Santa Rosa, CA Real Estate News

By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
Over the past year, there have been numerous failures in the banking and lending industries. Even the government tried with it's own feeble attempts to help borrowers with several failed programs such as Hope Now, FHASelect and the up and coming Recovery Act of 2008,  But who would have thought that the government taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would actually be the first thing to help borrowers to begin to refinance and purchase a new home. Since the takeover of Fannie and Freddie, interest rates have dropped near;y 3/4% in some instances. Today you can find, depending on your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and LTV, a 30 year fixed loan for around 5.50% That's nearly a 7/8% drop from rates just 3 weeks ago! A 15 year fixed rate for 5.25%. Does this mean the housing market w...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
Over the past year since the mortgage and housing implosion has started, we have only heard about Fannie Mae this, and Freddie Mac that. Mortgage companies have come and gone, some deservedly.  Fannie, Freddie and FHA maximum loan limits have been adjusted upwards, thanks to the stimulus package and soon to a more permanent status by the Congress, Senate and President. Many new programs have been developed such as FHASecure and Hope Now to help borrowers who have an adjustable mortgage about to reset. But what about the runt of the loan program litter that no one is paying any attention too. What about the good old VA loan? Being one of the last of it's breed of 100% financing, the VA loan is for veterans and active duty military personnel, members of the reserve and National Guard. Wha...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
Do you like vintage, classic custom cars and trucks? Do you miss the old days of the Do Wop bands? Then you need to plan for the the Peggy Sue's All American Cruise on June 14th and 15th at A Place to Play Park 2375 3rd Street Santa Rosa CA. There will be music from Do Wop bands, along with some great food. Here is the current schedule of events:  Saturday, 06/14/2008  7:30 am - 10:00 am Sign-in and Car Line-up A Place to Play Park, 2375 W. 3rd St., Santa Rosa, CA  7:30 am - 10:00 am Participant, Vendor and Sponsor Breakfast A Place to Play Park, 2375 W. 3rd St., Santa Rosa, CA  9:00 am - 4:00 pm Open Vendor Sales A Place to Play Park, 2375 W. 3rd St., Santa Rosa, CA  10:00 am - 4:00 pm Show & Shine opens to the public A Place to Play Park, 2375 W. 3rd St., Santa Rosa, CA  10:00 am - 4:...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
Over the past few months I have had both current clients and potential clients calling and asking why haven't the interest rates dropped more. "The Fed Funds Rate is really low." "How long will it take for mortgage rates to go down also?" "I'm going to wait a little longer, I know they will drop because of the Fed Funds Rate." Unfortunately, many borrowers and even some loan officers get confused when is comes down to who actually sets the mortgage interest rates. First of all, the Fed Funds Rate has actually nothing to do with where mortgage interest rates are. The Fed Funds Rate is actually the interest rate that banks lend to each other overnight. The lower the rate, the more liquidity there is between the banks. It is a short term rate that signals the Federal Reserves view as the s...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
As we go through life, there are a number of firsts for all of us. The first time we take a step. Our first word. First time we drive a car. But one of the scariest firsts is the first time we purchase a home.All the processes and steps we have to learn and remember. Finding a real estate agent and lender. Calculating and re-calculating your income and debts, and even after all those calculations, still not sure if you want to go through with it. How will you make the payments? What if one of us loses our job? What will the housing market do? It is a hard decision to make when thinking about purchasing your first home. Does purchasing a home have to be that daunting? No it doesn't. Sure there are a lot of new things to learn, but once the excitement and nervousnessgo away, you will sit ...
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By Cindy Brandon, CDPE, EcoBroker, GRI, CRS, ePro
Marty Roberts of Solar Sonoma County just emailed me with some exciting news.  Santa Rosa was recently named one of 12 new "Solar America Cities," which qualifies the city to receive federal funding and technical assistance for project implementation of its Solar Sonoma County grant proposal.  The objective of this proposal is a countywide solar program that accelerates and expands local solar energy production. The foundation of Santa Rosa's proposal is the Solar Sebastopol program.  The city is banding together other area cities and the county to expand the program countywide. The funds will contribute to efforts by Santa Rosa and the Solar Sonoma County partners' to increase the amount of solar installations in the County by 25 megawatts over the next three years. The goal of  Solar ...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
Never before have things changed so quickly in the mortgage industry. Interest rates increase and decrease depending on the markets, on an hourly basis. Loan programs are being changed sometimes on a daily basis, others are being discontinued all together. With this in mind, first time homebuyers who were counting on the first time homebuyer loan programs with 100 % LTV or 0 down must be aware that those programs are no longer offered. Over the past month the MI or better known as mortgage insurance companies have cut back their exposure to these types of loans. They will now only insure loans to a maximum LTV of 97% on first time loans. That means the borrower must have at the very least a down payment of 3%. For example if you were looking to purchase a home for $300,000, you would ne...
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By Karen Curran
(Confident Mobile Notary Public Service)
My name is Karen Curran.  I was an escrow officer for 18 years, loved the business, hard to work in an office.  Four walls and a time clock.  I love what I do.  I am a mobile notary, a certified loan signer and like to put the clients at ease with so many documents.  The internet and promoting your business over the internet has me quite confused.  Any ideas?
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
Over the past few months, I have had the same recurring question from borrowers in regards to what does locking a loan mean and floating a loan. Both principles are pretty straight forward and easy to explain. LOCK A LOAN  When your loan officer suggests that you lock your loan, what he/she is actually telling you is to lock in the current interest rate you have been offered. There are many reasons why they may suggest this, but typically it is because there is a possibility that rate may change by the end of the day, or in fact in todays market, the loan program in which you are applying for may be changing guidelines and you might not qualify after the change date. Most borrowers do not realize that mortgage interest rates can adjust upward and downward on a daily and even sometimes a...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
With less than 30 days left until April15th, many homeowners are scrambling to get their paperwork together for their tax preparer appointment. In all the frustrated and anxiety filled moments before the meeting, many homeowners may forget a few of the tax deductions they may be allowed. As a reminder, here are just a few that may help you with your income taxes this year. Be aware that before you make any of these deductions, you need to speak with a tax professional first before doing so. 1. PMI - Private Mortgage Insurance is an extra insurance that lenders require when a homeowner puts less than 20% down payment on a home. in essence, lenders would prefer an 80% Loan-to-Value, however those borrowers with an LTV higher than 80% must pay an insurance premium each month. But the good ...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
On the heels of the Federal Housing Administration's increases in the maximum loan amounts for Sonoma County, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have released their increases today March 7,2008. Following the lead of FHA, the new conforming rate for Sonoma County will be $662,500. Although this increase is currently only temporary until the end of the year 2008, it should help many families to refinance out of their high interest rate adjustable rate loans. For those who have been waiting to refinance out of their current adjustable rate mortgage, the time is here. For example, if your current adjustable interest rate is 7.5% with a $500,000 loan amount, your current P & I is $3496.07. However, if you refinanced into a 30 year fixed at the current rate of 6.00% your monthly P & I would be ...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
With the mortgage crisis in full swing, a temporary reprieve has finally come from the Federal Housing Administration. As of March 05,2008 the FHA maximum loan limits for Sonoma County have been raised from $362,000 to $662,500.  What this means for both current borrowers and future home-buyers is a short term chance to either refinance out of your high interest rate adjustable mortgage, or for those that have been waiting to once again be able to purchase a home with less  than a 700 credit score. As an added bonus, most of the time the FHA interest rate is lower than the standard conforming Fannie Maw or Freddie Mac rate.For those who have been waiting to refinance out of their current adjustable rate mortgage, the time is here. For example, if your current adjustable interest rate is...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
As many of us have heard, the new stimulus package passed by both the Congress and Senate, and signed by the President will raise the loan limits for FHA loans until the end of the year December 2008. These new loan limits will be increased from the former California FHA loan limits of $362,000 to the new maximum loan limit of $729,000. However, borrowers must be made aware that as it stands right now, not all counties will receive the maximum. Median home prices are being reviewed by HUD and will be released, along with the designated increase in loan limits for that county or city. Using the current plan, the loan limits for Sonoma County which currently stand at $362,000, will be raised somewhere in the area of $656,000.  What does this change in FHA mean to the borrower? It means th...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
 As a National Mortgage Banker, Ascent Home Loans has provided innovative lending solutions for over 10 years. With our state of the art technology, I can give you quick loan decisions when you need to refinance, or fast pre-approvals that will give you that edge when negotiating for a new home. At Ascent Home Loans of Santa Rosa CA, I want to help you make the right choices when it comes to selecting the correct mortgage for you and your family. How do I do this?  I listen to my clients. With the right questions being asked, a client can provide a wealth of information on their future home loan and investment needs. I unlike other lenders, help you choose the right loan program that best fits your needs, not ours. Now, I can be like other every other mortgage company and tell you we ha...
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By Cindy Brandon, CDPE, EcoBroker, GRI, CRS, ePro
EARTH DAY ON THE GREENWAY Celebrate Earth Day by helping clean up Santa Rosa Creek.  Improve  and restore habitats and native plants. Santa Rosa creek is the home of otter, a variety of birds and steelhead.  There are hiking and biking trails along the creek and welcome shade in the summer time.  Ages 7 and UpSunday, Apr 20, 2008 9:00 to 12:00Meet at the footbridge in Olive Park  near Vineyard Creek Hotel on West 3rd St. Need more info? Contact: ableifuss@srcity.org .
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By Cindy Brandon, CDPE, EcoBroker, GRI, CRS, ePro
Whatever you do, don't wash those medications down the drain!  Those medicines may be good for you but they are very bad for our water.  Water treatment facilities do not have the ability to remove toxins.  They are better off in a landfill than in our waterways...but now there is another option.  Take your old medications (including expired, over the counter medicine) to a participating pharmacy. A pilot campaign to keep medications out of our waterways has started in Sonoma County. Participating area pharmacies in Cotati, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Rohnert Park include Longs Drugs, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Tuttles.  Not every location will have the program to begin with so call before you make the trip.  Want to know more?  Visit www.srcity.org/safemed.  Also check out http://www.recyc...
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By Cindy Brandon, CDPE, EcoBroker, GRI, CRS, ePro
Here's yet another reason for Sonoma County Residents to be proud of our Sonoma County governmental leaders who are now paving the way for more alternative energy resources.  Called Solar Sonoma County they have announced joint plans to triple solar-generated electricity in the next three years.The objective of this initiative is to make it easier for Sonoma County Residents to cost justify solar energy and become proactive in helping achieve our county's climate protection objectives.  It appears that incentives may include a streamlined permit process and bank loans that encourage conversion.  These incentives, combined with the fact that the cost of solar installations is projected to decrease, are making it easier for citizens to make and justify a cost/benefit case for installing s...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
With the passing of the stimulus bill now behind us, in a few short weeks Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA will release their new guidelines on loans above the conforming loan limit of $417,000. Although this will help to stimulate refinances and home sales, there are two things that homeowners looking to sell during this time must remember. The first is the bill is only effective until the end of the year, and second you will be competing with 1000's of other homes on the market.  Now is the time you must sit down and create a plan of action on how you are going to differentiate your home from all the others. What is going to make a seller choose your home over all the others. There are several ways of accomplishing this. The first and most important is renovating. The degree of renovat...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
With the new stimulus package being nearly passed by the President, now is the time to start thinking about refinancing out of those higher interest option arm rates or purchasing a new home. We all know how California has suffered through this housing slump, mainly because of our higher median home prices. The majority of Californians could not even think about refinancing their homes due to the fact that our homes are still to far above the conforming loan limit of $417,000. While we sat and watched many parts of the country such as the Midwest and Southern portions of the US refinance into lower conforming rates, we were basically held hostage by the secondary markets where loans are bought and sold. Since the credit crisis became news, the secondary market has virtually closed down ...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
The Senate has recently passed Senate Bill S 2338 which changer dramatically the structure of the standard FHA programs. In recent years FHA programs have not been used to any extent here in California due to the median home prices being much higher than the $362,790 loan limit established for most of the state along with the North Bay area. With the passing of the above bill, loan limits will be raised to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits of $417,000. Along with those lines, the bill will also reduce the required 3% downpayment from the borrower down to 1.5%. This change alone will help many families the extra help they needed in purchasing a home. However, with the increase in the loan limits to $417,000, this change will help those that need to refinance now. Thos...
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