Ringing in the New Year

fireworks

As we wrap up 2015, I want to thank you all for your business, referrals and friendship.

I am so grateful to do this work and for all of you, for making this a wonderful year!

Here is what our Colorado Springs real estate market saw in 2015 (as of November 30th) :

Single Family Home Sales Up 17.6% from last year
Condo/Townhome Sales Up 29.9% from last year
Average Price of a Single Family Home Up 7.1% from last year
Average Price of a Condo/Townhome Down .2% from last year
Number of Single Family Homes for Sale 2,627 total (down 10%)
Number of Condos/Townhomes for Sale 219 total (down 13.4%)

I wish you all a safe and happy 2016. Feel free to give me a call for any of your real estate needs. Happy New Year!!!

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Getting Your Homeowner's Insurance Refund

picture of insurance

Did you know there might be money waiting for you?   And if you don't claim it, it may never be yours to keep.  I am referring to homeowner's insurance refunds. 

When you buy a home you purchase homeowners insurance for it.  And most of us have that insurance policy premium paid by our mortgage lender.  In this case, every month a portion of your house payment goes towards your property taxes and homeowners insurance.  That money is kept in an escrow account by your mortgage lender, and annually when these expenses come due your lender actually sends the payments for you. 

When you sell your home, after the sale your lender will mail you a refund check for the monies still sitting in your escrow account.  That check usually arrives within 3-6 weeks of closing.

But if you do not actually call to cancel your homeowners insurance, then the premium already paid will not be refunded.  The insurance company has to be notified to cancel the policy.  Once you do that, they have to refund the portion of the year's policy which you did not use.  Example, if your homeowners policy begins every November 1st, then your annual premium is paid at that time.  If you sell your home six months later, you have only used six months worth of your policy.   But you have already paid for the entire year, so a refund is now due for the unused portion.

Be sure to call your insurance company and tell them you sold your house and want your refund for the unused portion of the year.  Otherwise, that's money you'll never see again!

If you have any other questions, feel free to give me a call.

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Show Me the Money!

Show Me the Money

When purchasing a home, personal checks are not accepted at the closing table.  “Good Funds” as our contracts call money due at closing, will need to be either a cashier’s check or wire transfer. A cashier’s check is simple to obtain. Usually you can purchase one at your bank. These work well when you have a down payment to bring.

 

BUT be aware! There are limitations as to how large a cashier’s check can be.  Example, if you are a cash buyer and need to bring a sizeable amount to closing, the title company will probably require you not bring the whole amount in the form of a cashier’s check. I recently had a closing where this very thing happened. The title Company conducting closing would not allow the buyer to bring a large cashier’s check for his purchase. He had to wire money in advance or we couldn’t close.

 

Wire transfers are pretty simple.  You go to your bank and give them the title company’s wiring instructions. Your bank will then send the wire for you. But, wire transfers do take some time to show up.  All wire transfers have to go through the Federal Reserve Bank which is located on the East coast.  So wires can take a few hours to route correctly.  And if you send a wire in the later part of the day, keep in mind that it may not show up until the following business day.  East Coast hours do apply and the cut-off time is 3pm East Coast time.

 

On the other hand, earnest money deposits (up-front monies) can usually be in the form of a personal check.   Money stuff is always complicated.  One of the many reasons you hire a Realtor, so you don’t have to figure all this stuff out for yourself! If you want to learn more, check out our finance videos for Buyers or simply give me a call!

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New, Easier-to-Understand Paperwork for Homebuyers

RESPATILA

For Colorado Springs homebuyers who have been frustrated by all the numbers and descriptions on the Hud-1 and Truth-in-Lending Disclosure Statements, there is good news.

 

Starting October 3, 2015, lenders must issue new documents clearly delineating the costs associated with a home purchase: the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. Known as TILA/RESPA (for Truth-in-Lending/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act), the new forms replace the old Truth-in-Lending Disclosure Statement and Good Faith Estimate, and the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2011, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau was established and mandated to replace the old forms with new, easier-to-understand forms. The completed documents must be delivered to the prospective buyer 3 full days before closing the transaction and will be used for the following:

  • Purchase money loans
  • Refinances
  • Loans secured by 25 acres or less
  • Loans secured by vacant land
  • Construction-only loans

Timeshare loans

 

The new forms must be offered in both English and Spanish. The three day lead time gives homebuyers the opportunity to thoroughly review the costs and avoid any last minute “surprises” at the closing table.

Loans that are not covered by the new ruling are:

  • Reverse Mortgages
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs)
  • Mobile Home-Only loans
  • Creditors who originate less than 5 loans in a calendar year

This is a sea-change for both homebuyers and Realtors. To help them understand the new documents and the updated time frames for their distribution, Realtors have the opportunity to take classes for credit on the subject.

For more information about the new loan documentation procedures visit http://www.consumerfinance.gov/learn more/#respa.

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There is Life After Foreclosure for VA Loans.

VAReUseYou can obtain another VA loan after you have experienced a short sale, foreclosure or deed-in lieu foreclosure with an existing VA loan. But there is no guarantee…you must determine how much (if any) entitlement you have left previous post to learn and meet the necessary salary and credit qualifications. Remember that your credit score will be “dinged” for having undergone a short sale or foreclosure and it may take time to rebuild. However, the VA program is one of the most lenient in granting loans to veterans who are applying for a mortgage after a foreclosure.

First of all, you need to wait 2 years from the time of your foreclosure in order to apply for your new VA loan. Then you must determine your remaining entitlement. The full VA entitlement (the amount the government guarantees the lender) is $417,000, with $36,000 as your primary entitlement and $68,250 as your secondary entitlement. The VA guarantees one quarter of that amount if you should default and does not require you to have mortgage insurance.

Suppose you have $50,000 in unpaid VA loans remaining on your foreclosed property. A VA-approved lender will subtract that $50,000 from $104,250 ($36,000 + 68,250), which is your full entitlement amount. The difference is $54,250. You can then multiply $54,250 by four to calculate how much you may be able to borrow with no money down—a total of $217,000 ($54,250 x 4).

Veterans who want to use their second-tier entitlement must seek a loan amount of at least $144,000. If you are interested in applying for a VA loan, whether it’s your first, or a subsequent one, we at Springs Homes can refer you to a trustworthy lender who is familiar with the process.

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