Ask Val

May 16, 2011

Life at Emerald Ridge

Emerald Ridge is one of the best kept secrets in Calera, AL

*COMMUNITY POOL

*GEORGE ROY PARK ADJACENT

*COMMUNITY SIDEWALKS AND STREETLIGHTS

*PROFESSIONALLY LANDSCAPED ENTRANCES

*HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION W/ RESTRICTIONS TO PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

At Emerald Ridge, you can enjoy a lifestyle of simplicity and convenience with all the comforts of home.  Emerald Ridge is located just minutes from I-65, Colonial Promenade Shopping Center, City Hall, banks, doctors, theaters, Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum and Timberline Golf – Jerry Pate Designed Golf Course.  You can stroll to the George W. Roy Park which features playground equipment, covered picnic area, restrooms and a huge area to walk the dog or play with the kids.

Children of Emerald Ridge attend Calera Elementary School, Calera Middle School and Calera High school.

This community is brought to you exclusively by www.estructures.com

For more information, please call Anthony Arnone or Scott Lewis with Keller Williams Realty located at  750 Colonial Promenade Pkwy Ste 4000, Alabaster, AL 35007 205-605-1000 .

Emerald Ridge homes stand apart from the rest…The Difference Is In The Details

For pre-approval to purchase call Valerie Springer at 205-995-7283 x 305 or visit website at  www.vshomeloans.com for online application.  These homes qualify for 100% financing!

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

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May 12, 2011

100% Financing for Victims of Storms in Alabama

While many are suffering a great loss, there is a glimmer of hope with FHA 203(h) financing.  If this program could benefit you, please call Valerie Springer Home Mortgage Specialist, Birmingham, AL 205-995-7283×305.  This is offered to all considered in Federal Disaster area including Tuscaloosa AL, Pleasant Grove, AL, Hackleburg, AL, etc.

  1. Section 203(h) Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims

FHA provides insurance to assist victims of presidential declared disasters. Individuals or families whose residences have been destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or repairs are necessary are eligible for 100% financing for the purchase of a home.

  1. Requirements
    • The Borrower’s previous residence must be located in the disaster area and destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary. The Borrower may be the owner of the property or the tenant of the damaged property who now desires to purchase a property. If the Borrower was a tenant, he or she should be shown on the rental agreement of the property that was destroyed or damaged
    • Documentation showing a permanent residence in the affected area prior to the disaster includes a valid driver’s license, a voter registration card, utility bills, etc.
    • Documentation regarding destruction of the residence may include an insurance report, an inspection report by an independent fee inspector or government agency, or conclusive photos showing destruction or damage
    • Eligible for 100% financing not including closing costs, based on 100% of the sales price
    • Closing costs and prepaid expenses must be paid by the borrower in cash, paid through premium pricing, or paid by the seller subject to the 6% limitation on seller concessions
    • Must meet standard credit qualifications
    • Up-Front MIP and Monthly/Annual MIP apply. The Up-Front MIP premium may be financed into the mortgage. The Monthly/Annual premium is paid by the borrower as part of the monthly mortgage payment
    • The Borrower must purchase a single-family detached home or an FHA Approved (or FHA Spot Approvable) condominium unit
    • Maximum debt–to-income ratio is 43% without compensating factors and can be exceeded with appropriate compensating factors
    • Maximum mortgage limits/amounts are the same for Section 203(h) as for Section 203(b)
    • The application date must be within one year of the President’s declaration of the disaster
    • Section 203(h) is used in conjunction with Section 203(b), 251, etc. (i.e., 203(b)/203(h)/251)
    • Disaster victims with Secretary-Held mortgages (low balance mortgages previously assigned to HUD due to payment default) are eligible for new FHA-insured mortgages provided the borrower was current with their forbearance agreement at the time of the disaster and all payments for the preceding 12 months were made within the month due
    • The mortgage amount may be rounded down to the nearest $1.00
  2. Underwriting and Closing Instructions
    • May be underwritten on a Direct Endorsement basis and do not require HUD prior-approval
    • Must be submitted for endorsement within 90 days of closing
    • Correspondent Funding does not participate in the FHA construction/permanent program
  3. Insuring Delinquent Loans
    • The FHA Home Ownership Center (HOC) having jurisdiction over affected areas have been granted authority on a case-by-case basis to endorse mortgages which are delinquent provided the delinquency is due to disaster related circumstance.   
  4. If you wish to apply online go to www.vshomeloans.com and fill out an application.  Someone will contact you within 24 hours.  FEMA

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

May 9, 2011

STRUCTURES, INC. ~ Remodeling Specialist

In light of all the storms in our surrounding areas I thought it would be great to feature information on home remodeling or renovations.  Birmingham is rich in experienced contractors eager not only to get your home “livable” again, but the showcase you want it to be.

If you have had damage to your home, trust your work to an industry professional who  lives in  the community which they work and who will be looking “eye to eye” with you for years to come. 

Erica Neel, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders (GBAHB), is Remodelers Chairman.  Erica’s company is Structures, Inc. and you can reach them at 205-663-4252.  Erica has passion about her work and this evidenced in one of the articles I read in GBAHB Remodel Birmingham.  I remember when Erica was born, now she is having a baby of her own…

“The upcoming birth of my first child has made me reflect on my childhood.  I think of all the traditions that were established and where they took place.  Like many of you, I can visualize the small details of the rooms I inhabited as a child.  I can picture the butcher block formica countertops with the harvest gold appliances in my first home.  I can also remember the sunken den and how the shag carpet felt on my feet.  In my second home, I remember the beautiful oak cabinetry in the kitchen and the arched double door at the entry.  These memories are intertwined with the holidays, family gatherings, and the daily life we led in our home.

So often we forget about how important our homes are to us.  Many times we think about the maintenance or the housework we have to do to keep them up, but we must also remember that our surroundings in our home make us feel certain emotions.  We all want to live somewhere that is pleasing to us whether that be with carpeted or hardwood floors, stained or painted cabinetry, or with brick or siding on our house.  Our homes are an extension of our personality and taste and serve an integral part in our daily lives.  We need to love them.”

Spoken by a true industry professional, “I want to assure you that my industry has many qualified professionals who are able to transform your current home into a remodeled masterpiece or create a perfect custom home from scratch.  Now is the time to act.  Interest rates are at an all time low, but are steadily rising.  Labor prices are at record low levels.  We understand that in these challenging economic times, we must spend our money wisely.  That time is now.  Let’s make memories together.”

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

205-995-7283 x 305

 

March 29, 2011

Purchase and Refinance Approved w/ Credit to 600

Effective March 28, 2011  Network Funding Mortgage Bank now offers FHA Refinance  and Purchase with credit scores down to 600 in many instances.

Not all 600 scores will qualify, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the score.  For further information please contact Valerie Springer .

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

205-995-7283 x 305

 

February 2, 2011

Shopping for Mortgage Rate & Closing Costs ~ Properly

Selecting a residential loan officer and banker may be the most important financial decision you will ever make.    Most mortgages are made for large sums of money.  This is something you think about only a few times in your life but I think about it every single day.

When most people think about “shopping”  to find the best rate, they will get on the phone and over the course of a few days call several different mortgage companies and ask “What is your rate and how much is your closing costs?”

May sound like a smart question to the consumer but to the  industry professional is one of the most “gullible” questions that can be asked.  You have immediately let the person on the other end of the phone know you are trying to play in the Major League and your athletic ability is keeping you in Dixie Youth.  

The first question a consumer should ask is, “What moves rates?”  If the loan officer cannot answer that question then you are talking to someone who is only trained to take your information and put you into the same mold as every other consumer.  At this point I would ask myself.. .

How can my loan officer guide me on the best time to lock my rate due to market conditions? 

How can I trust they really know what they are doing? 

Do I just take what they quoted me over the phone? 

How do I know they quoted me the best rate, is it because the other guy said his rate was higher? 

Is that really all there is to it? 

WOW, could these few questions have stopped the whole industry breakdown…That was easy! 

REALLY???  Could you possibly believe you received the best on any account? 

Interest rates move all throughout the day, sometimes we will have a reprice up to 3-4 times daily,  in volatile markets.  The only way a consumer can know for sure they are getting the best rate is to get a quote at the exact same time from multiple lenders and then the voice on the other end of the phone can tell you anything they think you want to hear because the rate is not locked until the rate is locked.   Ever heard of bait and switch?  If you are going to shop you better be ready to do a lot of leg work.

Closing costs, fees and discount points is another area of confusion to the consumer. 

To fully understand closing costs,most would need to sit down with three  good faith estimates and compare them line for line with a knowledgable loan officer or real estate attorney to explain which fees will not change on any of the three, and point out the rest  of the fees are three different opinions and the bottom line is the bottom line no matter who does the financing.

The fees in the 800’s section will not change, every other fee listed is an estimate, someone’s opinion.  Some lenders will estimate low to make sure the bottom line number reflects a greater savings.  Personally I over estimate everything because if you are happy with worse case scenario you will be thrilled the day we sit at the closing table. 

I will be with you at the closing table to make sure everything is as it should be and if you have a surprise it will be a positive one.  I have never had a client leave the closing table mad or upset with me or my estimates.  Most are very pleasantly surprised to pay less than they were prepared to spend. 

Over the last 10 years I have had a few clients who left to go to another lender because they “thought” they were getting less closing costs.  Some have even called me back after closing and apologized as their closing costs wound up being the same or more than what I had originally prepared.  These have been some of my best referral sources over the years and have come to  me for subsequent refinances and purchases.

There is much to do in today’s market to do a pre-approval on someone.  Money spent to pull a credit report and hours of paperwork and phone conversations.  Many in our industry are 100% commission so please ask these questions up front and find trust in someone before the work is done.

On one of your largest financial transactions ever, are you looking for bargain basement and all that implies or integrity, knowledge and service? 

If you need a residential mortgage in Alabama, Valerie Springer is waiting for your call.

205-995-7283 x 305

NO ONE CARES HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

 

 

December 3, 2010

Downpayment on Home ~ Gift Funds Allowed

Filed under: ASK VAL,Conventional Mortgage,Dear Val,Family,FHA Loan,Gift Funds — Valerie Springer @ 3:54 pm
Tags:

Question:  I don’t have enough money for a down-payment, but my Grandmother would like to gift me some money to help…can she do that?

Answer:  Yes she can but we must go through the proper transfer to make the transaction go smooth.

Gift Funds are an allowable source for downpayment money on the purchase of a home.  This money can come from a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, fiance’, future in-law or godparent.

The gifter along with purchaser would sign a gift letter stating the money is a gift and no repayment is expected.  Then, the gifter would also have to provide a bank statement, all pages, with proof they have the money to give.

Next step,  once the check has been deposited into the purchaser’s account we would need a copy of the cancelled earnest money check from the gifter and an updated printout of the purchaser’s bank account showing the money is there.   Remember, if a bank printout, bank must put the banking stamp and intials on each page to prove it is authentic.

Really a very easy process but make sure you speak with your loan officer before moving funds around from one account to another.  It will save much time and paperwork!

If you need an approval for home purchase or refinance, Valerie Springer is waiting for your call.

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

 

December 2, 2010

Shopping for Mortgage — What is your Interest Rate?

Filed under: ASK VAL,Conventional Mortgage,Credit,Dear Val,FHA Loan,HECM,Reverse Mortgage — Valerie Springer @ 4:49 pm

 My phone is ringing, I answer and on the other end I hear…”I am thinking about purchasing a home or refinancing my home and I would like to know what your current interest rate is?”

The above question is peep-hole sized compared to the whole room of information that is needed to quote someone an interest rate.  Many will throw out a number just to get you roped in but would never be able to follow through with the rate when the chips are on the table.

An interest rate is made made up of many components and depends on a number of factors:

*Loan to Value

*Loan Amount

*Occupancy Type

*Loan Purpose

*Loan Limits

*Credit Score

*Qualifying Ratios

*Loan Product

*Electronic Approval Level

Many consumers feel like they are using wisdom by calling several companies and asking for rates but truthfully the most honest may never get a shot at the financing because the average borrower doesn’t know how to shop for interest rates nor do they understand what drives rates.  Therefore the one selling a line of deceit may seem to be the best.

If you are searching for a knowledgable loan officer the first question you should ask is “Do you what moves interest rates?”  If they cannot answer, you need to move on.  If they do answer do you know the correct answer? 

The second question “What information do you need from me so you can give me an idea of what loan type would be best for my situation”?

Third, “With the given information, what product do you think would best suit me, rate etc…and why”? (Remember you must do all of these on the same day at the same time because rates move all day long.)

If you call two or three people and do it right, you will have gained a wealth of knowledge by the time you hang up and will also have a “gut” feeling on which loan officer would work best with you and for you.  The lowest rate doesn’t always mean the best so weigh all of your options.

If you have questions, I would be glad to answer.  The present time is a golden opportunity to refinance your home to a lower interest rate or to purchase a home, second home or even an investment property.  Many will not realize until it is too late this is a “once in a lifetime” chance to make a wise financial decision.

If you are seeking residential financing int he Greater Birmingham AL area, Valerie Springer is ready to meet your financial needs.

Yours to Count On,

Valerie  Springer

www.vshomeloans.com

 

October 21, 2010

Bankruptcy and Foreclosure With FHA

In today’s market, I receive many phone calls from people who have either had to file bankruptcy or had a foreclosure.  These come from all walks of life…those who made unwise financial decisions to those who are in this position through no fault of their own.  Either way, folks are hungry for guidance and information.

In this post I am going to talk about FHA guidelines and what they have to say about the two big NO-NO’s.

As far as Foreclosure, a borrower in most circumstances is not eligible for three years after principal residence or other real property was foreclosed or deed-in-lieu was given.  However, the lender may grant an exception to the 3 year period if the foreclosure was the result of documented extenuating circumstance beyond the control of the borrower.  This could include a serious illness or death of a wage earner, and the borrower has established good credit since the foreclosure.  Divorce is not considered an extenuating circumstance BUT if a borrower whose loan was current at the time of a divorce in which the ex-spouse received the property and the loan was later foreclosed does qualify as an exception.  The inability to sell a property due to a job transfer or relocation to another area does not qualify as an extenuating circumstance.

Now to address bankruptcy, if at least two years have passed since the date of discharge (Chapter 7) and the borrower has reestablished good credit or chosen not to incur new debt, in most situations would qualify for FHA insured mortgage.  Possibly less than two years but not less than 12 months may be approved if the borrower can show the BK was caused by extenuating circumstances beyond his/her control and has since shown a documented ability to manage their financial affairs in a responsible manner.  The lender must document that the borrower’s current situation indicates that the events that led to the bankruptcy are not likely to recur.

(Chapter 13) is a little different since this is a BK overtime.  If the lender can document that one year of payout under the bk has elapsed and payment performance has been satisfactory and all payments have been made on time, then the borrower may be eligible.  The borrower MUST have written permission from the courts to enter into this transaction.  We must be able to show two years from the discharge date of  Chapter 13 BK.  If the Chapter 13 BK has not been discharged for a minimum of 2 years, the loan must be downgraded to a manual underwrite.

www.vshomeloans.com

valerie.springer@nflp.com

If you need a home mortgage financing, Valerie Springer is your expert loan officer.

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

September 17, 2010

Reverse Mortgage, Is It Smart?

Filed under: Elder Law,Estate Planning,FHA Loan,HECM,Reverse Mortgage — Valerie Springer @ 6:50 pm

There are 5 key points to think about when you decide a  HECM Reverse Mortgage may be your best option. Most important find an expert loan officer willing to help you make a determination.

1. Why do you feel a reverse mortgage would benefit you? If you are thinking of taking a vacation or reinvesting the money it would be very costly. If someone is trying to sell you something and suggests you take out a reverse mortgage you should be very cautious of their intent.

2. Can you even afford a reverse mortgage? A reverse mortgage is very expense, You do not make monthly payments but interest will accrue on the loan every month. The younger you are when you take out a reverse mortgage (min age 62) the longer the interest will grow which in essence will increase the amount you owe.

3. Can you afford to use your home’s equity? If you are not facing a financial emergency you may consider another option.

4. Do you have other options? If you have the means to take out a home mortgage and make the monthly payments this would be a less costly option than a reverse mortgage. Have you thought of downsizing and selling your current home to buy one with lower costs or in an area that offers more services?

5. Do you understand how a reverse mortgage works? You need to find out up front if this could benefit you or if there is a better option. You must complete couseling and receive a certificate to move forward. Your HECM Reverse Mortgage Loan Officer can give you the names of counseling agencies in your area.

A reverse mortgage can be the best thing since sliced bread if you understand and limited income. It gives you the opportunity to use your home’s equity while you need it. It can help supplement an income, help with medical expenses or long term care. You can make repairs on your home or purchase a vehicle and not worry about adding high debt to your monthly budget. The money is yours to spend as you wish but wisdom is important.

If you are interested in a HECM Reverse Mortgage in Alabama, call Valerie Springer .  205-995-7283 x 305

Reverse Mortgage Benefits

Filed under: ASK VAL,Elder Law,Estate Planning,FHA Loan,HECM,Reverse Mortgage — Valerie Springer @ 6:46 pm

Until the HECM Reverse Mortgage was introduced the only 2 ways you could use the equity in your home was to sell the home and move out or take out a loan which required monthly payments. If you own your home (or have lots of equity) and the youngest person living in the home is 62 years of age you are most likely eligible.

With the “Reverse” mortgage you do not have to do either of the above. A reverse mortgage is a loan which allows you to take the equity out of your home while continuing to live in it. You most likely never have to make a payment back until you die, sell the home or permanently move out.

You may receive the money in a lump sum, regular monthly cash advance or a creditline that allows withdrawals when needed. Your income levels do not matter because you do not have to make a payment back. If you had no income and owned your home you could still qualify.

Even though you receive a “Reverse” mortgage, you still own your home, so the homeowner will still be responsible for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and routine upkeep of the home. Once neither of the homeowners live in the house as their primary residence the heirs may then sell the home and repay the lien. If there is money left it is given to the estate.

More to come on Reverse Mortgages. If you have any specific questions you would like Valerie Springer to discuss please contact me at valerie.springer@nflp.com

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