HomeReady Mortgage by Fannie Mae

We understand the financial challenges many homebuyers are facing. They can’t afford a large down payment; may have multiple student loans; or may rely on income from non-traditional sources (i.e., parents or other family members). These challenges can make homeownership seem impossible, or may have impacted their ability to buy a home in the past.

Not anymore. After much research and feedback from both homebuyers and lenders, Fannie Mae created HomeReady® mortgage, an enhanced affordable loan designed to meet the diverse financial and familial needs of responsible, creditworthy buyers.

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Mortgage rates roar to a fresh 2018 high

Rates for home loans surged on strong economic data, taking the benchmark rate to its highest point so far this year.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.47%, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, out Thursday. That was five basis points higher than in the previous week, and the highest for the popular mortgage product since January 2014. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.94%, up from 3.87%. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.67%, up from 3.61% last week.

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In Defense of Having a (Slightly) Cluttered Home

Breaking news: Humans like stuff. Stuff they have. Stuff they like. Stuff they need.

But stuff just gets everywhere. Hence the trendiness of uber-organized spaces, hyper-cleanliness, and Marie Kondo-like thank-your-stuff-for-its-service-then-toss-it attitudes. But living in that state of constant tidying is exhausting.

Enough.

It is not a moral failing to have a slightly cluttered home.

And you know what? Life can be better with slightly more stuff. Here are seven reasons why:

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Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index Reaches Record High

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) rose 3.7 points in January to 89.5, reversing the decrease seen last month and reaching a new all-time survey high. The increase can be attributed to increases in five of the six HPSI components. The net share of respondents who said now is a good time to buy a home increased 3 percentage points compared to December. Additionally, the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home increased 4 percentage points and is now up 23 percentage points year over year. The net share who said home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 8 percentage points in January, while Americans also expressed a greater sense of job security, with the net share who say they are not concerned about losing their job increasing 5 percentage points. Finally, the net share of consumers who said mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased 2 percentage points in January, while the net share reporting that their income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago remained flat.

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The Link Between Clutter and Depression

Dishes in the sink, toys throughout the house, stuff covering every flat surface; this clutter not only makes our homes look bad, it makes us feel bad, too.

At least that’s what researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) discovered when they explored in real time the relationship between 32 California families and the objects in their homes. The resulting book, “Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century,” is a rare look at how middle-class Americans use the space in their homes and interact with the things they accumulate over a lifetime.

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5 Doable DIY Projects To Send Your Home Equity Soaring

You’re going to save money with DIY home improvement projects. Sure, everybody knows that.

But did you know how much? Cut professionals out of the equation and you can save half the cost of a project — or more. 

What’s more, you get a great return on your investment. Meaning, the financial value you get out of a DIY project is much more than what you put in.

Here’s a rundown of some top money-saving projects, using cost and recovered costs data from the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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5 Homeownership Changes Coming Under New Tax Law

Will the new tax law save you money or cost you money? The answer depends on a complex array of factors that touch on just about every aspect of your financial life. This article is about a subset of your finances: How the tax law will affect homeownership and mortgages.

Among other things, the tax law changes whether and how homeowners deduct mortgage interest and property taxes. Many of these revisions for individuals and families are set to expire at the end of 2025.

Here are five elements of the tax law that could affect homeownership, home selling and moving.

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Smart lighting: A beginner’s guide

When it comes to smart home tech, the sheer breadth of products and integrations available can get overwhelming fast. An easy way to get started? Smart lighting. Setting up just one smart light bulb makes your home more controllable than before, and because bulbs are small and easy to change, they’re ideal for playing around with in rental apartments as well.

But first: What is smart lighting anyway? Very simply, it’s lighting connected to the internet so you can control it with an app, or increasingly, with a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, using the Amazon, Google, or Apple smart devices that have those services built in. With smart lighting, “control” is no longer just about powering on or off, it’s also about dimming, timing, colors, color temperatures, and how all of those things can be programmed to match your mood or activity.

Intrigued? Read on for three ways to hop on the smart lighting train.

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12 Simple Home Repair Jobs to Lift You Out of Winter’s Funk

Accomplishments — even little ones — go a long way toward a sunny outlook. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy, quick home repair chores you can do when you’re mired in the thick of winter.

For max efficiency, make a to-do list ahead of time and shop for all the tools and supplies in one trip. On your work days, put the basics in a caddy and carry it from room to room, checking off completed tasks as you speed through them.

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4 Funky Odors In Your House Only Your Guests Can Smell

Stand in your kitchen and take a deep breath. Smell that? From last night’s fish to your son’s nasty lacrosse pads (why did he leave them on the table?), you probably can’t detect any of your home’s rankest odors. You’ve got nose blindness.

“You adapt to the smells around you,” says Dr. Richard Doty, the director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

On a sensory level, your processing mechanism becomes less sensitive to the continuous stimuli. Or, on a cognitive level, you can become habituated to the smells and basically learn to ignore them. Or you can do both.

Here are some of the most common nose blindness culprits, and how to ban them from your home.

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Things to consider when building or rebuilding a fence

A fairly commonsense article from HomeZada:

By practicing proper fence etiquette, you may be able to save yourself fence-related hassles and headaches down the road. With that in mind, here are some important tips to remember:

1. Tell your neighbors about the fence ahead of time. While of course it’s kind to let your neighbors know you’re about to put up a fence along your property, the bigger reason you might want to bring it up is to double-check that you understand your property boundaries. If you should accidentally assume your yard ends where it doesn’t, for example, you could wind up putting your fence on your neighbor’s land — and therefore having to take it down to start over again later. Look at your property drawing from its survey with your neighbor or, if you don’t have a drawing, hire a surveyor to create one.

Read the rest of the article here.

Splitting the cost of the fence the the adjoining neighbor is also a possibility.  A good article about some of the factors involved can be read in this article at SFGate.com.

Moving Foreward on Housing Relief

  • By Lynda Hopkins, Sonoma County Supervisor for District 5

So, sometimes government can move swiftly. I was very heartened to see PermitSonoma meeting last week to discuss efforts to both replace housing in the county, and find ways to create more housing on both a permanent and temporary basis.

Following is a summary of actions taken, and actions we will consider this coming Tuesday. Nothing can change the horrific impacts on our community from the firestorm that destroyed so much and affected so many ... but buoyed by the long hours spent by county staff to provide immediate relief to those affected by losses.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance on October 11, 2017 waiving permit processing fees for rebuilding of structures damaged by the Sonoma Complex Fires. On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 the board will consider three additional urgency ordinances to address the immediate housing needs for persons displaced by the fires

Price Gouging (charging any amount more than the average rent charged prior to the emergency) will be prohibited. This applies to transient occupancy, short-term and long-term rentals of less than one year.

Prohibit New Vacation Rentals. Acceptance and processing of vacation rental permits will be suspended for the interim period (45 days but could be extended at a later date).

Temporary Housing for Displaced Persons. Residential use of recreational vehicles and travel trailers will be allowed, both within and outside burn areas in the unincorporated areas, with hookup to sewer or septic. For the next 45 days, they will be allowed without permits or sewer hookups only outside the burn areas, if adequate septic holding capacity and routine pumping service is provided.

Safe Parking Programs will be enabled at certain county-owned properties allowing persons living in RVs, trailers, campers and other vehicles to be parked overnight with some services provided (bathrooms, showers, and warming stations). Safe parking will also be allowed on private properties (i.e. churches) subject to approval of Community Development Commission.

Seasonal Farmworker Housing – the term of occupancy will be extended beyond 180 days so that seasonal farmworkers may remain year-round.

Rental/Use of Guest Houses, Pool Houses and Other Residential Accessory Structures to persons displaced by the fire will be allowed.

Replacement Schools and Child Care Centers will be allowed without a use permit in the MP (industrial park), C1 (neighborhood commercial), CO (commercial office) and PF (public facility) zones.

Long-term Rental of Visitor Serving Uses will be allowed, including bed and breakfast inns, resorts, agricultural farmstays, promotional marketing accommodations and similar uses.

Expansion of Damaged Nonconforming Residential Structures will be allowed to incentivize the construction of additional living areas, accessory dwellings and junior dwelling units.

Waived/Reduced Impact Fees for New Accessory Dwelling Units. Development impact fees that are typically charged on new residential units to cover the cost of improvements needed to mitigate the impact of on traffic and parks will be reduced or waived for new accessory dwelling units as noted below. Impact fees do not apply to reconstruction of existing units damaged by fire.

Size of Unit Impact Fee Reduction. Less than 750 square feet: fees waived. For 751-1,000 square feet, 50 percent of fees.

A Local Assistance Center with all local, state and federal agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations and private insurance companies are available to assist persons displace by the Sonoma Complex Fire at 427 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA open seven days a week between the hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through October 29, 2017.

More Information on available housing resources is available on the county’s website at sonomacounty.ca.gov/FireHousingResources. On the website you can sign up for email notices regarding updates of information and new measures as they become available. You may also submit comments and suggestions on housing resources directly to housingresources@sonoma-county.org or mail to PRMD, 2550 Ventura Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

Lynda Hopkins is the Fifth District Sonoma County Supervisor

The 7 Worst Habits Homeowners Need to Break Now

1. Showering Without Precautions

Spending 20 minutes in the steam may be good for your pores, but it’s also great for mold and mildew. Run the exhaust fan while you’re singing in the shower, squeegee the walls afterward, and scrub that grout every few months.

“Once you let the grout go, it gets worse and worse, and harder and harder to maintain,” says Mylène Merlo, a REALTOR® in San Diego. Grungy grout is a big turnoff for buyers. And redoing it is a pain and expensive to hire out.

Read the full article here.