Jul 18

The red flags bankers see on mortgage applications

Qualifying for a mortgage for large numbers of home purchasers not only is a tough challenge but one that ends unhappily — they get rejected.

The reasons for the turndowns typically involve multiple factors: below-par credit scores, inadequate documented income to support the monthly payments, little or no savings in the bank.

But a new survey by credit-score giant FICO offers buyers a rare peek inside the heads of credit-risk managers at financial institutions across the country and in Canada. Researchers asked a representative sample of them what single factor in an application makes them most hesitant to fund a loan request — in other words, what’s most likely to prompt them to say no.

The results provide practical insights to anyone who is thinking about applying for a mortgage. Tops on the list: Surprise. It’s not your credit scores. It’s not how much you’ve got for a down payment or what’s in the bank. It’s your “DTIs” — your debt-to-income ratios. Nearly 60 percent of risk managers in the FICO study rated excessive DTIs their No. 1 concern factor — five times the percentage who picked the next biggest turnoff.

Yet many new buyers have only a rough idea in advance of an application — even for a pre-approval letter — about their own DTIs, how lenders view them, and what sort of limits they’re likely to encounter.

Because they are so important to a successful application, here’s a quick overview on what goes into DTIs and why they are such a big red flag. Debt-to-income ratios for home loans are the most direct indication to a bank about whether you are going to be able to afford to repay the money you want to borrow.

Debt ratios for home loans have two components: The first measures your gross income from all sources before taxes against your proposed monthly housing expenses including the principal, interest, taxes and insurance that you’d be paying if the lender granted the mortgage you sought.

As a general target, lenders like to see your housing expense ratio come in at no higher than 28 percent of gross monthly income, though there is flexibility to go higher if other elements of your application are viewed as strong. In May, according to mortgage software and research firm Ellie Mae LLC, the average borrower who obtained home purchase money through investors Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had a housing expense ratio of 22 percent. Federal Housing Administration-approved borrowers had average housing expense ratios of 28 percent.

The second DTI component — the so-called back-end ratio — measures your income against all your recurring monthly debts. These include housing expenses, credit cards, student loans, personal loan payments and others. Under federal “qualified mortgage” standards that took effect in January, your back-end ratio maximum generally is 43 percent, though again there is wiggle room case by case.

Most lenders making loans eligible for sale to Fannie or Freddie prefer not to see you anywhere close to 43 percent. In May, according to Ellie Mae, the average approved home purchase applicant had a back-end ratio of 34 percent. Even at FHA, which tends to be more lenient on credit matters than Fannie or Freddie, the average back-end ratio for buyers was 41 percent. The average for denied applications was 47 percent.

A good place to learn more about DTIs and to compute your own is Fannie Mae’s consumer-friendly “know your options” site (www.knowyouroptions.com), which includes calculators and other helpful tools.

The new FICO survey found that the second leading cause of concern for loan officers is “multiple recent [credit] applications.” Lenders spot these on your credit reports and take them as signals that you are seeking to add on even more debt, which could affect your ability to repay the mortgage money you’re asking them to give you.

In third place as an instant turnoff: your credit scores. Most lenders want to see FICO scores well above 700 — Fannie and Freddie averages were in the 755 range in May, FHA average approved scores were a more generous 684.

Bottom line here: If you want to be successful in your mortgage application, be aware of these key turnoff points for lenders and take steps to avoid the tripwires. Most important: Postpone your purchase until your DTI ratios tell you — yes, you can afford the house you want and lenders won’t reject you out of hand.

http://www.courant.com/business/real-estate/hc-harney-0720-20140719,0,7026041.story

Jul 15

JUST LISTED AT O’MEARA FARM IN FARMINGTON!

Farmington, CT 060323 beds, 3 baths, $369,900

 

Comments:

WOW! ONE OF THE BEST LOCATIONS IN O’MEARA FARM. EASY LIVING PLUS PRIVACY IN THIS UPGRADED WINDSOR MODEL BACKING TO THE WOODS. HARDWOOD FLOORS, GAS FIREPLACE & SUNROOM W/SLIDERS TO YOUR PRIVATE DECK AND 400+ SQ FT OF FINISHED, LOWER LEVEL ARE BONUSES.

OPEN HOUSE:

Jul 15, 11AM-1PM

  • Listing Information:

    •  Farmington
    •  CT
    •  06032
    •  Farmington
    •  Hartford
    •  $369,900
    •  G689558
    • Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
    •  Resale/New
    •  O’Meara Farm
    •  New
  • Property Information:

    •  Single Detached
    •  3
    •  3
    •  1998
    •  1810
    •  Full Basement
    •  Attached
    •  Assigned
    •  5196
    •  Central Air
    •  Heat: Warm Air; Water Heater: Natur
    •  No
    •  2.0
    •  Patio
    •  No
    •  Ceiling Fan(S), Fireplace, Slider
    •  Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, Disposal, Microwave, Oven/Range, Refrigerator
    •  Public Water Connected; Public Sewer Connected;
    •  230
    •  Grounds Maintenance, Association Insurance, Management, Snow Removal
  • Listing School Information:

    •  CLB
    •  Farmington
    •  Jul 15, 11AM-1PM

 

    •  Keller Williams Realty

 

http://romeara.kwhomesct.com/listing/mlsid/106/propertyid/G689558/

Jul 09

8 STEPS TO BUYING A HOME

 

 

http://www.kw.com/kw/8steps.html

Jun 25

30 MAGNOLIA HL West Hartford, CT 06117 3 beds, 2.1 baths, $325,000

30 MAGNOLIA HL West Hartford, CT 061173 beds, 2.1 baths, $325,000

Comments:

FANTASTIC HOME IN A GREAT LOCATION! ROOM TO ROAM INSIDE & OUT. BRIGHT,FIREPLACED FAMILY ROOM OPENS TO LOVELY 3 SEASON ROOM. BEAUTIFUL WOOD FLOORS & TILE FOYER. LARGE MASTER W/FULL BATH. GAS HEAT, CENTRAL AIR, THERMOPANE WINDOWS, OPEN DR/LR W/FIREPLACE.

  • Listing Information:

    •  30 MAGNOLIA HL
    •  West Hartford
    •  CT
    •  06117
    •  W Hartford
    •  Hartford
    •  $325,000
    •  G682526
    •  Single Family
    •  Resale/New
    •  Active
  • Property Information:

    •  Split Level
    •  3
    •  2.1
    •  1957
    •  2249
    •  0.32
    •  Full Basement
    •  Attached
    •  2
    •  7900
    •  Central Air
    •  Heat: Baseboard; Water Heater: Natu
    •  Aluminum, Vinyl Siding
    •  3.0
    •  No
    •  Ceiling Fan, Foyer, Open Floor Plan
    •  Public Sewer Connected;
    •  152X107
    •  Level Topography
  • Listing School Information:

    •  King Philip
    •  Norfeldt
    •  Hall
    •  Keller Williams Realty

     

    http://romeara.kwhomesct.com/listing/mlsid/106/propertyid/G682526/

     

Jun 25

GREAT VALUE! 16 CAROL RD West Hartford, CT 061103 beds, 2 baths, $224,000

16 CAROL RD West Hartford, CT 061103 beds, 2 baths, $224,000

MAKE YOUR MOVE TO THIS HANDSOME CAPE W/3 OR 4 BEDROOMS & 2 FULL BATHS. NICE SUNPORCH OFF KITCHEN, LARGE LANDSCAPED YARD, GAS HEAT, CENTRAL AIR & 2 CAR GARAGE! CLOSE TO WH CENTER, SHOPPING & HIGHWAYS! NICE HOME IN A VERY CONVENIENT LOCATION & A GREAT VALUE.

 

  • Listing Information:

    •  16 CAROL RD
    •  West Hartford
    •  CT
    •  06110
    •  Elmwood
    •  Hartford
    •  $224,000
    •  G685578
    •  Single Family
    •  Resale/New
    •  Active
  • Property Information:

    •  Cape Cod
    •  3
    •  2
    •  1950
    •  1224
    •  0.23
    •  Full Basement
    •  Detached
    •  2
    •  4950
    •  Central Air
    •  Heat: Warm Air; Water Heater: Natur
    •  Aluminum
    •  2.0
    •  Garden Area
    •  No
    •  French Door
    •  Dishwasher, Disposal, Oven/Range, Refrigerator
    •  Public Sewer Connected;
    •  200X50
    •  Neighborhood, Level Topography
  • Listing School Information:

    •  Sedgwick
    •  Charter Oak
    •  Conard
    •  Keller Williams Realty

Jun 11

Tips for buying a house

The top 10 things you need to know when buying a home.

1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put.

 

If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner – even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it’s an even worse proposition.

2. Start by shoring up your credit.

Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

3. Aim for a home you can really afford.

The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you’ll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

4. If you can’t put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.

There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a small down payment.

5. Buy in a district with good schools.

In most areas, this advice applies even if you don’t have school-age children. Reason: When it comes time to sell, you’ll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.

6. Get professional help.

Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

7. Choose carefully between points and rate.

When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points — a portion of the interest that you pay at closing — in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time — say three to five years or more — it’s usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.

8. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.

Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

9. Do your homework before bidding.

Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that’s about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

10. Hire a home inspector.

Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal anyway. But that’s just the bank’s way of determining whether the house is worth the price you’ve agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.

Jun 09

JUST LISTED IN WEST HARTFORD! HANDSOME 3 OR 4 BED CAPE!


West Hartford, CT 06110, 
3 beds, 2 baths, $224,000

 

MAKE YOUR MOVE TO THIS HANDSOME CAPE W/3 OR 4 BEDROOMS & 2 FULL BATHS. NICE SUNPORCH OFF KITCHEN, LARGE LANDSCAPED YARD, GAS HEAT, CENTRAL AIR & 2 CAR GARAGE! CLOSE TO WH CENTER, SHOPPING & HIGHWAYS! NICE HOME IN A VERY CONVENIENT LOCATION & A GREAT VALUE

  • Listing Information:

    •  West Hartford
    •  CT
    •  06110
    •  Elmwood
    •  Hartford
    •  $224,000
    •  G685578
    •  Single Family
    •  Resale/New
    •  New
  • Property Information:

    •  Cape Cod
    •  3
    •  2
    •  1950
    •  1224
    •  0.23
    •  Full Basement
    •  Detached
    •  2
    •  4950
    •  Central Air
    •  Heat: Warm Air; Water Heater: Natur
    •  Aluminum
    •  2.0
    •  Garden Area
    •  No
    •  French Door
    •  Dishwasher, Disposal, Oven/Range, Refrigerator
    •  Public Sewer Connected;
    •  200X50
    •  Neighborhood, Level Topography
  • Listing School Information:

    •  Sedgwick
    •  Charter Oak
    •  Conard
    •  Keller Williams Realty

    http://romeara.kwhomesct.com/listing/mlsid/106/propertyid/G685578/

Jun 06

June home-maintenance checklist

Early summer chores should get you outdoors: Look for winter damage, ward off mold and rot, sharpen your tools and patrol your home’s perimeter for pests and other problems.

By Marilyn Lewis

June home-maintenance checklist (© Tetra Images/Jupiterimages)

With the start of summer and warmer weather, you can focus most of your maintenance chores outdoors. First, however, attend to a couple of jobs that will help you stay comfortable and safe inside the house.

Switch ceiling fan blades
Switch ceiling fans to push cool air down, where you’ll most enjoy it. Observe the fan while it’s running: In summer, you want the leading edge of the blades (the part that goes around first) higher than the trailing edge (the part that rotates last). Locate the fan’s switch on its outside body. When set correctly for summer, you can stand beneath it and feel the breeze. This should allow you to adjust your thermostat higher (or set the air conditioning lower), saving fuel while enjoying the cooling effect of the moving air.

Clean dryer vents
Although you probably know to remove lint from your clothes dryer’s lint filter after each use (to prevent fires), you may not have heard that maintenance also includes cleaning the hose that pipes warm, moist air from the dryer to the outdoors. Use a long-handled brush, found in hardware stores (or search online for “dryer vent brush“). Also, clean the recess beneath the filter with a lint-trap brush. Make sure to purchase a brush that fits your dryer’s particular lint-trap type. Read the dryer’s manual for directions. Check vent hoses to ensure they fit tightly to each other, to the dryer and to the outside of the house. Pull out the dryer and vacuum accumulated lint under and around it.

Tip: Having trouble finding the manual? Search the manufacturer’s website or go toLaundry.ManualsOnline.com, register and search for the manual to download it free.

Tune up yard and garden equipment
If your lawn mower has gas left over from last fall, empty the tank before adding fresh fuel. (Gas becomes stale after a month.) If possible, just run the mower until the tank is dry (best done in fall before storing the mower for the winter). If that’s not possible, use a siphon pump ($3 to $4 at a hardware or automotive supply store, composed of flexible tubing and a squeeze bulb) to transfer the old gas into a gas can. Take the old gas to your county’s hazardous waste disposal facility. Call ahead to learn hours and rules for disposing of fuel.

To keep your lawn mower running for years, you’ll also want to keep it clean. Avoid cutting wet grass; it’s hard on the mower engine. Frequently wipe, brush or scrape the mower’s underside clean (with motor off) so clippings don’t jam the blades. Change the oil each spring; change spark plugs and lubricate with every change of season (consult the owner’s manual for product specifications and directions); replace air filters every couple of years.

Sharpen mower blades
Proper cutting is key to a healthy lawn, and lawns cut with sharp blades need less watering (read 10 secrets to a perfect lawn). Also, hard work is made easier with sharp tools. Manufacturers recommend replacing mower blades yearly if the mower is used frequently. Check your blades’ effectiveness by examining the cut edge of the grass: If grass blades are ragged, the lawnmower blade is dull. You can extend the life of a mower blade by sharpening. Call a hardware store, garden supply store or lawn-mower dealer to learn where to get tools and blades sharpened (about $10 to $20) or purchase a sharpening tool (Dremel, for example, makes a head for rotary tools) or buy a whetstone or hand sharpener at a garden supply or hardware store. Before removing the blade from the mower to sharpen it, disconnect the spark plug wire (otherwise you could jump-start the engine by moving the blade). Also, wear safety goggles.

Clean gutters
Take advantage of dry weather to clear out leaves, needles and debris, leaving gutters free to carry rainwater away and protect your home from mold and rot. Depending on your home’s surroundings, you should do this several times a year. Hire someone (around $50 to $100) or get a stable ladder (and someone to hold it) and do it yourself. Use a garden trowel or your (gloved) hands to muck out the debris. Scrub gutters with a non-metallic brush. Slosh water from a hose through the gutters and the drainpipes to finish the job and test that they’re clear and that water is flowing away from your basement, foundation or crawl space.

Tip: Newer ladders are rated for safety according to their use and the weight they can bear. An industrial-grade Type 1A folding ladder is safest for jobs under 17 feet, according to tests by Consumer Reports. Remain on or below the highest safe rung labeled on your ladder. Use an extension ladder for taller jobs. (See Rutgers University’s page on ladder ratings and safe use.) Keep aluminum ladders away from power lines.

 

http://realestate.msn.com/june-home-maintenance-checklist

Jun 05

4 spring landscaping tips to boost your curb appeal!

Selling your home in the next few months? Try sprucing up the greenery around it.

HomeAdvisorBy Andrea Davis

 

Sellers often don’t want the hassle associated with long-term landscaping projects to get it just right for buyers. It’s more about the quick and effective solutions that help their homes look appealing from the curbside.

 

To narrow down the many projects out there, we’ve provided sellers with our short, simple list of landscaping plans to help sell your house faster.

1. Keep the yard clean

Homeowners should keep their front yards clean and trimmed from the time spring starts. The lawn should be mowed regularly to a short length, and all flowers, shrubs and trees should be trimmed or pruned for new growth. It’s also important to remove any leftover debris like fallen leaves, branches or weeds to increase appeal. Professional lawn maintenance is also an option for between $330 and $520.

2. Plant young perennials

Perennial flowers and shrubs share many of the same qualities as their annual brethren. What sets perennials apart as the better investment is that young ones last for more than two years, unlike annuals that need to be replaced ever year. Some varieties even handle harsh weather conditions better than many annuals. So why not make the long-term investment in case you don’t sell this year but want to next year?

 3. Edge the flower beds

When flower beds only have dirt and then grass surrounding them, the dirt could spill onto the grass, or grass could grow into the beds. You can avoid this and help flower beds pop with landscape edging or curbing. Using bricks, stones or another material, you can edge the flower beds to organize the yard and make the beds stand out. You can also have landscape edging professionally installed for between $890 and $1,300, according to ImproveNet or between $1,200 and $1,600 according to HomeAdvisor.

4. Add more mulch

Mulch is a crucial ingredient to help plants and grass grow through spring. If your soil is particularly dried out after the winter, you should install mulch so new and old plants will grow better. There are various types of organic mulch available, so be sure to get the right kind for your climate conditions.

If you don’t want to spend any time on landscaping but want that perfect front yard, you can hire a landscape professional to do all of these projects and more. Landscaping costs will vary by location, the scope of the project and how professionals charge for their time. For example, homeowners in Los Angeles reportedly pay between $5,300 and $7,600 on average, while residents in New York can expect to pay between $3,400 and $4,800 for the same service.

http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post–4-spring-landscaping-tips-to-boost-your-curb-appeal?ref=bfv

Jun 04

COMING SOON IN WEST HARTFORD! AVAILABLE TO SEE NOW!

$224000 / 3br – 1224ft² – COMING SOON! AVAILABLE TO SEE NOW! 3BED/2 BATH CAPE (WEST HARTFORD)

CAROL ROAD at TROUT BROOK DRIVE

3BR / 2Ba 1224ft2 house

detached garage

COMING SOON!
Great 3 bed/2 bath cape in West Hartford. $224,000. Available to show now.
Call Rob O! 860-982-0288

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