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Chris Birk
Works at Veterans United Home Loans
Attended Missouri School of Journalism
Lived in St. Louis, Mo.
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Chris Birk

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Prequalification vs. Preapproval

Please share this information with your first-time buyers. It's important they know that sellers, lenders, and Real Estate agents are concerned with preapproval far more than prequalification. 
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Getting a VA Home Loan While Still Serving in the Military'

Contrary to the popular misconception, military service members do not have to wait until they are retired to utilize the VA home loan. 

The loan does not take several years to earn; if you have served at least 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime or 181 days during peacetime you are generally eligible to take advantage of the benefit.

There are requirements, credit, income and other financial guidelines that must be assessed before eligibility can become a definite, but the bottom line is that you can use the VA loan to purchase a home while you are an active servicemember.

Take a look at this article to learn how income & BAH, occupancy requirements, and power of attorney may play into your purchasing power:
http://www.veteransunited.com/valoans/military-housing-loans/
For those still serving in the military, see how you can take advantage of the incredible benefits of a VA Loan.
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Highest and Lowest Metro Area Homeownership Rates

Recently, the NAHB considered a housing statistic from the American Community Survey in regard to homeownership rates in metropolitan areas. Homeownership rate is calculated by taking the total number of owner-occupied units and dividing it by the total number of occupied units for a specific geography. 

The areas with the highest and lowest rates may surprise you, although it makes sense in that the rate is liked to affordability. Eight of the top ten areas have median home values that are below the national average, while several of the lowest have homes valued much higher than the national figure.

Here's more detail on the top ten highest and lowest homeownership rates by the metro area: http://eyeonhousing.org/2014/03/13/top-ten-metro-areas-homeownership-rates/
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As do I, +Rob Thomson . And the color combination.
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It's life, so there are no guarantees, but this is a great snapshot of why homeownership can be such a powerful investment.
 
Top Reasons Why Owning A Home Is Such A Great Investment!

People all over the country are making their dreams come true with homeownership, so why haven’t you? Homeownership is an outstanding investment that boasts many very desirable advantages and benefits. Here is a list of what we believe the top reasons for owning a home are.
 
1.)    Predictability: Unlike most other things in life a fixed rate mortgage is as predictable as you can get. With renting you never know how much rent will be next year or five years down the road but with a fixed rate mortgage your payments will be X amount for the life of the loan.

2.)    Tax Breaks: There are so many tax break benefits that are associated with homeownership. Each year you can deduct any interest you pay off and you can also deduct what you pay in property taxes each year. Making energy efficient upgrades to your home can be deducted too.

3.)    Equity: Paying your rent is just making your landlord more and more money but when you pay your mortgage you are building more and more equity. Equity can then be used to secure other loans and even finance home improvement projects furthering the value of your home even more.

4.)    Appreciation: Home values are again on the rise and are up almost 10% from 2011. This means a home bought for $100,000 in 2011 is worth $110,000 today and this is called appreciation. Real estate is a long-term investment but over the years you should enjoy a healthy return on investment.

5.)    Social: There is much more than just financial benefits involved with homeownership. People who own a home are generally overall happier and healthier than those who rent one. Not only will your self worth be increased but the way others view you will be improved too.

#seorealestate #realestatemarketing #marketingrealestate

Post and graphic designed by: http://www.waterfront-properties.com/

Find Us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/wfpcc
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What To Do When Your Mortgage Gets Resold

Consumers can protect themselves and their homes when their mortgages are sold from one back to another servicer.

The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in agreement that the mortgage industry has earned its reputation of treating customers less than ideally.

One such solution for consumers' problems is to address them via writing; sample letters are provided by the CFPB that encourage clearly expressing the desire outcome for whoever it is that picks up the file. Another suggestion is to always follow up conversations with an email or phone-recording app like Google Voice; these can be useful due to frequent change in persons that an individual may have to deal with during the process.

A key consideration in regard to how quickly foreclosure will be reached is whether or not the homeowner lives in a judicial or non-judicial state. 

Here's an article from +Quentin Fottrell that explains in further detail what to do when your mortgage gets resold: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-to-do-when-your-mortgage-gets-resold-2014-02-25
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Chris Birk

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Prequalification vs. Preapproval

Please share this information with your first-time buyers. It's important they know that sellers, lenders, and Real Estate agents are concerned with preapproval far more than prequalification. 
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Do RE agents still deserve 6%?

+Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff believes agents still deserve 6% of a real estate transaction. He attributes a solid real estate agent to be a great negotiator rather than just an informational gatekeeper (because sites like his allow buyers to access data themselves).

Do you agree or disagree with Rascoff's opinion?

Learn more here: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/29463-zillow-real-estate-agents-still-deserve-6
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20 Clues You're Buying in the Right Neighborhood

In regard to where you currently live, how many of these characteristics can you check off the list? ✔

1. It meets your specs.
2. You like what you hear.
3. You can get a latte.
4. You see home improvements.
5. Neighbors are organized.
6. People are out on the streets.
7. It passes muster after dark.
8. Crime numbers are low.
9. School scores are strong.
10. It's walkable.
11. It'll work for you for five to seven years.
12. Bus stops abound.
13. Ownership is high.
14. Homes hold value.
15. The commute is not bad.
16. City services are good.
17. Homes sell quickly.
18. You see plenty of churches.
19. It has police and fire stations.
20. (Good) change is coming.

Now consider your absolute ideal neighborhood; do you find all of these traits to be important? What matters most for you?

This article from +MSN clues you in on some of the not-so-obvious things you may want to consider when searching for a new home: http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post--20-clues-youre-buying-in-the-right-neighborhood
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Smart list!
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What a $200,000 Mortgage Will Cost You

I wanted to crunch some real-world numbers and take a look at the type of monthly mortgage payment you might have depending on what kind of loan you get (conventional, FHA, VA or USDA). 

The reality is mortgages aren't one-size-fits-all products. The type of mortgage can affect everything from your purchasing power to your monthly payment. The key is finding the mortgage program that makes the most sense given your particular financial situation, your homebuying goals and how you fit into the qualifying scheme.

To be sure, context and caveats are important when thinking about home financing. But sometimes just taking a cold, hard look at the numbers can also help provide clarity.

Many thanks to Credit.com and MarketWatch. You can check out the breakdown and complete story here:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-a-200000-mortgage-will-cost-you-2014-04-10
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Excited for this!
 
Come join me with +Samantha Reeves who'll be hosting +Veterans United's  Hang out of air (HOA) this Thursday as we discuss The Power of Real Estate blogging along with other guests.  See you then:

Watch it here on Thursday:

Discover the Power of Blogging for Your Real Estate Business

#realestateblogging  
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Have him in circles
906 people
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Director of Content Development
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  • Veterans United Home Loans
    Director of Content Development, 2009 - present
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St. Louis, Mo. - Columbia, Mo. - Indianapolis, Ind. - Scranton, Pa.
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I'm a former journalist and director of content development for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's largest dedicated VA lender. I write about mortgages, real estate and military home buying for a host of publications and serve as executive editor of Veterans United Network. I'm also the author of "The Book on VA Loans: An Essential Guide to Maximizing Your Home Loan Benefits."
Introduction

I'm a former journalist and director of content development for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's largest dedicated VA lender. I write about mortgages, real estate and military homebuying for a host of publications and serve as executive editor of Veterans United Network. I'm also the author of "The Book on VA Loans: An Essential Guide to Maximizing Your Home Loan Benefits."

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I wrote The Book on VA Loans. See more at www.veteransunited.com/book
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  • Missouri School of Journalism
    Journalism
  • Webster University
    Media Communications (MA)
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