Understanding APR or Annual Percentage Rate

Bill LewisInterest Rates, Mortgage Basics

apr

One of the most important terms you’ll come across when shopping for a mortgage is APR, or annual percentage rate. But what exactly does it mean? Simply put, APR is a way of indicating the real cost of a mortgage, expressed as an interest rate. While the regular interest rate is the first thing most people look at when pricing … Read More

Joint Tenancy vs. Community Property

Bill LewisProperty Ownership

joint tenancy

Most California married couples own their homes as “joint tenants,”  because they want the surviving spouse to own the entire home, without any formal court proceeding to confirm the transfer. Unfortunately, owning property as “joint tenants” can seriously affect the taxation of any subsequent sale of the property after the death of one spouse.  This is because the U.S. Internal … Read More

What is Title Insurance and why do I need it?

Bill LewisProperty Ownership

Title Insurance

I find that many home buyers and borrowers lack a fundamental understanding about title insurance. While most past clients have admitted to briefly discussing the topic with their real estate agent, they don’t seem to understand its purpose or function–only that it will be an additional expense on the settlement sheet for which they are responsible. What is Title Insurance? … Read More

Closing Costs when buying a home

Bill LewisMortgage Basics, Property Ownership

La Quinta Refinancing

One of the first questions most homebuyers ask is “What are the closing costs?”   It’s an important discussion, because buyer’s are often stretched to come up with more than just a down payment.  Certain fees are automatically assigned to either the buyer or the seller and other costs are either negotiable or dictated by local custom.  Here’s what you … Read More

Understanding No-Cost Mortgages

Bill LewisMortgage Basics

mortgage points

Is it really possible to get a mortgage and pay no points or closing costs?  Yes and no . . . The reality is, you won’t pay any closing costs up front – but you will pay for them over time. In a no-cost mortgage, lenders charge a higher interest rate to compensate for the fact they’re not collecting any … Read More