Category: Mortgage + Real Estate Tips

How Important is Owning a Home?


In a recent report released by National Mortgage News, only 14% of Americans claim homeownership is of primary importance.

According to Reportlinker, the goal of homeownership ranked fourth among American priorities in 2017, one step down from reaching career goals and just above having or adopting children.

National Mortgage News also reported that:

  • Even though homeownership ranking dropped 5 percentage points from last year, the goal of homeownership more than doubled any other priority as a long-term goal. 54% said it was their primary long-term financial objective.
  • About 81% of consumers say homeownership is the best long-term investment a person can make, with the investment advantage being one of the forces driving millennial interest in home buying.
  • In this year’s first quarter, the volume of new-owner households doubled the number of new-renter households, signifying that the younger generation is making its way into the buyers’ market.

Great Outdoors May Be Key to Selling Home Fast

Recent news reports state that more buyers are now considering the outdoor space of a home and its usability when looking for new homes. It’s not just what’s inside that counts for homeowners anymore.

Are you trying to sell your home? Try sprucing up or adding one of these four top features buyers want:

  • An outdoor kitchen
  • Pool/Spa
  • Open space
  • Outdoor fireplace

Read all the details and exactly what buyers are asking for in the original article here.  

Is Your City in Best or Worst Category for Flipping?

According to National Mortgage News, nearly 54,000 homes were flipped in the second quarter of this year. Investors profited an average of $67,516 per property and had nearly a 50% return on investment, according to Attom Data Solutions.

While the return on investment has declined nationwide for three quarters in a row, some cities still have a strong flip market. Others should likely be avoided.

Here’s a list of the five best and the five worst cities for house flipping in the second quarter:

5 Best:

 #5: Cleveland, OH

#4: Harrisburg, PA

#3: Philadelphia, PA

#2: Baton Rouge, LA

And the best city for flipping homes…

#1: Pittsburg, PA, with a return on investment of 146.6%.

5 Worst:

#5: San Francisco, CA

#4: San Jose, CA

#3: Austin, TX

#2: Boise, ID

And the worst city for a flip…

#1: Honolulu, HI, with only a 17.8% return.

Tips for Protecting Yourself From Identity Fraud

I found these 10 things to remember to help prevent you from being a victim of Identity Fraud. With all the news about Equifax records being hacked I thought it would be a great thing to post.

  1. Write down the numbers of all your credit cards, and the contact numbers of all the card issuers, and store somewhere in a very safe place at home (do not carry this with you).
  2. Only carry your credit cards with you when you intend to use them to make a purchase. Do not carry them all with you all the time. Leave them in a safe place at home when not being used.
  3. Never, ever, lend your credit cards to anyone else, or let anyone else use your credit card numbers to purchase something on line. ANYBODY! This includes your own family members and best friends.
  4. When you use your credit card to pay for something in person, either swipe the card yourself or WATCH the cashier swipe the card and give it right back to you. Do not let a cashier take your credit card out of your sight for any reason (theft of credit card numbers by thieves working as cashiers is a major way that credit card numbers get stolen).
  5. If you have a pin number for your credit card, do NOT write it on the credit card. Either memorize it, or carry it on a piece of paper that is nowhere near your wallet or credit cards, and that does not say what the number is or what it is for.
  6. Keep your computer’s anti-virus software up to date. Viruses that steal credit card info can infect your computer and steal your credit card number when you enter it to make an on-line purchase.
  7. Be very careful about WHERE you enter your credit card number for on-line shopping. Make certain that merchants from which you make credit card purchases are legitimate businesses whose credit card acceptance meets PCI compliance standards. NEVER send your credit card number in an e-mail.
  8. Do NOT ever give your credit card number to anyone for any reason other than making a purchase from their business establishment. Nobody else – NOBODY – has a legitimate reason to ask you for your credit card number(s) — this includes employers, etc.
  9. Safeguard your social security number and driver’s license and other personal information as well. A person could open a new credit card in your name with just a small amount of personal info about you, and then spend the money, have the bill sent to them self, never pay it, and wind up leaving you with a huge tab and a big mess to untangle.
  10. Always know where your credit cards are. Don’t leave them lying around at home, in the office, in your car, etc. Keep them (a) on your person, or (b) at home tucked away in a safe, secure place.

Source: Credit Law Solutions

When is the best time of year to buy a starter home?

One time of year stands above the rest as being the best time for first-time homebuyers to buy a home. During this time, starter home inventory increases about 7%, which leads to listing prices falling between 3.1% and 4.8% lower than in other parts of the year, a new report from Trulia shows.

The best time of year to buy a starter home, according to Trulia’s report, is fall, or between October 1st and December 31st. During this time, 70 of the largest 100 U.S. metros see peak levels of starter home inventory, and home prices begin to fall, eventually hitting their annual lows in January through March.

Read the source article at U.S. Housing Finance News

How to Change the Mortgage Industry From the Inside

We constantly talk about regulations, compliance, and technology, among other things. But a mortgage is intended for a person whose sole function isn’t to spend days faxing documents.

Improving the user experience benefits everyone, from the borrower to the originator. One idea is to change the way that things are done behind the scenes, starting with the underwriting process. And that’s exactly what cloudvirga, Skyline’s sister company, has been doing.

Recently, National Mortgage News published an article about how cloudvirga and others are changing the process. Click here to view the article to see what’s being done and what the future will look like.

Equifax Hack and How to Protect Yourself

Internet connectivity has brought many benefits to modern society, but one of the drawbacks is that internet users and companies are vulnerable to information breaches.

Recently, credit bureau Equifax was hacked with 143 million people potentially affected by the data breach. Many details about the hack aren’t available, and though this news is unfortunate, there are things that can be done to safeguard your credit.

First thing’s first, check to see if you were affected by the hack. Click on the link below to get a step-by-step guide.

Whether you were affected or not, it’s a good idea to protect yourself. Many things can happen that may put you at risk.

Here are a few steps that you could take to keep your credit safe: 

  • Set up alerts with the three big credit reporting agencies to see if someone is using your credit. Same goes for credit and debit cards. You can even have push notifications set up.
  • Look into freezing your credit so that new companies that you don’t currently work with will not be able to access your credit.
  • Keep an eye on your credit history.
  • Consider a credit monitoring service. Right now, Equifax is offering a year of credit monitoring for free, but make sure you look into the fine print.


Source: New York Times, Sept 10, 2017

Saving for a Down Payment


If you’ve decided that it’s time to start thinking seriously about buying a home, congratulations! Owning property is a great achievement that can enrich your life.

But if you’re just beginning to save up for a down payment, it might seem daunting if you don’t have a plan.

So here are a few tips and tricks to save smarter:

  • Have a goal in mind. It’s a whole lot easier to save when you aren’t trying to save infinity dollars. Start by determining how much home you can afford.
  • Figure out how much you can save a month and make it automatic. The less you have to think about it, the less you’ll miss that money. 
  • Put that money into an account that you can’t easily withdraw from.
  • Look into investing your money in some kind of vehicle that has a larger return on investment than a regular savings account. But keep in mind that any investment has some element of risk. 
  • Remember that not all loans require 20% down. There are plenty of loans out there that need a smaller down payment.

If you’d like to learn more about the types of loans out there or about the home purchase process in general, give me a call or shoot me an email.


Source: CNN Money