Archive for October, 2019

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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When’s The Best Time To Buy A House?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 25th, 2019

When's The Best Time To Buy A HouseIf you happen to want to move to a hot market for home sellers, here is some advice. Go looking for a home to buy when it is freezing outside or the weather is otherwise severe. Buying a home is both about finding one you like and beating out others if the market has buying competition. 

Days On Market

To find out the competition for a particular market, check the median number of days that a home is listed on the market before it sells. This is called the “days on market.”

In a hot seller’s market, the median number of listing days may be very low. The national average days on market (DOM) is 62 days in America.

The top ten cities where homes sell the fastest with the lowest DOM as reported by Realtor.com® are:

  1. San Francisco, CA – DOM 28
  2. Spokane, WA – DOM 31
  3. Boston, MA – DOM 32
  4. Colorado Springs, CO – DOM 32
  5. Lafayette, IN – DOM 34
  6. Columbus, OH – DOM 34
  7. Sacramento, CA – DOM 34
  8. Santa Cruz, CA – DOM 34
  9. Midland, TX – DOM 36
  10. Odessa, TX – DOM 36

Time Of Year

Most homebuyers look for a home during spring and summer. That is when the buying competition is normally stronger. June is the worst month to buy a home if you want to get a discount.

If you can wait until fall or winter, you may see more price reductions. The best time to make a low offer may be during the short window of time between Christmas and New Year’s when virtually no one is looking to buy a home.

Use bad weather for an advantage. Go looking for a home in the dead of winter, when the roads are barely passable, and you may be the only buyer interested. Another advantage that comes from viewing a home during severe weather is that you get to see how much trouble the weather will be if you own it. 

Tax Time

One very successful real estate investor buys homes right before tax time because that is when sellers are worried about paying taxes and might be more flexible on the price.

Estate Sales

It is possible to get a nice deal on a house when a family is liquidating assets.

Divorce

A seller may be motivated by having to sell a house as part of a divorce settlement.

Summary

The main factors, if you want to get a discounted price for buying a home, are not to be in a rush to buy one and take your time finding a home that is for sale by a motivated seller. Always ask, “Why are you selling your home?” when negotiating with a seller.

And as always, ask your trusted real estate professional for advice to negotiate the best deals in your local marketplace!

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What To Know About Specialty Mortgages

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 24th, 2019

What To Know About Specialty MortgagesRecent medical school graduates, saddled by high student loan debt, sometimes have a hard time qualifying for a first mortgage. Now, however, a growing number of lenders will consider future earnings potential of high earners in the medical profession as a way to offset high debt ratios. But specialty mortgages for young physicians aren’t the only unique loans available today.

Nationwide, there are a number of unique programs designed to help first-time buyers qualify for a mortgage loan. While some target specific professions, others are open to a wider range of applicants. They are definitely worth exploring if you’re interested in buying a home, but are not able to qualify for a standard home loan.

Here are some of the better known, widely-available options:

Good Neighbor Next Door

A HUD-sponsored program, this not-so-well-known option is available to firefighters and law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and teachers. The loans provide a discount of up to 50 percent of the asking price in select zones in the country known as revitalization areas. One stipulation is that the borrower must agree to live in the home for at least three years.

VA Loans — Zero Down

For anyone who has served in the military, and certain authorized civilian employees of the government, the zero down VA loan is one of the best specialty mortgages available.

Home Path

Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac programs offered to low and moderate-income families also provide guidance and home-ownership information that can be invaluable for first-time borrowers. The education programs are specifically designed to address the common misconceptions about buying as well as providing education about property maintenance and financial responsibility.

Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM)

This specialty mortgage allows homebuyers to add green features to a home without making a larger down payment or paying a higher interest rate. The cost of energy-efficient improvements is simply rolled into the primary FHA or VA mortgage. It can be a cost-effective, simple way to add desirable improvements as well as value to a home.

FHA Rehabilitation Program

If a fixer-upper seems like the way to go for your specific situation, the FHA 203(k) program offers a loan option that might be a good fit. Basically, this mortgage is based on the value of the home after improvements are completed, and carries a down payment requirement as low as three percent. The funds needed for rehabilitation are included in the primary loan.

Native American Direct Loan

Essentially a VA loan for Native American veterans, this mortgage program is for homes on federal trust lands; it is a zero down 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a low interest rate.

State And Municipal Programs

Many states and cities have grants or specialty programs available. It is always worth checking with local jurisdictions to what is offered that you might qualify for.

Interest Only Or Extended Term

Two other types of mortgage that are available to serve special needs borrowers are interest only loans and mortgages with terms up to 40 years.

Be sure to ask your mortgage broker or lender for specifics about which financing option may be best for you.

With your financing pre-approved, you are now ready to contact your trusted real estate professional to help you find your new home.

 

 

 

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What Exactly Is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 23rd, 2019

What Exactly Is Private Mortgage InsurancePMI, which is also called private mortgage insurance, is protect that the lender may ask the buyer to purchase. In the event that the buyer defaults on their home loan and the home enters foreclosure, the lender has a way to recoup their losses.

While the lender may not ask everyone to purchase PMI, there are some situations where the lender may ask the buyer to purchase this insurance policy to qualify for the loan.

Every lender is a little bit different; however, there are some trends throughout the industry. Most lenders ask the buyer to place a down payment of about 20 percent of the total price of the house. If the buyer is not able to put at least 20 percent down on a home, the loan is riskier for the lender. In this case, the lender may ask the buyer to purchase a PMI policy.

The Structure Of A PMI Payment

Typically, the PMI policy is paid in a monthly manner. It is included as a part of the total mortgage payment as the buyer pays the loan back to their lender. The positive news is that the buyer typically does not have to pay PMI for the life of the loan. Once the equity in the home reaches about 22 percent, the lender typically terminates PMI. 

In some situations, the buyer may be able to contact the lender and ask for PMI termination at an earlier date. Some people can negotiate this percentage or time period in advance of taking out the loan.

The Cost Of Private Mortgage Insurance

In general, the cost of a PMI policy is dependent on the value of the mortgage loan. It typically runs somewhere between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of the total value of the mortgage loan. Therefore, this can raise the monthly mortgage payment by a significant amount.

For example, if someone receives a $300,000 loan from the bank with a PMI policy of 1 percent, the buyer will have to pay an extra $3,000 per year as part of their mortgage payment. This is an extra $250 per month on their total payment. For some people, this additional cost might make their dream house unaffordable. 

Therefore, whenever possible, buyers should try to work with their trusted professional mortgage lender and look at options to avoid purchasing PMI. Every lender is a little bit different when it comes to private mortgage insurance.

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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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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