What’s In Store for the Housing Market This Spring?


After a year of rapid price appreciation across most housing markets in the U.S., many first-time home buyers are hopeful to enter the market this spring. Recent reports have shown that the harsh winter conditions have dampened home sales and slowed price gains. It is typical for more real estate transactions to occur in the warmer months, and many potential buyers have been idly waiting for the selling season to start. As spring takes hold, here are some things to look for:

Spring 2014 Housing Market
Spring 2014 Housing Market

Housing inventory: 2013 was plagued with record-low inventory levels, which made it challenging for some buyers to enter the market. When home prices rise as they did last year, homeowners are usually encouraged to put their houses on the market. As the spring selling seasons begins, it is likely that more homeowners will list their property for sale. However, housing inventory is still anticipated to be low in 2014, according to MSN. Fortunately, the price spikes seen in 2013 are unlikely to be repeated this year, which can provide more affordable options for buyers.

The fixed-rate debate: Many first-time home buyers opt to get a long-term, fixed-rate mortgage. Mortgage rates are still relatively low, which makes these home loans a great option for first-time buyers hoping to live in their home for several years. Buyers are typically searching lock in a low rate for the entire length of their mortgage.

One reason that market trends are shifting is the shrinkage of federal support and mortgage guarantees. This will likely bring more mortgages back into the private market. It was recently announced that the federal government plans to eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the near future, which will change the mortgage market for private lenders. Additionally, mortgage rates may rise as as the Federal Reserve pulls back stimulus spending over the next year. As a result, it is possible that lending standards may soon tighten, which could make it harder for some borrowers to qualify for fixed-rate home loans.

However, this news is not all bad. For one, there is a greater likelihood that fewer mortgages will fall into default and foreclosure with stricter lending practices. The change can also give rise to new hybrid mortgages that involve both fixed and adjustable rates. This means that homeowners can receive a low rate mortgage for a certain period of time before the rate changes based on market conditions. For many borrowers, this type of mortgage can enable them to make a new home purchase and have some stability with mortgage payments. Many homeowners are partial to adjustable-rate mortgages as well because the initial interest is typically much lower than comparable fixed-rate loans, at least initially.
If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.
Roland

Spring Design Trends for the Home


DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014
Vibrant colors are in this spring. Home owners jazzing up their properties should consider switching out beige neutrals on the walls for cool grey hues and pale pastels. For a more fresh, modern look, complement rooms with bold-colored furnishings and warm metals.

Blush tones paired with masculine hues also are in style. Lighter wood is gaining popularity for furniture, countertops, and flooring, as it hides dents and scratches and complements soft natured paint colors.

Meanwhile, silver or steel hardware, fixtures, furniture, and decor are increasingly being replaced by gold. Personalization is also happening in the kitchen, with custom painted cabinetry; and more home owners are avoiding granite in favor of more resilient synthetic materials.

If you are getting the spring itch to buy or sell, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Source: “Spring Fever: Hot Home Trends This Season,” Realty Times (03/26/14)

More Banks Lower FICO Score Requirements


More Banks Lower FICO Score Requirements

Real Estate Investment

More banks are lowering minimum FICO score requirements in an attempt to shore up lending for underserved borrowers.

Carrington Mortgage Services is the latest company to announce that it has lowered its minimum FICO score to 550. It also has expanded guidelines on several FHA, VA, and USDA loan programs to aid those with FICO scores below 640.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, said in February that it was lowering its minimum FICO score requirements on FHA-backed mortgages from 640 to 600. The move, bank officials said, was aimed at “opening up our credit box more.”

One in three consumers have a FICO score below 650, according to Carrington. The lender is refocusing its business on targeting the underserved segment and eliminating conventional and jumbo loans. It is limiting its acceptance of wholesale submissions with FICO scores above 680 starting April 1, except for VA loans, HousingWire reports.
“Effectively meeting the needs of clients in the underserved market requires the ability to both originate quality loans and appropriately service them after the fact,” says Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of Carrington’s mortgage lending division. “Both Carrington’s lending platform and specialty servicing business were created to serve this particular market segment. That uniquely positions us as the lender of choice for this population of borrowers and the mortgage brokers and real estate agents who work with them. Our message is clear: You can count on Carrington to serve the underserved and get the tough loans done right.”

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com

Roland
Source: REALTOR Magazine

 

Economist: 3 major things you need to know about the 2014 housing market | REwired


Economist: 3 major things you need to know about the 2014 housing market | REwired.

CFPB Ready to Take on ‘Zombies’


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is targeting “zombie” foreclosures, a growing problem where borrowers may unknowingly still own a property that they thought the bank had foreclosed upon.

“Zombie” foreclosures are properties in which banks may have begun the foreclosure process on a home, contacted the home owners about it, but then later abandoned the foreclosure process. The home owners may have already moved out, at which point the property sits vacant with no one claiming responsibility for the upkeep, mortgage, or taxes.

Thousands of borrowers nationwide are owners of zombie homes, but may not realize it, according to a Reuters analysis last year. What’s more, borrowers now may owe thousands of dollars in mortgage debt, as well as face code violations for abandoning the property. Some banks are walking away from foreclosure proceedings because the value of the property is not worth their time, Reuters reports.

“The CFPB is beginning to look very closely at abandoned properties and zombie foreclosures,” Laurie Maggiano, the agency’s servicing and secondary markets program manager, said at a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland conference. “There is direct borrower harm if a borrower believes a foreclosure on their property has been conducted and they are no longer responsible, and months or years later find out that they are, that there was never a foreclosure and they have large financial responsibilities that they never knew about.”

The CFPB says it has joined a task force to identify the “hundreds of thousands” of zombie foreclosures across the country, Reuters reports. The CFPB also says that, among exploring other ways to resolve the issue, it would like to create a national registry of zombie properties.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Source: “CFPB Targets ‘Zombie’ Foreclosures After Reuters Report,” Reuters (March 13, 2014)

Men vs Women: Shopping for Homes


Shopping for a home is simple !!
Shopping for a home is simple !!

When it comes to shopping most men and most women are about as different as, well, male and female.  I can shop for a suit, two shirts, three ties and a pair of shoes in a half hour.  I admit, it resembles a military operation, but it can be done.

My wife can spend 20 minutes (give or take) trying to decide between whole grain or multi-grain pasta.  (Some literary license may have been used for this example.)

Never the less, shopping is different when it comes to men and women, but believe it or not, the differences are relatively minor when it comes to shopping for a house.

Although men and women come at their decision from different perspectives, their focus on what to buy is quite similar.  In a recent study both men and women chose the outdoor living space and open floor plans within the top three.  Women also chose updated appliances and fixtures as one of their top three choices and men chose the garage.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.  There are other aspects of home buying that may be more complicated and having a professional to walk with you every step of the way is a big help.

As always, if I can help you with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com

Roland

Shopping for a Home Means Shopping for a Mortgage


Shopping for a Home Means Shopping for a Mortgage

Home Buying Made Simple !!
Home Buying Made Simple !!

If you, like millions of other people, will be shopping for a home this spring it most likely means you will need a mortgage.  Shopping for a home also means shopping for a mortgage.  Having the right REALTOR and mortgage officer can make a world of difference in your experience.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating on the Internet and it is crucial that before you decide you cannot afford to buy a home that you talk to a reputable real estate agent and mortgage officer.  If you go to a local bank remember that they will be marketing the mortgage products that they sell.  On the other hand, I would caution people looking for a mortgage to avoid finding a fly-by-night mortgage company without the funds to back up its product.

Did you know that you can get a mortgage for as little as 3.5% down not the 20% down that many banks require?  In addition, there are programs that can avoid the PMI insurance that will add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payments.  Having the right real estate team – REALTOR and mortgage officer – is critical to finding the home you are searching for.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell your first or tenth home, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.  A REALTOR is the focal point of your home buying experience and can put you in touch with reputable mortgage officers, home inspectors, and home repairman; whatever you need to make this a smooth transaction.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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