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C.J. Brown REALTORS 2016 Sales Awards

Fed Rate Hike: How Is It Affecting Your Purchasing Power?

By Cheryl Spies, President of Essential Mortgage Corporation and Richard Haase, President of C.J Brown REALTORS/Latter & Blum Inc.

“Now is the time to move forward with purchasing or selling a home before rates increase again. Two more increases are anticipated in 2017.”

There has been a lot of press on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates at their March meeting. For the second time in three months, the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate a quarter point.

The Fed Funds Rate is the “overnight” rate–the shortest possible term used by banks to borrow. Mortgage loans are dictated by rates on longer-term bonds (specifically, “mortgage-backed-securities” or “MBS”).  These bonds are moving up and down every day whereas the Fed Funds Rate, the one that was changed on March 15th, has only changed 2 times in nearly 9 years.

A rate hike does not guarantee that mortgage rates are going up. However, the rate hike this time comes at a time when the interest on a 10-year Treasury Bond is in fact rising.  Mortgage rates are closely tied to the 10-year note, which has been climbing at a rapid rate since the presidential election.

So what will happen to mortgage interest rates in the near term?

Because the job market is good with unemployment considered low (5%), and the stock market has been strong, the interest rate climate for the near future looks to be one of rising mortgage interest rates. The Federal Reserve has indicated that they anticipate two more increases this year. They don’t say how much or when of course, but only that they will rise. The more likely and more frequent the market sees Fed rate hikes, the more mortgage rates (and other longer-term rates) will move up. 

It’s easy to be confused right now

In anticipation of the recent increase, the markets “baked in” raises in the mortgage rates. In fact, they appear to have anticipated a larger increase than what they got on March 15th, so the rates actually improved somewhat.  

Mortgage rates rose over 10 times since March 1, 2017

This brings them very close to highest levels in 3 years.  The most common conventional 30-year fixed note is easily up to 4.375% with a growing number of lenders moving up to 4.5%.  A year ago, 30-year fixed rates averaged 3.68%.  On a $200,000 loan amount, the difference in payment between 3.68% and 4.375% is $80.26/month or more to the consumer. 

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Purchasing A Home As A Senior: Ways To Simplify A Challenging Process

Purchasing A Home As A Senior

By Jim Vogel,

Purchasing a home as a senior can be a complicated and challenging process, as the decisions that need to be made can be quite different in comparison to someone younger. There can be financial challenges associated with making a change such as this and many people are anxious to find resources for assistance to make things progress more smoothly.

Reasons for deciding to buy a home as a senior vary

There are a variety of reasons that a senior would have for buying a home in their later years, whether it is to downsize from a larger house, transition into a place that is easier to take care of, relocate to be closer to family, or for financial reasons. Making a decision to purchase a new home and sell an old one can be complicated and emotional, and unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see seniors taken advantage of throughout the home-buying process.

As a report from the AARP details, there are options available for older adults who are looking to purchase a home in their later years, and the process can go smoothly with the help of some planning, resources, and education. Some people have family members who can help them to navigate this process, but there is help available for those who face this on their own.


The first course of action once the decision is made to move from one house to another, is to find a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is the best resource someone can have when they are planning to relocate. REALTORS® work as advocates and guide you through the entire process, from listing the current home to helping determine the best option on the next home. Not to mention that they are trained to have the right tools at their disposal to properly market and quickly sell a property.

If Necessary, Research Senior Housing Programs

There are some programs designed specifically to help seniors find affordable housing. As the Senior Living site notes, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development does provide several programs that can be useful, as they’ve paved the way for nearly 1 million older adults to acquire affordable housing.

It is important to note, however, that the waiting lists to utilize some of these programs can be several years long. The HUD options are not designed to help everybody, but the public housing, multifamily subsidized housing, and housing voucher options are certainly worth checking into when working through this process.

Finding the right fit can be challenging

There are numerous financial challenge to consider when a senior is looking to buy a new home. The real estate market is hot in many communities, which means that things move quickly and multiple bids are not uncommon. As Seniorific details, this can make it difficult to find properties that are a good fit for aging adults. Again, using a realtor is a great option when navigating this process.

Seniors may need to consider buying a new home first and then selling an old one, which can be an unsettling financial commitment. Others may decide they should sell a current home first and then buy a new place, which can mean having to find a temporary home for a short while.

Non-traditional financing options are a fit for some seniors

When it comes to financing, some older adults look to reverse mortgages when buying a new home, and these can work well for some in this situation. In the case of a reverse mortgage, purchasers pay insurance and property taxes, and ensure that the home is adequately maintained, but the structure of the mortgage means that the owner is receiving payments based on the equity in the home rather than making payments on the loan. The balance of the loan is then repaid after the homeowner moves out or passes away.

Purchasing a home as a senior can be a challenge in many ways and older adults need to be cautious when making a move such as this. It is a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor, carefully consider the type of home to purchase and how much to spend, and proceed slowly while keeping an eye out for scammers who often prey on older home buyers. The financing aspect of buying a home as a senior can be daunting, but there are numerous resources available that can provide assistance.

[Image by sylviebliss/Picabay]

What NOT to Do When Selling Your Home: 5 Sure-Fire Ways to Sabotage a Sale

You’ve decluttered the house, groomed the yard, painted the interior a neutral shade, and fixed everything broken you could find. So why aren’t you getting any offers? Maybe it’s what you’ve NOT done rather than what you HAVE done.

If you’ve ever wondered how to turn off homebuyers or sabotage a sale, look no further. Here’s a list of what NOT to do when selling your home:

1. LIVE ANIMALS IN THE HOUSE. Animals in the house, no matter how cute and affable, can be a turn-off to prospective buyers — especially those with allergies. Board your family pets before open houses and showings or leave them with a friend. Wash all pet bedding, and clean and deodorize all areas of the home where animals reside. If possible, open the windows and air out the house. TIP: Bake cookies just before your open house guests arrive to create a delicious smell and mask pet odors.

2. DEAD ANIMALS IN THE HOUSE. You are an avid sportsman with a wall of trophies to make a taxidermist proud, but perhaps your prospective homebuyers aren’t. Consider listening to your REALTOR®’s advice and “depersonalize” your space. Take down the trophies and put them away until you can recreate your “wall of fame” at your next residence.

3. YOUR FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM…EVERYWHERE. You bleed your team’s colors, and it shows all throughout your house and yard. Now imagine for a moment walking into your house and seeing your rival’s colors and logo everywhere, instead. Slightly annoying and a turn-off, right? Do yourself a favor and neutralize your home and pack sports memorabilia away so that prospective buyers will see your home — not your team.

4. SELLING YOUR HOUSE YOURSELF. You think you’re going to save a lot of money by forgoing seller commissions. However, you’ll pay for it in the amount time your property languishes on the market. Trust the expertise of a REALTOR®, who can make your home visible to all other Agents within their participating board, help you prepare your home to sell, conduct open houses, coordinate showings, negotiate contract offers, oversee home inspections, and market your property to their existing network of clients.

5. OVERPRICING YOUR HOUSE. Of course, your home is worth more than comparable properties that recently sold in your area. You know that. However, your REALTOR® warned you that listing it too high could delay the sale, and you didn’t listen. Prospective buyers already passed over your home for better properties listed at the same price. Now you’re paying the price by missing offers.

Contact us, and we’ll help you do all the right things to sell your home at the best price. Connect with one of our C.J. Brown Agents at or call 1-866-794-1022.