How Do we improve the air quality in our Homes?

 Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of air pollution or to reduce their emissions. Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control for air quality is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs.

Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate and serves as a simple form of air cleaners. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.

It is particularly important to take as many of these steps as possible while you are involved in short-term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants–for example, painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, cooking, or engaging in maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, sanding, model making and gluing.

However, remember that for most indoor air quality problems in the home, source control is the most effective solution.

Advertisements
House Price Index Up 0.3 Percent in January

House Price Index Up 0.3 Percent in January

Prices-going-up-graphic-2U.S. house prices rose in January, up 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.8 percent change in December was revised downward to a 0.7 percent change.

The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From January 2014 to January 2015, house prices were up 5.1 percent. The U.S. index is 3.5 percent below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the December 2005 index level.

Mortgage Rates slightly higher

Mortgage Rates slightly higher

Finding-a-refinance-rate-for-your-homeMortgage rates are higher today, leaving September as one of only 3 months this year with noticeable upward movement.

And today was an exception to that recent trend, but it’s tempered by the fact that yesterday’s gains were the best of the month.

The only downside is that the most prevalently-quoted conforming 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers remains 4.25% whereas it would have likely moved to 4.125% if rate went the other direction today.

These movement considerations may be small scale compared to what lies ahead.  Several big tickets events are coming up in the second half of this week and they stand a good chance to increase the level of volatility.

80,000 Propiedades  se salvan de una Ejecución Hipotecaria

80,000 Propiedades se salvan de una Ejecución Hipotecaria

La Agencia Federal de la Financiamiento de la Vivienda (FHFA) indicó en su informe del 24 de Septiembre que Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac impidieron que alrededor de 80.000 casas se fueran en una ejecución hipotecaria en todo el país durante el segundo trimestre del 2014, elevando la prevención del número total de ejecuciones hipotecarias desde Septiembre de 2008 a 3.3 millones.

fLas medidas adoptadas por las dos GSE para evitar las ejecuciones hipotecarias han ayudado a unos 2,7 millones de prestatarios a permanecer en sus hogares en los últimos seis años. 1,7 millones de  prestatarios recibieron modificaciones permanentes de préstamo.

El número de ejecuciones hipotecarias prevenidas en el primer trimestre fue del 10 por ciento, cuando las GSE detuvieron     89.000 ejecuciones hipotecarias.

FHFA informa también que alrededor del 37 por ciento de propietarios que recibieron modificaciones permanentes de préstamo redujeron sus pagos mensuales hasta un 30 por ciento en el segundo trimestre.

New homes sales see biggest monthly jump!

New homes sales see biggest monthly jump!

Sales of new single family houses in August 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, up from July’s printing of 427,000, the fastest rate in six years and the biggest monthly jump since January 1992.

firsthomeblog

The biggest gains and by far the reason for the big increase were new home sales in the West, one of the two largest housing markets, along with the South.

New home sales in the West were up 50% over July.

The South saw an 8% increase. The South is by far the largest region for new home sales, outdistancing all other regions combined.

The median sales price of new houses sold in August 2014 was $275,600; the average sales price was $347,900.

Jumbo Loans Cheaper and Easier to Get!

Jumbo Loans Cheaper and Easier to Get!

bigstock-Resort-collage-made-of-Cyprus--14454446Wealthy home buyers are paying lower average rates on high dollar loans, and in some cases, they don’t even have to worry about a large down payment or mortgage insurance.

For months, lenders of jumbo mortgages have been charging interest rates that are lower  than what average borrowers pay. Jumbo loans are mortgages that above $417,000 or $625,000 or more in high-priced markets.

Many lenders also have requiring as little as 10 percent, which is about half the normal rate, waiving the private mortgage insurance, and even lowered their credit standards for jumbo loan originations.

Luxury homes are selling faster than last year, according to data through July from Realtor.com.   The median age of listings ranged from 80 days  for homes listed at $1 million or more.

Mortgage Rates and Terms Beware!

Mortgage Rates and Terms Beware!

Mortgage rates haven’t moved much this year, and the good news is they’ve been stuck at historically low levels. However, mortgage rates are expected to move higher as we head through the fall. While various groups report national mortgage rate averages each week, the rates you get can vary dramatically from that average, depending on what product you choose and how you shop.

One of the biggest mistakes home buyers make is to take a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage when they don’t really need it. The 30-year fixed is the most expensive of all mortgage products because the rate is the highest and you’re paying for the longest time.imprevistos

It is better to consider a product that matches how long you expect to be in your home, and make some changes later. Points are an upfront payment of interest in exchange for a lower rate. This boosts your closing costs and makes the rate appear to be artificially low.

Also, a great rate can turn into a bad one if your rate lock expires and you have to pay for an extension. Get your financials ready and provide them when asked, the sooner the better so it won’t interfere with the possibility of losing your rate lock. Documentation requirements can be arduous these days, and financial institutions are not going to waive them.

Beware of hidden fees and loan level pricing adjustments. Be sure to review a full breakdown of closing costs before committing to a lender. You can shop by rate or shop by fees, but you can’t shop for both at the same time.

Be aware about the Zero-closing cost mortgages that are sometimes available for as little as 12.5 basis points (0.125 percent) added to your mortgage rate. Your payment might raise $30-50 per month, but you’ll eliminate $4,000 in closing costs or more.

And finally, don’t let multiple lenders run your credit score. This can actually damage your score.

 

 

Homeowners Pay Less for  Mortgage than Renters for Rent

Homeowners Pay Less for Mortgage than Renters for Rent

Paying a mortgage is cheaper than paying rent. But owning a home costs more.  The never ending debate…Is better to buy or rent?  This could be answered only after considering all of the expenses that contribute to homeownership.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says it’s cheaper to own. It has become less expensive to own. From 2009 to 2012, fueled by falling interest rates, ForRentForSalehomeownership has become more affordable, while renters saw costs go in the opposite direction, according to the BLS.

A recent report by Zillow found that current U.S. home buyers can expect to pay 15.3% of their incomes to a mortgage on the typical home – down considerably from the 22.1% of income homeowners had to budget in the pre-bubble years but renters pay today over 29.5% of their income to rent, compared to 24.9% in the pre-bubble period.

The main reason for the budget disparity is the income gap between owners and renters. At the end of the second quarter, the Census Bureau reported the median annual income in the U.S. was $53,216. But among homeowners, median salaries were $65,514 per year, while the typical renter’s income was just $31,888.

Fact or Fiction: Tax relief for homeowners’ on debt forgiveness.

Fact or Fiction: Tax relief for homeowners’ on debt forgiveness.

Congress is now back from its summer vacation, so the burning financial question on thousands of homeowners’ minds right now is this: Are you finally going to help the consumers who are underwater on their mortgages and have already accepted a principal reduction by their lenders? 20131125_fact copy

Under current federal tax law, when the homeowners accept reductions in what they owe, the amount forgiven by the bank gets reported to the IRS, and the owner is hit with taxes as if it were ordinary income.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was created to help distressed homeowners; that were faced with taxes after a Principal reduction; however this law has already expired Dec. 31, 2013.

If Congress does not extend the law retroactively thousands of underwater homeowners could be hit with tax burdens they may not be able to handle. We hope for the Best!

Fannie Mae reduces waiting period for distressed borrowers

Fannie Mae reduces waiting period for distressed borrowers

A recent report revising the waiting periods for distressed borrowers with a derogatory credit event such as a foreclosure, bankruptcy, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their credit history to obtain a new loan has been released by Fannie Mae. This revised statement reduces the waiting period up to two years for borrowers with a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their record if there are extenuating circumstances that borrowers can prove. FannieMae

According to Fannie Mae, extenuating circumstances are defined as “nonrecurring events that are beyond the borrower’s control that result in a sudden, significant, and prolonged reduction in income or a catastrophic increase in financial obligations.”

If a borrower has a foreclosure on his or her credit record, the new minimum waiting period is seven years. Under extenuating circumstances, that period is shortened to three years with some additional requirements for up to seven years. For those with a bankruptcy the waiting period is four years but two years with extenuating circumstances from the discharge date.

Fannie Mae said in the report that it is “focused on helping lenders to provide access to mortgages for creditworthy borrowers while supporting sustainable homeownership” and that the new policy “provides opportunities for borrowers to obtain a loan to Fannie Mae’s maximum LTV (loan-to-value) sooner after the Pre-foreclosure, Short Sale or DIL.”