7 Things New Homeowners Must Do Before Closing on a Mortgage

 

7 Things New Homeowners Must Do Before Closing on a Mortgage

7 Things New Homeowners Must Do Before Closing on a Mortgage

By: G. M. Filisko

Make sure you do a walk-thru — and double-check the numbers because mistakes do happen.

You’ve already cleared several hurdles by finding the right home, negotiating the best price, and getting approved for a mortgage. The last obstacle on your home buying track is the closing, which can be both tedious and tense.

By knowing what to expect and doing some legwork, you can smoothly put your closing behind you. These seven steps will guide you.

#1 Set a Closing Date

Ask your title company to set a closing date and time that meshes with the end of your lease or the sale of your existing home. Don’t want to skip work? Ask for an evening or weekend closing. Tight on cash? Schedule your closing for the end of the month. That’s when you’ll pay the least amount of interest at the closing table.

#2 Gather Your Funds

Buyers usually have to bring money to the closing. Ask the title company what forms of payment it accepts. Chances are you can’t use a personal check.

If you have to move money into your bank account to pay your closing costs, do so a week ahead to avoid last-minute problems. If the title company requires the funds in the form of a cashier’s check, or they want the funds wired, stop by the bank  before closing to pick up the check or arrange the transfer.

#3 Purchase Title Insurance

If you’re getting a mortgage, you have to buy a title insurance policy. Think it protects you against problems with the title of your home? Nope, it protects the lender in case the sellers really didn’t own the home or someone else had a claim on it.

To cover yourself, you can buy an owner’s title policy from the same insurance company that sells you the lender’s title policy. Or, shop online at Closing.com, EasyTitleQuote.com, or FreeTitleQuote.com. An owner’s title policy insures you against losses from fraudulent claims against your ownership and errors in earlier sales. In some areas, sellers traditionally pay for the buyer’s title policy.

Whether or not you get the owner’s policy, if you buy a title policy from the same company that issued the prior owner’s title insurance, you can ask for a reissue discount or “bring-down” rate. There’s a discount because the title company only has to check the records filed since that prior owner bought the home, not since the dawn of time.

#4 Line Up Homeowners Insurance

Get quotes and compare policies to be sure coverage will start by your closing date. An annual policy should run $500 to $1,000, depending on your home’s size, age, and amenities. To get a lower premium, opt for a high deductible or buy your homeowners insurance from the same company that insures your car.

If you live in an area where natural disasters occur, like earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, you’ll need separate insurance to protect your home from those hazards.

#5 Review Your Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1 Settlement Sheet

Your lender already gave you a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that showed your estimated closing fees. Some of the fees on your GFE can’t change and others can rise by 10%. Before you go to the closing, compare the numbers on your GFE with the numbers on your HUD-1 settlement statement. Question your loan officer about any fees that increased.

#6 Do a Walk-Through

Schedule an appointment to walk through the home one last time just before your closing.

  • Make sure repairs you requested have been made.
  • Look for major changes since you last viewed the property.
  • See if the sellers left everything they promised to leave.
  • Check to see that the sellers took all their personal belongings.
  • Test electronics and appliances to ensure they’re still working.
  • Turn on the HVAC and hot water. Are they functioning right?
  • Walk the yard to be sure no plants or shrubs have been removed.

#7 Resolve Issues Identified in Your Walk-Through

If your walk-through uncovers problems:

  1.  Delay the closing until the seller corrects them (if your state allows it). But that’s often not feasible because your lease is probably over and you’ve already scheduled movers.
  2.  Negotiate a discount to your sales price to cover the cost of the work needed. If the air conditioning is on the fritz and a contractor says the repair will cost $500, ask that the sales price be reduced by that amount. If you make that request at closing, however, be ready for a delay while the title company redoes the paperwork.
  3.  Have the title company hold a portion of the seller’s proceeds in escrow until the dispute is resolved. Once that happens, the funds will be released to you or the seller, depending on the outcome.
Source: houselogic.com

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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MIAMI SHORES REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES (12-08-17)

 

MIAMI SHORES REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES

*as of  December 8, 2017

 

 

Ralph Magin

WE HAVE THE KEY TO YOUR DREAM HOME. CHECK OUT REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN MIAMI SHORES.

Call now for real estate inquiries! 305-741-2142 or visit www.ralphmagin.com

 

Miami Shores Country Club

10000 Biscayne Blvd  Miami Shores, FL 33138   

We often take for granted the pleasures of life as we run around the city for work and other appointment. We forget that once in awhile we need to sit back, relax and breath. It won’t hurt to treat yourself after a week of hustle. One of the highly recommended place to chill is the Miami Shores Country Club at 10000 Biscayne Blvd. They offer a variety of activities for you so bring your family and friends and enjoy the weekend.

Miami Shores Country Club has golf and tennis courts which is perfect for outings and tournament. They have a wide and well maintained golf course with friendly staff. They will take care of all the needed details for your planned game. Their tennis court features  six clay courts and three cushioned hard courts. Night games is not a problem on their seven lighted courts. For tennis needs, they have a shop for all your tennis needs.

They also offer special package for a memorable wedding day and other events as well. Just call them and they got you covered. They can accommodates guests from 30 – 400 and all the details taken care by their experienced staff.

Nothing  can bring you down with food and drinks as they offer a wide selection of delectable dishes and choice drinks. Satisfying food, good company, relaxing ambience and  hospitable staff will keep you coming back for more.

If you are in the city, Miami Shores Country Club will surely give you good memories. For more information, you may visit their website or call them at (305) 795-2360

Source: https://www.miamishoresgolf.com/

Check out homes for sale in Miami Shores. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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Want to Refinance Your Mortgage But You’re Being Turned Down?

 

Want to Refinance Your Mortgage But You’re Being Turned Down?

By: Donna Fuscaldo

The federal program HARP might be able to help you. Here’s how it works.

Is your mortgage rate above today’s rates?

Is your house worth less than your current mortgage amount?

Are you unable to refinance into a lower-rate mortgage or convert your adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage?

Then the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is an option you should explore.

HARP is one of two components of the federal Making Home Affordable Program for struggling homeowners. Its counterpart, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), offers loan modifications if you’re behind on your payments or need help exiting gracefully if you can no longer afford your home.  

HARP, on the other hand, helps you refinance your home with a brand new mortgage.

What Are the Benefits of HARP?

Your savings from refinancing using HARP could be substantial. The White House says the typical homeowner using HARP could reduce their mortgage payments by about $2,500 a year. Like any refinance transaction, HARP loans come with fees, so you’ll have to weigh the costs and benefits for your specific situation.

The good news is that HARP’s fees are less than the fees for typical refinances. For instance, you won’t have to pay for a full appraisal if the lender can get a reliable automated appraisal for your home. And Fannie and Freddie will waive for borrowers some fees they usually charge lenders (which lenders would normally pass on to you).

What Are the Qualifications?

  1. Your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  2. Your current lender had to sell your mortgage to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009. Check with your lender to make sure that happened.
  3. This must be your first HARP refinance. You only get one Home Affordable refinance, so if you’ve used the program before, you can’t use it again (although there’s a loophole for those with a Fannie Mae loan refinanced between March and May of 2009).
  4. You need the right balance between what you owe and your home’s value. The minimum is that you owe 80% of your home’s value (for example, owing $80,000 on your $100,000 home). If you owe less than 80%, you can’t use HARP. If you owe up to 105% (say your home is worth $100,000 and you owe $105,000), you can refinance into an adjustable-rate mortgage. If you owe above 105%, you have to go with a fixed-rate mortgage. There’s no cap on how much you can owe above what your home is worth.
  5. If you’ve paid your mortgage late even once during the past six months, you can’t use HARP, but if you had a late payment between 7 and 12 months ago, you’re fine.

If you can meet those criteria, you have until Dec. 31, 2015, to apply for a HARP refinance through either your current lender or a new lender.

Should You Apply?

HARP makes sense if you owe more than your house is worth, which is preventing you from refinancing, according to Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans. You’ll still pay full-market rates for a HARP refinance, not a discounted rate or payment that you might get with a loan modification.

As a rule of thumb, for fixed-rate mortgages, you’ll want your new rate to be at least a half-point better than your old one.

Lowering your interest can pay off immediately. Let’s say you took out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 6.5% for $176,800 at a monthly payment of $1,117.50 five years ago.

Today, you’d still owe $168,065. If you refinance that balance into a new 30-year loan at 4.5%, your monthly payment would drop to $851.56, saving you about $266 a month. Or, you could refinance into a 15-year fixed-rate loan, pay about $168 a month more, and pay your loan off about 10 years earlier.

HARP might also make sense if you can convert an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. Even if an ARM’s monthly payment is low now, it’ll go up if rates rise.

When applying for HARP, you need paperwork just like any other mortgage application:

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Mortgage statements
  • Account balances
  • Debt totals (for credit cards, student loans, car loans, and such)
  • Details about any second mortgages or home equity lines of credit

Pay attention to the fees associated with the refinancing, which the lender must disclose up front, and ask if those costs can be rolled into the new loan if you’re strapped for cash.

Tips to Make the Process Go Smoothly

To keep the process moving, ask your lender for a list of the documents it will need. Give yourself two weeks to collect everything.

If possible, submit the entire packet together via certified mail. Sending in documents piecemeal could result in lost paperwork and your loan application falling to the bottom of the pile, says Nicole Hall, editor of LendingTree.com. Keep detailed records of any phone calls you make, and dates you mail or fax correspondences.

There are companies that will offer to take care of the paperwork for a fee, but you don’t need to pay. You can access free help through a housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Counselors will help you understand the Making Home Affordable program and aid in gathering the documents needed for your loan servicer.

Don’t qualify for HARP? Then maybe its sister program, HAMP, is for you.

Source: houselogic.com

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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HOLLYWOOD FLORIDA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES (12-01-17)

HOLLYWOOD FLORIDA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES

*as of December 12, 2017

12-01-17 Hollywood

 

Ralph Magin

WE HAVE THE KEY TO YOUR DREAM HOME. CHECK OUT REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN HOLLYWOOD FLORIDA.

Call now for real estate inquiries! 305-741-2142 or visit www.ralphmagin.com

Hollywood, Florida -“Dream City of South Florida”

Hollywood, Florida is a  beachfront community located in southeastern Broward County between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It is  30 square miles in size and is Broward’s third-largest municipality. Way back 1925, Joseph Young, arrived in South Florida in search for a plot to realize his  “Dream City in Florida.” His vision for this vast land included wide boulevard, lake served as a twin turning basin for private yachts, districts, a precursor of business district, large park spaces, a golf course, schools, and churches . In the passage of years, Hollywood, Florida is slowly rising up to actualize Young’s dream city from an increase of population and development of establishments. A great disaster struck the area by a great hurricane in  September 18, 1926 has destroyed his dream city but still persistent, Joseph Young rebuilt the city and elevated the city to have  the reputation of  the Diamond of the Gold Coast. From that year onward Hollywood continued to flourish as a city and live up to the vision of  Joseph Young’s “Dream City in Florida.”

Hollywood FloridaHollywood, Florida is divided into 6 districts that offers more than  60 parks, seven golf courses, seven miles of pristine beaches, and the one-of-a-kind Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. The rise of  tourism has welcomed business enthusiast and now the city has grown to be a dynamic business hub with more than 10,000 companies. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts’ aims to  “provide and promote well maintained quality parks, programs and events that are fun, innovative, enriching, environmentally sound and responsive to our diverse community in a fiscally responsible manner.”.  With this mission, Hollywood City offers the following: artsparkaquaticsathleticsclasses and propgramsconcerts,golf and tennis courtsgrant opportunitesHollywood Marinaparks, facilities and venuesrentalsspecial events and sponsorship opportunities. The other city departments are ready to give the community its utmost service in return of a peaceful and progressive city.

Hollywood, Florida, The Diamond of the Gold Coast, is a continued flourishing city that offers a dynamic lifestyle in South Florida. It is a city that was once envisioned as a dream city has brought to reality.

Source: http://www.hollywoodfl.org/

 

Check out homes for sale in Hollywood Florida. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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6 Ways to Totally Snoop the House You Want to Buy

 

6 Ways to Totally Snoop the House You Want to Buy

This checklist gives you carte blanche (well, almost) when viewing potential homes.

Ah, house hunting. It may technically be shopping, but it can feel more like breaking and entering. Even though you know the seller wants you there, does anyone really want you traipsing through their bedroom? Or looking through their closet? Or digging around in their basement? Awwwwkward.

But here’s something that should feel weirder: buying a home without knowing absolutely everything you can about it. The only way to avoid the second awkwardness is to face the first head on. When you’re house hunting, don’t think of poking around in someone else’s home as nosiness. It’s a smart, must-do investigation.

Here are six things you should absolutely do when viewing a home — no matter how awkward it feels.

1. Soak in the Bathroom

Homebuyers tend to peer into the bathroom for as long as they’d want a stranger to examine theirs: not long at all. But this isn’t the time to be quick. Josh Myler, a REALTOR® with The Agency in Los Angeles, encourages buyers to take a long, close perusal of the water closet.

Flush the toilet to find any backups in the system, and turn on the faucets to check the water pressure. Besides being annoying during showers, low pressure can indicate problems with the plumbing.

“Water pressure can really cause headaches down the line if you don’t dig in before you make an offer,” says Myler.

But always, always check with your agent first. In some markets, or with some sellers, it’s considered impolite to actually use the toilet.

Or, if the owners already have moved, the water may be turned off. And that could be, ummm, awkward.

2. Dig Around in the Closets

OK, don’t actually go through the owner’s stuff, but take a close look to assess how much storage space there is, and decide if it’ll meet your needs.

“People don’t like to open closets because they think it’s rude, but if you’re buying the house, it’s one of the biggest investments,” says Myler. “You want to make sure there’s enough room for everything you need.”

Before you step foot in a single house, take inventory of your current storage space, and know how much you’d like your next home to have.

3. Poke Around the Attic and Basement

Don’t just stick your head inside and call it good. Give the basement and attic a thorough investigation. If there are belongings piled against the wall, request they be moved before a second viewing.

“I get very nervous when I see a packed basement and stuff against the wall,” says Kyle Alfriend, lead agent of The Alfriend Group in Dublin, Ohio.

That’s because hidden walls and ceilings can conceal water damage, including peeling or discolored paint, rotting wooden accents, or a white, chalky substance on the wall, which indicates water intrusion.

As for the attic, a quick glance should tell you what you need to know. Are there rat droppings? Molding wood? Or is it generally clean, even if dusty? BYO flashlight for an enlightened examination.

4. Meet the Neighbors

Sorry, introverts. There’s no better way to get a read on the neighborhood than by directly asking the actual neighbors. Pop by their home and strike up a chat.

It’s a two-fer: Not only might you get valuable information about the area — from the noisy bar on the street behind you to eager babysitters on the block — but paying attention to their attitude speaks volumes about your potential relationship with your maybe-neighbors. Do they seem excited to meet you? Or are they standoffish?

“It’s not what they answer, but how they answer that will be very illuminating,” says Myler.

5. Be an Amateur Investigator

Anything seem fishy? Take your suspicions to city hall. If there are additions, pull the permits or get help from your buyer’s agent. You certainly don’t want to be responsible for tearing out that beautiful porch because the previous owners didn’t comply with the law.

Also, check the certificate of occupancy and any easements — especially if you’re hoping to make any major changes. Both are public record. An easement simply gives someone the right to use property they don’t own. Often that other someone is your local government that needs it for public services, such as water.

Myler remembers a friend who purchased a home with the goal of building a pool, only to find out an easement for the sewer line cut directly through the middle of the yard.

Another common use is a shared driveway, such as when one homeowner has to pass through another homeowner’s property to reach their home.

6. Ask Questions

If your sleuthing finds something concerning, don’t panic.

“Many times, there’s stuff that, at first glance, is real scary,” says Alfriend. “Often people will write off a house without digging into it, but there’s usually a perfectly logical, understandable reason, and it’s not a problem.”

Say you find a gaping hole in the drywall. It might be a huge red flag — or they might have rambunctious kids they absolutely plan to clean up after.

“Boys can wrestle and put a foot through the thing, and it’s 30 minutes before a showing,” Alfriend says. There’s not much the sellers can do at that point.

With any problem, your first step is simple: Ask.

Source: houselogic.com

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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AVENTURA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES (11-22-17)

 

11-22-17 Aventura 1

AVENTURA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES

*as of November 22, 2017

 

Ralph Magin

WE HAVE THE KEY TO YOUR DREAM HOME. CHECK OUT REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN AVENTURA.

Call now for real estate inquiries! 305-741-2142 or visit www.ralphmagin.com

 

Parc Central Aventura

Parc Central Aventura

Parc Central Aventura Come home to an elevated lifestyle at the two tower property, Parc Central Aventura. The former Bay Club is a secured community with complete amenities and most sought after location close to shopping center and restaurants. Each unit offers the magnificent view on an elevated unit.

Parc Central Aventura

Take living to the high at the Parc Central Aventura which is composed of two towers, East and South Towers with 20 floors each. The clean lagoon style pool is in between tower that offers a relaxing time for the residents and surrounded by the luscious landscape and with food service concession. The community is secured by a controlled gate and a 24 hour guard on duty. The luxurious lobbies upon entrance welcomes guests and residences with an aura of home and luxury. Parc Central Aventura is conveniently located just a few steps away from shopping centers, restaurants, commute lines and beach.

 Parc Central Aventura

Parc Central Aventura amenities includes:

  • 24 Hour Controlled Lobby Access with CCTV surveillance
  • Lagoon Style Pools, Hot Tubs
  • Poolside Towel & Food Service Concession
  • 24 Hour Valet Services
  • Pet Friendly community
  • 24 Hour Concierge
  • State of the Art Fitness Centers with Sauna
  • Business Center & Conference Rooms
  • Club Room Plasma TV’s, Bar, Kitchen & Lounge

Come closer and be at home in the beautiful city of Aventura at the luxurious Parc Central Aventura. Where the beauty of the city is at your view and at reach. This is an investment that spells value for your money.

Check out homes for sale in Aventura Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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6 Simple Steps to Prep Your Home for Holiday Guests

 

 

6 Simple Steps to Prep Your Home for Holiday Guests

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Make sure extra TP is easy to spot (that’s in #6).

Hosting has its shares of anxieties, especially if you’re striving to make your home welcoming.

How do you know everyone wil feel comfortable?

And will you ever get a chance to relax yourself?

You will if you focus on what’s really necessary. Here’s a list of steps to get your home ready — and take the stress out of hosting.

#1 Declutter

The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets.

Declutter guest rooms and public areas — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.

If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.

#2 Add Night Lights

Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.

Related: Outdoor Lighting for Curb Appeal and Safety

#3 Make Space in the Entryway

Your home’s foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.

  • Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow.
  • Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.
  • Add extra hooks to walls so guests can hang coats and hats.
  • Add a storage bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.

#4 Add a Coffee Station and Extra Stools

Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.

  • Move your coffee station into a family room so guests don’t crowd the kitchen when you’re trying to fix meals.
  • If you like to visit while you’re cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.

#5 Create Extra Sleeping Space

If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house.

To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.

#6 Make Extra Bathroom Supplies Easy to Find

Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.

If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.

Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).

Source: houselogic.com

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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