Exploring Tesla's New Solar Roof Tiles - Are They the Ultimate Home Upgrade?Tesla may have become the famous brand it is for the creation of the electric car in 2008, but it has since burgeoned into a company that has diverse ambitions for how we utilize energy. Recently, Tesla has moved into the business of solar roof panels, which have become a hot commodity on the market with their green ethos and energy savings. If you’re curious about solar power and want to know the details on this product, here are some things to consider before buying in.

The Details On Tesla’s Solar Panels

With the recent release of Tesla’s solar roof panels, many homeowners interested in green energy have flocked to this new product for its innovation and famous brand. According to Tesla, these panels will last for approximately 30 years or as long as the house stands at 1/3 the weight of regular tiles. Utilizing a tempered glass to make stronger roof panels and solar cells created in conjunction with Panasonic, the connectors for these panels have been created to last through every kind of weather condition.

The Install Involved

The installation of Tesla solar panels is estimated to take approximately 5-7 days and is expected to be easier than a regular solar panel install. According to Peter Rive, CTO and Co-founder of Solar City, “We have learned a lot about installing solar from over 300,000 installations so we took all that and included that into the development.” Fortunately, because of the lightweight quality of these panels, they can be installed without any changes to the structure of the roof they’re placed on.

Should You Invest?

Tesla may be all the rage when it comes to utilizing electrical energy, but it’s important to determine if this panel system will meet your needs. Most solar panel systems last longer than the 25-year warranty, which is in line with Tesla’s own warranty. The aesthetics of this panel system may be improved, but it will likely be a while before this product can service the needs of all homeowners. Before investing, it’s important to get quotes from multiple suppliers to determine a timeline and probable budget.

Solar panels may be the wave of the housing future, but it’s important to ensure that the projected cost and timeline will work for your needs as a homeowner before investing.

Budgeting 101: How to Plan Your Budget Around Your Monthly Mortgage PaymentsIf you’ve decided to invest in a home, you might be wondering how to make all of the expenses work. From the groceries to your mode of transportation, all of those little things can quickly add up. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to ensure you have the money each month by carefully calculating your expenses and ensuring there’s a little wiggle room in case of leaner times. Here are the details on how to begin with your mortgage budgeting plan.

Calculate Your Monthly Payment

Whether you’ve just purchased a home or are trying to determine if your dream home is right for you, it’s very important to establish approximately what your monthly payment will be. It’s critical to have a mortgage cost that is sustainable, so add up your mortgage payment, home insurance, property taxes and any other required payments. While this should give you a ballpark figure, you’ll want to ensure you add a bit of extra room in case your taxes or interest rate should rise.

Determine Your Necessary Expenses

It’s easy to be idealistic and assume that you’ll be able to come up with the money for your dream home, but it’s very important to keep your feet on the ground and be realistic about your budget. Once you’ve determined your payment, calculate the average amount for your utilities, transportation costs and any debt you have. You’ll also want to add in groceries, toiletries, and extras like gym passes, meals or entertainment. By adding up your monthly payment and your expenses, you should be able to determine if a house is realistic for you.

Leave A Little Extra

If your expenses and your home costs add up to balance out, that’s great, but don’t forget to leave a little extra room in your budget for the other things you’ll need. While you’ll want to ensure you’re saving money for the future, if you have any short-term life goals like a travel destination or going back to school you’ll need to save for those. Also, the unexpected can occur at any time so you’ll want to have some cash stashed away for the times when the car breaks down or there’s a medical issue.

When investing in a home, you’ll need to feel confident that you can make your monthly mortgage payment and still have enough left over to pay your expenses and savings for down the road. If you’re currently preparing to buy, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family MemberIt can be a stressful experience to put your home on the market and wait for offers in the hope that you’ve priced it right. However, for those who are considering selling to family members, the sale of a home can be fraught with just as much stress before and after sealing the deal. If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to sell to a family member, here are some things to consider beforehand.

Providing A Discount

Whether you’re selling to a sibling or a child, you may be considering offering the home at a discount to help them out. Fortunately, since the discounted value will be different than the market value of the price, this may mean a taxable gain when it comes time for them to sell the property after a few years of residing in it. On the other hand, if your financial health is not the best, selling at a lower price to a family member can create an undue financial burden for you.

An Owner-Financed Sale

If you’re trying to help your child get on their feet, the option exists for an owner-financed sale where your child will be making monthly payments to you. This provides the benefit of not having to worry about a lender and avoiding interest rates on top of the payment. While this can be a great feeling as a parent to be able to help your child, it’s important to weigh the decision carefully to determine that your child will not default on the loan and it won’t be tiresome for you to act as the lender.

Keeping It In The Family

For most people, the home they live in has sentimental value, whether they’ve lived there for a few years or it’s been in the family for generations. That’s why it can be a great comfort for many to sell to a family member who will understand the house’s history and the family traditions. If the deal is going to put a strain on relationships, though, it may not be worth the well-being of the family to keep the home among the relatives.

It can be a comfort to sell a home to a family member and secure their well-being, but there can be financial hurdles involved that can have an adverse impact on the relationship. If you’re currently considering purchasing from a family member, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | July 3, 2017

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 3, 2017

Last week’s economic news included Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, pending home sales and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were released along with a reading on consumer sentiment. Case-Shiller and pending home sales readings suggested that recent rapid growth in home prices and home sales may be easing. High demand for homes coupled with low inventories of homes for sale has created an artificially high rate of home price growth and competition among buyers for a limited number of homes.

Home Price Growth Rate, Pending Home Sales Slow

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for April showed lower home price growth than in March. April’s 20-City Home Price Index slipped from a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year rate of 5.60 percent to 5.50 percent. Analysts noted that high home prices and a limited inventory of homes on the market have sidelined some buyers.

According to the Commerce Department, pending home sales remained in negative territory in May with a reading of -0.80 percent as compared to April’s reading of -0.90 percent. While this is an improvement, home sales typically pick up during spring and summer months; a negative reading in pending home sales suggests that would-be buyers are waiting for home prices to ease and for more homes to become available.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported 30-year mortgage rates were two basis points lower at an average of 3.88 percent, while the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.17 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose three basis points to 3.17 percent. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent for all mortgage types.

First-time unemployment claims were higher last week at 244,000; analysts estimated a reading of 243,0000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 242,000 new claims.

Consumer spending declined by 0.30 percent to 0.10 percent in May, which matched analyst’s expectations. Core consumer spending met expectations and held steady in May with a reading of 0.10 percent growth. Consumer sentiment rose in June to an index reading of 95.10 as compared to expectations of 94.50, which matched April’s reading of 94.50

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news releases include readings on construction spending, ADP and Non-Farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

A Quick Look at Reverse Mortgages: The Golden Ticket to Enjoying Your Golden YearsWith a high volume of millennials set to enter the real estate market this year, it may seem like all the available options out there were created to snag new home buyers. However, there are products available on the market that cater to those who are in their golden years too. If you’re older than 62 and are currently weighing the options with your mortgage, here are the basics on reverse mortgages and why they might positively benefit you.

The Scoop On Reverse Mortgages

It may seem like this mortgage option hasn’t been around that long, but it was actually created in 2009 following the recession. Known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (HECM), this product is specifically directed at those who are retired or close to retirement that want to tap into the equity in their home. This option is only beneficial for those who plan on staying in their home long term, the loan is paid off at the time the homeowner moves out or passes on.

What Are The Requirements?

Because a reverse mortgage enables the homeowner to tap into the equity they’ve already paid into their home, there are many requirements involved in using this type of mortgage product. In addition to being 62 or older, the homeowner will have to have a high amount of equity in their home. They will also have to prove that they have the financial ability to make their monthly payments, in addition to being able to pay the insurance and property taxes on the property. The homeowner will also have to comply with the requirements set out by the Federal Housing Administration.

Is It The Right Choice?

Like any mortgage product, it’s important to determine before choosing this mortgage product that it’s right for you. While a reverse mortgage gives the benefit of providing access to cash and allows you to put your money elsewhere, it can end up costing more down the road since interest will continue to accrue on the principal amount owing. Before diving in, ensure that you do the calculations and consult with a professional to ensure it’s going to be a financial benefit in the end.

A reverse mortgage can be a great means of accessing cash for homeowners who are 62 or older, but it’s important to weigh all the financial aspects before making a final decision. If you’re currently looking into your mortgage options, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Did You Know: With a Little DIY Work, That Garage Can Be Used for More Than Just Your CarAlong with the family vehicles, the garage may be the place where all of the things you don’t want in your house go to disappear. However, you might not be aware that there are a number of DIY hacks you can use for your garage that will instantly make it a more useable space. If you’re wondering how you can fit more in while improving the aesthetic appeal of your garage, here are some tricks to test out.

Give Your Garden Tools Space

The pile of garden tools that often sit in the corner of the garage is generally unpleasant to look at and potentially dangerous, so instead of leaving them around to trip on, try out a wall rack to secure them properly. All that’s required to make this rack is two boards and a saw in order to make the proper cuts. Once all is said and done, you can screw the boards into the garage wall and place your tools in the cut grooves for a more organized look that will clear away the extra clutter.

Consider Ceiling Storage

If you already struggle with a small garage, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the extra space for storage. Instead of the floor, try putting your storage on the roof! By using plastic carriages installed into the roof of your garage, you can easily slide totes full of storage items into place. While you won’t want to store heavy items in the bins, they can be a great place for infrequently used items like Christmas decorations or old mementos.

Make Your Own Rec Room

If you have a two-car garage and only one car, there’s always the fun possibility that you may be able to use your garage for a less traditional purpose. Whether you decide to go with a makeshift office or a den the whole family can enjoy, adding a desk or couch, a few tables and even some wall art can be a great means of getting extra space. It can also be a great place to throw a party for your neighbors and your friends!

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | June 28, 2017

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in April

Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index indicated slower home price growth in April. Year-over-year, home prices rose 5.50 percent in April as compared to 5.60 percent in March. Year-over-year readings are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

Case-Shiller’s 20 City Home Price Index was also lower with a seasonally-adjusted year-over-year reading of 5.70 percent gain in April as compared to the year-over-year March reading of 5.90 percent. Seattle, Washington held on to its lead for home price growth with a year-over-year reading of 12.90 percent; Portland Oregon followed with a year-over-year reading of 9.30 percent, and Dallas, Texas maintained third place in the 20-City Home Price Index with a year-over-year reading of 8.40 percent.

MonthtoMonth Home Prices Rise in 19 of 20 Cities

Seattle also led in home price growth with a rate of 2.60 percent from March to April. Portland followed with home price growth of 1.60 percent, and Denver, Colorado reported month-to-month home price growth of 1.30 percent, which edged Dallas Texas out of third place in month-to-month home price growth rates.

Analysts have been watching housing markets carefully due to a prolonged shortage of homes for sale against high demand for homes in many areas. David M. Blitzer, Chair and Managing Director of the S&P Indices Committee, noted that skyrocketing growth in home prices must slow and eventually decline. During a press conference, he asked,” Will home price gains gently slow, or will they crash and take the rest of the economy with them?”

Analysts questioned how long home prices can continue to grow and remain sustainable. Affordability is a significant aspect of home price growth as first-time and moderate-income home buyers provide opportunities for present homeowners to sell and move up to larger homes. Mr. Blitzer eased fears of an imminent housing market crash and said, “For the moment, conditions appear favorable for avoiding a crash.”

Mr. Blitzer said that more housing starts and an expected increase in home buyers were positive signs for sustaining current home prices. Upcoming readings on consumer confidence and sentiment, new home sales and mortgage rates will support estimates of when and how much home prices will continue to increase.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | June 27, 2017

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key Items

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key ItemsWhether you’re finally prepared to get into the real estate market or you want to know how you can make a deal quick, there are a few necessary documents you’ll need to prove your reliability to a mortgage lender. If you’re wondering what will be involved in getting the application approval you’re looking for, here are the documents you’ll want to have on hand when the time comes.

Previous Tax Returns

In order to ensure the earnings information you’ve provided to the lender, you’ll have to have your tax returns for the two years prior to your mortgage application. In addition, you may also be required to provide your W-2s as backup documentation.

Bank Statements

To make sure you’re a solid bet who will be able to make your down payment, you’ll need to present bank statements to ensure you have a cushion in the case that interest rates increase. If you do get money gifted to you for your down payment, you’ll need a letter to prove you’re not indebted to the provider.

Recent Paystubs

It can be much more difficult to get approved for a mortgage if you have a patchy work history or happen to be self-employed, so you’ll need 2 months of recent pay stubs to prove consistent employment. The paystubs provided should also be an accurate reflection of the salary you’ve provided on your application to ensure no discrepancies.

Investment Statements

It’s certainly a good sign to the lender if you have a healthy balance in your checking and savings accounts, but you’ll also need to provide any statements for mutual funds and other investments. While they may not be necessary to prove financial soundness, they will help with approval if you have a lot of money squirreled away.

A Listing Of Debts

While it may be the least popular of the pile, a lender will also want to know about any outstanding debts like auto loans, credit card payments or student loans. It may be tempting to forego these documents, but it will give the lender a good sense of your honesty and your ability to manage your mortgage.

Mortgage approval may seem like a time-consuming process with no certain end, but by having the appropriate documentation and being upfront about your debts, you may be able to speed up the timeframe. If you’re currently perusing your mortgage options, contact one of our mortgage professionals for the inside scoop.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | June 26, 2017

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 26, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously owned homes. Despite expectations of lower sales in both categories, sales surpassed expectations and April sales. Analysts were concerned about extremely tight inventories of available homes limiting home sales and did not expect May home sales to increase.

May Home Sales Surpass Expectations

Sales of new homes increased to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 610,000 sales as compared to expectations of 590,000 sales and an annual sales pace of 593,000 homes in April. Home builders have repeatedly cited a lack of buildable lots and skilled labor, but growth in new home sales could prompt more housing starts. Real estate industry pros insist that building more homes is the only way to ease tight inventories and high demand for homes.

Existing Home Sales, National Median Home Price Rise

Sales of previously-owned homes also increased in May according to the Commerce Department. Pre-owned homes were sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 5.62 million sales as compared to expectations of 5.51 million sales and April’s reading of 5.57 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that the current sales pace is “unsustainable” and that “would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search due to short supplies of homes for sale.” The national median home price rose 5.80 percent to $252,800 year-over-year.

Regional readings for existing home sales were mixed. Sales of existing homes were 6.88 percent higher in the Northeast while the Midwest was -5.90 percent. Existing home sales increased by 2.20 percent in the South and 3.40 percent in the West.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported slightly lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for all three mortgage types: The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.90 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.17 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent across the board.

New jobless claims reported week rose to 241,000 and exceeded expectations of 240,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 238,000 new claims. Week-to-week fluctuations can be volatile; the four-month rolling average of new jobless claims rose by 1,00 claims to 244,750 new jobless claims filed. New claims have remained below the benchmark reading of 300,000 new claims for 120 weeks, which is the longest consecutive run since the 1970s.

Analysts said that while job markets remain strong, employers continue to have difficulty in finding skilled candidates for jobs offered.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic news releases include Case-Schiller Housing Market Index reports, pending home sales and inflation. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Posted by: cameronlewismortgage | June 23, 2017

Understanding How Mortgage Calculators Work and When to Make Use of One

Understanding How Mortgage Calculators Work and When to Make Use of OneInvesting in a home is a big financial decision, and along with the decision to buy is the question of how much mortgage you’ll be able to afford. While your debt-to-income ratio can be helpful in determining the range for your mortgage amount, a mortgage calculator can be a beneficial tool in coming to a potential price. If you’re curious about how and if this financial tool can benefit you, here are the details about using a mortgage calculator.

What Does It Do?

It’s very important to ensure that you can afford your mortgage before signing on the dotted line, and a mortgage calculator can assist with this. Most calculators utilize the principal amount of the loan, the interest rate and the amortization period in order to find a monthly payment that is foreseeable for you. While a debt-to-income ratio and the advice of a mortgage professional can be helpful, a calculator can be a quick determination of the overall cost involved.

How Accurate Is It?

Some mortgage calculators can utilize a pretty simple formula to come up with an estimate, but some are more complex and can calculate PMI, home insurance, and even property tax to arrive at a sum. The most accurate calculators will utilize the principal, interest, taxes and home insurance in order to determine an estimate that is feasible for you. However, it’s important to understand that you’ll need to enter the information accurately and leave out as little as possible, as this can have a dramatic impact on the calculation’s reliability.

Should You Use One?

A mortgage calculator can be beneficial in providing you with an estimate, but it should not be the be-all-end-all when it comes to making the final decision. It’s important to consider your current lifestyle and your future plans to ensure that your monthly payment will remain do-able down the road. While a calculator is a good place to begin, it’s worth consulting with a lender to get an idea of how much home you can afford. Since they’ll be required to provide a GFE with the fees disclosed, this will be the best means of understanding the costs.

A mortgage calculator can be a good means of estimating your house-buying ability, but it’s important to get the advice of a lender before making the big decision. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

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