Monday, 28 October 2013
What Is PMI?
. . . And why has it been added to my mortgage statement?
Mortgage statements can sometimes be confusing. A bill that you thought would only show your principal plus interest totals might also contain charges for an escrow account that covers your home insurance, taxes, and PMI. You might be wondering, “So, who is this PMI and why is he also getting my money?”
PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. If you put down less than 20% when you bought your home, you’re probably paying PMI. It is an insurance that protects the lender from default on a loan. Many first-time homebuyers don’t have 20% saved up when they buy a home, so the lender is taking on a bigger risk to loan more money on the home purchase. The amount of your monthly PMI charge is determined by the percentage you put down, the amount you borrowed, and your credit score.
So, how long will you have to pay PMI if it is currently on your statement? That was determined up front by your amortization schedule. According to the Homeowner’s Protection Act of 1998, as long as you are current on your mortgage payments and do not have an FHA loan, the lender is required to cancel PMI once the balance reaches 78% of the original purchase price.
If you are trying to pay more toward the principal every month to reach the 80% more quickly, you can call and request that the lender drop the PMI, but that is a case-by-case determination. Also, if you get improvements on your home that you believe have raised the value of your home, you can request a new appraisal and submit that for consideration to have your PMI dropped.
If you have just started the home-buying process and want to avoid PMI all together, you need to either find a way to put down 20% up front or take out a piggyback loan. With this loan, you could put down 10%, take out a main loan for 80%, and you would get a piggyback loan for the remaining 10%.
If you have questions about any of this, give me a call and I’ll walk you through everything. Don’t let a seemingly confusing mortgage statement keep you from experiencing the joy of being a home owner!
A short synopsis of PMI:
Posted on 10/28/2013 10:32 PM by Jarod
Thursday, 24 October 2013
Halloween Tips for Brentwood, Tenn.
Halloween is almost here, and the Brentwood, Tenn. area is filled with great neighborhoods for goblins and princesses to knock on doors and ask for treats. Although many people might feel relatively safe among their neighbors, there are a few things to remember to make the night enjoyable for everyone.
According to Communication Works, the following are basic social rules to share with your children for Halloween trick or treating:
• Trick or treating usually begins when the sun starts to go down. People need to get home from work and get prepared before you can go out.
• Generally 9:00 p.m. is the latest time to knock on doors. If there is no one out in the neighborhood, it is probably time to head home and call it quits.
• Once you are out, stay with your parents or the group you are with. There is no need to run from house to house or across the street; there is plenty of candy to go around.
• When trick or treating, take one candy from the bowl and save some for others.
• Please and thank you’s are appreciated on Halloween. Don’t forget, these are your neighbors and they will see you again. It’s important to be nice!
• If a light is out at a house, don’t bother to knock because most likely they are not at home.
• Eating all your candy in one night WILL make you sick and leave nothing for you to look forward to the next day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great list of reminders for keeping your little ones safe. Click here to view it.
Also, if you’re headed out to buy pumpkins for decorating and carving, consider supporting The Cooper Trooper Foundation Pumpkin Patch at the corner of Cool Springs Blvd. and Mallory Lane in Cool Springs. 100% of their profits go to a great cause. Hear their story: http://williamsonsource.com/buy-pumpkin-purpose-cooper-trooper-foundation-patch/
Have a safe and fun Halloween!
Posted on 10/24/2013 12:35 AM by Jarod
Friday, 18 October 2013
Did the Government Shutdown Affect the Housing Market?
September 2013 home sales results are in, and the Middle Tennessee real estate market continues to thrive! According to the Williamson County Association of Realtors®, September’s residential sales were the best on record since the housing boom of 2006. Actually, total sales for 2013 are up 24.8% over the first nine months of 2012, and days on the market are down.
Despite the upturn in September, some people have been a little nervous about everything financial because of the recent government shutdown, so I asked loan officer Todd Wiggins of First Community Mortgage to comment on the current situation:
“As I’m writing this, it appears that Congress has reached a bipartisan deal to avoid default and end the government shutdown. During the past couple of weeks homebuyers, Realtors, and even us lenders have been asking how the government shutdown is impacting the real estate and mortgage markets. From the lending perspective, it’s pretty much “business as usual.” FHA, VA, and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency loans are continuing to close and fund without delays. However, USDA’s Rural Development department has been shut down. Those purchases relying on Rural Development funding are being delayed. Before the shutdown, RD was working on a ten-day turn time, so any applications sent to them since that date are stacking up and will likely take weeks to receive funding approval. Once they are up and running again, you will be able to check for an update on their Twitter account @RD_Tennessee.
“The impact of the government shutdown on interest rates has been nominal. Rates have remained relatively steady over the past couple of weeks. It is less clear how rates will be impacted by a deal being worked out and where rates are headed in the near or long term. Getting the government back to work will be good for all, of course.
“As for housing, it is clear is that in many parts of middle Tennessee, there is a lack of supply. First day on the market, multiple-offer scenarios are becoming common, which means sellers are in a good position to sell and buyers should have their ducks in a row. If you are looking to buy, you should work with your Realtor and loan officer on a specific strategy to make your offer stand out while maximizing the benefit of your loan program.”
Buying a home is one of the most important investments you and your family will make. In today's Internet world, there are a lot of misleading websites, and with that comes a lot of changes in the real estate laws, policies, and procedures, but buying or selling a home does not have to be a scary process.
It is in your best interest to find a real estate agent you can trust who is familiar with the real estate market and who will navigate you through the buying and selling process. I built my business on integrity, confidentiality, and results and that’s how I live my life. With more than 14 years of experience, I am confident that I can be the agent who will protect your family’s best interests. Contact me and we’ll walk through the process together.
For more info on Todd Wiggins at First Community Mortgage, contact him at:
p: 615-964-6714 x225 | c: 615-554-1983
Posted on 10/18/2013 12:31 AM by Jarod
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
The Importance of Curb Appeal in Brentwood, Tenn.
Don’t let that buyer drive away!
Perspective buyers often get their first impression of your home from an online photo or driving through desirable neighborhoods. Not only here in Brentwood, Tenn., but also nationally, 90 percent of home buyers searched online during their home buying process, according to the National Association of Realtors®. What buyers see on the outside is a large factor in whether or not they desire to see the inside. It affects the perceived value of your home and can drastically hurt your home's chances of being shown. Don’t become complacent and think that buyers have the vision needed to see your house in its best light if it needs major TLC. Also keep in mind that many of the people who say they would consider a fixer-upper quickly change their minds when real-life estimates for repairs are recognized.
Now that autumn leaves are starting to fall, here are some things to keep in mind:
Curb Appeal Do’s:
- Siding & Trim – Eliminate any mold or fungus growing on siding or trim by thoroughly washing with a power washer.
- Trim & Windows – Scrape, sand, and paint any pealing paint.
- Gutters – Repair fallen gutters and clean out all leaves and limbs.
- Chimney & Roof – Inspect and repair both to ensure there are no trouble spots with missing shingles or loose mortar in the bricks. Serious problems give buyers more negotiating power.
- Front Door – Make it look inviting with a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware.
- Lighting – Check all exterior lights and replace bulbs. Go a step further and add landscaping lighting to highlight flower beds, trees, and architecture.
- Mailbox – Changing the mailbox from a deteriorated, wobbly, or faded box dramatically improves the appearance and can cost as little as $40 – $50.
- Storage Building(s) – Clean it up, toss out the trash, and show off to buyers what an asset it is to the property.
- Outdoor Features – Proper maintenance of pools and outdoor living spaces ease the buyer’s mind that they aren’t walking into a potential hidden repair nightmare.
- Garage Doors – Do all maintenance early, and clean and repair any broken glass.
- Trees, Bushes, & Flower Beds – Keeping everything trimmed and neat is key, but you can really draw in the views of your home if you take it up a notch with the best fall plants. I'll go in-depth on options and tips for your yard in the next post, so check it out!
Posted on 10/08/2013 11:04 PM by Jarod
Friday, 4 October 2013
Title Insurance Is a Must
Protecting Your Property Purchase
Home closings are known for their endless signatures and sometimes confusing legal documents, but in my professional opinion, title insurance is one of those documents that you need to make sure is in your stack. The title search will remove any doubt about current liens against the property, including back taxes and HOA dues. If the title policy cannot be issued cleanly without possible claims against the current owners, the buyer’s lender will not issue the loan to close the sale.
Public record searches done on your own are not enough, because there are many things that cannot be found in public records. According to attorney Deanie Gregory at Greater Nashville Title & Closing Co., here are just a few of the possible troubles you could encounter after buying a home:
• False impersonation of the true landowner
• Undisclosed heirs
• Improperly recorded legal documents
• State inheritance and gift tax liens
• Errors in tax records
• Rights of divorced parties
• Utility easements
• Lack of jurisdiction or competency of persons in judicial proceedings
Title insurance is legal protection if any of these issues should occur so that no one can come and take your property from you. It will take care of you in the case of a lawsuit, and it will reimburse you based on any losses incurred, depending on your amount of coverage.
It’s important to note that title insurance is just as important with a new construction purchase as it is with an existing home purchase. According to Deanie Gregory, from the minute construction starts on your home, each person in the building process will have lien rights attached to your home, and you need the protection that title insurance offers.
So, whom can you trust in this decision? The seller/builder is sometimes reluctant to mention title insurance because they are traditionally the ones who pay for it. But, that can be negotiated by you and your agent into the closing. Trust your agent to protect you, and trust your mortgage lender when it comes to selecting a reputable title firm. According to law professor Ronald Mann at Bankrate.com, "The lender's interest dovetails with yours in getting these things done well." The lender is guaranteeing a large amount of money based on the assurance that the property you're using as collateral is really yours. You can also research the underwriter and title company or attorney online to see what past customers are saying about their services.
Contact me so I can help you through the entire home-buying process. I want you to have a great experience and I want you to be legally protected.
If you would like more information about Greater Nashville Title & Closing Co., contact:
Deanie L. Gregory, Attorney-at-Law
Greater Nashville Title & Closing Co.
200 Madison Street
Madison, TN 37115
Posted on 10/04/2013 6:04 PM by Jarod