Kally Vandoros, president of Norkem Plus talks on interest rates, houses and Astoria
NEW YORK.- Having your own home has always been an essential part of the “American Dream” and Norkem Plus, a mortgage broker house with offices in Astoria, serving the community for more than 16 years, is ready to make this dream a reality. Kally Vandoros, a registered Mortgage Broker with NYS Bankng Department, president of Norkem Plus, told GreekNews that it’s still a good time for someone to refinance his home.
“The rates are still considered very low, stable and under 7% and it’s still a good time to refinance your home. Some people that had 8 or 9%, they would save a lot of money every month, and cash out on their homes at a low rate. It’s also wise to get a home equity loan if you’re looking to make further investments or home improvements. The rates are available at prime, which is 4%, or quarter to, or half the low prime. There is only a 50, or 75 dollar fee. You utilize the money and you pay as if you pay a credit card, on your home. You could always deposit the money back in and withdraw back out, whenever you need it to make an investment, buy a house or refinance. It is good to be able to have your money there. Tomorrow you’re going to marry your daughter, the next your going to buy a car, you’re going to have to pay for college. It’ll always be cheaper than taking out an educational loan, car loan, because it’ s at prime”.
After 9/11, when the government dropped the prime rate in order to avoid a recession of the economy, and that helped lending business to boom instead of decline. Kally Vandoros says that the government tried to distribute money out to the people, to make them feel more comfortable and to be able to rebuild their businesses and take care of their homes.
“Since the rates have dropped enormously, and then the homes when up very high. I think they’re going to stabilize somewhat and it’s a good time to take money out on your home. But people are buying they’re still buying”.
In times that interest rates hit their low point, there is always a choice to be made for the consumer, to get either a fixed or a variable rate.
“I always prefer fixed rate”, says Kally Vandoros. “You don’t know what the market is going to be like in a year or two from now, unless you’re looking to sell something within the next two years, I would always suggest a fixed rate. Preferably 15 years if you could afford it. Some people ask me for a 30 year, because the payment is too high for a 15 year. I’d rather having you coming back when you’re buying another house or send me a relative; I don’t need to make you a customer twice on the same house. I am trying to be honest and upfront with the people”.
But, what is the optimum amount for a buyer to put down as down payment?
«Τo put a down payment on a house, depends on the price of the house. Some people want to have their money secured in their pocket rather that putting it on a house. Sometimes you have to see what your income is. Some people have steady jobs making 700 or 800 dollars a week, but sometimes this is not enough to afford to pay the mortgage if your only put 10% down. If you lose a rent of 1,500 dollars – most homes in Astoria are 2 or 3 family homes – you have to be able to afford your mortgage”.
Mrs Vandoros says rentals have gone down in Astoria, even the homes are still high.
“People that used to collect 2,000 dollars, are now collecting 1500 dollars a month for the same apartment. 500 dollars a month is a large amount of money to lose on an apartment. So the rentals have dropped, there are a lot vacant apartments in Astoria, 2 or 3 bedrooms”.
The biggest advantage of coming to a mortgage broker than going to a commercial bank is definitely the service, says Kally Vandoros.
“We give exceptional service on top of the loans on a daily basis and appraisal of the … house. Although there’s a pressure to refinance in 3 days, I don’t want to say one day, sometimes its one day. If you go to a local bank, it could take weeks, maybe a month. We are on the top of your loan. A loan is processed within 10 days here in my office. I ‘ ve got to have a commitment within 2 weeks. This saves time, especially when you are locking in a rate for 30 to 45 days. If everybody works together, the attorneys, the title reports and all the searches are done properly, you can close within 30 days”.
Having her business in Astoria, he observation is that Greek Americans are leaving the area, although they are still keeping their homes for investment.
“Astoria is a great place to be. It is very close to Manhattan. There are other cultures and other nationalities moving in, stronger. But the Greeks are tending to move towards Whitestone, Bayside … Some are heading towards Roslyn, Manhasset. Astoria, though, is always a good and solid investment. It’ s better than most of its neighboring areas, like Woodside, Sunnyside, and people are keeping their homes. I think Astoria used to be 70% Greek and maybe now it’s down to 50% or less”.
Kally Vandors holds a B.S. from St John’s University. She is the president of Norkem Plus Inc. since September 1987.
She is a certified N.Y.S. Mortgage Broker, NYS real Estate Broker, Insurance Broke and Notary Public.