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Las Vegas Real Estate News from Berkshire Hathaway

Refinancing can be a very effective way to save money -- just be sure to go about the process in an informed manner, making sound choices along the way. These seven tips can help.

Interest rates are starting to inch up, with many expecting the Fed to raise rates a little more later this month. A recent strong jobs report is only making that more likely. If you have thought about refinancing your mortgage, you might want to think hard about it now, and perhaps lock in a low rate if you're serious.

Refinancing is taking on a new home loan to pay off your old home loan. The new mortgage can have different features, such as a longer or shorter term, and it can lower your monthly payments, too.

Beef up your credit score

Before you

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Consumer confidence in housing is at an all-time high, with millennials posting strong increases in confidence, according to new data from Fannie Mae.

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HSPI) spiked by 5.6 percentage points last month to 88.3, the highest it’s been since Fannie started keeping records. Five of the HPSI’s six components were up, with three hitting all-time highs.

The net share of Americans who believe that now is a good time to buy a home spiked by 11 percentage points, while the share who believe it’s a good time to sell rose seven percentage points. The share of Americans who report a significant increase in their household income rose by four percentage points. Consumers were also more confident about keeping…
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January proved to be a good start for the new year, as housing demand rose by 6.5%, according to Redfin.

The company’s housing demand index reached a seasonally adjusted level of 130 last month, the highest since Redfin started tracking demand in January 2013.

Year-over-year, buyer demand rose by 22.9%; tour requests increased by 25.9%; and buyers who made offers went up by 18%. However, homebuyers saw 13.4% fewer home listings, only 4% of which were new homes.

Month-over-month, homebuyers who requested for tours rose by 3.2%, while buyers who were making offers went up by 13%.

“Soaring stock markets, still-low mortgage rates and a steady economy bolstered homebuyers at the start of 2017,” said Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson. “Homebuyers were not just

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When the housing crisis hit in late 2009 and 2010, credit tightened as a natural response. Although the market has largely recovered, financing has remained difficult for borrowers with credit scores below a certain threshold. 

According to the January 2017 Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, 69% of all closed loans had FICO scores over 700. In fact, borrowers with FICO scores between 750 and 799 represented the largest share of closed loans in January for purchase, refinance and conventional loan categories.

Because borrowers with lower credit scores are still having difficulty securing financing, there’s a significant amount of pent-up demand. Many lenders are reluctant to work with lower credit scores, leading many potential homebuyers to believe

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Part of the process of deciding whether to refinance your mortgage is figuring out when you would break even. Without knowing that, you may be shocked to learn that it could be years before you start saving money.

Look, this isn’t going to require IBM’s Watson to calculate. In fact, you just took an important first step: Simply thinking about a break-even point puts you ahead of the game.

Consider the reason you’re refinancing

Your break-even point is how long it will take to actually save money — considering the time it will take to recoup all of the costs of a new loan.

“The simple calculation for your break-even point is calculating the fees and the closing costs and dividing those by the savings,” says Jared Maxwell, vice

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Owning a home is exciting, challenging and the biggest investment of many people’s lives. It’s also a good way to reduce your tax bill.

Home-related tax breaks begin as soon as you close on your new abode and last throughout your time in the house. But to maximize them, you need to follow some rules.

A home isn’t just a house

American homeowners own a variety of types of homes — and the federal Internal Revenue Code recognizes this.

When it comes to tax breaks, your home can be a house, a condominium, a co-op apartment, a mobile home or even a recreational vehicle or boat. As long as it has sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilities, the IRS will allow you to claim several home-related expenses.

Itemizing deductions is the key to saving

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Low interest mortgage rates can’t last forever, can they?
If you’ve taken out a mortgage or refinanced a mortgage recently, you may have done so because you anticipated that rates would rise.
Are rates rising, and are they expected to continue to rise? Let’s take a closer look at mortgage rates trends. 

 

When Mortgage Rates Rise

What causes mortgage rates to rise? The rates on mortgages tend to rise and fall in tandem with the yield rate of 10-year Treasury bonds. When the bond yield rises, mortgage rates tend to rise, too. So are mortgage rates and 10-year Treasury bond yield rates the same? Not quite.

Treasury bonds are seen as safer investments than mortgages (or securitized packages of mortgages) because the risk that the

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The Omaha tycoon referenced more acquisitions for the brokerage firm over the next 10 years

In Warren Buffett’s 2016 investor letter released this past weekend, the folksy tycoon called out HomeServices of America (HSA) and said to expect more acquisitions.

The company had $225 million in earnings last year, up from $191 million in 2015.

HSA is part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

“HomeServices may appear out of place in [this group]. But it came with our purchase of MidAmerican (now BHE) in 1999 — and we are lucky that it did.

“HomeServices owns 38 realty companies with more than 29,000 agents who operate in 28 states. Last year it purchased four Realtors, including Houlihan Lawrence, the leader in New York’s Westchester County (in a

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The majority of prospective homebuyers are worried about low inventory and rising interest rates impacting their ability to purchase a home, according to new data from Zillow. 

Mortgage rates increased last year following the presidential election and December’s federal funds rate hike. With more hikes expected on the horizon, rising rates may stifle homebuying ability, Zillow said.

Low inventory is still homebuyers’ number-one concern, with 65% saying they worried about their ability to find an affordable home. However, rising interest rates were in second place, with 53% concerned that interest rates could prevent them from buying. When Zillow conducted the same survey in 2015, interest rates ranked behind worries about both finding an affordable home and

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If you're shopping for a house in 2017, don't expect it to be easy.

If you're planning to buy a house in 2017, be prepared for a rough ride. A number of factors are coming together to make buying a house particularly difficult (and expensive). It's predicted to be an especially tough year for first-time homebuyers, who already tend to have a harder time than experienced homebuyers.

Here's why:

Prices are up almost everywhere across the country

As of October 2016, home prices nationwide had experienced a 5.6% year-over-year gain. The Pacific Northwest saw a particularly steep rise, with Seattle showing a 10.7% price increase and Portland close behind with a 10.3% increase.

"With the current high consumer confidence numbers and low

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