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Ask the Expert: Apply for mortgage online?

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Q – I am applying for a mortgage and my local lender told me to fill out the application online. Should I feel insulted?
A –  Absolutely not! The Internet has changed many things about how people shop and apply for mortgages. One of the key changes is online applications.

Online applications can save time. You won’t have to drive to an office, and you can gather your documents at home. The whole transaction will sometimes be handled online. The lender might ask you to submit online or email documents such as check stubs, bank statements, and tax returns.

In some situations, you’ll still have to meet with a loan officer to close.

Q – If that is the case, maybe I should just fill out a bunch of applications online? I can see which one has the best deal that way.
A – Lenders like to have leads on loans, of course, but making a dozen applications isn’t usually necessary.

Many applications won’t change whether you are a good risk or miraculously lower an interest rate. People with great credit can choose from two or three advertised offers that have the right combination of interest rates and fees. For people with bad credit or debt and low down payments, reviewing online offers before applying can help find a lender that works with credit problems.

On the other hand, multiple applications can let you compare rates and fees and that can help you make the best deal. Just be sure to compare apples to apples. If you apply for a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage with one lender, be sure to make the same application with another so you can make a good comparison.

If a mortgage application is approved, the next step is the mortgage application fee. These fees are expensive and, at that point, you want to decide on a lender.

One consideration about online forms: Be sure to be as accurate and thorough as possible. It is just like sitting with a loan officer.

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Real Estate

5 questions to ask when choosing a neighborhood

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Before you start shopping for a new home, it’s a good idea to consider what neighborhood you want to live in. Here are five questions to ask yourself when considering location.

1. Are the schools good? If you have young kids, this is a top priority. Do some digging online and consider visiting the more promising schools in person.

2. Is it safe? Ensure that the neighborhood doesn’t have issues with crime. You can often find information about crime rates on the web. Another option is to make inquiries with the local police department.

3. Where can I go by foot? Consider what shops, services or amenities are within walking distance. This includes grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, daycares, clinics, parks and gyms.

4. What will commuting be like? Take into account how close the neighborhood is to your workplace and your children’s school. If you intend to take public transportation, see how accessible and convenient it is.

5. Do I like the atmosphere? To better understand the overall vibe of the neighborhood, the best thing to do is scope it out in person. Walk the streets, chat with the locals and visit the area’s shops and restaurants.

In addition to asking yourself these five questions, it’s worth discovering what trends are emerging with respect to home values in the neighborhood. This will indicate whether buying in the area will prove a good investment if you choose to sell the property down the road.

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Real Estate

Warren County Market Report – July 2019

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Welcome back to school, Warren County!

Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for July 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!

In general summary:

  1. New Listings are up 15%.  This is a significant increase over last year.  Good news is that we are selling what we list and hopefully will continue to do so.  Closed Sales are up 9%.
  2. Average Median Sold $241,000.
  3. Average Days on Market 76.

*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com.

Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated July 2019

Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”

BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St., Winchester, VA 22601 | 540-662-0400

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Real Estate

Fixed versus variable rate mortgages: what you need to know

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Fixed or variable rate? It’s a question every homebuyer is faced with when obtaining a mortgage. If you’re unsure about which option is best for you, this primer should help.

What are fixed and variable rate mortgages?
Fixed rate mortgages are straightforward and involve paying the same monetary installments and interest rate for the duration of your term.

Variable rate mortgages, on the other hand, are a little more complicated. They’re tied to your bank’s prime rate, which may change over time.

Your bank’s prime rate is based on the target federal funds rate or the rate banks charge each other when they lend funds overnight. A quoted prime rate is typically the average of the prime rates charged by the major banks.

The target federal funds rate can increase or decrease several times per year. For example, in 2018, this rate changed four times. It rose by 0.25 percent each time, climbing from 1.25 percent in March to 2.50 percent in December.

Should you choose a fixed or variable rate mortgage?
Variable rate mortgages typically have a lower interest rate than fixed rate mortgages and historically, they’ve saved people money. However, fixed rate mortgages have the benefit of offering certainty and predictability. They make budgeting easier and take away any trepidation around potential interest rate hikes.

To better determine which mortgage type will cost you the least, see what leading economists are forecasting for the target federal funds rate. Just keep in mind that no one can reliably predict future fluctuations.

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Right of first refusal: what it is and why it’s useful

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A right of first refusal (ROFR) in a real estate contract is a clause that gives an individual first dibs on buying a particular property. If someone other than the specified individual makes an offer, they’re notified by the seller and given the opportunity to match the bid.

Who can arrange an ROFR?
An ROFR clause can be arranged between a tenant and a landlord, between family members or between neighbors. An ROFR can also be offered to a tenant via a homeowners’ association or condo board.

Advantages for tenants
This type of agreement can benefit all parties involved. If, for instance, a tenant is interested in eventually buying the home they’re renting, an ROFR clause gives them the assurance that so long as they have the funds, they’ll be first in line.

Advantages for landlords
On the landlord’s end, he or she maintains the right to sell to the highest bidder and always has at least one interested buyer. As an added bonus, it’s likely to be someone who can purchase the place with little hassle.

If you sign a right of first refusal agreement, make sure that the specifics suit you. Look at details such as the deadline to match an offer and the expiry date of the clause. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer before entering into any legal agreement.

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Real Estate

What are junk fees?

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Junk fees are extra charges a mortgage lender tacks on when you close on a home. Paying some closing costs when finalizing a mortgage is expected. However, certain charges are unnecessary or excessive.

Junk fees may be labeled as an application fee, a mortgage rate lock fee, a processing fee, a courier fee, an administrative fee, a documentation fee or something else entirely. While such fees may represent actual work that was done, they tend to be basic services that the lender is expected to provide.

If you think you’re being charged junk fees, press your lender for details. If you find that the fees are in fact unjustified, you could ask the lender to waive them or simply state that you’re unwilling to pay. When pressured, the lender is likely to reduce or eliminate these charges.

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Meet Ray Bramble from AireServ

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Ray Bramble, President of AireServ, was in our studios recently and spoke with our publisher, Mike McCool, about high utility bills and what we can do to get them under control.

Ray is the President of AireServ, a heating and air-conditioning company in Front Royal. Bramble said, “We want you to stay comfortable and breathe clean air all year round.”

Ray, along with his son Ryan, also discussed a new technology called Aeroseal. Bramble says that duct leakage robs you of comfort, energy and peace of mind. Cracks and holes in your home’s air vents and duct system allow heated and cooled air to escape before reaching your rooms, ultimately leaving you with stuffy, uncomfortable rooms and wasted energy.

Watch as Ray and Ryan explain the Aeroseal process:

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Upcoming Events

Aug
27
Tue
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Aug 27 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with the instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply[...]
Aug
29
Thu
1:00 pm Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Aug 29 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
The McShin Foundation and RSW (Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren County) Regional Jail would like to invite you to our substance abuse and recovery summit to be held on August 29, 2019, in Front Royal, Virginia.[...]
Aug
31
Sat
1:00 pm DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Aug 31 @ 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
DJ Skyhigh's End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Come join DJ Skyhigh for his end of summer blast. Lisa Bell will be hosting wine tastings (at an additional charge) of over 50 international wines. Wines may also be purchased by the bottle to[...]
Sep
3
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Sep 3 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor Elena Maza will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance.[...]
Sep
4
Wed
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Sep 4 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
Sep
7
Sat
10:00 am SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
Sep 7 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundraiser @ Skyline High School
Skyline High School Marching Band is having a mattress sale fundraiser on Saturday, September 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Skyline High School (151 Skyline Vista Drive, Front Royal, Virginia). There will[...]
12:00 pm 2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
Sep 7 @ 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
Golf – “Captains Choice Format” 12pm Shotgun “Tail Gate” Food and Drinks – 5pm to 8pm Golf + Food & Drinks $45 Tail Gate Food & Drinks Only $15
1:00 pm Strokes of Creativity: 1-year ce... @ Strokes of Creativity
Strokes of Creativity: 1-year ce... @ Strokes of Creativity
Sep 7 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Strokes of Creativity: 1-year celebration @ Strokes of Creativity
Join us for our 1-year celebration on Sept. 7 from 1-6 pm. We will have demos, and Artist meet and greets. Unique and one of kind items, face painting, crafts and Chase from Paw Patrol will[...]
6:00 pm FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Sep 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
In tandem with the 110th anniversary of the church building, the Front Royal United Methodist Church will host Homecoming ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, September 7th and 8th. Five previous pastors have agreed to return[...]
Sep
10
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Sep 10 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor Elena Maza will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance.[...]