As mortgage rates and house prices continue to rise in the coming year, the supply of homes on the market is expected to stay low. Despite all this negative sounding news, there is a great solution for homebuyers to obtain the dream home they have always wanted. Beat out the heavy competition that exists within the housing market with a Renovation loan!
In a competitive market with low home inventory, your best chance to purchase a home without getting stuck spending a fortune in a bidding war may be to purchase a property in need of updates or renovations. A house with good bones but an unattractive face, or a “fixer-upper” as they’ve come to be known, may be listed below market price and potentially end up with fewer offers and views as it sits on the market. These houses, with a well thought out plan, can usually be spruced up through a handful of renovation and remodeling projects. Renovation loans allow for the purchase of a house below your budget and renovate it up to what is affordable.
Renovation loans such as the FHA 203k or the Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan were created so that homebuyers could purchase a home they felt had potential, and could make their own. Using these loans, homebuyers can borrow money for a house and its desired renovations all at once without the need for a second loan.
FHA 203K Renovation mortgages allow buyers to borrow the funds for both the purchase and renovation of a home, based on the projected value of the finished product, and may be used for almost any renovation project except luxury items. A HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage allows for the purchase and financing of up to 50% of your property’s post renovation value, and can be used for luxury additions such as swimming pools as well as room remodels and any other permanent renovation that will add value to the home.
Fixer-uppers and home remodels are currently all the rage, and, considering the housing market projections, are expected to rise in the coming year. There are always ways for buyers to get their dream home, it just requires a little imagination and the ability to see past the imperfections of the current home. Thinking outside of the box will help today's buyers navigate the competition in the current market and renovation loans offer buyers a solution to still get their dream home.
Contact one of our Loan Originators for details on how to finance and renovate your dream home today!
February is American Heart Month, and a perfect reminder to make small changes that can have a big impact in your heart health.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, so it makes sense to know a little bit about what makes your heart tick. While some risk factors like your age, gender, race and heredity cannot be controlled, others are very much in your own hands. The American Heart Association (AHA) has a number of strategies that can help you take control of these factors:
Eat with color. Healthy eating habits are at the top of the list. And if you follow AHA's food color guidelines, as well as seasonal eating habits, you will be on your way to managing cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar level and a healthy weight. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and high-fiber foods, fish, lean protein, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. All of these nutrient-rich foods are packed with vitamins and minerals, but are lower in calories.
Don't weigh yourself down with expensive diet plans. Losing excess body fat is essential to heart health, and the AHA's free diet and exercise program can help you get started on the right track.
Get physical by working your way up to 30 minutes of activity per day, at least five days per week. The AHA has numerous ways to help you make moderate physical activity a valued part of your life.
Check your stress at the door, and learn to control one of the most important factors related to heart health. The AHA has an entire section of their website dedicated to helping you manage stress levels.
Commit to quit if you still smoke. Yes, it's easier said than done but there's a lot riding on this risk factor. No matter how tough it is to quit smoking, it's a lot harder to recover from a heart attack. The AHA has detailed help here too, with resources and ideas for making this one resolution that sticks.
Know the signs of a heart attack. Familiarity with the warning signs can save a life:
- Chest discomfort. Any pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few moments, even if it stops and then comes back, can be a sign that something is wrong and you should seek help.
- Upper body discomfort. Pay attention to pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw or even your stomach.
- Shortness of breath. Even if you don't have discomfort, shortness of breath is an important warning sign, and one that you should never ignore.
- Lightheadedness, nausea or cold sweats are other signs to be aware of.
When it comes to heart disease, every minute matters. Commit to heart-healthy choices and watch out for warning signs.
For more information, please visit the American Heart Association’s website: www.heart.org
Source: American Heart Association
The Rise of 2017
As the books closed on 2016, many economic indicators were on the rise. Some signal good news for those in the market to buy a home.
Housing Starts Surge
For regions struggling with limited housing inventory, Housing Starts may provide some hope. December Housing Starts surged 11.3 percent from November, the Commerce Department reported. The welcome news follows a disappointing pullback in November and a nine-year high in October. For all of 2016, average monthly Housing Starts were the best since 2007. Building Permits, which signal future construction, fell just short of expectations in December.
On another positive note, Existing Home Sales ended 2016 as the best year in a decade.
Limited housing inventory continued to push home prices up in 2016. CoreLogic, a provider of consumer, financial and property information, reported that home prices, including distressed sales, rose 7.1 percent from November 2015 to November 2016. The recent rise in home loan rates and the expectation of higher rates in 2017 could slow home price gains this year, CoreLogic reported.
Inflation Ticks Up
Consumer inflation was up 2.1 percent from December 2015 to December 2016, as reported in the Consumer Price Index. This 12-month increase marks the fastest pace of inflationary growth since the period ending June 2014.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported wholesale inflation also ticked up in December. The Producer Price Index climbed 1.6 percent from December 2015 to December 2016, which was the largest 12-month gain since 2014.
Rising inflation is worrisome for homebuyers because it reduces the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds and hurts the home loan rates tied to them.
Home Loan Rates Still Attractive
Home loan rates were able to improve slightly in the first part of January, following the post-election volatility in Stock and Bond markets at the end of 2016. However, positive economic news, rising inflation and transitions under the new Trump administration may provide some headwinds for Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates in 2017. For now, home loan rates remain historically attractive.
If you have any questions about home loan rates or loan products, please don't hesitate to contact one of our Loan Originators.
With the Super Bowl fast approaching, regardless of which team you’re rooting for, I think all fans can agree on one thing – the food!
A Super Bowl party staple is Buffalo Chicken Dip, and this quick and easy recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- 12-16 oz. of cream cheese (softened)
- 1 rotisserie chicken – shredded
- 1/3 cup of Buffalo Wing Sauce (more if you want it spicier)
- ½ cup of blue cheese or ranch dressing
- ½ cup of mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup of cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
While your oven is heating, begin shredding the chicken into a bowl. Once you’re finished, add the cream cheese, hot sauce, blue cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Mix everything together (you can use a hand mixer to help), then transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Add the cheddar cheese to the top.
Cover your pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes (or until the cheese on top is thoroughly melted).
Serve hot with your favorite kind of chips or bread!
To make it extra special, you could also serve in a football shaped bread bowl:
In the Community
Volunteer as a Family this Holiday Season
It’s that time of year again where the world is colder but hearts seem to be warmer as people are preparing for the holidays. It’s a time to come together with family and friends and share food and laughter, but why not share those times while also helping others? This year, try to find a way to work together and give back to the community and those in need.
Donate: Pick a charity to donate to as a family so everyone feels more involved, and then set donation goals to add motivation. Have your kids go through their old clothes, toys, and other things that never get used and have them choose things to donate. Take them shopping to buy presents to donate to Toys for Tots, or have them designate a piggy bank for money to be donated.
Create: Get the kids together and have them make cards to those in your community who deserve a little extra love this season. Make an afternoon of it and invite your children’s friends to join in. Craft thank you cards to bring to the local fire department, police station, or to any local volunteers seen out in the cold or at the front door of various shelters. Deliver homemade cards to nursing homes or to a homeless shelter or hospital. If you plan far enough ahead you can even send some overseas to our troops who deserve a little holiday cheer.
Go Out: Many charities and organizations throw benefit events that the whole family can participate in. Concerts, dinners, mini festivals, and races are usually sponsored either by a charitable organization, or by a company intending to use the money for charity. Go out as a family and spend a little time and money having fun and supporting a good cause.
Get Your Hands Dirty: If you have older kids, look into Habitat for Humanity. The charity takes volunteers as young as 16 (18 to use power tools) to help build affordable housing for low-income families. They have people available to teach you, so don’t worry about not being overly construction-savvy. If you have younger kids, try looking into local trash pick-up or adopt a highway projects and spend an afternoon cleaning up your community.
Puppy Love: Don’t forget about all the fluffy little guys who also deserve your help this season. If you don’t have the lifestyle to foster a pet of your own, look into helping out at an animal shelter this season as many of them will be in need of temporary help. Also look and see if any of the shelters in your area are in need of food, toys, or other pet supplies items that you could provide. Take the whole family when you drop off the donations and briefly visit all the four-legged friends who will benefit from your kindness.