Thursday, January 28, 2016

What's Keeping You from Applying for a Mortgage Loan?

What has been stopping you from applying for a mortgage?
a. You feel you need to be more informed before shopping.
b. You don’t think your credit can't get you anything.
c. You don’t think you have enough saved for a downpayment.
d. You’re scared.
e. All of the above.

It is a great time to jump into the Richmond real estate market right now.  There are still great starter homes, affordable neighborhoods with great potential while rent is skyrocketing!  If you feel like you’re not in a financial place right now to even consider applying for a home loan, you might qualify for more than you think.  Taking the baby-steps outlined below will give you solid knowledge in what type of home loan you qualify for and what kind of home you can afford.  You may be surprised with just a little bit of work!

     1.Know your credit score.  This will affect the rate you’ll be given on your mortgage, or whether or not you’ll be approved by certain lenders.  There are options out there for lower scores, but if you work on your credit, it could mean a better deal.

     2. Get a credit report.  By obtaining your credit report, you can ensure that you are getting an accurate score.  There may be an old debt that you’ve settled that hasn’t been reported to the proper credit agencies.  Make sure you’re getting a fair judgement on your score.

     3.Start saving all of the documents you’ll need to start the process.  Pay stubs, bank statements, W2s and tax returns.  Having your paperwork in order helps streamline the process and get you faster results.
     4. Become Pre-approved.  This is essential before ever starting the house hunting process.  By getting pre-approved, you know what you can actually afford, including insurance fees and interest rates.  It narrows down your choices in a good way.  Looking at a home, you can’t afford is a waste of many people’s time and will stop you from overspending on something you could potentially be foreclosed on.

     5. FHA may be the way to go if you're worried about not having a large downpayment.  Finding out whether or not you qualify for one of these is also an indicator of what you may or may not afford, depending on the heft of your required down payment.

Most of these are simple steps you can take on your own.  Whether or not you think you can afford a home now, these are all things you will need to do eventually if becoming a homeowner is one of your goals.  Knowing what you can qualify for is half the battle! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Cautious Optimism" is the 2016 Theme

There are a couple of things to look forward to for 2016 in the housing market:

- An improving economy means an improving housing market.
- Rates are still low and lenders are considering broader credit conditions. Bonus: These conditions can lead to an increase in housing demand.
- Owners who were foreclosed during the housing bust are now back in the market.
- Millennials are among the biggest group with purchasing power because of the improving job market.

Things to be cautious about:

- Factoring in taxes, mortgage insurance premiums and the cost of potential home repairs in order to truly calculate what you can afford.
- Correct any credit report errors before starting the lending process.
- Adjustable rate mortgages won’t be as desirable as fixed-rate mortgages due to rising rate conditions
- Local housing market recovery still varies widely throughout the nation, so it’s best to get familiar with your local market conditions.  (Hint: The Richmond market is thriving in 2016!)

Check out this article, by Jill Schlesinger, from the Money section of that goes into more detail about what to expect and why!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mortgage Association Party

I had so much fun at The Hard Shell in Midlothian last Thursday for the 2016 Richmond Mortgage Banker Association Holiday Party! It was the most well-attended event that the RMBA has ever had! It was great to cut it up with some of the hardest working people in the industry and let loose for a night of great food and fun.  I am happy to announce that I am now officially the Social Chair of the RMBA and my first event will be March 10th at District 5!  So the events better be well attended from now on everybody...just sayin'! :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

This Weekend in RVA

It's cold and you're bored!  But don't fret, enjoy the sunny but chilly weather this weekend in one of the many events happening this weekend.  Don't worry, most of them feature heated tents!

Strange Brew Sports Bar
Hardywood Brewery
9:00 pm
Support Video Fan Forever, the non-profit organization dedicated to “sustaining video, cinema and literary culture,” and otherwise keeping Video Fan, Richmond’s awesome independent, weird, cult classic, anything obscure mecca for film.  Hardywood will be showcasing the film Strange Brew, a film about Canadians working in a brewery with hilarity ensuing, followed by live music from local band, Sports Bar.

Earl Grey Brown Ale release at Ardent
Ardent Craft Ales
3200 Leigh St.
One of their most loved brews is back!  Check out the brewery’s new heated tent and enjoy the beer garden throughout the chilly winter weather.  The Mean Bird food truck will be selling traditional (or vegan!) fried chicken for all you chicken heads out there

Edgar Allan Poe Birthday Bash
The Poe Museum
1914 East Main Street
11 am — 12 am (Yes! 13 hours!)
Attempting the “world’s largest Poe birthday party,” The Poe Museum is going all out to celebrate the 207th birthday of the macabre Richmond author.
The museum will have events every hour including walking tours, musical performances, film screenings, readings, cake and champagne toast at midnight! Check out the hour by hour schedule.

Jewish Food Festival
January 17th — 18th
Weinstein JCC
5403 Monument Ave
11:30 am — 7:30 pm
Free Admission, pay as you go
All your favorites such as potato latkes, matzoh ball soup and stuffed cabbage with a new dish featured this year, shakshuka! (Look it up, it’s yummy!)  Fill up your plate and listen to klezmer music and celebrate Jewish traditions!

Freedom Classic Game Day
Richmond Coliseum
601 East Leigh Street
7:00 pm (for game)
$20 — $25 (for game)
This festival began in 1996 to celebrate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil rights movement.  It has grown from an annual basketball game between Virginia Union University and Virginia State University, two historically black universities, to an all weekend celebration of fine arts, community service, and leadership programs among many others.  The basketball game is this Sunday along with a College Fair, Gospel Showcase and Drumline Competition.  Here is the complete schedule of events.

Free Admission to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
1800 Lakeside Avenue
9:00 am — 5:00 pm

MLK Day of Service
Make it a day of community service to commemorate the great Civil Rights Leader instead of resting on your bottom. Coordinated by HandsOn Greater Richmond Pick from 9 volunteer opportunities,
do a DIY volunteer project, OR, if you don’t have the day off, find activities to participate in, or find children activities here.