Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lenders Lowering Mortgage Hurdles

There has been a lot of discussion about how difficult it is to get a home mortgage in this market. There is no doubt that the process is not as easy as it was eight to ten years ago and that’s probably good news. However, it does appear that availability to mortgage money is increasing with each passing day.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association publishes the Mortgage Credit Availability Index(MCAI). According to their site the index is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time”. As we can see from the graph below, mortgage availability has been increasing dramatically over the last six months.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The True Cost of Sprawl

Two new studies demonstrate the true costs of sprawl, and attempt to show that if new development was built at higher densities and with proper public transit, billions of dollars could be saved. Read more at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tiny Houses Evolving into Bed and Breakfast Biz

Breaking treehugger.com news from the rapidly growing movement towards tiny houses is this custom built house from Nashville. The 185 square ft. home uses a restored trailer, and the windows were sourced from the local Habitat Restore.

The owners reportedly built this small home as a way to generate extra income (they are currently renting it out on AirBnB), but plan to live in it in the future.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Serious Investors Still Flip for Flipping

Despite steadily rising rents, experienced investors still prefer fixing and flipping houses as opposed to buying a house for the purpose of renting it out, according a new report from Auction.com.

 The results come courtesy of Auction.com’s February 2015 Real Estate Investor Activity Report, a nationwide survey of real estate investors bidding on properties offered for auction during the period.

According to Auction.com’s survey, 57.3% of respondents who identified as full-time “real estate investors” are looking to flip a property, compared to 41.5% that are buying to rent.

On the other hand, survey respondents who said that they were just making a “one-time purchase” were much more likely to be buying to rent (64.5%) than buying to flip (34.6%).
More details via Housingwire:

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Understanding Points In A Home Mortgage Loan - When Is It Best To Use Them?

When determining the best interest rate option to choose, when doing a refinance or buying a new home, there are essentially 3 options that one should consider in order to come up with the best strategy for your loan situation.


  • PAY POINTS AND LOWER THE INTEREST RATE
  • GET THE BEST INTEREST RATE WITH NO POINTS ADDED
  • PAY A HIGHER INTEREST RATE AND PAY NO CLOSING COSTS  
Dan White has given us a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each scenario.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Homes Affordable With Shared Equity

State and local governments are putting home ownership within reach of moderate and low-income families through a program called Shared Equity.

Under the program, homebuyers that earn $80,200 or less annually, do not own another home, or have significant assets beyond savings and retirement accounts, may qualify to receive funds for a down payment on a home.

According to the National Housing Conference, “In return for this investment, the government entity shares in the benefits of any home price appreciation that may occur.

The public’s share in the benefits of any home price appreciation may be used in two ways; it can either be returned to the government in the form of cash payment that can be used to help another family, or it can stay with the home, reducing the cost of that home for the next family.”
More details at cnn.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

the 2020 Outlook for Home Prices

With inventory presently below historically normal levels, current & future home prices have been the topic of many real estate conversations. The most recent Home Price Expectation Survey was just released; giving insight into where experts believe prices will be leading up to 2019.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Here are some highlights from their latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.4% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.3% by 2019.
  • That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.6% over the next 5 years.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 11.7% by 2019.
Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Protecting Your Pipes From Sub-freezing Temps

Depending on where you live, frozen pipes resulting in damage to your home and your belongings can be a very real threat. Here are a few tips to help prevent frozen pipes:

1) Disconnect all outside hoses. This is the most common cause of frozen pipes. One way to reduce this risk is by putting your hoses away in the shed or garage for the winter. That way, if someone connects a hose they will hopefully disconnect it to put it back in its place. Also, if you see a hose out of storage it will be a red flag that someone connected it. 

2) Blow out sprinklers. This will prevent the system from freezing. If you realize you’ve forgotten to do this or if cold weather comes in early, at least be sure to turn the sprinkler water valve off. That way if it freezes your home won’t flood.

3} If you’re leaving town during the winter, one way to protect your home is to turn the main water valve inside the home off while you’re gone.

4) Even though this is not a frozen pipe, clogged gutters can fill with ice and cause roof leaks from water damming. Another problem is the gutter can become heavy and rip off, causing other damage.

5) Occasionally in older homes or in areas with extreme low temperatures it’s possible for the pipes inside an exterior wall to freeze. If you know the temps will be extreme you can keep a faucet at the end of this pipe running very slowing to prevent freezing. -
 See more at:             http://www.trinitytitletx.com/trinity-daily/avoid-frozen-pipes-this-winter/#sthash.iXvcKBR8.dpuf

Monday, February 09, 2015

This Tiny House is Bigger Than It Looks

We continue to be fascinated by small space living, and this Austrian house is our latest obsession. Not only is this 484-square-foot compact castle set in the middle of one of the most beautiful parts of the Austrian Alps, but it has one of the most stylish interiors of any size we've seen anywhere. The panoramic windows let in an amazing amount of natural light.
Although the inside is very modern, there is still a sense of warmth from all of the exposed wood. What this place lacks in size, it makes up for in spectacular design and breathtaking natural beauty surrounding it. It was originally built as a family vacation home, but now anyone can rent it out any time throughout the year.  This compact house might look incredibly awkward and small on the outside, but once you step inside… prepare to be totally amazed. It was originally built as a family vacation home, but now anyone can rent it out any time throughout the year. Many more interior and exterior photos can be found here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Return of the 3% Down Payment

From The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch:
It is getting easier for some buyers to land a house with less money up front. More lenders are lowering down-payment requirements, allowing borrowers to commit 3%—or even less—of a home’s purchase price to get a mortgage. Many had been requiring down payments of at least 20% since the recession began.
Some lenders also are waiving mortgage-related fees, and more are allowing down payments to be made by other parties, such as the borrower’s family.

The deals are aimed at buyers with good credit scores and a steady income who have been unable to save enough for a sizable down payment. They are often targeted at buyers who live in expensive housing markets, where even a small down payment can equal tens of thousands of dollars.

 Fannie Mae’s plan was effective December 13, 2014 while the Freddie Mac plan will be available March 23, 2015.

Despite criticisms from some Republicans that the loosening federal home loan policies signal a return to the sub prime era, mortgage experts point out that credit requirements will remain very strict: "....low down payments have NOTHING to do with failed mortgages, In fact low down payments have helped homeowners hang on to their homes by allowing them to keep more of their money for emergencies."


Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Good Time to Buy



Experienced home buyers know that one of the first steps in beginning a successful search for a new house is taking a hard, objective look at finances.

Determining how much money you can dedicate to the purchase of your new house affects almost every aspect of buying a new home - including how professionals write the offer, which mortgage programs you will qualify for, shopping for the best mortgage loan and which homes are truly in your price range.
 If you would like to start the qualifying process today, give me a call and I’ll put my professional network of lenders to work for you so that you can start looking for your home.