Tips on How to Shop for the Best Mortgage Rate

November 21st, 2012

A mortgage on your home means that you will pay back your loan to the lender with interest. It’s always a smart decision for anybody looking for a loan or mortgage to get the best possible deal on their collateral. It would be stressful to end up with a mortgage that could bury you in interest rates even larger than the amount of your loan.

The best deals don’t usually come to you, most of the time you have to go around and look for them. There are ways on how to get the best deal on your mortgage, here are some of them:

Spread the Word

One effective way of landing on a great deal is if lenders are aware that you are indeed looking for one. Time is always precious, so they won’t spend time on just anybody looking for a deal if they feel that you’re not serious about getting one. Let them know that you are in the market for a great deal and be willing to share the best option you’ve heard so far. You could even convince a lender or two to waive some fees for you or even cut some points off the interest rate.

Lay Your Cards on the Table

There are some things that you would be sharing with your potential lenders for a pre-approved mortgage. Gather up all the data you’ll need before you sit down with one of them. Laying all your cards on the table will make it easier for your lender to get a clear picture on your financial situation.

• You will need to tell them about your current income to give them an idea of what you can afford.
• They will also need to know your credit score. If you have no idea on where you stand, when it comes to your credit score, you could always go online and use some free tools to help you get a ballpark figure. They may not actually give you the exact digits but it’s more or less close to your value.
• Let them know if you have other obligations. This can even help you get comparisons later on.

Make your Pros and Cons List

It’s easier to make comparisons of what each lender has to offer if you could see them on paper. It gives you a clearer perspective. It’s hard to miss on great deal especially if you can see every bit of detail right in front of you.

The Benefits of Choosing a Home through Rent-to-Own

November 19th, 2012

The Rent-to-Own system of acquiring a house allows buyers to purchase their dream home without going through the traditional nitty-gritty process of purchasing real estate asset. This is an excellent way for buyers to pay for their home without really putting a big dent on their budget or their savings. It’s a convenient set-up because the prospective buyers can better plan their finances and can even improve credit scores and standing. Basically, this process gives them more time.

Not all sellers are in a hurry to receive a full payment for their homes. Some sellers would even prefer a rent-to-own scheme than the conventional method because this method makes it easier and faster to sell their house. This makes it a perfect opportunity for buyers who are tied up in other loans or those who do not have instant cash to buy their house.

The Rent-to-Own method can even land the buyer into a great deal that will suit their monthly financial capabilities. It’s so hard to pass up on this opportunity especially when the policy allows a lot of flexibility on the pocket. The future homeowners who are on this scheme will still be considered “renters” of the property until they have fully paid off the house, which means that they don’t have to worry about real property taxes until the property has been transferred under their name. It will still be the sellers’ or owners’ obligation to pay off their real property taxes.

The only amount of money that the buyer has to worry about is the initial deposit, which can be equivalent to two month’s rent on the property and that’s it. The Rent-to-Own scheme is available for newly built homes or foreclosed properties, so sellers do have a wide selection of choices on the type of home that is ideal for their needs and their budget.

Las Vegas Urged to Speed up Short Sales on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

November 16th, 2012

The newly implemented guidelines by the Federal Housing Finance Agency are intended to put short sales of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the fast lane. These short process sales are being eyed as delaying tactics in an attempt to land on a higher sales price.

It was set into action on November 1st and is a great part of the FHFA’s Servicing Alignment Initiative. Fannie Mae is still hopeful that by the short sale scheme it will have more approvals. One of the changes under this initiative is to limit the subordinate lien holder payments to $6,000.

The Servicing Alignment Initiative also stops the negotiations by second-lien holders to get larger checks from their deals. Senior Vice President of the National Servicing Organization of Fannie Mae, Leslie Peeler, says that as much as possible they are trying to avoid foreclosures on homeowners’ properties. One way of getting it done, according to Peeler is to hire junior lien holders and mortgage insurers to get into the market.

But he further agrees that the new set of guidelines will allow more homeowners to qualify for short sales. Fannie is also cutting the amount of paperworks that is required for a short sale under difficult circumstances. This will mostly benefit borrowers who have a credit score rating lower than 620 and those are over 90 days delinquent in payments of their loans. Under the new initiative the deficiency is waived automatically.

The Obama Administration has made new arrangements with these two firms and strictly arranged the companies’ portfolios to be not higher than $650 billion each. The plan is to shrink the holdings of these two mortgage companies and require them to pay the government of quarterly profits.

Foreclosure Level in Las Vegas Steadily Drops

November 14th, 2012

Las Vegas foreclosures rates continue to dive even in the third quarter. It’s listed as having the 25th highest foreclosure rate among the 212 metro areas in the U.S. This is based on the report made by the California based Realty Trac. During the previous year it was recorded that 1 in every 39 homes was foreclosed in Sin City. It was the highest foreclosure rate among the U.S. metro rate areas with around 200,000 people.

In the past three months, one in every 139 home units was foreclosed in the area. This was based on the records ending on the 30th of September. It was down by 31% on the second quarter but with a higher rate based on last year’s third quarter.

The current sliding level of the foreclosing rate is due to Nevada’s new law, the “robo-signing law.” The law has brought foreclosure rate to its present state. Banks are now allowing people to stay in their homes free of charge. The “robo-signing-law” is the result of the “robo-signing-scandal” which yielded illegal signatures to foreclose properties. The law is requiring agents who signed the said documents to get personal knowledge of the lender’s authority to foreclose. Some sees this law as just an artificial delay in the system and not a real solution to the root of the problem. But the law has kept a lot of homeowners off the streets as they remain in their homes while the documents of foreclosures are carefully processed and scrutinized.

Looking at the national rate of foreclosure rate, it is one in every 248 homes during the third quarter. Stockton California had it worst. During the third quarter of this year, the ratio in that state is one in 67 homes. It was lower by 13% based from last year.

Plaza Las Vegas Venture Gone Kaput?

November 12th, 2012

Talks on a debt settlement on the planned Plaza Las Vegas casino and hotel project of Israeli tycoons Nochi Dankner and Yitzhak Tshuva appear to have failed, and the project is likely to be scrapped. The Plaza Las Vegas venture owes a bank syndicate $620 million which was used to purchase the land for the project.

The syndicate this October issued a warning letter to the Dankner and Tshuva over the non-payment of the loan on time. A meeting was subsequently held in New York where the borrowers presented a debt settlement proposal. The banks were offered a $250 million loan payment, with the proviso of a 50-82% loan discount or rescheduling payments over ten years. The lenders, however, balked at these terms and presented an undisclosed counterproposal on the terms of the loan settlement.

The counterproposal, however, were rejected by the Plaza partners who are now considering if there are any options left for further negotiations on the loan settlement. Notably, the bondholders of Dankner’s IDB Development Corp. Ltd., which owns 25 percent of the Plaza Las Vegas project, were at the outset in opposition to the company’s participation in the loan settlement. In particular, the IBD Development bond trustees oppose the $95 million share of the company in the botched proposal for debt settlement.

Because of the differences between the Plaza partners and the bank syndicate, plus the fact that the loan is a non-recourse loan, knowledgeable sources say that the partners will give up on the Plaza Las Vegas project. A $1.24-billion loan was actually secured for the project’s land purchase in 2007. The real estate crisis in the following year adversely affected the Plaza project, and there were repeated postponements of debt repayment. Almost the entire $500 million that the partners have invested in the project have already been written off.

Las Vegas and its Animal Shelters

November 9th, 2012

Pets are a part of so many people’s lives. They are considered man’s best friends and his most faithful companions, and nowhere is this more true than in the city of Las Vegas.
Sadly though, although pet lovers are a plenty in Las Vegas, not all animals have the good luck of finding a loving home, but it’s nice to know that there are several organizations in the city that can help to provide one for those that need it.
Nevada SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

Actively promoting their cause, the SPCA has stayed true to its calling and does not promote mercy killing in its shelter. As such, they have increased their efforts to gain more contributions from businesses, individuals, and other animal lover groups. They also campaign for more volunteers to support their cause.

One of their more popular projects they run is the online adoption program, with regularly updated listings of dogs, cats and others looking for a new home. The postings feature photos and brief information on the lovable animals, and families are welcome to apply to adopt one if they feel they can provide a loving home.

Professional services and adoption fees offered are much lower than those offered in veterinary clinics and breeding centers. This organization truly loves the animals it cares for, and as such, careful selection of all prospective new pet owners is carried out.

Nevada SPCA services include adoption services, low cost spray, neutering, surrendering animals, dog training and humane education.

The Animal Foundation

The Animal Foundation is the biggest pet care and animal protection home in Las Vegas, and is devoted to the cause of providing better lives and promoting the welfare of animals. To further this cause, the Animal Foundation not only oversees their adoption services hands-on, but also encourages community members and residents to take care of their animals properly by offering them animal health care services at low prices.

They also have a clean and spacious area for stray animals, where they can stay while waiting for their owners to come and collect them. This service has helped reunite numerous pet owners with their ‘best friends’ in the past.

Some of their services include adopting services, lost and found, low cost spaying and neutering, low cost shot clinic, and humane euthanasia.

Ghost Inventory Haunts Las Vegas Home Market

November 9th, 2012

A panel of real estate experts believes that the property market in Las Vegas has gotten as low as they will get and home prices have now stabilized. What is holding a full market recovery, they say, is concern about the “ghost inventory” in the single-family home market segment. It is estimated that there are nearly 80,000 homes in this shadow inventory, mortgages that are delinquent for thirty days or more.

One analyst ventured to say that banks are mum on ghost inventory, realizing that their release into the market has to be managed in the name of short-term price stability. There are also appraisal issues that continue to hound the Las Vegas market, another analyst noted, saying that even with the increase in median home prices for eight months in a row, the market is still considered a declining market.

On a brighter note, there is an unprecedented demand for multifamily properties, according to one realtor. This demand is said to be caused by the depressed real estate values and low interest rates. Notably, investor preference lean toward distressed properties, notwithstanding the fact that there’s very little left in the listings of distressed homes for sale. Nonetheless, some buyers also go for those multifamily deals that are loan-unencumbered. To them, these deals appear much better than assuming a loan with a higher rate of interest, the realtor added.

Institutional investors, like hedge funds and pensions funds, are among the avid buyers of single family dwellings. As the market has fewer apartments, these funds are seeing an opportunity to purchase pools of residences for the purpose of renting them out. This tack appears as a sound business decision. For while the commercial real estate market is having difficulty finding tenants for industrial, retail, and office properties, there’s a 90 percent occupancy for rental apartments, as per one estimate.

Last Call for Pardee Homes in Las Vegas

November 8th, 2012

Only a few ready to move in homes remain available at Solstice in Aliante and Riverstone at Prescott Park, two popular neighborhoods of Pardee Homes in North Las Vegas. Aliante is a master-planned community, and one move-in-ready home available here has six bedrooms and four baths, all within its 3,959-square-foot floor area. Its features include a den/office, a fireplace, and a three-car garage. The home has stainless steel appliances like a refrigerator, washer, and dryer. The interior has a charming two-tone paint, and flooring design. Located in a spacious cul-de-sac lot, this home has a $347,675 price tag.

For a little below $305,350, Solstice has another ready to move in home offering a similar cul-de-sac home. This place has a floor plan of 3,643 square feet. Among its features are five bedrooms, plus a bonus room and a hobby room, three baths, and a three-car garage.

Sliding the price scale a little further down, there’s a ready to move in home option in Riverstone at Prescott Park, which is being offered at $236,550. This place has a floor area of 2,890 square feet, which encompass five bedrooms, bonus room, and three baths. It also features stainless steel kitchen appliances and a three-car garage. A slightly smaller move-in-ready dwelling with a 2,617-square-footage is also available at Riverstone with a starting price of $224,050. Among its features are four bedrooms, a bonus room, two-tone interior paint, and a three-car garage.
Outside of these two subdivisions, Pardee Homes offers alternatives in the master-planned community of Eldorado located near the Las Vegas Beltway at Aliante Parkway in North Las Vegas.

These new homes are at its gated neighborhood of LivingSmart Homes Eldorado Ridge. The residences here have floor plans of between 1,849 and 3,001 square feet. Their prices start from $209,950, and options for one- or two-story designs are available. These residences can have up to seven bedrooms.

Nevada Commercial Real Estate Market Hits Even Keel

November 7th, 2012

A ray of hope has risen on the horizon for the commercial real estate market at both ends of Nevada. Commercial property analysts are saying that market stabilization is ongoing, or at the very least, there’s some market improvement. Notably though, there are no major gains in the number of new locator companies. However, business owners are taking advantage of the shifts in rent values to transfer to better locations and properties.

The improving commercial real estate market outlook looks promising, especially the recent deals in Las Vegas and Reno. The recent announcement of Apple Inc. that it will open a business office and a data center in Sparks and Reno has further improved the tech company portfolio of Northern Nevada. With more e-retailers such as BizChair also moving in, a robust health for the retail market could also be just around the corner, despite the struggles at big box stores like Best Buy. Meanwhile, news is abuzz in Las Vegas that construction will restart at the long-stalled development of the retail district ballyhooed as the Shops at Summerlin Centre. Then there’s some excitement generated by talks that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is embarking on a multimillion-dollar project to revitalize downtown.

Doug Roberts, a partner at Pannattoni Development Co. Inc., observed that ownership stabilization has been achieved, saying that the property transfers in the past three to four years are pretty much done. The managing director of Voit Real Estate Services, Mike Montandon, likewise feel that the commercial real estate market may have reached bottom and is bouncing off a bit. Nonetheless, he can’t be certain how far up the market have gone or if a recovery is indeed going on a full swing. These prognostications mostly jibe with a Chase JP Morgan assessment this August that the commercial real estate market’s office vacancies, which soared with the slumping economy, may be stabilizing.

An Introduction to Las Vegas Print Media

November 7th, 2012

Newspapers are part of everyday life, and indeed for many people they are a necessity that will always grace their breakfast table or desk during the first hours of the day.

There’s good reason for wanting to keep up with the news in Las Vegas, where everything that happens seems to have headline potential. So what to read to keep up with the news? There’s four newspapers in Las Vegas that are generally considered to be the best bet – Las Vegas Review Journal and Las Vegas Sun are the two most popular daily newspapers, while weekly newspapers like Las Vegas Weekly and Las Vegas City Life are also available.

The Rival Dailies

The Las Vegas Review Journal

The Las Vegas Review Journal is the longest running and the largest daily newspaper in Nevada. One of its more popular sections is the gossip and celebrity column written by well known gossip guru Norm Clarke. The Las Vegas Review Journal boasts of almost 200,000 in daily circulation. It has made its mark for its Libertarian leanings and its strong political views and opinions. The Journal’s followers consist of those who are quite conservative and with Libertarian leanings as well, and those who love to keep themselves with the who’s who and what’s new in Vegas.

The Las Vegas Sun

The Las Vegas Sun has long been seen as the antithesis of the Las Vegas Review Journal. You can be sure that whatever comes out of the Journal, the Sun will always have the other side of the story. It’s almost like everyone who ones to get a clearer story of every controversy must buy both to have a balanced view. While the Journal is more conservative, the Sun is much more liberal in their ideas. That is why, much to the surprise of its readers, the Sun forged a partnership with the Journal for the distribution of their newspaper. This hasn’t affected the independence of its writers and editors however, who until today, continue to write with much passion and liberalism. The Sun’s followings are mostly the politically inclined liberals.