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While other areas of the country have seen unprecedented foreclosures and significant loss in property values, we in Central Texas have been very fortunate to be in a much better real estate market. In fact, the slight down turn in real estate values that we have experienced has created a perfect opportunity for some homebuyers to buy or build homes in neighborhoods that they could have only dreamed of before. If you are one of the fortunate who is considering a new home, consider which architectural styles will be the best choice over the coming years.

As recently noted by Roy Braswell, accomplished architect of Braswell Architecture, Inc., buyers of upper-end homes are no longer going for traditional brick that was once the standard in the U.S.  Instead, styles that reference other countries and or periods of history are the looks that sell.  I agree with builder Mike Holloway that the Tuscan design which has been so popular over the past few years is here to stay. It just works for San Antonio, and is a classic design for the Hill Country as well. Roy Braswell, in his recent comments in the San Antonio Express News, stated that he thinks another Old World look that high end buyers might successfully replicate is Spanish Colonial, which has a long history in San Antonio, and is used successfully in older neighborhoods like Olmos Park and Monte Vista. Other styles mimic Mediterranean architecture from California. California has always set the trends for designers and builders in Texas. I will say that lately I have seen a slight trend toward more modern looks but those that seem to work well in our area are more classic with simple, clean lines.  However, remember that it is only 1% of San Antonio that want modern homes.

When you have decided which architectural style best suits you and your lifestyle, consider which interior elements will best complete the house of your dreams.  For any style, and especially the Spanish Colonial look, come and let us draw, design and manufacture that perfect entertainment center or bedroom group for your home. And remember, drawing to delivery is less than a month on our custom wood furniture made from the finest Canadian Alder. As I have always said, “If you can dream it, we can build it”.

I could go on and on about remodeling and decorating, and I will! Look for new trends and great ideas in Urban Home, or give me a call at “Catrina’s at the Ranch,” 830-755-6355, IH-10 West in Boerne, and look for our new store, “La Catrina,” which is Spanish slang for “all dressed up,” coming to 1604 in October!

-Catrina Hoelke, Catrina’s at the Ranch & La Catrina    830.755.6355

With market conditions as they are today, those looking to buy or refinance enjoy unprecedented opportunity to save money. And contrary to what you may have heard mortgage lenders are still making loans to qualified borrowers. So, what really makes today such a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance?

Perhaps most important are today’s historically low interest rates. While interest rates fluctuate from borrower to borrower, those with good credit histories often qualify for interest rates that are lower than they’ve been in decades. If you’re considering refinancing, a lower interest rate could possibly lower your monthly payment or give you cash for home improvements. Keep in mind interest rates alone may not determine the best loan program for you; examine your individual financial situation with an  experienced mortgage professional to determine your options.

David Woldman has been in the mortgage industry for over 23 years. He is a Top Producer at SunTrust Mortgage, Inc., specializing in renovation financing and construction loans. For a free mortgage analysis, call David at 704-651-8377.

 Visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to view the entire article

Last week, President Barack Obama signed a law that extends through next spring a temporary tax credit of up to $8,000 for some first-time home buyers, which was due to expire Nov. 30. The law also adds a new tax credit of up to $6,500 for certain repeat home buyers. The package, which the government estimates will cost a total of $11 billion, is intended to help spur housing sales, a critical part of the economy.

The new legislation extends and expands the first-time home buyer credit allowed by previous Acts. The new law:

  • extends deadlines for purchasing and closing on a home
  • authorizes the credit for long-time homeowners buying a replacement permanent residence
  • raises the income limitations for homeowners claiming the credit

For more information click here.

David Woldman
David Woldman
SunTrust Mortgage
Column Name: Home Finance

Read the news headlines and you may think it’s pointless to waste time visiting the bank to apply for a home purchase or renovation loan. “No jumbo loans available” or “Banks not lending” are the headlines of the day. Don’t be fooled. Actually, renovation lending has greatly increased from 2008.

The interesting fact about the current economy is that homeowners have a big opportunity many don’t even recognize. With rates at a 57-year-low, now is the best time in recent history to renovate your home. SunTrust loves to make renovation loans; they are good for our economy, and money is available for those who have budgeted, spent wisely, and have a good credit history to show for it.

If you have accumulated equity in your home, the market is ripe for a renovation project. Perhaps the updated kitchen you’ve always wanted or the master bathroom you’ve dreamed about? You can qualify for up to 80 percent of your loan needs. As an added bonus, most builders are turning around projects at a faster rate.

Another misconception floating around out there is the scary notion of losing your home if you lose your job. I can’t speak for every bank out there, but that’s not the case at SunTrust. Say, for example, you’ve taken out a home renovation or construction perm loan at the historically low interest rates available now. There’s no reason to be afraid that a job loss or rate increase will throw a curve ball into your budgeting, making the process unaffordable. You can have your loan locked in permanently at today’s favorable rate at the beginning of the renovation project, negating the need to convert to another, maybe less favorable rate, later when your project is complete. If the rates are lower at the end of your project, you can re-negotiate the loan for a better rate, or even move from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate loan.

If you take a step back and look at the banking industry, you can see the market went from mortgage lending to mortgage giving and is now back to mortgage lending, a self-correcting process. Money is available so make sure you take advantage of the favorable lending climate if you have a good credit report and a project you’re itching to complete.

David Woldman is SunTrust Bank’s number one producer in the nation for mortgage lending products and for six years has been the number one residential construction-permanent lender nationally. He has been providing mortgages in Charlotte for 13 years and opened SunTrust’s Charlotte mortgage department in 2002. He ensures Charlotte residents are informed about the latest mortgage lending practices and opportunities and says “America is on sale and it is time to take advantage of it. Even jumbo loan rates are very attractive.” He can be reached at 704-651-8377.

David Woldman
SunTrust Mortgage
Column Name: Home Finance

The age-old adage that an educated client is the best client is really true. Homeowners looking for mortgages should do their research but rethink their options to find loans that truly meet their needs. Discussing your long and short terms goals with a mortgage professional is the first step to finding the right loan for your needs. Designing a custom loan is much like the services of an architect–translate your housing needs to a builder or remodeler. Creating a home loan is a very similar process.

At the start of the application process, I often see that customers are focused on one thing and they miss a lot of the small details in between.  They focus on getting the best rate for the best term, and often don’t communicate their short and long terms needs to the mortgage professional. I suggest having and open and honest dialogue with the mortgage professional about your financial situation so that he/she can take all these things into consideration in suggesting the best loan.

Some likely discussion points include –Do you plan to stay in your home for a long time or just for a year or two?  Do you have elderly parents that are declining in health that will need assistance?  Do you have children to send to college?  If so, when?  Do you have liens against your property?  Has your home been on the market recently?  Are you planning to change jobs?  How is your credit score?

All these things are important factors in designing your loan.  One small detail can change the way that your loan package has been presented and in turn, approved.  All customers have a goal in mind and it’s our job as experienced loan officers to help guide them down the right path.

Generally speaking, when the times get tough, the market weeds out less experienced professionals from many disciplines. The mortgage industry is no different. This is why it is important to establish a long term business relationship with a seasoned loan professional, much the same as you would your dentist, CPA or lawyer.

Don’t feel bad about asking for references.  Most qualified professionals should have a list already prepared with names and phone numbers. I treat all my clients like family– keeping your best interests as my primary focus.


With the current lending market facing unprecedented changes, and now more than ever, underwriting guidelines leave no room for interpretation.  Submitting a loan application that is complete with all the required documentation will ensure your loan is funded quickly.


As a general rule, most banks are working on an approximately 45 day turn around time for processing and underwriting, so to ensure the most time efficient handling of your loan application, here are some items you will need to make the process go smoothly:


  1. Two to three consecutive months of bank statements. These should be complete statements and include all pages, front and back. In addition to your regular checking and savings accounts, you will need to provide the most recent quarter of your stocks, bonds and retirement accounts.


  1. Copies of your most recent pay stubs covering at least 30 days of employment.


  1. Copies of your 2007 and 2008 W2s along with your signed tax returns.  If you happen to be part owner of a business, the underwriters will want to see that you own less than 25 percent of the business or they’ll want your corporate returns as well.  Your K1’s will show this percentage so include them, 1099’s, and your personal tax returns.  In the event that you haven’t filed taxes for the previous year, you’ll need to provide the extension and one additional year of tax returns. 


  1. The name and contact information for the attorney handling your closing.


  1. Copies of your homeowners insurance policy for refinance transactions


  1. If you have your old Title Policy, this may save you some money as well.  Not with your lender, but with your attorney.  They often cut you a deal if they have a copy of the old title and only have to “reissue” the policy rather than search for a new one.  Every penny you can save counts!


These are just a few of the items that are required to get the loan process started.  Some programs may require less documentation, providing your loan officer with the items mentioned above will greatly speed the application process. By starting the process off on the right foot, your loan officer will have the necessary data to quickly submit the required documentation for your loan and get you an approval faster than a loan without these materials.


David Woldman is SunTrust Mortgage’s Top Producer company-wide. His specialty is renovation and construction to perm loans. He has been in the mortgage industry for over 23 years. He can be reached at 704-651-8377.

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