Condo Damage Caused By Contractors Hired By The HOA: Who Pays?

Condo Damage Caused By Contractors Hired By The HOA: Who Pays?For those who live in a condo, they know that there are numerous advantages that come with this living arrangement. Living in a condo means that other people are going to be responsible for landscaping and common areas while homeowners are still able to build equity in the home.

At the same time, the HOA has quite a bit of power and one of the biggest concerns that people might have involves who pays for the damage in the event that something in the building has been damaged. There are a few important points to keep in mind.

Roof Replacement Contractors

Sometimes, the HOA might hire contractors to work on the roof. During this process, there might be a leak that develops in the roof. This could leak through and damage condos that are on the top floor of the building. This could damage the kitchen ceiling. The association might try to get out of paying to fix certain damages.

It is important to note that those who live in a condo building buy into everything that goes along with ownership. This includes the management and the contractors that are hired by the manager.

Read The Document Carefully

When people move into a condo building, there are certain bylaws they agree to follow. Sometimes, this packet might state that the unit owner is responsible for any damage to a unit that is caused by the association. The bylaws usually state something along the lines of “unit owners need to have homeowner’s insurance.” In this case, the insurance carrier should help the unit owner cover some of the costs of the repairs.

If the condo docs are drafted in this manner, then the unit owner is responsible for the repairs even though the contractor caused the damage.

File An Insurance Claim

While this might not sound like a perfect solution, the unit owner might still not have to pay for the damages. This is why unit owners need to have home insurance. The next step should be to file a claim with the home insurance company. This claim might be able to cover the cost of the repairs that were caused by the contractors hired by the HOA.

Refi or Wait? How to Choose Between Refinancing Your Mortgage Now or Waiting Until You Need the Money

Refi or Wait? How to Choose Between Refinancing Your Mortgage Now or Waiting Until You Need the MoneyRefinancing your existing mortgage may provide you with the opportunity to lower your interest rate, reduce your mortgage payment and adjust your loan term. For those homeowners who have lived in their home for more than a few years, pulling equity out of the property for everything from a luxurious vacation to making home improvements is a tempting potential benefit.

However, with property values and interest rates adjusting frequently, you may wonder if now is the best time to refinance your mortgage.

Using Equity From Your Refinance

One factor to consider when debating between refinancing now and waiting relates to pulling equity out of your home. If you need access to the cash now for home improvements or other purposes, refinancing now may be ideal. Even if you do not need access to your equity for several months or longer, you can lock in today’s rates and invest the money in other vehicles, such as CDs or bonds, until you need the cash.

Anticipating Market Changes

You may have heard that the interest rates for home mortgages have been slowly rising, and while they remain close to historic lows, they are projected to continue to rise. Nobody can predict with certainty how interest rates will adjust in the next few months and years, and locking in today’s rates may be beneficial. Keep in mind that if rates decline significantly in the near future, you can always look into refinancing again.

Reducing Your Principal

If you have a higher interest rate on your existing mortgage, your principal balance may be reduced at a slower rate than if you refinance to a lower interest rate. In addition, if you refinance from a 30-year term to a shorter term length, your principal balance will also be reduced more quickly in most cases. In many situations, refinancing your home mortgage today may establish a more efficient repayment schedule that allows you to accrue equity at a faster rate.

Each homeowner has unique factors to consider when refinancing based on property value, credit rating, existing loan terms and other factors. While many will benefit by refinancing an existing mortgage today, you can speak with a mortgage professional for specific advice and recommendations regarding your situation. Call your trusted mortgage representative today to inquire about the options and to begin working on your refinance loan application.

Case-Shiller: June Home Prices Rise as Affordability Crisis Grows

Case-Shiller: June Home Prices Rise as Affordability Crisis GrowsAccording to the National Case-Shiller Home Price Index for June, U.S. home prices rose 4.30 percent year-over-year, which was unchanged from May’s year-over-year home price growth rate. Home prices are expected to continue growing through 2020 as businesses reopen and COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index for May showed Phoenix, Arizona held the top spot with 9.00 percent year-over-year growth; Seattle, Washington followed with 650 percent growth in home prices. Tampa, Florida maintained its third-place position with 5.90 percent year-over-year home price growth. Five of 19 cities reporting in the 20-City Index showed a higher rate of home price growth. Wayne County, Michigan, which includes the Detroit metro area, did not provide information for June’s 20-City Home Price Index.

Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, wrote: “As has been the case for the last several months, home prices were particularly strong in the Southeast and West and were comparatively weak in the Midwest and Northeast.”

Short Supply of Single-Family Homes Continues to Fuel Rising Home Prices

Continued shortages of homes for sale and rising demand for homes caused home price gains in June. Analysts said that while low mortgage rates encouraged buyers to enter the market, overall housing market conditions did not contribute to affordable home prices. Analysts expressed concern that potential buyers were calculating affordability based on principal and interest payments and were not considering other costs of homeownership including taxes, hazard insurance, and mortgage insurance premiums that could be added to their monthly loan payments.

High home prices, COVID-19and ongoing unemployment, and decreasing growth in rental rates are obstacles to continued growth in home prices. Quarterly data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows how average home prices have fallen in 2020. The national average price of a new home in the first quarter of 2020 was $383,000; in the second quarter of 2020, the average price of a new home was $368,000.

Average New Home Prices Fall in All U.S. Regions

Average regional U.S. home prices fell from the first quarter to the second quarter according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In the Northeast, the average price of a home fell to $622,000 from 645,200. The average price of a new home fell from $337,000 to $319,200 in the Midwest and fell from $325,300 to $315,500 in the South. The West had the highest average new home price in the second quarter of $459.900, but this was lower than the average new home price of $471,300 in the first quarter of 2020.

From Big to Small: How to Downsize from a Large House to a Smaller, More Efficient Home

From Big to Small: How to Downsize from a Large House to a Smaller, More Efficient HomeIf you’re moving from a large home into a smaller house or condo, you’re probably looking forward to enjoying a lower utility bill and not having to do as much cleaning. But before you move, you’ll want to take certain precautions to ensure that you’re not overwhelmed.

A smaller home won’t have as much room for your belongings, which means you may need to get creative. Here’s how you can downsize without losing your mind.

Decide What You’re Going To Keep

Before you do anything else, choose which of your belongings are coming with you. Unless you’ve habitually been getting rid of things you no longer need over the years, chances are you have a large stash of things you’ll never use again. That’s the kind of clutter you’ll need to eliminate before moving into a smaller home.

The obvious exceptions would be anything of significant sentimental or monetary value, but you’ll want to get rid of lots of your everyday objects – for instance, there’s no reason why you need three soup ladles. Having trouble deciding what to throw out? Here’s a simple rule of thumb: If you can’t remember the last time you used it, you probably don’t need it.

Have Anything In Storage? Find A Storage Solution Now

Most homeowners nowadays have the luxury of large storage spaces like basements or attics – but if you’re moving into a condo or a small starter home, storage will be at a premium. And that means anything stored in your basement, garage, or attic will probably need to find a new home. You’ll want to look for a storage solution earlier rather than later.

Perhaps you could rent a storage locker in your neighborhood, or let children or relatives hold onto your belongings until you decide what to do with them.

On Your Moving Day: Move Large Items First, And Put Away Stored Items Before Anything Else

When the day comes for you to move into your new home, you’ll want to try to find the best configuration for the space right away – before your new home is filled with boxes stacked six feet high. Before you do anything else, move your furniture and other large items into the space first, and get them set up so they’re out of the way.

Once all of your boxes are in your new home, put storage items away before anything else – it’ll help you avoid unnecessary stress and sorting later.

Downsizing can be stressful, but with a solid plan and a great real estate agent, you can find a smaller home and move in without issues.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 24, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - August 24, 2020Last week’s economic news included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Indices, and sales of previously-owned homes. Readings on housing starts and building permits issued were released. Weekly reports on mortgage rates, new and continuing jobless claims were also published.

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Rises in August

The National Association of Home Builders reported that builder confidence in housing market conditions rose six points to an index reading of 78.in August. The expected reading of 73 was based on July’s reading of 72. Homebuilder confidence was based on sharp demand for homes as city dwellers sought larger homes in less dense housing metro areas.

Ongoing shortages of pre-owned homes for sale boosted builder outlook as would-be buyers turned to new homes as supplies of pre-owned homes remained low.

The National Association of Realtors® reported higher numbers of previously owned homes sold in July at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.86 million sales. 5.50 million sales of previously owned homes were expected based on June’s seasonally adjusted annual pace of 4.70 million sales.

Rising home sales could indicate increasing numbers of available homes, rising confidence in the economy, and sellers putting their homes on the market for reasons including buying bigger homes or relocation for less congested living conditions.

Commerce Department Reports Rising Rates of Housing Starts and Building Permits Issued

The Commerce Department reported a jump in U.S. housing starts in July with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million starts as compared to an expected pace of 1.330 million housing starts and an annual pace of  1.258 million housing starts reported in June.

Mortgage Rates Rise; Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose three basis points to 2.99 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.54 percent and were eight basis points higher. Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 2.91 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

Initial jobless claims reported by states rose to 1.11 million new claims filed last week and surpassed the expected a reading of 910,000 new claims filed based on the prior week’s reading of  971,000 initial jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims fell to 14.80 million ongoing claims from the prior week’s reading of 15.50 million continuing claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, reports on new and pending home sales, and inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

Tips For Deciding The Value Of A Home

Tips For Deciding The Value Of A HomeHomes are more than just a building. They are filled with memories of children taking their first steps, holidays that were celebrated with family members and friends, and Super Bowl parties filled with smiles and cheers.

These memories are priceless; however, people cannot let emotions cloud their judgment when they are trying to sell a house. Instead, it is important to focus on the building. There are a few tips that everyone should follow as they try to figure out how much their home is worth.

Be Reasonable

The first tip is not to price a home too high out of the gate. While it is tempting to start high and reduce when necessary, the reality is that a price that is too high is going to scare off potential offers. It is better to start with a reasonable price that will get people interested. Then, if the offers start to pour in, there is a bidding war. The price will naturally take care of itself.

Upgrades Don’t Always Lead To A Higher Price

It is tempting to follow in the footsteps of TV shows and pour money into renovations that might lead to a large return on investment. The sad fact is that this is not always the case. Even though the homeowners might love the renovation, this doesn’t mean that a potential buyer will. Do not renovate purely to raise the value of a home. Upgrades can go out of style just as quickly as they came in.

Don’t Price Out Of Necessity

Never price a home based on a dollar amount that has to be reached. It is always better to price a home relative to what the market indicates. Nobody is going to make an offer on an overpriced home purely because that is how much money the seller needs to make.

Leave Emotions At The Door

Finally, do not price a home based on emotions. Yes, a home is a special place; however, remember that the home is on the market, not the memories. Instead, always price a home based on what the comparables are showing. This will lead to a smoother selling process, a higher price, and a bigger return on the initial investment.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home Versus Buying Pre-owned

The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home Versus Buying Pre-ownedAre you thinking about buying a new home? Congratulations!

Buying a house, condo or townhouse is an exciting and rewarding time which tends to be a lot of fun. However, along the way you’ll need to make a number of decisions – including whether you want to buy a pre-owned home or one that has been built recently and is brand new.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of buying a new home versus buying pre-owned.

New Homes Tend To Have Fewer Problems

One of the major upsides of buying new is that newly-built homes tend to have very few problems within the first few years of ownership.

While you’ll still be required to make regular maintenance on a new home, when you buy pre-owned you’re buying a house that has seen years or decades of weather and regular wear-and-tear.

New Construction Allows For Customization

If you want to be able to customize certain aspects of your home, it might be better to buy brand new as the builder will be able to incorporate your requests as they’re building the home. Of course, you can always renovate and upgrade a pre-owned home but if you have significant needs you may find it easier to get them built into the home as it’s being developed.

The Major Downsides To Buying New: Cost And Location

While there are a number of upsides to buying new, there are some downsides that you’ll need to know.

First, new homes almost always cost more than an equivalent pre-owned home. Brand new homes are filled with new appliances, fixtures and modern building materials which add to the overall cost of the home. Unless the pre-owned home is on a larger lot or property, you’ll generally be able to save a bit when you buy pre-owned.

Depending on where you’re buying, you may also find that the location where brand new homes are being constructed is much further from the downtown or urban area. In many cities, the only available space for new construction is in suburban areas, which means that you may be in for a lengthy commute to and from work each day if you choose to buy new.

These are just a few of the factors that you’ll need to consider when buying your next dream home.

Applying for a Mortgage? Three Questions Your Lender Will Ask You – and How to Prepare Your Answers

Applying for a Mortgage? Three Questions Your Lender Will Ask You - and How to Prepare Your AnswersBefore approving a mortgage, your lender is going to have to do his due diligence to ensure that you can afford a loan large enough to pay for a house. That means your lender will be asking you several questions about whether or not you can afford a mortgage.

Here’s how you can prepare to answer these questions in a way that will increase your likelihood of approval.

How Stable Is Your Income?

Your lender is going to want to know that your income is going to be stable over the life of the loan. This means that you should be able to document steady employment, that investment income is going to be stable or that the alimony that you receive from your former spouse will continue to come in for the foreseeable future. To document your income, you can provide bank statements, pay stubs or tax returns from the previous three years.

How Much Do You Have In The Bank?

A lender is going to be interested in how much you have in reserve in case you lost your job or suffer an unexpected medical expense that could make it harder to pay your mortgage. For a conventional mortgage, you may be required to have three to six months’ worth of expenses in the bank or in other assets that you could liquidate. To show how much you have in the bank, you can provide bank statements or balance statements from any other account where you may get money from if need be.

Where Is The Money For The Down Payment And Closing Costs Coming From?

While some lenders don’t mind if the money is gifted from a qualified source such as a family member, friend or employer, other lenders will require that the money for a down payment or other costs comes straight from your own bank account. To prove where the funds are coming from, you will need to show when the money was deposited into your bank account if using your own funds (or a gift letter if the funds are being gifted).

A mortgage lender needs to be sure that you are able to repay any loan that you are approved for. That means you’ll want to present your lender with solid, documented proof that you have a steady income and ample cash reserves to pay the mortgage and associated fees. For more information about what lenders look for in mortgage applicants, contact a qualified mortgage professional today.

A Bidding War Is Taking Place Among Homebuyers

A Bidding War Is Taking Place Among HomebuyersWhile businesses have fallen on hard times during the past few months, there are signs that the economy is going to start to recover quickly. This could mean that homebuyers are entering the market again as well.

With summer being a historically hot time for homebuyers all over the country, there are a lot of experts saying that buyers need to get ready for a bidding war.

There are not a lot of homes on the market right now, as sellers are still a bit reluctant to put their homes back on the market with the economy just starting its recovery process.

The end result is that there is a disconnect between supply and demand. This imbalance is causing home prices to climb upward as homebuyers get into a bidding war.

Homebuyers Might Be Surprised

Many homebuyers are surprised that prices are actually rising instead of falling. When the last recession hit, home prices actually fell significantly. This is because mortgage defaults were the cause of the last recession, which is why home prices fell so dramatically.

The cause of this economic downturn is different. Due to a limited supply of homes, this is leading to more competition among homebuyers. This leads to more competition, handfuls of offers for a single home, and a bidding war. In order to find the right home, there are a few tips that homebuyers need to keep in mind.

Put Forth A More Competitive Offer

Those who are looking for a home right now need to place themselves in a position to compete against multiple offers from other homebuyers. Some of the most important tips to follow include:

  • Hire a local expert who understands the state of the market right now who can help homebuyers find the right home. Right now, the real estate market is not normal. It takes an expert to understand the ins and outs of buying a home in this market.
  • Get pre-approved from the market to make sure the offer looks serious to the seller. Those who get pre-approved from a lender will demonstrate a strong desire to buy, pushing their offer to the top.

There are ways to put forth a competitive offer even in this challenging real estate market.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 17, 2020

 

Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on inflation and retail sales. Weekly reports on mortgage
rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released. In other news, the FHFA announced an increase in
fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for home loan refinance transactions.
Inflation Readings Mixed as Retail Sales Fall
Consumer prices rose by 0.60 percent in July and matched June’s reading. Analysts expected a July reading of 0.40
percent growth. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose by 0.60
percent in July and exceeded June’s reading of 0.20 percent and July’s expected reading of 0.20 percent price
growth.
Retail sales dropped to 1,20 percent growth in July as compared to June’s reading of 8.40 percent growth. July’s
retail sales reading fell short of the expected rate of 2.00 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector rose
by 1.90 percent in July as compared to June’s retail sales growth rate of 8.30 percent Declining retail sales were
likely caused by a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in some areas.
State and local guidance on retail re-openings varied and likely impacted retail sales according to how Covid-19
regulations were interpreted and enforced. The federal government failed to enact a second round of stimulus
payments that would have provided Americans with extra cash for purchasing retail goods and services.
Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by eight
basis points to 2.96 percent on average. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.46
percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.90 percent. Discount points averaged
0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims fell to 963,000 claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.19 million new claims
filed and expectations of 1.08 million initial claims filed Continuing jobless claims were also lower than for the
previous week. 15.50 million ongoing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 16.10 million claims filed
during the prior week. Falling jobless claims numbers could reflect the re-openings of business and rehiring of
employees. This progress could be short-lived as Covid-19 cases increased last week in some states where re-
opening may have been done too soon.
What’s Ahead
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on
housing market trends, and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly
reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - August 17, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on inflation and retail sales. Weekly reports on  mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released. In other news, the FHFA announced an increase in fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for home loan refinance transactions.

 Inflation Readings Mixed as Retail Sales Fall

Consumer prices rose by 0.60 percent in July and matched June’s reading. Analysts expected a July reading of 0.40 percent growth. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose by 0.60 percent in July and exceeded June’s reading of 0.20 percent and July’s expected reading of 0.20 percent price growth. 

Retail sales dropped to 1,20 percent growth in July as compared to June’s reading of 8.40 percent growth. July’s retail sales reading fell short of the expected rate of 2.00 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector rose by 1.90 percent in July as compared to June’s retail sales growth rate of 8.30 percent Declining retail sales were likely caused by a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in some areas.

State and local guidance on retail re-openings varied and likely impacted retail sales according to how Covid-19 regulations were interpreted and enforced. The federal government failed to enact a second round of stimulus payments that would have provided Americans with extra cash for purchasing retail goods and services.

 

Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by eight basis points to 2.96 percent on average. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.46 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.90 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 963,000 claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.19 million new claims filed and expectations of 1.08 million initial claims filed Continuing jobless claims were also lower than for the previous week. 15.50 million ongoing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 16.10 million claims filed during the prior week. Falling jobless claims numbers could reflect the re-openings of business and rehiring of employees. This progress could be short-lived as Covid-19 cases increased last week in some states where re-opening may have been done too soon.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market trends, and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.