Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Cheap Decor Ideas to Brighten up Your Bathroom

5 Cheap Decor Ideas to Brighten up Your BathroomDue to their size and the amount of work it can take to renovate them, bathrooms can be one of the least favorite rooms in the house for many people. However, there are little things you can add to instantly improve the look of this space. Instead of ripping out the tub or repainting, consider the following decor items for a much-needed boost.

Pick a Plant

A plant that can stand the heat of your bathroom is an instant way to add a new and natural element to an old, underappreciated space. With the addition of a deep, rich tone of green that will provide a pleasant scent and a unique shape, this is an instant, economical pick-me-up.

Add A Candle (Or Two)

Given the lovely scent that emanates from them and the dose of added color, candles can instantly change the appearance of a dram bathroom space. By adding one or two atop the toilet or on a cabinet, your bathroom will be a little closer to the spa experience.

Splurge On Fancy Bottles

If you're a fan of beauty and bath products, there's a good chance that you like to stock up on items like bath bubbles and shampoos; fortunately, items like these can make for a space that's instantly appealing. The next time you're at the drugstore, splurge on some beautifully packaged duds for some unexpected sophistication.

Replace Your Old Mirror

It may not seem like a mirror switch out will make much of a difference, but swapping out this stale household staple for a funkier version can completely change your bathroom. Whether you buy a new mirror with a funky frame or paint your old one a bold color, this will instantly revive the entire room.

Buy Some Colorful Towels

It may be a simple fix-up, but having a set of old towels hanging around can instantly downgrade the look of your bathroom. If your bathroom is a neutral color and you're looking for a little dress-up, accenting with a set of colorful towels will instantly switch up the mood.

From the tiles to the tub, the idea of renovating a bathroom can seem like a huge undertaking, but there are little decor items you can add that will really change its look. If you're renovating your bathroom and are preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate agent for more information.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage PaymentOnce you've purchased a home and decided on a move in date, it may seem like a lot of the hard stuff is over, but you still have one of the most important things relating to such a large purchase to think about: the payments! If you're looking for a few tips on ways to approach your monthly payment, the following will steer you in the right direction so you can broach your mortgage schedule successfully.

Set Up A Payment Schedule

Many people have been in the situation of neglecting their phone or credit cards by forgetting about the payment due dates, but this can cause a lot of strife when it comes to an investment as large as your home. Instead of leaving it to chance, choose a day each month and ensure that your bank is transferring the funds over automatically so you never have to worry about missing a payment. This will help you retain a reputation as a responsible borrower and it means you won't have to deal directly with this important expenditure each month.

Be Aware Of Ways To Pay

Instead of being in the dark about ways to pay your mortgage each month, talk to your bank about your options for making your monthly payments in a timely, hassle-free manner. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of home ownership, look into this as soon as you've signed off on the papers so you know the best way to approach each month. This will prepare you for your approximate total mortgage payment.

Is It Really Affordable?

If you're associated with a lender you trust, you've probably already been made aware of the amount of house you can and can't afford, but ensure you've sat down and thought about what all the added interest on your home means. While it can certainly be a huge financial commitment for anyone to commit to a monthly mortgage payment, being able to swing the expense consistently is the difference between financial well-being and a purchase you'll come to regret.

Making the decision to invest in a home can be one of the most exciting things you'll commit to in adulthood, but ensure you're aware of just what your monthly mortgage means so that it's not something you'll look back on. If you're currently on the market for a home, contact your local mortgage professionals for more information.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What Young Buyers Want: 4 Home Must-haves When Selling to Millennials

What Young Buyers Want: 4 Home Must-haves When Selling to MillennialsMany millennials are set to flood the real estate market in the coming years to invest in a home of their own, but what is it that this group of young people is looking for in their property? From sizeable kitchens to a sustainable ethos, here are some of the things that will likely appeal to millennials searching for an ideal place of their own to settle.

A Suburban Location

There's something to be said for city life, but many millennials are actually flocking to the safety and comfort of the suburbs in the hopes of finding more economical options for housing. With real estate prices going up all over and seeing even higher spikes in city centers, properties that offer a better price and a good-sized space are becoming a more desirable option.

A Carpet-Free Living Space

There was once a time when homes were carpeted top to bottom and it was considered the must have look, but in recent years hardwood has become all the rage with its easy-to-clean ability and durability. While there are many risks associated with carpet and its overall cleanliness, the low maintenance quality of hardwood is making it an absolute must for many homebuyers.

Smaller Is Better

The oversized mansion with 3 extra bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a huge yard used to be something that many homeowners idealized and aspired to, but with the rising cost of real estate and the awareness of all that goes into a home, people are shirking off this old world fairy tale. As opposed to sizeable estates, most millennials would prefer a space they can feel comfortable in and also maintain at the same time.

An Up-To-Date Area For Entertaining

Small-scale homes certainly feed the necessity for open spaces, but it just so happens that many millennials are also looking for great spaces for entertaining and an open concept kitchen achieves just this. Instead of four walls and outdated appliances, millennials want stainless steel, a lot of countertop space and a place they can comfortably hang out with their family and friends for hours on end.

Many millennials are currently perusing the market for their ideal starter home, but smaller homes with an open concept are often better when it comes to catching the interest of this group of buyers. If you're currently on the lookout for a great deal, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Monday, June 27, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 27, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week May 18 2015Last week's economic news was dominated by Great Britain's vote to withdraw from the European Union. New and Existing Home Sales were released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims

"Brexit" Vote Tanks Stocks, Could Cause Lower Mortgage Rates

US stocks plunged in reaction to the news of Britain's decision to leave the EU and the resignation of its Prime Minister. While investors don't want to see their 401(k) values crash, mortgage rates may also fall as a result of "Brexit". Fallout caused by economic uncertainty connected with Great Britain's move to regain independence is expected to have lingering influence on global financial and economic developments in coming months and years.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee that Great Britain's decision to leave the EU could have significant consequences. Chair Yellen's comments were made prior to Friday's announcement of Great Britain's decision.

Existing Home Sales Highest Since 2007, Home Prices Continue Rising

According to the National Association of Realtors® May sales of pre-owned homes hit their highest level since February 2007. May's seasonally-adjusted annual reading of 5.53 million sales fell just shy of analysts 'expectation of 5.55 million sales, but exceeded April's reading of 5.43 million sales. May's reading represented a 1.80 percent increase in sales and a year-over-year increase of 4.50 percent.

Short supplies of available homes continued to drive up home prices according to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, who expressed concerns about affordability as home prices continued to outstrip wages and inflation. The national median home price was $239,700 in May, which was 4.70 percent higher year-over-year. Although first-time buyers typically represent about 40 percent of homebuyers, they currently account for 30 percent of homebuyers.

New Home Sales Fall in May

Sales of new homes slowed in May after jumping in April. According to the Commerce Department, sales of new homes fell by 6.00 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. 551,000 new homes were sold against the expected reading of 560,000 new homes sold and April's downwardly revised reading of 586,000 new homes sold. New home sales were 8.70 percent higher year-over-year in May.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Last week's mortgage rates don't reflect the Brexit decision and rose slightly on Thursday. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 3.56 percent; the average rate for a 15.year fixed rate mortgage was also two basis points higher at 2.83 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.74 percent. Discount points rose to 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage but were unchanged at 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

What's Ahead

Next week's economic events include Case-Shiller Housing Market Indices, Pending Home Sales, Consumer Spending and Construction Spending

Friday, June 24, 2016

Getting to Know the Neighbors: 3 Tips for Building Good Relationships

Getting to Know the Neighbors: 3 Tips for Building Good RelationshipsOne of the factors involved in feeling truly comfortable in your community is the relationships that you've been able to establish with the locals in your neighborhood, but it can be hard to know how to nurture a good relationship. Whether you're moving to a new home soon or are wondering how to make some nearby friends, here are some simple tips for ingratiating the ones that live closest to you.

Offer up Your Favorite Dish

It might seem like a bit of a risk, but one of the best ways to get to know your neighbors is to knock on their door and bring along your favorite treat as an offering. Whether it's your famed banana bread or your best chocolate chip cookies, simply showing up on the doorstep with treats in hand will ensure your neighbors know that you want to get to know them, and they'll likely be happy to return the favor down the road!

Throw A Little Party

If you don't want to go through the trouble of taking treats over to all of your neighbors, you may want to consider throwing a party or backyard barbecue at your home for a more effective means of meeting everyone. By putting flyers around the community, you'll easily interest other neighbors in your newfound presence on the block. As well, if you don't want to go through all the planning of a big party, you can also make it a potluck style meal so everyone can share their own dish.

Make A Habit Of Neighborhood Walks

It's certainly the least complicated of all the other options, but short walks through your neighborhood may also produce the most success in getting to know more about your neighbors. If you have a pet or a child, these tend to be automatic conversation starters, but a simple smile or 'hello' will also do the trick in making your face familiar. It also means you'll get to know people over time and will be able to build a solid relationship.

It can often be hard to know how to integrate into a new community, but a simple smile or knock on the door can mean a lot when it comes to building a friendship with your neighbors. If you're currently on the hunt for a home in a specific neighborhood, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How To Host A Successful Open House

How To Host A Successful Open HouseFrom fixing up all the minor repairs to cleaning the house top-to-bottom, there are a lot of small details that go into organizing the perfect open house. However, in the rush to organize everything, there are a number of to-do's that are easy to forget about. If you're currently prepping your home and don't want to miss the important stuff, here are some things you should contemplate before setting the date.

The Outside Look

The first thing potential homebuyers will notice when they arrive at your home is the outside, and that's why it's so important not to neglect it. Before organizing your open house, make sure the lawn is mowed, any unsightly hedges are trimmed and that your entrance area and flowerbeds are well maintained. Since potential homebuyers will see the outside before anything else, there's no sense in losing them for having a disheveled lawn before they've even walked through the door.

Effectively Market The Event

Many home sellers want to believe that their house will sell itself, but if no one knows about your open house or bothers to show up, there's no chance of getting any offers. While your real estate agent should be featuring your home on their website, you may also want to hand out flyers to your neighbors and make a few posts on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. There are no assurances when it comes to drumming up interest, but spreading the word with as many people as possible will likely find a few interested parties.

Use The Five Senses

It may not be the most common advice, but engaging potential buyers on a number of different levels can actually enhance the appeal of your home. Playing a little music can be a good way to make them feel comfortable, and you may want to do a little baking beforehand since the sense of smell can have a powerful impact. It may seem a little bit quirky, but there's nothing to make people feel comfortable and at home like the scent of freshly baked treats and a little music.

There's plenty of cleaning and organizing when it comes to an open house but it's also important to look at the big picture when it comes to prepping for your home showing. If you're nearly ready to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How to Market Your Home to Renters Online

How to Market Your Home to Renters OnlineMany people think that marketing their home is best left to the realtor since they have the expertise and knowledge to succeed at selling. However, there are plenty of ways that you and your realtor can approach the marketing for your home for an even more positive impact. If you've made the decision to put your home on the market as a rental, here are a few tips so you can be sure to find the right renters

Make Use Of Social Media

Sites like Craigslist have long been popular for finding a place to rent, but in the times of social media, there are plenty of other ways to reach people who are looking for apartments or homes. Instead of having to rely on traditional means of marketing, take to Twitter or Facebook to post about your home rental and include a few pictures with a brief description. Not only will this reach all your friends and followers, it will ensure that they can pass the information along too.

Create A Home Website

There are many old-school means of marketing a home to interested parties, but the tricks don't necessarily change when it comes to finding an ideal renter. If you're entrusting your home to the reliability of renters, a professional website with a respectable realtor is still one of the best means of attracting the right crowd. With a selection of professional photos and a complimentary description, you should have a few good options in no time.

Splurge On Professional Pictures

There's a reason that professional photography is expensive, but when it comes to marketing your home online, a good picture is one of the best tools you have in finding your audience. Because a professional photographer knows all the small stuff about lighting and accentuating your home's best features, they'll be able to provide you with the kind of images that are sure to capture attention. In addition, a professional photograph can go a long way towards getting the rental price you're asking for.

There was a time when renters walked the neighborhood to find the best rental options, but with so much of the search having gone online, there are other ways to market your home to potential candidates. If you're planning on purchasing a second home and are putting your own up for rent, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

3 Things to Consider Before Renting to Students

3 Things to Consider Before Renting to StudentsWhether you have a second property that you're going to move into or you're planning on being away from your dwelling place for a while, you may be considering putting your home on the market in order to boost your financial outlook. While students comprise one demographic that is always entering the rental market to scoop up available properties, here are some things you may want to consider before deciding on a younger renter.

Will Your Home Be Rented Consistently?

Many students will require a place to rent out since most of them don't have the money savings or stable income to purchase a home, but if you're doing this to make ends meet on your properties, renting to student may not be the best way. While some students may plan on hanging out over the summer, there are those who will be heading home in order to live with their parents and save money for the Autumn semester. A contract's a contract, but a renter can always flee the coop if it's inconvenient.

Will They Take Good Care Of Your Home?

From furniture to family mementos, most people's home is pretty personal to them, and that's why it can be of supreme importance to have a renter that will respect your home and take good care of it in your absence. While there are plenty of responsible students in the world, you should ensure before settling on anyone that it's someone you really trust who won't damage your house or wake up the neighbors every Saturday evening.

What Rental Price Are You Looking For?

If you're trying to make financial ends meet with your property, you'll probably want to charge the maximum amount you can while still having a renter in your home. The risk with students is that they may not be able to pay the dollar amount you're looking for so that you can effectively maximize your investment. While this doesn't necessarily mean you're taking the financial brunt, it's important to get the monthly amount that your living space can garner on the market.

There can be a number of downfalls when it comes to renting to students, but there's also the possibility that you'll have a responsible renter who will stick around for more than a couple seasons. If you're currently on the market for a second home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 20, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week January 18 2016Mortgage rates fell after Federal Reserve policymakers decided not to raise the Fed's target federal funds rate. The Federal Open Market Committee cited ongoing concerns over global financial and economic developments and slow jobs growth as factors in its decision not to raise rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen emphasized the committee's decision-making process is not predetermined and said that ongoing review of current and developing news is significant to monetary policy decisions.

Last week's economic news also included the NAHB Housing Market Index, the monthly inflation rate and retail sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims

Home Builder Confidence Rises in June

According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Home builder confidence rose one point to a June reading of 60. May's reading was 58 and analysts expected a reading of 59. June's reading broke a four-month streak of unchanged readings. Sub-readings used to calculate the Housing Market Index were one point higher at 64 for current market conditions. Builders had higher confidence in market conditions for the next six months. June's reading was five points higher at 70. June's reading for buyer traffic remained below the benchmark of 50 at 47. The NAHB gauge of buyer traffic in new homes hasn't hit 50 since the peak of the housing bubble.

National inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was lower in May at 0.20 percent as compared to April's reading of 0.40 percent; analysts expected a reading of 0.30 percent. Core inflation held steady at 0.20 percent; the core reading excludes volatile food and energy sectors, but energy prices, fuel prices and food are major components of household budgets.

The Federal Reserve has set an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent as a benchmark reading for its consideration or raising the federal funds rate. Readings have remained consistently lower in recent years, which contributed to the Fed's decision not to raise interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Fall as Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed and adjustable mortgages last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped f six basis points to an average of 3.54 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.81 percent, which was also six basis points lower. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 2.740 percent. Lower mortgage rates are welcomed by first-time and moderate income homebuyers as home prices continue to rise.

New jobless claims rose to 277,000 as compared to an expected reading of 270,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 264,000 new claims. Analysts attributed the jump in new claims to seasonal influences including new claims filed by school workers eligible for benefits when classes aren't in session.

What's Ahead

Next week's scheduled economic reports include reports on new and existing home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. A monthly reading of consumer sentiment will also be released.

Friday, June 17, 2016

4 Financial Benefits of Home Ownership

4 Financial Benefits of Home OwnershipHome ownership may be one of the most familiar goals of adulthood, but there's more than one reason why so many people flock towards this type of investment and leave the rental market behind. If you're trying to decide if you should make the big plunge towards buying, here are some benefits of saving up for a down payment and finding the right place to settle in.

It's More Economical

Many people eschew home ownership simply because it can be hard to wrangle together the funds for a down payment. However, while a monthly rental is money you'll never see again, the money you put down on a mortgage is being invested back into your home, making for a solid investment you can capitalize on later.

Instant Tax Deductions

The interest that you pay on your mortgage payment can be one of the most tumultuous aspects of purchasing a home, but you may not know that you actually have the ability to deduct many associated costs on your taxes. From origination fees to property taxes, there are plenty of costs that go along with your home that can be claimed for a refund when tax time comes!

Paying A Lower Price

The real estate market fluctuates every day, but one thing is for the certain: the median price of a home is on the rise. While low inflation rates may not be ideal if you're selling, they can mean a better deal if you're delving into the market for the first time. Just remember, it's important to buy a home you can afford as anything that goes beyond your budget is not a solid investment.

A Built-In Savings Account

It may be important to have liquid assets outside of the equity you have in your home, but many people struggle to pay off their home and save money at the same time. While saving outside of your monthly mortgage payment is still important, putting money down on a home is an act of investing, and it's one you'll likely make a solid profit on when you decide to sell.

There can be many financial benefits to renting in the short term, but purchasing a home is a more solid financial decision when it comes right down to it. If you're considering a home and would like to know more about your options, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fed Monetary Policy: No Rate Increase in June

According to its post-meeting statement issued Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve voted not to increase its target federal funds rate. The target federal funds rate will remain at 0.250 to 0.50 percent.

Based on review of current and anticipated financial and economic events, the Committee cited slowing job growth and momentum of inflation-based compensation as reasons supporting its decision. While the national unemployment rate recently fell to 4.70 percent, FOMC members saw room for growth in employment. Unemployment rates are calculated based on active workforce members and do not include those who are under-employed or who have left the workforce. Global influences on the Fed's monetary policy include uncertainties about China's economy and the possibility that the United Kingdom may exit the European Union.

Housing markets and household spending improved, but the Fed cited lagging business investment and dismal jobs growth as concerns that led to a unanimous decision not to raise the federal funds rate.

Analysts characterized FOMC members as being "dovish" as compared to previous meetings. Only one member expected a single rate increase this year at the April meeting, but six members expected only one rate increase at June's meeting.

In a post-statement press conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that while a rate increase is possible at FOMC's July meeting, she noted that there is no post-meeting press conference scheduled, which would make it more difficult for the Fed to explain its decision. Analysts also said that a rate increase is unlikely in September in advance of national elections in November.

Inflation remains below the Fed's goal of two percent and is expected to do so for the short to medium term.

Fed Chair Cites Changing Economic Conditions, Forecasts Incremental Rate Hikes

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during her post-meeting press conference that current economic conditions indicate that gradual rate hikes are needed to ensure ongoing economic growth. Rate hikes, when and if they occur, would increase very slowly and are expected to remain "accommodative."

Clair Yellen said that each FOMC meeting is "live," which means that meeting agendas and actions can flex according to current developments that influence monetary policy. The FOMC has repeatedly said that its decision-making is primarily based on members' constant evaluation of developments affecting domestic and global economies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to Plan for a Smooth Move-in

How to Plan for a Smooth Move-inWith all of the rigmarole that goes into packing up your old home and moving into the new one, there are a lot of details that can get lost in the mix. From cleaning up the old house to handing over the keys, there's no shortage of small tasks that need to be completed. If you'll soon be prepping for the exciting move into your next home, here are some ways to prepare yourself for this busy time.

Do A Spring Clean, Even When It's Not Spring!

Spring cleaning may be something that people only do once a year, but it's actually a great way to prep for the move you're about to make. Instead of thinking on a smaller-scale though, you'll want to hit every room in your house so there's less to pack up come moving time. While no actual cleaning will be necessary until you're moving out, this pre-clean is the perfect opportunity to discard unwanted items, shred old papers and drop off any old and unworn clothes in the donation bins.

Write And Review Your To-Do List

Whether there are supplies you need to buy before the big moving day or a few minor touch-ups that you'd like to complete on your house, start compiling a list of all the things you need to do before and on the day you're scheduled to move. While these small details can add up to a lot of work, a list will mean that nothing is left behind or forgotten that can create extra headaches when there's no time to deal with them.

Keep A Separate Box For Essentials

Many homebuyers get so excited about the premise of packing that they stick a lot of important items in a box and send them along on the moving truck, but a few boxes with the much needed essentials should be brought along with you. Whether its cosmetics or available food items, having the things you'll need is the only way to ensure a bit of added comfort on your first night in your new home.

Packing up your stuff and moving into your new home is a considerable task, but by being prepared and doing a little cleaning in advance, you can make the process a little bit easier for you and your family. If you're currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

3 Must-do Home Inspections Before Putting Your Home on the Market

3 Must-do Home Inspections Before Putting Your Home on the MarketAlmost everyone who has made the leap to home ownership has heard the stories about what a home inspection can reveal, but many are not aware of the primary issues left out in the cold when it comes to the inspection. Whether you're surveying your home on your own or will be arranging an inspection shortly, here are the most common things that are missed when it comes to the final review.

A Weathered Roof

One of the most important parts of a home is the roof, which keeps everything contained within safe, but outside of the minor details that are obvious from the ground, there aren't a lot of home inspectors that take more than a quick look at its condition.

As this can have a huge impact on your home offer come inspection time, it may be worth calling in a licensed roof inspector so you can determine any problems beforehand and get them patched up before they adversely affect the price you're offered

Secure The Siding

Many things in the home are expertly outlined in the home inspection report so inspectors will spend the time to check them out, but siding is another item that often flies by the wayside. While damaged siding may not be clearly obvious, if there are any issues with it, it can cause significant problems for your home down the road. Instead of leaving this up to chance, you may want to request that your home inspector check these items out for your (and the buyer's) benefit.

HVAC Issues

The HVAC system in your home is responsible for heating, cooling and general ventilation, but many inspectors evade taking a closer look at these systems because they don't want to put it through the extremities of hot and cold in case it causes damage. As there may also be notes in the home inspection report that alleviate the inspector of this responsibility, you may want to make calls on your own end for a specialist to test out the functionality of your system.

There are many pieces of the puzzle when it comes to an effective home inspection, but some of the most important parts of your home may not be included in the paperwork. If you're planning on putting your home on the market soon and are looking for an experienced agent, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Monday, June 13, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 13, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 13, 2016Last week's economic news was highlighted by Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech in Philadelphia. Although Chair Yellen alluded to future Fed rate hikes, she did not specify when Fed policymakers would next raise the target federal funds rate.

Increases in the fed funds rate typically signal increases in consumer credit and home mortgage rates. Last week's speech was seen as a precursor to the Federal Open Market Committee statement that will occur at the conclusion of next week's FOMC meeting.

Chair Yellen is also scheduled to give a press conference after the FOMC statement next Wednesday.

Mortgage rates and new jobless claims also fell last week.

Fed Chair Speech: Fed Rate Increases Likely, but Subject to Economic Developments

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that remarks would be "largely favorable" although economic developments were "mixed." Chair Yellen cited economic progress toward the Fed's dual goal of achieving maximum employment and price stability. Labor benchmarks included national unemployment below five percent, rising household income and indications of rising wages were cited as positive signs for economic expansion.

Slowing job growth and inflation staying below the Fed's goal of 2.00 percent were cited as signs that the U.S. economic recovery is underway, but Chair Yellen also said signs of slower job creation along with uncertainties in global economic conditions and oil prices prevented short-term predictions about how the economy would perform.

Fed Chair Yellen also repeated her usual caution that Fed policy is not set in stone, but instead is subject to FOMC members' ongoing review of economic developments and related readings.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.60 percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.87 percent, which was five basis points lower than the previous week. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was six points lower at 2.82 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three loan types tracked by Freddie Mac.

New jobless claims were also lower at 264,000 new claims filed against expectations of 270,000 new claims and 268,000 new claims filed in the prior week.

What's Ahead This Week

This week's scheduled economic news includes the Fed's post-meeting FOMC statement and press conference, reports on the consumer price index and core CPI, housing starts and the NAHB Housing Market Index. Reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released according to their weekly schedule.

Economic indicators such as price inflation, rising mortgage rates and housing data impact housing markets and consumers' ability or willingness to buy homes.

Friday, June 10, 2016

4 Home Decor Websites to Inspire You

4 Home Décor Websites to Inspire YouFrom DIY projects to the aisles of IKEA, there are plenty of ways for those looking to dress up their home to come up with unique and fun decorating options. However, with the instant accessibility of the Internet, there's no reason you can't search the world over for other's people great ideas. If you're looking for new tips and tricks, here are some websites that may inspire your own miniature renovation.

Limitless Art At Lumas

Finding the perfect portrait for your living room or bedroom wall has long been one of the last struggles of home decorating, but with you don't have to conduct a search of the very best portraits. Instead of waiting for the ideal piece, just search this website created by two art collectors for items by new artists, signed images and economical options that will provide a wide variety of great wall coverings.

DIY Designs From Pop Sugar

With a lot of great images and ideas for what you can do all over your home, Pop Sugar – formerly known as Casa Sugar – is ideal for getting a smattering of instant ideas on how to change up your favorite living spaces. From things to do for your studio apartment to ways your furniture can compliment your astrological sign, there are few limits to the kind of advice you'll find.

Vintage Offerings At Rubylane

As one of the largest websites of its kind, Rubylane provides one of the most extensive collections of vintage and antique items available anywhere. With so many web searches that offer up pages and pages of the goods you're looking for, there's no reason you can't locate whatever unique item will kick up your room a few notches on this popular design site.

Small Sized Design With Small Furnish

With so many people looking to deck out their studio apartments and small houses, decor and DIY ideas for smaller spaces are becoming more popular, and no website can capitalize on this need quite like Small Furnish. Featuring everything from items for your laundry room to wall mounted laptop stations, this website will give you great small-scale ideas with an arty design ethos in mind.

It can be hard to know where to begin with decorating your home, but there are plenty of online options that will give you great ideas for how you can upgrade. If you're currently on the market and are considering options for your next home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How Technology Is Creating an Easier Mortgage Approval Process

How Technology Is Creating an Easier Mortgage Approval ProcessFrom saving up for a down payment to sussing out the ideal lender, there are so many things involved in purchasing a home that can make it seem like a rather complicated undertaking. However, like a lot of things in our lives, technology has streamlined the process in recent years. If you're currently searching for a home on the market, here are some new technological advancements that may make buying a little easier for you.

The Smart Phone Advantage

The paperwork and requirements associated with a mortgage may not have changed much in recent years, but smart phones have provided us with the instant ability to see all the necessary documents from anywhere. While there was once a time it required a lot of time in front of a computer, smart phones have enabled people to fill in, review and reply to documents on the go, which makes for a much more efficient – and mobile - process.

The Implementation Of The E-Signature

It may seem like something that has been around for a while, but up until recently an approving signature on a document had to be provided in person. With all the mortgage documents that are needed to get the ball rolling, this type of approval took up a lot of extra time. Nowadays, instead of having to rush out to sign a paper, our mobility and legal laws enable anyone applying for a mortgage to be able to provide an e-signature, which means there is no waiting around on the backend.

Consult Your Local App

Almost everything has an app these days, and the mortgage process is no different. While there is still a lot of paper and information required in order to get approved, the growing availability of mortgage apps enables you to instantly determine how much your monthly payments will be and what the real cost of your home is when it's all added up. Instead of the guesswork, these apps can help you answer the question of whether or not a home is the right price. The mobility and ubiquitous nature of today's technology has made a lot of things much easier, and the mortgage process is no exception. From apps that can better manage your mortgage to the use of e-signatures, there's no reason getting a mortgage loan has to be rife with stress. If you're looking into buying a home, please contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

3 Ways to Add Emotional Cues to Make Buyers Feel at Home for a Quicker Sale

3 Ways to Add Emotional Cues to Make Buyers Feel at Home for a Quicker SaleThere are a lot of ways you can effectively stage your home to snag the attention of potential buyers, but there are often a few extra things you can do to really engage the senses of your guests. If you're hoping for an instant offer and are pulling out all the stops to sell your home, here are some ways you can emotionally engage with visitors to your home.

Carefully Choose Your Color Scheme

You probably already have a fairly distinct color palette in your home, from the couch you've purchased to the tone of your paint, but that doesn't mean you can't spice it up with a few carefully chosen pieces. Neutrals like white, brown and grey are a great place to start, but instead of letting the room speak for itself, add a punch of color - like bright pillows or a bold throw - that will add instant appeal and make your home a little more memorable. Just remember that it's important to use colors and patterns that aren't too bright, as these can overwhelm your space.

Remove Your Most Personal Items

Many homeowners think it's a great idea to have a lot of personal items around to draw people into their house, but too many items like this can actually distract your guests and may even make them feel uncomfortable. Before organizing your open house, ensure that you remove excess personal items like fridge photographs and frayed posters. Instead, stick with items like artwork or coffee table books which will still exude personality but won't make potential buyers feel like they're intruding

Consider The Sense Of Smell

The senses are often drastically under-appreciated when it comes to staging your home, but they can actually go a long way in getting a lot more interest. Because smell can provide other positive cues that merely looking cannot, baking some cookies or muffins beforehand can be a powerful means of providing a great first impression and making visitors feels like they're home. The addition of room spray or music may also mean potential homebuyers won't mind lingering a little longer.

Successfully staging a home can be a matter of common sense, but engaging a buyer's emotions can go a long way towards making an even better impression. If you're preparing to put your home on the market in the near future, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

4 Negotiation Tips for Home Sellers

4 Negotiation Tips for Home SellersWhen you've already placed your home on the market, it can seem like the stress is over once you've received the offer, but the buck doesn't stop there. Instead of being caught off guard when the time comes to negotiate, consider these tips that will assist in making the sale.

Rely On Your Agent

Once you're at the point where you've received an offer and are unsure as to whether you should take it, it's a good idea to sit down and discuss the options with your agent. Because a real estate professional will have plenty of experience with this part of the process, they'll be able to guide you through what's an acceptable offer and what you should pass on.

Sell Until It's Signed

It's very exciting to receive an offer on your home, but a verbal offer is not set in stone so don't forget about other interested parties that are still in the mix. Since a buyer's purchase of your home won't be official until they've signed a contract and put down a deposit, make sure you to keep in touch with other potential buyers that might have an offer if your best option backs out.

It's Not Just About Money

It's great to receive the asking price you're looking for, but there are many things to consider with the sale of your home. In the event that your home inspection has come up with a few maintenance flaws, you may need to adjust the price for your buyer. As well, it's possible your buyer may not be ready to move in when you're ready to move out, so be sure to consider any issue that may impact the final sale.

Don't Hold On To Your Price

There are no set rules when it comes to price, but if you haven't received any offers and your house has been on the market for more than 60 days, there's a good chance it's time to sit down with your agent. While it's great to know all of the negotiation rules, if your price is set to high for the market, you're not going to have the opportunity to get to the table.

There are plenty of negotiation strategies to consider when it comes to selling your home, but staying in the game and trusting your agent can go a long way towards a successful sale. If you're planning on putting your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Monday, June 6, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 6, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 6, 2016Last week's housing related news was limited to Construction Spending and Freddie Mac's mortgage rates survey, but labor reports suggested an economic slowdown may be in the works.

Construction Spending Slips in April, Mortgage Rates Mixed

According to the Commerce Department, overall construction spending slipped in April to -1.80 percent as compared to March's reading of +1.50 percent and May's expected reading of +0.70 percent. Residential construction spending was 1.50 percent lower, which doesn't help ongoing shortages of available single-family homes. Builders have repeatedly cited labor shortages and lack of developed lots as obstacles to building more homes. Year-over-year construction spending was 4.50 percent higher.

Freddie Mac reported higher rates for fixed-rate mortgages while the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 1.87 percent. Rates for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage averaged two basis points higher at 3.66 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgages were three basis points higher at 2.92 percent. Average discount points were unchanged for all loan types at 0.50 percent.

Labor Reports Indicate Slowing Jobs Market And Economy

According to the Non-farm Payrolls report for May, U.S. jobs increased at their lowest rate in five years with 38,000 new private and public sector jobs added. Temporary hiring also hit its lowest reading in seven years, which was seen as a negative as temporary jobs often transition to permanent positions.

Analysts said that May's extremely low reading for jobs created indicates that a revision is likely. This inconsistency was supported by the national unemployment rate of 4.70 percent, but the lower jobless rate was attributed to workers leaving the labor force.

ADP's May reading for private sector jobs rose to 173,000 jobs against expectations of 165,000 jobs and April's reading of 268,000. This reading was further evidence that the Non-farm Payrolls report was likely inaccurate.

Last week's new jobless claims fell to a five-week low of 267,000 as compared to expectations of 279,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 268,000 new claims.

What's Ahead This Week

Economic news scheduled for this week include a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday; this speech could foreshadow the Fed's decision to raise or not raise the Fed's target federal funds rate during its FOMC meeting later this month.

Readings on job openings and consumer sentiment will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Looking to Renovate?: 4 Renovations That Are Cheaper in the Summertime

Looking to Renovate?: 4 Renovations That Are Cheaper in the SummertimeIt's often necessary to make a few small renovations before putting your home on the market, but it can be surprising to learn that summer can be a less expensive time for many common fix-ups. If you're wondering what you should renovate in the summer months, you may want to consider a few of the following for the sake of economy.

Take On The Lawn

In many cases, often-difficult weather conditions that the winter months can provide make a lot of things difficult, and tackling the state of your lawn is certainly among these. Since curb appeal is very important when it comes to the overall impact of your home, the summer months are the optimal time to deal with any changes you want to make to the lawn, gardens or even your walk-way or front stoop.

Fix Up The Kitchen

A kitchen renovation may be long overdue but this is another one you'll want to put off until the summer. While the warmer seasons afford the possibility for many outdoor, evening meals, this option may not exist in the cold throes of the winter, depending on your location. Instead of hustling off to restaurants where the costs will quickly add up, summer will provide a more affordable opportunity for upgrading.

Add On Extra Space

Whether your doubling your garage or adding on an extra room, this is the kind of work that can bring an influx of cold air into your house and will take a little longer given the discomfort. Instead of completing renovations that deal with the elements in the cooler months, spring for the summertime when the temperature and timeline will be a little milder.

Paint The Exterior

Few things will have a more positive impact on the overall look of your home than a coat of paint, but taking on this task in the winter can be a recipe for disappointment with the sudden snow and storms that may come along. Instead of chancing it and extending the completion of this task, save it for summer when the weather will be more predictable.

There are countless renovations under the sun, but there are some that may end up being more affordable if they're completed in the summer months. If you're fixing up your house because you're planning on selling in the near future, contact your trusted local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Expands to All Metro Areas

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Expands to All Metro AreasMarch home prices were again dominated by the Northwest with Portland, Oregon posting a year-over-year gain of 12.30 percent followed by Seattle, Washington's year-over-year gain of 10.80 percent.

Denver, Colorado rounded out the top three cities with a year-over-year gain of 10.00 percent. San Francisco, California, which consistently posted double-digit gains in recent months slipped to a year-over-year gain of 8.50 percent. This may indicate that prices in high cost metro areas are nearing their peak.

S&P Dow Jones Chair David M Blitzer attributed outsized price gains to the shortest supply of available homes since the mid-1980s. Homes for sale account for only two percent of U.S. households. To put rapidly increasing home prices in context, the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index was 11.50 percent below its peak in March, 2006.

Case-Shiller's 20-City Home Price Index posted a 5.40 percent gain year over year, which was equal to its year-over-year price gain in March 2015. Month-to month home prices gained 0.90 percent; analysts had estimated year-year growth of 5.10 percent and a month-to-month gain of 0.70 percent. All cities in the 20-City Housing Market Index posted gains in month-to-month and year-over-year readings.

Pending Home Sales Exceed Expectations

Pending home sales in April supported trends noted in Case-Shiller's 20-City Home Price Index. Regional results for pending home sales in April rose by 1.20 percent in the Northeast while pending sales were unchanged in the Midwest. The South posted pending sales gain of 6.80 percent and the West recovered with an 11.40 percent rise in pending sales for April.

Based on April's pending home sales readings, real estate pros expect a jump in closed sales in May. Home buyer demand remains resilient according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. Mr. Yun also said that the key to continued expansion of home sales is providing buyers sufficient supplies of affordable homes. Builders may provide relief by increasing construction, but have cited shortages of labor and developed land as constraints on new construction. Active demand for high-end homes has also focused construction on higher priced homes.

Mortgage applications are also increasing, which indicates that more homes are being purchased by owner-occupant buyers than investors. Relatively low mortgage rates and waning investor interest could provide buyers relying on financing a leg-up in competing for available homes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Did You Know?: 4 Ways That a Real Estate Attorney Can Make Your Home Purchase Easier

Did You Know?: 4 Ways That a Real Estate Attorney Can Make Your Home Purchase Easier It is common for home buyers to take steps to keep their out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum, and many will try to avoid paying for optional services for this reason. While you may not want to pay for all optional services, there are some that can be truly beneficial to you even if they are not required. After learning more about the services provided to you by a real estate attorney, you may be ready to seek out these professional legal services for your upcoming purchase.

Explaining the Contract

A real estate sales contract can be confusing to understand because parts of it use real estate or legal jargon. Your real estate attorney can review the contract for you to ensure that your rights are protected, and he or she can also help you to better understand your obligations and requirements under the contract.

Assisting With Title Research

A real estate attorney can also assist you with researching the title. Everything from liens and covenants to easements and more may impact your ownership of the property. The real estate attorney will provide you with more information to ensure that you have title to the property free and clear

Helping You With the Mortgage Documents

A mortgage is a legally binding agreement. You will be contractually bound by the terms of the mortgage. From the monthly payment obligation to the ability of the lender to foreclose on the property if you do not follow through on the terms of the mortgage, there are many legal nuances to consider. The real estate attorney can review these documents on your behalf before you sign them

Representing You at Closing

Your closing is both a financial and a legal process. This is where you will sign all of the mortgage, title and sales documents to finalize the purchase. Generally, after closing, you will own the property and will be contractually tied to the mortgage. While many documents will be available for your attorney to review before closing, there may be last minute changes or other documents available at closing that your attorney has not reviewed. Your attorney can represent your interests and answer your questions at the closing table.

You do not need a real estate attorney to assist you throughout the purchase process. However, you can see that there are many beneficial services provided to you by an attorney. Contact your trusted local real estate professional for more information.