Archive | August, 2011

Mortgage Talk in Simple Terms

31 Aug

Mortgage Talk in Simple Terms.  There are many stresses associated with home buying – both financial and emotional, and frankly speaking, it doesn’t help that the process comes with its very own foreign language. While your mortgage broker can help de-mystify these terms, it helps to have a bit of a primer on what some of these terms mean. After all, it’s your money and your home we’re talking about; as a Mortgagor you have a right to understand what you’re reading.

We’ll start with Amortization” and “Term”. Both refer to periods of time in the life of your mortgage, and you’ll want to be sure that you understand the difference.

The amortization” of your mortgage is the length of time that would be required to reduce your mortgage debt to zero, based on regular payments at a specified interest rate. The amortization period is typically 15, 20 or even 30 years, although it can be any number of years or part-years.

You could establish that you are able to make a certain payment each month of say $950 for your $130,000 mortgage at 5.0%. In this case, your amortization period will be just under 18 years. Or you could tell your broker that you’d like to be mortgage-free in just 10 years. With an amortization period of 10 years at the same interest rate, your $130,000 mortgage will cost you about $1,407 per month. That’s a tougher mortgage payment but you would save thousands of dollars in interest. (More than $30,000)

As you arrange your mortgage, then, keep in mind that your amortization period may be fairly long — although the shorter you can make it, the less you’ll wind up paying for your home in the long term.

The “term” of your mortgage will typically be shorter. The “term” is the duration of your mortgage agreement, at your agreed interest rate. This will be a very specific length of time, although you will have several choices. A 6-month mortgage is a very short-term mortgage. A 10-year mortgage will be one of the longest terms, generally with a higher rate of interest to represent the higher degree of uncertainty in the economic outlook.

After your mortgage term expires, you will need to either pay off the balance of the mortgage principal, or negotiate a new mortgage loan at whatever rates are available at that time.

Now, back to the term “Mortgagor”. This is one of three very similar terms: “Mortgagee”, “Mortgagor”, and “Mortgage”.

•    A Mortgagee is the lender of the money: a bank, company, or individual.
•    A Mortgagor is the borrower: the person or persons (or company) that is borrowing the money, and who will pay it back to the mortgagee.
•    The Mortgage, of course, is the legal document that pledges the property as a security for the debt.

Still confused? Don’t worry because when purchasing a home you’ll get everything in writing as well as all the information broken down into simple terms. And when you have questions, ask your lender to clarify before signing any documents.

About the Author:   Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of listings  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.com www.BoldRealEstateGroup.com www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com www.PGAVillage-Homes.com www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Life after bankruptcy and qualifiying for a home

29 Aug

Life after Bankruptcy and Qualifying for a Home.   Bankruptcy can help relieve you of your debts and stop harassing creditors from contacting you but have you thought about life after bankruptcy? Will you be able to qualify for a new home?

You can be approved for a new mortgage at a normal interest rate within 24 to 30 months after your discharge. If you can prove the bankruptcy was caused by medical reasons or a divorce you probably can be approved much sooner. But there are qualifications that you must meet to get a new mortgage and this all depends upon how you re-established yourself after the bankruptcy discharge.

Even if you don’t meet all the qualifications you can still get a mortgage but it will come with a higher interest rate and a larger down payment. Lenders will be inquiring about your finances and looking to see if you’ve paid your bills on-time since the bankruptcy.

So How Much Credit is Enough?

If mortgaging a new home, it will take more than a bank card with a $500 limit to re-establish your credit. Begin by concentrating on the necessities and time will work miracles. Start establishing the following:

1.    Bank checking and savings account
2.    A secured credit card from a reputable institution
3.    An auto loan

You will need at least 3 credit references since your bankruptcy.

Put Your Financial House in Order

It all starts with your money. Have you noticed that most people in dire financial straits seem to have everything? Large screen televisions, expensive appliances, fancy cars, etc? When you are discharged from bankruptcy you must cut expenses and stop throwing money away on useless things however the problem here lies with our mindset – we believe everything we have is a necessity; the new wardrobe, the mini-mansion, the over-priced automobile; you may very well deserve these things but if you can’t afford it you simply have to understand the obvious – You Can’t Afford It!

Did You Know –

After your bankruptcy discharge you can re-build your credit score within 24 months up to a high 800? But this requires paying all bills on time and securing new credit responsibilities to show that you’re ready.

I wish I could say that you’ll be automatically qualified but this all depends on what you’ve done since your bankruptcy and the lender’s guidelines.

Things that will Kill a Mortgage Loan Application

Start anticipating a bumpy ride; I know this sounds negative but it’s best to be prepared and after a bankruptcy it’s not a walk in the park. There are twists and turns but it will prove to be well worth the hassle so never give up.

There are things that will likely kill or just delay your chances for a new mortgage;

1.    Poor credit since bankruptcy
2.    High debt to income ratio
3.    Job instability
4.    Tax liens or levies against your paycheck
5.    Insufficient down payment

Reality hurts sometimes but when you’ve been given a second chance you should know you have to prove yourself all over again. The most important thing here is to know that you must take a hard look at how you’re living and the work you must put into re-establishing your credit. This will improve your chances not only for a mortgage but living encumbered without the benefits of good credit.

About the Author: Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of listings  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com, www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Is Green another type of Mortgage nor readily used?

29 Aug

Is Green another type of Mortgage nor readily used?  Green Mortgages may seem like a new novel idea but they’ve been around for decades. A green mortgage simply is a type of mortgage that provides you a money-saving discount or a bigger loan than normally permitted as a reward for making energy-efficient improvements or for buying a home that meets particular energy-efficiency standards. It also makes it easier for you to qualify for a loan.

Green mortgages hinge on the principle that a more energy-efficient home means lower utility bills and, as a result, greater income, qualifying a prospective homeowner to buy a more expensive house. Officially, the mortgages often are called Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) or Energy Improvement Mortgages (EIMs).

A green mortgage allows you to roll in the costs of making specific energy saving improvements to the home you are building or purchasing. This will, of course, increase your monthly mortgage payment but since because these improvements will drastically lower your energy, gas and water consumption, your monthly utilities will decrease even more so than your mortgage -saving you money every month.

Individual monthly savings will differ depending on the degree of the property’s energy efficiency. There are instances where the home energy efficiency improvements have led to monthly savings of $400 and greater.

If you saved $100 per month in energy costs for an annual savings of $1200, your home’s value would increase $24k.With the increase over the past 10 years in energy costs, this amount is probably higher.

There are several options for Energy Efficient Mortgages or EEM that one might qualify for

•    Fannie Mae Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) Pilot
•    Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Energy Mortgage Program
•    Veterans Administration Energy Mortgage Program
•    Freddie Mac Support for Energy Conservation
•    Energy Star Mortgages

The process of getting an energy efficient mortgage is exactly the same as a conventional mortgage with the exception of adding in the extra step of having the energy audit performed.

1.    First you select your property, received an approved offer, enter into contract, complete home inspection and property appraisal.

2.    Schedule the home energy audit to be completed as soon as possible after home inspection and appraisal.

3.    Once these reports come back, the loan officer with finish the remaining paperwork which includes the application for the EEM and includes the energy audit report. Your lender then completes a two page Energy Addendum form to include with the rest of the loan paperwork.

While commercial builders have taken advantage of this program more than homeowners the opportunity is there to reduce your home energy outlay by from 30 to 50 percent, guaranteed.

About the Author: Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of listings  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com, www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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The benefits of owner financing

29 Aug

There are many benefits for doing an owner-carry installment sale as opposed to conventional financing for both the buyer and seller. Sometimes this type of transaction may benefit only one or the other, but in most cases this contract is “Win/Win” for both parties.

Benefits for the Seller

Most sellers of real property insist on the highest price and all cash. Sellers want a fast closing with little hassle. Sellers also want to pay as little taxes as possible on the gains incurred. In many cases, the seller can have most of his needs satisfied by an installment sale rather than a traditional cash sale. Let’s look at these needs one by one.

1. Highest Price. There is no doubt that a seller can insist on and receive the highest price when offering flexible owner-finance terms. In many cases, the seller can receive more than the fair market value of the property by offering these “soft” terms. People are always willing to pay a premium for non-qualifying financing.

2. Cash. Nearly ever seller says he wants all cash, but few need it. What the typical seller wants is the most net cash from the deal. Often, the seller has to pay closing costs, title insurance, broker fees and the balance of the existing financing. In addition, there may be capital gains tax due to Uncle Sam. In many cases, the sale of a property by an installment sale will net the seller more future yield than any source from which the cash proceeds were reinvested.

3. Fast Closing. Nothing holds up a sale more than new lender financing. In some areas of the country, it can take months for a buyer to qualify and close a new loan to purchase your property. Since most standard real estate contracts contain a financing contingency, you may end up back at square one if your buyer does not qualify. Furthermore, if your house is not particularly nice or unique, it may take you some time to even find an interested buyer. Since you are competing with all of the other houses for sale, you may need to spend thousands of dollars in paint, new carpet and landscaping just getting the house ready for the market.

There are very few “assumable” loans and few sellers are offering “soft terms.” Thus, an owner-carry sale makes your house unique. Furthermore, an owner-carry transaction can be consummated in a matter of days, since there is no appraisal, underwriting survey involved.

4. Tax Savings. On an installment sale, you only pay gains to the extent you receive payments each year. This can be particularly advantageous if you have owned the property for several years. Furthermore, you can combine the installment sale with a Tax-Deferred Exchange for further savings.

As you can see, the installment sale provides many advantages to the seller of real property. Let us now turn to the advantages for the buyer.

Advantages for the Buyer

1. Easy Qualification. The buyer, in many cases, prefers an installment sale to conventional financing because it does not require traditional bank income and credit approval. The buyer may have poor credit because of a divorce or recent bankruptcy. He may be self-employed and cannot prove income. He may be new to his job and cannot meet strict lender guidelines. Even if he could qualify for a loan, the rate will be astronomical if he has poor credit. Furthermore, few conventional lenders offer fixed interest rate loans to people with a poor credit rating.
As you can see, there are many reasons why a buyer cannot (or will not) qualify for a conventional bank loan. The installment sale becomes the perfect solution for him.

2. Credit Rating. An installment sale may give the buyer a chance to improve his credit rating by owning a home and making payments timely.

3. No Loan Costs. One of the biggest benefits for the buyer is that they do not have to pay the costs associated with conventional loans. Points, origination fees, underwriting charges, appraisal, credit reports, title insurance and the plethora of other “junk” fees charged by conventional lenders can amount to thousands of dollars at closing. The buyer is free from these with an owner-carry installment sale.

4. Fast Closing. A buyer can close and move into a property within days, since there is no third party lender holding up the transaction.

Despite the elevated purchase price and interest rate, there are many benefits to a buyer who engages in an installment sale transaction.

About the Author: Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of listings  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com, www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Golf Course Living

29 Aug

Golf Course Living.   Wow! Imagine how great living on a Golf Course can be?

If you’re a lover of golf then waking up to walk to the course or simply strolling along watching others play can be pure heaven – or is it?

The Pro’s of Golf Course Homes

Well – Golf Course Homes are very nice because of the view, privacy and the open space behind your home. Looking out at a slowly undulating golf course fairway with trees and grass is very relaxing and stress relieving.  It is like having a park outside your back door!

When your backyard opens out onto an even larger expanse of green grass that someone else takes care of – it can be fantastic!  (even if you do not play golf!)

It means that you do not have any close backyard neighbors looking into your backyard or peering down from their windows into your personal, private space.  Usually you only have neighbors on each side of your house or perhaps across one corner if you live near a green.

The closest neighbors in back are usually across the fairway.  How far away they are will depend on how wide the fairways on that course or golf hole are.

If you like to play golf and belong to the course that you live on it is even better because you don’t have to drive to the course.  Check the community regulations on whether you can have your own golf cart, or if you can just walk the course and pull or carry your bag.  Figure out the total cost per month based on how many times a month you will be playing and the monthly fees and cart charges.

Many communities are very family oriented and most of the children that live there can start learning to play at a very young age, and can play after school!

But living on a golf course does have it’s disadvantages —

The Disadvantages of Golf Course Homes

Your house may be hit by golf balls!  Yes, this does happen and depending on how narrow the fairways are and the placement of your house along the course it may happen really often.  Home owners insurance may or may not pay for damage to your home from golf balls hitting it.

Windows can be broken, house siding can be hit & pitted, screen porches torn & furniture damaged.

Probably the most difficult thing to fix is the divots in the stucco siding of a home from golf balls hitting it. Many people discover numerous pock marks in their siding from the golf ball impacts.  And they must be filled and painted before the home can be sold.

Noise from Golf Course Maintenance!   Do not expect to sleep in on the weekends!  The guys come around between 7AM & 8AM to cut the grass, groom the bunkers and change the pin locations.  Sometimes they even come around before it is light out and the new equipment has headlights that can shine directly in your bedroom windows facing the back of the house and golf course.

Animals – having more nature in your backyard means more animals and creatures.  Any golf course ponds naturally attract frogs, toads, birds, snakes, etc.  These can be tremendously fun to watch, but you have to be wary of what may be in your yard and fences will not keep everything out.  The animals in ponds can also be incredibly noisy at various times of the year.

Spraying – Golf Courses have to fertilize, and control weeds.  The overspray can reach easily into your yard and impact your plants.  Be careful what you plant along the back edge that adjoins the area maintained by the golf course.  The weed killer that they spray can cause bushes to turn totally brown and lose their leaves.

The thought of Golf Course Living is a dream but in reality it could drive you up a wall if you’re not prepared for everything that comes with this luxury lifestyle.

About the Author: Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of listings  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com, www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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The Allure of Walkable Neighborhoods

29 Aug

The Allure of Walkable Neighborhoods.  In suburbia there are rows and rows of little white identical houses and neat cul-de-sacs surrounded by grass and space in complete isolation.  For many this sounds like a dream come true and the complete opposite from the concrete city scapes but for other residents this type of planned development becomes a liability for social, economic and sustainable living.

More and more urban planners are dedicating new approaches to functionality, sustainability and family friendly Walkable Neighborhoods.  The inviting character of any accommodating neighborhood impacts every resident in numerous ways.

Considering today’s common residential concerns choosing a walkable neighborhood can be advantageous to your waistline and your wallet.

Just think – a neighborhood with multiple destinations including clusters of grocery stores, banks, family parks, schools, daycare centers, pedestrian and pet trails, bus stops and all pertinent avenues to foster mixed-used development and less costs.  How about less reasons to start up the car, go get gas and begin your lengthy ride to your next destination. These communities give consumers a wide range of choices including a more robust and diverse daily life.

Many reports that have been developed on the science and art of walkable neighborhoods echo the same sentiment; healthier lifestyles coincide with mixed-use communities. More parents will walk their children to school, spend less, economize and use public transportation more.

The benefit of nearby destinations encourages residents out of the home to interact with neighbors thus there’s a decrease of crime, a heightened awareness of whom is living in your neighborhood and a direct correlation to the quality of longer life for seniors.

Walkable neighborhoods are nothing new.  Our parents sent us to the neighborhood store to pick up some sugar, eggs and milk as we passed by our neighbors chatting away on their front porch.  Then along came the challenges of traffic, crime, more personal property full of grass and less sidewalks and there went the decline of our walkable communities.  But these characteristics are becoming the newest trend once again.

The attractiveness of convenience is appealing to all age and socio-economic groups.

•    Streetscaping for schools provide safer walkways with maximum sight distances.
•    Roadways engineered with newer designs provide better designations for speed limits, intersections and raised crossings.
•    Calmer vehicular traffic with safe routes for children, seniors, bicycling and walking.

•    Eliminate car crashes and the potential of vehicle conflicts by introducing longer driveways, wider sidewalks and drop-off points.

•    The introduction of more ramps, alternative curbs and heights and lower signals at intersections to accommodate disabled adults.

Every city in every state has a walkable neighborhood and as more developers embrace the thought of providing much more than just “another white picket fence” home buyers are embracing the thought of active living in functional communities.

About the Author: Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of listings  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com, www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Preparing Home for the Elderly

29 Aug

Preparing Home for the Elderly. Preparing your home for elderly family members and guests will help you avoid costly hazards and many modifications to your home will increase the market value. While there are a few additions you’ll have to scrutinize for budget-busting construction cost, preparing your home for the elderly can also be very budget friendly.

Any changes or minor improvements you make to your house on their behalf now can help you “age in place” and live more independently as the years go by. But don’t succumb to major transformations as its really not necessary; any general construction can be traumatic; a myriad of decisions, contractors, delays, and of course finances to fund these changes can turn a simple project into a complicated subject. A few practical considerations to eliminate a hazardous environment is all you need.

Keep in mind, there are elements that any elderly individual can benefit from and then there are over-the-top traps that contractors will have you consider but you won’t necessarily need. We’ve compiled a list of items you can embrace without spending a dime and then a few others that still won’t break the bank.

Here are some tips on necessary modifications for the elderly.

1.    Check the paths to and from your home to ensure there are no hazards waiting to trip on. Falls are the number-one cause of injury to elderly people. Check sidewalk cracks, loose steps and shaky railings. And all of these things can easily be remedied by visiting your local neighborhood hardware store. Can a walker or wheelchair easily fit through your door? Also, examine chair legs and stairs and remove throw rugs during your elderly visitor’s stay.

2.    Give extra attention to the bathroom, where most falls occur. Porcelain is unforgiving to elderly bodies so replace no-slip mats inside the bath and shower if they’re loose. Check that bath mats or rugs outside the bath/shower area to make sure they have non-skid backing. You can purchase grab bars for inside the bath and shower for as little as $50, but check that the label states the bar meets the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines for safety.

3.    Review your lighting in stairways and hallways, two very dangerous areas for aging eyes.

4.    Take into consideration any mobility limits your elderly guest may have and plan ahead. Be sure their room is close to a bathroom. If they use a wheelchair or walker, the doorways to their room and the bathroom should be wide enough. Rather than remodeling door frames, some experts suggest installing doors with swing-clear hinges, which can add an extra inch or two of space.

A good plan can help transform any home into an elderly-friendly homestead without hiring expensive contractors.  You know what works best in any home?  Less is more and it’s better because it always eliminates vulnerability.

About the Author: Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of listings  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com, www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

Home | Homes For Sale | Homes Short Sale | Search Foreclosures | Open House | Homes For Rent | Renter’s Insurance | Cascades Resources | Cascades Events | Community Tour | Home Virtual Tour | Driving Directions | Cascades Q & A | Cascades Floorplans | Cascades HOA | Community News | Community Providers | Cascades BLOG | Sign-up for a Tour! | Buyer’s Resources | Dream Home Finder | Search MLS | Home Inspection | Home Warranty | Florida Relocation | Property Taxes | Tax Estimator | Insurance Quote | Buy A Short Sale | Seller’s Resource | Market Analysis | Short Sale Inquiry | Our Commitment | Outbound Relocation | Sold Homes Report | Jobs Opportunity | Senior Care Living | Workforce50.com | Retired Brains | Tradition | The Vineyards | Kings Isle 55 Plus | Magnolia Lakes | Sawgrass Lakes | Lake Forest | Lake Charles | Tesoro Homes | The Club SLW | Belmont SLW | Country Club Estates | Lakes At SLW | Viscaya Falls | PGA Village | Verano PGA | Seasons 55 Plus | Tampa Homes | Ocala Homes | Naples Homes | Fort Myers Homes | Jacksonville Homes | Ponte Vedra Homes | Orlando Homes | New Developments | Discovery Tours | Costa Rica Homes | Real Estate Glossary | Golf Course Finder | FREE Moving Quote | Market eNewsletter | Currency Converter | FREE Credit Score | Airport & Flights | About St. Lucie West | Connect Utilities | Global News | Books WebStore | Retirement Homes By State | Local Hospitals | Dining Guide | St. Lucie County Profile | New Developments | Cost of Living Data | Taxes by State | For Buyers | For Sellers | Homeowners | Mortgage Calculator | Mortgage Rates | Loan Quote | Get Pre-Approved | Mortgage Articles | Lending Sources | St. Lucie County | Martin County | Palm Beach County | Indian River | Broward County | Brevard County | Okeechobee County | Miami-Dade County | Referral Network | Real Estate Career | Real Estate School | Guest Bloggers | Contact Us | Testimonials | About Us | Our Blog | About Florida | Se Habla Español | Why Use A REALTOR® | North Florida Homes | Privacy Policy | Florida New Developments

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