Most people in the pursuit for greatness, settle for goodness!
All posts for the month April, 2012
Low interest rates and new loan programs abound this spring, so if you assumed your refinancing and mortgage options were dismal, you’ll be surprised by these three offerings.
1. Refinance with new FHA fees : FHA raised insurance premiums for new borrowers, while lowering fees for some existing customers who refinance, making comparison shopping with private mortgage insurance worthwhile.
The details: FHA’s new insurance premium rates include a great deal for existing FHA borrowers — you can refinance by paying a miniscule .01% upfront fee and an annual premium of just .55% starting June 11. The catch: The deal is only for home owners who got their FHA mortgage on or before May 31, 2009. The latest FHA deal for new FHA customers buying homes isn’t nearly as sweet. You’ll pay a whopping 1.75% upfront fee and an annual premium of 1.25%. For a $200,000 loan, that’s $3,500 for the upfront premium payment and $2,500 for the annual premium.
2. Refinance underwater mortgage: If you owe more than your home is worth, you may finally be able to refinance into a lower rate thanks to the government’s HARP refinancing program. You can take advantage of historically low interest rates by using the latest version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program. The HARP program even works if you’ve been hit by the economic double-whammy of a falling family income and a falling home price. You qualify for a HARP refinance if you have income coming in and you’ve made your mortgage payments on time every month for the past six months and have no more than one late payment in the past year. Caution…Banks can layer their own tougher rules on top of the HARP requirements, and they’re not obligated to let you use the program to refinance your existing loan.
3. Refinance rental properties: Some real estate investors have new loan options for the first time in years. In recent years, small landlords like me have had a tough time finding a bank to finance more rental property purchases. Once you had more than four rental property loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were no longer willing to guarantee your loans, even when your credit scores were top-notch and the property was able to turn a profit from day one of ownership. Only Fannie Mae has made this change. (It’ll purchase up to 10 loans from any one investor.) Freddie Mac is still limiting single-family landlords to four loans. Most banks discount your rental income by 25% when making investor loans, which adds up when you have multiple properties. (Houselogic 4/25/12).
Get rid of roaches by starving, trapping, and poisoning them: It’s a start.
Starve them: Whenever food and water are easy to find, roaches will invite themselves to dinner. Here’s how to cancel their reservations and get rid of roaches: Dry up any standing water around sinks, tubs, and toilets. Roaches can only live a week without water; Meticulously clean your kitchen, including crumbs near the stove, microwave, and refrigerator; Vacuum scraps of food from corners and around the cabinet bases; Wipe down cupboard insides and drawers with soap and water; Immediately clean and put away dirty dishes.
Serious roach removal: If your spotless house still attracts roaches, bring out the big guns. Traps: Set sticky traps—like the famous Roach Motel ($2.50)—in dark locations where roaches congregate: Under sinks and refrigerators, behind stoves, and in cupboards. Traps will work immediately, so check them daily. Toss when full. Bait: Bait stations ($10 for an 8-pack) have stick-and-peel backs; place them anywhere. Fipronil, the active ingredient, kills by touch or ingestion. Roaches often will share the bait with nest-mates, killing others in the process. Change stations every three months. Green kill: To paralyze and eventually kill roaches, mix boric acid with water and flour, and place in jar lids in the back of cupboards and underneath stoves. (Caution! Keep out of reach of pets and children.) The flour will attract the roaches; the boric acid will eat away at their exoskeleton.
Hire a pest professional: If you can’t get rid of roaches yourself, hire a pest control company to fight the war for you. Exterminators typically spray your house with Cynoff WP (keep it away from aquariums), set bait stations, and return until the roaches don’t. (Houselogic 4/2/2012)
Recent and pending changes to FHA-backed loans may increase barriers to home ownership and hamper the housing market recovery. Right now, sellers can pay 6% of the buyers’ closing costs. Sellers use closing costs as a way to get buyers to buy their home. FHA is asking home owners and those in the housing industry what they think about limiting closing cost help to 3% or $6,000, whichever is greater. FHA thinks having buyers put up more cash at closing will make them less likely to default later on their mortgages. The problem is that making home buyers pay more at closing could slow down the real estate market recovery. Seller concessions are critical in these and other areas to allowing the borrowers to buy a home without depleting all of their savings.
President Obama believes that we should be doing everything we can to put higher education within reach for every American – because at a time when the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average, it’s never been more important.
He is calling on Congress to act before student loan interest rates double for more than 7.4 million students, adding an average of $1,000 to their debt. Congress has a chance to take action on what should be an area of bipartisan agreement to prevent this unnecessary and damaging increase in interest rates and give our young people a chance to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrowhttp://links.whitehouse.gov/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIwNDIxLjcwMTIxMjEmbWVzc2FnZWlkPU1EQi1QUkQtQlVMLTIwMTIwNDIxLjcwMTIxMjEmZGF0YWJhc2VpZD0xMDAxJnNlcmlhbD0xNjg2MzcwMSZlbWFpbGlkPWRhbmV0dGVvbmVhbEBtZS5jb20mdXNlcmlkPWRhbmV0dGVvbmVhbEBtZS5jb20mZmw9JmV4dHJhPU11bHRpdmFyaWF0ZUlkPSYmJg==&&&101&&&http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/04/21/weekly-address-calling-congress-prevent-student-interest-rates-doubling?utm_source=042112&utm_medium=image&utm_campaign=daily
If you’re house-hunting with a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), you may be on the hook for higher costs.
Right now, sellers can pay 6% of the buyers’ closing costs. That helps first-time home buyers who often struggle to come up with enough cash for a down payment plus closing costs. Sellers use closing costs as a way to get buyers to buy their home. FHA is proposing 3% or $6,000, whichever is greater. FHA thinks having buyers put up more cash at closing will make them less likely to default later on their mortgages. The problem is that making home buyers pay more at closing could slow down the real estate market recovery.
The closing cost proposal comes on the heels of an increase in FHA mortgage insurance premiums that took effect April 9: The up-front mortgage insurance premium for most FHA borrowers increased to 1.75% of the loan from 1%. FHA also raised its annual mortgage insurance premium for loans under $625,000 to 1.25% from 1.15%. Home owners with FHA loans exceeding $625,000 will see their mortgage insurance premiums rise to 1.5%. Approximately 40% of all new mortgages for home purchases in 2011 were backed by the FHA. The long and short of it is….it is becoming more expensive for consumers to buy homes. And as the last few years have shown, when home prices fall, the private sector money flees the mortgage market. (Houselogic 4/16/12)
The number of U.S. home short sales surpassed foreclosure deals for the first time as banks became more agreeable to selling houses for less than the amount owed on their mortgages, according to Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS)
Short sales accounted for 23.9 percent of home purchases in January, the most recent month available, compared with 19.7 percent for sales of foreclosed homes, data compiled by the Jacksonville, Florida-based company show. A year earlier, 16.3 percent of transactions were short sales and 24.9 percent involved foreclosures.
Lenders are catching up to short sales after being slow to provide the staffing and incentives necessary to complete the deals, Weiner said. The transactions typically fetch a higher price for banks than sales of homes that have gone through foreclosure. In January, foreclosed homes sold for an average of 29 percent less than comparable non-distressed properties, compared with a 23 percent discount for short sales, according to Lender Processing Services. The gap has narrowed as short sales become more common.
LET ME CAUTION YOU….. IF YOU DO A SHORT SALE, 1.) YOU WILL HAVE A DEFICIENCY ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT; 2.) YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BUY FHA FOR 3 YEARS AND CONV FOR 6 YEARS. Weigh your options carefully.
|The rise in natural disaster-related damage has many insurers reassessing their exposures, raising rates, and reducing coverage. In some cases, insurers have shifted greater financial burdens to home owners and even refused to pay claims. Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute (III) says, “Last year (2011) was an extraordinary year for natural disasters. Insurers have taken a step back to assess whether or not they can absorb severe losses.” Some insurers have pulled out of weather-challenged states, which means they will not write new home owners’ insurance policies or renew contracts with current policyholders.
Meanwhile, other insurers are not abandoning states, but dropping coverage for individual homes and customers who are prone to filing claims. President, Dr. Robert Hartwig says… “If you tell an insurance company that they can’t raise rates despite nine hurricanes in two years, obviously insurers are going to have to reduce exposure.” Source: U.S. Insurers Rethink Coverage After Weather Disaster Payouts, Reuters (04/10/12)
Commentary: SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS!!!We pay huge $$$ every month for protection, and when an accident or disaster occurs, insurers wonder if they have to/want to/can/ or will continue to pay a claim. What did you do with all my money? Vacations? Bonuses? I say, more of us need to self insure, and let the insurance companies go bankrupt paying their operating expenses.
The deadline to file taxes is next week, and if you’re still scrambling to find deductions, you should look no further than your own home. Your home is filled with potential tax breaks — if you know where to find them. So before you put the finishing touches on your tax return, check out these write-offs around the home that could save you money.
“@Obama2012: Vice President Biden: “When the middle class grows, the wealthy get wealthier, the poor get less poor, and the economy gets stronger.””