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Buying a Home? Factor These Into Your Interest Rate Calculations

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The mortgage process can be complicated if you jump in without any prior knowledge on home-buying and lending. The best tool you can arm yourself with is an understanding of how your mortgage interest rate is calculated.

Credit can make or break you.

Your credit score will determine how reliable you are in the lending world. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate will likely be. Check your credit on one of the three major credit reporting agency sites—TransUnion, Experian and Equifax—or your credit card company may have a free credit report service (although these aren’t as reliable). Improve your FICO score for a better chance at a lower interest rate.

Factor in size and location.

  • State or County: Even your place of residence can affect your rate.
  • Local Mortgage Lenders: Shop around. Interest rates can vary from company to company even if they’re located in the same town.
  • Loan Size: The size of your home can also impact your interest rate. The bigger the loan, the higher your interest rate will be if you’re not putting more money down.
  • Down Payment Size: Your mortgage interest rate may also depend on how much you’re putting down and if your loan includes closing costs and private mortgage insurance (PMI). Putting down less than 20 percent can increase your risk factor and may require PMI, but your interest rate may be lower depending on the loan.

Not all loans are created equal.

Loan Length: Your loan terms play a bigger role in interest rate calculations than you think. Have you decided whether you want to pay off your loan in 15 or 30 years? You may pay more per month with a shorter term, but you’ll be paying less interest over the life of your loan. Short-term loans may also have a smaller interest rate.

Fixed or Adjustable: You’ll also have to consider whether a fixed- or adjustable-rate loan is right for you. Your interest rate can change over time if you choose an adjustable-rate loan. It may start off low or fixed, but can increase over time depending on market conditions. Fixed-rate loans, however, will have a higher interest rate attached to them.

Loan Type: Interest rates can also vary according to your loan type. Choosing a loan can be overwhelming, but a local lender should be able to provide you with the best options. Some of the more popular loans are conventional, FHA and VA loans. While FHA loans have less down payment restrictions and a smaller interest rate, your monthly payment can be more expensive due to the required PMI added on. VA loans can have smaller interest rates and don’t require PMI like FHA does. Conventional loans are widely accepted in the real estate industry as dependable, but your interest rate may be higher.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Buying a Home? Factor These Into Your Interest Rate Calculations appeared first on RISMedia.

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$329,900 :: 866 CONSTITUTION, Canton MI, 48188

4 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 1,879 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 10/16/17, Last Updated: 10/17/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21380260
Community: Canton Twp (82071)
Tract: REPLAT NO 8 OF WAYNE COUNTY CO
Status: Active

YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS BEAUTIFUL COLONIAL IN CHERRY HILL VILLAGE AND THE AWARD WINNING PLYMOUTH CANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT! 4 BEDROOMS, 2 FULL BATHS, 1 HALF BATH. SPACIOUS LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM COMBO, LARGE KITCHEN WITH CUSTOM CABINETS AND GRANITE COUNTERTOPS, ROOM FOR INFORMAL DINING AND HARDWOOD FLOORS. ENSUITE MASTER BEDROOM, AND 3 ADDITIONAL GENEROUS SIZED BEDROOMS! 2 CAR ATTACHED GARAGE. CLOSE TO PARKS, DINING AND SHOPPING. IT’S LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. PHOTOS COMING SOON!!!!!

Listed with Metropolitan Real Estate Group


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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San Francisco: The Sweet Spot for Trick-or-Treaters

Zillow Trick-or-Treat Index 2017 (PRNewsfoto/Zillow)

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The annual Trick-or-Treat Index from Zillow puts San Francisco in the sweet spot: No. 1 for trick-or-treaters.

Zillow Trick-or-Treat Index 2017 (PRNewsfoto/Zillow)

Analysts at Zillow began with the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), concocting a formula that includes home values, how close homes are in proximity to each other, and the share of 10-year-olds (and younger) in a given market. Bubble, bubble…

“Searching for neighborhoods with the best candy is a Halloween tradition for many kids and their parents,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Our annual list is a fun way for families to see how their neighborhood stacks up against others when it comes to trick-or-treating. These are places we think will have plenty of candy and lots of young kids running around from door to door.”

In the City by the Bay, the top three neighborhoods for trick-or-treaters are Presidio Heights, Sea Cliff and Golden Gate Heights; in No. 2 San Jose, the top three are West San Jose, Willow Glen and Cambrian Park.

Is your city out of the running this year? Fear not.

“If you don’t live in one of these cities, look for areas that are getting into the Halloween spirit with decorations and lots of costumed kids,” Gudell says.

See the 2016 Trick-or-Treat Index.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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7 Secrets for Adding a Finishing Touch to Your Staging

Styled Staged Sold_ Adding Finishing Touch to Staging_Image

Photo credit: Blinds.com

By Katie Laird, guest contributor

When staging a home for an open house, you can transform a space from an unimpressive, run-of-the-mill property to one with a “wow” factor. But without a little extra attention to detail, even the most professionally staged homes can leave something to be desired. Don’t let staging efforts go to waste—advise your clients to put the finishing touches on their staged homes, and boost their chances of selling. Here is a list of seven often overlooked finishing touches that can make a home shine.

1. Switch the lights.

It may seem like a big project, but switching out ceiling light fixtures is actually quite simple. Replacing old or broken fixtures can add a polished look and make a home feel updated. Remember that during showings and open houses, all lights will be on, so buyers’ eyes will be drawn to them. Choose something timeless that will go with any décor. And don’t forget the switch plates – dingy or yellowed light switches can make a staged room feel incomplete.

2. Consider window treatments.

Your clients may hesitate to replace blinds or shades before they move, because they can’t take them when they go. But remind them that custom window treatments can add significant value to the sale price. The right treatments can add privacy, style, and even energy efficiency to the home. They’re also the perfect way to frame a professionally-staged room. During your showing, treatments should allow as much natural light into the home as possible. Natural light balances any overly yellow lightbulbs and provides a blank canvas for the buyers to see clearly.

3. Touch-up the paint.

A professionally staged home will have impeccable furnishings and accessories. But chipped baseboards or scuffed walls can undo that polished look in an instant. Advise your clients to go through the home with touch-up paint and get rid of the most obvious offenses. It’s a simple way to hide the home’s age, and keep potential buyers focused on the its best attributes.

4. Give the floors some attention.

Stagers may add area rugs, but their not to hide scratched hardwoods or stained carpeting. Recommend that your clients make the investment into buffing and deep cleaning the flooring, so the rest of the staging looks at home in the pristine environment.

5. Add a little life.

Staging companies may add artificial plants as décor, but the living variety are even more appealing. Fresh flowers and houseplants brighten dining rooms, entryways, and bedside tables. Go neutral white or use this as an opportunity to add a pop of color. Also, try bowls of fruit, hanging ferns, or a small window herb garden to avoid having to put fresh flowers out every week. Don’t forget to look outside and freshen up the flower bed with new blooms and/or add a few potted plants around the front door.

6. Remove personal items.

Another final touch to making sure the staging looks natural is to remove any overly personal distractions. Remove family photos and memorabilia. If your sellers want to leave the frames on the wall to hide nail holes, have them consider putting a nice landscape print or piece of scrapbook paper in that spot instead. This goes for art, too. Your potential buyers might not share your enthusiasm for turn of the century pop-art, so the best choice is to swap it out for something classic, or remove completely.

7. Don’t forget storage areas.

Stagers will give special attention to the main living areas, but storage spaces like garages, closets, and basements are also vital selling points that need attention. Potential buyers look for roomy areas where they’ll be able to fit all their stuff. If basements and garages are overcrowded, it might send the signal that the home isn’t big enough for the buyers’ needs. Sellers may benefit from renting a storage space to help declutter and make every inch of the home irresistible.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Laird is a frequent public speaker on social media marketing, social customer care, and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as “happykatie” sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. Laird is also the director of social marketing for Blinds.com.

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Buying in a Seller’s Market: Who’s the Winner?

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The change of season often brings a shift in real estate market conditions. Inventory tends to decline and buyers may become more aggressive in their home search. This change can affect real estate transactions in a variety of ways.

Here’s what you need to know about buying or selling a home in a seller’s market:

Time is valuable.
Buyers don’t have as many options as during the peak purchasing months. This means more competition because there aren’t as many homes to look at in their price points. Buyers need to know what they want. If they absolutely need three bedrooms, then they’ll have to ignore that two-bedroom house or risk losing out on better opportunities.

They will also need to be prepared to make offers quickly. Buyers without a preapproval will not be considered and will likely miss out on highest and best deadlines by the time they obtain one. On the other hand, sellers will have an easier time selling their home. If in good condition, their home will likely be the cream of the crop during low-inventory months.

Offers are aggressive.
In a seller’s market, buyers will often have to deal with multiple-offer situations. If they don’t bring their best offer to the table, they will most likely lose out. Sellers can also prioritize stronger terms. They may decide to go with a lower offer if the buyer can close faster or is putting more money down.

A combination of the highest purchase price with a 20 percent down payment and a reliable lender is usually the winner. Of course, you can’t forget that cash is king. An all-cash offer will likely trump any others on the table.

Negotiations are a game changer.
Unfortunately, buyers may lose some negotiating power in a seller’s market. Unless the seller is incredibly motivated to get rid of their property, they may take advantage by refusing to take care of some inspection items. Buyers should be wary of asking for too much, as even big-ticket items may not be taken care of. Unless something is a safety or health hazard, it shouldn’t even be brought up.

Sellers may also decide to be more selective about what they are leaving with the house. They may decide not to include appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher or washer and dryer.

Even small things like tone in a negotiation email should be taken into consideration. Alienating the sellers this early in the game can force them to go with a back-up offer.

Real estate agents are essential.
Even though a seller’s market clearly tips the scale in one direction, buyers are more likely to lose out if they are not working with an experienced agent. Likewise, sellers may not even be aware of their advantage without the help of a real estate professional. Agents will advocate for their clients—whether they are buyers or sellers—by helping them get as much as possible during sale price and inspection negotiations.

Things that may not seem significant—such as getting all of the paperwork submitted correctly, sending emails to the opposing agent and doing due diligence on the property—can make a huge difference in a seller’s market.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Buying in a Seller’s Market: Who’s the Winner? appeared first on RISMedia.

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Nakheel awards $45m Deira Islands contract to APCC

Nakheel has awarded a $44.9m contract to APCC Piling and Contracting for the construction of six marinas on Deira Islands Continue Reading →

$2,200,000 :: 21417 Seminole, Southfield MI, 48033

Property Photo

4 beds, 1.1 baths
Home size: 1,634 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 09/20/17, Last Updated: 10/14/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 217085112
Community: Southfield
The price of this listing was last increased on 9/20/2017 by 92%
Status: Active

Nice Remodel!! Double Lot 2 car garage with opener. exterior is No maintenance charming and appealing. Inside boasts all modern finishes high quality, good as new. Come enjoy this attractive contemporary Large Bungalow, All the works been done move in Ready!!!

Listed with Green Select Real Estate, LLC


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$179,900 :: 00 N Tasmania, Pontiac MI, 48342

Property Photo

3 beds, 2.1 baths
Home size: 1,590 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,534 sq ft
Added: 10/13/17, Last Updated: 10/13/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 217093017
Community: Pontiac
Tract: PONTIAC HEIGHTS ADD
Status: Active

Gorgeous new construction colonial the “Andrea Jane” built by Intrust at unbeatable price! Base price includes white shaker cabinets with granite kitchen, 3 dimensional roof, Andersen windows, 3 panel craftsman interior and exterior doors, high efficient furnace and A/C, stainless steel microwave and dishwasher, full basement, premium carpet, laminate wood and tile throughout! Contact list agent for additional info or custom options.

Listed with Keller Williams Troy Mkt Cntr


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$344,330 :: 24356 Dartmoor Drive, Macomb Township MI, 48042

Property Photo

4 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 2,478 sq ft
Lot Size: 10,454 sq ft
Added: 10/03/17, Last Updated: 10/13/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 31332318
Community: Macomb Twp (50008)
Tract: Legacy Farms Sub
The price of this listing was last increased on 10/3/2017 by 1%
Status: Active

NEW TWO-STORY HOME UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN LEGACY FARMS IN MACOMB TWP. THE INNSBROOK III–4 BEDROOMS, 2 1/2 BATHS, FAMILY ROOM, DINING ROOM, LIBRARY, FULL BASEMENT AND 3-CAR SIDE-LOADING GARAGE. GRANITE COUNTERTOPS AT KITCHEN WITH EXTENDED SNACK BAR AND MAPLE CABINETS THROUGHOUT. GE RANGE, DISHWASHER, DISPOSAL AND MICROWAVE. OAK FLOORING AT FOYER, POWDER ROOM, KITCHEN, NOOK AND MUDHALL. BAY WINDOW AT NOOK. LEDGESTONE SURROUND AT FIREPLACE WITH MANTLE AND HDMI. LOW E INSULATED VINYL WINDOWS WITH SCREENS, EGRESS WINDOW AT BASEMENT, PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT, DR NELSON ENERGY SEAL CENTRAL AIR AND HOME WARRANTY. OCCUPANCY–2018.

Listed with MJC Real Estate Co Inc.


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$329,900 :: 3491 N QUARRY CREEK Drive, White Lake Township MI, 48383

Property Photo

3 beds, 3.1 baths
Home size: 2,218 sq ft
Lot Size: 21,780 sq ft
Added: 08/05/17, Last Updated: 10/12/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 217069615
Community: White Lake Twp
Tract: WINGATE LAKE ESTATES NO 2
The price of this listing was last reduced on 8/23/2017 by 3%
Status: Pending

Better than new & everything done for you! 2014-built gem with gorgeous rear yard & pond views from spacious newer deck. Beautiful hardwood floors throughout main level. Neutral throughout. Fab Master en suite with walk-in California Closet. Newly finished daylight basement with full bath that is almost done & will be completed by closing. Generous room sizes throughout. Newer NEST system is connected to smoke & carbon monoxide detectors. All appliances & 1 yr home warranty. Wonderful commons area with gazebo overlooking Wingate Lake. Minutes from lakes, parks, recreation, eateries, shopping or quaint downtown Milford. Includes all appliances, basement safe, & 1 yr home warranty. Just move in and enjoy!

Virtual Tour: http://view.paradym.com/4061324/sk/13

Listed with Real Living Great Lakes RE-WB


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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