Monday, November 30, 2015

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 30, 2015

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 30 2015 Although last week's economic calendar was cut short by the Thanksgiving holiday, several housing-related reports were released. The FHFA reported on third quarter results for its Housing Market Index and the Commerce Department reported on new home sales for October. Freddie Mac released its weekly report on mortgage rates and data on new weekly jobless claims was also released

FHFA, Commerce Department report Gains for Home Prices, New Home Sales

Home prices for mortgages associated with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased 1.30 percent during the quarter ended September 30. This was the 17th consecutive seasonally adjusted quarterly increases for home prices based on sale-only transactions. FHFA home prices rose by 0.80 percent from the second to third quarter of 2015 and rose by 5.70 percent from third quarter 2014 to third quarter 2015 readings.

New home sales rose by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10.70 percent to 495,000 sales based on a downwardly revised September reading of 447,000 new home sales.

New home sales results were mixed according to the Commerce Department. Sales of newly built homes rose by an astounding 135.30 percent in the Northeast and increased by 8.90 percent in the South and by 5.30 percent in the Midwest. Sales of new homes declined in the West with a reading of -0.90 percent.

Home shoppers received good news as the median price of a new home fell 6 percent to $281,500. Inventory of new homes increased to its highest level since 2010. Higher inventory could ease demand and rapidly rising home prices associated with low supplies of new homes for sale.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Lower

Average mortgage rates varied last week according to Freddie Mac. 30-year fixed mortgage rates were two basis points lower at 3.95 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.18 percent, and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was three basis points higher at 3.01 percent. Average discount points where 0.70 for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and averaged 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell from the prior week's reading of 272,000 new claims to 260,000 new claims. Analysts expected a reading of 270,000 new claims. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims was unchanged at 271,000 after an adjustment to the prior week's average of 270,750 new claims to a weekly average of 271,000 claims filed over the previous four weeks.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic news includes reports on construction spending along with Labor Department releases on the national unemployment rate and Nonfarm Payrolls. Freddie Mac's report on mortgage rates and weekly data on new jobless claims will be released as usual.

Friday, November 27, 2015

S&P Case-Shiller: September Home Prices Gain Across U.S.

SP CaseShiller September Home Prices Gain Across US Home prices increased across the S&P Case Shiller 20-City Home Price Index in September. According to the 20-City Home Price Index, Year-over-year home price gains increased to 5.50 percent from August's reading of 5.10 percent. 17 cities posted higher year-over-year price gains in September as compared to August.

Western cities led price gains with San Francisco, California reclaiming its lead with a year-over-year gain of 11.20 percent in September. Denver, Colorado followed with a year-over-year gain of 10.90 percent and Portland, Oregon achieved the third highest year-over-year home price gain of 10.10 percent. Phoenix, Arizona had the longest consecutive run of year-over-year price gains for ten months and had a year-over-year gain of 5.30 percent.

Month-to Month Home Prices Indicate Stronger Housing Markets

After seasonal adjustment, the 20-City Home Price Index reported a month-to-month gain of 0.60 percent in September with home price gains in 19 cities. David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the S&P Indices Committee, said that home prices are growing at more than twice the rate of inflation. While this is good news for home sellers, it also means that home buyers are finding that home prices are rising faster than other economic sectors. Rising home prices present a challenge for first-time and moderate income home buyers. First-time buyers drive housing markets as their home purchases bring new demand into the market and allow current homeowners to move up to larger homes.

Mr. Blitzer also said that in spite of widespread media coverage of the Federal Reserve's likely plan to raise its target federal funds rate from 0.00 to 0.250 percent to 0.25 to 0.50 percent in December, the increase in the federal funds rate should not cause an major rise in mortgage rates, which are expected to stay near 4.00 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Based on readings for national median income, median home price and average mortgage rates, Mr. Blitzer said that affordability for homeowners within the median income range who were buying median priced homes had "slipped recently."

Year-end reports on housing markets and general economic conditions will likely cause adjustments to forecasts for home prices and affordability. Strong labor markets may improve affordability for home buyers and the actual impact of any Fed move to raise rates will influence housing markets and home prices in 2016.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thinking About Downsizing? Here's What You Need to Know About Life in a Condo

Thinking About Downsizing? Here's What You Need to Know About Life in a CondoThe shift from home living to condo life may seem like a minor one, but there are plenty of things that will differentiate your lifestyle other than size when it comes to making a condominium purchase. If you’re contemplating this move and wondering about some of the things that this might entail, here are a few factors that are worth considering.

The Fees You’ll Have to Pay

While a smaller condo is unlikely to have the same associated costs as a large home, you will be paying a monthly condominium fee that will be covering maintenance and insurance so that many repairs and upgrades won’t have to be paid out of pocket. While this cost will not cover each and every maintenance issue that can occur in a condo, it should keep you covered for many standard home costs. When purchasing a condominium, it’s important to read about what this monthly fee entails.

The Life of Central Living

Life in the suburbs can often mean that you’re far away from the amenities of the city, but many condominiums are built in areas that are full of restaurants, pharmacies, cultural centers and grocery stores which are only a short distance away. If you don’t mind getting into the car to run your errands, this might not be that important to you, but if you enjoy the exercise and like having amenities close by this type of living situation can be a welcome change.

Less Room for Stuff & Storage

Condo life can certainly eliminate many of the responsibilities of having a home, but if you’re downsizing there’s a possibility that you may have to get rid of a large number of items to successfully fit into your new space. If you’ve thought about the decision a lot and are convinced that condo living is the right choice, it’s still worth considering how much storage space you will have in your new home so that you can plan for this change, and shift your living style to fit the demands of a smaller space.

There are a lot of things to think about if you’re planning to downsize into a condo, but if you’ve considered the space you’ll have to work with and the conveniences that will make your life easier, you’re probably already prepared for the shift. If you’re curious about condo living and options available in your area, you may want to contact a local real estate agent for more information.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Existing Home Sales Fall More Than Expected

Existing Home Sales Fall More Than Expected Sales of previously owned homes reached 5.36 million sales on a seasonally adjusted annual basis and fell by 3.40 percent in October according to the National Association of Realtors®. Rising home prices and a shortage of available homes strained housing markets. Concerns over potentially higher mortgage rates may have sidelined home buyers as concerns over an anticipated rate hike by the Federal Reserve persisted. Many analysts expect the Federal Reserve to raise rates at its December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which oversees the Fed's monetary policy. Raising the target federal funds rate would cause consumer interest rates and mortgage rates to increase as well.

Shortage of Available Homes Could Lead to "Inventory Crunch" Next Spring

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors®, cited concerns over the shortage of homes for sale. He said that a persisting shortage of available homes could lead to an inventory crunch during next spring's peak selling season.

Home prices increased by 5.80 percent year over year to an average of $219.600. Rising home prices impacted decreasing sales in the West and South while home sales held steady in the Northeast, where home price growth was the slowest

First-time Home Buyers Lag in Home Purchase Numbers

Although first-time buyers represented 31 percent of home buyers in October, which was a two percent increase over September's participation, first-time home buyers usually represent approximately 40 percent of buyers of existing homes. First-time buyers are important to housing markets as they generate sales of homes by homeowners wishing to move up or relocate.

First-time buyers can be adversely affected by home prices and mortgage rates; a shortage of first-time buyers could create further slowdowns in home sales. There is good news due to steady job growth, which is important to those who are considering buying a home. Strict mortgage credit requirements are showing signs of relaxing and home builders are encouraged by current and future housing market conditions.

The National Association of Realtors® forecasts that 2015 sales of pre-owned homes at a level of 5.3 million sales, which would be the highest sales rate since 2007. Sales of existing homes are expected to rise by 3 percent in 2016, but mortgage rates and affordability will continue to influence actual sales and overall health of housing markets in the New Year.

Monday, November 23, 2015

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 23, 2015

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 23 2015 Last week's economic events included reports the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and the release of minutes for the most recent meeting of the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee. The details:

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Markets Dip

The National Association of Home Builders reported that builder confidence dropped to a reading of 62 as compared to October's revised reading of 65. Any NAHB reading above 50 indicates that more builders are positive about market conditions than not. NAHB's assessment of housing market conditions is based on readings for three aspects of current and future market conditions. November's reading of 67 for current housing market conditions was three points lower than October's reading of 70. Expectations for market conditions for sales of single family homes over the next six months fell by five points in November to a reading of 70. Builders' sentiment about prospective buyer foot traffic in new single family developments rose by one point to 48.

Home builders started more new homes than at any time since September 2007; analysts cited wage growth and low unemployment figures along with high demand for homes as driving builder confidence in housing markets. Demand for homes continued to exceed homes available for purchase, which is a driving force for builder confidence.

NAHB Regional Builder Confidence Readings

Regional readings provide a snapshot of regional housing market conditions on a month-to-month bases and on a three month rolling average. The monthly readings for November were lower except for the Western region, which gained one point for a reading of 77. The Northeastern region held steady with a reading of 52; the Midwest's reading also decreased by one point to 59 and builder confidence in the Southern region fell by five points to 62.

Monthly regional readings for home builder confidence can be volatile due to regional economic conditions; the NAHB provides a three-month rolling average for its four U.S. regions. In November, the Northeast region reported a reading of 50 which was three points higher than October's reading. The Midwest region was unchanged from October's reading of 60; the South also reported no change from its October reading of 65. The Western region posted an increase of 69 to 73 over the three months between August and November

Housing Starts Lowest Since Spring Floods

According to the Commerce Department, housing starts fell by 11 percent to an annualized reading of 1.06 million in October. This was the lowest reading since last spring, when construction was adversely impacted by flooding. September's reading was adjusted to 1.19 million starts. Meanwhile, building permits issued rose by 4.10 percent to an annual rate of 1.15 million starts in October.

While housing starts fell by 18.60 percent in the South, permits issued rose to their highest level since 2007. The South is the most active region for home construction and accounts for half of all new home construction in the U.S.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower Mortgage rates fell across the board last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by one basis point to 3.97 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell two basis points to 3.18 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was five basis points lower at 3.03 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims also fell last week to a reading of 271,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 270,000 new claims filed and the prior week's reading of 276,000 new claims filed. Lower jobless claims indicate further strengthening of labor markets, but seasonal hiring may have positively impacted the reading for new jobless claims.

What's Ahead Next week's scheduled economic news releases include several housing reports. Existing Home Sales, the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index, FHFA House Prices and New Home Sales will be posted along with regularly scheduled reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. There will be no economic reports released on Thursday or Friday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Friday, November 20, 2015

How Do I Know If I Am Ready To Buy A Home?

How Do I Know If I Am Ready To Buy A Home? As you’ll see in this video, you can find out by asking yourself some questions:
  • Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)?
  • Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years?
  • Is my current income reliable?
  • Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
  • Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments?
  • Do I have money saved for a down payment?
  • Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?
If you can answer "yes" to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Remodeling 101: How to Create a Proper Budget for Any Renovation, Large or Small

Remodeling 101: How to Create a Proper Budget for Any Renovation, Large or SmallWhether you're readying to put your home on the market or you haven't updated your space in a while and want to modernize, approaching renovations can be a struggle. With so many things to fix up, both large and small, it can seem overwhelming to prioritize, set the money aside and get to work. If you're having trouble figuring out where to begin with budget, here are some tips for how to properly prioritize so you can maximize your renovation expenditures.

Determine What Is Most Important

Whether it's the tile floor in your bathroom or the outdated kitchen sink, if the need for an upgrade in a certain part of your home has been staring you in the face for a while, you'll want to begin there. By determining your first priority and the no-frills cost assessment of completing it, you can arrive at the cost of what renovating the item will mean. Once you're in the ballpark, you can then move on to any additional features or accessories that may perk up your basic renovation.

Add A Little Extra To The Budget

The downside of any budget is that costs will always come along that were not predicted, and they can entirely break the bank and your original projections. Instead of hoping for the best, add some extra money to the outline of total expenses for your renovation so you can be prepared for some of the hiccups that will come along. This will ensure that you have the financial wherewithal to complete the renovation and won't be disappointed in the final outcome for your finances.

Consider Where You Can Cutback

Whether you've been dreaming of a new living room set for a while or replacing the flooring in the kitchen, you can update the area of your choice while still economizing in other ways. For example, if you're going for modern eclectic in your living room, you may want to splurge on an updated couch, but you may be able to save by purchasing a retro coffee table online or a unique side chair that's secondhand to go along with it. This may provide a unique upgrade, without all the expense of in-store purchases.

It can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to revamping your house, but it's important to start with what you really can't live without and move outward from there. If you're curious about home renovations and how they can improve the market value of your home, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more tips.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's Not Just a Mortgage: Understanding the Financial Implications of Buying a New Home

It's Not Just a Mortgage: Understanding the Financial Implications of Buying a New HomeWhen it comes to home ownership, the biggest buzzword of them all is mortgage and it’s often all people think about when it comes to price. While the ‘m’ word will be a large part of the expense that goes into owning a house, it’s important to be aware of all of the other costs that are aligned with having a home. From taxes to utilities, here are some of the other items that you won’t be able to do without once you’ve made the big purchase.

The Perils of Property Tax

Outside of the mortgage, one of the other more marked expenses you’ll be paying when you delve into home ownership is property tax, which will be determined by the place you live in. While this amount can be quite pricy or more modest, you’ll be able to determine how it will impact your bottom line by dividing it into twelve monthly costs per year.

All the Utilities that Matter

In a small apartment where many utilities are often included, power and heat might seem like a minor cost, but a bigger space means a bigger cost when it comes to the basic necessities of home life. From heating your home during a cold winter to using the stove, this can be a significant cost if you have a sizeable living space.

The Necessity of Insurance

Insurance may seem like something you can forgo if you’re in an apartment building, but when you’ve already invested considerably in the purchase of a house, it’s very important to protect your assets. With insurance, you can often customize a package that will best serve the interests of your home in case something goes wrong.

Don’t Forget About Maintenance!

One of the great things about having a landlord is that you don’t have to worry about small fix-ups like your cabinet falling off or your kitchen sink springing a leak. Unfortunately, when purchasing a home you become your own landlord and this means that the responsibility for all the issues that arise is in your hands, so you‘ll have to pay out of your own pocket.

There are a lot of costs that go along with purchasing a home, but by being prepared and knowing what they are you can make a more informed decision. If you’d like to know more about other costs associated with home ownership, you should consider contacting your local real estate expert for more information.

What Are the Advantages to Paying off Your Mortgage Early? Here Are a Few That Might Entice You

If you're looking into fixed term mortgages, you might be wondering whether there's any reason why you should take the full term to pay off the loan. In a lot of cases, paying off a mortgage before it comes due is a great decision. If you're considering paying off your mortgage early, you'll experience a variety of benefits – here are just a few of them.If you're looking into fixed term mortgages, you might be wondering whether there's any reason why you should take the full term to pay off the loan. In a lot of cases, paying off a mortgage before it comes due is a great decision. If you're considering paying off your mortgage early, you'll experience a variety of benefits – here are just a few of them.

You'll Save Thousands In Interest Payments

By and large, the single biggest advantage of paying off a mortgage early is the money you'll save in interest. The longer you take to pay off your mortgage, the more you'll pay in interest overall. In fact, on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you'll pay as much in interest as you do in principal over the course of the loan – but if you pay off a $300,000 mortgage five years early, you'll save $60,000 in interest charges, assuming an interest rate of 5.5 percent

You'll Greatly Improve Your Credit Score

A mortgage is quite a sizeable debt, and the longer it takes you to pay off your mortgage, the longer it'll weigh down your credit score. Paying off your mortgage early will boost your credit score quite substantially, which means you'll be able to take out loans to buy an investment property and start earning income on a second home. And with your first mortgage paid off, you'll have a significant amount of new money coming in.

You'll Free Up Your Cash Flow

Once you've paid off your mortgage, you'll free up a great deal of monthly income – which you can invest into mutual funds, a savings account, trips around the world, or a college fund for your children. With so much extra cash available every month, you'll be able to save, invest, and spend more freely – and that means you'll meet your financial objectives sooner.

Paying off a mortgage earlier than expected may seem like a daunting challenge, but with discipline and a solid plan in place, it's very possible. And best of all, paying your mortgage off early offers a number of great advantages that extend beyond just the financial. It'll offer a variety of lifestyle advantages and give you a great deal of financial freedom.

Want to learn more about how the mortgage process works, or discover great new strategies for paying off your mortgage sooner? Contact your local mortgage professional today to schedule a consultation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Embracing a Bidding War: How to Choose the Best Offer for Your Home

Embracing a Bidding War: How to Choose the Best Offer for Your HomeWhen the market is hot some sellers are lucky enough to be in a situation where they see multiple offers come through on their property. Now the only decision left is which one to choose.

It may be easy to look at the amounts offered and go with the highest one, but that is not always the wisest choice. There are several smaller factors that could mean the difference between a winning and losing bid.

Have Any Of The Buyers Been Pre-Approved For A Mortgage?

While an offer that comes in above the asking price can be very tempting, there is a risk that the entire sale can fall through if the buyer is not approved for a mortgage that large.

An easy way for a buyer to set themselves apart from the rest is to make sure they are pre-approved for a mortgage large enough to cover their asking price. This not only decreases the chances of the sale falling through at the last minute, but also shows which buyer is truly serious about purchasing the house.

Take A Close Look At The Terms

The amount being offered on a home should not be the deciding factor in a bidding war, especially if the offers are all so close. Taking a hard look at the terms in the contract will provide a better idea of which buyer should be taken seriously.

Which buyer has put up the most earnest money? A buyer who has deposited a low amount of earnest money may be more willing to walk away from the sale at the last minute, causing a severe headache. Are any of the buyers asking for appliances or fixtures to be included in the sale? These are the small things that can make the choice between offers that much easier.

Negotiate To Have Contingencies Waived

Many buyers will put a list of contingencies into the contract to give themselves an out on buying the home. These include waiting until their own home is sold, having the place inspected by a contractor or attorney reviews of the paperwork.

If only one buyer is willing to waive these contingencies that could be the person whose offer should be taken seriously. Other small factors to look at include closing dates that match up or offers that are made in cash.

A real estate professional in your area can help get multiple buyers interested in your home and assist with going through the offers to find the right one. Don't try to do this alone, find a professional today.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 16, 2015

The Fibromyalgia Diet: Healthy Eating Ideas That Could Help You Feel BetterLast week's scheduled economic news was sparse due to no scheduled releases on Monday and the Veterans Day Holiday on Wednesday. A report on job openings was released on Thursday along with regularly scheduled weekly reports on jobless claims and Freddie Mac's report on mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 3.98 percent from last week's reading of 3.87 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 3.20 percent from the prior week's reading of 3.09 percent; the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was also higher at an average of 3.03 percent as compared to the prior week's average rate of 2.96 percent. Discount points were unchanged for all three types of mortgages at 0.60 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose last week to 276,000 claims filed against the expected reading of 268,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 276,000 new jobless claims filed. The Labor department reported 5.53 million job openings on September, which was the second highest reading since the inception of the job openings report in 2000.

The Labor Department also reported that the quits rate held steady at 1.90 percent for the sixth consecutive month. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that the Fed considers the quits rate an indicator of economic strength; if workers have enough confidence to quit their jobs for new jobs, this a strong economy. The quits rate has held steady for six months, which could signal to the Fed that the economy is not yet ready for a rise in interest rates that analysts expect to occur in December.

U.S. News recently cautioned that a combination of rising home prices and interest rates could quickly cool housing markets as first-time and moderate income buyers are priced out of the market and other would-be buyers find it difficult to qualify for the mortgages they need to finance home purchases. Recent hikes in mortgage rates are a likely response to the anticipated Fed rate hike in December

What's Ahead

Next week's scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee. The minutes may provide additional insight into how Fed policymakers are approaching the decision about raising the target federal funds rate.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Goodbye, Junk! 5 Tips for Reducing the Amount of 'Stuff' You Need to Move to Your New Home

Goodbye, Junk! 5 Tips for Reducing the Amount of 'Stuff' You Need to Move to Your New HomeSwitching houses? Then now is the perfect time to finally go through all the clutter and make some tough decisions about what needs to move and what needs to go away.

There is no point in waiting until after a move to go through the junk lying around, as tempting as it may be, so here are five ways to decide what should find a new home before a move.

Start With A Trip To The Dump

Before starting the move, grab some garbage bags and do a sweep of the house, making sure to toss out anything that needs to go to the dump. This will clear up the home of anything unnecessary and makes it easier to throw out some items when there's no decision making pressure.

Decide What Furniture Will Be Replaced In Advance

A new home often means new furniture. By deciding in advance which items will be purchased new, homeowners can prepare to either sell or give away their older furniture before they move. Saving space and cutting down one extra step after moving in.

Sell Or Donate What You Don't Need

Holiday decorations are the perfect example of items that are only taken out once a year and tend to be replaced before they are ever reused. There are probably similar boxes or shelves in every home filled with items that will never be used again but are still held onto.

Now Is A Good Time To Go Through The Closet

Clothes are not looked at as seriously as other objects when clearing space because they can easily fold down or be tucked away. It's simpler for most people to just throw all their clothes in a box or travel bag before moving, but this is the perfect time to finally go through and donate anything that doesn't fit or is never worn.

Be Patient With Children

It is hard for kids to part with their toys, even ones they haven't used in years. These are part of their identity and telling them what they need to throw out can impact them emotionally and make a move that much harder. Sit down with the children and have a long talk about moving and donating items to see if they are ready to go through their things.

Thinking about buying a new home? The service of a real estate professional can go a long way in finding you the home of your dreams in the budget you are looking for.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Did You Know? Why a Mortgage Pre-qualification Meeting Might Be Your Best Use of 5 Minutes

Did You Know? Why a Mortgage Pre-qualification Meeting Might Be Your Best Use of 5 MinutesIf you're in the market for a mortgage, you may want to set up a pre-qualification meeting with a mortgage professional. Even if you're not 100% sure who you'd like to apply for a mortgage with, pre-qualification can still be a valuable step to take. And given that it only takes a few minutes, it's something every potential homeowner can do.

So why should you go to a mortgage pre-qualification meeting with a mortgage lender? Here are just a few reasons why it's a great idea.

It'll Give You A Good Idea Of How Much House You Can Afford

A mortgage pre-qualification is not the same thing as a pre-approval. When you pre-qualify for a mortgage, your lender will use information that you provide – information like your debts, your income, and your assets - to determine what size of a mortgage you can afford. This affordability information discovered during pre-qualification is then verified during pre-approval.

Pre-qualification usually doesn't involve a credit check, and it only takes a few minutes. The advantage of a pre-qualification is that it helps to guide your house hunt. When you know what kind of a home you can afford, it's easier to navigate the real estate market.

It'll Help You To Budget Your Expenses

A pre-qualification is a great way to get your household budget sorted out as a homeowner. When you pre-qualify, your potential new lender will tell you what kind of a mortgages would work best for you and your situation. That means you can easily budget for estimated mortgage expenses and know what to expect before you apply for a mortgage.

Some Agents And Sellers Require It

The pre-qualification phase is the first step in the mortgage process. When you're buying a home, agents and sellers will want to see that you have a good chance of getting a mortgage, as this makes the sale much easier. For that reason, a number of sellers and real estate agents highly prefer buyers who have been pre-qualified – and some of them simply won't sell to a buyer who hasn't been pre-qualified.

Mortgage pre-qualification is a great way to sort out your budget, determine what kind of a home you can afford, and persuade a seller to sell to you. And given that it only takes a few minutes to get pre-qualified, it's a simple step that simply should not be skipped. Contact your trusted mortgage professional today to learn more about getting pre-qualified for a mortgage.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Find Something Wrong During a Home Inspection? How to Discuss Repairs or Defects with a Seller

Find Something Wrong During a Home Inspection? How to Discuss Repairs or Defects with a SellerWhen it comes to selling a home, it is a common belief that once the offer is accepted, there is nothing else to be negotiated. However, issues and obstacles that can arise during the home inspection can be a cause for discussion with the seller. Whether you're currently searching for houses or your offer has already been accepted and you're preparing for the next step, here are some tips in the event that the home inspection isn't up to par.

Be Cautious About What You Say

Without a doubt, anything that you discuss with the real estate agent regarding the property you're looking at is going to be addressed with the seller. Instead of telling the agent everything is fine and dandy, maintain a poker face with any deficiencies in the home so you can assess them after the inspection. While a seller may think they have you on the line if all seems fine during the inspection, maintaining your peace and negotiating after the fact may end up providing a better post-inspection deal for you.

Decide What Deficiencies Are Most Important

Before negotiating any repairs or defects with the seller and how this can benefit you, ensure you prioritize what deficiencies must be fixed and what you can live without. There may be leaks and small dings in cupboards that may not be much of an issue, whereas damage in a hardwood floor that you don't want to renovate may serve as a deal breaker. Deciding what is most important will ensure that the seller knows you're really interested, and it will likely convince them that the fixes will make for a successful sale.

Request A Credit For Repairs

If a seller knows you're interested in a home, you may be able to get a little bit of leeway in terms of what you can negotiate following the inspection. Instead of expecting them to deal with the hurdles of home repair, ask the seller to consider a credit so that you can ensure the repairs are completed on your own. This will not only enable you to have the repairs completed the way you would like them done, it may also make the moving process a smoother transition for all of you.

There are certain deficiencies that can show up during the home inspection, so it's important to consider how re-negotiation can benefit both the buyer and the seller. If you're curious about home inspections and other aspects of purchasing a home, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for more information.

Monday, November 9, 2015

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 09, 2015

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 09 2015Last week's economic reports included releases on construction spending and several labor-related reports including ADP payrolls, Non-Farm payrolls, average hourly earnings and weekly jobless claims. Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates rose as the national unemployment rate decreased to 5.00 percent.

Labor Reports Show Mixed Results

Key readings on employment showed mixed results as ADP payrolls decreased to 182,000 from September's downwardly revised reading of 190,000 private sector jobs added. U.S. jobs expanded to a reading of 271,000 jobs added in October, which exceeded expectations of 180,000 jobs added and September's reading of 137,000 jobs added. This was the fastest pace for job growth in 2015 and fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates in December. In addition, the national unemployment rate dropped to 5.00 percent in October, which was the lowest unemployment rate in seven years.

Weekly jobless claims rose by 276,000 new claims, which exceeded the expected reading of 263,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 240,000 new claims.

In testimony before The House Financial Committee, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that the central bank's objective was to regulate financial institutions "in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system as a whole." This indicates that the Federal seeks to prevent threats to major financial institutions that could result in a repeat of the great recession in 2008.

Chair Yellen also said that the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC have written a rule requiring the largest financial institutions to show that any financial failure could be "resolved in an orderly manner through the bankruptcy court." These comments suggest that the Federal Reserve has ongoing concerns about the stability of the largest financial institutions and the economy; this could cause the Fed to take a wait-and-see attitude on raising interest rates in December. The Fed is expected to address interest rates in its December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which directs monetary policy for the Fed.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Construction Spending Dips

Average mortgage rates rose across the board last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-yar fixed rate mortgage rose by 11 basis points to 3.87 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose by 11 basis points to 3.09 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by seven basis points to 2.96 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.60, 0.60 and 0.40 percent respectively.

Construction spending slowed in September to a reading of 0.60 percent which met expectations based on August's reading of an increase of 0.70 percent.Construction spending slows as fall and winter seasons approach, but analysts are monitoring construction activity as low inventories of available homes continue to increase demand for homes and home prices in many areas.

What's Ahead

Next week's scheduled releases for economic reports are slim; no reports are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday markets are closed for the Veterans Day holiday. Freddie Mac will release mortgage rates on Thursday and the weekly Jobless Claims report will also be released. Other scheduled reports include retail sales, retail sales except automotive sector and the University of Michigan's report on consumer sentiment.

Friday, November 6, 2015

How Can I Improve My Home's Value?

 VIDEO: Improving Your Home's Value

Buyers generally seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can handle.

Like the person in the video says, you want to present a home that fits in the neighborhood but doesn't stand out too much. For example, if neighbors are all 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 3000 square feet additions that make your home 5, 4, and 4000 will make yours harder to sell.

Improvements should make it show well and fit well in the neighborhood. Last-minute capital investments in large structural changes arent likely to pay off. But cosmetic upgrades like paint and landscaping help a home show better and often do pay off. Of course, all systems and appliances should work to get a top price.

To make your home competitive and attract buyers and bids work with a professional real estate agent and start early. Call me today at 404.918.2500.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pulling the Trigger: 3 Reasons Why You'll Want to Move Fast when Buying a Home

Pulling the Trigger: 3 Reasons Why You'll Want to Move Fast when Buying a HomeWith all of the care and consideration that can go into deciding if a home is the right fit, it can add a wrench to the mix to realize that you may not have a lot of time to put in an offer. It's certainly important to weigh all of the factors of buying a home before deciding to put yourself in the ring, but here is why you'll want to come to a conclusion quickly when it comes to a home you love.

It's An Ideal Home, For You And Many Others

If you've finally found a home that you can see yourself and your family in, and you're seriously considering putting in an offer, there's a good chance that there are many other people who might also be quite interested in it. While you'll need to determine whether it's the right neighborhood, size and price before putting in an offer, you'll want to consider these decisions relatively quickly so that someone doesn't beat you to the punch.

A Quick Decision Means You're Serious

Most home sellers are interested in getting an offer that is quite close to their asking price, but like anyone, they can have intuitions about potential buyers and may be more comfortable with someone who is reliable. By posing an offer to the seller in short order, you will make them aware of your keenness and interest, and – at the end of the day – this may actually inspire more trust in them. If they need to sell the home quickly or are planning a move of their own soon, this can make a considerable difference.

The Prices Are Always Rising

If you've been perusing the market for a while, deciding to make an offer on a home you can really see yourself in may end up being a money saver. According to Zillow, the average rental price in the United States has risen by 14% since 2011 to $1400 per month, and home prices are also beginning to increase. This means that it's becoming an even better investment to put money into property instead of rent, so that you can make up the difference in your finances in the present and the future.

It's important to make an educated decision when deciding to purchase a home, but by deciding quickly if a home works for you and making your interest known you may have more success.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Looking to Close Faster? Follow This Easy Guide to Speeding Up the Mortgage Process

Looking to Close Faster? Follow This Easy Guide to Speeding Up the Mortgage ProcessIf you're buying a home, you'll want to try to get your mortgage processed as quickly as possible. Improperly filed mortgage applications are one of the biggest reasons why home sales get delayed, and if you have a hard move-out date already set, it's critical that your mortgage process goes smoothly.

With careful planning, though, you can shorten the mortgage process and get your financing approved faster. Here's what you need to do to speed up the approval.

Get Your Paperwork in Order Before You Apply

One of the biggest reasons why mortgages get delayed is because the applicant is missing a vital piece of paperwork. Something like a missing pay stub or a forgotten home insurance document can hold up the mortgage process, so make sure you have everything you need before applying for your mortgage.

When you apply for your mortgage, you'll need pay stubs dating back four weeks, plus a bank statement for the last 30 days. Note that you'll need the actual mailed statement from your bank – online screenshots don't qualify. You'll also need a homeowner's insurance declaration document and any legal documents pertaining to your finances, like a divorce decree.

Keep Your Finances Consistent Once You've Applied

Once you've started the mortgage approval process it's critical that you keep your finances fairly consistent, as major changes will mean your mortgage lender will need to restart the evaluation process. Try to avoid making larger than usual bank deposits, and don't take out a new loan or credit card. Keep your credit card usage similar to where it's been in the past.

If you do end up making major changes to your finances, make sure you send the proper documentation to your lender as soon as you can. Call ahead of time to make sure you know what you need to send.

Don't Forget to Mention Assets and Debts

Before your mortgage is approved, your lender will want to take a thorough look at your existing debts and assets. If you exclude information, your lender will need to spend extra time untangling the situation and determining your proper finances. Make sure you tell your lender about any and all investment properties you own, mortgages on other homes, or loan and credit card balances that are past due.

Getting a mortgage is a complicated process, but having your documents in order can speed things up and ensure you get your mortgage on time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Expecting Children: How to Quickly Move into a Larger Home Before a Baby Arrives

Expecting Children: How to Quickly Move into a Larger Home Before a Baby ArrivesStarter homes are incredibly popular for young couples who plan to have a family in the future but don't need a large place yet.

Life moves pretty fast sometimes and many couples find themselves expecting children before they have begun to look for the next home. This shouldn't be a problem, as moving into a larger home before the baby arrives can be a lot easier than it appears.

Always Move Before The Baby Is Born

There is a choice when upgrading a home for children: moving beforehand and settling down in advance of having kids or waiting until after having the child and dealing with a move later on.

It may be tempting to wait until the stress of a pregnancy is over to move into a larger home. After all, selling and buying houses can be a tiring process for anybody, let alone expectant parents. Just remember, no matter how difficult or stressful the move is it will be one hundred times worse after having kids

Work With A Professional To Help Coordinate The Move

There is nothing wrong with rushing through a purchase or the sale of a home, as long as everything is done correctly. A situation like this is never the right time to assume control and responsibility for every aspect of the move.

A real estate professional, once told of the situation, will know exactly how to handle everything. From preparing a current home for sale to finding a larger house in the right price range, a professional will have experience in coordinating the process.

Prepare For The Move In Stages

The best way to go about facilitating a quick move is to go in steps. Everything in the house that is not necessary to the staging should be boxed up and moved into temporary storage before the home is shown.

This is beneficial because it removes all clutter from the house and helps to make a quick sale and also allows for many personal items to be moved into the new house without having to wait for the current home's sale to close. Instead of one gigantic move, the process can be broken down into several smaller moves to relieve some stress.

When there is a deadline on a move, you can increase your chances of selling your current home and buying a new one by using the services of a real estate professional. When things are done fast they need to be done right and a professional with experience can facilitate the entire process while making sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 2, 2015

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 2 2015A number of economic reports released last week indicate mixed economic progress. The 20-City Home Price Index released by S&P Case Shiller showed that August home prices rose, but New Home Sales dropped in September. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve indicated that it may reserve the target federal funds range at its next meeting in December. Case-Shiller

Reports Higher Home Prices in August

August's 20-City Home Price Index issued by S&P Case Shiller showed that average home prices rose in 18 of 20 cities with Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California posting year-over-year increases of 10.70 percent. Portland, Oregon closely followed with a year-over-year gain of 9.40 percent. Cities lagging in home price gains were Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. with year-over-year gains of 1.90 percent and New York City with a year-over-year gain of 1.80 percent.

Higher home prices were seen by analysts as contributing to a lag in New Home Sales in September. The Commerce Department reported that pending home sales dropped by -2.30 percent as compared to August's reading of -1.40 percent. Fewer home sales in September were consistent with the winding-down of the peak spring and summer home buying season, but analysts cited higher home prices and concerns about cooling economic trends as factors contributing to slowing home sales.

Federal Reserve Hints at December Rate Hike

Economists and media have been trying to predict when the Federal Reserve will raise its target federal funds range, which is currently set at 0.00 to 0.25 percent. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Fed indicated in its post-meeting statement that rates could be raised in December, when the committee meets for the final time in 2015. While no specifics were given, eyes and ears will be paying close attention for precursors of a December rate hike. When the Fed does raise rates, mortgage rates and other consumer lending rates can be expected to increase as well.

October Consumer Sentiment decreased to a reading of 97.6 as compared to an expected reading of 101.6 and September's reading of 102.6; this suggests that consumers are increasingly wary of economic conditions as well as potentially higher interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by three basis points to 3.76 percent. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.98 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was also unchanged at 2.89 percent. Average discount points were 0.60 for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage.

Jobless claims were slightly higher with a reading of 260,000 new claims filed against expectations of 265,000 new claims and last week's reading of 259,000 new claims filed.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic reports include reports on Construction Spending, ADP Payrolls, the Non-Farm Payrolls report and the National Unemployment report. These reports are will provide information related to general economic conditions and labor trends.