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Port St Lucie Cascades-Buy a Home or Rent

10 Jan

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Port St Lucie Cascades-Buy a Home or Rent

You don’t have to be on the verge of retirement to begin thinking about the nuts and bolts of your future living arrangements. There is more to it than just adjusting your monthly budget. For many people who are winding up their full-time working lives, a governing decision – one that will affect countless others – is whether to buy a home, continue in one you already own, or to rent.

Some retirees view shedding home ownership as a stress-reliever. If they decide to migrate — whether to a milder climate or to be closer to the grandkids — those folks are less inclined to buy a home in their new community. For others, the decision can be more emotional: many of us who have long owned our homes would be uncomfortable any other way.

If it has been years since you’ve even thought about the buy a home vs. rent decision, writing up a list of the current tradeoffs isn’t a bad idea. There are many dimensions to consider, but in the financial area, some bullet points on that list:

  • Risk    When you own your home, you control an asset that historically stands to increase in value over the long term. However, owning does involve financial risks — such as unexpected maintenance costs or insurance deductibles. Short term, market fluctuations do occur, and that can hurt if it becomes necessary to sell under time pressure. On the other hand, rents rise to cover landlord expenses — and taxes and insurance generally head in one direction: up!
  • Opportunity  When choosing whether to buy a home, rent one, buy a condo, or rent an apartment; you need to ask yourself a fundamental question: do you view your housing arrangement as an investment opportunity — or as just a line item in your cost of living? If your budget leaves some breathing room, the investment idea may look inviting. If not, tight finances might turn maintenance expenses into major hassles.
  • Bottom Line   Overall, the most important factor will always be your budget. Retirement generally means a fixed income – a lifestyle that rewards careful planning (and a sharp pencil!).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, an 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.netAre you tired of scouring the newspaper and MLS listing sites looking for homes in Florida?   Tired of playing telephone tag with Realtors only to hear the home’s already sold?  Sit back, relax and let Bold Real Estate Group and our team of professional Realtors do the work for you!  Just visit our website and check off the properties yuor’re looking for.  This service is FREE and there’s no obligation!

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

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Could That Must Odor Mean Leaks In Your Home.

12 Sep

Could That Must Odor Mean Leaks In Your Home. It doesn’t matter if your home is old or new, a basement can become damp and musty due to cracks in walls, humidity, and condensation. Visible cracks aren’t as easy to repair as problems with condensation and basement humidity, but you may be able to find and repair the source of basement dampness yourself – if the cause of the dampness and musty odor isn’t too serious. Even minor cracks are easy to repair.

A musty odor might only be noticed during certain times of the year. The odors usually go unnoticed during the winter when the furnace is running and might not be apparent during the summer months when the air conditioning is pulling humidity out of the home. A musty odor coming from the basement is most often noticed in spring and fall when utilities aren’t running and the windows are closed.

The first step is to find the source of dampness creating the musty odor but keep in mind there may be more than one source of dampness that could be causing the odor.

Condensation

Basement pipes can become covered in condensation especially during summer months. The condensation builds on cold water pipes until it runs down the pipes or drips onto the basement floor. Cold water pipes covered in condensation can definitely create a musty odor in the basement.  The best way to prevent and control musty basement odors caused by cold water pipes is to cover the pipes with an insulated pipe wrap.

Humidity

A humid basement, even without the appearance of obvious dampness, can cause a musty odor. If there doesn’t appear to be leaks in your basement try operating a dehumidifier. Most basements hold a lot of humidity anyway so consider attaching a hose to the dehumidifier and allow the excess moisture to drain into a working sump pump pit or a basement drain.

Leaking Pipes

What may appear to be condensation could in fact be a leaky basement water pipe.  Wipe condensation from water pipes and check pipe seams for slow leaks. You may only need epoxy compound to repair a slowly leaking pipe, however, if you suspect any leaks at all, call a plumber to inspect the problem.

Cracks

Cracks in concrete or cinder block basement walls aren’t uncommon. Even newer homes can develop cracks in basement walls that sometimes begin to leak. The leaks cause dampness which naturally creates a musty odor, but don’t panic if your basement wall has developed a crack. A restoration specialist may be able to patch it successfully and easily from the inside and patching a crack in a basement wall isn’t as difficult as you would think. The success of the patch will depend on whether or not the crack is active; an active crack will continue to widen and spread.

Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Any suspected leaks or cracks should be investigated and patched before the problem worsens.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Florida Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years.  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 real estate service and 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

Avoiding Mortgage Junk Fees

12 Sep

Avoiding Mortgage Junk Fees.  If you look down your long, long list of closing costs at your lender’s office, you probably won’t find one labeled “junk.”

That’s because lenders don’t like to admit that some of the charges they’re passing off as “necessary’ are really “junk”.
Actually, they aren’t junk to the lender because they represent an important stream of profit. But we certainly don’t need those added fees. Junk fees are a good place to negotiate with the lender for a better deal. But the time to negotiate is before you sign the loan application. Once you’ve signed, you’ve sealed your deal for better or worse.

The lender does have legitimate costs that are passed along to you, the borrower, in the form of closing costs and fees; however, by the time you see the fees they’ve been inflated. For example, if the lender has an electronic appraisal done on your property, it might cost him $25, but he’ll charge you $125.

Lenders are required to give you a good faith estimate of your closing costs when you first contact them, but it’s not required to be completely accurate! So they often give a lower estimate to get your business, and then increase fees once you have committed. Thankfully, new mortgage legislation has limited the amount by which your fees can change once disclosed.

Inflated costs are  just one example of junk fees and costs that get built into your loan without you knowing it. A more egregious example is the charges for made-up things, like “underwriting fees” or “document preparation.”

• A lender will tell you an underwriting fee is the cost that they incur to underwrite your loan. They need someone to go through your whole package to make sure it complies with secondary underwriting requirements.

But an underwriting fee is purely a junk fee because the whole point of applying for the loan is so that it gets underwritten. You’re being charged an extra fee on top of all the other fees to do exactly the same thing.

• Another common junk fee is the cost for document preparation. Basically, computer programs print all the necessary paperwork at the touch of a button. Someone will key in the necessary information. But again, underwriting the loan and preparing the paperwork is within the general scope of, well, getting the loan approved for you.

The problem with junk fees is that they all sound so legitimate. It’s difficult to tell what’s real and what isn’t. As the borrower, you’re entitled to an explanation of each and every charge in a way you can understand. If the lender throws some jargon your way, stop and ask for a detailed explanation.

To avoid the problem of bait and switch, talk to several lenders, and don’t just compare interest rates — compare fees.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Florida Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years.  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 real estate service and 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

Factors of Mortgage Approval

6 Sep

Factors Of Mortgage Approval

When applying for a mortgage, the lender you have chosen
will take many factors into account. These factors not only
influence what type of loans you can qualify for but also
what your monthly payments will be and how many years you
will take to pay the loan off completely.

Knowing these factors and doing what you can to improve
them all can make a tremendous difference when you go and
see your lender and start the process that will get you
your new property.

Some of the basic factors apply for just about any loan but
are especially important if you are trying to get a
mortgage. The big one is, yep, credit.

How good is your credit Get copies of all of your credit
reports from the 3 major consumer reporting companies and
check each one for errors.

Many times they have errors that can be corrected in just a
few weeks and that helps boost your score. If you have
credit cards, pay them off as well as any other outstanding
bills.

A nice large down payment will always improve your chances
of being approved. If your credit isn’t completely top
notch, the bigger the down payment, the more likely you
will get improved.

If your credit is great, you can still put down as much as
possible to lower the monthly payments or decrease the
total loan time.

Above all else, don’t lie to your lender. If you tell them
you are a supervisor of a power plant and they find out you
are a UPS man who has only had the job for 6 months, you
will be totally screwed. Be honest and your lender will do
their best to work with you.

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

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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7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home

15 Aug

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home

By: G. M. Filisko

Published: February 10, 2010

By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.

1. Decide how much home you can afford

Generally, you can afford a home priced 2 to 3 times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2. Develop your home wish list

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top-five must-haves and top-five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3. Select where you want to live

Make a list of your top-five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4. Start saving

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your downpayment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a downpayment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small downpayment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your downpayment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your downpayment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and downpayment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5. Ask about all the costs before you sign

A downpayment is just one homebuying cost. Your REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area—including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6. Get your credit in order

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. Most require a minimum credit score of 620 for a home mortgage.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7. Get prequalified

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

More from HouseLogic

Learn how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages can help you save on financing

Learn more about the costs of homeownership

Other web resources

Homebuyer counseling resources

Get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has thrice survived the homebuying process. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Top 5 Ways To Increase Your Home’s Value

14 Jul

We all want our homes to look appealing to make visitors take a second look; but where do you spend your money to increase value And look good And stand out?

1.An updated kitchen. Kitchens are critical because people want lots of workspace to cook and socialize. Buyers look for solid surface counters, updated appliances and high-quality flooring, such as wood, laminate, tile or stone. It also doesn’t hurt if it opens onto another room; families are looking for openness to communicate. It won’t hurt if you have a picturesque window or several windows to allow light in. Will it sell faster, Yes!

2.Natural materials. People are looking for ceramic tile, hardwood floors, and granite. In floor coverings — especially bathrooms or kitchens — look for ceramic tile or wood rather than linoleum, which can become worn and tear.  In the rest of the house choose wood or laminate products over wall-to-wall carpeting.

3.Curb appeal. First impressions are everything. There is nothing better than pulling up to a home with a manicured lawn and a splash of color. A house that appears tidy and well-cared-for will sell more quickly and for more money. A good first appearance can add as much as 10 percent to the value of the home.

4.Basement. A finished basement adds more value simply because of the space. People love the fact that they can “go somewhere and hide” or have that man-cave; and many parents love a place where teenagers can be in another part of the home, not seen or heard!

5.Lots of storage. Nothing beats an oversized garage, some attic space and plenty of closets. If you have a two-car garage you are in the forefront for “SOLD”; do you have extra space for those things we all have — bicycles, lawn mower, snow blower and just extra junk? No matter if you’re single or married, Space is important.

Now on the flip side, contrary to what many people believe there are things that can alter your property value;

• A pool. Pools in most parts of the country don’t automatically raise the value of your home; It’s constant upkeep, they get cracks, when the equipment goes down it’s expensive to replace and the liability is high

• Outdated appliances or systems. Who wants an electrical system or plumbing system incapable of handling modern conveniences?

• Stale or overly personal decor. Sure, red is a hot wall color right now but a complete red room? It won’t appeal to everyone. Most home sellers will change the colors to something muted but then you have those who want to remain purple and electric green for the sake of individual design.

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

Servicing:  Port St. Lucie, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Stuart, Vero Beach,  Hutchinson Island, Fort Pierce,  Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Palm Coast, Neptune Beach, Amelia Island, Atlantic Beach, Fernandina Beach, Saint Johns, Saint Augustine, Daytona Beach, Fleming Island and New York real estate.

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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