Does it make sense to waive a Home Inspection to strengthen an offer?

Okay. It may sound bureaucratic and boring. But there are a number of precautionary contractual conditions for any purchase agreement recommended by the Realtor community that protects homebuyers from liability as well as poor decision-making. And no matter how competitive the bidding for a home, they’ll advise you to include them. One of them is a home inspection.

Even though your Realtor will urge you NOT to waive that contingency and even make you sign a form disclosing they made that recommendation, however, many buyers will still plow ahead and waive the inspection in an effort to make their offers the strongest of the bunch. We do understand: if you’re buying a home in a competitive market, and your offers keep getting pushed to the bottom of the pile, it’s hard not to resort to desperate measures — offering more than the asking price, pledging to close on the home in lightning quick speed, or even waiving the financing contingency and risking your entire earnest money deposit.

But waiving a physical inspection of a house is never a good idea unless the house is close to brand spanking new, which, of course, ups the odds that nothing costly or bothersome might be revealed during the inspection. The problem is, even in newer homes, what you see is not necessarily what you get. It’s what’s beyond the surface, or items that you can’t identify as problematic, that cause the biggest issues, as anyone who watched rehab/remodel programs on HGTV will tell you.

The typical buyer would have a tough time spotting asbestos, knob and tube wiring, lead paint, evidence of termite infestation, a leak inside the HVAC system, how the house is being propped up on jacks, or be aware of how a single toilet flush could change your morning shower from warm and toasty to arctic and shocking. Imagine moving in and trying to turn on the heat, nothing happens, and the fix is $10,000. Picture standing there buck naked in your bathroom, and the power goes off all over the house when you turn on your hairdryer. Traipsing down a flight of stairs to that electrical panel outside the back door semi-dripping wet in 25-degree weather is not something we would wish on our worst family members.

We realize bidding wars can cause buyers to spend an inordinate amount of time finding the right home, making them crazy-desperate, asking themselves “how bad can it be?” when considering waiving the home inspection. But when do you ever hear any GOOD stories about people who took that leap? And waiving an inspection can cost you a fortune. But there are a few things you can do to hedge your inspection bets while remaining competitive.

If you love the home and the buyer will permit it, inspect it before you make an offer or sign a contract. At best, it passes muster and when you offer you can waive the contingency. At worst, you’ve spent a few hundred dollars on a house you don’t end up buying.

If the seller already had their own inspection performed (which is a wise thing to do in order to make a home as marketable as possible), you have the luxury of scrutinizing that report without spending a dime. Even then, however, many buyers will get an inspection of their own because, like an attorney representing a client, the inspector is liable only to the person who paid for and ordered the inspection. And if that person missed something in their report, you would not have any recourse.

Because Realtors understand that time is vital for good outcomes, they will encourage you to get your offer in quickly and advise you to pre-schedule an inspection even before the ink is dry on your offer. Seasoned agents have relationships with inspectors at the ready to ring the seller’s doorbell within a day or two of acceptance. And writing in a short inspection contingency timeframe into your offer assures the seller that momentum is alive and well.

Bidding wars are rife with emotion as well as fear-of-loss, but it’s wise to keep the bigger picture in mind when purchasing what may well be your life’s biggest asset. Your goal is to wake up in that house morning after morning knowing you did all you could to ensure a mostly problem-free investment in yours and your family’s future. Because money pits are no fun.

Source: Zillow/TBWS

Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194 | Email | 978-273-3227

Knowing the difference between a buyer’s and seller’s market is a good idea

There is one verse missing from the famous and well-worn song Turn, Turn, Turn written by the Byrds back in 1962. The one that should be added is “there is a time to buy, a time to sell…” Realtor’s Terri Williams likens it to a card game (which was also a song) about knowing “when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.”

Buyers’ markets and sellers’ markets are simply part of the economy journey, reflecting not just what is happening on a national level, but also what happens depending on supply and demand. They might also reflect tax laws and consumer confidence. It’s a mixed bag. When it’s someone’s “market,” that means the market favors them. So a buyer’s market means it’s a great time to consider buying. A buyers’ market usually means a period of six months or longer where prices steadily soften. Inventory usually rises, and interest rates drop to fuel the market. The bigger the inventory, the more negotiating there will be, including asking for perks such as help with closing costs, a credit in escrow for a new paint job, etc. It may also mean a quick closing if you need the place right away.

So how does this affect sellers? It’s not a happy time for them. It takes longer for homes to sell and hoping to get the price the seller thinks their house is worth is often a pipe dream. They can stack the odds for it, however by making sure their home is move-in ready and shows well both in person as well as in photos.

shopping for a house

 

For some time now, it has been the reverse of this. With little inventory, sellers have been reaping the rewards of the market with multiple offers and naming their terms. That is, however, now changing according to a recent CNBC article, which says that consumer sentiment in housing improved in August and that they believe mortgage rates will keep dropping. Say one Dallas-based real estate agent: “It’s not a seller’s market right now. Now is not the time for sellers to put out these crazy prices. Appraisals have gotten a lot harder, and buyers are a little more cautious. They’re more willing to take their time.” The article goes on to say that while mortgage rates are low, buyers are becoming more cautious. With competition cooling, sellers can no longer command any

price.

“Unfortunately, much of the lower interest rate environment can be attributed to global economic uncertainties, which appear to have dampened consumer sentiment regarding the direction of the economy,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae in the article. “We do expect housing market activity to remain relatively stable, and the favorable rate environment should continue supporting increased refinance activity.” CNBC writer Diana Olick agrees that home prices are still higher than they were a year ago, but the gains have been moderating.

Source: Realtor, CNBC, TBWS

Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194

As-Is; What does it really mean in a Real Estate transaction?

When Billy Joel wrote the song Just the Way You Are, it wasn’t about buying a house. It would be too unromantic to say, “I’ll take you as is.” But that’s what many sellers are stipulating when they list their homes.

Those few words can have a significant impact on your transaction if you are the buyer. In a typical sale, after the buyers do all their inspections, they’re allowed to negotiate the recommended repairs with the sellers. It’s a “push-me-pull-you” kind of thing. The sellers will agree to have some portion of the work completed by a qualified professional or, alternatively, they will agree to give the buyers a credit towards the cost of the work.

That all changes when you buy a home in “as-is” condition. In real estate terms, a home that’s being sold as-is essentially means that you’re willing to accept responsibility for any work that needs to be done to the home.

This does not mean you have to skip inspections, however. You still have the option to do inspections for your own benefit, but the information you glean will be informational rather for negotiating purposes. That being said, it’s wise to do the inspections to understand what you’re in for — a new roof? HVAC system needs to be replaced? If you find that the house needs more work than you can handle, you’ll have the option to back out of the deal.

By now you may wonder why to consider an as-is purchase at all. The one big benefit is that you can usually get it for a better price. Forbes’ Tara Mastroeni writes, “Since the sellers are unwilling to negotiate on repairs, they’ll often price the home lower than would be expected in order to make their property seem more attractive to potential buyers.” She goes on to say that the other benefit is that you’ll have more control over any repairs done to the home once you’re the homeowner. “In a typical sale, the sellers get to choose who does the repairs that they’ve agreed to make. In this situation, you’d be able to hire professionals that you trust.”

As for reasons NOT to buy an as-is condition home? Risk. Even if you do your inspections, that home that took your breath away at first sight might end up costing more than expected and, in this case, you’d be the one responsible for footing the bill.

If you are on the selling end of the equation, you’ll need to educate yourself before listing a home as-is. Many homeowners assume that selling as-is relieves them from all the general obligations that come with the sale of a home, including unloading the property for whatever price they can get while avoiding the need to talk about or disclose any issues with the home. This is where they’d be wrong. Disclosure still rules, but the terms of disclosure rules can vary from state to state.

Listing agents can often become the fall-guy in as-is transactions, as they are held to a higher standard when it comes to disclosing a home’s defects. This is due to the Consumer Protection Act (Chapter 93A). MaxRealEstate’s Bill Gasset says this means, “Realtors have an obligation to disclose any fact that could influence the buyer not to enter into a real estate transaction. For example, if a real estate agent knows that the seller’s basement floods every spring, this is something a Realtor has to disclose.” As for what might stand up in court if a buyer backs down, it can become a he-said-she-said conundrum.

Gasset lists examples of issues a real estate agent must disclose to a prospective home buyer, such as evidence of a structural defect like a major crack in the foundation, the appearance of mold in the home, termite damage, roof leaks, high radon levels, known plumbing or electrical issues, obnoxious noise levels and especially any legal issues such as a cloud on the title.

As for the issues a home has that are not evident or lie beneath walls and floorboards, real estate agents do have a duty disclose if they discover some problem on their own or the owner lets them know. No secrets allowed. Gasset says most real estate companies ask sellers they are representing to fill out a document called a “Sellers Statement of Property Condition” — a report that outlines what an owner knows and doesn’t know about their home.

So after all this information about as-is listings, why would sellers opt NOT to do this? Simple. There is a negative connotation with buying a home as-is. “Buyers will low-ball you,” says Gasset. “Under the assumption that your home has serious defects, the buyer will bargain with you like you are desperate. You can expect offers that are probably less than what you want, or what your home is worth.”

You’ll also have to work harder at justifying your sales price. “Because buyers will be coming into the transaction with so much negative baggage, it will be difficult to break through the assumptions to show that there are plenty of reasons why your home is desirable.”

Unless selling homes in your area is as easy as fogging up a mirror, you may also drive away a lot of potential buyers with an as-is stipulation. “Even if you are in a position where you want to put minimum effort or money into the home to make a sale, you could still benefit from avoiding the as-is designation in the listing,” says Gasset. “Let buyers come and make offers, see how you feel, and go ahead and turn down requests to make repairs if you feel it is the right choice.”

Sources: Forbes, MaxRealEstate, TBWS

 

Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194  | 978.273.3227  | Email | Website

10 Tips for First Time Homebuyers

10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Are you a renter with a secure source of income? Is your credit history good? Do you plan to stay in the same area for at least the next four years?

If you answered yes to those questions, welcome to the housing market. It might be time to stop thinking of yourself as a tenant and begin the transition to homeownership.

You won’t be alone. According to the National Association of Realtors, about one-third of home shoppers are first-timers, meaning you’ll have plenty of competition in your likely price range. Here are some tips as you begin your search.

Get pre-qualified. Meet with a mortgage pro before starting your search so you know your price range. Fidelity Bank can give you a pre-qualification letter that shows how much house you can afford. It puts you in a stronger negotiating position because sellers know you’re serious.

Be flexible. First homes are rarely forever homes. You’ll likely move in a few years, so be willing to compromise in a way you might not for future homes. Do you really need four bedrooms and an office at this stage of life? It’s probably not realistic to expect your starter home to be your dream home.

Schools matter. You’ve heard the real estate adage: location, location, location. That’s often code for school district, school district, school district. Even if you don’t expect to have kids the entire time you’re in your first home, a respected school district will help with resale when it’s time to move up.

Keep your search manageable. Many buyers find their home within days, but that doesn’t mean house hunting has to be exhausting. Do most of your research online and limit visits to only the strongest candidates. If you see too many homes, it will be hard to keep them straight.

Take photos and notes. The first photo you take of any prospective home should be its house number. Doing so will help you stay organized because it will be easy to associate the following interior and exterior photos with the right house. Take plenty of notes, too. It’s also a good idea to rate each home on a 10-point scale as soon as you leave.

Avoid paralysis of analysis. Did you just tour the ideal home—right size, good location, reasonable price? Make an offer. Don’t look at 25 more houses to be sure. There’s a decent chance you’ll return to your ideal choice only to find that someone else beat you to it.

Think hard about that fixer-upper. Ramshackle abodes can be seductive for first-timers. “Why, with a little elbow grease, we’ll make a killing on resale!” Procced with caution. Don’t guesstimate the cost of improvements. Get hard numbers—and be sure your total investment doesn’t outstrip the going price for homes in the neighborhood.  Be sure to place a dollar value on your sweat equity, too. You don’t want to spend so much time improving your home that you never enjoy it.

Considering a condo? Ask lots of questions. Are most units owner-occupied or rented? Are the condo association’s cash reserves adequate? Are there any pending special assessments for extraordinary expenses? When analyzing your costs, don’t forget the regular monthly assessment—your share of the development’s ordinary operating expenses. Read and understand the condo documents (master deed, bylaws, rules, financial statements) to avoid surprises after you buy.

Insist on inspections. Some buyers waive inspections. You shouldn’t. Conducted after you sign a sales contract, an inspection should uncover any problems that aren’t readily apparent. If the inspector finds serious defects not disclosed by the seller, you should be able to back out of the deal. If problems are minor, you can bargain for repairs or price concessions.

The myth of 20 percent down. Don’t assume the housing market is out of reach because you can’t muster a 20 percent down payment. First-timers are often eligible for special mortgages that require little or no money down. At Fidelity Bank,for instance, we have several zero down options available.

Here’s a little secret: Life feels different when you’re a homeowner—more stable, more connected, more promising. So when it’s time to move in, expect to unpack some pride along with the dishes. Happy house hunting!

Bill Nickerson

Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194

Feel free to call me at 978.273.3227 or email me here

What rates are the Fed’s adjusting?

George Bailey at Bailey’s Savings and Loan

The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve or simply the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States of America. It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, after a series of financial panics (particularly the panic of 1907) led to the desire for central control of the monetary system in order to alleviate financial crises. Over the years, events such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Great Recession during the 2000s have led to the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System.

What is the Fed Fund Rate?

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets. (This is so a “Run” on the bank will never occur again)

The Federal Reserve

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate. The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

When a Bank gets in to trouble and does not have enough funds to operate, they are allowed to borrow money from the Federal Reserve or from another Bank, the rate that is used is the Federal Fund Rate and is solely used for overnight lending from bank to bank.  This rate has been adopted by several other indexes and rates.  

The Fed Fund Rate is also used to set other Rates, the majority being adjustable rates.  Mortgage rates are influenced by the Fed Fund Rates but do not use this index to adjust.

Since the time of the Federal Fund Rate, other rates are calculated using this rate as the base rate.  The Prime Rate, Credit Card Rates, Home Equity Lines of Credit to name a few.  In the example of the Prime Lending Rate, the rate uses the Fed Fund Rate plus a margin of 3% to create the Prime Rate.  Credit Cards will use the Prime Rate as its base and then add a margin to that rate. The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate. The target rate is chosen in part to influence the money supply in the U.S. economy.

Trying to prevent panic at the Bank, George Bailey

Financial institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10% of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accounts, NOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007–2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

The federal funds target rate is set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjustments in the interest rate on reserves. The target rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

 Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

 The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media

For information about Mortgages, Construction Loans, Lines of Credit, feel free to call or email me anytime

Bill Nickerson |  NMLS# 4194 | Flagstar Bank | 1500 District Avenue | Burlington MA |  Email | 978.273.3227

Let’s Talk Credit: Understanding your Credit Score

Did you know?credit score

  • FICO is an acronym for Fair Isaac and Company.
  • In the 1950’s, Fair Isaac and company created the mathematical calculation that is used to determine your credit score.  It is a tool that was designed to determine one’s credit score and dependability in paying bills.
  • The terms credit score and FICO score are used synonymously.

Twenty or so years ago, lenders and banks would obtain the credit scores from the credit report as a reference point.  Loans were based on the overall financial strength of a borrower and their ability to repay a loan.  The Scores were important but they were not weighed nearly as they are today when making a decision.  If scores were on the low side, compensating factors were looked at such as: additional monthly reserves, the amount of credit accounts you carried, the amount of credit accounts that carry balances, do you have a retirement accounts, etc.  Banks in general want to see that you have at least 6 months of reserves in case you should leave your job and have a few months to carry the loan.  In the case where the loan is riskier or may be a low down payment, the lender will want to see more months of reserves, upwards of 12 months.

Your credit history shows the investor your ability to repay and manage debt.  The older the line of credit, the greater the chance of the scores being higher as credit is based on history.

In today’s lending market, your credit decision is first based on the score and can have an effect on your final mortgage rate.  In general, most banks will not lend on loans with scores that are under 640 unless there is an exception or compensating factors, but this is very limited.  Many banks today won’t go below 680 and don’t allow for any compensating factors as they feel these mortgages are far too risky to have on their books.  Based on current mortgage guidelines, if your score is under 740, it will affect the price of your mortgage rate and you are penalized.

When making a credit decision, banks and lenders will pull your credit report that offers three different reporting agencies;  Experian, Trans Union and Equifax.  The middle score of the three credit bureaus is used.  Over time, these scores will be very close to each other.  Consumers who are just starting to build credit may find a discrepancy in these scores as not all creditors are required to report to all three bureaus.

Look at how a Credit Score affects your Mortgage Rate

The higher your FICO scores the less you can expect to pay for your loan.

For example, on a $200,000 Loan using a 30 YEAR FIXED RATE MORTGAGE.

Your FICO score is:

Your Interest rate is

And your payment is

740-759

3.875%

$940.47

739-720

3.990%

$953.68

700-719

4.125%

$969.30

680-699

4.250%

$983.88

660-679

4.500%

$1,013.37

640-659

4.625%

$1,028.28

As you can see in this example using a snapshot of the same day’s rate, a person with a FICO score of 760 or better will pay $88 less per month for a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage than a person in the lowest score category.

Mortgage Rates are only used as an example and do not reflect the interest rate market of today.

Mortgage programs such as FHA allow for low credit scores so that you can get the most competitive rate but this comes with a price.  FHA will charge mortgage insurance, a monthly fee as well as an up-front fee that will be rolled into the loan amount.  After these insurance fees, a mortgage rate of 4.00% will net a rate of 5.40% with the costs of mortgage insurance that is being charged.  A mistake many borrowers make; chasing the lowest interest without truly understanding the real costs of the mortgage.

Written by Bill Nickerson

The First Selfie

 

What affects your credit?

Did you know that a large portion of your mortgage approval and mortgage rate are based on your credit scores.  In today’s market, it is now more important than ever to pay attention to your credit scores as well as the balances you keep.fico

Credit scores were developed by Fair Isaac and Company (FICO). The models created using FICO take all the detailed information about your credit report and produce your credit score using different weights and factors contained in the FICO models. The purpose of a FICO score is to show how likely you are to become at least 90 days late in making payments in the next 24 months based on patterns in your credit history, compared with patterns of millions of past customers.

Fair Isaac divides the scoring range into five risk categories

  • 780-850 low risk
  • 740-780 Medium, Low Risk
  • 690-740 Medium Risk
  • 620-690 Medium High Risk
  • 620 and Below, High Risk or “Non-Prime”

Each of the three major credit bureaus uses their own version of the FICO scoring model.

Factors influencing your credit score are:

  • Current or Late payments
  • How late the payments are
  • Number of open accounts you have
  • How much credit you are using in relation to how much credit you have available
  • If there are serious delinquencies on your file like bankruptcy, liens and charge of accounts

Your credit score is a snap shot, in that it is developed at the time of inquiry by a credit grantor pulling your credit file.  Your credit score can change with the passage of time as well as the addition of new information to your credit file.  As delinquency information in your file ages, it’s negative on your credit score lessens.

Credit Scoring is a snapshot, in that it is developed at the time of inquiry by a credit grantor pulling your credit file. Your credit score can change with the passage of time as well as with the addition of new information to your credit file. As delinquency information in your file ages, it’s negative affect on your credit score lessens.

Credit Scoring uses the following five areas of information to calculate the score:

  • Payment history 35%
  • Amounts owed 30%
  • Length of credit history 15%
  • New credit inquires 10%
  • Type of credit used 10%

It is best to keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving accounts – maintain balances below 50% of the available credit limit. 24% is optimal. The best way to improve your score is to pay down revolving debt.

An inquiry is defines as a request by a lender for a copy of an applications credit report.  Inquiries on a credit report for two years, but credit scores only look at inquiries in the last 12 months.  Your own request for a credit report to review for accuracy is not considered in question manyour credit score.

Apply for new credit accounts only when you need them. Remember that closing accounts does not make them go away. A closed account with a poor payment history may become a more recent account because the date of activity will change.  An open account with a low or zero balance is better than a closed account.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Fico scores are used not only for a mortgage and credit cards, but for auto loans, insurance and utilities
  • Credit reports reflect charge offs or collection accounts for up to 7 years and bankruptcies for up to 10 years.
  • You can order a free credit report annually, at no charge, without impacting your credit score
  • Paying off an old collection may result in a drop in your credit score
  • Consolidating credit cards increases your ratio of debt to available credit and lowers your score.
  • Using the maximum amount on a credit line can drop your score by 100 points

For more information about how your Credit can affect your Mortgage Rate, feel free to email me at Bill’s Email or call me at 978-273-3227.

Bill Nickerson, NMLS# 4194

 

Bill Nickerson Training for the PMC

10 Things to do before listing your home

home inspection To help make the selling process easier for you, it makes sense to have your home inspected before listing it.  It may sound like a hassle but it could save you a lot of money and stress early on.  The inspection will pinpoint red flags and areas that have potential problems.  It also gives you the opportunity to address those issues before listing your home.  Having your home already inspected ultimately also gives the prospective buyers the comfort and confidence that the seller actually cared about their home in the first place.  Be sure to share this information with prospective buyers by supplying a copy of the home inspection.  It is perfectly okay to choose not to have your home inspected before listing.  If you take this route, just be sure to do your own pre-listing home inspection to keep things significantly less nerve-racking and not terribly costly before the buyer’s home inspector comes through.

Here are 10 areas to look at/fix up before listing your home.

1.  Fix any deteriorated paint jobs.  Touch up any dings on the walls or woodwork, scrape and paint any flaking areas.

2.  For furnaces over 10 years old; pay to have it serviced and cleaned.  Then display the inspection papers (store them in a Ziploc bag) by taping to furnace.

3.  Make sure all toilets are flushed.  Nothing worse than having a seldom used toilet not functioning properly.

4.  Run water down sinks and bathtub drains.  All drains need to flow steadily.  No slow drains!

5.  Check for leaks under sinks and in vanities.  Tighten up joints if necessary.

6.  Check out the condition of the roof.  You want things to look normal: no missing shingles.

7.  Clean out the gutters.  They need to be free of debris for good drainage.

8.  Open and close all windows.  Check for springs working properly so windows don’t slam down. Make sure all the locks work and windows close tightly.

9.  Test any appliances like the dishwasher that you are leaving behind.  You want them working properly. Make sure all burners/oven are working on your stove.

10.  Test the auto reverse on the garage door.  Make sure the safety mechanism works.

For more information about Home Inspectors or how to prepare to list your home, call or email me anytime.  Bill’s Email  | Phone 978.273.3227

Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged… And…

A divided Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates Wednesday and indicated formally that no cuts are coming in 2019. The decision came amid divisions over what is ahead and still leaves open the possibility that policy loosening could happen before the end of the year depending on how conditions unfold.

The central bank predicts one or two rate cuts in its set of economic predictions, but not until 2020. Despite cautious wording in the post-meeting statement Wednesday, markets are still betting the Fed cuts, as soon as July.

These statements and what has been going on in the Whitehouse has caused the Bond and Treasury markets to rally hitting 2 year lows.  As a result, mortgage rates are hitting new lows everyday.  We are seeing the 30 year fixed rate at 3.75% with 0 points.  A rate we have not seen since 2017!

The U.S. central bank voted Wednesday to maintain its benchmark interest rate in a range of 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent, a move that many anticipated despite growing calls for the Fed to cut. But eight out of 17 officials penciled in rate reductions by the end of this year, which would be the first such adjustment since the economy plummeted into the depths of the Great Recession.

Language in Fed Chair Powell’s dictates the markets

The committee changed language from its May statement to indicate that economic activity is “rising at a moderate rate,” a downgrade from “solid.”

In their baseline scenario, FOMC members said they still expect “sustained expansion of economic activity” and a move toward 2% inflation but realize that “uncertainties about this outlook have increased.”

“In light of these uncertainties and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2 percent objective,” the statement said. The “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” language mirrors a statement from Powell in early June.

These may seem very subtle to most, but the slight change of “Moderate” to “Solid” speaks volumes to Wall Street. Wall Street is betting on future rate cuts and the markets are reacting positively!

Mortgage Rates Continue to Drop!

With the recent news of the Feds today, mortgage rates continue the rally.  The 30 year fixed rate with 0 points 3.75% based on a 740 credit score on a single family home with 25% equity. For more details about rates and terms, call or email me anytime!

Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194 | Bill’s Email | 978-.273.3227

Before Putting Your Home on the Market

Mortgage Questions

  • Documents you will need
    • Deed
    • If you have right of ways, deed restrictions or easements get the documentation that clearly spells out the restrictions of the property.
    • Know if you are in a flood plain – FEMA’s website can be helpful.
    • Go to the Town Hall:
      • Field card at the assessor’s office
      • Get your most recent  paid tax bill
      • A plot plan
      • Title V report if it has been complete and the pumping schedule
      • Talk to the engineering department get a sense of any upcoming projects that may be done around the home.
      • Building department will have a list of all permits pulled and renovations done to the home including electrical, plumbing and addition upgrades
    • If you are in a condo
      • Condo financials to include the budget,  the last three months condo association meeting minutes and if they have it a list of current and future project that are going to be done to the properties
      • Condo Rules and Regulations
      • Master Deed and Master Insurance.
      • Verify there are no pending lawsuits with association
      • Know the owner occupancy rate of your complex
    • Home List
      • Create a list of renovations and updates that have been done to the property
      • Get utility bills for the last 12 months: Electric, oil, gas, propane, plowing, landscaping…
      • Write a letter to potential buyers of what you love about your home, neighborhood and town.

shopping for a house

For more information about selling your home, feel free to contact me anytime.  I can be reached at 978-273-3227 or email be here: Bill’s Email

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Bill Nickerson | NMLS #4194 | www.billnickerson.com | 978-273-3227 | bill@billnickerson.com

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