Pick up the phone | You Should Call Your Mortgage Lender in 2017

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We all fall into the same bad habit: Once we take out our mortgage loan, we tend to forget about it – at least until it’s time to send in our payment each month.

U.s Dollar Bills Pin Down on the GroundBut vow to take a different approach in 2017. Instead of mostly ignoring your mortgage this year, take an active role in managing it.

To do this, give your mortgage lender a call. You might be able to tweak your home loan so that you can save some serious dollars this year. Here are three big reasons to call your lender, and take control of your mortgage loan, this year:

It might be time to refinance: Mortgage interest rates have been low for a long time. And they continued to drop throughout the end of 2016. So maybe it’s time to talk with your mortgage lender about the possibility of refinancing your home loan.

Sure, a refinance isn’t free. But if you can drop your interest rate by a point or more, you’ll generally pay back your upfront investment quickly. If you plan on staying in your home for more than five years, the odds are good that refinancing your loan to one with a lower interest rate might make financial sense.

You’ll never know, though, unless you give your lender a call. Your lender will be able to run the numbers to determine if a refinance is the right move.

You might be able to eliminate a ton of interest by shortening your loan’s term: Maybe your interest rate is already low. You can still save money by refinancing your mortgage loan to one with a shorter term. Say you are paying off a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage today. By refinancing to a 15-year version of this loan, you can reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan by tens of thousands of dollars.

Again, though, you should talk to your mortgage lender to determine whether the interest savings make the cost of refinancing worthwhile. A lot of this depends upon how long you plan to live in your home.

You might be able to pay off your mortgage early—but doing so might not make sense: Maybe you’re coming to the end of your mortgage loan’s lifespan. That’s good news. You might even be tempted to pay off your loan early just to get rid of the monthly payment.

But often, paying off a mortgage loan early isn’t the wisest of moves. Again, checking in with your mortgage lender might be in order.

Mortgage debt generally comes with lower interest rates than do other forms of debt, especially credit-card debt. If, then, you are paying off this kind of debt, it makes more sense to concentrate your money on reducing it than it does to pay off your mortgage loan early.  kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

www.cbbaker. com

Categories: mortage planning, Mortgage choice, Mortgage Fine Print, Mortgage ideas

LOOKING FORWARD Real Opportunities In Real Estate This Year

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Whether you’re looking to buy your first—or 15th—home, this year holds many opportunities for you. And, if you need to sell this year, the same holds true. 2017 is looking to be a great year for sellers, buyers, investors and those who need to relocate or settle down with a second home, too.

How is that possible? First, financing continues to be available to a wider group of consumers as lenders increasingly work to open up some qualifications. Secondly, interest rates continue to sit near historic lows, making mortgages affordable for many. Lastly, with rents increasing in many regions, it makes more sense to buy a home than it does to rent one. (And, if you’re an investor, with rising rents, it makes more sense to grow your rental property portfolio this year.)

Additionally, your credit plays a big role in landing affordable financing, so we’ll give you the year’s scoop on how to monitor your credit report and protect your identity and financial details in light of all-too-frequent data breaches.

Free stock photo of wood, light, house, luxuryAnd, if you’re just staying put in your home, we’ll give you the remodeling outlook for the year, too.

No matter your real estate plans, we are here for your home-related needs. Contact us. We’re eager to work with you this year!

SMART CHOICE

When It Makes More Sense To Buy Than Rent

In many areas today, rents are rising faster than home prices. In such situations, it often makes more sense to own a home than to rent someplace to live. Even when renting and owning seem like a wash, owning can still come out ahead.

Consider these facts as you look at buying a home in 2017:
  • Don’t forget how the mortgage interest you’re paying will likely benefit you at tax time. (Consult with a tax adviser for details specific to your situation.)
  • If you plan to live in the same place for a length of time, your home is likely to appreciate so that at sale time, you’ll find yourself with a gain, or at least break even in many cases.
  • Buying gives you a home that you’re free to customize as you wish, while also giving you a place to put down roots and get involved in the community.
  • Depending on the financing you choose for your home purchase, your monthly home mortgage amount may be fixed from 15 to 30 years, allowing you to budget for other expenses more easily.
  • Renting puts money in the pockets of your landlord while paying off a mortgage results in a home paid off, and resulting in no more monthly mortgage/housing payments.

Consult with a local mortgage professional (contact us for recommendations) to get preapproved for a mortgage. Then let’s talk about home shopping! kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com 

Categories: buying a home, real estate, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC homes

Five Ways To Get The Best Interest Rate

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Free stock photo of black-and-white, man, hurry, reflectionsToday’s real estate market continues to be a busy one, thanks in part to mortgage interest rates that remain near historic lows, allowing buyers to afford more home. Despite this, it’s still important to watch interest rates to ensure you get the best deal.

(If you need recommendations for great local lenders, please let us know!) Here are in-the-know tips to help you get the best rate for your mortgage.

1. ACT FAST
Lock in an interest rate today. There’s no sense pining over rates of yesterday because they are old news and unlikely to return. If you’re nervous your home won’t close in the typical 30 days, pay to extend your rate lock.

2. GRAB A DEAL
Even with slightly higher interest rates, your buying power is still strong. The difference between an interest rate of 4% and 4.5% on a $200,000 30-year mortgage is only $58 more per month.

3. SCALE BACK
If your proposed mortgage payment makes you nervous, step back and think about finding a home with a smaller price tag. You may have to give some on space and/or location but your monthly budget will thank you.

4. ADJUST
If you aren’t sure how long you’ll be living in your next home, consider a hybrid or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that offers an initial fixed lower rate for a specific amount of time (three, five, seven years, etc.) before a single adjustment or annual changes.

5. GOOD SIGNS
Closely examine the area where the home is located. An improving local economy with stable and increasing jobs, vibrant schools and nearby conveniences increases the likelihood that the home will appreciate over time. Besides your home being a great place to live, you might also make a profit when it comes time to sell!

Categories: Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

Mortgage Planning For The New Year

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Free stock photo of eye, macro, human, seeA new year is nearly here. That means it’s time to take a closer look at your mortgage loan.

You might not give much thought to your home loan, other than to pay it on time each month. But remember that your mortgage bill is probably the largest payment that you are responsible for each month. It makes sense to review your loan details to make sure that it is still the best fit for you and your family—and your budget.

Here are our recommendations for possible changes to make to your mortgage loan in 2017:

Time to refinance? Your mortgage interest rate might already be low, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save potentially hundreds of dollars every month with a refinance. As a general rule, if you can shave a full point off your interest rate, you’ll save enough money each month to make the cost of a refinance worth it.

Call us today to ask whether you might qualify for a lower interest rate. We’d be happy to study your loan to determine whether a refinance might make financial sense for you.

Shorten your loan term? You don’t have to refinance merely to earn a lower interest rate. You can also refinance to reduce the term of your loan. If you are now paying off a 30-year fixed-rate loan, for instance, it might make sense to refinance to a 15-year or 10-year fixed-rate loan.

Yes, shortening your term will usually result in a higher monthly payment. But you’ll also potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest during the life of your loan. If you’re ready to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying each month, refinancing to a shorter-term loan could be a smart move. Again, contact us if you’re ready for a shorter-term loan. We can help you determine if this is a wise financial step.

Pay a bit more? Another way to reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your mortgage is to pay a bit more each month than is required. Even paying $100 more toward your loan’s principal balance each month can dramatically reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay. Just make sure to indicate that the extra money you are sending in is earmarked to pay down your principal balance. There should be an option for this on your payment stub or your online payment plan.

Categories: Mortgage, new year, refi, Uncategorized

What is the difference between loan pre-approval and pre-qualification?

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

Pre-approval and pre-qualification are steps ywww.cbbaker.comou can take to line up your mortgage loan before you start house hunting in Wilmington NC. They are different, so read on:

Pre-approval:

  • is actually applying for, and getting, a conditional commitment for a mortgage loan up to a specific amount of money.
  • is usually good for 60-90 days.
  • applies, even though you might not have chosen the home you will buy.
  • often requires a loan application fee.
  • gives you bargaining power, because it tells the seller you are ready to buy and able to get financing.

Pre-qualification:

  • is the result of a lender taking a cursory look at the buyer’s income, credit history and assets.
  • states the buyer probably could afford to buy up to a certain limit.
  • does not include a loan commitment.
  • tells sellers you’re serious about buying and their house is in your price range.
  • usually costs no more than the credit report fee.

Some advantages of pre-qualification and pre-approval are:

  • A pre-approval or pre-qualification can speed closing because the paperwork for the loan has already been started.
  • You will begin learning about the financing process, and any problems that might arise can be resolved early.
  • You know in advance how much you can borrow.
  • Your offer is more attractive to the seller, because the seller won’t have to guess about whether you can afford the house.

Where do you begin when it’s time to look for a new house? Start by calling or e-mailing us with your home-buying questions. We can give you an idea of how much home you can afford to buy, then you can follow up with your local lender.

Categories: Pre-Approval for Loan, Pre-Qualification, wilmington nc real estate, Wilmington NC real estate stats 2014, wilmington real estate stats

No Brainer | Pre-Approval Is The Smart Choice

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happyYou know that getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan before you even start shopping for a home is the smart move.

When a lender pre-approves you—telling you exactly how much mortgage money it is willing to lend you—you know how expensive a home you can truly afford. You won’t waste time looking at residences that fall outside your price range.

But how do you go about getting pre-approved? Fortunately, the process isn’t overly complicated.

1. Contact a lender that offers loans in the area where the property is located. Ask about interest rates and fees. If you’re comfortable, explain that you’d like to get pre-approved for a mortgage.The lender will ask to run your credit. Give your permission. Your credit scores determine the interest rate for which you might qualify—if you qualify for a mortgage loan at all.

2. You will need to provide financial documents that prove your income. Documents will include your last two paycheck stubs, last two months of bank-account statements, last two W-2 forms and, maybe, copies of your tax returns from the last two years.

3. All this information will then be sent onto the underwriting team, which will study your finances to determine how much of a lending risk you are. Once the underwriting team finishes its study, your lender can tell you exactly how much they are willing to lend you.

4. Finally, your lender will send you a pre-approval letter that will state this amount. Now you’ll know not to look at $300,000 homes if you can only qualify for $200,000 in mortgage money.

We are local Wilmington NC people who love real estate.  Let us help you.  www.cbbaker.com – app.seacoastrealty.com/househunter – kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: Get Pre-approved before house hunting, Mortgage 101, Pre Approval for Mortgage

Avoid Foreclosure – Don’t Lose Your Home If You Fall Behind On Mortgage Payments

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wilmington nc real estateIf you’re experiencing financial hard times and have missed a payment or two on your home, it doesn’t mean you’re headed to foreclosure—yet.

If you’re at the end of your financial rope, it’s time to take these steps, immediately, to rescue your home—and your credit:

1. Contact your lender. Lenders may allow a forebearance (reducing or suspending payments for a short period) and/or a reinstatement (accepting the total overdue amount owed in a lump sum). Make sure you clearly understand the repayment plan and adhere to it.

2. Request a modified mortgage plan. The term or interest rate may be permanently changed on your loan and/or past-due payments added to the mortgage balance.

3. Interest-free or low-interest loans. Investigate the availability of loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or your loan insurance company to bring payments up to date.

4. Sell. Go ahead and get out of the home before it’s repossessed. Better to dump the mortgage and rent than to ruin your future credit.

5. Deed in lieu of foreclosure. As a last resort, give the property back to the lender. This move can only be made if none of the above work for you.

Let us know what we can do to help.  For more information please visit www.cbbaker.com and look in the seller section.  kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: avoid foreclosure, Avoiding Foreclosure, foreclosrue

CHECK THAT PIGGY BANK Do You Have Enough To Finance A Home?

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Piggy Bank, Heart, Funny, Ceramic, SaveYou know you make enough money to afford a monthly mortgage payment. Your credit is strong, too, so you’re not worried about getting hit with a high interest rate.But you do have one concern: You’re not sure you have enough money in your bank accounts to cover the down payment and closing costs that go with financing a home purchase.

It’s a legitimate concern. Fortunately, there are some estimates you can use as a guide.

 

Down Payment

Start with the down payment. This is the biggest upfront cost of buying a home. If you are taking out a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and your FICO credit score is at least 580, you’ll need a down payment of at least 3.5% of your home’s final purchase price. For a home costing $150,000, that comes out to $5,250.

If you’re going with a conventional mortgage loan—one not insured by the federal government—you’ll usually need a down payment of 5% to 20% of your home’s purchase price. For a home costing $180,000, that comes to $9,000 to $36,000.

That’s a lot of money, and it’s why many homebuyers save for years before finally buying a home. You can, though, rely on gifts from family members to help cover your down payment. Whoever is gifting you funds must write a letter stating that the down payment funds are actually a gift that do not have to be paid back. If they don’t provide this letter, your lender will consider the down payment funds they give you to be a loan that you have to pay back—and this can reduce your borrowing power.

Closing/Settlement Costs

Closing costs are another major expense involved in closing a mortgage loan. These are the fees that lenders and third-party providers, such as title insurers or real estate attorneys, charge for the work they put in to originate and close your loan.

Closing costs vary according to lender, but in Bankrate’s 2015 survey of closing costs, the financial website found that the average homebuyer spent $1,847 in mortgage closing costs. However, it’s important to note that what you actually pay may differ. Bankrate’s study didn’t include fees such as title insurance, title search, property taxes and other associated costs.

Earnest Money Deposit

You’ll need funds, too, to pay for an earnest money deposit. This is the payment you provide to sellers after they accept your signed purchase offer for their home and both you and they sign a sales contract. The earnest money is evidence that you are serious about buying the home.

The good news? Your earnest money deposit is usually included as part of your down payment if the home sale actually closes. How much earnest money you’ll need varies widely. Some sellers will accept earnest money deposits of as little as $200. Others might want a deposit of as much as 1.5% of the home’s final sales price. For a $140,000 home, that comes out to $2,100. Your real estate pro can advise you on local expectations.

Reserves

Finally, most mortgage lenders will require that you have at least two months of reserves in your bank accounts. These are funds that you have saved that you won’t be using on down payment or closing costs, but that you can use to pay for your estimated new monthly mortgage payment.

Say your estimated mortgage payment comes out to $1,200 a month. If your lender requires that you have at least two months of reserves saved up, you’d need another $2,400 in your bank accounts.

This isn’t as rigid of a rule. If your credit score is high, say 740 or more on the FICO credit scale, your lender might not require any reserves at all. That’s because your lender will have more confidence that you’ll pay your mortgage on time, even without extra money reserved.

Categories: Closing costs on a home, Financing a home, Saving for a home

THE FINE PRINT | Take A Close Look At Contract

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In the heat of the moment a purchase offer may seem like a hastily written document. Rest assured the real estate professionals involved take special care to make sure all is proper. Yet that multi-page, fine-print purchase offer may shortly become a legally binding contract. If the seller says yes by affixing his or her signature on the bottom line and any changes are ratified, the buyer is locked in—but to what?

In The Know

Before writing a contract, you should review it to determine what it is you’re signing. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. This sometimes-confusing document outlines many facets of the transaction.

While contracts are created in most part on a local basis, they typically deal with many of the same issues, such as:

  • Price, terms and financing
  • What conveys, what stays
  • Home inspections, pest inspections, environmental inspections, other special inspections
  • Contingencies that must be cleared to speed along the transaction
  • Adherence to local statutes
  • Property and environmental disclosures
  • Fees to be paid both by the seller and buyer
  • How disputes will be settled
  • Other items, depending on where you’re buying the home.

In some areas, an attorney is required to be involved in this process. If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, contact us to discuss any step of the real estate process you have questions about.

Do your homework. Read the entire contract before you sign it.  Need help?  Give us a call.  910-202-3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: Read the fine print, Uncategorized

What are the basic steps to selling my home? Wilmington NC real estate

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  • 1
  • Do your homework.
      Visit our website to size-up the homes-for-sale competition, read home selling articles on our site, consider reading a book on home selling, attend some seller’s Open Houses in the your area (ask us or see the local newspaper).  www.cbbaker.com
  • Hire a specialist.
      As neighborhood real estate agents that specialize in listing in your area, we know what it takes to sell in this market. We welcome your call!
  • Set the price.
      Ask your agent for an analysis of the local market and an opinion of the best price range for your home.
  • Set a marketing strategy.
      Have your agent discuss a marketing plan and include the main elements in the listing presentation.
  • Get the house ready.
      With your agent, take a hard, objective look at your home. Prioritize what needs to be done, and decide how much you can spend in time and money to make it look its best before opening it up to buyers. Get rid of all clutter and put some of your stuff in storage to make the rooms and closets roomier. Put together an information packet on local amenities, your utility bills and other helpful information.
  • Consider finding a reliable real estate attorney.
      The attorney can help review all the paperwork.
  • Keep on top of the process.
    Stash some quick clean-up supplies close at hand, and do a fast run-through before letting a prospective buyer preview your home. Also, keep a notebook handy with a record of everyone who has come through (and their agents), and inform your agent after each visit. This can speed the follow-up that your agent will do.

 

Categories: Selling your home, Steps to Sell your home, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC


Kay Baker Associates | 1001 Military Cutoff | Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405 | kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com | 910-202-3607 | Fax 910-338-2428

Copyright © 2017 Wilmington NC Real Estate Guide. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: All content on this blog is my own opinion and should not be treated as fact or relied upon when purchasing or selling real estate.