Can A Homeowner’s Association Charge Different Fines For The Same Violation?

Can A Homeowner's Association Charge Different Fines For The Same Violation?Living in a multifamily community, whether this is an apartment building or a condo building, comes with certain bylaws. There are usually fines that are used to prevent people from breaking the rules.It is important for everyone to know what these rules are, why they need to be followed, and the penalties for breaking them.

Sometimes, homeowners are surprised when they realize they might be fined differently for breaking the same rule. There are a few points to keep in mind.

The Fines Should Be The Same

While there might be different fines charged for breaking different rules (for example, altering a common area might be different than parking lot damage), the fines should be the same for the same infraction across different homeowners. For example, two homeowners who are both guilty of damaging the mailroom should be fined the same amount. They should not be fined different amounts. There are usually fines that are clearly stated in the HOA bylaws how much someone might be fined. If two people are fined different amounts, then a grievance should be taken up.

Why The Fines Might Be Different

There is one situation where two homeowners who break the same rule might be fined different amounts. This comes in the form of sequential violations. For example, a homeowner who breaks a rule the first time might be fined $10 for the first infraction. Then, the second infraction might jump to $25. The third infraction might jump to $50, and so on. This is one situation where two homeowners who break the same rule might be fined two different amounts.

Read The Bylaws Carefully

If a situation such as this arises, it is important for homeowners to look at the bylaws and see what the fines are supposed to be. All fines should be clearly stated in the bylaws to help homeowners figure out how, why, and where they might be fined.

If there are any fines that seem confusing, then the homeowners should take this up with the HOA and ask for clarification, which the HOA should provide. There might be a reason why the fines might be different. It could also be an honest mistake.

Posted in Fair Housing | Tagged , ,

Six Key Questions to Ask when Hiring a Real Estate Agent to Market and Sell Your Home

Six Key Questions to Ask when Hiring a Real Estate Agent to Market and Sell Your HomeThe work of a real estate agent can make or break how a prospective buyer feels about the property. Now that it’s time to sell your home, you want to find the right agent to market it.

How do you find someone you can trust who will make you feel confident they can sell your home quickly for the best price possible? Here are the questions you should be asking.

Are They Licensed?

This one is the easy one. You should be working with a member of the National Association of Realtors®. It is also important that you check whether they have any complaints on record about their practices.

You can check with your state’s real estate department as well.

Are They Successful?

A successful real estate agent is more than the number of sales they have completed. You should also find out the average difference between listing and selling prices on their most recent sales.

If an agent is closing deals at far below the original asking price consistently, that might be a red flag.

How Busy Are They?

Make sure you ask in advance how often the agent will contact you and how they will keep you informed of potential buyers. If you’re going to be working with one of their associates at times, you should know.

How Familiar Are They With Your Neighborhood?

A real estate agent is not just marketing your home – they’re marketing your entire community. If they have closed nearby sales before, they are familiar with the selling points of the neighborhood as well as the right price range for properties similar to yours.

How Much Commission Do They Expect?

Normally you will pay the agent about 6 percent of the sale price. If you find one that offers their services for a low percentage, you should know why. Are they just trying to stay competitive? Or do they expect you to do a large share of the marketing yourself?

Do They Have A Plan?

The real estate agent should be able to tell you exactly which marketing techniques they would use for your home and how they plan to promote the listing. They should come to the table with ideas from the very beginning.

Now that you have a clearer idea of the basics, use the internet to find trusted real estate agents in your area. Then pick up the phone and begin your journey toward becoming a successful home seller today.

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Comparing An Online And Offline Home Loan Application

Comparing An Online And Offline Home Loan ApplicationThe internet has changed how many people shop for a home and one of the most important issues that people will face is whether to fill out a home loan application online or offline.

While there is something to be said for going to the loan officer in person and filling out the application with the help of a professional, some people might find the online option to be more convenient. With this in mind, it is important to compare some of the ways in which an online versus an offline home application might be different.

The Eligibility Process

While the most exciting part of shopping for a home is traveling around and looking at the different options, people need to know how expensive of a home they can afford. With the online process, people can fill out the application process online and immediately see how big of a loan they can afford with the help of the home loan provider.

There are simple tools online, such as a loan eligibility calculator. In contrast, going to the office of the loan provider might require detailed discussions that could lead to a denial. This would end up being a waste of time. In this manner, the online process is faster.

The Documentation Required

The documentation process is also much easier online. When someone applies for a home loan online, it is easy to upload the required documents for review later. This might include the application form, proof of identity, proof of address, and more. Home loan providers will list all of the required documents on the site with ease. When it comes to applying in the offline world, this requires people to physically carry all of this information to the office. People run the risk of losing important documents in transit along the way.

The Application Process

Finally, even the process of applying for a loan itself is much easier when people can do this online. It is easy to register on the website, fill out the application, and submit the documents. Often, the turnaround time is much shorter as well. These are a few of the biggest reasons why the online application process is growing in popularity.

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What Is The Impact Of COVID-19 On Home Value?

What Is The Impact Of COVID-19 On Home Value?It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on everyone; however, there are a few impacts that are being overlooked. In addition to the public health crisis and the tanking of the stock market, there are also impacts of the virus on people’s home values.

Some of these impacts have been positive while others have been negative.

Regardless, it is important for everyone to understand how these impacts might impact someone’s home value, particularly for those who are looking to buy or sell a home in the future.

The Dropping Rates Of Mortgages

Because of the shelter in place laws surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, not many people are looking to move right now. As a result, banks have had a hard time getting people to come in and sign up for loans. 

This means that many people who are looking to buy a home might be able to sign up for a loan at a very low cost. This might open the door for someone to buy a bigger home than they might have been able to during less turbulent times.

The Impact On Sellers

As a result of the low-interest rates from the COVID-19 pandemic, this also means that sellers should anticipate getting a large number of offers for their homes. There are still many people who are hesitant to sell a home in this environment. This means that there might not be many options on the market. For those who decide to take the plunge, they might be rewarded with more offers than usual. This is going to drive up the value of their home, which is good for their next purchase.

The Future Of The Market During The Pandemic

These are just two of the many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the value of homes. While it is unclear when this pandemic is going to be behind us, it is important for everyone to understand how the pandemic is going to impact them if they are looking to buy or sell a home. This will help everyone make the right decision during a turbulent time.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 3, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - August 3, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, data on pending home sales, and the consumer sentiment index released by the University of Michigan. The Federal Reserve released a statement from its Federal Open Market Committee and Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave a press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and expanded reports on jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller Home Price Readings Showed Slowing Home Price Gains in May

May readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed no decline in home prices, but the national pace of home price growth slowed to 4.50 percent from April’s national average of 4.60 percent.

The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index reported slower home price growth in May with only three of 19 cities reporting higher home price growth rates than in April. Data for the Detroit, Michigan metro area was not reported. The year-over-year rate of home price growth for May’s 20-City Home Price Index was 3.70 percent as compared to April’s reading of 3.90 percent.

Phoenix, Arizona led the 20-City HPI with 9.00 percent year-over-year home price growth in May; Seattle, Washington followed with 6.80 percent year-over-year home price growth and Tampa, Florida held third place with 6.00 percent year-over-year home price growth. Analysts credited record-low mortgage rates and slim inventories of available homes with keeping home prices afloat, but the spreading coronavirus pandemic may cause home prices to lose ground as would-be home buyers postpone home purchases due to weakening economic conditions.

In related news, the National Association of Realtors® reported that pending home sales increased by 16.60 percent as compared to April’s reading of 44.30 percent growth in pending home sales. April’s reading was the highest growth rate reported for pending home sales.

FOMC Meeting: Fed Says Ongoing Assistance Needed for Consumers

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve left its key interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent unchanged and said it didn’t anticipate raising the rate in the next three years based on the coronavirus pandemic’s damage to the current economy and the Fed’s low to medium-term outlook. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that given current economic indicators, it is important for the government to provide ongoing aid to American consumers.

Freddie Mac reported record low mortgage rates as the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell two basis points to 2.99 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 2.51 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped by 15 basis points to 2.94 percent on average. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

Jobless Claims Fall, but Remain Far Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

New state jobless claims rose by 1000 claims to 1.43 million claims as ongoing state jobless claims rose to 17.29 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 16.20 million continuing jobless claims. National and state jobless claims rose by 2.04 million initial claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.31 million initial claims. Continuing State and National jobless claims fell to 30.2 million claims from the previous week’s  reading of 31.80 million continuing jobless claims 

The University of Michigan reported that consumer confidence fell in July to an index reading of 72.90 percent as compared to June’s reading of 73.20.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include labor-sector reports on public and private-sector jobs, the national unemployment rate, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and ongoing jobless claims.

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FOMC Statement: Fed Holds Key Rate Steady as Coronavirus Spreads

FOMC Statement: Fed Holds Key Rate Steady as Coronavirus Spreads

Wednesday’s post-meeting statement of the Federal Reserves Federal Open Market Committee reaffirmed its concern over the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and health of all Americans. The Committee voted to hold its benchmark target federal funds range at 0.00 percent to 0.25 percent. Analysts do not expect the Fed to raise its key interest rate more than once in the next three years.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in mid-June kept the economy from recovering after the virus pandemic caused a historic plunge in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product during the second quarter.

Chair Powell described the resurgence of Covid-19 as “flattening the curve of the recovery,” and said that efforts taken to control the virus are “critical.” Restoring the economy to normalcy will require national responses designed to stop the rapid spread of the highly contagious virus.

Fed Chair Powell said the pandemic and its fallout caused the biggest shock to the U.S. economy in living memory. 

FOMC Statement Commits to Using its Full Range of Tools to Ease Impact of Pandemic

The Federal Open Market Committee reasserted its commitment to using ”all available tools to support the U.S. economy during these challenging times.” The Committee’s monetary policy decisions are based on two legal mandates to achieve maximum employment and price stability. 

Committee members said that although the economy has recovered since the initial coronavirus outbreak, economic readings remain far below their pre-pandemic levels. The Fed statement said that the path of economic recovery depends significantly on the course of the virus. The Fed expects the pandemic to severely impact the economy in the near term and to continue damaging the economy in its mid-term forecasts.

The Fed will continue to purchase Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities to support credit flow to businesses and households. The FOMC statement stressed the Committee’s flexibility in dealing with current and emerging economic conditions; members will review domestic and global financial conditions and will change monetary policy according to developments.

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Why Now Is A Great Time To Apply For A Home Loan

Why Now Is A Great Time To Apply For A Home LoanThe idea of owning a home is enough to bring joy to nearly anyone’s eyes. The reality is that many people are a bit skeptical about looking for a home in the present climate. While the pandemic can make it hard for people to go outside and explore, now is still a great time to apply for a home loan.

This is a great opportunity for people to fulfill their homeownership dreams. There are a few reasons why now is a great time to look for a home.

The Property Prices Are Low

First, property prices are low right now. There are a lot of people who are looking to move and not many people are looking to buy a home. This means that property prices are lower now than they have been in the recent past.

There are a few reasons why this matters. First, those who had a home in mind might be able to buy one for a lower price. Second, with a cheaper purchase price, the taxes on the home are going to be lower. This could also mean that a potential homebuyer might be able to put down a lower down payment.

Interest Rate Are Low

In addition to property prices being low, interest rates are low as well. Some people might only focus on the sticker price of a home; however, the interest rate on a potential home loan is even more important. Even a few points of interest could end up making a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.

Lenders are looking for people to take out home loans right now. This means that they might be willing to give someone a break on their interest rate, particularly if they have money to put down.

Now Is A Time To Buy

There aren’t a lot of times like the present when it comes to buying a house. There are many people who have been looking to buy a home but might not have been able to afford one. The current climate makes it a great time to apply for a home loan.

Why not get pre-approved and become a more competitive applicant for a current house on the market?

Posted in Mortgage | Tagged , ,

Three Ways That Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage and Your Chance of Obtaining One!

Three Ways That Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage (and Your Chance of Obtaining One!)If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve probably been thinking a lot about your credit score as well. Credit scores control so much of what we do in the world of finances, but what does your credit score really have to do with your mortgage? Here are three ways that your credit score could impact your mortgage application.

Your Credit Score Affects Your Ability To Get A Mortgage

The first thing your credit score tells a lender is whether they should lend to you at all. In some cases, if you have a very low credit score, you may not be able to obtain a mortgage at all.

Different lenders will have different criteria for determining safe and unsafe lending situations. Typically, if you have a score below the 600 mark, you’ll have trouble obtaining a mortgage.

If you’re worried about a low credit score, don’t despair – you can still get a mortgage, you just might have to work a little harder to get one. Some lenders will still lend to people with lower credit scores (just make sure you’re approaching legitimate lenders and not mortgage scam artists). Or, if time is on your side, you can work toward building up your credit score so that when it comes time to take out a mortgage, your score will be more appealing to lenders.

Your Credit Score Affects What Types Of Mortgages You Can Obtain

The second thing a lender learns from your credit score is which types of mortgages you qualify for. If a lender sees you as a higher risk, they won’t necessarily be willing to offer you just any old mortgage.

In most cases, if you have a credit score of less than 620, you won’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. In addition, if you have a lower credit score, you may have to make a larger down payment in order to qualify for the type of mortgage you want.

Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate

The final thing that a lender learns from your credit score is what type of interest rate they’re willing to offer you. As a general rule, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate.

However, just because you have a high credit score, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get a great mortgage rate. There’s more that goes into the price of a mortgage than just the interest rate, so watch out for additional factors like extra fees, mortgage insurance, lock-in periods, and so on.

Your credit score tells a lender a lot about what type of borrower you are. Ultimately, a higher credit score means that you’ll be able to borrow money at a lower interest rate. But if your score is low, don’t worry – there’s a lot you can do to bring up that score before you apply for a mortgage, so don’t throw in the towel just yet!

Every financial situation is different, so if you want to find out more about how your credit score will affect your mortgage in your specific circumstance, talk to your mortgage professional.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips | Tagged , ,

Activities To Do Outside While Adhering Social Distancing

Activities To Do Outside While Adhering Social DistancingThe era of social distancing has impacted everyone and this has left people wondering how they are going to maintain control over their sanity. The positive news is that social distancing doesn’t mean that people have to stay inside at all times.

There are still ways to go outside and remain socially distant. Check out a few fun activities that people can do together while still social distancing.

Take A Trip To A Local State Park

One of the great ideas that people should try this summer involves taking a trip to a local state park. While a lot of businesses have remained closed, there are state parks that remain open.

These parks often have dozens of miles of trails that people can hike and explore plants, animals, and the beauty of the great outdoors. While it is possible that other people will be on the trails, it isn’t hard for friends and family members to remain socially distant during a visit to a state park.

Explore The Neighborhood

Perhaps the local community park is packed. Instead, think about walking around the rest of the neighborhood. Chances are, there are spots right in the backyard that are brand new. There might even be a spot that has always been on the bucket list that has never been visited. This is an opportunity for people to open their eyes to the rest of the neighborhood while social distancing. Why not take this chance to say hello to someone new?

Pick Up A New Sport

While there are some sports that cannot be played while social distancing, there are some that can. Some of the great options include running, swimming, golf, tennis, and even frisbee golf. While social distancing can be hard for those who love to play team sports, there are still other sports that can be played even during the era of social distancing. It is important for people to take care of their physical health during this time. This is a great chance to pick up a new sport.

Activities For Social Distancing

These are a few of the top activities that people can do outside while still social distancing. Why not give them a try?

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 27, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 27, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on sales of new and previously owned homes. State and federal data on new and continuing jobless claims were released along with Freddie Mac’s weekly report on mortgage rates.

Sales of New and Existing Homes Rise in June

Sales of new homes rose at their highest rate in 13 years according to the Commerce Department. New homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 776,000 sales, which exceeded the expected reading of 710.000 new single-family homes sold and May’s reading of 682,000 new homes sold. Analysts said that increased interest in relocating to suburban areas and low mortgage rates fueled buyer interest in new homes.

The National Association of Realtors® reported a sharp increase in sales of previously-owned homes during June. Sales were nearly 20.70 percent higher than in May; 4.72 million previously-owned homes were sold in June at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace. May’s reading for pre-owned homes sold was 3.91 million homes sold. June’s sales pace for previously owned homes was the highest month-to-month gain since 1968.

Sales of previously-owned homes were sharply lower than pre-pandemic levels; potential home buyers were sidelined by concerns over jobs and the general economy.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.01 percent and were three basis points higher. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by six basis points to an average of 2.54 percent; Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.09 percent and were three basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

Initial jobless claims rose to 1.42 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 1.31 million claims. State and federal jobless claims fell to 2.35 million state and federal jobless claims from the prior week’s reading of 2.47 million initial jobless claims filed. Ongoing state jobless claims fell to 16.20 million claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 17.30 million ongoing jobless claims. State and federal continuing jobless claims fell to 31.80 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 32.00 million ongoing claims for state and federal jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, data on pending home sales and the Fed’s FOMC post-meeting statement and press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims will be released along with a monthly report on consumer sentiment.

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