As 2016 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect and look ahead to what 2017 may bring. The Trump Administration’s plans to cut taxes and prioritize spending on infrastructure have already started to impact the housing market and mortgage marketplace. Many of the trends we’re already seeing at the end of this year are expected to continue to affect home financing in 2017. Let’s take a look:
The financial markets reacted to the initial uncertainty surrounding the Trump Administration with a post-election uptick in mortgage rates. Despite the recent increase, interest rates are still lingering near historic lows. But, how long will the low rates last? According to a recent Zillow article, “This dramatic rate spike might level off near-term, but don’t count on a reversal back to record lows.” If the economy continues to gather momentum and inflation picks up, chances are good that the Fed will increase rates at the final policy meeting of the year in mid-December. There’s still time to act on low rates before another increase and a rate lock can help ensure that you don’t miss an opportunity! Here’s what you need to know:
It is often said that buying a home is the most significant purchase you will make in your lifetime. It’s a major financial commitment and an important milestone, so you want to get it right. This means doing some homework and seeking professional guidance. A real estate agent can assist with your home search, but what about securing a loan? How do you find a mortgage professional you can trust to consider your best interests, help you select the right product, and guide you through each step of the home financing process? The following tips will help you conduct a thorough and efficient search for a lender you can rely on to help make your dreams of homeownership a reality!
A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that homeownership rates are higher among veterans and active military than those who have never served, especially within younger age groups. So, why are military personnel outpacing their non-military peers when it comes to owning a home? There are many possible explanations, but the impact of VA Loan benefits is certainly a factor. Of those surveyed by NAR, 54 percent of veterans and 74 percent of active military said they used VA Loans to finance their home purchase.
Depending on your financial goals, plans, and current age, the decision of whether to pay off your mortgage may be something that has crossed your mind. If you’re heading toward retirement, paying off your mortgage may certainly provide peace of mind. But, does eliminating the monthly payment actually improve your financial situation? When rates are as low as they are today, it’s worthwhile to carefully weigh the responsibility of a monthly payment against the rewards of having access to cash for investing and the pursuit of other goals. Living debt-free sounds great. But so does investing in your future. Here are some things to consider before deciding whether an early mortgage payoff is right for you.
One of the first steps to true independence is developing a strong sense of financial responsibility. The moment you start earning any money at all is the ideal moment to learn about money management, budgeting, and the importance of good credit. Whether you are exploring financial independence for the first time, or looking to re-build after a few credit mistakes, here are some options for getting on a path to a solid credit history.
Qualifying for a mortgage can be more complex for someone who does not have pay stubs and a W2 form to verify consistent income. If you’re an entrepreneur with your own business and fall into this category, don’t worry—there are loans for you. You just need to know how to navigate. I asked RPM’s EVP, Julian Hebron, to explain how specialized loan products serve the specific needs of self-employed home buyers.
As seasonal temperatures heat up, utility bills will also inch up as homeowners try to beat the heat. What can you do to prepare your home for the hot summer months and minimize the cost of keeping indoor spaces comfortable? A “do-it-yourself” (DIY) home energy audit can be a good starting point to help determine what areas to prioritize for energy efficient repairs and upgrades. By following the simple steps below, you can uncover the most obvious spots where your home is losing energy and where you may have opportunities to improve your home’s performance.
It’s no secret that an energy efficient home costs less to operate. But, the up-front costs of major upgrades can be daunting. We set out to find options for small enhancements on a small budget that can make a difference. Here is a short list of DIY projects homeowners can easily take on to improve home performance, conserve energy, and lower the cost of utilities.
A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out that real estate investors may be pushing young, first-time homebuyers out of the housing market. Low and mid-priced homes, which appeal to both first-time buyers and investors, are in tight supply. Investors are swooping in with all-cash offers only to turn around and rent out the properties. As rental rates skyrocket across the nation, investors stand to benefit while potential homebuyers are challenged by high rent that may prolong saving for a down payment. Is there a solution? Can buyers finance a home purchase and still put forth a strong enough offer to compete against all-cash? We asked Realtor® Dana Green to weigh in on how buyers can level the playing field.