Posts filed under 'Buying a Home'

Increase Your Power When Buying and Selling a Home

One of the many services offered by Colleen Rock and The Rock Group is a loan shopping service. This service can find a way for buyers to get more home for their money, as well as present listings as an even better value.

Many buyers today mistakenly assume that when buying a home, they have to put down more than five percent. Otherwise, if they put down less than five percent, they are stuck with FHA financing that has expensive private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can raise their monthly payments by a couple hundred dollars per month, on average.

However, by working with The Rock Group and their loan shopping service, qualified buyers with less than 5 percent down may not have to worry about PMI. For example, Colleen Rock can inform her buyers of a conventional (not FHA) loan that allows for 3 percent down with NO PMI attached.

By skipping past the costly PMI, this can allow buyers to look at homes with higher asking prices, but still keep their monthly payments as low as originally budgeted, or get the home they desire for less per month than they expected. The Rock Group’s loan shopping service can give buyers home purchasing power they never realized they possessed.

Additionally, The Rock Group works with home renovators. Their loan service has a product that merges both the purchase price and the expected renovation costs into a single loan. This is not a FHA product, but rather a conventional loan, with a down payment of as low as 5 percent.

Not only have these loans helped buyers who are clients of The Rock Group, but sellers as well. Colleen Rock has been able to use her loan shopping service to educate the buyers of her listings of ways they can save money on their monthly payments, making it so Colleen’s sellers didn’t lose deals to buyers who wrongly assumed they could not come up slightly to purchase the house they wanted.

There are restrictions for these loans, of course, so it makes sense to talk with Colleen Rock and her loan specialists to find out how they can help you.

The bottom line is that this loan shopping service has put people in homes they otherwise would have never been able to consider.

When considering who to work with to meet your real estate needs in the northeast Ohio areas, the decision is an easy one… Contact Colleen Rock and The Rock Group, Cleveland’s real estate experts, at 440.895.1111.

home loan balancing act


1 comment December 29th, 2014

Is a Lease Option Right for You?

Today’s economy has undoubtedly raised the level of uncertainty for buyers and homeowners. Will home prices decline further or have we hit bottom? No one wants to pay too much for a home or sell their property for little. An uncertain job market and economy make many people hesitant to leap into home ownership. Many seeking to own a home face another obstacle in getting a mortgage. Many banks now require larger down payments. Renting a home with a lease option may provide an excellent way for a renter to become a homeowner in just a few short years. If a seller has the ability to wait-out the sale, a lease option may make sense.

In a lease option contract, sellers and buyers negotiate most items, and, the contract commonly ranges between a year and three years. A lease option provides a number of very attractive features that help make buying and selling a home a little easier. One positive aspect of a lease option is the potential to lock in a purchase price at the outset of the lease. This factor can benefit both parties. Everyone will know how much the house will sell for at the end of the lease period.

For the buyer, a lease option offers a place to live while saving to buy a home. However, one of the primary benefits of this type of lease is that a portion of the rent payments will be credited toward a down payment at the end of the lease period. This money won’t be returned if the buyer decides not to purchase the property or can’t qualify for a mortgage.

For the seller, they benefits from the rent money received during the lease; and, a tenant in a lease option often maintains the property better than a typical renter. After all, the tenant plans to become the owner of the home at the end of the lease. Also, a lease option includes a first and last month’s deposit, as well as an additional upfront payment. A buyer who cannot complete the purchase usually loses the deposit and upfront payment. If the tenant doesn’t purchase the home and did not care for the property, the upfront payment and deposits protect the seller.

Before signing on the dotted line of a lease option contract, both the buyer and seller need to do some extra homework. A real estate attorney should review the contract to ensure the contract treats each party fairly. It’s also important to get a home inspection and appraisal to be sure the home is in good shape and worth the sales price stated. A lease option is a serious commitment, so everyone involved needs to clearly understand all the details of the arrangement.

Use care when entering a lease option agreement to purchase a home. A lease option offers a great chance for a potential buyer to gain extra time to build up an adequate down payment and lock in a good sale price. It also offers a taste of the benefits and challenges of home ownership. In the meantime, the seller collects rent and gains a responsible tenant for their property. Although the seller keeps any upfront money paid, a lease option provides an out for a buyer if their circumstances change. In these uncertain times, a lease option can offer an excellent opportunity for both the buyer and seller of a home.


January 8th, 2012

What You Need to Know about Buying a Bank-Owned Property

The current real estate market seems to be driven by a continual influx of foreclosed, bank-owned properties. Should prospective homeowners consider buying one of these properties instead of new construction or one of the higher-priced homes currently up for resale? Here are a few pointers on what to do if faced with this decision.

Continue Reading February 2nd, 2011

Finding Foreclosures

Curious on how to find foreclosures?  

It’s simple, with the right direction.  Once a property has been foreclosed upon, it’s forwarded to the Sheriff’s office to be processed and sold at auction.  Most counties, not all, make this information readily available online (see links below.) NOTE:  Ohio is a “Caveat Emptor” state.  It’s imperative that you take the time to read the Terms of Sale.

If you’re looking for properties that are bank-owned or nearing foreclosure, such as “short sales”, call me.  In addition to maintaining a list of foreclosed properties, my office maintains lists of “short sales” and bank-owned properties (including HUD homes.)  Given the climate of today’s economy, our agents have streamlined the process and are privy to the various requirements and steps that must be adhered to when purchasing these homes.
Here are a few links to follow:
Use a trusted Buyers’ Agent and know your rights!  Not sure what that means – call me.

January 11th, 2010

Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended and Expanded

As part of the governments action to stimulate the real estate market, President Obama has signed the bill that includes both an extension on the current $8000 First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit and an expansion by first, increasing the income limits for first time buyers; and second, by providing a $6500 tax credit to current homebuyers who wish to purchase a new or existing home.

From a recent article released by NAR (National Association of Realtors), here are the basics: 

The legislation “Extends the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers until April 30, 2010. Expands the credit to grant up to $6,500 credit to current home owners purchasing a new or existing home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

Who Qualifies for the Extended Credit?

  • First-time home buyers who purchase homes between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
  • Current home owners purchasing a home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, who have used the home being sold or vacated as a principal residence for five consecutive years within the last eight.

To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.

If you or your client purchased a home between January 1, 2009 and November 6, 2009, please see: 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.
Which Properties Are Eligible?

The Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.

How Much Is Available?

The maximum allowable credit for first-time home buyers is $8,000.

The maximum allowable credit for current homeowners is $6,500.

How is a Buyer’s Credit Amount Determined?

Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by tow additional factors:

  1. The price of the home.
  2. The buyer’s income.


Under the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit, credit may only be awarded on homes purchased for $800,000 or less.

Buyer Income

Under the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit, which is effective on November 7, 2009,  single buyers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000—may receive the maximum tax credit.

These income limits have changed from the 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit limits. If you or your client purchased a home between January 1, 2009 and November 6, 2009, please see 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.

If the Buyer(s)’ Income Exceeds These Limits, Can He/She Still Get a Credit?

Yes, some buyers may still be eligible for the credit.

The credit decreases for buyers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000 for single buyers and between $225,000 and $245,000 for home buyers filing jointly. The amount of the tax credit decreases as his/her income approaches the maximum limit. Home buyers earning more than the maximum qualifying income—over $145,000 for singles and over $245,000 for couples are not eligible for the credit.

Can a Buyer Still Qualify If He/She Closes After April 30, 2010?

Under the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit, as long as a written binding contract to purchase is in effect on April 30, 2010, the purchaser will have until July 1, 2010 to close.

Will the Tax Credit Need to Be Repaid?

No. The buyer does not need to repay the tax credit, if he/she occupies the home for three years or more. However, if the property is sold during this three-year period, the full amount credit will be recouped on the sale.”

November 10th, 2009

Nix the Waiting Game Now

amerifrontdoor In this weeks release, the MMG report (Mortgage Market Guide) provided valuable insights into the upcoming interest rate trends…

“BE WILLING TO MAKE DECISIONS.” General George Patton. And that’s exactly what the Fed did last week at their regularly scheduled Federal Open Market Committee meeting. But just what did they decide…and what do their decisions mean for home loan rates?

The Fed said they are going to ration out the remaining commitment of Mortgage Backed Security purchases through the first quarter of 2010. There will be no additional buying, but instead, a longer weaning off of the program. There was some speculation about the Fed increasing the amount of buying above the $1.25T committed to, and last week’s statement is the Fed’s nice way of saying “no.” They will not be buying more in quantity, but what they will do is attempt to provide a smoother transition to normal market conditions.

It is a given that once the Fed ceases its purchases, that interest rates will climb significantly higher…most likely back above the 6% area. So instead of a hard transition with a large bump in rates, the Fed is attempting to allow rates to gradually rise. This means that waiting to purchase or refinance will very likely mean a higher interest rate.”

If you’re a buyer and wish to take advantage of the market conditions, please take time to seriously consider the facts and the overall upward trend in real estate sales over the past few months.  

Bottom line, call your Realtor today. If you’re  not working with a Realtor,  please contact me direct. Even if you are outside of my area of expertise (NE Ohio) I would be more than happy to discuss your real estate needs and assist you in working with a professional from your local area.

September 29th, 2009

$8000 Tax Credit

$8000 Tax Credit Countdown

Less than 3 months left on the First Time Buyers $8000 Tax Credit.

If you or anyone you know has been considering buying a home and wish to take advantage of this opportunity, CALL me today.

 Here are the basics: 

  • 10% of the sales price with a maximum of $8,000.
  • For purchases closed between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009.
  • Buyer can not have owned a home in the last three years.
  • Maximum income is $75,000 for a single purchaser and $150,000 for a couple.
  • Home must be used as a principle residence.
  • NO repayment required as long as the buyer lives in the home for three years.

Although attempts are being made to have this program extended, we have been given no guarantees.  For updates and detailed information visit

September 6th, 2009

House Whisperers

As the economy continues to gyrate in general, the inventory of homes for sale is at an unprecedented high.  After 18 years in real estate, I’ve learned – when it seems like there’s no way out – dig in. 

 So I roll up my sleeves, work harder and push the limits of creativity. Which is exactly what led to my beginning this blog.  For those that know me, I could easily write, and write, and write. However, as Jimi Hendrix so eloquently put it – “knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” 

I wanted to blog and share something that was different and hopefully beneficial to both home sellers and buyers.  So, after much prodding from associates… drum role please, I’m introducing you to my latest marketing tool; which I like to call, House Whisperer.  The House Whisperer tells the story of a home through the heart of the owner, but from the house’s perspective. You got it- right from the horses’, that is, house’s mouth.

Now here’s where I can become wiser. I’m including a House Whisperer story below for a  current listing I have in Rocky River, Ohio. I’d be very interested in hearing your feedback. So please, leave comments and/or suggestions:


Yes, as a matter of fact, I’ve been very well cared for, doesn’t it show?

My impeccable landscaping, snazzy newer walkways, and large, newer maintenance-free deck – that begs to entertain your guests- only add to my charming and stylish exterior. With newer windows and siding, I’m also gallantly strong and energy conscious with the ability to resist Northeast Ohio’s seasonal changing elements.

 And, I’m not just another pretty face. Take a closer look at me on the inside too!  I’m smart, efficient and offer an excellent value. Plus, plug away! My electrical has been updated to insure high performance. The spacious, but also comfortable family room boasts a real wood-burning fireplace, with newer glass doors and access to a private patio. I know I keep mentioning the word newer quite a lot, don’t I? My owner has updated both my bathrooms, with shiny new fixtures. And your feet are surely in for a treat because there’s newer carpeting and ceramic tile flooring throughout. What’s nice to point out about living in a split level, like me, is the desirable option for an owner to take full advantage of the physical and psychological space – each level unobstructed from the other with places to escape. For example, one person can be enjoying a hobby, or watching their favorite show in the family room, while someone else is enjoying another interest on the main floor, while still another is snuggled for bed upstairs.

I’m considered a great catch, because of my convenient location, which is hard to beat. You see, I told you I was both smart and pretty.


 Thank you,
Colleen Rock

August 8th, 2009


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