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Small Business Owner? Here’s What You Need To Know About Mortgages

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
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Four Easy Ways To Get More From Your Home Garden

Growing a home garden creates beauty, oxygen and even food for our families to enjoy. If you’re looking to get more from your home garden, here are four easy ways to improve a green thumb. A Good Foundation For Your Garden Good soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. By using quality soil, you can give your garden plants the best start possible. Adding a variety of organic matter to soil will give plants a happy home to grow in. Add two to three inches of organic matter to your garden bed at the beginning of each season. Compost, dried leaves, grass clipping and dry manure are all good organic materials to use in your garden. Manures provides nitrogen, which is a great contributor to soil aeration and composting efforts. Being so far along in the decomposing process, the nutrients in manure are readily available for plants. Fresh manure, however, is more likely to leach out of the soil into groundwater and streams (where the nutrients it provides can become pollutants). Design F
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FOMC Minutes: Committee Discusses Normalizing Policy

April’s meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee was held along with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Meeting minutes released Wednesday indicated the committee’s interest in “normalizing” its monetary policy. This included the FOMC’s ongoing commitment to tapering its asset purchases under its quantitative easing program. The committee agreed to taper the Fed’s monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $45 billion per month. Committee members discussed raising the target federal funds rate, which now stands at 0.00 to 0.25 percent, but the minutes clearly stated that this topic was undertaken as part of “prudent planning, and did not indicate that normalization would necessarily begin sometime soon.” The FOMC minutes reflected the committee’s concern with achieving a balance between normalizing the Fed’s monetary policy and keeping short-term interest rates under control. Meeting attendees considered methods for managing interest r
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 2, 2014

Last week’s economic news was fairly quiet due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday and no scheduled news released on Wednesday. Home Prices Post Modest Gains, But Growth Rate of Home Prices Slows Tuesday’s release of the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index for March showed that home prices are edging up, but at a slower pace than last year. Home prices increased by 12.40 percent year-over-year as compared to February’s reading of 12.90 percent year-over-year. Analysts expected prices to fall as construction picks up and more homes are listed for sale. Lower demand due to strict mortgage lending standards and high home prices continued to keep many moderate-income and first-time home buyers on the sidelines. FHFA Reports Home Prices Increased By Over 6 Percent FHFA, the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also released its home price index for properties connected with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned or guaranteed loans. As of March, FHFA reported that home prices inc
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Three Mobile Apps That Make Home Automation Tasks Quick And Easy

These days, efficiency and productivity are the keys to life, which is why it’s no surprise that home automation is a bigger topic than ever before. As more and more people become tech savvy and get used to working with handheld devices, home automation becomes a natural fit for your smartphone or other handheld device. After all, it’s a true pleasure to be able to control nearly everything in your home from just one device! You have so many things to do each and every day that it would be too much of a hassle to do everything separately and to control everything independently. Home automation solves that problem for you. Here are the three iPhone apps that will make home automation tasks much quicker and easier. The Haiku Home Automation App For HAI Sure, this app will cost you $50, but it’s well worth it in order to have everything controlled at the tips of your fingers. You can use this app from anywhere on the planet or simply while you’re plopped down on the couch… your
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 27 2014

Last week’s economic news was dominated by speeches given by Federal Reserve presidents, the minutes from April’s FOMC meeting and commencement address given by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The latest readings for new and existing home sales were also released. Federal Reserve Speeches Suggest Concerns Over Monetary Policy Dependence, Low Inflation Here are highlights of comments made by each of the Fed presidents’ speeches. Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, and John Williams, President of the San Francisco Fed, spoke at a conference held at the Bush Institute. Mr. Fisher said that 98 percent of jobs lost during the recession had been recovered, and that other jobs had been added. He also cited “bad fiscal policies,” and said he is worried about dependence on the Fed’s monetary policy when “Congress and the Executive Branch have put on the brakes.” John Williams, president of the San Francisco Fed, said that he was concerned about slowing momentum in housing mark
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Tips For Maximizing Your Home’s Appraised Value

A home appraisal is an independent opinion of your home’s value, performed by a licensed home appraiser. Appraisals are part of the traditional home purchase process, and lenders require them for most refinances, too. Appraisers Are Trained Professionals First, they derive a base for your home’s value based on the recent sales prices of homes that are comparable to yours in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, style, and square footage. Then, accounting for features and amenities that make your home different, the appraiser applies “adjustments” to that base value. This methodology is called the “Sales Comparison” approach and the result is your home’s appraised value. It’s the most common appraisal method used by lenders. As a homeowner , you can’t affect the sales prices of your home’s comparable properties, but you can help your appraiser understand how your home stands apart from these homes. This, in turn, can affect your home’s adjustments, resulting in a higher a
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What Will Harp 3.0 Mean For Homeowners After 2014?

As economic influences affect the housing market in the United States, there has been the introduction and development of programs to assist with the downturn. During the 2009 economic crisis in the United States that resulted in home prices and values falling, a program named HARP was introduced to assist the many affected homeowners. Harp has since developed and a 3.0 version has been introduced. As a result, many homeowners are beginning to wonder: What will Harp 3.0 mean for homeowners after 2014? The Economic Crisis: Harp 1.0 In 2009 In 2009, HARP 1.0 was introduced. The program was designed to help homebuyers who couldn’t refinance their homes because of the sudden and significant dip in home values. It was open to borrowers with loans that were taken out prior to May 31, 2009, and other requirements made the program available only to homebuyers with a good payment history and a loan-to-value ration of 125 percent, meaning that the borrower could not receive a loan of over 25
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Gardening 101: Get Started On A Veggie Patch Project Today

Thinking about ways to engage your children in gardening and educational opportunities outside of the classroom? Creating your very own veggie patch with them is a great way to help them develop interest in the wonderful hobby of gardening! Growing a vegetable garden links together many concepts your children are learning about in school while teaching them the art of discipline, responsibility and delayed gratification. Here are some great tips on how to nurture this project with your children. Choose Pick-And Eat-Vegetables The joy of being able to eat the fruits of their labors straight out of the garden will be an amazing reward for children. Vegetables like snap peas and cherry tomatoes are great for this. A bonus is that pea seeds are big and easy for those tiny hands to plant if you are going to have your children involved in the garden from the very beginning. Pick Fun Vegetables The Kids Can Use Later Another great route when choosing what to plant is picking vegetables that
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Is It Best To Put Down A Large Down Payment, Or Be Agile With Your Savings?

Putting down the largest sum of money at your disposal might seem like the best way to go when it comes to your mortgage down payment. There is a certain amount of truth to this, but the reality is bigger is not always better. Ideally, the amount of money you settle on for your mortgage down payment will take into account your monthly budgeting requirements. The Big Advantages Of A Large Down Payment Fewer Mortgage Payments: The larger the down payment, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to afford a shorter mortgage. Unlike some of the other benefits of large down payments, ensuring this perk is available to you is solely dependent on whether or not your post-down payment budget will be able to support the necessary payments. Lower Payment Totals: If you choose to stick to a longer payment plan, each month’s payment will be significantly less than it would have been had you chosen to put less money down up front. Of course, if you choose a shorter mortgage you will be r
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 12 2014

Results from a Federal Reserve survey of senior bank loan officers indicated that lenders have held the line on prime lending standards and have raised standards for sub-prime and non-traditional home loans. Survey respondents represented 74 U.S. banks and 23 foreign banks. Survey respondents also said that demand for mortgage loans was lower; this could be an unintentional result of tight credit standards for mortgage loans. Analysts said that tight credit requirements and less demand for home loans could mean more trouble for the housing industry. Home Prices Rise In March, But At Slower Rate The annual rate of increase for national home prices was 11.10 percent as compared to February’s 11.80 percent year-over-year rate of increase. February’s reading was the fastest pace of home price growth in eight years, but March’s slower level of home price appreciation was the lowest month-to-month reading in three years. Fewer affordable homes were cited as a reason for slower growth
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FOMC Noted Retail Sales In March Reached Highest Level Since September Of 2012

The FOMC of the Federal Reserve released its customary statement after its meeting concluded April 30. FOMC members said that the economy is improving after a winter lull caused by poor weather. The national unemployment rate remains high, although some improvement in labor markets was reported. Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although FOMC said that the restraint is diminishing. FOMC Monitors Inflation, Further Reduces Asset Purchases The FOMC statement reflected members’ concerns about the inflation rate remaining below its goal of two percent, and said that this could eventually impact economic recovery. The Fed expects inflation to approach its goal within the “medium term.” The Fed will reduce its monthly asset purchases of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities to a total of $45 billion in May. FOMC members said that the Fed’s level of asset purchases is sufficient to maintain downward pressure on long term interest rates and to support mortgage
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Five Questions You Might Want To Ask Before You Refinance Your Home

Refinancing your home might be a great way to save money or tap into the capital needed to pay off large debts. However, a refinance can also be an expensive endeavor, and you could even risk harming your credit rating or risk foreclosure if you’re not careful. Before you take the plunge with a refinance, here are five essential questions that you should ask before signing on the dotted line. How Much Equity Do I Have In My Home? Many homeowners today owe more on their mortgage than what the property is actually worth. For mortgage refinancing to be possible, a homeowner must have at least 20 percent equity in their home in order to avoid paying private mortgage insurance. The benefit of refinancing would be negated if PMI has to be added to the cost of the new loan. Do I Have A Good Credit Score? The health of your credit score plays a huge role in the type of mortgage rate you’ll be able to qualify for. Since mortgage rates operate on a sliding scale, the lowest rates tend to be
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 9, 2014

Last week’s economic news was mixed. Construction spending grew, but fell below the expected level. CoreLogic reported that April home prices continued to rise, but did so at their slowest growth rate in more than a year. Employment reports for private sector and government jobs indicated fewer jobs, but the national unemployment rate was steady. Here are the details: Construction Spending, Home Price Growth Slows Construction spending reported by the Department of Commerce reached $953.5 billion annually, and increased by 0.20 percent month-to-month against expectations of an 0.80 percent increase and the March reading of 0.60 percent growth. According to CoreLogic, the rate of home price growth slowed to 10.50 percent year-over-year in April as compared to the 11.10 year-over-year rate of increase in April 2013. Home prices increased by 2.10 percent over March; these gains in home prices were the slowest posted in more than a year, but there was good news. No states posted a drop
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5 Tips To Protect Yourself When Buying a New Construction Home

Buying newly constructed real estate isn’t much different from buying an “already used” home. What variances there are, however, can make all the difference between buying a diamond or a lemon. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying new construction: Tip #1: Don’t Use The Builder’s Sales Agent – Hire Your Own If they’re the builder’s agent, they’re being paid to represent the builder, no matter what they tell you. Your own real estate agent, who is representing you, is required to tell you the negatives as well as the positives. The builder’s agent doesn’t have to tell you the drawbacks of the transaction. Tip #2: Find Your Own Lending Agency Again, if you go through the builder, the lending agency may offer you a deal that isn’t in your best interest. In addition, the builder may actually own the lending company, and will have full information on your personal progress. Your real estate agent can refer you to a reputable lender, if you don’t already
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How To Maintain Adequate Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Stories all too often emerge of homeowners whose hazard insurance coverage is too low to cover the damage to their properties. Unfortunately, this scenario is common among U.S. homeowners, and is not just limited to damage from natural disasters. Homeowners nationwide are often woefully under-insured against catastrophe in its many forms. Whether you re buying a home, or own one already, revisit your hazard insurance policy choices and be sure that your bases are covered. Here are four common components of a homeowners insurance policy : Dwelling/Building Coverage Look for the amount listed under this section and divide it by the square footage of your home. Talk to your insurance agent, your real estate agent and perhaps even your contractor to determine whether your current coverage is sufficient. Be sure to consider lot size and building materials. Liability Protection What if a person is injured on your property and decides to sue? Whether your dog bit someone s hand or a guest sl
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How Paint Colors Can Drastically Affect The ‘Mood’ Of Your Home

Whether you’re sprucing up your house to sell or simply looking for a color to bring out the beauty of your home, it’s imperative that you do your homework. Before you head off to your local DIY store with a paint sample in one hand and a wallet in the other, you need to ensure that you’re picking the colors that are right for your home and your personality. It is true that you can never go wrong with a neutral, but you can also go so much more right with the correct color in the appropriate space, whether it’s a neutral or not. Give The Buyers The Blues Blue is a great calming color and has even been known to lower blood pressure. When a person walks into a blue room they feel tranquil and at peace. Blue is also the color of trustworthiness and dependability, so if you are selling your home, or if you just want to make your guests feel welcome, put a blue paint color on the walls of your front hall or foyer. Eat Your Heart Out Red Red is a high-energy color and it has been pr
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Here’s How You Can Leverage Your Home To Reduce Your Tax Burden For Next Year

Each year around April, we can find ourselves becoming a little more tense at the thought of what is about to occur: tax time. Instead of falling into the trap of procrastinating your taxes, however, it’s much more beneficial to face tax time head-on and do your research on your applicable deductions well in advance. Your home is good for many things, but using your home to reduce your tax burden may be one benefit you haven’t thought of. Here are some tax benefits that can be leveraged with your home, and some ways to lower your tax bill in 2014. Deduct Interest On Home Loans Though interest paid on personal loans isn’t deductible on your tax return, interest paid on mortgages is. Home mortgage interest, for both your primary residence and a second home such as an investment property, can account for a large bill near the end of the year, and can significantly decrease your tax bill for 2014. Interest paid on a line of credit for your home or a home equity loan is also usually
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3 Kitchen Upgrades That Will Boost Your Home Selling Price

Homeowners who want to increase the appeal of their residence before putting it up for sale can, within a few hours and with a little elbow grease, perform some do-it-yourself (DIY) kitchen upgrades that are sure to pique the interest of would-be buyers. Many people either have or are in the process of listing their home, so it makes sense to do as much as possible to attract the interest of prospective purchasers. It need not cost a proverbial arm and a leg to boost the selling price of a home. Here are three DIY kitchen upgrades that will help homeowners gain a competitive advantage in the real estate market and get attractive offers for their residence. On-The-Cheap Cabinet Upgrades For a DIY upgrade project that won’t cost much money and won’t take much time, homeowners should consider revamping their cabinetry, as long as the cabinets are structurally sound. After cleaning them and, if necessary, sanding down any rough spots, homeowners can apply a coat or two of paint and, a
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Don’t Make These Common Mortgage Mistakes

Are you applying for a mortgage on your home? Keep in mind that a mortgage is a major financial decision and choosing one will have a significant impact on the rest of your life. Many people go into this decision without understanding all of the essential mortgage information they need to know, which means that they are likely to make poor choices that will result in paying much more than they need to. If you want to save yourself from throwing away your hard earned money, here are a few common mistakes to avoid: Trying To Bottom Out the Market Many people will wait too long to make a decision to lock in their mortgage rate, trying to wait until they think that the rates have hit bottom. However, unfortunately most of the time this leads them to wait too long and end up with a higher interest rate. If you are waiting things out, keep a very close eye on the economic indicators. Your daily newspaper will be a good source of information about the fluctuations of interest rates. Forgetti
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 19, 2014

Last week’s economic news was relatively flat, but highlights include the NAHB Housing Market Index for May, which posted its lowest reading since May 2013. Although analysts expected a May reading of 48, the May 2014 index reading was 45 as compared to April’s reading of 46. The NAHB reported that rising home prices and unpredictable job markets were factors in builders’ loss of confidence. Although the economy is growing stronger, many would-be homebuyers remain skeptical of economic conditions and remain on the sidelines. NAHB: Stronger Builder Confidence Expected in Coming Months Builder confidence in market conditions for single family homes within the next six months were higher at 57, a one-point improvement over April’s reading. Builder confidence in buyer foot traffic increased by two points to 33; this was likely a result of warmer weather. David Crowe, chief economist of the NAHB, said that builder confidence is expected to improve as consumers grow more secure abou
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Does Your Credit Score Need To Be Above 800 To Apply For A Mortgage?

Over the course of a lifetime, financial development can lead to some wonderful opportunities. A person’s financial development and state of affairs is something that is particularly important when it comes to taking out a bank loan to further progress in life, and the largest loan most people will require is a mortgage for a home purchase. Since the process of getting approved for a mortgage is heavily dependent on credit history and that three-digit credit score that reflects reliability as a borrower, you should always put forth practices to keep that number healthy and growing. However, how much importance does a credit score hold? Does that magic, three-digit number need to be above 800 in order to get approved for a mortgage? The FICO Score: The Magic Number That Counts When you apply for a mortgage, you will have to provide certain information to your financial institution or mortgage broker. The mortgage specialist at your bank or mortgage broker will then pull your credit s
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How Will A Short Sale Affect Your Ability To Buy Another House In The Future?

The last few years have been financially difficult for millions of homeowners, with job losses and decline in home values devastating families all over the US. As a result, a great number of homes have gone through short sales, which has had a detrimental effect on consumers’ credit ratings. If you’ve considered or experienced a short sale, one of the biggest concerns you may have is how it will impact your ability to purchase another property in the future. Here are five key variables on how a short sale can impact your next home purchase. Duration Of Delinquency Plays A Big Role Short sale transactions take a long time to complete, depending on the state that you live in and the bank’s policies. During this process, homeowners in a short sale may have trouble continuing to make monthly mortgage payments. The duration of delinquency can have a major negative impact on your credit score, even before the final short sale is reported. Deficiency Judgments May Have Long-Lasting Eff
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What’s in a Color? Six Paint Colors That Will Affect Your Mood

Believe it or not, paint colors can affect your mood. When remodeling your home, the color you use on the walls can end up being just as critical to the thematic consistency of your home as the furniture you use to decorate it. Before you slap any old color on the walls, take some time to consider what mood you’d like each room to inspire. Red, Yellow And Orange: The Colors Of Excitement, Hunger And Happiness Ever wonder why the dining rooms, kitchens and entertainment rooms you see in magazines always seem come in every shade of red? It’s because these rooms are dedicated to eating and leisure time. Shades of red, especially bright, vibrant reds, have been linked to increased appetite and increases in energy levels. In a similar vein, we have shades of yellow. Typically, yellow hues have been known to encourage feelings of happiness and joy. That said, it’s a good idea to steer clear of especially bright shades of yellow that can be harder on the eyes, as they can foster feelin
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Warmer Weather Brings In The Buyers, Is There Inventory?

After three consecutive months of decline, the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index remained nearly unchanged in February. Year-over-year home prices rose by 12.90 percent in February as compared to 13.20 percent in January. 20 Percent Below Their 2006 Pre-recession Peak Analysts note that in spite of recent slowdowns in home prices, the year-over-year rates of home price growth remain close to peak price growth attained in 2006. National home prices remain approximately 20 percent below their 2006 pre-recession peak. 13 cities posted lower rates of price gains in February. The Case-Shiller 10 and 20 city indices showed year-over-year price gains of 13.10 and 12.90 percent respectively. Only five cities posted year-over-year gains in price appreciation. Las Vegas, Nevada continues to lead home price growth but its year-over-year rate of home price growth slowed from January’s reading of 24.9 percent to February’s reading of 23.10 percent. Washington, D.C. posted its eighth con
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