5 Essential Tips For Painting A House

5 Essential Tips for Painting a HouseWhen someone makes the decision to purchase a home, they often want to add their own personal touch, style, and flair to the home. One of the ways to do this is to paint the home. Of course, painting a home is a significant investment in terms of both time and money. It is important for everyone to keep a few tips in mind to make sure this process goes smoothly.

Pressure Wash The Walls Ahead Of Time

The first step is to make sure the walls are pressure washed first. Anything that is present on the walls when the paint goes down will be trapped there permanently. Remove any dust and debris by taking the time to pressure wash the walls first.

Prime The Painting Areas

The paint needs to adhere to the walls properly in order to achieve the desired effect. In order to make this happen, prime the painting areas first. This coat of primer is essential for making sure the painting job is completed properly.

Protect The Areas That Aren’t Painted

Homeowners also need to take the proper precautions to make sure the paint stays in the desired area. This means using painter’s tape or similar precautions to protect the areas of the home that aren’t going to be painted. Make sure the paint is contained in the desired areas. 

Start With The First Paint Layer

Those who are painting their home need to make sure they paint with a single layer at a time. Even though it can be a hassle to move the painting equipment from spot to spot, give the paint time to rest before judging the work. Finish the first layer before moving on to the next.

Call A Professional Home Painting Contractor For Help

Finally, it can be hard to paint a home. Often, the job does not proceed exactly as planned. Therefore, homeowners should not hesitate to call a contractor for help. Even though homeowners might feel like this is spending money unnecessarily, the costs that come from a painting job performed incompletely or incorrectly will be far more significant.

A contractor has the training and experience necessary to get home painting jobs done correctly the first time.  

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.

Should You Get A Second Mortgage To Pay For College?

Should You Get A Second Mortgage To Pay For CollegeCollege is expensive and everyone needs to think about how they are going to cover the costs. Some of the costs include tuition, room and board, meals, books, and spending money.

In order to pay for college, some people consider taking out a second mortgage instead of taking out a student loan. How can someone know if taking out a second mortgage is the answer for them? There are several factors to consider.

The Interest Rate

One of the factors that people need to consider is the interest rate on the second mortgage. The higher the interest rate, the more expensive the second mortgage is going to be.

The total cost of the second mortgage, including the interest rate, points, origination fees, and other expenses, must be weighed against the cost of attending college, which often comes in the form of a student loan. Which is going to be more cost-effective? The second mortgage or the student loan?

The Size Of The Loan

Another factor to consider is the size of the loan. Ultimately, the size of the loan is going to impact the final cost of attending college. The larger the loan, the more someone will have to pay in terms of interest. The size of the student loan should be compared to the cost associated with a second mortgage. 

The Tax Implications

Another aspect people need to consider is the tax implications. The interest on a first mortgage is tax-deductible. This is often the largest tax deduction that someone claims. People might assume that the interest on their second mortgage is going to be tax-deductible as well.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Interest on a second mortgage is tax-deductible only if the proceeds from that mortgage are going to be used to pay for the property. If they are being used to pay for education, they are not tax-deductible.

People need to compare the tax implications of a student loan versus the implications of a second mortgage.

Using A Second Mortgage To Pay For College

These are a few of the factors that everyone needs to think about when trying to finance the cost of higher education. These decisions can have significant impacts on someone’s financial future.

Consult with your trusted home financing professional for a review of your personal situation. They can guide you through the process to make the best decision for your family.

Case Shiller, FHFA Report Uptick In Home Price Growth In September

Case Shiller, FHFA Report Uptick In Home Price Growth In SeptemberCase-Shiller’s National Home Price Index showed 3.20 percent national home price growth in September, which was 0.10 percent higher than August’s reading of 3.10 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index showed the continued impact of exorbitant home prices on both coasts as home price growth slowed in high-cost areas and smaller markets experienced upward pressure on home prices as home buyers were seeking affordable homes.

Phoenix, Arizona led the 20-City Home Price Index with 6.00 percent year-over-year growth in September. Charlotte, North Caroline had 4.60 percent growth in home prices and Tampa, Florida rounded out the three cities with highest year-over-year home price growth with 4.50 percent growth. The 20-City Home Price Index has documented migration of home buyers away from prime metro areas to interior and southern states. Analysts said that lower mortgage rates helped affordability in some cases, but home price growth outpaced stagnant wage growth and inflation.

FHFA Data Shows Home Buyers Leaving High Priced Areas

Federal Housing Finance Agency reporting for the third quarter of 2019 supported Case-Shiller’s trends. Home prices in mid-sized cities are rising as buyers relocate to areas where home prices are accessible to moderate-income buyers. FHFA reported year-over-year price growth for homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slipped to 4.90 percent. This was the first time home price growth dipped below 5.00 percent growth since 2015.

FHFA reported home prices in Boise, Idaho grew by 11.10 percent year-over-year; home prices in Tucson, Arizona grew by 10.30 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. Lynn Fisher, a senior economic advisor for FHFA, said that home price growth rates in California and New York were lower than the national average.

The top three states with the largest year-over-year home price growth rates in the FHFA 20-City HPI were Idaho with 11.60 percent; Maine and Arizona tied with Utah with 7.90 percent home price growth. States with the lowest rates of home price growth were Illinois with 1.90 percent year-over-year growth, Connecticut reported 2.20 percent home price growth and Maryland home prices rose by 2.40 percent. FHFA reported that home prices have risen for 33 consecutive quarters; this is good news for homeowners, but also creates affordability challenges for would-be buyers facing high home prices and strict mortgage qualification standards.

Be sure to consult with your trusted Realtor and home mortgage professionals regarding your real estate concerns and transactions.

How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?

How Are Mortgage Rates DeterminedWhen someone is interested in buying a home, there are a number of factors that people need to consider. Some of these include the budget, the size of the home, and the mortgage interest rates. 

The mortgage rate is going to play a tremendous role in whether or not someone is going to be able to afford their dream home. For this reason, it is critical for everyone to know how a mortgage rate is determined. There are a number of factors in someone’s financial history that are going to impact the mortgage rate the lender offers.

The Credit Score

One of the most important factors that a lender is going to consider is someone’s credit score. A credit score is a reflection of someone’s risk to the lender. The higher the credit score, the more likely the loan is going to be repaid, in the eyes of the lender.

If someone’s credit score is too low, the lender might not make an offer at all. In order to reduce the interest on someone’s mortgage, it is important to correct any inaccuracies on the credit report ahead of time. This will make someone more competitive when applying for a mortgage.

The Employment History

The lender’s biggest concern is making sure their loan is repaid. In order to make mortgage payments on time, the borrower needs to have a steady stream of money coming in. This means maintaining a steady job.

In order to predict this, the lender is going to look at someone’s employment history. The longer someone has been employed, and the fewer gaps someone has in their employment history, the lower the interest rate on the mortgage is going to be. 

The Current Financial Market

Some of the factors involved in a mortgage rate are outside of the borrower’s control. Mortgage rates are also impacted by the current financial market. Like the stock market itself, the mortgage rates are going to rise and fall with the real estate market. It is important for everyone to think about the current financial market when applying for a mortgage.

Thinking About Mortgage Rates

These factors will play a role in the mortgage rate someone is going to be offered. Everyone should think about the interest rate on a mortgage when looking for a home. 

Talk about your personal financial situation with your trusted home finance professional. They are a valuable and experienced resource that can answer all of your questions regarding the best fit for your mortgage.

Home Maintenance Tips: How to Organize Your Garage

Home Maintenance Tips How to Organize Your GaragePerhaps you plan to sell your home in the next few months or years. Keeping your garage organized can save time and ensure that you have storage space when you need it most.

Get Your Purge On!

Clear out the garage and separate items into categories: keep, trash, donate and recycle. If you get rid of 50 percent of your stuff, you’re doing great. The more you can get rid of up front, the less you have to organize! And if you haven’t used it in years, why would you need to keep it around?

Create Zones

Map out space with masking tape, starting with where your vehicles go. Mask out where you can put heavy-duty shelves for tools, sports equipment and other stored items. Also, you can maximize storage by building cabinets or shelving from floor to ceiling.

Buying clear bins in various sizes and interlocking shapes helps you stay organized. When you store like items together, it’s much easier to find them, especially if everything is properly labeled.

Think strategically. If your garage doubles as a workshop, include space for a workbench. If you bike every day, hang your wheels on the wall near the garage door. Additionally, remember to include garbage and recycling bins near the door for easy access. 

Organizational Supplies
With the zones mapped, it’s time to get organized. For example, store shovels, rakes and brooms in a large trashcan. Meanwhile, sporting equipment such as bats, balls, skateboards and protective pads can go into larger bins, on shelves or inside lockers. Pegboards provide a versatile way to hang tools you use the most.

A cabinet that locks protects children and pets from hazardous materials like chemicals, paint and cleaning supplies. Meanwhile, constructing long open shelves of wood or metal gives you plenty of support for heavy storage bins, while a rolling cabinet lets you move craft supplies or gardening implements.

Storing Small Stuff

What can you do with screws, nails, hooks, nuts and myriad small items on a limited budget? Repurposed glass containers or mason jars let you see contents clearly while recycling. Use tin cans for screwdrivers and paint brushes. 

Once your garage is neat and clean, you may find yourself spending more time there. You might even have enough room for a home office or craft corner. A well-planned organizational strategy helps you keep it that way. 

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

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 14th, 2019

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 8th, 2019Last week’s economic readings included reports on inflation, mortgage rates, and first-time jobless claims. Monthly reporting on consumer sentiment was delayed.

Consumer Price Index: Inflation Rises in March

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.40 percent in March, which matched expectations and surpassed February’s month-to -month reading of 0.20 percent growth. The March reading showed the highest consumer price growth in 14 months; higher rents, fuel and food prices contributed to month-to-month price gains in March.

The Core CPI excludes volatile food and energy sectors and was unchanged in March although 0.20 percent growth was expected. February’s reading showed 0.10 percent growth. Inflation increased 1.90 percent year over year.

Mortgage Rates Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week that stopped weeks of decreasing rates. Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.12 percent and rose four basis points. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.60 percent and were also four basis points higher than during the prior week. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages jumped 14 basis points to 3.80 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac reported fewer mortgage applications in response to higher rates. Potential homebuyers were sensitive to higher mortgage rates, but may not have to wait long for lower rates to return. Low 10-year Treasury yields suggested that mortgage rates are likely to fall and to remain lower during the peak home-buying season. Mortgage rates are expected to stay comparatively low throughout 2019 according to Freddie Mac.

New Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Since 1969

First-time jobless claims fell last week to 196,000 initial claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 204,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading was the first to fall below 200,000 initial claims since 1969 and provided another sign of strong labor markets.

Federal Reserve FOMC Minutes Released

The Federal Reserve released minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held in March. The minutes explained the Committee’s reversal of its plan to raise the target range of the federal funds rate twice during 2019. Committee members said that they were holding off on raising rates due to slowing in domestic and global economic conditions. While Committee members said that the current economy is strong, they were willing to exercise patience in raising rates based on slower growth of home prices and potential impacts caused by Brexit and slowing in China’s economy.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits issued and data on retail sales. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.

 

When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof Maintenance?

When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof MaintenancePerform roof maintenance on sunny days when there’s less chance of slipping. Blocking off a weekend twice a year gives you plenty of time to complete the items below without rushing or taking unnecessary risks. The beginning of spring and fall present the best opportunities to complete your maintenance before the weather turns too hot or too cold.

Loose Debris Removal

Remove leaves, branches and accumulated debris before winter sets in. Set up a ladder, preferably with another person holding the ladder steady, and clean off as much debris as possible without risking your safety.

General Inspection

Start in the attic or crawl space by looking for ceiling stains. This may indicate water seepage that can compromise your home. Examine the roof in those areas to find loose, lifted or missing shingles that you have to replace. Then, examine the rest of the shingles for mold, worn spots, peeling or cracks. Also, check for missing flashing. 

If you don’t feel comfortable doing the repairs yourself, this is still a valuable exercise. You’ll know what to expect and can avoid charges for unnecessary repairs.

Moss And Mold

You can buy roof moss remover at most home improvement stores. Follow the instructions for best results. After the solution has had time to set, gently brush away the mold and moss, using a soft-bristled broom or wide brush. Try to avoid spray-washing shingles to preserve the UV-blocking granules on their surface.

Facia, Downspouts And Gutters
Protect your hands with heavy rubber gloves and remove debris with a scoop to make the work go quickly. Then, gently scrub dirt and grime from the fascias. Spray each area with a garden hose so that you can check for peeling paint or missing caulk. Re-paint and caulk these areas as needed and note any damage you’d feel more comfortable leaving to a professional. 

Chimneys, Skylights And Vents

Start by closing off your fireplace and cleaning any creosote from the chimney with a hard-bristled brush. Inspect the chimney for missing or cracked bricks. If you do the repairs yourself, remember to treat the chimney afterward with a water-repellent sealant. Inspect and clean vent outlets and skylights using a roof safety harness for steep inclines.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding critical repairs due to negligence.

Replacing a roof can be a costly project. If you find that it’s better to replace than repair, it might be a good time to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to talk about accessing some of the equity in your home with a cash out refinance or a home equity line of credit.

FOMC Minutes Reveal Fed Policymakers U-Turn

FOMC Minutes Reveal Fed Policymakers U-TurnMembers of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee voted to hold the target range of the federal funds rate to its current range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent. The minutes of the most recent Committee meeting cited softening domestic and global economic conditions as reason for not raising the target federal funds range.

While labor markets remained strong, the minutes noted that household spending and business investment slowed in the first quarter of 2019. FOMC members expected Gross Domestic Product growth to slow as compared to its 2018 pace.

While current inflation and the national unemployment rate fell in line with the Fed’s dual mandate of seeking maximum employment and price stabilization, inflation fell due to falling fuel prices. The meeting minutes said that the Committee would be patient as it determined which, if any, action would be appropriate regarding the federal funds rate.

Strong Labor Sector Indicators Offset Lower GDP

Labor sector indicators remained strong with a national unemployment rate of 3.80 percent; labor force participation rose and the ratio of employment to population also rose. Strong employment and consumer sentiment readings suggested that more households may transition from renting to buying homes. Home sales recently fell due to affordability issues and rising mortgage rates.

Factors influencing FOMC monetary policy decisions include labor market conditions, inflation expectations and readings on domestic and international financial developments. The meeting minutes noted that near-term adjustments to monetary policy were dependent on changes to current economic outlook according to emerging data. The Committee consistently says that monetary policy positions can change according to developments in global and domestic economic data.

Fed Chairs Press Conference

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during his post-FOMC meeting press conference that the Committee’s “wait and see” stance on raising the target range of the federal funds rate was based on information received since growth expectations based on 2018’s economic growth rate of 3.10 percent. As of September 2018, the Fed forecasted economic growth of 2.50 percent in 2019, but subsequent information caused the Fed to downwardly revise its growth estimate.

Mr. Powell said that global economic slowing was expected in Europe and China; unresolved issues including Brexit and ongoing trade negotiations were given as reasons for slower global economic growth. While domestic and international economic forecasts indicated a modest slowdown in economic growth, Chairman Powell said that overall economic conditions remained favorable.

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.

Staging Your Home: Here Are Your Self-Storage Options

Staging Your Home Here Are Your Self-Storage OptionsIf you’re staging your home to sell, you may find yourself with more stuff than space. Rather than selling possessions that you’d rather not part with, you can put your things into short-term storage until your home sells and you’re able to move.

Here are some options you have when choosing and using a self storage unit.

Climate Controlled Or Not

Climate controlled units are located inside buildings. They could be compared to an apartment building, except instead of housing people, these storage buildings house belongings. Inside, they are powered with electricity and a temperature control that is temperate.

The advantage of a climate controlled storage unit is that your possessions won’t get above average hot or below average cold. If you plan to store certain items that are temperature sensitive, such as photographs, antique wood furniture or heirloom paintings, a climate controlled unit is a must.

Self storage units that are not climate controlled are typically located in garage-like buildings with a garage door opening that is open to the outside. There is usually no electricity or power inside the unit, so if you want to visit at night or on a dark day you’ll need to bring a flashlight.

There is no temperature control, so whatever the temperature is outside, it will be similar inside the unit. Depending on the climate you live in, it could get freezing inside the unity or extremely hot. If you’re planning on storing things that can withstand extreme temperatures, like a small motor vehicle, clothing or kitchen goods, you could opt for a unit like this.

Ground Level Or Above

Climate controlled storage buildings usually have more than one floor. Often, the ground level units are considered to be more convenient, so the rental rate may be higher than those on a higher floor. If you choose a ground level unit, you’ll be able to access your unit without navigating up and down an elevator for every trip back and forth to your car.

Units on higher floors will have access via a freight elevator. The freight elevator will be large enough to hold even your larger furnishings, such as couches, bureaus and desks. You’ll still be able to use a hand truck to cart your belongings, but you’ll have the disadvantage of having to wait for the elevator since other renters will also be using it.

Knowing these things ahead of time will help you make your decision about what kind of self storage unit to rent. No matter which one you choose, you can rest assured that your belongings will be safe and sound until you’re ready to bring them to your new home.

If your house is on the market, it’s important to plan ahead for your next home purchase. Be sure to meet with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your best financing options.

4 Ways To Pay Off My Mortgage Faster

4 Ways To Pay Off My Mortgage FasterFor most people, the mortgage payment is the biggest monthly expense. Whether you’re facing retirement or still working, it would be nice to be free of this debt. Although you probably can’t pay it off in one lump sum, it is possible to pay off your mortgage sooner than expected.

Here are four strategies to try.

1. Make Bi-Weekly Payments

You could shave eight years off a 30-year mortgage simply by breaking down your monthly payments into two payments instead of one. You’ll pay the same amount each month while the interest paid over the length of the loan is reduced. 

2. Make Principal-Only Payments

If you look at your mortgage payment slip, you’ll notice that the majority of your monthly payment goes toward interest. Slash years off your mortgage by making occasional principal-only payments on top of your regular payments. Consult your lender to see how many of these are allowed per year. If they’re limited, maximize each opportunity by making as large a principal-only payment as you can manage.

3. Refinance When Rates Drop

If your mortgage originated when interest rates were high, refinance it now that rates are still historically lower. You may need to pay closing costs, but you’ll still end up dramatically lowering the amount of interest you are paying on your mortgage. While you’re at the refinancing game, consider getting into a shorter term length. This tactic will probably increase your monthly payment, but if you can afford it, it’s a good strategy for paying down your mortgage quicker.

4. Pay Extra Each Month

If you can afford it, pad your monthly payment with a little extra as often as possible. Just paying $50 or $100 extra will enable you to get rid of your mortgage a little faster. Find the extra money by cutting back on small niceties, such as subscriptions, take-out food and more. You won’t notice the lack of small conveniences, but you will certainly notice a shortened mortgage loan term.

When you work to pay off your mortgage faster, you essentially save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. Implement one or more of these ideas to become mortgage-free just a little bit sooner.

If you are interested in refinancing your home, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.