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I think we can all agree that 2020 has been anything but a normal year. However, one interesting bright spot is in the realm of the housing market. Mortgage rates are at all-time lows and homebuyers are taking advantage of it, creating a very competitive real estate market. If you’ve been house hunting you know what we’re talking about.
 
With so few houses available today, competition is heating up among home buyers. It’s important to be ready for a bidding war, especially if you’ve found your dream home. How can you make yourself stand out? A real estate offer letter.
 
Data from Redfin found that in a bidding war, a personal cover letter can improve an offer’s likelihood of success by 52% - Wow! We’re here to share a few tips and help you write an award-winning letter so your dream home doesn’t slip away.
 
Before you start, gather the few essential elements for the letter such as the property’s address and the buyer and seller’s names. Here are a few more tips on what else to include when writing that convincing offer letter.
 
#1 Sincere Flattery Goes a Long Way – make an emotional appeal!
  • Explain why you want the property.
  • Tell the seller why you love their home and why it’s an excellent fit for your family. For instance, if the seller has lived in their home for 20+ years and raised a family of their own there, they may be focused on selling their home to someone who will take good care of it.
#2 Make a Personal Connection
  • During your walk-through take note of some items in the house. For example, did you love their garden? Was your alma mater’s flag hanging in the garage?
  • Big or small, by sharing a common interest in your letter, you’ll make yourself more relatable.
  • Don’t go overboard – keep it short and sweet! The key is to be sincere in a sentence or two.
#3 Provide Your Offer Details
  • In your letter, make sure to include your offer price, earnest money deposit, loan status and the amount of your down payment.
#4 Include Your Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter
  • Having a pre-approval letter is more important than ever.
  • A pre-approval letter is an official letter from your lender (Greenway Mortgage) that provides documentation of exactly how much you are approved to borrow.
  • Note: A seller may not consider your offer without a pre-approval letter.
  • Sellers look for buyers that are pre-approved because it gives them confidence that you can secure the financing needed to complete the home purchase.
#5 Outline your Contingencies
  • Contingencies are the conditions that must be met by either the buyer or the seller before the home buying process can move forward.
  • Common contingencies include securing financing for the property, a home inspection and home appraisal and sale of the buyer’s existing house. 
  • Be transparent about your expectations. Include the proposed closing date.
#6 Proofread Your Letter
  • Before you deliver your award-winner letter, make sure you proofread it thoroughly. Mistakes may make the seller think you don’t take your offer seriously.
#7 Keep it to One Page
  • Remember what we said before? Short and sweet. No one wants to read a lengthy letter of your personal history.
  • Keep your letter to one page, even if you have to make a few edits.
  • Focus on a few of the most important reasons why you are the BEST buyer for the home.
#8 Thank You
  • Don’t forget to close with a thank you!
  • Finish the letter off by expressing your appreciation that the seller is considering your offer and reiterate why you are the perfect buyer.
Bottom Line:
Don’t give up! If you think you’re in danger of losing your bid to another buyer try using our tips above to write a short letter to the seller. You may think that your only option is to go above the asking price to sweeten your purchase offer. However, including an earnest money deposit shows the seller you’re a serious buyer. Reach out to a trusted real estate professional to be sure you have the guidance you need as the competition for homes continues to heat up!
 
Need a pre-approval or have home buying questions? Reach out to the trusted professionals at Greenway Mortgage.
 

 
Mortgage insurance might be one of the costs that you most hate to pay when you send in your mortgage payment each month. It's not necessarily because of the expense – it’s because this insurance doesn't cover you. Instead, it protects your lender in case you default on your loan. The good news is that you don’t have to pay mortgage insurance forever. Once you build up at least 20% equity in your home, you may be able to cancel your mortgage insurance. 
 
Keep reading, as we’ve answered some simple questions for you here about Mortgage Insurance (MI).
 
When can I cancel my mortgage insurance?
Private MI is there only as long as it’s needed. When the balance on the mortgage reaches 80% of the home’s original value or its current appraised value, the homeowner may request cancellation of their mortgage insurance.
 
You must have a good payment history on the mortgage loan, payments must be current and there can be no other loans against the home. Some lenders will also require a verification that the property did not decrease in value.
 
This applies to conventional mortgages and presently does not apply to FHA mortgages.
 
How do I cancel my mortgage insurance? 
To cancel your MI, you should first gather some basic information for your mortgage lender, including:
  • Any names on the loan
  • Social Security numbers
  • Property address
  • Loan number
From there, you can then contact your lender to request information on the specific cancellation requirements. Sometimes, additional information on the home or loan may be needed along with having an appraisal. Once that’s complete, you will want to send a request in writing to your mortgage lender letting them know you want to cancel your MI plan.
 
Does my mortgage insurance get cancelled automatically?
Yes, when the mortgage balance reaches 78% of the homes original value and all payments are current, the lender is required to cancel the mortgage insurance automatically.
 
Do I get a refund on my mortgage insurance?
You may be eligible for a refund of the mortgage insurance premiums when the MI policy is cancelled. It depends on the type of MI product you have and other criteria.
 
If you have further questions or concerns about your mortgage insurance, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you every step of the way, from purchasing to MI and everything in between.
 

 
Happy National Cat Day from EVERYONE at Greenway Mortgage. In honor of #NationalCatDay, our team members shared some photos of their furry friends. Check out the video here. It's the cat content you didn't know you needed! 

THE STORY

Many of you may remember the 20 intact-male cats who were left outside of our door of the Monmouth County SPCA a month ago and the 30 other cats who were found and rescued.  These poor cats, scared and confused, were living in unimaginable conditions.

Thankfully, the MCSPA’s hard-working Humane Law Enforcement Officers worked day and night on this case to recuse each and every cat. A huge shout-out to them for all their hard work and dedication. They handled the rescue without skipping a beat and thanks to them, all 50 cats are comfortable and have every chance of a happy, healthy life. You can follow up on the full story here. After hearing this news, Greenway Mortgage was eager to step in and help. 

OUR MISSIONPutting our “paws” together to make a difference for the pets that make a house a home!
 
As animal lovers, Greenway Mortgage wanted to match donations on a given day of up to $3,500 for the local Monmouth County SPCA to help these innocent cats.  Greenway made a special visit on October 29th (National Cat Day) to the Monmouth County SPCA located in Eatontown, NJ to present a donation of $3,500. We even toured the MCPCA to check out all the adorable cats and kittens up for adoption and fell in love!
 
GIVING BACK – how you can help, too!
Giving back is very near and dear to our hearts here at Greenway Mortgage. If you would like to give back, consider making a donation to help the cats who were rescued get into a loving home.
 

The MCSPCA is currently launching an Adopt One, Get One NO FEE promotion for all the cats from the hoarding situation, as well as their growing teenage population of kittens. To learn more about how to adopt, click here. They have MANY cats (and dogs) who need loving homes.

 


RESOURCES:

  • Learn More About the Monmouth County SPCA here.
  • Make a difference! Donate today. Your donation will care for thousands of homeless, abandoned and abused pets that come to the MCSPCA every year. A little goes a long way! Click here to make a donation.
 

 

Finding a house you want to buy is very exciting! The house you like may appear great in photos and it feels right when you visit. However, many houses hide darker secrets that might not be immediately obvious, especially some older homes. 

Older homes can be high on charm and built to last, but they may also be hiding unexpected secrets. There’s no need to worry! A little vigilance before you buy can prevent you from falling into an expensive trap. 

Here are some things to watch out for when you’re on the hunt for an old charmer!


 

In today's blog (Part 4), we'll take a look at Condominium Ownership.  In case you missed Part 1 through 3 of this 4-part series you can find them here:

Part 1: Forms Of Homeownership: Fee Simple

Part 2: Forms of Homeownership: Leasehold

Part 3: Forms of Homeownership: Housing Cooperative


Moving on to condominiums! A condominium is one of a group of housing units where the homeowners own their individual unit space, and all the dwellings share ownership of common use area (hallways, parking lots, roads, etc). The main difference between condos and regular single homes is that there is no individual ownership of a plot of land. All the land in the condominium project is owned in common by all the homeowners. Condominiums frequently levy monthly “common charges” to each owner to help pay for the maintenance of the commonly owned areas.

Condominiums manage their properties through boards and/or associations with members being elected from all owners, and can also be assisted by a management company. Rules and regulations governing the condominiums are established by the rules of the development’s incorporation and may be modified by these boards.


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