Posted in Housing Market

NAHB Housing Market Index Slips Two Points in June

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June fell by two points to 67 after a revision of May’s reading. Components of the Housing Market Index were lower for June with builder confidence in current market conditions two points lower at 73; June’s reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months also fell two points to 76. Builder confidence in buyer traffic fell two points to 49. According to the Index, any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident than those who are not.

Labor and Lot Shortages Continue to Stifle SingleFamily Home Building

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said that builder confidence remains high despite ongoing shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor. Meanwhile, NAHB reported lower readings for its regional 3-month rolling average of home builder confidence. The Northeast region was two points lower at 46; Builder confidence in the Midwest was one point lower at 67 and the Southern region was also one point lower with a 3-month reading of 70. The West had the highest builder confidence with a three-month average reading of 70.

Mortgage and consumer credit interest rates are likely to move higher after the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its target federal funds rate by 0.25 percent on Wednesday. This was the third uptick for the Fed rate this year. As interest rates and other consumer costs increase, would-be buyers of new homes may be sidelined. Future builder confidence readings could be influenced by a variety of economic factors including employment, interest rates and consumer confidence.

Housing Starts Expected to Lag Behind PreBubble Level

While housing starts are expected to increase to approximately 1.23 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis, they are significantly lower than the near 2-million housing starts reported prior to when the housing bubble burst. Analysts noted that the overall economic recovery remains steady with some glitches expected along the way. Closing the gap between builder confidence and housing starts is seen as the solution for easing high demand for homes and unusually low inventories of homes on the market.

Posted in Around The Home, Home Seller Tips

Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your Home

Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your HomeThe season of spring may be a time for blooming flowers and warmer weather, but it’s also synonymous with the idea of spring-cleaning. Whether you clean out your house every year or you haven’t seen the back of your closets in years, here are a few springtime projects that will instantly change your home – and clean up your life!

Clearing Up The Garage

There are few things that manage to attract excess stuff like the garage, and left over junk can be an even bigger problem in a 2-car space. Fortunately, spring can be a good time to get rid of the excess and really improve the look of your home from one of its main access points. By making a ‘throw away’, ‘give away’ and ‘keep’ pile, you’ll be able to whittle down the amount of stuff in your garage and find a new place for it when you’re done tidying up. It may be a bit of work, but it will be worth the effort.

Re-Envision The Living Room

For most families, the living room is the place where they spend a lot of time, and that can mean that it easily gets covered in a lot of paper and the furniture’s a little worse for wear. Take a weekend day to clear away the excess, vacuum the floors and wash the walls, and even change the layout for an instantly updated look. If you’re really invested in a renovation, you may even want to re-upholster a couch or armchair that’s seen better days.

Tackle The Yard

The yard may not be a room in your home, but it is one of the first things that will make an impression on visitors and passerby’s so it’s important to keep it looking good. It’s a good start if your yard is already clutter free, but spring is a good time to clear away the flower boxes and pluck the weeds, as well as cutting back any overgrown hedges. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you may even want to clean out your shed or renovate your patio for an improved exterior look.

Spring-cleaning may be a dreaded term, but it can be a good opportunity to clear away some of the stuff you haven’t used and instantly improve your home’s appearance. If you’re de-cluttering your home and are preparing to sell, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Trying to Secure a Mortgage Loan

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You're Trying to Secure a Mortgage LoanThe mortgage application process can be fraught with a lot of stress on its own, but if you’ve experienced issues with your credit in the past it can be even more taxing. While there may be a lot of things you may not be aware of when it comes to their impact on your credit, here are some things to watch out for if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the short-term future.

Applying For Extra Credit

Whether you’ve just been offered a great new deal by a department store or you’re not even thinking about it, new credit cards can pop up with deals that are quite enticing in the moment. Unfortunately, applying for new credit can actually signal to lenders that you’ve run out of credit on your other cards. Not only that, it will also have an adverse impact on your credit score each time you apply for new credit. If you’re considering a mortgage in the near future, it’s a good idea to hold off on any additions to your wallet.

Not Paying Your Bills

It may seem straightforward enough that not paying your bills is going to land you in hot water with your credit score, but many people think paying the minimum at any time will do. The truth is that if you want to keep your credit in line and improve your odds, it’s important to pay your minimum before the due date and always pay your bills. The only thing deferring payments will do is add marks against your credit, and this will be damaging come application time.

Don’t Avoid Your Credit Report

Many people who have a poor credit history are aware of the situation, but they’re also unwilling to address it. While it may be difficult to approach your credit report if you’ve had some hiccups in the past, it’s important to know what point you’re working forward from so you can move beyond it. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of your credit report and review the numbers. Not only will this enable you to address any errors, it means you’ll be facing your issues head on.

There are a number of factors that can adversely affect your mortgage application, but by avoiding new credit and paying your bills on time you can have a positive impact on the result. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Posted in Around The Home

Summer’s Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color Palette

Summer's Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color PaletteWhile spring is still in the air, the warm weather and cooler clothes of the summer season are just around the corner. As a result, you might be thinking about making some design changes to your home to welcome the season and indulge in its brilliance. If you’re looking for some new color schemes and how you can use them to amp up your home, here a few brightly-colored suggestions to try out for yourself.

Sky Blue

With the reminder of the sea and the sky, few things are akin to summer like bright blue. Instead of going overboard with this shade, try adding an accent like a side armchair, a throw or even some pillows to be adjusted with the seasons. If you’re really feeling the color, you might even want to try a large floor rug or an accent wall to add more flair.

Bright Orange

Orange can be a little bit of a risk, but if you have a love for this color there are ways to use it that will really enhance a room. As a splash against neutrals, it can add a lot of character to an otherwise unassuming space. However, if you want to go all out, consider a smaller space like a bathroom or den where it won’t look too showy.

Kelly Green

Much like blue, the color green is reminiscent of the return of the leaves and the grass, which makes it an ideal tone for the months of summer. While this color can be a lot less assuming than many bright colors, it can still provide a very alluring accent around the home. If you’re looking for ideas for this color, consider pairing it with white for a look that is both striking and homey.

Hot Pink

The color pink may seem like a risk for any room, but if you’re going for a patio setting or a makeup room, it can be the perfect tone to liven things up. Whether you want to try an accent wall or re-upholster some chairs, hot pink can easily make one think of summer cocktails and warm destinations throughout the season.

With the summer months around the corner, there are plenty of great ways and fabulous colors to dress up your home with. If you’re currently renovating your home in preparation for putting it on the market, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Posted in Mortgage Rates

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 12, 2017

Last week’s economic news was slim, with few scheduled reports released. Job openings for April, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims were released. Job openings rose in April, while weekly jobless claims were lower. The headline event last week was a further decrease in fixed-rate mortgage interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Lowest in Almost 7 Months

Freddie Mac reported that average rates for fixed rate home loans fell again last week. Mortgage rates typically follow 10-year Treasury yields, which also fell last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped five basis points to 3.89 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 3.16 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.11 percent; discount points for all three mortgage types were also unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent.

Analysts cited mixed economic reports and uncertainty as factors contributing to lower mortgage rates. After months of short supplies of homes and high demand coupled with rapidly increasing home prices, first-time and moderate- income home buyers may gain a foothold in some housing markets that were previously inaccessible.

New Jobless Claims Fall, Job Openings Increase

First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 245,000 new claims filed as compared to an expected reading of 245,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 255,000 new jobless claims. In related news, job openings were higher in April with a reading of 6.0 million job openings as compared to 5.80 million job openings in March. Fewer new jobless claims coupled with more job openings suggests that layoffs are not driving new jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on Inflation, core inflation, and the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will release its post-meeting statement. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to give a press conference after the FOMC statement. The FOMC statement will indicate if the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate. The National Association of Home Builders will release its Housing Market Index for June. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Posted in Around The Home

Did You Know: With a Little DIY Work, That Garage Can Be Used for More Than Just Your Car

Did You Know: With a Little DIY Work, That Garage Can Be Used for More Than Just Your CarAlong with the family vehicles, the garage may be the place where all of the things you don’t want in your house go to disappear. However, you might not be aware that there are a number of DIY hacks you can use for your garage that will instantly make it a more useable space. If you’re wondering how you can fit more in while improving the aesthetic appeal of your garage, here are some tricks to test out.

Give Your Garden Tools Space

The pile of garden tools that often sit in the corner of the garage is generally unpleasant to look at and potentially dangerous, so instead of leaving them around to trip on, try out a wall rack to secure them properly. All that’s required to make this rack is two boards and a saw in order to make the proper cuts. Once all is said and done, you can screw the boards into the garage wall and place your tools in the cut grooves for a more organized look that will clear away the extra clutter.

Consider Ceiling Storage

If you already struggle with a small garage, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the extra space for storage. Instead of the floor, try putting your storage on the roof! By using plastic carriages installed into the roof of your garage, you can easily slide totes full of storage items into place. While you won’t want to store heavy items in the bins, they can be a great place for infrequently used items like Christmas decorations or old mementos.

Make Your Own Rec Room

If you have a two-car garage and only one car, there’s always the fun possibility that you may be able to use your garage for a less traditional purpose. Whether you decide to go with a makeshift office or a den the whole family can enjoy, adding a desk or couch, a few tables and even some wall art can be a great means of getting extra space. It can also be a great place to throw a party for your neighbors and your friends!

The garage may seem like a less than ideal space, but there are things you can do to improve its appearance and its function. If you’re currently renovating your home and are preparing to sell in the future, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Seller’s Remorse: How to Move on From Your Old Home Once You’ve Sold It

Seller's Remorse: How to Move on From Your Old Home Once You've Sold ItThere’s often so much enthusiasm that goes along with buying a home that the idea of leaving the old one behind is left in the dust. But, while you may love both your old home and your new home, it can be difficult to leave what’s old behind. If you’re struggling with adjusting to your new dwelling place, here are some tips for how to make it feel like it’s where you belong.

Purchase A New Piece

In all likelihood, you’ll be moving a lot of your old furniture into your new home, which means it will have all of the likely associations of your old home. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s a good idea to do a bit of a refresh so it can feel truly different. Whether you decide on a new armchair or art piece, the choice is up to you, but make sure it’s something that will compliment your new place and make you happy to be there.

Leave No Box Unpacked

Packing and unpacking can be two of the most unpopular duties associated with moving, but getting to it right off the bat will ensure that you feel comfortable that much more quickly. Instead of leaving a bunch of boxes that you don’t know what to do within the garage or a hall closet, take the time to dig through them all and find a place for your items. The sooner your stuff is comfortable, the sooner you’ll be too!

Give Yourself Some Time

It may not be the most popular advice, but it’s going to take some time to adjust to your new home and that’s OK. Instead of being hard on yourself or regretting your choice, focus on the positive aspects of your home and allow yourself to get used to your new surroundings. It can be easy to forget why you bought your home if you happen to be feeling seller’s remorse, but in time it will be much easier to remember why made the purchase.

It can be difficult to leave an old home behind, but by taking the time to adjust to your new place and sprucing it up with an exciting new piece, you’ll be well on your way to making it your own. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips

Dealing With a Tight Housing Market? 3 Tips to Ensure You Get the Mortgage You Need

Dealing With a Tight Housing Market? 3 Tips to Ensure You Get the Mortgage You NeedIn many cities around the country, real estate prices are on the rise and potential buyers are working hard to find a home they can feel good about. However, finding the right home in a tight market can be even more of a challenge when it comes to striking the right balance. If you’re hedging around the market in the hopes of finding the perfect home, here are some things you should do to ensure you don’t miss out on a good opportunity.

Keep An Open Mind

When wading into the real estate market, it can be very easy to get so enamored with the kind of house you want that you don’t see what’s in front of you. However, not paying attention to the potential of a particular house can mean a missed opportunity that will end up costing you down the road. Instead of waiting around for your dream home, make sure you take a look at homes you might not have thought about as they may end up being a welcome surprise.

Be Confident, But Not Too Confident

Since many homeowners have history with their home, they want a homebuyer who’s going to be just as invested in their property as they were. On the other hand, though, it’s important not to be too excited about a home as the seller may use your interest to get a higher offer. Instead of playing on opposite poles, show your interest and get into the game with a respectable offer, but be willing to back off if the seller isn’t interested.

Don’t Demand Too Much

Many potential homebuyers have been told to be aware during the home inspection and ensure they get the repairs they’re requesting, but in a tight market you may want to let a few things slip. While ignoring certain items like foundation or roof issues can be a major misstep, letting small things like a broken doorknob or peeling paint slide may be something you can easily remedy that won’t push you out of the game.

It can be complicated to get into the real estate market as a new buyer in a competitive market, but by letting the small stuff slide and being open-minded, you may just find the home you’re looking for. If you’re currently getting prepared to dive into the real estate market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Spring Staging Tips: Using Your Lawn and Flower Beds to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Spring Staging Tips: Using Your Lawn and Flower Beds to Boost Your Curb AppealEvery open house involves so much cleanup and de-cluttering that it’s often easy to forget about the first thing your guest will see when they arrive; the exterior! Instead of foregoing the first impression, here are some tips for fixing up your yard and all of its vegetation so you can make a positive impression on potential homebuyers.

Get Out The Pruning Shears

There are few things that will wreck the overall look of your home like an overgrown shrub or an unruly patch of bushes, so instead of letting nature take its course, do some scaling back. While you’ll want to make sure you retain the natural look of the shrubs and bushes in your yard, make sure to focus on any overgrown areas or branches sticking out so your property will look well maintained and respectable.

Mow The Lawn

It may seem like common sense to get out the lawnmower and the edger for some basic lawn maintenance, but since it’s a rather sizeable task it can catch many people off guard. There’s no way around it so make sure you pick a good time weather-wise to cut the grass right before your open house. You’ll also want to edge around your sidewalks and driveway for a picture-perfect look that will enhance the impression your home makes.

Plant Some Perennials

A tidy yard and pruned trees will certainly improve the look of your home on the outside, but picking out a few flowers and cleaning up your flower beds can make it look even more inviting. While gardening can take up more than a little time, planting a few flowers or purchasing a few pots can go a long way towards adding that extra touch.

Keep It Clutter Free

Like anything to do with an open house, it’s all well and good to have a bunch of great design features and details, but if there’s clutter, potential buyers won’t see anything! If you’ll be putting your home up for sale soon, ensure your yard is as clean as it can be with gardening tools placed in the shed and any toys packed away for later use.

It takes a lot to prepare your home for an open house, but ensure you don’t forget about your yard because it’s one of the first things your visitors will see! If you’re getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your real estate professionals for more information.

Posted in Mortgage Rates

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 5, 2017

Last week’s economic releases included readings on inflation, core inflation pending home sales and multiple reports from the labor sector. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released. Pending home sales were lower and weekly jobless claims rose, which illustrates continued volatility in the economic sector.

Inflation rose 0.40 percent in April, which matched projections and exceeded April’s reading of 0.30 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, grew by 0.20 percent and exceeded expectations of 0.10 percent growth based on a negative reading of -0.20 percent in March. The Federal Reserve has set an annual inflation rate of 0.20 percent as a benchmark for economic recovery.

Housing Data Mixed

Case-Shiller released its 20-City Housing Market Index for March; Home price appreciation held steady at 5.90 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis year-over-year. Month-to-month, home prices rose by 0.90 percent. Seattle, Washington had the highest pace of home price growth in March, with 12.30 percent. Portland, Oregon followed with 9.20 percent home price growth and Dallas, Texas had the third highest level of year-over-year home price growth at 8.60 percent. Month-to-month home prices grew at a pace of 0.90 percent.

Despite indications of high builder confidence in current and future housing market conditions, construction spending decreased by -1.40 percent in April. Analysts expected an increase of 0.50 percent in construction spending based on construction spending growth of 1.10 percent in March.

Builders have consistently cited concerns over affordable lots and skilled labor, but industry professionals are not sure why high builder confidence in housing markets doesn’t correspond to lagging construction spending rates. Building more homes is viewed as the only path to easing high demand for homes caused by a shortage of homes for sale.

The Commerce Department reported fewer pending home sales in April with a reading of -1.30 percent; the March reading was -0.90 percent. Pending home sales typically indicate further closed sales and trends in mortgage loans.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported slight change in mortgage rates last week; the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower 3.94 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.19 percent and was unchanged from the prior week. The average rate for a 5/1 variable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.11 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three types of mortgages.

New Jobless Claims Hit 5Week High

First-time claims rose from the prior week’s reading of 235,000 new claims to 248,000 new claims filed. Analysts had expected 239,000 new claims filed. Analysts said that higher claims were connected to the Memorial Day holiday and characterized last week’s higher number of claims as a “blip.”

In other labor-sector news, ADP reported 253,000 new private-sector jobs in May; the Commerce Department reported 138,000 new government and private sector jobs. This reading may be revised based on an expected 185,000 public and private-sectors jobs for May and April’s reading of 174,000 public and private-sector jobs.

National unemployment ticked down in May to 4.30 percent. Analysts had expected no change in April’s reading of 4.40 percent.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on job openings, consumer credit along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.