New FHA Loan Offers $35,000 to Fix-Up Home Before Moving In

The purchase of a house that needs repair is often a catch-22 situation, because the bank won’t lend the money to buy the house until the repairs are complete, and the repairs can’t be done until the house has been purchased.

A new FHA-insured mortgage, called the 203(k) loan, permits homebuyers to finance an additional $35,000 into their mortgage to improve or upgrade their home before move-in. With this new product, homebuyers can quickly and easily tap into cash to pay for property repairs or improvements, such as those identified by a home inspector or FHA appraiser. In most cases, home improvements usually include painting walls, modernizing the kitchen, upgrading bathrooms, and installing modern shed designs in the backyard studio.

This program allows you to purchase or refinance a property and include the cost of repairs and improvements into the loan. The downpayment requirement is approximately 3.5% of the acquisition and repair costs of the property.

The 203(k) loan includes the following steps: Continue reading “New FHA Loan Offers $35,000 to Fix-Up Home Before Moving In”

Improved Short Sale Process Begins April 5, 2010

Warning: Confusing Acronyms Approaching Immediately.

HAFA = Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives

HAMP = Home Affordable Modification Program.

On April 5, 2010, the U.S. government will implement a new program to help homeowners who qualify avoid foreclosure. Part of the Home Affordable Modification Program, HAFA helps homeowners who are unable to retain their home under HAMP by simplifying and streamlining the use of short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosures.

How will HAFA improve the short sale process? Continue reading “Improved Short Sale Process Begins April 5, 2010”

Wine Country Tour on February 27

Grape Escape Tour in the Yamhill Valley Wine Country

There is currently space available for an upcoming Grape Escape tour. Meet at Hotel Oregon in McMinnville at 12:45 pm on February 27. We’ll visit three nearby wineries, match food to wine at the wineries, and one of our escape artists will host the day. Cost is $75 per person. Tasting fees included. For more information, call 503-283-3380 or visit our website at

Spring Maintenance Tips

Doesn’t it feel like Spring is in the air? With all of this wonderful sunshine, maybe you’ve been spending more time outdoors and recently noticed moss growing rampantly on your roof. Perhaps you’ve been looking to Learn more about your options to tackle this. Perhaps you’ve already consulted with a roofing company for help and advice. Or perhaps that’s why you’re here reading this site now.

Certain home maintenance tasks should be completed each season to prevent structural damage, save energy, and keep all your home’s systems running properly. Here are some maintenance tips to keep in mind. By the way, if you choose to enlist the help of a professional contractor, then be sure to visit Bella Casa’s list of referred vendors.

• Tackle vegetation while it’s still small. Spring is the best time to trim back shrubs and bushes that are close to the house. For trees, only do light pruning at this time of year, trimming back selectively at the branch tips (you’ll want to remove large branches and do major pruning only in the fall). Be sure to keep vines off the house. “If you like wisteria, give it a trellis,” Katen says. Some vines may be attractive, but they can do costly damage to the exterior surface of your house by holding in moisture that causes rot, introducing insects, or even rooting into the mortar between bricks.

• Follow up on moss treatments for your roof. Assuming you applied anti-moss treatments in the fall, spring is a good time to touch up the job, says Jim Katen of Benchmark Inspection Services in Gaston, Ore. Remove any remaining moss with a garden hose and a whisk broom. Whatever you do, don’t use a pressure washer, Katen says; it’s much too powerful and can damage the shingles and force water underneath them, where moisture can rot sheathing and roof joists. Continue reading “Spring Maintenance Tips”

The New Bella Casa Website

This week we launched our new and improved website. We’ve added more features, design elements, articles and resources.  Striving to provide our clients and Yamhill County with comprehensive local real estate information, our website will be a continual work in progress with frequent updates and a growing library of articles. Most articles are written by our very own knowledgeable and experienced brokers.

We encourage you peruse the Bella Casa website! There is a lot to look at. As always, please call us to talk about your next real estate goal. 503-437-9005

Articles for Buyers

Basic Principles of Buying Real Estate

Understanding How Real Estate Works

The Process of Buying

Articles for Sellers

Listing and Marketing Your Home

Your Property’s Value

The Selling Process

Protect the Value of Your Home

Are you a homeowner? If so, your house and its content are probably among your most prized possessions.

Consequently, it is fundamental that you take steps to protect your property and the belongings contained within it. This can be done a multitude of ways where one is the most important (we’ll get into that soon), but one way you can protect your home is getting new windows fitted, old windows put you at risk of people breaking in or damage happening to your home structure. If you are based in the South you can get your window replacements from but not to worry, no matter where you live you’ll have a company that can help you with any replacements that you need.

One way to safeguard your property from most cases of damage and theft is by taking out a home insurance policy, be it from the best insurance broker in Toronto or from another provider.

However, there are so many different home insurance policies out there, finding the coverage you need at an affordable price is not always easy.

Ultimately, when looking for home insurance, it is strongly recommended that you do as much research as possible.

Not sure where to start? Why not take a look at this geico home insurance review from simply insurance for an overview of a policy that could work for you.

From there, you can go on to compare policies and find the home insurance coverage that can provide you with peace of mind that your property and belongings are safe.

We also want to share a great resource with you — Check it out!

What is HouseLogic?

HouseLogic is a free source of information and tools-from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®-that can help you make smart and timely decisions about your home.

What can HouseLogic do for me?

With content covering home improvement, maintenance, taxes, finance, insurance, and even ways you can get involved in and enrich your community, HouseLogic can help you increase and protect the value of your home by helping you make confident decisions. If you’re considering whether to invest in custom blinds for your home, this may help you make your final decision.

Why did NAR create HouseLogic?

NAR has been a champion of homeownership rights and opportunities for more than a century. Helping consumers become more informed, responsible homeowners is important to the stability and value of the housing market – and your overall enjoyment of your home.

Here are just a few examples of the types of articles you will find on

Tax Deductions, Seasonal Maintenance, Home Improvement Budgeting, Add an Attic Dormer Window, Smart Options for Kitchen Flooring, Heating Equipment: Repair or Replace?, Guide to Outdoor Maintenance in the Northwest

Since we’re on the topic of sharing resources, let me point your attention to Bella Casa Real Estate Group’s NEW and IMPROVED website. You will find a wealth of brand new articles for buyers, sellers, and anyone interested in real estate topics. See Friday’s blog post for more details about our new website.

FHA Loans – Waiting to Buy Will Hit Your Pocketbook

Yesterday morning mortgage broker Venessa Ward of Pacific Residential Mortgage spoke to the Bella Casa Real Estate brokerage. She covered a lot of valuable information and I wanted to share some of the key points we learned from Venessa.

Venessa provided this FHA loan scenario to illustrate how waiting to purchase will hit your pocketbook in just a short 6 weeks from now. You will notice three upcoming changes that will affect your out-of-pocket expenses:

  • The UFMI rate is increasing from 1.75% to 2.25% (Up Front Mortgage Insurance is an insurance premium collected by FHA at the time the loan is initially made. It is in contrast to private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is collected by the lender each month when a buyer’s down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price.)
  • The allowable Seller Contribution will decrease from 6% to 3%. For example, a seller can only contribute up to 3% toward the buyer’s settlement charges (formerly called “closing costs”).
  • The Homebuyer Tax Credit expires on April 30. Buyers must be under contract, having a signed purchase agreement in hand by April 30th, but you have until June 30th to close the financing. If a first-time homebuyer misses this April 30th deadline then you will miss out on $8,000.

Now take a look at this chart. In the case of $193,000 loan, there is a potential difference of $14,965 by purchasing after April 2010.

The lending industry has undergone big changes this past year, resulting in different paperwork, requirements to qualify for loans, and more complexity. Bella Casa firmly and absolutely encourages all buyers to ONLY seek financing from LOCAL mortgage lenders. You need to be able to sit face-to-face with your lender so they can educate you about the process and your loan, and also so that you can hold your lender accountable.

We realize that these figures can be confusing, so we highly recommend that you call a local lender to discuss your specific situation.

Special thanks to Venessa Ward from Pacific Residential Mortgage!

Pacific Residential Mortgage has offices in McMinnville and Lake Oswego.

Venessa Ward, Sr. Mortgage Banker
NMLS# 140124
“Making it happen in 2010”

Pacific Residential Mortgage, LLC
117 NE Fifth Street, STE D
McMinnville, OR 97128
(503) 437-9200 Office
(971) 241-2001 Cell
(503) 670-0674 Fax
(800) 758-0030 Toll Free

What is an FHA Mortgage?

This is the first post in a series about the FHA (Federal Housing Administration). In short, the FHA is an agency of the federal government that helps borrowers get amounts they qualify for, and assists lenders by reducing their risk in issuing loans. The FHA is the largest insurer of residential mortgages in the world, insuring tens of millions of properties since 1934 when it was created.

An FHA refinance mortgage or FHA loan allows for the refinance or purchase of a home with a low down payment. These loans are great for the first-time homebuyer.

View or download this brochure about the FHA

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Mortgage Rates – Economic Update

The Fed has told us repeatedly that their massive purchasing program of Mortgage Backed Securities is just about over – and this translates to home loan rates rising in the near future.

As you can see in the chart below, the amounts of Mortgage Backed Securities the Fed is purchasing are slowly dwindling, as the program is set to wrap up by March 31st, and are clearly trying to ration out the remaining portion. Last week, the Fed purchased $11 Billion in Mortgage Backed Securities, which leaves them with $66 Billion to spend out of their original $1.25 Trillion allotment. So about 95% of the total has already been spent and has purchased about 3 out of every 4 home loans during the past year. When such a large buyer leaves the market, it is very likely that prices will worsen.

This is very important because as the Fed has less money to last through the remaining months of the program, their ability to keep home loan rates low via their purchasing power will wane.

And to those who can take advantage of currently low home loan rates, DO NOT WAIT, as the clock on these historically low rates is ticking.

Article Source: Glen Bremer Alpine Mortgage Planning Mobile: 503-502-5373 Email:

The Market Was Fun!

This morning my family and I ventured to The Market in McMinnville. It was our first time…and it was so much FUN and exceeded my expectations. The layout is visitor-friendly. While full of vendors and variety, it didn’t feel claustrophobic and cramped. It was easy to walk around with a 2 year old and several people had cute dogs with them on leashes. The food looked delicious (RibSlayer!) and I was tempted by several adorable art pieces. Oh! and the cutest purses by Janis Jewelry & Gifts. They have a shop in downtown Newberg (it looks like their website is under construction). From fresh farm produce to pastries and live crab, there was quite a variety of vendors.

There is a used book section with a huge bin of children’s books –25 cents each! We got 7 books, and while definitely older and well-worn, we will still enjoy them and you can’t beat 7 books for $1.75.

We meandered to the children’s activity station to make a Valentine’s Card where they provided my two-year old with a shirt to keep her clothes clean, neat papers, ribbon, embellishments, and paints to make a Valentine. It was a hit!

What a fun outing for a drizzly, gray Saturday morning. We will definitely return to The Market, and next time I’ll take photos of my own to post.

Lacey Summers