Financing Houses

What Real Estate Lenders Look For

Lenders control many programs — some make use of over 200! Generally, lenders look for the following typical standards, with many exceptions:

1. Absolutely no late mortgage payments

2. Credit score above 580

3. If bankruptcy, no charge-offs or collection accounts afterwards

4. If bankruptcy, only 1 late payment afterwards

5. Two active revolving accounts in good standing

6. Good employment history or stated income

7. Three to six months reserves (covering mortgage payment, taxes & insurance) in savings

8. 55% income to debt ratio

9. Appropriate loan-to-value ratio on purchase property

Borrowers obtain a loan by bringing something of value to the table. One of the following assets ought to get you financing:

1. Good credit score

2. Good income

3. Good cash down payment and reserves

Seven Loan Types and Finance Terms

Understanding the variety of loan types and terms enables you to choose an effective lender. Here are seven important loan types and related terms:

1. “A” Loans

Borrowers with great credit, a good cash reserve, good employment, and a debt-to-income ratio of less than 33%, qualify for “A” loans. These loans typically cost less upfront for points and costs, charge no prepayment penalty, and offer lower interest rates.

2. Sub-Prime Loans

Credit reporting agency websites portray Americans as having great credit. These informational articles and graphs mislead and cause struggling home buyers to feel inadequate. In fact, my Countrywide lending contact told me that 60% of all applicants are considered “sub-prime” borrowers. Sub-prime borrowers usually are those with credit scores under 620 or those with other conditions such as undocumented stated income, poor employment history, or credit issues such as collections, charge offs, and late payments.

3. Stated Income Loans

Most applicants for a mortgage have a full-time job with income tax returns verifying income for the past two years. Other borrowers, like me, with multiple streams of income must get loans with stated income. Some lenders require two years of bank statements showing deposits equaling the required total income, proving the ability to make the mortgage payment.

4. Full-documented Loans

These loans require tax returns, employment verification, bank statements, and other individual lender demands. Other processing types, more flexible and easier for the borrower to gather information on, do not necessarily cost more. High credit scores, big down payments, and large cash reserves ease documentation requirements.

5. Conforming Loans & Jumbo Loans

According to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, “conforming loans” are mortgages for less than the following allowable amounts at the time of this writing:

(Unit= dwelling or housing unit)

1 unit $333,700

2 units $413,100

3 units $499,300

4 units $625,000

Note: the amounts are higher in Hawaii and Alaska. Other states like California, New York, and Florida join the higher limits this year. The dollar amount of these loans changes periodically.

Conventional lenders also use the term conforming loans for loans which are not Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. Conforming loans simply refers to the dollar amount; it doesn’t mean you get a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan.

6. “Jumbo loans” are for higher dollar amounts.

You need jumbo loans to finance properties requiring larger mortgages than the limited conventional loan amount. Jumbo loans usually charge higher interest rates than conforming loans.

7. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

If you already own your own home, consider a Home Equity Line of Credit, with few fees and lower costs, for purchasing investment property. Use this line of credit for a large down payment on your investment properties over and over. With twenty percent or more down on an investment property, you get better financing plus save on loan costs.

Anchorage Alaska Real Estate

Anchorage, Alaska, is located in Anchorage County and lies 1434 miles northwest of Seattle, Washington. Anchorage has a population of 260,283. Its residents enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking through Prince William Sound, fly-fishing, skiing, and hiking and a relatively mild climate.

Anchorage is a historical and bustling city that serves as the transportation, banking, and business center of the state. Notable structures include historic buildings such as Anchorage’s City Hall, built in 1936, as well as the 4th Avenue Theatre, an art deco style building dating from 1947 with stunning floor to ceiling bronze interior murals.

Anchorage, incorporated in 1920, is a relatively young city, and homes built in the 1950s almost enjoy historic status. Nevertheless, the city’s vibrancy has earned Anchorage the reputation as the new ‘in’ city for travelers to Alaska as well as new residents, who come for its excellent transportation system, mild weather, and central location.

Anchorage Homes

Anchorage properties pool is 94,822 residential properties including Anchorage new homes. The median age of real estate in Anchorage is 1977. The average Household size is 3.19 people. 4% are one bedroom homes, 19% are 2 bedroom homes, 46% are 3 bedroom homes, 24% are 4 bedroom homes, and 5% are 5+ bedroom homes.

Anchorage Mortgage Statistics

Homes With No Mortgage 14%

Homes With Mortgage 86%

First Mortgage Only 74%

First & Second Mortgage or HELOC 12%

Anchorage Area Real Estate Tax

Anchorage Real estate Tax: Median Real Estate Taxes (2000) were $2,523 comparing to 1999 Median Family income $ 63,682. Compare to USA median yearly Real Estate Tax $1,300 and USA median Family Income $42,000 (1999).

Anchorage School District: Children make up 29.1% of Anchorage population. Anchorage has 75,871 under 18 years old residents, or 0.58 kids per one worker, or 0.8 kids per one household.

Anchorage Real Estate & Anchorage Home Ownership

Most residents of this city have come from elsewhere in the United States. Many came to work in the oil fields. Alaskan Native peoples comprise about 8% of the population. The city also has a growing population of Asian and Hispanic residents.

There are 21809.06 or 23% one person households, 30343.04 or 32% two person households, and 17067.96 or 18% three person households in Anchorage, Alaska. Median residents age is 32.4, Senior citizens (65+) make up 14,242 or 5.5%% of Anchorage population.

There are 131,228 workers (over 16 years of age) in Anchorage. Of these, 89% drive to work. Approximately 2.02% of workers in Anchorage take public transportation. An estimated 2.66% walk to work.

Median Anchorage homeowner’s housing expenses are 20.9%

Crime in Anchorage (2003), crimes per 10,000 residents per year

Violent Crimes 67

Robberies 13.06

Aggravated Assaults 43.91

Property Crimes 449.74

Burglaries 54.48

Larceny-Thefts 349.27

Motor Vehicle Thefts 45.99

Invest in Anchorage Properties

When making a decision about buying real estate in Anchorage Alaska area, you should consider following statistical data:

Near Medium City

Near Large City Seattle, Washington

Anchorage Zip Codes 99501, 99502, 99503, 99504, 99505, 99506, 99507,
99508, 99513, 99515, 99516, 99517, 99518, 99529, 99530, 99540, 99599

Anchorage Area Codes 907

White population 72.23%

African-American population 5.84

Asian 5.55%

American Indian & Alaskan

Hispanic (of any race) 5.69%

Median Family Income (1999) – $ 63,682%

Population Below Poverty Level – 7.18%

You can Find Gold Nuggets While On Vacation In Alaska

Adventurous travelers are always looking for something new, and to meet this need, in recent years there has been a something of a new form of tourism growing in the state of Alaska. Several historically productive gold mines have created facilities to bring in prospectors and tourists to see and experience the remote gold country of the Alaskan wilderness and find their own nuggets. Comfortable facilities and some luxuries allow the traveler to experience the wild backwoods of Alaska without the hardships of the pioneers. The mine owners provide the necessary equipment and help so that everyone finds some gold. Both experienced hands as well as new prospectors are given an opportunity to experience a new environment and potentially make some spectacular finds.

There are a number of operators beginning to offer this type of unique recreation, including the Moore Creek Mine in the Iditarod area, the Gaines Creek Mine and several others. This new tourism offers significant benefits to both the mine owners and the visitors. Visitors have the opportunity to potentially find some very significant gold while experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Visitors at both Moore and Gaines have produced some very large nuggets and even for those who do not set records, many visitors find the largest nuggets they have ever found. On the other hand, mine owners gain a new and unique source of financing for exploration of their property and other operations. Initial funding to get a project off the ground can be difficult to acquire and tourism offers a very unique and creative way to gain those first seed monies for a mining property.

In June of 2006, I had to opportunity to visit and sample the primitive Alaskan mining experience for myself – I went to visit the Moore Creek gold mine. I’ve been prospecting as a hobby for 30 years, but it was an experience like nothing I have ever done before. There is no practical access to the mine, except by air. I went in with 9 other guys – we met in Anchorage, and flew together to the little Alaskan community of McGrath. From there, our bush pilot, Mike Stewart, was able to transport us and our gear from McGrath out to the mine in three trips. The flight into the mine with the Mike was really exciting with spectacular views of the surrounding country. I have never flown in a little single engine plane before, so this was a real first for me. The runway in McGrath was paved, but out at the mine it was just dirt and grass. In such a little plane you really get the feel for how fragile the plane is and how the dangerous outcome can be if you have any problems. Mike is a very safe pilot and there were no problems at all.

It was so strange to me that it was never dark the entire time I was there. I think the sun set around 12:30 at night, and rose again around 4:15 am, but it was like dusk the entire time in between, so it was never really dark enough to see any stars. Evening campfires were held in what seemed to be essentially full daylight. This gave those participants who desired to do so hours of extra time in the evening to prospect. One night I went to bed at 11 pm and the sun was shining through a window in my tent right into my eyes – that’s something I’d never experience at home.

There was lots of wildlife, and beavers, rabbit, birds, wolves, etc. were in or around our camp. We saw moose droppings, but no moose. The only bears we saw were viewed from the air in a plane. However, we did find fresh bear prints in the mud about 150 feet from our tents one morning after it had rained.

The facilities at the Moore Creek Mine are very comfortable with large cots and two men assigned to each roomy tent. The tents are pitched on a flat along side a stream at the site of and old camp marked by original log cabins that are still in use. Tasty and hearty meals were provided each day by camp cook Bob Herschbach, Steve’s cousin.

Moore Creek Mine Owner Steve Herschbach and his partners have recently leased out the property to a Vancouver mining company, Full Metals Minerals (FMM-TSX:V) to explore for hard rock deposits on the property. Arrangements are such that this does not impede the ongoing tourist operation. Moore Creek mine is not too many miles from the recent big gold strike at Donlin where Barrick and Novagold have discovered a 28 million ounce gold resource. The Moore Creek property has been only lightly explored for in place lode-gold deposits and may hold significant potential.

While I was up at the mine, a team of geologists from Full Metals was exploring the property, taking samples and mapping the area geology. While it is generally believed that the most likely locations for any gold bearing resources still in place lie within the Monzonite pluton on the hill above the mine and the volcanic rocks adjacent to it, other possibilities were being considered. Future plans for drilling and other efforts will be determined based on the results of the current exploration efforts.

The group I went in with was a really great bunch of guys, but as for me, my luck was as bad as its ever been. I never got my detector over a single piece of gold – I was completely skunked for the entire week. I dug at least 50 targets – all trash. As an example of my luck, one of the last days I went out and crossed a small stream and turned right and hunted some tailing piles, I found only junk targets with my detector. The next day, another guy from the group crossed at the same point, turned left went about 10 feet and found a 2 ounce nugget – that’s just the way the ball bounces. The nuggets are just kind of spread all over in the old mine tailing piles and there is no way to know in advance where they are – so a bit of luck does play a part. On the other hand, Glen, one of the other guys in our group, really had the lucky hand – he got more than a pound of gold during the week, including 5 pieces over an ounce. He worked very hard and his largest nugget was over three ounces in weight. He told me he was digging around 4 trash targets to every one gold target and that was far better results than I achieved. By the end of the week, folks were calling him “Mr. Lucky” – His luck for the week was pretty much the exact opposite of mine.

To try may hand at some other gold mining operations, I started spending part of my time shoveling gravel into a high banker sluice box. I did a bit better there and I recovered one third of an ounce of gold with the high banker – so I at least had some nice Alaskan gold to bring home. The detecting is a hit or miss type of thing, but the high banking and dredging operations offer a surer chance to get some gold. The odds for a spectacular big nugget find may be less, but the gold more sure.

All of that considered, the bottom line is that you don’t have to find a ton of gold to really enjoy and appreciate the remote gold country of Alaska. It was the trip of a lifetime for me – a beautiful and very isolated, unspoiled country different from any I’d ever experienced. Great guys to prospect with, good folks in charge of the operation, good food and a comfortable camp all added up to a trip I’ll never forget.

Alaska Home Mortgage Loans: How to Find the Best Broker for You?

There are many different options available to persons searching for a home loan. If a strong relationship has been established with a bank or credit union, buyers may choose to secure financing with these institutions. Because buyers are typically concerned with getting the best rate possible, they may seek the help of a mortgage broker. If looking for a mortgage broker in Alaska, home buyers should proceed with caution. Currently, mortgage brokering is not regulated in the state. Moreover, Alaska mortgage brokers are not required to work from a physical office. For this reason, buyers may encounter a dishonest broker. Still, there are ways to find a good broker.

Who are Mortgage Brokers?

Some people confuse mortgage brokers with lenders. However, the two businesses are very different. While a mortgage lender provides the funds for a home loan, a broker’s responsibility involves finding the right lender for their clients. Home buyers have different needs. For example, a buyer with an ideal situation may have a 20% down payment, good credit, and funds to cover closing costs. On the other hand, another buyer may have limited assets for down payment and closing, and a terrible credit report. Brokers work with different buyers, and locate the best loan according to each situation.

Multiple Home Loan Options

A good mortgage broker in Alaska will have access to a variety of home loan programs. There are literally hundreds of programs to assist buyers. If applying with a traditional lender, the institution may only offer two or three loan options. Buyers who do not meet the loan requirements are not approved. On the contrary, a good mortgage broker will work diligently to get a client approved. They will have relationships with various lenders who offer non-traditional home loans. Moreover, a good broker will help their client obtain the best rate possible.

Mortgage Broker Referrals

Because Alaska does not regulate mortgage brokers, it is easy for someone with a criminal history (fraud, stealing, deceit, convictions, etc.) to operate a brokerage company. Thus, home buyers become susceptible to unfair practices. While there is no way to completely protect self from fraud, getting a referral from a real estate agent or previous buyer may lower the odds of being ripped off. Before choosing a mortgage broker, ask for recommendations.

Looking For Alaska Real Estate

There is a unique quality of life that can only be found in Alaska. If this is where you hope to find your next home, there are several ways to refine your search when looking for Alaska real estate on the internet. You may first be asking if the internet is your best place to start. Well, according to the latest study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), every year more home buyers are finding their home on the internet.

In 2001, 8 percent of those who purchased a home, found it on the internet. By 2009, the rate jumped more than four-fold to 36 percent! In all, 90 percent of those looking for a home used the internet. And it is not just the younger generation going online. Of those 45 to 64 years of age, an impressive 86 percent were surfing the internet.

While search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing provide a great deal of information to start with, the question becomes: “how do I wade through 10,000 matches to get what I need?” It can become a very time consuming and frustrating process.

Here are helpful ways to look for Alaska real estate:

· First, write down exactly what you are looking for in real estate and be specific.

· Use sites that offer the latest technology like Google maps to show a homes location.

· Bookmark sites that offer a video showcase of homes for sale. You will want to visit these regularly for updates.

· Use sites with a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) link to see all available homes/land in your area.

· Stick with the companies that often appear on the first page of your search results. These have usually been around longer and tend to have better developed web pages.

Ideally, your search means using a website that has residential, commercial, and other property-related business. Some sites can even include links to financing, rentals, and home improvement companies. Good search terms are important in looking for available real estate. Remember to include the city you are interested in and the specific type of real estate you are looking for. Some examples would be:

· Alaska condominiums
· Anchorage property
· Wasilla homes virtual tour
· Alaska home Inspectors
· Juneau Commercial Property
· Fairbanks home builders

There is a wide variety of Alaska real estate offerings to take advantage of. Refining your search using the tips listed here will help find the Alaska real estate you are looking for.

Alaska Car Insurance

The residents of Alaska paid an average of $2,200 for car insurance in 2009. However, the national average for 2009 was only $1,700. Additionally, the average premium raised 25% since 2008. Contrary to popular belief, the state does not “fix” their auto insurance rates. Knowing what types and amounts of coverage are required by the state is the first step for an Alaska resident to find the best deal on their car insurance. Many residents may be paying for more coverage than is necessary for their particular situation. Let’s take a look at what all drivers in Alaska should have, as a bare minimum.

Alaska follows a Tort system. This means that someone involved in an accident must be found at fault, and they, along with their insurance company, are responsible for the costs of the damages involved. Basically, this means that you must establish financial responsibility to operate a vehicle in Alaska.

As required by state law, Alaska drivers must carry a minimal $50,000 Bodily Injury per person, $100,000 Bodily Injury per accident, and $25,000 Property Damage liability. This package is commonly referred to as 50/100/25 coverage, and residents should know this before customizing any insurance coverage. This is the basic coverage required by the state, so any other types, or higher amounts of coverage, are purely optional. However, automobiles that are financed may require additional limits per their lenders.

Alaska law does not require drivers to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage. However, drivers should familiarize themselves with this type of coverage to see if it would be beneficial.

Now that you know the legal requirements for Alaska car insurance, you will be able to customize your personal insurance policy to meet your needs. Keep in mind that these are all minimal values, and they may be raised at your discretion from various factors such as the age and approximate value of the vehicle to be insured. Also keep in mind that many factors including credit history, driving record, and age of driver affect insurance rates, so rates for similar policies will always vary from person to person.

Success And Survival Tips From Alaska

The survival expert Bear Grylls has recently starred in an amazing series of TV survival programs which are full of both survival and success tips. He introduced this episode as follows:

“I am Bear Grylls. I have survived some of the world’s toughest environments. Now, I’m in Alaska, one of the world’s last great wildernesses and one mistake here can be fatal. My mission – to show you the skills you need to survive here.”

Alaska’s landscape is made up of endless coastline, deep forest and huge glaciers. Seventeen of the highest mountains in the USA are in Alaska.

Mountaineers, skiers and hikers visit every year to enjoy the wilderness but with the thrills comes danger. Over 20 people die every year.

Bear was placed by helicopter on top of a mountain in the role of a lost skier. All he had was a knife, a water bottle, skis, a flint, an intrepid camera crew and a woolly hat! He would have to find his own way back to safety.

He described what happened next:

“I am 9000 feet up and there is nothing but snow and rock for miles and miles. My best chance of survival is to head downwards.

“The biggest threat to skiers is avalanche. They kill around forty people every year in North America. One wrong turn and the whole mountain side could come crashing down on you. You need to know how to avoid them.

“The key with avalanches is to read the snow and you can use the ski pole in front of you just to test the snow to see whether it is compacted or whether it is in layers.

“What you want is when you push it in, it is nice and consistent but if you push it down and it like suddenly drops a little bit, it’s a sign it’s in layers and that’s the dangerous stuff.

“Avalanches are often triggered by inexperienced skiers and snow boarders who come to enjoy the forty feet of virgin snow which can often fall here.”

In early 2006 a snow boarder from Anchorage triggered a 200ft wide avalanche on a slope just like the one Bear was on. His body was eventually recovered three months later. He had fallen 1600 feet.

“Where there is a risk of avalanche, always carry a beacon. They transmit a signal which a rescue service can follow.

“I’ve descended at least 5000 feet now and at last I’m leaving the high snow faces behind There is so much rock that it is becoming impossible to ski any further. All these skis are going to do is slow me down. I’m better off without them.”

Bear dumped the skis but kept one of the poles.

“Below me is a glacier, literally a river of ice, and like a river this glacier flows downhill. If I can get to it, it should lead me out of the mountains.

“To get to the glacier I need to follow this ridge and it’s not easy and the temperature is dropping fast. Temperatures here in Alaska can reach as low as minus 60 degrees and frostbite is always a danger in the mountains.

“The bits to watch out for are your extremities – your hands, your feet and your face. The signs you are getting frostbite is that your skin goes this waxy red colour and eventually black. Frostbite is a really horrible and painful thing.

“This ridge has led me to a north facing slope. This gets less sunlight so it is still covered in snow. The weather is not looking so good. Getting caught out in bad weather can be fatal.

“I need to get down fast but the slope below me is nearly 300 feet. I am going to use a technique called ‘glissade’.”

To perform the glissade, you dig in your ice axe to control the speed of your descent. If you don’t dig in the axe enough you will go too fast. If you dig it in too deep, it can get ripped out of your hand.

Bear used half a ski stick as he had no axe and descended at about 50 miles per hour clinging desperately to the stick. He continued his account:

“I’ve reached a glacier. There are over 100 thousand of these in Alaska. They form the largest fresh water reservoir on earth but they are full of crevasses often covered by layers of snow. You need to be roped to a partner to cross them safely.

“My luck is in. There is solid ground running alongside the glacier. But at the bottom of the glacier there is a forty foot waterfall.

“There is an ice tunnel into the glacier which could lead me out. Check the ice is solid before you go in. There could be over 200 feet of ice above me and it could crash down at any moment. Only go through such a tunnel as a last resort. The further you go in the harder it is to go back.”

I’m not sure what the camera crew had to say about this little adventure!

Then, Bear saw daylight ahead. It showed his way out:

“I have never been so relieved. Finally, I am off the glacier!”

He took his ski boots off but kept the inner shoes on. He drank some water which looked dirty but the brown colour was glacial silt or pulverised rock. Bear commented: “This water should be good to drink.”

He continued to move downwards: “Now I am off the mountain, I need to keep heading down to find food and shelter.”

He was dive bombed by seagulls who were protecting their eggs which are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals but he was out of luck and only found stones which looked like eggs. However, he was far from discouraged:

“The landscape is beginning to open up and I can see the tree line ahead and I am almost in the forest. I can see a thick forest and deep gorge and there might be a river at the bottom of that. Most Alaskan villages are along rivers.”

He was now in bear country.

Brown bears can grow up to nine feet tall, weigh up to 1100 pounds and can tear a man apart. When rangers found the remains of a hiker’s body, who was recently killed, there were two empty shells on the ground but the bullets had not been enough to stop the bear.

Big groups rarely get attacked because they make lots of noise. Hunters are more likely to be attacked because they are sneaking round quietly on their own.