Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall Clean-up Tips

I know we all think we have time to get the yard ready for winter, but all too soon that snow is on the ground and there was still one or two things left to do. So I thought I would post a few tips, that I have found, to make that Fall clean-up go a little easier. Hopefully you will see one or two new ones.

  • Clean out the gutters, but try and wait for all the leaves to fall. This is a great time to check for leaks and any wear and tear.
  • Check the tree branches and trim the ones that are too close to the house. Keep in mind that too much trimming can damage a tree. Keep in mind with winter comes heavy snow and wind. So you want to make sure the branches that could break off in the winter are the ones you want to trim.

  • Before putting the patio umbrella away for winter storage, use a pair of pantyhose to cover the umbrella by putting one leg over the top and the other leg over the bottom. This will protect and help it air out if there is any moisture on the umbrella and prevent mold growth.
  • Clean patio furniture and if you do not store inside(shed or garage) use a tarp to cover them.
  • Put any open containers and pots away or cover them up. This will help when spring comes to eliminate the water needed for mosquitos to breed in the spring.
  • Clean up the leaves. You can use them for compost.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Real Estate Talk

If you are planning on buying home, you may want to brush up on some basic terms that are often used by real estate agents, attorneys, and mortgage brokers. 

Here's a brief glossary of some commonly used terms you should know before jumping into the game:

Appraisal: An appraiser's assessment of a property's value. A home sale is contingent upon an appraisal for at least the amount of the loan the buyer wants to secure.

Closing costs: One-time costs associated with buying a home, disclosed before closing, but due at closing. The costs can include fees for an attorney, recording, inspections, appraisals, title service costs, even pre-paid homeowner's insurance and taxes.

Contingency:Contractual conditions that must be met before a home sale closes. They can protect the buyer or the seller and can include a satisfactory home inspection, secured financing, adequate appraisal, etc.

Earnest Money: A deposit of good faith money, typically included with the offer to buy a house. Earnest money can become part of the down payment.

Points:Sometimes referred to as "discount points" these costs reduce the interest rate and are paid at closing or up front when used. One point is one percent of the mortgage amount.

Pre-approval: An official document and the process by which a homebuyer obtains proof he or she has been approved for a mortgage, pending the home appraisal and other financial contingencies. During the process, the lender verifies the buyer's credit score, income, debts, employment and other factors that go into a mortgage applications. A pre-approval letter says the buyer has been approved for a certain mortgage, again pending contingencies.

 Title:A public records document that proves ownership of the property. A title also includes any claims against that ownership. During a home purchase, the buyer conducts a title search to verify the seller is the owner and if the title contains any judgments or liens against it.

HUD (Settlement Statement): The HUD-1 is a form used by the settlement agent (also called the closing agent) to itemize all charges imposed upon a borrower and seller for a real estate transaction. It gives each party a complete list of their incoming and outgoing funds.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alternative ways of coming up with a down payment

Having trouble coming up with that down payment?  Here are 5 outlets you may not have considered, but could put you well on your way to homeownership:

1. Gift Money: Gift money is simply that -- a gift from family or documented close relationship. The giftor needs to provide a gift letter and paper trail for the monies they are gifting for the benefit of the buyer.

 2. 401(k)/Retirement Loan: Typically, borrowed funds for a down payment are a no-go, but the exception is a 401(k) or equivalent retirement account (or current home equity line). If you can borrow money from your 401(k) for your down payment, this is accepted for obtaining a purchase mortgage loan. Note: Depending on the terms of your loan, this could be counted as a liability and factored into your debt-to-income ratio.
3. Sale of a Good: Believe it or not, you can sell your recreational vehicle and use the net proceeds from the transaction as your down payment. Let's say that you decide to sell your motorcycle for $10,000. You'll need to provide the full bill of sale -- as well as the bank statement depositing those funds, matching the bill of sale -- to your mortgage lender. Same goes for any other recreational vehicle, or other item that "makes sense." The key is as long as it's plausible and passes the litmus test and you can paper trail the monies from start to finish, you should have no problem using those monies for the house purchase.

 4. Trust Funds, Settlement Awards, etc.: If you come into a chunk of change via an inheritance, settlement, lottery winning, trust fund disbursement, family buyout, even a gambling victory, all of these monies can be used for the down payment as long as the sourcing of the monies is fully documented from A to Z with no stone left unturned. Matching of the amounts of monies used to the original deposits will be required when it comes time to secure the loan.

 5. Line of Credit: Where a down payment lacks, enter strength in income. You can take out a line of credit or a personal loan, deposit the full funds into your bank account and after two months, the funds will be eligible for use in the transaction.
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