Why You Don’t Need To Fear the Return of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

Why You Don’t Need To Fear the Return of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Simplifying The Market

If you remember the housing crash back in 2008, you may recall just how popular adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were back then. And after years of being virtually nonexistent, more people are once again using ARMs when buying a home. Let’s break down why that’s happening and why this isn’t cause for concern.

Why ARMs Have Gained Popularity More Recently

This graph uses data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to show how the percentage of adjustable-rate mortgages has increased over the past few years:

As the graph conveys, after hovering around 3% of all mortgages in 2021, many more homeowners turned to adjustable-rate mortgages again last year. There’s a simple explanation for that increase. Last year is when mortgage rates climbed dramatically. With higher borrowing costs, some homeowners decided to take out this type of loan because traditional borrowing costs were high, and an ARM gave them a lower rate. 

Why Today’s ARMs Aren’t Like the Ones in 2008

To put things into perspective, let’s remember these aren’t like the ARMs that became popular leading up to 2008. Part of what caused the housing crash was loose lending standards. Back then, when a buyer got an ARM, banks and lenders didn’t require proof of their employment, assets, income, etc. Basically, people were getting loans that they shouldn’t have been awarded. This set many homeowners up for trouble because they couldn’t pay back the loans that they never had to qualify for in the first place.

This time around, lending standards are different. Banks and lenders learned from the crash, and now they verify income, assets, employment, and more. This means today’s buyers actually have to qualify for their loans and show they’ll be able to repay them.

Archana Pradhan, Economist at CoreLogic, explains the difference between then and now:

“Around 60% of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARM) that were originated in 2007 were low- or no-documentation loans . . . Similarly, in 2005, 29% of ARM borrowers had credit scores below 640 . . . Currently, almost all conventional loans, including both ARMs and Fixed-Rate Mortgages, require full documentation, are amortized, and are made to borrowers with credit scores above 640.”

In simple terms, Laurie Goodman at Urban Institute helps drive this point home by saying:

“Today’s Adjustable-Rate Mortgages are no riskier than other mortgage products and their lower monthly payments could increase access to homeownership for more potential buyers.”

Bottom Line

If you’re worried today’s adjustable-rate mortgages are like the ones from the housing crash, rest assured, things are different this time.


And, if you’re a first-time homebuyer and you’d like to learn more about lending options that could help you overcome today’s affordability challenges, reach out to a trusted lender.

Discover the Tranquility and Beauty of Whitmore Lake, Michigan

blue and white boat on body of water
sea bay with small boats
Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

Nestled in the heart of Michigan, Whitmore Lake is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, community charm, and modern convenience. If you’re seeking a peaceful yet vibrant place to call home, Whitmore Lake might just be the perfect destination. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll delve into the joys of living in Whitmore Lake, highlighting its local businesses, scenic parks, and areas of interest. Plus, we’ll discuss the importance of finding the best realtor in Whitmore Lake to help you make the most of your real estate journey.

A Serene Haven: The Allure of Whitmore Lake

Local Businesses and Shopping

Whitmore Lake’s local businesses contribute to the town’s distinctive character and welcoming atmosphere. From cozy cafes to boutique shops, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. A visit to LakeLife Coffee Company is a must for caffeine enthusiasts, where locally roasted beans are transformed into aromatic brews that warm the soul. If you’re in the mood for artisanal gifts and unique finds, Lakeside Treasures offers an eclectic selection that captures the essence of Whitmore Lake’s spirit.

Links: LakeLife Coffee Company, Lakeside Treasures

Parks and Natural Beauty

Whitmore Lake’s natural beauty is truly a sight to behold, and its parks offer endless opportunities for outdoor exploration and relaxation. Whitmore Lake Preserve is a haven for nature lovers, featuring walking trails that wind through lush woodlands and serene waterfront views. For those looking to spend a day by the water, Northfield Park boasts a sandy beach and picnic areas, perfect for families and friends to gather and create lasting memories.

Links: Whitmore Lake Preserve, Northfield Park

Best Realtor in Whitmore Lake: Your Trusted Guide

Finding the best realtor in Whitmore Lake is a crucial step in making your dream of living here a reality. At ArborMove, we understand the unique appeal of Whitmore Lake and its real estate market. Our team of dedicated professionals is committed to helping you navigate the intricacies of buying or selling a home in this picturesque town. With a deep understanding of local trends, neighborhoods, and property values, we are your trusted guide to unlocking the full potential of Whitmore Lake’s real estate opportunities.

Link: Best Realtor in Whitmore Lake – ArborMove

Final Thoughts

Whitmore Lake, Michigan, is a place where natural beauty and community spirit come together in perfect harmony. The town’s local businesses, picturesque parks, and serene landscapes create an inviting atmosphere that resonates with residents and visitors alike. Whether you’re sipping artisanal coffee, strolling through nature preserves, or embarking on a real estate journey with the best realtor in Whitmore Lake, you’ll find that this charming town offers a quality of life that’s truly unparalleled.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is accurate as of its publication date. For the latest information on local businesses, parks, and real estate services in Whitmore Lake, please refer to current sources.

Exploring the Charms and Comforts of Living in Saline, Michigan

man in white and green jacket stretching on green grass field
man riding bicycle near tree
Photo by Riccardo on Pexels.com

Nestled in the heart of Washtenaw County, the picturesque town of Saline, Michigan, offers a unique blend of small-town charm and modern amenities that make it a truly delightful place to call home. With its rich history, thriving local businesses, inviting parks, and a real estate market that’s ripe for investment, Saline presents a compelling case for those seeking a tranquil yet vibrant community to settle in. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the joys of living in Saline, from its local businesses to its popular parks, all while keeping in mind the best practices for both SEO and real estate.

The Saline Lifestyle: A Perfect Balance

Local Businesses and Shopping

One of the undeniable joys of living in Saline is the sense of community fostered by its local businesses. From charming boutiques to family-run restaurants, Saline’s Main Street is lined with an array of establishments that exude warmth and character. For those looking to embrace the shopping culture, places like Fleur Consignment Boutique offer an eclectic range of high-quality pre-owned clothing and accessories. Likewise, Mickey’s Dairy Twist is a beloved local ice cream parlor that’s been serving up smiles and delectable treats for generations.

Link: Fleur Consignment Boutique, Mickey’s Dairy Twist

Parks and Recreation

Saline’s commitment to green spaces and recreational facilities is another reason why residents revel in their local surroundings. Mill Pond Park, a sprawling 54-acre park, boasts a picturesque pond, walking trails, and ample space for picnicking and relaxation. Its tranquil ambiance provides the ideal setting for families and individuals alike to unwind amidst nature’s embrace. Equally enchanting is Curtiss Park, offering a playground, basketball court, and open spaces that encourage physical activity and social interaction.

Link: Mill Pond Park, Curtiss Park

Investing in Saline Real Estate: A Wise Choice

Real Estate Opportunities

For those considering a move to Saline, the local real estate market presents an array of opportunities. The town’s proximity to larger cities like Ann Arbor ensures a strategic location with convenient access to cultural and educational institutions, while maintaining a quieter suburban atmosphere. Whether you’re searching for a historic Victorian home or a modern condo with all the amenities, Saline’s real estate offerings cater to diverse tastes and preferences.

Link: Saline MI Real Estate Listings

Community and Schools

One of the key attractions for families considering Saline is the exceptional school system. The Saline Area Schools district is known for its dedicated educators, comprehensive programs, and strong sense of community involvement. This factor alone makes Saline an enticing option for families seeking quality education for their children.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, the joys of living in Saline, Michigan, are multifaceted, encompassing a vibrant community, diverse local businesses, scenic parks, and promising real estate opportunities. Whether you’re captivated by the allure of historic homes or drawn to the prospect of a close-knit neighborhood, Saline offers an idyllic lifestyle that strikes the perfect balance between tradition and modernity. As you consider your next move, keep in mind the undeniable charm and comfort that Saline has to offer.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is based on data available up to September 2021. For the latest information on local businesses, parks, and real estate listings in Saline, please refer to current sources.

Why Median Home Sales Price Is Confusing Right Now

Why Median Home Sales Price Is Confusing Right Now Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is set to release its most recent Existing Home Sales (EHS) report tomorrow. This monthly release provides information on the volume of sales and price trends for homes that have previously been owned. In the upcoming release, it’ll likely say home prices are down. This may seem a bit confusing, especially if you’ve been following along and reading the blogs saying home prices have hit the bottom and have since rebounded.

So, why would this say home prices are falling when so many other price reports say they’re going back up? It all depends on the methodology of each one. NAR reports on the median home sales price, while some other sources use repeat sales prices. Here’s how those approaches differ.

The Center for Real Estate Studies at Wichita State University explains median sales prices like this:

The median sale price measures the ‘middle’ price of homes that sold, meaning that half of the homes sold for a higher price and half sold for less . . . For example, if more lower-priced homes have sold recently, the median sale price would decline (because the “middle” home is now a lower-priced home), even if the value of each individual home is rising.”

Investopedia helps define what a repeat sales approach means:

Repeat-sales methods calculate changes in home prices based on sales of the same property, thereby avoiding the problem of trying to account for price differences in homes with varying characteristics.”

The Challenge with the Median Home Sales Price Today

As the quotes above say, the approaches can tell different stories. That’s why median home sales price data (like EHS) may say prices are down, even though the vast majority of the repeat sales reports show prices are appreciating again.

Bill McBride, Author of the Calculated Risk blog, sums the difference up like this:

Median prices are distorted by the mix and repeat sales indexes like Case-Shiller and FHFA are probably better for measuring prices.”

To drive this point home, here’s a simple explanation of median value (see visual below). Let’s say you have three coins in your pocket, and you decide to line them up according to their value from low to high. If you have one nickel and two dimes, the median value (the middle one) is 10 cents. If you have two nickels and one dime, the median value is now five cents.

In both cases, a nickel is still worth five cents and a dime is still worth 10 cents. The value of each coin didn’t change.

That’s why using the median home sales price as a gauge of what’s happening with home values may be confusing right now. Most buyers look at home prices as a starting point to determine if they match their budgets. But most people buy homes based on the monthly mortgage payment they can afford, not just the price of the house. When mortgage rates are higher, you may have to buy a less expensive home to keep your monthly housing expense affordable.

That’s why a greater number of ‘less-expensive’ houses are selling right now – and that’s causing the median home sales price to decline. But that doesn’t mean any single house lost value. 

When you see the stories in the media that prices are falling later this week, remember the coins. Just because the median home sales price changes, it doesn’t mean home prices are falling. What it means is the mix of homes being sold is being impacted by affordability and current mortgage rates.

Bottom Line

For a more in-depth understanding of home price trends and reports, reach out to a local real estate professional.

Don’t Expect a Wave of Foreclosures [INFOGRAPHIC]

Don’t Expect a Wave of Foreclosures [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • With ongoing high inflation pushing up everyday costs, some people are worried that’ll create a flood of foreclosures. Here’s why that’s unlikely.
  • Fewer people are seriously behind on mortgage payments right now. If foreclosures were going to rise a lot, more people would need to be late on their payments.
  • Since most are paying on time, a wave isn’t coming. If you’re concerned about a flood of foreclosures, the data shows that’s not likely.

People Want Less Expensive Homes – And Builders Are Responding

People Want Less Expensive Homes – And Builders Are Responding Simplifying The Market

In today’s housing market, there are two main affordability challenges impacting buyers: mortgage rates that are higher than they’ve been the past couple of years, and rising home prices caused by low inventory. To overcome those challenges, many people are working with their agents to find less expensive homes. And with newly built homes making up a historically large percentage of the total available inventory today, that search often includes brand new homes.

People Are Spending Less on Newly Built Homes

The graph below uses the latest information from the Census to show, in June, more of the newly built home sales in this country were in lower price ranges than in 2022:Last year, only 58% of newly built home sales were less than $500,000. This June, that number was up to 65%. This means more people are buying less expensive newly built homes right now while affordability remains a challenge. 

Builders Are Offering Lower-Cost Options

Builders have picked up on this trend and are reacting accordingly. George Ratiu, Chief Economist at Keeping Current Matters, explains:

“Builders are also responding to this shift by bringing slightly smaller homes to market in an effort to meet lower price points . . .”

New data from the Census further confirms this pattern – it shows the median sales price of newly built homes has dipped down in recent months (see graph below):And as Mikaela Arroyo, Director of the New Home Trends Institute at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, says, the builders who are most responsive to this trend are forming pathways to homeownership:

 “. . . it is creating opportunities for people to be able to afford an entry-level home in an area. . . . if you get that size down, that automatically will make it a more affordable home. The [builders] that are decreasing [size] the most are probably the ones that try to build more of an affordable product.”

 How an Agent Can Help

 Builders producing smaller, less expensive newly built homes give you more affordable options at a time when that’s really needed. If you’re hoping to buy a home soon, partner with a local real estate agent to find out what’s available in your area. An agent can help you look at newly built homes or ones under construction nearby. 

Bottom Line

If you’re having a hard time finding a home you like in your budget, connect with a real estate professional. You need an agent who knows all about the latest inventory in your area, including homes still under construction or just built. That way you have an expert on your side who can provide information on builder reputations, builder contracts and negotiations, and more to help you with the homebuying process.

Don’t Expect a Flood of Foreclosures

Don’t Expect a Flood of Foreclosures Simplifying The Market

The rising cost of just about everything from groceries to gas right now is leading to speculation that more people won’t be able to afford their mortgage payments. And that’s creating concern that a lot of foreclosures are on the horizon. While it’s true that foreclosure filings have gone up a bit compared to last year, experts say a flood of foreclosures isn’t coming.

Take it from Bill McBride of Calculated Risk. McBride is an expert on the housing market, and after closely following the data and market environment leading up to the crash, he was able to see the foreclosures coming in 2008. With the same careful eye and analysis, he has a different take on what’s ahead in the current market:

There will not be a foreclosure crisis this time.

Let’s look at why another flood is so unlikely.

There Aren’t Many Homeowners Who Are Seriously Behind on Their Mortgage Payments

One of the main reasons there were so many foreclosures during the last housing crash was because relaxed lending standards made it easy for people to take out mortgages, even if they couldn’t show that they’d be able to pay them back. At that time, lenders weren’t being very strict when assessing applicant credit scores, income levels, employment status, and debt-to-income ratio.

But now, lending standards have tightened, leading to more qualified buyers who can afford to make their mortgage payments. And data from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shows the number of homeowners who are seriously behind on their mortgage payments is declining (see graph below):

Molly Boese, Principal Economist at CoreLogic, explains just how few homeowners are struggling to make their mortgage payments:

May’s overall mortgage delinquency rate matched the all-time low, and serious delinquencies followed suit. Furthermore, the rate of mortgages that were six months or more past due, a measure that ballooned in 2021, has receded to a level last observed in March 2020.”

Before there can be a significant rise in foreclosures, the number of people who can’t make their mortgage payments would need to rise. Since so many buyers are making their payments today, a wave of foreclosures isn’t likely.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried about a potential flood of foreclosures, know there’s nothing in the data today to suggest that’ll happen. In fact, qualified buyers are making their mortgage payments at a very high rate.

Whitmore Lake Real Estate

sun piercing of brown concrete house near sea

A Comprehensive Overview

The Whitmore Lake real estate market stands as a unique blend of rustic charm and modern convenience, drawing numerous potential homeowners every year. As the real estate market in Whitmore Lake continues to flourish, understanding its nuances can offer significant advantages for both buyers and sellers.

Whitmore Lake’s Geographical Significance

Whitmore Lake is strategically located, offering residents a serene environment while still being close to major cities. Its accessibility makes it a prime spot for those looking to experience nature without sacrificing urban amenities.

Historical Context: A Mirror to Property Values

The history of Whitmore Lake is deeply interwoven with its real estate trends. Over the years, as the community has grown and evolved, so too have property values and demands.

Architectural Styles and Their Popularity

Whitmore Lake showcases an array of architectural designs. From colonial to contemporary, each style has its time of prominence, reflecting both societal shifts and the region’s economic health.

Current Market Dynamics

With a growing population and increased demand for homes, Whitmore Lake’s real estate market is currently a hotbed of activity.

Buying in Whitmore Lake

For potential homeowners, Whitmore Lake offers a diverse range of properties catering to various budgets and preferences. Whether one is looking for waterfront property or a cozy inland home, there’s something for everyone.

Selling in Whitmore Lake

For sellers, understanding the current market dynamics, including demand patterns and buyer preferences, can lead to a successful sale. Utilizing the expertise of local real estate agents can further enhance the selling experience.

Investment Opportunities: A Future Perspective

Given its strategic location and consistent growth, Whitmore Lake presents numerous investment opportunities. Whether it’s residential properties, commercial spaces, or undeveloped land, each segment has its own set of advantages and potential returns.

graph TD;
  A[Whitmore Lake Real Estate Market] --> B[Buying Opportunities];
  A --> C[Selling Potential];
  B --> D[Residential Properties];
  B --> E[Commercial Spaces];
  C --> F[Understanding Market Dynamics];
  C --> G[Utilizing Local Expertise];

Navigating the Challenges

While the real estate market in Whitmore Lake offers numerous opportunities, potential challenges shouldn’t be overlooked. From understanding local regulations to navigating property taxes, being well-informed can make all the difference.


The Whitmore Lake real estate market, with its rich history, strategic location, and diverse offerings, is a treasure trove for both buyers and sellers. As it continues to grow and evolve, staying informed and seeking expert guidance can ensure a rewarding experience for all stakeholders.

Equity Is a Game Changer for Homeowners Looking To Sell

Equity Is a Game Changer for Homeowners Looking To Sell Simplifying The Market

If you’re a homeowner, you might be torn on whether or not to sell your house right now. Maybe that’s because you don’t want to take on a higher mortgage rate on your next home. If that’s your biggest hurdle, understanding your equity may be exactly what you need to help you feel more comfortable making your move.

What Equity Is and How It Works

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And recently, that equity has been growing far faster than you may expect.

Over the last few years, home prices rose dramatically, and that gave your equity a big boost very quickly. While the market has started to normalize, there’s still an imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase. And it’s because homes are in such high demand that prices are back on the rise today. Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:

“Equity levels were high even during the recent downturn, and now they are going back up and better than ever.”

How Equity Benefits You in Today’s Market

With today’s affordability challenges, that equity can be a game changer when you move. Here’s why. Based on data from ATTOM and the Census, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):

That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.

Once you sell your house, you can use your equity to help with your next purchase. It could be some (if not all) of what you’ll need for your next down payment. It may even be enough to allow you to put a considerably larger down payment on your next home, so you don’t have to finance quite as much. And, if you’ve been in your current house for years, you may have even built up enough equity to pay in all cash. If that’s true for you, you’d be able to avoid borrowing altogether, so you wouldn’t have to worry about today’s mortgage rates.

How To Find Out How Much Equity You Have

The best way to learn how much you have is to reach out to a trusted real estate agent for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR).

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, connect with a trusted real estate advisor.

Understanding Land Contracts: Pros and Cons

photo of log cabin surrounded by plants
person wearing white dress shirt signing contract
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Pexels.com

In today’s intricate real estate landscape, diverse financing methods are available. Among these is the Land Contract. Let’s dive into whether this option suits your needs.

What’s a Land Contract?

Essentially, a Land Contract is an alternative to the usual mortgage option. Instead of obtaining funds from a bank or lender to purchase property, the buyer pays the property’s seller directly until the complete amount is settled.

How does it function?

Both parties, the buyer and seller, set the financial terms including the payment structure, interest rates, and duration. They also decide on practical matters, such as who covers taxes and insurance. Upon finalizing, a Memorandum of Land Contract is documented, signifying the conveyance of equitable title to the buyer – this provides the right to use and enjoy the property.

Payment dynamics:

An initial deposit, or earnest money, is made during the agreement signing, which later contributes to the closing costs and initial down payment. At the closure, the remaining amount for the down payment and other closing costs are settled. Monthly payments commence from the subsequent month and continue throughout the agreed contract duration. Often, a lump sum, or balloon payment, might be due at the contract’s conclusion.

Typically, a Land Contract has a shorter duration compared to regular mortgages – for instance, 5, 7, or 10 years. Although terms can be extended, this results in reduced early payments but introduces a balloon payment at the end. Should a balloon payment arise, the buyer has options like full payment, term renegotiation, refinancing, or selling.

Ownership dynamics:

There are dual title types:

  1. Equitable Title: This grants property use and enjoyment rights. Over time, the buyer accumulates equity and generally has liberty over property modifications.
  2. Legal Title: This represents actual property ownership and transfers to the buyer once the land contract is settled in full. In the Land Contract context, the buyer possesses equitable title, whereas the seller maintains the legal title, implying full title isn’t immediately available to the buyer.

Why opt for this?

The primary advantage of Land Contracts is the flexibility in financing, minimizing financial institution interventions. It’s the seller who governs aspects like credit criteria, down payments, and interest rates, which can benefit those with compromised credit records or variable incomes.

Weighing the Pros and Cons:


  • Potentially easier property sale.
  • Possible tax benefits.
  • Consistent income stream for the seller.
  • Sellers earn interest on remaining balance.
  • Reduced initial buyer outlay.
  • Fewer closing costs.
  • Seller benefits in the event of buyer default.


  • The buyer doesn’t immediately get the legal title.
  • Complications if the seller defaults on an existing mortgage.
  • Dependence on the seller.
  • Potential for elevated interest rates.

Considering Land Contracts:

If facing financing hurdles, a land contract might be your solution. However, always consult with a lender to understand all available options. At Vanguard, we’re here to navigate this journey with you. We understand real estate transactions’ intricacies and pledge to keep all parties informed from start to finish, ensuring a seamless and transparent process. If expert advice on lending and real estate is what you’re seeking, look no further. Our esteemed clientele is ready to assist you every step of the way.