Selling Your Home This Autumn? Try Boosting Your Curb Appeal with These Inexpensive Upgrades

Selling Your Home This Autumn? Try Boosting Your Curb Appeal with These Inexpensive UpgradesCurb appeal is the first impression that your home will have on potential buyers, so it’s important to make it a good one. Try these simple budget upgrades to give your home the “WOW” factor that buyers are looking for!

Crystal Clean

As simple as it sounds, it is extremely important to make sure that your house is nice and clean on the outside. This is overlooked by sellers more than you’d think as they become so focused on perfecting the inside of their home that they forget about the exterior!

Dirt streaks running down stucco or siding give the impression that your home isn’t well kept, and smudges on windows will prevent them from sparkling in the sun. Remember: you want your home to be their dream home. Spruce up the outside to impress buyers before they even set foot in the door.

Knock Knock

Another important design feature of your outer home is the front door as it is one of the only features of the exterior that buyers will be forced to look at up-close. A new door will not only look great from the curb, the details of its quality will inevitably be seen by anyone who enters the home. Make sure your door is in tip top shape before you start your showings!

Raise The Roof!

If your roof isn’t in good condition;or looks like it isn’t in good condition, then upgrading it is an absolute must. Most buyers are quickly turned off when they see a roof that’s in poor condition because it can be an expensive fix. It’s important that when buyers first see your home they don’t see more dollar signs than they expected.

Fantastic Furniture

Patio furniture is an easy and inexpensive way to differentiate your home from the rest! Add a pop of color to a neutral-colored house by placing vibrant chairs and planters on the front porch as featured pieces, or add a cute table and chairs to your lawn to show how useful the space can be.

That being said, be careful not to overdo it, as too much patio furniture or potted plants may give the illusion that your home is cluttered, which is a major no-no in the real estate world. Contact one of Mason McDuffie Mortgage’s professionals or visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MasonMcDuffieMortgage for more information.

Three Key Points to Remember When Investing in a Cottage or Waterfront Getaway

Three Key Points to Remember When Investing in a Cottage or Waterfront GetawayIf you’re looking to invest in a cottage or waterfront getaway, there are three key things to keep in mind throughout your search.

How’s The House?

Even if the lake is the highlight of a property you’re considering, it is important to make sure that the home is equally as great as the beautiful body of water it borders.

How’s its orientation? Is it built on the ideal angle to take full advantage of the sun? Does the deck or large windows face another house directly? The orientation is an important factor to consider as it can make or break the comfort of the property.

You’ll also want to consider the lot itself, as many waterfront properties are not built on level lots, but rather on sloping hills. If this is the case with a cottage you are looking to buy, it is important to have the land inspected to uncover any potential dangers or deficiencies. This is especially significant if you want to pursue further construction on the property in the future.

The waste system is another factor to consider, as many lakefront properties utilize a septic tank or public sewer system, which may differ from what you are used to and could cause more hassle than the home is worth.

Just How Lakefront Is It?

It is also important to consider the proximity of a house to the water, as there are unique risks that come along with bordering on a body of water. If the home is very close to the lake, research the typical rise and fall of water levels throughout the year as well as whether ice or frost develops in winter.

Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the lake specifics as well. Know the lake rules, what types of water crafts are permitted for use, how deep it is, and how busy it is throughout the year. A lake may look beautiful, but it’s equally important to ensure it will provide the experience you are looking for as well.

Protect Your Privacy

Lake front getaway homes often come with limited privacy as many properties may face each other across the water. Additionally, since space is limited around a lake, properties may be squished together to make the most of the land that’s available, and that can also compromise your privacy. Be sure to check out who you can see and who can see you, and take note of whether or not there are substantial tree barriers between you and your potential neighbors.

If you should have any further questions about this topic, please reach out to us via our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MasonMcDuffieMortgage.

Feeling the Squeeze of Rising Rents? Here Are 3 Reasons You Should Consider Buying a Starter Home

Feeling the Squeeze of Rising Rents? Here Are 3 Reasons You Should Consider Buying a Starter HomeWith real estate becoming more affordable, new homes being sold in a range of prices and the cost of rent going up, there has never been a better time to consider buying a starter home.

Put That Rent Money Into Your Own Property

People who live in areas that have become trendy know the pain of rising rent rates. At what point is the amount of money being spent on rent more advantageous to put into a new home?

Starter homes are not the crazy investment they used to be. With the increase in condo developments and the lower entry price for smaller homes, it’s never been easier and less expensive to put a down payment on a new home and put that rent money into a place that you actually have a financial stake in.

A Starter Home Is Not A Fixer Upper

There was a point in time when starter homes were considered to be houses that required a lot of work to renovate them to a point where they could be sold for a profit. This was before really affordable condo developments started to spring up in every city and began to provide younger people the opportunity to own a home.

Some people still think of a starter home as a fixer upper, an old house that will require a substantial investment and time, something that most first-time home owners do not have an abundance of. In today’s market, starter homes can be brand new and will be in the best condition imaginable.

It Can Act As A Source Of Income

Some homeowners find that when it’s time to finally make the move from their starter home into their forever home, they no longer need to sell. In some cases they prefer to hold onto it and use it as a rental property to bring in a second source of income to help with the new house.

This is more common with condos in neighborhoods that have experienced tremendous growth around them in the years after the purchase. When the price of rent skyrockets in these areas, the investment actually has more value as a rental property until the time is right to sell.

There are many reasons to invest in a starter home and the area you want to buy will change depending on your own reasons. Contact one of our mortgage professionals at Mason-McDuffie Mortgage by visiting our Facebook page ( facebook.com/masonmcduffiemortgage ) to get the ball rolling.

3 Things That Determine Your Mortgage Interest Rate

Minimum FHA Mortgage Credit Scores Are Falling: Here's What You Need to KnowWhen you initially start shopping for a home mortgage, you may be drawn to advertisements for ultra-low interest rates. These may be rates that seem too good to be true, and you may gladly contact the lender or mortgage company to complete your loan application. However, in many cases, mortgage applicants are unpleasantly surprised and even disheartened to learn that they do not qualify for the advertised interest rate. By learning more about the factors that influence your interest rate, you may be able to structure your loan in a more advantageous way.

Your Credit Rating

One of the most important factors that influence an interest rate is your credit score. Lenders have different credit score requirements, but most have a tiered rating system. Those with excellent credit scores qualify for the best interest rate, and good credit scores may qualify for a slightly higher interest rate. Because of this, you may consider learning more about your credit score and taking the time to correct any errors that may be resulting in a lower score.

The Amount Of Your Down Payment

In addition, the amount of your down payment will also play a role in your interest rate. The desired down payment may vary from lender to lender, but as a rule of thumb, the best home mortgage interest rates are given to those who have at least 20 to 30 percent of funds available to put down on the property, and this does not include subordinate or secondary financing. If you are applying for a higher loan-to-value loan, you may expect a higher interest rate.

The Total Loan Amount Requested

In addition, the total loan amount will also influence the rate. There are different loan programs available, but one of the biggest differences in residential loans is for very large loan amounts. The qualification for a jumbo loan will vary for different markets, but these loans qualify for different rates than conventional loans with a smaller loan amount.

While you may be able to use advertised interest rates to get a fair idea about the rate you may qualify for, the only real way to determine your mortgage rate will be to apply for a loan and to get pre-qualified. Contact us at Mason-McDuffie Mortgage by visiting our Facebook page at facebook.com/masonmcduffiemortgage to request more information about today’s rates and to begin your pre-qualification process.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 19, 2016

Last week’s economic news included reports on retail sales, inflation, and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Retail Sales Slip as Consumer Prices Inch Up

Retail sales dipped into negative territory in August with a reading of -0.30 percent as compared to expectations of -0.10 percent and July’s reading of +0.10 percent. Retail sales excluding auto sales were better at +0.30 percent. Analysts expected a reading of +0.20 percent based on July’s reading of -0.40 percent. August’s negative reading for retail sales was the first negative report since March.

Inflation fared better than retail sales with August’s Consumer Price Index reading at 0.20 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 0.10 percent; July’s reading was flat. Core Consumer Price Index readings for August are less volatile, as the Core CPI does not include readings for food and energy costs. August’s Core CPI reading was 0.30 percent. A reading of 0.20 percent was expected; July’s reading was 0.10 percent. It appears that inflation is creeping upward, but remains well below the Fed’s target reading of 2.0 percent.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates across the board last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose six basis points to 3.50 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose one basis point to 2.76 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose one basis point to an average of 2.82 percent. Average discount points were 0.50 for 30 and 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Low mortgage rates have helped home buyers, especially first-time and moderate income buyers, meet affordability challenges. Home prices have risen due to low numbers of available homes and high demand for homes. If mortgage rates continue to rise, fewer buyers will be able to qualify for mortgages and or afford asking prices for available homes.

Next week’s meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee is expected to bring news of a Fed decision on raising the target federal funds rate. If the Fed raises its rate, consumer interest rates for mortgages, vehicles and other goods can be expected to increase as well.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued and a Fed Statement at the conclusion of its Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is also slated to give a press conference after the FOMC statement. The National Association of Realtors will also release a report on sales of previously owned homes.

Investing in a Vacation Property? Learn What You’ll Need to Have to Get A Mortgage Approved

Investing in a Vacation Property? Learn What You'll Need to Have to Get A Mortgage ApprovedWith approximately one million people having purchased vacation homes in the last year, this type of residence is gaining popularity for those who are interested in a home in a beach setting or a vacation hot spot. However, while a second home can seem like a great purchase and solid investment opportunity, there are different requirements that go into this type of purchase. If you’re considering a vacation home, you may want to be aware of the following financial factors.

The Down Payment Amount

If you currently have a primary residence, you may be aware that you don’t need to put down 20% or even 10% in order to make a home purchase, but things are different when it comes to a vacation home. Because you will be taking on an additional mortgage, there is greater risk involved, and this means you will likely have to put in at least 10 percent. Because of this, many homebuyers utilize the equity they have in their first home to make up the down payment.

About The Credit Score

Most people that have a credit score of more than 500 have the ability to use a mortgage product and purchase a home, but if you’re buying a second property, you’ll need a higher credit score in order to facilitate the purchase. Because there is more risk involved, lenders will want to make sure you’re a good bet. In addition, if you do have a lower credit score, lenders like Fannie Mae may also expect you to put more down to decrease the risk involved for them.

The Income Required

Since you’ve been through the mortgage process for your first home, you’re probably aware that you debt-to-income (DTI) ratio needs to be a certain amount in order to qualify for a mortgage. While your DTI for a primary residence may be a little bit higher since it’s your only payment, this ratio will be lower for your vacation home since it’s higher risk. This means you’ll require a slightly higher income than for your primary residence in order to get approved.

Deciding to purchase a vacation home can be a very exciting concept for many people, but there are a number of different financial requirements that go along with buying another residence. If you’re in the market for a vacation property and are curious about what’s involved, contact one of our mortgage professionals at Mason-McDuffie Mortgage for more information.

Mortgage Myths: Here’s Why You Don’t Need a Full 20 Percent Down Payment

Mortgage Myths: Here's Why You Don't Need a Full 20 Percent Down Payment If you’re just getting into the real estate market, you may have heard that 20% down is the ideal percentage in order to lower your monthly payments and get your mortgage application approved. However, while 20% is often suggested, many people struggle to come up with this amount of money. If you’re staving off home ownership, here are some reasons you may not need to hold off as you long as you thought.

Minimizing Your Insurance Costs

Putting down 20% of the total purchase price of your home is often suggested, but it doesn’t definitively mean that your application won’t be approved if you don’t. If you have a good credit score and are in good financial standing, putting less than 20% down means you’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI); however, it can be worth paying the extra funds in order to get into the real estate market sooner and start paying into your most significant investment.

Mortgage Programs For Less Than 20%

It may seem less possible to buy a home if you only have 5 or 7% of the purchase price, but there are many programs in the United States that enable those with limited funds to apply for a mortgage. From the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there are many lenders that can offer you mortgage programs that will work for your situation. While higher rates come in tandem with a lower down payment, there are options out there for those who haven’t saved quite enough.

Why Put Down 20%?

Putting down 20% is not a necessity for mortgage approval or purchasing a home, but it can be a great means of saving money in the long run and reducing your interest rates. If you’re raring to get into the real estate market and don’t want to wait for the bills to stack up, that’s OK, but if you want to hold off and save up additional funds before diving in, this can mean more money and a more solid investment in the future.

20% is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment on a home, but you don’t require this percentage of your home’s price in order to get approved for a mortgage. If you’re currently considering diving into home ownership and would like to know more about the opportunities in your area, contact one of our mortgage professionals at Mason-McDuffie Mortgage for more information.