If you’re looking for a home or about to sell one, you know that monthly mortgage interest rates are a key factor in housing affordability. But what makes rates go up or down? What national economic indicators affect the interest you’ll pay?
The information out there can be confusing. Should you pay attention to stocks, T-bills, bank rates, short-term rates, crystal balls or the Federal Reserve? Unless you’re a financial professional, all the data can make your head spin.
Here is the one interest rate indicator that will tell you where mortgage rates are headed: Bonds. Bonds, bonds, bonds. Specifically, bonds called mortgage backed securities, or MBS.
When you build a new home there must be a lot for construction. That’s basic. How much does the lot cost? I’ve heard buyers say their lot was included with the purchase of their home. Nope. Not true. Never, ever. The cost may be minimal, but there is a cost. Why would you pay more – or less – for a specific lot?
1) The View – Water, city, mountain, park, golf course – these are a few examples of lot views that would command a premium price. Is there a landfill, factory, or what would be considered a nuisance across the street? No premium!
2) Traffic – A busy road behind or in front of your lot would decrease the value of your property. The lot is cheaper. Homes are usually more difficult to sell when built on a busy thoroughfare. Sometimes builders offset the location by increasing the lot size as well as setting a lower price.
3) Proximity – Is your site near the park or pool? The value of a lot so located depends upon your preferences. Many people don’t want to live next to high traffic areas and a pool in summer is definitely high traffic in Texas. Others are thrilled with the convenience. Personal preference plays an important role in the home buying process. In a neighborhood, proximity to the pool or park may or may not be considered valuable. Depends on the neighborhood involved. Just remember the same feature you fall in love with may not be desirable to others when you put your home on the market in a few years.
4) Convenience – This is not the same as proximity (meaning simply ‘near to’). Proximity to a golf course or a lake, especially if the neighborhood was built specifically for the use of these amenities is a convenience and a lot located nearby would probably be considered premium, with the price adjusted accordingly.
Everyone has a favorite season…mine is Spring. It’s too short but I’ll take it as I get it. The air is fresher after a stale winter of heated spaces and heavy clothes, wind burned faces and chapped lips. The sun is cheery on new green grass and the birds are hopping with excitement to see insects working their way to the surface again.
My Mother loved summer and gardening. Dad lived for deer, duck and dove seasons. If it needed a license, stamp or permit, Dad would hunt, stalk, track, or catch it. He sometimes spiced it up a bit by a weekend of fishing or a couple of days in the woods hunting rabbits or squirrels.
But make no mistake, deer season found him trekking through the cold, peering around trees or perched in a deer stand patiently stalking his quarry. Dad might come home after a few days with an 8-point buck and an amazing story of the hunt. Or he’d come home empty-handed. With a more amazing story. Deer are cunning and evasive creatures, after all.
Downstairs master, playroom, island kitchen, backyard space, high ceilings and, of course, OPEN CONCEPT. How many times do you hear that term on HGTV? A list of your preferences is imperative when you consider purchasing a home. But there’s so much more to it. Selection criteria should take into consideration where, how and when you use the space, just for a start.
In Texas, morning sun is a fabulous perk! But when was the last time you noticed every home in a neighborhood was built with the patio facing East-Northeast? Lots have a ‘premium’ for a reason. Solutions are available but when you find ‘the perfect house’, it’s easy to get carried away and overlook important points. Do you have sufficient afternoon shade for entertaining? Do you garden? Have outdoor pets? Want a pool?
What about new construction? Is the house on a lake? (That will require another post!) How will the house sit on the lot? Do you enjoy morning coffee or evening wine? Will the glare through the windows require everyone to don dark glasses at breakfast? Will guests simmer during dinner? And, if you’re watching the playoffs, will the glare on the screen make your head pound?
Consider wall space – are there too many doors or windows? Will the sectional sofa you’ve been considering work when you add a Christmas tree in December? It’s not important to everyone, but is it important to you? Will traffic flow smoothly through the kitchen or will the family be trampling each other while getting meals on the table?
Imagine getting groceries from the car to the pantry. Must they be carted down the hall, across the living room, around the island and through the laundry room? Again, not important to everyone. But it’s a deal breaker for others. The monetary investment required for a home is certainly sufficient to require a few thoughtful notes about your lifestyle. Continue reading Life in the Sun – Texas Homeowners→