Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Case-Shiller Index Shows Home Values Still Rising

Posted: 30 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Case-Shiller cities July 2009

For the second month in a row, 18 of the 20 Case-Shiller real estate markets posted higher home values. It's the 6th consecutive strong showing for the benchmark private-sector housing index.

Combined with falling home supplies and rising sales figures, this month's Case-Shiller Index suggests that housing may have bottomed sometime earlier this year.

It's cause for optimism.

Even Case-Shiller respresentatives seem excited. In its press release, the publishers singled out the index's winning streak, commenting on the recent "stabilization in national real estate values".

But, in that statement, we see the Case-Shiller Index's biggest flaw. The index ipurports itself to be a national real estate metric but, in reality, there is no such thing as a national real estate market.

All real estate is local.

The Case-Shiller Index reports home values for 20 U.S. cities. Each of those cities, however, is comprised of smaller neighborhoods, each with its own character, desirability, and price points. Case-Shiller attempts to lump it all together -- an impossibility.

As an example, New York City posted a nearly 1 percent increase in July but that figure is just a city summary. The actual market in three distinct neighborhoods -- Upper East Side, Chelsea, and Flatbush -- vary tremendously. Not to mention Long Island, too.

Flaws aside, though, Case-Shiller is still important. It helps to identify broader trends in housing and housing may hold the key to our economic future.

With July's Case-Shiller Index, we see that the housing market's recovery is being sustained.


Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Fannie Mae Passes New, Tougher Mortgage Guidelines

Posted: 29 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Fannie Mae is changing guidelines againGetting approved for a mortgage is about to harder.

For the second time in less than 3 months, Fannie Mae announced changes to its mortgage guidelines.

In its official announcement, Fannie Mae details the updates, meant to reduce the mortgage firm's overall risk.

The first major change is with respect to credit scoring. All Fannie Mae loans -- whether underwritten electronically or manually -- require a 620 credit score minimum. There are very few exceptions.

A second change relates to loans with private mortgage insurance. Homeowners whose loan-to-value exceeds 80 percent now have a choice:

  1. Accept higher mortgage insurance premiums month-after-month
  2. Accept a one-time fee paid at closing to compensate for higher risk

Both options pass higher costs to consumers.

Then, a third change relates to maximum debt-to-income ratio. As announced in a separate document, Fannie Mae will no longer approve expense ratios exceeding 45 percent except with very strong assets and credit to back it up. In no case can expense ratios exceed 50 percent.

There are other changes, too, including the elimination of seldom-used mortgage products and new risk-based pricing on "expanded level" approvals.

Fannie Mae implements its updates during the weekend of December 12.

Therefore, if you're going to need (or want) a new mortgage later this year, consider moving up your timeframe to October or November. Once the guidelines change, getting approved for a mortgage is going to be tougher.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 28, 2009

Posted: 28 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Home Supplies are more important than home sales figuresThe mortgage market resumed its winning streak last week after a 1-week hiatus. Markets rallied into the weekend and mortgage rates eased lower overall.

It's the third week out of four that rates improved and, ironically, rates may have dropped last week because traders were watching the wrong metrics.

With respect to housing, analysts found August's Existing Home Sales and New Homes Sales reports disappointing.

Both posted weaker-than-expected sales volume, sparking a stock market sell-off that led bond markets higher.

It was the wrong reaction.

Versus home supply, the number of monthly sales isn't nearly as important to the national housing recovery and the supply of homes fell in August. If Wall Street had been paying better attention, mortgage rates may have risen instead.

The supply of homes for resale fell nearly a month, and of new homes by 0.3 months.

This week will be heavy with data so don't expect rates to stay low for long.

Early in the week we'll get the Case-Shiller Index, a few consumer confidence surveys, and the Personal Consumption Expenditures report. Late in the week, it's the September jobs report.

With mortgage rates are trolling near their lowest levels of the quarter, it may be prudent to lock something in to avoid the risk of rates rising.

Existing Home Supply Falls By Nearly A Month

Posted: 25 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Existing Home Supply August 2008-August 2009

As reported by the National Association of REALTORS®, the number of Existing Home Sales dipped last month, ending the metric's 5-month winning streak.

Newspaper headlines today are overwhelmingly negative on housing. You'd almost believe this year's housing recovery had ended.

That's hardly the case.

See, the other side of the Existing Home Sales story is that -- while the number of units sold did fall by 3 percent -- the existing supply fell by nearly an entire month.

To home buyers and home sellers, this is huge. Home prices are based on supply and demand and with supplies plummeting, it means that home prices are poised to rise.

Indeed, dwindling inventory isn't "news" to today's buyers. Multiple offer situations have been common since the start of the summer and, should supplies fall further, they may soon be the home-buying rule rather than the exception.

Since peaking in November 2008, existing home supplies are down 23%.

A Simple Explanation Of The Federal Reserve Statement (September 23, 2009 Edition)

Posted: 23 Sep 2009 01:37 PM PDT

FOMC Announcement September 23 2009The Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate within its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.

It also reiterated plans to support the mortgage market to the tune of $1.5 trillion.

In its press release, the FOMC noted that the U.S. economy is "picking up following its severe downturn" and that financial markets have "improved further".

It's the second consecutive post-FOMC statement in which the Fed appears somewhat optimistic -- a signal that the recession will end soon, or has already ended.

That said, the economy still has some soft spots and the Fed made a point to single them out. Each poses a distinct threat to economic recovery.

  1. Ongoing job losses
  2. Sluggish income growth
  3. Tight credit conditions

Also in its statement, the Fed confirmed its plan to hold the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent "for an extended period" and to honor its $1.25 trillion commitment to the mortgage bond market.

However, the FOMC changed its timeframe on the mortgage-backed bond buys, extending its deadline to March 2010. This move should help the Fed keep mortgage rates from rising too high as the economic expansion takes hold.

Market reaction to the Fed's press release is positive. After an early day sell-off that drove rates higher by about a quarter-percent, most of the pressure is easing. Pricing is worse on the day overall, but well off its lows.

The FOMC's next scheduled meeting is November 3-4, 2009.

Home Prices Still On The Rise

Posted: 23 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Home Price Index from peak of housing in April 2007 to July 2009As reported by the government, home prices are rising nationwide, up 0.3 percent in July.

Furthermore, versus November 2008, the Home Price Index has clawed back to unchanged.

The housing market appears to be holding its own.

However, we have to be careful about putting our full faith in the Federal Housing Finance Agency's data. It's somewhat flawed.

  1. The Home Price Index is a national statistic and all real estate is local
  2. The Home Price Index's methodology specifically excludes key housing demographics

As an obvious example, HPI only accounts for homes with Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-backed mortgage. Lately, the percentage of homes meeting that description is shrinking.

As FHA financing rises in popularity, Fannie and Freddie back far fewer loans than in the past. Furthermore, the HPI sample set also excludes newly-built homes and multi-unit properties.

Because of these exclusions, some analysts call the HPI incomplete. The same could be said of all home price metrics, however -- including the venerable Case-Shiller Index.

Therefore, what should be of interest to today's buyers and sellers is that all of "popular" home valuation models seem to be telling the same story -- home prices have stopped falling and look like they're beginning to rebound.

For a region-by-region breakdown of the Home Price Index, visit the FHFA website.

Should You Lock Your Mortgage Rate In Advance Of Tomorrow's Federal Reserve Announcement?

Posted: 22 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

The Fed Funds RateThe Federal Open Market Committee starts a 2-day meeting today in Washington.

The scheduled get-together ends at 2:15 PM ET Wednesday after which the FOMC will issue a press release to the markets.

Consider locking your mortgage in advance of the press release.

The FOMC meets 8 times annually and its adjournments are among the biggest market-movers of the year.

The Fed's post-meeting press release is a direct look into the mind of the Federal Reserve and Wall Street is looking for clues anywhere it can find them.

After its August 2009 meeting, the FOMC said in its press release:

  1. Financial markets have improved, relative
  2. Household spending remains constrained
  3. Although weak, the economy is "leveling off"

Since then, however, credit risks have lessened on Wall Street, consumer spending has shown signs of life and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession is "very likely over".

This is why tomorrow's FOMC press release is so important. Markets don't expect the Fed to raise or lower the Fed Funds Rate, but they do expect the Fed to shed light on its next series of moves.

If the Fed alludes to inflation and stronger growth ahead, mortgage rates should rise. By contrast, reference to slower growth ahead should help keep rates steady.

The FOMC is expected to leave the Fed Funds Rate within its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent -- the lowest it's been in history. However, it's what the Fed says Wednesday that will matter more than what the its does.

If you're floating a mortgage rate or wondering if the time is right to lock, the safe approach is to lock prior to 2:15 PM ET Wednesday.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 21, 2009

Posted: 21 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

The FOMC can crteate mortgage rate volatilityAfter improving in the two prior weeks, mortgage markets finished last week unchanged overall.

Mortgage rates were down early in the week but managed to give up all of their gains late-Friday afternoon. It's the same volatility variety we've seen in most weeks this year.

Markets moved on to both positive- and negative-type news last week. On the positive side:

On the negative side, Housing Starts idled and corporate earnings fell flat.

This week, the market moves on.

Investors will watch several key releases including Existing Home Sales on Thursday, and Consumer Sentiment and New Homes Sales on Friday. The most important event of the week by far, however, is the scheduled, 2-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

The FOMC is the policy-setting group of the Federal Reserve and each time it meets, markets have a tendency to get volatile.

Markets expect the FOMC to leave the Fed Funds Rate within its current "target range" of 0.000-0.250 percent but that doesn't mean mortgage rates will remain unchanged as well. Depending on the verbiage of the FOMC's post-meeting press release, mortgage rates could rise or fall by a lot.

The FOMC adjourns from its 2-day meeting Wednesday at 2:15 PM.

(Image courtesy: Wikipedia, licensed under Creative Commons)


Housing Market is looking UP! 16 month high

The Housing Market Index Reaches A 16-Month High

NAHB Housing Market Index September 2009According to home builders around the country, the housing market is looking good.
Each month, the National Association of Home Builders releases its Housing Market Index report, a survey meant to "take the pulse of the single-family housing market".
Respondents report on three facets of their business, each series weighted and averaged:
  1. How are market conditions today?
  2. How do market conditions look 6 months from now?
  3. How is the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes?
For the 3rd straight month, the Housing Market Index improved.  It's now at its highest level since May 2008.
The housing market has shown signs of life since March.  Both Existing Home Sales and New Homes Sales have soared and home values are up in a lot of towns.  Builders showing confidence is another positive signal.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the recession is "very likely over" and strong housing data corroborates that statement. 
As the economy strengthens and housing does, too, home sellers will start to regain the upper-hand in contract negotiations.  If you're an active home buyer, therefore, and looking for "a deal", be aware that time is close to running out.

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Housing Starts Slip, But Don't Think The Recovery's Been Halted

Posted: 18 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Housing Starts August 2009Housing Starts on single-family homes took a step backwards last month, falling month-over-month for the first time since January.

A "housing start" is new home on which construction has started.

Don't let the slowdown fool you, however -- the housing market's recovery is still very much underway.

Builders were bound to take a construction breather sometime -- especially with the looming expiration of the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. The last thing they want is to be saddled with excess supply.

Some of the news coverage categorized August's Housing Starts as troubling. That's likely overstating it. One down month after 8 consecutive increases is not only acceptable, but it's expected, too.

Single-family starts are up 34 percent on the year. The housing market is recovering just fine.


Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

The Housing Market Index Reaches A 16-Month High

Posted: 17 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

NAHB Housing Market Index September 2009According to home builders around the country, the housing market is looking good.

Each month, the National Association of Home Builders releases its Housing Market Index report, a survey meant to "take the pulse of the single-family housing market".

Respondents report on three facets of their business, each series weighted and averaged:

  1. How are market conditions today?
  2. How do market conditions look 6 months from now?
  3. How is the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes?

For the 3rd straight month, the Housing Market Index improved. It's now at its highest level since May 2008.

The housing market has shown signs of life since March. Both Existing Home Sales and New Homes Sales have soared and home values are up in a lot of towns. Builders showing confidence is another positive signal.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the recession is "very likely over" and strong housing data corroborates that statement.

As the economy strengthens and housing does, too, home sellers will start to regain the upper-hand in contract negotiations. If you're an active home buyer, therefore, and looking for "a deal", be aware that time is close to running out.


Last chance to get a cash out FHA loan

The deadline to close any cash-out FHA refinance with an LTV over 85% is September 30, 2009.  No exceptions will be granted. Need help call us 770-792-7979 ext 107


Effective immediately, (UNNAMED LENDER )will no longer accept new submissions if any of the borrowers on the application are real estate or mortgage industry professionals.  This includes, but is not limited to: realtors, appraisers, title company employees, mortgage company employees, and real estate speculators/rehabilitators
IS this a sign of things to come? Why should we be penalized?

Payment Counseling on your mortgage loan

Payment Counseling

If you’re having financial difficulty, we’ll work with you to find a solution. But we can’t help you if we can’t reach you. Did you know that a significant percentage of foreclosures occur because the mortgage company has no contact with the borrower? Please don’t let that happen to you.

Call our team today to discuss the best solution for your situation. Our Loss Mitigation Team is available to assist you Monday through Friday 9 a.m. / 9 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m. / 1 p.m. (Central Time), at 
770-792-7979 Ext 107

You may also contact a HUD approved counseling agent by calling 1-800-569-4287 if you wish to seek additional options that may be available to you.

Possible Solutions

If you wish to pursue a workout alternative, you need to be prepared to present a full financial package to CCMI  that includes completing the financial package form.  You must also include your 3 most recent bank statements, 2 most recent pay stubs, most recent W-2 and tax return, and a hardship letter explaining your situation.  You may then contact our office to discuss these workout options, you may email your completed form, or you may fax it directly to our Loss Mitigation department at 404-671-9565.  Once the financial package is received, one of our specialists will contact you within 24 hours to put a plan in place that will alleviate this stressful situation.  There are several ways to resolve difficult financial situations, and RCS specializes in working with customers to meet their financial goals.

If you have past due payments or are facing foreclosure, our Loss Mitigation Department may be able to qualify you for one of the options listed below.

Repayment Plan/Special Forbearance—If you don’t have sufficient income to pay the entire past due amount at one time, this plan allows you to make payments toward the delinquency and helps you catch up.

Loan Modification—Please call our Loss Mitigation Team for more information on this plan, which would modify your existing loan and payment amounts.

Short Refinance—If you qualify for a loan with another lender, we may be able to accept the proceeds from a refinance, even if they are less than what you owe.

Short Sale—If you would consider selling your property but don’t feel the proceeds would be enough to pay off the loan in full, we still may be able to work with you. In fact, we may be able to pre-qualify you for a short sale through our network of professionals.

Deed In Lieu—If you are unable to sell the property and it is free of other liens, we may be able to accept the deed to your property instead of foreclosure, which would reduce the negative impact to your credit.

Meet the Loss Mitigation Team:

Our Loss Mitigation Team is here to help you. Our team is a group of individuals who are:
  • Experienced Negotiators—Each team member typically has between 3 to 5 years experience working with borrowers facing financial difficulties.
  • Empowered—The members work out issues with the borrower and make innovative recommendations directly. They’re not just ‘order takers’ who pass along requests to others; they’re able to offer resolutions.
  • Compassionate—Our members know the importance of home ownership and want to help our borrowers get through their difficulties as successful as possible. They treat each customer with respect and empathy.

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Ben Bernanke Leaves Clues About The Future Of Mortgage Rates

Posted: 16 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Retail Sales August 2009On the 1-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the "recession is very likely over at this point".

His comments were supported by a Retail Sales report for August that was much better-than-expected.

Equities improved on the day, mortgage markets worsened, and home affordability suffered.

The days of ultra-low mortgage rates may be coming to an end.

Since last September, mortgage bonds markets have been in Rally Mode. As the Financial Crisis of 2008 worsened, investors fled the relatively risky world of stocks and moved dollars into safer investments like cash and bonds -- including the mortgage-backed kind.

Risk aversion is common when market uncertainty exists but last year's aversion was so strong that, by late-November, it had forced mortgage rates down to an all-time low.

Since November, however, rates have been on the rise. Stronger economic data and a general feeling of optimism have helped stock markets recover and some of those gains are coming at the expense of low mortgage rates.

Therefore, if you're wondering what mortgage rates might do going forward, listen to the words of the Federal Reserve Chairman. If he sees economic recovery ahead, it's probably going to happen.

It should spell higher mortgage rates into 2010.


Are Reverse Mortgages for You?

Are Reverse Mortgages for You?
Also know as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), Federally Insured Reverse Mortgages for Seniors allow Senior Home Owners to unlock the equity in their homes to provide needed financial security. You control where and how you live during your golden years. Many seniors make bad decisions and sell their homes because of money. Don't do that.

A federally insured Reverse Mortgage will unlock the equity in your home for you to use any way you need, with NO MONTHLY PAYMENTS EVER! Why on earth would you want to sell or move into some smaller housing when a great alternative like our federally insured HECM MAXX© is here for you?

Since 1989, over 350,000 seniors have benefited from these plans. In 2009 alone we expect to see at least 125,000 more seniors take advantage of a Reverse Mortgage.

These plans allow you to access money your home hasn't "earned" yet. You get present cash benefit for future appreciation. And, best of all, you get the cash you need without the burden of a monthly payment. That's right - NO MONTHLY PAYMENTS!

The plans are designed to leave equity for your heirs. They make your home almost foreclosure proof. You never have to worry about where your money's coming from, because the federal government insures your mortgage and if anything happens to your lender,

HUD steps in and keeps the cash flowing.

That does NOT happen with any other mortgage we know of. With a federally insured Reverse Mortgage from Value Financial - America 's Senior, you are SAFE....SAFE.....SAFE in the home you love for as long as YOU choose to remain there. With NO MONTHLY PAYMENTS to make, EVER! Peace of mind for life!

And now, since January 1, 2009, there is a program allowing you to use a Reverse Mortgage to purchase your primary residence.  This allows you to keep most of your cash when buying a home and still have no mortgage payments!

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Using 401(k) Funds For A Downpayment? First, Consider The Tax Implications.

Posted: 15 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

401(k) withdrawals have pros and cons

As downpayment requirements increase, anecdotally, home buyers are tapping 401(k) plans for extra cash.

Classified as a "hardship withdrawal", loans against your retirement funds can be cheap and simple.

  1. There's no credit check or approval process
  2. There's only a small set of paperwork
  3. Money can be available in as little as a day

But just because you can get access to your retirement money doesn't mean that you should. 401(k) withdrawals should only be made after careful consideration.

There are some serious negatives, specifically with respect to taxation.

If you open a 401(k) loan and don't repay according to the loan terms, the withdrawal ends up getting taxed as income, plus a 10 percent penalty for people under 59 1/2.

That's a stiff penalty.

But, even if you do repay the loan on time, you're still getting leaving yourself subject to double-taxation.

  • Taxation #1 occurs when the loan is repaid using post-tax dollars
  • Taxation #2 occurs upon final withdrawal at retirement

Furthermore, when you borrow against a 401(k), you assume the opportunity costs of having that money out of the market. Since March, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 44 percent. If your 401(k) was empty, you'd have missed those gains forever.

Taking a loan against a 401(k) isn't necessarily a bad idea, there just may be better choices. If you're planning to withdraw from your 401(k) to make a downpayment on a home, talk with a qualified financial professional first.

You can never have too much good information.


Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : September 14, 2009

Posted: 14 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Retail Sales influence mortgage ratesMortgage markets improved last week, briefly touching their best levels in 3 months.

However, a rough Friday afternoon took away some of those gains.

Mortgage rates touched their lowest levels of the week Friday morning before tacking on an eighth-percent or more over the last 90 minutes of trading.

It's the second straight week in which mortgage rates fell.

Last week was an odd week, of sorts, because economic data was lacking. Markets, therefore, improved mostly on momentum plays and a general shift from cash positions into bonds.

This week, data returns.

In addition to the Consumer and Producer Price Indices -- "Cost of Living reports" for households and businesses, respectively -- markets will also digest a Retail Sales report, Housing Starts for August, and 3 speeches from members of the Federal Reserve.

Each has the power to move markets.

Furthermore, Wall Street will be taking positions ahead of next week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Fed is expected to leave the Fed Funds Rate in its current range near 0.000 percent but don't forget -- the Fed doesn't control mortgage rates.

Just because the Fed Funds Rate won't change doesn't mean mortgage rates won't. Expect volatility Tuesday and Friday, and be wary of momentum. Mortgage rates tend to rise faster than they fall.

If you've been floating your mortgage rate over the past few weeks, it may be prudent to lock in Monday or Tuesday.


Why a 800 credit score does not matter

Posted: 11 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT
The makeup of a credit scoreSince 2007, mortgage lenders have clamped down in many areas of underwriting, but none more so than in the area of credit scoring.
Minimum FICO levels are up 120 points or more and conforming mortgage lenders now levy large fees on borrowers whose scores are below 740.
Keeping your credit scores high is a worthwhile goal, but it's not always easy to do -- especially when you don't know the ins-and-out of how the credit scoring system works.
The Wall Street Journal wrote a terrific piece on credit scoring this week. It's full of helpful, relevant tips for home buyers, homeowners, and everyone else.
Aside from covering the five basic components of a credit score -- shown at right -- the piece provides insightfukl advice on credit-related topics including:
  • The difference between a "hard inquiry" and a "soft inquiry"
  • Why paying for your credit report is a foolish use of funds
  • Why it doesn't matter if you have an 800 FICO
The article also talks about the optimal balance a person should carry on their credit cards to get the biggest FICO boost.
Credit scores determine your mortgage rate. Therefore, do what you can to keep your scores high. Follow the tips in the Wall Street Journal article and lean on public resources like myFICO.com.
Having good credit can be a real money-saver. Month after month after month.


Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

The Geographical Concentration Of Foreclosures

Posted: 10 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Foreclosures are localized in certain statesOnce again, the country's foreclosures are concentrated in just a few states.

As reported by foreclosure-tracking company RealtyTrac.com, more than 50 percent of the country's foreclosure-related actions in August occurred in just four states:

  • California : 25.76 percent
  • Florida : 17.4 percent
  • Michigan : 5.4 percent
  • Nevada : 5.0 percent

The rest of the "Top 10" foreclosure states included Arizona, Illinois, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and New Jersey.

Versus July's numbers, the U.S. foreclosure rate improved last month. However, the August data is awful in comparison to last year -- foreclosures are up nearly 18 percent.

The silver lining? High foreclosure rates are yielding tremendous opportunities for today's home buyers. Buyers of distressed properties now account for about one-third of all home sales and low mortgage rates and a federal tax credit are spurring sales.

Search the complete August 2009 foreclosure report for yourself, including foreclosure heatmaps and other trends on the RealtyTrac website.


Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Simple Real Estate Definitions : Quitclaim Deed

Posted: 09 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Quitclaim DeedsBy its most common definition, a quitclaim deed is a document by which one person passes legal and financial ownership of a home to another person.

It's also a way for an owner of a home to remove himself from the title to the property.

Often misspelled as "quick claim deed" or "quit claim deed", quitclaim deeds have a multitude of applications, including:

  • Assigning a home to a trust or entity
  • Adding a partner to title after marriage
  • Removing a partner from title after divorce

In order to quitclaim a property, the grantor must have the legal right to assign the property to a grantee, or else the quitclaim deed is worthless. For example, you can't quitclaim your interest in City Hall to your neighbor because you don't actually own City Hall.

This is where quitclaim deeds vary from warranty deeds (or grant deeds) -- the types of transfers that occur when real estate is sold. In instances of the former, the title to a home is guaranteed to be clear.

Before using a quitclaim deed on your own home, consult an estate planning attorney. Transferring real property can trigger ruin a will, or trigger taxes -- it's important to consult a professional for help.


Mortgage Rates This Week

What's Ahead For  : September 8, 2009
Posted: 08 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT
Unemployment Rate August 2009Mortgage markets improved slightly last week overall, but closed out the week much worse from the best levels of the week.
On Wednesday, briefly, mortgage rates touched an 8-week low. Following that, mortgage rates began to climb and stayed on an upward trajectory clear through Friday's closing.
Rate shoppers suffered, realizing a 0.250 percent rise in rates -- roughly $32 per month per $200,000 borrowed.
The biggest story of last week was the U.S. jobs report. It showed the Unemployment Rate climbing to 9.7 percent and a loss of 216,000 jobs nationwide.
Neither figure was a surprise, per se, but Wall Street had visions of a stronger showing. Investors want to see strength in housing and employment and, for now, they're only getting the former. And so long as the U.S. economic future is unclear, mortgage rates will remain unpredictable.
This week, there isn't much news, but there are some stories to keep an eye on:
  • The Fed's regional economic summary releases Wednesday. Strength should drive rates up. Weakness should lower them.
  • Gas prices are easing, a positive for the economy (and negative for rates) as the Holiday Shopping Season nears
  • Two consumer confidence polls are released this week. Confidence can lead to spending, a spur for the economy.
When there's a lack of economic data, mortgage rates tend to trade on trends. If you're shopping for a mortgage, watch for developing patterns and be ready to lock at a moment's notice if mortgage rates are rising -- rates tend to worsen with more speed than at they improve.


Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Latest From : Atlanta RE 5 by 5

Why The Day Before Labor Day Weekend Is Tough On Home Affordability

Posted: 04 Sep 2009 08:01 AM PDT

Shopping for a mortgage can be challenging near Labor Day

Volume figures to be light on Wall Street today as traders get a head start on Labor Day weekend. It could make shopping for a mortgage a bona fide challenge.

Expect rate volatility this morning and afternoon and, therefore, by extension, expect wild swings in the Home Affordability Index.

As mortgage rates rise and fall, monthly mortgage payments do, too.

The relationship between "vacation days" and mortgage rate volatility stems from 2 facts -- (1) Conforming mortgage rates are based on the price of mortgage-backed bonds, and (2) mortgage-backed bonds trade just like stocks. You can't make a deal without matching a buyer and a seller at a specific price.

With so many traders on vacation today, therefore, there are fewer opportunities to match buyers and sellers. As a result, expect mortgage bond prices to rise and fall with more velocity than on a "normal" day -- especially because the August jobs report was just released.

So far this morning, mortgage rates have been jumpy and are higher versus Thursday's close.

That said, mortgage pricing is fluid, changing every minute of every day. Today, expect those changes to be exaggerated. If you have a chance to lock a favorable rate, consider taking it because, before long, the rate could be gone.