Mortgages – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:13:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/cropped-CFR-Favicon-32x32.png Mortgages – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com 32 32 2018………PAY ATTENTION!!! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2018-pay-attention/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2018-pay-attention/#respond Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:26:29 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6321 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com We may have a tricky year ahead of us, so what’s the best and easiest strategy for consistent success in 2018?  PAY ATTENTION!  Start the year with or without New Year’s resolutions, but commit to success this year by paying attention…. To how well informed…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com

We may have a tricky year ahead of us, so what’s the best and easiest strategy for consistent success in 2018? 

PAY ATTENTION!  Start the year with or without New Year’s resolutions, but commit to success this year by paying attention….

  • To how well informed you and information sources you really on really are.
  • To what’s really going on around you — real and fake, and
  • To how you react to what’s going on around you —  online and off.

Whether you are a real estate owner or a wannabe, 0r whether you intend to buy or sell in 2018, so much is shifting in real estate, in the economy, and everywhere else that nothing should be taken for granted or assumed in 2018.  Concentrate on getting the facts, not just someone else’s biased view of where advantages lie for you.

  • A LOT CHANGED IN 2017 A ND THE FULL IMPLICATIONS OF THOSE CHANGES WILL CONTINUE TO EMERGE IN 2018.  Pay attention to ramifications and compromises, subtle and otherwise, attached to changes in everything from tax law and net neutrality to technology’s continued re-write and disruption of much we’ve taken for granted.  Real estate ownership will be impacted by changes to tax law, estate planning, resulting neighborhood development, and interactions between these and many more variables.  Where will advantages lie for you?  Changes in the business world may directly or indirectly influence job or retirement security for your family.  This in turn may impact qualification for financing, mortgage renewal, and real estate affordability.  Projected reductions in funding and donations for social and community support programs and organizations may have widespread impact in neighborhoods, community development and in education.  These shifts may reduce location benefits, which in turn can affect real estate value.  How will your location be affected in 2018?
  • WHOEVER OR WHATEVER YOU BLAMED FOR DISTRACTIONS IN 2017 WILL BE WITH YOU IN 2018 AND MIGHT EVEN BE WORSE.  There are only so many hours in the day, and only so many $$$ in your paycheck.  Distractions that erode concentration on your needs and goals, and distractions that feed impulse spending will be expensive in many ways.  Pay attention to what takes you off point, off track, and off goal to ensure you stay in control.  You may blame others for distracting you, but it’s your powers of concentration that should be continually honed and improved to keep you ahead of the pack.  Saving for a down payment, home renovation, or to pay down an existing mortgage requires a written budget strategy to guide you toward clearly defined results.  Paying monthly condominium fees, mortgage payments, or heating bills is exhausting when approached as mont-to-0month catch-up.  Shift your focus to cutting costs and increasing income long-term and you’ll move beyond a monthly survival perspective to establish a constructive, long-term frame of reference for success.  Steady, dramatic increases in online shopping over the 2017 holiday season mean many households may be combining the impulse spending facilitated by credit cards and click-here shopping carts to undermine their budgets even more dramatically than ever.  As the volume of online shoppers increases, convenience, cost saving, and product satisfaction may be compromised – so it’s only the novelty of online shopping that addicts.  What’s all this got to do with achieving your core real estate ownerhship goals?
  • SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF WHAT YOU BELIEVED YOU KNEW IN 2017  ABOUT REAL ESTATE. FINANCE, HOME SECURITY, MORTGAGES, WORK, AND THE INTERNET WILL BE OUT OF DATE IN 2018.  Pay attention to which laws, regulations, services, and real estate expenses have actually changed – not just been endlessly, sensationally rehashed in the media  and online.  Accurate information and clever strategies are gold……Tweets, posts, and other online content arrive in increasingly overwhelming rates and volumes, leaving less and less time to uncover facts and realities and to actually learn and think about relevance to you.  From shopping or applying for a mortgage to searching for a new home or viewing property, virtual video and online content bring these and other real estate activities onto your laptop and your mobile phone.  Is this distance learning leaving you better informed and smarter real estate-wise than face-to-face meetings with real estate experts and hands-on location and property investigations?  Searching out professionals who keep up with change within their profession is a challenge.  How do you make sure you receive the professional advice you need to interpret changes from your real estate point of view?…”

Connestee Falls Realty provides you with expertise on our area of greatest interest – the Brevard area in general, and Connestee Falls in particular.  IT’S OUR THING!  Let us help you make sense of all your real estate questions and needs  in 2018!

SOURCE:  PJ Wade for realtytimes.com    

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SLAYING THAT CREDIT SCORE – TIPS FOR A NEW YEAR http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/slaying-credit-score-tips-new-year/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/slaying-credit-score-tips-new-year/#respond Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:26:40 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6300 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes. “Getting ready to buy a house or thinking about it?  Where to buy, what to buy, and how you’ll afford it are at the top of your mind.  But if you’re not also concentrating on your credit score – actively trying to raise your scores…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.

“Getting ready to buy a house or thinking about it?  Where to buy, what to buy, and how you’ll afford it are at the top of your mind.  But if you’re not also concentrating on your credit score – actively trying to raise your scores as much as possible – you’re not looking at the whole home-buying picture.

Not only  does your credit score factor into what you’ll pay for your home, it can keep you from being able to buy one, period.  Your credit history determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay…a credit score provides an easy way for lenders to numerically judge your credit at a point in time.  It gauges how likely you are to repay your loan in a timely manner.  The better your history appears, the more attractive you become  as a loan customer. (eloan.com)

But – your credit score is not static; it can, and does, change all the time, and there are all kinds of ways to improve it.   Here are the smartest options to boost your score in the new year.

SHOOT FOR PERFECTION!  850 is the best score you can get.  While at may seem completely out of reach, there are people who actually reach the top.  On the widely used FICO credit score scale, approximately one in every 200 people achieves perfection.  Careful budgeting and detailed attention to every aspect of their financial picture are the tactics they use to get and maintain that score, and these tactics are the ones you should be using as well.

OR, SHOOT FOR 750.  If 850  is  out of reach within a reasonable time frame – meaning the maximum time you want to wait before buying a home – try for 750.  It’s the magic number for lenders and creditors, and it puts the ball in the the corner of the consumer rather than the lender, said The Motley Fool.  “You’ll often have lenders fighting for your business, and in nearly all instances,you’ll be offered the best interest rate by lenders, meaning you’ll have the lowest possibly long-term mortgage and loan costs of any consumer.”

SET UP AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS.  According to CreditCards.com, a good 35% of your credit score  is taken from you payment history.  You may have missed payments in the past that you need to deal with now, but you certainly don’t want to make another mistake while you’re trying to get homebuyer-ready.  Almost every creditor offers the option of automatic payments, and it’s the easiest way to ensure you never miss a payment.  Just remember to make sure there is enough cash in your account to cover the payments on the day the money will be coming out.

ASK BEFORE YOU SHUT DOWN CREDIT.  The amount of credit you have is a factor in qualifying – or not – for a mortgage.  Long-term credit use that has been managed properly can be helpful to your score.  “Length of credit history is considered when determining your score – so the longer you’ve had a  credit card, the better, says CNN Money.

WATCH YOUR CREDIT LIMITS.  Banks don’t look kindly on those who have used all their available credit because it gives the impression that you’re not living within your means.  The amount of available credit you use is the second most important factor in your score.  You should try to keep your balance on each card below 30% of your limit – even lower is better.

PAY DOWN YOUR DEBT…but check with your lender first.  If you’re trying to weigh the best tactics for improving your credit and you don’t have the funds to take care of every outstanding wrinkle on your credit report and pay down your existing debt at the same time, you definitely want to check with your lender before you make any move.  Every dollar is important, and while your credit score will soar as you pay off your debt as aggressively as possible without acquiring more, it could be that your lender has a strategy that places more importance on other credit issues in your report, or has structured your credit repair according to a different timeline.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO REFINANCE.  You may end up buying a  home before you get your credit score where you want it to be.  If you’re in an appreciating market, which much of the country is, and your score continues to rise after you close escrow, you might be in a position to refinance sooner than you think.  Especially if you buy your home with an FHA loan.  Their streamlined refinance program can potentially lower your rate without an appraisal, a credit check or job/income verification.”

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.  IMAGE:  money.cnn.com

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SOLUTIONS TO SAVING MONEY ON YOUR NEXT MOVE http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/solutions-saving-money-next-move/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/solutions-saving-money-next-move/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 15:27:19 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6269     SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com – Excerpts “Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you…well, actually, there are ways 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…

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SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com – Excerpts

“Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you…well, actually, there are ways 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…

  1. DON’T TAKE IT ALL WITH YOU!  Furniture you no longer love?  Appliances in the garage?  These could be included in the sale….first time buyers might like to have them, and you won’t have to pay to haul it to your next home.
  2. LEAVE THAT FLAT SCREEN TV!  If it’s at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind.  The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving 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 are aware of closing costs…but are you aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender?  Shop around…when you receive your good faith estimate of closing costs, it will include lender’s fees, appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.  The lender charges some fees, and third parties charge others.  Find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees.  Don’t guess – actually ask your lender or broker.  While some items are non-negotiable, like taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, 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 might be able to make a deal.  Ask about bartering during your first conversation.  You may be surprised about what you can get for what you’ve already got.
  5. MOVE SMART!  If you don’t want to move on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a “hybrid move.”  Do the packing/unpacking yourself.  Have everything on one floor (stairs can add to the cost of a move.)  Pare down – maybe you don’t need some of your stuff any more – sell it, if you can.
  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.  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% less than traditional movers – but remember – 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.  Be careful.  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 RENOVATIONS.  Chances are, after you move in, you’re going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to renovate, redo your lawn, and apply for thousands of credit cards.  In this endless pile of junk mail will be come special offers for new homebuyers.  Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and windows, home furnishings, 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.

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  djbox.ie

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US MORTGAGE RATES BLIP HIGHER http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/us-mortgage-rates-blip-higher/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/us-mortgage-rates-blip-higher/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:31:52 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6145 Source:  Sunday, June 18, 2017 – Asheville Citizen Times/Paul Wiseman-Associated Press “WASHINGTON – Long term US mortgage rates edged up last week as the benchmark 30-year rate bounced back from a seven-month low.  Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.91% last week from 3.89% the previous week. …

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Source:  Sunday, June 18, 2017 – Asheville Citizen Times/Paul Wiseman-Associated Press

“WASHINGTON – Long term US mortgage rates edged up last week as the benchmark 30-year rate bounced back from a seven-month low.  Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.91% last week from 3.89% the previous week.  The rate stood at 3.54% a year ago and averaged a record low 3.65% in  2016.

The rate on the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.18% from 3.16%.

Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti said this week’s higher rates might not last.  Freddie Mac surveyed mortgage lenders before the government reported Wednesday that US consumer prices fell in May, causing a drop in the yield on 10-year Treasury notes, which often influences mortgage rates.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.  The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.  One point equals 1% of the loan amount.

The average fees on 30-year and 15-year mortgages were both unchanged at 0.5 point.”

SOURCE:  Paul Wiseman/Associated Press

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WHEN YOUR HOME LOAN IS SOLD http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/when-your-home-loan-is-sold/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/when-your-home-loan-is-sold/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:49:15 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5978 Excerpted from an article by Benny L. Kass for realtytimes.com “QUESTION:  We have a mortgage with the same lender for several years, and have just received notification that our loan has been sold to some other lender.  Should this be a concern to us?:  Can the new lender change any of the terms or conditions…

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Excerpted from an article by Benny L. Kass for realtytimes.com

“QUESTION:  We have a mortgage with the same lender for several years, and have just received notification that our loan has been sold to some other lender.  Should this be a concern to us?:  Can the new lender change any of the terms or conditions of our existing loan?  How do we know for sure that the new lender is in fact legitimate?…

ANSWER:  Every day these questions arise.  Lenders have been selling their loans for years in the secondary mortgage market.  Organizations such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (FannieMae (http://www.fammiemae.com/portal/index.html) or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FreddieMac (http://freddiemac.com) purchase large packages of loans from lenders.  Oversimplified, they buy these loans at a discount, thereby giving the individual lender more cash to be available to generate new mortgage loans.  To some extent, selling mortgage loans added to the mortgage meltdown problems this country faced just a few year ago.  The originating lender usually (although not always) services the loan..this means that you, the borrower, will continue to make your monthly payments to that lender, even if they do not current own the papers.  The servicing lender gets a small fee for their work.

Many lenders for years did not use the secondary mortgage market, but rather kept mortgage loans in their own portfolio.  However, selling a package of loans is one way of putting cashflow back into the mortgage lender’s business.  Thus most if not all of the mortgage lenders in the US are involved in selling loans to third parties.

There have been problems with selling loans in the past….as a result of mortgage scams, in 1990, Congress determined to regulate the assignment, transfer or sale of mortgage loans.  As part of the National Affordable Housing Act, certain provisions were added to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)….Here are some of the protections afforded to individual borrowers whose loan has been sold, transferred or assigned to a new lender.

  • At the time a potential borrower applies for a mortgage loan from a federally regulated lender, that lender must disclose to the borrower certain disclosures….including the effective date of the transfer, the name, address and telephone number of the transferee, and appropriate contact information.  This will give the borrower the opportunity to ask questions and confirm the transfer.
  • The disclosure statement must state that the transfer does not affect any term of the security instrument other than the servicing provision.  This means that while the mortgage payments can be sent to either the original lender or the transferee lender, the basic terms of your note and deed of trust cannot be changed.  They remain in full force and effect whether the original lender holds your paper or some third party does.
  • Congress was concerned about payments made during the transition period when a loan is transferred.  The 1990 law specifically provides a 60-day grace period if the borrower misdirects payments.  For 60 days from the effective date of the transfer, as long as the borrower makes the payment on time in accordance with terms of the note, no late fee can be charged.  The payment cannot be deemed late for any purpose whatsoever, even if that payment is misdirected; if you send your payment on time to the old lender when it has been transferred to a new lender, for the first 60 days no penalty or late fees can be imposed on you.  This is important, since it also means that neither the old lender nor the new lender can report you as being late or delinquent to a credit reporting bureau.
  • Congress also created a complaint resolution mechanism in the 1990 law.  If you, the borrower, have a question or a complaint about transfer of your loan, you have the right to send a written request to the lender.  In order for the complaint resolution mechanism to be effective, you have to send a separate letter, and not merely jot a note on your mortgage payment coupon when you return your check.  Your lender must take action or respond to your letter within 20 business days of receiving your letter.  The lender has 60 business days from the date of receipt of the request to either correct the problem and given the borrower notice that the problem has been corrected, or give reasons in writing why the account is correct or the information requested by the borrower is unavailable.
  • Finally, Congress added incentives to make sure that lenders would comply with this new law.  If they fail to comply, an individual consumer can recover any actual damages….limited to $1,000 per individual consumer.

These are obviously technical issues (and the above info is a simplification)….but the bottom line is that you really do not have to worry about your loan if your current lender sells or transfers your loan to another lender.  Obviously, you want to make sure that this is not a scam, and that it is a legitimate transfer.  Contact both lenders and make sure that you have something in writing from both the old and the new lender before you send your next payment check.  You can also file a formal complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (http://.www.consumerfinance.gov/).

Remember – this is a two-way street.  No lender can change the terms of your loan, but neither can you.  The sale or transfer of your loan should not be considered in any way as an excuse on your part to delay the normal payment beyond its due date.”

SOURCE:  Benny Kass is senior partner with the Washington, DC law firm of Kass Mitek & Kass, PLLC and a specialist in real estate legal matters.   IMAGE:  compiclaims.com

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AMERICANS BUY HOMES AT FASTEST PACE IN A DECADE http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/americans-buy-homes-at-fastest-pace-in-a-decade/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/americans-buy-homes-at-fastest-pace-in-a-decade/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:46:42 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5957 Excerpted from an article by Christopher S. Rugaber for Associated Press “WASHINGTON – Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007.  Home sales rose 3.3% in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. …

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Excerpted from an article by Christopher S. Rugaber for Associated Press

“WASHINGTON – Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007.  Home sales rose 3.3% in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.  Steady job gains, modest pay raises and rising consumer confidence are spurring healthy home buying even as borrowing costs have risen since last fall.  Some potential buyers may be accelerating their home purchases to get ahead of additional increases in mortgage rates.

Buyers are snapping up homes, with the typical home for sale remaining on the market for just 50 days, compared with 64 days a year ago.  Strong demand is pushing up median home prices, which jumped 7.1% from a year earlier to $228,900.

Mortgage rates have climbed since the presidential election.  Investors are anticipating tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending will accelerate growth and push up inflation.  That has caused investors to cut back on their bond holdings, pushing up yields.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.15% last week, according to Freddie Mac.  While that has dipped since earlier this month, it is much higher than last year’s average rate of 3.65%.

By some measures, the housing market has fully recovered from the bust that began in 2006.  Yet its newfound health is creating its own set of challenges.  The number of homes for sale remains unusually low, forcing buyers to bid up prices, especially in sought-after cities.  Just 1.69 million homes were on the market nationwide in January, near the lowest level since records began in 1999.  Last year, low mortgage rates helped offset rising home prices.  Yet now both are rising, which could hamstring sales in the coming months.  The strength in sales should lift growth as a new homeowners purchase furniture, buy appliances and spend more on landscaping and outdoor equipment.

Homes sales also tend to spur renovations, which helps to update aging properties and generates additional construction work for the broader economy.  New research suggest that the upfront costs of housing can be significantly greater because of needed renovations after a period of weak sales…”

SOURCE:  Christopher S. Rugaber for Associated Press

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THREE STEPS TO SAVING FOR YOUR DREAM HOME http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/three-steps-to-saving-for-your-dream-home/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/three-steps-to-saving-for-your-dream-home/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:05:03 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5953 Excerpted from an article by Damien Justus for realtytimes.com “According to Harvard University’s “State of the Nation’s Housing” report, while more people than ever before want to own their own home, fewer feel financially ready to do so yet.  Reasons range from high rents to student loan debt. Millennials in particular are waiting longer to…

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Excerpted from an article by Damien Justus for realtytimes.com

“According to Harvard University’s “State of the Nation’s Housing” report, while more people than ever before want to own their own home, fewer feel financially ready to do so yet.  Reasons range from high rents to student loan debt.

Millennials in particular are waiting longer to get married, start families and purchase their first home.  But this is not necessarily bad news for the housing market.  In fact, it could mean that the millennial generation has something to teach us all about saving consistently towards a big life goal such as home ownership…

Step 1.  Pay down your debt to clean up your credit.  Your credit score is a tricky business when it comes to saving for your first home.  You have no history of carrying a mortgage, so you can’t make any real impact there.  What you CAN do is to clean up your overall credit report so your general credit score is as healthy as possible before you apply for your mortgage loan.  According to the National Foundation for Credit counseling (NFCC) a surprising number of Americans think they have “above average” (60%) to a “very good” (41%) credit, although a full 48% have not seen their credit score in the past three years or EVER.  So clearly, this is where you need to start.  The best way to differentiate yourself from your competition is to pay down your debt, clear up any disputes on your credit report and in so doing boost your credit score so you can qualify for the best mortgage at the lowest interest rates.

Step 2.  Separate and automate your savings.  Saving money is never going to be the easiest goal you attempt.  In fact, according to The Atlantic (magazine), one of the chief reasons that nearly half of all Americans have little or no emergency savings to fall back on is taking on too much mortgage debt.  So here is a clear area where you should proceed with caution.  First, SAVE! Then, buy a home.  The best approach to make saving as painless as possible for your is to automate your savings.  You can do this by setting up direct deposit on your paycheck and then regular auto-drafts into a savings account reserved just for dream home savings.  This way, you never touch those funds and feel tempted to spend them.

Step 3.  Downsize to upsize.  Finally, one effective change many adults today are making to save more towards their dream home is to downsize while they save.   This can mean anything from moving to a smaller apartment to getting rid of your cable television subscription.  Also, you must continually remind yourself why you have downsized in order for this step to work well.  But THE KEY in making downsizing work to serve your greater goals is to make sure you deposit every cent of what you save into your dream home fund.  Referring back to Step 2, the easiest way to do this is to calculate for yourself exactly what you are saving by paying less rent, giving up cable, etc. and then setting up a monthly auto draft in that amount to deposit directly into your dream home savings account.

By following these three steps, you can  make tangible financial [progress in saving to buy your dream home.  If you can save 20% towards a down payment, you can avoid paying expensive Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and you may even qualify for a lower interest rate.  Scrimping and savings is never fun or easy, but it will be worth it when your realtor hands you that brand-new set of house keys!

SOURCE:  Damien Justus for realtytimes.com  –  IMAGE:  cthomesllc.com

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30-YEAR MORTGAGE RATE JUMPS 50O 3.94% http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/30-year-mortgage-rate-jumps-50o-3-94/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/30-year-mortgage-rate-jumps-50o-3-94/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 15:21:18 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5875 Excerpted from an article in the Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times “WASHINGTON – Long-term mortgage rates climbed this week, reflecting deep declines in US government bond prices in the days after Donald Trump’s election victory. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 3.94% from 3.57% last week.  That put…

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fixed_mortgage_rateExcerpted from an article in the Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times

“WASHINGTON – Long-term mortgage rates climbed this week, reflecting deep declines in US government bond prices in the days after Donald Trump’s election victory.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 3.94% from 3.57% last week.  That put the benchmark rate close to its year-ago level of 3.97%

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, advanced to 3.14% from 2.88%

The rate rise was powered by a sustained decline in US government bond prices in the days after Trump’s victory became known early Nov. 9.  Bond investors looked toward tax cuts and beefed up spending on infrastructure under a Trump administration, which could fuel inflation and erode Treasury bond prices.  The selling wave dubbed the “Trump Dump” lifted bond yields, which move opposite to prices and influence long-term mortgage rates.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond jumped to 2.06% last Wednesday from 1.87% on Election Day Tuesday.  By Thursday, it was 2.25%

Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, citing an improving economy, said again Thursday that the Fed is more likely to raise interest rates soon.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.

SOURCE:  Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times

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MORTGAGE BROKER VS. MORTGAGE LENDER – WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU? http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/mortgage-broker-vs-mortgage-lender-which-is-right-for-you/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/mortgage-broker-vs-mortgage-lender-which-is-right-for-you/#respond Mon, 07 Nov 2016 15:08:51 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5861 Excerpted from an article by Jeff Ostrowski for realtytimes.com “When you’re ready to get a mortgage, you face an array of choices:  Fixed rate or variable?  Points or no points?  Mortgage broker or mortgage lender?  That last decision involves a simple but easily misunderstood distinction. Simply put, a mortgage broker is an independent professional who…

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mortgagebrokerExcerpted from an article by Jeff Ostrowski for realtytimes.com

“When you’re ready to get a mortgage, you face an array of choices:  Fixed rate or variable?  Points or no points?  Mortgage broker or mortgage lender?  That last decision involves a simple but easily misunderstood distinction.

Simply put, a mortgage broker is an independent professional who can shop around to find deals from a variety of lenders.  A mortgage lender is represented by a loan officer who can speak only for that institution’s produce line.

What does that mean for the borrower?  As a practical matter, a mortgage broker can present you loan packages from multiple lenders – like Wells Fargo, Chase and Quicken loans.  The loan officer from Wells Fargo, on the other hand, can pitch only Wells Fargo mortgages.  The advantages of dealing with a lender include reliability and reputation.  With a broker, you have greater flexibility.  Based on your financial profile, the broker may also line you up with a lender where you’re most likely to qualify for the loan.

When in doubt, comparison shop.

So, which to use?  There’s no clear answer, says Eric Tyson, author of Personal Finance for Dummies and co-author of Mortgages for Dummies.  “I’ve seen people be happy using either option”, Tyson says.  “The important thing is to shop around.”  He suggests soliciting loan packages from a mortgage broker and a couple of lenders, then judging which proposal offers the best deal based on rates and fees.  In the end, whether to use one or the other depends in part on your finances.  If you have stellar credit and steady income and you’re shopping for a plain-vanilla loan, mortgage rates and loan fees are unlikely to vary much from one lender to the next.

If, on the other hand, you have spotty credit, you’re self-employed or have an otherwise-tricky profile as a borrower, you may find the number of mortgage lenders willing to do business with you is more limited.  In that case, it can be more convenient to use a mortgage broker.  After all, they make a living from their knowledge of various loan products.

Laws offer protection.  Unfortunately, the image of both mortgage brokers and lenders was tarred by a minority of unethical practitioners who built an unsavory reputation for themselves during the housing bubble; those excesses have largely gone away, however.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created in 2010 to ride herd on the mortgage industry, released guidelines in 2014 that included a ban on “steering” – that is, on financial incentives for loan officers to push you into a loan you can’t afford.  Lenders have stopped offering some of the risky loans that drove the housing bubble, and mortgage lenders and brokers operate under heightened level of scrutiny and disclosure.

Tipping the negotiation in your favor.  Whether you opt for a mortgage broker or lender, the paperwork burden will be similar.  Both will run a credit check, and both will ask for tax returns, pay stubs, bank balances and other information required for the the lender’s underwriting process.

Payments for brokers and lenders are different, and understanding how the broker or loan officer is paid may help you land a better deal.  Mortgage brokers are typically paid a commission by the lender – usually 1 percent to 2 percent of the amount of the loan.  For loan officers at banks, compensation models vary.  The might be paid a commission, but they typically collect a salary plus bonus.  To win your business, a mortgage broker might be willing to negotiate his fee…and the larger the loan, the more negotiating power you may have.”

SOURCE:  Jeff Ostrowski for realtytimes.com

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IS IT FINALLY TIME TO BUY A CONDO? http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/is-it-finally-time-to-buy-a-condo/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/is-it-finally-time-to-buy-a-condo/#respond Wed, 10 Aug 2016 14:20:46 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5775 Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “The popularity of condos has swelled and waned over the years, gaining popularity especially in areas where buyers may be priced out of the single-family home market…. Despite their greater affordability, condos have been harder for buyers to get approved to purchase unless they had a…

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condoExcerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“The popularity of condos has swelled and waned over the years, gaining popularity especially in areas where buyers may be priced out of the single-family home market….

Despite their greater affordability, condos have been harder for buyers to get approved to purchase unless they had a large down payment.  That’s because the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a popular source of loans for first-time buyers because they’re (a) government-backed; (b) require as little as 3.5% down; and (c) are often a solution for buyers who have less than perfect credit, has historically only approved a small number of condos for their financing, leading the LA Times to previously call condos an “FHA no-lending zone.”

But that may be changing with new legislation that was just signed by the President….”President Obama has signed H.R. 3700- the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” into law.  The National Association of Realtors hailed the development as a significant step in eliminating barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos.  NAR has long been an advocate of the bill, testifying before Congress and lobbying for its passage…passed unanimously by Congress, the bill lowers the owner occupancy requirement for condo complexes from 50% to 35%…that means more condos could be purchased with a 3.5% down payment, well below the usual 10-20% requirement….and that’s huge news for condo buyers who have experienced the frustration of searching for an affordable property only to be shut down by a lack of available inventory.  While the FHA does their 90-day rule-writing  exercise on owner occupancy, we can take a look at some of the pros and cons of condo ownership.

PRO:  No exterior maintenance.  If you’re looking for a lock & leave lifestyle, or if you don’t want to care for a yard, this is a big bonus.

CON:  Maintenance has to be done by someone, so you’ll be paying a homeowners’ association fee = HOA.

PRO:  If you have an HOA, you probably also have amenities in the community, like a pool or gym, that you may not have in a single-family home.

CON:  You still have to pay for the amenities even if you don’t use them….and HOA fees are not tax deductible.

PRO:  If you DO use amenities, you might meet some neighbors, which could make living in your condo even more enjoyable.

CON:  Sometimes, close quarters translates into more traffic and some noise.  In a condo, you’ll  typically be sharing at least one wall, and probably at least one floor as well.

PRO:  A condo you buy is still something you own, and the benefits of owning real estate are many – pride of ownership…tax benefits.  You’ll love being about to write off your mortgage interest, which on average is about $1,900 a year in savings – plus any points on your mortgage, property tax and private mortgage insurance (which you’ll need if you’re putting less than 20% down.)

CON:  Condos are traditionally harder to sell than single-family homes.  Why?  Because they pretty much all look the same.  And…condos often appreciate in value much slower than single-family homes because you don’t own any land, which is often the biggest driver of appreciation.  Instead, you own a living space.

PRO:  You might not care about re-saleability if a condo is your one shot to get into a neighborhood or area you like or your only shot at home-ownership.

CON:  You may have to pay an assessment.  Before buying a condo, request and read the documents that apply to the management of the complex.  (is there an assessment pending?)  How big is the condominium’s reserve fund? Read the rules and restrictions to make sure you can live the lifestyle you’re seeking…”

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

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