Janet Buff, Realtor's Blog

View Housing TrendsFollow Me@https://twitter.com/JANETBUFFView My Profile
(281) 414-1811

        EMAIL ME        2323 South Voss Rd,Ste # 315-C, Houston, TX 77057     Phone: (832) 986-5836     Fax:
Thank you for visiting. I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you spending time on my blog!


Remember the days of stressing over buying your first home? Did you ever imagine it could get even more complicated than finding the right house in the right neighborhood? Now imagine the added stress of having to find a new house to buy upon having to sell your old house. For most people, ideally the chain of events would go - buy a new home, move, and then deal with the task of selling your previous house. But that ’ s not the most realistic scenario for two reasons. Aside from costing significantly more due to the fact you ’ d be paying for two mortgages, it also dampers your reputation with sellers because they might frown upon you holding onto your current home. Realtor.com listed 5 tips on their advice blog to make this whole process a little bit easier for you, and to prevent you from pulling out any hair you may have. 1.      Know the market first       Before anything else, whether you ’ re seeking out a new home or putting your current house on the market, make sure you completely know the housing market in your area, or the area you ’ re planning to purchase. A good question to ask yourself is if the market is geared towards buyers or sellers? After this you will be ready to strategize and plan how to go about things. Like in most cases, the winning decision will depend on who exactly holds the power. An important thing to also remember is to not pull all your eggs in one basket. Meaning don ’ t find one house you like and put solely everything in that one decision. It ’ s good to have appropriate options in the event a purchase falls through and you ’ re left house-less because of you ’ re newly sold home. On the other spectrum, make sure you hire an appraiser for your old home to price fairly. Unfortunately, the time for hopes and slight delusion regarding pricing is not now. Extra months on the market because you didn ’ t want to lower the price just means more months of paying double mortgages that nobody wants. 2. Plan your schedule carefully     Buy first and then sell, or sell first and then buy? Both have their pros and cons. Selling first will make getting a new mortgage easier, but will also require you to find a temporary home to live. On the other hand, buying first makes moving easier. But it also alters your debt-to-income ratio, which will make it a little more difficult to qualify for a new mortgage, in addition of the hard task of trying to handle two different house payments. Gary DiMauro, a realtor for New York says it ’ s important to think beyond, “ How can I make the move as easy as possible? ” But to instead ask “ Can I handle two mortgages? What if my home sells for less than its listing? ” Whichever decision you end up going with, prepare yourself for the possible outcomes. Using a storage unit for your stuff and furniture and renting a place or finding friends and relatives to stay with temporary, or taking on the financial woes of two mortgages. 3. Don ’ t rely on timing     It ’ s important to remember and to take in account that you ’ re not the only party involved in the formula. For every seller there is a buyer and for every buyer there is a seller. On paper you can layout the best plan possible, but it ’ s hard to predict and measure variables from the other party involved. Closings could be delayed, like buyers having difficulty securing their mortgage, or a home inspector can find issues that need to be addressed before you can properly move into your new home. Just know that even if you had planned to sell first and were prepared to live temporarily somewhere else while you shop around for a new home that even the best plans can go amiss. It ’ s best to brace yourself for this possible outcome, even how unlikely it may seem at the time, just to guarantee for an easy transition. 4. Know your financial solutions The process for those who decide to sell their homes first is pretty frank and simple besides additional costs for rental homes in the buying process of a new home. There is also the option of the rent-back agreement where you can bargain with the lenders and buyers to allow you to remain in your old property for at the most 60 to 90 days, in return of a lower selling price or rent cost to the buyers. This option can help to relieve the stress and pressure of finding a new home   and give you more time to house hunt. But for those buying first, discuss with your agent and go over your options to lessen your financial risks. These are the two most popular choices: Contract contingency: Buyers can ask that their new home purchase be reliant on the successful sale of their old home. If you ’ re in a competitive market, then this is probably not the more ideal option. However, if the seller of the house you ’ re looking at has had some problems piquing some interest, then this option may be a great solution for all the parties involved. If you can convince them that your old home will sell quickly that is. Bridge loans: This allows you to own two homes at the same time if you can ’ t afford a second down payment. This is a very appealing option if you plan to sell your home first and want to use that money to purchase your second. Bridge loans serve as a short-term loan to be repaid once your first home has been sold. 5. Don ’ t let the fear rush you                            If you have successfully sold your first home but still haven ’ t found a new one, don ’ t let the pressure guide you towards a rushed decision. Don ’ t let the time constraints push you into a quick decision. Plan for a short-term rental home or if you have relatives or friends in the area, ask them kindly if you can stay with them for an allotted amount of time. You don ’ t have to settle or give up on some things that matter to you because you are in desperate need for a new home. And on the other side of things, don ’ t agree on a bid that you feel in your heart is too low for your liking because finances are tight. Having a temporary living situation decreases the likelihood of buckling under pressure and compromising. The selling and buying process can be pretty stressful, and having to do both concurrently can be even more daunting. But planning ahead for all the risks and obstacles, considering different options and then laying them all out before you will help to ease the process. Good luck!    


Move Out & Move In Tips

August 28, 2015    Matt Lemmon

No matter how long you've lived in a place, or why you're leaving it, moving is bittersweet. You may have to move for work, or to be closer to family, or because the nest is now empty; no matter the reason, there's nostalgia there. Then, when the tears are dried and you get to the new place, it's going to feel foreign for a while.

The good news is there are some steps you can take to make both the moving out and the moving in easier on your family.

Here are a few of our favorite tips, with some of our own pointers added in.

Moving Out

Take photos

You'll probably do this anyway, and as much as you probably like the professional, pristine gloss of the photos the Realtor used for your listing, we suggest taking a series of "messy" shots that show your home in its true family state (this may need to be done prior to listing, depending on how quickly you plan to move after its sold). Be sure to get your favorite features.

Time capsule

There are lots of ways to leave your mark on a home, but how about putting together a time capsule and stashing it in the attic? Have each member of the family leave something behind, and let the people moving in after you know who you were and what you loved about the home.

Party time

Invite all the people who have enjoyed your home with you. If it doesn't feel like there's time, make time. And while we - and likely your Realtor - wouldn't recommend a rager, do plan on toasting the good times had there. As for your guests, instead of having them bring food or a gift, have them help you pack or move some boxes. If you provide the bubbly, they won't mind a bit.

Now, it's time to make a new place a home just as beloved as the last one. But some move-in homes are stuffy, either because they're new or have been closed up for a while. And they certainly don't have the same look or smell. Here are some things you can do:

Fresh and clean

Open windows. Run fans. Liberally apply all of your favorite cleaning products. Do this before a box has been opened.


Treat yo'self

You might not often buy yourself fresh baked goods or cut wildflowers, but keeping some indulgences around while the rest of the place is in move-in chaos can be cathartic. Light candles. Buy the fancy soap. You deserve it.


Kids and dogs first

When prioritizing the unpacking, focus first on the smallest members of your family (it may be fun for mom and dad to spend a night on an air mattress anyway, wethinks). Let the kids unpack a couple of pre-selected boxes with favorite decorations and toys. Have the cable or satellite set up (if possible), or at least the wireless Internet, so TV becomes an option for kids too young to help. As for the dog and cat, we suggest boarding them or finding a sitter during the heaviest moving times. If that's not possible, though, be sure they have a space to themselves, get frequent walks, and have food and water available. Soon they can have free run of the place - and it will feel more like home because of them.


Fall Staging Tips

September 4, 2015    Matt Lemmon

Fall isn't the typical home "selling season." Kids have gone back to school and the days get shorter. Not to mention the fast-approaching holidays and an uptick in yard maintenance.

But, maybe a home you're selling sat on the market through the summer, and you're ready to take advantage of a drop in competition. Maybe your clients are empty nesters who are super motivated to get out of their home, regardless of the season.

If you are desperate to sell that home by the holidays, there are some steps you can take to boost your listing's curb appeal, and they have nothing to do with hay bales and pumpkins

The ever-helpful HGTV offers a gallery of easy staging tips that have more to do with design and decor than big fixes. Our favorites include "letting in the light" (the oblique angles of the autumn sun make for a unique glow in certain rooms) and "using seasonal scents."

From the article:

Nothing says fall like the pleasing aromas of apples and cinnamon. Before showing your home, burn a cinnamon-scented candle or simmer a pot of apple cider on the stove with a stick of cinnamon thrown in. If you opt for cider, leave it in a thermos with cups for buyers to enjoy.

Mmm. Apples. And don't forget the ubiquitous pumpkin, though apples are probably a lighter, less polarizing option.

A  few excellent points, from the obvious (outdoor maintenance is difficult in the fall, play up your fireplace) to the not-so-obvious, including the fact that, for households with kids, family clutter may be more difficult to manage during the school year.

Make ample room in an easily accessible but enclosed place for backpacks, lunch boxes and school projects. For young students, create a scrapbook for artwork instead of using the refrigerator or bulletin board.

Also: The days are getting shorter. Be sure to illuminate the exterior of your home, as some potential buyers may be doing drive-bys in the twilight hours after they get off work.

A final article, this one from AOL's real estate site, preaches "less is more." While a fireplace is a good mood-setter, avoid candles - you never know what scents might turn off a buyer. They also urge sellers to tone down the seasonal decorations, particularly Halloween.

If people are looking at your Halloween decor they aren't looking what you want them to -- the house. Have the party at the neighbors' this year and the kids can live it up at school, but at home keep your celebrating to a minimum.



Fall Decorating

September 18, 2015    Matt Lemmon


Spring cleaning gets all the press, but isn't a good fall cleanup just as satisfying - and important? After all, you've spent the summer accumulating the accoutrements of camps, vacations, pool days and cookouts. It's time to declutter, break out the long-sleeved clothes and - for those in cooler climates - do our best to get the house and yard ready for winter before the snow flies.

We'll focus on practical tasks to prepare your home for fall and winter in a later post. For now, we'll focus on how to freshen up your décor.

Re-do on a budget

With no tax refunds pending and the holidays looming, the home-improvement budget may be a bit tighter in September than it is in March. No worries. Fall is a great time to find deals, be it in a thrift store or at any of the approximately one zillion fall festivals that will occur over the next couple of months.

Keep your budget front of mind. The best bit here: Mix up furniture rather than buying more. Do you have a rug in an office that might look great in your living room? Move it over. Would a set of chairs from the dining room work well in the kitchen? Switch 'em out. Move art. Repaint. Make an end table a bedside table (or vice-versa). It's your stuff, so have fun with it.


And while visuals are the most obvious things to switch up in any transition season, don't undersell the other senses. Fall brings with it a host of scents and feels that you can play up. Put out soft blankets. Also, spicy, earthy scents - and no, you don't automatically have to use pumpkin - are key, Try cinnamon, clove or rosemary essential oils or (if you prefer) candles. It's also prime season for throwing open the windows and letting the natural scents of your neighborhood and fresh air take over the job. (This is only recommended if the natural scents of your neighborhood are actually pleasant.)


And of course, when in doubt, it's all about the details, and no one does details better than the folks at Southern Living Magazine.Mixing up a color palette can give the impression of fall without dropping a gourd on every plate. Play up the foliage. Personalize your pumpkins. Pair your mums with boxwoods or other plants to make the porch arrangement really stand out. There are 78 tips here, and they all work.

Happy decorating!




Fall Maintenance

September 25, 2015    Matt Lemmon


protecting your home from the ravages of colder weather is one of the most important things any homeowner can do.
Whether you're an owner or a Realtor with properties on the market this fall, these tips are indispensable.

There's nothing more important to your home than its foundation, and there's one simple way to help keep it from being damaged during the winter: Keep water away from it. Start with downspout extenders, which can be added when you clean out your gutters.

Create a checklist.

"Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don't, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each."

And you can take it a step further:

"Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you'll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks."

The next place you should concentrate is your roof. You know the silty grime that collects in your gutters? It could be the sign that shingles are wearing out. Spending $50 to $100 on a roofing evaluation is not the worst idea, if your roof is older and you think you might have issues. Clumps of mold or moss, crinkled shingles and corroded flashings can be warning signs.

Also Clean the gutters (wait until after the leaves fall, so you don't have to do it multiple times), winterize your lawn mower and sprinkler system. They also recommend making a circuit of your home and caulking all of the gaps between siding and foundation, around doors and windows, and any place wires and pipes enter the house.

Spend some time making recommendations on your heating system - including your furnace, fireplaces and wood stoves. This typically means a small investment on a professional inspection. You'll not only save money in the long run through efficiency and lack of repair, but you'll have the peace of mind that everything is clean and working properly.

Fall is a good time for some basic family safety. Test carbon monoxide smoke detectors, go over the family plan in case of fire and safety procedures, and clean out any potential fire hazards - garage messes and fluids, old newspapers, etc. - that may have accumulated over a busy summer.


Some things just aren’t suited for a bathroom. Here are 5 materials to skip if you’re redoing your bath.

A clean, well-planned, and stunning bathroom is every homeowner’s goal. But creating it can be a bit of a sticky wicket. All that water, humidity, and artificial lighting, and those tight corners make the space a real challenge. Don’t make it worse by wasting money on materials that won’t withstand the task or will need replacing when they don’t work out. Dodge bad bathroom decisions by avoiding these five things:

1.  Wallpaper

In a high-steam area such as a bathroom, wallpaper may start to peel in a few years, according to some designers. In fact, steam is used to strip old wallpaper off walls. Despite the many photos of stylish, wallpapered bathrooms in magazines, unless it’s a half-bath or guest bath that’s seldom used, skip it. Really want the unique look wallpaper provides? Try a solid vinyl wall covering instead. It won’t allow moisture to seep through.

2.  Laminate Flooring

Love the look and affordability of laminate flooring? Use it in another room. Water and laminate floors don’t mix. Even tiny amounts of water will seep between the planks, causing them to expand, peel, swell, and lift from the floor. Even laminate manufacturers advise against installing in high moisture areas. The good news? There are plenty of other products out there that work extremely well in bathrooms. Take another look at linoleum. It’s eco-friendly, budget-friendly, and comes in a wide variety of looks.

3.  Slippery or Glossy Tile or Stone

Many ceramic, porcelain, and stone floors will become slippery in wet conditions. The more polished a tile, the more likely it will become slippery when wet. Solution: Select your bathroom floor surface carefully, vetting each against slippery conditions. Look for tiles certified to meet slip-resistance standards specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

4.  Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Carpet, while soft and comfy, isn’t ideal flooring in a powder room. Not only is the ick factor apparent, especially around the toilet, but mold and mildew can build up, which can cause health issues. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically advises against carpeting bathrooms to avoid mold exposure. If you really want the cozy touch of carpet in the bathroom, fluffy bath mats add color and comfort — and can be regularly laundered.

5.  Yellow Paint

When selecting paint colors, remember that color will appear more intense on your bathroom walls than it would in most other rooms, especially if the bathroom relies heavily on artificial lighting.

“In that smaller space, where the mirror multiplies the impact of the lighting, the walls tend to reflect and magnify color from other walls,” says Amy Bell, an interior decorator and owner of Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, N.C. Be especially wary of yellow or other colors that contain yellow — even neutrals — as yellow can feel brash in a bathroom, and you won’t like what you see in the mirror. Instead, opt for grays with a hint of green or blue, which can feel spa-like.





This Beautiful Well Kept 2 Acre Lot Is In A Quiet Community Of Custom Built Homes. It's Maintained On A Regular Basis & Has A Pond. Amenities Include:Park w/Jogging & Riding Trails, Playground, Basketball Court & Lake w/Boat Ramp, Bring Your Horses! Breathe Fresh Clean Air & Spend Nights Gazing At The Stars! Downtown Houston, TX Medical Center, Pearland & Lake Jackson only 30 Minutes. Low Taxes,No MUD Tax & NOT LOCATED IN THE FLOOD ZONE!!





http://listings.realbird.com/Real_Estate/THE-PERFECT-LOCATION-TO-BUILD-YOUR-DREAM-HOME-/Rosharon/TX/S6T4U5U8/391746.aspx?tab=maps" target="_blank">Maps

http://listings.realbird.com/Real_Estate/THE-PERFECT-LOCATION-TO-BUILD-YOUR-DREAM-HOME-/Rosharon/TX/S6T4U5U8/391746.aspx?tab=photos" id="photoTabLink" target="_blank">Photos



Lots and Land

Main Features

Lot: 2.00 acre(s)
MLS #: 14329942


3934  Tankersley Circle
Rosharon, TX 77583







Janet Buff
Janet Buff

Boardwalk Real Estate
(281) 414-1811
mailto:Janet.Buff@Hotmail.com">Janet.Buff@Hotmail.com />

Listed by: Keith Griffin




Our recent listings



http://www.realbird.com/feed.aspx?f=rss&id=S6T4U5U8" target="_blank">Subscribe to our listing feed




Nearby  properties for sale

< name='rb-mapsearch' src='http://listings.realbird.com/home-search/map-search.aspx?rb_id=S6T4U5U8&bq=[item%20type:housing][location:@%22Rosharon,%20TX%22][listing%20type:for%20sale]&mcenter=29.335088,-95.515602&orderby=modification_time' width='100%' height='450' frameborder='no' scrolling='0' style='width:100%;height:450px;overflow:hidden;' >

http://www.realbird.com/?refID=48557" target="_blank" title="Powered by RealBird.com">Powered By RealBird.com




Economists looking for further proof of a robust vacation-home market should head to New York’s tony Hamptons.

“In our market, $1 million is low-end, and the high end is $10 million-plus,” says Diane Saatchi, an associate real-estate broker with Bridgehampton, N.Y.-based Saunders & Associates.

In the U.S., vacation-home sales jumped over 50% in 2014, up from 717,000 homes in 2013, according to preliminary data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), a trade group. And second-home sales are expected to continue climbing in 2015, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“The stock market is booming, which means the wealthy top 10% in the country are feeling better off financially and are opening up their wallets for discretionary purchases,” he says.

Another driver pushing second-home sales is that the leading edge of baby boomers is approaching retirement age, Mr. Yun says. Many are expected to buy second homes with the intent to move there upon retirement, he adds.

Cities in Florida and Arizona have the top share of baby boomers moving there, he says, but Albuquerque, N.M., Boise, Idaho, and Denver also rank among the top markets poised to see an influx of baby-boomer home buyers, according to a recent NAR study. Baby boomers represented 30% of all home buyers in 2014, NAR reports.

News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also owns Move Inc., which operates a website and mobile products for NAR.

Some lenders, including Quicken Loans, anecdotally are reporting a jump in both the number and dollar volume of second-home mortgage applications. “That either suggests people are buying larger homes, or [that] property values are appreciating,” says Bill Banfield, vice president of Quicken Loans.

Even a year ago, many lenders were requiring at least a 30% down payment for a second-home jumbo mortgage. Now, many have reduced the down-payment requirement to 20% to attract new borrowers. And in some cases, interest rates for a second-home are the same as for a primary home on loans up to $1.5 million with Quicken and $2 million with Bank of America, for example.

However, credit-score requirements may be higher when financing a second home. Milford, Conn.-based Total Mortgage Services wants at least a 740 score for a second-home jumbo with a 20% down payment, but will drop to 720 with 25% down. Bank of America will consider a 680 score.

Second-home borrowers face another hurdle, adds Dave Gorman, Bank of America’s regional sales executive for Oregon and Washington. “You have to be able to show that you can carry both payments,” he adds.

One common deal-killer has been high flood-insurance premiums for homes near the ocean, says John Walsh, CEO of Total Mortgage. Rates have skyrocketed in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area since superstorm Sandy hit in 2012. Since banks don’t finance underinsured homes, “sometimes the only buyer is a cash buyer,” he says.

In ultrarich and competitive areas like the Hamptons, buyers must be willing to pay cash, even if they also have applied for a mortgage, Ms. Saatchi, the real-estate agent, says. She says she advises sellers not to accept an offer dependent on financing. “This is the 1%, so the only reason why a buyer would want a deal to be subject to financing is so they can back out,” Ms. Saatchi says.

Here are a few more considerations when deciding whether to finance a second-home purchase.

• Tax breaks. Interest paid on a second-home mortgage is tax-deductible up to the first $1 million of financing. If interest rates are higher on a second-home mortgage than on the primary home, then borrowers may wish to prioritize those payments on tax returns.

• Add it all up. Second homes need furniture, maintenance, utilities, insurance, property taxes and other expenses, such as association fees, Mr. Gorman says. “From a financial perspective, a [borrower] should understand what they are taking on above and beyond the qualifications of a mortgage,” he adds.

• Landlords pay more. Lenders differ on the number of days a borrower can rent out a vacation home for it to be classified as an “investment property.” Loans for these properties have higher interest rates and stiffer qualification requirements.


Recovering from a negative credit event like a foreclosure can take years—seven years in many cases.

A growing number of Americans are reaching that juncture after going into foreclosure early in the housing crisis.

During that seven-year period, gaining access to loans is challenging, particularly in the first two to three years. Getting approved for a car loan or credit card is possible, though the interest rates you’ll be charged will be high. But finding a lender that will give you a mortgage will be a lot harder in most cases.

Foreclosures stay on consumers’ credit reports with the three main credit-reporting firms—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—for up to seven years and are factored into their FICO credit scores for all of that period. The seven-year period also applies to short sales, settlements with credit-card companies or other lenders, and other negative events. Bankruptcies can stay on for 10 years.

Millions of consumers are feeling the impact of the seven-year timeframe in the wake of foreclosures after job losses, pay cuts or other setbacks from the last downturn. To figure out when a negative mark is due to be dropped, borrowers can check their credit reports from each of the three firms, which they can do free once every 12 months at annualcreditreport.com. The reports will list the year the negative event was recorded.

Here are some pointers on how to increase your chances with mortgage lenders if you have a black mark on your credit record.

Be strategic about your timing

People who have only a few months left before a foreclosure or other negative credit event gets removed from their credit reports could benefit by waiting it out before applying. When lenders check your credit reports, they won’t see that you went through a foreclosure—information that could make them second-guess approving an applicant or charge them a higher interest rate.

However, if another year or so needs to pass until the black mark is removed from your credit reports, and you want to get a mortgage, waiting may not pay off, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at CreditSesame.com, a credit-management site. Mortgage rates may be higher down the road. Even borrowers who don’t have the highest credit scores could end up getting a better interest rate now than if they wait until the foreclosure is removed from their report, he says.

There are some caveats to be aware of. The application form that many lenders require applicants to fill out asks several questions about foreclosure, including whether they’ve ever been through one—information that could make a lender think twice about an applicant. Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own waiting period, which is as long as seven years after the foreclosure has been completed—which could be a few years after it comes off your credit reports.

Pay down credit-card debt

One of the fastest ways to improve your FICO score is to pay down your credit-card debt, and, if possible, pay it off entirely. A comparison of this debt with the overall credit-card spending limits a borrower has contributes to a category that accounts for 30% of consumers’ FICO scores.

The change can be reflected in your credit report within a month and will quickly improve your score, says Mr. Ulzheimer. FICO scores, developed by Fair Isaac Corp., are the credit scores used in most consumer-lending decisions.

A Fair Isaac analysis of people who had foreclosure proceedings added to their credit reports between October 2007 and October 2008 found that 69% of those borrowers whose FICO scores had recovered and were at least 680 by last October had revolving debt, such as credit-card debt that equaled less than 30% of their total credit-card spending limits. None of them had maxed out credit cards

Hold off on applying for other financing

Signing up for car loans, furniture or appliance financing, and many other loans can hurt an applicant’s chances of getting approved for a mortgage. Lenders review borrowers’ debt compared to their income to determine whether they can get a home loan and its size.

In addition, the FICO score factors in credit inquiries—when lenders check your credit when you apply for a loan or credit card—that are up to 12 months old. The applications you make within the year prior to applying for a mortgage could lower your score.

Avoid other black marks

Make sure to pay your bills on time and to not get into trouble with any loans. Otherwise, you’ll be at risk of starting the seven-year period from scratch and seeing your score drop again if a lender reports a negative credit event to the credit-reporting firms.



Thanks to all the respondents who submitted questions on Facebook and Twitter about the real estate market, credit scores, and mortgages for the Google Hangout on Tuesday with a panel of our experts. We weren’t able to address them all during the hangout, but panelist Michael Matthews, senior vice president of PrimeLending, answered your remaining questions on mortgages. The questions have been edited for style and clarity.

Q: Gen Y/first-time buyers seem to be finally wanting out of the basement and are beginning to look at homes; seeing lots of credit issues. Is it better for them to go FHA or conventional?

A: It depends on the person’s situation. If you call a loan officer at PrimeLending, they will run your credit and discuss the options that are available. Once discussed, they can advise you on the different types of loans that are available.

Q: What is a pre-approval and what do they look at?

A: The pre-approval is the letter that a lender can provide that shows the real estate agent that you are ready to purchase a home. Credit is pulled and income and asset information is verified and ratios are run to make sure you qualify for the house that you are interested in.

Q: What is the difference between going to my bank or to a mortgage broker? Will it save me money?

A: We recommend checking both; shopping around is in your best interest.

Q: How will the Aug. 1 CFPB changes affect my buying a home?

A: The changes happening in August will make the process easier for you. Disclosures that you receive from the lender are being simplified, which will make the process more clear.

Q: If the rate drops by the time I close, can I get the better rate?

A: That depends on your lender, but with PrimeLending, yes. They have a one-time float-down prior to closing, and there is no cost.

Q: What is the difference between an FHA and a conventional loan?

A: There are a number of differences. The FHA [Federal Housing Administration] is a government-backed loan that has a down payment of as little as 3.5%. Conventional loans also have low down-payments and most are 3% to 5% down. Your lender should discuss multiple options and run payment scenarios on both.

Q: What if the appraisal is too low?

A: When the house is appraised, the value must support the loan being offered. If it comes in low, you can renegotiate with the seller.

Q: Why should I lock in my rate?

A: Rates fluctuate daily. If you have the house selected and you are ready to begin the process, you should lock in your rate and get started.

Q: When you are applying for a jumbo mortgage, what are lenders looking for?

A: A jumbo loan is more risky, based on the amount being loaned. Like with all loans, the lender is looking at your job and the number of years at your employer and in your occupation overall. They want to know how much cash reserves you have, meaning if something unfortunate happened with your job, could you still afford to make your payments. Credit history, how well do you pay your bills, all of these items are used to make a credit decision.

Q: What “first-time buyer” programs are out there?

A: This depends on where you are buying. Most cities have programs for first-time home buyers. It’s important to find a real estate agent in your market that can be the expert for you.

Q: What’s the difference between a mortgage FICO score and other FICO scores?

A: FICO scores are used to determine your overall credit profile; there isn’t anything specific for a mortgage. When buying a car, the same FICO is being used, and you can obtain a free credit report through one of the large agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian.

Q: Is it better for first-time buyers to go FHA or conventional?

A: It depends on your loan amount, your credit, and how much you want to put down. For example, if you were going to put down 20%, you would leverage a conventional loan so that you wouldn’t be required to pay mortgage insurance. Both loans are exceptional and will be discussed when you speak with your lender.

Q: What credit scores get the best rates?

A: Each lender has different rates and will have higher rates when the credit profile is lower. Please take time to speak with a lender so they can ask questions and provide you with the information you requested.

Q: How does a job change with lower gross income affect buying a house?

A: Job change can affect buying a home if you change industries. If you make a change but are in the same line of work, you shouldn’t have a concern. Regarding lower income, if you are making less, it impacts how much you will qualify for. When you speak to your lender, they can run your income ratios and help understand your unique situation.

Q: When determining if you qualify for USDA, is your current gross income used or the income on your W-4?

A: It depends on the borrower’s type of income—for a salaried borrower there could be an average utilized, which could include both the borrower’s current gross YTD and the previous year’s W-2.

Zip code

View subdivision price trends for the past 13 years, and create comparative subdivision analysis reports online.
View a list of my sold listings.
Search for information on Houston and Texas schools based on the county, district, campus and/or zip code.
Golf Course Finder allows you to search for Houston golf courses and to view properties on or near a golf course.
Search for Houston area highrises and see their comprehensive list of features and amenities.
Includes residential home sales statistics for residential properties and new homes listed by REALTORS®
Online resource center for affordable housing information
Providing links to valuable Real Estate news and Information.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Houston Association of REALTORS®
Copyright© 2016, HOUSTON REALTORS® INFORMATION SERVICE, INC. All Rights Reserved.