Important Tips To Do If Behind On Your Mortgage Payments

behind on mortgage paymentsWhat happens if you go through a tough financial period and you find yourself behind on your mortgage payments for your home?

If you are missing mortgage payments and are having difficulty paying, this can become a serious problem. Even just one missed payment can be difficult to catch up on, and if you are in this situation it is important to get help right away.

Contact Your Lender

The first step in this circumstance should be to get in touch with your mortgage lender to explain the situation. Simply leaving things alone and not explaining why you have missed a payment will just make things worse.

When people are struggling financially, they avoid calling their creditors for as long as they can. This is usually the wrong strategy to have if you want to make sure that you keep your home.

When you speak to the lender, you can explain why your payment is overdue. For example, perhaps you were laid off from your job or you have been sick and unable to work. If you have a good payment history and you are the one to initiate contact, the lender may be more likely to consider options for you to repay the mortgage.

Consider All Of Your Options

Is there a relative or a friend who could lend you enough money to pay off your missed mortgage payment? Could borrow from your insurance policy? Is there a way you can sell something that you are not using or cut back on other expenses?

Perhaps you could work a part time job on the side to earn more money. There are a number of ways that you could come up with the extra cash and make the mortgage payment.

However, be careful with payday loan companies or other short term lenders, as they may charge extremely high interest that can make it even more difficult to get out of debt later.

Loan Modification

In some circumstances, you might be able to arrange with your loan servicer to permanently change one or more of the terms of your mortgage contract so that your mortgage payments will be more manageable for you.

This could include reducing your interest rate, adding the missed payments to the loan balance or extending the term of the loan. A loan modification can be a good idea if you are facing a reduction in your income that will last for an extended period.

If you are struggling financially and you have missed a mortgage payment, don’t panic. Instead, follow these steps to make sure that you deal with the situation well and get back on track.

To find out more about getting a mortgage on your home, contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week of August 12, 2013

mortgage rate trendsHighlights of economic news from last week, include a survey of senior loan officers from U.S. and foreign banks doing business in the U.S.

They indicated that banks were gradually easing lending standards for business and consumer loans, but viewed lending criteria for home loans as more restrictive than other types of loans.

According to CoreLogic, U.S. home prices increased at their fastest pace since February 2006. Mortgage rates rose incrementally, and the Weekly Jobless Claims report came in lower than the expected 339,000 at 333,000 new jobless claims.

Monday: Bank loan officers surveyed indicated that while mortgage lending requirements have been eased for low risk mortgage loans, it remains challenging for those with less-than-stellar credit to qualify for home loans.

Bankers noted some concern that easing credit standards may signal to the Fed that it’s time to taper the quantitative easing program that’s designed to keep long term interest rates, including mortgage rates, low.

Tuesday: The CoreLogic Home Prices report for June showed that home prices rose 1.90 percent in June, and rose by 11.88 percent year-over-year. 48 states showed rising home prices while only Mississippi and Delaware showed a decline.

Nevada led the list of higher home prices with a 27.00 percent gain year-over-year; Nevada home values were among the hardest-hit in the economic downturn.

Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims came in at 333,000, which were higher than last week’s reading of 328,000 new jobless claims. The four-week average is considered a less volatile indicator of unemployment trends.

The four week rolling average for new jobless claims decreased by 6250 to 335,000. This was the lowest reading for the four-week rolling average since November 2007.

Freddie Mac’s weekly report on mortgage rates brought not-so-good news; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 4.40 percent, while the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 3.43 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose by one basis point to 3.19 percent.

Discount points for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 15-year fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at 0.7 percent, while average discount points for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped to 0.5 percent.

What’s Coming Up

This week’s economic news includes the federal budget for Monday. Retail Sales and Core Retail Sales will be reported on Tuesday; the Producers Price Index (PPI) and Core PPI will be out on Wednesday.

Thursday’s news includes weekly jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates update. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Core CPI (excluding volatile food and energy sectors) will also be released. The NAHB Home Builders Housing Market Index (HMI) is also due Thursday.

Friday’s scheduled economic news includes Housing Starts, Building Permits and Consumer Sentiment for July.

5 Important Summer Deck Inspection Tips

deck-safety-inspectionSummer seems to be slipping away quickly. And, while you’ve hosted many barbecues on your back deck, you might not have had time to properly take care of it.

August is the perfect month to conduct a deck inspection and make any repairs before the time comes to prepare it for winter. Below are tips on some issues to watch for and how to fix them.

Inspect The Deck

It’s important to do a thorough inspection of your deck every summer. You don’t want to step through a rotted board or have a railing break away from under you.

Be sure to pay extra attention to places close to the ground or near water sources, such as under planters and next to the water spigot.

Check For Rot

Take a screwdriver and poke areas of the deck that look like they could be rotting.

If you can push the screwdriver in a quarter inch or more, then you’ll need to consider replacing the board. However if the hole is smaller than the size of a tennis ball, you can fill it with wood preservative and save some money.

Get Low

Go under the deck if possible. You’ll need to check the supporting beams for any serious problems. Dangerous scenarios occur when the structure of the deck is compromised.

If you find an issue with a beam that cannot be removed because it’s holding up the deck, then reinforce it on both sides with pressure-treated lumber. Then scrape away the decomposing area.

Shake It Up

Give the railings a good shake to make sure they are structurally sound. Check for cracking around screw and nail holes.

If you find one, then remove the screw or nail, seal with exterior adhesive and drill a new hole to secure again.

Look For Cupping

Cupping occurs when wood absorbs and releases moisture, which may cause the floor planks to bow and warp. You want to make sure that guests and your family don’t trip over unruly slats. It might be a good idea to rent a professional-quality sander and even out the imperfections.

Perform a deck inspection to make sure your outdoor area is in suitable condition. Serious injuries can occur when homeowners don’t take the time to properly inspect and maintain their outdoor living spaces. Not to mention, it saves money to catch issues early and not have to replace the entire structure.

For more helpful tips on periodic home maintenance, please feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

Fed Meeting Statement Positive For Ongoing Mortgage Sector Support

fed-meeting-bernankeThere was potentially good news for mortgage rates last Wednesday as the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced that its quantitative easing (QE) program would remain unchanged for the present.

Economists expect the Fed to begin tapering the amount of QE toward the end of the year in accordance with Chairman Ben Bernanke’s previous statements that “tapering” would likely begin near year-end.

No specific date for reducing the QE assets purchases was given.

Chairman Bernanke has previously indicated that the Fed will closely review domestic and global economic developments as part of its decision-making process for changing the QE program. Wednesday’s FOMC statement reaffirmed this plan.

Fed Cites Economic Expansion and Improving Labor Conditions

The FOMC statement cited modest economic expansion, improving labor markets and continued high unemployment levels as a basis for continuing its current level of QE.

The Fed’s mandate requires it to support price stability and low unemployment; reversals in these or other economic areas could cause the Fed to continue its QE at present levels. At present, economists expect QE to end in mid-2014.

The FOMC statement also indicated that the target federal funds rate will remain between 0.00 and 0.25 percent at least until the national unemployment rate falls to 6.50 percent. Chairman Bernanke did not give a press conference after Wednesday’s statement was released.

Quantitative Easing: Monthly Purchase of MBS, Treasury Securities Intended to Control Mortgage Rates

The Fed currently purchases $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and $45 billion in Treasury securities monthly. These purchases are intended to control long-term interest rates including mortgage rates.

When the Fed begins tapering and eventually concludes these asset purchases, demand for MBS and Treasury securities are expected to fall and their prices will likely fall as well. When prices for bonds include MBS fall, mortgage rates traditionally rise.

With mortgage rates recently moving up, reducing the level of the Fed’s QE asset purchases is cause for concern. Higher mortgage rates make homes less affordable; the combination of rising home prices and mortgage rates presents challenges for first-time home buyers and others without sufficient funds for meeting higher down payments and monthly mortgage payments.

Now would be a very good time to ask your trusted mortgage professional for a personal review of your mortgage situation. Give them a call and ask for your private assessment today.

Case Shiller Home Price Index Shows Rising Prices For May 2013

case-shiller-home-price-indexThe S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (HPI) released Tuesday presented solid evidence that the housing recovery continued during the month of May.

The Case-Shiller 20-City Index showed increasing home prices for all 20 cities.

Highest Year-Over-Year Gains Included Theses Cities:

  • San Francisco, CA 24.50 percent
  • Las Vegas, NV 23.30 percent
  • Phoenix, AZ 20.60 percent
  • Atlanta, GA 20.10 percent
  • Los Angeles, CA 19.20 percent

In surprising news, Dallas, TX and Denver, CO posted record year-over-year price gains that surpassed their pre-crisis peaks.

Year-over-year home prices in Dallas increased by 7.60 percent and Denver home prices increased by 9.70 percent year-over-year in May.

Home prices grew by 12.20 percent on a year-over year basis in May; this reading fell short of expectations of 12.40 percent, but moved slightly ahead of April’s reading of a 12.10 percent year-over year increase.

The Case-Shiller HPI is based on a three-month rolling year-over-year average of home prices in the cities surveyed.

Cities Post Month-To- Month Price Gains

On a seasonally-adjusted month-to-month basis, home prices rose by 1.00 percent in May as compared to April. Expectations were for a 1.40 percent increase over April’s reading, which came in at 1.70 percent.

Top Gains From April To May Were Posted By These Cities:

  • San Francisco, CA 4.30 percent
  • Chicago, IL 3.70 percent
  • Atlanta, GA 3.40 percent
  • San Diego, CA 3.10 percent
  • Seattle, WA 3.10 percent

Analysts noted that home prices for two metro areas in Florida surpassed year-over-year gains in Washington, D.C.; this illustrates home values shifting geographically.

Miami home prices posted a month-to gain of 2.00 percent and a year-over-year gain of 14.20 percent.

Tampa, FL home prices posted a month-to-month gain of 1.80 percent on a year-over-year gain of 10.90 percent.

Washington, D.C. home prices gained 2.00 percent month-to-month in May, but only gained 6.50 percent year-over-year.

Rising Mortgage Rates Could Slow Price Momentum

It’s important to understand that the data in the Case-Shiller HPI lags a couple of months behind current market conditions; the latest numbers were compiled prior to mortgage rates spiking. Economists expect that the impact of higher mortgage rates won’t be seen in home prices until fall.

Higher mortgage rates are expected to slow home sales. If the demand for homes falls due to higher mortgage rates, inventories of available homes would expand, which would create competition among home sellers and potentially lead to lower home prices.

For any questions regarding your mortgage rate and buying a home feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

Top Questions To Ask The Home Inspector Before Buying Your Next Home

home-inspectionsImagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working – in the middle of your very first shower in your new home!

This, among other very good reasons, is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home.

When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying.

A home inspection is an important part of buying your home. Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.

What Does Your Inspection Cover?

Not all inspections are the same. Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home.

If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.

Are You Licensed Or Certified?

If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. Most reputable home inspection professionals provide this information right at the start of your home inspection.

At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors. This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.

What Kind Of Report Will You Give Me?

You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection.

Many even take digital color photos of any issues with the home in order to make their report as clear as possible. Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn’t make sense to you.

Will I Be Able To Attend The Inspection?

If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else. This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.

    Please feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today to answer this and any other question you have on the home buying process.

    What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week- August 5, 2013

    mortgage-rate-watchThe past week brought encouraging economic news from several sources.

    The FOMC statement indicated that the Federal Reserve has not set a date for rolling back its quantitative easing program and ADP reported more private sector jobs added than expected.

    While weekly jobless claims were fewer than expected, the national unemployment rate remained elevated:

    Monday: Pending Home Sales: The National Association of REALTORS reported that sales contracts fell in June due to rising mortgage rates and a tight inventory of available homes.

    Tuesday: The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed that national home prices increased by 12.2 percent annually.

    All 20 cities used in the 10 and 20 city home price indices posted gains in average home prices. Average U.S. home prices remained approximately 25 percent below their peak in 2006.

    Consumer confidence dropped in July to a reading of 80.3 as compared to a revised reading of 82.1 in June. Higher mortgage rates and stubbornly high unemployment rates likely contributed to a cooling of consumer enthusiasm.

    Wednesday: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in its statement that based on its reading of current economic conditions,the committee had not set a date for beginning to reduce the Fed’s monthly asset purchase of $85 billion in Treasury securities and MBS.

    The program, known as quantitative easing (QE), is intended to keep long-term interest rates including mortgage rates lower.

    ADP reported that job growth for private-sector jobs exceeded expectations for July; the adjusted reading of 200,000 for July beat expectations of 185,000 jobs added and also surpassed June’s reading of 198,000 new jobs added.

    The ADP jobs report is viewed by economists as a preview of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Non-farm Payrolls and National Unemployment reports, which are collectively known as the “Jobs Report.”

    Thursday: Weekly jobless claims came in at 326,000. This was lower than expectations and the previous week’s reading, both of which were reported at 345,000 jobless claims.

    Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates rose, with the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage coming in at 4.39 percent as compared to last week’s 4.31 percent.

    Average rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 3.43 percent over last week’s 3.39 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was 3.18 percent and two basis points higher than the previous week’s 3.16 percent.

    Friday: The July Non-farm Payrolls report showed that only 162,000 jobs were added as compared to expectations of 180,000 jobs added and June’s reading of 188,000 jobs added. While housing markets are showing strong improvement, high unemployment continues to be a drag on the economy.

    The national unemployment rate for July was 7.40 percent and was lower than expectations of 7.50 percent and June’s reading of 7.60 percent.

    What’s Coming Up This Week

    This week’s economic news includes the Senior Loan Officer Survey set for Monday, the U.S. Trade Deficit and Job Openings reports for June on Tuesday.

    On Wednesday, a report on Consumer Credit will be released and the Weekly Jobless Claims will be out Thursday, along with Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates report. No mortgage or related news is scheduled for Friday.

    How To Bring More Natural Light Into Your Home

    more natural light for your homeOne of the biggest improvements that you can make to your home is to bring in more natural light.
    Sunlight is a powerful mood enhancer and a home design that brings in a lot of natural light will automatically look and feel much more pleasant. Not only will it boost your mood, bringing in natural light will also increase the value of your home.

    So how can you shed some light on your home’s interior?
    Here are a few ways:

    Add More Reflective Surfaces
    Whenever you add a light and reflective surface to your home, you increase the number of times that daylight bounces around inside the room.

    Try painting your ceilings and walls with light or off-white colours. Matte finishes are actually better than glossy surfaces, as they reflect light in all directions at once. Add some metal accents and some mirrors to the space, which will also reflect the light.

    Move Your Furniture Around
    Do you have furniture that is blocking natural light from coming in? Move your furniture away from the windows so that it will not get in the way of the sunlight streaming into your home.

    Add A Glass Door
    Is there anywhere in your home where you can exchange a solid door for one with glass in its design? This will allow the light to flow through the doorway and increase the feeling of brightness in your home. There are plenty of glass doors with superb security features, so they will be just as safe as any other door. Also, if you have a yard or a patio to look out on, adding sliding glass doors will be a great way to let the light in and enjoy the view.

    Expand Your Windows
    Is it possible to increase the size of any of your windows? If yes, the windows on the south side of the house, will bring a significant amount of sunshine into the home.

    Add A Skylight
    Adding skylights to your home will bring a lot of natural light into the interior. Also, they are much more private than windows because anyone passing by will not be able to see through them. They also add overhead lighting, so that you will not need to use electricity during daylight hours.

    These are just a few ways that you can let the sunshine in and bring more natural light into your home.
    If you have any other home questions, please contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

    What Should You To Do To Prepare For Your Mortgage Application

    prepare for your mortgage applicationIf you are applying for a mortgage to buy a home, doing your homework in advance before you submit the application means that you will stand a better chance of getting accepted at a desirable mortgage rate.

    According to mortgage experts, it is a good idea to gather up all of the needed documents in advance before launching your house hunt, as this will make the application process a lot easier.

    The housing burst has resulted in much harder lending standards, which means that it could possible take weeks or sometimes even months to secure a loan.

    Here are a few important steps that you should take in advance:

    Consider What You Can Really Afford
    Before you start the entire house hunting and mortgage application process, you should consider what you can really afford to buy. It might be tempting to buy a house at the upper end of your price range, but consider the fact that it will be more of a struggle to make your mortgage payments and it will take much longer to pay down the mortgage. Assess your finances and be honest with yourself. Buying a home that is more comfortably within your price range will ensure that you can easily manage your monthly budget over the years.

    Save Up A Down Payment
    The bank will want to see that you are able to make a down payment of at least 20% of the value of the home.
    In order to save up this amount of money, it will be easier if you start in advance and save a small amount every month. The more you can pay for a down payment, the less your mortgage will be and the more money you will save over the length of the loan.

    Do Your Research
    Take your time to do lots of research in advance and seek out impartial advice on the mortgage market. There are so many options to choose from and a lot to consider, so the more knowledge you have the more prepared you are to make an informed decision.

    Consider Your Credit
    Before applying for a mortgage loan, you should take a look at your credit report. Your lender will look at it when you are making an application and they will use it to consider whether or not to offer you the loan and what type of interest rate to give you. If you spot any errors or issues with the credit report, it is a good idea to get them fixed now before you apply.

    These are just a few things to consider before applying for a mortgage. To find out more about mortgages or buying a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

    Existing Home Sales: Second Highest Level Since 2009

    existing home sales are upAccording to the National Association of REALTORS®, national sales of existing homes in June came in at 5.08 million.
    June’s reading was reported to be the second highest since November of 2009; this should calm concerns about a lapsing recovery in housing markets.

    Summer typically produces the highest prices for existing homes sold, as families seeking larger homes frequently move during summer months.

    The June inventory of existing homes improved by 1.90 percent to 2.19 million homes or a 5.20 month supply. June’s number of available homes was 7.60 percent lower than in June 2012.

    The shortage of available homes has been causing buyers to turn from existing homes to new homes in areas where both available homes and/or land for new construction are in short supply.

    Average Home Prices Continue Their Climb Nationally
    So the news of more existing homes for sale is good news for home buyers and housing markets that have been held back by an excess of buyers seeking a short supply of available homes.

    NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun noted that inventories of existing homes are expected to “broadly favor sellers and contribute to above-normal price growth.”

    This trend was supported by June’s national average price for existing homes at $214,200, which represented a year-over-year increase of 13.5 percent. Rising home prices and mortgage rates continue creating financial challenges for first-time buyers and others seeking affordable home prices and mortgage loans.

    Distressed home sales were down from 18 percent in May to 15 percent in June; this is the lowest market share since tracking began in 2008. June sales of distressed homes were significantly lower than in June 2012’s reading of 26 percent of existing homes sold.

    The National Association of REALTORS® noted that falling levels of distressed sales are contributing to higher prices for existing homes.

    FHFA Reports Home Prices Rise In May
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported Tuesday that prices for homes financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose by 0.70 percent in May as compared to April’s downwardly revised 0.50 percent increase in home prices.

    According to the FHFA Housing Price Index (HMI), home prices were up by 7.30 percent year-over-year in May, and are roughly equal to home prices reported for January 2005. May’s home prices remained 11.20 percent below peak prices reported in April 2007.

    May’s FHFA data demonstrated steady growth of home prices for all nine census divisions on a year-over-year basis with home prices increasing from 2.70 percent to 15.80 percent in May.