How Much Does Home Insurance Cost? Advice To Find the Best Price

If you’re buying a home, you probably know that paying for the property isn’t the only expense you’ll incur. Among other things, you’ll also want to buy home insurance to protect this valuable asset in the event of unforeseen problems, from damaging hailstorms to theft and beyond.

So how much does home insurance cost? In this second installment of our Home Buyer’s Guide to Home Insurance, we’ll walk you through what you should know about home insurance rates, and how to find the best plan and price.

How much does homeowners insurance cost?

The average annual homeowners insurance premium runs about $1,445. However, it can be much higher or lower based on numerous factors. Here’s a full rundown of what can affect homeowners insurance costs.

  • Condition of your home: This plays a big role in your homeowners insurance rate, and can include everything from the roof to the pipes, heating system, electrical wiring, and age. Your insurer may ask you to provide detailed information about your home; it may also gather information from public records and documents filed with your city and county.
  • Price to rebuild: Another big factor is the price per square foot to rebuild in your area, based on current construction rates. For reference, the national average is between $100 to $200 per square foot. Why does this matter? Because if your house is damaged or completely destroyed and you need to rebuild, your insurer will be footing the bill.
  • Natural disasters in your area: The cost of your homeowners insurance also depends heavily on the likelihood of destructive natural disasters or other incidents. In other words, the more known risk there is to your home, the stiffer the homeowners insurance premium. Homeowners in Oklahoma, where tornadoes wreak havoc every summer, pay an average of $2,559 for home insurance each year, the highest in the nation. Texas is not far behind, at $2,451 per year, thanks to its destructive hurricanes and thunderstorms.
  • Personal information: Your credit score, age, and other personal factors also play a role in your home insurance costs. A higher credit score and few or no insurance claims usually result in a lower rate for home insurance. Generally speaking, the older you are, the lower your premiums. Why? Because older people are less risky for insurers to cover—they tend to spend more time at home, particularly if they’re retired, which means they’ll catch a house fire before it gets out of control.
  • High-risk features: Your homeowners insurance company will also factor in high-risk home features, including swimming pools, trampolines, and even your dog. (Certain breeds have a reputation for being more aggressive, which could lead to expensive insurance claims if your dog bites someone.) Similarly, adding safety features such as a home security system or fire sprinklers can help lower your home insurance rates.

How to find the best price on home insurance

To determine how much you’ll pay for home insurance, contact a few insurance companies by calling to chat with an agent or by filling out a form on their website. After you share some information about you and your home, they’ll run this information through their own algorithms to come up with a quote on how much your insurance will cost.

But here’s the thing: Since each insurance company uses its own formulas to determine a property’s risk levels, each may offer different rates. To get the best price and policy, it pays to shop around.

“You won’t know your homeowners insurance cost until you get quotes,” says Amy Danise, chief insurance analyst at Forbes Advisor. “Quotes are free. And it’s best to get quotes from multiple companies so that you can get a sense of what a good rate will be.”

Many homeowners go with the first homeowners insurance policy quote they get in order to cross one more thing off their list during a move or the home-purchasing process. And that could be a big, costly mistake because you may pay more. But the cheapest home insurance option isn’t always the best, either.

“An informed insurance agent that can shop your home with multiple insurance carriers is your best bet at finding a great rate for your home,” says Erin Wenzel, account manager at Michigan’s Provision Insurance Group.

Ask the agent to explain why the homeowners insurance premiums are different and what the trade-offs are in liability coverage and deductibles. And this isn’t just something you should do when you first buy a home. Every year, you should review your homeowners insurance, including your liability coverage, premium, and deductible.

“Make an effort to get a new quote each year, and shop around if you’re not happy with your current rate,” says Wes Taft, co-founder of moveCHECK.

Homeowners insurance companies hungry for new business offer competitive rates on premiums.

Is homeowners insurance included in the mortgage?

In many cases, homeowners insurance will be part of your monthly mortgage payment. Why? Because your mortgage lender wants to make sure your important house-related bills get paid on time and in full.

As such, you’ll have to pay your lender your monthly home insurance premium along with your mortgage. From there, your lender will keep that insurance money in a special account, called an escrow account, and will pay your insurance bills for you when they come due.

Lenders will often show you a breakdown on their statements of how much of your payment is going to your mortgage (principal and interest) as well as what’s going toward homeowners insurance and any other fees (such as property taxes or homeowners association dues).

In certain situations, you can pay your home insurance company directly, without having to send this money to your lender first, but this isn’t common. Some lenders may offer some flexibility, such as if you made a 20% (or higher) down payment—it just depends on the lender. Also, if you paid for your house in cash or you’ve paid off your mortgage in full, then you’ll need to pay your insurance company directly.

Is homeowners insurance tax-deductible?

No, the money you spend on home insurance is not tax-deductible. The one exception is if it’s for a rental property, in which case home insurance can get deducted from your taxable income.

In addition to shopping around for the best price on insurance, you should make sure you get the right amount and type. That’s what we’ll explore in our next installment: How much insurance do you need?

Source: realtor.com

How to Stay Safe When Returning After a Wildfire

Wildfires are unpredictable, evoke fear and chaos, and can cause severe damage to people, animals, property and land. Most people think of wildfires only occurring in California, but they are common in a handful of states in the western and southern U.S.

After a wildfire has been contained and the authorities have announced that residents are safe to head home, people can feel anxious about the unknown damage that was caused and their continued safety.

When returning home, you’ll want to consider these wildfire safety tips to ensure the continued safety and security of your family and apartment.

1. Wait until local authorities have officially cleared the area

police at wildfirepolice at wildfire

If the wildfire has been contained or entirely put out, it can be tempting to immediately rush home and start assessing the damage. However, wildfire damage lingers and can cause additional problems like flooding or secondary fires.

So, to ensure wildfire safety, do not return home until safety officials have given the “all clear.”

2. Use caution when entering your home after a fire

Obvious signs of wildfires, like flames, may be gone when you return home, but that doesn’t mean the danger is gone, too. When you enter your home, use extreme caution. Watch for charred or burned doorways and entryways and make sure that the building’s infrastructure is still secure.

3. Wear appropriate clothing

When you return after a wildfire, you’ll want to dress appropriately to avoid burns and bodily damage. Wear long pants, boots with thick rubber soles, gloves and dust masks.

4. Look for loose power lines or broken gas lines

downed power linesdowned power lines

Wildfires can cause damage to gas and power lines, and if you see a loose power line, gas line or meter, and circuit breaker, do not try and fix it on your own and do not go near it.

If they’re broken or damaged, call the utility company. They’re the best resource to safely fix damaged utilities.

5. Smell for gas

After you’ve looked for loose gas lines, you’ll also want to smell for gas when you return home. If you smell gas, turn off the supply tank and valve and immediately contact your local utility provider. Do not enter your place if you smell gas.

6. Check for pockets of heat inside and outside

Assess the grounds around your apartment building and inside your apartment for pockets of heat. The ground may still be hot, even after the flames have dissipated. These hot pockets can burn the paws of animals, harm people and even spark new fires.

As you walk around your property and assess the damage, also look for loose embers or active sparks. Check outside the building and inside in closets, roofs, and attics.

7. Eat and drink safely when returning home

Wildfires can knock out power for several days, so when you return home, get rid of any perishable food from the freezer and fridge so you don’t get sick. You’ll also want to watch for notices of when it’s safe to drink the water because water can be contaminated during a wildfire.

8. Document property damage and conduct a thorough inventory for insurance

looking at property damagelooking at property damage

Once you’ve safely checked the perimeter and apartment building, you’ll want to take photos of everything that was damaged during the fire. Keep a record and list of all items that were destroyed or damaged.

Don’t throw anything away until you’ve talked to your insurance company. Different companies will have different policies and you’ll want to make sure you follow their guidelines to ensure maximum return. It’s smart to have images, videos and lists before a fire, too, so you can prove to insurance companies what was damaged before and after a fire.

9. Clean your apartment

Lastly, you’ll want to start washing all items and cleaning the apartment after you’ve worked with your insurance company. After a wildfire, there will be mounds of debris and ash.

Wet the debris to cool it and get rid of any remaining sparks, and follow the designated procedure as outlined by your community to get rid of the ash. Rinse ash and debris off toys and household items, vacuum the floors with an approved filter and wipe down your floors, baseboards and counters.

Be prepared

wildfire in the distancewildfire in the distance

In 2019 alone, there have been more than 16,000 wildfires, and each year, more than 100,000 wildfires burn through U.S. lands. To stay safe and be prepared for future disasters, here are five wildfire safety tips.

  • Listen for warnings and leave when told: Because wildfires spread rapidly, it’s important to stay on constant alert if a wildfire has started in your neighborhood. When fire authorities or local officials tell residents to evacuate, it’s crucial to heed their warnings, leave immediately and head to a safe zone.
  • Stay tuned for emergency alerts and updates: Depending on the wildfire, some can be contained quickly while others are out of control for days at a time. If your area is under threat, tune in to the NOAA radio and local news for live updates.
  • Create an emergency action plan: It’s not the time to make an emergency plan when disaster strikes. Instead, sit down with your family ahead of time and discuss a communication action plan for future wildfires or other natural disasters. Because phone lines will likely be busy, consider using text or social media to communicate with your family. Discuss where you’ll meet, how you’ll get there and how you’ll notify others that you’re safe.
  • Conduct an apartment safety check: While wildfires are unpredictable, renters can check their apartment and work with their property manager to ensure the apartment complex and buildings are safe and up-to-date. Make sure you’re routinely checking fire alarms and extinguishers as a safeguard.
  • Have an emergency kit: If a wildfire occurs in your community, you’ll want to have an emergency kit on hand. These kits should include water, food, dust masks and first-aid essentials. Apartment dwellers should also consider purchasing a fire escape ladder in case of an evacuation.

When returning home after a wildfire, follow these safety procedures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and mitigate damages as easily as possible.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

The Best Renters Insurance in Houston, Texas

Renters insurance in Houston is more expensive than renters insurance in other parts of Texas and the nation, so finding the cheapest provider can be a challenge. It’s often so high that many renters can’t help but ask themselves if they actually need it. Unfortunately, you do. You don’t just need it for property coverage, but you also need it for liability — especially if you often have a lot of people over.

America’s top-rated renters insurance

  • Policies starting at just $5/month
  • Sign up in seconds, claims paid in minutes
  • Zero hassle, zero paperwork
In this article

For all of the recommendations below, we used our SimpleScore methodology to find the best renters insurance companies in Houston. We analyzed coverage options, discounts, customer satisfaction, support and accessibility for renters insurance companies to assign a score that reflects our recommendations and review of renters insurance in Houston.

Here’s what we recommend for renters insurance in Houston, Texas.  

The best renters insurance companies in Houston, Texas

Most affordable – Progressive

Choose Progressive if you want cheap renters insurance in Houston.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.2 / 5.0

SimpleScore Progressive 4.2

Discounts 5

Coverage 3

Customer Satisfaction 3

Accessibility 5

Progressive has outstandingly low rates compared to other providers in the area, which you can make even lower if you can take advantage of Progressive’s discounts. Progressive currently offers the following discounts to its members:

  • Multi-policy
  • Quote in advance
  • Receive documents by email
  • Pay in full
  • Secured/gated community
  • Single deductible benefit

With so many options, it’s very easy to get an already low premium down even further.

Also worth noting is that Progressive has an A+ financial rating with AM Best. This is especially important living in Houston because the likelihood of many people filing claims after a natural disaster each year is high.

Best for bundling – Allstate

If you need auto insurance, Allstate could help you save big by bundling.

J.D. Power Rating

2/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA-

SimpleScore

4.2 / 5.0

SimpleScore Allstate 4.2

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 2

Customer Satisfaction 5

If you also need car insurance, the best company to do both is Allstate. With Allstate, you’ll save 10% on your auto insurance and up to 25% off your renters insurance if you do both through them. That’s a lot of savings. When you consider that Allstate also offers numerous other discounts you can take advantage of for auto and renters, then it becomes clear that Allstate could likely save you the most money overall.

Most tech-savvy – Nationwide

If you like your insurance provider to be a 21st-century carrier, then Nationwide is for you.

J.D. Power Rating

2/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA+

SimpleScore

3.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Nationwide 3.8

Discounts 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 2

Accessibility 4

The Nationwide mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, is one of the best insurance apps on the market today. With the app, you can file a claim, check on the status of a claim, make a payment, review your policy, update your policy, as well as make any changes to your coverages. Most insurance apps only cater to auto claims, but with Nationwide you can do renters insurance, too.

Best regional provider – Harris County Insurance Center, LLC

Get the benefits of working with a local carrier while feeling like you’re working with a national provider.

J.D. Power Rating

N/A

AM Best Rating

N/A

Standard & Poor’s

N/A

SimpleScore

2.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Harris County Insurance Center, LLC 2.8

Disconts 2

Coverage Options 3

Customer Satisfaction N/A

Accessibility 3

Harris County Insurance Center has agents that speak both English and Spanish, and you can file a claim 24 hours a day. Unlike other regional providers, Harris County Insurance Center makes it possible to get a quote online without having to go to a brick and mortar shop or speak with someone over the phone. In fact, Harris County is getting so many things right we wouldn’t be surprised if they start servicing a larger area in the near future.

America’s top-rated renters insurance

  • Policies starting at just $5/month
  • Sign up in seconds, claims paid in minutes
  • Zero hassle, zero paperwork

Choosing your provider

When choosing which carrier you want to work with, you’ll have a choice between a national carrier and a regional carrier. There are pros and cons to both. Let’s talk about them.

Local Carrier

Pros

  • Support your local economy
  • Work with an agent that knows exactly what you need
  • Develop an ongoing working relationship with the same agents

Cons:

  • May not have as many coverage options
  • May not be as tech-savvy
  • May be more expensive than national providers

National Carrier

Pros:

  • More coverage options
  • Cheaper premiums that smaller providers 
  • More tech-savvy (smartphone apps, online presence)

[ Read: Defending Against Porch Pirates: What to Do about Package Thefts ]

Cons:

  • Agents likely will not know Houston, Texas, very well
  • Will not be able to develop an ongoing working relationship with an agent
  • You will likely have to do everything online or over the phone

Additional renters insurance coverage in Houston

Houston, Texas, has one of the highest rates of crime in the entire country. According to the Houston Police Department, the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime is about 1 in 18. It’s a trend that has only gotten worse (2020 was one of the worst years the city had seen in decades). Obviously, crime is a reason that renters insurance is so much in Houston

Another reason renters insurance is so high is because of natural weather disasters. Houston is subject to both flooding and hurricanes. As a resident in this area you should highly consider purchasing additional coverage with your insurance company.

Flood insurance

A regular renters insurance policy does not protect your belongings if they are damaged by floodwaters. For this type of coverage, you need flood insurance.

[ Read: Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units? ]

You may be able to purchase flood insurance through the insurance provider you purchase renters insurance, but most people usually get it through the U.S. government through Floodsmart. Living in Houston, you are likely in a flood zone, but you can see if your particular area is subject to flooding by inputting your address into FEMA’s flood map. Given Houston’s history with flooding, you should even consider purchasing flood insurance if you live in a high rise apartment.

Hurricane insurance

Hurricane insurance is actually called windstorm insurance. The likelihood of you needing to purchase it as a renter is small. This is because damages caused by wind, hail, fire and lightning are more than likely covered by your insurance provider. Just make sure that, when you do purchase a policy, you read the fine print about any exclusions. The only likely exclusion you’ll see is damage caused by floodwaters.

How much does renters insurance cost in Houston?

According to the latest study by Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of renters insurance in Texas is currently $225 a year. The average is $179. However, there are a lot of factors that influence the cost of renters insurance. These include:

  • Deductible
  • Type of policy you have
    • Actual cash value vs. replacement cost
  • Amount of property coverage
  • Amount of liability coverage
  • Where you live
  • Discounts (for example, many companies offer discounts for bundling policies)

Other factors that influence your final rate are whether you have any pets, and how much you estimate your personal property to be worth.

[ More: How Much is Renters Insurance? ]

Houston renters insurance FAQs

Yes, landlords can require renters insurance in Texas. Though you are not legally required to have it under state law, your landlord has the legal power to dictate the terms and conditions of the lease.

There are several factors that impact your renters insurance premium. The primary factors affecting the price of rental insurance in Houston include the size of the apartment or dwelling, how much liability you want to have, how much property coverage you want, as well as where your rental is located within the city.

Compared to the rest of the country, yes. The latest study from the Insurance Information Institute showed Texas to be the fourth most expensive state for renters insurance. This is because places like Houston are frequently exposed to natural disasters year after year, as well as high crime.

Don’t feel completely ready? For an extensive guide to purchasing renters insurance, check out our Ultimate Guide to Renters Insurance.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the insurers we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

The 10 Worst Climate Disasters in U.S. History

Woman outside her ruined home after a natural disaster or fire
Vlad Teodor / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on Porch.

One impact of climate change is that the number and severity of climate-related disasters is on the rise.

With the warming of the planet, several factors combine to make extreme weather more common.

Higher temperatures are more likely to produce heat waves and drought conditions, which increase the likelihood of wildfires. Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which leads to wetter storms, and with them, more flooding. Increased heat and evaporation have also combined to make tropical cyclones more common and more severe in recent years.

The financial consequences of these trends are enormous. Loss of life, property damage, infrastructure failures and business interruptions are some of the widely felt direct consequences when more intense natural disasters occur.

In the U.S., the costs associated with so-called billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events — those in which total damages exceeded $1 billion in today’s dollars — have grown sharply over the last decade, from a five-year annual average of $29.2 billion in 2010 to $121.4 billion in 2020.

Apart from direct damages, even the threat of weather disasters can have financial impacts. Property values in vulnerable areas may shift downward as severe weather disasters become more likely. Insurers can charge higher rates or make coverage harder to obtain for properties that could be at risk. And property owners may find themselves paying a premium for structures that are resistant to weather-related damage.

To find the worst disasters, researchers analyzed data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and ranked events based on their estimated cost in 2020 dollars.

Following is the list of the worst climate disasters in U.S. history.

10. U.S. drought/heatwave

Hot sun
aapsky / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: 2012
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $34.5 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $30 billion
  • Number of deaths: 123
  • Most impacted area: Midwest and West

High temperatures and low moisture brought on the most severe drought the U.S. had seen in decades during the summer of 2012. Drought conditions and more than two months of heat waves were directly responsible for more than 100 deaths and billions in economic losses due to failed harvests for crops like corn and soybeans.

9. Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike causing flooding in Florida
forestpath / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: September 2008
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $36.9 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $30 billion
  • Number of deaths: 112
  • Most impacted area: Texas

After hitting Cuba as a Category 4 storm several days earlier, Hurricane Ike made landfall as a Category 2 storm near Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2008.

Ike damaged or destroyed more than 75% of the homes in Galveston and brought widespread damage elsewhere in eastern Texas. Damage totaled $30 billion.

8. Midwest flooding

Flooding
Brymer / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: Summer 1993
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $38.1 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $21 billion
  • Number of deaths: 48
  • Most impacted area: Midwest

The Midwest experienced unusually high precipitation from rain and snow in 1992 and the first half of 1993.

As a result, parts of the Upper Mississippi River were at flood levels for almost 200 days in some locations, while the Missouri River basin experienced flood levels for nearly 100 days.

The ongoing floods destroyed tens of thousands of homes and inundated millions of acres of farmland.

7. U.S. drought/heatwave

high temperatures
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: Summer 1988
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $45 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $20 billion
  • Number of deaths: 454
  • Most impacted area: Midwest, West, Southeast

As the worst drought the U.S. had seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the drought of 1988 covered nearly half of the United States at its peak, and continued as late as 1990 in some locations.

The persistent hot, dry conditions led to billions of dollars in losses from crops and livestock, along with wildfires in Yellowstone National Park that burned nearly 800,000 acres.

6. Hurricane Andrew

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Andrew
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: August 1992
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $50.8 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $27 billion
  • Number of deaths: 61
  • Most impacted area: Florida and Louisiana

The 1992 Atlantic hurricane season’s first major storm was one of the most powerful on record. Andrew is only one of four hurricanes ever to make landfall in the U.S. as a Category 5 storm, with winds reaching nearly 174 miles per hour.

The storm ripped through southern Florida before re-emerging in the Gulf of Mexico and making a second landfall on the Louisiana coast several days later, causing more than $27 billion in damage.

5. Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma flooding in Florida
FotoKina / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: September 2017
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $52.5 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $50 billion
  • Number of deaths: 97
  • Most impacted area: Florida and South Carolina

2017’s hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season remains the costliest on record, and Hurricane Irma is one of the major reasons why.

After making landfall as a Category 4, Irma carved a path northward through the heart of Florida and into the southeastern U.S., bringing coastal flooding to Georgia and South Carolina as well. The storm’s damage totaled $50 billion.

4. Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane
Harvepino / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: October 2012
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $74.8 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $65 billion
  • Number of deaths: 159
  • Most impacted area: New York and New Jersey

At more than 900 miles in diameter, Hurricane (or Superstorm) Sandy was felt in 24 states, but Sandy is most remembered for its damage to the Mid-Atlantic region. After following a path north along the Atlantic coast, Sandy made an unusual westward turn into New York and New Jersey before merging with another storm system. Flooding and storm damage in New York City and other major East Coast metros contributed to Sandy’s $65 billion in damage.

3. Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria damage in Puerto Rico
Sheryl Chapman / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: September 2017
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $94.5 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $90 billion
  • Number of deaths: 2,981
  • Most impacted area: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Another one of 2017’s major hurricanes, Hurricane Maria brought catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

With the region still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Irma from two weeks prior, Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 storm.

Storm surge, heavy rains, and high winds leveled neighborhoods and destroyed much of Puerto Rico’s power grid, causing $90 billion in damage and nearly 3,000 deaths.

2. Hurricane Harvey

storm
AMFPhotography / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: August 2017
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $131.3 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $125 billion
  • Number of deaths: 89
  • Most impacted area: Texas

The costliest of the storms from the catastrophic 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Harvey also holds the distinction of being the wettest tropical cyclone on record.

Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, but it was the storm’s prolonged stall over Houston and the Gulf Coast that made Harvey so expensive.

Over several days, Harvey dropped more than 5 feet of rain in some locations, causing floods that produced $125 billion in damage.

1. Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina flooding damage
Stratos Brilakis / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: August 2005
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $170 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $125 billion
  • Number of deaths: 1,833
  • Most impacted area: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama

Hurricane Katrina is perhaps remembered more for the infamously mismanaged government response than for the damage of the storm itself, but Katrina brought widespread devastation to the Gulf Coast. After reaching Category 5 strength in the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina eventually made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 3. Storm surge and heavy rains led to catastrophic failures in New Orleans’ flood protection infrastructure, leaving most of the city underwater for weeks. At $170 billion in 2020 dollars, Katrina remains the most expensive climate disaster in U.S. history.

Methodology and detailed findings

A man studies financial data at his computer
NicoElNino / Shutterstock.com

To determine which climate disasters were the worst in U.S. history, researchers analyzed data from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information’s (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2021) report. Weather events were ranked according to their CPI-adjusted estimated cost (adjusted to 2020 dollars).

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Redfin joins Realtor.com in displaying flood data

When Realtor.com became the first listing platform to display flood hazard data on properties, the lead economist for Redfin expressed caution about the unintended consequences of displaying such statistics.

“We need to be very careful about how we provide information,” Taylor Marr, the lead economist at Redfin, told NPR at the time. “Could this actually reduce the value of this existing homeowner and essentially take away a lot of their net worth?”

Evidently, Redfin feels like the consumer benefit of knowing the flood risk outweighs that concern. The Seattle-based real estate brokerage and listings platform will be publishing flood risk information on nearly every home on its listing platform, it announced on Tuesday.

Like Realtor.com, Redfin will be publishing data compiled by First Street Foundation, a science and technology nonprofit organization that quantifies flood risk through Flood Factor.

“Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in their lifetime,” Redfin Chief Product Officer Christian Taubman said in a statement. “By publishing the Flood Factor score, we’re making it easier to understand the risk each home faces of being damaged by flooding, meaning everyone can make better-informed decisions about buying and selling. Most homebuyers and sellers say that the frequency or intensity of natural disasters factors into their decision about where and whether to buy or sell a home, so this is information they can really use.”

First Street’s model accounts for flood risk from four primary flood events, including heavy rainfall, storm surge, tidal and riverine sources. The organization says it also factors in potential climate change impacts. It provides a climate-adjusted assessment of current risk through the course of a 30-year mortgage.

First Street’s models areas not currently mapped by FEMA, the public source that determines payouts for those applying for aid through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Disclosure of flood risk for homes that are outside the official floodplain is important information for prospective buyers: about one-third of federal disaster money paid out to flood survivors is distributed to people who live outside the designated FEMA zones.

The flood scores are active across 94 million listings on Redfin.

Source: housingwire.com

810: Transitioning from Solo Real Estate Agent to Team Leader with Brittiny Howard

Brittiny Howard made a big splash when she appeared on episode 596 of Real Estate Rockstars to discuss her system for closing one deal per week. Today, Brittiny returns to the show to talk transitioning from solo agent to team leader and to share the challenges she’s faced along the way. Brittiny also covers why she carries a gun to appointments with potential clients, what her best lead sources are, and a first-hand account of how natural disasters can affect an agents’ business.

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The Cheapest Places to Live in Georgia

Rental prices are peachy in some parts of Georgia.

Georgia, also known as the Peach State, has plenty more to offer outside the metro Atlanta area. With nearly 10 million residents, the state features mountain views, thriving cultural hubs and smaller towns with rich histories.

Whether you’re looking for a little more space or a bit of nature, here are the cheapest places to live in Georgia.

Georgia average rent prices

With Georgia gaining more recognition through Hollywood and its music and tech industries, it’s only a matter of time before everyone wants to call the state home.

While Atlanta neighborhoods continue to rise, luckily, you can find more affordable one-bedrooms for $1,377 a month on average — a slight change year-over-year — across the state.

The cheapest cities in Georgia for renters

While most new Georgia residents tend to stick closer to metro Atlanta, don’t knock the rest of the state. If you go out a little bit farther from Atlanta, you’ll get more space and even a yard for your money.

One thing to keep in mind is distance and time in traffic — Atlanta highway traffic is infamous for a reason so take that into account. Take a look at the 10 cheapest places to live in Georgia for renters below and pack your bags.

10. Dalton

dalton ga

Source: Rent.com / Dalton Village
  • One-bedroom average rent price: $809
  • Average rent change in the past year: 13.12%

Did you know that Dalton is world-famous for its carpet stores? You’ll see them lining I-75 as you drive by. But it’s also a city nestled in the Appalachian Mountains with access to hiking trails, waterfalls, mountain biking at Raising Woods and more. Live music is everywhere around this town, so whether you’re looking for cultural events, a little history or an art exhibit, Dalton has it.

Convenient to both Atlanta and Chattanooga, Dalton remains affordable despite an average rent increase of 13 percent in the past year.

9. Cartersville

Cartersville cheapest places to live in Georgia

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $804
  • Average rent change in the past year: 0.63%

Located in Bartow County, Cartersville takes the No. 9 spot on our list of cheapest cities to live in Georgia. Did you know that the first Coca-Cola outdoor wall ad was painted in Cartersville? The city’s museums, including the Booth Western Art Museum and the Tellus Science Museum, are both gems within the city limits.

The city’s rent only saw a slight decrease year over year but remains affordable for those looking to spend time outdoors at Red Top Mountain and fall seasons near Pettit Creek Farms, hanging out with llamas and camels.

8. Clarkston

clarkston ga

Source: Rent.com / Parc 1000
  • One-bedroom average rent price: $781
  • Average rent change in the past year: -6.96%

Up-and-coming Clarkston is about 17 miles away from Atlanta’s city center, making it an ideal location for those that seek to save a few pennies on rent but work in the city. Clarkston has a robust immigrant population, leading to an international dining scene including Indian, Ethiopian, Nepali and other cuisines.

You’ll find plenty of opportunities available to head outdoors, including Stone Mountain Park and the South Peachtree Creek Trail.

7. Forest Park

forest park cheapest places to live in Georgia

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $773
  • Average rent change in the past year: 8.51%

Less than 10 miles from Atlanta, Forest Park’s proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport makes it convenient for business travelers. But for those seeking a little bit of nature, you can spend the weekend at the Reynolds Nature Preserve, a 146-acre preserve with hiking trails, gardens and even a Civil War-era farm.

If you work in downtown Atlanta, Forest Park is an affordable choice as it’s among the cheapest cities in Georgia. Yet, you get the benefit of proximity and access to public transportation.

6. Albany

albany georgia

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $758
  • Average rent change in the past year: -3.10%

Bordering the Flint River, Albany ranks as the eighth-largest city in Georgia. The town has several historic sites related to Native Americans and the Civil Rights Movement. Albany has suffered from several natural disasters, including recent Hurricane Michael and tornadoes.

But the city has rebuilt time and time again with the local economy driven by the Marine Corps base on site. The three-mile Riverfront trail goes along the Flint River, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

5. Athens

athens cheapest places to live in Georgia

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $740
  • Average rent change in the past year: -13.02%

If you’re looking for more affordable rent but want to enjoy the cultural benefits, Athens is for you. Located in Northeast Georgia and home to the University of Georgia, Athens is certainly more than a college town.

Don’t miss the Firefly Trail on a bike or a visit to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia’s beautiful garden and trails. The Georgia Museum of Art offers a glimpse into the Civil War and relevant state history. Historic live music venue Georgia Theatre has hosted artists of all genres for several decades.

4. Warner Robins

warner robbins georgia

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $735
  • Average rent change in the past year: -2.91%

Right off I-75, you’ll find Warner Robins, known mainly for its Air Force Base and proximity to Macon. Both CNN Money and Business Week have named this Georgia city one of America’s best places to live and number four on our list.

The city has seen a decrease in rent of nearly 3 percent for a one-bedroom. You can see the community come together at Warner Robins Little Theatre for its annual plays and Houston Lake in the summers for both swimming and golfing.

3. Rincon

rincon cheapest places to live in Georgia

Source: Rent.com / Jasper Village
  • One-bedroom average rent price: $734
  • Average rent change in the past year: 0.26%

With a long history as a railroad town, Rincon had a significant role in the Civil War. You can see these important markers throughout the town, thanks to the Georgia Historical Society. Nowadays, Rincon sees a lot of young families as a Savannah suburb.

While rents only decreased slightly, this Georgian city remains affordable while offering family-friendly activities like Madrac Farms’ corn maze and playgrounds at Library and Freedom parks.

2. Cumming

cumming georgia

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $662
  • Average rent change in the past year: -44.57%

While some may say Cumming is part of the metro Atlanta area, don’t be fooled by its closeness. At about 40 miles away, it’s quite the trek if you work in the city, but this is also the upside of Cumming.

Away from the city’s bustle, you have access to nature via the Sawnee Mountain Preserve, a 963-acre area with hiking trails, playgrounds and more. Not too far from there, you can jump on Lake Sidney Lanier in the summers, and if you’re a golfer, there are several challenging golf clubs. The many annual Cumming festivals will make you feel right at home in this community.

1. Valdosta

valdosta cheapest places to live in Georgia

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $647
  • Average rent change in the past year: 8%

Nicknamed “Azalea City” for its hundreds of blooms throughout the city, Valdosta has its share of historic architecture like the Crescent at Valdosta Garden Center. The 23-room mansion was built in 1898, and it’s now part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Elsewhere in town, you can catch a musical at the Peach State Summer Theatre or visit the South Georgia Pecan Co. to see how pecans get processed. Valdosta’s one-bedroom rent prices have remained mostly steady, with only an average increase of 8 percent in the past year.

The 25 cheapest places to live in Georgia

Thinking of casting a wider net for your rental search in the Peach State? We’ve got the 25 cheapest places to live in Georgia below.

Methodology

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. We pulled our data in December 2020, and it goes back for one year. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

We excluded cities with insufficient inventory from this report.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

10 U.S. Counties at Highest Risk From Natural Disasters

Woman sits outside her destroyed house
Vlad Teodor / Shutterstock.com

The old cliche about real estate — “location, location, location” — cuts both ways.

Living in the right place brings plenty of upside. But even some of the nicest locations can hide a downside. If you live in one of a handful of U.S. counties, you might be at an especially high risk of experiencing natural hazards.

Recently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) unveiled its new National Risk Index. The online resource details which communities are most vulnerable to natural hazards.

In determining which places confront the most danger, FEMA analyzed risk factors from 18 natural hazards, from droughts to flooding. According to FEMA:

“The interactive mapping tool can help communities, especially those with limited flood mapping and risk assessment capabilities, better prepare for natural hazards by providing standardized risk data for mitigation planning and an overview of multiple risk factors.”

The index determines risk by a community’s expected:

  • Annual loss, based on hazard frequency, exposure and historic loss rate
  • Social vulnerability, which gauges the susceptibility of impacted social groups
  • Community resilience, which measures the ability of a community to recover from the impacts of natural hazards

Given that criteria, FEMA has designated the following U.S. counties at “very high” risk of natural hazards.

10. Queens County, New York

Flushing Meadows Park
evantravels / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 49.97 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Coastal flooding: 83.44 out of 100
  • Strong wind: 78.24
  • Ice storm: 72.76
  • Heat wave: 44.52

9. Dallas County, Texas

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 52.45 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Hail: 100 out of 100
  • Riverine flooding: 49.20
  • Lightning: 48.55

8. San Bernardino County, California

The Pacific Crest Trail near Silverwood Lake in San Bernardino County, California
Gestalt Imagery / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 52.56 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Wildfire: 74.86 out of 100
  • Riverine flooding: 47.93

7. Riverside County, California

Peace Bridge
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 55.8 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Wildfire: 100 out of 100
  • Drought: 54.93
  • Riverine flooding: 41.79

6. Kings County, New York

Kamira / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 56.52 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Ice storm: 87.77 out of 100
  • Coastal flooding: 83.38
  • Strong wind: 81.31
  • Heat wave: 65.63
  • Lightning: 59.49

5. Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

Love Park statue in Philadelphia
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 57.72 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Heat wave: 100 out of 100
  • Winter weather: 85.32
  • Lightning: 77.21
  • Ice storm: 59.45
  • Tornado: 56.35
  • Riverine flooding: 46.34
  • Strong wind: 43.44

4. Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami beach
goodluz / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 58.25 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Hurricane: 100 out of 100
  • Lightning: 100
  • Riverine flooding: 100
  • Cold wave: 99.77

3. New York County, New York

New York City
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 69.91 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Tornado: 84.47 out of 100
  • Strong wind: 60.86
  • Ice storm: 59.31
  • Winter weather: 59.01
  • Heat wave: 54.44

2. Bronx County, New York

Bronx Zoo
Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 85.63 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Ice storm: 100 out of 100
  • Strong wind: 100
  • Tornado: 100
  • Winter weather: 100
  • Coastal flooding: 75.34
  • Heat wave: 68.36
  • Landslide: 57.33

1. Los Angeles County, California

The streets of Los Angeles, where median rent is relatively low
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall risk index score: 100 out of 100

Risk index scores for specific natural hazards that are considered “very high”:

  • Earthquake: 100 out of 100
  • Wildfire: 89.60
  • Riverine flooding: 46.87

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

MLO Jobs; Sales, Pricing, Processing, Correspondent, Products; LO Productivity Study; FHFA Disaster News

MLO Jobs; Sales, Pricing, Processing, Correspondent, Products; LO Productivity Study; FHFA Disaster News

While the Biden Administration waits for the Trump staff to tell them the Wi-Fi password in the White House, the government continues to occupy our thoughts. “The government should not vaccinate health care workers first. Because if it fails, we’re in trouble. They should try the vaccine on politicians first because if we lose a few of them, it really won’t matter at all.” That is an interesting take. I find the term stealth tax hike” interesting, especially in the coming years, because many of us are predestined to pay more in taxes by legislation already in place. Economists look at interesting things, like U-Haul rental truck movement to determine state or regional trends. Many companies are interested in what the post-pandemic work environment will look like. Design firm Gensler has some thoughts. Here’s an article on what an office furniture designer is seeing. (Subscription needed. Hint: tech companies are saying, “What offices? Glad to be done with them.” Financial companies are saying, “Back to cubicles and offices with no change.”)

Lender and Broker Services and Products

Ring in the new year by partnering with Axos Bank’s Warehouse Lending Division. You can benefit from residential lines ranging from $20MM to $175MM and diverse product offerings that include Agency, Government, Non-Agency and Axos Portfolio loans with bulk funding options available. Now is the time to schedule a call and learn more about how Axos’ warehouse program can help you maximize your revenue opportunities in 2021.

What is mortgage servicing’s greatest challenge yet? Making certain your organization is positioned to handle the impact of ongoing high delinquencies amidst concluding forbearance plans and sunsetting foreclosure moratoriums. Read our latest blog to see how the CLARIFIRE® application is your answer to pandemic delinquency preparedness. With first-hand experience and intelligent automated workflow, we deliver 24/7 self-serve relief alternatives to your delinquent borrowers. CLARIFIRE is changing the narrative for navigating delinquency in the ongoing pandemic. Start the new year with more than a plan. Choose proven technology and a trusted industry partner, CLARIFIRE. Future-proof your organization and boldly navigate delinquency in 2021.

“What could you do with more time to work on your business? Follow-up on leads? Network with real estate agents? We are wemlo and our goal is to create the best, most efficient loan processing experience for mortgage brokers. The first third-party mortgage processing network to include an all-in-one digital platform, wemlo has a sleek, easy-to-use dashboard. Our loan processing offers unparalleled service, security, and efficiency for your business. Sign up for a demo today and see how much time wemlo can save you on your next loan.”

It’s Double-Witching time for correspondents. Veteran staffers are overworked and overwhelmed. Sales and closing are the priorities (loss mit and QC, less so.) And there’s all the new hires, not all of whom are quite ready for prime time. You can see where this is headed: errors, buyback demands and scary trips to the scratch & dent market. But not for Plaza Home Mortgage Correspondents. Plaza’s Certified Loan Program can protect correspondents against big losses due to underwriting errors, loan defects and borrower fraud, with no upfront cost. Now, before you need it, is exactly the right time to learn more about Plaza’s Certified Loan Program’s Certified Loan Program.

Just in time for your 2021 planning: Maxwell’s new eBook reveals the top 6 places to invest in your business for the best ROI! Wondering how to spend your hard-earned cash from 2020? To deploy those funds as wisely as possible, it’s crucial to understand market trends, how changing politics will affect the industry, and business areas that will give you a competitive edge. Leading digital mortgage platform Maxwell’s newly released, completely free eBook digs into 6 places to invest your capital that are most likely to pay dividends—in revenue, employee retention, and customer satisfaction. NOW is the time to decide where to spend excess cash for sustainable business growth. Click here to read The Top 6 Areas Where Lenders Should Invest in 2021.

PollyEx, a provider of SaaS solutions for the mortgage industry, is excited to announce its partnership with ALM First’s pipeline hedging platform. The partnership and integration will provide Community Banks and Credit Unions an all-in-one platform to manage loan pricing, hedging and loans sales. PollyEx delivers efficient, customized pricing tools enabling Capital Markets and Secondary users to focus on driving revenue and efficiency. Key highlights of their Pricing Engine (PPE) include dynamic margin management, the ability to generate and distribute rate sheets in under 10 mins, real-time pricing, and full testing & version control functionality. To learn more or schedule a demo email Jacob Gerson or visit www.pollyex.com.

He made the President’s Club while hospitalized! Here’s a true story about the power of Relationship Engagement: On a Mortgage Company’s Production Cruise in 2003 a winner slipped near the pool and landed on the back of his head. He was unconscious for 20 minutes, but when he woke up, he felt fine. Turns out he wasn’t fine. In fact, he almost died and spent a year in the hospital. The crazy thing is he did $12 million in production that year. How? He had great relationships, a great assistant, and his marketing was automated. His Realtors and clients had no idea he was even sick. They continued to get great service from his assistant and targeted, personalized marketing from Usherpa. According to the Loan Officer, “Without Usherpa, I’d be out of business.” For more tips on creating customers for life and exploding your business, download this free eGuide 3 Habits of Top Producing Loan Officers (You Can Duplicate).

Measuring LO Productivity

Lenders, how many originators did you hire in 2020? According to STRATMOR’s Originator Census® Study, the 2019 new hire rate for originators was 26 percent. Was your 2020 rate higher? If so, do you know how well those new hires performed compared to your veterans? What about compared to your peers? This is the type of data you should be looking at to understand how your sales staff will progress in 2021. Make sure you have the analysis of your sales team you need: participate in the STRATMOR Originator Census® Study.

Disaster and investor Updates

The pandemic is a disaster. And FEMA’s declarations trigger investor policies around the nation. But there are things you should be aware of.

FHFA issued a request for input on risks posed by climate change and natural disasters to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the broader housing finance system. FHFA is soliciting public feedback in several areas, including identification and assessment of climate and natural disaster risks and potential enhancements to FHFA supervision and regulation as it relates to these risks. As the MBA points out, “FHFA is one of several financial regulators, at both the federal and state levels, that is increasing its focus on risk management associated with climate change and natural disasters.”

Lenders Compliance Group encourages you to conduct a collaborative review of your Business Continuity Plan with a subject matter expert to ensure compatibility with your business model. Lenders Compliance Group’s Business Continuity Plan includes: Plan Structure, Crisis Management Process, Pandemic and Epidemic Response, Departmental Response Plan, Business Impact Outline, Backup Strategy, Recovery Strategy, Technical Environment, Disaster Recovery Organization, Disaster Recovery Process, Audits and Test Schedules, Roles and Responsibilities Executive Management Matrix, Crisis Response Team Table, Pandemic Response Team Table, and Employee Acknowledgement. They can help you create a plan specific to your company. Check out the new section they just added: Pandemic Response and Preparing for the Second Wave.

Recall that Jonathan Foxx of Lenders Compliance group opined on internet resources for employees to handle disaster recovery, business continuity, pandemic issues, and COVID-19 challenges. In addition to recommending LCG’s complimentary Business Continuity Plan Checklist (Includes COVID-19 Pandemic Response) and inexpensive Business Continuity Plan – Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Plan (Includes Pandemic Response), he suggested keeping online information current, following basic hygienic guidelines and social distancing, and being aware of changes in federal and state responses to the coronavirus.

Fannie Mae updated the Servicing Guide to incorporate LL-2020-13, which extended automatic reclassification triggers from four to 24 months for most delinquent MBS mortgage loans and eliminated the requirement for reporting a delinquency status code for a disaster payment deferral if the mortgage loan is brought current. Policies on remote online notarizations for the purpose of servicing or modifying a mortgage loan have also been updated.

First Community Mortgage posted Disaster Announcement DA-20-8, Louisiana Hurricane Delta Update, DA-20-10 regarding Mississippi Hurricane Zeta, and Disaster Announcement DA-21-01 regarding Hurricane Zeta in Louisiana.

Due to the disaster in Mississippi and Alabama caused by Hurricane Zeta, Flagstar Bank will now require satisfactory re-inspections. See Memo 21001 for the effective date to determine if a re-inspection is required. And due to the recent disaster in Louisiana caused by Hurricane Delta, Flagstar will now require satisfactory re-inspections in the affected counties listed in the announcement. Please refer to Natural Disaster Procedures, Doc. #4915, for re-inspection requirements. Read Flagstar’s Memo 20106 for more information.

loanDepot Wholesale/Correspondent’s Weekly Announcement provides information on loanDepot Program Overlay Matrix, Louisiana Disaster Announcement, and another weekly Announcement includes Mississippi disaster information. This Announcement covers the Disaster Announcement Update for Louisiana. This loanDepot announcement provides updates to Alabama’s disaster announcement.

SunWest Mortgage posted FEMA’s Disaster Area update for Counties in Mississippi designated disaster areas: George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Stone. Access Sun West Seller Guide under HELP section in sunsoft. On January 12th, FEMA declared the counties of Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, Saint Bernard, and Terrebonne in Louisiana as Major Disaster Areas. Sun West Partners are reminded to review its Seller Guide under HELP section in sunsoft for its Disaster Area Policy. Refer to Sun West Forward Mortgage Seller Guide (Section 404.07) and Sun West Reverse Mortgage Seller Guide (Section 3.23) for more details.

Capital Markets

The week began with investors reacting to headlines of small anti-lockdown protests around the world, some volatile earnings reports from the stock market, and Democratic hopes of passing the next fiscal stimulus bill by the middle of March. Eyes will now be turned toward the latest Fed rate decision tomorrow, with Day One of FOMC events underway today. Monday’s $60 billion 2-year Treasury note auction was met with solid demand, and by the close, Treasuries had rallied in curve-flattening fashion and the MBS basis ended the day wider.

After a light economic calendar yesterday, things pick back up today. We’ve seen that the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance increased 1 bp to 5.38 percent of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week as of January 17. According to MBA’s estimate, 2.7 million homeowners are in forbearance plans. In addition to day one of FOMC events, we have some housing data via the latest S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index with its two-month look back, and results of a $61 billion 5-year Treasury note auction. And the Philadelphia Fed non-manufacturing survey for January (-19 to -14.3, the worst since May).

Later this morning brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending January 23, January’s FHFA Housing Price Index, Richmond Fed manufacturing and services for January, Dallas Fed Texas services for January and January Consumer Confidence. Today’s MBS purchase schedule by the Desk of the NY Fed on behalf of the Federal Reserve sees them conducting three operations for up to $6.4 billion maximum, with one in each of the three classes. We begin Tuesday with Agency MBS prices worse/down nearly .125 despite the 10-year unchanged from Monday at 1.04 percent due to heightened prepayment worries based on the chatter of lower MIP on FHA loans and no increases in FHFA LLPAs.

 

Jobs and Transitions

If you’re interested in joining a company culture that creates what’s next in the industry, visit Sierra Pacific Mortgage’s recruiting website. The One Sierra family focuses on promoting from within and recently announced that three of their female leaders will take on new roles in 2021. Susan Roy will become the EVP – National Operations and oversee both Liz Collins and Jennifer Folk who will assume SVP positions. In her new role as SVP/Division Manager Eastern Retail, Liz will be focused solely on helping Sierra grow its Retail footprint from the Midwest to the East Coast. On the TPO side, Jennifer will be the SVP, National TPO Fulfillment and help the company redefine their service and technology offerings for both the TPO client base and Account Executives. This leadership realignment will allow Sierra to take both their Retail and Wholesale service levels to new heights. Congratulation’s ladies!

Ever notice how a simple marshmallow makes a cup of hot cocoa so much better? It’s the same way with the Motto Mortgage network. Join a Motto Mortgage office and you get industry-leading LOS and CRM technology, training and support services, marketing tools and a wide selection of loan products to meet client needs. You’ve already got what it takes to be a delicious cup of cocoa… Let our network systems be your marshmallows. Cozy up to a delicious pairing of your industry knowledge and our industry support when you join the Motto Mortgage network of mortgage professionals. Motto Mortgage offices are recruiting nationwide, with specific need in AR, AZ, FL, GA, NJ, NV, OH, PA, TX, VA, and WA.

Intelliloan was recognized for being the top mortgage company to work for in 2020 by Mortgage Professional America. The award was based on results from an employee survey, evaluating their workplace for a number of relevant metrics. MPA took into account benefits, diversity, employee development, and work culture. It’s easy to see why Intelliloan took top billing. They offer an impressive list of perks and benefits, plus a work culture that their employees seem to love. “[We have] excellent training opportunities, great benefits, and work-life balance,” says Claudia Nelson, the COO of Intelliloan. In an industry known to have a lot of turnover, many Intelliloan employees have been with them for more than five years and several have been around for over 10 years. With over 27 years in business, it seems you can borrow, and work, smart at Intelliloan.

InterLinc Mortgage Services, LLC, a full-service mortgage banking firm, is pleased to announce that Gene Thompson III, who has served as President since 2010, has been appointed CEO. Jim VanSteenhouse, current InterLinc CEO and company founder, will now assume the role of Chairman of the Board.

With the acquisition of Assimilate Solutions LLC by SitusAMC, the co-founder of Assimilate, Amit Gujral, has joined SitusAMC as Vice Chairman in its residential business segment, where he will continue to be involved in the Assimilate business.

Mid America Mortgage, Inc. has hired Katherine Carlsen has joined the company as underwriting manager to “utilize her more than 30 years of mortgage industry experience to lead underwriting for Mid America.”

 

Source: mortgagenewsdaily.com