Category Archives: longmont real estate
Mortgage rates inched higher last week, prompting more buyers and homeowners to retreat from taking out loans.
Total mortgage application volume, which includes refinancing and home purchases, dropped 2.6 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The index is now 20 percent lower than a year ago.
Refinancing saw the largest drop last week at 5 percent. Refinancing applications are 38 percent lower than the same week a year ago, when interest rates were lower.
Mortgage applications for home purchases dropped 1 percent during the week. However, purchase applications are still 10 percent higher than a year ago.
The average on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest level since July last week at 4.22 percent, the MBA reports.
“Rates increased last week as speculation over the next Fed chair continued, and the European Central Bank announced plans to taper its asset purchase program, signaling increased confidence in the euro zone economies,” says Joel Kan, an MBA economist.
However, investors are feeling confident the Fed won’t move rates at its next meeting and will instead choose to do so at its December meeting, writes Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. Instead, investors are more closely watching President Donald Trump’s pick to replace current Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. He’s expected to make his announcement on Thursday.
Source: “Weekly Mortgage Applications Fall 2.6% as Rates Move Even Higher,” CNBC (Nov. 1, 2017)
article written by DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS and shared from RealtorMag
Demand is forcing home prices out West to keep ticking up, even though the home-buying and -selling season is winding down, according to the September Zillow® Real Estate Market Report. Appreciation is highest in the San Jose, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., metropolitan areas, where prices have rocketed (in order) 10.3 percent, to a median $1,052,500, and 12.4 percent, to a median $455,800, year-over-year. Appreciation nationally is 6.9 percent, to a median $202,700.
Rents out West are also on a swift upswing. Rents in Riverside, Calif. have climbed 6.0 percent year-over-year—the most of the metro areas in the report—to a median $1,833. Rents in Seattle have gone up 5.5 percent to a median $2,189; rents in Portland, Ore., have increased 4.7 percent to a median $1,863; and rents in Los Angeles, Calif., have risen 4.5 percent to $2,714. Appreciation nationally is 2 percent, to a median $1,430.
“In these West Coast markets, heightened demand is being met with limited supply of homes for sale, which naturally causes prices to rise,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “That limited supply and high demand dynamic is a widespread phenomenon impacting high-growth metros like Seattle, as well as slower-moving markets, like Indianapolis.
“It might be easy to assume another bubble is emerging, with home values growing 10 or 12 percent per year, but don’t worry—the market is reacting to basic economic laws, and is behaving exactly the way we would expect it to given good overall growth, limited supply of homes for sale and decent housing affordability thanks to low mortgage interest rates,” Gudell says.
Nationally, there are now 12 percent fewer homes for sale compared to one year ago, the report shows.
article written by Suzanne De Vita, RISMedia’s online news editor.
What’s that smell? The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect buyers to a home. While a bad smell can really deter buyers, a good smell can tempt buyers to a sale. From “green” scents to seasonal scents, discover the right smells for triggering positive emotions and home sales.
- Clean Smell
Most of us associate “clean” with strongly scented cleaning products and disinfectants. It can even make buyers nostalgic. But remember, a little goes a long way. You should dilute your cleaning solutions so buyers don’t get overwhelmed.
Using actual fruit is one way to get a clean smell without all the cleaning products. Lemon, orange and grapefruit scents are best. One great tip is to grind up lemon or orange rind with a few ice cubes in the garbage disposal. This will freshen up the kitchen, one of the most important rooms in the house.
- Natural Smell
Sometimes the best scent is no scent at all. Try using “green” cleaning supplies, baking soda and other non-scented products that neutralize odors. The idea is that simpler is better, so you want to avoid complex, artificial smells from potpourri, sprays and plug-ins, which can actually distract buyers and turn them off.
- Baked Goods
Nothing can make a house smell more like home than freshly baked goods, but be sure to stick to simple smells like vanilla, cinnamon and fresh bread. You don’t have to really bake anything. One trick is to boil some water and throw in a few cinnamon sticks an hour before a showing.
Don’t we all love that fresh pine scent? Especially with the holidays around the corner, it’s a great scent to greet buyers when they walk in the door. If you don’t want to put up a live tree, you can simply hang a wreath of tree trimmings or some fresh garland. You can’t go wrong with setting a holiday mood to inspire a sale.
article written by American Home Shield and shared from RISMedia
Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you. There’s no way around it. Right? Well, actually, there may just be a way to make it not quite so painful. A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help you cut some costs. Here are eight ways to save money on your move and move in.
1. Don’t take it all with you
Furniture you’re no longer in love with or appliances like washers and dryers or the fridge you have in the garage can be a pain to move. You can potentially save money (and time and hassle) by including them in your home sale. First-time buyers or someone moving from out of state may appreciate your old stuff far more than you, and you don’t have to pay to haul it to your next place.
2. Leave the flat screen
If you have a mounted flat screen TV that’s at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind too. The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving it might not be worth it. Flat-screen technology is always improving while costs are coming down, so it’s a good excuse to buy something bigger and better without spending a lot.
3. Negotiate everything
If you’ve been looking for a house or have bought one before, you’re probably already aware of closing costs. But you might not be aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender.
“Shop around before choosing a mortgage lender, but don’t stop there,” said Bankrate. “When you receive your good faith estimate of closing costs, or GFE, the negotiation hasn’t ended.” This itemized list of estimated closing costs includes lender’s fees as well as items such as appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.
“The lender or broker charges some fees, and third parties charge others. The first step is to find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees. Don’t guess. Ask the lender or broker.”
Bankrate advises that while “some items are non-negotiable: taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, prorated interest and reserves,” negotiating on others that can “be waived or reduced” can save you money.”
4. Barter for services
Need a handyman and have appliances or furniture you’re getting rid of? You just might be able to make a deal. Ask around for referrals and then introduce a barter system into the equation during your first conversation. You might be surprised what you can get for what you’ve already got.
5. Move Smart
Once you’re out of college, or maybe out of your first post-college apartment, thinking about renting a U-Haul and moving yourself (or with a few good friends) seems less than desirable. But if you’re willing to sweat a little (ok, a lot) you can save a bundle. Just remember two important things to entice and thank your friends: Pizza. And beer.
If you don’t want to do the whole thing on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a hybrid move:
- Do the packing and unpacking yourself
- Have everything on one floor. Stairs can add considerably to the cost of a move.
- Pare down. Maybe you don’t need to bring all that stuff with you. Selling it will earn you a few bucks and save you a few more.
6. Consider moving and storage hybrid options
A company like PODS or U-Pack might be a solution for you if you need self storage wrapped into your move. Essentially, the company drops off a mobile storage unit at your house and you pack it up yourself. They then pick it up and move it for you. You can tack on storage at the end if needed, making this a particularly good solution for those who have time between their move out and their move in. This type of move can cost up to 35 percent less than traditional movers, but keep in mind you will be doing the labor – just not the driving.
7. Take advantage of special offers
Move-in offers for cable, Internet, and phone service can save you a lot of money. But they often come with a catch that could cost you down the line. Look out for special limited-time offers – one-year or six-month specials that expire, leaving you with much higher rates after the introductory period.
8. Don’t rush the renos
Chances are, after you move in, you’re going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to refi, redo your lawn, and apply for 72 different credit cards. In what seems like an endless pile of junk mail will be some special offers for new homebuyers, but they might not arrive for a month or more. Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and window coverings, home furnishing companies like Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market, and offers from landscapers with discounts for new clients. If you’re planning to shop, renovate, or do some work on your interior or exterior, taking advantage of a few of these offers can help shave down the cost.
WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI and shared from RealtyTimes
Sometimes a great listing hits the market and just doesn’t sell. The reasons may be easy to pinpoint, but other times it takes some work to determine what the problem is. Here are some of the biggest reasons your listing may be stagnating on the market.
First impressions are everything; if a potential buyer walks into a listing that has clutter everywhere, they can’t truly visualize and see the home for what it truly is. Buyers can’t fall in love with a house that has clutter everywhere. Make sure your listing isn’t buried under furniture, knick-knacks, papers and laundry. Also make sure everything from the floor, ceiling, and walls is spick and span.
If clutter is not the issue but your listing is still not selling, you may want to consider staging. Staging has been found to not only decrease the amount of time a listing spends on the market, but also increase the selling price. Find staging tips here.
The initial listing price of a home is instrumental in how quickly it sells. Many sellers assume setting the price high and coming down later or being willing to accept a reasonable counter-offer if they don’t get much traction is a safe way to ensure they get the highest price for their home. In reality, starting with a high listing price just ensures that the buyers who are most compatible with the listing either don’t see it or move on because it’s outside what they’re comfortable paying. The buyers who are looking at homes for the price you set will see that there are other houses at the same price with more expensive upgrades.
If the price is right and your listing is squeaky clean and clutter-free, you may want to check your listing details. For example, an extra zero can turn your $450,000 listing into a $4,500,000 listing, where it’s probably not going to get much traction. Double-check to make sure your information is accurate, make sure the description is interesting and informative, and your photos are professional and numerous. View a list of powerful words you can use in your listing description.
If everything else seems in order and your listing still isn’t selling, the problem may be the house itself. According to the 2016 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, only 19 percent of buyers were willing to compromise on the condition of the home. Major repairs, such as a new roof or updated water heater, may be necessary to attract a buyer.
Article written By Mark Mathis, General Manager of Broker and Agent Sales for Homes.com and shared from RISMedia
A recent article from a reputable news source was titled: Here’s why some homeowners still can’t sell. In the opening bullets of the article, the author claimed, “Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.” The article then goes on to soften that stance but we want to bring better clarity to the equity situation.
A recent report from CoreLogic (which was quoted in the article) revealed that over 80% of all homes now have “significant equity,” which means the home has over 20% equity. That level of equity allows the homeowner to sell their home if they so desire. (There was no reference to significant equity in the article.)
If eight out of ten homeowners now have significant equity in their homes, it is hard to make the claim that lack of equity is “one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.”
Here is a map showing the percentage of homes in each state which currently have significant equity:
Thoughts on Homeowner Equity
If you are one of many homeowners who is debating selling your home and are wondering how much equity you have accumulated, contact a local real estate professional who can help you determine if now is the time to list.
With every new iPhone release, we discover new ways we can’t live without our devices. The iPhone 8 is water proof, rust proof, and has the most durable glass yet. It has enhanced stereo speakers, wireless charging, a stellar camera, and more. However, it comes at a hefty price: $699-$949.
You may see that price tag and think, there is so much I could do with $1,000! And you’re right. With $1,000, you could buy a thousand donuts, fly to Europe and back, or even take a couple of cruises.
Or, you could tackle a home renovation which will add value and character to your home. You may be surprised by the scope of projects you can pursue with a $1,000 budget. Here are a few to get you inspired.
Swap out your old front door.
The front door is a signature part of your home’s first impression. If you’re selling your property, a brand-new door in a flattering color can help draw buyers. If you’re renovating for yourself, you can choose a door that speaks to your personality and makes your house feel fresh.
Front Door Installation: $900
Give your bathroom an upgrade.
With this budget, you can have both your toilet and your sink replaced professionally. These two elements can instantly change the way your bathroom looks and feels. Seriously–each installation should take less than two hours! If you’ve always wanted a porcelain vessel sink, consider treating yourself now.
Get the kitchen island you’ve been dreaming of.
Didn’t realize you could have kitchen island for less than 1k? Now that you know, it’s time to get to planning! These fixtures afford so many conveniences. You can chop and prepare foods, create an eating area, or use their drawers and cabinets for storage. You can get a medium moveable island with cabinets and a butcher block top for $225-$550. Built-in ones typically range in price from $500-$2,000.
Kitchen Island Installation: $130-$2,000
Ditch that rickety garage door.
An old garage door can make you feel less secure and bring down your curb appeal. With a new one, you can change up the color and style, and consider useful features like insulation. Some homeowners brave this as a DIY renovation, but that approach is not recommended. These doors are heavy, and if the electrical system is compromised during the installation, you could be looking at a big headache.
Garage door installation: $1,000
Try your hand at a DIY project
You can make some excellent additions to your property all on your own, with a little bit of handy work. Follow a step-by-step guide or buy a ready-made unit to guarantee correct installation, and you’ll be flying through the renovation like a pro. Here are a few which will come in under $1,000.
Add cabinets to your laundry room. You’ll wonder how you’ve ever lived without them. Even one or two cabinets can make a huge difference, allowing you store laundry items out of sight and keep the room more manageable. Basic cabinets run about $150-$200 each.
Treat yourself to built-in bookshelves. It sounds more complicated than it has to be. You can actually purchase pre-made shelving units and install them yourself for $200-$500. Gather all of those books and knick-knacks from cluttered surfaces and integrate them into one cohesive, organized space.
Spruce up your outdoor space with a “bistro patio.” This is a big project, but it will be well worth it to have an outdoor gathering space for those good-weather days. These patios are typically 7×7, which is a perfect size for the DIY-inclined. Outfit it with a few chairs and a firepit, for casual nights under the stars. Materials cost anywhere from $400-$900.
There are many possibilities, with a budget the size of an iPhone 8 price tag. Each of them has the potential to add value to your house, by upping the curb appeal and creating useful amenities. If you have $1,000 to put toward a home renovation, you can make it go a long way with any of these high-impact projects.
Written by the experts at Home Advisor this article was showed on RIS Media’s Housecall
Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.
1. Price it a LITTLE LOW
This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).
Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.
Realtor.com gives this advice:
“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”
2. Use a Real Estate Professional
This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would make more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.
A new study by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save any money, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.
In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:
“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”
The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.
Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.
One of the biggest misconceptions of home buying? The 20% down payment. Here’s how to buy with a lot less down.
Buying your first home conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy emotions: pride, joy, contentment. But before you get to the good stuff, you’ve got to cobble together a down payment, a daunting sum if you follow the textbook advice to squirrel away 20% of a home’s cost.
Here are five creative ways to build your down-payment nest egg faster than you may have ever imagined.
1. Crowdsource Your Dream Home
You may have heard of people using sites like Kickstarter to fund creative projects like short films and concert tours. Well, who says you can’t crowdsource your first home? Forget the traditional registry, the fine china, and the 16-speed blender. Use sites like Feather the Nest and Hatch My House to raise your down payment. Hatch My House says it’s helped Americans raise more than $2 million for down payments.
2. Ask the Seller to Help (Really!)
When sellers want to a get a deal done quickly, they might be willing to assist buyers with the closing costs. Fewer closing costs = more money you can apply toward your deposit.
“They’re called seller concessions,” says Ray Rodriguez, regional mortgage sales manager for the New York metro area at TD Bank. Talk with your real estate agent. She might help you negotiate for something like 2% of the overall sales price in concessions to help with the closing costs.
There are limits on concessions depending on the type of mortgage you get. For FHA mortgages, the cap is 6% of the sale price. For Fannie Mae-guaranteed loans, the caps vary between 3% and 9%, depending on the ratio between how much you put down and the amount you finance. Individual banks have varying caps on concessions.
No matter where they net out, concessions must be part of the purchase contract.
3. Look into Government Options
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers a number of homeownership programs, including assistance with down payment and closing costs. These are typically available for people who meet particular income or location requirements. HUD has a list of links by state that direct you to the appropriate page for information about your state.
HUD offers help based on profession as well. If you’re a law enforcement officer, firefighter, teacher, or EMT, you may be eligible under its Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program for a 50% discount on a house’s HUD-appraised value in “revitalization areas.” Those areas are designated by Congress for homeownership opportunities. And if you qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage under this program, the down payment is only $100; you can even finance the closing costs.
For veterans, the VA will guarantee part of a home loan through commercial lenders. Often, there’s no down payment or private mortgage insurance required, and the program helps borrowers secure a competitive interest rate.
Some cities also offer homeownership help. “The city of Hartford has the HouseHartford Program that gives down payment assistance and closing cost assistance,” says Matthew Carbray, a certified financial planner with Ridgeline Financial Partners and Carbray Staunton Financial Planners in Avon, Conn. The program partners with lenders, real estate attorneys, and homebuyer counseling agencies and has helped 1,200 low-income families.
4. Check with Your Employer
Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) programs help connect low- to moderate-income workers with down payment assistance through their employer. In Pennsylvania, if you work for a participating EAH employer, you can apply for a loan of up to $8,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance. The loan is interest-free and borrowers have 10 years to pay it back.
Washington University in St. Louis offers forgivable loans to qualified employees who want to purchase housing in specific city neighborhoods. University employees receive the lesser of 5% of the purchase price or $6,000 toward down payment or closing costs.
Ask the human resources or benefits personnel at your employer if the company is part of an EAH program.
5. Take Advantage of Special Lender Programs
Finally, many lenders offer programs to help people buy a home with a small down payment. “I would say that the biggest misconception [of homebuying] is that you need 20% for the down payment of a house,” says Rodriguez. “There are a lot of programs out there that need a total of 3% or 3.5% down.”
FHA mortgages, for example, can require as little as 3.5%. But bear in mind that there are both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance payments. “The mortgage insurance could add another $300 to your monthly mortgage payment,” Rodriguez says.
Some lender programs go even further. TD Bank, for example, offers a 3% down payment with no mortgage insurance program, and other banks may have similar offerings. “Check with your regional bank,” Rodriguez says. “Maybe they have their own first-time buyer program.”
Not so daunting after all, is it? There’s actually a lot of help available to many first-time buyers who want to achieve their homeownership dreams. All you need to do is a little research — and start peeking at those home listings!