Archive for December, 2019

Questions To Ask When Transitioning To A Retirement Community

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 31st, 2019

Questions To Ask When Transitioning To A Retirement CommunityOne of the dreams that many people have is to eventually retire. People work their entire lives and save diligently to be able to enjoy those golden years. When the time finally comes, people need to think about the community that is right for them. With this goal in mind, there are a few common questions that everyone should ask to find their ideal retirement community.

Important Questions To Consider

Some of the key questions that retirees should be asking include:

Do I Want A Communal Setting?

Many retirement homes are built in a communal setting. Think about a bunch of condos that open up into a main hallway. There might also be a main dining area where the residents congregate to spend time. This might be a great way to meet new people; however, it might also sacrifice some independence along the way. Some individuals who require medical care might need a communal setting.

Where Is It Located?

While this might seem obvious, this question is often overlooked. What part of the country is the retirement community located in? Some people might be interested in moving to have access to better weather. Other people might want to move to be closer to family members or friends. Think about geography as well.

Are Meals Provided?

Some people don’t want to cook when they reach their golden years. Other people want to be able to cook every meal. Some individuals may simply want to have options. Some retirement communities provide meals for their residents. Others do not. Be sure to ask about the meals that are provided. Also ask when they are made, what the options are, and how much they cost.

Are There Transportation Options?

Some retirement communities provide their residents with transportation that can take them around town to get groceries, to doctors’ appointments, and other errands. As people get older, they might not be able to drive. Therefore, this transportation can be important.

Asking The Right Questions About A Retirement Community

These are a few of the important questions that everyone needs to ask when moving to a retirement community. This will help everyone find the right living situation for them and their family.

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 – December 30th, 2019

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

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 30th, 2019Last week’s economic reports were limited due to the Christmas holiday. New home sales data was released along with a weekly reading on mortgage rates.

Census Bureau: New Home Sales Hit Highest Level Since 1999

Mortgage rates below 4.00 percent propelled the highest number of new homes sold since 1999. 719,000 new homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in November.

Analysts expected November sales of new homes to reach 740,000 sales based on October’s original reading of 733,000 sales, but this reading was later revised to 710,000 sales.

New home sales reported are based on a narrow range of data and subject to major revisions. Slim inventories of previously-owned homes for sale also boosted new home sales.

The national median sale price for new homes was $330,800 in November and there was a 5.40 month supply of new homes available, which fell below the peak of a seven-month supply of available new homes reported in December 2018.

The Northeast region reported a 52.40 percent increase in new home sales; Sales of new homes in the South decreased by 4.10 percent and were unchanged in the Midwest. New home sales in the West rose by 7.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Little Changed

Freddie Mac reported incremental changes in average mortgage rates; 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates averaged 3.74 percent and were one basis point higher than for the prior week. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.19 percent and were unchanged.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was eight basis points higher at 3.45 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac cautioned that the ongoing shortage of affordable homes is causing home prices to rise throughout the U.S; in recent years significant home price gains primarily occurred in coastal regions. Analysts said that as fewer affordable homes become available, housing markets and the general economy could be negatively affected.

Weekly reporting on first-time jobless claims was not released last week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, pending home sales, construction spending and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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5 Important Mistakes To Avoid When Selling A Home

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

5 Important Mistakes To Avoid When Selling A HomeSellers of homes often make mistakes that are not in their best interests. Here are common mistakes people make when selling a home and how to avoid them.

Using Bad Photography

Using lousy photos or no photos to promote the property for sale is foolish. Professional photography is not so difficult or expensive that sellers should settle for the use of bad photos. Sometimes all the potential buyers will see is the photos they find online. If the photos are bad or not there at all, then that is the end of their interests. 

To stimulate interest in a property, it is even better to use a high-quality video walk through than simple photos. This allows a buyer to enjoy a virtual showing of the property.

Allowing Emotions To Control The Process

Sometimes, buyers should step aside and let the experts guide the process. One example of this is the decisions about staging a home for sale. Staging is getting the home in an immaculate condition that is most attractive to buyers. 

An important part of staging the depersonalization of the home. This means removing any photos or family items. The reason for doing this is to allow the potential buyer to imagine their family living in the home and not have them think about the previous residents. 

This part of the process may be quite emotional for the seller because it is the first clear sign that they are truly giving up a home. Those emotions are natural but should not stand in the way of getting the home ready for sale.

For Sale By Owner

It may be tempting to try to sell a home without utilizing the services of a professional REALTOR®. However, many studies show that the net price that sellers receive for selling a home on their own is about the same as if they used a real estate agent. 

The buyer pays the real estate agent’s commission. Usually, the price achieved by a professional real estate agency is higher than what an owner may achieve alone. The reason for this is that buyers expect to get a discount from the market price for a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) home. Another consideration is that marketing a home is not easy for amateurs to do, so FSBO homes may languish on the market for a long time before selling.

Too Pricey

Listing a home for a price that is higher than the market value, automatically puts the seller at a disadvantage. It discourages a potential buyer from making an offer. Eventually, this may lead to having to discount the listing price. This makes the home look like something may be wrong with it.

Not Making Repairs

Homes that have a pre-inspection and all the necessary repairs made are much more attractive to buyers. This is true, even if the price includes a discount from market value to allow for the estimated repair costs. It is mostly a matter of convenience for buyers who want a home that is ready to move in and does not immediately need repairs to be made.

Summary

Avoiding these common, and sometimes costly, mistakes may help sellers to sell their homes faster and hopefully get a higher price. Work with a qualified REALTOR® to learn more about how to get a home ready for sale, what price to ask for, when to list it, and what to do to maximize the sales price.

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3 Critical Considerations When You Choose Your Garage Doors

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 26th, 2019

3 Critical Considerations When You Choose Your Garage DoorsOwning property comes with a number of major responsibilities. This includes home maintenance and repairs. One of the common topics that people think about is the garage door. Sometimes, the garage door breaks and needs to be replaced. Other people might be adding a garage door for the first time. There are lots of options to choose from and this is an important decision.

There are a number of factors that people need to consider when trying to decide on a garage door.

The Material

First, people need to think about what their garage door is going to be made out of. The classic option is wood. It has a sleek, stylish look and can be stained to the owner’s preference. At the same time, steel has become a more popular option. This is because steel is stronger than wood. Other homeowners even elect to go with aluminum. Aluminum is lighter than steel and uses less energy. Aluminum can also be colored to look like wood. The material is a good place to start when looking for a garage door.

The Durability

Next, homeowners need to think about the durability of the various options. Some garage doors are going to be stronger than others. Garage door repairs can be expensive and this is a cost that homeowners should avoid if possible. Try to find a durable garage door that can stand up to the routine wear and tear. The stronger the material, the more durable it is going to be.

The Insulation

Finally, also consider the insulation that will be provided by the garage door. The garage is typically an unheated area. This means that any heat in the garage can easily escape through various openings. One of the largest openings is through the garage door. Try to find a door with some insulation. This will trap heat inside the garage and lower the home’s energy costs. An insulated garage door might be more expensive but can also save money on utility bills.

Choosing The Right Garage Door

There are a lot of options when it comes to garage doors. Each choice has its benefits and drawbacks. Homeowners need to take the time to assess the various options and figure out which one is right for them.

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 Does A Property Management Company Do?

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

What Does A Property Management Company DoFor those who are interested in learning more about real estate, property management companies are an important topic of discussion. Some people might not ever consider hiring a property management company.

Other people wouldn’t ever invest in real estate without a property management company to help them out along the way. This can be a hard decision for people to make. In order to figure out if hiring a management company is the right decision, it is important to think about what they do.

What Is Property Management?

It is the job of a management company to both maintain the quality of the residence while also keeping the occupants happy. Typically, the owner of the property will hire a third party to do this job. The management company then oversees the daily operations of everything that happens at the real estate property. 

This means that property managers respond to the concerns of the residents or tenants. If something goes wrong with one of the appliances, the property management company is typically the one who handles this issue.

If there is something wrong with one of the utilities, the management company handles this also. Parking problems are often handled by the manager as well. Property managers will also make sure that rent is collected on time.

Property managers are also busy while the property is vacant. The manager will make every effort possible to get the property filled if it is vacant. The manager will also make sure that the property is well-kept when it is empty. This means keeping it clean, updating appliances, fixing leaks, and other common issues that arise.   

Is A Property Manager Needed?

In order for someone to decide whether or not a property manager is needed, there are a few important considerations.

First, the more rental properties someone has, the more work will need to be done. It might be too much for one person to do on their own.

Next, think about how far away the property is. The farther away the property is, the harder it will be to keep an eye on it.

Finally, managing property is an active job. Those who intend to get into real estate as a form of passive income will want to hire someone else to handle this job.

Consider these questions carefully when thinking about property management companies.

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 23rd, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 23rd, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 23rd, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets; the National Association of Realtors® released data on sales of previously-owned homes and the Commerce Department released readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises in December

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in housing market conditions rose in December to an index reading of 76 as compared to November’s reading of 71. Any reading over 50 indicates that most home builders surveyed were confident about housing market conditions.

Builder confidence in current market conditions rose seven points to an index reading of 84; builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose one point to 79 and the index reading for buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose four points to 58. Analysts noted that the index reading for buyer traffic rarely reaches a reading of 50.

Regional readings were mixed with builder confidence in the Northeast falling two points; the Midwestern region showed builder confidence five points higher than in November and builder confidence readings in the South and West rose one point and three points respectively.

Analysts said that low mortgage rates, a slim supply of pre-owned homes for sale and low unemployment contributed to rising builder confidence. Negative factors impacting builder confidence included high land and labor costs, and a disparity between builders focusing on high-end construction while entry-level homes were most in demand.

The National Association of Realtors ®reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in November; 5.35 million previously-owned homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to October’s reading of 5.44 million sales of previously-owned homes.

Fewer sales were caused by slim inventories of affordable homes for sale. This data supported home builders’ assertion that fewer available pre-owned homes boosted builder confidence in current housing markets.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Rise in November

The Commerce Department reported 1365 million single-family housing starts in November as compared to 1.323 million starts in October. Building permits issued also rose in November with 1.482 million permits issued as compared to October’s reading of 1.461 million building permits issued. Housing Starts and building permits supply estimates for future inventories of available homes.

Mortgage Rates Unchanged, New Jobless ClaimsFall

Fixed mortgage rates were unchanged last week according to Freddie Mac. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.73 percent and rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.19 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 3.37 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 234,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 235,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 252,000 first-time claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news is limited due to the Christmas holiday. Data on new home sales will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 20th, 2019

How Are Mortgage Rates DeterminedWhen someone is interested in buying a home, there are a number of factors that people need to consider. Some of these include the budget, the size of the home, and the mortgage interest rates. 

The mortgage rate is going to play a tremendous role in whether or not someone is going to be able to afford their dream home. For this reason, it is critical for everyone to know how a mortgage rate is determined. There are a number of factors in someone’s financial history that are going to impact the mortgage rate the lender offers.

The Credit Score

One of the most important factors that a lender is going to consider is someone’s credit score. A credit score is a reflection of someone’s risk to the lender. The higher the credit score, the more likely the loan is going to be repaid, in the eyes of the lender.

If someone’s credit score is too low, the lender might not make an offer at all. In order to reduce the interest on someone’s mortgage, it is important to correct any inaccuracies on the credit report ahead of time. This will make someone more competitive when applying for a mortgage.

The Employment History

The lender’s biggest concern is making sure their loan is repaid. In order to make mortgage payments on time, the borrower needs to have a steady stream of money coming in. This means maintaining a steady job.

In order to predict this, the lender is going to look at someone’s employment history. The longer someone has been employed, and the fewer gaps someone has in their employment history, the lower the interest rate on the mortgage is going to be. 

The Current Financial Market

Some of the factors involved in a mortgage rate are outside of the borrower’s control. Mortgage rates are also impacted by the current financial market. Like the stock market itself, the mortgage rates are going to rise and fall with the real estate market. It is important for everyone to think about the current financial market when applying for a mortgage.

Thinking About Mortgage Rates

These factors will play a role in the mortgage rate someone is going to be offered. Everyone should think about the interest rate on a mortgage when looking for a home. 

Talk about your personal financial situation with your trusted home finance professional. They are a valuable and experienced resource that can answer all of your questions regarding the best fit for your mortgage.

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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3 Traps First-Time Homebuyers Fall Into — And How To Avoid Them

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 19th, 2019

3 Traps First-Time Homebuyers Fall Into -- And How To Avoid ThemWhen someone purchases their first home, this is a significant step. There are a number of issues that people need to think about because purchasing a home is typically someone’s most significant investment.

With this in mind, there are three common traps that first-time homebuyers often fall into. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these traps as well.

Looking At Homes Before Applying For A Mortgage

Perhaps the biggest mistake that people make is that they look for homes before they apply for a mortgage. Without a successful mortgage application, it will be difficult to find a home at all. Of course, people enjoy looking at homes because it puts their future into perspective. At the same time, it is important to have an idea of how much home someone can afford. This will be difficult to do without knowing how large of a mortgage someone will be approved for. Apply for a mortgage before looking at homes.

Draining The Savings Account

Most people will want to put down some sort of a down payment. After all, this can help one get a lower interest rate on their mortgage. At the same time, don’t think about the down payment as simply a number in the savings account. Calculate how much of a down payment is truly necessary. People shouldn’t have to drain their entire savings account for the down payment. This money might be needed for closing costs, home repairs, and other potential emergencies. 

Not Working With Trusted Professionals

The internet has provided people with instant access to vast amounts of information. This has the benefit of allowing the new home buyer to educate themselves and do research on homes to purchase, mortgage financing options and a lot of other home buying topics. However, the internet can also provide incorrect information or only partial information. 

That’s why it’s so important to work with trusted real estate and mortgage professionals who have your best interest in mind. Feel free to ask them a lot of questions and get specific answers about your personal financial situation and home purchasing needs. They are trained and have years of experience making sure that you get the best combination of things to serve your needs.

Purchasing A Home

These are a few of the most important issues that every first-time homebuyer should think about. It can make a significant difference in someone’s financial future. Pay attention to these and reach out to your local network of trusted professionals today!

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How Much Do I Need To Start Investing In Real Estate?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 18th, 2019

How Much Do I Need To Start Investing In Real EstateIt is important for everyone to diversify their investments and one of the assets that people often look toward is real estate. In a healthy market, real estate should appreciate in value.

It is often less risky than investing in individual stocks and can provide a much higher return on investment than a typical bank savings account or even a money market account. On the other hand, people often think that they require a large amount of money to even think about investing in real estate. This is not always the case.

Buying Property Outright

One of the most straightforward ways to get started in the real estate investing market is to buy property outright in an area that is set to appreciate in value. Then, people can rent the property out to tenants as a way to generate a steady stream of income. This is why many people think that they need a large amount of money. Buying property is expensive and purchasing buildings in cash can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, there are other ways.

Joining A Real Estate Partnership

Another option is to join a real estate partnership. In a partnership structure, the various members pool their money together to buy large buildings. These buildings might even include individual apartments that can be rented out. Joining a real estate partnership is a more feasible option to get started in the real estate investing market. People might even be able to join for as little as a few thousand dollars.

Buying Shares

Finally, there are real estate crowdfunding partnerships popping up as well. Joining a real estate crowdfunding group is similar to buying shares of a company in the stock market. This offers an opportunity for people to get involved in the real estate market for an even lower cost. This is becoming a more popular option across the United States.

Invest In Real Estate

In the end, people do not necessarily require a large amount of money to invest in real estate if they know where to look and who to ask. There are plenty of ways to get started in the real estate investing market.

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

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Should You Get A Second Mortgage To Pay For College?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 17th, 2019

Should You Get A Second Mortgage To Pay For CollegeCollege is expensive and everyone needs to think about how they are going to cover the costs. Some of the costs include tuition, room and board, meals, books, and spending money.

In order to pay for college, some people consider taking out a second mortgage instead of taking out a student loan. How can someone know if taking out a second mortgage is the answer for them? There are several factors to consider.

The Interest Rate

One of the factors that people need to consider is the interest rate on the second mortgage. The higher the interest rate, the more expensive the second mortgage is going to be.

The total cost of the second mortgage, including the interest rate, points, origination fees, and other expenses, must be weighed against the cost of attending college, which often comes in the form of a student loan. Which is going to be more cost-effective? The second mortgage or the student loan?

The Size Of The Loan

Another factor to consider is the size of the loan. Ultimately, the size of the loan is going to impact the final cost of attending college. The larger the loan, the more someone will have to pay in terms of interest. The size of the student loan should be compared to the cost associated with a second mortgage. 

The Tax Implications

Another aspect people need to consider is the tax implications. The interest on a first mortgage is tax-deductible. This is often the largest tax deduction that someone claims. People might assume that the interest on their second mortgage is going to be tax-deductible as well.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Interest on a second mortgage is tax-deductible only if the proceeds from that mortgage are going to be used to pay for the property. If they are being used to pay for education, they are not tax-deductible.

People need to compare the tax implications of a student loan versus the implications of a second mortgage.

Using A Second Mortgage To Pay For College

These are a few of the factors that everyone needs to think about when trying to finance the cost of higher education. These decisions can have significant impacts on someone’s financial future.

Consult with your trusted home financing professional for a review of your personal situation. They can guide you through the process to make the best decision for your family.

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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