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Real Estate Reality
I just read this newsflash...a recent survey of homebuyers and sellers done by, a real estate services website, revealed that 76 percent of homeowners believe their home is worth more than the list price recommended by their real estate agent.  Yup.  And I would say the same percentage of buyers think that every home on the market is overpriced.  Welcome to the exciting world of Real Estate!!
Buyers usually have a better handle on the current market value in the area where they're looking to buy than the sellers who own and live there. Heck, they often know more than I do because they're hyper-focusing on specific towns and neighborhoods.
I tell all of my clients:  in this market, everyone is cautious.  Sellers are afraid to underprice their homes and "leave money on the table".  Buyers are afraid to overpay.  The media is confusing everyone with their "sky is falling" headlines one day, and "things are looking up!" the next.  Ultimately, the house will sell for what a buyer is willing to pay and the seller is willing to accept.  It's a meeting of the minds, really, and my job is to get the best terms and price for my client (whether they're buyers or sellers) and also make sure everyone walks away feeling like it was a win-win for all involved.  If we can't get to that place, we move on to another home or another buyer.  It's that simple...well, on paper!
Real estate is an interesting combination of investment strategy, nesting instincts, pride and business savvy all rolled into one.  And that's one of the reasons I find it so rewarding!
If you ever need anyone to talk to about real estate matters, give me a call or send me a note, I'd love to help!
The 4 C’s of Mortgage Underwriting 
This is taken from Keeping Current Matters, an amazing industry website which tracks real estate trends, the economy and political impact on the market.  
If you're even dreaming about buying or selling a home (yes, selling too!), now is a very good time to review the basics of what lenders look for as they decide to approve or deny mortgage applications. These are called "The 4 C’s of Underwriting”- Capacity, Credit, Cash, and Collateral. Guidelines and risk tolerances change, but the core criteria do not. 


CAPACITY is the analysis of comparing a borrower’s income to their proposed debt. It considers the borrower’s ability to repay the mortgage. Lenders look at two calculations (we call ratios). The first is your Housing Ratio. It simply is the percentage of your proposed total mortgage payment (principal & interest, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance and, if applicable, flood insurance and mortgage insurance – like PMI or the FHA MIP) divided by your monthly, pre-tax income. A solid Housing Ratio (often called the front end ratio) would be 28% or less; although, at times loans are approved at a significantly higher number. That’s because your front end ratio is looked at in conjunction with your back end ratio.

The back end ratio (referred to as your Debt Ratio) starts with that mortgage payment calculation from the Housing Ratio and adds to it your recurring debts that would show up on your credit report (auto loans, student loans, minimum credit card payments, etc.) without taking into consideration some other debts (phone bills, utility bills, cable TV). A good back ratio would be 40% or less. However, loans sometimes are granted with higher debt ratios. Understand that every application is different. Income can be impacted by overtime, night differential, bonuses, job history, unreimbursed expenses, commission, as well as other factors. Similarly, how your debts are considered can vary. Consult an experienced loan officer to determine how the underwriter will calculate your numbers.


CREDIT is the statistical prediction of a borrower’s future payment likelihood. By reviewing the past factors (payment history, total debt compared to total available debt, the types of monies: revolving credit vs. installment debt outstanding) a credit score is assigned each borrower which reflects the anticipated repayment. The higher your score, the lower the risk to the lender which usually results in better loan terms for the borrower. Your loan officer will look to run your credit early on to see what challenges may (or may not) present themselves.


CASH is a review of your asset picture after you close. There are really two components – cash in the deal and cash in reserves. Simply put, the bigger your down payment (the more of your own money at risk) the stronger the loan application. At the same time, the more money you have in reserve after closing the less likely you are to default. Two borrowers with the same profile as far as income ratios and credit scores have different risk levels if one has $50,000 in the bank after closing and the other has $50. There is logic here. The source of your assets will be examined. Is it savings? Was it a gift? Was it a one-time settlement/lottery victory/bonus? Discuss how much money you have and its origins with your loan officer.


COLLATERAL refers to the appraisal of your home. It considers many factors – sales of comparable homes, location of the home, size of the home, condition of the home, cost to rebuild the home, and even rental income options. Understand the lender does not want to foreclose (they aren’t in the real estate business), but they do need to have something to secure the loan against, in case of default. In today’s market, appraisers tend to be conservative in their evaluations. Appraisals are really the only one of the 4 C’s that can’t be determined ahead of time in most cases.

Now, each of the 4 C’s are important, but it’s really the combination of them that is key. Strong income ratios and a large down payment with strong reserves can offset some credit issues. Similarly, long and strong credit histories help higher ratios….and good credit and income can overcome lesser down payments. Talk openly and freely with your loan officer. They are on your side, advocating for you and looking to structure your file as favorably as possible.

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Keller Williams Realty Boston Northwest   Kristin Hilberg, REALTOR, CBR, SRES, CSP, M.Ed
Keller Williams Realty Boston Northwest
200 Baker Avenue, Suite 205 • Concord, MA 01742 Map it
Direct: 978-501-2912

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