Using a 1,000-point scale to measure satisfaction, the new study found the overall customer approval rating was 793 in 2015, a seven point increase from last year. The growing level of customer appreciation was primarily fueled by a 22 point increase in the application and approval process factor.
The study, which polled 4,666 Americans and was conducted in two cycles covering February and March and later in July and August, found overall satisfaction with several mortgage application-related activities, including the completion of an application (799), submitting documents (804) and receiving status updates (811). But Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power, warned that the new TRID rule that went into effect on Oct. 3 could alter how consumers view lenders.
“While a lot of effort has been placed on ensuring compliance with new regulations, it is imperative that lenders improve their education and communication about the impact of these changes or risk losing customers,” said Martin. “Effective communication remains one of the most important aspects of a satisfying mortgage experience, especially if the process is taking longer than it has historically.”
Millennials played a prominent role in this year’s study, with the finding that 37 percent of these youthful customers stated the origination process was not completely explained to them, and 58 percent indicated their options, terms and fees were not completely explained. Martin also warned lenders to be cognizant of the communications methods favored by Millennials.
“This generation is highly digitally connected, so ongoing communication and transparency via the channels they prefer, particularly mobile, are vital,” he said.
Among the nation’s top originators, Detroit-based Quicken Loans ranked highest in primary mortgage origination satisfaction for a sixth consecutive year, with a score of 850, up 15 points from 2014. Fifth Third Mortgage came in second with a score of 812, followed by Bank of America and BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust Company) in a tie at 811 each.
Zillow recently reported that the number of applications denied for a mortgage has declined between 2014 and 2015. After the mortgage crisis, many people were being denied for a mortgage despite having relatively good credit and a steady income. Those who were approved were put through the ringer – banks required an endless amount of paperwork and buyers had to watch every penny they received or spent so as not to raise red flags. Seeing lenders loosen their purse strings ever-so-slightly is a great indication for those who are ready to get into the housing market.
Zillow reported that in 2013, 12.4% of people who applied for a conventional home loan were denied where as in 2014, only 11.2% were denied. Those numbers are even better for those seeking a FHA loan. Only 16.6% were denied in 2014 which is down almost 4.6% from the previous year. On top of that, interest rates are historically low which makes home buying even more affordable.
Improving your credit is always the first thing to consider when applying for a home loan, but improving your debt to income ratio is also important. If you have a car that you are pretty close to paying off, it may be hugely beneficial to pay your car off early before you go to the bank to determine what you qualify for. That will greatly improve your ability to borrow as you will improve your debt to income ratio. If you are not sure if you qualify, there is no harm in going to a bank and asking to get pre-approved. Its great to get a baseline and know what you qualify for and what you can do to increase your borrowing amount. It is highly helpful to be pre-approved.
Realtor.com discusses the effect El Niño may have on the market this winter, especially in the front range. Though sometimes harsh winters limit selling, “the Herald reported that there have been 23 El Niño winters since 1950; most of them we haven’t even noticed.”
A funny thing about El Niño and the hot Denver market: This winter, the weather pattern will bring much-needed snow in Colorado—but locals aren’t sure that’s good news.
More frequent and wilder storms are expected across the western U.S., inundating those parts with snow and rain. Now Coloradans are wondering if a whole lotta snow will mean a whole lotta slow in the real estate market. That’s what the Durango Herald looked into this weekend.
“Heavy snowfall may be great for the Durango area’s ski industry,” the paper reported, “but it could put a chill on the area’s real estate market.”
None of the industry professionals the Herald interviewed were prepared to offer a definitive vision—there are as many potential outcomes as there are Eskimo words for snow. (As a reminder: 50.)
But while snow is good for the ski areas in theory, “the winter can have a dampening effect on land sales if the property is deeply covered with snow, and the same can be true for residences with acreage,” Don Ricedorff of The Wells Group told the Herald.
The story continued, “The Federal Reserve Board’s Beige Book, an anecdotal summary of economic conditions reported by the Federal Reserve districts, frequently reports accounts of low inventory and construction delays during extreme winter weather and temperatures.” Sellers don’t feel like packing up and moving in the dead of winter, it added.
Low inventory has been a continuing problem for parts of Colorado, but not just because of snow. Rather, it’s because of demand. Denver is the No. 1 hottest market in our October rankings, and in recent months its sales have increased more sharply than those in any other city.
Is Denver’s real estate market hot enough to melt all that El Niño snow? Heck, it may not even need to be. After all that fretting, the Herald reported that there have been 23 El Niño winters since 1950; most of them we haven’t even noticed. Just in case, though, take some tips from us. You can find them in our story on how to Niño-proof your home.
The Zillow Blog discusses the all to common question homeowners eventually get to: To Upgrade or To Renovate?
Go Bigger or Go to a New Home?
You’ve got two options when it comes to a home you’ve outgrown: add on or trade up. Which is right for you?
Many homeowners today face a serious housing dilemma. They love their home, its location, and even their neighbors. But they’ve outgrown the space. Do they trade up to a bigger or better house, thus entering a busy real estate market, or stay put and renovate?
Most homeowners have never sold and bought at the same time, nor have they lived through a renovation. Both experiences are incredibly stressful, and many people don’t know what to expect. Here are some tips for making an informed decision.
Know what you’re getting into
It’s helpful to know that it is cheaper to stay in your current home and renovate than it is to sell your home and buy a bigger one. And renovating isn’t as big a deal as one may think.
If you go into it with an open mind and full awareness, it’s not so bad. However, some people are just not cut out for living with dust, disruption, and a little bit of chaos.
Living through a renovation means a constant stress is hanging over you. If you can’t take that in your life, don’t fool yourself.
Check your finances
The most important thing you need to do is understand your home financial situation. Do you have equity in your home? If so, how much, and would you need those funds to either renovate or purchase the new home?
Is a home equity line of credit available to you? Using that money provides the mortgage tax benefit for the interest, which makes an equity line a no-brainer.
What would you need to spend on a new home in your desired location? Just like when you first got pre-approved to purchase the original home, you need to get pre-approved and run the numbers. You may find that the house you can get isn’t much bigger than where you are, or that you have to change areas to get more space.
Define your renovation requirements
What exactly is it that you need? An extra bedroom or bath, more family or community space, a larger kitchen or a master bath? Put it all out there and prioritize.
Can these changes be made within the envelope of your current home, or would you have to expand outside your walls? Renovating inside might mean that you need to leave the home for some time, while an expansion might allow you to stay in the home during the renovation.
Research zoning and building codes
Learn how building and zoning laws will affect your plan to renovate. Find out if expansion is even a possibility.
Many people think that finishing the basement is as easy as putting up some walls and carpet and moving the TV downstairs. But did you know that you likely need two forms of egress or certain height and insulation to make a finished basement meet code? A few hours of an architect’s time can help get you the information you need.
If you want to add on, make sure that your lot is big enough. Town zoning laws only allow a certain percentage of the lot to be covered. If you’re at your max, you’re out of luck.
Set-back laws might mean that you can only expand in the front or on one side of the property. You may find out immediately that what you want to do simply isn’t possible, and the decision is made for you.
Don’t over-improve for the neighborhood
You need a master bathroom and family room or some extra square footage, but will the neighborhood support it? You don’t want to be the biggest or best house on the block when you go to sell. A big master suite or designer kitchen may be just what you want, but will future buyers pay for it?
Do some research, talk to a real estate agent and attend open houses in your neighborhood. If you don’t know, ask. But do not embark on a large renovation project if you can’t get your money back when it’s time to sell.
Get ready for a different kind of stress if you move
Purchasing a new home and selling your existing one simultaneously means instant stress that is intense and compacted in a short period. The stress may come in the form of carrying two mortgages, getting a bridge loan or waiting for your home to get an offer.
Remember how you felt when you purchased your first home? Now double or even triple that.
Expect the expenses
When you sell your home, you need to pay the real estate commission and transfer tax on the sale, and you may be taxed on any gain. When you get a mortgage for the new home, expect more loan and title fees upfront.
While many closing costs and transfer fees are tax deductible, you don’t realize anything from these expenses. The $10,000 in fees might be better spent toward a new bathroom. Before you decide to explore this path, gather some information about costs.
Deciding whether to trade up or sell and buy is incredibly personal. The most obvious thing to do is to check your finances, and see what is out there on the purchase market. Learn what’s happening and understand how you would fare. And even if it’s intimidating, seriously consider renovating. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to make your home even more custom to you.