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Factors To Consider When Applying For A Home Mortgage

Owning a home can be a sign of independence and success. It allows you to build up equity and the mortgage interest and property taxes are tax-deductible. What can you do to make a home affordable for you. Reputable lenders look at a list of criteria to decide how much they’ll loan you. This List Includes: Credit score Existing assets including cash Car leases or loans Credit card balances Debt consolidation loans Home equity loans Installment loans Student loans Other monthly debts Size/source of your down payment If you’d like to get an idea of what you can afford before talking to a lender, here are a few tools you can use to decide whether a home is within your budget. Here Are Some Guidelines: As a rule of thumb, your house hunting budget shouldn’t be more than 2.5 times your pre-tax annual income. If you earn $50,000 a year, your budget for house hunting should be around $125,000. Your Housing Expense Ratio, which is principal, interest, taxes and insurance shouldn’t be
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Why You Should Shred Your Financial Documents

How do you know what happens to your documents when you put a piece of paper in the trash? It can be difficult to know who is seeing it and what they are doing with it. It isn’t very common to burn trash anymore; therefore you can be sure that your paper garbage or recycling is likely to pass through several hands on its way to a landfill or recycling center. Step-By-Step, Your Documents Can Get Pilfered Every step that occurs once the trash leaves your control has risk that someone will find personal information they can use to cause you harm. One way to safeguard personal information is to shred it before it goes into the trash. Shredding devices are available at most office supply stores. Cross-cut shredders provide more security than strip-cut shredders. You may want to consider one depending on your level of concern. Shredding services or shredding events are often offered by financial institutions or community organizations. Properly destroying sensitive personal information i
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Hope Of A Stronger Economy With New Measures – Fed Minutes

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee released its customary after-meeting statement on Wednesday. In the context of meeting its dual mandate of stabilizing pricing and achieving maximum employment. The FOMC statement indicated that although the economy has improved in areas including household spending and labor market conditions, the national unemployment rate remains high and the housing market recovery has slowed. Fed Says Fiscal Policy Restraining Economic Growth The FOMC statement said that current fiscal policy and ”retrenchment” is restraining economic growth as evidenced by failure to achieve benchmarks set by FOMC as indicators of a healthy economy. Benchmarks include a national unemployment rate no higher than 6.50 percent and achieving an inflation rate of 2.00 percent. September’s unemployment rate was 7.20 percent and inflation has run consistently below the FOMC objective. Not to be confused with the FOMC statement’s references to monetary policy
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Beware Of Zombie Titles

With the economic downturn, anyone dealing in real estate quickly became familiar with previously little-known terms such as foreclosure and short sale. Now that the housing market is picking back up and people are moving on, a new term is coming to light — zombie titles. The Zombie Title This is when a home has been vacated because the owners defaulted on their loan and their bank started the foreclosure process. However, for some reason or another the bank never completed the foreclosure and sold the home. So, when the city starts fining someone for the overgrown grass and dilapidated structure, the homeowner who thought they were finished with the property gets the bill. A Home That Keeps Haunting Homeowners think they don’t own the property any longer and therefore try to move on by rebuilding their credit score and finding a new place to live. It can be a rude awakening to find out that not only do they still own a home they could have been living in, but also its long vacanc
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – 11.04.13

Last week’s economic news came from a variety of sources. Most significant was the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee statement after its meeting ended Wednesday. The statement indicated that the Fed saw moderate economic growth. FOMC did not taper its purchase of MBS and Treasury securities. The FOMC statement announced the committee’s intention to closely monitor economic and financial developments ”in the coming months,” which suggested that the FOMC is taking a wait-and-see position on reducing its $85 billion monthly asset purchases. Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Fall The Fed’s asset purchase program, also known as quantitative easing, was implanted in 2012 with a goal of stabilizing mortgage rates and other long-term interest rates. The National Association of REALTORS® reported that pending home sales fell by 5.60 percent in September. Uncertainty over the FOMC’s decision concerning tapering its asset purchases during its September meeting and concerns over a t
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Why Your Should Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing a mortgage is a golden opportunity to lock in today’s low interest rate for the next 15 or 30 years. While interest rates now are still low, there’s a good chance they will be heading up in the coming months. The Fed won’t maintain the current bond purchasing level forever, and just as rates spiked in September when the Fed hinted the bond purchasing would change, rates will spike even more when purchasing levels actually do change. As interest rates remain very low for 30-year and 15-year mortgages, homeowners can benefit greatly from a refinance. Several types of people in particular should consider refinancing. Carrying A High Rate Anyone with an interest rate well above today’s level should think about a refinance. Unless the homeowner is planning to sell within the next few years, a refinance will almost always save money in the long run if the rate can be lowered by at least a percent. Switching From FHA To Conventional Given that FHA mortgages now carry mort
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The Government Shutdown And Its Effect On Existing Home Sales

Existing home sales for September fell by 1.90 percent from August’s revised reading of 5.39 million sales to 5.29 million sales. Economists had expected 5.30 million sales for September, so a slow-down in existing home sales had been anticipated. The National Association of REALTORS cited higher home prices and mortgage rates as factors contributing to fewer sales of previously owned homes. Home Prices Easily Outpaced Income Growth According to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, home prices ”easily outpaced income growth.” Consequently, affordability has fallen to a five-year low. Mr. Yun also indicated that a government shutdown was expected to affect home sales in October. NAR also cited a ”notable increase” in federal flood insurance premiums as a deterrent to homebuyers in flood zones. The premium increase was set for October 1. There is some good news. The NAR reported that existing home sales had increased from 4.78 million in September 2012. As compared to the re
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What To Do With All Those Leaves In Your Yard

The kids are back in school, the weather is getting cooler and your yard is covered in a layer of fallen leaves. Yep, it’s that time of the year again, but don’t think of fall leaves as a chore. They can be a useful resource for fertilizing your lawn or even decorating your home for autumn. Finish The Raking It’s tempting to just let the leaves lie in the yard. It’s good fertilizer anyway, right? Wrong. You should rake everything up as soon as the trees begin to look bare, or else risk the blanket of leaves smothering your lawn over the winter season. Gather them up in plastic bags and put them to use. Refuse To Rake Leaves If you can’t bring yourself to pick up a rake, you do have an alternative. Wait until the leaves are dry and crunchy and fire up the lawnmower once more before winter. Many mowers have a mulch setting that will chop the fallen leaves to bits. The smaller pieces won’t suffocate your lawn, and the crushed leaves make a good fertilizer. If you’d rather u
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How to Tackle PMI – Private Mortgage Insurance

You may have heard the term Private Mortgage Insurance when looking to finance real estate. What is PMI, and how do you know when you need to purchase it? The answer can be hard to find among all the real estate jargon you’re hearing lately. Below is the short version of what you need to know. What Is Private Mortgage Insurance? PMI is an extra insurance required by some lenders to offset their risk of you defaulting on your home loan. When you put down less than 20 percent of the real estate’s value, your lender may tell you that you have to buy PMI. It is usually added into your monthly mortgage payment until the equity in your real estate reaches 20 percent. Under the current law, the PMI will be canceled automatically at 22 percent equity, if you are current on your payments. If you aren’t current, the lender does not have to cancel the insurance because the loan is high-risk. After getting caught up on your payments, the PMI will be cancelled. Any money that you have overpa
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week of 10-21-13

Many of the economic and housing reports typically scheduled were delayed by the federal government shutdown. The National Association of Homebuilders Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for October was released Wednesday with a reading of 55, lower than the projected 58 and previous month’s revised reading of 57. The original reading for September was 58, which was the highest measure of builder confidence since 2005. NAHB cited concerns over mortgage rates and the federal government shutdown and its consequences as reasons for homebuilder confidence slipping. While the NAHB HMI reading was lower than last month, it remains in positive territory as any reading over 50 indicates that more home builders are confident about housing market conditions than those who are not. Pent-up demand for homes is fueling home builder confidence, which grew by 34 percent over the past year and exceeded the rate of home construction growth. NAHB Releases Housing Starts Data For September The Census Bur
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Strategies To Secure Your Home Against A Break In

Having your home broken into is completely violating. Burglars don’t just steal your stuff; they steal your peace of mind. While this is the sort of thing you think will never happen to you, it’s worth the time and effort to make sure you’re not a target. Below are five strategies to help secure your home against a break-in. 1. Use Landscaping As A Barrier Purposefully place plants in spots that create a natural barrier to your home. Plant thorny rose bushes in front of bedroom windows and remove overgrown shrubs that provide coverage for creepers. Also, trim back any tree branches that might make an open upstairs window accessible. 2. Put In A Security Alarm While a loud alarm might not stop a burglar from quickly grabbing the large flat screen in your living room, it does limit their time for snooping around and finding other valuables. Install an alarm that monitors the entire perimeter of your home. Only give the code to family members and trusted friends. Also, be sure to a
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When Is It A Good Idea To Use A Home Equity Loan?

A home equity loan is a type of loan that allows you to use the equity of your home as collateral. It is an option that home owners have available to them and that some people use to pay for major expenses such as home renovations, college education or medical bills. These types of loans became popular in 1996 because they provided a way for consumers to circumvent their tax charges for that year, which eliminated the deductions on the interest for most consumer purchases. It is a good idea to leverage your shelter for cash? What is a legitimate reason for taking out a home equity loan? It can be tempting to use the equity you have in your property to pay for expensive luxuries, but there are only a few things that you should be spending a home equity loan on. Home Renovation Projects Home renovations are a popular reason why people take out a home equity loan. This idea actually makes sense, because making improvements to the home can greatly improve its value. The renovation could p
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Get Greed and Recycle Everyday Household Items

Every week the trash truck comes to pick up our garbage and unwanted items, which are promptly taken to landfills. Instead of filling landfills and just buying new items to stuff our homes, we can help the earth and recycle everyday household items. Below are a few fun and creative ideas for recycling things around your home that you might be ready to trash. Coffee Table Into Bench If you just purchased a new coffee table, don’t give away the old one — repurpose it. Find a space in your home where you could use some additional seating, like at the end of your bed or in the entryway. Push it up against the wall so that any drawers and shelves are facing out. Then add some cushions and pillow. Tada; a bench! Copper Piping Into Bathroom Hardware Whether you’re going for a modern industrial look or a French country theme, old copper piping can add an attractive and interesting conversation piece to your restroom. Utilize a U-shaped piece of piping as a toilet paper holder and long p
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See if 50 Year Mortgages Are a Good Financing Option

When most people are taking out a mortgage on a property, they select either a 15 or 30 year mortgage loan. However, there is a new mortgage option that has been available to home owners since 2006 and that is the 50 year mortgage loan. Although a half-century might seem like a very long loan term, there can be some advantages to taking out a five-decade mortgage. Here are some of the pros and cons to taking out a mortgage that you repay over 50 years. Advantages The main benefit that you will experience with a 50 year mortgage is the ability to take out a larger loan and buy a more expensive house that you might not have otherwise been able to afford. This means that you can enjoy a better standard of living with lower monthly payments. A 50 year mortgage might also make home ownership easier to qualify for as a first time homebuyer. On a monthly basis, it means that you will have more room in your budget for paying for other expenses. Disadvantages Of course, the major disadvantage
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Recent Government Activity And Its Effect On Mortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage rates typically are tied more to the yields on the 10-year Treasury note more than any other indicator. With the government in flux as the shutdown happened and ended, mortgage rates are also changing. Overall, mortgage rates have decreased because of a lack of confidence in the government’s ability to get its finances under control. Although rates spiked in September when the Fed hinted that they would not be purchasing as many bonds, they quickly released an announcement that they would actually be maintaining their current purchasing habits. The Time Is Ripe For Homeowners Since then, mortgage interest rates have been dropping back down to their previous levels. With 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage rates continuing at very low levels, the time is ripe for homeowners to purchase or refinance. In the day following the reopening of the government, mortgage rates continued at their low levels, which surprised some economists. The stock market went down and yields on the 1
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Don’t Let Confusion With Mortgage Jargon Cost You

A recent study of US and UK home buyers, conducted by the London based Nationwide Building Society, found that more than 40% of people buying homes were confused by the jargon that lenders used to describe mortgages. When it comes to taking out a mortgage on your home, could confusing mortgage jargon be costing you money and causing you to make ill-informed choices? According to the study, only 31% of home buyers understood what the term “LTV” meant, an acronym that stands for “loan to value” and describes the ration between the amount of the mortgage and the value of the home. Not only did the survey show that many mortgage borrowers were confused about what the terms meant, but they also were shy about asking for explanations of various words that they didn’t understand. In order to make a wise financial decision and choose the right mortgage for you, it is essential to do your research and understand exactly what you are signing up for. If you are unsure of what a mortgag
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What You Should Know About Pending Home Sales This Month

Pending home sales fell in September by -5.60 percent, and were 1.20 percent lower year-over-year. This is the first time in more than two years that pending home sales have fallen below year-earlier readings. September’s reading was below August’s reading of -1.60 percent. The National Association of REALTORS®, which released the report, expects lower home sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 and flat sales into 2014. NAR provided good news in its forecast of 10 percent growth in existing home sales in 2013 as compared to 2012. A spike in mortgage rates in August coupled with rapidly rising home prices were seen as major factors leading to lower pending sales. Real estate analysis firm CoreLogic has reported that August home prices were 12.4 percent higher than for the previous 12 months; this was the fastest annual growth rate for home prices since February 2006. While positive news for homeowners and housing markets, rapidly rising home prices can cause some buyers to postpone
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3 Easy Tips To Protect Your Deck This Winter

Barbecue season is all but over, and you won’t be spending as much time out on the deck. Don’t let it get you down, though. Spring will be here before you know it. There are a lot of things that can wear down and damage your deck, so protect your deck and make sure it stays in tip top shape over the winter. Cover The Furniture You want your deck to look as good in the spring as it does now. The first step is to cover all the furniture (don’t forget the grill!). Cover everything with commercial furniture covers or just use a tarp. Be sure that the covers fit snuggly. They won’t do any good if they’re blowing through the neighbor’s yard. If you’ve got the space, make room in the garage for the deck chairs and table. They’ll last longer if you store them indoors for the winter. Give It One More Good Cleaning Dirt and dust can get trapped in the wood over the course of the summer, not to mention dog slobber or barbecue sauce. If you let these things stain your deck all win
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City Lights Or Starlit Nights, What Home Location Is Best?

If you are looking to buy a home, you might be wondering whether you should be looking for properties that are right in the center of the city or property in a rural area a short drive away. The rural or urban decision will ultimately be up to you, as there are advantages and disadvantages to either option. The main difference will lie in your priorities – what type of lifestyle is most important to you? Living In The City One of the main perks of buying a property that is located in the heart of the city is that you may be able to enjoy convenient public transportation and you won’t have to use a car to get everywhere. You are likely to have a shopping center and a supermarket within walking distance of your home, as well as other important amenities such as a doctor’s office, a pharmacy, a post office and more. Also, if you enjoy attending concerts, visiting art galleries or enjoying other artistic events, you will find many more of these concentrated in the city center. You w
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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week 10-28-13

Federal government agencies issued reports that were delayed by the government shutdown; and Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell for all types of loans it reports. The National Association of REALTORS issued its Existing Home Sales report on Monday. While 5.30 million home sales were expected an annual basis, September’s reading fell short at 5.29 million sales. August’s reading was adjusted from an original reading of 5.48 million, which equaled July’s reading. Higher mortgage rates and home prices were cited as contributing to the slip in September’s sales. The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the Nonfarm Payrolls report for September on Tuesday. September’s reading indicated that only 148,000 jobs were created as compared to economists’ expectations of 185,000 jobs and August’s reading of 173,000 new jobs. National Unemployment Rate Dropped Analysts indicated that the modest reading for September was caused by uncertainty over the government shutdow
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Builders Outlook on Housing Market – Positive

The National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped two points to 55 from September’s revised reading of 57. Builder concerns over labor costs and availability and economic uncertainty related to the federal government shutdown were noted as factors contributing to the lower reading for October. Key Points Noted In October‘s HMI included: Builder confidence remains above 50, which indicates that more builders have a positive outlook on housing market conditions than those with negative sentiment. The October HMI cites pent-up buyer demand in markets throughout the US as a positive influence on October’s reading. A spike in mortgage rates lowered builder confidence, but the Federal Reserve’s decision not to change its quantitative easing program eased fears about rapidly rising mortgage rates. The federal government shutdown, along with builder and consumer concerns about the national debt ceiling also contributed to a dip in homebuilder confidence
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Nail The Final Walkthrough Before Closing

By the time you get to the final walkthrough on your property, the home buying process is almost complete. However, it is still important to pay close attention to this final step, as it will be crucial in the success of your home purchase. The final walkthrough is your last opportunity to ensure that everything in the home is in working order and that there are no potential problems waiting for you when you take over ownership of the property. While conducting a final walkthrough of the property, give yourself enough time to look carefully at everything and not be rushed. You are looking for any new issues that might have arisen since the last time you viewed the home. Once you close on the purchase the previous owners will not be obligated for fixing any damage. For this reason, you should schedule your walkthrough approximately 24 hours before closing on a home. What You Should Look For? When you are performing your walkthrough, here are some of the important issues that you should
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Helpful Tips On Giving Your Mudroom A Makeover

From crunched-up leaves stuck to bottoms of shoes to bulky coats shed as soon as kids walk through the door, mudrooms are ideal for keeping outdoor dirt, wet clothing and outerwear from being strewn throughout your home. Mudrooms not only keep the rest of your house clean, but they also designate a spot for those last-minute grabs, such as coats, umbrellas and purses, when you’re running out the door. These rooms are great catchalls. However, an organized mudroom can make your life and those hectic mornings much less stressful. Below are smart tips for getting your mudroom ready this fall. 1. Put In Seating After shedding outer layers, the next thing anyone wants to do after coming inside on a cold, wet day is to take off their mucky shoes. So make sure there is a built-in bench or convenient chair for people to sit down and tend to their tootsies. Whether taking off or putting on shoes, it makes life a little more comfortable. 2. Install A Sink A mudroom is supposed to be the catch
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Tips On Passing Your Home Inspection With Flying Colors

Home inspections are a tense time for everyone. Sellers are fervently hoping that nothing major is wrong with their home that could hold up the transaction. Buyers are eager to hear that their new house is in prime condition. Whatever the wishes, one thing is for sure; any news from an inspector is usually bad news. Home inspectors have a tough job. They have to be trained to spot hundreds of potential issues with a home and be knowledgeable of local codes, community restrictions and residential permit parameters. Stay one step ahead of your home inspector by reading the list of common home inspection issues below. Then hopefully your inspection won’t reveal any unwelcome surprises. Electrical Wiring This is a common bubble-busting issue, especially in older homes. Wiring might have been up to code when the home was built, but it now violates code and is a fire hazard. Look for ungrounded outlets, shoddy wiring or a mass of confusing connections in the electrical panel. Replacing an
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