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Tips for Pre-qualifying in Today’s Market

by Masha Halpern

When starting the hunt for your dream home you first must know how much home you can truly afford.  The first step in buying your home is to have a budget and figure out how much you can actually afford. Your real estate agent or mortgage lender can assist you with this in a couple different ways: 

  •  Pre-qualifying process This process will give you a general "estimate" of what you will be able to afford.
  • Pre-approval process This process will allow your lender to review your finances in more detail in order to determine the amount of money they agree to loan you for your home purchase.

Your lender will review your finances and focus on a few main areas such as:

  • Gross monthly income
  • Credit history
  • Amount of outstanding debts
  • Source and amount of money available for down payment and closing costs
  • Interest rates, etc.

All these things put together will help your lender determine two important qualifying ratios.

1. Debt-to-Income Ratio Generally the amount of debt you pay each month should not exceed 36 percent of your gross monthly income

2. Housing Expense Ratio Most lenders will not approve your loan if the mortgage payment exceeds 28 to 33 percent of your gross monthly income

Determining how much you can afford to spend when purchasing a new home is your first step. For more information please feel free to contact me!

 

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The Four "C's" in Mortgage Lending

by masha halpern

Having good credit and a steady job just does not seem to be good enough in today’s credit world when it comes to getting your home loan approved.  You need to make an impression.  Below are some great tips I would like to share with you. 

Today’s lenders are a picky bunch when it comes to the loan approval.  Even well-qualified borrowers are expected to jump through some pretty high hoops to qualify for financing.
Have no fear. The tips below and suggestions can help you make the best possible impression on the lender of your choice.
Just as job hunters may wonder what top employers want to see on a resume, prospective borrowers may be curious about what lenders look for on a loan application.

The four C's

The answer may be summed up with a mnemonic called "The four C's,"

•    Capacity, which refers to the adequacy of the borrower's income to cover the interest and principal due on the loan, plus property taxes and homeowners insurance.
•    Character, which refers to the borrower's track record of paying debts, as evidenced by his or her credit history and credit score.
•    Capital, which refers to the borrower's down payment (or equity) as a percentage of the current value of the home.
•    Collateral, which refers to the safety and soundness of the home and the value of the home as determined by an appraisal relative to the agreed-upon purchase price.

Today’s mortgage broker might use a quadrant with "income," "credit," "assets" and "property" in the four corners, but his point is the same as that of the four C's:  What lenders like to see is strength and stability in all four areas.

Maybe your credit score has some dings or you need a stated-income loan.  Borrowers who are qualified but whose down payment will be less than 20% of the purchase price of the home must withstand a second level of scrutiny. That's because mortgage insurers also have to approve such loans, and they have "completely different qualification ratios”. Borrowers in this situation should discuss their options with a loan officer who is familiar with lenders' and insurers' guidelines.

Have paperwork in order

Lenders rely not on the borrower's say-so but on a pile of paperwork to verify and document the borrower's financial position. At a minimum, most borrowers are required to submit the following:

•    One month of paycheck stubs.
•    Two years of W-2 forms.
•    Three months of bank account statements.

Additional paperwork also may be required:

•    If you're self-employed or earn more than 25% of your income from commissions or bonuses, you'll need to hand over two years of income tax returns.
•    If you're divorced, the lender will want a copy of your settlement to ascertain how much alimony or child support you're obligated to pay or are entitled to receive and the duration of those payments.
•    If you've filed for bankruptcy protection within the past seven years, you'll need to show your bankruptcy papers.
•    If you've deferred repayment of student loans, you should provide your deferral agreement as well.
"If (borrowers) have student loans that are going to be deferred for at least 12 months, that may help them qualify, so they would want to bring the account numbers for those loans.  Student loans are counted as debt, but deferral of repayment may strengthen the borrower's application.

Learn Ways to Make Your Home Affordable

by Masha Halpern

If you’ve never heard of this amazing website launched by the federal government, you better go check it out!  Making Home Affordable is a website that offers a variety of online tools that will help today's homeowner determine if they are eligible to participate in the “Making Home Affordable” loan modification and refinancing program.

This site will show you how this program works and who is eligible for assistance. This is the same $75 billion program you may have heard about in the media. To see if it can help you, first have this information in front of you:

* Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.

* Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.

* Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.

* Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.

* Your most recent income tax return.

* Information about your savings and other assets

* Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of your household, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources.

* It may also be helpful to have: A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable.

There are many programs out right now including the energy tax credit, $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers, and long term interest rates lower than 5%. There is something for everyone it’s just a matter of knowing where to look.  

Check out these opportunities and see if any of them can help you or contact me to discuss your current situation.  Together we can find a solution to your real estate needs.

What are you concerns about home affordability in this real estate market?

 

 

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Ready for Some Weekend Comedy?

by Masha Halpern
The weekend is almost here and what better way to wind down than to enjoy some comedy and have a few laughs!
 

There are Alternatives to Foreclosure

by Masha Halpern

Foreclosures have increased dramatically the last three years as a result of the subprime lending disaster and a lot of people are wondering if they will be next. There are options for many homeowners, they just need to know what to look for and where to look for it at.

If  you find yourself struggling to make your mortgage payments, and you fear foreclosure may be in your future, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has suggested a few possible alternatives. These options to fend off foreclosure include:

  • Repayment Plan
  • Reinstatement
  • Forbearance
  • Loan Modification

The Federal Trade Commission wants people to know that these alternatives may not work for everyone especially if you are already three or four mortgage payments behind.

Visit the NFCC's Homeowners Crisis Resource Center website for more information regarding the above alternatives. They can also assist you in locating a certified housing counselor to explore your options in an effort to fend off foreclosure.

 

/kh

Making Home Affordable

by Masha Halpern - Chapel Hill, NC

In the news lately you may have heard of the new website launched by the federal government - Making Home Affordable.   This new website offers online tools that will help today's homeowner determine if they are eligible to participate in the “Making Home Affordable” loan modification and refinancing program.

This site shares information about how this program works and who is eligible for assistance. This is the same $75 billion program you may have heard of recently in the media. You should have the following available:

* Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.

* Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.

* Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.

* Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.

* Your most recent income tax return.

* Information about your savings and other assets * Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of your household, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources.

* It may also be helpful to have:A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable.

There are several programs out there right now, new energy tax credit, $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers, and long term interest rates lower than 5%. There is something for everyone. Check out these opportunities and see if any of them can help you or call me to discuss your current situation.  Together we can find a solution to your real estate needs.

Homebyers - How To Negotiate

by

Of course, negotiating is a huge part of the homebuying process.  There are some principles that are universal, though.

You’re in a strong bargaining position if:

  • You’re an all-cash buyer
  • You’re already preapproved for a mortgage
  • You don’t have a home that needs to be sold before you can buy

These circumstances give you a little more leeway in negotiating. However, even if you are in a strong position, in a "hot" market, you may want to make your offer more desirable by offering more than asking price. When the market is "soft," homes tend to sell more slowly, creating a larger pool of homes from which to choose. On the other hand, when the market is "hot," there may be a limited number of homes to visit and the demand for them may be high.

Overall, here are some suggestions:

  • Enter into negotiations with the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the property firmly in mind.
  • Keep in mind (and add to the contract) some terms you can live without – then you can make concessions without compromising the items that are important to you.
  • Always have a few alternative homes in mind – knowing you have other options will help you stay objective during bargaining and may encourage the seller to be more reasonable.
  • Try to ascertain what the seller wants and needs. If, for example, the seller’s new home is not ready by the closing date, you might consider allowing the seller to rent back the home for a short time, provided your schedule permits.
  • Terms may be negotiated as well as price, and the changes can result in financial savings.

Know the Alernative with Foreclosure

by

It is no secret that foreclosures have increased drastically this year as a result of the subprime lending disaster and a lot of people are wondering if they will be next. For many homeowners there may be options, if they know what to look for and where to look. 

In the event that you find yourself struggling to make your mortgage payments, and you fear foreclosure may be in your future, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has suggested a few possible alternatives. These options to fend off foreclosure include:

  • Repayment Plan
  • Reinstatement
  • Forbearance
  • Loan Modification

The Federal Trade Commission wants people to know that these alternatives may not work for everyone especially if you are already three or four mortgage payments behind.

For more information regarding the above alternatives visit the NFCC's Homeowners Crisis Resource Center website. They can also assist you in locating a certified housing counselor to explore your options in an effort to fend off foreclosure.

Pre-qualifying Tips for Today's Home Buyer

by


How much home can you really afford? The first step in buying a home is to have a budget and figure out how much you can actually afford. Your agent or lender can help you with this in a couple of ways:

 

  •  Pre-qualifying process This process will give you a general "estimate" of what you will be able to afford.

  • Pre-approval process This process will allow your lender to review your finances in more detail in order to determine the amount of money they agree to loan you for your home purchase.

Your lender will review your finances and focus on a few main areas such as:

  • Gross monthly income
  • Credit history
  • Amount of outstanding debts
  • Source and amount of money available for down payment and closing costs
  • Interest rates, etc.

All these things put together will help your lender determine two important qualifying ratios.

  1. Debt-to-Income Ratio Generally the amount of debt you pay each month should not exceed 36 percent of your gross monthly income
  2. Housing Expense Ratio Most lenders will not approve your loan if the mortgage payment exceeds 28 to 33 percent of your gross monthly income

These are the first steps in determining how much you can afford when purchasing a new home. For more mortgage and finance information feel free to contact me.

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Photo of Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate Real Estate
Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty
101 Cosgrove Avenue, Suite 200
Chapel Hill NC 27514
Direct 919-951-1780
Toll Free 877-478-4669
Fax: 919-928-9030




Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty provides real estate services in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area including real estate services for buyer, sellers and those relocating to the surrounding areas of Apex, Bahama,Cary, Efland, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, Mebane, Raleigh, and Wake Forest. Search for homes in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or the surrounding communities.  Request a market analysis for your North Carolina property.  I list and sell residential real estate, investment property, vacant land, lots for sale in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area.

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina real estate and homes for sale in North Carolina - Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team