Saturday, September 14, 2019

Making Home Ownership A Reality Takes Sacrifice * $1000 Off your Closing Costs!


We’ve written a lot about how millennials, while being a huge segment of the consumer population set to become homeowners, find it more difficult than past generations to take on this major financial undertaking. From a limited inventory of starter homes to student debt payments monopolizing so much of younger workers' income, both millennials, and their close kin, Gen Xers are having a tough time. It’s no secret that between credit card debt and childcare expenses, many workers in their 30s and 40s feel they are on a treadmill from which they can never step down and lack the funds to take that leap.
If you're a renter looking to become a homeowner, but you're finding it difficult to meet that goal, here are a few tips to help you leave your landlord days behind you.
Saving money is a bugger, but you have to take a long, hard look at your budget. Whether it’s the Starbuck’s run each day, the cable TV plan that has you hooked on premium channels, or those Saturday night drinks with friends, it’s time to get real about sacrifice and making no apologies about it. “Reworking your budget is apt to get you closer to your goal of buying a home, so comb through your expenses line by line and figure out which are less important to you. Then, pledge to reduce or eliminate those spending categories and bank the difference.
Millennials love to use the words “side hustle,” and it comes in handy when planning to be a someday-homeowner. Getting work on the side, however, is more than just a way to conjure up a little extra spending money. While you’re still young and have all that energy, a second gig could help you save some serious cash. It is estimates that among the estimated 44 million U.S. adults who currently have a side hustle, 36% earn over $500 a month from that extra work, eclipsing and adding to the small sacrifices we mentioned earlier.
We know. You love the city. You adore walking to a corner pub or restaurant and being close to work. But the dream of staying there when you become a homeowner is the mostly the smoke rising from a pipe, since that dream won’t be doing you any favors when it comes to saving for a home. Plain and simple, most urban locations are the higher priced real estate spread. The plain and simple truth is that you'll get more for your money in the suburbs than in the city. That down payment you’re saving up will buy you much more than a postage stamp house in a suburb or a nearby town than in your local metro area, and the idea here is to OWN instead of dream about owning. Look for suburbs with convenient public transportation for work commutes.
This is an excellent time to elevate your credit profile and become a summa cum laude consumer. While it won't help you come up with a down payment, it will help you qualify for the best possible mortgage rate available. That means making the prospect of homeownership more affordable on the whole. You can accomplish this in a number of ways, including paying your bills on time, paying down outstanding balances and as a result, altering your credit utilization ratio. All major components of determining your score. And now is the time to go through your credit report to check for errors. “One in five credit reports contains a mistake; correcting yours could send your score into more favorable territory. Know what’s on your credit and fix what’s wrong with it.
The IRS looks kindly on first-time buyers, offering exceptions for tapping your IRA. While it should only be used as a last resort, you have the option to remove up to $10,000 from an existing IRA in order to purchase your first home. Normally, withdrawing funds prior to age 59 and 1/2 would subject you to a 10% penalty, but not when looking to lose your home ownership virginity.
The reason this option is far from ideal, of course, is that any time you remove money from an IRA, it robs you of retirement money. “Furthermore, it's not just that principal amount you're losing out on during your golden years, but the growth it could've achieved over time. So, speak with a financial expert on how, if you decide to do this, you can recoup that money over time.
Homeownership is a badge earned the hard way, but the rewards are great. Get with a mortgage professional like ME, and together you can come up with a game plan that will serve you not just now, but in the future as well. And sooner than you think, you may be on your way to kicking landlords out of your life permanently.
I have a Millennial's Guide To Homebuying eBook over on the right column of this blog, it’s yours FREE! 

You can download it immediately! 

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Thank you for visiting my blog, please leave me a comment, they are always encouraged and welcome. 

Roxy Redenbaugh
SR Loan Consultant
Branch Manager
NMLS #269926 ACMC #2225


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ask your Realtor a question. Any question!

Is there ever a question you CAN’T ask a Realtor? Never. When it’s your future and your money at stake, you owe it to yourself to pose any questions that eat at your gut, so ask away. Here's a few more common questions. 
How will you help me find other professional?
Most Realtors are very good at having just the right person needed for many situations you might come across during your house hunt or trying to sell your home. Inspectors, Movers, Cleaners, Landscapers, Painters, MORTGAGE BROKERS! So ask! 
What are the draw backs to my house! 
Take that step and ask this one, most Realtors will want to go over this with you. Make that list of things you need to do to sell your home faster and for more money! It could be very simple things are needed like decluttering and removing personal items to making small updates to your home. But the truth is important to hear and remember your Realtor wants to help! 
Do I really need to replace my carpeting before the first open house?
If it's worn, smelly, discolored or worn out and YOU were a potential buyer walking through your house for the first time, how would you react? Buyers think about two things when they tour a property that has not been updated or repaired: time and money!
We are smokers. Do we really have to worry about what our home smells like?
Looking at online photos of your home show one thing. Walking through the front door and smelling the smoke that has permeated your flooring, drapery, cabinets and even furniture are an entirely different experience. Many a buyer will turn on their heels right there in your entryway and head for the next listing. So yes. Be concerned. Be very concerned.
Is it okay to decorate my home for the holidays while it’s on the market?
Absolutely. ’Tis the season. But if you are prone to filling every nook and cranny with happy Santas, hanging stars and extra Christmas trees, this is the time to scale back. You’ll obscure spaces that might otherwise be considered spacious.
Does having a dog make my house harder to sell?
Hopefully you have dealt with and remediated (1) doggie odors (2) doggie damage and (3) your furry friend’s tendency to bark or scare homebuyers. It's a good idea to have these few doggie issues under control before you list your home. Then it's a non-issue. 
Can I keep my displays of vintage guns, religious paintings, and my grandmother’s doll collection while my house is on the market?
If you hope to get the highest prices and sell your home in the shortest length of time, remove as many of these things as possible so the widest range of buyers walking through there will not be distracted. It’s a great idea to pack them up early and have them waiting to grace the interior of your next home.
The important take-away is to ask those sometimes uncomfortable questions. Your expert Realtor is a gold mine of information so don't hesitate to ask them anything. In addition do your research on the subject too, then ask them just to be sure. 

Thank you for visiting my blog, please leave me a comment, they are always welcome and encouraged. 

Roxy Redenbaugh
SR Loan Consultant
Branch Manager
NMLS #269926 ACMC #222
Source:  TBWS 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Flipping Houses 101 - Hedging Your Bets on Your First Flip

So you think you’ve read enough books, gone to enough seminars, watched enough HGTV, finally got an offer accepted on an investment property and are now waiting for it to close. What should you expect? Smooth sailing or a nightmare? Is there an in-between?
Go over the possible outcomes..Sometimes it’s good to talk to others who have been there/done that. And even though none of it will insulate you from reality, here are a few ways things can go.
Best case scenario is, of course, that it goes swimmingly, making you think you’ve got a handle on this investor/flipper thing. No major issues, be confident that investing in real estate is much less complicated than you originally thought. Do your homework. Take the time to speak to other flippers, studied how to evaluate the value of a property, take notes of what damages or potential expense to look for, and learned how to evaluate the housing market. Get wisdom from others on the importance of how to communicate with sellers. If you do all these things, “Then you stand a much better chance of having a really smooth, profitable first purchase. Of course, a lot needs to be learned on the job, and you’re bound to make mistakes here and there, but this ‘pre-deal education’ will go a long way.”
The key in the beginning, anyway, is to be involved in EVERY aspect of the investment — from knowing the numbers to knowing the area to analyzing the repair costs. Don’t leave any of this in the hands of others. Success depends on your commitment to learning the process and keeping updated with the market. 
Many investors buy too high; get their rehab estimates wrong; miss something in the walk-through that’s going to cost them later. “Profit on your first deal is by no means a guarantee. However, your first close can make you money. So let’s say you’ve done your homework and educated yourself on the process, how to price and value things, and you’re ready to go!
Crunch time. Your accepted offer is accompanied in your mind by a certain profit figure when all is said and done.  We learned very quickly that it’s good to trust people, but you must VERIFY that their information is true. Keep track of permits and contractor delays, hiring the wrong people and finding more repairs than originally anticipated can be costly. The silver lining in all this?  
Don’t consider mishaps a mistake, it was just an expensive learning experience. 
Here's some takeaways to remember:
  • Learn by doing, not just reading about it. Know that ANYTHING can happen.
  • Profit is never guaranteed (at least not what you may have originally had in mind).
  • Gather a solid, trustworthy team around you.
  • Make sure the information the homeowner is giving you is true. Don’t take their word for it, even if they had good intentions.
Have a heart. You are buying what was once someone’s home. Treat them and the deal with care and compassion. Closing a profitable deal was only half the excitement. The other half is coming through for your seller. To them, it may be much more than a transaction.
And of course make sure you are working with a professional knowledgeable lender, who has access to great loan program for fix & flip or fix and keep. I am always available to lend a hand :)
On the right side panel of my blog you will find a ebook for investors, download it for FREE! 
Thank you for visiting my blog, don't forget to leave a comment or question? I'd love you hear from you. 

Roxy Redenbaugh
SR Loan Consultant
Branch Manager
NMLS #269926 ACMC #2225

Monday, August 12, 2019

Homeowners What's your Joy Score?

There are a number of ways to judge homeowner satisfaction. You can just ask someone if they love the home they purchased. Or you can ask them what their “Joy Scores” are. What’s a Joy Score? It’s the measure of how much value you place on renovations that make you the happiest as opposed to it being done to give you the greatest return on investment (ROI).
While homeowners, investors, lenders, and other financial professionals usually use ROI as the grading criteria for whether or not a remodel is successful on their report cards, sometimes you’re not remodeling with selling in mind. You are doing it to get more enjoyment out of your home.
“The Joy Score measures value in a whole new way, determining which renovations make people the happiest,” says RealtyTimes Jaymi Naciri. “More money in your pocket notwithstanding, some renovations may put an even bigger smile on your face.”
She adds that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) first added the Joy Score to their 2017 Survey of Consumers Who’ve Completed Remodeling Projects, based on a survey of 2,287 homeowners conducted by HouseLogic. It was calculated by combining the share who were happy and those who were satisfied when seeing their completed project and dividing the share by 10 to create a ranking between 1 and 10. The higher the Joy Scores, the greater the joy reaped from the project.
2019’s report discovered that Joy Scores were higher for consumers who completed DIY projects than those who hired professionals to do the same job. High scorers included kitchen and bathroom renovations.
The top 4 reasons given for the question, “What was the single most important result you wanted from remodeling their home?” were better functionality and livability, durable and long-lasting results, materials, and appliances, beauty and aesthetics, and adding more of the owner’s personality to the home.
Man’s best friend also figured into the score, with renovation projects for pets getting high numbers. Some of the more popular ones included putting in a fence, adding laminate floors, and building a doggie door.
Thank you for visiting my blog, don't forget to leave a comment or question? I'd love you hear from you. 

Roxy Redenbaugh
SR Loan Consultant
Branch Manager
NMLS #269926 ACMC #2225
Source: Realtytimes, cookremodeling, TBWS

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Take Your Own Home Purchase Readiness Quiz


There is no doubt about it. If you are an adult with a good job, a logical mind, and an eye toward the future, you may be asking why you are not yet a homeowner. Interest rates are low, and there are homes out there waiting for buyers. While no one wants to pressure you, it does offer food for thought. How would you know if you were ready?
What questions should you ask yourself before you buy?
First, can you “show me the money?” While there are few upfront costs associated with buying a home, the down payment has got to be there, somewhere, sitting in a bank. Depending on the type of mortgage you are looking at (FHA, conventional, 203K or jumbo), you'll need between 3% to 20% of the purchase price socked away. If the property qualifies for USDA rural or you're a veteran and are eligible for a VA loan, you may be a candidate for 100% financing. Get in touch with me and I’ll help you see which program fits your situation.
The second question would be “have I been good?” We're talking about credit. You don't have to be perfect, but if your credit score is at least 620-640 or higher, you have much better odds of being approved, with a slightly lower threshold for an FHA loan. Lenders look at your credit score to determine if you are a good risk. That you pay your rent-on time. Have no issues with credit cards payments or maxed out accounts.  Making car payments on time? Of course, a steady job is key here too. You will need a two-year history in the same line of work. It can be with multiple employers but doing the same job.
The next question to ask yourself is whether you can afford a mortgage payment. Lenders look at your debt to income ratio. Different types of loans vary on these ratios, so again, check with your loan consultant, hopefully that me.
What about actually becoming a homeowner? Are you ready for the responsibility of a hot water heater failing you, a plumbing leak flooding your bathroom, or a roof that needs to be replaced in a few years? Your agent will recommend that you have the property inspected by a licensed professional and receive a report on what you're buying, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be ready for the unexpected once you own the home. It's no longer a matter of simply picking up your phone and calling the landlord.
Another biggie is the question about truly needing a real estate agent. The answer is, yes.
It is in your best interest to have someone representing YOU!
Trying to find a home and negotiate the price is best left to a trained professional. It’s pretty common in today’s market to have multiple offers on one property, this means you will be up against another agent who has been there/done that all day long and will be acting in the interests of the seller.

As a buyer you don't pay for the services of a real estate agent, the seller will pay for your agent’s commission. Sweet right, so there is no money out of your pocket for their services. 

Plus, an agent is the neighborhood expert, advising you what you should look out for, what is happening in the area, and whether the price being asked for the home is in a reasonable range for values for that size/age home in that neighborhood. So once we’ve got you pre-approved and you are ready to go shopping for a home, ask me I’ll provide you with the name of a great real estate agent in your area.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I encourage you to leave a comment or questions. Let me know if my blog has helped you. I would love to hear your thoughts and any ideas for future posts.


Roxy Redenbaugh
SR Loan Consultant
Branch Manager

NMLS #269926 ACMC #2225


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Why Should You Use VA Loan

The VA loan is hands down the best mortgage loan there is. Here are some reasons why.


First, VA guarantees the loan for 100% of the appraised value of the property (technically, the loan is for the Notice Of Value amount, which in most cases is the same thing). This guarantee means that the lender is willing to make the loan. The loan amount for 100% financing goes as high as the maximum amount in each county.

Veteran buyers can get a loan for more than the county maximum; they just have to pay 25% of the amount above the county maximum. In pricey California, for example, a veteran could buy a home for $800,000 with a $40,963 down—roughly 5%. Which brings me to the next reason to get a VA loan:

There is no mortgage insurance. A buyer with a 700 credit score will pay about $400 per month for mortgage insurance if he puts 3% down on a conventional loan.

The rates are slightly lower in some cases. Also, underwriting standards are easier. Where conventional loans use dent-to-income ratios to qualify, VA loans use "residual income." This looks at how much money they actually have available each month after meeting normal expenses from their take-home pay. Conventional loans are typically capped at a 45% debt ratio (or thereabouts). VA loans can many times be approved above 50% depending on the overall strength of the borrower.

When rates drop, refinancing is easy. VA loans offer a "streamline" refinance option, called an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL). This allows the veteran borrower to reduce his or her rate with no appraisal, and very little underwriting of income. The primary criterion for approval is that the borrower has an acceptable payment history and that they are improving their position.

If a veteran wants to refinance and get cash out of his or her equity, there is no pricing adjustment for that process. A conventional loan will typically be about .25% higher in rate to get cash out.

For anyone who is a qualifying veteran, NOT getting a VA loan would be a costly mistake.

You can always contact me for more information. I would love to hear your comments or questions. 

Thank you for visiting my blog, Let me know if my blog has helped you. I would love to hear your thoughts and any ideas for future posts.




Roxy Redenbaugh
SR Loan Consultant
Mortgage Coach
Branch Manager

NMLS #269926


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Providing Open House Security Means Taking A Few Precautions

According to most real estate professionals, there are protocols to holding an open
house. Contain the dog. Vacate the property. Even bake some cookies. While open houses can increase the likelihood that your home will sell, it can also increase the potential for theft — also a fact known by Realtors.
Here's a few tips on keeping your home and belongings safe whether you list with a real estate agent or try to sell your own property. 
So how can you safeguard your place and your belongings? For one, you can place security cameras in plain sight, keeping potential thieves from making your home a target while helping you identify them should a burglary occur. A sign should be posted that the property is under surveillance. The most effective locations are at your home’s entry and other key spots, such as home offices and bedroom closets.
No one will advise you to remove everything of value, but you can hedge your bets nonetheless. While TVs can stay, other high-value items should be removed, including jewelry, expensive collectibles, and important papers. Don’t leave bank statements or any other financial information around, and make sure things like passports and house keys are not left out or are easy to find. Doing all this will only prepare you for your move anyway.
Thieves have been known to target open houses specifically for the purpose of finding prescription drugs, according to many real estate and law enforcement experts. Do a “museum sweep” (going room by room) of everywhere you keep medicines, scooping them up and throwing them into boxes or other safe places where quickly prying eyes can’t find them. Your agent should also inform visitors that smartphone photos are not permitted without the express permission of the owner, so would be thieves can’t go snapping photos to “case” the place.
While you can’t stop people from bringing their kids to open houses, make sure your Realtor informs visitors that children are not free to roam on their own. Even new home agents advise parents to hold children by the hand when walking through their model homes. Unsupervised kids will likely be touching stuff, especially if toys are accessible. Some say it’s wise to leave out an inexpensive toy or game specifically for the purpose of attracting and overly busy little hands.
Don’t forget to check your insurance coverage. While it may sound paranoid, going room to room and taking pictures can help with documentation should you need to provide it. Your agent would thank you. Done again after the open house, it will also reveal if anything has been disturbed.
It’s a great idea to have your agent arrive early to walk through the home and yard before the open house. After the showings begin, ask the Realtor to check periodically during the open house to make sure rooms that are expected to be empty really are vacant. It’s also not a bad idea (especially if your agent sets up a reception area as people enter) for the Realtor to have a helper who follows visitors around at a comfortable distance. All lights in the house should be on not just for showing purposes, but also for security. At the end of the open house, ask the agent to again walk through the entire home to check that rooms and closets are clear before locking up, shutting off the lights, and heading out.
While it’s customary for the owner to vacate during open houses and showings, no one will stop you from hanging around if you prefer to keep an eye on things. It’s best to stay away from the main entrance or where your real estate agent is set up. Agents agree that owners tend to be somewhat emotional when hearing potential buyers talk about their home, so this is not the best of scenarios from their standpoint. 
Thank you for visiting my blog, I encourage you to leave a comment or questions. Let me know if my blog has helped you. I would love to hear your thoughts and any ideas for future posts.

Roxy Redenbaugh
ACMC Loan Consultant
Mortgage Coach

Branch Manager
NMLS #269926

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Taking The Emotion Out Of Buying A Home Is Good Business Sense


There is a good deal of emotion wrapped up in buying a home. Determining where we will spend the most intimate as well as memorable moments of our lives is no small decision. And it is no doubt one of the biggest investments most of us will ever make.
Removing emotion is no easy task. But if we make an attempt to screw our heads on as investors and looked at buying home the way we might buy a stock or mutual fund, education is the key — asking what considerations are necessary in order to have a knowledge base before acting.

If you’ve been a renter, you know there are advantages to it as well as freedom. But what about the future, and permanency? The idea of buying goes beyond renting, since you are pouring your money into a single bucket all your own — not someone else’s. Even before that final mortgage payment is made, you will have been living in your investment as physical shelter, which is why buying a home is still considered one of the safest investments around. It’s not just a piece of paper, an account number or a line on a graph.
Look at this as a business proposition first and foremost by scrutinizing the proximity and access to basic services regarding health, supply, security, and transport. That house way up on a hill may make your heart flutter, but if minimum requirements such as electricity and gas systems, lighting, waste collection, and sewer services are a concern, your little slice of heaven can soon turn into a nightmare. It’s also a good idea to inquire about infrastructural projects in the area that have the potential to increase or decrease the value of the property. Can that golf course eventually get sold to developers for more housing? Will those abandoned railroad tracks get used for future transit? Either you or your Realtor can visit the local city planning offices and pose these questions or just take a look at plans for the area.

What about your personal needs? Will local regulations or the governing entity of the neighborhood allow you to build on to the existing structure or renovate the exterior? Speaking of exteriors, building materials are not meant to last forever. Whether the home you are considering is stucco or siding, think about painting and repairs down the road. If most of the interior is carpeted, what kinds of expenses would you be subject to when you replace it all with hardwood?

It’s always recommended that you accompany the individual doing the physical inspection of the house you are considering. Try out the water pressure, check the electric meter and boards, and hold your hand up to the AC vents. If a breaker trips in the middle of the night in a snowstorm, where will you have to traipse to re-set it? This is also when you can educate yourself as to the structural system of the house, including how to access some areas you don’t need on a daily basis. Your home becomes a living, breathing entity when you think of it as a vessel that needs care, maintenance, and an occasional face-lift.

Even though a home can be staged for sale beautifully with furniture and accessories, it’s important to visually remove the temporary fluff and consider whether your own furniture will fit if you don’t intend to buy all new items. A few overstuffed chairs facing a fireplace do not equal a family of four facing a big screen TV over that same fireplace. How much room would be left over for an adequately sized sofa or sectional? And when looking at bedroom space, has the stager used mostly twin beds in secondary bedrooms? Can you turn around in the laundry room when someone opens the door to the garage?

While a home’s listing should give you most of the financial information you’ll need, it may not tell it all. The costs of things like homeowners association fees (if any) should be a concern — how well is the association managed, are there any liens or lawsuits pending against it, how often has the fee gone up and what does it cover? Does the neighborhood have supplemental taxes levied against it for expenses normal property taxes don’t cover, such as lighting and landscape corridors? Some of these extra taxes last up to 25 years from the time a home is built, and not all are write-offs on taxes.
Of course, your knowledge of the market surrounding the house you are considering is key as well. What homes have sold recently, what was included in the price and how long did they take to sell? How does this house compare to any of them, and why might it be worth more or less? It may seem like overreach, but ringing a few doorbells in the surrounding neighborhood and asking a few questions is not a bad idea when you are considering such a large investment.
And lastly, know your rights as a consumer buying real estate, whether you have professional representation or not. Read up about them online or buy a few books so that you are at least armed with a slew of questions. You’ll be glad you did a little prep work, took some of the emotion out of the equation, and looked at this as an important personal business investment.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I encourage you to leave a comment or questions. Let me know if my blog has helped you. I would love to hear your thoughts and any ideas for future posts.

Roxy Redenbaugh

ACMC Loan Consultant
Mortgage Coach
Branch Manager
NMLS #269926

Source: TBWS