Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of Money

Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of MoneyIt may seem better to go it alone when it comes to acquiring a mortgage, but there are many benefits associated with using a mortgage professional that can make finding your dream home a lot easier. If you’re currently getting prepared to hit the market and are weighing your options, here are some reasons that a professional who knows the neighborhood will save you money.

Strong Market Knowledge

Many homebuyers can take a look at the MLS listings to find the price of properties selling in the area, but a mortgage professional will know the market without having to look at a book. This means that if you have an ideal house in mind, they’ll be able to determine the right offer for the home you’re interested in so you don’t end up spending time on research and paying more than you should.

Access To Lenders

It may seem like you can get in touch with any lender and they’ll be happy to provide you with a great deal, but because a mortgage professional will have a business relationship with many lenders, they will be able to get you a better rate. While you can approach lenders on your own, there’s a good chance you won’t get as competitive a rate.

Time Is Money

You may have set aside the time to invest into your home search, but trying to find the right home at the right price can end up taking a lot of time. You’ll also need to know the ins and outs of the procedures when it comes to making an offer and closing the deal. The benefit of a mortgage professional is they’ll already have experience at their disposal and will be able to do the legwork for you.

Closing Time

It’s great to find the house of your dreams on your own, but a mortgage professional will be well versed in closing the deal. Instead of having to go back and forth on any home inspection issues or final offers, they’ll be able to advise you so that you can get the home you want at the price you’re looking for.

While many people want to go it alone on the real estate market, using a mortgage professional can save you both time and money in finding the right place. If you’re preparing to buy a home, contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

2017 Home Decor Trends: Stay on Top of Modern Trends With This Handy Guide

2017 Home Decor Trends: Stay on Top of Modern Trends With This Handy GuideNow that 2017 is here, it’s time to consider which upgrades you will make to your home. If you don’t have any major renovations planned, you can still tackle smaller projects or theme rooms. In today’s post we’ll explore some of the home decor trends expected to be popular in 2017.

Paint Colors: Confident, Composed & Comfortable

According to the color experts at paint company Behr, 2017’s trend colors express confidence, composition and comfort. If you plan on painting accent walls, rooms or even your entire home this year, these are worth exploring. Confident palette colors include the bluish-green Jade Dragon, the fiery red Hot and Spicy and more. The Composed Palette is a bit muter, with blues and grays like Laid Back Gray and Polished Aqua. For those that love pastels, the Comfortable Palette has many soft notes. Life is a Peach and Everything’s Rosy are two great light link options.

Replacing DIY With Artisanal

If you’ve owned your home for a while, you may find that over time your do-it-yourself projects have added up. While DIY upgrades are fun and cost-effective, if they don’t match or pair well they can throw off continuity in your decor. Consider 2017 a chance to replace some of your older DIY items with similar ones created by artisans. You can always gift, sell or repurpose yours to ensure they find use in a new home.

Enjoy Saving Energy With Heated Floors

Heated floors are one of 2017’s decor trends that combine luxury with responsibility. It might be tough to imagine that heated floors actually save energy, but it’s true. In-floor heating can actually heat entire rooms with less energy than other central solutions. Still using electric baseboard heaters in small areas like bathrooms? Consider heating your floors instead.

Climbing Plants Are The New Art

If you’re struggling with how to fill a blank space on a wall, consider climbing plants. Indoor vines like the Pothos (or Devil’s Ivy) can add a lively splash of green to a wall area. Or, consider using creeper vines that grow upwards. Even a small shelf with a few attractive potted plants can set off an entire wall. The more life you can add to your home, the better!

With so many colors, upgrades and DIY upgrades to choose from, 2017 is set to be a great year for home renovators.

4 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages — and Why You May Decide You Want One

4 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages -- and Why You May Decide You Want OneWith so many mortgage products available on the market, it can be hard to know which ones will serve you best as a homeowner. As a result, there are many mistruths surrounding the reverse mortgage products. If you’ve heard of this homeownership option and are wondering what it can do for you, let’s clear away some of the misconceptions.

You Must Own Your Home

It can certainly be helpful to own your home outright if you’re looking into a reverse mortgage, but it’s not actually necessary. Instead, it’s important for you to have a high amount of equity in your home so that lenders can be sure that you’re a solid financial bet. While the balance you should have on your home varies based on a number of conditions, it’s important to talk to your lender for the specific details involved.

Few Conditions Apply

You may have heard that any homeowner who acquires a reverse mortgage must be 62 years of age or older, but because a reverse mortgage is a mortgage product, there are a number of requirements involved in order to apply. In addition to having enough equity in your home, it must be your primary residence and you will have to prove that you can pay the property taxes, insurance charges and any maintenance costs consistently.

Home Ownership Is Relinquished

Due to the nature of reverse mortgages, many people believe that this type of loan gives the bank ownership of your home. However, the homeowner retains ownership because they are borrowing money against the value of the equity in their home. This means that as long as the payments on the home are maintained, the home will continue to belong to the homeowner.

Expensive Loan Fees

While reverse mortgages can come with more expensive rates because the monthly payments are deferred, it’s important to talk to a mortgage lender about these details to determine what they’ll mean for you. The associated fees will depend on the price of your home, your loan type and your interest rate, so you’ll need to be aware of what the costs are to you before moving forward.

There is a lot of information out there regarding reverse mortgages, but it’s important to do the research so you can be aware of how this product can benefit you. If you’re currently considering this type of mortgage, contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

Buyer’s Remorse: 3 Things You Should Never Say When You’re Negotiating to Buy a Home

Buyer's Remorse: 3 Things You Should Never Say When You're Negotiating to Buy a HomeThe prospect of finding the home you’ve always dreamed of can be such an exciting prospect that it’s easy to forget all about the process of negotiating. However, it’s important to keep a few things to yourself when it comes to the art of making the deal. If you’re currently searching for the right place and are preparing to sign on the dotted line, here are a few phrases it’s best to avoid.

Declaring It Your Dream Home

There’s nothing wrong with finding the ideal home and getting enthusiastic about the prospect of owning it, but it’s very important not to say too much to the homeowner or the homeowner’s agent. While it’s certainly welcome to be a polite home viewer and mention some of the features you like, giving away too much will inform the homeowner of just how much leverage they have with you. This can mean they may request a higher price since they know how interested you are.

What You’re Willing To Pay

It might seem up front and honest to declare the price range that you’re willing to spend on a home, but if a homeowner knows what your limitations are, they’ll likely push you past them. While you may be willing to pay more for a home you truly love, it’s important that you’re investing a reasonable amount into the home and not paying much over market value for your property. Instead of being too forward, keep your offer to yourself until it’s on the table.

Critiquing Their Price Point

If you’re truly interested in a home, it can be pretty difficult to realize that it’s not within your price range. However, it’s unnecessary to mention this to the buyer as it’s entirely possible that the price is comparable to other homes of a similar style in the neighborhood. After all, there’s always a chance that the home will stay on the market and drop down in value, and this may be the point at which you can get your foot in the door.

When it comes to buying a home, the process of negotiating can be fraught with stress for many people. However, it’s important to keep your price range and your impressions to yourself so that you can get the best deal possible.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 13, 2017

Last week’s scheduled economic readings were limited and included new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey. In other news, all types of mortgage applications rose by 2.30 percent this week as compared to the prior week.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Home Loan Applications Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates for fixed rate and 5/1 adjustable mortgages; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped two basis points to 4.17 percent. Average rates for 15-year mortgages also dropped two basis points to 3.39 percent. 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates averaged 3.21 percent, which was also two basis points lower than the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for the three types of mortgages tracked in Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, this small drop in mortgage rates caused all types of mortgage applications to rise by 2.30 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Refinance applications rose two percent from the prior week, but remain 40 percent lower year-over-year. The dearth of refinancing applications was caused by two factors including many refinances were completed recently when rates were lower and homeowners currently discouraged by higher mortgage rates.

Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Last week’s initial jobless claims fell to 234,000 as compared to expectations of 249,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 246,000 new claims. This was the lowest reading since 1973 and when compared to the benchmark of 300,000 new claims, shows that the economy continues to strengthen. Last week’s reading was the second lowest since recovery from the recession got underway in 2009 and represented the 101st consecutive week that new jobless claims were lower than the 300,000 new claims benchmark. According to Labor Department data, this week’s reading sustained the longest-running consecutive period of new jobless claims below the benchmark level.

The four-week average of new jobless claims is viewed by analysts as less volatile than the week-to-week reading, but it showed similar results last week as it fell by 3750 new claims to 244,250 initial claims and reached the lowest level of new claims filed in 44 years.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on inflation and core inflation, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued.

Worried About Future Mortgage Rate Increases? Here’s How to ‘Stress Test’ Your Finances

Worried About Future Mortgage Rate Increases? Here's How to 'Stress Test' Your Finances When it comes to real estate, there are always going to be upswings in the market that will have an impact on your mortgage payment and overall financial health. However, with a fluctuating market here to stay, you may be wondering how you can guard your biggest investment and your finances against rate increases. If you’re concerned about rates on the rise, here are a few tips to test out you’re fiscal well-being.

Calculate Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

It’s beneficial to determine your DTI ratio prior to purchasing a home, but since debt and housing costs are always fluctuating, calculating this number again can be a wakeup call. By adding up your monthly expenditures (including any debt), and dividing that number by your pre-tax income, you’ll be able to determine your DTI percentage. While it’s ideal to have a percentage of less than 28%, if your expenditures have risen above this number, it may be time to take a look at your monthly budget and see what you can cut out.

Do You Have Emergency Savings?

Many people make a habit of putting money into their retirement funds each paycheck, but it’s equally important to have emergency savings you can access in the event of car repairs, home maintenance issues or an unforeseen medical problem. While it’s often suggested that a person should have a minimum of 3 months of expenses at their disposal, saving more than this can make you even more prepared in the event that a rate increase requires you to dive into other funds.

Review Your Budget

It’s easy enough to have a monthly budget, but the hard part for most people is sticking to it on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve veered off the trail a little bit in this regard, sit down to review your expenditures and determine what your financial outlook would be if you experienced an interest rate bump next month. In the event that there’s very little cushion and no money for savings, it may be worth your time to craft a new budget that gives you a bit more wiggle room.

Many people are uncertain about what the short-term economy will bring for their mortgage rates, but by reviewing your budget and maintaining emergency savings, you can be better prepared for the future. If you’re currently considering purchasing a home,  contact one of our Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

The 2017 Mortgage Rate Outlook: Here’s What the Experts Are Saying

The 2017 Mortgage Rate Outlook: Here's What the Experts Are SayingThe post-election period is often one of uncertainty, and the time since the 2016 election has been no different with regards to market force and the financial world. With a new administration taking office, there are many questions regarding how Donald Trump’s presidency will impact the market and your mortgage. If you’re wondering what the predictions are for the coming year, here are a few things the experts are considering.

An Increase In Rates

Due to an expected hike in rates by the Federal Reserve, it’s unlikely that potential homebuyers will be able to get the low interest rates of previous years. While higher rates are likely, the proposed tax plan and budget of Donald Trump may lead to increased inflation and could also have an impact on rates down the road. The low rates of previous years certainly made homeownership a more feasible option, but it’s still a good time to get into a home before they rise even more.

Less Red Tape

The money invested into regulations is something that Donald Trump was highly critical of in the run up to the election, and this may mean many opportunities for home ownership that did not exist before. While a poor credit history can make or break a mortgage application, in a time of loosening regulations there will likely be more available mortgage products for those who have a less than stellar financial situation.

Privatizing Loan Programs

There is the possibility that government-sponsored home loan organizations like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will come under new ownership. While this may provide an opportunity for potential homeowners, because the risk will be taken on by private owners – and not the government – this may lead to higher rates. As Jordan Levin of the California Association of Realtors says, “I can say with a pretty good level of confidence that it will increase the cost of borrowing because there’s going to be more risk from those pools being borne by the private sector and they’re going to want to be compensated for that additional risk that they’re bearing.”

While the economic policy of the coming years has yet to take shape, the mortgage rates are on the rise and the regulations surrounding home ownership are likely to loosen. If you’re currently waiting out the 2017 market and are considering your options for home ownership, contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.