Diana Walton Home Buyer's Blog

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For most buyers who intend to live in a home for at least three years, buying is a better financial decision than renting, according to a new analysis by Zillow.

Zillow analyzed the “breakeven horizon” in more than 200 metros and 7,500 U.S. cities to determine how many years it would take before owning a home becomes more financially advantageous than renting the same home. In more than three-quarters (75%) of metros analyzed, a home owner would break even after three years or less of owning a home.

All possible costs associated with buying and renting were incorporated into the analysis, including down payment, mortgage and rental payments, transaction costs, property taxes, utilities, maintenance costs, tax deductions, and opportunity costs, while adjusting for inflation and forecasted home value and rental price appreciation.

In some metro areas where home values fell dramatically during the housing recession, home buyers break even after less than two years of owning a home. The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale metro is among the most favorable for buying, with home owners breaking even after only 1.6 years of living in the home. However, in the San Jose metro, where home values are among the highest in the nation, a buyer must commit to living in their home for 8.3 years before they will break even.

However, within metros, there is often a sizeable variance from one community to the next. For example, in Mill Valley, Calif., just north of San Francisco, a home owner can break even after 8.8 years, while in similarly-priced Menlo Park, south of the city, they must live in the home for 14.1 years.

“Across most of the country, historic levels of affordability make buying a home a better decision than ever, especially considering rents have risen more than 5% over the past year,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist.

Metros where it takes more than five years to reach the breakeven point accounted for 7% of the 224 metros covered by the report. The metros with the longest breakeven horizons are San Jose, Calif. (8.3 years), Oak Harbor, Wash. (7.2 years), Santa Cruz, Calif. (7.1 years), San Luis Obispo, Calif. (6.3 years), and Salinas, Calif. (6.3 years). The metros with the shortest breakeven horizon are Memphis, Tenn., Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Salisbury, Md., Red Bluff, Calif., Mobile, Ala., Tampa, Fla., and Fernley, Nev. (all tied at 1.6 years).

Source: House Logic



The document requirements for mortgage preapproval vary by lender and your individual circumstances, but typically, you'll need to provide documents which show your income, your assets and any regular commitments against your income. These will include, but may not be limited to:

1. Tax Returns (at least two year, if self-employed or commission typically 2 years)
2. Pay Stubs 30 days )
4. Bank Statements (last 1-2 months)
5. 60 days or quaterly Investment Account Statements (eg. 401K)
6. Credit Report


If you are one of the more than 500,000 Americans who lost their homes during the foreclosure crisis, you are now poised to become a homeowner again and I can help you. You can recover from foreclosure in as little as one years and be ready to buy a home again depending on the type of loan you had at the time of the foreclosure.

In 2013, the year to date foreclosure rate read, Harris County - 1 in every 1,947 homes was foreclosed. While the overall rate for Texas was 1 in every 2,331 homes. If you had a conventional loan, while the normal waiting period required is seven years, exceptions are allowed. This means you only have to wait 3 years if you have extenuating circumstances to be able to purchase another home.

Extenuating Circumstances are nonrecurring events that are beyond the borrower's control that result in a sudden, significant, and prolonged reduction in income or catastrophic increase in financial obligations. Anyone wanting to use extenuating circumstances, will be required to provide proof of the event, in addition to supporting documentation, that support the occurrence of the extenuating circumstance. Example of extenuating circumstances are, death of a wage earner, serious illness, loss of job, and or identity theft.

Example of supporting documents would include, notice of job layoff, medical reports or bills, job severance papers, police report, and insurance or legal papers. Other third party legal documentation which proves your claims will also be accepted. You will also need to illustrate that you had no other reasonable options than to default on your financial obligations

For government loans which includes FHA and VA, exceptions can be made if extenuating circumstance occurred. For FHA, the waiting period is 3 years from the date of completion and less time with extenuating circumstance. For VA, its 2 years from date of completion and 1 year if extenuating circumstance occurred.

So if you are interesting in purchasing a home and had a foreclosure but not sure what you should do, please call or email me and I will be able to help, and or guide you in the right direction.

Diana Walton

Diana Walton Properties

Champion Real Estate

Home Buyer & VA Specialist





First-time homebuyers whose home loans are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration would benefit from an Obama administration move to lower mortgage insurance premiums.

Under the plan, the housing administration will reduce annual mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points, to 0.85 percent. What does this new reduction means? it means new home buyers would pay $900 less a year than they would without the change.


Mortgage rates for 30-year U.S. loans fell for a fourth week, reducing borrowing costs to the lowest level in a year and a half.

 The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.89 percent, down from 3.97 percent last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. That was the lowest since May 2013. The average 15-year rate dropped to 3.10 percent from 3.17 percent, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company said.

 Lower borrowing costs are helping to make housing purchases more affordable as values rise across much of the country. Home prices rose 6.1 percent in October, the 32nd straight year-over-year increase, CoreLogic Inc. said this week.

 “Lower mortgage rates would be a net positive for the U.S. housing market and the economic recovery more generally,” Millan Mulraine, deputy head of U.S. research and strategy at TD Securities USA LLC in New York, said in a phone interview. “It improves affordability and provides a greater incentive for people on the sidelines, waiting for rates to fall.”

source: Bloomberg

Starting on Dec. 13, Fannie Mae will allow the lower down payments for first-time home buyers and permit refinancing borrowers to reduce equity to 3 percent to cover closing costs, the company said today in a statement. Freddie Mac will begin a program in March giving breaks to lower-income buyers and first-time borrowers who get housing counseling.

 “These underwriting guidelines provide a responsible approach to improving access to credit while ensuring safe and sound lending practices,” Melvin L. Watt, who oversees the two U.S.-owned companies as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement.

Watt encouraged the move as part of a broader effort to spur lending to minorities, young adults and first-time buyers. Lenders have tightened standards after paying tens of billions of dollars to settle lawsuits over mortgage-underwriting flaws.

“It’s an example of the government taking a step toward expanding the credit box,” said Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading LLC in Washington.

Source: Bloomberg

 Diana Walton

Diana Walton Properties

Champion Real Estate Group

First Time Home Buyer & VA Specialist


New Down Payment Programs What You Need to Know

 When: Saturday, August 23rd

Where: Kendall Neighborhood Library

609 N Eldridge Pkwy, Houston, TX 77077

Time: 10:30 am.  - Noon


Step by step home buying process

Types of down payment programs

How to qualify

Which Program is Right for You?

What you need to know about Escrow & closing cost

Getting pre-approved

Free Credit Analysis

Move into your new home before the end of the year