What is Forbearance?

Forbearance is a temporary postponement of mortgage payments. It is a form of repayment relief granted by the lender or creditor in lieu of forcing a property into foreclosure. Loan owners and loan insurers may be willing to negotiate forbearance options because the losses generated by property foreclosure typically fall on them.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Forbearance is temporary postponement of mortgage payments granted by the lender or creditor in lieu of forcing a property into foreclosure.
  • The terms of a forbearance agreement are negotiated between the borrower and the lender.
  • The borrower must demonstrate the cause for repayment postponement, such as financial difficulties associated with a major illness or the loss of a job.
  • Fannie Mae is offering assistance for homeowners with a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage who are affected by COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

The A Team

Have You Outgrown Your Home?

Many homeowners are surprised when they suddenly realize that “perfect” home of just a few years ago no longer suits their needs. From an expanding family to the empty nest, it’s common for a home to no longer be the right fit. If you’re unsure if you’ve reached the point where a move is warranted, here are a few signs you’ve outgrown your home.

• More Kids than Rooms or More Rooms than Kids – Life changes and our homes must change also.
• Clutter or Lack of Storage – Do you need more closet or storage space? A home with more space could be the answer.
• Home Office – More and more companies are opting for telecommuting or home office workers, if your kitchen is your office, it might be time to look for a new home with extra room for a home office.
• Outdoor Entertaining – Home design trends over the last couple decades has seen a rise in outdoor living and entertaining areas. You might have simply outgrown your yard if you crave space for an outdoor living or dining area.
• Lifestyle – The square footage might be fine, but you would prefer a different floor plan; more open, single story, more windows, etc.

Your reasons for moving will be as unique as you are, but these are just a few considerations which indicate you might have outgrown your current home. Make sure your home still meets your needs and wants, then you’ll be able to decide if it’s time to move.

Is the Investment to Make your Home a “Smart Home” Worth it for Resale?

Over the past few years, smart technology has really blossomed into a huge
market. With more-and-more devices offering connectivity and lower prices, almost all households have some kind of smart device in their home. While some smart devices are simply “nice to have,” many can actually increase the value of the home; if you are considering a move in the future, learning which smart upgrades will increase your home’s value is important.

Here are a few of the best smart home upgrades:

  • Smart Thermostats – Energy saving smart thermostats can sense when the home is occupied and vacant to control the temperature while saving energy costs.
  • Smart Smoke Detectors and Security Systems – Life saving smart security can alert you and the authorities automatically if there is a problem in the home.
  • Smart Door Locks – Either as part of the security system or stand alone, smart door locks allow you to control access to your home. Using Wi-Fi to unlock doors remotely and program unique codes for family, guests, housekeepers etc., you will always know by whom and when your home is accessed.
  • Smart Moisture Sensor – Mold has become a huge problem. Smart moisture sensors detect water leaks, humidity and temperature changes to protect your home from moisture damage.

These are just a few of the great smart home products available to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Most starting under $250, these smart choices will not only protect your home, but add value when listing for sale.

The Home Selling Process

Are you planning to sell your home? Regardless if this is your first time as a home seller, or maybe you’ve sold many homes, understanding the selling process can assure you that things are going smoothly. Successful transactions don’t just happen; it takes experience and professionals to navigate from staging to closing.

Who Are The Experts?
• Real Estate Agent – Before you start, do your homework and find an
experienced listing agent in your area.
• Escrow Officer – Your escrow officer is a neutral 3rd party, they take the
terms agreed to by the parties and ensures they are fulfilled properly.

Timeline For Your Home Sale
• Meeting With Your Agent – Your agent will tour your home and discuss
your market value (including a comparative market analysis), timing and
financial goals in order to create a custom plan for selling your home.
• Preparing Your Home For Sale – Typically even a dated home can be
spruced up with small changes in furniture placement, fresh paint, new
lighting and/or minor repairs.
• Listing Your House – Once your home is ready for buyers, you will list your home and your agent will implement their marketing plan.
• Offers – Once receive offers, you will meet with your agent to review them
together and determine how to respond.
• Escrow Process For Sellers – The buyers will complete funding
requirements, obtain an appraisal and home inspection. As the seller you
will also complete any conditions you’ve agreed to, such as repairs or
termite work.
• Closing – Once all conditions have been completed, you will close the sale
and receive the proceeds.

The sales process is a series of steps that you and your agent will take together. Knowing what to expect, and when, can alleviate the uncertainty you might feel as a seller.

The A Team

4 Affordable Fall DIY Updates You Can Try This Weekend

Fall weather is finally here and this is a great time to tackle some home projects before the holiday rush starts. Creating a fresh, modern look to your home can be done with a few simple weekend projects. Here are the 4 best DIY projects you can try this fall to spruce up the look of your home.

1. Create a Grand Entrance – Your front door is the first thing you guests see when they come by. This weekend, give your entrance a fresh look. Add a pop of color to your front door or porch with contemporary paint colors; sage, muted yellows and navy blues are trendy colors this year.

2. Replace Interior Doors – Pre-hung interior doors come in a wide variety of styles from traditional to modern. Instantly update the look of your room or home with new interior pre-hung doors.

3. Frame Bathroom Mirrors – Most tract homes come with basic mirrors over the sink. Spend some time removing the mirrors and add a modern, framed hung mirror instead to add elegance and a spa-like feel to any bathroom.

4. Wallpaper an Accent Wall – Wallpaper is back. Not only are there great options available with modern patterns, colors and textures, but new adhesive backing makes it easy to apply, straighten and remove.

Fall is a great time to make updates to your home with a little time this weekend. Small changes can make a big impact; a quick trip to the local home improvement store can provide great inspiration for a weekend fall project.

The A Team

Preparing Your Home for the Colder Months

Now that the warm summer months are behind us, it’s time to prepare for
winter. Regardless of whether you expect to see sub-zero temperatures this
season or you live in one of the warmer climates, preparing your home for colder weather can save you money and hassle this winter. So before you dig out your fall sweaters, take a weekend and prepare your home for the cold weather to come.

Save Energy
Fall is a great time to seal drafts in the home which can suck energy out. Check around doors and windows and replace worn weather stripping and caulking. If you use your fireplace for warmth during winter, this is the right time to have the chimney cleaned and checked for safety. Arrange a furnace tune up complete with replacing the filter and vacuuming the vents to make sure you are warming your home efficiently.

Outdoor Tasks
Before the chill turns to freezing, head to the yard to winterize the exterior of your home. Check gutters for clogged leaves and other debris and examine the roof and siding for any repairs which could create leaks or drafts in the cold. If the gardening season is at its end, drain water from outdoor faucets and garden hoses. Make sure the sprinkler system is off and reinforce any exposed pipes which could burst with the cold.

Fall is here. Along with the smell of baking and falling leaves, you can ensure your home is ready for winter by taking a few steps now to prepare. Save energy and the hassle of an unexpected repair by getting some routine maintenance done before the cold months come.

Down Payments Explained

A down payment is the amount of cash a home buyer puts toward the price of a new home. It accomplishes a few things; first it reduces the amount of money you need to borrow and it reduces the risk the lender takes in loaning the money. By reducing the risk, the borrower will typically get a better interest rate on the loan and increase the amount of home they can buy.

How Large a Down Payment Do You Need?
The amount of down payment needed depends on the type of the loan, the
lender and the property price itself. While most of the 0% down home loans of the last decade are gone, Veterans can still purchase a home loan with no down payment. Other programs include FHA loans with as little as 3.5% down. Conventional loans typically require a 20% down payment, but some allow as little as 5%.

Is it Better to Make a Larger Down Payment?
In addition to the down payment, buying a home also requires cash for closing costs and some reserve savings to guard against unexpected financial concerns. One thing to remember though is that any financing with less than 20% down will require private mortgage insurance – a monthly payment which protects the lender in the event of default.

The best amount of down payment should be determined in consultation with your lender and your tax or financial advisor, but the quick answer is “it depends.” By working with a trusted lender, explore your options and you will make the best decision for your needs.

3 Must-Do’s Before Listing Your House for Sale

Before you list your home for sale, it’s time to do a little work around the house – to prepare and make sure your home is seen in the best possible light. These “must-do” items are about showing your home to buyers as one which is cared for and ready for them to add their own brand of home to the space. Taking a little time up front can mean thousands of dollars as buyers start writing their offers.

3 Must-Do’s Before Listing Your House for Sale

  1. Declutter, Depersonalize and Clean – This is the time to take spring cleaning seriously, in any season. Clear out all unnecessary items from the home; closets, drawers, extra clothes, old unwanted furniture. Donate to charity, hire a dumpster or rent a storage space; buyers will look in every space and open all drawers and cabinets, make sure your home seems spacious. Spend some time to depersonalize by removing excessive pictures and hide heirlooms. Finally, deep clean every space top to bottom.
  2. Address Deferred Maintenance – Make small repairs or hire a handyman to take care of problems which could appear during the home inspection. Replace caulking, fix broken windows and screens, replace light bulbs and freshen up and clean grout; buyers want
    to see a home that is cared for with “good bones.”
  3. Go for Curb Appeal – Spend some time in the yard. Trim bushes and trees, clean and repair hardscape and make sure there is adequate lighting. Welcome your buyers with seasonal flowers or décor and place a fresh mat by the front door.

Before you put that sign in the front yard, spend a little time and elbow grease to make sure you welcome your potential buyers with the best version of your home.

The A Team

4 Reasons to Sell this Fall

Traditional lore says that the best time to list your home for sale is spring and if it hasn’t sold by the end of summer, you’re out of luck. Along the same lines, homeowners across the country are often advised not to list in the fall and wait until after the holidays to list. The truth is that a great home will sell at any time of year and in fact there are some very good reasons to list in the fall, while everyone else is busy doing other activities.

4 Reasons to Sell this Fall

  1. Less Competition – As mentioned above, most sellers list in spring so as a seller, fall provides you less competition which increases the opportunity for buyers to view your home.
  2. Serious Buyers – Home buyers in fall often have a timeline to move before the holidays. They tend to take the home search seriously and move to write offers faster and avoid wasting time.
  3. Curb Appeal – Fall is a beautiful time of year and homes always seem cozier as the weather turns. Fall colors in the trees and the scent of baking entice buyers to feel “at home” which encourages offers.
  4. Closing is Easier – The pace of home sales slows during the fall; as such lenders can move faster and the process tends to take less time.
    The last and best reason to sell this fall is that it’s the right time for you and your plans. Regardless of whether you are relocating, moving up or scaling down, if this is the right time to sell, then this is the best time to sell.

The A Team

Foreclosures – What is a Foreclosed Property?

Unfortunately since the mortgage meltdown, foreclosed properties have become more common. Many home buyers see this as an opportunity to find a great home for a bargain price. While foreclosures can offer some nice discounts, understanding how foreclosures work and how this affects the buyer is critical to ensure you are getting a good deal and not a disaster.

What is a Foreclosure?
First it’s important to understand what qualifies as a foreclosure. A foreclosure is a property which has been taken back by the lender in order to satisfy an unpaid mortgage debt. It is owned by the bank or lender and they have now listed the property for sale.

Can I save money buying a foreclosure?
Yes and no! It’s true that lenders do not want to hold onto their foreclosed properties longer than they need to, but they also understand the value of the home in its current condition. While deeply distressed properties might be listed at very low prices, good homes in decent condition might not be listed below comparables in the same area.

Is the buying process different from a traditional sale?
The actual buying process is the same; you write an offer, obtain financing and close. The differences lay in the protections and opportunities for negotiation during the process. Most foreclosures are sold “as is” and the lender will not negotiate repairs of any kind. There could also be clauses which remove other contingencies, such as financing or appraisal. The buyer needs to read the agreement very carefully.

Buying a foreclosure can be a great way to find a nice property at a discounted price. Not all properties are a good deal however. Understanding the foreclosure market and reading the contracts very carefully is the key to buying a foreclosure – this way you get the most home for your money without buying a problem.

The A Team