Real Estate

Can I get Down payment money?

There is a huge misnomer in the world that if you have never purchased a home before that you will get some free money to help buy a home. And if you have already purchased a home, you are out of luck. This is simply not true. Let me explain.
Down payment assistance programs were created to help low to moderate income families purchase a home of their own. If you make too much money, you will not qualify. There are two types of down payment programs referred to as —bond loans and grants. Today most of these programs do not require you to be a first time homebuyer. In addition, if you have not owned a home within the past 3 years, you are considered a first time home buyer.
Bond loans generally carry a higher interest rate than the prevailing rate. While both bond and grant programs both have income guidelines, bond loans allow you to make significantly more money and still qualify. Bond loans will usually pay the buyer’s down payment only. The buyer will need to negotiate closing costs with the seller or pay them themselves. These programs require that live in the property for a set period of time generally 5 years and you are not usually allowed to refinance or rent the property during this time. If you have your own money saved for down payment, you are generally better off using it than getting a bond loan due to the higher interest rate.
Grant programs allow you to get a loan using the prevailing interest rate. They do not increase the amount of the interest premium. These programs usually require borrowers to make less than the median income or perhaps 80% of the median income for the county. Currently, the grant program in Cleveland county allows a family of 4 to make up to $51,600 a year. This particular grant program will however pay the buyer’s closing costs, down payment and up front MI. This is a fabulous help for a home buyer. These programs generally require the buyer to have a percentage of their own money invested (1% of purchase price as of this writing in Cleveland county), a home buyer education class, and a property compliance inspection. Grant programs also require you to live in the property much like a bond loan.
If you are thinking about buying a home and would like more information on grant programs in your area or you are thinking about selling and you like to know how I can help you market your home using down payment assistance, please call me Sandi Walker 405-213-2992.

Real Estate

The American Dream.

The American dream is to own a piece of land for yourself. Something you can call your own. When homeownership is high in an area, stabilization and neighborhood pride tends to exist. Property is an investment that will hopefully increase in value over time if it is maintained. Property can be handed down to our children as an inheritance. There are also tax benefits. It is said that the average net worth of a home owner to a renter is 47% greater. It truly is a wealth building mechanism.
So how does a person achieve, their person piece of the American Dream.
Most people will not be able to pay cash for their first home and will need to obtain a home loan. So in order for a lender to approve a buyer for a loan you need to demonstrate that you can manage money and credit with other minor purchases. I advise people to get a credit card (this may need to be a secure card, at first) and charge a tank of gas or dinner out once a month and pay it off when you get the bill. Do not over charge on credit cards. You should not carry more than 50% of the credit limit on your cards. Do not over draft on your bank accounts. Pay your bills on time. And then save a little money.
There is some down payment money available for buyers who qualify in Oklahoma and you can always ask the seller to pay your closing costs. But you will still need earnest money when you write the offer, money to pay inspectors, and money to pay for the appraisal up front. In addition, once you close on the property all the repairs will be your responsibility so you will want to have a little cash incase something breaks.
If you have questions regarding real estate, please feel free to call me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website And be sure to follow my blog.

Real Estate

What determines the value of a home?

A homes value is always determined by size, amenities, condition and location.

A lot of people look at the price per square foot of a home in comparison to that of other properties in the area. While this is a good indicator, it should be noted that every neighborhood has a minimum and a maximum sales price. So understand that a small home may sell for a higher price per square foot while a larger home especially one larger than the average build size in the neighborhood will typically sell for less price per square foot. So look to see the average sales price in the neighbor as well as price per square foot.

Does the home have a lot of upgrades? A new furnace, hot water tank, appliances, storm shelter, swimming pool, out building, new carpet, or granite counter tops. And what is standard in the price range you are looking? While replacing these items may not add a lot of value, having a property in need of updates can make the property harder to sell and can depreciate the value of the home in the eyes of the consumer.

If a home needs repairs cosmetic or otherwise it is going to affect the value. A buyer may not want or have the means to purchase a home that requires repairs. In addition, the buyer may be obtaining a loan that requires the home to be safe, sound and secure. If the house is in substandard condition, the price will need to be adjusted to allow a new owner to make the repairs. A buyer looking at a home in need of repairs will often discount the property far more than the actual cost of the repairs for their time and trouble.

In Real Estate location is the name of the game. A buyer will often pay more for an identical home in a certain area of town or a certain school district. A home close to a park in the back of the addition is generally more valuable than one on the main street at the front of the addition. If the other homes on the street appear to be dilapidated or the area is unsafe to the buyer, the home will sell for less than if the neighbors maintain their properties and the area appears safe.
I often tell prospective buyers when looking at homes to stand on the front porch and look out as well as looking in a house. You can always paint and carpet but you can’t change the neighbors. Do you see boarded up homes, or homes in need of improvement? Have you checked the crime statistics for the area? Is there a Home Owners Association and have you reviewed the covenant and restrictions, as well as any fees?
There are lots of factors that figure into the value of a home. Working with a full time Realtor can help you determine the value of a property and the price you are willing to pay. If you are looking to buy or sell, please feel free to call me at-405-213-2992 or visit my website at

Real Estate

Is getting a FHA loan my only option.

FHA loans have become common place but they can really cost you a lot more than you think

When people think about getting a loan, they often think about a FHA loan today. This is because they require lower credit scores than conventional loans and the down payment is lower. But they do not come without cost.  This loan requires a 3-1/2% down payment plus closing costs. The seller can pay up to 6% in buyers closing costs.  This loan also requires mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance protects the investor should you default on the loan. In 2012, the upfront mortgage insurance fee rose to 1.75% and the monthly fee went to 1.25%. On a 100K loan, Mortgage insurance adds $1750 upfront to the loan and then an additional $125 a month thereafter until you have paid on the loan for 5 years or you can prove you have 20% equity.

There are some other loan products that can cost the consumer less. If you are eligible for a VA loan, you can avoid the monthly MI. Also rural developement and the FHA 184 (Native American) loans do not require mortgage insurance. In addition, you may find that a conventional loan which will require a minimum of 5% down payment may have lower or in some cases no mortgage insurance. Most conventional loans will require you to have a higher credit score especially if you are putting down less than 20%.

While interest rates are at all time lows, mortgage insurance increases the cost of homeownership. Therefore it is important for consumers to weigh all of their options before selecting a home loan.  So if you cannot qualify for one of the loan products that do not require MI, and your credit scores are high or you have money to put down on the house then you may be able to save a significant amount of money with a conventional loan.

This is also important when you are thinking about refinancing your mortgage from a few years ago. You may save  one or two percent on the interest rate, but the increase in MI may reduce the overall savings if you are getting a new FHA loan. It may be that unless you can get a new loan without MI or reduced MI that the amount you save may not be worth the cost to refinance.

While I am not a financial adviser or a lender, I do have great people on my team who can help to answer your questions. If you have questions regarding real estate, please call me at 405-213-2992 oor visit my website at