What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 17th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 17th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 17th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Consumer Price Index Lower in May as Retail Sales Hold Steady

Last month’s Consumer Price Index, which is a widely-used gauge of inflation, dropped to 0.10 percent in May and matched expectations. April posted month-to-month growth of 0.30 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose 0.10 percent in May and fell short of expectations of 0.20 percent growth.

April’s Core Consumer Price Index grew by 0.10 percent. Analysts reported a likely slowdown in economic expansion last week. Consumers, vendors and financial analysts said trade wars and global economic uncertainty were factors in concerns over economic conditions.

Retail sales rose from April’s reading of 0.30 percent to 0.50 percent in May; retail sales without automotive sales held steady with 0.50 percent growth. April retail sales also had 0.50 percent growth.

Mortgage Rates Stay Near Two Year Low

Freddie Mac reported average mortgage rates were little changed last week. 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.52 percent and were unchanged from the prior week. 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.26 percent and were two basis points lower.

5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped one basis point to 3.51 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 222,000 claims filed last week, which exceeded expectations of 218,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 219,000 initial jobless claims. Analysts said that labor markets remained solid, but layoffs in California and Pennsylvania caused new jobless claims to rise last week.

The University of Michigan reported lower consumer sentiment in June with an index reading of 97.90 as compared to May’s reading of 100.00; 40 percent of consumers surveyed cited concerns over pending tariffs against Mexico for falling confidence in economic conditions.

The tariffs against Mexico were sidelined, which may boost consumer confidence readings in July. When tariffs were set against imports from China, only 21 percent of survey participants identified tariffs as cause for concern.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include reports from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets conditions, the Federal Reserve’s FOMC meeting statement and a press conference from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Data on sales of pre-owned homes will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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Five Things to Do With a Windfall Other Than Spend it Right Away

Posted in Personal Finance by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 14th, 2019

Five Things to Do with a Windfall Other Than Spend it Right Away

Perhaps you have won the lottery, received an inheritance, or cashed in one of your investments, and now you have a large sum of money you don’t know what to do with.

Although it is tempting to cruise around town in a brand new sports car it is important to think carefully about how to spend your newfound cash.

To give you some ideas on the smartest way to use your new wealth, here are five things to do with a windfall other than spend it right away:

1. Erase Your Debt

Your new found money will allow you to clear up all of your debts, which will lift a huge financial burden off your back and give you a lot of freedom. Start with the debts with the highest interest first, such as your credit card debts.

2. Create an Emergency Fund

Calculate how much money you would need to cover your living expenses for 6 months. Take this amount off your windfall and place it into a savings account. This money will be your fail safe. In case of an emergency, such as you hurt yourself, become ill, or lose your job, you will have enough money to live comfortably until times get better, without having to go into debt.

3. Invest in Your Home

If you spend your windfall on a renovation for your home, there is a good chance that you can increase your property value enough to make it more than worth it. Talk to estate agents in your area to determine which type of home improvement will increase your home’s value the most, but usually kitchens and bathrooms are the best rooms to update.

4. Buy a Vacation Property

Consider putting your newfound wealth into a holiday home overseas in a popular destination. You will be able to enjoy lounging on the beach there, and when you are not using it you can rent out the home to tourists to cover the costs. Later on in life when you want to retire, you will always have the option of moving there!

5. Live Off the Interest

If you won a million dollars in the lottery, you could spend it right away on a huge house and a car and then have nothing left. Or, you place it in an investment account and have it earn 6% annually. At this rate you would have approximately $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year without ever touching your initial sum. You could easily live off this amount and never have to work again.

These are a few ideas of what you could do with your money if you are lucky enough to receive an unexpected windfall.

Do you have any other ideas of how you could use your windfall?

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4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With Kids

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 13th, 2019

4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With KidsIt can be challenging to be organized when you have children. But this is only because, as a devoted parent, you want to be sure your child has everything they need to become happy, well-rounded adults some day.

This usually means you’ll be bringing your kids to extracurricular activities, play dates, fun events and family outings. It also typically means that over the years there will be a steady stream of school supplies, toys, new clothes and maybe even a musical instrument or two. So how can busy parents stay organized with kids? 

Share A Calendar

Depending on how you prefer to organize your days, consider sharing a digital or paper calendar with the entire family. Family members can add events as needed and everyone can access the latest updates. This way, no one gets caught off guard when the dinosaur diorama is due on Monday morning or your child’s ballet recital gets moved from Friday to Saturday afternoon.

Don’t Be Too Detailed

Toys and art supplies have a way of ending up on the living room floor no matter how many tidy storage bins are in your child’s room. Try keeping a large wicker laundry basket in the corner of the living room and let your child pile their things randomly inside the basket. This allows for fast cleanups and doesn’t require you to supervise the “organization.” It also lets smaller kids feel like they’re being a big kid by helping to straighten up.

Store Papers In Accordion Files

Keep accordion folders on hand in the kitchen for when your child comes home with artwork or papers with A grades. Have one accordion file for each month, because they will fill up fast. At the end of each month, go through and filter out anything you don’t want to save permanently. With this method you’ll automatically have your child’s best papers saved according to date.

Do Things On The Same Day

It’s surprisingly helpful to make a practice of always doing certain things on certain days. For instance, every Saturday is bath night, or every Wednesday is change the sheets day. This lets kids know what to expect in their lives and makes it easier for parents to remember things. 

Children add so much joy to parents’ lives. When you’re organized, you’ll probably find that you have even more time to share with your little loved ones.

Need some extra space for the kids in your life? Call your trusted real estate professional to help you find your next dream home today!

 

 

 

 

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Smooth Move: Do These Six Things When Transitioning Towns

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 12th, 2019

Smooth Move Do These Six Things When Transitioning TownsIt can be physically and emotionally challenging when moving from one town to another. There are lots of things going on at once; the actual packing and moving your belongings, saying goodbye to friends, changing jobs and just getting used to a new way of living.

It can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Try these six tips for a smooth transition.

1. Let Go

Try to look forward instead of back. You will certainly want to remember all the wonderful moments you’ve had in your “old” town, but give yourself permission to be excited about your new place to live. Leave the past in the past while still treasuring the times you shared with friends and loved one. This will enable you to fully open yourself to new possibilities.

2. Learn Your Way Around

Do some exploring in your new town. If possible, stroll or bicycle around to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings. If it’s too far away and you haven’t yet moved, use Google Earth’s street view to wander around virtually. Locate the places you’ll definitely need, like the post office, coffee shop and dry cleaners. 

3. Join Local Groups

Do a search for Facebook groups in your new town and ask to join. You’ll get a sense of the community and get better tuned into what resources are available and what people are talking about. Try searching Meetup groups in the new town for activities in which you’re interested.

4. Plant Roots

Make your new house a home by planting some pretty perennials out front or creating a vegetable garden out back. When you literally plant roots, you’ll feel more like you really belong.

5. Get Involved

It’s hard sometimes to make new friends as adults, especially out of work. But if you make an effort to get involved in the community, you’ll likely find that people are eager to get to know you. Keep your eyes and ears open for ways to join in with community events.

6. Fling Open The Doors

Say yes to life. You’re in a new town, and this is the perfect time to start new projects, try new things and meet new people. Try doing something new at least once a week. You just might find a new favorite activity or a new friend.

These six tips for transitioning to a new town will help you begin your new life with a positive outlook. Remember, there’s no time like the present to start the future!

One of your best assets to navigate the properties in a new town is an experienced real estate professional. Be sure to make contact with your wish list before you start your search.

 

 

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How Color Can Affect Your Home and Psyche

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 11th, 2019

How Color Can Affect Your Home and PsycheAre you dreaming in color of your future new home? You probably can’t wait to get your hands on a paintbrush and a bucket of beautiful new paint. But how will you choose the colors to decorate your new home?

If you’ve been to a paint store recently, you know there are thousands upon thousands of shades to choose from. Choose wisely, because color can affect your home and psyche.

Shades of Purple

Whether you call it purple or eggplant or violet or plum, purple evokes feelings of warmth and vitality in a home. The dustier shades of plum are ideal for walls in the dining room, where taste buds are tantalized. Light lavenders and lilacs are perfect for a little girl’s room, perhaps dotted with white and yellow daises as a border around the baseboard.

Crimson Reds

Red is a dramatic color to use in the home, yet it works in many contexts. Try dark red in a bathroom with dark wood cabinets for a sophisticated look. Burnt red in the bedroom is sultry and inviting. A statement wall of red in a home office denotes serious business and power.

Bluesy Blues

Blues can evoke serenity and peace, but they can also spark creative thought. Blue green colors are ideal for vintage kitchen themes, whereas navy blue in a boy’s bedroom is a classic look. Try white tinged with blue for your new home’s ceiling; it’s said to make a room feel more spacious because it simulates the sky.

Going Green

Kelly green isn’t a color that most people would use in the home, but sage green is perfect for a bedroom in which you want to instill tranquility. Sea foam green is a classic choice for a bathroom even if your home is miles from the ocean. Lime green can be surprisingly uplifting, especially when used in the kitchen. 

Pinkies

Though little girls seem to adore pink, it’s been psychologically shown to be a color that induces upset. It’s not a particularly passive color, but in pastel shades, pink can be soothing, especially when combined with calmer colors like beige or blue. 

Sunny Yellow

If you want a room to feel happy, consider painting it a shade of yellow. Yellow makes you smile; it’s cheery and friendly. Of course, if you get into the neon shades of yellow, it can have the opposite effect, so to stay safe, stay on the lighter side of yellow.

Color can certainly affect the way your home looks and feels, and how you feel in it. The wonderful thing about paint is that it’s an easy way to make a house a home.

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 10th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 10th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 10th, 2019Last week’s economic releases included readings on construction spending, public and private sector jobs and national unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time unemployment claims were also released.

Construction Spending Little Changed in April

Census Bureau readings for April showed a minor dip in construction spending as compared to revised figures for March. $1,295.5 billion was spent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis and missed the expected reading of $1,314.7 billion.

March construction spending was revised to $1,299.2 billion. Falling mortgage rates were good news for home buyers, but concerns over global economic disputes and higher materials prices concerned home builders.

Mortgage Rates Fall as Initial Jobless Claims Hold Steady

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates across the board. 30-year fixed mortgage rates dropped 17 basis points to 3.82 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell 18 basis points to 3.28 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell eight basis points to 3.22 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims were unchanged with 218,000 first-time claims filed.  Monthly labor reports issued for May showed sharply lower jobs growth for public and private sector jobs.

Public and Private Sector Jobs Growth Dips in May

In a potential warning of slowing economic growth, public and private sector job creation fell far short of expected readings in May. The Labor Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 75,000 new jobs in May as compared to expectations of 180,000 new jobs and April’s reading of 224,000 public and private sector jobs created.

ADP’s report for private sector jobs growth was equally dismal for May; 27,000 jobs were created as compared to April’s revised reading of 271,000 private sector jobs created. Mark Zandi, who developed ADP jobs reporting, said “The economy is weakening; growth is slowing and slowing sharply.” The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.60 percent, which matched expectations. Analysts said that signs of slower economic growth could lead the Federal Reserve to implement monetary easing. 

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don’t

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 7th, 2019

Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don'tThose who want to renovate a home usually do this to make it more spacious, improve its condition, and to add amenities. However, it is also important to consider if the renovation has the potential to add value to a home.

Unless the plan is to live in the same place for life, there is a strong likelihood that, at some point, the home will go on the market for sale. It is nice if it sells for a high price and there is some profit for the seller in the transaction.

It is not the amount spent on renovations that is the key consideration. In fact, spending a lot of money making certain renovations may not improve the sales price, when the home sells. This guide helps decide between renovations that add value and ones that do not add value.

Renovations That Add Value

Renovations that add value are those things that almost everybody wants, which include:

  • Upgraded Kitchen: Having a professional-style cooking area and all the appliances with matching stainless steel-finishes creates an attractive upgraded kitchen. Many appreciate having an island area in the center for use as a working area when cooking large meals that doubles as an eating area for breakfast.
  • Luxurious Master Bedroom and Bathroom: Homes with a large master bedroom with big windows and a king-sized bed usually sell for a top price. If the master bathroom has a large renovated bathroom with a big tub, then this is a plus.
  • Extra Bedroom: Having another bedroom puts a home in a higher-valued category.
  • Lots of Closet Space: Many think that adding an extra bedroom is sufficient; however, adding extra closet space is also a great idea, especially when adding walk-in closets with his/hers vanity areas that are accessible from the master bedroom.
  • Green Systems: Solar energy systems that reduce the monthly utility bill are desirable. Energy-efficient windows are also attractive.
  • Smart Home Systems: These systems offer computer control of the home for energy efficiency, security, and convenience for the occupants.

Renovations That Do Not Add Value

  • Carpeting: Carpet colors are a matter of personal taste. If the carpet is not brand-new or thoroughly cleaned, it will lower the interest in the home. It is better to have nicely-finished wood or tile flooring with rugs strategically placed to create different usage areas. Offer to sell the rugs for their value with the home or to take them away.
  • Excessive Front Yard Decorations: There are a few homes that have so many garden gnomes in the front yard that adding another one is nearly impossible. Avoid this because not everybody appreciates this style.
  • Swimming Pools: For many, this is potentially negative. The cost of building a new, in-ground, swimming pool is not usually an amount recouped in the selling price. Some like pools; however, many others do not like the idea of continual maintenance and monthly expenses. Families with young children may see pools as very dangerous.
  • Bright-Orange Exterior Paint: It is not surprising to learn that most people do not like houses painted this color and other garish colors. Even if the paint is new, they do not usually sell for a higher price.

Summary

In general, in order to add value with renovations, do the things that most people appreciate. Complete the project for a budget to add to the purchase price of the home that will not exceed the average market value of a home of a similar type.

Homeowners who follow this general rule, get to enjoy the renovations and get their money back, perhaps with some profit, when the home sells.

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

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How To Turn A “Dumb” Home Into A Smart Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 6th, 2019

How To Turn A Dumb Home Into A Smart HomeHaving a “smart home” is a trend that is popular. What does it actually mean? Smart home technology improves energy-efficiency, increases security, and creates more convenience for the home’s occupants.

Innovative smart home technology improves with the deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G wireless broadband, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) programming. Many things that an owner and/or occupant of a home needs or wants may be done for them by smart home technology.

Energy-Efficiency

Green energy systems include installing energy-efficient windows and perhaps solar panels along with battery storage. Moreover, by managing micro-zones within a home, money is saved by not wasting it on heating or cooling when not needed.

Management of temperature control is possible with smart home technology that allows the heating and air-conditioning system to direct hot or cold air to the rooms that need it, only when occupied. These systems turn off the zone when the room is not in use.

Advanced systems learn the occupant’s typical home-use patterns and anticipate them. For example, if a person comes home around the same time each day, the house prepares the rooms for that person in advance of their arrival.

Advanced systems link vehicles with the home. For example, the climate control system may receive the GS location of the vehicle over the IoT. Then, the AI software of the house can determine the distance the car is from the home and the direction it is traveling. The AI guesses if the person is driving home and adjusts the home accordingly.

Increased Security

This is one of the best reasons to install smart home technology. Increased security may help to reduce risks of burglary, home invasion, and damage caused by unavoidable disasters.

Home security may use biometrics, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, iris scans, and others, to authorize entry for specific people and prevent unauthorized intruders.

Video surveillance of the property, inside and out, keeps a record of what is happening. Innovation in AI detects camera images that are not appropriate, such as someone trying to break into the home and alert the homeowners as well as law enforcement.

Alarms trigger for many things such as a break-in of a door or window or someone coming to the front porch to steal a delivered package.

Sensors, which are much more sophisticated than a basic smoke alarm, may warn of smoke, fire, natural gas leaks, carbon monoxide levels in a garage, and even plumbing problems. With nanny cams, monitoring of babies and children is helpful for their safety.

Convenience

Smart Home technology can respond to the occupants’ use automatically or be manually chosen. For example, the coffee maker can turn on automatically in the morning to have the perfect brew ready for those who wake up. The dog door can be unlocked from bed for the dog to go outside in the morning.

A real-time inventory, using the barcodes of foodstuffs, automates the re-ordering of regularly used items when depleted.

The car can be started remotely and warmed up or cool before the driver and passengers enter it. During wintertime, entry steps can be heated to melt ice and snow just in time for people’s arrival. A hot tub can be turned on remotely so that it is fully heated up and ready for use when the owner’s come home.

Summary

There are so many innovations in smart technology already available and more on the way. Homeowners who invest in this smart technology may not only get to enjoy their home more, they may save on energy bills, and might also get a higher resale value for the “smart” home when selling it. It’s worth considering.

If you are in the market for a new property, be sure to tell your trusted real estate agent if a “smart home” is on your priority list!

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The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 5th, 2019

The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A HomeOne renovation that may add value to a home is an in-law apartment. Even if a homeowner does not have any relatives, an in-law apartment makes wonderful guest accommodations. It is possible to rent it when unoccupied to earn some money.

Homeowners who rent out part of a home need to check with their insurance agent to upgrade insurance to accommodate commercial use of a part of the home.

Additionally, a person staying in an in-law apartment, who is not a member of the owner’s household, may need to get renter’s insurance to cover any personal property kept in the in-law apartment.

Renovation Plans

An in-law apartment may be in a basement or attic. Creating one is possible as a home addition, a garage makeover, or as a tiny house in the backyard.

Check the building regulations for the area where the home is. It is wise to get the proper building permits needed for the construction. Work done without permits usually does not add value when reselling because it creates a liability.

Some people make an in-law without having to do major renovations if partitioning the house is possible. It may be possible to separate an area to create an in-law apartment if the house has an extra bedroom with a connected bathroom.

If no existing part of the home is suitable for remodeling, then adding an addition is an option. A better choice for a backyard that usually increases the resale value is building an in-law cottage rather than investing in installing a swimming pool. Some people may prefer having in-law accommodations when compared to the cost of maintaining a swimming pool.

Multiple Uses For An In-Law Apartment

Almost everyone has a use for an in-law apartment. This is why they are attractive to potential home buyers. Children can stay with parents as they become adults. Elderly parents can live with their children. Couples without children can use the room as a home office. Single people can rent out the space to help pay the bills.

Use of the space may change over time, so be sure to think creatively about the space. The value-added for having this space is the privacy it allows. Living together is normally easier when the parties also have some privacy.

Having a private bathroom, a separate entrance, and a kitchenette in the in-law apartment covers all the needs. This allows the space to be self-contained.

Summary

Consider adding an in-law apartment for the convenience, potential improvements in the resale value of the home, and to reduce the expense of supporting family members who live elsewhere and pay rent for an apartment to others.

If an in-law space is on your wish list for your next home purchase, be sure to advise your trusted real estate professional.

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Can I Qualify For A Mortgage Without W-2 Income?

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

Can I Qualify For A Mortgage Without W-2 IncomeIt’s more common these days to have non-traditional income that doesn’t fall into the W-2 category. Many people work in what is referred to as the “gig economy,” where income might come from a variety of freelance sources.

Other times, people don’t have W-2 income because they are retired or have an independent source of wealth that generates interest income. Still other times, an individual may own their own business and take draws instead of a paycheck. In all these cases, it might seem impossible to qualify for a mortgage, since there’s no W-2 income. 

Lenders Are Understanding

Thankfully, many lenders understand when a prospective lender doesn’t have W-2 income. Since it’s becoming more common, lenders have come up with alternative ways to qualify borrowers who want to buy a home. While more paperwork is usually involved, it is still possible to get a mortgage, assuming you work with certain lenders. Your real estate agent can help you in this regard; sourcing lenders that work with non-traditional borrowers.

Rely On Your Tax Returns

Even without W-2 income, you can prove income by relying on your tax returns. If you can show at least two years of qualifying income levels on your tax returns, your lender will have an easier time of finding underwriters for your loan. 

Maintain Your Bank Deposits

Some states offer a Bank Statement Loan Program that looks – not at your W-2s – but at your bank deposits for the last 12 to 24 months. These programs are ideal for people who own their own business and take draws rather than paychecks. 

Try For An Assumable Mortgage

Sometimes you may be able to find a property that has an assumable loan. In these instances, all you need to do to qualify for the mortgage is to have sufficient money for a down payment, have a decent credit history and be able to prove your income one way or another. Assumable loans can be harder to find, but your real estate agent can help you with that part of your home buying process.

Bear in mind that each of these options require a strong credit history in order to qualify. Credit scores and histories are always the cornerstones of acquiring a mortgage, whatever your income source may be.

Two important partnerships in your quest for a new home are with a trusted real estate agent and a home mortgage provider. Be sure to rely on these professionals to answer all of your real estate and financing questions.

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