Posts Tagged ‘real estate’

Ten Incredibly easy steps for buying that first home.

Posted on: April 20th, 2016 by admin No Comments

realty-1151243__180Really you don’t have to be afraid. Like they say “It isn’t rocket science”. If you answer yes to any of these questions, its time to go out an get your piece of the American Dream.

  1. Are you throwing rent money out the window every month?
  2. Are you turning green with envy every time one of your buddies talks about their palace in the burbs or the city for that matter?
  3. Have you been to at least one seminar on how not to invest your money in the stock market?
  4. Have you looked at your income tax return and said to yourself ” How come I don’t have any more write offs?
  5. And finally, has your spouse threaten to leave you unless you find a way out of that dump you live in?

Okay, I’m known for being a wise guy. But seriously isn’t it time to get out and get your own? It really isn’t that hard to get started.

  1. Go find a real estate agent that you like and trust. Talk to your friends about who they used. There is nothing better than a referral. If you don’t have any friends, look around you and go on the internet and see who has a lot of listings. These agents are probably very active in the market. There are agents who specialize as buyers agents but they are not readily identifiable as the listing agents. Be sure to go to the agents websites and look for endorsements from past clients. That will tell you how good they are, regardless if they are a listing or selling specialist.
  2. Once you pick the agent, go get pre-qualified for a mortgage. What does that mean? It means a possible lender will check your credit, your basic income and give you an idea of what you can borrow. Your real estate agent will give you some recommendations on who to go to. There is no charge for this service. But when you find a house, you will have to go through a formal mortgage application.
  3. Go find houses on line and screen them for what you want. Stick to the main websites;  The Multiple Listing Service, your agent’s website or Zillow. If you don’t know what Zillow is, believe me you will learn quickly.
  4. Go drive by the houses first. Pictures and video are great but you have to scope out the neighborhood.
  5. Pick some and go look at them with your agent.
  6. Like one, well go ahead scaredy – cat make an offer. The worse that will happen is that the seller will say no, but maybe if you are lucky you can negotiate the price and other conditions. You know, like removal of the Lama Haired rug or replacing the 40 year old furnace. But its like the lottery…. You can’t win if you don’t play.
  7. Everybody agrees? Okay, do your stuff; inspections, mortgage app, title search(the agent will help you with this for another recommendation).
  8. Go to settlement, sign papers.
  9. Get the keys
  10. Move in

Now was that so bad? Okay… Like I said I am a wise guy.  But it really isn’t that bad. Give me a call and we shall venture the journey together. It can be a lot of fun and maybe by this time next year Uncle Sam will send you a big fat check. Who knows?

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Buying a home…or should I stay in the basement?

Posted on: March 23rd, 2016 by admin No Comments

family outside home

 

 

 

 

 

Well I’ve been a member of the National Association of Realtors for over 37 years. I think I have heard almost every way possible way to help new buyers toward their First purchase. This one has to be one of the best and innovative. I’m probably guilty of just being a guy too. Let me know what you think. This is part One.

 

Click here

 

 

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Top Ten things for Sellers to do to get your house on the Market

Posted on: March 4th, 2016 by admin No Comments

top-10Okay, you want to sell. Dreams of a bigger or smaller house, depending on your circumstances float around in your head. No more snow shoveling, lots of rooms, and a big yard for the kids….. whatever, but you want out of your present abode.  How do I prepare… well here some suggestions.

1. Go find a good real estate agent to help you. Use your network of friends and business contacts to make some recommendations.
2.Get that real estate person in to preview the house first. Maybe 2 or 3 of them. Don’t sign anything with them on the first trip. See if you like them and trust them. Give them the cooks tour. Tell them what you like and what you don’t like. Com on, you really don’t like that useless living room or that Jacuzzi tub that you never use….!
3. Get them to commit to a listing presentation that will include price and marketing. Figure about 2 hours for presenting and answering questions. Hey its probably the largest asset you have, its worth the time to listen. How’d they come up with the price range? What’s the marketing plan? Is it digital? Are they going to use some old school things, like signs, mail outs, open houses etc?
4.Meet and review all documents presented.  There are contracts to sign. Know what you are signing. If you are comfortable and ready to pick go ahead.If you want your lawyer to look at it, fine. Get it to them quick for his or her review. Pick a lawyer who knows real estate law and local customs. There are plenty of them out there.
5. Get the house ready to show. CLEAN IT UP AND UNCLUTTER! Get the drift?
6.Stop smoking inside the house! Get someone in  that you trust to “sniff”. If you have dogs or cats, get an opinion on the odor.
7. Get out of the house when it is being showed. You want the buyers to express their real feelings to their agent.
8. Got an offer. Review with your agent. Make sure there is enough to pay everybody off. Have your agent review your existing mortgage and deed on your house to get a feel if there is anything that might prevent you from selling. There is? Keep that lawyer’s number handy.
9.Make sure your agent monitors the progress of the buyer by keeping in contact with their agent as far as any inspections, conditions, appraisal and mortgage approval. This is where most deals fall apart.
10. Buyers ready to go? Met all the conditions? Keep the house in pristine condition and take care of any problems. They are going to do a “walk through” to make sure you have’nt ripped anything out of the wall or have taken that”favorite rose bush”

Well one more thing…. Go to settlement, get your money and get out of Dodge! Find another place with that great agent and live it up. We’ll talk about buying tips later! Call if you want to talk about it sooner.

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First Time Home Buyers

Posted on: April 27th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Business Handshake I Came across a new program for first time home buyers.  To be considered a first time home buyer, you can’t have owned a home for at least 5 years. The qualifications for the program are as follows.

1. 97% financing available
2. Primary residence only.
3. No PMI required.
4. Up to 6% seller assistance allowed.
5. Can be used in conjunction with other closing cost and down payment assistance programs.
6. Limited credit history may be acceptable.
7. Home ownership counseling is required.
8. $O Origination fee.

Contact me for details:

Salvatore(Sam) Ruta
610-737-2310
salvatoreruta13@gmail.com

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3 programs to help you buy a house if you can’t get a mortgage.

Posted on: May 30th, 2014 by admin

Sold Home For Sale Sign in Front of New HouseI think that there are still challenges in today’s real estate market in either buying or selling a house. Suffice it to say that there are  a lot of folks who owe more than what their home is worth (“underwater”).  There are enough people who have credit problems because of the recession that started in 2007.  Lots of recent  college graduates are strapped with student debt and no jobs and living at home. The economic “recovery” has begun but it is taking forever. And certainly the banks and mortgage companies have not eased up that much on underwriting criteria for buyers. An average credit score to get a conventional mortgage is still almost in the mid 700s. FHA  and VA  are still options but I think we  need to do a better job in spreading the word on those programs and how they work. Plus there are concerns regarding FHA continuous funding. FHA mortgage insurance premium is the highest of any program and never goes away until you finally sell.

I would speculate that with the uncertainty of the economy, that customers are just reluctant to take the risk in owning.

I’ll offer a few alternatives that you might consider in getting  into the housing market. I mean you have to live somewhere. Might as well be a place of your own. Here are three for your consideration.

1. Rent with an option to buy. Probably the most well-known and popular. However it can be the most misunderstood program. An “option” is exactly that. You enter into a  lease to rent a home and you agree with the owner that at some point in time you will, or will not, exercise the option to buy the house at an agreed upon price. You may or may not have put up any money toward that option at the lease signing. You and the landlord may have decided that a portion of the rent goes toward the purchase price or the option. Just remember if you don’t exercise the option, you just remain a tenant and have no ownership rights. Whether you get any money back is determined  by the terms of the option agreement.

2. Lease purchase , land contract or installment contract.  Buyer and Seller enter into an agreement of sale for the purchase of property. The sellers maintain the title to the property during the term of the contract and the buyers have an equitable interest.  A note of caution here to both parties. If the seller has an existing mortgage on the property there may be and probably is a “Due on Sale ” clause in the mortgage documents. This will indicate that if any transfer of equity occurs then the entire loan will become due in full immediately. Depending on the size  of the existing loan, this could cause some major problems for both buyer and seller. Any real estate agent worth their salt will check all recorded documents before proceeding with a proposal. A good real estate attorney needs to be involved for each party. If there is no mortgage , then the owner can act as the bank and transfer title to the buyer . Depending on any down money and credit obligations the equity build up is subject to negotiations at the time of the offer. Again I would recommend a good real estate attorney get involved with any preparation for both buyer and seller.
One nice benefit of this type of transaction is that the buyers can get the tax benefits of home ownership.

3. New program. Just heard about this one. A company buys the home for you and the client enters into an agreement of sale to purchase the property within a certain period of time, i.e 5 years. You put up a down payment of 5 or 10% and pay a 3% admin fee to the company at the time of occupancy. You get the house and its yours to live in as a renter at an agreed upon monthly rent and purchase price. The big difference between this and the rent with option is if you do not get a mortgage by the end of the term you get your down payment back. They keep the 3%. You also agree to a 2-3 % annual rent increase during the term. Again this program is for people who have not been able to qualify for a normal mortgage because of unusual catastrophic circumstances.  Lost a job, unusually high medical bills, and then lost a home through foreclosure or just had some hard times and are trying to work yourself back.  That’s why you agree to a 5+ term. And of course if you can a mortgage sooner, there is no prepayment penalty. There are some additional features. Give me a call and we can discuss some additional details.

A  few “options” to think about. Just leave me a comment. Contact me via Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or the old fashion ways of email, salvatoreruta13@gmail.com or cell phone 6107372310

 

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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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Spring Market brings confidence, I think.

Posted on: April 29th, 2014 by admin

Business HandshakeI’m not one who just takes recent economic news as gospel. But having said that, it does look like we are moving forward with a better housing market. Just take a look at this recent post by Don DeZube of the National Association of Realtors.  Spring Market. You have to admit its pretty positive.  The increases are slight but are running ahead of  last year. The office that I manage is up about 6% over last year. That includes all categories: average sale price, less time on the market, list price of homes, total volume sold and total listing volume.

If there is one problem, it’s that we do not have enough good salable properties on the market. The buyer demand is there and we find ourselves in multiple offer situations. The sellers are happy but the buyers are not. One  cause for the shortage certainly can be attributed in part to  thousands of properties still”underwater”, that is, the owners owe more than the house is worth. Banks are slow in approving possible short sales. Also the Feds have not extended the “debt forgiveness ” provision that allowed sellers to escape the tax consequences of such a sale. There is also some implication  that lenders are holding back millions of stalled foreclosures from the market in the hope that  rising prices will allow the lenders to recoup a larger return of dollars at the “Sheriff Sale”. Who knows…Plus under the new QM rules (Qualified Mortgage), underwriting guidelines are making it  much harder for the average home purchaser to qualify for a mortgage.

Man Scratching HeadLenders are trying to address the above issues by loosing up certain underwriting criteria. Credit scores of 620 and in some cases 550 will get you into a home.  The fact that mortgage applications for all types of  loans are off in some cases 60% from last year might be one reason that lenders are looking for business with less than a truant officer’s mentality. If they don’t lend it, they are not going to make it. Not rocket science.

Here is an explanation to help you better understand the “QM” rules.

One last thing that I have mentioned  several times. If you are in financial trouble, wondering about whether you can stay in your home because you are behind in your mortgage, are considering bankruptcy or in a reverse mortgage and you have any questions, please give me a call. Don’t do anything drastic until you have a chance to talk to a  professional. I can recommend several that can help. Call me at 6107372310. No obligation.

 

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So what’s the deal with the Stock Market? Gimme the House instead.

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by admin

Businessman Bouncing Over Stock ChartI don’t have a clue.  Used to be  able to gauge the housing market by what’s going on in the Stock Market.
I gave up on that comparison a long time ago. To me it makes absolutely no sense. How can a barometer of the economy change so fast. I mean really, up 200 points one day, down 225 the next. I saw a pundit on a business show the other day that said traders are now using computer programs that make changes in a nano second. How is that possible? They buy, sell  and set the tone for the market before you or I even have a chance to act before our first cup of coffee. Crazy….  There is a thing called “Penny Stocks”. Companies that are looking for money and issue stocks that are worth literally  less than a penny a share. Okay……  I’ll buy a hundred shares for a dollar? Still sounds like a night at the Casinos to me. Kinda like playing the penny slot machines. Maybe I’ll hit it big and get a 1000% return.

Wall street might be a dead-end for the average family.  But then there is the housing market. The great banking debacle of  2007 seems like a generation ago. Mention to a millennial that their grandparents actually had double-digit interest rates when they bought their first house, they look at you like  you have two heads. But it’s 2014 and there is a zero point 30 year fixed rate at 4.875%.  Pretty good.  The values of homes are rising again and home owners are looking at  increased equity. Buyers are coming out of hibernation but are still a little unsure of how to go about that purchase. One thing that is  a must, is that both buyers and sellers have to be reasonable in negotiating.
Credit is still a concern but there are programs to address the buyer with as little as 580 credit score. How can that be? I have always said that there are only a few ways that banks can make money. The  main way is to lend it. The refinance boom is over for lenders. That means they have to go after purchasers of homes who need mortgages. Now is a great time to be a buyer and negotiate with a lender for a great rate.  For a really concise explanation of the current market and what you might need for a down payment and minimum credit scores  for  potential buyers, listen to this podcast.

There is no getting away  from the financial trauma we all experienced over the last several years, but the housing market is coming back and there is no better investment for the average family. The volatility of the stock market is something that a lot of us just don’t want to risk, at least not right now. There’s something about an”Inverted Yield Curve” that leaves me wondering what it all means. Call me for housing info at 6107372310. Or email me at my new email address salvatoreruta13@gmail.com

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You have got to be kidding! I can still buy or sell????

Posted on: March 4th, 2014 by admin

There is nothing I like to do in this world than to be with my grandkids and mess around. I  also love my job in helping and advising folks on the purchase or sale of their home. I have been doing it for over 35 years.  There is something about watching the excitement in the eyes of the first time home buyer or the satisfaction from a senior citizen (me by the way) when he or she is able to move on, supplement their nest egg and enjoy a nice retirement.

Well, I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon. I like working. Besides, I am not a big hobby guy. I am sure my wife Gloria would get tired of me real fast following her around like some puppy dog while she does her thing with her girlfriends. Forget it.

I gladly prognosticate on the future of the real estate market. What are you waiting for?  If you are a buyer, rates are still low. Under 5%. Prices are still reasonable.  But they are starting to creep up. Mortgage lenders are aggressively going after FHA and 5% down buyers. Foreclosures are down and a lot of folks are pulling out of their underwater status. And they have to sell.

Now all this doesn’t mean we will have the free for all that we had in  the early 2000’s when you didn’t even need a job to get a loan. Thank goodness those days are over. But don’t let those that have a home and are not in my business given you a bunch of baloney that you need an 800 credit score to get a loan. Did you know that you get a new FHA home loan if you filed for Bankruptcy and have been discharged for at least 2 years, and of course if you have been paying your bills on time since then.

Did you know that as a Veteran, you don’t even need a down payment and you can have the owner of the home pay for all of your closing costs. There are also 100% loans available through the USDA , that would be the United States Department of Agriculture.  They are loans that are available for single family homes in designated rural areas.

This is for real. Give me a call at 6107372310 or email me at samruta@yahoo.com to discuss some real possibilities. I’m not kidding.

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Coming out of a coma…

Posted on: March 25th, 2013 by admin

I don’t know, I just kind of gave up last fall. When someone told me it was hard to keep a blog up and have a fresh ideas day after day, I knew it was hard but I didn’t think I would go into brain freeze almost permanently. Well I did. I thought to myself I have to become more aggressive  and try to get some reaction from folks who read this stuff. Well that didn’t happen and I thought I might as well get on to bigger and better things.  I really don’t know what that means either.

In the final analysis I guess I had to ask myself the question; was I doing  a blog for you or for me. For me, because at one time I thought I actually enjoyed writing . For you because I hope I could drum up some business while giving you some helpful information.

At this point I’ll just try to write about some things I am passionate about, which is cathartic for me. Maybe you will join in and let me know how you feel, but if you don’t that’s okay too. Because now I don’t feel the pressure to perform for anybody else but me.

So here goes….. Since I last wrote we have had the reelection of the President, the murder of 26 folks, 20 of whom were kids, a Pope resigned, avoided a Fiscal Cliff, did not avoid a Sequester,  watched the rebound of the housing market begin, (which by the way I still don’t trust), QE infinity courtesy of the Fed and saw the Unemployment rate drop to 7.9%

Maybe its the Jesuit training in me but its smoke and mirrors to me. How the heck can we have an almost $17 trillion dollar deficit and growing each day, printing money like its drug to an addict and 1-2% Interest rates set for the next several years, and listen to all of those folks in Washington saying things are getting better. Who is going to pay for all of this insanity? You and me folks and our kids and grandchildren. That’s because the boys and girls in DC can’t get along. The cost of servicing that debt will eventually eclipse the total GDP of the entire country.

One thing is for sure. Regardless of your feeling of the housing market, the freaking mortgage rates are at an all time low. A $100,000 mortgage at 3.5% not including taxes and bank fees will cost  $449 a month. Try renting for that kind of monthly payment.

Foreclosures are down, that’s good. Short sales are up, that stinks. No matter what the banks tell you, they still take months   and I have had more than one buying client walk away. Because foreclosures are down and short sales take a while, we have a decrease in available housing. So Buyers beware, the sellers that are not underwater are going to start raising their prices. It’s already happening. And if Uncle Ben ever stops buying bonds and mortgages,  rates will go through the roof.

Anyway, I feel better, that was a good start. It’s like when I talk to myself in the shower. It’s probably the most creative time for me.
I just need someone to  turn up the temperature of the water.

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