Home Expenses Include Far More Than Just the Down payment

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 1st, 2020

Home Expenses Include Far More Than Just the Down paymentIf you are thinking about purchasing your first home in the near future, then you need to be aware of the costs that you are going to take on. When you are looking at the cost of a home, it is very tempting to focus on the sticker price of the home. Even though the down payment is going to be the largest check you are going to write, this is not the only cost that you are going to pay.

There are numerous other costs for which you need to budget as well. By thinking about all of these costs ahead of time, you can make a smart financial decision for you and your family.

Think About The Real Estate Taxes

Depending on the part of the country in which you live, real estate taxes can be significant. For example, it is not unusual for even a modest home to cost thousands of dollars in real estate taxes per year. Therefore, even though you have budgeted for your monthly mortgage payment, make sure that you have budgeted for real estate taxes as well. Usually, your mortgage lender is going to hold your real estate taxes in escrow for you so you don’t end up having to write a large check at the end of the year.

Homeowners’ Insurance And Utility Costs

In addition, you also need to think about homeowners’ insurance and utility costs. Some of the utilities that you have to pay for include internet, phone, cable, gas, electricity, and water. When this is added to your homeowners’ insurance expenses, this can also add up to several hundred dollars per month. Therefore, make sure that you can afford not only the mortgage payment but these recurring monthly expenses as well.

Budget For Your First Home Accordingly

Some of the other expenses that you might have to incur when it comes to your first home include maintenance and repair bills. Therefore, you should make sure that you sit down with an experienced planner and ensure that you can afford the combined expenses. Otherwise, you might end up being priced out of your first home before you realize it.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 30, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 30th, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 30, 2020

Last week’s economic reporting included readings on Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, new home sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released. No readings were released on Thursday or Friday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Case-Shiller Reports Highest Pace Of Home Price Growth Since 2014

Case-Shiller reported higher home price growth in September with national home price growth of 7.00 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. August’s national home price growth pace was 5.80 percent. Housing markets in many areas are seeing increased activity due to higher demand for homes.

While higher home prices appear counter-intuitive during the pandemic and related economic challenges, the coronavirus pandemic has created more demand for homes as buyers move from congested urban metro areas to less populated areas. Buyers continued seeking larger homes as working from home and remote learning increased.

Phoenix, Arizona, Seattle, Washington and, San Diego, California maintained the top three ratings for home price growth in the 20-City Home Price Index. New York, New York, and Dallas,  Texas reported the lowest rates of home price growth due to large numbers of Covid-19 cases reported earlier this year.

In related news, the Commerce Department reported 999,000 sales of new homes on an annual basis in October. The year-over-year gain was 41.50 percent higher than one year ago.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported no change in average rates for fixed-rate mortgages, which averaged 2.72 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 2.28 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. and an increase of 0.31 basis points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages, which averaged 3.16 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 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 0.30 percent.

Initial jobless claims rose last week with 778,000 first-time claims filed. Analysts expected 720,000 claims based on the prior week’s reading of 748,000 initial jobless claims filed. Ongoing claims fell to 6.07 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 6.37 million continuing jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan reported a lower reading for consumer sentiment in November with an index reading of 76.9. Analysts expected a reading of 76.8 and the prior month’s reading was 77.0. Rising numbers of Covid-19 cases will likely cause further declines in consumer sentiment.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on pending home sales, construction spending, and labor-sector reports on public and private sector jobs and the national unemployment rate.

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Improve Your Curb Appeal This Winter

Posted in Home Selling Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 27th, 2020

Improve Your Curb Appeal This WinterAfter all of the excitement of the holidays, the sparkle of the lights and the overstimulation of decorations, the rest of winter can seem lackluster. Don’t let your home add to the dreariness of the season.

Spruce up your curb appeal with the tips below and inspire your neighbors to create well-groomed street that will make driver’s passing through smile.

Tend The Plants

If you’re currently located in a winter wonderland, then dig up any dead plants that won’t grow back. Replace them with cold-loving flowers, such as snowberry or lambs ear.

In warmer climates, this is the time for any landscaping changes you’d like to make. It will give your plants a chance to flourish by spring and have solid roots before the harsh heat of summer.

Light The Way

With daylight hours dwindling, well-placed outdoor lighting will help highlight your home’s best features in the evening.

Not only do they make your home look warm and cozy, but they also provide much-needed walkway lighting so that your guests arrive safely.

For a festive New Year’s sparkle, wrap white lights around the porch and in the trees.

Create A Custom Mailbox

Reclaim a vintage mailbox or get creative with paint to let the neighborhood know your family’s favorite sports team. A personalized letterbox says a lot about your household, so make it something special that doesn’t look like every other box on the street.

Also, visitors trying to find your home always appreciate large, easy-to-read address numbers visible from both directions.

Place Pots Strategically

Create focal points with terra cotta or colorful pots. Place them around your door to make a cozy entrance. Use evergreens and holly to give the curb appeal of your home a wintry feeling or brighten up a dark doorstep with cheerful pansies.

Paint Your Front Door

Perk up your curb appeal when the weather is dreary by painting your front door in a color that packs a punch. Try a vibrant red, bright blue or sage green. These colors will make your home feel warm and cheerful. However, don’t apply paint if the weather is below 40 degrees, because it will dry brittle and crack.

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How Can I Price My Home To Sell More Quickly?

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 25th, 2020

How Can I Price My Home To Sell More Quickly?If you are thinking about selling your home, then you want to make sure that you get as much money for your home as possible. Therefore, there is a solid chance that you are thinking about all of the places that you watched your kids grow up, the numerous parties that you hosted, and the countless holidays that you celebrated. To you, those memories are priceless.

Therefore, you should put these factors aside when you are selling your home. You aren’t selling your memories. Instead, you are trying to sell a home. If you want your home to sell quickly, there are a few tips that you should follow.

Do Not Price Your Home High Immediately

You probably think that your house is wonderful. After all, that is why you decided to move in all those years ago. The problem is that if you price your home too high at the beginning, then it might sit on the market for a long time. The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it is going to be to sell. Therefore, do not miss that window of opportunity. Instead, try to price your home to sell. Generate plenty of interest in your home so that you receive multiple offers. That is how you can get the most money possible for your home while still selling it quickly.

Don’t Assume Recent Renovations Are Going To Provide You With A Higher Price

If you have watched a lot of TV shows, then you might assume that renovations are going to drive up the listing price. This is not necessarily the case. You need to assess the market value of the renovations that you completed in the context of your home. That way, you can make sure that you recoup as much money as possible.

Price Your Home To Sell

These are just a few of the most important tips that you need to keep in mind if you want to make sure that you price your home to sell. If you want your home to sell quickly, then you need to ensure that you get plenty of interest in it. Pricing your home to sell will help to make this happen.

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How Much Income Should People Spend On A Mortgage?

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 24th, 2020

How Much Income Should People Spend On A Mortgage?When people are looking for a home, this is an exciting process. There is always something fun about looking at potential homes and envisioning a future there. This is a big decision. At the same time, it is just as important for people to think about how much of their money they should be spending on their mortgage. There are a few rules of thumb that people should keep in mind. 

The 28 Percent Rule

One of the most common rules that financial advisors and lenders are going to talk about is going to be the 28 percent rule. This rule states that people should not be spending any more than 28 percent of their pre-tax income on their monthly housing payments. This includes not only the mortgage but also any potential homeowners association fees, real estate taxes, and home insurance payments. Once people figure out how much they can afford on their monthly mortgage payment, they can work backward to see how large of a house they can afford. 

The 36 Percent Rule

The other rule that homebuyers are going to hear is the 36 percent rule. This is a rule that pertains to all debt. Therefore, this rule includes not only the monthly mortgage payments but also any car payments, credit card payments, utilities, and student loans. In general, no more than 36 percent of someone’s pre-tax income should be going toward debt. This is very important for taking out a home loan because it is going to impact someone’s debt to income ratio. If the debt to income ratio is too high, then potential homeowners are going to have a hard time getting a great deal on a mortgage. Furthermore, they could even be denied completely. 

Find The Right House

For those who are looking for a home, this is an exciting time. At the same time, it can also be hard to find the right home when people don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. When potential homeowners understand what their budget is, this process gets much easier. Therefore, everyone needs to think about how big of a monthly mortgage payment they can afford. This will help them make the right decision.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 23, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 23rd, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - November 23, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on housing market conditions, sales of previously owned homes, and housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Homebuilder Confidence Hits Record High in November

The National Association of Home Builders reported a fourth consecutive record high for builder confidence as November’s index reading of 90 exceeded October’s reading of 80. Any reading over 50 indicates that most home builders are confident about housing markets.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index also rose. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose six points to 96. Builder confidence in housing market conditions within the next six months rose one point to 89 and builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments increased by three points to an index reading of 77. Readings of 50 or more for buyer traffic were rare until recent months. Factors driving builder confidence include high demand for homes and record low mortgage rates. High demand for single-family homes is rising due to relocation to suburbs and increased demand for larger homes.

Housing Starts Increase as Building Permits Issued Hold Steady

Commerce Department readings for October show that housing starts rose to 1.530 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a pace of 1.490 million housing starts based on 1.459 million starts reported in September. 1.545 million building permits were issued in October, which matched September’s reading.

Mortgage Rates Hit Another Record Low; Jobless Claims Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported new record low mortgage rates for the fourth consecutive week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 12 basis points lower at 2.72 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.28  percent and were six basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped by 26 basis points to 2.85 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

First-time jobless claims rose to 742,000 claims filed; analysts expected 710,000 claims filed based on the prior week’s reading of 711,000 initial jobless claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims fell to 6.37 million claims filed as compared to 680,000 continuing jobless claims filed in the prior week.

October sales of previously-owned homes rose to 6.85 million sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to September’s reading of 6.80 million sales of previously-owned homes.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller Indices on home prices; new home sales will also be released along with the University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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First Time Buyers: Understanding How Property Taxes Work and What You Can Expect to Pay

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 20th, 2020

First Time Buyers: Understanding How Property Taxes Work and What You Can Expect to PayAre you about to buy a house or condo for the first time? Congratulations! Owning your own piece of real estate is a liberating experience and one that will provide you with the foundation to build your personal wealth and equity. Once you own your own home you’ll be responsible for a variety of new costs, including property taxes which are assessed by your local government to pay for municipal services. In this blog post we’ll share how property taxes work and what you can expect to pay when you buy your new home.

It All Begins with a Local Property Tax Assessment

As mentioned above, local governments assess property taxes as a means for paying for police officers, fire fighting services, road maintenance and the other various costs that come with running a town or city. Whether you’re buying a house, a townhouse or a condo, the property that your home sits on is inside of an area known as an “assessment area”. When the local government determines what your local tax levy or tax rate will be, they will assess your home based on the real estate market value of similar homes in the area. You can multiply your tax rate by the assessed value of your home to determine how much you’ll owe in property tax.

Property Taxes as Part of Your Closing Costs

When you close on your new home you’ll have to pay property taxes, and your real estate agent will help you to understand how much these taxes will be and how they will be paid. In most cities and counties you’ll pay a pro-rated amount of property tax that covers the time span from the date you purchase the home until the end of the year, after which time you’ll be paying your full assessed rate.

Don’t Forget Your Overall Tax Picture

Finally, don’t forget that property taxes can be factored in to the rest of your overall tax picture. Check with your accountant or another financial professional to determine whether or not you can write your property taxes off against your income tax to save some additional money. There are numerous tax benefits to owning a home, so it’s best to start using them from day one.

As with all other taxes, property taxes are a fact of life that every homeowner faces. When you’re ready to buy a new home and to learn more about how property taxes will affect your purchase, contact your local real estate agent today.

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The Ultimate Payoff: Getting Debt Free Before Retirement

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 19th, 2020

The Ultimate Payoff: Getting Debt Free Before Retirement

For many people, reaching retirement is something to look forward to. At the same time, too many people still have a lot of debt by the time they retire. In order for people to really take advantage of everything that retirement has to offer, they should try to find a way to pay off all of their debt before they retire. In order to make sure this happens, there are a few tips that everyone has to keep in mind.

Try To Keep Housing Costs Low

First, it is important for everyone to try to keep their housing costs as low as possible. Housing is one of the major sources of debt that people have when they retire. This could come in the form of a mortgage that has been stretched out for a longer period of time in order to send kids to college.

At the same time, as people start to approach retirement, they should try to attack this debt as much as possible. Remember that cash is king. Paying off a mortgage before retirement can really help people improve their quality of life on the other side of retirement.

Pay Down Credit Card Debt

Ideally, individuals are able to pay their credit card bills in full every month. Yes, it is great to take out credit cards because of the rewards that they provide and the positive credit history this can create. At the same time, if individuals end up carrying a lot of credit card debt, this can end up hurting them in the long run. In addition to damaging someone’s credit score, this can also take money away from retirement. Therefore, it is important for everyone to try to pay down their credit card debt as quickly as possible. That way, they do not have to worry about this when they retire and have more money they can spend every month.

Get Ready To Retire Debt Free

By following these tips, everyone is able to enjoy their retirement just a little bit more. By trying to find ways to retire without any debt, everyone is able to set themselves up for success. That way, they will be ready to take advantage of everything that retirement has to offer.

 

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NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder Confidence

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 18th, 2020

NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder ConfidenceBuilder confidence in housing market conditions reached a new record high in November according to the National Association of Home Builders. November’s index reading of 90 was five points higher than in October. Index readings over 50 indicate positive builder sentiment toward market conditions. Readings for the Housing Market Index fell below 50 in April and May as the COVID-19 pandemic grew.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index rose six points to 96 for current housing market conditions and one point to 89 for builder confidence in home sales in the next six months. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments rose three points to 77. Readings for buyer traffic typically didn’t exceed 50 until recently. High demand for homes is associated with record-low mortgage rates and changing priorities created by the pandemic.

While demand for homes usually slows in the colder months, the pandemic has caused families to re-evaluate their housing needs as more people work from home and children attend school online or are homeschooled. Larger homes cost more, which contributes to home sellers moving to suburban or rural areas to accommodate the additional expenses of buying and maintaining larger homes.

Regional Housing Market Conditions Mixed in November

The NAHB reported gains in builder confidence in three of four regions. The Midwest led with a nine-point increase in builder confidence. The South and West also showed rising builder confidence, but builders in the Northeast reported a five-point drop in builder confidence.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the NAHB said, “In the short run, the shift of housing demand to lower density markets such as suburbs and exurbs along with ongoing low resale inventory levels is supporting demand for home building.”  Rising demand for homes as compared to low numbers of pre-owned homes available is creating additional demand for new homes. 

Analysts said that the demand for new homes will last for quarters or years as it will take time for builders to catch up with the unusually high demand for single-family homes.

A seasonal slow-down in home sales coupled with a new and severe wave of COVID-19 cases may cause challenges for home builders in the coming months, but the current demand for homes could rise if city-dwellers continue to move to less congested areas. Recent positive news about COVID-19 vaccines could impact flight from cities to suburbs, but government approval, manufacture, and distribution of vaccines can’t happen immediately.

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What To Watch Out For When Buying A Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 17th, 2020

What To Watch Out For When Buying A HomeBuying a new home is an exciting experience.  At the same time, it is also important for everyone to think about a few important topics that have to be discussed before they place an offer on a home. That way, everyone can rest easy, knowing they have done their due diligence when it comes to purchasing a new home.

Do Not Neglect The Noise Level Of The Neighborhood

One of the most commonly overlooked topics when it comes to buying a house is the noise level of the neighborhood. Some noise from the outside world is to be expected, particularly for those who move into a busy neighborhood. During a tour of the potential home, it is a good idea to ask realtors to lower the level of background noise. That way, people can get a good feel for what the potential neighborhood noise level might be like. 

Always Ask About The Age Of The Roof

One of the easiest facets of a house to overlook is the roof. At the same time, the roof is also one of the biggest parts of the home. Therefore, it is a good idea for everyone to make sure they do a thorough inspection of the roof. They should look for damages both from the outside as well as inside. Ask about the age of the roof as well. Be sure to check for damaged shingles.

Ask About The Age Of The HVAC System

Another topic that has to be discussed is the HVAC system. In general, people should expect to get between 15 and 20 years of life out of their HVAC system. If the HVAC system in the home is getting close to the point of replacement, then it might be a good idea to ask for a price reduction because the new homeowner is going to have to replace the HVAC system in the near future.

Perform Due Diligence Before Buying A Home

These are a few of the most important points that people have to follow when they are buying a new home. Asking about these issues ahead of time can prevent homeowners from being surprised down the road.

 

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