The Importance of Reviewing Your Insurance Policies During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The Importance of Reviewing Your Insurance Policies During The COVID-19 PandemicThe COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm. Millions of people all over the world have been infected and businesses have ground to a halt. During this time, it is important for everyone to take a breath, pause, and look at their insurance policies.

The reality is that the economic crisis is following in the footsteps of the obvious public health emergency. In order for everyone to hold their finances together, it is important to explore all of the options. This includes looking at insurance policies.

Business Interruption Insurance

One of the first policies or riders that everyone has to look for is called business interruption insurance. This is an insurance policy that might be able to assist companies that are struggling with reduced revenue streams due to interruptions in their normal business operations.

For example, if a business is forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this might fall under the category of business interruption insurance. This can help businesses bridge the gap until they can reopen again.

Civil Authority Clauses

This is a feature that is common in property insurance. This insurance claim can be triggered if government policies restrict the entry of people onto the property of the policyholder. If this restriction leads to lost income, then the insurance policy can be triggered. Everyone should check their policies to see if this clause is included as this can provide funds to businesses that might not otherwise be able to stay open.

Defensive Policies And Riders

Finally, defensive policies are often put in place to help companies defend against lawsuits that might be filed against the company related to injuries and illnesses. Without a doubt, there will be a slew of lawsuits filed related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Defensive policies can help companies cover legal fees, settlement costs, and other expenses related to these lawsuits.

Defensive policies are also called D&O insurance (Directors and Officers Insurance) as well as General Liability Insurance. It is important to read the insurance policy carefully to see if these policies are included.

Businesses need to explore every available option when it comes to reopening. These insurance policies can help them survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

4 Surprising Things That Might Increase Your Home’s Value

4 Surprising Things That Might Increase Your Home's ValueYou’ve probably heard that living near excellent schools or having curb appeal can boost the value of your home. However, a home’s value is dependent upon a lot of different factors. Some of these things are more obvious than others. Things that might seem insignificant can have an impact on your home’s worth. Here are some surprising things that can affect the existing value of your home or how much a buyer is willing to pay for it.

#1 A Blue Kitchen or Bathroom

Painting your home is an easy and cost-effective way to update your home. Just make sure that you select the right colors. Based on recent research, walls that are painted cool neutral colors like blue are more likely to appeal to buyers. According to a 2017 study by Zillow, homes with blue bathrooms sell for an average of $5,500 more than expected. Houses that had blue kitchens sold for $1,809 more compared to similar homes that had a white kitchen.

#2 How Close You Are To A Supermarket

Being next to a well-known supermarket can increase the value of your home. If the supermarket is considered upmarket, then the increase in value is even higher. According to “Zillow Talk, The New Rules of Real Estate,”  homes that are near a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods grocery store appreciate up to 40 percent faster than other homes. The presence of a popular store like Trader Joe’s has a positive effect on market values over time.

#3 A Joanna Gaines’ Aesthetic

Joanna Gaines’s urban farmhouse aesthetic is more than just chic; it can have a surprisingly positive effect on the value of your home. According to a Zillow analysis of home sale descriptions from 2016, houses that had the keywords “farmhouse sink” and “barn door” sold quicker and at a premium compared to similar homes. Listings that had the words “barn door” sold 57 days quicker and for 13.4 percent more than similar homes. For sale listings that included a “farmhouse sink” sold for 8 percent more. So, if you plan to make interior updates in your home, you might want to watch a couple of episodes of “Fixer Upper” for inspiration.

#4 Your Proximity to Starbucks

Do you live within a quarter of a mile from a Starbucks? If so, then you are in luck? A study released by Zillow in 2015 found that homes that were within a quarter of a mile from the Seattle-based coffeehouse increased by 96 percent on average from 1997 to 2014. This number is well above the average of 65 percent of all U.S. homes.

Whether you are in the process of buying a new home or updating your existing home, think about the above factors as they may play a role in the value of your home.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 29, 2016

Last week’s economic reports included readings on new and existing home sales, a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, and a report on consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

New Home Sales Rise in July as Pre-Owned Home Sales Fall

Sales of new homes jumped in July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 654,000 sales, which surpassed expectations of 579,000 sales and June’s downwardly-revised reading of 582,000 sales. This was the highest reading for new home sales since 2008 and represented a 31.30 percent increase since July 2015.

Builders were seen by analysts as addressing the need for more affordable homes; this trend contributes to a healthy housing market by supplying homes for a wider range of buyers. First-time buyers play a vital part in housing markets as their purchases enable current homeowners to buy larger homes or relocate.

Sales of pre-owned homes fell 3.20 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million sales as compared to expectations of 5.59 million sales and June’s reading of 5.57 million sales. Year-over-year, sales were 1.60 percent lower. Limited inventories of available pre-owned homes have narrowed buyer options; increasing prices and narrow choices were seen as factors contributing to lower sales. There was a 4.60 month supply of available homes in July. Real estate pros typically consider a six months a normal reading for homes on the market.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, noted that a slowdown in home appraisals may have contributed to July’s lower sales reading for pre-owned homes. Low mortgage rates prompted a surge in refinancing which created a backlog in home appraisals. While low mortgage rates may entice home buyers, stricter mortgage requirements can also keep prospective buyers at bay.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the stage could be set for a federal rate increase as early as next month. If the Fed hikes its target federal funds rate, interest rates for consumer credit and mortgages can be expected to rise.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady; New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported that fixed mortgage rates for 30 and 15-year loans were unchanged at 3.43 and 2.74 percent respectively. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 2.75 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60, 0.50 and 0.40 percent.

New jobless claims were lower last week. 261,000 new jobless claims were filed against expectations of 264,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 262,000 new claims filed. Declining jobless claims can indicate strengthening labor markets, but can also indicate that workers are leaving the labor markets.

Consumer sentiment declined slightly in August due to concerns over the upcoming presidential election. Analysts expected a reading of 91.0 for August, but the reading for August was revised from 90.4 to 89.80.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on pending home sales, inflation, construction spending, and consumer confidence. National unemployment, non-farm payrolls, and ADP payrolls are also scheduled.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 22, 2016

Last week’s economic news included the NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department releases on housing starts, and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Shortages of available single-family homes have driven up home prices and increased competition among homebuyers. Short inventories of homes for sale are affecting affordability in many areas, although buyers seem motivated by lower mortgage rates and some easing of mortgage requirements. Analysts have repeatedly said that the only solution to the shortage of homes is building more homes.

Fortunately, the National Association of Home Builders reported that builder sentiment concerning U.S. housing markets increased in August. The HMI moved up to a reading of 60 in August as compared to July’s reading of 58. Readings over 50 indicate that a majority of builders surveyed are confident about housing market conditions.

According to NAHB, home builders continued to face obstacles including shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor. Regulatory issues were also cited by some builders, but overall, builders remain optimistic about housing market conditions.

Housing Starts Up, Building Permits Issued Slip in July

Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued were mixed. Housing starts rose from July’s reading of 1.186 million permits issued to 1.211 million permits issued in August. July’s reading was the second highest since the recession but was driven by multi-family construction. Building permits were lower in August with a reading of 1.152 million permits issued against July’s reading of 1.153 million permits issued.

Analysts said that under present market conditions, there is little reason for homebuilders to increase single-family home production as current pricing has put many would-be buyers on the sidelines.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported that average rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages dropped last week while the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose. The average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 3.43 percent and the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.74 percent. Both readings were two basis points lower than the prior week. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 2.76 percent. Average discount points held steady for fixed rate mortgages at 0.50 percent; average discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were lower at 0.40 percent.

New Jobless claims fell by 4000 claims to 262,000 new claims, which was lower than analyst expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 266,000 new claims. Job security is important to home buyers and signs of strong labor markets can help propel would-be buyers into the market.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes releases on new/existing home sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released on schedule.

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How Are Pre-Qualifying And Pre-Approval Different?

How Are Pre-Qualifying And Pre-Approval Different? Watch this video and it’ll make sense.

Pre-qualification is an informal way to see how much you maybe able to borrow. You can be ‘pre-qualified’ over the phone with no paperwork by telling a lender your income, your long-term debts and how large a down payment you can afford. Without any obligation, this helps you arrive at a ballpark figure of the amount you may have available to spend on a house.

Pre-approval is a lender’s actual commitment to lend to you. It involves assembling financial records and going through a preliminary approval process. Pre-approval gives you a definite idea of what you can afford and shows sellers that you are serious about buying.

Understanding Your ‘Debt-to-Income Ratio’ When Getting a Mortgage

Assessing Your Debt-to-Income Ratio and Why This Number Matters When Getting a MortgageIf you are looking to buy a home, you may want to consider shopping for a loan first. Having your financing squared away ahead of time can make it easier to be taken seriously by buyers and help move along the closing process. For those who are looking to get a mortgage soon, keep in mind that the Debt-to-Income ratio of the borrower plays a huge role in the approval of your mortgage application.

What is a Debt-to-Income Ratio?

A debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of monthly debt payments compared to the amount of gross income that a person earns each month. Your gross monthly income is typically the amount of money you earn before taxes and other deductions are taken out. If a person’s monthly gross income is $2,000 a month and they have a monthly debt payments of $1000 each month, that person would have a DTI of 50 percent. The lower the DTI the better. 43 percent is in most cases the highest DTI that potential borrowers can have and still get approved for a mortgage.

What Debt Do Lenders Look At?

The good news for borrowers is that lenders will disregard some debt when calculating a borrower’s DTI. For example, utilities, cable, phone and health insurance premium would not be considered as part of your DTI. What lenders will look at are any installment loan obligations such as auto loans or student loans as well as any revolving debt payments such as credit cards or a home equity line of credit. In some cases, a lender will disregard an installment loan debt if the loan is projected to be paid off in the next 10-12 months.

What Is Considered Income?

Almost any source of income that can be verified will be counted as income on a mortgage application. Wage income is considered as part of a borrower’s monthly qualifying income. Self-employed individuals can use their net profit as income when applying for a mortgage, however, many lenders will average income in the current year with income from previous years. In addition, those who receive alimony, investment income or money from a pension or social security should make sure and include those figures in their monthly income as well when applying for a loan.

How Much Debt Is Too Much Debt?

Many lenders prefer to only offer loans to those who have a debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent or lower. Talking to a lender prior to starting the mortgage application process may help a borrower determine if his or her chosen lender offers such leeway.

A borrower’s DTI ratio can be the biggest factor when a lender decides whether to approve a mortgage application. Those who wish to increase their odds of loan approval may decide to lower their DTI by either increasing their income or lowering their debt. This may make it easier for the lender and the underwriter to justify making a loan to the borrower.

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3 Tips to Help You Secure a Favorable Mortgage Rate

The Summer Buying Season Is Here 3 Tips to Help You Secure a Favorable Mortgage RateThe best way to ensure you get a good rate on your mortgage is to become an informed buyer. The more you know about mortgages, the more you’ll be able to save, and that doesn’t just mean knowing where to find the best interest rate.

While interest rates play an important role in determining the price of your mortgage, there’s always more to a mortgage than just the interest rate. Here are three things you need to know about mortgages to make sure you secure a favorable rate.

Understand The Fees Involved – And How To Avoid Them

Aside from the interest rate, the biggest factor affecting the price of a mortgage is often the fees involved. These fees won’t always be easy to find, so you might have to do some homework if you want to compare fees charged by different lenders.

Sometimes, it’s possible to have these fees waived or removed. For example, if you end up moving your mortgage from one lender to another, the original lender may have some sort of mortgage pre-payment penalty. You’ll want to make sure the terms of your existing mortgage loan don’t include fees like this before you refinance.

Understand How The “Lock-In” Process Can Affect Your Interest Rate

When you get a quote for a mortgage, each lender will offer a “lock-in period” in which the lender guarantees the interest rate for your mortgage stays the same. Because interest rates fluctuate so often, this “lock-in period” ensures that you end up paying the same rate you were initially offered should you choose to take out a mortgage with that lender.

If you need a longer lock-in period of two months or more, many lenders will charge a higher interest rate for that provision. For this reason, it’s a good idea to be sure about the closing date of your sale so you can avoid missing out on the lock-in period or being forced to ask for a rate-lock extension.

Understand How Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage Rate

Generally, a better credit score means a better mortgage rate, but it’s important that you don’t damage your score while you’re shopping around for mortgages.

Every lender will want to know your credit score and see your credit history. The good news is that every inquiry of the same tyep (mortgage in this case) will only count as a single inquiry on your score.  However, if you have other types of credit pulled, like furniture or auto financing, many inquiries into your credit history can lower your credit score.  Your best bet is to hold off on any additional financing until your home purchase loan is completed.

Of course, it’s always important to shop around and compare rates when you’re looking for the best mortgage deal. A mortgage rate that looks good at first could end up being a bad mortgage rate in the end because of hidden fees and other cost factors.

To learn more about finding the best mortgage rates, call us today.

What To Do When Your Real Estate Loan Is Declined

What To Do When Your Real Estate Loan Is Declined There are many reasons why a mortgage loan could be declined. It doesn’t have to be the end of your real estate dreams. Here are a few things to consider if you’ve been turned down for a mortgage.

Loan-To-Value Ratio

The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is the percentage of the appraised value of the property that you are trying to finance. For example, if you are trying to finance a home that costs $100,000, and want to borrow $75,000, your LTV is seventy-five percent.

Lenders don’t like a high LTV. The higher the ratio, the harder it is to qualify for a mortgage. To reduce the percentage, you can save up a bigger down payment. Some lenders may approve the loan if you buy mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in the case of default, but makes your mortgage payment higher.

Credit To Debt Ratio

Lenders will be less likely to approve your mortgage loan if you have a high credit-to-debt ratio. The ratio is figured by dividing the amount of credit available to you, on a credit card or auto loan, and dividing it by how much you are currently using.

High debt loads will scare away most lenders. Try to keep your debt to under fifty percent of what is available to you. Lenders will appreciate it, and you will be more likely to be approved for a mortgage.

No Credit Or Bad Credit

Few things can derail your mortgage loan approval like credit issues. Having no credit record can be as bad for your approval chances as bad credit. With no record of timely loan payments from anywhere, a lender is unable to determine your likelihood to repay the mortgage. Some lenders will consider other records of payment, like utility bills and rent reports from your landlord.

If you have frequent late charges or collections, you’ll need to work on getting those paid on time, every time. There aren’t many lenders who will approve someone with bad credit, especially in today’s market.

Call us to determine which problem applies to you, and learn the steps to fix it. Then, you can finance the home or condo of your dreams.

 

Small Business Owner: What You Need To Know About Mortgages

Small Business Owner? Here’s What You Need To Know About MortgagesIf you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you probably know that there are a lot of advantages to this lifestyle – the freedom, the exciting challenges, the opportunities and the ability to make a living doing what you love.

However, you also know that being a small business owner can make some things more challenging – such as apply for a mortgage on a home.

Many small business owners find it tough to get approved for a mortgage, because their income can be erratic and the banks want to see proof of consistent earnings over a significant period of time.

However, it is possible to qualify for a loan as a small business owner. Here are some important things that you need to know about the process:

Ask Your Mortgage Lender What They Look For

If you ask your mortgage lender, they will probably offer you a checklist for putting together all the information needed in your mortgage package. It should have instructions on what specific documents you need to include if you are self-employed.

Filling Out The Right Forms

When applying for the loan, you will need to fill out IRS Form 4506-T, which is a Request for Transcript of Tax Return. This is basically a form that will allow the lender to look at your tax returns from the IRS, which shows proof of your earnings.

You are not able to show lenders copies of your tax returns. They must get them directly from the IRS themselves.

Submitting A Profit And Loss Statement

It can also help to ask your accountant to prepare a Profit and Loss Statement, which highlights the amount of money that you have brought in compared to the expenses of setting up your business.

If you present several of these on a quarterly basis, it will prove to the bank that your business is growing and is profitable enough to cover your mortgage.

The important thing to remember is not to give up on the idea of owning a home just because you are a small business owner. Ask your accountant for help and take the time to submit the right proof of earnings, so that you get the mortgage for your dream home.

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Colorado Home Loan Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

Don't Make These Mistakes When You Want To Get A Home LoanGetting a home loan can be a challenging process, and a finicky one. Once a buyer gets approved, it can be surprisingly easy to derail the process. Here are some mistakes to be avoided:

Not Pre-Checking Credit

Once a borrower makes his application for a mortgage, his fate is largely sealed. One way to increase the chance of qualifying for a home loan is for a borrower to check his credit before applying. That way, he can address any issues before they become problems for the lender.

Changing Jobs

Lenders judge borrowers on their ability to repay the loan. While a borrower’s credit rating is a good indicator of past performance, his current job and income provides some assurances that he can make his payments.

Changing jobs or losing a job interrupts the income, and can make a lender decide not to lend to that borrower.

Taking On New Debt

New debt can derail a mortgage in two ways. First, adding debt can lower credit scores from the inquiry that comes as well as worry lenders. Second, new debt increases monthly payments, which lower the amount that a borrower can take out on a home loan due to the limitations imposed by the lender’s debt to income ratio.

Fudging The Numbers

Some borrowers might be tempted to tweak some of the numbers on their mortgage applications to make them more attractive to the lender, but lying on a mortgage application is a very bad idea.

First, lenders investigate what gets entered and they’re likely to catch it. Second, it is also fraud and could leave the borrower subject to prosecution.

In general, people considering a home loan should remember the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take. Its message — do no harm — is a good rule of thumb for applying for a mortgage.

Applicants that keep their financial status the same throughout the process without making any changes are more likely to emerge at the end with their new home and their original loan.

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