What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 22, 2018

Last week’s economic news included readings on home builder confidence, housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released; the week wrapped with the University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment.

Home Builder Confidence Dips, Remains in Positive Territory

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence dropped two points in January to 72, but high demand for homes continued to provide builders with positive outlooks on housing market conditions. While continued concerns over labor and lot shortages were cited, home builders surveyed for January’s Housing Market Index said that High demand for homes and recent tax legislation kept more builders confident than those who were not. Any reading over 50 indicates positive builder sentiment.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Fall in December

Housing starts fell 8.20 percent in December according to the Commerce Department. 1.192 million starts were forecast on a seasonally- adjusted annual basis; analysts expected a reading of 1.280 million starts based on November’s reading of 1.299 million starts. 1.302 million building permits were issued in December on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. November’s reading was higher at 1.303 million building permits issued.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates for the second week in a row. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 4.04 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.49 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.46 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 averaged 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower with 220,000 new claims filed as compared to estimates of 250,000 new claims. 261,000 new claims were filed the prior week. Consumer sentiment was lower in January with an index reading of 94.40. Analysts expected the consumer sentiment index to reach 98.00, based on December’s reading of 95.90 percent, but uncertainty over tax benefits connected with recent legislation and rising interest rates contributed to the lowest consumer sentiment index reading since July.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and existing home sales along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

How Much Is the Right Amount to Commit to Your Down Payment? Let’s Take a Look

How Much Is the Right Amount to Commit to Your Down Payment? Let's Take a LookAre you thinking about buying a new home? If you are going to take out mortgage financing, one consideration you will have is your down payment, which is the amount you pay up front in cash to cover some of the purchase cost. Let’s consider a few points that will help you to decide how much is the right amount for your down payment.

How Much Do You Have?

The most obvious question you will need to answer is: how much do I realistically have to place as a down payment? Keep in mind that your down payment is money that you aren’t going to see again until you sell your home. While you want to invest a significant amount for reasons we will share below, you still need to maintain a cash cushion of a year’s salary or so in case you fall ill or lose your job.

More Down, Less Monthly

The main case for putting as much as you can into your down payment is that the more you invest, the less you have to borrow. This means that over time, you will pay less interest and you will also have lower monthly payments. Keep in mind that with today’s low interest rates it’s a bit less of a burden to carry a large mortgage. However, these rates may swing upwards over the years, which will increase your costs.

The Need For Private Mortgage Insurance

If you’re going to put less than 20 percent down on your home, you’re almost certainly going to be required to purchase mortgage insurance. There are numerous options available to you, including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration or FHA. Your mortgage lender will share this and other private insurance policies that will protect you.

Don’t Forget About Lost Opportunity Cost

Finally, don’t forget to factor in the lost opportunity cost that comes with investing a large down payment. Unless you have a terrible money manager, your mortgage interest rate is likely to be less than you would be able to make investing the difference in your financial portfolio. If you’re thinking about putting an extra $50,000 in your down payment, consider that you might be able to make 5 to 10 percent on that over the next decade. There are no guarantees in investing, so speak with a professional for further guidance.

If you are ready to start shopping for your dream home, contact your trusted real estate professional today. 

On Time, Every Time: How Being Late on Monthly Payments Can Affect Your Mortgage

On Time, Every Time: How Being Late on Monthly Payments Can Affect Your MortgageAre you the type of person that struggles with remembering to pay their bills on time? You’re not alone. People across the country regularly submit late monthly payments, inflicting terrible damage to their credit. Let’s take a quick look at how paying your loan or other monthly payments late can have a negative impact on your mortgage.

Your Credit Score Is At Risk

As you already know, almost all banks, credit cards, mortgage companies and other lenders rely on your credit score to help assess the risk of lending money to you. Paying any of your payments late – even something as small as your mobile phone bill or a department store credit card – can result in negative marks showing up on your credit report. If you are late enough times or fail to repay the late payment in full, then your score will start to drop.

Refinancing Can Be Affected

If you already have a mortgage, then a lower credit score can be a problem when you try to refinance. The process of refinancing involves taking out a new mortgage, in which your lender will reassess your risk using your credit score as one of the indicators. If you have been making late payments, you might end up having to settle for a higher interest rate or you may even be declined for the new mortgage.

Making A Late Payment? Contact Your Lender

If you are caught in a bind and have to make a late payment, it is best to call your lender as soon as possible. First, there may be a grace period in which you can be a few days late without any penalty. If that little bit of breathing room is all you need to get caught up, you’re set. If not, you can let them know your circumstances and discuss what options you have.

It is essential to pay your monthly payments on time, even if it means making some small sacrifices in other areas. The better your credit score looks, the more opportunities you will have to make positive financial moves in the future. Ready to start looking for your next home? Contact your local real estate professionals today.

Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be Successful

Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be SuccessfulAre you in the market for a new house? In a buyer’s market, finding and closing on a beautiful home can seem very easy. However, if you are shopping when the market is hot, you may end up fighting bidding wars and losing your dream home to a competing buyer. Let’s take a look at four tips that you will need to be successful when house hunting in a hot local real estate market.

Tip #1: Do Your Research Ahead Of Time

It should go without saying that in a hot market you will need to move quickly. Making an effort to do all your research ahead of time will ensure that you do not have to later, once you’ve found the perfect dream home. Check in with your real estate agent to find out what paperwork and other material will be needed.

Tip #2: Get A Mortgage Pre-approval

Once you have found your dream home, you may discover that other buyers are interested or have submitted bids. In this case, it is crucial that you can demonstrate that you have your mortgage financing pre-approved. Remember that the seller wants to close their sale quickly and for the best price. Showing up with pre-approved mortgage financing proves that you are serious about buying their home.

Tip #3: Be Ready To Pounce (But Don’t Be Hasty!)

Speaking of being serious, it is essential that you are ready to pounce on the right listing. A hot market means that you won’t be the only potential buyer checking out a home. The last thing you want to do is find the right house, then end up losing the chance to buy it because of unnecessary delays.

Tip #4: Small Sacrifices Are Okay

The final tip to keep in mind is that sometimes you will have to make a small sacrifice to close the deal. For example, the seller may want some special terms added to the agreement. Alternatively, they might ask you to pick up some of the closing costs. Whatever the case, keep in mind that a hot market means that you lose a bit of leverage. If it’s a small sacrifice, it might be worth it.

Buying a house in a hot real estate market can be challenging, but a little preparation will go a long way in ensuring you are the winning bidder. When you are ready to buy your next home, get in touch with your local real estate professionals.

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don’t Know Where to Start? Here’s a Few Tips

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don't Know Where to Start? Here's a Few TipsAre you a renter that has become tired of paying someone else’s mortgage and not building any equity? Or a homeowner who has a growing family and is in need of more space? Whatever the case, if you are in the market for a new home there is no time like the present. Let’s explore a few tips that will help you to prepare for the home buying experience.

Tip #1: Prepare For A Busy Spring Season

First, it should be pretty obvious that you aren’t the only house hunter on the market. Other local individuals and families alike will be searching for a new house to call their own. As you may know, the spring is generally when the local real estate market starts to heat up. So, if you are looking to buy, you may want to address your needs earlier in the spring rather than later. The sooner you can get the paperwork signed, the less of a chance you end up in a bidding war.

Tip #2: Mortgage Rates May Be Trending Up

While this is in no way a prediction, there have been some indications that mortgage interest rates may be trending higher in 2018. If this does end up being the case, the cost of buying a home is going to be a little bit more. So if you can move quickly and get your mortgage pre-approved now, you may find that you end up with a better deal than those families who wait until the summer to make a move.

Tip #3: Prepare Your Finances And Credit In Advance

Finally, it’s a great best practice to ensure that your personal finances are prepared in advance. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with which documentation you will need to have ready. You should also check in with one of the major credit reporting agencies. They will be able to advise you as to whether you have any issues with your credit rating or FICO score.

Buying a home is always an exciting experience – one which can be relatively stress-free if you are prepared. When you are ready to discuss buying your dream home or to view available listings in the local area, give our offices a call. We are here to help you find the perfect house, condo or apartment to suit your needs.

How to Run a Quick Financial Health Check Before You Apply for a Mortgage

How to Run a Quick Financial Health Check Before You Apply for a MortgageAre you planning on using a mortgage to help cover the cost of a new home? If so, you will want to prepare your finances and figure out how you will manage all those wallet-draining monthly expenses. Let’s take a look at how to run a quick financial health check to ensure you are ready to apply for a mortgage.

Update (Or Start) Your Monthly Budget

First, it is essential to get the basics out of the way. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start a monthly budget to keep track of your income and expenses. Once you have a mortgage, it will be important to prioritize your monthly payments so that you don’t end up falling behind.

Starting a budget is easy and can be done with mobile apps, software, a spreadsheet or a pen and paper. List all sources of income so that you know exactly how much cash you are working with. Then, list out every one of your expenses. It can be tough to remember them all, so consider using debit and credit card statements from the past few months as a reminder.

Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report

Next, you will want to get a copy of your credit report so you can see what potential mortgage lenders will see when assessing your financial history. This is a free service that you can request once per year, so be sure to take advantage. Note that you will want to use government-approved websites for requesting your credit report. Be wary of scams.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

A down payment is not required for every home purchase, but having one saved up can make the buying process easier. The amount you will want to have saved up will depend on the cost of your home, whether you plan on carrying private mortgage insurance and a variety of other factors. If possible, try to save up an amount close to (or more than) twenty percent of the home’s purchase price.

Ready? Chat With A Professional

Now that you have run a quick financial health check, it is time to meet with a real estate professional. Contact us today.

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a Profit

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a ProfitAre you starting to grow bored of watching your money go nowhere sitting in a bank account? With today’s interest rates doing little to encourage saving, many individuals are looking elsewhere for new investment opportunities. In today’s blog post we’ll share four essential tips for buying a profitable rental property. Let’s get started.

Buy A Property With Year-Round Potential

Many real estate investors agree that the best rental properties are those that generate income every day of the year. The most straightforward situation to manage is one where you have stable, long-term tenants in place that aren’t going to move or change often. Browse local property listings around schools, colleges, and large employers to see if there are any suitable homes for sale.

Once you gain experience and invest in other properties, consider branching out into vacation or short-term stay homes. But to get started, aim for stability.

Predict Your Income And Expenses

Next, you will want to craft a budget. Have a look through rental listings in your target communities to see what renters are currently paying. This will give you some idea of your potential rental income for a similar-sized home. You can then compare this to your estimated monthly mortgage payment, taxes, utility costs, and repairs. It is impossible to predict precisely how much you will need, but this exercise can quickly prove whether this area is likely to be profitable.

Treat Your Rental Properties Like A Business

Since you have already taken the first steps with a budget, you might as well continue down the path to a full business structure. Most real estate investors set their portfolio up in an incorporated or limited-liability company, which reduces personal exposure. It can also be an efficient way to manage any legal issues that arise as your investments grow. Also, there will be significant tax advantages, including being able to write-off expenses such as repairs, contractor work, and renovations.

Work With Experienced Professionals

Speaking of contractors, it’s worth reminding to only work with experienced professionals who are licensed, certified and have references. Paying for quality work up-front ensures that you won’t have to deal with hefty repair bills due to shoddy workmanship.

When you are ready to invest in rental properties, give us a call. Our professional real estate team is happy to share listings that are perfect for investment and rental income generation.

The Pros and Cons of a Large Down Payment When Buying a Home

The Pros and Cons of a Large Down Payment When Buying a HomeIf you are in the market for a new home, one of the considerations you will need to make is how much to invest in your down payment. Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of making a large down payment when buying your next home.

A Large Down Payment Has Its Benefits

If you have the funds available, you may find a bit of an advantage in a large down payment. The following are a few potential benefits that you may realize.

You Can Afford More ‘House’ – if you are aiming for a large, luxurious home a significant down payment can help you get there. As long as your credit is in line with your needs, a large down payment leaves more room in your mortgage.

You May Pay Less Interest – conversely, if you don’t need to carry a big mortgage you can choose a shorter amortization period for your mortgage. A shorter loan period means that you are likely to pay less in interest.

You Might Not Need PMI – if you can afford to invest more than 20 percent of the home’s value in your down payment, you may not be required to purchase private mortgage insurance.

A Few Of The Downsides

Of course, there are some potential downsides to using a large portion of your available cash as a down payment:

Do You Have The Money? – a large down payment doesn’t make a lot of sense if your finances can’t tolerate that hit right now. If you have your down payment and little else, you might want to reconsider.

You Will Be Less Liquid In The Short Term – keep in mind that once you sign the closing paperwork, your down payment cash is gone. This will leave you a bit less liquid in the short term since you would need to sell your home to get that cash back out.

You Can’t Invest That Money Elsewhere – you won’t be able to use these funds for other investment purposes. Of course, real estate is an investment itself so this may be less of a concern.

Still Have Questions? Get In Touch

Choosing the right amount for a down payment is a decision best made with professional help. Contact your local real estate professional and we will be happy to share our experience and insight.

Did You Know: Why New Construction Homes Are A Top Choice For Today’s Home Buyer

Did You Know: Why New Construction Homes Are A Top Choice For Today's Home BuyerAre you in the market for a new house? If so, you may have been comparing your options when it comes to open listings on the local market. One decision you will need to consider: do you want to purchase an existing home or build a new one? Let’s explore a few reasons why new construction homes are a popular choice for today’s home buyer.

A Home Designed (By You) With The Future In Mind

Ask anyone who has recently invested in a brand-new home, and many will share that all of the built-in technology was an essential factor. Today’s homes are designed with the future in mind. High-speed networking, better wireless connectivity, high-tech security and other features are all benefits that typically can’t be found in older homes.

Of course, don’t forget that you play a role in the design choices in a new construction home. It is your chance to design all of the features you would want in a dream house.

Energy And Cost Efficient

As you might imagine, homes constructed with modern designs and materials are vastly more energy than older homes. Tighter seals, better insulation and more efficient heating and cooling all translate to lower utility costs. Moreover, while the savings per day might seem small, over time, they add up. Leaving more money in your pocket for investment, saving or other purposes.

If you want to take it a step further, you may even decide to expand your new construction home with solar panels or other high-efficiency upgrades.

Less Maintenance Means More Free Time

Finally, you can sleep soundly knowing that a new construction home needs far less maintenance work than an older home. Of course, there will still be the occasional job that needs taking care of. So you will want to be diligent in fixing up any damage or issues that do occur so that the problem does not spread. But overall, you can expect to spend less of your free time repairing things and more of it relaxing and enjoying life.

These are just a few of the many great reasons to invest in a brand-new home. To learn more about new construction real estate opportunities in the local area, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to discuss your needs and help you find the perfect new home.

Appliance Therapy: What to Do If Your Dishwasher Is Terrible at Cleaning Your Dishes

Appliance Therapy: What to Do If Your Dishwasher Is Terrible at Cleaning Your DishesAs kitchen appliances go, there are few loved more than the dishwasher. They can be a major time saver – that is, if your dishes are coming out clean. Let’s take a quick look at a few steps you can take if your dishwasher is not doing its job.

Give It A Good Cleaning

It may seem a bit strange to think about having to clean the dishwasher, but they do require maintenance from time to time. Grease, bits of food and leftover detergent can all build up, leading to reduced performance.

Here’s one cleaning recipe to try. On the top rack of the dishwasher, place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container and run a cleaning cycle. Once it has finished, sprinkle a cup of baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher, and run it again.

Check That You’re Loading It Correctly

You might be surprised to learn that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to load a dishwasher. And that loading instructions vary between different models. If your dishes are not coming out sparkling clean, see if you can track down the operator’s manual. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to load the dishes in the dish racks. This is a simple step that might fix the problem.

Check That The Drainage Is Clear

Although you can’t see anything clogging the inside of the drain filter, that does not mean that the drain itself is clear. Most dishwasher models allow you to take the internal drain assembly off so that you can get at the drain without having to pull out the dishwasher. If yours does, it is worth taking some time to get in there and clean out the gunk. A partially-blocked drain will lead to dirty dishes. A fully-blocked drain can lead to a messy catastrophe.

Still Not Working? Make The Call

If you have exhausted the list above and your dishwasher still isn’t working correctly, it is time to call in an appliance repair professional. If you continue to use the dishwasher, it may end up failing and causing water damage to your kitchen flooring. If the dishwasher is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer as they will likely have a contract with a local repair shop.

If you’re in the market to buy a home with a fabulous dishwasher, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to help.

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