Pre-approvals… why you need with them, what they are, and how to get one….


Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, September 22nd, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)

Saturday, October 6th , from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, October 20th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! 😀
~~~~~~~~~
Happy …well, whatever day it is!

What a month! Yesterday, my youngest child started 3rd grade. I think I have started and stopped this email about 4 times in the last couple of weeks, but what with everything going on… it kind of went on the back burner. It’s a different world from when I went to school… when I was at school, teachers had the last word on everything. If a teacher called home, you were in trouble….if a teacher needed something… it happened. When my older kids were young, teachers still got what they needed … now, I am not going to lie to you… I did have it out with my older daughters high school principal a few times! Teachers though… teachers I have the utmost respect for them. When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher… I wanted to teach high school history and English. Yep, that was my goal when I was young… not a singer or a movie star… a teacher! Of course, I am not a teacher… I am a Realtor, but I still teach….and I still help.
So, here we are… another school year started, and all of the sudden we are in the last trimester of the year. So here’s to ‘Happy Hallowthankmas’ period time.

So this week let’s talk about the what the steps are to buying a home? This is where it gets crazy because most of us just don’t know….you just kind of ‘fall into it’… You meet up with someone, and like a whirlwind romance, next thing you know you are in a 30 year commitment called a mortgage loan!

So….if you are thinking about buying a home, what are your steps? What do you need to know before you start?

Well, that is what the Free Home Buyer Education Classes are for! ….that, and this weekly blog anyhow! 😀

The first step to buying a home is the home buyer education classes.
Did you know that more people will get education when buying a car than when buying a home? The classes are non-promotional, free, and meant to give home buyers a head start on the information they need to buying a home, and taking advantage of the state loan programs that are out there to HELP people buy a home! Real Estate & Lending is all about ‘verbiage’ as we are ‘taught’ scripts to make things sound good for you, when in actuality…it may not be that great at all. We do go over all of that, and try to make everything as clear as possible considering it starts off as mud. 🙂 As instructors of the classes we are volunteers, so while we HOPE that you will call us to help you with your homebuying adventure, by no means do you have to. 🙂
Buying a home, especially your first home, is such a big thing that sometimes it is hard to wait when we get the bug. Buying a home is still the American dream, and gives us roots in a community. It is the place where we raise our children, plant our gardens, paint our rooms, and show our personality. A house isn’t just a place of four walls and a door, but a home….and a place of dreams. Knowing all of this as we do, when it comes to buying a home, patience isn’t always our biggest virtue! 😀

The second step in the home buying process is talking with a lender to help you get pre-approved for a loan.
The reason why we say that talking to a lender is your second step is because while you don’t go grocery shopping without knowing how much is in your bank account, you should never go looking at homes without knowing how much you can afford. A lenders job is to pre-approve you for as much as they can, but that doesn’t always mean that you can, or that you should, spend that much on purchasing a home. We all have lives, and you don’t want to be housepoor. Make sure that you know your budget, and what is a comfortable amount for you to spend monthly on a mortgage. Remember to make sure that you have enough for small things like eating out (ok….if you have my family it isn’t a ‘small’ thing at all to eat out!), going to the movies, maybe going on a family trip….and let’s not forget buying groceries and gas! Also…as a homeowner, now you have other additional expenses and potential repairs to put aside for. I always tell all my clients to put aside some money from every check into a ‘special’ account at a banking institution that you don’t regularly frequent. Maybe it is a credit union across town that is only open for 4 hours a day, but make sure you don’t have a checkbook or a debit card for it. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money….maybe only $10-$20 per check, but this is your ‘rainy day’ fund…or really, the funds for any home repairs that will, eventually, come up. Being a home owner does mean being prepared for home repairs that always happen at the worst possible time! Home Warranties really are your best friend when buying a home…and yes, this is different than Homeowners Insurance (aka Hazard Insurance). That will be a topic for another week. 🙂

The rule of thumb though is to make sure that when you are looking for homes, after you get pre-approved, to make sure you are looking at homes with your buyers agent that you can afford, and not max out your budget!

Remember that not all lenders can access the downpayment assistance loans, so make sure that you are going through someone who can. If you have any questions about that, please feel free to call, or email, Chris Berg @ Pinnacle Mortgage…503-320-0925 (he is local), and cberg@pcmloan.com .

When getting pre-approved, make sure to ask your lender if your pre-approval has already gone through the manual underwriters. We are seeing more, and more people lately who, thinking they are pre-approved, go out and find a home, only to find out days before signing, that the manual underwriters are declining their loan! This is terrible as this means that this family who have already packed up, given notice, and are ready to move….now have no loan, and therefore, no home! I don’t want that to happen to any of my clients, so as a buyers agent, when I am speaking with a lender, I always ask their lender if the buyers loan approval was sent to the manual underwriter, or if it is just a computer approval. Having your pre-approval go through the manual underwriters, instead of just a computer approval, does take some more time, usually up to a week more, but in the end it is always better to be safe rather than sorry!

Please remember that your pre-approval is only good for 90 days, and yes, you will have to update it at the end of the process…usually when your file goes to underwriting for the final documents to sign. Please continue to pay your bills (on time), please do not change work hours, please do not go out and buy appliances, do not get a personal loan for ‘stuff for the house’, do not go buy a car/truck/boat/etc. If you have any questions, please talk with your lender first as all of these things can cause your loan to be declined…at the final step….which is awful for everyone. Your pre-approval is NOT set in stone…. A pre-approval is a snap-shot of your ‘current’ financial situation, and if that changes…so can your pre-approval. Your financial situation will be looked at by a myriad of different people, and scrutinized about 2-3 times by the underwriters…which are actually the people with the power. Please remember to talk with your lender and real estate agent…we are here to help! 🙂

A pre-approval is good for a monthly mortgage payment amount…not a purchase price. Your interest rate can not be locked in until about 30-45 days from closing/keys. What this means is that the interest rate you are quoted at the time of pre-approval is merely a ‘guesstimate’. This part is always a bit strange, but your lender can’t even start your actual loan process until you have a signed around contract on a home…signed (and agreed to) by the person with the legal authority to sell that home. If interest rates go up in the process of buying your home, and your rate is not locked in, then your monthly mortgage payment will change…and so can your pre-approval.

Your buyers agent, and your lender should work together, and communicate with each other to help you through this process! I know I say this all the time, but we work for YOU! By working together we help you achieve your goal of your own home where you can kick your shoes off, turn on some football (ok, maybe that is just my house!), and relax! A buyers agent and a lender should work together as a team, communicating with each other, and with you, every step of the way….that is what we are here for! 🙂

I also asked Chris Berg for some information on this email…
There are three forms of approvals that you will see when you purchase a home. Prequalification, preapproval, and approval.

A prequalification is not worth the paper it’s printed on and most if not all sellers will not except a prequalification when you make an offer on a home. The reason for this is that a prequalification is basically just checking your credit but not verifying income or down payment or any of the other thousand things that can go wrong during the transaction.

A preapproval covers all the things they seller needs to see. Not only does it verify your credit but also verifies your income, tax returns, W-2s, down payment, employment and address history, and rent payments. A preapproval is what you need in order to make an offer on a home.

An approval is generally not achieved until you were under contract on a home. It verifies all the items in a preapproval but also includes the appraisal and preliminary title report on all borrowers and sellers.

In order to get a preapproval you need to bring your lender your last two years tax returns, W-2s, last 30 days pay stubs, ID, and two months bank statements if you have a down payment.

If you are seriously considering buying a home a preapproval, with most lenders, will not cost you any money and will allow you to deal with any issues well before you spend the money to make an offer on a home.

No animals were harmed during the writing of this email.

Thank you,
Chris Berg
Mortgage Advisor with Pinnacle Capital Mortgage
MLO-198082
503-320-0925 cell
Cberg@pcmloan.com

Information is power, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there…. If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime. You can call, text, email, or even facebook me. Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me as I would be honored to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure! 🙂

As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

….disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics:
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? ….. &….
What does an Agent do for me?
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?

Last Week: Why take a home buyers (or sellers) class?

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999

Why take a home buyer, or seller class?

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Saturday, August 25th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (SR 500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)

Saturday, September 8th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Tuesday, September 11th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (SR 500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! 😀
~~~~~~~~

Happy Tuesday!

I miss the rain… I miss being able to take a deep breath of fresh air…. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I enjoy the rain. I love spring & fall when the air is crisp, and invigorating. This year and last have been so smoky that it hurts to breathe, and is awful for people who suffer from migraines. The only upside to this awful weather is that if you are thinking about buying then NOW is a great time to be out there. As I talked about in my last email (you can find that at wwww.learningtobuyahome.com, or at Facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate), when the weather is awful … be it super hot, or smoky, or stormy, or snowy, etc… that is the best time to be out buying a home. Spring and fall are the best times to be a seller because that is when people are out looking for homes. Isn’t it interesting how weather around here plays such a huge part of our lives??

So, talking about timing… yesterday we had the shop concrete floor sealed. Obviously having this done on a super smoky day where the air isn’t moving at all was a brilliant plan as the fumes from that were sucked into our garage and then transferred into our home with the forced air furnace. Since we all wanted to wake up in the morning we turned off the AC (the horror!!!), and opened up all the windows and turned on the fans. It was a choice between cool home with harmful fumes, or warmer home with smoky air…but I could be certain we would all wake up in the morning… Well, we woke up all right.. at 6:30am to the sound of our fire alarms & carbon monoxide alarms going off like crazy because of the very air in the home. Talk about being startled awake! The very air that we had in the home was setting off the alarms and we could NOT get them to stay shut off either because well, that’s just the air we have right now. Bright side (because there is always one, right?)… we all woke up (ok, my husband and son in law were already up, but my daughters and I were still sleeping)… so there is that. Neither my husband nor my son in law spilled or broke anything as they got the scare of their lives while they were getting ready for work. Two of the dogs were freaking out about the noise, and Scooby (the shaggy black mongrel) kept trying to drag us out of the home. The other 2 dogs didn’t seem to care much. Three of the cats were also freaking out and kept meowing at me because well, obviously this is my fault and it is my job to fix it, right? The other cat was hiding in parts unknown. So yay for the fire drill I hadn’t been planning?

For those with forced air furnaces, this smoky air is doing a doozy on them too. After the air cleans out, be sure to change out your air filter, and it might be a good idea to do that on your car too. Wall heaters? Vacuum those out. Now might also be a good time to switch out the batteries on your smoke detectors because I don’t want to be the only one waking up at 6:30am….no… really because in case of a real fire, we do want you to wake up too. You should have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Make sure you have one on every floor, and that your carbon monoxide detector is no higher than your kneecap….only again because we want you to wake up in the morning too. Even if your home doesn’t have gas to it (mine doesn’t), still make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors (it’s mandatory). Safety first….

Now, let’s talk about classes. At the fair I was asked by many folks why they should take a home buyer (or home seller) class. The classes are there to get you started. Many folks who take a class don’t necessarily buy (or sell) right away, but it is good place to get started, and to get your questions answered. Remember that HGTV doesn’t always accurately portray the real estate cycle, and every state has different laws and paperwork. The home buyers and home seller classes are kind of like a starting point . The point of the classes & this email/blog is to answer home buyers (& home owners) questions, and make sure that you understand the steps to buying (or selling) a home, everyone involved, and to de-mystify the process. Knowing what everyone in the process that you are going to come in contact with is supposed to do, and what each step entails can only help you make a better home decision. When you are informed, and educated, you make better decisions, and when you make better decisions, you are happier with everything.

I couldn’t even begin to count all the folks who have come to classes AFTER having gone out and looked at homes, AFTER having signed a form that they later wished that they hadn’t because it wasn’t what they thought it was, and AFTER having writing up an offer on a home, and not getting the paperwork they needed to protect themselves. Many of these people have been in tears after the class, or come up to us and asked, “why didn’t we know that? How come no one told us this?” ummmm….that’s what the classes are for. The classes are about 3 – 3 1/2 hours long, and while that sounds like a long time, keep in mind that in that time frame we still can’t cover everything, but we do our darndest to make sure that all your questions are answered!

In our current economic climate many people come to the class mainly for the lending information…and really it is good information! Loans that help the first time home buyer like, downpayment assistance? And 100% loans? You bet! They also come to the class for the information on what to expect from a lender, information on good faith estimates, and credit scores…which is also good! If there is anything many of us have learned the past couple of years is to know the loan you are going to be using…..but many people forget about the real estate agent. I mean, it can’t be that hard, right? We watch HGTV…and all agents are the same, right??? Well….I have to say WRONG! Not all agents are the same, as we all operate our businesses differently. It’s like saying that all doctors are the same…I mean, you go to a doctor, and they all pretty much do the same thing, right? Well…yes and no. Technically all doctors do have the same profession, but each doctor is absolutely different in our they run their practice, and what they specialize in. In many ways, real estate is the same way. We all go to the same website to look for homes (www.rmls.com) as it is the only legal website where agents all participate and are held to rules and regulations that protect the public from incorrect information….none of those other websites can say that. We can all show homes….but what does the buyers agent really do? What about the sellers agent? What forms does your agent use to protect you, the buyer? What is the sellers agent doing to protect the sellers? What policies does your agent hold to?

Please remember that your buyer’s agents is the one writing up your offer, and that this is a legal contract. What is your agent doing to protect you, the buyer? …or are they protecting themselves? Is your buyers agent explaining everything? Buying a home is your single largest investment, and there is only one other thing that is going to cost you as much in your life, and that is having a child. Make sure that you know the right questions to ask, and if you (and your buyers agent) is doing all they can to protect you…their employer. Another thing to remember is that, at no time, is the buyer responsible for the buyers agent payment. Sellers pay their agent (again, the one with the sign in the yard) to sell their home. The sellers agent then offers a portion of that (at their discretion) to the buyers agent, so the buyers agent is paid for by the sellers agent. And no…you do not get a better deal when not having your own buyers agent because that sellers agent is getting paid the same amount no matter what from the seller….if you go to the sellers agent, you are just, in essence, representing yourself since that agent is hired by the seller to represent them, and not you.

In real estate, it is all about verbiage….we can make something sound very good, when it isn’t. An agent can take a form that is there to protect them, and turn it around so it sounds like it is something you want. When it all comes down to it, a buyers agent works FOR the buyers, and the sellers agent (the one whose name is on the sign in the front yard of the home you like) works FOR the seller! Each agent works for their employer to the best of their abilities…but we all have different abilities. You don’t like every doctor or dentist you meet….what makes you think you are going to like every real estate agent you meet? And No…real estate in the state of Washington is not like what you see on HGTV. Each state has different rules, and laws pertaining to real estate…and Washington actually has some fairly strict ones. Your buyers agent is writing up your contract on the most expensive purchase you will ever make….does it make sense to also learn about that process? To learn about forms you need, and forms you don’t want? To know what you should expect from your agent? To know when earnest money is due? Who should be at the home inspection? What pays for what? What types of homes mean what, and why? These are all things we cover in the real estate portion of the home buyers & sellers classes.

I hope that explains this a bit, but if you have any questions, or comments please call or email me anytime! I am here to help…

Your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email, text, or facebook me anytime. I am, as always, happy to help!

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics: Contingencies, Rentback, and Pre-Possession (oh my!),
Buyers Due Diligence, &….
What happens after an offer is made?

Last Week: Why do deals fall through?

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

Holy Price Reducations Batman!

 

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Tuesday, July 31st , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, August 18th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Monday, August 20, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, August 25th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (SR 500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! 😀
~~~~~~~~

Happy Sunday!

Oh my goodness… have I mentioned lately how in love I am with my air conditioner??? Right now it is my favorite thing in my house… however, it is supposed to start cooling down though (thankfully), and just in time for the Clark County Fair! The fair runs from Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 12th. Chris Berg and I will be at the Clark County Fair again this year… because we are crazy. Please, stop by and say, “hi!” to us… it is the one thing that keeps up sane while we are there. It’s a long 10 days and we will be there EVERY day. I will be at the booth (inside the cool big exhibit hall, second booth to the right of the main doors) from 10am-4pm, and Chris will be there from 4pm-10pm…. EVERY DAY. So, please… stop by… talk to us… help us preserve what little sanity we have left…. AND … tell us you saw/read this post AND we have something pretty cool for you. Why? Because I went a little crazy on the promotional items, and I need to get them out of my garage so I can park in there again before the weather starts to turn. Help a gal out…

So this week let’s talk a bit about the market… I’ve have a few people ask me if the market is starting to ‘turn’… and my answer is a mixed bag. First things first….it’s HOT, and weather has a LOT to do with real estate, which is kind of weird, but there is a reasoning behind it. The BEST months of the year to be a buyer is always going to be the winter months of November, December, and January. There are couple of reasons for this …. weather (cold, crappy, rainy, and sometimes snowy), and the holidays…. not many folks want to be out looking or selling during the holidays. Because of these reasons, home typically ‘sit’ on the market for a bit longer. This is good for buyers because it gives people time to think before jumping on a home and making an offer, and because the market is a bit ‘softer’ during these months, there are less multiple offer situations and more sellers are willing to pay some closing costs. The down side of these months is that there aren’t usually as many homes for sale on the market….this is an upside for the seller. The second BEST months of the year to be a buyer are JULY and AUGUST… why? because again….it’s HOT, and surprisingly the hotter it is the less people are out looking at homes. People want to go the lakes, rivers, and beaches when it is hot….they don’t want to go look at homes. Also, there is less buyer competition during these months because of the childcare costs, and vacations. One of the pluses about the summer months over the winter months is that there is usually a lot more homes for sale during these months. The craziest time of year to be a buyer is always during February through June as this is usually the busiest time as people have tax refunds to use for down payments (if you don’t have one though there are programs to help with this), and closing costs. February and June can go either way….depending on the year, but during this time there tends to be less homes on the market and a LOT more buyer competition so more multiple offers, homes sell for more than listing price, and sellers are less likely to pay any closing costs.
So what if you have a home to sell, and need to buy one too? The summer and winter months are your best friend too. The spring might be easier to sell, but as a buyer you will have a more difficult time with that ‘sell my home first’ contingency (more about this next blog). The summer and winter months will give you a more solid buyer, and availability to purchase your new home with being contingent on the sale of your current home.
Does this explain the price drops you are seeing? Yes… the market is always on steroids during the spring, and when people list during the summer they see this, but as the home sits on the market for a bit longer, the price drops start happening. For buyers this is good…. multiple offers are difficult for everyone, and many buyers need some closing costs assistance. If you are a buyer…. go look at homes when it is hot as hades out there… it is a good thing!
Does this mean that prices will keep coming down? Not that we see, but we (as an industry) don’t think prices will continue to rise as they have been doing. Real estate tends to run on a 10 year cycle, and yes, we are nearing (or are at) the top of the cycle again. Interest rates are going up, and we don’t see those going down anytime soon. As interest rates go up, home prices will get ‘softer’. Remember that you are pre-approved for a monthly home payment (not a purchase price). The monthly home payment is directly related to interest rates….so as rates go up, a buyer is pre-approved for less. I’m talking to my buyers right now, and reminding them that the home they purchase is really a 7-10 year home.
We see many more homeowners following the interest rates, and seeing home prices start to soften, so we are seeing more home inventory hitting the market….again… this is a good thing as it will ease up the low supply/high demand that caused home prices to skyrocket.
Please remember a couple of things….I might have been called a witch a time or two, but my powers of seeing the future are not very good. My magic wand is a hit and miss, and that silly 8 ball lies to me quite frequently. All we can do is listen to the economists, watch and follow the trends, and rely of past economic predictions.
Good news is that YES, due to higher inventory and lower demand and this infernal heat, we ARE seeing price drops.
So what about the market? Well, the market is seeing some changes as well….with the higher interest rates folks aren’t getting pre-approved for as much as they were getting pre-approved for. Those homeowners in the higher price ranges are on the market for longer and reducing prices to find buyers. It starts in the higher price ranges first and gradually starts moving down…..but the lower price ranges will always have the most buyers looking.
Is there a crash coming? Not that anyone sees….no… What the economists are talking about is a ‘market correction’ where rising interest rates control the skyrocketing home prices.
Now for those of you who love this heat…. I am too pale, and my hair is too frizzy for this kind of madness…. 🙂

I hope that explains this a bit, but if you have any questions, or comments please call or email me anytime! I am here to help…

Your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email, text, or facebook me anytime. I am, as always, happy to help!

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics: Contingencies, Rentback, and Pre-Possession (oh my!),
Buyers Due Diligence, &….
What happens after an offer is made?

Last Week: Why do deals fall through?

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

sewer vs septic


Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Tuesday, June 19th , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, June 30th, from 10am-1pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Tuesday, July 11th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! 😀
~~~~~~~~~

Happy Monday!

Incredibles 2 was ….Incredible! I think it was (almost) worth the wait! 🙂 ….and THANK YOU for coming out to the Client Appreciation event to see the movie with Chris Berg and I. We love these events, and we hope you do as well. Our next Client Appreciation will be Fantastic Beasts, and Where to Find Them…part 2.
This is just our small way of saying, “THANK YOU” for your continued support, friendship, and oh yes, referrals. We appreciate YOU so much. .

So, this week let’s talk about septic and sewer… this comes up quite frequently in our area….and it is important. This week we are going to talk about what people don’t like to think about in your home. Many areas in Clark County are still on Septic systems, and not hooked up to the Sewer. This, of course, makes sense in rural areas where you don’t expect sewer hook-up, but many places in Vancouver are still on septic as well as the sewer lines are not available there. However, sometimes the sewer line is there, but the home is still on a private septic system. I grew up on a septic system… both at my grandparents home that was on acreage & at my mothers home that was on a septic…in Vancouver, and by a hospital. It is surprising to some people just how many homes in Vancouver are still on a septic. For me, septic isn’t a big deal. It just has to be maintained, and as a homeowner, you have to be careful what you *ahem* flush. Homes with a septic shouldn’t have a garbage disposal as they aren’t equipped to handle that.

What is a septic system? How Septic Systems Work A typical septic system contains two major components: a septic tank and a soil drainfield. The septic tank: ♦ Removes solids, which helps protect the soil drainfield from clogging that can result in premature failure of the onsite system. ♦ Digests a portion of the solids and stores the remaining portion. Up to 50% of the solids that remain in the tank decompose. The remaining 50% accumulates in the bottom of the tank as sludge. When the level of sludge exceeds the tank’s holding capacity, the sewage has less time to settle before leaving the tank. Eventually, the sludge level increases enough to allow solids to enter into the drainfield, resulting in damage to the field and the need for extensive repairs. The soil drainfield: ♦ Is located underground in an unsaturated soil area on your property. ♦ Further treats the effluent through physical, chemical, and biological processes. The field consists of a series of underground perforated pipes installed in a one-foot deep layer of washed gravel, or a series of plastic chamber units. Here, the effluent is distributed, stored, and ultimately applied to the soil for treatment. After filtering through the soil, the treated effluent enters the groundwater level for final disposal.

A sewer system is, of course, is a city/county maintained sewage disposal system. The city/county is responsible for the care and maintenance of the sewage lines UNTIL it hits your property lines. Once all pipes hit your property line, the maintenance & repair responsibility is the homeowners.

Maintenance of your septic system?The lack of septic tank maintenance can cause sewage to back up into your house or solids to overflow to the drainfield. Once solids overflow and leave through the tank outlet, they can quickly clog a drain field to the point that a new one is required. Most septic tanks need to be pumped every three to five years, depending on the tank size and the amount and type of solids entering the tank. The inspection of the sludge and scum levels is the only way to determine when a tank needs to be pumped. This is not necessarily a pleasant task, but can be done relatively easily. Septic tank pumping firms are available to perform the inspection. Your septic needs inspected every 2 years and that inspection on file with the Clark County Health Department. An average septic system needs pumped every 3-5 years.

So what if you have, or buy a home that is on septic and the sewer comes in your area/street? Do you have to hook up to it? Actually you don’t. If your septic system is in good working order you can decline to hook up to the sewer. I sold 2 homes this week that were on a septic system….even though the sewer runs in front of the house, and one of the buyers was using her VA loan. You can buy a home on a septic system with a FHA or VA loan….even if there is a sewer line is available. While you do not have to hook up to the sewer if your septic is in good working order there is an ‘if’ here…. If your septic system fails though…then yes, you will need to hook up to the sewer. However, the sewer line has to be within so many feet of the home for that to happen. So what is the cost to hook up to the sewer? Roughly about $7,000-$15,000. What is the cost of a new septic system? Roughly about $7,000-$15,000. Yes, that is a lot of money, but there is help for it….”Vancouver’s Sewer Connection Incentive Program (SCIP) extends public wastewater main lines to areas where septic systems were initially installed because sewer wasn’t available then, typically areas that were later annexed into the city. Through SCIP, we are working with homeowners to provide an easy and affordable solution to change from septic systems to safe, reliable public sewer.”

Now…just in case you haven’t noticed, I have shamelessly plagiarized parts of this email from the Clark County & City of Vancouver websites For more information you can go to the following websites: www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/propertyowners & www.cityofvancouver.us/publicworks/page/sewer-connection-incentive-program-scip.

Well, that is this weeks crappy discussion! LOL …sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email, text, or facebook me anytime. I am, as always, happy to help!

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics: Buyers Due Diligence,
What are the ‘Hidden’ Costs of Buying a Home? …..
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? ….. &….
What happens after an offer is made?

Last Week: Showing homes…things buyers & sellers should know.

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999)

Seeing homes… what buyers & sellers should know

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes: real estate not hgtv

Saturday, June 16th , from 9m-12pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)
Tuesday, June 19th, from 5m-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Ceneter, conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
                                ~~~~~~~~~
Happy sunny weather!! 
  It’s that time again (and again!)…  CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT time… Yay!!  😀
Saturday, June 16 from 3pm-6pm.
Chris Berg & I would like to invite our clients to come watch a movie with us.  Didn’t we just have one?  Well, yes…yes, we did and we had so much fun that we want to do it again!
Which one now? Well, it involves some Disney, NO CAPES, a family, and a very long wait!  
 Come join us for The Incredibles 2!!
This is just our small way of saying, “THANK YOU” for your continued support, friendship, and oh yes, referrals. We appreciate YOU so much. Come watch a movie with us!  There’s always room for
friends and family too.  🙂
We do need rsvp’s, and those can be made via Facebook or email to either Chris Berg (cberg@pcmloan.com) or Tracie DeMars (traciedemars@aol.com) for right now.  
We are always excited for the client appreciation events, and it’s almost as exciting for us as getting someone’s offer accepted on their dream home… or getting an offer signed around on the home they’re selling.  I know people think that Real Estate is about houses, and while, yes…that is partly correct, it isn’t completely correct.  😀  Real Estate is more about the relationships we form with our clients, and assisting them with their goals. 
  As we’ve talked about, once you hire a Realtor to help you with your home adventure, you are ready for the ‘fun’ part…..LOOKING AT HOMES!  🙂  This is always an exciting time for buyers, and it should be!  Every home you pull up to has the possibility to be ‘the one’….The one you make an offer on, the one that you buy, the ONE that becomes YOUR HOME…and it is very exciting.  For the sellers though, it is very stressful because currently it is THEIR home, and they’re leaving so that strangers can come in.  As a Realtor, we are trying to make this as easy as possible for both the buyer and seller, but we need help…

From the homeowners (sellers), we are asking that the home be available to show, that the home be clean, nothing of value is being left out, all medicines are put away and out of sight (not left in bathrooms or kitchen cabinets), anything that a seller wants excluded from the sale is noted, that sweet pups are either removed or kenneled, that sweet kitties are noted as inside only or inside/outside ok, and that please, please… homeowners (sellers) be gone for showings.  As always, there is more to it than this, but that is a different class….and email.  You can always call me for more information when you are selling your home. 
 
From the buyers….it gets a bit more complicated…  before we go house shopping, we are asking that you have a pre-approval letter with a solid lender, we are asking that you do not look at homes above your price range, we are asking that you have thought about the Top Three things you want in a home (so we can show you homes that have those items you value most), and that you help us help you….  
    When a Realtor opens the lockbox to show you the home, we are taking responsibility for everything that happens from that moment on….until we lock up the house and put the key back into the lockbox.  As I say all the time…  Real Estate is NOT like HGTV…  you don’t just get to wander the home while your Realtor sits outside…  we must be with you at all times when touring your potential new home.  Sometimes this can be like herding cats, but we understand your excitement…  just please, please as you are touring the home, and we know you have your family with you, please…we must all stay together.  Don’t make me sing to you here…..
    As cool as those toys look, I’m sorry but the kiddos can’t play with them, and sorry…but you can’t jump on the beds either.  It’s ok to open cupboards, and closets, but we can’t open dressers, or go through someone else’s personal items.  Touring a home is a VISUAL thing….sorry.  Yes, you can use the bathroom. 
    When it’s wet out (which it hasn’t been lately), it’s always a good take off our shoes before we enter someone else’s home so be sure to wear easy on & off shoes.
    When we are looking at homes, often we have more than one home to look at, and many homes are owner occupied so your Realtor makes appointments.  We do the best we can to make sure we have enough time to look at the homes, but we need to stay within our timeframes as the sellers are waiting to come home after we leave, or there are other Realtors waiting to show the home.  I promise we are not trying to ‘rush’ you through the home…we are just trying to stay within the timeframes so that you can see the other homes on your list. 
    With the real estate market being so crazy right now, it’s important that if a home comes up that you like, that you let your Realtor know as soon as possible so we can make an appointment for you to see it.  Your Realtor should be sending you a list of homes as they come on the market for you to check….drive by the homes…check out those neighborhoods….and let’s make an appointment to go see the inside of the home.
    Do not trust Internet photos!  Realtors hire professional photographers for our listings for a reason.  🙂  Internet photos are a lot like internet dating…you don’t know what you’re going to get when you get there  
 
   Like the neighborhood, but not sure about the house?  Let’s at least go check out the inside!  You never know as you can’t judge a book (or a house) by its cover. 
    ASK QUESTIONS!!  For heavens sake…this is a home you are thinking about buying…  ask questions!  As your Realtor, we are here to help!  If we can’t answer your questions, we can at least set up in the right direction to get those answers. 
Buying a home is a very emotional experience.  Your Realtor is here to point out pros/cons, and to help you…. Trust your heart, but use your head…  or your Realtor.  🙂  Remember that we work FOR you.
Thank you, as always, for reading this. Now, Memorial Day just passed, and as nice as it was to spend the day with our family….let’s take a moment to remember WHY we have this holiday….to remember our brave men and women who fought, and died, so that we can enjoy our time with our families.  Memorial Day isn’t just about BBQ’s, fun, and family…  it’s about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  We Remember….

I hope this helps you this week!  Please, if you have any questions, please feel free to call, email, text, or even facebook me anytime.  I am always here to help!   
Information is power, and I hope that I am help you!  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
 
I hope that explains this a bit, but if you have any questions, or comments please call or email me anytime!  Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me.  I would love to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure!  🙂

    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
 
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .…disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
 
Upcoming Topics:
Credit 101…. part 2 (with information about credit class)
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,
Buyers Due Diligence …what you need to know  &….
What does an Agent do for me?


Last Week:  Loans & Down Payment Information

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

 

Loan Descriptions & Down Payment Assistance Programs

normalUpcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, May 12th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College) 


Saturday, May 19th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner


Hiya~
 

Good news!!  Chris Berg is putting together a class on credit.  I am going to email out the 2nd part of the credit 101 email blog after I have a date for his class.  A lot of questions were emailed because of that email.  We appreciate your questions, and truly want to help with those.  We think the class will be very helpful.

Thank you to everyone who came to the Client Appreciation Event this past Saturday for the Avengers:  Infinity War.  Wow!  That was CRAZY!  I have a ton of theories on what is going to happen for part 2 next year…  I’d love to hear yours too 😀
Please don’t forget that our NEXT Client Appreciation is on Saturday, 6/16, for the Incredibles 2.  We’ve all been waiting a long time for this sequel.  I’m crossing my fingers that it is worth the wait.  My oldest daughter is pregnant and hormonal…so if it isn’t….  well, let’s just home that the sequel is awesome.

So, this week we’re going to spend some time talking about down payment.  Like Closing Costs, or money that folks need to buy a home….there seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding this. Many banks, or lenders, will tell you different things…or different down payment dollar amounts that you will need because that is what THEIR lending institution will allow, but there’s always more options.  Please remember that I am NOT a lender.  Please call or email Chris Berg at Pinnacle Mortgage for more information on any of these, or feel free to come to one of the classes.  We are here to help.  Chris’s information is:  503-320-0925  & cberg@pcmloan.com…  or you can Facebook him as well.

FHA:

FHA is the king loan as most folks will use this when buying a home.  Chris says that, with FHA, you can buy a home with as low as a 580 credit score, but it’s rough…  620, or higher,  and you will love him.  FHA requires the lowest down payment, and that is 3.5% of the purchase price.  If you have your down payment, the lender can help with your closing costs.  We will talk about Closing costs next week.

Conventional:

You can get a conventional loan with a down payment of 3% of the purchase price if you or the home meet certain criteria or 5% down if you make too much money for the program, but interest rates tend to be higher with this loan, and the best rates go to those folks with 720 or higher credit scores.

USDA or Rural:

This is a zero down payment loan….(remember that you do still have to have some money to buy a home…see last weeks email).  USDA is location specific though as you have to buy in their approved areas….and they don’t like barns, or acreage.
 
VA:
Have to be a veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran who died in service.  No down payment required.  This really is the best loan program there is, and frankly our military vets & folks deserve it.  
 
Those are the 4 basic loans and, in some form or another, most lenders work with them or offer variations of them.  However, what if you don’t have money for a down payment?  You have your earnest money, your inspection fee, and your appraisal fee (unless you’re VA which includes the appraisal fee)…but you really want to buy your OWN home?  ….and you don’t want to live in a USDA approved area?  You want to live in Vancouver?  Well, there’s programs for that too!
 
From Chris:
 
Here is the information on a couple of loans that the big banks and credit unions don’t offer that may help you get into a home now:
 
WSHFC Home Advantage: This is for Washington residents buying a home that they are going to use as their primary residence.  They offer a 2nd mortgage to cover your down payment with 0% interest and no payments on that 2nd mortgage for 30 years.  Also only need a 620 credit score to qualify.  Those are the pros.  Cons include higher interest rate on the 1st mortgage, more closing costs, 3rd party underwriting, and there is a max income (for all living in the home) that you have to be under.
 
Chenoa Down Payment Assistance:  This is a cool option.  Works for multiple states (including WA and OR).  First mortgage is FHA and the 2nd mortgage (if you are under the max income threshold) that covers your down payment is forgiven after you have made your on time payments for 36 months.  Good news is that if you make more than the max income for the program you can still do it, you just have to pay the 2nd mortgage back.  Cons are mostly in the fact that the rate for the 1st mortgage is higher than if you had a down payment.
 
Long story short, there are several low/zero down payment options for you to consider.  You will always get a better deal if you have a down payment but if you don’t I have got you covered.  There are also options and avenues for a down payment too.
 
 ….and don’t forget gifts.  If you have a family member who wants to help you (and can they adopt me?), gifts can be used to help with your down payment, or earnest money.  This is actually quite common.  Another way to get a down payment is to use your 401k.  If you have a 401k, or retirement account, most of those have special options that you can use to get money out for your down payment.  So…whether you have your down payment, or you need help with a down payment… there are options, and help available.  We are always here to answer any questions you might have.  It’s what we do…  🙂 
 
            Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       
 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
 
If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email,  text, or facebook me anytime.  I am, as always, happy to help!
 
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 
 
Upcoming Topics: 
Credit 101… part 2….  with information for the credit class
Flash vs Bones…what should a buyer be looking for in homes? 
What happens after an offer is made?  and
Water?  What water?  oh… the water under the house…..
 
Last Week:  Credit 101… part one 
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com

traciedemars@aol.com
“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

Credit 101… Part One (and great movie trailer!)

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Tuesday, April 17th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Saturday, April 28th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
    Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
 Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner

Happy Weekend!

….  talking about Client Appreciation…we were talking about Client Appreciation…weren’t we?   We have two coming up.  Avengers: the infinity war will be on Saturday, May 5 from 3pm-6pm.  Yes, we are aware that Disney moved the premier up to the 28th, but they’re Disney so they can do whatever they want.  We, however, are NOT Disney, and we will be at the Clark County PUD Home & Garden show the last weekend of April.  Stop by and see us if you are going.  🙂  Our next Client Appreciation after that will be for The Incredibles: 2 on Saturday, June 16, from 3pm-6pm.  We do have limited tickets to both, and of course, limited 21+ tickets.  Please email either Chris Berg (cberg@pcmloan.com), or myself to reserve tickets….yes, even if you have already stated you want to go.  Due to limited tickets we are going to limit tickets to 6 right now.  If we have open tickets towards to the end (and we usually do), we will open tickets up to those who want more.  Thank you for your continued business, and for your referrals!  We appreciate you….  check out the trailer!  😀  More informational Blogs are available at www.learningtobuyahome.com.

This week some credit issues came up with some clients, and I have been getting quite a few inquiries from people regarding credit…so….let’s spend a couple of weeks going over credit.  
I know that ‘sometimes’ I can go a bit long (sorry!) so I am trying to keep it shorter for you by breaking this up into 2 parts….   
 
   Credit Basics…
Your credit score is a 3 digit number that lenders and institutions use to predict how you will pay your bills, or debts.  The score ranges from 300-850, and the average US citizen score is in the mid 600’s.  This score is calculated using your credit payment history from those companies that report to a credit agency and go on your report.
There are several versions of the credit score, and each entity may look at something different, but most entities in your life will look at your credit score….your insurance company, a prospective employer, your bank, a car lender, a mortgage lender, etc.  The most commonly used version for your credit score is the FICO score (Fair Isaac Company).  Lenders and creditors look at this score to decide if you are a safe risk, or not. 
How is it calculated?
Some parts of your bill paying history are more important than others, and are given different weights when calculating your score.  Now, please remember that while Fair Isaac owns all the details of the exact information on how a score is calculated, we do know what information is used.
Paying Your Bills ON TIME = 35%
Remember that, with banks and creditors, it is all about risk so they are most concerned about whether or not you pay your bills.  The best indicator of this is how you’ve paid your bills in the past.  Late payments and collections will affect your credit score and the more recent the delinquencies, the more they hurt the credit score.  If they are older, and you can show that you haven’t had any recently (at least a year), this is better.
How Much Debt You Have = 30%
Credit utilization is the amount of debt you have in comparison to your credit limits.  The creditors and lenders use this to see how you manage your debt…..the closer you are to your limits equals the lower your credit score will be.  Lenders and creditors want to see you about 30% or less because it shows 1) you can manage your debt and your income
2) you aren’t using credit to live on
3) in case something does happen you do have some credit to fall back on until you get on your feet.
Length of Credit History = 15%
How long have you had your loans?  Your credit card(s)?  The longer your credit history goes back, the better your score because you have something that creditors and lenders can track.  It gives them more information on your spending habits, and your potential for risk.  Don’t close a long standing account for a new one with a lower interest rate….it will hurt your credit score more than keeping that old card open.
Inquiries = 10%
To a creditor/lender, too many applications for credit can mean that you are taking on a lot of debt, or that you could be in some kind of financial trouble….and that you are a ‘high risk’.  Any inquiry made on your credit (yes, even those “would you like to apply for our credit card to receive 25% off of your purchase”), can remain on your credit report for 2 years.  Of course, your credit score calculation only considers applications made within the last year, but creditors and lenders can see everything….
Every inquiry is a ‘ding’ on your credit score, but if you are searching for a large loan, such as a car loan, or a home loan, you can make so many inquiries within a specified time and it will only count as one ding.  The credit bureaus do understand that you aren’t trying to buy 3 homes, but shopping around.  You only have a short window for this though…and remember, if a lender sees that you have been shopping for a car loan previous to searching for home loan that this could be a red flag.
What Kind of Credit Do You Have? = 10%
You need to have a good mix of credit on your account…some long term debt, like a car loan, and some short term debt, like a credit card.  This shows you have experience managing a mix of credit.   Most car, student, and home loans are known as installment debt as these are fixed payments.  Credit cards are revolving debt as the payments are in direct relation to how you have used it.  High debt is an issue in relation to how much income you have….but that is a different blog…
Having different types of debt is only 10%, so it isn’t a real big deal….unless you have no other information.
No Credit?
I understand the dream is to live debt free, and with no credit, but the problem with this is that if you have NO credit then creditors/lenders, etc., have nothing to base your history, and your credit worthiness (aka: risk) on.  Most folks have to get credit, or a loan at some time….whether you want a home, or a car, but without credit this is very difficult.  At this point, your lender may have you open some credit lines for 6 months or more to grow your credit history before they can give you a loan.  It is harder to get a loan with NO credit than it is with BAD credit.  Bad credit can be fixed, but no credit has to be earned.  I know…bizarre, but there you are.
Should you pay off all your debt first…before talking with a lender?
Not necessarily. Why?  For example, one of my recent clients had 3 old debts from a divorce, and a bad split up.  He had 2, and she had one.  My clients wanted to pay them off, but the lender told them to wait as they had a mid-score of 630 already which is fine to purchase a home.  Now, at closing, the underwriters made it a condition of the financing to have those 3 bills paid off by bringing in a check at signing for those.  My clients asked why they couldn’t have just paid it off at beginning like they wanted to.  Their lender told them that had they paid those off first it would have been a ‘hit’ on their credit that would have taken them under the 620 needed to buy a home, but by waiting it wasn’t an issue.
I know, I know…crazy!  There is it though.  Answer is to wait!  Sit down and talk with a lender like Chris Berg at Pinnacle Home Mortgage and talk about your credit report FIRST….before you do anything.  Get a game plan and then go from there educated on your options, choices, and your next steps.  We are, as always…here to help YOU!
Please remember in this crazy market that you do not get T-Bone steaks for the price of hamburger…Look ONLY at homes within your budget.  ALWAYS ask questions, and expect answers without a lot of lingo.  I was always told that if you can’t explain something in a way that the other person can understand clearly, it is because you don’t understand it yourself.  🙂

I’m always available to answer your questions, so feel free to reach out to me anytime.  🙂
 

     Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       

 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text.  We are here to help.
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?  and
Water?  What water?  oh… the water under the house…..
Last Week:  Property Taxes… the elephant in the room
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com
 

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

Hiring a Realtor? Questions to ask….

she's crazyUpcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, April 14th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Tuesday, April 17th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, April 28th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
    Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner
Happy Spring!  ….or 3rd winter.. whatever…

Anyone else feel like Mother Nature missed the memo this year?  Winter hit late, and now that it is spring.. she just doesn’t seem ready to let go.  I do know that feeling myself though… it’s hard to stop when you are on a roll.  🙂

  So, before we jump into this weeks topic, I want to remind you to send me your best pictures for the 2019 calendar that we will be giving away at this winters Client Appreciation…..and talking about Client Appreciation…  We have two coming up.  Avengers: the infinity war will be on Saturday, May 5 from 3pm-6pm.  Yes, we are aware that Disney moved the premier up to the 28th, but they’re Disney so they can do whatever they want.  We, however, are NOT Disney, and we will be at the Clark County PUD Home & Garden show the last weekend of April.  Stop by and see us if you are going.  🙂  Our next Client Appreciation after that will be for The Incredibles: 2 on Saturday, June 16, from 3pm-6pm.  We do have limited tickets to both, and of course, limited 21+ tickets.  Please email either Chris Berg (cberg@pcmloan.com), or myself to reserve tickets….yes, even if you have already stated you want to go.  Due to limited tickets we are going to limit tickets to 6 right now.  If we have open tickets towards to the end (and we usually do), we will open tickets up to those who want more.  Thank you for your continued business, and for your referrals!  We appreciate you


So let’s talk a bit about agency and hiring an agent this week…
So why is Agency so important?  Because Agency is what we DO…and you need to be aware of what to expect from your agent.  The biggest thing I can tell you is that a Realtor is NOT A SALESPERSON!  The only thing a Realtor is selling is themselves…their education, their experience, their talents, their level of customer/client service, their personality, their ethics….who ‘they’ are, and how that Realtor can help you with your home adventure.  Really, all Realtors essentially do the same thing, but it’s HOW we do it, who we are as a person, and what each individual agent brings to the table, that makes a difference. Once your Realtor is hired to help you buy (or sell) a home, they’re not (or shouldn’t be) selling anything.  Once hired, that Realtor works FOR you…that Realtor should be using all those things that made you want to hire her (or him) to your benefit as they represent you.  Agency is how we do it, and how we represent you.  Agency is the relationship between you, and your realtor.
  Again…so WHY is Agency so important for you to know and understand?  Agency is the relationship between you, and your realtor, right?  So, when you hire a Realtor to help you buy (or sell) a home, you are trusting that Realtor to put your interests first, to represent YOUR best interests, to be truthful (even if that stings a bit), to be honest, to be act as your representative.  You’re trusting this Realtors experience, knowledge, care, education, etc…and trusting that this Realtor is going to provide you with client customer service for this, the biggest transaction, of your life.  This all sounds correct, right?  That Realtor should not be trying to ‘sell’ you on anything.  This is YOUR home adventure, and our main job is to help you get keys on ‘the’ home you want.
  Please….LIKE your agent!  Too many times I talk to people who do NOT like their Realtor, and folks… I’m just saying that that’s not right!  The average home sale in Clark County is over $330,000…that is a over a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS…why are you going to trust that kind of money to someone you don’t even like?
  The National Association of Realtors has a Code of Ethics that every agent is legally bound by…or at least…is supposed to be…  The first article is the duty to clients, and it states, “When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.”
 
BAM!!!  If I had a mic, I’d drop it.  😀  
  Some things I want you to know…whether you are buying or selling a home, everyone is legally entitled to their own realtor representation…and yes, this has come up recently.  Sadly, a realtor recently told someone that they could not have their own representation…that this particular realtor refused to work with another agent(s) on that home that the buyer wanted to buy.  Legally, EVERYONE is entitled to representation of their own when buying or selling their home.  If something sounds, ‘off’ to you…ask.  
  What many people fail to realize is that, as a home buyer, or a home seller, YOU are the boss.  You are hiring someone to help you with one of the most important stages of your life.  YOU ARE HIRING SOMEONE…. this is an interview.  What questions should you be asking?
 
HOW long have you been in the real estate business?  
   Do they have experience, a network of people that they can contact to help?  Nothing wrong with a newbie, but do you know everything about a job when you first start out?  How do you learn?  In real estate, we are always learning, but do you want to be the transaction that an agent ‘cuts their teeth’ on?
HOW long have you been licensed?  
   This ties into the last question.  Sometimes an agent worked with another licensed agent as an unlicensed assistant so they could have a couple of years in the real estate industry, but very few (or none) as a licensed agent.  Again, nothing wrong with a ‘newbie’ agent….often times they have more time to help you vs an experienced agent who has other clients we are working with as well.  An experienced agent usually has a pipeline of clients and closings so we’re not as concerned with ‘pushing’ a sale because we don’t need to.  Newer agents usually don’t have that pipeline so may be more concerned about getting you into (or out of) a home as fast as possible.
WHAT did you do prior to real estate?  What was your other careers?
   Why is this important?  Buying, or selling a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make.  You are hiring someone to assist you with this decision.  What qualifications does this person have to help you do so?  Did they work in marketing?  Office management?  Accounting?  Did they wait tables?  Work in a factory?  Were they a car salesperson?  What skills and life experience does that agent bring to the table, and how can it help you?  
DO you have any college education or degrees?
   Again, see above…this is your largest financial decision….how is this person qualified to help you with that?  What background do they have that will assist you?
WILL I be working with you, or an assistant?
   Sometimes you hire an agent to help you, but then you never see them….you’ve been handed off to an assistant who may not have the qualifications you had asked about to that other agent that you ‘thought’ you had hired.  Sometimes you hired the assistant because they had the qualities and the qualifications you were looking for, and you are surprised that they are actually part of a team.
 
WHAT days/times are you available?
   This is pretty important as you need to know if the times you are available are going to work with the times that your agent is available.  Are they there for you when you need them?  Or can you never get a hold of him/her?
 
HOW many homes to you sell (on average) per year?
   Why does this matter?  Most people think that a ‘full time’ agent sells about 12 homes a year…but really that is a part time agent.  It’s a ‘gross’ check vs ‘net’ check kind of thing…and in real estate there are a lot of expenses, dues, fees, and taxes.  Being self employed has some great things, but they come with expensive costs and overheads.  For example, in my family my husband works for health insurance only… I am the main source of income, and to ‘break even’ I have to sell, at least, 2 homes a month.  Of course, a lot of that depends on the types/values of the homes an agent sells.  I work mainly with first time and move up buyers/sellers vs some agent friends of mine who sell luxury homes.  They don’t help as many people as I do, but make more.  You know… like that supervisor at work who makes more than you, but does less work?  LOL
WHAT is the average price of the homes you help people buy/sell?
   This does tie into the last question….  If someone works mainly with luxury homes, do they understand the market for the type of home you are buying or selling?  Not too long ago, I had a call from someone who wanted to sell their 4000 sq ft home in a very swanky Portland neighborhood.  I actually referred them to a different agent for 2 reasons…one reason being that I don’t work in the Portland area and I believe that agents should stick to the areas they know.  Not all markets are the same, and I am not helping someone if I am taking on an unfamiliar market, am I?  …and that’s also kind of the second reason…they have a luxury home and that is a different selling, and buying market.  Honestly, they are better serviced by the agent I referred them to as that agent specializes in Portland, and in that high price range.  I’m always too busy wondering how long it would take to clean it!!
DO you have another job besides real estate?  
   This kind of ties into the question about how many homes does an agent sell per year as many part time agents have other jobs to supplement their income.  This also ties into when that agent is going to be available to help you.  Real estate isn’t just about showing homes…there is SO much more to it.  Phone calls, marketing, searching for homes on the internet, calling about that home, calling other agents, other vendors, paperwork, more paperwork, talking, phone calls, texting, emails, title companies, inspections, appraisals, lenders, etc… it’s an 80 hour a week job some weeks.  There are no ‘real’ vacations as you are always ‘on duty’.
 
HOW do you feel about Dual Agency?
  This is an interesting question as you don’t know what I’m talking about…so let me explain as quickly as I can…  When a seller hires an agent that ‘sellers agent’ should be working for THAT seller.  They will be marketing the home, and ‘selling’ that home to buyers, and buyer agents…in a nut shell the sellers agent is selling that home for the seller for the highest possible price and lowest amount of money out of the sellers pocket book (ie buyer closing costs and repairs).  A buyer hires an agent to help them find that ‘perfect’ home.  To work with them with the lender, to negotiate the offer trying to get that home for them in a multiple offer situation (and maybe for less?), to negotiate closing costs, repairs, to be with the buyers for the home inspection, to help understand appraisal, paperwork, the process…and to support the buyers from contract to keys…and beyond.  Real estate is a relationship business, and we LIVE for referrals.  You should always feel comfortable talking to, and contacting your agent ANYTIME with ANY questions…before, during, and even years after you get keys.  
As you can see, the sellers agent and the buyers agent kind of have two different agendas.  So, if you call the sellers agent to help you buy the home, and that agent works for the sellers, and the buyers on the SAME home…that is a dual agent.  Who is that agent really representing?  Dual agency isn’t illegal in the state of Washington, it’s just my opinion that each side should always have their own representation.  
Builders agents are dual agents which is why you should always bring your buyers agent with you when looking at have a new home built.  Teams are dual agents.  
Who is representing YOU?  Who is working for, and looking out for you?
 
For sellers:  ask about marketing, and ask that the agent go over the comps with you so that you can ‘see’ how the agent came up with their suggested sales price.  We have a class for seller education as well….and yes, they are free and non-promotional.  You can find those class dates on the website (type in my name), or you can email me.
DO I have to sign a contract to work with you?
   If you are selling a home, there is a sellers contract that you will need to sign.  This contract gives your agent the right to represent you for marketing, offers, and negotiations.  But what about if you are buying a home?  There is a form called a Buyers Agency Form, that is a contract between the buyer and the buyers agent.  As a buyer you do not have to sign this form.  As a buyer, I probably wouldn’t sign this paper, no matter how good an agent makes it sound.  Real estate and lending is all about verbiage and there are a ton of ‘scripts’ that can make any form sound reasonable….and good for you, when it may not actually be so.  In real estate, the buyers agency form is a pretty hotly contested piece of paper…there are agents who won’t work with you if you don’t sign it, and there are others (like me) who think it’s awful.  Customer loyalty is built with good customer service…not a piece of paper…but this is only MY opinion.  🙂  If you, as a buyer, choose to sign a buyers agency form, you are now legally in contract with that agent to buy a home with them.  Technically you always have the right to fire someone, but that is a legal contract for a period of time for a specific purpose.  The first question that, as an agent, I always ask a potential client is if they have signed a contract with a previous agent.  This protects everyone involved….it protects the other agent as I don’t want to step on another agents toes, it protects the potentials clients since if they are in a contract with a previous agent then they need to either let that contract expire, or deal with it in another way before hand, and it protects me because getting that call from another agent that they have a contract with one of your clients is not a good one.  So what happens if one of my clients then talks to another agent and signs a contract with that other agent?  Well, then they’re not my client anymore….they’re now they other agents client.  No matter what an agents says, or which ‘script’ they’re following…. you do NOT have to sign a Buyers Agency agreement to hire a Realtor.  
I’m not going to lie to you…. I know that this blog is going to ruffle some feathers, and while I debated actually sending it out…  I decided to do it anyway.  I want to say that I am not knocking anyone in my industry here.  Everyone has to choose to work the way that their ethics and morals dictate.  As a buyer, or seller, YOU need to ask the questions that mean most to you when hiring an agent.  What questions, and qualifications mean most to you?  Are you looking for someone professional looking, or someone more laid back?  Someone with a warped sense of humor, or someone more ‘traditional’?  There are a LOT of great agents out there, and some…well…  like any industry we have our share of crappy.  Sometimes you just have to go with your gut when talking with an agent, and hire the person that you are most comfortable with.  Always ask questions!  This is your adventure, and you are driving the bus…. we are just gps.  🙂


I’m always available to answer your questions, so feel free to reach out to me anytime.  🙂

     Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       

 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text.  We are here to help.   
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 
 
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?  and
Water?  What water?  oh… the water under the house…..
Last Week:  Property Taxes… the elephant in the room
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).


Property Taxes… the elephant in the room

taxesProperty Taxes…the elephant in the room
Home Buyer & Seller education & classes
 
Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
 
Saturday, March 17th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)
 
Monday, March 26th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
 
Saturday, April 14th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
 
 
 
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
….we also have Home SELLER classes available too…link on left on website
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner
 
 
Happy Monday after Daylight Savings time… aka… National Napping Day (never mind.. it is Tuesday. I took a nap instead yesterday)
 
Ok… surprise… we are going off topic *gasp*, but I am going to take a moment to talk about the one thing that has people up in arms right now… at least, all over Facebook… Property Taxes (insert scare music here). As you know from previous posts, a mortgage payment is one payment for you, but then it is broke down into payments within that payment. There’s your actual loan amount with interest. Your interest rate doesn’t change (unless you refinance), so this amount is always the same, but over the course of your home ownership you pay less on interest and more towards principal. You pay the most in interest upfront. Most folks also have some mortgage insurance and this is the cost to secure the loan….it protects the lender. Then there is the amount that goes into your ‘escrow’ account. From your escrow account is paid your homeowners/hazard insurance (flood insurance if you have it will be paid from here too), and the amount that goes toward paying your property taxes. The amount needed in your escrow account to pay these items can change, and as it does, your monthly mortgage payment will change too.
 
Property tax payment dates are weird…. they’re due on April 1 (pay period from January 1 thru June 30), and again on October 1 (pay period from July 1 thru December 31). They can be paid in full on April 1, or split with 1/2 due on April 1, and half due on October 1. I’ve seen escrow statements with either option paid by the bank.
Every year your escrow company will assess your escrow account to make sure you have enough in there, or that you have enough projected to come in via your monthly payments, to pay your insurance and taxes. If you have too much (in a declining market), you will receive a check with the option to mail it back and your payments become XX amount, or to keep the check and your payments will be XX amount….or… (and this is the case for the past couple of years now), it is projected by your escrow company that you will NOT have enough and you have one of two options … you can send a check to the escrow company and your payment will be XX, or you can increase your monthly payments to XXX to cover the difference.
 
Every year the Clark County Assessors assess the value of the home for taxes. As your home value increases, so do your property taxes. One thing to note is that they will use information that is available based on sales average from a year or so ago for that area. This is not current information. Tax assessed value is not market value… I will repeat… TAX ASSESSED VALUE IS NOT MARKET VALUE. We are in an escalating market… (aka sellers market), and home values are still going up. This is why tax assessed value is not market value because the market is always moving and changing…ebbing and flowing… and your taxes are the same for that period.
 
“For every pro…there is a con, and for every con…there is a pro” (I will give a gift card to the person who can tell me what song that line is from) ….while this is a fun song from one of my favorite Disney movies (hint, hint) it is true nonetheless. As your market value increases, so do your property taxes, and as the market declines and values go down, so will your taxes. As your market value increases, so does the amount you need to insure your home against catastrophe and calamity, so you might want to be prepared for that.
 
It really is a case of, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’…. everyone loves it when their home values go up, but no one likes it when their property taxes do. Everyone hates it when they see their home values go down…but they like it when their taxes do. Sigh…. can’t win for losing, right?
 
Be prepared though… as home values increased significantly again last year (2017), taxes will go up again next year. The higher values jump in a year… so do your property taxes.
 
I’m always available to answer your questions, so feel free to reach out to me anytime. 🙂
 
 
……and don’t forget to email me your photos for the Client Appreciation 2018 Calendar!
 
Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you. Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there…. AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
 
As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process. As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional. We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes. If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text. We are here to help.
 
 
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.
. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?
Last Week: ‘hidden’ costs & fees of buying a home….
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com
“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”
 
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

Fees & costs of buying a home… and some you might not think of…

flying money

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Saturday, March 3rd, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College) 
Thursday, March 8th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughline Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, March 17th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner
Happy Sunday evening….or Monday Morning…depending on when you see this.  🙂

Just a reminder that I am looking for your pictures for a 2019 calendar.  At the Client Appreciation event this December, we are going to offer a calendar for this next
year, but we don’t want to just put together the boring, standard calendar with the pictures that everyone has…. we want our calendar to be yours… with your pictures.  So, email me your pictures… going hiking?  Send the picture.  This past week of snow?  Where’s the picture?  Going to a fun local event?… send us a picture.  See a beautiful sunrise?  a stunning sunset?  something that just takes your breath away?  Email me those photos to traciedemars@aol.com.  I will put them on the ‘Tracie DeMars Real Estate’ facebook page, and those pictures with the most ‘likes’ will get put into the calendar, and the sender of the winning photo gets a gift card out of my ‘gift card stash’.
 
Talking about that Snow this past week… how weird was that?  It’s like Mother Nature was ‘late’ this winter and was like, “oh, we’re good now… here’s winter”.  I, for one, am glad to see rain now….weird, sideways waving rain like I have had today at my house…maybe not so much.  😀  So, what to talk about this week?  I know that I am ‘supposed’ to talk about what happens after the offer, but … I am not really that good at doing what I am ‘supposed’ to do…  😉
 
Well, the best laid plans of mice and men are always waylaid…right?   I seem to be running behind but I am determined to get this out to you!  As I’m sure you have read….the real estate market is a bit crazy right now, and most of that is because of rising interest rates, and the low inventory of homes.  I, as well as other agents, do see some change coming…  many agents I talk to have homes that will be coming on the market soon, as do I.  With homes selling so quickly, many people wanted to wait until closer to the end of the school year to put their homes on the market. So, hang in there! 
  While showing homes, we go over lots of ‘little’ things that otherwise people don’t think about.  Some of these items are the ‘hidden’ costs of buying a home….those things that you weren’t planning on, but probably should be.    Not too long ago, I was on one of the facebook swap/free/sale sites, and I was reading how some people were upset with the home buying process and the ‘hidden’ fees they weren’t told about.  It is true that there are a LOT of fees and other expenses involved with buying a home.  The point of these blogs, and of course, the home buyer classes is to give folks this information.  There shouldn’t be anything ‘hidden’ about the home buying process.  As you know, I am a big fan of not sugarcoating anything….I believe that an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie every day of the week.  You might not always like what I have to say (and that is ok), but I am not going to hold anything back from you on the off chance you might not ask me to help you buy, or sell, your home.  Personally I don’t just want to hear about the ‘good’ things about a loan, or process….I want to hear it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that I can make the best decision for me and my family based on the pros and the cons….not just the good.  So….yes, I am not going to just agree with what you read on the internet, saw on HGTV, or heard from your direct and personal circle….I am going to give you the pros and cons because this is YOUR home buying (or selling) adventure, and YOU need to make the decisions.  My job is to help you find, and have, all the information I can get you so that you can make those choices based on a full picture….not just half of one.  

   That all being said, let’s talk about the fees you can expect and some ones you might not.  I am not including down payment, or closing costs as part of this.  That will be an email in the upcoming week(s).  These are mainly fees associated with buying a home.  If you are thinking about selling a home, or know someone who is, there are some fees you need to be aware of as well.  I will post that on my facebook page at:  Tracie DeMars Real Estate, or you can contact me.  I am, as always, happy to help!
So what fees can you  expect?  There are three fees that will be needed upfront.  
Earnest Money
….earnest money is typically about $1000- $2000, but the more expensive the home means the more earnest money you will need.   Some banks (& builders) can request 1%-3% of the purchase price for earnest money.  With a bank owned property the bank will want a cashiers check.  With a regular sale, a personal check is fine.  The earnest money is deliverable upon acceptance of the offer, and not when the offer is written.  The earnest money is always made out to the title company and is refundable based upon the 4 legal reasons to back out.
 
Inspection
…the inspection is ordered after the offer is accepted.  Remember that the inspection cost is approximately $350, and is non-refundable. You, as the buyer, will hire the inspector and they work for you.  You have 10 calendar days to have the inspection done, and respond to the seller.  Don’t wait until the last minute!  Both you, as the buyer, and your buyers agent should be at the home inspection.  A typical appraisal is about 2-3 hours long.  Make sure the fee includes the dry rot and pest report….
 
 Appraisal
…the appraisal is ordered by the lender, and the lender will put in the order for the appraisal.  An appraiser comes out to the home to verify the homes value for the bank.  The bank will only lend the dollar amount that the appraiser says the home is worth.  An average appraisal costs about $600 -/+ dollars, and is paid for by the buyer.  This is another non-refundable fee.  Neither you, nor your agent, will be present at the appraisal.  With the new laws that took effect a couple years ago, neither agent, nor anyone involved in the sale are supposed to have contact with the appraiser for fear we might ‘taint’ the appraisal, or affect the numbers. 
 
If you are buying a home with a well then there may an additional fee for the well testing.  You don’t have to do that, but as a real estate agent, I would definitely advise you to do it.  Some other inspections that a buyer can have done (at their cost) are a sewer scope & a radon test.  A sewer scope is where they send a camera down the toilet to make sure the sewer lines are open, and a radon test is a company checks for radon levels in the home.  This is always a good idea if you are considering a home with a basement.  The radon test can take 3-5 days.  Again, these inspections are at a buyers expense.
These are the only fees a buyer should see before closing.  Being told another fee?  Call, text, or email me… 
Other fees?
Changing out locks
…I always advise my clients to change out the locks of their new homes.  Why?  Well, even if the sellers give you all the keys they have…there is not guarantee that there isn’t more keys running around somewhere.  I used to change out my house locks every couple of years because my kids were always losing keys.  Finally….last year… I went and purchased the the house locks that have the key pad.  It is awesome!!  I don’t worry about lost keys anymore.  Every family member has a code, and what is the best is that I can add and delete codes as needed.  So…go away for a couple of days, and have a house sitter?  Give them a code,and when you get back you simply delete the code. I tell you….worth it!  
Mailbox key
…yes, legally you are not supposed to copy the mailbox key, but a lot of people do.  Mail is not something you want to mess with.  Take your HUD form down to the post office, and have them re-key the box, and get a new key.  Cost is about $75, but for peace of mind…that isn’t much.  
Paint
…you will probably want to paint some, or all, the rooms of your new home.  Each gallon of paint runs about $25.
Minor repairs
…during the home inspection the inspector will probably point out some minor cosmetic repairs that will need to be done with your new home.  Remember that, at the home inspection, we are looking for any repairs that will affect the safety of the home, or occupants…or anything that may need a contractor to repair.  All homes have some repairs that will need to be done by the (new) homeowner….it is part of being a homeowner.  Don’t forget that the worst thing a homeowner can do is to defer maintenance.
Lawn supplies
…did you come from an apartment?  Well, most likely now you have a yard.  You will need a lawnmower to start with.  There will be other lawn equipment that will follow…weed eaters, trimmers, wheel barrels, shovels, and a myriad other things that come with having a yard.  
Appliances
…don’t forget that washer, dryer, and fridges don’t come with the home.  If you don’t already have these appliances then you may also be purchasing a washer, dryer, and/or a fridge.
Curtains/Blinds
…if your new home doesn’t already have some then this may be on your ‘to buy’ list.  Sometimes even if your home does have some, you may want new ones.  
House Cleaner/Carpet Cleaner
…when a home is vacant you know exactly what you’re going to be walking into when your buyers agent (hopefully me LOL) gives you keys, but… when the home is owner occupied, you don’t.  Yes, you can and will do a walk thru of the home before closing, but it will still be occupied.  In many cases, when the home is owner occupied the (soon to be) previous owner doesn’t vacate the property until day of closing, or sometimes even a couple of days after closing.  With cases like this, you really don’t know what condition the home will be upon closing.  We have to have faith that the (soon to be) previous owner will leave the home in a clean condition, but sometimes…well, sometimes, they don’t.  Also, one persons idea of clean is not another persons idea of ‘clean’.  🙂  Many times, whether the home is vacant or owner occupied, a buyer will book a professional carpet cleaning, or house cleaning after closing….simply for peace of mind.  
Insurance
…wait..you already have insurance, don’t you?  Well…yes, you have mortgage insurance, title insurance, and homeowners insurance, but what about earthquake insurance?  You don’t…  
When I purchased my home my homeowners insurance included earthquake insurance.  About 10 years ago though we received a letter that no longer would homeowners insurance include earthquake insurance….why?  Because we live in the #1 high danger area for earthquakes.  Because of that earthquake insurance must now be purchased separately.  So, AFTER you buy your home, call your insurance company and add on earthquake insurance.  Cost isn’t too much, but it is important….just in case.  
Toilet Seats
  Yeah, I know you probably didn’t think of that, but really….if it were me, I would change out the toilet seats when you buy your new home.  Why? Well, since now you are thinking about it….I’m sure you can see why.  LOL  Toilet seats are not expensive, and really…having new seats just makes you feel better!  😀 
  

Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.                                                                       
 
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text.  We are here to help.   
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 
 .   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 
 
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?
Last Week:  When is a pre-approval a pre-approval, and when isn’t it?
 
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax
www.traciedemars.com
traciedemars@aol.com

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).