Category Archives: REALTOR

2018 FHA Loan Limits – Maryland


2018 FHA Loan Limits – Maryland

The FHA just announced the loan limits for FHA loans for 2018. The limits vary by state and by county so it is important to talk to a REALTOR® or mortgage office to know the limit for your location.

In Maryland:

Carroll County                         $517,500                     (same as 2017)

Frederick County                     $679,650                     up from $636.150

Washington County                $453,100                     up from $275,665

If you have questions for any other county in Maryland, please feel free to contact me.

If you are looking to buy or sell, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com or text or call me at 301-712-8808.

Roland

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What the Tax Bill May Mean for Home Owners / Buyers


What the Tax Bill May Mean for Home Owners / Buyers

 In a highly unusual move, the National Association of REALTORS® has come out with a position on the tax bills currently in Congress.  The NAR, normally a non-political association, has come out strongly opposed to the bills in both the House and the Senate, and here are the reasons why.

  • According to the NAR’s research estimates, home values will drop 10% on average during the first few years. If this bill becomes law, the decline in home values, especially for recent home buyers, may find themselves underwater with their mortgage.
  • The one trillion dollar increase in the national debt that stems from the tax cuts could cause interest rates to increase, “exacerbating the negative aspects of the tax bill for current and prospective homeowners.”
  • As of the date of the National Association of REALTORS® report, the house version of the bill will eliminate the deduction for home equity loans, but will retain deductions for the primary residence. The Senate bill will eliminate the mortgage interest rates completely. The deductions will be allowed for investment properties for both the mortgage and any home equity loans.
  • Deductions for property taxes will be limited; however, the deductions for investment properties will not be limited.

The real estate market has made significate gains in the last few years as it recovers from the 2008 collapse of the economy and more precisely the real estate market.  Nevertheless, the real estate market still has a way to go for substantial growth.  The National Association of REALTORS® and this writter does not believe the bill before the House or the Senate will do nothing but harm the economy and the real estate market.

Roland

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Warning Signs


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Warning Signs

 When you are in the market of buying a home, all too often home buyers let emotions rule rather than sound advice about the home you are about to buy.  Here are some tips that every buyer should have on their radar when looking at a home.

  1. All too often sellers think it is a good idea to have an overwhelming scent in the house to make it smell pretty! Unfortunately, what is a good smell to one, is a bad smell to another.  The word of advice for sellers, make sure your house is clean – the less smell you have in the house, the better.  As a REALTOR®, I would advise anyone and everyone to avoid scents in your home, especially burning scented candles.  Artificial scents in the home may be an attempt to mask other scents.
  2. Buyers should be aware of deferred maintenance, such as burned out light bulbs, leaky faucets, yard that is not groomed. These may be signs that other maintenance was ignored, such as changing furnace filters on a regular basis.  Deferred maintenance can cost the home buyer later.
  3. Cosmetic touch up can be an indication of a larger, ignored problem. A room that has one wall repainted, but not the rest, may be indicative of a problem that needed to be covered up, such as a water leak.
  4. Foundation cracks may be slight cracks from settling or it may be a sign of a much more serious problem. I have repeated many times in this blog to always, always, always have a home inspection done by a qualified, certified home inspector.  Only then can you be reasonably sure that the crack in the foundation is normal or an indication of a much more serious problem.
  5. Most buyers are aware to look for water damage within a house, such as spots along a wall that may have indicated a water leak at some point in time. But the other thing involving water that buyers should be alert too is that beautiful creek out back.  What may be a quaint babbling brook may turn into a torrent of water with the slightest of rain and may encroach your home.
  6. Several years ago, mold became the issue that every buyer was looking for. Black mold was the kiss of death in trying to sell your home and rightfully so.  Black mold is a very serious health risk and buyers need to be aware of mold.  However, let me very clear, just because a mold is black does not mean it is Black Mold.  Only someone certified in identifying the various types of mold can make that determination and only then by having it tested by a lab.  Never the less, any indication of mold indicates an abundance of moisture in an area and needs to be evaluated.
  7. As indicated in number 6, uncontrolled moisture can lead to several problems and may indicate improper ventilation. A good home inspector will be able to identify this issue and say what the problem most likely is.
  8. One area that I think buyers and even real estate agents may overlook is the unanswered question on a home disclosure. Most people will skim the disclosure form looking for something to jump out at them, but pay little attention to a question that the seller simply did not answer. To me that is a red flag that warrants extra scrutiny.
  9. Windows that do not open and close smoothly may be an indication of foundation issues or simply cheap, poorly installed windows. In either case, it can cost the buyer money down the road.
  10. One area that warrants a closer look and that is any patch work. If you have ever had a plumber come to repair a leak from a pipe in the wall, you will know that they will cut a spot out of the wall, repair the leaky pipe and leave you to repair the hole in the wall.  Trying to get someone out to repair one small section of drywall is next to impossible, so often times home owners will try to repair it themselves.  Be watchful for repair work on drywall or tiled areas that appear to have small areas that were patched.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Fun Facts and Inspiration for June 22


Fun Facts and Inspiration for June 22

 Inspiration…

 “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”                                                                Albert Einstein

Did you know that…

In 1789, Morocco became the first country to recognize the United States as a country.

The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company started out producing sandpaper. Today we know the company as 3M.

Prince William’s nickname in college was “P-Willy”.  (sorry, Your Majesty)

In 1971, the first portable calculator went on sale by Texas Instruments. It weighed ONLY 2 ½ pounds and cost $150!

In today’s world, your cell phone has more computing power than NASA had in 1969!

The Christmas Tree displayed in Trafalgar Square in London is an annual gift to the United Kingdom from Norway since 1947 as a token of appreciation of British friendship during World War II.

In real estate, there is a concept known as the ‘right of first refusal’.  In that concept, a seller who has entered into an agreement with a buyer must offer the buyer the option to amend his offer if a second buyer comes along without a contingency held by the first buyer.  The seller must inform the first buyer who then has the right to amend their contingency to match the second buyer’s offer.  If the first buyer does not agree, the sale then goes to the second buyer and the first buyer is refunded his earnest money. As always, in situations such as this, it is a good idea to consult with a real estate attorney.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

 

A Home with Ample Room Inside and Out!


If you, or someone you may know, is looking for a large, bright home with plenty of space inside and out, I have just the home for you!

This home is currently listed at $749,900.  It has 5,877 taxable square feet with an additional 2,000 finished square feet in the walk-out basement for a total of 7,877 square.  That breaks down to $95 a square foot.  This home has beautiful appointments and can not be built for this price.

The home has 6 bedrooms; 4.5 bathrooms; two-story family room; master bedroom with fireplace and large sitting area; a bright, beautiful sunroom, a formal living room; formal dining room; two family rooms; and on and on.

It sits on 1.96 acres with plenty of room in the back for an in-ground swimming pool or other recreational events.

Here’s the best news – the listing says the seller is “motivated”, which means if you even think you may like this property, give me a call to set up a showing and make an offer – before it’s too late!

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Who’s First: REALTOR® or Mortgage Officer


Who’s First: REALTOR® or Mortgage Officer

 When you are looking to buy a home, whether it’s your first or tenth, having the right team on your side is critically important.  Your team should consist of a REALTOR®, mortgage officer, home inspector, possibly termite inspector and on and on.

Most of these team members will be added on as the process evolves, but it is critically important to have your REALTOR® and mortgage officer early on.

If you talk to a REALTOR®, they will tell you that you select your REALTOR® first.  Of course, if you talk to your mortgage officer, they will tell you that you need to select your mortgage officer first.  In reality, it makes no difference which of the two you select first, as long as they are both early on in the team building and they are professional and work well together.

If you ask me, I would suggest that you select your REALTOR® first.  The reason I say that is because your REALTOR® will help you identify other team members, such as home inspector, etc.  But if you were to ask me about a mortgage officer, I would suggest a couple of things.

First of all, make sure you select someone who will communicate with you regularly and clearly.  In addition, you want a mortgage officer who can offer you several options in selecting a mortgage.  When it comes to mortgages, one size does not fit all.

Another option that I think is very important is the ability of a mortgage officer to counsel buyers, especially first time home buyers, in the event there are issues on your credit report.  All too often home buyers who may not qualify are simply told that they do not qualify for the loan, but are not told what to do to improve your credit score.

That is why a REALTOR® who has worked with mortgage officers before and can recommend them is a big plus for home buyers.  If you are looking for a mortgage officer, I would recommend that you call Kewan Lewis from Bayshore Mortgage Funding.  Besides the fact that Bayshore Mortggage Funding has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, Kewan is well known by local real estate agents for his communication with both the real estate agents and the home buyer.  And if you find that your credit score is less than stellar, Kewan can help you identify areas that will improve your score.  You can reach Kewan at KLewis@BSMFunding.com.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® -who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Buying a Home Is Easier Than You May Think


Buying a Home Is Easier Than You May Think

One of the comments I hear from prospective home buyers is they cannot finance a home right now.  Let’s be honest, there are many hoops to jump through when buying a house, especially when it comes to obtaining a mortgage.  But it is easier than you may think.

If you are even remotely interested in buying a home now or in the foreseeable future, I suggest that you meet with a REALTOR® to discuss the steps you may need to take to make it happen.

Obtaining a mortgage is a big step in buying a home, but there are programs out there that will work for you.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Home Loan Program may be just what you are looking for.

The U.S.D.A. program allows for 100% financing and has flexible credit and qualifying guidelines.  The minimum credit score at the time of this writing is 620.  If your credit score is currently below that number I would encourage you to talk to a REALTOR® who can get you in touch with a mortgage officer who can provide guidance on the specific steps to take to increase your score.

In addition to 100% financing the program allows for closing costs to come from other sources than your bank account.  Sources could include seller contribution and/or gift funds.

There are fees associated with the loan program but those fees can be rolled into the mortgage.

There are some restrictions, such as location of the home and income limits.  These limits can be provided by your REALTOR® or mortgage officer very easily.  For example: In Frederick County, Maryland for 2017, the income limit for a family of up to four is $108,550; five or more family members is $143,300.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland