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Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo?

by Amy McLeod Group

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? | Keeping Current Matters

Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home.

Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender.

Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items.

Credit Score – A number ranging from 300-850, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750.

Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage.

Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month.

Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years.

Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017.

Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you're a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.

Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click here.

Real Estate Professional – An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate professionals can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process.

The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to contact The McLeod Group Network for guidance through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first. 971.208.5093 or mcleodgroupoffice@gmail.com. 

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Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Maintainable?

by Amy McLeod Group

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Maintainable? | Keeping Current Matters

There are some experts questioning whether the current pace of residential home sales is maintainable. Are too many people buying homes like in 2004-2006? Are we headed for another housing crisis? Actually, if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that we are looking at a very healthy real estate market.

Why the concern?

Some are looking at the last four years of home sales and comparing them to the three years just prior to the housing bubble. Looking at the graph below, we can understand that thinking.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Maintainable? | Keeping Current Matters

However, if we go further back in history, we can see the real picture. After taking out the “boom & bust” years, the pace of sales is growing at quite a natural pace.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Maintainable? | Keeping Current Matters

And new home sales are way below historic numbers. Dave Liniger, Re/Max CEOexplains:

“We expect a seasonal uptick in sales this time of year and March certainly met and somewhat exceeded that expectation. We don’t anticipate the tightening inventory to ease up in most markets until new home construction can catch up to its pre-recession pace. Until then, sellers will enjoy a fast-paced market and buyers will need to work with their agents to get in the right home.”

Bottom Line

The current pace of residential home sales definitely seems maintainable. If you are ready to buy or sell a home contact The McLeod Group Network today! 971.208.5093 or mcleodgroupoffice@gmail.com.

 

 

Exploring Salem Oregon: Willamette Art Center - Spring Pottery Sale

by Amy McLeod Group

Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? The Art Center has handcrafted planters, vases, kitchenware and more created by talented, local potters. Discover a unique piece to add to your home or garden. Purchases support the WAC studio and local artists.

Willamette Art Center
1820 Silverton Rd. NE
Salem, OR 97301

503-365-3911

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’

by Amy McLeod Group

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | Keeping Current Matters

In school, we all learned the theory of supply and demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 3.8-month supply. This is considerably lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market.

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | Keeping Current Matters

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the number of buyers out in the market looking for homes, which is also known as buyer traffic. As seen on the map below, buyer demand in March was strong or very strong in 45 out of 50 states nationwide, and Washington, DC.

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | Keeping Current Matters

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream homes (if they are even able to find a home they wish to purchase).

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their homes. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their homes. In reality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report tells us that 78.9% actually do!

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | Keeping Current Matters

Many homeowners who are undervaluing the equity they have in their homes may feel trapped, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

Bottom Line

If you are debating selling your home this year, lets meet to evaluate the equity you have in your home, as well as the opportunities available in your market. The McLeod Group Network, 971.208.5093 or mcleodgroupoffice@gmail.com. 

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How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment?

by Amy McLeod Group

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long would it take you to save for a down payment in each state?

Using data from the United States Census Bureau and Zillow, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

By determining the percentage of income spent renting a 2-bedroom apartment in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Iowa can save for a down payment the quickest in just under 2 years (1.99). Below is a map created using the data for each state:

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3% down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in a year or two in many states as shown in the map below.

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment, or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let The McLeod Group Network help you evaluate your ability to buy today. 971.208.5093 or mcleodgroupoffice@gmail.com. 

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Exploring Salem Oregon: Take a Walk in the Park

by Amy McLeod Group

Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Join us for a walk in the park! Pick up your passport and a balloon at the Rotary Pavilion, then walk to 6 stations & get your passport stamped at each one. At the end, grab a treat and enter your passport in a drawing to win an Attack Owl sign. A fun 2-mile walk. Hosted by Salem Parks Foundation. Suggested donation: $5 individual; $10 for families. Proceeds benefit Salem Parks.

200 Water St.
Salem, OR 97301

EVENT WEBSITE

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Measuring Your Ability to Achieve the American Dream

by Amy McLeod Group

Measuring Your Ability to Achieve the American Dream | Keeping Current Matters

Forbes.com recently released the results of their new American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”

The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.

The national index score was rounded out to 100 in January and saw a modest jump to 100.5 in February.

Alaska represented the lowest score on the index at 80.7, due mostly to the recent collapse in oil prices. Nevada came in with the highest score at 108.8, boosted by big gains in goods-producing jobs and new construction activity. The full results can be seen in the map below.

Measuring Your Ability to Achieve the American Dream | Keeping Current Matters

Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

“[B]usinesses are hiring in part in anticipation of tax cuts and less regulation... Many areas of the country have experienced strong upticks in employment and construction, as well as declines in unemployment claims since the start of the year.”

Bottom Line

The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of his or her own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, its time to contact The McLeod Group Network for help making the dream become a reality. 971.208.5093 or mcleodgroupoffice@gmail.com. 

 

Setting Your Table for an Easter Dinner Party

by Amy McLeod Group

If you love to entertain in your home, spring is a time of year when setting a table for a dinner party is delightful way to bring the beauty of nature indoors, especially at Easter dinner.  Here are some creative and fun ideas for setting a table that will have you and your guests celebrating life, love, friendship and new beginnings!

Evoke a feeling of tranquility in your dining room by combining fresh roses, peonies, and hyacinth to create a delicate bouquet for your Easter centerpiece.

Include a speckled surprise!  A wee nest with an egg dyed a soft shade of blue makes a fitting place-card holder for a nature inspired, spring-time table.

If you are thinking about a more casual or "kid friendly" table, consider going with bright colors. A whimsical, candy-colored theme fits perfectly on a sunny spring day!  A bag of jelly beans is an excellent inspiration for the colors to use on this Easter table.

Here is an “egg-cellent” idea…use every day items as “egg holders”.  This is an enjoyable way to allow kids to help decorate.  They can dye eggs in colors to match your theme and then find clever ways to display them.  Candle stick holders are just one example of everyday items that can be used for this purpose.

If your dinner party includes young children, have a special treat for them as part of their place setting. Baa Baa Black and White Sheep treats are sure to impress. To shape the body, use melted white candy coating (found in the baking aisle) to secure miniature marshmallows to one Pepperidge Farm Milano Black & White cookie. Attach Peanut M & M’s for hooves. Use a second Milano cookie for the head, and attach miniature marshmallows and miniature chocolate morsels for the eyes. Use flattened marshmallows, pinched together at one end, to make ears.

Butterflies not only elicit thoughts of spring; they also symbolize rebirth in the most compelling way. Wire silk butterflies to the stems of champagne glasses for a simple, but elegant touch.

 

Exploring Salem Oregon: Friends of Bush Gardens Plant Sale

by Amy McLeod Group

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 10:00 am to Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Healthy plants for all your gardening needs including organic vegetables and herbs, from some of the Mid-Willamette Valley's most dedicated growers. Check the schedule for a new design clinic.

Salem's Riverfront Pavilion and North Meadow
200 Water St. NE
Salem, OR 97301

503-588-2410

Event Website

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Millennials Flock to Low Down Payment Programs

by Amy McLeod Group

Millennials Flock to Low Down Payment Programs | Keeping Current Matters

A recent report released by Down Payment Resource shows that 65% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with a down payment of 6% or less in the month of January.

The trend continued through all buyers with a mortgage, as 62% made a down payment of less than 20%, which is consistent with findings from December.

An article by DS News points to the new wave of millennial homebuyers:

“It seems that the long-awaited influx of millennial home buyers is beginning. Ellie Mae reported that mortgages to millennial borrowers for new home purchases continued their ascent in January, accounting for 84 percent of closed loans.”

Among millennials who purchased homes in January, FHA loans remained popular, making up 35% of all loans closed. Ellie Mae’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy Joe Tyrrell gave some insight into why:

“It is not surprising to see Millennial borrowers leverage FHA loans because they typically offer lower down payments and lower average FICO score requirements than conventional loans. Across the board, we're continuing to see strong interest in homeownership from this younger generation.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many millennials who is debating a home purchase this year, let The McLeod Group Network help you understand your options and set you on the path to preapproval. 971.208.5093 or mcleodgroupoffice@gmail.com. 

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Displaying blog entries 391-400 of 406

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Contact Information

Photo of The McLeod Group Network Real Estate
The McLeod Group Network
Keller Williams Capital City
1900 Hines St SE #220
Salem OR 97302
971-208-5093
Fax: 971-599-5229

**Disclaimer: Amy McLeod, and her team, do not initiate, process, or service mortgages.  And provide this information only as a service.  You should confirm information here with your Licensed Mortgage Lender.