Most Renters Are Paying Far More Than Their Landlord’s Mortgage

Most Renters Are Paying Far More Than Their Landlord's MortgageIn the overwhelming majority of the 50 largest cities across the U.S., monthly rent is more than the mortgage payment for single-family homes. In several cases, much more. 

Global answering service and chat support company Moneypenny compiled data from Zillow on median rent and mortgage payments from July 2014-July 2019.

In order to calculate the monthly mortgage payments, Moneypenny took the median home sale prices during the same time period and in the same major cities and then used nationally-average mortgage terms: 30-year fixed rate at 4% with approximately 6% down. 

Once the two figures — median monthly rent and median monthly mortgage — were calculated for each city, they were compared side-by-side. The data may surprise you. 

From Less Than Half To More Than Triple

In just seven of the 50 cities analyzed, tenants pay less rent than the owner’s mortgage payment each month. In 28 of the cities — well over half, tenants are paying more than 150% of their home’s mortgage. The city with the highest rent-to-mortgage ratio, Miami, shows that renters pay more than 300% of their landlord’s monthly mortgage payment on average.

Rounding out the top five are New York (276%); Riverside, California (231%); Boston (230%); and San Diego (221%). At the opposite end of the spectrum is New Orleans, where tenants pay just 49% of their home’s mortgage each month, followed by Richmond, Virginia (57%), and Kansas City, Missouri (82%). 

An interesting data point is that the median monthly mortgage payment in Miami is $720, while in New Orleans it’s $2,857. 


While it makes perfect sense that rent prices in hot real estate markets are higher, some may still be surprised by the disparity between rental amounts and monthly mortgage payments. However, it’s important to note that even in the cities with the biggest gap, landlords are not necessarily pocketing the excess and enjoying a nice profit. While it’s certainly possible that they may be, homeowners are more likely putting some of that money back into the house in the form of improvements and maintenance, as well as setting some of it aside for large emergency repairs. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

5 Essential Questions Real Estate Investors Should Ask Before Making An Offer

5 Essential Questions Real Estate Investors Should Ask Before Making An OfferReal estate investing is not only a great way to diversify assets but can also be used to generate both income and capital appreciation. While this is a fantastic opportunity, it is also important to choose investment projects carefully. It is critical to ask the right questions before making an offer on an investment property.

Why Is The Building On The Market?

There is a reason why the property is on the market. It is important to know the answer to this question. Sometimes, the house is on the market purely because the owner is moving for job or family purposes.

On the other hand, there might be an issue with the integrity of the structure. Be sure to figure out the true nature of the building before making an offer.

What Are The Other Offers?

It is important to know the competition when purchasing an investment property. Those who are trying to get the best deal possible need to know what they are up against. Asking about whether a cash offer will sweeten the deal is a great way to garner some additional insights.

What Is The Recent Maintenance?

One of the most common hidden costs in the world of real estate comes in the form of deferred maintenance. If nothing has been done on the property recently, these maintenance costs are going to be passed on to the buyer, hurting any potential ROI. Be sure to ask about any recent repairs or replacements. It’s not unusual for someone to spend a third of the building’s value on repairs.

What Is The Seller Interested In?

Be straightforward and ask what is important to the seller. Some sellers want a quick close. Other sellers want to rent the property back. There are even some sellers who want to leave the furniture behind as well. Ask what the seller needs to offload the investment property.

How Long Has It Been On The Market?

Always check and see how long the building as been on the market. If the building has been on the market for a while, figure out why it hasn’t sold. On the other hand, if the building just landed on the market, there might be more room to negotiate.

If you are in the market for a real estate investment property, a trusted home mortgage professional can be one of your best assets. Be sure to make contact as soon as you are ready to start looking!

How To Keep Records For Your Real Estate Business

How To Keep Records For Your Real Estate BusinessAnyone who is looking to build a successful real estate business needs to keep meticulous records. When buying and selling property, there are a lot of tax and legal responsibilities. While some people may not want to think about this issue, the IRS may audit a real estate business. In this case, it is critical to have documentation that demonstrates proof of income as well as any credits or deductions that might have been claimed.

Some of the most common deductions that are claimed in the real estate business include depreciation, mortgage interest, repairs, insurance premiums, administrative costs, and property taxes. In order to keep records for a real estate business, there are a few categories to consider.

Improvements That Have Been Made To Properties

There are two ways that someone can deduct the costs of improvements or repairs made to properties. First, someone can deduct the entire cost of the expense during the year that it was incurred. This means the cost of materials, labor, storage, and more. 

The other way that someone can claim this deduction is to depreciate its cost over a predetermined period of time. This time period is going to depend on the nature of the repair. In this case, the depreciation period would begin on the date the repair or improvement is made.

The Cost Of Cars, Mileage, And Parking

Another key category is mileage and parking. There are plenty of people who use a car to get from place to place. If this car is used for work purposes, it can be claimed as a deduction. In order to keep proper records of mileage and parking, it is important to keep either a digital or paper log for the purposes of each trip. 

Then, with the number of miles driven in hand, this can be multiplied by the suggested mileage rate provided by the IRS. The grand total can be deducted from someone’s gross taxable income that year. The alternative way to calculate this is to forgo the standard rate issued by the IRS and deduct the cost of gas, maintenance, and depreciation of the vehicle. Some people like to calculate the deduction both ways and use the larger total. Just be sure to have records to support this claim.

Remember that partenering with a trusted home mortgage professional can be a great asset for your clients and generate referral leads for your business.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week -March 2nd, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week -March 2nd, 2020Economic readings released last week included Case-Shiller and FHFA Home Price Indices and reports on new and pending home sales. The week wrapped up with a report on consumer sentiment and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Case-Shiller, FHFA Report Faster Home Price Growth

Home prices rose by 3.80 percent year-over-year in December according to Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index rose by 2.90 percent year-over-year in December as compared to November’s reading of a 3.50 percent gain over-over-year; Case-Shiller reported 0.40 percent growth in home prices from month-to-month.

The 20-City Home Price Index reported no change in the top three cities for year-over-year home price growth. Phoenix, Arizona reported 6.50 percent home price growth in December followed by Charlotte, North Carolina’s reading of 5.30 percent home price growth. Tampa, Florida reported 5.20 percent year-over-year home price growth.

The Federal HousingFinance Agency reported its 34th consecutive quarter of home price growth in December. Home prices rose by 5.10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 and were 0.60 percent higher month-to-month.

2019 saw home buyers leave pricey coastal metro areas in favor of less expensive markets in mountain states and in the South. Home prices in these areas rose as demand increased. Overall, real estate pros reported lingering shortages of homes for sale in many areas, but low mortgage rates prompted would-be buyers to enter the market. Increased demand for homes further boosted home prices in many areas.

Mortgage Rates Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as 30-year fixed mortgage rates dropped four basis points to 3.45 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was also four basis points lower at 2.95 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.20 percent and were five basis points lower.

Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.80 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.

First-time jobless claims rose last week; 219,000 new claims were filed and exceeded expectations of 214,000 claims and the prior week’s reading of 211,000 first-time claims filed.

New and Pending Home Sales Increase in January

764,000 new homes were sold in January on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis according to the Commerce Department. Analysts expected 722,000 new home sales based on December’s reading of 708,000 new homes sold. Low mortgage rates boosted sales as buyers turned to new home developments to take advantage of rock-bottom mortgage rates.

Pending home sales rose 5.20 percent in January as compared to a dip of -4.30 percent in December according to the National Association of Realtors®. Pending home sales were 8.70 percent higher in the South and 7.10 percent higher in the Midwest. Pending sales rose by 1.20 percent in the Northeast and fell 1.10 percent in the West.

The University of Michigan reported slight growth in consumer sentiment in February with an index reading of 101.0 as compared to January’s reading of 100.9. Analysts expected no change from January’s reading.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private-sector job growth and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Or Invest the Money?

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Or Invest the MoneyTo understand what to do with a windfall or extra disposable income when it comes to paying down a mortgage or investing the money, we need to discuss and understand the concept of opportunity cost.

What Is Opportunity Cost?

The concept of opportunity cost takes into consideration the total financial impact of the use of funds when applied in different ways, to be able to compare the effectiveness of how it is best to use them. The opportunity cost considers the risks involved, the potential reward, as well as the tax implications of the choices.

Risk Versus Reward Evaluation

All investments have risks. When comparing the potential earnings from an investment against the savings of mortgage interest, only the investment side has any downside risk. If you pay down the mortgage, there is a 100% certainty that the loan will reduce and the interest paid will go down. You can calculate the saving on the interest and know the exact amount.

If you invest those same funds, there is always a risk that the investment money can be lost or the investment returns are lower than expected. Moneywise did a comparison of using money to lower a mortgage versus investing in the S&P 500 stock market index over 43 years from 1971 to 2013. For 26 of those 43 years (60% of the time), paying down the mortgage was a better financial move.

Tax Implications

The tax implications involve the impact of the mortgage interest deduction, and its effect on reducing federal income taxes, and the cost of paying capital gains tax on investment profits.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reduced the possibility for many people of benefiting from an itemized mortgage interest deduction because the standard deduction increased. For comparative purposes, most Americans pay capital gains at the current rate of 15%.

Take the tax savings from the mortgage deduction, if you can use it, and compare this to the investment income, less the applicable capital gains taxes. Ask your tax accountant to do the calculation for you if you cannot do this yourself.


For some, paying down a mortgage is more beneficial than investing. Paying down a mortgage certainly has less risk. Be sure to consider paying down high-interest credit card bills first. That is always a wise idea because the interest rate charged on credit cards is so high.

Every person’s financial circumstances are somewhat different so there is no standard answer when comparing paying down a mortgage to investing the same amount of money. Each person needs to do this calculation of the opportunity costs, to be able to apply their extra funds in ways that are most beneficial for them.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Find The Best Mortgage Deal With A Few Simple Steps

Find The Best Mortgage Deal With A Few Simple StepsCurrently, this is a great time to be in the market for a new home. The interest rates on mortgages have fallen countless times over the past few years. Even though interest rates have been in the double-digits in the past, there are homeowners today who are able to agree to a mortgage for less than three percent. 

Despite the low interest rates, it is still important to get the best possible deal. There are a few simple steps that everyone should follow to get the best mortgage deal possible.

Know How Much You Need

The first step is to figure out what type of mortgage is required. Some potential homeowners might be looking for a mortgage they can get with a small down payment. Other potential homeowners might be looking for a mortgage they can pay off quickly.

Remember, the goal is to eventually own the home outright. The goal is not to pay as much interest as possible. Therefore, try to figure out what type of loans are available. Then, decide which loan best matches the needs.

Know The Market

Next, it is important to know what the market is doing. First, consider what the market looks like on a national level. Where do the average interest rates currently sit? Are these interest rates for 15-year loans or 30-year loans? Are the interest rates for fixed-rate loans or adjustable-rate loans?

Then, know what the market looks like in the local area. What are some of the current mortgage rates for loans in the given area? This will give potential homeowners a decent idea of what the current market looks like.

Get The Credit Score In Order

In addition, it is critical to take steps to ensure the credit score is as solid as possible. Some people only check the credit score when it is time to take out a loan. Try to do this as early as possible. There might be errors on the credit report that can influence someone’s score.

The credit score is important because it gives the lender an idea of what someone’s financial history looks like. A higher credit score means the lender is taking on less risk. In this situation, the lender might be willing to lower the potential interest rate.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

Ensuring Home Contractors Are Following The Rules Under HICPA

Ensuring Home Contractors Are Following The Rules Under HICPAThere are many homeowners who hire contractors to make repairs or upgrades on their homes. It is critical for home improvement contractors to follow all rules and regulations set forth by the law. These regulations have been set forth under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, or HICPA. 

An Overview Of The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act

The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act was put forth to ensure that homeowners and contractors come to an appropriate agreement. Some of the rule and regulations that are included in the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act include:

  • All contractors need to obtain a registration number
  • Home contractors are required to register with the Office of the Attorney General
  • All home contractors need to pay the required registration fees

Finally, the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act also specifies the various terms that need to be included in each agreement set forth by homeowners and contractors. Any contractors agreed to by contractors and homeowners need to comply with the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. The purpose of this act is to protect homeowners against fraudulent contractors. 

What Happens If An Agreement Does Not Follow The Rules?

If an agreement does not abide by the regulations included in the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, then there might be liability in a civil court. Furthermore, there could even be criminal charges that result. 

In the event that a homeowner enters into civil litigation against a home contractor, the first item that lawyers will look into include the regulations under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. If the contractor violated any of the regulations, the HICPA may also specify penalties that might be levied against the contractor.

When Does The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act Apply?

There are only a few exceptions where the HICPA would not apply to a home improvement job. Even though the definitions under the HICPA are very broad, this act does not apply to contractors who earn less than $5,000 of taxable income in a given year. Finally, the HICPA applies only to home improvements. It does not apply to the construction of a new home. The act also does not apply to the sale of any home appliances.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional. 

3 Tips to Find the Best Neighborhood to Live In

3 Tips to Find the Best Neighborhood to Live InThe vast majority of people are going to move at least once in their life. Moves can vary in distance. Sometimes, these moves are across town. Other times, they might be across the country. Regardless of the distance, is important to find a neighborhood that fits both the budget and lifestyle. There are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Consider Renting First

Even though there are powerful electronic tools that can help a family narrow down their potential landing spots in a new city, it is impossible to be 100 percent certain that the community is a comfortable fit until actually living there for some time. Therefore, it might be a prudent idea to try renting first.

Renting in that location doesn’t come with the same commitment as buying property. Therefore, if the neighborhood isn’t the right fit, individuals and families can move without having to sell their house. On the other hand, if the community is still a great fit after a few months or a year, it is easier to buy a house at that point in time.

2. Look At The Cost Of Living

Everyone has a budget and most people like to focus on the price of the home. After all, this is likely going to be the biggest expense; however, there are some other factors that are going to play a role as well.

Think about the cost of gas, transportation, the rates on various utilities, healthcare costs, real estate taxes, food prices, and more. All of these factors are going to play a role in how expensive it will be to live in a certain location. Gas prices are going to vary widely depending on state taxes. Some municipalities have local income taxes while others don’t. There might even be HOA fees to consider. Think about all of these factors and their impact on the cost of living.

3. Prioritize Safety

Lastly, even though the financial factors deserve consideration, safety needs to come first. Take a look at the crime rates in the local area. Read some of the local police reports. When visiting, look for signs of vandalism and home damage. This will help everyone estimate the safety of a potential landing spot pretty quickly. Safety should always come first.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week -February 24th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week -February 24th, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on builder confidence in housing markets, housing starts and building permits issued and sales of previously owned homes. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Remains Strong Despite Challenges

February data from the National Association of Home Builders indicated strong builder confidence in housing market conditions overall, but February’s index reading was one point lower at 74. Readings over 50 indicate that most builders have a positive outlook on housing market conditions.

Homebuilder outlook remained positive, although building materials and buildable lots remained costly. Demand for affordable single-family homes was high due to short supplies of existing homes for sale. Homebuyers turned to new homes to find more options. Low mortgage rates and strong job markets contributed to high builder confidence readings.

Housing Starts Fall in January as Building Permits Rise to 13-Year High

Commerce Department data on housing starts showed that the pace of housing starts slipped  3.60 percent from 1.626 million starts in December to 1.567 million starts in January. Housing starts are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; analysts said that January’s housing starts were markedly lower after an unexpected rise in housing starts in December 2019.

Building permits rose by 9.60 percent in January with 1.55 million permits issued as compared to 1.420 permits issued in December and an expected annual pace of 1.453 million housing starts for January.

Ongoing shortages of available single-family homes can only be resolved by building more homes, but home builders face obstacles in obtaining necessary zoning  approvals. January’s increase in permits issued is expected to help ease persistently slim inventories of homes for sale.

Sales of previously-owned homes dipped in January due to short supplies of homes for sale and fewer options for would-be home buyers. Pre-owned homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 5.46 million sales as compared to December’s reading of 5.53 million sales.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose two basis points to 3.49 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also rose two basis points to 2.99 percent.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by three basis points to 3.25 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.80 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points averaged 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose to 210,000 claims filed, which matched expectations. The prior week’s reading showed 206,000 first-time claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on home price trends from Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency and readings on new home sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims will also be released.

FHA Down Payment Requirements: Homeownership Without A Big Savings Account

FHA Down Payment Requirements Homeownership Without A Big Savings AccountBuying a home for the first time can be a challenge. One of the tools created to help people buy a home for the first time comes in the form of FHA loans. There were loans that were supported by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). They can require a down payment that is as low as 3.5 percent. 

FHA loans are significantly different from traditional mortgage loans. Those who have purchased a house before have likely heard that the average down payment is closer to 20 percent of the value. This can make it hard for someone to buy a home, particularly if they already have a car loan and credit card debt.

The Role Of The Credit Score For FHA Loans

Anyone who is interested in a mortgage with a down payment of 3.5 percent will want to do everything they can to make sure they have a strong mortgage application. This starts by taking a look at the credit score. 

A credit score of 580 or higher will increase someone’s chances of successfully applying for a mortgage with a 3.5 percent down payment. Those who have a credit score between 500 and 579 will likely be asked to put 10 percent down in order to qualify for a loan through the FHA program.

For example, someone who is looking to buy a home that costs $250,000 may only need to put down $8,750. On the other hand, if someone’s credit score is under 580, they might be asked to put down $25,000. This can make a tremendous difference to someone who is trying to purchase a home.

The Other Requirements Of An FHA Loan

While a small down payment is attractive to many people, one catch is that homeowners may be asked to purchase private mortgage insurance, or PMI, under this program. This insurance policy is required because the lenders through the FHA program are taking on more risk by accepting a smaller down payment.

PMI is a cost that will need to be paid monthly, in addition to the mortgage payment. Those who are willing to put down a larger down payment might be able to get the PMI requirement waived.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.