Date Archives: August 2021

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Buying A Home | 2 Posts
Holland, MI | 20 Posts
Home ideas | 6 Posts
Mortgage | 36 Posts
Uncategorized | 113 Posts
West Michigan | 6 Posts
August
30

Labor Day - September

Labor Day Weekend

All Government offices, organizations, and many businesses are closed. Many cities, towns, and neighborhoods organize and hold public celebrations such as firework displays, picnics, and barbecues.

Many residents take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to take a last summer trip. Because of this, there may be traffic congestion on highways and at airports. Public transit systems do not usually operate on their regular timetables.

Last Break Before School Starts

For students, Labor Day is the last chance to take a break before school starts again for the fall session.

The American football season begins on or around Labor Day, and many teams play their first game of the season during the Labor Day weekend.

A Day for Workers

The first Labor Day was held in 1882, and its origins stem from the Central Labor Union's desire to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894.

Originally, it was intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the trade and labor organizations' work. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women had speeches. This is less common now but is sometimes seen in election years.

One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September, and not on May 1, which is common in the rest of the world, was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day in July and Thanksgiving in November.

Labor Day Observances

Year Weekday Date Name Holiday Type Area
2016 Mon 5 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2017 Mon 4 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2018 Mon 3 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2019 Mon 2 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2020 Mon 7 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2021 Mon 6 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2021 Mon 6 Sep Labor Day State holiday All
2022 Mon 5 Sep Labor Day State holiday All
2022 Mon 5 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2023 Mon 4 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2023 Mon 4 Sep Labor Day State holiday All
2024 Mon 2 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2024 Mon 2 Sep Labor Day State holiday All
2025 Mon 1 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  
2025 Mon 1 Sep Labor Day State holiday All
2026 Mon 7 Sep Labor Day State holiday All
2026 Mon 7 Sep Labor Day Federal Holiday  

August
30

Feeling like planning a trip? Look no further than these scenic West Michigan Destinations

The stunning beauty and culture of West Michigan makes it a popular destination for travelers all over the world. From its beautiful forests to its miles of beaches along Lake Michigan, it's truly one of the best places for outdoor activities. Our area is also filled with rich history, fine dining, and diverse culture. 

With so much to do, our real estate agents enjoy providing visitors with great recommendations for things to check-out while they're in the area. If you're planning a visit to West Michigan, make sure these five things are on your list:

Click Here to Read More...

August
27

Enjoy Holland State Park

Holland State Park is one of Michigan's most visited state parks. Once you take a look at the beautiful beach or take in a sunset over Lake Michigan, you'll know why! The expansive beach is open to all who have purchased a day pass or a Recreation Passport. View Big Red Lighthouse directly across the channel to the south, or take a stroll north along the beachfront. Holland State Park offers fishing, a boat launch, a concession stand with modern restrooms and changing area, a small playground and camping.

There are two campgrounds- the wooded Lake Macatawa campground, and the beachside campground. For more information about the campgrounds, visit the Michigan DNR website.

Michigan residents: THERE IS NO DAY PASS. An Annual Passport is $17 at the Park. 
Out of State Residents: Annual Pass $34 or Daily Admission $9.


Check out our 24/7 Beach cam at Holland State Park!

August
25

Essential Home-Selling Tips

hsold210-red-front-door

Crank up the curb appeal

Pull weeds, rake leaves, and trim overgrown shrubs, especially if they block windows or the path to your front door.

hsold204-after-kitchen

Paint

It's important to make your house generic. A fresh coat of neutral paint will make your home appear larger, brighter, and more appealing to potential buyers.

hsold204-after-kitchen

Make repairs

Fix things like leaky faucets and sticky cabinets, and replace old screens. They may seem insignificant, but minor repairs add up in the mind of a potential buyer. They tend to overestimate how much repairs cost. You don't want to give them any reason not to put in an offer.

hsold211-after-living-room

Rearrange

Make sure your furniture placement allows for easy traffic flow and shows the purpose of each room. If you have too much furniture, rent a portable storage device to hold things until you are ready to move into your new place. If you don't have enough furniture, borrow or rent.

Pack up

This includes personal photos and portraits. Less is always more. The fewer clutter and knickknacks you have lying around, the more potential buyers will be able to see your home and what it offers. Remember, you are selling your house, not your stuff. Plus, getting a head start on packing will eliminate some stress down the road.

Organize

When your house is meticulously organized, buyers will envision themselves living a stress-free life in your home.

Clean

Clean every inch of your house, and don't forget to make your windows and floors sparkle. If your carpet appears old and stained, think about replacing it. Also, make sure there are no offensive odors. Purchase an air-neutralizing spray that will help remove odors without creating an overwhelming masking odor. Clean homes sell!

Lighten up

Let the sunshine in, and turn on the lights. Open all blinds or curtains, and make sure the house is well lit.

Temperature

Be sure potential buyers are comfortable when touring your home. If it's freezing outside, leave the heat on, and if it's summer, turn on the air conditioner.

Keep it ready to show

It may be a little inconvenient, but until you accept an offer, keep your home in tip-top shape at all times. What this means is that each room should have a clear purpose, nice flow, and be clean and clutter-free. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves and their things in a room, and taking these steps will help ensure that.

August
23

How Much Money Do I Need to Put Down on a Mortgage?

When you buy a home, one of the biggest up-front expenses is the down payment. Not to be confused with closing costs, the down payment is the portion of the purchase price that you pay upfront at closing. Generally, if you put less money down on a home at closing, you'll pay more in fees and interest over the loan's lifetime (and vice versa).

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The down payment you make on your home impacts what kind of mortgage you qualify for, how much money a lender will give you, and the loan's terms and conditions.
  • But the size of your down payment also impacts your lifestyle and long-term financial planning goals, as it determines your monthly mortgage payments and how much money you'll have for other expenses.
  • If you've only ever rented, keep in mind that your monthly expenses as an owner include more than just the mortgage; there are also property taxes, maintenance, insurance, and potential repairs.
  • A larger down payment will give you a lower loan-to-value ratio, or LTV. This key measure makes you less risky to lenders, may qualify you for lower interest rates, and may help you avoid fees, such as private mortgage insurance.
  • A larger down payment may make you more competitive as a buyer because you'll be seen as more reliable, less prone to haggling, or needing to ask for sellers to pay closing costs.

Understanding Down Payments on Houses

The amount you designate as a down payment helps a lender determine how much money to lend you and which type of mortgage is best for your needs. But how much is just the right amount for a down payment? Paying too little will cost you in interest and fees over time. Too much could deplete your savings or negatively affect your long-term financial health.

First, you need to figure out your budget and how it can impact your down payment. Investopedia's free, online mortgage calculator helps you calculate your monthly mortgage payments and make the right financial decisions when buying a house. One of the fields asks for an estimated down payment amount.
Fast Fact
While a 20% down payment was once the standard, many homebuyers now pay 5% or less.

How Many House Can You Afford?

When you are pre-approved for a mortgage, a lender will tell you the maximum loan amount for which you qualify, based on responses in your application. Your mortgage application asks about your estimated down payment amount, income, employment, debts, and assets. A lender also pulls your credit report and credit score. All of these factors influence a lender's decision about whether to lend you money for a home purchase, how much money and under what terms and conditions.

As a general guideline, many prospective homeowners can afford to mortgage a property that costs between 2 and 2.5 times their gross income. For example, if you earn $100,000 per year, you can afford a house between $200,000 and $250,000.

Rather than simply borrowing the maximum loan amount a lender approves, you're better served by evaluating your estimated monthly mortgage payment. Say, you get approved for a $300,000 loan. If your monthly mortgage payment and other monthly debts exceed 43% of your gross monthly income you might have trouble repaying your loan if times get tight. In other words, be cautious about buying more houses than you can reasonably afford.

If you've been renting for some time—or you already own a home and are looking to buy again—you likely have a strong handle on the monthly mortgage payment you can afford. Renters should keep in mind that owning a home or condo includes additional expenses such as property taxes, maintenance, insurance, possible Home Owners Association (HOA) dues, and unexpected repairs.

Beyond buying a house, you may also want to contribute to other financial goals such as saving for retirement, starting a family, shoring up an emergency savings fund, and paying down debt. Taking on a too-high monthly mortgage payment will eat up cash that could otherwise go toward some of these important goals.

Down Payment and Your Loan-to-Value Ratio

Your down payment plays a key role in determining your loan-to-value ratio, or LTV. To calculate the LTV ratio, the loan amount is divided by the home's fair market value as determined by a property appraisal. The larger your down payment, the lower your LTV (and vice versa). Since lenders use LTV to assess borrower risk and price mortgages, a lower LTV means you pay lower interest rates on your mortgage—and may avoid additional costs.

A lower LTV ratio presents less risk to lenders. Why? You're starting out with more equity in your home, which means you have a higher stake in your property relative to the outstanding loan balance. In short, lenders assume you'll be less likely to default on your mortgage. If you do fall behind on your mortgage and a lender has to foreclose on your home, they're more likely to resell it and recoup most of the loan value if the LTV ratio is lower.

In addition to assessing your risk, lenders use the LTV ratio to price your mortgage. If your LTV ratio is lower, you'll likely receive a lower interest rate. But if the LTV ratio exceeds 80%, meaning you've put less than 20% of the home's value as a down payment, expect higher interest rates. These rates cover the lender's increased risk of lending you money.

Also, if your LTV ratio exceeds 80%, you'll likely pay for private mortgage insurance, (PMI). The amount of PMI you'll pay depends on your loan type. For instance, some loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration require both an up-front mortgage insurance premium that's paid at closing, as well as an annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for the life of the loan. While FHA loans have a low, 3.5% down payment requirement, the total cost of borrowing money as calculated in the annual percentage rate tends to be much higher for these loans.

How Your Down Payment Impacts Your Offers

When you're on the hunt for the right home, time is of the essence. Homes at entry-level price ranges typically sell quickly, and you want to put your best foot forward when making an offer because you'll probably have competition. When markets are competitive and sellers receive multiple offers, they want to see buyers' best offers, including a sizable down payment. From a seller's viewpoint, buyers who have more money to put down are more attractive because they have more skin in the game.

A higher down payment can indicate to a seller that you have enough cash on hand and solid finances to get a final loan approval (and get to the closing table) without a hitch. Also, a higher down payment could beat out other offers that ask for sellers to pay closing costs or offer below the asking price. Someone with a sizable down payment is unlikely to request such assistance, and sellers are more likely to work with a buyer who has the money and motivation to see the purchase through with minimal haggling.

Low Down Payment Loan Programs

The old standard used to be that homebuyers needed 20% down to buy a home. Times have changed. Many homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, simply don't have a 20% down payment saved. This is becoming increasingly the case as home prices soar in many U.S. housing markets. For example, the median existing-home price in November 2020 was $310,800, a 14.6% increase from $271,300 in November 2019, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors.1

In fact, homebuyers who financed their home put down an average of 12% of the purchase price, according to NAR's 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. First-time buyers using financing typically put down just 7% of the purchase price, the survey found.2 

For those who can't afford a 20% down payment, several types of mortgages offer a low down payment option.

Conventional loans

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs (3% down)

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-sponsored enterprises that buy and sell most U.S. mortgages, require only 3% down for borrowers with strong credit. Both programs will consider some borrowers with no credit score by building a non-traditional credit report—as long as those borrowers meet certain debt-to-income and loan-to-value ratio guidelines in addition to other requirements.

Fannie Mae's HomeReady mortgage program allows a 97% LTV ratio for borrowers with a minimum credit score of 620. Freddie Mac's Home Possible Advantage mortgage also offers a 97% LTV ratio for borrowers but requires a minimum credit score of 660 to qualify.

Individual lender programs (1% to 3% down)

Many lenders offer Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's programs and add their own down payment assistance benefit for a conventional loan. For example, Guild Mortgage requires 1% down and provides a 2% gift for borrowers with qualifying low incomes and a minimum credit score of 680. Wells Fargo's yourFirst Mortgage® allows for 3% down with no area median income requirements.

These are only two of many options. If you need a loan with a low down payment requirement, ask lenders about their offerings to help you narrow down your choices.

Jumbo loans (10% to 20% down)

Jumbo loans are the most common type of non-conforming conventional loan available to homebuyers. Lenders have varying qualifying guidelines for jumbo loans, which exceed an area's conforming loan limit set by the federal government.

Because jumbo borrowers present more risk for a lender, expect to put 10% to 20% of the purchase price down. Borrowers with credit scores of 700 or higher tend to get the best pricing, but some lenders will work with jumbo borrowers with a minimum score of 660. Lenders might require you to have 10% of the home's purchase price in cash or other assets in case you run into issues repaying your mortgage.

Government-Insured Loans

FHA loans (3.5% down)

You can put as little as 3.5% down on FHA loans if you have a minimum credit score of 580. FHA-approved lenders also will consider borrowers with non-traditional credit histories as long as you've had on-time rent payments in the past 12 months, no more than one 30-day late payment to other creditors, and you haven't had any collection actions (medical bills being the exception) filed in the last 12 months. 

Also, the property you're buying must comply with the property standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for single-family and condo homes and be within FHA loan limits. Another benefit of FHA loans is that you can use a financial gift from a relative or friend toward all or part of your down payment if you provide documentation stating it's a gift and not a third-party loan.

VA loans (0% down)

U.S. military service personnel, veterans, and their families can qualify for zero-down loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Other benefits include a cap on closing costs (which may be paid by the seller), no broker fees, and no MIP. VA loans do require a "funding fee," a percentage of the loan amount that helps offset the cost to taxpayers. The funding fee varies depending on your military service category and loan amount.

USDA loans (0% down)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantees loans to help make homeownership possible for low-income buyers in rural areas nationwide. These loans require no money down for qualified borrowers—as long as properties meet the USDA's eligibility rules.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

Special programs in your state or local housing authority offer help to first-time buyers. Many of these programs are available based on buyers' income or financial needs. These programs, which usually offer assistance in the form of down payment grants, can also help with closing costs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development lists first-time homebuyer programs by state. Select your state then "Homeownership Assistance" to find the program nearest you.

4 Ways to Save More for a Down Payment

It can be a challenge to save money for a down payment on a home. Here are some quick tips to get you there:

    1. Start early with an automated plan. In addition to regular savings or emergency fund account, open dedicated savings account for your down payment. After each pay period or windfall (like a financial gift, tax refund, bonus, or inheritance), deposit money into your down payment fund and watch the balance grow over time. Contributing to that fund as early and often as possible will help you stay on track.
    2. Slash your spending. If homeownership is important to you, cut out or reduce unnecessary expenses such as cable and TV service, eating out, vacations, or other non-essentials. By spending less, you'll save more toward your down payment and have extra money to pay down other debts. Making sacrifices now can go a long way toward achieving your homeownership goals.
    3. Pay off high-interest debts. Credit cards or loans with high interest rates can hurt your credit and are costly in the long run. Focus on paying down these accounts first, and you'll see a snowball effect on reducing your debt. Once these accounts are paid off, you can then apply the monthly payment amounts toward your down payment savings. However, don't close these accounts; that can lower your credit score because you're losing an open line of credit and an account history. Instead, use them minimally (buy gas or an occasional dinner at a restaurant ) and pay the balances off immediately. This behavior helps bolster your credit payment history and shows responsible usage to credit bureaus and lenders.
    4. Get a second job. Many first-time buyers find they can save much faster if they increase their income. Finding side gigs to do from home or working a seasonal retail job can help increase your down payment savings. Even if you work temporarily for six months or a year prior to buying a home, the added income could be the boost you need for a decent down payment.

Down Payment on a House FAQs

Do I Need To Put 20% Down on a House?

No. The old standard was 20% down to buy property, but the majority of first-time homebuyers put 5% or less down on a home, according to a National Association of Realtors survey.

What Is the Minimum Down Payment on a House?

There is no universal minimum down payment, but the more you pay upfront, the lower your monthly mortgage payments, the lower the interest rate you will qualify for, and the less likely you will be to have to pay mortgage insurance or other fees.

Is It Better To Put a Large Down Payment on a House?

If you can afford to put a sizeable down payment on a property, the benefits include more options for a mortgage, lower interest rates, more negotiating power with a seller, and the avoidance of having to pay mortgage insurance and certain other fees. But if putting a large down payment would result in you not having enough money for other monthly expenses or your long-term savings goals, a smaller down payment may make more sense.

How Much Money Do I Need To Buy a House for the First Time?

No set amount is required and home prices vary state-to-state and city-to-city. It's all dependent on what you're looking for in terms of size and type of property, neighborhood, amenities, and any other details specific to your situation.

The Bottom Line

It's not impossible to buy a home if you don't have much cash saved up for a down payment. Shopping around for the right lender and loan type is a critical step. With a lower down payment, expect to pay higher loan fees and interest rates, as well as PMI. Also, don't forget to tap into down payment assistance programs offered by your state or city. If someone offers a financial gift toward your down payment, make sure they understand it cannot be a loan.

There's no shortcut to saving for a down payment: It takes time, discipline, and effort. But the result—purchasing a home of your own—can be rewarding, both financially and personally.

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    August
    18

    Today's mortgage and refinance rates 

    Average mortgage rates held steady yesterday. They're still higher than they were at the start of the month. But recent falls have taken the edge off. And they're extraordinarily low by all but the most exceptional standards.

    So far this morning, it's looking as if mortgage rates today might again be unchanged or barely changed. But there's a danger point at 2 p.m. (ET) when the Federal Reserve releases an eagerly anticipated document. More on that below.

    Find and lock a low rate (Aug 18th, 2021)

    Current mortgage and refinance rates 

    Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
    Conventional 30 year fixed 2.749% 2.749% -0.02% 
    Conventional 15 year fixed 1.99% 1.99% Unchanged
    Conventional 20 year fixed 2.377% 2.377% -0.11% 
    Conventional 10 year fixed 1.851% 1.885% Unchanged
    30 year fixed FHA 2.688% 3.343% Unchanged
    15 year fixed FHA 2.381% 2.981% Unchanged
    5/1 ARM FHA 2.5% 3.213% Unchanged
    30 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.421% Unchanged
    15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
    5/1 ARM VA 2.5% 2.392% Unchanged

    Find and lock a low rate (Aug 18th, 2021)


    COVID-19 mortgage updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. To see the latest on how coronavirus could impact your home loan, click here.

    Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

    Of course, you won't want to lock while mortgage rates are falling. But you might want to think about doing so when they begin to rise.

    Because few experts think those rates are likely to fall much further. And most expect them to rise. So your likely rewards from continuing to float are small. But your risks of doing are great.

    Still, for now, my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

    • LOCK if closing in 7 days
    • LOCK if closing in 15 days
    • LOCK if closing in 30 days
    • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
    • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

    However, 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.

    Market data affecting today's mortgage rates 

    Here's a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:

    • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes nudged up to 1.27% from 1.25%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
    • Major stock indexes were lower shortly after opening. (Good for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they're often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower
    • Oil prices rose to $66.78 from $67.51 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
    • Gold prices fell to $1,788 from $1,793 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it's better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
    • CNN Business Fear & Greed index  tumbled to 31 from 37 out of 100. (Good for mortgage rates.) "Greedy" investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while "fearful" investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones

    *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.

    Caveats about markets and 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 daily 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 just inch either side of the neutral line. But be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

    Find and lock a low rate (Aug 18th, 2021)

    Important notes on today's mortgage rates

    Here are some things you need to know:

    1. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy's doing well and down when it's in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read 'How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care
    2. Only "top-tier" borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you'll see advertised
    3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
    4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
    5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed

    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.

    Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

    Today and soon

    The big event today is likely to be the release at 2 p.m. (ET) of the minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). That's the Federal Reserve's monetary policy body.

    Investors and analysts always pore over these minutes, hoping to glean insights into the Fed's thinking. But today's publication could cause more excitement than usual.

    Because the insights it might contain this time concern "tapering," which is the process of slowing and stopping the Fed's current asset purchase program. Right now, it's buying bonds at a rate of $120 billion a month.

    What's that got to do with mortgage rates?

    As regular readers know, $40 billion of that $120 billion is being spent on mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), a type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates. And purchasing in those quantities is keeping those rates artificially low.

    Nobody thinks today's minutes are likely to reveal the Fed's tapering master plan. And it's growing increasingly clear that the central bank will start its tapering sometime this year, perhaps next month or even this. So expectations are already within a limited range.

    But markets are hungry for any information that gives them a better idea of a likely date. And, if this afternoon's release provides that, they may react, perhaps with higher mortgage rates. If it doesn't, the minutes might be a damp squib.

    For more background, read Saturday's weekend edition of this column.

    Mortgage rates and inflation: Why are rates going up?

    Recently

    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 then the trend reversed and rates rose.

    However, those rises have been mostly replaced by falls since April, though typically small ones. Freddie's Aug. 12 report puts that weekly average at 2.87% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week's 2.77%.

    Expert mortgage rate forecasts

    Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has 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 rate forecasts for the remaining quarters of 2021 (Q3/21 and Q4/21) and the first two quarters of 2022 (Q1/22 and Q2/22).

    The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie's were updated on July 19, Freddie's on July 15 and the MBA's on July 21.

    Forecaster Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22
    Fannie Mae 3.0% 3.1%  3.2% 3.2%
    Freddie Mac 3.3% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
    MBA 3.2% 3.4%  3.8% 4.0%

    However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual.

    All these forecasts expect higher mortgage rates soon. But the differences between the forecasters are stark. And it may be that Fannie isn't building in the Federal Reserve's tapering of its support for mortgage rates while Freddie and the MBA are.

    Find your lowest rate today

    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.

    But, of course, you should be comparison shopping widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

    Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

    August
    16

    NATIONAL NONPROFIT DAY

    NATIONAL NONPROFIT DAY – August 17

    On August 17th, National Nonprofit Day (NND) recognizes the goals and positive impacts nonprofits have on communities and the world.

    Somewhere a volunteer reads to school children. At the same time, a patient receives steady medication. A lawyer provides legal services for low-income individuals. A lost soul's life is remembered with dignity, thanks to a nonprofit funeral home. Elsewhere, a first-time homebuyer moves into his own home. NND reminds us that each of these scenes is possible thanks to the nonprofit sector. It's the result of the work performed by capable people and organizations.

    Through nonprofits, awareness, research, and aid reach the people who need it most. Nonprofits also generate tremendous benefits to their surrounding communities and the broader world.

    For example, following the recent U.S. recession in 2012, the nonprofit sector provided 5.4% of the nation's entire GDP (gross domestic product), or $887.3 billion. Non-profits continuously employing nurses, web developers, lawyers, computer engineers, and more (sources: John Hopkins and Tactical Philanthropy Advisors reports).

    For these reasons and more, National Nonprofit Day salutes those who set out to make a difference. 

    HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalNonprofitDay

    The observance encourages you to take some time to learn more about nonprofits. Understand that the funding for these organizations often satisfies more than the mission statement. Discover all the benefits of supporting a nonprofit. Visit philanthopyalliancefoundation.org to find out more and use #NationalNonprofitDay to share on social media.

    NATIONAL NONPROFIT DAY HISTORY

    Logos - National Nonprofit Day

    Sherita J. Herring, a renowned speaker, best-selling author, and business strategist, founded National Nonprofit Day to educate, enlighten and empower others to make a difference while acknowledging those in the trenches, impacting lives every day – the Change-Makers of the World! 

    The Tariff Act of 1894, signed into law on August 17, imposed the first federal income tax on corporations, including exemptions for nonprofit corporations and charitable institutions. With a few modifications, nonprofit exemptions remain a solid part of the law and have served significant benefits for communities and the economy.

    The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared National Nonprofit Day to be observed annually in 2017.

    August
    9

    NATIONAL BOOK LOVERS DAY – August 9

    National Book Lovers Day on August 9th harnesses all the excitement bibliophiles feel about books into one celebration. 

    A day for all those who love to read, National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction), and read the day away.

    Bibliophile – a person who has a great appreciation for or collects books

    Step back in time
    • The very first books used parchment or vellum (calf-skin) for the book pages.
    • The book covers were made of wood and often covered with leather.
    • Clasps or straps kept the books closed.
    • Public libraries appeared in the Middle Ages.
    • Public libraries often chained the books to a shelf or a desk to prevent theft.
    Moving forward

    Along with several recent developments, book manufacturers use digital printing. Book pages are printed using toner rather than ink. As a result of digital printing, print-on-demand opens up a whole new realm of publishing. In this case, distributors don't print the books until the customer places the order.

    More and more, people read E-books. E-book (electronic book) refers to a book-length publication in digital form. They are usually available through the internet. However, they can also be found on CD-ROM and other systems. Read an E-book on a computer or via a portable book display device known as an e-book reader, such as a Reader, Nook, or Kindle.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalBookLoversDay

    Sit back, relax and READ! Don't forget to share the joy of reading with young people in your life. Inspire them with your favorite novel or find out about the last book they took off the shelf. Read to the littlest of the up-and-coming readers, too. And share what you're reading with us, too! Need more ways to celebrate? We've got them!

    • Shop for a new title to read or explore the shelves for one you would like to give.
    • Explore the shelves of used book stores. You might find an out-of-print tome that might become the highlight of your collection.
    • Discover the world of online bookstores. Their stock includes a variety of subjects and collectible items, too. 
    • Record a video of you reading a story for a child in your life. 
    • Randomly give a book to someone. 
    • Visit your public library and check out a favorite tome. 

    Use #NationalBookLoversDay to post on social media and spread the word.

    NATIONAL BOOK LOVERS DAY HISTORY

    We were unable to find the creator or origin of National Book Lovers Day.

    National Book Lovers Day FAQ

    Children's Book Week is in May and November.

    Read an E-Book Week is in March.

    Random Acts of Poetry Day is in October. Another one in October is National Friends of Libraries Week.

    Many authors are also celebrated on the calendar and others have founded their own National Day celebrations. Check out Sherita J. Herring, DeAnna Bookert, and Lisa Wiehebrink or Robert Burns, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

    • Q. Are printed book sales declining?
    • A. Yes and no. As on 2019 statistics, sales of print books are down in brick-and-mortar settings but as an industry, sales are up in nearly all categories.
    • Q. What do you call a collection of unread books?
    • A. In the Japanese language, the word is tsundoku. There is no word for this in the English language. Bibliophiles often have such a collection and they usually have more unread books than reading ones.
    August
    9

    Struggling to find decor that matches your style? Here are some tips to jumpstart your interior design.

    One of the hardest parts about interior decorating and design is figuring out your own style and tastes. To further complicate things, our styles and taste are constantly evolving. Some people like everything, which can make it difficult to narrow down your ideas into a single concept. Others are extremely picky and have trouble finding anything that matches their personality. Bottom line — if you struggle to define your own tastes, picking furniture, room colors, and decor can be quite the challenge.

    Luckily, our real estate agents are here to help. We've seen thousands of homes and designs, so we know the importance of individual style. We compiled a list of the top 6 ways to define your own interior style and preferences:

    Click Here to Read More...

    August
    4

    The Five Best Places To Go Hiking Near Holland, Michigan

    One of my favorite parts about living in Michigan is the easy access to dozens of hiking spots. Whether you're looking for deep forests, streams, or grasslands, Michigan has it covered. Listed below are my top five hiking spots near Holland, Michigan.

    Riley Trails. Located on the south side of Holland, Riley Trails seems like something out of a children's book (NARNIA). There are acres upon acres of hiking trails and mountain bike trails. I've probably been to the area at least five times and every time I explore somewhere new. Deep forests, wide-open plains, and sandy dunes are just some of the geographic features it has to offer. My personal favorite part about Riley is the construction of teepees in the middle of the forest. Yep, you heard me right, teepees. Make sure you stumble upon those when you're there.

    Rosy Mound. Although not located in Holland, Rosy Mound is definitely worth the short drive to Grand Haven and the small fee to enter the park. First of all, if you're looking for a workout, this place is the place for you! There are so many stairs, your legs will be burning by the time you reach level ground. As a reward for your workout, enjoy the fact that the stairs bottom out into lake Michigan. The views are breathtaking, and you'll think you're in a different country, if only for a few hours.

    Mt. Pisgha. The stairs are back and better than ever! Don't be imitated, there are fewer stairs here than at the previous location. Although the summit has a great view of Holland State Park (lighthouses, piers, and Lake Michigan), there are actually trails hidden behind the view. If you choose to venture (I strongly urge you to) back into the woods, you will be rewarded with leafy views of Lake Michigan, thick forests, and some much-needed quiet despite the proximity to the tourist magnet that is Holland State Park.

    Van Raatle Farm Park. This place is a hidden gem. It has at least two entrances, with two completely different landscapes, and two different worlds. One entrance takes you into the forest, a stream runs through it and there are so many oddities to gaze at. Bridges, poems tacked to trees, and more. The second entrance takes you into an open field that is perfect for stargazing or playing tag, whichever you prefer. Which entrance do I take? Depends on my mood.

    Adam's Landing. Less than five minutes away from Van Raatle, one might wonder why you would need to go to both. But Adam's Landing is an enigma, even more so than Van Raatle. The park is all grasslands, leading up to a large hill that overlooks the highway, and bodies of water sprinkled throughout with wildlife to match. With the sharp contrast between industry and nature, Adam's Landing is the perfect juxtaposition of the human world.

    August
    2

    National Sisters Day – August 1, 2021

    National Sisters Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of August — this year it falls on August 1. Nothing can quite compare to the bond that sisters have and this is a day to treasure the closeness that forms as you grow up together, sharing your secrets, your dreams, and all the fun times. Sisters have a deep connection that grows throughout childhood and remains strong throughout life. National Sisters Day is a chance for you to spend some quality time with your sister and to cherish the connection that you have.

    HISTORY OF NATIONAL SISTERS DAY

    Whilst the origins of National Sisters Day are unknown, we can trace the English word for sister back to the Old Norse word "systir", which derives from the Proto-Germanic "swester." In some societies, the term "sister" has broadened in its colloquial meaning to include women who share a close friendship. However, whether the relationship is formed by blood or friendship, sisters have been kicking butt and taking names since the beginning of time. Let's take a moment to celebrate some great and memorable sisters from throughout history.

    In 39 CE, the Trung sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, led the first Vietnamese independence movement by successfully rebelling against their Chinese dictators and establishing their own matriarchal independent state. They were raised learning martial arts and studying the art of warfare and went on to create a large army of rebels who were mostly women.

    The Grimke sisters, Angelina and Sarah, were 19th century women's rights activists and abolitionists, which is extremely impressive considering their own father was a wealthy slave owner in their hometown of Charleston. The ladies rejected their luxurious lifestyle, moved north, became Quakers, and gave lectures about their experiences witnessing the brutalities of slavery.

    The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are known for their novels and achievements in literature. Between them, their body of work includes classics such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The sisters are said to be particularly close due to the deaths of their mother and two elder sisters, as well as being raised in relative isolation.

    Patricia, Minerva, and Antonia Mirabal, also known as Las Mariposas, are national heroines in the Dominican Republic for their opposition to dictator Rafael Trujillo. The three young women became symbols of both popular and feminist resistance during the 20th century.

    Serena and Venus Williams are arguably the most famous sisters in the world right now. They will both go down in history as being among the greatest tennis players of all time. They have also paved the way for many other African American and Hispanic players in a once very exclusive and homogenous sport. As well as winning over 100 singles titles between them, they have won 22 titles when playing doubles together, including 14 grand slam titles and three Olympic gold medals.

    These are just some of the badass sisters throughout history. Make sure you cherish your sister or sisters on National Sisters Day 2021.

    NATIONAL SISTERS DAY TIMELINE

    39 C.E

    A Matriarchal Takeover

    The Trung sisters lead the Vietnamese revolution to break away from China and establish their own independent state.

    1857

    New York-Presbyterian Hospital

    Emily and Elizabeth Blackwell (two of the first American women to receive their medical degrees) establish the first hospital for women and children in the U.S.

    1940s

    Fearless and Fierce

    16-year-old Stefania and six-year-old Helena Podgórska hide 13 Jews in the attic of their house in Poland during World War II, even though they live right next door to an S.S. officer.

    1993

    The Immortal Delays

    Annie Elizabeth Delany becomes the second black female dentist in New York State and her sister Sarah Delany becomes the first black woman to teach home economics in a New York City school.

    April 6, 2004

    My Sister's Keeper

    Jodi Picoult's famous novel, "My Sister's Keeper" is published, telling the story of a brother and sister trying to support their older sister who is slowly dying from leukemia.

    September 24, 2006

    "Brothers & Sisters"

    Television comedy "Brothers & Sisters" makes its premiere debut on ABC

    NATIONAL SISTERS DAY TRADITIONS

    As this day is all about cherishing the bond that sisters have, the most important tradition is to spend some quality time with your sister or sisters. Do something that you have always enjoyed doing together, whether it is going for lunch, a coffee or to catch a movie, spend some quality time with each other, and enjoy each other's company.

    It is also a good opportunity for you to bring out the old family photos and reminisce about your childhood together for National Sisters Day 2021.

    BY THE NUMBERS 

    33% – the percentage of free time siblings have spent together by the time they reach the age of 11 years old.

    10 – the number of hours children spend with their siblings per week.

    17 – the number of hours children from large families spends with their siblings per week.

    14% – the percentage decrease in risk of obesity that drops with each additional sibling in a household.

    195 – the sample size of an Italian study, which found that older sisters are less likely to bully siblings than older brothers. 

     – the number of times in an hour that siblings aged between three and seven years old get involved in fights.

    390 – the number of families who participated in a research study that found younger siblings are more rebellious and aggressive than older siblings.

    8 – the average age at which children start being bullied by their siblings.

    NATIONAL SISTERS DAY ACTIVITIES

    1. Reach out

      If you can't spend time with your sister in person, taking the time to call or send a card is the best gift you can give her. She'll love you just for making the effort!

    2. Be a good listener

      Attentive listening is important through good times and bad. Empathy and attention can go a long way from one sister to another.

    3. Go on an adventure

      Try something new together. What better way to bond with your sister than to push some boundaries?

      WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL SISTERS DAY

      1. It's a time to fix any misunderstandings

        Arguments happen, but don't let them dictate your relationship. Take the day to reach out, fix any unresolved conflict, and strengthen your bond.

      2. No sister? No problem

        While it may seem like National Sisters Day is only for people who have biological sisters, your best friend can be just as close. Let her know how much you appreciate and love her with a sister's night out!

      3. Cherish the memories

        Life is busy, so use National Sisters Day as an opportunity to go through your old photos (and videos) and remember the good times. 

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