Do’s and Do Not’s of the Mortgage Process [Video]

In our last Seattle Real Estate Chat, Jim Reppond and I discuss what home buyers need to while in the mortgage process or considering buying a home.

Tune if for our next Seattle Real Estate Chat via our live Google Hangout on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 10:00 am Seattle time.
You can follow Seattle Real Estate Chat on Twitter at @SeattleREchat or #SeattleREchat

How’s the Market?

This is a question I’m often asked about the greater Seattle/Pacific Northwest region. Since I focus on helping people with mortgages to buy or refinance their homes, I defer these types of questions to local real estate professionals.

I recently posted this question with the challenge that the real estate agents keep their response to one sentence or roughly 140 characters. Here are some of the replies I received.

[Read more...]

S&P Case Shiller: Seattle home prices on the rise

SP_CS_postThis morning the S&P/Case Shiller Home Prices Index was released revealing gains across the board for the 20 city index.

The report states that Seattle had their largest monthly gain to home prices since April 1990 of 3.15% from April to May.

Year over year, Seattle boasted double digit gains of 11.9% for May.

This can be good news for people in the greater Seattle area who are considering selling their home and for those who have been waiting for home values to improve so they can refinance.

Mortgage interest rates are off their record lows. However, they are still what would be considered historically low.

If you’re interested in getting preapproved to buy a home or refinancing your existing home located in Washington State, I’m happy to help you!

Is it necessary in Seattle to get preapproved to make an offer on a home?

Recently one of my out of state clients who is looking to buy an investment home in Seattle asked “Is it necessary in Seattle to get preapproved?”

The short answer: YES!  Unless you’re paying cash! And if you are paying cash, be prepared to show the listing agent and seller that you have proof of funds.

Redfin’s “Bidding War Report” reveals Seattle is the 5th most competitive housing markets in the nation with 74.6% of offers “facing competition” (multiple offers) last month.

With Seattle area home sellers having more than just one offer from potential home buyers to choose from, you must be preapproved by a reputable local lender. Listing agents will help the seller review the offers to determine which one is the best for their situation.

According to the Bidding War Report, if you’re buying a home in Seattle, you may want to consider getting your home inspection done BEFORE making your offer (aka a “pre-inspection”). Last month, 14.3% of “winning offers” on Seattle homes had pre-inspections and 19% waived their inspection contingency.

Pre-Inspect-to-Play: This 2-bedroom, 1-bath home in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood had 300 showings, 19 pre-inspections (a competitive strategy common in Seattle in which the buyer has the home inspected before submitting an offer so that they can safely waive the inspection contingency), and more than 30 offers….

What did the “winning offers” have for financing in Seattle last month? 

  • 63.1% used conventional financing
  • 4.8% used FHA or VA financing
  • 2.4% paid cash

10.7% of “winning offers” waived their financing contingency.  17.9% of “winning offers” included a cover letter, or a “love letter” to the seller about why they want to buy their home.

This is great news for home owners who have been contemplating selling their home. Last night, King 5 aired this story about a couple from Seattle who sold their home in a matter of days for more than they expected with several strong offers to choose from. 

Rising home prices will also help home owners who have been waiting for their home values to go up so they can refinance (if they don’t already qualify for HARP or a FHA/VA streamline refi). 

ATTENTION HOME BUYERS is the greater Seattle area: you’ve got to get your game on if you want to “win” in a multiple offer situation! Be sure to get preapproved from a local trusted lender. Your preapproval letter needs to be strong enough to give the seller and listing agent confidence that you are the most qualified buyer with the highest odds of having the transaction close quickly and without issues. Here’s a list of what you’ll need in order to be truly preapproved…if you’re working with a lender who has not requested these items, you’re probably just prequalifed and there is a HUGE difference.  

If you are considering buying or refinancing a home located in Seattle or anywhere in Washington state, where I’m licensed, I am happy to help you! I have been helping home buyers with their mortgage needs at Mortgage Master Service Corporation for 13 years. Click here for a rate quote or contact me to start the preapproval process.

Free Workshop for King County Marine Waterfront and Bluff Property Home Owners

The King Conservation District is holding a series of free workshops for property owners along the marine shorelines and bluffs of King County.    The workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about the ecological, geological and vegetation management issues associated with owning a home located on marine waterfront or a bluff.

Topics will include:

  • Understanding marine near-shore and riparian ecology
  • Recognizing geologic hazards
  • Using native vegetation to reduce erosion and to improve fish and wildlife habitat

Who should attend:

  • Beach property owners interested in a stable natural shoreline
  • Bluff property owners interested in reducing the potential for erosion and landslides
  • Any marine shoreline or bluff property owner interested in improving fish and wildlife habitat.

When and where:

All workshops are from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm (indoor session) and 12:30 – 3:30 pm (optional pre-order boxed lunch $12 and field trip).

Facilitators:

  • Kollin Higgins, King County DNRP WLRD
  • Peter Landry, City of Normand Park
  • Elliott Menashe, Greenbelt Consulting
  • Brandy Reed, Conservation District

To register or for more information contact Brandy Reed at 425-282-1924 or brandy.reed@kingcd.org

President Obama wants your input on mortgages

President Obama is seeking public input on financial reform.  Let me get this off my chest right now: I WISH OUR GOVERNMENT WOULD START WITH CAMPAIGN REFORM FIRST.  I don't how any other reform can truly effectively take place without the influence of lobbyist in our government…how can they truly represent the people and how can they have any credibility if they don't walk the reform talk?

Anyhow, here are the questions with my answers.  You can visit the website that even comes with equipped with a "Decoder" button which is really a glossary of terms.  Your answers need to be submitted in writing–more details are on President Obama's site www.financialstability.gov.

The Obama Administration will seek input in two ways. First, the public will have the opportunity to submit written responses to the questions published in the Federal Register online at www.regulations.gov.  Second, the Administration intends to hold a series of public forums across the country on housing finance reform.

Questions for Public Solicitation of Input:

    1. How should federal housing finance objectives be prioritized in the context of the broader objectives of housing policy?
    2. What role should the federal government play in supporting a stable, well-functioning housing finance system and what risks, if any, should the federal government bear in meeting its housing finance objectives?
    3. Should the government approach differ across different segments of the market, and if so, how?   
    4. How should the current organization of the housing finance system be improved?
    5. How should the housing finance system support sound market practices?
    6. What is the best way for the housing finance system to help ensure consumers are protected from unfair, abusive or deceptive practices?
    7. Do housing finance systems in other countries offer insights that can help inform US reform choices?

What would you like to see the Government to do with regards to home financing?   We havethe SAFE Act, which effectively creates two classes of mortgage originators:  licensed and registered (unlicensed).    My biggest concern with Financial Reform, without Campaign Reform, is that the end result may be that Americans have even fewer choices for their home financing.  Not just originators or types of institutions to chose from, I'm talking about products too.  

Your thoughts?

If You are in any aspect of the real estate industry, you don’t want to miss this…

PNWHSREBCflyer

Both events are at the Seattle Center:

March 18, 2010 – Pacific Northwest Housing Summit  
March 19, 2010 – RE Barcamp Seattle

The panelist for the Summit continue to grow and we anticipate quite a turn out from across the country at both events.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available and start at $250.  

Of course there will be "tweet-ups" and social hours following both days.

Be there!  Follow both events on Twitter: @pnwhs #pnwhs and @REbarcampSEA #rebcsea

PS:  Space is limited to the first 700 registered attendees for the PNWHS…and there's a "sweet heart deal" for pre-registrations by Valentines Day.  

 

100 Days Remaining for the Home Buyer Tax Credit (and my 1000th Post)

Fthbtax My apologies for the home buyer tax credit clock I've added to the left side bar of my blog ticking away the time remaining for home buyers tax credit.  It's not my style, I don't like to pressure folks and I really don't like telling someone that they missed an opportunity. 

Whether you are for or against our home buyer tax credit it is something that many home buyers, first time and "move-up" home buyers, will take advantage of.   Unlike the first tax credit that was passed where the home buyer had to pay it back over 15 years, this is a "tax credit".  This credit repaid if you sell your home within three years. 

The available tax credit for first time home buyers (those who have not owned a home in the last 36 months) is up to $8,000.   For the "move-up" or "long-time resident" (you don't have to be buying a bigger home to qualify), the available tax credit is up $6,500.  The long-time resident is defined as someone who has owned their home as their primary residence for the last three out of five consecutive years.  The tax credit for both first time and long time residents is for the purchase of a primary residence (owner occupied).

Income limits were raised for transactions closing after November 6, 2009 to up to $125,000 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for taxpayers and $225,000 for joint filers.  The credit is reduced up to those with MAGI above $145,000 for single and $245,000 for joint.

Homes with a sales price of over $800,000 are not eligible (too bad–the Jumbo market needs all the help it can get). 

In order to qualify for the tax credit, home buyers must be in contract to purchase a home by April 30, 2010 (100 days away as of today)* with a closing date no later than June 30, 2010 (no summer vacations for escrow officers in June).   Home buyers will need to file IRS Form 5405 and be sure to include a copy of their HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

Members of our Armed Forces serving outside of the United States have been granted an extra year for the tax credit.  They must be in contract by April 30, 2011 and close prior to June 30, 2011.

Check with your tax advisor for more information.

Special note: this is my 1000th article posted at Mortgage Porter!  Thanks again for your continued support and readership.