Today is Thursday 23rd of November 2017

FOR BUYERS

Getting a Mortgage Before the Door Shuts

slamming door

If you’ve been sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to buy a house or refinance a mortgage, you should act soon.  New loans are starting to get costlier.

The mortgage market is facing pressures from new laws and regulations, still-declining home prices and the ongoing need for government-owned mortgage players to shore up their finances.  The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts mortgage originations, which reached $3 trillion in 2005, will be less than $1 trillion this year, the lowest level since 1997. 

“The price of mortgage money is going to go up, and the availability of mortgage money may also be impinged,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH Associates, which tracks mortgage data.

The silver lining is that the rate for a 30-year fixed loan is hovering around 5% for those with good credit.  That is up about a percentage point from last year’s lows but is still an attractive rate by historical standards, though expected to keep climbing as the economy improves.

Home prices in some areas are still falling, but they are bottoming out or firming up in others.  It may not be the perfect time to buy a home — but better mortgage options today may be a worthy trade-off to the possbility of lower prices tomorrow.

–adapted from The Wall Street Journal

When You Move, Here Are 3 Things You Don’t Want To Forget!

When you move there seems to be an endless list of things you need to change. Here are three more, and the forms to help you.

Change of address for the DMV

Change of address for the IRS

Voter Registration – Change of address

These are all PDF forms that you can print out, fill out and mail in.

What is Title Insurance?

What is Title Insurance?

Newspapers refer to it in the weekly real estate sections and you hear about it in conversations with real estate brokers. If you’ve purchased a home you may be familiar with the benefits of Title Insurance. However, if this is your first home, you may wonder, “Why do I need yet another insurance policy?” While a number of issues can be raised by that question, we will start with a general answer.

The purchase of a home is one of the most important investments you will ever make. You and your mortgage lender will want to make sure the property is indeed yours and that no one else has any lien, claim or encumbrance on your property.

Below are some questions frequently asked about an often-misunderstood line of insurance — Title Insurance.

What is the Difference Between Title Insurance and Casualty Insurance?

Title insurers work to identify and eliminate risk before issuing a Title Insurance policy. Casualty insurers assume risks.

Casualty insurance companies realize that a certain number of losses will occur each year in a given category (auto, fire, etc.). The insurers collect premiums monthly or annually from the policyholders to establish reserve funds in order to pay for expected losses.

Title companies work in a very different manner — Title Insurance will indemnify you against loss under the terms of your policy. However, title companies work in advance of issuing your policy to identify and eliminate potential risks and therefore prevent losses caused by title defects that may have been created in the past.

Title Insurance also differs from casualty insurance in that the greatest part of the Title Insurance premium dollar goes towards risk elimination. Title companies maintain “title plants” which contain information regarding property transfers and liens reaching back many years. Maintaining these title plants, along with the searching and examining of title, is where most of your premium dollars go.

Who Needs Title Insurance?

Buyers and lenders in real estate transactions need Title Insurance. Both want to know that the property they are involved with is insured against certain title defects. Title companies provide this needed insurance coverage, subject to the terms of the policy. The seller, buyer and lender all benefit from the insurance provided by title companies.

What Does Title Insurance Insure?

Title Insurance offers protection against claims resulting from various defects (as set out in the policy) that may exist in the title to a specific parcel of real property, effective on the issue date of the policy. For example, a person might claim to have a deed or lease giving them ownership or the right to possess your property.

Another person could claim to hold an easement giving them a right of access across your land. Yet another person may claim that they have a lien on your property securing the repayment of a debt. That property may be an empty lot or it may hold a 50-story office tower. Title companies work with all types of real property.

What Type of Policies Are Available?

Title companies routinely issue two types of policies: An “owner’s” policy which insures you, the homebuyer, for as long as you and your heirs own the home; and a “lenders” policy which insures the priority of the lender’s security interest over the claims that others may have in the property.

What Protection Am I Obtaining With My Title Policy?

A Title Insurance policy contains provisions for the payment of the legal fees in defense of a claim against your property, which is covered under the policy. It also contains provisions for indemnification against losses which result from a covered claim. A premium is paid at the close of a transaction. There are no continuing premiums due, as there are with other types of insurance.

What Are My Chances of Ever Using My Title Policy?

In essence, by acquiring your policy, you derive the important knowledge that recorded matters have been searched and examined so that Title Insurance covering your property can be issued. Because we are risk eliminators, the probability of exercising your rights to make a claim is very low. However, claims against your property may not be valid, making the continuous protection of the policy all the more important. When a title company provides a legal defense against claims covered by your Title Insurance policy, the savings to you for that legal defense alone will greatly exceed the one-time premium.

What If I Am Buying Property From Someone I Know?

You may not know the owners as well as you think you do. People undergo changes in their personal lives that may affect title to their property. People get divorced, change their wills, and engage in transactions that limit the use of the property, and have liens and judgments placed against them personally for various reasons.

There may also be matters affecting the property that are not obvious or known, even by the existing owner, which a title search and examination seeks to uncover as a part of the process leading up to the issuance of the Title Insurance policy.

Just as you wouldn’t make an investment based on a phone call, you shouldn’t buy real property without assurances as to your title. Title Insurance provides these assurances.

The process of risk identification and elimination performed by the title companies, prior to the issuance of a title policy, benefits all parties in the property transaction. It minimizes the chances that adverse claims might be raised and, by doing so, reduces the number of claims that need to be defended or satisfied. This process keeps costs and expenses down for the title company and maintains the traditional low cost of Title Insurance.

Upcoming Foreclosure Auction

On Sunday Aug. 17, 2008 at the Riverside Convention Center, US Home Auctions will auction off 275 homes in Riverside and the surrounding areas.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. Auction starts promptly at 9:30 a.m.

You can review the properties that will be at auction at: http://www.USHomeAuction.com

We highly recommend you go see these properties before the auction. If you would like to see the inside, give us a call at (951) 205-4429. There is no obligation, and having a professional real estate agent assist you with the auction process will really help in making the right decision and not getting caught up in the frenzy of the auction.

After you find the properties that interest you, go online and pre-register; be sure to register your agent’s name also.

When you arrive at the auction you will be asked to show your identification and a $5,000.00 cashiers check or cash for the earnest money deposit and will be assigned a bidder number.

A 5% “Buyers Premium” will be added to all winning bid amounts to establish the total purchase price. This is the fee the auction charges for costs involved.

In some cases auction properties are not the better deal. By working with us we can provide you with comparable listings and you can set a ceiling of what you are willing to pay. Many times we can actually show you better deals than an auction property.

REMEMBER, if you plan to purchase a property at the auction, you must have:

  • a $5,000 cashier’s check (or cash) made payable to yourself.
  • the available funds to write a personal check or pay cash for the balance of the required 5% earnest money deposit due on auction day.
  • valid picture identification for all parties to the transaction.

When Shopping for a New Home, Use a List.

Here is a checklist to use while reviewing homes to purchase.  But we always recommend you use a qualified inspector when you’re ready to write an offer.

Check For Properly Working Appliances/Fixtures:
Bathroom

  • Sinks
  • Showers/tubs
  • Toilets
  • Vent fan
  • Heating fan

Appliances

  • Dishwasher
  • Stove
  • Oven
  • Ice maker
  • Garbage disposal
  • Range hood
  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Microwave
  • Trash compactor
Kitchen

  • Kitchen cabinet doors
  • Drawers
  • Sinks

General

  • Lights (interior & exterior)
  • Windows
  • Heating system
  • Ceiling fans
  • Hot water system
  • Air conditioning system
  • Electrical outlets
  • Door bells
  • Doors
  • Water purifier
  • Fireplace damper
  • Garage door
Ensure House Is Well-Built and Systems Are In Working Condition:  
Exterior

  • Bricks bulging or cracking
  • Shingles missing or broken
  • Siding rotted or missing
  • Gutters damaged or need to be cleaned
  • Concrete cracked in sidewalks/driveway

Basement

  • Water seepage in basement
  • Cracks in foundation
  • Poor ventilation
Interior

  • Sub-flooring damaged or loose
  • Cracked walls or ceiling
  • Cracked tiles
  • Loose plaster
  • Flooring damaged
  • Soft, springy floors
  • Water stains near windows
  • Water stains on ceiling below bathroom in multi-level home
  • Water stains in attic
  • Pipe insulation missing