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Buying a ‘Micro’ Home? Be Sure to Consider These Major Lifestyle Changes First

April 28, 2017 Comments off

Buying a 'Micro' Home? Be Sure to Consider These Major Lifestyle Changes FirstWith the cost of a home on the rise and the concept of being sustainable becoming more popular, many people are considering moving to a smaller home to minimize their impact. It’s important, however, to consider what living small is really like before deciding that it’s the right move for you. If you’re curious about life on a smaller-scale, here are some things to contemplate beforehand.

Getting Rid Of The Excess

It’s just a fact that a smaller amount of space means a smaller amount of stuff, but many people don’t realize this works two ways. While you won’t be able to accumulate the same amount of stuff in a smaller home, you also won’t have the luxury of being able to take everything from a larger house with you. It may not be a big deal for you to pack things away or discard the old, but if you’re the type of person who likes stuff, you may want to re-consider micro.

Will You Miss The Space?

Many homeowners spend a lot of time outdoors or even travelling for work, so the size of their home may not matter that much. However, if you’re the kind of homeowner who loves to nest and have their space, the idea of lounging around a small home may not be for you. A micro-sized space can minimize costs and be easier to decorate, but if you like being able to spread out and luxuriate in a variety of surroundings, something undersized can be quite limiting.

Forget The Home Maintenance

Whether you live on a massive estate or in a studio apartment, there are minor things that need to be done to keep your space clean and clutter free. When it comes to smaller living though, there will be a lot less to do, and this can greatly impact your free time. It’s great if you’re the kind of person who has plenty of hobbies to keep them busy, but if you like taking care of the yard and doing an assortment of home maintenance duties, it may be a struggle to own a property that needs less tending.

It’s never been more popular to go ‘micro’ when it comes to home ownership, but it’s important to make sure small living is right for you before taking the leap. If you’re currently on the market for a ‘micro’ home, contact your trusted morgage professional for lending information.

Case-Shiller: February Home Prices Grow at Fastest Pace in 3 Years

April 27, 2017 Comments off

According to the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, February home prices grew at their fastest pace in three years. While home prices have steadily grown in recent months, growth rates slowed in many areas month-to-month; the escalation of home prices from January to February indicates stronger housing markets. National home prices increased by 0.20 percent in February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.80 percent appreciation.

Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index posted a month-to-month gain of 0.20 percent for a year-over-year gain of 5.90 percent. Seattle, Washington again topped the 20-City index with year-over-year home price growth of 12.20 percent. Portland Oregon followed with an annual price gain of 9.70 percent. Denver, Colorado was replaced by Dallas, Texas with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 8.80 percent. Fifteen cities posted higher year-over-year gains in home prices in February as compared to January readings.

Monthto Month Home Prices

Case-Shiller National, 20-City and 10-City Home Price Indices reported moth-to-month 0.20 percent home price growth before seasonal adjustment. After prices were seasonally adjusted, national home prices increased by 0.40 percent month-to-month; the 20-city index showed an increase of 0.70 percent and home prices in the 10-City Index rose by 0.60 percent after seasonal adjustment.  

Home Prices Rising on High Demand, Low Inventory of Homes Available

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chair of the S&P Dow Jones Indices Committee, said that ongoing shortages of homes for sale continue to boost home prices as demand exceeds supply. First-time and moderate income home buyers continue to face affordability concerns as rising home prices can negatively impact buyers’ ability to qualify for mortgage loans.

Analysts said that while rising home prices are a sign of economic strength, housing market indicators such as housing starts have not had corresponding growth rates. New construction is viewed as the only way to ease demand for homes as rising home prices have so far not cooled demand.

Categories: Home Values Tags:

What Fees or Costs Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

April 26, 2017 Comments off

What Fees or Costs Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let's Take a LookAs a means of avoiding monthly mortgage payments, a reverse mortgage is a way for homeowners to tap into their equity in order to defer the payments on their home. While this can be a beneficial option for those who are older than 65, it’s important to be aware that – like any mortgage product – there are a number of associated fees. If a reverse mortgage is something you’re considering in the future, here are some of the costs you’ll be looking at.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums

In order to secure your reverse mortgage, you will be required to pay mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) at the time that you sign off on your reverse mortgage. The cost will be charged upon closing, and will continue to be charged throughout the entire period of the loan. While this amount will vary based on a variety of factors, it will be calculated using the lesser-appraised value of your home.

Origination Fee

Since a reverse mortgage is a different mortgage product, you may be required to pay an Origination Fee for all of the costs associated with processing the mortgage. This amount will differ depending on which lender you are using and it will equate to a small percentage of the total value of your home.

Servicing Fee

In addition to the fees required for switching your mortgage product, there will also be a monthly servicing fee to cover administration for the period of the loan. In addition to billing and statements, this amount will ensure that you are covered when it comes to your home purchase. While service fees are becoming a thing of the past, they are generally a relatively small amount of money.

Additional Third Party Fees

There are many fees associated with home ownership and a reverse mortgage is no different. As a result, there may be a number of third-party fees for items including appraisal costs, surveying, title fees and credit checks that will be required in order to close the process. Fortunately, most of these costs will be charged prior to or upon closing and will not persist throughout the mortgage period.

Many people would like to defer their monthly payment and utilize a reverse mortgage, but before deciding on this product it’s worth knowing what the associated costs are. If you’re currently considering your mortgage options and are wondering what is available, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

How Young Is ‘Too Young’ to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and Downs

April 25, 2017 Comments off

How Young Is 'Too Young' to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and DownsMany millennials are expected to enter the housing market in the next year with the interest rates still low. However, while it may be a good time, it does not necessarily mean that it’s the right time for you to make the investment. If you’re currently weighing your options when it comes to home ownership, here are some things to consider before you decide put the money down.

Are You Struggling With Student Debt

It’s possible to invest in a home when you’re still paying down student debt, but if you’re also struggling with a low-paying job and a high debt load, it may not be the right time to buy. Instead of trying to make ends meet to pay a monthly mortgage payment, it might be a better decision to pay off some of your debt, lower your interest costs and consider investing later on. This will also enable you to afford more home when you decide the time is right to buy.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

It can be a good testament to your financial ability if you want to purchase a home at a young age, but having a down payment is one of the most important things to have on hand when it comes to investing. If you’ve come up with 20% of the purchase price, this will allow you to avoid mortgage loan insurance. If you don’t have this amount, however, or much of anything saved up, you may want to create a budget in order to save up for your down payment.

Are Your Ready To Commit?

Many people romanticize the idea of buying a home since it’s something that really belongs to them, but it’s important to be prepared for the monthly mortgage payments, home maintenance and all the other fees and responsibilities associated with home ownership. It’s great if you want to invest, but if you want to travel or explore different job opportunities or even continue your education, an investment commitment may not be the best choice.

It can be a great financial benefit for your future to invest in a home at a young age, but it’s important to ensure you’re ready for the commitment by having your debt paid down and having money saved.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017 Comments off

Last week’s economic reports included NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® released data on existing home sales; Freddie Mac released average mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Builder Sentiment Dips in April, but Remains Strong

The National Association of Home Builders reported that home builder sentiment dipped three points in April to an index reading of 78. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are positive about housing market conditions than not. Builders continued to cite concerns including shortages of labor and buildable lots and increasing materials costs.

Builder confidence in housing market conditions do not always reflect building activity. March housing starts were lower at 1.215 million starts on a year-over-year basis. February’s reading was 1.303 million starts; the expected reading for April was 1.238 million starts. Readings for housing starts include single family homes of one to four units and multifamily complexes with five or more units. Single-family housing starts were 6.20 percent lower than in February at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 821,000 starts.

While housing starts were lower in March, more building permits were issued in March than in February. 1,260 million permits were issued in March on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to February’s reading of 1.216 million building permits issued.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Existing Home Sales Up

Mortgage rates fell below three percent according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped from 4.08 percent to 3.97 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by nine basis point from 3.34 percent to 3.23 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 3.10 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage. Lower mortgage rates are good news for home buyers challenged by rapidly rising home prices based on high demand and low supplies of homes for sale.

Home buyers persisted in March despite higher home prices. Sales of pre-owned homes hit a 10 year high in March as 5.71 million pre-owned homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. As compared to February’s reading of 5.48 million pre-owned homes sold, analysts expected a reading of 5.65 million sales of pre-owned homes in March.

New Jobless Claims Rise

First-time jobless claims were higher last week with a reading of 244,000 new claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 234,000 new jobless claims. Week-to-week readings for new jobless claims tend to be volatile, but last week’s reading remained well below the benchmark of 300,000 new claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news includes readings on new and pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports, along with weekly reports on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Categories: Mortgage Rates Tags:

Did You Know? How Accelerating Your Mortgage Payments Can Help Your Credit Score

April 21, 2017 Comments off

Did You Know? How Accelerating Your Mortgage Payments Can Help Your Credit ScoreThe tough part might be over after your mortgage has been approved, but it’s still important to keep on top of your monthly payments and maintain a good credit score for your financial future. If you’re currently wondering how increasing your mortgage payments can help your credit outlook, here are some things to consider.

Change Your Payment Schedule

Most people opt for a monthly mortgage payment, which can certainly stretch the budget but is still something that can be maintained consistently. However, what many homeowners don’t realize is that more consistent payments, like a bi-weekly or even weekly payment, can actually pay down the principal that is owed on your home. While this may seem like enough of a benefit on its own, this will also lower the interest you pay on your investment and will mean financial freedom much more quickly!

Make A Lump Sum Payment

Whether you’ve come into an inheritance or received a bonus at work, making a lump sum payment on your mortgage can be a great way of minimizing your interest and improving your overall credit. There are often limitations on the amount of money you can put down, but by adding an additional payment to the amount still owing on your mortgage, you might be surprised by the money savings and the boost to your financial profile.

Limit Your Amortization Period

25 years may be the standard amortization period for a mortgage, but longer is not necessarily better when it comes to your biggest investment. While you won’t want to push yourself too much if your monthly mortgage payment is already high, if you have the financial wherewithal to make a higher payment, it may be worth it for owning your home a little sooner. A shorter amortization period may seem like it will significantly bump your monthly mortgage, but by re-tooling your budget you can get the benefit to your credit score without sacrificing your monthly expenditures.

For many people, it is a month-to-month challenge to stick to their budget and make the monthly mortgage payment, but there are benefits to putting down more than expected. Whether you come into a lump sum amount or want to pay on a bi-weekly basis, extra payments can help to improve your credit and make your investment yours much sooner. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Going on a Nice Vacation? Protect Your Home and Valuables With These 3 Key Tips

April 20, 2017 Comments off

Going on a Nice Vacation? Protect Your Home and Valuables With These 3 Key TipsIt’s always exciting to pack up and get away from your home for the sake of escape, but going on vacation also means leaving your home behind. While a good neighborhood can go a long way towards making sure your home stays safe in your absence, here are some additional tips for how to ensure you’ll be coming back from your trip without incident.

Take Care Of Your Property

Thieves will often assume that an unkempt yard and home maintenance issues are a sign of a homeowner that doesn’t care, and this will often attract them to a property. Instead of giving potential trespassers the wrong idea, ensure that your yard is well kept in your absence with no overgrown bushes, maintenance issues or items left out. It’s also important to make sure that no newspaper or mail is piling up at the door, as this can be a surefire signal to thieves that you’re away.

Talk To Your Neighbors

There’s no way even the best neighbors will be able to observe everything that may happen with your home, but having ones who will stop by and make sure things are OK is ideal. Whether your neighbors need to feed the cat or water the plants, have them check for any unlocked windows or other signs that something is afoot. One of the best guards against theft is a neighborhood watch program, so by utilizing this defense you can easily ensure the safety of your home when you’re out of town.

Invest In A Security System

Few things will provide the peace of mind that a security system does, so if you haven’t already invested in one, it might be time to start doing the research. There are many great options for security nowadays that are technologically advanced and will keep your mind at ease. There are even options for viewing your home that will enable you to check it on your mobile phone, and this can be a great means of keeping your house safe even from a distance!

Leaving your home behind to go on vacation can be nerve-wracking for the new homeowner, but by keeping your property maintained and enlisting your neighbors to check on it you can keep it safe and secure.

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