BlogMORTGAGE BLOG

Rent Payment Edge: Use Your Rent Payments to Qualify for a Mortgage

Blog posted On December 08, 2022

Have you been discouraged from applying for a mortgage due to your limited credit history? We are happy to introduce our Rent Payment Edge program that helps reward renters with a good payment history!

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5 Reasons Why Winter is the Best Time to Buy

Blog posted On December 07, 2022

Winter is probably the last season picked in home buyer gym class. It’s cold, it’s in the middle of the school year, and everyone is preoccupied with the holidays. Plus, it admittedly is a slower season for the housing market. While winter may not have the speed of spring or athleticism of summer, it does have a certain edge that can help home buyers win.

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Sneak Peek of Next Week: Jobs, Inflation, and Future Fed Rate Hikes

Blog posted On December 06, 2022

Mortgage rates ended last week brushing some of the lowest levels in two months. On Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted that there’s a strong chance next week’s rate hike could be smaller than the previous hikes of 0.75%. Friday’s jobs reports put a temporary damper on the mood. Overall, rates finished the week strong, but the next eight days will be crucial in determining where they go next. If this all sounds a little bit confusing, don’t worry, we’ll break it down below.

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Sneak Peek of Next Week: Jobs, Inflation, and Future Fed Rate Hikes

Blog posted On December 06, 2022

Mortgage rates ended last week brushing some of the lowest levels in two months. On Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted that there’s a strong chance next week’s rate hike could be smaller than the previous hikes of 0.75%. Friday’s jobs reports put a temporary damper on the mood. Overall, rates finished the week strong, but the next eight days will be crucial in determining where they go next. If this all sounds a little bit confusing, don’t worry, we’ll break it down below.

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Consumer Credit Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On December 05, 2022

Last week was a roller coaster for the stock and bond markets, but mortgage rates came out on top. Rates saw a huge downward shift following Fed Chair Powell’s comments surrounding the fed funds rate outlook. While he was still cautious with his choice of words, the markets took note of his confirmation that the Fed is looking at slowing the pace of rate hikes soon. Experts are thinking that ‘soon’ means the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting next week. Therefore, the markets repriced for the hopeful outlook. But the week didn’t end there.

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The Secret Hack to Lower Mortgage Rates

Blog posted On December 01, 2022

It would be hard to get a mortgage rate in the range we saw during the pandemic. But what if you could get something low by today’s standards? More and more buyers are taking advantage of programs that can help them save hundreds per month on their mortgage payment. In fact, sellers can benefit from these programs too.

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5 Things to Negotiate When You Buy Your First House

Blog posted On November 30, 2022

Buying your first house is an exciting move, especially in the current market. More and more sellers are offering consessions to buyers like closing costs, points, etc. But there might be more conessions that your real estate agent could negotiate. It's always useful to work with a real estate agent, especially when buying your first house. They have the ability to potentially save you hundreds or thousands. 

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How to Effectively Price Your Home in the Modern Market, According to an Appraiser

Blog posted On November 29, 2022

Today, the Case-Shiller home price index showed that the prices of homes declined for the third consecutive month in September. Annual price gains appeared to have peaked roughly six months ago and have been declining ever since. This cooling may come as a shock to sellers, who had enjoyed nearly two years of red-hot prices and sky-high profits. Now as the market is shifting, many sellers are swallowing a tough pill – that their home may not sell for the same price that it could have earlier this year.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Pending Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 28, 2022

During the shortened holiday week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged. This marks the second consecutive drama-free week for the bond market and mortgage rates – a trend not seen in months. As stated by Matthew Graham, COO of Mortgage News Daily, “mortgage rates have been hovering around the best levels since late September for two straight weeks now.” As we move into December, it’s possible that rates could have slightly more volatility, but the largest changes are likely to take place closer to the next Federal Open market Committee (FOMC) meeting on December 13-14.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; New Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 21, 2022

Mortgage rates were relatively unchanged last week with much less volatility than in recent months. They could have continued trending lower last week were it not for comments from various Federal Reserve members discouraging the markets from getting too excited for future declines. What does that mean? The Fed is extremely unified in its determination to lower inflation and will likely need more than one month of good inflation news to consider pausing rate hikes.

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Will Mortgage Rates Continue to Drop?

Blog posted On November 15, 2022

Hope is in the air for home buyers. For several months, many buyers have been holding their breath as mortgage rates have continued climbing higher. Last week they finally got a breather. Following Thursday’s release of the consumer price index, mortgage rates saw their biggest single-day tumble in over a decade. The question now is whether rates have peaked or if they trend higher again.   

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 14, 2022

Last week, the consumer price index for October showed that inflation was much cooler than expected, which in turn gave the markets increased hope for a lower fed funds rate increase in December. When the bond market is happy, mortgage rates tend to trend lower. In this case, they trended drastically lower – marking the largest single-day drop in over a decade, according to historic data from Mortgage News Daily. While this doesn’t ensure a smaller rate hike in the future, it certainly provides some hope in the meantime.

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Looking Back: The Current Housing Market is All Too Familiar

Blog posted On November 08, 2022

This isn’t the first time the housing market has been here. In the late 1970s, inflation climbed to 14% and home prices surged 14%. It was a seller’s market; buyers were taking what they could get. Eventually, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to calm down the economy. By 1980, mortgage rates had soared to 15%. Buyer competition cooled, home prices declined, and more options became available on the market. What was once a seller’s market quickly turned in favor of the buyers. Flash forward 42 years, and you’ll find a market in very similar conditions.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 07, 2022

The Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate another 75 basis points last week. Additionally, the Federal Reserve statement hinted the Committee would discuss smaller hikes in the near future. The markets widely expected the increase and initially reacted well to the hints in the statement. After Fed Chair Powell’s press conference, they started to take a turn. While he did confirm that the Fed would discuss the easing hikes at the December meeting, he also included a lot of reminders about high inflation and reinforced the Fed’s commitment against it. Future Fed decisions are largely going to depend on incoming economic data like inflation reports and jobs reports. This week, all eyes are on the consumer price index – the most widely-used inflation report.

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CMG Home Loans Recognized for Standout Origination Growth in 2022

Blog posted On November 03, 2022

CMG Home Loans was one of just six top lenders to increase originations in the third quarter of 2022. Inside Mortgage Finance recognized the accomplishment in a recent article titled, “Short Takes: An Exclusive Lending Club / Public vs. Private / BayFirst Exits the Arena / UWM’s Earnings? / Fannie and Freddie?”

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Home Buying Tips for Recent College Graduates

Blog posted On November 02, 2022

Purchasing a home is a dream of many, especially those who have graduated college and begun life in the ‘real world.’ Purchasing your first home early and avoiding the rent trap can give you a jump start on building valuable home equity. If you’re just starting out in the ‘real world,’ welcome! Here are a few tips for those who don’t want to waste money on rent.

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Here's What to Expect from Tomorrow's Fed Announcement

Blog posted On November 01, 2022

How much higher will rates get? Time will tell, but tomorrow all eyes are on Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Tomorrow is the penultimate Fed interest rate announcement of the year. Economists largely expect another 0.75% increase. The Fed rate hike probability is almost certain, but what comes after is not.

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Construction Spending and Fed Interest Rate Decision Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 31, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates had their best winning streak in months. One of the factors was a more rate-friendly tone from a Fed member who suggested that the Fed should start discussing its let up on rate hikes. Other helpful factors include the European Central Bank’s friendlier-than-expected announcement and economic data that hinted the Fed’s rate hikes are starting to make their desired effect. Rate-friendly decisions abroad tend to impact domestic rates positively. Domestically, the Fed is waiting for signs from economic data (like cooler inflation) before tapering off its rate hikes. The market eagerly awaits this week’s interest rate decision from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and subsequential press conference by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

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More Home Buyers Turning to ARMs for Relief in the Current Market

Blog posted On October 27, 2022

Affordability has become an increasing issue for home buyers this year. Mortgage rates have more than doubled their levels in January. Home prices, though falling, are still high relative to the past few years. And many home buyers are being ‘priced out’ by their projected monthly mortgage payments. One solution, however, is becoming increasingly popular.

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Home Sellers Are Cutting Prices at a Record High Rate

Blog posted On October 25, 2022

Relief is well on its way for home buyers struggling with rising mortgage rates. Earlier today, the Case- Shiller home price index showed that in August, home prices cooled at the fastest pace in history. On top of that, more than one in five sellers reduced their sales price in September. Both are strong signs of a shift in the market – a shift in favor of buyers.  

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, and Pending Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 24, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates continued their upward trend, but saw some hope at the end of the week. A big debate impacting current rate trends is the trajectory of the Federal Funds rate hikes. While the Federal Funds rate doesn’t directly set interest rates, it can influence trends. Right now, the bond market is debating whether or not the Federal Reserve can/will continue hiking the benchmark rate at the same pace. The past three rate hikes have been 75 basis points. Most rate hikes throughout history average around 25 basis points. The aggressive rate hikes of late are a tactic to combat against high inflation levels. Basically, the Fed has “remained very unfriendly toward rates,” writes Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily, and is waiting to see a change in inflation before changing its stance. Many experts believe the Fed can’t continue at its current pace; the consequence would be a huge negative effect on the national and global economy.  

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Buying a Home in the Current Market? Explore a Loan Less Dependent on Rates

Blog posted On October 20, 2022

A little over a year ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was just under 3%. Now, it’s trending several percentage points higher. This is the sharpest rate hike over the past four decades and comes as a shock to many home buyers and leaves them thinking it’s a bad time to buy. However, there is another alternative product, and if you use it correctly, it could actually be a great time to buy. 

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Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

Blog posted On October 19, 2022

Not only is owning a home a great investment for the future, but it also comes with numerous tax benefits that can help reduce the amount you owe when filing your taxes. Below are tax benefits you can take advantage of as a homeowner.  

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Investment Homeowners to Profit from Sky-High Rent Prices, Remote Work Opportunities

Blog posted On October 18, 2022

Investment homeowners are in for a profitable year in 2023. The past two years have been a whirlwind – from the pandemic cooling to the hottest market in decades. Now, rent prices are skyrocketing, more people have the flexibility to work remotely, and investment homeowners are reaping the benefits. And even more good news is in the queue for next year. 

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Market Update: Rates Inch Higher; NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 17, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended higher following hotter-than-expected inflation data. High inflation is tough on mortgage rates for a couple of reasons. First, inflation is the enemy of bonds, and the bond market heavily influences rate trends. Additionally, persistently high inflation will likely lead the Federal Reserve to continue its aggressive rate hikes.  

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What Can Buyers Negotiate When Buying a Home?

Blog posted On October 12, 2022

Rates are continuing to trend higher, giving many home buyers pause about their purchase. But rising rates are just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface, the housing market is shifting in favor of home buyers. Prices are falling, competition is dwindling, and sellers are doing anything to reach the closing table. The power is yours – what do you want to ask of your sellers? Here are some factors you can negotiate.  

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Data Doesn't Lie: October is the Best Month to Buy a Home, Even This Year

Blog posted On October 11, 2022

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling, and the housing market is cooling off. Normally a cooled market suggests it’s a less-than-ideal time to buy a home, but this year it might just be your window of opportunity. 

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Market Update: Mortgage Rates Rise; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 10, 2022

Mortgage rates trended higher last week after the release of strong jobs reports. In a typical market, economic data wouldn't influence rates to the volatility of this extent. But this year has not been a typical market. After several job reports last week came in at higher-than-expected levels, the markets started adjusting and repricing. Why? Strong jobs data suggests that the economy can continue enduring the rate increases by the Fed. This doesn't necessarily mean that the Fed will continue raising at the current increases, but it could influence continued hikes.  

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4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Second Home

Blog posted On October 05, 2022

An oceanside paradise, a lakefront escape, acres of space and endless skies – they all sound like a dream. But owning a second home is a big financial commitment. It’s easy to imagine all the ideal possibilities of a second home. It can be more difficult to go through the financial details. 

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Home Prices Cooled at Fastest Pace Ever, Offering Hope for Buyers

Blog posted On October 04, 2022

Rent prices took a dip in August but the long-term forecast looks grim for most tenants. According to Realtor.com’s chief economist, Danielle Hale, rent prices are expected to rise at an above-average rate through the spring of 2023. Home prices, however, are quickly cooling. Could now be your time to make the switch from renting to buying? 

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Market Update: Mortgage Rates Rise; Construction Spending and Job Openings Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 03, 2022

Mortgage rates continued trending upward last week. While there was a short correction mid-week, the volatility ramped back up by end-week. However, this doesn't mean that all hope is lost for mortgage rates. While it's likely that they will continue trending upward until inflation cools, rates have seen some of the biggest day-to-day changes in a decade over the past several months. Which means you could still lock in a good rate. When compared to rates over the past couple of decades, the current rates are still very average.

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How to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

Blog posted On September 29, 2022

Interest rates have risen, but there are still ways you can make your mortgage payment lower. Here are five ways you can lower your monthly mortgage payment. 

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5 Tips to Help You Choose a Mortgage Lender

Blog posted On September 28, 2022

When shopping around for a mortgage lender, it's important to investigate more than who has the lowest rates. While most mortgage lenders have a lot of the same processes, other factors that can set them apart include the service you receive and the fees they charge.  

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The Best Week to Buy a House is Here

Blog posted On September 27, 2022

Have you been waiting for the perfect time to buy a home? The wait is up! A recent study by Realtor.com found that the week of September 25 to October 1 is the best week of the year to purchase a home – based on ideal market conditions like lower prices, more options and reduced competition. 

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Market Update: Rates Trend Higher; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, and PCE Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On September 26, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended higher. Mortgage rates have been trending higher since the release of the latest consumer price index, which showed that inflation is at higher-than-expected levels. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) also made a unanimous decision to raise the benchmark interest rate by another 0.75%. Important reports scheduled for release this week could have another big impact on the movement of rates – especially the PCE inflation reports on Friday. Completion is the enemy of the bond market, which influences mortgage rates heavily. Other important reports include the Case-Shiller home price index and pending home sales.  

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Best Ways to Use Your Record-High Home Equity

Blog posted On September 22, 2022

Homeowners are gaining record amounts of wealth. According to a recent report by CoreLogic, Home equity has soared nearly 28% over the past year alone. That’s an average gain of $60,200 per homeowner. Now, the average homeowner now has $300,000 in home equity – an all-time high. What does this mean? How can you take advantage of the equity in your home? 

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5 Ways to Decorate Your Front Porch for Fall

Blog posted On September 21, 2022

With Fall right around the corner, this is the time that people start pulling out the Fall decorations. For many, this is the time to spruce up the front porch with pumpkins, straw bales, and more fun Fall decor. 

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It's Still a Good Time to Buy; Here's Why

Blog posted On September 20, 2022

Since the beginning of the year, countless articles have claimed that it's the worst time to buy a home. Their reasoning? Rising rates. “From an affordability perspective, this might be the worst time you could buy because mortgage rates have spiked quite a bit,” said Chistopher Mayer, co-director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate and professor at Columbia University. This is the narrative dominating the industry right now. But rising rates are just the tip of the housing market iceberg. Below the surface, there are several encouraging signs for hopeful buyers.  

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales, and FOMC Announcement Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On September 19, 2022

Mortgage rates trended higher last week after the consumer price index showed much higher levels of inflation than what economists were expecting. The market was also preparing for the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting later this week, which will reveal any increases to the benchmark interest rate. Oftentimes the market tries to predict any hikes the Fed might make and price itself for those changes.  

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Closing Day Checklist for Home Buyers

Blog posted On September 14, 2022

You are finally about to close on your dream home! As closing day gets closer you may be stressed that you may be forgetting something important for the big day. By making a closing day checklist, you can eliminate the stress and prepare for a smooth day.

Here is a checklist of closing day must-haves.

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Whether You’re Headed Back to The Office or Working Remote, Here’s How We Can Help

Blog posted On September 13, 2022

Labor Day has always been an unofficial end to summer. Pools have shut down, kids have headed back to the classroom, and larger companies now want their employees back in the office. After over two years of working remotely, many don’t share their employer’s desire. So what are your options?  

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On September 12, 2022

Mortgage rates ended last week relatively unchanged from the week before, or slightly lower in some cases. This week’s rate volatility could be higher as the consumer price index is scheduled for release and the Federal Reserve is it its usual public comment ‘blackout’ prior to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting next week. 

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How a USDA Loan Can Help You Buy a Home with 0% Down

Blog posted On September 08, 2022

High home prices and rising mortgage rates are putting hopeful home buyers in a difficult position. Buy now and try to save money in other ways? Or keep renting to avoid the upfront costs of buying? It seems like an impossible decision, but there are other options. Buying a home doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of dollars in upfront costs alone. There are countless home loan programs that offer closing cost assistance, below-market interest rates, and 100% financing.  

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5 Tips on Selling Your Home in a Shifting Market

Blog posted On September 07, 2022

The housing market is starting to look a lot different than it did at the beginning of the year. It’s shifting, and homes are no longer getting multiple offers over asking price before the agent can even get the sign in the yard. Are you looking to put your home up for sale soon? Below are five tips on how to sell your home faster in the current market.

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Don’t Use Your 401(k) to Pay Off Debt — Do These 7 Things Instead

Blog posted On September 06, 2022

It may be tempting to tap into your 401(k) to pay off higher interest debt like credit cards, auto loans, and student loans. But homeowners have a better option. Refinancing your mortgage can be a great opportunity to reset your finances without sacrificing your retirement savings.  

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Consumer Credit Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On September 05, 2022

Mortgage rates trended higher last week as traders digested more economic data that led them to believe July’s brief cooling was premature. Inflation data from overseas and stronger-than-expected jobs data from the U.S. were two large contributors. Inflation is the enemy of bonds (which influence rates) – regardless of whether it’s domestic or foreign. Higher-than-expected jobs data indicates that the economy is not cooling as expected in July. All things being equal, a weaker economy leads to lower rates. Due to the unexpected economic strength, rates saw a bit more volatility last week.

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How to Lower Your Interest Rate on an FHA or VA Loan

Blog posted On September 01, 2022

Housing affordability has become increasingly difficult in 2022 as home prices and mortgage rates have trended higher. Many buyers are eager to escape soaring rent prices but struggling to find affordable ways to buy a home. A couple of popular loan options for new buyers are FHA Loans and VA Loans. They’re generally easier to qualify for and offer more lenient underwriting requirements. Plus, you can now lower your monthly mortgage payments for up to three years with our temporary interest rate buydown for FHA and VA Loans.

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Wedding Or First Home: Which Is a Better Use of Your Money?

Blog posted On August 31, 2022

A wedding and a home are two of the most significant purchases someone will make during their lifetime. With couples funding their wedding becoming the norm, more couples are trying to figure out if they should spend money on their wedding or a down payment on a home.

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Home Buyers are Enjoying More Concessions from Sellers

Blog posted On August 30, 2022

Words unheard over the past two years – home buyers are enjoying newfound bargaining power. As demand dips and home inventory continues to climb, home sellers are agreeing to more repairs, lower down payments, and other concessions.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On August 29, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended higher after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a short statement at the Jackson Hole Symposium. Additionally, the recent rise in rates this month are likely a larger correction to the fast downward trends we saw in July.

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5 Ways to Prepare Your Finances for a Recession

Blog posted On August 24, 2022

An economic slowdown is coming, according to countless experts. Consumers are becoming more concerned about the future state of the economy and the likelihood of another recession. Here are five ways you can financially prepare for a recession.

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Is Now a Good Time to Refinance?

Blog posted On August 23, 2022

For the past several months, headlines have said the refinance boom is over. Interest rates have been steadily rising since the beginning of the year. While many homeowners might think they missed their chance, nearly one million owners can still save over $3,500 per year by refinancing.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Pending Home Sales and New Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On August 22, 2022

Mortgage rates trended upward last week after new inflation data from the UK and Germany that was hotter-than-expected. Hotter inflation tends to mean higher rates – regardless of whether it’s abroad or domestic. Until inflation reports show more consistent trends lower, rates will likely continue their volatility. This week, we have important data coming in on new home sales and pending home sales.

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Budgeting Tips for Unexpected Home Repairs

Blog posted On August 17, 2022

Owning a home is an excellent investment but saving for unexpected expenses and repairs is essential. Even newer homes can have issues shortly after moving in. It’s highly recommended that you go into a new home with money saved for the unknowns and continue saving money yearly. Here’s how you can save for unexpected expenses and repairs.

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How an Economic Slowdown Can Benefit Buyers (and How to Prepare Financially)

Blog posted On August 16, 2022

Many experts are predicting an upcoming economic slowdown. During times like these, people have historically tended to take a step back from the home buying process. But in today’s market, it could benefit certain home buyers to stay the course.

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Market Update: Rates Fall; NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On August 15, 2022

Mortgage rates trended lower again last week after the consumer price index showed positive signs of inflation cooling. Inflation has been soaring beyond 40-year highs, which has had negative effects on the bond market and therefore mortgage rates. So when the year-over-year consumer price index showed a drop in inflation, the markets reacted positively. This week, we have several housing reports scheduled for release.

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Doing This Now Can Help You Save Up to $100,000 on Your Mortgage

Blog posted On August 11, 2022

Home prices, mortgage rates, and inflation are all cooling. But they’re still at higher levels than they were last year and the year before, making homeownership harder to achieve for some. Certain buyers are deciding to take a step back. Others can’t afford to wait. Regardless of where you are in the home buying process, there’s one thing that everyone can do to save money on your purchase.

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Is Now a Good Time to Sell Your Home, or Should You Wait?

Blog posted On August 10, 2022

Fewer buyers and declining home prices have sellers thinking twice about listing their homes. So is now a good time to put your home on the market, or should you wait? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple yes or no. But below are things that you can consider to help you make a decision.

Here are some factors that typically sway people to list their homes.

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Bidding Wars Are at a Two-Year Low; Should You Buy Now?

Blog posted On August 09, 2022

If you’ve been waiting for the market to cool, now might be your chance. The red-hot housing market is cooling off, just in time for Fall. Buyers have more options, more likelihood of price cuts, and less likelihood of bidding wars.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On August 08, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended higher. Throughout the week, they saw high volatility, fluctuating up and down. However, following the employment report on Friday morning, they began trending upward again. The employment report was overall better than expected – just not for the bond market. The number of jobs gains were higher than expected, but we are also seeing a reduction of output in terms of GDP specifically, which infers decreased productivity per worker. This is an inflationary signal, and the bond market (which influences rates), hates inflation.

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Why Researching School Districts When Buying a Home is Important

Blog posted On August 03, 2022

When searching for a home, home buyers typically list out what’s important to them before beginning their home search. The top factors that most buyers look for are price, location, and a good neighborhood with amenities. And when it comes to location, school districts are a big consideration.

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Home Prices Cooled at Fastest Recorded Pace in June

Blog posted On August 02, 2022

Black Knight analytics is bringing good news to home buyers. Home price gains are officially slowing down, according to the data firm.

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Construction Spending and Jobs Reports Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On August 01, 2022

Mortgage rates took a sharp downward tumble last week after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced another aggressive rate hike, and the GDP estimate showed another negative number for Q2 of 2022.

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6 Tips on How to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions at Home

Blog posted On July 27, 2022

Many parts of the world are experiencing extreme heat waves this summer. What are ways that we can help reduce the impact of heat waves at home?

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4 Ways to Avoid Overpaying in the Current Housing Market

Blog posted On July 26, 2022

Making offers higher than the asking price was routine during the pandemic. Because the market was so competitive, most people who wanted to ‘win the home’ would end up paying much more than the listing price. But as home buyer demand cools and home inventory climbs, overbidding will become much less common. If you’re looking to buy now, remember this isn’t the housing market from two years ago. You might not need offer more than the asking price, and here are four tips that can help you avoid it.

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Market Update: Rates Fall; New Home Sales and Fed Interest Rate Decision Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On July 25, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended down to two-week lows due to weak economic data in the U.S. and announcements from the European Central Bank (ECB). The Philadelphia Fed Index resulted in a chart that pointed to big economic weakness, which is good news for interest rates. The ECB also released an announcement about a new bond-buying program that will increase demand for specific European bonds. Generally, more bond demand leads to lower rates. Lower rates in Europe can influence rate trends in the U.S.

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How Your Rent Payments Can Help You Qualify for a Mortgage

Blog posted On July 21, 2022

One of the biggest obstacles for first-time home buyers is their limited credit history. Credit history is a big factor in the mortgage application process. However, we’re now offering an alternative solution for first-time buyers. With positive rent payment history, we can include your completed rent payments in the application process, which may help boost your overall credit assessment and allow you to qualify for a mortgage more easily.

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5 Ways to Decorate Your New Home on a Budget

Blog posted On July 20, 2022

Moving into a new home is an exciting process, but sometimes decorating it can be an extremely daunting and expensive task. This can be especially true if this is your first home, or if you are moving into a bigger place and you need to buy additional furniture to fill the home.

Below are five things you can do to help decorate your new home on a budget.

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4 Things to Know About the Current Housing Market

Blog posted On July 19, 2022

2022 has been a whirlwind for the housing market. Mortgage rates have been steadily climbing since the beginning of the year, inflation has hit a 40-year high, and home prices are soaring. But it’s not all bad news. In fact, several market conditions are beginning to shift in favor of home buyers.

Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, shed some light with four things buyers should know about the current housing market.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On July 18, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates were relatively unaffected by the rising inflation levels reported by the consumer price index. Most people would typically expect a drastic shift higher in rates since inflation is the enemy of bonds, and the bond market influences rates. While rates did begin to trend slightly higher – it was not as big of a jump as expected. The cause? As inflation continues to climb higher in the current economic state, “the market increasingly sees [it] (and the Fed's necessary policy response) as resulting in recession,” writes Matthew Graham, COO of Mortgage News Daily. When economic activity slows (recession symptoms), rates tend to trend lower.

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Home Equity and Financial Safety: Which Loan Programs Can Help You Prepare for Uncertainty?

Blog posted On July 14, 2022

Economists are watching the jobs market closely for hints of a slowdown. In times preceding economic slowdowns, the unemployment rate will typically increase, quits rate will fall, and job openings will decline. During times of uncertainty, Americans typically search for more financial safety and less risk – bonds increase, stocks fall, etc. There are several home loan options that can help increase your financial safety as well.

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4 Factors to Consider When Determining Your Max Purchase Price

Blog posted On July 13, 2022

Buying a home is exciting, but it’s essential to determine how much house you can afford before starting the home buying process.

Below are important factors to consider before you begin your home search journey.

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Experts Say That Home Buyers Are Gaining More Power

Blog posted On July 12, 2022

Over the past several months, home buyers have faced increasingly high prices and quickly rising mortgage rates. Affordability has become a large challenge, and low home inventory has left buyers few options to choose from. But signs of a tipping point may be here.

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Market Update: Rates Slightly Higher; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On July 11, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended slightly higher from their one-month lows the previous week. After last month’s consumer price index release showed that inflation was still climbing, rates trended sharply upward. Later, the bond market rallied after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and rates began trending lower. The consumer price index scheduled for release this week will be very important.

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Reverse Mortgages: How to Make the Best Use of Money in Retirement

Blog posted On July 07, 2022

As homeowners age, they begin to prepare for retirement. Most homeowners would prefer to be debt-free by retirement, but many still pay a mortgage. Reverse mortgages are one home financing option that is popular with homeowners who are 62 and older. But there are other options that can help you achieve a debt-free retirement.

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New Home vs. Existing Home: Which is Right for You?

Blog posted On July 06, 2022

Buying a brand-new home is more appealing for many home buyers. But does ‘new’ always mean better quality? Here are some of the pros and cons to both new and existing homes.

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Debunking Mortgage Myths in the Modern Market

Blog posted On July 05, 2022

It’s no longer 2020. Mortgage rates are no longer near record lows and home prices are still high. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a home. In fact, there are several encouraging signs in the modern market. Unfortunately, there are also several myths. Here are five modern mortgage myths, debunked.

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Job Openings Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On July 04, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward to reach their lowest level in over a week. A large contributor was the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, which is the Federal Reserve’s preferred method of measuring inflation. May’s PCE index revealed that spending was slightly cooler than expected. Inflation is the enemy of bonds, and mortgage rates closely follow the bond market. So, when the inflation numbers were better than expected, rates likely followed the bond market’s positive trend. Another factor was the Atlanta Fed releasing its revised GDP estimate for Q2 of 2022 following the PCE news. Prior to the index’s release, the estimate was around 0%. Then it dropped to -1% after the PCE news. When the economy shows signs of slowing, the bond market rallies, and interest rates typically trend lower.

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HomeFundIt: An Easier Way to Fund Your Down Payment

Blog posted On June 30, 2022

Did you know that saving for a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles potential homeowners face? Many buyers who can afford a mortgage struggle to buy a home because of the upfront costs like a down payment. For some, saving for a down payment takes years – especially when home prices are high. With HomeFundIt™, home buyers can buy their home sooner with a larger down payment.

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5 Ways to Lower Your Closing Costs When Purchasing a Home

Blog posted On June 29, 2022

Closing costs are the final hurdle home buyers have when purchasing their new home. They are around 3% to 6% of the borrowed loan amount, which can be a significant amount on top of the down payment. Luckily most costs can be negotiated, which can help you lower the amount of money you will have to pay at the closing table.

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Signs That the Housing Market is Normalizing, Not Slowing

Blog posted On June 28, 2022

Order is being restored in the housing market. Two years ago, mortgage rates sank, and housing activity boomed. Home buyers jumped at low rates and homeowners wasted no time refinancing. Now, activity is cooling off. Some are framing it as a ‘slowdown’ in housing. While this isn’t entirely inaccurate, it doesn’t paint the full picture of what’s going on in the market, nor does it highlight why a ‘cooldown’ is actually needed in the current housing environment. 

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Market Update: Rate Fall; Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On June 27, 2022

Mortgage rates trended downward last week after a rally in the bond market following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony. During his testimony, he subtly prepped the markets for the possibility of a slowdown. When the economy slows, interest rates typically drop.

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The Temporary Interest Rate Buydown: The Secret Hack to Rising Mortgage Rates

Blog posted On June 23, 2022

Mortgage rates are trending higher, which will ultimately help stabilize the housing market in the long run. But that doesn’t make it any easier on your wallet right now. Other programs, like our Mortgage Payment Buydown Program, can help lower your interest rate right now.

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Why Now is Actually a Good Time to Buy

Blog posted On June 22, 2022

Lately, the media and news has been portraying the current housing market as a ‘bad time to buy.’ While home prices may be high, they’re set to stabilize soon. While mortgage rates are trending higher than two years ago, they’re not as high as their pre-2010 average. Now might be a better time to buy than you think, and the tables are starting to turn in favor of buyers.

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Breaking Down the Last Week for Rates: Why the Fed Hike is a Good Thing

Blog posted On June 21, 2022

Last week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to make the largest benchmark interest rate hike in almost 30 years. The media has largely portrayed benchmark rate hikes as a bad thing for consumers. Last week proved the opposite – offering hope to home buyers, homeowners, and consumers alike.

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Market Update: Rates Fluctuate; Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On June 20, 2022

Mortgage rates trended sharply upward near the beginning of last week as a response to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), which revealed that inflation is at its highest level in 40 years. Interest rates do not favor high inflation numbers. Typically, with higher inflation comes higher rates. And the release of May’s CPI proved no different. The market also heated up because the CPI was released right before the Federal Reserve decided on the future of the benchmark interest rate. Therefore, the Fed was in a “blackout period” – which means that the Fed members could not make any public comment on monetary policy. Without any guidance from Fed member comments, the market’s imagination went wild. Then, when the Fed released its announcement that it would raise the benchmark rate by 75 basis points, the bond market was actually relieved, which helped mortgage rates feel some relief and trend lower as well. By hiking the benchmark rate 0.75%, the Fed showed the bond market that it is serious about fighting inflation aggressively now.

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DIY Projects That Can Boost Your Home’s Value

Blog posted On June 15, 2022

Are you thinking about putting your house on the market? Certain updates can help you maximize profits from the sale of your home. It may be overwhelming to think about the cost of renovations, but there are several medium-to-low-cost updates that can quickly boost your home’s value.

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Home Equity is at an All-Time High; Should You Get a HELOC?

Blog posted On June 14, 2022

Many mortgage holders are sitting on a gold mine, according to data released last week by Black Knight. Tappable home equity – the amount of equity owners can borrow while leaving at least 20% in their home – soared to another record high in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022. With this growth, homeowners have even more financial power, security, and freedom. Common uses for tappable equity include home improvements, debt consolidation, unexpected expenses, and more. However, to access this equity, homeowners would need something like a cash-out refinance, home equity loan, or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Fed Interest Rate Decision, Housing Starts and Building Permits Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On June 13, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended higher after announcements from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the release of the consumer price index for May. The US bond market reacted to an announcement from the ECB last week, which pushed mortgage rates higher. Additionally, the consumer price index showed that inflation is still climbing higher, which also caused a market reaction. Higher levels of inflation likely indicate that the Federal Reserve will raise benchmark interest rate by at least another 50 basis points in several of their upcoming meetings. To prepare for the upcoming Fed rate increases, the market mortgage rates are continuing to trend upward.

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Home Maintenance Checklist for the Summertime

Blog posted On June 08, 2022

Owning a home brings a lot of pride and joy but it also requires a good amount of maintenance throughout the year. Without the proper maintenance, your home may require more costly repairs down the road. The summer is a perfect time to take advantage of the longer days and start on your home's to-do list. 

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Renovation Loans Are on the Rise

Blog posted On June 07, 2022

Mortgage rates have been sharply trending upward in recent months, causing many potential buyers to pick up their home hunting pace. Locking a mortgage rate now could prevent you from paying for a higher rate later, should they continue trending upward. However, home inventory is still very low – leaving buyers few options on the market. The newer, more updated homes are selling quickly, and for a steep price. But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. One financing option that’s saving the day for many is Renovation Loans.

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Market Update: Rates Trend Higher; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On June 06, 2022

Mortgage rates trended higher last week after seeing favorable downward trends the week before. Several factors contributed to the rise. One simply is the volatility of the current market. “Any time anything in the market has been doing one thing bigger/longer than normal, odds of a rebound increase,” writes Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily. Other contributors include China’s easing of lockdowns, data showing that the manufacturing sector was more resilient than expected in May, and markets predicting an aggressive stance from the Federal Reserve in its upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

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What is an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage and How Can it Help You Save Money?

Blog posted On June 02, 2022

Not all mortgage rates are as high as you think. Typically, the 30-year fixed rate average is what most people notice when they see the current market rates. Most home buyers lock into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage because of its consistency. But fixed-rate mortgages aren’t your only home financing option. In fact, they’re often pricier than some alternatives, like the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

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The Dos and Don'ts While Waiting for Closing Day

Blog posted On June 01, 2022

Your offer on your dream home has finally been accepted – but your work isn’t finished just yet. While it may be tempting to start purchasing new furniture and décor, it’s crucial to monitor your spending until your loan is fully approved. There are other financial aspects you will want to be aware of before you close. Below are six tips on what to do and what not to do while waiting for closing day.

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Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Are on the Rise: Are They the Right Move for You?

Blog posted On May 31, 2022

Rising mortgage rates are pushing more home buyers toward adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). By March 2022, the ARM share dollar volume for conventional single-family mortgage originations was three times higher than its level in January 2021. Typically, ARMs start at lower mortgage rates than fixed-rate mortgages. This makes them an appealing option for many home buyers when mortgage rates and home prices are higher.

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Market Update: Rates Drop; Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On May 30, 2022

Mortgage rates fell to their lowest level in over a month last week, according to the average data from Mortgage News Daily. One of the main causes for the downward trend is the continued declines in the stock market. Last week, there was a specific drop following the new home sales data. So, the silver lining of the seemingly poor trends in market-moving reports (like new home sales) is their potentially positive impact on rates.

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Lock N Shop: How to Lock in Your Rate Before You Find Your Home

Blog posted On May 26, 2022

Have you ever made a decision before you feel ready? When it comes to a decision as big as a home, it’s important to find the right fit. Don’t let fluctuating mortgage rates pressure you into buying before you’ve found the right home. Instead, consider Lock N Shop.

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Home Selling Checklist: 7 Things to Do Before Putting Your Home on the Market

Blog posted On May 25, 2022

Spring and early summer are some of the busiest home buying seasons. If you’re considering selling your home, there are several ways you can prepare it for the market. Below are seven steps to take before listing your home.

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Mortgage Rates Are Rising Fast; Here’s How to Get the Lowest One Possible

Blog posted On May 24, 2022

Since the beginning of 2022, mortgage rates have been trending higher at a shockingly fast pace. According to data from Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was trending around 3.11% at the end of 2021. Now, it’s trending over two percentage points higher. Historically, this is one of the sharpest upward rate trends in 40 years. And many experts predict that rates will continue to rise. If you’re considering buying, don’t fret. Here are five tips that can help you secure the lowest mortgage rate possible.

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Market Update: Rates Trend Lower; New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On May 23, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward to hit three-week lows. Again, no huge contributing factor or obvious reason for the large sways in rate trends right now other than the extreme volatility of the current market.

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How Our On-Time Closing Guarantee Can Help You Make the Winning Offer

Blog posted On May 19, 2022

In a busy housing market, each day counts. With our On-Time Close Guarantee, you can get a head start on your mortgage underwriting, get an on-time close guaranteed, and compete in a crowded market.

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5 Things to Look for When Touring a Home

Blog posted On May 18, 2022

Real estate is continuing to move fast, and often this means that you must move faster on a home that you are interested in than you would in a slower moving market. You must often decide if you will be putting an offer on a home within hours of touring it. It is essential to make your first tour count and know what key things to look for. 

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Why Now is Actually a Good Time to Buy a Home

Blog posted On May 17, 2022

Nearly 75% of consumers told Fannie Mae that they think it's a bad time to buy a home. Historically low housing inventory, record high home prices, and sharply rising mortgage rates are the main headlines driving the sentiment. But the current headlines don’t always paint the full picture. Here’s why you should consider buying now vs. later.

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Market Update: Rates Trend Lower; NAHB Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On May 16, 2022

Mortgage rates dropped to some of the lowest levels in two weeks towards the middle of last week. Typically, decreases that drastic only happen but once a year and are tied to some huge event happening in the market. But this year is a year like no other. The volatility alone in the 2022 market has spawned some dramatic climbs and tumbles for rates. Commenting on the drops from last week, Mortgage News Daily CEO and founder Matthew Graham writes, “It's a sign of 2022's times that there really weren't any glaringly obvious scapegoats for this particular drop in rates.”

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How Our PLS Helps Investment Property and Second Home Buyers

Blog posted On May 12, 2022

Effective May 2, 2022, we officially launched our own Private Label Security (PLS). Remember when the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increased upfront fees on second home and high-balance loans? With our own PLS, we can now help you avoid these fees and offer you a much better price on your second home/ investment property loan.

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6 Ways to Create the Perfect Outdoor Space

Blog posted On May 11, 2022

It’s that time of year again! Temperatures are starting to rise, which means people are beginning to spend more time outside. Is your outdoor space ready to start hosting your family and friends? Here are some tips on creating the perfect outdoor space that will prepare you for your upcoming outdoor gatherings.

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Asian American Home Buying Accelerates Post-Pandemic

Blog posted On May 10, 2022

May marks the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In honor of the month, Realtor.com studied the trends in Asian American homeownership from March 2019 to December 2021. What the study found was that Asian American home buyers are the group that had the largest increase in the rate of homeownership in recent years.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On May 09, 2022

Mortgage rates trended upward last week for different reasons. Although the Federal Reserve hiked the benchmark interest rate, the market reacted more positively to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s statement that “the committee isn't even considering raising rates by more than 0.50% at any subsequent meeting,” writes Mortgage News Daily Chief Operating Officer Matthew Graham. Towards the end of the week, they began trending upward again. “In the case of the bond market, unwinding the Fed reaction meant crossing into territory that triggered additional selling,” writes Graham. “When traders are selling more bonds than they're buying, rate move higher, all other things being equal.”

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How Reverse Mortgages Can Help Retired Homeowners or Buyers

Blog posted On May 05, 2022

You’ve spent years investing into your home and now it’s time to reap the rewards of your hard-earned equity. As you get older, you might be thinking about buying a home that better suits your lifestyle. But you also are probably thinking about your retirement funds. 

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9 Tips for Beating Out Buyer Competition

Blog posted On May 04, 2022

If several people want same item at an auction, what happens? Chances are, they’ll try to outbid each other until one person makes an unbeatable offer. The same goes for the housing market. When there are several home buyers in the market but few homes for sale, oftentimes they’ll run into a bidding war. A bidding war is when two or more home buyers make offers on the same property and simultaneously increase their offers in order to win the home. The secret to winning a bidding war? It might be simpler than you think.

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A More Normalized Housing Market is Coming Soon

Blog posted On May 03, 2022

Last week, the housing market gained valuable insight from two key economic reports. The Case-Shiller home price index, released last Tuesday, showed that home prices are appreciating at a faster pace. The pending home sales index, released last Wednesday, revealed that home sale contract signings decreased again. While that may be the basic summary of both indexes, it’s not the full story.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Construction Spending and The Fed Interest Rate Decision Coming Out This Week

Blog posted On May 02, 2022

Mortgage rates trended downward last week for the first time in nearly a month. Right now, “volatility is elevated [in the current market], and it has been for quite some time,” writes Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily. “Every time the rate market hits a new long term high, odds increase that we'll see some attempt at a counterattack in subsequent days.” Last week, the drop in rates was closely connected to the lockdowns in China, which caused a drop in global markets overnight, as well as a drop in oil prices.

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Ins and Outs of the All In One Loan™

Blog posted On April 28, 2022

There are hardly any loans that can compare to the All In One Loan™ in United States of America. It’s the Smarter Way to Borrow™ that everyone is talking about. And it’s likely to become even more prominent in the housing market this year and beyond.

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Money Moves to Make Amid High Inflation

Blog posted On April 27, 2022

One of the main consequences of skyrocketing inflation is often times rising interest rates. Raising the benchmark interest rate is one financial tool that the Federal Reserve uses to help curb inflation. However, there are several other effects that can come from higher interest rates. Here’s how higher rates can affect your wallet and how you can prepare.

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Why HousingWire Lead Analyst is “Team Higher Mortgage Rates”

Blog posted On April 26, 2022

There’s no avoiding the recent headlines about rising mortgage rates. Simply put, mortgage rates have jumped significantly since the beginning of 2022. How significantly varies per lender, but in general, mortgage rates have been trending nearly two percentage points higher than December 2021. This has caused undoubtable noise from the housing market and likely concern from many hopeful homeowners. But housing experts like HousingWire’s Lead Analyst Logan Mohtashami see rising rates as a benefit for the housing market.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On April 25, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended upward. The cause, which was well explained by Matthew Graham at Mortgage News Daily, “[has remained] relatively unchanged over the past several months and almost perfectly unchanged over the past 6 weeks. Specifically, the Fed was in the process of making a significant shift in its monetary policy stance between September 2021 and the present. This involved faster rate hikes and bigger steps toward reducing bond purchases.”

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Benefits of Financing Your Home with a Jumbo Loan

Blog posted On April 21, 2022

A Jumbo Loan is a mortgage that exceeds the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits. With a larger loan limit than conventional mortgages, jumbo loans allow you to finance more expensive properties. But there are several other benefits that may be lesser known.

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Why Your Credit Score Matters When Rates Are Rising, and How to Improve It

Blog posted On April 20, 2022

Working to improve your credit score is always good idea, especially when preparing to buy a home. But when interest rates are rising, it may be even more important than you think.

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More Home Buyers Rush to Lock in Rates

Blog posted On April 19, 2022

Mortgage rates have been climbing at the fastest pace since 1994. Last week, the average 30-year fixed-rate hit levels not seen since 2009. Higher mortgage rates typically lead to fewer mortgage applications and originations. Last month proved the opposite. Despite rapidly rising rates, mortgage origination activity increased in March. But why? Could a mortgage rate lock be right for you?

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Market Update: Rates Trend Higher; NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On April 18, 2022

Mortgage rates fluctuated last week, ultimately trending higher by the end of the week. Much of the movement has to do with inflation levels and market predictions on what the Federal Reserve will do in its May meeting.

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Pros and Cons of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

Blog posted On April 14, 2022

In a rising interest rate environment, the numbers that you see can be intimidating. Especially if you’re used to record-low rates. Getting a fixed-rate mortgage in a high-rate environment can be intimidating. Once you close on your loan, you are locked into that interest rate unless you refinance. Another alternative – one that many homeowners and home buyers haven’t thought of in a while – is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

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7 Features That Could Boost Your Home’s Value

Blog posted On April 13, 2022

Not all of a home’s value is based on a curb appeal. In fact, some unusual features could actually attract more buyers and boost your sales price. In a study for Angi, formerly Angie’s List, researchers identified common features that people have in their homes that come with a nice price premium.

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Good News for Buyers as More Listings and Lower Prices Join the Market

Blog posted On April 12, 2022

Mortgage rates have been trending higher, housing supply has been painfully low, and home prices have been soaring to new heights. Little good news has spawned from the housing market in recent months. But recent reports are offering hope for many discouraged home buyers. According to Realtor.com and Redfin, more listings are coming up in the market and more home sellers are lowering their asking prices.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Consumer Price Index and Retail Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On April 11, 2022

Mortgage rates trended higher last week largely resulting from comments by various Fed members. Three weeks ago, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell kicked off the upward trend with his comments about speeding up the interest rate hikes and balance sheet reduction. Then, last week, Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard commented that Fed bond buying would be winding down significantly more. This made the markets react since she typically has more of a rate-friendly approach. More demand for bonds generally leads to lower rates. So with comments predicting a reduced bond demand from the Fed, mortgage rates reacted negatively.

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How to Use a Cash-Out Refinance to Fund Your Next Purchase

Blog posted On April 07, 2022

Homeowners have been gaining record amounts of equity in recent years – giving them more financial power than ever. If you’ve been considering investing in more real estate, now might be the time to make your move with a cash-out refinance.

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3 Essential Yard Care Tips for Spring

Blog posted On April 06, 2022

Caring for your yard has endless benefits for both your health and financial well-being. Studies have found that yard care and gardening can boost your mood and mental health, not to mention boost your home’s value a little. If you’re getting ready to warm up the lawn mower or start the watering hose, here are three tips to remember when caring for your yard.

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Why the Recent Jobs Report is a Good Sign for Housing

Blog posted On April 05, 2022

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor released its jobs report for the month of March. Initially, some of the numbers in the report appear to fall below many economists’ expectations. However, at a closer look it shows several encouraging signs for the housing market. 

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Consumer Credit Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On April 04, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward for the first time in several weeks. It began due to hopes that there would be de-escalation in Ukraine. With de-escalation would hopefully come reduced oil prices and easing upward pressure on inflation, allowing the Fed to ease their policy changes that could be negative influences for rates.

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Benefits of Purchasing a Multifamily Home

Blog posted On March 31, 2022

Unless you’re a seasoned real estate investor, it’s likely that you haven’t considered purchasing a multifamily home. At first glance, buying a multifamily home sounds much more expensive than a typical single-family purchase. Although yes, most multifamily homes have a higher sales price than comparable single-family homes, they actually could help you save money every month.

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10 Songs to Play at Your Open House

Blog posted On March 30, 2022

Freshly baked cookies may be a long-lost tradition in the real estate world. But newer sales tactics are starting to gain popularity among some home sellers and buyers. Music can move people in many ways – bringing them to tears, energizing their workout, or providing a calming background tune during the workday. In recent years, some REALTORS® have harnessed the power of music to enhance buyers’ experiences at open houses. Some have found that this can help seal the deal. But if you’re going to try testing it out for yourself, there are a few keys to keep in mind.

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Home Prices Are Rising: Should You Increase Your Budget?

Blog posted On March 29, 2022

In February, the median sales price for an existing home was $357,300 – a 15% increase from February 2021. The rise in home prices combined with higher mortgage rates, limited home inventory, and steep home buyer competition are stretching many buyers beyond their budgets’ limits. To stand out in a competitive market, many will make an offer well above the sales price. But how high is too high when it comes to an offer? Here are some factors to consider when making an offer in the current market.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case Shiller Home Price Index, Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On March 28, 2022

Last week mortgage rates saw a sharp trend upward. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spoke on Monday and discussed a more aggressive path with balance sheet reduction. The bond market reacted badly to this, which influenced a sharp trend upward in mortgage rates. This week, the Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday and the construction spending report is scheduled for release on Friday.

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How to Choose the Best Mortgage Fit

Blog posted On March 24, 2022

Shopping for a home is the fun part. Then comes the mortgage shopping. Conventional loans have long reined as the most popular type of home loan. But there are a few more options out there, such as FHA Loans, VA Loans, USDA Loans, Jumbo Loans, Renovation Loans, and all kinds of specialty programs. Not to mention the different loan terms and mortgage rate options. Deciding on what’s right for you may feel overwhelming, but with these five steps, you can find your perfect mortgage fit in no time.

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6 Signs That You’re Ready to Buy a Home

Blog posted On March 23, 2022

Most people reach an age where they debate if buying a home is right for them. If you find yourself asking this question often, it might be time to evaluate if you’re really ready to buy a home. Here are six sure signs that will help you decide if you’re ready to transition from renting to owning.

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More Fed Rate Hikes Are Coming, and It Could Be a Good Thing

Blog posted On March 22, 2022

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to hike the benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2018. The hike comes after nearly two years of the benchmark rate sitting near zero. It was a hike of 25 basis points, or 0.25%, which brought the benchmark rate to a range of 0.25% to 0.50%. The increase was as expected, but other details of the Committee’s meeting were not – specifically, the number of projected rate hikes for the remainder of 2022. While the federal funds rate doesn’t directly dictate mortgage rates, the outlook for future hikes can affect their trends.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On March 21, 2022

Mortgage rates trended up for last week, largely due to the Federal Reserve’s rate hike announcement. In its March meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to hike the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, or 0.25%. While this hike was largely expected, the rate hike projections for the rest of the year were not. The new forecast projected seven rate hikes in 2022.

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Understanding Our Desktop Appraisal Process and Benefits

Blog posted On March 17, 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the top priority for many was keeping distance. Companies sent employees home, restaurants closed their dine-in service, and people began moving out of large cities to more spacious suburban areas. However, in the home buying/selling process, you will often want to take a tour, have an open house, and get an appraisal – all of which typically were conducted in person. But when the pandemic hit, the real estate industry adjusted. Many companies began advertising virtual home tours, e-sign documents, and desktop appraisals.

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5 Ways a Fed Rate Hike May Impact You

Blog posted On March 16, 2022

In 2008, the Federal Reserve lowered the benchmark interest rate to a level of near zero. This was the first time the benchmark rate had been this low. The second time was in March 2020. March 2022 will be only the second time that it has raised rates from near zero. So how will this jump affect you?

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Homeownership Remains a Key Factor in Building Long-Term Wealth

Blog posted On March 15, 2022

A recent study by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) showed that homeowners have accumulated nearly $150,000 in housing wealth over the past five years. As home prices continue to rise, homeowners continue to benefit from rising equity.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Fed Interest Rate Decision, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On March 14, 2022

Mortgage rates trended higher last week as inflation hit another 40-year high and continues to face upward pressures from the conflict in Ukraine. Mortgage rates are largely dependent on trends in the bond market, and the bond market does not like inflation.

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Halal Financing Program: Accessible Homeownership for All

Blog posted On March 10, 2022

The Halal Financing Program is a home buying solution that can offer more buyers a path to homeownership. Through our partnership with the Ijara Community Development Corporation, we are one of the only companies in the nation to offer Islamic-compliant lending.

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10 Simple Steps to Make Spring Cleaning a Breeze

Blog posted On March 09, 2022

After a long, hard winter, many people welcome the signs of warmer weather. No more snow shoveling, driveway salting, and sitting in your freezing-cold car waiting for it to heat up. But with warmer weather also comes a dreaded task for many homeowners and renters alike—spring cleaning. If you’re having trouble making dents in your cleaning list, try these 10 steps to make it a little more doable (and maybe even enjoyable)!

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Ukraine, Fed Rate Hikes, and Inflation: What’s Moving Mortgage Rates and Why

Blog posted On March 08, 2022

Last week was a whirlwind for mortgage rates. On Monday and Tuesday, the average mortgage rate dropped more than almost any other 48-hour period in the past 10+ years. Then, on Wednesday, they shot right back up. Different factors are influencing rates drastically right now, pushing and pulling them in all different directions. However, they will likely begin to level out in the long run, falling into a more consistent and predictable trend. 

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Market Update: Rates Fluctuate; Job Openings and Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On March 07, 2022

Mortgage rates saw a sharp downward trend near the beginning of last week. Then, on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that the Fed still plans to bump up the benchmark interest rate in its March meeting – but only by 25 basis points. This sent mortgage rates back on an upward trend because the bond market doesn’t like inflation, and inflation levels are very high right now. One of the Fed’s tools to combat inflation is the benchmark interest rate. The higher the rate hike, the greater likelihood of lowering inflation.

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How to Report Capital Gains on Your Home Sale to the IRS

Blog posted On March 03, 2022

When you sell your home, you will likely come out with a profit. While most of the profit is yours, part of it will go to Uncle Sam. This is a capital gains tax. To make sure you don’t give the government too much of your profit, follow these steps when filing your capital gains.

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4 Tips for a Quick and Efficient Military Move

Blog posted On March 02, 2022

Getting new orders that require a move is not uncommon in the military. And when that happens, you likely will need to act fast and transition efficiently. To help you on your move, here are four tips.

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What Experts Are Saying About Geopolitical Effects on Rates

Blog posted On March 01, 2022

Last week, the markets reacted to the news abroad. Treasury yields fell and mortgage-backed securities climbed, both signs of decreasing mortgage rates. When geopolitical crises arise, people tend to invest in safer options rather than stocks and head toward bonds instead. However, the effect on rates doesn’t end there. Depending on how the crisis evolves, it could also impact the already-high levels of inflation. Higher levels of inflation put the Federal Reserve in a difficult spot in terms of rate hikes. So it’s a fine balance between the pressures pushing rates higher and lower. Here’s what the experts are saying.

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Market Update: Rates Fluctuate; Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On February 28, 2022

Mortgage rates were trending higher in the beginning of last week but shifted lower after the news in Ukraine. Typically, global turmoil is a factor that can help the bond market because people want to invest in safer options than stocks. The bond market is closely tied with mortgage rates, so mortgage rates benefitted as well.

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5 Tax Deductions for Home Sellers

Blog posted On February 24, 2022

Tax season may not be your favorite time of year, but it does come with some perks. If you currently own a home or recently sold your home, you probably qualify for some decent tax deductions this year.

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Why Calculating Your Own Property Tax is Important

Blog posted On February 23, 2022

Paying your property taxes is an important part of being a homeowner. But just like any other tax, sometimes property taxes can overcharge. To make sure that you’re paying the right amount on your property taxes this year, it’s best to calculate them yourself.

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What’s Driving Mortgage Rates and Why Do They Need to Rise?

Blog posted On February 22, 2022

Mortgage rates have been consistently trending higher since the start of 2022. Recently, they reached levels not seen since before the pandemic. Many factors have contributed to the rise, and the effect has been a busy market. Homeowners are considering refinances, home buyers are pushing home inventory levels to an all-time low, and home builders are feeling decreasingly confident in the market outlook. But some housing experts argue that increasing mortgage rates aren’t actually a bad thing. In fact, they could actually help the market get to a healthier place.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On February 21, 2022

 

Mortgage rates trended higher last week as the momentum from the previous week continued. The main cause a couple weeks ago was the consumer price index, which revealed that inflation levels are at a 40-year high level. Consequently, more experts believe that the Federal Reserve will hike the benchmark rate in March.

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Renting vs. Selling: Which is Right for You?

Blog posted On February 17, 2022

When rent prices and home prices are both soaring, you might be faced with the tough decision: should you sell your home or rent it out? Both are good options, but before you decide, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each scenario.

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How To Tackle Tax Season as a Homeowner or Home Buyer

Blog posted On February 16, 2022

Everyone’s favorite season of the year is here. Not spring, summer, fall, or winter, but something even better – tax season! The deadline for filing your federal income taxes is in mid-April, but you can start submitting them now. Over the next several months, you’ll be receiving many different documents that you will need before, during, and after you file your taxes. If this is your first time filing taxes as a new homeowner or hopeful home buyer, make sure to be on the lookout for these important documents.   

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What Experts Are Saying About Rising Inflation

Blog posted On February 15, 2022

Last week, the consumer price index showed that inflation has surged to a 40-year high. Up 7.5% year-over-year in January, the index rose much higher than economists had expected. Have we seen the worst of it? What’s next for the Federal Reserve? What does this mean for you? Here’s what market experts have to say.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On February 14, 2022

Mortgage rates continued their upward trend last week. One of the main factors was the consumer price index, released on Thursday, which showed inflation levels not seen since 1982. With higher inflation levels, the Federal Reserve is more likely to raise the benchmark interest rate in March.

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How a Renovation Loan Can Help You

Blog posted On February 10, 2022

Searching for an affordable home in a competitive market can be difficult. Not only are you competing with other buyers, but with high home prices as well. A good option that can help expand your home search is a renovation loan.

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4 Tips for a Stress-Free Home Search

Blog posted On February 09, 2022

The housing market goes through ebbs and flows of inventory levels. During a time of high buyer competition and low housing supply, you might find your home search a little more difficult. There will likely be fewer options in your price range and more buyers looking at the same house. If you’re searching for a home during a time like this, there are several ways you can help make the house hunting process smoother.

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Housing Wealth is Breaking Records for Owners and Sellers

Blog posted On February 08, 2022

The past two years have been kind to homeowners and sellers. Soaring home prices and booming home buyer demand have brought earnings to record-breaking heights. And while this year’s housing market might start to cool down, homeowners and sellers are still cashing in earnings.

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Market Update: Rates Inch Up; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On February 07, 2022

Despite trending lower in the beginning half of last week, mortgage rates trended slightly higher toward the end. Foreign bond markets were largely the cause. On Thursday, the Bank of England (BOE) hiked its benchmark rates and the European Central Bank (ECB) hinted at a rate hike in its upcoming meeting. Consequently, foreign bond yields rose, and U.S. bond yields followed the trend. Mortgage rate trends closely follow bond yield trends.   

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Benefits of Taking Out a HELOC

Blog posted On February 03, 2022

Charging expenses to your credit card may seem easy, but it can cost you more in the long run.  Credit card interest rates are typically much higher than mortgage rates and maxing out lines of credit can be bad for your credit score. A good alternative to using your credit card is getting a Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC.

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How to Tackle Credit Card Finances Before Rates Rise

Blog posted On February 02, 2022

In a rising rate environment, credit cards typically get hit the hardest. Interest rates on credit cards are generally much higher than interest rates on a mortgage. While average mortgage rates have been hovering between 2% and 4%, average credit card rates have largely been hovering between 15% and 20%. And credit card rates typically follow the federal funds rate much more closely that mortgage rates. So what should you do if a federal funds rate hike is coming?

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Fed Rate Hikes Are Coming: What This Means and How to Prepare

Blog posted On February 01, 2022

For the past two years, home buyers and owners have been reaping the rewards of record-low mortgage rates. In March 2020, the Federal Reserve made an emergency interest rate cut, lowering the benchmark rate to near zero. As a result, mortgage rates dropped to historically low levels. By locking in mortgage rates while they are low, buyers and owners are drastically reducing their monthly payments saving thousands over the life of their loan. But last week, the Fed hinted that this is all about to change.

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Market Update: Rates Inch Higher; Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On January 31, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended higher after the Federal Reserve hinted at an interest rate hike in March. “The Fed’s announcement that it will ‘soon be appropriate’ to raise interest rates is a clear sign that a March rate hike is coming,” noted Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. Although the benchmark interest rate does not directly set mortgage rates, it does influence them. When the benchmark interest rate dropped to zero two years ago, mortgage rates saw a similar downward trajectory. Now, in preparation for the Fed’s hike this Spring, rates are starting to inch up.

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How to Make an All-Cash Offer Without Taking Out Cash

Blog posted On January 27, 2022

Standing out in a competitive market can be hard. Home prices are high, home inventory is low, bidding wars are rising, and all-cash offers are taking the cake. Most sellers favor all-cash offers but for many buyers they can be difficult to finance. With our Delayed Financing Program, you can give your offer the all-cash edge it needs and recoup your assets later.

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What to Look for in a Home Listing

Blog posted On January 26, 2022

In a competitive housing market, you might not be as picky about your choices. But there’s one factor to look at that could help you save money in the long run.

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Purchase Activity Spikes as Home Buyers Rush to Lock in Rates

Blog posted On January 25, 2022

Spring might be starting early for this year’s housing market. Two weeks ago, mortgage application submissions for home purchases surged 8% – the largest weekly jump since September. As mortgage rates reach pandemic-highs, home buyers are eager to get a move on their purchases.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, and Fed Interest Rate Decision Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On January 24, 2022

Mortgage rates trended upward last week as the bond market continued adjusting to the Federal Reserve’s asset tapering plan. In December, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced that it was speeding up its asset tapering in hopes of concluding the process in March. Soon after, the Fed will likely begin raising the benchmark interest rate. Right now, many traders are preparing for the eventual shift.

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The Difference Between Prequalification, Preapproval, and Underwritten Approval

Blog posted On January 20, 2022

Buying your first home can involve a lot of different steps and terminology that might not sound familiar. You may have heard of mortgage preapproval. But what about prequalification? And underwritten approval? What’s the difference between these steps? We’re here to break it down for you and help guide you through the process every step of the way.

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6 Tips to Help You Reach the Closing Table Faster

Blog posted On January 19, 2022

Mortgage lending has come a long way in recent years. You no longer need a 20% down payment and perfect credit score to secure a loan. There are several mortgage options with low down payment requirements and lenient credit score qualifications. What you do need for a smooth closing is honesty, cooperation, and trust. There are many steps in the mortgage process, but the most important factor in each is providing your lender all the information we need.

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Home Sales to Reach 16-Year High; Buyers Have ‘Much to Look Forward to’ in 2022

Blog posted On January 18, 2022

Mortgage rates may be inching up, but home buyers show no signs of slowing down. According to Realtor.com’s 2022 Housing Market Forecast, existing home sales are expected to surge 6.6% this year – bringing their annual total to a 16-year high. Despite challenges of affordability and availability, “home buyers have much to look forward to in 2022,” writes Danielle Hale, chief economist of Realtor.com

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On January 17, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates were initially trending higher than the previous week. During the latter half of the week, they began trending lower. The bond market is largely tied to mortgage rate movement, and over the past two weeks, bond market supply has been elevated. Higher supply typically translates to higher rates. Other factors pushing rates higher include the Federal Reserve’s minutes released last week, and the potential for the Omicron variant to help speed up the endemic phase of COVID. Factors pushing rates lower included a stabilizing bond market and steady improvement following the congressional testimony from Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

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How to Pick the Right Type of Refinance

Blog posted On January 13, 2022

Refinancing your mortgage can be a great financial move for several different reasons. Depending on your financial goals, you can choose the refinance loan that suits your personal needs the best.

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3 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage

Blog posted On January 12, 2022

Purchasing a home will likely be the largest investment of your life. While there are several actions you can take to lower the cost of your home upfront, there are also ways you can save money even after you’ve reached the closing table.

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Homeownership Remains More Affordable than Renting

Blog posted On January 11, 2022

Both home prices and rent costs have been rising substantially over the past two years. According to the most recent 20-city Case-Shiller home price index, home prices are up 18.4% year-over-year. Single-family rent prices are up 10.9% year-over-year. Though it initially appears that homes are more expensive than rent, it’s important to remember that these are just the paces at which prices are increasing – not the actual costs themselves. In fact, a recent study by ATTOM Data Solutions showed that owning a home is still more affordable than paying rent.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On January 10, 2022

Last week, mortgage rates trended upward as the Omicron outlook brightened and the Federal Reserve released its minutes from the December meeting. “Bonds feed on fear, turmoil, and risk aversion,” wrote Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily. When the economy has a negative outlook, interest rates for things like bonds and homes tend to fall. When the economy is stronger, mortgage rates trend higher. Another factor pushing rates up is the Federal Reserve saying that it ideally would raise the benchmark interest rate sooner than previously anticipated. 

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How to Buy a Home with No Down Payment

Blog posted On January 06, 2022

Saving for a down payment can take years – especially if you want to avoid mortgage insurance. For some home buyers, this could mean missing out on your dream home, or spending more money on rent and not building equity. But if you’re trying to speed up your home buying process, there are a few options that can help you buy a home with little or no down payment.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Credit Fast

Blog posted On January 05, 2022

Your credit score is one of the most important factors in your loan application. Sometimes, building a credit score can take time, but there are some quick fixes that can help you boost your credit score fast.

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Home Inventory Set to Increase This Winter: Here’s How to Prepare

Blog posted On January 04, 2022

Though the Winter season is typically cooler for the housing market, it looks like it’s about to heat up. According to a recent Realtor.com report, almost 50% of home sellers plan to sell in the next two months. Sixty-five percent of sellers plan to sell before April 2022. For home buyers, this could be a welcome relief from steep competition and high prices.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; Construction Spending and Job Openings Coming Up this Week

Blog posted On January 03, 2022

Mortgage rates were relatively unchanged last week. Many traders are monitoring the Omicron variant carefully and waiting to see how it will affect the economy. Kicking off the new year, both the construction spending report and job openings data are scheduled for release.

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7 Tips to Help You Maximize Wealth at Any Age

Blog posted On December 29, 2021

Regardless of where you are in life, it’s likely that you have money on your mind. Whether you’re just getting your first paycheck, or getting ready to retire, you’re probably wondering about the best places to spend, save, or invest your money. Though the best financial advice is tailored to your individual situation, a few suggestions can help you at almost any stage in life.

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Fed Changes its Stance on Inflation – Here’s How to Navigate Rising Prices

Blog posted On December 28, 2021

Inflation has been soaring at increasing paces. Prices according to the consumer price index hit almost 40-year highs when it came out earlier this month. Two weeks ago, the Federal Reserve redefined their assessment of the current inflation levels and are no longer using the word ‘temporary’ to describe them. When inflation is high, it can put a strain on your wallet. To help you weather the inflation storm, here is what financial planners are saying you should do with your money.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On December 27, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week. Many investors are waiting to see how the Omicron variant will develop over the holidays. This week, the Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday and the pending home sales index is scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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3 Credit Card Resolutions for Next Year

Blog posted On December 22, 2021

Your credit score is one of the most important factors when it comes to applying for loans, leases, or even cell phone plans. When determining whether or not to provide you a loan or lease, most lenders will assess your credit score and credit history. The best time to try and boost your credit score is well before you plan on making any important financial moves. So, to help you prepare for next year, here are three important habits that can help boost your credit score.

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Fed Speeds Up Tapering – How it Affects You and What You Should Do Next

Blog posted On December 21, 2021

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that it would be doubling down on its asset tapering process. Previously, it was reducing its bond purchases by $15 billion a month, setting its projected completion date for June 2022. In light of recent inflation spikes, the Fed decided to speed up its tapering process and remove $30 billion in bond purchases per month. The new plan now puts the Fed’s projected completion date for tapering in March. What does this mean for you?

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged; Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On December 20, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged following the Federal Reserve’s announcement saying that it would be doubling the size of the asset taper. Now the Fed will be reducing its asset purchases by $30B a month as opposed to $15B per month. At this rate, the tapering processes is expected to be completed by March 2022. This could poise the Fed to raise the benchmark interest rate as early as the Spring. So far, the Fed has done a good job at signaling its changes well in advance of announcing them, which has given the market time to prepare. This way, mortgage rates haven’t been reacting as strongly.

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How Home Equity Can Increase Your Financial Safety

Blog posted On December 16, 2021

While many home buyers dream of the day they can paint their own walls, have their own yard, and finally have a place to call home, they might be forgetting about the most beneficial perk of all. Home equity is one of the most valuable assets for many homeowners. Not only does it boost your net worth and increase your financial freedom, but it also can strengthen your financial safety net.

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10 Financial Resolutions for the New Year

Blog posted On December 15, 2021

The third most popular New Year’s resolution is saving money. Though New Year’s Eve is still a few weeks away, we wanted to help you start the year off on the right foot. Here are ten tips to help you boost your personal finance next year.

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Home Equity Surges to Record High – Here’s How to Put it to Good Use

Blog posted On December 14, 2021

Home price appreciation may be slowing down, but tappable home equity is still reaching new heights. According to the most recent Mortgage Monitor Report by Black Knight, Americans now have $9.4 trillion in tappable home equity. As a result, more homeowners are exchanging their equity for cash.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; NAHB Housing Market Index, Fed Interest Rate Decision, and Housing Starts and Building Permits Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On December 13, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended upward as more hopeful news about the Omicron variant was released. When the economy is doing better, mortgage rates typically trend higher. The job openings report and consumer price index also came out last week – showing a very high number of job openings and inflation levels. When inflation levels get too high, the Fed can use some of its tools to bring them back down. One of those tools is raising the benchmark rate. Many experts expect the Fed to further discuss a plan to speed up their asset tapering process, which would push their rate increases forward.

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5 Questions to Ask Before Paying Off Your Mortgage

Blog posted On December 09, 2021

Entering retirement without any debt sounds ideal but rushing to pay off your mortgage might set you back more than you think. Before you rush to pay off your mortgage, ask yourself these five questions.

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How to Successfully Invest in Short-Term Rentals

Blog posted On December 08, 2021

Many vacation homeowners may choose to lease their second homes out as short-term rentals when they are not occupying the property.  Leasing a home as a short-term rental through a service like Airbnb or VRBO is a great way to earn extra income and offset some of the cost of homeownership.  In some popular vacation destinations, the prevalence of short-term rentals has led to restrictions and ordinances limiting rental activity.  For example, in Breckenridge, Colorado, city officials are currently trying to reduce the amount of licensed short-term rentals from 3,000 to 2,200 properties. 

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3 Predictions for the Housing Market in 2022

Blog posted On December 07, 2021

After a frenetic year of rock bottom mortgage rates, steep buyer competition, and higher home prices, prospective buyers are wondering what they can expect for the housing market in 2022.  Here’s what to expect from the housing market as we usher in a new year.

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Market Update: Rates Trend Lower; Job Openings Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On December 06, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended lower during the beginning of the week as concerns surrounding the Omicron variant spread. Typically, when news about something that could affect the economy breaks, people look to put their money in bonds as opposed to stocks. When bonds improve, rates tend to fall. 

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5 Red Flags to Watch for with Your Real Estate Agent

Blog posted On December 02, 2021

In today’s busy market, working with the right real estate agent is critical to moving fast and getting your offer accepted.  While your real estate agent can’t change the floorplan or location of your home, they can make the home buying process easier.  If you’re working with an agent and you’re not sure if it’s helping, here are five red flags that might signal it’s time to hire a new agent.

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The Cost of Aging in Place

Blog posted On December 01, 2021

When you approach retirement, you’ll be faced with the decision of whether to stay in your home or move.  Many retirees choose to downsize or move from a single-family home to a townhouse or condo.  Others choose to renovate their current home to accommodate expected life changes.  If you’re considering whether you’re going to stay in your home or move when you retire, make sure to account for all the expected costs.

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Rental Rates Rise at Record Pace – Is Now the Time to Buy?

Blog posted On November 30, 2021

A recent report from CoreLogic showed in September, rents for single-family homes increased 10.2% year-over-year nationwide, up from a 2.6% annual increase in September 2020. The economic rebound powered by strong job growth, plus a record low level of single-family rental vacancies, will likely continue to push rental rates up.  Home prices are rising as well but choosing to buy now rather than continuing to rent gives you the opportunity to lock in a record-low mortgage rate, build valuable home equity, and escape the volatile rental market.

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Market Update: Rates Trend Higher; Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 29, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended higher in reaction to the bond market. Typically, when the bond market is weaker, mortgage rates trend higher. The bond market saw its first pair of challenges early in the week with the re-nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Though the re-nomination was largely expected, some hoped for the nomination of Fed Governor Lael Brainard. Brainard was viewed as a rate-friendly choice. Powell, however, has successfully navigated two years of the coronavirus pandemic. Additional bond pressure came from the Treasury auctions.

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9 Quick Ways to Decorate Your Home for Thanksgiving

Blog posted On November 24, 2021

You’ve called the family. Your kitchen is cleaned and ready to go. You have the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and all your favorite baking ingredients. Everything’s ready for you to host Thanksgiving at your house. But what about the decorations? The table centerpiece? The placemats? In case you need some last-minute help with festive décor, here are nine quick DIY projects that can help spice up your home’s Thanksgiving vibe.

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What the Experts Are Saying About the Current Housing Market

Blog posted On November 23, 2021

To buy or not to buy? Many hopeful homeowners are wondering. While some signs in the housing market might push you toward, “it’s the perfect time to buy,” others might make you feel, “maybe I should wait.” Home prices are rising, but mortgage rates are trending at generally low levels. So, what do you do? Some people decide to trust their gut, but we decided to trust the experts. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, weighed in on the market and whether it’s the right time to buy.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 22, 2021

In the former half of last week, mortgage rates saw a slight upward trend after the release of more reports showing strong economic performance. On Tuesday, the retail sales report showed a 1.7% increase in October – the strongest monthly retail sales data in several years. Typically, when the economy grows stronger, interest rates trend higher. However, “In the bigger picture, rates are still [trending] very low,” said contributors at Mortgage News Daily. Coming up this week, both the existing home sales and new home sales report are scheduled for release.

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Government-Backed Mortgages Explained

Blog posted On November 18, 2021

The extensive list of different home loans can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. FHA, USDA, VA – the acronyms can get confusing.  But they’re worth understanding because they could help you save thousands of dollars on your mortgage.

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How to Make Large Purchases Without Using Your Credit Card

Blog posted On November 17, 2021

Credit cards are useful for quick payments and things like monthly bills. But they often have higher interest rates than personal loans, which can make paying them off harder. If you’re thinking about making a large purchase (home renovation, household appliance, holiday gift), then you might want to explore your other options.

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More Americans Are Taking Advantage of Their Home Equity

Blog posted On November 16, 2021

As property values continue to rise, homeowners continue to gain more equity. According to Federal Reserve data, U.S. home equity reached a record high of $23.6 trillion in the second quarter of 2021. That’s nearly double the amount of home equity from the 2006 housing boom.

But what does this really mean for homeowners?

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Market Update: Rates Rise, NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 15, 2021

Mortgage rates trended upward last week. In the middle of the week, the bond market struggled. Interest rates are generally tied to the bond market, so if bonds have a bad day, mortgage rates will likely trend up too. One of the culprits was the consumer price index – a key inflation report – which showed inflation was at a higher-than-expected level. Bonds typically react badly to inflation.

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Breaking Down Common Refinancing Concerns

Blog posted On November 10, 2021

If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage, it’s probably for a valid reason. Maybe you don’t think you would save enough or don’t think you would qualify. Whatever the reason, it’s likely that you’ve thought about it and come to a logical conclusion. However, it might be worth revisiting. Almost 14 million homeowners are passing up on hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for one of the following misconceptions.

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Home Sales Profits Reach Another Record High

Blog posted On November 09, 2021

Last week, property database ATTOM released its U.S. Home Sales Report for Q3 of 2021. The results of the report revealed that median-priced single-family homes had the highest profit margin in 10 years. It also showed that returns on sales rose at the fastest quarterly pace in seven years and fastest annual pace in over a decade.

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Consumer Price Index, Job Openings Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 08, 2021

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. It also officially announced the tapering of asset purchases. Historically, this has pushed mortgage rates higher. So far, mortgage rates have not seen a drastic change following the announcements. In fact, rates saw a downward trend later in the week. The Bank of England announced its own policy adjustment last week which turned out to be more rate-friendly than our own central bank’s decision. As a result, the global markets reacted, and the U.S. lending rates improved. Some important economic reports coming out this week include the consumer price index, scheduled for release Wednesday, and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), scheduled for release Friday.

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What to Know Before Buying Your First Home

Blog posted On November 04, 2021

Buying your first home can be intimidating, and if you ask a lot of homeowners, they would’ve done certain things differently. To guide you in your first home purchase process, here are six quick tips that can save you time and money.

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How to Save Money While Aging in Place

Blog posted On November 03, 2021

Many working-age people dream of the day that they can someday retire on a sunny beach. But as we get older, it seems that our preferences and priorities change. According to AARP, more than 75% of adults aged 50 and above prefer to stay in their current home. It’s natural to want to stay in an area close to family and friends. However, maintaining a home in retirement can be a difficult and costly endeavor. Luckily, there are ways you can prepare for these financial adjustments.

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Federal Reserve Data Shows Housing Market is Still Strong

Blog posted On November 02, 2021

The housing market has been fueling the economy since the beginning of the pandemic. When other industries tumbled, the housing market boomed. Mortgage rates sunk to historic lows, buyers and owners jumped to purchase or refinance, and home sales soared to 15-year highs. A year and a half later, the real estate industry is still booming. Though some may fear that it has reached its peak, the housing market is going strong.   

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Market Update: Rates Fall; Construction Spending, Fed Interest Rate Decision Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On November 01, 2021

Last week started with mortgage rates trending higher but they quickly trended lower towards the middle of the week. The bond market showed similar trends. Typically, mortgage rates follow the patterns of the bond market. Right now, the biggest influencer on the bond market seems to be the Federal Reserve and its bond buying program. Ever since the Fed hinted at tapering assets soon, the bond market has shown more hesitation. Consequently, mortgage rates have generally trended upward. 

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9 Loan Programs for First-Time Home Buyers

Blog posted On October 28, 2021

Saving for the down payment is one of the biggest hurdles for first-time home buyers. But with the help of low down payment loan programs and down payment assistance, you can be home sweet home in no time.

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Helpful Tips to Protect Your Home on Halloween

Blog posted On October 27, 2021

Don’t let the adorable zombies and witches fool you. There can be some real monsters out there on Halloween. According to Travelers Insurance, crime-related insurance claims spike by nearly 25% on October 31. This is a bigger claims spike than any other day of the year. Luckily, with a few simple home-protection tricks, you can focus on the real treat of Halloween.

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Housing Starts Data Shows Positive Signs for the Market

Blog posted On October 26, 2021

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that housing starts and building permits saw respective declines of 1.6% and 7.7% in September. Typically, this data would have negative connotations for buyers and builders alike. A slowdown in housing starts can suggest a slowdown in construction – which is the last thing the real estate industry would need right now. Home prices are already soaring, and if housing construction slows, this could put even more upward pressure on prices. Luckily, the month-over-month construction data is only telling a small part of the overall story. The long-term data shows a much more positive trend.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, and Pending Home Sales Coming Up this Week

Blog posted On October 25, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended upward. Even though existing home sales and home builder sentiment showed growth, rates continued their upward momentum. “There really isn't any great, short-term explanation for the incremental [increases],” noted Mortgage Daily News contributors. Rates have simply been carried by an upward momentum since the Fed hinted at tapering assets in November or December. Unless the economic outlook or COVID recovery drastically changes over the next few weeks, it’s likely the Fed will begin the tapering process.

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How to Budget for Your First Home Purchase

Blog posted On October 21, 2021

A lot goes into buying your first home. At first, it can be an intimidating process, but with the right guidance it can go by smoothly. If you’re considering buying your first home, there are a few things you should keep in mind when making your home budget.

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Retirees and Inflation: How to Retire When Prices Are High

Blog posted On October 20, 2021

In the mid-1960s, it cost $1 to buy a movie ticket, $.30 for a gallon of gas, and $20,000 to buy a home. Today, it costs around $10 - $20 to buy a movie ticket, an average of $3.27 for a gallon of gas, and approximately $357,000 to buy a home of median value. To some extent, rising prices are a natural part of a progressing economy. Everything stabilizes when wages keep up with the increased cost of living. But what happens if you’re not receiving wages at all? For some people, rising inflation costs might be less concerning; but for those who are retired or planning to retire soon, it can be slightly more worrisome.   

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Breaking Down the Fed’s Minutes: What’s Next and What Does it Mean for You?

Blog posted On October 19, 2021

Last Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released its minutes from the September meeting. Not surprisingly, the minutes showed a collective opinion from Committee members that tapering asset purchases would be appropriate given the economy’s progress. Somewhat surprisingly, the Fed changed its take on inflation and now believes it could remain elevated throughout next year. It previously thought that inflation was temporary. Almost all Fed members saw substantial progress toward maximum employment. Both inflation and maximum employment were two benchmarks that the Fed was using to determine when a taper would be appropriate. Many members thought that tapering could begin as soon as next month. But what does this actually mean for you and how does it affect mortgage rates?

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Market Update: Rates Fall, NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 18, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward after a few strong days in the bond market. When bonds – specifically mortgage-backed securities (MBS) – show more strength, mortgage rates tend to fall. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) also released its minutes from the September meeting, revealing a unanimous opinion that it was time to begin tapering assets.

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Closing Costs Explained

Blog posted On October 14, 2021

When you purchase a home, you don’t typically pay for the whole thing upfront. This is why people get mortgages loans. Once you close on your loan, you will begin making monthly mortgage payments that will pay for your home little by little. When you originate a loan, you will be required to make some initial payments upon your closing. One is the down payment. The other is your closing costs. Though you will get a full breakdown of all of your closing costs in your initial loan estimate and final closing disclosure, here’s a quick overview of the most common closing costs you can expect.

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Should You Trust Online Home Price Estimates?

Blog posted On October 13, 2021

In the age of Zillow and Zestimates, it can be difficult to discern what’s real and what’s not. Online home price calculators like Zillow’s Zestimate tool and Redfin’s Estimate calculator can give you a rough idea of how much a home is worth. This can help sellers get an idea of their market value and buyers determine what’s in their budget. However, it shouldn’t be the sole factor influencing your sales price or home offer.

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What to Do Before the Next Federal Reserve Meeting

Blog posted On October 12, 2021

The next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting will take place on Nov. 2-3, 2021. And this one could be big. FOMC meetings were relatively mundane for about a year and a half. The benchmark interest rate remained near zero, asset purchases stayed strong, and the Federal Reserve was “committed to using [its] full range of tools to support the economy,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Now, the economy is in a much better place, and many economists believe that the Federal Reserve is about to shake things up.

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CMG Financial Increases Conforming Loan Limits

Blog posted On October 12, 2021

As home values continue to rise, CMG Financial is making it easier for you to purchase the home of your dreams. As of 10/12/21, we have increased our conforming loan limits to make buying a home more accessible to more home buyers. 

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Market Update: Rates Rise, Job Openings and Consumer Price Index Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 11, 2021

Mortgage rates trended upward again last week with some weakening in the bond market and strong job reports. When the bond market is weaker, rates tend to be higher. The ADP employment report showed a stronger-than-expected number of nonfarm jobs hirings. Friday’s job reports, however, showed lower-than-expected results. Therefore, the bond market volatility seemed to level out by the end of the week but may heat up again this week.

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What to Expect When You Close on a Home

Blog posted On October 07, 2021

Closing on a home is an exciting start to a new future, and it’s a huge accomplishment. If you’re about to close on a home of your own – congrats! We’re sure you can’t wait to move in and start enjoying life as a homeowner. Before you do, there are a few important steps of the closing process left.

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How to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime

Blog posted On October 06, 2021

Every year, Americans lose billions of dollars to cybercrime. In 2020, cyber criminals stole over $210 million from home buyers alone. Real estate wire fraud is one of the fastest growing schemes in the United States. Hackers often target people transferring large amounts of money like down payments. But don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that your transaction isn’t safe. It just means that you need to take a few extra precautions along the way.

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3 Reasons Why Now is the Best Time to Buy a Home

Blog posted On October 05, 2021

The best week to buy a home is here. According to Realtor.com’s Best Time to Buy Report, the week of Oct. 3 – Oct. 9 is the most optimal time of year to buy. The report analyzed data from the Top 50 Largest Metro Areas across the country and determined the best week to purchase a home for each. Though some areas hit their peak in the beginning of the year, most of the markets will hit their “home buying sweet spot” between Sept. 12 and Oct. 17. This time was ranked the best because you’ll likely see more homes on the market, less competition, and lower sales prices.

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Market Update: Rates Rise, ADP Employment and Employment Situation Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On October 04, 2021

Mortgage rates continued their upward trend last week as the bond market continued to lose ground. When the bond market is weaker, rates are typically higher. Largely, the bond market has been losing ground since the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting two weeks ago. After that meeting, the Federal Reserve showed increasing resolve about their plan to taper assets and raise rates in the near future. Consequently, the bond market reacted badly and hasn’t shown significant improvement yet, though

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What is Down Payment Assistance and How Can it Help?

Blog posted On September 30, 2021

One of the biggest hurdles for first time home buyers is saving for a down payment. When you buy a home, you pay a lump sum of money upfront – known as the down payment. The amount you put down is generally up to you, depending on your credit score and other qualifying factors. On average, first-time home buyers make down payments of around 6% of the loan amount. For a typical starter home of $148,527, this would be $8,912. Saving nearly $9,000 isn’t easy for most first-time buyers. But there are several options that can help you reach that goal.

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7 Ways Every Homeowner Can Prepare for the Fall

Blog posted On September 29, 2021

It’s hard to believe that Fall is already here. The leaves are changing colors, the weather’s getting cooler, and the excitement for the holidays is already building up. Though Fall has already begun, it’s still early in the season, and there are still several ways you can prepare your house for what’s to come.

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Despite High Home Prices, Buyers are Still in a Good Financial Position

Blog posted On September 28, 2021

Home prices have been skyrocketing over the past year. In July, the Case-Shiller home price index reported a 19.7% annual gain – shattering its previous record. In August, the median existing home sales price was up 15% annually. Still, home buyers have not been deterred. Home buyer demand, although not as hot as it was peak pandemic, is still soaring. Despite record-high prices, home buyers aren’t paying for more home than they can handle.

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Market Update: Rates Rise; Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, and Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On September 27, 2021

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged. However, more members predicted that the first rate hike will occur next year as opposed to 2023. Consequently, mortgage rates reacted by trending higher. In his press conference last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell mentioned that the “test for substantial further progress on employment is all but met therefore a gradual tapering process that concludes around the middle of next year is likely to be appropriate.” A large deciding factor will be the upcoming jobs reports next month.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Downsizing as a Retiree

Blog posted On September 23, 2021

Change can be hard – whether you’re a first-time home buyer adjusting to home maintenance or a retired homeowner moving to a smaller place. Going from what you’ve known to something new isn’t always easy – especially if it’s what you’ve known most of your life. Downsizing homes as a retiree can almost feel like you’re a first-time home buyer all over again. But in a few simple steps, you can go from experienced homeowner to successful home seller in no time.

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Tips for Avoiding Severe Water Damage in Your Home

Blog posted On September 22, 2021

Cleaning gutters, raking leaves, shoveling snow, and changing furnace filters are all a part of the American Dream. You may not have heard it on commercials or seen it in magazines, but home maintenance is a big part of homeownership. If you’re a new homeowner, you might feel overwhelmed by the new responsibilities. If you’re a seasoned expert, you might just be getting tired of the upkeep. Home maintenance can be a lot to handle. And if you’re thinking of cutting some corners or avoiding some maintenance duties, just make sure that you keep doing the ones that will help prevent water damage.

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Home Prices and Home Buyer Competition are Cooling Off

Blog posted On September 21, 2021

If you’ve been sitting on the home buying sidelines, now might be your chance to jump in. According to real estate brokerage Redfin, both median home prices and pending home sales were down in early September – signaling a potential opportunity for some buyers to save money and still make the winning offer.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, NAHB Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, Fed Interest Rate Decision, New Home Sales

Blog posted On September 20, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week. At the beginning of the week, rates were flat, until the release of the consumer price index (CPI), which sent rates slightly lower. When data suggests an improved economy or hotter inflation, rates typically trend higher. When reports suggest that the economy and inflation are cooling off, rates tend to trend lower. The CPI showed that inflation decelerated more than expected. Then, the underlying bond market showed promising signs as well, which continued rate improvements. However, bonds eventually started losing steam in the middle of the week, leveling out rates once more.

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5 Ways to Tell If a Home is Overpriced

Blog posted On September 16, 2021

With surging home prices, high buyer demand, and low housing inventory, the market can become a feeding frenzy for eager buyers looking to lock in low mortgage rates. Sellers list their homes at higher prices and buyers make offers that are tens of thousands of dollars over asking price to compete. But even in a seller’s market, there comes a point where the price of a home simply outweighs its worth. Here are five ways to determine if a home is overpriced.

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What to Know About Home Insurance for Second Homes

Blog posted On September 15, 2021

Second homes used to be a sort of escape for many Americans. Getting out of town, away from the office, and heading to the beach to feel some fresh breeze or visiting the mountains to be surrounded by trees instead of high rises. Now, second homes are starting to climb their way into the starting lineup. With the increasing flexibility to work remotely and the decreased desire to head back to crowded spaces, many people have extended their stay in a second home…permanently. If you do have this flexibility, that’s great. But if you decide to stay at your second home longer than a typical vacation, then you might want to consider updating your home insurance coverage.

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Tappable Home Equity Reaches All-Time High: Here’s How to Take Advantage

Blog posted On September 14, 2021

Last week the Data & Analytics division of Black Knight released its latest Mortgage Monitor Report – revealing a record-breaking amount of tappable home equity. Tappable home equity is the amount of money that homeowners can cash-out while keeping their remaining equity at or above 20%. According to the data analytics company, homeowners have an astounding $9.1 trillion in tappable home equity. What does this mean for you?

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On September 13, 2021

Mortgage rates trended higher toward the beginning of last week and lower toward the end of the week – creating little change in their levels from the week before. A strong 10-year Treasury auction and 30-year bond auction contributed to the rate improvements for many lenders. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities are both good indicators for mortgage rate trends. Typically, when the prices of mortgage-backed securities rise, mortgage rates fall. When Treasury prices rise, mortgage rates tend to rise as well. Mortgage rates also reacted well to the European Central Bank’s announcement that they were reducing their bond buying efforts by a smaller amount than was expected. This week, there are few housing-specific reports, but a couple of important consumer-specific reports that tend to reflect the economy’s strength and influence rates.

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What is an Acceleration Clause and How Can You Avoid It?

Blog posted On September 09, 2021

Whenever you sign a contract, it’s important to read it thoroughly before signing on the dotted line. It can be a lot of reading, but when there’s as much money involved as a mortgage, you want to make sure you know all the rules. One rule that’s often overlooked in a mortgage contract is the acceleration clause.

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What to Know About Insurance and Wildfires

Blog posted On September 08, 2021

Over the past several years, the severity and size of wildfires across the U.S. have increased at an alarming rate. In 2020, nearly 40,000 forest fires destroyed 4 million acres of land. In California alone, almost 500,000 homes are located in wildfire zones – as are millions of other homes across the country. But many homeowners are unaware of their risk – leaving them vulnerable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

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Survey: Most Homeowners Are Missing Out on Significant Savings

Blog posted On September 07, 2021

Since the beginning of the pandemic, mortgage rates have been hovering near historic lows – fueling the red-hot housing market with millions of eager buyers. From 2019 to 2020, a record 2.1 million buyers became owners, matching the largest increase from 2003 to 2004. Home buyers are taking full advantage of the record low rates. Homeowners, on the other hand, are still missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, Job Openings Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On September 06, 2021

Mortgage rates were trending lower toward the beginning of last week and started trending higher towards the latter half of the week – leaving them relatively unchanged from the week prior. Not much happened in the bond market last week until Friday’s job’s report – which came in much lower than expected. Economists predicted nonfarm payrolls to increase by over 700,000 in August, but they only grew by 235,000. The limited growth likely reflects the rising concerns and restrictions with the Delta variant. Job growth is a key factor that the Fed is watching to determine when to taper their asset purchases. While the Fed had previously expressed optimism about the job gains, they could reassess their tapering timeline if jobs data continues to slow down.

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How to Buy a House While Paying Off Student Loans

Blog posted On September 02, 2021

Millennials have been the generation with the most home buyers since 2014, followed by Gen X. As of 2021, Gen X has been the generation with the most student loan debt, followed by Millennials. Many people sitting on the home buying sideline might think that they can’t purchase a home because of their student debt. However, the two generations with the most debt are also the two generations that purchase the most homes. While having student loans might make the home buying process slightly more challenging, it certainly shouldn’t prevent you from applying. By taking some of the following steps, you can increase your chances of mortgage approval and better prepare for your home purchase. 

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What to Know About the Rising Costs of Flood Insurance

Blog posted On September 01, 2021

Every year between June 1 and November 30, hurricane season takes the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts by storm. Power outages, uprooted trees, ruined buildings, and high flooding all cause billions of dollars in damages to towns and nearby homes. In 2020, Hurricane Laura cost a total of $19 billion. Six weeks later, Hurricane Delta struck the same area, adding another $2.9 billion in damages. While there’s not much that homeowners can do to prevent storms, they can prevent the costs from stacking up.

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Housing Market Heat to Continue this Fall

Blog posted On August 31, 2021

In a normal housing market, home sales would begin to slow down around the beginning of Fall. However, the world has been far from normal over the past 18 months. When the pandemic began, many experts believed that the housing market would suffer. But it turned out to be an economic life raft for the U.S. – thriving with eager buyers and owners looking to take advantage of record-low rates. Since then, home sales have been consistently soaring despite seasonal changes. Almost two years later, many people are wondering, when will it end?

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Market Update: Rates Trend Higher, Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Construction Spending Scheduled for Release

Blog posted On August 30, 2021

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward in the beginning of last week after some strong home sales reports. Additional rate influencers include falling bond prices and rising yields from the week before. Toward the end of the week, core inflation rose again according to the PCE index and Fed Chair Jerome Powell delivered a speech at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. In his speech, Powell noted that ‘substantial further progress’ has been met for inflation and employment has improved notably as well. Ultimately, he sees the tapering of asset purchases to begin at the end of the year, however there is “much ground to cover” before the Fed raises rates.

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How to Lower the Costs of Refinancing

Blog posted On August 26, 2021

Refinancing your mortgage can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. However, it will come with closing costs that can add up quickly. Before refinancing, make sure that you have a good plan that will pay off your closing costs with your refinance savings. Explore different options that can help lower the price of your closing costs and save on your overall refinance.

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Common Reasons Your Credit Score Might Drop, and How to Avoid Them

Blog posted On August 25, 2021

When you first start building credit, your payments are likely relatively simple – gas, food, rent etc. But the older you get, the more the bills pile up. Soon, you’re paying for medical expenses, trips, home repairs, clothes, and more purchases than you remember. Still, you pay your bills at the end of the month and check your credit score every so often. Normally it might hover in the same range, but a common shock for credit borrowers is when your score drops unexpectedly. Because your credit score affects your ability to qualify for other financial products, seeing a sudden decline can be disconcerting for most. If you’re wondering what might have gone wrong (and what to be aware of in the future), here are six common causes for a falling credit score.

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Mortgage Trends That Will Define Housing During the End of 2021

Blog posted On August 24, 2021

Throughout real estate history, mortgage trends have commonly corresponded with the overall trends in the housing market. If mortgage rates are improving, then it’s likely that the real estate industry is doing the same. For the remainder of 2021, there are three key trends that will have an impact on the industry – inventory issues, fluctuating interest rates, and increased technological advances.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales Scheduled for Release

Blog posted On August 23, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged. Near the middle of the week, they started inching up in reaction to the Fed’s July minutes – released on Wednesday. Though no key decisions were made during the Fed’s July meeting, traders are still nervous about future decisions related to assets and rates. The traders’ anxiety resulted in bond market weakness, which typically implies higher rates. In the latter half of the week, the bond market began to improve, pushing rates downward once again. By the end of the week, rates were largely unchanged from their levels the week before.

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Pros and Cons of Pocket Listings

Blog posted On August 19, 2021

Pocket listings – often called exclusive listings or off-MLS listings – are essentially properties that are sold by word of mouth instead of the MLS system. The MLS, or multiple listing service, is an online database where real estate agents register different homes for sale. Once an agent puts a house into the MLS, the listing is automatically shared with other agents and sites such as Redfin, Zillow, and Realtor.com. “A pocket listing is essentially a privately sold home,” says Amber Taufen, managing editor at HomeLight’s Buyer Resource Center. “Buyers need to have some sort of connection to the brokerage, the listing agent or the home seller in order to hear about the property.” Why would a seller want fewer buyers making offers on their home?

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A Home Buyer’s Guide to Moving: What to Buy and What You Can Get Free

Blog posted On August 18, 2021

According to Moving.com, the average cost of a local move is $1,250. The cost of a long-distance move is $4,890. Though these costs might seem steep, there are certain moving purchases that could save you thousands in the long run. Others, you might be able to do without.

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Fannie Mae Eases Underwriting Calculation

Blog posted On August 17, 2021

On Wednesday, August 11th, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that positive rental payment history will be accounted for during Fannie Mae’s underwriting process. Not only will on-time rental payments help potential homeowners but missed rental payments will no longer prevent them from getting a mortgage. The change is effective immediately and should help current renters have greater access to homeownership.

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Market Update: Rates Trend Upward, Housing Market Sentiment Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On August 16, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates saw a slight upward trend after hitting six-month lows the week before. Strong jobs reports pushed rates slightly higher, but economic risks related to the Delta variant could keep them low. If COVID cases calm down or school starts without a noticeable uptick in case numbers, the Fed might be more inclined to push the benchmark rate up. The next few weeks should provide more data on the rise in cases. This coming week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index is scheduled for release as is the report on housing starts and building permits. 

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What Is a Home Warranty and How Can You Avoid a Rejected Claim?

Blog posted On August 12, 2021

A home warranty covers repairs and replacements on major home appliances and features such as furnaces, HVAC, plumbing systems, and electrical systems. Instead of dipping into your savings or reserve funds for expensive repairs, you can purchase a home warranty for cheaper repair and replacement costs. Home warranties also make it easier for homeowners because they provide repairmen – meaning you don’t need to track down a contractor. For home sellers, providing the option for the buyer to purchase a home warranty can provide some protection against buyer complaints after closing.

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Best Money Moves to Make During August

Blog posted On August 11, 2021

As summer break starts to wind down, back to school planning starts to rev up. For many, it’s time to swap out the flip flops and pool bags for sneakers and backpacks. The month of August is a big month for shopping and spending, but it also has many great opportunities to save. From discounts to sales to tax breaks, there are many smart ways you can spend (or save) your money this month.

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Out-of-Town Buyers are Headed Back to the Cities

Blog posted On August 10, 2021

After a year-long drought, home buyers are flooding big cities once again. When COVID-19 sent the nation into lockdown last year, many buyers fled crowded urban areas in search of larger homes, bigger yards, and more space. Now, with increasing vaccination rates and reopening offices, people are returning to metropolitan hubs – and bringing steep home offers with them. Many out-of-town buyers are offering much more than the asking price on homes, which is putting pressure on local buyers.

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Market Update: Rates Drop, Coming Up This Week: Job Openings and the Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On August 09, 2021

Near the beginning of last week, mortgage rates dipped near some of their lowest levels in six months – largely due to the Fed’s announcement and rising COVID cases. Toward the end of the week, rates began to trend upward due to strong economic reports including the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, the ADP employment report, and the employment situation. Positive reports suggest that the economy is returning to a more stable level, which would then prompt the Fed to potentially raise the benchmark rate. Consequently, bond prices fell and Treasury yields rose – typically pushing rates higher. This week, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is scheduled for release followed by the consumer price index.

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Seller Concessions: What Are They and How Can They Help?

Blog posted On August 05, 2021

Many buyers look at one number when shopping for a home – the number on the price tag. While a home’s sales price plays a large role in the cost of your future payments and how much your mortgage loan will be, it’s not the only cost you should be considering in your budget. Aside from interest rates and your down payment, another important home buying factor is your closing costs.

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7 Tips for a Successful Refinance

Blog posted On August 04, 2021

Refinancing your home while interest rates are low can be a great financial choice. There are many benefits to refinancing your home, but before jumping in, it’s a good idea to have a game plan about why you are refinancing in the first place.

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Available Housing Inventory Starts to Increase

Blog posted On August 03, 2021

Last week, the Commerce Department released their report on new home sales in June. Though the level of completed new homes sales was lower than expected, the level of new homes on the market increased to a pandemic high. Earlier this month, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) revealed that the level of existing home sales increased in June after four straight months of declines. The cause? More available homes for sale. With continued inventory gains, home buyers could be seeing less competition and lower home prices over the next several months.

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Market Update: Benchmark Rate Unchanged, Construction Spending, ADP Employment Scheduled for Release

Blog posted On August 02, 2021

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave interest rates unchanged. Though they did mention that the economy has improved substantially, they have kept the benchmark interest rate near zero. The path of continued economic recovery (and consequential rate adjustments) will largely depend on potential spread of the coronavirus, specifically the delta variant. Mortgage rates have trended downward in past weeks due to several different factors – one of which includes the rising delta variant concern. However, the Fed did claim that future waves of the virus should have less impact on the economy. As for asset tapering, they said that we are not seeing enough progress on employment levels to begin tapering just yet. In other news, this week, construction spending is scheduled for release, as well as the ADP employment report.

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How to Finance a Home Renovation

Blog posted On July 29, 2021

When the housing market has a limited supply of homes, many owners opt to renovate or upgrade their existing home rather than move to a new home. Not only can this help improve your living area, but it can boost your home’s resale value as well. Plus, there are several different options that can help you finance home renovations. 

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5 Mortgage Myths, Debunked

Blog posted On July 28, 2021

If you don’t think you’d qualify for a mortgage, think again. Many times, home buyers will doubt they can qualify for a home loan based on misinformation. So, to set the record straight, here are five mortgage myths, debunked.

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How Biden’s Neighborhood Homes Proposal Could Help Real Estate Investors

Blog posted On July 27, 2021

At the end of May, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge introduced details of President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal dubbed the “American Jobs Plan.” A large part of this plan is the proposed $318 billion dedicated to housing investments. Additionally, the Biden Administration proposed a new federal tax credit, the Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit, designed to encourage construction and rehabilitation of homes in underserved communities. The primary goal of this act would likely to increase homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income buyers in underserved communities. However, there would also be another large incentive be for inventors.

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Market Update: Rates Drop Sharply, Coming Up This Week: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and the FOMC Meeting

Blog posted On July 26, 2021

Mortgage rates continued to drop last week in reaction to the Adverse Market Refinance Fee removal. An additional influence on the rate trend was the significant improvement in the bond market. The combination of these two factors pushed rates for the average lender to their lowest range since February. There are also several important reports scheduled for release this week that could have an impact on rates and the housing market.

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What to Know About Homeowners Insurance Before Selling Your Home

Blog posted On July 22, 2021

Moving to a new home is an exciting adventure. Chances are, if you’re moving, you’re focused on the next step – picking décor for the new house, arranging plans for travel, and imagining your future life. There’s a lot going on during a move, and it’s easy to forget little details. One detail you should never forget is your homeowners insurance.

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Taking a Five-Sense Approach to Touring Homes

Blog posted On July 21, 2021

Touring a home can be a sensory overload. Many times, we see what we want to see, and not what we need to see. In other words, when touring a home, you’re likely envisioning a perfect future instead of noticing the current imperfections of your surroundings.  If you take a five-sense approach to your home tours, you can get an even better feel of how you might like your future home. 

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Sales of Vacation Homes Soar

Blog posted On July 20, 2021

After spending 15 months inside, people are itching to get out. They’re also itching to spend some of the money they’ve been saving for the past year. Consequently, the sale of vacation homes has seen a noticeable increase during the first four months of 2021. 

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Market Update: Rates Fall, NAHB Housing Market Index, Housing Starts & Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On July 19, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates fell to some of their lowest levels in months after the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced the removal of the Adverse Market Refinance Fee. As of last Friday, lenders no longer have to pay a fee amounting to 0.5% of every refinance. “Santa Claus has come early for homeowners looking to refinance their mortgages,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst.

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Adverse Market Refinance Fee Eliminated

Blog posted On July 16, 2021

As of today, Friday July 16th, 2021, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has eliminated the Adverse Market Refinance Fee.  Homeowners still seeking to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates may now be able to save even more money through a refinance.

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Renting vs. Buying: Which is Right for You?

Blog posted On July 15, 2021

Buying your first home is an exciting transition, but it’s not always the right time for every renter.  Sometimes it depends on timing, other times it depends on the responsibilities and costs that come with buying a home. To help you determine which is right for you, here are some factors to consider.

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6 Decorating Tips for Homes with Pets

Blog posted On July 14, 2021

Having the company of furry friends can add significant joy and health benefits to our lives. Many studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, high blood pressure, and stress. However, owning a pet can also wreak havoc on your home. It might be harder for you to incorporate your pet’s belongings into a new home’s design, but with these six quick tips, you’ll have a model pet palace in no time.

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What the Fed is Saying About Surging Home Prices

Blog posted On July 13, 2021

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released their June meeting minutes. While the large focus of the meeting was inflation, asset purchases, and interest rates, the Committee also had its eye on the climbing home prices. Over the past year, home prices have seen their highest appreciation in over 30 years – up nearly 15% in April. Home buyer demand has been soaring while inventory has remained near record lows – causing a steep increase in prices. Meanwhile, the Fed hasn’t budged.

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Market Update: Rates Fall, Coming Up This Week: Consumer Price Index and Retail Sales

Blog posted On July 12, 2021

Mortgage rates took a sharp downward trend last week, hitting some of their lowest levels in the past five months. No major market-moving reports have caused the drop, but “timing pays a role,” according to contributors at Mortgage News Daily. Two weeks ago, we saw a stronger than expected jobs report, which would normally push rates higher, but rates didn’t move significantly and continued floating. Then, after the three-day weekend, trading resumed, and the bond market improved substantially – pushing rates lower. This week, the consumer price index and retail sales are both scheduled for release – which may also have an impact on rate movement.

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3 Steps to Take When Making an Offer on a Home

Blog posted On July 08, 2021

When shopping for a home in a competitive market, you will want to make sure that your offer is as strong as possible. There will likely be several other buyers making offers on the same home, so it’s crucial that your offer stands out. The stronger your offer, the more likely it will be accepted by the seller.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Right Now

Blog posted On July 07, 2021

If you have a less than perfect credit score, applying for a mortgage or other type of loan might feel impossible. Fortunately, there are several mortgage programs that have lenient credit requirements plus many ways you can boost your score on your own before you apply for a mortgage.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Right Now

Blog posted On July 07, 2021

If you have a less than perfect credit score, applying for a mortgage or other type of loan might feel impossible. Fortunately, there are several mortgage programs that have lenient credit requirements plus many ways you can boost your score on your own before you apply for a mortgage.

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Good News Ahead for Buyers After a Surge in New Listings

Blog posted On July 06, 2021

Over the past year, home inventory has dropped to record low levels. Historically low mortgage rates have driven eager home buyers into the market, but with hesitant home sellers and overpriced home building materials, the supply of homes has not risen alongside buyer demand. Consequently, buyers have faced increased purchasing competition, higher sales prices, and fewer options to choose from. However, more supply is on the horizon.

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Market Update: Mortgage Rates Drop, Job Openings Scheduled for Release

Blog posted On July 05, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates fell to some of their lowest levels since mid-June. They have been slowly dipping ever since the Fed meeting on June 16. Though the monthly jobs report was a slight concern, it didn’t significantly impact rates. Nonfarm payrolls surged much higher than expected, which is a good sign for the economy and could start to shift rates higher. However, average weekly hours dipped slightly, unemployment inched up, and the participation rate remained unchanged. In other words, the report wasn’t overwhelmingly positive to the point where it could push mortgage rates higher.

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When to Not Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Blog posted On July 01, 2021

If you had to choose between paying a mortgage and being mortgage-free, most of us would opt for the latter. Being free of monthly mortgage payments sounds ideal, but there are a few factors to consider before you start making extra payments.

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When to Not Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Blog posted On July 01, 2021

If you had to choose between paying a mortgage and being mortgage-free, most of us would opt for the latter. Being free of monthly mortgage payments sounds ideal, but there are a few factors to consider before you start making extra payments.

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4 Tips for Buying a Home in a Busy Market

Blog posted On June 30, 2021

When the housing market is hot, it might take you a little bit longer to find your future home, but it’s not impossible. Instead of rushing in on the first house you see or opting out altogether, here are four tips to help guide you home when the market is hot.

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What Lies Ahead for the FHFA?

Blog posted On June 29, 2021

Last week was a busy week for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). On Wednesday, the Supreme Court decided that the structure of the Agency was unconstitutional. By Thursday morning, Biden had appointed a new director. Sandra Thompson, FHFA’s deputy director of the division of housing mission and goals, will replace Mark Calabria as director of the FHFA. So, what exactly happened and what’s coming next?

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Market Update: Rates Fall, Case Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, and Construction Spending Coming Up This Week

Blog posted On June 28, 2021

Mortgage rates trended downward towards the end of last week. Bonds had a few solid days of stability – the most stability since the Fed’s meeting two weeks ago – while also trading at or near some of the best levels week-over-week. Consequently, mortgage rates saw improvement as well. This week, there are several reports scheduled for release that could have an impact on current rates. On Tuesday, the Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release, and on Wednesday, pending home sales will be released as well. Construction spending is scheduled for release on Thursday morning.

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3 Compromises You Shouldn’t Make When Buying a Home

Blog posted On June 24, 2021

When the housing market is hot and inventory is low, finding the right home can be difficult. You’ll likely have fewer choices and more buyers competing for the same homes. Consequently, you might have to expand your search and sacrifice certain home features. This can help you buy your home sooner, but there are certain compromises you shouldn’t make even when you are eager to buy.

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Don't Let this Mistake Cost You 30% of Your Home's Value

Blog posted On June 23, 2021

When you sell your home, you ideally want to get the biggest profit possible. Before you list it, you might renovate, hire a professional stager, paint, or do anything else you can to boost its market value. The most common updates are generally cosmetic, but if your home has certain underlying health issues, you will want to address those before making cosmetic touch ups – for your home’s market value and your own safety.

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How Current Inflation Could Actually Help You Save Money

Blog posted On June 22, 2021

With the Federal Reserve deciding to leave interest rates unchanged, inflation will likely continue to heat up. Though this is generally a good sign of an improving economy, it tends to have negative effects like higher prices and lower purchasing power. For consumers, this isn’t ideal. But for borrowers, it can actually help them save on interest and pay off their debts faster.

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Market Update: Rates Trend Higher, Existing Home Sales and New Homes Sales Coming Up this Week

Blog posted On June 21, 2021

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. The move caused some market volatility, likely due to the FOMC’s discussion of tapering and rising rates. With the economy’s current pace of recovery and inflation, the FOMC predicted that we will see at least two interest rate hikes in 2023. Before last week’s meeting. the rate liftoff was set for 2024. As for their bond-buying program, they still plan to keep purchasing assets at the current pace until the labor market and inflation show substantial and sustained progress. But they did mention the idea of tapering, which is likely what sparked the movement in the 10-year Treasury yield and mortgage rates. Mortgage rates could see more movement this week after the release of the existing home sales report and new home sales on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

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8 Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before Renovating

Blog posted On June 17, 2021

Renovating your home is exciting. But it’s also a big undertaking, and you will want to make sure it’s done right. To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, here are eight questions to ask potential contractors before you hire them.

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4 Tips for Selling in a Competitive Market

Blog posted On June 16, 2021

Selling your house in a competitive market might sound like a breeze. You list your home, get several offers right away, and close on a contract offering you thousands of dollars above your listing price. Unfortunately, the sales process might not be as straightforward as you think and there are a few other factors to consider.

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What is Inflation, How Does it Affect Interest Rates, and Why Does it Matter?

Blog posted On June 15, 2021

Over the next two days, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will hold their fourth meeting of the year to discuss interest rates and their Summary of Economic Projections. The central bank has kept the benchmark interest rate near zero since they made an emergency rate cut last March. But with the economy continuing to gain strength, many experts are wondering when the Fed will begin tapering asset purchases and raising rates again.

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Market Update: Rates Fall, Housing Market Index, FOMC Meeting, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On June 14, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward after the 10-year Treasury yields dropped to some of their lowest levels since May 7. Though Treasury yields don’t directly influence mortgage rates, they often trend in similar directions. When longer-dated Treasury yields (like the 10-year yield) gain strength, mortgage bonds tend to benefit as well – pushing rates lower. This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will be meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the benchmark interest rate, currently set near zero. In other important market-moving news, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will be releasing their housing market sentiment index on Tuesday. Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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3 Steps that Could Help Speed Up Your Refinance

Blog posted On June 10, 2021

When mortgage rates trend lower, people want to act fast. Home buyers will rush to find a home, while homeowners will rush to refinance. Then they’ll come to their lenders wanting to close on their loans immediately. Direct lenders, like us, typically have the ability to close quicker than others. However, part of the speed of our closings depends on you. The more prepared, responsive, and organized you are, the quicker you can close on your loan.

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How to Remove Negative Items from Your Credit Report

Blog posted On June 09, 2021

Your credit score can influence a lot of different opportunities, including your ability to buy a home. Different loan programs have different credit requirements, and the higher your credit score, the better chance you have at getting approved. A higher credit score can also increase your chances of securing a lower interest rate, which can save you thousands over the life of your loan. So, it’s important to stay on top of your credit, and if you notice a negative item bringing down your score, here’s what you should do.

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Housing Bill Proposed to Help Teachers and First Responders

Blog posted On June 08, 2021

On May 13th, U.S. Representatives introduced a new bill aimed to help first responders and teachers buy homes. The bill, called Homes for Every Local Protector Educator and Responder Act, will be similar to VA Loans in assistance and structure.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, Job Openings Scheduled for Release

Blog posted On June 07, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week and continued to hover near historic lows. Bond market volatility sent them slightly higher in the middle of the week, but with Friday’s employment situation, they trended lower again. Most of the reports in the employment situation were much lower than expected by economists. Consequently, “stock market futures actually rose, with investors continuing to bet that the measured pace of job gains would keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates and tightening monetary policy,” wrote Jeff Cox, Finance Editor for CNBC. The jobs report was a good check-in with the economy’s recovery, which is a key factor for the Fed to raise rates. With the economy’s job growth at a slower-than-expected pace, it’s unlikely the Fed will raise rates just yet. However, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is scheduled for release this Tuesday, which will be another important rate-influencing report.

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Fannie Mae RefiNow Available Tomorrow

Blog posted On June 04, 2021

Fannie Mae has launched RefiNow, a new refinance program designed for eligible homeowners who have not yet taken advantage of record-low mortgage rates. Fannie Mae RefiNow guarantees homeowners will get an average interest rate reduction 0.25%* lower than their qualifying market mortgage rate. As an added bonus, CMG Financial will give homeowners a $500 appraisal credit.

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5 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before Hiring Them

Blog posted On June 03, 2021

Google can do a lot, but it can’t quite compete with talking to someone about all of your home buying questions. Working with a REALTOR® can be a great asset in your home buying journey. Not only can they provide individualized advice, but they’re there to help guide you every step of the way. Many home buyers find a trusted REALTOR® through word of mouth or network connections, but if you’re starting from scratch, asking potential REALTORS® these five questions might be a good place to start.

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Don’t Make This Common Home Buying Mistake

Blog posted On June 02, 2021

If you’re buying a home, you’re probably focused on the upfront costs: your down payment, interest rate, and purchase price. These costs will dictate how much you pay upfront and how much your monthly mortgage payments will be going forward. To aid your home search, you might create a budget around the estimated monthly mortgage payments you will be able to afford. While this is a good start to your purchase preparation, you won’t want to stop there. Making a home buying budget strictly based on the estimated monthly mortgage payments you can afford might put yourself in a difficult financial position down the road.

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Is the Housing Market Headed Toward a Crash?

Blog posted On June 01, 2021

It’s no secret that the housing market is still red hot. Supply is low, demand is high, and home values are soaring to some of their highest levels since 1999. The market has been getting hotter and hotter over the past year, leaving many people wondering, “are we headed to a crash?”

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Market Update: Rates Drop, Construction Spending, and the Employment Situation

Blog posted On May 31, 2021

In the beginning of last week, mortgage rates trended downward to some of the lowest levels since the beginning of May. Towards the end of the week, they inched up due to a weakened bond market, but continue to remain historically low. According to Mortgage News Daily, these upward rate “moves aren't extreme in the bigger picture.” Some claim that Biden’s plan to propose a $6 trillion budget had an effect on the market. Another cause could be the core PCE index, which showed an increase of 3.1% that surged past the Federal Reserve’s 2% goal.

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4 VA Loan Facts to Know Before You Apply

Blog posted On May 27, 2021

VA Loans are government-sponsored loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs designed to help military members, National Guard members, veterans, and surviving spouses buy a home. If you’re thinking of financing your home with a VA Loan, it might be easier than you think.

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4 Money Moves to Make Before the End of May

Blog posted On May 26, 2021

By now, you’ve likely filed your taxes. The hard part is over. But as May comes to a close, there are still a few key deadlines to be aware of that can help you maximize your savings, increase profits on your investment, and make other beneficial money moves.

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What to Do if You Missed the Tax Deadline

Blog posted On May 25, 2021

Last Monday was Tax Day – the final day you could file your income taxes. Though it typically falls on April 15, the IRS allowed Americans an extra month to complete their taxes this year, due to the pandemic. If it slipped your mind, don’t worry. Tax Day has been a little different the past two years and you might still have some options to complete your 2020 taxes.

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Market Update: Rates Inch Upward, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On May 24, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates saw a slight upward trend. The bond market took a turn on Wednesday after a scheduled treasury auction, but the bigger rate factor was the Fed’s policy meeting minutes on Wednesday afternoon. The minutes showed that the Fed was debating tapering soon. This means that they will gradually reduce the amount of bond purchases they make until it reaches zero. Historically, mortgage rates tend to move up when the Fed tapers their bond purchases. In 2013, rates spiked abruptly in reaction to the Fed’s taper discussion. However, this year is different because of the pandemic’s effect on the economy. The Fed is still looking for further economic recovery before they taper, and even when they do, it will be gradual.

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Home Renovations with the Highest and Lowest Returns

Blog posted On May 20, 2021

Home renovations can be costly endeavors, depending on the scope of your project. Some homeowners might renovate simply because they need more space. Others might have the goal of boosting their home’s value. If the purpose of your home renovation is to increase your home’s value, it’s important to weigh out its cost. Certain renovations might not have the same resale value that you imagined. To help you plan for your home renovation, here are the current home upgrades with the highest and lowest return on investment (ROI).

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5 Myths About Buying a Home

Blog posted On May 19, 2021

Buying a home is a big step. Renting allows you to live more commitment-free, and when you think of buying, you might be worried about what it entails. For many people, they envision a large debt, strict mortgage requirements, and settling down. But not everything you hear about buying a home is true. To help you transition from renting to buying, here are five common myths about buying a home.

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How Long Will High Lumber Prices Last?

Blog posted On May 18, 2021

Lumber prices have been surging to record highs over the past few weeks. One year ago, random-length lumber futures were around $340, according to Nasdaq. Two weeks ago, they hit an all-time high of $1,670. If they continue to rise, construction projects could be significantly delayed, the housing shortage could worsen, and home prices could climb even higher than they already are. Many people are wondering “how did lumber prices get here?”  An even more important question might be, “how (and when) will they drop?”

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Market Update: Rates Move Higher, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On May 17, 2021

Mortgage rates trended slightly higher last week after hitting a two-month low the week before. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) revealed a record high number of job openings and the consumer price index (CPI) showed the highest year-over-year increase in 13 years – both strong signs of the economy’s continued recovery. When the economy is stronger, rates may trend higher. However, the Federal Reserve is unconcerned by the CPI’s high year-over-year inflation jump due to its distorted comparison to last year’s pandemic lows. Until inflation is consistently averaging at around 2%, the Fed has said that it will keep the benchmark interest rate near zero.

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What’s the Difference Between Condos, Apartments, and Townhouses?

Blog posted On May 13, 2021

Choosing where to buy or rent a place to live depends on many different factors. How far is the commute? What are the school districts like? Is it located in a nice neighborhood? All important questions to consider. But before you answer them, you’ll need to answer what kind of property am I looking for? There are several options to consider besides a house.

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What You Need to Know About Homeowners Insurance Before You Buy a Vacation Home

Blog posted On May 12, 2021

After years of saving and dreaming, you’re finally ready to invest in that house by the beach. But before you do, it’s important to make sure that your money (and home) will be protected. While homeowners insurance might not stop bad things from happening to your home, it can help compensate you in the case of a bad event.

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Biden’s Impact on Housing in His First 100 Days

Blog posted On May 11, 2021

It’s hard to believe that we’re already 100 days into President Biden’s term. A couple of weeks ago, he gave his first address to Congress with updates on his progress so far and plans to come. Here are some of the ways he has impacted the housing industry over the past 100 days.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, Job Openings, and Mortgage Applications

Blog posted On May 10, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged, continuing to trend near historic lows. Early in the week, the bond yields fell due to stocks losing ground. Mortgage rates typically follow the momentum of the bond market, so they hovered near their current lows. Later in the week, several employment reports were expected to have an impact on rates. ADP employment was increasingly positive but the employment situation reports were mixed. Though a couple of the reports saw higher-than-expected increases (average hourly earnings, average weekly hours), others fell below expectations (manufacturing payrolls, nonfarm payrolls, private nonfarm payrolls, and the unemployment rate). Consequently, rates didn’t see much movement and remained low.

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How an Investment Property Can Increase Your Wealth

Blog posted On May 06, 2021

Investment properties are primarily used to generate additional income. With the money generated from rental payments you can profit every year in the form of passive income. Plus, you could qualify for significant tax benefits, increase your wealth, and diversify your investment portfolio.

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Money Moves to Make When Interest Rates Are Low

Blog posted On May 05, 2021

Last week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. Consequently, the cost of borrowing will remain relatively favorable for consumers. If you’re thinking about how to take advantage of low rates, now is the time. Don’t know where to start? Here are two ways you can take advantage of interest rates while they’re still low.

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Congress Introduces First-Time Homebuyer Act

Blog posted On May 04, 2021

Last week we looked at President Biden’s Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021. Initially, it seemed like it was an updated version of his proposed tax credit. However, last Tuesday, two U.S. Representatives introduced another bill called the First-Time Homebuyer Act, which would more closely resemble Biden’s original tax credit plan.

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Market Update: No Rate Hike, Construction Spending, and the Weekly Mortgage Application Survey

Blog posted On May 03, 2021

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave interest rates unchanged, but predicted economic growth and inflation would accelerate in the coming months.  Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged, and as a result are in a still historically low range. The cooling of rates has been much needed after consistent climbs throughout February and March. However, there’s a certain risk factor to the downward trend we’ve been witnessing for the past several weeks. Either rates could continue making insignificant fluctuations, or we could see a “reinvigoration of 2021’s rising rate trends,” said contributors at Mortgage News Daily.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, and Pending Sales Rise

Blog posted On April 30, 2021

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced that the benchmark interest rate would remain near zero. This marks over one year since the Fed pushed rates down due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged. For right now they’re still trending in a historically low range, and the market doesn’t show many indicators of that changing soon.

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5 Mortgage Terms Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Know

Blog posted On April 29, 2021

There are several different steps of the home buying process that you might not have seen on Million Dollar Listing. It might feel overwhelming at times, but professionals like a REALTOR® and loan officer can help guide you through the process. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 91% of buyers aged 22 to 30 cited a real estate agent as a main source of information when buying a home. Among that 91%, a large majority of first-time buyers had similar questions about these five mortgage terms.

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How Carrying a Balance Affects Your Credit Score

Blog posted On April 28, 2021

You carry a credit card balance when you don’t pay your total bill on time and in full each month. Whatever’s left unpaid gets carried over to the next month’s bill. For example, if you bought a $1,000 TV and paid off $700, you carried over a balance of $300. For the most part, credit card users are encouraged to pay their bills on time and in full. So, is carrying a balance ever a good idea? 

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3 Major Updates to Biden’s Home Buyer Assistance Bill

Blog posted On April 27, 2021

Earlier this year, we took A Deeper Look at President Biden’s Proposed Tax Credit. Initially, the tax credit was designed to “help families buy their first homes and build wealth by creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000.” However, on April 14th, lawmakers published a new draft of the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 that had a few key differences from its original concept.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FOMC Meeting, and Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On April 26, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward to reach some of the lowest levels in almost two months. The bond market showed renewed signs of strength and most mortgage lenders adjusted their pricing accordingly. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to assess the benchmark interest rate and determine if it needs to be adjusted. Right now, the benchmark rate sits near zero. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will give a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Prior to the decision, the Case-Shiller home price index will be released on Tuesday. The pending home sales index comes out on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Jump, Existing Home Sales Decline, News Home Sales Surge

Blog posted On April 23, 2021

Mortgage rates fell this week, trending near lowest levels since the beginning of March. The bond market was “fairly stable,” according to Mortgage News Daily. Yesterday, the proposed increase in capital gains tax rates pushed bond yields down. Consequently, many lenders reported drops in mortgage rates as well.

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How to Groom the Perfect Lawn

Blog posted On April 22, 2021

Curb appeal is one of the top influencers when buying or selling a home. If you have a nice garden, new paint, and a well-groomed yard, your home will likely get more offers than one with poorly kept outdoor features. Even if you aren’t considering selling, you still probably appreciate the looks of a nice green lawn. Luckily, growing the perfect lawn doesn’t require an extensive skill set, just a few extra steps in your daily routine.

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5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

Blog posted On April 21, 2021

There are certain factors that are out of your control when getting a mortgage rate. You can’t control the Federal Reserve, bond market, or any of the economic factors that influence rate trends.  However, you can control your credit score. Your credit score shows lenders how good you are at borrowing money and repaying debts. The higher the score, the better. By improving your credit score, you could qualify for a lower mortgage rate and save money over the life of your loan.

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4 Ways the Housing Market Could Change After the Pandemic

Blog posted On April 20, 2021

The housing market saw notable shifts when coronavirus initially broke out last year. Mortgage rates dropped, home prices surged, and an increasing number of buyers fled the cities into suburban areas. Now, as the economy is gaining strength, we will likely see the housing market shift again – specifically in these four ways.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales

Blog posted On April 19, 2021

Mortgage rates have seen a steady downward trend over the past couple of weeks, hitting some of their lowest levels in nearly a month. COVID-19 and mortgage rates have generally been conversely related. When COVID cases have spiked, rates have dropped lower. Therefore, as the economy recovers from the pandemic, we will likely see higher rates. If case counts rise and variants spread, then rates might hold or even drop further.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Decline, Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump

Blog posted On April 16, 2021

This week, mortgage rates trended near some of their lowest levels in almost a month. After weeks of steady increases, rates are finally falling at a consistent pace. “The drop in rates creates yet another opportunity for those who have not refinanced to take a look at the possibility,” said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. In other market news, mortgage application submissions declined once again. Home builder sentiment improved, despite record high lumber prices. Housing starts jumped to their highest level in years and building permits rose as well.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Buying in a Busy Market

Blog posted On April 15, 2021

Everything moves faster when buyer competition is high. The offers roll in quicker, the houses close sooner, and the seller often gets much more than their asking price. Consequently, many buyers feel the pressure to act fast too. This can lead you to skip inspections, overpay, and wind up in a bad financial position in the long run. To help you avoid these common mistakes, here are five DOs and DON’Ts to guide you through buying in a busy market.

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Home Buying Tips from a Financial Planner

Blog posted On April 14, 2021

“How much can I spend?” is a common question asked when buying a home. For Eric Roberge, CFP of Beyond Your Hammock, this is the top financial priority for many of his clients. Roberge specializes in helping 30- to 40-year-old professionals manage their finances, and a popular goal for this age range is buying a home. To guide buyers in their home search and prepare their finances for a purchase, Roberge offers two main tips.

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New Home Buyers are Taking Charge of the Current Market

Blog posted On April 13, 2021

Last year, the number of first-time home buyers hit its lowest level in over 30 years. The coronavirus pandemic likely played a large role in the decline, but outside of that, the market had other challenges for first-time buyers as well. Low inventory, high demand, and rising mortgage rates are all making it harder for new buyers to break into the homeowner’s club. Consequently, first-time buyers are having to pave more creative paths to homeownership – paths that may differ from their parents and grandparents.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On April 12, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward and hit their lowest point since the beginning of March. The bond market remained stable and bond yields have remained below important ceilings since mid-March. Coming up this week in housing news, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released on Wednesday morning, followed by the housing market index on Thursday and housing starts and building permits on Friday.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Surge, Mortgage Applications Fall, Consumer Credit Increases

Blog posted On April 09, 2021

Mortgage rates trended downward this week as the bond market remained relatively strong. According to Mortgage News Daily, bond yields “have remained under important ceilings since March 18th despite numerous attempts at a breakout.” Bond yields, specifically the 10-year treasury yields, are important indicators of any shifts in rate momentum. “Evidence for a supportive shift in the rate environment is beginning to mount,” wrote Mortgage News contributors.

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Breaking Down the Most Common Myths About USDA Loans

Blog posted On April 08, 2021

Initially created to encourage rural development, the USDA Loan has helped nearly 1.5 million home buyers become homeowners. Backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the USDA Loan offers zero down payment, reduced mortgage insurance costs, and low mortgage rates. It’s a great deal that saves buyers thousands of dollars in upfront costs, but over the years it has become increasingly less popular.

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A Home Buyer’s Guide to a Pet-Friendly Purchase

Blog posted On April 07, 2021

When buying a home, it’s important to consider the needs of all family members involved. For many families, this includes the needs of a furry friend. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 50% of American households have at least one pet, and nearly 90% of those households said their pets’ needs are very important factors when buying a home. If you’re one of those 90%, consider these four questions to find the perfect place for both or both you and your pet.

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HUD Holds FHA Premiums Steady, Home Buyers Still Win

Blog posted On April 06, 2021

Last week, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge announced that there would be no cuts to FHA mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs). Most of the housing industry had hoped for a 0.25% reduction, but for now the benchmark annual MIP rate will remain at 0.85%. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and Consumer Credit

Blog posted On April 05, 2021

Mortgage rates trended higher last week. On Tuesday, Mortgage Daily News reported net gains that pushed rates near some of their highest levels in a year.  However, with the bond market recovery on Tuesday afternoon and the reprices that followed, rates dropped slightly in the latter half of the week. This week, the Labor Department will release their Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Tuesday. The weekly mortgage application survey will be released Wednesday morning, followed by the report on consumer credit that afternoon.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Surge, Pending Sales Drop, Construction Spending Declines

Blog posted On April 02, 2021

Mortgage rates trended upward most of the week, reaching near long-term highs. Earlier in the week we saw a bounce in the bond market, which was a hopeful sign that rates were hitting their ceiling. While mortgage-backed bonds are one of the largest influencers on daily mortgage rates, the downward trend did not hold. Mortgage experts are divided on the trend of mortgage rates next week. According to a Bankrate survey, 46% expect rates to continue rising while 15% expect them to fall. A large number (38%) said that rates will remain unchanged. In other housing news, home prices surged once again, while pending sales slowed and construction spending decreased.

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Why You Should Stay with the Same Lender for Your Refinance

Blog posted On April 01, 2021

Refinancing your home while rates are low can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. If you’re looking into refinancing you might be considering what type of refinance you want, what rates you are looking for, and whether or not you should stay with your current lender. But before you decide to refinance with someone new, here are four reasons when it makes sense to stay put.

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Are ‘We Buy Houses’ Signs a Scam?

Blog posted On March 31, 2021

Many of us know a scam when we see one. Whether it’s a phone call from “Spam Risk,” or a text to claim your free prize, we’re wary of anything that seems too good to be true. So, are the “We Buy Houses” signs any different? 

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More First-Time Home Buyers Choose Conventional Over FHA Loans

Blog posted On March 30, 2021

The FHA Loan has been a cost-effective staple for first-time home buyers since its creation in the 1930s. With low down payments and lenient credit requirements, the FHA Loan has helped millions of home buyers over the years. However, recent data by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has shown a sharp decrease in the number of buyers who are financing their first homes with the FHA Loan. Over the past 1-2 years, more first-time buyers have been choosing the conventional financing route – but why? When might a conventional loan be a better option for first-time buyers? 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Sales, and Construction Spending

Blog posted On March 29, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended near some of their lowest points since the middle of March, according to Mortgage News Daily. The downward trend comes after consistently rising throughout the beginning of the month and is a positive outlook for future rates. Regardless of whether this downward trend will last, Mortgage News Daily contributors pointed out that eventually one of these rates drop clusters will “have staying power.” 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Drop, New Home Sales Decline, Mortgage Applications Mixed

Blog posted On March 26, 2021

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, hitting some of the lowest levels in the past 10 days, according to Mortgage News Daily. Encouraged by calmer conditions in the bond market, rates finally started to fall after three weeks of consistently rising. Though it’s unclear whether this is a broader reversal of rates or just a false start, it is an optimistic drop, nonetheless. “Eventually, one of these friendly bounces will have staying power,” wrote Mortgage News contributors in a daily report. In housing news, both existing and new home sales dropped in February. Mortgage refinance application submissions fell while purchase submissions increased.

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6 Quick Tips to Help Sell Your House Fast

Blog posted On March 25, 2021

Staging your home for sale is always important – even in a busy market. With the help of good staging, you could garner more buyer interest, close on your home faster, and potentially increase your profit. To get started with a solid home staging, follow these six easy tips from REALTORS® across the country.

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How to Spend Your Stimulus Money Wisely

Blog posted On March 24, 2021

Last week, the third round of stimulus checks were sent to qualifying citizens. The checks – equaling up to $1,400 per person – were quickly processed by the IRS and U.S. Treasury in an effort to stimulate the economy amidst the continued coronavirus pandemic. If you were one of the stimulus check recipients, it may be tempting to splurge on that new PlayStation 5 or the necklace that you’ve wanted. However, here are five smarter ways you can spend your stimulus money.

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How Housing Has Changed in a Year & Where it’s Headed Next

Blog posted On March 23, 2021

Unexpected is an understatement when describing this past year. A global pandemic, a struggling economy, and so much more led to a 2020 that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. And in the midst of it all, the housing market took a turn that hardly anyone expected – breaking records, surging demand, and a much-needed hand that helped keep the economy going through unprecedented times. Now, many of us are wondering: what’s next?

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and Mortgage Applications

Blog posted On March 22, 2021

Last week the Fed decided to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero once again – reaffirming its commitment to economic recovery. Mortgage rates, however, still saw a slight upward trend as the economy continues to gain strength and housing demand continues to boom. Demand and inflation are two other factors, in addition to the Central Bank’s monetary policy, that influence mortgage rates. Though the benchmark rate is still low, mortgage demand is high, and inflation has inched up as well, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expects this trend is temporary.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Confidence Drops, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decrease, and Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged

Blog posted On March 19, 2021

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it was leaving the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a range of 0 to 0.25%. As a result, mortgage rates should not move drastically in the near future. In the past week, they have trended slightly upward due to increased economic recovery and inflation. In its revised economic outlook, the Fed predicted a higher inflation and GDP growth this year – both good signs of economic strength. In other housing news, home builder confidence dropped to its lowest level in seven months while housing starts and building permits slowed – largely a result of increased construction costs.

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4 Steps for Home Buying Success

Blog posted On March 18, 2021

After years of saving and months of searching, you’ve finally found the one. Now, you’re ready to move in. But there are a few other steps you need to take before the moving trucks roll up. If you know them in advance and are prepared, then the home purchase process can move even faster, and you can start packing up in no time.

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10 Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

Blog posted On March 17, 2021

There’s one day a year that everyone loves to go green. Some think it saves them from a pinch of the skin, while other hope it can lead them to a pot of gold. But with a few simple changes, you can go green every day of the year – right in the comfort of your home – and save a lot more than a pinch. 

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How the American Rescue Plan Will Impact Housing

Blog posted On March 16, 2021

Last week, Congress approved a $1.9 trillion relief package known as the American Rescue Plan. President Biden signed the plan on Friday, which means the sixth coronavirus relief measure should be disbursed very soon – giving many Americans a $1,400 direct payment and millions of others assistance with unemployment benefits, small business loans, vaccine investment, and community support. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, FOMC Meeting, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On March 15, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week. Treasury yields are starting to inch higher in anticipation of increased inflation. With this imminent recovery, more people are anticipating the rise of benchmark interest rates. It’s not a matter of will rates rise, but when will it happen

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Mixed, Consumer Price Index Increases, Job Openings Jump

Blog posted On March 12, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week after inching up the week before.  There are many hopeful signs of the economy’s strength right now, but people are worried about possible inflation and rising interest rates. In reality, these are effects of a recovering economy.  According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage application submissions decreased on the refinance index but increased on the purchase index. The consumer price index rose slightly but inflation remains lower than pre-pandemic levels. Job openings expanded as more businesses start reopening again.

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Should You Refinance Your Mortgage in Retirement?

Blog posted On March 11, 2021

By the time you retire, your finances should be pretty consistent, which is why the thought of making a large financial move like refinancing can be intimidating to some. However, refinancing when you’re retired can bring you similar benefits to when you were still working, and can be a smart financial move for many.

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REALTORS Answer Their 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions

Blog posted On March 10, 2021

When it comes to buying a home, your REALTOR® is your go-to guru. Whether it’s questions about the home’s price or concerns about the strength of your offer – you’ll likely look to your REALTOR®  for all the answers.  Naturally, home buyers will have questions and concerns when purchasing a home. If you think you’re alone in your concerns, you’re not. Don’t believe us? Here are five of the most common questions a REALTOR® gets asked.

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How Millennials are Shaping the Current Housing Market

Blog posted On March 09, 2021

For decades, Millennials have sat on the sidelines and delayed milestones like homeownership. Two years ago, Millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996 – officially became the largest generation in America, totaling at 72.1 million people. Last year, they became the largest home buying population in America, making up 38% of all buyers. And today, they’re driving the housing boom – with existing sales up 24% annually.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Consumer Price Index, and Job Openings

Blog posted On March 08, 2021

Mortgage rates dropped last week and continue to stay in a historically low range. This week, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released on Wednesday morning, followed by the consumer price index later that day. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will be released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Jumps, Mortgage Applications Increase, and ADP Employment Shows Job Growth

Blog posted On March 05, 2021

Mortgage rates trended downward this week. Construction spending hit an all-time high in January. Mortgage application submissions increased. The ADP employment report showed increases as well.

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Removing Insurance from an FHA Loan

Blog posted On March 04, 2021

The FHA Loan is one of the most popular government-backed loans. With lower down payment options and less restrictive requirements than conventional loans, it’s an especially appealing program for home buyers like first-time buyers who may struggle to qualify for a conventional loan. If you decide to finance your home with an FHA Loan, you will be required to pay mandatory mortgage insurance.

 

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What Homeowners Insurance Covers in a Power Outage

Blog posted On March 03, 2021

Losing power in your home is more than just an uncharged iPhone and a missed episode of This is Us – especially during the winter months. For many, losing power can be physically dangerous, emotionally taxing, and financially expensive. Luckily, some of the costs that ensue from power outages are covered by your homeowners insurance – but the extent of your coverage depends on your insurer and policy.

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6 Factors that Affect a Home’s Price

Blog posted On March 02, 2021

Home price appreciation has surged over the past year – up 10.1% year-over-year, according to the recent Case-Shiller home price index report. This is the first time that home prices have seen a double-digit gain since 2014, as more buyers have been flooding the housing market and fewer homes have been available for sale. Whether you’re a proactive homeowner getting your house ready to sell, or a savvy home buyer looking to make a smart investment, knowing which factors affect a home’s price could help you maximize your returns in the future.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and ADP Employment

Blog posted On March 01, 2021

Mortgage rates saw a slight upward trend last week but are still relatively low. The report on construction spending will be released today, and the weekly mortgage application survey will be released on Wednesday. Also scheduled for release this week, is the ADP employment report.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, New Home Sales Jump, and Pending Home Sales Fall

Blog posted On February 26, 2021

Mortgage rates trended upward this week but remain in a historically low range. Home prices appreciated at the fastest pace since 2014. New home sales rose nationwide while pending home sales slipped slightly.

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What Are the Costs of Refinancing Your Mortgage?

Blog posted On February 25, 2021

When mortgage rates are near record lows, it is a great opportunity for homeowners to refinance their home loans and potentially save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. However, when making the choice to refinance, be sure to take all of these added costs into account. 

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How to Determine if You’re Financially Ready to Buy a Home

Blog posted On February 24, 2021

When many home buyers are preparing to purchase a home, they can picture it all – the perfect house, the perfect family, and the perfect renovations they’re already planning in their heads. While buying a house is definitely an exciting investment, it’s important that your financial preparedness matches (or surpasses) your emotional preparedness to buy as well. In order to to help determine if you’re financially ready to buy a home, here are 5 questions to answer.

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3 Reasons You Should Refinance Now

Blog posted On February 23, 2021

Mortgage rates have trended near historic lows for almost a year now, with the number of new home purchases and refinances surging in response. At the end of last month, the number of refinance application submissions were up 59% year-over-year, hitting their highest level since March 2020. Thousands of homeowners have already refinanced their mortgage to take advantage of low rates, but if you haven’t yet, here are three factors to consider before you make your mortgage move.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On February 22, 2021

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, but still remain relatively low. This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. The new home sales report is scheduled for release on Wednesday, and the pending home sales index is scheduled for release on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Confidence Improves, Housing Starts Fall, Building Permits Rise, and Existing Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On February 19, 2021

Mortgage rates inched upward this week but are still trending near historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index showed an increase in home builder confidence. Though housing starts dropped slightly, building permits soared to their highest level in 15 years. Existing home sales increased for the second month in a row.

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Answer These Questions BEFORE You Buy a Home

Blog posted On February 18, 2021

Mortgage rates have been breaking record lows for the past several months – making home buyer demand surge. And while low mortgage rates present a great opportunity for potential home buyers, there are many factors that you should consider, besides your mortgage rate, before you buy a home.

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5 Benefits of Mobile Banking

Blog posted On February 17, 2021

It’s hard to imagine getting through the day without using your phone. How would you get directions? How would you stay connected during quarantine? How would order a chicken sandwich from the comfort of your couch? In modern days almost anything is accessible on your phone – even banking. Mobile banking apps have become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason. If you haven’t tried using your bank’s mobile app to manage your finances, here are five factors to consider.

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Are iBuyers Worth the Buzz?

Blog posted On February 16, 2021

No, an iBuyer is not the next big Apple product, it’s an online ‘instant buyer’ that is becoming a popular option in today’s housing market. Over the past several years, many home sellers have chosen iBuyers because of their convenience and efficiency. When a seller uses an online iBuyer platform, the purchasing company makes an offer for your house, takes care of upgrades and repairs, and buys the house from you in order to make a small profit when it sells again. Before you choose to go this route, make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of using an iBuyer to purchase your home.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On February 15, 2021

Mortgage rates did not fluctuate much last week and continued to hover near historic lows. This week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index is scheduled for release on Wednesday. On Thursday, the housing starts and building permits reports will be released, and on Friday the existing home sales report will come out.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Increase, Mortgage Applications Decline, and Consumer Price Index Rises

Blog posted On February 12, 2021

Mortgage rates continued to trend near historic lows this week with no significant changes. Job openings increased in December, according to the Labor Department. Mortgage application submissions declined for both refinances and purchases. The consumer price index inched up in January.

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10 Questions to Ask Your Lender Before Closing

Blog posted On February 11, 2021

The road from saving for your home to closing on your loan can feel like a long one. By the time you reach your closing date, you will likely be excited to sign the documents, pay the necessary fees, and cross the finish line once and for all. But before you do, make sure you ask these important questions before closing on your home purchase, or even your refinance.

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5 Ways to Be Smarter with Your Credit this Year

Blog posted On February 10, 2021

Late fees, overdraft fees, and fraud expenses are easily overlooked credit card costs, and though they may seem miniscule, they tend to add up. Last year, Americans spent a collective $74 billion on these ‘miniscule’ fees – or an average of $577 per household. But now that it’s a new year, it’s time for some new (and improved) credit card tactics. To get you started, here are five ways to improve your credit habits starting now. 

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A Deeper Look at President Biden’s Proposed Tax Credit

Blog posted On February 09, 2021

Last month, Joe Biden celebrated his inauguration as the 46th president of the United States. Now it’s down to business. One of the proposed changes that the Biden Administration mentioned in their campaign was a $15,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers. According to real estate experts, if this credit is passed by Congress, it could be a positive change for the industry.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On February 08, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week and continued to trend near record lows. This week, the Labor Department’s report on job openings is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released, followed by the consumer price index later that afternoon.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Increases, Mortgage Applications Jump, ADP Employment Grows

Blog posted On February 05, 2021

This week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged and continued to trend near historic lows. Construction spending rose again, largely due to the residential sector increasing spending for the seventh month in a row. Mortgage applications jumped as well. ADP employment grew as the labor market continues to recover from COVID-19 related slowdowns.

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4 Ways to Save Money When Building a Home

Blog posted On February 04, 2021

Finding the perfect existing home can be hard when housing inventory is tight. Building a new house is a way your dream home can still become a reality. Unlike the upfront cost of buying a home, the cost of building is fluid. Though you will often know the rough estimate beforehand, the total cost can change as the project progresses. In order to help keep costs under control, here are four ways to plan your dream home’s construction.

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7 Simple Ways to Spruce Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Blog posted On February 03, 2021

Nothing says “welcome home” like a freshly trimmed front yard and a newly painted front door. Though we all know we can’t judge a book by its cover, when it comes to your home, the front cover matters. According to a study by the Journal of Real Estate Finance, your home’s curb appeal can contribute up to 7% of the overall price. For a $300,000 house, that’s equivalent to $21,000. So, if you’re preparing to sell your home, be sure to touch up its curb appeal with these seven simple strategies.

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HUD Announces That the FHA is Backing DACA Mortgages

Blog posted On February 02, 2021

Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would begin backing mortgages for immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This announcement marks the first time that DACA status recipients would be eligible for FHA loans, provided that they meet all other FHA requirements.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and ADP Employment

Blog posted On February 01, 2021

Last week, the Fed voted to leave interest rates unchanged, and mortgage rates continued to brush record lows. The report on construction spending is scheduled for release today. Also scheduled for release this week are the weekly mortgage application survey and the ADP employment report.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, New Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On January 29, 2021

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve voted to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. As a result, mortgage rates trended downward, hovering near historic lows. In other housing news, home prices appreciated, and new home sales rose.

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Everything You Need to Know About Your Mortgage Escrow

Blog posted On January 28, 2021

In the world of real estate, the word “escrow” is a term widely used and often confused. Typically, escrow refers to an escrow account, but it can also refer to the escrow process and the escrow period of time. To help keep your escrows straight, here is a breakdown of the escrow process, account and timeline when buying a home.

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8 Home Features That Make a Lasting First Impression

Blog posted On January 27, 2021

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. But when it comes to the home you love, you’ll oftentimes make any excuse for why it deserves another. Though you may want to overlook some features in a home and make an offer as soon as possible, you might want to take a closer look at these eight home features before making such a large investment.

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CMG Financial Named a Best FHA Mortgage Lender for 2021

Blog posted On January 26, 2021

This month, The Mortgage Reports named CMG Financial among the 9 Best FHA Mortgage Lenders for 2021. Recognized for its low mortgage rates and “superior customer care,” CMG was ranked the third-best FHA lender in the nation.

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FHA Raises Loan Limits for 2021

Blog posted On January 26, 2021

On January 1st, 2021 the the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) raised its loan limits for the new year. Though the limits vary per house location across the country, both the limit floor and limit ceiling have increased by thousands of dollars.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FOMC Meeting, and New Home Sales

Blog posted On January 25, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week and continue to trend near historic lows. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will be meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, followed by an announcement from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday afternoon. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday, and the new home sales report will be released on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Drops, Housing Starts & Building Permits Surge, and Existing Home Sales Jump

Blog posted On January 22, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week, still hovering near historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index showed a slight drop in home builder confidence. Housing starts and building permits hit the highest level in 14 years. Existing home sales rose in December, marking the highest annual level since 2006.

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Jumbo Loans 101: What They Are and When You Need One

Blog posted On January 21, 2021

Last month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it would be raising the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits, marking the fifth straight year of loan limit increases. Still, in certain markets, homes are more expensive than the current conforming loan limits. If you’re looking in one of these markets, you’ll likely need to consider a jumbo loan option.

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Understanding This Crucial Fact About Your Finances

Blog posted On January 20, 2021

 When life gets busy, certain activities might have to take a backseat – whether that’s date night, a family facetime, or even checking in on your finances. If you have a steady income and regularly scheduled payments, it can be easy to let your finances take care of themselves so that you can take care of the people around you. However, when it comes to your interest rates, you might want to take a closer look a little more often, because knowing your them could help you save thousands of dollars. 

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Home Buyers and Sellers Set to Score Big in 2021

Blog posted On January 19, 2021

It’s hard to predict the economic swings we experienced in 2020. From a global slowdown brought on by the pandemic to a booming housing market keeping everything afloat – it was a year full of surprises. But now that a new year is beginning, many are wondering, what’s next? and where do we go from here? And while many things remain unclear, one is nearly certain: the housing market will continue to thrive.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On January 18, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended slightly upward, but still remain near record lows. This week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Thursday, the reports on housing starts and building permits will be released, and on Friday the existing home sales report will come out.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Decline, Mortgage Apps Surge, Consumer Price Index Rises

Blog posted On January 15, 2021

Mortgage rates rose slightly this week but are still near 12-month lows. Job openings declined somewhat. Mortgage applications surged to a pandemic high. The consumer price index increased.

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Why You Should Pay for a Remodel Using Home Equity

Blog posted On January 14, 2021

Over the past ten months, the kitchen barstools have become your desk chair, and the white cabinets have become your kids’ Crayola canvas. You thought it would just be for a couple of weeks but now your kitchen looks like a kindergarten classroom and your back is paying a stiff price. Though it may be a while until everyone’s back at work, that doesn’t need to mean you can’t get back to the office.

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Why Buying a Home is a Smart Investment

Blog posted On January 13, 2021

When people think of investments, they normally think Wall Street and stockbrokers. And while stocks can be a great investment, many experts recommend diversifying your investment portfolio to reduce risk and maximize returns.

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How Lockdown Has Helped Americans Save For Second Homes

Blog posted On January 12, 2021

After ten months of TV, takeout, and talking through a phone screen, it’s safe to say that cabin fever is taking a toll. But as the weather cools down and COVID cases rise, freedom from home seems further than ever. Having a home away from home, however, seems like a newly attainable dream. With record low mortgage rates, remote working, and other saving opportunities related to COVID-19, purchasing a second home has become a more achievable goal for many Americans.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On January 11, 2021

Average mortgage rates continued trending near historic lows last week. This week, the Labor Department will release their Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage application survey is scheduled for release. Also scheduled for release on Wednesday is the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Increases, Mortgage Apps Decrease, ADP Employment Falls

Blog posted On January 08, 2021

Average mortgage rates touched the current record low for the second time this week. Construction spending rose again for the fifth time over the past six months. Mortgage application submissions decreased over a two-week period. ADP employment fell for the first time in eight months.

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What to Know About Refinancing an Investment Property

Blog posted On January 07, 2021

As interest rates have fallen to record-breaking lows over the past year, mortgage refinances have surged. Refinancing your mortgage can offer many benefits – such as lowering rates and monthly payments, removing mortgage insurance, and getting cash out for other investments. But keep in mind that if you are refinancing an investment property, you may have a few more factors to consider than when refinancing a primary residence.

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4 Easy Ways to Give Your Bathroom a Fresh Start This Year

Blog posted On January 06, 2021

As your home ages, the interior features often age as well. Interior design is constantly evolving, making it difficult to keep up with the latest trends. Upgrading your interior features every five to ten years is a good way to freshen up your home without completely starting from scratch. But if you don’t know where to start, here are four affordable ideas on how to touch up your bathroom’s features.

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Demand for Rentals is on the Rise: Here’s How to Invest

Blog posted On January 05, 2021

In October 2020, Roofstock, an online marketplace for rental properties, reported the highest level of rental property transactions they had ever seen in a one-month period. Year-over-year, the site’s traffic was up 45%. “There’s just been extraordinary demand for rental homes in a lot of these secondary cities, tertiary cities, suburban markets, where a lot of the single-family rental properties are located,” said Roofstock’s CEO, Gary Beasley. Under the right circumstances, purchasing an investment property can be a good source of substantial cash flow. But remember that purchasing and maintaining a rental home does come with different responsibilities than your primary residence.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On January 04, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week but continued to brush historic lows. The report on U.S. construction spending is scheduled for release today. The weekly mortgage application survey and the ADP employment report will both be released on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Increase, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Pending Home Sales Decline

Blog posted On January 01, 2021

This week, mortgage rates continued to trend near historic lows. Home prices surged to a six-year high according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index. Mortgage apps remained mixed. Pending home sales declined for the third consecutive month.

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New Year’s Down Payment Countdown

Blog posted On December 31, 2020

Let the countdown begin! While the world is busy counting down to 2021, we’re counting down all the different ways you can buy a home with less than 20% toward your down payment. Many people think that a 20% down payment is the only route to homeownership. In reality, over half of all home buyers make down payments that are less than 20%. If you’re looking for ways to purchase a home with a smaller down payment, here is a countdown of some of the most common options. 

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5 Questions to Consider as a Young Adult Home Buyer

Blog posted On December 30, 2020

With the new year just around the corner, now is a great time for a fresh start. After spending almost one year cooped up in your parents’ basement or outgrowing your little apartment, you might be thinking that it’s time for the next step. Mortgage rates are historically low, your job is letting you work remotely, and you’re ready to purchase a home of your own. However, buying a home is a big step, and before you do, you want to make sure that you have considered all of the factors involved.

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What a Spike in COVID-19 Cases Could Mean for Housing

Blog posted On December 29, 2020

When the coronavirus spread to the United States, home sales had seen nine consecutive weeks of year-over-year declines. From stay-at-home orders, to stock market dips, to widespread financial hardship – buying and selling homes were low on the list of concerns for many Americans during the Spring. Though the housing market has recovered – prospered even – at a shocking rate, many question how long this growth will last with COVID-19 cases on the rise.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Index, Mortgage Apps, Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On December 28, 2020

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged and continued to touch historic lows. This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. The weekly mortgage application survey will come out on Wednesday. Also scheduled for release Wednesday is the pending home sales index.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Decline, Home Prices Increase, New Home Sales Drop

Blog posted On December 25, 2020

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week and continue to trend near historic lows. In other housing news, existing home sales declined for the first time in five months. Home prices increased, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index. New home sales fell in November.

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3 Reasons to Refinance with a Renovation Loan

Blog posted On December 24, 2020

‘Tis the last day of shopping, and you still don’t have a clue, of which gifts you should buy or what you should do. Stores may be closed, and deals may be done, but luckily, we have the perfect gift for everyone. A playroom for the kids, a home office for you, and a new kitchen for the chef in the family, too. So, look no further than the walls of your home – because anything is possible with a renovation loan.  

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6 Ways to Maximize Your Tax Benefits This Year

Blog posted On December 23, 2020

Most of us feel like it’s still March, but December 31st is fast approaching. And while you’re probably busy enjoying the jolliest season of all, you might also consider preparing your finances for the upcoming tax season. It might be slightly less jolly but maximizing your tax benefits now could help save you thousands of dollars later.

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How to Win Bidding Wars This Winter

Blog posted On December 22, 2020

Home buyer competition has stayed hot this fallIn October, 56.8% of all Redfin offers were involved in bidding wars – marking the sixth month in a row that over half of the offers faced competition. Compared to October 2019, bidding wars have increased by 460%, and if you’re looking at buying a house this winter, you likely won’t be the only one. Luckily, there are several ways you can prepare to win a bidding war – including this one simple strategy.  

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, New Home Sales

Blog posted On December 21, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee met and voted to leave interest rates unchanged. This week the report on existing home sales is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release their house price index. The report on new home sales is scheduled for release as well.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Drops, Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, Housing Starts & Building Permits Climb

Blog posted On December 18, 2020

This week, the Federal Reserve voted to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. As a result, mortgage rates continued to trend near historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported a slight drop in home builder confidence. Housing starts and building permits increased marginally. 

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Navigating a Competitive Market with Your VA Loan

Blog posted On December 17, 2020

Low housing inventory and soaring home buyer demand have led to an increasingly competitive housing market this year. While homeowners are flooded with multiple offers, home buyers are struggling to find ways to stand out. With the VA Loan – a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for military members, Veterans, and surviving spouses – you have many benefits that can help you edge out your competition. Here’s how you can best prepare to use them to your advantage.

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How These 7 Bills Affect Your Credit Score

Blog posted On December 16, 2020

If you’re preparing to apply for a mortgage loan, you’ve likely already looked at ways you can improve your credit score. Your credit score is calculated by the three national credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – and will fall within a range between 300 and 850. Scores between 740 and 799 are considered very good and will often qualify for better rates than applicants with lower scores. Though the specific scoring algorithms are not public knowledge, several scoring factors are widely well known. The most important factor, according to Experian and other credit experts, is your loan payment and credit card payment history.

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Biden Elects Representative Marcia Fudge as HUD Secretary

Blog posted On December 15, 2020

Two weeks ago, President-elect Joe Biden announced former Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, as his official nominee for Treasury secretary. Last week, he announced Representative Marcia Fudge as his lead choice for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary.

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts & Building Permits

Blog posted On December 14, 2020

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward near historic lows. This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by an announcement from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday afternoon. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release the housing market sentiment index on Wednesday as well. On Thursday, the reports on housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Slows, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Job Openings Increase

Blog posted On December 11, 2020

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week and continue to hover around historic lows. Consumer credit slowed with a rise in nonrevolving credit and a fall in revolving credit. Mortgage application submissions were mixed as purchase submissions dropped but refinance application submissions increased. Job openings rose slightly.

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Preparing to Use Home Equity to Finance a Second Home

Blog posted On December 10, 2020

With record low mortgage rates and reduced costs spent on commuting and dining out, some home buyers have been able to save thousands of dollars for a down payment. And with home equity on the rise, if you are a homeowner, you could save thousands more by using your first home to help finance your second.

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Why You May Not Want to Age in Place

Blog posted On December 09, 2020

Many working-age people dream of the day that they can retire by a beach or travel the world. However, by the time most people reach age 65, they are ready to settle down and stay home. In a 2018 study, AARP reported that over 75% of all retirees want to age in place. While the desire to grow old in a familiar place is understandable, considering other options might not be a bad idea.

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Janet Yellen Announced as Biden’s Treasury Nominee

Blog posted On December 08, 2020

Last week, President-Elect Joe Biden and his transition team announced the appointments and nominees for several economic posts in his incoming administration. Among the nominees was former Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, who is Biden’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury. If she is confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department – similarly to when she was the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018.

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Mortgage Apps, and Job Openings

Blog posted On December 07, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week, touching near-historic lows. This week, the consumer credit report is scheduled for release on Monday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage applications survey will be released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will be released by the Labor Department.

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Fall, Construction Spending Jumps, Mortgage Apps Mixed

Blog posted On December 04, 2020

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week but continued trending near record-breaking lows. Pending home sales fell for the second month in a row. Construction spending increased. Mortgage purchase application submissions rose while refinance submissions decreased.

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Why You Might Want to Have a Home Inspection, Even in a Busy Market

Blog posted On December 03, 2020

Record-low mortgage rates typically drive home buyers into the housing market. As a result, prices go up and buyer competition increases. Home buyers may try several different tactics to make their offers more appealing, such as getting preapproved for a mortgage, making their offer in cash when they can, and even skipping home inspections.

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How to Maximize Savings When Interest Rates Are Low

Blog posted On December 02, 2020

You’ve refinanced your mortgage, paid off your student loans, and you still have some extra savings leftover. Interest rates are still trending extremely low, but you’re fresh out of ideas on how to take advantage of them. Before you go buying another online streaming service, consider putting your money toward one (or more) of these three high-return investments that can help you maximize your savings, even when interest rates are low.

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New Purchase Volume Predicted to Break Records in 2021

Blog posted On December 01, 2020

Home sales are strong, interest rates are low, refinance activity is booming, and the future of the housing market is looking bright. Two weeks ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its revised predictions for the remainder of this year as well as estimates for the year to come. By the end of 2020, the MBA predicts that total mortgage originations will reach their highest level in 17 years. In 2021, they expect to see this trend continue, with record-high purchase origination volume, an expanding GDP, and an upward trend in mortgage rates.

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Federal Housing Finance Agency Increases Conforming Loan Limits

Blog posted On December 01, 2020

Last Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it is raising the conforming loan limits for loans securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac again in 2021. This year, the limit increased by 7.5%, marking the fifth straight year of loan limit increases. 

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales, Construction Spending, and Mortgage Apps

Blog posted On November 30, 2020

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week and are hovering near-historic lows. This week, the pending home sales report will be released on Monday. The US construction spending report will be released on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Mortgage Applications Jump, New Home Sales Decline

Blog posted On November 27, 2020

Mortgage rates were relatively unchanged this week and remain near record lows. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed an appreciation in home prices. Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions jumped. New home sales dropped slightly.

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8 People You Want on Your Team When Buying a Home

Blog posted On November 26, 2020

Buying a home will likely be one of the biggest investments of your life. It can feel like a daunting process to tackle alone, but with the help of an experienced team, you can reach your goal with less stress and hassle. As the coach of your real estate team, it’s up to you to pick the best players possible. But before you do, make sure you know the positions you’re looking for.

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Preparing Your Home for a Safe Thanksgiving

Blog posted On November 25, 2020

The holidays are normally a time when you gather with friends and family to spread cheer and share food. But in 2020, we are working to avoid spreading and sharing. Many holiday traditions might look different this season in an effort to stay safe and stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re preparing to host a small Thanksgiving gathering this year, here are three ways to stay safe while you celebrate.

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Everything You Need to Know About the New Refinance Fee

Blog posted On November 24, 2020

In one week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will begin imposing a new fee on all refinance transactions. Initially scheduled for September 1st, 2020, the Adverse Market Refinance Fee will add a 0.5% charge to all refinance loans starting on December 1st, 2020. The purpose of the fee is to protect mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from predicted coronavirus-related losses.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Mortgage Apps, New Home Sales

Blog posted On November 23, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week and continue to remain historically low. This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). New home sales are also scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts Rise, Building Permits Unchanged, Existing Home Sales Climb

Blog posted On November 20, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, touching some of the lowest levels in the past 12 months. The housing market sentiment index surged to another record high. Housing starts jumped while building permits remained unchanged. Existing home sales reached the highest annual rate since 2006.

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How to Finance a Home in Retirement

Blog posted On November 19, 2020

You’ve finished working, paid off your debt, and finally gotten the kids out of the house – now, it’s time to retire and relax. However, relaxing can be hard when you’re still responsible for keeping up a family-sized home. If you’re tired of maintaining a large house, but still want the benefits of owning a home, it might be time to downsize. Unfortunately, downsizing to a smaller home requires you to apply and qualify for another mortgage – which can be unfamiliar when you don’t have a salary.

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What Type of Credit Score Matters the Most to a Mortgage?

Blog posted On November 18, 2020

When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will evaluate several factors to determine how much money you qualify for and how much interest you will pay. Based on your application, you could qualify for a larger mortgage, buy a more expensive house, and save thousands of dollars on interest. Though all parts of your application are important, many experts recommend that you prioritize boosting your credit score to help qualify for the best rates possible.

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The Real Winner of the Election: Home Buyers and Homeowners

Blog posted On November 17, 2020

Two weeks ago, millions of Americans flooded the polls to answer one question, and last week, the results finally came in. So, who really won the election? According to the housing market – you did.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On November 16, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, but are still in a historically low range. This week, there are several key housing reports scheduled for release. The housing market index will come out on Tuesday. Followed by housing starts and building permits on Wednesday and the existing home sales report on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Increase, Jobless Claims Drop, Consumer Price Index Unchanged

Blog posted On November 13, 2020

Mortgage rates increased slightly this week, though they continue to remain in a historically low range. Job openings rose marginally, while jobless claims dropped significantly. Consumer prices did not increase after four consecutive months of gains.

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2 Rules for Setting the Perfect Mortgage Budget

Blog posted On November 12, 2020

Deciding how much money you want to spend on a house is a big decision. For many people, it’s the most expensive purchase you will make. To help you decide, you will likely want to get a letter of preapproval from a mortgage lender first – this will tell you the maximum amount of money you are qualified to borrow. However, it should not dictate the maximum amount of money you should borrow from your lender.

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What You Need to Know Before Refinancing Your VA Loan

Blog posted On November 11, 2020

Financing your home with a VA Loan is one of the most affordable pathways to homeownership. Created by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the VA Loan is available to all active duty military, veterans, reserve members, National Guard members, and surviving military spouses. With no down payment, no mortgage insurance and oftentimes a lower than average interest rate, the VA Loan makes homeownership much more financially feasible for those who have served. While many people are aware of the benefits of a VA Loan, fewer people know of the great opportunities of refinancing with the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL).

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Signs the Real Estate Market is Going to Change

Blog posted On November 10, 2020

Over the past several months, mortgage rates have dropped to all-time lows while home builder sentiment has reached record-breaking highs – suggesting a busy future for the real estate industry. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Jobless Claims, Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On November 09, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged, and mortgage rates remain historically low.  This week, there are no significant housing reports scheduled for release. On Tuesday, the Labor Department will release the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). Scheduled for release on Thursday is the weekly jobless claims report and the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Fed Holds Rates, Construction Spending Increases, ADP Employment Growth Slows

Blog posted On November 06, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and did not move interest rates. As a result, mortgage rates continue to stay low. In other housing-related news, construction spending increased slightly. The ADP Employment report showed a significant slowdown in job growth.

 

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3 Questions to Consider Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

Blog posted On November 05, 2020

Refinancing your home loan when interest rates are low could save you thousands of dollars on the lifetime cost of the loan. In a mid-year report by Black Knight, financial experts estimated that homeowners could save an aggregated $4.5 billion per month if they refinanced their mortgages. There are many benefits to refinancing your home, but it’s not the right choice for everyone.  To make sure a refinance is right for you, answer these three questions first.

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Leave the Leaves Out: Protect Your Gutter This Fall

Blog posted On November 04, 2020

When fall started, you were ready. You picked out the pumpkins. You baked an apple pie. You even broke out your favorite mustard-colored cardigan (only to sweat through it in 80-degree weather by the afternoon). But as the leaves start to fall, you might be realizing that you’re not as prepared as you thought.

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Election Day 2020: How the Housing Market Could Influence the Polls

Blog posted On November 03, 2020

It’s Election Day and if you haven’t already voted early or voted by mail, today is the day to head to the polls.  Last month, we examined how the presidential election could impact the future of the housing market. This week, we’re turning the tables – examining how the housing market could impact the election. Political experts typically analyze social, political, and economic factors in order to predict the question on everyone’s mind: who will be the next president of the United States?

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, ADP Employment Report, and FOMC Meeting

Blog posted On November 02, 2020

As expected, mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week. This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a press conference with Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, on Thursday afternoon. In housing news, the construction spending report is scheduled for release today. The ADP employment report is also scheduled for release this week.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Down, Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Fall

Blog posted On October 30, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and continued to touch historic lows. New home sales and pending home sales dropped for the first time in four months, while home prices saw the biggest gain in more than two years.

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How to Take Advantage of a Cash-Out Refinance

Blog posted On October 29, 2020

Many home buyers have been taking advantage of record low interest rates the past several months by refinancing their mortgages. Refinancing your mortgage while interest rates are low is a great opportunity to lower your mortgage rate, change your loan terms, switch your loan type, or even withdraw equity to fund other expenses with a cash-out refinance.

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4 Easy Tricks to Help You Avoid Wire Fraud Cheats

Blog posted On October 28, 2020

It’s hard to believe that October is almost over. Holiday fever is heating up, fall air is cooling down, and candy stocks are running low. If you haven’t voted yet, you still have time; but if you haven’t gotten your Halloween candy yet, you’re probably going to be that house handing out mint gum and stale Oreos. Luckily, trick or treat isn’t the threat it used to be – at least on the streets. On the web, however, tricksters are on the rise.

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How Each Presidential Candidate Could Influence the Housing Market

Blog posted On October 27, 2020

As we discussed last week, the election as an event will not likely affect the busy housing market. However, our next president and their policy agenda will influence the market It’s hard to believe that Election Day is just one week away, and housing market experts predict that a change is coming, regardless of who wins.

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Market Forecast: Case Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales, New Home Sales Index

Blog posted On October 26, 2020

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged, but are still in the historically low range. This week, there are several important housing reports scheduled for release. The new homes sales index is scheduled for release later today. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index is scheduled for release on Tuesday, and the pending home sales index will be released Thursday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts and Building Permits Climb, Existing Home Sales Surge

Blog posted On October 23, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, but still remain in a historically low range. The home builders’ sentiment index reached a record high for the third month in a row. Housing starts and building permits increased. Existing home sales rose for the fourth consecutive month.

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When to Choose a 30-Year Fixed Over a 15-Year Fixed

Blog posted On October 22, 2020

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is America’s Sweetheart of loans — we know her, we love her, and we just can’t get enough of her. For decades, people have depended on the 30-year fixed-rate loan to help finance their home purchases, but the recent record-breaking low mortgage rates might be swaying some home buyers toward the 15-year loan instead.

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Does Your Credit Score Matter in Retirement?

Blog posted On October 21, 2020

Your credit score can make or break many financial opportunities – mortgage loans, car loans, getting hired for a job, and more. For years, you’ve been carefully paying your bills on time, keeping your credit balance low, avoiding debt, and doing everything you can to maintain a good credit score. Now, as you head into retirement, you have a fully owned home, a paid-off car loan, no outstanding debt, and no intention of getting a full-time job.  You don’t think you’ll be borrowing money anytime soon and you begin to question if you really need to keep up with your credit score once you head into retirement.

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Will the Presidential Election Impact Home Sales?

Blog posted On October 20, 2020

When an election is approaching, all of America’s attention is focused on the candidates and the future of our nation – the only house that people are concerned about is the one on Pennsylvania Ave. As is expected, many home buyers and sellers are currently wondering how the upcoming presidential election will impact the housing market. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On October 19, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week and continued to touch historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) releases the housing market sentiment index today. Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Tuesday, and existing home sales will be released on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Consumer Price Index Down, Mortgage Applications Slow, Retail Sales Surge

Blog posted On October 16, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and touched some of the lowest levels in the past 12 months. The consumer price index showed the smallest increase since May. Mortgage application submissions dropped slightly. Retail sales rose for the fifth month in a row.  

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Market Recap: Consumer Price Index Down, Mortgage Applications Slow, Retail Sales Surge

Blog posted On October 16, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and touched some of the lowest levels in the past 12 months. The consumer price index showed the smallest increase since May. Mortgage application submissions dropped slightly. Retail sales rose for the fifth month in a row.  

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All Hands on Deck: 6 DIY Projects for You and Your Family Before Winter

Blog posted On October 15, 2020

As we roll into the eighth month of the global pandemic, you may be wondering, how many more games of Monopoly can I play?  From bike rides to hikes, movie nights to game nights — you’ve done everything in your power to keep the family entertained.

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How Many Credit Cards is Too Many?

Blog posted On October 14, 2020

When it comes to credit cards, more isn’t always merrier. Most financial advisors recommend limiting your number of credit cards to one or two in order to avoid taking on too much debt. When used responsibly, having multiple credit cards is a good way to maximize your rewards, increase your credit limit, and allow for financial flexibility.

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What to Expect This Fall, According to the Experts

Blog posted On October 13, 2020

In recent months, home sales have been rising at a record pace. In August, existing home sales surged to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6 million – the fastest pace in 14 years. New home sales also reached record-highs in August, surpassing 1 million for the first time since 2006. “Buyers are moving forward in record numbers,” said Adam Contos, CEO of real estate brokerage RE/MAX Holdings. The housing demand is booming right now, but how long will it last?

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Market Forecast: Consumer Price Index, Mortgage Applications, Retail Sales

Blog posted On October 12, 2020

Mortgages rates continued to touch historic lows last week. This week, there will be no major housing reports. Scheduled for release on Tuesday is the consumer price index. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday, and the retail sales report comes out on Friday.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Mortgages Apps, Consumer Credit Mixed

Blog posted On October 09, 2020

Mortgages rates trended slightly upward this week but continue to come in at historic lows. Job openings slipped marginally. New purchase mortgage application submissions declined while refinance applications surged. Revolving consumer credit dropped but nonrevolving credit increased.

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Low Down Payment Options: FHA Loan vs. Freddie Mac Home Possible Loan

Blog posted On October 08, 2020

You grew up dreaming of the day that you trade in the treehouse and purchase a home of your own. You’ve done the research, found the perfect place, but there’s one thing still standing in between you and your American Dream come true: the down payment. 

 

 

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5 Painting Mistakes Amateurs Make

Blog posted On October 07, 2020

Staring at the same walls all summer may mean you’re seeing things in a new light.  Maybe you want to brighten up your new home office (bedroom) or give the conference room (dining room) a new look.  One of the easiest ways to spruce up your space is to add a fresh coat of paint.  Painting is an inexpensive way to improve a room, but it can also be a costly mistake. 

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Prepare for Bidding Wars this Fall

Blog posted On October 06, 2020

In August, over half of the home offers made by Redfin-represented buyers facing competing offers for the fourth month in a row. Despite the fact that home sales tend to slow down in the fall and winter months, this year’s continued increase in buyer demand and limited home supply suggests that bidding wars are likely to persist.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, Consumer Credit

Blog posted On October 05, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week. This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey. Other market-moving reports include consumer credit and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Jump, Construction Spending Up

Blog posted On October 02, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to hit record lows this week. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed sustained appreciation in July after no changes in June. Pending home sales soared to a new record high. Construction spending increased for the second consecutive month.

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Tips for the Perfect Home Office (In Any Room!)

Blog posted On October 01, 2020

When employees began working from home, everyone set up shop wherever they could — kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, or any other rooms with outlets and a work surface. You thought it would just be a couple of weeks, but six months later and your kitchen table is covered with empty soda cans, open laptops, endless pens, loose papers, and more cords than you can count.

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What is the 30/30/3 Rule for Buying a Home in Uncertain Times?

Blog posted On September 30, 2020

Buying a home is always a significant investment, but during uncertain economic times, buyers should be especially careful to not overstretch their finances.  Unlike the stock market, real estate is often considered a more stable investment since it tends to appreciate over time.  However, if you lose your job or suffer an income reduction, you want still to be able to cover the cost of your mortgage, at least temporarily, so you do not fall behind on payments, or worse, go through a foreclosure. 

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Nearly 2 Million Telecommuting Renters Could Now Become Homeowners

Blog posted On September 29, 2020

Many renters are considering a home purchase lately, and you may know (or be) one of them.  In addition to historically low mortgage rates, many companies have adopted work-from-home models, meaning their employees are commuting less or not at all.  Zillow estimates nearly 1.92 million renting households could become homeowners this year because of the growing popularity of working remotely and the flexibility that goes with it. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, and US Construction Spending

Blog posted On September 28, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to touch historic lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will be released on Tuesday, followed by the pending home sales report will come out Wednesday, and the US construction spending report will come out Thursday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Climb, FHFA House Price Index Appreciates, New Home Sales Surge

Blog posted On September 25, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week. Existing home sales climbed for the third month in a row. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated from June to July. New homes sales surged to the highest level in 14 years.

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Should You Build a New Home or Renovate a Fixer-Upper?

Blog posted On September 24, 2020

Average mortgage rates have reached historic lows, giving many prospective buyers an added incentive to purchase now. However, if you’re one of many people on the hunt for a new home, you’re likely going to face stiff competition, limited options, and higher home prices. To navigate the challenges of the current housing market, you may want to consider these alternatives to buying a move-in ready home: building a new home or renovating a fixer upper. Both are viable options, but here are some pros and cons of both to help determine which is best for you.

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Why Your Credit Score Matters, Even if You’re Not Buying a Home

Blog posted On September 23, 2020

If you’re thinking about buying a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage, you’re probably taking a closer look at your credit score and ways to improve it.  Your credit score, specifically your FICO® credit score, is used by lenders and financial institutions to determine whether you will be a good candidate for a loan, or a line of credit based on how you currently manage your debt.  Many non-bank institutions also look at your credit score.  Your credit score matters, even if you’re not actively making mortgage moves, and could impact your ability to rent an apartment, get a new phone, or even influence your car insurance premium. 

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Selling Your Home When Interest Rates are Low

Blog posted On September 22, 2020

You know low interest rates are an incentive for home buyers, but a low interest rate environment can actually benefit home sellers as well.  When you sell your home when rates are low, you can usually count on strong buyer demand and multiple offers.  As the seller, this will give you more negotiating power and you can typically net a higher profit since you won’t have to lower your asking price to compete for buyers.  You may also to be able to sell your home shortly after listing, rather than having it linger on the market waiting for the right buyer.  If you’re buying a new home yourself, you’ll also be able to lock in a relatively low interest rate on your new mortgage. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, and New Home Sales

Blog posted On September 21, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the federal funds rate unchanged.  Mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  This week, the existing home sales and new home sales reports are both scheduled for release.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will also release its house price index. 

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Market Recap: Rates Stay Low, Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decline

Blog posted On September 18, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and, as expected, did not move interest rates.  As a result, mortgage rates remain historically low.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved.  Housing starts and building permits declined slightly in August after strong gains in July. 

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4 Things that Happen to Your Finances When You Buy a Home

Blog posted On September 17, 2020

Buying a home, especially your first home, is a lifechanging event and a big financial investment.  You know buying a home will come with the upfront costs of the down payment and closing costs, but do you know about all of the ongoing financial implications?  Buying a home impacts your credit score, your savings, and your tax bill, but it also becomes a vehicle for you to build wealth in the form of home equity. 

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All American Homes Assigned Flood-Risk Score

Blog posted On September 16, 2020

In the wake of the recent devastation of Hurricane Laura, you may be thinking about your home’s flood insurance policy.  Even if you do not live in a coastal area vulnerable to hurricane damage, stronger and more frequent hurricanes plus other climate-related natural disasters could put your home at a greater risk now than when you bought the home.  To keep home buyers and homeowners informed and aware, nonprofit research and technology group, First Street Foundation, has designed an interactive website to host flood risk data on over 142 million homes.  Additionally, Realtor.com will now include the flood-risk score on its online home listings.

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Federal Reserve Announces New Approach to Inflation and Interest Rate Policy

Blog posted On September 15, 2020

The Federal Reserve announced revisions to its policy in the way it reviews inflation and the labor market.  These changes will impact how much interest consumers earn on savings accounts and pay on lines of credit and loans like credit cards and mortgages. 

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, Housing Market Index, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On September 14, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend lower last week and remain near the lowest levels in the past twelve months.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and no major interest rate movement is expected.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release the housing market sentiment index on Wednesday.  Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for Thursday.

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Market Recap: Consumer Borrowing Accelerates, Mortgage Apps Up, Job Openings Increase

Blog posted On September 11, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and remain within a historically low range.  Consumer borrowing accelerated to a pre-pandemic pace.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Job openings increased for the third straight month.

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5 Things to Consider Before Fleeing the City for the Suburbs

Blog posted On September 10, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has many city dwellers considering a suburban migration.  With cultural hotspots closed or operating at limited capacity and many companies imposing work-from-home orders and distance-learning procedures, living close to city centers may no longer be as important as it once was. 

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Do You Have a Bad Credit Score?

Blog posted On September 09, 2020

If you’re thinking about buying a home or refinancing your existing mortgage in the near future, you’ve probably reviewed your credit score recently.  Mortgage lenders use your FICO® credit score to evaluate how you’ve managed your loans and lines of credit in the past and how likely you will be to repay your new home loan.  While you do not need perfect credit to qualify for a mortgage, a lower credit score can lead to higher interest rates or worse, the inability to qualify at all. 

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Predictions for the Fall Housing Market

Blog posted On September 08, 2020

Following an unprecedented Spring and Summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fall housing market is going to look different this year.  Historically, buyers tend to buy and sell homes more frequently in the Spring and Summer when it’s more convenient for children to change schools, warmer weather is more favorable for home tours and travel, and home builders are busy.  After an economic standstill in March and April, and a slow reopening across the country, many housing professionals are expecting an exceptionally busy Fall.  Mortgage rates are historically low, builders have been busy, and buyers are returning to the housing market. 

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Mortgage Apps, Job Openings

Blog posted On September 07, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to touch down to historic lows, hovering around the lowest levels in the past 12 months.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include consumer credit and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Application Submissions Down, ADP Employment Growth Slow

Blog posted On September 04, 2020

Mortgage rates trended lower this week and are expected to stay low.  Overall US construction spending increased marginally, but residential spending increased substantially.  Both new purchase and refinance application submissions declined.  The ADP Employment report showed hiring has tapered off.

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Preparing for Your VA Loan Purchase

Blog posted On September 03, 2020

The VA Loan is one of the most important benefits offered to active duty military and veterans. It was designed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to give returning World War II veterans an affordable pathway to homeownership because it is available with no down payment and flexible underwriting requirements.   

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Demand for Clean Home Technology on the Rise

Blog posted On September 02, 2020

Smart home technology has become an increasingly more common home buyer demand, especially as the internet of things evolves.  Home buyers are looking for features like smart thermostats, self-closing blinds, and doorbell cameras among other home enhancements.  In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a new type of smart home technology is on the rise.  Home buyers, especially new home buyers, are inquiring about self-cleaning and sanitizing technology.

 

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Should You Refinance Your Mortgage – Again?

Blog posted On September 01, 2020

Average mortgage rates continue to plunge to historic lows and if you have a mortgage, you’re probably thinking about a refinance.  With the delay of the proposed Adverse Market Refinance Fee, many homeowners are now rushing to refinance.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On August 31, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, but overall remain historically low.  This week, the US construction spending report is scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday, along with the ADP employment report.

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Moderates, New Home Sales Surge, Pending Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On August 28, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending slightly upward from recent 12-month lows.  Home prices continue to rise at a moderate pace.  New home sales jumped to the highest level since 2006.  The pending home sales index also increased.

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What to Expect to Pay for Closing Costs

Blog posted On August 27, 2020

Any mortgage loan origination, for both a new purchase and a refinance, comes with closing costs.  Closing costs cover things like inspections, any lender fees, attorney’s fees, and other associated costs.  Most first-time home buyers know they have to save for a down payment, but some may forget to budget for closing costs.  Homeowners who are refinancing an existing loan to save money need to factor closing costs.

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New to Online Banking? How to Stay Safe

Blog posted On August 26, 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers have switched to banking totally online, some for the very first time.  Online banking and bill pay makes it easy to stay on top of your finances from afar, but it may also make it easier for hackers and cyber criminals to access your private information.  Since March, 82% of seniors have started using online banking more frequently and 55% are using mobile banking apps.  Older Americans are often targeted by hackers and cyber criminals because they are newer to online banking technology and may not be aware of common practices. 

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Adverse Market Refinance Fee Delayed

Blog posted On August 26, 2020

Two weeks ago, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a 0.5% “adverse market fee” on all mortgage refinances, including cash-out refinances.  Numerous trade organizations voiced concern over the fee, including the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), as the fee would make it more expensive to refinance a mortgage at a time when many homeowners are refinancing to lower their mortgage payment and increase their income in the wake of widespread economic hardship.  This week, the FHFA reversed course delaying the adverse market refinance fee until December 1st, 2020.  Additionally, the FHFA announced it would exempt select refinance loans from the fee when it is enacted.

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Stay-At-Home Guidance Drives Home Remodeling Boom

Blog posted On August 25, 2020

If it seems like you’re hearing a lot of hammer and sawing lately, your neighbors may be participating in the current home remodeling boom.  Low mortgage rates combined with a steep increase in time spent at home is driving home remodeling and renovation activity across the country.  Online home remodeling professional directory, Houzz, reported a 58% increase in project leads from June 2019 to June 2020.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Index

Blog posted On August 24, 2020

Average mortgage rates trended upward last week but remain near 12-month lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the new home sales report will come out on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index is scheduled for release on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump, Existing Home Sales Surge

Blog posted On August 21, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week but remain near historical lows.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index reached a record high in August.  Housing starts and building permits continued to increase.  Existing home sales also experienced a record gain. 

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How to Get a Lower Mortgage Rate

Blog posted On August 20, 2020

Record low mortgage rates have dominated the financial news cycle lately and both prospective home buyers and homeowners looking to refinance are rushing to lock in low mortgage rates.  While a low interest rate environment means average mortgage interest rates are lower, your actual mortgage interest rate will reflect your personal financial profile and other unique factors. 

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Where to Start Your Emergency Fund

Blog posted On August 19, 2020

Financial stress related to the coronavirus pandemic has led many Americans to reevaluate their emergency savings.  Workers of all industries have experienced income disruptions over the past several months from temporary and, in some cases permanent, layoffs.  You know you should set aside some savings for an emergency fund but just the thought of starting one may seem overwhelming.  If you haven’t started saving an emergency fund, or you would like to grow your emergency fund, here’s where you can start.  

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Freddie Mac: 70,000 Homes With ADUs Sold in 2019

Blog posted On August 18, 2020

Accessory dwelling units or ADUs is a separate, detached, dwelling located on the same lot as a single-family home.  Sometimes called “granny flats” or “guest homes,” ADUs are becoming more popular, according to research from Freddie Mac.  Currently, there are 1.4 million reported single-family homes with ADUs out of an MLS listing of 600 million.  The actual figure may even be higher, since it could include ADUs added without a permit. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On August 17, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to touch down to record low levels last week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index will come out on Monday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, and the existing home sales report on Friday.   

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Market Recap: Job Openings Increase, Mortgage Apps Jump, Consumer Price Index Recovers

Blog posted On August 14, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week and continue to hover around year-long lows.  The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed businesses have started to reopen and staff.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  The consumer price index rebounded. 

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What You Should Know About Buying a Second Home

Blog posted On August 13, 2020

With many Americans flocking to far-flung regions to escape coronavirus clusters, the second-home market is seeing a sales surge.  To accommodate social distancing guidelines, many city and suburb dwellers are looking into vacation homes or moving away entirely. 

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What Lower Interest Rates Mean for Your Savings Account

Blog posted On August 12, 2020

Historically low interest rates are great news for borrowers and not the greatest news for savers.  While the cost of borrowing money is at an all-time low, savers are earning less interest on their savings accounts.  Even traditionally higher-interest savings accounts at digital banks are earning less interest than they did just two years ago and are expected to continue on that trend as long as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) keeps rates low.  If you’re trying to maximize the return on your savings in a low interest rate environment, here’s what you need to know.

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Waiting to Buy vs. Buying Now

Blog posted On August 11, 2020

Historically low mortgage rates have motivated many home buyers across the country, but some are still wary about buying a home due to the economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  Although the way we buy and sell homes looks different, the housing market has had an exceptionally busy summer.  Real estate agents are practicing social distancing by offering video tours and virtual listings and much of the mortgage process has gone digital.  If you’re on the fence about buying a new home now or waiting a few months, here are some things to consider before making your decision.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, and Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On August 10, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to plunge to historic lows and will likely stay low through the end of the year.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Down, Mortgage Apps Fall Off, ADP Employment Report Modest

Blog posted On August 07, 2020

Mortgage rates remained near historic lows this week.  US construction spending declined slightly as economies slowly reopened.  After several weeks of increases, both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  The ADP employment report added fewer jobs than expected.

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Private Mortgage Insurance Explained

Blog posted On August 06, 2020

Although some home buyers believe it’s necessary to put down a 20% down payment when buying a home, rising home prices are making it more difficult for buyers to reach that savings goal.  There are many low down payment loan programs available to make buying a home more accessible, especially for first-time home buyers.  In addition to the familiar government programs like the FHA Loan for low income and first-time home buyers and the VA Loan for Veterans and active-duty military, that allow for low to no down payment, there are also conventional options like the Fannie Mae Home Ready and Freddie Mac Home Possible loans.   In fact, the National Association of Realtors reported in 2017, 61% of first-time home buyers put down 6% or less on their home purchase.

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How Unemployment Could Impact Your Ability to Buy a Home

Blog posted On August 05, 2020

Earlier this year, many American workers were furloughed or laid off due to closures and restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  If you were planning to buy a home this year, your plans have likely been put on hold.  A period of unemployment will impact your ability to buy a home like any other income disruption.  It will not make it impossible to buy a home ever, you just may need to postpone your purchase until you’ve reestablished your income.

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The Truth About Today’s Low Interest Rates

Blog posted On August 04, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged and mortgage rates continued to hit historic lows.  Whether you’re a homeowner thinking about a refinance or a home buyer ready to make a purchase, you’ve likely been encouraged to make your moves by today’s low rates. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On August 03, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to leave interest rates unchanged.  This week, the US construction spending report will be released along with the weekly mortgage application survey.  The ADP employment report is also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Home Price Appreciation Moderate, Pending Home Sales Jump

Blog posted On July 31, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged and mortgage rates remain historically low.  Home price appreciation was flat month-over-month and slow year-over-year.  Pending home sales jumped. 

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How the Size of Your Down Payment and Your Credit Score Impact Qualifying for a Mortgage

Blog posted On July 30, 2020

When you’re applying for a home loan, what’s more important: a large down payment or a high credit score?  The simple answer is, both are equally important.  A 20% down payment will mean you do not have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and you can borrow less to purchase your home.  An excellent credit score signals that you have responsibly managed your debt and have a low debt-to-income ratio.  Before you apply for a mortgage, you should save as much as you can for your down payment and closing costs and work to improve your credit score. 

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How to Stretch Your Income if You’ve Been Impacted by the Pandemic

Blog posted On July 29, 2020

Many Americans have experienced a loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic related to sickness, job closures, layoffs, and furloughs.  Bankrate reports approximately half of American households lost income as of June 2020.  With an uncertain road to recovery ahead, American workers are worried about an extended coronavirus outbreak impacting their income again.

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More Sellers Requesting Proof of Preapproval Before Allowing Buyers to Tour Home

Blog posted On July 28, 2020

When you’re thinking about buying a home, you may not think about your mortgage right away.  You could have some idea of what you’d like to put down for a down payment, but the mortgage preapproval process requires extensive paperwork and your preapproval letter is typically only valid for 60 to 90 days.  While real estate professionals have always advocated reviewing your mortgage options before shopping for a home, current market conditions have made preapproval more important than ever.  Mortgage rates have touched down to record lows, buyers are competing over a limited number of homes for sale, and because of the pandemic, sellers are wary of allowing too many strangers into their homes.  In fact, some sellers are requiring letters of preapproval before welcoming prospective buyers into their homes.  Here’s what you need to know.

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Market Forecast: Federal Open Market Committee Meeting, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales Index

Blog posted On July 27, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week and continue to hit historic lows.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release.  

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Decelerates, Existing Home Sales Surge, New Home Sales Climb

Blog posted On July 24, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its house price index and showed a month-over-month deceleration in home price appreciation.  Both existing home sales and new home sales jumped.  

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6 Home Improvement Projects that Won’t Improve Your Home’s Resale Value

Blog posted On July 23, 2020

Like many Americans, you’ve probably spent considerably more time than usual at your home over the past few months.  Homeowners across the country have gotten inspired to renovate their homes and invest in upgrades to improve their homes’ present livability and also increase the resale value.

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Reasons to Break Your Lease and How to Do It

Blog posted On July 22, 2020

One of the reasons people choose to rent instead of buy is because it gives them greater flexibility if they are new to an area or only plan to stay there temporarily.  In any legal rental arrangement, you will have to sign a lease agreement with your landlord, and there are times when you may need to break the lease.  When the time comes to break a lease it’s important to talk to your landlord first.  Many leases have clauses or instructions already outlined if there comes a need to break your lease.

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1.3 Million Homeowners Put Down Less than 20%

Blog posted On July 21, 2020

Record low mortgage rates have inspired many first-time home buyers to transition from renting to owning in recent months.  Even before mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in the past year, first-time home buyers accounted for a substantial share of home buyers, taking advantage of low down payment mortgage options.  A report from the US Mortgage Insurers (USMI) association found more than 1.3 million homeowners put down less than a 20% down payment in 2019. 

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, and New Home Sales

Blog posted On July 20, 2020

Average mortgage rates have touched the lowest levels in the past 12 months last week.  This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index.  Existing home sales and new home sales are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Refinance Applications Jump, Home Builder Sentiment Recovers, Housing Starts and Building Permits Climb

Blog posted On July 17, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  Homeowners have rushed to refinance and lock in record-low rates.  Home builder sentiment continued to recover in July, reaching pre-pandemic levels.  Housing starts surged and building permits also increased. 

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Questions to Ask Before You Refinance

Blog posted On July 16, 2020

If you’re a homeowner, you may be thinking about a mortgage refinance.  Record-low mortgage rates and an easy and online refinance application process have led to a surge in refinance activity this summer.  You may be tempted to lower your monthly payment with a mortgage refinance, but even with today’s low rates, a refinance is not right for everybody.  If you’re considering a mortgage refinance, here’s what your loan officer is going to ask you first.

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How to Get Items Removed from your Credit Report

Blog posted On July 15, 2020

Monitoring your credit report is an important first step in the mortgage process and generally good practice for your financial wellness.  Lenders use your credit score to determine your creditworthiness and whether you will be a good candidate to repay your mortgage loan based on your payment history, current balances, and other factors.  Derogatory marks on your credit report can significantly hurt your score and take years to recover.  It becomes even more complicated if the credit dings are not your fault and the result of identity theft or credit mistakes.

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Report: It Could Take Up to 21 Years or More to Save a 20% Down Payment

Blog posted On July 14, 2020

If record low mortgage rates have you thinking about buying your first home, the cost of a 20% down payment may have you thinking twice.  Although many first-time home buyers believe a 20% down payment is required to buy a home, that’s not the case.  Putting down more money isn’t a bad thing; it can help you avoid paying mortgage insurance; however, a 20% down payment is not a requirement. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On July 13, 2020

Average mortgage rates are at record low levels, continuing to motivate home buyers and homeowners looking to refinance.  This week, the National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index.  Housing starts and building permits and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Up, Mortgage Apps Jump, Consumer Borrowing Declines

Blog posted On July 10, 2020

Average mortgage rates touched the lowest level in the past twelve months according to Mortgage News Daily.  Job openings are starting to increase as workers return to work.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Revolving consumer borrowing declined again, but nonrevolving consumer borrowing increased. 

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First-Time Home Buyers: Buy, Build, or Fix Up?

Blog posted On July 09, 2020

First-time home buyers are facing an especially competitive market this summer.  Record low mortgage rates have made buying a home more affordable and first-time home buyers are expecting to be bidding on fewer homes for sale.  When you’re buying a home, you have the option to buy an existing home that is move-in ready, build a new home in a development or on your own land, or buy an existing home that needs repair or renovation before you move in.  Depending on your market, your options may be limited, and you may have to be flexible. 

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Surge in Mobile Banking App Usage Increases Fraud Risk

Blog posted On July 08, 2020

Last month, the FBI reported a 50% increase in mobile banking app usage.  Stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines, and convenience may have all contributed to a rise in mobile banking.  When done safely, mobile banking is an easy way to manage your finances, pay bills, and deposit checks from the comfort of your home.  However, mobile banking can also put you at risk of cybercrime. 

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Nearly 70% of Home Sellers Willing to Accept Lower Offer Price

Blog posted On July 07, 2020

When you’re selling your home, you probably have a deadline in mind.  Maybe you’re starting a new job somewhere else, maybe you want to move before your kids go back to school, or maybe you’re eager to close on the new home you are buying.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many moves have been interrupted or postponed entirely.  As a result, a LendingTree survey revealed 69% of home sellers are willing to accept a lower offer price to sell their home, with 29% strongly agreeing with the strategy and 40% somewhat agreeing.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and Consumer Credit

Blog posted On July 06, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week.  This week, the most significant housing report scheduled for release is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and consumer credit.

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Jump, Home Prices, Construction Spending Declines

Blog posted On July 03, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower, touching the lowest levels in the past two months.  Pending home sales soared after a record decline the previous month.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed home price appreciation is sustained.  US construction spending declined again.

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Ask the Experts: Saving for Your New Home

Blog posted On July 02, 2020

Thinking about declaring independence from your landlord?  You are not alone.  With record low mortgage rates, first-time home buyers are expected to be shopping in droves this summer.  When you’re new to the home buying process, you may not know where to start.  Here are four steps you can take now whether you’re planning to buy a home soon, or just starting your research.

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Warning: 4 Ways You’re Paying Too Much for Your New Home

Blog posted On July 01, 2020

Buying a home is a big investment, you don’t want to spend too much up front.  Failing to look into a home’s history or forgoing a home inspection could cost you more than you bargained for.  

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8 Million US Workers Live in Cities Where They Don’t Work

Blog posted On June 30, 2020

Moving to a new home is often triggered by a major life event.  Maybe you are growing your family and need more space for children, or you’re retiring, and you want to downsize to a smaller home.  Another common reason to move was relocating for work.  In recent months, however, many companies have shifted to a work-from-home model to adhere to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders.  This wide-scale remote work shift has proven that many workers do not need to commute to the office every day or even at all.  If companies continue allowing employees to work from home, many workers may no longer factor their commute into where they live or need to live nearby their office.  Could this remote work shift change where people live?

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales Index, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and US Construction Spending

Blog posted On June 29, 2020

Mortgage rates remained historically low last week and will likely stay low through the end of the year.  This week, there are several important housing reports scheduled for release this week, including the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Fall, New Home Sales Jump, FHFA House Price Index Appreciates

Blog posted On June 26, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week and remain near the lowest level in the past two years.  Existing home sales fell, but new home sales jumped.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index continued to appreciate. 

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Design Ideas for the Perfect Home Office

Blog posted On June 25, 2020

If you’re working from home more often than you used to, you may be reevaluating your at-home workspace.  Having a separate space to work can improve your productivity and help you establish a better work-life balance.  What is your current home office missing?

 

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Can Your Age and Income Hurt Your FICO Score?

Blog posted On June 24, 2020

When you’re getting ready to buy a home, you’re probably taking a closer look at your credit score.  If you’re working on improving your credit score it’s important to know what helps or hurts your score, but also what factors do not impact your score at all.   Your FICO credit score is the most widely accepted credit score by banks and lenders and is influenced by five factors: your payment history, your credit utilization, the length of your credit history, your credit mix, and new credit. 

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Over 3 Million Adults Migrate Home During Coronavirus Quarantine

Blog posted On June 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life around the country.  Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have caused many companies to shift to work-from-home models and many colleges and universities have temporarily closed.  As a result, over 32 million adults were living with parents or grandparents as of April 2020.  80% of these young adults are members of Generation Z, costing the rental market approximately $726 million each month.  As work-from-home and distance learning procedures extend, the rental market may see long-term impacts with a lack of 18- to 25-year-old renters. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and FHFA House Price Index

Blog posted On June 22, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to hover around record lows, motivating home buyers and homeowners to make mortgage moves.  This week, the existing home sales report and new home sales report are both scheduled for release and are expected to reveal the state of post-coronavirus recovery.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Improved, Mortgage Apps Climb, Housing Starts and Building Permits Rebound

Blog posted On June 19, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to hover around record lows, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to leave interest rates unchanged.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved significantly in June, after a steep decline in April.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Housing starts and building permits rebounded in May after April’s declines.

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7 Steps to Your New Home Purchase

Blog posted On June 18, 2020

If you’re planning to buy a home this summer, you are not alone.  After a disrupted spring home buying and season, many buyers and sellers are expecting a busy summer.  Be prepared for a competitive market and multiple offers.  Buying a home is a big purchase and the process may seem confusing.  Make it easier on yourself, by focusing on these seven steps.

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The Credit Score You Should Aim For, According to Experts

Blog posted On June 17, 2020

Most American consumers are either working to improve or maintain their credit score.  The FICO Credit Score, the most widely accepted credit score by banks and lenders, ranges from 300-850. The higher your score, the more favorable you will look to banks and lenders.  As of May 2020, only 1.6% of consumers had a perfect credit score of 850.  You should always be working to improve your credit score, but experts report having a score of at least 760 will get you the best benefits and terms on your credit cards and lines of credit.

 

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70% of Homeowners Applying for Forbearance May Not Need It

Blog posted On June 16, 2020

As of last month, over 4 million homeowners now have mortgage loans in forbearance.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many American workers were laid off or furloughed due to temporary workplace closures and state and local social distancing ordinances.  A LendingTree study revealed approximately 70% of those homeowners with loans in forbearance reported the move wasn’t financially necessary and only 5% reported they would not have been able to pay their next mortgage payment without forbearance.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Mortgage Apps, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On June 15, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index and housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged, Mortgage Apps Up, and Fewer Job Openings

Blog posted On June 12, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged this week, and mortgage rates remain historically low.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) survey showed job openings have fallen to the lowest level since 2014, because of coronavirus closures.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are up, as buyers and homeowners take advantage of record low interest rates. 

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How to Sell Your Home this Summer

Blog posted On June 11, 2020

Did you delay listing your home because of the coronavirus pandemic?  Are you ready to move and not sure where to start?  Many real estate professionals are expecting a delayed busy home buying and selling summer, especially with today’s low mortgage rates. 

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Can Breaking Your Lease Hurt Your Credit Score?

Blog posted On June 10, 2020

As a renter, you may be faced with a circumstance where you have to break your lease.  You may have to relocate to another city because of work, you may end up buying a home before your lease expires, or you may face the unfortunate scenario of not being able to afford your rent.  When you’re faced with the need to break your lease, it’s important to know your rights as a tenant and be transparent about your situation with your landlord.  Breaking a lease without taking the right steps could make it harder for you to qualify for a rental or home purchase in the future and could hurt your credit score.

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Can Breaking Your Lease Hurt Your Credit Score?

Blog posted On June 10, 2020

As a renter, you may be faced with a circumstance where you have to break your lease.  You may have to relocate to another city because of work, you may end up buying a home before your lease expires, or you may face the unfortunate scenario of not being able to afford your rent.  When you’re faced with the need to break your lease, it’s important to know your rights as a tenant and be transparent about your situation with your landlord.  Breaking a lease without taking the right steps could make it harder for you to qualify for a rental or home purchase in the future and could hurt your credit score.

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Low Mortgage Rates Could Bring Out the Next Wave of Millennial Home Buyers

Blog posted On June 09, 2020

With this year’s home buying and selling season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, some real estate professionals are predicting a delayed busy season this summer.  Historically low mortgage rates plus cheaper homes for sale could mean the next wave of Millennial home buyers is primed to make a purchase.   After a few years of climbing mortgage rates and steady home price appreciation, previously sidelined first-time home buyers may find current market conditions more affordable. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, and Federal Open Market Committee Meeting

Blog posted On June 08, 2020

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for its semiannual monetary policy meeting.  After two emergency rate cuts in March, the Fed is not expected to move interest rates at this month’s meeting.  The only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  In employment news, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey comes out on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Down, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Report Sheds More Jobs

Blog posted On June 05, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week and remain historically low.  US construction spending declined; however, the decline was less than expected.  New purchase mortgage application submissions increased but refinance application submissions decreased.  The ADP employment report showed the loss of 2.76 million jobs.

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Making Your New Home Wish List

Blog posted On June 04, 2020

If you’ve spent the past several weeks (or months) confined to your home, like many other Americans under coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, you probably have a better idea of what you are looking for in a new home.  Maybe your once unused extra bedroom has transformed into an essential home office.  Maybe you’ve realized a fenced-in backyard could have provided safer play space for your children.  Spending this extra time in your current home is a great opportunity to decide what features are most important for your new home.

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How to Support Your Neighbors from a Safe Distance

Blog posted On June 03, 2020

Shelter-in-place guidelines and stay-at-home orders may mean you are spending more time at home than ever before.  A positive outcome of more time at home has been more people are getting to know their neighbors, from a safe distance.  Neighbors are using online platforms like Nextdoor, Facebook, and Slack to offer assistance to neighbors who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Volunteers can offer to complete grocery runs for sick or elderly neighbors, find ways to contribute to food banks and other community organizations, or simply connect through virtual community events. 

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Share of Single American Homeowners Reaches 118-Year High

Blog posted On June 02, 2020

Americans are no longer delaying homeownership until marriage, according to US Census Bureau data.  In 2019, single Americans owned 38.4% of US housing stock, the largest share of single homeowners in 118 years.  Numerous factors may have caused the increase including Millennials delaying marriage, viewing a home as an investment and a place to live, and lower mortgage rates. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On June 01, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move drastically last week and remain historically low.  In housing news, the US construction spending report and the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage application survey are both scheduled for release.  In employment news, the ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Home Values Go Up, New Home Sales Increase, Pending Home Sales Fall

Blog posted On May 29, 2020

Markets were closed on Monday, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.  Mortgage rates remain historically low.  Home price appreciation continued.  New home sales turned around.  Pending home sales declined.

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Where Home Prices are Headed Post-Pandemic

Blog posted On May 28, 2020

The last Recession that most of us remember was brought on by the Financial Crisis of 2007-08.  Following this recession, home prices tumbled, due in part by irresponsible lending practices that left many homeowners unable to pay their mortgage.  The current global economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely not hurt home values the same way.  Before the pandemic-related shutdowns, the economy was thriving, job creation and home price appreciation were steady, and lenders were observing strict lending guidelines enacted after the Financial Crisis.  As states start to reopen, and people go back to work, most real estate professionals predict that home prices will remain stable and continue to appreciate. 

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Understanding How Much Homeowners Insurance You Need

Blog posted On May 27, 2020

When was the last time you examined your homeowner’s insurance policy?  Now, more than ever, homebound homeowners are making sure their homeowner’s insurance policies offer adequate coverage, as your home has become your living, working, and schooling space during nationwide stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.  You don’t want to pay for coverage you don’t need, but you want to make sure you’re protected.  The biggest mistake most homeowners make is not updating their policy.  The original policy you took out when you bought your home might not be enough to cover its appreciation in value or might not accommodate the increased frequency in natural disasters like fires and hurricanes.   

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Former Airbnb Rentals May Soon be For Sale

Blog posted On May 26, 2020

Travel and tourism is one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.  As Americans adapt to new social distancing guidelines, many have suspended travel plans and cancelled vacations.  Airbnb hosts are starting to feel the strain of reduced traveling.  Unlike large hotel chains with the capital to withstand market fluctuations, many Airbnb’s are owned by sole proprietors managing only one or a few properties.  As social distancing continues, many Airbnb owners will have to shift their business model or sell their properties rather than cover the costs of maintaining an unoccupied short-term rental home. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Index

Blog posted On May 25, 2020

Markets are closed today in observance of Memorial Day.  Mortgage rates have not moved significantly in recent weeks, continuing to average historic lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, the new home sales report, and the pending home sales index are all scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Rebounds, Housing Starts and Building Permits Down, Existing Home Sales Fall

Blog posted On May 22, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward this week.  Home builder sentiment rebounded in May after a historic plunge in April, suggesting business is starting to get back to normal.  As expected, housing starts and building permits declined, as did existing home sales.

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How to Increase Your Home’s “Screen Appeal” for Social-Distanced Selling

Blog posted On May 21, 2020

Before you list your home for sale, spend some time researching and staging your home to maximize your space and give it a more neutral palette for prospective home buyers to imagine themselves there.  With stay-at-home ordinances and social distancing guidelines in place, you may be relying more on photos of your home and video tours rather than in-person tours.  Your home looks great when you’re in it, but how will it be perceived through a virtual listing? 

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Tips for a Stress-Free Move During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Blog posted On May 20, 2020

Moving under any circumstances can be stressful.  You have to pack and organize all of your belongings, you may be spending a night or two without assembled furniture, and you may have to coordinate with helpful friends and professional movers to get your things to your new home.  Moving during the coronavirus pandemic adds another layer of stress as you try to complete your move safely while practicing social distancing.

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Housing Market Data Shows Early Signs of Recovery

Blog posted On May 19, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses around the world and has caused widespread economic slowdown.  Like other industries, the housing market was impacted.  Some sellers took their homes off the market and some buyers suspended their home search to avoid close contact with others and wait for stay-at-home restrictions to ease.  As states and cities start to reopen, housing market data shows early signs of recovery.  After a slower-than-average April, buyers and sellers are starting to re-enter the market. 

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New FHFA Guidance: Home Purchase and Refinance After Forbearance

Blog posted On May 19, 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 4.7 million homeowners have put their mortgage in forbearance as of May 2020. 

If you put your mortgage loan in forbearance due to financial hardship brought on by the pandemic, you may be wondering how this will impact your ability to qualify for a refinance or buy a new home. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On May 18, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low and did not move much last week.  This week, several important housing reports are scheduled for release and will give us more perspective on the impact of the coronavirus on the housing market. 

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Market Recap: New Purchase Mortgage Applications Up, Consumer Price Index, and Retail Sales

Blog posted On May 15, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, maintaining historically low levels.  Home buyers reacted, and new purchase mortgage applications jumped.  The consumer price index showed inflation has slowed, due to the coronavirus-related economic slowdown.  Retail sales fell sharply.

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What to Expect from Home Buyers, Home Sellers, and Renters Post-Pandemic

Blog posted On May 14, 2020

The coronavirus or covid-19 pandemic has impacted many industries including the real estate industry.  Widespread layoffs and furloughs have caused economic disruption and social distancing procedures have impacted the way people do business.  As states and municipalities gradually start to reopen, home buyers, home sellers, and renters will start to see the long-term impacts on the post-pandemic housing market. 

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Expanded Unemployment Benefits: What You Need to Know

Blog posted On May 13, 2020

In addition to the millions of American workers who have lost their job due to coronavirus-related closures, millions of other American workers have lost hours or wages without fully losing their job.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed to expand unemployment benefits to all workers impacted by the pandemic, including independent contractors, part-time workers, and those who are self-employed.

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Build-to-Rent Neighborhoods Popular Among Property Investors

Blog posted On May 12, 2020

When you invest in real estate you either buy to sell or buy to rent.  Investors who buy to sell will buy a home for a lower price, renovate or improve it to add value, and sell for a profit.  Investors who buy to rent, rent the home to a tenant and earn a profit over time.  Real estate investment is often considered a more stable investment than the stock market because homes and property tend to appreciate in most market conditions.  Single-family rental homes particularly have become a popular investment, so much so that some housing developments are being built exclusively for renters. 

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Market Forecast: Consumer Price Index, Mortgage Applications, and Retail Sales

Blog posted On May 11, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to come in at historic lows and are not moving much.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the consumer price index and retail sales. 

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Market Recap: Low Mortgage Rates Motivate Home Buyers, ADP Employment Report, and Consumer Credit

Blog posted On May 08, 2020

Mortgage rates are still historically low, trending lower according to some sources.  Lower rates seemed to have motivated home buyers, and new purchase mortgage applications have increased.  The ADP employment showed significant job loss due to coronavirus closures.  The consumer credit report showed that overall borrowing has slowed. 

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Questions You Can Ask the Neighbors Before You Buy Your New Home

Blog posted On May 07, 2020

When you’re shopping for a new home in a new area, the neighbors could be your greatest resource to learning more about your prospective future neighborhood.  Your Realtor or real estate agent can be a great resource, but there’s nothing like the insight from a resident who has lived in the area for many years. 

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Protect Your Credit Score During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Blog posted On May 06, 2020

As the coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreak has led to businesses closing across the nation, millions of Americans are out of work. According to a TransUnion survey of over 3,000 people, nearly 60% of Americans said their household income has been affected by the pandemic. While millions of Americans have lost income, many are struggling to pay their bills, thus threatening their credit scores. Here’s how you can protect your credit score during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Money Moves to Make While Interest Rates are Low

Blog posted On May 05, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged, as the economy recovers from the mass closures of the coronavirus pandemic.  Some states are starting to ease coronavirus restrictions and reopen businesses while continuing to observe social distancing procedures. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment Report, Consumer Credit

Blog posted On May 04, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend downward.  This week, the only significant housing report scheduled for release is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the ADP employment report and consumer credit.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Fall, No Rate Cut

Blog posted On May 01, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met virtually on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell delivered a press conference and met with reporters over video chat following the meeting.  Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, continuing to trend lower.  Home price appreciation continued upward in February.  Pending home sales dropped significantly in March. 

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Divorce and Your Mortgage: What You Need to Know

Blog posted On April 30, 2020

When you get divorced, one of the biggest assets typically at stake is your marital home.  If you and your spouse bought your home together and paid the mortgage together, you’re going to need to decide what to do with your joint investment.  Sometimes, both spouses agree to sell the home.  Other times, one spouse will continue living in the home and the other will move out.  The first choice you and your former spouse will need to make are whether to sell the home or keep the home, then you can decide what to do about your mortgage.

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Shelter-At-Home Improvement Projects

Blog posted On April 29, 2020

As the coronavirus outbreak has led to increased social distancing precautions and shelter-in-place orders, many parts of the country have been advised to quarantine in their homes. Stay-at-home orders have disrupted routines and shut millions off from the traditional world, Americans are searching for ways to pass the time. While isolating, there are plenty of projects to make your home a more enjoyable place to quarantine.

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5 Ways Coronavirus May Impact Housing Trends

Blog posted On April 28, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions have significantly changed many industries.  Recent data like March’s existing home sales report and new home sales report show sales have slowed during the season that is typically one of the busiest.  As states start to reopen and adjust social distancing procedures, the housing market will likely see a lasting impact, specifically in where people prefer to live and how we buy and sell homes.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, and FOMC Meeting

Blog posted On April 27, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low and have not moved much in recent weeks.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for its first scheduled semiannual monetary policy meeting since the two emergency meetings last month.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Fall, Mortgage Apps Mixed, New Home Sales Slump

Blog posted On April 24, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved drastically this week and are still historically low.  Existing home sales declined, as some markets adjust to social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place ordinances due to the coronavirus pandemic.  New purchase mortgage application submissions are up, but refinance application submissions are down. 

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4 Features That Will be Hard to Find in Your Next Home

Blog posted On April 23, 2020

When you’re searching for a new home, you’ll usually have a list of your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves” to help narrow your search.  Your home search may involve some compromises, especially if you are searching in a busy market.  Real estate contributor, Steven Gottlieb, identified these four features you should think twice about adding to your “must-have” list if you are currently searching for a home. 

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Read This Before You Refinance Your Student Loans

Blog posted On April 22, 2020

Following the recent rate cuts, you may be bombarded with messaging to refinance everything from credit card debt to student loans.  When you refinance your credit card debt you typically take out a personal loan to pay off the credit card debt.  You still have to pay back the personal loan, but it will typically be at a much lower interest rate than the credit card issuers use.  Choosing whether or not to refinance your student loans is not always a simple answer.

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Know Your Options: Forbearance or Refinance?

Blog posted On April 21, 2020

Many Americans across the country are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus or Covid-19 related closures and shutdowns.  Federal, state, and local social distancing guidelines have left many workers temporarily furloughed or laid off.  The term “mortgage forbearance” has come up frequently on the news and also in the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, and New Home Sales

Blog posted On April 20, 2020

Mortgage rates trended lower last week.  Although coronavirus or Covid-19-related closures have caused many closures and slowdowns, banks and lenders are fully operational.  This week, the existing home sales and new home sales reports are both scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Refinance Applications Up as Homeowners Take Advantage of Low Rates

Blog posted On April 17, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, continuing to come in at historic lows.  Refinance mortgage application submissions jumped but new purchase mortgage application submissions declined.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index declined due to the coronavirus or Covid-19 slowdown.  Housing starts and building permits declined month-over-month but improved year-over-year. 

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4 Signs Your Home’s Value Is Declining

Blog posted On April 16, 2020

Your home is an investment, and for most Americans, your biggest investment. Even if you are not planning on selling your home in the near future, you want your home to appreciate in value, so you continue to build wealth through home equity. It is important to recognize factors that indicate a decline in the value of your home. These signs may be an indicator that value has declined.

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Coronavirus and Unemployment: What You Need to Know

Blog posted On April 15, 2020

Over the past few weeks, many industries have experienced changes due to the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic.  Developing federal, state, and local guidance on social distancing and operating procedures has led some businesses to slow operations or temporarily shut down and many Americans have been laid off or had their wages reduced. 

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How Home Buyers Have Adapted to Socially Distant Home Sellers

Blog posted On April 14, 2020

With states and counties adapting to social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates to stop the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19, the way prospective home buyers are touring homes is changing.  As an essential service, banks and lenders are still fully operational helping people buy new homes and refinance existing home loans.  Realtors and real estate agents are adjusting to temporary changes by using technology to create 3D home listings, conduct virtual tours, and give prospective home buyers all the information they need to purchase their homes. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On April 13, 2020

Overall, average mortgage rates continue to hover around historic lows, though they have experienced some volatility in recent weeks.  Coming up this week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index.  Housing starts and building permits are also scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Consumer Credit Expands, Mortgage Apps Fall

Blog posted On April 10, 2020

Mortgage rates have experienced some volatility in recent weeks but remain historically low.  Job openings dipped slightly in February and are likely to continue declining into March.  Consumer borrowing picked up in February.  Weekly mortgage application submissions declined.

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Avoid These Costly Refinance Mistakes

Blog posted On April 09, 2020

Many homeowners are considering a mortgage refinance because they have heard about “historically low interest” rates.  Before refinancing your home loan, there are numerous factors to consider besides the lower interest rate.  Are you trying to take cash out?  Has anything changed significantly in your financial history since you originally financed your home?  How much lower would your payment actually be?

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How You Can Help Others During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Blog posted On April 08, 2020

Within the last few weeks, the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 has infected thousands and disrupted the lives of millions across the country. Schools have closed, sporting seasons have been suspended, and Americans are stocking up on quarantine supplies. Although many across the nation are able to self-isolate in their homes as employees shift to a working remotely approach, some segments of the population are facing a tougher time.  Older people, immunocompromised individuals, workers who do not have paid sick leave, and those who can’t afford sufficient supplies or quality healthcare are the most at risk.

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Why a Recession Does Not Mean a Housing Crisis

Blog posted On April 07, 2020

As the global economy reacts to the fallout from the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic, the word “recession” has reappeared consistently across news outlets.  Many of us may associate the word “recession” with the Financial Crisis that occurred from 2007 to 2008, that was partly caused by subprime lending and the housing crisis.  During these unprecedented times, it is understandable to struggle with feelings of uncertainty. However, it’s important to stay informed with legitimate facts and data.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Consumer Credit, Mortgage Applications

Blog posted On April 06, 2020

Mortgage rates have experienced some volatility in recent weeks as the mortgage market reacts to the coronavirus or Covid-19.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer credit report are each scheduled for release on Tuesday and both reports will reflect pre-coronavirus data. 

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Up, Home Prices Appreciate, Construction Spending Down

Blog posted On April 03, 2020

Mortgage rates climbed slightly higher this week, but overall remain lower than last year’s highs.  Pending home sales increased.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated.  Construction spending weakened.

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What You Can Do Now to Set Yourself up Financially Later

Blog posted On April 02, 2020

For many Americans, financial freedom means the flexibility to save and invest now to give yourself financial flexibility later.  When you’re young, things like retirement and your children’s college tuition may not be as top of mind as climbing the career ladder and paying off your student loans.  The choices you make now will influence your comfort level later.  Here are four things CNBC contributors identified as the most important things to do now to be more financially flexible later.

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What to Do If You Can’t Make Your Mortgage or Rent Payment

Blog posted On April 01, 2020

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has led to travel slowdowns, shutdowns of gyms, restaurants, churches, and other gathering spaces, amid a global economic slowdown.  Millions of American households will likely feel the financial strain from temporary or permanent job loss, investment uncertainty, and other economic pressures.  In times of economic stress, many families may be wondering what to do if they are unable to make a mortgage or rent payment. 

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What the $2 Trillion Stimulus Plan Means for You

Blog posted On March 31, 2020

The coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic has caused a global economic slowdown and American businesses and taxpayers are feeling the impact.  Closures at the state and local level have impacted businesses like gyms and restaurants as they are forced to temporarily close their doors to encourage social distancing.  Travel, sports, and events industries are all experiencing hardship from slowdowns and shutdowns as many Americans postpone travel, national sports leagues delay seasons, and gatherings of 10 or more are discouraged.   

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales Index, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Construction Spending

Blog posted On March 30, 2020

Mortgage rates have experienced some volatility in recent weeks, as the global economy copes with coronavirus concerns.  Overall, average mortgage rates are historically low.  In housing news, this week, the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending are all scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Down, Mortgage Apps Fall, FHFA Price Index Appreciates

Blog posted On March 27, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to experience some volatility this week, but despite that remain historically low.  New home sales dropped in February, after touching a 13-year high in January.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated. 

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Flexible Ways to Use the FHA Loan

Blog posted On March 26, 2020

The FHA Loan is a popular home loan for first-time home buyers because of its low down payment options and more lenient credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements.  In 2018, approximately 83% of FHA borrowers were first-time home buyers.  When using an FHA Loan, you have to use it on a home that will pass the FHA appraisal.  In a busy market, it may be hard to find the right home to pass the FHA appraisal. 

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Financial Moves You Can Make During Coronavirus Quarantine

Blog posted On March 25, 2020

The onslaught of coronavirus news has left a lot of us thinking about our finances.  Some investors are experiencing stock market losses while some workers are facing uncertainties surrounding workplace closures.  During this turbulent time, it’s important to think about your finances and plan ahead to protect yourself.

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Why the Fed’s Rate Cut Does Not Mean 0% Mortgage Rates

Blog posted On March 24, 2020

Last Sunday March 15th, the Federal Reserve cut the Federal Funds rate to a range of zero to 0.25%.  The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which banks lend money to other banks.  It will influence other types of interest rates, like mortgage rates, but they are not the same rate and it’s unlikely that Americans will see 0% mortgage rates at any time. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Mortgage Applications, FHFA House Price Index

Blog posted On March 23, 2020

Mortgage rates experienced volatility last week, following the Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cut on Sunday and the global economic slowdown related to the coronavirus.  This week, the new home sales report and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are both scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Slips, Housing Starts and Building Permits Drop, Existing Home Sales Jump

Blog posted On March 20, 2020

Mortgage rates experienced some volatility this week, after the Federal Reserve’s emergency Sunday night rate cut.  Home builder sentiment declined slightly but remains in a positive range.  Housing starts and building permits declined.  Existing home sales climbed.

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What to Know About Buying a Foreclosed Home

Blog posted On March 19, 2020

In a home foreclosure sale, the seller is a bank or mortgage lender who has seized the property from the owners who were unable to make their mortgage payments.  To make up for the losses, the bank or lender sells the property.

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How to Identify Coronavirus Scams

Blog posted On March 18, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused stock market shock, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to sellout, and major healthcare disruptions.  It has also created a new opportunity for fraudsters to steal under the cloak of coronavirus panic.  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joe Simmons warned in a news release, “what we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.” 

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When Married Couples Should File Separately

Blog posted On March 17, 2020

Tax Day is coming up soon – have you filed your taxes yet?  Over 95% of married couples file their taxes jointly, however, there are some cases where it may make sense to file separately.   The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers you married if you are legally married, live together in a state-recognized common-law marriage, or are separated without separation maintenance or a final divorce decree as of the end of the tax year. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On March 16, 2020

The Federal Reserve will not meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, following Sunday night's emergency rate cut. Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, remaining near year-long lows.  There are several significant housing reports scheduled for release this week including the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Jump, Consumer Price Index Up, Jobless Claims Lower

Blog posted On March 13, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, but overall are at least a full percentage point lower than average rates this time last year.  Lower rates triggered mortgage activity with both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increasing.  The consumer price index also increased slightly.  Jobless claims continue to come in at historic lows.

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Weekend Home Improvement Projects

Blog posted On March 12, 2020

There are many reasons that homeowners start home improvement projects. Maybe you are looking to sell your home soon, increase your return on investment when you do sell, or just want to spruce up your living space.  Many homeowners put off their home improvement projects because they’re worried about how long it’s going to take or how much it’s going to cost.  While major remodels may be expensive or take a long time, some high-value projects can be completed over the weekend! 

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Construction

Blog posted On March 11, 2020

A new-construction home may be a great opportunity to build a custom house that caters to all of your needs. When you purchase a new construction, you have the chance to design the home of your dreams without uprooting and renovating the existing features. However, there are some serious choices to consider when making arrangements for your new home.

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Higher Rent Costs Hurting Middle-Income Americans

Blog posted On March 10, 2020

New data reveals it is not just low-income Americans who are feeling the pain from rising rents.  Middle-income Americans are also finding themselves “cost-burdened.”  The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University revealed more than 10.9 million renters spend more than 50% of their income on rent. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index, Weekly Jobless Claims

Blog posted On March 09, 2020

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)-related economic slowdown. Mortgage rates reacted by trending lower. This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey. Other market-moving reports include the consumer price index and the weekly jobless claims report.

 

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Market Recap: Fed Cuts Rate, Construction Spending Up, Refinance Apps Surge

Blog posted On March 06, 2020

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve announced an emergency half point rate cut to stimulate economic activity in the wake of the global slowdown due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. Mortgage rates reacted by trending lower. US construction spending increased, refinance mortgage applications jumped, and new purchase mortgage applications declined. The ADP employment report added fewer jobs in February than in January.

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How Paying Off Debt Sets You Up for Financial Success

Blog posted On March 05, 2020

Everyone is trying to spend less and save more, but the key to financial success depends what you’re spending on.  Financial experts agree the key to success is paying down debt – but where do you start?  Last holiday season, American consumers added an average of $1,325 in credit card debt.  Credit card debt typically carries a higher interest rate than auto loans or student loans, thus costing you more over time if you carry a balance.

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What to Know About Buying a Home Near Water

Blog posted On March 04, 2020

Many Americans dream of owning a home near water. Whether this home borders an ocean, a bay, or a lake, waterfront houses have a special charm. As alluring as this charm may be, there are several factors that home buyers may not consider. As sea levels rise each year and hurricanes get stronger, purchasing a coastal home may not be in your best interest. Make sure you consider these factors when buying a home near water:

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Last Minute Ways to Save On Your 2019 Taxes

Blog posted On March 03, 2020

Haven’t filed your 2019 taxes yet?  You’re still weeks away from the 4/15/20 deadline, and you may even still have some opportunities to save.  Although you may think when the calendar year ends so does your tax  year, that is not always the case.  If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, review these items with your tax preparer and see if you can reduce your tax bill.   

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Federal Reserve Cuts Rates in Emergency Response to Coronavirus

Blog posted On March 03, 2020

For the first time since 2008, the Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut. Following a teleconference with other finance leaders from the G-7, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin determined this economic strategy would best support economic growth to combat the slowdown caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On March 02, 2020

Mortgage rates dipped down to year-long lows last week. This week in housing news, the US construction spending report is scheduled for release on Monday followed by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday. Other market-moving reports include the ADP employment report.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, New Home Sales Climb

Blog posted On February 28, 2020

Mortgage rates touched down to year-long lows this week. Home price appreciation has picked up after a sluggish few months toward the end of 2019. New home sales jumped to a 12-year high.

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Should you look at homes outside your budget?

Blog posted On February 27, 2020

Before you start looking at home listings, you should get preapproved for mortgage financing.  Mortgage preapproval lets you know how much you can qualify for, estimate what you’ll need for a down payment, and lets you set a budget.  Once you’ve gotten preapproved, you’ll know whether or not the homes you’re looking at are within your budget.  You also may be heartbroken to find out the perfect home you’ve been checking out is outside your budget.  Is there ever a reason to look at homes outside your budget?

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Household Items You Should Be Cleaning but Probably Aren’t

Blog posted On February 26, 2020

Cleaning your home is always a good idea, especially in the midst of cold and flu season. Germs are just about everywhere, not just in the places you expect like door handles. For example—did you know that the kitchen is the germiest part of your home? Yes, even surpassing your bathroom!

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9 Million Homeowners Could Save with a Refinance

Blog posted On February 25, 2020

On the fence about a refinance?  Black Knight Analytics reports about 9.4 million homeowners with a mortgage could save an average of $272 per month if they refinanced their mortgage with today’s low mortgage rates.  At the end of January, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to hold interest rates steady and mortgage rates reacted by trending downward.  A mortgage refinance is an opportunity to lower your monthly mortgage payment, change your loan terms, or even get cash out. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FHFA House Price Index, New Home Sales

Blog posted On February 24, 2020

Mortgage rates have trended lower this month and will likely stay low.  This week, both the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are scheduled for release.  The new home sales report will come out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Home Builders Confident, Housing Starts and Building Permits Mixed, Existing Home Sales Decline

Blog posted On February 21, 2020

Mortgage rates touched down near year-long lows this week. Home builder confidence declined by one point, but overall builders remain confident. Housing starts declined but building permits jumped. Existing home sales fell, due in part to lack of for-sale inventory.

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What to Know About Buying a Home Near a Busy Street

Blog posted On February 20, 2020

When you start looking at homes online, you may fall in love with the curb appeal of a home without stepping foot on the actual curb.  While online listings are a great place to start, you should always visit the home in person before you make an offer.  The home itself may be perfect, but the neighborhood might not be the best fit, and the one thing you can’t change about the home is the location.

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Down Payment Myths You May Believe

Blog posted On February 19, 2020

A down payment can be one of the largest barriers to homeownership, especially for first-time home buyers. A 2019 TransUnion analysis found that first-time home buyers are getting younger, as Millennials and Generation Z are moving towards homeownership. However, the survey also revealed that many first-time buyers believe potentially harmful misconceptions about the home buying process. A staggering amount of the participants surveyed were particularly misinformed about down payment information. Researchers at DownPaymentResource.org combats the most common down payment myths.

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Only 30% of Home Buying Millennials Have Spoken to a Mortgage Lender

Blog posted On February 18, 2020

The long-awaited Millennial migration into homeownership is underway, but a recent TD Bank survey suggests many 23 to 38-year-olds are uncomfortable with the mortgage process and unaware of what exactly goes into buying a home.  From the survey of first-time Millennial home buyers, 68% of respondents think it’s the right time to buy a home and 52% are browsing listings online.  However, 75% of respondents report they are overwhelmed by the mortgage process.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On February 17, 2020

Markets are closed today in observance of the Presidents Day holiday.  Mortgage rates continued to trend lower last week.  There are several important housing reports scheduled for this short week, including the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Refinancing Boom, Consumer Price Index Higher

Blog posted On February 14, 2020

Average mortgage rates are hovering the lowest levels in the past 12 months.  Refinance mortgage application submissions ticked up as a result.  There were fewer job openings in December, as the labor market continues to edge closer to full employment.  The consumer price index increased, by overall inflation is still slow. 

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What can you do about your debt before you buy a home?

Blog posted On February 13, 2020

When you apply for a mortgage, or any other loan or line of credit, your lender will look at your debt-to-income ratio or DTI.  Having debt does not exclude you from buying a home, but most mortgage lenders want your DTI to be 43% or lower to qualify you.    Your DTI is calculated by dividing your monthly debt repayments, like student loans, credit card debt, and car loans, by your gross monthly income. 

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Caution: What to Know When Buying a Home in Another Country

Blog posted On February 12, 2020

Ever thought about buying a home in another country? Whether you plan to purchase an international vacation home or move abroad permanently, buying overseas is quite the undertaking. This task can be even more arduous if there are additional complications, as many overseas buyers have experienced.

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How Does the Fed Holding Rates Steady Help You?

Blog posted On February 11, 2020

Last month, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) or the Fed voted to leave the Federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  That means they did not raise or lower interest rates.   After this announcement, average mortgage rates trended lower and most real estate professionals expect mortgage rates will stay low into 2020.  As a consumer, you may be wondering what exactly the Fed’s decision means for you, whether or not you have mortgage moves planned this year.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On February 10, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, continuing to touch year-long lows.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Residential Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Surges

Blog posted On February 07, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, after touching year-long lows.  Overall construction spending declined, but residential investment increased.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey returned mixed results.  The ADP employment report exceeded expectations. 

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How to Accurately Price Your Home for Sale

Blog posted On February 06, 2020

Your home has probably appreciated since you bought it, but do you know how much it’s worth?  If you’re planning to sell your home this year, you want to list it at the right price.  Significantly changing the price once its listed may be a red flag for potential buyers.  You should consult with a Realtor or real estate agent before you list your home, to get their professional input.  If you’re starting to do your research, here are some options for accurately estimating the value of your home.

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How Will the FICO Changes Impact You?

Blog posted On February 05, 2020

Your FICO credit score is generated by the major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. A higher FICO score can help you apply for a loan and even get a lower interest rate. However, this latest change may leave many consumers with a lower score and influence your mortgage approval.

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Home Sellers See Record Profits

Blog posted On February 04, 2020

In 2019, home sellers saw record profits, according to the 2019 US Home Sales Report by ATTOM Data Solutions.  Sellers netted an average of $65,500, the highest level in 13 years.  Higher profits were influenced by a strong job market, higher wages, stock market gains, and historically low mortgage rates.  After three rate cuts in 2019, and no rate cuts expected this year, mortgage rates will likely stay low through 2020. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment

Blog posted On February 03, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the Federal benchmark interest rate unchanged, signaling mortgage rates will likely continue to stay historically low.  This week, both US construction spending the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey are scheduled for release.  Another market-moving report will be the ADP employment report. 

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales Decline, Home Price Appreciation Steady

Blog posted On January 31, 2020

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the Federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  As a result, mortgage rates trended slightly lower this week.  New home sales dipped, after gains the previous month.  Home price appreciation was steady.  Pending home sales unexpectedly fell. 

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4 Questions to Answer Before You Refinance Your Mortgage

Blog posted On January 30, 2020

Is it time for a mortgage refinance?  With today’s low mortgage rates, you may be thinking about refinancing your mortgage to lower your interest rate, shorten your loan term, or get cash out.  Black Knight reports approximately 8.1 million homeowners could benefit from a mortgage refinance.  Keep in mind, a mortgage refinance is a new loan origination and with that comes a new mortgage and closing costs.  Whether or not a refinance is right for you, depends on your answer to these four questions.

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Five Plumbing Perils to Avoid

Blog posted On January 29, 2020

Many of us are guilty of treating our sinks, drains, and toilets like a trash can. Once it rinses down or flushes away, it’s forgotten—right? Wrong. Some of the seemingly innocent items you flush can cause serious damage to your home’s pipes. Not only can these mistakes be costly to fix, the flooding they may cause will bring a host of problems. Doyle James, the president of Mr. Plumbing, warns homeowners about the most dangerous plumbing mistakes.

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4 Housing Trends to Expect in 2020

Blog posted On January 28, 2020

Tomorrow, the Federal Open Market Committee will meet for the first time in 2020, and based on the minutes from the December 2019 meeting, no interest rate movement is expected.  Since the three rate cuts of 2019, mortgage rates have dropped to historically low levels, incentivizing many home buyers and homeowners looking to refinance.  If the Fed stays the course and holds interest rates steady next week, it will likely continue to motivate home buyers and homeowners looking to refinance. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On January 27, 2020

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Fed is not expected to cut or raise the Federal benchmark interest rate at this meeting and mortgage rates will likely continue to hover historically low levels.  In housing news this week, the new home sales report, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and the pending home sales index are all scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Reverse, Home Prices Appreciate, Existing Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On January 24, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly lower this week ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  Mortgage application submissions reversed course and declined for the week ending 1/17, not surprising after the previous week’s substantial gains.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index showed modest acceleration.  Existing home sales turned around after last month’s decline.

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3 Surprising Documents You May Need for Your Mortgage Application

Blog posted On January 23, 2020

When you apply for a mortgage you know you’re going to need a lot of paperwork.  The more prepared you are before you start your mortgage application the better, especially in today’s busy market where time is of the essence.  Before you apply for a mortgage, it’s best to gather your documents ahead of time.  You know you’ll need bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs, but what else will you need? 

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Five VA Loan Mistakes to Avoid

Blog posted On January 22, 2020

Owning a home is an integral part of the American Dream—the same American Dream that our Veterans and military fought for. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers several options to help those who served in the military get a home loan. However, the process isn’t foolproof, and it’s possible to make mistakes—whether it’s your first home or your tenth.

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Could Densification Give Builders More Space to Build?

Blog posted On January 21, 2020

If you’re shopping for a home this year, you may have noticed you’re facing some competition.  Real estate professionals are expecting one of the busiest home buying seasons yet, due to low mortgage rates and fewer homes for sale.  Zillow researchers analyzed 17 metros across the country to conclude converting just 10% of single-family lots to two-unit homes instead could add 3.3 million additional housing units to existing available homes. 

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On January 20, 2020

Markets are closed today in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.  Important housing reports scheduled for this week include the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index and the existing home sales report.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Jump, Home Builder Sentiment Slips, Housing Starts Hit Record High

Blog posted On January 17, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly and remain historically low.  Mortgage applications reacted and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey showed a strong increase in both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index dropped by one point and remains overwhelmingly positive.  Housing starts climbed to a 13-year high.  Building permits declined month-over-month but increased year-over-year. 

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Your New Home Checklist

Blog posted On January 16, 2020

Moving into a new home is exciting – and can be overwhelming.  That’s why we’ve created your “Welcome Home” Checklist! 

Before you roll out the welcome mat and invite the neighbors to your housewarming party, here are a few things you need to do. 

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Credit Score Myths You Might Believe

Blog posted On January 15, 2020

When you’re applying for a mortgage, or any line of credit or credit card, lenders use your credit score to review your credit history.  A higher credit score shows lenders you are responsible with your debt and may help you get a better interest rate.  Unfortunately, there are numerous credit score myths many consumers believe.  The Wall Street Journal contributor Demetria Gallegos identified these top credit score myths to stop believing today.

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Rising Childcare Costs Hurt Homeownership

Blog posted On January 14, 2020

One of the most commonly reported barriers to buying a first home is saving for the down payment.  Student loan debt is a huge factor in preventing would-be first-time home buyers from saving, and most recently, rising childcare costs may also be a cause.  Freddie Mac issued a recent report on how the rising cost of childcare is hurting renters and delaying home purchase.  The report found the cost of housing has increased 14% in 25 years, while the cost of childcare has increased 49% over the same period.  

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On January 13, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, remaining historically low.  The two most significant housing reports scheduled for release this week include the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index and housing starts and building permits.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey is also scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Surges, Consumer Credit Decelerates

Blog posted On January 10, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, still historically low.  New purchase mortgage application submissions increased, and refinance application submissions declined.  The ADP employment report added more jobs than expected.  Revolving consumer credit declined but non-revolving consumer credit increased. 

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6 Tips for Renting Your Vacation Home

Blog posted On January 09, 2020

If you own a vacation home, renting it out through short-term rental services like Airbnb and HomeAway is a way to earn rental income when you’re not using the home.  Short-term home rentals are growing popular as a hotel alternative, especially for travelers seeking the comforts of home while they are away. 

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Preventing Ring Doorbell and Camera Hacks

Blog posted On January 08, 2020

Homeowners install cameras like the Ring doorbell camera system for added home security.  You can check on activity in front of your home through the app while you are away or make sure your family members arrive home safely.  With optional recording features, the Ring camera can also help catch criminals like package thieves.  Unfortunately, Ring has been in the news lately for another type of criminal, cyber criminals, hacking into cameras, spying on homeowners, and talking to occupants. 

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Housing Market May See An Early Home Buying Season

Blog posted On January 07, 2020

A new year means new housing market predications, and the outlook is good for 2020.  Last week, MarketWatch contributor Jacob Passy wrote, “overall, mortgage rates started off 2020 roughly 80 basis points lower than they were at the start of 2019.”  Lower rates plus a more stable interest rate environment will likely trigger mortgage momentum heading into the new year and might even bring an early home buying season.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment, and Consumer Credit

Blog posted On January 06, 2020

The week ahead will be the first full week of the year.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its first weekly mortgage application survey of 2020.  The ADP employment report and consumer credit are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Increase, Home Prices are Up, Construction Spending Climbs

Blog posted On January 03, 2020

Markets were closed on Wednesday in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.  The pending home sales index improved in November after an October decline.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated more rapidly after a gradual slowdown in 2019.  US construction spending increased. 

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What to Expect from the Housing Market in 2020

Blog posted On January 02, 2020

The new year has begun, and the 2020 housing predictions are in!  Although recession rumors persisted throughout 2019, the economy does not appear to be slowing down drastically.  Despite a slow summer for consumers, spending has picked back up since October.  Additionally, the consumer confidence index and consumer sentiment index continue to post record high numbers.  The job market is strong, the unemployment rate is historically low, and employers continue to add jobs at a steady pace. 

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Watch Out for Haphazard Home Renovations

Blog posted On January 01, 2020

Buying a home that was recently renovated can be a great find or a big mistake.  If everything is up to code and completed by a thoughtful homeowner, you could score a home with like-new features at an affordable price.  If the project was rushed by a property investor or developer, you may end up paying more to fix problems later.  When you’re touring new homes, especially recently renovated homes, here is what you should do.

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Fannie Mae: Upbeat Outlook for New Home Construction in 2020

Blog posted On December 31, 2019

Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group revised its expectations for the 2020 housing market.   The researchers predict single-family housing starts will accelerate 10% in 2020 after just a 1% growth this year.  Home buyers in many markets are competing over a limited number of existing homes for sale and turning to newly constructed homes. 

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Market Forecast: Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Construction Spending

Blog posted On December 30, 2019

It will be another short week ahead with markets closed on Wednesday in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.  There are several important housing reports scheduled for release including the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending. 

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Climb, Mortgage Apps Decline, Jobless Claims Sink

Blog posted On December 27, 2019

Markets were closed on Wednesday, in observance of the Christmas holiday.  Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, trending slightly upward.  New home sales increased, driven by strong buyer demand.  New purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions each declined amidst seasonal slowdown.   Jobless claims fell. 

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Is the home the next family heirloom?

Blog posted On December 26, 2019

If you’ve shopped for a home recently or currently work in real estate, you know fewer and fewer Americans are moving, for a number of reasons.  In 1990, approximately 7.7% of homeowners moved over the course of the year, by 2016 that figure declined to just 4.2%.  In 2017, Zillow reported 86% of all American homeowners who have owned their home for one year or more were not interested in moving in the next three years. 

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End-of-Year Finance Mistakes to Avoid

Blog posted On December 25, 2019

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of the holiday season and make some year-end financial mistakes.  If you fail to pay attention to your finances now, it could cost you next year. Taking some time to review your finances before the end of the year can help you cut excess spending and take advantage of all opportunities to save. 

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Cash-Out Refinances Reach 12-Year High

Blog posted On December 24, 2019

Earlier this month, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave interest rates unchanged and will likely not move rates next year.  This year, mortgage rates reacted by trending downward, incentivizing many homeowners to refinance their mortgage loans.   According to data analytics firm, Black Knight, refinance volume climbed 132% in the third quarter of 2019, the highest level in three years.  Of those refinances, 52% were cash-out refinances, where homeowners withdrew equity from their home.  In 2019, homeowners withdrew $36 billion in home equity, a 12-year high.

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, and Weekly Jobless Claims

Blog posted On December 23, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week.  This week, markets are closed on Wednesday in observance of the Christmas holiday.  In housing news, this week, the new home sales report and the weekly mortgage application survey are scheduled for release.  Another market-moving report scheduled for release is the weekly jobless claims report. 

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Soars, Housing Starts and Building Permits Increase, Existing Home Sales Decline

Blog posted On December 20, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, ahead of next week’s shortened holiday week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index improved, boosted by low mortgage rates and higher buyer demand.  Housing starts and building permits each increased, also.  Existing home sales, however, fell.

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Real Estate Experts Warn Against These Kitchen Trends

Blog posted On December 19, 2019

Many homeowners are refinancing their mortgages with today’s low rates.  Refinancing your mortgage can get you a lower mortgage rate, in some cases, and it can also be an opportunity to withdraw valuable home equity though a cash-out refinance.  When you get a cash-out refinance, you originate a new mortgage loan equal to your existing balance plus the cash you wish to withdraw.  Your new mortgage rate will also reflect today’s low rate environment plus any other changes since you financed your previous mortgage like an improved credit score or lower debt-to-income ratio.

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Gen Z FICO Scores Exceed Millennial FICO Scores

Blog posted On December 18, 2019

New data reveals that Generation Z (people born in 1995 and onward) have higher credit scores than both Millennials and Generation X.  According to LendingPoint, a personal lender, Gen Z had an average FICO score of 637, above Gen X’s average of 632, the Millennials’ average of 629, and even above the all-generation average of 634.  Only Baby Boomers had a higher average credit score of 645.  The report reviewed data from applications submitted between July 2018 to July 2019. 

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Americans of All Ages are Not Moving

Blog posted On December 17, 2019

If you’ve been house hunting in recent months, you’ve probably noticed fewer homes for sale.  Many regions are dealing with housing inventory shortages, and the data proves it.  Last month, the Census revealed that just 9.8% of the US population moved from March 2018 to March 2019, the lowest level since the Census started recording data in 1947.  This lack of mobility is leading to a shortage of available homes for sale and creating competitive markets where buyers need to move quickly or may face bidding wars.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On December 16, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave interest rates unchanged, and mortgage rates reacted by not moving significantly.  There is a full week of housing news ahead with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index, housing starts and building permits, and existing home sales all scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Mixed, Consumer Price Index Increased, and No Rate Hike

Blog posted On December 13, 2019

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at its last meeting of 2019.  Mortgage rates reacted by not moving significantly.  New purchase mortgage application submissions fell slightly, and refinance application submissions climbed.  The consumer price index increased.

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What Co-Signing on Someone Else’s Mortgage Means for You

Blog posted On December 12, 2019

If you have a good credit score, manage your debt responsibly, and have a steady income you may be asked to co-sign on somebody else’s mortgage loan.  For example, some parents may co-sign on their adult children’s mortgage to help improve their loan terms.  Just like co-signing on a personal loan or car loan, when you co-sign on someone else’s mortgage you’re agreeing to take on that debt and make the payments if the occupying borrower defaults. 

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Avoiding Debt this Holiday Season

Blog posted On December 11, 2019

The season of giving can quickly become the season of debt if you do not spend carefully and stick to a budget.  You want to shower your loved ones, and sometimes yourself, with gifts but you don’t want to be paying off that holiday debt until the next year.  A new study from NerdWallet found consumers plan to spend an average of $825 on gifts this year, up from an average of $776 last year. 

 

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Rental Rates Rise, Especially for Single-Family Homes

Blog posted On December 10, 2019

Renters are about to start paying more every month, according to data from CoreLogic, due to a shrinking supply of single-family rental homes.  After the high number of foreclosures following the Financial Crisis, a surplus of low-priced single-family homes were purchased by property investors and converted into rental homes.  From 2010 to 2016, the number of single-family rental homes jumped 38%, while multifamily or apartment rentals increased just 3%.  Since that surge, supply has flattened while demand has remained strong. 

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Market Forecast: Federal Open Market Committee Meeting, Mortgage Apps, and Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On December 09, 2019

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for its last semiannual monetary policy meeting of the year.  The Fed is not expected to move interest rates during this meeting.  In housing news, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.  Another market-moving report scheduled is the consumer price index. 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Slows, Mortgage Apps Mixed, and the ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On December 06, 2019

Mortgage rates trended lower this week, ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  This week, the US construction spending report showed overall construction investment slowed in October.  New purchase mortgage application submissions increased but refinance application submissions declined.  The ADP employment report was lower than expected.

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Buying a Home for the Holidays

Blog posted On December 05, 2019

During the holiday season, most home buying and selling activity tends to slow down.  People are traveling, the weather is colder, and home buyers and sellers have other things on their mind.  However, if you’re on a timeline to start a new job or move for a family obligation, you may still need to buy or sell a home during the holiday season, even if it’s not the ideal time.  After October’s rate cut, the third one of 2019, home buying and selling may pick up into the end of the year.

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Christopher M. George Recognized as 2019 HousingWire Vanguard

Blog posted On December 05, 2019

San Ramon, CA – Christopher M. George, founder, president, and CEO of CMG Financial, was honored as a 2019 HousingWire Vanguard.  For its 5th annual list, HousingWire recognized select housing finance executives who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the industry.  The Vanguards were chosen by HousingWire’s editorial board based on their accomplishments in the last 12 months both within their respective companies and the housing sector they represent.

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Commonly Overlooked Home Hazards

Blog posted On December 04, 2019

You don’t have to save your cleaning for the spring!  With a new year approaching it’s the perfect opportunity to start fresh.  Is there a musty smell in your basement?  When was the last time you changed your smoke detector batteries?  Do you even have a carbon monoxide detector?  Zillow researchers narrowed down the top five household hazards and how you can avoid them.

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Federal Housing Finance Agency Increases Conforming Loan Limits

Blog posted On December 03, 2019

Last Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it is raising the conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac again in 2020.  This historic move marks the fourth straight year of loan limit increases. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and the ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On December 02, 2019

There was not much mortgage rate movement during last week’s shortened holiday week.  This week in housing news, US construction spending and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey are both scheduled for release.  In employment news, the ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Home Values Up, New Home Sales Down, Pending Home Sales Fall

Blog posted On November 29, 2019

It was a short week this week, with markets closed on Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Home price appreciation has started to pick up.  New home sales and pending home sales both declined month-over-month, but climbed year-over-year. 

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4 Reasons to Consider Buying a Multi-Family Home

Blog posted On November 28, 2019

Your investment in real estate starts with the purchase of your first home.  The major advantage of buying over renting, is that when you own your home, every mortgage payment goes toward building home equity.  You can take your real estate investment a step further by buying a multi-family home like a duplex or triplex instead of just a single-family home. 

 

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How Personal Loans Help Some Consumers Pay Off Debt Faster

Blog posted On November 27, 2019

When you’re getting ready to apply for a mortgage, you’re going to want to improve your credit score and lower your debt-to-income ratio if needed.  Lenders use financial data like your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio to evaluate how you manage your other debt and determine your interest rate. 

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More Young Home Buyers are Choosing VA Loans

Blog posted On November 26, 2019

The VA Loan is one of the most affordable ways for qualifying Veterans and Active-Duty Military to purchase a home.  The VA Loan does not require a down payment, doesn’t have mortgage insurance, and typically will have a below-average interest rate.  The VA Loan was created in 1944 to help soldiers returning from World War II put down roots and buy homes.  However, it tends to be underutilized as a mortgage option.  Recent data shows, both Millennial and Generation Z home buyers have led to a resurgence in VA Loan usage. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Index

Blog posted On November 25, 2019

It will be a short week for economic news, with markets closed on Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday and none scheduled on Friday.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the new home sales report are both scheduled for Tuesday.  The pending home sales index comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Pulls Back, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump, Existing Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On November 22, 2019

Mortgage rates are historically low, and likely to remain low into the end of the year.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index dropped one point in November, but the reading is still positive.  Both housing starts and building permits increased.  Existing home sales turned around. 

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Tips for a Stress-Free Home Renovation

Blog posted On November 21, 2019

Recently, many homeowners are using cash-out refinances to reinvest in their homes.  Through a cash-out refinance, you can withdraw a portion of your home’s equity to finance other expenses.  Home repair or renovation projects are commonly financed through a cash-out refinance because they are a way for you to reinvest in your home.  You should not withdraw equity from your home unless you’ve built up a cushion of at least 20%.  When used responsibly, a cash-out refinance can be a way for you to increase the resale value of your home. 

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Do you have a high enough credit score to get a mortgage?

Blog posted On November 20, 2019

One of the things every lender looks at when you apply for a loan is your credit score.  Your credit score reflects how well you manage your debt based on your repayment history, outstanding balance, and other factors.  Recent data from the Federal Reserve showed 90% of US mortgages were issued to borrowers with a score of 650 or higher.  Further, 75% of US mortgages were issued to borrowers with a score of 700 or higher. 

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Homeowners: What to Know Before End-of-Year Tax Time

Blog posted On November 19, 2019

With today’s low mortgage rates, many homeowners are refinancing their mortgages to get a lower interest rate or get cash out.  A cash-out refinance is an opportunity to withdraw your home’s equity to improve your home, pay down other debt, or finance another need.  Home repair and renovation projects are a good way to reinvest in your property and potentially increase its resale value.  This year, Americans are on track to spend $425 billion on home improvement projects.  You may even be able to claim tax benefits on some home upgrades. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On November 18, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, trending slightly downward according to some sources.  There are several important housing reports scheduled for this week ahead of next week’s Thanksgiving holiday.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index is scheduled for release on Monday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, and existing home sales on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Up, Consumer Price Index Accelerates, Retail Sales Climb

Blog posted On November 15, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly lower this week, continuing to hover near year-long lows.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey reacted with an increase in both new purchase and refinance mortgage applications.  Both the consumer price index and core CPI increased.  Retail sales are also up.

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Real Estate Investing: Single-Family Homes vs. Apartment Buildings

Blog posted On November 14, 2019

When you invest in residential real estate you either buy to rent or buy to sell.  Buying to rent means you will have to pay for and maintain the property overtime, while renting to a tenant who will ideally offset the cost through the rental payment.  Buying to sell means you buy the home to renovate, repair, and resell for a profit.  When buying to rent, you have the option to buy a single-family home or multi-family units like a row of townhouses or apartment building, depending on your upfront capital and ongoing commitment.  When you are deciding whether to go single-family or multi-family on your residential real estate investment, consider these four points: vacancy, management, maintenance, and capital. 

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How to Take Control of Your Energy Needs

Blog posted On November 13, 2019

With last year’s devastating wildfires in our recent memory, PG&E recently made the decision to temporarily shut down power services in high-risk areas.  Power lines taken down by high-speed winds can cause sparks that ignite exceptionally dry foliage.  Downed PG&E power lines have been linked to the 2018 Camp Fire that ripped through Northern California towns like Paradise.  PG&E’s decision to shut off power sheds light on another issue, our reliance on utility companies.  With climate change escalating and more climate-related problems expected to occur, it’s a good time to consider options to take control of your home’s energy needs.

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5 Home Improvement Trends from the Home Improvement Research Institute

Blog posted On November 12, 2019

Homeowners and home buyers are going to be busy with home improvement projects in 2020.  Many homeowners are taking advantage of lower mortgage rates to refinance and get cash out to reinvest in home improvement projects and many home buyers are choosing to renovate a home they buy rather than wait for the perfect home to go up on the market.  The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) hosted a summit earlier this summer to discuss home improvement trends and make predictions for 2020. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales

Blog posted On November 11, 2019

There are no economic events scheduled today in observance of the Veterans Day holiday.  On behalf of everyone at our organization, we’d like to thank our Veterans and active-duty military for their service to our country.  The only significant housing report scheduled for this week is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey scheduled for release on Wednesday.  Other market-moving reports include the consumer price index and retail sales.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Consumer Credit Report Mixed

Blog posted On November 08, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week but continue to come in at historic lows.  Job openings dropped for the fourth straight month.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined, and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Revolving credit declined but non-revolving credit increased. 

 

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7 Inexpensive Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Blog posted On November 07, 2019

When you’re staging a home for sale the details matter. A couple of inexpensive changes can make a big difference to potential buyers who are touring your home.  Your Realtor or real estate agent is the expert when it comes to staging your home, but here are some ways you can up the perceived value of your home before you list.

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Are you financially prepared for an emergency?

Blog posted On November 06, 2019

Many Americans are unprepared for an emergency like a car accident or unexpected medical cost.  Traditionally, financial experts recommend having at least six-month’s worth of income saved as an emergency fund to cover costs in case of a financial emergency or job loss.  However, new research reveals the new magic savings number may be lower than you think.  A study of 70,000 lower-income households found that $2,467 may be the magic number when it comes to emergency savings.

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How the Fed Rate Cut Influences Mortgage Rates

Blog posted On November 05, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to lower the Federal benchmark interest rate.  As a result, average mortgage rates have trended lower.  When you’re shopping for a new home, you know you’re supposed to pay attention to FOMC decisions, but how exactly does the recent rate cut influence your future mortgage rate?  The Federal benchmark interest rate does influence the cost to borrow to money for a mortgage or other loan, but there are other factors that impact how mortgage interest rates are determined.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, Consumer Credit

Blog posted On November 04, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted in favor of a rate cut and mortgage rates reacted by trending lower.  This week, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is scheduled for release on Tuesday and the consumer credit report comes out on Thursday.  The only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Fed Cuts Rates, Home Price Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Jump

Blog posted On November 01, 2019

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to lower the federal benchmark interest rate to a targeted range of 1.5-1.75%.  Mortgage rates will likely trend downward as a result.  The S&P Core-Logic Case-Shiller home price index depreciated month-over-month and moved up just slightly year-over-year.  The pending home sales index climbed. 

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Warning: 7 Outdated Home Décor Trends According to Real Estate Experts

Blog posted On October 31, 2019

When you’re selling your home, you want potential buyers to be able to picture themselves living there.  Staging your home is an important part of that and so is avoiding or changing outdated décor trends.  Apartment Therapy interviewed real estate agents, brokers, and Realtors from around the country to define these top trends to avoid.

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Teaching Your Kids About Money Can Start Early

Blog posted On October 30, 2019

You may not think you need to start talking to your kids about money until they get their first job or start applying for college.  However, introducing your kids to financial concepts early can help them develop a stronger understanding when it’s time for them to start earning and spending their own money.  Children as young as toddlers are able to comprehend simple concepts like spending, saving, and earning, when you lay the groundwork early.  Here are some concepts you can introduce to your kids early, so they understand money later.

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Looking to flip homes? Look in the Midwest!

Blog posted On October 29, 2019

Home flipping, or buying a home at a low price to sell for a profit, is one of the ways real estate investors make money.  The practice is usually popular in markets experiencing rapid home price appreciation, like Las Vegas or Miami.  A new study from Realtor.com found that one of the best markets for flipping homes may not be where you expect – St. Louis, MO. 

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Market Forecast: FOMC Meeting, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales Index

Blog posted On October 28, 2019

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will give a press conference on Wednesday following the release of the FOMC announcement.   In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Down, Mortgage Apps Fall, New Home Sales Slip

Blog posted On October 25, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  Existing home sales declined in September.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are down.  New home sales also declined. 

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Why Your Home Might Sell for Less than you Expect

Blog posted On October 24, 2019

The last thing you want to happen when you’re selling your home is for it to sell for less than you expected.  If you’re selling your current home, you’re probably in the process of buying a new home.  Selling your home for $5,000 or even $10,000 less than you expected to sell it for can seriously shrink your moving budget. 

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CMG Financial Welcomes Michael Iorio, Regional Vice President of Northern California and Nevada

Blog posted On October 24, 2019

CMG Financial, a privately-held, well-capitalized mortgage banking firm headquartered in San Ramon, CA, announced the addition of Michael Iorio to its Western Division leadership team. Michael has over twenty years of financial services experience and has held senior leadership positions at national banks and lenders. At CMG Financial, Michael will serve as Regional Vice President of Northern California and Nevada and spearhead growth initiatives in this critical region.

 

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Are you making this big money-saving mistake?

Blog posted On October 23, 2019

Chances are if you’re working, you are saving for retirement.  Most employers have a retirement savings program where employees can set aside pretax money directly out of their paycheck and save it in a retirement account.  While most of us know we are “saving for retirement,” we may forget we are actually “investing for retirement.”  The money you deposit in your 401(k), Roth IRA, or other retirement account is typically invested in the stock market so your money grows. 

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Expect Bidding Wars this Fall

Blog posted On October 22, 2019

After an unseasonably slow Spring, and two late-in-the-year rate cuts, many real estate professionals are expecting a busy Fall, bidding wars included.  Typically, bidding wars tend to drop off when the housing market cools down in the Fall and Winter months, dropping about 15 percentage points from March to September. However, Redfin reports in September 2019, 11% of offers written by the firm faced a bidding war, up from 10% of offers in August.  This figure may be down substantially from the 41% of offers facing a bidding war in September 2018, but the trend goes against the seasonal pattern the market has seen from 2013-2018.  

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, Mortgage Apps, and New Home Sales

Blog posted On October 21, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending slightly downward according to some sources.  This week will be a big week for housing with both the existing home sales and new home sales reports scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey will come out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Housing Starts and Building Permits Declined

Blog posted On October 18, 2019

Mortgage rates did not change significantly this week, trending slightly downward according to some sources.  Home builder sentiment reached the highest level in almost two years.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined, and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  After strong numbers in August, housing starts and building permits declined. 

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Investing in Real Estate vs. Stocks

Blog posted On October 17, 2019

Real estate is often considered a more stable investment than stocks, but why?  While all investments come with varying degrees of risk and reward, the advantage of investing in real estate is that it tends to appreciate over time, and it is a useable, tangible asset.  Before moving forward with any investment, you should consult a financial advisor.  Investing in real estate is a good option for some and investing in stocks is a better option, although it depends on your how much you are investing and your short-term and long-term goals. 

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Many Seniors Prefer Multigenerational Housing

Blog posted On October 16, 2019

Multiple generations living in the same home is growing more common.  In 1980, only 12% of Americans lived in a home that included adults from two or more generations.  In 2018, that figure had risen to 20%.  Living in a multigenerational household can help seniors stay active, healthy, and involved.  Multigenerational housing is becoming so common, that it’s not just family members living together.  Developers are designing co-living spaces to house multiple generations and meet this preference. 

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Medical Debt May Be Hurting More Potential Home Buyers Than Student Debt

Blog posted On October 15, 2019

In recent years, student loan debt has been one of the biggest obstacles to saving for the down payment on a home, especially for Millennials and younger first-time home buyers.  A recent Zillow survey of 13,000 households nationwide reveals that another type of debt may be hurting home buyers and renters of all ages, even more than student loan debt.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and New Home Sales

Blog posted On October 14, 2019

Mortgage rates are not expected to move significantly this week and continue to remain historically low.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index is scheduled for release on Wednesday, followed by housing starts and building permits and new home sales on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, Refinance Applications Up, Job Openings Dip

Blog posted On October 11, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week and remain historically low.  Consumer credit growth expanded at a somewhat weaker rate, driven by a drop in credit card borrowing.  Mortgage application submissions were mixed.  Job openings declined.

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How to Buy a Home Out of State

Blog posted On October 10, 2019

Any move can be stressful, but moving out of state comes with added intricacies.  Whether you’re moving for a career change, family reasons, or a change of scenery, your new home purchase should not be something to worry about.  Follow these steps to simplify your next big out-of-state move.

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Airbnb Invests in Affordable Housing

Blog posted On October 09, 2019

Airbnb, the popular short-term rental service, announced a $25 million investment in affordable housing efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County.  San Francisco and Los Angeles among other metro areas in the western United States, has experienced rapid home price and rental rate appreciation in recent years.  San Francisco specifically has experienced sustained home price appreciation over the years because of the prevalence of job opportunities, especially tech jobs, and the limited supply of housing. 

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Over Half of Millennial Home Buyers Finance with PMI

Blog posted On October 08, 2019

Private mortgage insurance or PMI is typically required when the home buyer finances with a conventional loan and puts down less than 20% for the down payment.  Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance is insurance for the lender, in case you default on your mortgage.  PMI is usually added on top of the monthly mortgage payment and this extra cost can quickly add up, especially for first-time home buyers that may not fully understand PMI.  

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Mortgage Applications, and Job Openings

Blog posted On October 07, 2019

Mortgage rates trended slightly lower last week.  This week, the only directly related housing report is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release the minutes from its last semiannual monetary policy meeting giving economists a better understanding of what to expect for the rest of the year.  Other market-moving reports include consumer credit and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).  

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Apps Rebound, ADP Employment Report Down Slightly

Blog posted On October 04, 2019

Mortgage rates trended lower this week, continuing to touch down on year-long lows.  US construction spending increased slightly, but residential construction spending specifically jumped.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are up.  The ADP employment report was lower than expected. 

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Why School Districts Matter, Even if You Don’t Have School-Age Children

Blog posted On October 03, 2019

When you’re looking at listings for your new home, you’ll often find the local school district rating featured right beside crime statistics and other important local data.  Even if you do not have school-age children, the ranking of your neighborhood school district matters because it will influence the overall value of your home and when it comes time to sell, may even help sell your home faster and earn a larger profit.

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Average Consumer FICO Score Reaches 706

Blog posted On October 02, 2019

Consumer credit scores continue to recover in the wake of economic recovery, most recently hitting a new record high FICO score of 706.  The FICO credit score is the most widely accepted credit score used by banks and lenders to assess a consumer’s credit risk and ability to repay a loan or a line of credit.  By comparison, just ten years ago, at the end of the Great Recession, the average FICO credit score was only 686. 

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What Not to Do When the Fed Cuts Interest Rates

Blog posted On October 01, 2019

Last month, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted for a quarter-point interest rate cut, the second one this year.  When the Fed cuts the Federal benchmark interest rate, all interest rates will react by trending lower.  The cost of borrowing money, like the average mortgage rate, will fall, but the return on your savings account will also be lower, and can hurt some savers expecting to earn interest income. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On September 30, 2019

Average mortgage rates are still historically low following the two recent Federal Reserve rate cuts.  This week in housing news, US construction spending comes out on Tuesday and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Sunday.  In jobs-related news, the ADP employment report is scheduled for release on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Rebound

Blog posted On September 27, 2019

Average mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, but still remain close to year-long lows.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index was unchanged from June to July, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index increased slightly.  Pending home sales increased.

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Profile of Today’s First-Time Home Buyer

Blog posted On September 26, 2019

Do today’s first-time home buyers look drastically different from the first-time home buyers of twenty years ago?  In some ways they do but in many ways they don’t.  Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies analyzed over twenty years of housing data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and American Housing Surveys to evaluate what today’s first-time home buyers look like, what trends have persisted, and what’s new.

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Did you know your homeowner’s insurance may cover this?

Blog posted On September 25, 2019

You get homeowner’s insurance to protect your family and your property from fire, thefts, and weather damage, but did you know it may also cover other unexpected hazards?  Consumer Reports collaborated with the Insurance Information Institute and found six surprising incidents your homeowner’s insurance may cover. 

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Home Buyers Rank Air Conditioning Over Proximity to Family and Friends

Blog posted On September 24, 2019

We’ve all heard the familiar real estate mantra “Location, Location, Location,” but today’s home buyers and renters are consistently ranking this home feature as the most important.  Zillow Group’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that air conditioning was the most important housing feature ranked even above proximity to family and friends. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FHFA House Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index

Blog posted On September 23, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to cut the Federal benchmark interest rate, and mortgage rates responded by trending lower.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are both scheduled for release on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index will come out on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Housing Market Index Up, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump, Existing Home Sales Jump

Blog posted On September 20, 2019

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to lower the benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to a target range of 1.75% to 2%.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending lower.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index ticked upward.  Housing starts and building permits each turned around.  Existing home sales climbed to a 17-month high.

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Listing Your Home? Emphasize These Features if You’ve Got Them

Blog posted On September 19, 2019

When you’re selling your home, you’re likely on a deadline.  You have to get an offer on your current home, make an offer on your new home, and move all within a relatively tight timeline, especially if you live in or are moving to a busy market.  Selling your home faster can be as easy as emphasizing certain features that buyers find appealing.  Zillow analyzed 4.6 million home sales across the country from 2017 to 2018 and found that these features tended to sell homes faster and, in some cases, net a greater profit.

 

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Watch Out: 6 Common HOA Rules You May Accidentally Break

Blog posted On September 18, 2019

In communities managed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), homeowners typically have to adhere to certain guidelines and rules known as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs).  If you break one of your HOA’s CC&Rs you may face a fine in addition to your monthly or yearly dues.  When you move into a new home, it’s important to read your HOA CC&Rs thoroughly.  Seemingly routine changes to your home’s exterior or a friend visiting in a Recreational Vehicle may violate the rules and leave you with a fine or worse.

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A Buyer’s Market Likely Coming this Fall

Blog posted On September 17, 2019

Fall home buyers may be in luck.  This summer, mortgage rates touched down to the lowest levels in three years.  Whether or not the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) votes for a rate cut tomorrow, mortgage rates will likely stay historically low through the end of this year.  Additionally, appraisals have gotten harder, and many buyers are making more cautious decisions.  Thus, sellers are not able to price their home as high as they did earlier this year.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On September 16, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, continuing to hover around historic lows.  The Federal Open Market Committee will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and is expected to cut interest rates.  In housing news, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index is scheduled for release on Tuesday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Wednesday, and existing home sales on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Expands, Job Openings Down, Mortgage Apps Up

Blog posted On September 13, 2019

Mortgage rates stayed near year-long lows this week, skewing slightly higher according to some sources.  Consumer credit expanded in July, powering overall economic growth.  Job openings are down and voluntary quit rates are up, as the labor market stays strong.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are up. 

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Do the Math: How much do you need to save for a down payment?

Blog posted On September 12, 2019

When you’re ready to buy a home, one of the first questions that will come to mind is naturally “how much do I need to save for a down payment?”  The amount needed for the down payment will vary depending on the type of loan you choose.  Many home buyers believe a 20% down payment is needed to buy a home, but that’s not always the case.  In 2018, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 55% of all home buyers bought their home with a down payment of 6% or less, and 72% of first-time home buyers used a down payment of 6% or less.  To determine how much you will need to save for a down payment, start with these equations.

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Think You’re Saving Money on that Fixer-Upper? Think Again!

Blog posted On September 11, 2019

Many home buyers choose to buy a fixer-upper for financial reasons.  They often expect the cost of the home combined with the cost of the needed improvements will still be less than buying a comparable move-in ready home.  A recent survey of 1,069 homeowners from Porch.com, found that although buyers who bought a fixer-upper spent on average $50,000 less than their counterparts who bought move-in ready homes.  But they tended to spend that difference, or more, on renovations and repairs to make their home livable.

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Would a Recession Impact Today’s Housing Market?

Blog posted On September 10, 2019

Lately, numerous networks have been broadcasting news about an impending recession.  The economy ebbs and flows through various economic cycles, and there are times when sustained growth is followed by a downturn.  After the longest period of economic expansion in American history, a recession would not be unusual.  When we hear “recession” today, many of us may immediately recall the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 and the ensuing Great Recession.  The Great Recession was brought on in part by irresponsible lending practices and the housing market collapse.  However, if a recession takes place soon, it will likely not have the same impact on housing as the Great Recession.   

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, JOLTS, and Mortgage Applications

Blog posted On September 09, 2019

There are no significant housing reports scheduled for this week, aside from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the consumer credit report and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Improves, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Report Beats Predictions

Blog posted On September 06, 2019

Markets were closed on Monday in observance of the Labor Day holiday.  Mortgage rates continued their downward trend this week, touching down on year-long lows.  Construction spending improved in July.  New purchase application submissions were up, but refinance application submissions were down.  The ADP employment report exceeded expectations.

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How Soon is too Soon to Sell Your Home?

Blog posted On September 05, 2019

The home you buy today is not always going to be the home you live in forever.  Sometimes the need to move may come sooner than you expect.  Most real estate professionals recommend waiting at least five years after buying a home before selling it to make sure you recoup the cost of the home purchase.  However, circumstances vary, and in some cases, you could benefit from selling your home sooner rather than later.  Realtor.com contributor, Larissa Runkle, identified three times when you should break the “5-year rule.”

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Tesla Tests Rental Solar Panels in Six States

Blog posted On September 04, 2019

Since Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016, residential solar panel installations have stalled.  High installation costs create a financial barrier for many homeowners to switch to solar panels, despite the long-term energy savings.  To make its solar panels more accessible, Tesla is pioneering a rental program in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico, with no installation costs and no time commitment. 

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Trump Administration Prepared to Release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reform Plan Soon

Blog posted On September 03, 2019

The Trump Administration is expected to release its plan to return Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private-shareholder ownership early this month.  Although Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin initially pledged housing finance reform was a top priority when he took office, the issue has taken a backseat to other policy matters throughout the Trump presidency.  This proposal was expected to be announced earlier this summer but was delayed by revisions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, ADP Employment Report

Blog posted On September 02, 2019

Markets are closed today in observance of the Labor Day holiday.  This will be a short week with lots of news.  The US construction spending report comes out on Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday, and the ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday.  

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Decline

Blog posted On August 30, 2019

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, touching year-long lows according to some sources.  Both the Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index showed a slowdown of home price appreciation in June.  Pending home sales declined. 

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4 Ways to Reduce Your Biggest Expense During Retirement

Blog posted On August 29, 2019

Whether it’s your mortgage payment or your monthly rent, housing is most retirees’ biggest recurring expense.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household headed by an adult 65 or older spends nearly 34% of their income on housing and housing-related expenses like insurance, property taxes, maintenance needs, and utilities.  For many, retiring means a fixed income and the prospect of monthly housing costs may seem daunting, especially added onto other needs like medical expenses and travel.  Financial contributors at the Motley Fool compiled this list of four ways to reduce your biggest expense during retirement. 

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Low-Cost Ways to Make Your Bathroom Feel Brand New

Blog posted On August 28, 2019

Whether you just moved into your home or have lived there for years, renovations do not have to be costly.  Bathrooms are one of the most popular rooms to renovate following kitchen renovations.  There are ways to spruce up your bathroom without breaking the bank.  If you’re not ready for a full bathroom makeover, try some of these ideas.

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Millennial Homeowners Driving Home Improvement Spending

Blog posted On August 27, 2019

Determined to become homeowners in today’s competitive housing market, Millennials have found a new way to get what they want out of their home purchase; home improvement.  In many metros, especially high-cost areas with rising home prices, first-time home buyers like Millennials have found choosing to buy a home that needs renovation or repair allows them to become a homeowner sooner and start building valuable home equity from their real estate investment.  CNBC reported last year, homeowners who had mortgages experienced an 8% annual equity increase, adding up to $678 billion in excess home equity or approximately $9,700 per homeowner. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FHFA House Price Index, and Pending Home Sales Index

Blog posted On August 26, 2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, continuing to hover near historic lows.  This week, two readings on home price appreciation trends will be released.  Both the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are scheduled for release on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index comes out on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Flat, Existing Home Sales Increase, New Home Sales Decline

Blog posted On August 23, 2019

Mortgage rates flattened out this week, not moving significantly in either direction.  As a result, mortgage activity was slow.  Existing home sales increased in July, possibly triggered by this summer’s lower mortgage rates.  New home sales fell sharply.

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Reasons Not to Get a Mortgage Online

Blog posted On August 22, 2019

The idea of a totally digital mortgage experience may sound alluring to anyone with a busy schedule of daily demands.  But when it comes to a six (or more!) digit transaction, there is an advantage to having a real person on your side to advocate on your behalf.  Even if you prefer to get started filling out your application online or through our mobile app, working with a real loan officer and not a customer service hotline empowers you to cross the finish line with confidence.

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6 Ways to Start Your Winter Home Maintenance this Summer

Blog posted On August 21, 2019

If you’re kicking back by the pool, the last thing on your mind is colder weather ahead.  But fast forward to the winter months and imagine going out to check your gutter leak in the chilling wind.  Preparing your home for the winter months during the summer can save you tons of aggravation, and even reduce the need for expensive repairs. 

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Trump Administration Moves to Restrict FHA Mortgage Refinance Limits

Blog posted On August 20, 2019

In lieu of the Federal Reserve’s rate cut, many homeowners are considering a mortgage refinance.  Refinancing your mortgage could help you lower your monthly mortgage payment through a lower interest rate, reduce or eliminate mortgage insurance, change loan programs or terms, or get cash out.  When homeowners get cash out, they are able to use their home’s equity to finance other needs like a home renovation project or to pay down higher interest debt. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales

Blog posted On August 19, 2019

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower, reaching year-long lows in many cases.  This week, both the existing home sales and new home sales reports are scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Climb, Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts Decline but Building Permits Increased

Blog posted On August 16, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, staying near year-long lows.  Lower rates led to a significant increase in refinance mortgage applications.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index improved.  Housing starts fell but building permits jumped. 

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Choosing the Right Size Home: Floor Plan vs. Square Footage

Blog posted On August 15, 2019

After budget and location, the number of rooms and the square footage are among the top factors home buyers consider.  However, when you’re buying a new home, bigger isn’t always better.  Touring the actual homes you’re considering purchasing, rather than just relying on the reported square footage, allows you to see how the home is setup.  A larger home with poorly used space won’t serve you as well as a smaller home with the right layout.  When you see a home within your budget and a larger than expected square footage, take a tour with your Realtor or real estate agent.  Make sure the layout suits your needs and you don’t get stuck with unusable space.

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FHA Issues New Condominium Approval Rule

Blog posted On August 15, 2019

With new guidelines set to become effective on October 15, 2019, condominium financing will become more accessible for FHA borrowers.  Previously, to finance a condominium unit with an FHA loan the condo project had to meet approval requirements.  With the new policy, individual condo units that are not part of an FHA-approved condo project can still be eligible for FHA financing.  The policy change is a response to the need for more affordable options for first-time home buyers in today’s competitive market. 

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5 Most Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes, According to Realtors

Blog posted On August 14, 2019

When you’re buying a home, especially for the first time, working with a Realtor or real estate agent can help you avoid any rookie mistakes.  Lifestyle blog, Apartment Therapy, polled real estate agents from around the country to identify the most common first-time home buyer mistakes, and how you can avoid them. 

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FHA to make financing easier for condo owners

Blog posted On August 14, 2019

Announces long-awaited changes to eligibility requirements that include individual unit approval.

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More Americans Qualifying for Jumbo Mortgage Loans

Blog posted On August 13, 2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) revealed it was easier to get a jumbo loan in June 2019 than it has been in the past eight years.  All types of mortgage loans saw increases in credit availability, but jumbo loan credit availability marked the 6th straight month of increases.  Home buyers use jumbo loans to finance homes with purchase prices higher than the conforming loan limits. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, Housing Market Index, and Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On August 12, 2019

Mortgage rates have fallen to year-long lows, amidst the Federal Open Market Committee’s vote to cut rates.  This week, there are several important housing reports ahead including the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index, and housing starts and building permits. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down Slightly, Refinance Apps Surge, Consumer Credit Expands

Blog posted On August 09, 2019

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, reaching year-long lows according to some sources.  Job openings slipped slightly.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined but refinance mortgage application submissions are up.  Consumer credit expanded less than expected.

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Forbes Real Estate Council’s Realtor Recommendations

Blog posted On August 08, 2019

Choosing the right Realtor or real estate agent will greatly influence how your home purchase goes.  Your Realtor or real estate agent will connect you with the right listings in your community and be your number one advocate when it’s time to make an offer.  Forbes polled leading real estate executives from its Forbes Real Estate Council and found these top five things to look for when choosing a Realtor or real estate agent.

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Save Money by Never Buying These 5 Things New

Blog posted On August 07, 2019

We all have savings goals we are trying to reach.  While we generally can’t change when we need to buy something, we can change how we buy it.  Buying used instead of new can help you save substantially on some more expensive necessities.   Whether you’re saving to pay down student loans, buy a home, or invest elsewhere, these simple strategies can help boost your savings efforts. 

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Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falls to 20-Year Low

Blog posted On August 06, 2019

The latest CoreLogic monthly Loan Performance Insights Reports revealed Americans are better at making their mortgage payments on time than they have been in the past two decades.  A delinquent mortgage is defined as a mortgage that has been past due for 30 days or more.  As of April 2019, the national mortgage delinquency rate dropped to 3.6%. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and Consumer Credit

Blog posted On August 05, 2019

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted for its first rate cut in 10 years.  Mortgage rates reacted by trending downward.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and consumer credit. 

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Market Recap: Rate Cut, Home Appreciation Slows, Pending Home Sales Up

Blog posted On August 02, 2019

In a widely anticipated move, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to cut the federal benchmark interest rate by .25 bps.  Mortgage rates trended slightly lower following the announcement.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed home price appreciation has continued to slow down in many metros across the country.  Pending home sales continued to increase.

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Build-to-Rent Housing Growing Popular

Blog posted On August 01, 2019

With foreclosure and distressed property sales at an all-time low, investors are looking for new ways to satisfy the growing demand for single-family rental homes.  Today, distressed properties account for just 2% of home sales, down substantially from the high of 49% in March 2009.  At the same time, renters are shifting away from apartments and multifamily living and seeking single-family homes.  Home builders around the country are seizing this opportunity to build homes to rent.

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Solar Panels Could Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

Blog posted On July 31, 2019

Homeowners switch to solar panels to reduce energy costs and lower their environmental impact.  As an added bonus, Zillow researchers uncovered that homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% more on average that similar homes without solar power.  The value of adding solar panels to your home varies depending on the market.  On the lower impact end of the spectrum, homes in Riverside, CA sold for an average 2.7% or $9,926 more.  Comparatively on the higher impact end of the spectrum, homes in New York, NY sold for an average 5.4% or $23,989 more.  

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How Tomorrow’s Federal Open Market Committee Vote Impacts You

Blog posted On July 30, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets today and tomorrow and most analysts are expecting a quarter-point rate cut based on messaging in the Fed’s Beige Book released earlier this month.  If the Fed votes for a rate cut, all interest rates will react accordingly.  The cost to borrow money will decrease, possibly making it more affordable for you to take out a mortgage to buy a home or finance a vehicle purchase.  However, the interest you earn from your savings account will also decrease. 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Home Sales Index, and Federal Open Market Committee Meeting

Blog posted On July 29, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and a rate cut is widely expected.  Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will host a press conference at 2:30 ET on Wednesday.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index will both be released on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Slows, Existing Home Sales Decline, New Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On July 26, 2019

Mortgage rates have not moved drastically this week, trending somewhat lower according to some sources.  Home price appreciation has also slowed, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index.  Existing home sales fell, but new home sales rebounded. 

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House Flipping Myths You Might Believe

Blog posted On July 25, 2019

One of the ways to make money through a real estate investment is to buy a home to sell or “flip.”  Although some flips, especially the ones featured on reality television, involve distressed or foreclosed properties, this will vary greatly depending on the property you buy.  Buying a distressed property may mean a lower buy-in price but buying a livable home in an area with rapid home price appreciation could also yield a sizable profit.  With the popularity of house flipping shows plus a surge in house flipping following the Financial Crisis, many potential real estate investors have false preconceived notions about what goes into the purchase and resale of a home for profit.  Realtor.com contributor, Terri Williams, reveals some of the most common house flipping myths you might believe. 

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Are you making these air conditioning mistakes?

Blog posted On July 24, 2019

Things are heating up this summer, and chances are your energy costs are inevitably going to go up.  Home-energy monitoring company, Sense, reports the average cost to air condition a home in the United States is about $147.82.  This figure varies widely based on geography, with a median cost of $292.90 per home in the Sun Belt and $95 per home bordering Canada.  Most homeowners need to air condition their homes at least for some part of the summer, but there are ways to do so and save.

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Price Gap: What’s for Sale vs. What Buyers Want

Blog posted On July 23, 2019

Mortgage rates may be on a downward trend, but home buyers in many metros are still facing out of budget home prices.  Researchers at Realtor.com found half of today’s home shoppers are expecting to purchase a property under $288,000.  Unfortunately, that’s 9.1% or $27,000 lower than the median sales price of homes on the market.  In order to bridge that price gap, Realtor.com estimates the market needs roughly 94,000 more homes priced between $100,000 and $340,000, a 15% inventory increase on a market already starved of inventory.

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales

Blog posted On July 22, 2019

Mortgage rates continued to stay low last week, especially with speculation about a rate cut later this year.  This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency will release its housing market index.   Additionally, existing home sales and new home sales are both scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Builder Sentiment Improves, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decline

Blog posted On July 19, 2019

Mortgage rates are continuing to trend downward ahead of this month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved.  Ne