What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 22, 2017

Posted in Mortgage Rates by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 22nd, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB Housing Market Index Rises, Exceeds Expectations

Builder Sentiment rose two points in May, which exceeded expectations of no change to April’s reading of 68. Builders and analysts said that short inventories of available homes continue to drive demand for new homes. While index readings jumped immediately after the Presidential election in November, builder enthusiasm settled when tariffs on lumber were increased.

Two of three components used in calculating the NAHB Housing Market Index reading. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions gained two points to a reading of 76; Confidence in market conditions over the next six months gained four points to 79. The reading for buyer traffic in new home developments fell one point to 51. Any reading over 50 is considered positive in NAHB HMI reports.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Lower in April

Despite rising home builder confidence in current and future housing markets, housing starts and building permits issued were lower in April than for March. According to the Commerce Department, 1.172 million homes were started in April as compared to 1.203 million housing starts reported in March; April’s housing starts were 0.070 percent higher year over year. Analysts had expected a reading of 1,259 million starts, which are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

Builders started single-family homes at a seasonally- adjusted annual pace of 835,000 homes in April, which indicated that builders may be gaining confidence in building homes for sale as compared to rental units. Building permits were issued at a pace of 1,229 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; this was lower than the March reading of 1.260 million permits issued.

 The apparent lag between strong builder sentiment and housing starts and permits could be due to ongoing concerns over increasing materials prices and shortages of buildable lots and labor needed to ramp up home construction.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates fell last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged three basis points lower at 4.02 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.27 percent, a drop of two basis points over the prior week. Mortgage rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.13 percent, which was one basis point lower than the prior week. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types reported.

New jobless claims were lower than expected last week, with 232,000 new claims filed as compared to 240,000 new claims expected and 236,000 claims reported the prior week. Low readings for new unemployment claims suggest strong jobs markets, but can be volatile and subject to adjustment.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and existing home sales and consumer sentiment. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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Did You Know: Single Women Are Buying Homes Faster Than Single Men — Here’s Why

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 19th, 2017

Did You Know: Single Women Are Buying Homes Faster Than Single Men -- Here's WhyWith low interest rates and uncertainty as to where the real estate market will be in the next six months, many people are opting into ownership and investing in a home. Interestingly, according to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 17 percent of homebuyers in the United States last year were women, which is a much higher percentage than the 7 percent of single men who invested in a home. While the statistics may be interesting enough on their own, here are some of the reasons why women may be opting in.

Single Parent Security

The numbers don’t lie, and it’s a fact that there are a much higher number of single mothers in the United States than fathers, which makes home ownership that much more of a benefit. With low interest rates, it’s common sense that many single mothers will be flocking towards the housing market to find stable housing for their family in a market that may fluctuate in the coming months.

Making A Lifestyle Choice

The days are long gone of women having to invest in a home when they get married, and for many women being single is a very popular lifestyle choice. This means that many single ladies are choosing to invest on their own terms and at their own time so that they can reap the benefits of home ownership. As Jessica Lautz of the National Association of Realtors says, “They really value home ownership, and they’re willing to give up a lot to have a home of their own.”

It’s In The Numbers

There are certainly more than a few reasons why single women are flocking to the real estate market, but demographics are changing rapidly. While it was once the case that most people were married or would marry, more single women are opting out of marriage and opening up a wider market for single-person home purchases. Given the low interest rates and the increasing number of women choosing to be single, purchasing a home offers a solid bet and a financial boon.

With a home offering up the benefit of security and the advantage of being a good financial choice, it’s no surprise that more and more women are turning to home ownership on their own. If you’re contemplating purchasing a home of your own, contact your local real estate professional for more information about opportunities in your area.

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Today’s Home Seller Needs a Real Estate Agent More Than Ever — and Here’s Why

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 18th, 2017

Today's Home Seller Needs a Real Estate Agent More Than Ever -- and Here's WhyMany home sellers attempt to get into the real estate market on their own without consulting the counsel of an experienced real estate agent. However, while having an agent will certainly cost you a percentage of your home sale, it can get you a lot more in the end for a lot less headache. If you’re currently considering going agentless, here are some reasons you may want to get an expert involved.

They Have Neighborhood Knowledge

It’s easy enough to look through the MLS listings and get and good sense of what a home in your neighborhood is worth, but a good real estate agent will already know your area and be able to make a better assessment based on this. Not only will they be able to determine what you can sell your home for in the real estate market you’re heading into, they’ll be able to provide the appropriate price so it won’t sit on the market too long.

Home-Marketing Savvy

With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s never been easier to sell your home online. However, a real estate agent will be able to determine the best social media strategy for you and decide how best to invest their energy in order to reach the kind of homebuyers you’re looking for. Beyond making a website and a home video, they’ll also be able to leverage their presence online to attract other interested parties who might not have found your home otherwise.

Doing The Tough Negotiating

One of the toughest parts of any real estate transaction is the negotiating, and it goes without saying that having an experienced agent along to seal the deal can be more than a little comforting. While it’s all well and good if the home inspection was positive and you got your asking price, the right agent can be instrumental in providing the right advice and price in case there are counter-offers. It’s just important to do the research so you can find the right agent for you.

Many homeowners like the idea of navigating the real estate market on their own, but an experienced agent can make the process of selling your home a lot easier and more profitable at the end of the day. If you’re currently getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Rises in May

Posted in Mortgage Rates by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 17th, 2017

The National Association of Homebuilders reported a two-point increase in builder confidence in May. The NAHB Housing Market Index reading increased from 68 in April to 70, which was the second-highest reading since the economic recovery started. May’s reading exceeded analyst expectations of a flat reading for May. Builder confidence rose as demand for homes continued to rise; this factor overrode builder obstacles including higher prices for lots and ongoing labor shortages. A new tariff on lumber was also expected to dampen builder confidence.

Component Readings Suggest Strong Builder Confidence in Current and Future Housing Markets

The monthly Housing Market Index is comprised of three components. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose two points to 76; the reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose four points to 79. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new homes dropped one point to 51, but overall, builder confidence in market conditions is strong as any NAHB Housing Market Index reading over 50 is considered positive.

Fewer Mortgage Applications: Home Buyers Dont Share Builder Optimism

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications dropped 4.30 percent year-over-year in April, and were 20 percent lower than in March. While the Mortgage Bankers Association doesn’t report seasonal adjustments, fewer applications for purchase mortgages on new homes illustrated ongoing affordability challenges faced by first-time and moderate income home buyers.

High demand for available homes puts mortgage-dependent home buyers at a disadvantage when cash offers are in play. Rapid escalation of home prices creates difficulty for first-time and moderate income buyers as down payment and mortgage qualification requirements sideline buyers.

Increasing home builder sentiment has not corresponded to the number of new homes being built, which industry analysts consider the main solution to high demand for homes driven by short inventories of homes. First-time buyers are important to housing markets as they enable “move-up” buyers to sell their homes and buy new or larger homes.

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3 Bedroom Staging Tips That Will Get Potential Buyers Excited About Your Home

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 16th, 2017

3 Bedroom Staging Tips That Will Get Potential Buyers Excited About Your HomeArranging an open house is one of the most important parts of selling your home, but there can be a lot of tricks involved in staging it so you’ll get the right offers. While the kitchen and the living room may be a bit more straightforward, here are some tips for staging your bedroom that will be sure to get buyers interested in making an offer on your home.

Brighten The Bedding

It’s one thing to have makeshift bedding when you only have your family to impress, but when it comes to having an open house, you’ll need to be prepared to make a statement. Instead of a mish-mash of colors and styles, ensure that you have one style and one look you’re going for, and ensure that it’s not cluttered with too many pillows and colors. You’ll also want to make sure the colors you choose match the rest of the décor in your room so the viewer isn’t distracted by the sight.

Minimize The Clutter

Few things will swallow the space in your bedroom like a lot of clutter, so it’s important to clear out any extras from your room before you have any viewers. While it’s a given that you’ll want to get rid of extra papers and anything additional that’s obstructing the eye, it’s also important to clear out any oversized pieces of furniture. It’s possible that you have a chaise lounge you’re in love with, but if it swallows the room, you may want to re-consider it when staging time comes.

Don’t Forget About The Walls

There are few things that will illuminate a room like a good piece of art, so ensure that your favorite space isn’t entirely empty when it comes the time to stage your home. While you won’t want to have something that’s too dramatic or colorful, ensure that it’s something that matches the color and style of your room and will help to illuminate the elements that make it ideal. It’s also important to choose the right size of print so that it doesn’t completely overwhelm your space.

There are a lot of small details that go into staging a home properly, but you can be sure to show your bedroom effectively by keeping it clutter free and making it match. If you’re currently getting prepared to put your home up for sale, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 15, 2017

Posted in Mortgage Rates by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 15th, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation and core inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Inflation, Retail Sales Higher in April

April inflation grew by 0.20 percent as expected. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, increased by 0.10 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 0.20 percent. The Federal Reserve monitors inflation readings as part of its research for monetary policy decisions. The Fed set a benchmark of 2.00 percent annual inflation as an indicator of solid economic recovery. Growing inflation could prompt the Fed to raise interest rates in June.

Retail sales grew in April from 0.10 percent in March to 0.40 percent, but fell short of an expected 0.50 percent increase. Retail sales not including the automotive sector rose by 0.30 percent in April, which was the same growth rate posted in March. Analysts expected a reading of 0.50 percent. Growing retail sales indicates that consumers are more confident about economic conditions.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points higher at 4.05 percent. 15-year fixed rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.29 percent and was two basis points higher than the prior week. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose one basis point to 3.14 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three types of mortgages reported.

New jobless claims fell to 236,000 last week as compared to an expected reading of 245,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 238,000 new claims. Jobless claims remained below the 300,000 benchmark for the 114th consecutive week; last week’s reading was the lowest in more than 28 months.

Consumer sentiment ended the week on a positive note with a May index reading of 97.7 as compared to an expected reading of 97.20 and April’s reading of 97.0.

Whats Ahead

Economic readings scheduled for this week includes reports on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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6 Tips That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Home Inspection

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 12th, 2017

6 Tips That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Home InspectionA home inspection may be one of the last things that needs to be done before the deal is sealed. However, it’s very important to have a proper inspection done so that you can ensure you’re offering price is appropriate for the home you’re getting. If you’re prepping for an inspection soon, here are some things you’ll want to consider beforehand.

Choose A Good Inspector

Like a good agent, the right inspector is going to have expertise in what they do and know what to look for. They will not only find the small fix-ups, they’ll be able to highlight the potentially huge issues that may arise down the road.

Prepare Your Papers

Your inspector may be able to do their job well on their own, but if you’ve noticed any issues when you’ve visited the house, it’s important to address them. While they may amount to nothing, an inspector will be able to clear up any confusion.

Ask The Questions

Whether you’re experienced with real estate or not, ask the questions you want to ask whether or not they make you feel like a novice. Even if the answer is simple, it will give you the information you’re looking for.

Get The Lowdown

It might seem like a bridge too far, but talking to neighbors in the area can give you a good sense of the overall upkeep of the home. While it’s unlikely you’ll get any unfortunate tales, people in the area may be able to illuminate you on the house’s history.

Partake In The Inspection

It’s good enough for many a homeowner to get a written report, but going along to see the house can facilitate conversation and may give you insights into what to watch out for. It may also mean you have a clearer idea of any potential issues.

Facilitate The Discussion

In the event that there are significant issues with the home, it may be worth talking with the inspector about dealing directly with the contractor. While this may or may not be necessary, it’s a good way to ensure any problems will be effectively communicated and can be rectified.

A home inspection may be par for the course, but by asking the right questions and being involved you can ensure you’ll get the most out of your inspection. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

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One-stop Shopping: The Quick and Easy Guide to Buying a Home the First Time You See It

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 11th, 2017

One-stop Shopping: The Quick and Easy Guide to Buying a Home the First Time You See ItMost people peruse the real estate market for a while before they bite down and decide to invest in a home. However, whether you’re in a rush or you think you’ve found the ideal place, it’s possible you may be ready to put in an offer on the first visit. If you’re trying to determine how you can get the home you’re looking for the first time around, here are a few things to be aware of when going in.

Are There Any Maintenance Issues?

If you’re planning on putting in an offer right away, it’s imperative to take a look around at any maintenance issues that jump out. You may not be able to notice all of the things that might be in need of fixing, but watch out for things like peeling paint, windows drafts and small fix-ups that haven’t been completed. This will give you a sense of what the overall home maintenance is like and may be a good sign of whether the home is a solid bet.

What Are You Willing To Pay?

Many people have an idea of what they want to spend, but it often flies out the window as soon as they see their dream home. It’s important, however, to keep in mind what kind of offer you want to put down and not stray too far from it. This will ensure that you pay a reasonable price for your home and won’t be stretching your monthly budget. It’s just important to be ready to negotiate!

What Do You Really Want?

It’s easy to get swept away by the excitement of investing in a home, but if you’re planning to buy you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for so you can avoid buyer’s remorse. Instead of making a split decision, write down a list of the things that you absolutely must have and the things you can do without. If you find a great place, you might be willing to let go of them in the moment, but review the list before making an offer to ensure it’s the right choice.

There are a lot of factors that go into buying a home, but if you’re prepared to purchase on the first visit it’s important to determine beforehand what you really want and the price you want to pay. If you’re currently searching for a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter Burglars

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 10th, 2017

3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter BurglarsWhether you’re going on an extended holiday or are just concerned about security in your neighborhood, you might be curious about the best ways to pursue safety in your home. If you’re wondering how you can successfully stave off theft without a high price tag, here are some tips for protecting your property.

Keep It Clean

It’s often said that one of the first things a burglar will look for when it comes to a prize home is an unkempt property. Fortunately for you, this means that keeping your property clean and tidy is a great way to prevent your home from being targeted. While everything doesn’t need to be spic and span, it’s a good idea to ensure that the lawn is mowed, the trees are well maintained and no tools or toys are hanging out on your yard for days on end. It might seem inconvenient, but it has the double-convenience of keeping your property clean and preventing crime!

Install Motion Activated Lights

It might have seemed like a good trick a few years ago to leave on the lights in the hope of scaring away burglars, but with more sophisticated technology comes more sophisticated methods. While you may want to use timers for your lights so they can go off randomly and give the illusion of you being at home, you may also want to spring for motion-activated lights. There is no 100% guard against crime, but motion-activated lights can work to scare off someone who’s up to no good and illuminate your property for observant neighbors.

Secure Doors and Windows

Locking your doors and closing your windows might seem like the most apparent of security tips, but it actually goes a long way in deterring crime. Burglars are often looking for the easiest target and that means that an unlocked door or a slightly ajar window can go a long way in convincing them of a prospect. Instead of risking it, ensure that your doors are locked and all windows are secured before leaving your home. You may also want to use extra reinforcements if you have sliding windows or French doors.

Protecting your home may seem like it comes at a high premium, but there are very simple and economical ways to keep your home secure. If you’re currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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Living With a Small Green Space: How to Make the Most of a Smaller, Intimate Yard

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 9th, 2017

Living With a Small Green Space: How to Make the Most of a Smaller, Intimate YardIt’s great to have a yard in this day and age, but so many new developments in the city have limited green space for you to let your imagination run wild. If you’re wondering what you can do with your patch of green space or small yard, here are a few options for making it aesthetically appealing and still maximizing its potential.

Pick A Centerpiece

In order to stretch the look of your green space, try adding a centerpiece or focal point that will draw the eye and instantly improve your yard’s appeal. Whether you decide on a planter, a birdbath or an awning covered in vines, a unique piece will work to distract from the limitations imposed by your yard. A centerpiece may do nothing to expand your garden space, but by changing the way you view it, it will make all the difference in how you feel about it.

Make It Match

Your garden or back green space is going to look a whole lot smaller if it’s eclectic style diverges greatly from your home, so keep the two aligned. If there’s a selection of colors and style you use in the room that faces your yard, use them outdoors! It’s also important to make it something you’ll really use. As landscape architect Amber Freda of Amber Freda Home & Garden Design says, “A plain dining table with wooden chairs won’t entice you to use it very much, but really comfortable lounge seating will.”

Keep It Clean

It’s a well-known fact that clutter in any enclosed space will instantly make it look smaller, and it’s no different when it comes to your yard. Instead of jamming an excessive amount of stuff into your small space, keep it simple and decide exactly what you want to get out of the area, whether it’s a vegetable garden or a comfortable place to sit. In keeping with clutter free, you’ll also want to make sure you keep any invasive or aggressive plants from making themselves too comfortable!

It may seem limiting to have an undersized green space, but by deciding what you want to get out of it and creating a central point of interest, you’ll be well on your way to a comfortable place. If you’re currently fixing up your home in the hopes of putting it up for sale, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

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