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


86% of buyers don’t know what a CLUE report is. Do you??

November 21, 2016

WASHINGTON – Nov. 16, 2016 ­– Homebuyers often shop around for the best rate on a homeowners insurance policy, but 86 percent of Americans don’t realize that the policy amount is based, in part, on the home’s claim history.

Sellers who make too many property insurance claims could harm future buyers, yet most buyers are unaware that actions take by a home’s previous owners may be considered when an insurance company sets a premium under their new policy.

Many insurers use CLUE – an acronym for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange – to report and check the claims history of homes. Yet, only 12 percent of buyers say they ask for a CLUE report before buying their current home, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 adults by InsuranceQuotes.

“Consumers of all ages, from millennials to seniors, are almost entirely unaware of how the CLUE database affects their insurance rates,” says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes. “In most states, an inquiry about property damage can be added to your CLUE report and used against you, even if you never file a claim.”

Only the owner of a property can request a CLUE report. Homebuyers, therefore, need to ask sellers to obtain a copy on their own behalf.

“The CLUE report, which maintains data up to seven years, is a valuable tool for homebuyers because it reveals prior claims and potential risks,” Adams says. “It also helps home sellers provide full disclosure about their property’s condition.”

Homeowners can get a CLUE report free once every 12 months.

Source: InsuranceQuotes

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Understanding Florida’s Homestead Rules

November 12, 2016

The rules governing HOMESTEAD Protection or Exemption apply in three contexts:

  1. Real Estate Tax Exemption
    • The list of exemptions includes among others, a cap on assessments called Save Our Homes and exemptions for widows, veterans and the blind.
    • The exemptions may give you significant savings on your real estate taxes.
  2. Creditor Protection
    • Florida prohibits creditor judgments from attaching to your homestead, keeping the creditor from forcing you to sell your home to pay off a judgment.
    • However, there are certain creditor claims that can still attach to your homestead such as IRS liens, foreclosures, past-due homeowner association fees and contractors’ liens.
  3. Transfer at Death
    • The laws governing transfers of homestead at the owner’s death will depend on whether or not you were married at the time of your death and if your heirs are minor children.
      1. If you have no spouse and no minor children, then you can leave the homestead to whomever you want.
      2. If you have a minor child and are married with your homestead titled in joint names with your spouse, then your protected homestead goes to your spouse by right of survivorship. However, if the property is in your name only, your spouse has two options: take a life estate (right to live in the property for his or her remaining lifetime) with the home passing to your children at his or her death, or take a half ownership interest and the children will receive the other half.
  • Specific rules govern the transfer of your home if you have a spouse and adult children.

The laws benefit you during your lifetime, but the transfer of your property at your death can affect your survivors and lead to disappointment and division. To ensure that you understand all aspects of the Florida homestead laws, consider consulting an experienced estate planning and probate attorney to help you plan appropriately and avoid family setbacks, hardships and discontent after you have passed.

To qualify for Homestead Exemption:

  • You must be a permanent resident of Florida residing on the property as your primary residence as of January 1st.
  • The deadline to submit the application for exemption is March 1st (for the year in which you wish to qualify)

For more information, visit  http://floridarevenue.com or http://www.property-appraiser.org.

 


Is Your Home a Smart Home?

October 8, 2016

The term “smart house” was coined in the 1980s to refer to a home with integrated telephones, lighting, audio and security.

Today, a smart home is defined as equipped with network-connected products…connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols for controlling, automating and optimizing functions of the home.

This definition stipulates that the home has internet access, a smart security or temperature system and at least two other smart features, such as appliances, entertainment devices, cooling or heating equipment, lighting, landscaping elements, air quality monitors or thermostats.

Anything mentioned above that you can add to your home will increase your home’s value.


Fast Internet Access Drives Up Home Values

July 11, 2015

Did you know?

More home buyers are choosing where to live based on the availability of high-speed networks.

A nationwide study released recently by researchers at the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University finds fiber-optic connections, the fastest type of high-speed interned available, can add $5,437 to the price of a $175,000 home.