Lynne Eliopoulos
ERA Key Realty Services | 508-832-1032 | [email protected]


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 8/9/2020

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

If you bought a house that was over $484,350 prior to 2020, you had to get a jumbo loan, which is a non-conforming loan. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increased the limit on conforming loans to $510,400 in most areas. The FHFA also increased the loan limit to $765,600 in some high-cost areas, which include Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FHFA increased the loan limit for conforming loans because home prices increased by an average of 5.38 percent from the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019.

What is a Conforming Loan?

A conforming loan follows standardized rules set by the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA / Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC / Freddie Mac). The two companies are government-sponsored, and they drive the home loan market. The most common standardized rule is the loan limit. Still, the two organizations dictate how much a loan-to-value ratio can be, your debt-to-income ratio, higher interest rates based on your credit score and what documentation you might need for a home loan. A conforming loan must also have private mortgage insurance (PMI) if the down payment is less than 20 percent.

Jumbo and Other Non-Conforming Loans

Banks do not like to write non-conforming loans because they cannot sell those loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or most of the other smaller organizations that buy loans. The most common non-conforming loan is a jumbo loan – a loan that is outside the loan limit, which is increasing for 2020. Other types of non-conforming loans might include loans for people who do not meet the debt-to-income ratio or the loan-to-value ratio. Because those loans are riskier, they often come with higher interest rates. Generally, you must also have a very good credit score to qualify for most non-conforming loans, especially jumbo loans.

High-Cost Areas

While some states and territories were mentioned as high-cost areas above, some places in the continental United States are also considered to be high-cost areas. Washington, D.C. and some parts of California have the higher limit of $765,600 for 2020 because the prices of single-family homes are higher than average.

Qualifying for a Jumbo Loan

To qualify for a jumbo loan, you’ll have to jump through more hoops. Some factors a lender look for include:

  • A credit score of at least 700. Some lenders require a score of at least 720.

  • Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). While non-conforming loans may go outside the typical DTI, some lenders might refuse to go over 45 percent.

  • The lender might require you to have cash reserves of several months to a year in the bank.

  • The lender might require extensive documentation. You might have to supply your complete tax returns and several months of bank statements for a jumbo loan.

  • Lenders might require a second appraisal of the home.

  • A larger down payment.

  • You might get a higher interest rate, depending on the lender, your financial situation and market conditions.

  • Closing costs are often higher because of the extra steps you must go through to qualify for the loan.

As with any loan, shop around for a jumbo loan instead of jumping at the first loan offered.




Tags: Mortgage   Jumbo Loan   loans  
Categories: Mortgage   luxury  


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 8/2/2020

For those who want to sell a house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, you can identify potential home selling hurdles and address such problems.

To better understand how to prepare for the house selling journey, let's take a look at three questions that every home seller needs to consider before listing a residence.

1. What is my home worth?

What you originally paid for your house likely is very different from your home's current value. Fortunately, a home appraisal makes it simple to receive an accurate property valuation based on the current condition of your residence and various real estate market factors.

A home appraisal report generally can be prepared in just days. To obtain this report, a home seller will need to hire a property appraiser to analyze his or her residence. Also, a property appraiser will evaluate the current state of the real estate market, the prices of comparable residences that recently sold and other relevant housing market data.

Once you receive a home appraisal report, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence. And with this price in place, you may be able to speed up the home selling journey.

2. Is my home an attractive option?

Think about what sets your house apart from others Ė you'll be happy you did. Because if you can differentiate your residence from the competition, you may be able to stir up lots of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.

Oftentimes, it is beneficial to conduct a house inspection prior to listing a home. An inspection enables you to identify any underlying problems with your home. You then can prioritize and complete home repairs based on the inspection results.

You may want to allocate time and resources to bolster your house's curb appeal too. Remember, your home only gets one chance to make a great first impression on prospective buyers. If you enhance your residence's curb appeal, you can boost the likelihood that potential buyers will immediately fall in love with your home.

3. How can I maximize the value of my house?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to promote a house to buyers. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you craft a custom home selling strategy.

A real estate agent is a home selling professional who understands what it takes to promote a house to the right groups of buyers. He or she will work with you throughout the home selling journey and do everything possible to ensure you can optimize the value of your house.

Best of all, a real estate agent is an expert home selling resource. And if you ever have concerns or questions as you sell your house, a real estate agent can respond to them at any time.

Want to streamline the home selling process? Hire a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to listing and selling your house.





Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 7/26/2020

The home selling journey offers no guarantees, and as such, there is no assurance that you'll be able to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience. Lucky for you, we're here to offer insights into the home seller's perspective and ensure you can reap the benefits of a successful home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a smart home seller.

1. Analyze Your House's Strengths and Weaknesses

Although you've allocated significant time and resources to keep your house looking great over the years, your home soon may be just one of many houses that is available to property buyers. But if you analyze your residence's strengths and weaknesses, you may be able to identify opportunities to improve your house and differentiate it from others in a competitive real estate market.

Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a house inspection before you list a residence. This inspection will enable you to receive a comprehensive analysis of your house from a property expert. Then, you can use an inspection report to prioritize home improvement projects and upgrade your house accordingly.

2. Set an Aggressive Initial Asking Price

What you initially paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's present value. However, if you analyze the real estate market, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your residence.

Take a look at the prices of available houses in your city or town that are comparable to your own residence. By doing so, you can narrow the price range for homes in your region.

Furthermore, a home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. An appraisal enables you to receive a property valuation based on your house's condition, age and the current state of the real estate sector. With this appraisal in hand, you can set an asking price for your house that will hit the mark with many potential buyers.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Even a home seller who is persistent and intelligent may require additional help to achieve the optimal results. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can make it simple for a home seller to maximize his or her home sale earnings.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who is unafraid to be honest with a home seller. This housing market professional will offer unbiased feedback about a residence's condition and provide recommendations to help a home seller improve his or her property. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to a home seller's concerns and questions. This means a home seller can receive extensive housing market insights from his or her real estate agent and make informed decisions throughout the home selling journey.

When it comes to selling a home, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and anyone can enter the real estate market as a smart home seller.





Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 7/19/2020

If youíre a newer homeowner, odds are you donít really ďownĒ your home outright. Rather, you likely have equity in your home.

In this article, weíre going to talk about what home equity is, how to use it to your advantage, and things you should avoid using your home equity toward.

 What is home equity?

Unless youíre one of the lucky few who paid for their homes in cash, you probably took out a mortgage. As you pay off that mortgage you build equity.

Home equity is essentially the value of a property that a homeowner has at their disposal due to paying back part or all of their mortgage.

However, thereís another factor at play in home equity, and thatís market value.

Since the housing market fluctuates, the value of your home does as well, and as a result, your home equity changes with the market value of a house. That might sound worrying, but the good news is that due to something called appreciation.

In the same way that the cost of living tends to rise each year with inflation, so do housing prices. However, appreciation isnít the only factor at play in the valuation of your house. As your home ages, it will likely need some renovations, which could decrease the home value.

Generally speaking, however, your equity achieves a net gain as you pay your mortgage and the value appreciates.

Increasing equity

Now that we know why equity can be so beneficial as an asset, letís talk about ways to build it.

The best way to build home equity is to repay your home loan. However, more than simply repaying, youíll want to repay in the fewest number of years to avoid paying more in interest. The longer you take to pay your mortgage, the more interest accrues that could have been used toward other investments.

The second way to increase equity is one we mentioned before--market fluctuation--namely appreciation. To improve the chances of getting a high appraisal of your home, itís important to keep up with maintenance and make smart renovation choices that will have a high return on investment.

Using home equity

The best use of home equity is to leave it be and increase its value over time. However, that isnít always possible for all of us. Since many of us need to move before repaying our full mortgage, equity allows homebuyers to use their equity toward their next mortgage.

Another option is to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Ideally, youíll only use these loans if youíre planning on using the loan money to increase the value of the home via home improvement projects.

Borrowing against your home equity does come with risks. Since you are putting your share of your home on the line, there is a chance of your home being foreclosed on if you donít repay the home equity loan. However, lenders typically seek other methods of repayment or settlement before foreclosure.





Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 7/12/2020

If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.

1. Define Your Dream Home

Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of "must-have" home features and search for residences that offer these features.

Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.

2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review

Let's face it Ė searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.

Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won't force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Let's not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.