30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Drop Slightly

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 4.08 percent, down from 4.13 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered around 4.13 percent for most of the week, falling to 4.04 percent on Monday before rising to the current rate.

“After holding steady for much of the week, rates dropped to three-week lows on Monday, driven down by political unrest in Hong Kong,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “We expect rates to remain volatile this week as the European Central Bank will make an economic policy announcement on Thursday, and U.S. employment data will be released on Friday.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 3.18 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.95 percent.

Purchase Mortgage Application Activity

Zillow predicts tomorrow’s seasonally adjusted Mortgage Bankers Association Weekly Application Index will show purchase loan activity decreased by 5 percent from the week prior. To learn more about this Zillow analysis, click here.

What are the interest rates right now? Check Zillow Mortgages for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state.

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 *The weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

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How to Remove Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

By Bob Vila

Source: charlesandhudson.com

Source: charlesandhudson.com

I am moving to a new house where the living room and dining area have wall-to-wall carpeting. I asked the previous owner, and he told me there is hardwood flooring underneath. Could you please tell me how to remove carpet?

Even with regular vacuuming, carpeting accumulates a great deal of dust, dirt and debris. So if and when you finally decide to rip it up, be sure to give the floor covering one last good vacuuming. Empty the room of furnishings, open the windows and don your dust mask — then get to work!

Materials tools

  • Large contractor trash bags
  • Nail puller pliers
  • Steel putty knife
  • Flat pry bar (at least 15 inches)
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife (or tin snips)
  • Leather work gloves
  • Carpet padding adhesive remover (optional)
  • Scraper (optional)

Step 1

Was your carpeting installed under shoe molding? Assuming it was, the first thing to do is remove that trimwork with your putty knife and pry bar. Check the molding for damage: If it remains in good shape, save it for reuse. Chances are the trim is full of nails; when pulling them out, take care not to inflict any avoidable damage. If the molding looks a little worse for wear, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint prior to re-installation.

Step 2

Now that there is no obstruction between you and the carpeting, use a utility knife or a sharpened pair of tin snips to cut the material into three- or four-foot-wide strips. (Cut all the way through the backing but stop short of the flooring beneath.) Once complete, begin pulling the carpet away from the tack strips on the perimeter. Roll up the sections as you remove them, placing them into heavy-duty trash bags ready for disposal.

Step 3

Go to work on the tack strips, which are typically nailed to the floor and have rows of staggered tacks that face up to “grab” the carpet. Because the tacks are so sharp, it’s wise to wear leather work gloves at this stage. Insert the hooked end of your pry bar under a tack strip, then press down on the long end to lift the strip. Place all strips within rolls of carpeting, so the tacks can’t tear through the plastic garbage bags.

Step 4

The final step is to remove the carpet padding. If it has been installed with adhesive, laborious scraping may be necessary, or you can try a commercially available adhesive remover. If the padding has been stapled into place, you can rely on nail puller pliers to do the job without gouging your floor surface. Note that before being able to grab the nails with pliers, you might first have to coax them a little with a putty knife.

To submit a question of your own, visit the Forum!

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Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

 

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Room of the Week: Historic Home Gets Youthful Update

Bright colors make this older home feel new again. Source: Jamie Beckwith

Bright colors make this older home feel new again. Source: Beckwith Interiors

The home is a classic and stately building but designer Jamie Beckwith wanted to bring “youthfulness and glamour” to the home, which reflected the homeowners’ lifestyle and worked with the architecture.

The challenge

This space was once a formal dining room with dark wood paneling. The dining room moved to another location, and this space was transformed into a contemporary living room.

Source: Jamie Beckwith

Bold florals tie the pink and green together. Source: Beckwith Interiors

“We covered the paneling with a soft gray paint color that modernized the space,” explained Beckwith. “We added mirrors for more light in the room and reworked the seating arrangements for a new layout.”

Bold colors

Source: Jamie Beckwith

Source: Beckwith Designs

“My favorite part of the room is the unexpected strong color combinations,” said Beckwith. “The silk chartreuse drapery panels are out of this world!”

The rug and the furniture are shades of gray and the chartreuse and hot pink are merely accents, which is what makes the room work. The chairs are custom-upholstered with color stripes.

Source: Jamie Beckwith

Custom upholstery incorporates the same shade of green in the drapes. Source: Beckwith Interiors

Touch of glamour

Beckwith wanted to keep the old-world glamour aesthetic in the updated design with the accessories. The silver-leafed bar cabinet, white onyx lamps and antiqued mirrors bring a luxe look to the room.

20120206_Beckwith_Okeefe_0082 copy

The lighting is a modern take on the traditional chandelier. Source: Beckwith Interiors

Explore more of the home’s designs on Zillow Digs. See other homes for sale in Memphis, TN. 

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‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Carriage House for Sale

The Brooklyn carriage house featured in the 2010 movie “Eat, Pray, Love” is back on the market for $6.995 million, down $1 million from its original asking price.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s home in Frenchtown, NJ, had a “skybrary” upstairs. The home of her fictional character, played by Julia Roberts in the movie adaptation of the best-selling memoir, instead features a sky-greenhouse off the upstairs bedroom.

The historic turn-of-the-century home was first a firehouse, and it’s huge, for a historic home in the area, with 2,125 square feet on the main floor alone. Exposed beams run across the ceilings, and the wood floor is made of 12-foot-wide planks. The living room has a large brick fireplace.

The home is currently split into two units but could be used as a single residence.

The carriage house has a uniquely convenient Cobble Hill location. Deborah Rieders of The Corcoran Group holds the listing.

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Six Credit Report Tips for Homebuyers

(MCT)—Whether you plan to buy a home in six months or a year or two, you’ve probably been told to request your free credit report to check for errors and to see what a lender can learn about you from the report.

“We usually tell people to request one of their three free credit reports from either Experian, Equifax or TransUnion every four months from AnnualCreditReport.com, but when you’re getting ready to apply for a home loan, we suggest that you get all three at once,” says Susan Tiffany, director of personal finance for adults for the Credit Union National Association in Madison, Wis. “All three credit bureaus have different reporting patterns and each could have a different error that you might need to fix.”

Here are six tips for understanding your credit report — and how to correct errors — when you’re preparing to buy a home.

READ YOUR CREDIT REPORT LIKE A LENDER

“When lenders read your credit report, they’ll be looking for issues such as a problem making your mortgage payments on time, a high level of debt and the maturity of your credit,” says Jeffrey Taylor, managing partner of Digital Risk, a provider of mortgage processing services and risk analytics in Maitland, Fla. “If you have a four- or five-year history with a major credit card, that’s better than six months with a local store credit card.”

A pattern of late payments, especially recently, is one of the worst things to have on your credit report, says Patrick Cunningham, vice president and partner of HST Mortgage in Fairfax, Va.

“Recent late payments are even worse than an old judgment or lien that shows up as satisfied on your report,” says Cunningham. “The other thing that will stop a loan in its tracks is a tax lien or judgment that hasn’t been satisfied.”

Keeping in mind what lenders are looking for, you should work your way through your credit report to check for accuracy and negative information.

CHECK YOUR ID

The first section on your credit report will have your name, address and previous addresses, but before you skim past this, check these for accuracy. Cunningham says even people with good credit need to make sure that the basic information on all three credit reports is accurate because an inaccuracy will need to be corrected and can cause a delay when you’re getting ready to settle on your home.

REVIEW YOUR PUBLIC RECORDS

The public records section of your credit report shows any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or foreclosures that have been reported by a court system. If this section is empty, it means you don’t have any of these items on your credit report. If you do have one or more of these items, check carefully to see if they’re yours and if they show as satisfied or settled. Anything unresolved will prevent you from getting a home loan, says Cunningham.

“I had a collection show up on my credit report that wasn’t mine,” Taylor says. “You can make calls directly to the creditor and try to get them to send corrected information to the credit bureaus, but I ended up hiring someone to get my report corrected.”

Any negative information such as a settled lien, judgment or bankruptcy will stay on your report for seven to 10 years, Tiffany says.

LOOK FOR DELINQUENCIES

“Every payment you make is very important, so make sure your credit report shows that you’ve made each one on time,” Taylor says. “Consistency is key when you’re applying for a loan.”

One or two late payments from several years ago isn’t likely to stop you from getting a loan, but you need to have at least 12 months of on-time payments, particularly on a mortgage, to qualify for a loan, Cunningham says.

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