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Samson Property & Real Estate

Samson Property & Real Estate

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Put a Little Life into Your Lights


When’s the last time you paid attention to your lights, switches and fixtures?

They may seem like little things, but when selling a home, everything counts, so putting some thought into your home’s lighting can go a long way toward sprucing up your home without emptying your wallet.

Here are some easy things that you can do:

Install new bulbs. This is an affordable way to set the right mood in rooms throughout your home. New bulbs also mean they won’t burn out while potential buyers look over your home.

Choose the right bulbs for each room. Bright lighting in the kitchen and softer lights in the living room, for example. If you have a ceiling fan with more than one bulb, avoid high-wattage bulbs, and install those of equal wattage.

Replace outlet covers. This is another economically-friendly step that can make a difference. Pick the right colors for each room, and make sure plates match. Another advantage to doing this—you’ll make sure all outlet covers are tightly screwed on and secure. Be sure to take any necessary safety precautions before changing any plates.

Dust and clean. Lighting on the ceiling can collect dust, especially on globes that cover bulbs, exposed bulbs or chandeliers. Built-up dust in these areas is unsightly, so take a few minutes to dust these. Be sure to do it in the afternoon while the lights aren’t on and hot to the touch. Then, take a look at the covers of your light switches. Hands are all over these, so there’s a good chance they’re marked by fingerprints or food stains. Clean these with a window cleaner; use very little cleaner and be careful because you don’t want liquid getting into the switch area.

Check your switches. A lot of houses have switches that just don’t work or are backward, turning lights off when in the up position and vice-versa. These are little things, but any imperfection can be a distraction to visitors. It may well be worth the time and expense to hire an electrician to repair or replace any broken switches or outlets that don’t function properly.

Remember exterior lights. Outdoor lights are also important. If people visit the house at night, you want walkways to be well lit, and if outdoor lights aren’t working because of burned-out bulbs, it could be a sign that other areas of the house are being ignored. Taking these steps can help you sell your home faster.





market snapshot





Questions about the housing market, mortgage interest rates, loan programs or your home’s equity?

We can help!

Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices, CoreLogic, National Association of Realtors (NAR), Freddie Mac, First American Financial Corporation, ATTOM Data Solutions Inc.




There were 263,000 new jobs created in April, with all sectors but retail gaining. This strong growth is more proof of a solid economic rebound after a tough start to 2019. While pay rose 3.2% Y-o-Y, wage increases have been steady at 3.2% since 8/18, dampening inflation fears despite unemployment falling to 3.6%, the lowest rate since 12/69! Strong job growth, low unemployment, quiescent inflation and good GDP gains; Goldilocks!


GDP 19Q1 came in at a remarkably strong 3.2%. Growth was pushed up by an unsustainable surge in inventories, a huge one-time jump in state and local government spending, and a drop in imports precipitated by a rise in 18Q4 imports in advance of Chinese tariffs that never materialized. That said, the economy chugs along, and more importantly, inflation remains MIA.


From 2009 through mid-2012, weekly earnings for those with less than a high school diploma declined. From then through late-2017, their wages improved and grew at the same rate as the wages of all others. Since late-2017, their wages have been growing faster than all others. Maybe it’s because since 2009 the labor force has grown by 13 million, but the number with no college has declined by 4.4 million.


In 2005, the share of the labor force working in non-standard arrangements was 10.9%. In 2017, despite the “sharing economy” the percentage declined to 10.1%! Within non-standard arrangements, the percentage of independent contractors fell from 7.4% to 6.9%, on-call workers declined from 1.8% to 1.7%, while temp agency and contract company workers were unchanged at 0.9% and 0.6% respectively. As for app-based employment, it’s just 1% of the labor force.


With Lyft and Uber now public, we know both have lost about $11 billion since 2009, with no end in sight to losses as they reduce fares to gain share. But brutal competition makes ride hailing a commodity business absent customer loyalty. The solution? Beg government for regulatory relief like capping number of vehicles! For now, these firms may be nothing more than bets on increased ride-hailing regulation.


The number of spam and spoof calls received by Americans has risen from 3.7% of all calls in 2017, or 100 calls/person, to 29.2% in 2018, and is expected to reach half of all calls by year end 2019. At a penny a call, the inconvenience cost Americans $3 billion in CY2018, and will cost $4 billion in CY2019. Make the tel-cos credit us a dime a call - problem solved.

Source: Elliot Eisenberg, PhD., Chief Economist for GraphsandLaughs, LLC, an economic consulting firm serving a variety of clients across the United States. All rights reserved.



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Existing home sales dipped again in April according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales were down .4% from March and 4.4% year-over-year. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun isn't discouraged, saying, “We are seeing historically low mortgage rates combined with a pent-up demand to buy." Adding that inventory has increased, Yun said "…will provide more choices for those looking to buy a home.”



Global trade disputes have sent jitters through the financial markets, stalling rate movement for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Rates are down more than a half-percent year-over-year according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending May 16. Freddie Mac analysts predict that continued job growth and low unemployment numbers will fuel strong summer home sales.



Vacant homes take longer to sell and garner less money according to an analysis by Seattle-based real estate brokerage Redfin. The report found that vacant homes listed and sold in 2018 spent six more days on the market and sold for an average of 3.6% - or $11,306 - less than occupied properties on a national basis. Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said that while vacant homes are easy to show, "the fact that the sellers have already moved on is often a signal to buyers that they can take their time making an offer."



A rundown shack with a city view in San Francisco's Potrero Hill area is listed for $2.5 million. The seller has obtained a rare permit to tear down and rebuild on the site in a city that's historically opposed to building demolition. The planning commission has granted permission to build a four-story, 4,451 square foot home with a two-car garage and private elevators. The list price doesn't include teardown or reconstruction costs.

Sources: National Association of Realtors, Freddie Mac, Redfin, Zillow



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There's good news for homeowners and potential home buyers according to the latest Existing Home Sales data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The median sales price nationwide was up 3.8% year-over-year in March with more homes for sale. There was 3.9 months’ worth of inventory on the market in March, compared to 3.6 months’ worth at the same time last year. The increase is welcome even though NAR considers six months of inventory to be a balanced market.



The number of seriously underwater homes rose 25% year-over-year in the first quarter, totaling 5.2 million according to ATTOM Data Solutions. ATTOM defines "underwater homes" as those where "the combined balance of loans secured by the property are at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value." The highest numbers of underwater homes are in the south: Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia. Illinois rounds out the top five.



Tariff jitters diverted investors to the bond market last week, decreasing the 10-year treasury yields and triggering mortgage interest rates to trend slightly downward according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS). The PMMS for the week ending May 9 also showed interest rates are down almost one-half percent year-over-year.



Remorse runs high among U.S. do-it-yourselfers according to In a survey of 2000 Americans, the online project resource site found that 63% of respondents regretted at least one project, while one in three called in professionals to redo their work.

Sources: National Association of Realtors, ATTOM Data Solutions, Freddie Mac,




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Home prices were up 3.7% year-over-year in March according to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Insights (HPI). Prices were up 1% month-over-month between February and March, but the HPI forecast predicts a significant escalation in the coming year, indicating that home prices will increase by 4.8% on a year-over-year basis from March 2019 to March 2020.



Prices for homes priced in the top 5% of the market declined for the first time in three years, as inventory in the luxury category rose by 14% according to Seattle-based real estate firm Redfin. Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather characterized the inventory increase and 1.6% price drop by saying, "Because homeowners can't deduct as much mortgage interest as they used to be able to, the calculus has changed when it comes to buying a home, especially an expensive one."



After over thirty days of upward trends, rates for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage have retreated according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending May 2. Freddie analysts dubbed this good news for the housing market, saying, "Moving into summer, we expect rates to be about a quarter to half a percentage point lower than where they were last year."



Home sellers make the most money in the summer according to an ATTOM Data Solutions analysis that reviewed 28.3-million sales over an eight-year period. The study identified five days on which sellers earned the highest amount above median market value. From highest to lowest, ATTOM's report cited June 28 as "summer's hottest selling day," with May 31, June 21, June 20 and May 24 following in order. Homeowners who sold on June 28 averaged 10.8% "premium" price above market.




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Housing market activity is up or down - depending on the report. Commenting on the latest National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “We are seeing a positive sentiment from consumers about home buying, as mortgage applications have been steadily increasing and mortgage rates are extremely favorable.” Yun's comments were released the same day that the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported a 7.3% drop in mortgage applications. The PHSI examined monthly activity, while the MBA's Market Composite Index (MCI) numbers examined one week.



Though mortgage interest rates continued to climb according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending April 25, the rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are down year-over-year in addition to their steep drop from November 2018 peaks.



Homeowners who sold in the first quarter of this year realized an average gain of $57,500 from the purchase price according to the Q1 2019 Home Sales Report (HSR) from ATTOM Data Solutions. Using the HSR's current average homeowner tenure of 8.05 years and the median gains, home sellers in Q1 19 saw an average 31.5% return on their original purchase price.



In Freddie Mac's latest mortgage rate forecast, Chief Economist Sam Khater said, "While mortgage rates have risen in recent weeks, they remain lower than they were a year ago and wage growth has accelerated and is finally growing at the same rate as home prices for the first time in seven years. We expect to see the result of these low mortgage rates and stronger wage growth translate into better home sales in the coming months."



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"Low inventory" has made its way into the housing news vernacular to describe persistent home buyer challenges and sluggish sales numbers in recent years. The term "underbuilding" will likely become commonplace as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced last week that March's monthly residential construction report showed the slowest pace of housing starts in nearly two years.



While building may be slow, buying is gaining momentum. Mortgage applications for home purchases reached their highest level since 2010 according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending April 18. The PMMS also reported another week of upward mortgage interest rate trends after March's steep declines.



NINJA (no income, no job, no asset) loans virtually disappeared in the new era of regulations and tightened credit availability in the wake of the housing crisis of the late 00s. But recently some lenders have begun offering NINA - no income, no asset - loans to allow more lenient purchase options. Pilot programs that are not backed by government-sponsored entities are underway that could offer performance metrics that could lead to more widespread availability of NINA loans.



John Hancock Retirement Plan Services announced that their plan participants can access their personal account information through Alexa-enabled devices. Customers can say, "Alexa, open John Hancock," through a secure voice code and hear their account and loan balances, fund allocations, rates of return and more. The company says no participant account information is recorded or maintained on their Alexa-enabled device or in the hardware servers storing their Amazon account.

Sources: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Freddie Mac, 360 Mortgage Group, LLC, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services

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© 2019 American Pacific Mortgage Corporation (NMLS 1850). All information contained herein is for informational purposes only and, while every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, no guarantee is expressed or implied. Any programs shown do not demonstrate all options or pricing structures. Rates, terms, programs and underwriting policies subject to change without notice. This is not an offer to extend credit or a commitment to lend. All loans subject to underwriting approval. Some products may not be available in all states and restrictions apply. Equal Housing Opportunity. |Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act



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The Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) reached its highest point since June 2018 last month. Fannie Mae's March HPSI showed a 5.5 point increase over February; 56% of survey respondents said it's a good time to buy a home and 66% said it's a good time to sell.



Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage trended upward for a second week according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending April 11. Freddie analysts still expect a strong summer market, saying, "Despite the recent rise, we expect mortgage rates to remain low…boosting home buyer demand in the next few months."



February's Realtors® Confidence Index Survey shows that first-time buyers accounted for 32% of sales - a 3% increase year-over-year. The survey also said that average time on market was 44 days, sellers received an average of 2.2 offers and 23% of home sellers offered incentives such as paying closing costs, warranties and repairs.







A California-based property data firm says delinquency and foreclosure rates have reached their lowest level in twenty years. CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft provided insight to that seemingly positive number saying, "Income growth, home appreciation and sound underwriting combined have pushed delinquency rates to their lowest level in 20 years [in] contrast to the rising delinquency rates on consumer credit. While home mortgage delinquency rates are at, or are near, their lowest levels in two decades, delinquency rates for auto and student loans are higher now than they were during the early and mid-2000s."



Home sellers pay an average of $14,281 in closing costs nationwide according to a report released by Zillow and home improvement network Thumbtack. Closing costs analyzed include real estate commissions, transfer fees and other charges associated with the transaction. Commissions are calculated based on a home's sale price and vary according to area values. The "2019 Hidden Costs of Selling" analysis also says that 79% of sellers do at least one improvement project before putting their homes on the market.