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Rise in Refinancing Applications: Is it Right for You?

Since the first stages of the national recession, the news media have been updating us frequently about all sorts of "indicators," from housing starts and foreclosures to mortgage and refinance applications.

It is easy to get caught up in these stories, especially when they run alongside reports of the stock market's volatile period, and to have an emotional reaction. It may help to remember that the news media has one job - to sell stories - so they are inspired to publicize attention-grabbing headlines and dramatic quotes from industry experts. Your job is to consume this media with a level head so you ultimately can make sound financial decisions based on the reality of your situation, not the results of a recent national study.

With that in mind, here are some recent stats we're seeing.

Now that mortgage rates are falling again, refinance applications are up - this is good news on several levels. Refinancing is good for the economy. Banks and mortgage professionals have more work, homeowners have more spending money, and more life is breathed into the housing and mortgage markets.

By the close of last month, refinance applications were up 9.3% over the weeks preceding it. Refinancing is taking an even bigger chunk of the mortgage market, with refinance applications now comprising a full 79.7% of all mortgage activity. This is the highest it has been since the beginning of the year.

Other Finance Facts

According to research, the average loan size for home purchases is at $212,700 while the average refinance is at $241,300. Our friends on the West Coast are taking out the largest mortgages with an average in the Pacific region of $304,000 for a mortgage and $344,500 for a refinance loan.

As for mortgage rates, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage backed by the FHA dropped from 4.07 to 4.05 percent. And, the 15-year mortgage rates are at 3.47 percent.

While these facts and figures can be interesting to follow, it's important to remember that the only numbers that really matter are your own. Take the time to delve into your own finances to determine the best buying and refinancing decisions for you and your family.

Debbie on NECN
NECN story 10-11

(NECN: Peter Howe, Newton/Waltham, MA) - What if they cut mortgage rates to record lows -- but no one could take advantage of them?

See the full story here!

October's Home Value Improver

The Furniture Arrangement Can Make the Room

When it comes to making a room look its best and work well, perhaps color is your thing. Maybe selecting the right combination is your strength, or knowing the type of art that works well. Don't forget the forgotten cousin of room design - furniture arrangement.

It's a rare room that is four even walls with a smooth layout. One of my clients has a gracious living room that is 20 feet long and 15 feet wide. However, with a huge fireplace and mantel, two doorways, two large steam radiators, a picture window and three other windows, they have almost no wall space. She is desperate for some solutions. Therefore, you must think long and hard and even follow some rules that may seem counterintuitive when it comes to making the room look and perform its best.

Consider a few hard and fast rules:

Don't block a window with furniture.
Even if it is only a portion of the window, you don't want to miss out on any of that precious natural light. The exception to this rule is if you have a low-backed sofa or chair where you can sit, look out the window and enjoy the view.

Consider first impressions.
Think about the first thing you see when you walk into the room. A large piece of furniture or clutter can be off-putting. One client was rather surprised to learn that her son's train set was not a very welcoming sight to her living room.

Don't line all furniture up against the wall.
Sure, it may seem like the most space efficient move, but it can look rather stiff. Even in a small room, make yourself some conversation pits.

Have the furniture match the room.
Aunt Cindy's gigantic china cabinet may be gorgeous, but it will dwarf a small living room. Keep your furniture the same scale as the room.

For large rooms, separate areas.
A reading nook may make a nice little corner of a larger room. If you can, use open or transparent furniture (think open bookshelves) to keep the room flowing and still provide some definition.

Mirrors go a long way.
Think of what mirrors do to the produce section of the grocery store. If a well-placed mirror can make the store's broccoli seem like it goes on forever, imagine what it can do in your small den. Think about using them on storage containers, if you're not up for it in other areas.

Westchester Mortgage

October 2011

I'm always landing in your inbox with tips on how to do different things in the mortgage world. I've decided that this month, I will instead give you a little update on what is happening with mortgage rates and refinancing activities nationally (the Mortgage Bankers Association collects this information).

I love providing information like this to my readers, and I hope you always feel comfortable reaching out with any questions or concerns you have about your own home buying or refinancing.

Best regards,
Debbie Siegel
Westchester Mortgage

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