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Q & A with Dottie Herman
By Dottie Herman | December 14, 2012 8:30 AM ET
Q1 - I want to refinance, but I have some credit card debt. Will that prohibit me from getting a good rate for a refi? My current rate is 5% for a 30 year fixed and I know right now they are significantly lower.
A - Having credit card debt in itself is not necessarily a reason for you to get a higher or lower rate. How you have handled your credit usage which is reflected in your FICO credit scores can most definitely affect both the products and rates you will be offered. FICO can also be a significant part of the mortgage approval process. Starting early and pulling your FICO credit scores from the 3 major credit reporting agencies would be a recommended first step.
Q2 - Does paying all cash for an apartment give me an advantage over other potential buyers?
A - In most cases, yes. An all cash purchase will generally ensure that a deal will close quickly and will ensure that you will get the Board's attention quickly.
Q3 - I am thinking of selling my home. At the moment I know someone who has a friend who wants to buy it, but I want to put it on the market and see what other offers I can get. What do I ask for from potential buyers to ensure they are serious and can afford my home?
A - Qualifying all potential buyers is very important. One of the first things to ascertain is if they have already been approved for a mortgage from a reputable lender and can produce a Commitment Letter. In addition you may wish to ask their permission to run a credit search. If you employ a real estate professional, qualifying the buyer is an important part of the menu of service they should provide to you.
Q4 - Since the hurricane my husband and I have trouble paying our mortgage as we had some severe damage to our home and are currently paying out of pocket for many/all of the repairs. Is there anything we can do to get some leniency from our lender? Are there are relief programs for those hardest hit? How would I go about this?
A - The first thing to do if you are struggling to make your payment is to contact your lender and ask if they have any programs to assist borrowers affected by the storm. There have been reports that some lenders are giving grace periods to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Note that not all lenders will offer this. Also note that some local municipalities are reviewing real estate tax rates for properties that were destroyed.
If you have a real estate question for Dottie, please send it to; Reporters@WPCnews.com