Archive for January, 2017

Lot and construction loans are our specialties!

January 27th, 2017
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green-property-jangan-korbankan-kualitas-rumah-AVsYlfGRG6“How much money do I need as a down payment to buy a lot or land so I can build a new home?” This is a question that is frequently asked of me. There are many occasions when a lot or piece of land comes available, usually when you least expect it, and you need to act quickly. We offer a program for that!

Lot loans are available with 20% down and allow interest only payments on the loan for up to 18 months, with longer terms available if needed. When qualifying for a lot loan, I will need information about the scope of the total project. This allows us to plan for the next phase – construction of your new home. I want to make sure I understand the full project, from lot purchase through construction of your home, so I can provide the best overall financing package for your situation. Buying the lot is just the first step, and I can help provide the road map for the entire project!

We work closely with a title company that is well-versed in lot and construction financing. The title company is a vital part of the process, handling all aspects of the lot purchase and later on, construction draws to build your new home. They also provide a great fee structure which saves you money as you move through the process – from lot financing, to construction financing, and then your end loan that pulls everything together into the final mortgage.

Questions are always welcome – let my team help you put all the puzzle pieces together. Lot and construction financing are my specialties!

– Randy Cullen, NMLS 326128

January 20th, 2017
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Purchase agreement document with home model.When it comes to writing an offer on a home, there are a number of things to consider to ensure your purchase agreement will be acceptable to the seller. In the MN real estate market today, there are no “slam dunks.” Mortgage financing can actually play a large part in the equation, so it’s important for you to understand, particularly in our MN real estate market where many home buyers are encountering multiple offers due to the low inventory levels.

Here are some Purchase Agreement terms that you need to understand:

  1. Contingencies – These are any items that your purchase agreement is subject to completing. Common contingencies are for things like the sale of another home, a home inspection, and financing. Home inspections are a very common contingency on existing housing stock (excluding new construction,) and we highly recommend having a home inspection completed. The results of the inspection will give you a roadmap of what you may need to have the seller repair. Contingencies should be listed when necessary; but, in a market like ours, may not be welcomed by the seller.
  2. Closing and Possession Date – These are the dates you are requesting to close and take possession of the property. In Minnesota, possession date is typically the same day as the day of closing. You will sign all of your papers and get your keys at the same time. The closing date can be a point of negotiation in the purchase contract – so be patient, but also flexible.
  3. Mortgage Financing Type – Your financing type may, or may not, be a consideration when you’re making an offer. Different types of mortgage financing hold different property guidelines pertaining to appraisals, underwriting, and even property type. We are well versed in the difference between conventional loan products and government loan products such as FHA, VA and RD. These are all excellent loan programs, and we match the client to the appropriate product.
  4. Seller Paid Closing Costs – If you’re asking for the seller to pay closing costs for you as part of your purchase agreement, this will make a direct difference in their bottom line. Say you’ve offered $200,000, but asked the seller to pay 3% toward your closing costs ($6,000); you are really offering the seller $194,000. This is truly important to keep in mind, particularly when you’re in multiple offers. Your offer may look less appealing than a full-price offer made by someone not asking for closing costs.
  5. Written Commitment from Your Lender – This is the date that you’re stating your lender can get confirmation of full underwriting approval to the seller. This includes full underwriting review of your personal documentation as well as appraisal, title, and any other property related items. It’s important that you or your real estate agent visit with your mortgage lender before committing to a date.

Read the rest of this entry »

January 13th, 2017
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Log Cabin Hidden in Snow Covered ForestFrom Wikipedia: Cabin fever is an idiomatic term, first recorded in 1918,[1] for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period. Cabin fever describes the extreme irritability and restlessness a person may feel in these situations.[2]

As Minnesotans, I think we all know this term too well. It’s that time of year now, as the holidays have gone and the clean-up from them is complete, when we look out the window and think, “Wow, I can’t wait for spring!” However, there are still three full months of winter ahead of us, if we’re lucky!

What do we do now? I actually have some ideas of how to pass the next few months if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this spring, or refinancing your current home loan. It’s January, and as much as it feels like its forever until spring arrives, now is the right time to get your proverbial ducks in a row. Here’s what I mean…

1) Get Pre-approved Now: If you’re planning on buying a home this spring, the right time to get started on a home search and loan pre-approval is a minimum of 60-90 days in advance. Home loan pre-approvals can be quick; but as a home buyer, you never know what you may encounter in the current mortgage market that will need to be dealt with. We advise starting the home loan pre-approval process early, so that if there are any bumps in the road you have time to react to them. You can start now with an online application.

2) Getting Educated: If you’re a MN first time home buyer, there’s a wealth of information that you want to be armed with before starting the process of buying your first home. Get your pre-approval completed, get thoroughly educated about your MN first time home buyer loan options, and arm yourself with the information you need to make solid home buying decisions as you start the process. Read the rest of this entry »

This time of year is a great time to review your mortgage and housing situation!

January 6th, 2017
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housing-market-signsAs we finish off the first work week of 2017, the phones have not been as quiet as we are accustomed to in the Minnesota real estate market this time of year – there’s plenty of activity going on!  MN homeowners and home buyers are still active and seeking financing options to refinance their current homes, or finance new homes, as they reflect on 2016 and look forward into 2017. There are a number of reasons why our traditionally slower times have not slowed in the MN housing market:

  1. Interest rates have risen, and are expected to increase further. Those MN homeowners and home buyers who have been on the fence are taking action on the refinance or home purchase they’ve been considering. They’re seeing the reality of increased interest rates, and believe the potential is certainly there to see rates increase further throughout 2017.
  2. While we’ve seen a little cold snap this week, we’ve really had a pretty mild start to this winter; and, hey – we’re already getting a little lighter and brighter each day! With little snow to speak of and the holidays behind us, people are cleaning up their homes and getting ready to list while the MN real estate market remains hot.

This time of year, when we reflect on the past and look to the future, is a great time to review your mortgage and housing situation. We offer a no-cost, no-hassle annual mortgage review to all of our clients; and no-cost prequalification and mortgage evaluation to new clients. If you’ve not taken a good look at your mortgage situation lately, give us a call.  We’d be honored to provide you with some house-solutions as you look forward to 2017!
Happy New Year!