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

Should I Impound my Taxes and Insurance?

Bill LewisMortgage Basics, Mortgage Strategies

impounds

Is it better to impound my property taxes and homeowners insurance into my monthly mortgage payment? Many of our clients prefer to have their taxes and insurance impounded in their monthly loan payment (the lender adds 1/12 of your property tax and homeowners insurance bills to the normal payment, sets them aside in an escrow account and then pays the … Read More

What is an FHA Streamline Refinance?

Bill LewisFHA Loans, Mortgage Basics

Conforming Loan Limits

  The FHA Streamline Refinance is a special mortgage product, reserved for homeowners with existing FHA mortgages. Homeowners with conventional mortgages via Fannie Mae or Freddie can’t use it. FHA Streamline Refinances are the fastest, simplest way for FHA-insured homeowners to refinance their respective mortgages. The FHA Streamline Refinance program’s defining characteristic is that it does not require a home … Read More