Changes are Coming to Real Estate Closings

On August 1, the closing process will change forever.

The familiar HUD-1 settlement form, the Good Faith Estimate, and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure forms are going away and will be replaced with the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate forms.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken over administration of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) from HUD. The CFPB’s goal in discontinuing the familiar closing documents and replacing them with these two new documents is to increase consumer’s understanding of mortgages and disclosures and to make it easier to compare loans. In practice, however, these changes will make the steps leading up to closing more complicated.

How will these changes affect your closing procedures when you buy or sell a home after August 1?

If you are securing a mortgage to purchase your new home, timing will take on critical importance in getting documents to your mortgage lender and title agent. Timing truly will be of the essence in closings. One of the new rules requires all forms to be ready three days prior to closing. The National Association of Realtors is recommending home buyers actually get all closing documentation finalized seven days prior to closing, so when you go into the three-day period, you don’t have to make any changes.

In conjunction with the timing element, making any changes to documents as the clock winds down comes with a cumbersome set of hurdles that will most likely hold up a closing.

Now, more than ever, you need the expertise of a real estate team and mortgage lender who are on top of all the new rules and regulations regarding purchasing a home, mortgage applications and closing documentation. The team members of the Brandee Kelley Group have established a close working relationship with Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank. Together, we offer our clients the benefits of our training, on-going education, experience and knowledge to expertly guide you through the entire process and insure a successful closing.
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You can count on us to guide you, our buyers and sellers, effortlessly thru the new mortgage and closing regulations that will soon be imposed by the government.

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8 Things Organized People Have In Their Homes

If searching for your keys is a part of your morning ritual, it’s time to break the cycle. Being organized is more than just a personality trait. It’s a lifestyle decision that’s easier to achieve if you stock your home with the right tools. These 8 organizational and clutter-busting essentials will make your daily routines at home more convenient and, yes, even more fun!

Acrylic shelf dividers keep your folded items neatly stacked. Available at organize-it.com
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Glass storage jars are chic and you can see the contents at a glance. These jars are available at World Market.
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A catch-all for keys eliminates the question “Has anyone seen my keys”!!! If you think key hooks are unattractive, there are many solutions for a perfect place to toss your keys. This handmade leather tray is attractive, but you could also use pretty baskets or decorative open top boxes.
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Get convenience and control of all your spices. This attractive storage idea is fun and — well, kind of spicy! Even if you’re not crafty, you can make it yourself with just a few inexpensive supplies. Visit A Beautiful Mess on this link for an easy tutorial on how to create this spicy display, but don’t be surprised if your friends want one too! http://bit.ly/1dpVi6p
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Labeled boxes for storing almost anything, almost anywhere! Available at Linens N Things. lnt.com
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Makeup brushes stored upright in pretty jars, glasses, mugs, vases, etc.
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If you don’t have an installed closet system, these wall-mounted mesh drawers may be the perfect solution to closet clutter. Available at containerstore.com
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Inexpensive oval tension rods offer a perfect solution to organizing those hard-to-store lids, cutting boards and trays. Tension rods are available at home goods stores everywhere. Install them in minutes, and those storage problems disappear instantly!
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For garages, playrooms, hobbies and crafts, steel shelving units create quick and inexpensive storage. Check out Lowe’s and Home Depot for a variety of shelving systems.
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The Brandee Kelley Group loves to bring you fresh ideas for making your home and your life more pleasant and less stressful, and we plan to implement some of these essentials in our own homes! If the chaos in your home is the result of just too much stuff squeezed into a too-small house, perhaps it’s time to make a move to a larger home. Feel free to contact us at 817-635-1141 to discuss your housing options.
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Sellers–Don’t Miss This Active Market!

The Arlington real estate market is HOT, and if you’re thinking of selling, the time is NOW! Interest rates are low and buyers are out in force, looking to purchase a home and take advantage of these rates. We know these low rates won’t last forever. As rates move up, the market will cool down and there won’t be as many eager buyers looking for their dream home.
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When you list your home with the Brandee Kelley Group, we don’t just stick a sign in your yard and hope for the best. We’ll set up a professional marketing plan for maximum exposure of your home to qualified buyers. A professional photographer will capture the most appealing images of your home which will be used in MLS listings, in social media promotions, and popular real estate websites (Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and Homes.com). You’ll gain top placement on internet search engines, including Google and Bing, and our team members will feature your home in email campaigns directly to our extensive database of qualified buyers.
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Pricing your home is an art, and the Brandee Kelley Group are experts in determining the correct listing price. Our sellers receive the highest price in the shortest amount of time because we know how to price homes to sell.
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Our track record proves our on-going success in effective pricing. Statistics for the year 2014 show that:
* 61% of our listings sold AT or ABOVE the listing price
* 32% of our listings sold in LESS THAN 10 days
* 56% of the homes we listed sold in LESS THAN 30 days

Our team members are showing homes to buyers almost every day of the year. We know what turns buyers off, but more importantly, we know what they find impressive. We want your home to show well and attract offers. Many homes that we list are near-perfect, but we’ll offer tips to properly stage your home if it’s needed. Our suggestions may include improving curb appeal, repainting or redecorating rooms, or making inexpensive upgrades to make your home look more current. Search thru list of Categories and read previous Blogs where we’ve discussed specific changes you can make to upgrade your home to sell, without spending a fortune.

Once you receive an offer, we’ll represent you in negotiating the details of the contract, solve issues that surface during the contract period, and achieve a successful closing. Communication is key, and the Brandee Kelley Group is with you every step of the way.

For up-to-date information on mortgage rates, call our preferred lender, Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.
Affiliated Bank w Don Kelly Info
The time to sell is NOW and the Brandee Kelley Group is poised to go to work for you! We are dedicated to providing the best service to our sellers and ensure that all the details of marketing and selling YOUR home are handled with care, expertise and constant communication. Call us today at 817-635-1141\BK & KW Collage

Refinance to End PMI. Is It the Right Choice for You?

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For many home buyers, private mortgage insurance is a necessary requirement. If you don’t have 20% in cash to put down on a home, you’ll be paying for PMI, but if you’ve built up some equity in your home, you may be able to refinance your loan and end those PMI payments.

But is it a good idea?

Before you consider refinancing, determine if you’re eligible for a PMI cancellation if your loan-to-value ratio reaches 78%, based on the value of the property at the time the policy was instituted.

If your equity is nearing the cutoff, it makes more sense to wait until your lender cancels your PMI payments rather than pay closing costs to refinance your loan. However, if you have an FHA mortgage, these loans carry mortgage insurance for the life of the loan and the only way to get rid of FHA insurance is to refinance into a conventional loan.

If you’re not eligible for an automatic cancellation, refinancing will get you out of PMI, but you need to make sure the cost of refinancing is worth it. You will need to pay for an appraisal, and you’ll also incur charges for title and escrow, underwriting, document preparation, as well as other third-party costs and fees. Your mortgage lender can help you determine if the amount you’d save by ending PMI payments is greater than the costs associated with refinancing.
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Keep in mind that refinancing isn’t a guaranteed deal. You’ll need to qualify for the loan in almost the same way you did for your original mortgage. That means job stability, adequate income to meet the income ratios, cash reserves and a satisfactory credit rating.
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Just as the selection of a Realtor® is important in a buyer’s success, the same can be said about mortgage professionals. You want a lender who is willing to go the extra mile for you and Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank will do exactly that. Don will answer all your questions fully and in plain language, and he is skilled in guiding you to the best loan program to meet your needs.
If you are thinking of refinancing your mortgage to end PMI payments, give Don a call at 817-247-4790. He’ll be happy to discuss all your refinancing options with you.
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Declutter – Part II

In last week’s Blog, we discussed Marie Kondo’s extreme method of decluttering.

You may not want to take such drastic decluttering measures as Ms Kondo recommends, but you may need to organize what you have.  Amazon.com has 100’s of books available with advice and guidance on how to organize every aspect of your lives, including your homes.  Closets, kitchens and baths, kid’s toys, sporting equipment, hobbies and crafts, even your garage.

We can’t improve on that array of information, but one item bears mentioning here, and that is the fact that most of us are inundated with paperwork.  Everyone seems to feel they have too much paper, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the constant influx of paperwork into our homes.  It appears that the idea of paperless society is a complete myth because most of us are reluctant to get rid of our paperwork!
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Organizational experts suggest that when sorting personal papers, it’s going to take a lot longer than you think it will!  The decision to keep, shred, file and organize requires you to pick up each piece of paper, look at its content and make a decision on its value.

Most of the paper coming into your homes probably can be discarded, and the best way to keep up with it is to weed it out every day.  This applies to magazines, catalogs, mail, receipts, etc.

Another recommendation from experts is to create an effective calendar—digital or paper—that helps you control your life.  Put all lists, errands, shopping, tasks, To Do lists, appointments, etc. on your calendar and clear those details from your mind.  Get rid of those Post Its scattered throughout your house and put those reminders in your calendar.  Transferring all these details onto ONE useful calendar is a systematic method for simplifying your life.
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We hope these tips and suggestions are helpful in your quest to prevail over all that clutter!
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DECLUTTERING! It’s The New Hot Button Topic!

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? She is the author of the best selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has sold over 2 million copies and it’s all about letting go of the stuff we don’t need.
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She is a decluttering ninja and her method is extreme: Purging must be done all in one go. No procrastinating. No “maybe” pile. “Keep only the things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.”

Ms. Kondo’s philosophy for people struggling with letting all that stuff go was created when a client was struggling with a keep-or-throw dilemma. Ms. Kondo asked her, “Does this spark joy?” The client quickly determined that it did NOT, and was able to let it go. She suggests her readers adopt this approach when beginning their own decluttering project.

Random House has just published “Stuffocation,” by James Wallman, in which the author argues that the clutter in our homes is correlated to stress, and that to lead happier lives, we should spend our money on experiences rather than things.
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But…. we love our stuff! For many of us, our homes are filled with objects that we’ve spent a lifetime acquiring. They spark memories of family events, travels and art, of treasured gifts and special keepsakes. These are items that truly speak to our hearts.

But what about all the other stuff in our homes? Paperwork. Closets packed with clothes that are hardly worn or no longer fit. Cleaning supplies, kid’s sporting equipment and toys. Hobbies and crafts, kitchen and bath stuff–all the items necessary for running our homes and our lives. These are the things we need, but how do we organize all this without being overwhelmed?

In our next Blog, we’ll offer tips from experts on how to approach decluttering and organizing so that YOU are in control, instead of the clutter controlling you!
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Staging Tips to Help Your Home Sell FAST!

Proper staging makes a home feel spacious, tasteful, and inviting to the broadest range of buyers.
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Many homes that the Brandee Kelley Group list for sale are beautifully decorated, but you can trust our suggestions on staging your rooms to help potential buyers see how your home will fit their lifestyle.

Some of the more common staging tips that we may recommend include:

  • Painting walls–usually in lighter, neutral colors.
  • Installing new carpeting or refinishing hardwood floors.
  • Improved and updated light fixtures.
  • Resurfacing kitchen counters and replacing old appliances with stainless ones.
  • Adding fresh new bedspreads, accent pillows and fresh flowers.
  • Styling shelves with books and interesting objects.

The following photos clearly illustrate the impact of proper staging!

The Brandee Kelley Group strives to serve our client’s needs in every detail of the selling process, including staging suggestions. To see what we offer to sellers, click here:  http://brandeekelleygroup.kwrealty.com/sell/

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