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Preparing for Down Payment and Closing Costs

by Rose Price
 

Now that you've found the Champaign Illinois home that meets your needs. It time to start making offers and getting ready for closing.

A generation ago, it used to be the norm to put 20 percent down, but with the real estate market in its current state of flux, many first-time homebuyers are finding ways to pay just 3 to 5 percent of the total cost upfront. Federal Housing Act (FHA) loans increasingly have become a popular option for first-time buyers, says Greg Herb, regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors. These competitively low-interest loans are ideal for buyers with less than perfect credit, and because the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) minimizes the risk of default for lenders on these loans, borrowers are only required to put down 3.5 percent of the cost--a far cry from the traditional 20 percent down payment.

Still, there are advantages to paying more at the start. A larger down payment ultimately means smaller monthly bills down the line. Also, if you purchase a conventional loan (i.e.: one that is not backed by a federal agency), paying 20 percent or more upfront will eliminate the need to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) charges. PMI is insurance for your lender that can be paid upfront or in monthly installments, and is designed to offset your lender's risk in the case that you've paid less than 20 percent on your home. It can cost around $55 a month per $100,000 financed. While it's important to note that FHA loans also carry mortgage insurance with a down payment of under 20 percent, their low barriers to own still make them a good choice for first-time buyers.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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Help for Buyers

by Rose Price

Have you been searching for that Central Illinois dream home and are finally ready to make an offer? You may have some concerns about the down payment and in this difficult economy it can be difficult to pay a large down payment so what are your options?  There may be an option to help you you complete the sale if you don’t have extra cash.

Different lenders have their own minimum down payment requirements and can vary depending on the mortgage program, loan amount, borrower income and credit rating. A good rule of thumb is roughly 20%, but you can find different ways to help you meet down payment requirements, including buyer assistance programs -  also called down payment assistance programs.

Assistance programs and grants can help you avoid robbing your savings or 401K or borrowing the money elsewhere to come up with a cash down payment. Some of the most common buyer assistance programs are for first time home buyers, but other assistance programs are available as well. How do they work? Below are some key requirements of standard programs. 

  • Home buyers must qualify for a loan that allows gift funds from a charitable organization
  • Limits may apply to the price of the home
  • Funds can be used for the down payment and for closing costs
  • Gift funds can be used for new or existing homes

There are several different organizations that provide buyer assistance, including Grant AmericaNehemiah and American Family Funds. Many other buyer assistance organizations are available, so do some homework and talk to your tax preparer and mortgage lender about options.

Always speak to your lender about available programs in your market, they can help you structure the down payment assistance to be compatible with their underwriting guidelines and offer advice on program advantages for your type of loan. 

​For more information and help finding that perfect home for you and your family contact me today!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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Is Seller Financing for you?

by Rose Price

With an increase in credit requirements, it can be tough trying to get a home loan. Even buyers who have excellent credit are having difficulties getting approved. On the flip side, many people that are anxious to sell their Champaign, Illinois home, can’t get qualified buyers to the closing table. If you are interested in taking out the middle man and controlling more of the process, you may want to consider seller financing.

If you have never heard of this before, basically the person selling the home lends the potential buyer the money to purchase the house. The seller becomes the mortgage holder and the buyer sends monthly mortgage payments directly to the seller. The transaction is usually completed using a promissory that states the interest rate, length and terms of the loan and default consequences.

In today’s market, sellers may need to get their homes sold quickly, and seller financing is a way to get the property sold faster – it opens up the market to more buyers and the paperwork process moves quickly.

Some advantages to doing this type of financing:

  • Faster closing – Sellers and buyers can avoid long waits for loan committee review, underwriting and legal review.
  • Lower Closing Costs – buyers don’t have to shell out additional money for bank fees and other closing costs associated with a traditional mortgage.
  • Flexible down payment – most sellers are willing to take less money down than lending institutions.

Of course this is not for everyone and many home sellers may not be in a position to where they can offer financing. On the downside, there is risk involved on both sides – the seller is taking a risk on someone who may have some shaky payment history or poor credit, and the buyer is dependent on the seller to have been upfront on the terms of the sale (like making sure that the seller’s lender approves the arrangement). As with any large transaction, especially a property purchase, both parties should consult with a real estate attorney and financial expert to make sure that the transaction is legal and is financially sound. If you are ready to buy and can’t find a lender, seller financing may be worth checking out!

For more information or if you're looking to buy or sell your home using seller financing, Contact Me Today!

 

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

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Your Credit Report

by Rose Price

Having your credit report is an important step in buying a Champaign, Illinois home.  You should know your credit report before your lender views it. You can get the information by calling and requesting it. Once you have the report in your hand, check the “high credit limit”, total loan,” and “past due” columns.  It is a very good idea to get copies from all of the reporting agencies. 

Credit reporting companies:

Experian (800) 682-7954 www.experian.com

Equifax (800) 685-1111 www.equifax.com

TransUnion (800) 888-4213 www.transunion.com

You can also get a copy of your credit history at the following online locations:

http://www.transunion.com

www.creditreports.com

What if I find a mistake in my credit history?

You can correct simple mistakes by writing to the reporting company, pointing out the error, and providing proof of the mistake. You can also request to have your own comments added to explain problems.

For example, if you made a payment late due to illness, explain that for the record. Lenders usually understand about legitimate problems.

What about my overall (or FICO) score?

What does it mean? Prior to the late 1990's, credit scoring had little to do with mortgage lending. When reviewing your credit worthiness, an underwriter would make a subjective decision based on past payment history. Then things changed.

Lenders studied the relationship between credit scores and mortgage delinquencies and found a definite relationship. Almost half of those borrowers with FICO scores below 550 became ninety days delinquent at least once during their mortgage. On the other hand, only two out of every 10,000 borrowers with FICO scores above eight hundred became delinquent.

When can I stretch the percentages?

In the  Champaign housing market, lenders sometimes will allow you to stretch their allowable debt ratios. One of the best ways to encourage your lender to do so is to increase your down payment.

 Underwriters sometimes also will stretch the ratios for other "compensating factors," including:

  • Strong cash reserves after close of escrow
  • New payment that’s only slightly higher than current rent or mortgage payment 
  • History of increasing earning capabilities 
  • History of an ability to save money 
  • Large cash down payment

 Contact me today to check out what's available in the Champaign Urbana area!

 

 

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

    Champaign Condominiums

    Selling Your Champaign Home

    Champaign Real Estate Market Information 


    Let’s Connect!


    Facebook 

 

 

 

 

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Is Now the Time to Refinance?

by Rose Price

As interest rates drop to historic lows, several homeowners in Champaign, IL are making the decision to take advantage of refinancing their home. Keep in mind, even if your neighbor is refinancing, it might not be the right move for you. Below are some things you need to take into consideration before making your final decision regarding refinancing.

Although rates are low right now, the present economic crisis has caused a lot of lenders to reduce the amount of loans they give out.  This is a drastic change from the last few years when requirements were very loose and almost anyone was eligible for a mortgage. If you are figuring out how to save on your mortgage refinance, its vital to make sure you do your homework and get your facts right.

First, look at your loan-to-value ratio. In a no-cash-out refinancing (where the amount of your new loan doesn't exceed the balance of your existing loan, plus points and closing costs, if applicable), you may be able to borrow as much as 95% of your home's value. However, if the value of your home has fallen below the amount of your existing mortgage balance, you may not be able to refinance at all. This sadly, has been the case for many homes.  But you may be able to proceed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009's Home Affordable Refinance program.

The major advantage of refinancing to a new lower interest rate is that you will save a substantial amount on your monthly mortgage payment. This is of course why most people choose to refinance their mortgage. It is important to keep in mind however that there are going to be costs involved with refinancing such as closing costs, points, and possible appraisal  and attorney fees.

Do your research and shop around for the best refinancing interest rates. All banks are not created equal, some banks and financial institutions charge higher rates than others. Normally, the smaller Community Banks and Credit Unions are more consumers oriented and charge lower rates.

In addition, when shopping around, look and compare interest rates and points versus no points before you refinance. Look out for embedded points included in the closing costs. Keep in mind, some lenders will include points in the closing cost without necessarily actually quoting these costs as points.

As a homeowner, it is important you do your research and educate yourself -- reach out to a professional who can walk you through refinancing as it's not a one size fits all solution.   

Have questions? Contact me today for help understanding the entire refinancing process.

 

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