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News, Events, Tips and Resources from The Jamisons

Do You Qualify For A Mortgage?

by The Jamison Team on 04/13/15



A mortgage is a financial agreement between a lender and an individual that is hoping to purchase a home. The lender will pay for the home and the home buyer will need to pay the lender back, over the course of several years including interest. Not everyone does qualify to have a home loan like this but many do. This has become the standard way of purchasing a home in the United States. While it may not be the most affordable, as it is always more affordable to pay off the home in one payment, it is an easy process and one that can allow more people to own the home of their dreams.

What makes you qualify for a mortgage has a lot to do with the type of life you are leading financially. The lender of this home loan will want to make sure that you can actually pay for it. They will want to insure that the home will be able to be paid for today and into the future. To do this, they will look at several aspects of the potential home buyer.

The first thing that they will look at is the work history of the individual or individuals looking to purchase the home. They are looking to find out if they have employment and if they have had it over the course of their adult life. If they have steady employment, this is ideal as it shows that an individual is less of a risk of not being employed. Of course having a job shows that you have the money coming in so to pay off the home mortgage .

Next, the lender will look at the amount of money coming into the potential home buyer as opposed to what his bills are. Here, they are looking to make sure that there is enough income coming in to pay off the monthly payments that a home loan has. The debt to income ratio that they are looking for is vitally important because if there is not enough coming in, they are likely to default on the loan.

The credit score of the home owners is also very important. If you are a new homeowner, one that has never had a home before, you should insure that your credit score is high. This tells the lender of the mortgage just how responsible you are with your debts. Someone that has no credit or poor credit is more of a risk to the lender then the other guy that has good credit. If you have owned a home before, the lender of the home loan will want to look at how well you paid down your past home loans. The better that you do this, the better your qualifications for obtaining this type of loan are.

In the end, each lender will have a different set of rules as to what is okay and what is not. The good news is that you can get no obligation loan quotes easily, right on the web to allow you to see if you do qualify as well as how much of a loan you qualify for. A mortgage is a serious commitment that only the people that can afford it should take on.

Good luck!
Darlene Jamison, ABR
Re/Max

Can A Lender Profit From A Short Sale?

by The Jamison Team on 04/06/15





With the escalating number of foreclosure happening all around the nation, homeowners from around the United States are looking for effective ways to avoid this whole fixating situation. Moreover, it is not just the homeowners who are affected by this trying situation of foreclosure, but also the lender organization has to bear a lot of trouble due to these unfortunate, yet in most cases inevitable, situation. Although the consciousness is still not so overtly acclaimed as yet, there are ways to combat situations like these, an assured one of which is short sale of the property under question.

Short sale in the real estate industry refers to a situation where the homeowner sells of one’s property at a reduced rate (that is, less than the loan balance) in order to make for the mortgage upon the agreement of the lender. Like this, the homeowner can avoid foreclosure in its entirety and subsequently save up some money if the deal is good enough. However, it is not only the homeowner who is profited by short sale of property but also the lender entity. The lender can directly make up for its losses or even when the short sale does not keep up to its due balance, save a lot of money and labor, which conducting a property foreclosure would have otherwise induced.

Real estate foreclosure sales and auctions are indeed trying and tiring! In most cases, the lender entity tries to make all sorts of arrangements for a successful closing of the property deal, but to its utter disappointment, suffers only irrecoverable loss due to insufficient bids in the auction. At certain occasions, the property might not sell at all and the lender has to suffer major losses with the property left to no use of its own. It is, therefore, why the lender entity easily gives in to a minimum loss in cash with approving the short sale of the property under consideration.

So how can a lender get profited by property short sale? In general terms, the lender is free from any risk due to the potential in-saleability of the concerned property, which can be made sure with short sale. The loss thereby incurred is minimal and can be recovered with ease by the lender, whereas a virtually unsalable property is of no use to the lender. The entire procedure of foreclosure is also very demanding both in terms of money, time and labor, and by approving to the short sale of the property under question, the lender can ensure that it saves all of that.

Along with the easily dealing of the otherwise expensive and lengthy foreclosure procedure, the lender saves excessive loss of money. Since foreclosure auctions induce far less property price in comparison to the industry standards, short sale is an easy option, which ensures a respectable and, of course, a predictable property evaluation. The lender even does not have to bother with the refurbishment and repair of the property before the auction. No marketing, no selling - short sale maximizes profit and efficiency in all possible ways! We hope that this has given you more insight into the subject.

Please don't hesitate or be embarrassed to call us for help with any mortgage related issues that you may be experiencing.
 
Kevin & Darlene
The Jamison Team

Apartment Locators

by The Jamison Team on 03/26/15



When you do a search on a Search Engine for "apartments" you are going to come across two types of Website resources; apartment locator sites and apartment database sites. Which is the best for you? Well, that depends on what your needs and circumstances dictate. It also has a great deal to do with your privacy comfort level.

The Apartment Locator Site:

If you are relocating to an area of the country that is totally new for you, someplace where you are unfamiliar with neighborhoods, schools, job centers, transportation, etc., then the apartment locator may be your best choice. These folks respond to your query by making telephone contact with you. You will describe your circumstances, needs, budget and other preferences. The apartment locator is usually extremely knowledgeable about the area and the local rental market. They will be quite helpful in finding you rental accommodations that suit your particular needs. In most cases, this will be a totally free service. The apartment locator is normally paid a commission or “finder’s fee” from the landlord or rental agent. With regard to your privacy, however, keep in mind that you are required to share your telephone number with the apartment locator and be open to the idea of personal contact. You need to decide if, or how much, that is acceptable to your sense of privacy.

The Apartment Database Site:

Unlike apartment locators, apartment database sites offer a broad selection of on-line apartment listings. They give you intricate descriptions of apartment complexes including, but not limited to, maps, amenities, rent ranges, contact information, etc. Pictures of the apartment units, inside and out, are usually included. An excellent amount of data helps you decide if any particular rental unit meets your needs and satisfaction. When you are moving to an apartment that is located within your present living area or when you are relocating to an area that you are totally familiar with, an apartment database site might be the one for you. Most require a simple registration process which usually asks for name and email address. You need not submit your telephone number and you will not be contacted personally by anyone. Like the apartment locator, most apartment database sites are free to you. Sometimes you are even offered a bonus of $100.00 or more if you list their site as your referring source when you sign your apartment lease.
 
So, which is better for you, the apartment locator site or the apartment database site? The answer to that question is answered by your own unique needs, desires, situation and limits of personal privacy.

Good luck on your apartment search and good luck in your new apartment.

Darlene Jamison
Remax Specialists


Buying A House - Checking Exterior Wood

by The Jamison Team on 03/09/15



You need to be very careful before committing to the purchase of a house. If the house has wood and brick on the exterior, you need to consider the following issues.

Wood Issues

Wood is a beautiful material, particularly when it is used on the exterior of a home. Compared to stucco and other materials, it is a wonder wood isn’t used more often. The reason, of course, is wood simply doesn’t hold up as well as man made materials. If you are looking at a home with a heavy emphasis on exterior wood siding, trim and so on, here are some things to watch out for when evaluating the opportunity.

1. The first thing to realize is the appearance of wood has almost no relevance to the condition. A perfectly good looking piece of wood trim may be infested with termites or rotting and you will never know by just glancing at it. When inspecting wood exteriors, never trust your eyes.

2. One of the biggest issues with wood is degradation. When looking at particular areas, make absolutely sure you physically touch the wood. In fact, you are probably best off giving it a fairly good poke with a finger. In doing so, you should be looking for soft areas. Soft areas are indicative of rot in one form or another. Finding rot in one area should make you very concerned about finding rot throughout the structure. Put another way, you may want to start looking at other homes on your list.

3. Finding soft spots in wood can be troubling, but there is something worse. If you poke or squeeze a piece of wood and dust or bits fall off, run for the care. This type of degradation is often a sign of termite problems. Termite problems should be a huge red flag for any prospective home. If you buy the house, you are going to have to tent it to kill the bugs and pay to inspect and repair the damage done by the evil little bugs. In short, you are buying a minor, but expensive, nightmare.

Make no mistake, wood can be very attractive on the exterior of a home. Just make sure you don’t rely solely on a visual inspection of it when deciding on the merits of the house.

Good luck,
Kevin & Darlene

An Overview of a Quit Claim Deed

by The Jamison Team on 02/24/15



The deed to a property is a legal document that establishes ownership. There are different types of deeds. Here is an overview of a quit claim deed.

Quit claim deeds are a form of deed used in the transfer or sale of property when a grantor, a person who owns an interest in the property, is essentially allowing the transfer of that property to another person. The grantors do not actually own the property but rather simply have responsibility over it. For this reason, grantors have the legal right to sell the property but there is a catch.

The quit claim deed offers little protection for buyers down the road. Although the property will be transferred to the grantee from the grantor, the quit claim deed does not legally protect the grantee from future claims to the property. The grantor does not legally own the property and so that leaves a back door open for potential future problems regarding the property.

Quit claim deeds are often used in a couple situations due to their relative simplicity compared to many of the other forms that have to be filed during property transfer and/or sales. One, the quit claim deed is used to clear up a title. And two, quit claim deeds are effective for those who want to use a simplistic method for giving up their interests in a certain property.

When used in a sale of a property, quit claim deeds can result in significant risk to the buyers of the property. However, quit claim deeds still have other uses that are very beneficial. For instance, in the case where there are multiple people who have claims to a home, such as when a relative passes away, a quit claim deed is an effective way of one of these people to legally transfer their interests in the home to another person. A divorce can create a similar situation, making the quit claim deed very useful.

It is important to be smart about which form of deed you will be using and signing whether you are a seller or a buyer. Know what the potential risks are and the protections that are being offered by the deed so as to better be prepared.


Do you have any further questions about this or any other real estate or mortgage related matter? If so, please don't hesitate to call me at 215-439-5626 or email me at darlene@kevinanddarlene.com.

Thanks,
Darlene

Before Moving Anything Into Your New Home

by The Jamison Team on 02/18/15



Before moving any of your belongings into your new home, its important to make sure that everything is as it should be.  You may have had a list of repairs you expected – or this may be the first time you've seen the house empty.  

Take some time to go around with a notepad and check all of the sockets for obvious signs of wear and tear and look for damage that you might be otherwise liable for.
 
Ensure that any cupboards are empty, free of damp, mold or bad smells, and keep a close note of what where the electricity, water and gas stopcocks are.  While doing this, you'll also be getting a feel for where you can place any furniture, how to get it up any stairs or even just into the house. 

Note down any damage or concerns you have to be discussed with whomever you're dealing with – its important to have these notes before moving anything in so that you can get the problems remedied as soon as possible.

If you're letting from a landlord, he'll give you a list of any fittings, fixtures and furniture he's leaving – its very common nowadays for landlords to leave 'white goods' – kitchen appliances, such as the fridge, freezer, washing machine and cooker. 

If you're letting, your landlord should also give you contact details, emergency repair numbers and any paperwork pertaining to these emergency repairs that you may need.  You may also want to get bank details or arrange a good time to come and collect rent.  Any final paperwork can be signed now, and then you can start making your new place your own.

You should also ensure that the central heating and boiler are working correctly and collect any manuals for these from the previous occupant – these manuals will save you a lot of frustration in the long run.

Thanks for reading!
Darlene
 

Bankruptcy Alternatives

by The Jamison Team on 01/28/15



Many people want to file bankruptcy the moment they realize they are in over their heads, and they feel like there is nothing they can do to get out of debt. Bankruptcy however, should be used as an absolute last resort- after all other options have been thoroughly researched and exhausted.

Before making the decision to file bankruptcy, consider each of the following alternatives:

• Refinancing
• Debt Consolidation
• Debt Settlement
• Debt Negotiation

If after you’ve considered each bankruptcy alternative, you still find that your personal debts are greater than the money you have available to make payments each month, you may have no choice other than bankruptcy.

Refinancing

If you are a home owner and have not refinanced your home in the last year, it may be possible for you to obtain additional money from the equity you have in your home, and use it to pay off your other debt. This will eliminate the monthly payments on each of your credit cards or loans that you have used your refinance to pay off, and allow you to make a single, more affordable monthly payment. If you are able to use refinancing of your home to manage your debt, make sure that you do not run right out and get another credit card or car loan, because before you know it you will be right back where you were before the refinance!

Debt Consolidation

Many individuals are able to consolidate all of their monthly credit card and loan payments together by taking out a debt consolidation loan. Typically, a consolidation loan will require some form of collateral to secure it. Unfortunately, you do need to have fairly good credit in order to obtain a debt consolidation loan, but this is a viable option for someone who finds themselves in over their head before the payments start becoming late.

Debt Settlement

Sometimes you can settle your debt out of court. While it is possible to get a debt settlement on your own, it is advisable that you find a reputable company to help you negotiate with your creditors to reduce the amount of money that is owed. Typically, creditors are willing to accept less than the money that is owed to them if they believe you are going to be filing bankruptcy. They realize that a settlement is going to give them more money on the balance owed than the bankruptcy will, and it is in their favor to work with you in this situation. In order to settle your debts, you should have money on hand to immediately pay your creditors and get them to close the account, and report it as “paid as agreed” to your credit report. If you’ve just received a fairly large tax return for example, you could consider attempting to settle your debt with each creditor by offering them less than the total amount owed to close out the account.

Debt Negotiation

Negotiating your debt can be helpful, although it doesn’t eliminate your debt. Call each of your creditors and discuss with them that you are having financial difficulties. Explain you are considering bankruptcy, but before you take that leap you would like to see if you can negotiate your debt with each of your creditors to obtain payment arrangements that work better with your financial situation. Some credit card companies will lower the interest rate and stop late fees and finance charges from occurring, and it really helps you start paying down on the balances. The trouble with credit cards is that once you get behind, the interest and finance charges each month are as much as or more than your minimum monthly payments, so you are paying every month and never reducing your balance. With lower interest rates, and creditors who stop the finance charges and late fees temporarily, you can start chipping away at the actual balance, and hopefully pay off a few accounts during the negotiation period.

The Jamison Team

Will I Lose My Home This Time?

by The Jamison Team on 01/23/15



If you have had trouble managing your money, you may find yourself in debt to credit card and loan companies. It can be stressful and even embarrassing to be in this position, but the best approach is to confront the problem head on and try and work out a solution with your creditors. Failure to pay your credit card bills or general loan repayments may result in court action and bad credit ratings, but the only time you are in danger of losing your home is if you fail to keep up your mortgage repayments.

Even the most well-intentioned homeowner can fall behind with their mortgage payments. Unexpected illness, bereavement, depression, divorce or unemployment are all reasons why many people have trouble maintaining payment. Most mortgage companies are willing to give you a chance to catch up with your payments, or work out a revised schedule, but if you don’t do this, or you fail to keep to the new schedule, you could be in danger of losing your home. How can you prevent this?

1. Don’t ignore letters from your mortgage company

After you’ve missed a number of payments, your mortgage company will write to you, asking you to contact them. It might be easy to put the letter to one side, but it can do you more harm than good in the long term. Instead, call your mortgage company and ask for a meeting so that you can explain your circumstances and work out a revised payment schedule.

2. Make every effort to pay your debts

If you have other debts as well as your mortgage and you are struggling to pay everything, look at ways you can cut your expenditure to help catch up with payments. Showing that you are making an effort to pay your debts may delay the mortgage company applying for a court order to repossess your home.

3. Talk to repossession experts

If your payment problems have reached the stage where repossession is a real threat, you may need to talk to specialist lenders. They can help arrange fast finance that allows you to repay your debts and keep your home. Alternatively, they can arrange a quick house sale so that you can clear your debts completely and start again.

Face up to your money difficulties and talk to financial experts that can help you stay in your home.

DO NOT HESITATE to call us at 215-439-5626 if you are having any problems paying your mortgage.

Darlene Jamison, Realtor
The Jamison Team

Cheap Homes - Five Ways To Save Thousands

by The Jamison Team on 01/14/15



How do you find cheap homes? There are too many ways to list here, but there are five basic principles to learn. Understand these, and you can save thousands of dollars on your next home.

Cheap Homes Are In Cheap Towns

Yes, there are still beautiful towns in this country where you can see a good movie, put the kids in a good school, go shopping, enjoy nearby natural beauty, and buy homes for under fifty thousand dollars. Some realtor friends of ours brought a beautiful little home with hardwood floors, a full carpeted basement, and a garage, in a pretty mountain town in West Virginia, for $17,500, in 2002. You can still get homes for under $35,000 there.

What you can't get very easily there, is a good job. These towns with the cheapest homes usually have a bad job situation. They are great places to retire to, or to move to if you have a business or profession that isn't location-dependent. Writers and internet entrepreneurs are beginning to discover them. Of course, if you've already determined where you'll be living, or need a town with high-paying jobs, you can skip this idea.

Some Homes Are Just Cheaper

Another way to save when buying a home is to find a less expensive alternative that still fits your needs. This can mean buying in the inexpensive parts of town, or buying the inexpensive types of homes. Don't set your mind on one type of home or one neighborhood before you know what all the alternatives are.

This doesn't mean buying a cheap dump to save money, or buying in a dangerous part of town. It is more about a philosophy of defining your true needs so you can find the least expensive way to meet them. You may be surprised at what is available for less.

You Can Offer Less

No matter what you buy, you can save a lot if you know a few basic negotiating techniques. Is it worth a few minutes reading and an hour or two of practice to save thousands of dollars? Anyone can learn a few simple negotiating techniques that are used by the masters of negotiation. Somewhere, every day, people get cheap homes come through good negotiating.

Financing Can Make Homes Cheaper

You can pay the full asking price on a home and still spend thousands less than another person might. It isn't just price, but financing too that makes a home affordable. Pay a lower interest rate, and you can save many thousands of dollars. You can pay low or no loan fees, avoid mortgage insurance, save on appraisals, and more.

Save Money On Everything Else

Start learning the insider secrets to saving money at each step in the home buying process. You can learn tricks like how to use a walk-through inspection list to present with your low offer. You can learn ways to get cheaper inspections, pay lower taxes, pay less for homeowners insurance, and save on closing costs. We even financed a home without an appraisal once. There is more to buying cheap homes than just getting a low price.

Thanks for reading,
Darlene


5 Ground Rules for Home Buying Success

by The Jamison Team on 01/12/15





There are few purchases in life that carry the financial and psychological weight of buying a home.  Whether you are buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing your home and your life after the kids have gone, it is important to understand the ground rules for success in the world of buying a home.

Making the wrong decision in buying a home can have devastating and long lasting effects, while making a wise decision in home buying can greatly enhance the overall value of the investment.  It is necessary to learn all you can about the world of home buying and mortgages before setting out to purchase the home of your dreams.

While there are plenty of web sites designed to help first time homeowners learn all they can, most financial experts say that there is no substitute for the good old one-on-one learning. Fortunately, most mortgage lenders, home inspectors and real estate agents will be able to provide this kind of one-on-one learning.

When buying a home it is often best to use a systematic approach as this is often the best way to be sure that all decisions are based on information and reason, not on impulse or emotion.  Buying a home can be an emotional process, nevertheless it is imperative to keep your emotions under control and not let them cloud your judgment.

There are five basic ground rules when it comes to buying a home and shopping smart, and they are:

#1 – Get your financing before you get your home

There are few things in life as disappointing as losing out on the home of your dreams due to not being able to secure funding.  While the desire to get out there are search for that great home is understandable, it is vital to line up the financing you will need before you start shopping for a home.

Getting the financing ahead of time has a number of important advantages, including knowing how much you can buy and gaining more respect from the listing agents.  By knowing how much home you can afford before you shop you will avoid wasting your time looking at unaffordable properties, and the listing agent will be more than willing to show you the homes in your price range.

It is also important to take a good look at the various types of mortgage on the market before getting started in the home buying process.  These days, mortgages come in far more choices than the typical 15 or 30 year. For that reason, potential home buyers need to understand how each type of mortgage works, and to gauge which mortgage is the best choice for their needs.

#2 – Look at the community, not just the home

It is a good idea to look at the entire community, instead of focusing on a single home. This can be a particularly important thing to consider for those moving to a new metropolitan area, as these buyers will be unfamiliar with the local climate and lifestyle.  It is crucial to determine the areas of town that are most desirable, and to consider things like distance from work and local shopping opportunities.

We have all heard that location is the key consideration when it comes to real estate, and that is certainly the case.  Buying a house in the wrong area can be a big mistake, and it is important to choose the location as well as the home.  Potential buyers can learn a great deal about the nature of the various neighborhoods simply by driving around town, as well as by talking to other residents.

#3 – Be fair with your first offer

Trying to lowball a seller on the first offer can backfire, as can paying too much. It is important to carefully evaluate the local market, and to compare the asking price of the home with what similar houses in the neighborhood have sold for.

Comparing the sales of comparable homes, what are known as "comps" in the industry, is one of the best ways to determine what is fair, and to make sure that you neither overpay or underbid on the property.

#4 – Always get a home inspection

Always investigate the home for any possible defects before making an offer.  Compared to the cost of the average home, the price of a quality home inspection is virtually negligible. Hence, get a good home inspection done before you buy.

To find the best home inspector, it is a good idea to seek out word of mouth referrals as many of the best home inspectors rely on word of mouth advertising.

#5 – Do not alienate the sellers of the home

Many real estate deals have fallen apart due to the personal animosity of the buyer and the seller.  It is important to avoid alienating the seller of the home during the process, and to avoid nitpicking every little detail during the sale.

Keeping the good will of the seller will help the transaction go smoothly, and it will provide the best environment for seller and buyer alike.

And keep the Jamison Team in mind, we can help you with all aspects of residential or commercial real estate sales and financing. Please feel free to contact Darlene at 215-439-5626 or Kevin at 215-439-5625 with your questions or to get the ball rolling. Our general email address is thejamisonteam@kevinanddarlene.com