Mortgage Payments are Lower than 25 Years Ago

www.freehousefind.comHere’s one more reason for homebuyers to make every effort to qualify for a mortgage right now. Home prices, in terms of actual monthly mortgage payments made by home owners, are cheaper today than they have been for more than 25 years, according to a recent analysis of Case-Shiller home values and mortgage rates by the Department of Numbers web site.

The site calculated the cost of a actual monthly payments on a 30-year mortgage at prevailing historic mortgage rates to finance the purchase of a home at Case-Shiller’s media price levels since the series began in the late 1980s. Even though real house prices peaked at the beginning of 2006 and are now back to early 1999 (and before that mid 1990) levels, today’s record low mortgage rates make monthly mortgage payments lower today than they have been since the Case-Shiller index came into being.

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Sheryl Crow’s Hollywood Hills Estate Hits the Market

Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow opened the doors to her 1920s Spanish Revival home in the Hollywood Hills for a spread in Architectural Digest last year. Now she’s selling it and the two other houses on the 11-acre property for about $16 million. I always love it when we get to see more of an estate like this. Let’s look!


The main house, where Sheryl lives with her sons Wyatt and Levi, was built in 1924. She bought it first, in the late 1990s. Two years later, she acquired the bungalow and cottage nearby and created her own private compound.

In this photo from AD, Sheryl’s dog Oscar guards the front door:

The Spanish tile on the staircase is original to the house:

I’m a “book person,” so I love the little library with the windows:

No sign of the dining room in the listing photos, but here’s one from the magazine shoot:

The listing boasts a “chef’s kitchen.” I’m kinda baffled by this one and only photo of it, which doesn’t do it any favors:


The house has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths.

Architectural Digest was the Craftsman guest house on the property, built in 1909.

It has 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, and “vistas of Hollywood.”

They must have been having a sale on rugs when she was furnishing the living room. All the woodwork in the house is beautiful.

For more photos and information, check the listing by Myra Nourmand of Nourmand & Associates and read the article by Mayer Rus in Architectural Digest (photography by Roger Davies and Jim McHugh).


Orlando Real Estate Sales Statistics October 3, 2012 Statistics

There are 7,404 homes for sale listed by Orlando Realtors and 10,298 homes listed as contract pending. Of the homes still available for sale, 805 are foreclosures and 1,546 are short sales. Of the homes with contracts pending, 1,047 are foreclosures and 7,306 are short sales.

Orlando real estate sales statistics for September: 2,178 closed sales with a median sales price of $125,000. Just as I thought sales did slow down a little, but that is a somewhat predictable trend this time of year. Looking for a bump in October, so far 90 sales with a median price of $150,000. That would be nice.

Great Read If Your Interested In Your “Credit Score”

1. “You may never know your real score.”

Roughly 200 million consumers have a FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 850 and is used by most lenders to determine whether to approve them for financing and at what terms. This score is based solely on the information in consumers’ credit reports. While consumers can check their generic FICO score, which weighs how well they have been managing their credit, it’s unlikely they’ll ever know the exact score a lender sees when they apply for credit.


Read more here:

Home Prices Rebound

Home prices are back to 2003 levels in the latest sign of an improved housing market.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — In another sign of a turnaround in the long-battered real estate market, average home prices rebounded in July to the same level as they were nine years ago.

According to the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index, which covers more than 80% of the housing market in the United States, the typical home price in July rose 1.6% compared to the previous month.

It marked the third straight month that prices in all 20 major markets followed by the index improved, and it would have been the fourth straight month of improvement across the full spectrum if not for a slight decline in Detroit in April.

The index was up 1.2% compared to a year earlier, an improvement from the year-over-year change reported for June. While home prices have been showing a sequential change in recent months, it wasn’t until June that prices were higher than a year earlier.

The July reading matched levels last seen in summer 2003, when the market was rising toward its peak in 2006. The collapse of the market after that led to the financial crisis of 2008.

“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing,” said David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Single-family housing starts are well ahead of last year’s pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing.”

Record low mortgage rates and a tighter supply of homes available for sale have helped to lift home prices. Lower unemployment also has helped with home prices, although job growth in recent months has been slower than hoped.

Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve announced it would buy $40 billion in mortgage bonds a month for the foreseeable future. This third round of asset purchases by the central bank, popularly known as QE3, is its effort to jump start the economy through even lower home loan rates.

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More Infomation Here

Don’t Stop Believing

Sure, a picture of a baby boy rocking out to “Don’t Stop Believing” on a pair of ultra gigantic headphones gives your tummy a tickle, but let’s look a little deeper.

Is this not the universal message that most of us drill into the impressionable minds of young children?
Don’t Stop Believing that you can succeed; that you can make a difference. Don’t stop believing in the innate good of the human soul; in the idea that the future will out shine any darkness from the past.
So, at what point then did we cease to believe in these same ideas of a future of kisses warmed by the sun, smiles and laughter etched on mental tapestries and a world of endless possibilities?  When did you stop believing in a life without the bitter taste of anger, apathy and anguish?
Perhaps it was the loss of a great love, or maybe the fact that you have yet to find one. Maybe it was the pressure of being perfect in school or maybe being the kid who no one seemed to notice. Whatever it is, what has happened to our belief system? Furthermore, why do many of us attempt to drown those hopes and dreams of todays youth?

Deep down, in the basement of our subconscious, there has to be a little toddler gleefully singing “Don’t Stop Believing”. That spark of hope and desire that we feel is what keeps us striving for better — it is that flickering ember that ignites the passion for life with which we are all born.

Don’t You Ever Stop Believing In YOURSELF!

10 Important Things To Consider When Getting A Mortgage Or Home Equity Loan

Finding the best home loan is not a job to be taken lightly. Here are 10 very important tips to consider before, during, and after the loan.

Looking For The Right Home Loan For You

  1. Mortgages are not commodities. If you think “it’s all about the rate”, you are going to be disappointed from the start. It’s really about finding a trusted partner help you navigate a complex transaction by offering honest advice and responsive support throughout the entire loan process.
  2. Online is not the place to transact your biggest liability. Buy a music player, bid on sports equipment, order some books, but don’t do a mortgage over the internet. There are too many variables that arise throughout the process. This is not to say you should exclude the internet in your rate search, as there are reputable sites on the net which will help you find rates, calculate your potential loan, and provide other helpful information. I’m suggesting you shouldn’t work with an internet-only firm for your mortgage.
  3. There are two types of mortgage lenders who advertise on the web and on the newspaper rate table: Ones you’ve heard of and ones you haven’t. Why do the major, well-known lenders generally quote higher rates? It could be they have higher cost structures. It could also be they are more reputable and provide a lot more service.
  4. Generally, avoid interest-only loans. Unless you plan to move in a short period of time, or the loan is a short-term “bridge” or construction loan, avoid the “interest-only” loan. If you are only paying interest, you do not build up any ownership or equity in your home.
  5. Are the fees reasonable?. Find out exactly what the loan will cost you. While some fees might not be avoidable, know that many fees are unnecessary “junk fees” or negotiable. Be sure to get a good faith estimate statement which shows your total expected fees. Some companies will include all the fees in the interest rate they quote you. Here are some fees to ask about:
    1. Application fee
    2. Points (if you pay points, make sure your interest rate is reduced. A rule-of-thumb is to generally avoid paying any points if you plan to live in your home less than ten years)
    3. Credit Evaluation
    4. Loan Processing (these fees can be pretty arbitrary)
    5. Appraisal Fee (cost to estimate the value of your home)
    6. Title Search
    7. Title Insurance (you have to pay to protect the lender. Always make sure the Title Insurance specifically protects you as well. It’s normal to pay more to protect your interests)
    8. Documentation (these fees can be pretty arbitrary)
    9. Underwriting (these fees can be pretty arbitrary)
    10. Escrow Fee
    11. Prepayment Penalty (the fee paid if you pay off your loan early)
    12. The following fees are almost always “junk fees”: amortization schedule fee, trustee fee, financing statement fee, appraisal review fee, credit report review fee, document preparation fee, inspection fee, photo inspection fee, underwriting fee, warehousing fee, administrative fee, computer fee, courier fee, and overly high notary fees

    When you ask about your interest rate, also ask about the APY (or Annual Percentage Rate) which is usually higher and a more accurate reflection of your true interest rate.

  6. Generally, avoid adjustable rate loans. Adjustable rates can be attractive because the advertised rate is lower than a fixed rate. They generally allow you four payment options:
    1. minimum payment (NEVER make only a minimum payment. It won’t even cover the interest on your loan and can quickly lead to a situation where your home is worth less than your loan)
    2. “interest only” payment (also not recommended. No money is going to pay down the loan or create home equity)
    3. a fully amortized 15-year loan
    4. a fully amortized 30-year loan

    The later two are similar to traditional loans, except that your interest rate is adjustable.

    Here are three reasons to consider an adjustable rate:

    1. IF you know for certain interest rates can’t go up from current levels
    2. the loan ceiling on the adjustable rate is below the current fixed rates
    3. you plan to sell your home prior to the first rate adjustment

    Here are five questions to ask about your potential ARM rate: Adjustable rate loans often start with a “teaser rate”. This is an artificially low rate which will get adjusted higher at the first adjustment opportunity. If you do consider an adjustable rate, be sure to ask:

    1. what is the rate based upon (often a current T-bill or LIBOR rate plus an additional amount). Get complete details
    2. what would be the rate today if you already had the loan and it adjusted to current levels
    3. what is the floor (how low can the rate go from here)
    4. what is the ceiling (what is the highest rate you would have to pay)
    5. how often can the rate adjust.

    Be sure you fully understand each of these parameters, and get them in writing. Note: if you can’t afford the loan ceiling and the fully amortized payment at that level, don’t accept the loan.

  7. Looking For The Right Home Loan For You

    1. The mortgage industry is unregulated. Mortgage brokers are not banks and don’t play by the same rules. There are countless stories of “bait and switch” with people being promised one thing and ending up with another at the closing table. You do not have to accept any last minute changes. While inconvenient, just walk away. (They are betting you won’t). Lets say you have found the rate and lender with which you wish to work. Here are twelve warning signs telling you to walk away from the loan. Any one is enough for you to terminate the loan right then and there.
      1. if the loan rep encourages you to borrow more than you need — walk away!
      2. if the loan rep prods you to overstate your income or understate your outstanding loans or expenses — walk away!
      3. if the loan rep tries to get you to agree to payments that you can’t afford — walk away!
      4. if the loan rep asks you to sign blank forms — walk away!
      5. if the loan rep won’t give you copies of every document you signed — walk away!
      6. if the loan rep fails to give you mandated disclosure documents — walk away!
      7. if the rep appears to pressure you — walk away!
      8. if the rep is unresponsive to your calls, is disorganized, repeatedly asks for the same documents, or is constantly blaming others for delays — walk away!
      9. if they try to sell you credit insurance or extra products you don’t want — walk away. (If you actually want the credit insurance, shop around to get the best rate)!
      10. if they try to make you do something that is against your better judgment — walk away!
      11. if they require you to deed your property to anyone — walk away!
      12. if the loan rep changes any of the terms of the loan at closing — run, don’t walk! Be aware that the further in the process you get — the more momentum builds — the tougher it is to back out. Dishonest lenders know this and are counting on it.
    2. Generally, see if you can avoid paying for mortgage insurance. Some loans require mortgage insurance. Others will waive the insurance if you have a low enough debt-to-home equity ratio when you take out your loan. Most mortgage insurance protects the lender, not you.
      Don’t Lose Your Home

      1. NEVER make the just the minimum loan payment. In less than two years you could find yourself owing more than your home is worth. Always pay at least the full interest payment, and it’s best to make a regular payment which includes both principal and interest.
      2. Always make your full payment each month, pay on time, and pay more towards principal if you can.

      Find Out Who Holds The Mortgage Loan On Your Home

      Start by asking your mortgage servicer, who may or may not hold your loan. To find your servicer: check your loan closing documents, monthly billing slip, or annual statement. The servicer is your mortgage company. If this is a dead end,