What Is An Appraisal?

 

Every house is unique; appraisers are trained and licensed for expertise in putting a value on properties.

Appraisers don’t work for the buyer or the seller;  their primary mission is actually to protect the lender who’s risking money against the home’s value.

Appraisers have to weigh factors about the property and location – including size, condition and comparable properties – to appraise its current value.

They know how to focus on conditions that affect value; dishes in the sink don’t; damage and neglect do.

Appraisals lower than the proposed purchase price can affect transaction details. The seller might have to lower the price

or the buyer might have to increase down payment or fund additional escrow.

Appraisal seems a lot like inspection, but they’re not the same.

You can think of it this way:

Appraisers report on value to the lender

Inspectors report on condition of the house and major components to the buyer.

So – expect both appraisal & inspection in your transaction.

What Does The Closing Process Involve When I Sell?

 

As this video explains, a signed sales contract doesn’t mean your house is sold. There are still financial, contractual and legal steps for both sides.

The buyer has to get financing to meet the contract terms – which includes credit checks.

The property is inspected and appraised; title insurance and escrow accounts are set up while you locate new housing, pack and move. And take care of any obligations like painting or repairs. After the contract is signed, it can take a month or more of closing steps to reach the closing meeting.

So plan on that when you plan to sell.

What Steps Need To Be Taken To Secure A Loan?

 

You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later, but the first step in securing a loan is to complete a loan application.

To do so, you’ll need the following information.

  • Pay stubs for the past 2-3 months.
  • W-2 forms for the past 2 years.
  • Information on long-term debts.
  • Recent bank statements tax returns for the past 2 years.
  • Proof of any other income.
  • Address and description of the property you wish to buy.
  • A sales contract on the home you want to buy.

During the application process, the lender will order a report on your credit history and a professional appraisal of the property you want to purchase. The application process typically takes between 1-6 weeks.

What Is An Escrow Account? Do I Need One?

 

As we show you in this video, an escrow account is an account, established by your lender, to set aside a portion of your monthly mortgage payment to cover annual charges for homeowner’s insurance mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes.

Escrow accounts are a good idea because they assure money will always be available for these payments.

If you use an escrow account to pay property tax or homeowner’s insurance make sure you are not penalized for late payments since it is the lender’s responsibility to make those payments.

What Are Discount Points?

 

Discount points allow you to lower your interest rate. While this video simplifies things to help you remember, “points” are essentially prepaid interest with each point equaling 1% of the total loan amount.

Generally, for each point paid on a 30-year mortgage the interest rate is reduced by 1/8 (or.125) of a percentage point.

When shopping for loans, ask lenders for an interest rate with 0 points and then see how much the rate decreases with each point paid.

Discount points are smart if you plan to stay in a home for some time since they can lower the monthly loan payment.

Points are tax deductible when you purchase a home and you may be able to negotiate for the seller to pay for some of them.

How Does The Interest Rate Factor In Securing A Mortgage Loan?

 

As you’ll see in the video, a lower interest rate allows you to borrow more money than a high rate with the some monthly payment.
Interest rates can fluctuate as you shop for a loan so ask lenders if they offer a rate “lock-in” which guarantees a specific interest rate for a certain period of time.

Remember that a lender must disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of a loan to you. The APR shows the cost of a mortgage loan by expressing it in terms of a yearly interest rate. It is generally higher than the mortgage interest rate because it also includes the cost of points, mortgage insurance and other fees included in the loan.

What Factors Affect Mortgage Payments?

 

Well, as this story shows, the amount of the down payment the size of the mortgage loan, the interest rate the length of the repayment term and payment schedule will all affect the size of your mortgage payment.
In bullets:

  • down payment
  • loan size
  • interest rate – fixed or adjustable
  • repayment term – how long
  • payment schedule – how often

all affect the size of your payment.

What Is Included In A Monthly Mortgage Payment?

 

The monthly mortgage payment mainly pays off principal and interest. But most lenders also include local real estate taxes homeowner’s insurance, and mortgage insurance, if applicable.
If you are refinancing compare what is and isn’t included in your financing options. Watch this video and it’ll make sense.

How Large A Down Payment Do I Need?

 

There are mortgage options now available that only require a down payment of 5% or less of the purchase price. You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later – the larger the down payment, the less you have to borrow and the more equity you’ll have.

Mortgages with less than a 20% down payment generally require a mortgage insurance policy to secure the loan.

When considering the size of your down payment consider that you’ll also need money for closing costs moving expenses, and – possibly – repairs and decorating.

Can I Pay Off My Loan Ahead Of Schedule?

 

Usually, Yes. Like the guy in the video says, by sending in extra money each month or making an extra payment at the end of the year you can accelerate the process of paying off the loan.

When you send extra money, be sure to indicate that the excess payment is to be applied to the principal and keep records.

Remember that payment applied to loan principal is not tax-deductible. Most lenders allow loan prepayment, but some loans may have prepayment penalties.

Ask your lender for details.