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Update On The Housing Market

I found some good news about the housing market and its recovery. Housing prices have began to rise in many area across the country. The greater Washington, DC metro area is one of them. And not only are housing prices rising, the number of sales is too.

The federal government says they plan on keeping mortgage rates at about their current level for some time so it is still a great time to buy or refinance. If you are looking to sell your home, or refinance the mortgage, there are some simple things you can do to increase the appraisal amount. Watch this video:

Here is a brief article about the current housing market. It is encouraging after the long period of housing lows we have experienced.

Housing Market Looking Up Across the Country

Many consumers across the country have been struggling with the housing market, either because they want to buy and can’t get a mortgage, or because they want to sell but home values aren’t high enough to cover their underwater mortgages. However, new trends in the market may be helpful to both buyers and sellers.

During the month of August, the number of existing-home sales rose appreciably on both a monthly and year-over-year basis, as did the average price for this type of property, according to new housing-market data from the National Association of Realtors. For buyers, the sales of existing homes — which includes single-family units, condominiums, townhouses and co-ops — climbed 7.8 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis to 4.82 million, up from July’s 4.47 million. It was also a more significant increase of 9.3 percent from the 4.41 million observed during August 2011.

Meanwhile, the median price for those properties climbed in August as well, rising 9.5 percent year-over-year to $187,400, the report said. It was the sixth consecutive month of annual increases, the first time that has happened since the period between December 2005 and May 2006, prior to the housing bubble’s burst. Further, the increase seen last month was the largest since January 2006, when median prices climbed 10.2 percent.

These trends are encouraging to experts, who believe that there will be continual improvements in the housing market over the next several months at least, the report said. In fact, many believe that the increase in prices and sales could have mutually beneficial effects on each other at least through the end of next year.

“Total sales this year will be 8 to 10 percent above 2011, but some buyers are frustrated with mortgage availability,” said Moe Veissi, president of the NAR and broker-owner of Miami-based Veissi and Associates Inc. “If most of the financially qualified buyers could obtain financing, home sales would be about 10 to 15 percent stronger, and the related economic activity would create several hundred thousand jobs over the period of a year.”

The Federal Reserve Board already has committed to keeping interest rates, particularly on mortgages, at around their current low levels for some time, and as a consequence, that could encourage more people who are thinking about buying to look into how affordable the process might be for them.

See article source here:

This means there is hope on the horizon! When you are ready to purchase your first home, upgrade to a bigger home, or refinance your mortgage, contact the professionals at SLS Mortgage for the latest mortgage programs and the best mortgage rates.


Why Mortgage Refinancing Is Such A Good Idea

In this edition of SLS Mortgage blog, I have found a couple of interesting articles and a video describing the current mortgage and real estate markets. The first article is about how mortgage rates are still extremely affordable even though home prices are rising and sales are up. Read more below:

Mortgage rates down; home prices, sales up
HSH Financial Publishers (blog), on Wed, 19 Sep 2012 08:27:52 -0700

“The Federal Reserve has aimed their efforts squarely at the mortgage market,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of “They will be buying up to $40 billion of Mortgage-Backed Securities monthly in an effort to drive mortgage rates lower.

This video explains how taking advantage of these low rates by refinancing an existing mortgage can save a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of their higher interest mortgages. This savings could be what the economy needs to get consumer spending up and therefore, stimulating the economy. Watch it here:

And finally, the following article describes how the federal government can help keep these mortgage rates low by encouraging homeowners to refinance. Find out how here:

Congress Could Help ‘Quantitative Easing’ Reach Main Street
Center For American Progress, on Wed, 19 Sep 2012 09:00:14 -0700

Most U.S. households are not in the market for a new home, so the hope is they will access low interest rates by refinancing their mortgages. Yet mortgage rates have been well below historic norms for more than a year, and most eligible homeowners who

I hope that these will shed some light on why it is so important to consider refinancing right now. Mortgage rates continue to be at historic lows but they won’t stay that way forever. When you decide that refinancing is right for you, contact us at SLS Mortgage to get the best rate available today.

Mortgage News For September 2012

It’s been a while since we added a blog post. We have been extra busy this summer and let our posting slip! We wanted to jump back in the game, though, so today we bring you some current news about the state of mortgages and the real estate market. Not much commentary here, just wanted to begin our regular posting again by pointing out some current news.

Mortgage Rates Move Lower | RISMedia

Mortgage rates were mostly lower for a second straight week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage inching down to 3.79 percent, according to’s.

Home Loans | Mortgage Bankers | Refinance Applications

September brings mortgage activity resurgence. September 12, 2012 08:30AM. As the calendar turned to September, mortgage activity also turned a page following a dismal August. Mortgage applications increased 11.1 percent for the week

We hope that these resources will bring you up to speed on the status of the real estate and mortgage market presently. If you have any questions about specific mortgage loans, mortgage rates, or home loan products, please feel free to contact us. It’s good to be back in action!

Low Mortgage Rates Pump 11% Gain In Purchasing Power

Low interest rates have given your mortgage dollars more purchasing power and home affordability is at an all time high. There’s no question that now is one of the best times to buy a house or refinance a mortgage that we will likely ever see.

There are some really attractive statistics below about just how good a time it is right now to refinance or buy.

Mortgage Rates : Low Mortgage Rates Pump 11% Gain In Purchasing Power

For today’s refinancing households — whether via HARP, FHA Streamline Refinance, VA Streamline Refinance, or otherwise —  falling mortgage rates can lower monthly mortgage payments by a ton, adding money to household budgets and bank ledgers.

For home buyers, however, falling rates do something more.

Falling mortgage rates raise maximum purchase prices. In some cases, by a lot. Your mortgage dollar goes a lot farther than it used to.

Click here to get today’s mortgage rates.

For Home Buyers, Mortgage Rates On Sale

Home affordability is at an all-time high nationwide.

According to Freddie Mac’s most recent mortgage rate survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.62% last week, down from 4.08% in March 2012, and down from 4.60% from one year ago.

And, this week, rates have moved lower still. From Marin County, California to Bethesda, Maryland to Miami, Florida, mortgage rates are easing and poised to register a new, all-time low for the third consecutive week. Mortgage rates have been down over consecutive days dating back to last week.

It’s a great time to be a buyer.

Purchasing Power Up 11% Since Last Year

Rapidly changing mortgage rates make for interesting personal economics. It can’t help but change the way a buyer looks at properties.

In a falling mortgage rate environment such as this one, it can make for a heady home shopping experience. Buyers can set their sights on a price range for a home, then watch as their corresponding monthly mortgage payment drops with the rates.

Or, buyers can go the other way.

For a buyer who’s set his monthly housing payment  as mortgage rates drop, home purchasing power goes up.

Since July 2011, that increase has been significant.

Assuming a principal + interest mortgage payment of $1,000 per month on a 30-year term, today’s home buyers can buy 11% “more home” as compared to 12 months ago.

  • July 2011 : Each $1,000 payment affords a maximum loan size of $197,130
  • July 2012 : Each $1,000 payment affords a maximum loan size of $219,409

That extra 11% can mean a lot of things. It can be an extra bathroom; an extra bedroom; a series of upgraded finishes. It could even mean a home on a different street, or with a different-sized lot.

The 11% increase in purchasing power can mean anything you want it to mean. It’s just great to have it available. There has never been a more affordable time to be a home owner.

From Washington State to Washington, D.C., homeownership is on sale.

Click here to get today’s mortgage rates.

Home Affordability : Tied To Low Mortgage Rates

Unfortunately, today’s buyer-friendly environment can’t last forever. Home prices have already started to rise nationwide, cutting into the rise in purchasing power afforded by low mortgage rates. And, as the economy recovers, mortgage rates will, too.

When mortgage rates move past 4 percent into the 5s, it will hit affordability hard.

For now, though, the market is a buyer’s oyster. Get started with a rate quote and see what you can buy.

See source here:

Don’t let this amazing opportunity of either buying a home or refinancing your mortgage pass you by. SLS Mortgage of Culpeper has many great options to help you take advantage of the great mortgage rates currently available. Contact our team of mortgage professionals for a free consultation today. (540) 216-0665

Dominion And Arlington County At Odds Over Tree Removal

This is an article that I found on ABC News Channel 7’s website that describes an example of what we as tree removal contractors have to deal with at times. We sometimes can’t remove a fallen tree until the power company gives us the okay. But sometimes the power company can’t work on their power lines until the tree is removed. It can be a catch 22 that ultimately hurts property owner’s, who are the ones that have to deal with no electricity.

A lot of people have been helping each other get through the aftermath of last week’s storms.

But, there have been a few situations where there has been a battle on what to about trees falling on power lines, like in Arlington, where Dominion Virginia Power and the county were reportedly at odds.

For those who live around the tree-choked street in the Claremont area, emotions are far exceeding the 100 degree conditions.

Friday’s derecho toppled a tree that entwined in Dominion’s power lines then crushed a car.

For five, miserable days, David Carr and hundreds of his neighbors have been without electricity.

Carr said, “We wake up at 2:30 in the morning just bathed in sweat unable to sleep anymore.”

David Hemenway blames dysfunction, adding that the utility company and the county can’t agree on how to proceed.

“At the very least that tree should have been removed by now, but the county says they can’t remove it until Dominion gives them permission. Dominion says they can’t do the wires until the tree is removed. Are you kidding me?,” Hemenway said.

His biggest fear is for his adopted daughter, Bekah, whose disability leaves her sensitive to stress. Her service dog, Griswald, can only do so much.

Hemenway added, “When we have a disruption like this for a long period of time, it does become a bit of a problem.”

Only a few hours after 7 On Your Side called Dominion, the utility giant sent out a supervisor who assured a tree removal crew would be dispatched.

And that’s exactly what happened.

In fact, Dominion officials say they’ll return Thursday morning to repair the mess and restore power.

The Dominion spokesperson stressed that there was never an issue between the county and the utility company. He says the blame rests on Dominion not moving quickly enough to respond to the area due to the overwhelming amount of work they have.

You can see how even slight miscommunication can bring cleanup and power restoration to a halt. It’s unfortunate but it does happen. If you have a fallen tree that still needs to be removed, call Fairfax Tree Service today for a free storm damage cleanup evaluation and to remove any trees that may hampering power restoration for you or your neighbors. (703) 688-3900

tree removal and cleanup

Nonstandard Mortgage Refinancing

Nonstandard mortgage refinancing is an option for people that want to refinance their mortgage to take advantage of these incredible rates but don’t want to have to settle for a standard 15 or 30 year repayment term. While not very common, nonstandard mortgage refinancing is gaining popularity.

I found an interesting article explaining some of the reasons why people would want a nonstandard refinance. Read on…

Today’s record-low interest rates have lots of homeowners debating whether to refinance into 15- or 30-year mortgages, but few realize lenders offer products with all sorts of repayment periods — from five-year “balloon” mortgages to 29-year loans.

Although normal repayment terms are suitable for most homeowners, it isn’t the case for everyone. We have loan programs available for those who want nonstandard mortgage refinancing products. Contact one of our mortgage professionals at SLS Mortgage of Culpeper to discuss your nonstandard refinancing needs today. (540) 216-0665

When A 30 Year Mortgage Is Better Than 15

Sometimes it makes more sense to get a 30 year mortgage over a 15 year.  There are many benefits of shortening the loan term to 15 years, but you have to consider all factors when deciding which mortgage term is best for you.

Below are some great tips to help you determine which loan term is best for your current financial situation.

With interest rates as low as they are, a lot of borrowers are being tempted by 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. But for many, a 30-year loan may still be the best option.

To be sure, interest rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are astonishingly low right now — averaging 2.89 percent, according to Freddie Mac. That can mean some major savings on interest, as well as paying off your mortgage faster. But there are other factors to consider as well.

15 years means higher payments

The downside of a 15-year mortgage is that your monthly payments will be a lot higher than on a 30-year loan. For a $200,000 loan at Freddie Mac’s posted rate of 2.89 percent, monthly payments on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage would be $1370.91 — and that’s before including property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

By contrast, the payment on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at the current Freddie Mac average rate of 3.62 percent would be $911.54 — nearly $460 less than the payment on a 15-year loan.

The potential problem with a 15-year mortgage is the classic one of “you can go broke saving money.” Yes, you can save a lot of money on interest with a 15-year mortgage — in the example above, over the life of the loan, you’d pay only about $47,000 in interest on the 15-year mortgage, versus $128,000 in interest payments on the 30-year mortgage. But how will those higher payments affect your financial picture?

Consider other financial needs

In the example above, note that payments on the 15-year mortgage are half again as much as on the 30-year loan. That’s a pretty big bite out of anyone’s budget. What else could you be doing with that money? Saving for retirement? For your children’s education? How about a reserve fund for unexpected expenses, like a medical emergency?

The big problem with a 15-year mortgage is that it leaves you with less financial flexibility than a 30-year loan. You might be able to manage the mortgage payments most of the time, but what if you hit a tight spot? You can’t miss a mortgage payment without financial penalties and damage to your credit score, and getting caught up again can be harder than you think, especially if you were already stretched to cover your monthly payments in the first place.

In addition, the savings may not be as much as you expect. Remember, mortgage interest is tax-deductible for most borrowers, which effectively reduces the savings you get from a 15-year loan.

Paying off your mortgage faster

The situation where refinancing into a 15-year mortgage can be most attractive is when refinancing an existing mortgage. In that situation, you’ve already been paying on your mortgage for a number of years, so refinancing into a 15-year loan may not shorten the time remaining on your loan that much, so it may seem like you can squeeze your remaining loan into the new time frame.

Keep in mind though, that most of your payments go to interest during the early years of a 30-year mortgage, so you may not have made as much progress in paying down your principle as you think, even if you’ve had the loan for 8-10 years.

If you want to pay down your mortgage faster, one option to consider is to refinance into another 30-year mortgage, then make payments equal to what you would need to pay it off in 15 years. This lets you pay off your mortgage more quickly, while maintaining the flexibility to make a smaller payment now and then should the need arise.

30-year rates are also cheap

Over the course of the loan, you won’t pay a lot more using this approach than you would refinancing into a 15-year mortgage. Remember, even though 30-year mortgage rates are presently running about three-quarters of a percentage point higher than 15-year rates, they’re still extremely low by historic standards, and cheap.

Typically, the difference between the two approaches would be about an additional four monthly mortgage payments over 15 years — fairly cheap, considering the additional financial freedom you gain.

Good money after bad?

One of the undeniable advantages of a 15-year mortgage is that it allows you to pay down your mortgage faster, allowing you to build equity more quickly and brings closer the day you own your home free and clear. If you’re refinancing through HARP (the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program) because you’re in negative equity, it lets you get back to positive equity more quickly. The question is, do you want to do this?

If you’re underwater on your mortgage, many financial advisors would question the wisdom of accelerating your payments on an asset that is worth less than the balance owed. Even if you’re not underwater, you should consider whether boosting your payments on a depreciated asset is the best use of your money.

This is a key reason why refinancing back into a 30-year mortgage, even if you’ve already been paying on the original loan for 10 years or so, can make sense. You’re reducing your monthly payments and limiting the additional money you’re committing to an asset that has declined in value. If the housing market rebounds and home prices rise again, you’ll benefit from the increased equity. Meanwhile, you’re limiting the amount of good money you’re throwing after bad, while increasing the amount of money available for other uses.

Examine your own situation

This isn’t meant to be a hard-and-fast guide to whether or not any one person should opt for a 30-year mortgage over a 15-year one, but only to point out some of the issues involved and the questions borrowers should consider.

For many borrowers, a 15-year mortgage may be the best choice given their finances and personal situation. For others, buying a home with or refinancing back into a 30-year mortgage may be the more sensible option. But you have to look at your own financial situation, the value of your own home and your other financial needs before you can decide which is the best choice for you.

Article source:

When you are ready to decide which type of loan is going to suit your situation best, contact one of our mortgage specialists at SLS Mortgage of Charlottesville for a free mortgage consultation. We can go over your current situation and evaluate your goals so that we can match you with the perfect loan product. SLS Mortgage is here to help. Call (434) 260-7793 today