Sunday, May 1, 2016

How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?

How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?

If you've been paying attention to the mortgage rate news, you may be wondering exactly how it is banks decide what mortgage rates to offer. Do they just pick a number at random? Mortgage rates may seem somewhat arbitrary, but there's actually something of a science to them. 

So how does your bank or lender determine what your interest rate will be? Here are just some of the factors that go into the equation.

Rates Always Account For Inflation

First and foremost, every mortgage interest rate needs to account for inflation. Inflation is the average annual change in purchasing power brought about by changing economic conditions. When inflation goes up, money loses purchasing power – and when it goes down, money gains purchasing power.

For example, an annual inflation rate of two percent means that a $100 bill minted in 2014 would be able to buy just $98 worth of goods in 2015. Mortgage interest rates always take the inflation rate into account, because if your bank's mortgage rate were lower than the rate of inflation, your bank would actually lose money on your mortgage.

The Default Risk Premium: Your Likelihood Of Default Impacts Your Rate

The default risk premium is a rate that your lender adds to the inflation rate in order to mitigate the risk of not recovering the loan. Different kinds of loans carry different risk levels, and your lender needs some way of staying profitable even when losses happen. The default risk premium helps your lender to profit more on high-risk mortgages, which mitigates the problems associated with a default.

The more at risk of defaulting on a loan you are, the higher this premium will be.

The Liquidity Premium: Can Your Lender Recoup Potential Losses?

The liquidity premium is similar to the default risk premium, but rather than addressing the possibility that the borrower might default, this premium mitigates the risk of not being able to re-sell the property after the borrower defaults. If a borrower enters default, the lender's only option is to sell the property in order to recover its losses. However, a home is a non-liquid asset, and it's very difficult to turn a home into cash – and the liquidity premium compensates the lender for the additional time and effort it takes to sell a non-liquid asset.

Mortgage rates may seem like sorcery, but there's a clear science and a logical method involved in calculating rates and premiums. To learn more about mortgage rates, or to find out what kind of a mortgage rate you may be eligible for, contact a mortgage professional near you today.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Rookie Mistakes: Don't Make These 4 First-time Home-buyer Mistakes

Rookie Mistakes: Don't Make These 4 First-time Home-buyer Mistakes

Buying your first home is exciting. Many young people view homeownership as the definitive mark of adulthood, the final milestone on a decades-long journey. And while becoming a homeowner is cause for celebration, you'll want to ensure you keep your enthusiasm in check just a little while longer.

Keep a level head and you'll easily avoid these common mistakes first-time buyers make.

Don't View Your Home As An Investment

First-time buyers commonly think that they can invest everything they've saved into a home, fix it up, and then sell it for a large profit in a few years. However, a home is a fixed asset that is hard to sell off quickly. Economics professor Art Carden says that for people looking to start an investment, a stock or bond is a better option than a house, as "I've never had to call a plumber because a mutual fund started leaking."

Don't Skip The Home Inspection

The American Society of Home Inspectors says 10 percent of home purchases happen without an inspection. Quite simply, buyers decide it's better to save the fee for the down payment – but often, issues arise later that can result in multi-thousand-dollar repair bills. Foundation problems can be especially nasty, sometimes requiring a teardown.

Before signing a contract, make sure you have a licensed home inspector view the property.

Don't Believe Everything You Read On The Internet

While it's good to start researching neighborhoods, mortgage terms, and home valuations online, keep in mind that online estimates are just that – estimates. Not all mortgages are created equal, and the many differences between loans can result in significant changes in the overall cost. For example, just because a lender is giving you a mortgage without an origination fee, that doesn't make it a good deal – you could be paying a lot more in interest rates.

Always make sure you thoroughly check and understand loan terms before signing anything.

Don't Go For The Most Expensive House You Can Afford

When you qualify for a mortgage, your lender will tell you the maximum home purchase price they'll fund, based on your annual income as well as your debt-to-income ratio. However, just because you can afford a $500,000 two-story townhouse, that doesn't necessarily make it a good idea to buy said townhouse. You'll want to give yourself a cushion in the event that you lose your job, have children, need to pay medical expenses, or go back to school.

First-time buyers often make a variety of mistakes when buying a home, but a mortgage advisor can help you to make the right decisions – decisions that set you on the best possible path toward homeownership. Contact your local professional today to learn more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Looking to Invest or Live in an up and Coming Neighborhood?: 5 Clues to Finding Them

Looking to Invest or Live in an up and Coming Neighborhood?: 5 Clues to Finding Them

Making a home purchase in a neighborhood that is sure to boom in the coming years can be a great real estate investment, but guessing on the next trendy locale may seem fraught with risk. If you’re trying to determine which area will be up and coming down the road, here are some telltale signs that buying may be a benefit to your bank account. 

Full Of Creative Energy         

Many bohemian areas are popular because of their lower rental and purchase prices, but a locale with plenty of artists and cultural vibrancy is probably going to be on the upswing soon with the interest it will attract. While an investment may be economical in the short-term, it may see a significant spike in the years to come.

 Community Restoration In Progress         

There’s a good sign, whether it’s parkland or buildings, that if restorations and renovations are occurring in a community, it’s going to see an increase in purchasing prices soon. With a nicer area and better amenities, it won’t take long for people to flock to a revived area. 

 Close Proximity To Cool Locales         

When development of one neighborhood has left little room for further changes, there’s a good chance that prospects will move into surrounding communities to capitalize on the popularity of the area. If you’re considering a neighborhood that’s close to somewhere trendy, it’s almost a sure thing it will see its star rise.

 College Kids And Young Professionals?          

Restaurants and bars tend to pop up in areas where students and young professionals abound, and as the area becomes more popular it will likely see a spike in its real estate value. With the establishment of many cool places, you can bet that an area full of young people will become the place to be.

 Ask ME!  302-229-0026      

There are few people that will be more informed about upcoming building projects in their city than a realtor, so you may want to check in with one to determine the economic viability of an area you’re considering. A realtor you can trust should be able to give you an honest answer about your potential investment.

From young people to community restorations, there are many telltale signs of a community that is likely to see a real estate boom in the coming years. If you’re looking to purchase in a new neighborhood and are curious about your options, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

3 Tips and Tricks to Make Mortgage Pre-qualification Easy

3 Tips and Tricks to Make Mortgage Pre-qualification Easy

If you're planning to buy a home, you should know that the mortgage pre-qualification process is the first in a series of steps that eventually lead to home ownership. A pre-qualification is different from a pre-approval – the pre-qualification meeting is simply you and your lender hashing out how much you can afford to spend on a property. But once you've been pre-qualified, it makes the mortgage process easier.

So how can you make the pre-qualification quick and painless so you can get on with your house hunt? Here's what you need to know.

Get Your Debts In Order         

One of the major questions during the pre-qualification meeting will be your work history and debts. Your lender will use your social security number to look up your work history and determine your income and current assets, as well as your monthly debt payments. If you have a high amount of debt, you'll want to do everything you can to pay it down before this meeting. 

Chart Your Income And PITI         

Your lender will use a specific ratio (the PITI to income ratio) to determine how much it's willing to lend you in order to buy a home – and that's why, if you calculate this ratio beforehand, you'll know what to expect going into the meeting. PITI stands for "Principal, Interest, Tax, Insurance" – and it refers to the four components of a standard mortgage payment. Your PITI ratio, then, shows how much of your income goes toward your monthly mortgage payment.

To calculate your PITI to income ratio, simply divide your gross monthly income by your monthly mortgage payment (your PITI fees plus your mortgage insurance). Most lenders will want to see a PITI to income ratio that is under 28%.

Build Out Some Mortgage Calculator Numbers         

It's important that you have an idea of what to expect when you walk into your pre-qualification meeting. That's why you'll want to run some calculations of your own before meeting with your mortgage advisor. There are a host of online calculators that can help you to break down how your mortgage will work out.

Look for an online mortgage pre-qualification calculator offered by a bank or other mortgage professional. Check out my online calculators that make it easy to see what you can afford.

Pre-qualifying for a mortgage can seem like a daunting process, but it's actually quite simple. Your mortgage advisor can help you to understand what goes into a pre-qualification. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more about how pre-qualifications work.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Understanding Mortgage Tax Benefits and How They Save You Money in the Long Run

Understanding Mortgage Tax Benefits and How They Save You Money in the Long Run

If you're considering whether home ownership is the right decision for you, there are lots of different factors you'll want to take into account. Do you want to keep moving around, or are you ready to lay down roots in a community? Are you prepared for the additional upkeep that home ownership requires?

But one of the big factors in home ownership that few potential buyers consider is the tax benefits of getting a mortgage. Although it may seem counterintuitive, getting a mortgage on a property that you own can reap lots of dividends come tax time.

So how does a mortgage work for you and help you keep more of your hard-earned money? Here's what you need to know.

Mortgage Interest Deductions: How Your Mortgage Interest Saves You Money         

If you're a homeowner in the United States, your mortgage interest is tax deductible. The mortgage interest tax deduction was introduced in 1913, and is one of the longest standing and most used tax deductions out there. The deduction allows you to deduct all of your mortgage interest payments from your federal taxes.

But in order to deduct your interest payments, you'll need to meet certain basic eligibility requirements. Firstly, you'll need to file Form 1040 and itemize your deductions on Schedule A in order to be eligible. You'll also need to be the primary borrower named in the mortgage – you can't deduct interest on someone else's mortgage, even if you're the one making the payments.

And finally, you need to (at some point) make a payment on your home. Note that rental properties are not usually eligible for a mortgage interest deduction (though there are some exceptions.

 First-Time Buyer? Mortgage Credits And Other Buyer Programs Keep More Money in Your Pocket         

If you're a first-time buyer (and even if you're not), you'll have access to a variety of new buyer incentives and mortgage tax credits that other buyers don't receive. Firstly, as a first-time buyer, you're able to take out $10,000 from your traditional or Roth IRA at any point during your lifetime – without paying the 10% penalty for withdrawing early. There are also several credit programs for buyers, including the Residential Energy Credit, which gives you up to $500 toward any home improvement project or equipment purchase that makes your home more energy efficient.

It may seem like getting a mortgage is a great way to spend money, but it's also a great way to save money through various government tax programs and rebates. To learn more about the various tax credits and incentives available for home buyers, contact your local mortgage professional today.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

3 Budget-friendly DIY Weekend Renovations to Step into Spring

3 Budget-friendly DIY Weekend Renovations to Step into Spring 

The springtime is often the best time of the year for cleaning up and getting rid of old items, but with its proximity to the winter months it can still be hard to commit to large-scale renovations. If you're looking for some small fixes to give your home a seasonal boost, here are a few options that won't take up a lot of time. 

        Freshen Up The Window Frames         

Paint can instantly enhance the brightness of any room, but deciding to repaint can be a job that takes more than just a weekend. Instead of committing to everything, paint your window frames for a task that is cheap and doesn't require a huge expenditure of time. Since the eyes will naturally be drawn to the windows in any room, this will serve to improve your space without all the work that goes into sanding and taping everything. 

        Add An Accent With Wallpaper         

A creative, striking way to upgrade the look of your home is a wallpaper accent that will be easy to install but add trendy appeal to your home's aesthetic. Instead of going for the same old, choose a wallpaper with a funky design to the area of your choice. By placing it behind a mirror or another picture, you'll add a lot of oomph without all of the effort that goes into completely repapering a wall. It's just important to ensure you use an adhesive wallpaper that can be repositioned in the event your first attempt doesn't work out. 

        Replace An Old Fixture         

It doesn't necessarily take a lot of legwork to easily revamp a stale space, so consider a light fixture that will instantly draw the eye and can serve as a high-impact piece that really sets the tone for your chosen space. While you'll want to choose something that won't completely contrast with the style already present, the right piece can really enhance and modernize what you already have. It's just important to turn off the breakers before you start fiddling around with installation.

The idea of home renovations can make people think of large scale projects that consume a lot of time, but there are plenty of little things to be done that will make for big changes without an excess of effort. If you're making some upgrades and are preparing to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

3 Things You Need to Consider Before Buying That Fixer-upper Home

3 Things You Need to Consider Before Buying That Fixer-upper Home

The idea of buying a home that will need a fair bit of renovating can seem like a great investment opportunity, but some renovations come with high prices and may actually end up costing you more than you think. If you're trying to determine whether or not a fixer-upper is worth the cost, here are some important things to consider.

What Will It Cost?         

If you're going into a home expecting a few renovations costs, a minor detail here or there may not add up to much. However, if you're not interested in spending the big bucks on making changes, you'll want to estimate an approximate amount of how much the renovations you don't want to live without will amount to. By including all the necessary labor and materials, you'll be able to determine if the price-point of your offer will be worth it. Keep in mind that if there are any serious issues with the house, it may not be worth your while to consider the purchase at all.

Will Renovations Increase The Value?         

In the event that you're buying a home for its investment value, it's going to be particularly important to consider if the renovations required will actually increase its market value. While adding another bedroom or upgrading a bathroom may not add significantly to a home's overall price, certain more inexpensive improvements like painting, refinishing and new siding can actually add a lot to the look (and worth) of your home. 

How Much Are You Willing To Take On?         

It's easy to think that you're prepared to do the dirty work when faced with a fixer-upper, but getting down to brass tacks may not be so simple when the time comes. Before taking on a home that needs a lot of renovation, consider how much you're willing to do so that you can determine if fixing it up will even be an economic boon after all the labor that may go into it. If you're not a DIY kind of person, you may want to avoid a house that has a long list of repairs. 

A fixer-upper can be tempting for those who want to invest or save on a home purchase, but you'll want to carefully consider if it will be a good choice when it comes to selling time. If you're currently perusing the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.