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Mortgage Speak

We’ve just gotten started with 2018, but there’s been speculation about which way the housing market will go since well before the first of the year. As a savvy homeowner, it’s important for you to be aware of fluctuations in the market, especially if you’re thinking of buying a new home or making changes to your current home in the near future. Much of the predictions for this year are based on how the market fared last year, so we’ve gathered together a short year-end review of housing market high (and low) points from 2017, then turned to the experts for a glimpse at what the future may hold.

A Look Back
According to Realtor.com, 2017 was a fairly decent year for the housing market. Inventory continued to be in short supply, but not as badly as in previous years, causing brisk sales and shorter times on the market compared to 2016. The median existing-home price reached $248,000 in November — the strongest level in over a decade. Overall, though, sales and starts were flat compared to previous years.

If you bought last year, you probably got a pretty good price and an excellent rate, and avoided the changes predicted for the coming years. Here are additional highlights from 2017’s housing market:

  • Millennials. Despite the notion that millenials prefer renting over buying a home, more and more millenials are transitioning to homeownership; in fact, ...


Mortgage Speak

Waiting to buy a home until spring or summer seems like the obvious choice for most families. The weather is warmer, kids get to finish out the school year, and there’s (usually) an abundance of homes on the market to choose from. But what about that other crucial factor — affordability? If saving money falls high on your list of priorities, here’s why buying a home during winter might be right for you.

The combination of lower prices, less competition and motivated sellers makes winter an ideal time to buy a home.Lower Prices

A 2016 study by NerdWallet that analyzed home sales prices in the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas found that homes are 8.45% cheaper (on average) in January and February compared to June through August. That can translate to thousands of dollars in savings. To give you an idea, consider this scenario: The median existing-home price in June 2017 was $263,800. Assuming the 8.45% discount that you could get by buying in winter, you could save $22,291. Keep in mind, the extent of your savings ...


Mortgage Speak

How Homeownership Builds Wealth

The 4th of July is more than just a day for celebrating the freedom we gained as a nation nearly 250 years ago. It's a day for celebrating the individual freedom and opportunity afforded to each American — freedom that lets you reach for the stars and create the life you've always dreamed of. A part of that freedom means having the financial stability you need to pursue your life goals, and the earlier you secure financial freedom in life, the more opportunity you'll have to make your dreams a reality.

If there's anything history has taught us, it's that homeownership is one of the best ways to build wealth and secure your financial future.

Here are five primary ways being a homeowner can help you accomplish this:


Mortgage Speak

BankSouth Mortgage: Interest Rate Updates

Many of you are likely aware of the recent rise in interest rates and may be wondering what’s next and what this means for the 2017 housing market.  While only predictions can be made, here is a recap of what we do know:

  • The Federal Reserve (the Fed) raised benchmark interest rates by 25 bases points after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in mid-December.
  • This was the only Fed Funds Rate increase in 2016.
  • Indications were made to suggest 3 potential rate hikes in 2017, with a 70% chance of one hike by June 2017.

While these changes may concern those looking to buy and those in the housing industry, it’s important to look at the whole picture. 

Over the past 7-8 years, we’ve seen interest rates not only reach historic lows, but stay there rather consistently.  As part of the effort to get America out of the most recent recession, the Fed purposely kept interest rates low to help drive economic growth and encourage homeownership.   As our economy has strengthened and unemployment rates have significantly improved, the need to keep interest rates down has, in effect, subsided and this rise in ...


Mortgage Speak

If buying a home is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, now is the perfect time to start planning. The more you can prepare for a home purchase, the better off you will be. Here are some top tips to start the process.

1) Evaluate your current living situation. What do you like, what do you not like? Perhaps you love the area you live in but are cramped for space, or you enjoy the low maintenance of apartment living but want to start to gain equity with a mortgage payment as opposed to paying rent to a third party. Make a list of what is most important to you and then try to list out your top 2-3 priorities. Some aspects to consider are: location, school districts, bedroom/bathroom count, yard space, neighborhood amenities, etc.

2) Know the facts of your current home expenses. If you are currently renting, find out the exact date your lease is up for renewal and how many days you are required to give notice if you do not plan to renew.  It’s also valuable to know what it may cost to break a lease should you need to. Whether you rent or currently own, make sure you’ve broken down the added expenses of things like HOA, renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, taxes, etc. That way you can be ready to make a more accurate apples-to-apples comparison once you find a home. 

3) Organize your documents. While you are in the process of prepping for the new year, this is the ...


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