Should I Buy a Short Sale Property?
November 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
Short sales were a common part of the real estate landscape a decade ago as the number of properties in distress following the financial crisis that began in 2008 skyrocketed. Thankfully, the market settled down and short sales are rare now, but they’re still out there, which can be good news for buyers.
What Is a Short Sale?
Short sales are an agreement between the lender and the property owner that allows for the property to be sold for less than the remaining loan. In some cases, the lender agrees to forgive the remaining debt, which is part of why short sales are often a better option for property owners than a foreclosure. Another advantage is it doesn’t inflict as significant a hit on the credit record.
Sellers who qualify for this type of relief are already well behind on payments, typically to a point from which it’s unlikely they’ll ever catch up, so drawing the sale out could cost the lender money. Additionally, short sales are approved when the real estate market surrounding the property are in such a slump that the house is worth less than the remaining mortgage balance.
Should I Buy a Short Sale?
There’s a lot to consider if you think about purchasing a short sale property. Here are a few:
Trusted American Mortgage has the expertise to help you through financing your real estate purchase. If you’re ready to find your first or next home, let us help you!
What Sellers Should Know About Staging
October 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
For those who haven’t watched HGTV or visited an open house lately, staging is a bit of home-seller marketing that involves dressing your place up before potential buyers look around. The intention is to put the best face on the place to help convince people to buy.
Part of staging is making the house feel livable so potential buyers can imagine building their lives in it, while the other part is just making the house look nice and maybe high-end to help ensure you get the best offer for the property.
Is Staging Worth It?
Short answer: yes. A 2019 report from the National Association of REALTORS provides strong evidence of the value of staging.
Here are just a few of the findings from its survey of buyers’ agents:
Who Does Staging & What Does it Entail?
There are three common options for staging a home to get it ready for showings: DIY, sellers’ agent, and independent firm.
The latter has the advantage of having a store of items for staging, from vases and lamps to furniture and appliances, and may even keep premium items such as hot tubs that can help boost home value. This option can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Sellers who opt to have their agents do the work typically pay the cost for it as part of the agent’s overall fee. Agents who offer the service also keep a store of supplies for the purpose, though it’s usually not as extensive as what a professional stager would have.
Some agents may stage a house and leave it set up that way until it sells, while others will put the effort in only for open houses.
The DIY option may just be the most common, particularly for those who currently live in the houses they’re selling. Since their belongings are already there, they don’t have to bring in a lot of supplies but may need to get some enhancements to help the place look its best.
If you opt to DIY staging, here are some things you may want to do:
If you’re ready to sell your current home and find your next one, Trusted American Mortgage is here to finance your move. Give us a call today and let’s get started on finding your dream home!
What Does the Phrase “Record-low Mortgage Rates” Mean?
September 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
If you pay attention to internet or satellite radio ads, you may think mortgage rates are perpetually at or at least near all-time lows. They promise at any given moment you can purchase a home or refinance an existing loan for less than ever possible before.
The truth is rates really are at historic lows right now and there’s a lot of good stock on the housing market. But what does that mean, and how do you know when it’s really true?
That’s Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, which was created to increase the supply of money available for mortgage lending.
The agency keeps a record of average commitment rates for 30-year mortgages that date back to 1971, the year after it was founded. The 3.16% rate it showed for June was, indeed, the lowest ever recorded.
In fact, the rates for April (3.31), May (3.23), and June each set new records, besting the previous low mark of 3.35 set in November and December 2012.
Meanwhile, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac’s data in June, coming in at 2.60%. That beats the previous record of 2.66, also set in the last two months of 2012.
And Freddie’s sister Fannie Mae expects the hits to keep on coming, projecting an annual average rate of 3.2% for 2020. Just how low is that? The previous annual low was 3.65% in 2016, while that number has been as high as 16.63%, the all-time high set in 1981.
What Does All This Mean to Me?
What it means is this is a great time to buy a home because you’ll pay less in interest every month and significantly less over the life of the loan. The Washington Post points out that means a $300,000 loan issued in late June would come with a monthly payment of $1,298 with principal, interest, and estimated taxes and insurance included.
That’s well below the $1,448 the paper says the same loan would have cost a year before. Over the life of the loan, that difference could save this hypothetical borrower $54,000.
If you’re ready to take advantage of the great rates available right now, talk to one of the knowledgeable and helpful loan experts at Trusted American Mortgage today!
Questions to Ask When Considering a Home with a Well
August 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
In urban areas, homes with wells are virtually unheard of, but in some rural parts of the country, they are more common than those on municipal or public supplies.
According to the EPA, an estimated 13 million U.S. homes rely on a well, which is roughly 10% of the total.
So, home buyers outside cities may run into some properties drawing water out of the ground, rather than a main. If you find yourself in that situation, here are some questions you might want to ask to ensure you have the whole picture before you make the purchase.
How was the well sunk? Most modern wells are drilled, a process that creates a cleaner hole that is easier to plumb and less likely to become contaminated.
How old is the well? Wells require maintenance and have expected lifespans. In most cases drilled wells last decades, though groundwater sources can shift and leave the well dry.
How long was it projected to last? Contractors who sink wells sometimes provide an estimated lifespan based on the flow rate of the source aquifer, expected submersible pump life, and stability of the drill, among other factors.
How deep is the well? The depth of a well can tell you a lot (for instance, how susceptible the well might be to surface contaminants), and the current owner should be able to answer this.
How much water is it rated for? This can be dictated by the available flow from the tapped aquifer and the capacity of the pump. The number is typically in the 3–5-gallon range.
Does the well meet codes? Local and state codes may dictate how the well can be sunk, how deep it must be, and what the water quality should be.
When was the well water last tested and what were the results? You should insist on receiving logs of that check. The EPA recommends testing well water annually for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels.
If you are concerned about the well, you may want to request water quality testing and inspection as a condition of your purchase of the home.
When you’re ready to buy your next home, contact the experts at Trusted American Mortgage to walk with you each step of the way.
What is the Difference Between a Buyer's Market and a Seller's Market?
July 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
If you have ever purchased or sold a home, you are probably familiar with the terms “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market.” But have you ever stopped to consider what those phrases actually mean?
Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to take a few minutes to break it down for you. Read on as we share some insight.
Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market
It’s probably fairly common sense to know that the two phrases mean one market is beneficial for home buyers and one is beneficial for home sellers. But how so? And what do these types of markets mean for people looking to buy or sell a home?
First things first, let us put a definition with the phrases:
A buyer’s market describes a time period when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers looking for homes.
A seller’s market describes a time period when there are fewer homes for sale than there are buyers looking for homes.
What the Markets Mean for You If You are Looking to Sell
If you are not quite sure whether the time is right to sell your home, you want to consider whether you are in a seller’s market time period. When it’s a seller’s market, that means your home will be a hot commodity, because there are so many people looking for homes.
That often translates to bidding wars, where multiple potential buyers bid against each other to become the lucky winner of your home. That translates to a higher sale price for you—and potentially more money in your wallet.
On the other hand, if it is a buyer’s market, you may want to reconsider selling your home, if possible. Your home will be one of many options, making it less likely that it will sell in a timely manner and for the price you would like.
What the Markets Mean for You If You are Looking to Buy
If you are looking to buy a home, ideally, you would wait until it is a buyer’s market. During that time period, there will be more options out there to look at and more price points available.
That means you will be more apt to find a home within an affordable price range that also meets your needs and wants.
During a seller’s market, on the other hand, you could end up paying much more than you anticipated due to an overabundance of competition—other buyers looking for homes.
When you are ready to buy a home, we are here for you! Give us a call today to get started.
Pandemic Mortgage Relief
June 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
With unemployment claims at record levels in March and April as a result of the coronavirus-triggered economic slowdown, searches for “mortgage relief” also hit all-time highs, according to Google Trends data. Fortunately for those struggling to make payments, federal regulators ordered lenders to offer flexibility to more than half of all borrowers.
The mandate gives those who have lost their incomes the opportunity to petition their lenders to reduce or completely pause payments for as long as 12 months. It only covers loans guaranteed by government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but that includes most of the outstanding loans in the U.S.
If you lost your job and/or your income as a result of economic changes related to the coronavirus, there are some things you should do to ensure your home is protected while you look for work:
How to Get Coronavirus Mortgage Relief
If you have other questions about home funding, please reach out to Trusted American Mortgage agents today!
Warmer Weather = Home-Buying Time
May 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
The weather is getting warmer. The birds are chirping. The sun is out. And potential homebuyers are on a mission!
Have you been thinking about putting your home on the market? Our team of professionals at Trusted Home Mortgage wants you to see why the summer season might just be the perfect time to sell your home.
Prepare Now to Get Ahead
More than 5 million homes were sold in the United States in 2019. That adds up to a lot of competition when it comes to the housing market!
Fortunately, if you are one of the many homeowners looking to sell your home this summer, our team is here to offer you tips on how you can help get your home sold sooner rather than later:
Many people want to sell/buy in the summer because it gives the perfect opportunity to close on a home and move without interfering with the start of school.
When people buy in the summer, it gives their family an opportunity to become familiar with the neighborhood, as well as new schools and other extracurricular activities they might be interested in like new churches and sporting events.
So, as part of your prep work in this area, you want to make sure you can identify for potential buyers what is available in your area. Provide quick reference points for schools, churches, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other oft-needed organizations.
Summer is also a great time to sell—particularly this year—because you have likely just completed a comprehensive spring-clean. Your home is sparkling and sanitized, making it easier for potential buyers to see the opportunities your house offers to them.
Take this one step further by decluttering your space and leaving visible only what is necessary. Buyers, after all, want to see their own dreams within your house’s walls, not your reality.
While you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, we all do, which is why it is vital for your home’s curb appeal to be on point when putting your home on the market. You want to give prospective homebuyers the wow factor as soon as they pull up your driveway.
Seize the opportunity now to clean up your outdoor spaces and give them a good shine. Work on your own or with a landscaper to boost your curb appeal with a lush lawn and decorative flowerbeds. You can even add little touches like a new coat of paint to the front door, providing a literal good first impression.
Are you ready to see yourself in a new home this summer? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help you get started!
April 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
Is 2020 the year for a new home? You have come to the right place! Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to find the home of your dreams.
But first things first, you want to make sure you take the steps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before going on a house hunt. Learn why:
Why Is It Important to Get Pre-Approved for a New Home?
Before you get the itch to start looking at homes currently available on the market, it is important to make sure you are not jumping the gun. Rather, the first step in the home-buying process is that of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.
You want to make sure you know how much home you can afford. There is nothing more disappointing than going house-hunting only to find that the houses you are looking at are out of your price range.
Therefore, get a better idea of how much home you can afford by getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you go house-hunting. That way you will not be disappointed if you find a home and, then, it ends up being out of your price range.
If you do find a home you love, you can be one step ahead of other potential homebuyers by having a pre-approval letter in your hand. When you go in to make an offer on a house that you love, the sellers can know that you mean business.
In addition, this can help sellers feel more comfortable in accepting your offer since they do not have to worry about whether you can get funding for a new home since you are already pre-approved for a mortgage.
Are You Ready to Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan?
Now that you know why it is important to get pre-approved for a home mortgage before looking at houses, set up an appointment with us to get started on the pre-approval process. Just make sure you bring the following documents with you:
It is not just a house. It is a home! Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to learn how we can help you get started in finding your dream home sooner rather than later.
Home Sweet Home
March 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
Whether this is your first time buying a house or your fifth, the same outcome is always desired, you want to find a house that you can turn into a home!
Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to learn how you can turn the house of your needs into the home of your dreams with some simple touches. Let's look at some ways you can add your own style into your house in order to make it more of a home:
Bring in the Greenery
What makes the best gift? A houseplant! Not only can houseplants help to improve the air quality inside your home, but they can also help add warmth and comfort for both your loved ones and your guests!
Paint the Walls Red
Well, not necessarily red. But don't be afraid to go outside the box when painting the walls of your home to fit whatever meets your style.
Whether you go for Pantone's Color of the Year in the dining room or beige in the living room or pink and white stripes for your daughter's bedroom, you want each room to have its own meaning, while also having a flow that is all your own.
The Writing is on the Wall
Along with painting the walls, do not be afraid to also add some of your family pictures, favorite quotes, and other favorite artwork to the wall to really spice things up inside your home.
When you are surrounded by photos of your loved ones, even when alone, you can feel as though you are in the comfort of your own home surrounded by the people you love the most!
Artwork, mirrors, and other home decor can also help to give life to the walls of your house in order to help make it a home.
Are you on the search for a new house that you can turn into a home? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help you get started!
February 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon
When you are selling your home, it can be difficult to also live in it. You want everything to stay just right in case the next visitor to your home is the potential buyer!
Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to know how you can make your home livable while trying to sell it in 2020.
Let's take a look at ways you can do just that:
You are going to sell your home one day, so why not go ahead and start cleaning out each room? You can start making bins of what you want to donate, sell, throw out and move.
When you start clearing out your home, you can move items you're going to keep into a storage area and get items you're discarding or selling out of the house entirely. This will help ensure your house remains as clutter-free as possible even while you're still living in it!
Now that you've decluttered, you probably need to clear some of the items you'll be keeping out of your home. Doing so will help make sure that potential buyers can visualize themselves in your house rather than simply seeing all your stuff.
One thing that may make things easier for you and your family is to move items and furniture that's not deemed essential into a storage unit or other available storage space.
While you want your home to be available and ready for potential homebuyers to see, it's still your house! You need to have some boundaries around when you will be in the house and when it will be available for buyers to view.
Work with your Realtor to determine days and times that your house can be shown and when it should be off-limits.
By knowing the days and times your home will be shown, you will be better able to work around that schedule. You'll be able to ensure that your house is cleaned for visitors when needed but can feel more comfortable to truly live in the space on days no one will be stopping by.
Are you needing to move from one home to another? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!
Copyright© 2020 Trusted American Mortgage
It's the start of a new year and the time many of us start implementing resolutions for the year ahead. Why not add one or two to the list related to your home? After all, it's a big investment, so you want to make the most of it!
Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to learn how you can best care for your new home by establishing strong resolutions for 2020. Consider adding these resolutions to your list:
While you do not have to take care of every home project all at once, you do want to have a running list of to-dos in order to keep your home improvement projects streamlined.
After making a list of everything you want to accomplish, you want to start listing them from highest priority to lowest priority. That way you can ensure the most important home tasks get taken care of as soon as possible, such as HVAC issues and electrical upgrades.
There is having a house, and then there is having a home. Although one might think these two terms are the same, they are actually very different. A house is just that, a house. But a home is so much more.
When you walk into your home, you want to be able to take a deep breath and just feel instantly at ease knowing you are safe and sound. Through home decor, home security and other ways, you can be sure to turn your house into a home in the new year!
Your electric bill comes once a month. Wouldn't it be nice to see that bill as low as possible?
Let's take a look at ways you can start making your home energy-efficient today:
Then, you can use the savings of your electrical bill each month to put toward your home improvement projects on your resolution list. It's a win-win!
Are you on the search for a new home? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!
What's Trending in Home-buying for 2020? | Trusted American Mortgage
Everyone is always wanting to stay on top of the latest trends, and who can blame them?
Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to inform you on the latest trends happening within the housing and mortgage market as we enter a new year!
Whether you are in the market for a new house or not, you have probably heard the phrases buyer's market and seller's market in passing. But what do these really mean?
In previous months (and years), it has certainly been a seller's market, which basically means the seller has the upper hand when negotiating the sale of a home. However, the tables are turning a little bit, which means it is becoming more of a buyer's market. That means the buyer will now have more of the power when it comes to negotiating the cost of a home.
Are you looking to sell your home in 2020? Sooner is better than later, especially since things could change within the new year. Some economic experts believe a recession could hit by 2021 and the effects could start to appear in later 2020. So now may be the time to look to sell.
A third trend to watch for in the mortgage industry is the ability to refinance. People refinance a home for a number of reasons, including:
Even if you recently bought a home, you should still consider checking out the current refinancing rate, as you could still take advantage of a great deal in 2020!
Remember, trends are always changing, including in the housing and mortgage market. While these are some of the trends now, you never know what will happen throughout the next year! Take advantage of what you can now so that you don't regret missing out later.
Are you on the search for a new home in the new year? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!
Can you believe we are already entering November? Where has this year gone? It always seems each year passes by faster than the next.
However, now it really is crunch time when searching for a new home just before the holidays. Our team at Trusted American Mortgage is here to help you find the perfect home just in time to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.
While house hunting can be fun, during this time of year, you also want to be able to decorate it for the holidays! Therefore, you might want to consider ways you can find your new home fast so that you have plenty of time to celebrate it before the holiday season begins.
With the pressure on, let's take a look at ways you can find the perfect home:
The first thing you want to do before you start the hunt for the perfect house this holiday season is to go ahead and get pre-approved for a mortgage. The last thing you want to do is waste time looking at homes you cannot afford.
Therefore, take care of this first step before moving forward in the homebuying process.
When you find the right home, you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row in order to make the home buying process as efficient as possible, especially around this time of year when you have no time to waste!
The following are documents homebuyers need when purchasing a new home, such as:
Although you may not be sure of where your new home will be, you do know that there will be a move. Therefore, start planning for your move now so that when the time does come to begin moving into your new home, you already have a head start on packing!
Also, go ahead and do some of the legwork, like determining the steps to take to get cable and internet set up, gas turned on, and other such tasks.
Are you looking for a new home just before the holidays? Give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call to learn how we can help!
August 1, 2019 by Parick Donlon
Refinancing your mortgage can certainly save you money. However, before you pull the plug on refinancing your home, our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to make sure that you time it just right to benefit most.
Let's take a look at some things to consider when it comes to determining whether you should refinance your mortgage:
You want to make sure that when you refinance your mortgage that you are able to obtain a better interest rate. Now only can the interest rate help with lowering your monthly payment, it can also help you save money throughout the lifetime of your home loan.
Therefore, you want to make sure you are improving your interest rate in order to improve your overall finances in the end!
In order to know if your interest rate is going to be better, you also need to be aware of your current credit score. If your credit score is higher than what it was when you first bought your home, then there is a good chance that you'll receive a better interest rate offer this time around.
However, if your credit score is lower than when you first became a homeowner, then you might want to rethink refinancing.
This is where you consider whether your financial needs merit refinancing to free up more money.
Are you in need of cash to help cover your child's college tuition or are you looking to make big improvements to your home?
Then, refinancing your mortgage might be the best (and cheapest) way to free up the money you need for a big expense.
The ultimate goal of refinancing in most cases is to save money in the long run. So carefully consider the details of any mortgage refinance offer to determine whether it will help you do that.
You'll want to examine not just the interest rate and new monthly payment, but also the total amount due, and whether that represents an actual savings over your current mortgage. A mortgage loan officer will be able to step you through all the details so you can make an informed decision.
Are you looking to refinance your home? Give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call today to learn how to get started!
Home Loan Pre-Approval: What Is It & How to Get It | Trusted American Mortgage September1-Pat Donlon
*There is no place like home, Dorothy
Our team at Trusted American Mortgage completely understands the need and desire to want to go house-hunting as soon as it is decided that you are in the market for a new home.
However, have you ever found something you loved and then realized at the end that you couldn't afford it? It quickly puts a damper on the entire experience and makes it hard to move forward to find something you love even more.
Therefore, rather than going in blind when house-hunting, know how much home you can afford by getting pre-approved for your mortgage before starting the search for your new home!
Finding your dream home should be fun! So, take the risk of being disappointed out of the equation by getting pre-approved before you start hunting.
What is this pre-approval, you might ask? Well, it essentially tells you how much of a loan a bank is willing to provide to you. This will provide you with clear parameters on what you're able to afford, and what you are not.
The first thing to know, though, is that just because you get approved for a $300,000 home mortgage, it doesn't mean you need to buy a $300,000 home! It's very important that you truly understand the costs of homeownership, above and beyond just the monthly mortgage. Make sure to set yourself up for success!
How can you obtain the best possible terms for your loan? It's all about credit.
First, you want to make sure that your credit score is ready for a home mortgage. The higher the credit score, the better the interest rate on your home loan. Start taking steps to improve your score by making all payments on time, not closing old accounts and paying off your credit accounts monthly when possible.
In addition, you also want to make sure your debt-to-income ratio isn't too unbalanced. If most of your income is going toward paying off debt, that won't reflect positively when applying for a mortgage. So, work to pay down some of the debt prior to house-hunting, for best results.
Are you in the market for a new home? Before you start house-hunting, give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call to discover how much home you can afford.
It never fails. You think you have everything you need to buy a home and, then, bam. You completely forgot to factor in the closing costs.
Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to be as prepared as possible when it comes to buying a new home by making sure you include closing costs within your budget.
Of course, one thing you want to make sure you do is lower the closing costs as much as possible. Lets take a look at a few ways you can make certain you get the best price possible when it comes to closing costs on your new home.
Just because you are paying for some of the closing costs of the home, it doesnt mean the seller isn't responsible, too. Although the seller usually pays for the real estate agent commissions, they are also usually responsible for paying for some of the closing costs.
In fact, in some markets, buyers can have the upper hand in sometimes asking the sellers to pay for all closing costs as a way to seal in the deal. However, this is only in some cases.
Are you unable to pay the closing costs associated with your new home? You can sometimes roll the closing costs into your overall mortgage payment, which can end up saving you money at closing.
However, because you are paying interest on your closing costs when putting it with the rest of your mortgage, you might actually be spending a little more in the end. Yet, this is a great way for you to have the closing costs paid for when you don't have access to the cash needed at the time of closing.
When saving for your mortgage, you can also start saving for your closing costs. This way you will not be surprised when the time comes to discuss and pay closing costs so that you can still get the keys to your dream home!
Are you looking for more information about closing costs? Call 303-558-1500 0r email: email@example.com
Warmer Weather = Home-Buying Time