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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

7 Sneaky Low-Rate Mortgage Tricks

If you've never bought a home before, when you first start shopping for a mortgage it might seem like the obvious way to choose a lender is to pick the one that offers the lowest mortgage rate. After all, the interest rate on your mortgage will affect both your short-term and long-term financial well-being because it will determine your monthly mortgage payment and the total amount you'll pay for your home. Little Things Make a Big Difference Consider this example: Take out Read more [...]

Fixed or Variable Rate Mortgage: Which Is Better Right Now?

As of Mar. 28, 2018, Bankrate.com's lender survey reported that mortgage rates were 4.30% for a 30-year fixed, 3.72% for a 15-year fixed, and 4.05% for the first five years on a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). These are national averages; mortgage rates vary by location and are highly dependent on your credit score. So the first step in deciding whether a fixed-rate mortgage or an ARM is the best choice in today's market is to talk to several lenders to find out what rate Read more [...]

Dodd-Frank Reform Could Make It Easier to Get a Mortgage

(TNS)—It should be easier for you to get a mortgage now that President Donald Trump has signed legislation that will lift lending restrictions on community banks. Congress on Tuesday voted in favor of rolling back Dodd-Frank banking rules, and Trump signed it Thursday. The reforms will ease some of the mortgage laws from the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, a massive financial law enacted in response to the financial crisis. Thanks to the new law, more homebuyers are likely to get approval for a mortgage Read more [...]

Are Mortgage Rates Going Up? 3 Indicators to Watch

When the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 0.25% in December 2015, with the promise of more rate hikes in 2016, it was widely expected that long-term rates would follow, ending a five-year trend of flat or declining mortgage rates. The rate increases were planned based on the expectation that the economy would strengthen and inflation would resume its climb. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate stood just below 4% before the December rate hike. And that is just Read more [...]

Avoid an Audit: 6 "Red Flags" You Should Know

If history is any indicator, fewer than 1% of Americans will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in the coming year. And while some of the audits are totally random and unrelated to any actions by the individual taxpayer, many are triggered by actions taxpayers themselves have taken. Below is a list of "red flags" that can cause your return to be targeted by the IRS for review. Pay particular attention, as knowing what these triggers are can save you a lot of trouble and anxiety. 1.) Read more [...]

Will Your Home Remodeling Pay Off?

Remodeling certain areas of a single-family house is an excellent way for homeowners to add increased functionality and beauty to a property at someone else's expense. By choosing the right project to enhance your living space, a significant portion of the expense can be passed on to future owners in the form of increased property values. Read on to find out how you can do this. Think Before You Build The return on investment (ROI) of any given renovation project is a function of Read more [...]