## Interest Rate and APR…What’s The Difference?

An annual percentage rate (APR) reflects the mortgage interest rate plus other charges.

There are many costs associated with taking out a mortgage. These include:

• The interest rate
• Points
• Fees
• Other charges

The interest rate is the cost you will pay to borrow the money, expressed as a percentage rate. It does not reflect fees or any other charges you may have to pay for the loan.

An annual percentage rate (APR) is a broader measure of the cost to you of borrowing money, also expressed as a percentage rate. In general, the APR reflects not only the interest rate but also any points, mortgage broker fees, and other charges that you pay to get the loan. For that reason, your APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Why have both?

“The biggest difference between the two is that the interest rate calculates what your actual monthly payment will be,” says Kathleen Beck, Mortgage Lender, “while the APR calculates the total cost of the loan. A homebuyer can use one or both to make comparisons when shopping for loans.”

As an example, a loan with a 4.25% rate will have a lower monthly payment than a loan for 6.5%, assuming both loans are fixed for the same term.  Which means the total cost of the 4.25% APR will be less than the loan with the 6.5% APR.

How long you will stay in your home matters

If you plan on staying in your home for the entire 30 year mortgage, it makes sense to go with the lowest APR because you will end up paying the lowest amount for your house.  But if you know you are not going to be living in that house that long, it could make sense to pay fewer upfront fees and get a higher rate and a higher APR because the total cost will be less over the first few years.

“Because the APR spreads the fees out over the course of the entire loan, you get the most value only if you stay in the home throughout the entire mortgage.” Kathleen says.

The Right Lender is Crucial

Kathleen says “If you are planning on staying in your home for a shorter period of time you need to do the math and figure out your break-even point. A good lender will help you do that, I will help you do that!” You need to know if you are going to lose money by paying for a lower APR, but end up moving sooner than your break-even point!

## What is Hygge and why should I try it?

The temperatures are dropping, and the nights are getting longer, which is the perfect time to practice hygge! Pronounced “hue –gah”, it is a Danish practice that has helped Denmark have one of the happiest populations in the world for 40 years in a row! (at least since those statistics have been compiled)

Hygge has no real western translation, but it has been described as “cozy” or “homey,” but neither of those translations take into account the emotional part of hygge, which can get lost in the efforts to create a cozy environment when trying to describe hygge. But that is not a bad thing, because a cozy environment is vitally important to a successful hygge.

First off, there is nothing you need to buy, or learn or do in order to hygge. It is not so much in what you do, but in how you do it, and in being present, and aware. Hyggehouse.com describes it this way – “Hygge literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.” It is about holding this time spent as sacred, and important. You can hygge alone, or with friends or family, but the time spent is cozy, comfortable and the people present are engaged and aware of this special time.

You will want to do these things as a starting point, and adjust and change it as you need to in order to suit your lifestyle and environment.

The first thing you need is a place to hygge. A cozy space by a fireplace or wood stove is best, but any warm cozy spot in the house will do, as long as people can join you if it is family or friends hygge time. Light a bunch of candles, enough to illuminate the space you are going to hygge in. Turn off all the lights, tv, computers and such. Prep the space by having it nice and warm. Put on a pot of water for tea, or cocoa, and find some comfort type snacks. Hygge is perfect for fresh baked cookies, warm breads and cakes, and other soul satisfying pastries. If you are watching calories or on special types of diets, look for foods that would fit the comfort profile. Have your tea and cookies ready for you when you are dressed for hygge!

The perfect hygge ensemble would include slouchy wool socks on your feet, comfortable cozy pants such as sweats or joggers on your legs. Sweatshirts, sweaters and cozy flannels for your top and knit cap if you need one for your head!

Nestle yourself into a cozy chair or couch with your family, make sure ALL electronic devices are out of the picture, turned off or in another room. If it is your first time, have a plan of topics to chat about, that are not too heavy or sad. Hygge should be healing to the soul and strengthen the relationships with the people that are with you.

Once everyone is cozy, under lap blankets, curled up with the family dog on their lap, or warm by the fire, you have begun to hygge! If you wish to have soothing music on in the background that is also ok, but not too loud as to hinder conversation. Now just talk to your family or friends, sip your tea and snack on your cookies if you wish for the next hour or so. That is all there is too it!

Hygge, when done on a nightly basis can be transformational. It will become a time to look forward to in the hour or so before bedtime. It allows you to unplug and unwind, without distractions and connect or reconnect with those people that are important to you. Afterall, some of the happiest people in the world have attributed hygge as one of the reason why they can stay so positive in winters that last so long!

## Guide To The Best Pumpkin Patches

Fall is an amazing time to live in the Sacramento Region and the surrounding foothills. As the nights get cooler and the days get shorter, the leaves come alive with vibrant colors and the excitement of Fall fills the air. The region is known for agriculture, and it is no surprise that pumpkin patches that bring the feel and flavor to the fall abound! Here are four of our favorite Pumpkin patches in the region, and we are sure one is close to you, but be adventurous and trek out to see them all, it will be worth your time!

Davis Ranch
13211 Jackson Road, Sloughhouse, CA 95683 – (916) 82-2658

Davis Ranch is a produce stand located off Hwy 16 in Sloughhouse. But during the fall, it becomes a favorite destination for fans looking for a great pumpkin patch and other fall fun! Attractions include a great corn maze, pumpkin patch, pumpkin pyramid, kiddy corn maze and weekend tractor rides to pick your own pumpkins. You will also be able to go home with all the fresh produce needed for a hearty fall dinner.

Zittel Farms zittelfarms.com
6781 Oak Ave., Folsom, CA – (916) 989-2633

Located in Folsom, CA since 1976, Zittel Farms is a favorite pumpkin patch among locals and visitors alike. Touting one of the largest varieties of pumpkins in the region, the pumpkin patch is sure to excite the younger ones. Weekends are great because you can get a real hayride! There is plenty for adults too, such as a collection of antiques from across the USA, Amish made décor and fine handcrafted preserves and honey.

The Flower Farm http://www.flowerfarminn.com
4150 Auburn Folsom Rd., Loomis, CA 95650 – (916) 652-4200

The Flower Farm is a beautiful, multi-purpose farm easily located right off of Folsom Auburn rd. The farm itself is composed of a delicious café, a bed and breakfast, a very large nursery, an event center and Casque Wine Tasting Room. This is a great destination with something for everyone in the family! Of course, the reason we are mentioning it is because of the beautiful pumpkin patch that features their very unique “Pumpkin People Tours”. There are plenty of activities for the kids on the weekends, and of course fall food, wine and beer in the café for the parents! Be sure to check their calendar for details.

Apple Hill – applehill.com
Camino Ca

More than 50 Apple Hill ranches have been the fall destination for families since 1964. With a large assortment of pumpkin patches, farm stands, wineries, breweries, eateries and activities, one of the biggest reasons to visit besides the pumpkins is the fresh hot apple donuts and take and bake apple pies! Apple Hill is a Fall tradition for many, but be sure to plan ahead, and get an early start to beat the traffic. On the weekends, all traffic is diverted to the last Apple Hill exit 54, and then funneled back through Carson Rd. There is no exit from the eastbound lanes on exits 48 and 49 in Camino. Certainly worth the effort, you will enjoy the cool mountain air, the rural farms and the amazing assortment of pumpkins, baked goods and fresh pressed apple cider, maybe even some warm spiced cider!

Fall is the favorite season for many who live in the region, and a visit to any of these wonderful, family friendly farms will show you why that is! Good luck and happy pumpkin huntin’!

## Things NOT to do before escrow closes

I am going to write another blog about what to expect at your mortgage closing, but I feel it is equally important to point out the things that you should stay clear of before we even get to the closing, because these things could put the whole mortgage at risk!

These are the things you should not do before you close escrow.

Changing Jobs

Lenders prefer a steady and consistent job history, and your whole mortgage to this point has been based on your current income history. Any changes in your employment at this point such as changing jobs, companies or becoming self-employed could spell disaster to your ability to purchase your home. At the very least, it could put the process on hold while the lender re-evaluates your financial position.

Making Big Purchases

This should be self explanatory, but you don’t want to be late on your car payments or credit card payments now, when your new home hangs in the balance. Be sure to stay current on all debt before and during the escrow process. Of course, you want to continue to stay current and pay off that debt even after you get the keys to your new house!

Opening/Closing New Credit Card Accounts

This is just a bad idea during your escrow. There is nothing to be gained by having more debt and opening new accounts could impact your credit status. The same is true for closing accounts, even though that may seem counter intuitive; closing accounts during the escrow could affect your credit rating. Now, sometimes lenders will ask you to pay off small debts in order to get your debt to income ration down to an acceptable level, but that is a request the lender will make, otherwise, just keep paying your monthly payments as usual.

Being Unreachable

The escrow process only last about 30 days on average, and during this time, your lender should be able to reach you easily. Don’t travel to remote places where you cannot be reached. Don’t get a new cell phone number, unless you give it to your lender first thing. Don’t take extended vacations, or travel to places you may not be able to get back from in time to close escrow. Many times during the closing there are small or large glitches, and the lender needs your attention right away, Not being available could push back the closing date on your new home.

These are just the big ones, and the ones that could impact you the most. Please feel free to contact me any time if there are questions about your closing. It is better to get the answers ahead of time, rather than dealing with a potential issue during the closing process. I am always available to help make this process easy and get you into your new home!

## Using Gift Money To Secure Your Loan

Congratulations on your decision to buy a house! Chances are you may be getting a gift to help secure the mortgage on that house, so we wanted to give some guidelines in receiving and using that money!

Conventional –Fannie Mae
Gift Donors may be a relative, such as the borrower’s spouse, fiancé, domestic partner, child (or other dependent), or any other individual related by blood, marriage, or adoption (or legal guardianship).

• The donor MAY NOT be—or have any affiliation with—the builder, the developer, the real estate agent, or any other party interested in the transaction.
• Gifts are NOT allowed for investment properties.

Conventional – Freddie Mac

• Gift Donors may be a relative, such as a blood relative, spouse, fiancé, domestic partner, or legal guardian.
• The donor MAY NOT be—or have any affiliation with—the builder, the developer, the real estate agent, or any other party interested in the transaction.
• Gifts are NOT allowed for investment properties.

FHA Loan

• Donors can be a relative as defined below*, or a close friend with a clearly defined and documented interest in the borrower.

”Relative” is defined as follows, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or legal marital status:

• Child (son, stepson, daughter, stepdaughter, foster child, or adopted son or daughter, including a child who is placed w/the borrower by a legal adoption agency)
• Parent, step-parent, or foster parent
• Grandparent, step-grandparent, or foster grandparent
• Spouse or domestic partner
• Brother or step brother
• Sister or stepsister
• Uncle or aunt
• Son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law

VA Loan

• You must be able to document that the gift funds come from an acceptable source — a family member or someone with a family-like relationship — with a legitimate paper trail via a bank account or financial institution.
• No one involved in the loan transaction, including the lender, can be the source of the funds.

Who ever gifts you this money is helping you achieve a dream, and could position you in a great spot with regards to your new mortgage! Be sure to thank them in a grand way for their generous gift!

Sources:
Kim Kirk – SPMC.com
Veteransunitied.com

## What Is An IRS Levy?

Do You Know What An IRS Levy Is?

If you are selling a home and have had past IRS tax issues that may be unresolved, you should know what a levy is.

A IRS levy is a legal seizure of your property to satisfy a tax debt. It differs from a lien which is a legal claim against your property to secure payment for a tax debt, a levy will actually take your property.

The IRS will only issue a levy to taxpayers who do not pay their taxes or make arrangements to pay their taxes. Normally the IRS will levy your property only after these three conditions are met:

• The IRS assessed the tax and sent you a Notice and Demand for Payment (a tax bill);
• You neglected or refused to pay the tax; and

How Could A Levy Impact My Home Sale

The IRS has asked all depositories (Banks, credit unions, escrow companies and similar institutions) to review and understand their responsibilities, and to process the levy immediately upon receipt from the IRS. Your escrow company will run a search to see if there are any pending transactions where the taxpayer, in this case you, will be receiving any payments. If the answer is yes, the IRS will be expecting to be paid before any money is distributed to you, the seller of the home. This should not be a surprise as the IRS notifies all taxpayers of any impending levy.

What You Should Do

Contacting the IRS to resolve your tax liability is always a good idea, and you are always entitled to hire counsel to help you navigate the process. If the levy causes an economic hardship you can request the levy be released. You also have the right to appeal the levy the IRS places on your wages, bank accounts and other property. More information is always available at http://www.irs.gov. Just do a site wide search for “IRS LEVY”

## Home Lending Debt-to-Income Ratio Increase Could Mean More Buying Power For Homebuyers

Fannie Mae has raised the debt-to-income ratio to 50% DTI, reasoning a higher debt ratio doesn’t mean poor credit. The debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is determined based on a borrower’s total amount of debt, including credit cards, student loans, auto loans and mortgages, compared to their total income. Fannie Mae’s recent changes will hopefully allow more homeowners to enter the housing  market with new expanded debt-to-income requirements, making it easier for borrowers with good credit but higher debt to acquire a home loan.

Applicants with high DTI ratios have been told their debt is too high for home lending approval. The Washington Post printed an article outlining how those rejected on home lending applications due to high debt-to income ratios often make payments for their debts early, signaling that on time payment, or payment default isn’t the issue. Of those declined applicants, some have never actually defaulted on their credit, but were declined based on their higher debt due to raised student expenses, cost of living increases as well as other expense inflation.

Fannie Mae wants to allow more homeowners to enter the market as it increases the DTI requirements. This shift by Fannie Mae opens up the market to almost 100,000 new, responsible, homeowners, and one might even be you! If you’re interested in getting pre-qualified for your home, give a call!

Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender
Sacramento, CA 95818
916-722-0395

#Mortgage #MortgageLoanProcess #Debt #DebtToLoanRatio #Buying #HomeBuyer #HomeBuyingProcess #Refinance #ConventionalLoan #FHALoan #VALoan #JumboLoan #PreQualifications #PreApproval #Borrower #HomeOwnership #Sacramento #BayArea #HomeFinancing #TrustedLender

## Summer Staycation

Were in the heat of summer and as the temperature rises, many are packing their bags and hitting the road. One way to save money this summer and still vacation is to enjoy a “staycation.”

First, lets clear up what a “staycation” is… A staycation is a vacation spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. With this type of planning, your family now has redirected unused funds that they would have spent on expensive travel, and still reap the advantages of relaxation, rest and quality family time. Sounds like a win to me!

Here are some items on my staycation list:

• Visit the local museums
• Go to the zoo
• Hike a nearby trail
• Go paint-balling or rollerskating
• Go to the movies
• Get a massage
• Pay to have your house cleaned to bring hotel-level service to you
• Grocery shop for your favorite foods
• Create a restaurant schedule and visit local eateries
• But your toes in the water (a pool, ocean or river)
Budgeting time to decompress and have fun with loved ones always rejuvenates my spirit. By taking a staycation you choose a thrifty alternative to an extravagant vacation. I have found myself more relaxed when it’s over because we don’t have the headache of packing, travel, itineraries and overspending.
Have you ever staycationed or are planning one?

Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender
Sacramento, CA 95818
916-722-0395

#Mortgage #MortgageLoanProcess #Staycation #Buying #HomeBuyer #HomeBuyingProcess #Refinance #ConventionalLoan #FHALoan #VALoan #JumboLoan #PreQualifications #PreApproval #Borrower #HomeOwnership #Sacramento #BayArea #HomeFinancing #TrustedLender

## Biggest Benefits to Your VA Loan

VA loans are beneficial for those who qualify for a VA home loan; including veterans, active duty, national guard and reserve members.  In order to apply for a VA loan, aside from your service, you must have suitable credit, sufficient income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan. The home must be purchase as your personal residence.

The biggest benefits of a VA home loan:

• No Down Payment – Rather than paying 5%-20% on a down payment, you may finance a VA Loan up to 100% of the purchase price up to the VA loan limits in your state and county.
• No Mortgage Insurance – It is common that lenders require you to pay mortgage insurance on a purchase with less than 20% down. There is no mortgage insurance requirement on a VA loan, making it very affordable upfront and over time.
• Government Guarantee – The Federal Government guarantees the top 20% of  a VA loan.
• No Prepayment Penalty – Most military personnel know their time in one location may be limited as orders often change.  Regardless of if you’re a veteran or current military, there’s no prepayment penalty or early-exit fee for the VA home loan.
• Easier To Qualify – VA loan guidelines tend to be more flexible because of the VA loan guaranty. The Dept. of Veterans Affairs wants to make it easy for our service members to buy a home or refinance a home.
• Funding Fee Flexibility – The VA allows funding fees to be financed so that nothing is due at closing. Also, if the veteran receives disability compensation from the VA the VA Funding Fee maybe waived.
• VA Loans are Assumable – Assumable means you may transfer your VA loan in the future to a VA eligible buyer that meets the basic VA loan requirements. Assumable loans may be a great benefit to a buyer if the interest rates have increased since the home was originally purchased.

Helping Veterans and service members obtain home ownership financing is a personal goal for me.  There are many benefits to home ownership and even more if you served our country and are eligible for a VA loan.  If you want to learn more about VA Lending and how you can utilize the a VA home loan please email or call me today.

Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender
Sacramento, CA 95818
916-722-0395

#Mortgage #MortgageLoanProcess #NoDownPayment #Buying #HomeBuyer #HomeBuyingProcess #Refinance #ConventionalLoan #FHALoan #VALoan #JumboLoan #PreQualifications #PreApproval #Borrower #HomeOwnership #Sacramento #BayArea #HomeFinancing #TrustedLender

## Why & How to Keep Your Household Financial Records

Whether your applying to purchase a home or thinking about selling, there are many different reasons why having up to date household financial records can help save you time and money.

Check your current financial records income taxes, W2s, bank, investment and retirement statements, also insurance such life health and disability and see what is missing or out of date. Contact the record keeper and request new copies. Keeping accurate records will help you make important financial decisions.

How Long Should You Keep Records?

• 7 Years – Taxes/Credit Card Statements and Property Records
• ALL IRA contribution records
• 1 Year – Utility bills
• Indefinitely – Property records

Safely Dispose of Records

Make sure you dispose of your records properly.

• Digital – overwrite data or physically destroy storage medium
• Paper – Shred or incinerate

Record Organization Categories:

Keeping your records organized is just as important as accurate. Here are some great categories to organize your records.

• Health Records – Health insurance policies, bills, prescriptions, life insurance
• Financial Records – Bank statements, taxes and loans
• Home/Property Records – Mortgages, Deeds and property tax information

Knowing what records to keep and the proper way to store them can really make a difference when it comes to making important life decisions.

Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender