Archive for January, 2019

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Lower in November

January 31, 2019

Case-Shiller Home Prices Lower in NovemberHome price growth continued to struggle in November, with Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index moving from October’s reading of 5.30 percent annual growth to 5.20 percent growth in November. This was the lowest reading since January 2015.

Las Vegas, Nevada remained first in home price growth rate with a year-over-year home prices growth of 12 percent. Phoenix, Arizona’s year-over-year home price growth rate was 8.10 percent and Seattle, Washington held third place with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 6.30 percent.

Las Vegas’ large year-over-year growth in home prices was attributed to the city’s ongoing recovery from the recession when home prices tanked in southern Nevada. Cities including Denver, Colorado, San Francisco California and Seattle, Washington saw steep declines in home price growth rates as compared to past peak home price growth fueled by post-recession recovery.

Challenges to home price appreciation were no surprise as slim supplies of available homes and high buyer demand created buyer competition and fewer choices of available homes. Affordability continued to discourage first-time and moderate income buyers.

David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices said, “The pace of price increases is being dampened by declining sales of existing homes and weaker affordability. Sales peaked in November 2017 and have drifted down through 2018. Affordability reflects higher prices and increased mortgage rates through much of last year.”

Affordable Homes Hard To Find Amid Slim Supply

First-time home buyers accounted for about 32 percent of home sales in November; their market share has not increased in recent months. First-time buyers typically look for pre-owned homes that cost less than brand new homes.

Healthy job growth and record unemployment rates could encourage potential buyers, but buyers were sidelined by short supplies of available homes and concerns about mortgage rates and overall economic trends. Analysts said that recently falling mortgage rates may not have been enough to encourage buyers who continued to face high demand for fewer homes and strict criteria for mortgage approval.

Positive indicators for housing markets included stable inflation and the Fed’s decision not to rise its target interest rate range; this was expected to help slow rate increases on consumer credit including mortgage loans.

If you are in the market for a new home, please be sure to consult with your trusted real estate agent and your trusted home mortgage professional.

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Is a Hard Money Loan the Right Strategy for You?

January 30, 2019

Is a Hard Money Loan the Right Strategy for YouWhen used as a part of an effective real estate investment strategy, hard money loans are an excellent tool to quickly increase holdings without risking existing properties. However, these loans aren’t for everyone.

What investors get the most value from hard money loans?

Investors With Less-Than-Stellar Credit

Investors with credit challenges can qualify more easily for hard money loans. That’s because these loans aren’t based on the borrower. While you will have to prove a measure of creditworthiness, hard money lenders are more interested in the property you plan to buy. If you default on your payments, the lending bank simply takes possession of your property. For that reason, high-value properties in good condition fetch the best terms with hard money lenders. 

If you’re turned down for more conventional funding sources, you may still be able to move forward with a hard money loan for the right property.

Cash-Strapped Veteran Investors

When the market is hot, it’s not unusual for an investor to sink the majority of their liquid assets into new properties. However, this can leave them left out in the cold when new properties come up for sale.

Experienced flippers who are temporarily out of cash can use hard money loans to fund the purchase of additional properties. This allows them to continue expanding their holdings without compromising money earmarked for other projects. The short loan term is no problem for these investors since they know a property sale is always imminent.

Quick Investments: When You Can’t Wait

Sudden auctions can be a blessing to real estate investors. Sometimes, however, these deals pop up at the least opportune time. If you have your eye on a property that promises to go fast, a hard money loan can get you the cash you need in less time than conventional sources. That means you can take advantage of rock-bottom cash auctions quickly.

Since hard money loans don’t have the most favorable repayment terms, many investors choose to convert them into more conventional loan structures after the initial purchase. This strategy allows investors to participate in quick sales without sacrificing too much profit to interest payments.

Hard money loans are a unique source of funding for real estate investors. Use them wisely to realize the benefits and increase your investment income.

Your trusted home mortgage professional can help guide you through all of your financing options. Be sure to set an appointment when you are thinking of investing in a new property.

Auction 101: Bidding On Your First Property

January 29, 2019

Auction 101 Bidding On Your First PropertyWith the right combination of strategy, knowledge, and luck, flipping houses can create big profits for short-term investors. However, your path to success starts at your first auction.

For first-timers who are intimidated by their lack of experience at public auctions, follow these steps to ease the confusion of your first property purchase.

Locate Auctions In Your Area

Finding live auctions is as simple as an internet search. Websites run by government agencies list homes that have been seized due to tax liens or foreclosures. Try searching databases maintained by:

  • Fannie Mae
  • The FDIC
  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Another option is your local newspaper. Banks publish foreclosure notices in the public notice section. You can also find advertisements from auction companies and information from the sheriff’s or county tax collector’s office that helps you hunt down low-cost properties.

For busy investors who plan to use real estate as an extra income, it could be worth your while to enlist the help of a professional real estate agent. They often keep lists of homes in foreclosure in the surrounding area.

Assess Available Properties

All properties are not created equal. To find the right fit for your project, find the following information for each potential listing.

  • Current bid price
  • Previous purchase price
  • Length of time property has been unoccupied
  • Property condition
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Sales history of homes in the surrounding neighborhood

This information isn’t always readily available. You may be able to find more information via an MLS search, public lands records, or various real estate websites that publish property data. Of course, if you’re working with a real estate agent, they will provide all the data you need to make the right decision.

Some auction sites include pictures and map data. At other auctions, bidders may be allowed to visit the property or hold open houses before the sale occurs.

Perform A Title Search

When you’ve found a few properties that you like, take some time to do a thorough title search. This process ensures your property doesn’t come with some unfortunate surprises.

During your search, you’ll need to:

  • Obtain records from the tax assessor to verify the tax status of the property.
  • Locate the property’s deed either physically or online.
  • Investigate the property’s sales history to ensure no one else can claim ownership.
  • Check for liens, unpaid mortgage commitments, and legal judgments against the property.

Once a property has cleared these steps, you’ll be ready to start placing bids on your first investment property.

Last but not least: Don’t overlook your financing options. Be sure to meet with your trusted home mortgage professional to get your pre-approval in place. This important step will help you create an affordable budget. 

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 28th, 2019

January 28, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 28th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of previously owned homes and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims. A scheduled report on sales of new homes was not available due to the government shutdown.

National Association of Realtors®: Sales of Pre-Owned Homes Lowest in 3 Years

Sales of previously owned homes fell in December and failed to meet expectations. 4.99 million pre-owned homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; analysts predicted 5.10 million sales based on 5.33 million sales in November 2018. December’s reading showed the lowest number of sales since November of 2015.

Sales of previously-owned homes fell 6.40 percent month-to-month and were 10.30 percent lower year-over-year. Inventories of previously-owned homes also slipped in December with a 3.70 months supply of homes as compared to 3.90 months supply of available homes in November. Real estate pros consider six months supply of homes for sale as an average inventor.

Real estate pros said that lower buyer traffic in all regions of the U.S. could indicate less interest from buyers, but on a positive note, fewer buyers also remove the high rates of competition seen in the recent past.

Lower mortgage rates are well-timed for the upcoming spring sales season. Real estate pros were hopeful that lower mortgage rates will hold and entice more buyers into the market.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported no change in average interest rates for fixed rate mortgages. The average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages held at 4.45 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also unchanged at 3.88 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged three basis points higher at 3.90 percent. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 199,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 218,000 new claims to be filed based on the prior week’s reading of 212,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading represented the first time since 1969 that new jobless claims fell below 200,000, but analysts were wary of potential impact of the government shutdown on new jobless claims. The shutdown ended on Friday until February 15, but politicians seemed unenthusiastic about future shutdowns.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and readings on pending home sales, construction spending and the post-meeting statement from the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee.

Labor sector readings on private and public employment and the national unemployment rate will also be released. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released on schedule.

5 Home Renovations That Really Raise Values

January 25, 2019

5 Home Renovations That Really Raise ValuesThere are many home renovation projects that can increase the comfort and visual appeal of a dwelling. Owners who plan to sell their home in the future, however, prefer to focus on projects that will return a healthy profit at closing.

Here are 5 renovation projects that positively impact a home’s resale value.

Conversions

It’s easy for real estate agents to convince buyers to bid higher on properties with more bedrooms. Redesign the attic to easily add an extra bedroom without committing to a major construction project. This strategy works well for smaller homes or those in neighborhoods with multiple homes for sale. Converting a basement into a bonus room or den is another way to use extra storage spaces to increase property value.

Floors

Outdated, stained, or damaged flooring repels potential buyers. High-quality, stain-resistant carpets in neutral colors are the best options for those looking to sell. Other alternatives include hardwood floors and easy-to-clean laminates. Avoid shag carpets, bright colors, or unusual patterns so the property appeals to a wide variety of potential buyers.

Kitchens

For real estate agents, kitchens rank high on the list of value-building remodeling projects. Most home shoppers base their decision on the condition of the kitchen. Update stale or out-of-fashion paint, install new cabinet doors, refresh countertops, and replace old appliances to encourage a higher sale price. Renovators with limited funds should focus the majority of their dollars on kitchen projects.

Bathrooms

After the kitchen, bathrooms have the greatest impact on home values. As long as the plumbing is in working condition, bathroom renovations don’t require a large investment to add value to the home. Refurbish dingy sinks and bathtubs, refresh existing grout, and update fixtures for a quick boost before putting a home up for sale.

Landscape

The exterior of a home is just as important as the inside. Investing in landscaping increases curb appeal and can make a home more interesting to certain buyers. For example, adding a dog run in the backyard is an excellent perk for pet parents. In neighborhoods with older residents, a small deck or hot tub can be an eye-catching extra.

Strategic use of home renovations can improve living conditions and increase property values. Your trusted mortgage professional is ready to help you if you want to access some of the equity in your home for more costly home improvements.

Tips For Selling Your Home In The Winter

January 24, 2019

Tips For Selling Your Home In The WinterWinter typically isn’t one of the busier home buying seasons – those seasons are reserved for spring and summer. But to think that you can’t sell your home at market value during the winter months is being naive. In fact, you can even use some of the characteristics that define the season to your advantage.

For instance, because winter isn’t a hot selling season, there’s typically less inventory during this time of year. That said, if your home stands out in the listings, you have a better chance of getting on that coveted “short list” of buyers.

Here’s a look at some tips on how to do it:

Make Your Home Look Inviting

This is essential for selling your home at any period of the year, but it’s perhaps most important during the winter months. That’s because colder temperatures and shorter days have the tendency to make a property look a little dreary from the outside.

There are a few ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal during the winter months:

  • Exterior lights: Shorter days mean less daylight, so make sure your home is well-lit so that buyers can see all of its features in periods of low light.
  • Easy to navigate: Always ensure that your driveway and any walking paths are clear. This makes it easier for potential buyers to safely access the home and more closely observe the condition of the driveway, sidewalks, etc.
  • Decorate it appropriately: Don’t overdo it, but some seasonal decorations can add a nice touch.

Turn Up The Heat

Ideally, you want would-be buyers to walk in from the cold into a warm, cozy environment. So crank up the thermostat, make a fire in your home’s fireplaces (if applicable) and brighten any dark areas of the home. This helps create a comfortable interior environment as well as show off some of your home’s amenities.

Think Spring And Summer

As you know, your home is bound to look different during the summer months than it will during the winter. Hence, we’d encourage you to make sure that this is noted in your listings. Include exterior photos of your home during the warm weather months so would-be buyers can see the green grass, flowers in bloom and leaves on the trees.

Sometimes, envisioning how a home that is being shown in the winter will look at other times of the year can be difficult. Don’t waste the opportunity to include a few photos of your home at other times of the year.

Don’t be nervous about selling your home in the winter – just know how to showcase it to capture buyer interest. The buyers are out there in the winter, it’s just a matter of making your home stand out. Your trusted real estate agent is just the person to help you make sure your home is buyer-ready any time of the year!

And don’t forget to contact your trusted home mortgage professional for advice on financing options. You’re going to want to have a place to call home after you sell your current property!

Complete These Repairs Before You List Your Home

January 23, 2019

Complete These Repairs Before You List Your HomeThere are several things to do when you prepare to list your home for sale. One of the projects you’ll need to do is complete certain repairs. Your home should be in the best possible condition before your real estate agent shows it to potential buyers.

While your home doesn’t need to be perfect, here is a list of repairs you should strive to get done before you open your home to showings.

Front Steps And Deck Issues

The front entrance and back deck should be in good shape for curb appeal and safety. Replace or repair wooden steps that pose a danger or feel unstable. Hammer down any nails on the deck that have popped up over the years. Reinforce loose railings and hand rails. Refinish decking that has dried, cracked or peeling paint.

Sticking Or Noisy Hinges And Sliders

Buyers will likely be opening doors, drawers, windows and cupboards. Don’t let them be disappointed. Go through your home and identify doors, windows and drawers that don’t open and close smoothly. Lubricate hinges, drawer sliders or window sashes as necessary. Tighten loose screws on door hinges to ensure the door swings easily.

Cracked Or Broken Window Panes

Windows in disrepair often signal that the home hasn’t been well-maintained. Replace or repair cracked or broken windows or window glass that’s clouded over from loss of insulation.

Stained Carpets

Buyers’ eyes may instantly be drawn to visible stains on your carpet. Have carpets professionally cleaned with added stain removal services. Camouflage any stains that won’t come out with an area rug or a piece of furniture. Alternatively, consider replacing carpets that are in extremely poor condition.

Broken Tiles And Peeling Flooring

Flooring in poor condition often ruins the look of the room and is a safety hazard. Replace chipped or cracked floor tiles. Repair any corners where the flooring has begun to peel up.

Electrical Issues

Go through your home and make sure all the sockets, outlets and wall switches are in proper working order. Have a certified electrical technician do the work; otherwise the work may not be approved on home inspection report.

First impressions are extremely important when it comes to selling your home. Don’t assume that buyers will be able to look past needed repairs. Instead, take care of these issues before your agent shows your home.

Your trusted real estate agent is available to help you prioritize the home repairs that really matter to buyers. Your trusted home mortgage professional is ready to assist you with your financing for your next home. Be sure to get pre-approved before you start your new home search.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 22nd, 2019

January 22, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 22nd, 2019Last week’s economic reports included National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued were delayed due to the federal government shutdown, which continued and became the longest government shutdown on record.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises Amid Headwinds

Home builder confidence rose two points in January according to the National Association of Home Builders. Builder concerns over rising construction costs and tariffs on building materials were balanced by falling mortgage rates.

Builders felt pressure to create more affordable homes and to offer incentives to buyers that could create more sales. Building new homes is the only solution to the long-entrenched shortage of homes; the Home builder index is closely watched by housing and mortgage industry pros as an indicator of future home inventories and mortgages.

Federal Reserve Beige Book Shows Concern Over Current Economic Conditions

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, which recounts Federal Reserve business contacts’ views of the economy included information from eight of twelve Federal Reserve districts. Business leaders cited higher costs including rising tariffs and costs for supplies. Business growth was slower during December and early January.

Additional concerns cited by the Fed’s business contacts included the government shutdown and conflicts over trade and political policies. Fed contacts reported mixed results with passing on higher costs to consumers. This suggests that consumers are “tapped out,” or are reining in spending among worries over the shutdown and rising costs.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported mixed activity on mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 330-year fixed rate mortgages was unchanged at 4,45 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage ticked down one basis point to 3.88 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.37 percent. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Fewer first-time jobless claims were filed last week with 213,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 220,000 new claims filed and 216,000 first-time claims filed in the prior week.

The University of Michigan released its consumer confidence index for January; consumer uncertainty about economic conditions and the government shutdown caused January’s reading to fall nearly eight points to 90.70. from December’s reading of 98.30 Analysts expected a reading of 97.50, but this may have been based in hopes that the government shutdown would end.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic reports are limited by Monday’s holiday and the ongoing government shutdown. Expected readings include sales of new and pre-owned homes along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

4 Signs You’re Going To Need A Bigger House

January 18, 2019

4 Signs You're Going To Need A Bigger HouseThere comes a time in every young homeowner’s life when they need a bigger house. When you buy a starter home, it’s unlikely that will be your forever home. But how do you know when it’s time to spend the time and effort to upgrade to a larger home?

Here are four signs you’re gonna need a bigger house!

1. You Have To Move Stuff To Get To Other Stuff

In a house where there is enough room for everything, you can move freely and access all your things without having to rearrange furniture. If you find yourself constantly pushing other things aside in order to get to what you want, there isn’t enough space in your home.

2. You’re Always Misplacing Things

The key to organization is having a spot for everything. But if you’re short on space, everything can’t have its own spot. That’s when things get lost or misplaced. If you repeatedly misplace your belongings, you probably need a bigger house.

3. You’ve Got A Growing Family

Do you have a little one on the way? As your family grows, your need for space will increase. It’s hard to imagine that a small baby will take up much space, and they don’t. It’s the baby accessories that take up the space; the high chair, the playpen, the walkers, the crib, the toy chest and more. It’s all fantastically fun, but you are going to need a bigger house.

4. You Just Feel Cramped

You and the other members of your family should each feel like you have space to be alone, spend time on hobbies, and have private conversations. If you just feel cramped all the time or you feel like you don’t have any privacy, it could be because your house is too small.

When you finally realize that the problems aren’t with you, but with the size of your house, it’s very liberating. Now you have the answer to the issues. All you have to do is go out there and find a bigger house to move into.

Whether you are looking to purchase a larger home or refinance your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

 

 

 

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Grows After Lowest Level in 3 Years

January 17, 2019

NAHB Home Builder Confidence Grows After Lowest Level in 3 YearsAfter two months of declining builder confidence, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index gained two points in January with a reading of 58. Component readings of the HMI were also higher with builder confidence in current market conditions rose two points to an index reading of 63. Builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months rose three points to 64.

The index for buyer traffic in new housing developments rose one point to 44. While index readings above 50 indicate positive market conditions, the index reading for buyer traffic is typically lower than 50.

Lower Mortgage Rates Compel Home Buyers to Act

Falling mortgage rates contributed to the uptick in home builder confidence, but affordability continued to impact first-time and moderate-income home buyers. Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist, said: “Builders need to continue to manage rising construction costs to keep home prices affordable, particularly for young buyers at the entry level of the market.”

Analysts suggested that builders could consider offering deeper discounts and incentives to buyers to increase sales of new homes. Homes not sold during November and December added to current inventories of new homes available, which provides home buyers with more choices and less competition for homes.

Home Builders Expect More Buyer Traffic

Lennar Corporation, a major home builder said that increased buyer traffic indicated that 2019 home sales would increase and that improving economic conditions were expected to improve housing market conditions and home sales in 2019.

Builders expect to face continued headwinds in 2019; affordability tops the list, but relatively low inventories of homes in some areas dampen buyer enthusiasm. Single-family housing starts are also expected to be lower than the long-term yearly average. As economic conditions improve for would-be home buyers, a slim supply of homes and high home prices present obstacles to buyers.

Your trusted home mortgage professional is one of your best partners in your next home buying or refinancing transaction. Be sure to contact them to discuss market conditions in your area.