FHA Appraisal Guidelines and Requirements for 2018

What Is a Home Appraisal?

When using an FHA loan to purchase a house, an appraisal will need to be done before the loan can close.

A home appraisal is an estimate of the current market value of a property. When a property is purchased or refinanced a home appraisal is almost always required.

FHA Lenders use the appraisal to calculate the loan-to-value ratio of the loan. And to make sure the borrower is not paying more than the fair market value of the home.

This not only protects the borrower but the lender as well.

If you’re a first-time buyer, or seller it’s important you know about the different factors that a home appraiser looks at.

Who Pays for the Appraisal and How Much are they

The FHA buyer will pay for the appraisal upfront before closing. The average FHA appraisal costs are between $300-$500 according to the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR). If you’re applying for an FHA streamline refinance the FHA guidelines do not require a home appraisal.

Main factors that affect the cost of an FHA appraisal

  • Square footage of the home
  • Property type
  • Location of the subject property
  • How much land is included in the property
  • Homes with extensive damage or repairs
  • The individual or company doing the appraisal

What FHA Appraisers look at

When buying a home using an FHA loan, you will be required to get an FHA appraisal. First, the home appraisal is ordered by the mortgage lender. Next, the appraiser will perform a basic inspection of the property to make sure it meets the HUD property standards for FHA loans. In order for real estate to be classified as FHA approved it must pass the FHA property guidelines set by HUD.

The FHA Appraisal Process

  • Inspect the property’s interior and exterior structure and quality
  • Ensure lead-based paint is not present
  • Check for cracks, leaks, and damage to the exterior
  • Walls and ceilings in good condition without cracks or holes
  • Check the quality of fixtures, plumbing, and appliances
  • Make note of any upgrades that may increase the value
  • Ensure the Landscape is in good condition
  • Check central heating and cooling systems
  • Take photos of the front, sides and back of the home. Along with photos of any upgrades that increase the home’s value
  • Photos showing the condition of the lot
  • Include a copy of the location map showing the comparable sales

HUD minimum property standards 2017

The Housing and Urban Development, or HUD requires the appraiser to check for various health and safety items as well as quality construction items to ensure the property meets HUD’s minimum property requirements and meets the HUD Handbook 4150.2 for hazards and adverse conditions such as:

FHA appraisal checklist

  • Must be a complete marketable property
  • Adequate heating system
  • Clear of any lead-based paints
  • No exposed electric wiring
  • Full exterior walls that are undamaged
  • No hazards in the home
  • Quality construction
  • Proper drainage
  • Quality roof not in need of repair
  • Safe and public access to the home Safe drinking water
  • Crawl spaces must have natural ventilation
  • Gas, water, sewage, and electric utilities available

FHA Appraisal Changes for 2017

The FHA 4000.1 Handbook has made new revisions in the past few years to make sure FHA home appraisals are more accurate. Regrettably, in the early 2000’s there were numerous inaccurate FHA appraisals done that inflated homes values to allow FHA lenders to close a loan more easily.

As a result, HUD has cracked down on this practice and has made some revisions to the appraisal process and minimum property standards (MPS) in the FHA 4000.1 HUD Handbook that went into effect on September 14th, 2015. These revisions must be met to qualify for FHA financing. These include many health and safety inspections.

FHA appraisers are now required to:

  • Ensure all appliances are operational
  • Fully access the attic space is able to do so
  • Check water heater functionality “Inspection” portion is not referred to as “observation”
  • A roof that needs to be replaced within 2 years must be reported
  • Analyze and report marketability of homes in Airport zones
  • Income appraisal approach must be considered. (High priced homes in low-income areas may have a lower market value)

How is the appraised value of a home determined?

An appraiser will determine the market value of a home by looking at comparable home sales in your area over the past 6 months. Next, they will compare the homes square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, condition of the home, and any special features. This information is included in the appraisal report and sent to the FHA-Approved lender.

How to increase home value for an appraisal

  • Clean and touch up interior walls and repair any damage
  • The landscape should be mowed. bushes and trees trimmed
  • Exterior paint should be in good condition without cracks
  • Clean the home top to bottom and remove all clutter
  • Touch up paint on moldings and doors
  • Open all the windows and blinds to allow more light in
  • Steam clean the carpets and polish tile or wood floors
  • Repair any damaged fixtures, door handles, fans and lights

Home inspections

A home inspection is not required for a home loan. The appraisal the lender receives is enough to show the property meets the FHA requirements. However, an FHA inspection is highly recommended. The appraisal does not check the certain health and safety features such as operating ceiling fans or light fixtures.

Home inspections will be much more in-depth and will point out anything that needs to be replaced, or will need to be replaced in the near future. The average home inspection cost is around $315 depending on the home’s square footage.

Check the HUD website for more information on home appraisals You can find more information on HUD guidelines for appraisals and minimum property requirements for FHA on the HUD website. You can also view the HUD minimum property standards for housing handbook on the official HUD website.

Are you ready to sell or buy a home? I am ready to help!

I will diligently market your property and ensure it’s priced to sell quickly.

Call me today to set up an appointment.

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

A Comprehensive List of All Secretary of State Websites 

When a property you’re interested in is owned by an LLC, quickly find the true owners by finding who’s “behind” the LLC with the appropriate Secretary of State website. This is a complete list of all of them.

Link: e-SecretaryOfState.com is your online link to the Secretary of State offices in every state!

Millennials are better at saving than you think

Saving is an important part of financial responsibility and it is a necessary for down payment funds in a new home. The up-and-coming generation of first-time home-buyers, known collectively as Generation Y or Millennials, do not have the best reputation for financial success.

But a recent report shows this poor reputation may not be entirely deserved, and they do not reserve this bad reputation.

Bank of America surveyed U.S. adults between the ages of 23 and 37 and found:
47% have at least $15,000 in savings in 2017, up from 33% in 2015; and
16% have at least $100,000 in savings in 2017, up from 8% in 2015.
Further, 67% of Millennials surveyed report sticking to their saving goals each month.

What are Millennials saving up for?

an emergency;
retirement; and
buying a house.

Millennials don’t always save together with their spouses or partners. Of the married couples who took the survey, 28% report keeping their finances separate from their spouse or partner.

It’s easy to understand why Millennials are so stressed about saving. They came of age during the worst financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression. Many saw their parents lose homes to foreclosure and many more are stuck with crippling student debt loads taken on during the long recession.

All this stress is paying off in the form of large savings — but is it enough?

Savings remain near historic lows

Nationally and across all adult age groups, the percentage of money individuals set aside in savings dipped to its lowest point in years at the end of 2017, to 2.7% of disposable personal income. The last time savings were this low was when homebuyer confidence was highest, right before the 2008 recession hit.

For comparison, today’s very low 2.7% savings rate is down from the recent peak of around 9% in 2012.

Low savings are the result of several factors working against the savings rate, including:
the inability of renters and homeowners to save as housing costs outpace incomes, and
the lack of interest in saving due to high confidence in the economy.

Further, savvy investors refuse to keep more than the bare minimum in savings accounts. That’s because savings accounts offer a low interest rate — usually around 1% — which doesn’t even keep up with inflation.

Saving alternatives include certificates of deposit (CDs) and bond funds, which offer slightly higher interest rates. These are good ways to save up for a down payment since these require the saver to commit to saving their money for a certain number of months or years before withdrawing and have penalties for withdrawing money early.

For savers with a more diverse set of financial goals, setting up dedicated retirement and college accounts offer higher rates of return, as well as tax benefits.

While overall savings remain low in 2018, Millennials are turning it around. As this generation sets their sight on homeownership, their smart saving strategies today will pay off big for the housing market in the coming years.

Need help navigating down payments? Contact me for assistance on getting the best advice!. 

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

Who is responsible for maintenance of boundary fences and trees?

Most properties have three property lines setting the common boundaries with adjacent
properties owned by others. A fourth property line usually sets the frontage on a public right of way, such as a street.

The location of the common property lines is typically represented by common boundary improvements such as shrubbery or trees. When setting up, maintaining or removing common boundary improvements, the adjacent property owners’ rights depend on the type of improvement.

Common boundary improvements, other than trees, located on a property line between adjacent properties are called party walls.

Types of party walls include:

• boundary fences;

• driveways; and

• ditches.

Owners of adjoining properties are presumed to benefit equally from boundary fences.

Under this legal presumption, all adjoining owners are equally responsible for constructing, maintaining and replacing boundary fences.

The responsibility for constructing, maintaining or replacing boundary fences may be altered or removed only by:

• a written agreement between all affected owners; or

• an adjoining owner’s judicial petition to remove or alter their responsibility.

When trees mark a common boundary, each tree’s ownership is determined by the location of its trunk.

Solely owned trees belong to the owner of the property on which the entire trunk is growing. Trees growing on government-owned parcels, such as a right of
way for streets and sidewalks, belong to the local government, and thus the government is responsible for maintenance.

However, shrubbery or trees whose trunks stand partly on the land of two adjacent property owners belong to both adjacent owners. These trees are called line trees or common boundary trees.

Similar to maintaining a boundary fence, adjacent owners who own line trees are jointly responsible for maintaining the trees and, unless they agree to an alternate arrangement, share equal costs.

To avoid disputes, adjacent property owners need to consider entering into an agreement detailing how they will handle the maintenance of boundary trees.

 

Are you thinking about selling, or just curious about the value of your home? Call me today for a free home value estimate.

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

How can I prepare for the final walk-through?

The final walk-through of the property you are set to purchase is your last chance to confirm that all agreed-to repairs are complete and that nothing has materially changed since your home inspection.

The final walk-through happens shortly before closing. It will likely take you and your
agent an hour or less to complete. Also, be sure to bring a copy of your home inspection
and final purchase agreement so you know which specific repairs to review.

Here is a list of what to look for when doing the final walk-through:

1.  Ensure agreed-to repairs have been made.

2.  Check that all appliances and fixtures to be included in the home purchase
are present.

3.  Ensure no trash or unwanted items left by the seller are present.

4. Check for the presence of mold or standing water in all the rooms, including
the bathrooms, the kitchen, near the water heater and the laundry room.

5.  Test all of the home’s systems, including the heater, air conditioner, appliances,
garage door and doorbell.

6.  Check the outlets by bringing along your cellphone charger.

7. Walk around the exterior of the home to ensure the landscaping is intact and no
exterior damage has occurred.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask questions! I will be there at the final walk-through to provide answers and help you if issues arise.

Are you thinking about selling, or just curious about the value of your home? Call me today for a free home value estimate.

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

 

 

All About The St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Pot of Gold!

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that honours St. Patrick and celebrates all things, Irish. Every year on March 17th, some people dress up in green and look for shamrocks, while others try to catch the elusive St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun.

The Leprechaun is an Irish Fairy.

The St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun is an Irish fairy. Most fairies are delicate and pretty, but this one sure isn’t! He looks like an old man and stands at around two feet tall. Dressed in head-to-toe green, he has a pair of pointy ears and carries a big stick, which he uses to scare anyone who tries to steal his gold. He prefers to be alone and spends his time either making shoes or searching for gold.

Leprechaun’s Job

This leprechaun is one lucky guy. How else would you explain the fact that he finds the pot of gold at the end of every rainbow? With that much gold, he can travel around the world as many times as he wants or buy anything his heart desires – and still have lots of dough left over.

The St. Paddy’s Day leprechaun isn’t the best-looking guy around. He’s old, wrinkly, short and a little green. On top of all that, he’s cursed! If you catch sight of him and keep your eyes locked, he can’t escape from your clutches. You can even force him to reveal the secret location of his precious pots of gold and he’ll have no choice but to spill the beans! But this sneaky leprechaun has a lot of tricks up his sleeve to make you look away just long enough for him to vanish, so you’ll never know the whereabouts of his hidden treasures.

Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold?

Do you know why you can never find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? It’s because this little fellow is always one step ahead of you and gets to it first! He has a huge stash of gold hidden away somewhere, making him the richest holiday figure around.

Have you ever seen him? Let me know!

Thinking about selling? Take advantage of the hot market this Saint Patrick’s Day!

Have you thought about listing your home for sale?

If you’ve been wondering whether now is the best time, wonder no further — inventory is low in your neighbourhood, prices are up and buyers are looking to buy. It’s a seller’s market, and that’s where you come in!

List your home this Saint Patrick’s Day and come away with a pot of gold.

Have questions? Interested in making more green by selling your home in this hot market? Please call today!

Stella Bonin
Associate Broker

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

 

The Insurance Adjuster Is Not Your Friend!

 
When an accident occurs does not matter if it is your fault or another party’s negligence and you are injured or a loved one is killed, you must expect that the insurance company will reach out to you regarding your claim.

This is true for any type of accidents including:

Auto, Home (Disasters, Fire, Property, Accidents & Liability), Product liability, Dog bites, Medical malpractice and other accidents involving someone else’s negligence

Insurance adjusters do reach out as quickly as they can, but they do not have any intention not to help you. They act so fast because they want to get through to you before you have had time to think about your accident, related expenses, or hiring a lawyer to help you. They want to resolve the issue before you have had time to realize the extent of injuries you have suffered.

Adjusters are hired for their friendly or pretending to be friendly personality. They are engaging, conversational and approachable. They may seem very friendly and very concerned about you, but do not believe them. The last thing they care about is about you or you condition or if you will recuperate. They are not employed to help you or your situation. They work exclusively to maintain the best interests of the insurance company that employs them and be sure that you get the less money possible.

Ten Most Common Tricks Used By Insurance Adjusters to Deny Your Case

Below are the ten most common tricks used by insurance adjusters to devalue, diminish or deny your case:

– Promising to get a fair settlement for you while claiming to be on your side. They will sweet talk you to believe them.

– The adjuster is working in his or her own best interests, as well as those of the insurance company. Never working in your best interest.

– Their salary, security and future with the company depend on the outcome of their cases and how much money they have saved their company. The less that they pay you will secure their jobs.

– This means that your needs are not a priority, as your needs and what the company needs are opposed. Never think that you are important for them.

– Advising you to not get a lawyer and trying to get a settlement before you get one. It is very common that they will do anything to convince you don’t hire a lawyer.

– The adjuster knows that an attorney will make their job more difficult, as a lawyer will not let them get away with paying you less than you deserve. A lawyer will make difficult to rip off you.

– Negotiating a settlement is never easy and the insurance adjuster knows that as long as you do not have an attorney, they will get what they want out of your case. No having an attorney you will settle for less.

– Asking for a recorded statement. In the first conversation with you they will as for authorization to record the conversation.

– Adjusters want you to say something that will derail your side of the case, even if it can be taken out of context. They will try to set you up with an answer that was not what you were going to give.

– Even just saying you are “fine” when asked how you are doing in regular conversation with the adjuster can be used against you, if you are claiming injuries after a car accident.

– Asking you to sign authorization for the adjuster to obtain your medical records. This is done almost immediately after your claim.

– By signing the authorization for your medical records, the adjuster can learn all sorts of personal details about you.This is very important for them to check if it is anything in your medical history that can be used to deny your claim.

-Whatever they find can be used against you, even creatively. They will visit you and try to chat with you again and again.

-They want to discredit you and show that your injury is false or from prior issues. If you have prior issues they will want to use those against you.

– Very Important! You should never sign records over without your lawyer’s advice to do so.

-Having you agree to a quick settlement with signing of a full release.

-You may be offered an on-the-spot small settlement in exchange for signing a full release from other damages.

-Because this often happens even on the scene of the accident, you will not have had time to realize the full extent of your injuries.

-Delaying payment of your claim. The most that they delay the most frustrated that you will feel and you will settle for less.

-By delaying payment of your claim and making you endure the struggle of lost wages and medical expenses without compensation for a period of time, adjusters know that you will likely “crack” under the pressure and sign for a lesser amount than you deserve, just to gain the quickest payment possible.

-Conducting surveillance. They will follow you day and night. Even if you go to Mexico they will cross the border following you.

-When you claim injury, the insurance company will most often hire investigators to watch you and even videotape or photograph your movement and activities. They will sit in front of your home or employment to see all your activities.

-They do this to disprove your injuries. If you go for a jogging or pick you something they got you doing something that you don’t suppose to be doing if you were injured.

-The key is that in that case and you should not claim injuries you do not have.

-But even in fully honest circumstances, creative photography can provide a false impression that you are not injured. Photoshop is a great tool in any field.

-Misrepresenting the insurance policy’s coverage available for your claim’s payment. You need to know your policy. 

-Adjusters are sometimes deceptive in downplaying the amount of insurance available for a claim. They will pay you less that the insurance company approved in your claim.

-There is often more coverage than they lead you to believe. Your insurer may deny that you have uninsured motorist coverage, something everyone in Arizona or California is offered when acquiring insurance.

-But if they cannot provide signed proof that you rejected this offer at the time of signing up with that insurance company, they must provide this coverage for you. Probably you don’t know what you signed as you don’t read the contract line by line when you signed it.

-Denying liability for paying a claim. It about making the insurance company money not helping you.

-There are a multitude of ways in which an insurance company may deny or limit their liability for paying a claim. They will be sure that they will convince you that it was your fault.

-The insurance company may try to say the accident was your fault, that you contributed to the accident, or that another party under another policy was at fault. Everything is about not paying you.

-Disputing your damages and medical needs or trying to attribute these to a pre-existing condition. This is very common for them to claim.

-Adjusters will often try to step into the role of licensed medical doctors and claim that provided treatments were unnecessary or took too long to provide. Remember they don’t want to pay you, and they will try anything for you don’t get pay.

-Insurance adjusters are not medically trained and are unqualified to make such claims.

A standard homeowners insurance policy covers a surprising range of incidents and expenses. It may also surprise you what isn’t covered. Knowing what’s covered and what isn’t is key to protecting yourself, your family and your pocketbook. Please check with your insurance agent in your state.

Disclaimer: I am not an insurance agent and I only writing about insurance adjusters because of personal and family experiences and my clients experiences. Plus I feel that we all need to know how to protect ourselves in case that we have or a love one has an accident.

Are you thinking about selling, or just curious about the value of your home? Call me today for a free home value estimate.

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

 

 

 

How to increase the lifespan of your house

Take your patio to the next level with these 5 tips

Patio

Take advantage of your outdoor patio year round by following these simple tips:

  1. Use low-maintenance plants to merge your indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly.
    Succulents are excellent because they require minimal watering, freeing you to take vacations worry-free.
  2. Add comfortable yet stylish seating for two or more, depending on the size of your space.
    Also consider a hammock for reading or napping.
    What use is a patio if you can’t sit down and enjoy it?
  3. Make your patio fun for all seasons.
    If your patio is covered, install a ceiling fan to cool it down in the summer.
    Stash blankets in a bench for cooler months, or purchase an outdoor heater.
  4. If your patio isn’t covered, then add an umbrella to block the sun and give you a cool place to recline.
  5. Purchase lanterns to brighten up your patio after dark. These hold candles and can hang or sit on tables or the ground. Alternatively, consider festive outdoor lighting or torches.

Thinking of selling soon? Thoughtful outdoor spaces can make a home more attractive to buyers. Contact me for more tips on getting your home ready to sell!

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”

Chimichurri Recipe (Uruguay & Argentina)

Chimichurri, it is a popular sauce and marinade in Latin America used with grilled meats especially chicken and beef.
Also chimichurri would pair well with seafood, pasta, and salads.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tbs. of water
4 tbs. of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. of red wine vinegar
2 lg clove of garlic, minced
1 small red chili finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped finely
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. of fresh thyme, chopped finely
1/8 tsp. of salt
1/8 tsp. of pepper

Directions:

For easier and faster results, use a food processor and pulsate everything until it is all blended.

If making this by hand,  mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Let the sauce stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

It can be prepared earlier than needed, and refrigerated for 24 hours.

I love it and I will add a couple of tablespoons over my chicken or fish to serve as I don’t eat red meat.

Preparation Time: 10-20 minutes

Call me today with questions about buying a home or listing your home!

Stella Bonin

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
480.797.4884 / 619.250.6214
stella.bonin@yahoo.com

I am licensed in California and Arizona and we have offices around the country.

California Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01222569
Arizona Department of Real Estate Lic. # BR550696000

“Equal Housing Opportunity”