Archive for November, 2019

How Much Of A Down Payment Should I Make On My Home?

November 28, 2019

How Much Of A Down Payment Should I Make On My HomeThere are a lot of steps that people need to take when buying a home. One of the most common issues that people discuss is the down payment. Most banks will require a down payment so that they aren’t the only ones taking on the risk of buying a home. The common question people have is how much of a down payment they should apply.

The Rule Of Thumb

Most people have heard about placing 20 percent down on a house as a solid rule of thumb. This number has been passed down from prior generations who purchased houses with similar down payments.

On the other hand, the price of housing has risen over the past few decades and this down payment might not be possible for some people. While 20 percent down might work for some people, it might not be feasible for others. 

Other Considerations

There are several additional factors that homebuyers need to think about. First, how big of a down payment is the bank requiring? Some banks might not lend to someone at all if they don’t reach a certain threshold. In other cases, the lender might ask someone to purchase something called private mortgage insurance, often abbreviated PMI.

This is an insurance policy that the borrower will have to purchase for the lender. If the borrower loses the home in foreclosure, the lender gets its money back through this insurance policy. Obviously, borrowers do not want to have this added expense. This is where the down payment is important.

In addition, banks might also be willing to lower the interest rate on the mortgage if the borrower increases the size of the down payment. With a lower interest rate, this can save someone a substantial amount of money down the road. Try to see if the lender will lower the interest rate in exchange for a larger down payment.

Deciding The Down Payment

These are a few of the many factors that homebuyers should think about when thinking about the down payment. While nobody wants to pay more than they should, the down payment is only one of the financial aspects people need to consider.

As always, call your trusted mortgage planning professional to help you decide on the best solution for your personal situation.

3 Crucial Questions To Ask Before You Co-Sign A Mortgage

November 26, 2019

3 Crucial Questions To Ask Before You Co-Sign A MortgageA mortgage is a significant responsibility. For this reason, many people have someone co-sign with them on their mortgage. Before agreeing to co-sign on any mortgage, it is important to ask the right questions. There are several crucial questions that everyone should ask before they co-sign on someone else’s mortgage.

What Does It Mean To Co-Sign On A Mortgage?

Before signing that piece of paper, it is important to understand the responsibilities involved. Co-signing on a mortgage is a little bit different than co-signing for a credit card.

The person who is buying the home, the primary signer, lives in the property in question. The co-signer, typically, does not. On the other hand, both people signing the mortgage take on the financial risk of the mortgage. Before co-signing, understand the financial risk involved.

Is It Smart To Trust The Borrower?

One of the most important questions to ask is whether or not the borrower can be trusted. Remember, if the primary signer cannot make the payments on the mortgage, the co-signer is on the hook for those payments. Before placing any financial assets on the line, make sure the borrower can be trusted to maintain gainful employment, make smart financial decisions, and keep up with the mortgage payments.

What Are The Risks Involved?

There are a few risks that people need to think about when it comes to co-signing a mortgage. First, think about the risk to the credit score. If the primary signer makes late payments, these can impact the co-signer’s financial health and credit score as well.

In addition, there are relationship risks that everyone should think about. Most people co-sign a mortgage for a family member or friend. Having this type of financial arrangement can complicate relationships among loved ones.

Understanding The Process Of Co-Signing A Mortgage

These are only a few of the many questions that people need to ask when they are thinking about co-signing on a mortgage. Everyone who is considering co-signing must consider the financial health and responsibility of the primary signer in addition to the risks they will be taking on. Co-signing on someone else’s mortgage is a big decision. Consider the various factors involved in this decision.

As always, speak with your trusted real estate and mortgage finance professional for advice on your personal situation.

3 Signs You’re Not Ready To Buy A Home

November 25, 2019

3 Signs You're Not Ready To Buy A HomeThose who are looking at buying a home need to think about whether or not they are truly ready for this responsibility. When someone takes out a mortgage, this is frequently the largest loan someone will ever apply for in their life. Furthermore, owning a home also means homeowners insurance, real estate taxes, home maintenance, and home repairs.

There are a few signs that signal someone is not ready to buy a home. Identifying and rectifying these situations ahead of time will ensure that someone is the right position to take on the responsibility of homeownership.

Too Much Debt

One of the biggest signs that someone is not ready is own a home is too much personal debt. A mortgage is another (albeit different) form of debt. It someone already has a large amount of debt, they might not be able to handle an additional loan.

Some forms of debt that people might have include student loans, credit card debt, and car loans. Cutting down this debt before applying for a mortgage will make someone more competitive when applying for a mortgage.

Not Enough Savings

In addition to reducing debt, it is important to build up savings as well. First, people need to have enough money for the down payment. It is highly unlikely that a lender is going to hand out a loan to someone who is not able (or willing) to put up any of their own capital.

In addition, savings are important for potential home maintenance or home repair costs. Owning a house is a major financial investment. People should be able to put up some of their own money when buying a home.

Location Is Not Determined

People move from place to place. It is a reality of school, employment, relationships, and more. At the same time, it is hard for someone to buy a house they don’t know where they want to live.

While this might seem obvious, this factor is frequently overlooked. Think about where “home” is going to be before deciding to buy a home. Consider the overall cost of living in that location, the potential commute, and the potential HOA.

Buying A Home

It is important for everyone to think about whether or not they are truly ready to buy a home before applying for a mortgage. This is a significant responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

Talk with a trusted home mortgage professional to discuss the options that will get you on the path to homeownership. Although it may take time and planning, buying a home is absolutely possible for everyone.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 25th, 2019

November 24, 2019

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 25th, 2019Last week’s scheduled economic news releases included readings on builder sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders and. Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued.

The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously owned homes and the University of Michigan issued its monthly report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Sentiment Dips in November

Home builders were less optimistic about housing market conditions in November; the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index dipped by one point to an index reading of 70 for November. October’s reading of 71 was the highest in 20 months. Any reading over 50 indicates that most builders surveyed were positive about market conditions.

Sub-readings used to calculate the NAHB Housing Market Index reading were mixed. Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose one point to 77, but builder sentiment dipped two points to 76 for current market conditions. Builder sentiment about buyer traffic in new housing developments dipped one point to 53; buyer traffic readings rarely exceed a reading of 50.

Relatively low mortgage rates helped offset builder concerns over tariffs on building materials, but pending winter weather conditions likely impacted lower builder enthusiasm over housing market conditions.

Commerce Department Reports Increased Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued

Housing starts and building permits rose in October; Housing starts rose to 1.314 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to September’sreading of 1.266 million starts.

Building permits issued increased from September’s reading of 1.391 million permits issued to October’s reading of 1.461 million permits issued. Building permits issued for new homes in October reached their highest level since the recession. Ongoing shortages of available homes continued to boost demand for homes; any increase in new construction helps balance supply and demand for homes.

Sales of previously-owned homes fell short of expectations with a reading of 5.46 million sales at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate in October; analysts expected a pace of 5.47 million sales based on September’s reading of 5.36 million sales. Year-over-year sales of previously-owned homes rose 4.60 percent.

Supplies of available homes continued to fall according to the National Association of Realtors® as inventories slipped to a 3.9 months supply in October. Real estate pros consider a six-months supply of homes as a healthy balance between available homes and home buyers.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell nine basis points to 3.66 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.15 percent and were five basis points lower.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages also fell five basis points to 3.39 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

New jobless claims were expected to drop to 218,000 claims filed but held steady at the prior week’s reading of 227,000 first-time claims filed.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose to an index reading of 96.80 for November; analysts expected the reading to hold steady at October’s reading of 95.70 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on home prices from Case-Shiller; reports on new and pending home sales and a speech by Fed chair Jerome Powell. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

How Much Money To Budget For Home Maintenance

November 21, 2019

How Much Money To Budget For Home Maintenance1Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of these involves home maintenance. Sometimes, people are surprised by the size and frequency of home maintenance costs.

In order to reduce the stress that comes with home maintenance, it is important to plan ahead of time. This means budgeting for the inevitable costs that come with home maintenance. There are a few systems that people can use to estimate their home maintenance costs.

The Percentage System

One of the most common systems that people use is the percentage system. In general, the amount of money that people spend on maintenance is directly related to the size of their home. The larger the home, the more money someone is going to spend on maintenance.

Most people will spend between 1 percent and 4 percent of their home’s value every year in maintenance costs. Older homes are going to have more maintenance costs than younger homes. For example, if a home is worth $300,000, someone is going to be spending between $3,000 and $12,000 per year on upkeep.

The Square Footage System

The range above might be too large for someone to budget accurately. Therefore, a lot of people also use the square footage system. Again, the larger the home, the more someone will spend on upkeep.

In general, someone should allocate $1 dollar per year per square foot of home. For example, if someone’s home is 2,500 square feet, they should allocate about $2,500 per year in home maintenance. 

Some of the downsides of this method are that it does not take into account the location or age of the home. Keep these factors in mind as well.

Home Maintenance Is Different Than Home Repairs

Home maintenance costs are very different than major repairs. The idea of maintenance is to prevent repairs from arising. If someone has to replace their HVAC unit or take out faulty wiring, this does not count as home maintenance costs.

With this in mind, it is important for everyone to budget accurately for home maintenance and to make sure these tasks are completed on-time. Proper home maintenance can save money on homeownership by preventing major repair bills from coming up down the road. 

And any time you have home maintenance questions, remember to ask your real estate professional. They have a lot of experience dealing with every type of home repair and a list of local referral maintenance providers.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

5 Essential Books To Read Before Starting In Real Estate

November 20, 2019

5 Essential Books To Read Before Starting In Real EstateIt is important for everyone to put money in a position to make money in order to make financial dreams come true. One of the common targets that people circle is real estate investing.

Before jumping into the world of real estate investing, it is important for everyone to be prepared. This starts by reading a few fantastic books that can help people learn more about the environment associated with investing in real estate.

The Book On Investing In Real Estate

One of the first books that people need to circle is called The Book On Investing In Real Estate. This is a fantastic book that explains to everyone how they can get involved in real estate investing with limited capital. It doesn’t take much to get started. The strategies discussed in this manner are similar to those involved with investing large amounts of money.

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor

A book titled The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is another great read. This book was put together using interviews with more than 100 millionaire investors in the world of real estate. Those who would like to be successful in this arena need to make sure they learn from the successes of those who came before them.

How A Second Home Can Be Your Best Investment

This book, titled How A Second Home Can Be Your Best Investmentis a great read for anyone who is looking to get started in this investing world. This book is written by some of the world’s leading experts in the world of real estate. Using plain language, everyone has the potential to learn about the basics involved in investing in real estate.

One Rental At A Time

This read, titled One Rental at a Time, is an easy and straightforward read. The book compares the world of investing in real estate with an ancient Chinese proverb. This proverb can serve as a powerful guiding principle that can help people get started in the sector of real estate investing.

The Entrepreneur Mind

It is important for those who are looking to get started in this investment state to read everything they can. At the same time, this is also about building a business, which The Entrepreneur Mind addresses. The business world is useful for every aspiring real estate to understand.

Reading high-quality books about real estate investing is a great way to improve your knowledge. Combine that knowledge with a trusted team of real estate industry professionals like a trusted real estate agent and mortgage financing expert and you’ll have a winning combination!

Four Common Headaches Of A Homeowners Association

November 19, 2019

Four Common Headaches Of A Home Owners AssociationWhen you are looking to purchase a home, you might hear a lot about something called a homeowners association, often shortened to HOA. While there are benefits of having an HOA in a living community, these benefits also have their drawbacks.

There are a few common headaches that people often experience when they move into a community that has an HOA. Anticipating these problems ahead of time can help everyone prepare for what they might encounter.

The Maintenance In The Common Area

Whether you are living in a condo or in a neighborhood, the HOA is supposed to maintain the community common areas. This includes pool maintenance, lawns, landscaping, gyms, and more.

In some areas, your HOA might even be responsible for cleaning up after a storm goes through the area. Sometimes, this simply doesn’t happen. This can cause the neighborhood to look like a mess. If the neighborhood isn’t properly maintained, your property values may suffer. 

Problems With Parking

Without a doubt, parking issues are among the most common problems that you might encounter with your HOA. When someone is driving through town, traffic and parking issues are handled by the police.

In the neighborhood, the HOA is typically responsible. The bylaws of the homeowners association might even give them the right to fine people. Make sure you read the agreement with the HOA carefully. You need to know the laws as well as your rights.

Antenna Issues

It is important for you to remember that your HOA cannot control who you have handle your cable and internet connections. In addition, they cannot force you to remove a satellite dish from your house even if they don’t like the look of it.

On the other hand, if you use an antenna, there are still some HOA rules that can control its location. Make sure you read the rules if you elect to go with an antenna.

Understanding Homeowners Association Problems

Some of the other issues that you might encounter with your local homeowners’ association involve pets, holiday decorations, and other random fines. You should read up on the bylaws ahead of time so you know what lies ahead. While not every HOA creates problems, others can be a real headache.

As always, your local real estate agent can answer specific HOA-related questions on any community in the area. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

Three Important Benefits Of An Open Floor Plan

November 18, 2019

Three Important Benefits Of An Open Floor PlanIf you are looking for a new home, or if you are looking to renovate your existing home, you might have heard about something called an open floor plan. In today’s era of housing, this layout has become more popular.

In an open floor plan, there is a single, large space that can act as multiple rooms all in one. Often, hallways, walls, and doors are left out. This makes the entire space feel more inviting. There are numerous advantages to this plan that everyone should keep in mind.

Added Natural Light

One of the biggest benefits of this plan is that there is added natural light. Without the interior walls, light has an easier time passing through space. This connects the indoor world to the outdoor area.

In order to maximize this benefit, it is a good idea to add a few extra windows in the kitchen or living area. This will bring a little bit of brightness to the indoors, making it glow. Also, because fewer light fixtures are needed, this may reduce your utility costs.

Makes Space Feel Bigger

Next, if the home has an open floor concept, the whole area is going to feel larger. Typically, when this plan is put in place, there are vaulted ceilings.

Without the added walls, there is room to open the space upwards. This is going to make the entire area feel larger than it actually is.

With the added, spacious feel, family and friends will be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company that much more!

An Easy Space To Entertain

If someone has a traditional floor plan, the spaces often feel a little bit cramped. This can make it hard to entertain a large group of people.

With an open concept, this is a worry of the past. Now, you can be in the kitchen and still interact with people who are in the living or dining area. This concept is great for people who like to throw parties.

Advantages Of An Open Floor Plan

These are a few of the most important benefits of an open floor plan. It is easy to see why these plans have become more popular in recent years. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 18th, 2019

November 17, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 18th, 2019Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.

Rising Gas Prices Fuel Jump in Inflation

Consumer inflation increased at its fastest pace in seven months according to the Consumer Price Index for October. Consumer prices rose 0.40 percent and exceeded analysts’ forecast of 0.30 percent and September’s reading of 0.00 percent inflationary growth.  Analysts attributed the jump in prices to rapidly rising gasoline prices.

October’s reading for core inflation, which excludes fuel and food prices, supported this view. Core inflation grew by 0.20 percent in October, which matched expectations and exceeded September’s core inflation reading of 0.10 percent.

Year-over-year inflation rose from 1.70 percent to 1.80 percent; this was lower than the top year-over-year reading that approached 3.00 percent.

Fed Chair Says Interest Rates on Hold Unless Economy Deteriorates

In testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said,: “We see the current stance of monetary policy to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook of moderate economic growth, a strong labor market,  and inflation near our symmetric rate of 2.00 percent.”

Mr. Powell said that Federal Reserve Policy is flexible and subject to adjustment as required by future news and economic events. The benchmark Federal Funds rate range is currently 1.50 percent to 2.00 percent.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose six basis points to 3.25 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose seven basis points to 3.20 percent;  the average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose five basis points to 3.44 percent.

Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

225,000 first-time jobless claims were filed last week; this exceeded expectations of 210,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 211,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts said the spike in new claims was caused by seasonal anomalies and not by layoffs. New jobless claims are likely to fall as the holiday season approaches and seasonal hiring picks up.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions; the Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Readings on sales of pre-owned homes and consumer sentiment will also be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

How To Navigate The Changing Remodeling Market

November 14, 2019

How To Navigate The Changing Remodeling MarketRemodeling is a common project that homeowners take on. If you are looking to remodel your home, it is important to keep in mind that this involves more than just improving your living area. If you remodel your home, you might also be expecting to generate a return on your investment. 

In prior years, a home remodel meant an increase in the value of your home. Furthermore, some people actually make money by buying homes, fixing them up, and selling them. This is commonly called “flipping.” Unfortunately, like other sectors of the economy, this market ebbs and flows. Recently, it looks like the drive to remodel homes has taken a downturn.

Why Homeowners Steer Away From Remodeling

There are financial and real estate professionals who analyze this market just as other professionals look at other areas of the economy. According to the professionals, there are a number of reasons why people might be steering away from a home remodel.

First, there has actually been a decline in home sales. This goes along with a decline in homebuilding activity. 

These factors cause homeowners to hesitate when they remodel their homes. If you are looking to sell your home, this is a prime time to remodel. You might think this remodel is necessary for your home to succeed on the market. If you aren’t looking to sell your home, there is less reason to remodel. When home sales drop, the remodeling market drops as well.

Home Price Appreciation Plays A Role

Another important factor involved in the home remodeling market is the pace of home appreciation. In prior years, the growth of home prices was outpacing the rate of income appreciation. In recent years, this trend has flipped.

When home prices aren’t rising faster than wages, there is less pressure to remodel. Instead of investing this money in a remodel, homeowners are looking to invest this money in other areas that might generate a bigger return. This has led to a reduction in the remodeling market.

Considering A Home Remodel

If you are looking to remodel your home, think about these factors ahead of time. You should expect a return on your remodeling investment. Take a look at the market before the remodel begins.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.