Mortgage Rates Fast Approaching 5%, a Fresh Blow to Housing Market

Mortgage rates hit their highest level in more than seven years this week at nearly 5%, a level that could deter many home buyers and represents another setback for the slumping housing market.The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.9%—the largest weekly jump in about two years—according to data released Thursday by mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac. Lenders and real-estate agents say that, even now, all but the most qualified buyers making large down payments Read more [...]

5 Things You Need to Be Pre-approved for a Mortgage

Shopping idly for a home may be pleasant, but serious homebuyers need to start the process in a lender's office, not at an open house. As a potential buyer you benefit in several ways by consulting with a lender and obtaining a pre-approval letter. First, you have an opportunity to discuss loan options and budgeting with the lender. Second, the lender will check your credit and alert you to any problems. Third, you will learn the maximum amount you can borrow, which will give you Read more [...]

How Do Interest Rates Affect the Stock Market?

The investment community and the financial media tend to obsess over interest rates—the cost someone pays for the use of someone else's money— and with good reason. When the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets the target for the federal funds rate at which banks borrow from and lend to each other, it has a ripple effect across the entire U.S. economy, not to mention the U.S. stock market. And, while it usually takes at least 12 months for any increase or decrease in interest rates Read more [...]

Foreign Buyers Are Purchasing Way Less U.S. Real Estate—Especially in These Top Markets

Much has been made of the dazzlingly wealthy foreign buyers who snap up luxury condos in New York City and Miami; breathtaking beach houses in Honolulu; and sophisticated modern estates in San Francisco and Seattle. For many of the international elite, money is no object when it comes to U.S. real estate.But foreign-resident buyers and recent immigrants closed on far fewer properties in the 12-month period ending in March 2018—by about 21%, according to a recent report from the National Read more [...]

The Most Common Rent-to-Own Scams—and How to Not Get Taken for a Fool

On the surface, rent-to-own deals can seem like a great idea. If you have shaky credit or lack sufficient financing, a rent-to-own plan can allow you to work toward homeownership.The premise is simple: You pay monthly rent toward the purchase of the home, and at the end of the set term, you’ll own the property. Sounds perfect, right? But beware: The rent-to-own landscape can be a minefield of scams and deceptions designed to take your money—and leave you in the dust.Common rent-to-own Read more [...]

Don’t Know Your Mortgage Rate? You Could Be Costing Yourself Thousands

(TNS)—Not knowing your mortgage rate can be an expensive mistake, especially in this rising interest rate market. Yet nearly three in 10 mortgage holders (29 percent) either didn’t know their mortgage rate or wouldn’t say, according to a survey by Bankrate. This is a big problem, says Martin Choy, operations manager at Westwood Mortgage in Seattle. “Most homeowners should know what their rate is. If they have an adjustable rate mortgage [ARM], then they should contact their lender immediately Read more [...]

5 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Whether you're a social butterfly or a homebody, getting friendly with the folks next door will make your new house feel like home. Leaving friends and neighbors behind can be the toughest part of moving to a new home. These five tips will help you make connections and settle into your new community in no time. 1. Knock, knock For an extrovert, walking over to a neighbor’s home to say hello may feel like a no-brainer. But for more reserved personalities, this tried-and-true method usually requires Read more [...]

How to Unclog a Drain: 3 Methods Every Homeowner Needs to Know

Knowing how to unclog a drain is one of the essential skills any homeowner or renter should have. With the amount of dirt, hair, and general debris that finds its way down a tub and shower drain on a daily basis, the occasional clog is all but unavoidable. Luckily, it's also a quick fix, as long as you don't mind getting your hands dirty.Read on below for your step-by-step guide on how to unclog a drain. We've included a few different methods, so pick the one that best suits your Read more [...]

Best Water-Saving Appliances and Faucets for Your Home

Homeowners know that conserving water is important. It can help preserve our environment and cut monthly utility costs, which—if you haven't added up your household's water bills in a while—can be lofty. While everyone's water usage is different, the average household spends as much as $500 per year on water and sewer bills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That's all the more reason to make little eco-friendly efforts like taking shorter showers and turning off Read more [...]

Millennial Buyers Face a Tough Housing Market

(TNS)—Yvonne Jimenez Smith and her husband, Brandon Smith, spoke in whispers recently as they visited a white stucco house they planned to buy on a leafy street in San Jose, Calif. After six months of aggressive hunting, they were on their way to a small suburban home of their own after spending most of their 20s in noisy city centers. “It was so quiet, it just seemed weird to speak out loud,” Jimenez Smith says. “We lived over a freeway entrance in San Francisco. It was always loud Read more [...]