Where Are Interest Rates Headed?

One of my lenders, Melanie Flynn of First Priority Financial, sent us this newsletter that I just had to share.

Where Are Interest Rates Headed?

This isn’t easy to say, but it must be said – rates are NOT going back down (at least not significantly). Rates being quoted right now range from the 4.75% area to above 5%, based on lender, consumer profile (credit score, program, money down, etc), and the day. When I say “the day”, I’m not being flippant – there really is such nauseating volatility that we are seeing rates jump by as much as .25% in interest rate in a single day.

With the drastic and dramatic jump we’ve seen since May 3rd, consumers may have thrown the brakes on for looking at houses – waiting for rates to come back down. It is important that you remember I’m here to help you convince the consumer of two things:

1) Rates are NOT going back down into the 3’s, or probably much (if any) below 4.5%.
2) They must continue their search now before home prices continue to go up along with the higher rates, further eroding their buying power.

Interest Rates – when they rise – decreases a clients buying power. ย I can see the graph from economic class now. ย As Interest Rates Rise, the cost of buying rises – therefore the purchase price or the home will decrease for the buyer.

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Renters May Grow by 6 Million in Next Decade – Interesting Article –

I read this onย DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS and thought it was good to share.

Renters May Grow by 6 Million in Next Decade

Since the housing crash in 2008, the number of renting households has soared. Within the next decade,ย  5 to 6 million new renter households are expected to be formed, according to the National Association of REALTORSยฎ.

Much of that increase may occur in the next two years.ย  Within that time, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that renter households will grow from 38 million to 41 million.

“In general, across the country there are more renters now than there were two or three years ago,” says Wally Charnoff, CEO of RentRange.

Property management companies are booming, too. Officials with Real Property Management say the company has doubled in size over the past two years. The company has 230 offices in 47 states and adds an average of eight new franchises per month.

“Profound changes in the housing market have created significant demand for property management companies like ours,” Kirk McGary, CEO of Real Property Management, told HousingWire. “And it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon.”

Charnoff adds that location may be a big driver for renters. With a shortage of for-sale homes nowadays, some families are being driven to rent in order to be able to live in a specific neighborhood with good schools, he notes. โ€œInstitutional investors have provided a lot of readily available property,โ€ he says.

However, he adds that rising mortgage rates may prompt more on-the-fence renters to jump into home ownership before housing affordability moves lower.

 

What do you think this means for our real estate market? ย Share your thoughts!

I read this article at:ย  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/06/13/renters-may-grow-6-million-in-next-decade?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BRufS1B8zTgy7W&om_ntype=RMODaily

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:ย  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:ย ย  http://thecatonteam.com/

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Or Yelp me:ย  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

FOR SALE – Gorgeous Home in the El Granada Highlands – 3 Bedrooms 3 Bath plus Bonus Rooms

For more information and photos – please visit our website at:

http://thecatonteam.com/PropertyDetails?fl_hook=1713296615&show_description=yes&show_address=yes&presented_by=&show_virtual_tour=yes

OPEN TODAY – SATURDAY 6/15 from 1-4pm

WELCOME COME TO EL GRANADA

Nestled in beautiful El Granada just north of Half Moon Bay, a lovely setting on the gorgeous California coastline.

This spacious home features a reverse floor plan, with one bedroom and bath located on the main level and one master bedroom and one bedroom with private baths downstairs along with an additional bonus room.

The top floor features cathedral ceilings for a light and airy feel with walls of windows in the living room overlooking the trees and peekaboo views of the ocean, inviting you to cozy up by the stone fireplace and enjoy the views. The kitchen, with green house window shares this light and bright feeling and spills into the family / dining room. Enjoy the deck that connects the main floor living room with the down stairs bedrooms. Skylights stud the home with additional sunshine.

Downstairs the master suite mirrors the living room with walls of windows and another cozy fireplace to enjoy. There is a second bedroom downstairs along with a large bonus room and spacious finished basement with extra storage. The deck on this level allows for private outdoor relaxation.

This lovely home has a dehumidifier โ€“ great for the coast โ€“ along with a professionally encapsulated crawl space by Bay Area Moisture Control to add ample additional storage. The finished basement, accessed through he laundry room, has more storage and a second bonus room that could be used as an office with a separate entrance. The two car attached garage has a workbench, wrap-around custom cabinets to eliminate clutter and easy access to holiday decoration or those Costco hauls.

In addition to a functioning well, with water softener and 1000-gallon storage tank โ€“ the homeowners won the City Water Lottery and paid approximately $20,000 to tap into City Water. The owners have also installed drainage around the property and automatic sprinklers in the front and back gardens. For convenience a built-in vacuum for cleaning ease.

To truly appreciate this home, you have to take a look for yourself. Please contact Susan or Sabrina Caton โ€“ The Caton Team Realtors for a private viewing. 650-568-5539 or Info@TheCatonTeam.com

For photos โ€“ visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151619904857835&set=a.10151619904572835.1073741825.294970377834&type=1&theater

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at: http://thecatonteam.com/

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Top 10 Scams of 2012 – had to share this….

Had to share this!

Top 10 Scams of 2012ย The Better Business Bureau releases its annual list of the worst schemes that aimed to steal people’s money or identity.

Each year the Better Business Bureau investigates thousands of scams, from new schemes that take advantage of current events to old ploys used time and again to bilk people. The BBB uses its data, along with reports from federal agencies and other sources, to compile an annual list of the top scams — not necessarily the biggest as far as the number of people affected or amount of money stolen but rather the most egregious, says Carrie Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Below you’ll find the BBB’s list of the top scams from the past year in nine categories, plus the “Scam of the Year.”

Top Fake Check Scam: Car Ads โ€“ The Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, received many complaints in 2012 about online ads promising to pay people $400 or more a week for driving around with company logos on their car. People would be sent a check and asked to deposit in their account and wire part of the payment to a graphic designer who would customize the ad for their vehicle. There was no graphic designer or ad, though, and the check would bounce โ€“ usually after people had wired money to the scammers.

Top Emergency Scam: Grandparent Scam โ€“ This scam that’s been around a long time involves a grandchild or other relative who is traveling abroad and asks for money to be wired to him right away because he was mugged or hurt (and says, “Please don’t tell Mom and Dad.”). According to the BBB, the FBI reports that it’s easier for scammers to tell a more plausible story because they can use information the “supposed” victim posts on Facebook or Twitter. The BBB says that you never should wire money without trying to contact the supposed victim at his or her regular phone number or checking with family members to see if that person really is traveling.

Top Employment Scam: Mystery Shopping โ€“ Legitimate companies do use mystery shoppers to provide feedback on customer service, merchandise quality and other quality-control metrics. However, there are plenty of illegitimate offers for this sort of work. Scammers often tell prospective mystery shoppers that evaluating a wire-service company is part of the job and that they need to deposit a check and send back part of the money (and, of course, the victim finds out that the check has bounced after the money’s been wired). According to the BBB, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association says its members don’t prepay shoppers. To find a legitimate gig, visit www.mysteryshop.org.

Top Advance Fee/Prepayment Scam: Nonexistent Loans โ€“ Loan scams tend to be advertised online and promise things such as no credit check or easy repayment. However, you have to make the first payment upfront, buy an “insurance policy” or pay some other fee to secure the loan. This past year, there was a new twist on this loan scam: Consumers were threatened with lawsuits and law enforcement action if they didn’t pay back loans they said they had never even taken out in the first place. According to the BBB, some victims were called at their workplace, or their relatives were called. The embarrassment of being thought of as a delinquent caused some victims to pay even when they knew they didn’t owe the money, the BBB says.

Top Phishing Scam: President Obama Will Pay Your Utility Bills โ€“ I actually wrote about this scam last year. Thousands of people became victims of scammers who called, sent text messages, showed up at homes or used social media to tout a federal assistance program that would pay up to $1,000 on utility or credit-card bills โ€“ but there was no such program. Consumers were asked to give their Social Security numbers and other personal information to access what actually was a phony bank account and routing number to use when paying their bills online. To avoid such scams, never give personal information out over the phone unless you initiated the contact.

Top Sweepstakes Scam: Jamaican Phone Lottery โ€“ In this old scam that resurfaced last year, the calls come from Jamaica (area code 876) but the person claims to represent BBB, FBI or other trusted group and tells the victim that he’s won a large cash prize or government grant. The catch: You have to pay a fee to collect your winnings. If you get a call like this, hang up and report it to the BBB.

Top Identity Theft Scam: Fake Facebook Videos โ€“ Scammers used Twitter to send people direct messages claiming that there was an embarrassing video of them on Facebook, with a link. When people clicked on the link, they got an error message that said they needed to download a new version of Flash or other video player. The file was actually a virus or malware that could steal personal information from the computers or smart phones of people who downloaded it. Twitter recommends reporting such violations, changing your password and revoking connections to third-party applications that you don’t recognize.

Top Home Improvement Scam: Sandy Storm Repair โ€“ Scam artists took advantage of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy by promising homeowners to make repairs. They asked to be paid in advance and never did the work. The BBB recommends always asking contractors for references, checking credentials and using BBB.org to find trusted contractors.

Top Sales Scam: Fake Olympics Goods โ€“ Scammers took advantage of the London Olympics to set up Web sites offering merchandise that didn’t exist. People who tried to purchase items simply lost their money. And counterfeit sports memorabilia also was common year-round. The BBB recommends buying directly from team stores and sites, or from legitimate retailers โ€“ not from people hawking wares on the street or outside stadiums. You’ll pay a little more, but it will be the real deal.

Scam of the Year: Newtown Charity Scams โ€“ Social media pages dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting appeared with hours of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. Some were created by scammers asking for money. According to the BBB, the FBI has already arrested one woman for posing as the aunt of one of the children killed, and state and federal agencies are investigating other possible fraudulent and misleading solicitations. “Although the number of people defrauded and the total dollars stolen is most likely low, the cynicism and sheer audacity of these scams merits our selecting it as the Top Scam of 2012,” the BBB says.

By Cameron Huddleston, Kiplinger.com

I read this article at: The Kiplinger Washington Editors. Kiplinger.com.

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:ย  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:ย ย  http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook: ย ย http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:ย  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Eight Ways To Improve Your Home Appraisal

When I read this article I had to share it. ย The Caton Team always provides comparable properties for our buyers appraisal. ย But when you are refinancing on your own – don’t hesitate to call us – we’ll provide comparable properties for you! ย What can the Caton Team do for you?

Eight Ways To Improve Your Home Appraisal

When Kellie and Michael May decided to refinance their home in the New York suburbs, they wanted to take advantage of historically low interest rates. But before landing a new 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, they had to get through a home appraisal.

“It was a major stumbling block,” says Kellie May, who has owned the 4-bedroom, 3-bath colonial for seven years. Not that she and her husband were unprepared; they’d been through an appraisal for another refinance in 2010, so they knew to point out improvements they’d made to the 3,400 square foot home, and supply prices for other neighborhood properties that had sold recently.

But the appraisal came back roughly $70,000 less than the $1,230,000 the Mays were expecting, and too low to support their new loan.

They responded with a paperwork arsenal aimed at their lender, asserting that the appraisal had been based on faulty recent sales data. The loan squeaked through, after the bank crafted an exception for the Mays. It was able to do that because their loan was a jumbo loan, not subject to the more rigid underwriting standards they would have encountered if it were a conventional loan aimed at secondary buyers like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Low appraisals are becoming a bigger problem for many would-be buyers and refinancers as home values have started to stabilize and rise in some markets.

In Leesburg, Florida, for example, low appraisals have caused the cancellation of as many as 15 percent of home sales for local real estate broker Gus Grizzard.

“We are seeing higher price appreciation and are starting to run into appraisal problems,” said Charlie Young, chief executive officer of ERA Franchise Systems, a firm with a national network of real estate brokerage offices, including Grizzard’s. The National Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday that inventories of homes were low and the median price a home resale was, at $180,800 in December, up 11.5 percent in a year.

Appraisals are based on recent sales prices of comparable properties. And in rising price markets, those sales prices might not be high enough to support the newest deals. Young said there were many places in California reporting appraisal problems.

On Friday, the federal government issued new rules aimed at improving the appraisal process as it pertains to high-interest mortgages on rapidly appreciating homes.

But those rules don’t go into effect for a year, and don’t apply to most conventional loans. It pays to protect your own loan before the bank even thinks about sending that guy with the clipboard over to your house.

“The reality is that the appraiser is only there for 30 minutes at most,” says Brian Coester, chief executive of CoesterVMS, a nationwide appraisal management company based in Rockville, Maryland. “The best thing a homeowner can do to get the highest appraisal possible is make sure they have all the important features of the home readily available for the appraiser.”

Here are eight ways you can bolster your appraisal:

MAKE SURE APPRAISER KNOWS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD – SOOOOOOO IMPORTANT

Is the appraiser from within a 10-mile radius of your property? “This is one of the first questions you should ask the appraiser,” says Ben Salem, a real estate agent with Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, California.

He recalled a recent case where an appraiser visited an unfamiliar property in nearby Orange County and produced an appraisal that Salem said was $150,000 off. “If the appraiser doesn’t know the area intimately, chances are the appraisal will not come back close to what a property is really worth.”

You can request that your lender send a local appraiser; if that still doesn’t happen, supply as much information as you can about the quality of your neighborhood.

PROVIDE YOUR OWN COMPARABLES – Call The Caton Team – We’d be happy to help you!

Provide your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable properties. You will save her some work, and insure that she is getting price information from homes that really are similar to yours.

Websites including Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia offer recent sales prices and details such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in a home.

KNOW WHAT ADDS THE MOST VALUE – Not sure where to put your money? ย Call The Caton Team – We’ll help!

If you’re going to do minor renovations, start with your kitchen and bathrooms, says G. Stacy Sirmans, a professor of real estate at Florida State University. He reviewed 150 variables that affect home values for a study sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. Wood floors, landscaping and an enclosed garage can also drive up appraisals.

DOCUMENT YOUR FIX-UPS – Keep thoseย receipts!

If you’ve put money into the house, prove it, says Salem.

“Before-and-after photos, along with a well-defined spreadsheet of what was spent on each renovation, should persuade an appraiser to turn in a number that far exceeds what he or she first called out.”

Don’t forget to highlight all-important structural improvements to electrical systems, heating and cooling systems – which are harder to see, but can dramatically boost an appraisal. Show receipts.

TALK UP YOUR TOWN

If your town has recently seen exciting developments, such as upscale restaurants, museums, parks or other amenities, make sure your appraiser knows about them, says Craig Silverman, principal and chief appraiser at Silverman & Co. in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

DISTINGUISH BETWEEN UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTAIRS

Many homeowners covet that refinished basement, but that doesn’t mean appraisers look at it the same way. “Improvements and additions made below grade, such as a finished basement, do not add to the overall square footage of your house,” says John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage Services in New York. “So they don’t add anywhere near as much value as improvements made above grade.”

According to Remodeling magazine, a basement renovation that cost $63,000 in 2011-12 will recoup roughly 66 percent of that in added home value. That’s not as good as an attic bedroom, which will recoup 73 percent of its cost. Even similar bedrooms typically count for more if they are upstairs instead of downstairs.

CLEAN UP

Even jaded appraisers can be swayed by a good looking yard. “Tree trimming, cleaning up, a few flowers in the flower beds and paint touch up can all help the appraisal,” says Agnes Huff, a real estate investor based in Los Angeles.

That advice holds true indoors, too. “Get rid of all the clutter in your home,” says Jonathan Miller, a longtime appraiser in New York. “It makes the home appear larger.”

GIVE THE APPRAISER SOME SPACE

Don’t follow the appraiser around like a puppy. “I can’t tell you how many homeowners or listing agents follow me around in my personal space during the inspection,” he says. “It’s a major red flag there is a problem with the home.”

And while you’re at it, make the appraiser’s job as pleasant as possible by giving your home a pleasant smell. At a minimum, clean out the litter box. Baking some fresh cookies and offering him one or two probably won’t sway your appraisal, nor should it. But it couldn’t hurt.

I read this article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/22/us-usa-housing-appraisals-idUSBRE90L0ZE20130122?VBd0T4I3F0KvenaC7w1NXQ=1

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:ย  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:ย ย  http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook: ย ย http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:ย  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Instagram: http://instagram.com/californiasabrina/

Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/

LinkedIn:ย  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina