Jumbo Loans – The Inside Scoop

 Adapted from Realtor.com

According to the trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance, 20.3% of all mortgages originated during the 1st quarter of 2016 were jumbo loans.

Only a small percentage of jumbo loans are sold to investors. Because these loans are held in a lender’s portfolio and aren’t subject to the guidelines of investors purchasing them—as opposed to conforming loans, which must comply with hard-and-fast parameters established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—terms and underwriting standards vary widely.

“Borrowers may find more flexibility with lenders that keep mortgages on their own books,” says David Reiss, a Brooklyn Law School professor who specializes in real estate. “These lenders can usually take a more individualized approach to underwriting than a lender that sells its mortgages.”

Unlike most conforming loans, jumbo-loan applications aren’t processed by an automated underwriting system. They are instead processed individually by a real person, which allows the lender to make exceptions on occasion while still complying with fair lending standards.

It is usually a benefit to a borrower to deal with a bank where you already have a relationship—or to which you would consider moving your business. How much value you present to the lending institution will dictate how much leverage you have as a borrower.

Possible concessions include an interest-rate discount or a reduction in closing costs or escrows. Borrowers shouldn’t expect much on the interest rate because lenders still need to make a return on their investment, and interest rates are already low.

Here are a few things to consider when negotiating a jumbo loan:

  • Prepare before applying. Jumbo lenders are focusing on borrowers with good credit and resources. Before applying, borrowers should clean up their credit report and keep debt in check. Lenders look at total debt-to-income ratio and overall credit to determine how strong a buyer is; the stronger the buyer, the more the negotiating power he has.
  • Create a relationship. If you’re a substantial borrower with a substantial relationship with a bank, the guidelines might get a bit more flexible.
  • Don’t hesitate to negotiate. Negotiation for better terms can save you thousands over the life of the loan.eios;a
    For expert advice about jumbo loans, feel free to contact Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.  Don is the Brandee Kelley Group’s preferred lender, and once you meet Don, you’ll know why!  He is committed to delivering top-notch service to his clients.

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Can You Trust Online Price Estimates for Your Home?

what's your home worthHave you ever entered your address into a website that claims it will tell you how much your home is worth right now? And have you ever been shocked at the number it calculates? As it turns out, many of those websites cannot and do not have access to important information about your property and instead use generalized and inaccurate data. In fact, these popular websites explain the limitations of their data in their disclaimers.

Always remember, a Texas REALTOR® is your best source for providing you with an accurate and current market analysis on your property.

team market analysisIf you’re curious about the value of your home in today’s market, give us a call. We know the market and we’ll provide you with an accurate and thorough market analysis for your home.

eios;aAnd……… for expert mortgage consultation, contact our preferred lender, Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.

Adapted from Texas Association of Realtors®

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Concerned with Home Security? Check Out These Tips

Flowers-Landscaping Tips
Deadbolt locks and alarm systems help protect you against burglary, but the following tips on outdoor security measures you can take that will add an extra layer of safety to your home and family:

  1.  Use natural plant as deterrents. Burglars don’t want to walk thru thorny shrubs and flowers to get to your windows, so plant them around your foundation.thorny rose_Fotor

2.  Prune vegetation regularly. Overgrown hedges provide hiding spots where thieves can lurk.

3.  Trim the trees. Leave sufficient distance between tree branches and the roof or second-story windows to limit intruder access.branches collage

4.  Leave a clear line of sight to windows or doors. Blocking these views leaves your home more vulnerable to break-ins.

5.  Install additional lighting. Illuminate your yard and house to eliminate potential hiding spots. You might consider adding motion-activated lighting to help ward off possible intruders.lighting

6.  Put gravel beneath ground-floor windows. Burglars rely on silence; stepping on gravel can create noise and intruders don’t want to get caught.gravel flower beds_Fotor

7.  Protect the back door with good quality locks and lighting. Many thieves try this less obvious point of entry first.

8.  Replace solid privacy fences. Solid fencing helps intruders go undetected. Partial privacy fencing is a more secure option.

9.  Lock all gates. Keep front and back gates locked at all times. Collage_Fotor

10. While not related to landscaping tips, cultivate a good relationship with neighbors who you can rely on to keep an eye out for any problems if you’re going to be out of town. Make certain they have a phone number where they can reach you in case of an emergency. And don’t forget to return the favor!

While pleasing to look at, landscaping can make a difference in your safety. Consider whether your current setup promotes security or makes your home appealing to thieves. Use these landscaping security tips to help prevent your home from becoming the target of a burglary.

Provided courtesy of the Brandee Kelley Group, Keller Williams Realty | 817.635.1141

Features That Home Buyers Identify as Must-Haves in Their Dream Homes

10 Things American Dream Homes Have In Common
Courtesy of David Tsay, Elle Décor
Adapted from article authored by Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson

According to the Property Brothers (Jonathan and Drew), the following features are must-haves for home buyers. And no, granite countertops aren’t on the list!

1. Open Living Plan with Clear Sight Lines

gallery-1459969230-open-living-space-copyright-c-2016-by-sb-publications-llc-interior-photography-copyright-c-2016-by-david-tsay-1According to the Property Brothers (Jonathan and Drew), compartmentalization is a thing of the past. “Ninety-nine percent of homeowners want open-concept living,” they say. “This is better for families keeping an eye on their kids, better when entertaining and even better for making rooms feel bigger.”

2.  Ample Kitchen Counter Space

counter spaceYou can never have enough counter space in a kitchen. Whether it’s a breakfast bar for serving food or additional prep space for cooking, ample kitchen counters add huge value.

3. Separate Pantry

pantryA pantry is a kitchen must-have. Not only does it help you display all your foods without having to open multiple cabinets, but it’s also an efficient use of space.

4. Kitchen Island

kitchen islandA kitchen island is a functional component of your kitchen, as well as a focal point. An island gives you more cabinets (on both sides), breakfast bar seating and additional counter space. Not to mention it also offers the opportunity to showcase kitchen design like two-tone cabinets.

5. Mega Storage Everywhere

mega storageFamilies have a LOT of stuff so you can never have enough storage. Think: organization systems in your closets, storage racks in the garage and even built-ins above and below your wall-mounted TV. Find creative ways to add storage without cramping your space.

6. Master Suite with Master Bath and Walk-In Closets

master suite w bath and walk in closetsOur busy, often hectic, lives makes a serene and relaxing master suite a necessity. A spa-like bathroom with double sinks and spacious walk-in closet(s) is music to most of our ears.

7. Deck or Patio for Outdoor Entertaining

deck or patioA cost-effective way to add square footage to your home without doing an addition is by adding a deck or patio. Extend your indoor living outside. Many new brands of outdoor furniture and decor are so comfortable and stylish you would swear it was meant for indoor use.

8. Energy Efficient Fixtures and Appliances

energy efficient appiances“We all love saving a little money, and it’s even better when it’s helping the planet,” Jonathan and Drew say. Energy-efficient fixtures and appliances are definitely a way to save a little on monthly expenses, and a bonus is that conservative use helps the planet. We live in a technology age and energy-saving solutions for a home are more important to homeowners than ever before.

9. Two-Car (Minimum) Garage

inimum 2 car garageA garage is not just for your car these days. Having the space to fit a car plus a bonus room is always a huge feature for buyers. Utilizing the extra square footage as a workshop, game room or even storage can add great value.

10. Low-Maintenance Landscaping

low maint landscapingMost of us work long, hard days and the last thing we want to do on the weekend is yard maintenance. Make use of artificial grass, as well as minimal shedding trees and shrubs, to minimize your yard labor and maximize your time to relax.

If your current home is lacking these important features, perhaps it’s time to let us help you find a new home.  We’re pros at helping our buyers find the perfect home with all the features important to them, in the area in which they wish to live, and at a price they can afford.  Call us at 817.635.1141 to discuss your housing needs.

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Mortgage Rates are Low. Lower! Lowest!!!

Just when we think rates won’t get any lower, they surprise us and drop again!  Low rates make an ideal time to buy a new home, and shopping for a home loan is just as important as shopping for the home itself. Here’s what you should you should know.

Channeling your energy toward finding the perfect home is a much more pleasurable experience than agonizing over potential lenders and loan applications. Yet, the loan and lender you ultimately choose is just as important as the neighborhood you explore or the home on which you put an offer.


Once you’ve become familiar with the paperwork and application process, start interviewing lenders about their mortgage products. Here are six questions to ask. Most of these are common sense, but be certain these issues are addressed:

  1. Are points included in the quoted interest rate? It’s important to clarify whether the quoted interest rate includes points and, if so, how many.
  2. What are the closing costs associated with this loan? Closing costs typically fall between 2% and 5% of the total loan amount — a large enough range to make this question an important one.Private-Mortgage-Insurance-Companies
  3. What is the required down payment? A variety of loan types are available, and not all of them require the same down payment. If the down payment is less than 20%, find out if Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) will be an additional requirement.

4.  Is it a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage?
get a lock on your rate
5.  Can the interest rate be locked down? If you are offered a particularly low rate, make sure you know when you need to lock it down and how long it can be held.

6.  Are there any prepayment penalties on this loan? In exchange for a lower interest rate or lower out-of-pocket costs upfront, some lenders will charge a prepayment penalty. Depending on the terms, the prepayment penalty might have to be paid before refinancing or selling the home within a designated time period.

According to a recent consumer survey, only 47% of consumers shop around for a home loan, and for those who do, rates can vary by as much as a half-percent from lender to lender — a substantial difference over the life of a loan.

integrity green buttonWhen faced with decisions regarding a mortgage, your very best resource is a knowledgeable and experienced lender. The Brandee Kelley Group’s preferred lender is Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.  Don and his mortgage team are on top of every new loan product and regulation and he serves his clients with integrity and extraordinary customer service.
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What Do REALTORS® Look For When Buying Their Own Home?

Turns out that the pros look for the same things the general public looks for! However, they place more importance on future resale.

The following are comments and advice from the pros, courtesy of HouseLogic:

Be Willing to Compromise for Your Priorities

One veteran real estate agent knew exactly what she wanted in her home: ranch style, three bedrooms, high ceilings. But you know what she bought? A two-story Colonial. Why?  The home’s location and price trumped style.

Her advice: Make sure your practical and functional priorities don’t get lost in all the home buying hoo-ha. You can always add the hoo-ha, but you can’t make a home fit all priorities, such as location and price.

Dig Into the Details

You certainly want to find out if the house had a newer roof, good siding, and a newer furnace. However, agents typically go deeper to uncover a home’s not-so-obvious maintenance costs.

For example, check the sewer line to make sure there aren’t any tree branches or other debris clogging up the works.  Know what is and is not covered by homeowners insurance.  And find out how old the appliances are.  Sellers are only required to fix what the inspector finds is broken; they’re not going to upgrade working appliances for you.

Focus on Lifestyle

Some agents want a home that “grows” with his/her family. Multiple bedrooms and baths, large yard, and an eat-in kitchen.

Others find that a condo affords them the perfect lifestyle. Not wanting to commit to yard upkeep, not interested in spending time on exterior maintenance, and being able to leave and travel on a moment’s notice are some of the lifestyle options available to condominium owners.

One agent who was interviewed for this article says her millennial clients aren’t forward-thinking about their lifestyles. Some are childless and say they don’t care about schools, pools, and tennis courts. Then they become parents a few years later and have to move. “Once they have kids, the first question they ask is about school districts, and the second is about where the parks and pools are,” she says.

The pros’ bottom-line advice: Think of your lifestyle preferences and how those might change in the next few years.

Filter Your Choices Through the Lens of Resale

All the real estate pros we talked to emphasized resale. Don’t buy or build something unique that you can’t resell.

Don’t overspend for the neighborhood if you buy a home priced higher than average for the area. If the home is not in line with the neighborhood’s average price, you’ll have a tough time trying to sell it and get your price a few years down the road.

Other advice from the pros: Watch out for unfixable flaws that could affect resale. Issues include what’s next to the home (such as vacant land that could be developed), high-traffic businesses, noisy power generation stations, a cell tower, etc.  Check out lot issues (i.e, steep driveway or poorly graded lot that sends rainwater into your foundation.

Of course, a home isn’t just about resale. It’s just one factor to consider. Remember the first point: Be willing to compromise for your priorities. If the home meets your priorities and you’re going to stay there awhile, then resale might be where you compromise.

Don Kelly website bannerAll the experts advise a potential buyer to start the process with a discussion with an experienced mortgage lender.  The Brandee Kelley Group’s preferred lender is Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.  Don and his team go above and beyond for their clients every time!

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Buyers: Don’t Make These Mistakes in a Seller’s Market

Preparation is key to successfully buy a house in a hot market.
Courtesy of Zillow, Laura Agadoni author

When you’re looking for a home and the market favors sellers, you need to have a plan to avoid making mistakes.

Home buyers in north Texas need to bring their “A” game — buying a house in this hot market isn’t for the indecisive.

Here are six common mistakes many buyers make when shopping in a seller’s market.

1 – Not making your best offer

New Home
We all want to buy a home for as little money as possible and when we see the listing price of a home, we normally want to make an offer lower than asking price. However trying to get a deal when you’re in a seller’s market is not smart strategy.  You, Mr and Mrs Buyer, need to come in with a strong opening offer.

2 – Waiting too long to put in an offer

Analyzing a home purchase in a seller’s market is also poor strategy. If you wait too long, you’re probably going to miss the house you’ve fallen in love with. 

Once you’ve determined the type of home and location you want, your price range, and finally find a home that meets your qualifications, make an offer. Don’t wait, because the competition for desirable homes is fierce.

3 – Not working with a seasoned agent

Agent Stands Out 1

If you have an experienced agent on your side, you’ll have a better chance of getting the home you want. Working with a knowledgeable pro saves you time and stress, as these agents know the ins and outs of the process. They’ll provide expert advice and insight in helping you get the home you want.

4 – Not having a mortgage loan preapproval

In today’s real estate market, prequalification is absolutely paramount. A buyer has zero advantage if they do not have the cash to purchase without a mortgage and haven’t taken the time to get a preapproval from a lender.

The preapproval process involves submitting a mortgage application, complete with supplying verifying documents. Presenting your preapproval to the seller reflects a strong intention to move forward with a home purchase.

5 – Not being prepared for a bidding war

If there is ever a time when a bidding war could be imminent, it’s during a seller’s market. In a hot market, you might want to set your search below your max budget to leave room to bid higher in case of an over-asking bidding war.

6 – Not learning from your mistakes

It’s easy to get frustrated if your offers are declined and you keep losing houses you’ve fallen in love with. Learn from your last transaction(s) so you can get what you want.

For expert mortgage advice and consultation, contact our preferred lender, Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.  Don’s number is 817.247.4790.

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