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Market Recap: Job Openings Decline, Mortgage Apps Surge, Consumer Price Index Rises

Posted On January 15, 2021

Mortgage rates rose slightly this week but are still near 12-month lows. Job openings declined somewhat. Mortgage applications surged to a pandemic high. The consumer price index increased.

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Why You Should Pay for a Remodel Using Home Equity

Posted On January 14, 2021

Over the past ten months, the kitchen barstools have become your desk chair, and the white cabinets have become your kids’ Crayola canvas. You thought it would just be for a couple of weeks but now your kitchen looks like a kindergarten classroom and your back is paying a stiff price. Though it may be a while until everyone’s back at work, that doesn’t need to mean you can’t get back to the office.

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Why Buying a Home is a Smart Investment

Posted On January 13, 2021

When people think of investments, they normally think Wall Street and stockbrokers. And while stocks can be a great investment, many experts recommend diversifying your investment portfolio to reduce risk and maximize returns.

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

Posted On January 11, 2021

Average mortgage rates continued trending near historic lows last week. This week, the Labor Department will release their Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage application survey is scheduled for release. Also scheduled for release on Wednesday is the consumer price index.

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What to Know About Refinancing an Investment Property

Posted On January 07, 2021

As interest rates have fallen to record-breaking lows over the past year, mortgage refinances have surged. Refinancing your mortgage can offer many benefits – such as lowering rates and monthly payments, removing mortgage insurance, and getting cash out for other investments. But keep in mind that if you are refinancing an investment property, you may have a few more factors to consider than when refinancing a primary residence.

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4 Easy Ways to Give Your Bathroom a Fresh Start This Year

Posted On January 06, 2021

As your home ages, the interior features often age as well. Interior design is constantly evolving, making it difficult to keep up with the latest trends. Upgrading your interior features every five to ten years is a good way to freshen up your home without completely starting from scratch. But if you don’t know where to start, here are four affordable ideas on how to touch up your bathroom’s features.

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Demand for Rentals is on the Rise: Here’s How to Invest

Posted On January 05, 2021

In October 2020, Roofstock, an online marketplace for rental properties, reported the highest level of rental property transactions they had ever seen in a one-month period. Year-over-year, the site’s traffic was up 45%. “There’s just been extraordinary demand for rental homes in a lot of these secondary cities, tertiary cities, suburban markets, where a lot of the single-family rental properties are located,” said Roofstock’s CEO, Gary Beasley. Under the right circumstances, purchasing an investment property can be a good source of substantial cash flow. But remember that purchasing and maintaining a rental home does come with different responsibilities than your primary residence.

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment Report

Posted On January 04, 2021

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged last week but continued to brush historic lows. The report on U.S. construction spending is scheduled for release today. The weekly mortgage application survey and the ADP employment report will both be released on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Increase, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Pending Home Sales Decline

Posted On January 01, 2021

This week, mortgage rates continued to trend near historic lows. Home prices surged to a six-year high according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index. Mortgage apps remained mixed. Pending home sales declined for the third consecutive month.

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New Year’s Down Payment Countdown

Posted On December 31, 2020

Let the countdown begin! While the world is busy counting down to 2021, we’re counting down all the different ways you can buy a home with less than 20% toward your down payment. Many people think that a 20% down payment is the only route to homeownership. In reality, over half of all home buyers make down payments that are less than 20%. If you’re looking for ways to purchase a home with a smaller down payment, here is a countdown of some of the most common options. 

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5 Questions to Consider as a Young Adult Home Buyer

Posted On December 30, 2020

With the new year just around the corner, now is a great time for a fresh start. After spending almost one year cooped up in your parents’ basement or outgrowing your little apartment, you might be thinking that it’s time for the next step. Mortgage rates are historically low, your job is letting you work remotely, and you’re ready to purchase a home of your own. However, buying a home is a big step, and before you do, you want to make sure that you have considered all of the factors involved.

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What a Spike in COVID-19 Cases Could Mean for Housing

Posted On December 29, 2020

When the coronavirus spread to the United States, home sales had seen nine consecutive weeks of year-over-year declines. From stay-at-home orders, to stock market dips, to widespread financial hardship – buying and selling homes were low on the list of concerns for many Americans during the Spring. Though the housing market has recovered – prospered even – at a shocking rate, many question how long this growth will last with COVID-19 cases on the rise.

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Market Forecast: Case-Shiller Home Index, Mortgage Apps, Pending Home Sales

Posted On December 28, 2020

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged and continued to touch historic lows. This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. The weekly mortgage application survey will come out on Wednesday. Also scheduled for release Wednesday is the pending home sales index.

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Decline, Home Prices Increase, New Home Sales Drop

Posted On December 25, 2020

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week and continue to trend near historic lows. In other housing news, existing home sales declined for the first time in five months. Home prices increased, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index. New home sales fell in November.

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3 Reasons to Refinance with a Renovation Loan

Posted On December 24, 2020

‘Tis the last day of shopping, and you still don’t have a clue, of which gifts you should buy or what you should do. Stores may be closed, and deals may be done, but luckily, we have the perfect gift for everyone. A playroom for the kids, a home office for you, and a new kitchen for the chef in the family, too. So, look no further than the walls of your home – because anything is possible with a renovation loan.  

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6 Ways to Maximize Your Tax Benefits This Year

Posted On December 23, 2020

Most of us feel like it’s still March, but December 31st is fast approaching. And while you’re probably busy enjoying the jolliest season of all, you might also consider preparing your finances for the upcoming tax season. It might be slightly less jolly but maximizing your tax benefits now could help save you thousands of dollars later.

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, New Home Sales

Posted On December 21, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee met and voted to leave interest rates unchanged. This week the report on existing home sales is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release their house price index. The report on new home sales is scheduled for release as well.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Drops, Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, Housing Starts & Building Permits Climb

Posted On December 18, 2020

This week, the Federal Reserve voted to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero. As a result, mortgage rates continued to trend near historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported a slight drop in home builder confidence. Housing starts and building permits increased marginally. 

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How These 7 Bills Affect Your Credit Score

Posted On December 16, 2020

If you’re preparing to apply for a mortgage loan, you’ve likely already looked at ways you can improve your credit score. Your credit score is calculated by the three national credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – and will fall within a range between 300 and 850. Scores between 740 and 799 are considered very good and will often qualify for better rates than applicants with lower scores. Though the specific scoring algorithms are not public knowledge, several scoring factors are widely well known. The most important factor, according to Experian and other credit experts, is your loan payment and credit card payment history.

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Biden Elects Representative Marcia Fudge as HUD Secretary

Posted On December 15, 2020

Two weeks ago, President-elect Joe Biden announced former Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, as his official nominee for Treasury secretary. Last week, he announced Representative Marcia Fudge as his lead choice for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary.

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

Posted On December 14, 2020

Last week, mortgage rates trended downward near historic lows. This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by an announcement from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday afternoon. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release the housing market sentiment index on Wednesday as well. On Thursday, the reports on housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: Consumer Credit Slows, Mortgage Apps Mixed, Job Openings Increase

Posted On December 11, 2020

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week and continue to hover around historic lows. Consumer credit slowed with a rise in nonrevolving credit and a fall in revolving credit. Mortgage application submissions were mixed as purchase submissions dropped but refinance application submissions increased. Job openings rose slightly.

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Preparing to Use Home Equity to Finance a Second Home

Posted On December 10, 2020

With record low mortgage rates and reduced costs spent on commuting and dining out, some home buyers have been able to save thousands of dollars for a down payment. And with home equity on the rise, if you are a homeowner, you could save thousands more by using your first home to help finance your second.

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Why You May Not Want to Age in Place

Posted On December 09, 2020

Many working-age people dream of the day that they can retire by a beach or travel the world. However, by the time most people reach age 65, they are ready to settle down and stay home. In a 2018 study, AARP reported that over 75% of all retirees want to age in place. While the desire to grow old in a familiar place is understandable, considering other options might not be a bad idea.

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Janet Yellen Announced as Biden’s Treasury Nominee

Posted On December 08, 2020

Last week, President-Elect Joe Biden and his transition team announced the appointments and nominees for several economic posts in his incoming administration. Among the nominees was former Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, who is Biden’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury. If she is confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department – similarly to when she was the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018.

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

Posted On December 07, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week, touching near-historic lows. This week, the consumer credit report is scheduled for release on Monday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage applications survey will be released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) will be released by the Labor Department.

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Fall, Construction Spending Jumps, Mortgage Apps Mixed

Posted On December 04, 2020

Mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week but continued trending near record-breaking lows. Pending home sales fell for the second month in a row. Construction spending increased. Mortgage purchase application submissions rose while refinance submissions decreased.

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Why You Might Want to Have a Home Inspection, Even in a Busy Market

Posted On December 03, 2020

Record-low mortgage rates typically drive home buyers into the housing market. As a result, prices go up and buyer competition increases. Home buyers may try several different tactics to make their offers more appealing, such as getting preapproved for a mortgage, making their offer in cash when they can, and even skipping home inspections.

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How to Maximize Savings When Interest Rates Are Low

Posted On December 02, 2020

You’ve refinanced your mortgage, paid off your student loans, and you still have some extra savings leftover. Interest rates are still trending extremely low, but you’re fresh out of ideas on how to take advantage of them. Before you go buying another online streaming service, consider putting your money toward one (or more) of these three high-return investments that can help you maximize your savings, even when interest rates are low.

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Federal Housing Finance Agency Increases Conforming Loan Limits

Posted On December 01, 2020

Last Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it is raising the conforming loan limits for loans securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac again in 2021. This year, the limit increased by 7.5%, marking the fifth straight year of loan limit increases. 

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New Purchase Volume Predicted to Break Records in 2021

Posted On December 01, 2020

Home sales are strong, interest rates are low, refinance activity is booming, and the future of the housing market is looking bright. Two weeks ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its revised predictions for the remainder of this year as well as estimates for the year to come. By the end of 2020, the MBA predicts that total mortgage originations will reach their highest level in 17 years. In 2021, they expect to see this trend continue, with record-high purchase origination volume, an expanding GDP, and an upward trend in mortgage rates.

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8 People You Want on Your Team When Buying a Home

Posted On November 26, 2020

Buying a home will likely be one of the biggest investments of your life. It can feel like a daunting process to tackle alone, but with the help of an experienced team, you can reach your goal with less stress and hassle. As the coach of your real estate team, it’s up to you to pick the best players possible. But before you do, make sure you know the positions you’re looking for.

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Preparing Your Home for a Safe Thanksgiving

Posted On November 25, 2020

The holidays are normally a time when you gather with friends and family to spread cheer and share food. But in 2020, we are working to avoid spreading and sharing. Many holiday traditions might look different this season in an effort to stay safe and stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re preparing to host a small Thanksgiving gathering this year, here are three ways to stay safe while you celebrate.

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Everything You Need to Know About the New Refinance Fee

Posted On November 24, 2020

In one week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will begin imposing a new fee on all refinance transactions. Initially scheduled for September 1st, 2020, the Adverse Market Refinance Fee will add a 0.5% charge to all refinance loans starting on December 1st, 2020. The purpose of the fee is to protect mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from predicted coronavirus-related losses.

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

Posted On November 23, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week and continue to remain historically low. This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index is scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the weekly mortgage application survey will be released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). New home sales are also scheduled for release on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts Rise, Building Permits Unchanged, Existing Home Sales Climb

Posted On November 20, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week, touching some of the lowest levels in the past 12 months. The housing market sentiment index surged to another record high. Housing starts jumped while building permits remained unchanged. Existing home sales reached the highest annual rate since 2006.

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How to Finance a Home in Retirement

Posted On November 19, 2020

You’ve finished working, paid off your debt, and finally gotten the kids out of the house – now, it’s time to retire and relax. However, relaxing can be hard when you’re still responsible for keeping up a family-sized home. If you’re tired of maintaining a large house, but still want the benefits of owning a home, it might be time to downsize. Unfortunately, downsizing to a smaller home requires you to apply and qualify for another mortgage – which can be unfamiliar when you don’t have a salary.

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What Type of Credit Score Matters the Most to a Mortgage?

Posted On November 18, 2020

When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will evaluate several factors to determine how much money you qualify for and how much interest you will pay. Based on your application, you could qualify for a larger mortgage, buy a more expensive house, and save thousands of dollars on interest. Though all parts of your application are important, many experts recommend that you prioritize boosting your credit score to help qualify for the best rates possible.

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The Real Winner of the Election: Home Buyers and Homeowners

Posted On November 17, 2020

Two weeks ago, millions of Americans flooded the polls to answer one question, and last week, the results finally came in. So, who really won the election? According to the housing market – you did.

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

Posted On November 16, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, but are still in a historically low range. This week, there are several key housing reports scheduled for release. The housing market index will come out on Tuesday. Followed by housing starts and building permits on Wednesday and the existing home sales report on Thursday.

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What You Need to Know Before Refinancing Your VA Loan

Posted On November 11, 2020

Financing your home with a VA Loan is one of the most affordable pathways to homeownership. Created by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the VA Loan is available to all active duty military, veterans, reserve members, National Guard members, and surviving military spouses. With no down payment, no mortgage insurance and oftentimes a lower than average interest rate, the VA Loan makes homeownership much more financially feasible for those who have served. While many people are aware of the benefits of a VA Loan, fewer people know of the great opportunities of refinancing with the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL).

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Leave the Leaves Out: Protect Your Gutter This Fall

Posted On November 04, 2020

When fall started, you were ready. You picked out the pumpkins. You baked an apple pie. You even broke out your favorite mustard-colored cardigan (only to sweat through it in 80-degree weather by the afternoon). But as the leaves start to fall, you might be realizing that you’re not as prepared as you thought.

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Election Day 2020: How the Housing Market Could Influence the Polls

Posted On November 03, 2020

It’s Election Day and if you haven’t already voted early or voted by mail, today is the day to head to the polls.  Last month, we examined how the presidential election could impact the future of the housing market. This week, we’re turning the tables – examining how the housing market could impact the election. Political experts typically analyze social, political, and economic factors in order to predict the question on everyone’s mind: who will be the next president of the United States?

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, ADP Employment Report, and FOMC Meeting

Posted On November 02, 2020

As expected, mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week. This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a press conference with Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, on Thursday afternoon. In housing news, the construction spending report is scheduled for release today. The ADP employment report is also scheduled for release this week.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Down, Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Fall

Posted On October 30, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and continued to touch historic lows. New home sales and pending home sales dropped for the first time in four months, while home prices saw the biggest gain in more than two years.

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How to Take Advantage of a Cash-Out Refinance

Posted On October 29, 2020

Many home buyers have been taking advantage of record low interest rates the past several months by refinancing their mortgages. Refinancing your mortgage while interest rates are low is a great opportunity to lower your mortgage rate, change your loan terms, switch your loan type, or even withdraw equity to fund other expenses with a cash-out refinance.

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4 Easy Tricks to Help You Avoid Wire Fraud Cheats

Posted On October 28, 2020

It’s hard to believe that October is almost over. Holiday fever is heating up, fall air is cooling down, and candy stocks are running low. If you haven’t voted yet, you still have time; but if you haven’t gotten your Halloween candy yet, you’re probably going to be that house handing out mint gum and stale Oreos. Luckily, trick or treat isn’t the threat it used to be – at least on the streets. On the web, however, tricksters are on the rise.

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

Posted On October 26, 2020

Last week, mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged, but are still in the historically low range. This week, there are several important housing reports scheduled for release. The new homes sales index is scheduled for release later today. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index is scheduled for release on Tuesday, and the pending home sales index will be released Thursday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts and Building Permits Climb, Existing Home Sales Surge

Posted On October 23, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, but still remain in a historically low range. The home builders’ sentiment index reached a record high for the third month in a row. Housing starts and building permits increased. Existing home sales rose for the fourth consecutive month.

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When to Choose a 30-Year Fixed Over a 15-Year Fixed

Posted On October 22, 2020

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is America’s Sweetheart of loans — we know her, we love her, and we just can’t get enough of her. For decades, people have depended on the 30-year fixed-rate loan to help finance their home purchases, but the recent record-breaking low mortgage rates might be swaying some home buyers toward the 15-year loan instead.

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Does Your Credit Score Matter in Retirement?

Posted On October 21, 2020

Your credit score can make or break many financial opportunities – mortgage loans, car loans, getting hired for a job, and more. For years, you’ve been carefully paying your bills on time, keeping your credit balance low, avoiding debt, and doing everything you can to maintain a good credit score. Now, as you head into retirement, you have a fully owned home, a paid-off car loan, no outstanding debt, and no intention of getting a full-time job.  You don’t think you’ll be borrowing money anytime soon and you begin to question if you really need to keep up with your credit score once you head into retirement.

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Will the Presidential Election Impact Home Sales?

Posted On October 20, 2020

When an election is approaching, all of America’s attention is focused on the candidates and the future of our nation – the only house that people are concerned about is the one on Pennsylvania Ave. As is expected, many home buyers and sellers are currently wondering how the upcoming presidential election will impact the housing market. 

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

Posted On October 19, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward last week and continued to touch historic lows. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) releases the housing market sentiment index today. Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release on Tuesday, and existing home sales will be released on Thursday.

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Market Recap: Consumer Price Index Down, Mortgage Applications Slow, Retail Sales Surge

Posted On October 16, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and touched some of the lowest levels in the past 12 months. The consumer price index showed the smallest increase since May. Mortgage application submissions dropped slightly. Retail sales rose for the fifth month in a row.  

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Market Recap: Consumer Price Index Down, Mortgage Applications Slow, Retail Sales Surge

Posted On October 16, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and touched some of the lowest levels in the past 12 months. The consumer price index showed the smallest increase since May. Mortgage application submissions dropped slightly. Retail sales rose for the fifth month in a row.  

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All Hands on Deck: 6 DIY Projects for You and Your Family Before Winter

Posted On October 15, 2020

As we roll into the eighth month of the global pandemic, you may be wondering, how many more games of Monopoly can I play?  From bike rides to hikes, movie nights to game nights — you’ve done everything in your power to keep the family entertained.

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How Many Credit Cards is Too Many?

Posted On October 14, 2020

When it comes to credit cards, more isn’t always merrier. Most financial advisors recommend limiting your number of credit cards to one or two in order to avoid taking on too much debt. When used responsibly, having multiple credit cards is a good way to maximize your rewards, increase your credit limit, and allow for financial flexibility.

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What to Expect This Fall, According to the Experts

Posted On October 13, 2020

In recent months, home sales have been rising at a record pace. In August, existing home sales surged to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6 million – the fastest pace in 14 years. New home sales also reached record-highs in August, surpassing 1 million for the first time since 2006. “Buyers are moving forward in record numbers,” said Adam Contos, CEO of real estate brokerage RE/MAX Holdings. The housing demand is booming right now, but how long will it last?

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Market Forecast: Consumer Price Index, Mortgage Applications, Retail Sales

Posted On October 12, 2020

Mortgages rates continued to touch historic lows last week. This week, there will be no major housing reports. Scheduled for release on Tuesday is the consumer price index. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday, and the retail sales report comes out on Friday.

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Mortgages Apps, Consumer Credit Mixed

Posted On October 09, 2020

Mortgages rates trended slightly upward this week but continue to come in at historic lows. Job openings slipped marginally. New purchase mortgage application submissions declined while refinance applications surged. Revolving consumer credit dropped but nonrevolving credit increased.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Applications, Consumer Credit

Posted On October 05, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week. This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey. Other market-moving reports include consumer credit and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Jump, Construction Spending Up

Posted On October 02, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to hit record lows this week. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed sustained appreciation in July after no changes in June. Pending home sales soared to a new record high. Construction spending increased for the second consecutive month.

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Tips for the Ideal Home Office (In Any Room!)

Posted On October 01, 2020

When employees began working from home, everyone set up shop wherever they could — kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, or any other rooms with outlets and a work surface. You thought it would just be a couple of weeks, but six months later and your kitchen table is covered with empty soda cans, open laptops, endless pens, loose papers, and more cords than you can count.

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What is the 30/30/3 Rule for Buying a Home in Uncertain Times?

Posted On September 30, 2020

Buying a home is always a significant investment, but during uncertain economic times, buyers should be especially careful to not overstretch their finances.  Unlike the stock market, real estate is often considered a more stable investment since it tends to appreciate over time.  However, if you lose your job or suffer an income reduction, you want still to be able to cover the cost of your mortgage, at least temporarily, so you do not fall behind on payments, or worse, go through a foreclosure. 

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Approximately 2 Million Telecommuting Renters Could Now Become Homeowners

Posted On September 29, 2020

Many renters are considering a home purchase lately, and you may know (or be) one of them.  In addition to historically low mortgage rates, many companies have adopted work-from-home models, meaning their employees are commuting less or not at all.  Zillow estimates nearly 1.92 million renting households could become homeowners this year because of the growing popularity of working remotely and the flexibility that goes with it. 

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

Posted On September 28, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to touch historic lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index will be released on Tuesday, followed by the pending home sales report will come out Wednesday, and the US construction spending report will come out Thursday.

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Building a New Home vs. Renovating a Fixer-Upper

Posted On September 24, 2020

Average mortgage rates have reached historic lows, giving many prospective buyers an added incentive to purchase now. However, if you’re one of many people on the hunt for a new home, you’re likely going to face stiff competition, limited options, and higher home prices. To navigate the challenges of the current housing market, you may want to consider these alternatives to buying a move-in ready home: building a new home or renovating a fixer upper. Both are viable options, but here are some pros and cons of both to help determine which is best for you.

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Why Your Credit Score Matters, Even if You’re Not Buying a Home

Posted On September 23, 2020

If you’re thinking about buying a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage, you’re probably taking a closer look at your credit score and ways to improve it.  Your credit score, specifically your FICO® credit score, is used by lenders and financial institutions to determine whether you will be a good candidate for a loan, or a line of credit based on how you currently manage your debt.  Many non-bank institutions also look at your credit score.  Your credit score matters, even if you’re not actively making mortgage moves, and could impact your ability to rent an apartment, get a new phone, or even influence your car insurance premium. 

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Selling Your Home When Interest Rates are Low

Posted On September 22, 2020

You know low interest rates are an incentive for home buyers, but a low interest rate environment can actually benefit home sellers as well.  When you sell your home when rates are low, you can usually count on strong buyer demand and multiple offers.  As the seller, this will give you more negotiating power and you can typically net a higher profit since you won’t have to lower your asking price to compete for buyers.  You may also to be able to sell your home shortly after listing, rather than having it linger on the market waiting for the right buyer.  If you’re buying a new home yourself, you’ll also be able to lock in a relatively low interest rate on your new mortgage. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, FHFA House Price Index, and New Home Sales

Posted On September 21, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the federal funds rate unchanged.  Mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  This week, the existing home sales and new home sales reports are both scheduled for release.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will also release its house price index. 

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Market Recap: Rates Stay Low, Home Builder Sentiment Improves, Housing Starts and Building Permits Decline

Posted On September 18, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and, as expected, did not move interest rates.  As a result, mortgage rates remain historically low.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index improved.  Housing starts and building permits declined slightly in August after strong gains in July. 

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4 Things that Happen to Your Finances When You Buy a Home

Posted On September 17, 2020

Buying a home, especially your first home, is a lifechanging event and a big financial investment.  You know buying a home will come with the upfront costs of the down payment and closing costs, but do you know about all of the ongoing financial implications?  Buying a home impacts your credit score, your savings, and your tax bill, but it also becomes a vehicle for you to build wealth in the form of home equity. 

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All American Homes Assigned Flood-Risk Score

Posted On September 16, 2020

In the wake of the recent devastation of Hurricane Laura, you may be thinking about your home’s flood insurance policy.  Even if you do not live in a coastal area vulnerable to hurricane damage, stronger and more frequent hurricanes plus other climate-related natural disasters could put your home at a greater risk now than when you bought the home.  To keep home buyers and homeowners informed and aware, nonprofit research and technology group, First Street Foundation, has designed an interactive website to host flood risk data on over 142 million homes.  Additionally, Realtor.com will now include the flood-risk score on its online home listings.

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Federal Reserve Announces New Approach to Inflation and Interest Rate Policy

Posted On September 15, 2020

The Federal Reserve announced revisions to its policy in the way it reviews inflation and the labor market.  These changes will impact how much interest consumers earn on savings accounts and pay on lines of credit and loans like credit cards and mortgages. 

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

Posted On September 14, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend lower last week and remain near the lowest levels in the past twelve months.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and no major interest rate movement is expected.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release the housing market sentiment index on Wednesday.  Housing starts and building permits are scheduled for Thursday.

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Market Recap: Consumer Borrowing Accelerates, Mortgage Apps Up, Job Openings Increase

Posted On September 11, 2020

Mortgage rates trended downward this week and remain within a historically low range.  Consumer borrowing accelerated to a pre-pandemic pace.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Job openings increased for the third straight month.

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5 Things to Consider Before Fleeing the City for the Suburbs

Posted On September 10, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has many city dwellers considering a suburban migration.  With cultural hotspots closed or operating at limited capacity and many companies imposing work-from-home orders and distance-learning procedures, living close to city centers may no longer be as important as it once was. 

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Predictions for the Fall Housing Market

Posted On September 08, 2020

Following an unprecedented Spring and Summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fall housing market is going to look different this year.  Historically, buyers tend to buy and sell homes more frequently in the Spring and Summer when it’s more convenient for children to change schools, warmer weather is more favorable for home tours and travel, and home builders are busy.  After an economic standstill in March and April, and a slow reopening across the country, many housing professionals are expecting an exceptionally busy Fall.  Mortgage rates are historically low, builders have been busy, and buyers are returning to the housing market. 

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Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Mortgage Apps, Job Openings

Posted On September 07, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to touch down to historic lows, hovering around the lowest levels in the past 12 months.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include consumer credit and the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). 

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Up, Mortgage Application Submissions Down, ADP Employment Growth Slow

Posted On September 04, 2020

Mortgage rates trended lower this week and are expected to stay low.  Overall US construction spending increased marginally, but residential spending increased substantially.  Both new purchase and refinance application submissions declined.  The ADP Employment report showed hiring has tapered off.

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Demand for Clean Home Technology on the Rise

Posted On September 02, 2020

Smart home technology has become an increasingly more common home buyer demand, especially as the internet of things evolves.  Home buyers are looking for features like smart thermostats, self-closing blinds, and doorbell cameras among other home enhancements.  In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a new type of smart home technology is on the rise.  Home buyers, especially new home buyers, are inquiring about self-cleaning and sanitizing technology.

 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment Report

Posted On August 31, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, but overall remain historically low.  This week, the US construction spending report is scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday, along with the ADP employment report.

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Moderates, New Home Sales Surge, Pending Home Sales Increase

Posted On August 28, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, trending slightly upward from recent 12-month lows.  Home prices continue to rise at a moderate pace.  New home sales jumped to the highest level since 2006.  The pending home sales index also increased.

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What to Expect to Pay for Closing Costs

Posted On August 27, 2020

Any mortgage loan origination, for both a new purchase and a refinance, comes with closing costs.  Closing costs cover things like inspections, any lender fees, attorney’s fees, and other associated costs.  Most first-time home buyers know they have to save for a down payment, but some may forget to budget for closing costs.  Homeowners who are refinancing an existing loan to save money need to factor closing costs.

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Adverse Market Refinance Fee Delayed

Posted On August 26, 2020

Two weeks ago, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a 0.5% “adverse market fee” on all mortgage refinances, including cash-out refinances.  Numerous trade organizations voiced concern over the fee, including the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), as the fee would make it more expensive to refinance a mortgage at a time when many homeowners are refinancing to lower their mortgage payment and increase their income in the wake of widespread economic hardship.  This week, the FHFA reversed course delaying the adverse market refinance fee until December 1st, 2020.  Additionally, the FHFA announced it would exempt select refinance loans from the fee when it is enacted.

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New to Online Banking? How to Stay Safe

Posted On August 26, 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers have switched to banking totally online, some for the very first time.  Online banking and bill pay makes it easy to stay on top of your finances from afar, but it may also make it easier for hackers and cyber criminals to access your private information.  Since March, 82% of seniors have started using online banking more frequently and 55% are using mobile banking apps.  Older Americans are often targeted by hackers and cyber criminals because they are newer to online banking technology and may not be aware of common practices. 

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

Posted On August 24, 2020

Average mortgage rates trended upward last week but remain near 12-month lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the new home sales report will come out on Tuesday.  The pending home sales index is scheduled for release on Thursday. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Hits Record High, Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump, Existing Home Sales Surge

Posted On August 21, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week but remain near historical lows.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index reached a record high in August.  Housing starts and building permits continued to increase.  Existing home sales also experienced a record gain. 

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Where to Start Your Emergency Fund

Posted On August 19, 2020

Financial stress related to the coronavirus pandemic has led many Americans to reevaluate their emergency savings.  Workers of all industries have experienced income disruptions over the past several months from temporary and, in some cases permanent, layoffs.  You know you should set aside some savings for an emergency fund but just the thought of starting one may seem overwhelming.  If you haven’t started saving an emergency fund, or you would like to grow your emergency fund, here’s where you can start.  

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Freddie Mac: 70,000 Homes With ADUs Sold in 2019

Posted On August 18, 2020

Accessory dwelling units or ADUs is a separate, detached, dwelling located on the same lot as a single-family home.  Sometimes called “granny flats” or “guest homes,” ADUs are becoming more popular, according to research from Freddie Mac.  Currently, there are 1.4 million reported single-family homes with ADUs out of an MLS listing of 600 million.  The actual figure may even be higher, since it could include ADUs added without a permit. 

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

Posted On August 17, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to touch down to record low levels last week.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index will come out on Monday, followed by housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, and the existing home sales report on Friday.   

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Market Recap: Job Openings Increase, Mortgage Apps Jump, Consumer Price Index Recovers

Posted On August 14, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week and continue to hover around year-long lows.  The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed businesses have started to reopen and staff.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  The consumer price index rebounded. 

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What You Should Know About Buying a Second Home

Posted On August 13, 2020

With many Americans flocking to far-flung regions to escape coronavirus clusters, the second-home market is seeing a sales surge.  To accommodate social distancing guidelines, many city and suburb dwellers are looking into vacation homes or moving away entirely. 

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What Lower Interest Rates Mean for Your Savings Account

Posted On August 12, 2020

Historically low interest rates are great news for borrowers and not the greatest news for savers.  While the cost of borrowing money is at an all-time low, savers are earning less interest on their savings accounts.  Even traditionally higher-interest savings accounts at digital banks are earning less interest than they did just two years ago and are expected to continue on that trend as long as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) keeps rates low.  If you’re trying to maximize the return on your savings in a low interest rate environment, here’s what you need to know.

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Waiting to Buy vs. Buying Now

Posted On August 11, 2020

Historically low mortgage rates have motivated many home buyers across the country, but some are still wary about buying a home due to the economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  Although the way we buy and sell homes looks different, the housing market has had an exceptionally busy summer.  Real estate agents are practicing social distancing by offering video tours and virtual listings and much of the mortgage process has gone digital.  If you’re on the fence about buying a new home now or waiting a few months, here are some things to consider before making your decision.

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

Posted On August 10, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to plunge to historic lows and will likely stay low through the end of the year.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer price index.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Down, Mortgage Apps Fall Off, ADP Employment Report Modest

Posted On August 07, 2020

Mortgage rates remained near historic lows this week.  US construction spending declined slightly as economies slowly reopened.  After several weeks of increases, both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  The ADP employment report added fewer jobs than expected.

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Private Mortgage Insurance Explained

Posted On August 06, 2020

Although some home buyers believe it’s necessary to put down a 20% down payment when buying a home, rising home prices are making it more difficult for buyers to reach that savings goal.  There are many low down payment loan programs available to make buying a home more accessible, especially for first-time home buyers.  In addition to the familiar government programs like the FHA Loan for low income and first-time home buyers and the VA Loan for Veterans and active-duty military, that allow for low to no down payment, there are also conventional options like the Fannie Mae Home Ready and Freddie Mac Home Possible loans.   In fact, the National Association of Realtors reported in 2017, 61% of first-time home buyers put down 6% or less on their home purchase.

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How Unemployment Could Impact Your Ability to Buy a Home

Posted On August 05, 2020

Earlier this year, many American workers were furloughed or laid off due to closures and restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  If you were planning to buy a home this year, your plans have likely been put on hold.  A period of unemployment will impact your ability to buy a home like any other income disruption.  It will not make it impossible to buy a home ever, you just may need to postpone your purchase until you’ve reestablished your income.

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The Truth About Today’s Low Interest Rates

Posted On August 04, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged and mortgage rates continued to hit historic lows.  Whether you’re a homeowner thinking about a refinance or a home buyer ready to make a purchase, you’ve likely been encouraged to make your moves by today’s low rates. 

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Market Forecast: Construction Spending, Mortgage Apps, and ADP Employment Report

Posted On August 03, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to leave interest rates unchanged.  This week, the US construction spending report will be released along with the weekly mortgage application survey.  The ADP employment report is also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: No Rate Hike, Home Price Appreciation Moderate, Pending Home Sales Jump

Posted On July 31, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged and mortgage rates remain historically low.  Home price appreciation was flat month-over-month and slow year-over-year.  Pending home sales jumped. 

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How the Size of Your Down Payment and Your Credit Score Impact Qualifying for a Mortgage

Posted On July 30, 2020

When you’re applying for a home loan, what’s more important: a large down payment or a high credit score?  The simple answer is, both are equally important.  A 20% down payment will mean you do not have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and you can borrow less to purchase your home.  An excellent credit score signals that you have responsibly managed your debt and have a low debt-to-income ratio.  Before you apply for a mortgage, you should save as much as you can for your down payment and closing costs and work to improve your credit score. 

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How to Stretch Your Income if You’ve Been Impacted by the Pandemic

Posted On July 29, 2020

Many Americans have experienced a loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic related to sickness, job closures, layoffs, and furloughs.  Bankrate reports approximately half of American households lost income as of June 2020.  With an uncertain road to recovery ahead, American workers are worried about an extended coronavirus outbreak impacting their income again.

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More Sellers Requesting Proof of Preapproval Before Allowing Buyers to Tour Home

Posted On July 28, 2020

When you’re thinking about buying a home, you may not think about your mortgage right away.  You could have some idea of what you’d like to put down for a down payment, but the mortgage preapproval process requires extensive paperwork and your preapproval letter is typically only valid for 60 to 90 days.  While real estate professionals have always advocated reviewing your mortgage options before shopping for a home, current market conditions have made preapproval more important than ever.  Mortgage rates have touched down to record lows, buyers are competing over a limited number of homes for sale, and because of the pandemic, sellers are wary of allowing too many strangers into their homes.  In fact, some sellers are requiring letters of preapproval before welcoming prospective buyers into their homes.  Here’s what you need to know.

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Market Forecast: Federal Open Market Committee Meeting, Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and Pending Home Sales Index

Posted On July 27, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week and continue to hit historic lows.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release.  

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Market Recap: Home Price Appreciation Decelerates, Existing Home Sales Surge, New Home Sales Climb

Posted On July 24, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its house price index and showed a month-over-month deceleration in home price appreciation.  Both existing home sales and new home sales jumped.  

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6 Home Improvement Projects that Won’t Improve Your Home’s Resale Value

Posted On July 23, 2020

Like many Americans, you’ve probably spent considerably more time than usual at your home over the past few months.  Homeowners across the country have gotten inspired to renovate their homes and invest in upgrades to improve their homes’ present livability and also increase the resale value.

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Reasons to Break Your Lease and How to Do It

Posted On July 22, 2020

One of the reasons people choose to rent instead of buy is because it gives them greater flexibility if they are new to an area or only plan to stay there temporarily.  In any legal rental arrangement, you will have to sign a lease agreement with your landlord, and there are times when you may need to break the lease.  When the time comes to break a lease it’s important to talk to your landlord first.  Many leases have clauses or instructions already outlined if there comes a need to break your lease.

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1.3 Million Homeowners Put Down Less than 20%

Posted On July 21, 2020

Record low mortgage rates have inspired many first-time home buyers to transition from renting to owning in recent months.  Even before mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in the past year, first-time home buyers accounted for a substantial share of home buyers, taking advantage of low down payment mortgage options.  A report from the US Mortgage Insurers (USMI) association found more than 1.3 million homeowners put down less than a 20% down payment in 2019. 

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Market Forecast: FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, and New Home Sales

Posted On July 20, 2020

Average mortgage rates have touched the lowest levels in the past 12 months last week.  This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index.  Existing home sales and new home sales are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Refinance Applications Jump, Home Builder Sentiment Recovers, Housing Starts and Building Permits Climb

Posted On July 17, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower.  Homeowners have rushed to refinance and lock in record-low rates.  Home builder sentiment continued to recover in July, reaching pre-pandemic levels.  Housing starts surged and building permits also increased. 

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Questions to Ask Before You Refinance

Posted On July 16, 2020

If you’re a homeowner, you may be thinking about a mortgage refinance.  Record-low mortgage rates and an easy and online refinance application process have led to a surge in refinance activity this summer.  You may be tempted to lower your monthly payment with a mortgage refinance, but even with today’s low rates, a refinance is not right for everybody.  If you’re considering a mortgage refinance, here’s what your loan officer is going to ask you first.

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How to Get Items Removed from your Credit Report

Posted On July 15, 2020

Monitoring your credit report is an important first step in the mortgage process and generally good practice for your financial wellness.  Lenders use your credit score to determine your creditworthiness and whether you will be a good candidate to repay your mortgage loan based on your payment history, current balances, and other factors.  Derogatory marks on your credit report can significantly hurt your score and take years to recover.  It becomes even more complicated if the credit dings are not your fault and the result of identity theft or credit mistakes.

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Report: It Could Take Up to 21 Years or More to Save a 20% Down Payment

Posted On July 14, 2020

If record low mortgage rates have you thinking about buying your first home, the cost of a 20% down payment may have you thinking twice.  Although many first-time home buyers believe a 20% down payment is required to buy a home, that’s not the case.  Putting down more money isn’t a bad thing; it can help you avoid paying mortgage insurance; however, a 20% down payment is not a requirement. 

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

Posted On July 13, 2020

Average mortgage rates are at record low levels, continuing to motivate home buyers and homeowners looking to refinance.  This week, the National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index.  Housing starts and building permits and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey are also scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Up, Mortgage Apps Jump, Consumer Borrowing Declines

Posted On July 10, 2020

Average mortgage rates touched the lowest level in the past twelve months according to Mortgage News Daily.  Job openings are starting to increase as workers return to work.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Revolving consumer borrowing declined again, but nonrevolving consumer borrowing increased. 

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First-Time Home Buyers: Buy, Build, or Fix Up?

Posted On July 09, 2020

First-time home buyers are facing an especially competitive market this summer.  Record low mortgage rates have made buying a home more affordable and first-time home buyers are expecting to be bidding on fewer homes for sale.  When you’re buying a home, you have the option to buy an existing home that is move-in ready, build a new home in a development or on your own land, or buy an existing home that needs repair or renovation before you move in.  Depending on your market, your options may be limited, and you may have to be flexible. 

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Surge in Mobile Banking App Usage Increases Fraud Risk

Posted On July 08, 2020

Last month, the FBI reported a 50% increase in mobile banking app usage.  Stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines, and convenience may have all contributed to a rise in mobile banking.  When done safely, mobile banking is an easy way to manage your finances, pay bills, and deposit checks from the comfort of your home.  However, mobile banking can also put you at risk of cybercrime. 

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Nearly 70% of Home Sellers Willing to Accept Lower Offer Price

Posted On July 07, 2020

When you’re selling your home, you probably have a deadline in mind.  Maybe you’re starting a new job somewhere else, maybe you want to move before your kids go back to school, or maybe you’re eager to close on the new home you are buying.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many moves have been interrupted or postponed entirely.  As a result, a LendingTree survey revealed 69% of home sellers are willing to accept a lower offer price to sell their home, with 29% strongly agreeing with the strategy and 40% somewhat agreeing.

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

Posted On July 06, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week.  This week, the most significant housing report scheduled for release is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and consumer credit.

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Jump, Home Prices, Construction Spending Declines

Posted On July 03, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend lower, touching the lowest levels in the past two months.  Pending home sales soared after a record decline the previous month.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed home price appreciation is sustained.  US construction spending declined again.

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Ask the Experts: Saving for Your New Home

Posted On July 02, 2020

Thinking about declaring independence from your landlord?  You are not alone.  With record low mortgage rates, first-time home buyers are expected to be shopping in droves this summer.  When you’re new to the home buying process, you may not know where to start.  Here are four steps you can take now whether you’re planning to buy a home soon, or just starting your research.

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Warning: 4 Ways You’re Paying Too Much for Your New Home

Posted On July 01, 2020

Buying a home is a big investment, you don’t want to spend too much up front.  Failing to look into a home’s history or forgoing a home inspection could cost you more than you bargained for.  

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8 Million US Workers Live in Cities Where They Don’t Work

Posted On June 30, 2020

Moving to a new home is often triggered by a major life event.  Maybe you are growing your family and need more space for children, or you’re retiring, and you want to downsize to a smaller home.  Another common reason to move was relocating for work.  In recent months, however, many companies have shifted to a work-from-home model to adhere to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders.  This wide-scale remote work shift has proven that many workers do not need to commute to the office every day or even at all.  If companies continue allowing employees to work from home, many workers may no longer factor their commute into where they live or need to live nearby their office.  Could this remote work shift change where people live?

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

Posted On June 29, 2020

Mortgage rates remained historically low last week and will likely stay low through the end of the year.  This week, there are several important housing reports scheduled for release this week, including the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Fall, New Home Sales Jump, FHFA House Price Index Appreciates

Posted On June 26, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week and remain near the lowest level in the past two years.  Existing home sales fell, but new home sales jumped.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index continued to appreciate. 

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Design Ideas for the Perfect Home Office

Posted On June 25, 2020

If you’re working from home more often than you used to, you may be reevaluating your at-home workspace.  Having a separate space to work can improve your productivity and help you establish a better work-life balance.  What is your current home office missing?

 

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Can Your Age and Income Hurt Your FICO Score?

Posted On June 24, 2020

When you’re getting ready to buy a home, you’re probably taking a closer look at your credit score.  If you’re working on improving your credit score it’s important to know what helps or hurts your score, but also what factors do not impact your score at all.   Your FICO credit score is the most widely accepted credit score by banks and lenders and is influenced by five factors: your payment history, your credit utilization, the length of your credit history, your credit mix, and new credit. 

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Over 3 Million Adults Migrate Home During Coronavirus Quarantine

Posted On June 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life around the country.  Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have caused many companies to shift to work-from-home models and many colleges and universities have temporarily closed.  As a result, over 32 million adults were living with parents or grandparents as of April 2020.  80% of these young adults are members of Generation Z, costing the rental market approximately $726 million each month.  As work-from-home and distance learning procedures extend, the rental market may see long-term impacts with a lack of 18- to 25-year-old renters. 

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Market Forecast: Existing Home Sales, New Home Sales, and FHFA House Price Index

Posted On June 22, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to hover around record lows, motivating home buyers and homeowners to make mortgage moves.  This week, the existing home sales report and new home sales report are both scheduled for release and are expected to reveal the state of post-coronavirus recovery.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its house price index on Wednesday. 

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7 Steps to Your New Home Purchase

Posted On June 18, 2020

If you’re planning to buy a home this summer, you are not alone.  After a disrupted spring home buying and season, many buyers and sellers are expecting a busy summer.  Be prepared for a competitive market and multiple offers.  Buying a home is a big purchase and the process may seem confusing.  Make it easier on yourself, by focusing on these seven steps.

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The Credit Score You Should Aim For, According to Experts

Posted On June 17, 2020

Most American consumers are either working to improve or maintain their credit score.  The FICO Credit Score, the most widely accepted credit score by banks and lenders, ranges from 300-850. The higher your score, the more favorable you will look to banks and lenders.  As of May 2020, only 1.6% of consumers had a perfect credit score of 850.  You should always be working to improve your credit score, but experts report having a score of at least 760 will get you the best benefits and terms on your credit cards and lines of credit.

 

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70% of Homeowners Applying for Forbearance May Not Need It

Posted On June 16, 2020

As of last month, over 4 million homeowners now have mortgage loans in forbearance.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many American workers were laid off or furloughed due to temporary workplace closures and state and local social distancing ordinances.  A LendingTree study revealed approximately 70% of those homeowners with loans in forbearance reported the move wasn’t financially necessary and only 5% reported they would not have been able to pay their next mortgage payment without forbearance.

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

Posted On June 15, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward last week, following the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to leave the federal benchmark interest rate unchanged.  This week, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index and housing starts and building permits are scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release its weekly mortgage application survey on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged, Mortgage Apps Up, and Fewer Job Openings

Posted On June 12, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged this week, and mortgage rates remain historically low.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) survey showed job openings have fallen to the lowest level since 2014, because of coronavirus closures.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions are up, as buyers and homeowners take advantage of record low interest rates. 

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How to Sell Your Home this Summer

Posted On June 11, 2020

Did you delay listing your home because of the coronavirus pandemic?  Are you ready to move and not sure where to start?  Many real estate professionals are expecting a delayed busy home buying and selling summer, especially with today’s low mortgage rates. 

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Can Breaking Your Lease Hurt Your Credit Score?

Posted On June 10, 2020

As a renter, you may be faced with a circumstance where you have to break your lease.  You may have to relocate to another city because of work, you may end up buying a home before your lease expires, or you may face the unfortunate scenario of not being able to afford your rent.  When you’re faced with the need to break your lease, it’s important to know your rights as a tenant and be transparent about your situation with your landlord.  Breaking a lease without taking the right steps could make it harder for you to qualify for a rental or home purchase in the future and could hurt your credit score.

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Low Mortgage Rates Could Bring Out the Next Wave of Millennial Home Buyers

Posted On June 09, 2020

With this year’s home buying and selling season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, some real estate professionals are predicting a delayed busy season this summer.  Historically low mortgage rates plus cheaper homes for sale could mean the next wave of Millennial home buyers is primed to make a purchase.   After a few years of climbing mortgage rates and steady home price appreciation, previously sidelined first-time home buyers may find current market conditions more affordable. 

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Mortgage Apps, and Federal Open Market Committee Meeting

Posted On June 08, 2020

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for its semiannual monetary policy meeting.  After two emergency rate cuts in March, the Fed is not expected to move interest rates at this month’s meeting.  The only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  In employment news, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey comes out on Tuesday.

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Market Recap: Construction Spending Down, Mortgage Apps Mixed, ADP Employment Report Sheds More Jobs

Posted On June 05, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week and remain historically low.  US construction spending declined; however, the decline was less than expected.  New purchase mortgage application submissions increased but refinance application submissions decreased.  The ADP employment report showed the loss of 2.76 million jobs.

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Making Your New Home Wish List

Posted On June 04, 2020

If you’ve spent the past several weeks (or months) confined to your home, like many other Americans under coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, you probably have a better idea of what you are looking for in a new home.  Maybe your once unused extra bedroom has transformed into an essential home office.  Maybe you’ve realized a fenced-in backyard could have provided safer play space for your children.  Spending this extra time in your current home is a great opportunity to decide what features are most important for your new home.

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How to Support Your Neighbors from a Safe Distance

Posted On June 03, 2020

Shelter-in-place guidelines and stay-at-home orders may mean you are spending more time at home than ever before.  A positive outcome of more time at home has been more people are getting to know their neighbors, from a safe distance.  Neighbors are using online platforms like Nextdoor, Facebook, and Slack to offer assistance to neighbors who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Volunteers can offer to complete grocery runs for sick or elderly neighbors, find ways to contribute to food banks and other community organizations, or simply connect through virtual community events. 

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Share of Single American Homeowners Reaches 118-Year High

Posted On June 02, 2020

Americans are no longer delaying homeownership until marriage, according to US Census Bureau data.  In 2019, single Americans owned 38.4% of US housing stock, the largest share of single homeowners in 118 years.  Numerous factors may have caused the increase including Millennials delaying marriage, viewing a home as an investment and a place to live, and lower mortgage rates. 

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

Posted On June 01, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move drastically last week and remain historically low.  In housing news, the US construction spending report and the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage application survey are both scheduled for release.  In employment news, the ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Home Values Go Up, New Home Sales Increase, Pending Home Sales Fall

Posted On May 29, 2020

Markets were closed on Monday, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.  Mortgage rates remain historically low.  Home price appreciation continued.  New home sales turned around.  Pending home sales declined.

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Where Home Prices are Headed Post-Pandemic

Posted On May 28, 2020

The last Recession that most of us remember was brought on by the Financial Crisis of 2007-08.  Following this recession, home prices tumbled, due in part by irresponsible lending practices that left many homeowners unable to pay their mortgage.  The current global economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely not hurt home values the same way.  Before the pandemic-related shutdowns, the economy was thriving, job creation and home price appreciation were steady, and lenders were observing strict lending guidelines enacted after the Financial Crisis.  As states start to reopen, and people go back to work, most real estate professionals predict that home prices will remain stable and continue to appreciate. 

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Understanding How Much Homeowners Insurance You Need

Posted On May 27, 2020

When was the last time you examined your homeowner’s insurance policy?  Now, more than ever, homebound homeowners are making sure their homeowner’s insurance policies offer adequate coverage, as your home has become your living, working, and schooling space during nationwide stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.  You don’t want to pay for coverage you don’t need, but you want to make sure you’re protected.  The biggest mistake most homeowners make is not updating their policy.  The original policy you took out when you bought your home might not be enough to cover its appreciation in value or might not accommodate the increased frequency in natural disasters like fires and hurricanes.   

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Former Airbnb Rentals May Soon be For Sale

Posted On May 26, 2020

Travel and tourism is one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.  As Americans adapt to new social distancing guidelines, many have suspended travel plans and cancelled vacations.  Airbnb hosts are starting to feel the strain of reduced traveling.  Unlike large hotel chains with the capital to withstand market fluctuations, many Airbnb’s are owned by sole proprietors managing only one or a few properties.  As social distancing continues, many Airbnb owners will have to shift their business model or sell their properties rather than cover the costs of maintaining an unoccupied short-term rental home. 

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

Posted On May 25, 2020

Markets are closed today in observance of Memorial Day.  Mortgage rates have not moved significantly in recent weeks, continuing to average historic lows.  This week, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, the new home sales report, and the pending home sales index are all scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Rebounds, Housing Starts and Building Permits Down, Existing Home Sales Fall

Posted On May 22, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to trend downward this week.  Home builder sentiment rebounded in May after a historic plunge in April, suggesting business is starting to get back to normal.  As expected, housing starts and building permits declined, as did existing home sales.

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How to Increase Your Home’s “Screen Appeal” for Social-Distanced Selling

Posted On May 21, 2020

Before you list your home for sale, spend some time researching and staging your home to maximize your space and give it a more neutral palette for prospective home buyers to imagine themselves there.  With stay-at-home ordinances and social distancing guidelines in place, you may be relying more on photos of your home and video tours rather than in-person tours.  Your home looks great when you’re in it, but how will it be perceived through a virtual listing? 

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Tips for a Stress-Free Move During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted On May 20, 2020

Moving under any circumstances can be stressful.  You have to pack and organize all of your belongings, you may be spending a night or two without assembled furniture, and you may have to coordinate with helpful friends and professional movers to get your things to your new home.  Moving during the coronavirus pandemic adds another layer of stress as you try to complete your move safely while practicing social distancing.

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Housing Market Data Shows Early Signs of Recovery

Posted On May 19, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses around the world and has caused widespread economic slowdown.  Like other industries, the housing market was impacted.  Some sellers took their homes off the market and some buyers suspended their home search to avoid close contact with others and wait for stay-at-home restrictions to ease.  As states and cities start to reopen, housing market data shows early signs of recovery.  After a slower-than-average April, buyers and sellers are starting to re-enter the market. 

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New FHFA Guidance: Home Purchase and Refinance After Forbearance

Posted On May 19, 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 4.7 million homeowners have put their mortgage in forbearance as of May 2020. 

If you put your mortgage loan in forbearance due to financial hardship brought on by the pandemic, you may be wondering how this will impact your ability to qualify for a refinance or buy a new home. 

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

Posted On May 18, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low and did not move much last week.  This week, several important housing reports are scheduled for release and will give us more perspective on the impact of the coronavirus on the housing market. 

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Market Recap: New Purchase Mortgage Applications Up, Consumer Price Index, and Retail Sales

Posted On May 15, 2020

Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, maintaining historically low levels.  Home buyers reacted, and new purchase mortgage applications jumped.  The consumer price index showed inflation has slowed, due to the coronavirus-related economic slowdown.  Retail sales fell sharply.

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What to Expect from Home Buyers, Home Sellers, and Renters Post-Pandemic

Posted On May 14, 2020

The coronavirus or covid-19 pandemic has impacted many industries including the real estate industry.  Widespread layoffs and furloughs have caused economic disruption and social distancing procedures have impacted the way people do business.  As states and municipalities gradually start to reopen, home buyers, home sellers, and renters will start to see the long-term impacts on the post-pandemic housing market. 

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Expanded Unemployment Benefits: What You Need to Know

Posted On May 13, 2020

In addition to the millions of American workers who have lost their job due to coronavirus-related closures, millions of other American workers have lost hours or wages without fully losing their job.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed to expand unemployment benefits to all workers impacted by the pandemic, including independent contractors, part-time workers, and those who are self-employed.

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Build-to-Rent Neighborhoods Popular Among Property Investors

Posted On May 12, 2020

When you invest in real estate you either buy to sell or buy to rent.  Investors who buy to sell will buy a home for a lower price, renovate or improve it to add value, and sell for a profit.  Investors who buy to rent, rent the home to a tenant and earn a profit over time.  Real estate investment is often considered a more stable investment than the stock market because homes and property tend to appreciate in most market conditions.  Single-family rental homes particularly have become a popular investment, so much so that some housing developments are being built exclusively for renters. 

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Market Forecast: Consumer Price Index, Mortgage Applications, and Retail Sales

Posted On May 11, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to come in at historic lows and are not moving much.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the consumer price index and retail sales. 

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Market Recap: Low Mortgage Rates Motivate Home Buyers, ADP Employment Report, and Consumer Credit

Posted On May 08, 2020

Mortgage rates are still historically low, trending lower according to some sources.  Lower rates seemed to have motivated home buyers, and new purchase mortgage applications have increased.  The ADP employment showed significant job loss due to coronavirus closures.  The consumer credit report showed that overall borrowing has slowed. 

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Questions You Can Ask the Neighbors Before You Buy Your New Home

Posted On May 07, 2020

When you’re shopping for a new home in a new area, the neighbors could be your greatest resource to learning more about your prospective future neighborhood.  Your Realtor or real estate agent can be a great resource, but there’s nothing like the insight from a resident who has lived in the area for many years. 

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Protect Your Credit Score During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted On May 06, 2020

As the coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreak has led to businesses closing across the nation, millions of Americans are out of work. According to a TransUnion survey of over 3,000 people, nearly 60% of Americans said their household income has been affected by the pandemic. While millions of Americans have lost income, many are struggling to pay their bills, thus threatening their credit scores. Here’s how you can protect your credit score during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Money Moves to Make While Interest Rates are Low

Posted On May 05, 2020

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged, as the economy recovers from the mass closures of the coronavirus pandemic.  Some states are starting to ease coronavirus restrictions and reopen businesses while continuing to observe social distancing procedures. 

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Market Forecast: Mortgage Apps, ADP Employment Report, Consumer Credit

Posted On May 04, 2020

Mortgage rates continue to trend downward.  This week, the only significant housing report scheduled for release is the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the ADP employment report and consumer credit.

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Market Recap: Home Prices Appreciate, Pending Home Sales Fall, No Rate Cut

Posted On May 01, 2020

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met virtually on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell delivered a press conference and met with reporters over video chat following the meeting.  Mortgage rates did not move significantly this week, continuing to trend lower.  Home price appreciation continued upward in February.  Pending home sales dropped significantly in March. 

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Divorce and Your Mortgage: What You Need to Know

Posted On April 30, 2020

When you get divorced, one of the biggest assets typically at stake is your marital home.  If you and your spouse bought your home together and paid the mortgage together, you’re going to need to decide what to do with your joint investment.  Sometimes, both spouses agree to sell the home.  Other times, one spouse will continue living in the home and the other will move out.  The first choice you and your former spouse will need to make are whether to sell the home or keep the home, then you can decide what to do about your mortgage.

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5 Ways Coronavirus May Impact Housing Trends

Posted On April 28, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions have significantly changed many industries.  Recent data like March’s existing home sales report and new home sales report show sales have slowed during the season that is typically one of the busiest.  As states start to reopen and adjust social distancing procedures, the housing market will likely see a lasting impact, specifically in where people prefer to live and how we buy and sell homes.

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

Posted On April 27, 2020

Mortgage rates remain historically low and have not moved much in recent weeks.  This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for its first scheduled semiannual monetary policy meeting since the two emergency meetings last month.  In housing news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the pending home sales index are both scheduled for release. 

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Market Recap: Existing Home Sales Fall, Mortgage Apps Mixed, New Home Sales Slump

Posted On April 24, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved drastically this week and are still historically low.  Existing home sales declined, as some markets adjust to social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place ordinances due to the coronavirus pandemic.  New purchase mortgage application submissions are up, but refinance application submissions are down. 

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Know Your Options: Forbearance or Refinance?

Posted On April 21, 2020

Many Americans across the country are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus or Covid-19 related closures and shutdowns.  Federal, state, and local social distancing guidelines have left many workers temporarily furloughed or laid off.  The term “mortgage forbearance” has come up frequently on the news and also in the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

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

Posted On April 20, 2020

Mortgage rates trended lower last week.  Although coronavirus or Covid-19-related closures have caused many closures and slowdowns, banks and lenders are fully operational.  This week, the existing home sales and new home sales reports are both scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Refinance Applications Up as Homeowners Take Advantage of Low Rates

Posted On April 17, 2020

Mortgage rates have not moved significantly this week, continuing to come in at historic lows.  Refinance mortgage application submissions jumped but new purchase mortgage application submissions declined.  The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market sentiment index declined due to the coronavirus or Covid-19 slowdown.  Housing starts and building permits declined month-over-month but improved year-over-year. 

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4 Signs Your Home’s Value Is Declining

Posted On April 16, 2020

Your home is an investment, and for most Americans, your biggest investment. Even if you are not planning on selling your home in the near future, you want your home to appreciate in value, so you continue to build wealth through home equity. It is important to recognize factors that indicate a decline in the value of your home. These signs may be an indicator that value has declined.

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Coronavirus and Unemployment: What You Need to Know

Posted On April 15, 2020

Over the past few weeks, many industries have experienced changes due to the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic.  Developing federal, state, and local guidance on social distancing and operating procedures has led some businesses to slow operations or temporarily shut down and many Americans have been laid off or had their wages reduced. 

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How Home Buyers Have Adapted to Socially Distant Home Sellers

Posted On April 14, 2020

With states and counties adapting to social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates to stop the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19, the way prospective home buyers are touring homes is changing.  As an essential service, banks and lenders are still fully operational helping people buy new homes and refinance existing home loans.  Realtors and real estate agents are adjusting to temporary changes by using technology to create 3D home listings, conduct virtual tours, and give prospective home buyers all the information they need to purchase their homes. 

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

Posted On April 13, 2020

Overall, average mortgage rates continue to hover around historic lows, though they have experienced some volatility in recent weeks.  Coming up this week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its housing market sentiment index.  Housing starts and building permits are also scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday. 

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Market Recap: Job Openings Down, Consumer Credit Expands, Mortgage Apps Fall

Posted On April 10, 2020

Mortgage rates have experienced some volatility in recent weeks but remain historically low.  Job openings dipped slightly in February and are likely to continue declining into March.  Consumer borrowing picked up in February.  Weekly mortgage application submissions declined.

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Avoid These Costly Refinance Mistakes

Posted On April 09, 2020

Many homeowners are considering a mortgage refinance because they have heard about “historically low interest” rates.  Before refinancing your home loan, there are numerous factors to consider besides the lower interest rate.  Are you trying to take cash out?  Has anything changed significantly in your financial history since you originally financed your home?  How much lower would your payment actually be?

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How You Can Help Others During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted On April 08, 2020

Within the last few weeks, the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 has infected thousands and disrupted the lives of millions across the country. Schools have closed, sporting seasons have been suspended, and Americans are stocking up on quarantine supplies. Although many across the nation are able to self-isolate in their homes as employees shift to a working remotely approach, some segments of the population are facing a tougher time.  Older people, immunocompromised individuals, workers who do not have paid sick leave, and those who can’t afford sufficient supplies or quality healthcare are the most at risk.

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Why a Recession Does Not Mean a Housing Crisis

Posted On April 07, 2020

As the global economy reacts to the fallout from the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic, the word “recession” has reappeared consistently across news outlets.  Many of us may associate the word “recession” with the Financial Crisis that occurred from 2007 to 2008, that was partly caused by subprime lending and the housing crisis.  During these unprecedented times, it is understandable to struggle with feelings of uncertainty. However, it’s important to stay informed with legitimate facts and data.

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Market Forecast: Job Openings, Consumer Credit, Mortgage Applications

Posted On April 06, 2020

Mortgage rates have experienced some volatility in recent weeks as the mortgage market reacts to the coronavirus or Covid-19.  This week, the only significant housing report will be the weekly mortgage application survey.  The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and the consumer credit report are each scheduled for release on Tuesday and both reports will reflect pre-coronavirus data. 

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Market Recap: Pending Home Sales Up, Home Prices Appreciate, Construction Spending Down

Posted On April 03, 2020

Mortgage rates climbed slightly higher this week, but overall remain lower than last year’s highs.  Pending home sales increased.  The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index appreciated.  Construction spending weakened.

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What You Can Do Now to Set Yourself up Financially Later

Posted On April 02, 2020

For many Americans, financial freedom means the flexibility to save and invest now to give yourself financial flexibility later.  When you’re young, things like retirement and your children’s college tuition may not be as top of mind as climbing the career ladder and paying off your student loans.  The choices you make now will influence your comfort level later.  Here are four things CNBC contributors identified as the most important things to do now to be more financially flexible later.

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What to Do If You Can’t Make Your Mortgage or Rent Payment

Posted On April 01, 2020

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has led to travel slowdowns, shutdowns of gyms, restaurants, churches, and other gathering spaces, amid a global economic slowdown.  Millions of American households will likely feel the financial strain from temporary or permanent job loss, investment uncertainty, and other economic pressures.  In times of economic stress, many families may be wondering what to do if they are unable to make a mortgage or rent payment. 

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What the $2 Trillion Stimulus Plan Means for You

Posted On March 31, 2020

The coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic has caused a global economic slowdown and American businesses and taxpayers are feeling the impact.  Closures at the state and local level have impacted businesses like gyms and restaurants as they are forced to temporarily close their doors to encourage social distancing.  Travel, sports, and events industries are all experiencing hardship from slowdowns and shutdowns as many Americans postpone travel, national sports leagues delay seasons, and gatherings of 10 or more are discouraged.   

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

Posted On March 30, 2020

Mortgage rates have experienced some volatility in recent weeks, as the global economy copes with coronavirus concerns.  Overall, average mortgage rates are historically low.  In housing news, this week, the pending home sales index, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, and US construction spending are all scheduled for release.

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Market Recap: New Home Sales Down, Mortgage Apps Fall, FHFA Price Index Appreciates

Posted On March 27, 2020

Mortgage rates continued to experience some volatility this week, but despite that remain historically low.  New home sales dropped in February, after touching a 13-year high in January.  Both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions declined.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated. 

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Flexible Ways to Use the FHA Loan

Posted On March 26, 2020

The FHA Loan is a popular home loan for first-time home buyers because of its low down payment options and more lenient credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements.  In 2018, approximately 83% of FHA borrowers were first-time home buyers.  When using an FHA Loan, you have to use it on a home that will pass the FHA appraisal.  In a busy market, it may be hard to find the right home to pass the FHA appraisal. 

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Financial Moves You Can Make During Coronavirus Quarantine

Posted On March 25, 2020

The onslaught of coronavirus news has left a lot of us thinking about our finances.  Some investors are experiencing stock market losses while some workers are facing uncertainties surrounding workplace closures.  During this turbulent time, it’s important to think about your finances and plan ahead to protect yourself.

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Why the Fed’s Rate Cut Does Not Mean 0% Mortgage Rates

Posted On March 24, 2020

Last Sunday March 15th, the Federal Reserve cut the Federal Funds rate to a range of zero to 0.25%.  The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which banks lend money to other banks.  It will influence other types of interest rates, like mortgage rates, but they are not the same rate and it’s unlikely that Americans will see 0% mortgage rates at any time. 

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Market Forecast: New Home Sales, Mortgage Applications, FHFA House Price Index

Posted On March 23, 2020

Mortgage rates experienced volatility last week, following the Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cut on Sunday and the global economic slowdown related to the coronavirus.  This week, the new home sales report and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are both scheduled for release.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey comes out on Wednesday.

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Market Recap: Home Builder Sentiment Slips, Housing Starts and Building Permits Drop, Existing Home Sales Jump

Posted On March 20, 2020

Mortgage rates experienced some volatility this week, after the Federal Reserve’s emergency Sunday night rate cut.  Home builder sentiment declined slightly but remains in a positive range.  Housing starts and building permits declined.  Existing home sales climbed.

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What to Know About Buying a Foreclosed Home

Posted On March 19, 2020

In a home foreclosure sale, the seller is a bank or mortgage lender who has seized the property from the owners who were unable to make their mortgage payments.  To make up for the losses, the bank or lender sells the property.

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How to Identify Coronavirus Scams

Posted On March 18, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused stock market shock, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to sellout, and major healthcare disruptions.  It has also created a new opportunity for fraudsters to steal under the cloak of coronavirus panic.  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joe Simmons warned in a news release, “what we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.” 

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Market Recap: Mortgage Apps Jump, Consumer Price Index Up, Jobless Claims Lower

Posted On March 13, 2020

Mortgage rates trended slightly upward this week, but overall are at least a full percentage point lower than average rates this time last year.  Lower rates triggered mortgage activity with both new purchase and refinance mortgage application submissions increasing.  The consumer price index also increased slightly.  Jobless claims continue to come in at historic lows.

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