Selling This Winter? 4 Negotiation Tips to Ensure a Speedy Home Sale

Selling This Winter? 4 Negotiation Tips to Ensure a Speedy Home SaleIt’s a great feeling to get an offer on your home, but there can be a lot of details that go into seeing the negotiation through to completion. If your home is currently on the market and you’re expecting buyers to snap it up soon, here’s what you’ll need to know to get your ideal price in no time at all.

Remember To Counter Offer

A potential buyer will generally offer you a price that is lower than what they are willing to pay to see if they can get it, so it’s important to not get so excited by it that you give up on negotiating. While it’s a necessity to be a little flexible on price, it’s still important to get an offer you can feel good about.

Give Them Time, But Not Too Much

It’s important to give buyers the time needed to mull over any counter offers or final negotiations, but you don’t want to stave off other potential buyers in the interim. Instead of missing out on other viable buyers, give the interested party a frame of time to decide so they and you can walk away without hesitation when it’s passed.

Continue To Communicate

If you don’t express any measure of interest for a buyer’s offer, there’s a good chance they’ll walk away, so ensure you’re communicating clearly about your price expectations and the value of your home. By keeping the potential buyer aware of your reasoning and timelines, they’ll probably be impressed by your professionalism, which can work in your favor.

Don’t Forget About Home Repairs

It may be easy to forget about the importance of the home inspection, but any issues uncovered can change the offer price of your home or cause negotiation breakdown if there’s a significant problem. Instead of getting derailed, ensure that you’re willing to drop down your purchase price to cover necessary repairs or get the fixes made yourself so the deal can move forward.

There are a lot of details to work out when it comes to selling a home, but negotiations are key in maintaining a potential buyer’s interest. By keeping the communication lines open and being clear about your timeline, you may be well on your way to a home sale. If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Let’s Talk Cabinets: How to Match up New Kitchen Cabinets With the Rest of Your Decor

Let's Talk Cabinets: How to Match up New Kitchen Cabinets With the Rest of Your DecorRenovating your old cabinets can be one of the best ways to instantly improve the look of your kitchen, but it can be confusing for the layman to go about making this renovation. With all of the options for cabinetry and the need to match your design aesthetic, it can seem quite easy to make a mistake. If you’re currently wondering how to properly renovate your kitchen cabinets to enhance the overall look of your home, here are some helpful tips you’ll want to consider.

What’s Your Cabinetry Style?

There are a number of cabinet types and details that may instantly appeal, from glass-doored cupboards to more ornamental styles, but certain cabinets will complement the look of your home more effectively. While you may want to experiment with your cupboards and build from there, it’s better to have something a little more streamlined that you can work with so they will adapt to a changing space.

Choose A Neutral Tone

Bright colors can be a great option for small appliances, but when it comes to cabinetry a flashy tone can completely overpower your room and clash with the rest of your home décor. Instead of choosing something bright, stick with shades that are neutral, like gray or white, so they will mesh well with any kitchen additions. Beyond their adaptability, shades like this also have the added benefit of retaining their modern look a little longer.

Consider The Handles

It’s easy to be taken in by a stylish cupboard handle, but high costs can come along with something that’s striking. In addition, they can also clash with the rest of your kitchen if they’re of a completely different style. Instead of going for contrast, consider the kind of pull that will tie in with the rest of your kitchen decor, whether it matches the color of your oven or your countertop tile. This will make for a classic look that still manages to provide cohesion.

There are so many varieties of kitchen cabinetry to choose from that it can be hard to know where to begin with making a choice. When renovating this part of your kitchen, it’s a good idea to be aware of what will work best for your space so that it can retain a customizable and classic look. If you’re renovating in preparation to sell, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Continues

Home increased in October according to Case-Shiller’s 20City Home Price Index. Home prices rose from September’s annualized reading of 5.40 percent to 5.60 percent. Factors contributing to rising home prices include stronger economic conditions and outlook along with short inventories of available homes coupled with high demand. On average, October home prices rose 5.10 percent on seasonally adjusted annual basis, which was unchanged from September’s reading.

West Continues to Lead Home Price Growth

Top home price growth rates were in Seattle, Washington at 10.70 percent, Portland, Oregon at 10.30 percent and Denver, Colorado with a seasonally-adjusted annual price increase of 8.30 percent. New York, New York had the lowest home price growth in October with a reading of 1.70 percent.

In a separate report, December consumer confidence exceeded expectations with an index reading of 113.70 as compared to an expected reading of 110.00 and November’s reading of 109.40. This was the highest reading for consumer confidence since 2001. Analysts said that the strong reading for consumer confidence was a sign that consumers will increase their spending in 2017, but what will happen with mortgage rates is a big question.

Rising Mortgage Rates May Slow Home Prices, High Demand for Homes

With the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its target federal funds range in December comes a question of how rising mortgage rates will affect housing markets. Rising fed rates typically lead to increases in consumer lending rates including rates for home loans and refinancing. Combined effects of rising home prices and mortgage rates create challenges for first-time and moderate income home buyers. While higher mortgage rates have not impacted buyer demand so far, rising mortgage rates could sideline some buyers.

A recent compilation of the most expensive places to live in America illustrates the imbalance of home prices as compared to consumer incomes. Brooklyn, NY topped this list with a reading of 127.70 percent of average household income earned in Brooklyn to buy an average priced home in Brooklyn. Analysts reporting this data noted that many Brooklyn homeowners work in Manhattan and earn more than those who work in Brooklyn. Disparities in average home prices and home buyer incomes could “trickle down” to less expensive areas if mortgage rates and home prices continue to rise.

Meanwhile, builder confidence is strong and is expected to lead to higher levels of home construction in 2017.

Helping a Disabled Relative or Friend Buy a New Home? Here’s What to Look For

The search for a new home is difficult enough for the average person, but if you’re helping a friend or relative who has a disability, there are even more things to be aware of. If you’re not sure quite how to tackle the housing market, here are a few things to look out for so that you can be sure your friend is getting the home they’ll need.

Consider The Flooring

Hardwood can be a great benefit when it comes to clean up, but it’s also the type of surface that can make it a lot easier to slip and fall. While carpet can be a better option for this reason, hardwood is not necessarily a deal breaker if your friend wants to utilize the option of area rugs.

Handrails And Grab Bars

In all likelihood, there will not be available handrails and grabs bars located in many houses you view, but it’s important to ensure that these can be installed without incident. While the shower is one area that you will not be able to avoid this, it can be quite expensive to replace so this may serve as a deal breaker.

Look Out For Levers

It may sound like a strange detail, but doors knobs can be inaccessible for many people so it’s important to check out the handles throughout the house. Lever handles are a relatively easy install, but the costs can stack up in a home with a lot of doors, so it may be best to choose a home that already contains the levered option.

With A Wheelchair

While there are many things that can assist the disabled in a home, there are a lot more things required if your friend uses a wheelchair. In addition to having walk-in closets that are accessible, it’s also important that the home features wide doors and hallways, open areas and wheelchair access to all entrances, if possible. Many of these items may not be present, but the ability should exist to have them added in if they’re required.

When helping a disabled friend search for a new home, there are a variety of things you’ll need to look for, from handheld bars and grips to lever door handles that will make their life easier. If you know someone who’s currently in the market for a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 26, 2016

Last week’s economic news included readings on consumer spending, core inflation new home sales and regularly scheduled readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Consumer Spending Dips in November

Commerce Department reports on consumer spending in November indicated that consumer spending was lower in November with 0.20 percent growth as compared to October’s reading of 0.40 percent growth. November’s reading for core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, was flat as compared to expectations of 0.10 percent growth and October’s reading of 0.10 percent growth.

New Jobless Claims Rise to 6Month High

New jobless claims jumped to 275,000 last week as compared to an expected reading of 258,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 254,000 new claims. New claims typically rise during the holiday season due to school and other workplace closures.

There was good news as new jobless claims remained below the benchmark of 300,000 new claims for 94 consecutive weeks. This streak of new claims below 300,000 new claims is the longest since 1970. Increasing numbers of “contingent” workers contributed to volatility in employment; The Rand Corporation reported that 10.10 percent of the workforce was contingent workers in 2005; the percentage of contingent workers increased to 15.80 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2015.

Mortgage Rates, New Home Sales Rise

Freddie Mac reported a jump in mortgage rates last week; the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 14 basis points higher at 4.30 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 15 basis points higher at 3.52 percent; the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose 13 basis points to 3.32 percent. Analysts said that the 10-year Treasury rate rose 10 basis points in response to the Fed raising its target funds rate. New home sales gained in November with a seasonally adjusted annualized reading of 582,000 sales as compared to 285,000 expected sales and October’s annual rate of 563,000 sales of new homes. This was the second highest reading for new home sales since early 2008. Builders will be watching mortgage rates and new home sales in the New Year to determine how rising mortgage rates will impact new home sales.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic news includes Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports, pending home sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. U.S. Financial markets will be closed Monday in observance of the Christmas holiday

3 Simple Tips for Boosting Your FICO Credit Score Before Applying for a Mortgage

3 Simple Tips for Boosting Your FICO Credit Score Before Applying for a MortgageThere are a variety of factors that are involved in getting your mortgage approved, but few things will have more of an impact than your FICO score and the credit history that goes along with it. Instead of leaving your score up to chance when submitting your application, here are a few ways that you can boost your financial wellbeing and leave your credit score better off than it was before.

Put More On Your Card

It’s important to put purchases on your credit card that you can afford to pay off consistently, but many people are not aware that how much debt you owe can actually positively contribute to your credit score. While it’s good to use up to 30% of your available debt load, a significantly higher percentage than this can be a signal to lenders that you are experiencing financial difficulties. By putting everyday items on credit, it will be easier to give your score an instant boost.

Clear Your Credit History

Many people who think they have bad credit are too afraid to even review it, but it’s very important to take a look at your credit history when it comes to taking control of your finances and your FICO score. If there happens to be incorrect information on your credit report, this will enable you to contact the appropriate lenders and dispute the charges so they can be corrected prior to your mortgage application. It may not seem significant, but this can actually have a marked impact on the outcome of your application.

Make Your Payments On Time

It’s often the case that those who are struggling with debt may push away the bills altogether and give up on the minimum payment, but it’s very important that the minimum is made to keep your financial health in check. It may take a few months to see the results of putting down this amount before the due date, but it will improve your credit over time and forge good habits for the future.

Your credit score is an important aspect of determining your financial health for lenders, and this means that your credit history is of significant importance when it comes to your mortgage. Instead of leaving it up to chance, ensure that you’re making the minimum payments and correct any discrepancies in your credit report. If you’re currently in the market for a home and are considering your options, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Goodbye, Curtains: Try These Fun and Fashionable Ways to Dress up Your Windows

Goodbye, Curtains: Try These Fun and Fashionable Ways to Dress up Your WindowsWindows can add a lot to the look of your home, and this means that dressing them up properly is an important key for aesthetic appeal. While draggy, neutral-colored curtains can be one of the less exciting aspects of decorating your home, here are a few ways you can adorn the most basic of home fixtures and turn your windows into something truly unique.

A Reconstituted Valance

A short curtain can be a nice, less fussy way to adorn your windows, but if you have a kitchen space in need of warming up, try a piece of wood or metal painted with a color or texture of your choice. Whether it’s covered in words or you stick with a neutral paint color, it can easily add texture and character while letting a lot more light in.

Stylish and Singular Shades

If you want something that will cover the window without getting in the way, you may want to opt for window shades that you can pull down or pull up at your leisure. While this might sound like a pretty tame option, shades are available in a variety of shapes, colors and motifs that are sure to add spark to your room.

Frosted Glass Find

If you want to forego having blinds altogether but you have large windows that need to be covered, you may want to try installing frosted glass in order to maximize the available light. Not only can this be a means of maintaining your privacy at any hour of the day, it will also leave your room feeling airy, well-lit and open well into the evening.

Parade Of Plants

It may seem like a strange solution to the traditional curtain, but a row of plants placed on the window ledge can add a lot to your frames while limiting the need for curtains. While this trick will work especially well for kitchen windows and other areas where you can use smaller plants, you can always try mixing it up to create a different effect.

The idea of long, white curtains isn’t necessarily something that will work for every room, but there are plenty of ways you can dress up your window frames without having to reach for a piece of fabric. If you’re looking for new design tips because you’re considering a move in your future, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Self-Employed? Here’s What You’ll Need to Get a Mortgage Approval

Self-Employed? Here's What You'll Need to Get a Mortgage ApprovalThere’s a lot of flexibility and personal freedom associated with self-employment that can be a great benefit to your lifestyle and your pocketbook. However, because of the somewhat unpredictable nature of self-employment, it can make acquiring a mortgage a little more difficult. If you’ve recently become self-employed or have been in the game for a while, here are some things you may want to consider before submitting your mortgage application.

Putting More Money Down

20% is often considered the magic number when it comes to the down payment because this will allow you to avoid homeowner’s insurance. However, if you’re self-employed, you may want to consider putting even more money down as this will be an even stronger signifier to lenders that you’re prepared for homeownership and in control of your finances. While your down payment will provide you with equity instantly, a higher payment will also lower your monthly cost and make your finances even more secure from month to month.

Minimizing Your Debt

The amount of debt a potential homeowner has can adversely affect any mortgage application, but in the event you’re self-employed, a high debt load means even more money is being paid out of a salary that is not necessarily predictable. By paying off the debts you can before applying for your mortgage, you’ll be able to invest that much more of your hard-earned money into your monthly payment without breaking the bank and cutting monthly expenditures.

A History Of Self-Employment

Being self-employed means you’ll have more to prove to your lender, but if you have a spotty self-employment history and long periods without bringing in any income, this will make it even harder. Instead of jumping into the mortgage market soon after becoming self-employed, try and have at least two years of successful self-employment behind you. By being able to prove this, the lender will see that you’re a solid financial bet and an experienced professional who will be able to find work when it’s required.

The nature of being self-employed and the fluctuations in income that can come along with it can make a mortgage lender nervous. However, by having a solid history of self-employment behind you and minimizing your debt load, you’ll be able to prove to the lender that you’re serious about home ownership. 

After the Sale: The Next Steps and What You’ll Need to Do Before You Move Out

After the Sale: The Next Steps and What You'll Need to Do Before You Move OutGetting an offer on your home can certainly make it feel like the hard part is over, but even after the deal is sealed there’s still a lot to do when it comes to moving out. Whether you’re getting prepared for a future move or your buyer has just signed on the dotted line, here are the first steps to take once it’s certain your property is off the market.

Start The Packing

For many people, packing is something they would rather put off until the last minute, but boxing up your stuff is actually a great opportunity for a little spring-cleaning at any time of the year. Instead of procrastinating, get started early and ensure that you’re only packing up the items you will make use of. Whether you decide to pass the extras off to friends or donate them, this is a great way to make your next home clutter free.

Book The Moving Trucks

The day you have to be out of your home by will be set in stone, so it’s important to get ahead of this process and contact the movers as soon as you can. Moving companies have busier times of year and by booking in advance, you won’t have to comply with their loaded schedule. While you’ll want to make a reservation if you’re working under a time crunch, it still might be worth shopping around to see if you can find a better deal.

Complete The Last Minute Fix-Ups

In all likelihood, there’s a list of minor tasks the homebuyer will want you to complete prior to move-in. It’s important to prioritize these things so they’re not left until the last minute, so ensure you make a list and pick a day or a certain window of time to complete them. Whether you’ve agreed to paint a room or get the windows re-sealed, not making these fixes can end up costing you money so it will be worth the time you spend.

It’s a wonderful feeling to get your home off the market at the purchase price you were looking for, but there are still things that need to be done before the deal is sealed. By making a list of any outstanding maintenance and booking the moving trucks, you’ll be well on your way to your new home. If you’re currently looking for a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 19, 2016

Housing news was boosted by the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, which posted its highest readings since July of 2002. In other news, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the federal funds rate and Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a press conference. Mortgage rates rose and weekly jobless claims fell.

Home Builder Confidence Highest in 14 Years, Home Construction Lags

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in housing market conditions reached its highest rate since 2002 in December. The NAHB Housing Market Index reading topped out at 70 as compared to November’s reading of 63. Analysts said that December’s high reading resulted from a post-election bump in builder confidence. While high builder confidence could bode well for supplies of new homes, construction rates continued to lag strong economic indicators such as low unemployment and high demand for homes. While builders gained confidence in current and projected housing market conditions, they continued to face shortages of labor and buildable lots.

Fed Raises Rate

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced it would raise the federal funds range by 0.25 percent to 0.50 to 0.75 percent. FOMC said strengthening job markets, lower unemployment and rising household spending supported the decision to raise the federal funds rate. Inflation, while below the Fed’s target of 2.00 percent, is gradually moving toward the Fed’s medium term goal. FOMC’s statement indicated that the Fed’s monetary policy would remain accommodative.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen held a press conference and cited “considerable progress” toward the Fed’s dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability as factors supporting the decision to raise the target federal funds range. Labor markets continue to improve; Chair Yellen said that the economy has added 180,000 jobs per month over the last three months. 15 million jobs have been added in the past seven years. Inflation is growing gradually, and the Fed expects to achieve its target inflation rate of 2.00 percent over the next two years.

Month-to-month consumer spending readings held steady at 0.20 percent growth. Core consumer price index data, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose from 0.10 percent to 0.20 percent in November.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims

Mortgage rates were higher last week, but Freddie Mac said that its survey data was collected before FOMC raised the federal funds rate. Analysts at Freddie Mac suggested a wait-and see position on rate forecasts due to the changing political climate. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points higher at 4.16 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose one basis point to 2.37 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 3.19 percent. Average discount points for fixed rate mortgages held steady at 0.50 percent and dipped to 0.40 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage.

New jobless claims were lower last week at 254,000 claims filed. Analysts had expected a reading of 250,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 258,000 new claims filed. Volatility in weekly readings for new jobless claims can be expected due to seasonal hiring and layoffs.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s economic releases include readings on new and previously-owned home sales, inflation and consumer sentiment. Readings for mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.