U.S. Mortgage and Housing Trends for 2012

Mortgage Trends – Factors Affecting Home Buying Among Americans in 2012

There are a variety of factors that affect the decision of whether or not to take the home buying plunge in today’s market. Of the more important and more influential factors is mortgage rates. These interest rates have seen record lows, and continue to surprise even expert economists. Whether or not mortgage rates continue to fall throughout the rest of 2012 remains to be seen, but here is a list of mortgage trends for the remainder of 2012:

Mortgage Rates Continue to Fall

Although at the beginning of the year financial and mortgage professionals were convinced that mortgage rates would rise by spring 2012, mortgage rates continue to fall. As of July 2012, mortgage rates fell to a record low of 3.62%. At the same time last year in 2011, mortgage rates were at 4.6%.

The reasons for this continued drop in mortgage interest rates are speculated to be weaker consumer spending and a slow down in the manufacturing sector. Economists have said that this lowered consumer spending and manufacturing has caused long-term Treasury bond yields to reach lower values over the past weeks, and therefore achieve record lows in mortgage interest rates.

Considering the fact that mortgage rates have a tendency to follow the same direction as Treasury yields, it is no wonder that they have followed the same decline simultaneously. Savvy investors have been keeping their capital and investment more towards government bonds as concerns on a slow-growing global economy begin to mount.

Considering the low consumer spending, the Federal Reserve has been prompted to maintain the low mortgage rates that the US economy is experiencing today.

It is difficult to determine if mortgage rates will fall even further. As noted earlier, economists were beginning to think at the start of the year that the US had seen its mortgage rate lows, and that rates would start to rise into the spring of 2012. However, by summer, rates have reached record lows.

The question nowadays is more about who can afford a mortgage, rather than how much lower the mortgage rates can go. Even though rates are historically low, it is still difficult to get approved for a mortgage.

Whether lower rates are on the future agenda remains to be seen. However, continued speculation among experts points in the direction of stabilizing rates and a possible slow increase in the near future.

Mortgage Refinances Should Get Easier and Cheaper

There are programs available that provide home owners with FHA-insured mortgages the ability to refinance at much more affordable rates and with greater feasibility. These eligible homeowners must be current on their payments in order to take advantage of this FHA streamline refinancing program. In addition to this refinancing program, another program referred to as HARP 2.0 will permit borrowers to refinance their mortgages even if they are underwater on their mortgages.

Considering the fact that approximately 11 million Americans are underwater on their mortgages, being able to refinance the mortgage on their homes has been a hot issue. Refinancing programs like these can help to shave down monthly payments for homeowners who struggle to pay their mortgages.

Tough Credit Requirements

Getting a mortgage is a huge challenge for many Americans who struggle with sub-par credit. Even though credit requirements are a bit looser these days, banks and lenders are still tight as far as credit requirements are concerned. Although it’s not necessarily getting any easier to get a mortgage than it was a few months ago, it’s not getting any harder either, which is an improvement compared to the previous months.

Americans looking to get approved for a mortgage still need to have good credit. Not only will this help to get approval for a mortgage, but it will also help to keep the interest rate and the down payment lower. Those with less-than-perfect credit ratings are more susceptible to higher interests rates due to the higher risk they pose for the lender.

Paying More For Mortgages in Certain Circumstances

Many home buyers will have to put forth more money towards a mortgage due to the increased loan fees introduced in April of 2012. Those that are facing this issue include home buyers and home owners who do not have a HARP or FHA streamline refi, but have very small down payments and lower credit scores. Home buyers who are unable to put a good chunk of money as a down payment or have less-than-perfect credit scores will be faced with much higher loan fees than those who have perfect credit and are able to afford a large down payment.

In addition to the increased loan fees, annual insurance premiums have also gone up. Those who live in high-cost areas can expect to see even higher insurance premiums.

Conclusion

It is difficult to predict how much further mortgage rates will decrease. Experts had predicted earlier in the year that mortgage rates might start an upswing by the spring, but so far rates have reached new lows. Based on news that the US and global economy could be slower than anticipated, the lower mortgage rates have followed suit. Based on such uncertainty in the market, many Americans are still holding tight and waiting for a more promising economical environment before taking the home buying plunge.

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Real Estate Market Trends in the U.S. in 2012

To Buy or Not to Buy?

When it comes to real estate and home buying, many Americans are still on the fence about whether to take the plunge and purchase a home, or continue to wait and see if things level out any more. Considering the unstable housing market in the last few years, it is no wonder that many would-be home buyers are still hesitant to make that big move.

Sceptical Americans are still weighing their options, as well as weighing the risks and benefits associated with making a purchase in this housing market of 2012. Considering the high level of uncertainty among the real estate market in the US, and the low value of homes these days, it’s difficult to determine if making a move now, while housing prices are still low, is a good investment, or a big mistake.

Real Estate Trends for 2012

There are a few housing trends for the US real estate market in 2012:

Overall Flat Real Estate Market

Although construction activity and home or condo sales data have provided quite a mix of signals and messages, the overall real estate market will continue to stay flat for a little while longer. There may be a modest increase in sales and construction activity in the US, but many home buyers are still very hesitant to make a move.

Unemployment rates continue to stay quite high, and an uncertain job market and economic crisis will linger in the minds of many would-be home buyers that are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if any changes occur in the real estate market. The uncertainty of the market and the concern of consumers continues to drive the market, and continue to keep it flat.

Considering the fact that buying home is probably the largest financial investment anyone will ever make in their life, the decision cannot be taken lightly. Consumer confidence still seems quite low, and will most likely continue to be until a move upwards in the housing market occurs.

Bidding Wars and Tough Competition With Investors

Although bidding wars are not necessarily common in every part of the country, they certainly are very popular in hot real estate markets such as large cities like New York or Boston. Many couples and families have lost out to bidding wars multiples times when putting in offers for a home. Often times the prices ultimately paid for homes that were involved in a bidding war end up going for well over the initial asking price. Many people who “win” the bidding war often go in with an unconditional offer, free of any home inspection or financing conditions in order to get the house.

Homes that are subject to bidding wars are often lucrative properties that home buyers and investors see great potential in. Often these homes involved in bidding wars are simply the result of supply-and-demand laws where there are simply more buyers than there are sellers. When the housing inventory starts to dip, bidding wars become more frequent and common, particularly in certain parts of the country.

Not only are home buyers competing with other home buyers, but they are also competing with investors who see great potential in certain types of real estate. This poses a problem for home buyers, who often are unable to compete with investors who come prepared with much more capital when making an offer on a home. These investors also have real estate agents employed on their behalf to scope the market for specific types of properties that they are looking for, which they immediately jump on when one becomes available.

Continuing Numbers of Foreclosures

Data shows that foreclosures continue to be a problem in the next few months in the US real estate market. Foreclosure properties are generally sold for much less than the average home, and at great discounts. These reduced selling prices drive down the value of homes in general, and bring down prices of homes. Foreclosures have been a major issue in the real estate market in the US, and will continue to be for at least a few more months, though the rate of foreclosures seems to be slowing down.

Prices and values of homes can still continue to fall in the coming months, but the rate seems to be slowing down, which means foreclosed inventory seems to be slowly absorbed. As job growth rises, and lending practices become less stringent and more feasible, the real estate market can start to make a turnaround.

High Demand For Rental Properties

As foreclosures continue to linger even throughout a potentially improving job market, many multiple families are increasingly looking to rental properties in order to put a roof over their heads. Renting has generally been much more predominant among singles and young couples, though in recent times those with families seem to be the fastest growing demographic to enter the rental field.

As more and more families look to rental properties as a place to call home, the inventory of these properties is becoming more and more scarce. For this reason, rental prices are starting to go up, making multiple families consider entering the home buying market rather than paying high monthly rent. This can bring in a new surge of home buyers who would rather put that money towards home ownership rather than rent.

Conclusion

The real estate trends that have been seen so far in 2012, and predicted to continue well into the rest of the year and into the next, can provide some insight for the potential home buyer who is still on the fence about whether or not to invest in purchasing a home. The answer is not an easy one – based upon a family’s specific finances, job security, and other factors, the decision of whether to take the plunge and invest in a property for purchase needs to be an individual one.

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Simple Yard Techniques

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Types of Specialized Home Inspections

After purchasing a home, most home buyers are recommended by their real estate agents to hire a home inspector to determine if there are any defects in the home that need to be repaired. There are times when defects are discovered that are quite dangerous and hefty, and can cost quite a bit of money to repair. In many cases re-negotiations may occur, where the buyer may ask the seller to pay for certain repairs, or ask the seller to lower the sale price in order for the buyer to cover the costs of repair.

Home Inspectors – Do They Inspect Every Component of a Home?

General home inspectors will look for defects that are more general in nature. They will inspect the attic, insulation, flooring, ceiling, walls, foundation, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and signs of moisture. General home inspectors do not usually include specific items in their reports. When the inspector discovers a problem with something like the air conditioner, for example, they may suggest that a further inspection on the unit be conducted by an inspector that specializes in air conditioners and heaters. Often these units will have to be taken apart and analyzed if a problem is suspected by the general home inspector.

Types of Specialized Home Inspections

If the general home inspector believes that there are certain defects or issues in the home that require further investigation, they may suggest that the home buyer call in a specialized inspector to determine if there are more significant issues related to the system or component of the home. Here is a list of some of the more specific home inspections that a home buyer may recommend to have conducted on specific components of the home:

Electrical Inspections

Although a general home inspector may be able to identify if an electrical panel is old, or if knob and tube wiring is present, they may still recommend an electrician come in to further inspect the electrical component of the home, especially if the home inspector discovers any questionable wiring patterns or possible dangerous locations of wires.

Pest Inspections

Pests that reside under flooring or within walls can ruin the integrity of the wood structure of the home. Termites and powder post beetles can cause significant damage to the wood within a home, and make it structurally unsound. In addition, these pests can cause dry-rot, which may or may not be detectable during a routine home inspection. There are professionals that deal specifically with wood-destroying pests.

Heating and Air Conditioning Inspections

If a home inspector believes that there may be an underlying issue with an air conditioner or furnace, they may recommend having an HVAC specialist come in and take the units apart to see if there is anything within the units that is cracked, or what the cause of the malfunction is.

Mold Inspections

If a house has suffered significant moisture damage, there may often be an underlying mold problem that occurs as a result. Mold is dangerous if breathed in on a regular basis, which is why it is important to assess if there is any mold in a house, and what the extent of the damage is.

Foundation Inspections

Hiring a foundation engineer can help to assess if the foundation is faulty, or if a home is sliding or sloping.

Septic System Inspections

Homes in rural settings or that are exceptionally old may not be connected to a sewer system, and may rely on a septic system for water. A septic system inspection can detect if there are any significant issues with the adequacy of the system.

Asbestos Inspections

If a home inspector suspects that asbestos is present in a home, they will usually recommend that the home buyer have a sample of the suspected area sent to a lab to have it tested. Any presence of asbestos can be very dangerous if the area in question is disturbed, releasing asbestos particles into the air to be breathed in. This is why it is important to have a professional collect the specimen and send it to the lab rather than a home owner do it themselves.

Radon Inspections

Radon can be emitted through the ground or soil up into a home’s structure. This type of problem may exist more prominently in cottages or other homes that have a much less solid foundation and flooring, and one that has no basement. A mitigation contractor can test the home for the presence of radon, and recommend the home buyer with efficient ways to remove it.

Roof Inspections

If the home that is being purchased is particularly old, home buyers may want some form of certification to prove that the roof is in good condition. If the seller is unable to provide certification, than sometimes the buyer can get their own from a credible roofing company.

Soil Inspections

For homes that are situated on sloping landscapes, or in areas with particularly high amounts of precipitation, a soil stability inspection may be necessary to ensure that the home is not in any danger of sliding away during heavy rainfall. Soil specialists may also assess the soil for any signs of contamination.

Conclusion

Getting a general home inspector to assess the home for any possible defects is important to be able to determine if the home poses any possible hazards to the inhabitants. When certain components of a home are questionable, specialists may be called upon in order to further investigate any deeper underlying issues.

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Hiring a Qualified Home Inspector

Home Inspections Upon Purchasing a Home

Opting to have a home inspection done on a home that has just been purchased is an important step to make prior to any real estate deal going firm. These home inspections give the buyers an opportunity to discover any potential problems or hazards with the home before the buyers become locked in the deal. If a problem is found, re-negotiations may be possible.

Hiring a Qualified Home Inspector

A home inspector that has all the necessary training, skills and credentials to perform a home inspection is necessary to have the home inspection conducted thoroughly and properly. Someone who is unqualified to do the job may quite possibly look over certain detrimental defects in the home that a skilled home inspector would most likely be able to find.

Here is a list of some things to consider prior to hiring someone to perform a home inspection on a recently purchased home:

Ask For Qualifications and Credentials

Home inspectors should only be hired if they have the necessary credentials and qualifications that deem them competent enough to perform a home inspection. Many highly successful home inspectors are certified from a Home Inspection association, of which there are many to choose from. Home inspectors that are certified have been able to pass tests that prove they are competent enough to perform these inspections.

Qualified inspectors can be found by asking friends or acquaintances for referrals. Most of the time these referrals can be quite reliable. You may also want to consider asking experienced real estate agents if they have a particular home inspector that they would recommend, based on previous inspections completed with great competence.

Ask for a Sample of a Previous Home Inspection Report

Many experienced home inspectors would be happy to send you a sample home inspection report of an inspection that they have performed previously on a past home. These reports should be at least 20 pages long, and have photographs and descriptions of the areas where defects exists – no matter how major or minor. The report should also have recommendations for what repairs, if any, should be addressed immediately, and which can be saved for last. Any home inspector that shows you a 3 page report should probably not be considered.

Stay Away From Contractors That Recommend Specific Contractors

A conflict of interest can arise if a home inspector recommends specific contractor to a home buyer to perform a repair that the home inspector discovers. Home inspectors are there specifically to inspect a home, not recommend other people for hire.

Ask How Long the Home Inspection Should Take

The length of a home inspection will depend on a few things, such as how old the home is, what shape it’s in, and it’s overall size. Adequate home inspections should take at least 3 hours to perform, considering all the aspects of the home that need to be looked at. A house that is very large and is quite dated could take much longer. Home inspectors that say they can complete an inspection in 90 minutes or less should probably be avoided. An inspector who simply pops his head into an attic and deems it adequate without a thorough inspection is not the kind of home inspector that should be considered to inspect a newly purchased home.

Ask if the Home Inspector Charges For Re-Inspections

It is not necessary for a home inspector to waive any fees for re-inspections, but home buyers may want to know all possible charges prior to entering into a contract or an agreement with a home inspector. Finding out all the fees up front will avoid any unpleasant surprises when everything is said and done.

Many home owners who have found defects in a home after having it inspected might want to have the home inspector come back to assess any repairs that have taken place after the initial home inspection. Having them come back a second time can help identify if the repair fully rectified the initial problem.

Get Errors and Omissions Insurance

In the event that a home inspector made an error or overlooked a potentially dangerous defect in the house, Errors and Omissions Insurance can help to protect the home buyer in these situations. It should be noted, however, that this type of insurance may only cover the price paid for the home inspector’s services, not any damage that has occurred as a result of the inspector’s error or oversight.

Ask to Be Present During the Home Inspection

If possible, it would be a good idea for the home buyer to attend the home inspection while it is being performed. This gives the home buyer the opportunity to ask any pertinent questions about the home’s condition, as well as a chance for the home inspector to identify any major issues as they arise. The home inspector can then describe to the home buyer in person the exact steps that the inspector recommends taking to rectify any problems or concerns.

Conclusion

Although a home inspector can only see problems within a home up to a certain point without having to remove drywall, they are still able to catch any problems that unqualified individuals may not be able to detect. Hiring a home inspector with the necessary qualifications, training and credentials is essential to ensure the job is done well. Many times, a home inspector’s input can save an unsuspecting home buyer from purchasing a home that will only cause nothing but problems in the future.

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Home Inspection – An Important Part of the Home Buying Process

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection involves visually assessing the structure and components of a home, which usually takes place when a buyer is considering purchasing a home. A certified home inspector is usually the one to assess and inspect the property and its components, in order to ensure that everything is sound and no defects are left unnoticed.

Once the home inspection is completed, a report is completed by the home inspector noting every defect he or she may have found that needs attention or repair, especially those items that may be dangerous if left without fixing. Before the sale closes, it needs to be determined if these defects need repair right away, and who will be covering the cost for the repairs.

Why Home Inspections Are Important

When a home buyer finds a home that they love, often they do not notice certain defects in the home upon first inspection. Although many defects are patent defects – which are obvious ones, such as a crack in the ceiling – many are also latent defects, which are not so obvious to the lay person, such as rotting within the roof trusses.

Having a home inspector investigate the home before any deal becomes firm will give the buyer an opportunity to ensure that the home they are potentially purchasing is in good shape and does not have any underlying issues that can potentially be dangerous.

Once the inspection has been completed, and the home inspector has provided the buyer with the report, it is imperative to go over the inspection report right away in order to address any issues that may be present within the home. It’s also important for the home inspector to go over some of the major issues in the home with the buyer so that the buyer is made aware of these issues up front. Suggestions may also be provided by the home inspector as to what actions are recommended to address certain defects in the home, if there are any.

It is crucial that the home inspection be conducted by a professional, certified home inspector that has the skills and knowledge necessary to know what to look for within a home. Having a friend or relative that may be a contractor or a handyman, but has no credibility or experience inspecting homes, should not be given this task, as this could lead to major defects being overlooked.

What to do When a Home Inspection Reveals Defects Within a Home

Home inspections are not necessarily meant to be a tool used for re-negotiating after a deal has already been agreed upon. However, many times the results of the home inspection open the doors for continued negotiations. If the buyer discovers a major defect in the home, many times they will ask the seller to cover the costs for repairing that problem, which can result in the purchase price being re-adjusted.

If defects are discovered in the home, it is up to the buyer to assess whether or not the defect is large enough to back out of the deal. Most houses will have minor issues that can be dealt with simple fixes. It is up to the buyer to determine if any of the defects require immediate fixing, or if they can be left untouched with no consequence, depending on the seriousness of the problem.

If certain issues are more serious and require further investigating, it is important to get further inspections done before the inspection condition on the real estate contract expires.

What a Home Inspection Will Cover

The following is a list of some of the components and structures of a home that will be inspected by a qualified home inspector:

  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Electrical panels and wiring
  • Plumbing
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Insulation
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Flooring
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Foundation
  • Basement
  • Visible structure
  • Septic system

Other possible components that will be investigated in a home inspection may include:

  • Mold testing
  • Moisture testing
  • Water testing
  • Radon testing
  • Heat/air loss

What Not to Expect From a Home Inspection

It is impossible to determine what will happen in the future. A component that seems functional at the time of inspection may become problematic in the near future. With time, wear and tear, it is inevitable that at some point a component or structure of a home may need attention and/or repair.

Home inspections do not help to determine the value of a home, and should therefore not be considered a method of appraising a home. Home inspectors are not in the business of consulting with a home buyer to give them their opinion of what they should be paying for the home, or whether or not the home should be purchased at all.

It is important to note that home inspectors are not building inspectors that work for the city or municipality. For this reason, they are not in the business of conducting a code inspection and determining whether the home should pass or fail a code. Although home inspectors may be able to tell the home buyer whether or not they believe there may be an issue with a building code in a particular home, they should not be relied upon to determine whether or not a home passes building codes set out by the local government.

Conclusion

Home inspections should almost always be a part of the home buying process, especially when the home is old. Unless the intention is to tear down the home to rebuild, a home inspector should be called upon to inspect the home before the real estate contract becomes firm. Employing a certified and qualified home inspector is important when a home inspection is needed on a home.

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There are many issues that might make it difficult for a particular individual to find housing and sometimes when a person who has bad credit or monetary issues must go through a tenant credit check, it's the case that there might be certain protections and options that a person can enter into due to laws that can help individuals who have had low income or problems in the past. And the interesting thing about such housing laws is that consumers are often just as learned as the companies who have apartments to rent are because of internet research.



Enhancing the Deck Options

The design of the deck is often going to be based upon whether a person is interested in having a deck where people can gather and mingle in a party style or whether the deck might simply be an extension of the home where nothing really organized outside of a few people sitting on deck chairs would be the normal activity. By working with an Ohio deck builder, it's possible to get a design that's appropriate for the style of the house which will also work well for the overall features expected of the space as far as what the area will be used for.



Solutions for Mobility

Being able to live in one's home when one is older is a perk that isn't always available to everyone and it's often important to make sure that anyone seeking to remain in their home when they are quite elderly would look into whether Long Island senior care might be the way to go as far as assistance is concerned. Mobility is usually a huge issue late in life and this often means not only that assistance must be obtained from individuals who have experience in elder care, but also that mobility will be addressed through changes to the home and its contents.



Landscaping Design Changes

One of the best ways to enhance a home's appearance is to change the landscaping around and often this will mean looking at whether a completely different style might be appropriate or whether it might take some significant creativity so that the overall approach to the home's landscaping is such that it appears as though the Ridgewood NJ landscaping group has changed the style significantly yet the actual plantings and designs haven't been changed that much. Sometimes landscaping can be quite efficient as far as changing the style or design yet not requiring a significant amount of work to accomplish.



Making it Easier for Taxes

There are so many things to consider when a person is putting together their taxes and whether they are just going to be putting together their taxes on their own or even with an accountant or whether they are looking for some sort of resolution with a legal problem that might require tax lawyers, the best way to ensure that the tax issue can be solved quickly is through good recordkeeping. The worst thing that can happen in such circumstances is that a person can't prove something about their financial or tax life because they can't locate some type of record.



Different Types of Resolutions

There are many different types of resolutions that might come from a person's efforts in family court but there are also different types of arrangements that can be made with New York custody lawyer that might not even involve court. Sometimes there are opportunities to resolve something without having to go into court and this might either be an early conference between lawyers to settle upon the details of something like a divorce or it might be a type of resolution that was actually related to official mediation and efforts to come to a non-court based resolution.



Scott wants this area larger for the actual article.  I’m not sure why.  I think that he is just being silly.  So I decided to write a quick article just so that he can see what it looks like with a populated article here.

Lorem ipsum Dolor sit! Melenkurion Abatha Skywier Minas Duroc Mill Khabaal! Sit rolod muspi merol!

Scott wants this area larger for the actual article.  I’m not sure why.  I think that he is just being silly.  So I decided to write a quick article just so that he can see what it looks like with a populated article here.

Lorem ipsum Dolor sit! Melenkurion Abatha Skywier Minas Duroc Mill Khabaal! Sit rolod muspi merol!