The Seattle area offers up some interesting insight and trends in real estate that may get traction in the national picture before you know it. In 2014, the hottest properties on the market were apartments. Investors were grabbing rental properties faster than office buildings, and that trend may be matching the market outlook in some areas. Young people are renting for longer before buying, and the job market is strong. Could the Seattle model unfold across the country, creating a seller’s market? Read some more predictions and insights here.
Up to one million Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) mortgages may be eligible for help through 4 new programs recently announced. Mortgage holders with a good record of payment for 5 years may be eligible to receive assistance to help pay down principle. Other borrowers will have an opportunity to re-amortize to further reduce monthly payments. These changes come before some features of the program are slated for upward adjustments. Check out more info on the issue here, with additional links to check out.
Why rent when you can buy? Answer that question and you might be onto something perplexing a lot industry people. Millennials, when asked in a recent survey, said they would rather rent than buy, to the tune of nearly 6 in 10. Only 1 in 4 Millennials today owns a home. That is significantly down from the same age group in previous generations, and begs the question: Why? The answers, like the generation, are very unique. The bottom line is that with the right purchase, many could save upwards of 700k over the course of a 30 year mortgage vs. renting, and that is something to discuss. Read more here.
A group of mortgage-bond investors have sent a letter to Ocwen in which they accuse the company of “imprudent and improper” actions that may be the precursor to a lawsuit, according to Kathy Patrick of Gibbs & Bruns LLP. The company has been under the microscope in recent months for improper conduct, highlighted by a tangle with the State of California. Ocwen agreed last Friday after close of business to pay a 2.5 million dollar fine in order to avoid suspension of their operating license in the state. The latest woes only make the outlook more challenging for the beleaguered loan servicer. Read more here
Reducing the amount of space in which you live might be a big idea whose time is here. Its subscribers refer to it as micro living, or the tiny house movement among other names, but the idea is the same: lowering the amount of space, the amount of stuff, and the amount of debt. It’s an idea that is finding growing support. However, as with all tradeoffs, the benefits also come with some challenges. How do you part with ‘stuff’ that you want to keep or that has intrinsic value to your life, and where do you have your private space? A recent story here touches on some of these and other related points.
If staying inside this winter is driving you up a wall, then get yourself motivated by getting your house in shape. Start off with choosing a few projects, and planning them out to complete by the start of opening day. If you need a suggestion, start with the ones that will improve your home’s value the most.
1. Make your walls feel like new with fresh paint or wallpaper
2. Tile in a backsplash in your kitchen
3. Brighten up your spirits with new lighting
4. Open a new door by replacing old ones
5. Relax in a new tub after installing it
More info and links are here, good luck!
Mortgage rates are at historic lows for all types of loans. However, the difference in interest rates for 30-year and 15-year mortgages is worth looking at. 15-year mortgages require higher monthly premiums for the same loan amount, but the shorter term brings real money back into your income stream faster, and with significant savings over 30-year mortgages. On the current, average home-sale price, savings are estimated at over $100k for the term of the loan. However, those savings come with higher monthly payments, over $600 for the average home purchase price. Have a look at this great article that compares the options.
At some point, the inevitable hand-over was going to happen, but that it will likely happen this year is somewhat of a surprise. Millennials will be the majority of homebuyers compared to other age groups at some point in 2015, according to current trends. Almost half of Millennials want to buy a home in the next five years. Driving factors include outpacing of rent vs. cost of home ownership, an increase in affordable home construction, and more favorable interest rates and loan options. Have a look here for a little more insight and the five best housing markets for first-time buyers.
In this video, Mike Heimos talks about common snow and ice removal methods like ice, sand, cat litter and ash, and which ones are effective, and which ones are better for your the environment and your local water supply. He’s got some great info, and a few great tips, and some alternatives you may want to seek out. Have a watch here. (4 minutes, you can spare that, right?)
“I can do this, hold my beer.” And with those words start some of the funniest home improvement stories ever. There are certain things you should probably know how to do around the house. You should know how to change a light bulb, fix a creaky door, stuff like that. But there are some home projects where the best place to start is with your telephone. Have a look here and see if you agree.