Sandy Bliven - RE/MAX South County



Posted by Sandy Bliven on 2/14/2019

You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.

If you want to buy a home but donít have a large down payment saved, odds are youíve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you donít have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.

However, if you want to buy a home and donít want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In todayís post, Iím going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.

PMI Basics

Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, letís spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.

PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.

Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and youíll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.

Getting PMI waived early

With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once youíve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.

With an FHA loan, youíll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you donít make a down payment of 10% or more. Thatís a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.

If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.

Making it to the 20% repayment mark

On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.

This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you donít want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.

Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, youíll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.





Posted by Sandy Bliven on 2/7/2019

Whether you're looking to buy a house or sell one, a helpful saying to keep in mind is the one about recognizing a duck:

"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it's a duck!" As silly as that expression may be, there's a lot of wisdom in its message.

The reason it applies to real estate transactions is that people sometimes tend to overlook, justify, and gloss over potential or actual problems that need to be dealt with (and not ignored). Here are some examples, as they relate to home sellers and buyers:

Selling a home: As a home seller, one of the most important things you can do to make your home more appealing and marketable is staging. Not only is it beneficial to apply a fresh coat of paint where needed, but parts of your home may need to be repaired, upgraded, touched up, or cleaned. 

One false assumption home sellers sometimes make it that prospective buyers won't notice or care about broken tiles in the bathroom, peeling paint on the front steps, cracks in the ceiling, or mold in the basement. While there are a lot of factors that help sell a house quickly or cause it to linger on the market for months, sometimes it's the little things that can impact the desirability of a house. If there's an imperfection, flaw, or cosmetic problem in your home that you've been noticing for months or years, there's a good chance prospective buyers will take note of it, too. 

Whenever you can affordably correct a cosmetic problem in your home or property, it will usually be to your advantage as a home seller. If the problem looks like it could be a potential deal breaker, there's a chance it will be.

When you need an objective opinion on matters such as home staging, curb appeal, or increasing the marketability of your home, an experienced real estate agent is often your best source for advice and guidance.

Buying a home: There are a lot of factors that need to be evaluated when searching for your ideal home. While optimism is an essential state of mind to cultivate when you're navigating the sometimes bumpy road of house hunting, it's also important to balance that positive attitude with a drop of caution and skepticism. If you get too caught up in the excitement of buying a new house, you might miss red flags along the way that could lead to future problems or expenses.

By hiring a reputable property inspector to check everything in the house from structural integrity to the condition of mechanical systems, you can be alerted to potential safety hazards, possible water damage, malfunctioning electrical circuitry, and dozens of other issues that need to be identified, and hopefully resolved, before you become the new owner of a house.





Posted by Sandy Bliven on 1/31/2019

Refinancing your home can have many benefits. First, youíll be able to take out money to address immediate needs in your home like improvement projects. These things can only benefit your homeís value in the long term. Before you take the leap to refinance your home, you should be sure that youíre actually ready to take this step. Knowing what youíre in for allows the entire process to go more smoothly. Read on for tip to understand more about the refinancing process and what youíll need.


Know Your Finances


Just like when you initially purchase a home, refinancing your home will require you to have your finances in order. Take a look at your budget and needs and determine if it makes sense for you to refinance your home. For example, your employment status or distance from life goals like retirement could have a factor on the term of the loan youíre willing to take out. A 15-year mortgage may make more sense than a 30-year mortgage, but your monthly payments will also be a bit higher. You need to take all of this into consideration before you refinance. 


Your credit score will also be a factor in refinancing your home just as it was when you initially bought your house. Check your score and see if any red flags pop up. Getting these corrected earlier rather than later can help you to get a better rate on the loan. There are plenty of free services that exist online that allow you to check your credit score.   


Know The Value Of Your Home


If you know the value of your home and understand how much equity youíve built up in the house, it will give you a better idea of your refinancing options. You canít get more than 70% of what your home is currently worth as a cash-out refinance. If you owe more than your home is worth, you might be in a tighter financial situation than you realize. You can do plenty of things to increase the value of your home; it will just take some time. You may even consider selling your house, making a move, and starting from scratch. Financially, this could be the best option, and you could also end up with a better interest rate.


Getting your finances in order and the simple act of preparing for a home refinance could give you some insight into your financial picture after being a homeowner for some time.


Stay out of debt. Donít open new accounts. Pay down any debt you may have. That is the standard advice for people who are trying to get in good financial standing before buying a home or refinancing a home. 


Do some research and find the best home loan refinance rates around. Then, look into your own finances and decide whatís best for you regarding refinancing your home loan.      





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Posted by Sandy Bliven on 1/24/2019

After you accept an offer to purchase your house, a buyer and his or her real estate agent likely will want to conduct a property inspection. Although the mere thought of a home inspection may cause a property seller to stress, it is important to understand the importance of an inspection for both sellers and buyers.

Now, let's take a look at three things that every seller needs to know about home inspections.

1. A home inspection offers valuable insights for both a seller and buyer.

During a home inspection, a buyer, his or her real estate agent and a house inspector will examine a residence both inside and out. The inspection allows a buyer to take a close look at a residence and identify any underlying issues with a house before finalizing a home purchase.

Meanwhile, a seller may learn about assorted home problems following an inspection as well. And if a home has various problems, a seller may need to correct these issues to fulfill a buyer's requests.

2. A home inspection won't necessarily slow down or stop a house sale.

Typically, a home inspection is performed after a seller accepts a buyer's offer to purchase. At this point, a buyer wants to ensure a home matches or exceeds his or her expectations. With an inspection, a buyer can learn about all aspects of a residence and proceed accordingly.

If problems are discovered during a home inspection, there is no need for a seller to worry. Oftentimes, a buyer will request a seller fix any problems with a home, or he or she may ask for a price reduction. As a seller, you may be able to negotiate with a buyer to find common ground relative to the costs of myriad home repairs too.

3. A home inspection generally does not take long to complete.

In many instances, a home inspection takes just hours to complete, and a buyer will receive a house inspection report within a few days of the evaluation. After a buyer reviews the home inspection report results, he or she can choose to move forward with a home purchase. Or, a buyer can rescind his or her offer to purchase or request home repairs or a reduced purchase price.

A seller will find out how a buyer wants to proceed within days of a home inspection. If a buyer and seller can come to terms after an inspection, both parties can proceed with a home transaction. On the other hand, if a buyer and seller cannot reach an agreement following an inspection, both parties can reenter the housing market.

Lastly, when it comes to selling a home, it often helps to hire an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach a seller about home inspections, as well as what to expect at each stage of the property selling journey. That way, a seller can prepare for any potential home selling hurdles and take the necessary steps to overcome such problems before they get out of hand.




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Posted by Sandy Bliven on 1/17/2019

The home selling journey may seem endless at times. Fortunately, once you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, the finish line of this journey may be in sight.

There are many things that a house seller can do to streamline the process of reaching a home closing date, and these include:

1. Establish Realistic Expectations

Although accepting an offer to purchase is a big step forward in the house selling journey, it is important to remember that many steps still need to be completed before you finalize your house sale. However, if you establish realistic expectations for the home selling journey, you can plan ahead for the steps you'll need to complete after you approve a buyer's offer to purchase your house.

Typically, a buyer will request a home inspection after you accept his or her offer to purchase your residence. If the inspection reveals there are no major problems with your house, you may be able to finalize a home sale in a matter of weeks.

On the other hand, if a home inspection raises concerns about your residence, you can always try to negotiate with a buyer. If you complete home repairs or offer a reduced price for your residence, you may be able to speed up the house selling process following an inspection.

2. Keep in Touch with a Buyer

It is important to maintain open lines of communication with a buyer as you work toward the conclusion of the house selling journey. If you work with a buyer to finalize a home transaction, you can minimize the risk of encountering time-consuming problems along the way.

If you have concerns or questions as you work toward the finish line of a home sale, don't hesitate to contact a buyer or his or her real estate agent. That way, you can address any concerns or questions and resolve potential problems before they escalate.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Collaborating with a real estate agent can make a world of difference for any house seller, at any time. In fact, if you have a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble achieving your desired home selling results.

A real estate agent is happy to work with you throughout the home selling journey. He or she will promote your residence to potential buyers and help you analyze offers to purchase your house. Then, when you are ready to accept an offer to purchase, a real estate agent will help you finalize a house sale.

The days and weeks leading up to a home closing can be stressful, but a real estate agent can help put your mind at ease. He or she will offer expert tips and recommendations as you navigate the home selling journey. As a result, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to quickly and effortlessly sell your house.

Enjoy a successful home selling journey Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can limit risk as you conclude the home selling process.




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