BUYERSIn real estate, Resources pretty much means one thing: MONEY. I’ve gathered up a few very reliable sources for the average buyer to get
The simple decision: ‘Should I buy or rent?’ has a dozen financial variables that need sorting out, and this amazing calculator from the NY Times is the easiest to use of them all..
The FHA has real estate Calculators that can help you figure out if you are eligible for an FHA loan, and if it makes better sense than conventional loans.
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The Great Schools Schools Finder features an interactive Map to locate which schools are located near you.
The Crime Map from the L.A. Times gives you next-day insight about our SCV neighborhoods. Though Santa Clarita ranks as one of the Twenty Safest Cities in America, it always helps to learn about neighborhoods.
I also use the freshly updated Crimemapping.com site for drilling down to the STREET LEVEL for data on 10 different types of crimes.
Housefax. It’s like CarFax, but for houses.
The Housefax Property History Report Includes: Building Permit History, Loan History, Natural Hazard Risk Assessment, Fire History, Property Incident, Comparable Sales & Rentals, and more.
According to Inman Real Estate Reporting: “Housefax lists nearby faults, flood plains, and a list of recent events, like floods, major storms and wildfires. I ran a report that missed a rather recent forest fire that should be on the list. In fact, the fire in question, only three years ago, was at one point the highest-priority blaze in the country. So there may be some thin cracks in Housefax’s reporting foundation.”
Get your credit cleared up. FIRST.
5% of credit reports have incorrect information on them that can derail your plans. Until you fix whatever can be fixed first, you shouldn’t even look at homes. I feel bad when a client gets their heart set on a property they’ve seen, and is then told by their lender that they must wait 8 more months for a derogatory credit item to disappear. This will also save you thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. Patience.
The Down Payment Search Engine:
Dozens of programs and institutions offer down payment assistance. See which ones you might qualify for. A year ago, Down Payment Resource released an analysis of over 1,650 home buyer assistance programs available through state, which found that 90 percent are funded, and that 70 percent of homes for sale could be eligible for one or more assistance programs. CHF (California Home Finance Authority) provides home buyer assistance to address the challenge faced by many people, coming up with cash resources for down payment and closing costs when purchasing a home.
The GFSA Platinum down payment assistance program, in particular, provides up to 5% of the loan amount in a non-repayable grant. (You don’t have to pay this back!)
CalHFA has published new income guidelines as of April 2016, and this quick quiz determines if you are eligible for a CalHFA Conventional loan. The attractive part of this program is that they ofer you TWO loans, one for the main mortgage, and one for the DOWN PAYMENT/ closing costs with deferred payment, so you only have to come up with as little as 1/2 of 1% to buy a home.
The AmeriDream program offers gift funds up to 10% (usually 3-6%) of the home’s purchase price which do not have to be paid back. Buyers must agree however, to return any funds that are not used toward down payments. AmeriDream is intended for low-to moderate income families, but there are many down payment assistance programs with no income requirements, asset limits or credit checks.
The Affordable Loan Solution Mortgage from B of A offers the Holy Grail of a 3% down mortgage with NO mortgage insurance.
The FDIC reports that local lending patterns for home loans of all types are healthy. A recent Fair Housing report on the City of Santa Clarita website suggests that lenders are well within the norm of approving and declining home loans of all kinds.
Yelp has a list of the top Santa Clarita Mortgage Lenders, though your mileage may vary..
I have my own list of lenders who have done well for my clients, which I’m happy to share with you as well as a checklist of things to do before applying for a loan.
What is the difference between the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? One intrepid blogger attempted to sort it out here.
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