Mortgage Qualification. What You Should Know.

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you are likely aware that the financial crisis a few years ago has led to changes in qualifying for a mortgage.

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As a result to the downturn in the economy, mortgage lenders were forced to tighten their belts on approving new home loans to prevent foreclosures and the like. These changes have led potential home buyers to be reluctant in their efforts to buy a home, for fear of being rejected. That said, government-backed programs have been added for first-time home buyers with subprime credit scores to get mortgage insured via the Federal Housing Administration. With this, home buyers are able to put down as little as 3.5 percent of the home’s purchase price, rather than the popular theory that the down payment needs to be 20 percent of the purchase price or more.

So, what will lenders look at when you’re putting together your loan application? 

-credit scores
-loan-to-value ratios
-income
-debt load
-overall financial portfolio health

The good news is, that even if your financial health isn’t the best, you may still have options to buy a home. Some banks have lowered the minimum credit scores, or FICO scores, for loans that are backed by the government, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

There are also alternative lending sources, such as community banks, who use a “common sense” approach to loan approval, which can give hope to buying a home.

If you’ve been thinking of buying a home and aren’t sure if it’s “the right time,” contact your Realtor and discuss the pre-approval process. And, when the time is right, we welcome you to contact us. We have been in the business for 125 years…providing title insurance, escrow and closing needs to clients. We work hard to close your home purchase quickly and efficiently, with the utmost attention to detail. We look forward to working with you!

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Free Concert at Hoosier Park on Friday the 13th!

If you’re making plans for Valentine’s Day weekend, you should know that Hoosier Park is hosting a free concert with Restless Heart. The concert is on Friday, February 13th at 9 p.m.

hoosier parkAward-winning Restless Heart is made up of country music stars John Dittrich, Greg Jennings, Paul Gregg, Dave Innis, and Larry Stewart. They have over 25 singles on the charts, with six consecutive #1 hits and numerous awards.

Tickets are not required; seating will be first come first serve!

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What IS Title Insurance?

Do you ever wonder what it is that we do over here at Rowland Title?

rtc logoWell, it is our job to protect home buyers when buying a home. For example, as a homeowner, you have the option of two types of title policies. Typically, a mortgage lender will require a lender’s title insurance policy, which protects the mortgage on the home. As the buyer, you also have the option to an owner’s title insurance policy. This policy protects your financial investment in your home.

Title insurance financially protects you, as the homeowner, from having to pay any legal fees and claims that weren’t discovered during the title search in your home purchase. This could be something like the previous owner of your home owing back taxes or compensating a missing heir from a previously unknown interest in the home. It also includes any fraudulent or a forged signature on the home’s deed.

Lastly, for a one-time fee paid at closing, you are covered by the policy as long as you own the home. The owner’s title insurance policy protects you, as the home buyer, from any undiscovered defects in the title.

If you are looking to buy a home and have questions, contact us! We look forward to working with you.

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The Indianapolis Home Show Is Back!

Shake off the winter blues and go to the State Fair Grounds for the 2015 Indianapolis Home Show. The Home Show is now through this Sunday, February 1st.

IndianapolisLOGO_130Get inspired to kick off some interior design and renovation projects, soak in the sights of summer with lush landscaping in several areas of the show and even tour the centerpiece home within the show! The “Greenery Galore!” exhibit includes 25,000 square feet of landscaping and garden features with beautiful flowers from roses to dahlias and jasmines. Also, warm up in the 80-degree Butterfly House!

The centerpiece home, by Fischer Homes, features the Paxton design with a Coastal Classic elevation. The home boasts more than 4,000 square feet, excluding the basement, with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. The home is a brand-new design, and has an East Coast feel, with an open main floor design for entertaining.

Click here for the schedule on celebrity guests and experts at the show.

Hours are 11 to 9 on weekdays, 10 to 9 on Saturday and 10 to 6 on Sunday. Adult tickets are $14 (or only $12 when purchased online) and $3 for children ages six to twelve. Children ages five and under are free. Click here for the 2015 Indianapolis Home Show website for all of the details to get you inspired in and around your home!

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The Good Funds Law. Read On.

If you’re looking to buy a home, you should be aware of The Good Funds Law and how it affects you at closing.

Style: "Sharp_25_3"Here’s an overview:

– Closing agents must deposit all funds received in connection with a real estate transaction into an escrow account unless all the parties involved agree to another arrangement.

– All funds over $10,000 received from any party to the real estate transaction must be wired. These funds are credited to the closing agent’s escrow account. Wire transfers are required by this Act so that the monies are guaranteed for immediate disbursement at the time of closing to all parties involved.

-Funds less than $10,000 received from any party related to the transaction must be in the form of “good funds” as defined by the Act.

“Good funds” includes:

– Wired funds
– Certified or cashiers check drawn on existing bank account, savings and loan, credit union or savings bank chartered under the laws of a state or the United States
– A check drawn on the trust account of a real estate broker
– A personal check of $500 or less
– A check issued by the State, the United States, or a political subdivision of the State or the United States
– A check drawn on the escrow account of another closing agent
• A check issued by a farm credit service authorized under the Farm Credit Act of 1971 (12 USC 2001 et.seq.)

– Closing agents are permitted to advance up to $500.00 from an escrow account to pay off specified incidental fees to facilitate the real estate transaction.
– A lender whose mortgage is being paid off at closing may request that its payoff be in the form of wired funds as long as wired funds are deposited in the closing agent’s escrow account in an amount sufficient to cover the payoff.
– Earnest money to be applied to the home’s purchase price totaling $10,000 or more must be wired into the closing agent’s escrow account for closing. Earnest money under $10,000.00 brought to closing must be good funds as defined by the Act. An earnest money check deposited into a closing agent’s escrow account prior to closing must be fully cleared and collected prior to disbursement at closing.

Your Realtor can help guide you along this law regarding escrow transactions. Contact us of you have any questions.

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Dancing Like The Stars. Get Tickets Now!

It’s back!

If you’re a dancer yourself, or just like to watch others working their salsa and footwork across a ballroom floor, you’ll want to mark your calendar for this event.

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The seventh-annual Dancing Like The Stars will be at Paramount Theatre on Saturday, January 31st at 6 p.m.

Tickets range from $20 to o $37. Click here for tickets. Tickets are also available for the after party.

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Housing Trends for 2015.

According to a recent article released by realtor.com, 2015 will be a promising year for the real estate market.

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Here’s a quick review of anticipated market trends:

The Increase of Mortgage Rates. As the economy rebounds from the recession of 2008-2009, the mortgage rates will rise. The forecast shows the 30-year fixed rate will reach 5% by the end of the year. That said, the one-year ARM is expended to rise less, if at all, therefore it is anticipated that buyers may shift into utilizing adjustable rate mortgages and hybrid mortgages instead of fixed.

Bidding Farewell to Foreclosures. The end of the era of foreclosures is anticipated. Fewer foreclosures and short sales should happen…with the pace for foreclosure inventories to be down more than 30% for year-end 2014 numbers.

Strict Mortgage Rules. What isn’t changing, is the set of strict standards for credit reports and ratings by potential home buyers. Loosening guidelines aren’t out of the question, but by and large, the expectation of rigid buying standards should remain.

A New Generation of Home Buyers. The “Millennial” generation (born between 1981 and 2000) are expected to take up more than half of the first-time homebuyers’ market as they get married and start families. It was also said that, in the next five years, more than two-thirds of the household growth will be from this generation.

More New Home Construction. The anticipated growth in new starts is 16%, led largely by single-family homes. One factor in the housing construction boom is the continued shortages of manpower and materials.

If you’re in the market to buy a new home, contact us to discuss how we can help. It would be our pleasure to work with you.

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Money Management Tips Before Listing Your Home.

If you’re planning to sell your home, you want to make your next move a fit for your life. A financially smart decision. The home of your dreams, but with a sound financial plan in place. Now is the time to do some money management to review your financial health.

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Get a credit status check-up.
 It’s so important. This is the time to uncover any credit snags, bills that need whittled down a bit, or settle up any errors on your credit report. Sometimes rebuilding or repairing credit situations can take months, or even a year, so the sooner you begin this work, the better. Many free credit report checking services are available online. Your mortgage broker can also be a great resource in reviewing your credit situation.

Determine your housing budget. Look at it from a standpoint of what your mortgage payment will be. Maybe your new job or raise is the kickstart to a move, which is great…but don’t forget to factor in how much you’ll potentially net on the sale of your current home. You’ll need cash to close on your next home, pay property taxes, insurance, utilities, HOA fees, moving expenses, and more.

With this, look to your Realtor to give you price point options to fit your needs. Partner with a mortgage broker who can help explain financial scenarios based upon purchase price, down payments, monthly mortgage and taxes. Also, seek input from a tax adviser who can review your income tax outcomes from the move and a financial planner who give you an expert opinion on your financial health and help you plan for the future.

Get inspections. You know a potential home buyer will get a home inspection. So why wait? Even though you may feel as though you know your home well, a home inspection can prevent inspection surprises. It also allows you to make repairs before you list your home and prevent any negative property condition reports. Your Realtor can also aid in the preliminary escrow report so you know of any outstanding liens.

Prepare a financial plan. As a seller, you need to factor in the average 5 – 6% of the purchase price to cover the listing agent’s work and the buyer’s agent as well. Build in a home repair budget to get your home ready-to-list. Whether it is a collection of small updates, or a hefty repair you know needs done to pass inspection, plan ahead for those expenses. Be sure to project other costs of selling your home such as property transfer taxes, buyer’s home warranty and other costs that are covered by home sellers.

Get your financial health picture as you plan to list your home. Be a smart seller. This work in preparation to list your home will pay off! And, contact us for your title, escrow and closing needs! It will be our pleasure to help you.

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Brrr, It’s Cold. Here Are Some Home Safety Tips.

While the snow is pretty to look at (especially when you’re cozy and warm inside your home), the snowfall and frigid temps give us renewed diligence to keep our homes safe from some of winter’s biggest threats.

imagesHere are some winter home safety tips and helpful reminders:

Remove the snow. Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and walls. As the snow melts, it could lead to water damage and moisture intrusion within your home.

Seal your windows. Inspect the areas between your siding or brick and your window and door frames. If they are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior silicone caulk and/or weatherstripping. This will prevent drafts and heat loss within your home.

Keep proper ventilation. Keep your attic well-ventilated, and at a temperature close to the outdoor temperature to reduce the risk of ice dams. If ice builds up and prevents proper draining, the water is forced under the roof, into the attic or down your home’s walls.

Wrap those pipes. Be sure exposed pipes are wrapped with proper insulation and keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air from your home to circulate around the pipes.

Drip some water. Have a slow trickle of water drip from your faucets which are connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.

Safely use a space heater. If you use a space heater of any kind within your home, be sure it is on a level, hard surface and that any flammable items are at least three feet away (think paper, clothing, bedding, curtains, rugs, etc.) Be sure to turn them off before leaving the room or going to bed.

Screen the fireplace. If your fireplace is roaring to keep your home warm, be sure to use a glass or metal fireplace screen to catch any sparks or logs that may fall. Make sure fireplace embers are out before going to bed.

Be safe with generators. Should the power go out and you use a generator, do not operate it inside your home, your basement or garage.

Call a professional. If you think your furnace needs a tune-up, or if you haven’t had it inspected in a while, contact a local technician to be sure the system is operating well. It is suggested to have your furnace inspected annually in order to keep your heating bills manageable and your home safe.

Reverse your ceiling fans. If you run your ceiling fan in a clockwise direction, it will produce an updraft causing the heat to be pushed down in to the room from the ceiling. This is especially useful in homes with high ceilings.

Prepare an emergency kit. While you may not have storage space for a huge stock of non-perishable food and water in the event of a power outage, it is a good idea to have a healthy supply on hand. Also, have candles and matches, utility company phone numbers, and wood for your fireplace on-hand in the event of a power outage.

Please stay safe everyone!

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Buying a Home in 2015?

Are you looking to buy a new home in 2015?

At Rowland Title, we understand that buying a home is the biggest investment you’ll make. We pride ourselves on protecting your investment by facilitating all of the details related to title insurance and services.

rtc logoWhy is title insurance so important? It protects both you, as the home buyer, and the lender’s investment for as long as all parties hold any interest or legal obligation to the property.

It’s our job to protect the insured parties against title problems. Some cannot be disclosed in public record searches.

Here are some examples:

– forged deeds, releases or wills
– mistakes in recording legal documents
– undisclosed or missing heirs
– deeds by persons of unsound mind, or misrepresented as single, when really married
– liens for unpaid real estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes

Title insurance assures all parties that the title is clear to sell. All public records pertaining to the title are thoroughly searched. Defense is provided for the insured parties to clear the title should any lawsuits be brought against it in the future. Lastly, title insurance pays any resulting losses that may occur if a lawsuit should be brought against the title and upheld.

The good news: you are protected. Whether it’s days or years from the time of home purchase, you and your lender are protected.

Rowland Title has the experience to be all you need in a title company. We were founded by professionals 125 years ago and continue to uphold the highest industry standards in how we conduct business.

Contact us to help you with your title needs as you look into buying a home this year!

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