Mortgage

Is it Time to BUY or SELL your Home?   2 Local North of Boston Experts answer this question!

Is it Time to BUY or SELL your Home?  2 Local North of Boston Experts answer this question!

 

Geri Farrelly, Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group in North Reading and Tom Patch, Loan Office of Mortgage Equity Partners in Lynnfield know the local market and want you to be in the know too.

Tom Patch says, “Everyone can benefit from low mortgage interest rates!”

You don’t want to miss out on the opportunities available right now in the housing market.  Mortgage interest rates are the lowest they have been since October 2016.  Everyone can benefit whether you want to buy a home, sell a home, or refinance your current home.  This is a unique time in history where no matter where you fall in the housing market, everyone can benefit.

Home values have been appreciating for several years now. The annual appreciation rate has nearly doubled since 2012.  It is projected to dip beginning 2020 and not come back up until 2023, according to Home Price Expectation Survey 2019 2Q.  That means it is an excellent time to sell if you want to get the most for your home.

Mortgage Interest Rates are the lowest they have been in 3 years.  That means it is a good time to buy, sell, or refinance. A lower interest rate means a lower monthly payment and the ability to afford more home for your money! 

If you bought a home more than 2 or 3 years back and thought you didn’t want to move because you will never get a rate that low again, now you can move up to a bigger home and still get a super low rate.

If you already own a home and you don’t want to move, you should review your current interest rate.  It has been widely shared that 8.2 million homeowners now have refinance opportunities.  Anyone who owns a home right now should be contacting a loan officer. If you have a rate that is higher than 4.25% you can save money even with closing costs and the other charges associated with closing a loan, in most cases.

 

 “Rates of 4% and, in some cases even lower, create extremely attractive conditions for consumers. Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates.”

--Doug Duncan, Chief Economist for Fannie Mae

 

Geri Farrelly, Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group believes that the data (specific to North Reading) continues to show a very strong housing market

The North Reading Transcript has recently had several articles about the Real Estate market in general, but how does our Hometown North Reading market look?  The market from Jan 2018 to July 31st, 2018 to the 2019 market in the same time period was surprisingly similar. 

From January 2018 to July 31st 2018 there were 96 homes sold, and 30 condominiums sold.

From January 2019 to July 31st 2019 there were 101 homes sold, and 30 Condominiums sold.

The average days on market for single families in 2018 was 45.41.

The average days on market for single families in 2019 it was 68.27.

There was a significant increase to the days on market this year.  The reason for this is twofold.  List prices have started a little higher this year coming off such a successful/robust market from last year.  Secondly buyers were willing to sit back and wait for price decreases if they felt the property was priced on the higher end of the market. Also, buyers continue to be savvy, studying the internet and determining the home’s value prior to ever stepping foot in the property. 

“HOME PRICES ARE RISING!”-Geri Farrelly

In 2018 the average list price was $589,724.00 for single family homes.

In 2019 the average list price was $617,602.00 for single family homes. The average list price increased by approximately $28,000.00

In 2018 the average sale price was: $591,156.00

In 2019 the average sale price was: $622,168.00

An increase of $31,012.00, the increase appeared to be a steady climb as compared to last year as the prices where increasing at a much more rapid rate. A steady increase is much healthier for our community’s economic outlook.

The award-winning school system, amazing park system, the proximity to Boston and North Shore/New Hampshire Beaches, as well as the reputation of being such a great community which offers an excellent quality of life for its residents.  North Reading housing inventory continues to be low which leads to a seller’s market, as of today there is 1.76 months’ worth of inventory.  The market is balanced when there is 4-5 months’ worth of inventory on the market.  So, you can see we are significantly below the balanced market.  Which indicates it is an opportune time to sell, if you are thinking about doing so.

The combination of interest rates at the lowest they have been in years and a strong healthy real estate market make both experts say the answer is YES to the question “Is it the right time to buy or sell your home?”   The good news is there’s still time to make a move before the school year starts and the fall weather sets in. Maybe it’s time to make that change. Reach out to your realtor and mortgage loan officer today to get things moving in the right direction. 

 

 

Tom Patch, MLO#142695,  is a mortgage professional at Mortgage Equity Partners, NMLS#1936. 

Geralyn Farrelly is the Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group, North Reading, MA License # 9533996

 

6 Mortgage Questions And Answers For The First-Time Home Buyer

  • By
  • Posted

Question MarkMortgage questions abound when you're a first-time home buyer. Compounding the challenge is the discomfort interrupting the conversation with a would-be lender or seller to ask about credit scores or how much money you need as a down payment. Everyone knows this stuff, right?

No, they don't all know—so you should ask these questions. Or, at the very least, study up a bit so you know the basics. To help get you up to speed, here's a crash course on the most common mortgage questions (and the answers you need to know). Take five to read on, and wonder no more.

1. What do you need to get a mortgage?

Before loaning you money, lenders want to see proof that you've proven reliable paying off past debts, so you'll need to start establishing credit.

There are ways to verify your past payments on utility bills, cell phone and rent. Getting a credit card is another option, just be sure to pay your bills according to the prescribed terms. Timely payments on car loan or college loans will also help you establish credit and help you get a mortgage.

2. If you have bad credit, how do you improve it?

For starters, check your credit report. It's free to download one copy each year, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find. And if the news is bad, there's still hope.

If you’ve got bad credit, frequently it's due to aged activity —an old collection notice, medical bill or something you didn’t know about. Often these issues can be fixed, boosting your credit score fairly quickly.

If you do have a bunch of bad marks and late payments, however, start paying on time and your score will gradually improve. 

3. What’s the difference between a mortgage pre-approval and a pre-qualification?

Pre-qualification is not going to hold the same weight as a pre-approval. You can go online and get somebody to print you out a pre-qual letter. And you’ll find that if you’re negotiating with an agent and they’re looking at a pre-qual letter, it’s probably not worth much to them.

A pre-approval letter — involving lenders fully checking your finances in a verifiable way — takes more time and effort, which is exactly why it carries much more weight. If you're serious about buying a home, get pre-approved to show you mean business.

4. How much down payment do you need for a mortgage?

The gold standard down payment for a mortgage is 20% — so if the home's price is $400,000, you'd have to pony up $80,000 of your own money to get the loan.

If you don't have that much, you can put down less, but you'll have to pay PMI, or private mortgage insurance. It's an extra fee of about $50 to $100 a month that lenders will require to mitigate the risk that you might default on your loan due to your lack of funds.

When you put less down, the trade-off is you actually have to spend more on a monthly basis.

That said, there are some exceptions that allow a buyer to avoid PMI even with a small down payment. Buyers who are in the military, veterans, and family members of veterans may be able to avoid PMI with a Veterans Affairs loan. And once your equity in your home rises above 20%, you can stop paying PMI.

5. What kind of down payment assistance is available?

If you're looking for help with a down payment, the "bank of Mom and Dad" may be a smart start — if your parents have the means to pitch in. Gifted money can help many people qualify for a loan, although you absolutely must tell your lender that the money was a gift. Fibbing on this front will raise red flags.

If private assistance isn't an option, or isn't enough, there are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs across the country that can help, as long as you meet eligibility requirements in terms of income and credit.

Check with one of our real estate agents (or your lender) for more information about programs on the North Shore that will help you become a homeowner.

6. What types of home loans are available?

Loan types vary widely, but typically fall into two camps. The first includes loans with an adjustable rate, meaning the interest rate could change after a period of time. The second includes loans that are "fixed" or "term," meaning the rate will stay the same for the length of the borrowing period. Generally, term or fixed-rate loans are more common and considered the safer option, but it all depends on your circumstances, including how long you plan to stay in the home.

As a first-time home buyer it’s expected that you’ll have a number of questions, so don’t be afraid to ask them. The more you educate yourself about the home buying process, the better … after all, purchasing your first home is a pretty big deal!

Have a lingering question we didn’t answer here? Feel free to contact us.

Don't Get Burned by a Credit Freeze

  • By
  • Posted

credit freezeBaby, it’s freezing outside.

With Equifax and other companies reporting massive data breaches this year, more consumers are putting a freeze on their credit reports. And while a credit freeze won’t affect a borrower’s ability to qualify for a mortgage, it does require the borrower to take additional steps during the application process.

Exactly what does a credit freeze accomplish?

A credit freeze blocks anyone — including lenders and employers — from accessing your credit report. Requests for a credit freeze must be submitted by mail, online or over the phone to the three major credit bureaus individually (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). You’ll need to provide your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. The fees vary by state but are minimal -- some are free and the most costly ones are $10 each time you place or lift a freeze. Payments can be made using a personal check, money order or credit card. Fees are generally waived for victims of identity theft.

Once placed, a credit freeze stays on your credit report until you lift or remove it. Existing creditors (or debt collectors acting on their behalf) will still have access.

Do keep in mind that while freezing your credit can prevent others from opening new lines of credit in your name, it also prevents you from opening an account yourself. It can affect your ability to purchase a new cell phone, secure a store credit card or pass the security review associated with an application for employment.

Borrowing? Here's what you need to know

If you’ve instituted a freeze on your credit but now want to apply for a loan, you will have to contact each credit bureau to temporarily lift the freeze.

If you're a borrower applying for a mortgage, that freeze will probably only have to be lifted once, because the credit report will be good for the typical 30- to 45-day period from contract to closing. But there are certain situations where another report needs to be pulled by the lender nearer to the closing. In that case, as the borrower you may have to lift the freeze — and pay for it — multiple times.

In addition, borrowers could run into problems in competitive housing markets where you need to close quickly. In those instances, it might be tricky to unfreeze the credit in time for the lender to pull credit reports and complete the underwriting and pre-closing process.

Here are a few considerations if you’re applying for a mortgage with frozen credit.

Check your own credit in advance

While freezing your credit protects you from the time the freeze becomes effective, it does nothing to correct existing credit issues. Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting agencies, check them carefully and correct any errors before you apply for a mortgage.

Get fraud alerts

While a credit freeze “locks down” your credit, a fraud alert still allows creditors to pull your credit report as long as they verify your identity first, according to the Federal Trade Commission. For example, a business may call you to verify that you are the person requesting new credit. However, while fraud alerts may make it more difficult for others to open new credit accounts in your name, they may not prevent misuse of your existing accounts. Placing a fraud alert is easier than a credit freeze. You need only to contact one of the reporting agencies, which in turn is required to notify the others. A fraud alert is free of charge.

Know how the freeze works

Understand the logistics of lifting the freeze — and make sure you allow enough time for the lender to pull credit reports. Consumers who deal directly with the three credit-reporting agencies are given a PIN (personal identification number) to provide, either by phone, online or mail, every time they want to lift or remove the freeze, according to David M. Blumberg, a spokesman for TransUnion. Alternatively, consumers can lock or unlock their credit using a third-party service like TransUnion’s TrueIdentity, which is available online or in an app.

Putting a freeze on your credit report can protect you from identity theft; just be sure to do your homework first.

If you are concerned about fraud and identity-theft issues, contact information for the three major credit bureaus are listed below.

Equifax: 888-349-9960, www.equifax.com

Experian: 888-397-3742, www.experian.com

TransUnion: 888-909-8872 www.transunion.com