In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene the Federal Government has declared that all Counties of Connecticut are Disaster areas. So what does that mean to prospective buyers and current homeowners?

If you are the process of applying for a mortgage this can add time to your loan process. Your lender will be required to have a re-inspection done on the property typically by the appraiser to verify the home was not damaged. This could easily add 2 to 5 days to your loan process as appraisers throughout the state are now handling their current workload plus the re-inspections. If your closing is delayed, make sure to contact your loan officer to check if this will in any way affect your rate lock. You also want to make sure contractually that all agents and the sellers are aware of any delays to the closing as a result of the Hurricane.  

If you are a current homeowner in Connecticut and your home was damaged you can apply for disaster assistance with FEMA. Disaster assistance is money or direct assistance for an individual, family or business in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance.

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Another great article by Tara that can be found in Trulia.com. We’ve talked about the things that turn a buyer off but we haven’t discussed the things that turn sellers off. Check it out!

On today’s market, every savvy seller wants to know what turns buyers off, so they can get their homes sold as quickly as possible, for as much as possible.  But buyers, take note – there is a minefield of seller turn-offs you can trigger that hold the potential to keep you from getting the home you want at the best price and terms, or to unnecessarily complicate dealings with your home’s seller.

Lest you think all of today’s sellers are under the gun and will just put up with whatever behavior buyers dish out, be aware that there are still many multiple offer situations in which buyers have to compete with each other to get a home – buyers who trigger these turnoffs tend to lose in those scenarios.  Also, avoiding these seller turnoffs can create a transactional environment of cooperation and avoid things turning adversarial.  That, in turn, can empower you to score a better price, get extra items you want thrown into the deal, and even negotiate more flexibility around your escrow and move-in timelines – all perks that can make your life easier and your budget go further.

For sellers, these turnoffs pose the potential of irritating you out of an otherwise good deal – maybe even the only deal you have!

Here’s a few of the most common buyer-perpetuated seller turnoffs, with tips for sellers on how to keep an emotional (and economic) even keel, even if your home’s buyer makes some of these waves:

1. Trash-talking. Trash-talkers are the home buyers who think they’re going to negotiate the list price down by slamming the house, telling the sellers how little it is really worth, how the house across the street sold for nothing, why the school on the corner should make them desperate to give the place away, etc. This strategy never works; in fact, when you attack a seller and their home, you only cause them to be defensive, and think up all the reasons that (a) their home is not what you say it is, and (b) they shouldn’t sell their home to you! 

Sometimes this happens with buyers who actually love a house and just walk around it fantasizing about all the ways they would customize it to their tastes while a seller is there.  Sellers: avoid being at home while your home is being shown.  Buyers: save your commentary for your agent; if you do encounter the seller in person keep your conversation respectful and avoid critiquing the house or the list price.

2. Being unqualified for mortgage financing. When a seller signs a buyer’s offer, most often the seller agrees to effectively pull the home off the market, forgoing other buyers who might be interested.  As such, the only thing worse than getting no offers on your home is getting an offer, getting into contract, then having the whole thing fall apart when the buyer’s loan falls through – especially if that could have been predicted or avoided up front.

Sellers: Work with your agent to vet your home’s buyers’ qualifications, including their loan approval, down payment and earnest money deposit – before you sign a contract.  It’s not overkill for your agent to call the buyers’ mortgage pro before you sign the contract and get a level of comfort for how robust their qualifications are.  Buyers:  Get pre-approved.  Seriously.  And make sure that you don’t buy a car, quit your job, deposit lottery winnings or do any other financial twitchery between the time you get loan approval and the time you close escrow on your home.

3. Making unjustified lowball offers. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of.  And sellers generally know the ballpark amount that their home is worth, as well as what they need to sell it for to get their mortgage paid off.  Yes – the price you pay for a home should be driven by its fair market value, rather than the seller’s financial needs, and deals are more available in a market like the current one, in which supply so vastly outpaces demand. But just throwing uber-lowball offers out at sellers hoping one will hit the spot is not generally a successful strategy, especially if you really, really want a given property.

Sellers:  Don’t get overly emotional about receiving a lowball offer; counter at the price you and your agent decide makes sense based on the total circumstances, including your motivation level, recent comps and the interest/activity level your listing is receiving. Buyers:  Work through the similar, nearby homes that have recently sold (a/k/a comparables) before you make an offer to factor the home’s fair market value into your offer price – also factor in how much you want the place, too.  Don’t be amazed if you make an offer far below asking, and don’t get a response.

4. Renegotiating mid-stream. Sellers plan their finances, moves and  – to some extent – their lives around the purchase price a buyer agrees to pay for their home.  If you get into contract to buy a home, find out during inspections that costly repairs need to be made, then propose a lower sale price, repair credit or even actual repairs to the seller, that’s sensible and fair.  But if you were aware that the property needed a lot of work before you made an offer on it, then you come back asking for beaucoup bucks’ worth of credit or price reductions midstream, expect the seller to cry foul.  And holding the seller up two weeks into the transaction because you caught a case of buyer’s remorse? Not cool, and not likely to foster the spirit of cooperation you may need to get your deal closed.

Sellers: avoid mid-stream price renegotiations by having a full set of inspection reports and repair bids at hand when you list your home. Buyers: try to avoid renegotiating the entire deal unless you get some major surprises at your inspections or inflating small repairs to try to justify a major price cut.

5. Misleading or setting the seller up.  Remember when we talked about buyer turn-offs?  Being misled by listing photos or very fluffy property descriptions was high on the list.  The same goes for sellers.Offering way over asking with the plan to hammer the seller for a reduction when the house doesn’t appraise at the purchase price?  #LAME  Making an as-is offer planning the whole time to come back and ask for every penny ante repair called out by the inspectors?  Lame squared.

Sellers:
  If you get multiple offers and are tempted to take a sky-high one or one that claims to be all cash, consider requesting proof that the buyer has sufficient funds to make up the difference between what you think the home will appraise for and the actual sale price, and statements showing the cash truly exists.  Buyers: Don’t be lame. I’m not saying you have to tell the seller exactly what your top dollar is, but making offers with terms designed to intentionally mislead is really, really bad form – and can result in losing the home entirely if and when your bluff gets called.

[Read More]

For your mortgage needs visit Primary Residential Mortgage Inc.TeamPrimary. We would love to help!

Have you ever imagined turning your home into a billboard? Check out this fun article posted in Mobiledia.com!

Mobile advertiser Adzookie is looking to get its name out to the public in a strictly un-mobile way –- by turning whole homes into advertising billboards.

The attention-grabbing scheme is aimed at raising the profile of the eight-person Anaheim, Calif.-based start-up. 

Under the promotion, Adzookie will pay the mortgage of any homeowner who will allow the company to paint its logo and colors on the outside of the building. And it won’t be a discreet little ad: the whole house will be covered.

[Read More]

Are you looking to purchase a mortgage? Check out Primary Residential Mortgage, IncTeamPrimary. We are here to help you with all your mortgage needs!

As you have heard, the government faces a partial shutdown this Friday at midnight if Congress doesn’t take action to avoid one. HUD, VA, USDA (Rural Housing) and IRS (tax transcripts) will stop operating if the government shuts down. While we have not been able to determine the full impact to the mortgage process, it is likely you will not be able to:

  • Order/update FHA and VA case numbers
  • Obtain CAIVRS
  • Order VA appraisals
  • “Log-In” FHA appraisals
  • Clear/log-in Mortgage Credit Rejects
  • Check LDP/GSA lists
  • Use Monthly Mortgage Insurance Calculator
  • Obtain UFMIP Authorization
  • Insure/Guaranty FHA, VA and Rural Housing Loans
  • Remit UFMIP or VA Funding Fee
  • Obtain answers to underwriting scenarios
  • Execute 4506T for tax transcripts

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this doesn’t happen!  In the meantime, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc TeamPrimary is making sure that all of this is done ahead of time on all of our current files! Thank you to our headquarters for sharing this information with us!

You may have heard an incident was detected where a Texas based marketing company’s (Epsilon) clients’ customer data was exposed by an unauthorized entry into their email system.

Scammers will use hijacked email addresses to create emails based on your interests or emails that appears to be from your bank or other companies you know and trust. Clicking the malicious link within an email can hijack your computer and turn it into a spam bot without your knowledge, or worse, install malware that can record your passwords and credit card info.

Tips for spotting fake e-mails

 ·        If you don’t know the sender, don’t open the email. Booby-trapped attachments are often disguised as thank you notes or e-greetings.

·        Watch out for emails that request personal information. No legitimate organization will ask for personal information like your social security or account number.

·        Be careful with emails that look like they’re from PayPal, Facebook or any of the sites listed above. Often these emails are linked to a third-party site that makes them look like a company you do business with, but are actually run by thieves or scammers. To make sure you’re visiting the real site, don’t click through the email. Instead, type the trusted website’s address directly into your browser.

·        Watch for typos or spelling mistakes. Scammers are street smart but many seem to have flunked basic grammar. If the email has multiple typos or grammatical errors, odds are that it’s not real.

·        Watch for red flag phrases like, “You have won!” or “Please verify your account!” Genuine firms never send emails like that.

For your mortgage needs, contact Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. -TeamPrimary. We love your referrals!

Great information for homeowners looking to fix up their yard without breaking the bank. Check out this article posted in money.usnews.com by MoneyCrashers!

With winter officially over, many of us are eying our dead, brown lawns, hoping to revive them back to their green and lush state. But if your first step in lawn care is to stop by your local hardware store for an expensive fertilizer and a weed control mixture, think again.

These chemical additives wreak havoc on the environment, negatively impacting the local watershed and wildlife. The good news is that you can still have a picture-perfect lawn without all those damaging chemicals. Here are four natural, eco-friendly ways to care for your lawn that can actually save you money.

1. Fertilize Naturally

Most of us need to fertilize in the early spring. Plants are hungry from their winter dormancy, and adding fertilizer is the best way to jump start their growth and get your lawn off to a great start. But fertilizer doesn’t have to mean “chemical.” If you’ve been vermicomposting all winter, now is the best time to use your compost tea to fertilize your lawn. I use compost tea in my own lawn every spring and it works wonders. The bonus? It’s free and you help reduce food waste in your home as well. If you haven’t been composting, or aren’t able to, you can still buy prepackaged “worm tea” at major stores like Home Depot.

2. Mow Less

Most people mow their lawns way too often—and cut the blades too short. Your mower’s blades should be cutting the grass at three inches or higher. Anything shorter than that can actually encourage weeds on your lawn, since short grass exposes the sunlight to the soil and can jump start dormant seeds. The less you mow, the less pollution you’re putting into the atmosphere. According to the EPA, a traditional gas-powered mower emits more pollution than 43 new cars, each being driven 12,000 miles.

Why are they so bad? Because such small engines don’t have emission standards like cars do. Mowing less also means you’re using less gas, and with gas prices rising these days, we could all benefit from buying that commodity less. The EPA estimates that each year, we spill more than 17 million gallons of fuel, just refilling our lawn equipment. That’s more than what the Exxon Valdez dumped on Alaska’s coast. You could also think about switching to an electric lawn mower or a push reel mower. Push reel mowers are 100 percent eco-friendly; they’re quiet, they don’t require gas, they don’t emit pollution, and they give you more exercise.

3. Don’t Kill “Weeds”

Many people want lawns that resemble a golf course. But this means that common “weeds”, like clover and dandelion, must be killed off immediately before they spoil the effect. The problem is that chemical weed killers are extremely hazardous to the environment, as well as our health. Plus, weeds like clover add beneficial nitrogen to the soil (which further helps improve the health of your grass). Clover and dandelion also provide honeybees with a much-needed food source. And if you’re really adventurous, there are many health benefits to eating dandelions.

Don’t believe me? Check out some of these dandelion greens recipes—they’re healthy and taste great. Why not let those weeds grow out this year? Having a natural looking lawn can be even prettier than a perfect patch of pristine grass. And, you’ll save yourself the hassle and stress of trying to maintain it all summer long.

4. Use Rainwater

According to the EPA, most people over-water their lawns. This not only wastes water, but it also costs you money. Instead of hooking that hose up to your house, invest in a rain barrel or two, and use Mother Nature’s water (for free). I use two rain barrels at my house, and I never have to use “bought” city water to give my garden a drink. The practice of transforming your lawn so it doesn’t depend on imported water is called xeriscape landscaping. And with the droughts that many cities and states go through every summer and fall, xeriscaping is a smart—and cost-effective—way to design your yard.

Final Thoughts

Using the above eco-friendly techniques to care for your lawn will make a big difference to the environment and your wallet, especially if you get rid of major polluters and gas guzzlers like your lawn mower. Plus, letting your yard grow more naturally will free up many of your afternoons so you can do something fun instead—like take a nap in your hammock! What are some of the eco-friendly things you’re doing to prepare your lawn for the spring and summer?

[Read More]

Visit Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. for all your mortgage needs! Also check us out on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary!

Article posted in Trulia.com by Tara

Home buyers and -sellers alike often bristle with anticipatory irritation at the mere thought of all the paperwork they expect they’ll have to come up with to do their transaction, above and beyond the basic loan application, contract, disclosures and closing docs. And these worries start way in advance; it’s as though, before they even start visiting open houses, buyers begin to visualize – and dread – spending hours upon hours in the dank catacombs of the Vatican (à la Da Vinci Code) combing through ancient files, seeking some rare and precious artifact documenting their childhood dental history or genealogy.

In some respects, this vision of the experience of obtaining a home loan might not be far off – there are oodles of hoops through which to jump and, occasionally, the loan underwriter requests something sort of bizarre. But more commonly, there’s a pretty finite universe of documents you’ll really need to scrounge up to get your home bought – or sold. Here they are:

  1. ID (e.g., driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport).  Who must produce it?  Buyers and sellers.  Why?  Uh, hello!?!  Lender wants to know that you are who you say you are, buyers, and the title insurance company wants to make sure, sellers, that you actually have the right to sell the home.  Funny enough, this commonly goes unrequested until you get to the closing table, when the notary requests to see it before signing, but some mortgage brokers and even some real estate brokers and agents may ask to see it earlier on.
  2. Paycheck Stubs.  Who must produce it?  Any buyer financing their purchase with a mortgage.  Sellers, usually only in the case of a short sale.  Why? Buyers’ purchase price ranges are determined, in part, by their income. And short sellers have to prove an economic hardship.
  3. Two months’ bank account statements. Who must produce it?  Buyers getting financing; sellers selling short. Why? Buyers’ lenders now require proof of regular income and proof that the down payment money is your own.  Short sellers?  It’s all about the hardship.
  4. Two years’ W-2 forms or tax returns. Who must produce it?  Mortgage-seeking buyers and short selling sellers. Why? Banks want to see a stable, long-term income. They also limit you to claiming as income the amount on which you pay taxes (attn: all business owners!). And in short sales, again, they want documentation of every single facet of your finances.
  5. Updated everything. Who must produce it? Buyer/mortgage applicants. Why? Because things change, and because the time period between the first loan application and closing can be many months – even years! – on today’s market. During the time between contract and closing it’s not at all unusual for underwriters to demand buyers produce updated mortgage statements, checks stubs, and such – and its quite common for them to call your office the day before closing to request a last minute verification of employment!
  6. Quitclaim deed. Who must produce it?  Married buyers purchasing homes they plan to own as separate property.  Married sellers selling homes that they own separately, or joint owners selling their interests separately.  Why? With the Quitclaim Deed, the other spouse or owner signs any and all interests they even might have had in the property over the the selling owner, making it possible for the title insurer to guarantee clear, undisputed title is being transferred in the sale.
  7. Divorce decree.  Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers who need to document their solo status or the property-splitting terms of their divorce. Why? Again, to ensure that the seller has the right to sell.  Recently single buyers might need to prove that they shouldn’t be held to account for their ex’s separate debts or credit report dings.
  8. Gift letters.  Who must produce it? Buyers using gift money toward their down payment.  Why? The bank wants to be sure the gift came from a relative, and is their own money to give.  They also want the relative to confirm in writing that it’s a gift, not a loan – a loan would need to be factored into your debt load.
  9. Compliance certificates. Who must produce it? Usually sellers, but sometimes buyers, by contract. Why? Some local governments require various condition requirements be met before the property is transferred, like some cities which require a sewer line be video scoped and repaired, cities which require a checklist of items be met before a certificate of occupancy be issued (usually relevant to brand new and really old homes, the latter of which are often subject to lead paint concerns) and energy conservation ordinances which require low-flow toilets and shower heads to be installed. Ask your real estate pro for advice about which, if any, such ordinances apply in your area.
  10. Mortgage statements. Who must produce it?  Any seller with a mortgage. Why? the escrow holder or title company will need to use them to order payoff demands from any mortgage holder who has to get paid before the property’s title can be transferred.

By no means is this an exhaustive list. Agents: what documents do you see buyers and sellers struggle to scrounge up during their home buying transactions?

[Read More]

Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc can help with your mortgage needs! Find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary!

Spring is here and it’s time to break out and clean!  Below is an easy step by step guide created by ehow.com to help you organize for spring cleaning.

Springtime is the traditional time to remove the winter blues from your home and make it ready for the long days of summer fun. It’s also a good exercise in taking stock of your home and its contents. Just make sure that you share the work–and the credit for a job well done.

Instructions 

  1. Make a list of each room in the house that needs to be cleaned.

  2. In each room, breakdown the individual items that need to be cleaned with a bulleted list. For instance, a kitchen might include refrigerator/freezer cleanup, silver tarnish, cabinet organizing, etc. This way, you can tackle each room piecemeal.

  3. Do a double-check for items that exist independently of a specific room’s list. For instance, filters in your air conditioning unit might be due for a change, or you gutters may be clogged with late winter’s heavy rains.

  4. Farm out responsibilities to the members of your family. If you have young children, you might give them something small to do.

  5. Schedule a weekend for the spring cleaning. Make sure your family knows that this weekend is dedicated to cleaning.

    Read more: How to Organize Spring Cleaning | eHow.com

Visit Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.’s, TeamPrimary on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary!

Check out this list of ways to buy and sell a fixer-upper!

How to Buy and Sell a Fixer-Upper

It just needs a little TLC, right? If you’re willing to put some elbow grease into it, buying and selling a fixer-upper can be a profitable endeavor. But there’s a level of risk involved, not to mention a substantial commitment of time and effort on your part, and long periods of time when you will be living in chaos and sawdust. If you’re still up for the challenge, it can be a rewarding experience.

Instructions

1. Decide on the geographic area in which you want a property. Whether you intend to live in a home or not will impact where you’ll want to buy. Remember that your ideal place to live may not be the best place to invest in property.

2. Be prepared for an extensive search. Many fixer-uppers–particularly those in especially bad shape–don’t command much attention, so you may have to hunt around. Drive through desirable neighborhoods to spot “For Sale” signs.

3. Keep in mind that “location, location, location” is still the mantra of real estate purchases, whether for a fixer-upper or a single family home. Steer away from properties in areas that are going downhill, because you’ll have trouble recouping your investment no matter how beautiful the structure. Find out if the asking price of that fixer-upper is comparable with the prices of other homes on the block. Make sure the fixer-upper is in an area of appreciating house values. That way, your house will be worth even more when your repairs are completed, rather than less because of worsening market conditions in the neighborhood. Try to meet some of the neighbors who might give you some information on what’s been going on in their block.

4. Look in the classifieds, and at community bulletin boards or other public spots for the magic words “fixer-upper,” “needs TLC,” “handyman special” or “diamond in the rough.”

5. Review local listings of foreclosed properties in your city. When banks or municipalities have had to take ownership of a property, they’re generally very motivated to hand it off to a private buyer like you (See How to Buy a Foreclosed Home). Contact real estate agents to see if they are listing a fixer-upper.

6. Keep an eye out for properties that need only cosmetic improvements. Houses that could use new paint, carpeting or flooring are the least expensive and offer the fastest potential turnaround. Larger problems such as bad roofs or faulty foundations are often prohibitively expensive and undermine eventual profit, depending on what you got the house for and how much you think you can sell it for.

7. Watch for vacant homes that have not been kept up by the owner. These forgotten houses can often have the most motivated seller you could hope to find.

8. If you find an appealing property with seemingly reasonable repair needs, confirm. Have the home professionally inspected. Specify that the final sale is contingent on a satisfactory complete inspection.

9. Accompany the inspector when he or she goes through the house for a blow-by-blow account. Then review the report in detail to see what’s wrong. You may also need to get additional inspections including soil, pest, roof and seismic. Be sure the inspector generates a narrative report rather than a checklist.

10. Get a formal appraisal ($200 to $400) of the home’s value and have your agent work up comparables. If possible, have the appraiser estimate how much the home should sell for after it is restored to good condition.

11. Set your target purchase price. Pros suggest bidding at least 20 percent below its potential fixed-up value.

12. Get several bids from contractors of how much it will cost to fix what needs to be fixed (see How to Hire a Contractor, Plumber, Painter or Electrician). Be sure to check zoning requirements and include permit fees. The house’s value should increase at least $2 for every dollar you spend on improvements. Calculate the potential value of the house after renovations and be sure that it isn’t higher than comparable houses on the block. Be realistic about repair costs.

13. Make the final sale contingent on obtaining a satisfactory bid for improvements. That way, if the bids you receive are simply too expensive, you can back out of the deal. Keep in mind that contingencies of any kind could make it hard to negotiate a lower price or even make a deal in a seller’s market when competition among buyers can be intense.

14. See How to Shop for a Mortgage, and pursue a mortgage that includes funds for home renovation, such as the Federal Housing Authority 203(k) program.

15. Make whatever repairs and renovations are necessary and then sell the property. (See How to Sell a House.)

Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc’s, TeamPrimary is now doing 203K Rehab Loans! Visit us at TeamPrimary.com or check us out on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary!

Lately many homes have been in danger of flooding and the cause of this is due to the excessive amount of rainfall we’ve had mixed in with snow melt. If a flood occurs it is important to tend to it immediately, if not you may be faced with more of a problem later on.

Tri-State Flood Inc. provides the following information on the effects of water damage:

ONGOING EFFECTS OF WATER DAMAGE

 WITHIN MINUTES 
- Water contamination spreads to unaffected areas 
- Moisture sensitive surfaces swell and disfigure
- Furniture stains appear on carpeting and are usually permanent
- Paper goods and records are ruined
- Drapery fabrics that contain water may develop permanent watermarks.

WITHIN HOURS
- Pre-existing moisture related problems are activated, such as pet urine, etc.
- Drywall softens and warps
- Cellulosic browning may occur on natural fabrics
- Foam cushion (pad) can begin to disintegrate
- Bacterial odor problems begin to develop
- Wood furniture, in contact with water, can become permanently ruined due to discoloration and swelling
- Rust stains appear on carpeting and other surfaces

WITHIN DAYS
- Mildew and biological growth takes place; odors begin to permeate the structure
- Wood floors are warped and ruined
- Glue-down and double-stick installations become lose
- Woven carpets installations could shrink
- Delamination of tufted carpet is possible
- Vinyl floor coverings can permanently discolor, adhesives can break down
- Components inside pianos and organs begin to swell from moisture
- Allergies and asthma can be aggravated

WITHIN WEEKS
- Structural integrity of interior wall members, sub floors, and ceilings. Installations can be permanently damaged
- Mildew can permanently stain/damage natural materials
- Serious health hazards to occupants of buildings have developed

NOTE: Naturally, the above conditions depend upon the total amount of excessive water, the humidity at the time of the flooding, the contamination in the water, and its location with in the home or business.

For information on mortgage lending, visit TeamPrimary.com or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary!