Date Archives: July 2022

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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
July
29

August 2022 Calendar of United States of America

August 2022 Holidays and Celebrations

  • 01MON
  • 01MON
    National Minority Donor Awareness Day
  • 01MON
    World Scout Scarf Day
  • 01MON
    International Childfree Day
  • 01MON
    World Lung Cancer Day
  • 01MON
    Lammas Day
  • 01MON
  • 04THU
  • 04THU
    Barack Obama's Birthday
  • 04THU
  • 05FRI
  • 05FRI
    International Beer Day
  • 07SUN
  • 07SUN
    National Lighthouse Day
  • 07SUN
    National Friendship Day
  • 07SUN
    American Family Day
  • 07SUN
    Ashura
  • 07SUN
  • 08MON
    International Cat Day
  • 08MON
    International Infinity Day
  • 08MON
  • 09TUE
    International Day of the World's Indigenous People
  • 09TUE
    International Coworking Day
  • 09TUE
  • 10WED
    National Spoil Your Dog Day
  • 10WED
  • 11THU
    Raksha Bandhan
  • 11THU
    Tu B'Av (The 15th of Av)
  • 11THU
  • 12FRI
    National Vinyl Record Day
  • 12FRI
  • 12FRI
  • 13SAT
  • 13SAT
    National Garage Sale Day
  • 13SAT
  • 14SUN
    Social Security Act
  • 14SUN
    National Financial Awareness Day
  • 15MON
    International Homeless Animals Day
  • 15MON
    National Back To School Prep Day
  • 15MON
  • 15MON
  • 16TUE
    Bennington Battle Day
  • 16TUE
    National Bratwurst Day
  • 16TUE
    Tell a Joke Day
  • 16TUE
    National Roller Coaster Day
  • 16TUE
    National Airborne Day
  • 17WED
    National Black Cat Appreciation Day
  • 17WED
    National Thrift Shop Day
  • 17WED
    National Nonprofit Day
  • 18THU
    National Couple's Day
  • 18THU
    National Fajita Day
  • 18THU
    Women's Suffrage
  • 18THU
    Janmashtami
  • 19FRI
  • 19FRI
  • 19FRI
  • 19FRI
  • 19FRI
  • 20SAT
    World Mosquito Day
  • 20SAT
    International Geocaching Day
  • 20SAT
    National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
  • 20SAT
  • 21SUN
    International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism
  • 21SUN
  • 22MON
    National Tooth Fairy Day
  • 22MON
    World Plant Milk Day
  • 23TUE
    Cheap Flight Day
  • 23TUE
    National Sponge Cake Day
  • 23TUE
    International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
  • 24WED
    Kobe Bryant Day
  • 24WED
    International Strange Music Day
  • 24WED
  • 25THU
    National Secondhand Wardrobe Day
  • 25THU
    National Park Service Founders Day
  • 26FRI
    National WebMistress Day
  • 26FRI
  • 26FRI
  • 27SAT
    National Just Because Day
  • 28SUN
    March on Washington
  • 28SUN
    Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day
  • 29MON
    International Day Against Nuclear Tests
  • 30TUE
    College Colors Day
  • 30TUE
    International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance
  • 30TUE
    National Grief Awareness Day
  • 30TUE
  • 31WED
    Ganesh Chaturthi
  • 31WED
    World Distance Learning Day
  • 31WED
    International Overdose Awareness Day
July
22

What Credit Score Do You Need to Buy a House in 2022?

Most conventional loans require a credit score of at least 620 to buy a house. But, you'll find that there are several other loan types that have much lower requirements.

A lot of first-time home buyers worry that their credit scores are too low to buy a home. First, know that whether your credit score is "good" or "bad" is subjective and won't affect your home buying. Second, mortgage lenders are bound by specific rules which determine what credit scores you need to buy a house, and those rules vary by your loan type.

Conventional loans are the most common loan type. On the credit score scale, which ranges from 350-850, conventional loans require a credit score of at least 620. Other loan types allow for lower credit score minimums, and some mortgage programs have no credit score requirement whatsoever.

Here's what credit score you need to buy a house.

Minimum Credit Score to Buy a House by Loan Type

Conventional Loan | Credit Score: 620

Conventional loans are the most common home loan and have a hard minimum credit score of 620. Conventional loans are issued through mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, and credit unions. Conventional loans are the default option for home buyers because of their low rates and simple approvals.

Conventional loan approval requires:

  • A mortgage application
  • Lender-required documents
  • Credit history
  • Current credit score

Check your eligibility for a conventional loan.

FHA Loan | Credit Score: 580

FHA mortgages are the original mortgage loan, developed by the Federal Housing Administration in the 1930s to keep homeownership attainable. FHA loans are more inclusive than other loan options because of their relaxed down payment requirements, and because the FHA doesn't change your interest rate based on your credit score.

In fact, FHA loans don't require home buyers to have a credit score at all, although many lenders want to see a minimum score of 580.

FHA loan approval requires:

  • 3.5% down payment
  • Loan lengths must be 15 years or longer

Check your eligibility for an FHA loan.

VA Loan | Credit Score: 580

VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans are affordable home loans for active-duty servicemembers and veterans.

Because the VA guarantees its loans against losses, mortgage lenders make VA loans at very low-interest rates and, historically, VA mortgage rates are often the lowest of all available mortgage loans. VA loans don't require a downpayment.

VA loans:

  • Are available as 100% mortgage loans
  • Have lower interest rates as compared to conventional loans
  • Require a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Check your eligibility for a VA loan.

USDA Loan | Credit Score: 620

USDA loans are government-backed mortgages available for homes outside of densely-populated areas. The USDA program covers about 91% of the U.S. including rural areas, small towns, and many suburbs.

USDA mortgage loans don't require a down payment and offer interest rates that average 0.50% lower than conventional loan rates. USDA guidelines require credit scores of at least 620, but exceptions can be made for home buyers with extenuating circumstances.

USDA loans:

  • Can only be used for non-urban home purchases
  • Have no down payment requirements
  • Require a credit score of 620 or higher

Check your eligibility for a USDA loan.

Jumbo Loan | Credit Score: 680

Jumbo loans service home buyers whose mortgage loans are too large for the local mortgage loan limit. There is no specific credit score requirement for a jumbo mortgage, though higher scores are more likely to be approved and may be assigned a lower interest rate.

Jumbo loans can be used for a variety of property types.

Jumbo loans:

  • May require a down payment of between 5% and 25% depending on credit and income
  • Require higher credit scores
  • Are not government-backed

Check your eligibility for a jumbo loan.

What Changes Your Credit Score?

The five factors that make you your credit score are your payment history, credit usage, credit length, credit types, and recently opened credit lines

Credit scores help your lender determine the likelihood that you'll make timely mortgage payments. Fair Isaac and Co. (FICO) uses these factors to calculate your credit score:

  1. Your payment history (35%)
  2. Your current credit usage (30%)
  3. The length of your credit history (15%)
  4. Types of credit (10%)
  5. Recently opened credit lines (10%)

These 5 factors provide a glimpse into your financial habits and history and help lenders assess your financial health.

Home buyers with lower credit scores are typically assigned a higher interest rate.

There is no way to get around a credit check. It is one of the things you need to buy a home during the mortgage pre-approval stage so be sure to learn more about how a mortgage pre-approval affects your credit score.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

To boost your credit score for your upcoming mortgage approval, first, check your credit report to learn what's comprising your score. All consumers get access to a free annual credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.

You can also check your credit score by getting pre-approved.

If you've never reviewed a credit report, it can feel overwhelming. There are public resources that can help you, or you can ask for help in our chat. We'll consider the factors that impact your credit score and discuss ways to make improvements, like opening a secured credit card account or shifting balances between charge cards.

Here are the best habits to improve your credit score:

  • Pay your bills on time — Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score
  • Lower your credit utilization — Increase your debt payments temporarily or request a credit limit increase
  • Avoid new credit lines — Hard credit inquiries are performed for a new line of credit and can affect your credit score for the next six months
  • Don't close old accounts — Keep old credit lines open and catch up on old payments or delinquencies
  • Be patient — It can take up to 6 months to make big changes in your credit score, so do the work and wait it out

Credit scores don't improve overnight, and keeping your debt to a minimum pays off when you're planning to buy a house. Even small credit score improvements can reduce the interest rate you get, which saves you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run — enough to fund a retirement or college tuition!

Learn more about how to fix your credit to buy a home.

What Mortgage Lenders Look For When Approving a Home Loan

Credit items lenders consider include credit history, payment timeliness, derogatory items, and personal assets

When you apply to get pre-approved, your lenders will review your credit history and consider your current credit outlook. This includes looking at:

  • How on-time have you been with your payments and obligations?
  • What does your current debt load look like, and how is it spread out?
  • How much experience do you have managing credit?
  • Have you been recently trying to acquire access to new sources of credit?
  • Do you let items go into collections?
  • Have you previously filed for bankruptcy?

Lenders ask these questions to get comfortable with you. Your financial health isn't the only consideration lenders make, but how you manage your bills tells a large part of your story.

Lenders also look for specific credit events known as derogatory items, like bankruptcy or delinquent accounts.

Derogatory items don't disqualify a mortgage approval. Generally, it's only required that they're historical events and not current ones. For example, you can get approved for a mortgage if you've declared bankruptcy in the past, or if you've lost a home due to foreclosure.

Lenders know that life is unexpected and bad things happen. What's important is what's happened in the time since the derogatory event occurred.

How to Buy a House With Bad Credit

You don't have to give up on your dream of homeownership because of a low credit score or less-than-perfect credit history Here are a few ways first-time home buyers buy homes with bad credit or no credit:

Cancel Out Your Low Credit Score With A Larger Down Payment

Low credit scores create risk for mortgage lenders, and large down payments take the risk away. Therefore, buyers with the ability to increase their down payment size are more likely to get mortgage-approved.

Ask Multiple Lenders

The U.S. government establishes rules for conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA loan approvals, but  mortgage lenders sometimes create additional, more stringent requirements to be met. If your mortgage application doesn't pass its first test, try again with a different mortgage lender. It's common for loans to be approved on the second or third attempt.

Get a Co-Signer

If you're unable to qualify for a mortgage and have somebody in your life who would serve as co-signer, ask your mortgage lender the best path forward. A co-signer is somebody who agrees to joint responsibility for your mortgage, including repayment.

Co-signers don't have to live with you, but they will share ownership of the home. If you can't qualify on your own, then this is worth exploring.

Learn more about options for buying a home with a low credit score.

Our Advice – Get pre-approved to find your true credit score

Your credit score isn't the only factor for mortgage approval. However, it's a key indicator of your financial health. Track your credit, make on-time payments, and get help to choose the home loan that's right for you. Chat with us if you have questions about your credit score and loan options.

Happy homebuying.

July
20

Mortgage and refinance rates today, July 19, 2022

Today's mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates inched higher yesterday. But the increase was too small to bother most people.

Key markets were barely moving first thing. And mortgage rates today may be unchanged or barely changed. However, we all know how quickly these things can alter as the hours pass.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jul 20th, 2022)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 5.915% 5.951% -0.01% 
Conventional 15 year fixed 5.03% 5.088% -0.02% 
Conventional 20 year fixed 5.784% 5.838% +0.06% 
Conventional 10 year fixed 5.228% 5.334% +0.16% 
30 year fixed FHA 5.943% 6.674% +0.24% 
15 year fixed FHA 5.253% 5.741% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 5.314% 5.536% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 5.191% 5.563% +0.03% 
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.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

Don't lock on a day when mortgage rates look set to fall. My recommendations (below) are intended to give longer-term suggestions about the overall direction of those rates. So, they don't change daily to reflect fleeting sentiments in volatile markets.

Mortgage rates are still moving up and down, though generally less sharply than they were doing in June. After most of those ups and downs cancel each other out, there remains a very slight upward trend.

So, for now, my personal rate lock recommendations for the longer term must remain:

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

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 held steady at 2.98%. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were higher soon after opening. (Bad 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. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices were close to steady, increasing to $101.80 from $101.75 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a prominent role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices edged down to $1,712 from $1,717 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) It is generally 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 — nudged up to 35 from 32 out of 100. (Bad 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 movement of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a change of 1% or less. 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, mortgage rates today look likely to hold steady or close to steady. However, be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jul 20th, 2022)

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 broader 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.

A lot is going on at the moment. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what will happen to mortgage rates in the coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Might recession fears overtake inflation fears soon, allowing mortgage rates to fall for a while? They could do, though we're not there yet.

The Federal Reserve is still hoping to avoid a US recession by slowing the economy through interest hikes in a Goldilocks way. Not too hot by slamming on the brakes. Not too cool by being timid and failing to stem inflation. Just right: eliminating inflation without strangling economic growth.

But there's a hidden issue here that could foil its plans. The higher the Fed raises US interest rates, the more foreigners want to place their money in America. And that makes the dollar stronger against other currencies.

A strong dollar makes life tough in emerging economies and even among some competitor nations. That's because, globally, most commodities (including oil) are traded in dollars. When their currencies are weak, it costs them a lot more to buy the dollars needed to purchase essential imported goods and materials.

The euro recently reached parity with the dollar and remains only slightly higher. At a time when the continent is facing acute natural gas and oil shortages owing to Russia's war in Ukraine, the European Union may soon have a shrinking economy.

Warnings from Asia

You can see the strength of the dollar already playing out with dire consequences in emerging nations. An extreme example is a 22-million-strong country in South Asia:

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN) — Sri Lanka is "bankrupt," Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Tuesday, as the country suffers its worst financial crisis in decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine and fuel.

 -- CNN, "Sri Lanka is 'bankrupt,' Prime Minister says," Jul. 6, 2022

More seriously from an economic standpoint, China recently unveiled its weakest growth figures since the start of the pandemic, though the Fed's role in that is likely to be small.

What we can see is a world economy on the brink of a recession. And, if that happens in as scary a way as looks possible, the Fed can forget Goldilocks. Globalization means the US economy would be affected, too.

We're not there yet

Of course, that's only one possible scenario. And we're still some way off a potential global meltdown.

In the meantime, inflation remains arguably the No. 1 issue for Americans and the Fed. And, as long as that's the case, the chances of sustained and worthwhile falls in mortgage rates are small.

Read the weekend edition of this daily article for more background.

Recent trends — updated today

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 that year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

Rates then bumbled along, moving little for the following eight or nine months. But they began rising noticeably that September. Unfortunately, they've been mostly shooting up since the start of 2022, although May and June were kinder months.

Freddie's Jul. 14 report puts that same weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 5.51% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week's 5.3%.

Note that Freddie expects you to buy discount points ("with 0.8 fees and points") on closing that earn you a lower rate. If you don't do that, your rate would be closer to the ones we and others quote.

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 three quarters of 2022 (Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22) and the first quarter of next year (Q1/23).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie's were published on Jun. 16, and the MBA's on Jun. 10. Freddie's were released on Apr. 18. But it now updates its figures only quarterly, so they're already looking stale.

Forecaster Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22 Q1/23
Fannie Mae 5.1% 5.0%  5.0% 5.0%
Freddie Mac 4.8% 4.8%  5.0% 5.0%
MBA 5.1% 5.1%  5.0% 5.0%

Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual. Recent events certainly make them look that way.

Find your lowest rate today

You should comparison shop 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."

Verify your new rate (Jul 20th, 2022)

Mortgage rate methodology

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.

July
18

Listing Agent vs. Selling Agent: What's the Difference?

Residential real estate is a complicated process with a lot of different steps. And at either end of the deal are two main parties—the buyer and the seller—both of whom want to make sure that the whole thing goes as smoothly as possible. That's where real estate agents come in, offering the knowledge, expertise, and experience that's necessary for transferring properties from one owner to another. So how do the roles for a listing agent vs. selling agent compare, and who's responsible for what? Here's what to know, plus how to go about choosing the right agent for your needs.

The main difference between a listing agent vs. a selling agent

The biggest difference between a listing agent vs. selling agent is who they represent. Listing agents (also called seller's agents) work with sellers while selling agents (also called buyer's agents) work with buyers. Both agents work together to negotiate on offers and close a deal. They also share the commission fee.

If you're getting ready to buy or sell, knowing who you should call is an important first step. Fortunately, most real estate agents can work as either a listing agent or a selling agent, so if you find an amazing agent they should be able to help you out regardless of whether you're the buyer or the seller in the transaction.

What does a listing agent do?

Listing agents market homes on behalf of sellers. As real estate professionals, it's the listing agent's job to oversee each step in the selling process, including many of the steps that take place before a home goes to market.

A listing agent's complete job description may vary based on the specific seller's needs, but here are some of the things that they can do for their clients:

    • Research comps and price homes
    • Help arrange for a home appraisal and/or inspection
    • Consult on the sale process and help develop a listing strategy
    • Arrange professional photography for the listing
    • Arrange professional home staging
    • Create copy for a property listing page, as well as other marketing materials
    • Oversee all marketing efforts, including posting the property on MLS (multiple listing service)
    • Network with other agents to find potential buyers, including both listing agents and selling agents
    • Host open houses
    • Coordinate showings
    • Receive offers from interested buyers and handle negotiations on the seller's behalf and with the seller's input
    • Coordinate closing paperwork

Most listing agents sign a right-to-sell contract with sellers that gives their brokerage firm exclusive rights to the listing and sets out the terms of compensation. Typically, it is the brokerage firm that is paid the commission on the sale and then the listing agent receives a set portion of that amount.

What does a selling agent do?

Selling agents work with buyers to help them find and purchase homes. If the term sounds confusing, it's because these agents are traditionally referred to as buyer's agents and only get deemed selling agents after the contract is signed.

Like a listing agent, a selling agent has a wide range of skills and job capabilities but the specific things that they do may vary from client to client. Possible tasks include:

    • Work with buyers to narrow in on the details of what they're looking for, such as location, home size, home features, and price
    • Help arrange for a mortgage pre-approval if the buyer has not completed one already
    • Help a buyer iron out their budget and financing options
    • Research available homes that fit the buyer's wants and needs and present them with potential properties to look further into
    • Schedule showings and attend showings with the buyer
    • Write offers and counteroffers
    • Guide negotiations
    • Assist with arranging for the home inspection
    • Help buyers navigate the closing process

Compensation for the selling agent is usually handled by the listing agent, with the latter paying out a portion (typically half) of their commission to the seller's agent in what's known as a co-op commission.

What about dual agents?

Do you need to choose between a designated listing agent vs. selling agent? Not necessarily. Some home sales are overseen by dual agents who represent both the seller and the buyer in the transaction.

While perfectly legal, working with a dual agent isn't always in the best interest of either party, both of whom naturally want to get an optimal deal. Since sellers want to sell a property for as much as possible and buyers want to purchase a property for as little as possible, dual agents may not be able to please everyone.

Do you need to work with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home?

Most of us don't have professional experience in real estate so it's a no-brainer to work with either a listing agent or a selling agent depending on whether we're selling or buying a home. Some people do try to go at it alone though, either because they're trying to save on commission fees or because they think they have all the tools they need to find houses and represent their own interests.

There's a reason though that the majority of people do choose to work with real estate agents (recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows that 88% of buyers and 89% of sellers work with agents). Working without a listing or selling agent means you lose out on a useful resource and guide. You may also lose out on money. In 2018, sellers who worked with listing agents sold their homes for an average of $249,000, while those who oversaw the sale themselves only sold for an average of $190,000.

On the buyer's side, working alone could mean losing out on access to a wider range of properties, plus difficulties at the negotiation table. In addition, some sellers may refuse to work with potential buyers who aren't being represented by an agent, even if their offer looks decent.

Quick tips for choosing a real estate agent

Regardless of whether you're looking for a listing agent or a selling agent, it pays to find someone who you can trust to get the job done right. Here are some things you can (and definitely should) do to make sure that you end up with the perfect person by your side.

Ask for referrals

Most towns have lots of real estate agents to choose from. One of the easiest ways to find someone great: ask a trusted local friend or family member who they've worked with and whether they would recommend them. You'll still want to do a bit of research from there, but it will help narrow down your options.

Read online reviews

Even with a referral (and especially without one), you should be checking out online reviews. These will give you a general idea of whether a particular agent has satisfied clients or not, and you may also be able to learn a lot about them from how they respond to reviews both good and bad.

Meet with agents before hiring

Think you found the one? It's still a good idea to meet with real estate agents in person before deciding whether you're going to work with them or not. Pay close attention to their communication style and how responsive they are to questions. Ultimately, you want to work with someone who values your time and input and who has tons of expertise they can utilize on your behalf.

Talk to at least two agents

Just like hiring a moving company, you want to compare two to three agents before making your final choice. Various factors that you'll want to consider include how many years of experience each agent has, what their specialties are, and the stats around their most recent deals. If they don't come off as capable—or if you're just not clicking—go back to the drawing board.

Don't underestimate the importance of rapport with your agent. Selling or buying a home is a big undertaking, as well as an expensive one. It's essential that you work with a listing agent or selling agent who you feel can properly represent your interests and that you enjoy working with. It'll make the whole process more enjoyable for you—and less stressful, too.

If you're not happy with your decision it is absolutely within your rights as a seller or a buyer to break up with your real estate agent. Even if it's awkward, it's worth doing if it means you find someone who is better suited to your needs.

July
18

It's not always easy to inspect your plumbing. Here's how you can ensure hard water won't ruin your pipes and appliances.

Did you know hard water can negatively impact your home over time? While it's safe to drink, hard water can lead to many interior problems, which is why our real estate agents recommend addressing it as soon as possible. Hard water is common across much of the US, especially in the Midwest. As a result, it's an issue most homeowners have to contend with. Below, we'll tell you all about hard water and share some simple solutions for treating it in your home

Click Here to Read More...

July
15

National Pet Fire Safety Day

National Pet Fire Safety Day takes place every year on July 15, and it's a day to learn how to keep your pet safe in a fire. For many of us, pets are our most precious asset so it makes sense that we would dedicate a day to keeping them safe during one of the scariest things we can imagine. It was started by the Kennel Club and ADT Security in 2009 to help pet owners learn safety measures to protect their beloved pets and homes from fire, and it's a great opportunity to learn how to keep your fur baby safe.

HISTORY OF NATIONAL PET FIRE SAFETY DAY

While our animals are oftentimes the culprit behind devastating fires, it's a little ironic that dogs (specifically dalmations) have become an American icon associated with firefighters today. Let's briefly explore how that came to be. A few hundred years ago, dogs were trained to trot alongside horse-drawn wagons and protect their occupants (and horses) from harm. Dalmations quickly became the ideal carriage dog for their strength, vitality, fortitude, and size. They also had a reputation for getting along well with horses and were known to have a calming effect while firefighters were battling a blaze. Overtime as motorized fire trucks replaced carriages, Dalmatians and other fire pups were seen less aboard fire trucks and more as on-site firehouse residents and mascots.

Today, many firefighters have pet Dalmatians, and firehouses around the country still have Dalmatians as station dogs. However, Dalmatians aren't the only dog in the firehouse. It's become common for firefighters (and sometimes entire fire teams) to adopt dogs rescued from fires. These lucky pups, whatever their breed, become symbols of the resiliency, bravery, and fortitude of firefighters and the individuals they help. They also take important steps into education and helping firefighters demonstrate fire safety and emergency preparedness for schools and community groups across the country. Teaching that pets cause over 1,000 house fires each year in the United States and the preventive measures we can take to protect our beloved companions.

NATIONAL PET FIRE SAFETY DAY TIMELINE

13,000 B.C.
People Make Pets

Evidence suggests people bred dogs in Europe and Asia around this time.

6,000 B.C.
Sacred Dog Burials

Special dog graves include expensive items. Proof of their deep meaning to humans

1988
Emotional Support Animals Protected

The Fair Housing Amendments Act allows people to keep their ESAs, despite landlords.

2009
The Awareness Begins

The Kennel Club and ADT Security decided it was time to get serious about pet fire protection.

HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL PET FIRE SAFETY DAY

  1. Get this useful decoration

    On July 15, get a free Pet Fire Safety Window Cling at your local volunteer firehouse. First responders will see this and know to look out for any pets inside.

  2. Share it to save lives

    Use #PetFireSafetyDay to post on social media and raise awareness to friends and family about the day and ways that they can keep their pets safe from fires.

  3. Have a fire drill

    For families with kids, this tradition is even more important. Discuss your family evacuation plan, designate someone to carry out the pets and execute a fire drill on this day every year.

    5 FACTS ABOUT PET FIRE SAFETY

    1. Pyro Pets

      Pets cause over 1,000 house fires each year in the United States

    2. A Big Problem

      Nearly 360,000 house fires occur each year in the United States.

    3. Save a Life

      Over 40,000 pets die every year in house fires. Awareness can save lives.

    4. Furry (and Slithering) Heroes

      There are thousands of stories about pets, even snakes, saving humans from house fires.

    5. Have a Plan

      The #1 tip is to have an escape plan that includes your pets.

      WHY NATIONAL PET FIRE SAFETY DAY IS IMPORTANT

      1. Keep your pets out of trouble

        There are many ways to keep your pet from causing a fire. Blow out candles before leaving home, block off access to the kitchen or remove stove knobs if pets can reach it, and keep any and all wires out of chewing distance, especially from kittens and puppies!

      2. Have a pet rescue plan in place

        Discuss with your family who will be in charge of rescuing your pet in the event of a fire. Planning and practicing fire drills will help the family remain calm and help ensure that your pets are not forgotten during a chaotic evacuation.

      3. Make rescuers aware of your pets and their hiding places

        As part of your evacuation plan, include a list of your pet's hiding places, so that firefighters will know where to look in case your pets don't make it out with you. Also, make sure your pets have collars with up to date tags attached in case they escape on their own.

        NATIONAL PET FIRE SAFETY DAY DATES

        Year Date Day
        2022 July 15 Friday
        2023 July 15 Saturday
        2024 July 15 Monday
        2025 July 15 Tuesday
        2026 July 15 Wednesday
July
13

Our Favorite Beaches: the Inside Scoop

Beach time in Holland means plenty of sand and sunshine! Many people head right to Holland State Park to soak up the sun, but we have a few suggestions if you're looking for something a little different.

Beach time in Holland means plenty of sand and sunshine! Many people head right to Holland State Park to soak up the sun, but we have a few suggestions if you're looking for something a little different!

The perfect family beach: Tunnel Park. With an extensive play area, a sand dune for running and easily accessible restrooms, families will find just what they need. Take a concrete tunnel "through" the dune, then head down a short flight of stairs to a beautiful white sand beach. A picnic shelter and sand volleyball courts are available.

A picturesque place to watch a sunset, Tunnel Park is named for the concrete tunnel that cuts through a sand dune and provides access to a sparkling Lake Michigan beach. This 22-acre park with its extensive Lake Michigan beachfront is a great place for swimming, sunbathing and picknicking.  In addition to the unique tunnel through the dune, this park has a children's playground complete with a dune climb and a dune stairway with scenic views of Lake Michigan. Beach volleyball courts, picnic tables and grills, restrooms, and a great playground make this a very family-friendly beach.

Tunnel Park is part of the Ottawa County Parks system; there is a per-vehicle parking fee from April 1 to October 31. Please refer to the county pet policy for information about bringing your dog to Tunnel Park.

Want a quiet place to watch the sunset? Try Laketown beach, on the south side of Holland. Be prepared as parking is limited and there are no restrooms! A stairway over the dunes is your "admission" to the beach. (6710 142nd Ave.)  

A bit off the beaten path, Laketown Beach, between Holland and Saugatuck, offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan from a wooden stairway that climbs up and over the dunes to the beach.  (The stairway helps protect the fragile dune environment.)  Enjoy panoramic lake vistas and a small slice of Lake Michigan's sandy beachfront. 

Bringing your furry friend? Check out the new dog beach at Kirk Park, a county park a few miles north of Holland State Park. A short hike through a wooded dune will bring you to a beach with an off-leash dog area and plenty of room for families to spread out.

High bluffs, wooded dunes, and more than 1/3-mile of sandy Lake Michigan beach define popular Kirk Park. You'll find a swimming beach, hiking trails that include a handicap accessible loop, ungroomed cross-country ski trails in winter, modern restrooms (closed in winter), a horseshoe pit, kids' play area, off-leash dog beach, Lake Michigan overlook deck, a couple of picnic shelters (which you can reserve), picnic tables, and grills. 

(*Off-leash dog beach accessible year-round using south beach stairs.)

Holland State Park: the classic. With ample parking adjacent to a wide expanse of sandy beach, visitors love the accessibility of the Holland State Park. Get the perfect view of Big Red Lighthouse, too! Enjoy a walk on the pier or a dip in the lake. Restrooms, concessions and sandy volleyball courts are available.

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.  During peak hours (weekends, holidays), we recommend to arrive early.

Miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline are waiting for you to explore! Find a full list of Holland's public beaches on our website. Share your favorite beach with us in the comments below, and don't forget to use the #discoverholland hashtag on Instagram and Twitter!

July
11

HOLLAND, MI

DESCRIPTION:

HOLLAND, MI HOUSING MARKET TRENDS

With a population of 34,378, 2,755 total housing units (homes and apartments), and a median house value of $222,408, Holland real estate and house prices are near the national average for all cities and towns.

Single-family detached homes are the single most common housing type in Holland, accounting for 56.06% of the city's housing units. Other types of housing that are prevalent in Holland include large apartment complexes or high rise apartments ( 13.66%), row houses and other attached homes ( 12.68%), and a few mobile homes or trailers ( 11.34%).

Owner-occupied, three and four bedroom dwellings, primarily in single-family detached homes are the most prevalent type of housing you will see in Holland. Owner-occupied housing accounts for 71.31% of Holland's homes, and 54.62% have either three or four bedrooms, which is average sized relative to America.

There is a lot of housing in Holland built from 1970 to 1999 so parts of town may have that "Brady Bunch" look of homes popular in the '70s and early '80s, although some of these houses were built up through the early '90s as well. There is also a lot of housing in Holland built between 1940-1969 ( 32.63%). A lesser amount of the housing stock also hails from between 2000 and later ( 14.84%). There's also some housing in Holland built before 1939 ( 1.57%).

HOLLAND HOME APPRECIATION RATES

In the last 10 years, Holland has experienced some of the highest home appreciation rates of any community in the nation. Holland real estate appreciated 117.53% over the last ten years, which is an average annual home appreciation rate of 8.08%, putting Holland in the top 10% nationally for real estate appreciation. If you are a home buyer or real estate investor, Holland definitely has a track record of being one of the best long term real estate investments in America through the last ten years.

Appreciation rates are so strong in Holland that despite a nationwide downturn in the housing market, Holland real estate has continued to appreciate in value faster than most communities. Looking at just the latest twelve months, Holland appreciation rates continue to be some of the highest in America, at 21.76%, which is higher than appreciation rates in 79.14% of the cities and towns in the nation. Based on the last twelve months, short-term real estate investors have found good fortune in Holland. Holland appreciation rates in the latest quarter were at 7.72%, which equates to an annual appreciation rate of 34.65%.

Relative to Michigan, our data show that Holland's latest annual appreciation rate is higher than 80% of the other cities and towns in Michigan.

One very important thing to keep in mind is that these are average appreciation rates for the city. Individual neighborhoods within Holland differ in their investment potential, sometimes by a great deal. Fortunately, you can use NeighborhoodScout to pinpoint the exact neighborhoods in Holland - or in any city or town - that have the best track record of real estate appreciation, by the latest quarter, the last year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, or even since 2000, to assist you in making the best Holland real estate investment or home purchase decisions.

DATA:

AVERAGE HOME VALUES

MEDIAN HOME VALUE:
$222,408

NUMBER OF HOMES AND APARTMENTS:
2,755

HOLLAND APPRECIATION RATES

RENT & OWNERSHIP

AVERAGE MARKET RENT:
$1,320 / per month

HOUSING MARKET DETAILS

July
6

Mortgage and refinance rates today, July 5, 2022

Today's mortgage and refinance rates

Markets were closed yesterday for Independence Day. And average mortgage rates fell last Friday, once again significantly. Last week was a seriously good one for those rates. However, it wasn't as good as one June week was bad. So, let's not get carried away.

Still, the good news seems to be continuing this morning. Because, first thing, it was looking as if mortgage rates today might move lower. But, as always, that could change as the hours pass.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jul 6th, 2022)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 5.564% 5.599% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 4.993% 5.047% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed 5.478% 5.532% -0.01% 
Conventional 10 year fixed 4.782% 4.867% -0.01% 
30 year fixed FHA 5.865% 6.706% +0.02% 
15 year fixed FHA 5.058% 5.511% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 5.619% 5.854% +0.03% 
15 year fixed VA 5.179% 5.552% 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.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

Don't lock on a day when mortgage rates look set to fall. My recommendations (below) are intended to give longer-term suggestions about the overall direction of those rates. So, they don't change daily to reflect fleeting sentiments in volatile markets.

I'm less certain in my doom-mongering than I have been for some time. However, on the balance of probabilities, I still think mortgage rates are more likely to rise over this month than fall.

So, my personal rate lock recommendations for the longer term must remain:

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

    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 last Friday, were:

    • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes decreased to 2.82% from 2.9%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
    • Major stock indexes were lower soon 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. But this is an imperfect relationship
    • Oil prices fell to $103.10 from $108.14 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a prominent role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
    • Gold prices fell to $1,791 from $1,804 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) It is generally 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 — fell to 19 from 24 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 movement of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a change of 1% or less. 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, mortgage rates today look likely to fall. However, be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

    Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jul 6th, 2022)

    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 broader 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.

    A lot is going on at the moment. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what will happen to mortgage rates in the coming hours, days, weeks or months.

    Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

    Mortgage rates rose only a tiny bit in June. And they fell back on Jul. 1, leaving them back where they were on Jun. 6, according to Mortgage News Daily's archive.

    You can see why I wrote earlier that I'm less certain in my doom-mongering. However, it's not those rate figures that are mainly swaying me. It's the possibility that inflation might soon begin to level out and fall, which would mean the Federal Reserve would not have to hike interest rates as much as currently planned.

    Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal (paywall) ran a story under the headline, "Falling Commodity Prices Raise Hopes That Inflation Has Peaked." And it began, "A slide in all manner of raw-materials prices — corn, wheat, copper and more — is stirring hopes that a significant source of inflationary pressure might be starting to ease."

    Another Journal article, written on Sunday, reported: "China's slowdown may have a silver lining for the rest of the world: weaker inflation. Growth in the world's second-largest economy has tumbled this year as COVID-19 outbreaks triggered mass lockdowns and business closures."

    Is the Fed helpless?

    There's always been an argument (I've mentioned it previously) that current inflation levels have been caused by supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine. We could see that in real time as it happened. Lower supply resulting from those events met continuing demand, and prices rose. Economics 101.

    So, if old monetary policy (the Fed leaving rates low and building its assets) didn't cause inflation, why should we think new monetary policy (the Fed hiking rates and disposing of assets) will fix it? By this argument, the most likely outcome of the central bank's actions is a recession with only a limited effect on prices.

    That would normally be good news for mortgage rates but for little else. However, as I've been highlighting recently, the highest mortgage rates in history happened during a recession — because the Fed was furiously hiking its rates at the time.

    What's next?

    This is a roundabout way of saying nobody can be certain what's next for the economy or mortgage rates. My colleague Paul Centopani just posted his monthly column, Mortgage interest rate predictions: Will rates go down in July 2022?

    And most of the mortgage experts he quoted believe mortgage rates are more likely to rise than fall in July. However, the minority taking the opposite view was persuasive.

    For now, I'm sticking to my guns because I still think mortgage rates are overall more likely to rise than fall this month. But I'll be watching closely in the hope more evidence begins to emerge to the contrary.

    Read the weekend edition of this daily article for more background.

    Recent trends

    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 that year, according to Freddie Mac.

    The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

    Rates then bumbled along, moving little for the following eight or nine months. But they began rising noticeably that September. Unfortunately, they've been mostly shooting up since the start of 2022, although May was a kinder month.

    Freddie's June 30 report puts that same weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 5.70% (with 0.9 fees and points), down from the previous week's 5.81%.

    Note that Freddie expects you to buy discount points ("with 0.9 fees and points") on closing that earn you a lower rate. If you don't do that, your rate would be closer to the ones we and others quote.

    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 three quarters of 2022 (Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22) and the first quarter of next year (Q1/23).

    The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie's were published on Jun. 16, and the MBA's on Jun. 10. Freddie's were released on Apr. 18. But it now updates its figures only quarterly, so they're already looking stale.

    Forecaster Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22 Q1/23
    Fannie Mae 5.1% 5.0%  5.0% 5.0%
    Freddie Mac 4.8% 4.8%  5.0% 5.0%
    MBA 5.1% 5.1%  5.0% 5.0%

    Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual. Recent events certainly make them look that way.

    Find your lowest rate today

    You should comparison shop widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As a 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."

    Verify your new rate (Jul 6th, 2022)

    Mortgage rate methodology

    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.

July
5

Western Michigan is full of exciting opportunities. Here's why you should make it your new home.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a new place to live, and the decision isn't always easy. But for those searching for a great climate, a strong economy, and quality education, Western Michigan checks every box. In fact, our real estate agents say people from all over the world move to Western Michigan thanks to its many amenities. Once you see what our great communities have to offer, we're sure you'll be eager to call this area home.

If you're on the hunt for a new place to live, here are a few reasons why you make sure Western Michigan is on the top of your list:

Click Here to Read More...

July
1

National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day

Sure, everyone loves vanilla and strawberry, but Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day is all about trying something unique, like lavender ice cream or pickle ice cream.

Vanilla is often touted as the favorite flavor of ice cream, but we think that's just because people haven't been daring enough with their ice cream choices. National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day encourages you to take your taste buds to the rodeo and give a new flavor a try!

Learn about National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day

As the name suggests, the purpose of National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day is to branch away from vanilla ice cream and try something completely out-of-the-norm. It is up to you how far you go with this. For example, if you are someone who barely ever tries anything but vanilla, you may want to give mint choc chip a try or some rum and raisin ice cream.

For you, that may be pushing the boat out! For someone else, they may feel like they have already tried every sort of ice cream that is commercially available. If you fall into this category, then why not use National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day in order to come up with a flavor of ice cream that you've never tried before or seen in any stores?

You can go as wild and unusual as you like. You can try different flavors, such as adding herbs, like basil into the mix, and other different concoctions. It is up to you. Or, you could try and turn your favorite chocolate bar or candy into an ice cream treat? This is an approach that never fails. After all, if it tastes good as chocolate, the chances are that it is going to taste pretty amazing when turned into ice cream, right?

Did you know that Ben & Jerry's receive more than 13,000 flavor suggestions from fans each year? They have published some of the weirdest suggestions they have received.

This includes Salty Licorice, which is vanilla ice cream, with swirls of salty and sweet licorice in order to create a black-and-white striped experience. Someone suggested Pepperoni flavor – a simple vanilla ice cream with chunks of candied pepperoni. Yum!

Although, we think we would probably rather eat that than the Gregarious Gorgonzola that was requested by one fan. They want dark chocolate ice cream that features gorgonzola cheese and raspberry jam. Another fan wanted Ben & Jerry's to create macaroni ice cream, called Mac and Freeze. Oh, and we can't forget about Spuds and Fudge, which would be chocolate ice cream with bits of candied French fries. Do any of these flavors float your boat?

History Of National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day

When people think about flavors of ice cream, they mostly think about what they can get off the grocery store shelves or from 31 flavors. When you take a moment to consider that ice cream was first invented in the 5th Century BC by the Ancient Greeks, and from there has traveled around the world and through every culture, you realize that the smattering of flavors you've experienced in your life is just the beginning. Somehow this seems like a perfect metaphor about our daily lives as well, don't you think?

Do you like vanilla ice cream? Chocolate? What about strawberry? Chances are you love all these flavors, but have you ever considered saffron ice cream? What about rose flavored? These are just some of the flavors that were possible in years past, and doesn't even begin to cover the absolute rainbow of flavors that come from fruits!

Of course, most of these probably don't seem all that unusual or creative, do they? That's ok! If you're truly feeling adventurous you can try crab and oyster flavored ice cream, or garlic flavored!

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