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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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Increased Conforming Loan Limits Now Available

Blog posted On October 15, 2021

As home values continue to rise, we’re making it easier for you to purchase the home of your dreams. As of 10/13/21, we have increased our conforming loan limits to make buying a home more accessible to more home buyers. 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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