Local issues

Why Are Appraisals Important?

                When you get qualified for a mortgage, you get approved for your unique situation: your income, your debt, and your credit. Also, lenders check that the property is a good fit for you, which is done through an appraisal. Who Does the Appraisal? When an appraisal is done, an unknown, third-party, qualified professional is brought in to examine the property. The buyer and lender do not have the ability to choose the appraiser. This person will go to the property and look at the amenities of the property, and then compare that to all the properties that have sold in the area to determine a fair market value for your home. Is the Appraised Value Acceptable? A lender will look at the appraised value of the home, and compare that value to your contract price, whether you have bought the home or…

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Who Can Qualify for a VA Loan?

                        VA loans, or loans through the Veteran’s Administration, are special loan programs for veterans that require qualification. If you are looking at VA loans, you have probably heard of some of the great benefits: you can buy a home with no money down, you do not need monthly mortgage insurance (rather, there is just need a one-time funding fee built into the loan), and you get a competitive interest rate with low closing costs. It is probably one of the best loans out there and was designed for those who have served our country. Do You Qualify? If you have been in the Armed Forces, such as the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, or their reserves, you could be eligible. The VA loan program is inclusive of both active duty and qualified veterans. If…

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Making Income Changes While in the Process of Obtaining a Mortgage

                  What happens if you have to change jobs while you are in the middle of getting a mortgage? Lenders typically recommend that you do not make major changes if you are in the middle of trying to get a mortgage, because lenders look for continuity, and will have to re-verify information if major changes are made. However, many folks do not have a choice: sometimes a new opportunity comes up, or are forced to change jobs. The good news is that lenders can work with you, and use the new information (income, salary, etc.) from your new position for your qualifying. This process can be started with just an offer letter, so the terms (salary, start date, etc.) are known to get the process started. Typically, at least one pay stub will be required before closing to show that you have…

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What Can You Do with a Renovation Loan?

What specifically are you allowed to do with a renovation loan? The real question is, “What can’t you do?” because there is a lot of flexibility with this type of loan. There are many different ways to use this program. There are three basic types to look at: FHA 203k renovation loan: a great way to get a government-insured property with as little as 3.5% down, including costs of repairs Homestyle renovation loan: better if you have a bit more of a down payment VA renovation loan: includes special benefits for veterans and disabled veterans The good thing about renovation loans is their flexibility: you can use it for something that just needs a little bit of work or a home that needs a tremendous amount of work. It doesn’t matter what the condition of the property is currently in, but what the condition will be once you finish making…

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What Mortgage Programs Are Available to Veterans?

If you’re a veteran or a disabled veteran, what special programs for buying a home are available to you? If you served your country, you can take advantage of the Veterans Administration Loan Program that allows you to get 0% down on a home loan. In addition, there are other benefits with a VA loan, which will be described below. Funding Fee When setting up a Veterans Administration loan, a funding fee is attached to the mortgage. VA loans do not require mortgage insurance, as with typical mortgages when you put less than 20% down. However, there is a one-time funding fee that is added back into the mortgage. The amount of the funding fee depends on whether you were active duty, or served in the National Guard. However, if you are a considered a disabled veteran, this funding fee is waived and can save you money up front. Real…

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Learn About the Illinois Assist Program

                  For first time home buyers, there is a great new program called the Illinois Assist Program. This program is great news for first-time buyers and is a grant that does not have to be paid back, which gives money back at closing towards your down payment and closing costs. If you qualify, you can get up to 5% of the loan amount back, which can be a huge amount. Qualifications for the Illinois Assist Program There are some strings attached – it is not available everywhere in Illinois, but is in a number of areas in the Chicago area: including Cook County, Kendall County, and a number of cities such as Naperville, Schaumburg, and Aurora. There are income caps for the buyer, but they are still relatively high so there is room for you to buy, and there is a cap…

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Weaker Pending Home Sales May actually be Stabilizing

In February the NAR (National Association of Realtors) Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) confirmed a still slowing home housing market. This morning, PHSI showed the eight consecutive month of decline of contract signings.   PHSI is a good future indicator predicting home sales over 30 to 60 days. In February the index was down .8 percent to 93.9 from a revised 94.7 in January. Originally it was estimated that January would show 95.0. This February showed a level 10.5 percent below the index for February 2013, the lowest since October 2011 when it was 92.2.   NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun was optimistic about the import of pending sales data. He commented that he believes the recent slowing of home sales may be in the past while home prices continue to increase. “Contract signings for the past three months have been little changed, implying the market appears to be stabilizing”,…

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Some green ways to efficiently boost up your home

When choosing home improvements to enhance your curb appeal to potential buyers instead of asking yourself who’s the fairest, try asking “Who’s the greenest?” In this day in age, home improvements that boost owner satisfaction and reduce your average utility costs will in turn make your home much more appealing to prospective buyers. As it turns out, buyers are actually willing to pay up to 10 percent more for new homes certified green, because of the long term savings that will come and in turn this is a better investment, according to the real estate report by Harvard University. Replacing older, less efficient doors and windows would be a great return on investment and sellers would recoup much of the initial cost of the improvement when they sell the home. Five eco-friendly, money saving, home improvements: 1) Solar Water Heater– Making the switch to a solar power heater can be…

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The Home Search: Who Does the Realtor Represent?

Once you have a range of what you can qualify to buy, you are ready to start looking for a home. But this can be confusing too. There are so many options out there; the internet, ads in the paper, yard signs, real estate magazines, open houses. How do you go about finding the right house for you? Prices can differ tremendously from town to town, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. You have to decide what type of home you want and what amenities are important to you. You have to learn about the school districts, and see what areas have done best with resale value. You need to sort through all the houses available on the market, and narrow your choices down until you know exactly what kind of house is the perfect house for you. In a way, you need to educate yourself on all these different options…

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Economic Trends – Chicago Illinois Mortgage Rates Week in Review for the Week Ending 05/03/2013

While we have seen rate increases in the early part of 2013, the end of April showed record lows for the year so far. Finance reporters and rate strategists watch the economic trends, they are discussing a casino-like scenario where buyers are gambling to hold out for a better rate or lock in the current ones. To further assist the market, new mortgage delinquencies are at 6 year lows which should help to gently apply the brakes to the foreclosure situation that has kept home values at bay; although the effects will take a while to ripple through the system. There is still a major foreclosure buying opportunity in the marketplace. Estimates still have foreclosures representing over 40% of home sales here in the Chicagoland area, but the number is heading downward. Factors that cause light volatility in mortgage interest rates will continue for the near future. The jobless numbers…

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