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Existing Home Sales Up And FHFA Home Prices Rise

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 m
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Tips to Help Ensure Your Mortgage Application is Approved

Are you buying a home for the first time? Congratulations! Buying your own home is an excellent way to build your net worth while living in a space that you can renovate and truly make your own. If you’re going to be taking out a mortgage to help pay for the up-front costs of your home, you’ll want to get a head start on the approval process. With that in mind, below are four handy tips to ensure that your mortgage application is approved on your first try. Gather All Of The Necessary Information And Paperwork You’re going to need as much financial data as possible so try to prepare your past two income tax returns, pay stubs and other details ahead of time. It may also be helpful to create a quick budget to show your lender how your income stacks up against your monthly bills. Maintain A Clean Credit History It likely goes without saying that you’ll need as clean a credit history as possible in order to ensure a quick mortgage approval. If you think that there may be some neg
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Why Setting Your Listing Price is the Most Important Aspect of Selling Your Home

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 Sal
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The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home Versus Buying Pre-owned

Are you thinking about buying a new home? Congratulations! Buying a house, condo or townhouse is an exciting and rewarding time which tends to be a lot of fun. However, along the way you’ll need to make a number of decisions – including whether you want to buy a pre-owned home or one that has been built recently and is brand new. Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of buying a new home versus buying pre-owned. New Homes Tend To Have Fewer Problems One of the major upsides of buying new is that newly-built homes tend to have very few problems within the first few years of ownership. While you’ll still be required to make regular maintenance on a new home, when you buy pre-owned you’re buying a house that has seen years or decades of weather and regular wear-and-tear. New Construction Allows For Customization If you want to be able to customize certain aspects of your home, it might be better to buy brand new as the builder will be able to incorporate your req
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Understanding What It Costs to Close on a Home

If you’re in the process of buying a new home, you’ve likely heard the term “closing costs” in regards to the many different fees and taxes that you’ll be required to pay during the purchase process. In this post we’ll look at a number of these closing costs and what you will be expected to pay when you buy that next dream home. Taking out a Mortgage? There Will Be Fees Attached If you’re taking out a mortgage to finance the cost of buying your home you’ll end up incurring a variety of fees. Nearly all lenders will charge a mortgage application fee, which covers the cost of processing your application and all of the necessary paperwork. You’ll likely have to pay for a professional appraisal of the home as well, as the lender will want to ensure that they aren’t lending you more than the house and property are actually worth. Inspection And Insurance Costs Will Add Up If you’re buying a pre-owned home you’ll need to pay for a home inspection to gain an understan
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Why Residential Solar Panels Are Becoming a Popular Renovation

If you’re looking for a home upgrade that can add resale value to your home while paying itself off over time, look no further than a solar panel setup. In the past few years, the cost of installing residential solar has declined while the efficiency of the panels has increased. This combination has made home solar one of the best investments that a homeowner can make – provided they live in an area that receives a good deal of sunshine. Solar Adds Immense Value To Your Home While solar panel installations are not inexpensive, in almost every case they add at least their total cost to the value of the home as soon as they are installed. If you decide to sell your home, it will be very attractive to those who are interested in leaving a lighter footprint or for anyone who was thinking of going solar after they bought their new home. A Quality Install Will Pay For Itself Over Time As they generate electricity which can be used in your home or sold back in to the public grid, residen
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Case-Shiller – July Home Prices Cool Across U.S.

The stifling heat of July did not penetrate U.S. housing markets according to the S&P Case-Shiller 10-and 20 City Home Price Index reports. San Francisco’s sizzling home prices dropped in July and posted its lowest price gains since 2012. According to the Case-Shiller 10 and 20-City Home Price Index reports, month-to-month home price appreciation fell to identical readings of an 0.60 percent increase as compared to a 1.00 percent increase reported in June. Case-Shiller also reported that home prices grew by 0.50 percent throughout the nation. This was the seventh consecutive monthly increase for national home prices. Year-over-year, seasonally adjusted home price growth was lower in July. Both the 10 and 20 city index reports showed a gain of 6.70 percent over July 2013 as compared to June’s year-over-year reading of an 8.10 percent gain in June. 19 of 10 cities tracked in the Case-Shiller 20 City Home Price Index reports posted lower average home prices in July. New York posted a
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 6, 2014

Last week’s economic news included multiple reports on housing and the labor sector. The good news is that job markets appear to be stronger, with new jobless claims and the national unemployment rate lower. Unfortunately, housing continues to struggle in its recovery. Pending home sales slumped in August and the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index reports for July showed slower growth in home prices with 19 of 20 cities posting lower gains than for June. Mortgage rates were mixed, but remained relatively steady. Housing Reports Show Slower Price Gains, Suggest Falling Demand The National Association of REALTORS® released data for August that showed that pending home sales dropped by 1.10 percent to a reading of 104.7 as compared to July’s reading of 105.8. Pending home sales indicate upcoming closings and mortgage loan volume. Pending home sales fell by 2.20 percent year-over-year. Analysts attributed the drop in pending sales to lower investor participation. Analysts said tha
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Understanding Title Insurance and How It Impacts Your Mortgage

When you buy a home, you will be given a title to your new property. A title is a legal document that proves you own the property, and in most cases the title excludes other parties from making an ownership claim. However, not all titles give you free and clear ownership of the property. Title insurance protects you and your lender from title disputes and other ownership issues that may arise. Here are just a few ways that title insurance can impact your mortgage. How Title Insurance Protects A Lender There are certain situations in which someone might put a lien on your property. New owners might see liens if the previous owner failed to pay the mortgage, if a contractor did work without the new owner’s consent or if the previous owner owes unpaid property taxes. If these liens were not disclosed prior to the sale, a buyer could face a situation where a third party is making a claim to the property. Should the title by voided in court, the insurance policy would repay the lender th
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What to Do if Your Mortgage Gets Declined

If you have been declined for a mortgage, you may think that buying that new home is out of reach. However, there are ways to turn a rejection into an approval and to find a more accessible loan. Here are just a few steps you can take to learn about your loan options and get the mortgage that works for you. Find Out Why The Mortgage Application Was Denied The first step to getting a second opinion is to find out why your mortgage application was denied. Banks commonly deny mortgages for reasons like a low credit score, a high debt-to-income ratio, or concerns about the applicant’s past and present employment status. To qualify for a mortgage, most lenders want to see someone with a credit score of 640, a debt-to-income ratio of less than 43 percent after the mortgage is included and at least 30 days in your current position if using wage income to qualify for the loan. Not All Lenders View An Application The Same Way A good reason why it is worthwhile to ask for a second opinion abo
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Federal Open Market Committee, Fed Chair: No Rush to Raise Rates

Wednesday’s customary post-meeting statement issued by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve provided some relief to investors and analysts concerned that the Fed may soon raise its target federal funds rate. The target federal funds rate has held steady at between 0.00 and 0.25 percent since the inception of the Fed’s current quantitative easing program. The FOMC statement indicated that the committee does not expect to raise the target federal funds rate until the Fed’s dual mandate of maximum employment and reaching its target inflation rate is achieved. FOMC members don’t expect the wind-down of scheduled securities purchases under the quantitative easing program to cause long-term interest rates to rise quickly. The FOMC statement indicates that the Fed expects its current holdings and acquisitions of securities to hold down long-term interest rates and help with achieving the Fed’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and 2.00 percent
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Close Your Mortgage Loan Faster So You Can Start Moving In

When a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, the process of obtaining the property has just begun. The buyer now has to conduct an inspection, get approval from an attorney and obtain a mortgage – all of which can be time consuming. Here are a few ways that you can speed up the mortgage process and close the deal sooner. Make Sure That You Have Money For Closing Costs Do you have the money needed for a down payment and to pay other closing and prepaid costs? If not, you won’t be able to close until you find the funds to pay those costs – and this could delay the closing on your home indefinitely. Before you arrange the mortgage, make sure you have enough cash on hand to pay closing costs. Get Conditional Approval Before Making The Offer If you have not been conditionally approved for a loan before making an offer, you can’t be sure that a lender will give you a loan for the amount of the purchase price. In addition, starting the process from scratch could push back the closing
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – Sept 22, 2014

Last week’s economic news largely concerned the Federal Reserve’s FOMC meeting statement and a post-meeting conference given by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The FOMC statement indicated that the Fed continued its wind-down of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities and that its purchases are expected to cease after the next FOMC meeting. The FOMC statement said that committee members find the economy to be improving at a moderate pace and currently strong enough to further reduce the QE3 monthly asset purchases. The Fed seeks to achieve and sustain its dual mandate of maximum employment and an inflation rate of 2.00 percent. While the unemployment rate is lower than the Fed’s benchmark of 6.50 percent, FOMC members cited concerns that the labor force is underutilized and that labor markets, while recovering, could use further improvement. The Fed repeated its customary statement that the Fed’s monetary policies are not on a pre-determined course, and that FOMC members continually r
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Tips for Finding a Family-friendly Community to Buy Your New Home In

If you’re moving to a new city with children, one of your likely considerations is finding a family-friendly community where you can settle in and call home. In this post we’ll share a handful of tips that you may find helpful if you’re searching for a family-friendly neighborhood in a new city. Check Out The Quality Of Local Schools Schools are one of the cornerstones of a community and high-quality schools are a sign that a community is suitable for your family. When you’ve made your short list of communities that you are considering, take some time to research the local elementary or high schools to see how they stack up against other schools in the surrounding area. You may also want to connect with the school’s principal or dean to ask about the environment and whether or not it would be suitable for your children. Look Around For Local Churches And Other Community Groups Great communities are those which are filled with engaged citizens who are actively working to bett
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NAHB Reports Home Builder Confidence Drops in October

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that home builder sentiment lost its momentum in October and posted a seasonally adjusted reading of 54 in its Home Builder Market Index. This reading was five points lower than expected and also five points lower than September’s reading. October’s reading was the first time in five months that builder confidence has fallen. To put October’s reading in perspective, things aren’t all that bad. A reading over 50 indicates more builders are confident about housing market conditions than not. Also, October’s lower reading of 54 after the HMI reading reached a nine-year high in September. Low Mortgage Rates, Pent-up Demand Expected to Drive Housing Markets David Crowe, Chief Economist for NAHB said that low mortgage rates, improved labor markets and “significant” pent-up demand for homes all point to continued growth for housing markets. NAHB reported that builders’ views on current market conditions dropped from Se
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 20, 2014

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
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Self Employed – How to Ensure That Your Lender Knows You’re Able to Pay

Whether you’re a freelance web designer who spends their days working from a coffee shop or a small-business entrepreneur with a team of staff, if you’re a self-employed individual and you’re thinking about buying a new house you may face some difficulty getting approved for a mortgage. In today’s blog post we’ll share how you can provide paperwork and other evidence to show your mortgage lender that you’re a quality applicant who has the ability to make their payments. Have Your Accountant Prep Your Paperwork As a general rule of thumb, if you’re in business you should invest in the services of an accountant to handle your tax preparation and other financial matters so that you don’t miss anything important. If you have an accountant, let them know that you’re applying for a mortgage and ask them to create a package that includes your business financials as well as your past two or three years of income tax documents. Watch Your Debt-to-income Ratio Your debt-to-inc
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How to Compare Mortgages from Different Lenders

Buying a home is a major financial transaction, especially if you’re going to need mortgage financing to help cover the purchase cost. The only way to know if you’re getting the best deal on a mortgage is to shop around, but with so many different lenders vying for your business it can be very tough to choose which mortgage is the best fit for your own situation. In this post we’ll share how you can compare mortgages from different lenders or underwriters so that you can get the best possible deal on your mortgage loan. Start By Comparing Interest Rates The most important factor in your mortgage is the interest rate that you’ll be required to pay so this should be your starting point. While most lenders will keep their rates competitive with one another, you may find that there are discounts available based on your credit or financial history. You might also find that some lenders are willing to adjust the rate based on how long of a mortgage term you’ll need, and how much y
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How to Determine The Amount of Mortgage You Can Afford

Whether you’re buying a home for the first time or you’ve decided it’s about time that you upgraded to a larger, more expansive house, if you’re making a real estate purchase you’ll need to be aware of how much you can reasonably afford to borrow in a mortgage. In today’s post we’ll take a look at a few ways that you can analyze your financial situation to help decide how much mortgage you can truly afford. Prepare An Honest Monthly Budget The first step in understanding how much of a monthly payment you can afford is to create an honest monthly budget which includes all of your family’s income and spending. Although you won’t have to pay them every month, it’s also important that you include costs that show up irregularly like car repairs, Christmas gifts or tuition bills as these still need to be paid. The more information you can place in your budget, the more accurate your financial picture will be. Your Down Payment Plays A Huge Role As you might imagine, the
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3 High-Tech Upgrades That Will Increase Your Home’s Appeal to Young Buyers

Millennials are finally starting to enter the real estate market after delaying home purchases for several years. With a completely new client base looking for homes, it is time to start making your home more appealing to these young buyers. Millennials are used to using high-tech gadgets every day, so they are going to desire these things in their new home. While there are several high-tech upgrades you can make on your home, these three will appeal the most to young homebuyers. Keyless Entry: Security for the New Millennium Keyless entry doors are becoming a popular way of keeping a home secure while adding that great “wow” factor. These keyless entry systems mean there’ll be no more fumbling for keys when all you want to do is get in the door. It may seem like something out of a sci-fi film, but several companies have mastered the art of keyless entry doors that you can use in your home today. The door automatically locks when it is shut, and you will need the correct fingerp
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Five Small Signs That May Lead To Big Home Repairs

It’s not uncommon for homebuyers to recount horror stories about properties that appeared to be fine at first glance, but were actually hiding very expensive problems. If you fail to do your due diligence, you might find your dream house turning into a nightmare. The next time you walk through a house, pay attention for these five signs that the property might be hiding a unfortounate secret or two. Mold, Water Spots and Water Damage Older and newer homes alike may develop a leaky pipe or another similar plumbing issue from time to time, but any type of water issue can result in mold growth inside the walls. Water spots and warped wood indicate that the property has had a water issue in the past, and this means that the property should be more thoroughly inspected for mold growth before you make a purchase. Doors and Windows That Stick One of the most common signs of a foundation issue is doors and windows that stick or that are difficult to open and close. As you walk through the h
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NAR – Existing Home Sales Slip in August

Sales of previously owned homes fell in August according to the National Association of REALTORS®. This was the first decline in sales in five months. Although not welcome news to homeowners and real estate pros, there is good news. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, as first-time buyers and moderate income families may now have an opportunity to find and buy affordable homes. Bidding wars and slim inventories of available homes made buying a home difficult for many prospective buyers in recent months, but Mr. Yun said that these obstacles have subsided in many markets. Other obstacles contributing to a slowdown in housing markets are labor markets, which have shown some improvement, and stringent mortgage credit requirements that became effective in January. Analysts had expected an annual sales rate of 5.20 million existing homes in August against July’s original reading of 5.15 million sales, which was later adjusted to 5.14 million sales o
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – Sept 29, 2014

Last week’s economic news included several housing-related reports that provided mixed results with lower than expected sales of previously owned homes and higher than expected sales of new homes. The FHFA also released its House Price report for July, which noted that year-over-year home prices were lower than year-over-year prices reported in June. Here’s a look at the details: Existing Home Sales Lower, New Home Sales Higher The National Association of REALTORS® reported August sales of existing home sales fell to 5.05 million previously owned homes sold. This was lower than the expected reading of 5.20 million existing homes sold and July’s revised reading of 5.14 million previously owned homes sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. The consensus figure was based on the original reading of 5.15 million homes sold in July. While the sales pace of existing homes has slowed in recent months, August’s reading marked the first time in five months that sales fell below the
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Six Tips for Buying a House or Condo for Relaxation and Vacation Use

If you’ve just returned from the vacation of a lifetime, you probably wish that wonderful time never had to end. When you buy a vacation home or condo, you can guarantee that you have an escape that will provide you with years of enjoyment. Before you take the plunge, though, take advantage of these six helpful tips about buying a vacation home. Choose Someplace Versatile When buying a vacation home, it’s all about getting the most out of your investment. Consider choosing a place that you can enjoy throughout the year. Your ideal vacation home will be a haven in the summer, a beauty in the fall, a refresher during the spring, and the perfect place to celebrate the winter holidays. Think About Convenience When you choose your vacation home, you will want to find a relaxing getaway that fits your lifestyle. If you love to have easy access to the grocery store and other amenities, don’t buy in a remote location. If instead you’d prefer something secluded, opt for a home that is
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Three Reasons to Consider Switching to Bi-weekly Payments

While there are differing schools of thought when it comes to whether or not a person should pay off a mortgage before the loan term ends, there may be some benefits to making payments on a bi-weekly basis as opposed to monthly basis. What are some of the reasons why it may be beneficial to make two payments a month instead of one? Here are three reasons why you should ditch the monthly fees and make payments once every two weeks. You’ll Make An Extra Payment Per Year If you’re looking to pay off your mortgage ahead of schedule, making bi-weekly payments means you’ll make an extra payment every year. Instead of making 12 large payments every year, you’ll make 26 small payments. These 26 small payments would be equal to about 13 large payments. This is the equivalent of an extra payment per year and 10 extra payments over 10 years. If you have a 30-year mortgage, you could pay it off between two and three years early because you will make your last payment 30 months ahead of sc
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