Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Home Repair Loan

FHA's Streamlined 203(k) Loan Program
I wanted to make sure you knew about a wonderful loan program that lets homebuyers finance up to an additional $35,000 into their mortgage to improve or upgrade their home before move-in. FHA's Streamlined 203(k) Loan Program helps homebuyers tap into cash to pay for property repairs or improvements, like those identified by a home inspector or FHA appraiser.

Here are some of the eligible repairs and improvements for the 203(k) loan program:
  • Repair or replacement of roofs, downspouts, and gutters
  • Repair, replacement, or upgrade of existing HVAC systems
  • Repair or replacement of flooring
  • Minor remodeling (i.e. kitchen) not involving structural repairs
  • Painting of the interior and exterior
  • Weatherization, including storm windows and doors, insulation, weather stripping, etc
  • Purchase and installation of appliances, including washers and dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, microwave ovens, and free-standing ranges
  • Accessibility improvements for people with disabilities
  • Repair, replace, or add exterior decks, patios, or porches
  • Basement finishing and remodeling not involving structural repairs
  • Window and door replacements and exterior wall re-siding
  • Septic system or well repair or replacement
  • Lead-based paint stabilization or abatement of lead-based paint hazards (engineer's report required upon completion)

FHA 203(k) loans can be used for purchasing a primary residence or refinancing the rate and term. Cash-out refinances are not allowed.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oil Prices and Home Loan Rates

Nobody likes to pay more at the pump. But when it comes to how oil prices impact the economy...and home loan are some important factors to consider: On the one hand, high oil prices can be very detrimental to the fragile U.S. economy, as consumers have to put more money into their gas tanks–which means they have less to spend elsewhere. High oil prices are also inflationary since the added shipping and material costs apply upward price pressures on Producer or Wholesale goods that either have to be absorbed by the producer (thus hurting profits and the ability to expand or hire) or passed on to the consumer...a la a rise in consumer inflation. On the other hand, high oil prices could actually be good news for home loan rates, as the dampening effect on economic growth produces a sluggish economic environment in which Bonds (including Mortgage Bonds, to which home loan rates are tied) thrive.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tax Deadline Extended!

There's great news for last minute tax filers! You'll have a few extra days to file your taxes this year...thanks to a little known Washington D.C. holiday called Emancipation Day, which celebrates the freeing of slaves in the district.

Emancipation Day falls on Monday, April 16 and since the tax code says that filing deadlines can't fall on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays, that means your tax filing isn't due until Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

Albert Einstein once noted that, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." And with all the changes that happen in the tax code each year, it's easy to see why he said so! If you have any questions about your taxes, your best bet is to talk to a CPA or tax professional. Let me know if I can refer someone to you, or if I can answer any questions at all that you may have about your mortgage. I'm always happy to help you however I can in achieving your short- and long-term financial goals.