“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.
Doesn’t it seem like everyone moves during the spring and summer? Yes, more homes tend to sell during those seasons; however, there is no wrong time to buy and, in fact, fall and winter are excellent times to consider falling into a new home!
* You can celebrate the winter holidays in your new home;
* There is still more than enough selection of homes available;
* Sellers are more motivated to sell, especially if their house has been on the market for a while (which isn’t usually because there is something “wrong” with the house);
* You can take advantage of homeowner tax breaks for property tax and mortgage interest;
* There won’t be as much competition, so you aren’t as likely to get into a bidding war or to overpay for your new home;
* Moving companies tend to charge less in fall and winter, because they aren’t as busy;
* Your realtor will likely be less busy and can dedicate even more time to personalized service; and
* You will see your property at its worst, which is a hidden gem of information. It’s easy to make the house look pretty in the spring as flowers bloom, but wouldn’t you rather know that the heating systems, roof, and gutters are performing as they should?
As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (508)319-1529.
Laws are always evolving and changing. Some changes are fairly significant, like the child support guidelines taking effect next month, but others are slight clarifications of existing laws, like the one that we recently posted on Facebook regarding easements in condominiums; however, some just don’t make sense, like these real estate ones:
Yea….you found a new home! You have so much to do. You need to pack. You may also be busy shopping for necessities, such as furniture, towels and dishes. You may also need to hurry up and WAIT??
Closing attorneys, lenders, and real estate agents do their best to make closings happen on the date stated on your Purchase and Sales Agreement (“P&S”). We work as a team, along with many other professionals. During this time, lenders coordinate with appraisers and insurance companies. Agents insure that certificates are obtained and utilities paid. The closing attorney teams with engineers, title researchers, local tax officials, and sellers (or their attorneys). A good team of agents, lenders, and attorneys will be in constant communication with one another and will be focused on the same goal of closing on time.
Once everything is ready, your lender will send a Closing Disclosure for your approval. The Closing Disclosure contains all costs and credits involved in the transaction. Buyers must wait three days after the document is released to “close” or purchase the home.
What happens next? Make sure that you have your photo identification ready, your funds available, and stretch those fingers!
Typical closings involve 150(ish) pages of paper, some from the lender and others from the attorney. Some of the documents will be familiar to you, like your Closing Disclosure, tax forms and loan application; other documents may be less familiar to you, like an Owner’s Title Policy or Declaration of Homestead. The closing attorney will highlight the content, show you where to sign or initial, and (sometimes) date. The entire process usually moves very quickly and is done under one hour.
Once the documents are signed, some need to be recorded at your local Registry of Deeds. As soon as that happens, you are officially a homeowner. Congratulations!!
** In most cases, a Closing Disclosure is used; however, there are exceptions, such as a property being paid for in cash and reverse mortgages.
Have you ever noticed that when a doctor walks into a room, everyone suddenly has medical ailments? The question usually starts with, “I hate to ask you this when you’re not at work, BUT….”
We have a sweet as pie cousin who happens to be a pediatrician. We try not to ask her questions, but, inevitably, small talk among parents often leads into something medical. As we kick ourselves for letting the words escape our lips, she is very always gracious to share her opinion and experience as a parent, family member, and (yes) pediatrician.
The same thing happens regardless of what you do for work. Everyone has a situation that they want to discuss or question that they want to ask. Like our cousin, we are always happy to help and share our knowledge and experience. So, before you ask, we will share the answers to our most often asked real estate questions:
“I heard that mortgage rates have gone up lately. Should I wait to buy or refinance a house until the interest rates drop?”
It is still a great time to buy a new home or refinance your current home. Yes, rates have increased very slightly over the last few months, but they are still really low at this point. We have all been really spoiled with the ridiculously low mortgage rates for the last few years. Have you ever asked your parents or grandparents about when they purchased their home? They probably told you that their house cost $26,000.00, but also that their interest rate was 17-20%. With mortgage rates still so slow and such a variety of lending programs available, it is definitely worth exploring whether it makes financial sense to buy or refinance now, before the rates rise.
“Should I have an attorney review my Purchase and Sales (“P&S”)?
In a profession where our answer is frequently “it depends,” our answer to this question is it is verywise to do so. The most important reason is that, once it is signed, you have committed to the terms and cannot change them.
Most real estate agents use a standard form created by REBA, the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts. Are the forms any good? Yes, but our experience guides anticipation all of the legal problems that might arise during your transaction and which cannot be added to the document by an agent. We attach addendum which offer important, additional protections, related to condition of the premises, delivery of Deed, survey review, potential defects to title, ability to obtain property and Title Insurance, damage to the property, deposits, contingencies for mortgage or sale of other property, and other important aspects of the home.
“Do I need Title Insurance?”
We often get this question at the closing table. Lenders typically require a policy for the loan and which is paid by the buyer. An Owner’s title policy is optional; however, it’s one of the smartestinvestments that you can make in your home and it is reasonably priced, especially when compared to the cost of fixing issues that might arise later.
For purchases, we look at a 50 year history of the premises. Even the most meticulous search may not unveil hidden risks with your “title (aka ownership),” because those risks have not yet become evident by the time of closing. Some specific hidden risks that can be protected by Title Insurance are:
* fraud or mis-representation in connection to the execution of the documents;
* undue pressure on the seller or personal representative of an estate;
* false impersonation by people claiming to own the property;
* incorrect statement about the marital status of a Seller (which is more likely if the premises is being sold during a divorce);
* issues related to a seller who has passed away, including disclosed or missing heirs, birth of additional potential heirs after the creation of the will, misinterpretation of a will or trust, and estates which were not properly probated;
* inadequate survey;
* incorrect legal description;
* non-delivery of deeds;
* claims or liens not yet on record;
* confusion regarding similar or incorrect names;
* delivery of deeds after the death of a grantor;
* incorrect indexing at the Registry of Deeds;
* unrecorded easements; and
* zoning violations.
As always, please call or email us if you have any questions regarding this or anything else.
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.