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.

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How Do Homes Impact Health?

  1. Indoor air pollution is 4 – 5 times worse than outdoor air and sometimes even greater.
  2. We spend 90% of our time indoors.
  3. 15% of homeowners may be allergic to elements in their own homes.
  4. Prevalence of asthma has double since 1976.

Indoor air pollution has been described by EPA and Congress as America’s number one environmental health problem. Air pollutants can and do cause allergies, sick building syndrome, bacterial infections and spread viruses to name a few. The American College of Allergists state that 50% of all illnesses are caused by polluted indoor air.  NEXT: How does our air inside the house get polluted?

Negative Equity continues being a Serious Concern Despite Year Over Year Decline!

Negative Equity continues being a Serious Concern Despite Year Over Year Decline!

HARP-Refinance

While the percentage of homes in the United States with negative equity has declined substantially since the fourth quarter of 2013, they experienced a slight increase quarter-over-quarter in Q4 2014, according to CoreLogic‘s Q4 2014 Equity Report released last Tuesday.

CoreLogic reported that 10.8 percent of all residential homes were underwater in Q4, this is about 5.4 million properties approximately, which was down from 13.3 percent  in the same quarter a year earlier. The Q4 total was up slightly from the 10.3 percent that was reported for Q3 2014 – an increase of 3.3 percent.

Despite the year-over-year decline in the percentage of underwater residential properties, negative equity remains a serious issue, according to Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. For the full year of 2014, 1.2 million borrowers regained equity – but nearly five and a half million properties remained in negative equity as of the end of the year after approximately 172,000 homes slipped into negative equity from the third quarter to the fourth quarter in 2014.

Approximately 10 million of the nearly 50 million residential properties with a mortgage in the United States, which is about 20 percent of these properties have less than 20 percent equity, a condition known as under-equitied.

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Keep Your Money Where It Is, if you’re planning on buying a home!

Keep Your Money Where It Is, if you’re planning on buying a home!

spend_less_money_save_moreIt’s not wise to make any huge purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a home. You don’t want to take any big chances with your credit profile. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they want a complete paper trail so that they can get you the best loan possible.

If you open new credit cards, amass too much debt or buy a lot of big ticket items, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan.

56 Percent of 3.3 Million HELOCs Scheduled to Reset With Higher Payments

realestatehousemoneymi600-resize-600x338A total of 3,262,036 HELOCs with an estimated total balance of $158 billion that originated during the housing price bubble between 2005 and 2008 are still open and scheduled to reset between 2015 and 2018.

Realty Trac the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its first-ever U.S. HELOC Resetting Report, which found that 56 percent of the 3.3 million Home Equity Lines of Credit potentially resetting with higher, fully amortizing monthly payments from 2015 to 2018 are on properties that are seriously underwater.

With 645,872 HELOCs, California led the way among the states in terms of sheer volume of resetting HELOCs. A total of 423,706 (66 percent) of those resetting HELOCs in California are on homes that still seriously underwater

 

Are you better off fixing or buying a home?

Are you better off fixing or buying a home?

There is neither a specific answer nor one size fits all!  There are plenty of considerations to review. First of all, your financial ability and market demands are some of the factors to survey before deciding if it’s wiser to find a new dream home or fix your current home.Luxury Home Kitchen.

Before considering renovating your existing home, take an inventory of your home’s physical current condition, and deal with contractors for renovation costs. Major home renovations bring stress, unexpected complications and budget overruns. Depending on the age of your current home, you may also have to jump through additional hoops to meet newer building code requirements.

Purchasing a new home could actually cost you less monthly than renovating your home depending on its age, and types of renovations you’re considering. If you intend on financing renovation costs,  find out how much you will be adding to your existing mortgage, home equity loan or line of credit  versus obtaining a new home mortgage.

Keep in mind that even if you renovate your older home, in a future buyer’s eyes, it’s still an older home. It is a good idea to have a sense of the market activity in your neighborhood to consider trading up or renovating your current home. The main purpose of home renovations is primarily to increase your home’s enjoyment. While you may be able to recoup some or most of the costs during the home’s sale, there are no guarantees.

Opening Doors for Homebuyers!

Opening Doors for Homebuyers!

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is the first of six financial regulators to release the final version of the long-awaited qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule. The National Association of Realtors applauds this action because it will make possible to incorporate rules that include a broad definition for Qualified Mortgage standards implemented earlier this year.

Got your House?

Got your House?

Under the QRM rule, loans are generally considered qualified if the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio is 43 percent, among other things and there is not onerous down payment requirement, as regulators had originally proposed.

The NAR strongly opposed earlier versions of the rule that included 20 and 30 percent down payment requirements, which would have denied millions of Americans access to the lowest-cost and safest mortgages

For lenders, having these two rules in alignment provides the clarity they’ve long been asking for, widening and deepening loan eligibility and availability, which has been one of the main stumbling blocks to increased home sales.

Homebuyers will have now more credit availability reflecting an increase in home purchases, and refis. Way to go!

Got Refi?   Rates…better than ever

Got Refi? Rates…better than ever

 

Finding-a-refinance-rate-for-your-homeFalling interest rates precipitated a major refinancing rally  according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA’s) Refinance Index.  The MBA’s Refinance Index is a weekly measurement put together by the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Real Estate Finance Industry Association.

Strong job growth, coupled with  low mortgage rates, should reflect now the increase in home sales and purchase originations. Great time for purchases but even better for refinancing.

 

 

 

Sales of Existing Homes Increase, however not enough

Sales of Existing Homes Increase, however not enough

Sales of previously owned homes rose in September to the highest level in a year, adding to signs that residential real estate will be a plus for the economy.

National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington that closings on home sales advanced 2.4 % to 5.17 annual rate, and purchases rose 1.9% from the same month last year before adjusting for seasonal patterns.

Why this is a great time to sell your home?

Why this is a great time to sell your home?

On the way, easier lending standards and faster wage gains would attract even more buyers, including those making their first entrance to homeownership.

Sales of existing single-family homes increased 2% to an annual rate of 4.56 million in September from the prior month, also the fastest pace in a year. Purchases of multifamily properties including condominiums rose 5.2% to a 610,000 pace.

Of all purchases, cash transactions accounted for about 24%, down from 33% 12 months earlier, Investors, 63% of whom paid cash 14% of the market last month, in September 2013, they accounted for 19%. And First-time buyers accounted for 29% of the market for a third month in September. Distressed sales, accounted for 10% of the total

We are aware that residential real estate market has definitely gotten better; however it has not fully recovered. There is a lot more to be done!

Homeownership at Best!

Homeownership at Best!

Federal Housing Finance Agency has been working towards a plan to open what many we see as underwriting standards that are too restrictive.

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their regulator and lenders are close to an agreement that could greatly expand mortgage credit while helping lenders protect themselves from charges of making bad loans, according to people familiar with the matter.

Homeownership getting better!

Homeownership Gets Better!

If the agreement is completed, lenders may be more willing to lend to borrowers with lower credit scores and smaller down payments.

Now that lenders are starting to remove some of the credit overlays, it is time to improve the growth of homeownership in the country

We expect FHFA to report the steps to further move and clarify lender liability and support the return of the 97% LTV product at the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recouped tens of billions of dollars in penalties from lenders in recent years over claims that the lenders made underwriting mistakes on loans they sold to the mortgage giants.

However, Lenders have blamed those penalties for tight credit conditions and for prompting them to make loans only to borrowers with near-pristine credit.

We hope these initiatives will have a meaningful impact on the mortgage market, and we can see positive changes in the direction of the mortgages industry after years of tightening credit issues.

Next Tuesday will see the existing home sales report for September, on Thursday the FHFA purchase-only house price index for August, and Friday the new home sales report.