Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Everyone on the Lester Wilkins Mortgage Team would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2015!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is it Time to Refinance?

Is it Time to Refinance? 
More Homeowners Are Doing Just That, and Here's 4 Reasons Why

In late July, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that applications for home loan refinances have not only been holding steady, but are also on the rise.

This after home loan rates hit their lowest levels of the year, many homeowners may be ready to refinance—and there are a variety of good reasons to do so. For instance, you could:

Lower your interest rate, making a big difference in your monthly out-of-pocket costs for housing, meanwhile saving money on financing fees over the life of your loan. 

Build equity faster. On the flip side, homeowners who are in a position to make higher monthly payments could switch from a longer to shorter term mortgage, where available. 

Change your loan program from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to the stability of a fixed rate mortgage, taking advantage of today's low rates and loan programs.

Cash out on equity you've already established for home improvement projects you've wanted to tackle, to pay off debt, or send your child to college.

If you or anyone you know would like to discuss whether refinancing makes sense at this time and all available opportunities, please get in touch. I'm happy to help. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Some Productive Ways To Use Your Free Time

On rare occasions you might find yourself with a little extra time on your hands.  You can actually prepare yourself to really productive when this occurs.  Avoid the guilt of wasting this precious free time by applying the following tips.

1. Create a "To Read" File
Clip magizine articles you want to read.  Print the interesting email or report you received, but don't have time for now.  Place them in a folder called "Reading File."  Keep it with you and whenever you have a chunk of time, such as in the waiting room at the Dr. Office, you will have some quick reading.  How cool is that?

2.  Create a Calls List
Create a list with non-urgent phone calls you need to make.  Take it with you everywhere. Whenever, you have a free minute you can check off a bunch of those calls in a short amount of time.  As a bonus tip, include the contacts' phone numbers on your list.  Look at you.  You are a productivity machine!

3.  Create an Emails List
Most of us have smart phones.  If you don't call me and I will introduce you to 2003 over a dram of Scotch.  If you take the time to make a list of emails you need to make and keep the list with you, it will prove to be extremely useful.  You can knock out quite a few emails with little effort while you are waiting for your oil to be changed, or in the line at the super market.

4.  Create a "To Listen" File
I store MP3's and voicemails in here for later review. I love this for the commute to work.  You will too.  I don't care for pop music anyhow!

Bonus Tip:
In our digital world this can all be done on your smart phone.  I suggest using Evernote.  If you need any help with this please do not hesitate to give me a call and I will be glad to get you set up.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bumpy Road Ahead for First-time Buyers

Market Watch
Winter weather pummeled housing across much of the nation last quarter. As spring weather brings a thaw for busier months, the focus is now on whether there is enough inventory to satisfy demanding buyers, particularly first-timers. Low housing supply, tightened credit guidelines, increasing rates and rising prices are all stacking up against first-timers' odds at calling a place their own. No answer on when new Building Permits, which rose 7.5 percent to just over 1 million in March, will be approved for new home construction to meet demand.

Homebuyers in general are reportedly less confident about the market. Following January to February's 10 point drop in the monthly builder sentiment index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), it rose 1 point (from 46 to 47) in March. Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view housing market conditions as poor, rather than good. This reflects builders' inabilities to find lots and labor, according to Kevin Kelly, NAHB Chairman. More than ever, buyers will be requiring the help of skilled real estate professionals to represent them in what could be competitive purchase transactions this season.

Fannie and Freddie on the Chopping Block?
Late last quarter, the Senate Banking Committee said it would introduce a bill to reform the U.S. housing finance system by scaling back and possibly eliminating Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC). The government-backed enterprises oversee the secondary mortgage market. By purchasing home loans from lenders, packaging them up, and selling them to investors as mortgage backed securities, they free up liquidity for lenders to continue financing homes. Both regulate home loan guidelines with the goal of making home ownership more attainable for Americans.

Fannie and Freddie were largely criticized for securitizing bad loans which contributed to the subprime crisis. This story will be watched closely for its impact on housing and potential future housing reforms for many years to come.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Productivity Tip: Manage You, Not Your Time.

We have the same amount of time in a day as Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein. How did they do it. The key is to manage you, not your time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Qualified Mortgage Rule Now in Effect

What Does This Mean to You?

You may have heard about a new rule that may impact people looking to purchase or refinance a home.

What is This Rule? 
As of January 10, 2014, lenders are required to more thoroughly assess a borrower's "ability to repay" a loan, so that he or she can receive a "Qualified Mortgage" (QM).

Why was it Enacted? 
The rule is part of the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act, which made banks and mortgage lenders legally liable for determining borrowers' abilities to repay their mortgages. It was enacted to help ensure borrowers get a home loan they can afford to repay, and to help prevent people from going into foreclosure and losing their homes.

What is the Bottom Line?
While new guidelines are now in effect related to loan limits, a borrower's debt-to-income ratio, fees and other items, the good news is that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimates that 95 percent of all mortgages made in 2013 already met the new rule. So there's a good chance the new rule won't impact the majority of borrowers.

If you're thinking of purchasing or refinancing a home this year, or if you know someone who is, I'm here to help. Give me a call or send me an email, and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.