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Hilltop Welcoming Service

Articles written by Tammy Engel

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The trouble with HELOCs

All of a sudden everyone is excited about Home Equity Lines of Credit again. Offers are coming at us in print, on TV and electronically. "Use your home's equity!" they scream. Do you remember what...

 

Do rates matter?

In comparing today's mortgage rates to exactly one year ago today, we are up almost exactly 1%. That's water under the bridge and can't be changed, but let's take a quick look to see what future rate...

 
 By Tammy Engel    Local News    July 7, 2018

USDA update

If you're working with a local lender, you may already know about the USDA's Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program. It works when buying in our zip code and allows for no down payment. The...

 

It matters who lives there

Family A bought a big house last year to accommodate a family member who needed to live with them. Over the course of several months, it became clear the arrangement was not ideal, and the extra...

 
 By Tammy Engel    Local News    June 9, 2018

Maybe it's your tax bill

Kern County's Treasurer-Tax Collector website says this month is the deadline to pay your current property taxes and penalties prior to defaulting. In October we'll all get a new tax bill for 2018....

 
 By Tammy Engel    Local News    May 26, 2018

Then and now

Interest rates are up. Want to know what that means in real terms? I pulled rate sheets from June 1, 2017 and am comparing to today's rate sheet. Here are some rough ideas about what is real in...

 
 By Tammy Engel    Local News    May 12, 2018

What should I do?

This is an open letter to the many folks who have sat across the desk from me in the past month. Together we spent hours poring over scenarios, and figures, and life questions. I want to honor you...

 

Make it home

We know we have a topic when the same subject comes up repeatedly. In the past week three families have asked me, "What is the more strategic house to buy? Which one will be easiest to sell for a...

 

Please participate

The first caller just heard that her husband wanted a divorce. She rang me in a panic, having no idea what to do when he offered that she buy the house from him. The next was a widow of three weeks,...

 

Who can you trust?

Buyers! Sellers! Realtors! Lend me your ears! Unless it's a cash transaction, the success of your home buying or selling rests quite firmly on the lender. If the loan doesn't fund, nobody moves, and...

 

Check it twice

Haven't I told you to shop around? Just this weekend a past client contacted me about a mortgage transaction. They are moving out of state and the paperwork didn't look right. They had told the...

 

How to get started

The caller wanted to learn how to get ready to buy his first house. "I just paid cash for my business, and I have no credit." Nice, a clean slate to work with! After the mortgage meltdown, Congress...

 

The Equifax data breach: what to do

This article is taken in its entirety from www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do. If you have a credit report, there's a good chance that you're one of the 143 million American...

 

Hurry! Reverse changes coming Oct. 2

We're short and sweet this week, since something big is happening in the world of reverse mortgage. On Aug. 29, 2017 the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced changes to the...

 

Who gets paid?

Did you know that in a real estate transaction, the seller usually pays for the Realtors? A buyer asked about this last week, so let’s spend a few minutes discussing it. When a property is for sale,...

 

Negotiating repairs

Of course there will be things wrong with your dream house! The home inspection is designed to tell you that upfront so you can be an informed consumer. What do you do with those findings? Your...

 

Winning the battle of the thumbs

We’re short and sweet this week: Here is an article posted in the National Mortgage Professional magazine. While the majority of prospective homebuyers do their research on home loans online, they...

 
 By Tammy Engel    Local News    July 8, 2017

Community Wide Open House on July 22

The Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors is holding a Community Wide Open House on July 22. Agents in the know tell me that if you want to have much of a choice in our current market, you’ll want...

 

Reverse wins – sometimes

Don’t fall for the hype – Reverse mortgage isn’t for everyone. When you have a seasoned professional help you with the analysis about what these loans accomplish or not, you can see for...

 

When cash is not king

Really, he was trying to help. Knowing that he needed a clean paper trail for the money they’d use to buy a house, he opened a new account. Since the bank puts holds on checks for the first month,...

 
 By Tammy Engel    Local News    May 27, 2017

'My parents said I should refinance'

It’s pretty great that parents watch out for their kids’ finances. A 2015 first-time buyer was in touch because their parents told them to refinance right now, while rates are low. But is that a...

 
 By Tammy Engel    Local News    May 13, 2017

$11,000 is too much

A repeat client phoned me and she was hoppin’ mad. “We got a VA buyer offer on our house and they want us to pay $11000 in closing costs!” That made me mad, too. Here’s why. The VA home loan...

 

Ken Harney says...

Kenneth Harney is a nationally-syndicated columnist on real estate for the Washington Post Writers Group. Here’s his March 29 post about credit scores. When is your “credit score” irrelevant in...

 

It's a conspiracy!

Is there a conspiracy surrounding the appraisal report for your home purchase or refinance? Recently a buyer was upset about an appraisal value matching the purchase price, so let’s review the...

 

Rates are up! Rates are down!

Gotta love the media. They scream at us that interest rates are worse, and that interest rates are better. All they’re doing is reading from a teleprompter – so what’s true? It’s all about...

 

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