Central Florida Real Estate and Community News

Oct. 27, 2017

Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient | Central Florida Real Estate Blog

As reported on realtytimes.com, written by Realty Times Staff on April 20, 2017

Your home is your place to rest, play, and spend time with your family. It should be a place of comfort, and this comfort need not come at a high cost. Many homes, however, waste a lot of energy in ways that can be prevented. Here are five ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

Replace or Weatherize All Windows

Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat gain and heat loss in a home. Both heat gain and heat loss rob you of comfort and keep your energy bills higher than they have to be, whether during the summer or winter months.

Windows rank high on the list because of air leakage around the frame and the heat that transfers through windowpanes. Old single-pane windows provide little protection against heat transference. If you replace these windows with energy-efficient windows you should see immediate savings and improved climate control in your home.

When choosing windows, consider the frame and not just glass. Frame material and frame design matters. Hinged windows allow less air leakage than sliding, single-hung or double-hung do. Avoid metal because these conduct heat. Choose insulated vinyl frames or insulated fiberglass frames for the most efficiency and durability.

Pay attention to glass efficiency ratings such as the U-factor and the solar heat gain coefficient. The right windows to choose depend largely upon regional climate. If you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, you want glass that blocks out as much solar heat gain as possible.

Low-emissivity coatings on windowpanes reduce heat conduction through the glass, which benefits you by keeping hot air inside in winter and hot air outside in summer. There are other coatings and tints available, but you should still look for the Energy Star label. Only products that have met strict requirements by the EPA qualify for this special certification.

Seal the Home's Thermal Envelope

Air leakage through your home's exterior is another source of energy waste. Air infiltration makes your heating and cooling system work harder to maintain climate control. In order to find all of the hidden leaks, schedule an energy audit with an HVAC company. Until you do, seal the noticeable leaks. These can usually be found in the following areas:

.Around window frames and doors

.Beneath baseboards

.Around flues and chimneys

When sealing leaks in most areas, you can use caulk, weather-stripping or expandable spray foam insulation. Another method to control air leaks is to replace poorly fitting doors or other features and to use hardware with a type that creates a better seal. One example is barn door hardware. This kind of hardware can create a better air seal in some cases because the door slides into place instead of swinging open. This creates fewer opportunities for gaps between the door and the frame.

Upgrade Your Home HVAC System

If your home's HVAC system is older than ten years, consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient system that is Energy Star certified. Improvements in design make these systems far more energy-efficient than any in the past. If they are sized correctly and installed correctly, you should see lower bills and improved comfort and improved air quality.

Upgrade Insulation

Most homes have only the minimum required insulation. Older homes might even fall far short of the minimum simply because the insulation has become too wet, or it has become compressed or it has shifted. Adding insulation to the attic will have the largest effects. It doesn't matter which kind of insulation you use as much as it matters that it is properly installed, with no gaps, and that you use the recommended quantity for your region. Adding insulation to exterior walls doesn't have to be a big remodeling project. Much of the time, it can be blown into walls by a contractor.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

These thermostats make a home more energy efficient in the following ways:

.You won't have to remember to set the temperature lower or higher before you run out of the house each the morning, because you can program the thermostat to do it for you each day.

.You can program different energy-saving temperature settings for special occasions, such as vacations, and you can still come home to a comfortable house.

.Some new thermostats even allow you to check them remotely, sparing you from worrying about whether the home is getting too hot or cold while you are away.

By implementing these ideas, you have little to lose and a lot to gain in terms of comfort and savings. If it feels overwhelming or it is hard on your budget to make all of these changes at once, try to do them in steps. Each time you take even one step towards more energy efficiency, you will start saving money on energy bills.


If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase a home in the Apopka, Orlando, or Central Florida area, please contact Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, Toll# 877-333-2811, Cell# 407-252-8092, joe@rockspringsrealty.com or visit my website at www.rockspringsrealty.com. You can also search all homes on the My Florida MLS system by clicking on the following link: 


Posted in General Posts
Oct. 27, 2017

JUST SOLD AT FULL LISTING PRICE - 1601 Green Cricket Court - Sweetwater Park Village | Central Florida Real Estate Blog, Apopka, FL

JUST SOLD! 1601 Green Cricket Court, Apopka, FL 32712 | Sweetwater Park Village

Congratulations to my customers Mr. & Mrs. Tran on closing on this beautiful home in Sweetwater. We were able to find the perfect Buyers and get the FULL LISTING PRICE of $314,500.00. This custom built 3-Bed, 3.5-Bath pool home had two separate master suites and was in excellent condition.

If you are anyone you know is looking to sell a home in Apopka, Orlando, or anywhere in the Central Florida area, please let me help. Follow the link below to get a no-cost, no-obligation home value report. Or, feel free to call or email me directly: Joe Bornstein, Broker/Owner, Rock Springs Realty, Cell# 407-252-8092, Toll# 877-333-2811, joe@rockspringsrealty.com, http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rockspringsrealty.com%2F&h=GAQHvYPfHAQFe4rW4INnT2Tp8rK6XiMBDIHFzrjPQX7wYyw&enc=AZNOMKQeDwS1-zucO2i4Cww_6kcgode4xzEIZYKv6B3rSofeg5sm9Wbtr8x4S4kh9Mtds8vaiMPFK5jZu518PTiBqcls3AazxeIEVC_MM3KKU84oGx2pVUr5vRD3DCqLRnPfRds1yFiBadNl0dvJkaMcL9oBqgSy3J_7aQpleL1KmXUl1K9bkRFHdlsB3MWkR7P4Rl50e4L0vEgVQ5AHpyOh&s=1

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FREE Home Value Report | Search All Homes on the MLS | Listing Agent | Buying Agent |

FREE Home Value Report | Search All Homes on the MLS | Listing Agent | Buying Agent |

FREE Home Value Report | Search All Homes on the MLS | Listing Agent | Buying Agent |


Posted in General Posts
Oct. 27, 2017

JUST CLOSED! 2443 Palmetto Ridge Circle, Apopka, FL 32712 | Central Florida Real Estate Blog, Apopka, FL

JUST CLOSED! 2443 Palmetto Ridge Circle, Apopka, FL 32712 | Central Florida Real Estate Blog, Apopka, FL

JUST CLOSED! 2443 Palmetto Ridge Circle, Apopka, FL 32712

Congratulation to my awesome Agent Cathy Nanfeldt and her customer's Anthony & Soo Krauss for closing yesterday on their new home in the Palmetto Ridge Subdivision of Apopka. This 3-Bed, 2-Bath move in ready home had "multiple offers", but we were able to secure a contract and get this to the closing table. Mr. & Mrs. Krauss are extremely happy with their new home and we wish them a smooth move and many years of happiness.

If you are anyone you know are looking to purchase a home in Apopka, Orlando or anywhere in the Central Florida market, please allow me the opportunity to speak with them. Call Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, 407-252-8092, 877-333-2811, joe@rockspringsrealty.com Also, if you would like to do a search of all listing on the MLS system, follow this no-cost, no-obligation link to start hunting:


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Posted in General Posts
July 26, 2017


"REDUCED - SELLER SAYS GET IT SOLD! BEST PRICED 6-BED, 4½-BATH ONE-OWNER HOME IN APOPKA W/OVER $54,000 IN AMAZING UPGRADES!!! This huge family home features a 17’ grand foyer w/upgraded leaded glass front door & 12”x24” porcelain tile with 5 ¼” baseboards throughout the entire 1st floor. Living room/dining room combo leads to large gourmet kitchen w/gorgeous quartz countertops, solid oak cabinets, center island & prep sink, newer appliance pkg, enormous walk-in pantry & eating space in kitchen. Washer/dryer stay! Open floor plan includes a huge family room & sliders to the large fenced yard w/10’x30’ open patio & vegetable garden. The 1st floor also includes a private Mother In Law suite (6th Bed) complete w/full bath, step-in shower & walk-in closet. Still downstairs is a ½ bath w/granite counter & mudroom. Heading upstairs w/solid oak banister & spindle staircase to 2nd level w/new plush Frieze carpet & upgraded pad throughout, you’ll find a spacious bonus room. Massive Master En Suite has lots of room for sitting area & large trey ceiling, dual walk-in closets & 2-linen closets, master bath with his/hers vanities w/makeup station, garden tub & separate shower. Upstairs features 4 more BRs & 2 baths, one with tub/shower combo & other w/step-in shower. Addl features: NEW double pane low-E windows throughout, 3-car garage w/dual openers, gutters/downspouts, security system, energy efficient radiant barrier, termite bond, in-wall pest control, 6-panel doors & all blinds throughout and much more!

Follow this link to view the virtual tour:


For more information or to schedule a showing please call Joe Bornstein at 407-252-8092 or visit our website at http://www.rockspringsrealty.com/  

Posted in General Posts
July 7, 2017

What to Do If Your Home Purchase Appraisal Comes Up Short | Central Florida Real Estate Blog

As reported on www.Zillow.com by Julian Hebron on 5 May 2015

If a lower-than-expected appraisal comes in, you'll need to be prepared to pivot. Since a home is  collateral for your mortgage, your mortgage can't be approved without an appraisal report on the home’s value. Appraisals aren't guaranteed to come in at your contract price, and your loan options change if your appraisal comes in short. Here's what to do if this happens.

How a low appraisal changes your loan options

When you're buying a home, lenders will extend a loan on the lower of either your contract price or the home’s appraised value. This is a critical distinction, because if an appraisal comes in lower than you've agreed to pay, you must either increase your down payment or increase your monthly budget in order to buy that home.

Suppose a home in a very competitive neighborhood is listed for $300,000. You know there are multiple bidders, so you offer $325,000. Your offer is accepted, and you begin obtaining a loan for 80 percent of the $325,000 contract price, planning to put down 20 percent. When the lender's appraisal comes back, it shows the value of the home is $300,000.

When your process started, your $325,000 contract price minus your 20-percent down payment of $65,000 made your loan amount $260,000. The low appraisal of $300,000 takes that option off the table, and instead you have two other options.

1. Increase your down payment to avoid paying mortgage insurance

The most you can borrow without paying mortgage insurance is 80 percent of the $300,000 appraised value, which is $240,000. This means that instead of $65,000, your down payment now must be $85,000 to bridge the gap between your $325,000 purchase price and the $240,000 loan amount that's available with no mortgage insurance.

You'll need to decide whether this extra $20,000 is something you can afford. If so, the lender also must determine if you'll have enough reserves left over after closing to still qualify for the loan.

One offset for putting the extra $20,000 cash into the deal is that your monthly payment will be $95 lower.

The original deal with the $260,000 loan using a 30-year fixed at 4 percent gave you a total monthly payment of $1,633, comprised of $1,241 mortgage payment, $325 taxes, and $67 insurance. The new deal with the $240,000 loan gives you a total monthly payment of $1,538, comprised of $1,146 mortgage payment, $325 taxes, and $67 insurance.

2. Keep the same down payment amount, and add mortgage insurance

If you can't afford or don't want to bring in the extra $20,000 to cover the short appraisal, you can still get your target loan of $260,000. However, if you divide this by the $300,000 value, the loan is 86.7 percent of the home's value, so you'll have to pay mortgage insurance.

If you're getting a 30-year fixed loan at a rate of 4 percent, your total monthly payment will be $1,761, comprised of $1,241 mortgage payment, $128 mortgage insurance, $325 property tax, and $67 insurance.

If you compare the $1,538 payment you end up with by putting in the extra $20,000 (to cover the short appraisal and avoid mortgage insurance) with the $1,761 you'll pay if you stick with the original down payment (giving you a larger loan plus mortgage insurance), you can see that you'll save $223 per month if you pay the extra $20,000 upfront.

Disputing low appraisals

All of this assumes you can't get the appraised value above $300,000. However, when an appraisal comes in short, you can work with your lender and real estate agent to evaluate whether the appraiser included all relevant comparable sales on the report to derive their value.

An appraiser's selection of comparable sales is based on many factors like location, size, age, and condition of the sold homes being compared to the property you’re buying. How recently the other homes sold is also a factor.

Your lender -- usually after consulting with your real estate agent -- will advise if they think a value dispute is warranted. If so, they will write up a case for a dispute and present it to their bank’s appraisal department. Federal appraisal regulations make the dispute process complicated and often slow, so make sure that your contract allows you enough time for a dispute.

If the value is revised to your contract price, you can use your originally intended deal structure. If the low value is validated during the dispute process, you can ask the seller for a price reduction. If they refuse and you still want to buy the property, you can revert to the options laid out above.


If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase a home in the Apopka, Orlando, or Central Florida area, please contact Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, Toll# 877-333-2811, Cell# 407-252-8092, joe@rockspringsrealty.com or visit my website at www.rockspringsrealty.com

You can also search all homes on the My Florida MLS system by clicking on the following link: http://www.idxre.com/homesearch/86960

Posted in General Posts
June 27, 2017

9 Home-Buying Myths You Need to Stop Believing Immediately | Central Florida Real Estate Blog

As reported on www.realtor.com by Dori Zinn | Sep 6, 2016


So you think you’re finally ready to make the jump from renter to homeowner? Awesome! In this exciting but admittedly scary time, you might be inclined to turn to friends and family for advice -- especially if they own homes. But beware, dear home buyer of the future: Those close to you might not be the experts you think they are. You could be heeding bad (albeit well-intentioned) advice without even knowing it.

So we're here to bust the most common misconceptions about home buying so you can do this thing the right way. Because this is what we do.

Myth No. 1: The first step is looking for a house

Perhaps you just want to get a feel for the area. You know, have something in mind before you sit down with a Realtor®. I mean, you're not really looking yet, right?

Stop right there. Even if you think you're just browsing, you run the risk of setting your heart on something, only to have it broken.

"A buyer might be viewing homes that are in a higher or lower price range than what they are qualified for," says Connie Antoniou, a broker associate in Barrington, IL. Browsing is always fun, but when it comes to serious home-buying work, you need to make sure your credit is in top-notch shape before you get started for real. Also, don’t forget to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you embark on your home-buying journey. This will determine what your budget is.

Myth No. 2: A 30-year mortgage is the best option

If you think that the longer you agree to invest in your home, the cheaper the mortgage payments will be, think again. Most people opt for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and for valid reason: Monthly payments for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage are lower than its 15-year counterpart. But consider this: You could end up paying more during the life of the loan if you pick the 30-year option instead of the 15-year mortgage. That's because essentially, with a 30-year loan, you’re borrowing the same amount of money for twice as long -- at a higher interest rate.

"If you have $1,000, would you rather put that toward your monthly payment for your house or is there a better place for your money?" asks Samantha DeBianchi, Realtor and founder of DeBianchi Realty in Florida. "If you're more focused on paying down the house versus the interest, a 15-year option is great."

No, we're not saying the 30-year option is a bad one. But keep an open mind toward other loan plans, including an adjustable-rate mortgage. If you aren't set on staying in your home for the long haul, this could be an ideal mortgage for you.

Myth No. 3: Your down payment must be 20%

Sure, a 20% down payment is ideal if you want to avoid that pesky private mortgage insurance otherwise known as PMI. But many lenders will be glad to offer up home loans with 10% or 5% down -- as long as you're willing to foot the monthly bill for PMI. Or you can skip the conventional loan and head to the Federal Housing Administration for a government-backed loan with only 3.5% down, if you qualify.

In fact, there are thousands of options for down payment assistance. And while many programs are geared toward low-income home buyers, you don’t have to be destitute. There are lots of different ways you can qualify for help on the local or federal level.

Myth No. 4: The only up-front cost is a down payment

As if! For one thing, the seller might determine you're responsible for closing costs, which can be anywhere from 3% to 6% of the purchase price -- and those costs can change drastically depending on your state. And don’t forget the slew of fees, taxes, and other costs for inspections, credit reports, insurance, among others.

Myth No. 5: You can't buy with bad credit

If you’re looking to get a conventional loan, having bad credit might give you a full stop. But FHA loans require only a 3.5% down payment and borrowers with low credit scores -- even under 600 -- can qualify. Keep in mind, though, that FHA loans may look great at first, but they definitely aren't for everyone.

Myth No. 6: You don’t need a home inspection

You might be tempted to believe this tall tale, especially if your housing market is hot and you're worried your dream home could be sold in a split second to someone else who waives the home inspection. But beware: Sellers are banking on your skipping this crucial step. It means you'll get the home as is, including any and all problems that come with it. And sometimes those problems aren’t exactly visible.

"Just spend the money for a really thorough inspection, because in the long run it can save you a lot of money and time," DeBianchi says.

Myth No. 7: The asking price is set in stone

Much like buying a car, the offer you make on a house does not need to be the asking price. If you have stellar credit, pre-approval, and a down payment ready to go, sellers might be more willing to negotiate than to wait for another, possibly less awesome, buyer to come around.

Plus, if your home inspection (you know -- the one you got because you're smart) turns up issues, you can use those to your advantage in your negotiations.

Myth No. 8: You don’t need an agent

You might think you can do this home-buying thing solo. After all, isn't that what the internet is for?

This is where we tell you to resist the urge to DIY your first home purchase and call a Realtor instead. They're pros who bring expertise to the table -- everything from negotiating chops to turbocharged searching power (yes, they have tools to see stuff you can't). Trust us: They know more than you do.

Myth No. 9: Schools don't matter if you don't have kids

We get it: You love the house, it's in your price range, and you want to move fast. But there's more to it than that.

The neighborhood you choose matters -- both now and later when you might consider selling. Even if you don’t have children, good schools are a sign of a good neighborhood. Also, check out the area's walkability, your commute to work, and any other features that would make the hood a good fit for your lifestyle -- now and a decade from now.



If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase a home in the Apopka, Orlando, or Central Florida area, please contact Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, Toll# 877-333-2811, Cell# 407-252-8092,joe@rockspringsrealty.com or visit my website at www.rockspringsrealty.com


You can also search all homes on the My Florida MLS system by clicking on the following link: http://www.idxre.com/homesearch/86960

Posted in General Posts
June 27, 2017

6 Reasons You Should Never Buy or Sell a Home Without an Agent | Central Florida Real Estate Blog

As reported on www.realtor.com by Rachel Stults | Feb 4, 2016

It's a slow Sunday morning. You've just brewed your Nespresso and popped open your laptop to check out the latest home listings before you hit the road for a day of open houses.

You're DIYing this real estate thing, and you think you're doing pretty well -- after all, any info you might need is at your fingertips online, right? That and your own sterling judgment. Oh, dear home buyer (or seller!) -- we know you can do it on your own. But you really, really shouldn't. This is likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you need a Realtor® if you want to do it right. Here's why.

1. They have loads of expertise

Want to check the MLS for a 4B/2B with an EIK and a W/D? Real estate has its own language, full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon, and your Realtor is trained to speak that language fluently. Plus, buying or selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. Realtors have the expertise to help you prepare a killer deal -- while avoiding delays or costly mistakes that can seriously mess you up.

2. They have turbocharged searching power

The Internet is awesome. You can find almost anything -- anything! And with online real estate listing sites such as yours truly, you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? Realtors have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A Realtor can help you find those hidden gems.

Plus, a good local Realtor is going to know the search area way better than you ever could. Have your eye on a particular neighborhood, but it's just out of your price range? Your Realtor is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood, so she can direct you toward a home in your price range that you may have overlooked.

3. They have bullish negotiating chops

Any time you buy or sell a home, you're going to encounter negotiations -- and as today's housing market heats up, those negotiations are more likely than ever to get a little heated.

You can expect lots of competition, cutthroat tactics, all-cash offers, and bidding wars. Don't you want a savvy and professional negotiator on your side to seal the best deal for you?

And it's not just about how much money you end up spending or netting. A Realtor will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that's crucial to your particular needs.

4. They're connected to everyone

Realtors might not know everything, but they make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers -- the list goes on -- and they're all in your Realtor's network. Use them.

5. They adhere to a strict code of ethics

Not every real estate agent is a Realtor, who is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country. What difference does it make? Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.

6. They're your sage parent/data analyst/therapist -- all rolled into one

The thing about Realtors: They wear a lot of different hats. Sure, they're salespeople, but they actually do a whole heck of a lot to earn their commission. They're constantly driving around, checking out listings for you. They spend their own money on marketing your home (if you're selling). They're researching comps to make sure you're getting the best deal.

And, of course, they're working for you at nearly all hours of the day and night -- whether you need more info on a home or just someone to talk to in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in. This is the biggest financial (and possibly emotional) decision of your life, and guiding you through it isn't a responsibility Realtors take lightly.


If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase a home in the Apopka, Orlando, or Central Florida area, please contact Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, Toll# 877-333-2811, Cell# 407-252-8092, joe@rockspringsrealty.com or visit my website at www.rockspringsrealty.com

You can also search all homes on the My Florida MLS system by clicking on the following link: http://www.idxre.com/homesearch/86960

Posted in General Posts
June 27, 2017

What Are Property Disclosure Statements? Info Buyers Need to Know | Central Florida Real Estate Blog

As reported on www.realtor.com by Lisa Gordon | Jun 27, 2017

No matter how great a home looks at first glance, a host of problems could be hiding right under that fresh coat of paint -- which is why buyers will want to scrutinize certain paperwork they'll receive called property disclosure statements.

Property disclosure statements essentially outline any flaws that the home sellers (and their real estate agents) are aware of that could negatively affect the home's value. These statements are required by law in most areas of the country so buyers can know a property's good and bad points before they close the deal. Here's what all buyers need to know about real estate disclosures.

When do buyers receive property disclosure statements?

While it varies by area, most buyers will receive property disclosure statements after their offer has been accepted, says Atlanta Realtor® Bill Golden. That way, buyers can review this paperwork at about the same time that they typically hire a home inspector to check the property for any defects. In fact, disclosure statements can help point your inspector toward areas of a home you'd like to home in on, so try to read your disclosure statements before scheduling the inspection.

In certain areas, sellers might even hand buyers disclosure statements before an offer is made. But no matter what, it should be early enough to give buyers time to do their due diligence and spot problems that could make them reconsider whether this home is right for them.

What types of flaws must be disclosed?

Sellers are required to complete a variety of disclosure documents, which are often in the form of a government-issued checklist where they mark whether their home has (or once had) a variety of problems such as the following:

Windows that don’t close or doors that stick

Faulty foundation or leaky roof

Problems with appliances or home systems like the HVAC

Repairs made on any of the above as well as insurance claims

Renovations completed without a permit

Pest or mold infestations

Environmental hazards in the area (e.g., floods and wildfires)

The federal government requires certain disclosures anywhere in the U.S., like the existence of lead-based paint, asbestos, or other clear health and safety risks. However, states and counties also have their own particular laws on which issues must be disclosed. For instance, some states require sellers to disclose nearby sexual offenders, while others do not. Some require a death on the property to be disclosed, especially if it was a murder, while others leave you to do that kind of sleuthing yourself.

If buyers (and their real estate agent) read a disclosure document and see nothing to worry about, they sign off on it before moving one step closer to sealing the deal. If, on the other hand, buyers spot something worrisome, it's in their interests to delve further.

What to do if a disclosure reveals something bad

If you spot something on a disclosure statement that you don't understand or that raises concerns, have your real estate agent bring it up with the sellers (or their listing agent). In some cases, they might have an explanation that puts you at ease (i.e., "we had bedbugs back in 2012 but hired an exterminator and have been free and clear ever since"). Or, if the issue makes you seriously question whether you want to move forward, this could be an opportunity to renegotiate the sales price to compensate for the added risk you're taking on buying this home. At worst, you can always back out of the deal without penalty -- meaning you won't have to forfeit your earnest money deposit. And if you happen to find a problem that should have been disclosed but wasn't, that's all the more reason to consider carefully whether you want to move forward. After all, if sellers covered one thing up, what else could they be hiding?

However, keep in mind that the sellers are required to reveal only all known problems. That's key. Sellers aren't typically held responsible for problems they aren’t aware of. And that's just one more reason why buyers absolutely should get a home inspection to root out any potential problems themselves.

But all in all, smart sellers inform buyers of everything they need to know upfront. While property disclosures exist mainly to protect the buyer from getting a lemon, this paperwork protects the seller, too.

“If sellers disclose everything they know about the house, a buyer can't come back to them later saying they weren't told about an issue,” says Golden.

Property disclosure statements save everyone time, hassle, and expense by preventing deals from falling apart -- and that benefits both buyers and sellers.


If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase a home in the Apopka, Orlando, or Central Florida area, please contact Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, Toll# 877-333-2811, Cell# 407-252-8092, joe@rockspringsrealty.com or visit my website at www.rockspringsrealty.com

You can also search all homes on the My Florida MLS system by clicking on the following link: http://www.idxre.com/homesearch/86960

Posted in General Posts
June 23, 2017

How Much Are Mortgage Fees? The Costs That Come With Your Loan | Central Florida Real Estate Blog

As reported on www.realtor.com by Audrey Ference | Jun 20, 2017

When shopping for a home, it seems like there's something to pay for at every step of the way. To get your mortgage approved—thereby allowing you to actually buy your house—you'll have to pay mortgage fees. The most common mortgage fees also fall under the umbrella of closing costs, those expenses you pay when you close on your house that help facilitate the sale (i.e., the appraisal fee, the title search, and the processing fee). Although it's difficult to put an exact figure on the mortgage fees (they vary from state to state) you can expect to pay, there are some costs that almost every mortgage has in common. We spoke with Amy Bailey Oehler of PrimeLending about what they are and how much money a home buyer should plan on paying for the loan.

Mortgage fees you're likely to pay

Appraisal ($450 to $650): An appraisal by a licensed appraiser will almost always be required by the lender. The price varies depending on the size of the property and the type of loan you're getting. "A lot of lenders will require payment for the appraisal upfront," says Oehler. "The appraisal fee goes directly to the appraiser. If the loan doesn't close, but the appraisal was completed, then the appraisal fee is nonrefundable."

Closing fee ($300 to $600): A representative from the title company will come to your closing to supervise the transfer of title, and you'll have to pay for the service. Credit report fee ($25 to $50): This is the fee to pull your credit report.

Inspection ($450 to $500): The inspection isn't a requirement for the loan, but it is highly, highly recommended. This is another cost that is paid before you reach the closing table. Generally, you can negotiate either fixes, concessions, or a drop in sales price based on any problems the inspector finds.

Lender's title insurance (usually 0.5% of the purchase price): This protects your lender if something was missed in the title search. The cost depends on the size of the policy and is set by the state. Survey ($350 to $500): Most states require a survey of your property before you can get a loan. If a survey doesn't already exist that can be used, you'll have to pay someone to do it.

Title search ($300 to $600): Your lender will do a search to ensure there are no liens on the property or anything that could prevent you from purchasing it. Sometimes this will be bundled with other title fees in your closing document.

Mortgage fees you might have to pay

Application fee ($100): Some lenders charge a small fee when you submit your application. This is also sometimes bundled with the origination costs.

Attorney fee ($150 to $500): In some states, you bring your own attorney to the closing table; in other states, you don't. If not, the lender might need to consult an attorney to look at closing documents or contracts. Flood certification ($5 to $10): This tells the lender if the home is in a flood zone.

Homeowner's title insurance ($1,000 on average): You aren't required to take out a title insurance policy for yourself, but it's highly recommended. If any liens were missed during the title search, you will be on the hook for any costs to clear them unless you have this insurance.

Origination or processing fee ($300 to $1,500): This fee covers the cost to prepare your mortgage. Sometimes you won't be charged this fee at all. Make sure to read your Loan Estimate and Final Closing Disclosure carefully to see if/where you are being charged. Points (1% of your total mortgage): Points are lender fees paid to reduce your interest rate. These are different from "origination points," which are just another way of presenting mortgage origination fee

Underwriting fee ($400 to $600): This fee is paid to your lender to cover the cost of researching whether or not to approve you for the loan. Some lenders bundle together the underwriting with origination fees or processing fees. Wire or courier fees ($30 to $100): If documents need to be sent overnight or money needs to be wired, you'll pay these fees at closing.

How to reduce mortgage fees

As with any deal, the best way to cut mortgage costs is to shop around for the best deal. Some lenders charge more for their services, and if the overall rate isn't any better, look for someone with lower fees.

Also, make sure you understand every fee you're being charged. There might be some optional fees you can choose to waive—just don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Saving $500 on an inspection could cost you big in repairs later. If you have an FHA loan, you can sometimes use your loan to pay for closing costs, but be aware that it could increase your interest rate.

Another potential way to save is through bank loyalty programs. Sometimes if you get a loan from the bank you have other accounts with you can reduce your origination costs. If you are a veteran, you can qualify for a Veterans Affairs loan, which requires no down payment and has lower closing costs overall.

To save cash, you can always try to negotiate with the seller to pay some of your closing costs. Depending on how motivated the sellers are to close on their property, they might be willing to pay title fees, points, and even transfer taxes.


If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase a home in the Apopka, Orlando, or Central Florida area, please contact Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, Toll# 877-333-2811, Cell# 407-252-8092, joe@rockspringsrealty.com or visit my website at www.rockspringsrealty.com

You can also search all homes on the My Florida MLS system by clicking on the following link: http://www.idxre.com/homesearch/86960

Posted in General Posts
June 22, 2017

It's About to Become Easier to Qualify for a Mortgage - Here's Why | Central Florida Real Estate Blog

As reported on www.realtor.com by Clare Trapasso | Jun 20, 2017


We're living in expensive times—when a bottle of fresh juice can run you $5, rents and home prices are soaring, and the bills never seem to stop piling up. But aspiring homeowners might soon get a break as it becomes a little easier for those with student, credit card, and car loan debt to qualify for a mortgage.

Fannie Mae plans to increase its allowable debt-to-income ratio from 45% to 50% on July 29. This means that more borrowers on the cusp of getting a loan (e.g., millennial, first-time, and lower- to moderate-income borrowers carrying more debt) could potentially qualify for a mortgage backed by Fannie. The debt-to-income ratio is calculated by taking a potential borrower's monthly gross income and dividing it by the borrower's recurring debts such as monthly car payments. Lenders use this ratio to figure out if borrowers can afford to make their mortgage payments each month.

Fannie made the change after analyzing years of data that looked at the ability of borrowers to make their monthly payments. After this analysis, Fannie can "more accurately predict the risk of default among potential borrowers," and it determined that increasing the ratio "will enable more qualified borrowers to get a mortgage loan," said spokesman Pete Bakel in a statement.

"They’re trying to make more loans available," says mortgage loan originator Don Frommeyer of Marine Bank, in Indianapolis. "When interest rates go up, the debt ratios go up. And that limits the number of people who can buy a house." Fannie, which purchases and guarantees mortgages, was already granting ratios of up to 50% with certain conditions—such as if the borrowers had deeper cash reserves, underwent financial counseling, or had higher incomes. The change opens the door to borrowers with more debt who can't meet those conditions.

Your bank might have its own debt-to-income ratios

However, not everyone will be benefit from the change. Fannie Mae insures mortgages, but it's still banks, credit unions, and other financial entities that make the loans—and those lenders have their own criteria.

But the increased debt allowance could encourage more lenders to make changes to their debt-to-income ratios. And that could help more buyers on the brink.

"The best thing the consumer can do is ask the lender if they underwrite to Fannie Mae guidelines," says longtime mortgage broker Jeff Lazerson, based in Laguna Niguel, CA. If they don't, “you [might] just have to find another lender. Or maybe you push back on that lender" to see if it'll raise the limits.

Lower debt-to-income ratios won't help everyone

A higher debt ratio isn't a silver bullet for loan seekers, though.

"Mortgage borrowers need to keep in mind, it's the person’s whole application that will determine whether or not they get approved," says Eric Tyson, co-author of "Mortgages for Dummies."

"If you don’t have a good credit score, if you don’t have a sufficiently large down payment, it won’t change the outcome of your application. Buyers who can't qualify, even with the higher ratios, should consider other alternatives.

"Most people are looking to buy at the high end of their budget. They want to qualify for as much house as they can get, partly because homes are so expensive to begin with," says Lazerson, who is also a mortgage columnist.

"They could look for a smaller-sized property [with a] lower sales price. They could find a co-signer, someone who they trust, usually a family member or a close friend," Lazerson says. "Or [they could] come up with more down payment money."



If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase a home in the Apopka, Orlando, or Central Florida area, please contact Joe Bornstein, Broker, Rock Springs Realty, Toll# 877-333-2811, Cell# 407-252-8092, joe@rockspringsrealty.com or visit my website at www.rockspringsrealty.com

 You can also search all homes on the My Florida MLS system by clicking on the following link:  http://www.idxre.com/homesearch/86960

Posted in General Posts