Monday, July 23, 2018

You are Officially On the Clock

If you have been holding off buying or refinancing your home in hopes of a lower monthly payment or perhaps to leverage some of the appreciation in equity your home undoubtable gained over the last 4-5 years, might I strongly suggest you start that process today. Like, this evening. When you get home. Today, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield shot higher, taking mortgages and various consumer loan rates with it. There are a couple key reasons for this market movement and why this one has some legs. We are going go focus on two, both of which have little to do with the Fed.

1. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) who has been fighting negative interest rates in a market desperate for a steeping yield curve surprised the markets today (July 23rd) when the Japanese' Government pressed the 10-year Japanese government bond by 5 basis points, to 0.083 percent, the highest since February. The BOJ, which meets next week, announced it would buy bonds to curb the action, and the 40-year JGB also spiked, touching 0.92 percent. All Markets are interconnected. Fixed Income even more so.

2. The fight with China over US-China deficit GDP is just heating up. To understand how and why this affects US Mortgage rates is to simply understand that China is not only one of the largest buyers of US Treasuries, but they are also one of the largest owners of US Treasuries. The US buys over $500 billion in Chinese goods annually. China only buys $130 billion from the US. Quick math shows that a trade war focused on tariffs will hurt the Chinese more. How would they respond, we suggest they do it one of two ways. First by lowering or devaluing their currency (the Yuan). This is quick and they already do this as needed. Second, they slow or worse stop buying US Treasuries. Selling their $1 trillion in US Treasuries would also force bond yields could climb. That’s problematic as Treasury holders around the world, including the U.S. government and (you and I) will see their bond prices drop. Higher yields also make it more expensive for the U.S. government to borrow through new debt issues, while companies that issue corporate debt, would have to pay higher borrowing costs.

With the first already taking flight, we strongly suggest you move date night to another evening and spend some time getting your home loan in order.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

30-Year Mortgage Rate Charges Above 4 Percent

2018 has started in a similar fashion to how 2017 finished.

The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate charged to 4.04 percent this week, up from 3.99 percent the week prior, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The 15-year, fixed rate averaged 3.49 percent, up from 3.44 percent the week prior, while the five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate averaged 3.46 percent, the same as the week prior.

“The U.S. weekly average for the 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose above 4 percent for the first time since last summer to 4.04 percent in this week’s survey,” says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. “This is the highest weekly average for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage since May of 2017. Some may be wondering if this is the last time we’ll see a three handle on the 30-year mortgage rate. Never say never, but inflation is firming, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book indicates broad-based economic growth, and labor markets are tightening. This means upward pressure on long-term rates, like the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, is building.”

If rates continue as indicated, the home buying season may come early as potential homebuyers look to jump on the last set of historically low rates. From our perspective; all charts point to several Fed' increases in 2018 and 5% mortgage rates on the horizon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why Fall Is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Home

Few people know Fall is arguably the best time of year to buy a new home. The weather becomes cooler, the leaves begin to change, football season begins, and pumpkin-flavored everything is in abundant supply. But there's another great reason to love fall that might be less's the best time of year to purchase a home.

Prices Are Typically Lower
The concept that buyers can get a better bang for their buck in the fall has been a popular notion for some time, but two recent reports validated that line of thought with data from actual home sales. According to a report by RealtyTrac, sales prices are typically 2.6% below fair market value during October — a steeper discount than any other month of the year. Another report by NerdWallet found that sales prices drop about 2.96% from summer to fall, which is roughly an $8,300 discount for the median home. It's also worth noting that while listing prices don't decrease much, sales prices do, and that's the price that counts for potential buyers.

There's Less Competition
The majority of people buy a home in spring or summer, when inventory is traditionally high. This gives families time to make their move before the school year starts, but the tradeoff is that buyers are faced with strong competition and often pay higher than asking price during that time. People who buy in fall, however, have less competition, and sellers are more motivated. This means more negotiating power for the buyer, which often results in a better deal.

There's Still Inventory
It's true that the inventory of homes for sale is at its peak during spring and summer, but when you buy in the fall, there's still a decent supply of homes left to choose from. Buying a home in the fall gives you the best of both worlds — lower prices and less competition but still enough inventory to find the home you want.

If you're serious about buying a home, doing so this fall may save you money or help you afford more than you expect. Plus, with interest rates on the rise, the longer you wait, the less buying power you may have. Click here to learn more about the impact that rising interest rates have on affordability. NMLS#1043983

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Affected by Hurricane Harvey?

There is little doubt Hurricane Harvey will be remembered for years to come. If you have been affected by this event, there is a good chance you are reading this post on your cell phone and/or not in your home. Where you probably keep all of your insurance documents. We're here to help!

If you happen to remember who your auto or home insurance carrier is; see below. We have provided you a link to all of the possible carriers Efinity Insurance may have partnered with.

If you are a client and do not who does not recall your carrier or unable to reach your carrier directly, please contact our Service Team at 888.638.5030 We'll do everything we can to help start the process.

American Risk
(713) 559-0700
American Strategic
(866) 274-8765

ASI Flood
(866) 511-0793
Carrier Comparison

Chubb Group
(800) 777-2131

CNA Insurance
(800) 262-4357

(888) 462-8021
Cypress Flood
(888) 532-3004

(866) 954-1024
(800) 262-9262 x1x1

(888) 500-3344
(800) 237-6136 , Auto (888) 888-0080

(866) 485-3004
(800) 922-4050

(800) 771-8557
Hartford - Commercial
(800) 447-7649

Homeowners of America (866) 407-9896
Imperial Fire & Casualty
(888) 522-8242

Insurance Designers
(214) 696-9756

(877) 542-6254
Kemper Preferred
(866) 675-3345 opt. 2, opt. 3

Kemper Specialty
(800) 456-1919

Liberty Mutual

(800) 503-3724
(800) 255-0332

MetLife Flood
(800) 893-6208
MexiPass Global Assurance
(800) 639-4727

National Flood
(800) 637-3846
National General
(888) 325-1190

National Lloyds
(800) 749-6419
Service (800) 282-1446 IT800 209-3288

Nationwide Commercial
(888) 667-3866
Pacific Specialty (800) 303-5000

Personal Umbrella (800) 564-1799 x9
(877) 776-2436

Protective Life (888) 800-6608
(888) 813-7873

(866) 318-2016
(877) 566-6001 x1x4

Sage Sure / Occidental
(877) 304-4785 x2
Service First

State Auto
(888) 999-8103
(800) 849-6140 x4

Stroud (800) 654-4056
Texas Mutual

Texas Windstorm
(800) 788-8247


Travelers Commercial

United Property & Casualty
(800) 295-8016 , New HO3 (844) 872-7785
Universal North America
(866) 458-4262

USAssure (800) 800-3907
(866) 780-1901 x3

Wright Flood
(800) 820-3242

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The number of homes for sale is a problem; here's what to do about it!

In almost every major city in Texas there is solid demand from home buyers who struggle to find a home (any home) that meets both their housing and affordability requirements. This is especially true for first time home buyers. It’s a situation that requires both patience and creative solutions.

On the other hand, this may be an excellent time for you to explore options that may not be on your short list. Here are a few suggestions;

1.Look at a fixer-upper. That run-down house that’s been sitting on the market for months may be a diamond in the rough for a buyer with the vision to see its potential, especially if you have the time and skills to participate in renovations. Before making an offer, however, encourage your agents to assist in estimating renovation costs and identifying people in the trades to assist them. There are several different loan programs which make financing the improvements easy.

2. Buy a teardown and rebuild. If a thought of a fixer-upper doesn't excite you, perhaps a teardown, or a vacant lot, and building a new home. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish this without the expense of hiring an architect or a custom home builder. Learn who is supplying prefabricated and modular homes to your market—options that aren’t only economical and energy-efficient, but also increasingly popular with younger buyers.

3. Consider a duplex. While many don't love the idea of managing a property (much less a neighbor) the financial upside is hard to ignore. Improvements made to the property may be tax deductible and the additional income will never hurt.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Considering Buying or Refinancing a Home? Read This....

According to a survey conducted by J.D. Power, 27% of new homeowners ultimately came to regret their choice of lender. Twenty seven percent. The major reason for the dissatisfaction was overall poor customer experience. That's pretty vague so let's dive further. A lack of communication or unmet expectations (again back to communication) topped the "poor customer experience" sub list. Other regrets listed included pressure from the lender to choose a particular product/loan and not closing on time. Communication is a two way street. As a homeowner or potential homebuyer, you can remove some of the tension and turmoil of home loan process by carefully vetting potential lenders. Here are 5 questions to ask potential lenders before you make a commitment.

1. What mortgage programs do you offer? In many cases, choosing the best loan for your specific financial situation requires working with a lender who offers a wide array of loans. You don’t want to work with a lender who tries to push you into one loan simply because that’s the only option from their limited selection. Ask them if they regularly handle the type of loan you are looking for. If the type of loan you are looking for is more specific than say, a conventional fixed-rate mortgage, a little more expertise is useful — and in some cases, it might be necessary. An uncommon home loan like a United States Department of Agriculture loan, for instance, must go through an approved lender.

2. Inquire about the qualifications for the home loan you are seeking. There may be two lenders who offer the same type of loan, but their minimum requirements could differ. For instance, Department of Veterans Affairs loans require a minimum credit score of 620, but a lender might require a minimum score of 640. Comparison-shop. Don’t assume the same type of loan means the same terms.

3. Ask your lender to provide an estimate of the rates and fees expected to pay. Important note here; If you have taxes and insurance tied to your mortgage payment, an initial estimate will never guarantee your final, out-of-pocket expense. Numbers will change as things like title are received or surveys are approved or ordered. That said, it can be a solid jumping-off point for evaluating lenders. If the loan programs are the same, a helpful starting point is to compare the interest rate and total origination costs. It is important to know rates fluctuate, so try comparing lenders on the same day to get the most accurate mortgage rate comparisons. Speaking of rates....

4. Ask when you may be able to do a rate lock. As we mentioned above, mortgage rates can change multiple times a day. They can be as fluid as the stock market. Be sure to ask about the associated fees, including how much it costs to extend the lock should it expire before closing.

5. What is the time estimate for processing my home loan? This is critically important if you are selling a home or coordinating the end of a current lease with a new home purchase. Under the TRID guidelines, it's vitally important you receive your initial closing disclosure four business days before your closing date. In short, get the key dates of the appraisal and underwriting approval. Of course, it’s always a good idea to build in a small buffer if you can — and not just because loan preparation can take longer than expected. Along these lines, make sure you explain that you expect communication in a straightforward and timely manner.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

As we indicated with our November 10th Blog,

the Federal Reserve voted yesterday (Wednesday March 15th) to again raise the key interest rate one-quarter percentage point. This is just the first of three hikes we anticipate for 2017. The rate was increased one-quarter percentage point just three months ago in December 2016. This was the probable outcome following encouraging employment figures in February.

We believe this consecutive increase marks a turning point in policy. The Fed raised the rate only twice in the past decade. Wednesday’s decision quickens the pace, signaling the potential for more aggressive action as the year unfolds.

Rising rates have been top of mind for members of the housing industry, especially those of us in residential finance. Raising interest rates with the unprecidented apprecition witnessed in Texas, makes the fear of affordability a viable concern. We know in speaking with many of our potential homeowners the anticipated monthly payments on homes in various price ranges have "felt" higher. This is something which will continue to play out throughout 2017.