Time to Buy Again

For people who have experienced a distressed sale of a home and gotten their finances and credit back in shape, there can still be an unanswered question of “How long do we have to wait to qualify for another mortgage.” The loan types for the new loan will differ in amounts of time based on the event.

The different mortgage lending authorities, VA, FHA, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC), establish their own waiting periods. A borrower may be eligible to qualify for one type of mortgage before another type even if during this waiting period the person was current on all payments and maintained a record of good credit standing.

The following chart indicates how long a person might have to wait.

waiting period for distressed sales.png

A recommended lender can give you specific information regarding your individual situation and can make suggestions that will improve your ability to qualify for a mortgage. This process should be started before looking at homes; the time constraints listed above can vary based on current requirements and possibly extenuating circumstances of your case.

I want to be your personal source of real estate information and I’m committed to helping from purchase to sale and all the years in between. Call me at (316) 337-5154 for lender recommendations.

Tech to Find the Right Home

According to the 2018 Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 52% of buyers want help to find the right home to purchase. Physically locating the home is certainly part of what buyers want from their agent but finding the right home at the right price and terms is also crucial.

87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. Slightly more than half of buyers were referred to their real estate professional by a friend or relative or had used the agent previously to buy or sell a home.

There are tech tools that can be used together with the expertise and experience of your real estate professional to make the home buying process efficient and effective.

Listing Alert … while this service is called by other names, the buyer identifies the specifics about the home they want, and it will notify them directly when a new listing comes on the market that matches their needs. This service is commonly available from consumer real estate sites, but your agent can set this up to feed directly to you from the source that feeds the consumer sites, the local MLS system itself, giving you the swiftest and most accurate alert system for the edge needed in today’s fast-moving market conditions.

Real estate smartphone apps … imagine driving a neighborhood, seeing a sign and immediately being able to know the price and specifics about the home; very convenient. There are a variety of different apps available. You may want to ask your agent for a recommendation before installing one.

Digital documents … electronic signature programs have revolutionized real estate negotiations by doing everything digitally and dramatically streamlining and expediting the process of the gathering of signatures and initials from buyers and sellers. It’s safe and secure and your agent will handle this end of it for you.

ColorSnap Visualizer … this Sherwin Williams app for iPad allows you to paint walls on a picture, match photos to find paint colors and other things before you commit to a color.

Google maps … plug in an address on Google Maps and you see street view of the home, satellite view, surrounding businesses, traffic speed and other things.

Sex Offender RegistryNSOPW, the National Sex Offender Public Website is a safety resource that provides the public with access to sex offender data nationwide.

Financial Calculators … fill in the blank applications that can illustrate the benefits of Renting vs. Owning, Equity Accelerator, Adjustable Rate Comparison, Cost of Waiting to Buy and many other homeowner and prospective homeowner situations.

Free Public Records DirectoryOnlineSearches provide access to public record sources like deeds and assessor and property tax records. While this service is free, some state and county agencies may charge fees for accessing public records.

Virtual open house … an alternative to physically viewing a home is to look at the multiple photos online. If the property is interesting, you can schedule a physical showing with your agent. It may be worth noting that there is still no real substitute for physically driving through the surrounding neighborhood and seeing the evidence (or lack of evidence) of “pride of ownership” there, how near or far are retail/commercial/recreational/entertainment amenities, and simply how it would feel to come and go routinely from the place you’d call home.

Check your credit … Order free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion each once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

The final recommendation is regarding the use of your phone. When you have a question, contact your agent. Contacting another agent may seem like an expedient way to get an answer, especially when you’d like information very quickly, but it could cause unintended issues. Establishing what your communication preferences and habits are early in the process of working with your agent, and what are reasonable expectations of communication from your agent may help at a juncture when there is urgency to a question you have.

Your real estate professional can assist you with these and other tools to help you find the right home. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at <phone>.

Comfort Systems

Heating and air-conditioning are frequently referred to as the “comfort systems.” If one has gone out in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, lack of comfort becomes a primary concern. Regular maintenance with a HVAC checklist is something that homeowners can do themselves to ensure that the units operate properly.

Periodically

  • Change your filter every 90 days; every 30 days if you have shedding pets.
  • Maintain at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
  • Don’t allow leaves, grass clippings, lint or other things to block circulation of coils.
  • Inspect insulation on refrigerant lines leading into house monthly and replace if missing or damaged.

Annually, in spring

  • Confirm that outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps are on level pads.
  • Pour bleach in the air conditioner’s condensation drain to clear mold and algae which can cause a clog.
  • Avoid closing more than 20% of a home’s registers to keep from overworking the system.
  • Replace the battery in the home’s carbon monoxide detector.

While using this list will prevent some things that may impede the comfort system’s proper performance, it is recommended that you have your units serviced annually by a licensed contractor. Furnaces should also be inspected for carbon monoxide leaks. Preventative maintenance may help avoid costly repairs.

A Home Warranty Can Save Money

Your income tax is probably filed for last year by now and you’ve been through your expenses for the year. Money spent on repairs to your home is not deductible, but being aware of how much you spent last year may help you make a decision that could save you money this year.

Sellers, often, provide a home warranty to buyers to give them peace of mind by limiting some of the out-of-pocket money spent on unexpected repairs for one year. Home warranties can be renewed by the buyer by paying the annual fee and any homeowner can purchase one for their home whether they had one when they bought it or not.

A home service contract typically covers mechanical systems and built-in appliances in the home. Many times, these items are not covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. They can also include other things such as pool and spa equipment, and free-standing appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers.

The process is simple. It doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Once a plan is in effect, you call to report a claim. The company will assign a local service vendor to assess the problem and if covered then they will repair or replace the item. You will only pay a service fee.

Home protection plans can range in prices depending on area and coverages. Most start around $450-550 a year which could easily be less than the cost of replacement of just one major mechanical or appliance item.

For more information on home warranties in general, you can go to HomeServiceContract.org which is an association representing some of the premier home service contract providers. If you’d like a recommendation based on experience with home warranty companies in our area, give me a call at (316) 337-5154.