Archive for October, 2016

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 17, 2016


2016
10.17

Last week’s economic news included reports on job openings, retail sales and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Job openings were lower in August after hitting an all-time high in July according to the federal government. Job openings fell to 5.44 million in August as compared to July’s reading of 5.83 million job openings, Job openings reached 5.31 million in August of 2015. Job quits were unchanged in August with a reading of 3.0 million quits; the quits rate was 2.20 percent. There were 5.4 million hires in August as compared to 5.8 million hires in July. The hiring rate held steady at 3.60 percent.

Weekly jobless held steady from the prior week’s reading of 246,000 new claims, although analysts expected a reading of 252,000 new claims. September retail sales increased by 0.60 percent in September and fell short of expectations of 0.70 percent growth. August’s retail sales reading was negative at -0.20 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector were as expected with an increase of 0.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Consumer Sentiment Slips

Freddie Mac reported higher rates for fixed rate mortgages. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.47 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage was four basis points higher at 2.76 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.84 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Consumer sentiment was lower in October with an index reading of 87.90 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 91.70 percent based on September’s reading of 91.20 percent. November’s presidential election was viewed by analysts as unsettling to consumers’ feelings about current and expected economic conditions. The index reading for consumer sentiment for current economic conditions rose from 104.20 percent in September to 105.50 in October, but fell sharply for expected economic conditions to an index reading of 76.60. Analysts noted that consumers with lower incomes expressed less assurance about post-election economic conditions.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builders Market Index, Sales of Pre-Owned Homes and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. In addition to weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims, reports on consumer spending will also be released.

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Buying a Solar-Powered Home? Watch Out for These Symptoms of Future Problems


2016
10.14

Buying a Solar-Powered Home? Watch Out for These Symptoms of Future ProblemsSolar-powered homes are becoming more commonplace, and are an excellent step in the right ecological direction. That said, there are some aspects to consider if you’re thinking about investing in solar energy. Read on for some salient points about living by the sun.

The Sun And The Economy

As solar power has grown in popularity, the government has introduced incentives to help homeowners combat the once-high costs of purchasing and installing solar panels. And companies are springing up to rent you panels and cover the cost of installation. This means that your initial costs are smaller, but also that those third party companies reap the government incentives and may not always maintain strong relationships between you and your utility company.

The Sun And Your Roof

Roofs are the primary locations for solar panels, particularly on homes. Ensure that your roof has enough strength for the added weight of the equipment, and enough space for the proper placement (away from the edges, for example). The equipment comes with a lifetime guarantee so if the roof it’s on is already old, consider updating it before installation (which is an extra but necessary cost).

The Sun And Your Surroundings

A solar-powered home is all about location, location, location. Watch for tall and shady trees, or for high buildings that will shadow your panels and decrease or prevent their output. Look forward, too are there any plans for development in your neighborhood that would introduce such impediments in the future?

The Sun And Cloudy Days

The most obvious hiccup with solar power is that bane of a sunny existence: cloudy days. Location has influence here too: the climate of your area will determine how many panels you’ll need, where you’ll need to place them and how much energy you’ll be able to glean in each season. There are batteries you can purchase for collecting and storing solar energy but they’re still an expensive option. And solar power is still somewhat unattractive in the global economy because of how variable it is. Fossil fuels are more dependable, and therefore more marketable, than an energy source so tied to the weather although that looks to change if solar energy continues its rise in popularity with the masses.

All things considered, there is a deep and growing draw to solar-powered homes, but don’t enter into anything without looking at all sides of the equation. If you have questions, or want to know more about how solar energy works in your neighborhood, contact your local mortgage professional.

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Planning to Get a Mortgage in 2017? 4 Reasons Why It’s Time to Start Paying Down Other Debts Now


2016
10.13

Getting a Mortgage in 2017? 4 Reasons Why It's Time to Start Paying Down Other Debts NowBuying a home is an ideal investment for many people because not only is it a place that belongs to them, it can also be very beneficial financially. While you may be strongly considering buying a home for these reasons, it’s also important to be in good financial health so that your ideal home purchase is within reach. If you’re currently perusing the market for prospects, here are some reasons you should pay down debt before taking the leap into home ownership.

Good Credit History

The amount of your debt load and whether or not you’re paying off your minimum monthly payments has a considerable impact on your mortgage approval, so ensuring that you have good credit history going into the process is important. If you’ve had hiccups with your credit, make sure you go through your credit report prior to submitting your application to determine where you’re at.

Lowering Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Whether or not you’ve heard the term, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) has a significant impact on how much house you can afford. Made up of the amount of your monthly debt payment and current house payment, your DTI should be below a certain percentage as this will enable you to afford a higher home payment each month.

Shifting Interest Rates

Getting a mortgage is one thing, but interest rates add more to the monthly amount you’ll owe. A fixed-rate mortgage can seem like a good idea, but if interest rates are low you may end up paying more than you would on a variable rate, which can be hard to predict. As interest rates are a part of home ownership, having lower debt will enable you to deal with these additional costs.

Finding The Right Home

Putting your money into a home can be one of the best purchases you’ll make, but if you’re unable to afford the home you love, it can be a disappointing fact to face. While there are no assurances that paying down debt will enable you to afford your dream home, it can go a long way towards giving you more options that will fit your budget.

Buying a home can be a money saver in the long run, but if you’re struggling to keep up with your debt payments buying into the market can be more of a burden than anything else. If you’re currently paying down debt and considering a home purchase, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

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How to Plan for a Smooth Move-in


2016
10.12

How to Plan for a Smooth Move-inWith all of the rigmarole that goes into packing up your old home and moving into the new one, there are a lot of details that can get lost in the mix. From cleaning up the old house to handing over the keys, there’s no shortage of small tasks that need to be completed. If you’ll soon be prepping for the exciting move into your next home, here are some ways to prepare yourself for this busy time.

Do A Spring Clean, Even When It’s Not Spring!

Spring cleaning may be something that people only do once a year, but it’s actually a great way to prep for the move you’re about to make. Instead of thinking on a smaller-scale though, you’ll want to hit every room in your house so there’s less to pack up come moving time. While no actual cleaning will be necessary until you’re moving out, this pre-clean is the perfect opportunity to discard unwanted items, shred old papers and drop off any old and unworn clothes in the donation bins.

Write And Review Your To-Do List

Whether there are supplies you need to buy before the big moving day or a few minor touch-ups that you’d like to complete on your house, start compiling a list of all the things you need to do before and on the day you’re scheduled to move. While these small details can add up to a lot of work, a list will mean that nothing is left behind or forgotten that can create extra headaches when there’s no time to deal with them.

Keep A Separate Box For Essentials

Many homebuyers get so excited about the premise of packing that they stick a lot of important items in a box and send them along on the moving truck, but a few boxes with the much needed essentials should be brought along with you. Whether its cosmetics or available food items, having the things you’ll need is the only way to ensure a bit of added comfort on your first night in your new home.

Packing up your stuff and moving into your new home is a considerable task, but by being prepared and doing a little cleaning in advance, you can make the process a little bit easier for you and your family.

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The Pros and Cons of Using Your Savings to Make Your Full 20 Percent Down Payment


2016
10.11

The Pros and Cons of Using Your Savings to Make Your Full 20 Percent Down PaymentIf you’ve been perusing the real estate market with the hope of purchasing a home, you may be aware that the often-touted amount you should put down is 20 percent. However, there are good things and bad things involved in investing so much money into your new home. If you’re wondering how to decide on your down payment amount, here are some things to consider before putting in 20 percent.

No Rainy Day Fund

It might seem like the best option is to put down as much as you can, and use up your savings if needed, but putting all of your money into your home can be a mistake. While you may not foresee any financial issues arising in the next few years as you pay down your mortgage, not having any extra money can put you in a vulnerable position if the market shifts or other life issues appear. Investing in a home is a good choice, but you may want to protect some of your other assets.

Lowering Your Monthly Payment

While putting down the full 20 percent can seem like a huge chunk of change, it can be a boon for your monthly finances in the sense that your monthly mortgage payment will be automatically reduced. While this is a good thing and can make your monthly amount more manageable, it’s important to remember that your monthly payments should be affordable and you shouldn’t be stretching for extra house because you can. Make sure you’re buying a home you can afford, with or without 20 percent.

Avoiding Mortgage Insurance

Putting less than 20 percent may seem like a good decision if you’re ready to buy a home and don’t quite have the money saved, but putting less down can actually increase the cost of your home overall. Because you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance if you put down less, this will add to your monthly payment and will be money that you can’t get back. If you’re ready to dive into the market, you may want to move forward, but it can also be a better investment to wait and save a bit more.

20 percent is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment, but there are pros and cons associated with putting this much money down. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, you may want to contact your local mortgage professionals for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 10, 2016


2016
10.10

WhatsAhead101016Other than a release on construction spending, last week’s economic readings were dominated by labor and employment data including ADP Payrolls, Non-Farm Payrolls and National Unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Drops in August

Commerce Department readings on construction spending indicate that overall spending fell in August to -0.70 percent; this reading was lower than the expected positive reading of 0.10 percent. July’s reading showed a drop of 0.30 percent in overall construction spending. The decrease in August spending was largely the result of pull backs on public construction spending, which declined 2.0 percent after July’s decline of 3.50 percent in July. Public construction spending is 8.80 percent year-over-year., and August’s reading was the lowest since March 2014.

Private sector construction spending fell 0.30 percent in August. Residential construction fell by 0.20 percent within the private sector reading. Reasons for falling construction spending include impending winter weather and previously cited labor shortages. Shortages of available homes and high demand for homes are creating pressure on construction companies to build more homes.

Labor Reports: Job Growth Slows in Public and Private Sector

ADP reported 154,000 private sector jobs created in September against August’s reading of 175,000 new private-sector jobs. September’s reading showed the lowest growth rate since April. Analysts said that lower readings for job growth could be expected as job openings are filled.

According to the government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report for September, 156,000 new jobs were added, which fell short of downwardly-revised expectations of 170,000 new jobs added. Analysts said that a reading of 120,000 jobs added represented a healthy rate of jobs growth. As more workers return to or join the workforce, job openings can be expected to decrease. Healthy growth in jobs may signal the Fed to increase interest rates in December.

National unemployment rose from 4.90 percent to 5.00 percent in September; variances can be expected in month-to-month readings that are considered more volatile than quarterly or annual readings.

New jobless claims correlated to fewer job openings and fell to a reading of 248,000 new claims 256,000 new claims were expected based on the prior week’s reading of 254,000 new claims.

Mortgage Rates Nearly Unchanged

Average mortgage rates were unchanged with the expectation of a decrease of one basis point for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages to 2.80 percent. Average rates for 30 and 15 year fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at 3.42 percent and 2.72 percent Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports are few due to the Columbus Day holiday Monday. Along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims, reports on job openings and consumer sentiment will be released.

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Master the Autumn Home Buying Season With Our Guide to Finding Local Real Estate Bargains


2016
10.07

Master the Autumn Home Buying Season With Our Guide to Finding Local Real Estate BargainsMost people have a good idea of the neighborhood they want to purchase a new home in. The problem is finding a great deal in the area, especially if it’s a neighborhood that’s very popular.

Thinking outside the box and avoiding the standard real estate listings can result in some bargain properties for sale that most people are completely unaware of.

Contemplate Investing In Foreclosed Homes

When the housing market boomed, many people tried to take advantage by investing in a second home that they couldn’t necessarily afford. This resulted in a huge market full of homes that were foreclosed on when mortgage payments could no longer be made.

This happens frequently whenever the housing market goes through a strong period and these houses and condos are owned by the bank and can be purchased at a great price.

Look At FSBO (For Sale By Owner) Homes

FSBO properties, homes that are being sold privately by the owner, are one of the best bets to find a great bargain. These homeowners have made the decision to try and sell their home without the use of a real estate agent in an attempt to save some money on the sale.

Local real estate agents will be aware of any homes in their neighborhood that are being sold privately and will be able to point you in the right direction. FSBO homes have the best chance of getting a good deal because offers can be made directly to the owner and the earliest offer may just be the most lucrative for them.

When All Else Fails, Take A Drive

Anybody who knows the area they want to invest in can be proactive and beat the market by simply taking a drive up and down the streets and looking at houses. Some owners haven’t taken the time to bother listing a home that they would love to get rid of.

These are either rental properties or family homes that have been willed and left neglected. They can be easily identified by the care that’s been given to the property. An overgrown lawn and overflowing mailbox is a sure sign the owner may be interested in a talk about selling.

After all, there’s nothing to lose.

Staying away from real estate listings to find a home can be tough. Thankfully, most local real estate agents will be tracking these houses so they can help their clients think outside the box. Contact your trusted real estate professional in your area for a better idea of how to make offers on these bargain properties.

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S&P Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in July


2016
10.06

Home prices dipped slightly in July according to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index. Year-over-year, home price growth dipped to 5.00 percent from June’s reading of 5.10 percent. The Pacific Northwest led the nation in home price appreciation. Portland, Oregon had the highest year-over-year home price growth with a rate of 12.40 percent. Seattle, Washington posted year-over-year home price growth of 11.20 percent. Denver, Colorado was third with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 9.40 percent.

Home prices in San Francisco, California slowed; year-over-year, home prices grew by 6.00 percent in contrast to home price growth topping the 20-city index in recent months. Analysts observed that cooling home prices in San Francisco could represent the end of the area’s housing bubble.

Year-over-year home price growth was lowest in New York, New York with a reading of 1.70 percent. Washington, D.C. posted a year-over-year reading of 2.00 percent; Cleveland, Ohio posted a year-over-year home price growth rate of 2.50 percent.

MonthtoMonth Home Price Growth Provides Surprises

The largest month-to-month gains in home prices were posted by Portland, Oregon at 1.20 percent, Denver, Colorado with a reading of 0.90 percent and Detroit, Michigan with a July reading of 0.80 percent. While year-over-year home price growth readings are less volatile than month-to-month readings, signs of increasing home values in cities with depressed home price growth rates are a positive sign.

On the other hand, San Francisco, California posted a flat reading for month-to-month growth after recently topping year-over-year readings in the 20-City Home Price Index. With skyrocketing prices and limited inventories of available homes, it appears that San Francisco home prices may have reached their upward limit.

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chair of the S&P Index Committee, said that July’s readings indicate further improvement of the economy and housing markets. This progress could prove difficult to sustain as house prices continue to outpace wages and rising home prices continue to sideline first-time buyers. Slim supplies of homes for sale are creating higher-than-average demand for homes that fuels rapidly rising home prices. This further complicates home purchase options for home buyers who compete with investors and others who are able to meet or exceed asking prices and purchase homes with cash.

Home buyers requiring mortgages have been supported by relatively low mortgage rates, but strict mortgage credit standards continue to provide obstacles for credit-challenged buyers. Financial institutions continue to take a conservative stance on mortgage lending after sustaining severe losses and government ridicule in the wake of the Great Recession.

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3 Common Mistakes That First-time Mortgage Borrowers Make and How to Easily Avoid Them


2016
10.05

3 Common Mistakes That First-time Mortgage Borrowers Make and How to Easily Avoid ThemDeciding to purchase a home will be one of the biggest investment decisions you’ll make in your life, but it can be confusing for the first-time home buyer to know all the ins and outs of buying a home. If you’re wondering what things first-time buyers often forget about before purchasing a home, here are three important things that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Ignoring Their Credit History

If you have a high debt load or you haven’t been making your minimum payments, it can be pretty frightening to consider looking at your credit report, but it’s very important to do this before applying for a mortgage. A lender will be taking a look at your credit history and reviewing it carefully before approving your application, so it’s important for you to be aware of what your credit history says about you and how it might impact your mortgage.

Buying Too Much Home

It’s easier than you might think to be swayed into purchasing your dream home, but it’s necessary to keep a cool head and make an informed decision so that your home investment can be financially beneficial for you. The amount you should be paying for a home on a monthly basis will leave you with enough that you can pay for the necessities, any existing debts and any extras while still having wiggle room in case of emergency. While you may want to spend a little more, this can end up being a mistake if things don’t go as planned.

Forgetting The Documentation

This may be among the easiest of steps, but not having the appropriate documentation can push back your home purchase, so ensure you have all the necessary paperwork for when you need it. Beyond the Verification of Rent you’ll need from your previous landlord, it’s also important to make sure that you have liquid assets not just investments and RRSPs as this will prove to the lender that you can handle a financial hurdle in the event that it arises.

There are so many things involved in obtaining a mortgage that it can be easy to forget some very important aspects of approval. By being aware of your credit history and keeping your payment price within your means, you’ll be well on your way to a sound purchase. If you’re currently looking at homes, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

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Understanding Appraisals and What to Do If Your Home Doesn’t Appraise for Its Purchase Price


2016
10.04

Understanding Appraisals and What to Do If Your Home Doesn't Appraise for Its Purchase PriceIt can be a bit of a surprise if your home turns out to be valued at less than the purchase price offered, but this is the type of thing that can occur in an appraisal situation. While this can change everything from your contract to the amount of your down payment if your home has been appraised at less than you envisioned, here are some options you may want to consider.

Review The Appraisal Contingency Clause

If an appraisal contingency clause is built into the terms of your contract, this means that the terms of your contract can be re-evaluated and re-negotiated if an appraisal happens to come up short. While this is meant primarily to protect the homebuyer against a lower appraisal, it doesn’t mean that the terms of a new deal can’t be met for the good of both parties.

Get A Second Appraisal

It’s entirely possible that the initial appraisal is accurate, but it doesn’t necessarily hurt to get a second opinion in the event that the first appraisal seems too low. While you can work in conjunction with your lender to get a second appraisal, you may need to pay for it the second time around in order to get your initial purchasing price. Whether it happens to be good news or bad news, it can be worth the peace of mind to know how to proceed.

Consider A Lower Price

It’s less than ideal when your home is appraised for less than the purchase price, but this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker when it comes to selling it. While you may be able to get away with a higher price for your home in a hot real estate market, if things have cooled off, this can be an important time to re-negotiate the deal you’ve got. If a potential buyer likes your home and has already made an offer, they may be happy to decide on new contract terms.

It can be quite disappointing if your home is appraised at a value that is less than the offer you’ve received, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to put your home back on the market. Whether you and the potential buyer decide to re-negotiate or get a second opinion, there are options that can be beneficial for both parties. If you’re currently going through the appraisal process, you may want to contact your local mortgage professional for more information.