Mortgage rates have been at record lows for quite some time, making it easy for new homebuyers to finance their dream homes. But what comes down will eventually go back up, and with the world economy expected to rebound in 2016, we’re about to start seeing more expensive mortgages.
So what can you do to prepare yourself before mortgage rates start to rise? Here are some strategies that will keep you ahead of the game.
Start Saving More Money Now
If you have a variable rate mortgage, you’ve benefited from great interest rates that this world won’t see again for quite some time. Hopefully, you’ve taken advantage of this low-interest period to save up some cash. If so, you’re going to be in a great position for when interest rates rise – and if not, you’ll want to start saving as much as you can now to ensure you can weather the storm.
It’s far easier to save money now, with interest rates low, than it will be when your mortgage payment starts to rise. So start squirreling away as much of your paycheck as you can.
Pay Down as Much of Your Principal as Possible
Another great way to prepare for the rise in interest rates is to pay down your principal amount. The total amount of interest you’ll pay goes up when rates go up, but by paying down your principal, you can take a big bite out of your debt before it has a chance to snowball. So pay down as much of your principal as you can afford – it’s easier to pay down interest on a smaller principal amount.
Switch to a Fixed Rate Mortgage
One of the best ways to take advantage of low rates and ensure you get a great deal is to switch your floating rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage. Locking in your low interest rate with a fixed rate mortgage means you’ll pay less interest over the term of the loan, but it also means you’ll only have a set amount of time to pay your mortgage in full. If you’re in a position to predict when you can pay back your mortgage, you’ll save a lot of money by locking in your low rate.
Move to a Smaller More Affordable Home
If the home that you have now is just too much for you, you may consider downsizing. Moving from a large home into a smaller house or condo has not only the benefits of a smaller mortgage and more flexibility, it can also offer a lower utility bill and less cleaning. Downsizing can be stressful, but with a solid plan you can transition to a smaller home and and save a good amount. If you are considering this option, contact your trusted real estate agent for more information on what would work best for your situation.
Mortgage rates haven’t been this low in a long time, and likely won’t be this low again for many years to come. That’s why, if you’re a homeowner, you’ll want to do everything you can to prepare for higher interest rates before they get here.
The decision to invest in real estate can be one rife with risk, but if you’re ready to take this type of step into the investment market, you might be wondering where to begin. While upcoming neighborhoods and university areas may always be a place where investment is a viable idea, here are some reasons it can be a boon to consider a resort condo.
A Reliable Influx of Visitors
The great thing about having a condo close to a resort is that, no matter the weather, people will be getting away in the summer and the winter for some vacation relaxation. While you’ll certainly notice a more significant influx of visitors to a ski resort when winter rolls around, there will still be heavy crowds for the summer months when people want to escape from the city. Renting a condo in a resort can seem like a risk in the off-season, but there are many months out of the year that you can garner a cash flow that will make up the difference.
Maximizing Your Rental Earnings
An investment property in a trendy neighborhood or next to an educational institution will probably always be a popular renter]s area, but being a landlord for a resort property can have its own special perks. With the high season comes the push and pull of supply and demand, and this means you’ll be in a position to offer your property at a significantly higher rate. By keeping your rent reasonable but respectable, you should be able to quickly make up for the cost of initial investment.
It’s An Extra Vacation Property
While this might not work for the investment angle, having a condo at a popular resort may help with the cost savings that can come from not spending money at vacation time. Instead of going to far flung places and splurging on expensive hotel rooms, a resort condo property will mean that you can save on accommodation and still enjoy a relaxing holiday with your family and friends. If your vacation happens to occur during the resort’s downtime, it’s even better since you won’t miss out on improved rental earnings.
While investing in real estate is not risk-proof, buying into a resort condo can be a great way to enjoy a vacation pad and still make money in the high season at the same time. If you would like to learn more about the ins and outs of investment properties, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for more information.
Bidding wars can be ugly, nasty things – but with the right tactics, you can come out a winner without having to double your offer. Welcome to basic training – today, you’ll learn how to navigate the obstacle course that is a real estate bidding war and come out on top. Put these three strategies to use and you’ll easily win the home of your dreams.
Offer To Pay The Deposit In Cash
It’s not usually wise to make a down payment in cash, but paying cash for the deposit is a brilliant strategy that will put you first in line for your new house. One major reason why homes don’t sell is because the buyer didn’t get approved for financing – and that inconveniences the seller. Paying your deposit it cash proves your reliability to the seller, and it means the seller gets paid faster.
Add A Personal Touch With A Letter
Want to get a completely unfair advantage over other buyers in your neighborhood? Make your offer personal by writing the sellers a heartfelt letter. Marketing professionals know that emotional experiences are highly persuasive, and a personalized hand-written letter shows that you care.
For maximum effect, do a quick Google search on the sellers and look for common threads. Do the sellers have a child in college? Talk to them about your college-aged son or daughter and what program they’re taking – it may sound cliché, but a little bit of bonding really does go a long way.
“Escalate” The Situation With An Escalation Clause
When most buyers write up their formal offer, they simply name a price and that’s it. But you can set yourself apart from other potential buyers by including an escalation clause in your offer.
An escalation clause is a piece of a real estate contract that increases your offer in the event that you get outbid. An escalation clause usually lists your original offer, the amount by which you’re willing to beat other bids if you get outbid, and the maximum amount you’re willing to offer in the event that there are multiple offers. Escalation clauses are usually best used when you know that there will be a one-day review of all offers or when you’re anticipating multiple offers – otherwise it may compromise later negotiations.
Bidding wars aren’t ideal, but they are a reality of the real estate market – especially in competitive areas where it’s the norm to see multiple offers on a house. But with these tactics, you can outgun competing bidders and come out with the house you’ve always wanted. Contact your trusted real estate professional to learn more about navigating a bidding war and making a winning offer.
Last week’s economic reports included Pending Home Sales, Construction Spending and several reports on jobs and employment. The details:
Pending Home Sales Down as Home Prices Rise
Pending home sales dipped in August, which is consistent with the waning spring and summer peak sales period for homes. Pending home sales were down by -1.40 percent as compared to July’s gain of 0.50 percent. Pending home sales indicate future closings and mortgage loan volume.
Home prices rose in July according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which reported that home prices for the 20-City Home Price Index rose from June’s reading of 4.90 percent in June to 5.00 in July. Higher home prices contribute to falling home sales as fewer buyers can afford to enter the market.
Construction spending increased in August to a reading of 0.70 percent as compared to expectations of 0.60 percent growth and July’s reading of 0.40 percent growth. Builder confidence readings suggest how builders view housing market conditions and can ultimately impact housing supplies and markets.
Mortgage Rates Tick Downward
Freddie Mac reported that the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 3.85 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also one basis point lower at 3.07 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at an average rate of 2.91 percent. Average discount points were mixed at 0.70, 0.60 and 0.50 percent respectively.
New Jobless Claims Rise; Unemployment Rate Holds Steady
New unemployment claims increased to 277,000 against expectations of 271,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 267,000 new jobless claims. The national unemployment rate held steady at 5.10 percent, which supports analysts’ preference for using monthly data as opposed to volatile weekly readings for identifying and tracking economic trends.
ADP Payrolls reported 200,000 private sector jobs added in September as compared to August’s reading of 186,000 new private sector jobs added. The Commerce Department reported that Non-farm Payrolls grew by 142,000 jobs in September as compared to expectations of 200,000 new jobs and August’s reading of 136,000 jobs added.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include release the minutes of the recent FOMC meeting along with weekly releases of new jobless claims data and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates.
With the impact we have on our environment becoming a matter of greater concern, it’s becoming more important for the average citizen to know they’re doing their part. While there are many simple tricks for saving water that will make you feel better about your environmental footprint, here are a few easy upgrades that will make that saving a little more automatic.
Consider a Cistern Device
With outhouses a thing of the past, flushing the toilet has become one of the ways in which household water is being overused the most, but flushing less simply isn’t a viable option. Instead of wasting water in this way, purchase a displacement device and place it in your toilet’s cistern. Without you having to do anything at all, it will instantly reduce the volume of water that is used with each flush.
Learn to Work a Water Meter
It’s ideal to help the environment by saving water, but it’s even better if you can save yourself money at the same time. If you happen to be among those who pay for their water, installing a water meter will enable you to take a closer look at where your water use is going, and can assist you in helping to trim down this expense.
Drain It From the Rain
In the event of an intense downpour, there’s often a lot of water that runs off into the gutter and can’t be absorbed by the grass or the trees. Instead of letting it go to waste, install a water butt to your drainpipe so that you can use the runoff when it’s dry outside to water your plants or even wash your car. There’s no reason that any of the moisture from a good rainfall should have to go to waste.
Invest in Water Efficient Items
From showerheads to washing machines, going energy efficient with your household appliances is becoming quite popular. The next time you have to replace a small appliance or there’s a leak with a household item, consider heading down to the drugstore to look for environmentally friendly options that will instantly reduce your footprint.
With so many options for environmentally friendly items on the market these days, there’s no reason you can’t save water at home with a few easy changes. From making use of the rain that falls to learning to work with a water meter, some simple shifts may make your house the most environmentally friendly one on the block.
Selling a house in a slow market is like playing the world’s worst waiting game. But for sellers who want to make a deal quickly, there are ways to boost your offers and close a bid in short order – even if the market isn’t that hot. If you’re struggling to sell your home, try these four strategies to boost buyer interest and start bringing in offers.
Choose An Agent With Strong Marketing Skills
In a slow market, your choice of real estate agent may make or break the sale. When there simply aren’t that many people looking for homes, you’ll need to make a strong case for why your home is the ideal choice. And that means you need a great marketing campaign.
Look for an agent that has a marketing presence and appears to keep their ear to the ground when it comes to the realestate world.
The right agent can implement a great marketing strategy to line up buyers all the way down the street.
Invest In Great Staging And Curb Appeal
In a slow market, you need to offer as much value as you can – and that means making your home look amazing. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your décor, while a professional staging can make your home more appealing to potential buyers. You can quickly boost your curb appeal by painting your door, installing some outdoor light fixtures, or adding pieces of outdoor art like birdbaths and sculptures.
Price Your Home Around The Median
Of course you want to get the highest price you can for your home, but keep in mind that in a slow market, there’s a limit to how much you can reasonably ask for. Overpriced houses tend to sit on the market for quite a while, so talk with your real estate agent to see whether your home is overpriced. Ideally, your home should be around the median figure of what’s considered fair market value.
No Immediate Interest? Cut The Price Sooner Rather Than Later
Even if you’ve done everything right, you may not see immediate interest in your home – and if that’s the case, you’ll want to address the problem sooner rather than later. The longer a house sits on the market, the less likely it is to sell, as people may start to think there’s something wrong with the house. If you’re starting to come up on the average sale time without any offers, talk to your agent about cutting the price.
Selling your home in a slow market isn’t easy, but it is possible. With the right strategy, you can bring in the offers and find a buyer. Contact your local trusted real estate agent to learn more about selling your home.
U.S. home prices rose by 0.10 percent in July according to the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index. San Francisco, California edged past Denver Colorado with a year-over-year price increase of 10.40 percent as compared to Denver’s reading of 10.30 percent. All year-over-readings for the 20-City Home Price Index posted gains, but Washington, D.C. showed the lowest year-over0-year growth rate at 1.70 percent. Chicago, Illinois and New York City followed closely with year-over-year readings of 1.80 percent and 1.90 percent respectively.
Seasonally-Adjusted Home Prices Fall
Although seasonally-adjusted home prices typically rise during the peak home selling season during spring and summer, July’s reports indicated that seasonally-adjusted home prices fell by 0.20 percent in July. Factors including tough mortgage approval requirements and low inventories of available homes likely contributed to slower growth in home prices as demand for homes fell.
Would-be home buyers may also have sat on the sidelines awaiting the Federal Reserve’s decision regarding raising rates. The Fed has not raised rates yet, but may do so in October. Mortgage rates are expected to rise when the Fed raises its target federal funds rate, which is currently set at 0.00 to 0.25percent.
Western Cities Lead Home Price Growth
Case-Shiller reported that as of July, the West continues to see the highest rates of home price growth. Over the past 12 months, only San Francisco and Denver have shown double-digit growth in home prices. Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California have shown the strongest increases in home prices since 2000.
Home prices for cities included in the 20-City Index have risen 35.70 percent since home prices hit their post -recession low in 2012, but remain 13 percent below the housing bubble’s peak prices. All cities in the 20-City Index posted price gains year-over-year as of July and 14 cities posted higher price gains than for the comparable period ending in July 2014.
Trend: Modest Home Price Growth Continues
The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently posted a year-over-year gain of 5.80 percent for home prices associated with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This news further supports the trend of moderate gains in U.S home prices; moderate growth in home prices could encourage more moderate-income and first-time home buyers to buy homes, particularly in advance of the anticipated increasein mortgage rates when the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
When it comes to buying a home people are more apt to consider a newer model. After all new homes are more energy efficient; require less maintenance the perks many buyers want. For homeowners with older homes getting a competitive edge can take a lot of extra work, especially in today’s real estate market.
Give Older Homes A Fresh Look
But there are ways to make older homes stand apart from newer homes on the market. Start by sprucing up the outside out the house. It’s amazing how a fresh coat of paint and a newly paved driveway can improve the curb appeal of an older home. Also, it’s good to remodel any room that could use a fresh, updated look like the kitchen and the bathroom for instance.
Homeowners of older houses don’t have to spend a fortune to make their homes look like new, but it helps to help the prospective buyer feel easy about not having to commit to a heavy remodeling job if they buy the house.
Staging Works Wonders For Selling A Home
While cosmetic touch-ups are wonderful, there’s one thing the serious home seller should apply and that’s home staging. The ultimate goal of staging is to make a home as attractive to as many potential buyers as possible. More interested buyers means the home could potentially sell for more and sell faster. Staging isn’t new but has become more popular in this tough market.
Home staging is often mistaken for decorating, but it’s much more than that. Expert home stagers know how to present homes in the best possible light. This often means suggesting paint colors, or rearranging and moving items to make a particular space more appealing to buyers.
For instance, most lived in homes have one thing in common, clutter. Showing a house with clutter can make a buyer feel a home is too small. Expert home stagers know how to open up a home so the perspective buyers can see themselves living there.
According to the Real Estate Staging Association, home staging reduces listing time by as much as 81 percent. Also, there’s an up to 10 percent return on investment when home staging technique is implemented.
It is true that staging a home can be a bit of a challenge. Some homeowners may be bit put off by a stager’s suggestions, and by the inconvenience of the process itself. However, the result can be well worth it if it results in a quick sale.
Homeowners should call their trusted real estate agent, right away before deciding on a home staging professional. A real estate agent may even have a list of professional home stagers he or she regularly refers.
Last week’s scheduled economic news included reports on new and existing home sales, the FHFA House Price Index, weekly reports on mortgage rates, and new jobless claims. The week finished with a report on consumer sentiment.
Existing Home Sales Fall as New Homes Sales and Home Prices Rise
The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales for pre-owned homes fell in August. Analysts expected sales of existing homes to reach a reading of 5.52 million sales on an annual basis, but the actual reading was 5.31 million existing homes sold as compared to July’s reading of 5.58 million pre-owned homes sold. Rising home prices were cited as a primary reason for the drop in sales.
FHFA’s House Price Index for July reflected the trend of rising home prices; July’s reading was 0.60 percent as compared to June’s reading of a 0.20 percent increase in home prices associated with homes with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Sales of newly built homes reached the highest level since early 2008 in August, evidence that demand for housing is strengthening heading into the fall. Home builder sentiment is at its highest level in nearly a decade according to a survey earlier this month from the National Association of Home Builders
Mortgage Rates Fall
Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell on Thursday; the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.86 percent; the average rate for a 15-year mortgage was 3.08 percent and the rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by one basis point to 2.91 percent. Discount points were 0.70, 0.60 and 0.50 percent respectively.
Jobless Claims Also Rise As Consumer Sentiment Fell.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose slightly last week yet remained at a low level consistent with solid job growth. The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless aid rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000. The four-week average fell to a 15-year low last month.
The University of Michigan says consumers lost confidence for the third straight month in September, worried about bad news about the global economy. Consumer sentiment index fell to 87.2 this month, lowest since October 2014 and down from 91.9 in August. Richard Curtin, Chief Economist for the survey, said consumers are worried about signs of weakness in the Chinese economy and continued stresses on Europe’s economies.
This week’s economic reports include Pending Home Sales, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Core Inflation, ADP Employment and the government’s Non- farm Payrolls report. The national unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index for September are also slated for release this week.
One of the major benefits to purchasing a home with a mortgage are the tax credits that can be taken advantage of when April 15 comes around.
Many homeowners are unaware of what mortgage related expenses can be deducted and, more importantly, which ones can no longer be deducted.
Receive A Tax Deduction For Interest Paid On The Mortgage
The most common tax credit associated with mortgages is the interest paid credit. This allows borrowers to deduct the cost of the interest paid on their mortgage on their taxes, which in many cases is the largest tax break available to homeowners.
Interest paid deductions on taxes are available to second mortgages as well as first time mortgages and are available on home equity lines of credit as well as home equity loans.
Mortgage Insurance Is No Longer Tax Deductible
Unfortunately, as of 2014 any mortgage insurance paid was no longer considered tax deductible. This came as a shock to many borrowers who planned their finances around receiving the tax credit.
Although mortgage insurance is no longer tax deductible, there are still other home related deductions that can be taken advantage of. Real estate taxes can be deducted the year they are paid and discount points purchased at the time of the sale can also be used as a deduction.
The IRS treats discount points as mortgage interest that is pre-paid and allows deductions on certain loan types.
Using Tax Information To Plan Ahead When Buying A Home
There is a limit imposed by the Internal Revenue Service on how large a loan can be to qualify for an interest paid tax deduction. Any loan that is over $1 million dollars is not allowed to have the interest paid towards it deducted when tax time rolls around.
This knowledge can be used to put the borrower in a beneficial situation in years to come when they plan to purchase a home. Limiting any loan to under $1 million dollars, no matter what the cost of the property, will allow the interest paid into it to be deducted the following year.
The tax laws are always changing and differ from state to state, so it is advised to contact a mortgage specialist with knowledge on mortgage tax laws to provide more information on which deductions you qualify for.