The link between homeownership and happiness

71266853 - excited family explore new home on moving dayDid you know that numerous studies over many years show a link between owning a home and happiness and overall well-being? The most recent one, from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, shows that homeowners generally have higher financial well-being than non-homeowners.

In the CFPB’s report, homeowners have an average financial well-being score of 58. That’s higher than both renters (with average of 49) and those who neither rent nor own (average of 50). The U.S. average financial well-being score is 54. You can read the entire report at this link.

Research studies have linked owning a home to a number of positive outcomes. Researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of San Diego, for example, have linked homeownership to a reduced risk of teenage pregnancy and a lower possibility that a child will drop out of school. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that children of parents who own their own homes are more likely to score higher in reading and math and have fewer behavioral problems.

At the very least, buying the right home can be a key ingredient in being happy, according to a report by HomeAdvisor. The company’s research in the area has found that homeowner happiness boils down to an affordable and comfortable home in a safe and connected neighborhood and with a reasonable commute. Good things to keep in mind during your next home search.

Five housing trends for 2018

9042176401What’s in store for the nation’s housing market in 2018? The National Association of Realtors offers a glimpse at some of the most significant changes that are expected. Here are five key takeaways:

Housing inventory is expected to increase. Strong demand has depleted the inventory of available homes in markets throughout the country. The association projects U.S. year-over-year housing inventory growth to enter positive territory by fall 2018 for the first time since 2015. That’s good news for home buyers. Most of the inventory growth is expected in U.S. homes priced above $350,000, followed later by lower-priced starter homes.

Price appreciation expected to moderate. U.S. home prices are forecasted to slow to 3.2 percent growth year-over-year nationally, down from about 5.5 percent in 2017. Appreciation likely will end up being highest with lower-priced entry-level homes, which continue to be in extremely high demand.

Millennials will be a bigger part of overall home buying activity. Millennials are on track to comprise about 43 percent of home buyers taking out a mortgage by the end of 2018, up from an estimated 40 percent in 2017. Their influence on the US. housing market is expected to grow in the coming years.

Demand is pushing home sales higher in the South. Cities such as Tulsa, Okla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Dallas; and Charlotte, N.C. are expected to see home-sales growth of 6 percent or more, compared with 2.5 percent nationally.

Uncertainty surrounds tax reform. Tax reform could have a positive effect on housing in some respects, not so much in others. Stay tuned.

Jumbo loan rates: Similar to rates for conforming mortgages

41296455 - interest rate shoppingYears ago, jumbo loan rates were higher — sometimes much higher — than rates on traditional or conforming mortgages. Today, rates on both types of loans are near historic lows. Recently, the difference in rates between regular (conforming) and jumbo (nonconforming) mortgages has been minimal. On some days, the rates for jumbo loans are even lower than those for conforming loans.

A nonconforming or jumbo mortgage is a type of mortgage that has a balance that is above the limits for government-sponsored loans. In most parts of the country, any loan for a single-family home greater than $424,100 is considered to be ‘jumbo’. (Some high cost-of-living areas, along with Hawaii and Alaska, have higher thresholds.) Jumbo loans are useful where real estate is expensive or for home buyers who want to purchase a higher-priced property. Jumbo loans can be either adjustable rate or fixed rate mortgages.

Qualifying for a jumbo mortgage, however can be a bit more difficult. Generally, you’ll need a credit score of at least 700. The required downpayment is typically higher with jumbo loans than with traditional mortgages. Questions about jumbo loans? At PRMI, we have answers!

PRMI: One of Utah’s best places to work

Top Workplaces 1Once again, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. has been recognized as one of the top places to work in Utah by The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper. This year, the publication named 70 companies and organizations in the state to its annual list. Companies are ranked based on employee input. This year, PRMI is ranked No. 4 among large companies, up from No. 8 last year.

At PRMI, our mission is to help individuals and families nationwide achieve the dream of homeownership through a positive and personal experience. We achieve that by creating an incredible environment for our employees that’s based on mutual trust as well as open and honest communication. Get to know PRMI’s core values and how they help our company be such an incredible place to work and get a home loan:

Teamwork. At PRMI, we believe in the power of teamwork. Working together gives our customers better results than we could ever achieve individually.

Stability. Our decisions are deliberate and careful. They have to make sense today and tomorrow.

Advocacy. We believe that what’s good for our customers is good for us, too. We are allies for our customers—advocating for sensible laws and stronger accountability.

Empowerment. When we are empowered, we do more—for each other and for our customers. We take charge of each situation with a solutions-oriented approach.

Integrity. A dedication to a high level of business ethics guides all of our decisions. When we act with integrity, we build trust by always making the right choice, regardless of circumstance.

Excellence. The pursuit of excellence is a guide to our true potential. We seek to be better, smarter, and more effective people—for ourselves and for our customers.

Happiness. A happy work environment and a great customer experience go hand-in-hand. When we enjoy what we do, it’s easy to deliver a knockout experience.

For more information on the newspaper’s annual ranking, go to this link.

Four reasons for refinancing

9737664 - dollar house isolated over white.With today’s low mortgage rates, refinancing activity is on the rise. Does it make sense for you to refinance your home loan? Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider it:

You want a fixed rate home loan. When you purchased your home, you took out an adjustable-rate mortgage. But you plan on staying in your home over the long term and want the predictability of a fixed-rate home loan.

You want to get rid of your monthly mortgage insurance payment. Generally, private mortgage insurance is required with a down payment of less than 20 percent. In some cases, though, if you have increased your home equity past the 20 percent mark, refinancing can help you get rid of your monthly mortgage insurance premium. It all depends on your home value as determined by an appraisal and your outstanding mortgage balance.

You want to tap your home’s equity. Depending on the amount of equity you have in your home, you may be able to ‘cash-out’ of some of your equity during the refinancing process.

You want to lower your monthly payment. If today’s mortgage rates are lower than when you purchased your home, you may want to refinance to lower your monthly payment. It’s estimated that there are millions of homeowners with higher-rate mortgages who could save money by refinancing.

How FHA home loans work their magic

49277481_S (1)

At Primary Residential Mortgage, we know there are many hardworking families out there who want to buy a home but who don’t have perfect credit or a 20 percent downpayment. We make first-time home buying easier with our FHA loan options. As an established FHA loan lender, our team helps you take the necessary steps to help you finance your own home.

FHA Loans are geared toward hard-working families with low- to moderate incomes. The key advantages to FHA home loans are the easier down payment and credit score requirements. The requirements for FHA loans are lower than many types of conventional loans.

Turn homeownership into a possibility with Primary Residential Mortgage. We are one of the top mortgage companies in the United States, with the national presence to leverage better terms and rates, and the local presence to provide the best experience for our customers. Get started on the path to homeownership today.

The first step toward pursuing the American Dream

22903134 - usa real estate concept: house against american flagReady to pursue the American Dream of homeownership? Our company has helped more than 200,000 people become homeowners. We would love to help you, too.

We offer a variety of home loan options for home buyers. We proudly work with the FHA and VA home loan programs. If you meet the qualifications, you can enjoy lower closing costs, lower mortgage payments, and the possibility of no down payment. It’s an incredible benefit for military personnel, veterans, and military families.

Buying a home that needs a lot of work can be challenging in more ways than one. That’s why we work the FHA 203(k) home loan program. Eligible borrowers can purchase a fixer-upper with one loan for both the purchase price and improvements. It’s another low-downpayment option that provides our customers with even more flexibility in their home buying choices.

Ever heard of a USDA home loan? It’s not for people buying farms! This no-downpayment program allows eligible borrowers to purchase homes in rural areas. The USDA determines what “rural” means, and that varies widely by state. If the home you’re buying qualifies, it could be a good choice for you and your family.

At PRMI, we also offer conventional loans, jumbo loans, reverse mortgages and more. As one of the top mortgage companies nationwide, we have a full and unwavering commitment to helping you realize your dream of home ownership. And with more than 280 locations and growing, chances are we are convenient to you!

The requirement of title insurance

36413931_SDuring a property sale, the title company will perform a search, combing public records to verify the property’s chain of ownership and any issues that might affect whether title can be transferred to another owner. You wouldn’t want to purchase a home only to learn that the seller didn’t have the right to sell it to you or that the property is subject to liens for unpaid taxes.

This due diligence usually catches any problems and enables the seller to present a clean title of ownership. But what if the title company misses something? That’s why title insurance was created.

Title insurance comes in two flavors: the lender’s policy and the owner’s policy.

As the name implies, the lender’s title insurance policy protects the amount they let you borrow. This policy goes with the mortgage, so if you refinance, you’ll need another one.

The owner’s policy stays with the property and protects you, the owner, if someone makes a legitimate claim to your house.

Most lenders require that you purchase a lender’s policy, but owner’s policies may be optional, depending on your location. Who pays for these policies—buyer or seller—is subject to negotiation or may be established by normal business practices in your area.

Is it likely that a contractor will emerge and claim you owe him thousands of dollars that the previous owner didn’t pay? Probably not. But that’s the nature of insurance—it’s a waste of money until it’s not.

Different states have different regulations regarding title insurance. Check with your mortgage company to understand what you’re required to purchase and the best options for your situation.

What you should know about VA loans

11278885_SAs many as one third of home-buying veterans don’t know there’s a loan product designed just for them!

After 70 years of success, you would think that every veteran and active-duty service member would know about the Department of Veterans Affairs home loan program. Given that stat, it’s not as surprising that there are myths about VA loans. Here are a few.

Myth: They’re issued by the VA. Nope. Any lender who participates in the VA program can handle your loan, but the Department of Veterans Affairs is not a lender—it just guarantees the mortgage loan.

Myth: You have to pay PMI. Also not true. Unlike FHA loans, VA loans do not require private mortgage insurance, which saves borrowers a few hundred dollars per month.

Myth: You can only get one. Not only can you use this earned benefit over and over again, you can in certain cases have more than one VA loan at the same time

Myth: They require excellent credit. Not really. VA loans are typically less stringent about credit scores than conventional loans. In this regard, VA loans are similar to FHA products, which also approve borrowers with lower credit scores.

Myth: You can’t get one if you’re overseas. If you grant power of attorney to your spouse, or someone else, to act on your behalf in a transaction, you can use a VA loan to buy a home. Your spouse is the only person who can satisfy the occupancy rule, but if you’re serving overseas, you could get an extension to occupy the home.

If you’re eligible for a Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage loan, find a qualified lender. These products have been helping veterans and active-duty service members borrow funds for homes since the 1940s. Make sure you’re getting your full, earned benefit.

Up and coming areas in which to invest

45070128_SBuying a property in a popular area can cost a lot of money. If you plan to stay in your home for a few years, it might be worth it to look for an up-and-coming ZIP code—before it gets hot.

While luck plays a role in determining which area to invest in, there are signs that indicate a neighborhood might be headed in that direction. Here are some things that can help you find a place where future prices could appreciate considerably.

Portable toilets

Where there are portable toilets, there are construction workers building homes and remodeling others. Not every home renovation signals an explosion of a neighborhood, but several projects in a rundown or less-desirable area could indicate things are on the rise. 

Transit investment

Light-rail stations and other transit hubs aren’t built in places where there isn’t demand. Plus, nearby public-transit options usually increase a property’s value. Watch a community’s transit planning and look for properties around scheduled projects.

Bars, shops and restaurants

Notice lots of new commercial activity? Hip bars and trendy boutiques don’t usually open in places that won’t attract any customers. If you notice construction on these types of businesses in one area, look at what’s available for housing.

These signs don’t prove that a neighborhood is poised to take off, but they point you in the right direction. A real estate professional or other property advisor can further analyze the market you’re interested in and help you make a better informed decision.

When you do find a property to buy, your lender can point to appropriate products, such as a Federal Housing Administration 203k loan, which lets you borrow enough to buy and rehab a neglected house.