Posts Tagged ‘Pa’

Reflecting on a Long Time Friendship

Posted on: June 24th, 2014 by admin

Flags and Bunting at GraveThought I might take a moment to reflect on someone who made an impact on my life. I am getting older, definitely on the down side of  life but  I’m feeling good and glad  I can still work. Yet I can’t avoid the fact that I am beginning to see some of my  friends pass through eternal portals. “Life is short” as the saying goes. And it indeed is.

Bill was a lifelong friend. He was a year ahead of me in high school and the All American boy.  He was on the basketball and baseball teams and dated Lynda , a high school cheerleader. She is a friend of my wife, Gloria.  There was a group of 4 girl friends, thick as thieves. The guys came to know each other because of  the girls’ friendship with each other.  Gloria, Kathy, Lynda and Karen. Grade school buddies.

Bill and Lynda went steady though high school, then he went off to college, graduated, came home and eventually  married Lynda. He worked with his uncle in a specialized beef products plant. He worked long hours and Lynda worked as a  secretary first for a local college president and then an attorney.  Along the way they had 3 girls. All three would grow up to be successful in their own right. As the girls grew, Bill and Lynda dug  in  and provided a loving  home  for them. Besides being an involved father Bill loved baseball and we  could always find “Willy” on some team  in the field or behind the plate, no matter what the  age category.  He was pretty good too.

Throughout the years we could always count on the ladies conniving  to get us all together for fellowship and laughs. In the beginning  it was picnics with kids running crazy all over the place, then high school and college graduations,  then weddings and then finally yearly dinners around Valentine’s Day to reminisce about life’s  joys and challenges . But we all had the best laughs when “Willy” would go into one of his stories. He had a way of taking the most  innocuous word or phrase and turning it  into some double meaning  local colloquialism. By the time he was finished we would all be staring  at each other asking ourselves “Where does he  come up with this  stuff?’  Phrases like ” It was ornbelievable” or  ” Can I go wit ya?” or how he would ” pull his pork at 350 degrees”  at work.  If anyone of the group got too serious or mad at each other, we could always count on Bill to bring us back to a sense of collegiality.
Bill was also Mr. Handyman, he could fix almost anything. I’ll never forget the first time I hung wallpaper. It was  my kids’ room in our first house. It was an  old house with plaster walls. I spend hours getting the room ready, hung the paper with great care and sat back to admire my work. A couple of hours later it all fell down in the middle of the night. I called Bill in a panic and he came over and told me it would have  worked well if I had “sized” the walls.  What the hell was that? The walls sucked the paste right off the paper since I hadn’t sealed them. Or the time when I had a leak in a water line to the furnace and tried to “sweat” a new copper piece in.   Could not get it to stick.  Another panic call to Bill. Well Bill told me it works better if water is drained from the system so that the solder would take. It took me 3 hours to drain my old hot water heating system of 3 floors with radiators. We laughed about that one for awhile. I liked that about him; he laughed with me, not at me. And he taught me in a kind manner.
My friend Bill passed away a couple of weeks ago.  He fought a courageous battle against cancer for over 5 years.  I won’t say he lost that battle because he left a legacy  for his family and friends. He was surrounded by a  loving family at the end. Bill’s 7 grandchildren were nearby and I’m sure will have fond memories of their grandfather they will never forget.
Bill loved the water. He and Lynda always had a place close to water. He even tried getting me to water ski once, though I could never get up. But we would get in the boat, me and Gloria and the kids, and  Bill always made us feel like we were on a cruise.  I know he is at peace right now, pain-free and enjoying some celestial water  time. I’ll miss him. But I have a feeling he will always  be “wit us”.

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And the question is?

Posted on: May 16th, 2014 by admin

MP900390083[1]Haven’t played Jeopardy in a while or watched it on TV. But I always thought that the premise was a good one. Give someone the answer and see if they can come up with the right question.  It occurred to me that I am usually walking around with what I think are  all the right answers to all kinds of questions. I guess  I might now recognize that I am somewhat pretentious in my conclusion.  I guess I need your help. How about I give you some answers and you give me what you think are the right questions. Hopefully, I can learn something with you and become a better agent.

You know, years ago when I first got into the Real Estate business, I had a Broker who told me “Sam, you don’t sell real estate, you solve people’s problems”. That’s stuck with me and I think I have done a pretty good job in asking the right questions to solve those problems. But I think its time to get the customer’s take on this and get you to ask some questions. Anyway, lets see where we go with this and work together. I’ll give you the answer. You let me know what the questions should be. I’ll look at your questions and post them later to get some other folks to chime in if they think you are right wron.  Let me give you an example. 3.5% down payment  is the answer. The question might be,” What is an FHA mortgage ? ” Okay, lets give it a try.

1.  Seller Assist is the answer. What is the question? This is the format which I won’t repeat every time. You’ll get the drift.
2. No down payment required
3. 28%/36%
4. Buyer’s Agent
5. Seller’s Agent
6. Multiple Listing Service
7. Escrow
8. Radon Gas
9. Short Sale
10. Transunion, Experian, Equifax
11. Title Insurance
12.Prepaid Items
13. 2 years worth of tax returns
14. A real estate agent
15. Purchase offer

Okay, that’s enough for now. Give it a shot. Either comment below with your questions or email me if you like. The more I think about it there can be several different questions for the answers. In addition here is  a podcast that will explain how one might go about purchasing a multi family home where you can  live in and collect rent to help pay for your mortgage. If you would like to pursue that let me know. It can be challenging , but it can  be the start of a pretty good investment portfolio.

Contact me at 610-737-2310 or email me at salvatoreruta13@gmail.com. Appreciate it.

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PODCAST: 2012 Outlook Survey – Poll-Optimism Rises

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by admin

At this time of year every 4 years we are inundated with all kinds of political polls. Who leads, who’s behind, who looks good, are we better off now than before and who told the last lie about the other’s spouse? Makes me sick to my stomach. All that matters  is who I will vote for behind the closed curtain that first Tuesday in November.  And I am not telling anybody….

But there are some polls that I put my trust in. Attached are two podcasts that give some idea how we are all feeling right now about the American Dream of  home ownership. It’s encouraging.

Forget the banks, the bailout, Europe, China and the Fed.   Well maybe we can’t totally forget the Fed. Seems like they have their hands around our throats and won’t be satisfied until they have our great grandchildren hijacked and locked into indentured servitude.

But take a listen to these 2 podcasts and feel good about yourselves and the tenacity you have in not giving up dreams of home ownership.

Optimism growing  podcast 1

 Optimism growing podcast 2

Hey I am not here to guarantee anything, but I have to feel at least we are making progress.  Hope you do too.
Don’t forget, if you have any questions, give me a call at 610-737-2310 or email me at samruta@yahoo.com

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Foreclosure? You might be entitled to some cash back.

Posted on: July 26th, 2012 by admin

As if we don’t have enough to deal with in this economy, there is a possibility that if you were foreclosed in the past couple of years, the big banks might have screwed you. There is a real shocker, big banks taking advantage of folks. A really fine article put out by the National Association of Realtors explains the problem, how you as a consumer can try to get some of this pay back. Its time consuming, but in some cases you might be looking at anywhere from $15,000 to $125000 coming back to you. Not bad. The eligibility requirements are narrow but its worth a look see. Call me at 610-737-3210 if you need help to see if you might qualify. We can discuss, and then if need be, contact a good local attorney who can assist you in making your claim. Email also if you have a mind at samruta@yahoo.com

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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5 things you can do to make sure you don’t miss the home buying opportunity of a life time.

Posted on: July 13th, 2012 by admin

Well we have six months under our belts for 2012. What happened and what is going to happen? Prognostication has always been fun, but after 30 plus years in the Real Estate Sales business, I think I can at least spot some trends that are critical.  Recognizing those trends might give you a leg up on the competition for the purchase of your home.

1. Sales are up. It’s good news and bad news. More sales mean more sellers are getting rid of those houses they can’t handle any more. Bad news, the inventory is shrinking. That includes foreclosures and God help us, short sales. I have heard several cases of multiple offers on a single property and buyers being very disappointed.
So the first thing you should do is to  get a good real estate agent to work with. Tell he or she that you definitely want to buy and you are motivated to move quickly. Tell them that it is incumbent upon them to keep you informed as far as what is available and be ready to see it fast.  Let them know that you will work exclusively with them if they preform.  If you are going to shop with other agents, most of them will put you on the back burner and you will not find the deals.

2. Get pre approved for a mortgage ahead of time so that you can move fast when you find the home you want. Your offer will be much stronger if you can indicate that your mortgage approval is conditioned only upon an appraisal for a home.
Mortgage companies and banks in some cases are no longer willing to give you this service because of cost and risk. Have your real estate agent help with his or her contacts. Or start with your own bank and put the squeeze on them.

3.  Look at bank owned properties (foreclosures) , than conventional, then short sales.  Start with bank owned.  No need to go through a lot of  paperwork from the seller to the bank to you. By this time, they own it and they want to get rid of it.  Your chances of getting a good price here are strong since there is no emotion attached or mortgage to pay off.
Then try conventional. If the owners are not underwater and there is equity and they have to move, the motivation will be strong to keep the  selling price at similar levels of foreclosures.
Last, Go ahead and try short sales, but you have to be patient. Make sure your agent is familiar with the process as well as the listing agent. And by the way, do not agree to use a short sale negotiating company that wants to charge you a fee as the buyer.  This could literally add thousands of dollars to your closing costs. This should be the responsibility of the seller.
If you are a seller and need to sell because you are underwater, my advice is to contact an attorney who is familiar with negotiating with creditors. In most cases that means finding a good Bankruptcy attorney. You do not have to file bankruptcy to use these attorneys. But they are used to doing deals with creditors and they know the paperwork. You will pay a fee but it might be worth it to  renegotiate a first or second mortgage to get the house sold if you have a buyer.

4. Do it soon. Interest rates are not going to stay this low forever. Let me give you an example. A  $200,000  mortgage at 3.5 %  for 30 years will mean monthly payments of $898.  That same mortgage at 5% will cost $1073 a month. And these amounts do not include taxes or insurance.

5. Regardless of the offer, don’t forget to ask the sellers to help you with closing costs. Sellers are motivated to sell. But,…. And this is a big But. Don’t insult the seller with a low ball offer and ask for closing cost help.  You will probably put yourself in a lousy negotiating position and also insult the seller. Be reasonable. In any negotiation, both parties have to feel like they won something.

Now get out there and go buy or  sell  a house.

If you want me to help, then call me at 610-737-2310 or email me at  samruta@yahoo.com

 

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HUD HOMES, Can I buy?

Posted on: June 9th, 2012 by admin

Here is a great primer for starting that search for the dream home. Info comes right off the  HUD site. Need help? Give me a call at 617-737-2310 or email me at samruta@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

GETTING STARTED

 

1. HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M READY TO BUY A HOME?

You can find out by asking yourself some questions:

 

 -   Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
 -   Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
 -   Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments?
 -   Do I have money saved for a down payment?
 -   Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?

 

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.

 

2. HOW DO I BEGIN THE PROCESS OF BUYING A HOME?

 

Start by thinking about your situation. Are you ready to buy a home? How much can you afford in a monthly mortgage payment (see Question 4 for help)? How much space do you need? What areas of town do you like? After you answer these questions, make a “To Do” list and start doing casual research. Talk to friends and family, drive through neighborhoods, and look in the “Homes” section of the newspaper.

 

3. HOW DOES PURCHASING A HOME COMPARE WITH RENTING?

 

The two don’t really compare at all. The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may not be free to decorate without permission and may be at the mercy of the landlord for housing.

 

Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity. And that’s an investment. Owning a home also qualifies you for tax breaks that assist you in dealing with your new financial responsibilities- like insurance, real estate taxes, and upkeep- which can be substantial. But given the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home, they are worth it.

 

4. HOW DOES THE LENDER DECIDE THE MAXIMUM LOAN AMOUNT THAT CAN AFFORD?

 

The lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and non-housing expenses. Non-housing expenses include such long-term debts as car or student loan payments, alimony, or child support. According to the FHA,monthly mortgage payments should be no more than 29% of gross income, while the mortgage payment, combined with non-housing expenses, 4 should total no more than 41% of income. The lender also considers cash available for down payment and closing costs, credit history, etc. when determining your maximum loan amount.

 

5. HOW DO I SELECT THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT?

 

Start by asking family and friends if they can recommend an agent. Compile a list of several agents and talk to each before choosing one. Look for an agent who listens well and understands your needs, and whose judgment you trust. The ideal agent knows the local area well and has resources and contacts to help you in your search. Overall, you want to choose an agent that makes you feel comfortable and can provide all the knowledge and services you need.

 

6. HOW CAN I DETERMINE MY HOUSING NEEDS BEFORE I BEGIN THE SEARCH?

 

Your home should fit way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the whole family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities – things like location and size. Should the house be close to certain schools? your job? to public transportation? How large should the house be? What type of lot do you prefer? What kinds of amenities are you looking for? Establish a set of minimum requirements and a ‘wish list.” Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a “wish list” covers things that you’d like to have but aren’t essential.

 

FINDING YOUR HOME

 

7WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN DECIDING ON A COMMUNITY?

 

Select a community that will allow you to best live your daily life. Many people choose communities based on schools. Do you want access to shopping and public transportation? Is access to local facilities like libraries and museums important to you? Or do you prefer the peace and quiet of a rural community? When you find places that you like, talk to people that live there. They know the most about the area and will be your future neighbors. More than anything, you want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable in.

 

8. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M FEELING EXCLUDED FROM CERTAIN NEIGHBORHOODS?

 

Immediately contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if you ever feel excluded from a neighborhood or particular house. Also, contact HUD if you believe you are being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status, or disability. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing has a hotline for reporting incidents of discrimination: 1-800-669-9777 (and 1-800-927-9275 for the hearing impaired).

 

9. HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT LOCAL SCHOOLS?

 

You can get information about school systems by contacting the city or county school board or the local schools. Your real estate agent may also be knowledgeable about schools in the area.

 

10. HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT COMMUNITY RESOURCES?

 

Contact the local chamber of commerce for promotional literature or talk to your real estate agent about welcome kits, maps, and other information. You may also want to visit the local library. It can be an excellent source for information on local events and resources, and the librarians will probably be able to answer many of the questions you have.

 

11. HOW CAN I FIND OUT HOW MUCH HOMES ARE SELLING FOR IN CERTAIN COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS?

 

Your real estate agent can give you a ballpark figure by showing you comparable listings. If you are working with a real estate professional, they may have access to comparable sales maintained on a database.

 

12. HOW CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON THE PROPERTY TAX LIABILITY?

 

The total amount of the previous year’s property taxes is usually included in the listing information. If it’s not, ask the seller for a tax receipt or contact the local assessor’s off ice. Tax rates can change from year to year, so these figures may be approximate.

 

13. WHAT OTHER TAX ISSUES SHOULD I TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION?

 

Keep in mind that your mortgage interest and real estate taxes will be deductible. A qualified real estate professional can give you more details on other tax benefits and liabilities,

 

14. IS AN OLDER HOME A BETTER VALUE THAN A NEW ONE?

 

There isn’t a definitive answer to this question. You should look at each home for its individual characteristics. Generally, older homes may be in more established neighborhoods, offer more ambiance, and have lower property tax rates. People who buy older homes, however, shouldn’t mind maintaining their home and making some repairs. Newer homes tend to use more modern architecture and systems, are usually easier to maintain, and may be more energy-efficient. People who buy new homes often don’t want to worry initially about upkeep and repairs.

 

15. WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN WALKING THROUGH A HOME?

 

In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, use the HUD Home Scorecard and consider the following:

 

 -   Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
 -   Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
 -   Is the house structurally sound?
 -   Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
 -   Is the yard big enough?
 -   Do you like the floor plan?
 -   Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions.)
 -   Does anything need to repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items?
 -   Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy with it year-round?

 

Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.

 

16. WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK WHEN LOOKING AT HOMES?

 

Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g., paint, roof, HVAC, appliances, carpet)? Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller’s or real estate agent’s answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they’ve given. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. The HUD Home Scorecard can help you develop your question list.

 

17. HOW CAN I KEEP TRACK OF ALL THE HOMES I SEE?

 

If possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the major rooms, the yard, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems. And don’t hesitate to return for a second look. Use the HUD Home Scorecard to organize your photos and notes for each house.

 

18. HOW MANY HOMES SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING ONE?

 

There isn’t a set number of houses you should see before you decide. Visit as many as it takes to find the one you want. On average, homebuyers see 15 houses before choosing one. Just be sure to communicate often with your real estate agent about everything you’re looking for. It will help avoid wasting your time.

 

YOU’VE FOUND IT

 

19. WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTOR DO, AND HOW DOES AN INSPECTION FIGURE IN THE PURCHASE OF A HOME?

 

An inspector checks the safety of your potential new home. Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs,that are needed.

 

The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you’re getting good value for your money. Generally, an inspector checks (and gives prices for repairs on): the electrical system, plumbing and waste disposal, the water heater, insulation and Ventilation, the HVAC system, water source and quality, the potential presence of pests, the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof. Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced.

 

It’s a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since, once the deal is closed, you’ve bought the house as is.” Or, you may want to include an inspection clause in the offer when negotiating for a home. An inspection t clause gives you an ‘out” on buying the house if serious problems are found,or gives you the ability to renegotiate the purchase price if repairs are needed. An inspection clause can also specify that the seller must fix the problem(s) before you purchase the house.

 

20. DO I NEED TO BE THERE FOR THE INSPECTION?

 

It’s not required, but it’s a good idea. Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the home you’d I like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general, maintenance questions.

 

21. ARE OTHER TYPES OF INSPECTIONS REQUIRED?

 

If your home inspector discovers a serious problem a more specific Inspection may be recommended. It’s a good idea to consider having your home inspected for the presence of a variety of health-related risks like radon gas asbestos, or possible problems with the water or waste disposal system.

 

22. HOW CAN I PROTECT MY FAMILY FROM LEAD IN THE HOME?

 

If the house you’re considering was built before 1978 and you have children under the age of seven, you will want to have an inspection for lead-based point. It’s important to know that lead flakes from paint can be present in both the home and in the soil surrounding the house. The problem can be fixed temporarily by repairing damaged paint surfaces or planting grass over effected soil. Hiring a lead abatement contractor to remove paint chips and seal damaged areas will fix the problem permanently.

 

23. ARE POWER LINES A HEALTH HAZARD?

 

There are no definitive research findings that indicate exposure to power lines results in greater instances of disease or illness.

 

24. DO I NEED A LAWYER TO BUY A HOME?

 

Laws vary by state. Some states require a lawyer to assist in several aspects of the home buying process while other states do not, as long as a qualified real estate professional is involved. Even if your state doesn’t require one, you may want to hire a lawyer to help with the complex paperwork and legal contracts. A lawyer can review contracts, make you aware of special considerations, and assist you with the closing process. Your real estate agent may be able to recommend a lawyer. If not, shop around. Find out what services are provided for what fee, and whether the attorney is experienced at representing homebuyers.

 

25. DO I REALLY NEED HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE?

 

Yes. A paid homeowner’s insurance policy (or a paid receipt for one) is required at closing, so arrangements will have to be made prior to that day. Plus, involving the insurance agent early in the home buying process can save you money. Insurance agents are a great resource for information on home safety and they can give tips on how to keep insurance premiums low.

 

26. WHAT STEPS COULD I TAKE TO LOWER MY HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE COSTS?

 

Be sure to shop around among several insurance companies. Also, consider the cost of insurance when you look at homes. Newer homes and homes constructed with materials like brick tend to have lower premiums. Think about avoiding areas prone to natural disasters, like flooding. Choose a home with a fire hydrant or a fire department nearby.

 

27. IS THE HOME LOCATED IN A FLOOD PLAIN?

 

Your real estate agent or lender can help you answer this question. If you live in a flood plain, the lender will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home. Work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.

 

28. WHAT OTHER ISSUES SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE I BUY MY HOME?

 

Always check to see if the house is in a low-lying area, in a high-risk area for natural disasters (like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.), or in a hazardous materials area. Be sure the house meets building codes. Also consider local zoning laws, which could affect remodeling or making an addition in the future. Your real estate agent should be able to help you with these questions.

 

29. HOW DO I MAKE AN OFFER?

 

Your real estate agent will assist you in making an offer, which will include the following information:

 

 -   Complete legal description of the property
 -   Amount of earnest money
 -   Down payment and financing details
 -   Proposed move-in date
 -   Price you are offering
 -   Proposed closing date
 -   Length of time the offer is valid
 -   Details of the deal

 

Remember that a sale commitment depends on negotiating a satisfactory contract with the seller, not just Making an offer.

 

Other ways to lower ins-insurance costs include insuring your home and car(s) with the same company, increasing home security, and seeking group coverage through alumni or business associations. Insurance costs are always lowered by raising your deductibles, but this exposes you to a higher out-of-pocket cost if you have to file a claim.

 

30. HOW DO I DETERMINE THE INITIAL OFFER?

 

Unless you have a buyer’s agent, remember that the agent works for the seller. Make a point of asking him or her to keep your discussions and information confidential. Listen to your real estate agent’s advice, but follow your own instincts on deciding a fair price. Calculating your offer should involve several factors: what homes sell for in the area, the home’s condition, how long it’s been on the market, financing terms, and the seller’s situation. By the time you’re ready to make an offer, you should have a good idea of what the home is worth and what you can afford. And, be prepared for give-and-take negotiation, which is very common when buying a home. The buyer and seller may often go back and forth until they can agree on a price.

 

31. WHAT IS EARNEST MONEY? HOW MUCH SHOULD I SET ASIDE?

 

Earnest money is money put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price (though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions). If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you may forfeit the entire amount.

 

32. WHAT ARE “HOME WARRANTIES”, AND SHOULD I CONSIDER THEM?

 

Home warranties offer you protection for a specific period of time (e.g., one year) against potentially costly problems, like unexpected repairs on appliances or home systems, which are not covered by homeowner’s insurance. Warranties are becoming more popular because they offer protection during the time immediately following the purchase of a home, a time when many people find themselves cash-strapped.

 

GENERAL FINANCING QUESTIONS:THE BASICS

 

33. WHAT IS A MORTGAGE?

 

Generally speaking, a mortgage is a loan obtained to purchase real estate. The “mortgage” itself is a lien (a legal claim) on the home or property that secures the promise to pay the debt. All mortgages have two features in common: principal and interest.

 

34. WHAT IS A LOAN TO VALUE (LTV) HOW DOES IT DETERMINE THE SIZE OF MY LOAN?

 

The loan to value ratio is the amount of money you borrow compared with the price or appraised value of the home you are purchasing. Each loan has a specific LTV limit. For example: With a 95% LTV loan on a home priced at $50,000, you could borrow up to $47,500 (95% of $50,000), and would have to pay,$2,500 as a down payment.

 

The LTV ratio reflects the amount of equity borrowers have in their homes. The higher the LTV the less cash homebuyers are required to pay out of their own funds. So, to protect lenders against potential loss in case of default, higher LTV loans (80% or more) usually require mortgage insurance policy.

 

35. WHAT TYPES OF LOANS ARE AVAILABLE AND WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF EACH?

 

Fixed Rate Mortgages: Payments remain the same for the the life of the loan

 

Types


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“We are just like family in this office”, Oh really… Do you take out the garbage and wash the dishes?

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by admin

I am sick of all of these cliches about what its like to work in an office. “Well we are like a big family”. That’s nice….if your family was like my family we didn’t talk about anything, we usually yelled real loud about what we thought was important.
My brother and I slept in the same room  right through high school.  He liked to sneak out at night and I hated to go to bed early.  He liked Hard Rock, I liked Motown. He was shop, I was college prep.We spent every morning threatening each other over who would use the bathroom first. Sometimes  my mother ended the argument with a wooden spoon across the butt.  Does your manager ever try that on you. My father was too busy working 2 jobs to get really involved but he was like this gigantic  specter out there who was waiting to get the word from one of my nun teachers or my mother to really let me have it. He died young at 42 but left me with a legacy I’ll never forget. The rest of my growing up years were spent getting in and out of trouble, working part time jobs,  going to school and getting into really loud arguments with my grandfather, aunts and uncle and thinking about how fast I could get out of the house and away from the drama that my  mother and brother were always trying to  have me play a bit part in.

Family atmosphere, what a bunch of crap. I go to the office to get away from family. When my kids were small , like from  0-18 years old, I can remember saying ” I love you but I don’t like you guys very much”. Thank God for my wife, Gloria, she has the patience of Penelope. If you don’t remember who Penelope was then go back and read the story of  Penelope in Greek Mythology. Remarkable woman, that’s my wife. More than one occasion she had to stop me from grabbing one of my two sons who mouthed off to me during those wonderful “Teen Years”.  We had boys. People who have girls tell me they are  a separate  issue with different kinds of  “loving needs”.

There were times when I would drag my butt home after dealing with clients, agents and office politics that Gloria would look at me with flames in her eyes hand me the two kids and let me know that she was going out to do something for her.
At that point I pretty much let them do whatever they wanted. I just wanted some peace.

So I like the business atmosphere of an office. I really don’t want to be part of your family. And I can assure you, you don’t want to be part of mine. I want to work with you. Professionally, as a colleague . I have my share of family things I like. For example, my grand children. Its different with them. I can spoil them rotten and then send them home to their mother and father. But they ain’t listing or selling any real estate. Maybe someday they will lend me some money or let me move in with them. I am not going to do that for you unless you have a cosigner  and collateral.

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Weighing 30 year vs 15 year mortgages.

Posted on: May 15th, 2012 by admin

Weighing 30- and 15-year Fixed-Rate Mortgages

 

 

 

By  Salvatore(Sam)Ruta

Prudential Choice Properties

 

Pod cast Perspective on Optimism

 

In searching for Lehigh Valley Homes for sale,  one important decision homebuyers face is whether to secure a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage or go for a 15-year one, which carries a lower interest rate.

“All things equal, a 15-year mortgage allows you to pay off your mortgage twice as fast while saving a significant chunk of money on interest,” explains Mark Crosby, a mortgage expert in Wilmington, Del. Still, “I think the 30-year mortgage is a logical choice for most people because it has more advantages.”

For starters, mortgage payments are less expensive with a 30-year mortgage, enabling more consumers to qualify for home purchases. “With a 30-year mortgage you are almost always free to make additional principal payments necessary to pay off your loan [faster] without penalty,” Crosby says. “With the 15-year loan, you are committed to giving that extra money to your lender each month, whether you can really afford to at the time or not.”

Higher payments that come with a 15-year mortgage make little sense if they keep you from building savings or contributing to a 401(k) plan, IRA, and perhaps your kids’ college funds, adds Dan Green, a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Laurel, Md. “You could be needlessly tying up too much of your money into your house.”

Green said another reason people favor a 30-year fixed mortgage is the tax benefit that can be achieved. “This is because the amortization schedule of 30-year fixed is back-heavy, with early-term payments big on interest and light in principal,” he explains. “By contrast, the 15-year fixed is always light on interest which lowers its taxpayer benefits.”

While it’s true you gain more of a tax break from a 30-year loan, it shouldn’t be the main consideration when deciding on a term. The 30-year borrower pays less in yearly taxes because he or she pays significantly more in interest.

So it all comes down to choice and circumstances. Choose the 15-year loan if you have the financial wherewithal to assume the payments. Your interest savings will be substantial and you’ll own your home faster. Opt for the 30-year loan for lower payments and greater flexibility. You can always choose to pay more on your mortgage when the money is available.

Sam Ruta can be reached at (610) (737-2310). Prudential Choice Properties is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Make your Offer Standout

Posted on: May 5th, 2012 by admin

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Make Your Offer Stand Out

 

 

By Salvatore(Sam)Ruta

Prudential Choice Properties

Searching for Lehigh Valley Homes for sale.

Real estate consumers are realizing that there has rarely been a better time to buy a home. In fact, historically low mortgage rates coupled with lower home prices have even sparked bidding competition in markets around the country.

A good home in a solid location may attract ample attention only hours after being listed. Home buyers can make their offers stand out from the rest through one or more of the following strategies:

Price. Obviously, price tends to be the primary consideration for sellers. When you’re competing for a home, to get an edge, think about adding a clause stating that you will beat the highest offer by “x” dollars up to “x” amount. Cash offers can be more attractive to sellers as well. Although sellers will receive their money at closing whether buyers pay with cash or take out a loan, cash offers don’t require lender approval.

Financing. It’s not enough to be pre-qualified. Pre-qualification only tells how much you can afford. Pre-approval goes a step further. Your lender will thoroughly evaluate your application—including verifying employment information and financial disposition—then clear you for a loan of a determined amount. Having your loan pre-approved gives you a sizeable advantage by putting you on equal footing with cash buyers.

Good Faith Deposit. Buyers offering a larger-than-customary amount of “earnest money,” a deposit that accompanies an offer, may get a seller’s attention. By committing more money up front, buyers demonstrate greater sincerity and motivation to close the transaction. Your real estate professional can guide you as to the appropriate sum for your specific transaction.

Contingencies. Consider minimizing contingencies, those clauses that allow buyers to back out of a contract if certain conditions are not met. For example, it’s common for buyers to make the purchase contingent upon their securing satisfactory financing. Obviously, offers with the fewest conditions tend to be more attractive to sellers.

From a contingency standpoint, first-time buyers are often better prospects for a seller’s home than move-up buyers. That’s because first-time buyers’ offers are not contingent upon the sale of a present home. Even if a move-up buyer has an offer in hand, that buyer’s offer may be contingent on another contingency, and so on down the line. If one transaction derails, they all might.

Relationship. Help the seller get to know and identify with you by looking for ways to connect. Find common interests, such as a shared appreciation of gardening. You can then persuade the seller that her prize roses will be well tended. Share brief family stories. The more the seller gets to know and like you, the better chance your offer will stand out in a competitive environment.

Considerations for Short-sale and Foreclosure Transactions – Bank-owned properties represent a significant portion of today’s housing inventory. Competition can be most keen for these homes as their prices can run 10% to 20% below current market value.

Banks conduct extensive research to set these prices and generally base them on current market value less the cost of required repairs. Make your offer based on your own check of comparable sales and other due diligence. Banks won’t get offended by a low offer, yet a realistic offer will more likely keep you in the running.

Remember, patience is essential when buying bank-owned property as the process can take up to six months and longer.

Work with your local Prudential Real Estate sales professional to buy your dream home or investment property. His or her knowledge, skill and expertise will help you make sound real estate decisions today or any other time.

Here is some good news to help give you the encouragement that you need. Listen to the following short podcast.

Optimism grows

Sam can be reached at (610) (737-2310) Cell or at the office a (610) (759-7833).  Or email at samruta@yahoo.com  Prudential Choice Properties is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Lets talk VA for a moment.

Posted on: May 1st, 2012 by admin

VA Loans Are Opening Homeownership Doors for

More Vets

             By Salvatore Ruta,  Prudential Choice Properties

 

 

            Past and current military personnel looking for financing in today’s more stringent mortgage environment can take advantage of the VA loan program, which has been available for more than six decades to help members of the military own their own homes. Lets not forget the vet in searching for Lehigh Valley Homes for sale.

The program, established in 1944 as part of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, is available for any individual who has served in active duty in any branch of the U.S. military for a minimum of 90 days.

“The beauty of this loan is that it allows financing without requiring a down payment,” said Eric Kandell, founder of lowvarates.com. “It also doesn’t allow the mortgage lender to charge the veteran private mortgage insurance.”

A VA loan does require the borrower to pay a one-time funding fee on their purchase, which can be paid up front or financed into the total cost of the loan. The funding fee for regular military members is 2.15% of the loan. Reservists pay a fee of 2.40%.

Non-active duty personnel, such as individuals in the Army Reserves or National Guard, may apply for a VA-backed mortgage provided they have completed six years of service. Spouses of deceased or missing military members are also eligible if they have not remarried. Those who were dishonorably discharged from any military branch are not eligible.

“I’ve closed more VA loans in the past two years than in the past decade,” said Steve Thorne, area manager for First Financial Services, Inc. in Raleigh, N.C. “It really is a great benefit to the veteran in the ‘New Mortgage World.’ The key to getting more veterans to take advantage of this benefit is simply an awareness of the benefit.”

Statistics provided by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs show that roughly 25 million people are eligible  for a VA loan yet only 10-15 percent of those have taken advantage of it when buying or refinancing.

One reason is that for many years leading up to the mortgage crisis, there were many conventional mortgage products that were easier or more economical to the veteran than the VA loan.

“In the wild, wild west of mortgage lending from the early 2000s to 2008, 100% financing was common,” Thorne said. “So why pay the VA funding fee just to have 100 percent financing? Not to mention the VA control of the appraisal process, understanding residual income and all the additional disclosures. It was just a more cumbersome process then the ‘come on down, everybody gets a loan’ of the conventional arena.”

Many veterans, especially those not so recently discharged, aren’t sure of VA loan benefits or that the program even exists. With the VA loan the veteran can buy a home with little to no money out of pocket.

“In the past, veterans were told about other financing on the market and people were more inclined out of ignorance to use non-VA loan financing,” Kandell said. “[The VA loan] is a great loan and you are going to see a massive shift in numbers going forward.”

Talk to a mortgage representative for more on VA financing.

Salvatore(Sam)Ruta can be reached at (610) (737-2310). Email at samruta@yahoo.com.  Prudential Choice Properties is an independently owned and operated member of BRER Affiliates Inc. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential.  Equal Housing Opportunity.

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