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April 20, 2017

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How Young Is ‘Too Young’ to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and Downs

How Young Is 'Too Young' to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and DownsMany millennials are expected to enter the housing market in the next year with the interest rates still low. However, while it may be a good time, it does not necessarily mean that it’s the right time for you to make the investment. If you’re currently weighing your options when it comes to home ownership, here are some things to consider before you decide put the money down.

Are You Struggling With Student Debt

It’s possible to invest in a home when you’re still paying down student debt, but if you’re also struggling with a low-paying job and a high debt load, it may not be the right time to buy. Instead of trying to make ends meet to pay a monthly mortgage payment, it might be a better decision to pay off some of your debt, lower your interest costs and consider investing later on. This will also enable you to afford more home when you decide the time is right to buy.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

It can be a good testament to your financial ability if you want to purchase a home at a young age, but having a down payment is one of the most important things to have on hand when it comes to investing. If you’ve come up with 20% of the purchase price, this will allow you to avoid mortgage loan insurance. If you don’t have this amount, however, or much of anything saved up, you may want to create a budget in order to save up for your down payment.

Are Your Ready To Commit?

Many people romanticize the idea of buying a home since it’s something that really belongs to them, but it’s important to be prepared for the monthly mortgage payments, home maintenance and all the other fees and responsibilities associated with home ownership. It’s great if you want to invest, but if you want to travel or explore different job opportunities or even continue your education, an investment commitment may not be the best choice.

It can be a great financial benefit for your future to invest in a home at a young age, but it’s important to ensure you’re ready for the commitment by having your debt paid down and having money saved. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

April 19, 2017

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NAHB: Builder Sentiment Dips in April

According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for April, Builder Confidence dropped three points to an index reading of 68 in April. While any reading over 50 indicates positive builder confidence, home builders said that they continue to face obstacles including higher costs for materials and elevated costs associated with regulatory issues. Builders have repeatedly cited concerns including a lack of buildable lots and labor shortages in past months.

Home Builder Component Readings Fall But Remain in Positive Territory

Component readings of the Housing Market Index include builder confidence in current market conditions for newly built homes, which dropped three points to 73. Builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months fell three points to 75. Home builder confidence in buyer traffic volume for new housing developments dropped one point to an April reading of 52.

Regional Readings for Builder Sentiment Vary

Regional readings for April were included in the three-month rolling average in four U.S. regions. Builder confidence in the Northeastern region fell by two points to 46; The Midwestern region added one point for a builder confidence reading of 68, while the Southern region’s reading was unchanged at 68. The Western region added one point for a three-month reading of 77.

Housing industry groups and analysts watch the NAHB Housing Market Index for indications of future volume in housing starts, but builder confidence and housing starts are not always closely connected. The Commerce Department will release readings for March housing starts and building permits issued on Tuesday.

April 18, 2017

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Going Tankless: The Pros and Cons of Installing an Energy-efficient Tankless Water Heater

Going Tankless: The Pros and Cons of Installing an Energy-efficient Tankless Water HeaterThere are so many ways in which you can green up your home and make it more sustainable these days that many people are considering tankless water heaters. While this can certainly be the right option depending on the space you have and the type of water you use, here are some things to consider before you decide to invest in the switch.

Maximizing Your Space

One of the biggest issues with a traditional water heater is the amount of space it takes up, whether it’s a side closet or a closed-off area in the basement. Fortunately, one of the benefits of tankless water heaters is that they can be wall-mounted almost anywhere in your house so they won’t need their own separate space. The traditional water heater may be bulky and require an area of its own, but your tankless water heater will not have to work around the needs of the rest of the house!

Heating What’s Needed

While a traditional water heater stores water and will be able to supply hot water at a quicker rate, a tankless water heater works more slowly. Because it is heating the water as it’s being used, it’s only using the energy it needs to in order to provide the water required. While this will have a positive impact on your energy costs over time, it can also mean waiting on hot water a little longer than expected. In order to go tankless, you’ll require a minimum water flow amount.

Do You Have Hard Water?

A tankless water heater can be more efficient when it comes to space and energy, but if you have an issue with hard water, the tankless option may not be the way to go. Because a tankless heater essentially warms water within the tank, it is vulnerable to scale build up, which can cut into its overall efficiency. While a traditional water heater does not experience this issue, a tankless water heater working with hard water may end up being less useful due to this build up.

There are a number of benefits associated with a tankless water heater, but it’s important to determine if this option will be truly energy efficient for you before you decide to invest. If you’re currently working on home renovations and are getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

April 17, 2017

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 17, 2017

Last week’s economic releases included readings on inflation, core inflation, new jobless claims, and mortgage rates. Consumer sentiment for April was also released.

Inflation Rate Dips in April

Consumer Price Index readings for April indicated that inflation decreased from 0.10 percent growth in March to a negative reading of -0.30 percent reading in April. The Core Consumer Price Index, which does not include volatile food and energy readings, also dipped in April to -0.10 percent from the March reading of +0.20 percent. While negative readings for month=to-month inflation suggests sluggish economic conditions, month-to-month readings can be volatile

 It’s possible that sluggish inflation readings could cause the Fed to postpone further interest rate increases. Lenders typically raise consumer interest rates when the Fed raises its target federal funds rate.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.08 percent a reading two basis points lower than for the previous week. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was two basis points lower at 3.34 percent; rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by one basis point to an average of 3.18 percent Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Last week’s mortgage rates were the lowest seen so far in 2017.

Fewer new jobless claims were filed last week with 234,000 new claims filed as compared expectations of 245,000 new claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 235, new claims filed.

Consumer sentiment rose in April to an index reading of 98.0. Analysts expected a reading of 96.0 based on the March reading of 96.9. The University of Michigan said that most consumers are upbeat about current economic conditions.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings for average mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

April 14, 2017

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Four Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help Your Home Sell for More Than Your Asking Price

Four Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help Ensure Your Home Sells for More Than Your Asking PriceMost home sellers are thrilled to get the asking price they’re looking for when putting their home up for sale, but many have not thought about the possibility of getting even more! If you’re wondering what tricks of the trade your agent can use when it comes to getting a higher offer, you may want to have them test out some of the following tips.

Price It A Little Lower

It’s generally said that you should price your home at market value so it will not linger on the market, but by having your real estate agent price it slightly lower you may be able to get a lot more people through the door. Instead of lowering the price of your home, this can actually work to stimulate a bidding war for those who see the value in your home and are willing to pay more.

Hold Off For The Right Offer

The benefit of using a real estate agent is that they know the market and will be able to determine what amount the offer on your home should be, so make sure you consult with them before saying yes. It’s easy to be tempted by the first good offer that’s close to your asking price, but it’s often worth it to hold out for the amount you really want.

Sell In The Springtime

It’s possible to get a good price for your home at any time of the year, but Spring is the time that homebuyers like to hit the market and this means that you may have a lot more interested parties to choose from. Instead of waiting for buyers to come to you, put your home on the market when there will be a lot of people ready to invest.

Make It Unique

Whether you’ve recently made some renovations or your home has a number of unique features, ensure that these details are being properly promoted in your marketing material and at your open house. Not only can these features add a lot of value to your home, they can make potential homebuyers remember it so they’ll be willing to negotiate.

Most home sellers put their home on the market with the hope of getting a certain amount, but by highlighting unique features and holding out for a better offer you can get more than you asked for. If you’re currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

April 13, 2017

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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. If you’re currently renovating your home and are looking to put it up for sale, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

April 12, 2017

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Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here’s What You Can Expect at Your Closing Meeting

Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here's What You Can Expect at Your Closing MeetingIf you’ve decided to invest and have finally found your ideal home, it’s probably an exciting time for you and your family. But before the deal is sealed, there will be a closing meeting so that all of the loose ends can be tied up. If you want to be ready for closing and are curious what the final meeting will entail, here are a few things to be prepared for.

The Last Walk Through

The initial home inspection may have already occurred prior to your closing meeting, but a final walk through should also be granted in the event that anything has happened to the house since it occurred. If problems have been made note of and a price or repair has been negotiated, you won’t need to worry, but the final walk through is a good opportunity to cover off any additional maintenance issues.

Discussion Of The Details

It’s a good idea to bring any paperwork you have regarding your mortgage along to the closing meeting as this will enable you to follow up on any outstanding questions and go through the specifics of the home sale. In all likelihood, you’ll be going through items like the closing costs, escrow payments, the settlement costs related to the home sale and the deed of trust to secure your mortgage, so ensure you understand all of the documents and are prepared to sign on the dotted line.

All The Appropriate Parties

You may expect the closing meeting to be rather informal after the offer has been accepted, but there are many parties that will be present in order to transfer the ownership of your new home. In addition to the home seller, yourself and your respective real estate agents, there will also be any attorneys present, a closing agent, and the lender. While it can be overwhelming to have so many people present, it is generally a formality so that the proceedings can take place without a hitch.

If you’ve determined that the home you’ve made an offer on is right for you, the closing meeting will likely be a seamless experience. However, it’s important to ensure you’ve done your final walk through and looked over all the applicable documents to avoid any issues related to the purchase of your home.

April 11, 2017

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Selling Your Home? Understanding Why a Buyer Might Withdraw — and How to Win Them Back

Selling Your Home? Understanding Why a Buyer Might Withdraw -- and How to Win Them BackIt may seem like the hard part is over once you’ve received a few offers on your home and are preparing for the negotiation process. Unfortunately, anything can happen until the papers and signed and this means that potential homebuyers can back out. If you’re dealing with a wavering bidder and are wondering how you can win them back, here are some reasons they might withdraw and how you may be able to win them over.

The Price Is Too High

It’s possible that when it comes to negotiating, many interested parties will offer to put down a little more than they otherwise would have; however, when it comes to sealing the deal, they may realize the price is a little higher than what they wanted to spend. Instead of letting the negotiations fall through, consider lowering your price slightly to give the potential homebuyer a hook. You don’t have to lower your price by a significant margin, but it will let them know that you’re still interested in selling to them.

An Unresponsive Negotiation

The power may be in your hands when someone is interested in your home, but it’s still very important to stay responsive so that you can ensure a potential homebuyer won’t lose interest. If you may have rubbed someone the wrong way with a slow response time, ensure that you reach out and keep them aware of the process and your timeline. It may seem like a small gesture, but it means a lot to someone who is interested in your home and may be working under a time crunch.

Still Not Convinced?

There are a variety of reasons that a homebuyer may withdraw from negotiations, whether it’s the neighborhood or too much home or they’ve found a better deal. But, if you’re really interested in the offer you’ve received, you may want to consider offering a little extra in order to win them back. Whether you decide to pay their closing costs or provide a closer move-in date, there are plenty of little things you can do that will make them re-consider their options.

There are many reasons that a buyer might withdraw their offer on your home, but by being communicative and offering some extras you may be able to re-negotiate a deal. If you’re currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

April 7, 2017

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Expecting a Newborn? Baby-proof Your Home With This Quick and Easy Checklist

Expecting a Newborn? Baby-proof Your Home With This Quick and Easy ChecklistIt’s a very exciting time for most parents when their kids begin to crawl, but it can also be much more difficult to watch over your child and ensure their safety. If your child is starting to get along on their own and you’re preparing to baby proof, here are the main areas and items you’ll want to watch out for.

Clearing Away The Crib

There’s no place your child is going to spend more time, so ensure that there are no toys left in their crib when they’re going to sleep. You’ll also want to stay away from fluffy blankets that can smother their breathing. It’s entirely likely that you’ll have a lot of stuff to store for your baby, but ensure there are no heavy pieces of furniture in the room that they will be able to pull over or move.

In The Bathroom

It goes without saying that you should never leave a baby in the bathtub alone, but there are other things to do as soon as they become mobile. In addition to non-slip mats for the tub and the area outside of the tub, you may also want to invest in soft covers for the knobs and the spout on the bathtub. It’s also good to keep any hazardous cleaning products out of reach.

Care In The Kitchen

Your baby is likely to wreak havoc on all of the door handles they can, so ensure that you have cabinets that don’t close automatically and a latch for your oven door. If you happen to be cooking in the kitchen when your baby is about, ensure that all pot handles are turned in and all cooking items are kept away from the edges of the counter.

Around The House

Your quickly crawling child will be able to find many hazards if they move fast, so ensure you’ve covered up any electrical outlets or cords that can be pulled out. If there are sharp edges your infant can reach, put safety guards on them to protect your baby’s head. Safety gates should also be used at the top and bottom of stairs to avoid any falls.

Most parents get pretty enthusiastic about the idea of their baby starting to crawl, but it’s important to be prepared for that time by baby proofing your home. If you’re currently getting ready to buy a home for your growing family, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

April 6, 2017

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Pamper Your Pet With These Five Awesome Pet-friendly Home Upgrades

Pamper Your Pet With These Five Awesome Pet-friendly Home UpgradesThe best addition to many a family is the beloved pet, but beyond the regular treats and pillows, there are plenty of ways to spoil your pet and let them know how much you love them. If you’re looking for some neat concepts for your favorite pooch, here are some unique ideas you may want to try out.

A Relaxing, Personal Place

Many animals will gravitate towards your new couch, but by giving them their own special spot, you can make them happy and keep your living room looking great at the same time. Instead of a second-hand pillow, buy them their very own bed for their very own corner of the house so they can feel right at home.

Make It Organized

It’s quite likely that your pet will not be cleaning up after themselves, but by creating a bookshelf or cabinet for all of their toys and treats, you can be sure they’ll be right at home. It’s not only good for organization, it will be easy to find everything if it’s all in one place.

Install A Pet Door

Most pets long for the freedom of the outdoors, so a pet door can be one of the best investments in the happiness of your pet. While it may not necessarily appeal to potential homebuyers who are pet-free, it may be an added benefit for those who think of their four-legged friends first.

A Doggie Dream Home

The expression “in the doghouse” may have a negative connotation, but your dog’s backyard home doesn’t have to be dreadful. Instead of something subpar, build your own doghouse from scratch and paint it in bright colors so that it can be popular with your dog and aesthetically appealing too!

A Canine Course

There are few things a dog likes to do more than run, so instead of leaving them out in the backyard on their lonesome, build them their very own doggy course. Whether you want to add in a small slide, a slippery surface or a hoop for jumping, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog active, even in the backyard.

There’s no doubt that your pet is one of the happiest members of the family, but there are things you can do to make your four-legged friend even more content. If you’re currently doing some upgrades and preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Chris Brown
Chris Brown is the premier expert on HARP loans and Government FHA and VA loans. Please visit The Mortgage Chili Blog