Category: Mortgage + Real Estate Tips

Best and Worst Markets for First-Time Homebuyers

I know what it feels like to be a first-time homebuyer. There’s so much to think about and so many factors to take into consideration before making the jump to being a homeowner. It can be overwhelming. But staying updated and making an informed decision can help.  

In a recent article from HousingWire, housing experts took a look at 2017’s Spring buying season and what we might expect. While rates may be rising and inventory is tight, not all markets are the same. 

Find out which markets are expected to be the best and the worst for first-timers in 2017. Read the full article and review the detailed chart which ranks the toughest and easiest states for first-time homebuyers based on five key measures:

  1. Housing affordability
  2. The job market for young adults
  3. Housing market tightness
  4. Credit availability
  5. Homeownership among the under-35 crowd

After reading it, do you have questions about your area? I’d be happy to discuss them with you. Give me a call or send me an email anytime! If 2017 is your year to buy, I hope that you’ll give me a chance to help you fulfill that dream. 

New Flood Insurance Service Provider for FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced that it has chosen Torrent Technologies as a direct service provider for the National Flood Insurance Program.

As a direct service provider for the program, Torrent will help in the response to flood events and in improving the customer experience for the program’s policyholders. The company will also handle data security.

Torrent is a subsidiary of Marsh LLC, a global insurance broking and risk management company.

FEMA is looking to Torrent and its advanced technology to help pay households and businesses more quickly and accurately after a flood.

Source: National Mortgage News

To Sell or Not to Sell?

If you’ve been considering whether or not to sell your home, now might be a good time to get more serious about it. There are several reasons why now is as good of a time to sell as it has been in more than 10 years. Here are just a few:

 1. Rates Are Still Low. In fact, even with interest rates rising slightly and expecting to continue to climb, they are lower than they have been in many years. That leads us to the next reason.

 2. Buyers Are Watching.  Record low interest rates have increased demand, making it possible for buyers to lock in great deals on mortgages. Many buyers are pre-approved and ready to go as new low down-payment programs are making it easier for first-time buyers to make the leap from renting to home ownership.

 3. Inventory is Low. On top of low interest rates and eager buyers, there just aren’t that many quality homes on the market. Total housing inventory is decreasing and top-quality homes are selling fast, according to the National Association of Realtors.

 4. Values Are Rising. And if high demand, low inventory and affordable rates aren’t enough to encourage sellers, there’s also rising home values. That means you’re likely to get more for your home now than you would have previously.



Source: National Association of Realtors

Current as of February 2nd, 2017

Want to Buy Your First Home This Year? 4 Easy To-Do’s to Check Off Your List First

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Buying a home is a big financial (and life!) step, and if you’ve never done it before, it can feel overwhelming. Diving straight into the murky waters of mortgage rates and median home prices can be scary, so doing a few little steps can help you rack up some easy wins and put you in a positive homebuyer headspace. Here are four super simple tasks that you can easily check off your list.

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Emergency Binder

When an emergency strikes, you usually don’t have the time to go around the house and find what you need. Having your most important documents in one easy to grab binder and save you time in an emergency and hassle later on.

What you should include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Immigration and naturalization paperwork
  • The deed to your house
  • Pink slips and car registration information
  • Phone numbers and addresses for your children’s schools and daycares
  • Copies of your insurance policies
  • Passports
  • Cash
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Will, power of attorney, advance directive
  • A written plan of where to meet your family members in case of an emergency
  • Anything else that might be hard to replace

Where you should store your emergency binder:

Keep your binder in a fireproof safe or a lockbox. Make sure your binder is hidden but is still easily accessible and close to an exit. Your emergency binder can even have a misleading title so that it’s not a target for theft.

Yes, it can be risky to keep all this sensitive information together, but the costs of not having some of these documents and essentials in an emergency can be even greater. You never know when an emergency will strike and how much time you’ll have to gather necessities. Having an emergency binder will help you feel more secure and organized, no matter what happens.

Source: Ventura County Star, Jan 14, 2017

30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value

The road to selling a home can be a long one. Learn to improve the value of your home based on your budget with these 30 tips.

Home Improvements: Under $100

Tip 1: Spend an Hour With a pro

Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.

Read the source article at

Will 2017’s Color of the Year Help Sell Your Home?

For the past 17 years, Pantone – the world-renowned authority on color – has unveiled what they believe to be the color of the year. Their selection historically influences all facets of design, including home décor.

2017’s Color of the Year is Greenery. According to Pantone, Greenery signifies beginnings: a fresh New Year; healthier food resolutions and growing vegetarian trends; grass and the outdoors during spring and summer. But most prominently, the yellow-green hue (specifically, Pantone 15-0343) reflects on the concept of “environment.”

So, should you head straight to the paint store to update your home to this newest trend before putting it on the market?

According to Market Watch and their analysis of what colors attract homebuyers, maybe a hint of Greenery will help you quite a bit.

Read on for what Market Watch says are the colors to use (and to avoid) for the biggest bang for your painting buck. 

Housing Predictions for 2017

Throughout 2016 home prices were on the rise and interest rates remained low. What do experts predict for 2017?

National Mortgage News reports the following 5 housing market predictions as analyzed by for the coming year:

Boomers and Millennials Top Buyers

Millennials and baby boomers are predicted to be the biggest groups of home purchasers over the next year.

Millennials in Midwest

Midwestern cities are expected to draw more millennials because homes are more affordable and interest rates are growing.

Price Growth Shrinks

Home prices have been growing, but growth is expected to be less robust than last year. Only about a quarter of the top metropolitan cities are expected to see home prices grow by more than 1%.

Homes Move Fast

Housing inventory will likely not rise because inventory constraints may continue. This can mean that homes can sell quicker in competitive markets.

The West Will Win

The West may very well have the most impressive home sale statistics and prices. Both home prices and sales are expected to rise by nearly 5%.

National Mortgage News