How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New Mortgage?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 8th, 2019

How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New MortgageCarrying debt is a common problem that people have. Some of the most common types of debt include student loans, credit cards, and motor vehicles. When you are interested in buying a new home, you often think about whether or not your debt is going to hurt your chances of qualifying for a new mortgage.

Fortunately, you may still get a new home with that debt. There are several factors that may determine whether or not you qualify.

Your Debt to Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio is a major factor that the mortgage lender is going to consider when deciding whether or not you will qualify for a new mortgage. In general, the magic number is 43 percent. If your debt exceeds 43 percent of your total income, the lender will have a hard time giving you that new mortgage.

For example, if you make $5,000 per month, you will want to have less than $2,150 in monthly debt payments. To make yourself a more attractive candidate for a mortgage, try paying off some of your existing debt.

Taking A Look At The Credit Score

The lender is also going to consider your credit score. The higher your credit score is, the more likely the lender will reward you with a loan. In order to keep your credit score high, make sure you manage your debt well.

Making your debt payments on time will keep your credit score high. Missing debt payments will lower your score. Manage your existing debt well and you will have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage.

Making Sure You Can Handle A Mortgage

Finally, the lender is also going to take a look at whether you can take on the responsibilities of owning a home. The monthly mortgage payment isn’t the only expense you will be taking on. Some of the other issues you will have to handle include property taxes, maintenance costs, and homeowners’ insurance. 

The bank or credit union will want to ensure you can handle these costs. To make these expenses easier to bear, it might be a good idea to pay off some of that existing debt.

Investing In A New Mortgage

Looking for a new home is exciting. You can purchase a house with existing debt as long as it is minimized and managed well. Think about these factors before investing in a mortgage.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Three Important Benefits Of An Open Floor Plan

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 7th, 2019

Three Important Benefits Of An Open Floor PlanIf you are looking for a new home, or if you are looking to renovate your existing home, you might have heard about something called an open floor plan. In today’s era of housing, this layout has become more popular.

In an open floor plan, there is a single, large space that can act as multiple rooms all in one. Often, hallways, walls, and doors are left out. This makes the entire space feel more inviting. There are numerous advantages to this plan that everyone should keep in mind.

Added Natural Light

One of the biggest benefits of this plan is that there is added natural light. Without the interior walls, light has an easier time passing through space. This connects the indoor world to the outdoor area.

In order to maximize this benefit, it is a good idea to add a few extra windows in the kitchen or living area. This will bring a little bit of brightness to the indoors, making it glow. Also, because fewer light fixtures are needed, this may reduce your utility costs.

Makes Space Feel Bigger

Next, if the home has an open floor concept, the whole area is going to feel larger. Typically, when this plan is put in place, there are vaulted ceilings.

Without the added walls, there is room to open the space upwards. This is going to make the entire area feel larger than it actually is.

With the added, spacious feel, family and friends will be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company that much more!

An Easy Space To Entertain

If someone has a traditional floor plan, the spaces often feel a little bit cramped. This can make it hard to entertain a large group of people.

With an open concept, this is a worry of the past. Now, you can be in the kitchen and still interact with people who are in the living or dining area. This concept is great for people who like to throw parties.

Advantages Of An Open Floor Plan

These are a few of the most important benefits of an open floor plan. It is easy to see why these plans have become more popular in recent years. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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4 Critical Tips To Consider When Hiring A Home Contractor

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 6th, 2019

4 Critical Tips To Consider When Hiring A Home ContractorThere are many reasons why you might be interested in hiring a home contractor. These professionals are an important part of helping someone attain their dream home. While everyone cares about the price of the contractor, this is not the only factor that you should consider.

After all, the home is where people spend a lot of their time. By thinking about price alone, you might be sacrificing quality. It is important for you to take the proper steps when it comes to hiring a home contractor. There are a few factors that you should keep in mind.

Start The Process With A Detailed Plan

This is the step that absolutely must be completed before you even approach a contractor. If you need help with this, think about reaching out to a designer or an architect who can help you. Walk your contractor through your plan step by step. This will help the contractor give you a more accurate price estimate and will allow the contractor to ask important questions. 

Give The Project Specifications Upfront

There are certain finishes or fixtures that you might want in your home. Make sure to provide your contractor with this list ahead of time. These specifications can drastically influence the price estimate. Save your time, as well as the contractors, by providing the specifications as early as possible. That way, the contractor can figure out how much each of these specifications is going to cost.

Ask About Insurance

It is also important for you to make sure your contractor has insurance. Sometimes, accidents happen. This is a reality of the industry. The contractor probably has a large crew that he or she needs to work with to help your project come together. This is not easy. When mishaps happen, your contractor needs to be set up to deal with these issues professionally.

Ask For Client References

Lastly, it is important for you to take a look at some of your home contractor’s work. Take a look at some of the prior projects and make sure you are satisfied with what you see. This will help you get a solid idea of what your project might look like when all is said and done. 

As always, your trusted local real estate professional is an excellent resource for referrals to other quality service providers around the home.  Give them a call today and ask for a referral!

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How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate Investment

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 5th, 2019

How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate InvestmentReal estate investors who want to build up a strong investment portfolio always keep an eye out for hot markets, which gives them a chance to pick up properties that add to their portfolio value.

A word of caution about hot markets is that if you learn about them after they are already hot, you may have missed much of the run-up that made them hot. 

Clever real estate investors try to anticipate markets that will heat up before they do, so they can buy properties in advance of increasing values. Selling properties in a hot market is how they capture profits. 

The Hot Markets

Realtor.com® identified seven markets in the United States that are currently hot markets for flipping houses. The average gross profit for house flippers is $62,700. This figure does not include the cost of making the repairs. The gross profit equals about 20% to 33% of the home’s sales price after making the repairs.

An evaluation looking for hot markets for flipping homes considered the percentage of home sales that were investment properties.

The current hot markets, in the order of activity, are:

  1. St. Louis, MO – 18.8% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $189,900.
  2. Birmingham, AL – 17.3% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $190,000.
  3. Miami, FL – 17% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $299,900.
  4. Tampa, FL – 16.2% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $230,000.
  5. Memphis, TN – 16.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $206,300.
  6. Las Vegas, NV – 15.7% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $301,800.
  7. Phoenix, AZ – 15.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $275,800.

Hot Pockets In Cooler Markets

Another way to find opportunities is to know your local market very well and look for areas that are up and coming. Look for a fixer-upper in a decent area. Also, search in areas that are adjacent to high-priced areas. 

Look for soft barriers that can be passed easily, such as a block that is improving, which is next to another block that has already improved. Hard barriers, such as a wide street, a freeway, or a river make it more challenging for an improving neighborhood trend to pass across them.

Summary

Finding a hot market or a hot pocket comes from investigating potential growth areas and watching them. Get a feel for the trends. One strategy is to buy early when the prices are still low, rent the property for a while, and then sell later, once the market heats up.

If you are in the market for a new home or want to find out about the hot neighborhoods in your area, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 4th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 4th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 4th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, pending home sales data and the post-meeting statement announcement from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee were released.

Labor sector reports on jobs and the national unemployment rate were also released. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims were also published.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in August

Home price growth slowed by 0.20 percent in August for the first time since August 2018. Home price growth rates typically decrease in August as peak home-buying season passes. The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index showed a geographical shift away from the West and Southwest in August as two of the three cities with the highest home price growth rates were in the Southeast.

Home prices in Phoenix, Arizona held the top spot in the 20-City Home Price Index with a seasonally-adjusted annual growth rate of 6.30 percent. Home prices in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Atlanta, Georgia rose 4.50 and 4.00 percent.

Pending home sales rose 1.50 percent in September according to the National Association of Realtors®. Pending home sales gauge future closed sales and mortgage loan volume.

Fed Lowers Key Interest Rate Range

The Federal Reserve announced its third consecutive cut to its benchmark interest rate range but indicated that future rate cuts may be on hold. Fed policymakers cut the federal funds rate range one-quarter percent to 1.50 to 1.75 percent from 1.75 percent to 2.00 percent.

Federal Open Market Committee members said global economic developments and muted inflationary pressure were considerations in the decision to lower the Fed’s key interest rate range.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week; rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose eight basis points and averaged 3.78 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose one basis point and averaged 3.19 percent.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose three basis points to 3.43 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

First-time jobless claims rose by 5000 claims to 218,000 new claims filed. The national unemployment rate rose to 3.60 percent in October as compared to September’s reading of 3.50 percent. ADP reported 125,000 private-sector jobs added in October as compared to 93,000 jobs added in September. 128,000 public and private sector jobs were added in October according to the government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on job openings and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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What Is Owner Financing When Buying A Home?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 1st, 2019

What is Owner Financing When Buying A HomeThere are many options when it comes to taking out a loan on a new home. One of the options that people might have heard about is called owner financing. In general, the property owner takes the place of a traditional lender.

Instead of someone taking out of a loan from a bank or a credit union, they take out a loan from the owner of the property. Similar to a traditional loan, the buyer will make payments to the seller over a period of time with a certain interest rate.

The Structure Of Owner Financing

If someone elects to go with owner financing, there are several terms that will specify the repayment structure. The most common structure is called a note and mortgage.

This is a secure form of financing. It is also the closest in structure to a traditional mortgage from a bank. The seller will put together a note that specifies the size of the loan and how it will be repaid. The mortgage will secure the seller with the property in case the borrower cannot repay the loan.

The buyer is still placed on the title of the home. Then, the mortgage is recorded with public records, just as in a traditional loan. There are other types of seller financing; however, this is the most common structure.

The Structure Of Repayment

You may have questions regarding this type of financing when compared to a traditional mortgage. Just as in a traditional mortgage, the repayment terms can vary. You will still have the opportunity to negotiate the terms of the loan.

Typically, interest rates are close to that of a loan from a bank or credit union. There are still options to set up a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage as well.

The Benefits Of Seller Financing

There are several benefits for both the buyer and the seller. First, seller financing may allow the seller to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the property. This can also help the seller offload a property that otherwise might not sell.

The buyer will also be able to purchase a home without having to borrow from a bank. Often, there is less paperwork and fewer fees. Finally, a buyer that might not qualify for a traditional bank loan might be able to buy a home through seller financing.

Understanding Owner Financing

It is important for everyone to think carefully before signing up for this type of financing. This is a unique option that you should understand when looking for a home. Consult with your home mortgage professional to get the best answer for your particular situation.

If you are interested in buying a new home or listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

 

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What Is Passive Real Estate Investing?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 31st, 2019

What Is Passive Real Estate InvestingWhen you are looking to purchase a home, you might be looking for a place for you and your family to live. It might surprise you to learn that not everyone who is looking for a house is necessarily in search of a place to live.

Real estate is also a great way for someone to grow wealth. Furthermore, real estate is actually one of the most common ways that people become millionaires.

Some of the active ways that people invest in real estate include flipping houses and renting out property. This can be time-consuming and isn’t right for everyone.

If you are looking for a way to make money in real estate without flipping houses or looking for tenants, passive real estate investing might be the answer.

An Overview Of Passive Real Estate Investing

While passive is the opposite of active in this scenario, passive real estate investing does not mean that you won’t have to do anything. There is still work to be done.

When you invest in a passive manner, this means that you aren’t playing an active role in the growth of the asset, which is property in this example.

One example of passive investing is the stock market. You need to make sure that you do your homework before you start throwing money at the real estate market.

There is a serious time commitment that comes with passive real estate investing. You will also need to monitor the property values to make sure your investment is generating a solid return.

Ways To Get Involved In Passive Real Estate Investing

There are a few common ways that you can start investing in real estate, in a passive manner.

First, one of the most common ways is through the stock market. There are businesses that make their money by investing in the real estate market for you. You can buy shares of these companies who then invest your money in real estate.

Alternatively, you can also set up a partnership with an active investor. You might own the properties and then pay the active investor to rent them out to someone else.

Finally, there is also real estate crowdfunding that has come on the scene. Those looking to invest smaller amounts of money might be interested in this method which pools smaller investments together to invest in much larger real estate projects.

It’s important to talk with your trusted local real estate and mortgage professionals to get the best information for your personal situation.

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How To Navigate The Changing Remodeling Market

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 30th, 2019

How To Navigate The Changing Remodeling MarketRemodeling is a common project that homeowners take on. If you are looking to remodel your home, it is important to keep in mind that this involves more than just improving your living area. If you remodel your home, you might also be expecting to generate a return on your investment. 

In prior years, a home remodel meant an increase in the value of your home. Furthermore, some people actually make money by buying homes, fixing them up, and selling them. This is commonly called “flipping.” Unfortunately, like other sectors of the economy, this market ebbs and flows. Recently, it looks like the drive to remodel homes has taken a downturn.

Why Homeowners Steer Away From Remodeling

There are financial and real estate professionals who analyze this market just as other professionals look at other areas of the economy. According to the professionals, there are a number of reasons why people might be steering away from a home remodel.

First, there has actually been a decline in home sales. This goes along with a decline in homebuilding activity. 

These factors cause homeowners to hesitate when they remodel their homes. If you are looking to sell your home, this is a prime time to remodel. You might think this remodel is necessary for your home to succeed on the market. If you aren’t looking to sell your home, there is less reason to remodel. When home sales drop, the remodeling market drops as well.

Home Price Appreciation Plays A Role

Another important factor involved in the home remodeling market is the pace of home appreciation. In prior years, the growth of home prices was outpacing the rate of income appreciation. In recent years, this trend has flipped.

When home prices aren’t rising faster than wages, there is less pressure to remodel. Instead of investing this money in a remodel, homeowners are looking to invest this money in other areas that might generate a bigger return. This has led to a reduction in the remodeling market.

Considering A Home Remodel

If you are looking to remodel your home, think about these factors ahead of time. You should expect a return on your remodeling investment. Take a look at the market before the remodel begins.

As always, your trusted real estate professional can offer advice on what improvements might help the value of your home with their experience in your marketplace.

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How To Practice Electrical Safety Around Your Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 29th, 2019

How To Practice Electrical Safety Around Your HomeElectricity plays an important role in your home. It helps keep you warm, allows you to cook meals, and brightens up the interior of your house. At the same time, electricity is a common hazard.

Electrocution accidents can lead to burns, serious injuries, and even death. You should feel safe in your own home. Therefore, it is a smart idea for you to remember a few important tips when it comes to electrical safety at home.

Watch Out For Damaged Power Cords

One of the most common causes of electrocution accidents at home is from damaged power cords. Over time, the wires that run through the home might start to degrade. This is a danger that is often overlooked. If the protective coating on any of your wires has been stripped away, cover the cord or replace it. If you need help doing this, call a professional for help.

Overloading The Electrical Outlets

Another common source of electrical accidents comes from outlets that have been overloaded. Your outlets have been designed to deliver a certain amount of power. If you plug too many devices into the same outlet, the circuit will become overloaded. This can lead to a fire or an explosion. If you need to plug in more devices, use a power strip. These are designed to add additional outlets in a safe manner.

An Extension Cord Is A Tripping Hazard

Extension cords are great for providing electrical power to something that is far away. On the other hand, they also should not be left out constantly. These cords are long and represent a tripping hazard. In addition to a fall injury, this can also lead to serious damage to the outlet and the cord itself. This can increase the chances of something bad happening with the home’s wiring. If you are using extension cords all the time, it is a smart idea to call an electrician who can add additional outlets to the home.

Avoiding Injuries With Electrical Safety

Other common electrical safety tips include keeping powered devices away from water and supervising children at all times. Electrical injuries are serious and should be avoided at all cost. Practicing proper electrical safety is vital to preventing injuries.

If you are looking for a new home or if you are interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 28th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 28th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 28th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

New Home Sales Dip in September

Commerce Department readings indicated fewer sales of new homes than in August. 701,000 sales were reported in September on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; 706,000 new homes were sold in August and analysts expected 700,000  sales of new homes.

Sales fell by 0.70 percent month-to-month but were 15.50 percent higher year-over-year. September was the second time in 12 years that new home sales exceeded 700,000 in consecutive months.

Sales of new homes were lower in three of four regions. Sales fell by -2.80 percent in the Northeast and were -3.80 percent lower in the West.  New home sales fell -0.20 percent in the South but rose + 6.30 percent in the Midwest. The median sale price of new homes fell in September, which indicated that builders may be building more affordable homes. 

In recent years, builders concentrated on building high-end homes. Real estate pros said there was a 5.50 month supply of new homes available in September as compared to the benchmark reading of a six month supply of homes for sale that indicates markets are balanced between home buyers and sellers.

Sales of pre-owned homes also fell in September.5.38 million previously-owned homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected 5.40 million sales and  5.50 million pre-owned homes were sold in August.

Mortgage Rates Rise;   Initial Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose six basis points to 3.75 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.18 percent. 

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.40 percent and were five basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell last week; 212,000  first-time claims were filed. Analysts expected 215,000 claims based on the prior week’s reading of 218,000 initial claims. Analysts said there were no indications of rising layoffs and noted that new jobless claims stayed near a 50-year low.

October’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell to an index reading of 95.50 as compared to September’s reading of 96.00. Consumers surveyed were less anxious about trade disputes with China than in September. 

Readings for the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index have held steady in recent months, but remain below the post-recession peak reading of 101.40.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices and a statement from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee on monetary policy decisions. 

The Labor Department also reports on Non-Farm Payrolls and national unemployment is also scheduled along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

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