William Neilson
Phone:  267-872-1326Office:  215-679-9797
Email:  wneilson@remax440.comCell:  267-872-1326Fax:  267-354-6937
William Neilson
William Neilson

Bill's Blog

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falling

November 24, 2015 1:12 am

The mortgage delinquency rate, or the rate of borrowers 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgages, is sliding downward as housing continues to move toward a more balanced market, according to a recent TransUnion Industry Insights Report. In fact, the mortgage delinquency rate has declined nearly 30 percent in the last year alone, and 65 percent from its 2010 peak.

“The decline in serious mortgage delinquencies is continuing and even ramping up, with steadily increasing absolute drops over the last year,” says Joe Mellman, vice president and head of TransUnion’s mortgage group. “We believe this is due to a combination of factors, including strong performance by recent vintage mortgage loans, improving home prices and the continued funneling of delinquent accounts through the foreclosure process.”

According to the report, the rate is dropping across all age groups, with millennials and those aged 60 and older at least risk for delinquency, and every state across the board is experiencing yearly declines.

“This is now the third straight quarter where we’ve not only seen year-over-year mortgage origination growth, but also significant increases in the higher risk populations of near prime and subprime—hinting at a loosening of credit and/or a change in the mix of borrowers seeking mortgages,” adds Mellman.

Source: TransUnion

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Tips to Steer Clear of Pothole Damage

November 23, 2015 1:12 am

Over the last five years, half of car owners experienced damage to their vehicles as a result of potholes – and poor road conditions have cost the insurance industry and consumers at least $27 billion over the same period, according to a recent survey by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) and Trusted Choice®.

To help motorists avoid costly pothole damage this winter and beyond, the organizations recommend:

• Keeping an eye on traffic patterns. A number of cars that slow down or move quickly to other lanes may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.

• Avoiding the urge to swerve out of the way of a pothole at the last minute. You may swerve into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Risking damage to your car is wiser than risking the loss of your life or that of another person.

• Pulling over as soon as it is safe if you hit one. If you notice damage, record details and specific damage—just as you would in the event of a collision with another motorist—in case you need to file an insurance claim.

• Reporting potholes to your state or local transportation department. Some states and localities have pothole hotlines.

Motorists who think their state or local government will pay for damage to their cars may be out of luck. Laws in this area vary by jurisdiction and, even where such remedies are available, conditions may apply, such as a requirement that the jurisdiction had notice of the pothole.

Source: IIABA

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Credit Scores Nationwide Make the Grade

November 23, 2015 1:12 am

Confidence abounds nationwide as the country moves toward a more balanced economy, with the overall national credit score registering higher in the last year, according to the Experian® State of Credit study.

“If I were to give a grade to the overall picture of credit in the United States, I would give it an A minus,” says Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics and new business development at Experian. “I’m optimistic about the state of credit as we are seeing more loans being extended, late payments are decreasing and consumers are continuing to gain more confidence in originating loans. There definitely is growth and momentum—we’re back to prerecession levels in nearly every category, which means lenders are in a prime position to capitalize on this market and foster business growth.”

Per the study, the national VantageScore® credit score moved up by three points in the last year, from 666 to 669. Instances of late payments, including bank card and retail, decreased by 4.4 percent in the last year and 17.3 percent since the height of the recession in 2010. Average debt is up 2.1 percent to $29,093 per consumer.

“Knowing where you stand from a credit perspective is critical to improving or maintaining your financial well-being. Everyone should understand the value of having positive credit references,” says Rod Griffin, Experian’s director of public education. “Reports like this one provide an avenue to build awareness and help consumers across the nation think about how they can make positive changes in how they manage credit.”

Source: Experian

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Turned Down for a Mortgage? Read This before Reapplying

November 23, 2015 1:12 am

Turned down for a mortgage? You’re not alone. Many borrowers are finding it difficult to navigate lending requirements and reapply for a loan to buy a home, despite significant improvement in the housing market.

If your mortgage application was rejected, take heart. Mike Sullivan, director of education for Take Charge America, a national nonprofit credit and housing counseling agency, says prospective homebuyers can successfully reapply if they consider the following factors:

Cash Flow – One of the primary roadblocks to obtaining a mortgage is cash flow. At a minimum, borrowers need a 3-percent down payment and about $1,500 for closing costs. They must also take moving and ongoing maintenance costs into account, including utility deposits, appliances, a lawn mower, curtains and other miscellaneous expenses. As a general rule, prospective homebuyers should have at least $10,000 saved before shopping for a home.

Credit – Many young people today haven’t used credit, aside from student loans, so lenders have difficulty assessing their ability to pay back the home loan. Borrowers who fall into this bucket need to focus on building a positive credit history with three trade lines, such as a credit card, auto loan and signature loan, for at least two years before attempting to reapply.

Lifestyle – Many consumers assume if they can qualify for a loan, they can afford a house. With lenders approving 31 percent of gross salary for a house payment and 43 percent for all debt service, it’s easy to buy a house one can’t afford. It’s important to remember the mortgage is only part of the financial picture. Ongoing costs such as commuting, utilities, HOA fees, landscaping and general home maintenance need to be seriously considered, as well. It’s wise to limit house payments to 28 percent of gross income, and all debt service to no more than 34 percent.

“Many individuals and families are ready to pursue their dreams of homeownership after overcoming financial struggles, but they don’t always have a clear picture of what it takes, or how a mortgage could impact their long-term financial picture,” says Sullivan. “The more knowledge they obtain before entering the lending process, the better.”

Source: Take Charge America

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How Household Spending Changes in Retirement

November 20, 2015 1:12 am

On average, households spend less once they retire—but not all households, and not in the same ways, report analysts at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). In fact, according to a recent EBRI study, nearly half of retired households actually spent more than they did just before retirement. That spending, however, declines over time—by the sixth year of retirement, just a third spend more than they did pre-retirement.

“We also found that households that spent more in the first two years of retirement were not exclusively high-income households,” says Sudipto Banerjee, research associate at EBRI and author of the report. “Rather, they were distributed across all income levels.”

Furthermore, the median household had a home mortgage payment before retirement, but none after, indicating paying off a mortgage could be a factor in the timing of retirement, according to the study.

Other findings include:

• In the first two years of retirement, median household spending dropped by 5.5 percent from pre-retirement spending levels, and by 12.5 percent by the fourth year of retirement. The spending reduction slowed down after the fourth year. 

• In the first two years of retirement, two in five households (39.3 percent) spent less than 80 percent of their pre-retirement spending. By the sixth year of retirement, a majority (53.1 percent) of households did so. 

• In the first two years of retirement, 28.0 percent of households spent more than 120 percent of their pre-retirement spending. By the sixth year of retirement, 23.4 percent of households still did so.

Source: EBRI

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Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

November 20, 2015 1:12 am

Average fixed mortgage rates remain largely unchanged as analyst expectations turned from world events to the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) October minutes, Freddie Mac recently reported. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.97 percent with an average 0.6 point; the 15-year FRM averaged 3.18 percent with an average 0.5 point.

"Treasury yields stabilized about 5 basis points below last week's level as the market shrugged off economic data and world events and turned its attention to the minutes of the October FOMC meeting,” says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti. “In response, the 30-year mortgage rate ticked down a basis point to 3.97 percent. The FOMC minutes were couched in careful Fed-speak, and early market reaction was mixed, with most analysts reading their own expectations into the minutes."

Additionally, the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.5 point, and the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.64 percent with an average 0.3 point.

Source: Freddie Mac

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Renters Have Spoken: Apartment Dwellers Favor Walkability, Concierge-Style Service

November 20, 2015 1:12 am

Just shy of 40 million Americans call an apartment home—and according to recently released research, many are seeking amenities rivaling that of a five-star hotel. Amenities found in the research, compiled by the National Multifamily Housing Council/Kingsley Associates 2015 Apartment Resident Preferences Survey, include walkable neighborhoods, package pick-up services and online rental payment options.
 
“There have been 1.6 million new renter households created in the past five years,” says Rick Haughey, vice president of Industry Technology Initiatives with the National Multifamily Housing Council. “Many of these new residents are making a lifestyle choice to rent instead of buy and are thus looking for personalized services and amenities. The apartment industry is stepping up to provide those experiences.”
 
While many factors are considered during an apartment search, some of the most important concern location convenience and community amenities, the research found. Apartment renters have strong opinions about walking versus driving to their regular destinations:

• Walking wins over driving for getting to the grocery store (by 7 percentage points);
• Walking wins over driving for getting to a restaurant or bar (by 6 percentage points for both); and
• Walking wins over driving for getting to public transit (by 19 percentage points).

Conversely, driving is preferred over walking when:

• Traveling to work (by 24 percentage points);
• Traveling to school (by 7 percentage points); and
• Traveling to a college or university (by 6 percentage points).

Package pick-up services are also favored by apartment renters, according to the research. Currently, 88 percent of management offices accept packages for residents, and 72 percent of residents want a package storage or holding area. Eighty-seven percent of respondents say they are not willing to pay for a package locker, but if there were a charge, they would expect to pay around $20 per month.
 
In addition, 78 percent of apartment renters would like to the option to pay rent online, and 63 percent were interested in paying rent with a credit card.
 
Source: NMHC

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Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape Even When Time Is Not On Your Side

November 19, 2015 10:51 am

Ask anyone who has ever gone through the process of selling a home, and they’ll tell you that time is the No. 1 thing you need on your side. From removing clutter to making rooms look good, renovating or fixing anything that’s broken to finding a real estate professional you feel comfortable working with, there’s a lot of time involved in the process. But if a new job, a death in the family or a marriage proposal are necessitating a quick sale, there are certain things you can do to get your home ready.
 
If time is of the essence, the first thing you’ll want to do is get your house in showing condition. Throw out the clutter, pack your stuff away and hire a professional cleaning service to come in and get the house sparkling. You may also want to have someone come and take care of the lawn as well.
 
It’s also a good idea to take care of any updates that can be accomplished over the course of a few days. This means replacing broken light bulbs, patching up nail holes, making spackle repairs in the bathroom, fixing any drips and taking care of any little things that a potential buyer might use as an excuse to not be interested in your home.
 
Another great way to get your home in tip-top shape without wasting a lot of time is to hold a painting party with some of your friends and neighbors in order to freshen up some of the main rooms in the house. This is a great way to have fun, spend one last weekend together and get your house looking good.
 
Your agent will most likely have some ideas as well, so be sure to listen to their advice. This probably isn’t the first home they’ve been asked to move quickly, so be sure to take their ideas into consideration.
 
If you’re planning a quick move, try not to have visible signs in the home that lead prospective buyers to believe you need to vacate quickly. And make sure your neighbors know not to say anything about your situation if someone asks. The last thing you want is a lowball offer because a house hunter overheard that you needed to get out quickly.
 
In the end, it’s important to keep an open mind, especially if you need to move quickly. If an offer comes in under your asking price and your agent thinks it’s probably the best that’s going to come, you may have to accept. Make sure to talk about all the options, including the possibility of renting your home for a period of time if that makes the most sense.
 
Contact our office today for more tips to prepare for a quick move. 

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Simple Tips to Help Lower Your Homeowners Insurance

November 19, 2015 10:51 am

When it comes to homeowners insurance, very few truly understand what’s covered, and even less compare their policy with others on a yearly basis in hopes of getting a better deal. In fact, when it comes to insurance, homeowners typically know that they have it and that it was most likely purchased when they originally bought the home.
 
In a day and age when saving money is in vogue, homeowners shouldn’t be afraid to check with their insurance carrier every year to see what can be done to lower their costs without affecting their policy. 
 
While homeowners insurance typically differs from state to state, avoid making costly assumptions by understanding exactly what’s included in your policy.
 
Typically, a homeowners insurance policy will cover the actual dwelling and some of the other structures on the property, like a fence, garage and driveway. Personal property is usually covered, regularly covering the contents inside the home, although there will be a higher cost for high-value items like jewelry or antique paintings.
 
When looking to lower your premiums, one of the best things to do is bundle your insurance commitments so that one company handles any type of insurance you may have.
 
Also, in much the same way that better drivers get better rates, people who are better at protecting their home will get lower homeowners insurance rates. Adding smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and alarm systems can do wonders when it comes to making your bill decrease.
 
Agreeing to take on more of the financial burden with a larger deductible is another way to save money each month.
 
Finally, understanding a home’s true worth can save you money on insurance. Most people take out insurance for the price they paid for the home, but even if your home was to burn down to nothing, you would still have the land, and that’s part of the value. A good insurance agent can help you decide exactly how much you would need in the most extreme circumstances.
 
For more tips and tricks to help lower your homeowners insurance, contact our office today.

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Updated Fixtures Offer a Simple Way to Breathe New Life into Your Space

November 19, 2015 10:51 am

If your home is currently on the market—or you’re getting ready to list it—you want it to be in the best shape possible to attract the most people and get the best price. Setting your home apart from the competition often means making some changes or adding some value to the space. One easy way to do this is by replacing the fixtures throughout the home.
 
To get started, go around the house and make a list of all the fixtures that have been incorporated into the space, including lighting, faucets and doorknobs. It’s also a good idea to make note of any problems or irregularities you may find, and determine what, if anything, needs to be replaced.
 
Once you’ve made note of which fixtures need to be updated, it’s as simple as going to your local home improvement store, buying updated models and doing some easy DIY projects. If you’re unsure about how to replace fixtures, YouTube is a great place to start.
 
If you’re looking to change the nuance of a room and really brighten up a dark area, replacing lights should be at the top of your list. Whether it’s adding a chandelier, dimmers or even switching up light plates, new lighting can make a big difference.
 
If you’re thinking of making fixture changes within the bathroom, make sure everything matches. For instance, if you’re upgrading the faucets in the sink, you should complete the room with new faucets for the bathtub and shower as well. Adding a rain shower is also very in vogue these days.
 
As for doorknobs, changing these out is a simple way to add a bit of shine or style to a room. Keep the look consistent by using the same knobs throughout each room—or even the entire home.
 
When updating fixtures, there’s no need to spend a fortune. In fact, there are plenty of low-cost options that will not only look great, but will go a long way toward attracting buyers.
 
For more information about replacing fixtures within your home, contact our office today.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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