Archives for July 2016

Budget-Friendly DIY Projects That Instantly Boost Curb Appeal

Budget-Friendly DIY Projects That Instantly Boost Curb AppealWe’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but there’s no such rule in the housing market. Curb appeal is the external attractiveness of a home, and if you’re in the market for a house that first impression has a lot to do with your final decision. Alternatively, if you’re looking to sell, it’s an easy area to boost the attractiveness of your home.

Essentially, ensure your home is accessible and inviting to make it appeal to potential buyers. It’s like making new friends, and how you’re much more likely to approach someone who is smiling. Help your home smile by spending a little time and money on outdoor seating, open spaces and color. Note that homes that have personality make stronger first impressions, so also try to put some of yourself into the exterior of your home.

A Place To Sit

Outdoor seating inspires relaxation, providing a great first impression. Potential buyers can pause and get a sense of the community without feeling rushed. They’ll take in the external features of your home in comfort, and will be primed to imagine themselves sitting out there as new homeowners, sunning or sipping tea.

An Open Entrance

Open your home up literally. Creating an uncluttered space in front of your home will help direct and draw buyers. Use pathways and lighting (lamps, candles) to clearly guide the way into your home. A well-lit pathway is not only visually appealing, but safer and a confusing entrance could deter buyers before they even reach your house.

A Dash Of Color

Color draws the eye. Add flowers to the front of your house, or paint the shutters brightly to attract attention from the street. This will also help your home look tidy and put-together.

A Strong Front Door

The front door is the focal point of anyone walking up to your house. Why not paint it your favorite color, or decorate it with something that gives an idea of the interior, like a funky door-knocker or a wreath? Make sure the door is clean and everything works (knob, bell, hinges) to complete the look.

A Personalized Mailbox

If you have a mailbox out front, you can give it the same personalizing treatment. Paint it, or plant it in a flowerbed. Keep it clean, functional and inviting, and it’ll add to the overall impression of your house.

Riff off these easy, cheap projects to increase your home’s curb appeal. Contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

3 Tips to Consider when Shopping for a Second Mortgage

3 Tips to Consider when Shopping for a Second MortgageWhether you’re considering a second mortgage to consolidate your debt or complete some home renovations, there can be a lot that goes into making this financial decision. Because a second mortgage is a loan that goes against the equity you currently have on your property, this can be a risk to the ownership of your home. If this is an option you’re seriously considering, here are some basics to know before deciding to on this route.

Be Prepared For Higher Rates

You may be use to the steadiness and consistency of the fixed rate on your first mortgage, but the rates associated with a second mortgage will likely be higher. Because, in the event of default, the first loan on a mortgage will be paid first, lenders for a second mortgage will charge higher rates and fees to validate the elevated risk they’re taking on. While there are lenders that can offer competitive rates, you’ll need to do your research to find one that works for you.

Private Lenders May Offer More Solutions

If you cannot go through your initial mortgage lender in order to secure a second mortgage, you may want to consider a private lending professional who may be able to provide a better solution for you. Because private lenders are not working within the constraints of a larger institution, their guidelines for documentation and qualification may be a little less stringent. While they may have their own set of guidelines for providing a second mortgage, it can be a better way to go.

Is A Second Mortgage Necessary?

In order to obtain a second mortgage, it’s important to be aware that you should have enough equity in your home to make the loan worthwhile. Because you will only be able to refinance 80% of your home’s value, it may not be worth the higher rates you’ll be paying if you’ve only been paying into your home for a short time. Before deciding if a second mortgage is right for you, make sure you consult with a professional to determine the best choice for you.

There are a number of reasons that home buyers consider a second mortgage, from making large-scale home renovations to getting rid of overriding debt, but it’s important to consider if this option will work for you before moving forward. If you’re thinking about a second mortgage, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

3 Mortgage Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Money

3 Mortgage Mistakes That Could Be Costing You MoneyPurchasing a home can be one of the most exciting and stabilizing investments of your life, but because of the expense, there are many ways you may be spending more money than you should. If you’re wondering about the financial soundness of your home investment, here are some things to consider before putting anything down.

Investing In Too Much Home

Many homebuyers are so gung-ho about having their own home that they forget a mortgage takes many years to pay off and there’s a lot of living to do in the interim. While you may be looking at the monthly cost of your mortgage as something to get through, it’s more important to find a home that will provide you with a more flexible lifestyle. Instead of spending half your income on your home, it’s better to choose a more affordable option that won’t lead to buyer’s remorse.

Putting Less Than 20% Down

One of the greatest struggles for those who want to make the leap into home ownership is the down payment, and many buyers will put down a lot less than 20%. While this might seem like a better deal in the short term, putting 5 or 10% down means you’ll have to pay for mortgage insurance in case you default on your payments. It can be hard to come up with 20% for many buyers, but putting this amount down means you don’t have to pay for added insurance.

Not Asking The Right Questions

A house is likely your most valuable asset, so it’s a good idea to know as much as possible about your mortgage before you rush toward closing day. Starting with asking which mortgage option is best for you. Your mortgage lender will be able to answer this question once you’ve completed an application and the lender takes stock of your employment, income, assets, credit, debt, expenses, down payment and other information about your finances. Research the major questions you should ask your mortgage lender before signing up for a loan.

It can be overwhelming to buy a home with all of the information and energy that goes into finding the right place and the right price. However, by being realistic about what you can afford and searching for the best loan for you, you’re well on your way to a sound purchase. If you’re currently on the market for a mortgage, contact your trusted mortgage specialists for more information.

3 Things Your Mortgage Broker Wishes You Knew

4 Things Your Mortgage Broker Wishes You KnewAs the mortgage market has become more competitive, it has become a more common choice for many people to choose a mortgage broker to assist them with the lending process. While it’s great to have someone to help you with the fine details, there are some important differences between what a mortgage broker does and what you might think they do, so here are some things to be aware of.

They Can’t Approve Your Mortgage

Many people think that having a mortgage broker is a surefire way to obtain a home loan, but because brokers are a separate entity from the bank, they do not have the authority to approve your application. Instead, a good broker will be able to give you information about the best loans for you and ensure all the guidelines for the application are met.

The Rules Of Down Payments

According to founder of Arcus Lending, Shashank Shekhar, “You can’t borrow a down payment it’s just not allowed.” Many people may not know this, but a down payment needs to be money that you’ve come up with on your own. If much of your down payment money was gifted to you, it’s important to let your broker know so this can be documented in your paperwork.

Financial Changes Can Impact Your Application

When you’re going through the process of getting a mortgage, it can be easy to forget to consult with your broker or let them know of any changes, but it’s very important to keep them in the loop so your approval isn’t impacted. A large expenditure or change in your finances can cause issues with your mortgage, so ensure that before you do anything big you contact your broker to determine how to proceed.

Utilizing a mortgage broker for a home purchase is becoming more popular with the competitiveness of the industry, but there are things you should know before reaching out to a professional. Contact your local mortgage specialists for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 11, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week April 27 2015Last week’s economic news included minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) along with several reports on private and public sector employment and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

FOMC Minutes: Committee Closely Monitoring Economic Developments

The minutes of June’s FOMC meeting indicate that Fed policymakers continue to be cautious based on low inflation and close review of domestic and global economic developments. Committee members acknowledged improvements in the housing market, but also noted that annual inflation remains below the Fed’s two percent goal. Low inflation and wage growth presented obstacles to would-be home buyers who continued to face rapidly rising home prices and low inventories of available homes. FOMC members voted not to increase the current target federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

FOMC’s June meeting occurred before Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU, which created volatility in financial markets and caused mortgage rates to drop.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported an across-the-board drop in average mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 3.41 percent and the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.74 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate averaged 2.68 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively.

New jobless claims were decreased to a three-month low of 254,000 as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 270,000 new claims. New jobless claims were higher after the end of the school year, when some school workers became eligible for benefits when schools closed for summer break.

Job Creation Jumps After May Lull

Non-farm payrolls expanded significantly in June after May’s sharp drop. 287,000 jobs were created in June as compared to expectations of 173,000 new jobs and May’s dismal reading of 11,000 new jobs. The non-farm payrolls report includes readings for public and private sector jobs. June’s ADP payrolls report measures private-sector jobs; June’s reading surpassed May’s reading of 168,000 jobs with 172,000 new jobs.

In related news, the Commerce Department reported that national unemployment increased from May’s reading of 4.80 to 4.90 percent. Analysts said that this uptick may not be bad news, but instead indicated an expanding workforce. Unemployment readings are based on the number of workers seeking work and don’t include workers who have left the workforce.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include the Consumer Price Index, Core CPI, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

4 Ways to Help Your Mortgage Transaction Close On Time

4 Ways to Help Your Mortgage Transaction Close On TimeWhen you’ve finally found the home you’re looking for at the right price, it’s easy to think that the hard part is over; however, there’s still a lot to do in order to ensure your purchase goes through without a hitch. If you’re tying up the loose ends on your home purchase, here are some things you should do to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Hire A Legal Professional

However much research you may have done in regards to buying a home, there’s still a lot of legal jargon in the closing documents that can be difficult for most people to understand. Instead of doing guesswork, you may want to use an attorney who will take the difficulty out of the documents for you so there will be no holdups with the paperwork.

Arrange A Home Inspection

A home inspection is a necessary step before the sale of a home, but this is an important one to get out of the way because it can seriously impact your home purchase. Because major problems can often be discovered during inspection, getting this out of the way and deciding if an item should be fixed or the total price knocked down will ensure there are no delays at the last minute.

Acquire Title Insurance

In order to make sure your property really belongs to you, it’s a good idea to have a title search completed to see if there are any claims to your future property that could invalidate your purchase. As this is a legal safeguard for your claim to your home, it will help you avoid unnecessary issues in the event of an unknown property claim.

Determine The Closing Costs

An escrow company is responsible for holding the funds until all aspects of a home sale are complete, but there are fees that go along with this service. Before you get to the end of the process, determine what exactly the company will be charging so that you can be prepared for the final total. While fees are legitimate, if you see a higher tally than expected, you may want to negotiate for a reduced cost.

Purchasing a home is a significant investment full of hurdles you might not be aware of, but by acquiring title insurance and having a legal professional look through your documents, you can make your home purchase go a little smoother. If you’re planning on purchasing a new home soon, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.y want to

The 4 Most Common Mortgage Questions, Answered

The 4 Most Common Mortgage Questions, AnsweredMaking the decision to purchase a home is one of the most significant investments most people will make in their life, and this automatically means there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before putting any money down. If you’re considering making the leap, here are some insights into some of the common questions you might have.

How Much Should You Put Down?

While many homebuyers have the option of putting as little as 3% down in order to purchase a home, there are benefits to saving up for a down payment and putting in 15 or 20%. Because your interest rate will be higher on a lower down payment, putting more down can mean a lower overall price tag and monthly payment.

Fixed or Variable Rate Mortgage?

While a fixed rate mortgage can be good for homeowners who are new to the market due to its stability, a variable rate can be hard to rely on because it can change all of the time. Fixed rates can end up costing more than variable rates in the event of low interest rates, but it’s important to determine your comfort level with the market is before deciding on your mortgage type.

How Will The Lender Assess You?

There are a number of different factors that lenders will assess you on including your income, personal debt load, employment and credit history. While it’s important to be in the good books for these reasons, a lower credit score does not mean you will not be able to qualify for a mortgage; it simply means that you may need to provide a higher down payment.

What Will The Monthly Payment Be?

One of the conundrums of home ownership is being able to determine what you’ll actually be paying per month to purchase your home, but this number is dependent on the size of your mortgage, your interest rate, and the frequency of your payments. There are also many handy online tools you can use to provide some estimates but it’s best that you consult your mortgage specialist about this.

Most homeowners, particularly those that are new to home ownership, have many questions when it comes to purchasing a home, but by being aware of what a lender looks at and what you should put down, you’re well on your way to a healthy attitude towards ownership. If you’re currently considering buying a home, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 5, 2016

Closing Paperwork: How to Read and Understand the Truth-in-Lending Disclosure StatementLast week’s economic events included S&P Case-Shiller’s Housing Market Indices for April along with reports on Construction Spending and Pending Home Sales. Consumer Confidence was higher in June in spite of low wage growth and inflation well below the Fed’s goal of 2.00 percent annually.

S&P Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Ticks Downward

April home values grew by 5.40 percent in April on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Case Shiller reported a drop in momentum from the March reading of 5.50 percent according to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index. While no city included in the 20-City Index reported lower home values, the rate of growth appears to be slowing. High home prices driven by high demand and slim inventories of available homes may continue to lose steam as high home prices coupled with stricter mortgage requirements sideline first-time and moderate income buyers.

Pending home sales in May saw their first decline since August 2015 According to the National Association of Realtors®, Pending sales dropped from April’s downwardly revised index reading of 115.0 to 110.8. Pending home sales were -3.70 percent lower in May as compared to April’s reading of +3.90 percent. The drop in pending sales, which represents homes under contract that are not yet closed, is largely blamed on markedly low inventories of homes for sale in many areas.

Construction spending was higher in May, but remained in negative territory with a reading of -0.80 percent as compared to expectations of +0.50 percent and April’s reading of -2.00 percent. While the overall reading appears unremarkable, residential construction spending was 5.30 percent higher in May.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates in the aftermath of Great Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.48 percent.15-year mortgage rates averaged 2.78 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was 2.70 percent. Discount points were also lower at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively.

Jobless reports jumped due to the end of the school year; New York State in particular allows some workers to file jobless claims when schools are closed. 268,000 new jobless claims were filed as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 258,000 new claims.

Consumer confidence rose in June, but consumers were surveyed before the Brexit vote. Consumer confidence increased to 98.0 in June as compared to May’s index reading of 92.40.Stronger job markets and stabilized gas prices were seen as contributing factors that boosted consumer confidence.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include several labor-related reports including Non-Farm Payrolls, ADP Payrolls, June’s national unemployment rate and minutes of the Fed’s last FOMC meeting. Freddie Mac’s survey of mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims will also be released.

Pay Off Your Home Faster with These Mortgage Tips

Pay Off Your Home Faster with These Mortgage TipsThe monthly mortgage payment that goes into purchasing a home is frequently the most expensive cost per month that most people will incur, and that means that it can be helpful to know the tricks of the trade in squaring away this payment more quickly. If you’re looking for some simple tips to get your mortgage paid off a little sooner, here are some pointers that will help you get to this goal.

Make Bi-Weekly Payments

It may seems like enough of an expenditure to pay your mortgage once a month, but making payments every two weeks can actually greatly reduce the amount of interest you’ll end up paying. For example, if your monthly payment happens to be $400, this would equate to $4800.00 in payments for the year. However, if you pay bi-weekly, this will actually increase your payment per year to $5200.00. While it may not seem like a significant difference, this can break down the principal and save you a lot of money on interest

Pay It Off With Extra Funds

It can be so easy to get used to the standard payment schedule that putting extra money down just seems like a burden, but if you receive an inheritance, a raise or get a bonus at work, you may want to consider putting this extra money towards your mortgage instead of a splurge! While smaller monthly payments will decrease your mortgage over time, a lump sum can help you see the difference in your monthly payment right away, which is a boon for paying it down further.

Keep Up-To-Date On Your Mortgage Options

Many people would rather forget about their mortgage and stick to what they’ve worked out when all’s said and done, but it’s a good idea to keep abreast of what’s happening on the market in case it can positively impact your mortgage. By keeping up to date on interest rates and more recent mortgage options, you may be able to negotiate a better deal or at least stay on top of your monthly payments in the event of an interest rate increase.

The monthly mortgage payment schedule can be a bit of a burden for many people, but there are ways to pay off your mortgage more quickly that can easily improve your sense of financial wellbeing. Contact your local mortgage professional for more information.