Click on the link to see how interest rates have affected housing over the decades.
Click on the link to see how interest rates have affected housing over the decades.
What exactly does it mean to you when your mortgage has been “sold?”
The sale of mortgage “paper” and/or servicing is common practice.
Federal law requires that the outgoing mortgage holder must send you in writing, notification of the sale and provide you with the new company’s contact information. The new company must also send you in writing their “welcome” letter and provide you with clear instructions on how and where to pay your mortgage. To learn more, visit http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/215/what-happens-if-my-mortgage-servicer-changes-what-do-i-do.html
So what could possibly go wrong? Realize that many of the servicing agents are not located in the United States; data from the loan package is often manually entered into a new database; and escrow accounts can slip into an abyss. Because you, the mortgagor, are ultimately responsible for your mortgage, taxes, and insurance; you must be vigilant.
The subject of escrows held by a lender (or lender’s servicing company) has been tested in court and it has been determined that “when the lender holds escrow funds for property tax payments, a fiduciary duty exists.” This is a very important decision inasmuch as the lender has the obligation to you to pay all taxes and insurance (should they be collecting for that as well) in a timely manner.
A client recently contacted us for help sorting out the sale of their mortgage and getting their taxes paid on time. After two months of phone calls, and several emails, their property taxes were finally paid. However, the County and Town tax records now show that late payment interest and penalty fees had been levied and received. This indication is not on the servicer’s record, it is on the homeowner’s record.
What’s a homeowner to do?”
If you have any questions, you can always contact us.
If you look hard enough, you can find almost anything on the internet. When it comes to buying, selling, or renting, there are plenty of websites where you can connect directly with buyers, tenants, landlords, and homes for sale.
Why should you bother finding a real estate agent when you have Google?
Real estate scams are a thing, particularly for rentals. The FTC provides information on their site for how to recognize a scam, and one way you can spare yourself the trouble is to find an agent you trust who will sift through the market for you. That agent will be sifting through properties listed with agents.
Properties listed with an agent, both to buy or rent, will have a number of things going for them. First, it is in the best interest of the listing agent to make sure that the landlord actually owns the property he or she is listing. Second, the listing agent also wants to get the property rented or sold, so they will do their best to make the property attractive, accessible, and well priced. Third, they will make sure the money and paperwork goes to the right people in a timely fashion.
For sellers and landlords, working with a realtor also provides the safety and comfort that someone prescreened the folk who will be trooping through your home. Your realtor will know which realtors have shown your house, and will have talked personally to any buyers or tenants without agents who want to see the place.
Besides the practical reasons to do good work, realtors have a fiduciary duty to look after the interests of their clients.
The internet provides knowledge and very general information. But how do you apply the information, or even determine if it is reliable?
According to Zillow, “Nationwide, Zestimates are currently within 5% of the final sale price 52.9% of the time,” and “Nationally, Zestimates are currently within 20% of the final sale price 85.8% of the time.”
These percentages turn into pretty significant numbers when you’re dealing with houses. It’s easy to set a price too high, or too low, and lose a great deal of money. You could even lose the sale entirely because the price is far higher than the actual appraisal by the lender.
Why does Zestimate have such a huge margin of error?
Zillow can’t walk into a house and get the feel for it’s actual condition and layout. What about how the light moves through the house? Or, how the light moves through the other houses in the neighborhood, or the other houses in the region that have the particular features this particular buyer is looking for?
A good realtor can help you take into account the unquantifiable factors of a home.
Price is only one part of buying or selling a house. Home inspectors, contractors, title companies and the like, all provide services essential to a transaction. Services that absolutely must be done well because they have far reaching ramifications. A good realtor will have good people to recommend to you.
When working with a realtor to sell a house, you’re not just relying on their knowledge to set the price and make the best repairs, you’re tapping into their network of human beings who might want to buy or know someone who might want to buy your property. And nobody networks like a realtor.
When working with a realtor to buy a house, you’re tapping into their resources and knowledge of the area, the market, and the professionals. They also have direct access to the most up to date information about the market, and are happy to spend time tracking down the best options for you. You should still do your homework on schools and crime rates, because a realtor can’t make those choices for you–but a good realtor is absolutely invaluable.
THE question we, as brokers and agents get asked most often . . .
For 2017, the best answer would be, “for what area?” Overall, the Metro Area fared consistently well. With shifts in demographics, employment, and a keen focus on location specific areas perform very differently. Old standards predicting better performance of single-family homes over townhomes and condos have been upended in many areas.
One of the many distinguishing aspects of Properties on the Potomac, Inc., is that we list and sell properties throughout the Washington Metro area including Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. Our agents and brokers are licensed in multiple jurisdictions. We carefully track areas’ performance to best be able to help our clients plan for, and accomplish their goals.
General observations indicate that the market enjoyed a sustainable increase. Affordability drove demand, thus prices.
The Table below summarizes the overall activity by county and Washington, D.C.
Real Estate Values By Jurisdiction*
|Arlington County, VA||$879,723||$842,873||1.04|
|Fairfax County, VA (Incl incorp. cities)||$765,968||$$728,421||1.05|
|Loudoun County, VA||$564,927||$546,551||1.03|
|Montgomery County, MD||$694,008||$679,177||1.02|
|Prince Georges County, MD||$282,274||$259,915||1.08|
|Frederick County, MD||$325,034||$308,453||1.05|
* Data derived from MRIS
Would you like to learn specifically, how your area performed? Give us a call or send an email and we’ll be happy to share that information. The number of units sold exceeded the prior year and the number of days on the market declined.
Did you know that you can search the active MLS through our website?
On December 22, 2017, the President signed the Tax Cuts and jobs Act. This new law has specific impact on real estate. It impacts that which you already have and any future real estate you will acquire.
Below is a table summarizing the changes:
|Tax Item Deduction||New Law||Prior Law|
|Maximum Loan Interest||$750,000 (For purchases after 12/14/17||$1,000,000|
|Equity lines of credit||None||Up to $100,000|
|State and Local Taxes total||$10,000||No maximum|
|Capital Gains Exclusion||No change||Must be owned 2 of last 5 years|
|Like Kind Exchanges (1031)||Unchanged for real estate only|
|Real Property Depreciation||Unchanged|
|Capital Gains Tax Rates||Unchanged|
Much has been broadcast about the benefit of homeownership in relation to the new law. At Properties on the Potomac, Inc. we view homeownership as a form of supreme independence and wealth building for the following reasons:
o Appreciation of a large asset and the use of OPM (other people’s money)
o Your mortgage payments pay down your principal, thus building your equity
To read the entire Bill click here.