Lynn D'Avolio
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 9/17/2013

You may have noticed that new homes are going up around town again. Along with the sale pending signs on existing homes builders are building again. A national index measuring builder sentiment rose in June to its highest level since May 2007. But is buying a new home right for you? Homebuyers trying to decide between new and existing homes have more choices than they have had in the past. The case for new homes: New homes come with builder warranties. New homes allow buyers to select colors and floor plans. New homes can be easier to insure. Some builders have their own financing divisions, so getting a mortgage from the builder may be easier than from a lender. New homes may have a resale advantage. The case for existing homes: Existing homes may offer more space for the money and a more convenient location. Existing homes can be 10 percent to 20 percent less than new construction for comparable square footage. Existing homes are in established neighborhoods. New homes can take several months or longer to build.      





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 8/13/2013

Buying and affording a home is becoming a little bit easier for military families with the help of PenFed Foundation’s Dream Makers program. The Dream Makers program is funded by private donations from individuals and corporations and awards grants to military families to help them buy a new home. The program awarded its first grant in 2007 and today hopes to award a total of $1 million in grants. To be eligible for a grant you must:

  • be a member of the PenFed Foundation (Pentagon Federal Credit Union)
  • be a member of a military branch of service, including the Coast Guard (widows are also eligible)
  • be a first-time home buyer
  • have a gross annual income of $55,000 or less, or 80 percent of area median income, adjusted for family size
  • The program does more than just help military families buy homes it also provides emergency financial assistance and child care to wounded warriors and their families through its Military Heroes Fund and interest-free loans to service members through its Asset Recovery Kit program. If you would like to donate to the program or apply for a Dream Makers grant click here for more information.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/28/2013

One of the biggest things that can impact your ability to get a loan for a home is your credit score. Credit scores measure the risk a lender may take when deciding on a mortgage. If your credit score is not where you want it to be have no fear it's never too late to become credit worthy. Your credit score is also known as your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score, it is one of the tools that lenders use to evaluate a borrower's ability or likelihood to repay a loan. Credit scores range from 300 to 850 points. Credit scores over 720 are often considered excellent.  Scores of 680 – 719 are considered good. Scores that fall between 620-679 are questionable and typically require more review by the lender. A score under 619 usually disqualifies you from getting the best rates or even a loan at all. Here are five ways to raise your credit score: 1. Obtain your credit score from the three major credit score reporting agencies. They are Equifax, Experian and Transunion. 2. Review your report and look for any discrepancies. Your report will also give you a good idea of why your score may be low. According to myFICO.com, credit score calculation is based on five key components: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used. 3. Come up with a plan to improve the five key components. Payment history carries the most weight it makes up 35% of your score. So be sure to pay your bills on time. 30% of your score is determined by the use of your available credit. Only use 30% of your maximum credit limit for each credit card and revolving accounts, using anything over that hurts your credit score. 4. If you have any past-due bills, judgments or collection accounts make arrangements to pay them as soon as possible. Some creditors may accept a portion of an amount due as payment in full. 5. Minimize your requests for new credit. Credit inquiries make up 10% of your score and can ultimately bring it down.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/21/2013

Many buyers today think buying a foreclosure means big savings and this can be true but buyers also need to be aware of potential pitfalls. A foreclosure takes place when a homeowner or property owner cannot pay the mortgage fees on the property and is forced to give up the property to the bank. First, potential buyers should know there are different stages of foreclosure.
  • Pre-Foreclosure
Pre-foreclosure stage is the earliest stage of foreclosure. Reaching pre-foreclosure status begins when the lender files a default notice on the property, which informs the property owner that the lender will proceed with pursuing legal action if the debt is not taken care of. At this point, the property owner has the opportunity to pay off the outstanding debt or sell the property before it is foreclosed. In this stage, many homeowners may opt for what is called a short sale. Many of these homes will sell for near their appraised values. Banks may be willing to negotiate on these properties but the process can be lengthy. Properties that sell at a 20 to 40 percent discount usually need repair or are in unstable communities.
  • Foreclosure Stage
If a property doesn't sell in pre-foreclosure, and the home owner actually defaults on his mortgage, the home goes to public auction. During this stage you can find the best bargains but it can be filled with unexpected changes and last minute details. Preparation, patience and knowledge are key here and remember if a property does go to auction it will go to the highest bidder which is often the bank.
  • Many auctions are canceled at the last moment as the property has been sold or payments reworked.
  • Court-appointed trustees only accept cash or cashiers' checks.
  • There's little time to arrange inspections, so bidders may have no clear idea of what they're buying.
  • Properties are sold "as is," without warranties. Sellers needn't disclose problems. Buyers may find themselves with unexpected and expensive repairs.
  • Post-Foreclosure
  • In the post-foreclosure stage, the lender has already taken control of the property. The home is then in the possession of the lender's REO (Real Estate Owned) department, or in the hands of a new owner or investor who purchased the property at auction. Lenders are typically extremely willing sellers, because an REO on the books is an obvious sign of having made a poor lending decision. Both the overhead and losses involved with an REO -- reflected in both the added reserves a lender must maintain as well as any potential property management fees incurred -- means the bank is likely a willing negotiator.
    • Bank will not agree to do any repairs; as-is sale.
    • Bank will usually require additional paperwork.
    • Bank cannot provide disclosures as to property history/condition issues.
    Bank foreclosure properties can definitely help you make a good buy in real estate properties and still have lots of savings. Doing your homework on the neighborhood, comparable sales and property condition are essential in making a good buying decision.





    Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 5/14/2013

    If you have credit trouble it can be difficult to get back on the right track. Poor credit impacts your ability to secure a loan, credit cards, and even a job. Credit ratings are also used by insurers, employers and leasing agencies. So where should you turn for help to repair your credit? There are many credit repair companies and while some are reputable some are not legitimate. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these signs to tell if the company is legit or not:

    • The company asks for money up front. The Credit Repair Organizations Act forbids repair companies from requiring you to pay fees before they have completed the promised services.
    • The company doesn’t want you to contact the three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) yourself.
    • The company encourages you to dispute all the negative information in your credit report, regardless of its accuracy.
    • The company recommends attempting to create a new credit identity and history by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security Number.
    While a credit repair company may be helpful there are some things you can do yourself to repair your credit.
    • Once every 12 months, check your credit report.  Credit reports are available at www.annualcreditreport.com.
    • If you find errors, dispute incorrect information in your report.
    • Negotiate the removal of outstanding debt. Even without a credit counseling agency, you can contact the collectors of your outstanding debt to negotiate a pay-off settlement.