Yes, It’s True! Why Replacing Your Front Door Can Help to Sell Your Home Faster

Yes, It's True! Why Replacing Your Front Door Can Help to Sell Your Home FasterThere are plenty of things that you’ll need to shape up when you embark on selling your home, whether it’s painting the house or the minor fix-ups, but it’s easy to forget about some items that will be readily apparent to homebuyers. If you’re preparing to put your home on the market and are wondering what you shouldn’t miss, here are a few reasons why replacing your front door should be at the top of the list.

It’s The First Thing Buyers Will Notice

While the yard and the exterior of your home may be the most noticeable things to a potential homebuyer when they visit your home, the door will be one of the most imposing things they come across. Because this will be the access point for your home, the quality and stability of your door will create the first impression, good or bad. If you happen to have a flimsy or poorly designed door that is aging, it may be time to invest in something more substantial that will create a positive impression.

A Sense Of Safety

An aesthetically appealing door may be pretty important when it comes to making an instant impression, but a solid door will be key in providing potential buyers with an idea of safety and stability. One of the most important things for homebuyers when it comes to purchasing a home is the sense of security it provides, and a sturdy door will go a long way towards making your community and the potential new dwelling feel like a welcome abode.

Increases Your Home’s Value

There are plenty of small renovations you can take on that will bump up the value of your home, but replacing an unsound door is important because most homeowners won’t to make this upgrade right away. While it may seem like buying a door will be a significant splurge, there are actually many great options for a relatively economical price. It’s just important to find something that won’t break the bank and will fit in with your renovation budget.

When it comes times to sell your home, there are many renovations that can instantly bump up its value. However, many people forget that the door provides one of the first impressions and a sense of security and comfort.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 8, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on construction spending, the post-meeting statement by the Fed’s Open Market Committee and labor-related reports including ADP payrolls, Non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Fed Rate Unchanged, Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

Federal Reserve policymakers did not change the target federal funds rate, which ranges from 0.75 to 1.00 percent. In its usual post-meeting statement, FOMC said that a weak first quarter was “transitory” and expected economic growth to continue going forward. Less consumer spending contributed to a sluggish first quarter, but analysts said that a rate hike was very likely at the FOMC meeting in June. The FOMC included its usual caveat concerning monetary policy in its statement; FOMC policies are not pre-determined, but are based on members’ ongoing review of news and economic developments.

Freddie Mac reported minor changes in its weekly survey of mortgage rates. 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates were one basis point lower at 4.02 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.27 percent; the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose one basis point to 3.13 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types.

Construction, Labor Reports Reflect Economic Growth

Construction spending fell in March after an unusually high reading in February. The original growth rate for February construction spending was 0.80 percent, but was adjusted to 1.80 percent. A spurt of unseasonably warm weather was cited as pushing construction activity to unusual levels in February. Construction spending fell by -0.20 percent as compared to an expected reading of 0.50 percent, which was based on the original reading for February.

ADP Payrolls reported lower growth for private sector jobs in April with a reading of 177,000 new jobs as compared to 255,000 new jobs gained in March. The Federal Non-farm payrolls report, which covers public and private sector jobs, posted a gain of 211,000 jobs in April after reporting only 79,000 jobs added in March. The disparity in month to month readings indicates ongoing volatility in jobs growth, but the national unemployment rate dropped to 440 percent in April from 4.50 percent in March. Low unemployment rates can indicate economic growth with job seekers gaining employment.

Let’s Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its Appeal

Let's Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its AppealMany homeowners consider a fence around their property for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to keep the dog in the yard or to maintain privacy. However, the wrong fence can entirely change the look of your property and make a beautiful yard a bit of an eyesore. If you’re trying to determine what kind of fence will work for your home, here are some tips before you start to dig in the dirt.

What’s Your Fence For?

Before deciding what kind of material to use, it’s important to know what type of utility you want for your fence. While a stone fence may be elegant and offer a lot of privacy, it can also be quite expensive; on the other hand, a wooden fence may be more affordable but it can deteriorate over time. It’s entirely possible you have a material you’ve already decided upon, but ensure that it’s something that will live up to your expectations and have the functionality you’re looking for.

What’s Your Home’s Style?

An imposing stone fence may be the style that instantly draws you, but if you have a relatively unassuming home or a more whimsical style, it can be a bit much for what your home. Instead of basing your fence purchase around the budget you can afford and the style you like, ensure that it will complement the style of your home and the yards surrounding yours so there is no marked contrast between your fence and the rest of your property.

What’s The Neighborhood Vibe?

Most neighborhoods have a distinct style, so in order to get some ideas for what type of fence will work with your property, take a look around your local area. There will likely be homes that look similar to yours and they may be able to give you a good idea of what options you have when it comes to fencing. You’ll also want to take note of how particular fences look around the gardens and patios of other homes, as these are features you won’t want to obscure.

There are many fences available on the market that serve every purpose, but it’s important to be aware of what will work for your property so you can make a good aesthetic decision.

Refinancing This Spring? How to Choose Between Variable and Fixed Interest Rates

Refinancing This Spring? How to Choose Between Variable and Fixed Interest RatesFrom choosing a real estate agent to finding the right home, the process of getting a mortgage is rife with many different choices. If you’re investing down the road, it’s likely that you’ve heard about variable and fixed interest rates and are wondering about the differences between the two and how they can benefit you. While what will work best for you depends on your financial flexibility and market knowledge, here are some basics that will help you make a decision.

The Details on Fixed Rates

For many homeowners new to the market, the stability of a fixed rate is comforting because the interest rate will be set for the length of the loan period. This means your monthly mortgage payment will be the same and you will not be required to adjust your budget each month. While knowing your rate can offer financial security in a fluctuating market, it may actually end up costing more money down the road depending on what the rates are like over time.

All About Variable Rates

A fixed rate can provide security, but a variable rate is much like it sounds and will fluctuate with the market interest rate. This means that your monthly mortgage payment will not be fixed and in the event of market increases or decreases, your mortgage payment may change markedly. While the benefit of variable rates is that they can actually end up costing less down the road, they can be a burden for those who do not have market knowledge and are going to feel the stress of changing rates.

Choosing Between The Two

While it’s expected that interest rates will rise in the coming years, there are still no guarantees that variable rates will end up costing more than a fixed rate. This means that if you are comfortable with the fluctuations, a variable rate may be better, but if it’s consistency you’re looking for, you may want to choose a fixed rate. If you are struggling with financial stability month-to-month, a variable rate may be more economical over time, but a fixed rate will offer the security of knowing your costs.

There are benefits associated with fixed and variable rates, but it’s important to determine how comfortable you are with the real estate market and your finances before making a decision. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

5 Tips for Crafting a Counter-offer That Doesn’t Scare Away a Potential Home Buyer

5 Tips for Crafting a Counter-offer That Doesn't Scare Away a Potential Home BuyerIf you’ve recently put your home up for sale, one of the most exciting parts of the selling process is getting an offer. However, all is not said and done once you’ve received an offer, as you’ll probably want to negotiate a better price. If you’re wondering how you can counter without losing a potential buyer, here are some tips when the time comes to negotiate.

Lower Your Price (A Little)

As a seller, it’s important to believe in the price you’ve put your home on the market for, but lowering your asking price after getting an offer will tell the potential buyer that you’re flexible. While you may not want to compromise too much, you’ll have to move a bit to keep them interested.

Pay For Closing Costs

There are so many costs involved in home ownership that many people are tired of all the associated fees of buying a home by the time it comes to closing. Instead of budging on your price, offering to pay for the closing costs can serve as a significant financial benefit for many buyers.

Hold Off On Offers

It can be a risky strategy, but choosing a specific day to consider offers can create a healthy competition for your home, and may stimulate interest without losing potential buyers. While you’ll want to be careful how you navigate this, it can work out well when it comes to bumping up the offers.

Provide An Expiration Date

Most counter-offers come with a timeframe that will allow those interested to accept the deal; however, consider adjusting this period to a timeframe that will work better for you. While you shouldn’t wait too long, a period of more than one day will tell the potential buyer that you want your home to be the right choice for them.

Be Reliable And Responsive

For an interested homebuyer, there’s nothing worse than having a home-seller that is not responsive to their offer. Instead of sitting on an offer too long, ensure you’re letting interested parties know that you’re considering their offer and will get back to them as soon as you’ve made a decision.

The art of negotiating can be complicated when it comes to selling your home, but by being responsive and showing flexibility, you may be able to get the offer you’re looking for.

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage Application

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage ApplicationThere are few things better than finding your dream home and being able to afford it, but simply because you’ve found the perfect place doesn’t mean you should stretch the truth. It might seem tempting to polish your mortgage application a little in the hopes of making a better impression, but here are a few reasons why you should stick to the truth when signing off on your home.

Your Credit History Tells All

It can be tempting to bump up your salary or make some hefty deposits into your savings account. However, lenders will be taking a look at your financial history by way of your bank statements, credit report and paystubs so they’re likely to discover any erroneous details. If you’re not honest about your financial situation, the lender may suspect that you’re not a reliable buyer. Not only that, making false statements about your finances may give you more home than you can really afford, which can cause setbacks down the road.

Mortgage Fraud Is Still Fraud

A little white lie on your mortgage application might not seem like such a big deal, but because you are painting a picture of yourself that is not true, this can actually be considered mortgage fraud. While there are mistakes that can be made on any mortgage application given all the details required, it’s very important not to mislead the lender or home seller on purpose. It may not be common, but mortgage fraud can be punished with hefty fines or even prison time.

A Bad Way To Begin

There’s nothing like the feeling of moving into your newly-purchased home and feeling enthusiasm for all the things it entails, but being dishonest about your financial situation can sully that. A lie may just be a small detail, but mortgage lenders look at a variety of factors to ensure you’re a good fit for a loan that will stay manageable month after month. While a minor mistruth may seem insignificant, it disables lenders from being able to assess if your financial situation is right for the home you want to purchase.

It may be enticing to fudge a few details on your mortgage application, but there can be serious implications involved in not being honest about the information on your application. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 1, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices, new and pending home sales. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and average mortgage rates were also released. Case-Shiller reported that home prices rose by 0.20 percent from January to February with a year-over- year growth rate of 5.80 percent.

Western cities continued to post the fastest growth rates for home prices with Seattle, Washington topping annual home price growth rates at 12.20 percent; Portland, Oregon followed with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 9.70 percent. Dallas, Texas posted the third fastest growth rate for home prices with year-over-year growth in home prices at 8.80 percent. Dallas replaced Denver, Colorado for third place in the 20-City Home Price Index. 15 of 20 cities tracked in the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index posted higher year-over-year gains in February than for January 2017.

New Home Sales Rise as Pending Home Sales Dip

New home sales rose to 621,000 sales in March; analysts expected a reading of 580,000 new homes sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis based on January’s reading of 587,000 new home sales. Sales of new homes are important due to months of high demand for homes coupled with low inventories of homes for sale. Sales of new homes can indicate future readings on builder confidence and housing starts, but there are no definite connections between new home sales, builder confidence in housing market conditions and housing starts.

Pending home sales dipped in March with a month-to-month reading of -0.80 percent as compared to February’s seasonally adjusted annual reading of 5.50 percent. Pending sales are home sales for which sales contracts are signed but have not been closed. Pending home sales are an indicator of future completed sales and can be impacted by factors including fluctuating mortgage rates and regulatory influences on mortgage lending and mortgage approval requirements.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points higher at 4.03 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was four basis points higher at 3.27 percent. Mortgage rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.12 percent which was two basis points higher than for the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and averaged 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages

New jobless claims rose to 257,000 last week as compared to expectations of 245,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 243,000. Analysts said that the spike appeared to be localized in New York State and would likely resolve soon.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic readings include ADP and Non-Farm Payrolls, national unemployment rate and readings on inflation. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Fed will issue its customary post-meeting announcement on Wednesday; this announcement is expected to reveal the Fed’s next move on interest rates. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and mortgage rates will also be released.

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

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

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.

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

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.