Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kitchen Renovation Tips

Our kitchen renovation experts give you tips on how to reduce the clutter.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Top 10 Best Renovated Kitchens

The top 10 renovated kitchens from House Hunters Renovations are listed.

Friday, May 22, 2015

You Forgot the Case Number on our 203k Paperwork

This one gets me all the time. You forgot the case number, here it is please insert it on each page of the report. I'm surprised you forgot it with as many of these as you have done.

LMAO, the case number is ordered after our report is completed and turned in. It is ordered when the order the appraisal, they can't order the appraisal till they know the cost of the repairs. It is a "catch 22" for sure. There isn't a week that goes by that we don't get asked to provide the case number on all the forms. It is actually a pretty simple thing to do with our proprietary software. We merely add the case number and reprint the report with a push of a button then send that pdf to the client and their lender.

If you are a 203k or a HomeStyle® Renovation Mortgage lender and would like to try our software for FREE to kick the tires please request it and we are happy to provide it to you. It is actually an asset to many who only do the streamlined k, soon to be renamed "Limited 203k". Our software output was voted "easiest to underwrite" by a 98% margin over our competition. If you haven't tried it ask for a free trial. If your consultants reports are adding correctly or are just leaving too much work for you.. give ours a try.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Have You Considered a 203K Rehab Home?

There are mortgages available specifically to buy and fix a home. These definitely should be considered if a home is in good condition, but does not meet your goals, i.e. out dated kitchen, flooring, issues with roof, etc. This program allows you to both purchase and repair a home with a single transaction.

In addition to a typical home improvement project for this type of loan package, the 203-k mortgage loan program can be used to convert a one-family dwelling to a multi-family dwelling; perfect if you need to move the in-laws in with you.

You're probably more acquainted with mortgage financing plans that provide permanent financing. That is you pay your closing fees, sign for a home, and deal with the lender on a monthly basis, when you pay your mortgage. The significance of a 203K loan allows the buyer to roll in the costs of repairs to rehabilitate the property into the mortgage loan.

When rehabilitation is involved, the lender requires the home improvements to be finished before the long-term mortgage is made. You really sit down at closing to sign off on 2 loans; a temporary one for construction/rehabbing of the property, then your 15 or 30 year mortgage after all improvements have been completed.

There are 2 FHA 203k loans; the FHA 203k Rehab and the FHA 203k

Streamline. The FHA 203k Rehab enables borrowers to obtain a single mortgage to finance the purchase and the rehabilitation costs of the property. Minimum improvements are $5,000.

The 203k Streamline key points; this loan has many of the same attributes of the 203k Rehab loan, except the Streamline loan has no minimum amount tagged onto repairs. The maximum amount of repairs is limited to $35,000 for major remodeling.

The 203k loan takes an average of 45 days to close; 30 days for minor remodeling projects and 60 days for projects involving major structure remodeling.

The qualification requirements are the same as a typical FHA mortgage loan however, you all need to submit a home project plan and budget for the improvements. The only additional item that the borrower needs is enough cash reserved to pay for materials and labor until they are reimbursed through the loan.

With an over-abundance of foreclosed properties that need rehabilitation, the 203K loan package is a perfect opportunity to get more house for less price (as-is market value) and be able to make improvements without borrowing from your personal savings.

Contact an experienced realtor to start looking for those missed gems.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

What is Your Consultation Fee?

What is your consultation fee?

That is nearly always a question that gets asked. Well, it is on our order form to make it easy for you to fill out your GFE - Good Faith Estimate of fees and charges. We have attempted to make it so easy and efficient. If you are a lender placing the order and you have ordered before with the same company, you need not fill out all the company information each time, your name and phone number are sufficient. Save yourself some time.

It is however a great asset to be able to copy and paste the information on the order blank. It is important to know the fee your client will be paying for full disclosure purposes but we will need to know the construction budget. Since our fee is based on the amount of the construction it is important to have that little piece of information so we can quote you a cost.

You should also know that there is no protocol for the consultant report and many consultants do the bare minimum for their fee and then we have some, like us, that go way overboard to spoil our clients. We always attempt to "deliver more than you expect".

This week one client stated in an email "It really is very helpful having you as our consultant Mike. Like you said the first day, we will need you in our corner and it does feel like that indeed. So thank you." It is our intention to provide our clients with the best possible product and service they can get. Some get it and some never will. Happily most get that what we do is way beyond what is required and we do it for the same price as those who don't.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What You Should Know About a FHA Mortgage

Almost all homebuyers need to get a mortgage of some sort in order to afford their home. These loans are vital to the economy as we found out during the economic crisis of 2008. If you are trying to buy a piece of property you should look into getting a loan from the Federal Housing Administration. This branch of the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been working to insure loans to homebuyers. This means you can get lower interest rates with friendlier term limits if you take a FHA loan. Let's explore FHA loans a little more and see how they work.

How It Works

You are probably wondering how the federal government can offer low interest rates while at the same time making the qualifications for a FHA loan very easy and relaxed. The trick is simple. The borrower pays for mortgage insurance which protects the lender in the case that the borrower defaults on their loan. Pretty simple, right? Because each borrower is essentially covering themselves in the event that they cannot make their payments, the FHA can offer the consumer a loan with superb terms! If you are trying to get into a home, but have been turned down by the banks, you need to see what the FHA can do for you!

Credit Qualifications

For anyone with a credit score over 580, the FHA can offer you a mortgage with a down payment that is as low as 3.5 percent. Consumers who fall into the 500- 579 range are looking at a down payment of roughly ten percent, and those with a credit score under 500 generally do not qualify. However, the FHA can and will make exceptions for people with unorthodox or insufficient credit histories who do not have a credit score of at least 500. To see if you qualify for exceptions you need to speak with an FHA lending specialist.

Closing Costs Could be Covered

Buying property comes with a lot of other costs as well. These costs include, appraisals, title expenses, and credit reports. The FHA allows lenders, sellers, and builders to cover closing costs in order to entice a consumer to purchase their home. However, if a lender covers your closing costs, you will generally end up paying a higher interest rate on your mortgage. You will be able to compare rates between lenders with and without costs covered, so that you can make the best choice for your situation.

It is On Your Lender

The FHA is not the institution that is going to give you the money to put down on a residence. The FHA is merely an insurance fund, so if you are looking to get an FHA mortgage, you need to make sure that your lender is FHA approved. It is also important to note that not all FHA approved lenders offer the same rates even on the same loan, so it is still important to shop around for the best possible rates.

The FHA makes getting a new home a lot easier. See if your lender is FHA approved, and learn more about what they can offer you.

When looking for a Dallas mortgage, visit Benchmark Bank. Learn more about our services at
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Contractors Get More Upfront Money for Their 203k Projects

Sreamline k loans now and hereafter referred to as "Limited 203k" loans always provided 50% of the materials cost up front to the contractor unless you were dealing with a lender like Wells Fargo that only allowed 35% or Prospect Mortgage at 40%. Most other lenders provided the full 50% per the guideline.

The new rule as it is proposed for


Standard 203(k) transactions, Mortgagees may disburse the following at closing:


  • permit fees (the permit must be obtained before work commences);
  • prepaid architectural or engineering fees;
  • prepaid Consultant fees; [reimbursed to the borrower]
  • materials costs for items, prepaid by the Borrower in cash or by the contractor, where a contract is established with the supplier and an order is placed with the manufacturer for delivery at a later date; and
  • up to 50 percent of materials costs for items, not yet paid for by the borrower or contractor, where a contract is established with the supplier and an order is placed with the manufacturer for delivery at a later date
  • For any Disbursements paid to the contractor, the Mortgagee must hold back 10 percent of the draw request in the Contingency Reserve.
This is actually a pretty big thing. This will allow us to get reimbursed for materials... materials at 50% of their cost at the close of escrow. By paying that directly to the supplier with proper 1099 form and invoice copy for materials they can get the money at close of escrow. This should speed things up considerably for getting the big ticket items deposits paid for up front at the closing. 
While the permits and some of the other fees has been the case for yers the 50% of some of the materials costs paid at close is going to help allow more contractors the flexibility to do more 203k projects.
Contact our local office in King County - Patrick Brazil (360) 461-9445

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How Can I Use a FHA 203k Renovation Loan?

In a recent article I showed you how quick and easy the FHA 203K Loan process was and how it can benefit you and your family in their search for the perfect home. We talked about how you can purchase or refinance and get the money to buy or to pay off your current mortgage alongl with an escrow account for repairs all in one simple loan process at great FHA rates. Now I want to outline some of the common and not so common uses of FHA 203K Loans; from making a property handicapped-accessible to waterproofing a home to simply upgrading appiances in poor condition, the FHA 203K loan program gets the job done. So, how can you use the program?

1. New Freestanding Appliances

2. Complete Bathroom Remodel

3. Adding a New Master Bathroom

4. Upgrading Heating & Cooling Systems

5. Well & Septic

6. New Hardiplank Siding

7. Fresh Paint Inside or Out

8. Attic Build-Outs

9. Waterproofing the Basement

10. Finishing the Basement

11. Making the House Handicapped Accessible

12. Complete & Total Renovation

13. Adding a 2nd Floor

14. Adding a Bedroom

15. Moving a Historic House to New Location

16. New Deck & Outdoor Kitchen Area

17. Repairing Water Damage

18. New Hardwood Flooring or New Carpet

19. New Lighting Fixtures

20. New Windows & Doors

21. Upgrading Plumbing & Electrical Systems

22. New Fixtures for Tubs, Bathrooms and Kitchens

23. Opening Up a Floorplan

24. New Kitchen Counters

25. Vaulting Your Ceilings

26. Making Your House More Energy Efficient

27. Going Green with Solar Panels

28. Getting a Condo Ready for Your New College Student

29. Much, Much More

There are thousands of reason why people need to renovate and I couldn't possibly list them all here. FHA allows for nearly anything you can think of so long as the value of your renovation supports the new loan amount. I am getting more and more requests to help provide financing so green conscience homeowners can add new energy efficient features, including solar panels, to their homes and save on rapidly rising energy prices. Not to mention FHA will allow your debt to income ratios to be higher if you include energy efficient improvements to your renovation. So whether your renovation idea made the list or not, it is always good to check into FHA 203K Renovation loans before you finance your next home improvement or new home purchase.

Jonathan Blackwell FHA 203K Specialist Hometown Lenders [] 404-551-3845
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Monday, May 4, 2015

How Can I Close My Renovation Loan Faster?

What is it that takes a 203k or renovation loan so long to close escrow? The short answer is that everyone in the transactions is looking at the consultant, emailing and calling, distracting the driver so to speak. It is like a magician, lets take your eyes of the real culprit by making you look at the consultant. Everyone thinks the secret it to call or email the consultant... NOT. In fact this actually hurts and hinders the very person who needs the time to achieve the desired results.

I always go back to Donna Nix in Columbia South Carolina. She busted her back getting her end of the 203k paperwork completed and let the other professionals working on her team do their due diligence without a single call or email knowing it would all come together and closed her full 203k loan in 21 days... asking "why does everyone say they need 45-60 days?"

I guess it would be confusing for someone who just  did her first  203k in 21 days, Donna is one of the few that understands how a TEAM actually works. Let it work for you.

I know, your lender always takes 45 days, yes, that is a sad fact but there is one very large lender that won't let them close faster than that and it is frustrating for the LOs working for that company because the company will sit on it so as not to create a "habit" or "expectation" that they can be closed faster.

We work  with another large company where the company policy is to say "45 days to close" for another reason. They actually close them in 28-35 days all the time but they set the expectation at 45 and are hero's when they close in 28-35 days. On the other hand had they told you 28 days and took 29 you would be angry with them. Funny how that works. Expect 45-60 and you will be happier most of the time.

What can you do to insure your loan closes at the shortest possible time frame? Simple get your consultant involved sooner in the process. Many lenders will get your client paperwork started, they have already pre-qualified them, so there is little need to drag getting the consultant involved.

The process as designed should be to get the consultant out there first... FIRST, we work with the borrower and create the "scope of work" that becomes what the contractors will all bid so they are all bidding from the same list and not from a casual walk through with the borrower where each hears what they want to hear and bids according to what they think they heard. Once we write it up the bids are going to be more uniform in their presentation.

In the case of a streamlined k loan the toughest thing to realize is that though a consultant isn't required, it is smarter. Contractors typically take a week or two to get their bid together, by using the consultant as a "contractor helper" we bid the job faster and then bring you a contractor who can do it for that amount. Yahoo. you close streamlined k loans faster too. In this scenario you don't pay the consultant, the contractor does. Streamlined k loans comprise 98% of the problem 203k loans and it is because it is a "do it yourself" process and you haven't ever done one.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Using FHA Loans to Buy Your House? You Need an FHA Experienced Realtor!

If you're in the market for a home, FHA loans can provide you the means to get into a house much less expensively than a regular loan can, and they're especially beneficial to you if you're of modest means.

However, FHA loans can also be tricky to navigate, and you need to know what you're doing BEFORE you get one...

It's imperative that you have an FHA experienced realtor if you're looking to purchase a home with this type of mortgage, because there are some processes you'll need to go through in order to have the process go smoothly. If you don't do this, it could cost you both time and money you can ill afford.

Having an FHA experienced realtor can help you navigate the process, he or she can make things easier, and set things up so that the process itself is much easier.

Some things you should know about An FHA mortgage:

§ Lower minimum down payment

The down payment for an FHA loan is just 3.5%, as compared to at least 20% for conventional loan, and you can have a family member, charitable organization, or even your employer pay that amount. If you go for a conventional loan, you'll usually need to prove you have the down payment amount yourself.

§ Same interest rates as conventional loans (most of the time)

Usually, FHA loans have similar interest rates as conventional loans, but this will also depend on your credit score. There is an FHA 203K (rehab loan) that would usually result in a higher interest rate due to more risk if the lender is loaning money to rehab the property too. It will be much less than getting a construction loan though.

§ Sometimes okay even with weak credit

FHA loans will often be approved even for those who have had credit problems, whereas conventional loans will be much more difficult to get. What's more important with the loan is your income. Even if you have enough income, you've been at your job for a while, and your job is pretty secure, you might still face problems getting a conventional loan where FHA might be an easier loan to qualify for.

§ Higher ratio of mortgage payment income

With conventional mortgages, you can only have Housing Expense ratios of 28% of your monthly income, and 36% ratios of monthly debt to income to qualify. FHA loans allow a ratio of 29% and 41% respectively.

§ No prepayment penalty

Fortunately, there are no prepayment penalties if you pay your loan off early with an FHA loan.

§ Closing costs can be included in FHA loans (up to 6% of the purchase price)

Closing costs can also be included in these loans, as long as you qualify for the higher amount of closing costs.

Other things in regard to your realtor and FHA loans

Of course, you'll also need to know these things yourself, but it's imperative that your Realtor also knows the differences between conventional mortgages and an FHA mortgage. It's important because if your realtor doesn't know the ins and outs of these loans, he or she may proceed based upon the assumptions used for conventional loans, only to have FHA loan requirements not met and the process itself thwarted.

In addition, most FHA loans require that the home in question be appraised first, and that the property in question is in "habitable" condition. If your realtor knows what FHA requires for a particular property, he or she will be able to account for any possible issues with the appraisal so the process goes as smoothly as possible.

The bottom line?...

In short, if you don't work with an FHA experienced realtor, and you're planning to get your home financed through this loan program, you could find yourself not only failing to get the home you want, but spending money you don't have only to be disappointed in the end. Save yourself a lot of heartache, and find an experienced realtor to work with.

Dustin Miller is a Realtor who specializes in helping FHA buyers and works with homeowners to avoid foreclosure by doing short sales. He works in the Coral Springs / Coconut Creek, FL area as a Short Sale Realtor and resident. If you have any questions regarding your specific situation visit his site for his contact info and feel free to contact him anytime. For more FHA loan answers check out more info on FHA Loan Requirements [] by clicking the link You can also read more related articles or search for properties including FL Condos at this site
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