Mortgage Rates Near All Time Lows

mortgage rates have now dropped 15 basis points over the past two weeks, leaving them only…”

Mortgage rates hit a new 2016 low this week, and they’re also nearing the lowest averages ever recorded. Freddie Mac reports the 30-year mortgage rate is close to the November 2012 record low of 3.31 percent.

“Continuing fallout from the Brexit vote drove Treasury yields lower again this week,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “ The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage followed Treasury yields, falling 7 basis points to 3.41 percent in this week’s survey. Mortgage rates have now dropped 15 basis points over the past two weeks, leaving them only 10 basis points above the all-time low.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending July 7:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: averaged 3.41 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.48 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.04 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.74 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 2.78 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.20 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.68 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 2.70 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.93 percent.
    References: RealtorMag, Freddie Mac

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker-Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
Oxford Office   248-969-8065
Lapeer Office   810-338-0628
donaldhorne.realtor@gmail.com
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Credit Mistakes Potential Home Buyers In Lapeer Make

“Maintaining a strong credit score is one of the most important things potential buyers can do if they want to qualify for a mortgage” …

Maintaining a strong credit score is one of the most important things potential buyers can do if they want to qualify for a mortgage, since credit scores are used by lenders to measure financial health. A recent study showed that 34 percent of potential buyers believe their current score will hurt their future ability to purchase a home.

1. Don’t be late. Paying bills on time is essential, since a person’s payment history makes up 35 percent of the total credit score. A late bill payment of 30 to 60 days also gets reported to credit bureaus and stays on the credit report for a whopping seven years.

2. Applying for new credit. According the National Association of REALTORS®, applying and being approved for a new line of credit can cause concern with lenders who might take it as a sign that there’s a higher risk of default due to increased spending. Bottom line, if your potential buyers are planning to apply for a home loan in the near future, make sure they don’t apply for anything else around the same time, Yahoo! Finance warns. 

3. Having high balances. Just making minimum credit card payments isn’t good enough for most mortgage companies. People who hold high credit balances are not looked as favorable loan candidates since high balances and maxed out cards raises the debt-to-income ratio, according to lenders.

4. Too much disputing. While it’s a good idea to keep tabs on the credit report and dispute false charges, doing so too-often will be a red flag to lenders who may chalk it up to gaming the score instead.

5. Not having a credit history at all. Credit can’t be established if there’s none to begin with, so if your clients have a thin credit file, let them know they need to start building their history before applying for a home loan.
References: RealtorMag, Yahoo! Finance

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker-Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
Oxford Office   248-969-8065
Lapeer Office   810-338-0628
donaldhorne.realtor@gmail.com
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Closing Times Are Speeding Up

Closing Times Are Speeding Up

The average time to close on all mortgage loans dropped to 44 days in March, the shortest amount of time in a year, according to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report.

New mortgage rules went into effect last October, pushing closing timelines from 46 days in October to 48 days in November and December, and then to 50 days in January. But lenders and real estate professionals have had time to adjust to the new rules, and closing times are speeding up again.

timeThe average time to close on a loan for a home purchase fell to 45 days in March, while closing times for refinancings dropped to 41 days. Times to close on FHA loans also fell to 44 days in March, while VA loans averaged 48 days to close.

What’s more, Ellie Mae’s report shows that the average closing rates for all loans continued to rise to the highest level since tracking began in 2011. Closing rates for all loans rose to 70.6 percent in March (closing rates on purchase loans was slightly over 75 percent). Ellie Mae calculates the closing rate on a 90-day cycle, since most loan applications require one-and-a-half to two months from application to close.

Sixty-seven percent of all closed loans had FICO scores above 700. The average credit score was 722. Only 12 percent of the closed loans had scores below 650, according to Ellie Mae’s report. The average loan-to-value ratio was 80 percent, and the average debt-to-income ratio remained constant at 25/38.
References: Mortgage News Daily, RealtorMag 

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker-Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
Oxford Office   248-969-8065
Lapeer Office   810-338-0628
donaldhorne.realtor@gmail.com
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Surprising Ways To Save For A Down Payment

5 Surprising Ways To Save For A Down Payment

Saving for a down payment does not have to be an impossible feat for your would-be buyers. HouseLogic recently featured several resourceful ideas to help them save up for a down payment on a home.

Crowdsource

blogMaybe instead of a traditional wedding registry, your buyers use a site geared to saving up for their future home. Sites like Feather the Nest and Hatch My House can be sites used to raise funds for a down payment. Hatch My House says it’s helped raise more than $2 million in down payments on home purchases.

Ask for the sellers help.

The home seller may be willing to help buyers with the closing costs, via seller concessions. However, realize that lenders do limit concessions, depending on the mortgage type. For example, the FHA’s mortgages have a cap of 6 percent the sales price; Fannie Mae-backed loans have caps between 3 percent and 9 percent.

Explore government options.

Some home buyers may find down payment help from state, local, or even national programs. For example, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers several programs, such as assistance with down payment and closing costs. Most HUD programs are geared to individuals who meet certain income or location requirements. Check out links by state. HUD also offers assistance through its Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program for law enforcement officers, firefighters, teachers, or EMTs. For veterans, the VA offers loans that often require zero down payment or private mortgage insurance.

See if your employer will help.

Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) programs can assist low- to moderate-income employees with a down payment through their employer. Ask the human resources or benefits personnel at your employer if your company participates in an EAH program.

Look into special lender programs.

Some lenders offer specialized programs to help too. With FHA mortgages, borrowers may need just 3.5 percent for a down payment (but make sure they take into account mortgage insurance, which could add another $300 to a monthly mortgage payment). Some lenders, such as TD Bank, offer a 3 percent down payment with no mortgage insurance program. Check with your regional bank for possible down payment assistance or first-time buyer programs.
References: HouseLogic, RealtorMag, Daily Real Estate News

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Buying And Selling A Home At The Same Time

Ah, to be a first-time home buyer again: How easy it was to buy a home when you weren’t carrying another mortgage on your back!

If you’re looking to graduate from first-timer to repeat buyer, you know things are about to get much trickier. Unless you’re a bona fide house collector, you’ll have to sell your home in order to buy anew—adding a whole separate layer of anxiety to what you already know is a stressful home-buying process.

In an ideal world, you’d buy a new home, move, and then, and when all the dust settles, deal with the how to buy and sell a home at the same timeturmoil of selling. But for most people, that’s totally unrealistic. Not only does it cost significantly more, since you’ll be paying two mortgages, but sellers might be quick to judge if you’re holding on to your current home.

Drew Snyder, a Realtor® with Snyder Sutton Real Estate in Topanga, CA, says one of his clients had difficulty getting sellers to “take them seriously unless the house was on the market or in escrow. As soon as we put it on [the market], they were considered as serious buyers.”

You can do this! If selling and buying simultaneously is the only way to go, here’s what you need to know to make sure both processes go as smoothly as possible.

Know the market first

Before you start seriously searching for a new home—or put your current home on the market—make sure you have a solid understanding of the housing market in your area (and the area where you’re planning to buy). Is the market weighted toward buyers or sellers?

Only then will you be able to fully strategize. As is so often the case, the best plan of action may differ depending on exactly who has the power.

That doesn’t mean to find one house you like and call it a day: Find multiple suitable options. That way, you’re less likely to find yourself in trouble if your purchase falls through—your newly sold home won’t leave you stranded.

Similarly, make sure to hire an appraiser and price your old home fairly. Now is decidedly not the time for delusions of grandeur: Two extra months on the market because you couldn’t humble yourself to lower the price means two months you’ll be paying double mortgages. Two very long months…

Plan your schedule carefully…

Should you buy first, then sell—or vice versa? Both have their risks and rewards. Selling first makes getting a mortgage easier, but it also means you’ll need to find a temporary place to live. Buying first means moving will be easier, but it also skews your debt-to-income ratio, making it harder to qualify for a new mortgage—not to mention the difficulty of juggling two monthly house payments.

“It’s walking a tightrope,” says Gary DiMauro, a Realtor in New York’s Hudson Valley. And he’s not just talking about scheduling: Your finances will be on the highwire, too. When determining whether you should sell or buy first, think beyond “How can I make the move as easy as possible?” Instead ask: “Can I handle two mortgages? What if my home sells for less than its listing?”

Whichever option you choose, make sure you’re prepared to accept the consequences: having to store your stuff and rent temporarily, or undergoing the financial burdens of dual mortgages.

… but don’t rely on timing

When buying and selling a home simultaneously, “there are so many external circumstances,” says DiMauro. “I’ve yet to see it really work smoothly and efficiently.”

Remember: You’re not the only party in this equation. For every seller there’s a buyer, for every buyer a seller. While things might appear to be working smoothly when viewing your master plan from above, that doesn’t take into account the variabilities of other people. Closings are rife with delays. Your buyers might have difficulty securing their mortgage; your home inspector may bring up issues that need to be fixed before you can move in.

“You’re relying on the seller of the place that you’re buying to be ready to move in concert with the buyer of your house,” DiMauro says.

So even if you’ve planned to sell your home first and are prepared to rent while buying, know that even the best-laid plans go awry—and you might end up juggling both mortgages. Preparing yourself for this (however remote) possibility ahead of time will ensure a smooth transition.

Know your financial solutions

For those who choose to sell first, the process is relatively straightforward other than the additional cost of a rental between homes. However, there is the option of a rent-back agreement, where you negotiate with the lenders and buyers to be able to remain in the property for a maximum of 60 to 90 days—often in exchange for a lower selling price or rent paid to the buyers. This can relieve some of the pressure of finding a new home, giving you additional time to house hunt.

But if you’re buying first, talk to your Realtor about ways to decrease your financial burden and risk. Here are the two most popular options for buyers:

Contract contingency: Buyers can request that their new home purchase be dependent on the successful sale of their old home. If you’re looking in a competitive market, this may not be a good option; however, if the seller of your intended home has had difficulty attracting interest, this may be a good deal for all parties involved—assuming you can convince them that your home will sell quickly.

Bridge loans: Bridge financing allows you to own two homes simultaneously if you don’t have deep pockets for a second down payment. This option is especially attractive if you’d planned to sell your home first and use the proceeds to buy the second. It functions as a short-term loan, intended to be repaid upon the sale of your original house.

Don’t let fear rush you

If your home has sold but you haven’t found a new place to live, don’t let anxiety push you toward a bad decision. DiMauro usually recommends that his clients pre-emptively plan on a short-term rental “so they don’t feel stressed or pushed into something that they would not normally be interested in,” he says. “They shouldn’t make a purchase because they felt like they were pressured from the time constraints.”

Found the perfect home right on schedule? That’s great. But don’t feel like you have to compromise on things that are important to you just because you need to find a home. Conversely, don’t accept a bid that you feel is too low just because your finances are strained by two mortgages. If you have a temporary apartment set up, you’re less likely to compromise.

Certainly, selling and buying a house simultaneously will be stressful—but carefully considering and planning for the risks and hurdles can mitigate the stress.
References: Jamie Wiebe, Realtor.com, Housing Trends eNewsletter

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker-Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
Search All Properties
Oxford Office   248-969-8065
Lapeer Office   810-338-0628

Home Appraisal vs Home Inspection

Home appraisals and home inspections are sometimes confused. While they are both an important part of the home buying process, they ultimately serve two different purposes.

Key Takeaways
• Appraisals estimate the value of the home, taking into consideration factors like comparable sales of homes in the area
• A home inspection looks at the condition of the home in detail, including major mechanicals and the overall structure
• Lenders use the appraised value of the home to help determine what loan amount to offer

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker-Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
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Oxford Office   248-969-8065
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Down Payment Resource Center

Buying vs Renting, Build Your Own Equity Not Your Landlords

Buying vs renting, build your own equity not your landlords … If you are renting, buying a home could very well be a financial move that benefits you in the long run, as you pay your own mortgage and build equity instead of paying your landlords mortgage.

What is your monthly rental payment? $450, $500, $600? A $100,000 home would have a payment of about $537 or less, depending on your credit rating. No money for a down payment? This program might just be the answer … Down Payment Resource Center.

Let us help you locate the financing, obtain the down payment and find you a new home!

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker-Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
Search All Properties
Oxford Office   248-969-8065
Lapeer Office   810-338-0628
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Donald Horne’s Down Payment Resource Center

Although most potential homeowners aren’t aware, there are hundreds of homeownership programs available to homebuyers across the country. In fact, just within this area, there are many different programs to assist homebuyers just like you in their path to homeownership!

We invite you to see which programs you may be eligible for by searching through the homes currently for sale in this area. In seconds, the free Down Payment Resource tool will identify the number of local programs you may qualify for, and if you’d like, you can request for us to contact you with more information about the home or the assistance programs available!

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker for Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
searchallproperties.com
Oxford Office   248-969-8065
Lapeer Office   810-338-0628
donaldhorne.realtor@gmail.com

 

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How do You Qualify to Buy a House?

How Do You Qualify To Buy A House? This weeks question from a past client that is looking to sell and move up in price …

Your credit is one of the most important things that will be considered when determining if you qualify for a home loan. It’s also one of the things that most people don’t know a lot about. Your credit history is how a lender will judge the likelihood that you’ll pay them back the money they lend you. To do this, a lender will look at the length of your credit history, how reliably you’ve paid on your loan accounts and if you’re maxed out on credit cards or loans. These are also the factors that determine your credit rating or credit score. Your credit score will be used to qualify you for a mortgage and will often determine the interest rate you will be offered.

Credit scores used for a mortgage range between 350 (low) and 850 (high). A healthy credit score is generally considered to be above 740 and a poor credit score is anything below 600. The higher your credit score, the better the interest rate you’ll likely be offered. For most lenders, the minimum score to qualify for a home loan is 620.

The minimum required down payment when buying a primary home is typically 3.5 percent of the sales price, which will allow you to get an FHA loan – a great option for first-time home buyers or anyone who can’t come up with a huge down payment. FHA loans also don’t penalize you with a higher interest rate if you have less-than-perfect credit. Another option is a conventional mortgage. Conventional loans typically require 5 percent to 10 percent down depending on the lender.

donald horneWhen buying a home, keep in mind that you will not only need to have funds for the down payment, but you will also need additional cash for various settlement fees. These can range quite a bit depending on the type of the loan and the area where you are buying; talk to a trusted lender to learn more. The good news is that home loan programs allow you get a credit from the home seller to help pay for these settlement fees, as well as additional costs, like your first year’s taxes and insurance.

Another factor looked at by lenders is your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). This is simply your fixed expenses with the new mortgage compared to your gross monthly income (income before taxes are taken out). Lenders typically want to see someone spending less than 50 percent of their gross monthly income on these fixed expenses, which include your mortgage payment, property taxes, association dues, home owners insurance, car loans, student loans, credit cards and any other fixed payments that would show up on your credit report. Variable expenses like utilities, phone and cable are not included in your DTI. Lenders also want to see a good employment history and will verify your past two years of work.

Lenders also verify that the funds you will use for your down payment are in a liquid account, like a checking account or savings account. If you like to keep your cash in a pile under your mattress, you may have trouble getting approved for a loan and will need to deposit that cash into a bank account. Lenders need to see where all the funds being used in the transaction are coming from and there is no way to document loose cash.
references: eric ehrhardt, quizzle.com

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker for Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
“best of the best in 2014″
Oxford Office  248-969-8065
Lapeer Office  810-338-0628
donaldhorne.realtor@gmail.com

Get 3 Big Tax Breaks – If You Buy a Lake Orion MI Home in 2015

This weeks article from Craig Donofrio in the current Housing Trends eNewsletter titled, You Could Get 3 Big Tax Breaks – If You Buy a Home in 2015 …

So you didn’t buy a house last year. That’s OK—you haven’t missed the boat yet on low mortgage rates or a healthy inventory of homes. In many ways, 2015 is a great time to buy a home, not the least of which is for certain tax breaks.

Here’s how you could enjoy three significant tax benefits if you purchase a home this year.

1. Use points for even lower interest rates

lake orion miDeductible points are a standard tax break, but 2015 might be a good year to buy points. Interest rates have been at all-time lows, and many experts believe the only direction they can go is up. With 30-year rates hovering around 3.6%, an extra point or two can knock those low rates down even further.

One point typically lowers your interest rate by about 0.25%. (A point costs about 1% of your loan amount, and it’s paid at closing.) So if you buy two points off a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $350,000 with a 3.8% interest rate for $7,000, you could reduce your interest rate down to to 3.3%.

Points are considered a form of interest and are tax-deductible in the same year for first-home purchases as long as you meet a few standard requirements. So even if buying points doesn’t drop your monthly payments by much, you can still get a sizable tax break.

2. Take advantage of energy credits

If you buy a home in 2015, you may want to outfit it with some energy-saving systems—because you can write off 30% of the cost as part of the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. Examples of eligible items include the following:

  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Solar panels, solar water heaters
  • Fuel cell property
  • Wind turbines

With the exception of fuel cell property, which has a limit of $500 per kilowatt, there are no maximum credit limits for qualifying items.

The tax credit is good until the end of 2016. If the amount of your tax credit exceeds your tax liability—meaning if you can deduct more than you owe in taxes in 2015—you can roll the credit over to your 2016 taxes. (There’s no word yet on whether the credit will extend to 2017.)

3. Say ‘goodbye’ to renting (which offers no tax breaks)

If you don’t own a home, you most likely rent. And renting has gotten very expensive, with no signs of slowing down. According to the Wall Street Journal, rent has been rising for the past five years—specifically, by 15.2% since 2009.

Renters don’t get many tax breaks, but home buyers do. 2015 might be the year to call it quits on paying $1,800 for a studio apartment with nothing to show for it. Check out the Realtor.com app to see what’s available, and use our Rent or Buy calculator to see how long it will be before renting becomes more expensive than buying in your area—you might be surprised.

Note: Some tax breaks are in limbo

The following buyer-related credits will expire by the end of 2015 if Congress doesn’t act. Don’t count on them, but don’t count them out either.

  • PMI deduction: This credit allows you to deduct money paid on private mortgage insurance.
  • Energy upgrades: The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit allots you a lifetime cumulative cap of $500 in deductions for energy-efficient upgrades (with a $200 lifetime cap for window upgrades).
    References: craig donofrio, realtor.com

Donald Horne, Team Success Listing
Associate Broker for Coldwell Banker Shooltz Realty
“best of the best in 2014″
Oxford Office  248-969-8065
Lapeer Office  810-338-0628
donaldhorne.realtor@gmail.com