Guide To Buying An A-Frame House

Guide To Buying An A-Frame HouseA-Frame houses have spiked in popularity over the last couple of years. These adorable homes can be quirky or sleek and modern. They are shaped like a triangle — hence the name. A-Frame houses are shaped like the letter A. The walls begin near the foundation and slope upwards in a slant. The walls meet at the top to form a triangle or A-shape. 

A-Frame houses are popular all over the United States. They are ideal for second or vacation homes. The big windows make them especially popular in very picturesque locales. This feature allows homeowners to enjoy fabulous views of the ocean, mountains or countryside. 

Characteristics Of An A-Frame House 

A-Frame houses have very specific characteristics. Here are some of the features of an A-Frame house:

  • Open floor plan 
  • Loft space
  • Large windows 
  • Wood siding 
  • High interior ceilings 
  • Gables in the back and front 

Benefits Of An A-Frame House 

Many buyers love A-Frame houses for several reasons. They have large windows, which allows plenty of natural light to enter the home. The large windows also make them ideal for scenic views. 

A-Frame homes are also quite inexpensive and straightforward, which is another reason that they are prevalent vacation homes. 

Who Are A-Frame Homes Ideal For? 

Many outdoor types of families love A-Frame houses because they are ideal for beautiful natural settings. A-Frame homes are also ideal for buyers looking for a vacation home in a pretty location. They are also great for investors or first-time home buyers.

If you are looking to buy in a prime waterfront location, you might consider an A-Frame house, as well. They are perfect for buyers wanting to build a private escape on a couple of acres of land. 

Who Should Not Buy An A-Frame Home? 

A-Frame homes aren’t for everyone. While they are an excellent option for first-time home buyers or buyers looking for a vacation property, they are not ideal for all buyers.

For example, buyers in Florida would be better served looking for a different type of home. A-Frames may not be suitable in some climates since they are constructed with wood. This fact makes them potentially more susceptible to storm and termite damage. 

Also, A-Frame homes are probably not ideal for larger families that need a lot of storage space. A-Frame houses typically have limited storage space because of the shape of the roof. 

Whether you are in the market for a traditional or a unique and interesting property, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to get your financing pre-approved well before you decide to make an offer.

4 Important Reasons To Install A Home Generator

4 Important Reasons To Install A Home GeneratorHome improvements are key investments when it comes to quality of life and property value. While decks, solar panels and smart technologies are trendy options, installing a home generator may be even more valuable. That’s because backup generators not only improve market value, they also protect you and your home during severe weather incidents.

Consider these four reasons why a home generator makes good sense.

Protect Against Severe Weather

The impact of severe weather can reach catastrophic proportions. Thousands of people are left without electricity for days — even weeks — after storms. Heat waves also put an inordinate strain on the power grid when all of those air conditioners and HVAC go into 24-hour overdrive.

The consequences of extended power losses are generally fouled foods in the refrigerator and freezer, unbearable temperatures and an inability to take corrective measures to the physical property itself. When the grid goes down, you may be left powerless as the losses mount.   

Keeps Critical Systems Operational

When the power goes down for an extended period of time, important electronics become inoperable. If you work from home or rely on electronic devices to earn a living, either you’re putting in for vacation time or losing money. But beyond the financial implications, many people need power for vital medical equipment to function. It’s simply too risky to not have a backup plan if you or a loved one suffers from a health condition.

Backup Generators Improve Home Security

We have all seen the national news coverage about post-storm or brownout crime waves. Looting and burglary ran rampant when residents are evacuated. That’s because criminals know full well that your alarm system went down with the power.

Consider the accumulated wealth you have at home and irreplaceable personal items. Those could be lost if your home gets robbed during a power outage. Fortunately, installing a home generator will allow you to keep the lights on and thugs away. Just having your lights on at night demonstrates that you have electricity and that acts as a powerful deterrent. A backup generator provides peace of mind against theft.

Backup Generators Improve Property Values

It only makes sense that a home generator will increase your property value. After all, home generator installations are direct financial investments.

According to Consumer Reports, installing a home generator can improve your home’s value by as much as 3-5 percent. Similarly, Remodeling Magazine indicated that the return on investment for a home generator installing can range as high as 150 percent. Of course, those figures may be weighed against the money you saved by being powered up when the grid was down as well.

The point of this discussion is that while new kitchens and smart homes are exciting ways to amp up your home’s values, improvements such as backup generators have a quiet value worth considering.

If you are interested in improving your property and need additional funding, contact your trusted mortgage professional to find out about the types of programs available to help you access the equity in your home. 

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper?

Should You Buy A Fixer UpperPopular TV shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers have brought the charms of owning a fixer upper to light. A fixer-upper can be a great option if you are prepared for the experience of owning a house that needs work and time.

A house that needs work can be a great investment if you are ready to invest the time and money into it. On the other hand, buying a fixer upper might be a problem if you are not aware of what you are getting into.

Not sure if owning a fixer upper is worth it? Here are some considerations to think about.

Start With This Easy Equation

Start with the likely market value of the house after renovations will be made. Then, sum up the cost to renovate the home. Then, add another 25 percent to the renovation costs for unforeseen problems that will no doubt come up during the renovation process.

Next, subtract the renovation costs from the probable market value of the house after the renovations are made. Use similar real estate prices in the area to get your estimate.

What number is left? This number what you should offer.

So, if the comparable estimates are $100,000 and the house needs $25,000 in work, then you should offer no more than $75,000 to break even. Most professionals recommend deducting 10 percent from the asking price just to make the investment of time worthwhile.

Determine How You Will Pay

If you buy a fixer-upper, you’re going to need some way to fund the renovations. It can be hard coming up with the funds for repairs and upgrades after paying closing costs. Some options for funding renovations include a renovation loan, like Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Loan. This loan is rolled right into your mortgage, which makes things easier.

Another popular option is an FHA 203(k) loan. This loan is a little easier to qualify for than the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Loan and it only requires 3.5% down.

Decide If You Want To Invest The Time

Buying a fixer-upper is an investment. You will have to invest your time in making a lot of decisions. You’ll need to decide on things like building materials and aesthetics.

Do you have a design or architectural background? Do you enjoy remodeling projects? These are questions that you’ll really want to think about before buying a fixer upper.

Your trusted mortgage professional will be your best resource to help you secure the right financing for your new home project. 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 31st, 2018

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates 07-31-18Last week’s economic readings included reports on sales of new and pre-owned homes, mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

New Home Sales Slide; Pre-owned Home Sales Meet Expectations

Commerce Department reported lower sales of new homes in June. Sales were expected to reach 666,000 sales on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, but the actual reading slipped by 5.30 percent to a pace of 631,000 new home sales. Analysts cited higher building costs, home prices and mortgage rates sidelined some buyers.

Concerns over inadequate inventories of available homes also impacted sales of newly-built homes. New homes sold at a rate 6.90 percent higher year-over-year, but analysts cautioned that home price appreciation and demand may be at or near their peak.

The National Association of Realtors® reported an annual pace of 5.38 million sales of previously-owned homes for June, which matched analysts’ expectations. May’s reading was 5.41 million sales of pre-owned homes.

Analysts caution that Commerce Department readings are subject to adjustment due to the relatively small number of home sales used to represent all sales of pre-owned homes.

Mortgage Rates and New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week with incremental increases in average mortgage rates. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages were two basis points higher at 4.54 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.02 percent and were two basis points higher.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were one basis point higher and averaged 3.87 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 217,000 claims filed; this reading fell short of the expected reading of 219,000 new claims but was higher than the 208,000 new claims reported for the prior week.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic releases include readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and readings on pending home sales and construction spending. Labor reports including public and private sector jobs growth and the national unemployment rate will also be released.

Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be published.

 

Top Real Estate Predictions You Should Know About

Top Real Estate Predictions You Should Know AboutWhether you are a homeowner looking to get the maximum return on investment, a buyer interested in fair market value or an industry insider grappling with the moving parts of the real estate industry, these are some trends and predictions you should know about.

Lower Home Supply Causing Significant Value Growth

Indicators point to a U.S. economy that has settled into a nice growth period. Unemployment rates have touched some record lows, wages appear to be on the rise and Millennials are entering high earning and home-buying years. Couple these factors with the fact that last year’s tax reform laws will likely put more money back in everyday Americans’ pockets and homes could be a hot commodity, so to speak.

Home supply — on the other hand — does not appear ready to meet the rising demand of buyers. Experts are predicting that rising demand will collide with the housing shortfall and prices will ramp up in 2019.

Home Values Could Rise Another 5 Percent By Year’s End

Some real estate insiders are pointing to National Association of REALTORS information that the number of available homes for sale has dropped for 35 consecutive months. The volume of sales is down because there simply are not enough homes being put on the market. Coupled with the uptick in the economy, sellers are in the driver’s seat right now and they are demanding top dollar for their homes.

That being said, it may be in the best interest of first-time homebuyers to get into the market sooner rather than later. The improved wages from the surging economy may not be able to keep pace with a potential 5-percent increase in property values by the end of 2019. It looks like a buy now or pay later real estate market.

It’s Not A Housing Bubble And Won’t Burst

The housing market has been on a tear over the last three years. Property values have appreciated fairly consistently for 35 straight months. Such data mirrors that of the housing market right before the crash. While some experts are calling for another housing bubble to burst due to an unforeseen flaw in the system, tough legislation and oversight are in place. It’s only human nature to be cautious when conditions appear similar to those leading up to a bad outcome.

This time around, rising home prices appear to be based on solid economic factors. Either contractors are going to start massive home-construction builds all over the country or the shortage will continue to drive prices up. While experts say we are not in a so-called housing bubble, the market may level off down the road to get in tune with consumer affordability.

If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to get your financing pre-approval!

Selling Your Home? 4 Ways To Get Your Garage Ready

Selling Your Home? 4 Ways To Get Your Garage Ready

The garage is often the last thing on seller’s minds when it comes to home staging. It is prudent to make sure your kitchen and bathrooms are perfect for showings. Make sure that you don’t neglect your garage when getting your home ready to sell.

A good-looking garage can be a great selling point. Has your garage become a greasy, junk-filled space that you don’t like to visit? If so, then buyers won’t want to see it either. Fortunately, it is easy to get your garage in top shape before your showings. Up the appeal of your garage with these easy tricks.

Get Rid Clutter

The first step to getting your garage in tip-top shape is to remove all of the clutter. The garage often becomes a storage place for random things. Purge everything that you don’t need. Getting rid of junk can help make moving easier and more comfortable, as well. Divide your stuff into piles: trash, donate and keep. Get rid of all garbage. Recycle broken items. You can give things that you don’t need anymore to Goodwill or another charity.

Organize

Buyers love organized homes, and this goes for the garage too. Organizing your garage can also help make your move easier. Install a pegboard on your wall. Pegboards are inexpensive, and they can make a garage look neat and clean. You can use ceiling space to hang items. Ceiling-mounted racks are easy to install and not too pricey. Buyers will appreciate the extra storage space as well.

Paint the Floor

Is your garage floor stained with rust or oil? A dirty garage floor can turn buyers off. You can brighten up your garage and make the concrete look brand new with a couple of coats of epoxy garage floor paint. It isn’t very costly or time-consuming to refinish your garage floor. This is a project that most people can do in a spare weekend.

Add Light

Most garages don’t have windows. As a result, they tend to be dark and dreary. The first step in adding light to your garage is to replace any light bulbs that aren’t working. If your garage still looks dark, consider installing additional lighting. You can replace your standard bulb with a multi-directional LED fixture if you only have one lighting fixture in your garage. These are kind of pricey but they don’t require expensive rewiring. They simply screw into your existing socket and offer about four times more lighting compared to a traditional 60-watt bulb.  

It can be tedious work preparing to sell your home. One of the best things you can do to ease the transition between selling your old home and purchasing your new home is to make sure that you have your financing pre-approved. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to get the process underway!

 

Check Out This Great Next Gen Kitchen Technology

Check Out This Great Next Gen Kitchen TechnologyThere’s perhaps no better indicator that we are living in the technology age than Smart gadgets infiltrating the kitchen. Whether they are little conveniences or big-ticket items, the chef in every home can benefit from the devices that help improve cooking, storage and food preparation. These are some of the next generation kitchen items that are making life a little easier and homes a tad more valuable.

Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge Provides Constant Contact

This big-ticket Samsung line has definitely taken refrigeration to the next level. It features a touchscreen that you can connect to with handheld devices to connect with your unit. One of the key features is that it enjoys an embedded camera and you can literally look at what is on your shelves while shopping for the evening meal. The days of being one ingredient short are over.

But beyond the shopping aid, the Family Hub lets you know when food is expiring, provides recipe suggestions, plays music and can utilize an Internet of Things method of ordering items for you. The Smart fridge has all the bells and whistles that can help improve your quality of life.

Smart Ovens Are Trending

Star Trek: Next Generation fans may recall Capt. Jean-Luc Picard ordering tea by simply saying “Earl Grey, hot.” The days of voice-activated meals may be closer than you think.

The latest lines of Smart ovens are integrating WiFi and connecting to recipe apps as well as that friendly home bot Alexa. Amazon reported that Alexa will be integrated into the kitchen and laundry room going forward. Several lines of Smart ovens on the market are already set up for tech-oriented homes. This Smart kitchen trend is likely to be popular with Millennial homebuyers who are flooding the real estate market.

Tech-Savvy Toaster Ovens Rule

The sometimes-forgotten toaster oven could be making a comeback in a huge way. Some of the new lines, such as Breville’s Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro could double for a full-sized unit. Reviews on the brand tout the device’s ability to cook a 13-inch pizza or 14-pound turkey.

But the next generation aspect of these Smart ovens are things such as the “air fry” capabilities. It also features 13 pre-programmable cooking options including dehydrate. Those college dorm room days of crumb-filled toaster ovens heating up pre-cooked frozen foods are last generation.

Futuristic PancakeBot Amazes

Tech buffs often see 3-D printers as the device that could make the largest difference in terms of machinery and even ending hunger. The 3-D technology has been put to use making amazing and artistic pancakes of all shapes and sizes. You simply program it with a computer image to create the pancake design you desire, pour in the batter and serve.

The next generation of Smart kitchens are shifting the way home cooks function. In terms of property values, integrating Smart technologies appear to be highly sought after and can be a difference-maker in home sales.

If high-tech kitchen gadgets are on your list of must-haves, contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

3 Generations Top Housing Market Trends

3 Generations Top Housing Market TrendsHistorians like to say that those who do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them. In the real estate industry, the chances of that happening are slim because agents and other professionals follow market trends closely.

That being said, a careful examination of 2017 market trends and other factors can help highlight where the housing market is headed. Consider these top trends when deciding about whether to buy or sell a property.

Millennials Scooping Up Homes

According to resources such as Zillow, the low inventory and emergence of Millennials in the home-buying market helped break records last year. Millennials comprised upwards of 34 percent of the market and about two-thirds of them were reportedly first-time home buyers.

Given the shortage of entry-level homes for this demographic, 2018 and 2019 should have them in the driver’s seat in terms of buying trends. Although home prices are expected to rise in the single digits during the foreseeable future, the second wave of Millennial home buyers are likely to take a big bite of listed properties.

As this group moves into their mid-30s, expectations are that last year’s 34 percent turns into about 43 percent of homes purchased. Millennials appear to be setting the pace.

Gen Z Home Buyers Expect Smarter Homes

Consider those born between 1995 and 2001 are adults or on the cusp of becoming adults. The front end of Generation Z is graduating college and looking for starter homes. This group is bound and determined to be different and they were basically weaned on technology.

Tech-friendly kitchens, lights and home-integrated devices have been trending and this demographic is likely to make them a priority when buying a home. Homeowners who are considering updating to a so-called “Smart Home” could be rewarded with resale value once Gen Z enters their collective mid-30s. Smart homes are trending and could go vertical with Gen Z buyers.

Generation X Returns From Great Recession

The housing crisis of 2007-09 put upwards of 10 million Americans out of their homes. Forced into foreclosure and bankruptcy, the financial aftermath of that catastrophe is coming to an end.

Those that filed for bankruptcy during the crash are in position to put their rebuilt credit to work. According to reports, approximately 1.5 million people could become eligible to re-enter the housing market in 2019.

A large portion of these potential returning homebuyers fall into the Gen X age group. They are likely to be savvier than the first time out. Many of these 50-somethings are expected to be frugal and cautious value buyers that could target properties that are traditionally considered starter homes. Regardless of how the trend plays out, Gen X is coming to a housing market near you.

If these emerging trends indicate anything, it’s that the shortage of homes on the market will only get tighter. Several large emerging demographics and returning buyers are going to speed an already fast-selling market. The trending idea may be to buy a home in today’s market and save money.

Contact your trusted mortgage professional for a pre-approval and get started looking for the house of your dreams!

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 23rd, 2018

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week 7-23-18Last week’s scheduled economic releases included readings from the National Association of Home Builders and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released

NAHB Housing Market Index Unchanged in July

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index held steady in July despite concerns connected with tariffs on building materials. Analysts said that high demand for homes continued to fuel builder confidence in housing market conditions, but some analysts said that housing market conditions may be at or near peak.

Builder confidence in current market conditions was unchanged with a reading of 74; confidence in housing market conditions within the next six months rose two points to 75. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single- family developments also rose two points to 52. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident about housing market conditions than not.

Commerce Department: Housing Starts, Building Permits Fall

June housing starts fell according to the Commerce Department with 1.173 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Housing starts were 12.30 percent lower than downwardly-revised readings for May. Building permits issued also fell in June. 1.273 million permits were issued on a year-over-year basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.301 million permits issued year-over-year. Builders faced difficulty in producing homes at attractive pricing due to increased costs of building materials.

Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single-family developments rose two points to an index reading of 52 in June. Summer months typically see more home buyer traffic due to school vacations providing a transitional period for families seeking new homes.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported mixed and minimal movement in mortgage rates last week. Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages were one basis point lower at 4.52 percent; rates for a15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.00 percent which was two basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 3.87 percent.  Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 207,000 claims filed, which was lower than the expected reading of 224,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 215,000 new claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic releases include readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes, housing vacancies and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

 

Home Buying: Repair Requests After A Home Inspection

Home Buying Repair Requests After A Home InspectionThe perfect home has been found, the one in the right neighborhood with the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms. The home inspection is complete, but a few issues have been found. At this point, a home buyer has decisions to make. 

What Repair Requests Can Be Made After a Home Inspection?

Structural defects found during a home inspection are the responsibility of the seller and must be fixed. In addition, Realtor.com states that the following must also be repaired by the seller:

  • Water penetration such as mold or wet basement/crawlspace
  • Any code and safety violations like unstable decking or missing handrails

Cosmetic issues like bold paint choices or peeling paint, nail holes, and other normal wear-and-tear are the responsibility of the buyer, not seller.

Additional Repairs To Request 

Home buyers do have the option of requesting repairs they believe are the seller’s responsibility. These often go beyond obvious structural issues like a sinking foundation or mold in the basement.

Additional repairs that home buyers may request include but are not limited to:

  • Replacing pipes with leaks
  • Replacing galvanized pipes due to lead contaminant, low water pressure, and leaks
  • Upgrading electrical wiring in a home built before 1960
  • Fixing cracked window(s)
  • Installing new HVAC and/or water heater

Sellers may be willing to replace old sewer lines known as “tar paper” pipes. These “tar paper” pipes are called Orangeburg sewer pipes and often found in older homes. On average, this older type of sewer pipe has a 50-year life span. However, as it ages, it can begin to disintegrate with tree roots penetrating the material. A home buyer can hire a plumbing professional who specializes in sewer pipes to inspect the system as part of the overall home inspection.

There may be additional issues that the seller is not required to fix, but that leave the buyer unhappy. When this happens, it can be possible for the buyer to request a repair credit be added to the final contract. Typically, this works best when the repair or issue has a potential cost of more than $500. 

Qualified Home Inspection

Repair requests made by the home buyer, whether major or minor, usually are more credible when done in conjunction with a qualified home inspection. Not every state requires home inspectors to have specific certifications or even licensing, so it’s essential to work with real estate agent to select a qualified professional. A qualified and independent home inspector is the buyer’s responsibility. This inspector should have established credentials and belong to trade association, versus a friend or family member that “knows houses”. 

Home buying can be an overwhelming experience, but knowing which repairs to request the seller to fix after the home inspection, is one less item to worry about. Timely and open communication with your trusted mortgage professional throughout the process can help to ensure a smooth and successful home buying experience.

MyLenderSean.com is not a lender, but is the domain name and blog website for loan officer Sean Young (NMLS 191647 / LMB 100013240) who is an employee of Broker Solutions, Inc. DBA New American Funding an Equal Housing Lender licensed through NMLS 6606.
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