The Difference between Market Value, Appraised Value and Taxed Value

Very useful information

North Texas Lake-Front Homes

Home Value.  The thought and understanding behind what makes up a home’s value confuses many-especially with so many different terms that seem to relatively have the same (but different!) meaning.  Some months back, I had a client’s home listed (and under contract) as well as this client’s “next” home under contract.  I get a frantic call at a certain point in the transaction because she got her “appraisal” back and it wasn’t nearly high enough to net the amount that was needed to put down on her next home.  She sounded hopeless, thinking this entire domino affect was ruined.  At this point, I was concerned until she mentioned she received the report in the mail.  At this point, I knew it was the tax-appraisal she had received and NOT the home-appraisal.  I smile, then begin explaining the differences between the two appraisals.  Sometimes even very…

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Home buying gets easier as down payments dip


One hurdle to first-time homebuyers is starting to get a little lower: The average down payment for a home fell to less than 15 percent in the first quarter of 2015 to its lowest level since early 2012. The average down payment for the quarter was $57,710, according to RealtyTrac.

The lower down payments reflect new loan programs recently introduced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and lower insurance premiums for Federal Housing Authority Loans. The market is also adjusting as large, institutional investors who had been buying starter homes as rental investments dial back.

“Down payment trends in the first quarter indicate that first-time homebuyers are finally starting to come out of the woodwork, albeit gradually,” RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said in a statement.

Broken down by type of loan, the average down payment for conventional loans was 18.4 percent ($72,590), and the average down payment for FHA loans was just 2.9 percent ($7,609). FHA loans as a share of all mortgages increased from 21 percent in January to 25 percent in March.

Among the country’s largest counties, Wayne County in Detroit, Mich., had the lowest average down payment (12 percent), and New York had the highest (37 percent).

While lower down payments are good news for first-time homebuyers, they also are a reminder of practices that led to the housing bubble that began to burst in late 2006 and contributed to the financial crisis. During the height of the boom, buyers were able to purchase homes that they couldn’t really afford by putting little or no money down on the property.

Half the Country Lives in These Counties

~Very interesting if you look at the map and consider how many counties there are in our great country. Per the original article on Business Insider there are 3000 counties in the US and only 146 house half of the inhabitants~

From Mental Floss

Walter Hickey and Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider used Census data to determine that half the people in the United States live in these 146 shaded counties. Do you live in one of the blue areas?


counties map

Los Angeles County, CACook County, IL

Harris County, TX

Maricopa County, AZ

San Diego County, CA

Orange County, CA

Miami-Dade County, FL

Kings County, NY

Dallas County, TX

Queens County, NY

Riverside County, CA

San Bernardino County, CA

King County, WA

Clark County, NV

Tarrant County, TX

Santa Clara County, CA

Broward County, FL

Wayne County, MI

Bexar County, TX

New York County, NY

Alameda County, CA

Philadelphia County, PA

Middlesex County, MA

Suffolk County, NY

Sacramento County, CA

Bronx County, NY

Palm Beach County, FL

Nassau County, NY

Hillsborough County, FL

Cuyahoga County, OH

Allegheny County, PA

Oakland County, MI

Orange County, FL

Franklin County, OH

Hennepin County, MN

Fairfax County, VA

Travis County, TX

Contra Costa County, CA

Salt Lake County, UT

Montgomery County, MD

St. Louis County, MO

Pima County, AZ

Fulton County, GA

Honolulu County, HI

Gwinnett County, GA

Ventura County, CA

Mecklenburg County, NC

Westchester County, NY

Milwaukee County, WI

Wake County, NCFresno County, CA

Shelby County, TN

Fairfield County, CT

DuPage County, IL

Pinellas County, FL

Erie County, NY

Marion County, IN

Bergen County, NJ

Hartford County, CT

Prince George’s County, MD

Duval County, FL

New Haven County, CT

Kern County, CA

Macomb County, MI

Collin County, TX

El Paso County, TX

San Francisco County, CA

Middlesex County, NJ

Baltimore County, MD

Pierce County, WA

Montgomery County, PA

Hidalgo County, TX

Worcester County, MA

Hamilton County, OH

Essex County, NJ

Multnomah County, OR

Essex County, MA

Jefferson County, KY

Monroe County, NY

Suffolk County, MA

Oklahoma County, OK

San Mateo County, CA

Snohomish County, WA

Cobb County, GA

Denton County, TX

DeKalb County, GA

San Joaquin County, CA

Lake County, IL

Will County, IL

Norfolk County, MA

Jackson County, MO

Bernalillo County, NM

Jefferson County, AL

Hudson County, NJ

Davidson County, TN

Lee County, FL

El Paso County, CO

Denver County, CO

District of Columbia, DCMonmouth County, NJ

Providence County, RI

Fort Bend County, TX

Bucks County, PA

Baltimore city, MD

Polk County, FL

Kent County, MI

Tulsa County, OK

Arapahoe County, CO

Ocean County, NJ

Delaware County, PA

Johnson County, KS

Bristol County, MA

Anne Arundel County, MD

Washington County, OR

Brevard County, FL

New Castle County, DE

Jefferson County, CO

Union County, NJ

Summit County, OH

Utah County, UT

Montgomery County, OH

Douglas County, NE

Lancaster County, PA

Kane County, IL

Stanislaus County, CA

Ramsey County, MN

Camden County, NJ

Chester County, PA

Sedgwick County, KS

Dane County, WI

Passaic County, NJ

Guilford County, NC

Plymouth County, MA

Morris County, NJ

Volusia County, FL

Lake County, IN

Sonoma County, CA

Montgomery County, TX

Spokane County, WA

Richmond County, NY

Pasco County, FL

Greenville County, SC

Onondaga County, NY

Hampden County, MA

Adams County, CO

Williamson County, TX

Lock in your mortgage rate

Lock it in: How (and when) to

secure a low mortgage rate

Mortgage rates have been trending upward in recent weeks, so if you’re starting the process of buying a home, now might be a good time to lock in your rate.

Deciding when to lock isn’t just about market conditions, because if you’re not prepared to complete the loan process within a certain time frame, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in fees for locking in too early.

What Does it Mean to Lock In a Mortgage Rate?

“Locking in” refers to the lender and the borrower entering an agreement about how much the loan will cost, no matter the day your transaction closes. Common lock agreements are for 15, 30 or 45 days, and if your loan doesn’t close by the agreed-upon deadline, whether or not it’s a result of factors beyond your control, you’ll be subject to fees to extend the lock.

Even though it can be a little intimidating to lock in a rate and start the countdown timer on completing your mortgage, it can protect you from whatever happens in the market between the time you receive pre-approval and final approval for the loan. It can take more than a month to process a loan application — a lot can happen in that time frame, and if you don’t lock in your pricing, you may end up paying much more than you thought you would.

“They commit to particular pricing regardless of what happens in the market, as long as the borrower can get their end done within that timeframe,” said Joe Parsons, a senior loan officer with PFS Funding, a mortgage bank in Dublin, Calif. There are risks whether or not you decide to lock in a rate or not (meaning you float the rate): “If the pricing gets worse after I’ve locked, I’m still going to get that pricing. The converse is not true. … I am not going to get that lower rate because I entered into the agreement with the lender.”

For the borrower, trying to time the market to get a marginally better rate may not be worth the risk of rates spiking, Parsons said, particularly with the amount of volatility in the market right now.

“I’m advising, in general, people these days lock at the time that we have a complete loan package ready to go to underwriting,” he said.

Giving Yourself Time Is Key

At the same time, it’s important to leave yourself enough time to complete the loan application process, which can easily get delayed. Carlos Jaime, a loan officer and owner of CTC Brokers in California, said he cautions borrowers against leaving little room for error, just to save money (it’s cheaper to lock in a rate for a shorter period, say 15 days instead of 30). Common causes for longer loan application processes include appraisal delays, receipt of IRS transcripts (particularly around tax season) or the borrower failing to provide necessary documents in a timely manner.

Jaime and Parsons both said that, ideally, borrowers are working with knowledgeable loan officers who can confidently advise borrowers about the best time to lock in a rate and for how long. Once you give your loan officer the go-ahead to request a rate lock and he or she receives confirmation of that action, you’re on the clock to get everything done. Still, that doesn’t mean you should feel like all the pressure to make these decisions is on you.

“The biggest thing is educate yourself for sure, but at the same time use your loan officer to your advantage, you know, use them to help shoulder some of that responsibility,” Jaime said. “Keep in contact with your loan officer, and ask them questions, and they’ll be able to advise you to your specific situation.”

Having better credit gives you access to lower interest rates on a home loan, which can potentially give you more buying power. So before you even begin your search for a home, you may want to check your credit reports and credit scores to see where you stand. You may find errors that are dragging your scores down, or you may decide to take a little extra time to work on your credit to bring your scores up. You can get your free credit reports annually from, and you can get a free credit report summary, updated monthly, on

California Affordable Housing in Supreme Court

Read what the California Supreme Court is considering

Developers can be required to include affordable housing,  California high court rules

Garage Transformation Ideas

What do you think of these ideas from Yahoo Makers?

I like a couple myself, especially the office.

Don’t Overlook These Mortgage Costs

The Major Mortgage Cost Most

Homebuyers Overlook

When it comes to getting or refinancing a mortgage, little things can turn into big bucks quickly.

For example, small differences in interest rates can mean thousands (even tens of thousands) of dollars in additional interest charges over the life of the loan. Or, a slight difference in rates among different loans can signal fees that can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars in hidden costs. “I’ve literally seen differences of $5,000 in fees (between various loans),” says David Ginsburg, president of

When you are quoted a mortgage rate online or verbally, the lender must disclose an annual percentage rate (APR). There is usually a difference between the APR and the interest rate, because the former takes into account interest plus additional costs. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explains:

An annual percentage rate is a broader measure of the cost to you of borrowing money. The APR reflects not only the interest rate but also the points, mortgage broker fees, and other charges that you have to pay to get the loan. For that reason, your APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Comparing interest rates, APRs and fees can be confusing, and it can be tough to choose among various loans. And sometimes what may seem like a better deal may not be, depending on your individual situation.

Let’s say you are getting or refinancing a $250,000 mortgage loan for 30 years. You are quoted three APRs:

  • 3.931% APR (interest rate 3.875%)
  • 4.078% APR (interest rate 4%)
  • 4.157% APR (interest rate 4.125%)

If you’re like most of us, you’ll probably assume the lowest APR is the no-brainer right?

Not so fast. In this example, the lower APR loan carries higher fees. Here’s how the fees shake out when these quotes are analyzed using Loantech’s My Loan Cost Calculator, which compares and evaluates different loan options based on the consumer’s goals (minimize fees, payments, payoffs, or total interest and fees):

  • 3.931% = fees of $1,694 (monthly payment: $1,175.59)
  • 4.078% = fees of $2,338 (monthly payment: $1,193.54)
  • 4.157% = fees of $956 (monthly payment $1,211.62)

In this example, the loan with the highest APR has the lowest fees. The lower APR is still the cheapest loan overall, but when you’re comparing mortgage rates, you’ll want to also take into account how long you plan to keep the loan. Paying higher fees on a loan with a lower APR may make sense when you plan to keep a loan long enough to break even on the fees.

5 Fees to Look For

What kind of fees are we talking about here? Fees that may affect the APR include:

  • Loan origination fee
  • Lender fee (formerly known as discount fee)
  • Lock fee or commitment fee
  • Underwriting fee
  • Processing fee

Some fees can be negotiated down or even away, but you won’t know if you don’t ask. And that means understanding how much you are being charged in fees in the first place.

Of course, as with any loan the best deals typically go to consumers with good credit scores. The differences are especially stark in the case of mortgages, where the interest over 10, 20 or 30 years can really add up. For example, in the options above, the total cost (interest and fees) of these loans after 10 years is:

  • 3.931% = $88,889
  • 4.078% = $92,523
  • 4.157% = $94,139

Securing the lower APR loan saves a borrower more than $5,000 10 years into the loan in this example.

If you’re going to get a mortgage the smart thing to do is to understand where you stand with your credit, compare the cost of fees along with APRs when getting rate quotes, and understand the lifetime cost of debt. Together, these steps can help you make a smarter decision when you borrow.