Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Downpayment Assistance Funds now Available in Texas thru TDHCA

Great News! TDHCA has replenished their downpayment assistance funds available to First Time Home Buyers. This is a below market interest loan that you get in order to make your down payment and it is a deferred, forgivable 2nd line for up to 4%. There are income limits and you will need to have decent credit. Visit for more information.

Contact me if you would like to speak with a lender to see if you qualify. That is your first step.

Of course, the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit is also available to you if you have a home under contract by 4/30/10, so don't wait - get started now and buy your First Home!

Contact me if you would like to receive a FREE First Time Homebuyer handbook - we will mail it to you right away.

Sue Ellett, Broker-Associate
Texas Affordable Housing Specialist

Great Austin and the Highland Lakes Areas.

I can refer you to a qualified First Time Home Buyer trained agent in other areas of Texas too.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Are Interest Rates Going Up? Should I buy now?

It's a great time to buy and a great time to get a home mortgage loan at great rates. .

Thinking of buying a home? Interest rates are not likely to get any lower than they are today. In fact, it is likely in the near future that they will go up. Why?

The Federal Government agreed to buy mortgage backed securities. By doing so, they are essentially keeping mortgage rates artificially low. They are due to stop this program soon, possibly as early as this Spring. What does that mean?

Basically without the Federal government buying these securities, who is going to buy them? Usually it's investors. And, while the government is willing to take a lower interest rate, most investors are not, hence rates will go up.

What does this mean to you? If you are thinking of buying a home, your purchasing power is greater with a lower interest rate. For instance, a $100,000 mortgage loan at 5.5% is
$568 /month over 30 years. At 6.5%, it jumps to $632 /month. For many people that will be the difference between qualifying or not qualifying, between buying the house you want or buying a less expensive home.

Couple all that with the First Time Home Buyer or General Home Buyer Tax Credits and it won't get any better than this. So, if you are thinking of buying, now is the time. Interest rates are low, prices are great and there are many motivated sellers (you have to be under contract by the end of April, 2010).

If you are a First Time Homebuyer, let us know your mailing address and we'll be happy to send you a FREE First Time HomebUyer Booklet which outlines the process. Plus we have another brochure about Buying versus Renting.

One of your first steps may be to get Pre-Qualified. Coldwell Banker Mortgage is offering a unique program where they offer you pre-purchase rate protection. The great thing about this program is that you can lock in when you start looking rather than waiting until you find something (your rate cannot be locked until you are under contract). Here's how it works:

Our Four to the Door mortgage program gives them an effective way to limit rate risk. At the start of our simple four-step process, you simply tell the lender that they want Pre-Purchase Rate Protection. Depending on where interest rates are, their rate will be capped at a certain level— and whatever happens to rates, you won’t pay more than that cap. On the other hand, if rates go down in the meantime they can still benefit: we offer a one-time “float down” — an opportunity to lock at a lower rate before closing. So whichever way interest rates go, you are protected.

Call or email us today. My Team and I would be happy to help in the great Austin and Highland Lakes areas including Marble Falls, Burnet and Horseshoe Bay areas. We belong to both the Austin and the Highland Lakes MLS systems.

Good Luck!

Sue Ellett, Broker-Associate
Paragon Property Group Team
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors

Thursday, December 10, 2009

203B Mortgage Program - Buy a Fixer Upper & Roll in the Improvement Costs

Just because a home needs work, you don't have to rule it out as a candidate to buy. The FHA Section 203k program is specifically designed to rehabilitate and repair single-family homes. The 203k is a single mortgage loan that provides funds to purchase a home and make repairs and improvements.

In many cases, homes that would qualify for the 203k loan are in good areas but have issues more to do with aesthetics than big structural issues, for instance. The 203B program—because the home improvements are built into the loan—opens the whole market to the more home buyers.

For more information on the 203k loan program, visit or

At Paragon Property Group, we are always looking for new ways to help you buy the home of your dreams, whether in the greater Austin area or in the Highland Lakes areas of Marble Falls/Horseshoe Bay/Burnet. There are some good deals out there and interest rates are low, plus the home buyer incentives from the Federal Government make it a really great deal.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Guidelines for Collecting Your Tax Credit for First Time Home Buyers

New form and new guidelines for collecting your Tax Credit

Are Rate Hikes Coming?

Are Rate Hikes Coming?

The last thing the struggling housing sector of the economy needs is escalating mortgage interest rates, however recent comments from Fed Chairman Bernanke have many traders concerned that rate hikes are on the way. Bernanke indicated the Fed would cut back and close emergency lending programs as the markets normalize. The reaction to these remarks was fast and furious as mortgage interest rates quickly rose higher.

While it is almost inevitable that the Fed will eventually raise rates, the question still remains is WHEN? Many took Bernanke’s remarks as a warning of things to come sooner rather than later.

Despite the recent rate increases last week rates remain historically very favorable. Lower rates are not guaranteed and floating in this environment is very risky.

What does this mean to you? It means that if you are thinking of buying a home and, particularly buying a home and using the Tax Credit for First Time Buyers, you need to act QUICKLY. Rates are likely to rise in the new year and the tax credit deadline for having a contract in place in April 30th, 2010.

Contact Paragon Property Group for more information about homes in the greater Austin area or in the Highland Lakes area including Marble Falls, Burnet, Kingsland, Granite Shoals, Sunrise Beach and Horseshoe Bay. There are many affordable homes out there...don't let this opportunity pass you by.

Isn't it time you owned your own home?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Improve Your Credit Score

Here are a few tips to help improve your credit score. Remember, interest rates are based upon your credit score, so the higher your score, the lower your rate, usually:

1. Review your report for accuracy - you should look at it at least once a year - each of the three credit bureaus will send you one report per year FREE. Make sure the information is about you and only you - if you have a common name, your records could be mixed up with someone with the same or a similar name.

2. Repair any credit report mistakes - if you find something that is incorrect or missing from your report, dispute the information with the credit bureau directly. They are required to investigate any disputes, generally within 30 days of the request.

3. Don't cancel old cards or get a lot of new ones in a short time span, it will hurt your score - the length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your total score.

4. PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME - this is probably one of the most important things that you can do and accounts for 35% of your total score. If you are having trouble paying on time, call the creditors and work out a payment schedule with them - VERY IMPORTANT!

5. Keep your credit balances below 25% of the available credit total. High average balances impact your score. This can account for as much as 30% of your total score.

6. The fewer credit requests, the better. Too many and you will get dinged for too many inquiries. This accounts for 10% of your score. If you are trying to get a new home loan, don't apply for any other credit such as a car loan, credit cards or other.

7. If you have an account in collections and pay it off, it will not be removed from your credit report - it will stay on there for 7 years. However, once you have passed the 7 year mark, be sure to contact the credit bureaus to get the item removed.

8. Rather than moving credit card debt from one card to another, pay it off. It may be actually hurt your score to owe the same amount and change to fewer open accounts.

9. Be careful with credit repair agencies - You don't have to pay anyone to repair negative items on your creidt file - you can do this yourself for FREE.

For more information about your situation, talk to your mortgage lender to find out how your credit score can be improved.

Call or email us if you are thinking of buying a home in Texas, our preferred lenders will be happy to pre-qualify you and help you make some decisions on what you need to do to improve your score if you need to increase your score to qualify.

Sue Ellett, Broker-Associate Coldwell Banker United Realtors

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lock in for Best Interest Rates for your First Home

I'm re-posting this information from our Coldwell Banker Mortgage Broker - I tend to agree with her that interest rates are at their lows and will start to go up once the FED stops purchasing mortgage backed securities, possibly as early as this Spring.

Now is the time to buy in order to lock in the lowest rates.
Plus, you can take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit if you put a home under contract before April 30, 2010.

I can recommend Adrienne as a mortgage broker - she is very conscientious and can get you a pre-approval quickly and over the phone. Always get a pre-approval letter before you look to buy. My Team and I would love to help you with all of your Real Estate Needs throughout the Highland Lakes, Central Texas Hill Country and Greater Austin Areas.

Sue Ellett, Broker-Associate, Paragon Property Group - Coldwell Banker United, Realtors

I normally stick to the facts in the weekly newsletter but this week I’m going to give you my opinion at no extra charge.
Here’s what I know and believe…
  • The 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates dropped this week to match a record low set in April.
  • The 15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates fell to a new all-time low.
  • While FHA is still a solid 1/2% higher then it’s conventional counterpart it’s still a very low rate.
  • The Fed has almost finished purchasing all the mortgage backed securities that they agreed to buy earlier in the year in order to subsidize mortgage rates
  • Typically mortgage interest rates go against the stock market. A bad day on Wall Street is typically a good day for mortgage rates and visa versa.
  • On March 2nd the DOW dropped to 6626 and Rates are around 5.125 and a point
  • 4 months later on July 6th the DOW went up to 8146, a jump of 23% in 4 months, yet rates only moved up a π%
  • 5 months later here we are with a DOW over 10,300, another jump of 27%, and rates moved DOWN to the lowest in recorded history?
I believe that the FED has been successful in artificially driving rates down but that’s about to come to an end.

My personal belief is that without federal intervention interest rates will begin their rise upward imminently. We have a tool that no one else in the market place has…Pre-Purchase Rate Protection.
If rates move even a 1/4 to 3/8 in the next 60 days customers, who are in rate protection will win big.

We’re the only game in town protecting customers while they look for a house!

Adrienne Austin
Senior Mortgage Advisor
Coldwell Banker Mortgage
Cell: 512/539-7721 <>