Mortgage Markets Respond to Fed Rate Hike


As the Federal Reserve raised interest rate hike last Wednesday, fixed-rate loans on mortgages also increased.  On 30 year loans, rates climbed from 4.21 to 4.0, whereas 15 year loans saw a 3.42 to 3.5 percent increase.

Most experts see the Federal Reserves’s .25% hike (from .75% to 1%) as a prudent maneuver in a strengthening economy.  Jobs numbers in February, for example, far surpassed expectation.  The Fed has indicated future hikes are likely to continue.

This Inman article offers some perspective on the interaction between mortgage rates and Federal Reserve interest rates:

“That Fed move is already built in to rates” for other products (like mortgages), added Barnes — which seems to be the consensus from other experts, too.

The Federal Reserve sets the rate for the overnight exchange of money by banks; governors adjust the rate to help curb inflation or stimulate growth, depending on their assessment of what would be best for the economy.

Although this rate is not the same thing as the mortgage interest rate that buyers pay when they take out on a loan on a home, movement of the Fed rate up or down can put pressure on mortgage interest rates.

“With this increase well anticipated by most markets, Keller Williams does not expect any dramatic change in the current path of mortgage rates. Rates will likely continue to slowly rise this year barring a change in the economic situation,” said Ruben Gonzalez, staff economist, Keller Williams, in a statement.

None of this is cause to panic, as the raise in rates are said to be a result of a stronger economy.  If more people find work and incomes rise, more home ownership should follow. However, if you are currently considering buying, you may want to consult a mortgage expert and get the process rolling to lock in the lowest possible rate.


Moving to Central Florida? (West Orange Edition)


Are you interested in moving to Central Florida?  This video highlights some fantastic communities in Central Florida, Windermere, Dr. Phillips and Winter Garden.  Of course, we discuss the great local attractions and where locals go to dine, shop, and play.  If you are ready to become our neighbors, please feel free to give us a call! We are REALTORS who open doors for our clients!


Long Distance Move 101: Eliminate


If you were recently assigned a new position across the country, or perhaps are a modern-day nomad looking for a change of scenery — and now find yourself preparing for a daunting long-distance move, study these helpful tips to get your pioneer self ready for the next adventure.  

Keep these tips in mind when beginning your packing:

Get rid of all your nonessential “crap”. Elimination is both the first tip and the most important one.  Why, you may ask, is it so vital to de-clutter, pare-down and shed unnecessary items?  Because it will make every step in the process of your move easier and faster and will ultimately save you lots of money in packing, shipping, and storage costs, opening up more options for future housing.

To truly put yourself in the right mindset for parting with your beloved knickknacks and tchotchkes, I recommend watching a few episodes of Hoarders: Buried Alive on TLC.  Think of this exercise as a preemptive intervention.  By the time you’ve finished episode 4, you should be thoroughly disgusted with everything you own that doesn’t serve a function in your household.

And when you start discarding items, please don’t make the mistake of seeing it as ‘throwing money away.’  Instead, think of the time and money you’re saving.  Look ahead to the opportunities you’ll eventually get to purchase new items more suited to your future surroundings.

Pitch, Donate, Sell and Save.  Donate (or just give away) things that are clean and in good shape but you no longer need, no longer fit, or have duplicates of.  Sell everything with real value; or auction them off on eBay.  No, forget your mint condition Beanie Babies; focus on  things that other people really want.  Remember, keep those receipts from your donations for a little tax credit.

I understand that some people really, really really have a hard time pitching out their junk… even after a Hoarders marathon.  You know who you are.  But seriously; only save the items you need on a daily basis for your new home, your favorite clothes that fit, and a few highly sentimental items (like scrapbooks).  Keep furniture that you know you really want to keep.  Seize the opportunity to get rid of that beat-up, hand-me-down couch. Really separate the wheat from the chaff.  Every item you are packing must be the best-of-the best.  Your future self will thank you when she’s opening fewer boxes in her new location.

Nobody wants your junk, nobody.  Not even the Salvation Army.



If you have decided to move and need to either sell your existing home or buy a new home, finding a competent REALTOR® to market your home is a great investment — here is why…

If you choose to rent an apartment or buy, sell or lease your home, REALTORS can help you get the biggest bang for your buck.  You may think you cannot afford a REALTOR, but a REALTOR’s knowledge of the area, access to the latest market information and expertise are invaluable money-savers in the end.

If you are currently renting, this is a good time to dust off your lease agreement and figure out how much notice your landlord needs.  If your lease is coming due, you are in an ideal situation to start looking for your forever-home.

If you currently own your home and need to sell it, invite your REALTOR to view your home.  Now’s a great time to strategize.  Perhaps your house could use some light home improvements to freshen it up and give it better curb-appeal.  A REALTOR will draw your attention to things in your home that may attract or distract potential buyers.

Maybe it is time to paint that lime green bathroom a nice neutral color, cut down that dead tree in the front of your house or just de-clutter.

After a market comparison of other houses that have sold recently in your area, your Realtor will give you a good idea what price your home should be listed for.  A REALTOR’s exclusive access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), as well as their expertise,  will allow them to price your home appropriately for your area and current market conditions.

Pricing is an important factor.  Without a REALTOR, you may be selling yourself short by either underpricing or overpricing your home.  Overpriced homes will turn off or even scare away potential buyers. Time is money.  If you can afford to not sell your house until you get your desired price, (and that price can also appraise) then more power to you.

If you underprice your home, you lose opportunites to make additional money.

If you are buying a home, a REALTOR will help you get a good idea what is truly available in the marketplace.  Most people start their home search online and quickly discover that the posts are outdated!  After calling on several desired homes you may notice an unsettling trend; that all the houses you like are under contract or have been sold… because those buyers were using a (wait for it)…REALTOR!

Rather than wasting time with online searches that may be rife with expired listings, a REALTOR will have the very latest listings, so you can jump on a good value as soon as it pops on the market.  Furthermore, your REALTOR will help you make a strong offer, negotiate on your behalf and walk you through all the contracts and paperwork.

Why does it “pay” to hire a REALTOR? Ever try to fix a leaky pipe and wind up flooding the floor?  Even if you manage to do it right, all the time and money you squandered on parts could’ve been better spent calling a plumber and getting it done right the first time.

Same idea with a REALTOR.

“What’s That Smell?!” Buyers Nose = Sellers Woes

Smell is often the least appreciated of the five senses. Understandably; it may not be as essential as sight or sound – but sellers should never underestimate how important it is to buyers that the place smells good when they are evaluating your home. A buyer’s nose can literally lose you money. Some buyers cannot “see” beyond the telltale scent of your lovable little dog embedded deep into your carpets. Or even the pungent traces of that garlic-onion stew you had for lunch, still lingering in the air.

Even if the buyers love your home, otherwise, and would’ve planned on replacing whatever the offending odor is emanating from — it may be too late. Because in the buyers’ mind, your house “stinks.”

I have literally seen buyers walk through a home’s front door, then exit just as quickly because they smelled something that did not agree with them. That these same homes had so carefully, meticulously staged by their sellers only adds to the tragedy.

Now, does that mean that sellers should ditch their pets, or starve during the showing phase? Absolutely not. It just means that sellers should ask a trusted third party if their house has a smell. Other ideas would be to avoid cooking foods with distinctive odors right before a showing. Be sure to open those windows and let some fresh air in, a few hours a day. Wash all the hard surfaces of the house with a cleaning agent, get your air ducts cleaned, and if necessary, have those carpets professionally cleaned. Everything goes double if you are a smoker.

We have often walked into a home and played the game “What’s that smell?” …Is it a dog? Cat? Cigarette smoke? Mildew?”

Joking aside, smells can seriously frighten buyers off, none more so than mildew. When a whiff of mildew or mold hits a prospective buyer’s nose, it is literally the kiss of death. These smells makes them assume the house has been poorly maintained or conceals deeper defects, such as leaky roofs and pipes. Of course, if this is actually is the case, and a leak or other serious defect is behind the awful stink, the buyer needs to seek a professional to address the cause directly, and never just mask the odor.

However, if the house just smells a bit musty for one reason or another, take the time to correct it. You don’t want to sell your home short over a minor fix.

Having said all that, be sure not to overdo the Febreeze or Lysol sprays, either. It’ll backfire just as much as pouring too much perfume over yourself before a big date. Honestly, the best smell to a buyer is a generally fresh and clean ambiance. Wash every surface of your home, (get out the toothbrush and scrub between the cracks!) then give it some time to air out.

Nothing excites a homebuyer more then the lovely fragrance of a clean, well-maintained home.