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Archive for July, 2016

Pay down Your Mortgage Faster by Eliminating These Five Unnecessary Household Expenses

July 29, 2016 Comments off

Pay down Your Mortgage Faster by Eliminating These Five Unnecessary Household ExpensesThe monthly mortgage payment can be one of the most significant household expenditures for a family. However, while it can be a sizable amount, there are certain household things you may be able to eliminate that will help you put down more money and pay your mortgage off a little faster. If you’re interested in ways to save, here are some expenses you may want to consider cutting out.

Giving Up The Cable

Television is an important de-stressor for many people, but it can also be a considerable monthly expense that is often unnecessary. With borrowing materials available at the library and many videos available for streaming online, you can cut your cable cost and may be able to save more than $100 a month.

Coffee On The Go

It may not be a household expense, but the average person can rack up a lot of expenditures each month on caffeine alone. Instead of stopping at the local cafe for a quick fix, consider trying the office coffee or taking a thermos in the morning for savings that will add up by the week’s end.

Dinner On The Town

Going for dinner or getting take-out on the way home can be a great way to finish off a day, but it can also add up to huge monthly expenditures if you’re doing it frequently. While you shouldn’t cut out trying new restaurants altogether, ensure that it’s not something you’re indulging in all the time.

The Grocery Bill

You’ll be able to save a lot of money easily if you’re not buying lunches or dinners, but bargain shopping is still important when it comes to household staples. While this may not make a difference on each bill, it can add up to a considerable dent in your monthly payment overtime.

Saving On Your Smart Phone

Nowadays, most people have a smart phone and have exhausted their need for a landline, but phones can still be quite a money drain when it comes to extra data and an expensive plan. Instead of accepting your bill as is, talk to your provider about deals they can provide so you can save the difference.

The monthly mortgage payment can be a financial burden, but there are many simply ways to save through the year that will add up to big savings and a faster pay-off date. If you’re planning on putting your home on the market, you contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Understanding Automated Underwriting and How It Impacts the Mortgage Application Process

July 28, 2016 Comments off

Understanding Automated Underwriting and How It Impacts the Mortgage Application ProcessWhether you’re embarking on the process of obtaining a mortgage for the first time or just preparing yourself for the advances in the industry, the implementation of automated underwriting in recent years has significantly changed the application process. From the time you’ll have to wait to the documentation that is required, here are some of the details on what you can expect when dealing with an automated underwriter.

Reduction In Document Requirements

In the past, most homebuyers submitting mortgage application documents were required to go into their backlogs to provide the paystubs for the previous 2 months pay, as well as W2’s for the last 2 years. Now, with automation, most homebuyers will only need to submit their most recent paystub in order to move along to the approval process.

The Time Line Is Shortened

Since the loan approval process previously had to go through an underwriter, there was a delay between when the documents could be reviewed and approved, and how long it would take for this information to be passed on to the homebuyer. However, since a Findings Report is automatically created from the applicable data during the automated process, the timeline homebuyers have to wait is shortened considerably.

Approval Rates Are Improved

Previously, approvals that were completed by an underwriter were held to a standard that was made up of a person’s financial health and credit report, so having one and not the other could lead to a declined application. Due to the fact that automated approval is based on the degree of the deciding factors, homebuyers who previously may have been turned away have a greater chance of approval.

A Useful Bargaining Tool

While most homebuyers have identified their ideal home before getting too involved in the application process, automated underwriting actually enables those who want to apply to get approval prior to deciding on a home. Instead of being an expenditure of time, this can actually be a good bargaining chip when it comes to putting in an offer on the right home.

With the advances in technology and the ever-shifting real estate market, there are many changes on the mortgage market that are important for future homebuyers to be aware of. Fortunately, there are many advantages to the automation of underwriting that can offer great benefits to those going through the application process. If you’re applying for a mortgage soon, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in May

July 27, 2016 Comments off

CaseShillerAccording to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, home price growth in May dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.20 percent as compared to April’s reading of 5.40 percent. Analysts said that low mortgage rates continue to support housing markets, but also noted that affordability due to rising home prices is sidelining some would-be buyers. High demand for homes coupled with slim supplies of available homes have driven prices up for months; analysts said that “tentative signs” of slower gains in home prices were seen.

New Home Sales Hit Highest Level Since 2008

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of S&P Dow Jones Indices, cited high home prices and sales of previously-owned homes as contributing factors to a healthy housing sector. Slower home price growth in high priced metro areas may indicate that home prices are topping out in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. With home prices out of reach in high demand metros, it’s likely that rampant home price growth seen in recent years will have to slow in spite of pronounced shortages of homes and high demand in many areas.

Building more homes is the only way to combat outsized competition for homes and astronomical home prices. According to the Commerce Department, June sales of new homes jumped to 592,000 as compared to an expected reading of 562,000 and May’s reading of 572,000 new homes sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. June sales of new homes were at their highest level since February 2008.

Rising Rents Increase Demand for Homes

The national average price for a new home rose to $306,700 in June, while the supply of available homes sank to 4.90 percent. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of available homes a typical reading. 574,000 new homes were sold in the second quarter of 2016, which was 10 percent higher than the reading of 524,000 new homes sold in the first quarter of 2016.

A report on rental vacancies is due out on Thursday. Rapidly rising rents have recently contributed to higher numbers of first-time buyers looking to buy homes and could continue to strengthen demand for available homes.

3 Money-Smart Reasons To Downsize Your Home

July 26, 2016 Comments off

3 Money-Smart Reasons To Downsize Your HomeLiving big isn’t necessarily living better. Apartment buildings, townhouses and multiplexes have become the new normal for increasing numbers of individuals, couples and families. It’s clear that for many people, smaller spaces are smarter, too.

This attitude is more than just a trend. According to TIME Magazine, multi-family dwellings like condominiums accounted for 40% of new construction in the United States in 2014 and the movement shows few signs of slowing down.

The change isn’t surprising when considering the benefits to moving, especially when it comes to sheer cost-savings. Whether residents are spending less cash or conserving their valuable time and resources, they’re going to see a difference in their bank accounts.

Here are three money-smart reasons to downsize that can lead to big savings.

1. Reduced Maintenance

Maintaining a single-family dwelling can be difficult. Clearing gutters, painting walls, weeding the garden and other unpleasant tasks have serious costs, as residents are forced to invest their valuable time and resources into these recurring chores.

Switching to a smaller space means less maintenance, which can lead to serious savings. Multi-family dwellings typically have a building manager who is responsible for upkeep, leading to serious savings.

2. Heating, Water and More

Utilities are much less costly after downsizing. The less square footage a home has, the less electricity, water and other utilities it will require. Residents have the potential to save hundreds of dollars in costs.

There’s also an added benefit if there are shared utilities divided between other residents of multi-family dwellings. Splitting subscriptions or services like Internet and cable can lead to much lower prices.

Moving to smaller spaces makes these invoices less expensive, which gives residents a bonus every month.

3. Location is Key

Apartment buildings, condominiums and other compact dwellings are often located in central areas close to useful services and businesses. This convenience is a major cost-cutting reason that encourages many people to move.

The Nielsen Company actually found that 62% of millennials would choose to live in communities that combine residential homes and businesses. By being closer to things they value, residents save themselves time, a valued commodity.

Why Moving is a Smart Move

These three money-smart reasons are major factors into why people move into smaller spaces. It’s hard to resist saved time and resources, reduced maintenance, lower utility bills and increased convenience. Learn more about potential savings from your local mortgage professional today.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016 Comments off

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Rise

Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued were released Tuesday. Housing starts rose to 1.189 million in June against expectations of 1.165 million starts and May’s downwardly revised reading of 1.135 million starts, Housing starts rose by 4.80 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. This is good news for housing markets, but analysts said that demand for homes continued to exceed available supplies.

Building permits issued also rose in June to 1.53 million as compared to May’s reading of 1.136 million permits issued.

Existing Home Sales Increase: National Association of Realtors®

Sales of previously-owned homes rose three percent year-over-year and reached their highest level since February 2007 in June. Existing home sales rose by 1.10 percent in June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million sales. Analysts forecasted a reading of 5.48 million sales of pre-owned homes based on May’s reading of 5.51 million sales.

Analysts said that first-time home buyers are returning to housing markets and helped boost June sales and cited changing buyer demographics that suggest a return to owner-occupant home sales. First-time buyers accounted for 33 percent of pre-owned home sales in July, which was their highest reading since 2012. First-time buyers are important to housing markets as their purchases of existing homes enable current homeowners to sell their homes to buy larger homes or to relocate.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates rose across the board last week according to Freddie Mac’s weekly report. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.45 percent, which was three basis points higher. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also rose three basis points to 2.75 percent; rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 2.78 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed-rate mortgage and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims sustained their streak and fell last week to 253,000 against predictions of 260,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 254,000 new claims filed. Analysts hailed declining jobless claims as a strong indicator that the economy and labor markets continue to improve. New jobless claims have remained below the key reading of 300,000 for 73 weeks. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims fell by 1250 claims to 257,750. This reading is considered less volatile than week-to-week readings and offers evidence of steady improvements in labor markets.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic news includes the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index, readings on new and pending home sales and the FOMC committee’s post-meeting statement on Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions. Analysts widely expect the Fed to hold firm on its current federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a reading on consumer confidence.

How to Sell Your Home Quickly in a Buyer’s Market

July 22, 2016 Comments off

How to Sell Your Home Quickly in a Buyer's MarketEveryone wants a place to call home, but that doesn’t guarantee that homeowners will have an easy time selling their properties. Making sales depend on more than just curb appeal or the popularity of open houses.

Complicated factors like the economy, interest rates and regional regulations all drive the real estate market. It can make an incredible impact on the speed and ease of real estate transactions.

But not knowing the state of the market can be more than just a hassle. When real estate favors buyers, not adjusting the sales strategy can be a seriously costly mistake. Worse than that, it risks homeowners not being able to sell the properties at all.

Here are some stress-free tips will help sell homes in a buyer’s market, fast.

Pretty It Up

One of the most cost-effective ways homeowners can complete real estate transactions is to pretty up their properties.

The trick is to think big. If it’s clean and the backyard is tidy, all that’s left for home owners to do is to create a decorating theme that looks good. Sometimes all that’s needed is some decluttering and decorating to be desirable.

Working on attractiveness brings buyers to open houses and make them actually want to live there. This initial urge can turn interest into offers.

Price It Smart

It may be painful to accept, but cutting down the potential profit for a sale can be the difference between a quick transaction and one that lags behind. Homeowners have to price their homes at a reasonable rate compared to similar properties.

It’s crucial for homeowners to remember that their home isn’t the only property available on the market. Unless it’s priced competitively, it’s going to be much harder to sell in market where buyers have the advantage.

Throw In Extras

While homeowners need to keep the look and price of their properties top of mind, they shouldn’t forget how powerful details can be. Sometimes it’s the little things that can sway buyers from purchasing one home over another.

New appliances, a beautiful garden or newly polished floors are features that stand out to buyers who’ve already seen dozens of other properties. In the end, an extra or two thrown in might be the clincher that closes the deal.

Keep in mind that it’s hard to sell a home in a buyer’s market, especially if the homeowner is looking for a quick sale. Homeowners should reach out to a reliable real estate expert to learn more about making a property sale fast.

Need to Discuss – 3 Tips When Shopping for a New Home Loan

July 21, 2016 Comments off

3 Tips When Shopping for a New Home LoanFinding a new home loan can seem challenging, but if you take the proper steps before you start applying for loans, you’ll have no difficulty finding a mortgage that works for you and a lender that would love to have you as a borrower. Shopping for a mortgage isn’t like shopping for a couch, and there’s a lot that goes into the process.

So how can you shop for your new home loan in a way that saves you time and gets you the best loan for your needs? Here’s what you need to know.

Research Loan Types

A lot of homebuyers especially first-time buyers make the mistake of not doing their research and not asking enough questions. A fixed-rate mortgage isn’t right for every homebuyer. Neither is an adjustable-rate mortgage. If you plan to stay put in a home to raise a family, you might consider a 30-year loan. Conversely, if you’re moving in 10 years or less, an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, could better suit you.

It’s advised that you research loan types then prepare a list of questions to ask your mortgage agent to ensure you select the loan that’s best for you.

Get Pre-Qualified Before You Start Looking

It can be tempting to start looking for mortgages online and start seeing what kinds of rates and limits you can afford, but if you start your mortgage hunt with Internet window-shopping, you may end up sorely disappointed. A pre-qualification is a vital first step that can help you to find the mortgage that works best for you.

With a pre-qualification, you’ll have a good idea of what you can reasonably afford to spend on a home, so you won’t waste time viewing homes that are outside of your price range.

Hold Off On Major Life Changes Until You Have Your Mortgage

Once you’ve been pre-qualified and pre-approved, the next step is the approval process the part of the process where the lender you’ve chosen evaluates your application and decides whether or not to lend to you. One mistake that a lot of homebuyers make is allowing significant changes in their income to happen during the approval process. If you quit your job to start a business, or if you go down to part-time hours so you can spend more time with the kids, your lender will need to start the approval process over again with your new financial information in mind, so hold off on any big changes until after you’ve been approved.

Finding a new home loan can seem like a challenge, but a qualified mortgage advisor can help. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more.

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