Love ‘em or hate ‘em, HOAs are here to stay.
Nearly 5 million people in Texas, or 20% of all homes, are in a Homeowners Association. The percentage is much higher in Collin County, where HOAs are the norm, due to our rapid growth and Planned Unit Developments over the last two decades.
For years there has been a power struggle between homeowners and HOAs. But new laws went into effect this year to give property owners more rights about use of their property.
Here are five property-related upgrades that the HOA can no longer prevent homeowners from doing:
- Installing a solar-energy device on the property.
- Installing and use of rain-harvesting devices.
- Displaying certain religious items on the entry of the property.
- Installing roof shingles that are wind and/or hail resistant, energy efficient, or solar generating.
- Flying the U.S., Texas, or a branch of the U.S. armed forces flag.
Bravo! Of course the HOA may place parameters on these rights.
Other big changes for the HOA takes on the charges and credits, how they can be applied and what the HOA is allowed to use as a basis for foreclosure.
Non-judicial HOA foreclosures are now prohibited. To foreclose, HOAs must use “expedited foreclosure” procedures to obtain a court order.
Learn more in this May 2012 article in Texas REALTORS® “Taming the HOA”
HOAs serve a purpose, that being to keep uniformity in the community, which helps keep up property values. They often care for common areas, community pools, recreational trails, tennis courts and open areas. I don’t want to confront my neighbor about his unsightly yard art or paint color — I’ll gladly pay the HOA to keep the community in line, fences stained, weeds pulled.
But don’t forget they are controlled by the homeowners — only IF the homeowners take control and get involved.
And keep your yard trimmed!
Norma Wall – 214-212-6770
With summer right around the corner, thoughts of outdoor entertainment and a sparkling pool can become a reality with the right planning — and the right loan.
Yes, there’s a loan that covers sprucing up your pool, adding an outdoor kitchen and expanding your home entertainment center – it’s the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation loan program – and it covers luxury items and improvements when other programs say “no way”.
Use it for improving your current home.
You can do those luxury backyard upgrades you’ve always wanted. Plus, carry the improvements to inside your home and replace outdated flooring, baths and kitchens, too.
This is a conventional loan which means the loan amount can go up to $417,000.00 and has a low down payment of 5%. Best of all unlike the FHA Rehab loans, luxury items ARE ALLOWED with the HomeStyle loan. This means that not only landscaping and new decking are allowed but with this loan you may add a pool, renovate an existing pool add an outdoor kitchen and even a sauna.
Use it to purchase and update a new family home.
There is no better time to remodel than before you actually move in. You can fully customize the home to your personal taste, do repairs and updates all at the same time – then move right in and enjoy. Maybe it has the perfect back yard but has required foundation and roof repairs. Not to worry, these can all be fixed using the HomeStyle loan too.
If you are an investor considering a property that needs a little work – the Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan is your answer as well.
At closing, all funds for renovation will be held in escrow in an interest-bearing account. After all renovation work is complete, any remaining funds in the escrow account will be used to pay down the principal balance of the mortgage.
Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage Highlights:
- Up to 95% LTV for owner occupied / 75% LTV for investment
- Gift funds allowed
- Renovation funds escrowed in an interest bearing account
- Multi-dwelling units and Condos are allowed (may be subject to additional requirements)
- Soft costs (architectural services, engineering, permit fees, etc.) may be financed
- Loans are underwritten to FNMA guidelines
- Credit score minimums range based on LTV requirements and income documentation requirements
- Pool and luxury item installation or repair allowed
- Mortgage insurance requirements are based on the LTV calculated using the after-improved value
- The HomeStyle Program is available for refinancing options as well as purchase financing
With the HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage – you can basically do any kind of repairs as long as the appraised value can support the repairs or improvements are common for the area. The repairs must be completed within 120 days and cannot be more than 50% of the final appraised value.
Looking for a home you can jazz with your own personal style? We can help.
We are Collin County real estate veterans and love to work with buyers!
Call North Point to jump-start your search 214-212-6770 or CLICK HERE.
There’s no substitute for a knowledgable Loan Officer who specializes in renovation loans. Contact Leesa Sandavol with Prime Lending 972-725-9190 – and tell her I said to call – she is always up to date on the in this highly specialized field. – Norma Wall, Broker
Will your north Texas home gain value over the next 12 months?
Nobody can know for sure, of course, but should recent housing trends continue, there’s concrete cause for optimism.
The housing economy has suffered since 2007, knocking home values down nearly 20% nationwide. And while some areas have fared better as compared to others but, in general, home values are down.
Mortgage rates are down, too, and that’s good news for buyers. The combination of low rates and low prices has led home affordability to an all-time high. As you’ll hear in this 4-minute interview with NBC’s The Today Show, carrying a mortgage costs 25% less per month as compared to just 3 years ago.
Some other notes from the interview include :
- There are more buyers out looking for homes today, which leads to more sales
- The housing market is expected to get gradually better, month-by-month, in 2012
- Foreclosures will continue to be a big part of the housing market
With housing supplies shrinking, buyers may find their best “deals” today — before the Spring Buying Season begins in February.
However, we can’t forget that housing markets are local — not national. Each town and neighborhood has its own market drivers and prices where you live may have already started to climb.
For accurate, up-to-date data on the housing market, talk with a North Point real estate agent. We have the later data.
By Norma Wall, Broker
I work with buyers. I work with sellers. I play fair. I expect others to play fair.
Sometime the rules of engagement swing a bit too far in favor of one party, and that causes what I refer to as “tail wags dog” syndrome.
One example of this, in my opinion, is a proposed change to the Texas Real Estate Contracts, that throws the seller under the bus, or in jail in his own property, and it goes as follows:
Under the current sales contract forms, the seller agrees to turn utilities on for inspections. Under the proposed changes, the seller agrees to have the utilities on during the entire time the property is under contract.
The following is a copy of an email I sent to firstname.lastname@example.org regarding proposed change:
I am strongly opposed to this change.
Many sellers have moved to other states. Many properties are vacant, distressed, short sales or foreclosures.
Keeping utilities on during the entire contract period is not a good practice from a property preservation or economic standpoint. This requirement would place an unnecessary hardship on the seller.
It is important to shut off utilities after inspections to protect the property. The most common problem is undetected water leaks that can flood the entire property from something as simple as a commode seal, or a visitor who leaves a commode running. Hot water heaters are another common problem. Vandals recently stole pipe from outside water faucets on one of my foreclosures and the water ran in the back alley for several days before it was detected.
P.S. – We’re in STAGE 3 DROUGHT – how much water do you think is lost simply because of vacant properties?
Many banks have specific requirements that their foreclosed properties be WINTERIZED from the moment of possession, year round. They must be dewinterized for the inspection and winterized again immediately after the inspections, year round. There is no option or negotiation.
Listing agents on foreclosures normally pay the utilities and file for reimbursement from the banks; many banks will only pay if invoices are submitted within 21 days of closing – the city water departments take twice that long to bill. The listing agent is stuck paying utility bills and not getting reimbursed.
From an economic standpoint (regardless of showing instructions or real estate guidelines) the selling agent and/or his buyer will enter the property and leave lights on, AC or heat blasting, running the utility bills. Banks have limits on how much they will pay, and careless actions like this run the expenses far above the amount allowed by the seller – in which case the listing agent is held responsible for the overage.
I’ve personally had to change the keybox combo to keep them out of the property without making an appointment. One agent in particular kept giving his client the combo so many times that I had to change the keybox 4 times before we closed!
Please consider these issues before making a final decision.
Norma J. Wall
Broker 0425586 | North Point Realty | 214-212-6770
By Norma Wall, Broker
Scanner Pro puts power in your pocket. Regardless of the horse power you have at your office or home, there comes a time when you need to take action “right now” and Scanner Pro could save the day – as it has for me.
I realized the value one day at lunch. It was a simple lunch meeting with a new relo buyer client.
The food had just been delivered to the table when I got a 911 text from my assistant. She needed a page from a document I had with me and the deadline to submit was 30 minutes away.
Scanner Pro to the rescue!
With apologies to my client, I took the page out of my briefcase, laid it on the table and with a click of my iPhone, created a scan of the page to forward to my assistant – problem solved! And it actually made a good impression on my client. Before we left the table she had Scanner Pro on her phone, too.
Scanner Pro is a sweet little app that is fast and simple to use. It allows you to adjust for a variety of documents and creates a reasonably legible image.
Scanner Pro can make your life easier in so many ways. You can scan multiple page documents, email them, upload to storage files such as Dropbox and others. I scan receipts on the spot. I’ve even pulled off the highway to scan/email something that was not so much an emergency as a convenience. It cuts my “to do” list down to nothing.
The cost is about $7, and there may even be a FREE version. My problem is to remember that I have it with me and make use of it more often.
If you’re using this or similar smart phone apps, let me know some of your best time-savers. Appreciate your share!