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Thinking About Buying in North Texas | Know your Credit Score!

by Christie Cannon

Considering Buying? Learn Your Credit Score!

Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score | MyKCM

Knowing your credit score or getting a recent copy of your credit report is one of the first steps that you can take toward knowing how ready you are to start the home buying process.

Make sure all the information listed on your report is accurate and work to correct any mistakes. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be to receive a better interest rate for your mortgage, which will translate into more ‘home for your money.'

Many potential buyers believe that they need a 750 FICO® Score or higher to be able to purchase a home. The truth is that according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report, over 53% of loans were approved with a FICO® score under 750 last month!

Here are some tips for improving your credit score:

  • Make payments, including rent, credit cards, and car loans, on time.
  • Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards.
  • Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit.
  • Check for errors on your credit report and work toward fixing them.
  • Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score.
  • Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score.

Once you know your score, your next step will be finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this will ensure that you know your budget before you start looking for your dream home.

 

If you are looking some great resources in finding a local lender to assist you, please feel free to give us a call!

 

Christie Cannon

REALTOR

The Christie Cannon Team

Keller Williams Frisco

469-951-9588

www.christiecannon.com

 

We are BEYOND thankful for all of our clients! We would not be here where we are without you.

As Featured on the KW.com Blog:

Relationships have formed the foundation for successful businesses for centuries, but how those relationships can benefit a business has evolved over time. Today, client relationships that result in referrals can fuel your growth and success both online and off.

Christie Cannon, a Keller Williams Luxury Homes International agent who specializes in Frisco and its surrounding communities north of Dallas, has put those referrals to work for her in a Texas-sized way.

Christie Cannon Keller Williams OutFront

“More than half of our business comes from referrals,” Cannon says. Through sourcing her business, Cannon finds that many new clients heard about her from a previous client.

Cannon’s results speak for themselves. Her team closed $112 million in sales in 2016, a 28 percent increase from the previous year. The results are particularly remarkable given the unexpected challenge they were presented.  

Cannon’s husband and team member, Kevin Cannon, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. He began aggressive chemotherapy, followed by a double mastectomy and 30 radiation treatments.  

“It was heartbreaking for us. We were unsure where the situation would take us,” says Christie. “Thankfully, Kevin is now fully recovered and back to working full time. The challenge really brought to light how strong our team is. Everyone rallied together to create the best year yet.” 

Upward momentum continues for Cannon and her team.  They currently have 65 active listings and 50 pending transactions, not to mention plans for a 20 percent increase in production this year. This projected growth undoubtedly will be aided by her strong referral program.

 

Cannon builds a strong referral program

“Reaching out to current, past and future clients is so important because they all have a referral to give,” she says. “The most important part of building a referral-based business is building strong business relationships with your clients along the way.”

In order to build those relationships, Cannon and her team have created a solid referral protocol for each and every one of her customers and clients. “Every person in our database is on an action plan of some kind. Each action plan is set up to cater to the specific needs of each contact. The activities in our action plans will vary, but they all include offering something of value to each person. Our contacts are the heart of our company, and we treat them as such.”

When the team receives a referral, the client is sent a handwritten thank-you card as well as a small gift. That strategy has paid dividends dating back to Cannon’s very first client in 2003.

“Ironically enough, one of my very first transactions was a small $48,000 home, and to this date, that client has completed five other transactions with me and is still referring business to me,” she says. “I started getting my systems in place early on, and the systems are what helped me get organized and get in touch to grow and foster relationships with my clients. They have helped us maintain a consistent year-over-year growth pattern and get to where we are now.”

The value of referrals

Now that Cannon and her team are part of KW Luxury International, she has discovered that those referrals are even more valuable to her success.

“Luxury home buyers and sellers are very seasoned,” Cannon says. “They rely heavily upon advice from people they trust. Keeping your name in front of the luxury market is important in maintaining a strong referral base.”

While clients are the first ones that referral strategies are typically aimed at, Cannon also works hard to earn referrals from her local real estate colleagues and peers. To that end, she is committed to participating in networking events with other agents in and around her area. The best method she has found for earning those referrals is an unyielding dedication to professionalism.

“We have had agents – even within our own area – refer business to us,” she says. “It is such an honor to get a referral from another colleague. It’s important to maintain a professional relationship with not only your clients but also with your colleagues, as you may work with them multiple times over.”

Keep clients first

For agents who are working to assemble a solid referral strategy, Cannon suggests keeping the client as your central focus.

“A big mistake I see in a lot of agents is making this business all about them,” she says. “While we want to brand ourselves and relate to our clients, it’s not about you. This business is about catering to the needs of our clients and offering them a service and skill they can’t get anywhere else.”

Lead generate, lead generate, lead generate

In order to increase the amount of referrals you receive, Cannon suggests going back to the basics. “The models and systems are there, so don’t skimp on your lead generation,” she says. “As part of your lead generation, you should be reaching out to your sphere and past clients every day. Put everyone you know into your CRM and get them set up on some type of action plan. Reach out to your contacts on a regular basis by sending handwritten notes, making phone calls and sending items of value to them. This is all part of an action plan.”

Cannon stresses that an action plan only works if you keep your clients’ needs in mind.

“If you’re sending something of value to your contacts, they have a reason to continue to receive information from you,” she says.

At the end of the day, Cannon credits the Keller Williams models and systems for her team’s impressive growth.

“It took me trying to invent my own models and systems several times over and failing before I realized how much Keller Williams has to offer,” she says. “We will continue to improve and streamline our systems as we grow and plan on attending Family Reunion and Mega Camp each year. The best is yet to come!”

Cannon’s story illustrates how past clients are one of the most reliable sources for leads, but it takes consistent follow-up with your database to ensure that you remain top-of-mind.

The Christie Cannon Team | Keller Williams Frisco TX | www.christiecannon.com

4783 Preston Rd #300 Frisco TX

Understanding the New Conforming Loan Limits in Our Area Dallas, Texas

by Christie Cannon

We have seen a whirlwind of legislative activity these past few weeks! There is much confusion surrounding the recently passed Economic Stimulus Package and higher loan limits. Unfortunately, the new law can be confusing to decipher, and not everyone will benefit. For this reason, we have provided an outline below that clarifies what this new law means for you and how you can benefit from the higher loan limits.

Description and Overview:

An economic stimulus package just passed Congress on February 7, 2008 and was signed into law by the President on February 13, 2008. This new law is effective immediately and includes a temporary increase in both the FHA and conforming loan limits to as high as $729,750 in high cost areas. This means that the interest rates on many mortgages will go down because these loans are now eligible to be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Previously, the FHA was only allowed to insure loans with balances lower than $200,160 - $362,790, depending on the county where the property was located. Also, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were only allowed to purchase loans with balances at or below $417,000. This resulted in limited options and higher financing costs for those with loan balances above these limits. The new law substantially increases these limits in high cost areas and opens up new options and lower financing costs for many people.

How to Determine "High Cost" Areas

There are two things you must know in order to determine if you are in a high cost area:

1.    Understanding the Formula

If 125% of the local area median home price exceeds $417,000, the temporary loan limit would be that 125% of the median home price with a cap of $729,750. Here are three examples to illustrate this concept:

If the median home price in your area is $225,000, 125% of that number is $281,250. This is below the current $41 7k conforming loan limit. Therefore, the conforming loan limit in your area will not change. However, if $281,250 is greater than the FHA limit in your county, your FHA limit will go up to $281,250.

If the median home price in your area is $375,000, 125% of that number is$468,750. This is above the current $41 7k conforming loan limit. Therefore, the conforming loan limit in your area WILL change and go up to $468,750. This number is also higher than the highest FHA loan limits, so therefore your FHA loan limit will also go up to $468,750.

If the median home price in your area is $650,000, 125% of that number is $812,500. This number is greater than the maximum cap of $729,250. Therefore, the conforming loan limit in your area will  increase to highest allowable amount under this new law which is $729,250.

2.    Determining the Median Home Price in Your Area

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will publish the median house prices within 30 days of the bill going into effect (30 days from February 13, 2008). HUD does not have any interim stats or information for us to use. However, the bill also states that HUD can use any commercially available data if they are unable to compile the information on their own within the 30 day timeframe. With that in mind, it is likely that HUD’s numbers will be relatively consistent with the data published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which already has a solid track record of tracking and publishing this information on a quarterly basis.


Therefore, until HUD actually publishes their version of the median home prices, the most accurate way to get this information today is to utilize the data that is published by NAR. Ironically, NAR just released their latest median home price update for the 4th quarter of 2007 on February 14, 2008! Contact me today and I’ll research your info and let you know exactly what the median home price is in your area and how you can benefit from this information.

 

What do all the dates mean?

There is some confusion because the bill has a provision that says the higher limits are only effective for loans originated between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008. In short, the reason it is effective beginning July 1, 2007, is because the credit crisis started to unfold in July and August of 2007. Mortgage market conditions rapidly deteriorated almost overnight. Many secondary market investors suddenly refused to purchase loans that couldn’t be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (For more info on how this process works, please see the article entitled Saga of the US Mortgage Industry.)

Unfortunately, many mortgage banks had already funded these loans in their own portfolio or through their warehouse lines of credit. Their intention was obviously to sell these loans on the secondary market after the loans were funded. However, the credit crisis prevented them from doing so, and they were stuck holding these loans in their portfolio. The July 1, 2007 date in the bill is designed to allow these lenders to unload these mortgages and sell them on the secondary market to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

 

 

However, the July 1, 2007 date has no bearing whatsoever on new refinance transactions! In other words, it doesn’t matter when the loan you are refinancing was originated. The old loan could have been originated in 2005, 2006 or anytime before or after July 1, 2007 and it would have no effect whatsoever on your current purchase or refinance transaction. If you are refinancing a new loan today, whether it is a purchase or refinance transaction, that loan is subject to the new limits set forth in the bill.

The other date of December 31, 2008 means that the old limits will go back into effect after this year. In other words, now is the perfect time to buy a new home or refinance your mortgage because after this year, your costs will be higher and your options more limited again.

When does this all go into effect?

February 13, 2008 – immediately upon the President’s signature. Therefore, HUD is obligated to publish the median home prices within 30 days of that date. However, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and various wholesale lenders may have different policies as to how these new loans are going to be priced and underwritten.

Feel free to call me, Christie Cannon, if you have questions regarding a specific area and I would be delighed to find out if it qualifies for a higher limit under the new guidelines.  My direct line is (469) 951-9588.  I can also get you in touch with a well qualified Mortgage Planning Specialist that can assist you with your specific questions regarding refinancing or obtaining a new home loan.

 

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Photo of Christie Cannon Real Estate
Christie Cannon
Keller Williams Realty
4783 Preston Road #300
Frisco TX 75034
469-951-9588
972-215-7747
Fax: 214-853-4774

Keller Williams Frisco - Christie Cannon - http://www.christiecannon.com