April 30th, 2014

Housing Recovery Firmly Under Way

Posted by at 12:00 pm

Prices are up and inventories are down. The housing industry finds itself on a much better footing this year: Prices are up, inventories are down, and signs abound that a recovery is firmly under way. This is good news for the economy as a whole at a time when other stalwarts of the recovery, such as exports and government spending, have started to tail off. Increased home sales put more people to work and feed an upward spiral of income, spending and employment in the real-estate and home building industries. Makers and sellers of appliances, furniture and carpets, plus nurseries, landscapers and others also benefit. Look for housing to add 0.6% to the GDP this year and as much as 1% in 2014. All of the major national indicators — building permits and starts, sales of new and existing homes,...
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April 22nd, 2014

5 Quick Tips to Make Your Home More Green

Posted by at 11:37 pm

Imagine a world where every home is powered by the sun. Where every raindrop waters the yard, even on dry days. Where trash is turned into fertilizer, which is used to grow produce. This isn’t science fiction; it can be done today. Here are 5 things you can do to lessen your home’s impact on the environment. 1. Enroll in online statements and get off junk mail lists Most utility providers, cable companies and financial institutions offer the option to receive online statements instead of printed statements. You just need to log in to the company’s website to change your preferences. Another way to significantly reduce the amount of mail you receive is to opt out of unsolicited commercial mail, credit card offers and insurance offers. The Federal Trade Commission has a few simple tips to get off those lists...
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April 15th, 2014

New Home Applications Up in March

Posted by at 10:07 pm

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimated today that there was a 15 percent increase in applications for new home purchases in March compared to February even as the annual pace of new home sales eased. MBA’s Builder Application Survey (BAS) which tracks mortgage application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders, indicated that sales of new single-family homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 479,000 units in March, a decrease of 10.1 percent from the February estimate of 533,000 units. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis MBA estimates sales for the month at 46,000 units.  This is an increase of 7.0 percent from the estimated 43,000 sales reported in February. Conventional loans made up 68.3 percent of new home purchase applications and FHA-backed mortgages accounted for 17.2 percent.  VA loans comprised 12.9 percent and 1.6 percent were Rural...
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April 4th, 2014

10 Home Projects that Can Increase Value

Posted by at 11:00 pm

Spring means different things to different people: outdoor activities, gardening, spring break. But for homeowners, it often means it’s time to start checking items off your home projects to-do list. From trimming trees to cleaning gutters to washing windows, spring is the time to do a tune-up on your home and clean up after Old Man Winter. But if you’ve lived in your home for a while, it may need more than a typical once-over this year, particularly if you’re thinking of selling anytime soon. Redfin real estate agents were asked which home projects they suggest for homeowners who are considering selling their homes in the near future and want to add value. Here are the 10 projects they mentioned most frequently. 1. A new front door or garage door Orange County agent Angela Creech said a new front door...
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April 1st, 2014

Will the American Dream still include owning a home?

Posted by at 10:05 pm

Most Americans want to own their own home. Some even call it a biological urge, based on our human desire to nest. Whatever the current economic condition of the country, whatever the latest programs offered or atrocities committed by government and banking institutions, that desire doesn’t seem to change and is unlikely to change even 25 years from now. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson put it best, “A right to property is founded in our natural wants.” Even after a devastating housing and mortgage crash that resulted in millions of foreclosed homes and trillions of dollars of home equity lost, the majority of Americans have not given up the idea that ownership is representative of their economic dream. “Americans continue to want to be homeowners and they want to do it in a more careful and responsible way given the crisis that...
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March 27th, 2014

Getting a Tax Refund? Consider Using It for Your Down Payment

Posted by at 11:07 pm

While most people dread tax time, if you are getting a refund, this time of year can seem almost as rewarding as end-of-the-year bonus season. Whether you are receiving a refund of a few hundred dollars or several thousand dollars, if you’re contemplating buying your first home, you may want to deposit your refund into an account dedicated to your down payment fund. “Using your tax refund as a portion of your down payment can be a great idea,” said Clint Madison, a senior mortgage adviser with Envoy Mortgage in Walnut Creek, CA. “The more you put into the down payment, the less you have to borrow.” According to the IRS, the average refund for 2013 tax returns was $3,013 as of March 24, slightly higher than the average for 2012 tax returns. A tax refund of $3,000 can go...
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March 21st, 2014

Looking inside the homes of the future

Posted by at 10:03 pm

Fridges that tell you what to cook for dinner, beds that monitor and improve your sleeping patterns, and mirrors that let you watch movies and TV, will all be in the house of tomorrow. We are more connected today through technology and the internet than ever before. Current capabilities and concepts seemed so farfetched ten or even five years ago. This is only the beginning of what is next to come, and at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2014, we got a glimpse of what might become of the future homes. Here are some examples: Kitchens: Once connected to the internet, fridges will be able to tell their owner what products they have, their use-by dates and even suggest recipes which can be made with the contents. The information provided by the fridge will unquestionably make the food shop much...
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March 18th, 2014

FAQ About Reverse Mortgages

Posted by at 9:44 pm

Frequently Asked Questions About Reverse Mortgages What is a Reverse Mortgage? A reverse mortgage is a loan that enables homeowners who are at least 62 years old to convert some of their home equity into cash, or to finance a home purchase with the freedom of no monthly mortgage payments. The borrowers continue to live in and own their home. Unlike a traditional home equity loan or home equity line of credit, a reverse mortgage doesn’t have to be repaid until the last surviving borrower no longer lives in the home, or the home is sold. The homeowners remain responsible for keeping current with property taxes and hazard insurance, and maintaining the condition of the home. Am I Eligible? To be eligible for a reverse mortgage: • All title holders must be age 62 or older • The home must...
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March 14th, 2014

9 Golden Rules of Mortgage Shopping

Posted by at 3:11 pm

With interest rates still low and the recession receding in the distance, plenty of people are window shopping the real estate listings and wondering, “Is now the time to finally buy a home?” Here are some great rules to live by when looking for a Home Mortgage: Check your credit – Your first move – long before you start home shopping – is to find out where you stand with mortgage lenders and how to improve your credit position. A higher credit score can save you thousands throughout the life of your loan, so it’s important that you’re in good standing before you embark on home ownership. Meet with a Bay Equity lender – Now you are ready to meet with a Bay Equity lender, and talk about the introductory steps to your loan process. Your Bay Equity mortgage lender...
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March 6th, 2014

Best Friends to the Rescue

Posted by at 4:11 pm

Bay Equity PFQC Associate, Brooke Rex, is spending time at a very special place – an animal rescue center. Brooke works out of Bay’s Operations Center in Concord, CA. She began volunteering last month at the Best Friends Pet Resort/Westside Animals for Adoption, and has met many great dogs in need of a permanent home. Brooke’s first love was 3 ½ year old Pia; a German Shephard/Malinois mix – a gentle, sweet dog who soon found the right home. Pia’s new human is a retired veteran who builds specialty aircraft. She now spends her “work day” with him at the airport hangar. The rescue has been in existence since 1980 and also offers boarding, grooming, daycare and training. Their mission is to find great “forever” homes for their pets, educate about responsible pet ownership, and partner with the community to...
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