Archive for July, 2020

FOMC Statement: Fed Holds Key Rate Steady as Coronavirus Spreads

Posted in Uncategorized by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 31st, 2020

FOMC Statement: Fed Holds Key Rate Steady as Coronavirus Spreads

Wednesday’s post-meeting statement of the Federal Reserves Federal Open Market Committee reaffirmed its concern over the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and health of all Americans. The Committee voted to hold its benchmark target federal funds range at 0.00 percent to 0.25 percent. Analysts do not expect the Fed to raise its key interest rate more than once in the next three years.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in mid-June kept the economy from recovering after the virus pandemic caused a historic plunge in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product during the second quarter.

Chair Powell described the resurgence of Covid-19 as “flattening the curve of the recovery,” and said that efforts taken to control the virus are “critical.” Restoring the economy to normalcy will require national responses designed to stop the rapid spread of the highly contagious virus.

Fed Chair Powell said the pandemic and its fallout caused the biggest shock to the U.S. economy in living memory. 

FOMC Statement Commits to Using its Full Range of Tools to Ease Impact of Pandemic

The Federal Open Market Committee reasserted its commitment to using ”all available tools to support the U.S. economy during these challenging times.” The Committee’s monetary policy decisions are based on two legal mandates to achieve maximum employment and price stability. 

Committee members said that although the economy has recovered since the initial coronavirus outbreak, economic readings remain far below their pre-pandemic levels. The Fed statement said that the path of economic recovery depends significantly on the course of the virus. The Fed expects the pandemic to severely impact the economy in the near term and to continue damaging the economy in its mid-term forecasts.

The Fed will continue to purchase Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities to support credit flow to businesses and households. The FOMC statement stressed the Committee’s flexibility in dealing with current and emerging economic conditions; members will review domestic and global financial conditions and will change monetary policy according to developments.

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The Top New Power Tools For Home Improvement Projects Currently On The Market

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 30th, 2020

The Top New Power Tools For Home Improvement Projects Currently On The MarketFor many people, their home is the most important investment they will ever make. Therefore, it only makes sense that people will want to spend time improving their house. Sometimes, they simply want to make a nicer place to live.

In other cases, they might be looking to raise the value of their home. Regardless, it is important for people to think about the power tools they are going to use to get the job done.

The right tool could make the difference between a successful project and having to hire someone else. There are a few tools on the market that every homeowner should consider.

A New Power Drill

This is usually the first item on the list when it comes to a home improvement project. While many homeowners probably already have a power drill, there are a few new models that have reached the market. Take a look at some of the top brands and look at their latest models.

Sometimes, they have removable drill bits for specialized tasks, different power settings, and could even reverse the direction in which they spin. This is important for every home improvement project.

A Circular Saw

This is one of the most important saws that everyone should have when it comes to a home improvement project. When it comes to this saw, safety should always come first; however, these saws are popular because they can slice through thick materials with ease. They come both with and without a cord. When it comes to strength, a circular saw is tough to beat. They are ideal for working in tight spaces.

A Cordless Screwdriver

While a screwdriver is a traditional tool for home improvement projects, a power screwdriver is ideal. A cordless option takes the effort out of most tasks and makes it easier for someone to complete home improvement tasks in a short amount of time. They can even spin in both directions, making them useful for both tightening and loosening screws.

Find The Right Power Tools

These are just a few of the top power tools for home improvement projects. Everyone must take the time to find the right power tools for their next home improvement job.

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Maximize Your Backyard’s Privacy With These Unique Ideas

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 29th, 2020

Maximize Your Backyard’s Privacy with These Unique IdeasIf you’re a homeowner, your backyard is probably a space where you look forward to spending private, quality time watching your children play or entertaining dinner guests.

The privacy you and your family treasure could suddenly be put at risk if your neighbors finish renovations allowing them to see into your backyard, or if a tree that once hid your backyard from view needs to be removed.

If you’re looking to reclaim the privacy you’ve lost in your yard, here are some options you will want to consider.

Your Property Line Is A Natural Barrier That You Can Use To Reclaim Your Family’s Privacy

The first option you might consider if you’re looking to reclaim your yard’s privacy is probably building a fence – but depending on your budget, your relationship with your neighbors, and the look you want in your yard, a fence might not be the best option.

Consider planting a fast-growing hedge or other greenery along your property line instead. Italian cypress, for instance, will look great, grow very quickly, and will eventually give you all the privacy you need. 

Break Up Your Nosey Neighbors’ Line Of Sight By Installing Raised Beds Or Berms

If you already have a green thumb and love nothing more than working on your backyard garden, you can have your cake and eat it too by replanting your current backyard plants in raised beds or berms.

Raised beds will add up to two or three feet of height to your plants without taking away the area or square footage in the rest of your backyard, making it an ideal option for homeowners will smaller backyard spaces. Installing raised beds or berms could also be a great solution for your garden if you have trouble planting due to the presence of clay or simply poor soil.

Lumber Isn’t Your Only Fencing Option

Though fencing seems like an obvious and possibly boring option to liven up your backyard and improve the aesthetic of your space at the same time, there are ways you can get creative with fencing that you might not have considered. Putting in latticework can alleviate the claustrophobic feeling that might come with enclosing your space fully with a solid fence, giving you some visibility through the lattice.

You can spice up the look of your enclosure by weaving plants through your lattice, or if you have the patience, get some ivy growing through your enclosure.

Maximizing the privacy of your outdoor space is easy if you’re creative and you enjoy working outdoors. If you love nothing more than pruning and shearing, then try to reclaim your space through planting rather than installing a fence or another permanent structure that you can’t change and therefore might regret later.

If you’re worried about how your backyard transformation could affect the value of your home, or if you’re looking for more privacy options, contact a real estate professional that you trust for the backyard design help you need.  

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Get Your Finances In Order With A Few Simple Steps

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 28th, 2020

Get Your Finances In Order With A Few Simple StepsIf you are looking to buy a home one day but don’t think you are ready just yet, you are not alone. One of the most important tasks that you have to complete involves getting your finances in order.

There are a few ways to get your finances in order before you buy, no matter how long you have been waiting to buy a home. Getting your finances in order with these simple steps can help you become a more competitive applicant both for a mortgage and a home that is on the market.

Focus On Your Credit Score

While it is true that your credit doesn’t have to be perfect in order to get a home, a strong credit score will increase your chances of getting approved. In addition, a great credit score can also help you get a lower interest rate on your mortgage.

Some of the ways that you can improve your credit score include disputing errors that might be on your report, reducing your debt, producing a long track record of on-time payments, and avoiding late payments. All of this will help you get ready to apply for a mortgage.

Open A Bank Account For Homeownership

The cost of a home is far more than a down payment and mortgage bills. The reality is that owning a home comes with a variety of expenses for which you must be prepared. Therefore, it is a prudent idea to open a bank account that is solely for homeownership expenses. This account should contain a variety of funds including those for utilities, maintenance, landscaping costs, and even renovation expenses. This will help you visualize the amount of money that you have set aside.

Calculate The Budget

Finally, it is also smart to calculate a budget for the home. Some of the factors that are going to play a role in the sticker price of a home include the down payment, closing costs, and potential taxes. For help with this calculation, it is a smart idea to meet with a trained mortgage professional.

Prepare To Buy A Home

These are a few of the steps that you should follow to get your finances in order. These steps will make you a more competitive applicant for a mortgage.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 27, 2020

Posted in Uncategorized by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 27th, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 27, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on sales of new and previously owned homes. State and federal data on new and continuing jobless claims were released along with Freddie Mac’s weekly report on mortgage rates.

Sales of New and Existing Homes Rise in June

Sales of new homes rose at their highest rate in 13 years according to the Commerce Department. New homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 776,000 sales, which exceeded the expected reading of 710.000 new single-family homes sold and May’s reading of 682,000 new homes sold. Analysts said that increased interest in relocating to suburban areas and low mortgage rates fueled buyer interest in new homes.

The National Association of Realtors® reported a sharp increase in sales of previously-owned homes during June. Sales were nearly 20.70 percent higher than in May; 4.72 million previously-owned homes were sold in June at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace. May’s reading for pre-owned homes sold was 3.91 million homes sold. June’s sales pace for previously owned homes was the highest month-to-month gain since 1968.

Sales of previously-owned homes were sharply lower than pre-pandemic levels; potential home buyers were sidelined by concerns over jobs and the general economy.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.01 percent and were three basis points higher. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by six basis points to an average of 2.54 percent; Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.09 percent and were three basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

Initial jobless claims rose to 1.42 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 1.31 million claims. State and federal jobless claims fell to 2.35 million state and federal jobless claims from the prior week’s reading of 2.47 million initial jobless claims filed. Ongoing state jobless claims fell to 16.20 million claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 17.30 million ongoing jobless claims. State and federal continuing jobless claims fell to 31.80 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 32.00 million ongoing claims for state and federal jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, data on pending home sales and the Fed’s FOMC post-meeting statement and press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims will be released along with a monthly report on consumer sentiment.

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Buying A Home: You Might Be Able To Skip The Home Appraisal – But Should You?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 24th, 2020

Buying A Home: You Might Be Able To Skip The Home Appraisal - But Should You?When someone is thinking about buying a home, one of the key parts is the home appraisal. The appraisal ensures that the buyer is paying a fair price for the home while also protecting the mortgage lender against taking a loss.

On the other hand, an appraisal is also an added cost of the buyer can be a serious source of stress for both sellers and brokers.

Recently, government agencies have passed a rule saying that home appraisals are no longer going to be required on homes that are less than $400,000; however, many lenders will still require them.

Therefore, when should someone consider skipping a home appraisal to save some money?

Appraisals And Mortgages

One of the first ways to take a look at the value of a home appraisal is by comparing it to the mortgage. The two go hand in hand. Appraisals are important because they protect not only the seller and buyer but also the lender. The lender wants to make sure they know what the property is worth.

Therefore, an appraisal is more about valuing the property and not about the price of the home.

In addition, lenders make loans based on either the sale price or the appraised value, whichever is lower. Lenders do this to make sure that buyers have invested enough in their own property.

Borrowers And Appraisals

In addition to considering the lender, it is also important to consider the borrower. An appraisal is helpful for the borrower because this prevents someone from overpaying for a property.

Therefore, they act as a form of consumer protection. On the other hand, they also cost the borrower a few hundred dollars. If money is tight, this can be a serious problem and could dull the appeal of a home.

Choosing Between The Two Options

In the end, people should consider skipping the appraisal if it saves them money. Lenders might still require someone to obtain an evaluation as a form of protection. If the buyer is not confident in this evaluation method, then a traditional evaluation might be a better approach.

It is important for people to feel confident in the sale price, regardless of how this happens.

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A Guide To Everything Regarding Instant Pre Approved Home Loans

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 23rd, 2020

A Guide To Everything Regarding Instant Pre Approved Home LoansThere are many people who set buying a home as one of their major life goals. There is a lot that comes with owning a home including a major investment opportunity, a sense of stability, and a feeling of pride; however, homes are also expensive. It can be challenging to find a home loan.

A traditional mortgage requires a thorough credit check and could take a long time to get approved. Some people might not even qualify.

On the other hand, there is also a helpful alternative called an instant pre-approved home loan. There are a few important points that everyone should keep in mind.

What Is An Instant Pre-Approved Home Loan?

A pre-approved home loan is a loan that has been offered to existing customers of a certain lender with an immediate sanction. The funds are disbursed once the property has been verified.

The point of a pre-approved home loan is to skip the lengthy procedure that is usually required for someone to obtain a home loan. The bank makes this loan offer available to customers even before they have selected the property they want to buy. A pre-approved home loan often comes with a strong offer at an affordable price. Sometimes, the pre-approved home loan is even offered at a lower interest rate when compared to the current market average.

In order to offer a pre-approved home loan, the bank will still go through the credit history, payment history, and bank statements of its customers.

There are a few major features of a pre-approved home loan that people should note. Usually, these loans are only available for a short period of time. Second, the pre-approved home loan allows borrowers to manage their funds well. They usually bank with the same lender. Finally, there is some room for negotiation when it comes to a pre-approved home loan.

Is A Pre-Approved Home Loan The Right Option?

Many people are wondering if a pre-approved home loan is the right option for them. The downside of a pre-approved home loan is that people are limited to that specific lender. Therefore, it is a solid strategy to continue to check around with other lenders to find out about their comparable rates.

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Lowballing 101: How to Avoid Insulting a Home Seller when Making a Low Offer for Their House or Condo

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 22nd, 2020

Lowballing 101: How to Avoid Insulting a Home Seller when Making a Low Offer for Their House or CondoBuying a home is a huge step for people who are ready to make an investment in their future. Getting a great deal on a home is just as important and knowing how much to offer could be confusing. It is important to make sure the home seller is not insulted by the lowball offer and is ready to negotiate to make sure everyone wins.

Make a List of Necessary Improvements

One of the best ways to validate a lowball offer on a home is to list improvements that need to be made to the property. If the home needs a new roof or a new heating and air conditioning system, these are reasons to offer less than the asking price.

Sometimes a home may also need new flooring, paint, or matching appliances which all cost money. The buyer can make a lowball offer stating additional expenses of making sure the home is move in ready.

Explain Any Issues with the Location

Another option when considering a lowball offer is to point out problems with the location. If the home is on a busy street or close to a manufacturing district, the buyer has legitimate concerns. In the offer, list the potential problems of living too close to fast food restaurants, train tracks, or airports. A less desirable location could equal a great buy on a new home.

Provide Pricing for Comparable Homes in the Area

A knowledgeable real estate agent can help compare homes that have sold in the area. When you are writing up a lowball offer, look at the lower priced homes that have sold in the same neighborhood. A seller will quickly realize that if he wants to sell the home, he will need to accept a reasonable offer or risk letting his house sit on the market for weeks or months.

Consider the Seller’s Reasons for Selling

Finally, the seller’s situation can also be key in getting a good deal on a home. If the seller is desperate to sell because of a job relocation or if he has already bought a new home this can be the perfect reason to make a low offer and take the home off the seller’s hands. Without insulting the seller, the buyer can make an offer for less than the asking price and agree to a quick closing.

Buying a home can be stressful and getting a good deal on the property without insulting the seller can take some negotiating. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent will make the experience more enjoyable. Call today to make your dreams come true.

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Home Renovations Are On The Rise

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 21st, 2020

Home Renovations Are On The RiseMillennials are among the most common demographic buying homes today. According to numerous reports that have been published, many homeowners are planning on conducting a home improvement project this year. In large part, this is due to millennials wanting to improve their homes.

Furthermore, home improvement projects may have bigger budgets this year when compared to prior years. It will be interesting to see what kind of home improvement projects unfold this coming year.

Types Of Home Improvement Projects

There are numerous renovation projects that homeowners are going to undertake this year. The most common are outdoor remodels. Many homeowners want to produce encompassing decks, providing a larger space for people to get together and hang out.

In addition to decks, people are looking to add patios as well. Patios can be made from a variety of materials; however, stone is becoming more popular. Homeowners are thinking about adding outdoor kitchens as well.

The most popular indoor renovation project involves the bathroom. People are starting to realize just how much time they spend in the bathroom. With new trends unfolding in terms of baths, showers, and toilets, many homeowners are looking to make an upgrade.

Finally, kitchen renovations are going to be popular as well. This comes as part of a push to generate an open concept among the kitchen, living, and dining areas. With new appliances coming out, there are plenty of opportunities for kitchen upgrades as well.

Reasons For Home Improvement Projects

Many experts are wondering why these home improvement projects are taking place now. The biggest reason is that homeowners are worried about the impression their house would make on their guests. Many homeowners are indicating that they have been planning these projects for a while; however, they haven’t had the time or money to carry out this project until now.

More Home Improvement Projects Are Coming This Year

With more people looking to carry out home improvement projects, expect to see a major jump in home values. Many homeowners enjoy a significant return on the investment they make in home improvement projects. This means that the value of their house may see a jump once the project is finished.  

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 20, 2020

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

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 20, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of  Home Builders on housing markets along with Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and unemployment claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Markets Increases in July

Homebuilders gained confidence in housing market conditions as home buyers sought homes in less-congested suburban areas. Builder confidence rose 14 points to an index reading of 72 in July. NAHB Chair Chuck Fowke said, “Builders are seeing strong traffic and lots of interest in new construction as existing home inventory remains lean.”

Homebuyers sought larger homes to accommodate work-at-home needs and also fled from urban congestion posing hazards due to Covid-19. Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB said, “Flight to the suburbs is real.” This trend benefits home builders, who must meet buyer demand.

Inventories of pre-owned homes remained low and improved builder outlook on current sales of single-family homes by 16 points to an index reading of 79.

Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose seven points to 75 and builder confidence in buyer traffic rose 15 points to 58. Index readings over 50 indicate positive market conditions.

Commerce Department readings for June housing starts and building permits issued were higher than in May. 1.19 million housing starts were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.01 million housing starts. 1.24 million building permits were issued in June on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.22 million permits issued.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported the lowest mortgage rates in 50 years last week;  the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell five basis points to 2.98 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell three basis points to 2.48 percent; rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose four basis points to 3.06 percent on average Analysts said that as low mortgage rates encouraged would-be buyers to enter the market, increasing cases of COVID-19 in some areas could cause markets to cool as fears of layoffs and unemployment impact real estate markets.

New and continuing jobless claims fell last week but remained much higher than pre-COVID-19 readings. 1.30 million initial jobless claims were filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.31 million new claims. Continuing jobless claims fell to 17.30 million claims as compared to the previous weekly reading of 18.10 million ongoing jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

Readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and unemployment claims.

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