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Don DeHanas, Broker

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Be Careful when using Realtor.com & others

by Don DeHanas, Broker

Be very leary of who you give your personal information.  It might not be going to the party you think it is going to. 

As a home buyer you are looking through Realtor.com or another home search site, and you come across a listing you would like more information on. There is a button in the ad that says "Contact Agent". When you click on it, you are required to leave your name and contact info. Are you expecting the listing agent to respond? Most consumers would say "yes". However, that is not the case. Realtor.com gives your information to multiple agents who have paid for your lead, and now you are talking to someone who has never even stepped foot into the property.

This week, I had a buyer tell me about their experience, and said "I thought I was contacting you. I don't understand why I have to work this other agent".

I called Realtor.com to see what I could do about this deceptive practice, and I was told I could either "buy a zip code or become a Pro member", and buy all my listings back for $1200 a month. 

In doing more research, I spoke with someone who paid the money to buy their own listings back, and learned that when the system was tested, the "consumer" still received multiple calls from other agents. As a Broker and business owner, ensuring that my clients and customers have a great experience when they contact us is my highest priority. In the case of Realtor.com. the consumer thinks they are getting one thing and they end up with a completely different and disappointing experience. 

Making The Decision to Buy A Home

by Don DeHanas, Broker

There could be some legitimate reasons for not buying a home but indecision is not one of them. Indecision is rooted in not having enough information to move forward to own a home or continue renting.

If you keep renting, at the end of the year, you have had a place to live and a pile of receipts that helped the landlord pay for his house. Deciding to buy a home will give you a place to live that is yours and all the things that come with that.

When you consider principal reduction, appreciation and tax savings, your monthly cost of housing could be much less than the rent you’re paying. The principal reduction included in each payment is like a forced savings account that increases as your mortgage balance decreases.

Your equity in the property will also grow due to appreciation as the home goes up in value. The equity is part of your net worth and an investment in your family’s future. The income tax savings can be an additional financial consideration if the combined interest and property taxes are greater than the allowable standard deduction. Trends are showing that both tenants and homeowners are staying in their homes longer. It’s been said that whether you rent or own, you’re paying for the home.

Do you really want to buy the home for your landlord? Check out your numbers on a Rent vs. Own and then, call us at 301-870-1717 to help make it happen.

DeHanas Real Estate Services specializes in residential resales, Bank-owned home sales, Property Management, short sales, and new constrcution. DeHanas Real Estate Services is family owned and operated with an office convenitnly located in Waldorf, MD.

What is Your Mortgage Risk Factor?

by Don DeHanas, Broker

Regardless of what a lender quotes on mortgage rates, the actual rate a borrower pays is based on a number of variables. Lenders determine whether to loan money and at what rate based on the risk involved with the transaction.

Factors that increase the risk that the loan will be repaid will proportionately increase the interest rate charged to the borrower. If the risk becomes too high, the loan will not be approved. • Loan amounts – conventional mortgages above conforming limits as set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are considered jumbo loans and generally have a higher interest rate.

• FICO score – the lowest interest rate is reserved for the highest score; the lower the score, the higher the rate the borrower will pay.

• Occupancy – borrowers occupying a home as their principal residence are considered a better loan risk than second homes and investment properties.

• Loan purpose – purchase transactions generally have the lowest interest rate with refinancing for better rates and terms being priced slightly higher. An even higher rate might be charged for refinancing and taking cash out of the property.

• Debt-to-Income Ratio – a borrower’s monthly liabilities divided by their gross monthly income develops a ratio that helps lenders to assess the borrower’s ability to repay the mortgage.

• Property Type – some types of property are considered higher risk than others which could adversely affect the rate.

• Loan-to-value – the lower the percentage of the loan to the appraised value of the property will generally lower the interest rate.

Any combination of these factors could limit a borrower’s ability to secure a mortgage at the rate initially quoted. Pre-approval by a trusted mortgage professional can be the best way to know what rate you can expect to pay. Please call for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional.

For a more detailed analysis of your current financial situation, please call DeHanas Real Estate Services at 301-870-1717 or visit one of our lender partners.

Getting Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

by Don DeHanas, Broker

Buyer’s mortgage pre-approval is good for everyone in the transaction. It saves time, money and removes the uncertainty of knowing whether the buyer will be qualified after negotiating a contract.

The direct benefits include:

• Looking at “Right” homes - price, size, amenities, location

• Find the best loan - rate, term, type

• Uncover credit issues early - time to cure possible problems

• Negotiating power - price, terms, & timing

• Close quicker - verifications have been made

There is a significant difference in having a trusted mortgage professional take a loan application and run all the necessary verifications compared to going through calculators on a lender’s website. Beside the peace of mind, the cost of being pre-approved is a bargain and generally, limited to the cost of the credit report. Even if a person has been pre-approved, a second opinion from a different lender may be a good option. It can verify there is a good deal or you’ll discover that you can improve it. Either way, it works to your advantage. Contact me if you’d like a recommendation of a trusted mortgage officer.

Investing on Your Side of The Fence

by Don DeHanas, Broker

The grass tends to look greener on the other side of the fence. Maybe that’s why some people invest in things they don’t understand. It has been said that the grass is just as hard to mow on the other side of the fence so stay with what your most familiar.

Single-family homes used for rental property give a person a chance to invest in something they understand: a home. They also have distinct advantages over other types of investments. An investor can borrow up to 80% of the value at fixed interest rates 30 years.

The financing creates leverage so that the investor can benefit from the increase in value of the home not just the down payment. It is reasonable to expect that the home will appreciate while providing tax advantages and practical control that are not available with many other investments. Low housing inventory in many markets has caused rents to increase and low new home growth will make it difficult to keep up with demand.

Consider a $150,000 home purchased for cash that would rent for $1,500 per month. With $18,000 income and allowing for property taxes, insurance and maintenance, it is still reasonable to expect $10,000 net income. There would be an 8% return on investment without considering tax savings or future appreciation compared with 5-year CDs paying less than 2.35% and a 10-year Treasury yield at 2.13%. An added bonus is the amortization that occurs on the loan as the principal is reduced with each payment. It becomes a forced savings account that increases the equity and isn’t taxable until the property is sold.

The reasonable control has a lot of appeal to many investors who find the volatility of the stock market unacceptable and don’t want the risk associated with alternative investments. Please contact me if you’d like to know more about available opportunities. If you or someone you know is looking to invest in real estate, The DeHanas Team can help! Call 301-870-1717.

Insurance For A Catastrophe

by Don DeHanas, Broker

The purpose of insurance is to shift the risk of loss to a company in exchange for a premium. Most policies have a deductible which reduces the amount of the claim that is paid by having the insured share in the first part of the loss. In the process of managing insurance premiums, policy holders often consider higher deductibles to lower the premium. Lower deductibles mean less money out of pocket if a loss occurs but also results in higher premiums. Higher deductibles result in lower premiums but require that the insured bear a larger part of the loss.

A small fire in a $300,000 home that resulted in $2,500 of damage might not be covered if the policy holder has a 1% deductible. If the homeowner can afford to handle the cost of repairs in exchange for cheaper premiums, it might be worth it. On the other hand, if that loss would be difficult for the homeowner, a change in the deductible could be considered. Homes in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders require additional flood insurance. However, each homeowner needs to assess the risk of being able to financially sustain a flood loss on their home when flood insurance is not required.

The recent events in south Texas and Louisiana are evidence that the unexpected can happen. It is important to review your deductible and discuss risks with your property insurance agent so that you’re familiar with the amount and make any changes that would be appropriate before a claim is made.  The FEMA website has information and frequently asked questions about flood insurance.

Is Your Homes' Equity The Answer?

by Don DeHanas, Broker

A home equity line of credit, HELOC, is a mortgage loan made to homeowners to be used on an as-needed basis. A lender, such as a bank, will approve a borrower for a specified amount based on the equity in their home and all the necessary paperwork is signed to authorize the loan.

The line of credit amount is available to the borrower and no interest is due until some or all the money is used. When the money is paid back, the line of credit is again available in full to the borrower.

The specifics of the repayment will depend on the HELOC lender. It may require interest only or it may require amortized payments of principal and interest.

The proceeds from a HELOC can be used to make improvements on the home or anything else such as medical expenses, college tuition or unexpected expenses or other liquidity issues. Unlike personal credit card interest, the interest on a HELOC may be tax deductible. Your tax advisor will be able to let you know about your situation.

Rates and fees can vary widely on HELOC loans. Borrowers should shop around, compare and get recommendations before deciding on a lender.

Keeping Your Home Safe

by Don DeHanas, Broker

Home is a place you should feel safe and secure. Sometimes, we take it for granted and unfortunately, we do need to remain vigilant about things we do that could compromise our safety. Here are a few tips to consider:

*Everyone loves an inviting home including burglars.

*Make sure it looks occupied and is difficult to break in.

*Always lock outside doors and windows even if you’re only gone for a brief time.

*Lock gates and fences.

*Leave lights on when you leave; consider timers to automatically control the lights.

*Keep your garage door closed even when you’re home; don’t tempt thieves with what you have in your garage.

*Suspend your mail and newspaper delivery when you’re out of town or get a neighbor to pick it up for you.

Posting that you’re out of town or away from home on social networks is like advertising your home is unprotected. Equally dangerous could be allowing certain social network sites to track your location. Don’t leave keys under doormats, in flowerpots or the plastic rocks; thieves know about those hiding places and even more than you can think. Trim the shrubs from around your home; don’t give criminals a place to hide. Use exterior motion detectors and yard lighting. Have an alarm system and use it when you leave home and go to bed. Put 3 ½” deck screws in door plates and door hinges. Have good deadbolts on all exterior doors. Exterior doors should be solid core.

If you or someone you know is looking to buy, sell or rent a home, please call The DeHanas Team at 301-870-1717.

Home Energy Awareness

by Don DeHanas, Broker

After the mortgage payment, the largest homeowner expense is for utilities and the major component is energy.  Contributing factors include air leaks, insulation, heating and cooling equipment, water heaters and lighting.

Computers, monitors, TVs, cable and satellite boxes, DVRs and power adapters are spinning your electric meter even when they’re not being used. Even though they only represent a small percentage of a home’s total energy consumption, about 3/4 of the electricity is used when the products are turned off.

Unplugging devices can actually make a difference in the size of your electric bill. Plugging several of these offenders into a power strip with a single on/off switch may make the task easier. Most computers have options to put them into sleep mode or even turn when not in use.

The Department of Energy has an Energy Saver Guide and do-it-yourself suggestions.   If you know anyone looking to buy, sell or rent a home call the DeHanas Team at 301-870-1717.

Save Money by Changing Your Mortgage

by Don DeHanas, Broker

Whether you’re refinancing your current home or buying a new one, something worth considering is a 15-year loan rather than a 30-year term. The payments will be a little higher but you’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll build equity much faster. Let’s look at an example of a $300,000 mortgage with the choice of a 30-year term with a 3.92% rate compared to a 15-year term with a 3.2% rate. The payments would be $682.28 higher on the shorter term but the equity would be considerably higher even after you adjust for the higher payments.

Another benefit is that the shorter-term loan creates a forced savings situation where the savings on longer term loan might end up being spent rather than being saved and invested.  A conscious decision to pay more in payments could pay big dividends in the future.

For more information and financing options, call the DeHanas Team at 301-870-1717.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 224

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The DeHanas Team
DeHanas Real Estate Services
1218 Smallwood Drive
Waldorf MD 20603
Office: 301-870-1717
1-800-842-0190
Fax: 240-754-7867

Servicing all Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro areas of Maryland, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County real estate advertised in this website are subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap and familial status, or national origin, or any intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination. DeHanas Real Estate Services will not knowingly accept any listing agreement for real estate sales in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater MD, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County areas which are in violation of the law. Our clients and customers are informed that all dwellings advertised on our website in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater MD, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County areas are available on an equal opportunity basis. All prices and finance claims appearing in this site are subject to change without notice.