Posts Tagged ‘first time home buyer arizona’

5 tips for First Time Home Buyers!

First, Congratulations on wanting to buy your first new home! NOW, is definately the time! This is not only an exciting time but a stressful one as well. Here are some tips to help you through the process:

1. Ask questions. Ask questions of everyone you can find. I mean EVERYONE! Chances are, they asked or experienced the same question at some point in their own lives. No question is a stupid question.

2. The first question to ask is: “Can you give me a referral to a good mortgage loan officer?” Your GOOD loan officer is going to be as valuable to you as your physician. Once you choose one, apply for your new home mortgage:

* How much do you WANT to spend?

* How much do you QUALIFY for? (these could be two radically different numbers)

* How much money will you need for your down payment?

* What, if any, issues will you need to deal with in order to qualify?

* What is the current interest rate and how much tolerance do you have for interest rate movement?

3. Once you have your qualified magic purchase price number, you need a GOOD realtor. Again, ask your sphere for a realtor referral. Interview them like they are applying for a job with you. They are! The will be “working” for you until you find your new home. You need to like them! They need to be clear about your needs/wants, available to take you out looking on your schedule and be someone you want to spend time with.

4. Start shopping! Hit the streets. What do you find? Does your price point accomodate your needs? Stay in contact with your loan officer. Do you need to tweak your pre-qualification in order to make the homes you are seeing work with your budget? What are mortgage interest rates doing?

5. Make an reasonable/realistic offer! It is a buyer’s market! You are in the driver’s seat here but be realistic. Listen to your realtor. Use their advice and make a reasonable offer!

Watch for future blogs to elaborate on each of these items. Again, buying a home can be in the top 5 most stressful things you will do in your lifetime. If you fill your sphere with knowledgeable and helpful professionals you can take a tremendous amount of stress out of the equation.

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner/Broker

Proudly mortgage lending in Arizona since 1999!

First Class Financial Services


NMLS#162476 / MB#0902810

Thank you to all of you tenacious realtors!

Here are some highlights from the recent member survey from NAR:

(read the full article here  —>)

These were among the ones that surprised me:

  • The typical NAR member has 12 years of experience; nine out of 10 say they are certain they will remain in the business.


  • NAR members in the business for two years or less earned a median of $8,900, while those in the business for 16 years or more earned $47,100. Sixteen percent earned a six-figure income, reflecting the entrepreneurial aspect of REALTOR® businesses.


  • Fourteen percent of REALTORS® work fewer than 20 hours per week, 30 percent work 20 to 39 hours per week, 41 percent work 40 to 59 hours and 15 percent work 60 hours per week or more.


  •  Half of the respondents use social or professional networking sites and 10 percent have a blog.

So basically the key to a successful realtor is committment, training and putting in the hours… WOW! Who knew?

I am also surprised that only half use social media and only 10% have a blog… something to think about… could that be a niche that you are fully missing out on?


Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

 Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services, proudly mortgage lending since 1999!




NMLS #162494

AZDFI Loan Officer # LO-0911453

To Condo or not to Condo?

Ugh. Condo’s.  I don’t want to be a big downer on condo’s but… here it comes.  Specifically to Arizona, condo’s are increasingly more and more difficult to lend on.  There are several reasons for this but primarily the lenders make a distinction between whether the condominium project is warrantable or non-warrantable.  Simply put, lendable or not?  

Conventionally the project needs to meet a miriad of restrictions:  (this is the short list.. there are more)

* 70% of the units need to be owned and occupied as primary residences.

* The HOA cannot be in any litigation with the homeowners.

* One owner cannot own more than 10% of the units.

* The HOA cannot have more than 15% delinquency.

* The HOA has to be turned over to the owners.

* In a new construction project, 90% of the units have to be delivered.

* The HOA has to carry a minimum of a $1million dollar liability home owners insurance policy and carry an employee dishonesty rider (Many other insurance requirements but this tends to be a big one)

For FHA, the project needs to have received its NEW FHA approval (all FHA approved condo projects needed to get reapproved in 2010)

Given the above restrictions, you can see why I would be a big downer on condos.  With the amount of default we have seen in the state of Arizona, most projects have a higher than 30% investor occupancy.  Many investors have gone in and bought several units and made the projects ineligible OR the current owner is in default/ delinquent on HOA dues. 

I understand the draw to the condo projects as there are many that are priced too low to pass up.  Ask the right questions initially in order to determine if it is eligible for lending.  On a conventional loan, the HOA MUST complete a “Condo Questionaire”.  Most HOA’s do not hand complete them any longer.  They are typically done through HOA Questionaire Services for a fee.

My last question? How difficult will it be to re-sell given the difficulty today?

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services, proudly mortgage lending since 1999!




NMLS #162494

AZDFI Loan Officer # LO-0911453

YAY! Lender LOWERS FHA credit score requirement to 580!

I ask you… IF you can get a mortgage with:

1. A 580 credit score

2. Your grandmother can gift you the 3.5% down payment

3. The seller can pay ALL your closing costs

4. (You can have ZERO contribution of your own money)

5. You do not need reserves to qualify.

6. You can get an interest rate below 5%

7. You have more inventory to choose from than eggs at an easter egg hunt.

8. You can have a new mortgage payment less than you are paying in rent.

9. You LOVE your realtor.

10. You LOVE your loan officer.

11. You HATE your roommate.

What is everyone waiting for?

Spread the word. Life is good. We need to take advantage of it!

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner/Broker

First Class Financial Services, proudly mortgage lending since 1999.


MB#0902810/ NMLS#162494

Kids and Money… The 3 C’s

Critical. Control. Credit.  Critical is #1. Control is 1.1. Credit is #1.2.  (All close in line is what I am trying to say)  

I have talked to my son about all of these since he was a toddler.  Little did he know when we were talking about how inappropriate it was for him to be throwing a fit while begging for candy at the grocery store, that we were really talking about his credit report.   “You cannot get future great stuff without doing the right thing right now” 

Critically think first, practice some control and know that credit is like breathing.   Re-read that last sentence.  If we all jumped out of bed, said “Goodmorning Day” and adopted that as our new mantra… where would we be? 

So many clients come to me with the dream of home ownership only for me to tell them that their credit score it too low to qualify.  They have worked their butts off, they have spent years saving the down payment money, they have changed their lifestyle to handle the new dream mortgage payment but skid…… no dream home for you.  Their credit score is too low because last December, when they bought a new big screen TV instead of making the credit card payment,  they forgot… “You cannot get future great stuff without doing the right thing right now”  I have to also remind them that their credit score plummets and is like climbing Mount Everest to get the score back up again.   THAT conversation is why I write this blog.  Although titled “Kids and Money”, sometimes my 44 year old clients need to be reminded of the lessons they should have learned with they were 4.

Critical. Control. Credit.  Start with YOUR kids when they are 4. 

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services
602.294.9288 (p)

MB#0902810 / NMLS#162476

Kids and Money…It doesn’t grow on trees!

The money may not grow on trees but it does come from gifts! I encourage my son’s family members to gift in the form of CASH.  I know. I know. Most gift givers do not want to give cash but it feeds to the rest of my story.  #1 He loves the cash.  Most family members now give him the gift in the form of individual dollar bills.   Admit it, it just seems  like more.  #2 We practice control.  How much to keep? How much to deposit?  #3 We make another trip in the “dream car” to the bank.  With “whats my balance?” being the next thing out of his mouth.  Music to my ears! #4 Once the whole journey is over, he is reminded just how important it is to think first, deposit second, spend third.

My parents have also started contributing directly into his 529 college fund.  They will send him something small and a note that they have contributed towards his college.

This morning we had the “How can I make more money?” conversation.  He is seeing his goal looming on the horizon.  He turns 16 in 310 days, 8 hours and 23 minutes.  Not that either of us are counting.

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services     602.294.9288 (p)

MB#0902810/ NMLS# 162476

Kids and Money… Goals. New Account. Compounding Interest!

What is more exciting to talk to your kids about than the magic of Compounding Interest? Ok so maybe thats just me! 

My son and I started by talking about what he wanted to spend his money on.  Initially it was small things he could buy immediately.  The more we talked about it, the bigger his “dreams” got.  He ultimately decided he wanted to save for his first car.  On that note, we drove his “new dream car” to the bank and opened an account.  Ask your local bank about accounts specfically designed for kids.  

Over icecream, to celebrate, we talked about compounding interest.  The conversation is radically different over ice cream and with his own money.  Once he figured out that the bank would GIVE him money, his sense of urgency to get money into the account compounded as well. 

Now every time he makes or is gifted money, he holds out a portion for himself and the remainder is deposited into his account.  He has a picture of his Jeep posted above his desk, right next to his bank statements. 

Might be a good time to think about your own goals (home ownership or upgrading, of course),  open an account and master the power of compounding interest!  You can thank me later!

Over a glass of wine tonight, I’ll decide my new goal for all the money I saved not having to buy my kids first car!

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services

602.294.9288 (p)

MB#0902810 / NMLS# 162494

Kids and Money! Start early…

My guy is the most amazing 15 year old on the planet and his first word was “mortgage” so to say I know something about kids and money, is an understatement.  I used to teach a Finance class to 8th graders and it was disturbing their view on money, it’s source and it’s longevity.   So here begins my blog on kids and money!

My first suggestion is an easy one: Start early! As early as your children learn the value of a hot stove they should learn the value of money.   The value of saving it and the value in spending it (spending it specifically on real estate 🙂

How hard we have to work to acquire it and how quickly it is spent.

What a credit card is and that they are more than just a plastic card that comes with wallet. (3 years of teaching and many 8th graders could not explain HOW a credit card was re-paid)

The value of your credit report and identity.

The tremendous benefit of a monthly budget.

I used simple times to explain complex ideas even to my toddler.  Don’t under estimate your ability to make an impact on an incredibly important topic at an early age.    The survey the 8th graders took at the end of the year many wrote “…very thankful I took this class!  I had no idea!” 

I’m sure it goes without saying but practice what you preach, start early and you might learn something about your own finances along the way!

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere Owner

First Class Financial Services

602.294.9288 (p)

MB#0902810 / NMLS#162476

Last Mortgage Mistake to Avoid: NOT reading your loan documents.

Ok so some things just should be a given.  Read what you sign before you sign it!  Mark it down. Add it to your list. It’s an always not a sometimes. 

I am not making this up:  99% of my mortgage closings are done at the escrow office however I have probably signed oh, say, 100 mortgage transactions in my career.  I would say what, I don’t know, 100 of them the client said, “Where do I sign?” before even THINKING about reading the document. What? Ok, call me crazy but I read the fine print on my cereal box.  Although important, that is not my 30 year mortgage document!

It is the borrower’s responsibility to read, understand and agree to their mortgage terms.  It is almost impossible to turn back the clock if you decide what you signed was not what you thought it was.  Yes, it’s a pain. Reading through, what is now 50+ pages of mortgage loan documents but it is worth it to confirm what you thought, ask questions about what you don’t understand and make corrections if you see errors BEFORE you sign. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your loan officer or realtor to attend your signing with you too.  It is the last step in your happy new house experience and our last step in future referrals.  We are happy to do it!

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services

602.294.9288 (p)

MB#0902810 / NMLS #162476

Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid: Forgetting to LOCK your rate!

Many clients ask, “When should I lock?” I always answer, “IF you are happy with your rate, lock now!” The benefit/risk scale is tipping heavy on the risk side here.  The markets move all day everyday and we cannot control the movement in interest rates.  IF you are a gambler you can float however you need to be prepared for swings in the market.   I watch the market all day so I can see trends that may lead to a change in rates  however I’m Speedy Leslie not Speedy Gonzalez so many times, regardless of how quick I move, I cannot get into the lock desk before rates change.

Many people then ask “What if I lock and the rates move?” MOST of the time, when your loan is locked,  it’s locked.  Good, bad or otherwise.  The rate will not change.   SOME lenders do have a float down option that if you lock and rates get better, and you meet a miriad of requirments, you may be eligible to drop the rate.  Typically those lenders are priced higher out of the gate so really you are better off just settling into your locked rate and relish in the comfort of it’s security.

Remember, we are globally exposed with our markets these days.  Something crazy can happen in Egypt and our markets move.   Given the millons of things that can impact the market, if you are happy with your rate, just lock it.  You can thank me later.

Never assume your loan is rate locked until you get confirmation in writing from your loan officer.

One last thing, when you are loan shopping:  All the rates you are quoted are only quotes.  That quote is not secure until you lock the loan and with rates moving sometimes several times in one day, you really need to know WHO you are dealing with.   Are you being quoted some fantastic rate just to reel you in? Then when it comes to lock time, the story changes? Hopefully not but this is when a referred loan officer makes all the difference. 

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services

602.294.9288 (p)

MB#0902810 / NMLS#162494