What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 28th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 28th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes; weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Sales of New and Pre-Owned Homes Lower in April

Sales of brand-new homes fell nearly seven percent in April according to Commerce Department reports. Analysts noted that March sales of new homes were revised upward, which contributed to the difference between March and April readings. 673,000 new homes were sold in April on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a reading of 670,000 sale of new homes; this reading was based on the initial March reading which was later revised upward to 723,000 sales.

Factors impacting new home sales include affordability, strict mortgage qualification requirements and new homes being built for higher-end markets. The average sale price for new homes was eight percent higher year-over-year at $342,20.

Year-to-date sales of new homes were 6.70 percent higher in April than for the same period in 2018. Inventories of homes for sale was reported at 5.9 months. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of available homes as an indicator of average market conditions.

Sales of previously-owned homes were lower in April. 5.19 million existing homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; this reading fell short of expectations of 5.35 million sales and the sales rate of 5.21 million sales of pre-owned homes reported in March. Sales were lower for pre-owned homes for the second consecutive month in April.

Sales of pre-owned homes were 0.40 percent lower month-to-month and were 4.40 percent lower year-over-year. First-time and moderate income home buyers are attracted to lower asking prices for previously-owned homes; declining sales suggest that prices of pre-owned homes have risen beyond affordability for buyers with moderate incomes and less-than perfect credit ratings.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 4.06 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 3.51 percent. 

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were two basis points higher and averaged 3.68 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 211,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 0f 212,000 claims filed. Analysts expected a higher reading of 217,000 new jobless claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices; pending home sales will also be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Make the Most Of A Small Yard Space

Living With a Small Green Space: How to Make the Most of a Smaller, Intimate YardIt’s great to have a yard in this day and age, but so many new developments in the city have limited green space for you to let your imagination run wild. If you’re wondering what you can do with your patch of green space or small yard, here are a few options for making it aesthetically appealing and still maximize the potential.

Pick A Centerpiece

In order to stretch the look of your green space, try adding a centerpiece or focal point that will draw the eye and instantly improve your yard’s appeal. Whether you decide on a planter, a birdbath or an awning covered in vines, a unique piece will work to distract from the limitations imposed by your yard. A centerpiece may do nothing to expand your garden space, but by changing the way you view it, it will make all the difference in how you feel about it.

Make It Match

Your garden or back green space is going to look a whole lot smaller if it’s eclectic style diverges greatly from your home, so keep the two aligned. If there’s a selection of colors and style you use in the room that faces your yard, use them outdoors! It’s also important to make it something you’ll really use. As landscape architect Amber Freda of Amber Freda Home & Garden Design says, “A plain dining table with wooden chairs won’t entice you to use it very much, but really comfortable lounge seating will.”

Keep It Clean

It’s a well-known fact that clutter in any enclosed space will instantly make it look smaller, and it’s no different when it comes to your yard. Instead of jamming an excessive amount of stuff into your small space, keep it simple and decide exactly what you want to get out of the area, whether it’s a vegetable garden or a comfortable place to sit. In keeping with clutter free, you’ll also want to make sure you keep any invasive or aggressive plants from making themselves too comfortable!

It may seem limiting to have an undersized green space, but by deciding what you want to get out of it and creating a central point of interest, you’ll be well on your way to a comfortable place. 

If you are interested in purchasing a new property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

Want to Make A Richer Life? Take Time To Make Time

Want to Make A Richer Life? Take Time To Make TimeMany who are financially sound got that way by being skilled at accumulating wealth. The question is, did they also accumulate quality of life? Working all the time to build wealth, while at the same time lacking happy experiences with those who are important, is not creating a rich life. Here are some ideas to promote both a healthy and wealthy lifestyle.

Time Budget

For those who already do a decent job at managing their finances by using a budget, congratulations for doing half of the planning well. In order to have a fully-satisfying life, the other budget that is needed is a time management budget.

Allocate time on a weekly basis to all the other things that are important, which, in addition to money-making efforts, may include:

  • Personal Growth and Development: Examples in this category include daily meditation, yoga practice, and self-help classes.
  • Quality Family Time and Time with Pets: This category is less about the things to do and more about who does them together. Take time to sit with kids and play with them. Walk the dog or use a laser light on the wall to play with the cat.
  • Community Service: Make an effort to spend at least one hour each week doing some community service. This is a “pay-it-forward” way to keep everything in perspective and develop an attitude of gratitude.
  • Stress Relief: Find a way to release anger and frustration in a healthier way, such as going to a gym and working out with a punching bag.

Make More Time

Time is actually more precious than money. The best practice strategy is looking for the possibilities to create more passive income that requires money investment to produce a positive result but little or no time to make it happen. Creating passive-income streams by investing in real estate is a way to achieve wealth, while also creating free time.

Delegate And Outsource

Make a list of the little annoying things that take the most time. Find a way to delegate some of those tasks to others. Consider using the help of freelancers to outsource things that are time-consuming and can be done more efficiently by others.

Let A REALTOR® Do The Work

If there is some investment capital available to work with, find a real estate agent that becomes an integral part of the long-term business strategy. Make an investment plan together and let your agent find the properties that qualify for the strategy. Be happy paying the agent commission for a property acquisition that meets the investment criteria.

Success Creates More Success

Rewarding others who bring valuable deals that create passive income usually improves the results. If possible, start young, be patient, and, step-by-step, build up a valuable real estate portfolio. The life goal is to eventually create enough passive income, which requires so little time that most of the time can be spent playing with pets along with the grandkids. That is the meaning of true wealth.

How to Become A Billionaire Land Trader

How to Become A Billionaire Land TraderTrading land like a billionaire relies on three simple premises. The first one is to acquire the land for cheap. The second one is to never intend to sell it. The third one is, if you trade it, trade up.

Howard Hughes

Billionaires that start with an inheritance have an advantage. Howard Hughes was born into wealth. His father invented an oil drill that penetrated difficult, hard rock, which made Howard Hughes one of the richest men in the world from his inheritance.

Hughes visited Las Vegas during WWII for the first time. Then, in the 1950s, he traded some parcels of desert land that he owned in Northern Nevada for 40 square miles (26,500 acres) of federal land. This property, managed by the US Bureau of Land Management, was in the northwest of Las Vegas.

Hughes died on April 5, 1976. Well after his death, this land would later become the master-planned community of Summerlin. The first family moved into Summerlin during 1991.

Vacant lots in Summerlin now sell for an average of $2 million per acre. This makes the land Hughes originally acquired by a trade of land worth a few million, equal to about $53 billion today.

Billionaire Lessons

Howard Hughes was not exactly clever. He was just greedy and stubborn. He decided to make Las Vegas his home after he came for a party in 1966. He stayed at the Desert Inn in the penthouse. After ten days, when his reservation was over, the manager asked him to leave. Instead, stubborn Hughes bought the hotel.

Next, Hughes went on a buying spree. He bought three casinos. He acquired all the vacant lots around the Desert Inn. He purchased all the vacant land on both sides of the street that became known as the Las Vegas strip. He bought the North Las Vegas airport and the land around the McCarron International Airport, which is right off the strip. Hughes’ appetite for buying things was insatiable.

The lesson learned is to buy and hold all the key land that is available. Be patient. It took 40 years for the land value in Summerlin to really take off in terms of value. Hughes did not live to see this but maybe he is laughing from his grave. One thing is certain, the desert land that, long ago, nobody but Hughes wanted became worth a fortune.

Investing In Raw Land

Investing in raw land that becomes valuable depends on just a few considerations, which include:

  • Location: Select land that is in the path of future growth.
  • Hold: Be prepared to own the land for a very long time.
  • Stimulate Development: Develop the area or encourage others to do so.

Summary

Land traders achieve success by being extremely patient. They are able to imagine the future growth of an area ahead of others. Land trading may create long-term opportunities because of the continual expansion of the population. This happens frequently around metropolitan areas in many parts of America. 

If buying land appeals to you, be sure to schedule an appointment with your trusted real estate professional.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 20th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 20th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Consumer sentiment was reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises in May, Housing Starts Increase in April

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index posted its highest reading in seven months in May as headwinds facing home construction waned. Lower mortgage rates were a positive sign. May’s reading rose three points to 66; component readings also rose.

The index of builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose three points to an index reading of 72; the reading for builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose one point to 72 and the confidence reading for buyer traffic in new housing developments rose two points to 49. The reading for buyer traffic seldom exceeds 50. A reading of 50 or above indicates positive builder sentiment.

Commerce Department reports for April showed higher readings for housing starts and building permits issued. 1.235 million housing starts were reported at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace. Analysts expected 1.209 million starts based on March reading of 1.16 million starts. Housing starts were six percent higher as compared to March, but remained lower year-over-year. Building permits reported in April rose from 1.288 million permits issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in March to 1.296 million permits in April. 

Mortgage Rates, Mixed New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower fixed mortgage rates were lower last week, but the average rate for 5/1 adjustable mortgages rose. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.07 percent and were three basis points lower. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.53 percent and were four basis points lower.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose three basis points to 3.66 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 212,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 217,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 228,000 initial claims filed. Analysts said that the drop in first-time claims was a sign of economic strength and job markets.

Consumer sentiment hit a 15-year high according to the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment

Index. reported an index reading of 102.40 in May; analysts expected a reading of 97.10 based on April’s reading of 97.20. Low unemployment fueled consumer sentiment, but analysts emphasized that consumers were surveyed before higher tariffs on China were announced; the costs of tariffs will be passed on to consumers, which is expected to dampen consumer sentiment.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and minutes of the Fed’s FOMC Committee meeting. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Finding ‘Hard Money’ Lenders Is Easier Than You Think

Finding 'Hard Money' Lenders Is Easier Than You ThinkAre you the type of real estate investor that has an interest in a treasure hunt? A real estate investment strategy based on hard money is, at its core, a treasure hunt. There must be an underlying value, the “treasure,” for a hard money opportunity to exist.

Collateral For A Hard Money Loan Is Only The Property

Hard money loans rely only on the value of the real estate property for collateral. The credit history of the borrower is not important. Usually, the limit for a hard money loan is a 60% loan-to-value. The hard money loan must be in the first position, as a first mortgage lien on the property, in the case of a default on the loan.

If the loan amount needed is only 60% of the property value, finding a hard money lender is easy. Just conduct a search on the Internet for a hard money lender in the area of the property.

Please note that the sale amount for a property is the value so it is not possible to use a higher appraisal for a higher hard money loan and then purchase a property for a lower value than the appraisal.

Hard Money Lenders Want To Make Loans

Hard money lenders want to lend money to deals that are qualified. They typically charge higher interest rates plus points (a percentage of the loan amount paid at the close of escrow). They almost always have more money available to lend than qualified deals. The qualified deals are harder to find than the money!

Advance Fees Are Usually A Bad Sign

One word of warning. NEVER, ever, under any circumstances, pay an advance fee for a hard money loan “commitment.” Any fees for the lender come out of the escrow closing when the loan funds the deal and not one second before.

No matter how convincing a lender is, about requiring an advance fee, do not pay it. If you cannot find a real hard money lender, who does not ask for an advance fee, your deal does not qualify for this type of loan.

Joint Venture With The Land Owner

If the land is owned free and clear, a joint venture can be arranged to borrow 60% of the land value for a development project and then a hard money loan can be used on a short-term basis while the land is improved and permitted for development. Then, a property can be reappraised at a higher valuation after improvement and permits are in place.

New financing can pay off the hard money lender. For example, a construction loan that converts into permanent financing can retire the initial hard money loan when the project hits certain milestones.

Advertise For Investors

Under the JOBS Act of 2012 and subsequent revisions, the regulations allow general advertisements for investors. Many real estate developers are now using crowdfunding platforms to fund their deals, as another way to raise capital. Using this method, investor funds can be pooled from smaller investors to provide working capital that can be used along with hard money loans to do real estate deals.

You could surmise that finding and/or creating the deals that are hard-money worthy is the more difficult task than finding the hard money loan funds for a qualified project. Before making a rush decision, consider discussing your options with a mortgage lender. This trusted professional can offer information about a variety of financing options.

The best person to help you find just the right property is your trusted real estate professional. 

NAHB: May Home Builder Confidence Hits Highest Level in 7 Months

NAHB May Home Builder Confidence Hits Highest Level in 7 MonthsThe National Association of Home Builders reported the highest builder confidence reading in seven months for May. May’s reading exceeded expectations for an index reading of 64 and rose three points to 67.

Component readings for the main NAHB reading were also higher. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose three points to 72; confidence in housing market conditions for the next six months rose one point to 72 and the reading for buyer traffic in single-family housing developments rose two points to 49.

Any reading over 50 indicates most builders are positive about housing market conditions, but the reading for buyer traffic is often lower than 50. May’s reading suggests that builders were expecting solid buyer traffic as the peak home buying season started. The average NAHB Housing Market Index reading for 2018 was 67; 2019’s average reading is 62.

March housing starts were the lowest in two years. Lower mortgage rates could increase demand for homes and possibly compel builders to ratchet up construction, but there are no guarantees that low mortgage rates will hold steady over the long run.

Builders Cite Ongoing Obstacles Including Tariffs And Labor Costs

Home builders continued to experience higher materials and labor costs. Tariffs were cited as a cause of higher materials costs that are passed on to buyers by raising home prices. While would-be buyers may enter the market due to lower mortgage rates, higher home prices are likely to sideline first-time and moderate income buyers who are concerned with affordability and strict mortgage qualification requirements.

Freddie Mac reported that based on its survey of recent buyers, about 16 percent of recent home buyers relied on seller assistance. While seller contributions to home buyers are carefully regulated, this type of transaction can help buyers get into a home without spending their last dollar.

Rapidly rising home prices and buyer competition have skewed housing markets in favor of sellers in high-demand markets, but slower growth of home prices in recent months could help more renters buy homes. Continued trade negotiations and increased tariffs on China could impact housing costs depending on terms of negotiations and tariffs imposed.

 

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Grass!

I Can't Believe It's Not Grass!For those who have not taken a look at the innovative technology that is now used to make artificial grass, they will be surprised at how realistic some of the newest products look when compared to living grass. Installing artificial grass, which is high quality, does not come cheap.

Prices range from $8 to $14 per square foot. However, this investment may pay off well because of improved resale value, low monthly water bills, and other benefits. The best artificial grass can last up to 25 years with little to no maintenance.

Here is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the most innovative artificial turf to help homeowners and business owners decide if these new products are suitable for their properties.

Disadvantages

Besides the investment cost, here are some other disadvantages.

Hot To The Touch

Some artificial grass products do no dissipate heat very well. In areas where there is a lot of direct sunlight this problem can make artificial grass too hot to walk on barefoot.

Nevertheless, there are advanced designs of artificial turf, which have perforations that allow water to easily run through. These can be quickly cooled down by simply spraying the artificial turf with a light water mist spray.

Homeowners Association Rules

The rules of the homeowners association (HOA) may prohibit the use of artificial turf. Check the HOA rules before installing artificial grass. There may be a need for an exception to the rules.

High-quality artificial grass looks as nice, if not better, than real grass. Low-quality artificial turf looks like cheap, green, furry plastic. Make sure the HOA sees a sample of the artificial grass product for the project for their more accurate understanding and consideration.

Advantages

There are many advantages of using high-quality artificial grass.

No Water And Low Maintenance

In drought-stricken areas, water for irrigation may not be available at all, has use restrictions, and/or is extremely costly. Artificial grass does not need a huge amount of water that real grass needs to survive. It is very low maintenance.

No mowing or lawn care is needed to keep it looking perfect. It is washable, which makes it easy to remove dirt, dust, and pet litter. It is durable and tough.

Curb Appeal

High-quality artificial grass makes a home stand out. When all the neighbor’s homes are dull with dead, brown, real grass or another bland-colored ground cover, a vibrant green artificial lawn really looks spectacular in comparison.

Pet-Friendly

Pets like quality artificial turf. It is easy to clean. It should be able to withstand plenty of pet activity without showing ugly wear and tear. Depending on the installation, pets are discouraged from digging up the lawn.

If a portion does get damaged, it is fairly easy to replace a damaged section.

Conclusion

Artificial grass is increasing in popularity. In most cases, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Even for properties, which have the option of maintaining a real-grass yard, artificial grass is something worth considering.

For tips on home improvement projects that can improve your resale value and attract buyers, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

How To Find Motivated Sellers In Your Real Estate Market

How To Find Motivated Sellers In Your Real Estate MarketBargains in real estate may come from identifying motivated sellers who are willing to let a property go for less than it is really worth. Real estate investors who acquire properties at a discount from current market value enhance their success by increasing their profit potential. Real estate agents who list properties owned by motivated sellers increase their chances to sell a property quickly and have happy sellers who might refer them in the future.

Here are some tips on how to find motivated sellers:

Distressed Discounts

A property that lists for a long time and then the listing shows a discount is a clear sign the owner is becoming motivated. However, just because a property shows a discount from the original listing price, it still may not be a bargain. It is important to learn if the present owner has an unreasonable expectation. Check the recent comparable sales (comps) and then offer no more than 25% less than the sales price of the lowest comp.

Track Foreclosures

For real estate investors with the liquidity to do all-cash deals, tracking foreclosure dates creates opportunities. Properties may be bought just before the final foreclosure date at a large discount because the owner knows that the house will soon be lost anyway.

Short Sales

Another all-cash deal is the short sale. In this type of sale, the lender is driving the deal. The lender is willing to accept a steeply-discounted price to avoid an expensive legal foreclosure process. These homes almost always sell for way below market price and the seller is highly motivated.

Divorce Proceedings

A couple going through a disputed divorce may be forced to sell a home in order to be able to divide the assets owned by them. These are highly motivated sellers who may simply want to get rid of the home fast as part of the process of being finished with the relationship.

Estates

Another reason why a home may need to sell is if the person who owned it died. An estate sale may be a good deal if the executor of the estate is motivated. This happens if there are multiple family members who are impatient and have claims to a portion of the assets as their inheritance.

Will Pay Cash For Houses

A simple sign or flier posted many places with “Will Pay Cash For Houses” and a telephone number on it actually may work in some areas to find motivated sellers.

Personal Networking

Ask everyone if they know of someone who needs to sell a home quickly.

Summary

Finding motivated sellers is a useful thing to do for investors looking for great deals and real estate agents wanting faster-selling properties to list. Ask a homeowner why they want to sell to learn their motivation. Property owners who experience troubles create opportunities for others who are ready to help them sell a property fast and when the need is urgent.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 13th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 13th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on job openings and inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

April Inflation Falls Short of Expectations

The Consumer Price Index for April fell by 0.10 percent to 0.30 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 0.40 percent, which hatched the March reading. The Core Consumer Price Index excludes volatile food and fuel sectors; core inflation grew by 0.10 percent in April, which matched the March reading and fell short of the expected growth rate of 0.20 percent.

The Federal Reserve has set an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent as a benchmark reading for achieving its mandate of price stabilization.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped four basis points to 4.10 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell three basis points to 3.57 percent on average. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were five basis points lower and averaged 3.63 percent.

Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac analysts said that low mortgage rates would support continued growth in the housing market. Slowing rates of home price growth and lower mortgage rates should help to balance market conditions between sellers and home buyers.

Low mortgage rates, strong job markets and steady wage growth provide a solid basis for first-time home buyers to enter the housing market, but affordability remains an obstacle for first-time and moderate income home buyers.

New jobless claims fell by 2000 claims to 228,000 claims filed.  Analysts expected a reading of 218,000 new claims filed Analysts said the spike was caused by the late Easter holiday’s impact on seasonal adjustments to jobless claims.

Whats Next

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on housing markets from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued will be issued along with a report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.