Buying vs. Renting…why buying makes more sense than ever…

The great advantages of buying now:

In addition to the intangibles that cannot be quantified, including the memories of raising a family in your own home, painting the walls the color of your choice, not being at the mercy of a landlord who could decide to sell or worse lose their home to foreclosure, and the more tangible factors such as the income tax deduction, homeownership is not only desirable but also a prudent financial move to make nowadays.

– Currently, in most parts of the country–Marin County included–, buying is less expensive than renting.  The macro factors are much more favorable toward ownership now than they were a couple of years ago.   As a result, housing analysts expect to see more apartment dwellers opting to become homeowners.

– Plus, purchasers can lock in their housing expense for the next thirty years by buying now. They will get a sensational price and a record low interest rate.

 The Alternative to Buying

According to the KCM blog, the most compelling argument is the following:

 – If a family continues to rent, they are looking at a housing expense which will rise with the market. Rental costs increase by 3% a year historically. But today’s rental market favors the landlord to a greater degree.  Below is a graph of how rental prices have increased recently and where they are projected to go over the next few years based on a report from Marcus & Millichap.

If you or your children are renting and you would like to review your alternatives in Marin County, please feel free to contact me at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

 


Mortgage Market Week in Review – February 24, 2012

MORTGAGE MARKET WEEK IN REVIEW

The big news this week is the rise in oil prices.  High Oil prices are detrimental for the fragile US economy as consumers have to put more of their discretionary dollars into their gas tanks – meaning they have less to spend elsewhere.  High Oil prices are also “inflationary” as the added shipping and material costs applies upward price pressures on Producer or Wholesale goods that either have to be absorbed by the Producer, thus hurting profits and the ability to expand or hire, or the added costs get passed on to the Consumer and in response to all of the above, interest rates are slowly moving up.

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | FEBRUARY 24, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.000% (4.07% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.750% (2.83% APR) 
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.750% (4.81% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.43% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.125% (4.19% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.125% (3.18% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

 ___________________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Marin’s coolest dog house…beyond designer…

Jim Berger with dog house, October 2011

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, arguably America’s greatest architect, designed more than 1,000 buildings in his 70-year career. And one dog house right here in our marvelous Marin County. 

This is a great story with two morals: no. 1, even important and famous people are not too proud to take the time to make a child happy and no. 2, impeccable follow up is paramount in life to reach your goals, whatever they may be.

 

So here it goes: The notoriously self-important architect is renowned for the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the futuristic Marin County Civic Center, among any number of grand edifices that bear his name. That’s why it’s so astounding that the great man was neither too famous nor too proud to design a dog house in San Anselmo for a black Labrador retriever named Eddie.

Read more here…

Frank Lloyd Wright's Civic Center - San Rafael

_________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Make Your Own Organic Fruit Wash

Make your own organic fruit washHow clean are the fruits and vegetables you eat?  Unless you pick your food straight from the farm, your food is likely more dirty than you think.

In addition to pesticide treatment made while food is still “on the vine,” fruits and vegetables you buy at a grocery are often coated in wax to preserve their “shelf life;” and you can never know how much dirt your food has rolled in.

Even organic foods are handled multiple times on the way to the grocery store or even to one of our great Marin County farmer’s markets.   They may be pesticide-free, but they’re not dirt-free or free from human handling. 

This is why we wash fruits and vegetables before consumption — to wash off dirt.  But, there are extra precautions you can take to make sure your food is truly “clean.”

One such method is to use a make-it-yourself, organic fruit wash.  The recipe is basic and simple.  All you need is a large, lidded pitcher for mixing, some everyday food items, and a spray bottle.

  1. In the large pitcher, pour 1 cup of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
  2. Add 25 drops of grapefruit seed extract.  If you can’t find this at your local grocery, check with a natural food store or specialty store.
  3. Mix ingredients in the pitcher, and pour into a spray bottle

That’s it. 

Then, when you’re ready to clean fruits and vegetables, use your homemade spray wash and coat the food liberally. Let the food stand for 5 minutes, then rinse the spray wash from the food in the sink.

Expect dirt to roll off fruit and vegetables surfaces and for the spray’s vinegar component to neutralize pesticides. You’ll be left with cleaner, healthier natural foods.

To make the fruit wash should take less than 5 minutes.  Each batch should last one month, depending on the amount of fruits and vegetables you consume.

__________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Marin Designers’ Showcase 2012 – not to be missed!

Each year the Marin Designers’ Showcase, a fundraising event for the Center for Volunteer and NonprofitLeadership, is held during the month of February and allows the public to visit an extraordinary estate decorated by the best Bay Area designers.  You will not be disappointed this year, the showcase home is absolutely spectacular.

425 Belvedere Avenue embodies elegant waterfront living with its stunning views from every room and wraparound decks.   The Bay Area’s finest design firms and artists are featured throughout this contemporary estate. 

You can purchase tickets for daily tours from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm from February 1 – 26th, Sundays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Thursday nights 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Closed Mondays.  Tickets are available online or at the door for $30 or $25 for adults over 62.

Additional events are on the program, including lunch and refreshments and a wine tasting on February 23. 

The complete schedule for the Center’s fundraiser, Marin Designers Showcase includes a full roster of events from January 31 through February 26, 2012.   

http://www.marinshowcase.org/

_____________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


“Must Haves” for your Marin County Dream Kitchen

Wall of appliances

Are you building a custom home or doing a full remodel of your Marin County kitchen?

Here are some great ideas from Houzz to make your kitchen more efficient and more attractive:

They range from very simple and inexpensive to more costly and complicated and include:

– Hidden sponge storage in front of your sink

– Having two sinks and two dishwashers

– Creating a “wall” for your appliances such as your double ovens, warming drawer and wine refrigerator (see picture)

– A pot filler over your stove

– Tricked out cabinets with roll outs for appliances to keep your counters clear

– A walk in pantry with features such as an ice maker (for parties) and a potato and onion bin

– Placing the outlets under the cabinets so as not to spoil the beauty of your backsplash

To read the full Houzz article, click here.  It includes large pictures for each idea. 

Should you need a referral to a Marin County architect or a contractor for your remodel, please feel free to contact me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

______________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Marin County Real Estate Market Update – January 2012

Single Family Homes:

The Marin County real estate spring selling season traditionally kicks off after Super Bowl Sunday.  However, the unseasonably warm and sunny weather we’ve enjoyed recently, rock bottom interest rates and reduced home prices, have spurred buyers to step up and snap up properties in January in all price ranges, often within just a few days of their coming on the market and with multiple offers on the best properties.  Undoubtedly predictions of an improved real estate market by most industry experts are contributing factors as well.

  • As a result, January sales for single family homes were the highest we’ve seen in the past four years at 121 compared to 91 in 2011, 94 in 2010 and 71 in 2009. 
  • Average sold prices for single family homes also went up in January to $995,000, compared to $813,000 in 2011, $1,083 in 2010 and $868,000 in 2009.
  • Distressed property sales represented 39.37% of all sales in January 2012, compared to 42.22% in January 2011, 36.92% in January 2010 and 48.11% in January 2009.

It is way too soon to pop the champagne corks in celebration of a new trend: the improvements may be short lived, and due to a different market mix, but it is worth watching as the selling season unfolds.  One thing is certain: the increase in both the number of sales and prices are indicators of a slow, cautious recovery in our Marin market.  

The bulk of the activity continues to reside in the 0-$999,000 price range, but the $1-2 million range seems to be picking up steam at 31.17% in contract (compared to 21.31% a year ago) as well as the$2-3 million with 20.45% in contract (compared to.16.95% a year ago.)  The $3 million plus market is still lagging however.  Jumbo rates have been improving and should continue to do so in 2012: as of February 1 the rate for a 30-year fixed jumbo loan was 4.75%, compared to 5.50% in 2011 and 5.875% in 2010.

Condominiums:

  • Contrary to single family homes sales, condo sales have remained almost flat for the past four years: 37 in January 2012, compared to 44 in 2011, 36 in 2010 and 35 in 2009.
  • Average condo prices have remained steady at $329,000 in January compared to $330,000 in 2011, down from $394,000 in 2010 and $279,000 in 2009.

A Story of Pent-up Demand and Low Inventory

Marin January 2012 For Sale vs. Sold - All Property Types

As you can clearly see from the chart above, inventory has been very limited in the past three months, frustrating the qualified buyers searching for new homes in Marin County. 

General market indicators are more positive today as most people are more optimistic about the country’s economic prospects, despite the continued uncertainty of the European crisis.  The consumer confidence index has remained steady for the past few months after an improvement in 2011.  The stock market is showing strong signs of recovery (the Dow Jones closed over 12,000 on February 1, 2012), a manifestation of an improved job market.

 Whether you are thinking of selling or buying, the busy spring season is right around the corner and I am happy to give you a fact based evaluation of your real estate options.  Feel free to contact me at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

___________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

Magnolia Tree in Bloom, Greenbrae

 


Mortgaged Market Week in Review – February 17, 2012

MORTGAGE MARKET WEEK IN REVIEW

This week began with interest rates in record low territory but as the week progressed rates moved higher in response to positive news about the American economy and a potential EU solution for the Debt Crisis in Greece.

 

 

 

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | FEBRUARY 17, 2012

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.000% (4.07% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.875% (2.95% APR) 
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.750% (4.81% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.43% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.125% (4.19% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.44% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are DOWN compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

INDUSTRY NEWS

The “Cash-In” Refinance Gains in Popularity…
 
With published mortgage rates in the sub-4 percent range, homeowners are doing what they can to refinance into today’s low mortgage rates — even if it means bringing some cash to closing.  For the first time in history, nearly half of all refinancing households lowered their loan balance at the time of closing.
 
Simply put, a cash-in mortgage is the opposite of cash-out mortgage — and there are plenty of reasons to consider a cash-in refinance.
 
The most obvious reason is if the rate on your present loan is too high and the value of your home is too low, the only way to refinance your loan is to lower your loan-to-value (“LTV”) and pay down your mortgage.
 
Another reason is that right now, your idle cash in the bank is exactly that — idle.  The Federal Reserve is holding the Fed Funds Rate near 0.000%, inflation is below 2 percent (on an annual basis), and checking and savings accounts are yielding close to zero percent interest.  If you moved those dollars from your bank account to your mortgage balance, you would earn an immediate return on your dollar.  Each dollar you knock from your mortgage balance is a dollar you won’t pay interest on for the next 30 years and that adds up to big savings.

Put simply, a cash-in refinance is the opposite of a cash-out refinance. When homeowners execute a cash-in refinance, they bring money to the closing table to lower their mortgage balance.

Let’s look at an example:

Home value: $500,000
Mortgage balance: $510,000
Maximum loan amount: $475,000 (95% LTV)

In this scenario, the homeowner is underwater and must come up with $35,000 (plus any closing costs) to execute the cash-in refinance.  That would put their loan-to-value ratio (LTV) at 95 percent.

For more information on Cash-In Refis, click here.
 
Contact Gina today to find out if you can benefit from refinancing your mortgage.

*****************************************************************************************

This post was adapted from an article written by Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2011 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley – Senior Vice President – Loan Consultant, Terra Mortgage Banking

Office: (415) 464-3144 – Cell: (415) 828-0218 – Email: gkemsley@terramb.comWebsitewww.terramortgagebanking.com/loan-officers/gina-kemsley

___________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Pros and Cons of a Lease Option in Marin County, California

Lease-options are hard to find in Marin County.  In a lease-option, sellers must be willing to wait a year or longer to cash out their equity – and most don’t fall into that category.

Our Marin County inventory is very limited currently. With pent-up buyer demand, sellers generally get market value at today’s prices and relief from paying a mortgage on a vacant property.  Properties that don’t sell are perceived by buyers as priced too high and/or seriously flawed. 

As a result, lease options are commonly offered by sellers of hard-to-sell properties in Marin.  Think about it, if the property was easy to sell, the seller would sell it to a conventional buyer who would purchase the property outright, allowing the seller to cash out.

Basics of a Lease Option

What is a lease option?  It is a lease with an option to buy a property at an agreed upon price at a future date. More details:

  • The buyer usually pays the seller option money for the right to later purchase the property.  The lease option money may be substantial.
  • Buyer and seller may agree to a purchase price now or the buyer may agree to pay market value at the time the option is exercised. It is negotiable. Depending on the local current market trends, the buyer (when prices are expected to go up)or seller (when prices are expected to go down) generally want to lock in the future purchase price upon inception of the lease option.
  • During the term of the lease option, the buyer agrees to lease the property from the seller for a predetermined rental amount, sometimes higher than current market rent.
  • The term of the lease option agreement is negotiable, but the common length is generally from one year to three years.
  • The option money generally does not apply toward the down payment.
  • A portion of the monthly rental payment typically applies toward the purchase price.
  • Option money is rarely refundable.
  • Nobody else can buy the property during the lease option period.
  • The buyer generally cannot assign the lease option without seller approval.
  • If the buyer does not exercise the lease option and purchase the property at the end of the lease option, the option expires.
  • The buyer is not obligated to buy the property.

Lease Option Benefits for Sellers and Buyers

Sellers:

  • Sellers often get to sell the house at a higher price than they could sell it in a normal transaction.
  • They can sell the house during a slow market.
  • The odds are better that a lease option will be available for a non-owner occupied home, that is, an investment property.  By being able to collect a larger monthly payment than they could obtain in a normal lease, the property “cash-flows” and they don’t have to come up with money out of their own pocket each month to make the mortgage payment.
  • They get some up-front option money and if/when the buyer cannot exercise the option, they get to keep it.

Buyers:

  • Although the lease payments may exceed market rent, the buyer is building a down payment (either from a portion of the monthly rental payments or part or all of the option money) and banking that the property will appreciate beyond the agreed upon purchase price.  This option appeals to buyers who want to lock a property until they receive sufficient funds in the future for the down payment from such sources as an inheritance, a large bonus or the sale of another property or business.
  • Buyers generally make a small down payment, with little or no qualifying, making a lease purchase an attractive way to ease into the benefits of home ownership.  
  • Buyers also receive a forced savings plan since part of the lease payment is credited toward the purchase price at the end of the lease option agreement.

Lease Option Risks for Sellers and Buyers

  • If the buyer defaults, sellers do not refund any portion of the lease payments nor the option money and may retain the right to sue for specific performance.
  • The seller risks a default by the buyer/tenant and then having to go through the trouble of evicting him/her/them.
  • Pricing risks for both seller and buyer:  the purchase price is decided upfront, but the sale isn’t finalized for a year or more.  During that time, the real estate market could appreciate (leaving the seller to feel that the house is sold for less than market value) or the prices could fall (with the buyer unable to complete the sale since the property wouldn’t appraise – thus losing all of the option money/downpayment in the process).  Either way, buyer or seller could feel unhappy and cheated.

Doing a Lease Option / Lease Purchase

Before entering into an agreement with a seller, buyers should obtain the advice of a real estate lawyer. The information in this article is an overview and is not meant to be construed as legal advice.

Hire a real estate lawyer to draw the documents and explain your rights, including those of possession and default consequences. The property might be encumbered by underlying loans that contain alienation clauses, giving the lender the right to accelerate the loans upon sale.

In the event of a lease purchase, obtain all the disclosures and do your due diligence just like you would on a regular sale. This means:

  • Get a home and pest inspection.
  • Examine the preliminary title report and natural hazardz disclosure report.
  • Obtain an appraisal.
  • Read seller disclosures.
  • Consider obtaining a home warranty plan.

Feel free to contact me to discuss your real estate plans.  I can be reached at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPiecefOfMarin.com.

 

House boat in Sausalito, CA

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Revamped HARP : Unlimited Loan-to-Value And Same Great Rates

Making Home Affordabie

The government’s new, revamped HARP program is 6 weeks from release. Homeowners nationwide are gearing up to refinance.

HARP is an acronym. It stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP is the government’s loan product for “underwater homeowners.”  HARP makes current mortgage rates available to households which would otherwise be unable to refinance because the home lacks equity.

This is a big deal — especially today.  Mortgage rates are at an all-time low and millions of U.S. homeowners have been unable to take advantage.  HARP aims to change that.

HARP originally launched in 2009.  Its first iteration failed to reach a meaningful percentage of U.S. homeowners, however, because costs were high and loans were high-risk.  With its re-release, the government has removed the hurdles to HARP, putting refinancing within reach for millions of U.S. households.

To qualify for HARP, homeowners must first meet 3 qualifying criteria.

  • First, their current mortgage must be backed Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. FHA- and VA-backed loans are HARP-ineligible, as are jumbo loans and loans backed by portfolio lenders.
    • To check if your loan if Fannie Mae-backed, click here.
    • To check if your loan if Freddie Mac-backed, click here.
  • Second, the existing mortgage must have been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on, or before, May 31, 2009. If you bought your home or refinanced it after that date, you are HARP ineligible.  There are no exceptions to this rule.
  • And, third, the existing mortgage must be accompanied by a strong repayment history. Mortgage payment must have been paid on-time for the last 6 months, at least, and there may not be more than one 30-day late payment in the last 12 months.

If these 3 qualifiers are met, HARP applicants should find the approval process straight-forward : 

  • Fixed rate mortgages allow unlimited loan-to-value
  • The standard 7-year “waiting period” after a foreclosure is waived in full
  • Except in rare cases, home appraisals aren’t required 

Furthermore, HARP mortgage rates are expected to be on par with non-HARP rates, meaning that HARP homeowners will get the same rates and pay the same fees as everyone else.  There’s no “penalty” for using HARP.

The revamped HARP is expected to be generally available beginning Monday, March 19, 2012.

To get a head-start on HARP, check with your loan officer for the complete list of HARP eligibility requirements.  If you need a referral to a trustworthy mortgage professional inMarin County, please contact me at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

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About the author:  The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.