Home Expenses Include Far More Than Just the Down payment

Home Expenses Include Far More Than Just the Down paymentIf you are thinking about purchasing your first home in the near future, then you need to be aware of the costs that you are going to take on. When you are looking at the cost of a home, it is very tempting to focus on the sticker price of the home. Even though the down payment is going to be the largest check you are going to write, this is not the only cost that you are going to pay.

There are numerous other costs for which you need to budget as well. By thinking about all of these costs ahead of time, you can make a smart financial decision for you and your family.

Think About The Real Estate Taxes

Depending on the part of the country in which you live, real estate taxes can be significant. For example, it is not unusual for even a modest home to cost thousands of dollars in real estate taxes per year. Therefore, even though you have budgeted for your monthly mortgage payment, make sure that you have budgeted for real estate taxes as well. Usually, your mortgage lender is going to hold your real estate taxes in escrow for you so you don’t end up having to write a large check at the end of the year.

Homeowners’ Insurance And Utility Costs

In addition, you also need to think about homeowners’ insurance and utility costs. Some of the utilities that you have to pay for include internet, phone, cable, gas, electricity, and water. When this is added to your homeowners’ insurance expenses, this can also add up to several hundred dollars per month. Therefore, make sure that you can afford not only the mortgage payment but these recurring monthly expenses as well.

Budget For Your First Home Accordingly

Some of the other expenses that you might have to incur when it comes to your first home include maintenance and repair bills. Therefore, you should make sure that you sit down with an experienced planner and ensure that you can afford the combined expenses. Otherwise, you might end up being priced out of your first home before you realize it.

 

Important Advice For Locating The Right Neighborhood

Important Advice For Locating The Right NeighborhoodWhen people are thinking about moving, they want to make sure they find the right neighborhood. At the same time, it is not always easy for many homeowners to decide where they are going to live. Particularly if they are not familiar with the local community, there are a few important points that everyone should keep in mind. By thinking about these factors ahead of time, potential homeowners are going to place themselves in a position to be successful when they purchase their next home. 

Consider The Importance Of The Schools

Many people who are moving are looking for a bigger house because their family is getting larger. Therefore, one of the most important factors that families need to think about involve the quality of the schools. Schools are going to play a major role in the pricing of the neighborhood. Think about whether the kids are going to go to public school or private school. For families that are going to send their kids to public school, they need to think about the quality of the public schools and what school system the neighborhood is zoned for. 

Think About The Commute To Work

Another important factor that the family should consider is the commute to work. There are many people who are moving in an effort to shorten their commute or because they are getting a new job. Therefore, it is a smart idea to think about the traffic, the time it will take to work, and how challenging the driving route is going to be. This is going to play a major role and where the family is going to end up settling. 

The Access To Amenities

Finally, it is also important to think about access to amenities. This could include parks, shopping, hiking trails, and even access to the airport. Families need to think about what is important to them and prioritize this during the housing search. It is also a great idea to think about any development that might be taking place in the local area that could influence housing prices in the future. All of these factors should be considered when families are considering which neighborhood they would like to move to.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 23, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 23, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on housing market conditions, sales of previously owned homes, and housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Homebuilder Confidence Hits Record High in November

The National Association of Home Builders reported a fourth consecutive record high for builder confidence as November’s index reading of 90 exceeded October’s reading of 80. Any reading over 50 indicates that most home builders are confident about housing markets.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index also rose. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose six points to 96. Builder confidence in housing market conditions within the next six months rose one point to 89 and builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments increased by three points to an index reading of 77. Readings of 50 or more for buyer traffic were rare until recent months. Factors driving builder confidence include high demand for homes and record low mortgage rates. High demand for single-family homes is rising due to relocation to suburbs and increased demand for larger homes.

Housing Starts Increase as Building Permits Issued Hold Steady

Commerce Department readings for October show that housing starts rose to 1.530 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a pace of 1.490 million housing starts based on 1.459 million starts reported in September. 1.545 million building permits were issued in October, which matched September’s reading.

Mortgage Rates Hit Another Record Low; Jobless Claims Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported new record low mortgage rates for the fourth consecutive week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 12 basis points lower at 2.72 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.28  percent and were six basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped by 26 basis points to 2.85 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

First-time jobless claims rose to 742,000 claims filed; analysts expected 710,000 claims filed based on the prior week’s reading of 711,000 initial jobless claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims fell to 6.37 million claims filed as compared to 680,000 continuing jobless claims filed in the prior week.

October sales of previously-owned homes rose to 6.85 million sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to September’s reading of 6.80 million sales of previously-owned homes.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller Indices on home prices; new home sales will also be released along with the University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approval

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approvalIf you’re in the market for a new home and you’ve been researching mortgages, you’ve likely come across the terms “pre-qualification” and “pre-approval”. While these terms are self-explanatory in some circumstances, they are quite different in regards to mortgage financing.

In today’s blog post we’ll explain the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a pre-approval.

Pre-qualification: an Initial Look at Your Mortgage Options

The first – and easiest – step on the way to receiving mortgage financing to buy a home is known as pre-qualification. During this process you’ll meet with a mortgage advisor or lender who will assess your financial history including your current income and any debts that you might have. Using these numbers they’ll perform a quick calculation that suggests how much mortgage financing you might qualify for when you’re ready to buy a home.

Your mortgage professional will also answer any questions that you might have about the process, including what interest rates you may qualify for, how much you’ll need to invest in your down payment and more.

Pre-approval: A Conditional Mortgage Commitment

After you’ve been pre-qualified for your mortgage and you’re ready to start looking for a new home you’ll go through the pre-approval process. At this time your mortgage advisor or lender will take a much deeper look into your current financial situation, including pulling a credit report to assess how much risk they will have in lending you money. You’ll also complete a full mortgage application as this will allow your lender to get a conditional approval for a certain amount or range. Finally you’ll be informed about the interest rate and the terms of the mortgage once you find your new home and complete the purchase.

The Final Step: Finding the Perfect Home

Now that you’ve been pre-approved and have received a conditional commitment from your lender, you’re ready to find that perfect new home. On top of having a better idea of your price range and what you can afford, you’ll find that sellers are far more receptive to your offers as having a pre-approval signals that you’re a serious buyer who is ready to make your move.

When you’re ready to buy your new house or condo, your local mortgage professional is ready to help. Contact them to learn more about pre-qualification, pre-approval and your financing options. Enjoy your new home!

Is Home Insurance Required When You Buy A House?

Is Home Insurance Required When You Buy A House?For those who are thinking about buying a house in the near future, they are probably in the process of tabulating up all of their expenses. One of the common expenses is home insurance. Even though home insurance is certainly recommended, is it actually required? There are many situations where it is required. At the same time, even when it is not required, it is still a good idea. When it comes to homeowners’ insurance, there are a few important points to keep in mind. 

Why Home Insurance Is Required By A Lender

For those who are taking out a mortgage to purchase a home, most lenders are going to require home insurance. This is because the lender wants to make sure that they are going to get their money back. Remember that the lender is taking a significant amount of risk as well. They want to make sure that they are going to get repaid for their loan. If something happens to the house and there is no home insurance policy, then they are going to lose a significant amount of money. Therefore, for those who are working with a lender, home insurance is probably going to be required. 

Buying A Home Without A Lender

In some situations, people could be looking at buying a home without the help of a lender. Those who are purchasing a home in cash are not going to have anyone telling them that they need to get home insurance. At the same time, it is still a good idea. For most people, the most valuable investment they own is their house. They want to make sure it is protected. After all, people protect their cars with car insurance. Cars usually cost a fraction of the price of a home. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to go without home insurance.

Get The Right Home Insurance Policy

It is important for people to make sure they get the right home insurance policy. The home insurance policy has to cover situations where a home could be completely destroyed. This includes fires, floods, severe storms, and even situations involving burglary. Compare a few options and make sure to get the right home insurance policy.

 

NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder Confidence

NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder ConfidenceBuilder confidence in housing market conditions reached a new record high in November according to the National Association of Home Builders. November’s index reading of 90 was five points higher than in October. Index readings over 50 indicate positive builder sentiment toward market conditions. Readings for the Housing Market Index fell below 50 in April and May as the COVID-19 pandemic grew.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index rose six points to 96 for current housing market conditions and one point to 89 for builder confidence in home sales in the next six months. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments rose three points to 77. Readings for buyer traffic typically didn’t exceed 50 until recently. High demand for homes is associated with record-low mortgage rates and changing priorities created by the pandemic.

While demand for homes usually slows in the colder months, the pandemic has caused families to re-evaluate their housing needs as more people work from home and children attend school online or are homeschooled. Larger homes cost more, which contributes to home sellers moving to suburban or rural areas to accommodate the additional expenses of buying and maintaining larger homes.

Regional Housing Market Conditions Mixed in November

The NAHB reported gains in builder confidence in three of four regions. The Midwest led with a nine-point increase in builder confidence. The South and West also showed rising builder confidence, but builders in the Northeast reported a five-point drop in builder confidence.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the NAHB said, “In the short run, the shift of housing demand to lower density markets such as suburbs and exurbs along with ongoing low resale inventory levels is supporting demand for home building.”  Rising demand for homes as compared to low numbers of pre-owned homes available is creating additional demand for new homes. 

Analysts said that the demand for new homes will last for quarters or years as it will take time for builders to catch up with the unusually high demand for single-family homes.

A seasonal slow-down in home sales coupled with a new and severe wave of COVID-19 cases may cause challenges for home builders in the coming months, but the current demand for homes could rise if city-dwellers continue to move to less congested areas. Recent positive news about COVID-19 vaccines could impact flight from cities to suburbs, but government approval, manufacture, and distribution of vaccines can’t happen immediately.

A Late Payment: Credit Score Impact

A Late Payment: Credit Sore ImpactThis has been a difficult year for everyone. There are a lot of people who are worried that they might not be able to keep up with their mortgage payments. Small businesses have had to close their doors and numerous individuals have been laid off from work.

It is important for homeowners to understand that banks do not want people to foreclose on their homes either. Therefore, they are often willing to work out an alternate payment plan with homeowners who are struggling due to dire financial situations. Those who are late on a mortgage payment might be wondering how this is going to impact their credit score. The answer is that it depends. 

How Does A FICO Credit Score Work? 

Someone’s credit score is a conglomeration of multiple factors including payment history, the amount of money owed, the length of the credit history,  and new credit. A late or missing mortgage payment is only going to impact one of these categories. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the largest factor, making up more than a third of the total credit score. 

A Late Mortgage Payment

First, it is important for everyone to know that a late payment is not going to impact someone’s credit score until it is late by more than a month. At the same time, people need to remember that the lender can still access a late fee. If someone has a high credit score with a long credit history, this late payment is not going to hurt as much. On the other hand, someone with a poor credit score and a short credit history might feel the sting a little bit more. 

Furthermore, it is important for people to note that a payment that is late by 60 or 90 days is going to hurt someone much more than a payment that is late by just one month. Therefore, even if a payment is going to be late, people should still try to pay it as early as possible.

Protect The Credit Score

It is important for everyone to try to do everything they can to protect their credit score. If they are worried they are not going to be able to make a mortgage payment, they should let the lender know and see what their options are.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 16, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 16, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation and consumer sentiment along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Federal Reserve Board members addressed economic expectations resulting from the COVID-19.

Chair Powell said that there would be no quick fix for the economy and that the economy would suffer for four to six months until the pandemic slows. He also said that a COVID-19 vaccine would not be a panacea for the virus and said that “ the next few months could be challenging” as the virus spreads at a faster pace.

Inflation Stalls as Pandemic Progresses

The Commerce Department reported no growth in the Consumer Price Index and Core Consumer Price Index in October. The readings for both indices were identical with 0.00 percent growth, 0.10 percent growth expected, and September’s month-to-month growth of 0.20 percent. Medical experts predicted  that COVID-19 cases would surge as cooler weather arrived.

The cost of living rose from June to October, but this was a recovery from deep dips in consumer prices as the pandemic took hold. The year-over-year inflation rate slowed to 1.20 percent in October from September’s reading of  1.40 percent. Annual inflation was growing by 2.30 percent before the pandemic.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased by six basis points to 2.84 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.34 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages jumped by 22 basis points to 3.11 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

First-time jobless claims fell last week to 709,000 filings. Analysts expected 731,000 new jobless claims based on the prior week’s reading of 751,000 initial jobless claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims were also lower last week with 6.79 million continuing claims filed. as compared to the prior week’s reading of 7.22 million ongoing jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index posted a lower reading of 77.0 in November as compared to October’s index reading of 81.6 percent and the expected reading of 82.3. The dip in the Consumer Sentiment Index reflected increased consumer concern as covid-19 cases rose,

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department reporting on housing starts, and building permits issued. Data on sales of previously-owned homes will also be reported.

Three Hot Renovations That Will Boost Your Home’s Value Without Breaking the Bank

Three Hot Renovations That Will Boost Your Home's Value Without Breaking the BankAre you feeling the “renovation itch” or perhaps looking for a fun project that you can take on which will provide you with a return on your investment? There are numerous home upgrades and renovations that can add value to a home without costing a large sum of money to complete.

Let’s take a look at three popular home renovations that can increase your home equity without draining your bank account.

Paint Your Home Inside and Out

Painting the interior or exterior of your home costs very little when compared to how much it can freshen up your home’s appearance and increase its value. Painting is also an excellent time to get rid of any old wallpaper or other decor touches that are outdated. Spend some time browsing through Pinterest or through home improvement websites in order to choose a color palette that is warm and inviting without being too bold. Remember, if the goal is to increase your home’s value you’ll need to paint using colors that buyers will find attractive.

Upgrading Your Windows

If your local environment is cold or wet during parts of the year you may find that upgrading your windows improves your home’s appearance and provides you with some additional savings in the form of reduced energy costs. Look for windows that are energy-efficient and that are guaranteed to eliminate drafts. Depending on the area of the country that you reside in, you may find that windows that are insulated with vinyl or aluminum are your best bet.

Finishing Your Basement into a Suite

If you have an unfinished basement which has a lot of space and running water you may want to consider finishing it in to a full basement suite. Some buyers will be enticed by the additional rental income that can come from a suite, while others will be excited at the opportunity to provide an older child or family member with their own suite inside of the same home.

You’ll find that investing a little time and money in your home now can pay huge dividends later when it’s time to sell and move on.

How Are Different Mortgage Lenders Handling Student Loans During the Pandemic?

How Are Different Mortgage Lenders Handling Student Loans During the Pandemic?The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on everyone. This pandemic has led to massive economic issues as well. Given the ongoing crisis as it relates to student loan debt, many students are wondering how the pandemic is going to impact their student loans and how their student loans are going to impact a potential mortgage payment. There are a few points to keep in mind.

Freddie Mac

In general, loans backed by Freddie Mac are going to use the student loan payment that is marked on the credit report. If this amount is $0 or unknown, then the lender is going to use 0.5 percent of the outstanding loan balance. This should also be reported on the credit report. Then, the lender will provide the borrower with information on possible mortgages.

Fannie Mae

When it comes to loans that are backed by Fannie Mae, students might still be on an income-driven repayment plan. In this case, the monthly payment might be zero and the lender may qualify a potential borrower with this $0 payment. On the other hand, if the loans have been deferred or are in forbearance, then the lender may calculate a payment that is equal to approximately 1 percent of the remaining balance on student loans. 

FHA Loans

For individuals going through FHA, the lender is going to run a few calculations. The lender may look at one percent of the remaining balance on the loan, the monthly payment that is reported on the credit report, or the actual documented payment as long as the borrower provides ample evidence. The lender will likely use the greater of these amounts in calculations. 

Why Do These Student Loan Payments Matter?

Credit reports are an essential part of the home-buying process. It is critical for everyone to understand what their student loan payments are and how they might impact their credit report. Furthermore, their student loan payments are also going to have an impact on the monthly mortgage payment they can afford. Therefore, it is important for everyone to make sure the information documented on their credit report is accurate when it comes to their student loans.