Archive for March, 2009

Are lenders making it impossible to buy a home?

March 27th, 2009
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Money is CHEAP today with mortgage rates this week running around 5.2% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Still, people are hesitating to buy a home because the word on the street is that loans are hard to get.

There is some truth to this urban message; According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 40% of all loan applications are currently denied.  The minimum FICO score required to qualify for a mortgage has been rising steadily over the last year. Larger down payments are now required for a typical mortgage compared to a year ago.

So why bother? Why waste your time thinking about buying a home?

Here is why; Everything is on sale. This is the biggest sale many buyers have ever seen. Prices for real estate are lower today than they have been for over 10 years.  There is PLENTY to choose from. With the number of homes for sale at record levels, you CAN find the perfect home and get it for a great price. Sellers are WAY more willing to work with buyers and are very accommodating for qualified buyers. Asking the seller to leave their closet full of Armani suits may be a bit much, but most reasonable requests will at least be considered.

As I said above, interest rates are INCREDIBLY low. Rates are floating around the lowest rates in history, rates we have not seen since the end of World War II.

You have to live somewhere and right now in many areas, buying a home is LESS money than renting. Many renters would actually SAVE money on their housing costs buying in today’s market.

So what do you do? Do your homework. Find a good local lender and sit down with them for 20 min. and they can tell you what you will qualify for in the way of a loan. If you don’t know any great lenders call me I have many I can suggest.

Once you know what you can qualify for, find a great real estate agent. A great agent can help you identify the best deal in the best neighborhoods and walk you through all the paperwork with very little stress.

Call me TODAY at 707-327-9407 and I can answer any question you have about buying a home!!!

First Time Buyers, Lending

One-half percent down payment?

March 14th, 2009
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Lately it seems like all the real estate news is focused on the changes in the financing of a home. Perhaps that is as it should be considering how fast things are changing in this area. The Obama Administration is making changes left and right with the hope of getting some of the excess housing inventory SOLD!!!

Some of the new programs include a new one-half-percent down payment program called the “First House Program” that allows for 95.5% financing. There are quite a few restrictions to this program, so talking to a good lender is where you would want to start. If you don’t know any, I know a few and would be happy to provide contact information. One of the restrictions is the purchase must close escrow by June 5th2009, so you have to get going!!

Many of the new incentive programs have very short durations and as of today, the best ones expire at the end of 2009. The Press Democrat has been reporting increases in the number of homes sold each month, which is required for a turn around in the market. All this points to 2009 being a good year to buy a home for many people. That said, the ability to get financing for that home purchase is one of the big wild cards, which brings me full-circle to my opening statement. I expect we will be hearing a lot about new financing programs, rules and restrictions. I will try and write more as these things change.

First Time Buyers, Lending, New Laws