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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 9th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 9th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending, public and private-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Rises in August

Construction spending rose 0.10 percent higher than in July according to the Commerce Department. Analysts expected construction spending to increase by 0.60 percent based on June’s reading of -0.70 percent. Construction spending was -2.70 percent lower year-over-year based on revisions to data going back to 2008.

Construction spending was impacted by multiple factors including costs of labor and building materials and inclement weather in some areas of the United States. As peak home buying season winds down to fall and winter, builders are expected to reduce spending. Builder concerns over the impact of tariffs on imported building materials continued to affect builders’ budgets.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was nine basis points lower at 3.49 percent. Rates for 15-year mortgages were six basis points lower and averaged  3.00 percent.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.30 percent and were one basis point lower. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose by 1000 claims to 217,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 214,000 initial jobless claims based on the prior week’s reading of 216,000 first-time claims filed. No signs of layoffs were indicated in relation to the higher reading for new jobless claims.

The monthly reading for new jobless claims showed 216,250 new claims filed and was higher by 1500 new claims filed. The monthly reading is considered more stable than week-to-week readings for initial jobless claims.

Public and Private-Sector Jobs Reports Mixed, Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

ADP reported 195,000 private-sector jobs added in August. The Commerce Department reported 130,000 public and private sector jobs added; analysts expected 170,000 jobs added in August. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.70 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving Day

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving DayIt’s more likely that someone will incur an injury on moving day than on an ordinary day. The reason is that people are moving in ways that they don’t normally move, loads can be heavy, and accidents do happen. However, most injuries on moving day can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.

Use A Dolly

Instead of trying to move more than one box by hand, use a dolly or a hand truck. This inexpensive tool can safely move multiple boxes without you having to lift anything at all. Keep in mind that all the boxes should be of equal size; don’t attempt to stack uneven boxes because they may shift and fall, causing an injury.

Take Breaks

Moving day is stressful because there is often a time constraint involved. Everything has to be moved into the truck by a certain time in order to remain on schedule. However, this is the kind of pressure that can lead to injuries. Being overtired leads to carelessness and that’s when accidents occur. Take multiple 10-minute rest breaks throughout the day so your body and mind have a chance to recuperate.

Don’t Overload Boxes

One of the most common moving day injuries happens when someone tries to lift a box that ends up being excessively heavy. Be mindful of the weigh of each box as you pack it. It’s better to keep the weight reasonable and stuff the box with filler than to overload boxes. You don’t have to weigh each box, but just give it a gentle lift to monitor how heavy it’s getting as you pack it.

Send Smaller Kids Packing

If you have smaller kids, the best option is to send them to the parents’ house, or to a babysitter’s until everything is in the truck. Smaller kids may run around and trip you up, distract your attention or otherwise get injured.

Even the backyard is not a great idea, because they may wander near the truck out of curiosity. For their safety and yours, consider having someone care for them for the day off the premises.

Finally, if you do feel a twinge in your back or get overly exerted, stop what you’re doing and sit or lay down for a few minutes. Don’t try to “push through” the pain; it’s not worth it. Moving day injuries can be minimized or prevented when you take these simple steps.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

6 Smart Ways Hardware Can Upgrade Your New Home

6 Smart Ways Hardware Can Upgrade Your New HomeDecorating and putting the finishing touches on your new home is definitely one of the most fun parts of moving. It’s satisfying to fill your new home with furnishings and décor choices that reflect your personality and lifestyle.

One of the most overlooked aspects of decorating is the hardware. However, hardware changes can dramatically transform your home in unexpected ways. Here are some ideas to use.

Install A New Door Knocker

If your new home has a door knocker, replace it with a new one. If it doesn’t already have one, it’s easy to install a door knocker using a simple household tool box.

Install A Peephole

Your front door will be more secure with a peephole installed. Modern peepholes give a broad range of vision that will allow you to see to the far right and left of the front door. Be sure to install it low enough that older kids can look out of it easily, too.

Replace Doorknobs

If your new home is actually just new to you, it may have old and worn doorknobs. New doorknobs will make the actual door look brand new, too. Consider decorative doorknobs, which are a step above the standard brass doorknobs we’re all familiar with. If you aren’t comfortable replacing doorknobs, consider hiring a handyman or locksmith to do it for you.

Upgrade Wall Outlet Covers

Wall outlets are in every room, yet few homeowners think to upgrade them. You can find decorative wall outlet covers in various patterns, colors and images in hardware stores and online. If the idea of switching out all your wall outlet covers is overwhelming, consider just a few in special places, like your child’s bedroom or in the kitchen.

Upgrade Lighting Pull Cords

Those ceiling light pull cords leave a lot to be desired. Most of them are utilitarian but definitely not decorative. Consider adding an attractive fob to the end of each lighting fixture pull. Your local hardware lighting section will have many to choose from, and they’re very easy to install with not tools at all.

Replace Kitchen Cabinet Handles

Your new kitchen cabinets will get a facelift when you replace the old handles with new ones. Be sure to also get matching drawer pulls for the best overall effect.

Now you can see that changing out or adding new hardware can make such a big difference in the way your new home looks and feels. Just one afternoon of doing this easy project will make your new home look amazing for years to come.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate agent.

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing Trend

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing TrendA new group of young American adults is emerging as home buyers. These are the young adults who were born after 1995 and are part of the demographic group named Generation Z (Gen Z). In 2019, there are 31.5 million Gen Z members who are adult age. This will increase to 44.5 million adults in this demographic group by 2032 as all the younger members become adults.

Right now, there are around 14 million adults in the Gen Z category who are using credit for the first time.

Not Too Young To Buy A Home

Transunion reports that most Gen Z members are getting credit cards, which is the easiest form of credit available to them. However, they are also applying for mortgage financing in record numbers. The year-over-year increase in home loans among this demographic group is up 112%.

Planning For The Future

In a study conducted by Bank of America, the majority of Gen Z consumers, who are between 18 and 23 years old, are already saving for the down payment needed to buy a home. A huge number of them, 59%, report that they plan to purchase a home during the next five years.

Most dream of owning a home before they are 30 years old. They want to buy modestly-sized and lower-priced homes. They have a high interest in homes that are energy-efficient, homes that use smart technology, and those with renewable energy systems.

Smart Homes And Smart Financial Planning

Many of this generation are still living with their parents to save money for a home purchase, which they would otherwise have to pay in rent. Having lived through the Great Recession in 2008, they are, in general, more pragmatic than previous generations. They take home ownership very seriously.

Manifestation Of The American Dream

Over 71%, of those desiring to buy a home, are already designing it in great detail by selecting things they find on the Internet, which appeal to them. They use social media systems like Pinterest and others to get interesting decorative ideas. They share their home decor ideas with friends.

Conclusion

REALTORS® who work with this new group of home buyers will likely find them more motivated to buy a home than previous generations. They are usually more dedicated with their serious financial planning efforts in how to go about achieving their dreams.

The Generation Z consumers know what they want. They are willing to make sacrifices to get it. The majority want a home and are making plans about how to pay for it.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.

Are Tiny Homes Here To Stay?

Are Tiny Homes Here To StayThe average size of an American home has been increasing since the 1970s. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) reports that, in 1973, the median size for a new home in the United States was 1,660 square feet.

Over the past 45 years or so, this increased by more than 1,000 square feet. The median size of a new home is now 2,687 square feet.

The Problem With Big Houses

At first, a big house is appealing until one tries to clean it or pay the utility bills. Many baby boomers, who are now nearing retirement age, are downsizing, especially if their children have all moved away.

Moreover, Millennials are the first generation of Americans to experience a reduced standard of living when compared to their parents.

Many millennials see big houses as wasteful, environmentally destructive, and not sustainable. Also, with the challenge of paying off massive student debt, these young adults are delaying buying a home or may remain renters for their rest of their lives, foregoing the chance to have their own home.

One solution for the problems with big houses is to make homes smaller.

The Tiny House Movement

There are strong motivators for the social trend called “The Tiny House Movement.” Many want a smaller space to live in, which they can more easily maintain and afford. Tiny houses are no more than 400 square feet. That is like living in a compact studio apartment.

TheTinyLife says that tiny houses are being built all over the country. They come in almost any style imaginable. The median price for a quality tiny house is about $40,000, although do-it-yourself types can build one for a lot less.

Some are built on a trailer bed that makes them portable. Others are built to function properly in off-grid locations using solar power. There are even tiny houses that have been printed using 3-D printing technology.

Tiny houses can be luxurious, or they can be built to provide inexpensive solutions for housing that helps the homeless.

The Denver Tiny House Community

Denver is trying an experiment with a group of tiny houses called The Beloved Community Village. This is a group of private one-room units that share a communal kitchen and bathrooms. They started with 11 units and plan to expand to 20.

The challenges they experienced were not necessarily construction related. They needed to change the zoning and occupant density rules to allow the development.

Summary

People make a conscious choice to simplify their lifestyle for the freedom that a minimalistic philosophy brings. It is quite possible to live well while also living with less. Tiny houses may even be part of the solution for the approximately half a million homeless people living on the streets in America as the successful tiny house community village in Denver is now demonstrating.

If you are interested in a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your Home

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your HomeThere are a few things to consider, when selling a home, that will help you maximize your potential for a better sales price. Seasoned real estate professionals are one of your best resources for these tips.

The Buyer’s First Impression Is Emotional

The first goal is to improve the buyer’s first impression when they see photos or a video of the home, do a drive-by, or make an appointment to view the home. Work with a real estate agent on staging the home and pay particular attention to curb appeal.

Staging means that a home has no clutter. Remove any personal items (family photos, toys, pets, etc.). Make closets less than one-third full. Make sure the home is immaculately clean. Use nice decor and minimal furniture.

Logical Backup For The Buyer’s Emotions

Once a buyer has a positive emotional reaction to the home, then to cement the deal at a good price, offer logical backup to support the emotional reaction. Create a handout that lists the amenities and positive attributes of living in the neighborhood, such as good schools. If possible, sell the neighborhood and the community along with the home.

Answer a buyer’s, often unspoken, question of “Why should I live in this area?”

Like-New Condition

Homes that are in perfect condition usually sell for a premium price and may attract multiple purchase offers. Make any repairs that are necessary to ensure all the systems in the home are in working order.

Another confidence builder for a buyer is when the seller reimburses the fees for the inspections needed, from the escrow closing. Let the buyer choose the inspection companies from a pre-approved list that is acceptable for the seller.

Kitchen and master bathroom upgrades usually have a positive impact on the sales price. New appliances can be included in the sale and covered by a home warranty.

Go Green

Homes that are energy efficient and have an alternative energy system, such as solar, are usually more desirable. This is especially true in parts of the country where the monthly utility bills are very high. Add information about the savings on the monthly utility bills, when compared to other homes that are not green, to the home’s selling brochure.

Summary

Top-selling real estate agents know that homes with these characteristics usually command the best prices, receive more offers, and spend less time for sale on the market. Another benefit is that agents get excited about listing high quality homes. They typically feature them prominently in their listings from the agency, on their website, and in all other marketing efforts.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

4 Simple Tips To Make Sure Your Home Smells Inviting

4 Simple Tips To Make Sure Your Home Smells InvitingAs a diligent home seller, you’ve taken all your real estate agent’s advice about preparing your home for showings. You’ve de-cluttered, enhanced curb appeal and developed efficient strategies for leaving your home while viewings are taking place.

But have you given any thought to how your home smells to strangers?

Newcomers to your home will naturally be more sensitive to the smells of your house. Your nose is likely desensitized to your common household odors, but a prospective buyer may be put off by how it smells. Here are some ways to make sure your home smells inviting.

Don’t Burn Incense

If you enjoy burning incense, you might think this is a nice way to impart a lovely scent in your home. But don’t burn incense before showings. The visitors may be unfamiliar with common incense smells like patchouli, myrrh, jasmine and others. And if they can’t identify it, even a pleasant scent can be off putting. The best thing is to save your incense for when you’ve moved into your new home.

Move The Litter Box

If your cat uses a litter box, be sure to change or refresh it daily. This will help keep the scent from spreading throughout the home. Also, move the litter box to a less noticeable part of the home, such as the mudroom, garage or basement.

An odorous kitty litter box is more forgivable if it’s in an out of the way spot. And, as long as you let your cat know where it is, it will likely have no trouble adjusting.

Have Your Pets Professionally Groomed

Invest in professional pet grooming services to reduce the smell of dogs and/or cats in the home. Pet dander is not only an allergen; it imparts a musky scent that some homebuyers may not enjoy. A once a month grooming should be sufficient unless your pet is exposed to heavy rains or muddy conditions; in which case an extra grooming session is recommended.

Avoid Cooking Prior To Showings

Just like incense, if a homebuyer can’t recognize a scent, it can be off putting. Avoid cooking just before showings, if possible. Things like onions and garlic smell wonderful if you’re hungry, but not necessarily to a homebuyer. Of course, the scent of a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies is always appreciated – let’s be honest!

Don’t forget to take your home’s smell into consideration when preparing it for showings. These tips will help ensure your home smells its very best.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

Important Tips To Help Kids Adjust To The Move

Important Tips To Help Kids Adjust To The MoveMoving takes a certain amount of adjustment. Kids of all ages may need a little help getting used to the new environment. Help kids adjust to the move by keeping the following in mind.

Kids Are Resilient

Don’t overly worry about how your kids will adjust to the move. Kids are resilient. They tend to acclimate to new situations fairly quickly. It may even be that your kids get used to the move before you do!

Make Friends With Other Parents

You could facilitate your kids’ making new friends by making friends with parents of kids the same age as your child. To do this, attend any school functions and meetings that come up. Make a point of seeking out other parents and perhaps inviting them and their kids over to your house for lunch.

Add Bonuses To The Move

Help get your kids excited about the move by adding some bonuses they didn’t have before. Has your daughter always wanted to take ballerina lessons? Has your son always wanted to try horseback riding? Consider paying for some local lessons in your new area. This will incentivize your child and help them see how moving is a beginning, not an end.

Cut Them Some Slack

In the beginning, your child’s grades may slip at their new school. Be patient and allow them this period of adjustment until they get used to the new routines. Your child may also undergo some mood changes after the move. Let them know that you’re ready to listen whenever they want to talk about what they’re feeling about the move.

Help Them Fit In

Fitting in is very important for most kids. At their new school, kids will likely be into different things than at your child’s previous school. Even the trendy fashion may be different. Do what you can to help your child fit in with a few new outfits or a different style of shoes. Although you know how little material things matter in life, these things can make a huge difference in how comfortable your child feels as school.

Let Them Help

One reason kids feel afraid about moving is the lack of control. When you let kids help with the move, they regain some control. Let kids help with choosing new furnishings, packing belongings or other small tasks.

It’s likely that one reason you’re moving is for better opportunities for you and your children. Once your kids adjust to the move, you’ll be able to see for yourself how they are thriving in the new environment.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

5 Important Benefits Of Downsizing Your Home

5 Important Benefits Of Downsizing Your Home

After the children are all grown and moved out, the family home often feels excessively large and empty. If you’re in this stage of life, you may be wondering if you should downsize like so many others, or stay put. Downsizing may be the best option, depending on your lifestyle.

Here are five benefits of downsizing for you to consider.

1. Less Clutter

When you move into a smaller home, you’ll have the opportunity to get rid of many possessions that you no longer need. Whether it’s sporting goods or knick knacks, you’ll be able to either sell the items, give them away to kids and grandkids or donate them to a charitable organization. Your new home won’t have as much space, so this decluttering process is almost mandatory.

2. Lower Utility Bills

A smaller home means lower energy usage and lower utility bills. It’s likely that you’ll have fewer lights on the rooms, less square footage to heat and cool. You may also incur less water usage, since you may have fewer bathrooms and less lawn to irrigate. So, not only will you likely have a lower mortgage payment when you downsize, it will probably also take less money to run the home.

3. More Free Time

A smaller home means that it will likely take less time to maintain, too. There’s less to clean inside and a smaller house to maintain on the exterior of the home. This equates to much more time for you to do the things that you want to do instead of the things that you have to do.

4. Easier To Get Around

Downsizing usually makes it easier to get around the home. Many people who downsize opt for a single-floor home rather than a two-story home, so they can avoid having stairs in the home. Living on one floor is often easier as people age and climbing stairs becomes more cumbersome.

5. More Sustainable Living

A smaller home means a smaller carbon footprint. For people who are earth-conscious, a smaller home affords the chance to play their part in helping by living a more environmentally sustainable life.

Remember, downsizing doesn’t mean living with less. For many people who have already downsized, the process has infused their life with more opportunities to live a fuller existence by getting rid of space and possessions they didn’t really need anymore.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

Innovative Home Security Technology

Innovative Home Security Technology

For market value and the comfort of a home’s occupants, home security is just as important as energy-efficiency. Innovation in smart home technology focuses on both of these areas.

Here are some tips about things a homeowner can do to make a home more secure and a few pitfalls to look out for, which may not be obvious.

Smart View Doorbell

No matter how reinforced the front door of a home is, it is not secure if it is opened by someone inside without first knowing who is there. Additionally, smart doorbells allow the homeowner to view the front of their home using a smartphone application, even when they are not home.

These systems use motion sensors and video cameras. When someone approaches the front door, the motion sensors trigger and the camera captures the images of what is happening. The smartphone application notifies the homeowner that there is physical activity at the front door.

It may be a neighbor’s cat passing by or a burglar trying to steal a package or attempt a break in. The homeowner can trigger a response through some systems to send a security guard to the premises or has the option to call law enforcement.

Biometric Door Locks

Biometric door locks use fingerprints, iris (eye) scans, and/or facial recognition along with passwords to control who is authorized to enter a home. These systems improve door security and eliminate any problems caused by lost keys or unauthorized duplication of keys.

Improved Remote Garage Door Opener

These are convenient systems, especially when driving up to a home in bad weather and not wanting to get out to open the garage door. They do expose the home to vulnerabilities because the wireless signal that triggers their operations is hackable.

The newest systems use a password-protected system with a two-part security authorization that includes entering a password and responding to a text message sent to the homeowner’s smartphone. The wireless communications of the most innovative systems are encrypted, which makes them impenetrable to hacking.

Automatic Lighting

Smart home lighting can turn on and off automatically. This is useful to save energy and turn things off when a room is not in use. It is also useful to give the appearance that the home is in use even when the occupants are away. Lights and television sets can be turned off and on in the home, based on a pre-determined schedule as if done by occupants, which discourages burglars.

Remote Home Monitoring

Many systems exist that allow a homeowner to remotely monitor a home. “Nanny” cams allow parents to use a smartphone application to view their baby at home when in the care of a babysitter. Other systems allow viewing the entire home.

Be cautious when implementing wireless systems. It is very important to use point-to-point encryption technology to protect the wireless transmission from hacking. It is critical to understand that having a wireless view of the interior of the home creates a security risk if hacked by unauthorized users. As an alternative, the home can be hard-wired (not use a wireless signal) and encryption used to send data to the homeowner’s smartphone.

Summary

Improved home security is a value-added thing to have for a property to protect the occupants and may also improve the home’s resale value. Just be careful not to create new security vulnerabilities by using systems with unprotected wireless communications.

If you are looking for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.