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“It’s not far, if you know the way."

by John Riggins

“It’s not far, if you know the way.” What this expression implies is that you could have a long way to go if you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there. Just like reading a map, there are some definite steps that will improve your success in buying a home in today’s market.12137546-250.jpg

  • Know your credit score – the best mortgage rates are available to borrowers with the highest scores. Unless you know what your credit score is at all three major credit bureaus, you don’t really know what rate you’ll have to pay.
  • Clean up your credit – it is estimated that about 90% of credit reports have errors. Some are not serious but others could affect a borrower from getting the loan they want. It is your responsibility to know what is on your different reports and correct them if possible. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year from Experian, Trans Union and Equifax.
  • Get pre-approved – Taking the time to make a loan application with a qualified lender even before you start looking at homes will provide peace of mind, make sure that you are looking at the “right” homes and may help you negotiate the best price on the home you select.
  • Do your homework – when you find the home that meets your needs and desires, get the home inspected and research the tax assessments, school ratings, crime activity, possible zoning changes and comparable sales in the area.

Call for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional and an inspector.

Risk Determines Rate

Regardless of what a lender quotes on mortgage rates, the actual rate paid by a borrower is based on a number of variables. Lenders determine whether to loan money and at what rate based on the risk involved with the transaction.

Factors that increase the risk that the loan will be repaid will proportionately increase the interest rate charged to the borrower. If the risk becomes too high, the loan will not be approved.

  • Loan amounts - conventional loans for more than the conforming limits set by Fannie Mae are considered jumbo loans and generally have a higher interest rate.
  • FICO score - the lowest interest rate is reserved for the highest credit scores; the lower the score, the higher the rate borrower will pay.
  • Occupancy - borrowers occupying a home as their principal residence are considered a better loan risk than second homes and investment properties.
  • Loan purpose - purchase transactions generally have the lowest interest rate while refinancing a home is generally higher.
  • Debt-to-Income ratio - a borrower's monthly liabilities divided by their gross monthly income develops a ratio that helps lenders to assess the borrower's ability to repay the mortgage.
  • Loan-to-Value ratio - the lower the percentage of the loan to the appraised value of the property will generally lower the interest rate.

Any combination of these factors could limit a borrower's ability to secure a mortgage at the rate initially quoted. Being pre-approved by a trusted mortgage professional is the best way to know what rate you can expect to pay. Please call for a recommendation.

One Size Doesn't fit all

by John Riggins

 

One Size Doesn't Fit All - 

Rarely, does one size fit everyone and the same goes for advice. The following suggestion is not right for everyone. However, for people with job security and who don't own a home; for people with good credit and enough savings for a down payment, there may never be a better time to buy a home.

Homes have had a significant price correction but in many markets, they have started to rise again. The lower prices combined with historically low interest rates make this an opportune time to buy a home if you can afford it.

One of the reasons homes are an attractive investment is that fact that you can use a small down payment and finance the balance for 30 years. The principle, called leverage, allows you to earn a return on the value of the home rather than the actual cash investment. Small appreciation can create a large rate of return on the initial investment of the down payment and closing costs.

The following example is a projection at the end of five years for a $175,000 home with 3% closing costs and a 5% interest rate for a 30 year term. The rate you see in each column is an annual rate of return based on the equity of the home at the end of the five year period due to both appreciation and amortization of the loan.

The nature of positive leverage will cause the returns to be higher with a smaller down payment. As you see in the table, the return is higher on the 3.5% down payment than with the 10% or 20% down payment.

If you're curious to see if this advice might fit your situation, you really need to sit down with a knowledgeable real estate professional who can help you assess your position. It's worth the time because there may never be a better opportunity than now.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Family & Friends' Mortgages

by John Riggins

 

Family & Friends' Mortgages

It all seems perfectly reasonable: one person is not satisfied with what he can earn currently in the market and another wants to find the most attractive mortgage to purchase their home. It can be a good match but the IRS has specific rules that govern the transaction.

The loan must be done in a business-like manner with a written note specifying the loan amount, interest rate, term and collateral. IRS requires that the mortgage be a recorded lien in order to allow the interest deduction.

Sometimes, these friends and family situations have a less than normal interest rate on the mortgage. However, the rate charged in the note is regulated by the minimum applicable federal rate which is published monthly by IRS according to current Treasury securities. For October 2011, the rate is 2.95% for terms over nine years.

The seller must report the interest paid to them along with the name, address and Social Security number on schedule B when the buyer uses the property as their principal residence.

A mortgage between family and friends can be good for both parties. It may allow the borrower a slightly lower rate without the expenses of a traditional lender while giving the note holder a higher rate than they can earn in available investments. Your tax professional can guide the transaction whether you're a buyer or seller and your real estate professional can help arrange to have the documents drawn and filed.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

Contact Information

Photo of John Riggins REALTOR RB11175 Real Estate
John Riggins REALTOR RB11175
John Riggins Real Estate
1003 Bishop Street, suite 2700
Honolulu HI 96813
808.523.7653
808.341.0737
Fax: 888.369.3210