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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Dealing with the Emotional Stress of Selling Your Childhood Home

Dealing with the Emotional Stress of Selling Your Childhood HomeSelling a childhood home can be emotionally stressful and even traumatizing. This is more than a house; it is a home where years and even decades of memories have been made and where lives have been lived. While selling a childhood home may be difficult to do, there are a few steps that can be taken to reduce the emotional turmoil that may be felt during this process.

Create A Final Memory

When a family has lived in a home for many years, it may feel almost as though the home has become a part of the family in a way. One way to deal with the emotional stress of saying goodbye to the home is to create a final memory with family in the home. This may be to host a family dinner that enables everyone to walk through the home one final time and to reminisce together about the past.

Take Pictures Of The Space

Whether a final family get-together is planned for the home or not, taking pictures of the home before vacating it can be beneficial. These pictures can help to preserve the memories of the space itself, and close-up pictures of special features of the home that hold significance can be taken. Creating an album of these pictures may be ideal in some cases.

Preserve Memories Of The Home

With a childhood home, there is a good chance that there are hundreds of pictures that have been taken inside the home and in the yard, and there may also be videos of home movies. While some will want to take new pictures of the home before leaving, another idea is to preserve the images of the home that have been taken over the years. This can celebrate the historical significance that the home played with the family over time.

Bring Traditions Into A New Home

While it is important to make final memories and to preserve memories, it is also important to move on. Letting go of one home means that it is time to start new traditions in a new home, and families can begin doing this with a special get-together. After all, while a home is important for a family, it is the family that truly makes the property a home.

It doesn’t matter if a family lived in the home for a few years or for several decades, saying goodbye to a childhood home is rarely easy to do. Contact a real estate professional to begin the selling process.

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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in Home Seller Tips

 

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Federal Reserve FOMC Announcement

Federal Reserve FOMC AnnouncementThe stage was set in high suspense for FOMC’s post-meeting announcement on Wednesday. As fall approaches, analysts and the media are looking for any sign of when and how much the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate. According to CNBC, some analysts were projecting two interest rate hikes before year end, but the truth of the matter remains unknown until the Federal Open Market Committee announces its intentions.

Meanwhile, reports of what Fed rate hikes will mean for consumers were released prior to the FOMC statement. Real estate analyst Mark Hanson said that a rate hike would “crush” housing markets, which continue to improve slowly in spite of the current 0.00 to 0.25 percent federal funds rate.

Last Friday’s report on June sales of new homes shows unpredictable progress in housing. Analysts estimated that new home sales would reach 550,000 units based on May’s reading of 517,000 new homes sold. June’s reading came in at 482,000 units sold.

FOMC Statement: Current Federal Funds Rate “Remains Appropriate”

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserved announced as part of its post-meeting statement that it would not immediately increase the federal funds rate. The FOMC statement cited concerns over the inflation rate, which remains below the Fed’s goal of 2.00 percent. According to the statement, the FOMC will not move to raise the federal funds rate until the committee is “reasonably confident” that inflation will achieve the committee’s goal of 2.00 percent over the medium term.

No prospective dates for raising the target federal funds rate were given. The FOMC statement repeated language included in previous statements indicating that committee members anticipate that economic events could further postpone increases in the federal funds rate. The FOMC statement asserted that committee members continue to monitor domestic and global financial and economic developments as part of the decision-making process for raising the target federal funds rate.

FOMC members agreed that policy accommodation may be required “for some time” after the committee’s dual mandate of maximum employment and 2.00 percent inflation have been achieved. This suggests that FOMC members are not in a hurry to boost rates when economic uncertainty remains.

In terms of housing markets, the Fed’s decision not to raise rates likely caused a sigh of relief as rate increase would have caused consumer interest rates including mortgage rates to rise.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Market Outlook

 

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Assessing Your ‘Debt-to-Income Ratio’ and Why This Number Matters When Getting a Mortgage

Assessing Your Debt-to-Income Ratio and Why This Number Matters When Getting a MortgageIf you are looking to buy a home, you may want to consider shopping for a loan first. Having your financing squared away ahead of time can make it easier to be taken seriously by buyers and help move along the closing process. For those who are looking to get a mortgage soon, keep in mind that the Debt-to-Income ratio of the borrower plays a huge role in the approval of your mortgage application.

What is a Debt-to-Income Ratio?

A debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of monthly debt payments compared to the amount of gross income that a person earns each month. Your gross monthly income is typically the amount of money you earn before taxes and other deductions are taken out. If a person’s monthly gross income is $2,000 a month and they have a monthly debt payments of $1000 each month, that person would have a DTI of 50 percent. The lower the DTI the better. 43 percent is in most cases the highest DTI that potential borrowers can have and still get approved for a mortgage.

What Debt Do Lenders Look At?

The good news for borrowers is that lenders will disregard some debt when calculating a borrower’s DTI. For example, utilities, cable, phone and health insurance premium would not be considered as part of your DTI. What lenders will look at are any installment loan obligations such as auto loans or student loans as well as any revolving debt payments such as credit cards or a home equity line of credit. In some cases, a lender will disregard an installment loan debt if the loan is projected to be paid off in the next 10-12 months.

What Is Considered Income?

Almost any source of income that can be verified will be counted as income on a mortgage application. Wage income is considered as part of a borrower’s monthly qualifying income. Self-employed individuals can use their net profit as income when applying for a mortgage, however, many lenders will average income in the current year with income from previous years. In addition, those who receive alimony, investment income or money from a pension or social security should make sure and include those figures in their monthly income as well when applying for a loan.

How Much Debt Is Too Much Debt?

Many lenders prefer to only offer loans to those who have a debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent or lower. Talking to a lender prior to starting the mortgage application process may help a borrower determine if his or her chosen lender offers such leeway.

A borrower’s DTI ratio can be the biggest factor when a lender decides whether to approve a mortgage application. Those who wish to increase their odds of loan approval may decide to lower their DTI by either increasing their income or lowering their debt. This may make it easier for the lender and the underwriter to justify making a loan to the borrower.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Mortagage Tips

 

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Last-minute Home Showing? Here’s How to Stage Your Home in Just a Few Minutes

Last-minute Home Showing? Here's How to Stage Your Home in Just a Few Minutes In an ideal situation, a seller will have ample time to prepare a home to list for sale. This may include time to make necessary repairs, to thoroughly clean the home from top to bottom and to properly stage it. However, in those cases when time is not available to complete all of these steps, there are a few necessary steps that should be followed to get the home in show-ready condition in a very short period of time.

De-Clutter As Much As Possible

De-cluttering the home is an important step in staging, and this is because it can make the home look cleaner and can show off the square footage in the home. When time for staging is limited, it may be necessary to simply hide items away in closets, cabinets and drawers. Ideally, however, these items will be boxed up, and this is because some home buyers will open closet doors and cabinets to view these areas, and it is not ideal to have them appear to be cluttered and chaotic.

Remove All Personal Effects From The Property

A key step in staging a home relates to removing all of the family’s personal items and making the home seem neutral, and the purpose for this is so that a buyer can see himself or herself living in the home. Ideally, all personal effects, including your family pictures, will be removed from the property.   When it is not possible to remove everything from the property, these personal items should be boxed up at the minimum or stored in an out-of-sight location in the home.

Focus On The Kitchen And Bathrooms

When time is truly limited, it may not be possible to thoroughly clean the home as well as de-clutter and de-personalize the home. Therefore, in a crunch, it is best to focus on cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms thoroughly and giving the other areas of the home a once-over cleaning. If more time is available, focusing on cleaning baseboards, ceiling fans and other features that may not be cleaned on a regular basis but that are visible to buyers can be helpful.

Many sellers will have several weeks to stage a home before listing it, but this is not always the case. In a situation with limited time to stage the home, the seller often must make critical decisions about what absolutely must be done and what is less important, and this can vary from homeowner to homeowner. Those who have questions about staging their home can reach out to their trusted real estate professional for assistance.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Home Seller Tips

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 27, 2015

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week July 27 2015Last week’s scheduled economic news releases were limited as no news was released on Monday or Tuesday, but good news did arrive in the form of a dip in mortgage rates for fixed rate loans. The National Association of Realtors® reported higher sales of pre-owned homes and FHFA reported that home price growth associated with mortgages held or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac held steady in May.

Sales of Pre-Owned Homes and FHFA House Prices Rise

According to the National Association of Realtors®, June sales of existing homes reached their highest level since February 2007. Sales of used homes reached a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million previously owned homes sold against expectations of 5.42 million homes and May’s reading of 5.32 million pre-owned homes sold. By comparison, sales of existing homes remain about 24 percent below a pre-recession peak. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors® cited improving labor markets and home buyer concerns over rising mortgage rates as factors contributing to May’s reading for existing home sales.

FHFA, the federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that home prices associated with sales of homes financed with loans owned or backed by Fannie and Freddie rose by 0.40 percent month-over-month in May and held steady with April’s revised reading of 0.40 percent. FHFA home prices rose by 5.70 percent year-over-year in May.

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Freddie Mac reported that average rates for 30 and 15-year mortgages fell while the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage ticked upward by one basis point. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by five basis points to 4.04 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by four basis points to 3.21 percent. The rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate rose by one basis point to 2.97 percent. Average discount points were unchanged at 0.60 percent, 0.60 percent and 0.50 percent respectively.

Expected reports on weekly jobless claims and new home sales were not released last week.

What’s Ahead

Scheduled economic reports for this week include the usual weekly reports on jobless claims and mortgage rates along with the Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports for May and the Commerce Department’s report on pending home sales. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve has scheduled an announcement on Wednesday, and reports on consumer confidence and consumer sentiment will also be released next week.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Market Outlook

 

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Tiny, but Cozy: 3 Ways to Furnish Small Spaces to Make Them Feel Much Larger

Tiny, but Cozy: 3 Ways to Furnish Small Spaces to Make Them Feel Much LargerWhen decorating a small space, there is a general desire to make the space look and feel larger than it is while also meeting basic functional needs in the room. For example, there may be a need to accommodate seating for a group of people in a living room, but there also may be a desire to provide ample space for foot traffic so the area does not feel cramped. By following a few important tips, it is possible to furnish smaller spaces so that they are functional and do not feel cramped.

Think About Decorative Storage Solutions

One of the most common factors that will make a small space seem cramped and uncomfortable relates to clutter, and because of this, focusing on storage solutions can go a long way toward making the space feel larger than it is. Storage solutions can be decorative, and they can be a true benefit to the décor in the room. Think about functional storage features like an ottoman with hidden storage features, an entertainment center with cabinets and shelves or a tall bookshelf that can hold many of the items that are needed in the room.

Decorate The Space Vertically

For most people, there is a general inclination to decorate a room horizontally and to fill the floor space with furnishings, but this can be detrimental when decorating a smaller room. In a smaller space, decorating the space vertically by using bookshelves, storage cabinets and other features that rise above the ground rather than that sprawl across the ground can be beneficial. The goal should be to decorate the room fully while leaving ample space for foot traffic to maneuver through the room comfortably.

Use Lighter Colors

Darker colors used in a smaller room can make the space feel closed off and cramped. Using lighter colors can brighten the space and make it seem more airy. While using shades of white and beige throughout a space may not be ideal in all rooms, these can be incorporated into various aspects of the décor to improve the spacious feel of the room.

Smaller spaces can be challenging to decorate, but there are different tips and tricks that can be used to make the space look and feel larger than it is. Some tips help improve the functional use of the space, while others simply play tricks and create the illusion of space. All can be used together to create the feeling of a larger, more inviting room.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Around The Home

 

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Good News! Existing Home Sales, FHFA Home Prices Increase

Good News Existing Home Sales FHFA Home Prices IncreaseHousing markets show continued signs of strengthening according to reports released on Wednesday. The National Association of Realtors® reported that sales of pre-owned homes rose to 5.49 million in June as compared to May’s revised reading of 5.32 million pre-owned homes sold and expected sales estimated at 5.42 million sales. Expectations were based on May’s original reading of 5.35 million sales. June’s reading was the highest since February of 2007. Readings for existing home sales are calculated on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.

Buyers Gain Confidence in Labor Markets, Rush to Beat Rate Hikes

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors® said that buyers may be influenced by rising mortgage rates and encouraged by improving job markets. Analysts expect the Federal Reserve to raise its target federal funds rate this fall, which means that mortgage rates along with consumer lending rates will rise.

The national median home price rose by 6.50 percent annually to $236,400, also a record reading.

While this news paints a rosy picture for housing markets, challenges remain. Strict mortgage standards are an obstacle for first time and moderate income buyers as well as for buyers with less than stellar credit scores. While construction of new homes is increasing, the majority of projects are apartment complexes. 41 percent of housing starts in June were multi-family projects with five or more units. This data falls in line with stricter mortgage standards and a trend for millennials, an expected group of first-time homebuyers, preferring to rent in large cities rather than moving to suburban areas.

FHFA House Prices Rise in May

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that home prices associated with mortgage loans owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was unchanged from April’s revised reading of 0.40 percent month-to-month home price growth. April’s month-to-month reading was originally reported at 0.30 percent. FHFA home prices were up 5.70 percent year-over-year in May.

FHFA reported that year-over-year home price growth was positive in all nine census divisions, with the lowest growth rate of 0.90 percent in the Mid Atlantic division and the highest growth rate of 8.40 percent in the Pacific division.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Market Outlook

 

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