Planning On Getting A Mortgage in 2021, Take These Steps

January 26, 2021

Planning On Getting A Mortgage in 2021, Take These StepsAs we move into 2021, there are a lot of people who are thinking about getting a mortgage. Even though it is a great time to look for a home loan right now, it is also important for everyone to make sure they place themselves in the best position possible to be successful. It is important to take the following steps for those who are interested in applying for a new home loan this year. 

Calculate Your Budget Carefully

First, it is important to take a look at the budget carefully and find a mortgage that is affordable. Remember that the mortgage payment isn’t the only expense that comes with owning a home. It is also critical to think about real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance, which is often included in the monthly payment that goes back to the lender. Then, do not overlook the importance of utilities. Some of the most common utilities include electricity, water, gas, cable, and internet. Before looking for a home loan, make sure to calculate the budget carefully. 

See If Extra Payments Are Possible

When people first take out a home loan, the majority of the monthly payment is going to go towards interest. Then, at the end of the loan, the majority of the payment is going to go towards the principal. Those who are able to afford to make extra monthly payments will be able to attack the principal directly. The faster homeowners are able to pay off their home loans, the less they are going to pay in interest over the life of the loan. Any homeowner that is able to make extra payments should consider doing so. 

Don’t Forget To Deduct Mortgage Interest From Taxes

Anyone who is looking for a way to reduce their tax liability should consider taking out a home loan. There are lots of tax breaks that are available to people who own a home; however, for many homeowners, the biggest deduction is going to come in the form of mortgage interest. This can significantly reduce the amount of money that homeowners have to pay in taxes. Be sure to speak with the lender to learn more about the relationship between mortgage interest and tax deductions.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 25, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, along with Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously-owned homes; weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Home Builders’ Housing Market Index Falls in January

Homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions fell three points to an index reading of 83 in January. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index expected a reading of 85 for January as compared to December’s index reading of 86. Increasing covid-19 cases and rising materials costs caused builder confidence to fall as builder concerns rose.

The NAHB Housing Market Index remained strong as any reading over 50 indicates positive builder sentiment toward housing markets. Component readings for January’s Housing Market Index also fell; builder confidence in current market conditions fell two points to an index reading of 90. Homebuilder confidence in market conditions for the next six months also fell two points to 83. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments dropped five points to an index reading of 68. Readings of more than 50 for buyer traffic were rare until the covid-19 pandemic started.

Conflicting factors impacted home builder confidence readings. Home sales rose as urban homeowners sought new and larger homes in the suburbs and rural areas, labor shortages, and rising materials expenses worried home builders.

Housing Starts and Building Permits Rose in December

The Commerce Department reported a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.67 million housing starts as compared to November’s reading of 1.547 million starts. Building permits issued rose in December with 1.709 million permits issued annually as compared to November’s reading of 1.635 million housing starts.

The National Association of Realtors® reported 6.76 million sales of previously-owned homes sold as of December on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Home sales are increasing although demand exceeds available inventory and home prices continue to rise.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Lower

Mortgage rates fell last week with the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages two basis points lower on average at 2.77 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.21 percent and were two basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.80 percent and 32 basis points lower. 

First-time jobless claims fell to 900,000 claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 926,000 new claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims were also lower last week with 5.05 million continued claims filed as compared to 5.18 million claims filed the previous week. 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the FHFA House Price Index, and the Federal Reserve’s Statement from its Federal Open Market Committee. Monthly readings on new home sales and consumer sentiment will also be published. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

Let There Be Light! 3 Easy Ways to Make over a Room by Adding New Light Fixtures

January 22, 2021

Let There Be Light! 3 Easy Ways to Make over a Room by Adding New Light Fixtures Light is an important design element that can be used to influence your interior decor in a number of ways. In fact, you can experience a major transformative change on the overall style and ambiance of a room by making a few simple lighting changes. Consider how these ideas can help you to improve the look of your space with great results, and think about ways that you can improve your space by making a few changes.

The Addition of Spotlights

If you have fine pieces of artwork, decorative display areas or other features that you want to illustrate with beautiful clarity, the addition of spotlights is a great idea. You can shine light on these special features in your home by installing a single, bright fixture with a focused beam overhead, or you can use track lighting to highlight larger features. In some cases, the design or layout of your room may be sufficient to allow lighting to be placed at eye-level or even below the fixture to shine upward at it.

Background Illumination

While spotlights can shine a focused beam of light on fixtures, you can also use background lighting for ambiance. Consider how you can incorporate background lighting with under-cabinet kitchen lighting, dimmer recessed lighting placed behind a sofa or other features. Generally, these are lights that do not provide direct lighting, and the light may not be the main source of light in the room. It may even have a hint of color to it for a dramatic flair that further establishes ambiance.

Beautiful Lamps

Another idea is to use beautiful or decorative lamps in your room. These may be smaller desk lamps, towering floor lamps or table top lamps. There are lamps available in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. The lighting from the lamps may influence ambiance and provide functional lighting, but the decorative nature of the lamps themselves can enhance the décor even when the lights are not turned on.

There are many different types of lighting that can influence your home’s décor, and in many cases, it makes sense to incorporate each of these styles of lighting in a single room to enjoy different benefits. You can study your rooms’ layouts and designs today to learn more about how the existing light fixtures influence decor, and you can make a few appropriate changes to enjoy better overall results for your space.

Understanding The Role Of A Mortgage Prepayment Penalty Fee

January 21, 2021

Understanding The Role Of A Mortgage Prepayment Penalty FeeWhen people take out a home loan, it is important to think carefully about how the home loan works. At first, the majority of the monthly payment is going to go towards interest. For example, it is not unusual for 90 percent of the monthly mortgage payments go toward interest during the first year. Then, during the latter part of the loan, most of the payment is going to go towards paying off the principal.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a lot of homeowners are looking for ways to reduce the amount of Interest they pay on a home loan. 

For example, some homeowners consider putting a larger down payment on the home in order to reduce the amount of money they have to pay in the form of interest. Another possibility involves paying off the mortgage early; however, a mortgage prepayment fee may apply. 

What Is A Mortgage Prepayment Fee?

A mortgage prepayment fee is exactly what it sounds like. This is a fee that some homeowners have to pay if they end up paying off their mortgage early. For lenders, they know that a lot of the money they are going to make comes in the form of interest. Therefore, they also understand that if their home loan gets paid off early, they are going to lose a significant amount of money. Therefore, as a way to disincentivize homeowners from paying off their home loan early and posting them interest, they apply a mortgage prepayment fee. 

When Will A Mortgage Prepayment Fee Apply?

Of course, it is also important for homeowners to take a look at the contract carefully and see when a mortgage prepayment fee applies. For example, if homeowners are paying one extra monthly payment per year, then it is highly unlikely that a mortgage prepayment fee is going to apply when the home loan gets paid off early. On the other hand, if a homeowner is looking to pay off an entire home loan in 3 years, then there is a high chance that a prepayment fee is going to apply. In order to avoid this mortgage prepayment fee, every homeowner has to take a look at their contract carefully.

 

4 Steps to a Smooth Mortgage Refinance at a Rock-Bottom Rate

January 20, 2021

4 Steps to a Smooth Mortgage Refinance at a Rock-Bottom RateRight now is the best time to look at refinancing your home. Even if your current mortgage is as young as a year old, you might find that a refinance is in your best interest.

Be Sure That A Refinance Makes Sense

With today’s rates, refinancing makes sense for many homeowners, but it might not be the right move for you. Depending upon your mortgage, you may pay a penalty if you prepay early. Also, if you’ve paid heavily into your mortgage, refinancing into a new 20 or 30 year mortgage could cost you money over the long-term. The bottom line is to carefully read through your loan documents or even call your loan company to find out the details of the impact of a refinance.

Consult With A Professional

Once you’ve determined that a refinance makes sense in theory, it’s time to talk with an objective professional, i.e., not your loan rep. Seek out a fiduciary, who has receives no gain whether or not you refinance. Have the professional run the numbers so you can see in black and white where you will stand financially after a refinance.

Compare Rates

If you and your financial professional decide that a refinance is the way to go, now it’s time to compare rates. Even with rates at rock bottom prices right now, you’ll find that you might save even more money just by shopping around. Also, remember that if your credit is excellent, you have more negotiating power. If you have a preference with working with a certain company, ask them to match the interest rate you’ve been offered by a competitor. 

Protect Your Investment

Now that you’ve improved your mortgage situation with a refinance, it’s time to consider what your heirs will be left with when you’re no longer here to provide for them. Make sure that your loved ones can reap the benefit of your savvy financial planning by taking out a life insurance policy. There are many variations on life insurance policies, so by sure to compare and contrast benefits, terms and rates.

As a homeowner, you should always be on the lookout for ways to maximize your investment. Use these refinancing tips to get the most out of your home’s value.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 19, 2021Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, retail sales, and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

 Inflation Rises as Retail Sales Fall, Fed  Says Current Monetary Policy Won’t Change

The Consumer Price Index rose to 0.40 percent in December as compared to November’s reading of 0.20 percent. The CPI measures inflation and the Core CPI measures inflation without the volatile sectors of food and fuel. December’s Core CPI reading fell to a rate of 0.10 percent growth from November’s reading of 0.20 percent.

Retail sales were dampened by the coronavirus, but December’s negative reading of -0.70 percent sales was lower than the    -1.40  percent rate reported in November.  December sales excluding the automotive sector were -1.40 percent lower in December as compared to November’s reading of -1.30 percent.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell dispelled fears of rising inflation and said that the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee will not raise its current federal interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent any time soon. Chair Powell also said that the Fed would not decrease its purchase of Treasury Bonds as a further measure to stabilize the economy.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 14 basis points to 2.79 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.23 percent and were seven basis points higher. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 37 basis points to 3.12 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for  5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 965,000 claims filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 784,000 initial claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims also rose with 5.27 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of  5.07 million continuing claims filed.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was lower in January with a reading of 79.2.  Analysts expected an index reading of 79.2 based on the December reading of 80.7.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index and reports from the Commerce Department on housing starts, building permits issued. Sales of pre-owned homes will also be reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Many Buyers Are Willing To Go Over Their Budget For The Perfect Home

January 15, 2021

Many Buyers Are Willing To Go Over Their Budget For The Perfect HomeFor those who are looking for a new home, it is important to take the time to get this decision right. For a lot of people, a home is the most valuable investment they are ever going to make. As a result, it is critical to evaluate all of the options that are available. That way, everyone will get the most out of their time. What about setting a budget? How important is this and should people think about going over it?

It Is Important To Budget First

When someone is looking for a home, the first step is to know the budget. As a rule of thumb, those people should try to avoid spending more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing expenses. This is monthly income before taxes. For those who are having trouble doing this calculation, this is an area where a trained professional can provide assistance. That way, everyone will know how much money they can spend on a home after their down payment.

Make A List Of Must-Have and Nice To Have Features

Next, it is important to come up with a list of features they must have and features that would be nice to have. Everyone has to make sure they know what features they want to include the budget. There are some things that homeowners need to have, such as a certain number of bedrooms. Then, there are features that people would like to have but aren’t necessary. What happens if someone finds a home with everything? Should they go over budget?

Finding The Perfect Home Is Worth A Few Extra Dollars

In the end, a home is more than just a number on a piece of paper. Because a home is also about intangible values and benefits, it is okay for homeowners to go over their budget slightly for the perfect home because there is a great chance that they are going to be there for years to come. At the same time, everyone also has to make sure they know how far over budget they are willing to go. Then, they can find the perfect home. 

What Do You Need To Know About Buying And Selling A Home During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

January 14, 2021

What Do You Need To Know About Buying And Selling A Home During The COVID-19 Pandemic?For those who are thinking about buying or selling a home during the pandemic, they may feel like this is a difficult task. Even though it is true that this is going to be a challenge, people are able to increase their success rate by adapting to a new environment. When it comes to buying or selling a home during the pandemic, there are a few tips that everyone should keep in mind.

Many Showings Are Going To Be Virtual

Make sure that everyone is ready to provide a virtual tour or go on one themselves. Of course, everyone is currently living in an era of social distancing. Therefore, everyone has to make sure that they do not unnecessarily expose themselves to anyone. Virtual tours are a great way to adapt to this measure while still purchasing or selling a home. For those who are thinking about providing a virtual tour to someone else, make sure to take the time to explore all of the options available. Some software programs are going to be better than others.

Ensure There Is A Safe Way To Buy And Sell A Home

It is critical to think about other safety measures that people can take as well. Everyone has to make sure that they endear themselves to as many buyers as possible. In addition to providing virtual tours, it may also be helpful to provide hand sanitizer. Or, people need to make sure that they bring hand sanitizer. Of course, make sure to wear a mask at all times when someone is going to be within 6 feet of someone else. This is another important safety measure that everyone should take.

There Is Help Available During The Pandemic

Finally, it is also a great idea to note that there is financial help available. Lots of people have struggled during the pandemic. That is why there are financial resources available. Be sure to speak with a trained professional and figure out if there are ways to make the process of buying or selling a home just a little bit easier. This could end up saving someone a lot of time and money during the process.

How Low Can They Go: With Mortgage Interest Rates Low, Should You Refinance?

January 13, 2021

How Low Can They Go: With Mortgage Interest Rates Still Dropping, Should You Refinance?Do you have a mortgage? You’ve likely seen or heard a lot about mortgage refinancing as interest rates remained low in recent months.

In today’s blog post we’ll explore the topic of mortgage refinancing, including when you should consider refinancing and how to take advantage of low interest rates.

What is Mortgage Refinancing?

In simple terms, refinancing refers to the practice of taking out a new mortgage and using the proceeds to pay off your old one in its entirety. You’ll go through the full borrowing process with your chosen lender, including the credit check, financial history and employment history in order to ensure that you have the ability to pay your new mortgage – even if your monthly costs are lower.

Depending on your financial goals, you may refinance to tap into some of the equity you’ve built up in your home, or you may refinance in order to secure a new mortgage with a lower interest rate or better payment terms. Whatever the case, know that if you decide to refinance you’ll be engaging with a lender for a brand new mortgage.

When Should I Consider Refinancing My Mortgage?

When you should refinance depends on your reason for refinancing. If you’re looking to reduce your interest rate and your monthly payments, you should refinance your mortgage whenever interest rates drop enough that you will be able to save more in monthly payments then you will be paying in closing costs and fees.

Consulting with a mortgage professional is the best way to understand how much money you can save, but to get a quick idea simply take a look at how much you owe on your mortgage, your current interest rate and the types of rates you may qualify for. If you owe $200,000 at 4% percent interest and you can refinance down to 3% percent you’re going to save a considerable amount over the long term.

How to Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates

Refinancing your mortgage is a major financial decision and not one that should be taken lightly. Careful research is needed to determine if now is best time to switch up your mortgage to one with a lower interest rate.

Should I Shorten My Mortgage Term, Important Factors To Consider

January 12, 2021

Should I Shorten My Mortgage Term, Important Factors To ConsiderWhen you first bought your home a few years ago, perhaps you started off with a 30 year mortgage. Now, you are considering refinancing and changing it to a 20 year or even a 15 year mortgage.

Shortening your mortgage term and refinancing can be a smart financial move, but before you make this decision there are a number of factors that you should consider.

Switching to a shorter mortgage will mean that your monthly payments will be higher, but you will be 100% paid off much sooner and you will save thousands of dollars in interest rates. Here are a few of the factors to consider before making this decision:

Has Your Situation Improved?

Perhaps you have moved to a higher paying position, allowing you to earn a higher income and pay off more of your mortgage every month? Or maybe you have received an inheritance, which will help you to make the payments? Perhaps your expenses have gone down and you will have more money left over from your wage?

Whatever the reason, if your financial situation has improved you might want to consider switching to a shorter mortgage. With your spare money, you will be able to make the larger payments and get your house paid off sooner.

Is The Improvement Long Term?

However, it is important to consider whether this improvement will last for the long term. Will your higher wage stay that way for the next several years? Are there any hidden expenses that you are failing to factor in?

You might be set up to repay larger monthly amounts on your mortgage at the moment, but you don’t want to set yourself up for failure in the future if your finances change.

What Are The Refinancing Costs?

Keep in mind that refinancing often comes with costs and fees, so make sure that you subtract these when you are making your calculations. It can sometimes take at least two or three years to recoup the fees, so make sure that you don’t plan on selling your home in the short term.

Can You Get A Better Rate?

One of the advantages of refinancing to a shorter mortgage is that you can sometimes get the opportunity to find a better rate. Perhaps if you have an adjustable rate you will be able to convert it to a fixed rate. Take a look at what is available and ask your financial advisor for help.

These are just a few important factors to consider when it comes to shortening your mortgage term. For more info about your home, contact your trusted mortgage professional.