Know Your Basics When It Comes To Mortgages

There are many different types of mortgages available to home buyers, and there are many decisions to make when deciding what type of loan is right for you. For the sake of simplicity, we have boiled it all down to the following options and categories. Mortgage_Loan_Approved1

Option 1: Fixed vs. Adjustable Rate

As a borrower, one of your first choices is whether you want a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate mortgage loan. All loans fit into one of these two categories, or a combination hybrid category. Here’s the primary difference between the two types:

  • Fixed-rate mortgage loans have the same interest rate for the entire repayment term. Because of this, the size of your monthly payment will stay the same, month after month, and year after year. This is true even for long-term financing options, such as the 30-year fixed-rate loan. It has the same interest rate, and the same monthly payment, for the entire term.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage loans (ARMs) have an interest rate that will change or adjust from time to time. Typically, the rate on an ARM will change every year after an initial period of remaining fixed. It is therefore referred to as a hybrid product. A hybrid ARM loan is one that starts off with a fixed or unchanging interest rate, before switching over to an adjustable rate.

Option 2: Government-Insured vs. Conventional Loans

You’ll also have to decide whether you want to use a government-insured home loan (such as FHA or VA), or a conventional type of loan. A conventional home loan is one that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government in any way.


Government-insured home loans include the following:

FHA Loans
 The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is a department of the federal government. FHA loans are available to all types of borrowers, not just first-time buyers. The government insures the lender against losses that might result from borrower default. Advantage: This program allows you to make a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. Disadvantage: You’ll have to pay for mortgage insurance, which will increase the size of your monthly payments.
VA Loans
 The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a loan program to military service members and their families. Similar to the FHA program, these types of mortgages are guaranteed by the federal government. This means the VA will reimburse the lender for any losses that may result from borrower default. The primary advantage of this program is that borrowers can receive 100% financing for the purchase of a home. That means no down payment whatsoever.

Option 3: Jumbo vs. Conforming Loan

There is another distinction that needs to be made, and it’s based on the size of the loan. Depending on the amount you are trying to borrow, you might fall into either the jumbo or conforming category. Here’s the difference between these two mortgage types.

  • A conforming loan is one that meets the underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, particularly where size is concerned. Fannie and Freddie are the two government-controlled corporations that purchase and sell mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Simply put, they buy loans from the lenders who generate them, and then sell them to investors via Wall Street. A conforming loan falls within their maximum size limits, and otherwise conforms to pre-established criteria.
  • A jumbo loan, on the other hand, exceeds the conforming loan limits established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This type of mortgage represents a higher risk for the lender, mainly due to its size. As a result, jumbo borrowers typically must have excellent credit and larger down payments, when compared to conforming loans. Interest rates are generally higher with the jumbo products, as well.

Education is the key to making smart decisions, as a home buyer or mortgage shopper. Read more online at:

If you are ready to buy or sell property in the South Bay area, contact Bill Ruane today!

Tips for First-time Home Buyers

Buying your first home can be a daunting task. How does one even begin? Apart from the overwhelming task of finding a home you actually want to live in, you have to think about things like mortgages, down payments, closing costs, taxes, insurance, and that’s just the money part of the process! This guide can help you start the sometimes stressful but always exciting process of buying your first house.

Before you start looking for a home, get pre-qualified for a loan. A lender should be able to advise you on how much money you can actually afford to borrow. Once you know your budget, you will have a much better idea of what areas and types of houses are available to you.

  • Make a list of your “must haves.”
    • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
    • How much space do you want?
    • How big do you want the kitchen to be?
    • Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space?
    • Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?
  • Don’t forget to think about:
    • the kind of neighborhood you want
    • types of schools in the area
    • availability of public transportation
    • the length of your commute to and from work
    • the convenience of local shopping.
    • safety concernsfirst time home buyer image
    • the rate of home appreciation in the area.

If you are a low or moderate income homebuyer, there are special programs designed to help you. These loans are available through private lenders, as well as local and state housing agencies, like the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). Most lenders specializing in real estate mortgage loans are aware of these types of loan programs. CalHFA has first and junior loan options, including low to zero interest rate down payment assistance loans. Visit to learn more about this.

These are just the very basics of starting the home-buying process. Having an experienced, knowledgeable realtor by your side can make it so much easier and less stressful. If you are looking to buy a house in the South Bay, California area, Bill Ruane is the expert you need to guide you through the process. Call today to start looking for your new home!

Open House Schedule – June 27th & 28th

Here is our OPEN HOUSE schedule for Saturday, June 27th & Sunday, June 28th.

Please call (310) 877-2374 if you have any questions.

OpenHouse June 26

Open House Schedule – June 14th

Here is our OPEN HOUSE schedule for Sunday, June 14th. Please call (310) 877-2374 if you have any questions.

OpenHouse June 14

Open House Schedule – June 6th & 7th

Here is our OPEN HOUSE schedule for this weekend. Please call (310) 877-2374 if you have any questions.


Open House Schedule – May 31st

Here is our OPEN HOUSE schedule for Sunday, May 31st. Please call (310) 877-2374 if you have any questions.

OpenHouse May 31

Open House Schedule – May 16th & 17th

Here is our OPEN HOUSE schedule for this weekend. Please call (310) 877-2374 if you have any questions.

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Marketing to Millennials: Showcase your Home Online

An astounding 94% of consumers start their home search online, and an even more impressive 96% of first-time home buyers start their home search online. The new generation of home buyers, the Millennial Generation, is 80 million strong and represents the largest generation in the United States since the Baby Boomers. Millennials were raised with technology and are extremely comfortable with it, so presenting the best online image possible is imperative to being competitive in this market.

Good photographs are a must! Listings without a photo or with only an exterior shot are often passed over and ignored. Follow these tips and your house photos will look ten times better than the competition’s.

  • Crop out sidewalks and streets.
  • Remove vehicles from driveway /front of home.
  • Shoot up-close and angled photos.
  • Avoid shade on the house.
  • Clear away vegetation blocking front door or path to door.
  • Emphasize space and shoot long.
  • Mow the lawn and trim bushes.
  • Remove evidence of pets.
  • Put away children’s toys.
  • Avoid shooting into the sun.

Take photographs of every room. Even if you suspect the room won’t photograph well, shoot it anyway because the photo quality might surprise you, and the photo might be useable.

  • Open drapes and blinds.
  • Turn on lights.
  • Focus on interesting details like the condition of a wood floor or a fireplace mantle.
  • Remove trash cans & close toilet lids in bathrooms.
  • Use floral arrangements in kitchens & dining rooms.
  • Avoid shooting into mirrors because your image will reflect.

Virtual tours aren’t just for million-dollar homes anymore. Every home should have one, even if it’s only two spins. Buyers adore virtual tours!

  • A good virtual tour will grab buyers by the hand and lead them from room to room, showing a 360-degree view.
  • Virtual tours can also include individual photos available for download or to print.

Bill Ruane is the expert agent for positioning your house in today’s market for today’s buyer. These are just a few of the important things that he does for his customers. Are you ready to put your house on the market? Call Bill Ruane at 310-877-2374 or send him an email at for expert help to present your listing in the best possible light.

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Five Great Reasons to Buy Now!

In 2009, people were flocking to buy houses and/or refinance due to historically low interest rates which were hovering around 5%. Today, rates are under 4% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Here are five reasons to buy now so you don’t regret it later:

  1. Rents in the SoCal area are some of the highest in the nation. Rent rates have gone up by more than 10% while renter’s incomes have only risen a little over 4%.
  2. Rates are low. Low mortgage rates continue to keep ownership less expensive than renting. Even a small change in interest rates has a significant effect on what you’ll pay each month and over the life of a 30-year mortgage.
  3. Qualifications are easier. During the real estate downturn of the mid-2000s, often only the most qualified applicants could get approved. Post-recession, qualifications have loosened. Buyers who can’t show solid income and a minimum credit score probably won’t be offered a risky interest-only ARM today; however, those with less-than-perfect credit and minimal funds still have options. The Federal Housing Association (FHA) minimums are a 620 credit score and a 3.5 percent down payment.
  4. ruanePrivate mortgage insurance fees are down. Buyers who put less than 20 percent down on their home generally incur a monthly fee in the name of private mortgage insurance (PMI). In January 2015, the government announced lower PMI rates on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, which equates to a savings of about $900 a year.
  5. It’s still one of the best investments out there. In fact, some would say it’s the very best investment out there. Buying a home is a savvy investment. Not only as a comparison between buying and renting, but as a measurable asset, homeownership holds its own—as long as buyers make smart decisions.

Contact the experts at Bill Ruane Re/Max Beach Cities Realty to get started on finding the perfect home for you.

Southern California Dreaming – Live There and Live Better

75 and sunny – that’s the weather forecast for southern California on more days than not.  To top that, consider this: start at the coast and continue east, and chance are you will go through three different fabulous outdoor terrains within a hundred miles.  America is beautiful, and in southern California it’s evident as you go from oceans to prairies to majestic mountains all in a day’s outing.

You can even tell your friends that it has been scientifically proven that living in a place like this will help you live longer.  According to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Biometeorology mortality rates rise during the winter season — but if you live in Southern California, your concept of winter depends more on when you’re gettiiphone 065ng your holiday shopping done rather than when you need get the winter coat out of storage.

It is true that people who live by the beach report having better health. Yes!  This has been studied.  “When you put a person in a beach environment, it’s not going to be any great surprise to you that people relax,” said study researcher Mathew White, an environmental psychologist at Exeter.  The researchers also looked at the effect of moving near a coast.  Moving closer to the ocean “significantly improves people’s well-being,” White said, “by about a tenth as much as finding a new job.  The seaside environment may reduce stress and encourage physical activity,” he added in an article on Live Science. ( )

It’s not only good for your body, but Southern California is good for your mind too.  Los Angeles is one of the most linguistically-diverse cities in the world, and home to the largest Thai Town, Little Tokyo, and Little Ethiopia.   California may be one of the few places where you never have to leave to experience every other culture.

From Hollywood to Silicone Valley, creative talent, corporate talent, athletes, and occupational prospects are all striving to reach their dreams. Being surrounded by so much ambition has to be motivating.

Realize your California dreams by contacting Bill Ruane today!


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