Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Achieving A Stress Free Home Buying Experience

It would be nice to think that buying a new home could be planned and executed easily; surely it is simply a matter of knowing what you want (and what you are prepared to compromise on) and knowing how much you can afford. Sadly it is never quite that straightforward, partly because it is an emotional decision, which means that you might not like what, on paper, could be the perfect house or conversely like something that does not "tick all the boxes". And once you have decided on a particular house those same emotions can lead to the whole thing being very stressful. Nevertheless, it is possible to keep that stress to a minimum (even if the stress cannot be entirely eliminated) by following some simple advice.
Stress-induced feelings of anxiety or even panic can be controlled but if you allow those emotions free-rein then it will make it hard to make good decisions and hard to avoid making bad decision. And when you consider that a house-purchase is such a huge expense for the majority of us we all want to make the right decision.
Buying a home is a complex process that few of us do on a regular basis and it fundamentally affects our emotions, lifestyle and finances for many years, which is a scary thought. What is most frightening are the things we don't really understand like the mortgage jargon and legal jargon involved in dealing with banks and solicitors. But you can relieve this fear by reminding yourself that the professionals involved in the process are just that - professionals - who do this sort of thing every day of their working lives. This does, of course, mean that they sometimes use jargon without thinking that the ordinary citizen might not understand it. So if you don't understand something then just ask for a simple explanation. Questions and concerns that remain unresolved will just fuel your anxiety.
You can also educate yourself on some of the more common aspects of house purchasing by doing some research in advance - there are plenty of professional websites offering advice and clarification about the whole process.
If you are moving to a new area you may also have some concerns about that but, again, you can do some research to find out as much as you can. Frequent trips to the area may not be possible if it is too far away but try getting involved in online communities focussing on a particular neighbourhood.
Once you are at the point of making an offer, prepare yourself for a range of outcomes to avoid an emotional rollercoaster. Any, or all, of the following may happen before a house is legally yours:
• Your best offer will not be accepted
• Your offer will be accepted but then you will be gazumped
• You will get involved in a bidding war with another buyer
• The buying process will be delayed by others in the chain
• You cannot secure a good mortgage deal
• The survey finds unexpected defects with the property
• The surveyor undervalues the property
• The local authority search reveals some problem in the immediate vicinity
• Your buyer withdraws from the purchase of your existing home
• You or your partner loses their job
If you know what the worst events could be then you can handle them relatively calmly if they actually happen. But don't forget that moving house can go smoothly and that a new home is an exciting new chapter in your life so don't forget to enjoy it. If the worst happens, stick your stuff in self-storage and go on a holiday of a lifetime!

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

7 Tips for Selling a Home in the Current Real Estate Market

Have you listed your property for sale? Are you waiting for an offer? Have you done enough to stand out in this market? Here are some points to consider:
  1. How did you come to your asking price? Did you do any research on your own? There are lots of online sites where you can get an idea of the value of your home. There are a growing number of homes on the market for sale currently so you want to know that your home will stand out when compared to others in the area and in your price point.
  2. Price lower than your competition, when possible. You want prospective buyers to be pleasantly surprised by how much you have to offer for your asking price.
  3. Property condition - Today, more than in the past five years, the condition of your house will be scrutinized.
    • Picking up the clutter is not enough.
    • Make sure the yard is mowed, the bushes are trimmed, dead branches have been removed.
    • Make it look great from the outside as lookers make a very significant decision about your home before they even set foot inside.
    • If you can't paint the entire exterior, at least paint the shutters and front door for a fresh, clean look.
  4. The inside really needs to sparkle.
    • If you don't plan to paint the entire interior and replace all the carpets, make sure what is there is clean.
    • Put everything in its place.
    • Clean the windows.
    • Make sure the blinds and curtains are not torn or broken or, if they are, take them down and cover the windows with new, inexpensive blinds.
    • Anything torn or broken will knock a lot off the buyer's offer and you can be sure they're deducting as they walk through.
  5. The kitchen and bathrooms must be spotless. If you don't have the newest stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, what you do have must be clean and polished - no water spots in the sink, no food spilled on the stove or counter, no toothpaste on the bathroom mirrors.
  6. Its hard to see your own home objectively.
    • Take some photos. It may be easier to see what needs to be done when you're looking at a picture.
    • Ask a friend or neighbor to walk through your home as if they were looking to buy. What things would they want changed or what makes them uncomfortable? Something simple that you may not think about, like the room being crowded, other people will notice.
    • Take out a couple of pieces of furniture, put them in storage, and suddenly your room looks more spacious.
  7. Selling your home is no time for ego. This is a purely business transaction. To you its a home, to prospective buyers its a house. Give them reason to make it their home.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Current Home Loan File - Big Valley Mortgage

Mike at Big Valley Mortgage talks about the current documentation needed to get a home loan. Big Valley Mortgage can handle the new regulations. See more at

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Tour Of Big Valley Mortgage

Mike with Big Valley Mortgage gives us a brief tour. See more at

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Warrior Weekender June 28th 2013

It is simply amazing that there used to be a time that the stock market would tank at any economic report that was negative and indicated a less than strong economy. However this week the exact opposite happened. The markets rallied on Wednesday when the GDP report came in worse than expected.

You may be reading this newsletter and think that investor behavior just doesn't make any sense. The reality is that investors cheered the weak GDP report because they want to believe that the poor report is enough to get the Fed to delay their reduction in their bond buying program and stimulus withdrawal. The question that remains is how investors can draw this conclusion on a single economic report plus the fact that the Fed did not give a definitive time table for the tapering of the program?

Housing just keeps rocking. Mortgage rates have receded off of their large increases over the last couple of weeks giving mortgage lenders a breather from the panic that has set in for most of them. Reality has finally sunk in that the refinance boom is over. The good news is that the increase in rates has sparked fence sitting buyers to take action on purchases. Application for purchase loans increased 2.0% while refinances declined by 5%.

Home prices showed positive increases in four major housing reports released on Tuesday. The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices rose .7% for the month of April on single family homes that were purchased with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan.

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Value Index showed that because of a shortage of housing inventory along with a sense of panic about rising rates, home prices are rising rapidly. The Case-Shiller 20 city index rose 1.7% for the month of April which follows March?s increase of 1.9%. Additionally home prices are up 12% from the same time last year. Home price gains are occurring in every part of the country in all major cities. The West is the strongest growth area with monthly gains averaging 3% and the annual increase is currently at 20%

The third report for the week related to housing is new home sales. The expected annual pace for new construction was 460,000 units per year. The report shows that the pace of construction and sales is on target for 476,000 which is over 3% higher than anticipated. Additionally builders are increasing the pace of construction in an attempt to keep up with rising demand.

The final housing report for the week was pending homes sales. This index rose a whopping 6.7% with the largest increase in activity occurring in the west and Midwest.

Market moving reports for next week are:

Monday July 1st-  ISM Manufacturing Index and Construction Spending
Tuesday July 2nd - Factory Orders
Wednesday July 3rd - MBA Applications and ADP Employment Report
Thursday July 4th-  Independence Day Holiday ? Markets Closed
Friday July 5th-  National Unemployment and First Time Jobless Claims

As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate information. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at 707-455-7070.