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Specialty Mortgages: Risks and Rewards

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

In high-priced housing markets, it can be difficult to afford a home in Miami or Sarasota Florida. That’s why a growing number of homebuyers are forgoing traditional fixed-rate mortgages and standard adjustable-rate mortgages and instead opting for a specialty mortgage that lets them “stretch” their income so they can qualify for a larger loan.

But before you choose one of these mortgages, make sure you understand the risks and how they work.

Specialty mortgages often begin with a low introductory interest rate or payment plan - a “teaser” - but the monthly mortgage payments are likely to increase a lot in the future. Some are “low documentation” mortgages that come with easier standards for qualifying, but also higher interest rates or higher fees. Some lenders will loan you 100 percent or more of the home’s value, but these mortgages can present a big financial risk if the value of the house drops.

Specialty Mortgages Can:

  • Pose a greater risk that you won’t be able to afford the mortgage payment in the future, compared to fixed rate mortgages and traditional adjustable rate mortgages.
  • Have monthly payments that increase by as much as 50 percent or more when the introductory period ends.
  • Cause your loan balance (the amount you still owe) to get larger each month instead of smaller.

Common Types of Specialty Mortgages:

  • Interest-Only Mortgages: Your monthly mortgage payment only covers the interest you owe on the loan for the first 5 to 10 years of the loan, and you pay nothing to reduce the total amount you borrowed (this is called the “principal”). After the interest-only period, you start paying higher monthly payments that cover both the interest and principal that must be repaid over the remaining term of the loan. 
  • Negative Amortization Mortgages: Your monthly payment is less than the amount of interest you owe on the loan. The unpaid interest gets added to the loan’s principal amount, causing the total amount you owe to increase each month instead of getting smaller.
  • Option Payment ARM Mortgages: You have the option to make different types of monthly payments with this mortgage. For example, you may make a minimum payment that is less than the amount needed to cover the interest and increases the total amount of your loan; an interest-only payment, or payments calculated to pay off the loan over either 30 years or 15 years. 
  • 40-Year Mortgages: You pay off your loan over 40 years, instead of the usual 30 years. While this reduces your monthly payment and helps you qualify to buy a home, you pay off the balance of your loan much more slowly and end up paying much more interest. 

Questions to Consider Before Choosing a Specialty Mortgage:

  • How much can my monthly payments increase and how soon can these increases happen?
  • Do I expect my income to increase or do I expect to move before my payments go up?
  • Will I be able to afford the mortgage when the payments increase?
  • Am I paying down my loan balance each month, or is it staying the same or even increasing?
  • Will I have to pay a penalty if I refinance my mortgage or sell my house?
  • What is my goal in buying this property? Am I considering a riskier mortgage to buy a more expensive house than I can realistically afford?

Be sure you work with a REALTOR® and lender who can discuss different options and address your questions and concerns!

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Sources:

Learn about the National Association of Realtors® Housing Opportunity Program at www.realtor.org/housingopportunity.

For more information on predatory mortgage lending practices, visit the Center for Responsible Lending at www.responsiblelending.org.

 

10 Questions to Ask Your Lender

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty gives you the 10 questions you should be asking your lender when looking to buy a home either in Miami or Saraosta Florida.

1. What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?

2. Which type of mortgage plan do you think would be best for me? Why?

3. Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable?

4. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it cost, and how long will it be required? (NOTE: Private mortgage insurance is usually required if your down payment is less than 20 percent. However, most lenders will let you discontinue PMI when you’ve acquired a certain amount of equity by paying down the loan.)

5. Who will service the loan — your bank or another company?

6. What escrow requirements do you have?

7. How long will this loan be in a lock-in period (in other words, the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if it drops during this period?

8. How long will the loan approval process take?

9. How long will it take to close the loan?

10. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying the loan?

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Sources:

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)
Used with permission from Real Estate Checklists & Systems, www.realestatechecklists.com

5 Things to Know About Title Insurance

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Title insurance protects the holder from any losses sustained from defects in the title. It’s required by most mortgage lenders. Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you five other things you should know about title insurance.

1. It protects your ownership right to your home, both from fraudulent claims against your ownership and from mistakes made in earlier sales, such as mistake in the spelling of a person’s name or an inaccurate description of the property.

2. It’s a one-time cost usually based on the price of the property.

3. It’s usually paid for by the sellers, although this can vary depending on your state and local customs.

4. There are both lender title policies, which protect the lender, and owner title policies, which protect you. The lender will probably require a lender policy.

5. Discounts on premiums are sometimes available if the home has been bought within only a few years since not as much work is required to check the title. Ask the title company if this discount is available.

If you are looking to purchase a property in Sarasota or Miami Florida, do not hesitate to contact us. You can also register to our free email alerts and receive, at your convenience, a list of properties available in the Sarasota or Miami Florida areas. To do so, just click on the desired link.

> For French, click here 
> For English, click
here and for short sales and foreclosures, click here

8 Tips to Guide for Your Home Search

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you 8 tips for our home search whether you want to buy in Sarasota or Miami Florida

1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment. 

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

6 Creative Ways to Afford a Home

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

If you are looking to purchase a property in Miami or Sarasota Florida, but fell like you don't have the funds, here is a list of 6 creative ways to afford a home: 

1. Investigate local, state, and national down payment assistance programs. These programs give qualified applicants loans or grants to cover all or part of your required down payment. National programs include the Nehemiah program, www.getdownpayment.com, and the American Dream Down Payment Fund from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, www.hud.gov.

2. Explore seller financing. In some cases, sellers may be willing to finance all or part of the purchase price of the home and let you repay them gradually, just as you would do with a mortgage.

3. Consider a shared-appreciation or shared-equity arrangement. Under this arrangement, your family, friends, or even a third-party may buy a portion of the home and share in any appreciation when the home is sold. The owner/occupant usually pays the mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance costs, but all the investors' names are usually on the mortgage. Companies are available that can help you find such an investor, if your family can’t participate.

4. Ask your family for help. Perhaps a family member will loan you money for the down payment or act as a co-signer for the mortgage. Lenders often like to have a co-signer if you have little credit history.

5. Lease with the option to buy. Renting the home for a year or more will give you the chance to save more toward your down payment. And in many cases, owners will apply some of the rental amount toward the purchase price. You usually have to pay a small, nonrefundable option fee to the owner.

6. Consider a short-term second mortgage. If you can qualify for a short-term second mortgage, this would give you money to make a larger down payment. This may be possible if you’re in good financial standing, with a strong income and little other debt.

If you are looking to purchase a house in either Sarasota or Miami Florida, contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at info@kijner.com

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

Lender Checklist: What You Need for a Mortgage

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

If you are considering a mortgage in the US, here is a simple checklist of documents that might be required. 

□ W-2 forms — or business tax return forms if you're self-employed — for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.

□ Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.

□ Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.

□ Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.

□ Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans. 

□ Addresses where you’ve lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.

□ Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account. 

□ Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement. 

□ Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension.

□ Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years. 

For more information on houses for sale in Sarasota or Miami Florida, contact us at info@kijner.com

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

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83-85 Boulevard de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France


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