FICO Changes Credit Scoring

The Fair Isaac Corp, or better known as simply FICO, is making changes to their scoring system this year. FICO, after many discussions with lenders and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, plans on lowering its weight towards medical collections in hopes of increasing lending without creating higher credit risk. Historically, account collections significantly reduce consumers credit up to 100 points under certain circumstances. Even with a paid balance, it may stay on your credit up to seven years if no proactive steps are taken. With roughly 64 million consumers with medical collections, the new changes may come as good news. The change may help tens of millions of consumers get a loan and increase consumer credit up to 25 points without any changes done by the consumer.

The changes, however, may help consumers obtain credit cards and auto loans first. As for home loans, lenders typically trail and use prior versions before adopting the next version as the risk for lending on such a purchase has significant risks. If you are interested in purchasing a home in the Ventura County area, contact David Jaffe with On Q Financial or Miguel Viesca with Crossline Capital to discuss your specific home loan needs.

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

September 29, 2014

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Bathroom Remodel: Waterproofing Your Shower

The original master bathroom of our 1960 Ventura Home was in need of a major overhaul by the time we purchased the property in 2013. Having been around plenty of construction for flips and property management, I had a good idea of what the project would entail.

Choosing the type and overall style of the bathroom was not the challenging aspect since my wife has always wanted a classic look that stays in touch with the style of the builder’s era. So we went with matte 4×16 white subway tiles laid in brick pattern.  For a modern touch, the shower floor is honed carrera marble but in a honeycomb pattern with matching 2×4 tiles for the two niches. The flooring for the rest of the bathroom will be a distressed antique white inspired by the surrounding rustic, country feel.

Now onto the the reason for this blog. I came across an excellent product that I am extremely happy with the results.  There are different ways to waterproof a shower; however, I gravitated towards the topical method. I think most people are familiar with Redgard which the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot carry. My contractor-friend, Scott Crawford from No Limits Construction, recommended the product called Ardex, which is a 2-part compound that you need to mix. Once the hardibacker was put up, we used Ardex on mesh for the joints.  Then, we proceeded with two coats of the product rolled on with a standard paint roller.  That simple.

If you are a DIY type, FloorElf.com has some good resources to complete your bathroom renovation. If not, I highly recommend Batt Brothers Tile from the Ventura County area.

Happy waterproofing!

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

September 26, 2014

Affordable Housing Options and Instructions

Though we have seen growth in certain areas, home-ownership can still be a steep hill to climb for many! Some may be surprised to know that there are several Affordable Housing Program areas available.

Nine developments within the City of Ventura fall under the Affordable Housing Program.

  • Country Groves / County Harvest (Telegragh Rd cross Pistachio Ave; Casa St, Date Ave, Sage St, Cinnamon Oak Ave, Apple Ave, Plum St, Peach Ave, Cid St): 69 Moderate Income 3 Bedroom and 77 Moderate Income 4 Bedroom

  • La Paloma (S. Saticoy Ave cross North Bank Dr; Daphne Ave, Verbena St, Marigold Ave, Poppy St, Lobelia Ave, and Sunflower St): 32 Moderate Income 3 Bedroom and 63 Moderate Income 4 Bedroom

  • Los Cabos (N. Ventura Ave cross Los Cabos Ln): 23 Moderate Income 4 Bedroom

  • North Bank Greens

  • Seneca Gardens (N. Ventura Ave cross Seneca St): 8 Low Income 2 Bedroom

  • Seneca Highlands (Scattered on Seneca St, Nocumi St, and Katari Ave): 4 Low Income 3 Bedroom, 1 Low Income 4 Bedroom, 15 Moderate Income 3 Bedroom, and 27 moderate 4 Bedroom

  • Harmony (Telephone Rd cross Saratoga Ave; Dorsey St, Fitzgerald Ave, Northwind Ct): 10 Moderate Income 2 Bedroom

  • Melody (Telephone Rd cross Saratoga Ave; Holiday Ave, Basie St, Getz Ave, Gillespie St): 7 Moderate Income 2 Bedroom

  • Mayfair (E. Santa Clara cross N. Ash St): 1 Moderate Income 2 Bedroom

For SELLERS under this program, you will need to do the following:

  • State your intent to sell

  • Provide the address of the house for sale

  • Date escrow closed when current owner purchased the property

  • Purchase price of the property at the close of escrow, when the current owner purchased the property

  • Number of bedrooms

  • Provide legal names and signatures

  • Attach a copy of the escrow settlement statement, or tax report, as supporting documentation of the home purchase price

For BUYERS under this program, you will need to first meet income requirements which can be found Here.  And if you would like to be placed on a waitlist, you can fill out the Interested Affordable Homebuyer’s Intake Form and send it to the address provided on the form. If you submitted an offer on a listed home under the program and are in escrow, buyer/s will need to fill out an Affordable Housing Program Application.

Here are the buyer requirements:

  1. Your income must not exceed the Maximum Allowable Household Income Limit.

  2. Within five days of opening escrow the HACSB should be contacted by either the buyer or the listing agent by submitting the completed signed original Affordable Housing Program application along with the requested documentation.

  3. Within 10 days of opening escrow, the buyer needs to submit all required income documentation to the City to include most recent paystubs for all wage earners in the household, three years W-2s and federal tax returns, and current statements for all bank accounts.

Hopefully this gives you the necessary starting point to make your sale or purchase a reality. Please email if you are interested in more details!

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

Seaside Realty

DRE 01882756 | SeasideRealtyVC.com

830 E. Santa Clara St.  Ventura, CA 93001

Cell 805.258.2870

September 8, 2014

 

Grout Sample Board

Are you or is someone you know in the middle of or considering a remodel project? There are so many facets once you dive into a project. I recently spoke with a general contractor, Scott Crawford from No Limits Construction based out of Camarillo, CA who sees a lot of remodel projects.

In our discussion of the local real estate market as related to construction, he mentioned a noticeable spike in construction activity.  This is understandable as not only have housing prices creeped up, but other areas of business have also been experiencing the same price increase throughout Ventura County. Along these trends, with remodels on the rise, I thought a tip on choosing grout colors, though a seemingly small detail in the grand scheme of things, would assist remodelers to nail the overall look desired!

Consider these tips and recommendations from FloorElf.com in regards to selecting grout colors to achieve your ideal overall look and style. When choosing a grout color, the color very much determines what the tile will look like when finished.  As seen from the picture, the tile is the same, but why does it look so different in each option?  Whether working with Marble, Stone, Glass, Porcelain, or Ceramic tile, it may be wise to create a tile grout palette. You want to make the right choice the first time because a redo will likely not be an option.

From the example, you can see the black grout darkens the look of the overall glass tiles while the white grout (middle) brightens the look of the glass tiles. The last row, with a grayish color, neutralizes the look of the glass tile and blends the color of the tiles together.

Whether you are remodeling or having a contractor do the work, having a sample board is an easy way to pick out grout colors.  And as a bonus, you can also use the same sample board and brush on paint samples that will match the tile for your remodel.

Chris Chin |Broker

September 2, 2014

Loan Pre-Approval

Seaside Realty

One of the keys to a successful real estate transaction is a smooth loan process. Sounds simple enough, and it almost always is when the buyer provides all necessary documents requested by the loan officer. Why are the proper documents so essential? Here are two reasons:

(1) When your loan officer inputs your information into an automated desktop underwriter program, the initial approval for your loan, which still needs to be verified, scrutinized, and approved by human underwriters, is only as good as the data inputed.  For example, if your loan officer inputs data that is incorrect based not on the documents provided but your verbal information, and the information is wrong, then you could possibly be denied the loan down the road.  And to have a loan denied in escrow is of course, upsetting and stressful.

(2) A reason for delayed full approval from underwriters is when the buyers do not satisfy all the conditions of the loan, including complete documentation.  With a standard escrow period of 30 days (possibly longer for non-conventional loans or other circumstances) and the standard 17 day loan contingency, providing all documentation upfront will speed the approval process.  And every buyer certainly wants full approval from the lending institution before the 17 day loan contingency in order to not worry about your earnest money deposit being taken as liquidated damages for non-performance if the loan gets denied after removing the loan contingency.

WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED OF THE BUYER?

As the lending environment seems to be changing daily, this is a basic list (not all-inclusive for every transaction):

  • Last two years of tax returns

  • Last two W-2s from employer

  • Last two months of bank statements (including retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc)

  • If renting, possibly cancelled checks for the past year

  • If you own investment properties or are self employed, expect to provide additional documentation

Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts prior to getting a loan:

  • Do review your credit for errors

  • Do have your deposit and closing funds showing in your last two financial statements (unless you are receiving as gift funds).  Otherwise, you will have to verify the source.

  • Don’t apply for new credit

  • Don’t cancel any credit accounts

  • Don’t make any major purchases

Chris  Chin |Broker & Owner

August 26, 2014

Aside

Why a Seller May Want to Consider a Pre-listing Home Inpsection

Home inspections are more associated with buyers, but sellers may want to consider a home inspection prior to listing their home.  Here are a few reasons why:

(1) The buyer’s home inspection has the power to put the deal back into negotiations.  With a pre-listing inspection, the seller can fix items that may come up during escrow.  With the necessary made repairs, buyers will have less of a reason to negotiate price or request repairs.  This puts the seller in the driver’s seat.

(2) Be certain a major issue doesn’t show up during the buyer’s inspection.  Depending on the situation, it may be beneficial for the seller to address any major issues that were unknown to the seller that could derail the transaction.

(3) If the seller chooses to not do major repairs that show up on a home inspection, then the homeowner can price the listing accordingly and make the issue known.  This can not only save the seller’s time but also helps prevent a buyer from cancelling escrow because it avoids the element of surprise for the buyer; informed buyers are less likely to cancel a transaction because they are prepared for any existing or potential problems before proceeding.

Any other city mandatory inspection would also be beneficial before the transaction begins.  For example, Ventura’s private sewer lateral inspection program became effective on Feb. 3, 2014.  Click link for details.  http://www.cityofventura.net/water/privatelateral.  Two other helpful inspections prior to listing are termite report and roof inspection. Seller-initiated inspections can save time and money in the long run.

August 18, 2014

How to Get Rid of Insects without Harsh Chemicals!

I recently came across a product worthy of mention, especially during the summer months when insects are more prevalent.  Diatomaceous Earth.  Diatomaceous Earth  consists of fossilized remains of hard shelled algae known as diatoms.  What’s important to note here is that this white powdery substance is abrasive to delicate insect exoskeletons which will cut and dehydrate them.  And it is chemical free!  Just sprinkle the powder where you have the infestation or issue.  The Diatomaceous Earth will continue to work as long as it is dry.  Really that simple.

If you have children or pets or would like to use indoors, there is food grade Diatomaceous Earth that will be safe for them.  Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) can also be used on your pets to rid them of fleas and mites.  But always use caution when using as it is a fine powder and a mask is recommended when spreading around your property or indoors.

Give it a try next time before you call your local exterminator.  It may save you some money, especially if you are proactive and use it before the heat of the summer months.

August 6, 2014