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Some things get more valuable with age like fine wines and real estate. The longer you keep them the more valuable they get. In real estate, homeowners should stay put for at least five (5) years before selling their property or risk loosing money. The reason for this 5
 year rule is that closing costs and real estate commissions required to buy and sell will consume between 7% to 10% of the cost of the house. Because real estate usually appreciates slowly, the longer you keep the house the more money you stand to make. As a general rule, 2 percent per year market appreciation is normal and 3 to 4 percent is a hot market.  We are lucky in Seattle where market appreciation has been double digits.  The average closing costs range from 2% to 5% of the cost of the house. Selling a house is often more expensive than buying one. The real estate commission alone can suck up 4% to 6% of the home's sale price. 

Should you need to move within the first 5 years of buying your house, consider renting it out. Generally, rental income is sufficient to cover for your mortgage payment.  If your homes are in vacation worthy locations like on the beach or near popular tourist attractions, you can also rent it out via platforms such as Airbnb or bookings. However, you should know local laws governing these kinds of rental. 

If you don't plan to on being in the house for more than five years, then you should seriously consider renting. 

Posted by Sam Kader on December 16th, 2018 6:40 PM
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has recently announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2019.  We are accepting these new loan limits effective immediately: 

Here's the map for an entire country and you can zoom in to each county in Washington state or you can download either an excel spreadsheet or PDF version of the file. 

The conforming loan limit as established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) is reviewed each year and adjusted as necessary to reflect the change in the average U.S. home price. The new limit represents an increase of 6.9% over the $453,100 limit in 2018. Higher loan limits will vary by state and county. However, it cannot exceed the new ceiling limit of $726,525 for one-unit properties. 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the VA are expected to adopt the same loan limits for 2019. 

Posted by Sam Kader on December 5th, 2018 5:58 PM
The fall is a time of transition to make sure that everything is in order as temperatures begin to drop and winter settles in. Here are some maintenance items to keep up: 

  1. Check your roof. Protect your home by checking for any signs of leaks. Hire a pro to address problems like loose shingles, leaks, damaged flashing or bad ventilation. If your roof is beyond repair, now is a good time to tackle a complete replacement. 
  2. Repave your driveway. A new driveway is a great way to spruce up your home and pouring one while the weather's still relatively warm will allow it to dry before the freeze-thaw cycles on late autumn and winter. 
  3. Prep your landscaping. Plant seeds and bulbs for a pretty yard come spring and add mulch to plants that need protection from the elements. 
  4. Prune and trim trees. Dead branches and broken limbs can become a real danger as winter storms blow in. Get trees pruned by a pro to eliminate the threat the prevent unsightly debris from piling up. The trees will also come back healthier in the spring.
  5. Assess your deck or patio. Now is the time to pack up outdoor furniture that could be affected by cold weather. Once clear, assess your deck or patio and repair any damage or deterioration. 
  6. Clean your gutters. Gutters should remain clear and in good condition to help ensure they work properly. Lean a ladder against your home and clear away sticks, leaves and other fragments. Hire a pro if you notice damage. 
  7. Check windows and doors. Replacing drafty, outdated windows with a more energy-efficient alternative will create a cozier, more comfortable home interior this winter. 
  8. Purchase a storm door. It serve as an additional element to protect your home from harsh weather. 
  9. Consider buying a generator. Standby generators can be costly but may be worth the investment if you live in an area that tends to lose power in storms. 
  10. Make repairs big and small from broken railings and siding boards to knows and hinges. 
Posted in:Home Maintenance, and tagged: Home Maintenance
Posted by Sam Kader on November 3rd, 2018 4:09 PM
As rates continue to rise, this could be your last chance for many years to lock in a lower rate. As rates and mortgage amounts go up, the impact on your bottom line increases. Over time, this difference in rates can cost you thousands of dollars. 

Are you a good candidate for refinancing? When you refinance your mortgage, you pay off the remaining balance on your current loan and get a new one. You can get a new rate and new terms. You can get a cash-out refinance where you tap into the equity to extract cash and then get a new mortgage. You can even pay money in and take out a smaller mortgage. Those with adjustable-rate mortgages may be good candidates for refinancing. As mortgage rates climb, so will your monthly payments. If you lock in a fixed-rate mortgage now, you may be able to save thousands of dollars later. The same is true for people with high-rate mortgages who have since improved their credit. Today, most people aren't getting ARMs because the rates are about the same as fixed-rate mortgages. If you have an ARM, now is a good time to refinance into a fixed before rates get even higher. 

Cash-out refinance options. If you have outstanding higher-rate consumer debt and an above-market mortgage interest rate, a cash-out refinance might  be be a good option. That way you can consolidate all the debt into one presumably more affordable monthly payment. With a cash-out refi, you can use that money to pay off credit card debt (which usually carry higher interest rate) and get a new mortgage with better rates. 

What does refinancing cost? Refinancing fees vary by lender and state. Calculate when you'll break even on the new mortgage by taking into account the costs of refinancing and any prepayment penalty for paying off your mortgage early. On average, borrowers can expect to pay between 3 and 6 percent of their balance in refinancing fees. 
  • Application fee: We only charge a $28 credit report fee. 
  • Loan-origination fee: Our origination fee is 0 percent. 
  • Discount Points: It depends on if you want to lower your rate and pay loan-discount points. This is a discretionary expense. 
  • Appraisal fee: It varies from $525 for Conventional appraisal to $725 for FHA appraisal. Please inquire about our special appraisal credit program
  • Title and Escrow fee. 
  • Property insurance. Not really a fee since you have to incur this cost with or without refinancing.  
All of the above costs can be rolled into the new loan amount or you can ask the lender to pay them in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate (known as no-cost refinancing). 

Posted by Sam Kader on October 8th, 2018 12:42 PM
The new federal law starting September 21, 2018 called the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act will help consumers stop intruders in their tracts. The three big credit-reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will be required to offer you a credit freeze indefinitely for free of charge. This service normally will cost $10 per credit bureau or $30 total for all 3 credit bureaus. The consumer who signs up for a voluntary credit freeze is given a PIN that you will have to provide in order to unfreeze your credit file in order to apply for new credit at no cost.  

Under the new law, if a consumer asks for a freeze online or by phone, the credit reporting agency has to put the freeze in place no later than the next business day. If the consumer wants to lift the freeze to finance a new iphone 10s or buying a new house, that has to happen within an hour. 

The lesser option - a fraud alert  means that you are adding a red flag to your credit report to alert a lender to carefully verify your identity before making a loan. Under this new law, a fraud alert will last one year instead of 90 days. In case of a victim of identity theft, you would still be able to extend a fraud alert for seven years. 

Identity theft is a huge business because of its huge payouts. Thieves can use your stolen Social Security number for getting medical care or poaching your medical insurance, filing fraudulent tax refunds, filing for unemployment benefits or even getting Social Security benefits. 

Even if you are not affected by the Equifax data breach in 2017, people should consider placing a credit freeze with each of the three credit bureaus after September 21, 2018 as it substantially limits potential abuse of one's credit report. Here's how you can do it.  

Posted by Sam Kader on September 17th, 2018 8:55 PM



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