Aug 302017
 

When negotiating on the purchase of your first home, I strongly advocate making an Offer the SAME DAY you see it.

Strike while the iron is hot!

I mean that you should make an Offer when you first visit a home that meets the two following conditions:

Comes close to your “Wish List.”   The “dream home” exists only in our minds.  Smart first time buyers who search for a home by first creating a comprehensive wish list—and writing it down for constant review as you house hunt—can make a prompt decision on any given home.  When a home hits most of the points on your list, it’s time to make an Offer.

* Matches Your Affordability Level.  By knowing your “numbers” you’ll know when a given home matches your level of affordability for a monthly payment.  It’s all about monthly payment.  When a home matches what you can afford monthly, it’s time to make an Offer.

Make an Offer NOW; don’t go home and think about it!

Too many first time Buyers do that and they wind up losing out on a great house because of their tardiness.

Here in New York you are not committed to the transaction at the Offer-stage; not until you sign a contract of sale with your Attorney (usually about a week later) are you prevented from changing your mind.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in
New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

 Posted by at 7:47 pm
Aug 302017
 

The Trevor Method, affectionately designated by a happy client now living in her dream home, and named after Yours Truly, has been developed over the past 28 years in two ways.  First and foremost, it’s exactly how I purchased my first home and my second home where I currently live.  I practice what I preach!

Secondly, these are my observations of the process and the assistance to First Time Buyers throughout my career.  With hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of purchase transactions, I’ve developed an understanding of what works for homebuyers, and what doesn’t. When someone doesn’t listen to me, the statistics fall into the latter bucket of “what doesn’t”. Let’s keep you in the “what works” bucket so we can get you into your new next home.

I have a propensity to narrow complicated issues down to their simplest essence.  I do that with the homebuying experience in the form of the advice I give with The Trevor Method.  Let me exercise my Method for you and bring it down to an even more essential form:

Please listen to my advice when working with you, otherwise we will kick tires, spin wheels, waste time, be frustrated and delay getting you into your home.

The FOUR things are both simple and difficult. If you do these FOUR things, I guarantee that you will be spectacularly successful with your goal of finding a home you love at a price and monthly payment you can afford.

I observed over the past 3 years, since implementing “The Trevor Method” as the primary way of conducting my mortgage business, that the people who did these FOUR things were successful.  The people who ignored or didn’t follow exactly these FOUR steps, well, they still haven’t purchased a home: they’re still out shopping!

The Trevor Method: I ask you to do these FOUR Things:

  1. WISH LIST. Make it. Write it down. Carry it with you. Read it when you’re in a home you like. Prioritize the items on the WISH LIST while you’re standing in the kitchen of that home.  Decide if the home comes “close enough” to your Dream Home.
  2. MAKE OFFERS.  Make no mistake, you MUST MAKE OFFERS.  And make Offers the same day you see a home, not two days later.
  3. GET OUT THERE, BOOTS ON THE GROUND. There is NO substitute for viewing homes in person. You have to get out there and physically look at the homes, not on the internet.  You have to do this A LOT.  OFTEN.  FREQUENTLY. Until you feel you’re exhausted and you simply can’t look at another home!!!  (I looked at over 150 homes the first time; over 30 the second)
  4. FOLLOW MY TREVOR METHOD ADVICE. I’ve designed my Method to walk you carefully, step-by-step, to your goal of owning a home.  Those folks who were spectacularly successful listened to and followed my advice.  Those folks still shopping?  They pick and choose on their own which advice to heed, which to ignore.

I have no other objective but to help you buy your first home with no drama, with clear and concise information, and with optimism. I’m completely on YOUR SIDE.  Please do these FOUR things: I guarantee you will be successful if you do!

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in
New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

 Posted by at 4:05 pm
Jan 312017
 

There are several reasons why Buyers can’t use FHA Financing for their home purchases. You would think that Homebuyers should have the full range of loan programs options available to them when making their financing decisions.  They DO!  But Buyers are too often getting discouraged and diverted from using FHA Financing by realtors, home sellers, and, yes, mortgage professionals.

And many of those Buyers don’t qualify for other types of financing, which makes these reasons all the more insidious and dastardly.

REASON 1: Inexperienced FHA Appraisers. Unfortunately, the FHA program has an incorrect reputation for “difficult” appraisals, i.e., appraisals requiring lots and lots of repair items prior to closing.  I hear often from real estate agents of the terrible experiences they had with FHA loans, specifically the appraisals. Thanks to the radical changes in our mortgage business since 2010, many very experienced Appraisers left the business. This deficit was eventually filled, especially as the economy improved, by new appraisers.

These Appraisers simply don’t have the necessary understanding of FHA appraisal standards. I reviewed once such appraisal yesterday. The Buyer found me after an intensive Google search for an expert mortgage professional on FHA 203k Renovation financing. She’s been trying to buy a bank-owned foreclosure property (REO) since last July!  The Lender she was working with simply couldn’t figure out how to make the financing work with the renovation financing.  When I reviewed the documents she submitted, I realized the main problem with her file was the appraisal.

First, this was a terrible appraisal all around: Incorrect purchase price, comments skewed all over the report instead of properly situated in the addendum, crazy comments on, and use of, comparable sales, and I mean CRAZY.  Secondly, and most importantly for this poor Homebuyer, the appraiser demonstrated a crystal clear LACK of understanding of FHA “health and safety” and property condition guidelines.  This appraisal is for a property in Westchester County, an area where I often hear the objection from realtors about their bad experiences with FHA appraisals.

REASON 2: Realtors’ bad experiences.  First and foremost, let me state this radical idea: NO ONE gets to tell a Home Buyer what type of financing they can or can not use to complete a home purchase. But too often, that’s exactly what happens.

Because Realtors have had a bad experience with an FHA transaction—or worse, they’ve “heard” of people having bad experiences—they strongly discourage Home Buyers from using this option.  I have personally had Realtors tell me on the phone, “Oh, no, they can’t use an FHA loan for this house.”  No kidding!  When I inquire as to the reasons why, there ensues a litany of false information embedded in the Realtor’s mind about how the FHA program works.  I will then explain that, since I work for the Lender, and have extensive experience with FHA financing, these ideas in their heads are, ummm…WRONG!

Let’s be clear: if a Realtor, or a home Seller, by extension, has had a bad experience with an FHA loan, that does NOT prevent a Buyer from going ahead with the financing of their choice.  I mean, what if these people once had a bad experience with home buyers who showed up driving silver four-door cars?  Would they be prevented from buying the home?  Of course not because that is just absurd!  Well, so is the idea that a Buyer cannot use their preferred (or ONLY) method of financing a home purchase.

REASON 3: Inexperienced or misinformed mortgage professionals.  The answers given to home buyers by mortgage professionals range from, “Oh, you cannot buy a home with FHA financing over $417,000 with less than 10% down.” FALSE. To, “You know, FHA financing is only for people with bad credit.” FALSE. To, “That program is only for First Time Buyers.” FALSE. To the all-time doozy, “My bank does not Offer FHA financing.” From the depository lender with the HUD Eagle on the front door!

Make no mistake, the lack of understanding of the FHA program and/or lack of experience/education by these professionals is probably the biggest reason why so many Buyers have difficulty using FHA financing (and why Realtors and Sellers have so many bad experiences).

What to do?

If you are buying a home using FHA financing, let NO ONE discourage you from using the loan program.  It’s an excellent program and has been available to home buyers for more than 80 years!  And, when selecting a mortgage professional, do your background research on that person’s experience in general (HERE on the NMLS Consumer Access website by clicking “Self-Reported Employment History” on an individual’s licensing profile) and for FHA financing specifically.  GOOGLE is your friend!

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

Jan 252017
 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their 2016 annual report. The good news: sales of existing Single Family homes (including Condos and Co-Ops) are the best in a decade. The bad news: Inventory of homes for sale hit a record low.

I’ve experienced this low inventory trend anecdotally through my experiences working with First Time Home Buyers here in New York.  

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, “Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market,he said. However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December.”

Here’s my advice to you First Time Buyers out there:

First, you must be prepared before you hit the streets looking for homes. If there are not enough homes available, but lots of Buyers walking around competing with you for that limited supply of houses, then being well-prepared can put you ahead of the crowd. One of the best ways to beat out another Buyer when competing for a house is to have “all your ducks in a row” even if your Offering price is LOWER! I’ve seen it happen, time and time again.

Second, you must strike while the iron is hot. If you see a home which comes close to your “Wish List” for location, features and price, present your OFFER the same day! The early bird gets the worm!

With homes inventory at record low I have also seen in my travels lots of homes that have no business being on the market! Yes, there are homes out there which you actually cannot or should not buy. The reasons are many and varied but they range from unrealistic Sellers with over-priced homes and a stubborn refusal to negotiate price to bad Listing Agents who tell you that your financing package won’t work for their Seller if it’s an FHA or VA loan to homes with serious physical or legal problems (mold in the basement; ancient and leaking roof; an extension without permits/certificates; a deceased owner with improperly filed estate documents, and etc., and etc.).

If you are prepared with a solid team of professionals they will guide you away from potentially harmful or crazy deals. Which brings me back to being prepared!

I have seen it time and again when existing home inventory is low: the Buyer who is clear-eyed and prepared wins and accomplishes their goal of homeownership!

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

NEGOTIATE Your Offer: Hit Them Like a Freight Train!

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate, Uncategorized, Veterans  Comments Off on NEGOTIATE Your Offer: Hit Them Like a Freight Train!
Jan 182017
 

I have a client making an Offer tomorrow on a multi-family house in The Bronx. This client—a First Time Buyer and a Veteran of the Armed Forces using VA financing—has been working very hard to find the right house.

Three weeks ago he was moments away from signing a contract to buy a home. He had done the home inspection and there were serious concerns about the property. He presented these concerns to the Seller through the Seller’s Agent, notably, a very bad roof and a serious water and mold problem in the basement. The Seller’s response: not gonna fix it. Have a nice day. Home inspection fee of $550 out the window; in the garbage; down the drain. Not really. “Money well spent,” I told my client. “You found out for minimal cost the potential money-pit-nightmare this house could become for you. Walk away.”

And walk away he did. Yesterday he saw another house he really likes. This time, I suggested we go at the Seller like a freight train bearing down on him.

Hit ’em hard. Provide a clear and concise layout of the price and terms of your Offer. Let me, the Mortgage Banker, speak to the Realtor about how well-qualified you are and the rapid timeline for an approval and closing. Put it all in writing. Have all your “ducks in a row” with the Offer spelled out with price and closing timeline, Attorney information, date for the home inspection, and your Prequalification Letter for VA mortgage financing.

As if that isn’t enough of a speeding train on the tracks, give the Seller a deadline: just over 24 hours to respond. Present your Offer mid-day Thursday; require a response by 3pm Friday. Tell the Seller’s Realtor you have appointments to look at other houses starting Saturday morning.

WOW. FREIGHT TRAIN!

Listen, anyone, any Buyer anywhere can do this. You need two things to see this through. One, have your Prequalification letter and your “team” lined up: Attorney, Home Inspector, Mortgage professional. Two, just DO IT. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You’ll find out if the Seller is serious; if they really want to have a constructive dialogue with a Buyer; if the Realtor is a serious professional.

Line ’em up on the tracks, make your Offer, run at them like a freight train and hit ’em hard. I promise you, this method WORKS.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

In Motion

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate  Comments Off on In Motion
May 172016
 

You’ve made your counter-offer to the counter-offer. Now is the time to continue moving because everything is in the hands of the Seller. This is the best place for you to be in a negotiation: leaving the decision to deal, or not to deal, on the other party.

When you have made your best effort to negotiate by making a prompt and reasonable Offer, with all your details set in place, and with arriving at your best price you’re willing to pay for a home, then you leave it alone and stop thinking and worrying about it. If the Seller is truly serious about selling the home in a reasonable manner (that includes price and terms and knowing the market activity), then you’ll get your response in a positive way.

Playground

Plenty of homes out there!

If the Seller is not serious then you have just avoided a potentially difficult situation buying a home under the wrong price and terms.

 

Motion on green meadow in nature

Motion 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay in motion: continue looking at other homes, asking your Realtor to schedule appointments.

 

Never fall in love with the house. Be prepared to walk away. Keep moving, keep house hunting. It works, I promise.

abstract-speed-motion_7yKstZ

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

May 182015
 

inspector 1You definitely want to be present at the inspection; budget anywhere from 2 to 5 hours for the inspection. Dress as if you might get dirty; bring a flashlight. You’ll go through the house side by side with your Inspector. After the inspection, your Inspector will discuss with you any major issues you need be aware of to discuss with your Attorney. You’ll get a written report shortly after the inspection day.

Typically your Home Inspection will alert you to problems in five key areas, and these key areas directly relate to the contract of sale in a New York home purchase:

1. Foundation: sound and solid
2. Roof free of leaks
3. Plumbing working and leak-free
4. Heating system sufficient and operating
5. Electrical system sufficient and up to code

image w definitions

If there is a serious problem with any of these five items, typically the Seller has a responsibility under the terms of the contract of sale to repair the problem at their expense, not the Purchaser’s expense. Sometimes a Purchaser will receive a credit at closing to repair one of these items (assuming the home and the defective issue has not compromised the Lender’s appraisal). When the Purchaser receives a credit at closing, the amount of the credit is based upon legitimate estimates for repair and negotiations between the Attorneys representing each party.

Other items you discover are in need of repair/upgrade (i.e. dishwasher not operating properly; air conditioner on second floor inoperable, etc.) can be negotiated for a repair credit or replacement at the Seller’s expense. Again, these negotiations are typically handled by the Attorneys.

It is not as common as you might think that a purchase price is reduced due to repairs from a Home Inspection. Best to consult with your Attorney for more detailed information in this area.

 

 
Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

Focus On Total Monthly Payment

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate, The Affordable Home  Comments Off on Focus On Total Monthly Payment
Apr 122015
 

WOW! What a beautiful day today here in The Bronx to be out and about House Hunting! If you’re shopping for your first home today here’s some simple advice to help you make the right decision on your home buy.

1. Wish List: Be sure to have a WRITTEN wish list of everything you want in a home. Include features, condition (how much improving are you willing to do?) and location (proximity to transportation/work and desired school districts). When you find a home that comes pretty close to your wish list, it’s a good house for you!

2. Focus on TOTAL Monthly Mortgage Payment. Your total monthly mortgage payment includes the Principal and Interest of your mortgage loan, one-twelfth of your property taxes/Homeowners Insurance/Flood Insurance/Mortgage Insurance (depending on the mortgage loan program), otherwise called “PITI.”

Your Mortgage Banker should be only a phone call/text/email/tweet away from providing you with an accurate TOTAL monthly mortgage payment. I advise this to be the best option for accurate information as opposed to online calculators. Your Mortgage Banker will be more familiar with local common and customary costs such as Homeowners Insurance and Flood Zone costs as well as local property taxes (be wary of the property taxes listed in the real estate listing for under-estimating).

If you’re qualified for a mortgage loan program that requires mortgage insurance (PMI, FHA, or VA Guaranty) those online calculators can’t correctly calculate your monthly insurance. If your Mortgage Banker isn’t available or isn’t familiar with those local common and customary costs you need to find a different Mortgage Banker!

3. Make OFFERS promptly. Nothing demonstrates that you are a serious buyer like making an OFFER on a home immediately. Don’t wait until Thursday! If a home comes close enough to your basic Wish List requirements and the total monthly mortgage payment fits your comfort zone then strike while the iron is hot!

You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain! Sellers want to work with serious buyers, and so do their real estate agents. Get your Offer prepared in writing with your agent before you go home. Then enjoy your evening and let the real estate agents and the Seller fret, worry, and negotiate with YOU.

4. Prepare your counter-offer position. Assuming the Seller doesn’t accept your initial Offer, prepare your pricing strategy for the next highest price you’re willing to go up to. Once again, focus on Total Monthly Mortgage Payment. Never pay more than you’re comfortable with! And, prepare your “walk away” strategy, too. Some Sellers and their agents are just too unrealistic with their pricing expectations.  If they don’t respond to your Offer in a reasonably prompt manner, and with a reasonable counter-0ffer (less than 5% of List Price is NOT reasonable IMHO), then it’s time for you to walk away from the negotiating table.  Let them chase YOU.  After all, you’re a prepared and serious buyer, not a time-waster.

negotiating

5. Line up your professionals to move your deal along.  Be sure to have your ATTORNEY, your HOME INSPECTOR and, of course, your Mortgage Banker all lined-up and ready to jump on your home buying bandwagon once you and the Seller have worked out and agreed on your terms and price.  Your professional team should respond to your heads-up about your accepted Offer within less than two hours, IMHO, to help you prepare to buy your home.

Do you have questions about Total Monthly Mortgage Payment?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

 

 

 Posted by at 4:43 pm

Never Fall In Love With The House

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate  Comments Off on Never Fall In Love With The House
Aug 162013
 

RULE NUMBER ONE in my Playbook for First Time Buyers: NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH THE HOUSE.

Of course, you often have no choice. The reason is simple: buying a home is a very emotional process. You’re going to LIVE there! You’ll create new life experiences and, frankly, that’s emotional.

But when you’re shopping for a home and you want to win at negotiations with a home Seller, or, you just want to be treated with respect by crazy aggressive real estate agents, you have to tamp down your emotions.

 

I believe in the negotiating tactic of “first one to leave the negotiating table wins.”

That’s really what I mean by “never fall in love with the house.”

How To WIN:

1. Move quickly: Offer your price promptly, don’t explain your price, and sit back and wait for the Seller’s response.
2. Be prepared to sign a purchase agreement (contract of sale) and get your home inspection immediately your Offer is accepted.
3. Watch the Seller’s reaction to your prompt, efficient moves.

  • Does the Seller respond in a timely manner?
  • Does the Seller’s real estate agent put up barriers to your Offer being presented/accepted?
  • Is communication between all parties clear and concise?
  • Are the other parties driving you kinda sorta NUTS with ridiculous statements and/or demands?

 

If you get a negative or confusing reaction to these focus points then you need to WALK AWAY. Let the Seller chase after you. IF the Seller is serious about selling the home, they’ll come running after you. IF they have unrealistic expectations on price and/or terms then your walking away is going to save you a lot of headaches.

Don’t fall in love with the house;

be prepared to walk away so you can get what you want.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Ask Trevor A Question

Make an OFFER NOW

 First Time Homebuyers, How-To Negotiate  Comments Off on Make an OFFER NOW
Aug 132013
 

When negotiating on the purchase of your first home, I strongly advocate making an Offer as quickly as possible.  Strike while the iron is hot!

 

I mean that you should make an Offer when you first visit

a home that meets the two following conditions:

 

  • Comes close to your “Wish List.”   The “dream home” exists only in our minds.  Smart first time buyers who search for a home by first creating a comprehensive wish list—and writing it down for constant review as you house hunt—can make a prompt decision on any given home.  When a home hits most of the points on your list, it’s time to make an Offer.

 

  • Matches Your Affordability Level.  I assume you have been properly prequalified by an experienced mortgage loan originator.  By knowing your “numbers” you’ll know when a given home matches your level of affordability for a monthly payment.  It’s all about monthly payment.  When a home matches what you can afford monthly, it’s time to make an Offer.

 

Make an Offer NOW; don’t go home and think about it! 

Too many first time Buyers do that and they wind up losing

out on a great house because of their tardiness. 

 

Here in New York you are not committed to the transaction at the Offer-stage; not until you sign a contract of sale with your Attorney (usually about a week later) are you prevented from changing your mind.  If you’re not in New York, check with your local Realtors and/or real estate Attorneys to see what you’re committed to at the point you make an Offer.

 

 

I welcome Comments for all my blog entries but they must be approved.

 I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of tcurranmortgage.com. I do not permit unfettered access to comments for obvious reasons: mortgage spammers and their ilk. If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve.

Thanks for reading tcurranmortgage.com.

Hope that helps!