Why Use A REALTOR®

 

A state license is required to sell real estate. But roughly half of those licensed take the additional step of becoming a REALTOR®.

As we show you in this video, only members of the National Association of Realtors – NAR – are entitled to use that registered trademark and call themselves a REALTOR®.

As members, they adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and have access to classes, seminars and certification. Their aim is to be experts in their community aware of real estate trends and local and neighborhood issues. They apply that expertise to help buyers and sellers succeed.

You can find a certified REALTOR® by looking in local sources asking around or searching here.

How Can I Improve My Home’s Value?

 

Buyers generally seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can handle. Like the guy in the video says, you want to present a home that fits in the neighborhood but doesn’t stand out too much.

For example if neighbors are all 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 3000 square feet additions that make your home 5, 4, and 4000 will make yours harder to sell.

Improvements should make it show well and fit well in the neighborhood. Last-minute capital investments in large structural changes aren’t likely to pay off.

But cosmetic upgrades like paint and landscaping help a home “show” better and often do pay off.

Of course, all systems and appliances should work to get a top price. To make your home competitive and attract buyers and bids work with a professional real estate agent and start early.

What Is Mortgage Insurance?

 

Like the video shows, mortgage insurance is a policy that protects lenders against some or most of the losses that result from defaults on home mortgages. Like home or auto insurance, mortgage insurance requires payment of a premium, is for protection against loss, and is used in the event of an emergency.

If a borrower can’t repay an insured mortgage loan as agreed, the lender may foreclose on the property and file a claim with the mortgage insurer for some or most of the total losses.

You generally need mortgage insurance only if you plan to make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price of the home. The FHA offers several loan programs that may meet your needs.

What Types Of Closing Costs Are Associated With FHA-Insured Loans?

 

While this video simplifies things to help you remember, except for the addition of an FHA mortgage insurance premium, FHA closing costs are similar to those of a conventional loan.

As of 2013, the FHA requires a single, upfront mortgage insurance premium equal to 2.25% of the mortgage to be paid at closing (or 1.75% if you complete the HELP program).

This initial premium may be partially refunded if the loan is paid in full during the first seven years of the loan term.

After closing, you will then be responsible for an annual premium – paid monthly – if your mortgage is over 15 years or if you have a 15-year loan with an LTV greater than 90%.

What Are The Steps Involved In The FHA Loan Process?

 

The video puts this in more visual terms, but with the exception of a few additional forms the FHA loan application process is similar to that of a conventional loan.

With new automation measures FHA loans may be originated more quickly than before. And, if you don’t prefer a face-to-face meeting, you can apply for an FHA loan via mail, telephone the Internet, or video conference.

What Can I Expect To Happen On Closing Day?

 

While this video simplifies things to help you remember: you’ll present your paid homeowner’s insurance policy or a binder and receipt showing that the premium has been paid. The closing agent will then list the money you owe the seller remainder of down payment, prepaid taxes, and so on. and then the money the seller owes you unpaid taxes and prepaid rent, if applicable.

The seller will provide proofs of any inspection, warranties, and so on. Once you’re sure you understand all the documentation you’ll sign the mortgage, agreeing that if you don’t make payments the lender is entitled to sell your property and apply the sale price against the amount you owe plus expenses.

You’ll also sign a mortgage note, promising to repay the loan. The seller will give you the title to the house in the form of a signed deed. You’ll pay the lender’s agent all closing costs and, in turn, he or she will provide you with a settlement statement of all the items for which you have paid.

The deed and mortgage will then be recorded in the state Registry of Deeds and you will be a homeowner.

What Should I Look Out For During The Final Walk-Through?

 

Well, as this story shows, this will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture giving you a clear view of everything.
Check the walls and ceilings carefully as well as any work the seller agreed to do in response to the inspection.
Any problems discovered previously that you find uncorrected should be brought up prior to closing. It is the seller’s responsibility to fix them.

What Responsibilities Do I Have During The Lending Process?

 

To ensure you won’t fall victim to loan fraud, as you’ll see in this video, be sure to follow all of these steps as you apply for a loan:

  • Be sure to read and understand everything before you sign.
  • Refuse to sign any blank documents.
  • Do not buy property for someone else.
  • Do not overstate your income.
  • Do not overstate how long you have been employed.
  • Do not overstate your assets.
  • Accurately report your debts.
  • Do not change your income tax returns for any reason.
  • Tell the whole truth about gifts.
  • Do not list fake co-borrowers on your loan application.
  • Be truthful about your credit problems, past and present.
  • Be honest about your intention to occupy the house

And do not provide false supporting documents.

What Is RESPA?

 

RESPA stands for the Federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. This video tells you about it all.
RESPA requires lenders to disclose information to potential customers throughout the mortgage process. By doing so, it protects borrowers from abuses by lending institutions.
RESPA mandates that lenders fully inform borrowers about all closing costs, lender servicing and escrow account practices and business relationships between closing service providers and other parties to the transaction.
For more information on RESPA, visit HUD.GOV or call 1-800-569-4287 for a local counseling referral.