Montgomery County, PA Real Estate News

By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
The FHA streamline refinance is not right for everyone, but if rates significantly dropped or you can afford a fixed-rate loan and want out of an ARM, it can make sense. If you’ll stay in the home for the foreseeable future, you can either save money on interest or have a more predictable payment.Before you jump on board, ask yourself: Am I saving enough money to make the cost of refinancing worth it? Would I feel more at ease with a fixed-rate loan versus an ARM? When Doesn’t an FHA Streamline Refinance Make Sense?Like we said, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to refinance.First, make sure you can afford the closing costs. Unlike most other loan programs, you cannot roll your closing costs into the loan. Make sure you have the money to cover the closing costs plus the FHA upfront mortga...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
  Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, core inflation, and minutes of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting held on September 22 and 23. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published. September’s Consumer Price Index rose by 0.10 percent to 0.40 percent. The Core Consumer Price Index for September, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.10 percent to 0.20 percent and fell short of the expected reading of 0.30 percent growth. Feds’ FOMC Meeting Minutes: Policymakers Consider Tapering Securities Purchases Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held September 21 and 22 indicated that policymakers discussed when to taper the Fed’s purchase of U.S. Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities. Opinion...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Last week’s economic reporting included readings on home prices, new and pending home sales, and the post-meeting statement of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Breaks Records for Second Consecutive MonthNational home prices grew by 16.60 percent year-over-year in May according to S&P Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index. April’s reading reported year-over-year home price growth of 14.80 percent. Home price growth broke records for the second month in a row in May. S&P Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index reported top home price growth in Phoenix, Arizona, Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, California again held the top three positions for US home...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, data on sales of new and previously-owned homes, and weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.NAHB: Affordability, Shortages of Labor and Materials Impacting U.S. Housing MarketsHousing market conditions are changing according to July’s Housing Market Index produced by the National Association of Home Builders. Although the HMI reading declined by one point in July, ongoing trends including labor shortages, higher prices for building materials, and affordability impacted builder confidence in overall market conditions. July’s index reading was 80 as compared to June’s reading of 81 and the expected reading of 82. Housing Market Index readings over 50 indicate ...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
There are many people who are looking at the housing market wondering if now is the time to make the jump from renting to owning. At the same time, is it more affordable to rent a home? Or, is it a smarter move to buy a home? Even though many people like the comfort of renting because it is someone else’s problem if something goes wrong, waiting too long to purchase a home could be costly. Here are a few of the most important points you need to keep in mind when it comes to renting versus buying a home.Renters Spend A Higher Percentage Of Their Income On HousingFirst, renters usually put a higher percentage of their income toward housing than homeowners. When looking at the numbers, people may believe that the percentage is higher for renters purely because people who own homes make mor...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
With all of the rigmarole that goes into packing up your old home and moving into the new one, there are a lot of details that can get lost in the mix. From cleaning up the old house to handing over the keys, there’s no shortage of small tasks that need to be completed. If you’ll soon be prepping for the exciting move into your next home, here are some ways to prepare yourself for this busy time.Do A Spring Clean, Even When It’s Not Spring!Spring cleaning may be something that people only do once a year, but it’s actually a great way to prep for the move you’re about to make. Instead of thinking on a smaller-scale though, you’ll want to hit every room in your house so there’s less to pack up come moving time. While no actual cleaning will be necessary until you’re moving out, this pre-c...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
If you’re just jumping into the game of home purchasing, you are likely considering all of your loan options and may even have heard the term mortgage rate lock. For those who don’t like to gamble, a mortgage rate lock can offer a bit of reassurance, but there are also some downsides to this type of protection. Before signing off on this, here are the details on rate locks so you can make an informed decision.What Is A Rate Lock?For many people who are buying a home, the idea of interest rates can make the heart race a little faster, but this is the purpose of rate locks which offer consistency in a market in flux.Instead of having to deal with day-to-day fluctuations of the rate – which increases or decreases what you owe – a rate lock is a lender promise that you will be held to a spe...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Last week’s scheduled economic reports included readings on inflation, Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.Consumer Price Index: June Inflation Grows at Fastest Pace Since 2008June’s Consumer Price Index showed the fastest pace of inflationary growth in 13 years; inflation grew by 5.40 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Used car sales accounted for one-third of the growth, but prices also rose for clothes, food, energy, and travel/hospitality. The year-over-year inflation rate for May was 5.00 percent.Inflation grew by 0.90 percent month-to-month, which exceeded analyst’s expectations of 0.50 percent...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Curb appeal is important in the home sales process, and this is because it will impact the overall first impression that potential home buyers have about the property. Some homeowners can easily spend a small fortune and a considerable amount of time improving curb appeal, but others may be looking for faster and easier results. The good news is that boosting curb appeal is easy and affordable to do when these three tips are followed.Spruce Up The Front DoorThe front door and patio area are focal points for those driving by the home, and this area receives even more scrutiny by those home buyers who walk up to the home to take a tour of the interior. Re-staining or re-painting the front door can be highly beneficial to dressing up the look of this focal area, and this can give the impre...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, news on changing FHA home loan requirements for borrowers with student loans, and reporting on job openings. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.FOMC Minutes Show Fed’s Reluctance to Raise Target RateThe Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve released minutes of its meeting held via teleconferencing on June 15 and 16. The Committee resumed its consideration of creating “domestic and foreign repurchase agencies that would have a backdrop role in fostering implementation and support of monetary policy and smooth functioning of markets,” but no decisions were made. FOMC members did not change the current federal funds rate range of  0.00 ...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Right now, there are not a lot of houses for sale, as inventory and new home construction continue to lag behind buyer demand. In addition, low mortgage rates are accelerating demand, meaning that in many situations the sellers are receiving multiple offers. Therefore, it is important for potential buyers to do everything they can to win a bidding war. What are a few ways buyers can give themselves an advantage?Get Pre-Approved For A Home LoanThe first thing interested buyers need to do is to get pre-approved for a home loan. Because many sellers have options, they might be more willing to take a cash offer because they know the money is going to be there. In order for potential buyers to compete with cash offers, they need to get pre-approved for a home loan, which tells the seller tha...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
There are thousands of people who turn 65 every day, which is the typical retirement age. Before the development of the pandemic, most people had to wait to retire before they could move to their retirement homes. Due to the pandemic, a lot of people are working remotely, giving them a chance to move to their retirement homes before they actually retire. Is it a smart idea to move before retiring? If the next phase of life is calling, now might be a time to make the move to a retirement home, whether this is a home on the beach or a sprawling property located in the countryside.Workers Can Be Just As Productive Working From HomeWhile the pandemic was unexpected, workers have been gradually becoming more remote during the past few years. The pandemic simply accelerated this trend, showin...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Last week’s economic news included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets and  Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.NAHB: Home Builder Sentiment Slips Amid High Materials Prices, Labor ShortagesThe National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index fell two points to a May index reading of 81. Readings above 50 indicate that most home builders are confident in market conditions, but builder sentiment has fallen from its peak reading of 90 before the pandemic. The NAHB Housing Market reached its lowest reading of 37 during the pandemic. Readings above 50 indicate that most builders surveyed were confident about housing market condition...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve said in its post-meeting statement that the Federal Reserve expects to raise its benchmark interest rate range twice during 2023. No rate changes will be made during 2022 as the economy continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fed’s current interest rate range is 0.00 to 0.25 percent.Fed Expects “Transitory” InflationThe Fed’s post-meeting FOMC statement said that although Committee members adjusted their forecast for raising the Fed’s benchmark interest rate range, members did not predict long-term inflation and described current upward inflation as “transitory.”The Consumer Price Index reported that the cost of living jumped in May and drove inflationary growth to a 13-year high of five percent.11 of 18 FOMC members ...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
There are a lot of people who are wondering if now is the right time to move or refinance their current home loan. With interest rates still favorable, a lot of homeowners have the potential to save a lot of money if they are able to secure a home loan with a lower interest rate. There are two ways homeowners can secure a home loan with a lower interest rate. The first is to refinance. The second is to move. Which option is better? There are a few key points to keep in mind.Taking A Closer Look At RefinancingThere are a lot of homeowners who have an abundance of equity currently built up in their homes, making this a great time to refinance. With a refinance, there are multiple options available. Some homeowners might refinance to access the equity in their homes, allowing them to compl...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
If you are planning on purchasing a home in the near future, you need to make sure you have enough money saved up. While there are a lot of expenses that go along with purchasing a home, the biggest expense is the down payment.The common belief is that people have to put 20 percent down; however, even if you don’t have 20 percent saved up, you might still be able to purchase a home. It will depend on whether you can get a lender to provide a loan that is greater than 80 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you have a strong credit history, you may be able to get one.Getting A Loan With Less Than 20 Percent DownFirst, many lenders realize that many people do not have enough money saved up to put down 20 percent. After all, this could be tens of thousands of dollars.  Although some...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
Last week’s economic reporting included readings on job openings, inflation, and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.Job Openings Increase as Employers Struggle to Fill PositionsJob openings rose in April according to the Labor Department, but workers were quitting jobs in record numbers. 9.30 million openings were reported as compared to expectations of 8.20 million job openings and 8.30 million job openings reported in March. Increasing job openings indicate a stronger post-pandemic economy as businesses and service providers return to full capacity. Employers faced multiple obstacles to filling job openings including early retirements taken during the pandemic, difficulty in finding childcare options, and continued fear of covid-...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
When a homeowner is preparing to sell a home, it can be beneficial to determine the target audience that is most likely to be interested in the property as an important initial step. In some cases, it is advantageous for a homeowner to position a home as a great rental property or investment property, but this requires the right strategy. By adopting a few niche marketing steps, homeowners can work with their trusted real estate agent to market a property appropriately.Create A Cash Flow SheetBuyers who are searching for a rental or investment property are looking for a return on their investment in most cases, and they also may want to see how large of a down payment is needed in order for the property to realistically turn a profit. A real estate agent can work with a property owner t...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
With COVID and social distancing keeping people apart, buying a home in person has become a real challenge. Digital tools and online presentations of homes for sale have ramped up in response, making it possible to see properties with both static images/photos and with “360 degree” views or interactive walkthroughs. However, these are not real-time images of the home itself. They are professionally-developed representations of a property, and a lot of software work goes into making those images marketing ready.Photographic Tools of the TradeIf a listing has included images created by a professional photographer, he or she will have used a number of resources to produce what a consumer sees. First, the camera will be a high-grade, professional unit with enhanced features in it for differ...
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By Joe Gonzalez, NMLS# 126036 (610) 739-6563
(CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS #3029)
It can be a bit of a surprise if your home turns out to be valued at less than the purchase price offered, but this is the type of thing that can occur in an appraisal situation. While this can change everything from your contract to the amount of your down payment if your home has been appraised at less than you envisioned, here are some options you may want to consider.Review The Appraisal Contingency ClauseIf an appraisal contingency clause is built into the terms of your contract, this means that the terms of your contract can be re-evaluated and re-negotiated if an appraisal happens to come up short. While this is meant primarily to protect the homebuyer against a lower appraisal, it doesn’t mean that the terms of a new deal can’t be met for the good of both parties.Get A Second Ap...
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