“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em Know when to fold ’em Know when to walk away And know when to run You never count your money When you’re sittin’ at the table There’ll be time enough for countin’ When the dealin’s done.” – Kenny Rogers
Mortgages are a bit like gambling. You never know when the “perfect time” to initiate a new mortgage is, because there is always a risk that interest rates could go down slightly right after you sign the documents; however, there is always a risk that rates could also rise. The good news is that you can always refinance if rates drop, so unlike gambling, you can “fix” a bad hand.
Right now is a great time to buy (or refinance if you haven’t already done so). Mortgage rates are still really low and housing prices have stabilized. Of course, nobody wants to pay more than they have to for their home. Here is how to “win” the mortgage game:
1. Connect with a really good loan officer.* He or she will help you to obtain the best mortgage rate available based on your income, liabilities, assets and credit score; 2. Correct your credit score, if needed; 3. Consider a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year. The monthly payments are often only slightly higher, but you can save a ton of money by minimizing how many years you are paying interest; 4. Take your pre-approval and start looking for a new home with a realtor; and 4. Retain an awesome attorney to close your mortgage!
Curious about the current mortgage rates? Check out this website: https://themortgagereports.com/47095/mortgage-rates-today-january-21-2019-plus-lock-recommendations
Wondering about how much a mortgage might cost? For a ball park range only, peek at this one: www.mortgagecalculator.org
If you just want to listen to Kenny Rogers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyARoGIzmKk
As always, please let us know if we can help with a real estate or any other legal matter.
Regards, John & Faye * If you are in need, we are happy to recommend a really good loan officer.
“Unravel these. We need to check every bulb. Ooops. Little knot here, you can work on that.”
-Clark Griswold to his son, Russ, as he hands him 25 strands of Christmas lights
You can admit it. You LOVE decorating for the holidays. Tell us the truth: are you a more HGTV or Clark Griswold?
Decorating your home can really get you into a festive mood for any holiday; however is it a good idea to decorate for the holidays when you are getting ready to sell your house? We asked a realtor her thoughts on this important question. Her answer was “it depends” and “maybe.”
It depends whether you have already taken marketing photos of your house: Marketing photos of your house should not include holiday decorations. Any decorations will “date” your photos and might make your home appear as though it has been on the market for a long time.
Decorating can make or break your staging: Decorating a home that is already on the market can help people to visualize themselves celebrating future holidays there too. Decorations should be traditional and serene. For instance, pumpkins and corn stalks are perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Single colored lights will highlight your landscaping and a small Mensch on the Bench may provide a dash of blue color on white shelves. Overall, as a former law professors once said, “keep it simple.”
For specific ideas, HGTV has some thoughts on staging your house during the holidays:
What is YOUR favorite holiday to decorate for every year?
As always, please let us know if we can help you with this or any other matter.
While driving through the Baltimore/ Washington D.C. area, there was a billboard that said, “Don’t get a divorce…get a bigger house.” Four days later, the advertisement is stuck in my head.
Although we are all for buying the house of your dreams, it will not save your marriage. What really happens to your house in a divorce?
1. The marital home is the most sought asset during a divorce. At the beginning of the divorce process, everyone wants to keep the marital home; however, it is rare that that both parties can afford to keep the home on their one income, often determining who could actually keep the house;
2. One spouse keeps the house. If one of the parties can afford to keep the home, they should refinance under their own name and based on their individual income. At the time of refinance, the ownership is often transferred by Quitclaim Deed;
3..Get your name off the mortgage if you don’t own the house. If you have signed a Quitclaim Deed to relinquish ownership rights, make sure that you don’t have any financial responsibility for the mortgage or taxes. We recommend this for both security (in case your ex doesn’t pay the mortgage for any reason) and because any financial obligations will limit your ability to secure your own credit for a future rental or purchase;
4. Sell the house. This can be done either before or after the divorce occurs, but it’s easier if the parties agree how the proceeds will be divided before the house is put on the market;
5. It gets more complicated when the mortgage exceeds the value of the home. Couples that cannot afford to pay the overage due usually have to choose a short sale, renting the home or continuing to live together;
5. Buying a house during the divorce process isn’t always a great idea. The home will be considered a marital asset and subject to division. Also, mortgage underwriters may be a bit concerned about your future income and assets, which could cause delays.
As always, please let us know if we can assist you with any concerns or legal matters.
What is Earnest Money? Buyers typically give a deposit when they make an offer on a house. The money is provided to demonstrate that you are “earnest” or serious about buying their home. The amount of earnest money given usually depends on local custom, but a serious buyer might opt to give more to show commitment.
In most cases, the earnest money goes towards the eventual purchase of the house; however, there are two primary scenarios where you Buyers might have earnest money returned:
1. Rejected offer. If you make an offer to buy a house and the seller turns it down, they are required to give you the earnest money back; OR
2. Contingencies. When you make an offer to buy a house, the offer is usually contingent upon certain things, like a home inspection. If the inspection uncovers a serious flaw which is unacceptable, can’t be fixed, or the seller is unwilling to fix, you will also get your money returned.
To the contrary, if you back out of the Offer or Purchase and Sales for no good reason (ex. you decide you just don’t like the house or location), you might forfeit your earnest money. Like so many things in the law, we look at the return of earnest money on a case by case basis to determine what is right or just.
As always, please feel free to contact us with questions that you may have about this or any other legal issues.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this website does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion as to any particular matter. Nor is it intended to create an attorney-client, business or professional relationship. You should not rely on the information contained in this website without first speaking with an attorney. No claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website are made. This material may be considered advertising under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.