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Elliott R. Oliva's Blog

By Elliott R. Oliva | Agent in Falls Church, VA
  • EXPANDED Rambler in Saratoga!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Springfield, Home Selling in Springfield, Property Q&A in Springfield  |  April 15, 2014 1:12 PM  |  405 views  |  No comments

    This EXPANDED 2 level rambler is deceivingly small from the street so you have to take a tour!

    The home originally had 3 bedrooms on the main level but 2 of them were combined to make a master bedroom big enough to play racquet ball in! Seriously; it's BIG.

    The basement was expanded to add 2 more bedrooms in addition to the fully finished family room that includes a wood burning fireplace, full bath and laundry/storage room that runs the length of the house. Owner has moved out and the home is ready for a new buyer. For more details and HI-RES pictures go to this link
    : 8006 Rockwood CT.

  • 100% USDA Financing in Loudoun County!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Loudoun County, Financing in Loudoun County, Property Q&A in Loudoun County  |  March 4, 2014 1:21 PM  |  372 views  |  No comments

    Every now and then when I ask a client or even some other realtors if they have ever heard of 100% USDA financing I hear something like “Where’s the beef?!” or “Doesn’t the USDA deal with meat?!” Well yes, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does regulate the beef industry among other things but they also have a Rural Housing Service that helps provide families in rural development areas adequate housing. The loans are funded by approved lenders throughout the United States and guaranteed against default by the USDA.

    Aside from a VA loan, 100% USDA Financing is the only other true No Money Down loan because it is not paired with down payment assistance and/or a second lien that requires another application process. The program is aimed at stimulating home ownership in less densely populated rural areas like in Loudoun County. Now this does not mean farms or ranches; it is intended for the purchase of single family residences, condos or town homes and it must be a primary residence. New construction is fine so long as there is a Certificate of Occupany in place. You will be surprised to see what areas qualify for this program. Many clients buying homes in Ashburn, VA for example may qualify for the 100% USDA program. To confirm eligibility of a property all you need to do is go to this link and plug in a full address:

    USDA Property Eligibility Link

    The site will show you on an interactive map whether the property is an eligible area or not and you can zoom in and out to see where the boundary lines are. If you are wanting to use the USDA program then make sure you and/or your Realtor cross-reference the properties before you go look at them. It will keep you from wasting time looking at houses that are not in a USDA eligible area.

    This is a Moderate Income loan program so there are income limits the household must be under but trust me, the limits are fairly liberal. The maximum allowable income is determined by county and number of adults and children in the household.

    For example: In Loudoun County the maximum allowable household income for a family 1 to 4 is $101,000. For a family of 5 to 8 the household income limit goes to $133,000.

    Do not assume that you will or will not qualify for this program. A qualified mortgage professional that has experience with the program will you help you determine that.

    Highlights of the Program

    • Finance full purchase price plus closing costs up to 102% of the appraised value with or without seller concessions
    • No cap on seller concessions, if seller is not paying closing costs, they can be rolled into the loan amount up to 102% of appraised value, not sales price. Great on foreclosures.
    • One lien, no down payment assistance required
    • No post-closing reserve requirements
    • Not limited to first time home buyers
    • Finance up to $10,000 into loan amount for repairs (case by case, contact me for details)
    • Full doc only, must have stable work history (2+ years)
    • Self-Employed borrowers okay with 24 month average taxable income
    • 620 minimum credit score
    • No open collections, charge offs, judgments or tax liens
    • No pre-pay penalty
    • 30 year fixed rates
    • Primary residence only
    • Available for SFR’s, condos & townhomes only, no mobile homes or multi-family properties

    Keep in mind this program is offered and funded by approved lenders and guaranteed against default by the USDA similar to the way VA loans are. Since this is one lien, there are no other applications to submit as you would on a down payment assistance program that requires a separate approval and many more weeks for a final approval. The only extra step is once all of the lender conditions have been met the file has to go to a local USDA office for a final review. This can take as little as 3 days but in some states it can take 30 days or more. The key is for the loan officer to be preemptive and confirm all of this information beforehand so to set expectations for everyone.

    If you are looking into qualifying for a USDA loan make sure you are working with a mortgage professional that has actual experience closing USDA loans since not all lenders have experience structuring this type of loan. The program has been around since 1994 but has become popular over the last few years since the majority of 100% programs have gone way of the dinosaur.

    Keep in mind, I am a licensed real estate agent but I also spent over 16 years as a loan officer with a heavy concentration closing USDA loans. For more details or questions regarding the USDA program feel free to contact me at your convenience.

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  • Christmas lights: What's up with that?

    Posted Under: General Area in Falls Church, Agent2Agent in Falls Church, Property Q&A in Falls Church  |  January 12, 2013 7:11 AM  |  524 views  |  No comments
    So it's January 12th and there are a ton of people that still have their Christmas lights on at their house. Don't get me wrong, I love holiday spirit but what's the protocol around here for that? It seems like every year they keep them on longer.

    I know from experience that putting them up can be an arduous task so some may not be in a hurry to take them down just yet. Mine have been steady climbing the "honey-do" list and it looks like this is the weekend to at least move some to the back yard.

    Would love to hear some feedback. Have a great weekend!
  • What to consider when buying Homeowner's Insurance

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fairfax County, How To... in Fairfax County, Property Q&A in Fairfax County  |  June 26, 2012 7:38 AM  |  510 views  |  No comments
    Buying homeowner's insurance can be some of the most important few minutes you invest when purchasing a new home.

    So you went through the pre-approval process, spent several weeks looking for the right house, a few more days negoatiating the price and finally got an accepted offer. Inspection looks good and the appraisal was on the mark.

    Finally, you and your loan officer are getting together the last of your documents ready for underwriting when he/she asks you for a copy of your homeowner's insurance.

    "Well I have never owned a home so I don't have homeowner's insurance" you tell your loan officer.

    So now what? Well first of all don't panic. Getting homeowner's insurance is a breeze and you just need to take a few simple steps to avoid any last minute delays.

    First thing you need to do is contact your preferred insurance provider, let them know you are purchasing a home and you are going to need an insurance binder. An insurance binder is a temporary issuance of proof of insurance that will "bind" or cover you temporarily until a formal homeowner's insurance policy is issued.

    It's usually easier to put your preferred insurance provider in contact with your lender so the lender can provide them information like closing date, mortgagee clause, loan #, appraisal and what type of coverage needed.

    What do you need to look for in a homeowner's insurance policy?

    The first thing you need to consider is how much coverage you need. You need to insure your homes to the COST OF CONSTRUCTION. Not the sales price or the loan amount, but the amount of money it would take to rebuild in the case of a total loss.

    Second thing to consider is liability coverage. This helps protect you in case of a lawsuit stemming from an accident/incident that occurs on your property. Think of $500,000 coverage or even more depending on your situation.

    The third thing to consider is your deductible. Don't take too small of a deductible. You may consider a $2,000 dollar dedcutible or even higher to benefit from a lower premium. Compare the numbers and decide what works best for you.

    A good isurance agent can easily explain the coverages to you and adjust the policy to fit your needs. They key thing is to communicate and stay ahead of the game rather than wait until the last mintue.

     If you are not currently working with an insurance agent then feel free to contact me. I have some great people I can introduce you to.

    Thank you and best wishes!

    Elliott R. Oliva
    Mortgage Banker
    "Se Habla Espanol"

  • A few quick tips on buying a condo

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fairfax County, Financing in Fairfax County, Property Q&A in Fairfax County  |  February 14, 2012 9:01 AM  |  837 views  |  No comments
    1. Think about how long you're going to stay in one place. Buying a condo is no different than buying a single-family home and you will need to live there at least a couple of years to recoup closing costs assuming the property will appreciate.

    2. Give some thought to what you want. If you're not interested in the pool or sauna, understand that the condo's price and ongoing monthly association fees will reflect their use regardless of your interest in swimming or sweating.

    3. Visit various condominium or townhouse communities and multiunit buildings so you know what's available where you live. Get a sense of prevailing prices.

    4. Request a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent regarding the selling prices of condos in the building or area. Check the price appreciation on the CMA to evaluate how quickly the condos are increasing in value; subtract the selling price from the purchase price and divide by the number of years the property has been held by the previous owner for a ballpark estimate of annual appreciation, if any (varies from state to state and place to place), in the neighborhood.

    5. Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage BEFORE you start shopping for a condo!

    6. Find out if the building has a good reputation. Ask current residents how often repairs and mainte-nance are required, and how good the soundproofing is between units.

    7. Check out parking, storage, security and other amenities.

    8. Ask to see the minutes from a recent meeting of the home owners association (HOA). Find out what the hot issues are and if members are fighting tooth and nail. You may want to keep looking-- nobody wants to live where neighbors are at each other's throats.

    9. Ask how large the HOA's reserve funds (used to pay for maintenance and emergency repairs on the building) are. The larger the reserve, the less a chance of an assessment or one-time payment to chip in for an unexpected expense. The smaller the reserve, the greater the chance you'll be billed for an assessment in the near future. Some states require periodic updates of reserves to be published to HOA members.

    10. Check the HOA's history of assessments to see how many have been made in the past 10 years and how large they have been. This information will help you gauge how likely it is that you'll be assessed in the near future, and indicate how well-managed the building is. Better managed buildings make fewer assessments.

    11. Talk to other members and find out how restrictive your HOA is. For instance, some buildings even dictate what sort of holiday lighting you can put up. Request the same information as you would for buying a house. Read the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions).

    12. Budget in association dues, which are above and beyond your monthly mortgage payment. To as-sist in long-term financial planning, ask the condo association whether association fees have increased in recent years. Also estimate monthly maintenance costs that you're responsible for in addition to the association fees like transfer fees when you close on your loan.
  • Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Financing, Property Q&A  |  December 8, 2011 6:30 AM  |  818 views  |  1 comment

    You may have heard about making Bi-Weekly Mortgage payments instead of the regular monthly payment but you're not sure how that's really better than making your payment once a month.

    Let’s start with breaking down the two major benefits of making bi-weekly mortgage payments.

    Term Reduction – Now, every loan amount and mortgage terms are different, but the average amount of years you pay-off your mortgage early is 4-7 years.

    Interest Savings - Again, all mortgages are different, but the average in interest savings over the life of the mortgage is $30,000.

    For example:Let’s say you have a principal loan balance of $200,000 at 4.75% fixed for 30 years.  

    Regular Monthly payment                                                          Bi-Weekly payment

                    $1043.29                                                                     $521.65

     Avg. interest paid per month                            Avg. interest paid each bi-weekly period
                $487.74                                                                       $183.39

       Total interest paid                                                             Total interest paid
         $175,586.08                                                                         $143,407

    Over the life of the loan you would have saved $32,178.42 in interest and reduced your term by 4 years and 7 months! Yes, I l know most people don't keep their house that long but over the first 7 years alone you would gain an additional $10,700 in equity with a bi-weekly payment. 

    How does it work?

    You make half of your mortgage payment every 14 days. Two months of the year your will make 3 half payments in one month, which equates to two extra half payments a year. Every dollar of that extra payment goes towards reducing the principal balance of your loan; the balance that future interest calculations are based on. As you reduce the principal, you reduce the total interest paid and the length of time it takes to pay the loan.

    The key here is discipline. Please note that if your lender withdraws half of the monthly payment from your bank account every half of the month but apply the payments to your loan only once a month (as they did before), you will save nothing at all. Semi-monthly or bi-monthly payment plans don't achieve the same results as the bi-weekly payment plan and are rarely used. On a 30 year fixed mortgage, for example, it will take 29 years and 11 months to pay off (1 month sooner than a standard payment plan), and you will save only one month's interest.

    Also, avoid any 3rd parties that claim to set up the bi-weekly plan on your behalf with your lender via an automatic draft as they are merely trying to collect a fee for something you can arrange yourself with your lender.

    Finally, if you choose not to set up a bi-weekly automatic bank draft from your account, you can just send in an additional check every month to your lender for 1/12th the amount of your principal & interest payment. Be sure that you write a note on your check that says “apply to principal balance immediately” and speak with a customer service representative to make sure it is applied correctly.

    Extra Benefit

    If your loan has Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), making bi-weekly mortgage payments will help accelerate the equity position and eliminate PMI faster. 

    For more details or questions please contact me at your convenience. Thank you.

    Elliott R. Oliva | Mortgage Banker| nmls#353884

    Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.

    202.681.1636 | eoliva@primeres.com

    Se habla Espanol


  • USDA Changing Fee Structure October 1st

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Arlington County, Financing in Arlington County, Property Q&A in Arlington County  |  August 25, 2011 8:38 AM  |  570 views  |  No comments

    Effective October 1, 2011, USDA Rural Development will be making changes to the guarantee fee structure. USDA Rural Development will implement an annual fee of 0.30 percent (think monthly MI) of the outstanding principal balance, which will be applicable to purchase and refinance transactions.  Implementation of this fee will allow the Agency to reduce the up-front guarantee fee for purchase transactions from 3.5 percent to 2 percent.  The up-front guarantee fee for refinance loan transactions will remain at 1 percent.

    Buyers and lenders are encouraged to submit RD loans to underwriting as quickly as possible.  Loans that are not issued a Conditional Commitment prior to 10/1/2011 will be subject to the new annual and up-front fees.  Loans disclosed originally under the current guarantee fee model but with conditional commitments issued after 10/1/2011 will be eligible for “change of circumstance” treatment, and you will be allowed to restructure your loan to accommodate the fee changes.

    For more details on the 100% USDA loan program please contact me at your convenience. Thank you.
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