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By Dmitriy Pagul | Agent in Brooklyn, NY
  • Credit Score Knowledge Eases Getting a Loan

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Brooklyn, Financing in Brooklyn  |  August 22, 2013 7:45 AM  |  620 views  |  No comments

    Whether Brooklyn residents are looking for a home equity line of credit, a refi, or a new mortgage, when it comes to getting a loan, everyone knows that it’s the credit score that ultimately determines the outcome. Yet when it comes to a working knowledge of what major factors affect your score, a new survey shows that many of us are less certain than we should be.

    The Consumer Federation of America is a nonprofit outfit that from time to time releases reports designed to improve that situation. Their latest is a sort of report card on how much average adults understand about credit scoring —  the key factor in getting a loan of any kind.

    On the plus side of the report card, CFA says that people who have obtained one or more of their own credit scores within the past year are significantly better-informed than those who have not. No surprise there. Those people tend to know that there are three large credit bureaus (although how anyone who watches TV doesn’t already know that is a mystery to me).

    On the minus side, more men than women misunderstand how age and marital status affect their credit scores (those factors have no effect). Men, on the other hand, “are more skeptical than women  about the value of credit repair agencies.” CFA doesn’t go into why that is, but I’d like to think that it’s because they understand that a more straightforward way to repair your credit is to pay all bills on time.

    Sandwiched in among the charts and graphs are various bits of good advice for any Brooklyn resident getting a loan. A few bear repeating:

    1.      Avoid maxing out credit cards; try not to even get close

    2.      Pay down debt instead of just moving it from account to account

    3.      Keep track of your credit from time to time, even if you’re not planning on getting a loan right away

    If you are planning to become a Brooklyn buyer or seller in the near future, I’m here to help you make the most it. Call me anytime.


  • Buying a Brooklyn Home With a 0 Down Payment

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Brooklyn, Financing in Brooklyn  |  March 11, 2013 6:13 AM  |  246 views  |  2 comments

    Some of Brooklyn’s wealthiest buyers may be getting a mortgage without putting a single dollar down. And we aren’t talking about single-bedroom fixer-uppers, either!

    It's called 100% financing, and, at first blush, it looks suspiciously like a version of the strategy that sent the economy reeling in 2008.  But lenders feel that well-heeled Brooklyn residents who are getting a mortgage through these programs are totally different.  How so? you may ask.

    For openers, these loans are offered only to the super-qualified: those with serious investment portfolios they can use as collateral. That means getting a mortgage with zero cash for the down payment. That can carry an additional tax benefit, since the borrower won't have to pay a capital gains tax on investments liquidated to fund a down payment.

    Since current mortgage rates can be as low as 2.5%, since even middling investment accounts often return a higher rate, the difference make this strategy what the Wall Street calls an ‘arbitrage play’.

    So what would a homebuyer getting a mortgage in Brooklyn need to do to qualify for one of these mind-bending loans?  In addition to the willingness to put up two forms of collateral (the property and a portion of your investment portfolio), the Wall Street Journal offers some relevant details:

    • The amount that can be borrowed against any investment account depends on what’s in the portfolio. Usually up to 95% of account cash; up to about 80% for bonds; between 50% and 75% for most stocks. Withdrawing pledged funds is usually restricted.

    • To get the lowest rates, clients who already have significant assets at a particular bank should consider applying for 100% financing there.

    • Borrowers still need to pass regular underwriting requirements. They’ll need --  high credit scores, a low level of overall debt, and documentation of substantial income or assets.

    Of course, getting a mortgage doesn’t require a seven-figure portfolio.  If you are seriously thinking about buying a Brooklyn home, call me - we’ll get started by getting you pre-qualified.


  • Young Adults Face Rising Need for Co-Signers

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Brooklyn, Financing in Brooklyn  |  December 18, 2012 7:10 AM  |  285 views  |  No comments

    You are a newlywed couple in your late 20’s with decent jobs, respectable income, and reasonable credit.  You’ve started your search to buy a home in Brooklyn, but when you walk into the bank to pre-qualify for a loan, to your surprise, you find out… NOT!

    You’re not alone. The Federal Reserve studied the problem, and found that in the three years between 2009-2011, just 9% of youngsters between the ages of 29-34 were able to qualify for a first-time mortgage. It had been 17% only 10 years earlier.

    It’s no wonder that many have sought alternative financing routes to buy a home, which is why mortgage co-signing is becoming more and more common. Yet before buying a home in Brooklyn via this route, it’s important to have the consequences – good and bad – squarely before you.


    The big one is obvious: a Brooklyn mortgage co-signing may be the only way to buy a home. Importantly, it can also help you secure a better interest rate and the lower monthly mortgage payments that entails.

    Once you start making your mortgage payments regularly and on time, a co-signed mortgage can start to help you build (or rebuild) a strong credit rating.


    A mortgage co-signing may help you buy a home in Brooklyn, but it also has immediate and major impacts on both your and your co-signer's credit. Late payments would affect your co-signer’s credit rating as well as your own. The possibility of adding extra stress to important relationships is potentially very real, since a mortgage lender will attempt to collect payments from your co-signer in the event of a default.

    The bottom line?  Buying a home is a big step; if you require a co-signer to get approval for a loan in Brooklyn, it’s important to make sure it is part of a sound long-term financial strategy.  I’m here to supply the real estate expertise that helps my clients attain their goals – so if you or your adult children are preparing to buy a home together, do contact me to schedule a sit-down to go over today’s options.

    http://www.goldenapplerealty.com T:718-701-9037 C:347-777-5277 info@goldenapplerealty.com

  • Local Homeowners Keep Watch on Interest Rates

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Brooklyn, Financing in Brooklyn  |  November 12, 2012 7:25 AM  |  259 views  |  No comments

    (Yawn). There is something to be said for relaxation, for sure. In today’s fast-paced world, allowing yourself some low-key moments is important. It’s stress-reducing. Health-promoting.

    But there’s a time and place for everything, and whenever I set out to share the latest real estate news, my hope is to be able to offer new information that is more than just informative – it should be fascinating, too!

    (Stretch; yawn). Even exciting. However, sometimes it turns out that, in the interest of accuracy, that just isn’t possible. This month, for instance.

    It’s time to share the late-breaking October news on mortgage interest rates, and although it actually is record-breaking (stifled yawn), somehow it’s hard to get awfully worked up about it. So much so that I considered just reprinting the Associated Press account – the one that recounted Freddie Mac’s latest rundown on current mortgage interest rates. But I almost dozed off just trying to wade through it.

    Anyway, let’s get ourselves a cup of java, then try to get through this snoozer. Since mortgage interest rates affect every Brooklyn homeowner (and future Brooklyn homeowner) one way or another, we really need to stay informed about them. So here goes:

    For the umpteenth time, the average rates on fixed mortgages nationwide fell to an all-time record low.

    And how about those baseball playoffs, eh?

    Rates on 30-year loans dropped to 3.36%, down from the previous record we hit the (yawn) previous week, and “is the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.” And, um, 15-year fixed dipped to 2.69%, which is another record. Let’s see, what else: mortgage applications surged 16.6%, sales of both previously occupied and newly built homes are up from last year…etc., etc., etc.

    So the fact is, across the country, the rebound in just about everything having to do with residential real estate -- mortgage interest rates; home prices; builders’ confidence; most everything else -- is building momentum. Just like last month. And the month before…

    It’s good that relaxation is healthy for everyone. This tediously good news could get on the nerves, otherwise.  It is true that if you are considering refinancing, buying a second home, or trading up, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on mortgage rates and the rest of the local market. And in case you have managed to keep your eyelids open at the same time, and want to talk shop – please do give me a call to discuss your plans.

    When it comes to putting this boringly great news to work on your behalf, I’m definitely wide-awake!

    http://www.goldenapplerealty.com T:718-701-9037 C:347-777-5277 info@goldenapplerealty.com

  • Brooklyn Foreclosed Homes Benefit from Loan Program

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Brooklyn, Financing in Brooklyn  |  November 6, 2012 7:13 AM  |  265 views  |  No comments

    One of the key factors serious buyers eye when appraising foreclosed homes for sale in the New York market is condition – the shape those properties have been left in. The Federal Housing Administration has weighed in with a program that can materially affect how that condition – good or bad – will finally affect the bottom line: it’s known as the FHA 203 (k).

    If you are among those currently looking at Brooklyn foreclosed homes for sale, the 203(k) can make a big difference.  Here are some points that might influence your decision:

    First in line is whether the program is applicable. HUD tells us that for a local property to be eligible, it must be a one- to four-family dwelling that has been completed for at least one year. The number of units on the site must meet Brooklyn zoning requirements. Furthermore, any and all newly-constructed units must be attached to the existing dwelling. Importantly, coops are out: cooperative units are not eligible.

    The greatest effect is on Brooklyn foreclosed homes for sale that need a lot of work. HUD guidelines indicate that properties that have been demolished, or will be taken down as part of the renovation, may be eligible -- as long as at least some of the existing foundation remains. 

    As you might expect, none of this helpful news comes without some practical caveats. Although you may get this kind of FHA rehab help for a foreclosure, this is a labor-intensive type of loan requiring multiple appraisals (including “as-is” and “Value After Rehabilitation”), licensed contractor projections, and more. Since time factors are always important when dealing with a foreclosure, it’s important to choose your backup team carefully. You will need to select the right lender and consider enlisting a team consisting of a mortgage broker and real estate professional – both of whom have experience getting approval for FHA 203(k) loans. You want pros who understand the extra steps involved, not those who simply tell you what you want to hear.

    Most likely, you will want to get actual pre-approval for the FHA loan (not just a prequalification letter).  There is a lot of additional paperwork involved, and you will want to avoid a last-minute scramble once your desired property is on the line.

    Buying Brooklyn homes for sale taking advantage of the FHA 203(k) requires organization and preparation, but can be a great way to make a questionable rehab project on a Brooklyn foreclosed home for sale affordable.  If you have questions about buying the right property and the outlook for getting a 203(k) insured mortgage loan, get in touch with an FHA-approved lender in New York or call us anytime for an introduction.  Then -- let’s get started!

    http://www.goldenapplerealty.com T:718-701-9037 C:347-777-5277 info@goldenapplerealty.com

  • Things To Know About Your Brooklyn Refi

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Brooklyn, Financing in Brooklyn  |  October 31, 2012 7:03 AM  |  250 views  |  No comments

    Getting a mortgage refinance has seldom looked more attractive than it does this October. Ads for seemingly ridiculously low teaser rates are popping up all over the place -- and even if the closing costs are hefty (many aren’t), the underlying rates make them all but irresistible.

    But do you qualify?  Some folks don’t realize that a refi can be just as tough as getting a mortgage in Brooklyn in the first place. Or tougher. One client has a stunning property, top credit, and a guaranteed income stream that was more than adequate to fund the refi. She put together all the required paperwork, hosted an inspection (the inspector told her, ‘this is the finest property in the area’), and then waited a week before being told she had failed to qualify. Why? Because her place had a guesthouse -- and that particular loan program was for single dwelling properties only!

    The lesson here is that it pays to ask all sorts of questions before actually applying for a specific refinance offer; in other words, kick the tires! Nevertheless, when all is said and done, locking in lower monthly payments can still be worth the trouble. 

    You will want to present a solid picture -- one that shows that you are financially stable with a good credit rating. Getting any kind of a mortgage in New York is twice as hard if there are significant issues in your credit report or instability in your employment history.

    Of course, the basic math has to work, too. The more income you have, the more the lender will be willing to lend. If you are married, you can opt to borrow as a couple so that your joint income is considered. Since the lender will factor in your debt load, subtract your monthly from your income number: if the remainder is healthy, the lender will see that, too.

    Lastly (and of key importance), your home will need to appraise for the loan you desire. Although a resurgence in property values seems firmly underway, some neighborhoods have had time to show those rising values, and some not. I can help you get an idea of how the ‘comps’ in your part of Brooklyn have been faring recently – good to know when you are getting a mortgage or refinancing an existing one.

    The bottom line?  Getting any type of mortgage in New York requires all the usual suspects.  Reliability and predictability are really the key here.   If you are tempted by today’s record rates to try to refinance, contact a reputable mortgage broker to go over your options.  As always, please consider me your local real estate resource – call me if you need an introduction!

    http://www.goldenapplerealty.com T:718-701-9037 C:347-777-5277 info@goldenapplerealty.com

  • Hard Look at Brooklyn Bank Owned Properties

    Posted Under: Financing in Sheepshead Bay, Foreclosure in Sheepshead Bay  |  October 15, 2012 7:51 AM  |  525 views  |  No comments

    Nationally, the supply of the bank-owned properties for sale has been trending down -- potentially good news for anyone and everyone with an interest in Brooklyn real estate. Competition from the glut of foreclosed properties has had the effect of driving down home sale prices, so any drop in the number of Brooklyn bank owned properties will remove that downward pressure.

    If the trend continues, it should also affect even the bank owned properties themselves. A drop in supply will increase competition for the bargains they represent. But this is why alert bargain hunters should keep their pencils sharpened. As retail merchants understand, just slapping a ‘SALE!’ sign on an item may help it sell -- even if it isn’t really a particularly good bargain.

    The low prices attached to Brooklyn bank owned properties can represent true value…or an invitation to inherit unexpected costs. No matter how tempting a bargain may seem, taking the time and effort to uncover any hidden costs will be worth your while. Then the sharpened pencil  can add the realistic costs of correction, resulting in a truly informed decision.

    If a home goes into foreclosure under protest, an angry previous owner may decide to depart with essential fittings -- like bathtubs and ovens! The LA Times calculates that around $30,000 of additional costs can be added to a typical $110,000 purchase in this manner. To me, this sounds like an exaggeration, but it is a valid heads-up to investigate and factor in possible cash requirements.

    An inspection by a trusted professional is highly desirable. Some bank owned properties in New York (as everywhere else) could carry hidden environmental issues that might later flare up into major financial drains. For example, a leaky underground tank may not only be expensive to repair -- in an extreme case a new owner might owe costs to neighbors, too.  Banks do not have to disclose much of anything about the property - known or unknown – so be sure your inspector is thorough.

    If the previous owner has been unable to meet the costs of other debts, the home being sold selling may be saddled with extra financial obligations. One example is past due real estate taxes.  By the time a bank has officially foreclosed on a home, these debts will usually have been paid – but paperwork can get complicated, so title insurance becomes extra important when buying a bank owned home.

    An experienced agent will watch out for these and other hidden costs on your behalf -- and that can be a money-saver in the long run.  You can contact me anytime to discuss how buying a bank owned home in Brooklyn measures up in this November's market.

    http://www.goldenapplerealty.com T:718-701-9037 C:347-777-5277 info@goldenapplerealty.com

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