Category Archives: Housing

15 Summer Chicago-Area Home Maintenance Tips

15 Summer Chicago-Area Home Maintenance Tips

 

     Temperatures in the Chicago area are to be in the mid-80’s today.   Finally!  Warmer weather has arrived!

     If you’re a Chicago-area homeowner like I am, this means you’re heading outdoors to perform routine summer maintenance chores.  Particularly after this year’s hard and long winter, there’s plenty to be tackled.

     Having a Checklist of items helps me remember what needs to be accomplished around my home and property for the hot summer months ahead.  Below you’ll find the handy checklist I use.  Hope it proves useful as you assess and maintenance your home …

Warm Weather Home 
Maintenance Checklist
 
    1.  Evaluate and inspect your roof.  Check for missing or loose shingles.  Examine the flashing around the chimney and any skylights.
    2.  Inspect your gutters, downspouts, and exterior drains.  Clean them of any debris.  Make sure gutters and downspouts are securely attached to your home.
    3.  Check your HVAC system.  Have a professional perform a thorough check-up.  An annual check-up should include the changing of any filters and cleaning.
   4.  Repair your driveway and sidewalks.  Freezing cold, salt, and snow can be damaging.  Patch cracks and re-seal, where applicable. 
   5.  Inspect the siding of your home.
   6.  Check and/or replace window and door seals.  Caulk so windows and doors remain airtight and watertight and you keep pests/bugs out.
   7.  Check your window and door locks to make sure they are working properly.
   8.  Check pipes inside and out for leaks caused by winter’s freezing.
   9.  Clean and pressure-wash any decks.  Repair any loose handrails, boards.  Re-stain, seal, or paint to protect the wood and improve curb appeal.
 10.  Take a good look at your lawn and landscaping.  Repair, rake, clean, prune, and weed away winter’s remains and dead vegetation.
 11.  Trim back tree, bushes, and shrubs.
 12.  Inspect and repair any fencing on your property.
 13.  Open up basement windows and air your basement out.
 14.  Inspect all detectors in your home.  Replace batteries.
 15.   Inspect your attic for leaks or infestation.  
 
     Note:  I recently found an App that offers seasonal home maintenance tips and suggestions.  It will remind you when to perform valuable routine maintenance around your home.  You can download it to either iPhones or Androids.  
 
     Click here to get this helpful App:  
 
 
     You’ve now maintenanced, protected, and increased the value of your home.  Relax and enjoy beautiful Chicagoland … 
 
 
 
     *  Hoping to become a Chicago-area Home Buyer?  Looking to Build or Refinance in the Chicagoland area?  Contact Me now!  I’ll put my 37 years of Mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf.
     I can be easily found at:
Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell or Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281
 
Click HERE for your 
FREE Mortgage Consultation! 
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Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender, a Lender with 36 years of mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA, and Portfolio Loans in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  The Lincoln-Way Area, Will County, (New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Manhattan, Joliet, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Naperville, etc.), DuPage County, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and elsewhere within IL

Looking to Buy a Condominium? What You Need to Know

Image

Looking to Buy a Condominium?  
What You Need to Know
     If you’re presently in a house hunt, or even just dabbling with the idea of buying a home, you’ve probably done some research and run across multiple articles regarding the current Mortgage Process … and its challenges … 

     You’ve probably also heard that you’ll be asked to submit plenty of documentation regarding your finances (savings, credit/debt), employment, down payment ability, and more to meet lending requirements.  And that the home your hoping to buy will need to pass muster (via an Appraisal) with your Lender as well.       All that is true.  And if the property you’re hoping to buy is a Condominium, the level of scrutiny and amount of documentation required grows even more.   

     Why is that?   

     There are many outside influences that are woven into a Condominium transaction and its financing. Because of that, there are a few extra steps that must be taken by Buyer(s), Seller(s), and professionals involved with these transactions.  

     It’s important to establish if the property being transacted is legally determined a Condominium.  That determination is arrived at in a number of ways.  

     The first entails examination of the property’s PIN or Permanent Index Number A PIN is a numerical “code” for the legal description of a piece of land as it has been defined for the purposes of real estate taxation. The code points to the parcel’s location on tax maps.  PINs for Condominium units OFTEN, but not always, appear differently from other properties, as they are identified by an additional suffix, or set of numbers; other than 0000 at the end.  

     The second method  involves the Legal Description for the property.  If the word “Unit” is used within the Legal Description, the property is most likely a Condominium.  If the Legal Description mentions “PUD” (Planned Unit Development) within it, the property is typically a Townhome.  

     The Association aligned with the Condominium Project will need to supply information and documentation for the Mortgage Lender.  A complete copy of the recorded Condominium Declarations and Bylawsalong with any amendments  … must be suhttps://1609956119.secure-loancenter.com/FreeConsult.aspxbmitted to the Lender for their viewing.  The Association’s most recent budget must be submitted too.
    
  A fully-completed Condominium Questionnaire will be required.  What information does your Mortgage Lender look for on this Condominium Questionnaire? 

  • The number of 30-Day delinquencies within the Association (Ratio to total number of Units)
  • The number of Owner-occupied VS Investor-owned Units
  • Pending Special Assessments
  • Possible litigation, mediation, arbitration, or disputes involving the HOA (Present & Pending)
  • What, if any, Reserve Funds exist
  • If common elements and/or facilities are complete 
  • If the Project plans additional phases or add-ons
  • If the Condominium Project maintains adequate Insurance Coverage

      Selling/Listing Agents can assist in the smooth transacting of  Condominium properties by providing the following:

  • Tax Bill for the Property
  • Declarations/ByLaws for the Condo Association
  • Survey (if it exists – There will be one for Townhomes)
  • The Name and Contact for the Association
  • A copy of the Title Policy/other document with a full Legal Description within it

     It’s important for Mortgage Lenders to perform this close scrutiny of properties, as not all Condominiums (or the Projects they lie within) are eligible for all types of financing.  Borrowers must remember it’s ultimately for their protection that these questions are asked and documentation is requested.

     Looking to Buy a Condominium?  What You Need to Know  …  There are some extra steps that must be considered and taken when purchasing a Condominium property.  Your interests will be best served by working with experienced Mortgage and Real Estate professionals from start to finish.

     In the Chicago area, contact me with your Condo questions and for assistance with your Condominium financing.  I’ll be happy to put my 36 years of extensive Mortgage expertise and experience hard to work on your behalf.   
     I can be easily found at:

Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell or Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281
Click HERE for your FREE Mortgage Consultation!
Ready to Apply for your Mortgage?
https://1609956119.secure-loancenter.com/WebApp/FullAppLogin.aspx
 
 Twitter Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   LinkedIn Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Facebook Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Pinterest Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Digg Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender
 Trulia Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Zillow Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Lender411 Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender    Klout Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender    Gene's Chicagoland Blog/Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender 
Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender, a Lender with 36 years of mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA, and Portfolio Loans in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  The Lincoln-Way Area, Will County, (New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Manhattan, Joliet, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Naperville, etc.), DuPage County, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and elsewhere within IL
 

     

5 Indicators Point to the Wisdom of Home Buying “Sooner than Later”

5 Indicators Point to the Wisdom of Home Buying
“Sooner than Later”
     Today’s news looks something like this …

https://1609956119.secure-loancenter.com/FreeConsult.aspx

 

Mortgage Rates Convincingly Higher,  Momentum Shifts

     Those headlines come fast on the heels of Interest Rates recently having taken a slight downward track over the last week or so.  Moving forward, the consensus of experts seems to be (along with these articles) that Rates will move generally upward during the year (2014). 
      Often it’s hard to predict with real accuracy where Interest Rates are headed, especially in these quickly changing times.  Interest Rates, much like gas and oil prices, are like yo yos and rise and fall in tandem with the Financial Markets.  The Financial Markets rise and fall upon the events occurring around the world.  Who can predict those?  

     Here’s a good everyday example of what I’m saying:  Ever go to the store and see the gas price at one level only to come back from the store just minutes later to see it higher?  Things can change in a blink of an eye.

https://1609956119.secure-loancenter.com/FreeConsult.aspx 
     So if you’re a hopeful Home Buyer, how are you possibly to know when it’s the best time for you to hop on the “Home Buying Train”?
     A few indicators would point to the wisdom of buying a home “sooner than later”:  
  • 1st Indicator:  The majority of predictions typically point to Interest Rates rising as the year progresses.   Higher Interest Rates = Higher Monthly Mortgage Payments
  • 2nd Indicator:  The prices of homes in many housing markets is on an upward swing.  Higher House Prices = a need for a larger Down Payment and Higher Monthly Mortgage Payments
  • 3rd Indicator:  Recent changes have taken place in the Mortgage Industry, most notably the Qualified Mortgage Rules.  Those entering Home Buying can do so more certain that they will be able to make their payments in the future.
  • 4th Indicator:  Landlords all across the nation are raising rents.  Higher Rental Costs = Less Money Saved.  The old question remains … why pay someone else’s Mortgage or help them build equity?
  •  5th Indicator:  A slightly improved Economy, rising home prices, and fewer delinquencies have eased the stress on Lenders. The result may be more Mortgage Lenders willing to make Mortgages, ultimately making it a bit easier for Home Buyers to finance. 
     At minimum, these indicators should serve as your motivation to inquire as to the options and possibilities that exist for you in financing a home purchase.  It costs you ZIPPOnothing … to obtain the information and answers you need to make your decision.  
     Should you want to buy a home, there is never a better time than NOW to ask those questions.  For FREE, you’ll find out one of two things …
  • You CAN buy … and you get started towards fulfilling your Home Buying dream
  • You cannot buy … and you get started towards building your Credit, repairing and polishing your Credit, or saving for a Down Payment … by following the advice of your Mortgage Lender.  

     Again, it’s FREE to find out, so why not ask?  Either answer gains you valuable info and knowledge.  And either answer moves you in a positive direction and closer to what you ultimately want and hope for.

    5 Indicators Point to the Wisdom of Home Buying “Sooner than Later”.  In the Chicagoland area, contact me today …      

      
http://www.genemundt.com/ContactUs.aspx
    
  *  Wondering if Home Buying, Refinancing, or Constructing a home for yourself is possible in New Lenox, another Lincoln-Way CommunityWill County, or elsewhere in ChicagolandContact Me now!  I’ll put my 36 years of Mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your best behalf.
     I can be easily found at:
Direct:  815.524.2280815.524.2280
Cell or Text:  708.921.6331708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281815.524.2281
 
Click HERE for your FREE Mortgage Consultation!
Ready to Apply for your Mortgage?
https://1609956119.secure-loancenter.com/WebApp/FullAppLogin.aspx
  Twitter Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   LinkedIn Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Facebook Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Pinterest Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Digg Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender
 Trulia Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Zillow Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender    Klout Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender    Gene's Chicagoland Blog/Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender
Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender, a Lender with 36 years of mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA, and Portfolio Loans in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  The Lincoln-Way Area, Will County, (New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Manhattan, Joliet, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Naperville, etc.), DuPage County, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and elsewhere within IL

Decide Which Size Fish You Want to Be

Decide Which Size Fish You Want to Be
 
“It is better to be a big fish
in a small pond, than to be a
small fish in a big pond “
The Galveston Daily News, June 1881
Contact Me for a quality referral to an experienced agent today!
     It was reported recently by the  National Association of REALTORS  (NAR)  that “median existing single-family home prices are rising in more metropolitan areas, but a lack of inventory  –  notably in lower price ranges  –  is limiting buyer choice in an increasing number of markets around the country”.  (Latest Quarterly Report)
     They have evidence of rising home prices too.  Prices rose in 110 out of 147 metro areas.  And another statistic of interest that configures into the overall picture on current market status is this … Distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales) accounted for 26% of recent sales.  That percentage being down from 33% a year ago.
     Many other news and housing data sources report much of the same.  Housing inventory is down in many markets.  Selection is suffering.  Look at these examples:
Selling your present home with the hopes of buying another?  Contact me Today!
     And while inventory definitely influences purchases and housing prices, other things, such as Buyers’ ability to purchase, also are playing a big part.  Recent indications show that current home buyers are now proving ample income and can meet down payment requirements when seeking financing for their new home purchases.  Don’t forget too, interest rates are at historic lows, and monthly payments on home purchases remain favorable to home buying.
    So … what should all these reports and facts mean to someone thinking about SELLING their home?
     It means, if you’re contemplating a sale, NOW might be the time to act.  It means, that the old adage shown above … “It is better to be a big fish in a small pond, than to be a small fish in a big pond” … could definitely work in your favor as you list and sell your home.
     How?? As I see it, it boils down to this:  Choices.  Which size … and what kind … of home-selling fish do you  want to be?
  •  Do you want your home to stand-out?  Create curb appeal.
  •  Do you want potential Buyers to imagine themselves living in your home?  Make any needed repairs.  De-clutter, clean, and stage your home well.  Modernize.  Make it appealing.
  •  Do you want Buyers that fall in love with your home .. and then act decisively, and respond quickly with an offer?   Price your home realistically.
  •  Do you want to be the best and most desirable home in your area’s “pond”?  Act now to take advantage of current low inventory levels.  Contact an agent today.
     I can tell you, as a  Mortgage Lender,  what I’m hearing backs-up the stats and news articles currently being reported above.  I’m hearing complaints about home inventory and property choices all the time, from both home buyers and agents alike.  Good condition, well-priced homes are scarce.
     But I’m also hearing … Good condition, well-priced homes get attention.  Good condition, well-priced homes sell quickly.  And I know for a fact that … Good condition, well-priced homes arrive at their new Buyer’s Closings successfully.  They appraise out.  Underwriters find fewer issues to raise.
    “Good condition, well-priced”.  Does that describe your  home?  It can, if you prepare properly for your sale.  It can, if you listen to and follow  the experienced advice of your real estate professional.
         Now is the right time to list and sell your home. Recent NAR reports and statistics back that decision up.  So do others.  They also prove the wisdom of the old saying,   “It is better to be a big fish in a small poContact Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender for an Agent Referral todaynd, than to be a small fish in a big pond.”
 
   You as the home seller just need to wisely … “Decide which size fish you want to be” …
     * Hoping to become a successful home seller in  Will County, Chicagoland, or elsewhere across our nation?  In need of a referral for an experienced, successful real estate agent to help you sell your home?  Contact me  today.  I’ll be happy to refer you to the best in the business.
     I can be found at any of the following:
Cell/Text:   708.921.6331
Email:  genemundt
Skype:   630.219.1316
Mobile:  m.genemundt.com

Searching for Your New Home Alone? Really? Think That Over … Pt. 2

Searching for Your New Home Alone?   Really?
Think That Over …  Pt. 2
 
 
    
     Are you presently contemplating … or actively searching for a new home to buy?  If so, you’re not alone …
 
     Are you thinking of “going it alone” … without the aid and assistance offered by a real estate agent?  
 
     In  Part 1 of this blog,  I addressed some of the reasons new homebuyers might think about tackling this venture on their own.  Pursuing a home purchase alone is something a potential homebuyer might want to think long and hard about, especially if that decision is based upon a poor prior experience with a real estate agent or another real estate professional.
 
     I’m hoping after reading  Part 1 of this blog, that you have decided that utilizing the services of the RIGHT agent … an educated and experienced real estate agent … is the smart thing to do.  
     
     If so, you’re now probably wanting to know …
 
     “How do I FIND that agent so I can move ahead with my purchase”? 
 
     Education!
 
     Education is always key to the home buying and mortgage financing process.  Education is crucial to homebuyers, especially first-time home buyers,  fully understanding which attributes their real estate agent should possess. 
 
     First, those hoping to buy a home should be represented by their own real estate agent.  That is NOT going to be the name you find on the sign in front of the house … or the name connected to the home that you’re interested in online. Those agents?  They represent the Seller of the home.  The agent you meet at an Open House?  Yep.  The Seller’s representative for that house sale. 
 
      As a potential home buyer are you worried about paying a commission?  Commission is a pre-determined fee or percentage (of a sales price) negotiated between a real estate agent (their agency) representing the Seller, and the Seller themselves.  A commission will be paid upon the sale of the home … by the Seller of the home. TypicallyNOT the new buyer purchasing the home. 
 
     As a RULE, that means you as a new home buyer are NOT paying a dime to the  Buyer’s Agent  that is representing you.  If those beneficial services are performed free to you as the home buyer, why would you pass on them? 
 
      What is true is this … as a potential new home buyer, you must make sure you find the RIGHT Buyer’s Agent and BEST Buyer’s Agent possible for your home buying transaction.  It’s extremely important that you take the time and make the effort to do your search thoroughly and correctly. 
 
     So how do you actually go about finding the RIGHT and BEST real estate agent possible for your new home purchase?  What do you base your decision on?  What questions should be asked?  And to whom?  Where do you go for the information you need … and for facts?
 
      Hopefully you have already been preparing yourself for your new home purchase with a reputable and experienced mortgage lender.  They’re a great place to gain solid dependable referrals.
 
      I can tell you from my 35 years of experience, your mortgage lender will know what agents are capable of successfully representing your interests.  They’ll know which agents are knowledgeable and up-to-date regarding current home buyers’ needs.  Your mortgage lender will know which agents understand how to facilitate their home buyer’s mortgage processing needs well too.  These days, that can be crucial.
 
      Get references and referrals from others as well.  Talk to people in other real estate professions for their referrals too. Talk to insurance agents, home inspectors, builders, real estate attorneys, etc.  Talk to those friends, relatives, and co-workers that have purchased a home in the recent past.  Ask which real estate Buyer’s Agents are actually getting their home buyers into their home successfully.  
 
     Roll your sleeves up!  Do some real digging regarding these referrals.  There are all sorts of “tools” and avenues available for your search.  Use them to your benefit. 
 
     After you have compiled a list of names, start comparing the referrals.  Whose name is popping up frequently?  Which referrals are successfully representing new home buyers in the housing market you are interested in? 
 
     The names you are seeing over and over? They’re the best candidates for you and the real estate agents you need to further consider.  Contact those real estate agents and talk awhile.  Most likely, you’re going to “click” with the one that is best for you
 
     Home buying should be a joyous occassion and enjoyable process.  If you do your research and homework regarding the real estate agent and real estate professionals you work with, all will go more smoothly and prove much more satisfying. 
 
     Don’t attempt home buying alone!  Work with the RIGHT and BEST real estate agents and real estate professionals available.  Success … and that new home will be yours. 
 
 
 
    *  For valuable referrals, mortgage information and assistance, and guidance … please contact me today!  I look forward to the opportunity to earn your business.  Direct:  815.277.4036   Cell/Text:  708.921.6331

Searching for Your New Home Alone? Really? Think it Over … Pt. 1

    

      Are you presently contemplating … or actively seeking … a new home to buy?  If so, you are not alone …

     An article offered on May 5th, 2011 on  SmartMoney.com  (written by Annamaria Andriotis) states that the above is indeed true.  More Americans ARE presently out looking for homes to purchase.  YOU are not alone in your housing search. 
     
     But the article goes on to state that you may also be a portion of another growing statistic … homebuyers actively searching for their new home without the aid of a real estate agent
    
     Now, before I go any futher, I want to offer-up some facts regarding my own personal mortgage lending business … and from where it is derived.  I believe this information will provide some validity and credibility to the information and suggestions I offer here later. 
         
     I, and most mortgage lenders, will not deny that real estate agents play an important part in the introduction and securing of business clients.  The AMOUNT of business that is done as a result of real estate agents’ referrals can only be an individual mortgage lender’s accounting.  That accounting is where the differences will lie between the mortgage lenders.  Simply put, some mortgage lenders rely heavily on real estate agent referrals … others do not.  
 
     That said, the largest portion of the business I personally enjoy, comes from my own past clients … either from their own new home purchases or present-home refinances, or the referrals they graciously pass on to me. 
 
      Do I also enjoy referrals from real estate agents?  You bet I do.  Let there be no doubt about it.  Agents are presently … and always have been … a very important part of my business success.  Many reading this blog will tell you that  they found my mortgage services through the referrals of their real estate agents
 
      However, because of the great amount of business I derive from other sources, I am not dependent solely on real estate agents for my livelihood.  My opinions expressed here are not based or tainted on great need. No, it concerns me that many of those currently seeking new homes are attempting to do so without any professional real estate guidance for other very valid reasons. 
 
      Perhaps my greatest concern springs from the realities to be found within the current housing market and mortgage industry themselves.  Let me tell you, if there’s ever been a time within the 35 years of my mortgage career that good sound advice, strong guidance, valuable assistance, and industry insight has been needed more … I’m not sure when that’s been. 
     
         It’s my opinion that now, more than ever,  you need every positive influence and bit of professional guidance to be found when navigating the home buying and mortgage financing waters.  Working with dedicated, knowledgeable real estate professionals should be your life preserver.  Not what drowns you.
 
         As a mortgage professional, I’m acutely aware of the public’s perception of our mortgage industry and real estate professions.  It’s an every day reality we face.  To put it delicately, many home buyers feel they were “burned” or mishandled during past home buying and mortgage transactions.  And there can be no denying that the perception is true in many cases. 
 
       But I would offer this thought up for contemplation should you be someone presently:
 
  •  Currently seeking a new home to buy without a Buyer’s Agent
  •  Thinking of heading into the housing market in the near future without any professional real estate agent’s guidance and services 
  •  And you have experienced difficulties with a real estate agent in your past transactions (or know someone that did)
     It was not that you chose to work with a real estate agent that was the source of  past problems. 
 
     The problems stemmed from working with the  WRONG  real estate agent. 
 
  •  If you received less than satisfactory service
  •  If you did not get the guidance you needed
  •  If the marketing of your home sale was not what was promised
  •  If there was poor communication, poor response time, lack of knowledge or professionalism, etc. etc. etc. …
     It was the individual you were working with at the time.  NOT the profession as a whole.
    
     The old saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” contains very wise advice for those contemplating this “go-it-alone” home buying approach.  Don’t throw the idea and all that can be gained by working with an agent out the window. Just take pro-active steps to insure that you find the RIGHT Buyer’s Agent to work with this time.
     
     But what are those steps?  How do you go about finding the right Buyer’s Agent?  
 
    Educate yourself!  Educate yourself as to the correct steps to take in your search for a Buyer’s Agent.  I will outline the steps I recommend for finding a qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced Buyer’s Agent in … “Searching For Your New Home Alone?  Really?  Think it Over”, Pt. 2. 
 
 

Don’t Make the Search for Your Mortgage Financing or Mortgage Lender Anything “Routine” …

Word: routine (rū-tēn’)
Definition:

1.  A prescribed, detailed course of action to be followed regularly; a standard procedure.
2.  A set of customary and often mechanically performed procedures or activities. See synonyms at method.
3.  A set piece of entertainment, especially in a nightclub or theater: The audience laughed at the comedian’s routine.
4.  Slang. A particular kind of behavior or activity: Must you go into your hurt routine when you don’t get your way?
5.  Computer Science. A set of programming instructions designed to perform a specific limited task.

When a job is performed each day, year after year, I think it’s only natural that a “routine” develops. I know I do this with certain tasks. In my mind, I’m providing myself some order … avoiding chaos.

“Routine” can also even be reflected in our speech. Sometimes when my wife and I are talking, Marilyn will stop me mid-sentence and say “you’re speaking a language I don’t understand”. She’s reminding me, that although the real estate and mortgage terminology and definitions I’m using may seem “routine” or of a language that is universal to me, it’s not to her … and most likely, will not be to my clients either. It’s good advice and something I really work very hard to remember.

Right now, there has never been a clearer or more urgent need for home buyers and borrowers to understand the “language” of real estate and real estate financing. Mortgages, and their processing, should not be performed “routinely” by any lender.

Calls for action have been made recently (on the behalf of home buyers) for a simpler and shortened explanation of the documents borrowers will be asked to sign at their closing and also for the mortgage processing itself.

Now, have no doubt, home buyers must understand and be willing to take the time to educate themselves and see to their processing compliance needs. They must commit themselves … and demand answers of their real estate professionals.

And I believe THIS is a crucial point where a very fundamental and vital difference becomes crystal clear between lenders and the services they offer.

If, as a borrower, you see that the lender you are working with is:

•  rushing through explanations
•  won’t take the time to answer your questions
•  won’t clarify
•  doesn’t clarify
•  or can’t provide you with reading and learning materials to assist you …

It’s time for you to re-think if you’re working with the right lender!

Yes, the “language” and the process is somewhat “routine” to us within the real estate industry … but when you as a borrower reach out for help or ask questions, we in the industry must be willing and capable of responding quickly and in a way that can truly help clarify and assist. With our time and attention. With our efforts. With our answers. With the educational tools we can provide.

Below you can find links to information and informational videos regarding a variety of home buying, selling, and lending topics. These are just a small portion of the topics, information, videos, and assistance available on my company’s (Chicago Bancorp) website, http://www.chicagobancorp.com

I’ve listed videos and links to information that I think serve as a good starting point for those entering (or thinking of entering) the home buying, selling, or lending process.

There is a time and place for “routine” in everyone’s life. But there should be nothing routine about the actions and answers your lender provides when working with you.

Should you be experiencing that with your lender, stop them. Tell them. No matter the time or place. No matter what point in the process you find yourself … Pre-Approval to Closing … you have the right to stop your lender or stop the mortgage process. Then, when moving forward, if your lender cannot, or will not, address your concerns … make it part of your “routine” to seek assistance elsewhere.

Here’s a small sample of videos and information available to you on the Chicago Bancorp website, my personal website, andthrough my servicesat Chicago Bancorp …

The Dictionary of Mortgage Terms:  www.chicagobancorp.com/mortgage_dictonary.php
Understanding Interest Rates:   www.chicagobancorp.com/interest-rates.php
Application Document Needs:
   www.genemundt.com/Application-Info.html

Homebuyer & Seller Videos: www.chicagobancorp.com/guided_videos.php

Please check the Chicago Bancorp website, www.chicagobancorp.com, or contact me, Gene Mundt… for more information, other videos and tools available, seminars to attend, or more specific answers for your lending, credit, and financial scenario. I will be more than happy to take the time to answer your questions to your satisfaction.

I have served the needs of Illinois/Chicagoland home buyers and home owners for 35 years through my thorough understanding and education in mortgage lending, appraising, and financial planning. I look forward to assisting you with your needs too.

The Spring Home Market. A Thaw After a Hard Cold Winter?

    

     As I mentioned in a recent blog, “What is the state of the Boxers and Briefs in your home? Spring sales indicators … “,  I found an article on Kiplinger.com that addressed the question that is on most real estate professional’s minds …  “What is the financial outlook for this Spring?”

     According to the Kiplinger.com article mentioned, “10 Signs the Economy is on the Upswing”, there are 10 everyday life-indicators suggesting that our economy is improving. I made some folly within my post of the #1 indicator speaking of boxers and briefs … but truly, most of the indicators mentioned made sense when analyzed.

     A comment I received regarding my post from  SarahGray Lamm, Alan Tate Realtors, Chapel Hill, NCsuggested that this article was correct. The public’s personal perception of indicators is perhaps the most reliable measure of how our economy is presently doing or where it’s heading. The public is afterall, the frontline of the economy.

     And SarahGray Lamm is right.  Even though many economists speak of the current recession having actually turned the corner in fall of 2009 … most Americans said “it ain’t so!”  Today’s statistics, measured and reported by  The Conference Board  (conducted by the Nielsen Company), indicate that consumer confidence is again on the rise.  I believe that they are right, as I am personally hearing comments in that vein and business calls I receive certainly reflect that as well.

     This Spring’s real estate market will most definitely be more sensitive than in the past due to the personal indicators talked about in the Kiplinger.com article. But there are other very large reasons that will most likely factor into making Spring 2011 atypical for real estate professionals and the public alike. They are, IMO:

     •Major changes in the Financial Industry, effective April 1st (and that’s no fooling!) Higher rates, higher lending costs, tightening of standards, etc., are all going to contribute to the effects seen.
     •Interest Rates will most likely move firmly into the 5% – 6% range.
     •Another wave of foreclosures is said to be lurking and predicted to hit the market sometime this Spring. That means more housing inventory to move through.
     Although none of the above sounds optimistic, public sentiment and the statistics measuring them are proving to make an opposite case. “Hits” to Trulia.com saw an increase of 40% in January 2011 page visits over the same time as one year previously. Other similar websites are reporting much the same. I am seeing the same results on my own personal website.

     An active interest in home buying seems to be re-emerging. There may be pockets of areas that may see further dips in home prices, but the pendulum seems to have already steadied or started to upswing in many major areas.

     Now is the time for Realtors, as well as Lenders, to send an united message to the public that buyers can’t afford to wait any longer. It’s most likely to be a losing gamble if they do. (See my post “Reality Home Buying … The Numbers Don’t Lie. Buying NOW vs Later”.

     Spring is just around the corner. The mood and optimism of Americans is hopefully warming along with the temperatures. In the meantime, those thinking of becoming buyers and sellers need to prepare themselves for their possible entrance into the home market.

     Real estate professionals should and can help them accomplish this preparation during these weeks leading up to Spring. Education and preparation is key to buying and selling success .. buyers, sellers, … and professionals.

Decided NOT to Buy a Home Right Now? What Steps You Should Take Next

Okay … you’ve made the big decision.  You’re not buying a house … now.

After taking all things into consideration, you’ve decided that buying a home is just not in the cards or right for you at this time.

Now what?

My answer is the same for you, as it is for someone that has come to the opposite conclusion regarding buying.

Contact a professional lender!

Why?  Because if you ever hope to buy a home in the future, you should not procrastinate or waste time that could be put to valuable use!  NOW is the perfect time to start planning for that future home purchase.

And that planning and preparation should start, whether buying now or later, with having your credit checked.  It can take time to correct or raise credit issues and scores.  By taking this simple step now, well in advance of your home purchase, you make your home buying and mortgage processing so much easier and fluid in the future.  You also open up a wider range of possibilities for that lending when you have accomplished your best finances and credit scores possible.

It really boils down to this:   Work now.   Save big later. 

During my years of lending experience, I have found that buyers make the decision to buy a home based much on their housing needs, wants, and desires.  Owning a home is a strong longing for us.

And Yes!  To a huge part, buying a home IS and should be an emotional decision.  It IS part of the American Dream.  The home and family IS what most Americans based their lives around.  But never forget, buying a home is a monetary decision.  A HUGE one, at that.  And buying needs to be done with many thoughts in mind, one of which is TIMING.

But the actual starting point for purchase is often severely misjudged.  The TIMING is wrong, or many start the planning process much later than they should.  Potential home buyers are then poorly prepared for what lies ahead of them during the mortgage process.  They expose themselves to problems during that processing because of it.

Much has been written about how awful the current mortgage process has become.  And I will agree, there are frustrations aplenty to be found for all involved.  But many of the problems that home buyers face during mortgage processing could be cured with two simple actions.  They are?

  • Preparation of finances and improvement of credit scores in advance of the home buying process
  • Acceptance of the present-day process itself.  Buyers need to be aware of the demands of mortgage processing in advance (when possible) and accept that they will need to present the documentation and information required by underwriters.  The more quickly they comply, the easier the processing.

When a potential buyer is an educated buyer … and has started the lending process with their professional lender well in advance of their actual purchase, they will have fewer issues to face when actual mortgage processing begins.

Documentation will be readily available, if and when needed, because the buyer knew of the possible requests ahead of time and planned accordingly. Compliance will be more easily accomplished.  They will have smoothed their own path due to their own proactive planning and hard work with their lender.

So, I say … If you ever hope to buy a home in the future, talk to a lender NOW. Find out if your credit is on the right track.  Listen to your lender’s financial and credit advice.  Then take action to correct issues NOW … or improve your FICO Scores even more.

Take the initiative NOW.  Contact a professional lender TODAY.  Work with your lender … so you can save time and money later during the purchase of your dream home.

You may be surprised at how much closer you are to buying that home than you thought!

* And when in the Chicagoland area … contact me, Gene Mundt, Chicago Bancorp, for the expert guidance and advice you need before and during your home buying and mortgage processing!  For additional info, go to: www.genemundt.com

Personal NMLS# 216987
Chicago Bancorp NMLS # 63483
www.genemundt.com
gene@chicagobancorp.com

Real Help Does Exist for Area Residents. Attending the Community Provider Resource Fair, January 18th, in Romeoville, IL

    

     The internet has become an invaluable source of information for the vast majority of Americans.  Type in a few words for almost any search and you get pages and pages of information, facts, and figures.

    Still, nothing beats the special resources, attention, and touch that can be given and received only between caring humans.
    
    That human “touch” will be evident and in play on Tuesday, January 18th when Valley View Community Unit District 365U and Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202, co-host the  “FREE Community Provider Resource Fair”. 
    
    
    This beneficial Resource Fair will be hosted for area individuals and families at the Romeoville Recreation Center located at 900 W. Romeo Road located in Romeoville, IL.   (Click for Location/Directions).
    
    
    Some of the 100+ resources and service providers on hand for the January 18th Resource Fair will be:
 
  • Health Experts
  • Housing Experts
  • Financial Experts
  • Counselors
  • Homeless Liasons
  • Mortgage Counselors/Experts
  • Governmental Agencies/Resources  (Local, County, State)
  • Social Workers
  • More
    Those that attend this  Community Provider Resource Fair  will receive a resource manual filled with information from a plethora of community agencies that offer guidance and assistance.  Helpful child care services will be available for $1 for those families in attendance.  
    
    This  Community Provider Resource Fair  will be a great way for area resident’s to learn about those many resources available to them and their families, plus it will provide good opportunities for initial contact with these resources.  Those in attendance can leave the Resource Fair having been able to establish those very important first contacts, and comforted by the fact that they have actually started the process initiating real help for themselves and their families.
    
    Attendees of the Resource Fair will be able to enjoy the music and entertainment offered-up by the  Bolingbrook High School “Raiders” Music Department that day.  Free popcorn will be available as well. 
    
    Should additional information be needed regarding this Community Provider Resource Fair, please call 815.302.3895 or 815.886.2700, Extension 244.
 
     * As always, should you, or someone you know, have questions or need assistance in regards to mortgages, mortgage lending, credit, and financial planning … please contact me.  I will be happy to assist and guide in whatever manner possible.  Thank you.  http://www.genemundt.com/Contact-Me.html