Buying a home is an exciting experience, but it can feel a bit overwhelming if you don’t have the right information. Check out these helpful resources about the home buying process. When you’re ready, give The Lise Howe Group a call at 240-401-5577 to tour available homes in the Montgomery County and Bethesda areas.

Recent FHFA Changes and How They’ll Impact You!

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) recently announced that effective September 1 there would be an Adverse Market Refinance Fee, which applies to all mortgage refinances serviced by government entities. The so-called “Adverse Market Refinance Fee” (Fannie is also calling it a “Loan-Level Price Adjustment,” while Freddie’s alternative label is a “Market Condition Credit Fee in Price”) would assess a 50-basis point fee for both no cash-out refinance mortgages and cash-out refinance mortgages. This means lenders will pay an extra 0.5 percent of the loan amount as a one-time charge. This would add as much as $1400 to refinances. That was the bad news.

The better news is that on Tuesday, August 25, the FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would delay the implementation of the controversial Adverse Market Refinance Fee. The fee will now be applied starting December 1 rather than September 1. Along with this news, the FHFA said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will exempt refinance loans with balances below $125,000 along with Home Ready and Home Possible products. Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Robert Broeksmit said, “We welcome today’s announcement from the FHFAamending the recently announced Adverse Market Refinance Fee from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Extending the effective date will permit lenders to close refinance loans that are in their pipelines and honor the rate lock commitments they made to their borrowers, ensuring that economic relief in the form of record low interest rates will continue to flow to consumers.”

If you are thinking of refinancing to take advantage of the truly historic low rates we are seeing right now, then please give me a call. I can recommend a good lender – either one we work with constantly – or one who works for your current bank. I want to make sure that you get the best rates and best service possible and I am happy to share my contacts with you to make that happen!

Can You Buy a House With a High Income and Low Credit Score?

A mortgage lender looks at several factors when deciding whether to approve a loan application. A lending institution wants to know that a borrower has both the ability and the will to repay debts. If you have a high income and a low credit score, a lender may have reservations about approving your mortgage application.

Useful Insights for a First Time Home Buyer

As a First Time Home Buyer, you may be confused about how to make that home purchase happen. We all know it takes more than just the desire to buy a home in this day and age. It takes planning too. Here are some insights to keep in mind when working toward owning a home.

Has Quarantine Forced You to Reevaluate your Home?

Has spending more time at home lately had you reconsidering your space? The quirks you lived with just a few months ago might not be so easy to dismiss when you’re stuck with them all day, every day. I think many of us are going through a Goldilocks moment. Our homes are too big, too small, too old, not in the right place, etc. etc.! Are you ready for a new home that is just right? A lot of us are going through that evaluation. Here’s how to tell if your relationship with your house can recover or if it’s time to move on.

An Open Letter

Dear Friends,

I know that with COVID-19 comes a lot of uncertainty, anxiety, and even fear as we anticipate what is to come. I want to make sure you know that I am here to help in any capacity you may need–whether that is real estate advice or otherwise.

As a realtor in the DC area for over 30 years, I know lots of local professionals, and I am happy to connect you with wonderful people and companies who can help meet your needs (again, whether real estate related or not) during this challenging time. Despite the constant barrage of bad news, there are good people out there who want to do their part for others–particularly for those whose health or livelihood are directly impacted by this virus.

When it comes to real estate, I’ve gotten questions from some of you about whether it’s even wise to buy or sell a home during this unprecedented time. I want to take this opportunity to assure you that the market continues to hum along–homes are still selling and buyers are still buying. I have had several offers come in this week on my listings, and I continue to have conversations with buyers who are actively shopping for a new home.

Furthermore, real estate professionals are making adjustments to the way we do business to ensure that we carry on working as usual and that the health and safety of our clients is first priority. I am no exception!

For sellers, I can easily replace an in home consultation with a Facetime call or video conference and virtually gather the information I need to put your home on the market. I also have ways to work around showings, including making full use of my relationships with people and companies who buy homes outright.

For buyers, I am more than happy to tour a home and have you right there with me on Facetime, Skype, you name it–there are plenty of ways to provide a virtual tour of your dream home while you remain in the comfort of your current home.

I am here to offer sound advice based on facts, market conditions, and research–if you need a voice of reason, please give me a call!

And beyond the real estate market, if you need someone to talk to, to connect you with local resources, or simply to offer support, I am here!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 240-401-5577 or lise@lisehowe.com at any time.

Finally, a huge thank you to our medical professionals, grocery store clerks, sanitation workers, mailmen and women, and everyone else risking their health so we can maintain some normalcy in these difficult times.

And to everyone who is uniquely vulnerable right now based on their livelihood, their health, their age, or anything else–I am thinking of you and I am here if you’d like to reach out.

Sincerely,

Lise Howe
240-401-5577
lise@lisehowe.com
The Lise Howe Group
Keller Williams Capital Properties
4646 40th Street NW
Washington DC 20016

5 Home Features to Make Aging in Place Easier

While my mother in law no longer lives on her own (at the age of 107 this is understandable), she was able to stay in her home and live independently for longer as a result of some of the home improvements listed below–and particularly due to living in a one level home.

If you’re looking to buy a new home and hope to stay there for the rest of your life, look ahead to what you might want as you age. We believe that adding features that make a house more accessible when you purchase is much easier than having to make modifications later.

Here are five home features to look for in a “forever home” that can make age-related limitations easier to deal with:

2020 Housing Market and Economic Trends

Now that we’re almost 2 months into 2020, you may be wondering what the remainder of the year will hold for the economy and the housing market specifically. Let’s start with the economy as a whole–and don’t worry, it appears things are looking up! Stocks picked up right where they left off in 2019 by touching all-time highs. And Bonds, which also performed well in 2019, continue to hover near three-year highs, keeping home loan rates near 3-year lows.

Here we present three economic trends to watch for the remainder of the year:

Don’t fight the Fed. As the saying goes, there doesn’t appear to be any chance of a Fed rate hike in 2020. The economy is strong, but not too strong. Plus, the Fed is fighting disinflation, so a rate hike would counter those efforts. Moreover, it’s a presidential election year and the Fed has historically tried it’s best to avoid any monetary policy moves in those years.
Bottom line: good for Stocks and less good for Bonds.

Stock gains. Post-World War II, Stocks on average have gained 10.1% in presidential election years where the incumbent is up for re-election. It’s tough to fight that trend, even with Stocks soaring in 2019. Bottom line: Stocks are set to finish 2020 higher.
$1,000,000,000,000. That was what the U.S. spent in holiday retail shopping in 2019. That massive record highlights the strength of the U.S. consumer who makes up 70% of the U.S. economy.

What can we gather from these trends? That absent a Black Swan event or unforeseen negative surprise, 2020 is shaping up to be a great year for the U.S. economy, with the labor market strong, wages rising, inflation muted, and interest rates low.

Moving on to the housing market, it looks like 2020 should be an interesting year for residential real estate. Because predicting housing market trends can be challenging, we examined combined projections from the most trusted entities in the industry to bring you as accurate a forecast as possible. We review mortgage rates, home sales, and home prices–and the predictions for 2020 may surprise you.

Looking to Buy an Investment Property in the DC area? Consider the I-270 Life Sciences Corridor!

Depending on how closely you follow development in DC and the surrounding area, you may have heard of the I-270 life sciences corridor: a 37 mile stretch of life sciences companies along I-270 that snakes from Bethesda through Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Clarksburg. The corridor spans two counties (Montgomery and Frederick) and hosts 140 companies and counting that employee over 19,000 people between them.

One reason that buying a property along the corridor is a smart move? There are more massive developments underway that will bring plenty more jobs and plenty more employees in need of housing! Read on for some information about several of the largest planned developments.