IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Fresh Start Program – We are an expert on this program, there is a way to get an IRS tax lien completely removed from reporting to the bureaus. Basically, if you has already paid the lien or plans to, you need to instruct them to complete IRS Form 12277. Once they do this, the IRS will immediately instruct the bureaus to remove all evidence of the tax lien. If you have entered into a payment plan, all they have to do is set up a direct deposit for the payments, make the payments for 90 days, and then turn in the form. This will have a huge impact on your credit score. 30 even 50 points sometimes Here is a link with more information: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/
We are here to help with this once you have started you loan application at www.emortgageco.com or www.mortgageratesdenver.com
The National Association of REALTORS reported that existing home sales for July came in at 5.39 million on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. July's reading exceeded both expectations of 5.21 million existing homes sold and June's reading of 5.06 million homes sold.
This suggests good news for home buyers who've been constrained by limited supplies of homes for sale.
As home prices continue increasing in many areas, more homeowners are likely to list their homes for sale. Existing home sales for July rose by 6.80 percent year-over-year.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency Home Price Index reported a 7.70 percent year overyear increase in prices for homes financed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
This reading was slightly higher than May's year-over-year reading of a 7.60 percent increase in home prices.
New Home Sale Inventories Also Growing
New home sales for July dropped by 13.40 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual reading of 394,000; this was lower than expectations of 485,000 new homes sold, but this expectation was based on June's original reading of 497,000 new homes sold. June's reading has been adjusted to 455,000 homes sold, which likely would have resulted in a lower expectation.
New home sales were lower in all four U.S. regions:
-16.1 percent in the West
-13.4 percent in the South
-12.9 percent in the Midwest
- 5.7 percent in the Northeast
While this isn't great news for developers and home builders, supplies of new homes for sale jumped from a 4.30 month supply of new homes in June to a 5.20 month inventory of available new homes in July. This was the highest inventory of available new homes since January 2012.
Monthly New Home Sales Continue Upward Trend
Month to-month sales of new homes tend to be volatile, but July's year-over-year home sales were 6.80 percent above new home sales in July 2012.
Higher mortgage rates likely stifled sales, but slower sales would increase inventories of available homes. More homes available would help ease constraints on buyers and level then playing field for home buyers who have been competing for few homes in strong seller's markets.
Rising mortgage rates could continue, especially if the Federal Reserve begins tapering its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, a program known as quantitative easing. The Fed has announced that it may start reducing the QE program before year-end.
When QE purchases are reduced, securities prices can be expected to fall due to less demand, and mortgage rates can be expected to rise.
Last week brought mixed economic news, but Leading Indicators released Thursday suggest that the U.S. economy is growing at a moderate rate.
Mortgage rates for fixed rate loans were higher, but the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged from the prior week. Weekly jobless claims were also higher.
The National Association of REALTORS released its Existing Home Sales report for July and reported existing home sales came in at 5.39 million on an annualized basis.
This reading surpassed expectations of 5.21 existing homes sold as well as June's reading of 5.06 million existing homes sold on an annualized basis.
FOMC Minutes Released, Mortgage Rates Rise
The minutes for the July 31 FOMC meeting were released, and emphasized the likely "tapering" of the Fed's quantitative easing program possibly as early as September, though no dates have been set. Many of the FOMC members support reducing the $85 billion in monthly securities purchases made by the Fed; fewer members supported tapering the asset purchases sooner than planned.
Previous announcements by the Fed regarding its plan to reduce QE have created erratic responses in financial markets, but the release of the meeting minutes seemed to cause a sharp rise in mortgage rates.
Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage moved from the prior week's average rate of 4.40 percent to 4.58 percent; average discount points moved up from 0.70 to 0.80 percent. Average rates for a 15 year fixed-rate mortgage also rose from 3.44 percent to 3.60 percent with average discount points moving from 0.60 to 0.70 percent.
Average rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage were unchanged from the previous week at 3.21 percent with average discount points paid at 0.50 percent.
FHFA reported that home prices for homes with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose by 7.70 percent year-over-year in June, home prices rose slightly from May's year-over-year- rate of 7.60 percent.
Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for July rose by 0.60 to a reading of 96.0; this exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.50 percent. The LEI measures the health of the economy by measuring 10 top economic sectors; eight of 10 factors measured increased; these were led by the spread on interest rates, availability of credit, stock prices and permits issued for building new homes.
New home sales for July were lower than expected at 394,000; Wall Street expected new home sales to come in at 485,000 on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis against the revised number of 455,000 new home sales reported for June. 497,000 homes were initially reported sold in June. Hew home sales gained by 6.80 percent year-over-year in July.
What's Coming Up
Scheduled economic news for this week includes the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Consumer Confidence on Tuesday, Pending Home Sales will be out Wednesday. Thursday brings Weekly Jobless Claims, and Friday brings consumer spending and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment report.
You're brushing your teeth and you turn on the faucet. It's not draining and starts to back up. Here's the dilemma; do you spit and let it sit or run to the kitchen? One thing is for sure; having a clogged drain can be a major annoyance.
Clogs not only frustrate a homeowner but they can be hard on your plumbing. The added pressure they create puts stress on your pipes and can shorten their lifespan.
So end the issue by following the guidelines below. You'll learn how to prevent clogging and clear the ones you already have.
No Food Down The Drain
Even if you have a disposal, it's not good for your pipes to have sticky, mushy food shoved through them. Peel vegetables and scrape plates into the trashcan.
Also, avoid pouring grease down the drain. Animal fat can congeal into a solid and form a blockage. Instead, store it in a sealable container in the freezer. Once it's full, trash it!
Only TP In The Toilets
All feminine hygiene products should be thrown away, because most don't dissolve quickly enough and can cause a backup. And be sure to secure toilet lids from curious children, because you have to admit that it is pretty fun to watch almost anything go "bye-bye."
Hair Today, Problem Tomorrow
Don't wash loose hair down the drain. Collect it and throw it away after your shower. If you shed a lot, it might be beneficial to install drain screens to catch loose hair and make it easy to dispose. Be sure to clean these out every few weeks.
Chemicals Should Be Used With Caution
Be wary about using chemical drain cleaners. They can erode cast-iron pipes and usually don't remove an entire clog, so it can easily recur. You should consider hiring a professional plumber to snake your drains; or better yet, buy your own augur at the hardware store for about $15.
Homeowners can be hard on their drains. From hair to food, clogs are a time-consuming frustration that might cost you big. Treat your plumbing with a little love and it'll reward you by quickly removing water and waste from your sight!
For more helpful tips on periodic home maintenance, please feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today.
The minutes of last month's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting show significant support for tapering the Fed's current amount of monthly securities purchases. These purchases, known as quantitative easing (QE), are an effort to maintain lower long-term interest rates including mortgage rates.
The Fed has been buying $85 billion per month in Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve and FOMC has hinted at "tapering" the Fed's securities purchases by year-end in recent statements. The FOMC minutes released Wednesday further suggest that tapering based on strengthening economic trends is likely.
FOMC Members Express Mixed Views
The minutes for the last FOMC meeting, which took place on July 30 and 31, states that many members are "broadly comfortable" with tapering QE securities purchases later this year if the economy continues to improve. At the same time, many FOMC members indicated that it "isn't yet time" to scale back the purchases.
All along, the FOMC has emphasized that it will closely monitor domestic and global financial and economic developments as part of its decision about when tapering the QE purchases will begin.
The minutes for July's meeting reflected this sentiment and noted "A few members emphasized the importance of being patient and evaluating additional information on the economy before deciding on any changes to the pace of asset purchases."
On the other side of the issue, the minutes note that a few members said that "It might soon be time to slow somewhat the pace of purchases as outlined in the QE plan."
QE Tapering Not The Only Influence On Mortgage Rates
The Fed is likely to monitor its words as well as economic conditions, as previous announcements about tapering QE made by Chairman Bernanke and FOMC have created havoc in world financial markets.
In relation to mortgage rates, it's likely that tapering QE purchases will cause mortgage rates to rise. Demand for bonds will fall as the Fed reduces its purchases, falling bond prices usually cause mortgage rates to rise.
It's important to keep in mind that tapering QE securities purchases is only one among many things that can impact financial markets, mortgage rates and the economy.
While the Fed is expected to begin tapering its securities purchases as soon as September, developing economic news throughout the world can potentially impact mortgage rates and could cause the Fed to revise its timeline for tapering the volume of its securities purchases.
As lenders tighten mortgage guidelines for Atlanta home buyers, minimum downpayment requirements are increasing.
Several years ago, you could finance a home with nothing down. Today, most conventional mortgages require at least 5 - 10 percent.
Incidentally, these guideline changes have led to an increase in the number of home buyers accepting cash gifts from family.
Gifts are allowed in most cases but the problem is, if you don't accept the gift in a "lender-friendly" way, the mortgage underwriter could reject it, and negate it.
Three Steps To Success With Your Down Payment Gift Funds
You can't just deposit a cash gift into your bank account. You have to follow a series of steps and keep records.
- Provide an acceptable gift letter signed by all parties
- Provide documentation of the gifter's withdrawal of funds via teller receipts
- Provide documentation of the giftee's deposit of funds via teller receipts
Lenders require these 3 steps for two basic reasons. First, they want to make sure that the cash gift is "clean" (i.e. not laundered). Second, they want to make sure the gift is really a gift and not a loan-in-disguise. It's why lenders typically require that the loan application be accompanied by a signed, dated letter.
I am the [relationship to recipient] of [name of recipient] and this letter serves as evidence that I am gifting [name of recipient] [amount of gift] to be used for the purchase of the home at [complete address of property]. This is a gift -- not a loan -- and there is no expectation of repayment. Signed, [Signature of gifter]
Keep The Cash Gift Funds Separate From Your Other Money
As an additional step, home buyers receiving cash gifts should make sure that gifted funds are not commingled at the time of deposit.
If the cash gift is for $10,000, therefore, the bank's deposit slip should indicate that a $10,000 deposit was made -- nothing more, nothing less. Don't add a random $100 deposit to the transaction, in other words. The $100 deposit should be a separate transaction.
It's also worth noting that gifting funds between family members can create both legal and tax liabilities.
If you're unsure about how donating or receiving a gift may impact you, call or email me directly. If I can't help you with your questions, I can refer you to somebody that can.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Thursday that its Housing Market Index rose three points to a reading of 59 for August.
Confidence among builders is likely growing in connection with stronger housing markets and high demand for homes. These conditions are being driven by short supplies of homes for sale in many markets.
Builder confidence in current market conditions rose by three points to a reading of 62, while builder confidence in market conditions within the next six months rose by one point to a reading of 68. Confidence in buyer foot traffic was unchanged from July’s reading of 45.
Readings above 50 indicate that more builders surveyed view housing market conditions as positive rather than negative; there was some concern that the high builders’ confidence reading could trigger the Fed to announce the tapering of its $85 billion monthly purchase of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities.
Housing Starts Driven By Apartment Construction
Housing starts rose in July, but were led by the volatile apartment sector rather than single- family homes.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported 896,000 housing starts on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. This reading fell short of expectations of 915,000 housing starts, but exceeded June’s reading of 846,000 housing starts.
Starts for residential buildings with five or more units rose by 20.90 percent year-over-year while construction of one of one-to-four family residential buildings fell by 2.20 percent. Demand for rental properties and a shortage of available single family homes was seen by economists as contributing to increasing multi-family housing construction.
Analysts said that some home builders may be holding back on single-family home construction due to increasing materials and labor costs, but this doesn’t reflect the record level of builder confidence reported in the NAHB Housing Market Index.
Building homes at less than optimum capacity isn’t good news for the shortage of available single-family homes. Rising mortgage rates are also a concern for home builders, as fewer borrowers may be able to qualify for mortgage loans needed for financing home purchases.
Building permits numbers were also released on Friday, and presented a more positive picture than housing starts. July’s reading for building permits issued rose by 2.70 percent in July to an annual reading of 943,000 permits against expectations of 953,000 permits issued and exceeded June’s reading of 918,000.
Building permits issued provide an indication of future housing starts.
Last week wasn't kind to stock market investors, but weekly jobless claims fell to an unexpected low of 320,000 new jobless claims filed, the lowest level in nearly six years.
Here is a review of the major events of the week.
Monday: The federal budget for July shows an increase in its deficit to -$98 billion, a deficit increase of $28 billion over June's figure of -$70 billion. The good news is that the deficit for the first 10 months of the fiscal year is $38 billion less than during the same period of the prior fiscal year.
Thursday: Thursday was a busy day for economic news. The weekly jobless claims report came in lower than expected with 320,000 new jobless claims filed. This was lower than the expected.
While this is a strong sign for the economy that would typically boost stock prices, the markets fell. Analysts cite a good news/bad news scenario in describing what happened. The good news was that jobless claims fell to a new low, but the bad news is that investors feared that this may give the Fed a signal to begin tapering its quantitative easing (QE) program.
The Fed is expected to begin tapering its monthly purchases of $85 billion in treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities as early as next month. The QE purchases are intended to help hold down long term interest rates including mortgage rates.
The fall in stock prices on Thursday and Friday suggested that fear of the Fed ending QE is more compelling than the lowest number of new jobless claims since October 2007.
Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage remained unchanged at 4.40 percent with 0.7 percent in discount points. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage ticked upward by one basis point from 3.43 to 3.44 percent.
Discount points fell from 0.70 percent the prior week to 0.60 percent last week.
The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) rose from 3.19 to 3.23 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.50 percent. The 5/1 ARM provides an alternative to higher fixed rates for borrowers seeking lower mortgage rates and payments.
Friday: Included Housing Starts for July, which came in at 896,000 as compared to expectations of 915, 00 0 and June's figure of 846,000 housing starts. Building permits issued in July came in at 943,000, and surpassed June's reading of 918,000 building permits.
Increasing home values, buyer demand and a short supply of available homes were seen as motivating factors for builders to construct more homes.
This week's schedule of economic news is set to include the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index on Tuesday. The FOMC minutes will be released on Wednesday along with Existing Home Sales.
Thursday will bring Weekly Jobless Claims, Freddie Mac's survey of mortgage rates and the FHFA home price index. Friday will finish the week with a New Home Sales report.
August means it's time to get your children ready for school once more. Picking out backpacks, going clothes shopping and finding all the right school supplies can be hectic enough.
However, when you've moved and your children have to start all over in a new district, there's even more to worry about!
Summer fun can make the sunny months fly by. It's easy to forget that with the beginning of school comes excitement and anxiety for your little ones — especially if they're starting out somewhere new.
So help them get adjusted with the back-to-a-new-school strategies below.
Explain Why You'll Be Moving
Whether you're moving states or just school districts, it's best to give your children as much notice as possible and explain to them the reason for the change. They'll need time to get used to the idea and say goodbye to friends.
As the first day draws near, be positive about what they'll experience. School will be a place where they'll learn new things and make great friends.
Think about joining the PTA, so you can learn about what's happening in the school, meet teachers and be able to discuss policies and issues with your children.
Stick To A Routine
A new school is going to hold a lot of unknowns for your little ones. So it's best to keep a consistent routine at home. This will help children know what to expect and feel they at least have some control in their own space.
Tap Into Their Feelings
Your children might be excited or sad about the new change and they'll need someone to release all of this positive or negative energy upon. Just listen and be sure not to minimize their feelings. They'll need an understanding ear throughout this adjustment.
While it's always important for your children to focus on their schoolwork, they would also benefit by joining some sort of club, group or team. The sooner they make friends, the more settled they'll feel.
Moving to a new Atlanta school can be tough on your children, which in turn makes it tough on you.
If you can set aside the time to prepare for the first weeks, talk positively about their upcoming experiences and take the time to really listen to your children, then adjusting to the new environment can be a smooth transition for all.
For more helpful tips on adjusting to a new home and neighborhood, please feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today.
A mortgage loan approval is never final until it's funded. And that means after you've signed the final paperwork and the bank has wired funds to escrow.
Mortgages are made up of many moving parts, any of which might "go wrong" while your home loan is underway.
Some are in your control, like deciding to purchase new items on credit during the mortgage process, many more are not. These "not in your control" items are the ones that you may not be thinking of.
Just being aware of some potential pitfalls could help save your loan down the road, and your peace of mind today.
What Many Mortgage Articles Don't Say
Many mortgage related articles offer similar things like buying a car before closing, or opening a bunch of new credit cards, but there are more uncommon factors that can lead to a similar loan turndown.
For example, a home not be able to get approved if it's unsuitable, or unsafe, for human habitation -- a condition you may not discover until after a thorough home inspection's been made.
Broken windows, lack of plumbing, major electrical code violations and/or major foundation damage are all deal-breakers with a lender.
You'll either have to fix the home prior to your loan closing, or don't close at all.
More Mortgage Pitfalls To Avoid
There are others ways in which a mortgage approval can go bad, too:
- You're self-employed and your income was declining over the years leading up to your mortgage application
- Your tax return shows large amounts of unreimbursed employee expenses
- You have switched lines ofwork or had unexplained breaks of employment in recent years
Mortgage approvals are delicate and, despite an improving economy, lenders still operate with caution. Talk with your real estate agent and your loan officer and put together a game plan.
The best way to beat the mortgage system is to know the rules before you start to play.
And the best way to know the rules is to speak with your trusted mortgage professional today!
Are you applying for a mortgage on your home? Keep in mind that a mortgage is a major financial decision and choosing one will have a significant impact on the rest of your life.
Many people go into this decision without understanding all of the essential mortgage information they need to know. This means that they may not make the best choices which could result in paying much more than they need to.
If you want to save yourself from throwing away your hard earned money, here are a few common mistakes to avoid:
Trying To Time The Mortgage Interest Rate Market
Many people will wait too long to make a decision to lock in their mortgage rate, trying to wait until they think that the rates have hit bottom. However, unfortunately most of the time this leads them to wait too long and end up with a higher interest rate.
If you are waiting things out, keep a very close eye on the economic indicators. Better yet, your trusted mortgage professional would be a good source of information about the fluctuations of interest rates.
Forgetting About Closing Costs
In addition to saving up a down payment for your mortgage, don't forget to factor in the closing costs. These can range from two percent all the way up to six percent of the value of your home.
Make sure that you have budgeted for this in advance, so that these fees don't catch you by surprise.
Not Considering All Loan Options
There are many people out there who haven't considered certain loan products, such as an adjustable rate mortgage, because they just don't understand how they work. However, you might be missing out on an option that would really work well for you.
Make sure you do your research and gain an understanding of the loan options available to you. Ask your loan officer for guidance in this area.
Looking At Just The Mortgage Rate
Remember that the mortgage interest rate is only one factor that you should consider when choosing a mortgage. Don't forget to also consider the time frame of the mortgage closing, any restrictions on lump sum payments and any other important factors.
Following these steps will help you avoid a few of the common mistakes people make when choosing a mortgage. For more information about home buying and mortgages, you can contact your trusted mortgage professional today.
The old real estate cliche' about "location, location, location" is true, as the area of the city where your home is located will have an impact on its future value as well as your lifestyle.
So what factors should you consider when you are choosing which neighborhoods to house hunt within?
Proximity to Your Daily Needs
If you work downtown, living out in the suburbs means that you will be adding time for a commute onto your day.
While this might be worth the cheaper prices for properties out of the town center, it is something to consider when making your decision.
You will also need to consider whether the house is near shopping centers, schools, doctors, dentists and other services that you will need regularly.
When you are choosing a neighborhood to buy in, do some research into what developments are planned in the future for that part of town.
For example, you might be able to get a cheap price on a home that is out of the way, but a new proposed highway leading straight into the town center that will be built in the next five years could increase property values considerably.
Take a walk around the neighborhood where you are considering buying and get a sense of the overall atmosphere. Are there a lot of families living there? Are there green places to relax? Are people friendly and saying hello to you?
You want to live in a place where you feel welcome and comfortable.
Different neighborhoods will have a range of house prices and you will want to look for something with the right balance of value.
Some areas of town will be very expensive but very nice; other areas will have cheap house prices but might not be as pleasant to live in. Take the time to find the neighborhood that is in the middle, where you will find the right house, and neighborhood, at a good price.
These are just a few of the factors to consider so that you can choose the right neighborhood to buy in.
For more information about buying a Marietta home, feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today.
Highlights of economic news from last week, include a survey of senior loan officers from U.S. and foreign banks doing business in the U.S.
They indicated that banks were gradually easing lending standards for business and consumer loans, but viewed lending criteria for home loans as more restrictive than other types of loans.
According to CoreLogic, U.S. home prices increased at their fastest pace since February 2006. Mortgage rates rose incrementally, and the Weekly Jobless Claims report came in lower than the expected 339,000 at 333,000 new jobless claims.
Monday: Bank loan officers surveyed indicated that while mortgage lending requirements have been eased for low risk mortgage loans, it remains challenging for those with less-than-stellar credit to qualify for home loans.
Bankers noted some concern that easing credit standards may signal to the Fed that it's time to taper the quantitative easing program that's designed to keep long term interest rates, including mortgage rates, low.
Tuesday: The CoreLogic Home Prices report for June showed that home prices rose 1.90 percent in June, and rose by 11.88 percent year-over-year. 48 states showed rising home prices while only Mississippi and Delaware showed a decline.
Nevada led the list of higher home prices with a 27.00 percent gain year-over-year; Nevada home values were among the hardest-hit in the economic downturn.
Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims came in at 333,000, which were higher than last week's reading of 328,000 new jobless claims. The four-week average is considered a less volatile indicator of unemployment trends.
The four week rolling average for new jobless claims decreased by 6250 to 335,000. This was the lowest reading for the four-week rolling average since November 2007.
Freddie Mac's weekly report on mortgage rates brought not-so-good news; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 4.40 percent, while the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 3.43 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose by one basis point to 3.19 percent.
Discount points for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 15-year fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at 0.7 percent, while average discount points for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped to 0.5 percent.
What's Coming Up
This week's economic news includes the federal budget for Monday. Retail Sales and Core Retail Sales will be reported on Tuesday; the Producers Price Index (PPI) and Core PPI will be out on Wednesday.
Thursday's news includes weekly jobless claims and Freddie Mac's mortgage rates update. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Core CPI (excluding volatile food and energy sectors) will also be released. The NAHB Home Builders Housing Market Index (HMI) is also due Thursday.
Friday's scheduled economic news includes Housing Starts, Building Permits and Consumer Sentiment for July.
Summer always brings with it a hard choice: Do you turn down the thermostat to stay cool and resign yourself to high power bills? Or, do you sweat it out to save some dough?
If you've been struggling with this dilemma, don't fret.
With a programmable thermostat, you can beat the heat and save money, too. They are easy to install and can save you over $100 a year.
The key is that they have different temperature settings for certain times of the day. The latest models can be self-installed, are easy to program and can be controlled over the Internet.
This is obviously the biggest perk. Not only are you helping the environment, you're also helping your monthly budget.
You can preset the thermostat to adjust the temperature when you're away from the house, so you're using less energy. Then it can kick back on just before you arrive home.
You'll immediately see a difference in your utility bills when you set your programmable thermostat to turn off for eight-hour periods while you're at work. Every little bit counts!
Save Yourself The Frustration
If you're going to be home early from work or are arriving back from a week long vacation, don't worry about coming home to a sweltering sauna of a house.
Most modern thermostats allow you to access their controls online through a computer, or even your smart phone. With the touch of a button, you'll arrive to a perfectly comfortable home.
Save Even More
Below are a few tips to keep bills down and your thermostat running efficiently.
Make sure you place the thermostat away from air vents, open doorways and windows with direct sunlight.
Try to set temperatures for longer increments, such as when you're at work or while you're asleep.
Every time you hit the buttons you're using more energy.
If your thermostat runs on batteries, change them once a year.
Don't waste any more energy! Make the investment in a programmable thermostat and start saving this summer. The convenience and lower utility bills will make you glad you did.
For more tips on home maintenance and savings, reach out to your trusted mortgage professional today.
U.S. housing markets continue to drive the economic recovery according to data released by RealtyTrac Inc.
National home prices rose by 11.90 percent year-over-year for June.
48 states reported rising home prices with only Delaware and Mississippi reporting lower home prices. Nevada led the states with a 26.50 percent gain over June 2012.
Cities also fared well on housing prices; 99 of the 100 largest U.S. cities reported gains in home prices.
Rising Home Prices And Mortgage Rates, Short Supply Of Homes
According to Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, home price trends are rising at their fastest pace since 1977. While good news for sellers, homebuyers may find fewer affordable options over time while also contending with rising mortgage rates.
In spite of rapidly rising home prices, national home prices remain about 19 percent below their peak in April 2006.
Why The Shortage Of Available Homes?
Some homeowners are hoping to recoup losses on their homes before listing them for sale. This could be a risky decision, as many economists have previously characterized the last peak of the housing market to be a "bubble," or an abnormal spike in home values.
In some markets cash buyers are snapping up homes and making it difficult for mortgage-dependent homebuyers to compete.
Another common scenario that presents challenges to home buyers in areas where homes are in high demand occurs when there are multiple purchase offers for one home.
Buyers who rely on mortgage loans for financing their home purchase can improve their chances by being pre-approved for a mortgage before shopping for a home.
Fewer Foreclosed Homes Contribute To Rising Home Prices
RealtyTrac estimates that 500,000 home mortgages will be foreclosed this year. This is approximately 25 percent lower than the number of 2012 residential foreclosures.
Bank-owned homes are typically offered at lower prices and with incentives such as direct financing, but most are sold as-is with no warranties or guarantees as to their condition. Multiple foreclosed homes within a community can drag down home prices, so fewer foreclosed homes is positive for homeowners and communities alike.
Want To Buy A Home? Don't Give Up
Rising mortgage rates and home prices can present challenges, but working with your trusted mortgage professional can help with finding an affordable home. Programs are available for assisting eligible first-time buyers with their down payment and closing costs.
Adjustable-rate mortgage loans that provide a low fixed rate for a specified introductory period provide an alternative to higher payments required of a fixed-rate mortgage. An adjustable-rate mortgage may be a good option for first-time buyers who plan to "move up" within a few years.
For assistance in finding an affordable home please feel free to reach out to your trusted mortgage professional today.
If you're looking to purchase next home or rental house , keep in mind that the homes you are considering might be in need of repairs or improvements.
In a recent study done by a major home inspection company, at least 40 percent of previously owned homes on the market have at least one serious issue or defect.
When buying real estate, you should have a professional inspection performed on the property to look for any issues that might not be visible to the untrained eye.
It's better to identify this damage before you buy so that you are not stuck with budget-busting renovations.
Below are a few major red flags you should look for when buying a home.
Look at the slope of the yard. If the land slopes towards the house, this could be causing water to run down into the foundation, which will result in moisture damage. Take a look at the foundation for any bulges or cracks that could indicate serious issues.
Your home inspector should be sure to check the electrical wiring — especially if it is an older house. If there are any flickering lights, circuits that don't work, or warm outlets, these are telltale signs of wiring issues that might be expensive to fix.
This is usually a sign that something in the house is leaking. Ceiling stains are common underneath bathrooms when a toilet, shower or bathtub has a leak. A leaky roof could be an even more expensive repair.
When you are negotiating to buy a house and damage is discovered, you can either change your mind about the sale or renegotiate for a lower price that factors in the cost of repairs. Either way, it is always worth having the home professionally inspected to identify red flags and avoid any surprises..
What happens if you go through a tough financial period and you find yourself behind on your mortgage payments for your home?
If you are missing mortgage payments and are having difficulty paying, this can become a serious problem. Even just one missed payment can be difficult to catch up on, and if you are in this situation it is important to get help right away.
Contact Your Lender
The first step in this circumstance should be to get in touch with your mortgage lender to explain the situation. Simply leaving things alone and not explaining why you have missed a payment will just make things worse.
When people are struggling financially, they avoid calling their creditors for as long as they can. This is usually the wrong strategy to have if you want to make sure that you keep your home.
When you speak to the lender, you can explain why your payment is overdue. For example, perhaps you were laid off from your job or you have been sick and unable to work. If you have a good payment history and you are the one to initiate contact, the lender may be more likely to consider options for you to repay the mortgage.
Consider All Of Your Options
Is there a relative or a friend who could lend you enough money to pay off your missed mortgage payment? Could borrow from your insurance policy? Is there a way you can sell something that you are not using or cut back on other expenses?
Perhaps you could work a part time job on the side to earn more money. There are a number of ways that you could come up with the extra cash and make the mortgage payment.
However, be careful with payday loan companies or other short term lenders, as they may charge extremely high interest that can make it even more difficult to get out of debt later.
In some circumstances, you might be able to arrange with your loan servicer to permanently change one or more of the terms of your mortgage contract so that your mortgage payments will be more manageable for you.
This could include reducing your interest rate, adding the missed payments to the loan balance or extending the term of the loan. A loan modification can be a good idea if you are facing a reduction in your income that will last for an extended period.
If you are struggling financially and you have missed a mortgage payment, don't panic. Instead, follow these steps to make sure that you deal with the situation well and get back on track.
To find out more about getting a mortgage on your Alpharetta home, contact your trusted mortgage professional today.
The past week brought encouraging economic news from several sources.
The FOMC statement indicated that the Federal Reserve has not set a date for rolling back its quantitative easing program and ADP reported more private sector jobs added than expected.
While weekly jobless claims were fewer than expected, the national unemployment rate remained elevated:
Monday: Pending Home Sales: The National Association of REALTORS reported that sales contracts fell in June due to rising mortgage rates and a tight inventory of available homes.
Tuesday: The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed that national home prices increased by 12.2 percent annually.
All 20 cities used in the 10 and 20 city home price indices posted gains in average home prices. Average U.S. home prices remained approximately 25 percent below their peak in 2006.
Consumer confidence dropped in July to a reading of 80.3 as compared to a revised reading of 82.1 in June. Higher mortgage rates and stubbornly high unemployment rates likely contributed to a cooling of consumer enthusiasm.
Wednesday: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in its statement that based on its reading of current economic conditions,the committee had not set a date for beginning to reduce the Fed's monthly asset purchase of $85 billion in Treasury securities and MBS.
The program, known as quantitative easing (QE), is intended to keep long-term interest rates including mortgage rates lower.
ADP reported that job growth for private-sector jobs exceeded expectations for July; the adjusted reading of 200,000 for July beat expectations of 185,000 jobs added and also surpassed June's reading of 198,000 new jobs added.
The ADP jobs report is viewed by economists as a preview of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Non-farm Payrolls and National Unemployment reports, which are collectively known as the "Jobs Report."
Thursday: Weekly jobless claims came in at 326,000. This was lower than expectations and the previous week's reading, both of which were reported at 345,000 jobless claims.
Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates rose, with the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage coming in at 4.39 percent as compared to last week's 4.31 percent.
Average rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 3.43 percent over last week's 3.39 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was 3.18 percent and two basis points higher than the previous week's 3.16 percent.
Friday: The July Non-farm Payrolls report showed that only 162,000 jobs were added as compared to expectations of 180,000 jobs added and June's reading of 188,000 jobs added. While housing markets are showing strong improvement, high unemployment continues to be a drag on the economy.
The national unemployment rate for July was 7.40 percent and was lower than expectations of 7.50 percent and June's reading of 7.60 percent.
What's Coming Up This Week
This week's economic news includes the Senior Loan Officer Survey set for Monday, the U.S. Trade Deficit and Job Openings reports for June on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, a report on Consumer Credit will be released and the Weekly Jobless Claims will be out Thursday, along with Freddie Mac's mortgage rates report. No mortgage or related news is scheduled for Friday.
Summer seems to be slipping away quickly. And, while you've hosted many barbecues on your back deck, you might not have had time to properly take care of it.
August is the perfect month to conduct a deck inspection and make any repairs before the time comes to prepare it for winter. Below are tips on some issues to watch for and how to fix them.
Inspect The Deck
It's important to do a thorough inspection of your deck every summer. You don't want to step through a rotted board or have a railing break away from under you.
Be sure to pay extra attention to places close to the ground or near water sources, such as under planters and next to the water spigot.
Check For Rot
Take a screwdriver and poke areas of the deck that look like they could be rotting.
If you can push the screwdriver in a quarter inch or more, then you'll need to consider replacing the board. However if the hole is smaller than the size of a tennis ball, you can fill it with wood preservative and save some money.
Go under the deck if possible. You'll need to check the supporting beams for any serious problems. Dangerous scenarios occur when the structure of the deck is compromised.
If you find an issue with a beam that cannot be removed because it's holding up the deck, then reinforce it on both sides with pressure-treated lumber. Then scrape away the decomposing area.
Shake It Up
Give the railings a good shake to make sure they are structurally sound. Check for cracking around screw and nail holes.
If you find one, then remove the screw or nail, seal with exterior adhesive and drill a new hole to secure again.
Look For Cupping
Cupping occurs when wood absorbs and releases moisture, which may cause the floor planks to bow and warp. You want to make sure that guests and your family don't trip over unruly slats. It might be a good idea to rent a professional-quality sander and even out the imperfections.
Perform a deck inspection to make sure your outdoor area is in suitable condition. Serious injuries can occur when homeowners don't take the time to properly inspect and maintain their outdoor living spaces. Not to mention, it saves money to catch issues early and not have to replace the entire structure.
For more helpful tips on periodic home maintenance, please feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today.
There was potentially good news for mortgage rates on Wednesday as the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced that its quantitative easing (QE) program would remain unchanged for the present.
Economists expect the Fed to begin tapering the amount of QE toward the end of the year in accordance with Chairman Ben Bernanke's previous statements that "tapering" would likely begin near year-end.
No specific date for reducing the QE assets purchases was given.
Chairman Bernanke has previously indicated that the Fed will closely review domestic and global economic developments as part of its decision-making process for changing the QE program. Wednesday's FOMC statement reaffirmed this plan.
Fed Cites Economic Expansion and Improving Labor Conditions
The FOMC statement cited modest economic expansion, improving labor markets and continued high unemployment levels as a basis for continuing its current level of QE.
The Fed's mandate requires it to support price stability and low unemployment; reversals in these or other economic areas could cause the Fed to continue its QE at present levels. At present, economists expect QE to end in mid-2014.
The FOMC statement also indicated that the target federal funds rate will remain between 0.00 and 0.25 percent at least until the national unemployment rate falls to 6.50 percent. Chairman Bernanke did not give a press conference after Wednesday's statement was released.
Quantitative Easing: Monthly Purchase of MBS, Treasury Securities Intended to Control Mortgage Rates
The Fed currently purchases $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and $45 billion in Treasury securities monthly. These purchases are intended to control long-term interest rates including mortgage rates.
When the Fed begins tapering and eventually concludes these asset purchases, demand for MBS and Treasury securities are expected to fall and their prices will likely fall as well. When prices for bonds include MBS fall, mortgage rates traditionally rise.
With mortgage rates recently moving up, reducing the level of the Fed's QE asset purchases is cause for concern. Higher mortgage rates make homes less affordable; the combination of rising home prices and mortgage rates presents challenges for first-time home buyers and others without sufficient funds for meeting higher down payments and monthly mortgage payments.
Now would be a very good time to ask your trusted mortgage professional for a personal review of your mortgage situation. Give them a call and ask for your private assessment today.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (HPI) released Tuesday presented solid evidence that the housing recovery continued during the month of May.
The Case-Shiller 20-City Index showed increasing home prices for all 20 cities.
Highest Year-Over-Year Gains Included Theses Cities:
- San Francisco, CA 24.50 percent
- Las Vegas, NV 23.30 percent
- Phoenix, AZ 20.60 percent
- Atlanta, GA 20.10 percent
- Los Angeles, CA 19.20 percent
In surprising news, Dallas, TX and Denver, CO posted record year-over-year price gains that surpassed their pre-crisis peaks.
Year-over-year home prices in Dallas increased by 7.60 percent and Denver home prices increased by 9.70 percent year-over-year in May.
Home prices grew by 12.20 percent on a year-over year basis in May; this reading fell short of expectations of 12.40 percent, but moved slightly ahead of April's reading of a 12.10 percent year-over year increase.
The Case-Shiller HPI is based on a three-month rolling year-over-year average of home prices in the cities surveyed.
Cities Post Month-To- Month Price Gains
On a seasonally-adjusted month-to-month basis, home prices rose by 1.00 percent in May as compared to April. Expectations were for a 1.40 percent increase over April's reading, which came in at 1.70 percent.
Top Gains From April To May Were Posted By These Cities:
- San Francisco, CA 4.30 percent
- Chicago, IL 3.70 percent
- Atlanta, GA 3.40 percent
- San Diego, CA 3.10 percent
- Seattle, WA 3.10 percent
Analysts noted that home prices for two metro areas in Florida surpassed year-over-year gains in Washington, D.C.; this illustrates home values shifting geographically.
Miami home prices posted a month-to gain of 2.00 percent and a year-over-year gain of 14.20 percent.
Tampa, FL home prices posted a month-to-month gain of 1.80 percent on a year-over-year gain of 10.90 percent.
Washington, D.C. home prices gained 2.00 percent month-to-month in May, but only gained 6.50 percent year-over-year.
Rising Mortgage Rates Could Slow Price Momentum
It's important to understand that the data in the Case-Shiller HPI lags a couple of months behind current market conditions; the latest numbers were compiled prior to mortgage rates spiking. Economists expect that the impact of higher mortgage rates won't be seen in home prices until fall.
Higher mortgage rates are expected to slow home sales. If the demand for homes falls due to higher mortgage rates, inventories of available homes would expand, which would create competition among home sellers and potentially lead to lower home prices.
For any questions regarding your mortgage rate and buying a home feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today.
Imagine how frustrated you'd be to find out that the hot water heater wasn't working - in the middle of your very first shower in your new home!
This, among other very good reasons, is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home.
When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you're buying.
A home inspection is an important part of buying your home. Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.
What Does Your Inspection Cover?
Not all inspections are the same. Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home.
If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.
Are You Licensed Or Certified?
If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. Most reputable home inspection professionals provide this information right at the start of your home inspection.
At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors. This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.
What Kind Of Report Will You Give Me?
You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection.
Many even take digital color photos of any issues with the home in order to make their report as clear as possible. Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn't make sense to you.
Will I Be Able To Attend The Inspection?
If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else. This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.
Please feel free to contact your trusted mortgage professional today to answer this and any other question you have on the home buying process.
Last week brought a mixed bag of economic news, but most notably, average mortgage rates fell.
New home sales surpassed expectations and consumer sentiment rose for July; these readings among others suggest that the economy continued to improve and that consumer confidence in the economy improved as well.
Monday: Existing home sales in June were reported at 5.08 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. While this fell short of expectations of 5.25 million existing homes sold, the expectation was based on the original reading of 5.18 million existing homes sold for May; this was later revised to 5.14 million homes existing homes sold in May.
Tuesday: FHFA reported that May prices for homes with mortgages held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac remained consistent with April's reading of a 7.30 percent increase on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Home prices rose by 0.70 percent in May as compared to April's revised reading of 0.50 percent.
Wednesday: The U.S. Census Bureau revealed that June sales of new homes came in at 497,000, which surpassed both expectations of 483,000 new homes sold and May's reading of 449,000 new homes sold.
Thursday: Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates fell last week; the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by six basis points to 3.31 percent with 0.8 percent in discount points.
The average rate for a 15-year mortgage was 3.39 percent with discount points of 0.8 percent as compared to last week's report of 3.41 percent. Average rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by one basis point from 3.17 percent to 3.16 percent; discount points moved from 0.60 percent to 0.70 percent.
In other economic news, June's report for Durable Goods Orders nearly doubled to 4.20 percent over expectations of 2.30 percent.
Friday: Consumer Sentiment for July rose to 85.1 as compared to expectations of 84.0 and June's reading of 83.90 percent. That consumers continued gaining confidence in the economy could indicate that more would-be home buyers will become active homebuyers seeking to buy amidst a short inventory of available homes.
This Week's Busy Economic Calendar
Readings for several significant economic and housing related indicators will be released this week.
Pending Home Sales are due out today; Tuesday brings the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the Consumer Confidence Index. Wednesday's news includes the ADP report (useful for tracking private sector job growth) and an FOMC statement after its meeting ends.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is also scheduled to give a press conference Wednesday. As always, any remarks concerning projected changes to the Fed's quantitative easing program (QE) could impact financial markets and mortgage rates.
On Thursday, construction spending data will be released in addition to Freddie Mac's weekly report on average mortgage rates.
Friday's news includes several employment-related reports. The monthly Non-Farm Payrolls and Unemployment report will be released; collectively these two reports are frequently called the Jobs Report.
Data on personal income and consumer spending will round out the week's economic news.
One of the biggest improvements that you can make to your home is to bring in more natural light.
Sunlight is a powerful mood enhancer and a home design that brings in a lot of natural light will automatically look and feel much more pleasant. Not only will it boost your mood, bringing in natural light will also increase the value of your home.
So how can you shed some light on your home's interior?
Here are a few ways:
Add More Reflective Surfaces
Whenever you add a light and reflective surface to your home, you increase the number of times that daylight bounces around inside the room.
Try painting your ceilings and walls with light or off-white colours. Matte finishes are actually better than glossy surfaces, as they reflect light in all directions at once. Add some metal accents and some mirrors to the space, which will also reflect the light.
Move Your Furniture Around
Do you have furniture that is blocking natural light from coming in? Move your furniture away from the windows so that it will not get in the way of the sunlight streaming into your home.
Add A Glass Door
Is there anywhere in your home where you can exchange a solid door for one with glass in its design? This will allow the light to flow through the doorway and increase the feeling of brightness in your home.
There are plenty of glass doors with superb security features, so they will be just as safe as any other door. Also, if you have a yard or a patio to look out on, adding sliding glass doors will be a great way to let the light in and enjoy the view.
Expand Your Windows
Is it possible to increase the size of any of your windows? If yes, the windows on the south side of the house, will bring a significant amount of sunshine into the home.
Add A Skylight
Adding skylights to your home will bring a lot of natural light into the interior. Also, they are much more private than windows because anyone passing by will not be able to see through them. They also add overhead lighting, so that you will not need to use electricity during daylight hours.
These are just a few ways that you can let the sunshine in and bring more natural light into your Atlanta home.
If you have any other home questions, please contact your trusted mortgage professional today.