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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Is There Really Such a Thing as 0% Down?

Is there really such thing as 0% down?

by Kelle Wirt

                For first time homebuyers, a real estate transaction can seem like a scary and daunting ordeal. One of the questions I get asked most often is, “Is there really such thing as 0% down for first time homebuyers?” Despite the old adage, “If it is too good to be true, it probably is,” in many instances, the answer is YES. In Texas, the two most utilized programs for first time homebuyers are the SETH program and TMP- 79. Even without these programs, interest rates are at a record low and home buying has never been more affordable – as long as you have a professional REALTOR® on your side who knows the ins and outs of these programs and knows you individually to provide you with the best assistance.

What are the SETH program and TMP-79 and how can they help first time homebuyers with 0% down?

                The SETH program provides down payment assistance and tax credit for eligible loans which include FHA, VA, and USDA-RD. There are some eligibility requirements and a course is mandatory.  Please see this site for more information. TMP-79 (“Taxable Mortgage Program”) is also known as “My First Texas Home.”  Provided by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, this is a relatively new assistance program to help with a fixed interest rate as well as closing costs. More in-depth information can be found here. 

What is the bottom line for a first time homebuyer?


                The bottom line for a first time homebuyer is this: you need a professional REALTOR® in your corner who will give you not only the information on assistance, but all the information to make an informed decision that is right for you. For example, while these programs are a wonderful way for first time home buyers to make an investment while the market is great but there can be reasons not to take them: later this year mortgage insurance premium (also known as “MI”) cannot be removed for the life of the loan unless a mandatory ten percent down was presented at closing as opposed to when the home reaches the 80/20 loan to value split and if you move too soon after the purchase of the home, you could be upside down. I will be happy to walk you through this information, as I have dealt with it both personally and professionally and know how confusing it can be. As your REALTOR®, I am here to provide you with the ability to make an informed decision, not to make the decision for you. Feel free to email me at kellewirt@gmail.com or call me at (830) 237-8463 if you are looking for a home in the Central Texas area. If you are looking outside the Central Texas area, please be sure to bring these and any questions up to your REALTOR® 

Reasons to Hire a REALTOR® and why the Information about Brokerage Services Form is Important

Reasons to hire and REALTOR® and why an Information About Brokerage Services form is important

by Kelle Wirt

                Just like in many businesses, there is usually some mild hesitation about working with a salesperson of any kind, and REALTORS® are not immune to this. Due to the poor ethics of some, the whole group is given a bad rap. However, having a REALTOR® in your corner is a very good idea  for a variety of reasons. When first meeting with your REALTOR®, they probably handed you a form that looks like this. This is a relatively simple form that says expressly whom the REALTOR® is working for. It is important to understand that if you have a REALTOR® working for you, they are always working in your best interest (provided they are an ethical agent.) The Information About Brokerage Services is to let you know there will be no conflict of interest if the buyer’s agent or seller’s agent happens to represent both sides of the sale. Simply stated; if the buyer or seller agrees to this intermediary relationship the agent will not divulge any information to either party in any way to give favor to one over the other.
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif             Another good reason to have a REALTOR® in your corner is the relationships they build in their community. They know about the latest developments in the community, from new builds to foreclosures, they can find you the home best suited to your needs no matter what those needs may be. A REALTOR® is there to be used – use them! A common misconception is that you will get a “better deal” without a REALTOR®, but in no way is that the case. They have information you may not be privy to through their wealth of connections and, perhaps most importantly, they have been through the process of selling homes multiple times and therefore they know the right questions to ask and the best way to negotiate their client’s interest.

A note about REALTOR® ethics and the Buyer’s Rep Contract

An ethical and responsible REALTOR® is going to communicate with you and be competent. At the very least, you should expect your REALTOR® to answer all questions in a timely fashion and be up to date on the latest laws and current trends in the real estate market. If they fail to do either of these things, drop them and find someone who will. You deserve to be represented by the best. However, this communication must go both ways, and the best way for that to happen is to sign a Buyer’s Rep Contract. This guarantees that you will work with that REALTOR® only for your current needs. While signing contracts may make some uneasy, this is the best way to build a relationship with a REALTOR® you have come to trust. Do know that these contracts can be made to a specific location, so if you are an investor looking at multiple areas, you can find someone in each area to be sure they have the best information possible.

As always, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Please email me at kellewirt@gmail.com or comment below. Happy home buying! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Different Kind of Date - Swing Dance and Live Concerts Tuesdays inNew Braunfels

Tired of the same old dinner and a movie routine? Looking for something new and exciting without breaking the bank? Then head on down to historic Gruene for swing dance lessons followed by the Two-Ton Rockabilly band - all for less than $15 dollars a person! You can even grab a bite to eat, no matter what your taste may be.
Head on over to Cantina Del Rio for a delicious fish taco or burger.
Hit up Adobe Verde for more traditional Tex-Mex.
Mosey on to Mozie's for an eclectic menu and a stiff drink.
Watch the river run outside of Gristmill and enjoy some true Texas sized onion rings, no to mention the other delicious main dishes.
Stop by the Gruene River Grill for a lighter fair and a truly unique dining room feel.
Want to grab a glass of wine?
You can sample some unique flavors at the Winery on the Gruene - and keep the glass!
Feeling a little more old fashioned? Grab a scoop of ice cream or piece of fudge at the Gruene General Store.
Then dance the night away in renowned Gruene Hall, rockabilly style! Take a break out in the beer garden and take in the amazing Texas stars at night! It will be a night never to forget and unlike any date you have had before. Just one more reason Hill Country living is the best! 

Want easy access to amazing events like this every night? Give me a call and let me find you your own little piece of the Hill Country - whether you are looking to custom build on your own land, want something with a little more history or just need some temporary living, I can find you what you are looking for. Come see why this is the best place on Earth! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Simple Truth Behind DTI (Debt to Income)

The Simple Truth Behind DTI (Debt to Income)

Debt to Income: what, how and where 

You may have experienced it before - applied for a loan, a credit card, a mortgage or a refinance and told you were turned down due to DTI. You may have even been told a certain percentage and to keep paying and try again later. But, unless you have asked specifically, chances are no one has explained to you exactly what DTI is or where most lenders want you to be.

What is DTI?

DTI, or debt to income, is a factor most lenders take into consideration before approving you for a loan. It is a relatively simple calculation that looks out your outstanding debts to your current income. Debts that are taken into consideration are things like car payments, student loans, child support, mortgage or rent payments, etc.  They will factor the amount you currently pay plus what you are projected to pay to make sure you are a viable risk for that loan.

How do I calculate my DTI?

Let's say that you bring home $3000 a month. You pay out $650 a month in car payments, $100 a month for student loans, and have a current rent of $900 a month. You take your total debt ($1650 a month) and divide it by your salary ($3000) and multiply that answer by 100. In this case your DTI would be 55%. 
However, let's say you are looking to take a loan out for a home that would be paying $1000 a month on. In that case you would replace your $900 rent payment for the $1000 mortgage payment and plug it into the same equation. Your projected DTI is then 58%. 

Where does my DTI need to be to get approved?

This question is a little tricky. Most lenders would like DTI to be at 41% or lower to be approved. However, every individual case is different and will be evaluated with consideration to credit and other factors. Any time you are turned down, down't be afraid to ask and now you can go in a little more confident of what to expect. 

If you have been turned down due to DTI in relation to car loans and are looking to buy a home in the New Braunfels/Kyle/Cibolo/Schertz areas, give me a call! I may be able to help! (830) 237-8463.

I hope this helps! Happy homebuying! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Good Ol' Days: New Time Capsule Buried Outside New Braunfels Courthouse after 115 Years

     You just never know what to expect when you walk out of your office. This morning, I was lucky enough to snap some photos of what is sure to be a very historic event. 115 years ago to the day, a time capsule was buried in the cornerstone of the Comal County Courthouse. It was removed during the Centennial celebration back in 1998, but a new one was not buried until today. As far as the contents go, it will remain a mystery. The powers-that-be seem to think it will be more exciting that way, as some of the fun was removed when the old time capsule was removed with an inventory. (Any other history buffs out there disagree? I mean, really, how can anything that lasted 100 years of weathering, not to mention the complete overhaul of the courthouse, be considered anything but an amazing and precious gift?)


Admittedly, these are not the most exciting photos, but it is still a pretty cool event and I am so glad I was able to see it! A reminder that not everything has to be flashy to be interesting in today's overly stimulated world.

Just a little then and now for those curious...
  • Cost of sugar
    • 1898: $0.05/lb
    • Now: $0.56/lb.
  • Cost of bread
    • 1898: $0.06/lb
    • Now: $1.43/lb
  • Cost of cheese:
    • 1898: $0.16/lb.
    • Now: $4.25/lb. (and that is for the processed cheese!)
  • Cost of butter:
    • 1898: $0.26/lb.
    • Now: $3.18/lb
  • Average family size:
    • 1898: 5
    • Now:  2.48 
I have always found this information fascinating  How much we have evolved (and how much have we lost?) in those 115 years. What are your predictions for 2098 when the time capsule is set be reopened?


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

First Annual Herb Fest in New Braunfels

One of the things l love the most about living in New Braunfels is the endless traditions. We value our history with an eye to the future. This weekend l was fortunate enough to attend a tradition in the making with the first annual Herb Fest. ln true NB fashion, you were welcomed at the gate of the Conservation Society with a smile and handed a paper bag for any purchases you wished to make. There was an information station, and of course a beautiful display of fresh herbs and plants, but there were also antiques for sell as well as a silent auction.
Here in the historical Forke Store were beautiful and easy to make decorations.
The women had no problems explaining how to make one of their gorgeous (not to mention delightful smelling) displays. They even printed out a step-by-step guide for making an herb house instead of the more common gingerbread house this year!
Then, my favorite display! It would not be a New Braunfels event without a little free food and drink! Here were lavender shortbread cookies, mint chocolate chip cookies with real mint (YUM!), basil lemonade and herbed beer bread. It was wonderful to see all the unique ways to spruce up favorites with fresh herbs. (Excuse the poor photo!)
The wonderful and well-kept walkway ushered you into covered patio featuring beautiful and unique wares from all around town. The plants and herbs that lined the walkway were also for sale!
I just love this archway! It lights up at night and one of my favorite pictures of my husband and I was taken here.
A very small snapshot of the amazing, organic herbs for sale!

It was a wonderful way to spend another beautiful Saturday in New Braunfels and a lovely reminder of just why I love this town so much! I will definately be going again next year - and hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother’s Day Brunch, New Braunfels Style


Mother’s Day Brunch, New Braunfels Style

Mother’s Day Brunch, New Braunfels Style
Looking to take Mom somewhere special for Brunch this year? New Braunfels has a couple of great options, namely the brunch at the historic Faust hotel and the Gospel Brunch in historic Gruene Hall. One-of-a-kind celebrations for your one-of-a-kind mom!

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Faust Hotel and Brewing Co.

When: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Hours: 11 am – 3 pm
Where: 240 S. Seguin Ave., New Braunfels, TX 78130
Tickets: $25 in advance/ $30 at the door
Contact information: 830.625.7791             

Gospel Brunch with a Texas Twist in Gruene Hall

When: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Hours: 10:30 am - Noon
Tickets: Unfortunately, this event is already sold out. Put on every year so mark your calendars and get your tickets early next year!
Contact information: 830.629.5077

Even if you can’t make brunch, there are plenty of fun and delicious restaurants in both New Braunfels and Gruene. Maybe Mom would enjoy a stroll downtown?
What ways are you celebrating Mother’s Day this year? Any unique ideas? Leave me a comment below! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fear Not Friday: Hurry up and wait: how long you will have to wait when turned down for derogatory credit


Hurry up and wait: how long you will have to wait when turned down for derogatory credit

Hurry up and wait: how long you will have to wait when turned down for derogatory credit.
                
Perhaps one of the most frustrating experiences when looking for a home is that moment when you are told you have to wait to purchase due to your credit issues. Two of the biggest hits your credit can take, be it bad choices or bad luck, are previous foreclosures or filing for Bankruptcy. There are specific eligibility dates for each of these situations and I have the inside scoop. (By the way, did you know that VA loans have different eligibility dates?)

Eligibility dates after Foreclosure or Bankruptcy for Conventional-Conforming loans

·         Foreclosure
o   A foreclosure occurs when the home was given back to the lender, without owner participation and done with a legal proceeding.
o   If you have had a previous foreclosure, you are eligible to apply 7 years from the date the foreclosure was completed and transferred back to the lender to date of the credit report. *If you have had extenuating circumstances (non-recurring events that are beyond your control that result in sudden, significant, and prolonged reduction in income or a catastrophic increase in financial obligations) you are eligible to apply 3 years from the foreclosure date).

·         Short Sale, Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
o   A short sale is when the lender agrees to accept payoff for less than amount owed. A Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure is when the borrower fails to satisfy the loan obligation and assigns the title to the lender to avoid foreclosure proceedings.
o   In either case, the eligibility dates depend on how much of a down payment you can make on the new loan:
§  If less than 10% down, you are eligible 7 years from the date the sale was closed and transferred to the owner.
§  If 10% down, you are eligible 4 years from the date the sale was closed and transferred to the new owner. *Waiting time is decreased to 2 years with acceptable extenuating circumstances.
§  If 20% down, you are eligible 2 years from the date the sale was closed and transferred to the new owner.
·         Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
o   A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy occurs when the debts are discharged (you do not pay any debts).
o   Once credit has been re-established, with no derogatory ratings, you are eligible 4 years from the discharge date. *It is possible to have a 2 year waiting period with extenuating circumstances.
·          Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
o   A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy occurs when debts are paid back on a monthly scheduled payment plan.
o   With good credit, a satisfactory employment history and other considerations, it is possible to apply for a new loan while still paying on a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. You will have to have made verifiable payments for at least one year and there are other legal requirements for the loan to be approved, such as approval from the bankruptcy court.

Eligibility dates after Foreclosure or Bankruptcy for VA loans

·         Foreclosure, Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
o   For VA loans, these events are treated the same way.
o   For these circumstances, you are eligible 2 years from the date the foreclosure was completed and/or transferred back to the lender. * For extenuating circumstances such as unemployment, prolonged strikes, medical bills not covered by insurance but not including divorce, you can be eligible within 12-23 months if credit has been re-established and paid as agreed.
·         Short Sale
o   In the event of a short sale, you are eligible 2 years from the date the sale closed and transferred to the new owner.
·         Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or Consumer Credit Counseling
o   With good credit, a satisfactory employment history and other considerations, it is possible to apply for a new loan while still paying on a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. You will have to have made verifiable payments for at least one year and there are other legal requirements for the loan to be approved, such as approval from the bankruptcy court.


If you have any questions, please feel free to email me kellewirt@gmail.com or leave a comment below! 

Happy Homebuying! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Only in Texas!

The $229.00 grasshopper Friday! Ok, we are maintenance people, we believe fully in 
keeping everything in top working order. So you can imagine our surprise the other day when one of our three 3 year old units would not cool the house! well sometimes a grasshopper is just a $229.00 grasshopper! They say everything is bigger in Texas, well some giant Houdini grasshopper has worked his way into our sealed A/C unit and landed on the capacitor (yes as in Flux Capacitor) and fried himself after destroying our wires! The tech came in shaking his head saying I have no idea how he got into that sealed part of the unit. Luckily only one out of the three units we have was destroyed! Wow, only in Texas!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Considering a move to Central Texas? A few of my favorite things to eat in New Braunfels.

Food, glorious food. There are very few stereotypes about Texans that end up being true, but there is no lie to how much we love our food – or the abundance of “unusual” food. Let’s start with breakfast, as it is the most important meal of the day. Most people in New Braunfels start their breakfast one of two ways: with a kolache or a breakfast taco.Kolaches came to us from Central Europe (traditionally Czech) and are traditionally breads filled with a fruit or egg filling. While these are available in bakeries in New Braunfels, if you come to New Braunfels and ask for a kolache, you will most likely be presented with one of these:
http://www.glenwoodnyc.com/manhattan-living/wp-content/uploads/resource/km-kolache-recipe-shop.jpg
Basically, a pig-in-a-blanket taken to levels of cheesy, jalapeno greatness. (They are also available without jalapenos and without cheese, but really, what’s the point?) The breakfast taco is basically as simple as it sounds: a tortilla filled with eggs and a breakfast meat or cheese or a fajita or carne guisada taco eaten during the hours of breakfast.( I have been told by some of our California emigrants that these are called “breakfast burritos” there. They are tacos here, but at least you will be familiar with the concept when you move!) The magic is, of course, in whether or not the tortillas are freshly made. If not, again I ask, what’s the point? (FYI: If you move here and work in a business that usually has breakfast brought to them, do not expect doughnuts. They are available, just not common.)
Another wonderful way New Braunfels celebrates the love of food are the festivals. Wurstfest, or the 10 day salute to sausage, is a wonderful gathering that happens every Fall. This is a nod to our Germanic roots. Ten wonderful days are spent with sausage- or porkchops-on-a-stick, fried pickles, fried Oreos, and a wonderful medley of other traditional and not-so-traditional Germanic foods. Oh, and beer! Not to mention live music and, perhaps even sweeter than deep fried Oreos, little ones dressed up in lederhosen and dirndls (they are available in all sizes, there is just nothing cuter than miniature.) Another Fall festival is Wassailfest. Wassail is technically a drink, but there is roasted corn and kettle corn and all sorts of deliciously scented Fall goodies. Downtown is filled with various businesses with their take from healthy to butter-filled (yes, there is a drink that actually contains butter) and kid-friendly to parent-friendly. You taste them all and then rate them. Best of all, it is one of those wonderful examples of the small-town New Braunfels way of life and gives you an opportunity to see the wonderful eclectic shops that New Braunfels has to offer.
Moving to Central Texas for the weather is a good idea. Moving to Central Texas for the architecture is a good idea. Moving to Central Texas for the cultural diversity is a good idea. Moving to Central Texas for the employment stability is a good idea. Moving to Central Texas for the food…that is rock solid. Calling me today to find you the perfect Central Texas home? That might be the best idea yet.
What are some of your favorite eats and treats?