Questions to ask your mortgage broker or lender

Questions to Ask Your Lender or Mortgage Broker

  1. What loan programs and options are available to me?
  2. Will my loan be Conforming, Super-conforming, or Jumbo?
  3. What type of loan is available to me?  Adjustable, Fixed, or a hybrid?
  4. What loan program would be best for my situation?
  5. So I qualify for any special programs such as Below Market Rate Units, Mortgage Credit Certificate Programs, Mayor’s Office of Housing Programs, or FHA programs?
  6. Will private mortgage insurance be required in my loan?  How much will it cost?
  7. How long is the approval process?
  8. What information is necessary to get my approval?
  9. What documents are necessary from me to approve my loan?
  10. How much will be closing costs be?  What will they include?
  11. How much are your fees, and who pays them?
  12. How much is a loan lock, and how long is it good for?
  13. If rates go down during the escrow period, will I be able lower my rate?
  14. How long will it take to close my loan?
  15. Is there are prepayment penalty on my loan?
    1. Why?
    2. How long?
    3. How much will the penalty cost if I pay my loan off early?
  16. Who will service my loan?

Finding the right financing for you does not have one answer; there are many different options which may work for your situation.  The above is broad in scope, and may not cover your specific situation; please consult a mortgage broker and/or accountant to help you in your financing goals.

A really nice remodel shapes up in the Castro

I’m a construction geek; I can’t help it.  Here’s some beautiful concrete work.

Most people won’t appreciate this, but I am posting it anyway.  I visited a client at he and his wife’s home the other day to check on the progress of their huge remodel.  I’ll post some progress pictures as they go.  What struck me today was the beautiful concrete work on this retaining wall.

Eric Castongia To fully appreciate it, you really need to see it.  If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see that not only is the new retaining wall tall (probably 12 or so feet), so is the one right above it!  These walls support a very steep hill and a large two unit building right above! Congratulations Bea and Will on a great project!

West Portal Property Values 2012

The West Portal/Inner Parkside 2012 Year-End Real Estate Market Update

By Eric Castongia, Zephyr Real Estate

Eric Castongia This was an interesting year to look back on.  In looking at my analysis for 2011, I was reminded as to how many price reductions, withdrawn listings and how much longer properties sat on the market.  It was much harder to motivate buyers to move and it was more of a challenge to set a list price than it is now, and we were lucky, since our property values stayed stable over that year.

2012 was different from the start.  Mid February was the beginning of the frenzy and it really didn’t slow down all year.  I believe it would have plowed right through the last week of December if Christmas and New Years hadn’t landed on broker’s tour day.

The total number of sales for 2012 was 50, neck and neck with 2011’s 51.

At the close of the fourth quarter of 2012, we had six active, four pending (not yet closed) and 17 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 17 sold, 12 received multiple offers (71%) and 12 sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $2,000 to as much as $262,000 (no typo).  Conversely, the most under asking offer, was sold at $148,000 under asking (again no typo).

For a little perspective, at the close of the fourth quarter of 2011, we had 15 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 15 sold, seven received multiple offers (47%) and six of them sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $1,000 to as much as $105,000.  That in a slow market, so one can see how we have a built-in demand.

Only two of the 17 sold properties in the last quarter of 2012 was a short sale or foreclosure; the total for the year was six-that was the same number in 2011.

There were 6 ‘failed to sell’ listings for the year, of which two came back on and sold, so net affect is four; in 2011, we had 8.  Again an indication of an accelerated market and motivated sellers.

Interest rates have bounced around a bit, but remain historically low.  Now that buyers feel that the housing market has reached it’s low point, interest rates are having the effect that they are supposed to have.

Property values went up this year, mostly as a supply and demand problem.  For West Portal and Inner Parkside up to Ulloa, prices were up between four and eight percent from a year ago.  Larger homes generally had more bidders and larger overbids than smaller homes, so on a percentage basis, they went up more in value than smaller homes; in one instance, it was 13 percent higher.

Inner Parkside on the North side of Ulloa has seen the biggest change in property values for the better.  This area got hit the hardest when the economy went down and it has gone up the most this year; between 10 and 20 percent from it’s low.

This may be a great time to sell if you have been waiting, BUT, buyers still take a hard calculating look at what is available.  If there is a fatal flaw in the property, they will take that into account.  If there are choices of homes to look at, that will affect pricing as well.

List price is still critical; it must seem like it is a good value in order for buyers to be motivated to act.  Overpricing will still yield you less on your net than pricing it correctly to start with.

Eric Castongia, Residential Sales Specialist at Zephyr Real Estate provided the information in this article. The content of this article is an interpretation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and Eric’s observations in the marketplace.  Eric can be reached by e-mail at Eric@SFHotBuy.com, or via mobile phone at (415)307-1700. DRE Lic. No. 01188380

Proposed Pier 36 Renovation

Deteriorated Pier 36 may be getting a new look in the next few years.  I’m a fan of the development along the Embarcadero.  It’s changed so much since the Earthquake in 1989-all for the better.

Pier 36-after

The proposed Brannan Street Wharf at the existing Pier 36 would consist of a lawn, outdoor tables and chairs, a water fountain, drinking fountain, and a small craft float.

Pier 36-before

Here’s the story from Socketsite

The West Portal/Inner Parkside 2012 Year-End Real Estate Market Update

By Eric Castongia, Zephyr Real Estate

This was an interesting year to look back on.  In looking at my analysis for 2011, I was reminded as to how many price reductions, withdrawn listings and how much longer properties sat on the market.  It was much harder to motivate buyers to move and it was more of a challenge to set a list price than it is now, and we were lucky, since our property values stayed stable over that year.

2012 was different from the start.  Mid February was the beginning of the frenzy and it really didn’t slow down all year.  I believe it would have plowed right through the last week of December if Christmas and New Years hadn’t landed on broker’s tour day.

  • The total number of sales for 2012 was 50, neck and neck with 2011’s 51.
  • At the close of the fourth quarter of 2012, we had six active, four pending (not yet closed) and 17 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 17 sold, 12 received multiple offers (71%) and 12 sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $2,000 to as much as $262,000 (no typo).  Conversely, the most under asking offer, was sold at $148,000 under asking (again no typo).
  • For a little perspective, at the close of the fourth quarter of 2011, we had 15 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 15 sold, seven received multiple offers (47%) and six of them sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $1,000 to as much as $105,000.  That in a slow market, so one can see how we have a built-in demand.
  • Only two of the 17 sold properties in the last quarter of 2012 was a short sale or foreclosure; the total for the year was six-that was the same number in 2011.
  • There were 6 ‘failed to sell’ listings for the year, of which two came back on and sold, so net affect is four; in 2011, we had 8.  Again an indication of an accelerated market and motivated sellers.
  • Interest rates have bounced around a bit, but remain historically low.  Now that buyers feel that the housing market has reached it’s low point, interest rates are having the effect that they are supposed to have.
  • Property values went up this year, mostly as a supply and demand problem.  For West Portal and Inner Parkside up to Ulloa, prices were up between four and eight percent from a year ago.  Larger homes generally had more bidders and larger overbids than smaller homes, so on a percentage basis, they went up more in value than smaller homes; in one instance, it was 13 percent higher.
  • Inner Parkside on the North side of Ulloa has seen the biggest change in property values for the better.  This area got hit the hardest when the economy went down and it has gone up the most this year; between 10 and 20 percent from it’s low.
  • This may be a great time to sell if you have been waiting, BUT, buyers still take a hard calculating look at what is available.  If there is a fatal flaw in the property, they will take that into account.  If there are choices of homes to look at, that will affect pricing as well.
  • List price is still critical; it must seem like it is a good value in order for buyers to be motivated to act.  Overpricing will still yield you less on your net than pricing it correctly to start with.

Eric Castongia, Residential Sales Specialist at Zephyr Real Estate provided the information in this article. The content of this article is an interpretation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and Eric’s observations in the marketplace.  Eric can be reached by e-mail at Eric@SFHotBuy.com, or via mobile phone at (415)307-1700. DRE Lic. No. 01188380