Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family Member

Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family MemberIt can be a stressful experience to put your home on the market and wait for offers in the hope that you’ve priced it right. However, for those who are considering selling to family members, the sale of a home can be fraught with just as much stress before and after sealing the deal. If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to sell to a family member, here are some things to consider beforehand.

Providing A Discount

Whether you’re selling to a sibling or a child, you may be considering offering the home at a discount to help them out. Fortunately, since the discounted value will be different than the market value of the price, this may mean a taxable gain when it comes times for them to sell the property after a few years of residing in it. On the other hand, if your financial health is not the best, selling at a lower price to a family member can create an undue financial burden for you.

An Owner-Financed Sale

If you’re trying to help your child get on their feet, the option exists for an owner-financed sale where your child will be making monthly payments to you. This provides the benefit of not having to worry about a lender and avoiding interest rates on top of the payment. While this can be a great feeling as a parent to be able to help your child, it’s important to weigh the decision carefully to determine that your child will not default on the loan and it won’t be tiresome for you to act as the lender.

Keeping It In The Family

For most people, the home they live in has sentimental value, whether they’ve lived there for a few years or it’s been in the family for generations. That’s why it can be a great comfort for many to sell to a family member who will understand the house’s history and the family traditions. If the deal is going to put a strain on relationships, though, it may not be worth the well-being of the family to keep the home among the relatives.

It can be a comfort to sell a home to a family member and secure their well-being, but there can be financial hurdles involved that can have an adverse impact on the relationship. If you’re currently considering selling to a family member, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best Option

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best OptionFrom ‘down payment’ to ‘adjustable rate’ to ‘debt-to-income’ ratio, there are so many terms involved in the mortgage process that it can be hard to learn them all and keep them straight. However, whether or not you’ve heard it, the term ‘amortization period’ might be one of the most important ones associated with your financial well-being. If you’re currently considering the period of loan you should choose, here are some things to think about before taking on a term.

What Is Amortization?

Used to refer to the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage loan, a typical amortization period is 25 years. However, there are many periods over which homebuyers can choose to pay off their mortgage. While many homeowners opt for what works best for them, it can be the case that a shorter mortgage period will actually be more financially beneficial in the long run. It may not only mean lower overall costs, it may also mean financial freedom from a loan much sooner than originally anticipated.

The ‘Principal’ Of The Matter

It’s important to have a monthly mortgage payment amount that’s sustainable, but a shorter amortization period means that you will be paying a higher amount on the principal and paying more on the actual loan amount. While a longer amortization period will add up to more interest payments and less paid on the loan cost each month, a shorter period can end up costing you less for your home when all’s said and done.

Considering Your Loan Period

It goes without saying that a shorter amortization period will pay down the principal sooner and cost less over time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best choice for you. Because your monthly payment will be taking a sizeable chunk out of your salary, it may be difficult to swing a higher payment in order to pay off your loan in 10 years. If it’s doable without compromising your quality of life, you may want to choose this option, but if there’s too much sacrifice you may want to opt for a longer loan period.

Everyone has a choice in the amortization period that works for them, but it’s important to make your decision based on what works for you and will be beneficial for your finances. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You’re Buying a Home in the Right Community

Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You're Buying a Home in the Right CommunityWhen investing in a home, one of the most important things is buying a place that you and your family can feel comfortable in. However, while a place you can envision yourself in is important, it’s not worth neglecting the neighborhood you’ll be moving into for the perfect home. If you’re wondering what you should be looking for in the neighborhood you choose, here are a few things to consider before making an offer on a home.

Is It Safe?

It may be common to feel bowled over by a home and want to invest immediately, but the right home in the wrong neighborhood may not be the best choice for many reasons. Part of feeling comfortable in your home is being safe among its streets, so ensure you research the neighborhood and its history, and check in on the crime rate. You may event want to consult with your agent or some local neighbors to see what information they can provide about the area’s history.

Are There Local Amenities?

If you’re used to getting in the car to run errands, it might not be a big deal to not have a grocery store or pharmacy nearby. However, if there are no amenities you use frequently close by, it can start to be a bit of a drain on your lifestyle. While you don’t necessarily need to have the trendiest restaurants or best shopping, it’s important to have a few choice places in case you run out of something and need to make a quick run to the store.

What’s Your Neighborhood Style?

It might seem like a strange thing to ask yourself, but the neighborhood you live in is going to become a big part of your life and that means you’ll have to see yourself in it. If you want neighbors you can trust and community-mindedness, you’ll want to seek out an area with these qualities. On the flip side, if you happen to prefer a busier urban atmosphere that offers more independence, this may be the way to go.

There are a lot of things that go into finding the right home, but it’s important not to forget about the neighborhood you’re living in and what it will mean for your lifestyle. If you’re currently looking into homes and are trying to determine an area that will work for you, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 19, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on inflation, core inflation, and the Federal Reserve’s FOMC statement. The NAHB Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits issued were also released, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Inflation fell by -0.10 percent in May, which was lower than the no-change reading expected by analysts based on April’s reading of +0.20 percent. The core inflation reading for May, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, grew by 0.10 percent. Analysts had estimated a gain of 0.20 percent based on April’s reading of 0.10 percent growth.

Builder Confidence Slips, Housing Starts and Building Permits Lower

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index was two points lower in June with an index reading of 67. Each of the three component readings for the HMI was also two points lower than May’s readings. While any reading over 50 is considered positive, builders cited ongoing concerns with shortages of lots and labor challenges to builder confidence and new home construction.

Housing starts and building permits issued were lower in May. 1.09 million starts were reported on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 1.23 million starts and April’s reading of 1.16 million starts. Builders started fewer multi-family housing developments and concentrated on single-family homes. Housing starts fell year-over year and were lower for the third consecutive month.  Fewer building permits were issued in May according to the Commerce Department. Building permits were 4.90 percent lower than in April and hit a 13-month low.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Fed Raises Target Federal Funds Rate

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.91 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage increased by two basis points to 3.18 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.15 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types and were unchanged from the prior week.

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee raised the target federal funds rate to 1.00-1.25 percent as expected. Consumer loan and mortgage rates typically rise along with the federal funds rate. Last week’s dip in the inflation rate could cause rates to fall in coming weeks.

New jobless claims fell to 237,000 last week as compared to an expected reading of 244,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 245,000 new jobless claims. Strong readings in the labor sector suggest that job markets are healthy, but can also be influenced by workers leaving the workforce. Unemployment claims require workers to be actively seeking employment.

Consumer sentiment fell to an index reading of 94.50 in June as compared to an expected reading of 97.30 and May’s index reading of 97.10. The University cited consumer uncertainty related to recent political events as the cause of waning consumer confidence.

NAHB Housing Market Index Slips Two Points in June

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June fell by two points to 67 after a revision of May’s reading. Components of the Housing Market Index were lower for June with builder confidence in current market conditions two points lower at 73; June’s reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months also fell two points to 76. Builder confidence in buyer traffic fell two points to 49. According to the Index, any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident than those who are not.

Labor and Lot Shortages Continue to Stifle SingleFamily Home Building

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said that builder confidence remains high despite ongoing shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor. Meanwhile, NAHB reported lower readings for its regional 3-month rolling average of home builder confidence. The Northeast region was two points lower at 46; Builder confidence in the Midwest was one point lower at 67 and the Southern region was also one point lower with a 3-month reading of 70. The West had the highest builder confidence with a three-month average reading of 70.

Mortgage and consumer credit interest rates are likely to move higher after the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its target federal funds rate by 0.25 percent on Wednesday. This was the third uptick for the Fed rate this year. As interest rates and other consumer costs increase, would-be buyers of new homes may be sidelined. Future builder confidence readings could be influenced by a variety of economic factors including employment, interest rates and consumer confidence.

Housing Starts Expected to Lag Behind PreBubble Level

While housing starts are expected to increase to approximately 1.23 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis, they are significantly lower than the near 2-million housing starts reported prior to when the housing bubble burst. Analysts noted that the overall economic recovery remains steady with some glitches expected along the way. Closing the gap between builder confidence and housing starts is seen as the solution for easing high demand for homes and unusually low inventories of homes on the market.

Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your Home

Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your HomeThe season of spring may be a time for blooming flowers and warmer weather, but it’s also synonymous with the idea of spring-cleaning. Whether you clean out your house every year or you haven’t seen the back of your closets in years, here are a few springtime projects that will instantly change your home – and clean up your life!

Clearing Up The Garage

There are few things that manage to attract excess stuff like the garage, and left over junk can be an even bigger problem in a 2-car space. Fortunately, spring can be a good time to get rid of the excess and really improve the look of your home from one of its main access points. By making a ‘throw away’, ‘give away’ and ‘keep’ pile, you’ll be able to whittle down the amount of stuff in your garage and find a new place for it when you’re done tidying up. It may be a bit of work, but it will be worth the effort.

Re-Envision The Living Room

For most families, the living room is the place where they spend a lot of time, and that can mean that it easily gets covered in a lot of paper and the furniture’s a little worse for wear. Take a weekend day to clear away the excess, vacuum the floors and wash the walls, and even change the layout for an instantly updated look. If you’re really invested in a renovation, you may even want to re-upholster a couch or armchair that’s seen better days.

Tackle The Yard

The yard may not be a room in your home, but it is one of the first things that will make an impression on visitors and passerby’s so it’s important to keep it looking good. It’s a good start if you’re yard is already clutter free, but spring is a good time to clear away the flower boxes and pluck the weeds, as well as cutting back any overgrown hedges. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you may even want to clean out your shed or renovate your patio for an improved exterior look.

Spring-cleaning may be a dreaded term, but it can be a good opportunity to clear away some of the stuff you haven’t used and instantly improve your home’s appearance. If you’re de-cluttering your home and are preparing to sell, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Trying to Secure a Mortgage Loan

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You're Trying to Secure a Mortgage LoanThe mortgage application process can be fraught with a lot of stress on its own, but if you’ve experienced issues with your credit in the past it can be even more taxing. While there may be a lot of things you may not be aware of when it comes to their impact on your credit, here are some things to watch out for if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the short-term future.

Applying For Extra Credit

Whether you’ve just been offered a great new deal by a department store or you’re not even thinking about it, new credit cards can pop up with deals that are quite enticing in the moment. Unfortunately, applying for new credit can actually signal to lenders that you’ve run out of credit on your other cards. Not only that, it will also have an adverse impact on your credit score each time you apply for new credit. If you’re considering a mortgage in the near future, it’s a good idea to hold off on any additions to your wallet.

Not Paying Your Bills

It may seem straightforward enough that not paying your bills is going to land you in hot water with your credit score, but many people think paying the minimum at any time will do. The truth is that if you want to keep your credit in line and improve your odds, it’s important to pay your minimum before the due date and always pay your bills. The only thing deferring payments will do is add marks against your credit, and this will be damaging come application time.

Don’t Avoid Your Credit Report

Many people who have a poor credit history are aware of the situation, but they’re also unwilling to address it. While it may be difficult to approach your credit report if you’ve had some hiccups in the past, it’s important to know what point you’re working forward from so you can move beyond it. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of your credit report and review the numbers. Not only will this enable you to address any errors, it means you’ll be facing your issues head on.

There are a number of factors that can adversely affect your mortgage application, but by avoiding new credit and paying your bills on time you can have a positive impact on the result. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Summer’s Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color Palette

Summer's Coming! Freshen up Your Home Decor With This Summer Color PaletteWhile spring is still in the air, the warm weather and cooler clothes of the summer season are just around the corner. As a result, you might be thinking about making some design changes to your home to welcome the season and indulge in its brilliance. If you’re looking for some new color schemes and how you can use them to amp up your home, here a few brightly-colored suggestions to try out for yourself.

Sky Blue

With the reminder of the sea and the sky, few things are akin to summer like bright blue. Instead of going overboard with this shade, try adding an accent like a side armchair, a throw or even some pillows to be adjusted with the seasons. If you’re really feeling the color, you might even want to try a large floor rug or an accent wall to add more flair.

Bright Orange

Orange can be a little bit of a risk, but if you have a love for this color there are ways to use it that will really enhance a room. As a splash against neutrals, it can add a lot of character to an otherwise unassuming space. However, if you want to go all out, consider a smaller space like a bathroom or den where it won’t look too showy.

Kelly Green

Much like blue, the color green is reminiscent of the return of the leaves and the grass, which makes it an ideal tone for the months of summer. While this color can be a lot less assuming than many bright colors, it can still provide a very alluring accent around the home. If you’re looking for ideas for this color, consider pairing it with white for a look that is both striking and homey.

Hot Pink

The color pink may seem like a risk for any room, but if you’re going for a patio setting or a makeup room, it can be the perfect tone to liven things up. Whether you want to try an accent wall or re-upholster some chairs, hot pink can easily make one think of summer cocktails and warm destinations throughout the season.

With the summer months around the corner, there are plenty of great ways and fabulous colors to dress up your home with. If you’re currently renovating your home in preparation for putting it on the market, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 12, 2017

Last week’s economic news was slim, with few scheduled reports released. Job openings for April, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims were released. Job openings rose in April, while weekly jobless claims were lower. The headline event last week was a further decrease in fixed-rate mortgage interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Lowest in Almost 7 Months

Freddie Mac reported that average rates for fixed rate home loans fell again last week. Mortgage rates typically follow 10-year Treasury yields, which also fell last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped five basis points to 3.89 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 3.16 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.11 percent; discount points for all three mortgage types were also unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent.

Analysts cited mixed economic reports and uncertainty as factors contributing to lower mortgage rates. After months of short supplies of homes and high demand coupled with rapidly increasing home prices, first-time and moderate- income home buyers may gain a foothold in some housing markets that were previously inaccessible.

New Jobless Claims Fall, Job Openings Increase

First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 245,000 new claims filed as compared to an expected reading of 245,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 255,000 new jobless claims. In related news, job openings were higher in April with a reading of 6.0 million job openings as compared to 5.80 million job openings in March. Fewer new jobless claims coupled with more job openings suggests that layoffs are not driving new jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on Inflation, core inflation, and the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will release its post-meeting statement. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to give a press conference after the FOMC statement. The FOMC statement will indicate if the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate. The National Association of Home Builders will release its Housing Market Index for June. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Did You Know: With a Little DIY Work, That Garage Can Be Used for More Than Just Your Car

Did You Know: With a Little DIY Work, That Garage Can Be Used for More Than Just Your CarAlong with the family vehicles, the garage may be the place where all of the things you don’t want in your house go to disappear. However, you might not be aware that there are a number of DIY hacks you can use for your garage that will instantly make it a more useable space. If you’re wondering how you can fit more in while improving the aesthetic appeal of your garage, here are some tricks to test out.

Give Your Garden Tools Space

The pile of garden tools that often sit in the corner of the garage is generally unpleasant to look at and potentially dangerous, so instead of leaving them around to trip on, try out a wall rack to secure them properly. All that’s required to make this rack is two boards and a saw in order to make the proper cuts. Once all is said and done, you can screw the boards into the garage wall and place your tools in the cut grooves for a more organized look that will clear away the extra clutter.

Consider Ceiling Storage

If you already struggle with a small garage, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the extra space for storage. Instead of the floor, try putting your storage on the roof! By using plastic carriages installed into the roof of your garage, you can easily slide totes full of storage items into place. While you won’t want to store heavy items in the bins, they can be a great place for infrequently used items like Christmas decorations or old mementos.

Make Your Own Rec Room

If you have a two-car garage and only one car, there’s always the fun possibility that you may be able to use your garage for a less traditional purpose. Whether you decide to go with a makeshift office or a den the whole family can enjoy, adding a desk or couch, a few tables and even some wall art can be a great means of getting extra space. It can also be a great place to throw a party for your neighbors and your friends!

The garage may seem like a less than ideal space, but there are things you can do to improve its appearance and its function. If you’re currently renovating your home and are preparing to sell in the future, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.