Buying · Real Estate · Uncategorized

KNOW THE SCORE

You hear it everywhere: exotic loans, FICO scores, default risks, rising interest rates. Sounds like a lot of gloom and doom, doesn’t it? While lenders are generating hot and heavy business, the truth is that it’s still an excellent time to purchase a home. It’s also time to educate yourself about the economics behind securing a home loan.

The rate you are offered on a mortgage is largely based on your FICO score. What is FICO? It simply stands for Fair Isaac & Company, who developed our modern credit scoring models.  The highest possible “score” is 850, and you’ll need a rating of 620 or above to be considered for the best interest rates.

Higher income does not necessarily generate a higher score. Your payment history does have significant impact, however.  If you have a higher credit score, you’re probably in a position to accept a “prepayment penalty,” which is imposed when a loan is repaid early. But many borrowers who accept this “penalty” will end up paying a lower interest rate.

Be cautious out there – with so many types of loans available, you’ll find some are a good fit for you and some are downright unwise. Real estate agents and mortgage specialists work together to determine the best avenue for you to follow, leading right up to the front door of your new home!

For responsible service in all your Real Estate needs, call Marcia Kies.

15400 S.W. Boones Ferry Road
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
503-789-1525 Mobile
503-534-1516 Direct
e-mail: kiesm@hasson.com
www.kiestohome.com

Buying · Real Estate · Uncategorized

MAKE ME A MATCH

Real estate agents are not necessarily mortgage specialists. However, we all know that financing is an integral part of any real estate transaction, and buyers often look to agents for some guidance relating to their loan options.

It is for this very reason that agents maintain strong relationships with local lenders and mortgage specialists. With all the issues involved in coordinating the sale and purchase of property, many agents simply don’t have the resources to become experts in such an ever-changing field as mortgage products.

There are now more choices than ever in terms of documentation, payment options, and loan terms. Just as examples, some of the most popular loans are Fixed- Rate Mortgages, Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs), and Interest- Only loans.

“Fixed” are just that – regular principal and interest payments for an established period of time. ARMs fluctuate, but new “hybrids” offer a fixed rate after a certain number of years. Interest- only loans are uncertain if you choose not to pay any principal in the early part of the loan, but can work out if you need short-term cash flow or intend to move or refinance shortly.

Every buyer has a best mortgage match, and there are literally hundreds of options. It can make your head spin! Have an agent recommend another professional who can help get you into the home of your dreams.

For responsible service in all your Real Estate needs, call Marcia Kies.

15400 S.W. Boones Ferry Road
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
503-789-1525 Mobile
503-534-1516 Direct
e-mail: kiesm@hasson.com
www.kiestohome.com

Buying · Real Estate · Uncategorized

WHAT’S YOUR ESTIMATE?

No one expects you to be able to appraise a home. It’s a professional’s responsibility to provide an independent estimate of either your home’s value, or the value of a home you are interested in purchasing.

While the bank uses the appraisal to guarantee your home’s tangible value against the mortgage, such documentation also ensures that you’re not overpaying for your dream home.

There are a few things to keep in mind, however, to make the best use of the cost of a professional appraisal. While your lender usually selects the appraiser, be aware that federal law guarantees you a copy of the report, and you should insist on it. Show some savvy and request that your lender choose a professional with an MAI or SRA designation from the Appraisal Institute. This proves at least 200 hours of training and two years of practical experience.

When selling your home,  you’ll make a big impression if you can whip out receipts for improvements, roof repairs, work on your furnace or A/C, and any major repairs such as kitchen or bath remodel. This proves your responsibility and pride-of-ownership, adding real and perceived value to your home.

If you’re suspicious of an appraisal, ask a realty professional to provide a Competitive Market Analysis based on the most recent closings in your area. Sometimes another opinion is all you need to put your mind at ease.

For responsible service in all your Real Estate needs, call Marcia Kies.

15400 S.W. Boones Ferry Road
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
503-789-1525 Mobile
503-534-1516 Direct
e-mail: kiesm@hasson.com
www.kiestohome.com

Buying · Real Estate · Uncategorized

BEYOND THE LOUSY LOANS

Yes, it’s true, many lenders in recent years have written sub-prime mortgages that could only be expected to default.  However, foreclosure is nothing new, and there are myriad reasons that a homeowner might be facing dire straits.

Challenges might include economic hardship due to job loss, bad health or divorce, or payments that jumped too high after a rate adjustment, or simply increased cost of living outpacing income.

Whatever the reasons, the best way to avoid foreclosure is to be well educated and prepared before making a home purchase, and anticipating worst-case scenarios before choosing the loan that is right for you.

If default appears inevitable, know that there is help available, with a “short sale” being one of the last resorts for resolution. Such a transaction is called “short,” because the home is sold for less than the amount remaining on the mortgage, and the lender willingly accepts some of the loss.

If you’re facing foreclosure, contact your lender’s loss mitigation department immediately. While you are in the midst of negotiations, keep a log of all phone calls- the date, time, contact person and discussion. Lenders are overwhelmed right now, so be patient and don’t expect an immediate answer.

Whether it’s a loan adjustment or short sale, there can be a solution to the problem. Your lender and your real estate agent are here to help.

For responsible service in all your Real Estate needs, call Marcia Kies.

15400 S.W. Boones Ferry Road
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
503-789-1525 Mobile
503-534-1516 Direct
e-mail: kiesm@hasson.com
www.kiestohome.com

Real Estate · Uncategorized

An Ounce of Prevention

If you’re planning to go bargain hunting, you are likely to come face to face with a special challenge: the long-vacant home. Many of these properties have been foreclosed, and now rest in the hands of the bank. The owners are long gone.

While the greatest percentage of these “distressed properties” are still in fair to good condition, how can you be sure of possible defects in the home when the previous owners are not available to disclose such facts?

Since the bank-owners and their real estate agent may not know all the details about the previous owners, you would be well-served by ordering a “pre-inspection” if you find an attractive property at a low price. Hire an inspector for a preliminary look, and do not make an offer until you know more.

You can pay just a couple hundred dollars for a brief inspection, money well spent before you submit a bid. Having an idea of the home’s true condition can help you determine your offer, or help you make a decision to walk away from the deal, without any obligation.

If the utilities are cut off, ask your representative about getting them turned on during the inspection, which is critical to the inspection’s accuracy. Take a careful look at recent sales in the neighborhood, and make your offer armed with knowledge and confidence!

For responsible service in all your Real Estate needs, call Marcia Kies.

15400 S.W. Boones Ferry Road
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
503-789-1525 Mobile
503-534-1516 Direct
e-mail: kiesm@hasson.com
http://www.kiestohome.com

Buying · Real Estate · Uncategorized

Crash Course to Real Estate with Marcia Kies

When you’re buying a home, who do you think is the most important person in the transaction? YOU, of course! That doesn’t mean you won’t need experienced professionals for guidance and assistance, but quite frankly, if YOU choose not to buy, the entire process comes to a halt.

While home ownership is called the American Dream, it’s a shame that nobody teaches it in school. Most folks face the biggest purchase of their life without any experience. That’s why it’s critical for someone to help you understand everything that happens during the process, whether it’s your accountant, your banker, or your trusted real estate columnist!

Demand explanations to questions like how much home can you afford? How do you get the best loan? Do you choose a new home or a resale? Which properties will increase in value? Where do you begin?

Since YOU are in charge, take command of the situation, and surround yourself with a team of experts in every aspect of the transaction, all of whom can be coordinated by a local real estate agent.

Plan from the very beginning to educate yourself and approach your purchase with confidence and intelligence. Then you’ll be sure to find the home of your dreams and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ve made the right decisions all along. Flex those buying muscles!

For responsible service in all your Real Estate needs, call Marcia Kies.

15400 S.W. Boones Ferry Road Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
503-789-1525 Mobile
503-534-1516 Direct
e-mail: kiesm@hasson.com
www.marciakies.com