The economy and the real estate market are finally on the upswing after the ‘Great Recession’. However, in many locations, the housing market is still slow.
Homeowners who want their houses to sell need to do some homework before putting up that For Sale sign. Here are several tips to help your house sell sooner rather than later.
The Price Is Right
A house priced too high will languish on the market. Before listing your home for sale, make sure the price is appropriate.
Look at the prices of recently sold homes in your neighborhood. Focus on houses of similar size and condition to yours to find the best comparable sales prices.
Also, it may be worth having your home appraised to ensure that the list price is close to the actual market value.
Lean, Mean, Cleaning Machine
Prospective buyers want to see a pristine house. Make your home look perfect, inside and out, before you list it. Stop putting off all those repairs. Replace the cracked window, and fix that leaky faucet!
Curb appeal is a huge selling point. Your yard should be neatly trimmed and completely clean. It’s time to put away the garden gnome. Consider hiring a professional landscaper to make your house stand out from the crowd.
The inside of your house should be spotless. Research home staging or hire a professional stager to prepare your home for listing. At the very least, de-clutter your house and remove all personal items. Prospective buyers want to imagine a house as their home, not yours.
Strike A Pose
Photographs accompanying a MLS listing are typically a buyer’s first introduction to a house. Buyers often dismiss a house based on photographs alone, so make sure that yours are the best quality possible. Hire a professional photographer. Make sure your house is clean and well-staged. More photos are always better than less.
A good real estate agent is key to selling your house quickly. Find an agent experienced in selling homes in your community and who has a well-organized marketing plan. A good agent will not only give you the above tips, but will also customize them to the demands of your neighborhood.
Pick up the phone today and chat with a real estate agent for more information while weeding the flower bed or de-cluttering the den. Soon enough, you’ll be loading boxes onto a moving van as you journey onto your next adventure.
When you are looking for a new property, you might find yourself booked into looking at 5-6 properties in one day. In these situations, it can be difficult to remember all of the features that each property had.
You will be left wondering which one had the balcony with the great view, or the extra-large closet space in the bedroom.
If you want to be able to look back on the homes you visited and remember their features more easily, it can be very helpful to bring a camera with you to the showing and to take photos of the property.
It can also be helpful when only one partner is able to attend the viewing, so that way they can show the other partner the details of the house. However, could this be considered an invasion of privacy and offensive to the home owners?
Public Or Private Space?
Some homeowners have absolutely no problem with you taking photos of the house when you view it so that you can reference those photos later. However, other home owners really don’t like it when buyers take photos inside the home – because they consider this an invasion of their private space.
If you just bring out your camera and start snapping away, you might make them very uncomfortable.
It Never Hurts To Ask
When you go to a house showing, it is always a good idea to ask whether or not the owner would mind if you take a photo. If they say no, you shouldn’t push them too much or you might make a bad impression – which will decrease your chances of your offer being chosen.
Instead, you can simply make notes on the features of the house so that you can remember later.
Remember, when you are viewing a property it helps to take photos – but make sure that you ask first! If you have any other questions about buying a home, or are looking for real estate advice, contact your trusted real estate professional today.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve probably been thinking a lot about your credit score as well. Credit scores control so much of what we do in the world of finances, but what does your credit score really have to do with your mortgage? Here are three ways that your credit score could impact your mortgage application.
Your Credit Score Affects Your Ability To Get A Mortgage
The first thing your credit score tells a lender is whether they should lend to you at all. In some cases, if you have a very low credit score, you may not be able to obtain a mortgage at all.
Different lenders will have different criteria for determining safe and unsafe lending situations. Typically, if you have a score below the 600 mark, you’ll have trouble obtaining a mortgage.
If you’re worried about a low credit score, don’t despair – you can still get a mortgage, you just might have to work a little harder to get one. Some lenders will still lend to people with lower credit scores (just make sure you’re approaching legitimate lenders and not mortgage scam artists). Or, if time is on your side, you can work toward building up your credit score so that when it comes time to take out a mortgage, your score will be more appealing to lenders.
Your Credit Score Affects What Types Of Mortgages You Can Obtain
The second thing a lender learns from your credit score is which types of mortgages you qualify for. If a lender sees you as a higher risk, they won’t necessarily be willing to offer you just any old mortgage.
In most cases, if you have a credit score of less than 620, you won’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. In addition, if you have a lower credit score, you may have to make a larger down payment in order to qualify for the type of mortgage you want.
Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate
The final thing that a lender learns from your credit score is what type of interest rate they’re willing to offer you. As a general rule, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate.
However, just because you have a high credit score, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get a great mortgage rate. There’s more that goes into the price of a mortgage than just the interest rate, so watch out for additional factors like extra fees, mortgage insurance, lock-in periods, and so on.
Your credit score tells a lender a lot about what type of borrower you are. Ultimately, a higher credit score means that you’ll be able to borrow money at a lower interest rate. But if your score is low, don’t worry – there’s a lot you can do to bring up that score before you apply for a mortgage, so don’t throw in the towel just yet!
Last week’s economic news brought several housing-related reports, which indicated varying results in terms of gauging the economic recovery. FHFA reported slower growth of home prices associated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, but sales of existing homes as reported by the National Association of REALTORS® surpassed expectations and May’s reading. Sales of new homes slumped to their lowest level in three months. Weekly jobless claims were lower than expected and also lower than for the prior week.
FHFA Home Prices Grow at Slower Rate, Existing Home Sales Higher than Expected
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that the average sale price of homes associated with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac grew by.40 percent in May with year-over year growth of 5.90 percent. While national home price readings continue to rise, they are doing so at a slower pace since 2013′s rapid appreciation of average home prices.
Sales of previously owned homes reached their highest level in eight months in June. Existing home sales surpassed expectations and May’s reading in June, with sales of pre-owned homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million units. Analysts forecasted sales of existing homes at 5.00 million against May’s reading of 4.91 million existing homes sold.
New Home Sales Fall Short in June
New home sales did not achieve the expected volume for June. The reading of 406,000 new homes sold was less than the expected reading of 475,000 new homes sold. Projections were based on the original May reading of 504,000 new homes sold, but this was downwardly revised to 442,000 new homes sold in May. Builders were said to be cautious about over-extending themselves are focused on new home construction in high-demand areas where home prices are higher. Homes are less affordable in such areas, which impacts lower sales volume.
Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Steady for 30-year FRM
The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 4.13 percent with average discount points also unchanged at 0.60 percent according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose by three basis points to 3.26 percent with discount points higher at 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 2.99 percent with discount points ten basis points higher at 0.50 percent.
Weekly Jobless Claims Lowest since 2006
A major consideration for home buyers is stable employment. Recent reports suggest that the labor market is expanding; the Weekly Jobless Claims report continued this trend with a lower than expected reading of 284,000 new jobless claims filed against expectations of 310,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 303,000 new jobless claims. Analysts found the declining number of new jobless claims consistent with lower unemployment rates, but cautioned that sustained weekly jobless claims readings lower than 300,000 are more consistent with a national unemployment rate of 5.00 percent or less.
This week’s scheduled economic news will add further insight to housing market trends with the release of Pending Home Sales for June and the Case-Shiller Home Price Index report for May. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will also release July’s Non-Farm Payrolls report and National Unemployment report. The Federal Reserve is set to release its customary statement in the aftermath of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that concludes on Wednesday.
If you are nearing retirement, a reverse mortgage might be right for you. This type of mortgage essentially allows you to turn your home equity into cash. If you find yourself with little money, a reverse mortgage could be the perfect solution, and here’s why.
No Worries About Monthly Payments
After taking on a mortgage, there are many costs that you have to worry about. One of these problems is mortgage insurance premiums. Add interest and fees from lender service providers to the mix, and you’ve got yourself many costs.
All of these fees can create tremendous headaches, as a large chunk of the loan amount goes into covering these costs.
When you undertake a reverse mortgage, you don’t have to worry about any of that. The loan is paid back with home equity, not ongoing cash flow, so monthly payments aren’t a worry.
Your Income Won’t Affect Your Eligibility, And The Income You’ll Get Won’t Create Problems
If the reason you’re hoping to get a reverse mortgage is your low income, the last thing you want is that income to be the deciding factor. With this type of loan, it’s not an issue. That’s because the thing that determines eligibility is your house’s value.
In fact, the income you’ll be getting from this loan is not taxable, which means you’ll be able to keep it in full. Plus, any benefits you get from Medicare will not be affected, and neither will your Social Security.
As such, what you’ll be getting is a loan that doesn’t take into account your current income. Rather, it adds on to it, without creating any issues for you. Plus, you’ll be able to get the money in several different ways, which means you’re in control.
Lastly, the money you get is fully yours. That means that you can use it for anything you want, whether that means you’ll be paying off other loans, or simply funding your day-to-day needs.
You Won’t Be Taken Away From Your Home
Your house is yours because it feels that way. It’s the place in which you’ve invested money and effort. It’s also the place where many loved memories were created, and where they’ll keep on being created.
One of the hardest things for the elderly is being removed from their loved homes and placed into care. They have to leave the place they’ve grown to love. Worse than that, they’re thrown into a world they don’t know.
With a reverse mortgage, this doesn’t need to happen. With this type of loan, you get additional income, and you get to stay in your own house.
Not only that, but you’re also keeping the title to that place until you move, pass away, or reach the end of the loan’s term. Your home will stay yours, both effectively and in the documents.
There are many more reasons why a reverse mortgage is a great idea. However, the fact that you’re in complete control of the income you’ll be getting is one of the most important things.
If you’d like to learn more about reverse mortgages, be sure to contact your mortgage professional.
If you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you probably know that there are a lot of advantages to this lifestyle – the freedom, the exciting challenges, the opportunities and the ability to make a living doing what you love.
However, you also know that being a small business owner can make some things more challenging – such as apply for a mortgage for your home.
Many small business owners find it tough to get approved for a mortgage, because their income can be erratic and the banks want to see proof of consistent earnings over a significant period of time.
However, it is possible to qualify for a loan as a small business owner. Here are some important things that you need to know about the process:
Ask Your Mortgage Lender What They Look For
If you ask your mortgage lender, they will probably offer you a checklist for putting together all the information needed in your mortgage package. It should have instructions on what specific documents you need to include if you are self-employed.
Filling Out The Right Forms
When applying for the loan, you will need to fill out IRS Form 4506-T, which is a Request for Transcript of Tax Return. This is basically a form that will allow the lender to look at your tax returns from the IRS, which shows proof of your earnings.
You are not able to show lenders copies of your tax returns – they must get them directly from the IRS themselves.
Submitting A Profit And Loss Statement
It can also help to ask your accountant to prepare a Profit and Loss Statement, which highlights the amount of money that you have brought in – compared to the expenses of setting up your business.
If you present several of these on a quarterly basis, it will prove to the bank that your business is growing and is profitable enough to cover your mortgage.
The important thing to remember is not to give up on the idea of owning a home just because you are a small business owner. Ask your accountant for help and take the time to submit the right proof of earnings, so that you get the mortgage for your dream home.
For more real estate advice, call or email your trusted real estate professional.
Last week’s economic news offered a variety of indications that the economic recovery continues, but some readings missed their expected levels. The Philadelphia and New York branches of the Federal Reserve Bank reported higher than anticipated manufacturing for their respective regions and new jobless claims were lower than expected.
Fed Chair’s Senate Testimony Hints at Coming Interest Rate Hike
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified that the Fed might have to raise interest rates sooner than expected if the economy continues to outperform the Fed’s projections. Ms. Yellen said that the central bank presently estimates that the first rate increases will take place approximately one year from now.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Fed has repeatedly stated that members will continue to review data and economic conditions changing monetary policy. Ms. Yellen said in last week’s remarks that this holds true whether economic conditions improve or decline.
In other Fed-related news, the Philadelphia Fed released its manufacturing index for July with higher than expected results. The Philly Fed’s reading for July was 23.90 as compared to expectations of 16.50 and June’s reading of 17.80.
The New York Fed reported a similar trend for July with a reading of 25.60 as compared to an estimated reading of 17.50 and June’s reading of 19.30. This is good news after the Northeast’s economy was slammed by severe weather last winter. Weather conditions stalled area housing and labor markets.
Weekly jobless claims were lower at 303,000 than expectations of 310,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 305,000 new jobless claims.
Home Builders Post Positive Confidence Reading for July
The National Association of Home Builders posted its highest builder confidence reading in six months for July with a reading of 53 against the expected reading of 50 and June’s reading of 49. Numbers above 50 indicate that more builders surveyed have a positive outlook than not.
Housing Starts for June were reported lower than expected at an annual level of 893,000 against an expected reading of 1.02 million and May’s reading of 985,000 housing starts.
Mortgage Rates Lower
According to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, average mortgage rates were slightly lower last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 4.13 percent. Discount points were 0.60 as compared to the prior week’s reading of 0.70 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.23 percent as compared to the previous reading of 3.24 percent.
Discount points for a 15-year mortgage averaged 0.50 percent against the prior week’s reading of 0.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by two basis points to 2.87 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.40 percent.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for July fell just short of expectations at 81.3. Analysts expected a reading of 83.0, based on June’s reading of 82.50. Analysts said that although labor markets are improving, consumers continue to face rising costs for gasoline and food, which likely explained the dip in confidence for July.
This week’s economic news releases include Existing Home sales from the National Association of REALTORS®, New Home Sales from the Department of Commerce and the FHFA House Price Index. The Chicago Fed is set to release its National Activity Index. Freddie Mac mortgage rates and New Jobless Claims will be released Thursday as usual.
When purchasing a home, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account. One of those considerations is the foundation of the home. No matter how perfect or suitable a property looks, taking the time to properly inspect the property for foundation problems can save homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs later on.
While foundation cracks are usually present in older homes, that does not mean that newer and even brand new homes aren’t prone to them. When choosing a property, the following tips can help homebuyers find signs of foundation problems and take the right action if any are found.
One of the easiest ways to check for a damaged foundation is to check the concrete of the home. When the foundation is strong and safe, the concrete is not brittle and breakable. To test this, when trying to poke the foundation with a screwdriver, the foundation should be rock solid. If it isn’t, then there may be a foundation issue.
Posts Should Be Sturdy
If the house has a basement, then the posts that hold up the basement and crawl space should stand firmly in place. The bottom of the post should be unmovable and the post should stand straight and tall. If the posts do not do so, then there is a problem with the foundation.
The next component of the house that should be inspected is the floors. All of the floors within the house must be solid, straight, and not slanted. If the floor is slanted or separates from the wall in any place, then the foundation is unable to support the home properly and there is a serious issue.
The walls are also a way to examine for foundation issues. Take a tour around the outside of the home and inspect for any cracks to the exterior. Each wall on the outside of the home should be smooth, solid, and free of any cracks. However, if there is a crack, this may mean that the foundation has shifted and the home is uneven.
Windows and Doors
Next, inspect every window and door on the property. Each should be attached to the surrounding wall and they must also open and close without any difficulty. If there is a difficulty in opening and closing windows and doors, there may be a foundation problem like shifting or uneven ground that is unable to support the property.
Moist Ground Around the Property
Lastly, another sign that there is a foundation problem is if the ground around the property is moist. A strong foundation will usually be set upon ground that is completely solid. When the ground is moist, the dirt particles are porous and unable to bind together, leading to shifting, cracks, and major damage to the home.
Choosing the right home is not a difficult process and making the right assessments of the property can save thousands of dollars in future repairs. To help with assessments, foundation repairs, and to get the right information about how to deal with a cracked foundation in a potential property, then contacting a trusted and professional real estate agent is the best solution when purchasing a property.