Monday, May 19, 2008

10 Energy Zappers and How to Elimnate Them

Submitted by Guest Blogger Debbie Schroeder RN, BSN

Do you know that approximately 4,000 people die a day from cancer and heart disease? Of the people with heart disease, 70% of them are overweight and 42% of people diagnosed with breast or colon cancer are overweight.

I bring up these statistics to emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight. I realize this is a difficult challenge for many people. Over two-thirds of the adult population in the United States is overweight.

However, there is hope. There are ways to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer by following some simple steps to guide you through the weight loss process. By making small changes to your diet and physical activity you can transform your unhealthy lifestyle into a healthy lifestyle.

Busy, Professional Women: Are you ready to stop Yo Yo dieting, lose weight permanently and have an abundance of energy? Debbie Schroeder RN, BSN Registered Nurse turned Health and Weight Loss Coach helps women lose weight permanently, increase energy levels and improve overall health and wellness. Get your FREE copy of her report, 10 Energy Zappers and How to Eliminate Them at

Monday, May 12, 2008

Top 10 Short Sale Questions and Answers

Buyers and sellers in St. Charles County rely on the expertise of the Grant Hickman Team to answer questions about today’s market. Below are the Top 10 Short Sale Questions with answers.

Number 10: I can’t make my house payments, but I do have an ability to pay back all or part of the negative equity. Also, I want to preserve my credit score - is a short sale right for me? A: Probably, not. In cases where the seller can pay back all or part of the negative equity (usually to the 2nd lien holder), it makes sense for them to work out a repayment plan. The lender will then release the lien and allow the home to close.

Number 9: If I pay mortgage insurance and default on my loan, why wouldn’t that cover the deficiency amount? A: The mortgage insurance is not there for your protection, just the mortgage lenders.

Number 8: Do I have to have my home “Approved” by the lender prior to offering it for sale as a short sale? A: No. Technically speaking there is no such thing as being “Short Sale Approved.” The actual approval only happens with an accepted offer.

Number 7: I just missed a payment and I know I will miss more - how long does the foreclosure process take and is there time to do a short sale? A: The foreclosure process takes differing times depending on the state. In the Midwest a foreclosure can take over a year. Generally speaking a well-priced short sale being processed by an educated St. Charles short sale listing agent will sell and close in less than 120 days.

Number 6: Will I still have to pay property taxes if I do a short sale? A: Property taxes will always have to be paid as part of any accepted short sale. Whether it’s you or the lender, it depends on their policies and the specific agreement you reach while negotiating the short sale.

Number 5: I owe more than my home is worth and I can’t make the payment. Do I have to somehow qualify for a short sale? A: The simple answer is NO. If someone can’t make their payment and they are otherwise insolvent, they qualify for a short sale. Note: insolvent simply means their total debts are greater than their assets.

Number 4: Do I have to pay income taxes - I have heard that I will get a 1099. Will the loss the bank takes be treated, as a taxable gain to me ”the seller” is this true? A: It WAS true, now its not. Consult your Tax Attorney or Qualified CPA. Very recently the tax law was modified and now most people who do a short sale will have no taxes due.

Number 3: How do you, my listing agent get paid? Who pays your commission? A: The bank will pay the commission along with all the other usual closing costs.

Number 2: Do I have to miss a payment to do a Short Sale? A: No. Late last year most major lenders started accepting short sale offers from sellers who have never missed a payment.

Number 1: I want to do a short sale and have a 2nd mortgage. Does this make me ineligible? A: No. Both of your lenders will need to be satisfied in some way to complete the short sale. If your first lender will be paid off by the sale, then you just negotiate the terms with the second lender. Most short sales do involve 1st and 2nd lien holders.

Contact the Grant Hickman Team to have your real estate questions answered. Call (314) 265-1531 today.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Financing Options are Changing!

Please be aware that the days of conventional 100% financing are over, so if you are planning on buying a house you must have a down payment. Here are the three most common financing types and a few key points for each loan type.
Conventional FHA VA
Maximum Financing 95% 97.75% 100%
Down Payment Required 5% 3% 0%

Important Notes on each loan type:
  • Conventional: 5% Borrower own funds required, and any additional down payment can come from an eligible gift.
  • FHA: 97.75% Maximum financing available when borrower pays all closing costs. Down payment can come from borrower funds or eligible gift sources
  • VA: Borrower must be active military, veteran or civil service employee to qualify.

Unfortunately, the loss of conventional 100% financing will affect borrowers who borrowed 100% when they purchased their home and are considering refinancing; as they too will need to have equity before refinancing.

With all of the market changes, we are still originating loans and helping borrowers make meaningful changes to their financial situations through refinances. It is important that you utilize a lender who will be there for you during the loan process as well as after closing!

30 Year Fixed 6.25% with 0 points
15 Year Fixed 5.875% with 0 points
FHA 30 Year Fixed 6.00% with 0 points

by Shawn Tihen, Bankers Home Lending (314) 520-3649