5 Reasons To Sell Your Home This Fall

Real Estate and MortgageThough the real estate business never stops, most people associate its busy periods of the year with the spring and summer seasons. And while this is true to a large extent, those who think that selling a home in the fall is a bad decision are sorely mistaken.

Just as families want to get into new homes before the school year starts, which makes spring and summer busy seasons, there’s also an urgency to get into new homes prior to the holiday season. It’s one of the reasons why you shouldn’t hesitate to list your home in the fall season.

Here’s a look at five more reasons why it’s smart to list your home in the fall:

1. Demand Is Still There

It’s a seller’s market out there, which means that there’s still high demand for quality homes. So don’t think that buyers have put their searches on hold until next spring, because they’re still out there. You’ll take advantage of this continuous demand by listing in the fall.

2. You Can Enjoy The Summer

You can enjoy next summer, that is. Yes, while sellers that list in the spring and summer are constantly cleaning, tidying up and exiting the home for showings, you can get out ahead of the game this fall so you can spend next summer enjoying your next home.

3. Buyers Are Serious

In the spring and summer months, it’s not unusual to get a lot of traffic from people who are thinking about buying. While any kind of activity is usually a positive, these types of would-be buyers aren’t exactly the strongest prospects to make an offer. With how busy the fall season is for many families, you’re likely to get showings with buyers who are serious, and thereby more likely to make an offer if they like what they see.

4. You Can Enhance Your Curb Appeal

Fall is characterized by cooler temperatures and changing colors. The former can really help green up your lawn, while the latter can make your house stand out if there are trees on the property. Aside from your home, the fall foliage can also enhance the appeal of your entire neighborhood.

5. There’s Fewer Home Sellers

A final reason to list in the fall is that you’ll have less competition on the market. That is, there are fewer available homes. If your home is attractive and sought after, you can potentially create a bidding war among interested buyers, which can help you net more off the sale.

Your trusted real estate professional can give you all the tips and tricks to prepare for a successful fall listing.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Market Ticks Up in October

builder confidence is upHome builder confidence in national housing market conditions rose one index point for a reading of 68 in October. Readings over 50 indicate that most builders are confident about market conditions. Rolling three-month averages showed mixed results. The Northeastern region gained three points for an index reading of 57; the Midwestern region lost two index points with a reading of 57 and the Southern region posted a gain of one point with a reading of 70. The Western region held steady at 74.

Readings for sub-categories of the Housing Market index showed a one-point gain to 74 for current market conditions, Builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months also gained one point for a reading of 75 index points. Builder confidence in buyer traffic rose four points to 53. This was remarkable as historical readings for buyer traffic rarely rose above the benchmark reading of 50.

Demand for Homes Rises

The National Association of Home Builders reported that demand for homes increased regardless of high home prices, rising mortgage rates and low inventories of available homes. Labor shortages and high cost of buildable lots continued to weigh on builder confidence. Analyst predictions that home prices have peaked did not impact October’s builder confidence readings.

Home Builders Look Toward Affordable Housing

When the current housing boom started, builders concentrated on building high-end homes as cash buyers and investors fueled demand. Home prices rose quickly as inventories of homes for sale dwindled; first-time and moderate-income home buyers were sidelined as affordable homes were quickly snapped up. Strict mortgage qualification requirements presented challenges to buyers with credit problems. Consumers struggle with home price growth that exceeds inflation and wage increases.

As analysts report that home prices may have hit their peak the highest reading for builder confidence in recent months was 74 in December 2017. Slowing increases in home prices have signaled builders that favorable housing market conditions may have reached a tipping point. If another recession occurs, those who bought their homes at the top of the market and who have little equity are most at risk. Analysts cited high priced coastal areas as ripe for this risk. Meanwhile, builders are looking to create more affordable housing in response to signals of slowing growth in residential real estate markets.

Contact your trusted mortgage professional to find out about about the market trends specific to your area and how those conditions may impact your financing options.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 29th, 2018

care-sunt-cartierele-unde-gasesti-cele-mai-ieftine-garsoniereLast week’s economic news included readings on sales of new homes and pending home sales. A reading on consumer sentiment was also released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Sales of New Homes Slide to Near 2 – Year Low

According to Commerce Department readings on new home sales, the pace of sales slipped close to a two-year low in September; new homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 553,000 sales.

September’s reading was 5.50 percent lower than for August and was 13.20 percent lower year-over-year. Analysts expected a reading of 620,000 sales; August’s reading showed an annual pace of 585,000 new homes sold.

Real estate pros reported a 7.10-month supply of available homes, which was a six-year high. A six-month supply of homes for sale is considered a normal inventory in many markets.

Home prices had a median of $320,000 in September, which was 3.50 percent lower year-over-year. Strong demand for homes coupled with limited supplies have caused home prices to rise and buyers to compete with cash-buyers and ever escalating home prices. Rising mortgage rates and few choices of available homes have sidelined moderate and first-time buyers.

Pending Home Sales Rise in September

The National Association of Realtors® reported rising pending home sales, which provided hope for lagging home sales. Pending sales are sales for which a purchase contract is signed but the sale has not yet closed. Pending home sales had an index reading of 104.6 in September as compared to 104.1 in August. No change from August’s reading was expected in September. The pending sales index pending home sales index was one percent lower year-over-year.

Pending sales rose 4.40 percent in the West; The Midwest posted a gain of 1.20 percent and the South posted a negative reading of – 0.40 percent. The South posted a negative reading of -1.40 percent in pending home sales.

Pending home sales are considered a predictor of completed sales and new mortgages.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose one basis point to 4.86 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose three basis points to 4.29 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was four basis points higher at 4.14 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose last week to 215,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected no change from the prior week’s reading of 210,000 new claims filed. The University of Michigan reported a dip in its consumer sentiment index for October. September’s reading was adjusted from and index reading of 99 to 100.1. October’s reading was 99. Lower consumer sentiment was based on stagnant wage growth according to analysts.

What‘s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, Labor sector reports on private and public sector employment and the national unemployment rate.

Winterizing Your Yard: 3 Landscape Tips

winterizing the lawnIn some parts of the country, it has already started snowing! But, even if you live in an area with a moderate climate, your lawn and garden are about to take a “winter break.”

Here are 3 tips to assure that your yard will not only survive the winter, but flourish during the dormant season. They’ll assure that your landscape will greet spring full of life and beauty.

Fertilize The Lawn As Recommended

Most types of grass and landscape plants have a kind of built in “alarm clock” that helps them prepare for the changing seasons and the onset of winter. Many lawns, though, benefit greatly from a a fall “feeding” in order to supply proper nutrients to help roots survive during the cold and be ready to start growing again above ground in the spring.

Applying the proper fertilizer this fall is a simple and cost-effective way to get a jump on next year’s beautiful lawn. When and whether you fertilize will depend on your specific type of grass and your location.

Baby Your Plants

Autumn is the time you’ll want to pamper your plants — from rose bushes to winter squash, kale or potatoes — and different plants require varied treatments to protect them from the cold and frost. If you’re not a master gardener yourself, your local nursery should be able to offer advice. The top three things to remember are that plants need to be well-hydrated in order to prevent stress, that they might need extra nutrition (fertilizer) during the cold season, and that most plants like an extra blanket (in the form of additional mulch) during the winter.

Again, specific solutions will depend on the types of plants in your garden, but a little extra effort this fall will help even your traditional flower garden bloom even more beautifully come spring!

Extend The Growing Season

If you have a backyard vegetable garden or a raised bed full of herbs and spices, and you live in an area with mild to moderate winters, you might be able to extend the growing season indefinitely by covering your beds or tenting the garden. Learn how to protect your plants from freezing by using a frost blanket or rotating row covers. It’s not really that difficult, and the difference of only a few degrees can make a big difference.

Although frost blankets can top plants directly, you can make them even more effective if you build a simple framework — something like a miniature greenhouse — to give your plants a winter home that allows air to circulate.

For additional information, check with a local greenhouse or nursery, or just experiment with different ideas. No matter what you plan to do, the time to begin is now!

If you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact you trusted mortgage professional to find out about your best financing options.

Tech Jobs Driving House Flipping Projects

images (1)Reality TV shows about house flipping make it look easy. But behind every lucrative renovation project, there are factors that impact profitability such as buying price, labor costs, unforeseen setbacks and perhaps most importantly, location.

There is no escaping the old real estate adage of “location, location, location.” Home-flipping entrepreneurs must take into account whether polishing up a blighted building is in a viable resale neighborhood. One of the location factors some house flippers are following is the trend in tech jobs.

Because the tech industry does not necessarily rely on interstate highways, commercial hubs or seaports, computer-oriented businesses are taking advantage of once vibrant manufacturing areas that have fallen on hard times. Property values in these areas seem to be trending behind some of the nation’s hotspots despite having many desirable community living aspects such as parks, walking trails, waterfronts, restaurants, and a vibrant arts scene.

Rust Belt Resurgence

Following the decline in industrial work in areas throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois and others, once highly sought after cities and towns saw mass population declines. The lack of good-paying jobs left large numbers of wonderful homes and commercial buildings under-occupied.

Tech companies have been putting some economic lifeblood back into these communities in recent years. House flippers have been hot on their heels to renovate properties as high-paying workers migrate into the communities. Some of the numbers coming out of cities such as Pittsburgh and Buffalo have been impressive.

In Pittsburgh alone, house-flipping profits exceeded 162 percent in the second quarter, and Buffalo topped 100 percent. Considering the national average for this sector stands at about 44 percent, chasing tech outfits appears to be rewarding. Pennsylvania is reportedly now the second best place for home-flipping profits at 132.7 percent statewide.

Tech Trends Nationwide

The former mill and mining areas of the Rust Belt are among the top trending regions for flipping homes as Internet-based companies set up shop. There are also smaller pockets of tech-driven opportunities for contractors and real estate professionals to turn profits.

In New England, small cities such as Providence, RI, are seeing an upsurge in old mills being converted into online and tech business spaces. In Massachusetts, technology jobs have been on the rise in the region north of Boston. Former manufacturing hubs are seeing properties move as high-paying jobs increase. The opportunities for home flippers are growing.

Nashville, Tennessee, is reportedly outpacing tech-heavy Seattle in terms of employment growth. The professional networking website LinkedIn reported that 85 in 10,000 members relocated to Nashville through September. Approximately 118 in 10,000 moved to Austin and 96 to Denver. It appears the country is in the midst of tech-industry migration.

This trend is likely to continue, and house-flipping entrepreneurs are likely to have robust opportunities in these emerging housing markets across the country.

Contact your trusted mortgage professional to learn about your current finance options.

4 Things You Should Know About Easements, Right Of Ways

blended-jumbo-mortgagesRobert Frost once wrote that “Good fences make good neighbors.” The poet was not referring to people bonding over the task of mending fences. Rather, defined boundaries are an important facet of neighborly relationships.

Without clearly defined property lines and rights, otherwise good people too often become embroiled in land disputes. That’s why a basic knowledge about easements and right of ways can help property owners maintain a working friendship with people whose land abuts yours.

These are four of the important elements about easements and right of ways you should know.

1: Types Of Easements

An easement allows another person the right to access a property for a specific purpose. There are two basic types. Negative easements prevent an owner from using their property in a certain fashion. This might preclude building another floor on a home that would block a water view. A positive easement might allow someone access to land for the purpose of clearing timber or driving over it. The right to passage over a property remains the most common.

2: How Right Of Ways Differ

A right of way is, in fact, a type of easement. The general difference is that it is often accompanied by a defined road or pathway that one party uses to cross over. Hunters often establish right of ways with property owners and landlocked homes generally have driveways running over another person’s land.

3: How Easements Are Created

There are several ways an easement may be legally created. The first is generally called a “permissive easement.” This basically means you give permission to another party to use your land in a specific fashion. Again, driving over it to reach their property is the most common.

A key element of a permissive easement is that, in most states, it cannot become permanent without the property owner’s express authorization. In other words, allowing someone to drive over your land does not give them the right to continue forever. You can decide at any time to revoke permission.

Another way that easements are formed is by adverse possession. This tends to lead to hostilities between neighbors because one party asks the courts for a legal right to use your land based on prior usage. The lawsuit generally offers little or no compensation. It’s basically a land grab.

The more amicable way to create an easement is by granting an abutter the right to use your land. This generally entails creating a land-use agreement in which the property owner receives reasonable compensation.

4: Easements May Have Time Limits

An easement does not necessarily last forever. Some are granted with a defined expiration date. Others are recorded with the deed and are passed on from owner to owner. When buying a home, a title search should be performed that provides detail about existing easements and right of ways. This is an important part of purchasing a property because land disputes can be financially and emotionally taxing.

If you have concerns about any type of easement on a potential property, be sure to discuss it with your trusted home loan professional.

Take Your Bathroom From ‘Drab’ to ‘Fab’ With These Do-it-Yourself Bathroom Renovations

bathroom-remodelDoes your bathroom look amazing? As one of the most used rooms in every home, the bathroom can almost always use a bit of a face lift. In today’s blog post we will share a few DIY renovations that will take your bathroom from drab to fab.

Embrace A New Color Palette

One of the best ways to start your bathroom makeover is to figure out a new color palette for the room. Do you like soft, muted colors like a powder blue, light gold or cream? Or maybe something a bit louder and more exciting like a merlot red or deep purple? Whatever your taste, a splash of color might be just what your bathroom needs.

Start with a fresh coat of paint on the bathroom walls and work outwards from there. If you have windows, consider how you want the trim to contrast with the walls. Baseboards or molding can also offer contrasting effects, helping them to stand out more.

And of course, don’t forget to take care of the smaller bathroom accessories. Your shower curtain, hand towels, and even your toothbrush cup can all be matched.

Take Your Fixtures To The Next Level

Once you have decided on colors, it is time to turn your attention to the fixtures around your bathroom. The towel racks, hooks, faucets, shower head and toilet paper holder should all match in some way. If you do not have a lot of cabinet space, investing in a mirror that includes storage might be the perfect solution. If you have items like a scale or plunger in plain sight, think on some creative ways to hide them.

Brighten Things Up With Better Lighting

While you do not need ‘selfie quality’ professional lighting in your bathroom, it might be time for a brighter, more efficient light fixture. Aim for a design that complements the rest of the accents in your bathroom while being large enough to cast a bright light. You can also spend a bit of time choosing the correct color temperature for your bathroom light bulbs. LED lighting can offer some bold whites, but be careful that you don’t go overboard.

Renovating your bathroom is a fun way to spend a weekend or two improving your home. If you are thinking about buying a new home, contact us. Our professional mortgage team is happy to help you find the perfect financing option.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 22nd, 2018

board-of-the-federal-reserveLast week’s economic reports included readings on home builder confidence,sales of pre-owned homes and housing starts. The Commerce Department also issued a report on building permits issued; weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Homebuilder Confidence Rises One Point

The National Association of Home Builders reported a reading of 68 for October,which surpassed August’s reading of 67. Any reading over 50 indicates most home builders are confident about housing market conditions. Builders cited ongoing headwinds including higher prices for materials,shortages of lots and labor and rising mortgage rates. Builders sought ways to provide more affordable housing options as they faced higher costs.

Regional readings of builder confidence readings,which are tracked on a three-month rolling average,were missed. The northeastern region gained three points for a reading of 57; the southern region gained one point for an index reading of 70. The midwestern region lost two points for a reading of 57. The western region was unchanged from September’s reading of 74.

Sales of Pre-owned Homes Slip toward 3 Year Low

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in September;5.15 million sales were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to August’s reading of 5.33 million sales. Analysts expected a reading of 6.27 million sales for September. Faced with high home prices and slim inventories of available homes,would-be buyers sidelined their searches for homes. Housing starts were 3.40 percent lower month-to-month and hit their lowest rate since November 2015.

According to the Commerce Department,housing starts also fell in September to 1.201 million starts on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. August’s reading was 1.268 million starts. Year-over-year,housing starts were 3.70 percent higher.,but fewer housing starts were bad news for housing markets as demand continued to exceed supplies of available homes. Building permits issued also fell in September to 1.242 million permits issued as compared to August’s reading of 1.249 million permits issued.

Mortgage Rates,New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages were five basis points lower at 4.85 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged three basis points lower at 4.26 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 4.10 percent.

First-time jobless claims also fell last week to 210,000 new claims filed,which matched expectations but was lower than the prior week’s reading of 215,000 new claims filed.

What‘s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on new and pending home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

U.S. Wage Increases Could Help Home Buyers

Lower-Payment-SaveThe struggle to achieve the American homeownership dream often feels like it happens in a vacuum. Everyday people work hard, save money and polish up their credit to get a low mortgage rate.

But there are powerful forces at work that are far beyond each person’s control. And until recently, the gap between American wage growth and rising home prices was widening. According to data coming out of the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment recently hit a 49-year low and wages are enjoying the greatest uptick in nearly a decade. That is good news for prospective home buyers.

American Wages On The Rise

The 2018 economic news has seemed like one long greatest hits album. Historic-low unemployment for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans has spurred confidence among these groups and the national unemployment has been steadily under 4-percent. The stock markets are booming, and the GDP growth has been impressive.

But there has been some frustration over stubborn wages that haven’t kept pace with other metrics. A report following stagnant salaries in February pointed to no slow down between rising home prices and wallowing pay rates. The growth rate was reportedly a modest 0.1 percent gain in February and that put Americans behind the curve in terms of buying homes.

But numbers coming out of the second quarter jobs report point to a 10-year high wage increase. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported wages are rising as employers compete to fill positions and the 12-month increase stands at 2.9 percent through August.

These are key numbers that may put a smile on potential home buyers’ faces.

Wages rose 0.5 percent in the second quarter of 2018.
Through August, wages rose 2.9 percent over the previous 12-month period.
Private industry compensation increased by 2.9 percent.
Government compensation increased by 2.3 percent, down from 2.6 in 2017.
Sales jobs gained by 3.5 percent.
Transportation jobs increased by 3.4 percent.
Experts are also claiming that setbacks from hurricanes likely blocked wage growth from topping the 2.9 high in 2009.

Where The Housing Market Stands

There’s little doubt that the surging economy put a higher number of Americans in position to purchase homes. However, inventory has remained well behind demand and that created a seller’s market with rising listing prices. But home prices are coming within reach for more people in 2018 and possibly 2019 market.

Since bottoming out in 2102, today’s home prices reportedly stand at about 6 percent higher than they were at their 2006 peak. That is not necessarily an indication that another housing bubble exists. Rather, the uptick in home prices is a natural reaction to an inventory shortage and economic growth.

The optimistic news for prospective home buyers is that wage growth appears to be gaining on home costs. As the gap closes, it’s likely that more and more people will be financially able to secure the American Dream of owning a home.

If you are in the market for a new home, contact your trusted home mortgage professional to start the pre-approval process.

Fall Outdoor Lighting Tips

fall outdoor lightsMany people associate the fall months with cooler temperatures and changing colors. But another defining characteristic of fall is that the days become shorter. Yes, there’s limited daylight, as the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Noting this, it’s important to take any exterior lighting into consideration if you’re listing your home this fall. It’s important because you want your home to have a welcoming vibe to it, but with the potential for showings to occur in limited daylight, some modifications and new light installations may be necessary in order for it to stand out. What’s more is that exterior lighting can serve as a theft deterrent.

Here’s a closer look at some fall outdoor lighting tips to enhance the appeal of your home this fall:

Go Solar

Solar lighting is an effective, sustainable way to highlight the landscape of your yard, and illuminate paths and walkways. Just make sure that you’re placing solar lights in areas that receive lots of sunlight during the day so that they have plenty of energy after the sun goes down.

Border Patios, Decks

If your backyard features a patio, deck or gathering space away from the home, don’t miss an opportunity to border it with lights to better highlight said features. If your deck or patio has railing, consider stringing lights throughout it.

Here’s another neat idea: If you have a patio umbrella, consider purchasing lights that fit within it. You should be able to purchase an umbrella solar light set from your local hardware store, which does wonders in providing accent lighting for this area. Even if the umbrella isn’t staying with the house, it can still make for a nice touch.

Don’t Shine Lights On Windows

Any lights that shine on windows will only hinder your home’s appearance. That’s because they’re likely to create a glare. Make sure that any lighting that you incorporate is well balanced and only goes to help the home’s overall appearance. On a similar note, make sure that any lighting doesn’t clash with each other.

Consider Uplighting

Uplighting, or shining lights so that they are hitting your home at an upward angle, is a creative way to make your home appear larger. Additionally, uplighting can help accentuate unique architectural features. Be sure to uplight from each side of the house for the best overall look.

Light For Safety

Finally, you should also be arranging lights in a way that promotes safety on your property. For instance, if there are any steps or inclines, make sure that the areas are well lit to avoid the potential for injury.

Be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional if you are considering buying a new home or refinancing your current property.