Play Up Your Stellar School Rating

Daily Real Estate News | Good schools pay off in a home sale. Indeed, having a high rating on sites like GreatSchools, which rates public schools based on statewide assessments, can be a boon to a home’s value. Realtor.comĀ® researchers analyzed 1.6 million home listings in the U.S. through the first six months of 2016 and found that houses in public-school districts with GreatSchools’ highest ratings, 9 or 10, were priced on average 77 percent higher than homes in nearby districts with scores of 6 or lower.

Furthermore, homes that are located in top districts sell four days faster – 58 days, versus the national median of 62 days, realtor.comĀ®’s analysis notes.

Follow these tips to stay secure on-the-go. Staying safe on the go!

Password-protect your smartphone: Always lock your phone when it’s not in use, set it to automatically lock after being idle for a set amount of time. Set your phone to use a longer and stronger password than the default 4-digit unlock code if this option is available on your phone. For even better security, set your phone to erase all data after 10 bad password attempts.

Clear data from your smartphone frequently
Delete text messages from financial institutions, especially before sharing, discarding, or selling your phone. If you visit banking websites using your phone, delete the cookies and cache regularly. Better yet, use dedicated apps for online banking.

Always download apps from reputable sources
Criminals try to lure people into signing up for mobile banking using fake apps and/or websites.
Always visit your direct mobile banking site to verify the sources of your online banking applications. If you’re considering adding an app to your mobile device, review the app’s permissions so you understand what the app is capable of doing before you decide to download it.

Remove personal information before replacing your smartphone.
Don’t rely on carriers, recycling firms or phone deposit banks to “clean” your phone before disposal or resale to third parties. Follow your phone manufacturer’s instructions to remove all personal information from your phone before decommissioning it.

Survey: Higher Rates Don’t Scare Buyers

Daily Real Estate News | Despite mortgage rates being on the rise home buyers say the increases aren’t scaring them away from their real estate search, according to a new Redfin survey.

Though mortgage rates have moved higher, borrowers on the whole are still appreciating how low they are historically and are taking advantage of the opportunities still at hand before rates move any higher. Despite nine consecutive weeks of rises in mortgage rates, the annual average for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.65 percent in 2016 – the lowest annual average ever recorded by Freddie Mac.

Twenty-five percent of respondents say the rise in rates does not impact their home buying decisions, and about 24 percent say they feel a greater sense of urgency to buy before rates go up further.

First Increase in over a Decade as FHFA Announces New Loan Limits

FHFA.gov | The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017 will increase.

As of Jan. 1, households will be able to get larger FHA loans for their home purchase. In high-cost areas borrowers will be able to get loans as high as $636,150, almost $11,000 more than what they were able to get in 2016. In low-cost areas, they’ll be able to get loans for up to $275,665. That’s up from $271,050.