A nice secondary bathroom with a dual vanity with separate sinks.
The overall building material prices are down from summer prices except for the prices of ready-mix concrete.  In fact, the price for ready-mix concrete is rapidly rising.  The largest decline seen was in softwood lumber and steel mill prices.  Gypsum prices are still high over 20% from the same time last year.
Prices of building materials saw a 0.3% decrease in September according to the Producer Price Index (PPI). There was also a decline in the PPI for goods input to residential construction (including energy) for the third consecutive month in September.
Gypsum, which is used in drywall, is also an ingredient used in ready-mix concrete.  High demand for cement combined with lower imports of aggregate due to a large quarry shutdown in Mexico have spread thin the supply of domestically produced ready-mix concrete as well as gypsum.   Even though single-family house building is has slowed a little, the concrete prices are still rising because it is used for many other applications outside of residential construction. Ready-mix saw a PPI increase of 1.4% this fall which marks the sixth consecutive increase.  This is the largest year-to-date increase in the index’s 34 year history.
Softwood lumber’s  PPI declined 2.9% this fall but the prices are still 14.5% higher than a year ago.  Steel Mill products saw a decrease of 6.7% this fall and have dropped 16.1% over the past four months.  In fact, the index is the lowest it has been since June 2021 which is still double the price that the steel mill was before COVID-19.

Home prices have decreased since last June 2021 2.3% which was reported to be the largest three-month drop since April 2020.  The small decline has happened during high prices on material though.  In the South there is a 2.6% increase, a 0.7% decrease in the Northeast, a 0.3% increase in the West and prices stayed the same in the Midwest.

The kitchen island includes storage drawers, a dishwasher, a custom stainless steel sink, a trash drawer, and custom pendant lighting overhead.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City single-family home construction is in store for a bright future.  A new study found that the years of underbuilding will come to an end.  This has left us in a deficit estimated at more than one million homes according to the National Association of Home Builders.The ceiling of this covered front porch is made of beam boards. The front porch swing is a perfect place to rock the evening away.
Jordan Rappaport, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, points out several points that align with the NAHB’s Home Building Geography Index data.  The key findings are on commute times, telework and home construction.  Those that work in a large metropolitan area, say that the largest concern about the suburbs is the commute.  The benefit is hybrid working which reduces commute time and expense.
The reduction in commuting  will encourage more single-family permits but it will be a slow increase.  There are many headwinds that the National Association of Home Builders have reported that will prevent a quick boost in permits.  For example, when single-family construction begins to rebound, supply constraints are likely to slow its climb to its predicted long-term rate.  Moreover, shortages of workers, construction materials, and ready-to-build lots are all likely to constrain the growth of single-family construction in the short term.
Even with push back, the jump in construction of single-family homes will provide a long-term growth period for home building.  Once the single-family home construction begins to ramp up, it is predicted to remain high for years to come.
A welcoming foyer leads you into this new house.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) we are seeing a change in the locations of single-family home builds. The building activity in the last 30 months shows a decrease in building in metro areas, largely due to COVID, housing affordability and highly regulated markets.

“The geography of home building has shifted over the last two and a half years, with more single-family and multifamily construction occurring in lower-density markets.  This shift was first caused by the initial impact of COVID shift continued in recent months due to housing affordability conditions that are causing both prospective renters and buyers to expand their geographic search for housing, aided by hybrid work patterns that allow for a combination of remote office work,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

Another wrench in the system is the problem with getting building materials, construction labor shortages and and the Federal Reserve’s stingent monetary policy.  “Looking at the last 12 months, single-family production has slowed in all regional submarkets, both large and small, due to ongoing building material production bottlenecks, construction labor shortages, and the Federal Reserve’s tigtening monetary policy,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter, a home builder and developer from Savannah, Georgia.

The National Association of Home Builders Home Buidling Geography Index (HGBI)  is a quartley measurement of building conditions across the country and uses county-level information about single-and-multifamily permits to gauge housing construction growth in various urban and rural geographies.  The National Association of Home Builders tracks single-family and multifamily grow rates and market shares in all seven regions of the U.S. The HGBI takes the place of the of the Leading Market Index (LMI).  The LMI would base their findings off single-family housing permits, employment, and home prices.

Currently it is report that the market share for single-family home builiding in large metro core and inner suburbs too a dive from 44.5% to 41.6% from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2022.  This shows the precovid vs postcovid figures, accounting for the results due to COVID. In the outer suburbs of large and medium metro areas has jumped up from 17.4% to 19% during the same time period as the decrease in the larger areas. The share also increased from 28.8% to 29% in the small metro core counties and in rural areas it rose from 9.4% to 10.4% This is mainly due to homebuyers wanting to move away from the dense areas during COVID.

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A home office is a perfect spot to work from home in this house.

Preapproval for a home mortgage can be confusing, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer.  Many homebuyers want to know if they are preapproval ready.  In order to know, here are some things that lenders look for when preapproving someone for a home loan.

Mortgage pre-approval is not a mortgage pre-qualification.  A preapproval is more in-depth than just answering a few questions from your lender.  There is a lot of paperwork involved which includes employment verification, checking records, savings records and investment records.  Lenders nationwide will like for the same elements when pre-approving for a loan. These include a minimum of two-year employment history in the same job or field, a credit score of 620 or higher, a savings track record, financial asses records, proof of down payment  (3% to 20% of home price), and an all-in debt to income ratio fo 43% or less.  The majority of lenders nationwide will not charge for a pre-approval, however, there are some out there that will ask for reimbursement to pull your credit report.

Your job and credit history play a big part in the pre-approval process.  The two year employment rule is very strict.  If you are a current graduate and can prove future income from your employer this will suffice, but if you change from W-2 pay stubs to self-employment this is a no go.

A credit score of at least 620 is also the rule of thumb.  Before you go to a lender to get pre-approved, you can check your credit score for free through the credit unions.  In today’s market, the loan approval for credit scores is every strict.  For a mortgage, the middle score is what counts and is derived from all three of the provideers, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.  If you and your partner are purchasing the home together, the worst middle score of the two will be used to determine preapproval.

Another important factor is your assests and downpayments.  “The ability to budget and save shows financial discipline,” says Staci Titsworth, a regional manager for PNC Mortgage in Pittsburgh.  If you received a big bonus, or an intertance, the lender will also have to show the underwriter where the money came from and that it is not borrowed.  Lenders know that life is not perfect and there will be bumps in the road.  Examples include job loss, job changes, and unexpected expenses.  For many of these reasons, people have to dip into their savings to cover these unexpected expenses. In a nutshell you want to be able to have enough info for the lender to explain to the underwriter your financial ability to repay a loan.

Your debt and income ratio is also very important aspect of the process. Lenders desire to see a debt-to-income rati of 43% or less.  If you make $10,000 a month gross before takes, and $4,300 of it goes towards your debt you are okay. This needs to include you future house payment, monthly property taxes and homeowners’ insurance. There is some room to negotiate when it comes to this. Let’s say your DTI is 46% but you have a great credit score and 5% in the bank for a downpayment.  More than likely most lenders would approve you.

Starting the process early is a good idea in case you need to work on some areas to help with your credit, this will give you time to do so.  If you are going to purchase within the next year, then you will want to start looking at getting preapproved now. Note that preapprovals usually are only valid for 60 to 90 days but can be extended if you keep updating with your current financial situation.

If you are in the market to purchase a home, remember to use both a real estate agent and a lender who can help you with all your homebuying needs.  Going to see a home with a preapproval in hand will show that you are a serious buyer.

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What caused the slow down in mortgage rates in August 2022?

The drop in mortgage rates during the period ending on August 18, 2022 was due to the ease in inflation concerns.

According to Freddie Mac the mortgage rates have dropped due to the ease in inflation conerns. For the weekly period that ended August 18th, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage came it at 5.13% which was a decline of 9 basis points.

Good news as this stops the 23 basis points jump that occured just one week prior. This year has seen rates have change rapidly and unpredictably. Since April, the 30-year rates have gone between 4399% and 5.81%. This is up from just a year ago when the 30-year average was 2.86%.

The rate drop also was seen through the average 15-year fixed rate. Currently it dropped to 4.55% from 4.59%. A year ago, the average for the 15-year fixed-rate was 2.16%. In fact, the average of the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage fell 4 basis points to 4.39% from 4.43% week over week. At the same time last year, the 5-year ARM sat at 2.43%.  The catalyst to the decrease was due to the inflation not rising so much in July as economist predicted according to the Consumer Price Index.

“While both consumer and producer prices showed increases in July, the rate of increase slowed substantially,” said Paul Thomas, vice president of capital markets at Zillow, in a research statement.

“Inflation appears to be beyond its peak, which has stopped the rapid increase in mortgage rates that the housing market was experiencing earlier this year,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a press release.

“The market continues to absorb the cumulative impact of the large price and rate increases that led to a plunge in affordability,” Khater said, noting current levels are unlikely to change substantially.

“As a result, over the rest of the year purchase demand likely will continue to drag, supply will modestly increase and home price growth will decelerate,” he said.

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What is a Property Setback?

A property setback is the distance required between your house and your property line.

It is very important to understand what a property setback and how it can affect the home building process. This article will establish all you need to know about property setbacks.

What is a property setback?

A property setback is the distance required between your house and your property line. There are many things that will define the setbacks on your property such as the type of building, the property’s shape, the reason you are using the lot, its height and its size.

“Property setbacks are the building and land use restrictions placed on parcels of property long before you bought it,” says Mike Powell, an engineer and certified home inspector in Tampa, FL. “These setbacks are put in place by city engineers when designing the parcels and common elements needed to subdivide the larger piece of land into smaller, more divisible units.”

Why setbacks are important

Setbacks are great for a homeowner and their neighbors allowing all parties to live comfortably. Setbacks can give ample space to replace or repair utilities and allow for first responders to have enough acess for emergencies. Other advantages are natural lighting, venilation, noise pollution and improved aesthetics.

“Setbacks ensure the functionality of the residence,” says Greg Covell, a Realtor with Re/Max Select Realty in Vancouver, British Columbia.

How to find out your home’s setbacks

This is crucial when it comes to purchasing a piece of property to build on. Before you put in an offer, find out what the governing setbacks are for the property. Do your due diligence by contacting your town orr municipality or your local planning department.

“I had a sale pending the zoning approval of placing a barn outside the setback lines,” Denise Supplee, a real estate agent and founder of SparkRental.com says. “The zoning board gave a big no, and the property deal ended without a sale.”

Can a homeowner challenge setbacks?

Setbacks are not supposed to be a burden but rather a benefit for the community. These rules and regulations allow everyone to live comfortably with privacy. There are exepctions to the rules when it comes to setbacks. A homeowner can request an exception but it will more than likely involve a public hearing where neighbors can support it or oppose it.

“Obviously, engineers are incapable of fully anticipating future use, so setbacks may change over time,” says Powell. “For instance, a railroad line that has been abandoned for over 40 years may have been given a setback. The municipality may allow a variance to allow construction of your shed in the former setback location.”

What happens if you build on a property setback?

Just like any other law or ordinance it is against the law to ingore them. A homeowner that builds a structure on a setback will result in removing the structure at the homeowner’s expense.

“If it happens to be a fence or a light structure, it may not be a huge problem,” Powell says. “If that building happens to be a reinforced concrete structure, the owner will have to swallow the expense of demolition and likely face additional fees or fines.”

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What are questions a first-time homebuyer should ask their lender?
1. How do I know what type of mortgage is best for me?
2. What kinds of mortgages do you offer?
3. How much should my down payment be?
4. What will my interest rate be?
5. Do you offer a mortgage rate lock?
6. Are there income requirements for buying a home?
7. Do you offer pre-approval or prequalification?
8. What will the costs of closing be?
9. What should I do to prepare my financials when considering buying my first home?
10. Are you doing a hard credit pull on me today?

The current market is definitely a hard one to navigate especially for first-time homebuyers. When purchasing a home for the first time there are so many overwhelming important decisions to make. Here are ten questions to ask your mortgage lender when purchasing a new home.

1. How do I know what type of mortgage is best for me?

There are many options available and finding the right one for you is very important. Your mortgage lender can help you with the process of choosing which mortgage will be best for you. A mortgage lender can help you list the pros and cons of each loan option.

2. What kinds of mortgages do you offer?

There are two major types of mortgages which are conventional loans and government-backed loans. A mortgage lender can help you with choosing the best loan for certain circumstances. They can determine what type of loan you are qualified for.

3. How much should my down payment be?

Usually, a 20% down payment is preferred, especially if you want to avoid PMI (private mortgage insurance). If this is not a figure you can afford, a lender can work with you on the amount you can put down. Depending on what you are approved for, it can be as small as a 3% down payment.

4. What will my interest rate be?

This is usually the first question most people ask a lender. Your interest rate will determine how much you can borrow. There are fixed-rate loans and adjusted rate loans. A 1% difference does not sound like a big difference but it can save you a lot over the lifespan of your loan.

5. Do you offer a mortgage rate lock?

This is important because a rate lock can keep you at a predictable loan cost. This is basically an agreement between you and your lender that the interest rate will not change until closing. If the rates start to rise, this does not matter, you will still get the lower rate.

6. Are there income requirements for buying a home?

There are lending requirements. A lender can help you and they do this case by case with what you will need. It can depend on your credit score and your source of income.

7. Do you offer pre-approval or prequalification?

First, you need to know the differences. Pre-approval means that a lender has verified your income, credit score and assets through documents such as your W-2s, tax returns and bank statements. Prequalification is based on what you tell your lender about your income, assets and credit. Then your loan amount is based on an estimate.

8. What will the costs of closing be?

Closing costs are the fees for processing your loan. These will be paid to the lender. The appraisal fees, origination fees, attorney fees, and title insurance are included in the closing cost. Your lender will provide you with an estimate of closing costs based on the type of loan you go with.

9. What should I do to prepare my financials when considering buying my first home?

There are many things you can do to get your finances in order. Make sure your credit is in good standing. If not, find ways to strengthen your credit. Always determine your budget before you start the process. Do your shopping and compare rates. Always get prequalified before you start looking for a home.

10. Are you doing a hard credit pull on me today?

This is important to ask because a hard credit pull can have an effect on your score. Do not let a lender do a hard credit check until you have agreed to work with that lender.

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Custom hood in kitchen of this home.

What are the first five things to update when buying a home?
1. Don’t Seek Instant Perfection
2. Start With The Bones
3. Practice Patience
4. Know Yourself
5. Have A Plan Before You Start

Buying a new home is an exciting time for anyone. It is a big step in life’s journey and can be a very stressful one. If you are purchasing a home, professionals agree that these tips should be followed from the start.

1. Don’t Seek Instant Perfection

“One of my big beefs with home improvement shows is that they set new homebuyers up for failure,” Karlie Adams, a Denver interior designer said. “People watching these shows think everything comes together so easily, then feel they need to have perfection instantly, when, in fact, they need to take their time.”

2. Start With The Bones

Instead of starting with the little design elements in a room, start with the floors, walls and windows. Once these are tackled you can slowly move inward in the space. “That may not seem so gratifying at first,” Adams said, “but it’s more prudent. People would rather buy toss pillows at Pottery Barn when they really should replace their baseboards.”

3. Practice Patience

Like with everything in life, a little patience can go a long way. Take your time and go slowly purchasing quality pieces that will be more of a design investment in your home.

4. Know Yourself

Figure out who you are as a person and build your look around your unique characteristics. The look of your home should be based on who you are. If you are a nature lover, using worn leather, weathered wood and rustic finishes are best. A perfect coffee table would be a three cross-section of tree trunks.

5. Have A Plan Before You Start

Don’t go into the kitchen and add a new sink and faucet to later realize you should have updated the whole kitchen. Have a plan in each space before you add anything. This will save you time and money in the long run. Remember your home is a big investment.

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A side entry garage is perfect for this nice farmhouse look home.

A garage is an important part of a home, in fact, it is front and center and plays a big part in a home’s curb appeal. Replacing an old garage door can give you curb appeal a big lift. Not only will it look better, but it will also perform better. Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to choosing a new garage door.

DO select the right style.

A home’s curb appeal is important when it comes to resale. A worn-out garage is not a good first impression to a potential home buyer. Replacing a garage door will enhance the exterior of your whole home. It is very important to choose the right style of door. The most important tip is to choose a door style that complements your house. If you have a Craftsman bungalow, then you would want a door with deeply overhanging eaves, extensive woodwork, and divided-light windows. If you have a modern home you will want a simple garage door with clean lines.

DON’T forget insulation.

Many homeowners skip the front door and use their garage door as their primary entrance. If this is the case, then it is a good idea to insulate the garage door. Insulation will allow a more comfortable garage when entering and exiting your home. A garage is usually 10 to 20 degrees different from the temp outside. This is a big opening in your home, and insulating it can also save you money on energy expenses. A room next or above a poorly insulated garage will be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.

DO choose a practical door type.

Just like there are different styles of garage doors, there are also different types of garage doors. Some homeowners want to have a traditional swinging door that opens outward from a central split or others want an old barn door that opens right to left. The most popular are overhead sectional doors because they roll up and down on mounted racks and are easy to pair with an automatic door opener.

DON’T ignore care requirements.

The garage door is one of the most important entryways of a home. It needs to be maintained properly and perform its bests. Wood garage doors are very popular nowadays but they require refinishing. If you want the wood look, composite is the way to do it. Steel is a good choice no matter what climate you live in.  Understand the upkeep requirements of any door on your radar, and don’t commit to purchase one that you’re unable or unwilling to take care of.

DON’T underestimate severe storms.

Even though a garage door is big, a storm can still hurt it. They can be very vulnerable to high winds such as a tornado or hurricane which can break through a garage door. It is important to become familiar with the code-compliant doors. A local garage door dealer can tell you what the regulations are in your area.

DO experiment with visualization tools.

A dealer showroom is a great place to start. There you can see how different styles, construction and colors actually look and feel. There are also online tools that can help you visualize a certain door on your home. A great online tool is the Door Imagination System. You can simply upload a picture of your home and see different designs, colors and hardware on your home.

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Side entry that goes into the main home.

This time last year the 30-year mortgage rates were just over 3%, but they are rising and now are over 5%. Professionals in the industry say that we will see more rate increases throughout the year. Here are some tips from the experts on how to make sure you get the best mortgage rates for your home.

1. Raise your credit score as much as possible

The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. LendingTree’s data shows borrowers with credit scores of 760 or higher were offered an average APR that was 16 basis points lower than the average rate for borrowers with scores between 680 and 719. A basis point is equivalent to 0.01% and therefore one hundred basis points equals 1%.

Always know your credit score. Take a look at your credit report and make sure there are no errors. In order to raise your score, you should pay your bills on time and reduce your amount of debt. When you decide to get a mortgage, do not apply for too many new credit lines at the same time.

2. Get your finances in order

Your credit score is just one of the things a lender will take a look at. In order to make sure you are able to repay the loan, a lender will delve deep into your finances. Before they do this, you want to make sure you have the entire picture of your income and you will want to pay down any major debts.

To do this, you will need to know your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Your DTI is the total of your monthly debt divided by your gross monthly income. A lender will want this figure to be 43% or less of your assets. Prepare a record of your steady income by collecting your pay stubs for a 30-day period as well as your W-2s from the past two years. If you are self-employed, you will also need to submit profit-and-loss statements along with your tax returns.

3. Save big for your down payment

You will want to make the largest down payment possible. The more you put down upfront the lower your interest rate. You will also want to make sure you put down at least 20% to avoid PMI. PMI stands for private mortgage insurance, which is around .05% to 1% of the loan amount.

4. Get quotes from 3-5 lenders

Shop around for the best deal. According to Greg McBridge, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, you should compare around three to five lenders to see who will offer you the best rate and other incentives.

“Be sure to look at closing costs, fees, points and tax credits. This can get a bit overwhelming, so if you have a financial planner, be sure to include them in the discussion,” says Jen Grant, certified financial planner at Perryman Financial Advisory.

“Gather all your rate quotes on the same day. Rates fluctuate daily and lenders should be able to give you their best rate out of the gate,” says Denny Ceizyk, senior staff writer at LendingTree.

5. Lock in the rate

This is important especially when rates are rising. Locking in your mortgage rate early on means your lender can’t raise your interest rate between the time you apply for a loan and the time you’re approved. That way, should the market fluctuate during the application process, you’ll be spared from paying higher interest rates if they go up.

6. Weigh the pros and cons of buying points

Discount points can be used to reduce interest rates. They are fees that you pay upfront to reduce your interest rate on your mortgage. One point usually costs around 1% of your mortgage amount. One point can lower the interest rate by one-eighth to one-quarter of a percent. “The lowest rates quoted often come with mortgage points, a minimum loan amount requirement or a certain amount of equity,” says Ceizyk.

7. Consider first-time buyer programs

First-time home buyer programs include aids such as down payment assistance, funds available for repairs and remodeling, no-interest second loans and reduced interest rates. These programs are used to lure first-time home buyers to certain areas. FHA loans, USDA loans and VA loans are common for home buyers with lower credit and smaller down payments.

8. Apply for a shorter loan term

Shorter term loans (such as a 15-year loan) can offer better rates than loan term loans (such as a 30-year loan. “Lenders price loans based on risk. If you can pay your loan off faster at a higher payment, lenders reward you with a lower payment because as your balance is paid down, there’s less risk you’ll default,” Ceizyk says.

If you are in the market for a new home, turn to a Realtor in your area. A Realtor can not only help you find the right home for the right price but can also lend a hand in finding the right mortgage lender.

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