Archive for March, 2008

Mar 01 2008

First Time Home Buyer Looking For Real Estate In Bethsda

Published by Carolyn Thompson under Real Estate In

I am a first time home buyer in Bethesda, where do I start?

Complete a financial worksheet to determine how much your mortgage payments should be.  This will be done by determining all of your other financial responsibilities and descresionary income.

Talk to several lenders.  Ask the lenders how much they think that they can lend you, based on the predetermined maximum monthly mortgage payment. 

Ask each lender to produce Good Faith Estimates.  The Good Faith Estimate is a financial sheet, which demonstrates what the anticipated fees and payments will be.  There are some lenders that omit fees and or taxes and insurance ON PURPOSE, as it appears to the borrower that it costs less to do business with that particular lender. 

Find a Realtor you can trust and who is familiar with Bethesda.  Ask for a list of references.  Call no less than five of the references.  The more you references you call, the better insight you will get.  Keep in mind that this is your most valuable asset.  You are in charge.  You are the conductor.  The lender, Realtor, home inspector and title company (also referred to as a closing company or title attorney) are all the orchestra.  The Realtor should assist with the coordination, therefore you need to make sure that the real estate sales person is competent and honest.

A Realtor needs to advise you of your options, and carry out your requests in a timely manor.  They need to tell you what to anticipate each step of the way and make sure that you are doing what you need to do.  A good Realtor knows that you have not been through this process before and assumes nothing.

Meet with the Realtor BEFORE you go shopping for homes.  This is an opportunity to set the tone of the relationship.  Tell them what price range you would like to purchase your home; discus your time constraints for home shopping; how quickly you need to purchase a home; reason for buying and what you would like to purchase.

There is nothing wrong with going up to your maximum loan amount, as this was carefully considered.  Tell the Realtor that you want the best you can get for your budget and that you are not willing to settle for anything less.  This clearly states that you have realistic expectations of a property in your price range and that you expect them to work for the money that they are going to earn.  You don’t just want any house.-  Many home owners go back and purchase the first home they see.

Ask them what they charge.  If a Realtor says that they don’t charge the homeowner anything and that they get paid through the seller.  Read the fine print.  The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, provides a standard contract, which most Realtors use.   Interpretation of the fine print is difficult.  Most Realtors in the region don’t realize that the Buyer’s Agent Agreement actually states that they will be paid by the buyer.  It is customary for them to get paid by the seller, so they don’t think about the contract opposing local custom.  There are Realtors who have taken advantage of the situation and who have received compensation from both the buyer and the seller. 

Don’t sign a Buyer’s Agent Agreement while you are with the Realtor.  If they press you to sign their agreement right then and there, they may press you to buy a home that does not truly fit your needs.  Ask the Realtor to explain the contract, including what their policy is for releasing clients from the contract.  Take the contract home, read it and digest what it is actually saying.  Real estate agents take contract classes.  These classes include INTERPRETATION of the contract.  If it were simple to interpret, they would not be debating the meaning of legal jargon.

This is not an attempt to dupe the home buyer, there is extensive thought placed on the development and changes to these contract to protect the buyers.  A typical contract for a purchase of Real Estate in Maryland, Washington DC or Virginia is FORTY pages.  I was asked to review a contract for the purchase of Real Estate in Florida, which was only four pages. 

The Greater Capital Association of Realtors has taken extensive steps to protect the home owner; to keep home ownership affordable and taxes down.  

The Realtor has a responsibility to treat you honestly and fairly.   They are supposed to work for the best interest of their client- You!  If at anytime you don’t think that you are being well served and want to get out of the contract ask the Realtor for a release from the contract. 

If the Realtor refuses to release you from the contract tell them that you are going to contact the Maryland Real Estate commission and file a formal complaint.  This is your right.

Hopefully, you won’t have to go this route and you have asked your Realtor to start emailing you listings, which meet your criteria.  Recognize that time is a valuable commodity for both home buyer and Realtor.  Helping a buyer find purchase a home takes an extraordinary amount of time and energy.  Help make sure your Realtor is fresh and available to serve you, by not burning them out.

I suggest that you and any one else you are going to purchase the home with drive through the neighborhoods of the listed homes both during the day and at night.  Special consideration should be paid to traffic patterns and commute times, as well as whether the neighborhood is safe and has necessary amenities.

Once you identify the homes that you may be interested in seeing, ask the Realtor to run a comparable market analysis for each property and present them to you.  This will demonstrate how much the homes in the neighborhood have been selling for.  This will be the best gauge to determine what the value of the home may be.

Work with your Realtor to write the offer.  Try to write the lowest offer possible, while still getting your offer accepted.  Make sure that your offer includes the right to have a home inspection and a closing date that is manageable for you and your lender.

 Work with your Realtor, lender and title company to get your deal to closing.
 

No responses yet

Mar 01 2008

Real Estate In Bethesda- Behind on Payments

Published by Carolyn Thompson under Real Estate In

I have real estate in Bethesda.  I am several months behind on my payments, what do I do?

Call your bank and explain why you are behind on your payments and how you would are planning to address the problem.  If you are planning on selling the home or need them to refinance the home to make the payments more manageable let the bank know.

Stay in constant communication with the bank as this may prevent foreclosure.

There are three options you may want to consider.  You can try to refinance so that the payments are more affordable or you can sell the home, sell the home or perform a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Option I:  Refinance: Banks are eager to help homeowners stay in their homes.  They do not want to foreclose on your home, as this puts a lot of money at risk for them.  Just because they foreclose on the home does not mean that they will ever collect on the full amount owed on the loan.  

Lenders are holding onto a record number of foreclosed properties.  Use this to your advantage.

They are refinancing loans for homeowners that they had previously turned down. 

Option 2 Sell:  You may want to sell your home.  Even if you owe more than what your home will sell for.  I have negotiated with banks to accept the purchase price of the home as payment in full to close out the loan and any debt owed to the bank.

Option 3: Deed in lieu of foreclosure.  Few banks consider this as a definitive option.    Typically, they will only consider this option if there is a significant amount of equity in the home.  This is becoming a rarity.  They would prefer to make the disposal of the property the homeowner’s responsibility.

In each situation the home owner must go through the effort of producing financial documents, which demonstrate their current financial status.  This can’t be avoided. 

If you think that you did not qualify for the loan that was made to purchase your home then tell this to the bank and see what they can do to assist you.  The United States Comptroller of The Treasury is the governing authority, who oversees lenders.  Contact them immediately to enlist their assistance.  This will help you avoid being misled by your lender.

Caution! Many homeowners have come to me after being misled by there banks.  When homeowners have fallen significantly behind on their mortgage and have called the banks, the banks have told them that they would use a partial payment to help them get current, and will allow the outstanding amount owed to be paid at the end of the life of the mortgage. 

This is a trick!  Unless this is put into writing, do not believe it.  The lenders have used this technique to collect passed due mortgage.  They use the payment that the homeowner sends to go toward the current mortgage so that the homeowner is still several months behind on back debts.  This makes it easier for them to file foreclosure.
If you own real estate in any area and are behind on your payments be proactive.  Contact the bank and get the date, time and name of the person you are talking to at the lender’s office.  Ask them if it is okay if you record the conversation. 

No responses yet