Home insurers can “non-renew” for too many claims

Posted by at 8:44 am

If you have a home mortgage loan, then your lender is going to require you to carry homeowner’s insurance. It may be the biggest purchase you’ve ever made, but the lender has a lot invested in that home too – and wants its investment protected. But be warned. Insurance is not a maintenance plan – home insurance coverage is designed for sudden and unexpected large losses. Homeowners who file more than one claim unrelated to weather in less than three years can expect to be “non-renewed.” Non-renewal is not cancellation. Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy that has been in force for more than 60 days except for failure to pay the premium, fraud, or serious misrepresentation in the application. But like any business, an insurer “reserves the right to refuse service to anyone,” so long as they provide you with...
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July 17th, 2017

Adding up the costs when selling

Posted by at 4:30 pm

The price of selling a home is about $15,190, according to a recent study.by Zillow. The price? But isn’t selling about making money? Sellers often forget there is also going to be money going out – staging, painting, landscaping and cleaning. Then there are the big chunks – the real estate agent’s fee and the closing costs. Since 63 percent of today’s sellers have never sold before, the “price of selling” can be a big surprise! Let’s start at the top. Most real estate agents’ fees are paid through a commission. Usually about 6 percent of the purchase price, the commission is subtracted from the proceeds of the home sale. The problem is thinking of the commission as something you are losing. A good agent builds the commission into the price of the home, and adjusts accordingly. The amount collected...
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Plan for a smooth move

Posted by at 2:30 pm

You’ve signed the closing docs, and the deal is done. Now it’s time for the big move. With or without movers, pacing and planning are the keys to a safe and successful transition. It begins What about the days before the move? You might want to consider deep cleaning the new house. The walls, floors, counters and baseboards will never be this exposed again. Run a load or two through the dishwasher and washing machine. Dust high sills and don’t forget the refrigerator. A bug bomb is a good idea. Even if you can’t see them, they might be there. You can accomplish this only one time and still have time to clear any noxious fumes before children or pets show up. Plan ahead If you always have a “moving plan” in the back of your mind, it can lessen the...
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Self-Managed Homeowners Associations

Posted by at 2:32 pm

With the skyrocketing price of homes today, many homeowner association neighborhoods are looking to save where they can. Some have found they can maintain desired aesthetic standards at a lower cost with self-management, where neighbors agree to share administrative duties instead of paying a professional management company. This can mean a huge savings for the growing number of HOA communities. HOAs maintain standards for landscaping and cleaning of common areas, and enforce rules for upkeep on the membership’s homes. HOAs often protect property values by not allowing neighborhood problems to fester. Majority Rules Some self-managed HOAs are governed strictly by the majority rule. In America, the one-voice, one-vote concept is quite popular, especially considering some recent election results! In such “pure” democracies, community spirit is often enhanced. In an increasingly stratified society where folks often just stay in their own homes...
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May 4th, 2017

Tracking credit trends

Posted by at 12:54 pm

  Opinions differ on credit scoring’s new trend toward “trended data” – where borrowing and making payments on your credit accounts is carefully tracked over time. The nation’s leading credit reporters – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are switching to the VantageScore trended data system this fall. Meant to provide more context to debt load, it’s supposed to give lenders a more holistic view of a person’s credit behavior. Mortgage-backing giant Fannie Mae already requires underwriters to use trended data when assessing home loan applications. Historically, credit card reports only contained the balance, the amount of available credit and if a borrower was making payments on time. Before trended data, some credit users could “game” the system, by opening more credit cards, and not using them. By keeping utilization low and paying bills on time, scores would improve, regardless of the amount...
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A gift horse: The home seller’s curse

Posted by at 4:32 pm

So, you put your home up for sale, with a listing price based on local comparables. As luck would have it, a buyer comes along within days – maybe even hours – and meets that price. Heck, maybe they even throw in an extra 2 or 3 percent for good measure. This is probably one of those times referred to in the phrase: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” But sometimes, when everything goes right, we have trouble accepting it. It’s a curse The “curse of the first offer” is well-known to real estate agents who have been around for a while. The seller’s reaction to an early offer? Almost inevitable: “Maybe we should wait and see if we can get more.” Today’s seller is probably right about one thing: There will be other offers. In marketplaces around...
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Bay Equity joins Hispanic groups advocating housing sustainability

Posted by at 1:54 pm

Bay Equity Home Loans representatives joined the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) on Capitol Hill recently, advocating for legislation supporting the sustainability of successful home-buying for the growing Latino community. According to the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, the Hispanic population is steering and shaping new household formation and homeownership in the United States. Produced annually by NAHREP in collaboration with the Hispanic Wealth Project, the study found Hispanic homeownership increased by 209,000 since 2015, an astonishing 74.9 percent of the nation’s overall net growth. While overall homeownership rates hovered around a 50-year low of 63.4 percent in 2016, the rate among Latinos actually increased slightly– from 45.6 to 46 percent. With greater Latino labor force participation fueling increased purchasing power, steady growth is likely to continue unabated. “These are numbers you simply cannot look away from,”...
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March 31st, 2017

Found Money: Pump Up Down Payment Savings

Posted by at 12:12 pm

Spring has sprung, and home shopping couldn’t be hotter. Don’t let the daunting prospect of a down payment scare you from joining all the other potential first-timers exploring the housing market. First of all, there are many options, even if you haven’t saved the standard 20 percent. Many government and private organizations offer Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs for low and moderate-income borrowers. But besides exploring DPAs, consider some ways to save that might make that first “bulk” payment a little easier. Automatic reaction: Most of us aren’t automatic savers by nature, so set up a process with your bank to deduct a percentage of your paycheck into a  dedicated Home Savings Account. Just like your health insurance and 401 K, allocate a certain amount to go directly into a savings account or money market account. Not seeing the money go from...
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March 22nd, 2017

Home equity helps Americans grow wealth

Posted by at 2:24 pm

In 2016, 1 million American homeowners rode cresting home prices into positive equity territory. Just 6.2 percent, or 3.17 million U.S. homes, remain in negative equity, down from an all-time high of 26 percent in 2009, per a new report from real estate data analysis firm CoreLogic. Negative equity, or being “underwater,” is when a homeowner owes more on a mortgage than the mortgaged property is worth. If home prices rise another 5 percent, another 600,000 homes would re-emerge into positive territory. Equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage. Through mortgage payments, and home appreciation, equity grows. Building equity is a critical part of creating lifelong financial stability. Since the home pricing trough of 2011, Americans have more than doubled home equity, to more than $12 trillion. An Urban...
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March 15th, 2017

Now appearing in print! Your next home?

Posted by at 9:52 am

San Francisco startup Apis Cor recently announced completion of a 400-square foot home in the Russian town of Stupino, constructed almost entirely with a 3-D printer. More correctly referred to as “additive manufacturing,” the concept of “printing” a new home seems beyond futurism – even bordering on fiction. “Star Trek” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” each suggested “beaming” things or people from one place to another by breaking them down to the atomic level – reminiscent of assembling a full TV picture out of thousands of tiny pixels. But 3-D printing is science fact – more akin to the way an inkjet printer puts ink onto a piece of paper. The computer printer builds three-dimensional objects from raw materials one thin layer at a time. Through evolving methods, it fuses the material together, and a physical framework emerges – at breathtaking speeds...
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