Shadow Inventory: What is it and Should We Worry?

In a recent article by The Wall Street Journal, called Shadow Inventory: It’s Not as Scary as It Looks, author Nick Timiraos stated that shadow inventory isn’t as scary as it sounds. What does this mean for the recovering housing industry, and home sales going forward?

Shadow inventory refers to the amount of unlisted bank-owned homes (REOs) that are not yet on the market as well as the homes in in preforeclosure that are likely headed to a trustee sale and will become real estate owned properties themselves.

Half million dollar house in Salinas, Californ...

According to the article, there are a few reasons why shadow inventory isn’t as scary as it sounds. Broken down, these are as follows:

  • It’s concentrated in a handful of markets, which means that it isn’t a national phenomenon
  • It is being offset by improved demand, particularly from investors.
  • The housing vacancy rate is low, a product of very little new home construction over the past few years that could counterbalance continued high inventories of foreclosed homes.

As far as actual numbers, there are a wide range of estimates of shadow inventory. A common measure are loans that are either in the foreclosure process or that are three months or more delinquent. These are mortgages that are among the most likely to ultimately become bank-owned properties.

Over the next two weeks, we will be looking at the additional posts linking to this article, further discussing the housing market and what this means for current homeowners and potential homeowners alike. Have more questions? Contact The Mortgage Guys in Atlanta, GA and we can sit down address your concerns about the current housing market and your situation.

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How to Choose a Great Real Estate Agent

In addition to finding a mortgage lender, when thinking about listing your home for sale or purchasing a new home, finding a a real estate agent who can use a wide range of tools to help your purchase your home is important. Here are some of the best traits of a great real estate agent. Handshake

  • Find your candidates from relationships you already have. Ask people you know who own or are shopping for new homes in the same general geographic area where you want to live who their realtor was, how their transaction went, whether they still keep in touch with their realtor, and whether they’d work with that person again.
  • When you’re calling to find the right candidate, make sure you mention the name of your source. This way, you seem more credible and serious than a person who’s calling at random, and you’ll show you’re more deserving of their time and attention.
  • Set up expectations. What do you want from your real estate agent? Outline your needs from the start so there won’t be any surprises down the road.
  • Find an agent that specializes in homes that are similar to what you’re looking for. If your budget is $200,000, it’s probably best to stick with an agent who has similar listings. Also, be sure to check out the photos and descriptions of current listings to see what type of properties they’re most familiar with.
  • Make sure you get along with the agent. Ultimately, there should be some sort of compatibility that allows you to have a successful business relationship.
  • Be wary of choosing a friend or family member. This could potentially jeopardize the relationship if the buying or selling process gets difficult.

Selecting a real estate agent is one piece of the home-buying puzzle. Contact The Mortgage Guys of Atlanta, GA to help you fill in the gaps. We can sit down and talk you through the home buying process, including helping you figure out your budget, discussing financing options, and even offering a recommendation on real estate agents we have worked with in the past.

News in Renting Vs. Buying a Home

According to a new article published by the L.A. Times, on average, potential homebuyers who purchase a home instead of renting can break even by three years.

This real estate news was discovered by the website Zillow, and the new analysis of this data is called the “break-even horizon.” The discovery: compparing what it would cost to buy or rent the same home in a number of U.S. markets over time. Of course, the rent versus buy calculations vary widely based on location. Collection of Rental Signs

The analysis includes many factors that first-time homebuyers need to consider when purchasing a home, such as the down payment, mortgage and rental payments, buying and selling costs, utilities, property taxes, maintenance costs, homeowners insurance and tax deductions. Additionally, the analysis adjusts for price inflation and also predicts home values and rental price appreciation.

If you’ve been a renter for a long time and are interested in purchasing your own home in Atlanta, Georgia, don’t hesitate to contact The Mortgage Guys. George and Dan can work with you to make you feel comfortable making well-informed decisions about the home buying process and guide you in calculating your budget.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

 

 

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

With mortgage rates still hovering at all-time lows, now is the best time for new homebuyers to think about purchasing a home. If you have all of your financial ducks in a row, looking for a new home can be one of the most exciting parts of the home buying process.

Choosing which neighborhood in Atlanta you’re looking to move into, as well as other considerations like single-family home vs. condo, are some of the decisions in your future. Here are some additional tips every new homeowner should be aware ofMortgageServicing.jpg

  • Calculate your budget. By sitting down and figuring out a budget, you don’t risk wasting time on homes you’re unable to afford. It’s best to determine your budget based on your income and current debts, and using a mortgage calculator can help you get started. If you have money set aside for a down payment, don’t forget to figure that in.
  • Pay off remaining debt. This includes car loans, student loan debt, and credit card debt. These are all factors in maintaining a good credit score as well.
  • Avoid looking at houses that don’t match your budget. This will save you and your real estate agent time and energy. No sense in wasting either for both of you on houses you won’t comfortably be able to afford.
  • Gather important mortgage-related documents early on. This includes items like a list of current debts, employment information, tax return information, etc. It will save you time and energy later on to have all the necessary documents in order.
  • Ask lots of questions. The home buying process can be confusing, full of real estate and mortgage jargon that many new homeowners don’t understand. Don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions, and a good mortgage lender will help you understand all the ins and outs of the process.

If you’re about to take the plunge and purchase your first home, don’t hesitate to contact The Mortgage Guys so that we can help you get the lowest rate! We’re happy to take the time to answer all of your questions and ensure the home buying process goes smoothly.

Mortgage Rates Continue to Move Even Lower

Just two weeks ago, we posted that the new mortgage rates moved slightly lower to officially hit new all-time lows. It appears that after the July Fourth holiday, rates have trickled down even more, marking yesterday, July 10th as the third consecutive day at new all-time lows. As of this week, according to the article from Mortgage News Daily, today’s best execution rates are:

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • 30-year fixed – 3.5% to 3.625%
  • FHA/VA – 3.5% – 3.75%
  • 15-year fixed – 2.875% – 3.00%

Additionally, according to the article, Europe and our own domestic economy are the two main considerations keeping downward pressure on mortgage rates, and investors are waiting for both of those things to either happen or for the risk of them happening to die down significantly before moving out of the safety of bond markets.

Ultimately, choosing whether or not to refinance your home loan can be a stressful process if you’re unsure how to proceed. If you’re curious about seeing how The Mortgage Guys can potentially save you money on your mortgage, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions and concerns.

 

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How to Maintain a Good Credit Score

As we’ve written before in a previous post, the importance of credit scores have risen drastically in recent years. Potential homebuyers must understand that a credit score is a very important factor in determining whether or not a mortgage lender will give you a loan.

Factors like credit cards, car loans, payment history and credit history will all determine your credit score. Here’s how to make sure your credit score is top-notchCredit Cards and Money

  • Keep tabs on your credit report – You can check it annually at freecreditreport.com. Make sure to go over it carefully, and report any errors on the provided form.
  • Pay your bills on time – Not paying your bills will effect your credit rating. Plus, the longer you pay your bills on time, the better your credit score will be.
  • Keep your credit card balances low – Try to keep your credit card debt well below your credit limits. Pay off as much credit card debt as you can, paying off the cards that are closest to their credit limits first. Lenders like to see credit activity, but keep it to a minimum, otherwise, you look like a risky candidate for a loan.
  • Keep old credit cards open – When you close an old credit card, the issuer no longer sends updates to the credit bureaus and the credit scoring formula distributes less weight on inactive accounts. This means that losing that credit history can shorten your average credit age and cause your score to drop.
  • Limit applications for new credit – If you are new to credit, opening numerous new credit accounts could make you look like a risky candidate and will lower your credit age.

Hopefully these tips on maintaining your credit score will help you get on the right track with credit, and be on your way to applying for a mortgage. If you still have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact The Mortgage Guys in Atlanta, GA.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Mortgage Rates Are Down Even Further

According to an article via Mortgage News Daily posted yesterday, mortgage rates moved slightly lower yesterday, but the change was enough to officially hit new all-time lows. Now more than ever, first-time homebuyers have the opportunity to purchase a really great home in some of Atlanta’s best neighborhoods.

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The article from Mortgage News Daily states:

“Certain lenders’ rates are unchanged on the day, and some are even slightly higher, but the average moved lower. Even then, the actual INTEREST RATE would be the same as it was yesterday. The improvements from yesterday were seen in the form of lower borrowing costs for those same rates. Bottom line: Best-Execution remained at 3.625%, but just got a bit more affordable.”

Current homeowners can also benefit from the low mortgage rates, too. With opportunities like HARP 2.0 and the FHA Streamline Refinance Program, many households can take advantage of these great rates, while putting some money back in their pockets for summer.

Timing is important in seeing what the housing market will ultimately look like for the rest of the year. What do you think the  housing market will look like at the end of this year? Leave us a comment below! And don’t hesitate to contact the Mortgage Guys Atlanta for all your mortgage-related questions and concerns!
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Best Of Mortgage Guys Blogs

Each week, Dan and George try to feature a new blog related to the mortgage process, upcoming  loan refinancing information, or the home buying process. Here are a few of our favorite posts written with our customers and potential homeowners in mind. Savings & Mortgage street signs

The Best Tips to Sell Your Home – Selling your current home first? Here are some of our favorite tips  for preparing your home for the real estate market.

Saving For Your Home’s Down Payment– Are you getting ready to make the jump from a renter to a home buyer?  There are many new home buyers in Atlanta, GA just like you.  They are scared to death, excited beyond belief, and they aren’t sure what the next step to take in the home buying process for their financial situation.  Don’t worry.  Buying a home is the biggest and best investment that you will ever make.

What is the Mortgage Approval Process? – While this site is full of useful information, industry terms and calculators that will help you research the mortgage approval process in detail, this particular page was designed to give you a thorough outline of the important components involved in getting qualified for a new mortgage loan.

Could You Benefit From Refinancing Your Home Loan? – Market rates are hovering near historic lows, and as a homeowner, you must determine whether a mortgage refinance makes economic sense for you and your family. Benefits of refinancing your home loan could include lower monthly payment and/or shortening the amortization period.

5 Things You Should Ask Your Mortgage Lender – If you are looking to buy a home in Metro Atlanta, Georgia, you might want to learn a few things about your mortgage lender as well.  Finding your perfect house is important, but finding the right mortgage lender in Atlanta is equally as important.  Before signing on the dotted line, use these five questions to help find the right lender as well.

For any and all of your mortgage and refinancing needs, please don’t hesitate to contact The Mortgage Guys in Atlanta, GA!

 

The Best Tips to Sell Your Home

We’ve written many blog posts about what to look when searching for a new home, but about half the time, in order to even look for a new home, homeowners have to sell their current home, and in current real estate market, that be a tough sell. However, with some good advice, every home can look like a diamond in the rough. Here are a few of our favorite tips for preparing your home for the real estate market:

  • During an open house, it’s best to leave for a few hours. Staying inside during an open house can potentially leave you open to hearing criticism about the home, which could make you defensive and scare off the buyer.  Take your kids to the park or go visit an attraction that’s on your to-do list, and it’s time much better spent.
  • Put Family Photos Away – Storing family photos before your house goes on the market helps potential buyers see themselves in your home. Photographs can be distracting, and buyers might be looking at photos of your family vacations instead of your crown molding and granite countertops.
  • Kill your Clutter – One of the biggest turnoffs for buyers is clutter. Real estate agents suggest to remove half of everything in your closets, garage and cabinets. Extreme, yes, but people love seeing that all your stuff fits in the house, and won’t be worried if their own belongings will fit, too. Clutter-free kitchen
  • Make the front entrance welcoming – A new doormat and a vase of fresh flowers at the door will help welcome potential buyers as if they were guests. Add fresh flowers or plants in your front beds or on the front porch for an extra dose of curb appeal.
  • Put Away Fragile Items – Prospective buyers with children will more than likely bring them along, so you don’t want any of your fragile or valuable items out on display.
  • Get Rid of Any Signs of Pets – While most people agree that pets are important members of the family, not everyone is pet-friendly. Remove food and water bowls and make sure the litterbox is out of sight and kept clean so buyers who aren’t animal lovers aren’t turned off. Most importantly, keep your pets crated or better yet, with you during an open house.
  • Little Extras – Putting fresh soap and towels in the bathrooms, clean dish towels in the kitchen and even emptying the trash can really pack a punch. It says to buyers, “this house is well-kept,” and they’ll believe it!

These are just a few house selling tips that we’ve gained from working with real estate agents all over the Atlanta area. If you’re currently looking to purchase a new home, don’t hesitate to contact Dan and George of the Mortgage Guys in Atlanta, GA.

 

Summer Events in Smyrna and Atlanta

Once summer arrives, folks can generally find an onslaught of things to do with their families on the weekends if they’re staying in town. The city of Smyrna is hosting some great opportunities to get out and enjoy the sunshine with your family. Here are couple of great opportunities that you shouldn’t miss!

Smyrna Fresh Produce Market -The Smyrna Fresh Produce Market is full of fresh fruits and vegetables every Saturday. The market is open from 8:00am to 12:00pm  in the parking lot between Smyrna First Baptist and the Market Village and runs through September.

Summer Concert Series – This month, the Summer Concert Series band is The Mustangs. The Concert Series is free and is held on the Village Green (address is 200 Village Green Circle) on Saturday June 9th from 7:00pm-10:00pm. The Mustangs  play lots of old favorites, so come out and listen to your favorite hits from the past 40 years. Centennial Olympic Park 4th of July Fireworks

4th of July at Centennial Olympic Park – Fun for the whole family, activities and events will fill the park all day long. There will be free live music from local bands, as well as face painting, arts and crafts, inflatables and more. And of course, the famous AirTran Airways Fireworks Spectacular, arguably Atlanta’s best fireworks display synchronized to a selection of patriotic music.

National Black Arts Festival – This festival takes place from July 12-15 and showcases performing arts, literature and visual arts produced by creative artists of African descent. The National Black Arts Festival will be held at various metro Atlanta venues, including the Fabulous Fox Theater, the Woodruff Arts Center, the High Museum, and others.

Restaurant Week – From Saturday July 21 to Sunday, July 29, many of Atlanta’s restaurants will showcase their outstanding cuisine with a $25 and $25 3-course prix-fixe dinner option. If you’ve been wanting to try out some of the different types of cuisine Atlanta has to offer, this is a great time to do it. Participating restaurants in include Ruth’s Chris, No Mas Cantina, Ray’s In the City, and Room at TWELVE Centennial Park.

These are just a handful of the wonderful opportunities to get our and enjoy the beautiful cities of Smyrna and Atlanta this summer. What event are you most looking forward to attending? Share with us in a comment below! And remember, for all of your mortgage questions or of you’re interested in taking advantage of the great mortgage rates and refinancing your home loan, don’t hesitate to give The Mortgage Guys a call!

Photo courtesy of Flickr.