Archive for October, 2020

What’s Your Home’s Real Value?

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 30th, 2020

What's Your Home's Real Value?As a society, it seems like we’ve gotten away from appreciating our homes for their emotional and sentimental worth. Instead, we focus solely on their monetary value. 

An Appraiser Can Estimate A Home’s Monetary Value, But To Gain A True Concept Of Your Home’s Worth, You Must Also Take Into Consideration:

  1. Pride Of Ownership. You don’t buy a pair of Prada shoes because you’re going to be able to resell them and make a profit. You buy them because they make you look good and feel good.
  2. Security And Stability.Your home provides a roof over your head that’s in your control. You can decorate it how you want. You don’t have to worry about a landlord selling the property or asking you to move out. In the “olden days” (or should I say “golden days”), we called our homes our castles because, as owners, we felt like the kings and queens of our homes. You can still feel that way! Claim your castle and crown yourself king or queen today.
  3. A Safe Haven.After a tough day at work or a day of disappointments, where’s the first place you think of going?  Home! As Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.”
  4. A Place To Make Memories.  Your son’s tree house and daughter’s playhouse. The markings on the wall that tracked your children’s growth. The porch swing where you start and end every anniversary celebration.    
  5. A Neighborhood Full Of Friends. In the event of an emergency, your neighbors are your first line of defense. They’re also the simplest, best and least expensive form of security. Additionally, they may have the exact tool you need for a project; the extra pair of hands you need to complete a project or children to become playmates with yours. Neighbors also give you that much needed in-person, up-close social network.

Even if your home’s economic value has dropped, you continue to benefit from its emotional values of community, stability, security and success.

Thinking of buying a home? I can help you evaluate the emotional and monetary worth of homes and find a home that fits your values and lifestyle. Give your trusted real estate professional a call today.

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The Top House Appraisal Tips For Home Buyers And Sellers

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 29th, 2020

There are a lot of steps that come with buying or selling a home. One of the routine steps that have to be accomplished is called a home appraisal. When it comes to a home appraisal, this is something that can cause both buyers and sellers to pause for a second. For those who might not know, a house appraisal is where a trained professional will take a look at the fair market value of the home. It is important to understand what happens when a home appraisal is conducted. 

Compare The Home To Similar Properties

When a home appraisal is conducted, its value is usually compared to homes in the area that are similar. The value of a home is always determined by what similar homes in the area have sold for recently. This is what the lender is going to look for. For example, if someone is selling a condo, and the value of that condo is going to be compared to other condos in the building that have sold recently. Even though there might not be identical houses in the area, the same process is going to happen for free-standing homes. 

Make Improvements To The Home

For those who are going to be selling their home in the near future, one of the easiest ways to drive up the value of the home is to make improvements. If the countertops, floors, or cabinets have not been updated recently, then performing these updates can drive up the value of a home. In some cases, homeowners might be able to get a bigger increase in the value of their home than the amount of money they spent on the improvements. 

Get A Second Appraisal

In some cases, home buyers might not like the appraisal that came in on the home. In this case, they might be able to challenge this first appraisal by getting a second appraisal. Even though this might cost a bit of money, if the home comes back at a significantly reduced cost, then there might be opportunities for the buyer to renegotiate the price of the home. Everyone wants to make sure they are getting a fair deal when a home changes hands.

 

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Case-Shiller Reports Fastest Home Price Growth in Two Years

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 28th, 2020

Case-Shiller Reports Fastest Home Price Growth in Two YearsHome prices rose at their fastest rate in two years according to Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The National Home Price Index for August showed 5.70 percent home price growth year-over-year as compared to 4.80 percent growth reported in July.

The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index showed that home prices rose to a 5.70 percent year-over-year pace from July’s growth rate of 4.10 percent. Phoenix, Arizona held the top home price growth rate for the 15th consecutive month with year-over-year home price growth of 9.90 percent. Seattle, Washington held second place with 8.50 percent growth in home prices. San Diego, California took third place with 7.60 percent year-over-year home price growth.

According to the 20-City Home Price Index, 19 of 20 cities reported growth in home prices. Detroit, MI has not reported home price information in recent months. Analysts said that low mortgage rates, short supplies of available homes, and changing consumer preferences drove home prices higher. The COVID pandemic caused homeowners and buyers to change preferences for home location, square footage, and amenities as working from home, school closures, and avoiding crowded urban areas adjusted family priorities.

Craig Lazzara, global head of index investment strategies for S&P Dow Jones Indices, said “If future reports continue in this vein,[positive index readings], we may be able to conclude that the COVID-related deceleration is far behind us.” It’s also possible that seasonal weather conditions and resurging COVID cases could slow home sales and home price growth.

Federal Housing Finance AgencyReports Highest Home Price Growth Rate Since 2006

August readings reported by FHFA also showed higher home prices. The agency, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported year-over-year home price growth of 1.50 percent from July to August; home prices for homes mortgaged or owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose by eight percent annually. 

FHFA home price data is tracked nationally by census divisions, states, and metro areas. Information is also available by county and zip code.

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Junk Drawer Organization Ideas That Will Help You Avoid Stress

Posted in Organization Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 27th, 2020

Junk Drawer Organization Ideas That Will Help You Avoid StressAt home, everyone has something they wish was just a little bit cleaner. For many people, this is the junk drawer. The kitchen drawer is crammed with who knows what simply has to get better organized.

This could include loose batteries, old cellphones, and even matchbooks from restaurants back when that was still a thing! The good news is that there are ways to clean up this junk drawer and turn all of that chaos around!

Rename The Junk Drawer

First, it is important to rename the junk drawer. If the junk drawer is called a junk drawer, then it is going to take on the personality of a junk drawer. Instead, call it something else. If the drawer has a name, then it isn’t going to get so disorganized. This will also help people remember what is supposed to go in the drawer.

Start With A Fresh Drawer

Yes, this means that the drawer has to get dumped out. Take everything that is in there, throw it on the floor (or the countertop) and see what is in the drawer. Then, figure out what has to be thrown away. This will help reduce the pile right off the bat. After this, see if there is anything in the drawer that can be placed somewhere else. Finally, all that should be left is what belongs in the drawer.

Make The Junk Drawer Pretty With Organizers And Nice Decor

Finally, think about ways to make the junk drawer appear more attractive! This could involve smooth little containers, dividers, or something else entirely! Think about using tools that can help divide the drawer into smaller compartments. This could help everyone keep the items organized. Once this is done, the drawer should have an entirely new appearance that will make the items easier to track.

Reorganize The Junk Drawer Following These Tips

These are a few of the top tips that everyone can follow to make their junk drawer just a little bit more organized. By putting these tips to use, everyone can find a way to make their house a bit cleaner. This can lead to a much less stressful living experience for everyone at home.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 26, 2020

Posted in Financial Fraud by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 26th, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 26, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Data on sales of previously-owned homes were also released. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB Housing Market Index Rises in October

The National Association of Home Builders reported an index reading of 85 for their Housing Market Index in October. This was the third consecutive month the HMI had a record reading and was the second consecutive month the index achieved readings over 80. Readings over 50 indicate that most home builders are confident about housing market conditions.

Component readings of the Housing Market Index also rose in October. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose two points to 90. Builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months rose three points to an index reading of 88, and builder confidence in buyer traffic in single-family housing developments was unchanged at an index reading of 74. Until recently, buyer traffic readings typically remained below 50.

Regional confidence readings were mixed; builder confidence in the Northeast rose by seven points to an index reading of 88. Builder confidence also rose by seven points in the West but was one point lower in the Midwest with a reading of 77. Builder confidence was two points lower in the South with an index reading of 83.

Commerce Department Reports Increases in Housing Starts and Building Permits

Housing starts and building permits issued rose in September; housing starts rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.415 million starts. Analysts expected a reading of 1.45 million housing starts based on August’s reading of 1.388 million new single-family homes started.

Building permits issued also rose in September with 1.553 million permits issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis and exceeded August’s reading of 1.476 million permits issued and 1.518 million permits expected.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by two basis point s to 2.80 percent; mortgage rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.33 percent and were two basis points lower. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by three basis points to 2.87 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 787,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 842,000 new claims filed. Last week’s reading for all initial claims filed fell below 800,000 claims for the first time since the pandemic started. Ongoing jobless claims also fell last week with 8.37 million continuing claims filed as compared to 9.40 million continuing jobless claims filed in the prior week.

Sales of previously-owned homes rose in September at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million sales. Analysts expected 6.36 million sales based on August’s reading of 5.98 million sales. Low mortgage rates and demand for homes continued to boost home sales.

What’s Ahead

Readings on new and pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, and consumer sentiment will be released this week. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.

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Stay Organized Under The Kitchen Sink

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 23rd, 2020

Stay Organized Under The Kitchen SinkKitchen space is a valuable commodity. If you feel stretched for storage space, you could throw away all the flatware your mother-in-law gave you, or you could keep the flatware and learn to use the space you have – more efficiently.

The number one most likely spot to find extra storage space is right under your kitchen sink. Organize your under sink area and it will free up space all over your kitchen.

Clean It Up

The cabinet below the sink has a nasty reputation. It’s home to rusty pipes, water stains, and dead ladybugs. First thing is first – clean it up. If it still looks a little dingy, give it a fresh coat of white paint. That will lighten things up. You can also get a simple cloth mat to lie down. You can find one for less than five bucks.

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

You can find a home for just about anything under the kitchen sink. It’s a good spot for pots and pans, cleaning supplies, a trash can, or dog food. (Maybe not all of those things together – yuck.)

No matter what you decide to store in this wonderful space, it will be easier to access with the help of a rolling organization shelf.

With one of these bad boys, you won’t have to stick your head in the cabinet to find the right tool. You can find some that are made specifically for this space. Be careful though. They can get a bit pricy.

Get Hooked

The key to saving space is to build vertically. Buy some plastic hooks, and hang things under the kitchen sink. It’s a great way to store things like dishwashing gloves or dishrags. One clever trick is to secure a narrow dowel rod across the opening of the cabinet. Then you can hang any cleaning sprays across the rod. They come with a built in hook – the spray trigger.

Top Shelf Storage

You can buy amazing under-sink shelving at home store. Many of them snap easily together like Legos, and you can build them around your sink’s pipes. If you fill the cabinet with shelving, then you’re more likely to keep things organized.

If you’re like me, then after a couple of weeks, you’ll let your organized cabinet go to pot. With shelves, hopefully you won’t end up just throwing everything underneath the sink.

If you’re feeling short on kitchen space, try reorganizing. It’s a lot cheaper than getting new cabinets, and you’ll be amazed by how much space you already have. The space under the sink is a whole world of storage possibilities. If you have wasted space under the kitchen sink, then use it!

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How Everyone Can Reduce Their Monthly Mortgage Payment

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 22nd, 2020

How Everyone Can Reduce Their Monthly Mortgage PaymentFor many people, their biggest monthly bill is their mortgage payment. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of people who are looking for ways to reduce their monthly mortgage payment. The positive news is that there are several ways to do so.

By putting some of these tips to use, everyone can find a way to pay less every month on their mortgage, helping them save money for other expenses such as a new car, college expenses, or that next vacation.

Shop Around Before Getting A Mortgage

For those who are still in the process of buying a home, it is a great idea to shop around and see what the options are. Even though there are rates advertised in the industry, it is always a smart idea to visit multiple potential lenders and see what they are offering. Then, with multiple offers in hand, it might be possible to leverage the offers against each other to see if they are willing to come down on their interest rates. This can help people reduce their monthly mortgage payment.

Put More Money Down

This is the most direct way that someone can lower their monthly mortgage payments. Even though this is a zero-sum game (taking more money out of the bank account and paying it sooner), this will directly reduce the monthly mortgage payment. Furthermore, this could get a lender to reduce the interest that he or she is charging, which could help homeowners save more money overall.

Refinance An Existing Mortgage To A Lower Rate

Finally, it is also possible for people to refinance an existing mortgage to a lower interest rate. This can help people who already have a mortgage save money by essentially replacing their old loan with a new one, accompanied by a lower monthly mortgage payment. Refinancing could also help people pay off their mortgage sooner.

Save Money On Monthly Mortgage Payments

These are a few of the top tips that everyone can follow to make sure they save money on their monthly mortgage payments. By shopping around, putting more money down, and refinancing an existing mortgage, everyone has the opportunity to save money on their monthly bills.

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Selling Your Home? Give Your Bathrooms a Facelift with These Three Quick Tips

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 21st, 2020

Selling Your Home? Give Your Bathrooms a Facelift with These Three Quick TipsAre you getting ready to sell your home? As soon as your listing goes live you’ll begin entertaining potential buyers who will be inspecting your home from top to bottom to ensure it meets their needs perfectly. Your bathrooms will be a key area of focus and you might be surprised to learn that the look and feel of these small rooms can make or break a sale.

In today’s blog post we’ll share three quick tips for renovating or upgrading your bathrooms to freshen up their look before potential buyers start viewing your home.

Clean Your Bathroom Out and Start Fresh

Before you begin, take a close look at your bathroom. Is there wallpaper on the walls? Are the sinks and faucets a bit dated and stained? Does the bathtub have a crack in it or is there some discoloration in the tiles or grout?

If your bathroom hasn’t been renovated in the past few years, there’s a good chance that the entire room needs a top-to-bottom overhaul. Clean all of the fixtures, materials, cabinets and even that dated flooring out and start from scratch.

Choose Your Color Palette Wisely

Before you begin you’ll want to have some sort of color palette in mind. Does the bathroom receive some sort of direct sunlight? Is there a skylight or a window in the room? Is there a color theme in other rooms in the house that you’ll need to match up with? Having some color ideas in mind will greatly assist with painting and adding shower curtains, mats, towels and more.

Don’t Skimp on Fixtures and Accessories

Remember that you’re selling the home and that you’re likely to recoup some or all of the costs of your bathroom renovations in the form of a bump in your selling price. Don’t buy cheap faucets or fixtures as buyers will be looking closely and they’ll want to ensure they’re buying a home that has quality building materials used throughout. If you’re going to upgrade your bathrooms, use materials that are high-quality but avoid anything too luxurious unless it fits with the rest of the decor.

Breathing some new life in to your bathrooms won’t break the bank, but it might just help secure your home sale. For more tips and strategies on how to ensure a quick and successful sale, contact your local real estate agent today.

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The Required Steps For a Smooth Mortgage Refinance Process

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 20th, 2020

The Required Steps For a Smooth Mortgage Refinance ProcessThere are lots of people who have heard that one of the top ways to ensure the best mortgage rate possible is to refinance. At the same time, it is critical to make sure that this process is planned out accordingly.

Therefore, there are a few steps that everyone has to follow to make sure they are able to handle the mortgage refinancing process in a smooth manner that leads to the best rate possible.

Ask If A Refinance Is The Right Step

There are a lot of people who assume that a mortgage refinance is a financial win; however, it is important to keep the added costs in mind. For example, the refinancing process is going to lead to another closing. When this happens, there are going to be closing costs that must be considered.

Therefore, the refinancing process could lead to a higher mortgage payment if the money saved on interest payments is not enough to offset these costs.

Check The Credit Score First

Many people get lured into the refinance process by looking at low mortgage interest rates and assuming they are going to qualify for them; however, this is not always the case. Only the people with the top credit scores are able to qualify for these low rates. Therefore, everyone needs to take a look at their credit score and make sure that their credit report has been cleaned up. This is the only way that people are going to be able to qualify for these low rates.

Talk To A Trained Professional

Finally, many people are going to be going through the refinance process for the first time. It is important to work with a trained professional who can walk everyone through this process, ensuring that they know what they are doing as the process unfolds. This can go a long way toward ensuring that everyone has a successful refinancing experience.

Go Through The Right Steps

Following these steps can maximize everyone’s chances of making sure they end up with a refinance that works for them. By planning out the process ahead of time, everyone can go through the steps they need to make sure that the refinancing process proceeds as smoothly as possible.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 19, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 19th, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 19, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on average mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Rate Slows as Retail Sales Increase

Inflation rose 0.20 percent in September, which was the slowest growth rate in four months. Analysts credited the rise in consumer prices to less post-pandemic price shock as consumers adjusted to higher prices for goods. Consumer prices were boosted by used vehicle prices, which increased at their highest pace in 51 years. Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and fuel sectors, also rose by 0.20 percent in September as compared to August’s reading of 0.40 percent.

The Commerce Department reported higher retail sales growth in September at a pace of 1.90 percent as compared to the expected reading of 1.20 percent and August’s reading of 0.60 percent growth in sales. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector grew by 1.50 percent in September and exceeded expected sales growth of 0.30 percent, and August’s retail sales growth of 0.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Fall to New Record Low, Jobless Claims Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported new record lows for average mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by six basis points to 2.81 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.35 percent and were two basis points lower. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.90 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 0.20 percent.

Last week’s jobless claims data showed mixed readings as initial jobless claims rose to 898,000 claims filed and surpassed the expected reading of 825,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 845,000 initial jobless claims filed.  10.02 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 11.18 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose in October with an index reading of 81.2; this surpassed the expected reading of 79.9 and September’s reading of 80.4. October’s higher index readings suggest that consumers are adjusting to new economic realities caused by the pandemic and revising their expectations accordingly. The upcoming holiday season’s data for retail sales and consumer sentiment will provide additional indications of how Americans are coping with and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the NAHB on U.S. housing markets Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Data on sales of previously-owned homes will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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