We get plenty of reader comments and questions, but lately we've noticed a trend in the comments about a possible scam targeting people with VA mortgages. There's been an increase in questions asking about third-parties who contact home owners about their mortgages.
"I received a letter stating my VA Guaranteed loan had been targeted for inclusion in a VA IRRRL program…It includes a note implying that this program is tied to the Economic Stimulus Program. Can you give me some information about this?"
Borrowers should always be suspicious of communications like this–a note you get in the mail with language such as "your mortgage has been targeted for inclusion in this special program" could be an attempt to get additional information from you. It could also be a scam artist's way of trying to start a conversation with you. VA IRRRL paperwork is initiated by the borrower, not the government or a third party. It's an option the VA borrower has at his or her disposal and isn't a program the government uses to "target" home owners as part of an economic stimulus package.
Some home owners have a very good rule of thumb–they automatically disregard any offers or third-party contact about refinancing or "help" with their mortgages that the borrower did not initiate themselves. Your lender may periodically send you information on refinancing terms, special rates or other details–that's not the sort of contact that suspicious.
But when an unrelated third party (not your lender or the Department of Veterans Affairs) tries to convince you to initiate refinancing, a foreclosure avoidance arrangement or other agreements, it's best to contact the VA and your lender directly before proceeding. Not all third-party companies that try to reach you are scammers or con artists. But there are plenty of scams waiting to trap unsuspecting homeowners. When in doubt, always contact the Department of Veterans Affairs first to ask about the terms and conditions of a particular offer–you'll be glad you did. You can contact your nearest VA Regional Loan Center to learn more on housing scams and related issues.
Living in your own home opens the door to a full life. No matter what changes occur around us, we'll still have a special place. In our home we'll enjoy festivities with friends and family. But we'll also cherish quiet evenings there. We'll have space to store our favorite belongings, and room to nourish our interests and let our dreams grow. Remember that we're here to help you gain the most satisfaction from your home, by making sure your payments always are affordable.
Encouraging housing signs are popping up around the country, analysts say. Sales rose 7.7 percent in late summer compared to a year ago, reports the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, notes that while homes are becoming more affordable, rents are rising in many parts of the country. Real estate also is going back to reflecting the demand in local communities, rather than behaving like a single national marketplace.
Some neighborhoods are seeing home purchases – and prices – edging up. Many, however, are experiencing just slight changes in real estate values. You can research prices in your area to find spots where prices are rising, falling, or staying the same. Knowledge is power, and being aware of how prices are moving lets you plot an effective buying and selling strategy. Bidding wars are breaking out in some places, while too many properties for sale are tempting buyers with discounts on other streets. But what's most important is finding the right home for your household, at payments you can afford.
While it's important to know where house values are today, it's difficult to time the real estate market. Even seasonal factors can change the number of buyers, and affect pricing. Many commentators believe we'll experience some volatility before a sustained recovery kicks in. But if prices dropped further, and mortgage rates rose at the same time, prospective buyers would find their monthly payments moving higher. Count on us to provide you a mortgage offering payments which fit your budget. We'll help you make a smart purchase that you'll benefit from for years!
Bloomberg News states that "the lowest mortgage rates on record" are turning experts who had been bearish on housing "into optimists." One economist who predicted the housing bust now says, "prices may go lower, but not by much," according to Bloomberg. "Even if they do, you're still getting a good deal." Real estate values rose four straight months over this summer, states the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Data for the summer is the most recent available information.
Additionally, the Zillow Home Value Index recently showed its first national house price increase in five years. Buyers are finding that now is an excellent time to shop for a new home. A membership survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also reveals that agents are growing more positive about the real estate market. Most of these professionals report home prices in their communities are either steady or rising, says NAR.
One way to decide whether you should purchase real estate soon is by looking at the probable outcomes. It's a big positive if a house which would improve your daily living conditions also can be purchased with affordable payments. Refinancing into a new home loan with lower payments is another beneficial step to take. Of course, it's possible that mortgage rates could fall further in the future. Or homebuyers could discover that property values are inching down in coming months. No one can be sure what tomorrow's events will be.
For that reason, it's smart to take action if doing so makes sense now – and offers the prospect of ongoing advantages. It's unrealistic to believe we must wait until prices and rates are at their absolute lowest points before moving ahead. After all, there's no guarantee that real estate values and mortgage rates will drop in coming months. Or it's possible one could fall and the other rise, effectively negating a strategy of waiting.
Real estate investors also can calculate their projected rental income, tax benefits, and expenses to see whether it's smart to purchase now. Households buying a residence to live in need to find a home they love – and then step back and see if the property and financing truly suit their long-term needs. We'll answer all your questions and go over several loan options with you. Being able to make an informed decision allows you to move ahead with confidence.
Our emotions and psychology affect this process. Many consumers were more eager to buy real estate when prices were going up, compared to today. We tend to believe current trends will continue, and that our recent experiences show us what the future holds. Hopes and fears also can cause us to fluctuate between confidence and pessimism. Marketplace events combine with our emotions to produce price changes. Yet remember that household formation is the ultimate reason for home purchases. Market prices eventually will reflect housing demand.
Today's lower prices and excellent rates are setting the stage for a home buying rebound. Rising rents and stabilizing house prices are signs that this normal activity is occurring. Buyers are discovering bargains in our current market. While we can't predict where prices will be over the next few months, it's reasonable to argue that real estate values will advance in coming years. If you'd like to live in a better home soon, now is a great time to look into making that dream a reality. We'll go over your credit report with you, to correct any errors and spot other ways to boost your score. You'll then be ready to obtain a home loan on terrific terms, which will let you enjoy living in the house you want.
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