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No credit score? There’s a new automated home loan option for you

Not having enough credit history for a credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you must go through a drawn-out manual underwriting process to get a home loan. If you have a history of making housing payments on time and references, you could benefit from a new automated process from Freddie Mac, a quasi-public agency that purchases mortgages.

Starting in June, borrowers without credit scores can see if they’re eligible for purchase mortgages or no-cash-out refinance transactions on one-unit owner-occupied homes. Lenders will be able to use Freddie Mac’s automated assessments to quickly approve your loan with greater confidence that Freddie Mac will purchase it. Loans will still be evaluated against Freddie Mac’s credit requirements, but the automated process should allow lenders to more efficiently serve borrowers.

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/no-credit-score-theres-a-new-automated-home-loan-option-for-you

How Texas REALTORS® are helping homeowners

04/14/2017 | Author: Editorial Staff

Sure, REALTORS® help you buy, sell, and lease property, but they also advocate for public policy that helps consumers.

For example, the Texas Association of REALTORS® recently announced its support for the property tax reforms provided in Senate Bill 2, now making its way through the Texas Legislature. The bill is a positive step forward in ending the common practice of local elected officials misleading taxpayers when budgets are adopted at the local level.

“When local elected officials hide behind increasing property values to justify larger budgets, taxpayers suffer. Senate Bill 2 goes a long way to fix this problem and provide more transparency and honesty in the local tax-rate setting process,” said TAR Chairman Vicki Fullerton.

The bill reduces the rollback rate for local taxing entities and requires an automatic rollback election if the local taxing entity exceeds the rollback rate. Despite some comments to the contrary, the bill does not limit the amount of revenue a local taxing entity may generate.

The association believes the bill will help give property owners transparency during the tax-rate setting process and encourage voter participation. To better understand the property tax process, visit hiddenpropertytax.com.

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/how-texas-realtors-are-helping-homeowners

You found dozens of homes listed online that you love. Now what?

04/07/2017 | Author: Editorial Staff

It’s nice having options, right? Especially when it comes to making a big purchase like a home. If you’ve started your home search by using online listing sites, you’ve probably found a long list of properties you want to tour.

Even though it’s exciting to see what’s out there, are you wondering how you’ll be able to choose a favorite? Are you overwhelmed with your choices? That’s normal. In fact, research shows that when people have too many options, they have a harder time making a decision and tend to be less satisfied with their selection. Instead of making such an important decision on your own, there’s an easy way to get there faster: Hire a Texas REALTOR®.

Texas REALTORS® can help you quickly focus on properties worth seeing because they can eliminate those that may look good online but don’t actually meet your needs. They also have access to current information about whether a home is still on the market, and when homes you thought are out of your price range might actually be open to negotiations. This is information you won’t find on your own searching online, and even if you could, it would take a lot of your valuable time.

Visit texasrealestate.com to find a Texas REALTOR® who can help you avoid wasting your time and the stress that can come with choosing the perfect home.

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/you-found-dozens-of-homes-listed-online-that-you-love.-now-what

 

Don’t be fooled by these 3 selling myths

03/17/2017 | Author: Summer Mandell

First-time sellers beware: there are lots of myths out there about the right way to sell your home. While your Texas REALTOR® is your first line of defense against making these mistakes, here are three common selling myths busted:

Myth: I bought a house, so I know what it’s like to go through a real estate transaction. I’ll sell my home on my own and save money by not using a real estate agent.
Truth: Texas REALTORS® don’t work for free, but that’s because they provide valuable assistance through the home-selling process. Selling isn’t the same as buying, and a Texas REALTOR® can help you reduce your risk of making a costly selling mistake. Plus, they help clients with the ins and outs of property transactions every day and are plugged into your local housing market. If you DIY, that means you’ll have to spend time marketing your home adequately, be available to show the home yourself, and navigate your way through a tricky transaction alone.

Myth: If I price my home higher than market value, I’m leaving room for negotiations.
Truth: Buyers have no idea you’re employing this strategy and won’t understand why your price is too high. Many won’t even view your home, much less put in an offer. When your home is priced improperly, it’s more likely to sit on the market, making potential buyers think there’s something wrong it. When that happens, you’ll probably wind up with lower offers than if you had priced the home fairly at the start.

Myth: All I need to do is mow the lawn and hide my stuff in a closet and my home will be ready to show.
Truth: Is a mowed lawn and hidden clutter all it takes to attract you to a home? It won’t work for potential buyers of your property, either. Your Texas REALTOR® might go through your home with you and identify areas that could use some sprucing up to make your home more appealing. Or, he or she might recommend working with a home stager to make the best impression. Be open to those suggestions … your Texas REALTOR® knows what makes a property sell quickly for top dollar.

 

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/dont-be-fooled-by-these-3-selling-myths

Home-staging tips for a show-worthy home

12/16/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

Staging your home is a great way to enhance the appeal of your property to buyers. Home-staging and lifestyle expert Tori Toth shares some tips for homesellers.

Add natural touches
Take a cue from the geography surrounding the home and use natural elements that reflect that area. You want to add plants and flowers to soften spaces and subliminally remind buyers that life grows here.

Rearrange furniture
Moving furniture to open traffic flow can make a room feel bigger, or arranging it to create a conversation area gives the space purpose.

Set the mood with lighting
A house that’s illuminated says, “Come on in.” Open your blinds and curtains to let in natural light, and put the maximum allowable wattage in fixtures to boost illumination.

Accessorize the entryway
Add strategic pieces—a table lamp, artwork, mirror, decorative box—to create a statement when welcoming people into a home.

Get more tips, including a free home-staging video series, at toritoth.com.

You sure you want the internet to solve your real estate problems?

10/14/2016 | Author: Marty Kramer

I was reading user comments on a real estate website the other day. The questions buyers and sellers were asking reminded me that real estate transactions can get complicated in countless ways.

Here’s a random sample of issues buyers and sellers were having …

  • A lien the seller didn’t know about is making it difficult to sell the home.
  • A person buying a home is thinking of renting out her current home rather than selling it.
  • The seller accepted the buyer’s offer, and now the buyer has found a home he likes better.
  • The homebuyer wants to move in before closing and rent the home until the closing date.
  • An inspection revealed costly repairs are needed, and the buyer wants to renegotiate the purchase price.
  • A buyer has a contract to buy a home and learned the seller has another a contract with a second buyer.
  • The buyer and seller disagree about what items should stay with the property after the sale.
  • A buyer of a commercial building doesn’t understand the seller’s reply to his offer.
  • The seller wants to know how to handle multiple offers.
  • The seller didn’t show up to closing, and the buyer doesn’t know what to do.

This list could keep going and going.

I understand why people would “ask the internet” about their real estate problems, but I would be wary of the advice found there. You don’t really know what you’re getting.

On the other hand, a Texas REALTOR® is a professional with the experience and knowledge to help you avoid many problems, deal with those that arise, and help you reach the best possible outcome on your real estate transaction.

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/you-sure-you-want-the-internet-to-solve-your-real-estate-problems

 

6 must-do’s before buying a home

Buying a home is a huge investment. For most people, it is the largest purchase they will ever make. Before you jump into the wonderful world of homeownership, however, make sure you are prepared. Learn about credit score requirements, mortgage options and other must-do’s as a first step.

Have a checklist

Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced owner, buying a house requires a “preflight check,” in the words of Barry Zigas, director of housing policy for the Consumer Federation of America.

Read on for Bankrate’s 6-item checklist, including tips on the types of savings you need, plus advice about what matters beyond purchasing a home at its resale value.

  1. Strengthen your credit score – email me @ admin@mycastlemyhome regarding credit repair
  2. Figure out what you can afford
  3. Save for down payment, closing costs
  4. Build a healthy savings account
  5. Get preapproved for a mortgage or provide proof of funds from your financial institution on their letterhead.
  6. Buy a house you like

Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/6-must-dos-before-buying-a-home-1.aspx#ixzz4N8ZZL1fd
Follow us: @Bankrate on Twitter | Bankrate on Facebook

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/6-must-dos-before-buying-a-home-1.aspx

Smart Home Features..Can it Make you safe?

10/07/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

Smart home technologies have obvious benefits, such as more efficient heating and cooling or being able to unlock doors remotely. But do you know a smart home can also be a safer home?

Smart smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors are clear examples of devices that keep your family safe. If these devices connect to a central hub or mobile device, they can alert you to issues in the home and let you take action whether or not you’re present. Smart garage doors can let you know if they’re left open. Internet-connected cameras and motion sensors can detect intruders in the home. Smart locks can quickly and easily be programmed to block a person who is now unwelcome in your home.

Keep in mind that smart home features, like any online service, can be vulnerable to security weaknesses. Create strong passwords, secure any wireless networks or hard-wire devices, read reviews before purchasing devices, and stick with devices or systems from established brands that you can trust to update security features and provide support.

Smart home features may not be at the top of your list when shopping for a home, but they can add value and safety.

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/how-smart-home-features-can-make-you-safer

 

 

How slowly do you want to sell your home?

09/16/2016 | Author: Marty Kramer

I’ve never heard a homeowner say he wants to sell his home as slowly as possible. Yet some people make poor decisions that lead to their homes staying on the market much longer than average. In fact, there are a few homes in my neighborhood that have been for sale way longer than others nearby.

With each of those homes, my reaction was the same when I first saw the asking prices. Wow, can they really get that much?

So far, the answer has been no. In the meantime, those sellers have been paying carrying costs for their homes … month after month after month.

How do you determine an asking price that’s high enough to maximize your profit but not so unrealistically high that it will make your home harder to sell? A Texas REALTOR® can go over the numbers with you and explain how your home’s value fits in to the current sales market.

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/how-slowly-do-you-want-to-sell-your-home

 

What’s the point of mortgage points?

09/30/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

If you’re financing a property purchase, you’ve probably come across the term points or discount points. Although there are other meanings, most often these terms refer to prepaid interest, with one point equal to 1% of your mortgage loan.

Lenders offer borrowers the opportunity to purchase points on their mortgage, which means you’re paying up front to lower the interest rate of your loan. Here are some questions to ask when deciding whether you should buy points:

How long will you live in the house?
You usually benefit more from points the longer you stay in the property. That’s because the savings you realize on each monthly payment will accumulate and eventually offset—hopefully exceed—your points payment.

Can I afford points?
You need to provide a downpayment and cover the closing costs to secure a mortgage. Do you also want to pay for points?

How much will the rate come down?
Each point costs 1% of the loan amount, but the interest-rate reduction you receive varies from lender to lender.

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/whats-the-point-of-mortgage-points