Posted in Market Outlook

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 17, 2015

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week August 17 2015Last week’s economic reports related to housing were few and far between other than weekly reports on new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Up

Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates rose for fixed rate mortgages and dropped for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by three basis points to 3.94 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose by four basis points to 3.17 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 2.93 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.60 percent for fixed rate mortgages and rose from 0.40 percent to 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Jobless claims rose to 274,000 last week from the prior week’s reading of 269,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts expected a reading of 270,000 new jobless claims. New claims were lower by 1750 claims for the past month at a seasonally adjusted rate of 266,250 new jobless claims. This was the lowest level since April of 2000. Analysts consider the four week average a less volatile reading for new jobless claims than weekly readings, which fluctuate more due to transitory influences.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled reports include several releases related to housing. Expected releases include: the National Association of Homebuilders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department reports on Housing Starts and Building Permits and the National Association of Realtors® report on sales of previously owned homes.

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Marketing to Millennials: How to Stage Your Home to Attract One of the Hottest Buyer Groups

Marketing to Millennials: How to Stage Your Home to Attract One of the Hottest Buyer GroupsMillennials are finally starting to enter the real estate market, but as is expected with a generation as different as Gen Y, they’re buying homes in a completely different way. Millennial buyers intend to own for shorter periods of time and want to live in metropolitan areas, and they’re also actively interested in real estate as an investment.

If you want to sell your home to a Millennial, you’ll need to change the way you stage and market the house in order to make the sale. Here’s how you can make your home more attractive to Millennial buyers without having to plan a massive renovation.

Millennials Want Investment Properties, Not Storybook Homes

One of the major characteristics that defines the Millennial generation is that they are nomads. Millennials don’t want to hear about how a property is the perfect place for them to live out their Happily Ever After. For a Millennial, marriage and kids and the white picket fence are still a long ways off – and that’s if they’re in the picture at all.

Instead, present your home as the ideal investment property – something they can easily renovate and flip for a nice, tidy profit, or something they can rent out to help pay their student loans. Millennials are entrepreneurial by nature, so appeal to that entrepreneurial zeal.

Convert An Unused Room Into A Home Office

Millennials are also very career-minded and tend to be passionate about side projects. Millennials are leading the charge in the work-from-home movement, and the more easily they can see themselves working out of your home, the more likely they are to buy it.

If there’s a room in your home that you aren’t using, converting it into a home office will help you show Millennials that they can run their online business in a great environment.

Ditch The Carpets And Opt For Hardwood Instead

Millennials want their homes to look modern, and carpets will simply make them think of every 1970s stereotype there is. If you want to reach a Millennial buyer, an easy way to make them see your home as more desirable – and more valuable – is to tear out your carpets and replace them with hardwood flooring. Hardwood is also easier to clean, which will appeal to Millennials’ desire for a low maintenance home.

Millennials have traditionally been difficult to understand, but an experienced real estate agent can help you navigate the Millennial market’s demands and stage your home in an appealing way. Contact a trusted real estate professional near you to learn how you can turn your home into something no Millennial can resist.

Posted in Real Estate Tips

3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same TimeIf you’re in the process of simultaneously buying and selling a home, you may be in for the most stressful experience of your life. One UK-based real estate survey of over two thousand people found that buying and selling a house is more stressful than divorce, bankruptcy, a death in the family, becoming a parent for the first time, and even planning a wedding!

It’s not easy, but staying calm will help you to plan for your upcoming home purchase and sale and make the process easier. So how can you avoid the stress? Here are three strategies that will keep you calm, no matter what may happen.

Have A Thorough Plan In Place…

Much of the stress that you’ll experience will probably be the result of poor planning. You may feel stressed if you don’t have enough time to move or if you have to pay mortgages on two homes because your old home isn’t selling fast enough.

Before you get too far into the buying and selling process, talk with a real estate agent and ensure you have a solid plan in place for how you’ll manage buying and selling at the same time. Leave a time and expense buffer for unexpected complications – even if nothing goes wrong, it’s still nice to know you have some room to work with.

…But Be Ready To Improvise If Things Go Sideways

There are a number of ways that buying and selling at the same time might result in complications. Poor timing might mean you need to move out before you have a home to move into, or it might mean you don’t have the money for your new home if your old home hasn’t sold. Be prepared to rent a hotel room, take out a short-term loan, or move your belongings into storage if the sale doesn’t go according to plan.

Talk Out Your Problems With Loved Ones

In times of stress, it’s helpful to turn to friends and family for a helping hand. Studies have shown that having a strong social support network can mitigate the effects of stress, and even the Mayo Clinic suggests reaching out to loved ones when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for emotional support, and whenever you have an opportunity to socialize, take it – you’ll find it easier to handle stress after a fun night out with friends.

Buying and selling a home at the same time is bound to be stressful, but an experienced real estate agent can minimize the agony. Call a real estate agent near you to learn how you can successfully buy and sell a home at the same time.

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips

3 Reasons to Avoid Giving Wrong Information on Your Mortgage Application

3 Reasons to Avoid Giving Wrong Information on Your Mortgage ApplicationA mortgage application is typically several pages in length, and it requires you to provide a considerable amount of information about your personal, professional and financial life. Some mortgage applicants may not have access to all of the information when completing the application, and others may simply skim over the form and provide incomplete answers. These are only a few of the reasons why information on the mortgage application may not be accurate, but there are several key reasons why applicants should avoid giving inaccurate information.

Loan Approval is Based on It

The initial loan application will usually serve as a basis for the pre-qualification of the mortgage request. The applicant may make a decision to move forward with an offer to purchase a home based on this pre-qualification, but the pre-qualification is based on the accuracy of the information that is initially provided to the lender in the loan application. If the information is incorrect then an applicant may not be able to qualify for the loan and the deal could fall through.

Information Will Be Verified

The majority of the information that is provided by the applicant in the loan application will be verified at various points throughout the loan process. For example, a credit report may be pulled very early on in the loan process, and it may be used to document the accuracy of the debts and monthly payments that the applicant wrote on the loan application. Tax returns, pay stubs and other related documentation may also be required. Essentially, the lender will eventually have access the accurate data, so there is little benefit to provide inaccurate information up-front on the loan application.

It Is Against the Law

A final reason why it is not advisable to provide inaccurate information on the application is because this is illegal. There is a disclaimer on the standard mortgage application that goes into detail about the law regarding providing false information on a loan application. There are also disclosures that are signed before and during closing that relate to this.

Completing a loan application is an important step buyers go through when buying a home, and it is easy to overlook the importance of providing accurate and detailed information at this stage in the process. It is best to take time complete the loan application as thoroughly and accurately as possible since it is a legal requirement and because of many other negative consequences. Those who have questions about buying a home or buyers who are ready to begin the loan application process who don’t have a mortgage expert to work with can reach out to their trusted real estate professional for guidance.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips

3 Closing Costs That Most Buyers Forget to Factor in – and What You Can Expect to Pay

3 Closing Costs That Most Buyers Forget to Factor in – and What You Can Expect to PayIf you’re in the process of buying a home, you probably have your deposit and monthly mortgage charges in a spreadsheet, along with a chart of your other expenses and your monthly income. But when it comes to buying a home, there are lots of different costs that will come into play – and it’s easy to forget something. When you’re preparing to close on your new home, make sure you consider these three closing costs that most buyers forget.

Home Inspection Fees: A Small Charge For Peace Of Mind

Most home purchase agreements are contingent upon a successful home inspection – and if you’re planning to buy a home, you should definitely have it inspected before you buy it. However, home inspectors don’t work for free, and you’ll have to pay a home inspector for a thorough evaluation of the premises.

Home inspection fees depend on the kind of property you’re buying, and can vary depending on your location. For a condo unit, you’ll only need to pay about $250, but a single-family home might cost up to $500. Luxury properties are often more expensive, sometimes running as high as $1,500.

Private Mortgage Insurance: Obligatory With Small Down Payments

If you’re only planning to make the minimum down payment on your home, you’ll need to buy mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance protects the lender in the event that you default on your loan. This is an added cost that your lender pays, and in general, almost every lender will pass the cost on to you.

You can pay for your mortgage insurance in one large payment, or you can add it to your monthly mortgage payments. Note that if your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price, you’re legally required to buy mortgage insurance.

Lender Fees: All Sorts Of Charges On Top Of Your Mortgage

One large, catch-all category of closing costs that buyers often forget is lender fees. Lender fees are fees that your mortgage lender will charge you in order to recoup their costs and turn a profit. These include appraisal fees, credit report fees, processing and application fees, and administration fees for underwriting.

These fees can range depending on the lender, but in many cases they exceed $3,000. You’ll want to budget about $3,500 to $5,000 to be safe.

Buying a house is a major undertaking, and there are lots of ways that the process could go awry. But a real estate professional can help you navigate the industry and get the home you’ve always wanted without any issues. Contact your local real estate expert to learn more.

Posted in Market Outlook

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 10, 2015

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week August 10 2015This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on construction spending, a survey of senior loan officers, and reports on labor markets including ADP private sector jobs, the federal government’s reports on non-farm payrolls, core inflation and the national unemployment rate.

Construction Spending Slows, Loan Officers Survey Suggests Growing Confidence

Construction spending fell in June after the May reading was revised upward to 1.89 percent from the original reading of 0.90 percent. Spending for residential construction rose by 0.40 percent, while non-residential construction spending remained flat. The seasonally-adjusted annual outlay for construction was $1.06 billion in June.

Analysts continue to note a trend toward construction of smaller residential units including condominiums and apartments, with an emphasis on rental properties. This supports reports that would-be homebuyers are taking a wait-and-see stance to see how factors including rising home prices, fluctuating mortgage rates and labor market conditions perform.

According to a survey of senior loan officers conducted by the Federal Reserve, mortgage lenders reported that mortgage applications increased during the second quarter and indicating that financial constraints on consumers may be easing. According to the survey of 71 domestic banks and 23 foreign-owned banks, 44 percent of respondents reported moderate increases in loan applications, while only 5 percent of survey participants reported fewer loan applications.

Some banks surveyed reported easing mortgage approval standards, but fewer lenders eased standards than in the first quarter. Further supporting growing confidence among lenders, the Fed survey also reported that large banks were easing consumer credit standards for auto loans and credit cards.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell across the board last week with the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage lower by seven basis points to 3.91 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by four basis points to 3.13 percent, and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.95 percent. Discount points for all loan types were unchanged at 0.60 percent for 30 and 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Weekly jobless claims rose from the prior week’s reading of 268,000 new claims to 270,000 new claims, which matched analysts’ expectations. In other labor-related news, the government reported a national unemployment rate of 5.30 percent in July; this was unchanged from June’s reading.

The ADP employment report for July showed fewer jobs were available in the private sector. June’s reading showed that private sector jobs grew by 229,000 jobs; July’s reading fell to 185,000 private sector jobs. According to July’s Non-farm Payrolls report, 215,000 new jobs were added in July as compared to expectations of 220,000 jobs added and June’s reading of 231,000 new jobs added.

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is closely monitoring job growth and inflation rates as it contemplates raising the target federal funds rate. Core inflation grew by 0.10 percent in June; which was consistent with May’s reading and expectations. The FOMC recently cited the committee’s concerns about labor markets and lagging inflation. The Fed has set an annual growth rate of 1.65 percent for inflation for the medium term; this benchmark is part of what the Fed will consider in any decision to raise rates.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment in addition to usual weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

 

 

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Staging Tips: How to Make Your Bedrooms One of Your Home’s Best Selling Features

Staging Tips: How to Make Your Bedrooms One of Your Home’s Best Selling FeaturesTo potential homebuyers, a bedroom is more than just a place to lay your head at night. It’s a place to relax, retreat, and recover, a place where the demands of the busy world are locked out. And with a properly staged bedroom, you can tap into potential buyers’ desire for relaxation and make your home their number one pick.

So how can you stage your bedroom in a way that buyers will love? Here are three strategies you can use to make your bedroom look like a modern oasis – without spending a fortune.

Position The Bed In The Right Place

One easy-to-change yet often overlooked detail in staging the perfect bedroom is the location of the bed. The bed is the focal point of the room, so position it accordingly. If your bedroom has French doors or a large window, positioning your bed directly opposite that amenity will create balance.

Ideally, your bed should have space to walk around it on both sides. If that’s not possible, place it against the longest wall in the room.

Use Neutral Colors And Ample Lighting To Boost Appeal

As a highly personal and intimate space, the bedroom is one area of the home where potential buyers are likely to try to imagine themselves in the space. If your bedroom incorporates loud colors, unique patterns, or poor lighting, it’ll be harder for potential buyers to envision themselves there. What you want is a neutral color and lighting scheme.

Take out any dark curtains and heavy drapes, as they can make the room seem dirty. Swap out your bed sheets with white duvets and covers, and use some solid-colored throw pillows for contrast. Add a lamp to give the room a cozy feel.

Remove Everything That Screams “You”

The point of staging a home is to help potential buyers see themselves living in it – if you can get buyers to picture themselves actually living in your home, they’ll form an emotional connection to it and will be more likely not just to buy, but to bid at or above asking price.

But in order to help buyers see themselves living in your home, you have to make it look as if you were never there. That means the family photographs, books on the nightstand, and exercise equipment has to go.

Home staging is a highly effective way to make your home sell faster – and for more money. And although it may seem like quite the undertaking, an experience real estate agent can make it a breeze. Contact your trusted real estate professional today to learn more about home staging.

Posted in Real Estate Tips

Real Estate Terminology 101: What Exactly Is A “Buyer’s Market”?

Real Estate Terminology 101: What Exactly Is A If you’ve been following the real estate industry for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the phrase “buyer’s market” at some point. And although the meaning may seem apparent, it takes some study to understand what actually constitutes a buyer’s market.

Who decides whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market? What’s the threshold for deciding between the two? Here’s what you need to know.

Supply And Demand: Economic Factors That Govern…Everything

If you studied economics in school, you’ll probably remember an early lesson on supply and demand. Essentially, supply and demand are the two factors that influence what a commodity is objectively “worth” in a free market. They’re also a great way of characterizing whether a market is hot or cold, and whether or not it’s a good idea to invest at any particular moment in time.

In a nutshell, supply is the amount of something that is available for purchase, while demand is the amount of that same thing that people want to buy. When supply goes up while demand stays the same, buyers have more choice with respect to whom they want to buy from – and that means the price goes down because the commodity is freely available. When demand increases while supply stays the same, we see the opposite effect – the value (and price) increases because there’s not enough of the supply to go around.

The Buyer’s Market: What You Need To Know

A buyer’s market is a real estate market where the supply of homes available is greater than the demand for housing – it’s a market where there are more homes for sale than there are people willing to buy. This is a great situation for buyers, because their freedom of choice gives them a significant amount of power when negotiating prices. In a buyer’s market, sellers may have to accept a lower price in order to make the sale.

How To Navigate The Buyer’s Market

For buyers, the buyer’s market means lower prices and fewer bidding wars. But there are still some basic principles that savvy buyers ought to follow. Don’t lowball too far below the asking price, even if it is a buyer’s market – if homes in an area have recently been selling for $400,000 and the asking price is $450,000, offering $350,000 will only insult the buyers.

A buyer’s market means you can find your dream home at an affordable price, but there are certain nuances you’ll want to pay attention to. A professional real estate agent can help you to read and navigate the market, which means you’ll have an easier time finding your ideal home. Contact your local real estate professional to learn more.

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips, Home Seller Tips, Personal Finance

Thinking About Selling Your Home Without A Real Estate Agent? Don’t – Here’s Why

Thinking About Selling Your Home Without A Real Estate Agent Dont Here is WhyIf you’re considering selling your home in the near future, you may be tempted to simply cut out the middleman and opt for an FSBO sale. However, selling a home is a major undertaking, and most “For Sale By Owner” home sales run into obstacles.

So why is an FSBO sale such a problem for most homeowners? Here are three reasons why you’ll want an agent to represent you instead of going it alone.

An FSBO Puts You At Risk Of A Lawsuit

Selling a home involves mountains of paperwork, and in order to make the transfer of ownership legal and above board, there is a large amount of minutiae that need to be considered. For instance, as a seller, you are legally obligated to disclose certain facts about the property: Some jurisdictions require you to disclose whether a death occurred in the home, for example, or if the home is located in a historical district.

Even one seemingly minor mistake could open you up to legal action. An experienced real estate agent already knows everything that needs to be disclosed, and although agents can make mistakes, they have errors and omissions insurance to protect them. Most homeowners don’t have that protection in place.

Buyers’ Agents May Discourage Buyers From Viewing Your Home

When it comes to FSBO deals, most buyers’ agents anticipate the deal being a challenge at best. Buyers’ agents typically only show FSBO properties in one of two cases: Either the price is extremely low or there aren’t any other homes available.

But according to Atlanta real estate agent Bruce Ailion, most experienced agents have had an FSBO transaction go poorly at some point and are now wary of them. Without a real estate agent to represent you, sellers’ agents will be hesitant to deal with you – and you won’t get as many offers on your home as you’d like.

You’ll Need To Discern Qualified Buyers From Dreamers

One thing that most homeowners don’t know is that not everyone who views your home is actively interested in buying it in the near future. Showing your home may mean taking time off work or away from activities you care about, and if the prospect doesn’t end up buying, you’ve wasted your time.

A real estate agent knows what questions to ask in order to weed out the merely curious and find motivated buyers, so you’ll sell your home much faster.

FSBO sales don’t always end in disaster, but they’re considerably difficult to do well. An experienced real estate agent can help you sell your home faster and for more money than you can on your own. Contact your local real estate professional today to learn more.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips

First-time Home Buyers: Why Splurging for a Larger Home Beats Condo Living

First-time Home Buyers: Why Splurging for a Larger Home Beats Condo Living Some first-time home buyers are on a tight budget when making their real estate purchase, and there may be an inclination by many to purchase a smaller property, such as a condo, rather than the home they truly want. While there may be some initial financial benefit associated with buying a smaller property, there are a few benefits associated with splurging and buying a larger home as a first purchase. By analyzing these benefits, first-time home buyers can make a more informed decision about how to proceed.

Costs Associated With Upgrading In The Future

Some people will purchase a smaller property initially with the goal of later upgrading to a larger property. This can provide the home buyer with the initial benefits of building equity, taking advantage of tax benefits associated with real estate ownership and more. However, there are costs associated with selling property, including closing costs, real estate fees, make-ready and improvement costs and more that should be considered.

Benefits Of Long-Term Ownership

For many, there will be a need to have a larger property over the years, such as when starting a family or when young children grow into teenagers who need more space. When the first property purchased is large enough for the family to grow into, the homeowner can enjoy long-term appreciation and equity growth. More than that, the higher value of the property may mean that there is more upside for property appreciation over the years.

Getting Established In A Community

In addition to the financial benefits associated with investing in a larger property initially, there are intangible benefits. Moving into a new home in a few years means that there is a need to get re-established in a community. When a home buyer settles down into a larger home that he or she plans to stay in for many long years or even decades, getting established and settled in the community can begin right away.

These are considerable benefits that can be enjoyed when a first-time home buyer makes a purchase that he or she plans to enjoy for many years to come, but there are other factors to consider. Each person needs to make a decision regarding a real estate purchase that is best for their needs, goals and financial situation, so there is not a best-fit solution that is right for everyone. Those who are thinking about buying their first piece of real estate may consider contacting a real estate professional for assistance with their home hunting efforts soon.