Tuesday, September 10, 2013

FHA and VA Loans More Viable?


Yes, it's been a busy last year in real estate, but the fervor overall seems to be cooling down a bit, and with that, any buyers who are utilizing FHA or VA financing should be in good spirits -- your offers will be considered!

For you buyers looking for homes on the market, I know it must've been very discouraging for you this past year, but things are loosening up, and it's important now you keep focused and make sure you're working with a GOOD FHA or VA mortgage lender.

With these two loan types in particular, your lender is of UTMOST importance in getting the deal done for you. Why? With FHA, your loan gets assigned a case number, and if that loan is placed in the hands of an inexperienced lender who doesn't know the ins-and-outs, it could mean bye-bye loan, an angry seller, canceling escrow, and utter disappointment. Save yourself the grief.

FHA has also made some changes where they've shortened the mandatory waiting periods to get an FHA loan:

-3 years from a short sale -3 years from a foreclosure -2 years from a bankruptcy

In some cases, if the short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy came from a documented income loss of 20% or more, you might qualify for another purchase within 12 months of the event.

So if you're thinking about tapping out of the game, don't do it just yet. Stay strong!

Happy Buying!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA
www.CarolineSellsTheCity.com

5 Reasons you Need a Realtor!


Today's 5 reminders as to why you need a realtor:

So send your realtor a virtual hug today. :)

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA
www.CarolineSellsTheCity.com

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Quickie Primer on Escrow and Taxes


Ever wonder what escrow's role is in helping sort out what your property taxes, documentary transfer taxes, and other tax liabilities would be from a sale or purchase of real property?

Here's a quickie primer, courtesy of our friends at Lawyer's Title:


As you can see, escrow really helps get these items taken care of for buyers and sellers by getting them to the proper agencies. Hooray escrow! Thank your escrow officer and company your next transaction - I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

Happy Buying and Selling!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA
www.CarolineSellsTheCity.com

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Higher Interest Rates? They're Here.....


As interest rates continue to tick up, the LA Times is reporting interest rates to be at 5% this next year. Check out the article below:

Depending on whether you are a buyer, seller, or owner looking to refi, this could all affect you differently.

For a buyer, a higher interest rate could mean less purchasing power due to the extra interest you would be paying on your mortgage.

For a seller, if there are some buyers on the cusp of your price point, it could mean less buyers who are able to afford your home.

For an owner looking to refi - you may now need to crunch your numbers again to see if a refi makes financial sense to move forward with.

Keep your ear to the pulse and always discuss with a trusted mortgage advisor regarding what may be the best option for you.

Happy Buying, Selling, and Refiing!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA
www.CarolineSellsTheCity.com

Rates May Not be Going Back Down....


We've just experienced a spike in interest rates, leaving us wondering .... will they go back down? None of us have a crystal ball, but here's some compelling foresight courtesy of Joseph Rose of Perl Lending:

This isn't easy to say, but it must be said - rates are NOT going back down (at least not significantly). Rates being quoted right now range from the 4.75% area to above 5%, based on lender, consumer profile (credit score, program, money down, etc), and the day. When I say "the day", I'm not being flippant - there really is such nauseating volatility that we are seeing rates jump by as much as .25% in interest rate in a single day.

With the drastic and dramatic jump we've seen since May 3rd, consumers may have thrown the brakes on for looking at houses - waiting for rates to come back down. It is important that you are able to work closely with your favorite Mortgage Loan Originator to convince the consumer of two things:

1) Rates are NOT going back down into the 3's, or probably much (if any) below 4.5%.
2) They must continue their search now before home prices continue to go up along with the higher rates, further eroding their buying power.

This is a difficult conversation, and an even more difficult sale - but it is easier if you work in tandem to educate the consumer so they understand why these facts are true and are able to move past the negative emotions involved and get back in the saddle of finding that new home. You see, when rates move as drastically as they have recently, consumers are going to follow the Kubler-Ross Grief Model (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) before they are ready to move forward.

So when you've gone through and all done with denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance - know that interest rates are still good! ...hey, they were like at 18% a couple decades ago... :)

Happy Buying, Selling, and Refiing!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA
www.CarolineSellsTheCity.com

Sign of the Times: Motivated Buyers Skip the Bidding Wars


You've heard the stories. Those of us in the trenches have seen it live. It's a tight market and if you've been actively searching for a home in the last few months - I understand, it's been tough.

For those of you who are just entering the market after remembering the market circa 2010, it might be a jagged pill to swallow, but yes, the market has changed. I've met several buyers actually in the last few days who are thinking the market is where it was a couple of years ago, when there was more inventory and more softness in real estate pricing.

It's important to stay educated about what market your area might be in now. To give you an idea of how Southern California is doing, here is an article from the LA Times about how creative real estate brokers are getting trying to secure deals for their clients, and how you as a buyer may have another road or two to try to get that house you've been dreaming of:

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-secret-house-listings-20130623,0,7410273,full.story

As always, happy buying and selling!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA
www.CarolineSellsTheCity.com

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Understanding Living Trusts


Real estate is often one of the largest assets a family owns, and so protecting that asset and making sure it makes it to the right people in the event of death can be a huge concern for parents with children.

One way to protect and pass along this asset is to place your property into a living trust. Read on for more details on what a living trust is, courtesy of our friends at Lawyer's Title:

Always consult with an estate planning attorney, CPA, and life insurance rep to make sure your living trust is structured in a way you are comfortable with. Your planning now can greatly help minimize confusion in the future.

Happy planning!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA
www.CarolineSellsTheCity.com