Friday, July 21, 2017

Living Under Water Restrictions? Transform Your Garden With These Succulent Plants

Living Under Water Restrictions? Transform Your Garden With These Succulent PlantsIt can be difficult to deal with water restrictions if you're a bit of a green thumb and don't want your beautiful plants to go to waste. Fortunately, there are plenty of succulents out there that can be quite striking and will still be able to store the water they need to survive. If you're looking for some low-maintenance plants that thrive in the dry season, here are a few succulents that will do the trick.

The Christmas Cactus

Known as the Christmas Cactus, this plant can be a great way to get the beautiful flowers of summer without all of the water consumption that's usually required. While the flowers will come out in the fall, you'll want to ensure that you fertilize this plant during the summer months and leave it in a low-light spot where it won't dry out too quickly.

A South African Succulent

Crassula ovate, commonly known as a jade plant, hails from South Africa and has the vibrant, glossy look of a plant that gets watered all the time. Fortunately, you can allow the soil to dry completely before you water it again since overwatering this type of plant will kill it. It's easy to tell if your jade plant needs water. Once the leaves start to lose their shine, it's time to get out the watering can.

The Snake Plant

If you've seen this type of succulent before, you'll likely recognize it from its name, which accurately characterizes the long, thin and pointy leaves that jut out from its roots. While this plant will want to indulge in a little bit of light, you can leave it for a long time without having to water it. Just ensure the soil is dry before you pour!

Plant A Pincushion

When people think of cacti, it's the pincushion variety of cactus that most often comes to mind with its short, pointed frame and multiple clusters. In addition to being easy to take care of and loving the sun, you should let this pint-sized plant dry out completely before giving it another drink. Much like the Christmas Cactus, it will also need to be fertilized in the summer.

It may seem impossible to maintain a garden under water restrictions, but there are plenty of unique succulents out there that can add a lot of variety to your home. If you're currently in the market for a new home for all your plants, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Squad Goals: 4 Steps to Throwing a Patio Party Your Friends Never Forget

Squad Goals: 4 Steps to Throwing a Patio Party Your Friends Never ForgetSummer may be the season for swimsuits and beachside barbecues, but it's also a great time to get your friends together for a party in your own backyard. Whether you're ready to show off your new home or are just looking for a good reason to celebrate the season, here are some ways to ensure your party is one that will make the summertime memorable.

Choose Dollar Store Decorations

When it comes to throwing the best party, nothing will work to create an atmosphere like the decorations! Instead of heading to the party store, though, take a trip to the dollar store where you'll be able to find a variety of fun stuff for an inexpensive price. Any fun theme is likely to work but ensure that you stick with a color pattern that won't overwhelm your guests.

Prep The Food Options

Planning the food for a big patio party can sometimes be difficult, but by determining a theme and getting prepared ahead of time, you should have a good handle on the offerings. Whether you opt for a Mexican theme with tacos and nacho chips or a barbecue with beer and brisket, preparing what you want to serve ahead of time will make the party itself more manageable. It's even better if you can prepare a few items in advance to make the day run a little smoother.

Pick The Right Tunes

Putting the music on full blast might seem like the right move, but this can irritate your guests and impact conversation. In addition to making sure that the music is at an appropriate volume, it's also good to offer up a playlist of classics your guests will know. If chit-chat is at a standstill, a few great songs will get them into the partying mood.

Mix It Up

Many people have a variety of different friends they share interests with, but it can sometimes be hard to get them all in the same place together. Fortunately, a fun party is the ideal time to get people talking and make your crowd mix! There's no assurance that everyone will become friends, but there's bound to be some fun conversation.

Throwing a great summer party might seem like a lot of work, but by picking the right tunes and sticking to a theme, you'll have a party your friends will remember. And if you're in need of a great new home to celebrate in, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Market Conditions Dips in July

According to the National Association of Home Builders, July builder sentiment dipped to an index reading of 64 as compared to June's revised reading of 66, the original reading was 67. Analysts expected the reading for July to increase to 68. Builders cited increasing lumber prices as a concern affecting builders' outlook on housing market conditions for new single-family homes. Any reading over 50 for the NAHB Housing Market Index indicates that more builders than fewer are positive about housing market conditions, but July's reading was the lowest in eight months. NAHB said that home builder confidence in market condition "remains strong."

Three month rolling averages were mixed. The Northwestern region gained one point for an index reading of 47, the Midwest gained one point to a reading of 66 and the Southern region dropped three points to a reading of 66. The Western region had the highest level of builder confidence but lost one point for a reading of 75.

Shortages of homes for sale and buildable lots have impacted builder confidence for several months. As the number of available homes dwindles, demand and home prices have risen. Real estate pros view building more home as the only solution for easing the shortage of homes for sale Lower readings on builder confidence in market conditions could indicate slowing in the construction of new homes.

Lumber Tariff Raises  New Home Prices, Could Cost Jobs

While home builder confidence jumped in the aftermath of the election, builders said that a tariff on Canadian lumber is affecting home prices and construction jobs. In a statement released with July's Housing Market Index readings, NAHB said that the lumber tariff tacked on an average of  $1236 to the average home price. NAHB leaders also said that as materials costs continue to rise, affordability will become an issue and that construction layoffs could potentially exceed 8000 jobs.

NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said about the lumber tariff, this is hurting housing affordability even as consumer interest in the new-home market remains strong" While current interest in new homes is healthy, home builders will have to manage costs to keep home prices affordable and competitive.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Buying a Home in a Fire Risk Area: Here's What You Need to Know

Buying a Home in a Fire Risk Area: Here's What You Need to KnowOutside of the significant financial responsibility of delving into home ownership, there can also be a lot of other risks involved that you may not have thought about before investing in a home. You'll need to protect your home against theft or burglary, and homeowner's insurance to protect your home and belongings. But there are other less common occurrences you may not have thought about. If you happen to be living in an area that's at high risk of fire, here are some things to consider beforehand.

Defining "High Risk"

It's easy to be swept away by a beautiful home and forget about what the natural landscape around it consists of. Many homes across the United States are built in areas close to trees and shrubs, which can be dangerous in times of high temperatures, so it's important to do your research. While hot spots can occur in many different areas, California and the southwest region are particularly vulnerable in times of drought.

What It Means For Your Mortgage

Nearly all homes can be adversely affected by a fire so it's important to realize that buying in a high-risk area will not impact your ability to get a mortgage. It can, however, impact some of the costs associated with investing in your home. While homeowner's insurance is a requirement of buying a home and it will generally cover you in the incidence of a fire, it can be a bit pricier. Fortunately, you may be able to guard against some of the additional costs by purchasing a home with materials that are more fire resistant.

In The Event Of Fire

If the worst happens and your home incurs damage from a fire, you'll want to assess the extent of the damage before making a decision on how to proceed. For a home that is minimally impacted, you may want to use insurance to repair the property. However, if the property is significantly or completely destroyed, a payout may be required in order to pay off the mortgage. Before purchasing a home in a fire-prone area it's best to be aware of all aspects of your insurance policy so you can be prepared.

It's a more significant risk to buy a home in a fire-prone area, but you can be prepared for the worst by knowing your options. If you're currently considering purchasing a new home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Monday, July 17, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 17, 2017

Inflation Rate Stays Flat in June

Inflation was flat in June, but achieved a 0.00 percent reading as compared to May's – 0.10 percent reading. Analysts expected a June reading of +0.10 percent reading month-to-month. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve has established a benchmark reading of 2.00 percent inflation year-over-year as an indication of economic recovery. In recent months, the Fed has increased its target federal funds rate at each meeting of the FOMC. A slowdown in inflation and other economic indicators may cause the Fed to halt rate increases until conditions improve.

Fed Chair Testifies before House Financial Services Panel

During testimony last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen addressed questions about Federal Reserve board members' interaction with Wall Street. Ms. Yellen explained that the Fed values clear communications with Wall Street as a productive relationship. Chair Yellen also noted that the Fed may taper off on interest rate increases soon; she said that further rate increases may not be warranted at present.

Stating that "monetary policy is not a preset course," Chair Yellen said that the Fed is aware of problems associated with forecasting higher than actual inflation gains, but also said that the Fed believes that inflation will achieve the 2.00 percent annual goal established by the Fed.

Ms. Yellen hinted that her tenure as Fed Chair may be reaching its conclusion; she did not answer media inquiries about whether she would stay on if asked. She said she was concentrating on current issues instead of focusing on potential developments.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Lower

Mortgage rates rose again last week; the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage exceeded four percent for the first time since May with an average rate of 4.03 percent. Fifteen-year fixed rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.29 percent. Average mortgage rates for 15 and 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose seven basis points over last week's average rates. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate also rose seven basis points to 3.28 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types.

247,000 new jobless claims were filed last week as compared to expectations of 245,000 new claims filed and last week's reading of 250,000 new claims. First-time jobless claims stayed below 300,000for 123 consecutive weeks. This run is the longest since the 1970s.  Analysts said that low jobless claims indicate a very low rate of layoffs.

Consumer sentiment dropped by two index points from 95.10 to 93.10 percent. Rising mortgage rates and concerns about current events likely contributed to wavering consumer sentiment.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic readings include NAHB Housing Market Indices, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued and weekly releases on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Selling Your Home This Summer? Here's Why You'll Want to Recruit the Neighbors to Help

Selling Your Home This Summer? Here's Why You'll Want to Recruit the Neighbors to HelpWith the power of social media, it's easier than ever to use Twitter and Facebook and your own home website to sell your home online. However, there are a lot of different buyers on the market and that means it's important to keep all your options open when it comes to marketing your home. If you're wondering how you can harness the power of your neighbors to get the word out, here are some tips you may want to consider.

It's Extra Marketing

If you have a good relationship with the people in your area, it's possible that they'll be happy to get the word out for you and assist you in the sale of your home. Whether they happen to have friends who might be interested in a property in the area or are willing to otherwise point out your place, a positive relationship can lead to opportunities that may come from the most unexpected places

Selling The Home's Reliability

In all likelihood, your neighbors will be well aware of situations adversely impacting the community or any past situations that have affected your home, whether there's been a break in or a roofing issue. It's often the case that potential buyers will consult with your neighbors to hear more about your home's history. Since you won't want an interested party to hear any bad news from your neighbor, it's important to be upfront and discuss any adjustments or renovations you've made with your neighbors so you can be on the same page if an issue comes up.

Keeping Them In The Loop

In the sanctity of your own home, it can be easy to forget about the neighbors just next door. But don't forget that the stream of people coming to look at your home can have an impact on those who live around you. Instead of neglecting to prepare your neighbors for additional visitors, go door-to-door and bring some baked goods or other treats to inform them of upcoming open houses. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, they might be happy to push some interested parties in your direction.

There are many ways to market a home sale, but it's important not to forget about how your neighbors can assist you in getting your home off the market and sold. If you're currently preparing to sell your home, contact your local real estate professional for more tips and advice.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Upgrade My Life, Alexa: 4 Great Reasons to Invest in a Home Smart Assistant

Upgrade My Life, Alexa: 4 Great Reasons to Invest in a Home Smart AssistantIn an age of rapidly changing technology, doing things like programming in temperature changes and monitoring your home security from afar are becoming common. Fortunately, having a smarter home is even easier these days with Alexa, which was created by Amazon in 2014 as a smart home assistant. If you're looking for an instant home upgrade that will utilize the smartest technology on the market, here's why Alexa might be a great option for you.

Hands-Free Convenience

Whether you're doing laundry or cutting up vegetables, being able to do a lot of tasks around the home hands-free can be a great benefit. Fortunately, with Alexa, users can use their voice to get things done whether it's activating an app, turning on their music or even getting the weather report.

Control The Temperature

Having to set up the temperature in your home so it goes down at night and heats up throughout the day can be a challenge, particularly since the outside temperature is always changing. Fortunately, Alexa allows you to make adjustments to the temperature wherever you are. Whether you want to increase, decrease or set the temperature, the command is as easy as: "Alexa, set the temperature to 67."

Adjusting The Lights

In addition to the temperature, Alexa also gives you the ability to adjust the lights in your home using a variety of different commands. Whether you want to turn the lights on or off, dim the lights or even adjust their color temperature, you just need to call Alexa's name. Conveniently, you can even create groups of lights that will turn on at a specific command!

Making Simple Purchases

Whether you want to order take-out for dinner from places like Domino's or purchase home necessities that you're running low on, all you need to do is engage Alexa with the appropriate command. While some users have encountered early issues using Alexa to order products, it tends to work well for household items that you order frequently.

There are many home upgrades available on the market, but Amazon's Alexa is a great choice for those who want a product that's easy to use and technologically adaptable. And when you're ready to upgrade to a more tech-friendly home, contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

3 Home Renovation Lessons That You Won't Want to Learn the Hard (or Expensive!) Way

3 Home Renovation Lessons That You Won't Want to Learn the Hard (or Expensive!) WayMost people make a number of home upgrades when the time comes to put their home on the market. This can include minor fix-ups or significant improvements that come with a high cost. However, it's important to determine what will improve the value of your home and what renovations you can ignore before you move forward with any updates. If you're wondering how to plan for your renovations, here are three things to ponder before getting started.

Make (And Stick!) To A Budget

If there's a certain offer price you're looking for in your home, it's important to go into home renovations with a clear head and decide beforehand how much you're willing to spend. You certainly won't be able to do everything, but by doing the little fix ups, adding a coat of paint and removing some outdated design features, you can likely spend less for a lot more value. The only thing to keep in mind is that once you've decided on a budget, you should aim to stay within it.

Choose Complementary Improvements

From year to year, what's popular in the design market changes and it can be tempting to try and test out the trends in the hopes of garnering a higher price. However, simply because something is trendy does not mean that it's going to flatter the aesthetic of your home. Instead of choosing improvements that are trendy but out of place, opt for changes that will complement the home you have and add value at the same time.

Re-Consider The Extra Room

Many homeowners in recent years have been strong believers in quantity over quality, and this means many have invested in renovations to add an additional bedroom or a den. It might seem like an extra room is ideal no matter what, but if you're cutting into your kitchen, living room or extra space, it can completely change the aesthetic of your home. With open floor plans becoming more popular, you may want to stick with fewer rooms that will garner more interest. There are so many renovations that can instantly improve the value of your home, but it's important to determine what will complement your home and how much you want to spend before committing to anything. If you're planning on putting your home on the market in the near future, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes -- and Here's How


Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes -- and Here's HowIt may feel like a daunting task to consider buying a home after you've declared bankruptcy, and there's no doubt that it's an uphill battle. Fortunately, while you'll have hard work ahead, there are things you can do in order to make your dream of home ownership a possibility. Whether you've just declared bankruptcy or some time has passed, here are some things you should consider before getting into the market.

Wait It Out

It might not be what you want to hear, but you'll have to wait before you purchase a home following bankruptcy. Since lenders will not want to take the risk on someone that has proven to have poor financial habits, they will require a waiting period in order for the credit risk you pose to improve. While this may seem like a long time, take the opportunity to improve your financial habits so you can be amply prepared when the time comes.

Build Up Your Credit

In order to own a home, you'll need to develop some solid financial habits, and that means getting on top of your finances even in times when it feels like you have no leverage. Ensure you get a copy of your credit report and, if you notice any errors, reach out to the credit bureau for corrections. It's also a good idea to consider applying for a secured credit card and ensure that you pay all of your bills on time. While it might feel like a lengthy task, developing good habits will have a positive impact on your credit over time.

Prepare For Your Payment

When it comes to a poor credit history, you'll need to pull out every stop you can to convince lenders that you're a solid financial bet. Write up a budget for yourself and save a sizable sum for your down payment each month. It's possible that 10 or 15% down will do, but a 20% down payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and will go further in convincing lenders of your reliability.

It's more than a little disheartening to have to deal with bankruptcy, but by waiting it out and developing good financial habits in the interim, you'll be well on your way to buying a home. If you're currently preparing to purchase, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 10, 2017

Last week's economic reports suggested that demand for homes is rising despite a jump in mortgage rates and rising home prices fueled by low inventories of homes for sale. Demand for homes rose by 1.40 percent as interest rates jumped after the 10-year Treasury rate rose by 10 basis points.

Construction spending was unchanged in May as compared to a -0.70 percent reading in April. Although builders express high confidence in housing market conditions, construction spending continued to lag behind spending levels based on builder confidence readings.

Home buyers received good news as major credit bureaus removed two key components from consumer credit reports. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised the debt/to income ratio for home loans from 45 percent to 50 percent of gross income. This move was made to help would-be home buyers swamped with education debt. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's chief economist, said that raising the debt to income ratio would not increase lender risk significantly.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose eight basis points to 3.96 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.22 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.21 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and held steady at 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Jobless claims rose last week to 248,000 new claims from the prior week's reading of 244,000 new claims, but this increase does not appear to be related to layoffs. Non-Farm Payrolls for June increased to 222,000 jobs added as compared to 180,000 jobs expected and May's reading of 152,000 jobs added. Non-Farm Payrolls include public and private-sector jobs.

ADP Payrolls, which reports private-sector job growth, dipped in June to 158,000 jobs added as compared to 230,000 private-sector jobs added in June. Employers have repeatedly cited difficulty in finding skilled candidates for job openings, which makes it less likely that they'll lay off employees who have needed skills. The national unemployment rate edged up in June with a reading of 4.40 percent against expectations of 4.30 percent and May's reading of 4.30 percent.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic reports include testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, readings on inflation and core inflation and retail sales. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a reading on consumer sentiment.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Buying a Home for the First Time? Five Real Estate Terms You'll Need to Know

Buying a Home for the First Time? Five Real Estate Terms You'll Need to KnowThe terminology involved in the real estate market can be vexing for the newcomer, but if you're getting prepared to buy a home, there are a few choice words you should take some time to learn. While it's hard to learn the ins and outs in one article, here's a place to begin with five terms you may be hearing a lot of in the future.

Amortization Period

It may sound like a very fancy term, but the amortization period or mortgage term is simply the length of time it will take you to pay off your mortgage loan by monthly mortgage payments. While 25 years is the standard amortization period, it varies from lender to lender.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage is one of the interest rate options you'll have which involves a stable interest rate that remains unchanged. While this means your monthly payment will stay the same each month, it can also mean a higher amount paid overall since your fixed rate may be higher than the market rate over time.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Another option when it comes to mortgage interest rates is an adjustable rate, which means that your monthly payment will fluctuate along with the prime market rate. While this can provide a sense of insecurity since your mortgage payment will shift each month, it can end up being more economical than a fixed rate.

Closing Costs

Buying a home can cost enough with the loan, the down payment, and the interest, but closing costs will also be a part of the housing costs. Closing costs generally range anywhere from 2-5%, they include items like loan administration costs and title insurance costs that come part and parcel with the mortgage.

There are many terms in the world of real estate, but by making yourself aware of a few and doing your research, you can begin to understand what they mean for you. If you're ready to invest in a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Buyer Beware: Three Major Red Flags to Watch for When Visiting Open Houses

Buyer Beware: Three Major Red Flags to Watch for When Visiting Open HousesAn open house is a good opportunity to get out and about to see what kind of home you're looking for and if it will work for you. Fortunately, they can also be a good opportunity to find out some things about the house you're looking at that might not be listed on the website and may be less than flattering. If you're wondering what red flags to watch out for, pay attention to the following things the next time you're at a showing.

Strong Odors

Many home sellers try to engage the senses in order to entice buyers by baking cookies or spraying air freshener. However, a lot of air freshener or scent can also be a means of hiding less than pleasant smells that are a giveaway for big problems. If you notice a lot of scents when visiting an open house or if there's an odor, you may want to look for mildew or mold as this can mean a huge house-owning hurdle to deal with down the road.

An Abundance Of Fix-Up

A small maintenance issue here and there may not be a big deal, whether it's a doorknob that doesn't catch or peeling paint on the wall. Unfortunately, an abundance of small issues can signal a certain attitude towards general maintenance that should be approached with caution. While it may just be a few details that were forgotten about, it's important to pay attention as there may be a lot of more important maintenance issues that are not being taken care of if the minor ones are visible.

Issues With the Foundation

There are many issues that will hopefully come to the forefront at the home inspection, but it's not worth it to get invested in a home only to back out due to a failing foundation. Instead of leaving it up to the due diligence of the home inspector, check for large gaps in the home's foundation to unveil any issues on this front. The foundation can be a huge issue if it requires a fix-up, and it's one you probably won't want to deal with in your new home.

Open houses can provide a great sense of what it's like to live in a home, but they can also be a good opportunity to take note of any major issues with a future home. If you're currently preparing to buy a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

5 Surprisingly Stylish Ways to Improve Your Living Room's Look Using Wallpaper

5 Surprisingly Stylish Ways to Improve Your Living Room's Look Using WallpaperFrom a sophisticated couch to a stunning art print, there are plenty of ways that you can dress up your living room and instantly change its vibe. You may not realize it, but wallpaper is back in fashion and becoming another popular way to instantly revamp a room. If you're contemplating ways that wallpaper can benefit your space, here are some options you may want to try out.

Add An Accent

A brightly colored accent wall may have been a popular trend a few years ago, but a way to bring your wall into current fashion can be to add wallpaper. In addition to a fun print, wallpaper can instantly add elegance without overpowering the look of your living room.

Cover The Closet Doors

If you've come across a wallpaper pattern you like, try applying it to the front of the closet doors. It will be an easy way to dress up your doors without adding a coat of paint and will add a subtle effect that will go with your room's décor.

Add In Some Personality

With wallpaper making a comeback, there are so many options that allow you to personalize your wallpaper and make the room your own. Posters of your favorite rock band may be a thing of the past, but unique wallpaper can be a great way to inject your own passions into your favorite room

Make It Your Wall Art

Many homeowners struggle with how to dress up their walls appropriately, but choosing wallpaper can be a great means of avoiding this dilemma. Instead of an art piece, you can choose strips of wallpaper to provide visual interest or paper a whole wall that will act as the focal point of your room.

Upgrade Your Coffee Table

It's often the case that people buy oversized books to decorate their coffee table, but you may want to utilize wallpaper if you have a glass surface on your table. Instead of leaving your table neutral, add a patch of wallpaper under the glass for an instant designer look.

With wallpaper making a comeback, there are plenty of ways to dress up your room for little cost that will make a huge difference in the look of your space. If you're currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Monday, July 3, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 3, 2017


Last week's economic news included Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, pending home sales and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were released along with a reading on consumer sentiment. Case-Shiller and pending home sales readings suggested that recent rapid growth in home prices and home sales may be easing. High demand for homes coupled with low inventories of homes for sale has created an artificially high rate of home price growth and competition among buyers for a limited number of homes.

Home Price Growth Rate, Pending Home Sales Slow

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for April showed lower home price growth than in March. April's 20-City Home Price Index slipped from a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year rate of 5.60 percent to 5.50 percent. Analysts noted that high home prices and a limited inventory of homes on the market have sidelined some buyers.

According to the Commerce Department, pending home sales remained in negative territory in May with a reading of -0.80 percent as compared to April's reading of -0.90 percent. While this is an improvement, home sales typically pick up during spring and summer months; a negative reading in pending home sales suggests that would-be buyers are waiting for home prices to ease and for more homes to become available.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported 30-year mortgage rates were two basis points lower at an average of 3.88 percent, while the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.17 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.17 percent. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent for all mortgage types.

First-time unemployment claims were higher last week at 244,000; analysts estimated a reading of 243,0000 new claims based on the prior week's reading of 242,000 new claims.

Consumer spending declined by 0.30 percent to 0.10 percent in May, which matched analyst's expectations. Core consumer spending met expectations and held steady in May with a reading of 0.10 percent growth. Consumer sentiment rose in June to an index reading of 95.10 as compared to expectations of 94.50, which matched April's reading of 94.50

What's Ahead

This week's economic news releases include readings on construction spending, ADP and Non-Farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Understanding Why the Highest Offer Isn't Always the Best One When Selling Your Home


Understanding Why the Highest Offer Isn't Always the Best One When Selling Your HomeWhen it comes to the real estate market, nothing is better than putting your home up for sale and finding a potential homebuyer who offers you the price you're looking for. However, while the right offer is ideal, there are a lot of things that may come along with a high offer that may be less than perfect. If you're wondering what kinds of things can hamper a good offer, you may want to watch out for the following.

What's The Timeline?

If you're almost packed and you're prepared to go, there won't necessarily be any inconvenience in dealing with a 30-day closing period. However, if you're not quite ready to move, having to close quickly can add a lot of pressure to a stressful situation. While it may be do-able to make the arrangements to move in a short amount of time, if it's not the way you want to leave your old house and move on, you may want to go with a more flexible offer.

The Details On Cash

The right price is indeed a good offer, but when it comes to homebuyers who can pay with cash, there's a lot less to worry about on the back end. As a result, cash can easily trump many other offers for the convenience of not having to deal with lenders or many other factors involved in closing the purchase. While it might not seem like most people have the available cash on hand, cash purchases on real estate are becoming more common, and with less complication, they can be more enticing.

Are There Contingencies?

If you're experiencing a bidding war with your home, it's important to look at all the details of the offers and ascertain which one can best be relied upon. That's why it's important to look at any contingencies on the home sale that may have to do with the financing, appraisal or inspection. An offer may be more than a little striking at the start, but if there are a lot of strings attached, there may be a bidder with a lower offer who's less likely to back out.

It's easy to get snared by the highest offer when selling your home, but it's important to be aware of your timeline and any contingencies before accepting an offer. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Exploring Tesla's New Solar Roof Tiles - Are They the Ultimate Home Upgrade?

Exploring Tesla's New Solar Roof Tiles - Are They the Ultimate Home Upgrade?Tesla may have become the famous brand it is for the creation of the electric car in 2008, but it has since burgeoned into a company that has diverse ambitions for how we utilize energy. Recently, Tesla has moved into the business of solar roof panels, which have become a hot commodity on the market with their green ethos and energy savings. If you're curious about solar power and want to know the details on this product, here are some things to consider before buying in.

The Details On Tesla's Solar Panels

With the recent release of Tesla's solar roof panels, many homeowners interested in green energy have flocked to this new product for its innovation and famous brand. According to Tesla, these panels will last for approximately 30 years or as long as the house stands at 1/3 the weight of regular tiles. Utilizing a tempered glass to make stronger roof panels and solar cells created in conjunction with Panasonic, the connectors for these panels have been created to last through every kind of weather condition.

The Install Involved

The installation of Tesla solar panels is estimated to take approximately 5-7 days and is expected to be easier than a regular solar panel install. According to Peter Rive, CTO and Co-founder of Solar City, "We have learned a lot about installing solar from over 300,000 installations so we took all that and included that into the development." Fortunately, because of the lightweight quality of these panels, they can be installed without any changes to the structure of the roof they're placed on

Should You Invest?

Tesla may be all the rage when it comes to utilizing electrical energy, but it's important to determine if this panel system will meet your needs. Most solar panel systems last longer than the 25-year warranty, which is in line with Tesla's own warranty. The aesthetics of this panel system may be improved, but it will likely be a while before this product can service the needs of all homeowners. Before investing, it's important to get quotes from multiple suppliers to determine a timeline and probable budget.

Solar panels may be the wave of the housing future, but it's important to ensure that the projected cost and timeline will work for your needs as a homeowner before investing. If you're currently preparing to buy a new home with solar, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in April

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

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

Month-to-Month Home Prices Rise in 19 of 20 Cities

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Facing a Scorching Hot Housing Market? 3 Reasons You'll Want a Great Real Estate Agent

Facing a Scorching Hot Housing Market? 3 Reasons You'll Want a Great Real Estate AgentFor many homeowners who are selling in today's real estate market, pinching every penny can be important. They may be considering opting out of using a real estate agent and going with the DIY approach. However, there are many things an agent can do for you in a hot market that is worth the money. If you're wondering how a real estate agent can help you, here are some things to consider.

Understanding The Neighborhood

It's possible that you know your neighborhood quite well and are aware of the selling prices of many homes in the area. However, an experienced agent will have a good grasp on the history of your neighborhood and has probably sold a house in your area before. While research is great, prior knowledge can give them a leg up in determining exactly how you can price your house for maximum success. Instead of having to guess at what will work, they will have the know-how to make a sound judgment.

Marketing Know-How

Most real estate agents have dealt with the ups and downs of the market, and this generally means that they've learned how to succeed even when the chips are down. When it comes to marketing, the right agent will have the contacts and the savvy to determine the best approach for selling your home. Whether it involves posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, an online website or an Open House, an agent will know how to appeal to your ideal buyer and garner you the best offer around.

Closing The Deal

With so much money involved for both the seller and the buyer, the likelihood of getting your asking price right off the bat is not high. In situations like this, it's more than a little helpful to have a real estate agent around who understands the negotiating process and how to close the deal. Not only will they be able to advise you on what your home is worth and what it can garner, they can also advise you on when you should consider a lower offer.

It may be tempting to go it alone when it comes to selling your house, but the right agent can be instrumental in marketing your home and getting you the price you're asking for. If you're currently preparing to put your home up for sale, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Monday, June 26, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 26, 2017


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

May Home Sales Surpass Expectations

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

Existing Home Sales, National Median Home Price Rise

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

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

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, New Jobless Claims Rise

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

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

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

What's Ahead

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

What Costs Can You Expect When Selling Your Home? Let's Take a Look

What Costs Can You Expect When Selling Your Home? Let's Take a LookFor many people, putting their home up for sale is an exciting time to determine what kind of financial boon they'll reap. With real estate on the rise, there are plenty of opportunities to see financial gains. Unfortunately, even if you're selling your home, there are still going to be costs involved before ownership is transferred. If you want to be prepared for what to expect, here are some costs to watch out for.

Real Estate Agent Fees

As with buying a home, there will be costs involved in selling your home with an agent who will take a percentage out of the total sale of your home. Fortunately, while this will cost money, utilizing a real estate agent will probably garner you more money than you would have been able to get by putting your home on the market yourself. If you do want a better deal, it may be worth talking to your agent and seeing if they're willing to negotiate on their percentage.

Agreed-Upon Closing Costs

It's not uncommon nowadays for homebuyers to request their closing costs be paid by the seller in order to secure a deal, but it's worth understanding what these fees may consist of. While there may be fees for the home appraisal, property transfer, and title insurance, there may also be maintenance costs you'll have to take on following the home inspection. As a result, it can be important to do any home touch-ups before you've set a date for the open house as these can lower the offers on your home.

Moving Costs

Even if you have a big truck and a lot of heavy lifters in your family, there's a good chance that you're still going to require a moving company to take care of many of your items. You may be able to minimize these costs by moving in pieces and leaving the heavier items for the movers, but if your home sale is closing quickly, this work might best be left to the professionals. It will be worth getting quotes from a handful of trusted local movers to see who comes recommended at a reasonable price.

It's easy to get caught up in the concept of selling your home, but even along with selling come many costs you'll want to be aware of. If you're preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family Member


Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family MemberIt can be a stressful experience to put your home on the market and wait for offers in the hope that you've priced it right. However, for those who are considering selling to family members, the sale of a home can be fraught with just as much stress before and after sealing the deal. If you're wondering if it's a good idea to sell to a family member, here are some things to consider beforehand.

Providing A Discount

Whether you're selling to a sibling or a child, you may be considering offering the home at a discount to help them out. Fortunately, since the discounted value will be different than the market value of the price, this may mean a taxable gain when it comes times for them to sell the property after a few years of residing in it. On the other hand, if your financial health is not the best, selling at a lower price to a family member can create an undue financial burden for you.

An Owner-Financed Sale

If you're trying to help your child get on their feet, the option exists for an owner-financed sale where your child will be making monthly payments to you. This provides the benefit of not having to worry about a lender and avoiding interest rates on top of the payment. While this can be a great feeling as a parent to be able to help your child, it's important to weigh the decision carefully to determine that your child will not default on the loan and it won't be tiresome for you to act as the lender.

Keeping It In The Family

For most people, the home they live in has sentimental value, whether they've lived there for a few years or it's been in the family for generations. That's why it can be a great comfort for many to sell to a family member who will understand the house's history and the family traditions. If the deal is going to put a strain on relationships, though, it may not be worth the well-being of the family to keep the home among the relatives.

It can be a comfort to sell a home to a family member and secure their well-being, but there can be financial hurdles involved that can have an adverse impact on the relationship. If you're currently considering selling to a family member, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best Option

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best OptionFrom 'down payment' to 'adjustable rate' to 'debt-to-income' ratio, there are so many terms involved in the mortgage process that it can be hard to learn them all and keep them straight. However, whether or not you've heard it, the term 'amortization period' might be one of the most important ones associated with your financial well-being. If you're currently considering the period of loan you should choose, here are some things to think about before taking on a term.

What Is Amortization?

Used to refer to the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage loan, a typical amortization period is 25 years. However, there are many periods over which homebuyers can choose to pay off their mortgage. While many homeowners opt for what works best for them, it can be the case that a shorter mortgage period will actually be more financially beneficial in the long run. It may not only mean lower overall costs, it may also mean financial freedom from a loan much sooner than originally anticipated.

The 'Principal' Of The Matter

It's important to have a monthly mortgage payment amount that's sustainable, but a shorter amortization period means that you will be paying a higher amount on the principal and paying more on the actual loan amount. While a longer amortization period will add up to more interest payments and less paid on the loan cost each month, a shorter period can end up costing you less for your home when all's said and done.

Considering Your Loan Period

It goes without saying that a shorter amortization period will pay down the principal sooner and cost less over time, but that doesn't mean that it's the best choice for you. Because your monthly payment will be taking a sizable chunk out of your salary, it may be difficult to swing a higher payment in order to pay off your loan in 10 years. If it's doable without compromising your quality of life, you may want to choose this option, but if there's too much sacrifice you may want to opt for a longer loan period.

Everyone has a choice in the amortization period that works for them, but it's important to make your decision based on what works for you and will be beneficial for your finances. If you're currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You're Buying a Home in the Right Community

Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You're Buying a Home in the Right CommunityWhen investing in a home, one of the most important things is buying a place that you and your family can feel comfortable in. However, while a place you can envision yourself in is important, it's not worth neglecting the neighborhood you'll be moving into for the perfect home. If you're wondering what you should be looking for in the neighborhood you choose, here are a few things to consider before making an offer on a home.

Is It Safe?

It may be common to feel bowled over by a home and want to invest immediately, but the right home in the wrong neighborhood may not be the best choice for many reasons. Part of feeling comfortable in your home is being safe among its streets, so ensure you research the neighborhood and its history, and check in on the crime rate. You may event want to consult with your agent or some local neighbors to see what information they can provide about the area's history.

Are There Local Amenities?

If you're used to getting in the car to run errands, it might not be a big deal to not have a grocery store or pharmacy nearby. However, if there are no amenities you use frequently close by, it can start to be a bit of a drain on your lifestyle. While you don't necessarily need to have the trendiest restaurants or best shopping, it's important to have a few choice places in case you run out of something and need to make a quick run to the store.

What's Your Neighborhood Style?

It might seem like a strange thing to ask yourself, but the neighborhood you live in is going to become a big part of your life and that means you'll have to see yourself in it. If you want neighbors you can trust and community-mindedness, you'll want to seek out an area with these qualities. On the flip side, if you happen to prefer a busier urban atmosphere that offers more independence, this may be the way to go.

There are a lot of things that go into finding the right home, but it's important not to forget about the neighborhood you're living in and what it will mean for your lifestyle. If you're currently looking into homes and are trying to determine an area that will work for you, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 19, 2017

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

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

Builder Confidence Slips, Housing Starts and Building Permits Lower

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

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

Mortgage Rates Rise, Fed Raises Target Federal Funds Rate

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

NAHB Housing Market Index Slips Two Points in June

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June fell by two points to 67 after a revision of May's reading. Components of the Housing Market Index were lower for June with builder confidence in current market conditions two points lower at 73; June's reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months also fell two points to 76. Builder confidence in buyer traffic fell two points to 49. According to the Index, any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident than those who are not.

Labor and Lot Shortages Continue to Stifle Single-Family Home Building

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said that builder confidence remains high despite ongoing shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor. Meanwhile, NAHB reported lower readings for its regional 3-month rolling average of home builder confidence. The Northeast region was two points lower at 46; Builder confidence in the Midwest was one point lower at 67 and the Southern region was also one point lower with a 3-month reading of 70. The West had the highest builder confidence with a three-month average reading of 70.

Mortgage and consumer credit interest rates are likely to move higher after the Federal Reserve's decision to raise its target federal funds rate by 0.25 percent on Wednesday. This was the third uptick for the Fed rate this year. As interest rates and other consumer costs increase, would-be buyers of new homes may be sidelined. Future builder confidence readings could be influenced by a variety of economic factors including employment, interest rates and consumer confidence.

Housing Starts Expected to Lag Behind Pre-Bubble Level

While housing starts are expected to increase to approximately 1.23 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis, they are significantly lower than the near 2-million housing starts reported prior to when the housing bubble burst. Analysts noted that the overall economic recovery remains steady with some glitches expected along the way. Closing the gap between builder confidence and housing starts is seen as the solution for easing high demand for homes and unusually low inventories of homes on the market.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your Home


Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your HomeThe season of spring may be a time for blooming flowers and warmer weather, but it's also synonymous with the idea of spring-cleaning. Whether you clean out your house every year or you haven't seen the back of your closets in years, here are a few springtime projects that will instantly change your home – and clean up your life!

Clearing Up The Garage

There are few things that manage to attract excess stuff like the garage, and left over junk can be an even bigger problem in a 2-car space. Fortunately, spring can be a good time to get rid of the excess and really improve the look of your home from one of its main access points. By making a 'throw away', 'give away' and 'keep' pile, you'll be able to whittle down the amount of stuff in your garage and find a new place for it when you're done tidying up. It may be a bit of work, but it will be worth the effort.

Re-Envision The Living Room

For most families, the living room is the place where they spend a lot of time, and that can mean that it easily gets covered in a lot of paper and the furniture's a little worse for wear. Take a weekend day to clear away the excess, vacuum the floors and wash the walls, and even change the layout for an instantly updated look. If you're really invested in a renovation, you may even want to re-upholster a couch or armchair that's seen better days.

Tackle The Yard

The yard may not be a room in your home, but it is one of the first things that will make an impression on visitors and passerby's so it's important to keep it looking good. It's a good start if you're yard is already clutter free, but spring is a good time to clear away the flower boxes and pluck the weeds, as well as cutting back any overgrown hedges. If you're feeling really ambitious, you may even want to clean out your shed or renovate your patio for an improved exterior look.

Spring-cleaning may be a dreaded term, but it can be a good opportunity to clear away some of the stuff you haven't used and instantly improve your home's appearance. If you're de-cluttering your home and are preparing to sell, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You're Trying to Secure a Mortgage Loan

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You're Trying to Secure a Mortgage LoanThe mortgage application process can be fraught with a lot of stress on its own, but if you've experienced issues with your credit in the past it can be even more taxing. While there may be a lot of things you may not be aware of when it comes to their impact on your credit, here are some things to watch out for if you're planning on purchasing a home in the short-term future.

Applying For Extra Credit

Whether you've just been offered a great new deal by a department store or you're not even thinking about it, new credit cards can pop up with deals that are quite enticing in the moment. Unfortunately, applying for new credit can actually signal to lenders that you've run out of credit on your other cards. Not only that, it will also have an adverse impact on your credit score each time you apply for new credit. If you're considering a mortgage in the near future, it's a good idea to hold off on any additions to your wallet.

Not Paying Your Bills

It may seem straightforward enough that not paying your bills is going to land you in hot water with your credit score, but many people think paying the minimum at any time will do. The truth is that if you want to keep your credit in line and improve your odds, it's important to pay your minimum before the due date and always pay your bills. The only thing deferring payments will do is add marks against your credit, and this will be damaging come application time.

Don't Avoid Your Credit Report

Many people who have a poor credit history are aware of the situation, but they're also unwilling to address it. While it may be difficult to approach your credit report if you've had some hiccups in the past, it's important to know what point you're working forward from so you can move beyond it. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of your credit report and review the numbers. Not only will this enable you to address any errors, it means you'll be facing your issues head on.

There are a number of factors that can adversely affect your mortgage application, but by avoiding new credit and paying your bills on time you can have a positive impact on the result. If you're currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Summer's Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color Palette

Summer's Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color PaletteWhile spring is still in the air, the warm weather and cooler clothes of the summer season are just around the corner. As a result, you might be thinking about making some design changes to your home to welcome the season and indulge in its brilliance. If you're looking for some new color schemes and how you can use them to amp up your home, here a few brightly-colored suggestions to try out for yourself.

Sky Blue

With the reminder of the sea and the sky, few things are akin to summer like bright blue. Instead of going overboard with this shade, try adding an accent like a side armchair, a throw or even some pillows to be adjusted with the seasons. If you're really feeling the color, you might even want to try a large floor rug or an accent wall to add more flair.

Bright Orange

Orange can be a little bit of a risk, but if you have a love for this color there are ways to use it that will really enhance a room. As a splash against neutrals, it can add a lot of character to an otherwise unassuming space. However, if you want to go all out, consider a smaller space like a bathroom or den where it won't look too showy.

Kelly Green

Much like blue, the color green is reminiscent of the return of the leaves and the grass, which makes it an ideal tone for the months of summer. While this color can be a lot less assuming than many bright colors, it can still provide a very alluring accent around the home. If you're looking for ideas for this color, consider pairing it with white for a look that is both striking and homey.

Hot Pink

The color pink may seem like a risk for any room, but if you're going for a patio setting or a makeup room, it can be the perfect tone to liven things up. Whether you want to try an accent wall or re-upholster some chairs, hot pink can easily make one think of summer cocktails and warm destinations throughout the season.

With the summer months around the corner, there are plenty of great ways and fabulous colors to dress up your home with. If you're currently renovating your home in preparation for putting it on the market, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Monday, June 12, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 12, 2017

Last week's economic news was slim, with few scheduled reports released. Job openings for April, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims were released. Job openings rose in April, while weekly jobless claims were lower. The headline event last week was a further decrease in fixed-rate mortgage interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Lowest in Almost 7 Months

Freddie Mac reported that average rates for fixed rate home loans fell again last week. Mortgage rates typically follow 10-year Treasury yields, which also fell last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped five basis points to 3.89 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 3.16 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.11 percent; discount points for all three mortgage types were also unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent.

Analysts cited mixed economic reports and uncertainty as factors contributing to lower mortgage rates. After months of short supplies of homes and high demand coupled with rapidly increasing home prices, first-time and moderate- income home buyers may gain a foothold in some housing markets that were previously inaccessible.

New Jobless Claims Fall, Job Openings Increase

First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 245,000 new claims filed as compared to an expected reading of 245,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 255,000 new jobless claims. In related news, job openings were higher in April with a reading of 6.0 million job openings as compared to 5.80 million job openings in March. Fewer new jobless claims coupled with more job openings suggests that layoffs are not driving new jobless claims.

What's Ahead

Next week's scheduled economic reports include readings on Inflation, core inflation, and the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will release its post-meeting statement. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to give a press conference after the FOMC statement. The FOMC statement will indicate if the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate. The National Association of Home Builders will release its Housing Market Index for June. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Did You Know: With a Little DIY Work, That Garage Can Be Used for More Than Just Your Car

Did You Know: With a Little DIY Work, That Garage Can Be Used for More Than Just Your CarAlong with the family vehicles, the garage may be the place where all of the things you don't want in your house go to disappear. However, you might not be aware that there are a number of DIY hacks you can use for your garage that will instantly make it a more usable space. If you're wondering how you can fit more in while improving the aesthetic appeal of your garage, here are some tricks to test out.

Give Your Garden Tools Space

The pile of garden tools that often sit in the corner of the garage is generally unpleasant to look at and potentially dangerous, so instead of leaving them around to trip on, try out a wall rack to secure them properly. All that's required to make this rack is two boards and a saw in order to make the proper cuts. Once all is said and done, you can screw the boards into the garage wall and place your tools in the cut grooves for a more organized look that will clear away the extra clutter.

Consider Ceiling Storage

If you already struggle with a small garage, it doesn't mean that you don't have the extra space for storage. Instead of the floor, try putting your storage on the roof! By using plastic carriages installed into the roof of your garage, you can easily slide totes full of storage items into place. While you won't want to store heavy items in the bins, they can be a great place for infrequently used items like Christmas decorations or old mementos.

Make Your Own Rec Room

If you have a two-car garage and only one car, there's always the fun possibility that you may be able to use your garage for a less traditional purpose. Whether you decide to go with a makeshift office or a den the whole family can enjoy, adding a desk or couch, a few tables and even some wall art can be a great means of getting extra space. It can also be a great place to throw a party for your neighbors and your friends!

The garage may seem like a less than ideal space, but there are things you can do to improve its appearance and its function. If you're currently renovating your home and are preparing to sell in the future, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Seller's Remorse: How to Move on From Your Old Home Once You've Sold It

Seller's Remorse: How to Move on From Your Old Home Once You've Sold ItThere's often so much enthusiasm that goes along with buying a home that the idea of leaving the old one behind is left in the dust. But, while you may love both your old home and your new home, it can be difficult to leave what's old behind. If you're struggling with adjusting to your new dwelling place, here are some tips for how to make it feel like it's where you belong.

Purchase A New Piece

In all likelihood, you'll be moving a lot of your old furniture into your new home, which means it will have all of the likely associations of your old home. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's a good idea to do a bit of a refresh so it can feel truly different. Whether you decide on a new armchair or art piece, the choice is up to you, but make sure it's something that will compliment your new place and make you happy to be there.

Leave No Box Unpacked

Packing and unpacking can be two of the most unpopular duties associated with moving, but getting to it right off the bat will ensure that you feel comfortable that much more quickly. Instead of leaving a bunch of boxes that you don't know what to do within the garage or a hall closet, take the time to dig through them all and find a place for your items. The sooner your stuff is comfortable, the sooner you'll be too!

Give Yourself Some Time

It may not be the most popular advice, but it's going to take some time to adjust to your new home and that's OK. Instead of being hard on yourself or regretting your choice, focus on the positive aspects of your home and allow yourself to get used to your new surroundings. It can be easy to forget why you bought your home if you happen to be feeling seller's remorse, but in time it will be much easier to remember why made the purchase.

It can be difficult to leave an old home behind, but by taking the time to adjust to your new place and sprucing it up with an exciting new piece, you'll be well on your way to making it your own. If you're currently in the market for a new home, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dealing With a Tight Housing Market? 3 Tips to Ensure You Get the Mortgage You Need

Dealing With a Tight Housing Market? 3 Tips to Ensure You Get the Mortgage You NeedIn many cities around the country, real estate prices are on the rise and potential buyers are working hard to find a home they can feel good about. However, finding the right home in a tight market can be even more of a challenge when it comes to striking the right balance. If you're hedging around the market in the hopes of finding the perfect home, here are some things you should do to ensure you don't miss out on a good opportunity.

Keep An Open Mind

When wading into the real estate market, it can be very easy to get so enamored with the kind of house you want that you don't see what's in front of you. However, not paying attention to the potential of a particular house can mean a missed opportunity that will end up costing you down the road. Instead of waiting around for your dream home, make sure you take a look at homes you might not have thought about as they may end up being a welcome surprise.

Be Confident, But Not Too Confident

Since many homeowners have history with their home, they want a homebuyer who's going to be just as invested in their property as they were. On the other hand, though, it's important not to be too excited about a home as the seller may use your interest to get a higher offer. Instead of playing on opposite poles, show your interest and get into the game with a respectable offer, but be willing to back off if the seller isn't interested.

Don't Demand Too Much

Many potential homebuyers have been told to be aware during the home inspection and ensure they get the repairs they're requesting, but in a tight market you may want to let a few things slip. While ignoring certain items like foundation or roof issues can be a major misstep, letting small things like a broken doorknob or peeling paint slide may be something you can easily remedy that won't push you out of the game.

It can be complicated to get into the real estate market as a new buyer in a competitive market, but by letting the small stuff slide and being open-minded, you may just find the home you're looking for. If you're currently getting prepared to dive into the real estate market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Spring Staging Tips: Using Your Lawn and Flower Beds to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Spring Staging Tips: Using Your Lawn and Flower Beds to Boost Your Curb AppealEvery open house involves so much cleanup and de-cluttering that it's often easy to forget about the first thing your guest will see when they arrive; the exterior! Instead of foregoing the first impression, here are some tips for fixing up your yard and all of its vegetation so you can make a positive impression on potential homebuyers.

Get Out The Pruning Shears

There are few things that will wreck the overall look of your home like an overgrown shrub or an unruly patch of bushes, so instead of letting nature take its course, do some scaling back. While you'll want to make sure you retain the natural look of the shrubs and bushes in your yard, make sure to focus on any overgrown areas or branches sticking out so your property will look well maintained and respectable

Mow The Lawn

It may seem like common sense to get out the lawnmower and the edger for some basic lawn maintenance, but since it's a rather sizable task it can catch many people off guard. There's no way around it so make sure you pick a good time weather-wise to cut the grass right before your open house. You'll also want to edge around your sidewalks and driveway for a picture-perfect look that will enhance the impression your home makes.

Plant Some Perennials

A tidy yard and pruned trees will certainly improve the look of your home on the outside, but picking out a few flowers and cleaning up your flower beds can make it look even more inviting. While gardening can take up more than a little time, planting a few flowers or purchasing a few pots can go a long way towards adding that extra touch.

Keep It Clutter Free

Like anything to do with an open house, it's all well and good to have a bunch of great design features and details, but if there's clutter, potential buyers won't see anything! If you'll be putting your home up for sale soon, ensure your yard is as clean as it can be with gardening tools placed in the shed and any toys packed away for later use.

It takes a lot to prepare your home for an open house, but ensure you don't forget about your yard because it's one of the first things your visitors will see! If you're getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your real estate professionals for more information.

Monday, June 5, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 5, 2017


Last week's economic releases included readings on inflation, core inflation pending home sales and multiple reports from the labor sector. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released. Pending home sales were lower and weekly jobless claims rose, which illustrates continued volatility in the economic sector.

Inflation rose 0.40 percent in April, which matched projections and exceeded April's reading of 0.30 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, grew by 0.20 percent and exceeded expectations of 0.10 percent growth based on a negative reading of -0.20 percent in March. The Federal Reserve has set an annual inflation rate of 0.20 percent as a benchmark for economic recovery.

Housing Data Mixed

Case-Shiller released its 20-City Housing Market Index for March; Home price appreciation held steady at 5.90 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis year-over-year. Month-to-month, home prices rose by 0.90 percent. Seattle, Washington had the highest pace of home price growth in March, with 12.30 percent. Portland, Oregon followed with 9.20 percent home price growth and Dallas, Texas had the third highest level of year-over-year home price growth at 8.60 percent. Month-to-month home prices grew at a pace of 0.90 percent.

Despite indications of high builder confidence in current and future housing market conditions, construction spending decreased by -1.40 percent in April. Analysts expected an increase of 0.50 percent in construction spending based on construction spending growth of 1.10 percent in March.
Builders have consistently cited concerns over affordable lots and skilled labor, but industry professionals are not sure why high builder confidence in housing markets doesn't correspond to lagging construction spending rates. Building more homes is viewed as the only path to easing high demand for homes caused by a shortage of homes for sale.

The Commerce Department reported fewer pending home sales in April with a reading of -1.30 percent; the March reading was -0.90 percent. Pending home sales typically indicate further closed sales and trends in mortgage loans.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported slight change in mortgage rates last week; the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower 3.94 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.19 percent and was unchanged from the prior week. The average rate for a 5/1 variable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.11 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three types of mortgages.

New Jobless Claims Hit 5-Week High

First-time claims rose from the prior week's reading of 235,000 new claims to 248,000 new claims filed. Analysts had expected 239,000 new claims filed. Analysts said that higher claims were connected to the Memorial Day holiday and characterized last week's higher number of claims as a "blip."

In other labor-sector news, ADP reported 253,000 new private-sector jobs in May; the Commerce Department reported 138,000 new government and private sector jobs. This reading may be revised based on an expected 185,000 public and private-sectors jobs for May and April's reading of 174,000 public and private-sector jobs.

National unemployment ticked down in May to 4.30 percent. Analysts had expected no change in April's reading of 4.40 percent.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic news includes readings on job openings, consumer credit along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.