For the housing market, most industry experts downplay the effect of interest rates, but historically, the psychological effect of rising rates seems to cut two ways:

•Prompting buyers to move quickly before rates rise even more

•Alternatively, higher rates entice cautious buyers, who are already cutting it close with their personal finances, to hold off buying a house.

“Even something as small as one-eighth increase in interest rates can alter the affordability for countless consumers,” said Jeff Chalmers, a vice president of Ross Mortgage Company in Franklin, Massachusetts. Beyond the economics, the psychology cannot be underestimated with the “rate increase becoming more powerful than the rate increase itself,” said Keller Williams broker Jay Lieberman from Thousand Oaks, California.

The context of a rate hike is often ignored when analyzing the effects. Rates generally go up when the economy is growing, which is the most important factor shaping home sales and prices — not the bump from rate increases. A good economy generally means a healthy housing market.

Plus, even many experts do not understand the effect of a short-term rate hike by the Federal Reserve on mortgage rates. “The appetite for investors to buy mortgage-backed securities and US Treasury notes, particularly the 10-year note, are what actually drive mortgage rates up or down,” said Danny Dietl, a broker at BRIX Real Estate in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The long term market is healthy, so mortgage rates could actually go in the opposite direction of short-term rates. In other ways, the relationship between housing prices and interest rate increases is often misunderstand, or even counter-intuitive. Chris Heller, President, Keller Williams Courtesy:

Keller Williams Chris Heller, CEO, Keller Williams Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller in Austin, Texas, said that historically, “a 1 percent increase in mortgage rates equates to a 10 percent increase in home prices.” The alternative to buying a house is renting, and rents have never been higher. “The rental market is extremely overpriced right now and isn’t expected to correct for at least two more years,” said Samantha DeBianchi, founder and CEO of DeBianchi Real Estate, Miami.

Plus, the important factors shaping demand for housing may have less to do with interest rates and more to do with the complexities of the buying and selling process and qualifying for a mortgage.

MLS executive John L. Heithaus in Nashville, Tennessee, is considering buying an investment property, and his “biggest hassle is the damn paperwork and backup stuff more than interest rates.” St. Paul’s Boardman Realty broker Teresa Boardman said we should we all get over the Fed hoopla. “Interest rates were over 6 percent in 2005, and yet we sold more houses that year than we will sell in 2015. However, when you start with the whole ‘psychological’ thing, we get all ‘OH NO! We are all going to die!'”


Jennifer, a police officer, dreamed of buying her own home, but wasn’t sure whether that dream was within her reach. “Lots of officers, including me, work extra hours or an additional off-duty job simply for some added expendable income,” says Jennifer.

Stretching that income to save up for a down payment and make regular mortgage payments would be a challenge. Jennifer needed help to figure out what she could afford and how to prepare to buy a home.

Following some due diligence research, Jennifer found herself at a Community Link “Get the Facts” introductory session for individuals interested in buying a home.

She decided to enroll in our home ownership education program, which gave her access to face-to-face meetings with one of our accredited housing counselors in the Charlotte area. “ my housing counselor was of tremendous help,” says Jennifer. “She pushed me to make tough choices, alter my financial behaviors, and be well prepared to buy a house!”

After a few months in the program Jennifer improved her credit score by more than 50 points and became well prepared to buy a home. Jennifer’s participation in our program made her eligible for a variety of down payment assistance programs.

She was connected to a Wells Fargo LIFT program and received $15,000 of down payment assistance. Armed with knowledge, and helped with additional dollars, Jennifer moved into her dream home in April! “I couldn’t have done this without Community Link,” exclaims Jennifer. “I’m thrilled to be in my new home and now a homeowner!”

The national median price of single-family homes posted its strongest annual growth in nearly eight years in the third quarter of 2013, rising to $207,300, according to data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSģ. Thatís up 12.5% from $184,300 during the same period in 2012.
The Neighborhood Lift Program in Charlotte is one of the newest homebuyer programs giving eligible buyers up to fifteen thousand dollars in down payment assistance. The Lift Program sponsored by Wells Fargo is for a limited time only so be sure to go to to make sure fund are still available for Charlotte NC area. To find out more about Neighborhood Lift Program or to see if you qualify, go to
As a short sale specialist in Charlotte NC, I get this question quite a bit from Charlotte NC Short Sale Buyers and Sellers who are interested in doing a Short Sale on their home.

First things first, let's talk about what a short sale is NOT, and that is the possibility to close quick! If you are lucky, you may be able to close on a Short Sale Home in 60 days.  Normal closing time for most shorts sales is approximately 3-6 months.

A short sale will depend on many factors such as BPO (Broker Price Opinion) report as well as how well does the listing agent know about short sales. Expect the short sale to take longer to process if the listing agent is not experienced with how to process a short sale.

Here are 5 very important and helpful questions to ask the listing agent to determine if submitting an offer on the short sale you are interested in is worth it.

1. Has the BPO been done on the property? (banks use this to determine what they will sale the property for).

2. Has the seller turned in their financial documents to the bank yet to see if they qualify for a short sale?  (All sellers do not qualify for a short sale).

3. How many months behind is the seller on mortgage payments? (if they are more than 1.5 yrs behind, it's a good chance the bank will auction it off before the short sale process is complete).

4. Has the bank set a sale date yet? (the last the you want to do is put an offer on a short sale that is going to be auctioned off soon before the short sale is complete).

5. Is the seller considering making any home repairs? (if the home is in bad condition, you may have to make your own repairs).

These are the top 5 questions to ask the Short Sale Listing agent to be able to determine how to proceed with the short sale property you are interested in.

For more information on Short Sales, please visit

Helpful Links: 

USDA Loan program

NC Bond Loan

House Charlotte Program

Fannie Mae HomePath Program

Community Incentive Program

House Charlotte Homes for Sale

Home buyer Programs

HUD $100 Program

Also, visit our new sister site at

There is NO DOUBT we’re residing in the BEST Buyer’s market the US has seen decades but unfortunately it’s coming to an end!  As you may already know, our government debt ceiling is having a tremendous impact on our economy and in order for the US to recover financially, rising mortgage interest rates is virtually unavoidable!
It’s highly unlikely we will ever see mortgage rates as low as they stand right now.  Current rates are as low as 4.375% and are expected to take a sharp increase as we approach the end of 2011.

With rock bottom prices on foreclosed & bank owned properties, I cant stress enough how good it is to buy right now.  I just closed on 4 homes this year to where the buyer walked away from the closing table with over $20k worth of equity tied into their new home purchase! What a good feeling to know how much you can benefit in this current market!

Landlords all over are beginning to increase rental rates so why pay more in rent when you can pay less for something you own that’s tax deductible?  If you can buy now with equity, take advantage of the current low rates, pay less per month than what you're paying in rent and use your new home as a tax deduction when you file your 2011 tax return, ask yourself, why wouldn’t you buy now?

We are already starting to see a slight rate increase as we were hoping this buyer's market would at least last another year or two. Take advantage of this market while there’s still time left!  This phenomenal buyer’s market is soon to expire just like the $8000 tax credit!  I realize not everyone has the same financial situation so not only do I assist in finding your dream home, but I also have access to a variety of resources to assist clients with home purchases including down payment assistance, homebuyer education and credit counseling services.

If you would like get pre-qualified for a mortgage today please fill out our online mortgage application using our secure site or if you have any questions about any of the down payment assistance programs, or any other real estate related questions please don't hesitate to call me directly at 704-965-3319 or send me an email at  


Visit us on our new website


The HUD $100 down program is the new wave of the market for those looking to purchase a home. Although this down payment assistance program has been around for some time, very few people are aware of the benefits and how it works. With the Department of Housing and Urban Development soon to release a record number of foreclosures, now would be the perfect time purchase a foreclosure for only $100 down.

HUD homes are priced at fair market value for their location based on appraisal.  HUD homes are typically less expensive than regular houses, so buyers can get more space for less money. Teachers and police officers are given a 50% discount on HUD homes. Investors often purchase HUD homes to fix up themselves and sell at a profit. The buying process on a HUD home is different from the usual residential real estate transaction. HUD foreclosures are sold using a bidding process. Before submitting a bid, buyers must be pre-approved for financing. You must make application and have a conditional loan commitment from a qualified lender. To apply for financing or to find out more information about the HUD $100 down program, feel free to call us at 704-965-3319 or you can go to  to apply online. We have access to a variety of resources to assist clients with home purchasing and financing including home buyer education, down payment assistance and credit counseling services.

Your hopes is to buy a home one day, but you are getting conflicting information about how much of a down payment you will need. Whether or not you have enough money might have an effect on when you'll be ready to purchase a home. You have probably heard that down payments can range from 5 percent to 20 percent. The more you put down on say, a $250,000 loan, the lower your payments will be. But if cash flow is low, you could do a small, 3.5 percent down payment.

The amount of down payment necessary when buying a home depends on the type of loan you are applying for, such as a government loan like an FHA or VA loan, or a conforming loan from a private institution. In the case of non-conforming loans, which are typically "jumbo loans", the down payment requirement can be 20 percent.

Someone asked the What Works Now experts to walk them through some of the different loans available right now and how much they would need in savings before making an offer on their dream home.

According to expert Todd Dal Porto, Home Loans Enterprise Sales Executive at Bank of America, FHA loans are a popular option.

FHA loans are a great way to get your foot in the door with a low down payment, says Dal Porto, as the minimum down payment requirement is only 3.5 percent of the mortgage amount you're seeking. It amounts to a 96.50 percent loan-to-value amount -- but he points out that there's a cap on the value of the home, and that is set county by county. The cap exists mainly because affordability varies in a given area. Los Angeles County, for example, is currently capped at $729,750, whereas most counties around Nashville are capped at $432,500. (See where your county stands.)

Another good thing about FHA loans is that they're open to anyone, regardless of income. Because even those with a higher income might not necessarily have the savings for a sizable down payment. However, FHA does watch your credit score, as would any lender. It may even soon implement a minimum FICO score of 580.

Porto also points to VA loans, which are available for eligible military veterans, and have a zero-down-payment option for 100 percent of the loan-to-value, provided that the loan is no more than $417,000. For higher loan values, a down payment would be required and would vary based on the appraised value or purchase price.

Conforming loans, which can have a fixed or variable interest rate -- although most borrowers choose a fixed rate -- are given out by private lenders, such as Bank of America. Lenders set their own minimum guidelines for this product, but currently Bank of America requires a minimum of a 5 percent down payment for loans up to $417,000 and 10 percent for loan amounts up to $729,750.

There are some exceptions to the minimum down payment, however. A down payment of 3 percent may be allowed if the borrower's income is below the HUD median income for the area where the home is located. And, borrowers can also use a down payment assistance program to have a third-party cover all or part of the down payment.

Given the varying options for a down payment requirement, that doesn't mean that you should go out and plunk down all of your savings on the down payment. Dangani and Melinda moved from Missouri and asked the experts how much cash they should keep in reserve.

The simple answer, says personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, is to not overextend yourself. Homeownership comes with a lot of hidden costs, from the property taxes to homeowners insurance and repairs. And don't forget that you're going to want to decorate. All these costs can add up to thousands of dollars more than you planned.

It's not fun to be house poor -- whether you're young, or retired and living in Florida. Make sure you consider the list price of the house, your down payment and your remaining savings carefully, so that you don't end up letting your house own you instead of you owning it. That would truly be uncomfortable.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) was established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. Through the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties, the goal of the program is being realized. NSP1, a term that references the NSP funds authorized under Division B, Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008, provides grants to all states and selected local governments on a formula basis. NSP2, a term that references the NSP funds authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Recovery Act) of 2009, provides grants to states, local governments, nonprofits and a consortium of nonprofit entities on a competitive basis. The Recovery Act also authorized HUD to establish NSP-TA, a $50 million allocation made available to national and local technical assistance providers to support NSP grantees.


Under NSP1, HUD allocated $3.92 billion on a formula basis to 309 grantees including 55 states and territories and 254 selected local governments. The program was designed to stabilize communities across America hardest hit by foreclosures. Grant agreements for these funds have already been signed.


Under NSP2,  HUD allocated $1.93 billion on a competitive basis to states, local governments, and non profit organizations. The program objectives and eligible uses did not change under the Recovery Act, but the allocation process and some regulations on the funds have changed. The deadline to apply for NSP2 funding is July 17, 2009.


Under NSP-TA, HUD allocated $50 million on a competitive basis to TA providers supporting HUDís community development program grantees and subrecipients. The NSP-TA program is open to both national and local TA providers. Applications are currently being reviewed, but new applications are no longer being accepted.

Nature of Program

NSP is a component of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The CDBG regulatory structure is the platform used to implement NSP and the HOME program provides a safe harbor for NSP affordability requirements.

NSP grantees develop their own programs and funding priorities. However, NSP grantees must use at least 25 percent of the funds appropriated for the purchase and redevelopment of abandoned or foreclosed homes or residential properties that will be used to house individuals or families whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the area median income. In addition, all activities funded by NSP must benefit low- and moderate-income persons whose income does not exceed 120 percent of area median income. Activities may not qualify under NSP using the "prevent or eliminate slums and blight" or "address urgent community development needs" objectives.

Eligible Uses

NSP funds may be used for activities which include, but are not limited to:

  • Establish financing mechanisms for purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed homes and residential properties;
  • Purchase and rehabilitate homes and residential properties abandoned or foreclosed;
  • Establish land banks for foreclosed homes;
  • Demolish blighted structures;
  • Redevelop demolished or vacant properties


Homebuyer Assistance

Homebuyers cannot receive assistance directly from HUD. NSP funds can be used to help homebuyers purchase homes, but they must contact an NSP grantee for application details. NSP operates on a national scale, but participation requirements may differ from one state or city to another. For information on how you may purchase a home with NSP assistance please contact an NSP grantee in your area.

McLEAN, Va. ó

Rates for 30-year mortgages rose for the second-straight week, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.25 percent this week, up from 5.2 percent last week. Last year at this time, 30-year mortgages averaged 6.52 percent, Freddie Mac said.

Earlier this year, rates on 30-year mortgages fell to a record low of 4.78 percent, kick-starting refinancing activity. Last month, rates rose to nearly 5.6 percent after yields on long-term government debt, which are closely tied to mortgage rates, climbed.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.70 percent from 3.67 percent late Wednesday.

"Bond yields rose slightly higher this week on market optimism that the economy may be stabilizing somewhat, and mortgage rates followed those yields,ď said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Macís chief economist.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.69 percent, up from 4.68 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.75 percent, up slightly from 4.74 percent last week. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages increased to 4.8 percent from 4.77 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee averaged 0.7 point for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages. Five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged a fee of 0.6 point, and one-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.5 point.