Annual Homeowners Insurance Review

Even though your homeowners insurance is part of your monthly payment you can still change your policy or provider at anytime. Use your annual review as a time to approve, restucture or change your policy provider.





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Single or Double Hung Windows

Energy Efficient Windows

“What’s the difference between single-hung and double-hung windows?

Fundamentally, they are the same because they both have two panes, one above the other. A single-hung window has a fixed top sash that does not move, while both panes of a double hung slide vertically. An added feature to both single and double hung windows is the operating sashes are designed to allow the movable sash to tilt in for better access. Both are commonly available in the same sizes, shapes and colors.

A Fixed Window

In some instances, a fixed window may be referred to as a single-hung window. A fixed window is a window that does not operate at all. It is a solid piece of glass in a frame. This is not the same as a single-hung window.

Price Can Be The Main Difference

When comparing the two types, price can be the main difference. The construction of single-hung windows makes them less expensive. Choosing single hung windows over double hung can save from twenty to thirty percent on the original purchase price. When choosing between the two, it is important to compare the relatively minor savings with the potential impact on your home’s resale value. Comparing the thermal efficiency of both windows is also a cost factor and will be discussed a later in this article.


One of the big differences between the two types of windows is the amount of ventilation and flexibility provided by a double-hung window. If you need increased airflow, opening the top and bottom improves circulation. For example, you can open the bottom sash on the side of the house the breeze is coming from and the top sash on the opposite side to create natural cross-ventilation.

Easy To Clean

The biggest operating advantage is that a double hung can tilt both sashes in for easy cleaning. With single, cleaning the fixed pane is going to require a trip outside and can be a real hassle on bothersome upper-level windows

More Energy Efficient

New materials and insulated glazing have made single (and double-hung) windows much more energy efficient. Combined with their simplicity and reduced cost, these improved energy benefits have helped to sustain their popularity. Both windows are allowable improvements for a FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM).

Along with picking the most appropriate operating unit for your needs is the choice of the glazing system, the primary component of the unit’s overall thermal energy efficiency. Products with “clear” glass are the least efficient, while those with Low-E are much more thermally effective. The better performing windows are those using Low-E glass with Argon or Krypton gas.

A Low-emittance (Low-E) is a coating that increases a window’s ability to diminish heat transfer, thus saving heating and cooling costs. In addition to energy savings, Low-E also effectively reduces the amount of transmitted ultraviolet light which can damage carpets, fabrics, and drapes.

A Low-E Glass and Argon gas is placed between the glass for superior thermal efficiency. Argon gas is much heavier than air, making it more difficult for warm or cold air to pass through. This glazing choice will meet or exceed most local building code requirements and provides ENERGY STAR® qualified performance.

A Double Low-E/Argon is the top of the line glazing system utilizes Low-E coating on both pieces of glass for increased UV protection and more heat transfer resistance. Argon gas between the glass makes warm or cold air pass through more difficult, thus saving energy.



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A not-so-hot home in a great location can seriously benefit from renovation financing


#homebridge #203k #realtor #renovation

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May 2, 2017 · 10:34 am

5 of the Most-Asked FHA Credit Questions in Today’s Lending Environment

It has been a tough couple of years for most folks in this country, as reflected in the day-to-day questions that I field from potential customers and agents. I thought I would put down a few of those questions along with the answers for review and discussion.

1.How long after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy before I can purchase a home?
The general answer is two years. The borrower must have re-established good credit or chosen not to incur new credit obligations. Under extenuating circumstances, a borrower may be approved earlier, but only if more than 12 months have elapsed since the bankruptcy release.

2.How long after a foreclosure before I can purchase a new home?
A borrower is generally not eligible for a new FHA-insured mortgage if, during the preceding three years, his/her previous principal residence or other real property was foreclosed or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure was executed.

3.How long after a short sale can I purchase a home?
A borrower in default on his/her mortgage at the time of the short sale (or pre-foreclosure sale) is not eligible for a new FHA-insured mortgage for three years from the date of the pre-foreclosure sale. A borrower is not eligible for a new FHA-insured mortgage from the date that FHA paid the claim.

Exception: The lender may grant an exception to the three-year requirement if the foreclosure or short sale was the result of documented extenuating circumstances beyond the borrower’s control (e.g., a serious illness or death of a wage earner) and the borrower has re-established good credit since the foreclosure.

4.Can I have a co-borrower(s) that will not occupy the property?
When there are two or more borrowers, but one or more will not occupy the property as a principal residence, maximum financing is available for borrowers related by blood, marriage, or law, such as spouses, parents, children, siblings, stepchildren, aunts-uncles, and nieces-nephews, or unrelated individuals who can document evidence of a family-type, longstanding, and substantial relationship not arising out of the loan transaction. If co-borrowers do not meet any of the aforementioned relationship criteria, then a 75% LTV is required.

5.How much can a seller pay toward my closing cost?
The seller may pay up to 6 percent of the sales price.

Note that the guidelines presented above should be taken into account when underwriting the borrower’s complete credit package. If you would like to review any of the above guidelines firsthand, visit the FHA website and review the online version of the HUD Mortgage Credit Manual 4155.1.

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How About An Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

A few days ago, I wrote about the assumability feature for FHA loans. Another program feature that has not been discussed much over the past few years is the adjustable rate mortgage. With rates near all-time lows, it may not make sense for most borrowers to choose an ARM. However, if you plan on staying in your home for a short time or you need the lower rate to assist you in qualifying, then an ARM may be an option.

The subprime-loan debacle gave ARM products a bad name — primarily those that featured the “crazy first year adjustment.” The first-year cap on most subprime adjustable loans was as high as 5-6%. FHA loans, on the other hand, have a more reasonable annual maximum adjustment (the cap) of 1-2%.

FHA offers a standard 1-year ARM and four “hybrid” ARM products. Hybrid ARMs offer an initial interest rate that is constant for the first three, five, seven, or 10 years. After the initial period, the interest rate will adjust annually. Below are the different interest rate cap structures for the various ARM products:

• The 1-year ARM and 3-year hybrid ARM have annual caps of one percentage point, and life-of-the-loan caps of five percentage points. (Example: If your initial interest rate were 4.00%, the highest possible interest rate would be 9.00%)

• The 5-, 7-, and 10-year hybrid ARMs have annual caps of two percentage points, and life-of-the-loan caps of six percentage points.

Acceptable index options on FHA-insured ARM loan transactions are 1) the Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT) index (weekly average yield of U.S. Treasury securities, adjusted to a constant maturity of one year); or 2) the 1-year London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

As rates continue to move off their historical lows, we must diligently review all loan possibilities, including ARMs, as viable financial avenues for our customers.

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What is the maximum sales concession for a FHA loan?

Over the weekend, I received a purchase contract with a sales concession of $3,900 or 9.75%. The purchase price is $40,000, with estimated repairs of $125,000. Sales concessions are calculated on the purchase price. In this case, 6% of $40,000 is a maximum of $2,400; the remainder of the funds would be considered an inducement to purchase, thereby reducing the amount of the mortgage dollar-for-dollar of the excess amount. Don’t get confused and calculate a sales concession on a 203(k) off of the acquisition price (purchase price plus the repair escrow) instead of the purchase price.

The sad part of this story is that a loan officer suggested the $3,900 when the loan was at their shop and was being reviewed as a standard FHA mortgage, a 203(b). The realtor never questioned the loan officer’s FHA knowledge and thus wrote the contract for the excess amount. I think we can all see the numerous lessons to be learned here without my further commentary.

One last item: The maximum sales concession for FHA is still 6%, not 3%. That day may come, but the change has not yet been implemented. Don’t be confused by Fannie/Freddie conventional products, which were lowered to a maximum 3% for loans with a LTV greater than 90%. HUD only asks for comments on changing sales concessions in 2010. Buyers must always have their own 3.5% downpayment. (There are various acceptable means to meet this requirement: own funds; gifts; borrowing against an asset; etc.) When writing contracts, don’t forget that sales concessions are a great means to assist borrowers in paying for all or a portion of their closing cost.

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10 Most Mandatory FHA 203k Repairs For 2010

As part of my education and marketing campaigns I tell borrowers all the items that they can include in a FHA 203(k) loan. Today, I thought I would take a minute to look back at this year and list the mandatory items that I have seen most often. 

1.  HVAC systems – some units were outdated but many were taken or stolen

2.  Bathroom remodels – many were stripped to the studs, past homeowners started projects and ran out of time and/or funds

3.  Busted pipes – homes were vacated by owners and not weatherized

4.  Drywall replacement – replaced wall sections that had to be pulled out to reach plumbing or electrical issues as well as giant holes left by angry homeowners

5.  Interior doors – either destroyed by homeowners or taken and sold

6.  Structural issues with foundations and basements

7.  Hot water heaters – some units were outdated, many are missing

8.  Electrical Panels – amazing how many panels are sub-par

9.  Floor covering replacement – most replacement is because the flooring is missing not substandard

10.  Mold remediation – water and heat do not mix

I think it is obvious to those of us in the industry that many of today’s 203(k) loans are originated for use with foreclosed or distressed properties, with that said, keep in mind a home does not need mandatory repairs to use a “k”. In 2010, I have closed loans for newer homes that were in need of assistance in catching up on deferred maintenance while other borrowers wanted a kitchen or bathroom remodel as part of their new home purchase. I guess the moral of the story for both home buyers and their agents “don’t let a home that needs repair or updates keep you from seeing your vision of the property once it becomes your home”.

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