Crystal's Blog Corner

Tips to Making a Good Impression While Selling Your Home

3/25/2019

Selling your home can be a difficult thing to do if you don’t know where to start. However, there are certain things that you can do in order to create a home atmosphere that entices potential buyers. Learning how to make a good impression while selling your home will help you make the sale much more quickly than you could have ever expected.

Don’t stay emotionally attached to your home

It is going to be difficult to sell your home when you are emotionally attached to it. You will end up making excuses for doing important things like listing your home and taking great pictures of it. If you stay too attached to your home, you might never even take a deal that comes your way. You will make excuses that no deal is good enough for this home that you love so much. If you need to sell your home, you need to make sure that you are emotionally detached from it first.

Have a great story to tell

For example, D Gary Young has a rags to riches story about growing up in a tiny cabin without running water or electricity. Young eventually ended up creating a multinational corporation and lived in a giant mansion. Telling your story can be a great way to build rapport and help you connect with potential buyers. You can also ask your potential buyers about their story, too. It will be a great way to get connected and find out why they want your house.

Invest in curb appeal

Curb appeal is going to be a great way to add to the value of your home and interest buyers from the start. First impressions are everything. The curb appeal of your home is going to be a big factor in what the initial impression about your home is. Simply painting your door can be a great way to make your home look more inviting. Hiring a landscaping company to clean up your yard could greatly increase the odds that your home gets sold quickly.

Pack up or get rid of your personal items

While it can be ok to leave your furniture in your home, you don’t want to have a bunch of your personal items left out. Potential buyers want to be able to envision themselves in your home. It will be important to get rid of items like family photos and your mail. This will make your home look and feel cluttered, like it is still yours.

Make sure nothing is broken

If you have cabinet doors that are unaligned, squeaky stairs, or leaky faucets, you will want to take care of these issues before you start showing your home. This will help you to wow potential buyers instead of turning them off to the idea of purchasing your home. There are many of these fixes that you can do yourself by simply looking up tutorials online. It can also be a great investment to hire a handyman to take care of problems that are too advanced for you.

Create a welcoming vibe in your home

There are many things that you can do to create a welcoming vibe in your home. Playing nice music in your home will be a great way to set the mood before showing your home. Also, you will want to make sure your home smells nice. Changing the lighting up to create a warm vibe could also create an atmosphere that will help to let your potential buyers feel like this is a place they could live in.

 

Making a good impression while selling your home is a very important thing to do. This will be a large determining factor in the price that you will be able to sell your home for and how quickly it will be able to sell on the market. Implementing these steps will make selling your home much easier than it may once have been.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Carol Evenson

Spring Clean Your Home with These Easy Tips!

3/23/2019

It’s ALMOST spring cleaning time! It is certainly that time of the year when dusting away some winter blues is in order. You may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where and how to start. Fret not, we’ve compiled some spring cleaning tips to make your seasonal transition a lot easier. 

FIX WHAT NEEDS FIXING  Why wait for summer to start home fixing projects when you can get them done during spring cleaning? Small repair projects like a simple furniture repaint or replacing a fixture will take just a few hours. Doing this will also give you a better start at your other spring cleaning agendas by giving you a boost of self-accomplishment.

REPAINT AND REFRESH  Using paint is one of the cheapest yet most transformative tricks in home improvement. 

REARRANGE FURNITURE   Spring cleaning isn’t just about throwing out things that you don’t need but also about finding new uses for things you already have. While you may find it better to store some furniture and décor, rearranging them can make a huge change that will make your home a lot more cheerful and open. Don’t forget to go for lighter window treatments as well!

  • Vacuum or steam your bed to get rid of dirt. The same goes for your couches, carpets, and areas under furniture. Don’t forget to flip your mattress!
  • Give your closet a makeover my sorting through clothes and tucking away winter garb. This way, you’ll have more room in your closet to showcase clothes suitable for warmer weather.
  • Organize and clean one drawer at a time. The task of cleaning out an entire room may be too daunting. There is nothing wrong with cleaning just a drawer or two at a time on top of your other household chores. 
  • Give away or sell what you don’t need. Things that have no use for you only serve as clutter. It’s great if you can clean your home while helping others make theirs a better place by giving away some items you no longer want. You can sell these as well for a discounted price to turn them into cash.
SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Brad Miller

5 Overlooked Factors That Can Affect Your Home’s Insurance Rates

3/19/2019

Insurance rates—how are they even calculated? It can be complicated, but it all comes down to an algorithm that takes many variables into account. If keeping your rates as low possible is your number one concern, you need to know about these five factors that can affect your bottom line.

1. The age and condition of your house.

This is one of the most obvious factors and also one of the biggest. The age of your house and the wiring, pipes, roof, lumber, square footage, and even how many corners it has all play a role in the price of your insurance.

It comes down to the risk associated with the house and the costs that come with repair or replacement. For example, if your home was built in 1920, it may have old pipes and wiring that aren’t up to code. These materials come with a much higher risk of damage or fire, so the insurance companies will charge more to insure it.

2. In a flood zone? It can cost you.

Again, if the risk of destruction is high, your insurance will reflect it. If you have a beachfront home on the Gulf Coast, you can expect to pay more than if you’re in an area of the country where flooding is typically not a concern, such as the Midwest.

If you’re in any sort of flood zone and you have a mortgage on your home, your lender will probably require a separate flood insurance policy—and that costs money. Even if you aren’t in a flood zone, your mortgage company may still require coverage, so be sure to look into your lender’s requirements when you begin shopping around.

3. Some dog breeds can take a big bite out of your wallet.

In some cases, your family dog can bump up your premiums. Certain breeds, such as pit bulls and “bully” breeds, have a reputation of being more dangerous than others and historically come with larger liability concerns to your insurer, resulting in a higher rate.

Three things can happen if your dog is considered a “dangerous” dog breed: you could be charged a higher rate from your carrier, your provider may cover you but exclude any liability associated with the dog, or the carrier could decide not to insure you at all.

4. Your pool can put your rates in the deep end.

Pools, trampolines, and even backyard construction projects are in a category called attractive nuisances, which are recreational amenities added to a home that can raise liability concerns (and your rates) on behalf of an insurer. If there is something in your yard that can attract the attention of a minor and pose any level of danger, it will probably affect your insurance policy.

5. Proximity to the fire department affects your premiums.

If your house were to catch fire, how long would it take for the local fire department to get there? The faster they can get there and handle the situation, the better chance they have of minimizing the damage.

Every homeowner’s policy requires what’s called a Public Protection Class (PPC) rating. A PPC is rated between 1-10 (one being the best) and takes factors like proximity to the fire department, proximity and number of fire hydrants, municipal water towers, and even railroad tracks into account.

In some cases, you may be able to make some changes to help lower your rates, but never lie or intentionally exclude key information on your application—this could result in your coverage or renewal getting denied. Be honest with your agent, and they will help you find the right coverage and rate that works for your needs.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES by Paul Martin

House Flipping And What You Should Know

3/17/2019

What You Should Know About House Flipping

Many of us have seen those reality shows where people buy run down or cheap houses, make a few repairs and upgrades, then make a huge amount of money in a few weeks after selling the home. Well, that's television for you, because flipping a house is a lot harder than the reality shows make it appear.

That being said, there are plenty of real estate investors who make quite a bit of money flipping houses, and it's possible for you to do the same thing provided you're willing to put in the hard work. Here are a few things you should know before you make your first flip.

Limit Your Financial Risk

In a reality show, flipping a house often has the drama of some unexpected doom. Things like a cracked foundation or an attic filled with termites that threaten to ruin the flip. While these are often hyped up for TV, the reality is that if you pay too much for a home without accounting for the cost of repairs and upgrades, your flip can turn into a flop.

Most seasoned investors use the 70% rule which basically states that you should not buy a home for more than 70% of the after repair value of a property. In other words, the after repair value is what the home is worth after your done making repairs and a few upgrades.

Make Sure You Have The Time And Expertise

Now let's say you've settled on a home that needs some painting, floors, and a few other upgrades and repairs. Your next question is, who will make the repairs? and how fast can they be done? If you're planning on making most of the repairs yourself, then you need to be certain you have the time to do it.

Television shows make the process of repairs and upgrades look fast and easy, but it's anything but that. Scheduling professional contractors, repairmen, painters, and carpenters take time, and so does the work. If you plan on making most of the upgrades and repairs yourself, be certain that you can handle the job.

First-time home flippers often feel that they can do most of the work themselves in order to save money, then find themselves overwhelmed or under skilled to handle the job.

Find The Right House To Flip

Patience is a key part of being a successful house flipper. First, you must find a home that's priced below its market value. It's crucial to find the right home, at the right price, in the right location. That takes patience and the help of a well experienced Realtor. You don't want to buy a home in a low-income neighborhood where homes are valued at $60,00 and try and sell it for $200,000.

Educate yourself on the trends, markets and home values in the areas where you intend to buy your first home. When it comes time to sell a home, you have to consider who your potential buyers are, what they can afford, and where they want to live. A doctor who earns $250,000 per year is not going to want to live in a low-income neighborhood no matter how nice the home is.

Flipping houses for a living can be a financially rewarding endeavor, but you have to know what you're getting into and educate yourself on the process. There are many investors who started off flipping houses in their spare time just to get a feel for the process.

This is a good way to start for first-time flippers. Some of the best advice you can get is from someone who is already successful at flipping houses. Take some time to meet with other investors or attend a seminar on how to invest in real estate and flipping houses.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Dean Cacioppo

Renting Your Vacant Home?

3/16/2019

 

The Value of the Neighborhood Has Gone Downstream

If your vacant home is in a neighborhood where the value is sinking, it's best to sell this house and move on as fast as possible. By doing so as quickly as you can, you will get more money than you normally would unless you plan on waiting to see if the value will go back up, which is an extremely bad idea.

Once the plummet in value has begun, it's hard to know when it will stop, or if it will stop at all. Speaking to a real estate agent who has experience and knowledge about dropping neighborhood value will help you in figuring out what to do.If the agent believes that the value is not going to go up anytime soon, or at all, it's best to sell your vacant home as soon as you can. 

An agent will help you and tell you what to do when it comes to preparing the home, like referring you to a plumber or an electrician to have them come in and do a walk-through to ensure everything is in order. They will also give you advice whether or not you should stage the home, or just leave it empty of furniture, if you currently do not have any in there. 

The Pros of Renting Out

The biggest pro when it comes to renting out your vacant home is that you'll have a second source of income. You can increase the value in your vacant home by having some renovations done for your future tenants, which could end up becoming a future investment if you play your cards right.

By renting out your vacant home, you will successfully avoid squatters, vandals, and thieves. For example, if you own a vacant home and you are barely there, squatters and vandals are going to take notice. Don't be surprised if one day you show up to the house, especially if you are not there for weeks or months at a time, and find a squatter. Therefore, it's best to rent it out, so there is someone living there if you are not planning on selling it.

The Cons of Renting Out

Unfortunately, there are a lot more cons when it comes to renting out your vacant home than there are pros. For example, you could end up with horrible tenants who do not show their true colors until a rental agreement or contract has already been signed.The process of evicting a tenant is a long one, and you must bring sufficient grounds to do so to the right place. In short, it can take months.

You could always have background checks conducted on each potential tenant, but sometimes this will not show you all you need to know until it's already too late. Another con would be tenants making the home difficult to sell. For example, say you have let your tenant know that you are planning to sell, and that they have to relocate within two months’ time. If they do not have options, they will try to make it as difficult as possible to sell the home.


SOURCE: REALTY TIMES

 

 

Is Homeownership the Greatest Way to Secure Your Financial Future?

3/15/2019

First-time homebuyers tend to focus on two things: The price of the home they’re buying and the monthly payment. And it’s entirely understandable. Affordability is key when you’re buying your first place—or any place, for that matter. And it’s especially relevant considering rising home prices across the country.

But there’s something else to consider: The future value of the home. Equity growth is likely something you’ve at least thought about if you’re in the market for a home. After all, the idea of paying someone else’s mortgage payment interminably instead of building equity in your own place has probably been driving you crazy. But let’s dive in a little further.

Appreciation in a nutshell

“Appreciation, or the rising of home prices over time, is how the majority of wealth is built in real estate,” said Forbes. “This is the ‘home run’ you hear of when people make a large windfall of money. While prices fluctuate, over the long run real estate values have always gone up, always, and there is no reason to think that is going to change.”

That makes real estate one of the more stable long-term investments. A paper from economists at University of California-Davis, University of Bonn, and the Deutsche Bundesbank(the central bank of Germany) culled together “the annual returns of treasury bills, treasury bonds, equities, and residential housing from 1870 to 2015 for 16 now-rich countries such as the US, Germany, and Japan” to study the effects of different forms of investments. They found that, “in the average wealthy country, the annual return on housing during that period was just over 7% when adjusted for inflation, while the return on equities was just under 7%,” said Quartz. “At the same time, the risk associated with housing was far lower. By standard measures of uncertainty, housing was about half as risky as equities, and slightly less risky than bonds.”

This is, obviously, important to those who are purchasing real estate for strictly investment purposes. But it’s also something to keep in mind when buying real estate for personal use.

Proving financial security later

“Paying off a mortgage during your working years allows you to remove a large expense from your plate during retirement,” said Forbes. “For retirees that see a drop in income once they start taking Social Security or pulling from their retirement accounts, this can be the difference between living a comfortable life and living paycheck to paycheck.”

And while it may be hard to look forward several decades and even try to picture what retirement will look like, especially if you’re just starting out, the idea of long-term savings is attractive nonetheless.

“Forced savings”

Need a little help saving? A house is great that way. “For those who haven’t made a habit of putting money away, paying a mortgage can create a savings cushion that renting cannot,” said Forbes. “Owning a home does not guarantee a higher net worth, nor does it remove the need to be financially responsible, but it does provide a structure within which one can build wealth.”

Buying young

The earlier you buy, the more wealth you have the opportunity to create. “Of today’s older adults, those who bought their first home from ages 25 to 34 accumulated the most housing wealth by their 60s — a median of around $150,000, according to a report by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization,” said app. “In contrast, the median housing wealth for those in their early 60s who bought later (ages 35 to 44), was about half as much, at $76,000. Homeowners who bought after they were 45 had about $44,000 in housing wealth by their 60s.” What you do today can absolutely affect your future financial picture.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES by Jaymi Naciri

Home Upgrades That Will Make Your House Worth Even More Moolah!

3/13/2019

While some home upgrades are purely personal, like adding a wine cellar or a Christmas package wrapping room, others will actually help increase the value of your home. The right home upgrade can make all the difference in how much your home is worth. Check out below for some great ideas.

Replace the Windows

Poorly insulated, drafty, or cheap windows can bring down the value of a home like nothing else. Today's Discerning home buyers expect double or triple pane windows with elements like Argon gas, low-e coatings, and all the other elements that make good-quality windows look good and function well. According to money.com, homeowners who replace the windows in their homes get a 73% return on investment when they end up selling their home. Your visitors will then be able to see that custom pools Santa Rosa Beach residents love to see without having to squint.

Replace the Roof

A damaged or faulty roof is one of the biggest reasons that homeowners have to hand over money to buyers during the buying process. Inspections frequently turn up issues with cracked shingles, holes, old tiles and all the other roof damage that can put your house at risk. A faulty roof not only makes the outside of the house look bad, but it also raises the risk for damage inside your house.

Do a Minor Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom renos can often take quite a bit of money. If you don't have a lot of money, you can still do a renovation that not only looks good but offers a great return on your investment. Doing something like replacing an old, dingy tile surround or adding a new bathtub can completely change how the bathroom looks. If your tile floor has seen better days, consider replacing it with high-end vinyl flooring or adding a heating element. With small changes like these, you could see as much as a 100% return on your investment when you sell, making these moves a good choice.

Do a Little Kitchen Reno as Well

The same way that a small bathroom renovation can make a huge difference is the same way that a small kitchen renovation can make a huge difference. Like a bathroom, a full kitchen reno can cost well over $100,000, something that you may or may not have. If you have it, go for it. If you don't have it, you can still make small changes that will make a huge difference and how your kitchen is perceived by buyers. When we say "small kitchen renovation", we're talking about things like replacing the cabinet doors, replacing the apron on a farmhouse sink or redoing your countertops. One of the easiest things that you can do that will make it look like you have a brand new kitchen is to replace your sink and faucet. Simply upgrading those two elements can create a visual transformation that is a sight to behold. Small changes like these can result in a more that 80% return on investment, according to Nerdwallet.

Replace Your Front Door

There's nothing like a shabby, broken-down front door to negatively influence a potential buyer's opinion of your home. No matter how good the inside of your house looks, that shabby front door will always be the first impression. The buyer may even go so far as to assume that because the front door is shabby, the rest of the home is secretly shabby, even if it looks good! It's in your best interest to replace that front door as soon as you can. Buying a good front door will not only make your home look good, but it will give you as much as an 85% return on investment, according to Consumer Affairs.

By following the above home reno tips, you'll not only be enjoying the way your home looks. You'll also feel confident that you've increased the value of your home as well.

SOURCE: Realty Times- by Vincent Stokes

Thinking of Buying an Older Home? Here Are Some Things to Keep in Mind

3/11/2019

When searching for the next house to call home, the options can be daunting. Location, size, amenities, and price all play major factors in the decision process. Opening the home search to older constructions can increase your options. However, the older a house is, the likelier it could be harboring issues beneath the surface. We’ve compiled the top seven things to keep in mind when considering purchasing an older home.

Foundation and Structural Issues

Issues with the foundation or structure have the potential of costing a lot to fix. Since the foundation and structure are what is keeping the house upright, it is crucial that they are stable and sound. Cracks or unevenness in the foundation can lead to moisture damage, dry rot, corrosion, and shifting of the house. Signs of foundation or structural damage can be found in doors or windows that don’t open and close easily, cracks in the wall or flooring, and uneven floors.

According to Safewise, “Foundation repairs can escalate to over $10,000, depending on the extent of the structural issues- and homeowners insurance won’t cover these costs.” If foundational issues are suspected, be sure to hire a quality inspector or contractor to check out the home. Consider getting a quote for repairs and negotiating the cost into the purchase price of the house.

Electrical and Plumbing Issues

Many older homes have their original plumbing and rewiring, as updating these systems can be costly. However, keeping the original knob-and-tube wiring or the original cast-iron pipes can be a safety hazard. Old electrical systems can cause a fire, and old pipes can cause leaks or weak water pressure.

Beware of older homes whose electrical and plumbing systems have been updated by a do-it-yourself homeowner. Be sure to ask if the work was done by a qualified professional.

If the home has original electrical and plumbing systems or has been updated by an unqualified individual, ask an inspector to evaluate the systems. If they need to be replaced or repaired, consider getting a quote and negotiating the cost into the purchase price of the home.

Hazardous Materials

The older a home is, the more likely the chances are of it containing hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead. Lead is commonly found in paint applied before 1978 and in plumbing installed before 1985. The lead can leak into the water supply or the surrounding environment, causing a potential health hazard. Asbestos can be found in gas fireplaces, roofing, and insulation that was installed before 1980.

Radon

The breakdown of uranium in the environment can cause a carcinogen known as radon. If radon gas gets trapped in a home, it can be dangerous. Homes built before 1970 were not built with this risk in mind, so they are more susceptible to a gas build-up that could potentially be harmful to its inhabitants.

Outdated Heating and Cooling Systems

Older homes were likely designed for a different type of heating system than what is common today. One hundred years ago, houses were heated with oil. After that, it was common for houses to be heated with coal or wood. Even in a home with a more up-to-date heating system, if it hasn’t been maintained well, it could be inefficient, unsafe, or both.

Houses with cooling systems are likely to be a bit younger than oil-heated homes, however, cooling systems are known to have their own issues. Five common problems with older AC units include wear and tear, improperly working fans, reduced efficiency, refrigerant leaks, and electrical problems.

Termites and Bugs

Depending on where the home is located, termites and other bugs could be a major issue. The National Pest Management Association claims that termites alone cause around $5 billion in property damage yearly.

The older a home, the longer it has been exposed to the chance of infestations. Termites especially enjoy soft wood, so a home that has had water damage over the years could be especially susceptible.

SOURCE: Realty Times- by James Stevenson

Planning a move this Spring? Read this first.

2/22/2019

It’s the time of year where buyers and sellers begin to make plans for a spring market move. If you’re thinking about buying, you’re likely starting to determine your desired neighborhood, finalizing your budget, and maybe even browsing some open houses. And if you’re planning to sell, it’s time to make sure your home is in good repair, start de-cluttering and considering what your future house will look like before yours hits the market.

No matter what side of the coin you’re on, here’s what you should consider before moving this spring.

Timing the market

Let’s be honest, the market can’t be timed because you don’t know what the future holds. You can only control so much. Variables such as weather, similar homes on the market at the same time and overall market inventory play a major role in how fast or slow a house will sell and at what price.

There tends to be more homes on the market as the weather improves in Spring. Historically, both buyers and sellers want to have transactions completed in late spring and early summer. Each year since 2015, over 30% of homes sold annually in northern locations were done in the months of March, April and May. During this time, buyers will have more choice and sellers will have more buyers to purchase their homes.

How do you prepare?

In today’s market, how are you supposed to know what to offer once you find a house you love?

And as a seller, is your home going to get multiple offers or have those days passed? In 2018, the average home was on the market for just under 25 days, but some neighborhoods sold faster than others.

Gone are the days of simply researching a few recent comparable sales and basing decisions on the findings. Savvy buyers and sellers should ask their Realtor® for relevant neighborhood sales trends to ensure they’re making an informed decision on their investment.

With most offers today containing buying conditions such as financing, inspection, or even sale of the buyer’s property; planning is key. The less complicated your offer is the more attractive it will be to a seller. Getting pre-approved on your finances before house hunting, perhaps selling your home before buying, or doing a pre-inspection before an offer are all common options. Each situation is different so it’s prudent to look for advice from your Realtor®.

If you’re buying, it’s important to ask your Realtor® to provide comparables to the home you’re considering, however, equally important is to know how that specific neighborhood is trending. Why? Perhaps you’re buying into a hot area where houses are being aggressively pursued or an area that is under pressure with too many houses and not enough demand. Having this information beforehand arms you with the necessary data to negotiate more effectively.

Considering selling? Your Realtor® can tailor a marketing plan that caters to the specific buyers for your home, making your property stand out against other homes on the market. Knowing how your neighborhood is trending is important to maximize your potential sale price.

Regardless of your real estate goals, it’s always beneficial to become informed on the current market. These insights could literally mean thousands of dollars more in your pocket!

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Ryan Waller

Mortgage Rate Locks: What You Need to Know

2/20/2019

Ask any loan officer what they hear from consumers more than any other question is, “What are your rates today?” And that makes perfect sense. Consumers are encouraged to shop around for the best deal and the interest rate is the main component of that. But what consumers may not know is that rates can change daily and even during the course of a single business day in times of market volatility.

Such volatility has been rare over the past year or so but that’s how rates can be higher in the afternoon compared to earlier in the day. What consumers also may not know is that mortgage rate quotes mean little until you’re able to lock that rate in.

Years ago, a borrower could call up multiple lenders over a period of time and not only get a rate quoted over the phone but also lock that rate in. Without even submitting a loan application or any documentation at all. Those days are long gone and today lenders take interest rate locks just as serious as consumers do. When a lender locks in a client’s rate, it essentially reserves those funds from its credit line.

As part of the initial loan disclosure period when someone first submits a completed loan application, consumers receive a Rate Lock Disclosure document. It is this document that spells out when someone can lock and what happens if a rate lock expires. Most lenders today won’t accept a lock until and unless the lender has a completed loan application package. Lenders can also decline an interest rate lock request if there is no sales contract or subject property selected. However, when consumers do arrive at a point in the process where they can lock in a rate, they do have options.

Rates and fees will be the lowest for shorter term locks. How short can a lock be? Some lenders offer a lock period of 12 days but others ask for a 15 day lock. Once the rate is locked, and it’s usually different than the one initially disclosed, then another round of disclosures are required showing the newly locked rate, APR and other features of the note. Perhaps the most common lock period is 30 days, but borrowers may also be offered lock periods of 60 or 90 days. Remember, the shorter the lock period the lower the rate. Conversely, the longer the lock period, the higher the rate.

The lock period gives the lender sufficient time to prepare your closing papers and deliver them to your settlement agent. The lock period must be long enough to cover this processing time as well as reviewing your final, signed closing papers. Sometimes a rate lock is set to expire soon and the lender is not certain there will be enough time to fund the loan without a rate expiration. The general rule is this: if a rate lock is broken, the consumer is typically saddled with the higher of previously locked rate or market rates. It doesn’t do the consumer any good to slow down the documentation process because rates in general have fallen below the original locked rate.

Lenders can however offer lower rates even if a rate was locked, but there are some lender requirements for a “float down.” First, to get a rate lock extension, the extension must be issued before the rate expires and second, for a float down, market rates must have fallen by a specific amount. Don’t expect to nab the lower rate if rates have only fallen by 0.125% for example.

There are also times when a lock expires due to no fault of the consumer and lenders can then provide a courtesy extension for enough time that it takes to fund the loan. Such a concession is typically when the loan process is taking longer than usual or the lender is taking more time than it should. These concessions are completely up to the lender’s internal guidelines and not necessarily universal from one lender to the next. To do your part, make sure you act swiftly when providing documentation and answering any questions the lender might have while your loan is being moved through the approval process. If not and your rate lock expires, the lender can point to your delays in providing requesting documentation.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES by David Reed

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