Archive for 2014

Buyers have ways to reduce closing costs

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

NEW YORK – Dec. 19, 2014 – Closing costs can add a lot to home buyers’ final price, depending on which lender a buyer uses, which state they live in, the price of the home, and sometimes even the day of the month the closing occurs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Borrowers can reduce their closing costs in several ways:

  • Comparison shop. If buyers apply for a mortgage with more than one lender, they’ll be able to compare the origination fees quoted in good-faith estimates, says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst of Bankrate.com. Federal law requires lenders to provide the statement within three days of a loan application. The origination fees cannot be changed, but lenders are given a 10 percent cushion in estimating third-party charges, such as for the appraisal, survey, inspection and title services, according to Peggy Lawlor, mortgage strategy executive with Bank of America.
  • Watch the day of closing. The day of the month can even influence costs. “If you close on Nov. 5, you have to pay the per diem interest from the 5th to the 30th; but if you close on Nov. 28, it’s only three days,” says John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage, based in Milford, Conn.
  • Seek relationship discounts. Sometimes lenders offer lower origination fees to loyal customers. For example, Bank of America offers a program called “Preferred Rewards.” The program offers up to $600 in reduced rates on a mortgage depending on the customers’ dollar amount of deposits at the bank.
  • Lump closing costs into the loan. Buyers who can’t afford to bring more money to closing may reduce their out-of-pocket expenditures by rolling the closing costs into the total loan amount. However, lenders will likely charge a slightly interest rate if they do, so buyers should carefully weigh the pros and cons.
  • Look into title insurance discounts. The cost of title insurance can vary greatly among states and even by the type of home. Some states mandate the rate that title insurance providers charge. However, not all do.

Source: “How Home Buyers Can Lower Closing Costs,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 10, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Buyers embrace the ‘contemporary craftsman’ look

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

craftsman reborn INEW YORK – Dec. 9, 2014 – Craftsman homes – generally built between 1905 and the early 1920s – were part of the Arts & Crafts movement, which valued handmade work, uniqueness and natural materials.

Craftsman architecture often included exposed rafters and beams, an abundant amount of stone and wood, and the use of porches and terraces to connect the interior and exterior of the home.

The style is currently growing in popularity again. Online blueprint seller Houseplans.com reported that the percentage of craftsman plans increased in the third quarter, growing to 25 percent, compared 19 percent a year ago. (more…)

What’s the next big home feature buyers want?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Nov. 24, 2014 – Homeowners are showing a bigger appetite for smart home technology. Nearly half of consumers – 46 percent – say it’s important their current home or the next home they purchase have smart home technology, according to a survey of nearly 2,500 consumers, conducted by ERA Real Estate and HGTV.

Survey respondents had recently participated in an HGTV national focus group on smart home technology.

Homeowners and buyers say they see the value in smart home technology for comfort, safety and cost savings, and 51 percent surveyed say they would consider installing smart home technology in their home to make their home more marketable to future home buyers.

The younger segment of the millennial generation is the most likely age group to spend money on smart home technology – 10 times more likely than the percentage of generation X members who say they’d consider adding smart home technology to their homes, the survey reported.

“While still a growing trend, smart home enhancements have the potential to increase savings, safety, and resale value,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “As we have seen through this survey and our one-on-one interactions with buyers and sellers, a smart home is one that is well positioned for the future and aligns with a growing reliance on mobile technology.”

Indeed, 70 percent of millennials say it’s important that smart home technology integrate with their smartphone.

While smart home technology has often been thought to be driven by mainly security, survey researchers did not find security as the main motivation for adding smart home technology.

Instead, homeowners say they’re using or wanting smart home technology mainly because of the money-saving potential, such as through automated climate control, energy management, remote home monitoring and lighting control systems.

What’s more, consumers of all generations said they’d automate their thermostats before their lighting or security systems, and one in 10 Americans say they’d automate their TV over their lighting or security systems.

Source: ERA Real Estate

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC.

Average 30-year loan rate up, but still under 4%

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) – Oct. 31, 2014 – Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates arrested their five-week decline this week, but the benchmark 30-year loan remained below 4 percent.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.98 percent from 3.92 percent last week. It remained at its lowest level since June 2013. The rate stood at 4.53 percent back in January.

The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, increased to 3.13 percent from 3.08 percent.

Dreambuilder 22 Progress Pictures

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

We just posted progress pictures of our latest home in Pablo Creek Reserve, Dreambuilder 22. Check out our album on the Dreambuilder Facebook page to see how it’s coming along.

Be sure to check back frequently for further updates!