Close It!™ House of the Week: Family friendly home with room to grow

After a short break from our House of the Week series, we're back! And this week we venture over to Barnaby Woods to check out a great house for a family with young children. It's listed at $799,000. 

The house has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms as well as a massive deck out back that overlooks a children's playground set and lots of yard. It appears previous owners have made some updates to the property, including hardwood floors. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $182,725.97. Monthly payments will then be around $3,557.87 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

Headlines: Title problems can snag your closing; pre-printed real estate contracts can get you fined

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in and around the District of Columbia.

Title problems can snag your closing

The unexpected unreleased mortgage lien rears its ugly head all too often, according to those of us charged with shepherding consumers through the last stages of home buying. -Washington Post

Pre-printed real estate contracts could get you fined

It’s a seemingly innocuous practice, some say a convenience, but many real estate agents are steering their brokerages toward enormous fines and unwanted attention from state and federal regulators — and they don’t even realize it. -Inman News

Dying to see the luxury condos on 14th Street built on the site of a funeral home?

In addition to having been developed on the site of a former funeral home, Lionshead has the distinction of being the first new building to pass the District's Green Area Ratio inspection. -Washington Business Journal

Best architectural addition of the year for 2014

The home is essentially a series of glass cubes set onto a hilltop in Rappahannock County, Virginia with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. -Urban Scrawl

A different kind of pop-up

The homes are meant for one occupant, and have a kitchen, bathroom, living room, a separate bedroom and a front door with an outside patio. The one thing that the homes need: a vacant plot of land to sit on. -Urban Turf

The cost of living everywhere in the world in one index

This is an infographic on the cost of living all around the world. When you look at the data, presented in this way, the results are a bit staggering. -Business Insider

How to make sure you have "good funds" for your real estate closing

Wire transfers are a very common aspect of the real estate settlement process. But for many consumers, the purchase of a home is their only exposure to wire transfers, which can lead to confusion and unnecessary stress. 

To clear up any confusion and to help prepare our clients for settlement, here is rundown of some of the questions we hear and things to consider regarding wire transfers.

I wired directly via my bank’s website and money has left my account – why don’t you have it yet?

This is a question I have gotten more than once.  Did your bank charge you a fee for this "wire"?  The answer to this follow-up question, is usually "no" or "I paid a small fee." What your bank may not be telling you is that you are actually ordering an ACH (Automated Clearing House) transaction and not a wire directly from your bank to our bank.  

You will need to check in with your bank prior to sending out funds to make sure the fee you are paying is for sending a wire and not a fee for an expedited ACH.  Our bank will not accept ACH transactions for the purchase, because the ACH funds are not considered good funds.

Why aren’t ACH funds "good funds" for purchasing my home?

An ACH goes through a clearing house. Because these are bulk transactions, the funds are not "liquid," or immediately available funds. ACH funds can be adjusted, changed or recalled by the clearing house without authorization from the accountholder. In general, our bank will not accept ACH funds for any of our accounts

Can I write a personal check?

The short answer is no. Personal checks are not considered immediately available funds. Unfortunately, not all personal checks are good when they are written – either by mistake or by design, clients sometimes fudge that funds are available. There are occasions when we can accept a personal check for a small amount of funds at closing.

What are "good funds" for closing?

A wire, cashier’s check, or a certified check is considered good funds. A wire is considered good funds because the funds are wired from your bank directly to our bank via the Federal Reserve and are immediately available. Another example of good funds would be a cashier’s check. These funds are immediately available from the bank.

A certified check is not often used as a vehicle for funds, but is still acceptable. A certified check is a personal check that has been stamped and certified by a bank official the funds are available in the account. The bank then make sure those funds are only good for that purpose. Banks rarely issue certified checks, as it is much easier to issue a cashier’s check. 

So, how do I make sure I have "good funds" for closing?

All banks are different. Have a conversation with your bank early in the process. Find out what your bank needs from you to wire funds. Ask your bank if there are any fees involved to wire funds and how much lead time the bank needs for getting funds to closing on time. Also, make sure you coordinate with your settlement agent and lender to ensure you have the correct bottom line and have the amount of funds to close readily available prior to closing.   

Taking these steps early really help to make the buying process a little less stressful.   

Headlines: Cultural hub coming to U Street? Cost of FHA loan to drop

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in and around the District of Columbia.

Proposal would bring museum, condos and performing arts center to U Street area

Under the proposal, the former Grimke School would be transformed into a cultural hub. In addition to creating a permanent space for the African-American Civil War museum, the building would be home to several performance groups, including Step Afrika!, CityDance, Dance USA and Imagination Stage. -Washington Post

Washington housing in 2014: Almost back

The median price of a house or condo that sold in the Washington region in 2014 was $405,750, up just 1.4 percent from 2013, but just 2.2 percent shy of the 2007 peak price of $415,000, according to listing service MRIS' RealEstate Business Intelligence Report. -Washington Business Journal

A year later, little resolution on contested Florida Avenue site

On Feb. 3, 2014, two developers struck a deal that seemed poised to resolve a longstanding conflict and bring U Street NW-area neighbors what they desired: a mixed-use development with a Harris Teeter supermarket on what's currently a vacant lot. Nearly a year later, all of that is still up in the air. -Washington City Paper

Groundbreaking this week on third phase of Waterfront Station project

Groundbreaking is expected to begin this week for the 365-unit residential project in Waterfront. This project is the third phase in the Waterfront Station project that is completely revitalizing the neighborhood with more than 80,000-square-feet in retail, more than 500,000-square-feet in office space, and hundreds of residential units along 4th Street. -Curbed DC

CFPB site provides education for new homebuyers

The site is part of the agency’s Know Before You Owe campaign and includes interactive tools aimed at creating more informed and empowered homebuyers. -Urban Turf

FHA to lower cost of mortgage insurance

For the typical FHA applicant, the reduction in premiums means a savings of about $80 on their monthly payment, according to CoreLogic's chief economist, Sam Khater. -CNBC

Hazard Insurance – If I change it, will it affect my mortgage?

If you are like everyone else, you have at least one New Years’ resolution.  Some choose weight loss, others fiscal awareness, other personal awareness, etc, etc.  If one of your resolutions is to lower your monthly costs and you are looking at changing your hazard / homeowner’s insurance, make sure you talk to your mortgage company.  

Why, you ask?  Well, you want to make sure you have enough insurance to meet the lender’s guidelines and the lender has notice of your insurer.  

What do you mean by "having enough insurance to meet the lender’s guidelines"?

If you change your insurance (lower your coverage), then there is a possibility you no longer have the amount of coverage required by your lender. Your lender is guided by the type of loan you have and specific guidelines provided to the bank either internally or by the government. You can contact your lender to get the list of requirements/guidelines for your coverage, so you can make sure you get the insurance that is best for your budget AND meet those requirements.

Why does it matter is I change insurance companies as long as I have the same or better coverage?  

In the documents you typically sign when getting a loan, there is typically a document stating you will keep your insurance intact and you will provide the lender proof of insurance – regardless of whether you have your insurance paid out of escrow or you pay the insurance directly. The lender will need to make sure the new company and the new policy meets the appropriate guidelines. The lender will also be checking to make sure it is listed on your policy as a mortgagee and the mortgagee clause is correct.

(Please note that the lender is focused on the fact that you are changing your insurance company. Does not matter if you are leaving your coverage the same, increasing coverage or decreasing coverage.)  

What happens if I do not contact the lender when I change to a new insurance company?  

The lender usually checks on insurance annually – whether you have a current policy and it has the appropriate coverage. If the lender checks in with the old company, it is likely the old company will report they no longer insure your property. When this happens and no new insurance company information has been provided to the lender, the lender will send a letter to you allowing you to provide proof of insurance. If you do not respond to this letter, the lender will put into place its own insurance – forced-place insurance is not easy to get removed.  

What is the bottom line?

When and if you change your hazard/homeowner’s insurance, call your lender to make sure those changes will not affect your loan servicing.

Our blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. Rate tables and figures that appear on our blog are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For current rates & policies, refer to our Quick Quote and Consumer Guide. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on our blog.