New Rules on how Credit Impacts You

  • On the 8th of June, there will be changes on how your credit is reported. These include:

    • Collections that aren’t at least 180 days old will be rejected by the 3 major credit bureaus. You will now have time to pay them off before it is even reported.

    • Medical collections will no longer show on credit reports as long as it is being paid (through either you or insurance)

    • Collection accounts that have not been updated in six months or more will not be factored into scores.

    • Any collection that did not result from a contract or agreement to pay by the consumer, will be removed.

    This means that now is the perfect time to speak with a loan professional about how this will impact your ability to buy a home.

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

These changes must be implemented by June 8th 2018. This means that now is the perfect time to speak with a loan professional a bout how this will impact your ability to buy a home.

Contact me today to find out how these changes affect you.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

Why It’s So Important To Get The 411 On A Neighborhood Before Buying A Home

When buying a new home, the neighborhood is every bit as important as the house itself. So, you need to check it out. Thoroughly.

Yes, you look at the schools and you figure out

how close the nearest Target is and you also (hopefully) research crime reports and take a look at sex offender maps of the areas you are considering.

But is that enough?

When it comes to researching your neighborhood, what you don’t know can hurt you. What if you bought a house in this Arlington, TX neighborhood in the summer, unaware that in the winter, it’s overrun with migratory egrets. If you’re thinking it might be cool to have visitors for a few months, consider this: One homeowner in the area estimated that the egrets “cost her $10,000 on the constant cleanup of their droppings and a heavy pruning of her trees once they flew away last fall,” said NBC DFW. And, It is Against The Law to disturb them.

Google is your friend if you’re looking to learn more about potential neighborhoods. But it turns out the best tools for figuring out what’s going on are the people who may soon become your neighbors. After all, how else would you know that the woman two doors down runs a screaming yoga class out of her garage three nights a week. That the guy across the street likes to do his mowing at the crack of dawn every Saturday morning (despite the fact that he’s been warned multiple times), or that you might be moving next to someone who is “blatantly hostile,” said The Balance.com.

The site detailed a story in which buyers changed courses on a home they loved when they discovered that their potential neighbors disputed the property boundaries and planted rose bushes on what was probably not their land. It gets worse. They also said, “We smoke like chimneys and plan to sit out on our front porch every night smoking,” with a smirk, “And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Not only will meeting the neighbors “give you a good idea of whether you will be compatible, but neighbors will disclose material facts that a seller might forget to mention,” they said. “Sellers can be forgetful about these things and not purposely trying to fail to disclose.”

Meeting and talking with neighbors could give you a more detailed understanding of the neighborhood, including things that might impact your decision to buy, like:

It may be full of renters
No offense to renters, but it could be that a preponderance of them in your neighborhood affects your home values. “While it’s hard to do an analysis down to every property, we found that ZIP codes with a higher-than-average concentration of renters have lower property values compared to the county they are located in – by 14%,” said Realtor.com.

Your real estate agent should be able to give you an understanding of the ratio of owner–occupied homes to rentals in the neighborhood you are considering.

There could be plans you don’t know about
Maybe there’s a new multi-family community coming that could add traffic to the neighborhood streets and also impact the local schools. Or a new retail project with a loud preschool—or a loud bar. Or even transitional housing for formerly homeless individuals that would, at the very least, be a political football in the neighborhood.

In addition to talking to neighbors, there are a few other ways you can combat surprises in the neighborhood you’re thinking of moving to:

Visit multiple times – during the day, night, and on weekends. If you only saw the house on a Saturday afternoon, you may not know that commuters love to cut through the neighborhood twice a day, Monday – Friday. “Your new neighbor’s kid might get his drum kit out only during evenings or at weekends,” said The Mortgage Reports. “And there might have been a reason the student house on the other side was so quiet on the morning of the open house: Its residents were too hungover to get up after one of their frequent all-night parties.”

Check out Nextdoor if you can – Nextdoor is a treasure trove of information and can give you a good feel for what it would be like to live there. But, it could be tricky to get in because Nextdoor is hyper local and reserved for residents of a particular neighborhood. Try following Nextdoor’s own recommendations for joining the site in “neighborhoods outside of your primary residence,” which involves using a separate email address – but beware that you may not be able to register an address that is already being used on the site. If that doesn’t work, you may be able to ask your real estate agent for help, or perhaps a potential new neighbor can be of assistance.

If you’re considering buying a home, we’re here to help you understand your options. Take a few minutes today to explore whether homeownership is a possibility with our 3-minute basic pre-approval. There is no fee, no obligation, and researching your financial options will not affect your credit score. You can also talk through your options by scheduling a free call with me.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

source: realtytimes

When a 3-5% down payment isn’t a risk

Demystifying the low down payment mortgage.

Becoming a homeowner is a huge milestone in many people’s lives, but it can be hard to know when you’re ready. At Better, we’ve found that many people don’t take the next step because of how daunting it can seem to save up for a large down payment.

We want to help you see yourself as a homebuyer by giving you accurate, transparent information about your financing options. In addition to eliminating unfair commission structures, lender fees, and bait-and-switch quotes, we work with government-backed investors like Fannie Mae and other reputable banks to offer a variety of loan types, to help people chose the best financing option for them.


Becoming a homeowner is a huge milestone in many people’s lives, but it can be hard to know when you’re ready. At Better, we’ve found that many people don’t take the next step because of how daunting it can seem to save up for a large down payment.

We want to help you see yourself as a homebuyer by giving you accurate, transparent information about your financing options. In addition to eliminating unfair commission structures, lender fees, and bait-and-switch quotes, we work with government-backed investors like Fannie Mae and other reputable banks to offer a variety of loan types, to help people chose the best financing option for them.

Considering a 3-5% down payment

For example, we can offer qualified borrowers financing options with as little as 3% down. Now, I know what you’re thinking. That sounds risky. But it’s not – anymore. Before the housing crisis, these types of loans were often offered to people who were at a high risk of defaulting, such as people with extremely high debt-to-income ratios. Since then, the mortgage industry has been regulated to protect people from those kinds of predatory loans.

For borrowers with great credit and a steady income, a 3-5% down loan can be a financially sound option, allowing you to start investing and building equity sooner.

The difference between what you can afford and the size of your down payment

Essentially, you pay for your home with:

  • An initial large payment (your down payment)
  • Ongoing installments, with interest (your monthly mortgage payment)

Many potential homeowners focus on the first part, which is their down payment. But lenders are also looking at your future ability to pay, which is indicated by a steady income and a great credit score.

Let’s look at an example

Let’s say you have high student loan debt, but a stable career with steady income (and the tax returns and pay stubs to prove it). And you live in a city where your monthly rent is high – even higher than what a monthly mortgage payment might be.

In this instance, you may not have a 20% down payment saved up, since most of your income has gone towards rent and paying off student loans. But your income profile, and the fact that you’re already making high rent payments, can be a signal to lenders that you’ll be able to make consistent mortgage payments.

The bigger picture: backed by data

An analysis of historical loan data by Laurie Goodman, Jun Zhu, and Taz George at the Urban Institute shows why government-backed investors like Fannie Mae see relatively little risk in qualifying mortgage loans with down payments as low as 3-5%:

Data shows that credit is a stronger indicator of default risk than down payment size. The percentage of defaults of 5-10% down loans versus 3-5% down is very similar.1

“Of loans that originated in 2011 with a down payment between 3-5 percent, only 0.4 percent of borrowers have defaulted. For loans with slightly larger down payments – between 5-10 percent – the default rate was exactly the same. The story is similar for loans made in 2012, with 0.2 percent in the 3-5 percent down-payment group defaulting, versus 0.1 percent of loans in the 5-10 percent down-payment group.” – Urban Institute

What does this mean for Americans with goals of homeownership? For a couple with $25,000 saved up for a down payment, it could be the difference between being able to put 10% down for a 1-bedroom home that costs $250,000, versus putting 5% down and getting for a 2-bedroom home for $500,000.

We think if you’re considering homeownership, you shouldn’t have to keep renting just to save up for a large down payment. Government-backed investors like Fannie Mae agree. They want to help more people build equity through homeownership, and they’re doing so by backing loans with as low as even a 3% down payment, for borrowers who fit the profile.

If you’re considering buying a home, we’re here to help you understand your options. Take a few minutes today to explore whether homeownership is a possibility with our 3-minute basic pre-approval. There is no fee, no obligation, and researching your financial options will not affect your credit score. You can also talk through your options by scheduling a free call with me.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

 

If you or someone you know is thinking about refinancing, click here to get started.

IMPROVING CURB APPEAL

Whether you are planning to sell or just want to make your living space a bit more “homey”, curb appeal is the best place to start. It is the first thing people notice when they look at your home. It is also one of the cheapest and least time-consuming ways to add value to your home. Here are a few ways to enhance the curb appeal of your home.

  • Remove Yard Clutter
    You would be surprised by what cleaning up branches and leaves can do for your home’s overall appearance. 
  • Yard Storage
    An overabundance of garden equipment can be a huge eyesore. Find creative ways to store garden tools that might be lying around.
  • Wash or Paint Exterior
    Give your home’s exterior paint some much needed TLC. If painting is just too much work, consider giving the outside a quick wash.
  • New Numbers
    Is your home easy to find? The numbers on your home may need updating. This could mean the difference for a potential buyer finding your place.
  • Windows
    Make sure that your windows are clean and sealed properly. This is an easy project and will make a notable difference on potential buyers’ perceptions of your home.
  • Front Lawn
    Make sure that your lawn is fresh, green and maintained. Consider spending a day to pull weeds and trim the grass. This will help potential buyers visualize themselves in their “new home”.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

 

If you or someone you know is thinking about refinancing, click here to get started.

 

 

Moving into your new home with the kids

Buying A move can be one of the most exciting times for a family. You may have moved cities, received a promotion, become more financially successful or even expanded your family. However, this does not always mean everybody is on-board. Often times, children can find moving frightening, or irritating. In order to smooth the transition, you must understand why it happens.

Although you may have lived in this home only a small portion of your life, this time can feel much longer to a child.

Their home can feel like their entire world. The idea of moving can threaten the security that familiarity brings. They have spent a majority of their life building their world around a certain school, neighborhood, stores, and friend group. Changing this can be devastating. It will take time for them to adjust to new surroundings.

It is important to spend time before the move to have an honest, but positive, conversation with your kids. Make sure to cover the reasons why moving is a good thing and allow them to ask questions. They need to feel comfortable telling you why they are scared so that you can help them cope, before the move.

Here are a couple of potential problems that your children may bring up and possible solutions:

Problem: They will miss their friends.
Solution: Be prepared to drive them to spend time with their old friends. If the move is a significant distance, throw them a going away party.

Problem: They will be bored in a new town.  Solution: Before the move, look for activities to do (Sports, Fun Activities, Malls)

Problem: They will miss their old room.
Solution: Let them decorate their new room. Take them to the store and let them select new paint swatches. Make your children part of buying new home décor.

Problem: They will miss certain features of the old house.
Solution: Ask them what they enjoy the most about the old house and find a way to do that in the new house.

Problem: They are worried about losing personal items during the move.
Solution: Make your children’s items a priority. Offer to replace older items to make up for things that may not be making the move.

Problem: They won’t have friends at the new place.
Solution: Find ways for them to make friends (neighborhood parties or after school activities)

Although a move may not be easy, it is possible and here at Summit, we have your back.
If you or someone you know is thinking about purchasing a home, click here to get started.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

7 Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: A Complete Guide for Filing Now and Next Year

What are the tax benefits of owning a home? Homeowners might be wondering this right around now as they prepare to file their taxes. Or, you might be wondering how the new tax plan might affect the tax perks of homeownership when you file next year.

Well, look no further than this complete guide to all the tax benefits of owning a home—for this filing year (2017) as well as the next (2018). Read on for the full rundown just to make sure you aren’t missing anything that could save you major money!

Tax break 1: Mortgage interest

“The way mortgage payments are amortized, the first ones are almost all interest,” says Wendy Connick, owner of Connick Financial Solutions.

Here’s how this deduction looks for a married couple in the 28% tax bracket (that means a joint annual income between $151,201 and $230,450) who bought a home with a $300,000, 30-year mortgage at a 4% interest rate. They will pay $11,904 in mortgage interest their first year. Once you add in the other itemized federal deductions below, these homeowners can expect to save at least $3,333 in taxes during their initial year of ownership.

What changes next year: The new tax bill allows homeowners with a mortgage that went into effect before Dec. 15, 2017, to continue to deduct interest on loans up to $1 million. But for anyone who closed on a mortgage after that, the cap for deducting interest becomes $750,000—and that’s a combined total for first, second, and any other homes.

Tax break 2: Property taxes

In most instances, property taxes are deductible on your 2017 tax return, says Brian Ashcraft, director of compliance at Liberty Tax Service. And that could spell hefty savings.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household property tax is $2,127. If you have a mortgage, your taxes are built into your monthly payment. Here’s more info on how to calculate property taxes.

What changes next year: Property tax will no longer be a separate deduction. Instead, taxpayers can take one deduction that includes property tax as well as state and local sales and income taxes, says Ashcraft. And that one deduction is capped at $10,000 for those married filing jointly.

Tax break 3: Private mortgage insurance

If you put less than 20% down on your home, odds are you’re paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI, which costs from 0.3% to 1.15% of your home loan. While the deduction had expired, the new tax bill retroactively made the deduction available for the 2017 tax year.

Here’s how much you’ll save: If you make $100,000 and put down 5% on a $200,000 house, you’ll pay about $1,500 in annual PMI premiums and thus cut your taxable income by $1,500.

What changes next year: This deduction is for itemizers only. Plus, the 2018 tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction. As a result, it is estimated that only about 5% of taxpayers will itemize deductions starting in 2018, says Connick. “In the past it was more like 30%,” she adds.

Tax break 4: Energy-efficiency upgrades

The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit was a tax incentive for installing alternative energy upgrades in a home. Most of these tax credits expired after December 2016; however, two credits are still available. The credits for solar electric and solar water heating equipment are available through Dec. 31, 2021, says Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting, a New York–based accounting firm.

What changes next year: The percentage of the credit varies based on the date of installation. For equipment installed between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2019, 30% of the expenditures are eligible for the credit. That goes down to 26% for installation between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, and then to 22% for equipment put in between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021.

Tax break 5: A home office

If you work from home, your office space and expenses can be deducted, too. According to Vincenzo Villamena, managing partner of Online Taxman, you can take a $5-per-square-foot deduction for up to 300 square feet of office space, which amounts to a maximum deduction of $1,500. Understand, however, that there are strict rules on what constitutes a dedicated, fully deductible home office space. Here’s more on the much-misunderstood home office tax deduction.

What changes next year: This deduction will be eliminated for employees who have an office to go to but work from home occasionally, but it remains for all self-employed people whose home office is the main place they work.

Tax break 6: Home improvements to age in place

Many older homeowners plan to age in place—and if that entails renovations such as wheelchair ramps or grab bars in slippery bathrooms, the cost of these improvements results in a nice tax break. Deductible improvements might also include widening doorways, lowering cabinets or electrical fixtures, and adding stair lifts.

Caveat: You’ll need a letter from your doctor to prove these changes were medically necessary. Furthermore, in 2017 these home improvements will need to exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. So if you make $60,000, this deduction kicks in only on money spent over $4,500.

What changes next year: Nothing.

Tax break 7: Interest on a home equity line of credit

If you took out a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, in 2017 or earlier, the interest you pay on that loan is also deductible. People use these loans to do all sorts of things: pay for college, throw a wedding, or make improvements to their home.

How much you’ll save depends on the amount borrowed, but let’s crunch some sample numbers. If you take out a four-year, $20,000 HELOC at 4% interest, you’ll have an $800 deductible that will save you about $205 in the first year of your loan. (Use this calculator to see how much you’ll save.) Joint-filing taxpayers could deduct up to $100,000 ($50,000 for individuals) in interest paid on home equity debt.

What changes next year: The new tax law eliminates this tax deduction unless that HELOC is used specifically to “buy, build, or improve a property,” according to the IRS. That’s bad news for homeowners hoping to pay off college tuition, but still good if your home’s crying out for a kitchen overhaul or half-bath.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

 

Source: realtor.com

Is the lack of Down Payment forcing you to continue Renting?

We have down payment assistance programs that provide funds up to 3% of the total loan amount.  This means that YOU can achieve your dream of Home ownership Today.

Active Duty Military, Veterans, First responders and School Teachers qualify for an additional 1% in certain geographic areas.

  • FHA, VA & USDA
  • 30 Year Fixed Rate
  • Homebuyer Education Required
  • Purchase only
  • 640 Minimum FICO

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

How to avoid Craigslist Rental Scams

Due to soaring house prices and interest rates, many people are ditching their home ownership dreams to rent instead of buy. Although this may be a cheaper option, the long-term benefits of home ownership can severely outweigh the positives of renting. The steady increase in renting versus owning has the attention of internet scammers, who are using rental properties as a cover to steal your hard-earned money. These are called “Craigslist Rental Scammers”, but they can happen anywhere online. Here are a few ways to help protect you in a search for a rental property:

  1. It’s Too Good To Be True If you feel as though a rental is too good to be true, it probably is. Often times, scammers use extremely low prices and overly flexible leases to spark your interest. In the current market, renting is not that simple.
  2. Landlord Wants Too Much Before You See Anything
    If the landlord asks you to wire money or provide your information before you even see the inside, it is a scam. Often time scammers will tell you to drive by the outside, instead of letting you visit the property. This is a huge red flag.
  3. No Information
    If they don’t ask for information from you before prompting for money, this is a scam. Most legitimate landlords need you to fill out an application, legal documents and provide documentation before a deposit is requested.
  4. Bad Grammar, Illegitimate Emails & Screening Phone Calls
    If the potential landlord has error-ridden emails/texts, illegitimate email addresses, or refuses to take phone calls, there is a good chance you are being taken advantage of.
  5. Overseas Landlord
    If the property is being handled by someone for an owner who is “overseas”, be cautious. They will insist they are managing the property for the real owner but disappears with your deposit.

Although the housing market is very competitive, Summit Funding, Inc. has experienced professionals that will guide you and make you feel at ease.  Click Here to find out how we can help YOU achieve your dreams of homeownership.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

Less than 2 weeks to Spring – Gardening time!

With springtime coming up (with less than 2 weeks until spring… where did the time go?!), now is the time to start a checklist of all the landscape/garden tasks that will spruce your home up for the warmer weather. Hopefully soon you can come out of your warm, cozy home that you’ve been hibernating in and take advantage of the sunlight and start preparing for the warmth! Doing tasks outside in the sun not only gets you your dose of Vitamin D, but there are many positive factors that take affect when you’re getting all those chores done. This includes:

1. Vitamin D Intake – Positive effects from sunlight! Just be careful not to get too much to where it burns you. Stay hydrated and be aware of heat exhaustion!

2. Getting Dirty – Taking a healthy break from our busy lives to connect with our primal state. There’s just something about being outside and away from technology that eases the soul.

3. Improved Mood – When you step into our primal state, even if you are doing a chore and not out doing something social with friends (you could even make gardening a social event – invite a friend or two over, drink a margarita and get some work done, then do the same for that friend!), we are easing anxiety while being in a stress-free environment. Doing garden work not only gets the chores done, but boosts your health!

4. Physical Activity – Yes, gardening or landscaping does require your blood to start moving! Whether you’re getting a ladder to climb up a tree to cut some branches, kneeling when pruning some plants/flowers or raking up some leaves or dead brush, this exerts some energy and stretching that may or may not challenge you. Although this won’t be a significant source of exercise, it is still something!

5. Nutrition – This is only if you are planting herbs, fruits or vegetables in your garden. There is nothing healthier than fresh food straight from the ground! Not to mention there have been several studies done that show that gardeners eat more vegetables and fruits than those who do not grow a fresh supply in their yard… The instant access is healthier and cheaper!

 

There are many other positive outcomes from doing garden or landscapework, but these are some of my favorite. I have first-hand experience of the above outcomes and I highly recommend finding some chores outside to ease your mind. Writing this article makes me want to be outside doing garden work! It is one of the more rewarding chores to do that provides great outcomes for your mind, your health and your house! Not to mention your home will increase in value when you take care of and improve your garden and landscaping.

Have you thought about upgrading your landscaping? Right now is the time to do it! There are refinance options available if you would like to make renovations to your home and landscaping. Contact your local Summit loan officer today to find out how!

The decision is your’s, but if you’d like to get the process started….go to ChicoHome.Loans or give me a call at (530) 924-4432.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans

CAN YOU FINANCE WITH BITCOIN?

Bitcoin is one of the hottest topics of the year so far. People everywhere are ditching traditional investing accounts and trading them in for cryptocurrency. You may have heard about Bitcoin online or through a friend, and you may have numerous questions and could be wondering, can I buy a house with bitcoin?  The answer is probably not, but don’t rule out Bitcoin just yet.

What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency (digital currency) in which peer to peer trading occurs. These transactions are verified using a public ledger known as a blockchain and have no central bank. This system was developed by an unknown person or group of people under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Most believe that Satoshi has kept their identity anonymous because they’re alleged to own over 980,000 bitcoins which are valued currently at $10925.00 USD per coin. This essentially means that Satoshi could sell at any point and completely crash bitcoin.

Why can’t I buy things with Bitcoin yet?
Bitcoin wavers in value frequently.  It is not uncommon for bitcoin to drop thousands of US dollars in mere minutes, which means that it would be very difficult to replace cash in commerce due to its unstable value.

 

Can I finance a house with Bitcoin?
Since lenders are risk-averse and Bitcoin has a fluctuating value, most mortgage companies are not jumping on the “Bitcoin Bandwagon”. On the other hand, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC) said they will allow the use of Bitcoin funds as a down payment. However, funds must be transferred into a U.S. Bank Account and full paper trail documentation is required.

Should I use Bitcoin?
This can be a tricky question and process, but so is the rest of the home loan process. Give us a call today and let us answer any of your home ownership questions.
Get Started Here.

The decision is your’s, but if you’d like to get the process started….go to ChicoHome.Loans or give me a call at (530) 924-4432.

Call RJ Laffins @ (530) 924-4432
for more info
text RJ @ (530) 321-9519
email RJ.Laffins@summitfunding.net
or
Apply Now at: Chico Home Loans