What Drives Home Loan Rates?

Locking in a favorable home loan rate can seem complex.  Seeking certainty in an uncertain market can weigh heavily on home buyers.  Let a professional Mortgage Loan Officer assist you in making the decision to lock or float.  The reality is many factors affect the home loan rates and these factors are significant.  What drives home loan rates?  (Source: Mortgage Market Guide)

Click Here to View the PDF: What Drives Rates

8 Camera Tips to Capture a Room’s Size

8 Camera Tips to Capture a Room’s Size
Make sure every square foot counts when photographing interiors. Try these tips to expand the space.

Buyers love spacious homes. They also love to look at online property photos. But it’s not always easy to squeeze square footage into a camera shot—and sometimes furniture arrangements or floor coverings actually do a disservice to the way your listing is presented online or in marketing photos, says Debra Gould, president of home staging company Six Elements Inc. in Toronto and creator of the Staging Diva training program.
She offers these tips for making sure that every room of your listing looks as large in photos as it does in real life.

1. Remove area rugs. Rugs break up the expanse of the floor and can make rooms look smaller. Keep the floor as clear as possible.

2. Use a wide-angle camera. A camera with a wide-angle lens (28 millimeters or less on a DSLR, or the equivalent on a point-and-shoot) is best for interior shots because it magnifies the distance between objects and showcases a room’s depth, Gould says. But beware of fisheye lenses or ultra wide-angle lenses, which tend to make rooms look wider but can mislead buyers into thinking there’s more space than there is.

3. Get creative with furniture. Make sure that furniture doesn’t block views or walkways so you reveal as much of the floor as possible. If there’s too much furniture packed into a room or the furniture is too large, it can also work against you in photos.
In a crowded room, try removing a few pieces of furniture or swapping in a smaller piece. In a kitchen or dining room, it might look better if you remove that extra leaf from the table. Try using furniture to create new spaces in large rooms and really show off that square footage. For example, Gould added a reading corner in a master bedroom to show that more than just a bed could fit.

4. Fill up an empty space. Buyers have trouble imagining how their stuff will fit into an empty room; the space can seem smaller than it really is. If possible, bring in furniture for staging. “If the rooms are furnished, they look larger and much more inviting,” Gould says.

5. Use mirrors to your advantage. A reflection in a mirror can reveal more of a room when you can’t squeeze everything into your photo. This can be a great technique particularly when photographing bathrooms. Use the reflection of the bathroom mirror to show the extras, such as that soaker tub. Just be sure to shoot photos at an angle so that you don’t capture your own reflection!

6. Lighten up. In photos, brighter rooms typically come across as more open and welcoming, whereas dark rooms can look small and dingy. Pay attention to the light sources in a room to get a better shot. Turn on all of the lights and open the curtains to let in natural light and expand the space. But don’t shoot directly into a light source; it’ll darken a room.

7. Shoot at an angle. The diagonal line is the longest visual line in a room. Try shooting from the corner; back up as far as you can before you shoot. But don’t limit yourself: Take shots from three or four different angles so that you have plenty of options, Gould recommends. Also, try getting low to the ground to show off the length of the room. Eye level doesn’t always work best to capture floor proportions.

8. Remove clutter. You’ve heard it before, but clutter makes a room look cramped and steals attention from a room’s intended focal points. Clear away paper stacks, crowded walls of artwork, cluttered countertops, magnets covering the refrigerator, and towels hanging from the stove.

Finally, do your best to ensure that any major changes you make to a room’s layout for the purpose of photos are kept in place for showings. “You’ll create a disconnect if the house looks great only in the online photos,” Gould says. “If buyers feel let down, they’re not going to buy the house.”

Easy Pumpkin Fluff Dip

Keep the holiday guests occupied and their appetites at bay with this simple but delicious appetizer with the flavor of the season.  Served with apples, pretzels, or cinnamon graham crackers (to name just a few of our favorite options), this dip is super easy to make and memorable to your taste buds!

8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 oz package vanilla pudding mix
15 oz can solid pack pumpkin
tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix wet ingredients in a bowl, then mix in dry ingredients. Stir well and refrigerate until cold. Serve with gingersnaps, cinnamon graham crackers, vanilla wafers or fruit slices. Serve in a hollowed out pumpkin for extra table appeal!

St. Charles named one of America’s best cities to live

To determine America’s best cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the 550 areas measured by the U.S. Census Bureau with populations of 65,000 or more.

Based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, educational attainment, and housing affordability, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s 50 best cities to live.

47. St. Charles, Missouri  (Wall street Link)

> Median household income: $52,330
> Unemployment rate, 2013: 5.70%
> Median home value: $171,300
> Violent crime per 100,000 residents: 151.4
> Average commuter travel time: 20.0 minutes

St. Charles is northwest of St. Louis, across the Missouri River. The city includes the St. Charles Historic District, which lies along South Main Street and the city’s riverfront. According to the National Parks Service, St. Charles “served as the final embarkation point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

St. Charles is a relatively safe city. The violent crime rate was just 151 incidents per 100,000 people, less than half the national rate of 387 incidents. The city also has a relatively affordable cost of living relative to other top-rated cities and, as of last year, an unemployment rate of 5.7%. By contrast, the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.4% last year. However, between 2011 and 2013, the city had effectively flat employment growth.

Read the full article at KSDK

Mortgage Time

Mortgage Market News for the week ending September 26, 2014

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Melinda Movick

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Big Events Ahead

Sandwiched between weeks containing the highest level of significant economic events, investors took a breather this week. In addition, the economic data released this week contained few surprises. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week with little change.Between last week’s Fed meeting and next week’s European Central Bank (ECB) meeting and US Employment report, investors have a great deal of information to digest. This week’s news, however, contained little to cause investors to shift their outlook for the performance of the economy. Durable Orders, Jobless Claims, and revisions to second quarter GDP all came in very close to the consensus forecasts. While there were several volatile sessions during the week, the increases offset the decreases.The housing data released this week continued to be encouraging. August New Home Sales jumped 18% from July to the highest level since May 2008. Existing Home Sales, which include roughly 90% of the market, did decline slightly in August, but this followed four straight months of gains. With mortgage rates remaining relatively low, home sales are near the highest levels of the year.
Next week, there will be a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday. The policy announcement from the ECB likely will have an influence on US mortgage rates. In the US, the important monthly Employment report will be released on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Before that, Pending Home Sales, Core PCE inflation, and Personal Income will be released on Monday. ISM Manufacturing and ADP Employment Change will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services, Construction Spending, Chicago PMI Manufacturing, and Consumer Confidence will round out a busy schedule.