Archives for February 2017

3 Mortgage Scams to Be Aware of and How to Protect Yourself From Them

3 Mortgage Scams to Be Aware of and How to Protect Yourself From ThemIt’s easy to be enthusiastic and excited about the prospect of home ownership, but it’s important to be aware that there are many ways potential buyers can be taken advantage of. From courses for homeowners to companies trying to make a quick buck, there are many things to avoid. If you’re on the market for a home and are trying to find the mortgage that will best benefit you, here are some of the tricks you may want to be wary of.

Forgetting About The Finances

The amount of home you can afford and will be approved for largely comes down to your debt-to-income ratio and your credit history, so if you’re not getting the tough questions about money, this may be a bad sign. While it’s not the lender’s job to make a budget for you and decide your month-to-month expenses, if they’re embellishing your financial well-being and presuming you can take on more house, you may want to look into another lender.

High Loan Costs

Since a mortgage generally requires the homebuyer to borrow money, there is an associated interest rate on the loan that is a percentage of the total price. While this is the cost of doing business, rates that exceed more than 5% should be questioned to determine what they’re made up of. While there can be a legitimate reason for a higher cost, it’s important to understand your options and costs with a variety of lenders so you can make an informed, financially-wise decision.

Mortgage Offers For Everyone

For those who have a poor credit history and do not have any savings, the idea of home ownership can seem like a pipe dream. Unfortunately, there are lenders that are willing to capitalize on this hope and will feed people – particularly those at high risk – the idea that they have the ability to buy. Instead of relying on a company that may take advantage and charge high interest rates, research the lender you’re dealing with to ensure they’re known on the market and have your best interests in mind.

The ultimate dream for many people is to own a home of their own, but it’s important to be aware of your mortgage options and your financial stability so you can avoid a bad experience. If you’re currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 27, 2017

Last week’s readings on new and existing home sales provided further evidence of strengthening housing markets. Both categories of home sales exceeded December’s readings. Consumer sentiment was lower in February than for January and average rates were mixed with fixed rates higher and the rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages lower. Consumer sentiment lower in February.

New and Previouslyowned Home Sales Higher in January

Home sales volume rose in January regardless of obstacles including higher mortgage rates and rising home prices. The National Association of Realtors® reported more sales of pre-owned homes in January. 5.69 million homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in January, which surpassed expectations of 5.57 million sales and December’s reading of 5.51 million sales of previously-owned homes.

New home sales also rose in January. 555,000 new home sales were reported, which fell short of 586,000 new home sales expected. 535,000 new homes were sold in December.

Mortgage Rates Mixed

Mortgage rates have traditionally been tied to the performance of 10-year Treasury notes, but this connection may be weakening due to uncertainty about current economic influences. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year mortgage rose one basis point to 4.16 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose two basis points to 3.37 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped two basis points 3.16 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New Jobless claims also rose last week; 244,000 new claims were filed as compared to expectations of 237,000 new claims and the prior week’s revised reading of 238,000 new claims. The weekly reading for new jobless claims remained below the benchmark of 3000 new claims. The less volatile four-week rolling average of new claims filed reached its lowest level since July 1973 and fell by 4,000 new claims to 241,000 new claims filed. Layoffs remain low, so week-to-week variances in new jobless claim filed do not necessarily indicate faltering job markets.

Whats Next

This week’s economic news includes readings on pending home sales, Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, pending home sales and inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

If Your Home Is Destroyed in a Natural Disaster, What Happens to Your Mortgage?

If Your Home Is Destroyed in a Natural Disaster, What Happens to Your Mortgage? When you’ve been in your home for a while and have established a certain amount of equity, it can be a good feeling to know that you have an investment you can count on. However, with changing weather patterns you may be afraid of a natural disaster striking and what it could mean for your financial well-being. If you’re curious about how this can impact your mortgage, here are a few things to consider.

Determine Your Protection

The thought of having your home adversely impacted by a natural disaster is bad, but it can be even worse if the proper precautions haven’t been taken to insure your house against its wrath. While there are certain calamities that will be less likely in your area and may be difficult to get insurance for, if you live in an area prone to floods or earthquakes, you should have protection against their occurrence. In all likelihood, if you’ve taken the proper precautions when taking on home insurance, your home should be prepared for what nature unleashes.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Whether you’re certain that your home is covered in the event of a natural disaster or not, it’s important to contact your insurance company as soon as disaster occurs so that you can make the necessary claim. This means that you’ll need to be able to explain what happened, the extent of the damage and provide photographic evidence of your claim so that you have the evidence to back it up. Once the worst has occurred, you’ll want to file a claim with the company as soon as you can to ensure you’ll get back what you’ve invested.

What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

Generally speaking, there are a number of natural disasters that are included under homeowner’s insurance including tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires. Insurance for disasters like earthquakes, floods and tsunamis can be purchased separately, while the occurrence of landslides and avalanches may be covered separately. It’s important when purchasing a home that you are covered against natural disasters that can occur in the area so your biggest investment is not at risk.

The occurrence of a natural disaster is stressful enough without having to worry about the possibility of your insurance not covering the damage. If you are currently looking into homeowner’s insurance and are considering a home purchase, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Selling Your First Home

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Selling Your First HomeIt’s often so exciting to think of buying a new home that homeowners forget about the sale, but there are a lot of details involved in putting a home on the market. Whether you’re just considering selling or are readying to put your home up, here are some things you might not know about the process.

Marketing Strategy Is Important

The days of putting a sign on the front yard and waiting for buyers are gone, so it’s important to have a strategy that will successfully highlight your house. Whether you decide to make a website, use social media or invest in a professional photographer, ensure you’re prepared to put your home out there.

The Right Price Is Everything

You have the ability to change your asking price at any time, but it’s best to hit the market with a price that is both reasonable and competitive. This will not only prevent your home from lingering on the market, it will make it more likely you’ll get the offer you’re looking for.

Fixing It Up Is Important

You might want to avoid minor fix-ups before selling your home, but maintenance issues can impact the offers you’ll receive. Instead of leaving these for the next homeowner, put time aside to do paint touch-ups, repair doors or insulate the windows so the small things don’t affect your offer.

Prepare To Pack

It’s great to receive an offer on your home, but packing up can be one of the most stressful aspects of moving. Instead of leaving this to the last minute, do some preliminary ‘spring cleaning’ to discard the stuff you won’t use and pack up the stuff you won’t soon need. This will make moving out a little smoother.

Be Ready For An Open House

It can be a pain to stage your home and leave on short notice to accommodate an interested homebuyer, but a good open house is one of your best bets for selling your home. This means your house should be clean and clutter free all the time so only a few last-minute fix-ups will be required.

There are a lot of things involved in selling your first home, but by completing the little fix ups and choosing the right price, you’ll be well on your way to an interested buyer.

Did You Know: 3 Reasons Why Mortgage Pre-approval Should Be Your Very First Step

Did You Know: 3 Reasons Why Mortgage Pre-approval Should Be Your Very First StepThere are so many details involved in the mortgage process that you may not be aware of what pre-approval is if you’ve just entered the market. However, pre-approval assesses your ability to make monthly mortgage payments and can be an important first step in the home-buying process. If you’re currently contemplating a home purchase, here’s why you may want to consider pre-approval first.

Improved Agent Attention

It may be a lesser-known fact, but it’s often the case that many real estate agents will not spend the time or put significant effort into a homebuyer that has not been pre-approved for a mortgage. While a good real estate agent will assist you in finding a home that’s right for you, if you haven’t gone through the necessary process of determining if you’ll be approved, they may think it’s not worth their time to show you houses you may not be eligible to buy.

A Benefit For Home Sellers

In the event that you happen to come across a home that you want to purchase and make an offer prior to pre-approval, there’s a chance the buyer will not waste their time considering it. Because the pre-approval process can determine errors in your credit history and there’s a wait involved, many home sellers will not want to be held up by this process to sell their home. As a pre-approval can reveal errors and bump up your credit score, it can also be of greater benefit for you to have an accurate number going into the home purchase.

Determines Your Financial Health

While a pre-approval is not a sure sign that your mortgage application will be approved, it can provide a detailed look at your financial health. This means that if you happen to have a less flattering credit history than expected, you can go back to the drawing board, saving more money and making payments, to try and bump up your credit. While this isn’t necessarily enticing for the person who is ready to buy, it can be a benefit for the type of home you’ll be approved for.

It’s common to want to get out into the market and find the perfect house at the right price, but pre-approval is an important process that will help you determine the house you can afford. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 21, 2017

Last week’s economic releases included readings on housing starts, building permits issued and the National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Fed Chair Janet Yellen testified before the House Finance Committee and consumer spending and core consumer spending reports were also released. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims were little changed week-to-week.

Home Builder Sentiment Slows as Industry Faces Obstacles

NAHB reported lower reading for its January Housing Market Index. January’s index reading was two points lower at 65 than December’s reading. Builders surveyed for the index cited ongoing shortages of buildable lots and labor, they also said that housing regulation were causing home prices to rise as new home prices are adjusted to compensate for feels associated with new construction. Any reading above 50 for the NAHB Housing Market Index is considered more positive than negative.

Builder concerns could raise additional issues for housing markets as a persistent shortage of homes for sale has driven prices up and caused fierce competition among home buyers. First-time and moderate income home buyers have been sidelined in favor of cash buyers in ultra-competitive metro areas. There was some evidence that rapidly escalating home prices may be approaching their peak. Home prices in San Francisco, California increased more slowly in recent months and were unchanged in January.

Housing Starts Lower; More Building Permits Issued

Fewer new homes were started in January as compared to December. 1.246 million homes were started in January as compared to December’s reading of 1.279 million new homes started. Winter weather can cause fluctuations in housing starts; more building permits were issued in January than for December. 1.246 million permits were issued for January as compared to December’s reading of 1.228 million permits issued.

Home builders were also concerned about rising mortgage rates as reducing affordability for would-be home buyers; Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated in her testimony before the House Finance Committee that economic conditions are normalizing and that the Fed would likely continue to raise the target federal funds rate as economic conditions continue to improve.

Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims /Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. Average mortgage rates were two basis points lower at 4.15 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages was four basis points lower at 3.35 percent. 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates were three basis points lower at 3.18 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were higher last week with 239,000 new claims filed as compared to an expected reading of 242,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 234,000 new jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and previously owned home sales and consumer sentiment index. Freddie Mac will report mortgage rates and new weekly jobless claims will be released as usual.

Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of Money

Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of MoneyIt may seem better to go it alone when it comes to acquiring a mortgage, but there are many benefits associated with using a mortgage professional that can make finding your dream home a lot easier. If you’re currently getting prepared to hit the market and are weighing your options, here are some reasons that a professional who knows the neighborhood will save you money.

Strong Market Knowledge

Many homebuyers can take a look at the MLS listings to find the price of properties selling in the area, but a mortgage professional will know the market without having to look at a book. This means that if you have an ideal house in mind, they’ll be able to determine the right offer for the home you’re interested in so you don’t end up spending time on research and paying more than you should.

Access To Lenders

It may seem like you can get in touch with any lender and they’ll be happy to provide you with a great deal, but because a mortgage professional will have a business relationship with many lenders, they will be able to get you a better rate. While you can approach lenders on your own, there’s a good chance you won’t get as competitive a rate.

Time Is Money

You may have set aside the time to invest into your home search, but trying to find the right home at the right price can end up taking a lot of time. You’ll also need to know the ins and outs of the procedures when it comes to making an offer and closing the deal. The benefit of a mortgage professional is they’ll already have experience at their disposal and will be able to do the legwork for you.

Closing Time

It’s great to find the house of your dreams on your own, but a mortgage professional will be well versed in closing the deal. Instead of having to go back and forth on any home inspection issues or final offers, they’ll be able to advise you so that you can get the home you want at the price you’re looking for.

While many people want to go it alone on the real estate market, using a mortgage professional can save you both time and money in finding the right place. If you’re preparing to buy a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

2017 Home Decor Trends: Stay on Top of Modern Trends With This Handy Guide

2017 Home Decor Trends: Stay on Top of Modern Trends With This Handy GuideNow that 2017 is here, it’s time to consider which upgrades you will make to your home. If you don’t have any major renovations planned, you can still tackle smaller projects or theme rooms. In today’s post we’ll explore some of the home decor trends expected to be popular in 2017.

Paint Colors: Confident, Composed & Comfortable

According to the color experts at paint company Behr, 2017’s trend colors express confidence, composition and comfort. If you plan on painting accent walls, rooms or even your entire home this year, these are worth exploring. Confident palette colors include the bluish-green Jade Dragon, the fiery red Hot and Spicy and more. The Composed Palette is a bit muter, with blues and grays like Laid Back Gray and Polished Aqua. For those that love pastels, the Comfortable Palette has many soft notes. Life is a Peach and Everything’s Rosy are two great light link options.

Replacing DIY With Artisanal

If you’ve owned your home for a while, you may find that over time your do-it-yourself projects have added up. While DIY upgrades are fun and cost-effective, if they don’t match or pair well they can throw off continuity in your decor. Consider 2017 a chance to replace some of your older DIY items with similar ones created by artisans. You can always gift, sell or repurpose yours to ensure they find use in a new home.

Enjoy Saving Energy With Heated Floors

Heated floors are one of 2017’s decor trends that combine luxury with responsibility. It might be tough to imagine that heated floors actually save energy, but it’s true. In-floor heating can actually heat entire rooms with less energy than other central solutions. Still using electric baseboard heaters in small areas like bathrooms? Consider heating your floors instead.

Climbing Plants Are The New Art

If you’re struggling with how to fill a blank space on a wall, consider climbing plants. Indoor vines like the Pothos (or Devil’s Ivy) can add a lively splash of green to a wall area. Or, consider using creeper vines that grow upwards. Even a small shelf with a few attractive potted plants can set off an entire wall. The more life you can add to your home, the better!

With so many colors, upgrades and DIY upgrades to choose from, 2017 is set to be a great year for home renovators.

4 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages — and Why You May Decide You Want One

4 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages -- and Why You May Decide You Want OneWith so many mortgage products available on the market, it can be hard to know which ones will serve you best as a homeowner. As a result, there are many mistruths surrounding the reverse mortgage products. If you’ve heard of this homeownership option and are wondering what it can do for you, let’s clear away some of the misconceptions.

You Must Own Your Home

It can certainly be helpful to own your home outright if you’re looking into a reverse mortgage, but it’s not actually necessary. Instead, it’s important for you to have a high amount of equity in your home so that lenders can be sure that you’re a solid financial bet. While the balance you should have on your home varies based on a number of conditions, it’s important to talk to your lender for the specific details involved.

Few Conditions Apply

You may have heard that any homeowner who acquires a reverse mortgage must be 62 years of age or older, but because a reverse mortgage is a mortgage product, there are a number of requirements involved in order to apply. In addition to having enough equity in your home, it must be your primary residence and you will have to prove that you can pay the property taxes, insurance charges and any maintenance costs consistently.

Home Ownership Is Relinquished

Due to the nature of reverse mortgages, many people believe that this type of loan gives the bank ownership of your home. However, the homeowner retains ownership because they are borrowing money against the value of the equity in their home. This means that as long as the payments on the home are maintained, the home will continue to belong to the homeowner.

Expensive Loan Fees

While reverse mortgages can come with more expensive rates because the monthly payments are deferred, it’s important to talk to a mortgage lender about these details to determine what they’ll mean for you. The associated fees will depend on the price of your home, your loan type and your interest rate, so you’ll need to be aware of what the costs are to you before moving forward.

There is a lot of information out there regarding reverse mortgages, but it’s important to do the research so you can be aware of how this product can benefit you. If you’re currently considering this type of mortgage, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Buyer’s Remorse: 3 Things You Should Never Say When You’re Negotiating to Buy a Home

Buyer's Remorse: 3 Things You Should Never Say When You're Negotiating to Buy a HomeThe prospect of finding the home you’ve always dreamed of can be such an exciting prospect that it’s easy to forget all about the process of negotiating. However, it’s important to keep a few things to yourself when it comes to the art of making the deal. If you’re currently searching for the right place and are preparing to sign on the dotted line, here are a few phrases it’s best to avoid.

Declaring It Your Dream Home

There’s nothing wrong with finding the ideal home and getting enthusiastic about the prospect of owning it, but it’s very important not to say too much to the homeowner or the homeowner’s agent. While it’s certainly welcome to be a polite home viewer and mention some of the features you like, giving away too much will inform the homeowner of just how much leverage they have with you. This can mean they may request a higher price since they know how interested you are.

What You’re Willing To Pay

It might seem up front and honest to declare the price range that you’re willing to spend on a home, but if a homeowner knows what your limitations are, they’ll likely push you past them. While you may be willing to pay more for a home you truly love, it’s important that you’re investing a reasonable amount into the home and not paying much over market value for your property. Instead of being too forward, keep your offer to yourself until it’s on the table.

Critiquing Their Price Point

If you’re truly interested in a home, it can be pretty difficult to realize that it’s not within your price range. However, it’s unnecessary to mention this to the buyer as it’s entirely possible that the price is comparable to other homes of a similar style in the neighborhood. After all, there’s always a chance that the home will stay on the market and drop down in value, and this may be the point at which you can get your foot in the door.

When it comes to buying a home, the process of negotiating can be fraught with stress for many people. However, it’s important to keep your price range and your impressions to yourself so that you can get the best deal possible.