Pros and Cons of Replacing Your Roof Before A Listing

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 22nd, 2019

Pros and Cons of Replacing Your Roof Before a ListingYou might be wondering whether to replace your roof before listing your property. Most reputable real estate agents will advise you only to do so if your current roof isn’t likely to pass inspection or if replacing it will significantly raise the value of your home. 

Here is some valuable information to help you decide.

Pros Of Replacing Your Roof Before You Sell

Buyers are attracted to homes with curb appeal and online photos highlighting a new roof will attract a lot of traffic. That means you may sell your home more quickly. Roofing replacements also help you when it comes time to negotiate a sales price. Buyers will be willing to pay more for the security of knowing they won’t need a new roof anytime soon.

Cons Of Replacing Your Roof Before A Listing

Putting on a new roof is a huge financial commitment. It may not be one you’re willing to assume before moving into a new property. Other problems may arise that delay construction or cause cost overruns. Both of these scenarios impact your ability to look for a new home right away, meaning you can’t put the current one up for sale.

Consider Repairing It Instead

If your roof is in decent shape, talk to an expert about whether it needs to be repaired. If there’s structural damage, chances are an inspector or appraisal will request repairs prior to closing anyway. You may want to just get it taken care of. If the roof is in good shape but doesn’t look great, it may just need to be cleaned and spruced up. A roofing expert can give you some great ideas that are within your budget.

Should You Replace Your Roof?

Ultimately, it’s your decision. It’s important to determine how much a new or repaired roof adds to the price you’re likely to get. Dealing with construction on a home that no longer meets your needs is stressful. If the roof needs a lot of work, it may be worthwhile to offer a concession to the buyer — you essentially give them the money to fix it when they move in — so you can move out and move on sooner. Your time frame is another factor to consider. If you don’t have a lot of time, leaving this task to the buyer may be your best option.

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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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 21st, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 21st, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 21st, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on builder confidence in housing market conditions, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also reported.

Builder Confidence in Housing Markets Rises

The NAHB Housing Market Index rose in October from September’s index reading of 68 to 71.Home builders were confident in market conditions due to strong demand for homes caused by low mortgage rates and slower growth in home prices.

Obstacles including tariffs on building materials did not deter builder confidence; any reading above 50 on the Housing Market Index indicates that most builders are confident about housing market conditions.

Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for NAHB, said: “The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by a gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months.” Mr. Dietz cited “ongoing supply side constraints and concerns about a slowing economy” as factors expected to negatively impact builder sentiment in coming months.

The Commerce Department reported a  seasonally-adjusted annual pace  of 1.26 million housing starts in September. Analysts expected a pace of 1.32  million starts; August’s reading for housing starts was 1.39 million starts.

Fewer building permits were issued in September with 1.39 million permits issued as compared to August’s reading of 1.43 million permits issued; analysts expected 1.38 million building permits to be issued.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher rates for fixed rate mortgages last week. The average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose 12 basis points to 3.69 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages rose 10 basis points to 3.15 percent.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 3.15 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

Initial jobless claims also rose last week. 214,000 new claims were filed as compared to expectations of 215,000 claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 210,000 first-time jobless claims filed. Analysts noted that new jobless claims remained near a 50-year low.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes along with a report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

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Real Estate Tips for a First-Time Home Seller

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 18th, 2019

Real Estate Tips for a First-Time Home SellerMany homeowners don’t think about what it takes to successfully sell a home until they make the decision to purchase a new home. It makes sense to consider the best ways to improve your home sales appeal early if you think you might consider selling at any time in the future.

Some reasons for buying a new house are to accommodate a growing family or a transfer to a new job. No matter the reason you want to buy a new home, it is important that you take the right steps to ensure you sell your home on terms that meet your needs.

Not only do you want to get a good price for your home, but you also want to sell your home sooner rather than later. Read this article for real estate tips that will help you as a first-time home seller.

Price Your Home Accurately

It is essential that you price your home accurately. To do this, you should use a reputable, trusted real estate listing agent. The home selling process will be far more straightforward for you if you choose a real estate agent who is actively engaged in real estate on a daily basis and knows your neighborhood well.

Your agent will take a look at the comparable sales of homes in the area and create an estimate of value, which is called a comparative market analysis. You can compare this estimate to the estimates from different real estate websites as well.

However, your listing agent will likely provide you with the most accurate estimate of value because they will use their education and experience to take into consideration the nuances of your local market and your particular home that will impact the sales price.

Home Staging

If you want to boost the value and buyer appeal of your home, you should do some home staging. In general, homes are most appealing to buyers with half of the furniture removed. Believe it or not, you want potential buyers to walk into your and wonder if anyone is actually living in the home.

The purpose of home staging is to boost the appeal and selling power. One of the best and most cost effective upgrades you can do during the home staging process is painting the walls. A fresh coat of paint will make any home look better.

List Your Home

The season that you choose to list your home is an important decision. The sales success can depend on the weather, time of year, local community, school schedules, and the state of the real estate market. Your real estate listing agent should have a solid plan to broadcast their new listing in the best light possible on its first day being listed and follow that with an energetic promotional agenda. 

Talk with them to learn more about their customary marketing plan before agreeing to list your home for sale. This gives your agent a chance to demonstrate their marketing expertise and you will know that you have the best representation for your home when it goes on the market.

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4 Easy Ways to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Living Space

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 17th, 2019

4 Easy Ways to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Living SpaceIf you want to maximize your outdoor living areas, the ideas below will help you do so. Backyards are seldom used to their full potential. No matter how large or small your yard is, a makeover can create cozy sitting areas and larger spaces that are perfect for entertaining.

Here are four ideas to transform how you use your yard:

1. Move Your Kitchen Outside
Outdoor kitchens let you enjoy fine weather while you cook. It also makes feeding a large gathering easier since there’s probably a lot of room to expand. Setting up a fully stocked outdoor kitchen gives you a multi-purpose space that can double as a lounge or dining area. It’s all about choosing the right furnishings, such as convertible picnic tables that turn into comfy benches.

2. Decorate To Attract Company
Patio and deck parties are fun and easy — especially if you can get everyone to come to you. Put up umbrellas or add an overhang to keep out the worst of the sun. Plushy seating with room to place snacks or meals keeps guests comfy and satisfied. It’s a great place to host poker night, a girls’ night in or your kids’ soccer team.

3. Create Green Space
Gardens have come a long way from your mom’s veggie patch. Reinvigorate your outdoor space with fresh ideas, such as raised beds that save your back when it comes time to harvest your tomatoes and cucumbers. Add brightly colored flowers around trees or in window boxes for a lush look that transforms your yard into a botanical retreat. If you really have a green thumb, consider building a greenhouse where you can grow things most of the year.

4. Light It Up

Area lighting really looks fantastic during nighttime get-togethers and lets you determine when the party’s over, not the sunset. Solar lights save energy and work well as guide lights along pathways. String lights create a magical effect around gazebos and patios. However, you’ll need brighter illumination if you have guests over. This may mean adding a circuit and hiring an electrician to put up spotlights and security lighting. The good news is that the changes also make your home more secure.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or if you are ready to list your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need It

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 16th, 2019

How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need ItYour credit report influences whether or not you’ll qualify for a mortgage and what kind of interest you’ll pay on that loan. This isn’t something you can safely ignore. Smart homebuyers understand the importance of monitoring credit scores and credit reports. Here is some information about how to get your credit report.

Free Credit Report Available

You’re entitled to free credit report, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can get one free report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus; Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

The easiest way to get your free report is to go to AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the official site that was originally established by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 

How To Get Your Free Credit Report

Once you reach the site, create an account by registering. Have as much of your available credit information available when you request your free credit report. The reason is because the site will need to verify that it’s actually you requesting the credit report. If you have your information at hand, it will be easier and faster to confirm your identity.

This is just a process that the site has in place to protect your identity from fraud. They might ask you things like past residences, past credit card companies, or something else. 

Why You Need To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

When you apply for a home loan, the lender will pull your credit report and review it. They’ll look for signs that you are a good credit risk. Things they consider include how you handle your debt to income ratio, whether or not you pay your bills on time and if you have any negative notations on your credit report.

For this reason, you should look at your own credit report before applying for a mortgage. This gives you a chance to fix anything that is incorrect in your credit report and an opportunity to improve your credit report if it’s not in great shape. 

You Can Help Prevent Identity Fraud

Another important reason to review your free annual credit report is to prevent fraud. If you see anything unfamiliar on your report, such as loans you didn’t take out or balances for things you don’t recognize, you can immediately act on those issues so they don’t affect your chance at getting approved for a home loan.

Always be proactive when it comes to your credit history. By availing of your right to a free annual credit report, you can ensure that your credit is in as good as possible condition when you go to apply for a mortgage.

If you are looking 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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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 15th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 15th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 15th, 2019Last week’s economic releases included readings on inflation, an essay from Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan and the monthly consumer sentiment index. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Flat in September

Inflation did not change in September; August’s reading showed 0.10 percent growth, which matched the July reading. Falling gasoline prices caused the flat reading. Analysts said that cooling inflation may prompt Federal Reserve policymakers to cut the target Federal Funds interest rate range at their next meeting.

The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors rose 0.10 percent in September; analysts expected 0.20 percent growth based on August’s month-to-month inflation rate of 0.30 percent growth.

In related news, Robert Kaplan, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, said in an essay that he had no pre-determined plan for the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting at the end of October. He wrote, “I intend to avoid being rigid or predetermined from here and plan to remain highly vigilant and keep an open mind on whether further action on the federal funds rate is appropriate.”  

Mr. Kaplan cited a concern that he shares with other FOMC members over a pull-back in business spending that could impact consumer confidence and spending Mr. Kaplan wrote that he was “mindful about “asset bubbles” caused by investors seeking higher yields.

Mortgage Rates and New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell eight basis points to 3.57 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell nine basis points to 3.05 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.35 percent and three basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 210,000 initial claims filed and were lower than the expected reading of 220,000 claims filed. Analysts said that fewer first-time jobless claims indicated minimal threat of layoffs.

October’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 2.80 points to an index reading of 96 as compared to September’s reading of 93.20 points. Analysts expected an index reading of 92.50 points.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.

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3 DIY Home Improvement Projects You Can Complete Before Thanksgiving

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 11th, 2019

3 DIY Home Improvement Projects You Can Complete Before ThanksgivingIt’s the time of year when many people are making their holiday plans: booking travel, making shopping lists, and getting their home ready for guests. Hiring a house cleaner, having the carpets steamed, and buying new furniture ahead of the holiday season are all common, but what about completely updating a room (or two)?

It’s easy to think that home improvement projects are too expensive or will take several weeks or even months to complete. However, there are several simple, affordable do-it-yourself projects that can be completed in a weekend to give outdated rooms a fresh new look — in plenty of time to host holiday guests. 

Refinish Kitchen Cabinets The Easy Way

Painting cabinets is an excellent way to totally transform a kitchen. This fun budget-friendly project can be done in a weekend or spread out over a couple of weeks if necessary. With adequate preparation and attention to detail, the “new” cabinets will look great for years to come.

Minimal supplies are necessary for this project and there is no limit to the looks that can be created using different paint colors, stains, and seals.

Create A Shiplap Accent Wall

Arguably one of the most popular home decor trends is the rustic farmhouse look, and shiplap is at the center of that. Using basic tools that are likely already in the garage and some plywood from the local hardware store, it’s easy to create a unique shiplap wall and dramatically change the look of a room.

The most fun part about DIY shiplap is that it’s so customizable. Use reclaimed or pallet wood, paint unfinished planks, or try using boards cut to different lengths. 

Update Flooring With Vinyl Or Laminate

Replacing outdated flooring is perhaps the biggest bang-for-the-buck DIY project that can drastically freshen up a space. Changing the floors in even one room can have a tremendous impact on the look of the entire home. 

With so many budget-friendly options such as click-together laminate panels and peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, choose different looks for different rooms or go for one cohesive look throughout the house.

Giving a home an entirely new look doesn’t have to involve a complicated renovation project. Major home improvement stores and websites have step-by-step tutorials to make it as simple as a few coats of paint and some elbow grease.

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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New FHA Financing Available For Condo Buyers That Has A Low Down Payment

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 10th, 2019

New FHA Financing Available For Condo Buyers That Has A Low Down PaymentCondominium owners and buyers have previously been at a disadvantage when trying to use the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) support to get a home mortgage. Single-family homes could get better FHA mortgage deals than condominiums. In October 2019, this changes.

New FHA Condominium Financing

As of October 15, 2019, FHA loan availability is extended to condominium buyers. This is important news for first-time buyers who frequently purchase a condominium. First-time buyers appreciate FHA loans because they only require a very modest 3.5% down payment.

FHA loans were strongly curtailed after the real estate market collapse in 2008. Since 2009, most condos did not qualify for FHA loans. The problem was that FHA loans require mortgage insurance and this insurance was only available for about 6.5% of all condos.

In America, there are about 160,000 condominium projects (complexes and buildings). The new FHA program makes mortgage insurance possible for about 20,000 to 60,000 more condominium projects nationally. Not all condos will qualify for the new FHA program; however about half of them will.

Both first-time buyers and people who are down-sizing by selling a larger home appreciate condos. The median price for a condo nationally is around $260,000. This is about $29,000 less than the median price for a home that is about $289,000. Maintenance costs and upkeep for a condo are typically less than caring for a larger home.

Refinance Opportunities

For condo buyers, who could not get FHA loans in the past, they may now qualify for the mortgage insurance needed if they could not get it before. Then, they can refinance a loan to get a better deal with FHA financing if they want to do this.

Easier Condominium Sales

For those who are putting their condos on the market for sale, this new FHA loan program is worthwhile to investigate to see if the condominium building or complex qualifies. If the condo is in a facility that qualifies, this new FHA financing option will potentially attract more buyers

Summary

Real estate agents should become aware of the new FHA program and inform their clients if a condo buyer can use an FHA loan to finance the purchase. This is a very impactful change for the condominium market dynamics. This new FHA loan program is the first of its kind to occur since around 2009, a decade ago, which is great news for condo buyers.

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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More Home Loan Options Now Available For Borrowers With Bad Credit

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 9th, 2019

More Home Loan Options Now Available For Borrowers With Bad CreditFor a long time after the real estate housing crisis in 2008, buyers with a poor credit history had a difficult time finding mortgage financing. It was a problem that trapped those seeking to buy a home because so many lost their homes from the inability to pay their mortgages.

Some suffered damage to their credit history that was severe. Millions filed for bankruptcy.

Not only did mortgage lending requirements get stricter for home buyers, but the funds available for home loans were also severely reduced. Even those with a good credit history found it more difficult to qualify for mortgage financing.

Time For A Second Chance

Now, there is a much better environment for homebuyers with a bad credit history who are seeking a loan. Those with a bankruptcy on their record, which was settled at least ten years ago, will see the bankruptcy taken off their credit history. Suddenly, their credit score may increase dramatically.

Unconventional Financing

Conventional financing is available for those with decent credit. This includes attractive terms and conditions for FHA loans and other federally-based loan programs. Those with bad credit may not qualify for these loans. If they want to buy a home, their only option is to use unconventional financing, also called non-qualified mortgages (non-QM).

Unconventional financing has higher costs and no federal insurance. In 2008, these non-QM loans were a total of $65 billion per year. In 2009, this figure dropped to $10 billion and, in 2010, the low of $8 billion.

Since 2010, the availability of these non-QM loans steadily increased. By 2018, the total amount of these loans was up to $45 billion. That figure will be higher in 2019.

Is There Another Real Estate Bubble Happening?

Are we back to where we were before when the real estate market collapsed in 2008? As far as the total amount of non-QM loans, we are close. However, the qualifying standards for these loans are stricter than a decade ago.

There is less predatory lending where borrowers who do not truly qualify get a no-doc loan without proving income. Before those predatory loans often had a teaser introductory rate that quickly escalated to an amount that made it impossible for the home buyer to continue to make their mortgage payments. There are fewer of these loans now.

Summary

Besides the big picture real-estate-bubble worries, the positive news is that borrowers with a poor credit history can now participate in the housing market again.

Be prudent when considering a mortgage and carefully think about the ability to make the monthly payments. Read all the details of the loan requirements carefully. Use competent professional advice from a trusted home mortgage professional to make sure there is a very clear understanding of the loan terms and conditions.

When you have your financing secure, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional to help you find your new home.

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What Causes Mortgage Interest Rates To Fluctuate?

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

What Causes Mortgage Interest Rates To FluctuateThe mortgage interest rate represents the cost of borrowing money to purchase a property. Mortgage interest rates are not fixed; that is, they fluctuate from one period of time to the next.

Many different factors play into what your mortgage interest rate will finally turn out to be. Some of these factors have to deal with the economy and government decisions. Other factors have to do with your personal financial situation.

Finally, mortgage interest rates can differ between lending institutions, which is why you may get different mortgage interest rate quotes from different places.

Economic Factors That Cause Mortgage Interest Rates To Fluctuate

Mortgage interest rates are somewhat connected to the stock market. When the stock market indexes go up, mortgage rates tend to rise as well. The Consumer Price Index is a measure of inflation rates. When inflation rises, you can expect to see mortgage interest rates go up, too. Other economic factors that affect mortgage interest rates include Data from the Gross Domestic Product, Consumer Confidence, and Home Sales reports.

Government Decisions That Lead To Mortgage Interest Rate Changes

The federal government keeps close tabs on the economy. Government officials are always making adjustments in order to keep the economy strong. Periodically, the government will raise or lower key interest rates in order to adjust bank lending economics. When the government raises or lowers the Federal Funds interest rate, it is always announced in the media.

Personal Financials And Your Mortgage Interest Rate

Finally, your personal financial situation influences what kind of mortgage interest rate your lender offers. A higher credit score will generally get you a lower mortgage interest rate. This is another reason why it’s always a good idea to review and improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage.

When you are ready to apply for a mortgage, meet with a trusted home mortgage professional. Because mortgage interest rates fluctuate often, you could find that the interest rate gets higher in the short time in which you’re still shopping for your home. Once you do find an attractive program for your personal situation, be sure that you are ready to take the necessary steps to lock in that rate.

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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