Archive for the ‘General Information’ Category

Economic Update – March 22, 2010

Monday, March 22nd, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 0.1% in February, following a 0.9% gain in January. It was the eighth consecutive monthly increase. The overall factory-operating rate rose to 72.7% of capacity in February from 72.6% in January.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index fell two points in March to 15. Economists had anticipated a reading of 17. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The last time the index was above 50 was in April 2006.

The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in February fell 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 575,000 units. The decrease was largely blamed on winter blizzards in the Northeast and South. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 1.6% to 612,000 units.

Import prices fell 0.3% in February following a 1.3% increase in January. The drop was driven by 2.2% decline in petroleum prices. On a year-over-year basis, import prices are up 2.1%. According to the report, export prices fell 0.5% in February.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, fell 0.6% in February, following a 1.4% increase in January. Economists had expected a decrease of 0.3%.

Consumer prices were flat last month following a 0.2% gain in January. A rise in food prices in February was offset by a decline in gasoline and other energy costs.

The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose 0.1% in February after a 0.3% gain in January. It was the 11th straight monthly increase and the longest series of gains since 2003.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on existing home sales on March 23, new home sales on March 24 and consumer sentiment on March 26.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Mortgage Checklist

Monday, March 22nd, 2010




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The following information is usually required during the loan process.

Identification:

Your social security number

Assets:

Bank statements for past two months
Investment account statements for past two months
Life insurance policy
Retirement account statements for past two months
Make/model of vehicles you own along with their resale value
Liabilities:

Credit card account information, including balance & monthly payment
Auto loan account information, including balance & monthly payment
Personal loan account information, including balance & monthly payment
Incomes:

Current pay stubs and W2, or if self employed, past two years of tax returns
If you currently own Real Estate:

Mortgage account information, including balance & monthly payment
Home equity account information, including balance & monthly payment (if applicable)
Home insurance policy information



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Know your options in Stamford, CT: Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

Friday, March 19th, 2010




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 Know your options in Stamford, CT: Short Sale vs. Foreclosure | CT Real Estate

Avoid Foreclosure in Stamford, CT: Short Sale

Chances are, you or someone you know in Stamford is facing the possibility of foreclosure. But you need to understand that you are not alone.

Today, nearly 1 out of every 6 homeowners in America is behind on mortgage payments. These are tough and frustrating times. Now more than ever, it’s important to identify your options. Foreclosure can be avoided, your credit can be saved, and your financial future can be salvaged.

Through my experience handling distressed properties at The Property Network, I’ve found that homeowners today have more questions than answers about their circumstances. I have created this site to help you understand the possible solutions to foreclosure, as well as provide a detailed explanation of short sales, which may be the best course of action for some homeowners.

You may also have noticed that I’m offering you a FREE Report to explain your options and help you decide on a course of action. The idea of losing a home can be overwhelming, and I feel it is vital for you to have all the facts necessary to make an informed decision.

As an agent with the CDPE® Designation, I have a strong and unique appreciation of the factors affecting themarket, and know that there are options available to you.

If you would like to know more about your options, please call me at 203.348.8400.

I am here to help … in any way I can.

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why mortgage rates change

Thursday, March 18th, 2010




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David Garofalo
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #122111
Direct: 203-910-1845
Fax: 877-298-3986
Email Me!
100 Technology Dr., Ste. 203
Trumbull, CT 06611

Learning Center
Why Rates Change
We are committed to keeping clients informed about timely topics and trends in the mortgage industry. One common mortgage industry misconception is the correlation between the Federal Reserve Board’s announcements to raise or lower interest rates and the direct effect on fixed mortgage rates. While the two are connected, they don’t always go hand-in-hand.

Kinds of Rates

To better understand why mortgage rates change, we must first look at why interest rates change. First, it is important to realize that there is not just one interest rate, but many:

Prime Rate: The rate offered to a bank’s best customers and subject to change monthly.

Treasury Bill Rates: Treasury Bills are short-term debt instruments used by the U.S. Government to finance their debt. Commonly know as T-Bills, they come in denominations of 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. Each Treasury bill has a corresponding interest rate (i.e. 3-month T-bill rate, 1-year T-bill rate).

Treasury Notes: Intermediate-term debt instruments used by the U.S. Government to finance their debt. They come in denominations of 2 years, 5 years and 10 years.

Treasury Bonds: Long-debt instruments used by the U.S. Government to finance its debt.

Federal Funds Rate: Rates that banks charge each other for overnight loans.

Federal Discount Rate: Rate that the Federal Reserve charges to member banks.

LIBOR: London Interbank Offered Rates. Average London Eurodollar rates.

6-month CD Rate: The average rate that you get when you invest in a 6-month Certificate of Deposit.

11th District Cost of Funds: Rate determined by averaging a composite of depository rates at Savings & Loan institutions in the Western United States.

Fannie Mae-Backed Security Rates: Fannie Mae pools large quantities of mortgages, creates securities with them, and sells them as Fannie Mae-backed securities. The rates on these securities strongly influence mortgage rates.

Ginnie Mae-Backed Security Rates: Ginnie Mae pools large quantities of mortgages, secures them and sells them as Ginnie Mae-backed securities. The rates on these securities influence mortgage rates on FHA and VA loans.

Mortgage Rates Refresher

Fixed interest-rate fluctuations are based on the concept of supply and demand. If demand for credit (loans) increases, so do interest rates. More buyers mean sellers can command a better price (i.e., higher rates). If demand for credit reduces, then so do interest rates. This is because there are more sellers, so buyers can command a lower better price (i.e., lower rates). When the economy expands, there is higher demand for credit, so rates increase. When the economy slows, the demand for credit decreases and so do rates.

Effects of Inflation

A major factor driving interest rates is inflation. Higher inflation is associated with a growing economy. When the economy grows too strongly, the Federal Reserve increases interest rates to slow the economy down and reduce inflationary risk. Inflation results from prices of goods and services increasing. When the economy is strong, there is more demand for goods and services, so the producers of those goods and services can increase prices. A strong economy therefore results in higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates vs. Interest Rates

Fixed mortgage rates tend to move in the same direction as interest rates. However, actual mortgage rates are also based on supply and demand for mortgages. The supply/demand equation for mortgage rates may be different from the supply/demand equation for interest rates. This may result in mortgage rates moving somewhat differently from other rates.

Significance of Bond Prices

There is an inverse relationship between bond prices and bond yields. This can be confusing. When bond prices move up, interest rates move down and vice versa. This is because bonds tend to have a fixed price at maturity–typically $1000. If the price of the bond is currently $900 with 10 years left until maturity, and interest rates start moving higher, the price of the bond starts dropping. The higher interest rates accumulate over the next five years, meaning that a lower price (e.g. $880) will result in the same maturity price, i.e. $1000.



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HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010




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 Header StPatricksDay2010 v2 HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! | CT Real Estate
 
 

• Learn about home loans
• Use loan calculators
• Apply for a home loan
 
  David Garofalo
Senior Loan Officer
Prospect Mortgage
NMLS# 122111
100 Technology Dr., Suite 203
Trumbull, CT 06611
Office: (203) 910-1845
Fax: (877) 298-3986
David.Garofalo@prospectmtg.com
       
Did you know:
The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948.
According to the latest data, 36.3 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry. This number is more than eight times the population of Ireland itself (4.4 million). Irish is the second most frequently reported ancestry in the U.S., trailing only German.
 

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. The corned beef that celebrants will eat may very well have originated in Texas, which produces 6.5 billion pounds worth of beef annually. The largest producers of cabbage annually are New York, which produces 584 million pounds and California, which produces 528 million pounds.

 

The first day of spring is March 20!

 


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Economis Update – March 15, 2010

Monday, March 15th, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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According to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index, retail sales rose 2.9% for the week ending March 6. It was the biggest weekly gain in nine years. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3.4%, the best showing in two-and-a-half years.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 5 rose 0.5%. Purchase volume increased 5.7%. Refinancing applications fell 1.5%.

The Commerce Department said wholesalers cut their inventories by 0.2% in January following a downward revised 1% drop in December. Meanwhile, sales at the wholesale level rose 1.3% in January, marking the 10th straight monthly gain.

The trade deficit unexpectedly fell 6.6% to $37.3 billion in January from a revised $39.9 billion gap in December. Economists had expected the trade deficit to widen to $41 billion. Exports slipped 0.3% to $142.7 billion. Imports fell 1.7% to $180 billion.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 462,000 in the week ending March 6. Continuing claims for the week ending February 27 rose by 37,000 to 4.558 million.

Retail sales rose 0.3% in February, following a revised 0.1% increase in January. Economists had anticipated retail sales to decline 0.2% in February. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales increased 3.9%.

The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March’s preliminary reading fell to 72.5 from February’s final reading of 73.6. One year ago, the mid-March reading was 57.3. During the economic expansion that ended in December 2007, the index averaged 88.9.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on March 15, housing starts on March 16 and the index of leading economic indicators on March 18.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Flip That House!

Sunday, March 14th, 2010




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Flip That House!

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

If you can afford to buy, renovate and sell a house right now, good for you! You are doing way better than most people. Flipping houses is a great way to make money and with this economy, now is the time to buy.

The ideal situation is to buy now, fix it up and rent until the real estate market comes back into full swing, then sell. Even if you buy now and sell it is worth it. But just remember the market is what it is right now, so don’t expect to be making a fortune on flips, unless you buy something really low and sink some money into it and sell for a moderate price.

Now, if I were you and could flip houses the first thing I would do is make buddy-buddy with a real estate agent (I would suggest Nicole Borsey, she is the only real estate agent I would trust with a project like this). Real estate agents get the listings first and by making friends with one or two can help get you the inside tip to a great buy. Plus they are always full of great suggestions to get the most bang for your buck on renovations.

Foreclosures and bank owned properties are a great place to start. Banks just want enough money so it is not a loss for them. So if the house is worth $300,000 but the bank only needs a $150,000 to cover the rest of the mortgage, you can probably get the house for around a $150k. This is sweet because it already puts you a head of the game when it comes time to resell.

Know your numbers. What you can afford to put into the house and what you will get out of the house. Go over the numbers with your contractor and than go over them again. Don’t go over. Stick to the numbers.

Once you find your property and get your mortgage, you have to really look at what is worth fixing in the house. Is it going to be a good return on investment??? Kitchens and bathrooms are usually the money makers. You give a kitchen a make over and it is usually instant relief when someone walks into the house.

*****Remember if you open up the walls, whatever you find behind the sheetrock has to be brought up to code if it is below code standards. So opening up the walls can be a gamble, if you find that you need to up date all the electric and plumbing the price of poker just went up.******

Finding a contractor you can trust is worth it’s weight in gold. Some contractors are willing to work with you if they know they are getting more work on the next house. Having a contractor who is consistent, uses good sub contractors and can get the work done quick, clean, and at a good price is key to flipping houses.

If you are going to do the work yourself on nights and weekends, flipping a house is not a quick process. There are advantages to doing it yourself if you are capable of doing the work. If you are not…by all means don’t be ashamed to hire someone. I have friends that think they are more “handy” than they really are around the house. They cause more damage and make the job cost twice as much if they hired someone. Figure out what your time is worth and where you make more money, being a contractor or doing whatever it is you do everyday. More than likely you will make more money at your job rather than the contactors.

Finally, don’t pull a Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, DON’T FALL IN  LOVE! It’s a flip. You come in, do the work and get out. No need to get emotionally involved in the house. The house knows what you are using it for; it’s why you paid for it in the first place. You wanted something quick. It’s nothing personal, it’s a business deal. You are in it to make money, remember that.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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Home Office Procrastinators, April 15th is Coming!!!

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010




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Home Office Procrastinators, April 15th is Coming!!!

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

If you work from home, have an office or shop and are a procrastinator like me, April 15th is around the corner. I am a true procrastinator in every sense. If it wasn’t for my fiancé pushing and prodding me now, April 14th is the day I would be filing.

If you talk to your accountant there are things you can write off on your taxes for your home office. It all depends on who you talk to, what you can write off and if you should. Some believe it’s good to leave well enough alone and others will have you righting off the Pledge you buy to dust off your desk. This for me is not a write off, because you can’t see my desk under the pile of stuff (I told you I am a procrastinator, so filing and putting stuff away is not top on my list of things to do.).

First off you need an office in your home to be able to write it off. The IRS does not want to see that your office is also your living room. So if you have an office (with a desk, chair, computer, filing cabinet, and a couple of walls) you are in business. First step is to measure you office; whatever percentage of your office takes up that is the amount you can deduct off your taxes for a write off.

If you have a separate business line it’s a complete write off, but if you are sharing phone lines and utilities (electric) you can only write off a percentage. Figuring out the percentage is tricky. It might be best to just keep to whatever your space percentage write off is.

If you purchase a computer it is a write off the year you purchase. Printers, scanners, internet router, etc are all write offs. Make sure it is solely for your business. If it is a family computer by law you can’t write it off for your business.

Keep every receipt from Staples and highlight all purchases made towards the business. If you get audited it will be a tough sell to the IRS that you purchased the Barbie trapper-keeper and Transformer book bag for your business.

Really any and all supplies that you use to clean your office, run your office, fix things in your office are all tax write offs. Light bulbs, Windex, canned air to clean your keyboard,  serge protectors, paint if you painted your office, etc, add them all up because they are write offs!

Depending on your home based business you get different write off’s. When I worked at a radio station in Boston, I knew a DJ/Music programmer who wrote off every CD he bought, magazine subscription that came to his house, part of his cable bill, and anything else related to entertainment because it was all research for his radio show and radio station.

My number one advice is talk to your accountant about what they think is ok to write off. NOBODY wants to mess with the IRS. Just ask Al Capone, Willey Nelson, Martha Stuart and Wesly Snipes. Besides Al Capone (for obvious reasons) they would all say the IRS mean business.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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Economic Update – March 8, 2010

Monday, March 8th, 2010




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Last Week in the News

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Consumer spending rose 0.5% to $52.4 billion in January, slightly more than economists had anticipated. Personal income increased 0.1% to $11.4 billion.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly index of manufacturing activity was 56.5 in February after reaching 58.4 in January. Nevertheless, it was the seventh straight month of expansion. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

The Commerce Department reported that total construction spending fell 0.6% in January after falling 1.2% in December. Economists had expected a decrease of 0.7%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending February 26 rose 14.6% to 629.9. Purchase volume increased 9% to 214.5. Refinancing applications jumped 17.2% to 3,054.3.

The monthly index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 53 in February from 50.5 in January. A reading above 50 signals expansion. Economists had anticipated a reading of 51. The reading was the highest since October 2007.

The National Association of Realtors reported that its pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 7.6% in January after a revised 0.8% increase in December.

The Labor Department reported productivity rose at an annual rate of 6.9% in the fourth quarter. Labor costs fell at an annual rate of 5.9%.

Factory orders rose 1.7% in January, slightly below the 1.8% increase economists had anticipated. It was the fifth straight gain and follows a 1% increase in December.

The unemployment rate held at 9.7% in February. Employers cut 36,000 jobs in February, far fewer than expected. The four-week average for continuing jobless claims fell 134,000 to 4.5 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on wholesale trade on March 10, international trade on March 11 and retail sales on March 12.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com



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Should You Consider a Short Sale on Your Home?

Monday, March 1st, 2010




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A short sale happens when a lender agrees to accept less than the balance remaining on a home. It is a way for sellers to avoid foreclosure and sell their Stamford homes.

It seems like a good idea for people who owe more on their home than it’s worth, but that doesn’t mean it is right for everyone. Should you consider a short sale on your Stamford home?

Pros to doing a short sale:

  • You will be able to sell your property, get out from under a mortgage you cannot afford and lower your debt.
  • You can still sell your property in a declining real estate market, even if you owe more than the home is worth.
  • Buyers sometimes get good deals on the property or may be able to buy a home at market value in a popular area they couldn’t previously afford.
  • While a short sale isn’t ideal, it is typically better than a foreclosure which stays on your credit report for 10 years.
  • If your home goes into foreclosure and is sold at auction for less than the mortgage, you can still be held responsible for making up the difference.

Cons to doing a short sale:

  • The lender may refuse to do the short sale, or they may still hold you responsible for the remaining debt.
  • The bank’s loss is considered taxable income for you, and you may have to pay taxes on the amount.
  • Short sales do stay on your credit report and may make it difficult for you to a get loan in the future.
  • You may have to find a real estate agent willing to work for a smaller commission.
  • Short sales take longer to close than traditional home sales.

I can help you decide if a short sale on your Stamford home is right for you. Call me today at  203.667.0897 or email me at nicole@thepropnet.com for more information about your selling options. To learn more info on Avoiding Foreclosure visit: http://www.NicoleBorsey.com
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Nicole Borsey



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