Are you thinking about buying a new house or condo? If so, you’ve likely given some thought to your mortgage and as to how you can pay as little as possible in order to own your new home.
Below we’ll share four easy steps that you can take to ensure you start out with an affordable monthly mortgage payment.
Make A Large Down Payment On Your Home
The easiest way to reduce your monthly payment is to invest as much as possible in your down payment. The less you have to borrow, the less you’ll be required to pay back.
If you can put a sizeable amount down on your home you’ll find that your monthly payments are going to be very manageable. You’ll also save a lot of money in interest.
Maintain A High Credit Score
When a lender assesses your financial history they’ll take an in-depth look at your credit score in order to determine how much risk you present to them. If you’ve kept a clean credit rating and have a high score, it’s likely that you will qualify for a lower interest rate than someone with a lower credit score – even if you both have the same monthly income.
Buy A Smaller, More Efficient Home
When you’ve made your short list of homes and you’re scheduling your viewings, ask yourself – do you need a home this big, or this expensive? If you can do with a smaller, more efficient home you can reduce the amount of mortgage financing that you require and this will in turn reduce the amount that you need to pay each month.
Consider A Longer Mortgage Term
Finally, if you need to reduce your monthly payment at any cost you can stretch out your mortgage repayment period by a few years. Note that while this can reduce your payment amount it will actually increase the total amount that you end up paying back as you’ll pay more in interest.
While the above are general tips for reducing your mortgage payment, it’s likely that there are other strategies that are unique to your financial situation. Contact your local mortgage professional at your convenience and they’ll be able to share insights that are relevant to your income, your credit and the price range you’re looking to buy into.
According to the S&P Case-Shiller 20 City Home Price Index, Home prices rose by 0.20 percent in August. Three of the 20 cities tracked saw home prices drop, while Detroit, Michigan posted the highest price growth. The seasonally adjusted growth rate for cities tracked declined by 0.10 percent as compared to a decline of 0.10 percent in July.
Detroit led monthly home price growth with a gain of 0.80 percent. Dallas, Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada posted gains of 9.50 percent as compared to July. Cities posting declines in home price growth included San Francisco at -0.40 percent, Charlotte, North Carolina and San Diego, California at -0.10 percent.
Home prices increased by a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year rate of 5.60 percent in August, which was the lowest reading since November 2012. Year-over-year home prices grew by 6.70 percent in July. August home prices were 16 percent lower than their 2006 peak.
The Case-Shiller National Home Price Index posted a year-over-growth rate of 5.10 percent. This index covers all nine U.S. census regions.
Analysts note that slower growth in home prices will likely attract more buyers, but is a sign of overall decline in demand for homes. August home prices were 16 percent lower than their 2006 peak. As the jobs market continues to improve and if mortgage rates remain low, more buyers are expected to enter the housing market.
FOMC Statement: QE Ends, Labor Market Forecast Brighter
In its customary post-meeting statement, The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve announced that it voted to reduce asset purchases under its current quantitative easing (QE) program to zero. The committee’s decision concluded 37 consecutive monthly purchases of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
FOMC cited “substantial improvement” in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of QE purchases, and also noted “sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy” as the basis for the committee’s decision. The demise of QE was no surprise as FOMC has consistently tapered asset purchases each month along with its advisory that it planned to end asset purchases under the current QE program this year.
The FOMC characterized the pace of economic improvement as “moderate,” but also said that “labor market conditions improved somewhat further with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate.” Along with the stronger outlook for jobs, the Fed noted that “underutilization of labor resources is gradually diminishing.”
The committee held to its position that it would not increase the target federal funds rate for a “considerable time” after the quantitative easing program ended. Analysts following the Fed estimate that no changes to the federal funds rate will be made until June 2015 or later.
Are you selling your house or condo? Once you place your home up for sale you’ll start to receive interest from prospective buyers, many of whom you’ll meet in person and invite in to take a look around. In order to ensure your sale goes smoothly you’ll want to avoid making any slip-ups that can spook the buyer and cause them to drop their interest in your listing.
Let’s take a quick look at three ways that you can scare buyers off and how to avoid finding yourself in these circumstances.
Pricing Your Home Too High
One of the biggest mistakes made by home sellers is setting the initial listing price too high. If your price is significantly higher than those of similar homes in the local area, you’ll find that buyers will be hesitant to make an offer as they are worried about a lengthy negotiation process.
Instead, aim to have your home priced fairly from day one and you’ll find that you receive far more interest.
Being Pushy Or Overbearing During The Sale
Selling a home will require a lot of personal interaction between you and the home buyer, and it’s important to make them feel welcome and to build a rapport with them. The last thing you’ll want to do is to come off as pushy or overbearing, which can sour your negotiations and cause the buyer to decide they may want to work with someone a little more friendly.
Neglecting Important Maintenance Or Renovations
Finally, if you’ve neglected any sort of major home maintenance or if your home has significant damage in an area you may end up scaring the buyer off if these issues are uncovered during a home inspection. As part of the final due diligence process, your buyer will have the home inspected at least once from top to bottom looking for any possible issues that they may inherit after buying the home.
If the inspection was to uncover a structural problem like a crack in the foundation, at best you can expect that the buyer will expect a significant discount on the home and at worst they’ll walk away from the deal.
If you’re serious about selling your home, one of the best ways to ensure that your relations with buyers go well is to have a professional real estate agent represent you during the selling process. When you’re ready to sell your home, contact your local real estate agent to arrange consultation where they can explain how home selling works and what you can expect.
Last week’s economic news included a few developments connected with housing and mortgage industries. While no economic reports were released on Monday, the rest of the week provided good news for existing home sales, home prices and mortgage rates.
The National Association of REALTORS® reported that existing home sales in September exceeded expectations and the prior month’s reading with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million sales.
Three of four U.S. regions posted higher sales of previously owned homes with only the Midwest region reporting a decline in existing home sales. Analysts said that consistent job growth and improved access to mortgage loans are two keys to improving U.S. housing markets.
FHFA, the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported that home prices for properties associated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages rose by 0.50 percent in August.
In a separate development, FHFA Director Mel Watt said that the agency is reviewing policies that could lessen lender concerns over requests to repurchase Fannie and Freddie loans due to early defaults or other deficiencies. This was seen as a possible solution to current strict mortgage approval requirements that are limiting access to home loans by first-time and moderate income buyers.
Mortgage Rates Fall, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise
After falling below four percent the prior week, last week’s mortgage rates continued to decrease. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by five basis points to 3.92 percent; 15-year fixed rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.08 percent, a decrease of 10 basis points. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was one basis point below the prior week’s reading at 2.91 percent.
Average discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent. Lower mortgage rates help with making home loans more affordable, but analysts again noted the importance of improved access to mortgage loans for would-be home buyers.
Weekly jobless claims were higher at 283,000 new claims filed as compared to projections of 285,000 and the prior week’s reading of 266,000 new claims filed. While higher than in recent weeks, new jobless claims have remained below 300,000 for six weeks. The Labor department reported that new claims over the past month fell by 3000 to 281,000 new claims. This reading was the lowest since May 2000. Due to week-to-week volatility, financial analysts and economists view the month-to-month readings as a more consistent data source.
New Home Sales Hit Six-Year High in September
Sales of new homes in September ended the week on an upbeat note and exceeded expectations; they reached a six-year high in spite of downward adjustments to sales figures reported earlier. September’s reading was 467,000 new homes sold on an annual basis as compared to expectations of 455,000 new homes sold and August’s reading of 466,000 new homes sold.
Next week’s scheduled economic news includes pending home sales, the Case-Schiller home price index reports, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) post-meeting statement and reports on consumer sentiment and consumer confidence. The Freddie Mac PMMS and Weekly Jobless Claims reports will be released as usual on Thursday.
After months of reports of slowing home price momentum and forecasts of a lagging housing market, we are pleased to report an increased volume of existing home sales as reported by the National Association of REALTORS®.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported rising prices for homes connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Here are the details.
Pedal to the Metal: Existing Home Sales Achieve Fastest Rate in a Year
September sales of previously owned homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million sales against expectations of 5.10 million sales and August’s reading of 5.05 million sales.
The National Association of REALTORS® reported that the national reading for sales of previously owned homes rose by 2.40 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million sales.
Analysts had expected September’s reading for existing home sales to reach 5.10 million based on August’s reading of 5.05 million existing homes sold.
Three of four regions posted month-to-month gains in existing home sales for September; only the Midwest showed a decline. Overall, September’s sales pace for existing homes was 1.70 percent lower year-over-year.
Steady home prices and lower mortgage rates contributed to a higher pace of existing home sales, but obstacles remain. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® said that September’s reading for existing home sales reflected ongoing economic uncertainty; he said that labor markets will need to strengthen in order to maintain the pace of existing home sales.
Mr. Yun also said that restoration of more “normal” lending standards would allow more first-time and moderate income buyers to qualify for mortgage loans and could potentially increase home sales by 10 percent.
FHFA: Home Prices Rise, Mortgage Credit Standards May Ease
FHFA reported that home prices of properties connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages rose by 0.5 percent in August as compared to a month-to-month revised increase of 0.20 percent in July. August’s reading represents a year-over-year increase of 4.80 percent as compared to July’s year-over-year increase of 4.60 percent.
In related news, FHFA Director Mel Watt hinted at some welcome news during a meeting on October 21 in Las Vegas.
Strict mortgage requirements are frequently cited as a cause of lukewarm home sales, but there is some hope that mortgage credit requirements may return to pre-housing bubble standards. Mr. Watt said that the agency is working on relaxing certain rules affecting how and when mortgage lenders are required to repurchase loans that they’ve sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
These changes are designed to clarify FHFA regulations and to narrow the criteria for when repurchasing loans is required. Lenders have been using strict mortgage approval standards as a protection against Fannie and Freddie requests to repurchase loans categorized as “early defaults.”
Have you decided to sell your home, perhaps to make an upgrade to a newer, larger house? Whatever your reasons for selling, you’ll have a number of decisions to make as you craft your listing and begin receiving offers from buyers but few are as important as your initial selling price.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why setting your listing price is the most important factor in your home sale.
Reason #1: You Can Scare Off Potential Buyers With A High Price
You’ll receive the majority of your buyer interest in the first few days and weeks after you place your home up for sale, so it’s critical that your price isn’t set so high that it scares a number of buyers off.
While some sellers believe that it’s better to price high and let buyers submit lower offers, this can actually work against you. It’s better to have your home priced fairly from the beginning as you can always refuse offers that you deem are too low.
Reason #2: Your Price Directly Impacts How Long Your Sale Will Take
If you’re interested in seeing your home sell quickly it’s going to be in your best interest to have it priced competitively. Buyers will be shopping around for similar homes in your community and if there are other listings with lower prices on the market you may find it takes you a while to get your home sold.
Also, if you do find a buyer that is interested they’ll likely try to enter into price negotiations with you which can extend the length of the sale by a week or more as you go back and forth to reach an agreement.
Reason #3: A Low Price Means Leaving Money On The Table
While pricing too high can cause issues with your sale, pricing your home too low isn’t going to benefit you either. While you’ll likely find that you receive a high number of offers very quickly, you’ll end up leaving some of your home equity on the table – equity that you could easily have realized as buyers would have been willing to pay the difference.
Remember – the best way to ensure your home is priced competitively is to have it valued by a real estate professional. Contact your local real estate agent when you’re ready to sell your home and they’ll be able to determine the true value of your home.
Last week’s economic highlights included the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index for October. The Commerce Department also released Housing Starts for September. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped below four percent. The Fed released its Beige Book report, and Weekly jobless claims came in lower than expected. Here are the details:
Homebuilder Confidence Slips in Spite of Lower Mortgage Rates
U.S. Homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions slipped by 5 points to October’s reading of 54 as compared to September’s reading; this was also lower than the expected reading of 59. Builders are concerned over strict mortgage credit rules, but the NAHB’s chief economist noted that pent-up demand, lower mortgage rates and improved labor markets are expected to drive builder confidence in the near term. Readings of 50 and above indicate that more builders are confident about market conditions than not.
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates across the board with the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.97 percent, a drop of 15 basis points from the prior reading. 15-year fixed rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.18 percent from the prior week’s reading of 3.30 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell by 13 basis points to 2.92 percent. Average discount points remained at 0.50 for all mortgage types.
If 30-year fixed rate mortgages can stay below the four percent mark, this could mean additional incentive for fence-sitters to become active home buyers.
Surprise: New Jobless Claims Hit 14-Year Low
Concerns over job markets and employment stability have consistently been of concern to home buyers in the aftermath of the recession. Last week’s jobless claims report brought encouraging news as it came in at 264,000 new jobless claims filed against predictions of 289,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 287,000 new jobless claims filed. This was the lowest number of new jobless claims filed in more than 14 years. Analysts said that lower numbers of weekly jobless claims indicate fewer layoffs, which should help boost prospective home buyers’ confidence in job stability.
Fed: Economy Growing at “Modest to Moderate Pace”
The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book report on Wednesday. This report contains anecdotes from business sources within the 12 Federal Reserve districts. The report said that the economy continues to grow at a modest to moderate pace and noted that potential concerns over the stronger U.S. dollar causing increases in export costs did not concern the Fed’s business sources.
Housing Starts, Consumer Confidence Up
September’s housing starts were above both expectations and August’s reading. 1.02 million starts were reported with the majority being multi-family homes. The expected reading was 1.015 million housing starts; this was based on August’s reading of 956,000 starts. This news is consistent with the drop in builder confidence for sales of new single-family homes.
The University of Michigan/Thompson-Reuters Consumer Sentiment Index for October rose to 86.4 against an expected reading of 83.5 and September’s reading of 84.6. This was the highest consumer sentiment reading in seven years. Analysts rained on the consumer sentiment parade by noting that recent jitters over Wall Street and concerns about Ebola outbreaks could cause the Consumer Sentiment Index to lose ground.
Next week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of REALTORS® Existing Home Sales report, FHFA’s Home Price Index and New Home Sales. Leading Economic Indicators will also be released.