If you can afford to Rent, Then you can afford to Buy!

If You Can Afford to Rent…Then You Can Probably Afford to Own.

Interest rates are near historic lows. Purchasing power has increased, and the cost of renting in many areas is now greater than the cost to buy. Some say mortgage loans are impossible to obtain without perfect credit and 20% down. Want the truth? Read on, and we’ll cite the three basic factors for qualifying for a home loan. 

IncomeIf you have a job or steady source of income, you’re off to a great start. If you’re already able to pay your rent on time each month, this could actually be easier than you might think. 

Assets – You rarely need a 20% down payment. In reality, many programs will work with 5%, 3.5% or 3%, and in some cases, even 0% down. As well, closing costs can sometimes be paid by lenders, sellers or come from gifts or grants. So if you think you’re out of luck just because you don’t have tons of cash, no worries. Chances are still good there’s a solution that may work.

Credit Your credit is likely in good shape if you pay your bills on time and have avoided major issues like bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sales and judgments. Requirements will always vary, but there can still be reasonably flexible loan options, such as the FHA and Fannie Mae which both allow for low credit scores.

 That’s it. These three items are the fundamentals of mortgage lending. Exceptions will exist, but don’t be fooled into thinking the process is impossible. For those who work and pay their bills, there may not be a whole lot standing in the way of homeownership.

 I would like the oppurtunity to consult with you and start you on the path of Homeownership.  Whether it be for Today or planning for Tomorrow!

Bill Nickerson
William J, Nickerson

           Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194  | 978.273.3227  | Email | Website

Is your Mortgage Rate over 4.00%?

Refinancing your mortgage means replacing your current mortgage with a new loan. The most common reasons why owners refinance are to lower their interest rates and lower their monthly payments. However, homeowners may refinance for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to change the terms of the loan, using their home’s equity to make large purchases, paying off the loan more quickly, and more.

Refinancing works similarly to obtaining a home mortgage and involves many of the same documents, an application process, and doing your due diligence to find the right loan option for you. You’ll need to meet the lender’s requirements to qualify for a loan and go through underwriting and closing, the same as you did when you took out your home’s first mortgage.

Homeowners typically don’t refinance until they’re a few years into their current loan and have built up equity in their home. When interest rates are lower than what you’re currently paying, that’s a good time to consider refinancing. The generally accepted rule of thumb is that it’s okay to refinance if you can lower your interest rate by about 1 percent, but this rule of thumb may vary greatly. Factors such as loan amount and remaining term must be considered when calculating potential savings. The refinance rate fluctuates because of the market, and your final rate will be impacted by your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio, and home equity.

Sometimes it can take a few years to hit a “break-even point,” where you start to see savings after the upfront costs of refinancing. If you’re intending to sell soon, refinancing may not be the best option.

Here are the potential benefits and reasons why you may consider refinancing your home.

Reduce Your Interest Rate
This is a common reason why homeowners try to refinance and is typically a smart move. Lowering your interest rate could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year. However, there is an upfront cost to refinancing. Closing costs and fees should be factored into the decision to refinance.

In addition, you should take into account the money you’ll be spending over the long run if you extend the terms of your loan. For example, if you’ve been making payments on a 30-year loan for five years, and then refinance to a lower interest rate with a new 30-year loan, you’re going to have an extra five years of payments. That doesn’t mean the refinance isn’t worth it, but it is something to keep in mind.

Lower Your Monthly Payment
Refinancing can significantly reduce your monthly payments, depending on your terms. These savings add up and can allow you to pay off other debts, build up your savings, or apply that extra money to the mortgage itself in order to pay off the loan sooner.

Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster
While a 30-year mortgage made sense as a first-time homeowner early in your career, you may now be in a stronger spot financially and able to pay more. Refinancing can cut years off your loan and potentially save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. Shorter term loans also typically carry lower interest than longer ones.

For example, if your mortgage has 20 years left on it and you refinance into a 15-year mortgage with a fixed rate, you’re paying off your loan five years faster. And since it’ll likely be a lower interest rate since it’s a shorter term, you may not even see much of a change in your monthly payments.

Change Mortgage Types
You may want to switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate one. An ARM typically offers a lower interest rate for a set period of time, and then can reset after that to a higher (or lower) rate, whereas a fixed-rate loan will stay stable and predictable. ARMs work well for homeowners who don’t plan to own their home for more than a few years because they can capitalize on the lower interest rate in the beginning and then sell before those rates climb.

For homeowners who want to stay in their home for as long as possible, switching from an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage can offer peace of mind for the rest of the term of their loan.

Eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
PMI is typically required of homeowners who purchase a home with a low down payment or no down payment at all. Because the homeowner is at a higher risk of defaulting on their loan, this type of insurance makes lenders feel more comfortable about loaning to them.

As time goes on and the value of the home increases while the balance of the loan decreases, homeowners may be able to ditch their PMI by refinancing and, in turn, reduce their monthly payments. It’s up to the lender to decide when it’s okay to remove the PMI, however.

Even if PMI can be cancelled without refinancing, homeowners who obtained a loan through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have an insurance premium that they will continue to pay until the home is sold or refinanced.

Use the Equity in your home To Borrow Cash
Equity is essentially what you “own” of your home, or the difference between what you owe and what it’s worth. Most homes increase in value over time, even more so if you upgrade aspects of the home while living there.

A cash-out refinance will allow you to refinance for a higher overall amount rather than what you currently owe. That way you are able to take the extra money out as a cash payment. You can use this to pay off outstanding debts with high interest rates, consolidate your debts, make home improvements, or make a large purchase like a car. However, this option can be risky, as you’re not reducing your overall debt or building up your equity, both of which are goals that most homeowners should have.

Should You Refinance?
Refinancing can be a savvy financial move if it reduces your overall costs, shortens the terms of your loan, or helps build equity. Be sure to keep in mind how long you plan to stay in the home, and remember that it may take years to hit your “break-even point,” where you can recoup the upfront cost of refinancing and actually see those savings roll in.

Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194 

 978.373.3227 | 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

The Home Buying Deal Killers

Buying a home is very exciting. However, nothing can be a bigger disappointment than finding out that your loan is denied before you are about to close your transaction!

You’re a week away from having the keys to your new home and your loan officer calls to let you know that your loan was denied due to a change in your financial profile. This can and does happen, But there are a few things that you can do to make sure that this won’t happen to you.Mortgage Questions

Keep the following points in mind while you are in the process of buying your home:

  1. Don’t Apply for New Credit of Any Kind.  Don’t respond to any invitations to apply for new lines of credit and don’t establish new lines of credits for furniture, appliances, computers, department stores etc.  Even if there are no payments for 12 months, we will need to count this debt against you.  This will also have an adverse effect on your credit score.  Wait until your loan closes to purchase items for yourself and new home.  It is also important to limit the amount of times you have your credit pulled, as each occurrence will need to be explained.

2.  Don’t Max Out or Over Charge on Existing Credit Cards. Running up your credit cards is the fastest way to bring your score down.  Once you have engaged in the loan process, try to keep your credit card balances to below 30% of the available limit.shopping cart

3. Don’t Close Credit Card Accounts. If you close a credit card account, it can negatively affect your FICO scores as your credit is based on History.  You may have a card that is never used, but dates back 10 years and your scores do weigh heavily on this. If you really want to close an account, wait until after you close the loan.

4. Don’t Raise Red Flags to the Underwriter. Don’t change your name and address, don’t co-sign on another person’s loan. Don’t open up a new checking/savings account, make sure your taxes are filed. The less activity that occurs while your loan is in process; the better it is for you.

5. Don’t Make Large Unexplained Deposits Into Bank Accounts. Any Deposits into your bank accounts that do not match your past income history will be questioned by an underwriter unless the deposit is documented as a gift or can be explained.  This includes cash deposits and moving funds from one account to another. Make sure you write your offer check from the same account you intend on writing your purchase and sales deposit.  All bank accounts must be verified.

6. Don’t Make Changes to Your Employment/Income. Employment stability is a huge factor in the underwriting loan process.  Quitting or changing jobs or even moving positions within the same company can greatly endanger your loan approval.   Inform your loan officer immediately of any changes to your job, position or income and even the hours you work.

7. Your Down Payment:  Do you have your down payment all set? Is it in one account?  Have this prepared before you purchase your home.  Whether it is gift funds, liquidation of your retirement or moving funds from one account to another.  By having these funds all in one account, it will simplify the process.  If you receive a Gift, let’s say for $1,000 from family, Don’t deposit $900 or $1100, as this will be hard to explain why the amount is different from the Gift amount.  Keep it Simple!

8. Do not make any Large Purchases:  If you purchase furniture with no payments for a year, banks will debt you for this.  If you buy a small home in cash, banks will debt you for the taxes and insurance.  College Tuition, even if the loans are deferred, banks will add this to your debts.

Bottom Line: Don’t Make Any Adjustments/Transfers in Your Financial Picture. If you even had to question your decision, make sure you talk to your loan officer first. Don’t make any changes in investments, Move your accounts or transfer, close accounts, open new accounts, or substantially alter your asset picture.

Share this with anyone you know who may be purchasing a home.

Remember, if you have a question, please call me anytime!!  It may be the difference in owning your new home or being denied!!

Bill Nickerson | NMLS #4194  | Cell 978-273-3227 | Email Me.

Bill’s Website

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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