a handful of seller sayings that seem silly when seen in a sober light.  Here they are, along with some insights to help you ensure you don’t let them foul up your home selling decisions.


 

Don’t Let Emotions Sabotage Your Sale!

1.  But I spent X years or $X on that!  The ability to customize your home to your personal tastes and your family’s wants and needs is one of the biggest non-financial perks of home ownership.  Creating a soundproof meditation room or a floating pool theater is your right as a home owner.

MOO-15750039I encourage owners to make changes to their homes that will improve their quality of life while they live there, rather than fixating on whether they’ll be able to recoup their investment when they sell it 20 years down the line. (Of course, if you’re planning to sell in the near future, it might not make sense to invest in super-personalized home improvement projects.)

That said, the fact that YOU loved the idea of having a sports court, billiards room or Japanese garden enough to spend tens of thousands of dollars on it does not necessarily mean that your home’s buyer will place the same value on it – or any value, for that matter. I was once involved in a sale where the sellers had spent decades cultivating a beautifully complex Japanese garden which the buyers, busy professionals, had no time or interest in maintaining.

Not only were they not willing to pay a premium for it, they planned to rip it out and replace it with low-maintenance, low-water landscaping.

Let it go. Understand that other than the kitchen, bathroom, amenity and decor upgrades that appeal to many home buyers, if you’ve invested your time or money in customizations for your own personal enjoyment, then your enjoyment is your return on that investment.  If your home’s eventual buyer also happens to love them, fantastic!  But don’t approach the home selling process expecting every buyer to share your value system and pay through the nose for them.

 

2.  We just need to find a buyer who understands my tastes.  There are certainly occasions, with rare properties, where there is truly a narrow niche of buyers that will have to find, understand and appreciate a property. In cases like that, with acreage, converted warehouses, horse properties, and the like, this saying is not ridiculous at all.

But this saying is ridiculous when it is uttered by the owner of a home with potentially wide appeal as a reason for not staging or preparing their home for sale, or in the effort to avoid neutralizing highly, uh, personal design and decor choices.

If your home is lagging on the market while others sell, and your agent has suggested that you tone down the polka dot paint job or delete the Al Pacino mural on your dining room walls, think about how much time and money your decision to wait for the buyer who understands these design choices is costing you.

Rethink your position: as the ultimate marketing decision-maker in your home’s sale, your job is to maximize your home’s appeal to a broad segment of ready, willing and able buyers (not to find the one needle in a haystack who likes the Godfather as much as you). You’re moving on from the property, so move on emotionally, too. Don’t let your emotional attachment to your decor decisions or stubborn refusal to spend on staging keep your life or your finances stuck.

3.  I want to price it high, so I have room to come down.  Now, in all fairness – there’s a time and a place for this.  By that I mean that there are certainly local markets where it’s very much standard practice for buyers to expect to come in below asking, and sellers can price their properties a few thousand dollars higher than the target price point without killing their deals.  If you live in a place like this, your agent will surely work with you to price accordingly.

That said, when the market is slow enough that buyers are routinely paying below asking for homes, pricing your home above-market is actually dangerous. It runs the risk of causing no one to view your home as a good enough value to see it in the first place.

If other sellers are pricing appropriately and yours is priced too high over what the market will bear, many buyers won’t even bother trying to negotiate you down.  Rather, they’ll go find one of the homes on the market with a more realistic price, they’ll wait until you lower the price or they’ll wait until your home has been lagging so long they sense you might be desperate, and will swoop in with a lowball offer of their own.

Even in a relatively hot market climate like today’s, the aggressively priced homes get the most buyer traffic and, accordingly, get the most offers. In turn, these bidding wars drive the eventual sales price up. If you want to sell your home in a buyer’s market, or sell it at top dollar in a seller’s market, overpricing it might actually sabotage your success.

4.  That offer is an insult – I won’t even dignify it with a response. Your home might be very personal to you. It represents a massive investment of your money, time, hopes and dreams. It probably also represents your personal tastes, style and some precious memories of your family’s life.

But once it’s on the market, get a thick skin and decide not to take anything – anything – personally. If someone offers to pay many thousands of dollars for your home, it’s not an insult, even if the offer is far afield from what you are willing to sell the home for, or from what you believe it is worth. They might be deeply misguided, and not yet experienced enough in the market to know that the offer was unreasonable. Or they might just love your home and be going for it, even though it’s really outside of their personal resources.

Finally, they might actually just be trying to get you to come down a bit on the asking price. Some buyers see making a very low offer as part and parcel of negotiations.

In any event, you should always respond to an offer made by a qualified buyer. If you have another offer or offer(s) that are more realistic, just respond with a pleasant decline.  If you have no other offers, respond with what you and your agent formulate as an appropriate counter.  You might be surprised at how even a very low offer can come together with a respectful, reality-based counteroffer and a little negotiating.

5.  I need $X to get the home I want and take my Australia trip – let’s list the place for that.There are lots of respectable strategies for setting a list price, but all of them have their basis in one thing: data. They all start with a look at the nearby, similar homes that have recently sold, and what they sold for; this is what agents call “comparable sales data.”

Depending on market dynamics, trends in inventory and home values, how similar/dissimilar your home is to the recently sold properties and what your own priorities are (e.g., sell fast, sell for top dollar, etc.), an experienced local agent might advise you to start with “the comps” and adjust your home’s list price down a bit, or to start with “the comps” and adjust upwards to get to your home’s list price.

But never will a savvy, experienced agent tell you that the proper way to price your home or understand its value is to do the math on how much cash you want and need, and set your list price by that.

Of course – you need to do your “move up math” in the process of listing your home in order to know whether your home sale is feasible or not. And you might actually have to factor in what you need to pay off your mortgage and move into your pricing decisions – that’s not bizarre.

But you should do so only with the awareness that your home’s ultimate value is based on what a qualified buyer is willing to pay for it – not what you need to move.

SOURCE: Trulia

IRS TIPS: Renting Your Vacation Home

A vacation home can be a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home or boat. If you own a vacation home that you rent to others, you generally must report the rental income on your federal income tax return. But you may not have to report that income if the rental period is short.In most cases, you can deduct expenses of renting your property. Your deduction may be limited if you also use the home as a residence.

Here are some tips from the IRS about this type of rental property.

• You usually report rental income and deductible rental expenses on Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss.

You may also be subject to paying Net Investment Income Tax on your rental income.

• If you personally use your property and sometimes rent it to others, special rules apply. You must divide your expenses between the rental use and the personal use. The number of days used for each purpose determines how to divide your costs.

Report deductible expenses for personal use on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. These may include costs such as mortgage interest, property taxes and casualty losses.

• If the property is “used as a home,” your rental expense deduction is limited. This means your deduction for rental expenses can’t be more than the rent you received. For more about this rule, see Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes).

• If the property is “used as a home” and you rent it out fewer than 15 days per year, you do not have to report the rental income.

Get Publication 527 for more details on this topic. It is available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Additional IRS Resources:

  • Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes)
  • Tax Topic 415 – Renting Residential and Vacation Property

IRS YouTube Videos:

IRS Podcasts:

Realtor® Association Warns About ‘Pocket Listings’

It's A Secret - A Pocket Listing In IdahoPocket listing are nothing new, but before putting your home on the market with just an individual agent or company, i.e. not listed in the MLS,  you should be aware of the pitfalls as it may reduce your final sales price. It doesn’t matter if your in Sun Valley Idaho or New York, the sames issues apply.

Below is an article about how the California Association of Realtors is dealing with this issue in an attempt to make sure these potential problems are disclosed to sellers prior to putting their properties on the market for sale. Many times the only person that gains from a “Pocket Listing” is the listing broker.  Now to the article, plus a link to the disclosure publication CAR created.

Pocket listings can adversely affect a seller’s goal of getting the best price reasonably for a home

About 1-in-4 home sales are reportedly pocket listings in some Northern California markets, and the California Association of REALTORS® is warning agents to tread carefully.

Sun Valley Idaho Pocket ListingsCAR says that pocket listings or off-MLS listings are not illegal if the listing agent fully discloses the pros and cons to the home seller and follows the rules, but CAR says pocket listings “may not be in the best interest of the property owner — particularly if a client does not know about the benefits of marketing his or her property through the MLS.”

CAR warns that “pocket listings” can adversely affect a seller’s goal of getting the best price reasonably for a home.

The increase in pocket listings has alarmed many in the industry, particularly at a time with inventory shortages in many markets. For example, 26 percent of home sales were pocket listings in the first quarter of 2013 in some Northern California markets, according to a recent study by MLSListings Inc. That’s an increase from 15 percent in 2012

CAR has published a booklet on pocket listings for agents to provide to their clients, “The Pros and Cons of Off-MLS Listings: What Consumers and Real Estate Agents Should Know.” CLICK TO READ

Don’t Be Fooled By These 3 Real Estate Myths

As the real estate market significantly rebounds, some buyers and sellers are dipping their toes in the waters for the first time. Inevitably, they come into the market with assumptions about how it works.

Their assumptions may come from TV reality shows or watching their parents’ house-hunting experiences. Maybe they’ve learned about real estate from a co-worker’s recent home buying or selling experience. The trouble is, the new buyer or seller’s assumptions are sometimes based on outdated or generalized “real estate myths.” Here are three such myths that many less-seasoned home buyers and sellers assume are true.

Myth No. 1: Spring is the best time to sell a home

Historically, real estate seasons were tied to summer and the end of the school year. Families were the typical buyers or sellers, and they wanted to move during the summer so their kids could start anew in September. That’s how spring became the prime selling season. It’s true there are still more homes for sale in the spring, which means there’s a lot of activity and buzz. But spring isn’t necessarily the best time to sell a home anymore.

The reality: The best time to sell is during the holidays and right after

Today, more than half of buyers aren’t married, and their decisions aren’t based upon school schedules. So spring isn’t as relevant as it used to be. Instead, the best time to sell a home is in November, December and January.

It’s a supply-and-demand issue. Most sellers assume buyers aren’t seriously looking during this prolonged holiday season. And yet, many buyers are looking at properties in person and online right up until Christmas Eve. If the right home goes on the market in mid-December, a serious buyer — and there will be a lot of them — will take note.

After New Year’s Eve, most buyers jump back into their routine with a resolve to get into the real estate market, even though many sellers wouldn’t even consider listing in January. The net effect: Savvy sellers will face less competition for a still-strong pool of buyers during this period. And that makes November-January a great time to sell.

Myth No. 2: Always start with your lowest offer

There’s no generalized strategy for making an offer on a home anywhere, ever. A seller could have overpriced or underpriced the home on purpose. Some markets may be more competitive than others. But, somehow, in the back of the buyer’s head is good old Uncle Bob saying “never offer the full asking price.” That strategy might work if you’re trying to buy a used computer on eBay. And it worked in some real estate markets years ago. But times have changed.

The reality: A low offer may get you nowhere fast

A buyer in a strong, tight inventory market today would be wasting their time making low offers right from the start. It’s likely a home that’s priced right and shows well can receive multiple offers, sometimes even over the asking price. In this environment, constantly throwing in low offers because that’s what your Uncle Bob advised you to do will likely lead to disappointment. Instead, work with a good local real estate agent to understand the market. You’ll quickly learn after a few weeks on the open house circuit (and maybe a disappointment or two) that starting low may not get you anywhere.

Myth No. 3: A cash offer trumps all

There’s an assumption that a seller, considering two different offers, will always go with the cash offer because there’s less risk. As a result, many buyers who hear they’re competing with a cash offer assume they won’t get the home. They may not even make a formal offer. At the same time, many cash buyers assume that because they’re paying cash, they can make an offer below the asking price, and it will likely be accepted.

The reality: A savvy seller may be more tempted by a solid financed offer

Consider a seller with a home priced at $399,000. The seller receives two offers: One is a cash offer of $375,000. The other is an offer for the full asking price, with 25 percent down, a bank pre-approval letter and swift contingency periods.

A good buyer’s agent, upon learning their client is competing with a cash offer, will arm the seller with lots of data supporting their client’s finances, such as a credit report and verification of income or assets. The agent might even arrange a call between the seller and the buyer’s lender.

Learn your market

When you become a buyer or seller, especially for the first time, the most important thing you can do is learn your market. Talk to a savvy local agent, and don’t make assumptions based on what you think you know. Real estate is local. Every market is different, with its own customs. If you believe there are general rules for real estate strategy that apply everywhere, anytime, you’ll likely be fooled — not only in April, but every other month of the year.

SOURCE: Fox Business News