When To Lock In Your Mortgage Rate??

When Should Buyers Lock in a Mortgage Rate?

A rate lock helps protect your buyers from fluctuating mortgage rates as they’re getting ready to buy a home. It locks in the interest rate for a loan for a certain period of time until the buyer makes it to closing. Your buyers will know what to expect and won’t then fall mercy to a week of rising rates, for example. However, if rates dip, they could get stuck paying a higher rate too. So it can be a catch-22.

Here is when your buyers likely will want to lock in their mortgage rate right away:

1. An offer has been made, accepted, and is under contract. Many lenders will lock in a rate for free for 30 days. But you may want to lock in for longer, for example, if the buyer is giving sellers more time to find a home or if they’re self-employed and a lender needs longer in underwriting their loan. As such, lock-ins are also available for 90 days, 120 days, or even 150 days. But expect to pay to get longer lock in periods.

2. Interest rates are rising. If interest rates are trending higher, lock in sooner rather than later, say mortgage experts.

3. Interest rates are volatile. If interest rates are going both up and down, buyers may want to lock in sooner for greater stability during their house hunt. “Rates today are unusually volatile—they are making large moves up and down in short periods of time,” says Joe Parsons, a loan officer at Caliber Home Loans in Dublin, Calif. “For this reason, prudent borrowers are locking their rates early in the process.”

4. You may not qualify for a loan otherwise. A buyer may need to lock in a rate sooner if they are borrowing near their limits. A fluctuation in rate could prevent them from getting their loan approved. For instance, if a higher interest rate pushes a buyer’s monthly mortgage payment above a 28 percent threshold (most lenders believe a house payment should be no greater than 28 percent of your gross monthly income) then a lender may not approve her for a mortgage.

“An early rate lock means there are no hidden surprise down the road,” says Mark Livingstone, president of Cornerstone First Financial, a mortgage lender in Washington, D.C.

Source: “When to Lock in Mortgage Rates: 4 Signs It’s Time,” realtor.com® (Jan. 23, 2017)

2016 Marked Best Year for Sales in a Decade!

2016 Marked Best Year for Sales in a Decade

Existing-home sales finished out 2016 as the best year since the housing boom days, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Tuesday.

By Region

Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales performed in December across the country:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales decreased 6.2 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, but remain 2.7 percent above a year ago. Median price: $245,900, which is 3.8 percent below December 2015.
  • Midwest: existing-home sales fell 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in December, but remain 2.4 percent above a year ago. Median price: $178,400, up 4.6 percent from a year ago.
  • South: existing-home sales were unchanged from November, remaining at an annual rate of 2.25 million. Sales are now 0.4 percent above a year ago. Median price: $207,600, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.
  • West: existing-home sales dropped 4.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in December, and are now 1.6 percent below a year ago. Median price: $341,000, up 6 percent from December 2015.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Total existing-home sales – which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – closed 2016 at 5.45 million sales, surpassing 2015 (5.25 million). It was the highest total for existing-home sales since 2006 (6.48 million), NAR reported.

“Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December.

The final month of 2016 saw existing-home sales drop 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, NAR reported. Sales in December were now only 0.7 percent higher than a year ago. Low housing supplies continue to press on the market.

“While a lack of listings and fast rising home prices was a headwind all year, the surge in rates since early November ultimately caught some prospective buyers off guard and dimmed their appetite or ability to buy a home as 2016 came to an end,” Yun says.

5 Key Stats From December’s Housing Report

Here’s a closer look at some key indicators from NAR’s December existing-home sales report.

1. Home prices: Median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $232,200, up 4 percent from a year ago ($223,200).

2. Days on the market: Thirty-seven percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month. Properties, on average, stayed on the market for 52 days in December, up from 43 days in November but down from a year ago (58 days). Non-distressed homes took an average of 50 days to sell while short sales sales took the longest at a median of 97 days on the market in December. Foreclosures sold in 53 days, on average.

3. Cash sales: All-cash sales comprised 21 percent of transactions in December, down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors make up the bulk of cash sales. They accounted for 15 percent of homes purchased in December, unchanged from a year ago.

4. Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales ticked up to 7 percent in December, up from 6 percent in November. Still, distressed sales are down from 8 percent a year ago. Foreclosures made up 5 percent of sales in December while short sales comprised 2 percent of sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in December while short sales were discounted 10 percent.

5. Inventories: Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 10.8 percent to 1.65 million existing homes available for sale — the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory is now 6.3 percent lower than a year ago. It is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace.

“Housing affordability for both buying and renting remains a pressing concern because of another year of insufficient home construction,” says Yun. “Given current population and economic growth trends, housing starts should be in the range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million completions and not stuck at recessionary levels. More needs to be done to address the regulatory and cost burdens preventing builders from ramping up production.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Smart Sellers Will List Early This Year….

The article below explains why if you have been waiting until the Spring to list your home…. as is most common practice….. STOP what you are doing and get your home on the market ASAP!

Smart Sellers Will List Early This Year

Have you heard from clients who want to delay listing their home until the season begins? Because sales and prices tend to peak in the spring and summer, it’s a common request in many markets.

However, this year is different. Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist, stresses in his latest column that the conventional wisdom isn’t correct this winter.

Here’s why: At the beginning of 2017, inventory levels plunged to multiyear lows. Sellers are currently facing very little competition, he says.

Mixed with that, buyer demand is “abnormally strong for the off-season,” Smoke writes. “The climb in mortgage rates that started in October and accelerated in November and December has created a sense of urgency among buyers.”

With interest rates largely forecasted to move higher this year, buyers are more in a rush to lock in a low rate sooner. Plus, your sellers may have to worry about lending rates as well; Smoke estimates that 85 percent of sellers are planning to buy another home after they sell.

So here’s the best tip for your sellers, Smoke says: “If you are thinking of selling and buying in 2017, the early bird may get the worm. And the best new nest.”

Source: “Forget What You Know: This Year, Sellers May Benefit From Listing Early,” realtor.com® (Jan. 13, 2017)

Source: REALTOR Mag Official Magazine of the National Association of Realtors.

Growth in Peoria IL

The Future of Peoria IL is Looking Bright…..

Repurposed for Growth

Reviving and energizing the heart of our proud, historic downtown.
A strong, healthy core is vital to establishing and sustaining growth within our community. Creating new neighborhoods, promoting and welcoming new business opportunities including retail and service providers, and transforming our streets into a better pedestrian environment are all part of the plan currently in motion.

Peoria’s Warehouse District is emerging as downstate Illinois’ premier mixed-use, urban neighborhood. It’s proximity to Peoria’s downtown offers convenient access to all the city has to offer. A reminder of a glorious industrial past and a tribute to Peoria’s heritage, this area includes some of the largest and most iconic buildings in Peoria. These majestic buildings, long vacant, are being transformed into exclusive residential lofts, condos, art studios, office and retail space.


Peoria’s appeal extends beyond the boundaries of our community

Centrally located on the banks of the Illinois River in the heart of Illinois, Peoria is the pulse of the area. Midway between Chicago and St. Louis, Peoria combines big city assets with smaller town lifestyle. Visitors are fast discovering Peoria as an economically attractive alternative to higher priced entertainment and hospitality venues. From high school championship tournaments to collegiate teams and minor league hockey and baseball, Peoria sports action keeps fans coming from throughout the state. Easy commutes from surrounding communities, quick, toll free access to interstate and major arteries, an international airport within a couple hours drive north and south.

Business, hospitals & medical technologies, opportunities for higher education, entertainment, cultural activities and local and national sporting events all play a major role in drawing people to our city from throughout the state.

Building Blocks for Success
Paving Your Way to a Prosperous Future.
A large downtown employee base of over 20,000
Waiting list for downtown residential availability
Large variety of cultural & entertainment venues and a vibrant, fast growing arts community
An expanding, thriving medical community within walking distance to city center
Over 400 million in new road infrastructure and major capital investments in on-going technological service enhancements
Generous investment incentives

The last several years have seen some tremendous changes to Peoria’s cityscape with more on the way. The interest is here…the opportunities are here.
We invite you to come and play a part in Peoria!





Which is Better/Cheaper? To Buy or Build?

Which Is Cheaper: To Buy or Build New?


On the surface, buying an existing home seems like the most affordable route to go. After all, the median cost of an existing single-family home is $223,000. On the other hand, the average cost for building new construction averages $289,415.

Read moreBuild or Buy?

Obviously, there is quite a bit of variations in sorting out those costs. Plus, the price you pay upfront is only part of the equation when deciding to buy an existing home or build a new one.

A recent article at realtor.com® laid out some of the pros and cons financially of buying a new versus an existing home. Make some of these considerations when weighing the best financial decision:

Square footage: New-homes tend to be more spacious than existing ones at a median size of 2,467 square feet. As such, when you take the average cost of a new build, it breaks down nationally to about $103 per square foot, which is actually lower than the cost of existing homes.

Finishes: With an existing home you inherit all the features and finishes, even if you don’t want them. That may mean you need to budget in some renovations if you’d like to redo anything. With a new home, you’ll be able to choose all the features and finishes yourself and have it set in the price from the get-go.

Maintenance: Older homes tend to require more maintenance. The cost of upkeep can be pricey too, depending on what needs to be done. For example, the average furnace tends to last about 20 years. When it needs replacement, expect to pay about $4,000. Not to mention, that shingled roof will likely need replacement after about 25 years at a cost of at least $5,000. On the other hand, newer homes tend to need less maintenance because all of the major appliances are brand new and under warranty.

Energy efficiency: Older homes tend to have dated windows and appliances, which can result in less energy efficiency and pricier energy bills. New construction tends to nearly always trump older homes in energy efficiency, according to Kyle Alfriend with the Alfriend Real Group RE/MAX in Ohio. Indeed, homes built post-2000 consume 21 percent less energy for heating than older homes.

Landscaping: Older homes tend to have mature landscaping already in place. And that landscaping can up a person’s property value by thousands. Further, those trees can save an estimated 56 percent on your annual air conditioning bill, according to the U.S. Forest Service. With newer homes, you’ll have to likely pay thousands to install landscaping and may have to wait years to get it to the point you desire.

Appreciation: With an older home, you can see the trajectory of prices based on previous sales prices and of comps nearby. New homes can be a gamble since they do not come with a proven track record of plentiful comps that have been tested over time.

Source: “Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build a House? Compare the Pros and Cons,” realtor.com® (Jan. 5, 2017)