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Mortgage News Matters

What Do I Need to Apply For A Mortgage?

In order to apply for a mortgage, you will need to have a few important documents on hand for your VanDyk Mortgage Loan Originator. This will help verify your employment history, creditworthiness, and overall financial situation. This will also ensure that you can easily make your payments and that you meet all the underwriting guidelines.  

The first step in applying for a mortgage is to submit a Uniform Residential Loan Application. This is something that each borrower must do to simply tell a lender about you.  Following that application, you will be asked to provide documents that support your application. Below is a list of some of the items you are going to need.  

Proof of Income. 

One of the first things you should gather is your tax return. This will allow lenders to make sure that your annual income is consistent with your reported earnings. Our VanDyk Loan Originators will also want to see your pay stubs. Although your tax return shows your annual earnings, your pay stubs will represent your current earnings and will help to confirm that you can pay back the amount that you want to borrow.  

Bank Statements and Assets. 

Next, you will want to provide bank statements for all financial accounts, including investments. This is to ensure you will have the funds to cover your down payment, and closing costs, and maintain cash reserves if it is required. When assessing your risk profile, our Loan Originators may want to look at your bank statements and other assets such as your investments and insurance. These documents can be requested so that our Loan Originators can ensure that you have several months of reserves to make payments in case of an emergency. 

Credit Report. 

Your credit history will be checked by your Loan Originator with your permission when applying for a mortgage as it is a big part of the process. Minor hiccups won’t prevent you from becoming a homeowner, however, an accumulation of late payments, collections, or any other derogatory marks on your credit report will prompt a lender to ask for an explanation. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be.  

Alimony or Child Support Documents. 

If you are someone who relies on this type of income, then you must show proof that you will continue to receive additional payments for at least 3 years. 

Self-Employment 

 If you are self-employed, generally most Loan Originators will require you to have at least a steady 2 years in the same industry. Ways to prove this can be by providing client contracts or providing your business license or proof of insurance.  

The list of documents that are required may vary based on the type of mortgage you are applying for, and your current financial status. These are just the initial documents that you will need, and additional information might be requested once the underwriter has reviewed everything. Ask your VanDyk lender for a list of paperwork you might need to provide and start collecting prior to beginning your application process. Gathering these documents can take some time but by remaining organized and staying ahead can help you get to the closing table faster.  

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Mortgage News Matters

Seven Tips to Help You Get The Home You Want

With a soaring demand for homes in the US and little to choose from, forming an offer that will stand out can be the reason you secure your dream home. Here is a list of pro tips that can help you beat the competition this year.

  1. Show them you are financially ready.

In today’s market, you will likely need to make an offer that exceeds the asking price to get the home that you want. Even just a few thousand dollars extra can be the reason for winning or losing out on a home. Your real estate agent will likely be able to give you a good estimate of how much you will need to go over the asking price, however, sometimes you will naturally have a good idea.

2. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes.

A seller will usually be reviewing and comparing the multiple offers that are on the table. You will want to position your offer to stand out among the rest in any way that you can. They will be looking closely at the offer amounts, length of escrow, and any leaseback periods or contingencies. Place yourself in the mind of the seller and think about what their goals are to get a better idea of how to work with your budget, and turn your offer into the strongest version of itself.

3. Get pre-approved for the specific home that you want to purchase.

With multiple offers, sellers want to make sure that at the end of the day, the sale will go through. A pre-approval letter will show the seller that you are not a risk and give you higher ground to work on. In addition to your pre-approval letter, ask your lender to write you one that is specific to the home you are attempting to purchase.

4. Eliminate any Contingencies.

Sellers want to close as quickly as possible so keeping your contingencies as short as possible will eliminate ways for a buyer to back out of a deal. If you can’t remove a contingency altogether then see how you can shorten its timeline while remaining protected from any risks.

5. Be flexible with timing.

Agree to a closing date that accommodates the seller’s needs. Working your schedule around the sellers is a way to set yourself apart by showing that you value their time.

6. Escalation clause.

An escalation clause essentially shows that you are willing to pay a set amount over the asking highest price. It shows a seller that you will do whatever it takes to make the home yours.

7. Make it Personal.

It’s not always easy for sellers to part with their homes, so they often will want a buyer that will love it the way they do. Adding any kind of personal touch is likely to be appreciated, and shows them you are serious about sealing the deal. A handwritten letter introducing yourself to explain why you love the home can be an effective method. Sending them flowers and a family photo can help create a personal connection as well.

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Costs to Consider When Purchasing a Home.

Buying a home is likely to be the largest purchase you make in your lifetime. Along with the price tag, there are other costs to also consider. Costs will vary from buyer to buyer due to a few different factors including the type and length of the loan you receive, as well as location and demand. It is important to familiarize yourself with these financial obligations prior to beginning your home search. To help with understanding more about what comes along with the purchase of your home, here is a list of costs you will need to consider.

Down payment:

The down payment is a set price you pay upfront when you purchase a home. Through a conventional loan, a down payment is required and will be determined based on the property type and the price of the home. The amount you put down on a home will affect your interest payment as well. The larger the down payment, the lower your interest rate. However, some loans such as a VA loan or USDA don’t always require a down payment.

Closing Costs:

To finalize your mortgage loan and receive the keys to the property, you will have to submit all closing costs. These costs are each directly related to your mortgage and include the following.

  • Application fee
  • Appraisal fee
  • Credit check fee
  • Underwriting fee
  • Title insurance
  • Title search fee

Property Taxes:

Your property taxes are calculated by your local government where your property is located, and you are required to pay them as long as you own the home. These taxes are based on the value of your home or property and if over time the value is assessed to a higher value, your taxes will increase.

Homeowners and Mortgage Insurance:

Home insurance protects your property against the cost of potential damage from unforeseen circumstances. Homeowners insurance will vary as there are many options available, so it is best to shop around before deciding which one to go with. Mortgage insurance reduces the lender’s risk if you can’t make your mortgage payment.

HOA Fees:

If you are purchasing a home overseen by a homeowners association then you will be required to pay a monthly fee to the community. These fees are in place to keep shared spaces within the neighborhood maintained such as a gym, pool, or landscaping. They also protect other people’s property values by restricting a single homeowner from making a change to their home.

Maintenance Fees:

No matter where you choose to live, you will always have to keep up with regular maintenance and home repairs. Keeping extra funds on the side or setting up an emergency fund for replacing items will help you be better prepared when things break. Planning out a budget and knowing what costs to expect as you begin your home buying journey will eliminate any surprises that you may not have been prepared for.

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Is My Credit Good Enough to Buy a Home?

Is My Credit Good Enough to Buy a Home?

Achieving a high credit score should always be something to aim for. When it comes to buying a home, the higher your score is, the easier it will be to attain a loan since it shows the likelihood of you paying back your debt to the mortgage lender. Potential homebuyers should strive for a credit score of at least 760 in order to attain the best rates. However, it is still possible to purchase a home with a slightly lower score, although you will likely face higher rates. If your credit falls on the lower end of the spectrum here are a few ways to improve your score.

  • Review your credit report: once per year you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. By obtaining your report you can check to see if there are any errors that have impacted your score.
  • Pay down maxed credit cards first: This will help alleviate your credit utilization rate by paying down the cards who have or almost reached their credit limit
  • Become an authorized user: Being added as an authorized user on a friend’s or family member’s credit card will help you to build credit with the help of someone else.
  • Don’t apply for new credit lines: This can hurt your credit score significantly especially if you were recently denied opening a new account.

Depending on which type of home loan you are applying for, the minimum credit score can vary with some being as low as 500. When purchasing a home, find out how much you can get pre-qualified for based on your current credit score.

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Tips on Navigating a Short Sale for Buyers

Are you a buyer considering purchasing your next home through a short sale? Consider our 5 helpful tips for buyers navigating a short sale.

  1. Get an inspection. Even though the property in a short sale is sold “as-is” it is important to get an inspection before going to the closing table. This will help you determine how much work you can expect to put into the home, as well as its real value. In some cases, proving that the home is in much worse condition than it seems, can persuade the lender to accept a lower price.

  2. Make a realistic offer. It is important to do your homework before putting in an offer. Though buyers can expect to get a deal when purchasing a home through a short sale, they will still need to be willing to make a reasonable offer. If the offer comes in too low, it is likely the lender will move on to another buyer.

  3. Provide a large down payment. Lenders are looking to liquidate short sale properties as soon as possible to make back their money invested. By offering more cash up front in the form of a down payment, buyers are more likely to get their offer accepted.

  4. Offer to pay for the seller’s closing costs. Though it is typical for the lender to pay commission and other seller fees, by offering to pay these costs the buyer can gain a competitive advantage to others also placing an offer.

  5. Hire a real estate professional. Short sales are a more complex process than that of a typical home sale. Hiring a knowledgeable real estate professional with experience in such complicated transactions can give buyers a leg-up and help them better navigate the process.

For more helpful tips on how to navigate a short sale, contact a VanDyk Loan Originator today!

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Mortgage News Matters

Process for Buyers Purchasing a Short Sale

Because a lender is much more involved in the purchase of a short sale, it is important to recognize that the process is not as simple as the typical home buying process between a seller and a buyer.

To help, we’ve broken it down into 6 unique steps that buyers must take when purchasing a short sale.

Step 1: Get approval for financing.

Like with a typical home purchase, the buyer must first get approved by the lender to take out a mortgage loan. This is especially important during the process of a short sale, as the lender will need to be sure that the new buyer is financially sound enough to make their mortgage payments – to avoid a future similar situation.

Step 2: Work with a real estate agent to find a home.

If you are committed to purchasing a short sale, it is important to find a real estate agent who can help you navigate the process. If you choose to find a home without the help of a real estate professional, you may want to focus your energy on looking at homes that are listed as ‘pre-foreclosure properties’ or searching through public records.

Step 3: Research, research, and research some more.

Before making an offer, it is vital to research said home and gain as much insight into the property’s history, as well as its current market value. Since, with a short sale, the seller owes more than the home’s actual value, you will want to find exactly how much the seller owes the lender.

You will also need to find out if there are any claims on the property by an outside person or entity, like a lien. The best way to be sure of this is to hire a title company to run a title search on the home.

This is another perk to hiring a real estate agent to help you, as they have exclusive access to important tools that can help you find this information.

Step 4: Make an offer.

Though many buyers look to short sales as a way to purchase a home for an especially good deal, it is important to keep in mind that the lender is still trying to make back the money on their initial investment. This is why it is important to get a realistic understanding of how much the home is worth before putting in an offer. You can do this by looking at what other homes in the area have sold or are currently priced at. Your offer will still have to be close to the market value if you want a chance that it is accepted.

Step 5: Get a home inspection.

Because of the nature of a short sale, they are sold “as-is.” This means buyers are not able to negotiate for a lower price if they discover problems with the property. Even with this, it is always a good idea to get a home inspection before purchasing a property, to get an understanding of any defects or issues with the home. If repairs are needed, this knowledge will help prepare the buyer.

Step 6: Close on the property.  

For a short sale to close the seller must provide documentation of the following:

  • Hardship letter, explaining that the seller is in financial distress and unable to make their mortgage payments
  • Proof of income and assets, which shows 2 years’ worth of bank statements and tax documents as proof that the seller is not financially equipped enough to pay back their debt.
  • Up-to-date list of liens, showing proof that there are no other individuals who can make a claim on the property.
  • Comparative market analysis, which shows the lender a list of comparable properties currently for sale and have sold within the last 6 months.

Though they are not necessarily an ideal situation for sellers to find themselves in, short sales can be beneficial to buyers and sellers alike.

To learn more about the process of purchasing a short sale, contact a VanDyk Loan Originator today!

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Mortgage News Matters

What are the Pros & Cons of Selling a Short Sale for Sellers

Though they are not necessarily an ideal situation for sellers to find themselves in, short sales can be beneficial to financially distressed sellers looking to avoid foreclosure.

What are the benefits of a short sale for sellers?

  • Seller can avoid foreclosure. A short sale is one of the last options that a seller has before going into foreclosure, which is more detrimental to their credit.

  • Save on common fees. Sellers can avoid paying common fees, like the cost of a realtor’s commission if they sell their home with a short sale.

  • Possible debt forgiveness for the seller. In certain cases, the lender will accept the money made from the short sale and forgive the seller’s remaining debt. It is important to note that, in some cases, a short sale will not eliminate a seller’s debt if the lender chooses to get a deficiency judgement against the seller for debt owed.

  • No barrier to re-enter the housing market. With a short sale, sellers are eligible to re-enter the housing market if they wish to purchase a new home with an FHA loan, in some circumstances.

What are the drawbacks of a short sale for sellers?

  • No negotiation power. When a seller decides to sell their home through a short sale, they are relinquishing any negotiation power they may have had because the sale is now in the lender’s hands.

  • Loss of profits. Because the seller still owes money to the lender in the case of a short sale, all the profits go to the lender.

  • Damage to credit score. Though the damage to the seller’s credit is much less damaging than in the case of a foreclosure, the seller will still experience a negative effect on their credit.

  • Delay in obtaining another mortgage. When a seller goes through a short sale, they are required to complete a waiting period anywhere from 2-7 years before they can qualify for a new mortgage.

  • Deficiency judgement. There are some instances when the lender will choose to sue the seller for the remaining money owed on the property in what is called a ‘deficiency judgement.’ If the lender chooses to do this, the seller will experience a hit on their credit, like that of a foreclosure.

Are you looking to sell your home through a short sale? To learn more, contact a VanDyk Loan Originator today!

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Mortgage News Matters

What are the Pros & Cons of Purchasing a Short Sale for Buyers

In a short sale, a financially distressed homeowner sells their home for less than the amount owed on the mortgage and all the proceeds go to the lender. Though it is often a more complicated and lengthy process, there are both benefits and drawbacks to purchasing a home through a short sale.

What are the benefits of a short sale for buyers?

  • Purchase a home at a discounted price. Though the property in a short sale will be priced at market value, lenders are eager to sell. This means that buyers can usually count on getting a better deal.

  • Less competition. Because short sales are a much more complicated process than the typical homebuying process, they attract much less attention from buyers. This means that those who are willing to invest the time, will have much less competition.

What are the drawbacks of a short sale for buyers?

  • Time-consuming. Due to the lender’s involvement, a short sale typically takes longer than a traditional sale. If there are multiple lienholders involved, the process will take even longer as they will often take their time negotiating the sale to get the best deal possible. The process can also be delayed if the seller is unprepared with the necessary paperwork or changes their mind.

  • Riskier. Because a short sale is sold “as-is” buyers are taking a greater risk to purchase. They are also risking spending time and money on a property that is not guaranteed to sell.

  • Requires more work. The buyer must put in more effort when purchasing a home through a short sale. It is their responsibility to discover the market value of the home, the number of lienholders there are on the property, as well as any issues with the property’s condition.

  • Property condition. Buyers often end up spending more money on making necessary repairs, as the seller is unlikely to have been paying for needed upkeep.

Are you considering purchasing a home through a short sale? To learn more, contact a VanDyk Loan Originator today!

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What is the Difference Between a Short Sale & a Foreclosure

Short sale vs. Foreclosure: What’s the Difference?

Though both short sales and foreclosures provide financial relief to homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments, they are two entirely different processes that result in significantly different consequences for the homeowner.

Initiated by the lender, rather than the borrower, a foreclosure is the lender’s last option, in the case that a borrower can no longer make their mortgage payments. In a foreclosure, the lender seizes the borrower’s home to try and make back the money they’ve invested. Most often, foreclosures take place after the homeowner has already abandoned the home, but if the homeowners have not left, they are evicted.

When a foreclosure takes place, it is typically a much quicker process than going through a short sale as the lender will try and liquidate it as quickly as possible.

Foreclosures are kept on a borrower’s credit report for seven years and can prevent the borrower from purchasing a home for 2-7 years after the home is seized by the lender.

A short sale, which is typically a much longer process, is less damaging to a borrower’s credit. And, in some cases, allows the borrower to purchase another home immediately.

To learn more about the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure, contact me today!

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Mortgage News Matters

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is when a financially distressed homeowner sells their home for less than the amount that they owe on the mortgage. In this case, all the proceeds from the sale go directly to the lender, and they either (1) forgive the remaining balance or (2) get a deficiency judgment, which requires the homeowner to pay the lender all or part of the difference between the sale price and mortgage amount. In certain states, the difference must legally be forgiven in the case of a short sale.

Key points of a Short Sale

  • A lender must approve a short sale before it takes place.
  • The lender, or bank, requires documentation explaining reasons for the short sale.
  • Short sales typically take up to one full year to process due to a laborious paperwork process.
  • Are not as detrimental to a homeowner’s credit rating, as a foreclosure.

When does a home go into a short sale?

A property will go into a short sale (pending the lender’s approval) when the homeowner can no longer afford to make the mortgage payments. Rather than go into foreclosure, which is more damaging to one’s credit, the homeowner can initiate a short sale process by submitting an application to the lender.

When determining whether to approve a short sale, the lender will look at the following factors:

  1. The home must be worth less than the amount that the homeowner currently owes on it. The lender will often review sales of comparable properties, to make sure that the decision is sound.

  2. The seller must be able to prove they are financially distressed. This requires the seller to show the lender proof of insufficient income or assets to pay the outstanding loan amount.

    It is important to note that the source of the homeowner’s financial trouble must be new and not something they were previously withholding.

To learn more about short sales, contact a VanDyk Loan Originator today!

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Pros and Cons of Holding an Open House

What is an Open House?

An open house is a scheduled time set for potential buyers to walk through a property that is for sale. Typically hosted by a broker, the owners or renters of the property are absent from the viewing and many potential buyers are welcome to tour the space.

How Does it Work?

Typically scheduled during weekends, brokers welcome potential buyers to leisurely view the property and ask questions, they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so without a broker present. It is customary for brokers to provide drinks and small plates for those who attend, and many provide collateral that buyers can take with them and refer to with information on the home, such as square footage, number of rooms, and information on the surrounding neighborhood.

The goal of an open house is to secure interest from buyers by providing a rare opportunity to take their time looking at a property closely, before placing an offer.

Advantages of Holding an Open House:

  1. Provides an opportunity to attract potential buyers. When an open house is planned correctly and properly marketed, it can provide a great opportunity to attract potential buyers, and possibly even lead to an offer. Many realtors suggest sellers hold an open house the first weekend that the property goes on the market – to generate the most buzz.

    Open houses can also bring in potential clients who may not have even planned for such an event but happened to be driving by. It’s a great way to appeal to potential buyers in a more casual way and low-pressure scenario.

  2. Provides feedback to realtors from visitors. Another benefit of holding an open house is for the potential for realtors to gain real feedback from visitors – both positive and negative.

    Many realtors find that potential buyers often share their feedback out loud as they walk through the home. This can give realtors crucial insight into buyers’ perceptions and any issues that could keep the owners from making the sale.

  3. Can lead to an immediate offer. If done properly, and by generating enough buzz, an open house can sometimes lead to an immediate offer. When potential buyers are browsing a home with many others also looking to buy, they can get a good sense of their competition. If competition is high, this may encourage them to make an offer much quicker than they ordinarily would otherwise.

    This is beneficial to sellers and buyers alike, as it gives the buyers a realistic idea of how many others like them are also looking to buy in their desired neighborhood.

  4. Allows sellers to cast a wide net. Showing a home to multiple buyers, rather than one at a time only widens the reach of potential buyers for the seller. It is also much more efficient to spend the same amount of time showing a home to a group of people, rather than an individual.

    This, in addition to potential feedback from viewers and an understanding of competition in the market, are huge benefits to holding an open house.

So now that we’ve covered its advantages, what are some of the disadvantages to holding an open house?

Disadvantages of Holding an Open House:

  1. Requires much effort – sometimes more than it’s worth. Planning and executing an open house is not an easy task. In addition to coordinating a time that works best for the owners to be out of the house for an extended period, making accommodations for pets or children, and removing all personal items throughout the home, putting on an open house requires money and time spent on marketing to bring viewers in. And if no offer is made – it can feel like a huge waste.

    That’s why it is important to take the time to properly plan, market, and organize for your open house, if you decide to hold one.

  2. Compared to online listings, an open house requires more time to reach potential buyers. Nowadays, most homes for sale are listed online before they even schedule an open house. And most buyers go online and browse properties from the comfort of their own home.

    Buyers can find almost all the same information online as they would at an open house, like the condition of the home, its details, and even view photos of the property from every angle. This alone, can make open houses seem unnecessary and even antiquated.

  3. Owners are typically required to leave their home for a designated amount of time. Typically, when holding an open house, the homeowners are asked to leave their home and take with them any personalized photos or memorable that can be found throughout the home.

    This can be tedious and difficult to plan for with the daily bustle of normal life. Some would rather avoid having to deal with this added stress and simply list their home online.

  4. Can open the home up to potential theft. Though there are benefits to opening your home for sale to many individuals – with hopes that with increased awareness, comes increased offers – doing so can open you up to potential theft. Open houses can give opportunities for criminals to explore a property and plan a break-in.

    If you are considering hosting an open house, make sure to hide any valuables, or take with you anything that you would not want to get stolen or damaged.
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What are the Pros and Cons of HOA?

What is an HOA?

A HOA, or Homeowner Association, is an organization that oversees or manages a private community or subdivision. Run by a board of directors, made up of its community members, a HOA enforces rules and guidelines to be followed within the community, as well as provides upkeep and maintenance of facilities.

Where can you find a HOA?

A Homeowner Association is typically found within communities of single-family homes or multiple unit buildings, like condominiums.

Run by an elected group of individuals within the community, membership is usually mandatory for anyone who chooses to buy a home with an established HOA.

What are the Pros of HOA?

  1. Structure through a set of community rules and regulations. A HOA provides a set of rules and regulations that all community members must follow. This offers a sense of structure and stability for all members and protects and enhances the community’s property values.

    Many of the guidelines are aimed at preserving the home’s exterior, and are focused on the cleanliness of the property, the property’s condition, and any repairs or upkeep that need to be done. Typically, HOA guidelines are aimed at maintaining a uniform appearance for all properties within the community.

  2. Provides access to exclusive services, amenities, and facilities. Like many communities made up of single-family homes or multiple unit buildings, HOA communities offer access to exclusive services, amenities, and facilities.

    These amenities often include landscaping, parking lots, swimming pools, common areas, workout facilities, tennis courts, and party spaces. Some HOA will also cover the cost for snow removal and trash collection for its residents. In addition to offering such services, the fees that community members pay to their HOA covers the costs to maintain each area.

  3. Mediates problems between neighbors. If there is a disagreement or problem between neighbors living in communities with HOA, they can often look to the board to help resolve such issues. This can be anything from a neighbor who is violating a specific rule or regulation, or an issue with a service or amenity on the property.

    Acting as a mediator between community members, a HOA can ease tension and provide a more peaceful, regulated environment.

  4. Opportunity for self-governance of community. Many individuals who live in a community governed by a HOA enjoy the freedom of being a part of a democracy, made up of individuals who live within the community.

    By following rules and regulations set by fellow community members, rather than an outside landlord who may not live on the premises, offers a sense of self-governance and equality.

What are the Cons of HOA?

  1. Often include fees, dues, and assessments. With access to exclusive services and amenities, like workout spaces, swimming pools, and common areas, comes HOA fees that pay for maintenance of each. These monthly fees also go towards upkeep to the exterior of the homes within the community and can be as little at $100 per month and as much as several hundred dollars.

    Because these fees are a requirment for living within said community, they can deter many from moving in. It is important to also keep in mind that these fees can fluctuate and often increase year-over-year. If the fees do not cover the cost to make such needed repairs, they will need to be raised.

  2. Imposes rules and regulations. Though community rules and regulations may provide structure and stability for its members, they can often feel restrictive and unnecessary. Many HOA rules have to do with the outside appearance of the home and often dictate things like the color one can paint their home, as well as which type of windows and doors they can buy.

    HOA even have the authority to decide what type of decorations or landscaping one can maintain and how many vehicles they can have on their property. If these rules are violated, they often result in a fine.

  3. Repercussions for those who default on payments. In addition to fines for violating rules and regulations set by the HOA board, individuals will be faced with addition repercussions if they fail to pay their fees. Dues will be accrued until the individual pays and in some states, not paying these fees can put individuals at risk for foreclosure.

    Keep in mind that these fees go towards the maintenance of shared amenities and property values. Which means that if sufficient funds are not collected, the community will risk losing vital services that keep the community running properly.

  4. May be run ineptly. Because members of a HOA board are volunteers or elected individuals within the community, the association can, at times, be run ineptly.

    These members may not be experienced enough to run a community and often do not receive proper real estate training. This can often lead to more problems for community members and between those on the board itself.
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What Does a Title Company Do?

A Title Company is responsible for verifying that the title to a property is legitimate and that the seller has the rights to sell said property to a buyer. They do this by making sure that there are no barriers to purchase like liens, prior mortgages, fraudulent transfers, unknown heirs, and more.

Once verified, the Title Company will provide title insurance, that protects the lender if title issues surface, and potentially the buyer – depending on which policy they choose.

In order to issue Title Insurance, a Title Company must…

  1. Perform a Title Search.

    Typically, the first thing a title company will do, a title search checks to see if there are other people who have ownership or rights to the property. It can also reveal outstanding mortgages, any other existing liens, unpaid Homeowners Association dues, judgments or unpaid tax liens, restrictions, easements, and leases.

    In any of these instances, these fees – or restrictions – must be paid off or dealt with before both the seller and buyer can move forward.

  2. Conduct a Property Survey.

    Sometimes, a property survey, or drawing of the property, is required. This will reveal any potential infringements on the property or the land the property occupies, such as a neighbor’s addition having been built in your property. A property survey will verify that the home is set within its boundaries.

    A property infringement could become an issue if there is physical damage caused as a result. If this is the case, the title company will have to take this into consideration when choosing an insurance policy.

  3. Prepare Abstract of Title & Title Opinion.

    An Abstract of Title is a document that shows the history of ownership of a property. This includes when the property was previously sold, and any history of inheritance, court litigation, and tax sales.

    Once the Title Company has the prepared Abstract of Title, they write an official Title Opinion. This document states the seller is the valid owner of the property and they are willing to insure the title for purchase or refinance.

What is Title Insurance?

This is a type of insurance that protects lenders and homeowners from any financial loss, in the case that another party makes a claim to the property title. There are two types of title insurance policies that homeowners can get. These are 1) Lender’s Title Insurance and 2) Owner’s Title Policy.

Types of Title Insurance

  1. Lender’s Title Insurance. Lender’s Title Insurance is required for anyone who is getting a mortgage license. This type of insurance protects the mortgage lender if there is an issue with the property’s title. It is typically paid for by the buyer, and in some cases, the seller will pay. The most important thing to understand about Lender’s Title Insurance, is that it does not protect any existing equity on the home, and for that, the buyer will need to consider a Owner’s Title Policy.

  2. Owner’s Title Policy. An Owner’s Title Policy is an optional insurance policy for buyers who are looking to protect the equity in their home. With this type of insurance, a buyer is protected in the case that another party shows proof of ownership to the title, and whoever transferred the property wasn’t authorized to do so. In this case, the buyer will still have to vacate the home, but they would be given money to buy a new property of equal or lesser value. Without this type of insurance, the buyer would have to leave the home and would not be compensated for any equity built into the home.

When should you consider getting Owner’s Title Insurance?

All homebuyers who purchase a home through a mortgage lender will be required to purchase a Lender’s Title Policy. However, it is their choice whether they want to obtain an Owner’s Title Policy. To help decide if an Owner’s Title Policy is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Has the home had multiple owners? If the property has a history of many owners, there is more chance that a separate party could come forward with a claim on the title. Owner’s Title Insurance would protect the buyer for such claims.


  2. Would you be able to afford the legal fees to dispute any potential claims? Even if it is not legitimate, the buyer will still be responsible for the legal fees to dispute the claim to the title. With an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy, the title company is responsible for providing the defense for the buyer.


  3. How much is your peace of mind worth? By obtaining insurance, a buyer has a certain level of protection in the case that someone makes a claim on the title. It protects their investment on the home and pays for any legal fees that may be necessary.
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Mortgage News Matters

What’s the Difference Between Refinancing & Home Equity Loan?

One of the major benefits of owning your own home is that it can often be a major financial investment. In the long-term, real estate tends to increase in value over time due to the appreciation of the land it sits on and by building equity.

To determine the value of your property, let’s take a closer look at appreciation, how to build equity, and different ways to obtain a mortgage loan refinance.

What is Appreciation?

Appreciation represents the change in the value of your home over time. This change is typically due to the piece of land that the home sits on, rather than the structure itself which tends to lessen in value, due to typical wear and tear.

What is Equity?

A home’s equity represents the difference between the current market price of the home and the amount that is still owed on the mortgage. Equity grows as you pay down your mortgage. It is important to note that building equity takes time, as it takes a while to lower the principal balance owed on the mortgage loan.

Both appreciation and equity grow over time. This means the longer you own your home, the more valuable it becomes.

With this, homeowners who take out a mortgage to pay for their home can choose to access cash to cover events like unplanned emergencies, necessary repairs, and important updates by choosing to refinance their current mortgage loan.

Why would you want to Refinance?

The main reason homeowners choose to refinance is to lower the overall cost of their mortgage or obtain equity that has been built over time.

Borrowers can lower the overall cost of the mortgage loan by refinancing during a period of lower interest rates. Or, they can choose to access the equity they’ve built in their home get cash out to pay for upgrades, remodels, or other life expenses.

What types of Mortgage Loan Refinances are there?

The two most common forms of mortgage loan refinancing are rate-and-term refinancing, which is when a borrower exchanges their current loan for a new one, or by accessing equity in their home, which can be done by obtaining a cash-out refinance or home equity loan. Though these are the most popular forms of refinancing, there are many methods out there and it is important to understand each to assure that you are selecting the right one for your unique situation.

What is a rate-and-term refinance?

A rate-and-term refinance is when a borrower replaces their current mortgage with a new one, typically with a better interest rate. No money is exchanged in this type of refinancing, other than any costs associated with closing or funds from the new loan to pay off the existing one.

What is the difference between a cash-out refinance and a home equity loan?

A cash-out refinance pays the homeowner a portion of their home’s equity in cash. This method results in a new mortgage loan for the homeowner at a larger amount than was owed on the previous loan, giving owners cash in hand. Compared to a rate-and-term refinance, a cash-out refinance will typically result in borrowers paying a higher interest rate or more points.

A home equity loan gives homeowner’s cash in exchange for the equity they’ve built up in their property as a separate loan. They typically carry a lower interest rate than personal loans because, when you get

Home equity loans are often structured as lines of credit with variable interest rates and payments which make them less predictable. Borrowers should consider obtaining a copy of their credit report before going through the process of applying for either loan, to be sure it is the right decision for them.

What are the benefits of refinancing?

Refinancing can be beneficial to homeowners in many ways. Whether you are looking to lower your mortgage payments or access equity in your home to pay for necessary upgrades, a child’s education, or collect some extra cash for the upcoming holiday season, a refinance can help you access cash quickly.

Visit our blog post on the Top 5 Reasons to Refinance here.

To learn more about the different methods of mortgage loan refinancing and to determine which one is right for you, contact a VanDyk Loan Originator today!