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Our mission at The Spring Mortgage Team is to be your best resource for financial advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, our team of professionals can answer any questions you might have about the lending process. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on loans for purchase, refinance, construction or cashout of residential and commercial property.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

5 Remodeling Projects With the Best Return

Home remodeling is as hot as it's ever been. Here are five projects that bring the best return on investment.

Home remodeling is hotter than ever.

According to researchers at Harvard University, remodeling investment is up 6% over last year and now makes up a $324 billion market.

According to a survey of remodelers and real estate professionals, there are five remodeling projects that offer the best returns:

1. Your kitchen. Kitchen remodeling can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. However, to maximize your return, keep your investment to under 20% of the value of your home—as is recommended by surveyed real estate professionals. The outcome? A whopping 85% return on your investment.

2. Your bathroom. A thorough bath remodeling project can cost up to $20,000. However, not only will it pay for itself, it should give you an added 80% return.

3. Your deck. Replacing your deck can cost you anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size. The expected benefit will be similar to a bathroom remodeling project—around an 80% return for a fresh, new deck.

4. Your siding. Fading or worn-out siding can turn off potential buyers before they even step foot in your home. Replacing old siding will make it much easier to sell your home, and in addition, it should give you an 80% return on an investment of around $10,000.

5. Your windows. New windows can mean greater energy efficiency, increased thermal and acoustic comfort, and a more modern look. Homebuyers are well aware of this, and they are willing to pay accordingly. That's why a typical window replacement should yield at least a 70% return on your investment.

"Some will make more sense for your home than others."

Clearly, some of them will make more sense for your home than others. If you're considering selling your home, then just one of these projects could add tens of thousands of dollars to the price you'll be able to get.

If you have any questions or want additional advice about which remodeling projects make sense for you, give me a call or send me an email. We can discuss all the details and I can give you an accurate estimate of what these projects could cost, and how to go about financing them. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, July 31, 2017

How the Fed’s Recent Rate Hike Impacts Our Market

The Fed’s recent rate hike shouldn’t have any significant impact on our market. In fact, it might actually stimulate it.

On June 14th, the Federal Reserve increased its federal funds interest rate by 0.25%. They’re also widely expected to raise rates once or twice more over the course of 2017. What does this mean for the real estate market?

While any action by the Fed always garners a lot of attention, I believe these increases will not have any significant impact on our market.

First of all, mortgage rates have actually trended lower in the wake of the Fed’s recent announcement. The 30-year mortgage rate recently hit 3.9%, the lowest level in 2017. In fact, it’s a common pattern for the mortgage rate and the Fed rate to move in opposite directions, and the same thing has happened the last two times the Fed raised rates. 

Second, the economy continues to do well. The Fed decided to increase its rate because unemployment and inflation are low, household spending is picking up, and we’ve seen steady growth for the past nine years. This is good news for the real estate market. As expected, we continue to see strong demand and a corresponding increase in home prices.

"These increases will not have any significant impact on our market."

Third, while the Fed’s rate increase is normally meant to cool off the economy, it might actually stimulate it in this case. Because interest rates were so low for such a long period of time, experts believe the recent increases might ease pressure on the financial system and encourage lending. 

Case in point: since the Fed started raising its rate in December 2016, total mortgages are up 2.5% year over year. 

In conclusion, while any move by the Fed is likely to lead to a lot of hand-wringing, I believe the real estate market will not be affected and will continue on its own healthy course. Nonetheless, it’s clear that right now is a uniquely good moment for everyone in the real estate market. Today’s low mortgage rates are good for homebuyers because they make homes more affordable.

If you have any questions about our market or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to help.

Friday, June 16, 2017

How Do Fannie Mae’s Recent Changes Affect Those With Student Debt?

Today I want to inform you about how Fannie Mae, the nation's largest underwriter of mortgages, recently introduced three new rules that will affect those with student debt.

If you have a student loan or you are a cosigner on one, I have some good new for you. 

Fannie Mae, the nation's largest underwriter of mortgages, recently introduced three new rules that will affect those with student debt.

These new rules can make it easier to get a mortgage, and they can make it easier to pay off your (or your kids’) student loans.

The first change is for those on income-based repayment plans, where having a high debt-to-income ratio is the No. 1 reason for not being approved for a mortgage. 

Fannie Mae previously used a very conservative 1% of the total loan instead of the actual monthly payment. This can drastically lower your debt-to-income ratio and give you a much better chance of qualifying for a mortgage.

Some folks are lucky enough to have their student debt paid by their parents or even by their employer. The thing is, Fannie Mae didn't take this into account when calculating the debt-to-income ratio. That's the second new change.

If your employer or your parents have been paying off your student debt and you can show evidence of this for the past 12 months, then this debt won’t be counted in your debt-to-income ratio. This makes it more likely you will qualify for a mortgage.

"If you can qualify for a mortgage right now, you definitely should."

If you can qualify for a mortgage right now, you definitely should. Rates are still at a historical low, and lots of great houses have recently come on the McKinney market.

Fannie Mae also makes it possible to refinance your mortgage for more than the value of your home. Normally, there is a 0.25% fee that applies to any cash you take out in this way.The third big change is that Fannie Mae will now waive that fee when you use this cash to pay off a student loan. 

This applies whether the loan is yours, or you're a cosigner. If the mortgage rate is significantly lower than the student loan rate, it can make sense to refinance in this way, and the new rule makes it cheaper to do so. 

If you need help understanding these new guidelines to see whether they’re right for you, or you have questions about putting them into practice, get in touch with me. I’ll be glad to help. 

I hope to hear from you soon!