Archives for June 2017

A Quick Look at Reverse Mortgages: The Golden Ticket to Enjoying Your Golden Years

A Quick Look at Reverse Mortgages: The Golden Ticket to Enjoying Your Golden YearsWith a high volume of millennials set to enter the real estate market this year, it may seem like all the available options out there were created to snag new home buyers. However, there are products available on the market that cater to those who are in their golden years too. If you’re older than 62 and are currently weighing the options with your mortgage, here are the basics on reverse mortgages and why they might positively benefit you.

The Scoop On Reverse Mortgages

It may seem like this mortgage option hasn’t been around that long, but it was actually created in 2009 following the recession. Known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (HECM), this product is specifically directed at those who are retired or close to retirement that want to tap into the equity in their home. This option is only beneficial for those who plan on staying in their home long term, the loan is paid off at the time the homeowner moves out or passes on.

What Are The Requirements?

Because a reverse mortgage enables the homeowner to tap into the equity they’ve already paid into their home, there are many requirements involved in using this type of mortgage product. In addition to being 62 or older, the homeowner will have to have a high amount of equity in their home. They will also have to prove that they have the financial ability to make their monthly payments, in addition to being able to pay the insurance and property taxes on the property. The homeowner will also have to comply with the requirements set out by the Federal Housing Administration.

Is It The Right Choice?

Like any mortgage product, it’s important to determine before choosing this mortgage product that it’s right for you. While a reverse mortgage gives the benefit of providing access to cash and allows you to put your money elsewhere, it can end up costing more down the road since interest will continue to accrue on the principal amount owing. Before diving in, ensure that you do the calculations and consult with a professional to ensure it’s going to be a financial benefit in the end.

A reverse mortgage can be a great means of accessing cash for homeowners who are 62 or older, but it’s important to weigh all the financial aspects before making a final decision. If you’re currently looking into your mortgage options, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

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!

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in April

Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index indicated slower home price growth in April. Year-over-year, home prices rose 5.50 percent in April as compared to 5.60 percent in March. Year-over-year readings are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

Case-Shiller’s 20 City Home Price Index was also lower with a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year reading of 5.70 percent gain in April as compared to the year-over-year March reading of 5.90 percent. Seattle, Washington held on to its lead for home price growth with a year-over-year reading of 12.90 percent; Portland Oregon followed with a year-over-year reading of 9.30 percent, and Dallas, Texas maintained third place in the 20-City Home Price Index with a year-over-year reading of 8.40 percent.

MonthtoMonth Home Prices Rise in 19 of 20 Cities

Seattle also led in home price growth with a rate of 2.60 percent from March to April. Portland followed with home price growth of 1.60 percent, and Denver, Colorado reported month-to-month home price growth of 1.30 percent, which edged Dallas Texas out of third place in month-to-month home price growth rates.

Analysts have been watching housing markets carefully due to a prolonged shortage of homes for sale against high demand for homes in many areas. David M. Blitzer, Chair and Managing Director of the S&P Indices Committee, noted that skyrocketing growth in home prices must slow and eventually decline. During a press conference, he asked,” Will home price gains gently slow, or will they crash and take the rest of the economy with them?”

Analysts questioned how long home prices can continue to grow and remain sustainable. Affordability is a significant aspect of home price growth as first-time and moderate-income home buyers provide opportunities for present homeowners to sell and move up to larger homes. Mr. Blitzer eased fears of an imminent housing market crash and said, “For the moment, conditions appear favorable for avoiding a crash.”

Mr. Blitzer said that more housing starts and an expected increase in home buyers were positive signs for sustaining current home prices. Upcoming readings on consumer confidence and sentiment, new home sales and mortgage rates will support estimates of when and how much home prices will continue to increase.

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key Items

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key ItemsWhether you’re finally prepared to get into the real estate market or you want to know how you can make a deal quick, there are a few necessary documents you’ll need to prove your reliability to a mortgage lender. If you’re wondering what will be involved in getting the application approval you’re looking for, here are the documents you’ll want to have on hand when the time comes.

Previous Tax Returns

In order to ensure the earnings information you’ve provided to the lender, you’ll have to have your tax returns for the two years prior to your mortgage application. In addition, you may also be required to provide your W-2s as backup documentation.

Bank Statements

To make sure you’re a solid bet who will be able to make your down payment, you’ll need to present bank statements to ensure you have a cushion in the case that interest rates increase. If you do get money gifted to you for your down payment, you’ll need a letter to prove you’re not indebted to the provider.

Recent Paystubs

It can be much more difficult to get approved for a mortgage if you have a patchy work history or happen to be self-employed, so you’ll need 2 months of recent pay stubs to prove consistent employment. The paystubs provided should also be an accurate reflection of the salary you’ve provided on your application to ensure no discrepancies.

Investment Statements

It’s certainly a good sign to the lender if you have a healthy balance in your checking and savings accounts, but you’ll also need to provide any statements for mutual funds and other investments. While they may not be necessary to prove financial soundness, they will help with approval if you have a lot of money squirreled away.

A Listing Of Debts

While it may be the least popular of the pile, a lender will also want to know about any outstanding debts like auto loans, credit card payments or student loans. It may be tempting to forego these documents, but it will give the lender a good sense of your honesty and your ability to manage your mortgage.

Mortgage approval may seem like a time-consuming process with no certain end, but by having the appropriate documentation and being upfront about your debts, you may be able to speed up the timeframe. If you’re currently perusing your mortgage options, contact one of our mortgage professionals for the inside scoop.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 26, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously owned homes. Despite expectations of lower sales in both categories, sales surpassed expectations and April sales. Analysts were concerned about extremely tight inventories of available homes limiting home sales and did not expect May home sales to increase.

May Home Sales Surpass Expectations

Sales of new homes increased to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 610,000 sales as compared to expectations of 590,000 sales and an annual sales pace of 593,000 homes in April. Home builders have repeatedly cited a lack of buildable lots and skilled labor, but growth in new home sales could prompt more housing starts. Real estate industry pros insist that building more homes is the only way to ease tight inventories and high demand for homes.

Existing Home Sales, National Median Home Price Rise

Sales of previously-owned homes also increased in May according to the Commerce Department. Pre-owned homes were sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 5.62 million sales as compared to expectations of 5.51 million sales and April’s reading of 5.57 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that the current sales pace is “unsustainable” and that “would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search due to short supplies of homes for sale.” The national median home price rose 5.80 percent to $252,800 year-over-year.

Regional readings for existing home sales were mixed. Sales of existing homes were 6.88 percent higher in the Northeast while the Midwest was -5.90 percent. Existing home sales increased by 2.20 percent in the South and 3.40 percent in the West.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported slightly lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for all three mortgage types: The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.90 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.17 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent across the board.

New jobless claims reported week rose to 241,000 and exceeded expectations of 240,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 238,000 new claims. Week-to-week fluctuations can be volatile; the four-month rolling average of new jobless claims rose by 1,00 claims to 244,750 new jobless claims filed. New claims have remained below the benchmark reading of 300,000 new claims for 120 weeks, which is the longest consecutive run since the 1970s.

Analysts said that while job markets remain strong, employers continue to have difficulty in finding skilled candidates for jobs offered.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news releases include Case-Schiller Housing Market Index reports, pending home sales and inflation. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Understanding How Mortgage Calculators Work and When to Make Use of One

Understanding How Mortgage Calculators Work and When to Make Use of OneInvesting in a home is a big financial decision, and along with the decision to buy is the question of how much mortgage you’ll be able to afford. While your debt-to-income ratio can be helpful in determining the range for your mortgage amount, a mortgage calculator can be a beneficial tool in coming to a potential price. If you’re curious about how and if this financial tool can benefit you, here are the details about using a mortgage calculator.

What Does It Do?

It’s very important to ensure that you can afford your mortgage before signing on the dotted line, and a mortgage calculator can assist with this. Most calculators utilize the principal amount of the loan, the interest rate and the amortization period in order to find a monthly payment that is foreseeable for you. While a debt-to-income ratio and the advice of a mortgage professional can be helpful, a calculator can be a quick determination of the overall cost involved.

How Accurate Is It?

Some mortgage calculators can utilize a pretty simple formula to come up with an estimate, but some are more complex and can calculate PMI, home insurance, and even property tax to arrive at a sum. The most accurate calculators will utilize the principal, interest, taxes and home insurance in order to determine an estimate that is feasible for you. However, it’s important to understand that you’ll need to enter the information accurately and leave out as little as possible, as this can have a dramatic impact on the calculation’s reliability.

Should You Use One?

A mortgage calculator can be beneficial in providing you with an estimate, but it should not be the be-all-end-all when it comes to making the final decision. It’s important to consider your current lifestyle and your future plans to ensure that your monthly payment will remain do-able down the road. While a calculator is a good place to begin, it’s worth consulting with a lender to get an idea of how much home you can afford. Since they’ll be required to provide a GFE with the fees disclosed, this will be the best means of understanding the costs.

A mortgage calculator can be a good means of estimating your house-buying ability, but it’s important to get the advice of a lender before making the big decision. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

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

Summer's Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color PaletteNow that the summer season has arrived, it’s time to enjoy the warm weather and cooler clothes. You might also 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.

3 Ways to Earn Some Spare Cash to Help Pay Your Mortgage Down Faster

3 Ways to Earn Some Spare Cash to Help Pay Your Mortgage Down FasterA mortgage is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make in your life, and for many, the idea of being indebted to it for years can seem like quite a burden. However, while you won’t necessarily be able to pay off your home with instant savings, there are ways that you can pay it down more quickly. If you’re wondering how to drum up some extra money for your mortgage, you may want to consider the following options.

Refinance Your Mortgage

One of the best ways to get a hold of extra funds is by lowering the amount you owe, and refinancing can be a way to do this. Since the interest rate on your mortgage adds up to additional money spent over time, getting a lower rate can easily minimize your monthly mortgage payment. It’s just important to be aware of all the costs associated with refinancing beforehand so that you can be sure the choice will result in money saved and an improved financial outlook.

Review Your Budget

Budget may be a dirty word for many people, but when it comes to scrimping for your home, it may be one of the best weapons you have in paying down your mortgage. Instead of looking elsewhere, sit down and review your budget to ensure your expenditures aren’t out of line with your income. It may seem too good to be true but, in all likelihood, you’ll be able to find a few places you can cut back for a little extra money each month.

Get A Second Job

It may not be the best option if you’re already working hard at your day job, but getting a job on the side can end up being a great way to find extra cash without limiting your lifestyle. Whether you decide to work in a restaurant or pick up a freelance gig on the side, there are plenty of options that may quickly add up to a more-rapidly reduced principal. You may even want to find something you already enjoy so it feels less like work.

The idea of paying down your home more quickly may seem out of reach, but by re-considering your budget and considering other employment, you may be able to hustle up some additional funds for your investment. If you’re preparing for home ownership and are considering your mortgage options, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

One-stop Shopping: The Quick and Easy Guide to Buying a Home the First Time You See It

One-stop Shopping: The Quick and Easy Guide to Buying a Home the First Time You See ItMost people peruse the real estate market for a while before they bite down and decide to invest in a home. However, whether you’re in a rush or you think you’ve found the ideal place, it’s possible you may be ready to put in an offer on the first visit. If you’re trying to determine how you can get the home you’re looking for the first time around, here are a few things to be aware of when going in.

Are There Any Maintenance Issues?

If you’re planning on putting in an offer right away, it’s imperative to take a look around at any maintenance issues that jump out. You may not be able to notice all of the things that might be in need of fixing, but watch out for things like peeling paint, windows drafts and small fix-ups that haven’t been completed. This will give you a sense of what the overall home maintenance is like and may be a good sign of whether the home is a solid bet.

What Are You Willing To Pay?

Many people have an idea of what they want to spend, but it often flies out the window as soon as they see their dream home. It’s important, however, to keep in mind what kind of offer you want to put down and not stray too far from it. This will ensure that you pay a reasonable price for your home and won’t be stretching your monthly budget. It’s just important to be ready to negotiate!

What Do You Really Want?

It’s easy to get swept away by the excitement of investing in a home, but if you’re planning to buy you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for so you can avoid buyer’s remorse. Instead of making a split decision, write down a list of the things that you absolutely must have and the things you can do without. If you find a great place, you might be willing to let go of them in the moment, but review the list before making an offer to ensure it’s the right choice.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 19, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, core inflation, and the Federal Reserve’s FOMC statement. The NAHB Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits issued were also released, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Inflation fell by -0.10 percent in May, which was lower than the no-change reading expected by analysts based on April’s reading of +0.20 percent. The core inflation reading for May, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, grew by 0.10 percent. Analysts had estimated a gain of 0.20 percent based on April’s reading of 0.10 percent growth.

Builder Confidence Slips, Housing Starts and Building Permits Lower

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index was two points lower in June with an index reading of 67. Each of the three component readings for the HMI was also two points lower than May’s readings. While any reading over 50 is considered positive, builders cited ongoing concerns with shortages of lots and labor challenges to builder confidence and new home construction.

Housing starts and building permits issued were lower in May. 1.09 million starts were reported on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 1.23 million starts and April’s reading of 1.16 million starts. Builders started fewer multi-family housing developments and concentrated on single-family homes. Housing starts fell year-over year and were lower for the third consecutive month.  Fewer building permits were issued in May according to the Commerce Department. Building permits were 4.90 percent lower than in April and hit a 13-month low.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Fed Raises Target Federal Funds Rate

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.91 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage increased by two basis points to 3.18 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.15 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types and were unchanged from the prior week.

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee raised the target federal funds rate to 1.00-1.25 percent as expected. Consumer loan and mortgage rates typically rise along with the federal funds rate. Last week’s dip in the inflation rate could cause rates to fall in coming weeks.

New jobless claims fell to 237,000 last week as compared to an expected reading of 244,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 245,000 new jobless claims. Strong readings in the labor sector suggest that job markets are healthy, but can also be influenced by workers leaving the workforce. Unemployment claims require workers to be actively seeking employment.

Consumer sentiment fell to an index reading of 94.50 in June as compared to an expected reading of 97.30 and May’s index reading of 97.10. The University cited consumer uncertainty related to recent political events as the cause of waning consumer confidence.