On the Fence About Purchasing a Home – Now What?

Along with new promising resolutions of becoming physically fit, spending more time with the family and ramping up work performance, one of your resolutions may be to take the plunge into homeownership and bid your final farewell to your landlord. If you’re on the fence, it’s important to recognize that in addition to reaping the significant tax and financial benefits associated with homeownership, studies reveal owning a home may actually be good for your health.

Shaun Graham, Vice President of Southeast Mortgage

Shaun Graham, Vice President of Southeast Mortgage

The “rent vs. buy” debate is potentially the most prevalent discussion topic in real estate and certainly one of the most talked about discussions in financial circles, regularly making its way onto the front page of newspaper’s finance sections and Internet headlines. The age-old debate consists of the landlord luxury and seemingly affordable world of renting in one corner versus the significant personal and financial benefits of homeownership in the other corner.

Though the decision to buy or rent is undoubtedly a personal decision that depends on a host of factors, consider these powerful facts if you’re on the fence about taking the exciting and rewarding plunge into homeownership.

It is 45 percent cheaper to buy in Atlanta

Based on an average target monthly rent, home price, length of time living in a residence and income tax rate, Trulia figures it is an astounding 45 percent cheaper to buy rather than rent in Atlanta. The numbers for many other cities are not much different. It’s 44 percent cheaper to buy in Charlotte, 48 percent cheaper in Nashville and 51 percent cheaper in Dallas.

Short and Long-Term Social and Financial Benefits

Aside from the resounding tax benefits and long-term tangible financial advantages created by rising home prices and bankable equity, homeownership also heralds deep social benefits. According to the National Association of Realtors, the decision to stay in school by teenagers is higher among those raised by homeowner parents, and teenagers in these homes have a lower incidence of teen pregnancy. The study also revealed homeowners are typically more satisfied with their own personal situation than renters and they enjoy better physical and psychological health.

Though, of course, the factors for these outcomes are wide, experts believe a stable housing environment (less frequent residential change) and favorable neighborhood characteristics, such as a sense of community within the neighborhood, do play a part in these social benefits. The NAR also reports for “children growing up in families with incomes less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line, homeownership raises educational attainment, earnings and welfare independence in young adulthood.” Other studies prove people who live in an owned home have a higher quality of life, children have higher levels of achievement in math and reading, and fewer children suffer from behavioral problems.

Millennials, in fact, do want homes

Many millennials continue to be on the fence about homeownership due in part to the misconception their counterparts are holding off on purchasing a home. Despite the preconceived notions about millennials and homeownership, National Mortgage Professional Magazine provided these convincing statistics:

  • In November 2015, the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index, which measures job security, rose to an all-time high of 85 percent. When people are more comfortable with their employment, they are more likely to consider investments.
  • 88 percent of all buyers financed their home purchase, with the highest percentage of those financing in the millennial generation.
  • 84 percent of millennials believe homeownership is a good investment – compared to 79 percent of buyers of all ages.

The nation’s millennials are beginning to feel more optimistic about job security, their ability to finance a home and the notion that homeownership is a sound long-term investment.

If you’re on the fence about purchasing a home, consider the fact buying is significantly cheaper than renting in most cases, recognize the significant financial, personal and social benefits of homeownership and debunk the stereotypical myth millennials aren’t interested in homeownership. Once you commit to homeownership, you’ll be buying more than simply a home. You’ll be buying a piece of the American Dream.

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How Did 2015 End for the Atlanta Housing Industry?

The Atlanta housing industry ended the year on a more sluggish note than expected. The Cal-Culator, Atlanta’s residential real estate index, remained stagnant at 6.9 for October and November, then took a slight dip to 6.8 in December. Tight inventory, home sales and a variety of other housing indicators were factors in the end-of-year decline. Although inventory was tight and the index was relatively flat, we did see a consumer, builder and Realtor shift to licensed service oriented mortgage providers.

December2015CalCulator

On December 16, the Federal Reserve increased the Federal funds rate ¼ point for the first time in nearly a decade since the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Based on historical data in Georgia, the start of a tightening policy by the Federal Reserve, signals strong future mortgage growth for a defined period.

While the index holds true for the macro Georgia mortgage market, Southeast Mortgage posted a 99.3 percent growth in December compared to same period 2014.

Tight Inventory

According to Zillow’s November Market Report, the number of homes on the market fell 1.7 percent in November and 7.6 percent from the year prior, marking 10 months of year-over-year inventory declines. However, on a positive note, Atlanta experienced one of the biggest year-over-year inventory increases in the nation ­– a respectable 17 percent.

Home Sales

For the third time in the last quarter of 2015, pending home sales slightly declined due to increasing home prices and inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, pending home sales in the South increased slightly by 1.3 percent in November.

“Home prices rising too sharply in several markets, mixed signs of an economy losing momentum and waning supply levels have acted as headwinds in recent months despite low mortgage rates and solid job gains,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “While feedback from Realtors continues to suggest healthy levels of buyer interest, available listings that are move-in ready and in affordable price ranges remain hard to come by for many would-be buyers.”

RE/MAX’s National Report

RE/MAX’s December National Report, available for download here, revealed a number of stagnant factors about the housing industry:

  • The average Days On Market for all homes sold was up three days, to 65 days, from RE/MAX’s national October average.
  • The average number of home sales in 53 metro areas in November decreased 22.6 percent from October and was 1.4 percent lower than the previous year.
  • The median sales price for all homes sold in November was down 5 percent from October, though this factor can help in housing affordability.

“Moderating prices help keep homeownership more affordable as we approach the end of a year that saw prices reach pre-recession levels in many markets. Even with anticipated rate hikes, mortgage rates are near historic lows, which also helps home affordability. Many home buyers find better availability and affordability in the winter months, before the traditional spring buying season starts,” said RE/MAX CEO Dave Linger.

Home Values           

Despite the dip, a bright spot at the end of last year was increased home values. Home values rose nationally 3.9 percent while many cities experienced double-digit growth, according to Zillow. Zillow also found the values of all U.S. homes grew $1.1 trillion, up 4.1 percent from 2014, though the year’s pace was slower than 2014.

The first Cal-Culator of 2016 will be released February 9, which will hopefully reveal a break in the sluggish performance.

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Five New Year’s Resolutions Every Housing Professional Should Make

Fewer trips to fast food restaurants, more time spent at the gym and calling your grandmother more often are typical New Year’s resolutions people often make. While health and family are of utmost importance, what if you resolved to also make 2016 your most successful year in business?

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

This year, take the time to prioritize your career goals. Here’s a look at five of the most effective professional New Year’s resolutions to get you on the fast path to success.

Identify what matters least: One of the most effective strategies to help prioritize objectives is to identify and strive to eliminate anything in your daily work life that is non-value added or inefficient. Take a hard look at the daily activities that either offer very little value to your overall success or compromise your efficiency. Categorize them into activities that can be dropped, delegated or potentially redesigned to be more efficient. Ideally, the goal is to systematically reduce “white noise” from your daily routine and free up valuable time to accomplish the vital tasks that correlate directly to your success.

Set specific goals for the year: It sounds cliché, but definitive goal setting has been scientifically proven to be highly effective. In fact, a Harvard Business School study found the 3 percent of Harvard Business School graduates who wrote down specific goals earned ten times as much as the other 97 percent combined. Goals that are broken down into smaller “actionable” objectives have a far better chance of success. Identify how many loans you aim to close each month, new clients you want to connect with, houses you want to show or targeted customer service ratings you would like to achieve. Regardless of your goals, start by writing them down and then be sure to hold yourself accountable by frequently reviewing your achievements to stay on track.

Embrace technology: No matter the industry, it is imperative to embrace and utilize the right tools and technology to help you work smarter and more efficiently in your respective industry. Origination technologies can assist in underwriting, closing a loan or delivering a loan to a portfolio. Realtors can lead their clients to the Zillow app to find desired neighborhoods or use Dropbox to quickly send documents. Accessing digital scanners, social media channels, time management apps, and a bevy of other websites and apps that are available at your fingerprints can strengthen customer service, enhance lead generation and improve workflow. Analyze areas within your business that can best be supported or enhanced by technology and make a commitment to embrace the benefits of technology.

Utilize current trends: Rather than just assuring potential clients that “now is a great time to buy a home,” do your homework to provide clients with insight into trends, reports and emerging government regulations to support why it’s a good time. Your vast knowledge will convey you’re continually evaluating the market to provide the best recommendations for those that trust you the most. Heading into 2016, let your clients or potential borrowers know what increased rates means for homeowners, levels of inventory in your area and the outlook of home prices.

Eat lunch away from your desk: A recent study found only one-third of Americans take a lunch break and even less than that number eat away from their desk. Taking a lunch break has been proven to improve productivity, create stronger relationships at work, increase attention to detail and significantly increase overall happiness and attitude at work. Rather than staring at your computer screen for eight or more hours straight, take a relaxing, well-deserved lunch away from your desk to improve work productivity and your daily outlook.

Don’t just survive in the housing industry in 2016 – thrive. Utilize the support of your company, your clients, technology and your client-relationship management team, while leveraging your expertise and resolutions, to make this an unprecedented year for your career.

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The Atlanta Housing Index Ends 2015 on a Sluggish Note

Once again, stagnation strikes the U.S. housing industry as even National Mortgage Professional magazine reported the “latest housing and mortgage data from industry and federal sources presented a strange picture, with encouraging and discouraging news presented together in the same breath.” The November Cal-Culator, the last index to be written in 2015, will remain yet another month at 6.9.

November Cal-Culator

Home Sales

New residential sales: Sales of new single-family houses in October rose a solid 10.7 percent from September and 4.9 percent from October 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau News.

Pending home sales: In October, pending home sales barely nudged forward after two months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors. Unfortunately, declines in the South offset gains in the Northeast and West.

The Pending Home Sales Index, “a forward-looking indicator” based on contract signings, inched forward 0.2 percent and now represents 14 consecutive months of increases.

“In the most competitive metro areas – particularly those in the South and West – affordability concerns remain heightened as low inventory continues to drive up prices,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The NAR released information reflecting housing inventory decreased 2.3 percent in October from the previous month and 4.5 percent from a year ago. Unsold inventory is now at 4.8-month supply.

Existing Home Sales: According to the NAR’s latest data on existing home sales, sales were at a healthy pace in October, but failed to keep up with September’s jump. None of the four major regions, including the South, saw an increase in sales.

“New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this fall, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets,” said Yun. “Furthermore, the mixed signals of slowing economic growth and volatility in the financial markets slightly tempered demand and contributed to the decreasing pace of sales.”

Home Builder Confidence

The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo National Housing Index decreased by three points to 62. Despite the drop, the index has made solid progress since the beginning of the year where it started at 57. Any score above 50 indicates that more homebuilders than not view the housing market as “good” rather than “poor.”

Home Prices

Home prices in Atlanta increased a marginal 0.39 percent, according to the November S&P Case-Shiller Atlanta Home Price Index.

The next Cal-Culator, the last index critiquing 2015 and a lookback on the year, will be released January 12. After a sluggish two months, we’re hoping we can bid farewell to 2015 with a welcome break in stagnation.

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Professionals in the Housing Industry Have Plenty to Be Thankful For

As we kick off the holiday season – a season of giving thanks – it’s important for professionals in the housing industry take a step back and remember that there’s plenty to be thankful for this season. From our loyal pipeline of industry contacts and partnerships to our hardworking team, we all know that true success begins with people. As we reflect back on 2015, we’re also grateful for the steady rebound of the economy, which has brought with it a host of positive and significant improvements in the housing industry.

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

‘Best Quarter in Nearly a Decade’

Just this month, the National Association of Realtors reported 2015’s third quarter is the housing industry’s best quarter in nearly a decade. Specifically in the South, existing-home sales and home prices are each up 6 percent from last year.

“The demand for buying picked up speed in many metro areas during the summer as more households entered the market, encouraged by favorable mortgage rates and improving local economies,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “While price growth still teetered near or above unhealthy levels in some markets, the good news is that there was some moderation despite the stronger pace of sales.”

Yun noted the fastest price appreciation was in the South due to job gains, above average shares of vacation and foreign buyers, and new construction.

Additionally, National Mortgage Professional reported distressed home sales hit their lowest point since September 2007. Distressed sales comprised 9.3 percent of total home sales in August. Comparatively, distressed sales were 32.4 percent of all sales in their peak during 2009.

Looking Forward

Professionals in the housing industry can also be thankful for a bright outlook for  2016. The National Association of Realtors’ press release, aptly titled “Existing-Home Sales on Track for Further Expansion in 2016,” reveals existing-home sales are expected to increase, despite possible rising rates. Yun expects home sales to increase 3 percent next year in addition to a rise in home prices, which are expected to increase 5 percent in 2016. Lastly, new home sales are also expected to grow from a predicted 505,000 this year to 590,000 next year.

There’s even good news regarding millennials – a demographic that has been in the spotlight for traditionally choosing renting over buying.

“Millennials outnumber baby boomers by almost 10 percent, and they’re collectively just entering their homebuying years with marriage and children on the horizon,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO at Ellie Mae. “The good news is that most surveys are finding that millennials still want to engage directly with mortgage loan professionals and Realtors at key times in the buying process.

For mortgage loan originators, Realtors, builders and potential borrowers alike, we near the end of 2015 with plenty to be thankful for and look forward in anticipation of what 2016 holds for the housing industry.

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No Scares in the Housing Industry This October

The headlines regarding the U.S. housing industry over the past month have swung like a pendulum from positive sightings to neutral or negative happenings. After two months of improvements in the real estate industry, the Cal-Culator remained stagnant at 6.9 due to a variety of opposing positive and negative trends.

October 2015 CalCulator

Home Prices

Nationwide, home prices increased 6.4 percent from September 2014, but just 0.6 percent from August. Atlanta prices slipped 0.3 percent from August and increased 6.1 percent from 2014.

“After nearly 10 years of very high home price volatility, home price increases have been remarkably stable for the last 15 months, ranging between a 4.8 percent and 6.5 percent year-over-year increase,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic. “Home price volatility is now back to the long-term trend prior to the boom and bust which is a good barometer of the market’s stability and health.”

Mortgage Applications

National Mortgage Professional Magazine described the overall month for real estate well when reporting on mortgage applications: “The mortgage application picture for October is beginning to resemble an oscilloscope screen, with dramatic peaks and perilous drops coming one week after the next.” Mortgage applications increased in one October week more than 11 percent, to barely rise at all the next week.

“On an adjusted basis, application volume increased last week, led by a sharp rebound in government volume,” said MBA’s Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni. “We expect that application volume will remain volatile over the next few weeks as the industry continues to implement TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures.”

Home Sales

The housing trend that graced the most headlines this month was the drastic stalling of single-family home sales. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development reported new, single-family sales declined 11.5 percent below the August rate and only 2 percent above a year prior.

However, existing-home sales rebounded strongly in September, following August’s decline, and have now increased year-over-year for 12 consecutive months. According to Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, home sales are at their second highest pace since February 2007.

“Despite persistent inventory shortages, the housing market has made great strides this year, backed by an increasing share of pent–up sellers realizing the increased equity they’ve gained from rising home prices and using it towards trading up or moving into a smaller home,” says Yun. “Unfortunately, first–time buyers are still failing to generate any meaningful traction this year.”

The final Cal-Culator of 2015 will be released December. Last December, we finished 6.2. Unless drastic changes occur in the next month, it appears the close of 2015 will reflect a dramatic improvement for the housing industry.

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Checking the Pulse of the Housing Industry

As we are fully immersed into Q4 and the end of the year is fast approaching, we’re excited to share news that reveals the housing industry is poised to start 2016 off on the right track. The National Association of Realtors’ recently released 11th annual Housing Pulse Survey unveiled optimistic consumer outlook and a host of positive trends about the real estate industry, renting and homeownership aspirations.

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

About the Housing Pulse Survey

NAR’s telephone survey was conducted with 1,000 adults who reside in the 50 most populous metropolitan areas of the U.S. To broaden the scope of the survey, an additional 250 interviews were conducted with millennial adults. The overall goal of the survey was to accurately measure consumers’ attitudes and concerns about specific aspects of the housing industry.

This Year’s Key Findings

NAR’s Housing Pulse Survey for 2015 discovered the following key findings regarding renters’ attitudes toward homeownership, overall attitudes on homeownership and attitudes toward the current state of the real estate market.

Renters’ attitudes about homeownership:

  • The number of renters who are thinking about purchasing a home has increased from 36 percent in 2013 to 39 percent this year.
  • 61 percent of renters say eventual homeownership is one of their highest priorities – up 11 points from 2013.

Overall attitudes toward homeownership:

  • Americans under 35 overwhelmingly said debt is the top obstacle in obtaining home ownership.
  • Despite the above, over 80 percent of Americans believe purchasing a home is a good financial decision.
  • 71 percent of respondents believe they could sell their house for at least what they paid for it – a jump of 16 points from 2013.

Attitude toward the current real estate market:

  • Almost 90 percent of respondents expect real estate sales to increase or remain the same.
  • Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe now is a good time to buy a home.

“Homeownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities,” said NAR President Chris Polychron in a press release. “Realtors believe that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream in a safe, responsible way, which is why NAR advocates homeownership issues and educating potential buyers about achieving their property investment goals.”

After a year of recovery in the housing industry, consumers’ attitudes about homeownership are on the right track. Rather than having consumers wait until warmer months to pursue homeownership, get the conversation going that reaffirms there has never been a better time for homeownership.

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Atlanta Housing Seals Summer with Good News

For the second month in a row, the Atlanta residential real estate index rose 0.1. The Cal-Culator now stands at 6.9 – the highest recorded number ever for the index. Home sales, prices, rates and an increase in first-time homebuyers propelled the index forward, even though lack of inventory continues to plague the nation.

Cal-Culator.September

Home Sales and Prices

According to the National Association of Realtors, national home sales dipped in August 4.8 percent from the previous month, following three straight months of gains. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, attributes the dip to the “summer theme of tight inventory” which deterred buyers.

However, Atlanta home sales increased a respectable 8.4 percent in August from the previous year, according to the Atlanta Board of Realtors. ABR also announced average and median home sale prices are continuing to gain traction. The median sales price in August was up 2.3 percent from last year and the average sales price was up 6.6 percent from the previous year.

“Overall housing market conditions remain positive and on track with a normal, seasonally based market,” said ABR President Ennis Antoine.

First-Time Homebuyers

Along with inventory, another factor that has been significantly hampering the job hunt is first-time homebuyers, a traditional catalyst for the market. The percent of first-time buyers is steadily increasing, however – now 32 percent, up from 28 percent in July and 29 percent last year.

Rates

Rates continue to be historically low and declined to 3.91 percent in August after rates rose to above 4 in July for the first time since November 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s average commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage. Even if rates rise, its not expected to negatively hamper the industry.

“When the Federal Reserve decides to lift short–term rates, likely later this year, the impact on mortgage rates and overall housing demand will likely not be pronounced,” says Yun. “With job growth holding steady, prospective buyers can handle any gradual rise in mortgage rates — especially if today’s stronger labor market finally leads to a boost in wages and homebuilding accelerates to alleviate supply shortages and slow price growth in some markets.”

Inventory

Despite all of the bright spots in the housing industry this month, inventory continues to pose a problem. Atlanta area housing inventory increased just 2 percent from last year and decreased a staggering 14.4 percent from the previous month, according to ABR.

“With sales and overall demand higher than a year ago and supply mostly unchanged, low inventories will likely continue to limit options for those looking to buy this fall even with the overall pool of buyers shrinking because of seasonal factors,” said Yun.

The next Cal-Culator will be released November 10 and will give a look into how the Atlanta housing market will fare during the colder months.

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Seasons Change – So Should Your Habits

Between dealing with the pressure of swiftly closing deals, the growing mountain of paperwork, keeping a robust client pipeline and fostering partnerships in the housing industry, it can be extremely challenging for MLOs to carve out quality time for family, friends and life, in general.

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President for Southeast Mortgage

As this hectic summer season comes to a close, why not use the more relaxed fall season to find a better equilibrium between your professional and personal life? An improved work-life balance greatly improves mental and physical health, while bringing more success in the office and more comfort in the home.

What is Work Life Balance?

According to recent studies, the demands of today’s “always-on-the go” work environment is taking its toll, preventing many professionals from taking part in important personal activities. From family dinners to birthdays to kids’ baseball games, today’s workforce is in total overdrive. While we’ve all felt the pressure to exceed the demands of our employer and strive to get ahead, for many, putting off the disconnect between work and home could be setting the stage for potential burn out.

According to “The Work-Life Imbalance Report” commissioned by work management solution provider Workfront, nearly two in five employees polled have missed important life events because of work and only a third of employees feel they have a good work-life balance. A report by Forbes found a whopping 94 percent of U.S. professionals report working more than 50 hours per week and more than half work at least 65 hours.

The term “work-life balance” is more than simply a buzz phrase that has made its way into social media and headlines in recent years. Work-life balance envelopes a deeper meaning of a person’s life including whether they feel satisfied in their career and relationships, their health and wellbeing, and their overall happiness. The trick is to find a steady balance between meaning and fulfillment in our personal lives and at work. When we’re successful in achieving that delicate balance we’re far more likely to experience overall satisfaction in our lives.

The Road to Achieving the Balance

Making the commitment to strive toward an ideal work-life balance can be daunting, however, it doesn’t have to be. Start small and don’t worry about wiping the slate clean. Build on the areas in your life where balance already exists and remember everyone is different. No two people will have the same work-life balance.

Start Small: There’s a reason crash diets and New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Don’t attempt to change your lifestyle completely in one fell swoop. If you’re overextending yourself at work, don’t dramatically cut your workload from 80 hours a week to 40 hours. Ease up over time or your plan will surely be a recipe for failure.

“If you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience success. Build from there,” said Robert Brooks, co-author of “The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life.”

Unplug: One of the greatest benefits of the advancement of technology is the increased telecommunicating ability. While we’re spending more time in the home, we are still “plugged in” to the office. The blurring of work and personal life shouldn’t become so distorted that quality time with loved ones is compromised and the checking of electronics becomes a constant addiction.

“By not reacting to the updates from work, you will be developing a stronger habit of resilience. Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives,” says Brooks. “Reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress.”

Don’t allow stress to infringe upon or interrupt your off time. There are times when you need to consciously shut out distractions and stress, such as at your child’s soccer game or during a family dinner.

Take Care Of Yourself: Fostering a healthy lifestyle will help enhance your work-life balance. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, meditate and exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise pumps endorphins, is a stress reliever, puts meditation in motion and improves your mood.

Avoid Perfectionism: Because the habit of perfectionism manifests itself in childhood, it can be a difficult habit to kick later in life. However, seeking the impossible and striving for unattainable perfection can be damaging to your work and your home life.

“As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of perfection going,” says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD and author of The Office Survival Guide. “The healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.”

Though MLOs have a heavy and often challenging workload, there is a reason mortgage loan officer was ranked #9 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Business Jobs list. For those who are dedicated, it can be a very satisfying and lucrative career. Make the most out of your MLO position and your professional and personal relationships by instilling more balance into your life and removing unnecessary stressors.

 

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Saying Bye to Summer – And Stagnation in Atlanta Real Estate

After a month of stagnation, the Atlanta residential real estate index has inched forward 0.1 due to rising home prices, increased home sales, improved builder confidence and improved foreclosure inventory. The August Cal-Culator now rests at a record-breaking 6.8.

The August Cal-Culator

The August Cal-Culator

CoreLogic’s Home Price Index found home prices rose a respectable 6.9 percent on a yearly basis and 0.5 percent month over month. CoreLogic also expects healthy year-over-year increases leading into next summer. Still, home prices remain at 6.6 percent below their April 2006 peak.

“Low mortgage rates and strong consumer confidence are supporting a resurgence in home sales as of late,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Adding to overall housing demand is the benefit of a better labor market which has provided millennials the financial independence to form new households and escape ever-rising rental costs.”

CoreLogic’s most recent National Foreclosure Report found foreclosure inventory was down 4.1 percent from the previous month, marking 44 months of consecutive year-over-year declines. Completed foreclosures dropped 14.8 percent from the previous year, though it rose slightly compared to the previous month.

“The foreclosure rate for the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since 2007, supported by a continuing decline in loans made before 2009, gains in employment and higher housing prices,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.

The foreclosure rate currently stands at 1.2 percent, which is back at the January 2008 level.

Standard & Poor’s Rating Service’s U.S. Weekly Economic Roundup broadcasted multiple positive economic trends. Housing starts were 0.2 percent to 1.206 million in July – the highest since October 2007. Single-family starts were up 12.8 percent to 782,000 – the highest since the end of 2007. The report also reported existing home sales climbed 2 percent from 2014 to reach an eight-year high. Existing sales climbed a remarkable 10.3 percent from the previous month, marking the 10th consecutive month of growth.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) reported builder confidence for newly built, single-family homes rose one point to 61, the highest level since 2005. Scores over 50 indicate more builders view conditions as good than poor.

“Today’s report is consistent with our forecast for a gradual strengthening of the single-family housing sector in 2015,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Job and economic gains should keep the market moving forward at a modest pace throughout the rest of the year.”

The first Cal-Culator of the fall will be released October 13. Check back to see if the Atlanta housing market is continuing to improve – or succumbing to the slow season.

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