homeowner: Is a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter Necessary to Make an Offer on a House? - 04/25/22 01:01 PM
Do you need a mortgage pre-approval letter to make an offer on a house? You know you need to get your ducks in a row before looking at homes, but does that include securing a pre-approval letter from the bank?
The truth is, getting pre-approved can actually improve your chances of falling into the sellers’ good graces, so you want to get it done as soon as possible in the home-buying process.
So how organized do your financials need to be before you start looking? Let’s take a look, starting with clarifying what a pre-approval letter actually is.
What is a pre-approval letter?
Mortgage pre-approval is assurance from a lender to provide … (3 comments)

homeowner: Real Estate Closing Costs: What Are They and How Much Do They Cost? - 04/24/22 11:23 AM
Closing costs are the fees you pay when finalizing a real estate transaction, whether you’re refinancing a mortgage or buying a new home. These costs can amount to 2 to 5 percent of the mortgage balance so it’s important to be financially prepared for this expense.
What are closing costs?
Closing costs include a range of charges for services related to applying for a mortgage. Some of the costs are related to the property — appraising it to verify its value and searching property records to ensure a clear title — and others are related to the paperwork involved, including attorney fees and the … (3 comments)

homeowner: Foreclosure Activity at New High Since the Pandemic Began - 04/22/22 10:14 AM
Foreclosure starts and bank repossessions are at their highest numbers in the last two years. Most pandemic-initiated moratoriums have lifted by now and lenders are starting to resume foreclosures. Still, foreclosure activity remains well below historical levels.
The number of properties with a foreclosure filing during the first quarter of 2022 climbed 39% compared to the previous quarter. Foreclosure filings are up much higher—132%—compared to a year ago, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q1 2022 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.
“Foreclosure activity has continued to gradually return to normal levels since the expiration of the government’s moratorium, and the CFPB [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s] … (1 comments)

homeowner: Your Stress-Free Guide to Shopping for Home Loans - 04/21/22 11:38 AM
With this super-simple breakdown of loan types, you won’t get overwhelmed — you’ll find the right mortgage.
When it comes to buying a house, most people know what they prefer: a bungalow or a condo, a hot neighborhood or a sleepy street.
Mortgages, too, come in many styles — and recognizing which type you should choose is just slightly more involved than, say, knowing that you prefer hardwood floors over wall-to-wall carpeting.
First things first: To pick the best loan for your situation, you need to know what your situation is exactly. Will you be staying in this home for years? Decades? Are you … (1 comments)

homeowner: Homeowners May Be Reluctant to Give Up Low Mortgage Rate - 04/20/22 11:52 AM
About half of homeowners with a mortgage have a rate under 4%. That is significantly below today’s rate of 5%.
Such enticing rates could incentivize homeowners to stay put in their homes longer. They may not want to give up an ultra-low rate—many of whom may have snatched up a rate over recent years that was below 3%.
A recent analysis by Redfin calls out this “lock-in effect” as one factor that may contribute to a decline in home listings moving forward.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5% last week, the highest rate in more than a decade, according to Freddie Mac. Since the … (2 comments)

homeowner: FHA Closing Costs: What They Are and How Much They Cost - 04/19/22 09:49 PM
When applying for an FHA loan to buy a home, you’ll need more than just 3.5 percent of the purchase price as a down payment. As you budget, it’s important to make sure you factor in FHA closing costs, too.
What are FHA closing costs?
The closing costs on FHA loans are the fees charged by the mortgage lender and the various other players involved in the loan process, and typically total between 2 percent and 6 percent of the home’s sale price. These fees also include an upfront mortgage insurance premium and prepaid items.
Closing costs vary by state, however, and can be much higher in states with higher tax rates. … (2 comments)

homeowner: Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19 - 04/17/22 07:29 PM
If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments due to COVID-19, relief options are available. 
If you are a homeowner experiencing financial hardship directly or indirectly related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac, contact your loan servicer (the company listed on your mortgage statement) right away to discuss your options.
Whether you’re facing job loss, reduced income, illness or other issues that impact your ability to make your monthly mortgage payment, Freddie Mac is working to ensure you are protected. In fact, the company has directed your loan servicer to provide mortgage relief options that include:
Ensuring payment relief by providing forbearance for … (1 comments)

homeowner: How Much Home Equity Do I Need For a Mortgage Refinance? - 04/16/22 12:59 PM
With mortgage rates on the rise, the opportunity to save money with a refinance is shrinking, but it can still make sense for some homeowners. When it comes to refinancing a mortgage, though, home equity matters.
How much home equity do I need to refinance my mortgage?
Home equity is the cash value in your home. For instance, if your home is valued at $300,000 and you owe $200,000, your home would have $100,000 of cash value, or equity. If you don’t have enough home equity, private mortgage insurance, or PMI, may be required. This is a type of insurance borrowers pay to protect the … (2 comments)

homeowner: Property Taxes on Single-Family Homes Rise Across U.S. in 2021, to $328 Billion - 04/15/22 06:00 PM
IRVINE, Calif. – April 14, 2022 — ATTOM, a leading curator of real estate data nationwide for land and property data, today released its 2021 property tax analysis for almost 87 million U.S. single family homes, which shows that $328 billion in property taxes were levied on single-family homes in 2021, up just 1.6 percent from $323 billion in 2020. That was well down from the 5.4 percent increase seen from 2019 to 2020 and marked the second smallest rise over the past five years.
Meanwhile, the average tax on single-family homes in the U.S. in 2021 increased at the smallest pace in the five … (1 comments)

homeowner: Historical Mortgage Rate Trends: 1970s to 2022 - 04/14/22 12:33 PM
While the mortgage rate you’ll get is determined by specific factors like your credit score, historical mortgage rate trends can give you a sense of how economic conditions influence the rates available on the market today. From the 1970s to present, mortgage rates have risen and fallen, with the current 30-year fixed rate still low, but on the rise.
“After spiking to near 20 percent levels in the early 1980s, mortgage rates — as with interest rates in general — were largely in decline for the better part of the next 40 years as inflation declined and became a non-factor,” says Greg McBride, CFA, … (1 comments)

homeowner: More Sellers Are Lowering Asking Prices - 04/12/22 07:54 PM
With mortgage rates now nearing 5%, many aspiring home buyers may have reached the top of what they can afford, especially as 40-year-high inflation affects the threshold for them.
As a result, the number of sellers dropping their asking price is growing at a faster clip than in the recent past. About 12% of homes for sale had a price drop during the four weeks ending April 3, according to Redfin. That marks a jump from 9% a year ago.
“Price drops are still rare, but the fact that they are becoming more frequent is one clear sign that the housing market is … (0 comments)

homeowner: Home Prices Are Rising Faster Than Wages - 04/09/22 02:44 PM
The income required to meet a common standard for home affordability are growing at the fastest pace in more than 15 years, according to ATTOM Data Solution’s first quarter 2022 U.S. Home Affordability Report. Housing affordability has fallen in nearly 80% of the markets tracked as median home prices continue to increase—and now mortgage rates are too.
Home prices continue to rise faster than wages in most of the country. Researchers determined affordability for average wage earners by calculating the amount of income needed to meet major monthly homeownership expenses, including the mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, on a median-priced single-family home.
“It’s … (1 comments)

homeowner: Home Features That May Boost Sales Price - 04/06/22 11:43 AM
Some unusual or uncommon home features are not only attracting buyers but also encouraging them to pay more for those features. In a study for Angi, formerly Angie’s List, researchers combed through sold listings to identify common or trending home features and determine whether a price premium could be attached to some amenities.
In the kitchen, buyers may appreciate a pot filler faucet over the cooktop. Angi researchers said that feature alone could lead to a 3.2% price premium.
Other home features that could make a big difference: pendant lighting (2.66% price premium); under-cabinet lighting (2.48%); double-sink vanity (2.35%); barn door (2.32%); butcher … (1 comments)

homeowner: 6 Simple Ways to Save Energy and Water in Your Home - 04/04/22 05:44 PM
There are many ways to make your home more energy- and water-efficient — and you don’t always have to hire a professional to get the job done. Here are six easy home improvement projects that can save you money while reducing your energy and water consumption.
1   Seal Gaps
Your HVAC system works hard to keep the temperature inside your home consistent — but hot air is always trying to move from warm spaces to cooler ones. Walls, windows, doors and the roof are all places where heat is likely to enter or escape.
Applying caulk around the windows casings and weather stripping around … (1 comments)

homeowner: Borrowing Costs Jump as Rates Continue to Increase - 04/03/22 05:55 PM
For the fourth consecutive week, mortgage rates surged, up more than 90 basis points in one month.
Rates have jumped from 3.76% to 4.67% in just March alone, significantly increasing the borrowing costs for buyers, Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting at the National Association of REALTORS®, wrote for the association’s blog.
The monthly payment for a median-priced home with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose more than $170 in March due to higher rates, Evangelou notes.
In the past three months, that amount has been increasing even more. For example, LendingTree offers the following example: A 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan worth $300,000 … (0 comments)

homeowner: When Will Mortgage Rates Hit 5%? It Could Happen Soon - 04/02/22 05:45 PM
For the past decade, American homeowners grew accustomed to mortgage rates that once would have been unthinkably low. The rate on a 30-year loan started with a three or a four, maybe even a two.
Rates above 5 percent? That was exceedingly rare. During the past 10 years, the average cost of a 30-year mortgage topped the 5 percent threshold for just one fleeting six-week period in late 2018, according to Bankrate’s weekly national survey of lenders.
Times are changing fast, though. The average rate on a 30-year loan surged to 4.73 percent in this week’s survey — and 5 percent might not be far away.
“I would … (2 comments)

homeowner: Some Owners Turn to Cash-Out Refinances - 03/31/22 02:58 PM
Some homeowners are turning to the equity in their current home to fund their next real estate transaction. But the move isn’t without risks.
Most homeowners who bought a home before 2020 have seen rapid appreciation and rising equity in their homes. A cash-out refinance is allowing them to use that equity to help fund their next purchase. They can take out a new mortgage loan for more than what they owe, and then use the cash to buy another property or to make a down payment on a new one.
Cash-out refinances have traditionally been used to pay off debt or fund home … (1 comments)

homeowner: How Much Does it Cost to Refinance Your House? - 03/29/22 08:03 PM
Refinancing your mortgage can lower your interest rate, help shorten your loan term or convert equity into funds you need — but it comes with a price tag. Just like your first mortgage, you’ll need to consider the closing costs.
Why refinance your mortgage?
Simply put, spending some money now can save you more money in the long run — or help you access cash you need for a project right now. Here’s a rundown of some of the main reasons you might want to consider refinancing your mortgage:
You can lower your monthly payment – If you have a fixed-rate mortgage with a rate that’s higher … (1 comments)

homeowner: Who Really, Really Approves Your Loan? - 03/25/22 04:39 PM
‘Approval’ in the mortgage and real estate industries is a term thrown around sometimes a bit too regularly. It’s the stage of a loan application where the terms of the application and submitted documentation meet the requirements to take the loan to its final state, referred to as ‘funding.’
It’s the stage where every loan applicant wants to get to because it one step closer to moving into their new home. There’s a preapproval and then there’s a final approval. The preapproval is a stage where the homebuyers have submitted and application, provided some documentation and have given the lender authorization to … (0 comments)

homeowner: Here's What Does (and Doesn't) Drive Mortgage Rates - 03/22/22 08:06 PM
Mortgage rates moved dramatically throughout the pandemic. In the early phase of the health crisis, mortgage rates plunged to record lows. During the recovery stage, they hit pre-pandemic levels, then kept rising.
But why have rates moved so dramatically? And what drives mortgage rate movements? The answers are complex, but the moves make more sense when you learn which factors drive mortgage rates — and which don’t. Here’s a quick crash course that could save you money on a new mortgage or a refinance.
 1. It (sort of) begins with the Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve doesn’t set mortgage rates, but the central bank’s decisions definitely … (1 comments)

Jackie A. Graves, President (ChangeMyRate.com® A Mortgage Corporation)

Jackie A. Graves


Long Beach, CA

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