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News, Events, Tips and Resources from The Jamisons

Buyers Closing Cost

by The Jamison Team on 05/19/15



Buyers, borrower, closing costs can be divided into two categories. Nonrecurring closing cost and recurring closing cost.

Nonrecurring closing costs on a one-time charge paid upon the close of escrow. Recruiting closing costs are peeping items that the buyer pays advance to help offset expenses that will continue as long as the but it only to property.

Nonrecurring closing cost usually paid by the buyer.

1. Loan ordination fee. A fee charged by a lender to cover the expenses of processing a loan. The fee is usually coded as a percentage of the loan amount

2. Appraisal fee. A fee charged by an appraiser for giving an estimate for property value. The fee for simple appraisal will vary throughout the state, with $350 or more being a typical charge for a single-family residence. Appraisal fees for income properties such as apartments or off his buildings are higher.

3. Credit report fee. Before a lender grants a loan to borrowers credits is checked. Each lender, broker charges different amounts for a credit report.

4. Pest control inspection fee. A fee charged by a licensed inspector who checks for termites, fungus, pests, and other items that might cost structural damage.

5. Tax service fee. A fee paid to a tax service company that, for the life of the loan, each you can review the tax collectors records. If a borrower fails to pay the property taxes, the tax service company reported this to the lender, who can take steps to protect the loan against a tax foreclosure sale.

6. Recording fees. This covers the cost of recording the deep, deep of trust, and other buyer related documents.

7. Notary fees. Signatures on documents to be recorded must be notarized.

8. Assumption fee. A fee paid to a lender if the buyer assumes the loan, that is, buyer agrees to take over and continue to pay the seller's existing loan.

9.Title and escrow fees.

Recurring closing cost usually paid by the buyer.

1. Hazard insurance. A1-year premium for insurance against fire, storm, and other risks. The minimum coverage is the amount of the real estate loan, but buyers are advised to purchase a great amounts if they make large down payment toward the purchase price.

2. The proration. If the seller has prepaid the taxes, the buyer reimburses the seller for the prepaid portion.

3. Tax and insurance reserves. This is also known as an impound account or trust account. If a borrower's monthly loan payment is to include taxes and insurance, as well as principal and interest, the lender that sets up a reserve account. Depending upon the time of the year a lender or the one the borrower to prepay 1-6 months of taxes and insurance premiums in today's reserve account. Once an reserve account is established, tax and insurance bills are forwarded to the lender for payment.

4. Interest due before the first loan payment.

To learn more about buying or selling a home in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware counties, please don't hesitate to call me directly at 215-439-5626 or email me at darlene@kevinanddarlene.com.

I hope that this article gave you more insight.

Darlene Jamison, Realtor
Remax

3 Ways To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

by The Jamison Team on 05/09/15



Yes, you can now get your credit report without paying a dime. And unlike before, now it is truly free. No longer do you have to sign up for a "free" credit report by signing up for "credit monitoring protection service" for a low annual fee of $79 a year! The days of dodging the annoying charges and service fees for a free credit report are over.

Under the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, you have the right to a free copy of your credit report within a 12 month period from the big three credit report bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

The goal of this new government act is to ensure that Americans have the right to stay informed about what these three credit reporting bureaus say about you without having to pay for it. Since identity theft, fraud and errors are quite common today, why should you have to pay for a copy of a report to fight back against these problems?

Here are the 3 ways to get your free annual credit report:

The three credit reporting agencies have created a website to request your annual credit report.

1) Go to www.annualcreditreport.com

2) Call (877) 322-8228 to request your free credit report.

3) Complete a form from the Federal Trade Comission, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/include/requestformfinal.pdf and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

If you go directly to the three agencies or use any other type of service you may end up having to pay or sign up for the subscription services I mentioned above! Make sure you use one of the 3 methods I have listed to get your annual free credit report.

You can get the reports from all 3 agencies at once or stagger the reports from each one during the course of 1 year. The advantage of staggering the reports that you receive is to keep track of how any major changes in your financial picture affect what is on your credit report. For example, if you plan on getting a second mortgage over the coming year, or applying for student loans, ect. it might be wise to get a report before and after these major events!

This new Act does not supplant the other methods you can take advantage of to receive a free credit report. If you are applying for unemployment or been denied a loan, or need a credit report in order to get a job, you still have the right to obtain a free credit report.

Take advantage of this government regulation and make sure all of the information listed by all three credit reporting agencies are correct. Any errors or omissions can reduce your credit score and end up costing you a lot of money when you apply for any type of credit.

Thanks for reading!
Darlene Jamison

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