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New Rules for the Mortgage Industry! January 8, 2014

Real Estate Review and New Mortgage Loan Rules

Amid the signs of a strengthening economy and a rebound in consumer confidence, 2014 started the year with long-term mortgage interest rates edging upward. Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.53% in the week ending Jan. 2, up from 4.48% last week. That's a far cry from the record lows hit in November 2012, when 30-year rates averaged just 3.31%. The average rate on a 15-year fix rose to 3.55% this week, up from 3.52%. A one-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.56%, unchanged from last week.

2014 will also cause real estate officials to brace for new federal mortgage rules that are intended to press lenders to ensure that their prospective borrowers are going to be able to repay their home mortgage loans. Starting within the week, lenders will be required to examine eight types of financial information about potential borrowers, including their income and their debts.

These rules, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), are designed to prevent the kind of risky loans that contributed to our recent financial crisis. According to the CFPB, under the 'ability-to-repay' requirements, lenders will have to make a "reasonable, good-faith determination" that a borrower is going to be able to repay their home mortgage loan before a lender can provide a loan. Borrowers will be required to provide documentation for all information required throughout the loan process while lenders will be required to assess a borrower's other financial obligations, such as alimony and child support, and also a borrower's debt-to-income ratio and credit history.

Some real estate officials say that one of their biggest worries is that these new rules will make it harder for low-income and first time homebuyers to her a home mortgage loan. Janet Gaglione, President of the Charlotte Regional Mortgage Lenders Association, said, "This definitely affects the lower-income borrower, by far. We're going to have very strict guidelines. This law is trying to make every lender accountable for every unknown factor that could happen during the term of the loan."

Mark Vinter, an Economist for Wells Fargo, said "my greatest concern about the rules is the impact they will have on first-time homebuyers. Home purchases by first-time buyers are experiencing a weaker recovery compared with the upper-end of the housing market, which has posted stronger gains as the stock market has rebounded." He continued, "First time homebuyers seeking adjustable-rate mortgages could be especially affected. Under the ability-to-repay rule, when a lender is calculating a borrower's debts the highest interest rate expected over the life of the loan must be factored in and that could make it hard for some first-time borrowers to qualify for adjustable-rate mortgages, which have been a way to make homes affordable for young people just starting in their careers."

Additionally, borrowers in regions with lower home prices might face a big effect once these rules come into play. Lower loan amounts could make it hard to keep home mortgage loan interest rate points and fees within limits. David Whitley, Vice President of Whitley Mortgage said that, "As a way to help borrowers meet points and fee thresholds, lenders might not charge underwriting fees however, they might charge higher interest rate to compensate."

While it is still unclear how the rules will affect the recovery of the housing market it is not likely that borrowers and lenders should expect irreparable harm to our economy but can look forward to a few probable hiccups along the way. With rising home mortgage loan interest rates, right now is one of the best times to consider all of your home buying or selling options. Whether you are buying a new home or looking to refinance your current home, you can trust Fairway Independent Mortgage of the Carolinas to make your home loan as stress-free as possible. Call one of our three offices today to get started or schedule an appointment with you to really look at your financial plans and help you make the best home loan decision or show you how the path toward ownership. Call us anytime.. We have locations in Matthews, Ballantyne, and Lake Norman to make meeting convenient, or simply fill out my online application to get started.

Original Article here


Five Reasons Charlotte Real Estate Agents Make Buying and Selling Easy January 10, 2014

If the past decade taught us anything, it is the best real estate information combined with good lending practices, that are the fundamentals of building a solid housing market. Guiding homebuyers with experience and knowledge is the best way to continue the growth and recovery we have seen recently and into the future. At Fairway, we are always looking for the right Realtor partners because we know we can trust them to look after our clients, but we also know that working with a great agent can yield incredible results.
 
Why do buyers need a Charlotte real estate agent? There are many reasons!

1. The right agent can make all the difference.
Real estate agents know Charlotte and the surrounding areas. They know the best schools, the best neighborhoods and where the pockets of growth are. They understand where property taxes are higher or lower and can listen to a buyer's needs and they give the best advice they can.

2. Agents know pricing.
Real estate agents do not set the prices, but they do guide sellers to make the best possible decision. When selling a house, agents can weigh out comps in the area and give advice regarding inventory. For buyers, Realtors can determine what the right price to offer may be for a home based on a variety of information, such as how long a house has been on the market and the cost per foot of neighboring homes.

3. Agents love the processes.
From the massive piles of paperwork needed to buy a home to a deep understanding of all the disclosure forms and laws, real estate agents know their business. They are also skilled negotiators who will speak for their clients.

4. Agents have great teams around them.
Any experienced, respected real estate agent in Charlotte will have lawyers that they trust completely, lenders that they know will respect and assist their buyers in every way, and a team of skilled contractors and service providers who they rely upon. A good agent will have a solution to any problem that may stand in the way of their buyer's home.

5. Agents make it easy on their buyers.
From paperwork to coordinating the showings, a real estate agent can streamline the home buying process. They will comb the listings to find houses worth seeing and set up appointments around their buyer's schedule. When it comes to negotiating the deal, a real estate agent will know exactly how to present your offer as well as professionally close the deal.

The real estate and mortgage industries depend on referrals for continued business; therefore, any real estate agent worth their salt, will work diligently to leave every client with the best possible experience. It is our hope that agents in and around Charlotte always place their clients in our capable hands. At Fairway Mortgage, taking care of relationships and assisting people in making the right lending choices are what we do.

Right now is one of the best times to consider all of your home buying or selling options and making sure that you find the right real estate agent. Whether you are buying a new home or looking to refinance your current home, you can trust Fairway Independent Mortgage of the Carolinas to make your home loan as stress-free as possible. Call me today to get started or schedule an appointment with me to take agood look at your financial plans and help you make the best home loan decision and show you the path toward home ownership. 

Original Article here


This Week's Trends January 14, 2014

After moving upward in the first week of the New Year, long-term home mortgage loan interest rates, held steady this past week. Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.51% in the week ending Jan. 9, down from 4.53% last week (Thirty-year mortgages averaged 3.40% a year ago.) A 15-year fix averaged 3.56% this week, up from 3.55%. A one-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.56%, down from 2.60%.

Most recent reports on the Charlotte housing market show continued improvement. According to the National Association of Realtors, pending sales of existing homes rose in November. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed average home values in the 20 biggest cities were up 13.6% in October, from a year earlier.

According to financial website NerdWallet.com, Charlotte is among the cities with a more positive outlook for job seekers in 2014. The Queen City was listed fifth because of its status as a major financial center and its diverse economy, with the city's largest employers ranging from manufacturing to financial services.

The real estate and mortgage industries depend on referrals for continued business; therefore any real estate agent worth their salt will work diligently to leave every client with the best possible experience. It is our hope that agents in and around Charlotte always trust their clients in our capable hands. At Fairway Mortgage, taking care of relationships and assisting people in making the right lending choices, is what we do.

Fairway Independent Mortgage of the Carolinas knows that our ability to perform at a consistently high level and a genuine interest in partnering with Charlotte's best real estate agents, helps people achieve their financial goals. We believe in partnering with the best in the business to build our community and our business. 

Right now is one of the best times to consider all of your home buying or selling options and to make sure that you find the right real estate agent. Whether you are buying a new home or looking to refinance your current home, you can trust Fairway Independent Mortgage of the Carolinas to make your home loan as stress-free as possible. Contact me here!

Original Article here


Improve your Credit Score like this! January 16, 2014

Building a strong credit score takes time and effort and must include smart financial decisions. Credit scores can range from 300 to 850 and the higher your score is, the more likely you are to receive great rates on your lending options.

America, as a whole, has a surprisingly decent credit score, as a third of all consumers range from 749-799. But knowing your number can make all the difference.The key behavioral patterns associated with high credit scores (around the 800 mark) are keeping your accounts solid, making your payments on time and being aware of some of credit pitfalls. Improving your credit takes time and while there are no "quick fixes" or "secret ways" to boost your credit score, there are a few simple approaches and methods you should utilize and continue throughout your life.

1. Keep Your Balances In Check: To put it simply- avoid "maxing out" your credit card. Try to keep your balances at 30% or less of your credit cards limit. This may mean paying down balances and keeping a closer eye on your spending habits. It is smart to budget your finances and come up with a payment plan; focus on paying off your highest interest cards first. While having a balance is not a problem (FICO found that those with the highest scores had an average of four cards with balances) keeping it in check should be your main goal.

2. Always Make Your Payments: Did you know that your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score? Also, late payments could decrease your score by as many as 110 points! Tackle this by setting up payment reminders. You can choose to schedule payments through your bank or set reminders through mobile applications or calendar, but be sure to set up something that will remind you it is time to pay your bills. Don't let late or missed payments kill your score; always try and stay on top of your payments.

3. Build Your History: This one is harder for younger borrowers, but the length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your score.  While it helps to have credit cards, it is important to manage them responsibly. It takes time and dedication to build your credit profile. Don't be afraid to begin your credit history when you know that you can properly build and care for it.

4. Be Careful With New Credit: While older credit cards
receive more attention when calculating your credit score, new credit accounts need just as much consideration. Having too
many open credit cards (even if you're paying them on time)
can actually hurt your credit profile. Also, having several companies pull your credit score all in a short period can hurt
your score. It's important to focus on your current credit
accounts before opening new ones.

5. Things Happen: Mistakes will happen, financial or otherwise, and some of these mistakes may translate to your credit report. FICO found that 1 in 100 consumers had a collection on their credit report and that this led to their score's decline. Talk to your mortgage planner about the best steps to take to repair your credit. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist who can assist you, but many errors are easily fixed.

When thinking about your credit profile, it's important to always take action to raise your score. There is no "quick fix" but it is important to understand the errors in your credit history and learn the guidelines on how to work towards maintaining a good credit history. It requires patience and discipline, but few things are more important than having a good credit score. From car loans to your mortgage, every large financial decision in your life will be determined by your ability to repay debt. After all, the higher your score, the better your rates can be!

Original Article here


Tips That Real Estate Agents Wish You Knew January 27, 2014

Buying a home is the biggest financial transaction for the majority of Americans, and yet most don't know much about the process of buying and selling homes. If you are a buyer ready to move into a larger home, you will want to start your search by talking to me about your financial goals and what payment you can afford for your next home.

The next person to talk to is a skilled real estate agent. Discuss what you are looking for in a new home and ask questions. Over many years of housing experience, Realtors have seen a lot and learned even more. They are the right people to answer questions like:
  • Why do some houses sell, while others linger on the market?
  • Why do some buyers never make it to closing?
  • What neighborhoods are the right next move for me?
  • What changes should I make to sell my home faster?
Whether you are a buyer, seller, or both, there are some things that real estate agents want you to know about moving into your next home:

1. Want to sell your home quickly? Price it just under the market!
Pricing your home slightly below market value gives you a better chance of selling quickly. The longer your house is on the market, the less likely you are going to get fair value.

2. The pre-approval letter is just the beginning; do not take on any new debt! *
Pre-approval letters are just the first step in the long process that is buying a home.  Even after being pre-approved, make sure that you DO NOT open new lines of credit or run up your existing credit cards. Just before your closing, lenders will re-examine your financial situation including a more recent copy of your credit history. If any numbers have changed you risk the losing the loan.

*Ask me about our new Certified Pre-Approval program!!

3. Selling your home might be a long process.
It is important to be realistic about how long the process of selling your home can take. When you underestimate the actual time frame and build a schedule around those expectations you are welcoming added stress and disappointment. A smart seller will allow at least 4-6 months to sell their home and that's IF you have a home that's priced correctly in a good market with one solid offer that makes it to closing.

Here's a realistic schedule breakdown:
  • Preparing your home for sale: 2 weeks
  • Average time on the market  (depending on the Charlotte market): 2-3 Months
  • Negotiating an offer: 1 Week
  • Closing with a traditional transaction: 30-45 Days
4. Not all 'buyers' are ready to buy, even when the buyer is you!
The proof of being ready to buy a home is making the time and effort to receive a home mortgage loan pre-approval, like Fairway's Certified Pre-Approval. At Fairway, when we certify you to buy at a particular amount, this means you will receive your loan or your money back! If you are the seller, you will always pick the contract that has real money behind it, not just a pre-qualification letter. So why expect any less from the offers you receive on your home?

5. The Senses Make the Sale!
Buyers want to walk into your house that looks good, feels comfortable, and smells neutral. Often sellers drag their feet on small details that can make a big difference. With cluttered countertops, messy rooms, or dirty carpets or floors, the buyer will potential walk away with a negative impression that will be hard to overcome.  Be sure to clean well, leave lights on and perhaps leave out drinks and snacks to make buyers feel like guests. When you are touring potential new homes, make mental notes about the things you notice!

Real estate agents know all the information you need to make the best decisions when it comes to buying and selling a home. They know the best schools, the best neighborhoods and where the pockets of growth are. They understand where property taxes are higher or lower and can listen to a buyer's needs and give the best advice they can. Ask me for a recommendation because I work with incredible agents every day and be sure to ask me about our Certified Pre-Approval as you start thinking about moving into a new home and putting your home on the market. I am here to help you every step of the way.
 
Original article here


Charlotte could be One the Fastest Growing Real Estate Markets in 2014 January 30, 2014


2013 may have brought many changes to our standard housing market but Charlotte, North Carolina has made every effort to make sure it will stay one of the fastest growing real estate markets for 2014. While looking at the local economy and growing employment, Charlotte is near the top of many real estate market lists. As the headquarters to many large corporations, Charlotte's metropolitan area is a major financial, medical and educational sector in the Eastern part of the country.

Freddie Mac says long-term rates have fallen for the second consecutive week. 30 fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.39%, down from 4.41% the previous week.

A 15-year fix averaged 3.44% this week, down from
3.45%. Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows roughly
a year ago.

But overall, 2013 was the best year for housing in seven years. The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that sales of existing homes edged up slightly in December, helping lift sales for the year to the
highest level since 2006.

Most economists expect home sales and prices to keep rising this year, but at a slower pace. They forecast sales and prices will likely rise around 5%, down from
double-digit gains in 2013.

"Consumers are getting used to more realistic mortgage rates, which still remain favorable on a historical basis," said David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. "As household formations and pent-up demand continue to emerge, we anticipate that 2014 will be a strong year for housing."

When you combine all of Charlotte's strong economic factors you have a recipe for a rapidly growing real estate market. Right now is one of the best times to consider all of your home buying or selling options and making sure that you find the right real estate agent. Whether you are buying a new home or looking to refinance your current home, you can trust Fairway Independent Mortgage of the Carolinas to make your home loan as stress-free as possible. Call me to get started or schedule an appointment with you, to have a good look at your financial plans and help you make the best home loan decision to show you how the path toward ownership.

Original article here