What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 7th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 7th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 7th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on construction spending, and labor reports on public and private sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Construction Spending Ticks Up in August

Commerce Department reporting on construction spending showed 0.10 percent growth in August as compared to a revised flat reading for July. Construction spending hit a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of  $1.29 trillion for August.  Analysts expected 0.40 percent growth, which was based on the original July reading of 0.10 percent growth.

Residential construction spending rose 0.90 percent in August ; public construction spending rose 0.40 percent for the month. Factors impacting residential construction spending include rising costs of building materials, winter weather conditions and mortgage rates

Mortgage Rates Little Changed; New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported mixed activity with mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose one basis points to an average of 3.65 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.14 percent and were two basis points lower.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 3.38 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.

First-time jobless claims rose to 219,000 claims filed and surpassed expectations of 218,000 new claims. 215,000 first-time claims were filed the prior week.

Jobs Growth Slows; National Unemployment Rate Drops

September jobs reports showed fewer jobs available for public and private sector employers. The federal government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 136,000 jobs added as compared to an expected reading of 150,000 jobs added and the previous month’s reading of 168,000 public and private sector jobs added.

ADP reported 135,000 private-sector jobs added in September as compared to 157,000 jobs added in August. The national unemployment rt rate dropped to 3.50 percent in September.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on job openings, minutes of the most recent FOMC meeting, and reports on inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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4 Cool Green Material Ideas For Your New Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 4th, 2019

4 Cool Green Material Ideas For Your New HomeIf climate change is foremost in your mind, you may be interested in reducing your new home’s carbon footprint. Choosing green materials is one way to promote sustainability and ensure you’re doing your part to help the planet.

Green Flooring 

Flooring takes up all the square feet throughout your home. If you can opt for green flooring that will do a lot to reduce your new home’s carbon footprint. Bamboo is a sustainable flooring option to consider. Bamboo grows at a rate that far outpaces any hardwood. For that reason, it’s become a popular choice for homeowners looking for green material options. Bamboo flooring now comes in a wide variety of colors, textures and styles. You’re sure to find something that matches with your style and décor.

Green Insulation

It’s now easier than ever to find green insulation options at just about any hardware stores. Green insulation is frequently made up of recycled fabric. The benefit above being sustainable is that there is no fiberglass to worry about getting into your skin or lungs. Green insulation is available in the same forms as some other kinds of insulation, including as a rolled up “blanket” that can be trimmed to match your insulation spaces.

Green Countertops

Countertops are often made of stone and granite, which may be considered green materials. However, the processing of such materials and the energy needed to transport them from the source to your home may not be so green. Consider investing in concrete countertops for your kitchen and bathroom. Concrete is a renewable and sustainable green material. Concrete countertops can be created in the same general location as your new home. They are mold and pest-resistant, fire resistant and offer a permanent countertop solution for those who are eco-conscious. 

Green Roofing

Green roofing is harder to find, but in most areas, eco-conscious homeowners still have plenty of options. One such option is to have a copper or metal roof. While copper and other metals do require a labor-intensive process to extract from the earth, they last far longer than traditional roofing materials. Your copper or metal roof could last for a lifetime or more, whereas traditional roofs typically only last a maximum of 20 years. 

These green material ideas for your new home will ensure that your home is leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible. For more green material ideas, contact your local contractor. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

 

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The Most Popular Cities For Relocating To Get A Better Deal On A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 3rd, 2019

Many people are looking to buy homes, not across the street, not somewhere else in town, but in other parts of the country. The motivator for this is that there are significant differences in the median prices for home sales in different parts of America. This is not a result of the places being undesirable.

Many of the places with excellent values in home prices are very desirable. In these nice cities, the lower prices are more about the local economy, the cost of living, and the availability of homes for sale.

Popular Cities For Relocation

The Most Popular Cities For Relocating To Get A Better Deal On A HomeA study done by REALTOR® identified the most popular cities that people search for when looking for a new home in another area that is different from where they currently live.

The median home price in America is $226,800.

Areavibes ranks American cities based on a livability score that considers many factors, which include the cost of living, crime, school, employment, and amenities. The livability score is a scale that goes up to 100.

Here are the top choices in the order of their popularity for searches and median home prices along with their livability score:

  1. Charleston, South Carolina – Median home price is $269,400. Livability score is 77.
  2. Boise, Idaho – Median home price is $191,000. Livability score is 80.
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii – Median home price is $601,500. Livability score is 73.
  4. Columbia, South Carolina – Median home price is $164,200. Livability score is 63.
  5. Fort Myers, Florida – Median home price is $160,800. Livability score is 70.
  6. Portland, Maine – Median home price is $248,000. Livability score is 66.
  7. Sarasota, Florida – Median home price is $109,500. Livability score is 74.
  8. Greenville, South Carolina – Median home price is $237,800. Livability score is 73.
  9. Tucson, Arizona – Median home price is $135,200. Livability score is 65.
  10. Las Vegas, Nevada – Median home price is $184,900. Livability score is 71.

Cost Of Living

The cost of living is a big factor that impacts the quality of life for the average person. The cost of living includes the cost of housing, groceries, transportation, health care, utilities, and other goods and services. The national standard for America’s cost of living is set at 100.

The cost of living index in each city is a number that is higher or lower than 100. Higher figures than 100 represent a percentage higher than the national average. Lower numbers than 100 are cities that cost less than other cities in America.

Here is the cost of living index for these popular cities:

  • Charleston, South Carolina – 115
  • Boise, Idaho – 96
  • Honolulu, Hawaii – 182
  • Columbia, South Carolina – 101
  • Fort Myers, Florida – 94
  • Portland, Maine – 114
  • Sarasota, Florida – 108
  • Greenville, South Carolina – 106
  • Tucson, Arizona – 92
  • Las Vegas, Nevada – 100

Conclusion

The lowest median price for a home is found in Sarasota, Florida. The city with the highest livability score is Boise, Idaho. The lowest cost of living is in Tucson, Arizona. These are all great cities to live in. For those who have the option to relocate, to get a better price when buying a home, they should all be considered as decent choices.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Expanding Opportunities For Home-Buying In ‘Opportunity Zones’

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 2nd, 2019

Expanding Opportunities For Home-Buying In 'Opportunity Zones'Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage investors with capital gains on other investments to invest that money in low-income and undercapitalized communities. They get a reward of deferring capital gains tax. They avoid a portion of it altogether if they keep the investment for five years or longer. 

What started with a trickle of a few Opportunity Zones scattered around the country is now a deluge with over 3,000 approved Opportunity Zones approved in just about every part of America. 4,700 more areas may also qualify.

Opportunity Zones Expanded Dramatically

The very generous definition of Opportunity Zones not only includes poorer areas but it also includes wealthy areas within larger poor areas. Some are wealthier areas adjacent to poor areas. For example, there are Opportunity Zones in Manhattan, which is an area not typically thought of as low-income or undercapitalized.

Opportunities In Opportunity Zones

The tax incentives along with the current easy financing from real estate lenders are stimulating development projects in Opportunity Zones. Investors may increase returns on real-estate investments by up to 50% for projects in these areas. 

The highest returns, based on the tax savings, are for those that invest before the end of 2019 and hold the investment for seven years until 2026. They get a capital gains step-up of 15%. After that, the tax benefits go down to a capital gains step-up of 10%.

Homes In Opportunity Zones

Another attractive characteristic is that the price of single-family homes in many Opportunity Zones is a bargain. The median price of homes in almost half of the Opportunity Zones is less than $150,000. This compares favorably to the national median home price of $266,000. 

Moreover, homes in many Opportunity Zones are less than half the price of an adjacent area. The median rents in the Opportunity Zones are not as depressed as the home prices.

For real estate investors looking for cash-flow positive rental properties to acquire for a portfolio, these homes may rent for enough to pay the carrying costs.

For home buyers, these bargain prices may mean it pays to buy a home on the edge of an Opportunity Zone. If the home is adjacent to a nicer neighborhood, the upside potential for appreciation in home value may be enhanced.

Opportunities for low-cost homes exist in the Midwest, which has 73% of its Opportunity Zones with homes that cost below $150,000. The portion in the South is 57% and in the North East, it is 53%. Florida has over 300 Opportunity Zones. Pennsylvania has over 150. Tennessee has about 140. Those are states worth considering.

Summary

Looking for home-buying opportunities in newly-designated Opportunity Zones is attractive for real estate investors building up a portfolio of rental properties and for homebuyers who are looking for a bargained-price home.

If you are in the market for a new home or investment opportunity, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Top Tips For Having A Home That Is Also Your Office

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 1st, 2019

Top Tips For Having A Home That Is Also Your OfficeTelecommuting has significantly changed the housing market. More people than ever before are working from home. Younger people are especially likely to do this and become part of what is called the “gig” economy. Many are working as freelancers or starting online businesses.

Advantages Of Working From Home

There are many advantages to working at home. It is less stressful. There is no commute. This saves money and is better for the environment. There may be lower income taxes because currently, the IRS allows a tax deduction of the expense of a home office. 

Homeworkers find clients online. They also can work from anywhere that has an Internet connection. There may be an opportunity to have a working vacation and keep their online presence going. They can maintain business efforts, perhaps at a reduced level, when also taking some time to enjoy themselves.

Staging A Home With An Office

Staging a home for sale is a useful technique used by real estate agents and homeowners. Staging beautifies the home to make it ready for viewing. This may improve the sale price when selling a home.

Staging may also help sell the home quickly by making it attractive to more potential buyers. Staging includes cleaning the home to make it spotless and strategically decorating the rooms to make them look nice.

One way to increase the attractiveness of a home is to have a room that is set up as a home office. If possible, choose a room with a view. It should be bright and comfortable, to entice buyers who want to work from home.

Buying A Home With An Office

When looking at homes for sale consider buying one that has an extra room or space that can easily convert to a home office. Think about the home design if you will live and work there. The office room needs to be in a quiet part of the home that creates a working environment where there are fewer chances for disturbances.

It is important to be serious when working at home. It is best to have a routine that encourages proper work habits in the home office space. Also, be able to leave the home office at the end of the workday. Avoid the temptation to overwork and set time limits for working hours.

If you plan to have business guests or clients come to your home, you may need to get commercial insurance. Talk this over with your insurance agent.

Summary

A home with an office is highly desirable. Consider retrofitting your home with an office when staging it for sale. For buyers, think about the possibilities of having a room for a home office when viewing homes for sale.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 30th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 30th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 30th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller on home prices along with data on new and pending home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Gains Slow to Lowest Pace in 7 Years

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported slower home price growth in July with 3.20 percent growth year-over-year. There was no change in July’s reading for the 20-City Home Price Index as compared to June after seasonal adjustments.

The top-three cities in Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index were Phoenix, Arizona with 5.80 percent home price growth year-over-year. Las Vegas, Nevada reported 4.70 percent growth and Charlotte, North Carolina home prices rose by 4.60 percent.

West coast cities that dominated home price growth in recent years have given way to more affordable markets. Seattle, Washington reported a negative reading of -0.60 percent year-over-year. Low mortgage rates have compelled buyers to enter the market; this could drive up demand again and boost home prices at a higher pace than they are rising now.

New and Pending Home Sales Increase in August

New home sales rose to 713,000 year-over-year in August as compared to July’s reading of 686.000 sales and expectations of 660,000 new homes sold in August. Pending sales rose 1.60 percent in August after posting a negative reading of -2.50 percent  in July.

Pending sales are transactions with signed purchase contracts, but that have not closed. Home sales typically taper off in fall after the peak selling season in spring and summer; rising sales during fall suggest stronger housing markets.

Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.64 percent and were nine basis points lower than in the prior week. The average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages was five basis points lower at 3.16 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell 11 basis points to an average of 3.38 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 213,000 claims filed from 210,000 new claims filed the prior week. Analysts said the GM auto worker strike caused the increase in new claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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How To Crowdfund A Renovation Project

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 27th, 2019

How To Crowdfund A Renovation ProjectCrowdfunding came into prominence with the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that President Obama signed into law during 2012 and subsequent enhancements. The JOBS Act made it easier for startups to raise money and for the first time allowed the legal ability to advertise the investments and accept small investors.

Innovate And Renovate

Crowdfunding is useful for many projects. The method raises money to create new products, make documentary films, and for many kinds of fashion items. Crowdfunding successfully raises money for real estate transactions. 

Smaller investors participate in real estate projects that they would otherwise not have enough investment money to create on their own. They may invest a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. When their smaller investment money combines with all the others, the project raises enough money.

One thing that makes crowdfunding projects work is their popularity. Affinity groups who have a special interest in certain things invest money in projects related to something that they like.

One application of this motivational factor is to raise money using crowdfunding to renovate buildings with a historical value or that otherwise attract the interest of the public. The process does not have to start with money. It can start with crowd sourcing ideas.

The CLUE® Mansion

A fun example is the Hasbro Company teamed up with Houzz to get innovative ideas from interior designers about how to renovate the CLUE® Mansion. The mansion is a backdrop for the popular board game.

This promotion celebrates the game’s 70th anniversary. The mansion’s style in the game stayed the same since the game debuted in 1949. The winning room designs, selected by fans, will be part of a new version of the game.

There is no reason to stop there. A real mansion can be renovated to match the game. This could be a CLUE® museum and could offer escape rooms as a money-making enterprise. This is just an idea at this moment. Perhaps, someone will take this up and run with it.

Crowdfunding Renovations

The point is, historic buildings that are of interest may need renovation funds that can be raised using crowdfunding. Those who have an interest in the building from the local community and elsewhere can support the project by investing in the renovation with a small comfortable amount.

Summary

Renovation projects are not easy to finance using traditional lenders. However, if a thousand people invest $100 each that is $100,000 for a renovation project in your community. Paying back the loan can come from a portion of the entrance fees.

Hopefully, this will spark continued interest in preserving and restoring historic homes, which are a terrific part of the American heritage.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Case-Shiller: July Home Price Growth Hits Lowest Pace in 12 Years

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 26th, 2019

Case-Shiller July Home Price Growth Hits Lowest Pace in 12 YearsCase-Shiller’s National Home Price Index reported U.S. home prices grew by 3.20 percent year-over-year in July; as compared to year-over-year home price growth 0f 3.00 percent posted in June. Cities with the highest rates of year-over-year home price growth were Phoenix, Arizona with 5.80 percent year-over-year home price growth. Las Vegas, Nevada had 4.70 percent year-over-year home price appreciation and Charlotte, North Caroline bumped Tampa, Florida from the top three cities with home price appreciation of 4.60 percent. Tampa, Florida posted 4.50 percent year-over-year home price growth in July.

Home Price Growth Stalls In West

14 cities had higher home price gains than in June and Seattle, Washington was the only city in the 20-City Index to post lower home prices. Analysts said that after years of rapid and unsustainable growth in home prices on the West Coast coupled with economic expansion and job growth in areas with lower home prices. July readings for home-price growth in western cities that posted double-digit price growth percentages in recent years were far lower. Home prices in Portland, Oregon rose 2.50 percent year-over-year; Los Angeles, California home prices rose 1.10 percent and San Francisco, California posted year-over-year home price growth of 0.20 percent.

High Home Prices Ease Demand Caused By Low Supply Of Homes For Sale

As home prices in many markets skyrocketed, would-be buyers were sidelined by affordability cash buyers and strict mortgage loan requirements. With home prices stabilizing and mortgage rates at near-record lows, more buyers will likely enter the market. This would increase demand on already slim supplies of homes for sale and cause home prices to rise at a faster pace than they have in 2019. Current rates of home price growth remain higher than current inflation and wage growth, but are low enough to encourage home buyers who were previously unable to keep up with rapidly rising home prices.

Seven cities posted higher rates of home price growth year-over-year in July as compared to readings for year-over-year home price growth from June 2018 to June 2019. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of pre-owned homes were higher in July for the first time in months. The supply of available homes tightened in June; this trend is expected to boost home prices as demand for homes increases.

 

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What Makes Up A PITI Mortgage Payment?

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

What Makes Up A PITI Mortgage PaymentMany mortgage payments are made up of four parts, called PITI. PITI is an acronym that stands for principal, interest, tax, and insurance. It’s important to understand PITI because it is the real number you need to use in order to find out how much mortgage you can afford to pay each month.

One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make is using only the principal plus interest figure to calculate how much they’ll be paying every month for their mortgage. Then, when the lender comes back and denies them, the prospective buyer is confused. Knowing and understanding PITI will put you back in the driver’s seat with your home buying goal.

Principal

The principal part of your mortgage payment represents the amount of money that you borrow over the terms of the loan. For instance, if you borrow $100,000 and you have 20 years to pay them back, the principal that you’ll pay each month equals $100,000 divided by 20.

Interest

The interest portion of your mortgage payment is the percentage rate that your lender is charging you to borrow from them. Another way of looking at the interest is to think of it as the cost of borrowing money. Interest will be spread out over the length of the loan, just like the principal payment.

Tax

The tax portion of your monthly mortgage payment pays for real estate and/or property taxes. Real estate taxes are assessed by the local government where the properties located. The tax rate is determined by the government and is not influenced by your personal credit score.

Insurance

The insurance part of your monthly mortgage payment pays for homeowner’s insurance and/or private mortgage insurance. If you put less than 20% down on your home purchase, you’re required to have private mortgage insurance. This amount can add considerably to your monthly mortgage payment, so it’s worth it to try to hit that 20% threshold.

Otherwise, you have to wait until your loan to value ratio is 80/20. After that, you can request to drop the private mortgage insurance, but the homeowner’s insurance will still be part of your monthly payment.

Now that you understand what makes up a PITI mortgage payment, you’ll be better prepared to plan for your monthly budget that includes a mortgage payment.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

 

 

 

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How To Create A Home-Buying Partnership

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

How To Create A Home-Buying PartnershipMany want to have a home, yet find it difficult to afford one by themselves. Some people are forming home-buying partnerships to buy a home and live in it together. Here are some considerations for those interested in forming a home-buying partnership.

A home-buying partnership is a legal and personal relationship that is similar to having a permanent roommate. It has the feeling of being married to the other person in a legal way, not in a romantic way. Like any business partnership, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages Of A Home-Buying Partnership

Buying a home is easier when sharing the responsibility with another person. In an equal partnership, the money needed is half and the expenses are also half of when compared to buying a home alone.

Wasting money on rent stops and the equity value may build up by owning a home over time if real estate prices increase.

Combining credit strength as co-signers may make it easier to buy a home if both parties have a decent credit history. Qualifying for a bigger home loan amount may be possible, which allows buying a larger home.

A strategy to consider is buying a duplex building, which is two homes combined into one building structure.

Disadvantages Of A Home-Buying Partnership

Getting along well with your home-buying partner is essential. Not only will you share a business relationship, but you will also see each other constantly. Having compatible lifestyles is critical to avoid personality clashes.

People who have been roommates for years and get along extremely well make great candidates for home-buying partners. This is a far better choice than doing something this serious with a person you just met.

Legal Structure

The best way to own the property is by forming a single-purpose limited liability company (LLC). The company will do nothing but own the home. An LLC is like a general partnership with the exception that it limits the liability exposure of its owners to the investment value they have in the LLC.

Ownership in an LLC is in units of the LLC. Owning half the authorized units is half the LLC. If one partner has one unit more than the other one has, that partner has decision-making control over the property.

For tax purposes, an LLC is a pass-through entity. The tax obligations and benefits pass to the owners of the LLC according to the portion of the LLC that they own.

Sudden Death, Buy-Sell Provision

This provision allows for one of the partners to buy out the other one’s ownership before it sells to a third party. This can happen automatically if one of the partners dies or becomes incapacitated. It may happen if there is a disagreement.

The idea is to use this provision so that one partner is not forced to sell the home and has the option to buy the other half of the home before it sells to another party.

Summary

These are just the basic issues about a home-buying partnership. This arrangement can be an effective way to own a home, just be very careful about how you select a partner. Use a competent real estate attorney to form the LLC properly. 

And as always, consult with your trusted professional real estate agent to help you navigate through the purchase process.

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