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How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

Shad Helle

Shad Helle, Realtor
4728 Navarre
Oregon, OH 43616
Office: 419-698-5370
Cell: 419-973-0579
Fax: 419 754-1408
shadhelle@wellesbowen.com

Featured Agent Shad Helle Found this Article for You – How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

By: G. M. Filisko

When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.

Trying to decide whether to buy a fixer-upper house? Follow these seven steps, and you’ll know how much you can afford, how much to offer, and whether a fixer-upper house is right for you.

1. Decide what you can do yourself.

TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.
Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?
2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer.

Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.
If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.
Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.
3. Check permit costs.

Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.
Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.
Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.
4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work.

If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems.

Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.

Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

You’re getting it at a steep discount
You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem
You know the problem can be fixed
You have a binding written estimate for the repairs
5. Check the cost of financing.

Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings.

If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity or home improvement loan:

Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.
Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.
Consider the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program, which is designed to help home owners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation. The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans. A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).
6. Calculate your fair purchase offer.

Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement.

Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently recarpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer.

Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.
Radon, mold, lead-based paint
Septic and well
Pest
Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with.

If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

Read This Weeks Article from Deon Davis

How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

By: G. M. Filisko Published: August 24, 2010

When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.

1. Decide what you can do yourself

TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

  • Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.
  • Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer

  • Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.
  • If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.
  • Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

3. Check permit costs

  • Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.
  • Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.
  • Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work

If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems.

Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.

Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

  • You’re getting it at a steep discount
  • You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem
  • You know the problem can be fixed
  • You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

5. Check the cost of financing

Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings.

If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity or home improvement loan:

  • Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.
  • Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.
  • Consider the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program, which is designed to help home owners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation. The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans. A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).

6. Calculate your fair purchase offer

Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement.

Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently recarpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer

Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

  • Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.
  • Radon, mold, lead-based paint
  • Septic and well
  • Pest

Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with.

If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

More from HouseLogic

What you need to know about foundation repairs

Budgeting for a home remodel

Tips on hiring a contractor

Other web resources

This Old House remodeling cost estimates

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer whose parents bought and renovated a fixer-upper when she was a teen. A regular contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Agent Photo
cotact us

Office: 419-535-0011
Cell: 419-810-1560
Fax: 419 535-7571
VM: 419-539-2700 ext. 167
deondavis@wellesbowen.com

 

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Karen Lumm Presents How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

 

 

How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

 

Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com By: G. M. Filisko

Published: August 24, 2010

 

When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.

 

Trying to decide whether to buy a fixer-upper house? Follow these seven steps, and you’ll know how much you can afford, how much to offer, and whether a fixer-upper house is right for you.

 

1. Decide what you can do yourself

 

TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

 

Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.

 

Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

 

2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer

 

Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.

 

If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.

 

Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

 

3. Check permit costs

 

Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.

 

Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.

 

Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

 

4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work

 

If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems.

Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.

Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

 

You’re getting it at a steep discount

 

You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem

 

You know the problem can be fixed

 

You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

 

5. Check the cost of financing

 

Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings.

If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/consider-home-equity-line-of-credit/) or home improvement loan:

 

Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.

 

Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.

 

Consider the Federal Housing Administration‘s Section 203(k) program (http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/203k/203kmenu.cfm), which is designed to help home owners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation. The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans. A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).

 

6. Calculate your fair purchase offer

 

Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

 

For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement.

Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently recarpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

 

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

 

Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

 

7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer

 

Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

 

Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.

 

Radon, mold, lead-based paint

 

Septic and well

 

Pest

 

Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with.

If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

 

More from HouseLogic

 

What you need to know about foundation repairs (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/what-you-need-know-about-foundation-repairs/)

Budgeting for a home remodel (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/budget-for-remodel/)

Tips on hiring a contractor (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/five-essential-questions-ask-before-hiring-contractor/)

 

Other web resources

 

This Old House remodeling cost estimates (http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/estimated-remodeling-and-repair-costs.shtml)

Agent Photo
cotact us

Office: 419-535-0011
Cell: 419-351-5339
Fax: 419 535-7571
VM: 419-539-2700 ext. 123
karenlumm@wellesbowen.com

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer whose parents bought and renovated a fixer-upper when she was a teen. A regular contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

 

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Linda Smith Brings You This Weeks Article

Congress Heaps Uncertainty on Financially Troubled Home Owners’ Misery

Published: November 12, 2012

Unless Congress extends the forgiven debt exemption, financially troubled home owners who short sell their homes to avoid foreclosure or otherwise have mortgages forgiven will get slammed with a huge tax bill in 2013.

The nation’s attorneys general worked hard to get the five biggest mortgage servicers to agree to a $25 billion settlement to help the nation’s financially troubled home owners avoid foreclosure.

Agent Photo

Linda Smith
Realtor

The national mortgage settlement was intended to help stop the housing market spiral and hold the banks accountable for foreclosure abuses.

Now, a good portion of that money may end up in Uncle Sam’s bank account, wrenched from the depleted pocketbooks of those same troubled home owners in the form of income taxes.

The tax rub occurs because IRS rules say a debt you get to walk away from is really income, which as you know, is taxable.

Here’s an example of how you could get taxed on a short sale, where you sell your home for less than you owe on the mortgage:

Say you have a $100,000 mortgage on your house. You short sell your house and net $75,000 after sales expenses. You repay your lender that $75,000, creating $25,000 in forgiven debt.

The IRS will add that $25,000 to your taxable income. So if you have no deductions and you’re in a 28% tax bracket, you’d owe $7,000 ($25,000 x 0.28) in tax on that forgiven debt.

Up until the end of this year, you can escape that forgiven debt tax because Congress created an exemption for you back in 2009. Unfortunately, that exemption expires at the end of 2012.

If you qualify for a foreclosure avoidance program, like a short sale (or any of the other ways that reduce what you owe, below), but you can’t close your deal until 2013, you could face a huge tax bill. A tax bill large enough to put you right back into another financial tailspin.
Principal reduction: The lender shaves off a specific amount from what you owe on your mortgage.

Recasted mortgage: If the lender reduces what you owe overall to lower your monthly payment, that reduction would count as forgiven debt.

Second mortgage waivers: The bank says you no longer have to repay your second mortgage and just wipes out that loan.

Foreclosure: You’d be taxed on whatever is left on the mortgage that you didn’t pay.

Finally, any time you find yourself in a cash-out situation, such as a home equity line of credit, exercise care, because not all of it will be necessarily forgiven.

There’s not a soul in Congress who’s opposed to extending the forgiven debt exemption, but it still might not happen. With the federal budget in full-on crisis mode, any legislation that concerns a tax issue faces an uphill battle.

But wait. It gets worse. Traditionally, Congress lumps all the expiring tax provisions into a single bill. That bill is among the last things Congress passes before it goes home in December. That means the odds of Congress passing the forgiven debt extension by itself aren’t good. In the last 15 years, Congress has never passed a bill extending only one expiring tax provision.

Going through the foreclosure process is incredibly stressful, even if things work out OK in the end. Having to sell your home because you can’t afford it anymore is devastating. Having the IRS send you a tax bill for the forgiven debt? That’s just cruel.

Contact Linda Smith Here:

Office: 419-352-6565
Cell: 419-276-2354
Fax: 419 352-2654
VM: 419-354-4871 ext.113
lindasmith@wellesbowen.com

lindasmith.wellesbowen.com

Negotiate Your Best House Buy-brought to you by Deon Davis

Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com

By: G. M. Filisko Published: June 04, 2010

Keep your emotions in check and your eyes on the goal, and you’ll pay less when purchasing a home.

Buying a home can be emotional, but negotiating the price shouldn’t be. The key to saving money when purchasing a home is sticking to a plan during the turbulence of high-stakes negotiations. A real estate agent who represents you can guide you and offer you advice, but you are the one who must make the final decision during each round of offers and counter offers.

Here are six tips for negotiating the best price on a home.

1. Get prequalified for a mortgage

Getting prequalified for a mortgage proves to sellers that you’re serious about buying and capable of affording their home. That will push you to the head of the pack when sellers choose among offers; they’ll go with buyers who are a sure financial bet, not those whose financing could flop.

2. Ask questions

Ask your agent for information to help you understand the sellers’ financial position and motivation. Are they facing foreclosure or a short sale? Have they already purchased a home or relocated, which may make them eager to accept a lower price to avoid paying two mortgages? Has the home been on the market for a long time, or was it just listed? Have there been other offers? If so, why did they fall through? The more signs that sellers are eager to sell, the lower your offer can reasonably go.

3. Work back from a final price to determine your initial offer

Know in advance the most you’re willing to pay, and with your agent work back from that number to determine your initial offer, which can set the tone for the entire negotiation. A too-low bid may offend sellers emotionally invested in the sales price; a too-high bid may lead you to spend more than necessary to close the sale.

Work with your agent to evaluate the sellers’ motivation and comparable home sales to arrive at an initial offer that engages the sellers yet keeps money in your wallet.

4. Avoid contingencies

Sellers favor offers that leave little to chance. Keep your bid free of complicated contingencies, such as making the purchase conditional on the sale of your current home. Do keep contingencies for mortgage approval, home inspection, and environmental checks typical in your area, like radon.

5. Remain unemotional

Buying a home is a business transaction, and treating it that way helps you save money. Consider any movement by the sellers, however slight, a sign of interest, and keep negotiating.

Each time you make a concession, ask for one in return. If the sellers ask you to boost your price, ask them to contribute to closing costs or pay for a home warranty. If sellers won’t budge, make it clear you’re willing to walk away; they may get nervous and accept your offer.

6. Don’t let competition change your plan

Great homes and those competitively priced can draw multiple offers in any market. Don’t let competition propel you to go beyond your predetermined price or agree to concessions-such as waiving an inspection-that aren’t in your best interest.

More from HouseLogic

Determine how much mortgage you can afford (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/4-tips-determine-how-much-mortgage-you-can-afford/)

Keep your home purchase on track (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/keep-your-home-purchase-track/)

Plan for a stress-free home closing (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/7-steps-stress-free-home-closing/)

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has to remind herself to remain unemotional during negotiations. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Deon Davis, Realtor

Deon Davis, Realtor

Office: 419-535-0011
Cell: 419-810-1560
Fax: 419 535-7571
VM: 419-539-2700 ext. 167
deondavis@wellesbowen.com
Visit Deon’s website, by going to wellesbowen.deondavis.com

Sharon Johnson Shared This Article “Banks Tempt Underwater Home Owners with Cash — Would You Take It?”

A short sale might be worth more than avoiding a foreclosure on your credit report. For some, it means cold hard cash.

If your lender offered you as much as five figures to move out of your home because you couldn’t make your mortgage payment, would you do it or wait for the lender to foreclose?

The answer would seem to be a resounding “hell, yes.” But many people sit tight.

When Bank of America offered short-sale incentives of $5,000 to $20,000 to 20,000 Florida home owners late last year, only 3,000 home owners expressed an interest in participating.

One reason? Folks can often live rent-free while the foreclosure process winds its way through the red tape.

But, a cash “bonus” paired with a short sale that lets you avoid a foreclosure on your credit history can be a sweet deal.

An incentive payment might be as little as $3,000 via the federal government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program. But private lender programs offer 10 times that much, depending on where you live, which short sale program you use, and which company holds your mortgage, says BusinessWeek.

“Banks are nudging potential sellers by pre-approving deals, streamlining the closing process, forgoing their right to pursue unpaid debt, and in some cases providing large cash incentives,” Moody’s Senior Credit Officer Bill Fricke told the magazine.

Of course, incentives have their catches. You have to:

1. Help the bank sell your home. In a short sale, you find someone willing to buy your home for less than what you owe on the mortgage and your lender agrees to take the sale price.

2. Move on without a fight.

3. Probably live in a state where it takes years, rather than months, for the bank to foreclose. In those areas, it’s cheaper for the bank to pay you to do a short sale than to pay the cost of a multi-year-long foreclosure.

If you bank makes an offer and you bite, these four steps will ensure the smoothest possible process:

1. Make sure the lender can’t come after you later to collect any shortfall between what you owe on the mortgage and what you’re selling your home for. Some, but not all, states prohibit that.

2. Talk to an attorney and a tax adviser so you know what will happen financially after the short sale. If you sell now through the end of 2012, the tax rules for short sales say you won’t owe any income tax on $1 million (singles) to $2 million in forgiven mortgage debt (married couples). Those tax rules, part of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, expire at the end of this year and only apply to your primary residence.

3. Hire a REALTOR® experienced in short sales to handle the transaction. Look for an agent who’s earned the SFR (short sales and foreclosure resource) designation.

4. Figure out where you’re going to move and sign a lease now because your credit score will likely drop if you stop paying your mortgage and short sell your home. A low credit score can make it difficult to get a rental home.

By the way, you can ask your bank if it’s willing to work with you on a short sale, but asking for an incentive too? That’s not how it works. Banks choose you for an incentive program, and how they decide isn’t clear, though they’re less likely to offer cash in states where it only takes a couple of months to foreclose.

So would you take the cash and short sale, or hold out?
By: Dona DeZube Published: February 17, 2012

Sharon Johnson, Realtor


Office: 419-891-0888
Cell: 419-260-1752
Fax: 419 891-1092
VM: 419-897-2700 ext. 240
sharonjohnson@wellesbowen.com

You can find Sharon’s website by clicking here.

Michelle Meyer Presents: Make Your House FHA-Loan Friendly

Michelle Meyer

MICHELLE MEYER, REALTOR, WELLES BOWEN DEFIANCE OFFICE

Office:419-782-8216
Cell:419-789-1582
Fax:419 782-0989
VM:419-782-0978       ext. 113
michellemeyer@wellesbowen.com

Visit Michelle’s website by clicking here

Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com

By: Terry Sheridan
Published: June 02, 2010

Know the basics of FHA loan rules and you stand a better chance of selling your house or condo.

Make your house FHA-friendly, and it will appeal to more homebuyers. Why? Because the Federal Housing Administration is insuring the mortgage loans used by about 30% of today’s homebuyers.

If your house passes the FHA rules, it will appeal to buyers who plan to use an FHA-insured mortgage. If your house doesn’t qualify for an FHA loan, you’re cutting out 30% of potential buyers.

FHA is especially important to first-time homebuyers and those with small downpayments because it allows borrowers with good credit to make a downpayment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.

Here’s how to make your home appealing to FHA borrowers:

Know the FHA loan limits in your area

Start by checking to see if your home’s listed price falls within FHA lending limits for your area (https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicostlook.cfm). FHA mortgage limits vary a lot. In San Francisco, FHA will insure a mortgage of up to $729,750 on a single-family home. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the loan limit is $271,050.

Home inspections

Most buyers will ask for a home inspection, whether or not they’re using an FHA loan to buy the home. You must give FHA buyers a form (http://www.ncradon.org/docs/foryourprotection.pdf) explaining what home inspections can reveal, and how inspections differ from appraisals.

How much do you have to repair?

If the home inspection reveals problems, FHA will not give the okay to buy the home until you repair serious defects (http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/letters/mortgagee/files/05-48ml.pdf) like roof leaks, mold, structural damage, and pre-1978 interior or exterior paint that could contain lead.

Dealing with FHA appraisers

Help the lender’s appraiser by providing easy access to attics and crawl spaces, which usually must be photographed, says appraiser Frank Gregoire in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Your buyer can hire his own appraiser to evaluate your home. But FHA only relies on reports by its approved appraisers. If the two appraisals conflict, the FHA appraisal preempts the buyer’s appraisal.

Help with FHA closing costs

Most FHA buyers need help with closing costs, says mortgage banker Susan Herman of First Equity Mortgage Bankers in Miami. So a prime way to make your house FHA-friendly is to help with those costs.

FHA currently allows sellers to pay up to 6% of the sales price to help cover closing costs, but is considering lowering that limit to 3% in the fall of 2010.

If you’re selling a condo

FHA also has to approve your condo before a buyer uses an FHA loan to purchase your unit. Be sure your condo is FHA-approved for mortgages (https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm). The list has been updated, so if your association was approved a year ago, check again to make sure it’s still on the approved list.

FHA generally won’t insure loans in condo associations if more than 15% percent of the unit owners are late on association fees. Ask your property manager or board of directors for your association’s delinquency rate.

Other rules cover insurances, cash reserves and how many units are owner-occupied (http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/letters/mortgagee/files/09-46aml.pdf) and the types of condos that can be purchased with an FHA mortgage (http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/letters/mortgagee/files/09-46bml.pdf).

FHA sometimes issues waivers for healthy condominiums that don’t meet the regular rules. If your condo isn’t FHA-approved, it doesn’t necessarily have to meet every single rule to gain approval. Ask your REALTOR® to consult with local lenders about getting an FHA waiver for your condo if it doesn’t meet all the requirements.

FHA also limits its mortgage exposure in homeowners associations. With some limited exceptions, no more than 50% of the units in an association can be FHA-insured (http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/letters/mortgagee/files/09-46aml.pdf).

FHA loans for planned-unit developments

FHA no longer requires lenders to review budgets and legal documents for planned-unit developments.

Other web resources

Why ask for an FHA loan? (http://www.hud.gov/buying/loans.cfm)

Find a State Program to Help Homebuyers Afford Your Home (http://www.hud.gov/buying/localbuying.cfm)

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning freelance writer who has covered real estate for 20 years, and has owned and sold three homes.

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