Friday, March 26, 2010

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

Once a home has been purchased and you go to closing you may be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) . This insurance is payable to a lender and is specifically to offset losses in the case where a mortgagor is not able to repay the loan and the lender is not able to recover its costs after foreclosure and sale of the mortgaged property.

PMI insurance protects the lender, not the homeowner and it is typically required by lenders due to the higher level of default risk that's associated with low down payment loans. This type of insurance is usually only required if the downpayment is less than 20% of the sales price or appraised value (in other words, if the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 80% or more)

The cost of PMI premiums vary, but typically they fall between one-half and one percent of the loan amount, depending on the size of the down payment and loan specifics. These costs are in addition to your mortgage payment and not usually tax deductible. The PMI may be payable up front, or it may be capitalized onto the loan.

Many homebuyers want to know how long they will be required to have this insurance. If you are currently paying PMI, you will need to continue paying your premiums until you pay down your mortgage to the point that it equals 80 percent of the original purchase price or appraised value of your home at the time the loan was obtained, whichever is less.

You have another option where the lender will automatically cancel the payments but they wont do this until you 22% equity in the home rather than 20%. Keep in mind you do have the right to cancel PMI at the 20% mark a lender won't automatically cancel it for another 2 percent

Friday, March 19, 2010

Eliminating Toxins In Your Home

Most homeowners don't realize just how many toxins they have inside their home. These toxins can be found in many household items that are used on a daily basis. These toxins can be especially dangerous if someone in your home has allergies or asthma. Below are a a list of simple changes that you can make to make your home free of toxins.

Cleaners: Most cleaners you purchase at the store contain toxins and irritants that can cause breathing difficulties, such as bleach and ammonia. You may use cleaners on a daily basis contain many powerful cleaning agents that contain toxins that can cause problems. The good news is that there are many
alternatives on the market today that do just as a good of job cleaning but are much more safer to both the environment but to those that live in your home!

Paint: Paint has traditionally been high odor substance that contains potential toxins. There are many 'green' paint options available today that are not only low odor but that have no cancer causing toxins (also called VOCs). Look for paints that have been certified by
Green Seal. Benhamin Moore also has a Natua line of paints that are just as rich and durable, just water based and much safer.

Air Fresheners: Everyone loves their home to smell fresh, but items like air fresheners, candles and fragrances contain synthetic components that can cause irritation to the lungs. In addition to irritants some can contain a chemical called 'phthalates', which has been shown to cause birth defects, hormone disruption and reproduction problems. Look for alternative candles or scents that have essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances.

Furniture: Many people don't think of furniture as being toxic but if your furniture is old and worn it main contain flame retardants called PBDE's that can cause serious health problems. These chemicals can effect brain, nervous or reproduction problems. Be informed that stain repellents on furniture can also contains toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde. Do your
research before putting any repellent on your furniture.

Also consider adding houseplants - they help filter the air and add a sense of life to any home. If you don't already have one, using a
bagless vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter can greatly help to improve the air quality in your home.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Home Purchase Agreements

During the homebuying process, you will be required to submit what is known as a real estate purchase agreement to the seller. This agreement will be between you and the builder if the home you are buying is a new construction. The purpose of this agreement is a legal document between the buyer and the seller and will outline certain to aspects of the sale, including the purchase price.

The real estate purchase agreement also indicates specifics of the sale such as the time frame for the sale and any conditions or contingencies relating to the sale, and other things you should be aware of.

As with any other legal contract, a real estate contract may be formed by one party making an offer and another party accepting the offer. Typically, the party making the offer prepares a written real estate contract, signs it, and transmits it to the other party who would accept the offer by signing the contract. At this point, the other party may accept the offer, reject it or make a counteroffer. To be enforceable, a real estate contract must possess original signatures by the parties and any alterations to the contract must be initialed by all the parties involved.

Because these agreements can be confusing, it is always a good idea to work with a real estate professional when dealing with legal forms before signing if you have any questions or are confused with any of the terms.

What Can a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) Do For You?

What can Jerry Pilgrim, a CDPEAdvanced member, offer to homeowners in distress?

“I am a member of the CDPEAdvanced program. You may have heard of CDPEs or Certified Distressed Property Experts before. We are agents who have committed to understanding and providing foreclosure avoidance solutions to homeowners facing financial hardship.

Being a real estate agent today means something different than perhaps a few years ago.

Today, around 15 percent of mortgages are delinquent, or not being paid. That means one in six homeowners you meet may be experiencing the same challenges you are. So the first thing you should know is that you’re not alone, and that there are millions of others across the country in your situation.

As a CDPEAdvanced member, I’m part of the charge to turn this crisis around by immersing myself in the solutions available to distressed homeowners. And my goal is to bring the best option to each individual homeowner.

CDPEAdvanced gives me access to regular industry updates from the Distressed Property Institute, a company created by real estate leaders with the specific purpose of pulling as many homeowners out of distress as possible.

I also have access to a network of top agents nationwide who are also dealing with distressed properties. This is a powerful tool. It lets me find out what is happening on the front lines, what banks and buyers are looking for, which foreclosure avoidance tactics are working and which ones aren’t.

Between the market analysis and the network of agent communication, I can offer you the most current, relevant solutions. This housing market has become such a moving target that anyone who isn’t taking extra steps to keep up will simply get left behind. My clients need to know all the options available to them, and that is what I can deliver. This is why I am a CDPEAdvanced member.”

Find out more by visting or visit

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prevent Mortgage Modification Fraud

I wanted to give you a heads up on something I think every single homeowner should be aware of. The FBI and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have reported a 400 percent increase in mortgage fraud cases from five years ago. Seems to be that with more homeowners unable to make mortgage payments, there are more and more predators trying to exploit these people.

I don't want to be unnecessarily alarmist. But this is a threat that you or anyone you know should be aware of when going through a real estate transaction. It's not the nicest thing to think about, but essential nonetheless.

For anyone you know who is considering a relocation, mortgage modification, short sale or any other transaction, I put together a free report available on my website that explains what kinds of fraud schemes the FBI has seen, as well as the "red flags" to look out for. You can download it here:

If you have any questions about mortgage scams, or if anyone you know needs legitimate, professional help with avoiding foreclosure, please don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.

Friday, March 05, 2010

New FHA Rules To Protect Buyers

When new homebuyers go to closing to finalize the sale, many are surprised that the costs to close were more than they expected. Many figure on the amount that the Good Faith Estimate provided as the final amount. Unfortuantely that estimate is not final and just a rough idea of the final fees associated with a mortgage loan due at closing. Many times these costs increase by the time the buyer gets to the closing table without warning.

However as of January 1, here is good news for homebuyers. New federal rules adopted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development took effect. The new rules will implement a redesigned, simplified Good Faith Estimate form to help buyers avoid those closing-table surprises.

Before this new policy, lenders would provide the borrowers with the estimated fees was complicated and confusing. Under the new rules lenders will all be required to use the same form for their Good Faith Estimates – a three-page document issued by HUD.

There are also new rules that will put a cap on the increases in costs that are indicated on the Good Faith Estimate and guidelines so that fees listed on the initial estimate reflect the actual cost at settlement.