The $25,000 Mortgage Mistake You Could Be Making

You Don't Have to Make the $25,000 Mortgage Mistake 

Could you pay too much for your mortgage? If you’re like millions of Americans, the answer is probably, "YES" — and that means you may be throwing tens of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money at the bank, when you don't need to.

A recent report written by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that almost half (47%) of Americans don’t shop around for a mortgage when they purchase a home. WHAT? 47% ? ?   

Why is it that buyers put so much thought and effort into looking for the right home, and so little into how to finance it?  

Number of lenders Americans seriously consider before applying for a mortgage








Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  

You need to shop around for a mortgage, if not, you’re probably leaving a ton of  free money on the table. “Interest rates can span more than half a percent for a conventional mortgage for borrowers with a good credit rating and a 20% down payment,” says Sam Gilford, a spokesperson for the CFPB.

Hire a buyer's agent (like me!!!) that knows how to help you in the process.  Ask your agent if they know how to help you get the seller to buy your mortgage interest rate down.  How much money could you save over 30 years if the interest rate was even a quarter percent lower?

A half a percent could be more than $25,000 mistake for the average home buyer (if you consider the average home sold in the U.S was around $322,000).  What if you shopped around? Found a lower rate, and then had that rate lowered even more?  What type of costs are associtated with your loan? Are they negotiable?  Will another lender be able offer lower costs, like the orignation fee, doc fee, processing fee?

Say a borrower accepts a 4.5% interest rate instead of a 4% interest rate on the average home (a sale price of $322,000 with a 20% down payment that means he needs to get a loan for $257,600).  If you are looking at a 30-year fixed rate loan at 4.5%, you will pay a total of $212,250 in interest; for a 4% interest rate, he will pay just $185,100 — a difference of more than $27,000!! 

That's a lot of money! 

If you buy a house that costs more than average — or if you have a smaller down payment than 20% even on an average home — the results may be even more grim. For example, a person who gets a $500,000 mortgage would pay more than $412,000 in interest over the life of his 4.5% 30-year fixed rate loan, which is roughly $53,000 more than with a 4% rate.

I know, I know, many people who don’t shop around may get the best rate anyway — or at least close to it. And, some even get a mortgage that may be a little too costly, but refinance later and save money. Then there are others that will sell their houses well before the 30-year loan period is up, so they end up paying less in interest. But, for the time they do own the house, they still are paying more than they may have had to. 

That is why experts say it’s worth shopping around, as even 1/10th of a percentage point can mean thousands of dollars in extra payments to the mortgage company over the life of a loan. 

Luckily, shopping around for a loan is pretty easy, first, consider what type of loan makes the most sense for you and figure out how large of a loan you can afford.  Keep in mind the amount that a lender qualifies you for, may be way higher than what you feel comfortable with (there are dozens of online calculators that can calculate your monthly payments and more), set the number yourself, and know what that number is ahead of time.

Once you’ve done that, get quotes from your credit union and a local community bank.  Then you can check online and apply with up to three lenders on the same day. Finally, don't forget that you can negotiate with lender.  Check online to know what the best rates are, and negotiate to get it! 

If you are ready to buy in the Portland/Vancouver metro market, contact us today, we will show you how to save even more on your mortgage!  

Denice Neddo, Broker and Real Estate Coach


360-607-4226 Mobile TEXT

503-756-9759 Office


Posted on February 9, 2015 at 12:07 pm
Denice Neddo | Posted in Buying, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

5 Winter Selling Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

5 Winter Selling Mistakes You Don't Want to Make!

Selling your Portland Vancouver home in the winter has it's challenges and benefits. Here are a couple of things you want to make sure you DON'T do.  You need to make sure your home shows in it's best light, highlight it's attributes, not the negative aspects!  It's cold, it's rainy, and it's wet.  Make your house inviting! 

The fewer the mistakes a seller makes, the sooner  the home will sell.  After all, it's everyone's goal to get the house sold at the highest price in least amount of time!   Mistakes can hurt your bottom line.  Selling your home in the winter can be a little more challenging, especially when it is rainy and wet out.  Winter home sales are typically slower than the spring and summer months, many homeowners and buyers simply want to wait until the end of the school year, they want to wait until the weather gets warmer and drier.  

Some homes tend to show better when the sun is shining, there is no mud in sight and the rhododendrons are in full bloom, but that doesnt have to be the case.  Your home can sell fast and for a great price, after all, if there is little or no competition for your buyer, your home will be at the top of their list if you remember not to make these easy to avoid mistakes.    

Don't  put up a big sign pointing out any issues or problems.  First off, try to identify them and address them before a buyer can point them out to you.  If you know of something, for heaven's sake, don't highlight or advertise the issue.  Most of these issues below fall in this category. 


1.)  PUTTING PLASTIC ON THE WINDOWS to keep out the cold.   If you have poor drafty windows and you usually put plastic on the windows to keep the cold out and the heat in, DON'T do it when you are showing your house to potential buyers. Take the plastic down.


2.)  BLOCKING THE DRAFT FROM THE CHIMNEY.  If you are not using the fireplace and have something in front of it blocking a draft, TAKE IT DOWN. The fireplace is a great selling point, that huge piece of plywood is not as attractive as a few candles placed in sparkling clean fireplace.  Just because you don't use it, doesn't mean a potential buyer won't. 

3.)  SAVING MONEY BY SETTING THE THERMOSTAT LOW.      Your home needs to be comfortable not cold.  Buyers might get the idea that your home is very  hard to heat or that the utility bills are way too high.  You may just be frugal and have the temperature turned down, but that may not be the message received.  Buyers will want to get out the house as fast as they can if the temperature is too low, you want them to stay and fall in love.  Warm things up a bit! 

3.)  DOOR DRAFT STOPPERS. I know that Aunt Margie knitted them just for you, and that they do keep the cold out, but again: Put them away.  If you have door draft stoppers by your front door or by any room the buyer may think you have a drafty house.  Our goal is to show your home in the best possible light and not to sell the next house they look at because it is "less drafty".  We want your house to show that it is well taken care of. 

4.)  SPACE HEATERS.  Again, turn up the heat. Opening all of the interior doors and making sure that the air flows will help.   A space heater screams that there is something wrong with your heating system and duct system, and you may only have it on because you like a bit more heat in the room you use most often.  

5.)  NOT HEATING UNUSED ROOMS.  If you have a bonus room, bedroom you don't use or a space that you never go in to,  keep them warm anyway.  Cold rooms, even if you don't use them, can be a huge turnoff.  You never know who your buyer is, or what they would use each room for.  Make the entire house warm and inviting.


Anytime of the year it is important to fix all of the items that you can afford to address and have your house in tip top shape for showing, in the winter, we just need to notice these other things that will make your house the number one prospect on the potential buyers list.   Today's buyer is looking for a home that is "Move In Ready".  Unless you house is truly a "fixer-upper" and is priced with all of the repairs considered, make sure the buyer doesn't think your house falls into that category.  Many times a fix can cost very little and a small amount of time to gain a large return.    

Yes, your home may have draft issues or minor problems.  You just don't need to highlight and advertise them.  

For a complimentary walk through and assessment of what "FIXES" your home may need to sell fast and for the most money, call us today! 

Portland Vancouver Home Team

Denice Neddo, Broker / Real Estate Coach

360-607-4226 TEXT Cell

503-756-9759 Office



Posted on February 5, 2015 at 7:39 pm
Denice Neddo | Posted in Buying, Selling | Tagged , , , , ,

10 Ways To LOWER The Value Of Your Home

The following are 10 ways that can actually lower the value of your home:

  1. Overbuilding the area. Yes, you can improve your home too much. No matter what you do, your home is only going to be worth so much in the location that it is in. Make sure that you pay very close attention to the values in your neighborhood. Look at the common features of homes in your area. Talk to a trusted real-estate agent or an appraiser, and ask for an appraisal without improvements and another with them. If it doesn't pay off, then it's not worth it. 
  2. Overbuilding one specific room in your house. If you put $40K into your kitchen without remodeling the rest of your home, the house will not sell because it is inconsistent with the other rooms of the home. Find out what's the baseline in your particular neighborhood — and anything you can do to bring your home up to that baseline … is probably an investment worth doing,"
  3. Making the “White Elephant”. If you remodel your home, and eliminate common features simply because you do not use them, you could be killing your resell value. It's fine to add a personal touch to your remodel, but remember that you likely won't live in your home forever. Remember that your changes need to speak to a future homeowner. Or be prepared to eat your additional investment — and possibly more.
  4. Messing up the floor plan. Too many people aren't careful when they add square footage to a home. Adding a bedroom where there is a walk through to the laundry room creates 'functional obsolescence,'" Another example: adding a bedroom on the one side of the house when the bathrooms are on the other side of the house. Keep in mind the functional integrity of the floor plan and stick with it.
  5. Above ground pools. No need to say any more. If you want to sell your home, take it out before you put it on the market, and repair the grass under or area underneath.
  6. Remodeling yourself without any previous skills. You can see a self-improved remodel from a mile away. Prospective buyers will run. It pays to use a licensed and bonded contractor. You get what you pay for. It’s an investment.
  7. Remodeling areas that do not have space for the items that you are planning on putting into the room. Oftentimes when homeowners remodel a kitchen or a bathroom, then place larger items in there than neccessary. For example, remodeling a bathroom and adding a sink that is built in to a piece of furniture, this giant piece of furniture overwhelms the bathroom. The space ends up feeling cramped, and future homebuyers will pick up on that, and take a pass on your house.
  8. Getting too trendy. Styles change quickly, avoid putting in items that are too trendy and non-standard. You may regret it in a few years.
  9. Coverting the Garage. You can easlily create 'functional obsolescence' here.  Because you've removed covered parking, the space is no longer comparable to the houses in the area that have parking.  When you sell your home, buyers will see that the rest of the neighborhood has parking, while you don't. You might have spent $10,000 to convert a garage into a living room or a man cave and the appraiser might turn around and say "the additional $10,000 is lost because of the impact of not having covered parking." Don't turn the garage into a living space. If you really need additional space, consider an addition to the home.
  10. Not getting a permit. This can not only blow up your potential buyers financing, but it also creates problems with identifying the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that are on record with the county. The permitting agencies may require you to undo all of your work after the fact.

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to Know When to Sell Your Home

How to Know When to Sell Your Home

Is there a right time to sell your home?

You like your home but you just received a raise and your income will go up substantially. You begin thinking of moving into a larger home in a nicer neighborhood. You know you are living in precarious and unpredictable economic times and you wonder if this is the right time to sell your home. Will you be making a financial mistake if you sell in this unpredictable economic environment? No one has a crystal ball, but there are several factors you should consider before making a decision to sell your home. A mistake could cause you lots of money and worry.
Why do you want to sell?
The big question you need to answer for yourself is why you want to sell. It is a lifestyle question and does not depend upon the time of the year. If you find yourself in a buyer's market, the seller is at a disadvantage. You want to be absolutely sure in your own mind that the move makes sense. If you decide that you really want to sell your home, then here are some things to keep in mind.
Is there a best time to sell?
Conventional wisdom says the right time to sell your home is in the spring since that is the time when there are largest number of buyers. But that is also the time of the largest home inventory. So what about the winter? Good idea, perhaps, since it is a time of less competition with fewer houses on the market. But can you be sure? In the summer buyers may feel a sense of urgency, with school approaching, and in the fall empty nesters, not concerned about school opening dates, may be more motivated to buy. The bottom line: Sell your home when you truly want to move and don't tie your moving decision to any season of the year.
Before selling, do your homework to get the best price for your home
Once you decide to sell your home, do your homework. Find out what comparable houses in your neighborhood are selling for. Calculate what they are selling for per square foot. That is a useful number to know as you evaluate the current market value of your home and other homes you are considering buying. Stage your home. You don't need a professional to do this. You can do it yourself. Here's the basic idea:
  • Make sure your home is spotlessly clean, especially your kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Clean the carpets professionally. Paint the main areas of your home with a neutral color.
  • Get rid of the clutter.
  • Pack away personal stuff like photos of family and personal knick-knacks.
  • Put away small appliances like toasters to make more clear counter space.
  • You want a clean, spacious look. Consider taking one piece of furniture out of each room so your home looks uncluttered.
Price your home to sell
The most important thing in today's economy is price. Forget about what you paid for the house. The price of a home is determined by today's market conditions, so don't get stuck playing an old memory tape about how great the house is and how much it was worth when you bought it years ago. That is irrelevant. Price your home under market value to get the most buyer traffic and interest.
First impressions of your home
Now step outside and look at your house. Does your house have "curb appeal?" Is the lawn trimmed? Is the front door painted? Is there a plant near the main entrance? You don't have a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure that the first impression is a great one. If you are ready, it's time to make the call.  For a no-obligation valuation of your home, call Denice at 360-607-4226 in Vancouver, or 503-756-9759 in Portland
Information from
by Herbert J. Cohen

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 10:36 am
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Lenders that Sell Short Sales Faster and for Less

Lenders that Sell Short Sales Faster and for Less, According to RealtyTrac


Pursuing a short sale is often thought of as a painstaking process, and it’s not uncommon to hear of complaints about slow responses from servicers and last minute rejections on offers. Fortunately, not all lenders/servicers are the same when it comes to dealing with short sales, and RealtyTrac compiled a list of data revealing which institutions tend to move through the process quicker and for less.


Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA had the shortest timelines at 193 days in January 2012, a decrease compared to a year ago in January 2011, when short sales averaged 248 days. Ally Financial came in second at 321 days, reducing its timeline as well from 393 days a year ago.

PNC Financial Group was third, taking 353 days, though the bank takes longer than it did a year ago when the it took 206 days. Wells Fargo came in fourth (385 days). Bank of New York Mellon took the fifth longest (402 days), followed by Bank of America (403 days) and Sun Trust (404 days). The short sale timeline includes the time a property starts the foreclosure process to the time it’s sold as a pre-foreclosure property.

Recently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced new guidelines to take effect in June requiring servicers to respond within 30 days after receiving a short sale offer or a borrower application. Bank of America recently announced that its providing a decision on a short sale offer in 20 days.

In terms of pricing, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA sold homes for the least amount in January 2012, averaging $128,642, a drop from year ago prices in January 2011 when they averaged $160,982. Deutsche Bank’s average price was $132,996, followed by Sun Trust Banks ($144,024), and CitiGroup ($148,411), and PNC Financial Group Inc ($149,332). Bank of America Wells Fargo were the bottom two on the top 10 list, averaging $158,632 and $167,371, respectively, for January 2012.

As for the number of short sales, Bank of America completed the most in January 2012, with 5,276, followed by Chase (2,967), Wells Fargo (2,788), MERS (1,429), and Bank of New York Mellon (1,401).

From RealtyTrac

Posted on April 24, 2012 at 11:19 am
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Portland Area Farmers Markets

Portland Area Farmers Markets


Posted on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Vancouver Area Farmers Markets

Vancouver Area Farmers Markets

Nothing says spring time like a trip to the Farmers Market, when you see the fresh produce, the plant starts, and honey, you know that summer is right around the corner!

Here is a list of some markets in the area you can check out!

Posted on April 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Portland Vancouver Garden Ideas

Portland Vancouver Garden Ideas

What’s not to love about a garden filled with edible fruits and vegetables?

culinary gardening harvest

You can grow your very own “edible garden” in a number of ways – from dedicated vegetable gardens to mixing herbs and veggies with your flowerbeds, to containers, trellises or raised beds of culinary delights.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know that a garden can have challenges.  From the weather in the Portland Vancouver area, to space, and soil type, there can be some issues.

Here a few ideas to help you start small, inexpensively, and enjoy a great harvest!

Go Vertical!  Coffee cans attached to a vertical wall make a great herb garden.  Punch a few wholes in the bottom of the cans for drainage, then place an inch or so of  small pebbles in the bottom of each can and fill halfway with organic potting soil.  Add your herb, and fill to an inch below the rim of the can with more potting soil.

Go Horizontal!

Gutters hung with small chain and filled with flowers, herbs, and lettuce.


These stacked cinder blocks can make a great garden in a narrow area.  Heat loving plants thrive if you locate the garden on a south facing wall, and on a slab of cement.  The heat from the day will soak into the blocks and keep your heat loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, basil, oregano, marjoram, flat leaf chive, sage, thyme, rosemary, and strawberries happy and warm.


Posted on April 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Short Sale: Will you pay taxes?

Short Sale: Will you pay taxes on your short sale?

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is expiring in December 2012.

The act offers relief to homeowners who would formerly owe taxes on forgiven mortgage debt after facing a short sale or foreclosure on a primary residence.  With some short sales taking up to a year to close, time is of the essence in your decision.

For more information, please contact us immediately  or consult with your real estate attorney.

If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.

Generally, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows exclusion of income realized as a result of modification of the terms of the mortgage, or foreclosure on your principal residence.

What does exclusion of income mean?
Normally, debt that is forgiven or cancelled by a lender must be included as income on your tax return and is taxable. But the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows you to exclude certain cancelled debt on your principal residence from income. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.  Learn more here.

Contact Denice at 360-607-4226



Posted on April 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Short Sales: Lenders Are Paying Borrowers to do Them!

Short Sales:  Lenders Are Paying Borrowers to do Them!


Lenders are allowing more short sales by financially strapped homeowners and a few people are even getting cash to complete the sale.

A short sale is when a lender allows a home owner to sell their home for than they owe on the unpaid mortgage.  A short sale is a newly popular alternative to foreclosure.

We have seen an increase in short sales for the past several months, but the financial incentives — which we have seen randomly and infrequently, are starting to appear more and more often.

Here are a few of recent examples:

CHASE went national with their short-sale incentive offers last year, paying up to $35,000 in some cases. We have seen $20,000 here locally, and not just on high dollar mortgages either.

Bank of America seems to be  testing their program with incentives from $5,000 to $25,000 in Florida to see if they should be expanded to more states. The Florida program began last fall, spokesman Richard Simon says.

Wells Fargo is offering incentives from less than $3,000 to $20,000, spokesman James Hines says.

Short sales, even with incentive payments to borrowers, can save lenders money compared with the expenses involved in completing foreclosures.  Especially in states that foreclose through the court system. (In Washington and Oregon, most foreclosure are done through a Trustee Sale, not via judicial foreclosure).

In states such as Florida where foreclosures go through the courts, 50% of loans in foreclosure are more than two years past due, says a January report by mortgage tracker LPS Applied Analytics.  TWO YEARS!!

Banks are becoming more and more willing to do short sales now than in the past, but they still take time to complete the process.  Cash incentives appear to be limited, and borrowers are not sure if the offers they are receiving are real or fraud.  When the media is reporting about scams, it is difficult to believe a letter from the lender offering cash to complete a short sale could actually be legitimate

When a loan modification isn’t possible and more times than not, it is not an option for most borrowers,  a short sale may be a better and faster solution  than foreclosure.  The lenders won’t say how often they extend such incentives. The offers are random.  It is difficult to understand how the borrowers are selected to receive these incentives.

It appears that these short sale incentives are more common for loans in states where foreclosures take more time, and in states that are experiencing a very high number of defaults.

In November, short sales accounted for more than 9% of single family home sales and were up 32% from the year before, according to CoreLogic.

Market researcher Dataquick also shows short sales increasing from January 2011 through last month throughout California and in Phoenix, Miami and Seattle.

The federal government’s HAFA foreclosure prevention program also offers short sale incentives, at least $3,000 for sellers, but far more short sales are being done outside the government program.

Through December, just 26,901 short sales had been completed through the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program.

In contrast, Bank of America, the largest servicer of home loans, did 107,000 short sales last year. That was up from 92,000 in 2010, which was double the 2009 volume, it says.

For more information on short sales, call Denice at 360-607-4226


Posted on February 23, 2012 at 9:27 am
Denice Neddo | Posted in Uncategorized |