Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Harvard Predicts Families to Spend More on Home Renovations

Harvard researchers credit the improving housing market 

Good news in the real estate market usually means good news on the home renovation front.

A recent report by a Harvard University think-tank says consumers will be spending more on home renovation projects as the year progresses. Existing home sales were nearly nine percent last year, with house prices continually inching upward this year.

Increased equity, increased spending

“This has increased the home equity levels for most homeowners, encouraging them to reinvest in their homes,” said Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

The report, issued a few weeks ago, predicts that consumer spending on home remodeling projects will increase from $125 billion at the start of 2013 to nearly $150 billion by the end of the year. This is compared to a low of about $111 billion in 2011.

The Harvard think tank uses a combination of factors to calculate their prediction, based upon statistics provided by agencies such as the Census Bureau, National Association of Realtors and the Federal Reserve, among others.

Renovation spending a key economic indicator

The U.S. remodeling industry is picking up speed as the housing market has revived, according to a report issued earlier this year by the think tank. Several factors are at play:

  • Properties that were foreclosed are being purchased, often by investors who fix them up, or by homeowners seeking to customize a home to their liking.
  • Sustainable home improvements are increasingly becoming more popular
  • Older homeowners need to retrofit their homes to fit different needs

The emerging echo boom generation means more good news could be on the horizon for those in the remodeling industry, as people in this generation begin buying homes.

Researchers keep tabs on home improvement spending as an economic indicator because the amount of spending is so significant. Indeed, the home renovation researchers at Harvard said that spending on home renovation projects in 2011 surpassed money spent on clothing, furniture and home furnishings, and electronics/appliances.

Low interest rates and improving home values are part of the equation, too.

With interest rates still under 4% on many loans, and prices rising at the fastest clip since 2007, owners are tapping the equity to take care of long delayed repairs, upgrades, or remodels.  Some have even been able to spend substantial sums with little or no increase in monthly payments due to the new loan being at much lower rates.

If you would like to find out if you might be able to start your overdue renovations and finally get that new kitchen, just call Los Angeles Mortgage Broker Bill Rayman at 310-295-6213 for a no cost consultation. 
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Should You Put 5% Down on a Mortgage When You Can Afford 20% or More?


5% Down, 20% Down? Which Mortgage Makes More Sense? 

Bill Rayman takes you step by step through the numbers to show you convincingly that a 5% down payment on your home mortgage is a much better financial decision in 2013 that putting down 20% or more.  STIPULATION!  You may prefer the emotional benefits of the high down payment.  But with interest rates at historic lows, locking in the MOST possible principle will pay you massive financial benefits over the long term.

Check out some of our fantastic mortgage calculators to find out the details in your own situation.

Interest Only Payment
Calculate your payments with an interest only loan.
Mortgage Amortization
Detailed breakdown of principal and interest payments over the life of your loan.
How Much Can I Afford
How much house / monthly payment can you afford?
Should I Refinance
Calculate savings in switching to a new loan.
Rent vs. Own
Should you buy a home or continue renting? Our Rent vs. Own Calculator will analyze your situation and give you some guidance.
FHA Loan Limits
The FHA Loan Limits calculator helps you calculate the size of the loan the FHA is willing to insure.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

10 Mortgage Misconceptions That Could Cost You Money

mortgage agreement


10 Mortgage Misconceptions

By Alison Paoli

We have produced our own lists of myths and recommendations, but we were so impressed with Alison's list, that we have done a short version of it here.  To read her entire list and all the details go to AOL Real Estate.

Mortgages are tricky and often hard to understand. Because most people only purchase a home every five to seven years, prospective homebuyers understandably don't spend a lot of time in the interim educating themselves about mortgages and the mortgage process.

With the real estate market picking up and mortgage rates prime for refinancing, Zillow has compiled a list of common mortgage misconceptions based off the results of the just released 2013 Mortgage IQ Survey.

Misconception No. 1: Your interest rate reflects the true cost of your mortgage. Your annual percentage rate is actually the figure that represents the true cost of your mortgage. It is inclusive of your interest rate, points, mortgage insurance (when applicable) and other fees, including origination and underwriting fees. It does not include the cost of your homeowners insurance policy. The APR is typically higher than your interest rate because it incorporates the rate and the fees. In fact, when shopping for a mortgage, it is best to compare loans based on APR instead of the interest rate because it gives a better sense of the total cost over the life of the loan.

Misconception No. 2: Mortgage rates are only released once per day. Mortgage rates for all types of mortgages can change frequently, sometimes dramatically, throughout the day. Because of the rapid changes in mortgage rates and a lender's ability to control what is offered, it is important to shop around for the best rates. Getting multiple loan quotes is highly recommended.

Misconception No. 3: All lenders are required by law to charge the same fees for appraisals and credit reports. There are no laws that require lenders to charge the same fees for services such as appraisals or credit reports. In fact, in order to make their loan quotes more competitive, some lenders may waive charges for such services. Conversely, some lenders may charge higher fees for these services, so it's important to shop around.

Misconception No. 4: I must get my mortgage through the same lender I was pre-approved with

For the rest of the story, head over to http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2013/05/13/mortgage-misconceptions

If you cruise through this blog, you will find many more insider tips and secrets that will help you maximize your chances for success in the mortgage loan process.   In fact, if you click on the link for mortgage loan process, you can learn a lot about what to expect as you move forward on your loan.

If we can be of any help, don't hesitate to call and ask for Bill Rayman at

New Contact Information for Bill Rayman

Bill Rayman Home Mortgage

12121 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 350
LA CA 90025



The consultation is free, the application is free.  And we will do everything we can to keep all of your costs as low as possible.

Also find helpful mortgage calculators here. 

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Friday, May 17, 2013

60 Seconds - Find Out IF You Qualify for a Mortgage Loan

 Find out if you qualify for a mortgage loan by using this flowchart
“Do I Qualify for a Mortgage Loan?” – RealEstate.com Flowchart

Bill Rayman will get you the best overall deal possible if you end up in the Green box at the bottom of the chart.  However, Bill specializes in helping folks who need a little help making the grade. 

"Mortgages are still difficult, there is no question.  My job today is to help clients through the possible pitfalls and slippery spots where a perfectly good, qualifying client is having trouble because of a paperwork issue or an incorrect credit report."

This blog is filled with articles giving you detail after detail of how to make sure you have done everything possible, not only to qualify, but also to qualify for the lowest cost possible.

You may have seen headlines that the interest rates have gone up the last two weeks.  Please keep that in context.  They have gone up a small fraction of a percent.  Interest rates are at historic lows and likely to remain so for the rest of this year.  However, now is the time to get the best possible rates.  They aren't going lower.

Call Bill today for a complimentary consultation on your needs for a home mortgage loan or investment property loan. 

New Contact Information for Bill Rayman

Bill Rayman Home Mortgage

12121 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 350
LA CA 90025



If you found this post useful, you may want to subscribe.  We try to provide three posts per week covering all aspects of home mortgage loans and related home ownership issues.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

14 Kitchen Countertops Ideas for Your Remodel

Beauty and Durability Come at a Cost - But Don't Skimp on the Countertop

Whether you are doing a minor remodel or a total renovation of your kitchen, and whether it is an apartment sized room or includes a center work station and a wet bar, your number one cost in your new kitchen may be your countertop.  Moreover countertops and cabinets are the two aspects of the finished job that can cost you the most grief if not done to your standards.

When choosing a countertop, you will faced with an array of choices.  As you weigh out the various options, these features seem to be the ones that most homeowners consider most critical:
  • Looks - Certainly an issue of personal taste.  As in all things, beauty has a price.
  • Daily maintenance - How easy to clean?  How easy to make sparkle like new?  Two different things
  • Long term maintenance - Are there costs in time and treasure to keep the countertop new looking?
  • Chip resistant - Is the material easily damaged if something is dropped on it?
  • Cut resistant - Is the material subject to being cut if a good knife is used without a cutting board?
  • Stain resistant - What happens if something is spilled on the countertop?  
  • Acid/caustic material resistant - Will lemons, coffee, alcohol or cleaning materials hurt the surface?
  • Heat resistant - What happens if I put a hot frying pan on the surface by mistake
  • Cost - The range of costs for countertops is huge.  What am I getting for the money?
  • Resale value - If you should sell the house, will the countertop be a standout feature?

The Choices For Your Countertop Include the Following 

Available in a large variety of colors and styles, won't chip or dent, is resistant to heat, and has a nice smooth surface.
It is possible to scratch or etch the surface with the some acids, including coffee, alcohol, harsh cleaning products or even citrus fruits.  You can protect Marble by sealing it, but this may not stop the etching in every case.  You will need to seal the surface once or twice per year for optimum lasting beauty and to protect the surface.   $100-400/foot.
Pros: More durable than marble, won't scratch, resistant to stains, heat and water if sealed, low-maintenance, high resale value, lots of color options. About the same cost as Marble.  Excellent resale value. 
 Lava Stone
Pros: Many color options, non-porous, highly resistant to heat, cold, stains and scratching, highly durable, low-maintenance.  At least $225/foot.

Solid Surface (Corian, etc.)
Durable, smooth surface, can seamlessly integrate sink and backsplash, easy to sand away stains or scratches, lots of color and pattern options, can imitate other materials like concrete and marble.
Easily damaged by heat.  Susceptible to scratches and dents.  Stains. $45-150/foot.

Stainless Steel
Durable.  You can't stain or harm this surface with acids, stains or heat.  Easy to clean and maintain, but can look dull unless cleaned with a cleanser like Barkeep.
It is possible to nick or scratch Stainless.  $100-300/foot.

 Wood/Butcher Block
Good for chopping/prep surface and gives a great working kitchen feel.
This type of surface is easily damaged by scratches and dents, and can be stained.  Many believe that bacteria can reside in small scratches, so requires a food-safe protective sealer.   High maintenance.  Sink spray and or direct sunlight may result in some fading. $40-150/foot

Ceramic Tile
Pros: Durable, easy to install and clean, heat and moisture-resistant.
Cons: Uneven surface, tiles can get scratched, cracked or chipped, grout can stain. $2-150/foot.

Engineered Stone (90% Quartz)

This nonporous surface is excellent at         resisting abuse such as scratches or stains.  You never need to seal this product and it is easy to maintain.  The look is almost identical to natural stone but by mixing various pigments you can create completely custom looks.  It is not heatproof.$50 - $150/foot

This smooth surface is tough as they come and resists scratches and heat.  The potential palette is large and you can choose among  various surfaces. 
You must seal the surface as it is porous.  You will also want to wax.  Since you will need to custom cast to fit, you have flexibility in shaping.  Around $80-150/foot.
Resistant to etching from acids, but can be stained.  Scratches can be removed by sanding or sanded or oiling.
Needs regular maintenance.  Subject to cracks and chips that may not be able to be repaired by sanding or oiling.  The color may darken over time.  $75-150/foot.
Glass is obviously non-porous and very heat-resistant.  No worries about cuts.  It is very
hard to keep 100% free of haze, fingerprints, and water spots.  Cracks, chips, or breaks cannot be fixed.

An inexpensive option that provides plenty of color choices.  Very low maintenance, but subject to cracking, scratches and heat damage. 
$15-60/foot plus installation.

Paper-based Composite
Manufactured from recycled paper, so considered a green solution.  Even the resins are green.   Considered very durable.   Can scratch and stain, heat and stain resistant, but not stain and heat proof, These surfaces will darken over time.  Porous, so requires sealant.  Not readily available.  Need to special order in most cases.
Bamboo & Paper Composite
Green, foodsafe, highly durable, hyperallergenic.  Looks like wood.  Bamboo won't discolor over time, is scratch- and stain-proof, water-resistant, and offers more light colors than Paper.  This surface does requires regular maintenance. $30+/foot.

If you found this post helpful, please give us a Like or a +1.  You might also like to check around the rest of the blog for similar articles that might help you with your renovation or remodel.  For instance this post is hugely popular:

21 Cool Room Addition Ideas You'll Want in Your Home

New Contact Information for Bill Rayman

Bill Rayman Home Mortgage

12121 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 350
LA CA 90025



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Friday, May 10, 2013

21 Cool Room Addition Ideas You'll Want in Your Home

The Best Time To Add Rooms to Your Home Is Right Now!

Are you thinking of building an addition when you remodel your home?

Perhaps your kids are getting bigger and need their own room and/or bathroom. Maybe Grandma is coming to stay for a while...(could even be more than a while). Or maybe you have always wanted a play room for your kids or utility room or home office or home theater. Now you are ready to get serious in making this dream happen. What will it cost? How long will it take? What part of the dream is reality and what part might need to happen in stages?  Is this a good time to borrow?

21 Ways You Can Add a Room that Everyone Will Rave About

You might already know exactly what the next room in the house should be.  But it will be less costly, less hassle, and better all around to do multiple new rooms and any remodeling at the same time, than to do it piecemeal.  So, lets do some brainstorming.  And if I left out any great ideas, please add yours in the comments.  
  1. Teenagers private bedroom - Can you imagine the possibilities?  Hidden closets, media centers, fully wired in, any color paint they want, storage for sports equipment.  Go CRAZY!
  2. Pantry - Cut down on trips to the market.  A 5 X 8 pantry with a freezer will allow you to stock up for the next natural disaster.  Make it bigger and include a sink and work station.  WOW!
  3. Office - For some this is the best room in the house.  Who would use the office.  Design it 100% to their taste.  Music, internet, game table, lighting systems.  Say, "My Space."
  4. Another office - Maybe you both need an office.  His and Hers.  
  5. Home Theater - 72" 3D Wall Mounted Screen with Surround Sound, fully wifi, Game systems, Apple TV control unit, theater seats, special lighting & acoustics, soundproof.  Nice!
  6. Game Room - Just a matter of how big you can make it.  Pool, Ping Pong, Air Hockey, Darts, bowling alley, indestructible furniture, game consoles, arcade games, Card tables.  Ready, set.
  7. Pool Room - You think this is just for the really wealthy?  Why should it be? Why limit your pool enjoyment to the summer months? Marco Polo anyone?
  8. Spa - Okay.  Can't go for the full pool?  You cedar or Spanish tile spa could have over sized tub with jacuzzi jets, full jacuzzi, fancy shower heads, steam/sauna generator, music, and more.
  9. Pool House - You've got a pool.  How about a pool house for guest to change and shower.  No more wet feet on your new rugs.  Also store pool equipment and toys. Add a 5 X 5 steam room.
  10. Grandma's room - Or it could be grandpa or both.  Maybe it is your aging son who hasn't launched yet.  Add a bathroom and a private entry.  Your choice if you charge rent. 
  11. Art center - Is someone in the house a arts and/or crafts person.  You can bet they would love to have a place to set up, spread out, organize and store supplies.  Scrapbooking maybe?
  12. Music studio - Not so much into art?  Your gift is music.  Today you can set up a really nice professional studio for very little money.  Soundproof, pre-wired.  Hit Play!
  13. Video production room - YouTube is making folks rich.  Hard to create the very best stuff without the lighting, green screens, and acoustics under control.  Lights, action ....
  14. Indoor gardening center - This room might pay for itself.  Save big bucks and enjoy fresh produce year round.  Use the room to store equipment for the outside gardening too.  
  15. Laundry room - Tired of trying to turn around in the current laundry hallway or in front of the cars?  Everything at your fingertips in a 6 X 8 laundry room.  Add TV.  Kids might even help.
  16. Workshop - No basement and no room in the garage to really build stuff?  Create this room from the ground up with places for every tool, and plenty of room to work.  
  17. Vanity - Maybe there isn't room in your master bedroom to create a master bath suite.  Create a new room for all the ladies in the house to pamper themselves.  
  18. Another bathroom - But this time it isn't just for guests.  Luxury tub and showers.  Full environmental cabinet or just a steam shower.  Maybe a bidet'.  Oui Oui 
  19. Toy room - If you have or plan to have kids under 12, the toy box is or will be running over.
    The Toy Room as a Room Addition
    There is no room in the room for the kid.  Set up a room for the toys with lots of storage.
  20. Homeschool classroom - If you homeschool, you don't want to have to put it all away every day and you don't want to leave it out all the time.  Set this room up once like a classroom.
  21. Maids quarters - Could also serve for a nurse as needed, room for foreign exchange students, guest room, or boomerang room for returning adult child.  Room and a bath. 
 Undoubtedly given a few more hours there could be a longer list.  Anything up there look like something you'd love to have at your place?  Do you have suggestions to add in the comments?

Why Is 2013 the Perfect Time to Get This Done?

Two big reasons.  Interest rates are at historic lows.  Most building Contractors are not crazy busy yet.  The only reason the builders are still not overwhelmed is the lack of available places to build custom homes.  This is a window of opportunity to call your contractor and start on a new project like a kitchen or bath remodel, or even a complete tear down and dream home build.

Please cruise through this blog for dozens of other pages that give details on mortgages, refinancing and HELOCS.  One article you might really like is:   How to Finance Your Home Remodel With the Same Monthly Payment You Have Now.

New Contact Information for Bill Rayman

Bill Rayman Home Mortgage

12121 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 350
LA CA 90025



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Video - Consider Your Mortgage Down Payment Decision Carefully, and Make Thousands of Dollars

5% Down, 20% Down?  Which Mortgage Makes More Sense?

The mortgage market is tight right now, but not so tight that you won't usually have a choice between a 5% or a 20% down payment on your home or refinance.  Folk wisdom says to pay as much as you can in the down payment, then pay off the mortgage as fast as you can.  And, to be sure, for many of my clients, that is the best decision.  It is safe, secure, and comforting.

However, some of my clients are more inclined to take on some risk.  With risk comes the potential for reward.  And the reward in this case might be tens of thousands of dollars.  The video that follows gives you the nitty gritty details of how to make that choice.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shock! How to Remodel Your Kitchen and Lower Your Mortgage Payment

Move Quickly to Take Advantage of Crazy Low Interest Rates

Housing prices have been going up in LA . . . a lot.  You may have equity in your home again.  Interest rates are crazy low.  This is creating a unique situation that allows many homeowners to make improvements to their homes and actually lower the monthly mortgage.

You really want a new kitchen!  And sure, the master bath, too.  Let's estimate $40,000 for the kitchen and $20,000 for the bath.  Your current mortgage is based on a $500,000 principle at 4.5%.  You should be paying $2533 per month on a 30 year fixed.

So, you could up the mortgage to $560,000, and with interest rates currently at 3.75 or less, you should end up with a monthly payment of $2515 or less.

You can find our mortgage calculator and today's interest rates at http://www.mortgagehelplosangeles.com

Give me a call and let's talk about the details.   310-295-2613.  Ask for Bill.

If you want to consider a larger project, see our recent post on construction loans.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Video - The Truth About No Cost Mortgage Loans Southern California

How to Wisely Understand and Pay for the Costs and Fees of Your Mortgage

You may not write a check out to the lender at closing, but that doesn't mean there aren't costs and fees associated with your mortgage.  These costs and fees add up to several thousand dollars, depending on the amount of the loan.

The bank may pay them and charge you in the interest rate.  You can fold these costs into the principle of the mortgage if you like.  Or you can write a check.  One way or the other, someone pays the fees.

Los Angeles Mortgage Broker and Lender, Bill Rayman, has created the following video that give the details of the Truth about No Cost Loans.