Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Step By Step Guide For Home Buyers

Windem Real Estate
Get The Wind Behind You!
Moe Navidi
Real Estate Consultant
Tel: (949) 892-7077
Broker Lic# 01753283

Congratulations On Your Decision to purchase a Home!

The purchase of a new home for you and your family is a momentous occasion and a decision not to be taken lightly. Odds are your home will be the biggest investment of your life, so Moe Navidi gathered this information to prepare you fully for this life changing decision and get you into the game.

Why, When and How to Get Pre-Approved
Finding the right home is stressful enough. Finding the right mortgage doesn’t have to be. Before you start playing the game you must understand the rules. Allow me to briefly walk you through the basics of the home loan pre-approval process.

Why Get Pre-Approved?
A loan pre-approval serves three main purposes:

It lets the buyer know the maximum loan size they can qualify for and will therefore provide a purchase price range for which they can shop.
It immediately makes the buyer aware of any unforeseen credit, income or asset issues thus providing time to address these issues prior to the close of escrow
A pre-approval letter issued by a reputable mortgage company lets sellers know you are a serious and qualified buyer when making purchase offers.

When to Get Pre-Approved?
The pre-approval is the essential first step of the purchase of any home. Most seasoned real Estate agent like Moe Navidi will advise you to get pre-approved with a reputable mortgage company right away. By getting your loan pre-approved first, you are setting realistic price ranges, overcoming potential credit or income obstacles early and solidifying the financing up front so that you can focus on finding the right property.

How to Get Pre-Approved?
The pre-approval process is simple, convenient and best of all, free. Simply follow this easy step:
Call or Email to your loan officer and Provide him/her all the required information. He/She will give you all the documents and disclosures. Once you have returned your items needed and signed disclosures to her, she will take over your loan and have your pre-approval completed within 24 hours.

Loan Approval Notification
When your loan has been approved by underwriting, your loan officer will issue a Loan Approval Notification (aka a pre-approval letter) and a formal Good Faith Estimate. Loan Approval Notification is more powerful than the pre-approval letter issued by other lenders because it is an actual approval. By getting your loan fully approved by the underwriting before you start making offers you will know which homes fit within your budget and how much payment you can afford so you can shop more efficiently.
Plus, you’ll be in a much better negotiating position because sellers know you can back up your offer and act fast. In fact, a Loan Approval Notification gives you virtually the same credibility as a cash buyer since you have proven your ability to complete the transaction before you ever made the offer.
Your Loan Approval Notification is good for 90 days and can easily be extended if you do not find a home within that time frame.
Congratulations! You have just been drafted into the big leagues. You are now ready to start making legitimate, qualified and pre-approved purchase offers.

How Much Can I Qualify For?
You have to have your game plan in place before opening kickoff. So, let’s take a look at the X’s and O’s and understand how much you can qualify for before we head out to the field.
The two main components in calculating the maximum loan amount you can qualify for are your debt to income ratio and down payment. A debt to income ratio, commonly referred to as DTI, is the ratio of the amount of monthly expenses you have relative to your gross (before tax) income. The automated underwriter will look at two ratios when analyzing your DTI: your front end DTI ratio and your back end DTI ratio.

Front End DTI
The front end DTI is the ratio of your new housing payment including taxes and insurance relative to the amount of income you earn. The front end DTI ratio excludes all other debts and simply analyzes your income relative to the payments on the new mortgage plus tax and insurance.
So, if your mortgage payments including tax and insurance are $1,000 and you earn $4,000 per month in gross income, your front end DTI would be 25% ($1,000 / $4,000 = 25%).

Generally, the underwriter likes to see front end DTI ratios below 40%, although it will approve higher front end DTI ratios with compensating factors like high credit scores, money in the bank, low loan to value ratio, etc.

Back End DTI
The back end DTI is the ratio of all of your expenses appearing on your credit report plus your new mortgage payment including taxes and insurance divided by your gross monthly income. The back end DTI ratio does not include things like utilities, health insurance or groceries. It is calculated using only the liabilities appearing on your credit report plus any child support or garnishments that may appear on your paystubs. So, to continue our prior example, if your mortgage payments with tax and insurance are $1,000 per month, you have a $250 car payment, $250 in credit card payments and a gross income of $4,000, your back end DTI is 37.5% ($1,500 / $4,000 = 37.5%).
Generally the underwriter likes to see back end DTI ratios under 45%. However, it will approve loans with a 50% back end DTI or higher if there are compensating factors.

Calculating How Much You Can Qualify For
Now that you understand DTI, you can approximate the maximum monthly mortgage payment you can qualify for by using the simple worksheet below.

Step 1—Income
a) Total of All Borrowers Gross Monthly Income *-------------a) $
b) Multiply Total Gross Monthly Income x 50%*--------------b) $

*This is your back end DTI as explained above.

Step 2—Liabilities
c) Total Car Loan Payments *--------------------------------c) $
d) Total Credit Card Payments *-----------------------------d) $
e) Total Other Loan Payments *------------------------------e) $
f) Sum of Lines c, d and e*------------------------------------f) $

Step 3—Mortgage Payments
g) Subtract Line f from line b *-------------------------------g) $

This is the approximate total mortgage payment including property tax and insurance you can qualify for.

Step 4—Getting Qualified

Call or Email to your loan officer
If you obtain a Loan Approval Notification from any bank prior to shopping for home, loan officer can tell you exactly how much you can qualify for.

Choosing the Right Home Loan
Now that you have been pre-approved for a new mortgage by your loan officer at your favorite, it’s time to trim down the roster and choose a loan program. If you are like most homeowners, you will choose a 30 year fixed rate. This is the most common of all loans chosen by over 77% of homeowners. However, there are other loan programs to consider if you have other goals in mind besides paying your home off. Please consider all of your options before making the cut.

30 Year Fixed
According to recent Fannie Mae statistics, almost 4 out of 5 new home loans are conventional 30 year fixed loans. A 30 year fixed is the safest and most conservative option designed to give you safety and security over the entire life of the loan. Most bank’s 30 year fixed home loans never have any prepayment penalties.
The interest rate and loan payment will be fixed throughout the life of the loan. Since a fixed rate loan offers more stability, a traditional 30 year fixed interest rate will generally be slightly higher than an adjustable rate mortgage. However, for many borrowers, the peace of mind that comes with a 30 year fixed payment is certainly worth it.
Even though it is the most popular home loan program by far, a 30 year fixed may not be right
for everyone. We encourage you to explore the different home loan options available to you at your bank. With easy to use Calculator at, you can instantly obtain a 30 year fixed rate and payment and then easily explore the interest rates and payments on several other loan programs to scout out the competition before you make your final call.

30 Year Fixed With Interest Only Option
A traditional 30 year fixed is the safest and most conservative option designed for those with the long term in mind. The interest rate will be fixed throughout the life of the loan. The 30 year fixed with the interest only option allows you to make interest only payments for the first 10 years of the loan. This allows for greater payment flexibility and lower monthly payments. However, your principal balance will not decrease if the interest only payment is made.
Once the initial 10 year interest only period is over, the payments will adjust to a higher monthly payment equal to the amount that it will take to repay the loan in the remaining 20 years. The interest rate will be locked in throughout the life of the loan, however, the payments will adjust once the initial interest 10 year only period has expired.
This loan is designed for those looking for the stability of a 30 year fixed while still looking to lower their monthly payments by the greatest amount possible.

3, 5, 7 and 10 Year Fixed ARMs
Fannie Mae statistics state that the average person is refinancing their home every 4.2 years. It is this reality that makes the 5 Year Fixed ARM the most popular of the adjustable rate mortgage options.
Adjustable rate mortgages are fixed for a predetermined amount of time, generally 3, 5, or 7
years, and then become adjustable once the fixed period has expired. Adjustable rate loans
generally offer lower interest rates and payments during the initial fixed periods and then adjust to higher market rates once the initial fixed period has expired. Once the fixed period has expired, the new monthly payment will be based on a market index plus a margin to be determined at approval.
These types of loans are generally ideal if you have plans to either move or refinance in a shorter period of time. The lower initial interest rate offers lower monthly payments, but the trade-off is the increased risk of higher payments and interest rates once the loan enters its adjustable period. These loans are also available through your bank with an interest only option during the fixed period of the loan and never come with any prepayment penalties.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Agent Moe Navidi at Windem Real Estate is a valuable team member for you. Use Him!
A good Real Estate Agent/Broker like Moe Navidi will be able to research homes for you, find homes you didn’t even know were available for sale, preview homes so you don’t waste your time looking at homes that do not match your criteria and make the entire process so much more smoothly than if you were to try to do it yourself. As with any company or person you work with, it is usually a good idea to use independent third parties to research a prospective agent before working with them. Some good resources are:

The Department of Real Estate
National Association of Realtors
California Association of Realtors
Better Business Bureau
Homes By Navidi
Windem Real Estate

I realize the importance of working with someone you can trust, that is why I highly recommend Moe Navidi at Windem Real Estate .

Making Offers on Properties

Now that you have gotten your loan pre-approved and you have found a very good Real Estate
Agent, you are ready to start making offers on properties. Since you have been pre-approved
by your loan officer at your bank, you can feel confident that you are making offers on properties that are with in your price range. But, before you start making offers, let’s get some more training on choosing the right home.

It’s More Than Location, Location, Location
There are some important factors to consider when choosing the right home. Here’s a short list of things to consider when evaluating properties:
• Quality of the school district
• Driving distance to your employer
• Proximity to shopping and restaurants
• Noise nuisances such as airplane flight paths, industrial activity and street traffic
• Distance to parks, schools and medical facilities
• Accessibility of freeways
• Are homes holding their values

You will most likely be spending many years in this home. Here’s a list of things to consider to be sure it fits your needs now as well as in the future:
• Does it have room for an office or den to work from home?
• Are there sufficient bedrooms for your current and future little sluggers?
• Is there space for long term guests?
• Is the yard fenced for the team mascot?
• Is there enough room for your kids to play or that swing set they’ve always wanted?
• Is the floor plan desirable for entertaining?
• If there is a pool, does it have a safety fence?
• Is there room for an outdoor barbecue or patio?

Making the Offer
You finally did it. You’ve found your dream home. It is at this point when the expert advice of a seasoned Real Estate Agent/Broker like Moe Navidi will really pay off so that you make the perfect pitch. You and your agent will consider a multitude of factors beyond price when making the actual offer. Some examples of these other factors are:
• Closing Date - Generally 30-45 days from the date the offer is accepted.
• Earnest Money Deposit - How much money will you deposit to open escrow?
• Allowances - Are you requesting the carpet be changed or other repairs be made?
• Termite Inspection - Termite inspections are not always required, however, it is usually a good idea.
• Seller Concessions - Will the seller pay a percentage of your closing costs or other incentives such as a home warranty?
• Appliances - Which appliances stay with the house?
• Per Diem Charges - Are there penalties paid by you or the seller for not closing on time?
• Unique Requests - Every home is different. Is there something specific you require to make sure this property is right for you?

The Purchase Agreement
The purchase agreement is the form that your Real Estate Agent/Broker Moe Navidi will provide and complete when you are making your offer. It will contain the offer price and all of the provisions that you and your agent decided upon including any of the specific requests listed above.
Be sure to include your Loan Approval Notification with your offer indicating you are serious.

Counter Offer
In a typical real estate transaction, the seller will respond to your offer with a counter offer. This counter offer will detail all of the changes or items they do not agree to and what they are willing to accept instead. You will then either accept their counter offer or respond with a counter offer of your own. This process continues until mutually acceptable terms are agreed upon.
Once all parties have agreed to the terms and both the buyer and seller have signed the purchase agreement and any amendments you now have a valid purchase contract. Your Real Estate Agent/Broker Moe Navidi will then proceed to open escrow.

Opening Escrow
First, it is important to understand what escrow is. The escrow company is an uninterested third party who will impartially ensure that all of the terms of the contract are carried out and both the buyer and seller are receiving everything they are entitled to according to the mutually agreed upon purchase agreement. Think of the escrow company as the referee. They are there to make sure everyone plays by the rules.
Once escrow is opened, an earnest money deposit will be required. This deposit is a small
percentage of the purchase price (usually between $1,000 and $20,000 depending on the price of the home) that can later be applied towards the down payment. The amount of the deposit will be agreed upon in the purchase contract.
The escrow company will work closely with Your Loan Officer, Sellers and Buyers agents to ensure the entire process is moving forward according to plan.

Appraising the Property
An appraisal report determines the market value of a home on a specific date. In order to obtain this value, a certified and licensed appraiser will visit the home to take many measurements, photos and view first hand the various amenities and features of the property. The actual home inspection is a relatively short process, generally 15-30 minutes, as the majority of an appraiser’s efforts are consumed in the research and analysis stages.
The appraiser is an essence another referee. They will impartially assess the value of the property to make sure the home is worth the price being paid.
Once an appraiser has completed the appraisal inspection of the home, they will explore recent sales of comparable homes as well as current property listings in the area. A property is usually considered a comparable sale if it is similar in size, condition and appearance, has been sold within the last 6 months and is within 1 mile of the subject property. These properties will be used as a basis for determining the market value of the subject as of the date of the appraisal inspection.
The appraiser will then make comparisons of the comparable sales and listings to determine similarities and differences between these properties and the subject. The appraiser will make additions or subtractions to the sales price of the comparison properties based upon differences such as bedroom count, bathroom count, square footage, amenities, upgrades, etc. between them and the subject. The adjustments will be totaled in order to arrive at a final determination of the value of the subject. This method of determining value is called the Market Approach.

Why Get an Appraisal?
An appraisal is required on every purchase loan transaction. The appraisal report will ensure that the buyer is not paying too much for a property based on recent sales in the area. The buyer usually pays for the cost of the appraisal report.

Choosing an Appraiser
Lender has an extensive list of Preferred Appraisers. These appraisers have a minimum of 2 years experience in appraising properties in your specific area and are all fully licensed and approved to conduct the specific appraisal report that will be required. If you have an appraiser that you would prefer to use, that is perfectly acceptable as long as they are fully licensed and approved through the appropriate regulatory agencies.
Your Processor will order the appraisal report for you once lender receives a copy of the signed and accepted purchase contract.
An experienced appraiser will deliver an objective appraisal report ensuring you are not over-paying for a property. The appraiser’s professional opinion is worth the small cost of the appraisal report.

Getting a Home Inspection Report
Once the seller has accepted your offer, it is time for the home inspection report. The sale of
the home will usually be contingent upon a successful home inspection. It is important to find a qualified and experienced inspector who will not only inspect the property for current problems but will also advise you of potential future hazards. The home inspector is yet another referee that will throw a flag at anything they see that is structurally or functionally wrong with the home.

What is a Home Inspection?
A thorough home inspection will check the functionality, condition and operability of the various features and systems of the home including: heating, cooling, septic systems, plumbing and electrical systems, walls, floors, ceilings, foundation, roof, gutters, downspouts, insulation, ventilation, major appliances and the garage. You may also choose to pay extra for tests such as radon or carbon monoxide levels.

How to Find an Inspector
Your Real Estate Agent Moe Navidi should be able to provide you with a reputable home inspector in the area. If you prefer to find an inspector on your own, you can visit the American Society of Home Inspectors website at
It is important to check an inspector’s experience and references as well as ensuring they are licensed and insured.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
The cost of a typical home inspection can vary depending on the depth and scope of the inspection being completed. You should expect to pay somewhere between $250 and $600 for a quality report.
The buyer should try to be there during the home inspeInspector you will be able to ask questions as they arise and the inspector can show you first hand any potential hazards or problems.

Reviewing the Home Inspection Report
Once the home inspection report is completed you will be left with a list of action items that may need to be addressed. These items can vary from the very minor cosmetic repairs to significant structural flaws. Depending on the nature of these issues, you will have several options:
• You can request that the seller repair these items prior to closing
• You can choose to ignore them or handle yourself after closing
• If the problems are severe enough, you can choose to call a time out, cancel the purchase agreement and walk away from the home usually without any penalties
You will want to huddle up and review the home inspection report with your Real Estate Agent Moe Navidi to get his input as to which course of action you should take.

A Guide to Homeowner’s Insurance
Homeowner’s insurance is required to complete the purchase transaction. Why? Lenders require homeowner’s insurance to guarantee their interest in the property is protected. You also want to be sure that your equity and your possessions are protected in case of a fire, accident or other unforeseen event.
Just like a strong defense, you can never let your insurance lapse. It is imperative to always have adequate homeowner’s insurance protection in place.

Shopping Around
It is a good idea to start your search for homeowner’s insurance with your existing auto insurance company. They will often provide a multiple policy discount that will make it worthwhile to have all your insurance coverage with one company. But, you shouldn’t stop there. Talk to several different insurance companies to make sure you are getting the best coverage at the lowest premium.

How Much Are Property Taxes?
All real estate owned has property taxes that need to be paid in association with it. The property taxes are due twice a year usually in April and October. These property taxes are used to fund schools, infrastructure maintenance and development as well as other local governmental projects. These property taxes ensure that the field you and your family play on is well maintained.
Property tax rates will vary from county to county and city to city. There are many cases where the tax rates will be different even within the same city. Your Real Estate Agent Moe Navidi will be able to confirm the tax rate for the area in which you are purchasing.
The property tax rate is a percentage of the purchase price. Most property tax rates will range between 1% - 1.25% of the purchase price. So, for example, annual property taxes on a $200,000 purchase price with a 1% property tax rate will be $2,000 ($200,000 x 1% = $2,000).

Escrow Impound Account
An escrow impound account is an account that can be set up with your new mortgage that will pay your property taxes and/or insurance for you by collecting 1/12th of the annual property taxes and/or insurance along with your mortgage payment. This account is set up at the loan closing and is designed to make sure that your property taxes are always paid on time and your insurance is always current.
There is no fee for setting up an impound account and the account can be set up to collect
property taxes alone, homeowners insurance alone or both property taxes and insurance. Most homeowners elect to include both property taxes and insurance.
It is not mandatory to set up an escrow impound account and you can elect to pay property
taxes and insurance on your own. Please be aware that there is generally a slight cost to waive the impound account.

What Problems Might Cause Escrow Not to Close?
It’s time to play little defense. It is important to keep control over the things that you do have control over. With that in mind, let’s focus on a few things that the buyer can control to ensure escrow closes on time without delays:
• Monthly payments - Pay all of your monthly payments on time without exception. Do not be tempted to skip a payment on a credit card to save a little extra for the down payment. Make all your payments to all of your accounts to be sure there are no surprises.

• New Accounts - Do not open any new accounts. Additional inquiries or new accounts
appearing on your credit report could potentially cause your credit score to drop and thus affect your approval.
• Employment/Income - Now is not the time to be looking for a new job. Simply stay put in your current position at your current pay rate and save the job hunt until after escrow closes.
• Assets - Save your money. The money that was verified to be in your bank accounts still needs to be there at the close of escrow. Please be sure to put off any major new purchases until after escrow closes.

There are a few other non-buyer related issues that could cause the cancellation of escrow. Most of these issues are beyond the buyer’s control and may often benefit the buyer since you could be avoiding potential future problems. Some examples of these issues are:

• Problems with the property found during the home inspection
• Property not appraising for the purchase price
• Problems with the termite inspection
It is rare that any of these issues ever comes up, however, it is also important to prepare for
these potential obstacles. Now that you know what may be coming your way, you can be more prepared and do your part to ensure a timely close of escrow.

Preparing for the Closing

The day has finally come. The appraisal is completed, the home inspection has been cleared,
the loan has been approved and your loan documents are ready to be signed. But, before you
meet with the notary to complete the signing and celebrate victory there are some important final details to consider:
• Final Walk Through - Be sure to view the property one last time before close to ensure it is the condition you expect it to be.
• Vacated - Confer with the seller to confirm if the property will be vacant at the time of
closing. If the seller still occupies the property after closing, you may be entitled to rental compensation.
• Moving Out - Are you currently renting a home? Double check your lease to ensure that you are at the end of the lease term and will not be subject to any lease termination fees.
• Movers - Whether you are hiring professional movers or simply enlisting the help of a few friends, be sure to have the rental truck arrangements made well in advance. Also be sure to have the mover’s costs agreed to in writing prior to moving day.
• Post Office - Be sure to fill out a change of address card and have your mail forwarded.
• Utilities - Contact your local phone, power, water, gas and other utility providers to make sure that when you actually have warm water when you hit the showers.

Signing Final Loan Documents
When you meet with the notary to sign your final loan documents, anyone signing the
documents will need to bring a current driver’s license or other form of government issued photo identification with them.
An estimated closing statement will be sent to you ahead of time for your review. The closing
statement will itemize the purchase price, the loan amount, the earnest money deposit, all of the fees and any other items related to the funds involved in the transaction. The closing statement will also show the final amount of cash required from the buyer to complete the transaction.

Funds to Close
The required funds to close from the buyer must be received by the escrow company before the purchase transaction can be finalized. The funds can either be wired to the escrow company or a cashier’s check can be brought to the closing.
It is usually ideal to have the funds transferred to the escrow company the same day you sign your final loan documents, however, the funds transfer can occur after signing if you wish.
Funding, Recording and Picking up the Keys.
Once the loan documents are signed, they will be overnighted to the lender and a funder will
review them carefully. Assuming there are no missed signatures or dates and all of the required information has been received by the lender, the loan will be funded. Once the loan funds, the new deed of trust will usually record at the county recorders office the next day.
Once escrow has confirmed that the loan has recorded, the property is officially yours! You can make arrangements with your Real Estate Agent to pick up the keys and take ownership.

Congratulations! You are an official homeowner!

Keeping Your Paperwork Safe

It’s time for the post game wrap up. You signed a lot of paperwork over the course of the
transaction, none of it more important than the loan documents detailing all of the specifics of your mortgage. Be sure to keep all of the mortgage paperwork along with the final closing statement from the escrow company in a safe place. You never know when you might need to provide copies for tax purposes, for any future refinancing or when it comes time to sell the home.
Moe Navidi Your agent/Broker for Life
Moe Navidi
is not only your Real Estate expert for now, but will be in the future as well.
He is here to ensure that your long term Real Estate goals are being met and that your home purchase is working for you as part of your overall Real Estate’s needs.

As a service to all of his clients, he will enroll you in his monthly newsletter detailing Real Estate trends, mortgage rate fluctuations and even a helpful household hint or two. Many of his previous customers have stated that this newsletter has provided valuable insight into the world of Real Estate and they have found it very helpful as their situation changes over the years.
Any time you have a question about your current Real Estate and mortgage, would like to explore refinancing, a home equity line of credit, you know somebody wants to purchase a home Please referrer them to Moe Navidi or simply want to chat with your Real Estate specialist, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail. He is always here to help.
You’ve taken the time to build a championship team with Moe Navidi and I will be here to carry you across the goal line in the future as well.

A Referral is the Greatest Compliment You Can Give Us
I hope you have enjoyed the sales pressure free education based on this Blog experience that Moe Navidi has provided. 100% of Moe Navidi's clients have stated that they would use his services again for their next home purchase or refer him to a friend. Feel free to tell a friend or family member about the experience you had with Moe Navidi. I think they will be happy you did.