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How to sell your home fast!

In today’s market, homes are selling faster than ever. Have your sights set on your next dream home and need to get your current home ready to sell? Let’s take a look at a few ways to help you get your house to SOLD!

We can’t stress enough how important it is to get connected with an experienced real estate agent right away. Working with a quality real estate agent will not only give you the advantage of having their experience on your side but they can also help you get more from the sale of your current home, giving you a healthier budget for furnishing your beautiful new home!

Now, how do we get this place sold? One thing your real estate agent may share with you upfront is that the home needs to be priced appropriately. Okay, we can get a bit sentimental when it comes to putting a price on the house we made a home. After all, how can you put a price on the whole summer it took to get those flowers to grow in the back yard or the upgrades you paid an arm and a leg for to make the kitchen your morning oasis? While those items need to be accounted for to determine the home’s total value, the price that is set needs to be realistic for where your home is located and what it has to offer.

Vamp up your curb appeal:

This will be a potential buyer’s first impression of your home. The moment they pull into the driveway, buyers will make a snap decision before they even step out of the car. Bringing life to your home’s exterior is easier than you think.

  • Give a fresh coat of paint to old front and garage doors.
  • Clean the siding and clear out cobwebs and debris from the entryway.
  • Revamp landscaping by adding potted plants to the front porch and walkway.
  • Trim back overhanging tree limbs and lay down fresh mulch.
  • Lastly, don’t forget the welcome mat!

Create an inviting atmosphere:

Now that you have ensured potential buyers want to enter your home by dazzling them with newly enhanced curb appeal, it’s time to awaken their senses. When potential buyers are walking through your home, you want their first impression to be a great one! There is nothing that turns people away like a stinky sink or foul-smelling carpet. While getting the carpets cleaned may be an obvious check off the to-do list, adding simple scents to the atmosphere have been shown to help sell your home!

  • vanilla
  • orange
  • lavender
  • fresh baked cookies

Yes, fresh baked cookies! Popping a couple rounds of cookie dough in the oven when you have a showing will help buyers feel warm and invited into your space and make them want to stay.

Declutter, depersonalize and brighten up the place:

When families are walking through your home, they want to feel at home themselves. Clearing all the clutter and stowing all personal items will help open up the space and let their imagination run freely. Removing excess items will allow potential buyers to visualize the space with their own furniture. Painting the walls a neutral color and opening the blinds to brighten up the place will insure your home is looking its best.

The forgotten details:

Taking the time to check off a few last items on the list will ensure your home is walk-through ready.

  • Park vehicles down the street to allow for easy access
  • Take the pups for a walk or arrange for a place for pets to stay while your home is being shown by a real estate agent. An anxious pet can cause tension during a walk-through and deter potential buyers.
  • Leave a detailed list on the kitchen countertop describing the features of your home and neighborhood. Buyers want to know as much as possible, such as history of the home, upgraded features, school districts and amenities that set your neighborhood apart. Do you have great neighbors? Tell them about it! After all, who could know better than you?

 

FHA Mortgage Insurance Rates in 2017

If you’ve recently been on the market to purchase a home or secure a mortgage, you are probably very familiar with FHA Mortgage Insurance rates. It had recently been in the works that the FHA was going to be reducing FHA Mortgage Insurance rates in the near future, but the FHA has since backtracked. Here’s what you need to know, and how it will affect you as a homebuyer:

The FHA, a sector of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is a government agency that insures loans on homes and protects lenders in the case of default by collecting fees owed to reimburse lenders when necessary. The FHA usually insures first-time home buyers that may not have the best credit. In the past, the avg. credit score was 679. There have also always been limits on the price of a loan the FHA will back.

In late January, the Trump administration stopped a rate cut that was proposed by Obama just a week before he left office. The Obama administration originally proposed the cut because the FHA could withstand the cut to premiums that would in turn save homebuyers extra money, which they argued would be the best thing to do since the FHA has improved vastly since its bailout in 2013. If implemented, the premium rates would drop a quarter of a percentage point, which would restore rates back to what they were before the housing crash.  The Trump administration suspended the cut with the concern that if the FHA was unable to cover the losses from reduced premiums, taxpayers could end up paying.

So what does this mean? While nothing has officially changed, it has been a HUGE headache for the industry. Approximately 40,000 people are estimated to be priced out of home ownership, while another 800,000 will have to pay more than anticipated. When it comes down to it, if you had originally planned on using the FHA-backed loan with lower insurance rates, all this news really means is that you will just still have to pay the same rate required since January 2015- unless of course, you have to adjust your home-buying plans altogether. While the cut hasn’t been totally eliminated, nobody is certain if this cut will get back on the table for approval anytime soon.

To keep up with all things mortgage, housing, and real estate, be sure to subscribe to our blog! Here at Alpha Mortgage, we’re proud to be North Carolina’s #1 mortgage company. Contact us today to make owning your dream home a reality.

 

 

Mortgage Market Guide 12-01-14

The National Federation of Retailers (NRF) reported today that Black Friday weekend sales didn’t sizzle, which could be attributed to deals that began before Thanksgiving. The NRF said that sales from Thanksgiving through Sunday is estimated to hit $50.9 billion, down from the $57.4 billion in 2013, an 11% decline. The NRF went on to say that during the four-day period, 2014 online sales will be flat from last year. Another reason for the ease in sales could be that shoppers are holding out until later in the holiday shopping season to see if they can get better deals.

In a move that could potentially make it possible for hundreds of thousands of additional consumers to get mortgages, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have relaxed lending standards beginning today, December 1st. The new measures stem from an agreement in October where lenders had blamed the lack of clarity on when they would be penalized for making mistakes on mortgages they sell to Fannie and Freddie. The new standards should include faster turnaround times for mortgage applications to be processed. In addition, lenders be able to consider reduced credit scores and look past one time events when consumers suffered a hit on credit scores.

Fannie Mae released its Economic and Housing Outlook report for November late last week revealing that “economic growth in the U.S. is slowing from the strong mid-2014 numbers to a more moderate pace heading into next year.” Fannie Mae said that full economic growth is expected to be around a modest 2.5% in 2015. Fannie went on to say their view of housing starts, home sales, and home price trends will be largely unchanged next year and that “mortgage activity in 2015 will be very similar to 2014.”

Mortgage Market Guide

Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits fell to multi-year lows in the latest week as the sector continues to recover and move into greener pastures. The Labor Department reported that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 10,000 to 278,000 and is the second lowest level since the Great Recession ended. The four-week moving average of claims, which irons out seasonal abnormalities, fell to a 14-year low of 279,000, down 2,950 from the previous week. Since June, claims have averaged 293,000 per week compared to last year’s same time period of 343,000 and well below the 594,000 average per week in 2009.

Global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported today that after falling to a 14-year low in September, planned layoffs by employers across the nation surged by nearly 70% from September. U.S. employers announced planned cuts of 51,183 in October, well above the 30,477 planned in September. October is the second highest amount of planned cuts since the May 2014 figure of 52,961 and marks only the fourth time in the last 22 months that planned cuts were above 50,000.

With the Thanksgiving Holiday quickly approaching, more Americans are expected to take to the skies to visit friends and relatives this season. Airlines for America reports that 24.6 million passengers will fly domestically between November 21 and December 2. That’s up about 1.5% from 2013, or 31,000 more passengers per day. U.S. carriers have reaped some big profits in that past year and are making sure that there is enough room to meet the growing demand. The top three destinations for Thanksgiving are Chicago, Orlando and Cancun.

Mortgage Market Guide 10-14-14

Bank earnings were abundant today with Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo all reporting their quarterly numbers. Wells Fargo reported that revenues came in at $21.2 billion, above the $21.1 billion expected. JPMorgan reported a profit of $5.6 billion, a big surge from the $380 million in the same period last year, which was due to hefty legal bills. Lastly, Citigroup earned $1.15 per share, which was above the $1.12 expected.

The National Federation of Independent Business reported that its small business optimism index fell in September. Business owners are expecting an ease in profits and sales, a tightening in credit conditions, and are experiencing a harder time filling job openings with qualified candidates. The Index fell 0.8 points to 95.3, which is five points below where it was before the start of the Great Recession in late 2007.

The U.S. Stocks markets have lost some ground in the past few weeks. U.S. equities have lost almost $744 billion in values since October 8 due to slowing global growth concerns and as the Federal Reserve eases back on its latest stimulus program dubbed Quantitative Easing III (QE). The QE program was originally announced in November of 2008 to promote job and economic growth. The closely watched S&P 500 Stock Index has lost 6.3% since hitting its all-time closing high of 2,011 back on September 18, 2014.

Mortgage Market Update 10-08-14

The big gains in home prices in 2013 are coming back down to more normal levels as the final quarter of 2014 gets underway. CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data enabled services provider, reported on Tuesday that home prices, including distressed sales, rose by 6.45% from August 2013 to August 2014. A spokesperson from CoreLogic said, “continued moderation of home price appreciation is a welcomed sign of more balanced real estate markets and less pressure on affordability for potential home buyers in the near future.” The company went on to say that national home prices will rise 5.2% from August 2014 to August 2015.

The Labor Department reported its JOLTS report, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday, and the numbers were mixed. The report examines the job market and collects information from employers in different industries. The data collected concerns hires, job openings, layoffs, separations and recruitments. In August there were 4.8 million job openings on the last business day, up from 4.6 million in July along with 4.6 million hires, down from 4.9 million in July.

The holiday shopping season in 2014 is expected to show some nice gains as the economy continues to recover. The National Retail Federation (NRF) said that consumer confidence is likely to pick up in November and December as consumers search for steep discounts. Sales are expected to rise by 4.1% this year, the highest increase since the 4.8% increase in 2011. Total sales for 2014 could rise to $616.9 billion.

Mortgage Market Guide 09-18-14

The housing markets received some sour news today as sales for new home construction declined in August from July. The Commerce Department reported that New Home Sales fell by 14.4% last month to an annualized rate of 956,000 units, which was below the 1.117 million rate in July and below the 1.045 million expected. The sector continues to improve, but tight credit conditions coupled with a still higher than normal unemployment rate is constraining further gains. Single family homes declined by 2.4% while multi-family dwellings plunged nearly 32%.

Americans filing for unemployment benefits plunged in the latest week to the lowest levels since July, which could signal that the low amount of job creation in August could be just a one-off aberration. The Labor Department reported that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 36,000 in the latest week to 280,000, near a 14-year low, and well below the 305,000 expected. The four week moving average, which irons out any seasonal abnormalities, fell by 4,750 to 299,500. The data suggests that the jobs market continues to improve, and will be a key factor to the members of the Federal Reserve.

The improving U.S. economy and labor markets have caused the poverty rate to decrease significantly in 2013 for the first time since 2006, reported the Census Bureau. The U.S. poverty rate fell to 14.5% last year from 15% in 2012. The Latino population saw the biggest decline in the poverty rate with a 2.1% decline while median household income posted its first increase since 2000. Within the report it showed that those Americans with year-round full-time jobs increased by nearly 2.8 million to 105.8 million in 2013.