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The Lesson of Megan

Posted by Dean Hartman,

This upcoming weekend, my daughter Megan, the eldest of our four children is graduating from Binghamton University. When these type of life events happen, I like to reflect upon both “How did we get here?” and “What are the best actions I can take to make sure things stay on the right path?” As I thought about it, parallels to people thinking about buying a home popped into my head.

The “How did we get here?” question had me pondering the time before Megan was conceived. There were plenty of reasons NOT to pull the trigger- with economic uncertainty being the leading concern. How would we pay for the increased expenses with less of an income? How would our personal time be compromised? Shouldn’t we wait until we had more in our savings account? If we applied conventional wisdom to our situation, we would have waited; but by not waiting, the benefits we gained were far greater than we ever imagined. Being a parent (especially of a kid like Megan) is the greatest gift anyone can have…and cheating ourselves of that, for even a day, would have been a tragedy. Sure, we sacrificed some vacations or nights out, but the joy of beginning our family (which later added three sons to the mix) gave us such an upgraded life. I can hardly remember the drawbacks and can only celebrate the great memories of laughter, song, and hugs.

So, my advice to people looking to take somewhat of a leap of faith into homeownership (or moving up) is that if you wait for everything to be perfect, you will cheat yourself of the memories you could be starting today. Seriously, what a terrific opportunity to start the new chapter of your future:

  • Incredible Inventory – The amount of available homes to choose from is staggering, but waiting for the “perfect” house is costing you time….the time you will enjoy your home.
  • Amazing Prices – In some parts of the country, prices are back to 2005 levels, some 2003, and some even 2001. What else can you buy for the same price as 7-11 years ago?  Maybe some personal electronic equipment that is outdated today.
  • Awesome Interest Rates – Rates are back to all time lows. What are you waiting for?


Now, I’ll move to the “What are the best actions I can take to make sure things stay on the right path?” question. Megan wants to be a teacher. She will be a great teacher, but jobs on Long Island are tough to find with all the budget cuts and such. So, Megan has decided to continue her education and get her Masters, while working at our office, as she waits for improvements in the job market. She is positioning herself to be better prepared for her future opportunities. Good decision.

As I talk to prospective homebuyers, it’s about being pre-approved.  Having a seasoned mortgage professional review their income, assets and credit to help position them in the best light, so that when they find that special opportunity, they are poised to act on it.

Buying a home, many times, begins with the emotional decision to change one’s life. After deciding to take the plunge, we use numbers and logic (inventory, affordability, and interest rates) to justify the emotion. Add to that, taking the care to prepare by working for a solid pre-approval, and I want to tell everyone…. “Go make your Megan!”

Mortgage Rates for 7/19/11

Check out this week’s average mortgage rates.

Be sure to click here to connect with a qualified Home Mortgage Consultant.

Will the Cost of Buying Increase Even If Prices Fall?

From KCM Blog

We have discussed the proposed modifications to the mortgage process several times in this blog already. We want to make sure our readers understand the potential impact to the cost of financing a home these changes will have. The cost of buying a home may increase even if prices continue to soften. The total cost of a home is determined by two factors:

  • the price of the property 
  • the expense of financing the purchase (assuming you are not paying all cash)

Check with a local real estate professional to determine where prices are headed in your region for the type of home you are considering. However, even if prices are predicted to soften further in your area, the COST of the home may rise because of increased expenses in financing. These expenses could increase rather dramatically.

Interest Rates
Interest rates have remained at historic lows for over a year. As the economy improves, there will be less need for the government to keep rates low. Many are predicting interest rates will increase from 1/2 point to 3/4 of a point before the end of the year. We may also see an additional increase in rate for loans deemed ‘less qualified’.

New Mortgage Standards
The government has proposed a new definition for a ‘qualified residential mortgage’. The new standard would set a bar much higher than we have today. Anyone not meeting these requirements would not be eligible for the ‘best’ rates available. What could be the difference in interest rate? In a white paper released last week by a group that included the Center for Responsible Lending and the National Association of Realtors:

Some private estimates have concluded that 5 percent risk retention could result in a three-percentage point rise in interest rates for loans funded through securitization. In other words, today’s 5 percent market would become an 8 percent interest-rate market.

Even if the rates for these loans are only one percentage point higher than the best rate, the additional cost to a buyer could be dramatic.

Impact of Interest Rates on Mortgage Payment
The interest rate you receive obviously plays a big role in determining your monthly mortgage payment. How big a role? Here is a chart showing how your payment is impacted even if home prices fall:

 Bottom Line
You may have delayed your home purchase decision because of concern over where PRICES may be headed. To make the best financial decision for you and your family, also take into consideration where the overall COST of the purchase may be headed.

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