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Homebuyers have been reaping rewards of a struggling economy since the recession. Housing prices and interest rates dropped to historic lows in 2009, and have not fully recovered in the years that followed.

Like all good things—if you’re a homebuyer, that is—the bargain is coming to an end.

At this writing, the rate for a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage is 4.01%. Three months ago, it was 3.579%. On the plus side, the current rate matches where we were in January 2016. We had a dip this year, but it’s not expected to happen again.

How to Select Your Mortgage Lender

Thursday October 29, 2015

Before you start searching for your new home, make sure you know how much you are qualified to borrow. Not only will this knowledge help you focus your house hunting on the right properties, but pre-qualifying gives you more leverage when a seller knows you can get the mortgage to buy their home.

The first step is to select the right institution. Here are some tips on how to select your mortgage lender. You might be tempted by the lure of low interest rates and no closing costs, but protect yourself by ensuring you work with a reputable, responsive, and experienced lender.

Not long ago, homebuyers reigned in the housing market. Home prices dropped dramatically after the 2008 financial crisis, and mortgage rates fell to an all-time low. People who were ready and able to purchase a new home reaped the rewards of under-valued home prices and historically low mortgage rates.

In 2012, home prices were below the fair value of the properties, lower than they had been since 1998. Since March 2012, those prices have been creeping up. Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research predicts that prices will continue to climb slowly for the next few years.

While Baby Boomers showed a preference in their early years for apartment living, their grown children are leaning toward the single-family home as their housing preference—whether renting or owning. A Fannie Mae report released July 1, 2015 showed that a rising number of people between the ages of 25 and 34 are occupying single-family homes.

In 2000, 50.9 percent of renters and 84.5 percent of homeowners in this age group lived in a single-family home. In 2013, those numbers increased to 52.4 and 88.9 percent, respectively. Not a huge leap, but the trend continues, according to the report, “Rent or Own, Young Adults Still Prefer Single-Family Homes”.

So, you’ve gotten your financial situation in order and are ready to buy a house. Do you know how much house your monthly budget can handle?

Budgeting for your first home purchase
You’ve probably used a mortgage calculator to get an idea of the price range in which you should be looking. While that might give you a very rough idea of the homes you should consider, it shouldn’t be the only budgeting you do.

Tax Time Tips for Home Owners

Monday February 11, 2013

Taxes are due April 15, which means it’s time to start gathering your W2s, 1099s and bank statements.

But before you sit down with your accountant, it’s important for you to know that merely owning a home could mean you qualify for tax breaks. In most cases, you need to itemize your taxes in order to take advantage of these deductions.

When it comes to debt, we each tend to think of different types of debt in different ways. For example, you may feel “normal” for having an auto loan but ashamed of having credit card debt. So what about real estate? People buy homes either as a home to live in or as a way to earn extra income. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that most look at it as “good” debt — either out of necessity (the cost of a home makes it nearly impossible for anyone to purchase one in cash) or simply because it’s so common.

Since the housing bubble burst, it may be time to rethink whether real estate can always be considered “good” debt. Like anything else, the answer to this depends on where you are financially and what you can afford to take on. Below are a few points to help you make a decision that’s right for you.

How Much Home Can You Afford?

Thursday January 17, 2013

For anyone thinking about purchasing a home, it’s the most fundamental question: How much can you really afford? 

Here’s an overview of what matters to lenders and how you can more accurately predict whether you’ll qualify for a given loan amount or not.

Mortgage Secret #1: Ratios are hugely important.

Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to move into a new home in 2013? One of the keys to making the home-buying process easier and more understandable is planning. In doing so, you’ll be able to anticipate requests from lenders, lawyers and a host of other professionals. Furthermore, planning will help you discover valuable shortcuts in the home-buying process. Follow these steps to achieve your goal of home ownership in 2013.

Resolution #1: Decide What You Want
Let’s start with the fun part. The first step is to decide what you are looking for. You need to determine the what, where, and when of your purchase. What kind of house are you looking for? Where would you like to live? When would you like to buy? Spend a lot of time thinking about this, a new home is a serious commitment and you want to choose somewhere where you can happily live for several years.

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