CONSEQUENTIALLY CONTINGENT

22869326 - coming to an agreement through negotiation illustrated by three road or street signs with the words you want, i want, negotiate

The C word – it’s not well understood, so it’s not well liked. But, we should no longer feel the need to whisper it only in dark shadows after certain hours. Unless you’re a first-time home buyer or have been renting, there’s a chance you’ll need to sell your home before purchasing a new one. And the safest way for a buyer to do this is through a contingency. Let it be known, this is a beautiful risk and has pretty perks, so for those of you who see the glass half full, this one’s for you. For the rest, as they say, pour your liquid into a smaller cup and no longer fear this scenario.

 

What does it Mean?

By definition, it means a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty. In real estate, this clause defines a condition or action that must be met in order for a real estate contract to become binding (as aforementioned, with a home sale contingency in place, the transaction is dependent upon the sale of the buyer’s home). The contingency becomes part of a binding sales contract when both parties agree to the terms and sign the contract.

Why is it Risky?

To Sellers: the main risk is that there is no guarantee that the home will sell. Before agreeing to a contingency, a seller may want to do their due diligence, for instance: is the home already for sale, is the list price attractive, what’s the sales time for homes in the neighborhood.

To Buyers: Buyers must still spend the same amount of money on home inspections, repair negotiations, appraisal fee (to name a few) and the buyer does not get these monies back if the deal falls through due to their property not selling on time. Also, because sellers are taking a gamble of sorts of the buyers ability to sell their current property, buyers need to make their offer as attractive as possible so that the seller will consider this risk.
What are the Benefits?

To Sellers: One major benefit is that the home can continue to be shown, and the seller can continue to receive offers. If the seller accepts a written offer, the seller is required to notify the buyer of such acceptance.  Per the contract, the buyer has a specified amount of time (say, 2-3 days) to either remove the contingency and put down additional earnest money, or the contract terminates automatically and the earnest money is refunded to the buyer. A home sale contingency might also be a good thing if the seller has had the property on the market for a while and is unable to find a buyer. A contract with a contingency is still a contract, and there is a chance that the property will sell.

To Buyers: A home sale contingency gives buyers the opportunity to not miss out on the home they want, while allowing them time to sell their property. This way, buyers can avoid owning two homes and holding two mortgages at one time while waiting for their own home to sell. A home sale contingency can allow the buyer to sell their property with peace of mind knowing their next purchase is already in motion.
Why is it Misunderstood?

Many may only see the risks and not truly understand the benefits. Home sale contingencies protect buyers who want to sell one home before purchasing another. Upon receiving or writing a contract involving a contingency, it is important to review and understand the terms of the sale. This is something your real estate agent should be able to explain in detail to you. Fear not the world of contingencies, as knowledge is power!

 

Know Before You Owe

knowbeforeyouowe

The holidays are over, the sun is finally peaking out, and the buyers are making their grand debut from dormancy.

But as a buyer, knowledge is power. And The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau knows that. They have worked diligently to make the loan process more transparent. The new forms discussed below (the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure) were introduced to present less confusing information as to ensure consumers understand the terms of their loan and the fees they’re paying. Know before you owe!

To walk the walk, you have to talk the talk. Here is the new lingo and the new forms.

Let’s talk Terminology:

A lender is now a “Creditor”

The Good Faith Estimate (GFE) is now the “Loan Estimate” or LE for short.

HUD or Settlement Statement is now your “Closing Disclosure” or CD for short.

The GFE was meant to provide the buyer with a really good idea of what they’d be bringing to closing and the terms of their loan. But the rules behind its successor, the LE, are stricter, and provide a higher financial accuracy to the buyer. It includes interest rate, fees for both creditor and third-party services (ie: appraisals, title insurance, closing costs, etc.)

Before you do anything, shop around for a lender and get prequalified for a loan. There’s little advantage to visiting with a Real Estate Agent until you know what you can afford.

First you get prequalified, then you work with a Realtor who finds you the perfect home, and then comes your Loan Estimate.

SIX ELEMENTS TO GET THE LOAN ESTIMATE

  1. The consumer’s name
  2. The consumer’s income
  3. The consumer’s SSN to obtain a credit report (creditor shopping will NOT affect credit rating)
  4. Property address
  5. An estimate of the value of the property
  6. The mortgage loan amount sought

CLARIFY!

The prequal is NOT a Loan Estimate. If the consumer/buyer requests a preapproval or prequalification, and provides 5 of these 6 elements in their application, the creditor will provide the prequalification, but is not yet obligated to provide the LE.

Only when the consumer provides all six elements of the application, the creditor must get the LE to the consumer within 3 Federal Business days (if the creditor is open on Saturday, then Saturday counts). Once provided, the LE holds true for 10 days once a property has been determined.

The home does not actually have to be under contract at this point, but it greatly benefits the buyer if it is. Without knowing which title company the contract will be at, your creditor can’t know the exact fees. With the new LE, the liability and financial accuracy weighs much heavier on the creditor than it did in the past. So what if there are differences presented on your final CD than those on your LE?  There are zero tolerance fees, and fees that fall between a 10% tolerance. So if there is a difference between your CD and your LE, depending on which category the miscalculation falls under, the creditor may have to pay.

Moral is, sellers want strong buyers. Preapproval from a creditor shows just that, which is why it’s critical to get that first. Present that to your Realtor, house hunt, get under contract, and request the LE. Leave the rest to your happy and knowledgeable Realtor.

We’ll leave the changes to the consummation (the new term for closing) for a later discussion…

QUICK FACTS FROM 2015 COMPARED TO 2014

Demand was healthy in 2015, and the supply was enough to give the buyers options.

  • 1% increase in new listings since 2014
  • 7% increase in median sales price in 78418
  • -4.2% decrease in days on market
  • 15% new construction market share in 78418
  • 8% list to sale price ratio in 78418

6 Smart Reasons to Buy a Home in 2016

2016

Is it really 2016 already?  For those of you who happen to be planning on buying a home in the new year—or even just trying to—there’s a whole lot to celebrate. Why? A variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make this the perfect storm for home buyers to get out there and make an (winning) offer. Here are six home-buying reasons to be thankful while ringing in the new year:

Reason No. 1: Interest rates are still at record lows

Even though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

“Remember 18.5% in the ’80s?” asks Tom Postilio, a real estate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate and a star of HGTV’s “Selling New York.”“It is likely that we’ll never see interest rates this low again. So while prices are high in some markets, the savings in interest payments could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.”

Reason No. 2: Rents have skyrocketed

Another reason home buyers are lucky is that rents are going up, up, up! (This, on the other hand, is a reason not to be thankful if you’re a renter.) In fact, rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the2015 Rent.com Rental Market Report, 88% of property managers raised their rent in the past 12 months, and an 8% hike is predicted for 2016.

“In most metropolitan cities, monthly rent is comparable to that of a monthly mortgage payment, sometimes more,” says Heather Garriock, mortgage agent for The Mortgage Group. “Doesn’t it make more sense to put those monthly chunks of money into your own appreciating asset rather than handing it over to your landlord and saying goodbye to it forever?”

Reason No. 3: Home prices are stabilizing

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets.

“Local markets vary, but generally we are experiencing a cooling period,” says Postilio. “At this moment, buyers have the opportunity to capitalize on this.”

Reason No. 4: Down payments don’t need to break the bank

Probably the biggest obstacle that prevents renters from becoming homeowners is pulling together a down payment. But today, that chunk of change can be smaller, thanks to a variety of programs to help home buyers. For instance, the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Program allows for a 3% down payment for credit scores as low as 620.

Reason No. 5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too

If you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance (basically in case you default). A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are way down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market. Why not be one of them?

Reason No. 6: You’ll reap major tax breaks

Please, Mr. Postman Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on that loan. Homeowners may also deduct certain home-related expenses and home property taxes.

via realtor.com

5 Real Estate Trends That Will Dominate 2016

real-estate-2016

This year may have marked the best for housing since 2007, but the market will likely get even rosier in 2016, according to a recent real estate forecast by realtor.com®. One of the main drivers behind the brighter 2016 is the projection that employment will continue to grow, which will add to consumers’ wallets and allow them to purchase their first home or upgrade to a new one.  Realtor.com® highlights the following housing predictions for 2016:

  1. ‘Normal’ is coming.

Expect a healthy growth in home sales and prices – at a slower pace than in 2015. “This slowdown is not an indication of a problem—it’s just a return to normalcy,” writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “We’ve lived through 15 years of truly abnormal trends, and after working off the devastating effects of the housing bust, we’re finally seeing signs of more normal conditions.” New construction and distressed sales are expected to return to more historical levels, and home prices are expected to follow at “more normal rates consistent with a more balanced market.”

  1. Generational buying trends shape up.

Young adults’ presence on the housing market has been largely predicted for years, but 2016 may finally be the year they make a move in a larger way. Millennials represented nearly 2 billion sales in 2015 – one-third of home buyers. They are expected to continue to be a major buying pool in 2016 with the majority of buyers between ages 25 and 34 expected to be first-time home buyers next year. But two other generations will also have a big presence in 2016: financially recovering GenXers and older baby boomers who are entering retirement, realtor.com® notes. “Since most of these people are already homeowners, they’ll play a double role, boosting the market as both sellers and buyers,” Smoke notes. “Gen Xers are in their prime earning years and thus able to relocate to better neighborhoods for their families. Older boomers are approaching (or already in) retirement and seeking to downsize and lock in a lower cost of living.”

  1. New-home construction focuses more on affordability.

Builders have been faced with higher land costs, limited labor, and concerns about the demand of the entry-level market. As such, they have shifted to constructing more higher-priced homes, which has caused new-home prices to rise significantly faster than existing-home prices. In 2016, they likely will shift to more affordable product to cater to the entry-level buyers. “We are already seeing a decline in new-home prices for new contracts signed this fall,” notes Smoke. “In addition, credit access is improving enough to make the first-time buyer segment more attractive to builders.”

  1. Higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates will likely be volatile in 2016. But the recent move by the Federal Reserve to guide interest rates higher should push mortgage rates higher in the new year than the historical lows they have been at for years. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will likely end 2016 about 60 basis points higher than today’s level. “That level of increase is manageable, as consumers will have multiple tactics to mitigate some of that increase,” Smoke says. “However, higher rates will drive monthly payments higher, and, along with that, debt-to-income ratios will also go higher.” The markets with the highest home prices will see the effects from the higher rates the most.

  1. Rents to go up even higher.

Rental costs are skyrocketing, and the costs are likely to only go up in the new year. More than 85 percent of the nation’s markets have rents that exceed 30 percent of the income of renting households. “Rents are accelerating at a more rapid pace than home prices, which are moderating,” Smoke says. “Because of this, it is more affordable to buy in more than three-quarters of the U.S. However, for the majority of renting households, buying is not a near-term option due to poor household credit scores, limited savings, and lack of documentable stable income of the kind necessary to qualify for a mortgage today.”

Source: “The 5 Real Estate Trends That Will Shape 2016,” realtor.com® (Dec. 16, 2015)

Major Changes Coming to Mortgage Disclosures

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing”

it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

― Fulton J. Sheen

 Changes-Ahead

Come October 1, there are major changes coming to mortgage disclosures that I would like to share with you. Buyers, sellers, loan officers, title companies and real estate agents will all be affected.

No longer will there be a HUD-1 Settlement Statement or a Good Faith Estimate from a buyer’s lender. Both forms are going “bye-bye,” as is the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure form. Replacing them are two new forms: the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate.

Why does this affect anyone aside from those on the real estate, lender, title side? Because there are also new rules for the closing procedure, where the buyers and sellers tolerance come into play, as closing delays are almost unavoidable for the first few months.

One rule requires all forms to be ready three (business) days prior to closing. The National Association of Realtors recommends all closing documents are actually ready an entire week prior to closing, or “consummation” as is the new verbiage (yes, chuckling is OK).  So if everything is ready seven days prior to consummation, when you go into the three-day period, there are likely no changes to make. Because making changes as the countdown ensues comes with a cumbersome set of hurdles.

Everyone involved in the transaction is under pressure to get everything squared away earlier than in the past. Currently, the settlement statement can be completed and approved just hours before closing. Gone are those days. And as aforementioned, the buyers and sellers have to be cooperative, because if last-minute changes are made, a new three-day waiting period kicks in. Are there exceptions you ask? Yes! Bona fide financial emergencies such as the imminent sale of the consumer’s home at foreclosure. Any financial emergency must be accompanied by a written statement and will be very fact intensive.

The good news is, this doesn’t affect cash buyers, and many Realtors, Lenders, and Title Companies are taking the time and courses to get familiar with this new system and forms so we are ready! Communication will be KEY. But patience, grasshopper, good things come to those who wait.