Bo Lee - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

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Posted by Bo Lee on 11/22/2020

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It may be tempting, when buying a home remotely, to jump at the first great deal that fits your checklist. But, number of beds and baths aren't everything. Location matters, too. So does the school district if you have school-age children. Don't be afraid to delve deeply into a property that you're thinking of buying sight unseen, because failure to do so could lead to some serious buyer's remorse. Here's the checklist of items to cover and questions to ask before you buy a home long-distance. 

Neighborhood Crime Statistics

Sites such as ADT.com and Cityrating.com can help you learn about crime rates in your potential new neighborhood. The local police department or sheriff's office is a good resource, too. All are easy to find online once you know the address of the home or county in which it's located. Find registered sex offenders living nearby and whether your new neighbor has a collar for burglary. 

Costs of Getting There

If you're searching remotely for homes that are close to your new job location, ask your employer about job relocation assistance. Sometimes employers have packages in place to help with the logistics involved in relocating for work. A package might include financial assistance for multiple items, including:

  • Costs associated with moving companies.
  • Costs associated with storage facilities.
  • Cost to rent or own a home in the new location.
  • Costs associated with selling your existing home.
  • Having financial help to get you and your family settled in before your first day of work at your new job is a great perk. It goes a long way toward alleviating the stress of relocation. 

    HOA Restrictions

    Homeowner's Associations can be beneficial in keeping housing values steady in your target area, but they can be costly, as well as restrictive. Is your new home governed by an HOA? If so, expect to pay monthly dues, and read up on the restrictions before you commit. If you plan to change the color or layout of your new home, you may have strict guidelines you're required to follow. 

    Reputation of the Local Schools

    Parents of school-age children should also be concerned with the school district they're moving into. Your real estate agent should be a good resource for the best schools in the area, but it never hurts to Google. The best schools have a low student-to-teacher ratio, strong test scores compared with the rest of the state and plenty of support programs in place for students and parents.

    A little homework done from the comfort of your home office can help you score the remote home purchase of your dreams. Don't be afraid to play investigator throughout your new target neighborhood. 




    Categories: Buying  


    Posted by Bo Lee on 7/19/2020

    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

    While the home buying process is exciting, applying for a mortgage can be time-consuming. Paperwork is a big part of the mortgage process and the better prepared you are, the more likely it is to go well. In fact, if you are considering getting preapproved for a mortgage, lining the paperwork up ahead of time will be very helpful. Remember, the more information provided to your mortgage lender, the easier it will be for them to get your approval. There are three categories of documentation your lender will want to see, income, expenses, and assets. Here are the documents they will likely require:

    Verification of Income

    Mortgage lenders will typically verify the income you are claiming in two ways. First, they will want to see your most recent Form W2 or Form 1099 (if you are self-employed) and they will generally ask you to provide tax returns. While some lenders will accept signed copies of your tax returns which you provide, many will also use the IRS income tax verification process to ensure what you are providing is the same as the forms filed with the IRS.

    You should be prepared to provide at least a month’s worth of pay stubs to a mortgage lender. Keep in mind, in most cases, overtime pay, bonuses, and other “extraordinary” income will not be counted as part of your gross income by the lender.

    Verification of Expenses

    Your mortgage lender will need to verify your expenses. Since your mortgage application will ask you to list your debt, you should consider getting a free copy of your credit report for two reasons. First, the information on your application will be accurate, and you can verify the data contained in the report is correct. Should there be any errors, you should take the opportunity to have them corrected.

    Your mortgage lender may also want to verify your rent payments for at least the last year. You can provide a copy of the checks used to pay your rent, although the lender may ask you to sign a form allowing them to verify your rent independently of any documentation you provide.

    Verification of Assets

    You may also be asked to provide verification of certain assets. For example, if you have a stock portfolio, IRA accounts, or other liquid assets, the lender may ask you to provide the most recent statements from the custodian of those accounts. Your mortgage lender will let you know what additional information they may need.

    This list is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the documents your lender may request. Chances are you will also be asked to provide a copy of your driver’s license or other photo identification. Borrowers who have part of their down payment given to them as a gift may also be required to provide a gift letter indicating the funds were a gift and not a loan. The better prepared you are for the mortgage process the faster it will go.




    Tags: buyer tips   documents   Financing  
    Categories: Buying  


    Posted by Bo Lee on 3/8/2020

    Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

    So, you're buying a home remotely. Because you probably don't want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a house that smells like cats or that features weekly invasions by the SWAT team of the building next door, it's important to find a long-distance realtor you can trust. You need someone who excels at the remote-home-buying experience and who will represent you faithfully. Agents like these are out there, but it may take a bit of work to find them. Here's what we recommend.

    Choose a Certified Residential Specialist

    A certified residential specialist is a real estate agent who has undergone additional training and who has more experience than other agents. Only about 3 percent of all realtors in the United States have attained CRS status. You can find a CRS locally by using the online search function available at the Residential Real Estate Council.

    To become a certified residential specialist, an agent must meet strict minimum requirements, including:

    • Completion of between 25 and 150 successful real estate transactions.
    • Completion of between 16 and 80 additional hours of training and education in realty.
    • Adherence to a higher code of ethics than the average realtor. 

    While millions of hard-working real estate agents exist, only a small number have gone that extra mile to earn CRS certification. These are the agents you should trust to handle your transaction when you can't be there in person. 

    Choose an Expert Communicator

    Choose a realtor who's an expert in your desired area and with whom you feel comfortable from the first conversation. The relationship between you and your remote-home-buying partner should feature excellent communication. He or she needs to understand your needs precisely, including your must-haves, your budget, your time frame, and what you're hoping to find in a neighborhood. If you're bringing along three small dogs, your mother-in-law, or two moody teenagers, your long-distance realtor needs to make sure there's sufficient space for everyone included. 

    Find a REALTOR® Who Cares

    The REALTOR®you choose should be an expert on local schools. He should be able to get back to you with crime rates and economics. Additionally, he should be present at home inspections to ensure your future home doesn't have a termite infestation or a sketchy, outdated septic system. Everything from water pressure to the condition of outdoor fencing matters. These are all things you would investigate when viewing a home in person. If it's important to you, it should be important to the realtor you choose. 

    Seventy-eight percent of all home buyers value the quality of a neighborhood over the size of a home, and 57 percent would rather have a shorter work commute than a sprawling yard. It's statistics like these that can make or break your remote-home-buying experience. It's vital to partner with the best agent for the job. 




    Categories: Buying  


    Posted by Bo Lee on 3/1/2020

    Photo by Nattanan Kanchanaprat via Pixabay

    If you’re in the market to purchase a home, it can be a confusing process. Interest rates, types of loans and what may apply to you can all sound like a foreign language. It’s always best to have some background knowledge before going to see a mortgage broker to make sure you’re on the same page. Although there are many components to the process, one of the main elements that directly affects you is the type of loan you qualify for. Here’s a quick guide:

    • Land Purchase

    You may want to build a home on a specific piece of land. Most banks offer up to 85% of the price of the land for residential and investment purposes.

    • Home Purchase

    These loans finance the purchase of a new residential property or home from previous owners. There are many categories: fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and bridge. Each one has elements that mortgage brokers use to determine whether you would be a good candidate for that type of loan.

    • Home Construction

    If you’re looking to construct your home from the ground up, this is the type of loan you will be considered for. The loan and application process is a little different from a standard home purchase loan. If you want the loan to be included as a part of the total price of the house, the land should have been bought within a year.

    • Home Expansion/Extension

    Even if you’re purchasing a home, you may decide you need to expand it. These types of loans work differently if you are purchasing the home, so working with a mortgage broker will provide more insight.

    These four loan options may directly impact your decision and ability to purchase. When considering the type of loan you are seeking, you should also think about where you want to live and how long you plan to stay there. Each specific type of mortgage loan may require different amounts for a down payment, have different standards, require mortgage insurance and interest.

    The type of mortgage loan and interest rate will also affect your monthly payment. A mortgage broker should be able to help choose wisely to save money in a number of areas. The most important thing to remember when searching for a home loan: they are not one size fits all. Every home loan is dependent on your current circumstances, credit rating and income level.

    Everything may sound confusing right now, but you have a good foundation to work from. As your mortgage broker walks you through the process, you'll be able to identify those loans that may be mentioned without feeling like you're lost. Being educated on what's out there can also help ask the right questions. Although a mortgage broker is designed to help you get the loan you want, they also want to make money too. Working with one that appreciates your knowledge (even if limited) is key. Good luck!




    Tags: Mortgage   loan   Homebuying  
    Categories: Buying  


    Posted by Bo Lee on 2/9/2020

    Image by Ricarda Mölck from Pixabay

    If you've heard people talk about "subject-to" real estate, you might be curious what that means and if it would be a good investment for you. Briefly, "subject-to" real estate means you're buying the property but the loan on that property stays in the name of the existing seller. You're making your purchase "subject-to" the existing mortgage or lien.

    Why Would Someone Buy Real Estate This Way?

    When you buy a "subject-to" property, you don't have to get a mortgage in your own name. That can be perfect for people who don't want to tie up their credit or funds. It also works well for those who might not be able to qualify for an existing mortgage. Since you're not putting your name on anything that involves the mortgage, you're free and clear from that standpoint. But you'll own the house, and you'll make the mortgage payments.

    Is This a Good Wealth-Building Tool?

    This can be a great tool to build wealth when it's used correctly. It's very important that you continue making the seller's mortgage payments on time, and that you get everything in writing. But since you don't have to qualify for a mortgage yourself, you can choose great properties that people really want to sell. Often, this is because the owner is in foreclosure. By buying the property "subject-to", the owner doesn't have to go through foreclosure proceedings and have that on their credit report.

    How Much Risk is Involved in This?

    As with any type of investment, there is always risk. The biggest concern is that the seller of the property will file for bankruptcy. When that happens, the house could be included in that filing and would be foreclosed upon by the lender. You could lose your investment, since you aren't the one who has the property's mortgage in your name. Another risk is the due-on-sale clause in the seller's mortgage. Almost all mortgages have these, but they're often not enforced. Still, if the lender wanted to enforce that clause, they could demand that the entire mortgage be paid if the deed transfers into your name.

    How Many "Subject-to" Properties Can Someone Own?

    Theoretically, there's no limit to the number of "subject-to" properties that you could own. As long as you can make the payments, you can keep buying these properties. You don't need any credit to get started, and you won't really need much cash, either. You'll simply have to be willing to take a little bit of risk to build up your real estate portfolio. With that in mind, though, it's not a bad idea to have an attorney help you, at least right at first, to be sure you're protecting yourself and the seller as much as possible.




    Categories: Buying  




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