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3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home Abroad

2016
06.28

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.


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

2016
06.27

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


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

2016
06.24

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.


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

2016
06.23

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.


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3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

2016
06.22

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.


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3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

2016
06.22

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.


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3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

2016
06.22

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.


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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 9, 2016

2016
05.09

Closing Paperwork: How to Read and Understand the Truth-in-Lending Disclosure Statement

Mortgage rates fell across the board last week according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Other economic news included reports on construction spending, public and private sector employment and national unemployment.

Construction Spending Grows in March

The Commerce Department reported that the growth rate for construction spending fell in March to 0.30 percent/Analysts expected a reading of 0.70 percent based on February’s upwardly revised growth rate of 1.0 percent. Construction spending was propelled by a 1.50 percent increase in residential construction spending; this is good news for would-be home buyers who’ve been shut out of the market due to high demand and low inventories of available homes.

Housing market analysts have repeatedly said that new home construction is the answer to short supplies of homes and high buyer demand. Year-over-year, construction spending is up 8.0 percent overall; residential construction spending grew by 7.60 percent year-over-year.

Mortgage Rates Dip

Average mortgage rates were lower last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by five basis points to 3.61 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 2.86 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped six basis points to an average of 2.80 percent.

While any drop in mortgage rates is welcomed by home buyers, the high demand for homes continues to drive prices up and has raised concerns about affordability of single-family homes in many communities.

Jobs Growth Slows

The national unemployment rate held steady at 5.0 percent in April, but job growth slowed in public and private sectors. ADP reported private sector jobs increased by 156,000 jobs as compared to 194,000 jobs added in March. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Non-Farm Payrolls increased by 160.000 jobs as compared to expectations of 203,000 jobs added and March’s reading of 208,000 jobs added. Non-Farm payrolls measure public and private sector job growth.

New jobless claims rose by 17,000 to 274,000 new claims, but remained below the benchmark of 300,000 new claims for 61 consecutive weeks. Analysts projected that new claims would grow by 265,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 257,000 new claims. The less volatile four-week rolling average of new jobless claims indicated that 258,000 new claims were filed. The labor force participation rate dropped from 65 percent to 63 percent in March. Retiring baby boomers contributed to some but not all of this workforce decline.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims along with a report on consumer sentiment.


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A Quick and Easy Guide to Hiring the Best Contractor for Your Pre-Sale Home Renovations

2016
05.06

A Quick and Easy Guide to Hiring the Best Contractor for Your Pre-sale Home RenosIf you’re planning to complete some renovations on your home before putting it on the market, you may be unsure of the best way to go about finding the right contractor for the job. While there are probably many contractors available who can do your renovations right, here’s how you can get to the bottom of who will work the best for you.

Make A Few Phone Calls

Once you’ve done some research and determined a short list of prospective contractors, you’ll want to call each contractor to determine that they can complete your project in good time and are the right candidate for the work required. If they’re not available or are cagey about your question, this can be an easy way to whittle down the list.

Arrange A Meeting In Person

While a phone interview should provide you with some good insights right off the bat, you’ll also want to meet your potential contractors face to face before making any final decisions. If you get along well with the contractor and they are able to answer the questions you ask with confidence, it’s a good sign that they may be the right pick for your project.

Check In On The References

Once you’ve decided between a few candidates, make sure you contact their former clients to determine how happy they were with the work and the contractor. Since you may have a date in mind for when you want to put your home on the market, it will be important to know if the job was completed in good time, as well as if any final issues were left hanging in the air unfinished.

Consider The Estimated Costs

Last but not least, you’ll want to have each contractor break down the project and provide a projected cost for labor and materials. You should be able to get a good sense of exactly what it’s going to cost and which bid is the most realistic. While it may be tempting to go for the lowest bid since you’ll probably be moving soon, you’ll want to strongly consider which contractor and which price will turn out the best in the end.

It can seem complicated to hire a contractor for your home renovations, but by conducting simple interviews and checking references you should be able to determine who the best person for the job is. If you’re curious about home renovations and would like to know more about financing options, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more insights.


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5 Documents First-time Home-buyers Need for a Smoother Purchasing Process

2016
04.27

5 Documents First-time Home-buyers Need for a Smoother Purchasing ProcessWith all the work that goes into finding the kind of home you’ll want to put an offer on, it can be easy to forget about all the little things that happen after the deal has been made. While the paperwork involved in purchasing may seem like a long way off, here’s a quick review of some of the documents you’ll need when the time comes to seal the deal.

Your Credit Report

It’s important to review your credit before putting an offer in, so ensure that you request your credit report in advance and review it for any errors that may be present. If there are any discrepancies negatively impacting your credit score, you’ll be able to have them corrected before they can cause an issue with your real estate purchase.

Pay Stub Proof

In order to ascertain your ability to pay your monthly mortgage, you will need to provide pay stubs from your current place of employment. You won’t want to give away your originals, but a photocopy of your paychecks usually serves as adequate verification.

Recent Bank Statements

The number of bank statements required to prove your credit history may change depending on the lender you’re dealing with, but you’ll probably need photocopies from the last two to three months. This will be a means of proving your financial health as well as your ability to pay your monthly mortgage.

Tax Return Copies

Your federal tax returns will provide further proof of your employment and financial standing, so the last two years of these – complete with your signature – will need to be submitted. Keep in mind that any schedules you’ve filled out to complete your yearly returns should also be included.

Additional Asset Statements

In addition to recent bank statements, if you have any stocks and bonds, mutual funds, RRSPs or other investments, you should also provide statements of proof for these. While these accounts will only require your most recent statements, they will be beneficial in providing a more comprehensive picture of your finances.

There are many aspects of purchasing a home that can be time consuming, but having the documents you need beforehand can save a lot of stress when crunch time comes. If you’re planning on purchasing a home soon, contact your trusted local mortgage professional for more information.