7 Tips For Selling Your Home During The Holidays


Are the holidays not hectic enough for you? Put aside your gift list for a moment; how about adding a home sale to your to-do list?

Most people avoid selling their homes during the holidays, but you may not have any choice in the matter. If you need to sell your home around the end of the year, here are seven tips to help your sale go smoothly.

  1. Minimize Holiday Decorations – Not everyone has the same love of holiday decorations, and poorly maintained, tacky, or overly religious displays can be a turnoff for potential buyers. Keep the seasonal decorations simple and easy to maintain.

    That applies to the outside as well as the inside of your home – avoid browning out the neighborhood with your awesome light display.

  2. Keep It Clean – Keeping the home free of tracked-in mud, snow, and other debris is even tougher in the winter months, and arguably even more important. Vacuum well and vacuum often.

7 Tips To Buying A Home During The Holidays


Moving during the holidays can be a headache with all the seasonal activities and obligations – not to mention unpleasant weather in many locations. However, there are plenty of positives to buying a home during the holidays that may make the headaches of moving worth the effort, including the seven listed below.

1. Less Competition – The same issues that make holiday moving a hassle tend to keep people from shopping for homes at that time. While there may be fewer homes available, there are also fewer homebuyers – and that should equal less competition for any home that fits your needs.

2. Motivated Sellers – Home sellers don’t enjoy moving over the holidays any more than homebuyers do. It’s likely that people who are selling their homes over the holidays are highly motivated to do so. Perhaps they must relocate for a new job, or their home has been on the market for a long time and they need the money from a sale before the yea…

How Would Proposed Changes To Loan Officers’ Pay Affect You?


Do you know how your mortgage loan officer is compensated? You should if you plan to buy a home, because your loan officer’s compensation could have the potential to affect your mortgage loan – and proposed new changes could amplify the effects.

At the beginning of 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) significantly changed the rules for loan officer compensation by amending and clarifying restrictions under the Truth in Lending Act. The CFPB action was designed to reduce incentives for loan officers to steer consumers toward riskier loan products that increased loan officer compensation but may not have been in the consumer’s best interest.

Under the CFPB’s ruling, loan officers can’t receive any compensation based on interest rate, loan terms, or by steering consumers toward an affiliate third party such as an appraisal or title insurance service. They can’t receive compensation from a borrower and a related party for the same transaction. Loan …

Physician Loans Help New Doctors Purchase Homes


Doctors, dentists, and many others who go into the medical field often graduate with high amounts of student loan debt that they have to begin paying back after six months of graduation. While they may not be making a large amount of money immediately following graduation and have a large amount of debt, they are also very likely to earn a high salary as they advance in their careers.

This is why a number of mortgage companies offer what is commonly called a physician loan. This type of mortgage is aimed at those who may not be earning a large amount of money when they apply, so lenders usually require a fairly small down payment or even no down payment at all. They also often do not require

Free Government Program Can Help You Master Your Finances


You’re never too old to learn new things – including better money management practices. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) agrees.

To address financial literacy concerns, the FDIC created the Money Smart teaching program in 2001 to help educators and financial institutions increase consumer understanding of basic financial systems work and how to use them to stay financially healthy.

The Money Smart for Adults program is expanding to include more topics. According to the FDIC website, the updated Money Smart for Adults program is set to begin in fall 2018.

The updated program contains eleven separate modules that take one to two hours of time per module. Topics include how banking services work, the basics of credit and credit histories, how to use credit cards…

4 Top Myths Surrounding VA Loans


Home sellers and their agents may be limiting their potential base of buyers by ignoring a growing pool of them. Mortgage industry software company Ellie Mae reports that loans acquired through the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department account for 10% of all primary insured home loans.

It is easy to see why VA backing is preferable from a buyer’s point of view. If you qualify, you can purchase a house with no money down (up to a particular loan limit that varies by market) and no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) requirement. Yet, sellers shy away from buyers with VA loans, and seller’s agents may serve as a screen to exclude VA-backed offers from ever reaching the seller.

Why is this so? It makes little sense, since the risk of default is borne by the lending institution and not the buyer. In addition, …

Is the Housing Market Turning?


Nearing the Limit

The housing market has suffered from excess demand and limited supply for years, causing a sharp increase in home prices. Add continually increasing interest rates to the mix, and eventually something has to give.

The turning point may have arrived.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report shows that home prices are still rising, but at the slowest pace in almost two years. For almost a year, the National Case-Shiller Price index has risen by an annualized rate over 6% – well outpacing wages as well as inflation. Meanwhile, existing home sales were down 3.4% in September and down 4.1% from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) – the lowest mark since November 2015.

An out-of-balance market may be adjusting toward normalcy. That’s potentially good news for you, if you keep your finances in decent shape.

VA Loans 101


Veterans Affairs (VA) loans are invaluable for homebuyers. Their advantages include little or no money down, qualifying with a lower credit score, competitive interest rates, potentially lower closing and auxiliary costs, and no private mortgage insurance requirements.

VA loans are administered through approved lending institutions, and backed through an entitlement of up to $36,000. This entitlement can guarantee a home loan of up to 453,100 without a down payment and possibly higher in some high-cost counties.

You may qualify for a VA loan if you’re an active duty service member, a veteran in good standing, a current or discharged National Guard or Selected Reserve member, a spouse of a service member who died on active duty, or a spouse of a veteran who died as a result of military service. Your lender will require a Certificate of Eligibility, which requires different ev…

1 Of 3 Americans Wants To Buy A Home By 2020


Is a home purchase on your to-do list over the next two years? You’ll have plenty of competition finding your new home, according to the latest PenFed Credit Union National Mortgage Survey.

The survey found that 37% of American adults are planning to purchase a home within the next two years. Over half (52%) of the millennial generation plan to buy within that timeframe, with many looking forward to their first home purchase.

Millennials will need all the resources they can muster to get that starter home. Demand continues to outpace supply, pushing home prices upward and out of reach for an increasing number of Americans. The current home supply increased to 6.2 months, near the 6-month level considered a healthy balance – but affordable starter homes are still in short supply in many markets.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), first-time buyers need nearly 23% of their income to afford the average entry-level home. That’s the hig…