Friday, December 29, 2017

Consumer Reports: Refreshing a Mattress | Consumer Reports

Even a mattress needs a good cleaning. Consumer Reports experts show you how simple it is to keep your mattress lasting longer and even keep some pests away.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Year's Resolutions Usually Fail - Yours Don't Have To | Forbes

Setting year-long goals are ineffective, say BestSelf Co. cofounders Allen Brouwer and Cathryn Levery. Instead, try these goal-setting tricks that will help you stick to your New Year's resolution.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec!

In this episode of Ready, Set, Rec, Recreation Manager Reggie Hubbard let's us know about all the great activities, classes and events being hosted by the City of Vacaville's Community Services Department during the cold winter months!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Closing Costs Breakdown for Home Buyers and Home Sellers

If you are buying or selling a home, you will have to pay closing costs. Closing cost typically range between 2 and 6% of the sales price of the house, but vary greatly depending on the sales price, location of the property, loan type, and lenders fees. The following list of fees are standard costs associated when buying or selling a house.

Application Fee - This is usually the only fee that you will pay upfront when applying for a mortgage. Typically, it covers the cost of the credit report fee and appraisal.

Appraisal - This is paid to the appraisal company to verify the condition and fair market value of the home.

Appraisal Re-Inspection Fee - The appraisal fee pays for a professional appraiser to visit a home, evaluate the condition and features, and provide an estimate of the market value. If any repairs are cited, they will typically have to be completed and re-inspected by the appraiser prior to closing.

Attorney Fee - The fee for an attorney to review the closing documents on behalf of the buyer or seller.

Closing Fee/Escrow Fee/ Settlement Fee - This is paid to the title company, escrow company, or attorney for conducting the closing.

Courier/Overnight Fee - This covers the cost of transporting documents to complete the loan transaction.

Credit Report - A tri-merge credit report is used to review your credit history and credit scores.

Discount Fees or Points - Additional costs charged to buy the interest rate down.

Escrow Deposit for Property Taxes & Mortgage Insurance - Funds placed in your escrow account to ensure enough funds are available to pay future property tax, home owners insurance, and private mortgage insurance bills.

FHA Up-Front Mortgage Insurance Premium - If you are applying for an FHA loan, you'll be required to pay the upfront MIP of 1.75% of the base loan amount. This expense is typically rolled into your mortgage.

Flood Determination - This is paid to a third party to determine if the property is located in a flood zone. If the property is found to be located within a flood zone, you will need to purchase flood insurance.

Home Inspection - Private inspection to determine condition of property.

Homeowners' Insurance - This covers possible damages to your home. Your first year's insurance is often paid at closing.

Home Warranty - This is a one year insurance policy on the appliances and/or electrical, heating, and plumbing systems in the house.

Lender's Policy Title Insurance - This is insurance to assure the lender that you own the home and the lender's mortgage is a valid lien. It also protects the lender if there is a problem with the title.

Lead-Based Paint Inspection - May be required to determine if lead-based paint is present in property.

Lock in Fee - A fee charged by the lender to protect the interest rate during the processing and underwriting phase of the loan process.

Owner's Policy Title Insurance - This is an insurance policy that protects you in the event someone challenges your ownership of the home. Many lending institutions require this protection.

Origination Fee - This is a fee charged by some mortgage lenders and covers part of the lender's costs. It's usually about 1 percent of the total loan amount, but is negotiable.

Pest Inspection - This fee covers the cost to inspect for termites.

Prepaid Interest - Most lenders will ask you to prepay any interest that will accrue between closing and the date of your first mortgage payment.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) - If your down payment is less than 20% of the home's purchase price, you will likely be required to pay PMI.

Processing Fee - A lender fee used to cover overhead costs.

Property Tax - Lenders unusually require any taxes due within 60 days of the purchase to be paid at closing.

Recording Fees - A fee charged by your local county recording office for the recording of public land records.

Survey Fee - This service verifies that there are no encroachments on the property you are purchasing.

Title Insurance Policy - The Loan Policy is usually based on the dollar amount of the loan and it protects the lender's interests in the property should a problem with the title arise.

Title Search - An investigation into the origin and validity of a title to a property.

Title Exam Fee - This fee is paid to search the property's records. The title company researches the deed to your new home, ensuring that no one else has a claim to the property.

Transfer Taxes - This is the tax paid when the title transfers from seller to buyer. Underwriting Fee - This is a fee that your lender may charge to cover the cost of underwriting your mortgage file.

VA Funding Fee - If you have a VA loan, you may be required to pay a VA funding fee at closing (or you can roll this fee into the loan if you prefer). This is a percentage of the loan amount that the VA assesses to fund the VA home loan program, however disabled veterans are exempt from this fee.

Most loan types allow the seller to pay a percent of the sales price towards the buyers closing costs. FHA mortgages allow the seller to pay up to 6%, conventional loans allow the seller to pay between 2 to 6% of the sales price toward buyers closing costs, and for VA loans the seller is typically allowed to pay all of the buyers closing costs.

Your mortgage lender is required to provide you with a disclosure called a "Loan Estimate" which is a detailed list of the closing costs, down payment, and total costs needed to close your mortgage. Many of the fees listed on the loan estimate can change as much as 10% of the amount listed, unless your loan program changes. If an unforeseen event occurs and the mortgage program changes in order to close your loan, you should receive a form called a "Change of Circumstance" which provides a detailed list of any changes and discloses your new fees. After you receive your final approval, your lender will email you a form called the "Closing Disclosure" at least 3 days prior to your actual closing date. After receiving your closing disclosure, you should compare the fees listed to your initial loan estimate and/or change of circumstance disclosure to verify that your fees have not changed more than the 10% allotted variance.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Mortgage Process Explained

Purchasing a home can be a frustrating and intimidating process. The best way that you can prepare for the purchase of your next home is to know what is required of you and what is happening during your home buying journey. Although, your lender will be the best source to explain the current status of your mortgage, the following is an overview of the stages of the mortgage process.

• Preparation and Pre-approval - The first thing that you should do prior to starting your search for a new home is to find a respectable and knowledgeable lender and to apply for a fully underwritten pre-approval. To obtain a full pre-approval, you will need to provide the lender with the following: proof of income, employment, and source of down payment. This information will allow the lender to determine your maximum buying power and which loan types you qualify for.

• Home Search - After you are pre-approved, you should provide a copy of your pre-approval letter to your real estate agent. When you find a house and your real estate agent presents an offer, the seller and listing agent of the property will likely require a copy of the pre-approval letter for the offer to be considered.

• Loan Application - Once you have a fully signed purchase agreement, you can officially make loan application on the property you are purchasing. You may need updated pay stubs and bank statements for your lender. At this time your lender will likely order the appraisal and title work for the property.

• Underwriting - Once the appraisal and title work has been completed, your mortgage should be submitted to the underwriting department for final approval. If any additional documentation or explanations are needed, they will be requested after the loan has been underwritten. You may receive a conditional approval letter, which outlines the items needed before the loan can close. Avoid new debt, derogatory credit, and changing employment during this stage. If any of these things happen, contact your lender immediately.

• Closing - After you have provided the documentation to clear any approval conditions. You should receive your final approval letter. Your lender will contact the title company to set the closing date for your mortgage. You should receive the closing disclosure three days prior to signing your final papers. Thoroughly compare your closing disclosure to your loan estimate, which you would have received when you made loan application. If there are any discrepancies in fees, contact your lender for an explanation. When you meet with the closing agent to sign your final papers, the mortgage and ownership of the house should transfer by the next business day.

Patience and understanding is needed when purchasing a house and obtaining a mortgage. Stay in contact with your lender and your real estate agent to find out what is going on, and what is needed to keep the process moving forward. Having a greater understanding of what is going on during your home buying process will limit frustration and the potential for the mortgage to be denied. Using experienced and trusted real estate and mortgage professionals should decrease possible delays and make the process smoother.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Why Buying a Home Is a Great Investment For Millennials

Buying a home is a great investment for millennials. Being in your early 20's and thinking about buying a home may scare you, but it's actually a great way to get started investing. Here are the top reasons to buy a home as your first investment.

#1 Mortgages are Cheaper than Rent

In 42 out of the 50 states, it's cheaper to own a home than to rent. Taking on a mortgage can actually save you money now and in the future. The biggest thing standing in most people's way is the down payment. Luckily, depending on what state you live in, there are many programs that will help first-time homeowners purchase a home for a lower down payment.

#2 Start Building Equity

As you start to pay down your mortgage, the amount of equity you have in your home grows. Unlike rent, you're not just throwing away your money, but securing it to your home. When you're ready to move you can use that equity to buy your next home.

#3 Your Lower Budget is in your Favor

When buying your first home, odds are you won't be able to buy the nicest home on the block. Go for the fixer upper that you can actually afford. Over the years take the time to make improvements to the home and when you're ready to sell, you'll be making money

#4 It's an Investing Stepping Stone

Buying a home is one of the best stepping stones to get started investing. Buying a home, paying your mortgage, building equity, and selling for more than you bought it for is a great way to learn how investing works. You invest in something while it is low, wait for it to grow in equity, then sell when it is high. This is exactly how homeownership works. If you make enough money on the sale of your first home you can even invest some of that into other types of investments such as stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, or more real estate.

Buying a home is a big decision, but as long as you make your payments on time and let your equity grow, it's one of the best investments you can make... especially in your 20s. Investing is all about risk, start off with a small but beneficial risk of buying a home and see how it can help guide you towards a future of great investments

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Before You Purchase Your New Home

Before you start searching for your next house, these following tips will help you decide on what features you need in a home, help you prepare to move, and get your finances in order. Remember to take your time when looking for your next home. If you need a mortgage for your next purchase, finding the best program will involve some research and many questions to figure out your best option. There are countless mortgage options and down payment assistance programs available. Once you have your mortgage financing in order, determining the best location, features, and price range of your new home will take patience and the help of a devoted real estate agent.

Before you look at your first house, you should review your credit report and check it for inaccuracies. Once per year, you can get a free copy of your credit report at: Before you contact a bank or mortgage company, review the report and clean up any past issues and make sure there are no inaccuracies or mistakes. To qualify for a mortgage, you will need to meet the minimum credit qualification standards.

If you are a first-time buyer or have had credit issues in the past, it is a good idea to talk to your family and friends and ask them to refer a mortgage professional that they have had a good experience with when they applied for a mortgage. To apply for a mortgage, you will need at a minimum the following documentation: pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and other personal information. If possible, try and meet your loan officer face to face. This will give you peace of mind and reduce stress. If you are concerned your mortgage could be denied, be sure that you apply for a fully underwritten mortgage pre-approval. A pre-approval will take longer to complete than a pre-qualification, but it will eliminate unforeseen issues such as: employment history verification, residencies history questions, verified funds, past credit issues, and other potential problems. During the pre-approval process, your loan officer should thoroughly review any mortgage programs and down payment options that may benefit you.

Once your pre-approved for a mortgage. Review your budget and determine the maximum monthly mortgage payment that you are comfortable with and the total funds you have available to purchase your new house. When buying a house, remember to include all expenses, such as: upfront costs (appraisal fee, insurance, warranties, and inspections), down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses. Both the real estate agent and mortgage loan officer should be able to give you an itemized estimate of the likely expenses associated with purchasing your new home. Next determine, what features you need and want in a house and what cities would be the most desirable to you and your family?There may be many well maintained and affordable homes available in your search area that have the features you are looking for. Make sure you prioritize your desired features. You may not be able to get everything on your wish list, but knowing what your requirements are before you get started will make your search easier.

Once again, you should talk to your family and friends and ask them to refer a licensed real estate professional that they have used in the past. You may spend a lot of time discussing home options and looking at potential houses with your real estate agent, so it is important to be able to rely and trust their opinion and expertise. Knowledgeable real estate agents should be able to listen to your wants and needs in a house; then be able to honestly tell you what you can afford and the areas you can find the most house for your budget.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

How Prepared Are You To Buy A House? 5 Fail-Safe Tips To Get You Ready

Has the thought of buying a house ever entered your mind? Renting may be a good option as a start but once you begin growing a family, then it is time to think about the future and giving your family more security and a safe place to live in. It cannot be denied that your children can be a major influence on your decision to favor home ownership.

If you haven't realized it yet, here's what home ownership can give you:

  • Privacy and more freedom to do what you want in your own home. Upgrading your home for instance can add up to its value which you can benefit in the long run.
  • Homes do appreciate in value and can provide a reserve fund for you in the future.
  • Of course, there is always that great feeling of achievement.

But how prepared are you to buy a home? The idea can be too overwhelming but the process is not as easy as you think. It needs commitment, preparedness and better judgment. Let's outline the important aspects of the home buying process:

Financial Preparedness - As mentioned earlier, buying a home is a long term commitment. You can look forward to years of paying the monthly mortgage, the cost it takes and all. While on a search, make a checklist of all the must-haves you want in a home. Scout through open houses. Do they fall within your budget? What particular home meets your family's needs? How about your lifestyle? Is it in a perfectly good and desirable location with close proximity to schools, transportation, shopping and more? Typically, you will be required to make a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price of the house. With these things in consideration, you will somehow get the idea of how much money you need for your home saving plan.

Mortgage Pre-Approval - This is where you will need to obtain the financing you need for your home. A pre-approval is where the lender asks in detail about your financial information to determine if you are qualified for a home loan and for the maximum loan amount you can get. The criteria will be based on your credit score, income, debt ratios, etc. Once you get pre-approved, you can then have a better chance of finding the right home that is within your parameters.

Find A Trusted Realtor - A trusted realtor is someone that has years of established reputation and known to provide only the best and quality real estate service. Take advantage of this expertise to get the best possible home deal you can have.

Negotiation - This is where you realtor presents an offer to the seller after you have decided on a home. The offer will be on the ground of the amount you can afford and what the house is worth. In this case, a home inspection prior to negotiation can be beneficial to establish the real value of the house based on its condition, defects, repairs and upgrades. If the seller decides to accept the offer, a date for the closing will be set.

Closing Process - This is where the sale of the home gets finalized. You can make a walk-through inspection of the house at least a day before closing to ensure that its condition is what clearly describes in your sales contract. At the closing, all paperwork is completed and any closing costs or legal fees are settled. The title of the property is then transferred from the seller to the buyer.

There can be no greater achievement than having a place you can call your own. Preparedness is very important in making the right choices later. Having a good realtor on your side will ease up the process even more, to safeguard your interests and make certain you are on the right track.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Optimism of the Stock Market Moving Higher Continues; Housing Inventory Drought May Finally Be Easing

Stock Markets:

The upward trajectory of the stock market continues. With the Indices sitting at, or near record highs, optimism on the market moving even higher continues. Investors are very excited about the President’s proposed tax plan, which if passed, would put a lot of money back into corporate profits. There continues to be a lot of wrangling in Congress over the plan, and more than likely the plan will change from its current form in order for it to pass. However, optimism exists that after decades of no significant tax changes, there is a chance for some reform to actually be implemented.

Existing Home Sales:

Next week there are 3 major real estate reports due for release. FHFA House Price Index, Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and the Pending Home Sales Report. When you combine this forthcoming data with this week’s existing home sales numbers, we will have a very clear picture on the status of the housing market in this country.

Existing home sales were stronger than expected for the month of October. Increasing by 2.0 percent, this continues to show the stability in the housing market despite the minimal inventory available in many parts of the country. However, in recent weeks, many real estate professionals have been reporting an uptick in available properties for sale which means the inventory drought may finally be beginning to ease and more balance between sellers and demand may be occurring.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Purchase applications rose a seasonally adjusted 5.0 percent for the week ending November 17th. Refinance applications declined by the same 5.0 percent. The slight rise in interest rates over the last week might explain why refinances declined. Real estate professionals have been hard pressed to explain why there was a rise in purchase activity the week before Thanksgiving, but every one of them was grateful for the positive movement in purchase activity. The previously mentioned increase in housing inventory could be the explanation for the purchase jump. Home purchases are up 4.0 percent from the same time last year.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday November 27th – New Home Sales
· Tuesday November 28th – FHFA House Price Index, Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI
· Wednesday November 29th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Pending Home Sales
· Thursday November 30th – First Time Jobless Claims
· Friday December 1st – ISM Manufacturing Survey, Construction Spending

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Advantages of Buying a Home

The pride of being called a home owner is one of the sweetest advantage that buying a home can accord to an individual. But beyond this, there are many more advantages that home ownership brings. Right now, you may have some hesitations and you're still contemplating if buying a house is a right move. Listed below are the advantages that will give you more reasons to strive hard and buy your dream house.

Increasing home values

Next to the pride of ownership, knowing that home prices appreciate over the years is another great advantage of buying a house. For the past years since the great recession, the real estate industry is on a rebound. Average home prices are starting to get upscale. With this trend, home owners are assured that a great investment is within their hands.

Deductions in property taxes

Depending on the state, home owners are also qualified to some tax deductions specially for a first home. But there are also instances when vacation homes also qualify for property tax deductions.

Increased privacy

Privacy is another advantage of an owned house. As compared to rented shelters, owned homes give the owners more capacity to decide on how they are going to keep their home activities private. Also, home owners can decide on who comes in and out of their homes at any given period of time - a very good privilege for families who often have visitors, gatherings, and friendly unions.

Provisions for expansion and improvements

Buying a home also gives the owner the right to impose expansions, changes, and other improvements. Shall time comes that an extra room is warranted due to an additional family member, then an existing room can be converted to another bedroom. Wall paint colors can be changed without having to secure permission to landlords. The kitchen and other house parts can be designed, decorated, and treated according to the aesthetic taste and functional wants of the owner.

Being a home owner is a beaming joy for many people. For some, it is a fruit of years of hard work and earning. To others, it is a sanctuary of love, care, and happiness. However you want your space to be called and identified, the advantages of buying a house is yours for grab.

Be a homeowner now and join other persons as they reap the benefits and advantages of the houses they bought. Searching for a house now, reach your local real estate agent and be in-the-know of the current listings.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Your First Mortgage: What First Time Buyers Should Know

For first time homebuyers, the mortgage qualification process is often much more difficult than finding the starter home of their dreams. If you decide that you're ready to purchase your first home but aren't sure how or where to start, here are four helpful tips for getting the ball rolling right into home ownership.

1. Check your credit. If your credit rating is not any good, you're going to have a hard time getting anyone to lend you a large amount of money. There are several free sites potential first time homebuyers can visit to find out how they're being rated by the three major credit agencies. Lenders will use these scores to determine your trustworthiness, so it's important that you're not surprised by what it says. If you find any errors, you can have them corrected.

2. Get your documents in order. To get pre-approved for a loan, you'll need to have several documents in hand to show the lender that you can afford to make the monthly payments. You'll need to have your tax returns from the past couple of years, bank account statements to show that you have enough savings for a down payment, and paystubs for a more recent confirmation of income. You'll also need your social security number on hand so the mortgage company can run your credit.

3. Decide what size home you can afford. Your monthly payments will be made up of much more than just the principle and interest of the loan. Included in your payment will likely be your local property taxes, the homeowner's insurance on the home, any flood insurance, and the monthly mortgage insurance premium if you choose not to put down at least 20% of the selling price up front. Research the costs of these factors in your area for an idea of what they will add to your monthly payments.

4. Pick a lender or two. Make an appointment to talk with a mortgage representative near you. You'll also want to talk with a local lending company or your bank. Going to more than one place may help you understand the process best, and you'll be able to compare terms to get a better deal. They will help talk you through the process and ensure that you understand the terms of the loan. Further, if you qualify, the lending agent will also be able to offer you pre-approval for a loan, which will help in the negotiation process once you find your dream home.

Getting approved for a mortgage can be a confusing process, especially for first time homebuyers. By being prepared to qualify for a loan before you find the right home for you, you'll be able to spare yourself the heartache of missing out on it because you didn't qualify for the loan. Once you have your financing squared away, you can let the searching begin!

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Center Stage At VPAT - Holiday Season

Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre Manager Rachel Morgan tells us about the many shows taking place during the holiday season at VPAT. For more info visit

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

December Fed Rate Increase Likely; Home Prices Continue to Rise

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Announcement:

The likelihood of a December Fed rate increase is very probably based upon the latest Fed announcement. On Wednesday the Fed stated they have upgraded the status  of the economy from “rising moderately” to “rising at a solid rate”. The Fed indicated that the labor market continues to strengthen, and that even though inflation remains stubbornly low, there are many positive economic factors that make a December rate increase likely to occur.

Case-Shiller Home Price Index:

Home prices continue to rise steadily. The most recent data shows home prices rising 0.5 percent for the month of August in the 20-city adjusted index. Home prices compared to the same time last year are higher by 5.9 percent. This is the largest year-on-year growth spread we have seen in the last 3 years.

Construction Spending:

Spending on the construction of residential homes, although basically unchanged for September, is now 9.6 percent higher than the same time last year. Spending on new single-family and multi-family homes increased in the month by 0.2 and 6.0 percent respectively. Interestingly is that spending on home improvements declined 0.6 percent. This is likely to change in that many mortgage and banking professionals have indicated that they have seen more homeowners making inquiries on obtaining Home Equity Lines of Credit.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Purchase applications fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent for the week ending October 27th. This is the second week of application declines, in what could be a possible reaction to the uptick in mortgage rates. Refinancing applications declined by 5.0 percent. Refi’s are always far more sensitive to slight movements in mortgage rates. Purchase applications represent 51.3 percent of all loan activity.

First Time Jobless Claims:

Claims remain very near historic lows being all the way down to 229.000. The devastation in Puerto Rico was expected to increase the overall number, however other areas of the country are countering the increase with an improved labor market and lower claims.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday November 7th – Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)
· Wednesday November 8th - MBA Mortgage Applications
· Thursday November 9th - First Time Jobless Claims
· Friday November 10th – Consumer Sentiment

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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec! November 2017

In this episode of Ready, Set, Rec! Community Services Director Kerry Walker talks about upcoming holiday events and activities in November and December in the City of Vacaville!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cleaning Supply Essentials - Adulting 101: Century 21

Release your inner neat freak.

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Right Mortgage Option for Buying a Home

Things that can affect which type of mortgage option is right depends greatly on the home buyer. There are different types of low down payment and no down payment mortgages. Some homes loans are best suited for specific types of homes. Distressed homes, for instance are best matched with an FHA 203k renovation loan. This type of home loan has funds for repairs structured into it.

Of all the mortgage options available, fixed rate loans are the safest. Back in the days of subprime lending by predatory lenders, many borrowers fell prey to overwhelming debt. A fixed rate home loan is more secure for many home buyers; there's no confusion about monthly payments and interest.

Compared to an ARM, it's much easier to calculate a fixed rate mortgage too. The most familiar of these is the 30-year conventional. Home buyers usually make a 10% - 20% down payment with a fixed interest rate. FHA loan products have a 3.5% deposit.

Conventional loans have a lender insurance premium when less than 20% is deposited. This premium called PMI, or private mortgage insurance, protects lenders in case of borrower default. If the loan-to-value reaches 80%, PMI can be dismissed. Buying at lower rates enables buyers to make extra principal payments. This means PMI can be dismissed sooner rather than later.

For some home-buyers a 15-year or bi-weekly fixed rate loan is more attractive. These debts are paid off much faster than 30-year conventional mortgages.

An ARM, or adjustable rate mortgage, can be a useful product for some home buyers. This type of loan is best for buyers when interest rates are low. What borrowers must consider is the length of time they intend to stay in the home. Borrowers benefit if they are going to stay only a few years, sell the property and move before rates rise. If a borrower can pay the mortgage off before rates rise, that's even better.

ARM's also have fixed rates, but harder to understand. There is a specific rate which, as interest rates rise and fall, remains the same. As rates go up and down, a percent is added or subtracted but subject to caps. These caps dictate the maximum and lowest rates you can expect. Make sure you understand the loan terms on an ARM.

Buyers should spend time calculating mortgage options with different down payments and interest rates. This helps them to see how the expense of carrying a mortgage will impact their finances.

Calculating a mortgage to get an estimate of what the amortization, monthly payments and how fast your equity builds will help you choose your mortgage option. Know before you owe, calculate mortgage options today.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Minute with the Manager

In this episode, Vacaville City Manager Jeremy Craig talks about some of the new features on the City's recently redesigned website.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Finding Homes for Sale in a New Town

People move to new cities to upgrade their home or lifestyle. The process of finding homes for sale, packing, and moving can all cause so much anxiety that new homeowners easily forget the excitement associated with such a significant life change. Certain steps can help reduce the stress.


When that "need a change" feeling begins, it's hard to ignore. If the feeling is genuine, then the first thing to do is decide where to move. Searching for an area with excellent schools and low crime rates is a good start, especially for parents. Couples without children or single people, the vibrancy of the local community may be a central concern. The lifestyle and crime sections of any local paper can provide a basic perception about the community in question. Whether print or electronic, sources provide real insight into the education system, the prevalence of crime, and activities. While using the internet to investigate locations, social media websites might not seem like an obvious choice. On the contrary, most news stations have social media sites. Newscasts are easily found online and updated regularly. From PTA meetings to gallery openings, a person can gain an understanding of their potential new hometown from any location with an internet connection.

On The Ground Research

After narrowing down the location, traveling to the area verifies research through first-hand interpretations and experiences. If all looks good, the next step would be engaging with locals to learn more about the community and discover any homes for sale.

Locals know the area on a personal level so will give good scoops on which homes are worth viewing. Developments are another option to ask about, as these are newer and fit perfectly with people who want to make a fresh start. It's even possible to be the first owner when looking at a development site with homes for sale. Most of these sites offer an expansive range of yards, parks, and wooded areas. Residents will know which sites are worth the time.

Schedule Movers

Moving companies are the best way to move to a new town and into a new house. Otherwise, time and stress overshadow what should be a happy event. No one should get upset loading vans, trying to navigate massive vans on the highway, or unloading vans. However, professional movers can add to stress if they do a poor job. To avoid damaged furniture, plan ahead by asking for recommendations from trusted sources. Contacts in the new town might have an idea about which moving company to hire. New neighbors may be happy to share these insider tips with new homeowners.

To reduce the stress associated with moving to a new city, take a deep breath and follow this advice. Researching the community, visiting, and using movers can all help ease the anxiety of this landmark decision.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

October Ready Set Rec

In this episode of Ready, Set, Rec, Recreation Manager Reggie Hubbard shares some of the many October events taking place in Vacaville! Boo!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fundamentals of Economic Business Remain Strong; Mortgage Rates Remain Attractive

The Stock Market and the Fed:
Despite the daily commentary on virtually every business news platform that the stock market might be overheated, the indices just keep rising. Once again, this week the Dow Jones Industrial Average is already up 346 points though the end of the Thursday’s trading. The bottom line is that the fundamentals of economic business remain strong, and the labor market is not showing any sign of weakness.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:
Mortgage rates continue to remain very attractive despite moving a few ticks higher during the week ending September 29th. Volume on both mortgage purchases and refinancing barely moved. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America applications for purchases increased 1.0 percent while refinancing declined by 2.0 percent. For the week, loan volume is split down the middle between purchase and refi with both areas representing 50% of mortgage financing. The purchase loan volume is still below where it was expected to be. Many experts attribute the lackluster numbers to the hurricane damage in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Construction Spending
Following this latest report for August, it is almost impossible to get a read on which direction new construction is going. The latest report for August shows an increase of 0.5 percent. However, July’s report was adjusted to show a decline of 1.2 percent, whereas the initial report showed a drop of only 0.6 percent for the month. It is not uncommon to have adjustments made to initial figures that are released. However, the larger than expected downward adjustment to July’s data caught many analysts by surprise. The good news in the report is that construction spending on residential real estate increased 0.4 percent, and even in July after the adjustment, the sector rose 0.2 percent.

First Time Jobless Claims & The ADP Employment Report
The hurricanes have had an impact on employment, however apparently not anywhere near as much as anticipated. The latest figures from ADP show that the private sector added 135,000 jobs to their payrolls. This figure is very close to analyst’s expectations for the report. First time jobless claims continue to remain well below the psychologically critical level of 300,000. For the week ending September 30th, claims declined by 12,000 down to a very low level of 260,000.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday October 9th – Columbus Day Holiday, Banks Closed, Markets Open
· Tuesday October 10th – Small Business Optimism Index
· Wednesday October 11th - MBA Mortgage Applications, JOLTS Report
· Thursday October 12th - First Time Jobless Claims, Producer Price Index
· Friday October 13th – Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales

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

FREE Home Buyers Seminar Tonight - ALL Buyers Welcome!

ALL Buyers welcome! Not just First Time Buyers! 
Location will be given out once you have called and completed your registration.

Call to Register!
707-373-1476 or

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

FREE Home Buyers Seminar - ALL Buyers Welcome!

ALL Buyers welcome! Not just First Time Buyers! 
Location will be given out once you have called and completed your registration.

Call to Register!
707-373-1476 or

Monday, October 2, 2017

Buying a Home - Before Making an Offer

When buying a home before you make an offer on it there are some things that you should consider. You want to make sure that this is the home that you want to raise your family in. Is the neighborhood is safe, schools close by, close to work, and more.

Personal budget

Almost everyone, before they look at the first house, has figured out a budget as to how much they can afford for a monthly house payment. No matter how impressive the home may seem if it is out of your budget, you should move on. Do not buy more home than you can afford. If you are buying a home for more than you can financially afford there is a risk of it going into foreclosure if you cannot make the monthly payments.


Buying a home should not be looked at as a place that will fit your family now but will fit your family in the future. If you are newly married but want to have children n the future look at a home with enough space, such as bedrooms, to accommodate your future family. Look at the yard and see if it would be large enough for children to play in.

Thoroughly check it out

The house looks great inside and outside but even then, it could have some defects that you would not notice unless you thoroughly looked the home over. If you have a home that you really like it is okay to put money down as an express to purchase the home pending the results of a professional home inspection report. Having an inspection done will make sure that you are getting a good deal. Find out when it was painted inside and outside because it has been awhile you may have to paint the house in the near future. If the inspection reports show some property damage, find out if the damage is fixable. You should also find out what it will cost to fix the problem. If it is not repairable or will cost too much to fix it then it is best to look at other homes.


Some homes for sale will have special features like a swimming pool or a garden area. Unfortunately, these extra features can cause the price of the home to increase by a few thousands of dollars. You need to think if you really need these extra features. You also need to check to see if they have been well maintained if you decide that you like these added features. For example, if the pool has not been well maintained and there is going to be expenses to get it in shape to swim in, will the cost be worth it.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Applications for Puchase Loans Increases While Refinance Applications Decline

The Stock Market and the Fed:

The stock market has been trading in a relatively narrow range for the week with the Dow remaining within 70 points from the beginning of the week through Thursday. Since last week’s Fed announcement regarding a likely rate increase in December, along with their plan to begin unwinding the Fed balance sheet, investors have been looking for other significant news to trade on. Overall, there has been little geopolitical news or domestic economic surprises that have given investors cause to make significant changes to their investment positions.

Mortgage Rates and Applications:

Good news in the housing market in that the Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported that applications for purchase loans increased 3.0 percent for the week ending September 22nd. This bump upward follows the prior week’s unusually steep loss of 11.0 percent. Refinance applications declined once again for the same period by 4.0 percent.

Overall the housing market is showing signs of some softness. The talk over the Summer that the year could end up finishing strong to make up for the slow Spring market seems to have been quelled. Limited housing inventory continues to remain the culprit of holding down home purchase activity. There are plenty of buyers in the market, however their ability to locate suitable properties continues to frustrate both purchasers and real estate professionals. Seller’s remain the big winners as property prices continue to rise.

Case-Shiller Home Price Index & Pending Home Sales Index

Although we are in September, this benchmark housing report shows that home prices increased 0.3 percent for the month of July. Unfortunately, home price data typically runs approximately 2 months behind the current calendar date due to the time it takes to gather all of the data. Compared to the same time last year, prices are up 5.8 percent. The spread between the last report and the current one, related to year-on-year growth, increased by 2/10th of one percent.

Existing home sales have been on the decline recently, and the latest data on pending home sales confirms this trend is likely to continue. The August report of homes currently in contract to sell is down a significant 2.6 percent. However, a major factor in the reduction of homes in contract is likely related to the two recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida, which represent large real estate markets.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday October 1st – ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending
· Wednesday October 3rd - MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report
· Thursday October 4th - First Time Jobless Claims, Factory Orders
· Friday October 5th – National Employment Situation

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Prices, Purchases Stagnant, but Housing Starts on the Rise

The Stock Market and the Fed:

Other than a brief, and I mean for less than 30 minutes, did the stock market become concerned about the latest Fed meeting statement. You can look at stock market charts minute by minute and you will see within seconds of the Fed announcement that the Fed will likely increase rates before years end, the Dow plunged 50 points. However, within 30 minutes of the announcement the market was rising once again. In total 45 minutes from the announcement, the Dow was back to pre-announcement levels. The Dow finished the trading day up 39 points.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: Despite the fact that mortgage rates virtually flat last week, applications for purchases and refinances both declined. Apps dropped 11.0 percent and 9.0 percent respectively, and caught may analysts by surprise. Overall applications versus the same time last year are only up 2.0 percent. This is the closest gap we have seen between present and last year’s statistics.

Limited housing inventory continues to contribute to the limited growth in housing. As of late, the inventory, which had been increasing slightly, has once again returned to contraction. There continues to be speculation that with the rise in home prices all year, the fall could drive sellers to enter the market.

Housing Starts

This sector of the market is doing well. The latest stats for August show an increase of 7.9 percent from the prior month. To be transparent, some of the increase is due to rebuilding taking place in Texas related to the storm damage of Hurricane Harvey. It is likely that we will see additional increases in the coming months from the continuation of building in Texas, plus the addition of construction in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. However, it is important to note that overall housing starts are higher even when you subtract out the Hurricane factor.

FHFA House Price Index

Home price increases have been cooling as of late, and the latest report for July continues to show this trend. Home prices only rose 0.2 percent from June to July. Overall prices remain 6.3 percent above last year. The Mountain and Pacific States remain on top with annual prices increases of 8.2 percent.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday September 25th – Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
· Tuesday September 26th – New home Sales, Consumer Confidence
· Wednesday September 27th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Pending Home Sales
· Thursday September 28th - First Time Jobless Claims, GDP
· Friday September 29th – Consumer Sentiment

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Create perfect lighting and save energy by switching out your old light switch with a dimmer switch.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Why/How Potential Home Buyers Must Address Credit: 6 Basic Steps/Points

You've made the decision, it's time to buy and own a house! You realize you will need a down - payment, and additional funds for closing expenses, etc. You figure your credit is fine, because you've checked your credit score, and have often been accepted for credit cards, auto loans, etc. However, quite often, potential home buyers, fail to recognize and/ or realize, it is necessary to examine whether they qualify for a mortgage, because there are other factors, which go into consideration, in this application process. Items such as percentage of debt to income, amount of unused credit lines, etc, may have some impact. Therefore, it might make sense, for you to sit down, in advance, with a qualified, professional mortgage broker or banker, and ask to be pre - approved, and not merely pre - qualified. The difference is that everyone who might be qualified, may not, upon further review, be approved! Here are 6 preliminary steps/ points to look at.

1. Request and review a full copy of your credit report: Look closely for what it says on your credit report, and not merely at your credit score. Are there any mistakes, or questionable items, which may cause you difficulty? You are entitled to a free copy, once per year.

2. Check for accuracy and correct: Review this report clearly, fully and completely. Are there any inaccuracies, etc? Immediately, in writing, question and/ or ask for an explanation of anything you consider possibly negative, especially if it appears inaccurate.

3. Address negative and/ or questionable items: You might have had to contest something in the past, or never received an invoice, and it was turned over to collections, and even though, you thought you corrected it, and/ or cleared it up at the time, it might still be lingering on your credit report. Immediately, in writing, address anything which might, even appear, negative!

4. Reduce/ pay down debt: The less debt of any sort, the better you will qualify for your mortgage! Reduce or pay it down, and avoid taking out any additional debt or lines of credit, no matter how good a deal it seems. Don't buy a new car and finance it, immediately before you seek a mortgage loan! Even interest - free offers for items, such as appliances, computers or furniture, might have a negative impact!

5. Save for down - payment, closing costs, fees: Know how much you will need for a down - payment, and closing costs, as well as any related fees. Create a reserve equal to at least six months mortgage payments. be prepared!

6. Do it yourself; or hire someone: You can undergo this, by yourself, or you can hire a mortgage banker or broker, to advise you, and help you prepare properly, to optimize your chances for getting the loan, you seek. But, do it!

Know your credit, the process, and how it might affect, you getting your mortgage! Don't wait for the last moment!

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

From Makeshift Closet to Well-Stocked Kitchen - Adulting 101: Century 21

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Friday, September 8, 2017

All Returns to Normal After Tuesday's Stock Market Plunge; Mortgage Purchase Applications and Refinances Increase

The Stock Markets:

After Tuesday’s stock market plunge, based upon the momentary fears that re-appeared relating to the uncertainty with North Korea, all returned to normal. Despite the recent disruption to oil production from Hurricane Harvey, and the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma, investors continue to believe in the strength of the American economy. There is potential for the positive sentiment to rapidly change with the instability of what is happening with North Korea along with the aftermath of Irma, but for now investors appear to be holding steady.

Additionally, with the lack of significant economic news or data for this week, investors have had little to go on to make adjustment to their holdings. Next week the economic calendar continues to remain light, so it is likely that investors will be making any significant changes in their strategy in the markets.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: The decline in mortgage rates appears to have awoken buyers who have been sitting idle on the sidelines. The week ending September 1st applications for purchase loans rose 1.0 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. This increase comes after three consecutive weeks of application declines. Refinances, which are always sensitive to rate movements, jumped 5.0 percent. With mortgage rates going lower, the market share of refinances has been increasing. The latest data shows that refinancing represents just over 50.0 percent of all mortgage activity. Mortgage rates are currently at the lowest level since November 2016.

With all the focus on the Hurricanes, the knowledge to the general public regarding declining rates, is only just starting to trickle out. As more people begin to realize exactly what is happening, it is likely that we will see even more activity in both purchases and refinances. The increase in demand for housing might even be more of a catalyst for homeowner who have been thinking about selling, to actually take the leap and place their homes for sale. The bottom line is that the recent movement in rates might be just what the market needs to stimulate an increase in housing inventory, which is what has been the only thing holding back what would be a very strong housing market.

First Time Jobless Claims

If it were not for the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, claims would have continued to remain near historic lows. Claims jumped more than 50,000, fed by the initial claims coming from Texas. Claims are likely to continue higher from both Texas and the aftermath of Hurricane Irma hitting Florida.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday September 12th – JOLTS Report
· Wednesday September 13th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Producer Price Index
· Thursday September 14th - First Time Jobless Claims, Consumer Price Index
· Friday September 15th – Retail Sales, Industrial Production, Consumer Sentiment

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

As Nation Reels from Harvey's Destruction,Stocks Remain Strong While Housing Market Flattens

Watching the devastation that has occurred in Texas is heart wrenching to say the least. There is so little that can be said that has not already been written or voiced. It is a crisis beyond belief, and it is my hope that as many people as possible will find a way to contribute to help those in need. There are many legitimate ways to contribute (stay away from scams) to assist in the long road to recovery..

The Stock Markets: It seems that investors around the world do not have much concern about geopolitical events derailing the current market rallies in many of the world’s major economies. Even in the U.S., where the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, and the impact it is having on oil production, has done little to reverse investor enthusiasm towards future economic growth.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index: The latest data on home price appreciation in June shows a virtually flat market. Between last week’s FHFA price data, and now the latest Case-Shiller report, home prices are up only 0.1 percent. Overall, prices are higher by 5.7 percent from the same time last year.

Despite the continued lack of inventory that exists nationwide, home prices have stabilized which can be a catalyst for a few positive things to occur in housing.

Time will tell, but it is possible that homeowners now seeing the run-up in prices slowing, may elect to start placing their homes on the market. This could bode well for a very strong Fall market as the pent-up demand for housing would likely rapidly absorb any new inventory that appears. Additionally, the stabilizing of prices keeps home affordability in check potentially increasing the number of buyers who can qualify to purchase bolstering housing strength.

Consumer Confidence: The latest reading from the Conference Board’s measurement of consumer confidence shows that August has many people believing in the strength of the economy. The reading of 122.9 is the highest the index has been since March, and the second highest dating all the way back to December of 2000. Consumer confidence has the potential to also translate positively into growth in the housing market in the coming months.

Mortgage Rates and Applications: Surprisingly, despite falling mortgage rates, it does not seem to be translating into an increase in purchase or refinance activity according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. The latest data for the week ending August 25th shows a decline of 3.0 percent and 2.0 percent in purchase and refi applications respectively. Even with the seasonal adjustments made for the end of the summer, applications are down. The bright spot in the report is that applications for purchases remain 4.0 percent higher than the same time last year.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday September 4th – US Holiday: Labor Day – All Markets Closed
· Tuesday September 5th – Factory Orders
· Wednesday September 6th - MBA Mortgage Applications & ISM Non-Mfg Index
· Thursday September 7th - First Time Jobless Claims & EIA Petroleum Status
· Friday September 8th – Wholesale Trade & Consumer Credit

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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ready, Set, Rec! - September

In this episode of Ready, Set, Rec! Community Services Director Kerry Walker talks about some of the great events and activities taking place in Vacaville during the month of September.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Has the “Bull Market” Run Its Course?

The Stock Market

Has the “Bull Market” run its course? Are we heading into a stock market correction?

These are just some of the questions investors, consumers, even government officials are asking in recent weeks. With the stock market down off of its recent highs, and with no clear direction happening, many are wondering if the fear of a market downturn may come to fruition.

The good news is that the fundamentals for a strong economy are very much in place. Low interest rates combined with good economic productivity, a great labor market, and strong corporate profits in many sectors, should limit any significant market correction.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

The mortgage market remains very close to flat in recent weeks. Purchase applications declined a seasonally adjusted 2.0 percent for the week ending August 18th. Refinance apps were up a measly 0.3 percent. With mortgage rates remaining very low, the refinance percentage of loan applications increased by 1.1 percent to 48.7 percent. Overall mortgage applications for home purchasing are up 9.0 percent from the same time last year.

Existing Home Sales & FHFA House Price Index

There continues to be mixed messages coming from the housing market. The report on existing home sales for the month of July showed another monthly decline of 1.3 percent to a lower than expected annualized rate of 5.440 million. Although sales in this sector have been in a downward trend, the current volume remains near the highs of the housing expansion which started after the housing crisis. The cause of the less than stellar numbers continues to be driven by one thing, and one thing only, and that is the lack of housing inventory. Demand remains very strong but the increase of sellers placing their homes for sale has yet to occur, as many industry experts had either expected or hoped,

Home prices came in softer than expected with a minimal increase of only 0.1 percent. Year-on-year home prices are higher by 6.5 percent, which is 4/10ths lower than the prior month’s 6.9 percent. The report is both good news and bad news. The slowing of home appreciation helps with home affordability. The downside is that less appreciation limits wealth growth for homeowners. What will be interesting to see is if homeowners see that values are no longer rising the way they were, maybe they will decide to cash-out and sell, which will be a boost to home sales.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Monday August 28th – Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
· Tuesday August 29th – S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
· Wednesday August 30th - MBA Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report
· Thursday August 31st - First Time Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales
· Friday September 1st – National Employment, Construction Spending, ISM Mfg Index

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Mortgage

Before looking for your next home, it is important that you complete the mortgage pre-approval process. Once you receive a pre-approval, there are some common mistakes and pitfalls that could result in your mortgage being rescinded. A pre-approval is based on a snapshot of your employment, credit, income, and assets. If any of these criteria change, it may have a negative impact on your ability to obtain a mortgage and force the lender to deny the loan.

Below is a list of the most common mistakes that homebuyers make before receiving their final mortgage approval:

• Change in Employment - If your employment changes after receiving your pre-approval and before closing your mortgage, notify your loan officer immediately. Even if your new job is a promotion or pay increase, it may be subject to a probationary period. Also, if your employment includes income from commission, tips, bonuses, or is subject to job expenses, your lender may view this income as unstable until you show a 2-year history of this type of income.

• Cash Deposits - Government regulations and investor guidelines require mortgage lenders to document all large deposits within 60 days of applying for a mortgage. All large deposits must be documented showing the source of the funds. These include but are not limited to: cash gifts, the sale of assets, 401(k) loans, a transfer from one bank account to another, or any other large deposit. Transfers from a joint account will likely also require full disclosure of the originating account and a letter from the co-owner of the account that you have full access to the transferred funds.

• Inquiries/New Purchases- Any credit inquiries that are listed on your credit report for the previous 90 days, before applying for a mortgage, will need to be explained. If any new debt resulted, you will need to provide a statement, and the debt would need to be included in your debt ratio. Any deposits you make during the loan process for a new house such as: appliances, furniture, or home amenities will also need to be explained, documented, and included in your debt ratio.

• Overdrafts- Mortgage lenders will thoroughly review all bank statements that are provided for the mortgage loan. You will need to explain any over-drafts and what you have done to remedy the reason for the over-drafts in the future.

• Business Expenses - Mortgage lenders will require two years' tax returns. Business expenses, losses on rental property and business ventures reported on the returns will need to be explained and will likely be deducted from your overall income.

• New Debts- Household debts that are not included on your credit report, such as: spousal support, alimony, car payments from "buy here pay here" companies or a credit union that does not report their revolving or installment loan debts, will need to be documented and included in your debt ratio.

After applying for the mortgage loan, if you are concerned that any change in your financial picture may affect your loan approval, it is in your best interest to contact your mortgage loan officer. Inform them of the change immediately and always make sure you are honest with your mortgage loan officer, so they have an accurate picture of your financial situation. Inaccurate information or surprises during the mortgage process may result in your mortgage being denied, a devastating situation that can often be avoided.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Common Roadside Emergencies - Adulting 101: Century 21

Because owning a home is only the beginning. Century 21 presents everything you need to know to master Adulting

Friday, August 18, 2017

Housing and Stock Markets Mixed, but Fall Forecasts are Positive

The Stock Markets

After a 271% rise in the stock market, rumbles of concern that it may be overpriced are starting to be heard on Wall Street. Many experts are expressing concern that the valuations are not warranted and that a correction may be forthcoming.

Thursday’s decline of 274 points was blamed primarily on concerns over the terrorist attack in Barcelona. However, many investors commented that they believe the size of the decline was exacerbated by the underlying concerns about how much the market has risen since the last correction.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

Purchase applications for home mortgages decreased a seasonally adjusted 2.0 percent for the week ending August 11th. For mid-August, purchase application increases or decreases within a few percentage points, week to week, are essentially indicative of a flat market. The good news is that purchase apps are higher by 10% from the same time last year. With mortgage rates continuing to remain low, refinance applications rose 2.0 percent. Refinancing increased by 1.1 of all mortgages to a level of 47.8 percent of all loans being financed.

Housing Starts

Housing starts unexpectedly declined to a lower than expected annualized 1.155 million. The current rate is now back to the same levels as March and April of this year. It is too early to determine, however there are signs that the final trend for 2017 might end up being lower than the prior year. On the positive side, there continues to be commentary that the Fall real estate market may bring stronger than normal due to the pent-up demand from a consistent lack of available inventory. The one thing to watch is what happens both domestically with President Trump policies, as well as any geo-political events, such as Thursday’s act of terrorism in Barcelona.

Housing Market Index

This index, which is comprised of feedback from the National Association of Home Builders which provides a rating of the general economy and housing market conditions, delivered an upside surprise this week. The latest reading was up by 4 points which was better than analyst’s expectations. The current level of the index indicates positive sentiment of the nation’s home builders on the future of the economy and housing.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday August 22nd – FHFA House Price Index
· Wednesday August 23rd - MBA Mortgage Applications, New Home Sales
· Thursday August 24th - First Time Jobless Claims, Existing Home Sales
· Friday August 25th – Durable Goods Orders

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Economic Data Remains Strong; Purchase and Refinance Applications Increase

The Stock Markets

It has been a while since any vulnerability to the rising stock indices has existed. Economic data continues to remain strong and shows little sign of weakening. Geopolitical concerns over North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have been taking center stage all week on the news channels and the concerns are starting to show up in investor decisions with more money flowing into the bond market.

Mortgage Bankers Association Loan Application Weekly Data

Purchase applications for home mortgages increased a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent for the week ending August 4th. Applications for refinances jumped 5.0 percent with the recent slight decline in rates. As mentioned in the previous section, concerns on the international fronts have investors starting to remove money from stocks and placing funds in bonds as a hedge against market uncertainty.

The housing market continues to remain ahead of last year. From the same date a year ago, the purchase index is up by 7.0 percent. The refinance portion of mortgage financing increased by 1.2 percent to represent 46.7 percent of all mortgage financing. Mortgage rates for the week declined by 3 basis points, which appears to be enough to stimulate a few more refinances.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

Once again it is clear that there is a significant shortage of qualified candidates to fill the job openings that currently exist. For the month of June job openings rose sharply to 6.163 million. This is up from the prior month’s 5.702 million. Hiring has been struggling as the filling of these available positions declined sharply by 103,000. Although this index can be quite volatile, the recent data points to significant tightness in the labor market. Additionally, despite all the job openings, the reduction in hires is an indicator that many employers want to fill open positions, but they remain against paying significant wage increases to attract the help.

Noteworthy News

The airline industry, which is not known for stellar customer service, is dipping it toes into the water of two-way texting with customers. Up until now, airlines only offered text communication one-way, from airline to passengers, typically related to gate change announcements and flight schedule changes or delays.

Hawaiian Airlines and Jetblue have begun a service (albeit it is in the testing phase) that allows passengers to communicate with customer service staff via text. Passengers can even complain via text. This should be interesting to see what happens in the coming months as the airline industry is notorious for not listening.

Next week’s potential market moving reports are:

· Tuesday August 15th – Housing Market Index
· Wednesday August 16th - MBA Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts, FOMC Minutes
· Thursday August 17th - First Time Jobless Claims, Industrial Production
· Friday August 18th – Consumer Sentiment

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Don't Waste Your Time!: Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval

You've made that very personal decision, to consider buying a house of your own! You may have put off this moment, for a variety of reasons, including; indecisiveness; geographic; job-related; financial, etc, but now, you think, you're ready! So, what should you do first! The logical first-step is to discuss finance, and the all-important mortgage information, with a qualified mortgage broker or banker. If you have received a recommendation from someone you trust, and is knowledgable, begin with a conversation with that professional. If not, interview, and hire, a real estate professional, who will take care of your needs, and provide you with recommendations of reliable mortgage professionals. Either way, be certain to get a Mortgage Pre-Approval, before you begin your quest for the house of your dreams.

1. A pre-qualification is not a pre-approval: Beware, there is huge difference between being pre-qualified, and pre-approved! The former means that based on the basic information you have provided, you would be able to qualify to get a certain size mortgage. On the other hand, the latter means the broker/bank, has done a thorough review of your income, liabilities, etc, as they would before they issued a mortgage, and, as long as the house comps out, you will get a mortgage.

2. Other debts/liabilities: Lending institutions use a formula to determine how much mortgage one might qualify for. It takes into consideration all debt owed, and that combined with your new mortgage debt, cannot exceed a certain percentage. That is, in addition to, the mortgage must fall within a certain percentage of one's income.

3. What can you afford as a down-payment?: Traditionally, you are asked to put down 20% down-payment, and you can then use your mortgage for the balance. However, there are loans available, which require less down, but that means a higher monthly payment! You may also be in a position to put down more, and carry a smaller mortgage. This must be a combination of what you can actually afford, as well as your comfort level.

4. What can you afford monthly: The lending institution will come up with a maximum figure, they say you can carry monthly. They base this as a percentage of one's income. However, you may not feel comfortable with that amount of debt, so you must take that into consideration. All this valuable information will help you decide the price ranges you should look at, when you search for a home.

5. Move to the front of the line: Let's say you've taken into consideration the above information, and now are prepared and ready, to begin your search, in earnest. You have searched, and found the house you want, but others feel the same way. When there are competing offers, the buyer with a Pre-Approval, often is given more consideration, because it is considered a better bet, for the seller.

It is the responsibility of a qualified real estate professional to help you find the right house, at the best available price, with the least amount of hassle or wasted time! Make it easier on yourself, by beginning properly, by getting a Mortgage Pre-Approval.

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