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Preparing your finances for the fall home-buying season

When homes sell fast, buyers need to be ready to make an offer as soon as they have identified the one they want.

In July, the average time a home stayed on the market in the Washington area was just 12 days, according to multiple-listing-service data. While the pace of sales in August may slow a bit because of summer vacations and school year preparations, early fall usually picks up right after Labor Day with a new wave of competing buyers.

Thus, you will need to take financial steps to be ready to make a solid offer. Nationally, according to the National Association of Realtors, all-cash sales accounted for 22 percent of all purchases in June. Buyers need to be fully approved for a loan to compete against other qualified buyers, including cash buyers.

Getting ready for a mortgage approval is essential for two reasons. First, you need to know how much you can borrow and how that effects the price range of homes you can consider buying. Second, as mortgage rates fluctuate, you want to be ready to lock in a loan before interest rates rise.

Mortgage lender mix-up nearly costs woman her home

Rubeo got a call from a Realtor who said she had a client who wanted to buy her house. And that’s how she learned that her home was up for auction at the Metro Courthouse to repay her tax debt.

Days later, it was sold.

A Metro trustee told NewsChannel 5 that SWBC sent Rubio’s tax payment in 2016 with the wrong account information, and then it did it again the following year.

The trustee said it returned the payment and suggested the account number could be inaccurate, but never heard back from the lender.

According to Rubeo, SWBC told her they had no idea the wrong account information was sent or that her house was put up for auction.  

But NewsChannel 5 said it obtained documents proving that it was repeatedly notified and that it received a letter from the Metro Legal Department about the unpaid taxes and resulting lien on the property.

After NewsChannel 5 got involved, SWBC stepped in and paid the back taxes, plus thousands of dollars in fees, saving the house before the sale was finalized.

When refinancing a home mortgage, is it usually best to go through a lender's national center or locally?

I am interested in refinancing my home mortgage. My mortgage lender has a number of local mortgage offices as well as a national call center through which I could proceed with the refinancing.

I would simply call the national number. If they have a program for some sort of streamline refinance that would be the best way to go.