What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Last week’s economic news included the NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department releases on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Shortages of available single-family homes have driven up home prices and increased competition among homebuyers; short inventories of homes for sale are affecting affordability in many areas, although buyers seem motivated by lower mortgage rates and some easing of mortgage requirements. Analysts have repeatedly said that the only solution to the shortage of homes is building more homes.

Fortunately, the National Association of Home Builders reported that builder sentiment concerning U.S. housing markets increased in August. The HMI moved up to a reading of 60 in August as compared to July’s reading of 58. Readings over 50 indicate that a majority of builders surveyed are confident about housing market conditions.

According to NAHB, home builders continued to face obstacles including shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor. Regulatory issues were also cited by some builders, but overall, builders remain optimistic about housing market conditions.

Housing Starts Up, Building Permits Issued Slip in July

Commerce Department reading s on housing starts and building permits issued were mixed; housing starts rose from July’s reading of 1.186 million permits issued to 1.211 million permits issued in August. July’s reading was the second highest since the recession but was driven by multi-family construction. Building permits were lower in August with a reading of 1.152 million permits issued against July’s reading of 1.153 million permits issued.

Analysts said that under present market conditions, there is little reason for homebuilders to increase single-family home production as current pricing has put many would-be buyers on the sidelines.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported that average rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages dropped last week while the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose. The average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 3.43 percent and the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.74 percent; both readings were two basis points lower than for the prior week. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 2.76 percent. Average discount points held steady for fixed rate mortgages at 0.50 percent; average discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were lower at 0.40 percent.

New Jobless claims fell by 4000 claims to 262,000 new claims, which was lower than analyst expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 266,000 new claims. Job security is important to home buyers and signs of strong labor markets can help propel would-be buyers into the market,

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes releases on new and existing home sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released on schedule.

Pocket the Profits: The Secrets to Selling Your Home above the Asking Price

August 19, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Pocket the Profits: The Secrets to Selling Your Home above the Asking PriceWe all want to sell our homes at above asking price, but what is it that makes a seller succeed at this? Here’s our expert advice on how you can sell your home above the asking price.

Ask For Less

You may be surprised, but pricing your home lower than market value can have an extremely positive effect on the offers you receive. This is because a low-priced listing will stand out and will draw more attention, which boosts your chance of a bidding war.

By attracting more buyers to come and look at your home, you will find more buyers who are willing to make an offer on your property. When they view your home they will see its true market value, and are then more likely to make a higher offer in hopes of outbidding others. It’s all about creating hype, and a low asking price will do just that.

Wait It Out

While it may be tempting to accept the first offer that comes along, in some cases, it may be better to wait and see what other offers come in. If you accept the first offer on your property you have closed the door to competition.

Consider Who You’re Selling To

Is your home better suited towards traditional buyers, or is it a valuable property for investors? If your home could easily be renovated and flipped, has high potential as an income property, or is in an up-and-coming neighborhood, it may be better marketed as an incredible investment property.

Investors expect a return on the money that they spend so are often more willing to make a higher offer – they know those funds will come right back to them.

Rock Your Renos

There are several simple renovations that can add a huge amount of value to your home. The return on investment for a few small upgrades is often very worthwhile when your goal is to receive more than asking price.

Make sure the flooring, kitchen, and bathrooms in your home are updated and appealing, and if not, consider upgrading these areas first. If you’re targeting investors, adding an income suite to your property may be the best investment you can make. Consider which kind of buyer you’re targeting and what areas of your home need the most TLC, and choose accordingly. Speak with your trusted real estate professional today to learn more.

NAHB: Builder Sentiment Improves in August

August 18, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Buyer Beware: 4 Common Problems Home Sellers Try to HideAccording to the National Association of Home Builders, August home builder sentiment met analyst expectations and rose by two points to a reading of 60; July’s reading was revised downward to 58. Two out of three components used in calculating the Home Builder Index were higher. Builder sentiment concerning current housing conditions rose two points to 65. Builders were also more confident about housing market conditions within the next six months; August’s reading was one point higher at 56. Builders were less confident about buyer traffic in new housing developments. August’s reading slipped one point to 44.

Any reading above 50 indicates that a majority of builders surveyed were confident in market conditions; readings for buyer traffic have not reached 50 since 2005.

Building More Homes Seen as Solution to Persistent Home Shortage

Shortages of available homes have caused demand for homes to surge in recent months. As demand increases, home prices rise. This thwarts positive conditions including low mortgage rates and recent reports of rebounding job creation. If builder confidence rises, it follows that builders will expand construction, but builders also cited factors including regulatory obstacles, a lack of qualified labor and shortages of land available for development as ongoing concerns.

Regional Confidence Readings Mixed

Regional readings for builder confidence were mixed; builder confidence in the Northeast increased by two points to 41. In the South, builder confidence also rose two points to 63. Builder sentiment in the West was unchanged at 69 while builder sentiment in the Midwest fell two points to 55.

Although growing builder confidence considered positive in light of home shortages, analysts said that single-family housing starts remain well below historical levels.

In related news, NAHB reported that readings for the 55 plus housing market index increased by one point to 57 as compared to the first quarter reading and was unchanged as compared to the second quarter of 2015. As with the general HMI, any reading over 50 indicates that more builders than fewer are confident in market conditions for 55 plus housing markets.

3 Different Types of Loan That Will Negatively Impact Your Ability to Get a Mortgage

August 17, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

3 Different Types of Loan That Will Negatively Impact Your Ability to Get a MortgageA good credit rating is built on a number of financial factors including paying your bills on time and the length of your credit history, but loans can also be a source of bolstering your credit score in a positive way. While this means that loans can actually be a good thing, there are also the kinds of loans that can have a damaging impact on acquiring a mortgage. If you’ll soon be pursuing your own home purchase, here are some loans that may have a negative impact.

Borrowing For Education

When you are young, student loans are an ideal means of paying down your debt and developing a positive credit history. However, if these loans are left to linger they can have a marked effect on your chances of a mortgage approval. Since paying back your student loans will be one of the first times in your financial life that you’ll be able to prove your reliability, you should ensure you pay them on a consistent basis in order to lower your overall debt-to-income ratio.

Credit Card Debt

Many people don’t think of the purchases that go on their credit card as loans, but the money on your credit card does not really belong to you until it’s paid off. While credit cards can be a great boon for establishing your credit in the early days, if you rack up a lot of credit card debt and do not pay your minimum payments by the due date, it will cause a considerable dip in your credit score. In addition, taking on too many cards can be a negative signal to lenders.

Payday Loans

In recent years, payday loans have sometimes been broken out separately from other loans on a person’s credit report. However, unlike many other types of loans, payday loans can be seen in a bad light by lenders because they can be indicative of someone who’s experienced significant financial setbacks, which would negatively impact their ability to pay a mortgage. While some mortgage lenders will not decline an application due to payday loans, some have already started to take this step.

Acquiring loans can be a good means of developing a credit history, but there are types of loans that may look bad on your mortgage application and won’t be of service if you can’t pay them off consistently. If you’re considering submitting a mortgage application, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Can You Get a Mortgage after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge? Yes – But You’ll Have to Wait

August 16, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Can You Get a Mortgage after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge? Yes - But You'll Have to Wait There was a time when it was possible to acquire a mortgage shortly after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but with the shifts in the financial sector, the timeline on such a mortgage approval has changed in recent years. If you’re currently undergoing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and are wondering how this will impact home ownership, here are the basics on this type of bankruptcy and what it may mean for you.

What Is Chapter 7?

While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the kind of financial situation that requires debt repayment, Chapter 7 is different in that it involves the liquidation of an individual’s personal assets to pay back the debt that is owed. A trustee will be designated to take care of the bankruptcy process, but a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 10 years and have a negative impact on your credit score, which can mean increased interest rates on a mortgage down the road.

Re-Building Your Credit Score

The most important step to obtaining a mortgage following a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is keeping on top of your credit. Because your credit score will be lowered and bankruptcy will remain on your report for a long time, paying all of your bills on time in full and ensuring every aspect of your financial health is in check is of primary importance. Since most lenders will not even consider your application if you’re delinquent with payments, impeccable form is necessary in this case.

The Timeline On A Mortgage

According to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), anyone applying for a mortgage must wait a minimum of two years after the discharge date of their Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is the date they are cleared of obligation to their debt. While this is good news for those who want to apply for a mortgage in the near future, it’s important that a good credit history is developed and all FHA requirements are met to ensure approval.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a hard financial pill to swallow, but by keeping your credit history in check for the duration of the 2-year period, you can be well on your way to a mortgage approval. If you’re planning on being in the market for a home in the near future, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information about opportunities in your community.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Last week’s economic news included reports on job openings, retail sales and recurring reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. Job openings and hiring increased, which provided further evidence of stronger economic conditions. Retail sales were flat in July, new unemployment claims dropped and mortgage rates changed little.

Labor Reports Suggest Stronger Economic Trends

The Labor Department reported more job openings in June with 5.60 openings as compared to 5.50 million job openings in May. According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, 5.13 million workers were hired in June as compared to May’s reading of 5.15 million hires. June’ JOLTS report also showed that voluntary quits were nearly double the rate of quits during the worst part of the recession. Analysts consider quits an indicator of worker confidence in job markets; in times when jobs aren’t easily found, workers are more likely to stay with current jobs rather than risking uncertainties associated with quitting.

New jobless claims were lower with 266,000 new claims filed against the prior week’s reading of 267,000 new claims filed and expectations of 265,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading continued a long streak of new jobless claims under 300,000 per week. Labor market trends impact housing markets, as prospective homebuyers typically consider job security as a significant factor in decisions to buy homes.

Mortgage Rates Show Little Change

Freddie Mac said that average mortgage rates held near steady readings last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by two points to 3.45 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also two basis points higher at 2.76 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 2.74 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three loan types reported. Consistently low mortgage rates help to ease concerns caused by rapidly rising home prices caused by short supplies of available homes.

Consumer sentiment fell short of the expected index reading of 91.50 with a reading of 90.40 but surpassed July’s index reading of 90.00. Participants in the University of Michigan Survey cited concerns over increasing prices coupled with slow income growth. Analysts said that consumer participants had grown acclimated to low mortgage rates, which may have offset consumer concerns about stagnant wages and higher prices.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department Consumer Price Index and Core CPI reports along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Buying a Home This Summer? Use These Four Tips to Uncover Hidden Flaws and Issues

August 12, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Buying a Home This Summer? Use These Four Tips to Uncover Hidden Flaws and IssuesIn a hot market it’s easy to be blinded by the competition and succumb to the pressure to make an offer on a home before you’ve adequately assessed it. If you’re looking to buy a home this summer, use these four tips to uncover hidden flaws before you put your offer in.

1) Hire A Pro

One of the most reliable ways to identify potential and existing problems within a property is to hire a professional home inspector to evaluate it. Home inspectors are trained to find issues that the average person may overlook, which can save you from putting in an offer on a money pit.

2) Do It Yourself

If you can’t afford to hire a home inspector, conduct a thorough home evaluation yourself. Ensure that the roof doesn’t have any significant damage or leaks, check window caulking for holes, and scan the basement thoroughly for asbestos and black mold.

Within the house, pay special attention to the bathrooms for leaks around the tubs, showers, and toilets, as this may indicate leaky pipes which can be a costly fix. Likewise, check underneath the kitchen sink and around appliances for leaks, which may also be a sign of a more expensive fix.

Even if you’ve hired a home inspector, always inspect the home yourself to the best of your ability. The more sets of eyes that look over the property the better, and you may find small problems that aren’t considered huge deficiencies to an inspector but may be deal breakers for you, such as peeling paint or cracked tile.

3) Seek Strata Minutes

If the home you are looking at is a condo, ask for copies of the strata minutes. Strata minutes serve as a record of any past issues that the building has had and will include notes on any upcoming costs that are already identified. Take these into consideration when estimating your condo fees and the value of the property.

4) Hire Help

Real estate agents can not only take a lot off of your plate when it comes to buying a home, but they also possess specialized knowledge and experience in uncovering flaws in homes. They know what to look for!

A real estate agent will take care of the property research for you, sifting through past strata notes or pointing out any deficiencies that they can identify when you are considering a home. With a trained professional on your team, you are more likely to find issues that could devalue the property.

Ready to find a home that’s fit for you? Get in contact with your trusted real estate agent today.

Thinking about a ‘Fixer Upper’? Understanding the Balance Between Purchase and Reno Costs

August 11, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Thinking about a 'Fixer Upper'? Understanding the Balance Between Purchase and Reno CostsFixer uppers can come with huge price benefits and opportunity, as well as problems. Make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into before you purchase a home that needs significant restoration.

Carefully Calculate

Do the math very carefully before jumping in. Add up the expected renovation costs based on a thorough evaluation of the property. As some of the expected costs will lie within a grey area, it is important that you base your estimation on the higher end of the price range. Be sure to account for all materials and labor.

Once you have calculated your expected renovation costs, subtract this number from the home’s projected post-renovation market value. It is important that you base this projection on comparable listings in the same neighborhood. Consulting a real estate professional can offer very valuable assistance with this step.

To be conservative, deduct at least another 10 percent for any unforeseen costs, mistakes, or issues that arise. That final number should be the highest offer you make on the property.

Work With The Right Team

When looking for a fixer upper that is a sound investment, make sure that you have a solid team of professionals to work with. Choose a real estate agent who is familiar with the area and type of property that you are interested in, and make sure that all laborers you hire are not only competent to deal with the problems that you’ll face during renos, but who won’t cut corners. Aesthetically appealing housing don’t always pass inspections – it’s important to make sure that the property is fit for sale or it may never close at your asking price.

Aesthetic Problems Are The Best Problems

If you’ve managed to find a home that’s in great condition but is visually unappealing, you may have found yourself an excellent fixer upper. Ugly carpet, old appliances, and tacky wallpaper are easy fixes that won’t eat up much of your budget or your time.

Asbestos, leaky water lines, a cracked foundation, or a rotted frame are examples of more significant issues that will require the help of a professional. Be wary when investing in a property that has one or several of these problems, as they are the kind of issues that snowball into larger costs and a longer timeline for repairs.

Ready to find a great fixer upper and tackle it as your next investment? Move forward with the help of your trusted real estate professional today.

Need a DIY Summer Project? How to Paint Your Home’s Exterior in a Weekend or Two

August 10, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Need a DIY Summer Project? How to Paint Your Home's Exterior in a Weekend or TwoIf you want something hands-on to do this summer, look no further than the outside of your house. There are many reasons to refresh the paint job on your house, including increased protection against weathering, and increased curb appeal. Whatever your reason, read on to learn just what you’ll need, and need to do, to paint your home’s exterior.

What You’ll Need: Materials, Tools, Protection

A DIY paint job is easily doable, and costs only as much as the materials, tools and protection you need. Those materials include the paint itself, the primer and the caulking (to seal cracks and joints). For tools, look for paintbrushes and rollers, sanders, and scrapers. You’ll also need drop cloths (to protect your lawn/garden), masks/respirators (to protect yourself), and a HEPA vacuum/suit if you’re stripping lead-based paint.

What You’ll Do: Step One

Essentially, house-painting boils down to three steps. First, prep the surface. You’ll need to wash the house, scrape loose paint off and sand it smooth to make it an ideal surface to which the new paint can adhere. Note, if your house was built before 1978, test for lead-based paint (which will just require a little more protection while you’re scraping it off). Lead-testing kits can be purchased online.

What You’ll Do: Step Two

Next, patch and prime. Fill in smaller imperfections with something like epoxy. Bigger gaps and joints will need caulking but do this only after the primer is applied. Take this patching time to fix any rot or potential rot problems signaled by improper water drainage. Then prime the whole exterior this seals the wood and makes it even easier for paint to adhere to the walls.

What You’ll Do: Step Three

Finally, the paint. Water-based latex (or acrylic) paint is more flexible, easier to clean and more environmentally friendly than oil-based paints. Read the paint can they contain tips and instructions on using the paint that can come in handy. With DIY, brushes and rollers are better to use than a paint-sprayer, which can be hard to control. Three tips: always start at the top of the house and paint down, it’s always better to do two coats, and stay in the shade while you’re working painting in direct sunlight causes the paint to dry too fast and flake.

What You’ll Do After: How To Maintain An Exterior

Once your exterior has dried, keep it looking fresh with consistent caulking, touch ups for peeling paint and removing mold and mildew whenever you spot it.

For more tips or advice on improving your home’s value in your neighborhood, talk to your local real estate agent.

Three Key Points to Remember When Investing in a Cottage or Waterfront Getaway

August 9, 2016 by John · Leave a Comment 

Three Key Points to Remember When Investing in a Cottage or Waterfront GetawayIf you’re looking to invest in a cottage or waterfront getaway, there are three key things to keep in mind throughout your search.

How’s The House?

Even if the lake is the highlight of a property you’re considering, it is important to make sure that the home is equally as great as the beautiful body of water it borders.

How’s its orientation? Is it built on the ideal angle to take full advantage of the sun? Does the deck or large windows face another house directly? The orientation is an important factor to consider as it can make or break the comfort of the property.

You’ll also want to consider the lot itself, as many waterfront properties are not built on level lots, but rather on sloping hills. If this is the case with a cottage you are looking to buy, it is important to have the land inspected to uncover any potential dangers or deficiencies. This is especially significant if you want to pursue further construction on the property in the future.

The waste system is another factor to consider, as many lakefront properties utilize a septic tank or public sewer system, which may differ from what you are used to and could cause more hassle than the home is worth.

Just How Lakefront Is It?

It is also important to consider the proximity of a house to the water, as there are unique risks that come along with bordering on a body of water. If the home is very close to the lake, research the typical rise and fall of water levels throughout the year as well as whether ice or frost develops in winter.

Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the lake specifics as well. Know the lake rules, what types of water crafts are permitted for use, how deep it is, and how busy it is throughout the year. A lake may look beautiful, but it’s equally important to ensure it will provide the experience you are looking for as well.

Protect Your Privacy

Lake front getaway homes often come with limited privacy as many properties may face each other across the water. Additionally, since space is limited around a lake, properties may be squished together to make the most of the land that’s available, and that can also compromise your privacy. Be sure to check out who you can see and who can see you, and take note of whether or not there are substantial tree barriers between you and your potential neighbors.

If you’re serious about finding a waterfront getaway home, speak with your trusted real estate professional today to find the property of your dreams.

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