Congratulations to the Nguyen Family!!!

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I am so happy to announce that the Nguyen family closed escrow and are officially new home owners! From the moment I met the young couple I knew I was going to enjoy working with them and it was a bonus that I also got to meet and work closely with their parents as well. This kind and genuine family is so deserving of this beautiful home and I couldn’t be happier for them. What an eventful year of getting married, having their first baby, and buying a house! I feel so honored to have been a part of such an exciting time in their lives.

The first time we viewed this house was at the end of the day and a bit dark. I typically don’t like to show property in the evening in the event that the house is vacant and there are no ceiling lights, it makes it difficult to get a good idea of how the space looks and feels. They liked the house but it was one of the first homes that they saw so we continued our search. A couple days and a dozen houses later, the couple still liked this house the best so I suggested we re-visit it to see it in the daylight. The second trip over was not planned but was perfect timing, and what I like to think as “fate”, because when we arrived the sellers as well as their agent were there. I truly believe that everyone crossing paths helped to get our offer accepted in a multiple offer situation. It is so important to be represented by an agent that works well with other agents. Collaborating together to work as a “team” can make all the difference in having a good or bad escrow. I knew that this agent was going to be a pleasure to work with and to everyone’s benefit, escrow was a smooth and successful process.

Establishing a friendly and professional relationship with other agents has always been a top priority of mine. I know it is a key ingredient to getting my client’s offer accepted as well as having a smooth escrow. People may think that the other agent is the competition so it’s not a priority to develop a relationship. However, I believe that it is these relationships help in negotiating during escrow. I was able to represent my clients with their best interest at hand and got their house tented and completely fumigated as well as install a brand new roof! I believe all parties involved in this transaction have come out of escrow happy and to everyone’s benefit we were able to close early.

Congratulations again to the Nguyen family and best wishes for many happy years filled with great memories in their new home!

Congratulations to the Smith Family!

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Congratulations to the Smith family on moving from Tennessee to Torrance!  I had the great pleasure of meeting these two and helping them secure a rental in the South Bay. Although I mostly help buyers and sellers with their real estate needs, I also help many tenants find a place to lease/rental. Did you know that it does not cost a tenant any money to use a real estate agent for their transaction? The owner usually pays the listing agent and leasing agent for bringing them a tenant.

Here are some renting tips:

Prices are negotiable, which means this could work in your favor or in the landlords favor. If a house has been on the market for over a month there might be room to negotiate for a lower price. However, if it is a new listing and there are multiple applications you may want to consider offering more rent to secure the place.

Pets may be negotiable. Depending on the landlord, type of pet, and how long the listing has been on the market you could always offer a larger deposit for the pet or even more rent to try and secure a place. All landlords are different so some may have a strict “no pet” policy while others may just prefer no pets and would consider one under certain circumstances. If you do have a pet, be prepared to pay anywhere from $500-$1000 per pet as an additional deposit.

Landlords are looking for good credit. Be prepared to have your credit ran and to pay a credit check fee (usually around $30). You are entitled to a copy of your credit report and most landlords are looking for a score of 700 or above. Granted, there are certain situations where some landlords are willing to work with someone that has bad credit. If it is due to a bankruptcy that happened years ago, or a medical emergency that racked up the bills, you should write a letter to the landlord explaining your situation. You may also want to offer more rent and proof of funds to support that you have the money to make payments on time.

Proof of funds. Landlords often ask to supply supporting documents to show either a bank statement or pay stubs. They are typically looking for proof that you have the money for the deposit and first months rent as well as income that show up to three times the amount of rent. ie: if rent is $2000/month they would like to see that you make at least $6000 a month. If you have multiple people applying for the house the total combined income would suffice.

Keep in mind that every landlord is different and one may be flexible on a certain term where another would not. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or real estate needs, I am always happy to help!

LaurenW@hmsold.com

Four Ways to Get Rid of Private Mortgage Insurance

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Most people who put down 20% or more for a conventional loan do so to avoid an additional monthly payment of private mortgage insurance (PMI). This premium is included in the mortgage bill based on the size of the down payment, size of the loan, and buyer’s credit score and is implemented to protect the lenders in the event that the borrower can not pay back the loan. What some buyers don’t know is that you can get a conventional loan with as little as 5% down and eventually get rid of the mortgage insurance payment. Below are four different methods:

1. Submit a request to your lender for PMI cancellation
Requirements include:
-Request must be in writing
-Pay down your mortgage to 80 percent of the home’s original value.
(ie: you buy a house worth $600,000 with a down payment of 5% or $30,000 which makes the loan amount $570,000. When you pay your loan amount down to $480,000 you are at 80% of the original value.)
-You must have a good payment history and be current on payments
(no 30 day or more late payments in the past year or a 60 day late payment in the past two years)
-Lender may require you to certify that there are no junior liens (like a second mortgage) on your home.
-Lender may require an appraisal (paid by the borrower) to prove the value of the property has not declined below the original value.
-Request usually can only be made two to five years after taking out the loan.

2.Wait for automatic PMI termination
Two ways to do so are:
-Lenders must terminate PMI when your principal balance reaches 78% of the original value of your home. This date is predetermined when the loan is first establighed and is based on the scheduled date the loan is expected to reach 78% of the original value. So, unfortunately paying down your mortgage faster will not apply to this method. Your payments must also be current otherwise PMI will not be terminated until they are brought up to date.
-Lenders must also terminate PMI if you reach the midpoint of your loan’s amortization schedule even if it is before the 78% date. This is the date of half the loans lifetime (ie if you have a 30 year loan the midpoint would be at 15 years)

*please note that termination request is different from cancellation request in that the lender must terminate PMI even if the principal balance of your loan has not actually reached 78% of the original value. (ie: because the value of the house has declined)

3.Negotiate PMI into the contract
-You can make a one-time upfront purchase of the mortgage insurance and this can be paid at the close of escrow possibly by the seller or even financed into the home loan.

4.Refinance
-You must qualify with a lender which will require you to purchase a new appraisal, have 20% equity, and also pay lender fees.

Every private lender has different guidelines so be sure to check with them about their PMI cancellation and termination requirements. Also, these methods usually do not apply to FHA or VA loans.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or real estate needs! LaurenW@hmsold.com

Tax Calendar

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Just a friendly reminder that property taxes are due November 1st and will be considered delinquent if not paid by December 1st.

Many clients inquire about taxes and how they are handled in a sale due to the tax year begining in July and sales occuring at random through out the year. Please see below for a general idea of how the proated tax cycle is handled and for important tax dates to mark on your calendar.

Tax proations
Closing date
July 1   No Prorations
Aug 1   Charge Seller 1 month  /  Credit buyer 1 month
Sep 1   Charge Seller 2 months / Credit Buyer 2 months
Oct 1    Charge Seller 3 months / Credit Buyer 3 months
Nov 1   Collect 1st Installment Taxes From Sellers Account
Credit Seller 2 months  /  Charge Buyer 2 months
Dec 1   Charge Buyer 1 month  /  Credit Seller 1 month
Jan 1   No Proations
Feb 1   Collect 2nd Installment Taxes From Sellers Account
Charge Buyer 5 months / Credit Seller 5 months
Mar 1   Charge Buyer 4 months / Credit Seller 4 months
Apr 1    Charge Buyer 3 months / Credit Seller 3 months
May 1   Charge Buyer 2 months / Credit Seller 2 months
Jun 1    Charge Buyer 1 months / Credit Seller 1 months

Important Tax Dates:
July 1    Beginning of fiscal year Owners to be informed of new values
Sep       In mid September tax rates set
Oct        Tax bills mailed last week
Nov 1    First Installment Due
Dec 10  First Installment Delinquent, if not paid
Jan 1     Assesment Date
Feb 1    Second Installment Due
Mar 1    Taxes on unsecured roll due
Apr 10   Second Installment Delinquent, if not paid
Apr 15   Last day to file Homeowners, Veterans and Senior Citizens Exemptions
Jun 8     Publication date for delinquent taxes

I hope these dates help you in your planning but if you have any questions please consult your CPA.

Have a great rest of the week!