Facing a Scorching Hot Housing Market? 3 Reasons You’ll Want a Great Real Estate Agent

Facing a Scorching Hot Housing Market? 3 Reasons You'll Want a Great Real Estate AgentFor many homeowners who are selling in today’s real estate market, pinching every penny can be important. They may be considering opting out of using a real estate agent and going with the DIY approach. However, there are many things an agent can do for you in a hot market that is worth the money. If you’re wondering how a real estate agent can help you, here are some things to consider.

Understanding The Neighborhood

It’s possible that you know your neighborhood quite well and are aware of the selling prices of many homes in the area. However, an experienced agent will have a good grasp on the history of your neighborhood and has probably sold a house in your area before. While research is great, prior knowledge can give them a leg up in determining exactly how you can price your house for maximum success. Instead of having to guess at what will work, they will have the know-how to make a sound judgment.

Marketing Know-How

Most real estate agents have dealt with the ups and downs of the market, and this generally means that they’ve learned how to succeed even when the chips are down. When it comes to marketing, the right agent will have the contacts and the savvy to determine the best approach for selling your home. Whether it involves posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, an online website or an Open House, an agent will know how to appeal to your ideal buyer and garner you the best offer around.

Closing The Deal

With so much money involved for both the seller and the buyer, the likelihood of getting your asking price right off the bat is not high. In situations like this, it’s more than a little helpful to have a real estate agent around who understands the negotiating process and how to close the deal. Not only will they be able to advise you on what your home is worth and what it can garner, they can also advise you on when you should consider a lower offer.

It may be tempting to go it alone when it comes to selling your house, but the right agent can be instrumental in marketing your home and getting you the price you’re asking for. If you’re currently preparing to put your home up for sale, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 26, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously owned homes. Despite expectations of lower sales in both categories, sales surpassed expectations and April sales. Analysts were concerned about extremely tight inventories of available homes limiting home sales and did not expect May home sales to increase.

May Home Sales Surpass Expectations

Sales of new homes increased to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 610,000 sales as compared to expectations of 590,000 sales and an annual sales pace of 593,000 homes in April. Home builders have repeatedly cited a lack of buildable lots and skilled labor, but growth in new home sales could prompt more housing starts. Real estate industry pros insist that building more homes is the only way to ease tight inventories and high demand for homes.

Existing Home Sales, National Median Home Price Rise

Sales of previously-owned homes also increased in May according to the Commerce Department. Pre-owned homes were sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 5.62 million sales as compared to expectations of 5.51 million sales and April’s reading of 5.57 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that the current sales pace is “unsustainable” and that “would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search due to short supplies of homes for sale.” The national median home price rose 5.80 percent to $252,800 year-over-year.

Regional readings for existing home sales were mixed. Sales of existing homes were 6.88 percent higher in the Northeast while the Midwest was -5.90 percent. Existing home sales increased by 2.20 percent in the South and 3.40 percent in the West.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported slightly lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for all three mortgage types: The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.90 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.17 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent across the board.

New jobless claims reported week rose to 241,000 and exceeded expectations of 240,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 238,000 new claims. Week-to-week fluctuations can be volatile; the four-month rolling average of new jobless claims rose by 1,00 claims to 244,750 new jobless claims filed. New claims have remained below the benchmark reading of 300,000 new claims for 120 weeks, which is the longest consecutive run since the 1970s.

Analysts said that while job markets remain strong, employers continue to have difficulty in finding skilled candidates for jobs offered.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news releases include Case-Schiller Housing Market Index reports, pending home sales and inflation. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

What Costs Can You Expect When Selling Your Home? Let’s Take a Look

What Costs Can You Expect When Selling Your Home? Let's Take a LookFor many people, putting their home up for sale is an exciting time to determine what kind of financial boon they’ll reap. With real estate on the rise, there are plenty of opportunities to see financial gains. Unfortunately, even if you’re selling your home, there are still going to be costs involved before ownership is transferred. If you want to be prepared for what to expect, here are some costs to watch out for.

Real Estate Agent Fees

As with buying a home, there will be costs involved in selling your home with an agent who will take a percentage out of the total sale of your home. Fortunately, while this will cost money, utilizing a real estate agent will probably garner you more money than you would have been able to get by putting your home on the market yourself. If you do want a better deal, it may be worth talking to your agent and seeing if they’re willing to negotiate on their percentage.

Agreed-Upon Closing Costs

It’s not uncommon nowadays for homebuyers to request their closing costs be paid by the seller in order to secure a deal, but it’s worth understanding what these fees may consist of. While there may be fees for the home appraisal, property transfer, and title insurance, there may also be maintenance costs you’ll have to take on following the home inspection. As a result, it can be important to do any home touch-ups before you’ve set a date for the open house as these can lower the offers on your home.

Moving Costs

Even if you have a big truck and a lot of heavy lifters in your family, there’s a good chance that you’re still going to require a moving company to take care of many of your items. You may be able to minimize these costs by moving in pieces and leaving the heavier items for the movers, but if your home sale is closing quickly, this work might best be left to the professionals. It will be worth getting quotes from a handful of trusted local movers to see who comes recommended at a reasonable price.

It’s easy to get caught up in the concept of selling your home, but even along with selling come many costs you’ll want to be aware of. If you’re preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family Member

Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family MemberIt can be a stressful experience to put your home on the market and wait for offers in the hope that you’ve priced it right. However, for those who are considering selling to family members, the sale of a home can be fraught with just as much stress before and after sealing the deal. If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to sell to a family member, here are some things to consider beforehand.

Providing A Discount

Whether you’re selling to a sibling or a child, you may be considering offering the home at a discount to help them out. Fortunately, since the discounted value will be different than the market value of the price, this may mean a taxable gain when it comes time for them to sell the property after a few years of residing in it. On the other hand, if your financial health is not the best, selling at a lower price to a family member can create an undue financial burden for you.

An Owner-Financed Sale

If you’re trying to help your child get on their feet, the option exists for an owner-financed sale where your child will be making monthly payments to you. This provides the benefit of not having to worry about a lender and avoiding interest rates on top of the payment. While this can be a great feeling as a parent to be able to help your child, it’s important to weigh the decision carefully to determine that your child will not default on the loan and it won’t be tiresome for you to act as the lender.

Keeping It In The Family

For most people, the home they live in has sentimental value, whether they’ve lived there for a few years or it’s been in the family for generations. That’s why it can be a great comfort for many to sell to a family member who will understand the house’s history and the family traditions. If the deal is going to put a strain on relationships, though, it may not be worth the well-being of the family to keep the home among the relatives.

It can be a comfort to sell a home to a family member and secure their well-being, but there can be financial hurdles involved that can have an adverse impact on the relationship. If you’re currently considering selling to a family member, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best Option

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best OptionFrom ‘down payment’ to ‘adjustable rate’ to ‘debt-to-income’ ratio, there are so many terms involved in the mortgage process that it can be hard to learn them all and keep them straight. However, whether or not you’ve heard it, the term ‘amortization period’ might be one of the most important ones associated with your financial well-being. If you’re currently considering the period of loan you should choose, here are some things to think about before taking on a term.

What Is Amortization?

Used to refer to the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage loan, a typical amortization period is 25 years. However, there are many periods over which homebuyers can choose to pay off their mortgage. While many homeowners opt for what works best for them, it can be the case that a shorter mortgage period will actually be more financially beneficial in the long run. It may not only mean lower overall costs, it may also mean financial freedom from a loan much sooner than originally anticipated.

The ‘Principal’ Of The Matter

It’s important to have a monthly mortgage payment amount that’s sustainable, but a shorter amortization period means that you will be paying a higher amount on the principal and paying more on the actual loan amount. While a longer amortization period will add up to more interest payments and less paid on the loan cost each month, a shorter period can end up costing you less for your home when all’s said and done.

Considering Your Loan Period

It goes without saying that a shorter amortization period will pay down the principal sooner and cost less over time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best choice for you. Because your monthly payment will be taking a sizeable chunk out of your salary, it may be difficult to swing a higher payment in order to pay off your loan in 10 years. If it’s doable without compromising your quality of life, you may want to choose this option, but if there’s too much sacrifice you may want to opt for a longer loan period.

Everyone has a choice in the amortization period that works for them, but it’s important to make your decision based on what works for you and will be beneficial for your finances. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You’re Buying a Home in the Right Community

Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You're Buying a Home in the Right CommunityWhen investing in a home, one of the most important things is buying a place that you and your family can feel comfortable in. However, while a place you can envision yourself in is important, it’s not worth neglecting the neighborhood you’ll be moving into for the perfect home. If you’re wondering what you should be looking for in the neighborhood you choose, here are a few things to consider before making an offer on a home.

Is It Safe?

It may be common to feel bowled over by a home and want to invest immediately, but the right home in the wrong neighborhood may not be the best choice for many reasons. Part of feeling comfortable in your home is being safe among its streets, so ensure you research the neighborhood and its history, and check in on the crime rate. You may even want to consult with your agent or some local neighbors to see what information they can provide about the area’s history.

Are There Local Amenities?

If you’re used to getting in the car to run errands, it might not be a big deal to not have a grocery store or pharmacy nearby. However, if there are no amenities you use frequently close by, it can start to be a bit of a drain on your lifestyle. While you don’t necessarily need to have the trendiest restaurants or best shopping, it’s important to have a few choice places in case you run out of something and need to make a quick run to the store.

What’s Your Neighborhood Style?

It might seem like a strange thing to ask yourself, but the neighborhood you live in is going to become a big part of your life and that means you’ll have to see yourself in it. If you want neighbors you can trust and community-mindedness, you’ll want to seek out an area with these qualities. On the flip side, if you happen to prefer a busier urban atmosphere that offers more independence, this may be the way to go.

There are a lot of things that go into finding the right home, but it’s important not to forget about the neighborhood you’re living in and what it will mean for your lifestyle. If you’re currently looking into homes and are trying to determine an area that will work for you, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 19, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, core inflation, and the Federal Reserve’s FOMC statement. The NAHB Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits issued were also released, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Inflation fell by -0.10 percent in May, which was lower than the no-change reading expected by analysts based on April’s reading of +0.20 percent. The core inflation reading for May, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, grew by 0.10 percent. Analysts had estimated a gain of 0.20 percent based on April’s reading of 0.10 percent growth.

Builder Confidence Slips, Housing Starts and Building Permits Lower

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index was two points lower in June with an index reading of 67. Each of the three component readings for the HMI was also two points lower than May’s readings. While any reading over 50 is considered positive, builders cited ongoing concerns with shortages of lots and labor challenges to builder confidence and new home construction.

Housing starts and building permits issued were lower in May. 1.09 million starts were reported on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 1.23 million starts and April’s reading of 1.16 million starts. Builders started fewer multi-family housing developments and concentrated on single-family homes. Housing starts fell year-over year and were lower for the third consecutive month.  Fewer building permits were issued in May according to the Commerce Department. Building permits were 4.90 percent lower than in April and hit a 13-month low.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Fed Raises Target Federal Funds Rate

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.91 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage increased by two basis points to 3.18 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.15 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types and were unchanged from the prior week.

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee raised the target federal funds rate to 1.00-1.25 percent as expected. Consumer loan and mortgage rates typically rise along with the federal funds rate. Last week’s dip in the inflation rate could cause rates to fall in coming weeks.

New jobless claims fell to 237,000 last week as compared to an expected reading of 244,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 245,000 new jobless claims. Strong readings in the labor sector suggest that job markets are healthy, but can also be influenced by workers leaving the workforce. Unemployment claims require workers to be actively seeking employment.

Consumer sentiment fell to an index reading of 94.50 in June as compared to an expected reading of 97.30 and May’s index reading of 97.10. The University cited consumer uncertainty related to recent political events as the cause of waning consumer confidence.

NAHB Housing Market Index Slips Two Points in June

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June fell by two points to 67 after a revision of May’s reading. Components of the Housing Market Index were lower for June with builder confidence in current market conditions two points lower at 73; June’s reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months also fell two points to 76. Builder confidence in buyer traffic fell two points to 49. According to the Index, any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident than those who are not.

Labor and Lot Shortages Continue to Stifle SingleFamily Home Building

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said that builder confidence remains high despite ongoing shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor. Meanwhile, NAHB reported lower readings for its regional 3-month rolling average of home builder confidence. The Northeast region was two points lower at 46; Builder confidence in the Midwest was one point lower at 67 and the Southern region was also one point lower with a 3-month reading of 70. The West had the highest builder confidence with a three-month average reading of 70.

Mortgage and consumer credit interest rates are likely to move higher after the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its target federal funds rate by 0.25 percent on Wednesday. This was the third uptick for the Fed rate this year. As interest rates and other consumer costs increase, would-be buyers of new homes may be sidelined. Future builder confidence readings could be influenced by a variety of economic factors including employment, interest rates and consumer confidence.

Housing Starts Expected to Lag Behind PreBubble Level

While housing starts are expected to increase to approximately 1.23 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis, they are significantly lower than the near 2-million housing starts reported prior to when the housing bubble burst. Analysts noted that the overall economic recovery remains steady with some glitches expected along the way. Closing the gap between builder confidence and housing starts is seen as the solution for easing high demand for homes and unusually low inventories of homes on the market.

Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your Home

Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your HomeThe season of spring may be a time for blooming flowers and warmer weather, but it’s also synonymous with the idea of spring-cleaning. Whether you clean out your house every year or you haven’t seen the back of your closets in years, here are a few springtime projects that will instantly change your home – and clean up your life!

Clearing Up The Garage

There are few things that manage to attract excess stuff like the garage, and left over junk can be an even bigger problem in a 2-car space. Fortunately, spring can be a good time to get rid of the excess and really improve the look of your home from one of its main access points. By making a ‘throw away’, ‘give away’ and ‘keep’ pile, you’ll be able to whittle down the amount of stuff in your garage and find a new place for it when you’re done tidying up. It may be a bit of work, but it will be worth the effort.

Re-Envision The Living Room

For most families, the living room is the place where they spend a lot of time, and that can mean that it easily gets covered in a lot of paper and the furniture’s a little worse for wear. Take a weekend day to clear away the excess, vacuum the floors and wash the walls, and even change the layout for an instantly updated look. If you’re really invested in a renovation, you may even want to re-upholster a couch or armchair that’s seen better days.

Tackle The Yard

The yard may not be a room in your home, but it is one of the first things that will make an impression on visitors and passerby’s so it’s important to keep it looking good. It’s a good start if your yard is already clutter free, but spring is a good time to clear away the flower boxes and pluck the weeds, as well as cutting back any overgrown hedges. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you may even want to clean out your shed or renovate your patio for an improved exterior look.

Spring-cleaning may be a dreaded term, but it can be a good opportunity to clear away some of the stuff you haven’t used and instantly improve your home’s appearance. If you’re de-cluttering your home and are preparing to sell, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Trying to Secure a Mortgage Loan

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You're Trying to Secure a Mortgage LoanThe mortgage application process can be fraught with a lot of stress on its own, but if you’ve experienced issues with your credit in the past it can be even more taxing. While there may be a lot of things you may not be aware of when it comes to their impact on your credit, here are some things to watch out for if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the short-term future.

Applying For Extra Credit

Whether you’ve just been offered a great new deal by a department store or you’re not even thinking about it, new credit cards can pop up with deals that are quite enticing in the moment. Unfortunately, applying for new credit can actually signal to lenders that you’ve run out of credit on your other cards. Not only that, it will also have an adverse impact on your credit score each time you apply for new credit. If you’re considering a mortgage in the near future, it’s a good idea to hold off on any additions to your wallet.

Not Paying Your Bills

It may seem straightforward enough that not paying your bills is going to land you in hot water with your credit score, but many people think paying the minimum at any time will do. The truth is that if you want to keep your credit in line and improve your odds, it’s important to pay your minimum before the due date and always pay your bills. The only thing deferring payments will do is add marks against your credit, and this will be damaging come application time.

Don’t Avoid Your Credit Report

Many people who have a poor credit history are aware of the situation, but they’re also unwilling to address it. While it may be difficult to approach your credit report if you’ve had some hiccups in the past, it’s important to know what point you’re working forward from so you can move beyond it. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of your credit report and review the numbers. Not only will this enable you to address any errors, it means you’ll be facing your issues head on.

There are a number of factors that can adversely affect your mortgage application, but by avoiding new credit and paying your bills on time you can have a positive impact on the result. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.