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Foreclosure Crisis Comes to an End

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Good News

Have you seen less and less foreclosure signs in your neighborhood?

Will There Be More Foreclosures in 2014?

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Eve everyone! The holidays are always an exciting time of year. They are a time to celebrate, relax and to be thankful. It is also a great time to be with friends and loved ones.

We wanted to share with you something that you and your loved ones, and actually any American, can celebrate this holiday season. On this Christmas Eve, we would like to share fantastic news about the housing market.

According to an article published by the Detroit Free Press, Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president stated,

        “The depth and breadth of the decrease provides strong evidence that we are entering the ninth inning of this foreclosure crisis."

No one will contest that the last 5 years have been difficult. Prior to this housing crisis, foreclosures were an uncommon occurrence. Then suddenly, many Americans saw foreclosure signs pop up in their own neighborhoods. Since 2006, over 7.7 million homes fell into foreclosure, went through a short sale or were lost in a home distressed sale.

Good News

The good news to celebrate this holiday is that the season of foreclosure is coming to an end.

The Statistics

If you are like me, you are probably thinking, “that sounds good, but where are the numbers?” In the same Detroit Free Press article, we learned that November proved to be a great month. Foreclosure activity was down by 37% from a year ago in November. That is the lowest foreclosure numbers we have seen since December 2005.

Even Better News

Michigan was not even one of the states with the highest foreclosure rates. Those states were: Florida, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois and South Carolina.

The article also pointed out that there might be a little fight from foreclosures during this coming year. However, it was reported that a foreclosure comeback that could threaten the housing recovery was “highly unlikely”.

What Does This Mean For You?

This positive news means that right now or sometime in 2014 might be the perfect time for you to move into your dream home. You may have been waiting and stayed in a home that your family has outgrown. Now is the ideal time to take the next step and start looking for your next house.

Michigan is the perfect state to do that in. With lower costs of living and the rebounding economy, you can get a lot of home for your money. Cities like Northville and Novi, Michigan offer a small town feeling while being close to a big city. If you have any questions about moving into these areas or if you are eager to start looking, please call our office at 248-348-7200. We would be honored to help.

Have a wonderful holiday week everyone, and please make sure to visit this page on Thursday if you would like to know where to go out for New Year’s Eve.

Underwater, Under Equity or Low Equity Mortgages

Do you dream of owning a bigger home?

Have you have been told that you are “underwater” with your mortgage? Or perhaps you have heard that your home is under equity or has low equity. Do these terms have you wondering what they actually mean? The truth is you wouldn’t be the first person in America to be told this information.

Unfortunately, for the past few years many people all across the country have been told they are “underwater” with their mortgage. If you have questions about what it means to be “underwater” and how to get above water, this is the article for you.

Today, we are going to share with you a few terms you need to know when looking to sell your home. We won’t just share the definitions with you, but we will also give you some options. Your dream home could be right around the corner.

Underwater Mortgages

When someone says they are underwater with their mortgage it usually means they owe more on their house than the house is worth. Many, many Americans found themselves underwater with their mortgages in the past few years.

Although the housing market is improving, data recently published by CoreLogic as reported by USA Today indicates that almost 13% of homeowners with a mortgage are still in negative equity territory. According to Zillow.com, an example of being underwater is when your home is worth $250,000, and you owe $300,000 on the mortgage.

Under Equity or Low Equity Mortgages

The terms “under equity” or “low equity” mean that that the homeowner has less than 20% of home equity. This is important because in order to finance a mortgage without paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), you will need to have 20% home equity.

What to Do About It

Here are 2 options that you have if you are looking to move on from your current home and have an underwater, under equity or low equity mortgage situation.

  1. Rent It Out

    If it’s time to move, but you don’t have the equity to put down on a new house, one option is to rent your current home out. You can use the rent money that you are paid to cover the new mortgage until the home value goes up.

    In our article, Michigan Home Prices Are on the Rise, we shared about how Michigan has made it into the top 5 states in America with year-over-year home prices gains.  In addition to that, median home sales prices are up 42% from last year.

  2. Make a Few Home Improvements

    A great way to increase your home’s value is by making a few home improvements. What is even better is that you don’t have to spend a tremendous amount of money to see a return on your investment. Please check out our article, Do Renovations Increase The Value of Your Home?, to find out the most cost effective renovations to do to increase the value of your home.

If you are looking to move into a new home that fits your needs or if you have questions about your situation with an underwater, under equity or low equity mortgage, please give my office a call. We would love to help you find your dream home.

248-348-7200

5 Tips on How to Pass a Home Inspection

by The Jamey Kramer Group

5 Tips on How to Pass a Home Inspection

Are you looking to make sure your home inspection goes smoothly?

When is the best time to prepare your home for inspection? The answer to that question is to prepare now if you are going to be selling your home.

Today, we would like to share with you a few tips to help your home pass inspection. While there are a number of areas where the inspectors will look for physical problems, the following are a few of the more common ones. We have included a few tips as well for passing your home inspection with ease.

  1. Plumbing
    This is one of the first things that inspectors look for when inspecting homes. According to Inspectionnews.com, inspectors are looking for 2 mains things when it comes to the plumbing, leaking and clogging.
     
  2. Get Rid of the Clutter
    If you are looking to sell your home, at some point you need to get rid of the clutter. That means putting away personal pictures, but it also means making sure the inspector has room to assess your plumbing, electrical panels, heating and cooling systems. The last thing any inspector wants to do is to have to move the homeowner’s personal items to do their job.
     
  3. Basement and Attics
    Another to-do on the inspector’s list is to check if the basement and attic are damp or even wet. A few of the things the inspector will be looking for is whether or not you store your own boxes on the floor of your attic or basement. Another is if there is a powdery white mineral a few inches from the floor on the walls.
     
  4. Electrical and Wiring
    Once the inspector checks the basement and the plumbing, it may be time to check the wiring and electrical of your home. The inspector will be examining the wires to make sure that they are copper or aluminum. The inspector will also check your electrical panel and circuit board.
     
  5. Roof
    Your roof will be included in the home inspection. According to Coldwellbanker.com, “A home inspection will check for weak or missing shingles and make an assessment regarding the quality of the roof. If any poor shingles are spotted, an inspector might check underneath to see if the building materials are damaged or rotten.”
     

One of the best things to do before a home inspection is to give your home a good cleaning. Make sure to clean the baseboards and every corner. Make it a point to empty out your appliances and be sure that there is clear access to the basement and attic.

Give your home its best chance of passing the inspection by making the inspector’s job as easy as possible.

Are you considering selling your home?

If you are considering selling your home and have additional questions about home inspections and how you can prepare for one, please give our office a call. We would be happy to answer your questions and honored to help you put your home on the market.

 248-348-7200

What Will Real Estate in 2014 Look Like?

by The Jamey Kramer Group

What Will Real Estate in 2014 Look Like?

Have you been considering buying or selling a home?

On this Tuesday before Thanksgiving, are you thinking to yourself how nice it would be to host the family dinner in a different home? Have you been secretly searching for new houses online? Are you nervous about what the housing market’s future will hold?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look into our futures and know for certain which choices are the right ones? While it might be unrealistic to think we can predict the future, there are trends that we can follow and forecasts we can analyze. Today, we are going to look into what the experts are saying about the housing market in 2014.

2013 Housing Market in Review

Let’s take a quick moment to review what has happened this past year. In 2013, we saw home values start to return all across America. In our little corner of the world of Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Wayne counties, we saw median home sale prices rise 42% in October as compared to October of 2012 according to Realcomp.

As home values started to climb, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate stayed low. This year has been exciting. More and more buyers have been looking to take advantage of these low interest rates and sellers have been benefiting from it.

November Predictions for 2014

There is still a month left of this year, but there are a few things that we can already be looking forward to for next year. A little more of our faith in the market has returned, and that has many people considering the possibility of moving on from their current home. However, what will the market look like next year? According to MSN Real Estate,

Market observers agree that home prices will rise in 2014, but at a slower, more steady pace compared with historical trends. Clear Capital forecasts that home prices nationally will rise by 3 percent to 5 percent in 2014, about the historical average.”

Like a Great College Sports Team

Just like a great college sports team that signed on an amazing freshmen, 2014 is sounding more and more like it is going to be a great rebuilding year. Next year should be steady, and through that steadiness the housing market will win back many Americans’ confidence in the housing market.

Are you ready to move on? If you are, we would love to be the ones who help you move out of your current situation and into the house that you have been dreaming of.

All of us at the Jamey Kramer Group hope you have a wonderful holiday week. Please don’t forget to come back here on Thursday especially if your turkey didn’t turn out the way you planned. On Thursday, you’ll be invited to check out where you can go out to eat for Thanksgiving dinner in Northville and Novi, Michigan.

248-348-7200

FHA Loans and Qualifications for First-Time Home Buyers

by The Jamey Kramer Group

FHA Loans and Qualifications

Are you a first time home buyer?

Is your credit score a little less than perfect?

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, then this is an article you will want to read. FHA loans can be a great option for first-time home buyers because they don’t require a huge down payment. Today, we are going to share with you what a FHA loan is and how to qualify.

What is a FHA Loan?

FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration and is a mortgage loan that is insured by the federal government. This type of insurance allows the lender to have a lower risk if the borrower defaults on their payments because the loan is insured by the government.

FHA loans have been around since the 1930s. Here is what Zillow said about the history of the FHA program:

“The FHA program was created in response to the rash of foreclosures and defaults that happened in 1930s; to provide mortgage lenders with adequate insurance; and to help stimulate the housing market by making loans accessible and affordable. Nowadays, FHA loans are very popular, especially with first-time home buyers.”

First, let’s take a look at some advantages and disadvantages to getting a FHA loan instead of a traditional loan.

Advantages of FHA Loans

The advantages of FHA loans are easy to see and include:

  • FHA loans are often the easiest loan to qualify for.
  • FHA loans require only a 3.5% down payment.
  • You do not have to have stellar credit to qualify for FHA loans.
  • If you decide to sell the home, the buyer has the ability to assume your loan.

Disadvantages of FHA Loans

There are a few disadvantages to this type of loan. FHA loans require that you to have 2 different mortgage insurance premiums.

  • The upfront mortgage premium or MIP: Regardless of your credit score, you are required to buy 1.75% of your loan either upfront when you purchase the home or this can be rolled into your monthly payments.
  • Annual MIP: This is not a yearly charge, but rather a monthly charge that is figured into your mortgage payment. This charge is based on the loan-to-value ratios.

Qualifying Requirements of FHA Loans

Here is a list of a few of the qualifying requirements for an FHA Loan:

  • A two year history of steady employment.
  • A down payment of 3.5%.
  • The property must be approved by an FHA-approved appraiser.
  • The cost to own the home including the mortgage, HOA fees, property taxes and mortgage insurance must be below 31% of your gross income.
  • All of your debt including your mortgage, your credit card payments and your student loans must be below 43% of your gross income.

If a FHA loan sounds like a good option for you and you are interested in starting the home purchasing process, please make sure to give our office a call. We would be honored to help you find your new house.

 248-348-7200

3 Secrets to Why You Should Buy a House This Winter

by The Jamey Kramer Group

3 Secrets to Why You Should Buy a House This Winter

Have you been considering buying a house?

I know, moving in the winter sounds less than ideal, especially in Michigan. Cold weather, holidays at home, and snow are all reasons why you may have thought about pushing your move off until the summer. However, today, I am going to let you in on a few secrets that make moving in the winter a good idea.

There are 3 secrets to why you may want to consider moving this winter. The first is mortgage rates fell below 4% last month. We haven’t seen this low of mortgage rates since this past June. Second, you may like to consider buying a house this winter because it isn’t the most pleasant time to move. Buyers are typically scarce giving you the pick of the houses on the market. Lastly, sellers who keep their homes on the market during the winter are likely to be a little more flexible and motivated which could mean a better deal for you.

Let’s take a deeper look into these 3 secrets.

  1. 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Fell Below 4%

    To be honest, I wasn’t sure if we would see an interest rate this low again. Yahoo! Homes reported last month that interest rates dropped below 4% for the first time since June.

    This winter, you can still lock in a low interest rate. For example, on October 22, 2013, you could purchase a home with a 30-year fixed interest rate of 3.98%. That low of a rate proves that this winter might be the perfect time for you to purchase a house.

    In addition, we don’t know how much longer 30-year fixed mortgages will be around. The Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided on 30-year fixed rate mortgages, and Washington is currently in debate about it. You can read more about this debate in our article, Will The 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Disappear?
     
  2. A Less Competitive Market

    For the same reasons why you don’t want to move in the winter, other potential buyers are choosing not to as well. This gives anyone looking to buy a house during the winter an advantage. That advantage means that if you chose to buy this winter, you won’t face the same type of competitive market like you will in a few months. You may even be able to come in with a lower offer than you can in a few months from now.

    According to MSN Real Estate,

    “There will be less competition for any house you do find and fall in love with, and less competition should translate into a bigger discount. Prices are typically at a 12-month low in December, according to Realtor.com.”
     
  3. Flexible Sellers

    It’s no secret that selling your home in the winter can be difficult. As a buyer, you can use this non-secret to your advantage because those homes that are still on the market may have flexible sellers. Flexible sellers could mean many good things for buyers who are willing to brave the winter weather.

Now that you know the 3 secrets to why buying a home this winter may be the perfect time for you to move, please give our office a call. We may be able to get you into your dream house by Christmas.

248-348-7200

What Matters When Applying for a Mortgage

by The Jamey Kramer Group
What Matters When Applying for a Mortgage

What do the banks look at when they are considering your loan request?

Are there options if you can’t get approved for a conventional loan for your home?

Since the housing bubble burst, many Americans found it harder and harder to get approved for a home loan. The good news is that some banks are relaxing requirements as the housing market returns. There are government requirements that must be followed and while this is disappointing news to some future homeowners, it doesn’t have to be.

Buyers can equip themselves with the knowledge of what they need to get approved for a loan. If they can’t get approved, there are other mortgage loan options available. Here at the Jamey Kramer Group, it is our passion to help you get into the house of your dreams. Today, we are going to be sharing with you what banks are typically looking for when they are deciding on your mortgage loan.

Three factors that the banks typically consider include:

  1. Cash is King
    Have you ever heard the saying, Cash is King? Well, when purchasing a house that saying rings more true than ever. Before the housing bubble burst, you might have been able to get into a home without putting down cash. Now, however, you have to have some cash to put down. For example, FHA loans have typically required the lowest amount of cash for a down payment of 3.5%.
  2. Debt vs. Income
    According to News Day, regulations will go into effect on January 1, 2014 that will “prohibit banks from approving mortgages for anyone whose debt-to-income ratio is higher than 43 percent.” This rule is part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 which mandates that lenders need to “more closely scrutinize borrowers' financial information to make sure they can afford a loan.” 

    This rule is called The Ability-Repay rule and is also known as the Qualified Mortgage rule. It essentially means that a borrower’s total debt liability which includes housing should not exceed 43% of their income.
  3. Credit Scores

    According to Ellie Mae, a provider of on-demand automation solutions for the mortgage industry, 32% of closed loans in September 2013 had an average FICO score of less than 700 compared to the 17% of one year ago. Market Watch reports that banks are relaxing mortgage requirements and that “home buyers no long need perfect credit to score a loan.” Generally, the lowest credit score lenders are willing to accept is from 620 – 640.

    Market Watch also reports that:
     
    • Conventional Loans: Conventional mortgage lenders are generally looking for a credit score of at least 740.
    • VA Loans: Most VA lenders are looking for a minimum score of 620. 

    The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) does not impose a minimum credit score, so it is “left strictly to the lender” and “most lenders set a minimum score of 640, but a few go to 580,” according to the Daily Herald.

Now you have a better picture about what banks are looking for when approving home mortgages. We would love to help you find the house that you are dreaming about. When you are ready to purchase a house, please make sure to call our office at:

 248-348-7200

Foreclosure Rates Continue to Drop Ushering in End of National Crisis

by The Jamey Kramer Group
End of National Crisis

Do you need some good news today?

Are you still in a home you don't love because you've been underwater in your mortgage?

Michigan has been through a lot in the last 8 years. We have seen our friends lose their jobs and foreclosure signs go up in our neighborhoods. The good news is that the national foreclosure rates are dropping. In August, the number of new foreclosures filed in the U.S. was the lowest it has been since October of 2005 according RealtyTrac, a leading source for comprehensive housing data.

The report also indicates that Michigan’s foreclosure starts in August were down 55% from the previous year.

In October, RealtyTrac released the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ which states that September was the “36th consecutive month with an annual decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity.” It also shows that “U.S. foreclosure starts in the third quarter were at a seven-year low.”

Underwater Mortgages are Dropping

According to CNNMoney, the "soaring home prices and a big decline in underwater borrowers" is what is pushing this all-time low. After the recession hit hard, many Michigan residents found themselves underwater in their mortgages. The definition of being underwater in a mortgage means that you owe more money on your mortgage than your house is worth.

This caused many people to foreclose on their mortgages or stay in a home they did not want to stay in. Many Michigan residents who didn't lose their homes grounded in and haven't looked up. Let us be the first to tell you. It's time to look up. 

Mortgage rates are low, not record low, but still low. More and more Americans are being hired and holding their jobs. Now, Americans are not only keeping their homes, but they are purchasing their dream homes. 

It's Time to Look On the Brighter Side

While many Americans all over the country are picking up the pieces still left after the foreclosure crisis, the good news is that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. 

Take Advantage and Buy Now

My dad always said when I was playing sports to capitalize on the amazing opportunities given to me. That is true of the housing market as well. With mortgage rates being so low and more Americans being hired and holding their jobs, there hasn't been a better time to sell or buy your home than right now. It is time to take advantage of the low 30-year fixed mortgage rates and the lower costs of homes. 

Home values are going up and so are interest rates. Right now, your dream home is waiting for you. Don't be afraid to put your home on the market or to start looking for the home you've always wanted. We are here to help. Please call our office at: 248-348-7200.

How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Real Estate

by The Jamey Kramer Group
How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Real Estate

Are you applying for a mortgage?

Have you been considering selling your home?

The government has shut down and now we are all looking at how that affects us. Much of the shutdown is affecting us in ways we don’t always notice, like the White House website with the warning, “Because Congress did not fulfill its responsibility to pass a budget, much of the federal government is shut down.” Other parts of the shutdown that you wouldn’t think mattered, like the IRS being reduced could actually affect you the most.

Today, we are going to share how this shutdown might affect you, either as a home buyer or as someone who is interested in selling their home.

Why The IRS Shutting Down is Bad For Mortgages.

Buying a home is a big process even with the government up and running. For mortgages that are backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie May, the IRS being reduced is bad news. Banks use the IRS to verify income information. That income information is what helps home buyers close on their mortgages. Without that information, Freddie and Fannie may not be able to approve mortgages.

According to an article on CNNMoney, even Wells Fargo will not be able to complete any new applications until after the shutdown is over and the home buyers’ income can be verified.

Don’t worry. If you have found your dream home, there are still banks that are continuing to lend money during the shutdown. Those banks that are continuing to lend will sell the mortgages to Fannie or Freddie after the shutdown is over and when the buyers’ income can be verified.

Government-Backed Mortgages Are Still Available

While FHA has 96% of their staff on furlough, they have promised to continue to process loans. That is great news for anyone looking to buy or sell a home.

CNNMoney has reported that FHA, the Veteran’s Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture made up about 45% of backed mortgages in 2012. FHA alone insures 60,000 loans a month.

Mortgage Rates Dropping

We have one last bit of good news to share. Mortgage rates have dropped, again. At the beginning of last week the average rate according to CNNMoney was about at 4.32%, but by the end of last week, mortgage rates had dropped to 4.22%. Now .10% may not actually seem that important, but when you’re buying a $350,000 that .10% will make all the difference.

Just because the government has shut down doesn’t mean that you cannot buy your dream home or sell the home that your family is currently growing out of. Make sure to have an experienced realtor on your side that is familiar with the shutdown. That experienced realtor can help you navigate the waters of buying or selling your home. 

Please give our office a call at: 248-348-7200

Help with Remodeling and Renovating Your Home

by The Jamey Kramer Group
Help with Home Remodeling and Renovating Your Home

Are you hoping to save money by remodeling yourself?

Are you wondering what remodeling jobs will add value to your home?

There is good news in Novi, Michigan: the summer-like temperatures are here to stay at least for the weekend. While we may be enjoying the occasional fall shower, temperatures will be staying in the high 70s. This weekend will be the perfect weekend to head out to the Novi Home Remodeling Show. 

Both remodeling and renovating have the potential to add value to your home. Today, we want to share with you some of the top places to renovate or remodel that will get you the return on your investment. With that knowledge you can head into the Novi Home Remodeling Show ready to learn how.

Remodeling and Renovating 

Last month, we shared the article, Do Renovations Increase the Value of Your Home?, that questioned whether or not renovations actually increase the value of your home. What we learned is that renovating does work as long as it is in the right place. 

The biggest winners when it comes to return on your investment are outside your home. According to the Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling Magazine, the top four places to receive a return on your investment are,

  • Entry Door Replacement
  • Fiber Cement Siding
  • Wood Deck Addition
  • Garage Door Replacement

The report just proved what realtors have been saying for a while, curb appeal goes a long way. First impressions are critical, especially when you are considering selling your home. 

The fifth highest remodeling job was minor kitchen remodeling. That's great news, because the cost to renovate isn't going to break the bank. The kind of remodeling jobs we are talking about here are changing out counter tops, adding new appliances and replacing the cabinet fronts. 

The last couple of remodeling jobs that are worth taking notice are finishing off the basement and adding an attic bedroom. These two will cost more than the previous jobs, but having that extra space may be what the buyers need to make that offer. 

The Novi Home Remodeling Show

This weekend is the perfect time to start researching any remodeling jobs that you may be considering. Here is what the Novi Patch reported on the Novi Home Remodeling Show,

"Looking to update your home? Anything and everything you need to remodel and design your home can be found under one roof at the Novi Home Remodeling Show! Browse exhibits in kitchen and bath interiors, windows and doors, flooring products, furniture, cabinetry and much more!"

The Novi Home Remodeling Show is sponsored by the Home Builder Association of Southeastern Michigan and is being held all weekend at the Suburban Collection Showplace. 

Adding space, sprucing up, and updating can all add value to your home making it a perfect opportunity to sell. If you need any assistance, please call our office at 248-348-7200. Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you in Novi, Michigan this weekend. 

Displaying blog entries 121-130 of 142