Warning! Some pre-approval letters don’t mean anything

May 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

I closed a transaction today on the West Bank of New Orleans in approximately two weeks after my Buyer client’s loan was denied by Capitol One Bank. How did I get this accomplished? I referred him to one of my preferred lenders that actually knew what he was doing!

My client received his is “pre-approval” letter in February and selected a home.  After intense negotiations on a number of different offers and counter offers we had to move on because the home owners insurance was going to me unattainable (that’s a different blog).  Anyway, we sent up the purchase agreement to the loan officer and spent a lot of time processing it. Not once did we have a concern that the debt-to-income ratio for the Buyer was going to be a problem.

So, we get to the second house and successfully negotiate a contract to purchase.  Again, no red flags or concerns were brought up during the process of inspections, repairs, title search, and even the appraisal. It wasn’t until AFTER the appraisal was ordered and paid for that Capital One denied the Buyer due to being over the debt-to-income ratio. This over-sight is unacceptable and should never happen. A professional, competent loan officer will let you know the truth, up-front at application.

Anyway, I didn’t panic and I calmed the Buyer. I referred him to Rob Chauvin with Republic State Mortgage and the Buyer was conditionally approved 24 hours later. Rob cleared conditions with the underwriter quickly and efficiently.  Capital One Bank cooperated with the assignment of the appraisal to the new lender. The Buyer was amazed and very thankful for our extra effort – he got his home!

When you go to get pre-approved please rely on your REALTOR to recommend someone. Be wary of “on-line”, out-of-state lenders that make promises they usually can’t keep i.e. interest rates, low closing costs, or closing time. I would prefer my Buyer clients work with loan consultants they can meet and talk with in person – it makes a lot of difference.

Some pre-approval letters don’t hold much weight and that is why our Louisiana Buy or Sell Agreements to Purchase have language that allows the Seller to cancel the contract if the Lender cannot deliver on important verification of pertintent information.  Loan denial is the #1 reason for real estate transaction fall throughs.  Work with people who come highly recommended, are honest, and are accountable to you and the REALTOR that referred you. Here’s a great link for more advice. http://goo.gl/SJwDl

Home Inspection? Don’t Buy a Home Without One.

February 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Smart, responsible Buyers get a home inspection. The last Buyer I know, that did not get a home inspection, ended up finding out that the home they purchased had toxic “Chinese Drywall.” Needless to say, that didn’t end up well. The reason they didn’t get a home inspection was they, “didn’t have the money.” Oh, no – they weren’t my client!

When you buy a home with me – you’ll get a home inspection. Here are a number reasons why to have one done: http://goo.gl/kJpBs

I believe that it actually SAVES you money.  A home inspector is hired to find defects in the home.  Believe me, even the best looking homes have blemishes – and you will want to know.  You owe it to yourself to work with a reputable agent that has the most experienced, professional, and knowledgeable inspectors in the business on speed dial. It is vitally important that you have an inspection to determine the overall condition of the home. Often times, the inspection is just your 2nd time through and you really have a chance to look closely at the home and use the 2-3 hours to confirm your initial thoughts of why you wrote the offer in the first place.

New Orleans’ area homes are especially unique due to the age of our city.  When you consider the different eras of construction,  architectural style and sign, topography, and varying levels of condition – you have to find out as much as possible about what will probably be the greatest investment of your life.

You should feel comfortable with and confident in the agent you hire. A good REALTOR will know a home inspector to see you through what could be a stressful part of the home-purchase process. Don’t leave it to chance.



Real Estate should always be the “Talk of the Town”

November 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

  Do you wonder why more attention and discussion wasn’t given to the real estate and mortgage markets during the Presidential Campaigns? What about the foreclosure and mortgage delinquency problem? Tightening of credit requirements? Over-regulation, rules and restrictions putting a strain on the mortgage process  – whether it is a new loan, modification or short sale? The serious talk of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction and letting the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expire?

   As a REALTOR since 1992 and RE/MAX pro since 1995 I have worked through strong, vibrant real estate markets and times that were much leaner. In my 20 years of real estate experience here in New Orleans and Lansing, Michigan (’92-’01), I haven’t seen a housing and economic landscape like the last 6 years – It is probably safe to say, none of us have.
   Despite the record number of HUD and REO properties for sale (foreclosures), homes “under-water”, transaction fall throughs due to low appraisals, and mortgage underwriting denials – real estate is moving.
   However, it could be so much better. Interest rates are still at 65-year record lows of approximately 2.75% – 3.5%. There is a good supply of homes in all price ranges and neighborhoods. Cash buyers are more frequent as they find bargains. First-time home-owners account for a high percentage of sales as they take advantage of the rates, seller concessions and this “buyer’s market.”
   I am optimistic. I am by nature, it is because of my faith. That being said, I know there are major challenges that I face each day as I work to help buyers, seller, and investors with their dreams and goals. Sometimes the task is daunting as I see them through it.
   The President was re-elected this week. I wonder, like you, if the policies in place, and those that will soon be implemented, will help the real estate market lead an economic comeback or will we continue to experience more of the same? Either way, I will be out making a living helping people like you buy or sell real estate.

I am reshaping the Recession Generation

August 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am reshaping the Recession Generation’s outlook when it comes to New Orleans area real estate, buy vs rent. http://ow.ly/d1oX8

A good agent will save you thousands

August 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have many clients that had a bad experience with a real estate agent. These agents usually have a few things in common such as; work part-time, low production, new in the business or poor communication skills.  It is because of these reasons they don’t have the experience or knowledge to assist you with your home purchase.  I have over 15-years of full-time service with RE/MAX – the #1 real estate company in the world.  I help buyers in the New Orleans area acquire the best home for their money with great terms-of-purchase. I also recommend a quality mortgage loan officer, top insurance agent, and reputable home inspector to assist you with the other aspects of the transaction. Buying a home is probably the greatest investment you’ll ever make. Don’t leave it to chance – call on a real pro! Click here to get the Top 10 reasons working with a good agent is a wise move!  http://www.lukejones.info/remaxla/modules/agent/agent.asp?p=buying

Sell your house in 11 days or 316 – It’s up to you

August 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

All sellers want the highest price in the shortest time possible.  I explain that price and time work hand-in-hand.  The better the price the quicker the sale. I put a listing under contract in only 11 days this week.  We placed it a little below what other houses were selling for (market value) and got an offer with the first showing. The home had some appealing updates and amenities to compel the buyer. In addition to that, I received an offer on another listing of mine after 316 days.  We took in to considertaion the location, floor plan, neighborhood statistics, and condition when setting the price. However, limited adjustments were made in repositioning the listing in the market place and it took a long time to sell.  When the house is listed it goes “LIVE” within 24 hours to all buyers and agents searching for homes in that area. The property is “OPEN” 24-7 with my web-driven marketing. It’s up to me to get the house noticed, and it’s up to the seller to get it priced right so it will sell. If it’s not getting shown and or no offers made – it is priced too high.

Friends, don’t let friends get foreclosed on

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Short sales are becoming more popular as homeowners are hearing of this viable alternative to foreclosure.  However, they are very similar in ways of how they make a homeowner feel – embarrassed, worried, and sometimes fearful.  I have worked with home sellers in the New Orleans area get out from underneath the harassment of the bank and burden of the debt. They confide in me because they trust me. They know I can help them, because of my strong work ethic, attention to detail, and frequent communication – all of which are necessary in negotiating a successful short sale with the bank.  A short sale is simply the bank agreeing to take less (of a payoff) than what is owed against the home.  Learn more about it here www.shortsalehelp.com

Turn a good home into great

August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

What do you do when you want a home in a certain neighborhood that offers just the right floor plan for you or your family and has some nice amenities but, it’s like walking in to a time warp? You don’t like the wall paper, paneling, outdated flooring, fixtures or appliances. You’ve seen homes like this I’m sure. Well, I have a solution and it’s an FHA 203K Rehab Program. You don’t need a large down payment or cash in the bank to get a loan for the improvments. You can finance the purchase price and repairs all-in-one. Get the basics click here: http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/203k/203kslrp.cfm

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit 30-yr Low in New Orleans Real Estate Market

February 24, 2009 § Leave a comment

As the media overwhelms you with negativity of how “bad” the real estate and mortgage industries are, let me offer some positive news. Mortgage Interest Rates are at a 30-Year Low!  How long with this incredible opportunity last? It is rumored that 30-year fixed rates will continue to stay around 5% through the summer. Of course, no one really knows since there are many factors tied to rates, but I’ll take this for now! How about you? The January 2008 rate dipped to 4.96% – a 30-yr low. If you have a home that you plan on living in for at least another three years, and your current interest rate is more than 6.5% you may want to explore refinancing. I have a few awesome loan professionals that will provide you with excellent customer service and are committed to offering sound mortgage advice to my referrals. I am happy to refer you to one of them. Of course, the consultation is free without obligation. Refinancing may not be in your best interest, but it only takes a few minutes of your time and may be worth checking in to. If you already own your home and have been thinking about moving for a number of different reasons, please give me a call for a “Highest Price Analysis”. Although, we are experiencing a market that tends to favor buyers, you may have the right situation to take your equity and move up to a larger, newer, better home and take advantage of lower interest rates plus benefit from the Home Buyer Tax Credit! As your personal real estate adviser, you can trust my 14 years experience to provide options designed to help you achieve your real estate goals. Being the best takes a special commitment – especially in trying times. Below is some information that proves that RE/MAX associates continue to lead the competition in helping buyers and sellers with their greatest investment… their home… The Numbers Are In! Based on our 2008 sales volume and number of transactions, RE/MAX New Orleans Properties was the # 1 RE/MAX office in the entire New Orleans Metropolitan Area for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW! We are the # 2 RE/MAX office in the State of Louisiana. Thank you for your business and your referrals–without you this would not be possible! For more information about the New Orleans Real Estate Market please call 504-905-9101 or email lukejones@remax.net

New Orleans Real Estate on the Move

February 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

With the Stimulus Plan approved it is now time to get down to business.  Most investors would agree to buy low and sell high. Well, right now home prices are the lowest they’ve been in years. Interest rates are hovering around 5%, there are plenty of homes to choose from, and seller concessions are practically the norm.  If you need sound real estate advice that you can bank on please e-mail me at lukejones@remax.net  I GUARANTEE that I will save you money on the New Orleans real estate that you purchase!

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