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

June 23, 2017

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

What Does It Do?

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

How Accurate Is It?

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

Should You Use One?

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

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

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

June 22, 2017

Summer's Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color PaletteNow that the summer season has arrived, it’s time to enjoy the warm weather and cooler clothes. You might also be thinking about making some design changes to your home to welcome the season and indulge in its brilliance. If you’re looking for some new color schemes and how you can use them to amp up your home, here a few brightly-colored suggestions to try out for yourself.

Sky Blue

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

Bright Orange

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

Kelly Green

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

Hot Pink

The color pink may seem like a risk for any room, but if you’re going for a patio setting or a makeup room, it can be the perfect tone to liven things up. Whether you want to try an accent wall or re-upholster some chairs, hot pink can easily make one think of summer cocktails and warm destinations throughout the season. With the summer months around the corner, there are plenty of great ways and fabulous colors to dress up your home with.

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

June 21, 2017

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

Refinance Your Mortgage

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

Review Your Budget

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

Get A Second Job

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

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

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

June 20, 2017

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

Are There Any Maintenance Issues?

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

What Are You Willing To Pay?

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

What Do You Really Want?

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

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

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.

NAHB Housing Market Index Slips Two Points in June

June 16, 2017

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 SingleFamily 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 PreBubble 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.

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

June 15, 2017

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.

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

June 14, 2017

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 one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

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

June 13, 2017

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, whether they’re 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 forget 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 try to stay within it!

Choose Complimentary 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 flatter the aesthetic of your home. Instead of choosing things 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 An Extra Room

Many homeowners in recent years have been strong believers in quantity over quality, and this means many people have invested in renovations to add a second 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 compliment your home and how much you want to spend before committing to anything.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 12, 2017

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.

Whats 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.