5 Important Mistakes To Avoid When Selling A Home

5 Important Mistakes To Avoid When Selling A HomeSellers of homes often make mistakes that are not in their best interests. Here are common mistakes people make when selling a home and how to avoid them.

Using Bad Photography

Using lousy photos or no photos to promote the property for sale is foolish. Professional photography is not so difficult or expensive that sellers should settle for the use of bad photos. Sometimes all the potential buyers will see is the photos they find online. If the photos are bad or not there at all, then that is the end of their interests. 

To stimulate interest in a property, it is even better to use a high-quality video walk through than simple photos. This allows a buyer to enjoy a virtual showing of the property.

Allowing Emotions To Control The Process

Sometimes, buyers should step aside and let the experts guide the process. One example of this is the decisions about staging a home for sale. Staging is getting the home in an immaculate condition that is most attractive to buyers. 

An important part of staging is the depersonalization of the home. This means removing any photos or family items. The reason for doing this is to allow the potential buyer to imagine their family living in the home and not have them think about the previous residents. 

This part of the process may be quite emotional for the seller because it is the first clear sign that they are truly giving up a home. Those emotions are natural but should not stand in the way of getting the home ready for sale.

For Sale By Owner

It may be tempting to try to sell a home without utilizing the services of a professional REALTOR®. However, many studies show that the net price that sellers receive for selling a home on their own is about the same as if they used a real estate agent. 

The buyer pays the real estate agent’s commission. Usually, the price achieved by a professional real estate agency is higher than what an owner may achieve alone. The reason for this is that buyers expect to get a discount from the market price for a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) home. Another consideration is that marketing a home is not easy for amateurs to do, so FSBO homes may languish on the market for a long time before selling.

Too Pricey

Listing a home for a price that is higher than the market value, automatically puts the seller at a disadvantage. It discourages a potential buyer from making an offer. Eventually, this may lead to having to discount the listing price. This makes the home look like something may be wrong with it.

Not Making Repairs

Homes that have a pre-inspection and all the necessary repairs made are much more attractive to buyers. This is true, even if the price includes a discount from market value to allow for the estimated repair costs. It is mostly a matter of convenience for buyers who want a home that is ready to move in and does not immediately need repairs to be made.

Summary

Avoiding these common, and sometimes costly, mistakes may help sellers to sell their homes faster and hopefully get a higher price. Work with a qualified REALTOR® to learn more about how to get a home ready for sale, what price to ask for, when to list it, and what to do to maximize the sales price.

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 to discuss financing options.

How A Reverse Mortgage Can Help With Long-Term Care

How A Reverse Mortgage Can Help With Long-Term CareAnyone who has paid attention to the TV recently has likely seen a lot of commercials for something called a reverse mortgage. For those who might not know, a reverse mortgage is exactly that. In this option, people receive monthly payments from a lender in exchange for equity in their homes. In essence, this functions as an annuity.

One of the major benefits of a reverse mortgage is that it can be used to cover the costs associated with long-term care. Over the next few decades, the number of elderly individuals in the United States is projected to double. For this reason, long-term care is projected to become a major expense.

How Can A Reverse Mortgage Pay For Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is one of the biggest unexpected expenses encountered by the elderly. Often, coinsurance associated with a health insurance policy, combined with the lifetime caps on many policies, can shift significant medical costs to the individual. This leaves many elderly individuals looking for an immediate for some cash. Because many elderly individuals and families are on a fixed income, there are not a lot of options. 

This is where a reverse mortgage can come in handy. Many elderly individuals have paid off their houses entirely. This can act as an immediate source of equity, providing seniors with a much-needed cash infusion to cover the costs associated with long-term care.

Improving On Reverse Mortgages And Long-Term Care

With long-term care expected to become a bigger issue as a larger percentage of the US population reaches retirement, suggestions have been offered to address these costs. One of these suggestions has been to marry long-term care and reverse mortgages with improved social services.

Many experts have been suggesting ways to tie the equity in someone’s home to Medicare and Social Security. This could be used to create a nice safety net that might support seniors by covering the costs of long-term care. Given the stress that an unexpected medical expense can create, this can offer a much-needed respite for seniors and caregivers alike.

Taking Advantage Of A Reverse Mortgage

In the meantime, it is important for seniors to note that a reverse mortgage can offer an immediate cash infusion. This can be used to cover an unexpected cost, such as a medical bill. It will be interesting to see how reverse mortgages evolve in the future.

Call your trusted home financing professional with questions about a reverse mortgage or other options that are available in your situation.

What Does A Property Management Company Do?

What Does A Property Management Company DoFor those who are interested in learning more about real estate, property management companies are an important topic of discussion. Some people might not ever consider hiring a property management company.

Other people wouldn’t ever invest in real estate without a property management company to help them out along the way. This can be a hard decision for people to make. In order to figure out if hiring a management company is the right decision, it is important to think about what they do.

What Is Property Management?

It is the job of a management company to both maintain the quality of the residence while also keeping the occupants happy. Typically, the owner of the property will hire a third party to do this job. The management company then oversees the daily operations of everything that happens at the real estate property. 

This means that property managers respond to the concerns of the residents or tenants. If something goes wrong with one of the appliances, the property management company is typically the one who handles this issue.

If there is something wrong with one of the utilities, the management company handles this also. Parking problems are often handled by the manager as well. Property managers will also make sure that rent is collected on time.

Property managers are also busy while the property is vacant. The manager will make every effort possible to get the property filled if it is vacant. The manager will also make sure that the property is well-kept when it is empty. This means keeping it clean, updating appliances, fixing leaks, and other common issues that arise.   

Is A Property Manager Needed?

In order for someone to decide whether or not a property manager is needed, there are a few important considerations.

First, the more rental properties someone has, the more work will need to be done. It might be too much for one person to do on their own.

Next, think about how far away the property is. The farther away the property is, the harder it will be to keep an eye on it.

Finally, managing property is an active job. Those who intend to get into real estate as a form of passive income will want to hire someone else to handle this job.

Consider these questions carefully when thinking about property management companies.

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.

Is A 15 Or 30 Year Mortgage Right For You?

Is A 15 Or 30 Year Mortgage Right For YouWhen someone is looking to purchase a house, they need to think about how long they want their mortgage to last. While a bank can structure a mortgage to last for any number of years, the most common lengths are 15 and 30 years. While a 30-year mortgage is typically more affordable, a 15-year mortgage is cheaper overall. 

When someone is trying to decide how long they want their mortgage to last, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.

The Benefits Of A 15-Year Mortgage

There are a few important benefits that everyone should know about a 15-year mortgage. Some of the biggest benefits include:

  • With a 15-year mortgage, people are going to pay off their home more quickly. This will free up cash to spend in other places. Those who are looking to retire without a mortgage may want to go with a 15-year mortgage. 
  • Next, a 15-year mortgage is going to come with a lower interest rate. Because the bank is going to get their money back more quickly, they are going to reward the borrower with a lower interest rate. Overall, the bank is taking on less risk.
  • Finally, a 15-year mortgage is also going to be cheaper overall. With a lower interest rate and a loan that is paid off more quickly, the bank is going to take less of someone’s money over the life of the loan. 

The Benefits Of A 30-Year Mortgage

A 30-year mortgage has some notable differences when compared to a 15-year mortgage. There are a few important benefits that people need to remember. These include:

  • The monthly payments are going to lower. Those who are planning on paying for their children’s college education, or who envision a car payment in the near future, may want to have extra cash on hand to fund them.
  • As someone pays off their mortgage the interest paid on the loan is tax-deductible. Since more interest is paid on a 30-year mortgage, there will be greater tax savings as well. This means that people will get some of their money back.
  • Finally, a 30-year mortgage is also more flexible. During the loan, people may elect to make extra payments. This allows someone to pay off their home more quickly.

These are a few of the most important points people need to remember when trying to decide between a 15-year and 30-year mortgage.  As always, call your trusted home mortgage loan professional to discuss the options available for your personal situation.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 13th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 13th, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings on public and private sector jobs, the national unemployment rate and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.

ADP: Private-Sector Job Growth Eases in December

Private-sector jobs increased by 202,000 jobs in December and exceeded expectations. November’s original reading of 60,000 new private-sector jobs was revised to 124,000 jobs.

Three and six-month average private-sector job growth rates were 159,000 and 151,000 jobs, but these growth rates fell short of 2018’s average monthly job growth rate of 218,000 jobs added.

Analysts said that private-sector job growth has settled into a more modest but steady pattern.

Non-Farm Payrolls: Public and Private-Sector Job Growth Slower in December

The Commerce Department reported 145,000 public and private-sector jobs added in December with 145,000 new jobs reported. Analysts expected 165,000 new jobs added, which was markedly less than 256,000 new jobs added in November.

Reduction in new jobs during December was likely due to slowing in holiday hiring and winter weather. Average hourly earnings for December rose by 0.10 percent and were lower than expectations of  0.30 percent growth. Slower wage growth contributed to predictions of slowing economic growth.

The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.50 percent in December.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell eight basis points to 3.64 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged nine basis points lower at 3.07 percent.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 13 basis points lower at 3.30 percent. Discount points for fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.70 percent and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac predicted that rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will average 3.80 percent in 2020 as compared to 4.00 percent in 2019.

Weekly jobless claims fell to 214,000 new claims; analysts expected 219,000 new claims filed. 223,000 first-time claims were filed the prior week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions. Commerce Department readings on housing starts and inflation will also be released. The University of Michigan will post data on consumer sentiment; weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be posted as scheduled.

10 US Cities With Highest Mortgage Denial Rates

10 US Cities With Highest Mortgage Denial RatesFor many, owning property is seen as a rite of passage. At the same time, for most people, accomplishing this dream is largely dependent on the approval of a mortgage. For this reason, it is important for people to think carefully when deciding who to ask for a mortgage. Some cities have a higher mortgage approval rate than others.

Identifying Problems With A Mortgage Application

Before applying for a mortgage, it is important to think about the most common reasons why someone might be rejected. First, if someone has a debt to income ratio that is too high, they are more likely to be turned down for a mortgage.

It is understandable that if someone already has too much debt, they are unlikely to be able to handle the added burden of a mortgage. Another possible reason for being turned down might be out of someone’s control entirely. This has more to do with geography.

Application Problems In The Sunshine State

For those who might not know, the sunshine state is Florida. Many of the cities with the highest rejection rates are right here. For example, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Orlando are all among the cities with the highest rejection rates on mortgage applications.

Some of the other cities on the list include New York, San Antonio, San Jose, Detroit, Birmingham, and Houston. Those who live in these cities need to make sure that their mortgage applications are in excellent shape. Otherwise, it could end up in disappointment.

Take, for example, Miami, Florida. More than one in nine mortgage applications are rejected. The most common reason why someone might be denied a mortgage in this major city is debt to income ratio.

Another common reason why those applying for a mortgage in this city might be denied is a lack of collateral. Florida has a reputation for attracting retirees; however, most of the jobs in this state have to do with hospitality. This is an industry that is largely seasonal and has low wages, contributing to a high rejection rate on mortgage applications.

Preparing For The Application Process

Anyone looking to buy property, particularly in these cities, must make sure their application is in order. Getting approved for a mortgage is a critical part of buying a home. For this reason, try to maximize credit scores while minimizing outstanding debt. This can go a long way toward getting approved.

And as always, talk with your trusted mortgage professional for personal guidance through the application process. They are experienced and have the best vantage point to make sure your application is set up for success.

What Is A Short Sale?

What Is A Short SaleNobody enters into a mortgage assuming they are going to fall short on their payments; however, life happens and borrowers might need a way out. In serious situations, lenders may elect to foreclose on homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments. Fortunately, there might be another way out. This is called a short sale.

A short sale can be used to help homeowners who are struggling cater to those who are looking to buy a home. At the same time, there are risks to both parties. Therefore, there are a few important points to keep in mind.

What Is The Structure Of A Short Sale?

If someone owes more on their mortgage than the property would otherwise sell for, this is called a short sale. In this situation, the lender accepts the money coming from the sale of the home rather than that money going to the homeowner. This is because the homeowner still owes a significant amount of money on their mortgage.

Take, for example, someone who owes $300,000 on their mortgage. In a short sale situation, he or she would sell the home for $250,000 in a short sale. In this fashion, the lender agrees to accept a smaller amount of money for the home than he or she would get otherwise. In essence, the lender is then short $50,000. This is where the name comes from.

This is different from a foreclosure. A foreclosure happens when the borrower falls so far behind on payments that the lender reclaims the property.

The Benefits Of A Short Sale

The biggest benefit of a short sale is avoiding foreclosure. A foreclosure is a disastrous event for someone’s credit score. When someone agrees to a short sale process instead, he or she will often buy a more affordable home shortly thereafter. 

Buying A Home In A Short Sale

On the buyer side, the biggest benefit of targeting a short sale home is that there is usually a great deal on the price. The lender is already not getting their money on a regular basis and is often motivated the sell the home quickly to recoup their money.

On the other hand, short sales often take longer to proceed. The lender has to approve the sale and price, which might lead to delays. The condition of the house may also not be in good shape. Therefore, be sure to get a home inspection.

Calling your trusted real estate agent and mortgage loan professional is the best thing to do if you have questions regarding your home and a possible short sale.

Why Buying A Home In An Adjacent Area To The Best Neighborhood Is A Wise Strategy

Why Buying A Home In An Adjacent Area To The Best Neighborhood Is A Wise StrategyHave you ever seen a scientific experiment with things growing in a Petri dish? This is a metaphor for how neighborhoods grow as well. Things in a Petri dish grow towards the areas that have more nutrition to attract them and repel from areas that have bad things that they do not want.

A popular neighborhood does a similar thing. It may have boundaries that are certain street or other physical barriers. Nevertheless, if the area builds its popularity, it tends to grow and might also cause an improvement in the surrounding areas.

Homes In Adjacent Neighborhoods

An adjacent neighborhood is one that is right next to another one. For example, in the Los Angeles Metro Area, just to the west of Beverly Hills is Century City. Century City is a fine area so it is usually called by its name. However, properties in Century City are also “Beverly Hills – Adjacent.”

This nomenclature is a bit like identifying a “used car” as a “pre-owned vehicle.” It is a marketing technique to say a home is located in a neighborhood adjacent to a popular one. However, those homes are indeed special. If the popular area appreciates significantly, this may have a positive impact on the neighborhoods surrounding it.

Mapping Adjacent Neighborhoods

It is a terrific strategy to look at the opportunities for buying a home in an adjacent area near the best neighborhood in town.

Use Google maps to find the map that includes the best area of town and what is around it. Then, research the listing prices for homes that are within the best neighborhood and those that are in the adjacent areas. For comparison, look for homes of the same style, type, and size

Zoom in on the satellite view of the streets to get a close look at the places just inside and just outside the official boundaries of a great neighborhood. It may be surprising to find areas that have a significant pricing differential, even just for a few blocks on a few streets. Those particular areas are worth further exploration.

Barriers To Progress

Be aware that physical barriers are stronger than psychological ones. A river, a very wide street, a public park or another major physical barrier can permanently separate a neighborhood from another adjacent one. These may block a growth opportunity.

What to look for are adjacent areas where the barrier between the neighborhoods is psychological and there is nothing at all very different between the great neighborhood and two blocks down the street. These few blocks in the adjacent neighborhood are where one might discover a treasure. It is possible to find a home that has a slightly better price. It might appreciate at the same rate as the best neighborhood next door or faster to catch up with other similar homes.

Summary

Using the adjacent neighborhood strategy may help avoid buying a home only in the most expensive areas that may be over-priced. Many find that the adjacent areas are just as nice and a home there may be a better value. 

Work with a real estate agent that knows the area well. Your agent should be able to help you discover the up-and-coming adjacent areas and properties that might offer an enhanced investment opportunity. As always, your trusted home mortgage professional is the best resource for current financing options.

The Basic Home Security Checklist Every Home Needs

The Basic Home Security Checklist Every Home NeedsDid you realize that only around 17 percent of the homes in the United States have a security system? Leaving your residence unprotected can come back to haunt you in the future.

The longer you wait to find and fix security problems, the harder you will find it to keep your family safe. Taking the time to inspect your home is a great way to see where security problems exist. With the help of the checklist in this article, you can secure your home and keep burglars at bay.

Check Your Existing Security Alarm

If your home does have a security alarm, you need to make sure it has all of the latest features and updates. Some homeowners think that a security alarm is something they can set and forget.

One of the main things you need to make sure your alarm has is monitoring. With monitoring, you will be able to get the authorities to your home in a hurry in the event of a burglary.

The key to getting the right monitoring is working with the right security company. Before using a particular company, find out more about how they will monitor your home. Paying a bit more for high-quality monitoring will be worth it considering the safety it will add to your residence.

Check Your Windows and Doors

As you inspect your home, be sure to pay close attention to your doors and windows. Usually, these are the areas that a burglar will target when trying to break into a home. If the windows or doors are old and not working properly, it can put you and your family in a lot of danger.

This is why replacing damaged doors and windows is so important. You may also want to think about adding window alarms to your home. With these alarms in place, burglars will not stand a chance when trying to gain access to your residence. An experienced security company will have no problem installing these window alarms for an affordable price.

New Outdoor Lighting is a Good Idea

Another factor you should pay attention to when inspecting your home is the condition of the exterior lighting. If there is limited illumination on the outside of your home, you need to fix this immediately. Leaving the outside of a home dimly lit is like sending an invitation to burglars. This is why investing in high-quality landscape lighting is a good idea.

Things like motion-sensor lights can help you keep burglars away. Instead of trying to find and install these lights on your own, you need to hire professionals. They will be able to get the new lights in place in a hurry.

They can also help you choose the right places to put these lights.

A Great Investment

Instead of looking at additional home security as something you have to do, you need to view it as something you want to do. The money you invest in better home security will be worth it in the long run.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 6th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 6th, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Schiller Home Price Indices and National Association of  Realtors® data on pending home sales. The Conference Board of the U.S. Senate also released its Consumer Confidence Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller Reports 0.10 Percent Uptick in National  Home Price Index

The National Home Price Index issued by Case-Shiller for October reported a year-over-year increase of 3.20 percent in home prices. Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reflected the influence of low inventories of affordable homes as pricey metro areas reported slower growth if not declines in home-price growth.

 The top three cities reporting highest year-over-year home prices were Phoenix, Arizona with5.80 percent growth; Tampa, Florida with 4.90 percent growth and Charlotte, North Carolina, which had 4.80 percent home price growth.

Analysts said that the shift in higher home-price growth rates to smaller eastern and southern metro areas was evidence of continued shortages of affordable homes in coastal and major metro areas. Home prices in San Francisco, California declined for the third consecutive month in October after posting double-digit home price growth in recent years.

Pending home sales,  which are sales for which purchase offers have been made but not completed, rose 1.20 percent in November as compared to October. Regionally, pending home sales reports were mixed. The Western region led with a 5.50 percent growth rate in pending home sales. Pending home sales were 1.00 percent higher in the Midwest and fell by -0.10 percent in the Northeast. Pending home sales fell by 0.20 percent in the  South. 

Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that “The supply of available homes is not yet meeting healthy demand.” Real estate pros consider pending home sales a gauge of future closings.  

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Dip

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.72 percent and were two basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by three basis points and averaged 3.16 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages was one basis point higher at 3.46 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell by 2000 claims to 222,000 claims filed last week; analysts expected a reading of 223,000 initial jobless claims filed. The U.S. Conference Board reported a lower consumer confidence reading of 126.50 in December, but this was caused by an upwardly-revised November index reading of 126.80.

Consumer confidence in current economic conditions rose 4.40 points to 170.00 points, but this momentum was offset by the reading for consumer confidence in economic conditions over the next six months from 100.30 points to 97.40 points. Analysts said that flagging consumer confidence indicated that the economy is not likely to grow significantly in the next six months.

What’s Ahead

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