Mortgage and Portfolio Loan Guide

5 Awesome Advantages of Owning Real Estate

Buying a house isn’t for everyone.

The truth is, it’s kind of a pain in the you-know-what to be a homeowner sometimes. If the power goes out, it’s on you bro, better get a generator. If a window breaks, sorry dude, figure it out.

Even though there are some big responsibilities that come with owning a home, there are some excellent advantages worth mentioning!

1 button

 

Your payment goes toward something.

Yup, it’s called a mortgage. Every month you pay that sucker, the balance of that home loan goes down (just a bit at first). The only time that isn’t true is if you have an interest only mortgage (not a ton of those still out there), where your payment only goes toward interest for the first X number of years. But for the majority of people, their house payment goes toward building equity and paying that bad-boy down.

The alternative? Pay rent (aka pay someone else’s mortgage for them). This leaves you with a lease agreement that you have to stick with, in a house you really can’t change to your liking. The result? You despise writing that rent check every month because you know that even if you did stay there for 30 years, you would still have next month’s payment due on the 1st. Keep in mind, rent typically increases every year. So not only achievement-18134_640would you be paying someone’s mortgage for them, but when it’s all said and done you’ll be paying a higher payment on something that has no liability attached to it. I know, I know, most people don’t rent in the same house or apartment for 30 years. But whether it’s 30 years or 3 years, do you really want your hard-earned money going into someones pocket and have nothing to show for it after 3 years?

I hear the chirping already… “Adam, not all homeowners have equity after a few years of owning. Heck, some were underwater on their homes in 2009 and they made mortgage payments for 10 years before that.”

Yes, you’re right. I am aware of that. Don’t forget, many people put themselves in that place because they used their home like an ATM. Taking cash out of their home to buy a shiny car, or to keep up with the Joneses. I agree with you… if you continue to cash in your equity, you won’t have any equity to speak of. Yes there were other factors that played into the housing crisis like people getting approved for loans they can’t afford, appraisers trying to meet the needs of lenders, and straight-up fraud. But the mid-to-late 2000’s housing bubble was an exception to the rule. Historically, housing prices move steadily (but reasonably) upward.

button2

 

Increased sense of pride.

Yes, too much pride can be a bad thing, but being a homeowner is confidence builder. The thought and preparation it takes to buy a home figure-25590_640requires a lot of guts and strategy.

Think about it… You are sitting in your apartment. Channel surfing. You “accidentally” leave it on HGTV while you reply to a few text messages. “Property Virgins” is on, and buying a house looks fun. You suddenly decide that you are capable of buying a home. You Google: How to buy a home. You find a blog that talks about home ownership, and now you’re feeling super geeked. You call a local Realtor, and she asks you if you’re pre-approved for a mortgage. “Pre-approved?. Umm not yet.” Your Realtor insists that you get pre-approved first, and get your ducks in a row.

You ask your friends and family who to call for a mortgage. The next thing you know you’re gathering up your financial identity and giving it to your mortgage guy. You find out there are a couple of things to work on, and it’s probably going to be about 6 months until it’s time to start looking for a home.

You spend the next six months getting your finances squared away, and following your loan officer’s guidance to a T.

  • Paying down your credit cards.
  • Making no large (unverifiable) deposits into your bank account.
  • Get a couple small collections deleted from your credit report.
  • Now you’re ready.

Your Realtor finds you a sick deal, and you make an offer. You negotiate a price that is a win/win for everyone as long as the seller is willing to do a few repairs that the inspector noted. You give your earnest money deposit. It’s game on. Appraisal is ordered. Thirty-ish days later you bring a crisp cashier’s check to closing for the rest of the funds needed. This was pretty much all of your savings, but you saved for this exact moment! To own your home! Now you have the keys, and you feel like you can sit at the big kids table at Thanksgiving this year.

It all started with a little channel surfing mixed with a dose of inspiration.

button3

 

Get more for your money.

dollar-499481_640In Brighton, MI and most of Michigan (if not all) you get more bang for your buck by owning your home instead of renting. Let’s look at a quick example. Here is an actual “for rent” listing on Craigslist right now:

$750 / 2br – 775ft22 BR Condo (Brighton)

Great Location. Beautiful updated 2 BR Condo in Hidden Harbour Condominiums opposite Meijer store in downtown Brighton. Central A/C, appliances, washer dryer in the building. No pets please. Water, hot water, trash pick up, Snow removal included in the rent. Available Dec. 1, 2014. Walk to shopping and near x-ways.

Here is an example “for sale” listing on Craigslist right now:

$59900 / 2br – 950ft2TOWNHOUSE for Sale in Brighton

2 Bedroom, 1.5 bath END unit offers extra windows and light, along with added outdoor living space. New Pergo flooring in kitchen and dining areas, also includes newer stove and frig. Newer windows throughout. Large Master Bedroom (16 x 12), and 2nd bedroom (11.5 x 10) both have mirrored closet doors, ceiling fans and lots of light. Finished basement with new glass block windows has built-in storage areas, along with a large separate laundry room. Neutral colors throughout home. Back door leads to private covered patio area, surrounded by green space & trees. Outside area is large enough to entertain and garden.

Running rough numbers on the second one, it looks like $596 including principal/interest/taxes/insurance/mortgage insurance/homeowners association dues

So for 125 more square feet of living space, you pay $154 less per month.

I pulled that up with a few mouse clicks, there are never-ending examples of this.

button4

 

Ability to make a house a home.

Take the above for rent listing for example. “No pets please.” It didn’t say no dogs over 30 lbs. It didn’t say no pit bulls. It didn’t say no snakes. Itpuppy-345334_640 said NO PETS.

Why are there so many restrictions on renting? Well, consider this for a moment. If you owned a home, and rented it out, would you want to give the tenant (renter) the ability to do whatever they wish with the property? No? Why? Because you never know how bad they will trash the home. Resulting in you (the owner) having to renovate the property once the tenant moves out. Who knows how much that will cost? Who knows how bad their 1-year-old boxer tear up the carpet? Well ultimately the owner will have to deal with it. So it’s in the owners best interest to be selective on what will be considered when renting out their property.

When you own your home… you decide. You decide on upgrades, pets, colors, etc. You get to make it yours.

button5 (1)

 

Tax deduction.

The tax deduction that you get from paying mortgage interest is in many cases the largest tax deduction for many homeowners. Unlike credit card and car loan interest that you pay, the mortgage interest that you pay is tax-deductible. Even wealthy borrowers who could pay off their calculator-158109_640mortgage 3 times over with their assets keep their mortgage because of the tax deduction that it brings.

This is a huge benefit for people who look to consolidate some credit card debt because not only does their overall monthly budget improve, but the interest that they pay results in a larger tax deduction. As I mentioned in the first advantage at the beginning, it’s not wise to use your home like an ATM, and take cash out multiple times just to buy stuff. But if you look at it from a common sense standpoint, many times consolidating debt into your mortgage makes good financial sense. If you find yourself refinancing every couple of years in order to consolidate your credit card debt, there is an issue. Might want to chop those cards up so that you don’t find yourself in the same position over and over.

This might be a helpful resource to answer some questions surrounding your possible tax deduction.

What do you think?

Across the United States it is more cost-effective to own than rent in suburban areas. Do you agree? Leave a comment below and tell share your thoughts.

Adam Lesner | Brighton, MI | Mortgage Loan Officer – NMLS 198818

The Mortgage Collateral

The Property Piece of the Mortgage Puzzle

It’ game time. You have the steady job. Your down payment is sitting safely in your bank account. Your credit expert helped you get things cleaned up. You’re now ready to buy a home! It’s time to put together the last piece of the mortgage puzzle, the property. This is where the fun begins. The factors to consider when figuring out what home fits you the best are endless. This should help you gain an understanding, and a snapshot on how the process works when you find the home of your dreams.
 
Collateral
 
The home you are purchasing is the collateral being used to secure the financing you’re getting. If you expect a lender to give the green light to finance a home for you, be prepared for them to perform due diligence as well. Your lender will have certain standards that the property needs to meet. 
 
Inspection
 
Once your Realtor has helped you negotiate an amazing price, it’s time to order the inspection. Although lenders mortgage collateraldon’t typically require a general inspection to be completed by a licensed inspector, it’s highly recommended that you get one yourself. Your Realtor usually will have a couple recommendations of credible inspectors in your area. An inspection can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 depending on the scope of work and the property size. Your inspector will examine each component of the house in order to give an opinion on what meets code (electrical, HVAC), what doesn’t meet code, and what the estimated remaining life of items might be (water heater, roof, furnace). The cost that you pay for an inspection pales in comparison to the value you receive by knowing exactly what you’re “getting yourself into” with a potential home purchase.

Appraisal

Your lender will require an appraisal to be completed, and will submit an order through a third party. There is no need to order your own appraisal because privately ordered appraisals cannot be used or considered by a lender. The cost can vary depending on scope of work and property size. Typically $400-$750. The purpose of an appraisal is to get an opinion of fair market value of a home, and to find out if there are any serious issues with the home (peeling paint, broken windows, mold…). The appraiser will physically go out to the property to do an general inspection, take pictures, and take measurements. The appraiser will pull records of recent sale history for similar properties that have sold within the area of the home you’re buying. He/she will take into consideration the square footage, amenities, condition, age, and other important factors that contribute to value. The appraiser will make specific adjustments to value based on how those factors compare to the actual property being sold. By doing that, the appraiser can make an educated decision of what people are willing to pay for a home that is similar to the one you’re buying. This is called the sales comparison approach. This approach gives the best indication of what the fair market value is because it’s based on what people are actually willing to pay in that given market. If any repairs needed are noted by the appraiser, there is a strong likelihood that those repairs will need to be completed. You don’t necessarily want to make any repairs, nor will you be authorized in most cases, because you don’t own the home yet. What if you spend $100, and a Saturday afternoon installing a rail on a porch, just to find out you can’t close on the home for other reasons? Doesn’t make much sense.

Property Type

  • Single family home – This is your typical stick built, built from the ground up, free standing home. You’ll be required to maintain your own landscaping, snow shoveling, and exterior maintenance. You may or may not have an organized homeowners association (HOA) in your neighborhood. The HOA will help with general street maintenance and neighborhood needs. Be mindful of what the HOA fees are because it can have an impact on your debt-to-income ratio. In some areas you may think you’re buying a single family home, but find out too late that it’s a “site-condominium”. Depending on your loan program, your lender may have to do a more extensive review of the property and HOA if the home is found to be a site-condo.
  • Condominium – This can be a home in a community of 1 or 2 story homes that are attached, or a building of many stories containing units stacked on top of one another (like an apartment building). You own the interiorcollateral mortgage of the home. The exterior is typically maintained by the HOA, so the HOA fees are typically more costly on a condo. There are usually amenities like a pool and exercise facility among other things. Condos are popular for people who want to enjoy the benefits of homeownership, but pass on the headache of maintaining anything outside the home. Condos require a more thorough review than any property type. The lender will examine the financials of the HOA in detail. They’ll look for things like reserves, delinquent owners in the community, and insurance coverage. If you are getting an FHA loan or a VA loan, you can find out what condos are already approved in your area. For FHA approved condos in your area click hereFor VA approved condos in your area click here
  • Townhome – A townhome can be a very similar setup as the condo that’s in a community with 1 or 2 story homes that are attached. With a townhome you do own the land outside but the HOA will cover day to day maintenance usually. Your lender will contact the HOA, but typically will not be as strict on guidelines as they would be on condos.
  • Manufactured home – These are homes that are built in a factory and placed on a piece of property. It can be a challenge to find a lender for manufactured home financing. One of the reasons many lenders do not offer financing on manufactured homes is because manufactured homes typically depreciate in value. In other words, the value of the home will likely decrease over time. Whereas the value in a single family home, condo, or townhome, will typically increase (appreciate). Of course the housing meltdown in recent years has made many people question that fact. But historically, real estate is a great investment, and will appreciate in value.  
  • Multi-unit – any property that is being sold as piece that has several functional dwellings (units). These are duplex (2 unit home), triplex (3 unit home), and fourplex or quadplex (4 unit home). You can obtain a residential mortgage on multi-unit homes as long as they are 4 or less units. Anything with 5 or greater units will require a commercial loan. Multi-unit homes are a great way to supplement your income and have your mortgage paid for by the tenants.

Escrow Account

  • General – Your escrow account is a cushion set aside so that you have adequate funds available to pay your taxes and insurance when they are due. At closing you’ll pay for your full year of homeowners insurance, and several month’s worth of your taxes (depending on the time of year and frequency of taxes due). In your mortgage payments moving forward you’ll pay a fraction of your annual homeowners insurance and taxes. Each payment will contribute to your escrow account so that enough is accumulated when the next tax or insurance bill is due. Your lender will manage your escrow account for you. This keeps things simple for you because you do not have to worry about having to pay a large bill for taxes and insurance two or more times per year. It’s all included in your payment so you have less responsibility to manage. If you have a FHA loan, VA loan, or put less than 10% down, you’ll be required to have an escrow account with your lender.
  • Insurance – You’ll need to obtain an insurance policy to cover unexpected, significant damage on the home. Each property type will have different requirements, and needs that will be covered. Your Realtor and your lender can give you insight on what type of coverage to get. Certainly the insurance agent you choose will be the expert in that field on what coverage you need.
  • Real Estate (property) Taxes – Be mindful of how much the taxes on your property are. This can make a significant difference on your budget and your debt-to-income ratio. Your taxes are likely to fluctuate, which can cause an adjustment in your monthly escrow payment.

Congratulations! 

With the information you’ve been able to acquire by skimming through the “keeping your home loan process simple” series, you’re now more prepared than the vast majority of home buyers. Use this as a reference. Use it as a tool to come back to as you get closer to being ready to take the next step into the American dream. Subscribe by email to stay in the loop on the latest and greatest info on homeownership, and balanced living.  

A few closing tips…

From Livingston County, Michigan expert, and licensed inspector, Dominic Vagnetti of Inspections on Demand. 517-540-0800

 

-Roof conditions and foundations are the two most worrisome items for buyers. Roofs are a disposable product and we want to start paying extra attention as they reach their 20th birthday. We are seeing longer lifespans from dimensional (or architectural) designs, however exceptions are always present. Curling, granule loss, missing shingles are things a buyer can see driving up to the property.

-Foundation cracks can be problematic but are most commonly superficial. Look for signs of water leakage that would require injection sealant, gaps larger than 1/4 inch, or horizontal cracks which can be signs of significant movement.

-Foundation waterproofing and drainage are mostly typical of 1970s and newer homes. Prior to that, sump crocks and foundation drain lines were either not present or poorly designed. Signs of water damage or flooding can be found by examining homeowner belongings on the floor or looking for stains on wood walls or shelving. It can be important to differentiate between ongoing flood issues and a single water event like a water heater failure or leak in a pipe.