Archive for June, 2016

How To Host A Successful Open House

June 30, 2016

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

The Outside Look

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

Effectively Market The Event

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

Use The Five Senses

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

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

Evaluating Neighborhoods: 4 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Home

June 29, 2016

Evaluating Neighborhoods: 4 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a HomeFrom finding the right agent to discovering the home you can truly feel comfortable in, there are a variety of things involved in the home buying process. However, it’s important not to get caught up in the home and ignore altogether the community you’ll be living in. If you’re planning a move to a new neighborhood, here are some things you should look into before putting in an offer.

Local Amenities

A peaceful, picturesque community is ideal, but if there are not a lot of resources nearby for your family, it’s possible that your new neighborhood may not be the best fit. Instead of having to get in the car and drive everywhere, ensure you research nearby community centers, green spaces and recreational spots so your family has somewhere to spend their weekends.

Research The Crime Rate

You can certainly get a good sense of the well being of a community just by looking at it, but be sure that you’re informed about exactly how safe the surrounding area is so your family will feel at ease in their new locale. While you can easily research the community and find information online, websites like Neighborhood Scout and Crime Report also make it simple to discover the less well-known details.

Transportation And Accessibility

A community you love is ideal, but if you work in the downtown core or an area far away, it will be important to determine the effect this will have on the length of your commute. In addition, you’ll want to be sure there are local transportation options like buses and shuttles that provide access all over the center in the event that it’s needed.

Learn About The Locals

There’s something to be said for the perfect home, but you’ll also need to feel a certain sense of comfort in the place you live so ensure you choose a place with nice neighbors and a community feel. This may seem hard to determine before buying a house, but try visiting the local community center or knocking on a few doors for a quick impression of what the locals are like.

It can be easy to throw everything else out the window as soon as you’ve found the perfect home, but it’s important that your home is situated in a neighborhood you’ll feel comfortable in. Contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home Abroad

June 28, 2016

3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home AbroadThe call of fancy vacation locations and the additional earnings that can come along with this type of home may appeal to many homebuyers, but a lot of time and money can go into maintaining a second property. If you’re currently considering a vacation home for your own use or as a potential investment, here are a few factors to consider before jumping into the fray of a long distance home.

Will You Use It Enough?

A home in a far-off place can be a great means of having a place to visit each year, but one of the problems with this type of home is that it often doesn’t get enough use to justify all of the associated costs. While things like timeshares can minimize this problem, buying your own home may mean that you’ll be compelled to visit quite frequently and you may feel the need to commit to one option when it comes to vacation time.

Do You Want To Worry About Maintenance?

Like any home, a vacation property is going to have both large and small maintenance issues that need to be fixed here and there, and this can be hard to get to if you live a 5-hour plane ride away. Maintenance isn’t necessarily a deal breaker when it comes to a second home, but you’ll want to determine if you’re willing to do the work when you’re spending time there or whether you’d rather hire someone who will do all of the little fix-ups for you.

Is It Really Affordable?

When going into an investment as significant as a home for pleasure, it can be easy for people to be obscured by what they want and not what they need, but this sometimes means people will take a financial risk. Instead of throwing caution to the wind, ensure you sit down and determine the monthly costs, maintenance fees and property taxes of your potential property. Determining how this lines up with all your other debts will help you decide if the purchase is really feasible.

Sunny beaches and trendy cities may seem like a foolproof investment, but it’s important to consider the cost effectiveness and all of the maintenance required before you commit to a second home abroad. If you’re currently looking for a home in an exotic locale, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016

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

“Brexit” Vote Tanks Stocks, Could Cause Lower Mortgage Rates

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

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

Existing Home Sales Highest Since 2007, Home Prices Continue Rising

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

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

New Home Sales Fall in May

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

Mortgage Rates Rise, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

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

What’s Ahead

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

How to Differentiate Your Home from the Neighbors for a Faster Sale

June 24, 2016

How to Differentiate Your Home from the Neighbors for a Faster SaleWhen it comes to selling your home, there can be a lot of options on the market, and nothing is quite so competitive as having your house listed right alongside the home of your neighbor. If you’re struggling with how to highlight your home to potential homebuyers, here are some things you can do to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.

Engage All The Marketing Options

Many people prefer their real estate agent to take care of the heavy lifting when it comes to selling a home, but there’s no reason you can’t go beyond the typical measures to really get potential homebuyers interested. Instead of leaving it up to a website or a sign on the street, send out flyers to all of your neighbors and utilize social media as a resource for getting the word out. You may also want to create a website for your home that will highlight its features in the best light.

Emphasize The Special Details

You may not think that the small things matter when it comes to selling your home, but the little details add up and they can actually make your home quite memorable to someone who’s seen a lot of open houses. Whether you’ve installed them or they were there already, your house probably has a special feature like brightly cultured kitchen tiles or an interesting light fixture; just ensure it’s effectively displayed and your home will stand out from the pack!

Clean Up The Curb

It’s possible that you have a stunning panoramic shot of your home from the outside, but if your house looks nothing like this when potential homebuyers arrive they’ll immediately be reconsidering the visit. Instead of leaving this to chance, make sure that you’ve done any minor repairs to the exterior of the house, cleaned up the lawn and organized everything so nothing looks messy or disheveled from the street. Your exterior will provide the initial impression, and nothing will make your home stand out from your neighbors like an immaculate facade.

It can be a struggle to know how to best display your house so it stands out, but by organizing the exterior and highlighting your home’s special features, you may be on your way to an ideal offer. If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

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

June 23, 2016

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

A Suburban Location

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

A Carpet-Free Living Space

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

Smaller Is Better

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

An Up-To-Date Area For Entertaining

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

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

3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

June 22, 2016

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

Set Up A Payment Schedule

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

Be Aware Of Ways To Pay

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

Is It Really Affordable?

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

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

Ready to Be a Landlord? Important Considerations Before Renting Your Home

June 21, 2016

Ready to Be a Landlord? Important Considerations Before Renting Your HomeWhether you’re going away on an extended vacation or considering downsizing into a smaller place, the popularity of websites like Airbnb has led many people to believe that there’s a lot of money in home rental. However, before putting your home on the market, it’s important to be aware of some of the factors that go into having a rental property. It may seem like extra money, but it’s the small details that can make it a more complicated process.

Is It A Short Term Solution

Many people plan on putting their home on the market for a short duration of time, but if you’re only planning on renting for 6 months or a year, it may not be as financially lucrative as you think. While tax breaks can go along with rental properties, the money you make off of this kind of investment is taxable so if you’re not in it for a slightly longer haul, you may not see the financial boost you’re looking for.

What Are You Willing To Deal With?

For those who are planning to put a home on the market, they still need some place to live, and this can mean that a certain amount needs to be made each month for the costs of having two homes even out. Before putting any serious considerations into this, ensure that you know it’s financially feasible. It’s entirely possible that you won’t have renters for certain periods of time and you could also run into problems with the renters you find, so you should sit down and put pen to paper to consider the investment potential.

Have You Considered The Maintenance?

Out of sight is often out of mind, but if you have a renter, you’re responsible for anything that goes wrong in the home. From small maintenance duties to sizeable but necessary overhauls, there are many things you’re legally obligated to do as a landlord and you’ll need to be prepared to take on these responsibilities. Since it will be the duty of the owner, in the event you don’t want to do it, you’ll have to hire a contractor who will be able to handle the work for you.

Having a house as a second property may seem like an ideal investment, but this can require you to take on the responsibilities of a landlord and you may even have to deal with problematic rental situations. If you’re searching for an additional property in the near future, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016

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

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

Home Builder Confidence Rises in June

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

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

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

Mortgage Rates Fall as Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed and adjustable mortgages last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped f six basis points to an average of 3.54 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged

2.81 percent, which was also six basis points lower. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 2.740 percent. Lower mortgage rates are welcomed by first-time and moderate income homebuyers as home prices continue to rise.

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

What’s Ahead

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

Mortgage Fraud: 3 Common Scams to Avoid

June 17, 2016

Mortgage Fraud: 3 Common Scams to AvoidThere are many ins and outs involved in securing a mortgage lender, and as a result there are many offers and options out there which are only around to take advantage of prospective homebuyers. If you’re on the lookout for a home and are trying to wade through all the details successfully, here are some things you may want to be aware of.

The Perfect Rental Deal

If you’ve ever rented an apartment in the past, it’s entirely possible that you’ve run into deals on Craigslist where a sizeable, stunning property is advertised at a very modest price. While scams like this are quite common when it comes to rentals, they also occur when scammers copy MLS listing and pretend to be an agent facilitating a real estate deal. There’s no sure way to avoid scams like these, but ensure you don’t hand over money or sign anything unless you’re 100% certain whom you’re dealing with.

Lenders Who Push The Envelope

Reliable lenders will be upfront with you when explaining the details associated with your mortgage, so it’s important to be cautious if you end up dealing with someone who asks you to exaggerate or embellish your financial claims. The only way to make a solid investment is to be honest about your financial situation, and anyone trying to inflate your income and the price you can pay is only hoping to gain a piece of the profit for themselves.

Investment Speakers And Seminars

With so much information out there, many people look for courses that will make them aware of the basics of investing so that they can do some of the legwork on their own. Courses like these can be useful in many cases but if they happen to be sponsored by an organization and are charging high attendance fees, there’s a good chance they’re trying to endorse their own services and may not be providing the most accurate information. Instead of guessing for yourself, you may want to read up on the basics and follow up with a trusted lender for any additional questions.

There’s a lot involved in delving into the real estate market, and that’s why it’s important to watch out for the kinds of things that may not be serving your best interest. If you’re currently looking for a lender and are planning on buying a home soon, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.