Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What is a down payment and where do I get one?

I just had to show you my new avocado plant that I started from the seed.  My daughter told me the other day she remembered as a kid that I always had these in the window when she was little but none of them ever grew.  I guess they needed to have sunlight and my kitchen back then didn't have a window that had sunlight.  So now I can say it does really work, sticking toothpicks into an avocado seed and putting it in water that is.

Just a little fun stuff.

Yesterday I talked about the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure.  Today I wanted to touch on downpayments for buying a new home.  I get asked many times how much you have to have now to buy a home since the mortgage meltdown.  Well folks, things haven't changed that much.  As far as 100% financing, a Veteran's Administration (VA) loan and Rural Development (RD) loan both have programs with no down payments.  With a VA loan, you have to be a veteran or a spouse of a veteran with benefits.  With an RD loan, you have to meet certain income and location requirements.  In other words, RD will not lend in metropolitan areas like Casper, Cheyenne and Laramie, but they will lend in Mills, Evansville and Bar Nunn.

If you don't meet the criteria for either of these programs, then there is the Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) that lends up to 96.5% of the purchase price but if you qualify for their down payment assistance loan, then you can finance all but $1,500 of your down payment and closing costs.  This program too, has an income guideline, and you have to not have owned any real estate in the last three years.

If you are one the few that makes TOO much money or you have owned real estate in the last three years, and you are not a Veteran, then you may qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan or a Conventional (FannieMae or FreddieMac) loan.  FHA requires that you have a minimum of 3.5% down payment on any property that you buy.  With a Conventional loan, they have programs that will only require 3% down if you meet the guidelines.  With an FHA or Conventional loan you will be paying mortgage insurance which covers the lender against default.  Both of these programs need to be compared by your lender so that you know which one is the better one.  Mortgage insurance premiums will vary depending on credit score on a Conventional loan.

So where does one get a down payment?  3.5% of a $150,000 sales price is $5,250.  If you haven't already saved this in a savings account, then you need to figure out where it will come from.  One of the suggestions would be like a 401K.  Most 401K programs will allow you to withdraw from your plan for the purchase of new home or you can borrow against it also.  The next option would be to sell an asset like a car.  Make sure you document the entire sale so that the lender knows where the money came from.  You can also borrow against an asset to get the equity to use towards the down payment.  Then finally, would be a gift from a relative or employer.  Wherever you get the down payment, you will need to fully document the source for the lender.

Another question I get asked, is can I finance in the repairs or can I add to the loan for the appliances or furniture?  Yes and no.  In order to finance in the repairs, you would need a rehab loan like an FHA 203K.  If you want to just increase the loan amount to purchase personal property, then no.  The loans are based upon sales price.  I will get more into that on another day.

For now the buy of the day is in Bar Nunn.  Only $45,000!!!  Three bedroom 2.5 bath 1973 14x66 Mobile Home not on a permanent foundation.  There is an attached one car garage and has 2231 sq feet.  Some new windows, new furnace and appliances.  Fenced yard.  Great cash buy.  Would make a GREAT rental and I have a renter that is willing to rent it right now for great income potential.

There were 13 new properties listed in the last day, 12 price changes and 4 sold.  Take a look at my website if you want to look at any of these properties that just came on the market or had price reductions.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Short Sales vs. Foreclosures and Financing the Repairs

I know it sounds like a dry subject but since we deal with a lot with these types of properties, I thought I would explain how these listings work.

A short sale is basically a property that is being sold for less than what they owe the bank.  The lender has to approve these sales and depending on how under water the owners are, will dictate how much the lender will pay for in repairs and a buyers concessions.  Many times, the owners have not taken care of the property and they obviously don't have the funds to make any improvements so there may be some repairs needed.  Expect to have to pay for some of these repairs prior to closing as the new lender will not lend on a property that has any issues.

When it comes to a foreclosure, you are dealing strictly with the lender who now "owns" it.  These properties have usually sat vacant for many months and sometimes are not winterized or taken care of and will require many more repairs in order to finance them.

Both of these types of properties can make very good investments as they are usually sold for less than their appraised market value.  When repairs are done then they will usually increase in value and give you a better return for your investment (ROI).

Now the question comes down to who pays for the repairs.  As I said earlier, on a short sale, the owner will not have any funds and their lender is working with limited funds so they may not want to pay for any of the repairs.

On a foreclosure, if your offer is high enough to cover repairs (as long as the appraisal comes in high enough), then the lender might be open to paying for some of the repairs.

If the lenders or the owners are not able to pay for any of the repairs, then you as the buyer will be required to pay for the repairs or get a rehabilitation loan such as an FHA 203K program.  Ask your lender about what is required for this type of loan.  There are a lot of opportunities and benefits for buying a short sale or a foreclosure and there are several on the market right now.  As of this afternoon there were 17 foreclosures and 28 short sales on the market here in Casper. 1 new listing came in over the weekend along with 6 price changes and 3 properties have sold.  A great place to go to search for these are at www.casperforeclosures.info or www.casperdistressedhomesales.com.

A GREAT Short Sale buy right now is a 3 bedroom, 1.75 bath bi-level home on the eastside of town, with 1632 sq feet.  Originally priced at $175,000 and is now only $149,500.  Lender is open to ANY offers!  Must go under contract this week or it will go to foreclosure.

If you know of anyone that might be interested in this information, please forward this on to them.  If you want other information, please comment below.  Add me to your lists that you follow and you will get all of my posts.  Thanks for reading this.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Perceptions of a Realtor

A past loan client came in this morning to talk to Sheri about a new listing and before he left he came over to me and ask how I liked not having to work now as opposed to what I did before.  I chuckled and told him that I am working more now, but it is different work and a lot more enjoyable.  I was fascinated with the perception that he thought that Realtors don't work.  The more I thought about it, I wondered if a lot of people had that same perception.  Wow!  I have some educating to do here.

The life and times of a Realtor are probably different for every agent, but my day usually starts with checking emails and responding to them.  Updating my blog and social networks and checking the days' market statistics. I check to see if there are any new listings that my clients might be interested in and then I make sure and get those out to them so they can take a peek.  I then work on files currently in process and make sure that they are progressing as they should be. Sometimes I need to attend inspections for my buyers or maybe sit down with a client and go over the process of buying a home.  I usually have a lunch meeting with prospective referral partners almost every day. Then the afternoon is involved in developing marketing materials or going on tour.  Unless I get to go show property or attend a closing.  Sometimes, I don't go home until late in the evening because there are just not enough hours in the day.  But they are FUN hours!  I love being a Realtor!

So today, I am looking at the MLS and I see that there are 8 new listings, 13 price changes and 8 sold.  Also there are 184 pending transactions.  529 residential properties on the market in the Casper area, which includes, Bar Nunn, Evansville, Mills and Casper.  New bank-owned property on the market today for only $144,900 with 4 bedroom and 2.75 baths, Eastside location.  This sounds like a heck of a good investment!  If you are reading this, pass this on to your friends and family.  They might know someone that might be interested.  Also, click on the "follow" button and you can continue to receive my blogs as they are published.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eight Properties on Tour today!

I love going and checking out these properties!  Gives me a chance to see what is out there and I have to say there are some really good buys out there.  A couple of the properties really caught my eye and would be really great investments for some potential buyers.

One in particular showed extremely well and had the most gorgeous back yard with a a little waterfall and lots of trees.  Just going out the back door off the sun room and hearing the wind chimes and the water flowing, reminded me of a serene walk by a beautiful brook.  The squirrels also seemed to enjoy the serenity of the yard. The inside was beautifully decorated with amazing use of square footage. A definite must see property priced at $235,000.

Another one that I took a fancy to was a beautiful one level home that had been totally updated with newer kitchen cabinets and countertops.  Again, the back yard was done very nicely.  Nice hardwood floors with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath only priced at $142,500.  Loved the kitchen in this home!!

Couple of great surprises on tour this week.  One was priced at $149,900 with very nice curb appeal and interior decor.  Second garage in the back and the addition added a lot to the value.  The other one was priced at $107,000 and was very cute!  Big back yard but needed some TLC.  The interior was very nicely done and modern.  Great starter home for someone or a nice retirement home for an older couple with only 2 bedrooms and 1 bath with no basement.  Roof is only 4 years old.

Looking for a great fixer upper?  Looked at a property that has a lot of potential but location might be a deterant.  Needs all new carpet and paint. 3 bedroom, 3 bath with a two car garage.  Huge backyard.  If you want to remodel your own, this has a lot of potential priced at only $149,900.

The last three properties I did not feel like they were worth writing home about yet except for maybe one.  This one had been totally redone inside and out and had a great heated 20x20 heated detached garage.  Two bedroom, 1 bath ranch priced at $134,900.  Small rooms but great layout.  One I had concerns about the foundation and the other was very dated.

If you want to know any more about any of these that I went and looked at, email me or call me and I will get you more information.  Like I said earlier, I enjoy going out and getting to see some of these homes so that I have a good idea what is on the market.  I'll keep looking for other great buys out there.

Not enough real estate experience?

Not enough sales experience?  What defines a good buyer's agent?  As someone who has trained for many years in the real estate field, I hear this asked by some of my friends and colleagues.

I've been in sales most of my life.  My very first real job that I did was in high school, when my aunt asked me to paint a billboard for her shop.  She knew my marketing and artistic skills and wanted me to develop them into a career.  Later I went on to take Commercial Graphic and Art classes but then ended up working as a police dispatcher for a couple of years. After moving to Wyoming I went around and put resumes at every business in town.  Finally got hired as a bank teller.  Eventually, progressed through the different positions in the bank until I was promoted to a loan officer.  That was 24 years ago.  Through the years I went on to work strictly in mortgage lending and even owned my mortgage company.

With all the changes happening in the mortgage arena, I finally decided to retire from the ever changing rules and regulations and pursue my real love. Selling and marketing.  Yes, I got my real estate license in February, 2010, but that doesn't mean I don't have the experience or expertise to find the right home for my clients.  In fact, if you ask my clients, they will tell you that they found their experience superior to other agents because of my knowledge of the system and how it works.  Fortunately for me, I've been on the other side and I know what my lenders are expecting and what they are doing during the process.  I can prepare my clients in advance before they meet with their lenders, for what their lender will ask and what documentation they will need and why.  I can even determine how much home they can qualify for based on today's programs.

How does this information help buyers?  Well wouldn't you like to know what options you had before you went in to your lender?  Knowing whether or not you have enough income or if your credit is worthy enough to buy a home is incredible information to have before going through the application process.  And no, I am not making a referral fee or an origination fee for this service.

So what defines a good buyer's agent?  How about someone that takes the time to go the extra mile and make sure that their clients never feel unsure, uncomfortable or confused while buying a new home.  Someone that always looks out for the buyer's best interests when negotiating their contracts and always follows up to make sure the transaction runs smoothly.  Continually assuring that each aspect of the process is thoroughly explained and understood.  One who understands all the costs, fees and programs associated with the buying process. Someone that will continue to shows them houses until they find the one they want without pressure on any of them.  Need more information on a property?  I always make sure that you get your questions answered.  These are just a few things that a good buyer's agent will do.

So why wouldn't you want your family, friends and co-workers to work with an "experienced" buyer's agent?

Tell me again what defines experience.

Oh almost forgot...today is MLS Tour and there are 8 properties we get to review.  I'll report back on those later.  Also 9 new listings, 7 price changes and 8 sold in the last 24 hours.  Market looks really good right now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mid-week Tidbits

Wow! It's the first day of Fall and we're not wearing a coat yet.

I opened up my email this morning and found my sound bites that I subscribed to from our fabulous speaker, Bernice Ross, PhD.  Can't wait to download them into my mp3 player (since I no longer have my iPod Shuffle).

Got my Google Chrome finally all updated and tweaked and helped Sheri set up a new ad for the Homes and Land magazine.  Also recorded the new extension for the ad.  Worked on the Buyer's Manual to send out to clients, loaded with tons of information regarding credit, financing and at least 10 things that a buyer's needs to know before they buy a home. Like how much home can you afford, what government programs can you qualify for, how can you get the seller to pay for your closing costs, can you qualify for an grant programs, how much will you need to put down, how much will your closing costs be, is your credit good enough to buy a home, do you need a Realtor, and how do you buy a HUD repossessed home.  As I said, lots of information to pass on.

Got word that one of my contracts will be closing next week - woooohooo!  The lender told me I needed to update my loan application software.  Another thing on my to-do list.

11 new listings today, 9 price changes and 5 sold in the last day.  Hope everyone has a terrific hump day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today's MLS Meeting

Attended today's MLS meeting.  There were 32 properties listed in the last week.  A couple of really good "Fixer-Uppers" for very reasonable prices (low $100K range).   One new residential lot was listed for only $31,500.  No new rentals or price changes announced at the meeting.  Back on the market, great property listed at only $220,000 - buyer was relocated and appraisals and inspection have all been completed.  Can be a quick close if you know of anyone that might be interested.  New Commercial listing on "C" Street....call for more information,  215-9077.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just got my books!

Nothing like coming home to find my books that I ordered at last week's Realtor's Convention.  "Real Estate Dough", "Waging War on Real Estate's Discounters" and "Who's the best person to Sell my House?" by Bernice L. Ross, PhD.  Can't wait to start downloading some of her Real Estate marketing ideas on my mP3.  This is going to be a GREAT week... I can tell already!

What an amazing day!

Spent most time this afternoon working on my Google account to tweak it so that I can reach more people.  There is so much happening in our market, that I wanted to make sure and get the word out to everyone.  Updated my FB page to show the "Best Buy of the Day!" and sent out 31 Newsletters to prospects!  Tomorrow I have an MLS meeting to find out the latest and greatest on listings in town.