Archive for March, 2022

Comparing Long-Term And Short-Term Rentals

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 31st, 2022

Comparing Long-Term And Short-Term RentalsOwning rental properties is a great way to diversify investments. Similar to the stock market, homes come in many shapes and forms. Some people are looking for short-term rental properties while other people are looking for long-term rental properties. What are the differences between them, and why might one person choose to own one of these properties over the other?

What Is A Long-Term Rental?

In general, long-term rental property is defined as any property that has a standard lease that is longer than 12 months. Many people think about apartments, condos, and single-family homes as long-term rental properties.

There are several reasons why people might choose a long-term rental property as one of their investment options. With longer leases, there is a consistent stream of income. There is also less to do because there is not as much turnover between residents. Property owners also have fewer responsibilities, as the renters are often responsible for handling utilities.

On the other hand, vacancies in long-term rental properties can last a long time. Some people prefer flexibility in a rental contract, so they might not be interested in a minimum 12-month lease. 

What About A Short-Term Rental?

A short-term rental property is defined as any property with a standard lease that is shorter than 12 months. While this often includes vacation homes, they can also include single-family homes, apartments, and condos.

Many people like owning a short-term rental property because the income is generally higher. People tend to stay for only a few days or weeks at a time, so property owners can charge more for an average night.

One downside of owning a short-term rental property is that this requires more work. The property owner has to clean more often between residents, and there might be more variability in the income stream.

Choose The Right Property

These are just a few of the most important points people need to keep in mind regarding long-term and short-term rental properties. The right option for one person is not necessarily the right option for someone else. Property owners need to think about their personal preferences, the location of the property, and how much work they are willing to do. That way, they can decide whether to go with a short-term or long-term rental property. 

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Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Prices Grow at a Near-Record Pace

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 30th, 2022

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Prices Grow at a Near-Record PaceU.S home prices grew at a near-record pace in January according to the National S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index; year-over-year home prices rose by 19.20 percent in January as compared to December’s reading of 18.90 percent. Home prices rose 1.80 percent on a month-to-month basis from December to January.

While home prices continued to grow at near-record rates, home price growth slowed in some areas during  December but picked up in January. Craig M. Lazzara, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said: “Last fall we observed that home prices, although continuing to rise sharply, had begun to decelerate. Even that modest deceleration was on pause in January.”

The top three cities for home price growth held their places in January. Phoenix, Arizona had the highest pace of home price growth with a year-over-year gain of 32.60 percent; Tampa, Florida reported a year-over-year gain of 30.80 percent. Miami, Florida held third place with a year-over-year home price growth rate 0f 28.10 percent.

All 20 cities tracked by Case-Shiller reported record gains in year-over-year home prices while 16 of 20 cities included in the 20-City Index reported higher home price gains in January than in December.

FHFA House Price Report Shows Strong Growth

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that home prices rose by 18.20 percent year-over-year in January. December’s year-over-year growth pace was 17.70 percent for homes owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Home prices rose fastest in the Mountain region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico Utah, and Wyoming. Year-over-year home prices rose by 23 percent or more in the Mountain region.

Will Doerner, a supervisory economist at FHFA, said: “So far, the mortgage rate growth has not dampened upward price pressure from intense buyer demand and limited supply.” Low inventories of available homes continue to drive demand for homes, but some economists expect the pace of home sales to drop by as much as 25 percent in response to rising mortgage rates. Analysts expect that low inventories of available homes will sustain rising home prices. Homebuyers can expect to compete for available homes as buyers rush to lock in lower mortgage rates; cash buyers and bidding wars can cause home prices to rise above market value in high-demand markets.

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What Are The Top Signs You Need To Refinance?

Posted in Homeowner Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 29th, 2022

What Are The Top Signs You Need To Refinance?You might have heard that more people are refinancing these days. During the refinancing process, you essentially take your current home loan and replace it with a different one. You can reduce your mortgage payments, shorten the life of your loan, or withdraw cash you can use for other purposes. What are a few of the signs that indicate you should consider refinancing? 

You Can Secure A Lower Interest Rate

If you think you can secure a lower interest rate on your mortgage, it might be time to refinance. There are a number of reasons why you might be able to get a lower interest rate on your home loan. Your credit score may have improved, you may have paid off some of your other loans (which will improve your debt to income ratio), or the average home loan interest rate may have dropped. If you can get a lower interest rate on your home loan, you may want to refinance and save money. 

Your Income Has Increased Significantly

If your income has gone up significantly since you purchased your house, you might want to pay off your house more quickly. Therefore, you might want to refinance and use larger payments to pay down your home loan more quickly. The bank might also give you better terms if you are willing to make larger payments.

You Are Concerned About Your ARM Mortgage

If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), you might be concerned that the interest rate on that mortgage could go up. Therefore, you can refinance your home and convert your ARM mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. If you can lock in an interest rate with a fixed-rate mortgage, you do not have to worry about your interest rate increasing in the future. This could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. 

Consider Refinancing Your Home

These are just a few of the signs that you should consider refinancing your mortgage. Everyone is in a slightly different financial situation, so you should work with a professional who can figure out if this is right for you. That way, you can secure the best possible terms for your home loan. 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 28, 2022

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 28th, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 28, 2022Last week’s economic reporting included a speech and press conference by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, data on pending home sales and sales of new homes, and the University of Michigan’s monthly reading on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

Fed Chair: Rate Hikes Above 0.25 Percent May be Needed to Ease Inflation

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said that the Fed is willing to move beyond its recent 0.25 percent rate hike to control inflation.  In a speech made to the National Business Association for Business Economics, Mr.Powell said, “We will take necessary steps to ensure a return to price stability. In particular, if we conclude that it is appropriate to move more aggressively by raising the federal funds rate by more than 25 basis points at  a meeting or meetings, we will do so.” Mr. Powell clarified that the Fed is willing to raise rates as needed to control inflation. He predicted that the Fed would raise its key interest rate to 1.90 percent this year and 2,8 percent in 2023.

Mortgage Rates Rise Again as Sales of New Homes Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 26 basis points and averaged 4.42 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 24 basis points to 3.63 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 17 basis points to 3.36 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

The combined impact of rising home prices and mortgage rates caused sales of new homes to fall in February.  772,000 new homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 805,000 sales and January’s reading of 788,000 new homes sold.

Initial jobless claims fell last week to 187,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 210,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 215,000 first-time jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims fell to 1.35 million filings as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.42 million jobless claims filed on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.  

The University of Michigan’s final Consumer Sentiment Index for March showed consumer skepticism about current economic conditions. The March index reading was 59.4 as compared to the expected reading of 59.7, which matched February’s index reading for consumer sentiment.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, The Federal Housing Finance Administration’s House Price Index, and data on public and private-sector jobs growth. The national unemployment rate will be published along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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5 Easy Ways to Brighten up Your Curb Appeal

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 25th, 2022

5 Easy Ways to Brighten up Your Curb AppealIt can be easy to forget, but the first thing people will see when they come to your home is the outside, so it’s important to have a well-maintained and picturesque property that represents the inside of your home positively. If you’re looking for a few ways to boost your outdoor space, here are a few tips to help with curb appeal.

Plant A Flower Bed

Whether you decide on a tiny plot or a much larger space, a splash of flowers is great for adding a warm, homey atmosphere to your front yard. This can easily be done by going to your local nursery, picking out some easy-to-maintain perennials and watching the blooms begin to appear.

Trim The Hedges

It’s entirely possible that you have a few trees or shrubs in your yard that have gotten a little bit unruly, but a little time with the snippers for some shaping and the look of your yard will be automatically improved! If you have any shrubs or small trees that have seen better days, you may want to remove and replace.

A Fresh Coat Of Paint

It’s quite common to hear how much a layer of paint can improve things but this is especially true when it comes to your front door. While a tired and dull looking door can reflect poorly on the house within, a new coat of paint will add instant shimmer to your exterior.

Keep It Tidy

Whether you have kids who love to play in the yard or you’ve been doing a little lawn maintenance, leaving out toys or shovels and wheelbarrows can really take a lot away from your property’s look. While you may only be planning on keeping these items out for the short term, a quick pick up at the end of each day makes a marked difference.

Make A Stone Pathway

It may not be something you need, but a whimsical walkway with flattened stones can add a nice touch to your property and make it stand out. If you’re feeling ambitious, you may even want to add a bench or a birdbath to make for a unique escape for your family.

There are a lot of simple fixes you can utilize that will instantly boost the look of your home’s exterior. If you’re fixing up the outside of your home in the hopes of putting your property on the market, contact your trusted local real estate professional for more information.

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Advice For Purchasing A House On A Single Income

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 24th, 2022

Advice For Purchasing A House On A Single IncomeEven though a lot of people have two incomes they can use to purchase a house (theirs and their partner’s), this is not necessarily required. There are lots of people who want to take advantage of current interest rates to purchase a house, and some people are trying to do it on their own. Even though it can be a challenge to buy a house with only one income, it is certainly not impossible. There are several tips that can make it easier for everyone to afford a house with just a single income. 

Always Check Your Credit Score

If you want to buy a house on a single income, make sure you check your credit score first. Your credit score is a reflection of your financial health. The higher your credit score is, the better your chances of having your loan application approved. You can check your credit score for free once per year from any of the major credit bureaus. You need to know what your credit score is and you need to correct any inaccuracies on your credit report before you apply for a home loan. 

Explore Government Loan Programs

Next, if you are buying a home for the first time, you should explore government loan programs. For example, you might be able to apply for an FHA loan, which could allow you to purchase a home for as little as 3.5 percent down. That way, you do not necessarily need to save up a 20 percent down payment to buy a house. Depending on your location, there could be other government loan programs that can make it easier for you to buy a house.

Ask For a Co-Signer To Help 

Even if you plan on paying for the mortgage yourself, you may find it easier to buy a house if you have someone who can co-sign for your loan. This is particularly helpful if your credit score isn’t quite high enough to qualify for a loan. As long as your co-signer has a solid credit score, they might make it easier for you to get your loan application approved. Furthermore, you might be rewarded with a lower interest rate than you could otherwise get on your own. 

 

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Rent Is Going Up Across The Country: What People Can Do

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 23rd, 2022

Rent Is Going Up Across The Country: What People Can DoMany people who rent sign a 12-month lease. With many people’s contracts up for renewal during the next few months, people may be surprised to see just how much their rent might be going up in the next year. Just as gas prices, car prices, and prices at the grocery store continue to increase, rent is going up as well. It is important to take a closer look at the reasons why, and what people can do to make their housing costs more affordable. 

Inflation Is Partly To Blame

One of the reasons why rent is getting more expensive is that inflation has reached record levels. Inflation has not been this high since the 1980s, and the cost of everything is getting more expensive. A lot of overhead expenses have gone up, and these rental companies have responded by increasing their prices. With a lot of demand for apartments, rent is going up. 

COVID Pandemic Deals Are Ending

In addition, a lot of rental companies had deals in place to make housing more affordable during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the major cities provided emergency funding in an effort to keep rent down, particularly as many people were furloughed or laid off. Now that many of these COVID pandemic stipulations are starting to end, apartment buildings are starting to raise their rent significantly.

Buying A Home Is A Way To Save Money

As many people struggle to deal with the sticker shock of their rents going up, it is important to take a look at what people can do to make housing more affordable. Instead of renting, it might be prudent to look at buying a house this year. Interest rates on home loans are still very low, which could make it easier for people to afford a house. Furthermore, unlike rent prices, which tend to increase every time the lease is renewed, people have the option to get a fixed-rate mortgage for 30 years. This means that even as rent continues to go up during the next few decades, the monthly mortgage payment will stay the same even 30 years down the road. Now might be a smart time to buy a house. 

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Tax Deductions Homeowners Can Claim During Tax Season

Posted in Taxes by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 22nd, 2022

ax Deductions Homeowners Can Claim During Tax SeasonEven though owning a home comes with some significant expenses, some of them are tax-deductible. With many people looking for ways to lower their income tax, there are a few expenses tied to the house that every homeowner should consider. This could make a significant difference in their final tax bills, and it could lead to a large tax refund.

Home Repair Costs

There are a lot of people who need to make repairs to their houses during the course of the year. In particular, if you have recently purchased a house, you may need to do a bunch of repairs before you move in. Be sure to save any receipts tied to these home repairs, as many home repairs can be tax-deductible. For example, if there is a giant hole in the floor that you need to fix, this could be deductible on your taxes. 

Interest on a Mortgage 

At the end of the year, your lender should give you a document specifying all the interest you have paid on the mortgage. Generally, the first few payments of your mortgage are almost all interest. Then, the last few payments just before the mortgage is paid off are almost entirely principal. Mortgage interest is tax-deductible, and the lender should give you a statement totaling the interest you have paid during the course of the year.

Property Taxes 

When the lender drafts the monthly payment out of your account, this should include property taxes as well as your monthly mortgage payment. Your property taxes may also be deductible on your taxes. Therefore, take a look at the statement given to you by the lender. See if there is a line for the total amount of property tax you have paid. This could add up to a few thousand dollars, and it could be tax-deductible.

Work With a Tax Professional

These are just a few of the many expenses tied to a house that a homeowner might be able to claim on their taxes. Anyone who is interested in claiming tax deductions related to a house should reach out to a tax professional who can help them. That way, everyone maximizes the amount of money they save on their taxes.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 21, 2022

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 21st, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 21, 2022Last week’s economic reporting included readings on housing markets from the National Association of Home Builders, sales of previously-owned homes, and government reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Slips Two Points in March

The National Association of Home Builders reported that home builder confidence in housing market conditions slipped two points to an index reading of 79. Analysts expected a reading of 80 based on February’s reading of 81. Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist, said: “While low existing inventory and favorable demographics are supporting demand, the impact of elevated inflation and higher interest rates suggest caution for the second half of 2022.”  Builders also expressed ongoing concerns over rising materials costs and labor shortages.

While springtime traditionally opens peak home-buying season, industry analysts cautioned that this year’s homebuying season may fall far short of its usual performance as concerns over the pandemic and rapidly rising inflation persist. Home prices increased significantly in 2021 and affordability issues challenged prospective first-time and moderate-income home buyers. Demand for homes may ease as fewer buyers can afford rising home prices, mortgage rates, and qualify for financing due to tighter mortgage lending standards.

Mortgage Rates Rise After Fed Raises Key Interest Rate for First Time in Four Years

In its customary statement made after the meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers, the Fed announced its first increase in the federal interest rate range in four years. The rate range increased from 0.00-0.25 percent to 0.25-0.50 percent. Fed leaders announced that a strategy of measured interest rate increases is planned to ease rapid inflation.

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 31 basis points to 4.16 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 30 basis points to an average of 3.39 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged3.19 percent and were 22 basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 214,000 claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 229,000 first-time jobless claims filed. Analysts expected a reading of 220,000 new jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims were also lower with 1.42 million ongoing jobless claims filed; 1.49 million continuing claims were filed in the previous week.

The federal government reported a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.77 million housing starts in February; analysts estimated 1.70 million starts as compared to January’s reading of 1.66 million housing starts. Fewer building permits were issued in February with a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.86 million permits issued as compared to January’s year-over-year pace of 1.90 million building permits issued. Analysts expected a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.85 million building permits issued.  

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on new home sales and pending home sales; the University of Michigan will release its final consumer sentiment index for March. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published. 

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Make One Extra Mortgage Payment Every Year To Save Big

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 18th, 2022

Make One Extra Mortgage Payment Every Year To Save BigWhen you buy a home, you probably have a budget you will try to stick to. Many people choose a 30-year fixed mortgage, and by the time you pay off the home loan, you should own your home outright. At the same time, you might be thinking about paying off your mortgage more quickly to save money on interest. Even making one extra mortgage payment per year can provide a number of significant benefits.

You Can Build Up Equity Faster

One of the first benefits of making an extra mortgage payment every year is that you can build up equity faster. If you make an extra mortgage payment, that payment should go directly toward the principal. This means you don’t have to worry about paying down any interest with that extra mortgage payment, allowing you to build up equity in your home more quickly. 

You Save Money On Interest

If you make an extra mortgage payment, you pay down the principal more quickly. This means there is a lower remaining balance on which interest might accrue. Even making one extra mortgage payment every year can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in interest saved at the end of the loan. 

You Free Up Financial Resources Down The Road

If you make one extra mortgage payment every year, you could pay off your home loan years in advance. This means you don’t have to worry about making mortgage payments down the road, which can free up financial resources to cover other expenses. For example, you might be able to use the money you would have put toward your mortgage to put a child through college or retire early. Your savings will increase exponentially. 

Consider Making One Extra Mortgage Payment Per Year To Save Big

If you stay in your home for 30 years, there is a chance your income will go up even though your mortgage payments stay the same. Therefore, you may be able to afford to make an extra mortgage payment per year. Making only one extra mortgage payment every year can add up to big savings very quickly. 

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