Remember to “Unfreeze” Your Credit

February 1, 2018

Following last year’s Equifax data breach, many people froze their credit-score accounts to safeguard them from potential identity theft. If you will be shopping for a home soon, you may face some hassles getting approved for a mortgage if you don’t remember to unfreeze your credit first.

Lenders tend to pull reports from the three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – when approving a buyer for a mortgage.

You may want to take a day or two to unfreeze them before you apply, but definitely make sure they are all unfrozenbecause it could potentially cause an issue if (mortgage lenders) can only get one or two out of the three.

 

When you freeze a report, you’re often given a PIN that allows you to freeze or unfreeze the report at your own discretion. Or, you can contact the three nationwide credit bureaus to learn about unfreezing credit:

 


New Luxury Enclave

April 18, 2017

The first two model show-homes are complete! Central Florida’s newest enclave featuring in-home spa services and extra kitchens geared for catering is a reality through the Four Seasons Resort.

These are the country’s first single family homes affiliated with Four Seasons, according to Walt Disney World.

Buyers in the new neighborhood may use the resort’s golf course, clay tennis courts, adult-only and family pools, lazy river, water slides and weekly “dive-in” movies. They may dine at the resort’s six restaurants or book in-home catering and spa services.

Like other residents of Golden Oak, Four Seasons home buyers also can use the Summerhouse club with its concierge services, lounge, fitness center, restaurant and entertainment rooms.

All buyers become club members and the annual dues are $16,889. Homeowner association dues cost $24,514 for Four Seasons Residences, compared to $5,735 in most neighborhoods within Golden Oak.

 


Thinking of Moving Up or Listing Your Home?

March 10, 2017

NEW YORK – March 9, 2017 – Borrowers are getting spooked by rising mortgage rates and, as a result, rushing to lock in rates before any further increases. That, in turn, is pushing mortgage application volume higher – increasing a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent week over week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

More buyers are also turning to adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) to try to get more savings in their monthly payments too.

“Mortgage rates increased last week as remarks by several key Federal Reserve officials strongly signaled a March rate increase,” says Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “This was further supported by a few solid economic data releases, including GDP, inflation and manufacturing gauges.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.36 percent from 4.30 percent the previous week, the MBA reports; and the share of ARMs reached its highest level of mortgage applications since 2014. The average loan size for purchase applications also reached a survey high of $313,000.

Refinance volume was up 5 percent last week. Applications for home purchases rose 2 percent higher for the week and, and they’re about 4 percent higher than a year ago.

The MBA says mortgage volume remains 18 percent lower compared to the same week a year ago. Volume is mostly lower from a year ago due to a significant decrease in refinance applications from a year ago when interest rates were lower. Refinance volume is down 34 percent annually.

Source: “Borrowers Rush to Beat Rising Rates, Pushing Mortgage Volume 3.3% Higher,” CNBC (March 8, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Four deep-cleaning targets to help a home shine

September 16, 2016

BALTIMORE – Sept. 15, 2016 – Buyers are just more attracted to clean houses. And while a standard job may give a home a momentary shine, a deep clean of hidden spots may help provide the wow factor the house needs.

The Cleaning Authority offers the following tips on deep cleaning a home:

1. Use a top-to-bottom approach.

Begin at the top: Clear the cobwebs from the corners of the ceiling, dust off light fixtures and ceiling fans and clean off cabinet tops (including the top of the refrigerator). All of these areas tend to be prime dust collectors. Next, move on to the middle of the home: Wipe down walls, and touch up paint where needed. Remove build-up on light switch panels. Finally, clean the baseboards and floors.

2. Change air conditioner filters.

If the home seems to be perpetually dusty, the A/C filter and ducts may be the culprits. “If the filter needs to be changed or the duct needs repairing, you’re just recirculating the same dust throughout the home,” according to The Cleaning Authority.

3. Zoom in on the bathroom.

Beyond cleaning the typical spots, go further: Clean behind the toilet too. Check for rust where the toilet meets the floor, scrub the hinges on the toilet cap, and polish the shower, tub and faucet. Also, scrub the bathtub tile. Don’t neglect the rails on a glass shower door.

4. Clean behind the refrigerator.

You may be surprised at what you find behind your fridge, everything from decaying food to even a breeding ground for insects. Pull out the fridge and give it a good scrub underneath.

Source: The Cleaning Authority

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Five fixes that can raise a home’s value

September 9, 2016

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 8, 2016 – For homeowners looking to spruce up their home before listing it, there’s plenty they can do to attract more buyers and potentially boost the value of their home too.

Veteran real estate professionals recently weighed in at This Old House on some of the best home improvement projects they believe can help a home show better. Here are a few of their ideas:

1. Open up the space.

Create more space, whether that’s even removing a kitchen island or knocking out a non-structural wall. “Right now buyers want a wide open floor plan, the living room right off the kitchen.

2. Light it up.

Keep the home bright: Have windows open to let the natural light flow in, consider lights that use motion detectors to turn themselves off, or install sun tubes, a reflective material that funnels natural light from a hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture in a room.

3. Enhance the front door.

“Don’t underestimate the power of a front door,” Willens says. “People make up their minds in the first seven seconds of entering a house.”

Remember to follow the guidelines of your HOA!

4. Pay attention to the floors.

Spend some money on the floors, suggests the real estate professionals surveyed by This Old House. Get a carpenter or handyman to eliminate distracting squeaks from floors, repair any broken tiles, patch damaged floorboards, and remove wall-to-wall carpeting, they suggest.

5. Tackle easy bathroom upgrades.

Bathroom upgrades can quickly get pricey but a few upgrades can still make a big difference. For example, swap frosted glass for clear glass, remove any rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replace faucets, buy a new toilet seat, or install a low-flush toilet.

Source: “Brokers Tell All: 10 Ways to Boost Home Value,” This Old House (September 2016)

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Real Estate better than stocks

September 7, 2016

NORWALK, Conn. – Sept. 6, 2016 – Despite recent gains in the stock market, Americans have more confidence investing in real estate. About a quarter of Americans surveyed said real estate was their top choice for long-term investing, according to a new national survey released by Bankrate.

Consumers selected real estate as the top pick to invest money they wouldn’t need for more than 10 years, followed by cash investments (e.g. certificates of deposit and savings accounts). Then, coming in a distant third was the stock market.

 

Americans are feeling more bullish about their sense of financial well-being, according to the Bankrate Financial Security Index, which is based on survey questions of how consumers feel about their debt, savings, net worth and job security.

Source: “Real Estate Top Investing Choice, Survey Finds,” RISMedia (July 24, 2016)

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Existing-Home Sales Stumble in July

August 25, 2016
Call today to get more information on the market in Celebration. 321-939-1300. Kathy can do a free market analysis of your home if you are thinking of selling.
Slowed by frustratingly low inventory levels in many parts of the country, existing-home sales lost momentum in July and decreased year-over-year for the first time since November 2015, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Only the West region saw a monthly increase in closings in July.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in July from 5.57 million in June. For only the second time in the last 21 months, sales are now below (1.6 percent) a year ago (5.48 million).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales fell off track in July after steadily climbing the last four months. “Severely restrained inventory and the tightening grip it’s putting on affordability is the primary culprit for the considerable sales slump throughout much of the country last month,” he says. “Realtors® are reporting diminished buyer traffic because of the scarce number of affordable homes on the market, and the lack of supply is stifling the efforts of many prospective buyers attempting to purchase while mortgage rates hover at historical lows.”
 
Home sales are still expected to finish the year at their strongest pace since the downturn, thanks to a very strong spring,
 
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 3.57 percent in June to 3.44 percent in July. Mortgage rates have now fallen five straight months and in July were the lowest since January 2013 (3.41 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.