Archive for July, 2021

The Top Tips for Saving Money On Energy Bills

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 30th, 2021

The Top Tips for Saving Money On Energy BillsThere are many homeowners who are looking for ways to reduce their monthly expenses. One way to do that is to target energy bills and expenditures. Homeowners might be able to make a few changes and upgrades to their homes, which could reduce utility bills and improve energy efficiency. What are a few ways to do exactly that?

Consider Making The Switch To LED Lights

One of the first changes homeowners might want to make is to switch to LED lights. LED lights are newer lights that can last many times longer than traditional lightbulbs. It is not unusual for homeowners to save $75 per year on energy costs by switching older incandescent lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Talk to a local contractor or professional about some of the top LED bulbs available today.

Seal Leaks Around Doors And Windows Throughout The Home

Heating and cooling expenses are some of the biggest energy expenditures that people have. By sealing a few leaks throughout the home, it is possible to save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. There are small leaks that could be present around the doors and windows. By sealing these leaks using caulk, homeowners can trap heat and air conditioning in the home, removing stress from the HVAC unit. Homeowners should also consider sealing leaks around lighting and chimneys.

Invest In A Smart Thermostat

It is also possible for homeowners to save money by investing in a smart thermostat. Homeowners should consider using this thermostat to reduce the amount of work performed by the HVAC unit when people are at work or asleep. That way, the heating and cooling system doesn’t work as hard when people aren’t home (or are asleep).

Perform Routine Maintenance On Time

Finally, homeowners need to make sure they perform routine maintenance on their HVAC systems on time to reduce energy expenses. For example, the filters might get clogged, forcing the HVAC system to work harder to heat and cool parts of the home. By investing in maintenance, the HVAC system will operate at peak efficiency, which will reduce energy bills. This will also extend the life of the HVAC system efficiency, which might allow homeowners to put off replacing it.

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S&P Case-Schiller Indices Report Record Rise in Home Prices

Posted in Uncategorized by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 29th, 2021

S&P Case-Schiller Indices Report Record Rise in Home PricesHome prices continued to rise at record rates in May according to S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. National home prices rose by 16.60 percent year-over-year in May as compared to 14.80 percent year-over-year price growth in April. The 10-City Home Price Index reported home prices rose 16.40 percent year-over-year and 1.90 percent month-to-month.

20-City Home Price Index Reports 17 Percent Home Price Growth Year-Over-Year

S&P Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reported month-to-month home price growth of two percent in May as year-over-year home price gains rose from April’s reading of 15 percent to 17 percent year-over-year home price growth.

All cities participating in the 20-City Home Price Index reported home price gains in May. Three cities held their positions with top rates of home price growth. Phoenix Arizona held first place with year-over-year home price growth of 25.90 percent; San Diego, California reported 24.70 percent home price growth. Seattle Washington held third place with 23.40 percent year-over-year home price growth in May.

Home Price Growth Expected to Slow as Buyers Drop Out of Market

Craig Lazarra, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P down Jones Indices said he found himself “running out of superlatives to describe the record increases in home prices.” Analysts credited homebuyer relocation from urban areas to less populated suburban and rural areas for driving up prices. The pandemic initially drove this trend and continues to do so today. Other factors pushing home prices higher included high demand for homes exceeding homes available. As millennials reach their prime-home buying years, demand for homes will increase. Low mortgage rates also encouraged would-be home buyers into the housing market.

High demand for homes drives home prices up, but slower sales suggest that buyers are reaching a tipping point with affordability. Fewer buyers will raise the inventory of available homes and cause home prices to fall. First-time and moderate-income buyers continue to face affordability constraints in many areas, but home prices likely won’t fall significantly in the near term.

In related news, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported similar readings for single-family homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Home prices rose 1.70 percent from April to May and 18.00 percent year-over-year in May. Readings from FHFA include seasonally-adjusted purchase-only data;  refinance transactions were not included.

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House Hunting in a New City? Three Ways to Determine Which Neighborhoods Are Up and Coming

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 28th, 2021

House Hunting in a New City? Three Ways to Determine Which Neighborhoods Are 'Up and Coming'If you’re moving to a new city and you’re looking for an affordable home in a nice neighborhood, one great way to get a fantastic home without paying sky-high prices is by choosing a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Communities that are starting to gentrify make it easy to find an affordable home, especially if you buy before the prices start to rise.

So how can you spot a neighborhood that’s on the rise? Here’s what you need to know.

Look For Neighborhoods Popular With Artists & Young People

Young people, artists, musicians, performers, and other bohemians tend to lead the way when it comes to neighborhood revitalizations. These are the kinds of people who typically don’t have copious amounts of disposable income, so they’re looking for something affordable. But they also want to live in a hip, trendy part of town.

And as the area gains more and more creative types, it starts to take on its own creative personality. That makes it attractive to all manner of buyers, which starts driving more and more sales. So if you want to find an up-and-coming neighborhood, just follow the artists, musicians, and Gen Y buyers.

Track The Area’s Average Days On Market

One great way to find which neighborhoods are the most popular with buyers is to track the average number of days on market for properties in those neighborhoods. Your real estate agent can help you find this information. If you notice a slow decrease in days on market over time, it’s a good sign that the neighborhood is on the up and up.

Oftentimes, in an up and coming area, the days on market will decrease before prices start to rise – which will help you get a great deal.

Look Up Building Permits To See Where The Renovations Are

You can also tell if an area is up and coming if there’s a lot of renovation activity happening. Visit your municipal government office and see if you can find information on which neighborhoods are seeing more and more building and renovation permits. Lots of construction and renovation activity in an area indicates that it’s a great place to move to.

Finding a great neighborhood is critical to being satisfied with your home purchase. There are lots of things about your home that you can change, but the neighborhood isn’t one of them – so make sure you’re happy with the area before you buy. Local real estate agents are a great source of information about neighborhoods – contact a trusted real estate agent near you to learn which neighborhoods are most popular with buyers.

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Buying an Investment Property? 3 Key Home Features That Will Help Ensure You Turn a Profit

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 27th, 2021

Buying an Investment Property? 3 Key Home Features That Will Help Ensure You Turn a ProfitIf you’re entering the real estate investment market for the first time, you’re embarking on a great adventure – and with a solid plan, you can turn a tidy profit on your investment.

The key to a successful real estate investment is choosing the right property. A great property will reap dividends for years to come. Look for these three features in your next investment property and you’ll have no trouble finding one that turns a profit.

Location: More Important Than You Think

The location of your investment property will be critical in determining how much you earn on it and how long you’re able to keep tenants. And as the saying goes, you can change the color of the walls, you can change the type of flooring, and you can change the layout of the home, but you can’t change the location. So before you do anything else, make sure your new investment property is in a good location.

High cash flow investment properties tend to share certain location characteristics. They tend to be in neighborhoods with great schools and great amenities like pools, parks, movie theaters, and public transit. They also tend to be in an area with quiet, low-traffic, well-kept streets. Great neighborhoods have a low crime rate and don’t mix housing types.

Average Rent Price & Vacancy Rate: Look For Marketability

Aside from local amenities, you’ll also want to consider the average vacancy rate and rent price in your neighborhood. If you can’t cover your costs by charging the neighborhood’s average rent, then the home is a poor investment.

Keep an eye on vacancies in the neighborhood. If there are a high number of vacancies in the area, it could mean that the area’s rental market is seasonal or that renters are no longer interested in it. A low-vacancy area will allow you to charge more rent, and you’ll be more likely to find renters.

Floor Plan: Know The Trends And Buy Accordingly

There are a lot of things you can change if you don’t like your home, but the floor plan is a challenge to rearrange. That means in order to make your property competitive on the market, you’ll want to choose a property with a modern floor plan. Watch the trends and buy a home with a floor plan that’s in demand – you’ll have an easier time finding tenants.

Buying an investment property is a great choice for smart investors, but it’s important that you choose a property that will turn a profit. An experienced real estate agent can help you find a great new investment property that tenants will love. Contact your local real estate professional to learn more about qualifying investment properties.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 26, 2021

Posted in Uncategorized by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 26th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 26, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, data on sales of new and previously-owned homes, and weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

NAHB: Affordability, Shortages of Labor and Materials Impacting U.S. Housing Markets

Housing market conditions are changing according to July’s Housing Market Index produced by the National Association of Home Builders. Although the HMI reading declined by one point in July, ongoing trends including labor shortages, higher prices for building materials, and affordability impacted builder confidence in overall market conditions. July’s index reading was 80 as compared to June’s reading of 81 and the expected reading of 82. Housing Market Index readings over 50 indicate that most builders surveyed were confident about housing market conditions.

Component readings of July’s Housing Market Index included builder confidence in current market conditions, which fell one point to 86;  builder confidence in housing market conditions for the next six months rose two points to 81. Builder confidence in prospective buyer traffic in single-family housing developments fell six points to an index reading of 65. Buyer traffic readings often fell below 50 before the pandemic.

Regional builder confidence readings for housing market conditions were mixed in July. The Northeastern region’s reading was four points lower at an index reading of 75. The Midwest index reading was one point lower at 71. The builder confidence reading in the South was unchanged at 85 and the West’s builder confidence reading dropped two points to 87.

Previously-Owned Home Sales Rise in June

The National Association of Realtors® reported a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.86 million sales of previously-owned homes in June. Analysts expected a reading of 5.93 million sales; May’s reading for existing home sales showed an annual pace of  5.78 million homes sold.

Demand for homes since the pandemic started is driven by home buyer demand for homes in less congested suburban and rural areas. Although demand for homes encourages home builders, it also increases home prices when multiple buyers submit purchase offers on each available home. This drives home prices higher and sidelines first-time and moderate-income buyers. High-demand areas are also experiencing more cash offers, which creates difficulties for buyers needing to finance a home purchase.

Housing Starts Rise in July as Building Permits Issued Fall

U.S. housing starts rose in June according to the Census Bureau. 1.64 million starts were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. 1.59 million starts were expected based on 1.55 million starts reported in May. Building permits fell to 1.60 permits issued in June; analysts expected building permits issued in June to match May’s reading of 1.68 million building permits issued.

Mortgage Rates and Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower rates for fixed-rate mortgages with 30-year fixed rates averaging 10 basis points lower at 2.78 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were also 10 basis points lower and averaged 2.12 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable mortgages rose two basis points on average to 2.49 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

419,000 new jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 368, 000 initial jobless claims filed in the previous week. 3.24 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to 3.27 million ongoing jobless claims filed in the previous week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on home prices from S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, data on pending home sales and new home sales will be released along with the post-meeting statement of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to give a press conference after the FOMC statement is released. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will be published along with the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index.

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The Younger Generation is Looking To Buy Houses

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 23rd, 2021

The Younger Generation is Looking To Buy HousesThe current housing demand is unparalleled and because of this demand, home prices are skyrocketing. Nonetheless, people continue to shop for homes. Low interest rates and high demand combined with supply chain issues are stunting the homebuilding industry, creating a perfect storm for an unprecedented housing market. In addition, there are many millennials who are looking for homes right now as well. Why is this the case?

Interest Rates Are At Record Lows

One of the biggest reasons why so many younger people are looking to buy a home is that low-interest rates make them more affordable. As a result, people are able to stretch their dollars farther. There is no question that buyers want to take advantage of low-interest rates; however, this is also driving up the price tag of homes. What some home buyers might save in interest they could have to pay extra in principle.

Young Homebuyers Want To Grow Their Wealth Through Homeownership

Owning a home is an investment, and young buyers see it that way as well. Right now, millennials and gen Z adults are looking to purchase homes for the first time. During the next year, these numbers are only going to increase. A lot of young adults realize that they may never see a market like this again; however, the lack of supply in the housing market continues to remain a challenge.

Inventory Is Historically Low

Now is a smart time to buy a home for everyone, including young adults; however, the challenge is finding one. There are many buyers who are looking to purchase homes right now and there are not that many houses for sale. Therefore, some buyers might eventually give up and wait for the market to cool down; however, it might require a spike in interest rates to make that happen. This is leaving many homebuyers confused about what to do next. That is why it is important to work with an experienced real estate professional.

Help Is Available

Buying a home is a major decision and it is important to get this right. That is why it is a smart idea to work with an experienced real estate professional who can help buyers make the right decisions.

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Down Payment Assistance Programs May Make Homeownership More Affordable

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 22nd, 2021

Down Payment Assistance Programs May Make Homeownership More AffordableThere are many people who are currently looking to purchase a home while interest rates are relatively low; however, there are many homeowners who feel like they do not have a strong level of financial understanding when it comes to the process of purchasing a home.

If homeowners don’t have the financial knowledge base to effectively evaluate their options, they might have trouble figuring out what they can truly afford. For example, how much money do homeowners need to save for a down payment? There are a lot of down payment assistance programs available at local, state, and regional levels.

Resources Are Available For First Time Homebuyers

There are many down payment assistance programs that have been made available specifically for first-time homebuyers. Many people who are buying a home for the first time might not be able to put 20 percent down when lenders ask for it. That is why down payment assistance programs might be able to help homebuyers bridge the gap between what they have and what they need. At the same time, there are other programs available as well.

There Are Programs Available for Non-First Time Homebuyers As Well

There are also down payment assistance programs that are open to people who aren’t first-time homebuyers as well. For example, many people are thinking about relocating because they work from home. They might want to stretch their money farther and purchase more space. Some rural areas have USDA loans that do not require a down payment. USDA loans might even be available in the suburbs. These loans might be easier for homebuyers who might not have a large chunk of money saved up for a down payment. Reaching out to these down payment assistance programs could be a smart move.

Understand All Options Available For Down Payment Assistance

Ultimately, there are a lot of down payment assistance programs that could make it easier for potential homebuyers to purchase a home. With many homeowners looking to purchase a home now before interest rates rise, it is important to explore all options available. This includes looking at down payment assistance programs that might make it easier for homeowners to afford a home.

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A Review Of Government Vs Conventional Mortgages

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 21st, 2021

A Review Of Government Vs Conventional MortgagesThere are two broad categories of mortgages. The first is government mortgages, which include USDA, FHA, and VA loans. These loans are backed and insured by the United States government. The other category is conventional mortgages. These are mortgages that are insured by private lenders, such as banks and credit unions. What are the differences between these two loan options?

Government Mortgages

The qualifications for government mortgages are usually more lenient than conventional loans. For example, FHA mortgages are usually backed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans could be a smart option for borrowers who might not be able to make a large down payment or who are taking out a loan for the first time. In addition, borrowers with higher debt to income ratios and lower credit scores might also be able to qualify for an FHA loan. While it is possible to qualify for an FHA loan with a lower down payment mortgage insurance might still be required.

Another government mortgage is a VA mortgage. This is a mortgage that is insured by the United States government that is available to members of the military. In order to qualify for a VA loan, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is required. While VA loans do not charge mortgage insurance, an upfront funding fee could be charged if certain requirements are not met.

Conventional Mortgages

Conventional mortgages refer to home loans that are created and financed by unions, banks, credit unions, and other lenders not associated with the United States government. When compared to government loans, they usually have stricter guidelines. Borrowers seeking a conventional mortgage usually must have a higher credit score, a larger down payment, and a lower debt to income ratio. If borrowers are not able to put 20 percent down, they might be charged private mortgage insurance (PMI); however, some borrowers might be able to negotiate lender-insured PMI if they are willing to accept a higher interest rate.

Speak To A Loan Officer

The right loan for one person might not be the right loan for someone else. Everyone should speak to a loan officer to figure out which type of home loan is right for them. That way, everyone can negotiate favorable terms on a home loan.

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3 ‘Must Know’ Pieces of Advice for First-time Home Buyers

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 20th, 2021

3 'Must Know' Pieces of Advice for First-time Home BuyersWhen delving into the realities of home ownership, there can be many factors involved that make it difficult to determine what you need to know and what can wait until later. If you happen to be a first-time buyer who’s looking for the best tips for purchasing a home, look no further than the following three pointers to set you on the right path.

Get Familiar With Your Credit Score

If you haven’t looked at your credit report for a long time, it can be a daunting task to request this information. Fortunately, your credit report is free from and it will prepare you for what lenders are going to see. By taking this important step, you will be able to determine any delinquent accounts or balances owing that have gone to collections, and hopefully have these cleaned up before they can become a problem for your mortgage.

Determine The Price You Can Pay

While you may have a price in mind for what you’re willing to pay for a home, it’s important to determine your debt-to-income ratio before putting in an offer. Your DTI ratio can be determined by taking your total monthly costs, adding it to what you would be paying for a home and dividing it by your monthly gross income. If it’s a housing price that will work for you, this amount should equate to less than 43%.

Organize Your Housing History

If you have a good history as a tenant, the next step will probably be the easiest of all, but it’s very important in order to prove you’re a responsible candidate for home ownership. Once you’ve acquired a Verification of Rent from any applicable landlord in the previous year, you’ll want to ensure that you have money in the bank. While RRSP’s can make a good impression, make sure you have liquid assets available so you can convince the lender your home investment is manageable.

There are a lot of things to know when it comes to buying a home, but if you’re a first time buyer the most important thing is to ensure that your finances are organized and that you’re not diving into more house than you can afford. By taking the time to determine your debt-to-income ratio and looking into your credit, you can ensure a positive first-time buying experience. If you’re wondering about homes for sale in your area, you may want to contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 19, 2021

Posted in Uncategorized by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 19th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 19, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic reports included readings on inflation, Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Consumer Price Index: June Inflation Grows at Fastest Pace Since 2008

June’s Consumer Price Index showed the fastest pace of inflationary growth in 13 years; inflation grew by 5.40 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Used car sales accounted for one-third of the growth, but prices also rose for clothes, food, energy, and travel/hospitality. The year-over-year inflation rate for May was 5.00 percent.

Inflation grew by 0.90 percent month-to-month, which exceeded analyst’s expectations of 0.50 percent growth and 0.60 percent growth in May. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors also grew by 0.90 percent in June as compared to a month-to-month reading of 0.70 percent in May. Analysts expressed concern that the rapid pace of inflation may not slow as quickly as the Federal Reserve predicted.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell Testifies Before House Financial Services Panel

Fed Chair Jerome Powell maintained the Federal Reserve’s earlier prediction that the pace of inflation would ease, but not immediately: “Inflation has increased notably and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating.”Mr.Powell said that inflationary growth has come in at a faster pace than the Fed was hoping to see.

Chair Powell identified three factors contributing to current inflationary growth. Weak inflationary growth during the pandemic will drop out of the year-over-year calculation; Production and supply chain constraints have led to sharp price increases after the pandemic. The third factor is a surge in demand for services as the economy reopens.

The Fed Chair said that “it’s a pretty narrow group of things that are producing these high readings.”

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported mixed mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.88 percent and were two basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to an average of 2.22 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by five basis points to 2.47 percent on average; Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-yar fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 360,000 initial claims filed from the previous week’s reading of 386,000 claims filed. Data for continuing jobless claims were not updated last week.

The University of Michigan reported no change in its Consumer Sentiment Index for July with an index reading of 85.5. Analysts expected a reading of 86.3.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, reports on housing starts and building permits, and data on existing home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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