Buying a Home for the First Time? Five Real Estate Terms You’ll Need to Know

Buying a Home for the First Time? Five Real Estate Terms You'll Need to KnowThe terminology involved in the real estate market can be vexing for the newcomer, but if you’re getting prepared to buy a home, there are a few choice words you should take some time to learn. While it’s hard to learn the ins and outs in one article, here’s a place to begin with five terms you may be hearing a lot of in the future.

Amortization Period

It may sound like a very fancy term, but the amortization period or mortgage term is simply the length of time it will take you to pay off your mortgage loan by monthly mortgage payments. While 25 years is the standard amortization period, it varies from lender to lender.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage is one of the interest rate options you’ll have which involves a stable interest rate that remains unchanged. While this means your monthly payment will stay the same each month, it can also mean a higher amount paid overall since your fixed rate may be higher than the market rate over time.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Another option when it comes to mortgage interest rates is an adjustable rate, which means that your monthly payment will fluctuate along with the prime market rate. While this can provide a sense of insecurity since your mortgage payment will shift each month, it can end up being more economical than a fixed rate.

Closing Costs

Buying a home can cost enough with the loan, the down payment, and the interest, but closing costs will also be a part of the housing costs. Closing costs generally range anywhere from 2-5%, they include items like loan administration costs and title insurance costs that come part and parcel with the mortgage.

There are many terms in the world of real estate, but by making yourself aware of a few and doing your research, you can begin to understand what they mean for you. If you’re ready to invest in a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Buyer Beware: Three Major Red Flags to Watch for When Visiting Open Houses

Buyer Beware: Three Major Red Flags to Watch for When Visiting Open HousesAn open house is a good opportunity to get out and about to see what kind of home you’re looking for and if it will work for you. Fortunately, they can also be a good opportunity to find out some things about the house you’re looking at that might not be listed on the website and may be less than flattering. If you’re wondering what red flags to watch out for, pay attention to the following things the next time you’re at a showing.

Strong Odors

Many home sellers try to engage the senses in order to entice buyers by baking cookies or spraying air freshener. However, a lot of air freshener or scent can also be a means of hiding less than pleasant smells that are a giveaway for big problems. If you notice a lot of scents when visiting an open house or if there’s an odor, you may want to look for mildew or mold as this can mean a huge house-owning hurdle to deal with down the road.

An Abundance Of Fix-Up

A small maintenance issue here and there may not be a big deal, whether it’s a doorknob that doesn’t catch or peeling paint on the wall. Unfortunately, an abundance of small issues can signal a certain attitude towards general maintenance that should be approached with caution. While it may just be a few details that were forgotten about, it’s important to pay attention as there may be a lot of more important maintenance issues that are not being taken care of if the minor ones are visible.

Issues With the Foundation

There are many issues that will hopefully come to the forefront at the home inspection, but it’s not worth it to get invested in a home only to back out due to a failing foundation. Instead of leaving it up to the due diligence of the home inspector, check for large gaps in the home’s foundation to unveil any issues on this front. The foundation can be a huge issue if it requires a fix-up, and it’s one you probably won’t want to deal with in your new home.

Open houses can provide a great sense of what it’s like to live in a home, but they can also be a good opportunity to take note of any major issues with a future home. If you’re currently preparing to buy a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

5 Surprisingly Stylish Ways to Improve Your Living Room’s Look Using Wallpaper

5 Surprisingly Stylish Ways to Improve Your Living Room's Look Using WallpaperFrom a sophisticated couch to a stunning art print, there are plenty of ways that you can dress up your living room and instantly change its vibe. You may not realize it, but wallpaper is back in fashion and becoming another popular way to instantly revamp a room. If you’re contemplating ways that wallpaper can benefit your space, here are some options you may want to try out.

Add An Accent

A brightly colored accent wall may have been a popular trend a few years ago, but a way to bring your wall into current fashion can be to add wallpaper. In addition to a fun print, wallpaper can instantly add elegance without overpowering the look of your living room.

Cover The Closet Doors

If you’ve come across a wallpaper pattern you like, try applying it to the front of the closet doors. It will be an easy way to dress up your doors without adding a coat of paint and will add a subtle effect that will go with your room’s décor.

Add In Some Personality

With wallpaper making a comeback, there are so many options that allow you to personalize your wallpaper and make the room your own. Posters of your favorite rock band may be a thing of the past, but unique wallpaper can be a great way to inject your own passions into your favorite room.

Make It Your Wall Art

Many homeowners struggle with how to dress up their walls appropriately, but choosing wallpaper can be a great means of avoiding this dilemma. Instead of an art piece, you can choose strips of wallpaper to provide visual interest or paper a whole wall that will act as the focal point of your room.

Upgrade Your Coffee Table

It’s often the case that people buy oversized books to decorate their coffee table, but you may want to utilize wallpaper if you have a glass surface on your table. Instead of leaving your table neutral, add a patch of wallpaper under the glass for an instant designer look.

With wallpaper making a comeback, there are plenty of ways to dress up your room for little cost that will make a huge difference in the look of your space. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 3, 2017

Last week’s economic news included Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, pending home sales and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were released along with a reading on consumer sentiment. Case-Shiller and pending home sales readings suggested that recent rapid growth in home prices and home sales may be easing. High demand for homes coupled with low inventories of homes for sale has created an artificially high rate of home price growth and competition among buyers for a limited number of homes.

Home Price Growth Rate, Pending Home Sales Slow

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for April showed lower home price growth than in March. April’s 20-City Home Price Index slipped from a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year rate of 5.60 percent to 5.50 percent. Analysts noted that high home prices and a limited inventory of homes on the market have sidelined some buyers.

According to the Commerce Department, pending home sales remained in negative territory in May with a reading of -0.80 percent as compared to April’s reading of -0.90 percent. While this is an improvement, home sales typically pick up during spring and summer months; a negative reading in pending home sales suggests that would-be buyers are waiting for home prices to ease and for more homes to become available.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported 30-year mortgage rates were two basis points lower at an average of 3.88 percent, while the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.17 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.17 percent. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent for all mortgage types.

First-time unemployment claims were higher last week at 244,000; analysts estimated a reading of 243,0000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 242,000 new claims.

Consumer spending declined by 0.30 percent to 0.10 percent in May, which matched analyst’s expectations. Core consumer spending met expectations and held steady in May with a reading of 0.10 percent growth. Consumer sentiment rose in June to an index reading of 95.10 as compared to expectations of 94.50, which matched April’s reading of 94.50

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news releases include readings on construction spending, ADP and Non-Farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Understanding Why the Highest Offer Isn’t Always the Best One When Selling Your Home

Understanding Why the Highest Offer Isn't Always the Best One When Selling Your HomeWhen it comes to the real estate market, nothing is better than putting your home up for sale and finding a potential homebuyer who offers you the price you’re looking for. However, while the right offer is ideal, there are a lot of things that may come along with a high offer that may be less than perfect. If you’re wondering what kinds of things can hamper a good offer, you may want to watch out for the following.

What’s The Timeline?

If you’re almost packed and you’re prepared to go, there won’t necessarily be any inconvenience in dealing with a 30-day closing period. However, if you’re not quite ready to move, having to close quickly can add a lot of pressure to a stressful situation. While it may be do-able to make the arrangements to move in a short amount of time, if it’s not the way you want to leave your old house and move on, you may want to go with a more flexible offer.

The Details On Cash

The right price is indeed a good offer, but when it comes to homebuyers who can pay with cash, there’s a lot less to worry about on the back end. As a result, cash can easily trump many other offers for the convenience of not having to deal with lenders or many other factors involved in closing the purchase. While it might not seem like most people have the available cash on hand, cash purchases on real estate are becoming more common, and with less complication, they can be more enticing.

Are There Contingencies?

If you’re experiencing a bidding war with your home, it’s important to look at all the details of the offers and ascertain which one can best be relied upon. That’s why it’s important to look at any contingencies on the home sale that may have to do with the financing, appraisal or inspection. An offer may be more than a little striking at the start, but if there are a lot of strings attached, there may be a bidder with a lower offer who’s less likely to back out.

It’s easy to get snared by the highest offer when selling your home, but it’s important to be aware of your timeline and any contingencies before accepting an offer. If you’re currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Exploring Tesla’s New Solar Roof Tiles – Are They the Ultimate Home Upgrade?

Exploring Tesla's New Solar Roof Tiles - Are They the Ultimate Home Upgrade?Tesla may have become the famous brand it is for the creation of the electric car in 2008, but it has since burgeoned into a company that has diverse ambitions for how we utilize energy. Recently, Tesla has moved into the business of solar roof panels, which have become a hot commodity on the market with their green ethos and energy savings. If you’re curious about solar power and want to know the details on this product, here are some things to consider before buying in.

The Details On Tesla’s Solar Panels

With the recent release of Tesla’s solar roof panels, many homeowners interested in green energy have flocked to this new product for its innovation and famous brand. According to Tesla, these panels will last for approximately 30 years or as long as the house stands at 1/3 the weight of regular tiles. Utilizing a tempered glass to make stronger roof panels and solar cells created in conjunction with Panasonic, the connectors for these panels have been created to last through every kind of weather condition.

The Install Involved

The installation of Tesla solar panels is estimated to take approximately 5-7 days and is expected to be easier than a regular solar panel install. According to Peter Rive, CTO and Co-founder of Solar City, “We have learned a lot about installing solar from over 300,000 installations so we took all that and included that into the development.” Fortunately, because of the lightweight quality of these panels, they can be installed without any changes to the structure of the roof they’re placed on.

Should You Invest?

Tesla may be all the rage when it comes to utilizing electrical energy, but it’s important to determine if this panel system will meet your needs. Most solar panel systems last longer than the 25-year warranty, which is in line with Tesla’s own warranty. The aesthetics of this panel system may be improved, but it will likely be a while before this product can service the needs of all homeowners. Before investing, it’s important to get quotes from multiple suppliers to determine a timeline and probable budget.

Solar panels may be the wave of the housing future, but it’s important to ensure that the projected cost and timeline will work for your needs as a homeowner before investing. If you’re currently preparing to buy a new home with solar, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in April

Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index indicated slower home price growth in April. Year-over-year, home prices rose 5.50 percent in April as compared to 5.60 percent in March. Year-over-year readings are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

Case-Shiller’s 20 City Home Price Index was also lower with a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year reading of 5.70 percent gain in April as compared to the year-over-year March reading of 5.90 percent. Seattle, Washington held on to its lead for home price growth with a year-over-year reading of 12.90 percent; Portland Oregon followed with a year-over-year reading of 9.30 percent, and Dallas, Texas maintained third place in the 20-City Home Price Index with a year-over-year reading of 8.40 percent.

MonthtoMonth Home Prices Rise in 19 of 20 Cities

Seattle also led in home price growth with a rate of 2.60 percent from March to April. Portland followed with home price growth of 1.60 percent, and Denver, Colorado reported month-to-month home price growth of 1.30 percent, which edged Dallas Texas out of third place in month-to-month home price growth rates.

Analysts have been watching housing markets carefully due to a prolonged shortage of homes for sale against high demand for homes in many areas. David M. Blitzer, Chair and Managing Director of the S&P Indices Committee, noted that skyrocketing growth in home prices must slow and eventually decline. During a press conference, he asked,” Will home price gains gently slow, or will they crash and take the rest of the economy with them?”

Analysts questioned how long home prices can continue to grow and remain sustainable. Affordability is a significant aspect of home price growth as first-time and moderate-income home buyers provide opportunities for present homeowners to sell and move up to larger homes. Mr. Blitzer eased fears of an imminent housing market crash and said, “For the moment, conditions appear favorable for avoiding a crash.”

Mr. Blitzer said that more housing starts and an expected increase in home buyers were positive signs for sustaining current home prices. Upcoming readings on consumer confidence and sentiment, new home sales and mortgage rates will support estimates of when and how much home prices will continue to increase.

Facing a Scorching Hot Housing Market? 3 Reasons You’ll Want a Great Real Estate Agent

Facing a Scorching Hot Housing Market? 3 Reasons You'll Want a Great Real Estate AgentFor many homeowners who are selling in today’s real estate market, pinching every penny can be important. They may be considering opting out of using a real estate agent and going with the DIY approach. However, there are many things an agent can do for you in a hot market that is worth the money. If you’re wondering how a real estate agent can help you, here are some things to consider.

Understanding The Neighborhood

It’s possible that you know your neighborhood quite well and are aware of the selling prices of many homes in the area. However, an experienced agent will have a good grasp on the history of your neighborhood and has probably sold a house in your area before. While research is great, prior knowledge can give them a leg up in determining exactly how you can price your house for maximum success. Instead of having to guess at what will work, they will have the know-how to make a sound judgment.

Marketing Know-How

Most real estate agents have dealt with the ups and downs of the market, and this generally means that they’ve learned how to succeed even when the chips are down. When it comes to marketing, the right agent will have the contacts and the savvy to determine the best approach for selling your home. Whether it involves posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, an online website or an Open House, an agent will know how to appeal to your ideal buyer and garner you the best offer around.

Closing The Deal

With so much money involved for both the seller and the buyer, the likelihood of getting your asking price right off the bat is not high. In situations like this, it’s more than a little helpful to have a real estate agent around who understands the negotiating process and how to close the deal. Not only will they be able to advise you on what your home is worth and what it can garner, they can also advise you on when you should consider a lower offer.

It may be tempting to go it alone when it comes to selling your house, but the right agent can be instrumental in marketing your home and getting you the price you’re asking for. If you’re currently preparing to put your home up for sale, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 26, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously owned homes. Despite expectations of lower sales in both categories, sales surpassed expectations and April sales. Analysts were concerned about extremely tight inventories of available homes limiting home sales and did not expect May home sales to increase.

May Home Sales Surpass Expectations

Sales of new homes increased to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 610,000 sales as compared to expectations of 590,000 sales and an annual sales pace of 593,000 homes in April. Home builders have repeatedly cited a lack of buildable lots and skilled labor, but growth in new home sales could prompt more housing starts. Real estate industry pros insist that building more homes is the only way to ease tight inventories and high demand for homes.

Existing Home Sales, National Median Home Price Rise

Sales of previously-owned homes also increased in May according to the Commerce Department. Pre-owned homes were sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 5.62 million sales as compared to expectations of 5.51 million sales and April’s reading of 5.57 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that the current sales pace is “unsustainable” and that “would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search due to short supplies of homes for sale.” The national median home price rose 5.80 percent to $252,800 year-over-year.

Regional readings for existing home sales were mixed. Sales of existing homes were 6.88 percent higher in the Northeast while the Midwest was -5.90 percent. Existing home sales increased by 2.20 percent in the South and 3.40 percent in the West.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported slightly lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for all three mortgage types: The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.90 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.17 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent across the board.

New jobless claims reported week rose to 241,000 and exceeded expectations of 240,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 238,000 new claims. Week-to-week fluctuations can be volatile; the four-month rolling average of new jobless claims rose by 1,00 claims to 244,750 new jobless claims filed. New claims have remained below the benchmark reading of 300,000 new claims for 120 weeks, which is the longest consecutive run since the 1970s.

Analysts said that while job markets remain strong, employers continue to have difficulty in finding skilled candidates for jobs offered.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news releases include Case-Schiller Housing Market Index reports, pending home sales and inflation. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

What Costs Can You Expect When Selling Your Home? Let’s Take a Look

What Costs Can You Expect When Selling Your Home? Let's Take a LookFor many people, putting their home up for sale is an exciting time to determine what kind of financial boon they’ll reap. With real estate on the rise, there are plenty of opportunities to see financial gains. Unfortunately, even if you’re selling your home, there are still going to be costs involved before ownership is transferred. If you want to be prepared for what to expect, here are some costs to watch out for.

Real Estate Agent Fees

As with buying a home, there will be costs involved in selling your home with an agent who will take a percentage out of the total sale of your home. Fortunately, while this will cost money, utilizing a real estate agent will probably garner you more money than you would have been able to get by putting your home on the market yourself. If you do want a better deal, it may be worth talking to your agent and seeing if they’re willing to negotiate on their percentage.

Agreed-Upon Closing Costs

It’s not uncommon nowadays for homebuyers to request their closing costs be paid by the seller in order to secure a deal, but it’s worth understanding what these fees may consist of. While there may be fees for the home appraisal, property transfer, and title insurance, there may also be maintenance costs you’ll have to take on following the home inspection. As a result, it can be important to do any home touch-ups before you’ve set a date for the open house as these can lower the offers on your home.

Moving Costs

Even if you have a big truck and a lot of heavy lifters in your family, there’s a good chance that you’re still going to require a moving company to take care of many of your items. You may be able to minimize these costs by moving in pieces and leaving the heavier items for the movers, but if your home sale is closing quickly, this work might best be left to the professionals. It will be worth getting quotes from a handful of trusted local movers to see who comes recommended at a reasonable price.

It’s easy to get caught up in the concept of selling your home, but even along with selling come many costs you’ll want to be aware of. If you’re preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.