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What is Inflation, How Does it Affect Interest Rates, and Why Does it Matter?

Blog posted On June 15, 2021

Over the next two days, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will hold their fourth meeting of the year to discuss interest rates and their Summary of Economic Projections. The central bank has kept the benchmark interest rate near zero since they made an emergency rate cut last March. But with the economy continuing to gain strength, many experts are wondering when the Fed will begin tapering asset purchases and raising rates again.

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Market Update: Rates Fall, Housing Market Index, FOMC Meeting, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On June 14, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward after the 10-year Treasury yields dropped to some of their lowest levels since May 7. Though Treasury yields don’t directly influence mortgage rates, they often trend in similar directions. When longer-dated Treasury yields (like the 10-year yield) gain strength, mortgage bonds tend to benefit as well – pushing rates lower. This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will be meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the benchmark interest rate, currently set near zero. In other important market-moving news, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will be releasing their housing market sentiment index on Tuesday. Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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3 Steps that Could Help Speed Up Your Refinance

Blog posted On June 10, 2021

When mortgage rates trend lower, people want to act fast. Home buyers will rush to find a home, while homeowners will rush to refinance. Then they’ll come to their lenders wanting to close on their loans immediately. Direct lenders, like us, typically have the ability to close quicker than others. However, part of the speed of our closings depends on you. The more prepared, responsive, and organized you are, the quicker you can close on your loan.

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How to Remove Negative Items from Your Credit Report

Blog posted On June 09, 2021

Your credit score can influence a lot of different opportunities, including your ability to buy a home. Different loan programs have different credit requirements, and the higher your credit score, the better chance you have at getting approved. A higher credit score can also increase your chances of securing a lower interest rate, which can save you thousands over the life of your loan. So, it’s important to stay on top of your credit, and if you notice a negative item bringing down your score, here’s what you should do.

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Housing Bill Proposed to Help Teachers and First Responders

Blog posted On June 08, 2021

On May 13th, U.S. Representatives introduced a new bill aimed to help first responders and teachers buy homes. The bill, called Homes for Every Local Protector Educator and Responder Act, will be similar to VA Loans in assistance and structure.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, Job Openings Scheduled for Release

Blog posted On June 07, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week and continued to hover near historic lows. Bond market volatility sent them slightly higher in the middle of the week, but with Friday’s employment situation, they trended lower again. Most of the reports in the employment situation were much lower than expected by economists. Consequently, “stock market futures actually rose, with investors continuing to bet that the measured pace of job gains would keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates and tightening monetary policy,” wrote Jeff Cox, Finance Editor for CNBC. The jobs report was a good check-in with the economy’s recovery, which is a key factor for the Fed to raise rates. With the economy’s job growth at a slower-than-expected pace, it’s unlikely the Fed will raise rates just yet. However, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is scheduled for release this Tuesday, which will be another important rate-influencing report.

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Fannie Mae RefiNow Available Tomorrow

Blog posted On June 04, 2021

Fannie Mae has launched RefiNow, a new refinance program designed for eligible homeowners who have not yet taken advantage of record-low mortgage rates. Fannie Mae RefiNow guarantees homeowners will get an average interest rate reduction 0.25%* lower than their qualifying market mortgage rate. As an added bonus, we will give homeowners a $500 appraisal credit.

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5 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before Hiring Them

Blog posted On June 03, 2021

Google can do a lot, but it can’t quite compete with talking to someone about all of your home buying questions. Working with a REALTOR® can be a great asset in your home buying journey. Not only can they provide individualized advice, but they’re there to help guide you every step of the way. Many home buyers find a trusted REALTOR® through word of mouth or network connections, but if you’re starting from scratch, asking potential REALTORS® these five questions might be a good place to start.

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Don’t Make This Common Home Buying Mistake

Blog posted On June 02, 2021

If you’re buying a home, you’re probably focused on the upfront costs: your down payment, interest rate, and purchase price. These costs will dictate how much you pay upfront and how much your monthly mortgage payments will be going forward. To aid your home search, you might create a budget around the estimated monthly mortgage payments you will be able to afford. While this is a good start to your purchase preparation, you won’t want to stop there. Making a home buying budget strictly based on the estimated monthly mortgage payments you can afford might put yourself in a difficult financial position down the road.

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Is the Housing Market Headed Toward a Crash?

Blog posted On June 01, 2021

It’s no secret that the housing market is still red hot. Supply is low, demand is high, and home values are soaring to some of their highest levels since 1999. The market has been getting hotter and hotter over the past year, leaving many people wondering, “are we headed to a crash?”

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Market Update: Rates Drop, Construction Spending, and the Employment Situation

Blog posted On May 31, 2021

In the beginning of last week, mortgage rates trended downward to some of the lowest levels since the beginning of May. Towards the end of the week, they inched up due to a weakened bond market, but continue to remain historically low. According to Mortgage News Daily, these upward rate “moves aren't extreme in the bigger picture.” Some claim that Biden’s plan to propose a $6 trillion budget had an effect on the market. Another cause could be the core PCE index, which showed an increase of 3.1% that surged past the Federal Reserve’s 2% goal.

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4 VA Loan Facts to Know Before You Apply

Blog posted On May 27, 2021

VA Loans are government-sponsored loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs designed to help military members, National Guard members, veterans, and surviving spouses buy a home. If you’re thinking of financing your home with a VA Loan, it might be easier than you think.

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4 Money Moves to Make Before the End of May

Blog posted On May 26, 2021

By now, you’ve likely filed your taxes. The hard part is over. But as May comes to a close, there are still a few key deadlines to be aware of that can help you maximize your savings, increase profits on your investment, and make other beneficial money moves.

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What to Do if You Missed the Tax Deadline

Blog posted On May 25, 2021

Last Monday was Tax Day – the final day you could file your income taxes. Though it typically falls on April 15, the IRS allowed Americans an extra month to complete their taxes this year, due to the pandemic. If it slipped your mind, don’t worry. Tax Day has been a little different the past two years and you might still have some options to complete your 2020 taxes.

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Market Update: Rates Inch Upward, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On May 24, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates saw a slight upward trend. The bond market took a turn on Wednesday after a scheduled treasury auction, but the bigger rate factor was the Fed’s policy meeting minutes on Wednesday afternoon. The minutes showed that the Fed was debating tapering soon. This means that they will gradually reduce the amount of bond purchases they make until it reaches zero. Historically, mortgage rates tend to move up when the Fed tapers their bond purchases. In 2013, rates spiked abruptly in reaction to the Fed’s taper discussion. However, this year is different because of the pandemic’s effect on the economy. The Fed is still looking for further economic recovery before they taper, and even when they do, it will be gradual.

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Home Renovations with the Highest and Lowest Returns

Blog posted On May 20, 2021

Home renovations can be costly endeavors, depending on the scope of your project. Some homeowners might renovate simply because they need more space. Others might have the goal of boosting their home’s value. If the purpose of your home renovation is to increase your home’s value, it’s important to weigh out its cost. Certain renovations might not have the same resale value that you imagined. To help you plan for your home renovation, here are the current home upgrades with the highest and lowest return on investment (ROI).

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5 Myths About Buying a Home

Blog posted On May 19, 2021

Buying a home is a big step. Renting allows you to live more commitment-free, and when you think of buying, you might be worried about what it entails. For many people, they envision a large debt, strict mortgage requirements, and settling down. But not everything you hear about buying a home is true. To help you transition from renting to buying, here are five common myths about buying a home.

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How Long Will High Lumber Prices Last?

Blog posted On May 18, 2021

Lumber prices have been surging to record highs over the past few weeks. One year ago, random-length lumber futures were around $340, according to Nasdaq. Two weeks ago, they hit an all-time high of $1,670. If they continue to rise, construction projects could be significantly delayed, the housing shortage could worsen, and home prices could climb even higher than they already are. Many people are wondering “how did lumber prices get here?”  An even more important question might be, “how (and when) will they drop?”

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Market Update: Rates Move Higher, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On May 17, 2021

Mortgage rates trended slightly higher last week after hitting a two-month low the week before. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) revealed a record high number of job openings and the consumer price index (CPI) showed the highest year-over-year increase in 13 years – both strong signs of the economy’s continued recovery. When the economy is stronger, rates may trend higher. However, the Federal Reserve is unconcerned by the CPI’s high year-over-year inflation jump due to its distorted comparison to last year’s pandemic lows. Until inflation is consistently averaging at around 2%, the Fed has said that it will keep the benchmark interest rate near zero.

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What’s the Difference Between Condos, Apartments, and Townhouses?

Blog posted On May 13, 2021

Choosing where to buy or rent a place to live depends on many different factors. How far is the commute? What are the school districts like? Is it located in a nice neighborhood? All important questions to consider. But before you answer them, you’ll need to answer what kind of property am I looking for? There are several options to consider besides a house.

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What You Need to Know About Homeowners Insurance Before You Buy a Vacation Home

Blog posted On May 12, 2021

After years of saving and dreaming, you’re finally ready to invest in that house by the beach. But before you do, it’s important to make sure that your money (and home) will be protected. While homeowners insurance might not stop bad things from happening to your home, it can help compensate you in the case of a bad event.

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Biden’s Impact on Housing in His First 100 Days

Blog posted On May 11, 2021

It’s hard to believe that we’re already 100 days into President Biden’s term. A couple of weeks ago, he gave his first address to Congress with updates on his progress so far and plans to come. Here are some of the ways he has impacted the housing industry over the past 100 days.

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Market Update: Rates Unchanged, Job Openings, and Mortgage Applications

Blog posted On May 10, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged, continuing to trend near historic lows. Early in the week, the bond yields fell due to stocks losing ground. Mortgage rates typically follow the momentum of the bond market, so they hovered near their current lows. Later in the week, several employment reports were expected to have an impact on rates. ADP employment was increasingly positive but the employment situation reports were mixed. Though a couple of the reports saw higher-than-expected increases (average hourly earnings, average weekly hours), others fell below expectations (manufacturing payrolls, nonfarm payrolls, private nonfarm payrolls, and the unemployment rate). Consequently, rates didn’t see much movement and remained low.

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How an Investment Property Can Increase Your Wealth

Blog posted On May 06, 2021

Investment properties are primarily used to generate additional income. With the money generated from rental payments you can profit every year in the form of passive income. Plus, you could qualify for significant tax benefits, increase your wealth, and diversify your investment portfolio.

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Money Moves to Make When Interest Rates Are Low

Blog posted On May 05, 2021

Last week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. Consequently, the cost of borrowing will remain relatively favorable for consumers. If you’re thinking about how to take advantage of low rates, now is the time. Don’t know where to start? Here are two ways you can take advantage of interest rates while they’re still low.

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Congress Introduces First-Time Homebuyer Act

Blog posted On May 04, 2021

Last week we looked at President Biden’s Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021. Initially, it seemed like it was an updated version of his proposed tax credit. However, last Tuesday, two U.S. Representatives introduced another bill called the First-Time Homebuyer Act, which would more closely resemble Biden’s original tax credit plan.

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Market Update: No Rate Hike, Construction Spending, and the Weekly Mortgage Application Survey

Blog posted On May 03, 2021

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave interest rates unchanged, but predicted economic growth and inflation would accelerate in the coming months.  Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged, and as a result are in a still historically low range. The cooling of rates has been much needed after consistent climbs throughout February and March. However, there’s a certain risk factor to the downward trend we’ve been witnessing for the past several weeks. Either rates could continue making insignificant fluctuations, or we could see a “reinvigoration of 2021’s rising rate trends,” said contributors at Mortgage News Daily.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, and Pending Sales Rise

Blog posted On April 30, 2021

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced that the benchmark interest rate would remain near zero. This marks over one year since the Fed pushed rates down due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged. For right now they’re still trending in a historically low range, and the market doesn’t show many indicators of that changing soon.

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5 Mortgage Terms Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Know

Blog posted On April 29, 2021

There are several different steps of the home buying process that you might not have seen on Million Dollar Listing. It might feel overwhelming at times, but professionals like a REALTOR® and loan officer can help guide you through the process. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 91% of buyers aged 22 to 30 cited a real estate agent as a main source of information when buying a home. Among that 91%, a large majority of first-time buyers had similar questions about these five mortgage terms.

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How Carrying a Balance Affects Your Credit Score

Blog posted On April 28, 2021

You carry a credit card balance when you don’t pay your total bill on time and in full each month. Whatever’s left unpaid gets carried over to the next month’s bill. For example, if you bought a $1,000 TV and paid off $700, you carried over a balance of $300. For the most part, credit card users are encouraged to pay their bills on time and in full. So, is carrying a balance ever a good idea? 

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3 Major Updates to Biden’s Home Buyer Assistance Bill

Blog posted On April 27, 2021

Earlier this year, we took a deeper look at President Biden’s proposed tax credit. Initially, the tax credit was designed to “help families buy their first homes and build wealth by creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000.” However, on April 14th, lawmakers published a new draft of the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 that had a few key differences from its original concept.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, FOMC Meeting, and Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On April 26, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward to reach some of the lowest levels in almost two months. The bond market showed renewed signs of strength and most mortgage lenders adjusted their pricing accordingly. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to assess the benchmark interest rate and determine if it needs to be adjusted. Right now, the benchmark rate sits near zero. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will give a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Prior to the decision, the Case-Shiller home price index will be released on Tuesday. The pending home sales index comes out on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Jump, Existing Home Sales Decline, News Home Sales Surge

Blog posted On April 23, 2021

Mortgage rates fell this week, trending near lowest levels since the beginning of March. The bond market was “fairly stable,” according to Mortgage News Daily. Yesterday, the proposed increase in capital gains tax rates pushed bond yields down. Consequently, many lenders reported drops in mortgage rates as well.

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How to Groom the Perfect Lawn

Blog posted On April 22, 2021

Curb appeal is one of the top influencers when buying or selling a home. If you have a nice garden, new paint, and a well-groomed yard, your home will likely get more offers than one with poorly kept outdoor features. Even if you aren’t considering selling, you still probably appreciate the looks of a nice green lawn. Luckily, growing the perfect lawn doesn’t require an extensive skill set, just a few extra steps in your daily routine.

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5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

Blog posted On April 21, 2021

There are certain factors that are out of your control when getting a mortgage rate. You can’t control the Federal Reserve, bond market, or any of the economic factors that influence rate trends.  However, you can control your credit score. Your credit score shows lenders how good you are at borrowing money and repaying debts. The higher the score, the better. By improving your credit score, you could qualify for a lower mortgage rate and save money over the life of your loan.

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4 Ways the Housing Market Could Change After the Pandemic

Blog posted On April 20, 2021

The housing market saw notable shifts when coronavirus initially broke out last year. Mortgage rates dropped, home prices surged, and an increasing number of buyers fled the cities into suburban areas. Now, as the economy is gaining strength, we will likely see the housing market shift again – specifically in these four ways.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales

Blog posted On April 19, 2021

Mortgage rates have seen a steady downward trend over the past couple of weeks, hitting some of their lowest levels in nearly a month. COVID-19 and mortgage rates have generally been conversely related. When COVID cases have spiked, rates have dropped lower. Therefore, as the economy recovers from the pandemic, we will likely see higher rates. If case counts rise and variants spread, then rates might hold or even drop further.

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Decline, Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump

Blog posted On April 16, 2021

This week, mortgage rates trended near some of their lowest levels in almost a month. After weeks of steady increases, rates are finally falling at a consistent pace. “The drop in rates creates yet another opportunity for those who have not refinanced to take a look at the possibility,” said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. In other market news, mortgage application submissions declined once again. Home builder sentiment improved, despite record high lumber prices. Housing starts jumped to their highest level in years and building permits rose as well.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Buying in a Busy Market

Blog posted On April 15, 2021

Everything moves faster when buyer competition is high. The offers roll in quicker, the houses close sooner, and the seller often gets much more than their asking price. Consequently, many buyers feel the pressure to act fast too. This can lead you to skip inspections, overpay, and wind up in a bad financial position in the long run. To help you avoid these common mistakes, here are five DOs and DON’Ts to guide you through buying in a busy market.

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Home Buying Tips from a Financial Planner

Blog posted On April 14, 2021

“How much can I spend?” is a common question asked when buying a home. For Eric Roberge, CFP of Beyond Your Hammock, this is the top financial priority for many of his clients. Roberge specializes in helping 30- to 40-year-old professionals manage their finances, and a popular goal for this age range is buying a home. To guide buyers in their home search and prepare their finances for a purchase, Roberge offers two main tips.

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New Home Buyers are Taking Charge of the Current Market

Blog posted On April 13, 2021

Last year, the number of first-time home buyers hit its lowest level in over 30 years. The coronavirus pandemic likely played a large role in the decline, but outside of that, the market had other challenges for first-time buyers as well. Low inventory, high demand, and rising mortgage rates are all making it harder for new buyers to break into the homeowner’s club. Consequently, first-time buyers are having to pave more creative paths to homeownership – paths that may differ from their parents and grandparents.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On April 12, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward and hit their lowest point since the beginning of March. The bond market remained stable and bond yields have remained below important ceilings since mid-March. Coming up this week in housing news, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released on Wednesday morning, followed by the housing market index on Thursday and housing starts and building permits on Friday.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Surge, Mortgage Applications Fall, Consumer Credit Increases

Blog posted On April 09, 2021

Mortgage rates trended downward this week as the bond market remained relatively strong. According to Mortgage News Daily, bond yields “have remained under important ceilings since March 18th despite numerous attempts at a breakout.” Bond yields, specifically the 10-year treasury yields, are important indicators of any shifts in rate momentum. “Evidence for a supportive shift in the rate environment is beginning to mount,” wrote Mortgage News contributors.

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Breaking Down the Most Common Myths About USDA Loans

Blog posted On April 08, 2021

Initially created to encourage rural development, the USDA Loan has helped nearly 1.5 million home buyers become homeowners. Backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the USDA Loan offers zero down payment, reduced mortgage insurance costs, and low mortgage rates. It’s a great deal that saves buyers thousands of dollars in upfront costs, but over the years it has become increasingly less popular.

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A Home Buyer’s Guide to a Pet-Friendly Purchase

Blog posted On April 07, 2021

When buying a home, it’s important to consider the needs of all family members involved. For many families, this includes the needs of a furry friend. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 50% of American households have at least one pet, and nearly 90% of those households said their pets’ needs are very important factors when buying a home. If you’re one of those 90%, consider these four questions to find the perfect place for both or both you and your pet.

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HUD Holds FHA Premiums Steady, Home Buyers Still Win

Blog posted On April 06, 2021

Last week, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge announced that there would be no cuts to FHA mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs). Most of the housing industry had hoped for a 0.25% reduction, but for now the benchmark annual MIP rate will remain at 0.85%. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, and Consumer Credit

Blog posted On April 05, 2021

Mortgage rates trended higher last week. On Tuesday, Mortgage Daily News reported net gains that pushed rates near some of their highest levels in a year.  However, with the bond market recovery on Tuesday afternoon and the reprices that followed, rates dropped slightly in the latter half of the week. This week, the Labor Department will release their Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Tuesday. The weekly mortgage application survey will be released Wednesday morning, followed by the report on consumer credit that afternoon.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Surge, Pending Sales Drop, Construction Spending Declines

Blog posted On April 02, 2021

Mortgage rates trended upward most of the week, reaching near long-term highs. Earlier in the week we saw a bounce in the bond market, which was a hopeful sign that rates were hitting their ceiling. While mortgage-backed bonds are one of the largest influencers on daily mortgage rates, the downward trend did not hold. Mortgage experts are divided on the trend of mortgage rates next week. According to a Bankrate survey, 46% expect rates to continue rising while 15% expect them to fall. A large number (38%) said that rates will remain unchanged. In other housing news, home prices surged once again, while pending sales slowed and construction spending decreased.

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Why You Should Stay with the Same Lender for Your Refinance

Blog posted On April 01, 2021

Refinancing your home while rates are low can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. If you’re looking into refinancing you might be considering what type of refinance you want, what rates you are looking for, and whether or not you should stay with your current lender. But before you decide to refinance with someone new, here are four reasons when it makes sense to stay put.

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Are ‘We Buy Houses’ Signs a Scam?

Blog posted On March 31, 2021

Many of us know a scam when we see one. Whether it’s a phone call from “Spam Risk,” or a text to claim your free prize, we’re wary of anything that seems too good to be true. So, are the “We Buy Houses” signs any different? 

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More First-Time Home Buyers Choose Conventional Over FHA Loans

Blog posted On March 30, 2021

The FHA Loan has been a cost-effective staple for first-time home buyers since its creation in the 1930s. With low down payments and lenient credit requirements, the FHA Loan has helped millions of home buyers over the years. However, recent data by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has shown a sharp decrease in the number of buyers who are financing their first homes with the FHA Loan. Over the past 1-2 years, more first-time buyers have been choosing the conventional financing route – but why? When might a conventional loan be a better option for first-time buyers? 

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Pending Sales, and Construction Spending

Blog posted On March 29, 2021

Last week, mortgage rates trended near some of their lowest points since the middle of March, according to Mortgage News Daily. The downward trend comes after consistently rising throughout the beginning of the month and is a positive outlook for future rates. Regardless of whether this downward trend will last, Mortgage News Daily contributors pointed out that eventually one of these rates drop clusters will “have staying power.” 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Drop, New Home Sales Decline, Mortgage Applications Mixed

Blog posted On March 26, 2021

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, hitting some of the lowest levels in the past 10 days, according to Mortgage News Daily. Encouraged by calmer conditions in the bond market, rates finally started to fall after three weeks of consistently rising. Though it’s unclear whether this is a broader reversal of rates or just a false start, it is an optimistic drop, nonetheless. “Eventually, one of these friendly bounces will have staying power,” wrote Mortgage News contributors in a daily report. In housing news, both existing and new home sales dropped in February. Mortgage refinance application submissions fell while purchase submissions increased.

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6 Quick Tips to Help Sell Your House Fast

Blog posted On March 25, 2021

Staging your home for sale is always important – even in a busy market. With the help of good staging, you could garner more buyer interest, close on your home faster, and potentially increase your profit. To get started with a solid home staging, follow these six easy tips from REALTORS® across the country.

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How to Spend Your Stimulus Money Wisely

Blog posted On March 24, 2021

Last week, the third round of stimulus checks were sent to qualifying citizens. The checks – equaling up to $1,400 per person – were quickly processed by the IRS and U.S. Treasury in an effort to stimulate the economy amidst the continued coronavirus pandemic. If you were one of the stimulus check recipients, it may be tempting to splurge on that new PlayStation 5 or the necklace that you’ve wanted. However, here are five smarter ways you can spend your stimulus money.

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How Housing Has Changed in a Year & Where it’s Headed Next

Blog posted On March 23, 2021

Unexpected is an understatement when describing this past year. A global pandemic, a struggling economy, and so much more led to a 2020 that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. And in the midst of it all, the housing market took a turn that hardly anyone expected – breaking records, surging demand, and a much-needed hand that helped keep the economy going through unprecedented times. Now, many of us are wondering: what’s next?

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and Mortgage Applications

Blog posted On March 22, 2021

Last week the Fed decided to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero once again – reaffirming its commitment to economic recovery. Mortgage rates, however, still saw a slight upward trend as the economy continues to gain strength and housing demand continues to boom. Demand and inflation are two other factors, in addition to the Central Bank’s monetary policy, that influence mortgage rates. Though the benchmark rate is still low, mortgage demand is high, and inflation has inched up as well, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expects this trend is temporary.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Confidence Drops, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decrease, and Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged

Blog posted On March 19, 2021

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it was leaving the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a range of 0 to 0.25%. As a result, mortgage rates should not move drastically in the near future. In the past week, they have trended slightly upward due to increased economic recovery and inflation. In its revised economic outlook, the Fed predicted a higher inflation and GDP growth this year – both good signs of economic strength. In other housing news, home builder confidence dropped to its lowest level in seven months while housing starts and building permits slowed – largely a result of increased construction costs.

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4 Steps for a Successful Home Purchase

Blog posted On March 18, 2021

After years of saving and months of searching, you’ve finally found the one. Now, you’re ready to move in. But there are a few other steps you need to take before the moving trucks roll up. If you know them in advance and are prepared, then the home purchase process can move even faster, and you can start packing up in no time.

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10 Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

Blog posted On March 17, 2021

There’s one day a year that everyone loves to go green. Some think it saves them from a pinch of the skin, while other hope it can lead them to a pot of gold. But with a few simple changes, you can go green every day of the year – right in the comfort of your home – and save a lot more than a pinch. 

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How the American Rescue Plan Will Impact Housing

Blog posted On March 16, 2021

Last week, Congress approved a $1.9 trillion relief package known as the American Rescue Plan. President Biden signed the plan on Friday, which means the sixth coronavirus relief measure should be disbursed very soon – giving many Americans a $1,400 direct payment and millions of others assistance with unemployment benefits, small business loans, vaccine investment, and community support. 

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, FOMC Meeting, Housing Starts and Building Permits

Blog posted On March 15, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week. Treasury yields are starting to inch higher in anticipation of increased inflation. With this imminent recovery, more people are anticipating the rise of benchmark interest rates. It’s not a matter of will rates rise, but when will it happen

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Market Recap: Mortgage Applications Mixed, Consumer Price Index Increases, Job Openings Jump

Blog posted On March 12, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week after inching up the week before.  There are many hopeful signs of the economy’s strength right now, but people are worried about possible inflation and rising interest rates. In reality, these are effects of a recovering economy.  According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mortgage application submissions decreased on the refinance index but increased on the purchase index. The consumer price index rose slightly but inflation remains lower than pre-pandemic levels. Job openings expanded as more businesses start reopening again.

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Should You Refinance Your Mortgage in Retirement?

Blog posted On March 11, 2021

By the time you retire, your finances should be pretty consistent, which is why the thought of making a large financial move like refinancing can be intimidating to some. However, refinancing when you’re retired can bring you similar benefits to when you were still working, and can be a smart financial move for many.

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REALTORS Answer Their 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions

Blog posted On March 10, 2021

When it comes to buying a home, your REALTOR® is your go-to guru. Whether it’s questions about the home’s price or concerns about the strength of your offer – you’ll likely look to your REALTOR®  for all the answers.  Naturally, home buyers will have questions and concerns when purchasing a home. If you think you’re alone in your concerns, you’re not. Don’t believe us? Here are five of the most common questions a REALTOR® gets asked.

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How Millennials are Shaping the Current Housing Market

Blog posted On March 09, 2021

For decades, Millennials have sat on the sidelines and delayed milestones like homeownership. Two years ago, Millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996 – officially became the largest generation in America, totaling at 72.1 million people. Last year, they became the largest home buying population in America, making up 38% of all buyers. And today, they’re driving the housing boom – with existing sales up 24% annually.

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Applications, Consumer Price Index, and Job Openings

Blog posted On March 08, 2021

Mortgage rates dropped last week and continue to stay in a historically low range. This week, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released on Wednesday morning, followed by the consumer price index later that day. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will be released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Jumps, Mortgage Applications Increase, and ADP Employment Shows Job Growth

Blog posted On March 05, 2021

Mortgage rates trended downward this week. Construction spending hit an all-time high in January. Mortgage application submissions increased. The ADP employment report showed increases as well.

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Removing Insurance from an FHA Loan

Blog posted On March 04, 2021

The FHA Loan is one of the most popular government-backed loans. With lower down payment options and less restrictive requirements than conventional loans, it’s an especially appealing program for home buyers like first-time buyers who may struggle to qualify for a conventional loan. If you decide to finance your home with an FHA Loan, you will be required to pay mandatory mortgage insurance.

 

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What Homeowners Insurance Covers in a Power Outage

Blog posted On March 03, 2021

Losing power in your home is more than just an uncharged iPhone and a missed episode of This is Us – especially during the winter months. For many, losing power can be physically dangerous, emotionally taxing, and financially expensive. Luckily, some of the costs that ensue from power outages are covered by your homeowners insurance – but the extent of your coverage depends on your insurer and policy.

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6 Factors that Affect a Home’s Price

Blog posted On March 02, 2021

Home price appreciation has surged over the past year – up 10.1% year-over-year, according to the recent Case-Shiller home price index report. This is the first time that home prices have seen a double-digit gain since 2014, as more buyers have been flooding the housing market and fewer homes have been available for sale. Whether you’re a proactive homeowner getting your house ready to sell, or a savvy home buyer looking to make a smart investment, knowing which factors affect a home’s price could help you maximize your returns in the future.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and ADP Employment

Blog posted On March 01, 2021

Mortgage rates saw a slight upward trend last week but are still relatively low. The report on construction spending will be released today, and the weekly mortgage application survey will be released on Wednesday. Also scheduled for release this week, is the ADP employment report.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, New Home Sales Jump, and Pending Home Sales Fall

Blog posted On February 26, 2021

Mortgage rates trended upward this week but remain in a historically low range. Home prices appreciated at the fastest pace since 2014. New home sales rose nationwide while pending home sales slipped slightly.

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What Are the Costs of Refinancing Your Mortgage?

Blog posted On February 25, 2021

When mortgage rates are near record lows, it is a great opportunity for homeowners to refinance their home loans and potentially save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. However, when making the choice to refinance, be sure to take all of these added costs into account. 

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How to Determine if You’re Financially Ready to Buy a Home

Blog posted On February 24, 2021

When many home buyers are preparing to purchase a home, they can picture it all – the perfect house, the perfect family, and the perfect renovations they’re already planning in their heads. While buying a house is definitely an exciting investment, it’s important that your financial preparedness matches (or surpasses) your emotional preparedness to buy as well. In order to to help determine if you’re financially ready to buy a home, here are 5 questions to answer.

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3 Reasons You Should Refinance Now

Blog posted On February 23, 2021

Mortgage rates have trended near historic lows for almost a year now, with the number of new home purchases and refinances surging in response. At the end of last month, the number of refinance application submissions were up 59% year-over-year, hitting their highest level since March 2020. Thousands of homeowners have already refinanced their mortgage to take advantage of low rates, but if you haven’t yet, here are three factors to consider before you make your mortgage move.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Price Index, New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales

Blog posted On February 22, 2021

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, but still remain relatively low. This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. The new home sales report is scheduled for release on Wednesday, and the pending home sales index is scheduled for release on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Confidence Improves, Housing Starts Fall, Building Permits Rise, and Existing Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On February 19, 2021

Mortgage rates inched upward this week but are still trending near historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index showed an increase in home builder confidence. Though housing starts dropped slightly, building permits soared to their highest level in 15 years. Existing home sales increased for the second month in a row.

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Answer These Questions BEFORE You Buy a Home

Blog posted On February 18, 2021

Mortgage rates have been breaking record lows for the past several months – making home buyer demand surge. And while low mortgage rates present a great opportunity for potential home buyers, there are many factors that you should consider, besides your mortgage rate, before you buy a home.

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5 Benefits of Mobile Banking

Blog posted On February 17, 2021

It’s hard to imagine getting through the day without using your phone. How would you get directions? How would you stay connected during quarantine? How would order a chicken sandwich from the comfort of your couch? In modern days almost anything is accessible on your phone – even banking. Mobile banking apps have become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason. If you haven’t tried using your bank’s mobile app to manage your finances, here are five factors to consider.

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Are iBuyers Worth the Buzz?

Blog posted On February 16, 2021

No, an iBuyer is not the next big Apple product, it’s an online ‘instant buyer’ that is becoming a popular option in today’s housing market. Over the past several years, many home sellers have chosen iBuyers because of their convenience and efficiency. When a seller uses an online iBuyer platform, the purchasing company makes an offer for your house, takes care of upgrades and repairs, and buys the house from you in order to make a small profit when it sells again. Before you choose to go this route, make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of using an iBuyer to purchase your home.

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Market Forecast: Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and Building Permits, and Existing Home Sales

Blog posted On February 15, 2021

Mortgage rates did not fluctuate much last week and continued to hover near historic lows. This week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index is scheduled for release on Wednesday. On Thursday, the housing starts and building permits reports will be released, and on Friday the existing home sales report will come out.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Increase, Mortgage Applications Decline, and Consumer Price Index Rises

Blog posted On February 12, 2021

Mortgage rates continued to trend near historic lows this week with no significant changes. Job openings increased in December, according to the Labor Department. Mortgage application submissions declined for both refinances and purchases. The consumer price index inched up in January.

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10 Questions to Ask Your Lender Before Closing

Blog posted On February 11, 2021

The road from saving for your home to closing on your loan can feel like a long one. By the time you reach your closing date, you will likely be excited to sign the documents, pay the necessary fees, and cross the finish line once and for all. But before you do, make sure you ask these important questions before closing on your home purchase, or even your refinance.

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5 Ways to Be Smarter with Your Credit this Year

Blog posted On February 10, 2021

Late fees, overdraft fees, and fraud expenses are easily overlooked credit card costs, and though they may seem miniscule, they tend to add up. Last year, Americans spent a collective $74 billion on these ‘miniscule’ fees – or an average of $577 per household. But now that it’s a new year, it’s time for some new (and improved) credit card tactics. To get you started, here are five ways to improve your credit habits starting now. 

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A Deeper Look at President Biden’s Proposed Tax Credit

Blog posted On February 09, 2021

Last month, Joe Biden celebrated his inauguration as the 46th president of the United States. Now it’s down to business. One of the proposed changes that the Biden Administration mentioned in their campaign was a $15,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers. According to real estate experts, if this credit is passed by Congress, it could be a positive change for the industry.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, Consumer Price Index

Blog posted On February 08, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week and continued to trend near record lows. This week, the Labor Department’s report on job openings is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released, followed by the consumer price index later that afternoon.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Increases, Mortgage Applications Jump, ADP Employment Grows

Blog posted On February 05, 2021

This week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged and continued to trend near historic lows. Construction spending rose again, largely due to the residential sector increasing spending for the seventh month in a row. Mortgage applications jumped as well. ADP employment grew as the labor market continues to recover from COVID-19 related slowdowns.

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4 Ways to Save Money When Building a Home

Blog posted On February 04, 2021

Finding the perfect existing home can be hard when housing inventory is tight. Building a new house is a way your dream home can still become a reality. Unlike the upfront cost of buying a home, the cost of building is fluid. Though you will often know the rough estimate beforehand, the total cost can change as the project progresses. In order to help keep costs under control, here are four ways to plan your dream home’s construction.

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7 Simple Ways to Spruce Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Blog posted On February 03, 2021

Nothing says “welcome home” like a freshly trimmed front yard and a newly painted front door. Though we all know we can’t judge a book by its cover, when it comes to your home, the front cover matters. According to a study by the Journal of Real Estate Finance, your home’s curb appeal can contribute up to 7% of the overall price. For a $300,000 house, that’s equivalent to $21,000. So, if you’re preparing to sell your home, be sure to touch up its curb appeal with these seven simple strategies.

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HUD Announces That the FHA is Backing DACA Mortgages

Blog posted On February 02, 2021

Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would begin backing mortgages for immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This announcement marks the first time that DACA status recipients would be eligible for FHA loans, provided that they meet all other FHA requirements.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Applications, and ADP Employment

Blog posted On February 01, 2021

Last week, the Fed voted to leave interest rates unchanged, and mortgage rates continued to brush record lows. The report on construction spending is scheduled for release today. Also scheduled for release this week are the weekly mortgage application survey and the ADP employment report.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, New Home Sales Increase

Blog posted On January 29, 2021

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve voted to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. As a result, mortgage rates trended downward, hovering near historic lows. In other housing news, home prices appreciated, and new home sales rose.

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