May 4th, 2017

Tracking credit trends

Posted by at 12:54 pm

  Opinions differ on credit scoring’s new trend toward “trended data” – where borrowing and making payments on your credit accounts is carefully tracked over time. The nation’s leading credit reporters – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are switching to the VantageScore trended data system this fall. Meant to provide more context to debt load, it’s supposed to give lenders a more holistic view of a person’s credit behavior. Mortgage-backing giant Fannie Mae already requires underwriters to use trended data when assessing home loan applications. Historically, credit card reports only contained the balance, the amount of available credit and if a borrower was making payments on time. Before trended data, some credit users could “game” the system, by opening more credit cards, and not using them. By keeping utilization low and paying bills on time, scores would improve, regardless of the amount...
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A gift horse: The home seller’s curse

Posted by at 4:32 pm

So, you put your home up for sale, with a listing price based on local comparables. As luck would have it, a buyer comes along within days – maybe even hours – and meets that price. Heck, maybe they even throw in an extra 2 or 3 percent for good measure. This is probably one of those times referred to in the phrase: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” But sometimes, when everything goes right, we have trouble accepting it. It’s a curse The “curse of the first offer” is well-known to real estate agents who have been around for a while. The seller’s reaction to an early offer? Almost inevitable: “Maybe we should wait and see if we can get more.” Today’s seller is probably right about one thing: There will be other offers. In marketplaces around...
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Homeownership: A savings lifeline

Posted by at 12:30 pm

With home prices rising to all-time highs, many potential buyers may imagine drowning in a sea of monthly payments stretching across many years. Naysayers bob to the surface with harrowing tales of home-buying gone wrong. If the down payment doesn’t get you – well the property taxes, maintenance and insurance surely will! These so-called “savvy” investors say renters who dutifully put all money not spent on housing into stable investments – like mutual funds – may get a greater rate of return. Criticism of homeownership as an instrument of wealth-building has understandably become louder in the last decade, after a Housing Bust that put more than 10 million homeowners upside-down, and 4 million more into foreclosure. Though most underwater homeowners have swum back into positive equity, and many of those foreclosures are mortgage-eligible again, the math geeks remain in a...
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Bay Equity joins Hispanic groups advocating housing sustainability

Posted by at 1:54 pm

Bay Equity Home Loans representatives joined the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) on Capitol Hill recently, advocating for legislation supporting the sustainability of successful home-buying for the growing Latino community. According to the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, the Hispanic population is steering and shaping new household formation and homeownership in the United States. Produced annually by NAHREP in collaboration with the Hispanic Wealth Project, the study found Hispanic homeownership increased by 209,000 since 2015, an astonishing 74.9 percent of the nation’s overall net growth. While overall homeownership rates hovered around a 50-year low of 63.4 percent in 2016, the rate among Latinos actually increased slightly– from 45.6 to 46 percent. With greater Latino labor force participation fueling increased purchasing power, steady growth is likely to continue unabated. “These are numbers you simply cannot look away from,”...
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March 31st, 2017

Found Money: Pump Up Down Payment Savings

Posted by at 12:12 pm

Spring has sprung, and home shopping couldn’t be hotter. Don’t let the daunting prospect of a down payment scare you from joining all the other potential first-timers exploring the housing market. First of all, there are many options, even if you haven’t saved the standard 20 percent. Many government and private organizations offer Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs for low and moderate-income borrowers. But besides exploring DPAs, consider some ways to save that might make that first “bulk” payment a little easier. Automatic reaction: Most of us aren’t automatic savers by nature, so set up a process with your bank to deduct a percentage of your paycheck into a  dedicated Home Savings Account. Just like your health insurance and 401 K, allocate a certain amount to go directly into a savings account or money market account. Not seeing the money go from...
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March 22nd, 2017

Home equity helps Americans grow wealth

Posted by at 2:24 pm

In 2016, 1 million American homeowners rode cresting home prices into positive equity territory. Just 6.2 percent, or 3.17 million U.S. homes, remain in negative equity, down from an all-time high of 26 percent in 2009, per a new report from real estate data analysis firm CoreLogic. Negative equity, or being “underwater,” is when a homeowner owes more on a mortgage than the mortgaged property is worth. If home prices rise another 5 percent, another 600,000 homes would re-emerge into positive territory. Equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage. Through mortgage payments, and home appreciation, equity grows. Building equity is a critical part of creating lifelong financial stability. Since the home pricing trough of 2011, Americans have more than doubled home equity, to more than $12 trillion. An Urban...
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March 15th, 2017

Now appearing in print! Your next home?

Posted by at 9:52 am

San Francisco startup Apis Cor recently announced completion of a 400-square foot home in the Russian town of Stupino, constructed almost entirely with a 3-D printer. More correctly referred to as “additive manufacturing,” the concept of “printing” a new home seems beyond futurism – even bordering on fiction. “Star Trek” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” each suggested “beaming” things or people from one place to another by breaking them down to the atomic level – reminiscent of assembling a full TV picture out of thousands of tiny pixels. But 3-D printing is science fact – more akin to the way an inkjet printer puts ink onto a piece of paper. The computer printer builds three-dimensional objects from raw materials one thin layer at a time. Through evolving methods, it fuses the material together, and a physical framework emerges – at breathtaking speeds...
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Buying Young

Posted by at 12:12 pm

  Buyers under the age of 35 are leading the way as consumer confidence in the housing market rises near all-time highs heading into the spring of 2017. In its February installment of the National Housing Survey, Fannie Mae saw surging Millennial confidence in the housing market, even with mortgage rates seemingly poised to rise, and home prices at near-record levels. Along with more job security and increasing income, Millennial home buyers are increasingly married with children – all three legs of the home demand stool. Nearly half (49 percent) of Millennial buyers reported at least one child – up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago. As with every aspect of the marketplace, young buyers with children are the key to shaping the future of real estate. With more kids in tow, more of these...
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Unmarried couples sign cohabitation agreements

Posted by at 2:36 pm

Many couples aren’t waiting for the bonds of matrimony before entering another partnership with similar monumental responsibilities – buying a home. According to research from real estate website Zillow, 15 percent of unmarried couples between the ages of 24 and 35 are making the move to purchase a home together, up from 11 percent in 2005. Generally armed with lots of debt, but two solid incomes, the idea is to get into the housing market as soon as possible. To be sure, co-ownership can soften the financial blow. But a whole new set of problems can arise when and if couples break up. Many do. One or both parties will still be liable for the monthly mortgage payments. Unlike marriage and divorce, there is no legal process for dividing shared assets. A solution is the “cohabitation agreement,” which like a marriage “pre-nup,” protects a person’s...
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February 17th, 2017

Robot Mortgages Still Far in the Future

Posted by at 11:18 am

In another “sign of the times,” Bank of America recently began testing three mini-bank branches – two in Denver, one in Minneapolis – that have ATMs and video-conference capability, but no actual human beings working there. But much like self-checkout at the grocery store or self-serve gas, customers can still conduct banking business of almost any kind. This news comes at the same time the country’s first robotic barista – nicknamed Gordon – came on line, serving up to 120 coffee drinks an hour in a San Francisco shopping complex. Today’s home loan consumers insist on the ability to conduct financial transactions electronically, as well. They search online for the right home, then email the real estate agent. After choosing a home, a potential borrower can power through pre-qualifying in just a few minutes via texts and maybe a phone call...
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