What Are Conditional Approvals?

What Are Conditional Approvals?As you take a look at potential houses for sale, what does it mean if you see a house with a conditional approval? Does that mean you can swoop in and purchase the house with a better offer? Even though a conditional approval doesn’t mean that the sale is guaranteed to go through, it does mean that an agreement is in place.

An Overview Of A Conditional Approval

A conditional approval is an informal acknowledgement that an agreement is in place between a buyer and the lender; however, the lender typically has to collect additional financial information to show that the house is a solid buy. If this process falls through, the house may go back on the market. 

For example, the lender might require an appraisal before financing the house. If the appraisal comes in too low, then the buyer might have to bring additional cash to the table. Otherwise, the lender might refuse to finance the house, meaning that it will go back on the market. Or, the lender might require the buyer to submit additional financial information to show they can afford the home. If they cannot do so, the financing process might fall through.

Is A Conditional Approval The Same As A Pre-Approval?

Even though the terms are similar, they are not the same. A conditional approval is not the same as a pre-approval. The pre-approval process takes place very early in the mortgage application process. The pre-approval process is important because it gives the seller some confidence that the buyer can afford the house; however, a conditional approval process is more formal and takes place much further along in the application process.

What Is Required For A Lender’s Conditional Approval?

The conditional approval is only granted after the applicant has submitted an offer on a property. Some of the documents that the buyer might have to submit include financial statements, income statements, tax returns, explanations of negative credit report items, and evidence of any debt or liabilities.

Once all this information is collected, the lender will decide whether to grant the buyer conditional approval. This could help the buyer lock in his or her agreement before proceeding with the other steps in the mortgage application process. 


Using Your Equity To Buy Another House: What To Consider

Using Your Equity To Buy Another House: What To ConsiderBuying a home is a dream that many people want to make come true. At the same time, many people dream of buying a second home. Perhaps you are looking for a rental property. Maybe you are looking for a vacation home. Regardless, you might be wondering how you can come up with the necessary cash to finance this dream. You might even be thinking about tapping into the equity in your current home to make that happen. It could be your down payment for your second house, but what do you need to know?

How To Get A Home Equity Loan

If you want to take out a home equity loan for a second house, there are a few steps to follow. First, you need to figure out how much money you need. You need to take out enough money for the down payment and closing costs. Furthermore, you can only withdraw 85 percent of the equity in your home. If you don’t have enough equity in the home, you might not be allowed to take out a home equity loan. 

Remember that you will also need to go through the traditional oan application process. Your outstanding debt will be reviewed, and your credit report will be checked. You will also need to verify your income or assets to qualify for a second mortgage. The process is similar to your first loan.

Why Take Out A Home Equity Loan?

There are a few reasons why this might be a smart move for financing a second home. You can probably get a lower interest rate, and you don’t have any restrictions on how you can use the money. With a larger lump sum, you might also be a more competitive buyer in a hot market.

Before you take out a home equity loan, you should work with a professional who can help you find the best loan option to meet your needs. That way, you can compare the benefits and drawbacks of each option before making a decision on what is best for your purchase.

How Your Home Equity Can Help You Reach Your Retirement Goals

How Your Home Equity Can Help You Reach Your Retirement GoalsIf you plan on retiring soon, you are probably looking at a few options that can get you over the hump. You are probably excited to start a new phase of life. With a record number of people closing in on their retirement age, many are starting to assess their resources to make sure they have enough money to last them for the rest of their lives. If you already own a home, you might be able to tap into your home equity to help you fuel your retirement.

Your Home Has Probably Gone Up In Value

Your house is an investment and now is your opportunity to capitalize on that investment. There is a great chance that the value of your home has significantly increased since you first bought it. Furthermore, if you have been in your house for a long time, your mortgage may have been completely paid off. This means that just about all of your home’s value could be yours to keep. Your house could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, which you can put towards your retirement.

How To Use Your Home Equity For Your Retirement

Of course, you still need a place to live, but there are ways for you to tap into your home equity for your retirement. If you have children who have already moved out, you might be ready to downsize. As a result, you could sell your house and use the cash from the sale of your house to purchase a smaller home. Then, you can use the money left over to fund your retirement. It might not be enough to cover your retirement completely, but it could be enough to get you over the hump if you are wondering when you can retire.

Consider The Implications Of Selling Your Home

When you sell your home, there is a chance that you may have to pay taxes on the capital gains stemming from the value of your home. On the other hand, you might be able to shield some of those gains if you use the money to buy another house quickly. You should reach out to a professional who can help you understand the tax implications of selling your home.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 3, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 3, 2022Last week’s economic news included readings on home prices, pending home sales, and inflation. The University of Michigan released its monthly reading on consumer sentiment and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Slower in July

According to S&P Case-Shiller’s national reading for July home prices, home price growth slowed by -2.90 percent in July as compared to +3.00 percent growth in June. This reading supported analysts’ expectations of a cooling housing market after months of rapidly rising home prices in many areas.  The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, which is a benchmark report used by real estate professionals, also posted slower home price gains for July. All 20 cities reported slower home price gains year-over-year in July.

The top three cities in the 20-city index for July with Tampa, Florida posting a year-over-year home price gain of 31.80 percent; Miami, Florida followed closely with a year-over-year home price gain of 31.70 percent and Dallas, Texas reported a year-over-year home price gain of 24.70 percent.

Mortgage rates approached seven percent last week and increased affordability concerns for would-be home buyers. Pending home sales declined by 2.00 percent in August; Analysts expected pending sales to decrease by 1.40 percent.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 41 basis points to 6.70 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 52 basis points to 5.96 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 33 basis points and averaged 5.30 percent. Discount points

for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.90 percent; discount points for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 1.30 percent and points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

Initial jobless claims fell to 193,000 claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 209,000 first-time claims filed. Analysts predicted a reading of 215,000 initial jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for August reported an index reading of 58.60 as compared to the expected reading of 59.50 and July’s index reading of 59.50. Decreased consumer sentiment is  related to high inflation and rising rates for mortgages and consumer credit.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending, public and private sector job reports, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

DIY Home Projects: Creating a Study Space That Will Help Your Children Stay Focused

DIY Home Projects: Creating a Study Space That Will Help Your Children Stay FocusedIf you’re a parent of school-aged children, you’ve likely been concerned with their study habits at some point. Sitting down in front of the television or at the dinner table to crack open the books is going to be less efficient than doing so in a quieter, more productive work space. Let’s explore how to create a study space that will help keep your children focused and on task.

Ask The Kids What They Need To Be Productive

Before you get to work on creating a new studying space, it’s a good idea to have a chat with those will be using it most. Ask the children what kind of surroundings they feel would help to keep them productive. Younger kids may only need a small desk area but would appreciate more space in the room. Conversely, older children who are in high school are likely to need a lot of desk space for laptops, textbooks, and other studying materials. Starting the project out by asking what they need ensures that they get what they need out of the space.

Brighten Up The Room

Next, you’ll want to focus on how the room is lit. A dark room isn’t likely to be a positive studying environment. If possible, natural light sources should be used as much as possible. Studies indicate that sunlight is better at keeping individuals alert and focused than fluorescent or other types of home lighting. Also, consider adding some plants which can help to keep oxygen levels a bit higher in the room.

Note that you’ll want to avoid making the room so bright that it’s distracting. Plus, the sun can cause quite a bit of glare depending on how much outdoor exposure the room has. If there’s already a lot of natural light, consider a set of curtains that can reduce or block out any glare to allow for a more comfortable learning environment.

Eliminate Any And All Distractions

Distractions – especially those which are useful for procrastinating – are the bane of any productive space. There should be no television, no video games and no other distracting elements in the study area. The only furnishings should be those used for studying.

A study room is an excellent addition to any home with school-aged children. If you’re in the market for a new home – study spaces included – contact your local real estate professional.

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Slows in July

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Slows in JulyThe S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for July showed a sharp slowing in home price growth from June to July. National home price growth slowed from June’s reading of 18.7 percent year-over-year growth to 16.10 percent home price growth in July. This reading translated to an 0.20 percent loss in month-to-month home price growth.

The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index fell 0.40 percent in July after increasing by 0.40 percent in June. This was the first time since March 2012 that the 20-City Home Price Index posted a decreasing pace of home price growth; all 20 cities posted slower year-over-year home price growth in July than in June.

Seven cities in the 20-City Index posted higher home price gains in July as compared to June. Demand for homes exceeds supply in many areas; limited availability of homes, rising mortgage rate, and high home prices have discouraged would-be home buyers. Analysts said that home prices fell due to rising mortgage rates impacting affordability. Craig J. Lazzara, managing director for S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that the slowing pace of home price growth in July was the “largest deceleration in the history of the Index.”

Cities that previously enjoyed rapidly rising home prices experienced a marked slowing in home price growth. Home price growth fell by 3.50 percent in San Francisco, California, and Seattle, Washington reported a 3.10 percent decline in home price growth. Home price growth in San Diego, California decreased by 2.50 percent in July. Cities posting gains in home prices included Miami, Florida with month-to-month home price growth of 1.30 percent; Home prices in Cleveland, Ohio rose by one percent, and Home prices in Chicago, Illinois rose by 0.70 percent.

FHFA Reports Home Price Growth in All Regions

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees government-sponsored mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that year-over-year home prices rose for all nine census divisions and ranged from 10 percent growth in the Pacific region to 18.90 percent growth in the South Atlantic region. FHFA data is based on home sales connected with purchase money mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Speed up Your Mortgage Closing Process With This Handy Four-step Guide

Speed up Your Mortgage Closing Process With This Handy Four-step GuideAre you in the market for a new house or apartment? If you are financing the purchase by taking out a mortgage, you’ll want to know how to make this transaction run as smooth as possible. In today’s article, we’ll share a quick four-step guide to speeding up the mortgage closing process.

Step #1: Check In On Your Credit Score

The first step before applying for your mortgage is to check in on your credit. Request a copy of your credit score and history from one of the major reporting firms. Go over this report, paying close attention to any old or outstanding items that you may have already dealt with. Many individuals have old delinquencies that must be challenged to be removed from the report, so take care of these first before applying.

Step #2: Have All Your Documents Prepared

As with any loan, taking out a mortgage requires a small mountain of paperwork. The best way to speed this process up is to have all of your financial documentation ready for inspection and use by the lender.

Note that each mortgage provider has different requirements for what you’ll need. A brief list of some items which are commonly requested includes your current employment details, recent pay stubs, recent W-2 forms or tax returns, proof of self-employment or other means of income, asset details such as bank accounts and investments and debt information such as other mortgages, student loans and more.

Step #3: Have An Offer Ready

If you have already settled on the home that you want to buy, it’s best to get your offer prepared in advance of being fully approved for mortgage financing. Your real estate agent will be able to help with crafting an offer that is subject to the home passing an inspection. It’s especially important to have an offer ready in the event that other buyers are competing for the same home that you are.

Step #4: Get The Inspection Finished Promptly

While your lender is completing the home appraisal process, you should be having the home inspected. Getting the inspection completed promptly will prevent any delays due to problem areas that might be uncovered. For example, a pest problem like termites may need to be dealt with, or minor repairs to the roof structure may need to be scheduled.

Following the steps above will help to ensure that your mortgage closing process goes as smoothly as possible. To learn more about your mortgage options or to get the pre-approval process started, contact us today. Our friendly mortgage professionals are happy to assist.

How Can You Invest in Real Estate?

How Can You Invest in Real Estate?Many people believe that investing in real estate is something reserved only for the super-wealthy. In reality, this is not the case. Investing in real estate is a smart idea because property can generate a consistent cash stream while providing significant capital appreciation combined with tax breaks. There are multiple ways to invest in real estate, and no single path is better than the others.

Consider Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A real estate investment trust is a low-cost alternative to buying an entire property. Usually shortened to REIT, this is a company that allows investors to pool their money together before the company purchases multiple properties. REITs bring in money by renting, leasing, or selling the properties they own. Instead of individual investors having to purchase properties on their own, they can pool their money with other investors, reducing the barrier to real estate investing. 

Rent Out Residential Properties

When people think about real estate investing, this is usually the first thing that comes to mind. You can purchase a residential property and rent it out to people. This generates recurring income that can cover overhead expenses tied to the house, such as the mortgage. Then, as the property goes up in value, you build wealth. You can decide to rent the property out for short-term stays, which is a popular option with a vacation home on the lake or the beach. Or, you can have long-term renters if you want more income security.

Think About Flipping Houses

If you have ever watched a TV show about houses, you have probably run into flippers. This is the practice of purchasing a distressed property, fixing it up, and then selling it for a significant profit. If done correctly, you can make a lot of money with a much shorter time horizon; however, this requires a lot more time and effort, as you will need to coordinate a lot of contractors to fix the property and list it in a reasonable time frame. 

Consider Investing in Real Estate

These are just a few of the many ways you can invest in real estate. Think about the benefits and drawbacks of each option, and decide which is best for you. 


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 26, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - September 26, 2022Last week’s economic reporting included readings on housing markets, building permits issued, housing starts, and sales of previously-owned homes. The Federal Reserve released its scheduled monetary policy statement and gave a  press conference with Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence In Housing Markets Lags for 9th Consecutive Month

The National Association of Home Builders reported lower builder confidence in housing markets in September; this was the ninth straight month that builder confidence fell. Readings of 50 and above indicate that most home builders surveyed reported positive views of the U.S. housing market.  Excluding readings during the pandemic, September’s reading was the lowest measure of builder confidence since May of 2014.

Component readings for the monthly housing market confidence reading were also lower in September. Builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months fell by one point and confidence in prospective buyer traffic in housing developments was also one point lower.

All four NAHB regions reported lower builder confidence readings in September than in August. The western region reported a ten-point drop in builder confidence and the southern region saw builder confidence in housing markets drop by seven points. The midwestern and northeastern regions each reported a drop of five points in builder confidence in September. Rising mortgage rates and home prices contributed to the dip in homebuilder confidence.

Federal Reserve Raises Target Rate Range and Mortgage Rates Follow

The Federal Reserve raised its target interest rate range again in an attempt to slow rapid inflation. The target interest rate range was raised by 0.75 percent to a range of 3.00 to 3.25 percent. The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate of maintaining inflation at or near two percent and achieving maximum employment.

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.29 percent and were 27 basis points higher than in the previous week. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 23 basis points on average to 5.4 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged four basis points higher at 4.97 percent. Discount points averaged 0.90 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 1 percentage point for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

Initial jobless claims rose to 213,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 208,000 claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices along with reports on pending home sales and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

What is a Reverse Mortgage and How Does It Work?

What is a Reverse Mortgage and How Does It Work?If you’ve recently considered your options for taking some of the equity out of your home you may have heard about reverse mortgage loans. If you meet the requirements for a reverse mortgage it can be an excellent way to tap into the value of your home, freeing up that cash to be reinvested or used for other purposes.

In today’s blog post we’ll explore reverse mortgage loans, explaining how they work and whether or not you’re qualified to receive one.

How Does a Reverse Mortgage Work?

As the name implies, a reverse mortgage is the opposite of a traditional or “forward” mortgage in which you borrow a lump sum of money from a lender to buy a home, paying it back to them over time. With a “reverse” mortgage, instead of paying the lender you will receive money from them which does not have to be repaid until you are either no longer using that house or condo as your primary home or until you fail to meet the obligations of the mortgage contract.

Note that a reverse mortgage is still a loan, which means you will still be required to pay interest on it. As your loan balance increases with principal and interest each month the amount of equity you have in your home will decrease accordingly.

Do I Qualify for a Reverse Mortgage?

According to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are a number of requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage. You must be at least 62 years of age when you apply, the home you’re applying with must be your primary residence, and most or all of your outstanding mortgage debt on the home must be paid off.

If you still owe money on your original or second mortgage against the home note that part of the money from the reverse mortgage must be used to pay this debt off.

How Much Can I Borrow in a Reverse Mortgage?

Like any type of loan, the amount of money that you can receive with a reverse mortgage depends on a variety of factors. Your age, the value of your home, any outstanding mortgage debt, current interest rates and Federal Housing Administration requirements will all be taken into consideration when determining how much you will qualify for.

While a reverse mortgage isn’t terribly complex, there is certainly more to the process that can be covered in a single blog post. For more information, contact us today and we can share the specifics of how you might qualify for a reverse mortgage and whether or not it’s your best option for making use of some of your home equity.