Easter commemorates Jesus' resurrection three days after his crucifixion and death. Following his death, he was removed from the cross and buried in a tomb. On Sunday, Jesus' tomb was found empty. Angels informed onlookers that Jesus had risen. Throughout the next 40 days, Jesus appeared to his apostles and disciples before finally ascending to heaven.
Easter is the highest and holiest of holidays in the Christian faith. It is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, usually occurring between March 22 and April 25
The coronavirus pandemic caused severe alterations to the 2020 Major League Baseball season, but for now, that won't be the case in 2021.
The sport "plans to start on time," reports Jeff Passan of ESPN, meaning spring training camps opening on Feb. 17 and regular season Opening Day on April 1. The Oakland A's are scheduled to host the Houston Astros to begin the year.
The pandemic is still ongoing, though the recent introduction of a vaccine now offers concrete hope for a potential end in sight. The Cactus League made a request last week that spring training be delayed because the state of Arizona is being hit particularly hard by infections, and later MLB made an offer to the Players Association that included pushing the schedule back by a month for a 154-game season with full pay.
Late last week, the MLBPA for the first time this offseason received a proposal from MLB to delay Spring Training and Opening Day by approximately one month.
Under the proposal, the end of the season would be delayed one week, the regular season would be shortened to 154 games and all 30 teams would be required to play several doubleheaders. Players would also be required to accept previously rejected proposals that link expanded playoffs with expansion of the designated hitter.
Although Player salaries would not be initially prorated to a 154-game regular season, MLB's proposal offers no salary or service time protections in the event of further delays, interruptions, or cancellation of the season.
The MLBPA Executive Board and Player leadership reviewed and discussed the owners' proposal throughout the weekend and today. The clear-cut result of these deliberations is that Players will not accept MLB's proposal, will instead continue preparations for an on-time start to the 2021 season, and will accept MLB's commitment to again direct its Clubs to prepare for an on-time start.
We do not make this decision lightly. Players know first-hand the efforts that were required to complete the abbreviated 2020 season, and we appreciate that significant challenges lie ahead. We look forward to promptly finalizing enhanced health and safety protocols that will help Players and Clubs meet these challenges.
While the statement makes note of the inclusion of expanded playoffs and a universal designated hitter in the league's 154-game offer (a trade-off that had previously been rejected by the players), insider Jon Heyman reports that MLB would have been willing to table those issues if a negotiation on a delayed schedule had begun. "The union seemed to prefer to start earlier due to an even greater concern about baseball injuries than Covid," added Heyman.
With the Collective Bargaining Agreement still in place through the end of 2021, there is no need for the two sides to reach any further deal to get the season going — last year's changes were mutually agreed upon as necessary emergency measures. Barring government action that prohibits pro sports from taking place at all, and/or another special agreement by the players to adjust the schedule, the league is compelled to move forward with the season as planned and that's what they're going to do.
Homeowners who aren't familiar with the buying process can often benefit from a few first-time homebuyer tips. It can help to know what they're getting into. Steps in the homebuying process can vary from state to state and can depend on local custom, but there are basically only five: an agent, find a home, get a loan, negotiate, and get a home inspection. They don't necessarily happen in this order.
The National Association of Realtors indicates that 16% of buyers reached out to an agent first in 2019 before doing anything else, but this is significantly less than the number who started by searching for properties online—44%. But ultimately, 89% of buyers ended up purchasing their homes with the assistance of an agent or broker.
Finding the right home is not always an easy task. You probably won't want to schedule more than seven homes at a time because any more than that will make your head spin.
Most buyers do a lot of research before ever stepping foot in a home. They spend an average of six to eight weeks trying to figure out where they want to live, according to the National Association of REALTORS. Most buyers end up buying a home after two or three home tours once they've selected a neighborhood.
It's not always necessary to have a mortgage broker or bank lined up before buying a home, but it's smart to get loan preapproval in advance. Preapproval isn't a guarantee that you'll ultimately get the financing, but it lets you know for sure how much home you can afford.
FHA loans are popular first-time buyer loans because the minimum down payment requirement is much less than a conventional loan, as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. But conventional buyers tend to get priority with REO banks if you're thinking about buying foreclosures.
You can ask your agent for a referral to a mortgage broker or check with your own bank or credit union. What's most important is that you compare the types of mortgages available to you and shop for the best terms. Don't zero in on just the lowest interest rate because rates can vary considerably between fixed- and adjustable-rate loans.
One of the other might be much better for your personal circumstances overall.
Buyers sometimes make the mistake of comparing the sales price of a home to other homes they've seen, but this can be a mistake. Sellers can ask any price they like, and it doesn't mean that the home will actually end up selling at that price.
An agent can provide comparable sales and pending sales. Comparable sales are similar home types in the same condition and location that have sold within the past three months. A comparison is made based on location, age, lot size, square footage, style, and features. Exact comparable sales are rare, but the differences are weighed to establish whether they add to or reduce the sales price.
Keep in mind that you might have to pay over list price in a seller's market when many buyers are vying for the same inventory. Your agent can give you a reasonable price range and help you manage your expectations. A good buyer's agent knows that there's always more to an offer than its price, but the price is paramount.
In some states, a home inspection is conducted before buyers make a purchase offer. It's a contract contingency in others. A contract contingency means a buyer has the right to cancel the contract if the inspection turns up problems.
You might not want to be locked into buying a home that has a faulty foundation, for example.
Sellers generally aren't required to make repairs if problems are discovered during a home inspection. The inspection is performed for the buyer's edification—forewarned is forearmed. But sometimes a seller will agree to repair or reduce the sales price rather than blow the deal when a buyer makes a Request for Repair.
Average mortgage rates rose appreciably on Friday. So it was yet another example of rates ending a week higher than they started it. However, bear in mind that each of these weekly movements is generally small.
Judging from markets first thing, we may see unchanged mortgage rates today, or perhaps slightly lower ones. But, with investors as jittery as they are at the moment, that's not something you can rely on.
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.183%||3.186%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.625%||2.634%||+0.01%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.106%||3.113%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.51%||2.549%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.001%||3.683%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.669%||3.253%||Unchanged|
|5 year ARM FHA||2.575%||3.254%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed VA||2.625%||2.8%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed VA||2.25%||2.571%||Unchanged|
|5 year ARM VA||2.5%||2.406%||Unchanged|
|Rates are provided by our partner network, and may not reflect the market. Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.|
Recent rises in mortgage rates have been slow but relentless. Of course, there are falls some days. But the rises tend to be more frequent and bigger.
And I don't see any reason to think that's likely to change. Of course, a reversal of the trend remains possible. It just looks unlikely.
So my personal rate lock recommendations remain:
But I don't claim perfect foresight. And your personal analysis could turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So you might choose to be guided by your instincts and your personal tolerance for risk.
Here's a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 10:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:
*A change of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.
Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve's interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that's no longer the case. We still make calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won't achieve its former high levels until things settle down.
So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to hold steady or edge lower. Just be aware that intraday swings (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.
Here are some things you need to know:
So there's a lot going on here. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what's going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks, or months.
It looks likely that we'll see a real and perhaps rapid economic recovery for the rest of this year. The president's American Rescue Plan Act became law last week. And it should significantly boost spending in the private, public and consumer sectors as its $1.9 trillion is distributed.
Meanwhile, even without that, a slower recovery would probably occur. As the vaccination program continues to accelerate, businesses and people can begin to get back to normal.
That's great news for everyone — except those who want low mortgage rates. Because an improving economy and higher rates almost always walk hand in hand.
Of course, some periods of falls (recently, just occasional days) are inevitable. That's how markets work. But the overall trend is very probably going to remain an upward one.
Naturally, that's not inevitable. There are various risk factors that could reverse the trend. But they look much less likely than a continuation, especially within the time frames most readers have before they must lock.
For more background on my wider thinking, read our latest weekend edition, which is published every Saturday soon after 10 a.m. (ET).
Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.
The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. But rates then rose. And Freddie's Mar. 11 report puts that weekly average at 3.05% (with 0.6 fees and points), up from the previous week's 3.02%.
Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each have a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector, and mortgage rates.
And here are their current rates forecasts for each quarter of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21, Q3/21, and Q4/21).
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie's and the MBA's were updated on Feb. 18 and 19 respectively. But Freddie now publishes forecasts quarterly and its figures are from mid-January:
However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual. And there's certainly a widening spread as the year progresses.
Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they're restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla-flavored mortgages and refinances.
But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash-out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.
The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.
National Pancake Day is celebrated on February 16 every year. A thin flat cake prepared with a batter made from milk, eggs, flour, and oil or butter, the pancake and its variations are found in almost every culture.
Also known as Johnnycakes, griddle cakes or hotcakes, this batter-made breakfast item dates back more than 30,000 years. In fact, it may be the oldest breakfast food in history, spanning as far back as the Stone Age and even found in the stomach of Otzi the Iceman, who's human remains are estimated to be 5,300 years old.
The Middle English word 'pancake' first appeared in English in the 15th century however, Ancient Greeks and Romans made what were called Alita Dolcia or "another sweet" with wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk. Greek Poets, Cratinus and Magnes wrote about them in their poetry and Shakespeare mentions them in his famous plays. During the English Renaissance, pancakes were flavored with spices, rosewater, sherry, and apples. This practice of pouring batter on a pan and frying it is common in nearly every culture around the world.
In the UK, they've celebrated Shrove Tuesday since 1100 A.D. It is the day before Ash Wednesday, also referred to in other places as Fat Tuesday. This very popular Feast Day is observed through participating in confession, finalizing a lenten sacrifice, as well as consuming pancakes and other sweets.
This year guests from around the country will once again celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP and enjoy a free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes. In return for the free pancakes, guests will be asked to consider leaving a donation to designated local charities. This is your opportunity to contribute to your community and enjoy a delicious meal. Don't miss out!
Get your eggs, butter, and milk ready, as National Pancake Day is here! Let's focus on the most important part of this day, which is to stuff ourselves silly with stacks of fluffy pancakes. Top them off with your favorite toppings, or try something different like chocolate syrup or an unusual fruit pairing. Pancakes also have different variations like crepes and even waffles, so you can always tweak it a bit.
'Pancake racing' is also a popular tradition on this day, involving racing while flipping pancakes successfully on a pan. A 'mob football' is also a popular celebration in the UK on this holiday.
Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence; a future that's sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. To get us there, the world needs women at every table where decisions are being made.
This year, the theme for International Women's Day (8 March), "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world," celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.
Women's full and effective participation and leadership in of all areas of life drives progress for everyone. Yet, women are still underrepresented in public life and decision-making, as revealed in the UN Secretary-General's recent report. Women are Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and only 24.9 per cent of national parliamentarians are women. At the current rate of progress, gender equality among Heads of Government will take another 130 years.
Women are also at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, as front-line and health sector workers, as scientists, doctors and caregivers, yet they get paid 11 per cent less globally than their male counterparts. An analysis of COVID-19 task teams from 87 countries found only 3.5 per cent of them had gender parity.
When women lead, we see positive results. Some of the most efficient and exemplary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women. And women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change and equality in all parts of the world. Yet, women under 30 are less than 1 per cent of parliamentarians worldwide.
This is why, this year's International Women's Day is a rallying cry for Generation Equality, to act for an equal future for all. The Generation Equality Forum, the most important convening for gender equality investment and actions, kicks off in Mexico City from 29 – 31 March, and culminates in Paris in June 2021. It will draw leaders, visionaries, and activists from around the world, safely on a virtual platform, to push for transformative and lasting change for generations to come.
My husband and I recently went through the process of selling our home. It was the first time taking on this endeavor for both of us, and in the week or so before we went on the market we found ourselves plagued with a whole lot of stress and one big question: What if we can't sell this house?
We had reason to be worried. We're currently in the process of building a new home, and needed to sell so we could get moving into a rental while the build gets finished. If we didn't sell, we'd be stuck with two homes, two mortgages, and too much responsibility. So we did everything we could think of to optimize our home for a fast sale. Four days after going on the market, we were under contract.
There is, of course, an element of luck to selling a home fast, but if you're doing everything right on your end, it's only a matter of time before the right buyer comes along. On the flip side, if you're failing to take the necessary steps to optimize your home for a fast sale, you may be turning off potential buyers who might have made an offer if things were different.
To sell your home fast, you have to take an active role in the process. Don't sit back and wait for the buyer who can see past potential flaws. Do your homework, make fixes, and go out of your way to show just how great your property is. Here are 10 tips to guide you through the process.
When I see a home that's been sitting on the market for a while and has some obvious detractors, like Christmas lights still hanging up in March or an unkempt lawn, my first thought is always that the sellers deserve a better agent. You want to be working with a realtor who is as invested in selling your home as you are, which means someone who will tell you exactly what you're doing wrong and how you can improve it – not someone who will just stick a lock box on your front door and help coordinate showings.
When you're selecting an agent to work with, ask for referrals from people you trust and who have been through the process itself. And consider your particular needs. If your home could use some help with staging, find an agent who has experience in design. If you're selling a fixer upper, find an agent who has a proven track record of selling those types of homes. You have a lot of options when it comes to agents, so choose one who is a fit for your specific situation.
The housing market ebbs and flows throughout the year on a pretty set schedule. While it's not impossible to sell a home in November or December, you're much more likely to have success in the spring, when more buyers are out looking. If you're trying to sell a home quickly, your best bet is to list no earlier than late February so that you can take advantage of the heavy activity.
Photos are the very first thing a buyer will see of your home, and they can dictate whether they end up scheduling a showing or not. Good real estate photos should highlight the best features of your home, with every measure taken to make the space look as warm and inviting as possible. It's not as easy as it sounds, and it's not something you should trust to just anybody.
My photographer scheduled our shoot around the weather so that we could be sure to have a sunny day that showcased the great natural light our home gets. He also had us clear out our home for pictures the same as we would do for showings: clear counters, minimal clutter, and targeted staging. Your photos are one of the most important parts of your listing, so make sure they're done right. If they're not, you're going to get less potential buyers through the door.
Everybody wants to make as much money as possible off their home sale, but it's important to be realistic. What you paid for the home matters significantly less than what the market is dictating at the time, particularly if your goal is to sell fast. While you don't have to under-price your home for a quick sale, you do have to price it smartly. Use a home estimate tool to get a basic idea of what range you're looking at, and then work with your realtor to come up with a starting number that makes the most sense in light of the market and your objectives.
As soon as you know you're going to list your home (and before pictures), get to work on clearing out clutter from your home. Rent a storage unit or find a family member willing to share some extra space in their home and box up everything that you won't need in the near future. This includes out-of-season clothing, books, most of your décor, and pretty much anything that's been sitting in the back of your closets and cabinets for a while. The less stuff you have cluttering your home, the more that buyers will be able to see the space itself, and not the items crowding it.
Buyers need to be able to see themselves in the property, and they're going to have a tough time doing that if they're looking at your family photos. The sooner you can remove any items that personalize the home – photos, mail, personal papers, etc. – the better you can present a blank slate to the buyers who come through.
Decluttering and depersonalizing are part of the staging process, but not all of it. To sell quickly, your home needs to be decorated in a way that highlights its best assets. Achieving that can mean anything from rearranging your furniture to open up the space (and removing furniture that's bulky or unnecessary), painting your walls with neutral colors, and repairing obvious imperfections. You'll also want to be sure to get rid of anything that dates your house, like holiday decorations or a snow shovel leaning against the garage. Follow these staging tips to make sure that you're designing your space in a way that will appeal to buyers and show them that they won't need to do a ton of work if and when they move in.
The selling process can be a bit of a pain, especially when buyers start scheduling showings and you have to get out of the house. But it could be worse… you could have no buyers coming through at all! When we were selling our home, we made sure to say yes to every single showing request, even the one where we were in the middle of lunch and had to be out of the house – with two pets – in 15 minutes. Unless it's truly impossible, rearrange your schedule around what's ideal for the buyer, not what's ideal for you. If you suggest a new time than what's requested, the buyer or their agent may not be able to make it work and so may just pass on visiting the property entirely.
I wanted the potential buyers who came through our house to feel warm and welcome, so for every show that came through I set out fresh cookies on the kitchen counter with a sign saying "help yourself." It was such a simple thing, but we got a ton of positive feedback about it. A little extra step like that helps buyers remember your property, and also puts them in a good mood right off the bat. If you don't want to put out baked goods, consider setting out water bottles or a basket of fruit. Regardless of what you choose to do, a tiny bit of extra effort will help you stand out from the competition.
Some buyers' agents will contact your realtor after a showing to give feedback on the property – good or bad – but many don't. You want to know exactly what you're doing right and wrong though, so it's important to get clear feedback from every single agent who comes through your door. Make sure your realtor is always following up with buyers' agents to get their opinion on the property and finding out what buyers liked or didn't like about what they saw. Then use that feedback to make changes as necessary.
The average home sells between 65-70 days, but it is absolutely possible to sell faster than that if you take the time to optimize each aspect of the process. While you can't make a buyer materialize out of thin air, you can do everything in your power to make sure that when the right buyer does come along, they know immediately that they've found their perfect fit.