Did You Know?: How You Arrange Your Furniture Can Turn Off Potential Buyers. Here's WhyMost sellers focus on finding the right furniture to stage their home, but they never consider how the placement of that furniture can undo all their hard work. It’s a subconscious thing, but the arrangement of items in the home can really make a difference with buyers.

Be sure to not make some of these common mistakes when arranging furniture to sell a house.

Keep The Traffic Flowing

A proper furniture layout should serve to guide the flow of traffic from room to room and make it easy to move freely. When furniture is placed without foot traffic in mind it can lead to blocked pathways and dead ends when potential buyers are looking around.

Rooms that are overcrowded with furniture have the opposite problem and supply no easy way for guests to move without stepping over each other. Make sure traffic can flow freely through the rooms and there is plenty of space to walk around.

Decide On A Focal Point

Every room needs a focal point for the furniture. Most rooms use built in features like a fireplace, but when the home doesn’t have anything built in a television or painting will serve the same purpose.

Without a focal point, the room will feel disjointed and confused. This leads to chairs or couches pointed in different directions and can make potential buyers feel uncomfortable. A key focal point also takes the focus away from any flaws in the home.

First Impressions Over Function

Sometimes people can become so comfortable in their own home that function will overrule aesthetics and furniture will be placed where it proves the most useful and not where it looks the best.

This is fine until it’s time to sell and the first thing buyers see when they enter a room is furniture in places where it doesn’t look the most appealing. Walking in and seeing the back of furniture is never a good look, so make sure everything looks the best from the place guests will enter the room.

Every home has a different floor plan and it can be difficult determining whether furniture is placed properly, especially when you are used to the way it is now. A local real estate agent can walk through the home and give great insight into what improvements can be made and provide an outsider view of how the home looks to new visitors.

Forget Mortgage Apps: 5 Reasons Why You'll Want to Use a Human Mortgage BrokerA mortgage broker can be a helpful tool in finding the right opportunity for you, but it can be tempting to deal with mortgage apps that may be able to consolidate all the information you need in one place. While many modern apps can be quite convenient, there are a few reasons you may want to use a knowledgeable mortgage professional to ensure the credibility of your most important purchase.

Up-To-Date On Credible Lenders

A mortgage app can certainly provide many mortgage insights, but it’s not necessarily an able replacement for a broker who has dealt with many different lenders and knows the ins and outs. While an app can point you in the right direction, a broker will be able to keep you informed of all the little details.

Access To Better Rates

There are no guarantees that working with a broker will get you a better deal, but because brokers work in conjunction with a variety of different lenders, they can often get lower rates or special deals which you may not be able to find on your own.

Saving On Fees

In addition to assisting you with finding the best rates, a broker may also be able to minimize fees like the application and/or appraisal fees so that you can knock some of the costs off your mortgage. Since brokers have an established relationship with lenders, this is something you can use to your advantage.

All The Available Options

It can be overwhelming to go through all of the available lenders, and even a detailed app may not be able to provide this information. However, instead of the most popular current options, a mortgage broker will have lending information available from all kinds of institutions so you can choose what will work best.

Making The Process Run Smooth

An app may seem like a time-saver with all the information at your fingertips, but having a broker to look through things for you can provide a lot of comfort and clarity. While you do have the option of diving in on your own, having an expert to help you over the hurdles can go a long way.

There are so many apps out there that can make life a lot easier, but mortgage apps may not be the place to start when it comes to your mortgage process. If you’re currently considering your options, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | October 19, 2016

NAHB Housing Market Index Dips 2 Points

According to the National Association of Home Builders, overall builder confidence in housing markets dropped two points in October to an index reading of 63. September’s reading of 65 was the highest posted since the housing bubble peak. Component readings for October’s housing market index were mixed; the reading for builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months rose one point to 72. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions fell two points to 69. Builder outlook for buyer traffic in new home developments over the next six months fell by one point to an index reading of 46.

Approaching winter weather likely contributed to lower readings, but builder confidence remained strong. Any reading above 50 signifies that more builders are confident about specific index components than fewer. While home builders continue to be encouraged by low mortgage rates and a stronger job market, they also face obstacles including shortages of labor and buildable lots for development.

High Demand, Low Inventory of Homes Present Ongoing Challenges

High demand for homes coupled with depleted inventory of available homes is sidelining some buyers. As demand continues to drive home prices higher first-time and moderate income buyers are faced with affordability and mortgage qualification challenges. Limited inventory also makes it difficult for home buyers to find homes they want and contributes to competition for available homes. Buyers depending on mortgage financing typically compete with investors and cash buyers for homes in high demand areas.

Real estate pros and analysts monitor home builder sentiment as an indicator of future home supplies, but builder sentiment and housing starts don’t necessarily correspond. Given high home prices and strict mortgage qualification standards that sideline some buyers, it appears that home builders are taking a moderate stance toward ramping up construction.

In addition to boosting real estate markets, building homes provides jobs and supports local economies. Building homes creates demand for construction materials and related products and services.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | October 18, 2016

The Major Keys to Understanding When It’s Time to Refinance Your Mortgage

The Major Keys to Understanding When It's Time to Refinance Your MortgageAs a homeowner, you may have heard the term re-financing without being aware of exactly what it means, but there are a lot of pros and cons associated with what it can do for your financial situation. While getting a different new loan for your mortgage can be a good financial decision in certain situations, here are some things you should consider before you decide that this is the right choice for you.

Getting A Lower Rate

One of the main reasons that re-financing can be a popular option for many homeowners is that it can provide the opportunity for considerable money savings. Since you will be acquiring a new loan with a lower interest rate, this will be an opportunity to reduce your monthly payments, increase your equity at a faster rate and invest the extra funds into something else. While a lower rate can definitely mean money savings, it’s important to consult with a mortgage professional so you’re aware of any associated fees and can make a decision that will be financially beneficial.

Consolidating Your Debt

It is often the case that people will choose to refinance their mortgage with a lower-interest rate in the hopes of paying off the debt they’ve accumulated, but with the cost of refinancing this is not necessarily the best financial decision. While consolidating debt can be great if you go into it with a budget that you plan on sticking too, if you’re leaning too much on the idea of a lower interest rate meaning instant savings, it may be a good idea to take a look at the numbers.

Investing In Your Home

For many people, re-financing their mortgage is a good opportunity to renovate their home and increase its value. However, while renovating your home can be a good idea for resale, there are many home renovations that will not necessarily increase the value of your home and make up for the amount you’ve invested. If you’re making forward-thinking renovations, refinancing is one thing, but ensure you’ve seriously considered what will add value.

There can be a number of financial benefits when it comes to refinancing your mortgage, but it’s important to work out your tentative budget and crunch the numbers before you make a final decision. If you’re currently looking into re-financing your home and are curious about what it entails, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | October 17, 2016

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 17, 2016

Last week’s economic news included reports on job openings, retail sales and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Job openings were lower in August after hitting an all-time high in July according to the federal government. Job openings fell to 5.44 million in August as compared to July’s reading of 5.83 million job openings, Job openings reached 5.31 million in August of 2015. Job quits were unchanged in August with a reading of 3.0 million quits; the quits rate was 2.20 percent. There were 5.4 million hires in August as compared to 5.8 million hires in July. The hiring rate held steady at 3.60 percent.

Weekly jobless held steady from the prior week’s reading of 246,000 new claims, although analysts expected a reading of 252,000 new claims. September retail sales increased by 0.60 percent in September and fell short of expectations of 0.70 percent growth. August’s retail sales reading was negative at -0.20 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector were as expected with an increase of 0.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Consumer Sentiment Slips

Freddie Mac reported higher rates for fixed rate mortgages. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.47 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage was four basis points higher at 2.76 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.84 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Consumer sentiment was lower in October with an index reading of 87.90 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 91.70 percent based on September’s reading of 91.20 percent. November’s presidential election was viewed by analysts as unsettling to consumers’ feelings about current and expected economic conditions. The index reading for consumer sentiment for current economic conditions rose from 104.20 percent in September to 105.50 in October, but fell sharply for expected economic conditions to an index reading of 76.60. Analysts noted that consumers with lower incomes expressed less assurance about post-election economic conditions.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builders Market Index, Sales of Pre-Owned Homes and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. In addition to weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims, reports on consumer spending will also be released.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | October 14, 2016

Buying a Solar-Powered Home? Watch Out for These Symptoms of Future Problems

Buying a Solar-Powered Home? Watch Out for These Symptoms of Future ProblemsSolar-powered homes are becoming more commonplace, and are an excellent step in the right ecological direction. That said, there are some aspects to consider if you’re thinking about investing in solar energy. Read on for some salient points about living by the sun.

The Sun And The Economy

As solar power has grown in popularity, the government has introduced incentives to help homeowners combat the once-high costs of purchasing and installing solar panels. And companies are springing up to rent you panels and cover the cost of installation. This means that your initial costs are smaller, but also that those third party companies reap the government incentives and may not always maintain strong relationships between you and your utility company.

The Sun And Your Roof

Roofs are the primary locations for solar panels, particularly on homes. Ensure that your roof has enough strength for the added weight of the equipment, and enough space for the proper placement (away from the edges, for example). The equipment comes with a lifetime guarantee so if the roof it’s on is already old, consider updating it before installation (which is an extra but necessary cost).

The Sun And Your Surroundings

A solar-powered home is all about location, location, location. Watch for tall and shady trees, or for high buildings that will shadow your panels and decrease or prevent their output. Look forward, too are there any plans for development in your neighborhood that would introduce such impediments in the future?

The Sun And Cloudy Days

The most obvious hiccup with solar power is that bane of a sunny existence: cloudy days. Location has influence here too: the climate of your area will determine how many panels you’ll need, where you’ll need to place them and how much energy you’ll be able to glean in each season. There are batteries you can purchase for collecting and storing solar energy but they’re still an expensive option. And solar power is still somewhat unattractive in the global economy because of how variable it is. Fossil fuels are more dependable, and therefore more marketable, than an energy source so tied to the weather although that looks to change if solar energy continues its rise in popularity with the masses.

All things considered, there is a deep and growing draw to solar-powered homes, but don’t enter into anything without looking at all sides of the equation. If you have questions, or want to know more about how solar energy works in your neighborhood, contact your local mortgage professional.

Getting a Mortgage in 2017? 4 Reasons Why It's Time to Start Paying Down Other Debts NowBuying a home is an ideal investment for many people because not only is it a place that belongs to them, it can also be very beneficial financially. While you may be strongly considering buying a home for these reasons, it’s also important to be in good financial health so that your ideal home purchase is within reach. If you’re currently perusing the market for prospects, here are some reasons you should pay down debt before taking the leap into home ownership.

Good Credit History

The amount of your debt load and whether or not you’re paying off your minimum monthly payments has a considerable impact on your mortgage approval, so ensuring that you have good credit history going into the process is important. If you’ve had hiccups with your credit, make sure you go through your credit report prior to submitting your application to determine where you’re at.

Lowering Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Whether or not you’ve heard the term, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) has a significant impact on how much house you can afford. Made up of the amount of your monthly debt payment and current house payment, your DTI should be below a certain percentage as this will enable you to afford a higher home payment each month.

Shifting Interest Rates

Getting a mortgage is one thing, but interest rates add more to the monthly amount you’ll owe. A fixed-rate mortgage can seem like a good idea, but if interest rates are low you may end up paying more than you would on a variable rate, which can be hard to predict. As interest rates are a part of home ownership, having lower debt will enable you to deal with these additional costs.

Finding The Right Home

Putting your money into a home can be one of the best purchases you’ll make, but if you’re unable to afford the home you love, it can be a disappointing fact to face. While there are no assurances that paying down debt will enable you to afford your dream home, it can go a long way towards giving you more options that will fit your budget.

Buying a home can be a money saver in the long run, but if you’re struggling to keep up with your debt payments buying into the market can be more of a burden than anything else. If you’re currently paying down debt and considering a home purchase, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | October 12, 2016

How to Plan for a Smooth Move-in

How to Plan for a Smooth Move-inWith all of the rigmarole that goes into packing up your old home and moving into the new one, there are a lot of details that can get lost in the mix. From cleaning up the old house to handing over the keys, there’s no shortage of small tasks that need to be completed. If you’ll soon be prepping for the exciting move into your next home, here are some ways to prepare yourself for this busy time.

Do A Spring Clean, Even When It’s Not Spring!

Spring cleaning may be something that people only do once a year, but it’s actually a great way to prep for the move you’re about to make. Instead of thinking on a smaller-scale though, you’ll want to hit every room in your house so there’s less to pack up come moving time. While no actual cleaning will be necessary until you’re moving out, this pre-clean is the perfect opportunity to discard unwanted items, shred old papers and drop off any old and unworn clothes in the donation bins.

Write And Review Your To-Do List

Whether there are supplies you need to buy before the big moving day or a few minor touch-ups that you’d like to complete on your house, start compiling a list of all the things you need to do before and on the day you’re scheduled to move. While these small details can add up to a lot of work, a list will mean that nothing is left behind or forgotten that can create extra headaches when there’s no time to deal with them.

Keep A Separate Box For Essentials

Many homebuyers get so excited about the premise of packing that they stick a lot of important items in a box and send them along on the moving truck, but a few boxes with the much needed essentials should be brought along with you. Whether its cosmetics or available food items, having the things you’ll need is the only way to ensure a bit of added comfort on your first night in your new home.

Packing up your stuff and moving into your new home is a considerable task, but by being prepared and doing a little cleaning in advance, you can make the process a little bit easier for you and your family.

The Pros and Cons of Using Your Savings to Make Your Full 20 Percent Down PaymentIf you’ve been perusing the real estate market with the hope of purchasing a home, you may be aware that the often-touted amount you should put down is 20 percent. However, there are good things and bad things involved in investing so much money into your new home. If you’re wondering how to decide on your down payment amount, here are some things to consider before putting in 20 percent.

No Rainy Day Fund

It might seem like the best option is to put down as much as you can, and use up your savings if needed, but putting all of your money into your home can be a mistake. While you may not foresee any financial issues arising in the next few years as you pay down your mortgage, not having any extra money can put you in a vulnerable position if the market shifts or other life issues appear. Investing in a home is a good choice, but you may want to protect some of your other assets.

Lowering Your Monthly Payment

While putting down the full 20 percent can seem like a huge chunk of change, it can be a boon for your monthly finances in the sense that your monthly mortgage payment will be automatically reduced. While this is a good thing and can make your monthly amount more manageable, it’s important to remember that your monthly payments should be affordable and you shouldn’t be stretching for extra house because you can. Make sure you’re buying a home you can afford, with or without 20 percent.

Avoiding Mortgage Insurance

Putting less than 20 percent may seem like a good decision if you’re ready to buy a home and don’t quite have the money saved, but putting less down can actually increase the cost of your home overall. Because you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance if you put down less, this will add to your monthly payment and will be money that you can’t get back. If you’re ready to dive into the market, you may want to move forward, but it can also be a better investment to wait and save a bit more.

20 percent is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment, but there are pros and cons associated with putting this much money down. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, you may want to contact your local mortgage professionals for more information.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | October 10, 2016

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 10, 2016

WhatsAhead101016Other than a release on construction spending, last week’s economic readings were dominated by labor and employment data including ADP Payrolls, Non-Farm Payrolls and National Unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Drops in August

Commerce Department readings on construction spending indicate that overall spending fell in August to -0.70 percent; this reading was lower than the expected positive reading of 0.10 percent. July’s reading showed a drop of 0.30 percent in overall construction spending. The decrease in August spending was largely the result of pull backs on public construction spending, which declined 2.0 percent after July’s decline of 3.50 percent in July. Public construction spending is 8.80 percent year-over-year., and August’s reading was the lowest since March 2014.

Private sector construction spending fell 0.30 percent in August. Residential construction fell by 0.20 percent within the private sector reading. Reasons for falling construction spending include impending winter weather and previously cited labor shortages. Shortages of available homes and high demand for homes are creating pressure on construction companies to build more homes.

Labor Reports: Job Growth Slows in Public and Private Sector

ADP reported 154,000 private sector jobs created in September against August’s reading of 175,000 new private-sector jobs. September’s reading showed the lowest growth rate since April. Analysts said that lower readings for job growth could be expected as job openings are filled.

According to the government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report for September, 156,000 new jobs were added, which fell short of downwardly-revised expectations of 170,000 new jobs added. Analysts said that a reading of 120,000 jobs added represented a healthy rate of jobs growth. As more workers return to or join the workforce, job openings can be expected to decrease. Healthy growth in jobs may signal the Fed to increase interest rates in December.

National unemployment rose from 4.90 percent to 5.00 percent in September; variances can be expected in month-to-month readings that are considered more volatile than quarterly or annual readings.

New jobless claims correlated to fewer job openings and fell to a reading of 248,000 new claims 256,000 new claims were expected based on the prior week’s reading of 254,000 new claims.

Mortgage Rates Nearly Unchanged

Average mortgage rates were unchanged with the expectation of a decrease of one basis point for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages to 2.80 percent. Average rates for 30 and 15 year fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at 3.42 percent and 2.72 percent Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports are few due to the Columbus Day holiday Monday. Along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims, reports on job openings and consumer sentiment will be released.

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