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Several significant factors are blending together right now in housing to create an ideal buying and refinancing market for first-time buyers and existing homeowners.

“Conditions are very favorable for first-time homebuyers to start getting back into the market,” said Fitch Ratings Director Sean Nelson. “Mortgage rates are falling, Federal Housing Authority insurance premiums are coming down, home prices are cooling and employment is steady.”


Mortgage applications posted another steep increase Wednesday morning after a drastic 49% surge for the week ended Jan. 9, the latest Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey said.


“Mortgage application volume increased last week to its highest level since June 2013, led by a 22% increase in refinance application volume. This increase was largely due to mortgage rates dropping to their lowest level since May 2013,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist.


The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 3.80%, the lowest level since May 2013, from 3.89%, with points increasing to 0.29 from 0.23 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.


However, rates are not significantly lower than 2012-2013, so the recent declines may not have as large of an impact on refinance rates as in the past.


What could be different from two to three years ago is a borrower’s situation. Those who were unable to refinance in the past because they were underwater on their mortgage may have built up enough home equity to refinance after several years of strong home price growth, the Fitch report explained.


“In addition, those who took out a mortgage in the last year and a half when rates were higher could benefit from refinancing with today’s rates,” the report said.


And this low-rate environment is not expected to change too soon, with Freddie Mac’s latest report saying mortgage rates are expected to remain around 4% for the first two quarters of the year as long as uncertainty in foreign markets continues to result in a flight to safety into U.S. Treasury long-term bonds.


“Until rates start to rise later in the year, housing markets should respond positively and we anticipate increases in home sales and continued improvement in construction activity. With rates lower at the beginning of the year, we'll see higher than expected refinance volumes as well," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.


Couple this with both government-sponsored enterprises officially announcing their individual 97% loan-to-value products, and the housing market is ready to enter the spring homebuying season.


Lenders like Ditech Mortgage and AmeriSave Mortgage already announced that they would offering 3% down payments shortly after the government released the new products.


On Tuesday,Housing & Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro told first-time homebuyers in a fireside chat moderated by Zillow (Z) Chief Economist Stan Humphries that now it’s the time to step into housing.


“Investment in a home is an investment in the long run in creation of wealth,” Castro said. “A confluence of better economy, wages starting to go up and gas prices going down create some breathing room for people stuck in that rut to save some money to buy that first home.”


Source: Brena Swanson, "Why right now is the perfect recipe for more mortgage lending," Housingwire.com


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TAKING THE CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE BROKER EXAM
Getting ready to take the California state broker exam and want to know what it’s like? You’re in luck. This article will walk you through the ins and outs of the California state broker exam - so when it comes time for you to sit for the test, you won’t be caught off guard.

The following goes over some of the most important components of the California state broker exam and what you should expect.

What the test covers
The California real estate broker exam will test your basic skills as well as your real estate knowledge. The exam is broken up in two sections, a national section and a state section. The state test will cover California specific laws, regulations and business practices specific to the state. The national portion of the exam covers questions pertaining to specific job functions of the real estate salesperson.  

Preparing for the exam
Schools like Allied Real Estate Schools offer an in-depth real estate education that helps prepare test takers to pass the exam the first time around. Make sure the school you choose is CalBRE approved and has up-to-date information. This will ensure you’re studying correct materials and help you feel more comfortable while taking the exam. Once your pre-license education is completed you can then make a reservation to sit for the state exam.  

Taking the state exam
Students are given 5 hours to complete the 200 question exam which is taken at an e-test workstation or by scantron format. Just like most tests there is: no talking, no cheating, no use of cell phones and no outside notes are permitted. In fact, any dishonest behavior during the test can result in an automatic failing grade and may affect your ability to sit for the test in the future. Make sure you are on your best behavior, arrive 30 minutes early to check-in, and have your two forms of ID ready.  

Materials allowed
No personal items are permitted including phones and calculators. A basic calculator and scrap piece of paper will be provided, both of which are collected when you turn in your exam. Pack light and leave your personal belongs at home or in your car if possible.  

Types of questions
The test consists of 200 multiple-choice test questions broken up between the state and national sections, 100 questions in each section. The questions on the test are not meant to trick test takers. Use what you’ve learned through your real estate education to answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. For the real estate broker exam, test-takers need to get at least 75% of the answers correct to pass.  

Get prepared
As you can see, sitting for the California real estate broker exam isn’t going to be something you can breeze through without preparation. It is highly recommended to take your real estate education seriously with a school that cares about the success of its students.

So if you’re getting ready to take your state required pre-license education, talk to an Allied Real Estate Schools rep about getting it done the right way today. Allied is an industry-leader in real estate education and exam preparation, with some of the highest regarded exam preparation materials. Call (800) 617-3513 to learn more today!

And if you’ve already completed your education and are getting ready to sit for the California real estate broker exam… congratulations and good luck. We wish you all the best!
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TAKING THE TEXAS REAL ESTATE EXAM

Getting ready to take the state exam and want to know what it’s like? You’re in luck. This article will walk you through the ins and outs of the Texas state real estate exam - so when it comes time to sit for the test, you won’t be caught off guard. The following goes over some of the most important components of the exam and how you should think about preparing for them.  

What the test covers
The Texas real estate exam will test your basic skills as well as real estate knowledge, making sure you are capable of succeeding as a real estate salesperson. The exam is broken up in two sections, a national section and a state section. The state test will cover Texas specific laws, regulations and business practices specific to the state. The national portion of the exam covers questions pertaining to specific job functions of the real estate salesperson.  

Preparing for the exam
Schools like Allied Real Estate Schools offer an in-depth real estate education that helps prepare test takers to pass the exam the first time around. Make sure the school you choose is properly accredited and has up-to-date information. This will ensure you’re studying the correct materials and help you feel more comfortable while taking the exam. Once your pre-license education is completed you can then make a reservation to sit for the state exam.  

Taking the state exam
Students are given 240 minutes to complete the exam which is taken at an e-test workstation. Just like most tests there is: no talking, no cheating, no use of cell phones and no outside notes are permitted. In fact, any dishonest behavior during the test can result in an automatic failing grade and may affect your ability to sit for the test in the future. Make sure you are on your best behavior, arrive 30 minutes early to check-in, and have your two forms of ID ready.  

Materials allowed
No personal items are permitted but you can bring a basic calculator (no alpha character buttons). During the test you will be allowed to use scrap paper which must be turned in to the instructor at the end. Pack light and leave personal belongs at home or in your car if possible.  

Types of questions
The test consists of 125 multiple-choice test questions. The questions on the test are not meant to trick test takers. Use what you’ve learned through your real estate education to answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. For the real estate salesperson exam, test-takers need to get at least 56 answers correct on the national portion of the exam and 21 correct answers on the state exam.  

Get prepared!
As you can see, sitting for the Texas real estate exam isn’t going to be something you can breeze through with no preparation. It is highly recommended to take your real estate education seriously with a school that cares about the success of its students.

So if you’re getting ready to take your state required pre-license education, talk to an Allied Real Estate Schools rep about getting it done the right way today. Allied is an industry-leader in real estate education and exam preparation, with some of the highest regarded exam preparation materials. Call (800) 617-3513 to learn more today!

And if you’ve already completed your education and are getting ready to sit for the Texas state real estate exam… congratulations and good luck. We wish you all the best!
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SITTING FOR THE CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE EXAM

Getting ready to take the state exam and want to know what it’s like? You’re in luck. This article will walk you through the ins and outs of the California state real estate exam - so when it comes time to sit for the test, you won’t be caught off guard. The following goes over some of the most important components of the exam and how you should think about preparing for them.  

What the test covers
The California real estate exam will test your skill levels in reading, writing, spelling and math, making sure you are capable to succeed as a real estate agent. The test then dives deeper into your knowledge of real estate principles and practices. Areas covered here include: Property ownership, real estate laws, property valuation, financing, property transfers, real estate disclosures, contracts and more.  

Preparing for the exam
he California real estate exam is no walk in the park. Which means a good pre-license education is crucial. Schools like Allied Real Estate Schools offer an in-depth real estate education that helps prepare test takers to pass the exam the first time around. Make sure the school you choose is properly accredited and has up-to-date information. This will ensure you’re studying the correct materials and help you feel more comfortable while taking the exam.  

Taking the state exam
When it comes time to sit for your state test, make sure you know what to expect. Students are given three hours and fifteen minutes to complete the exam. Exams are traditionally offered in a multiple choice style format, filled in by hand. However, many facilities now offer an electronic version. Just like most tests there is no talking, no cheating, no use of cell phones and no outside notes permitted. In fact, any dishonest behavior during the test can result in an automatic failing grade and may affect your ability to sit for the test in the future.  

Materials allowed
What items are permitted for the state exam? During the test you will be provided with a test booklet, a basic calculator, an answer sheet and a scrap piece of paper. All paper used for scrap must be turned in to the instructor at the end.  

Types of questions
The test consists of 150 multiple-choice test questions which you will fill-in on a bubble answer sheet or electronic format. The questions on the test are not meant to trick test takers. Use what you’ve learned through your real estate education to answer the questions to the best of your knowledge.  

Get prepared!
As you can see, sitting for the California real estate exam isn’t going to be something you can breeze through with no preparation. It is highly recommended to take your real estate education seriously with a school that cares about the success of its students. So if you’re getting ready to take your state required pre-license education, talk to an Allied Real Estate Schools rep about getting it done the right way today. Allied is an industry-leader in real estate education and exam preparation, with some of the highest regarded exam preparation materials in the state. Call (800) 617-3513 to learn more today!

And if you’ve already completed your education and are getting ready to sit for the California state real estate exam… congratulations and good luck. We wish you all the best!

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In the wake of the housing crisis, major restrictions were put into place in order to stop the bleeding and halt any more risky loans from entering the market. Five years since the disaster and the country is still slowly recovering.

Now, in an effort to attract investors back into the mortgage lending arena, the U.S. government is ready to breathe life back into the real estate market by loosening restrictions. As a result, this will allow new qualified homebuyers, who have been sidelined under current restrictions, to now enter the market.

These new mortgage rules are being talked over by six of the main regulatory agencies, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These new rules will loosen government restrictions and allow loans to flow more freely again to qualified homebuyers which should attract more private investors to the industry – providing a spark to the market. Wells Fargo and several other big lenders have already lowered the credit score requirements to help jump start the process.

What does this mean for the real estate market?
This is major news for a real estate industry that has been struggling to get its legs back ever since 2008. With new lifeblood being pumped back into the market, the real estate industry should see a nice bump in home sales and jobs within the industry.

This is especially true for real estate agents, brokers and mortgage loan originators. These jobs dropped to record low numbers after the bottom fell out of the market. But now real estate agents, brokers and MLO’s can finally get excited to get back to work.

It’s estimated that the new regulations will add over 12.5 million borrowers to the lending pool according to a recent Moody report. With these new rules in place, more jobs should become available within the housing market - hopefully adding an underlying stability to the real estate industry once again.

Looking for a career in real estate? Get your real estate training online with Allied Real Estate Schools. Call 800.617.3513.

SOURCE: Furman, Jason. "White House: New policy will help home buyers." CNN Money. 5.21.14
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So you've decided you want to start a career in real estate and need to determine the right path. Choosing your career path is one of the most important decisions you have to make in life so make sure you do your research before jumping into anything. The past decade was a roller coaster ride of madness for home prices with record highs followed by bottoming out lows throughout most of the country. Things have finally started to stabilize and more people are looking to real estate once again as a safe way to make a living. If you’re curious about starting a real estate career, here’s a little crash course on the difference between brokers and agents – find out which position is right for you. 

The Difference Between A Real Estate Agent, Broker and Salesperson:
Real Estate Agent (Salesperson). The terms real estate agent and real estate salesperson are one in the same. Real estate agents are licensed salespersons who work for real estate brokers. Real estate agents are trained to help someone find a new home, sell a home or rent a property. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Real Estate Agents made an average wage of $18.82 an hour in 2012. But the ceiling can be limitless depending on how good the agent is – the top 10% of agents pulled in an average of over $45.00/hr in the field. 

Real Estate Broker. Real Estate Brokers are their own bosses. So if this is something that you strive for, working your way up to becoming a broker could be the right path for you. Brokers can also have real estate agents working for them as well, so having good people and management skills is a huge plus if you are going to succeed as a real estate broker. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Real Estate Brokers made an hourly wage of $28.05 in 2012. The highest 10% of wage earners made over $85.00 an hour. So needless to say, brokers that are good at what they do make a comfortable living. And with the real estate industry starting an uptrend, now is as good as time as any to get in on the action. 

How To Become A Real Estate Broker Or Sales Agent
Back in the day you would have to attend a brick and mortar class at a local community college or real estate school to get your license. Today, you can just take all your pre-exam coursework online to prepare for the state exam! All states require you to take a certain number of hours before you can take the exam, so being able to fulfill this requirement online has become a great resource for prospective real estate agents and brokers. Furthermore, brokers have a new education requirement which calls for them to have a college degree.  To find out what your exact state education requirements are, talk to your state agency for complete details. 

There are a lot of schools out there that offer real estate courses online and in-class, make sure they are state approved and accredited before signing up for any classes. The great part about Allied Real Estate School, is that it is an accredited online real estate school. Speak to an admissions representative for more information on becoming a real estate salesperson or broker. Get started TODAY by calling (800) 617-3513.

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Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the nation. It’s one of the few states that handled the Great Recession without a major fallout. In fact, Texas’s population actually grew over the past decade due to fallout from other states.

One major benefit, and a big reason why many people are flocking to Texas, is because it’s a state without an income tax. This makes it really appealing to businesses and homebuyers alike. And being this country’s 2nd largest state, only behind Alaska, there’s plenty of room for growth.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10% of real estate agents make over $95,000 a year. And, the top 10% of real estate brokers make over $176,000 a year.

Fast Growing Texas Cities In 2014
Texas has four of the top 20 fastest growing cities in the U.S. with Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin area all hot spots in today’s market.

Austin has really blown up over the past decade and looks to keep expanding through the next one. There is a hip artsy feel around this booming community. Austin is a great area for singles and young couples that are looking for a fun and lively area to plant their feet. The bigger cities like Dallas and Houston are on pace for greater expansion in their metro and surrounding areas as well. There doesn’t seem to be a slow down anytime soon in this huge Texas market.

Texas State Requirements for Real Estate Licenses
To be eligible to apply for the real estate salesperson license, you must meet the following criteria:
·         Be at least 18 years of age
·         Be a legal resident of Texas
·         Be a U.S. citizen (or lawfully admitted alien)

Steps to Becoming a Texas Real Estate Agent
Before you can get your Texas real estate salesperson license, there are a number of actions you need to take. First, you will have to take the state requirements in education, which is currently 180 hours of core real estate courses. After that, you will submit copies of your class results and apply for your license. Next, you’ll submit your fingerprints and schedule an online appointment with Morpho to complete your background check.

Once you’ve taken these steps, it’s time to take the state exam. Good luck! Upon completion, you’ll have to find a sponsor in the field with an active broker license. This is where you will get the real-world experience you need to succeed as a real estate salesperson in Texas. Soon you’ll be on your way to working independently in these thriving Texas markets!

Get Your Texas Real Estate License
So whether you are just starting out in real estate or are looking to upgrade or renew your license, Allied Real Estate schools has what you need to prepare for the Texas state exam. Call Allied now at (800) 617-3513 to get started on your education requirements and be on your way to become a Texas real estate agent in The Lone Star State.

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Who doesn’t want the American dream of owning a home? Your potential clients do, but you have to first reach your own dream to help them. With the market rising and interest rates low, now is the time to begin the licensing process through Allied and get a head start on your future.

  • Start the licensing process for Real Estate, Broker, MLO or ALC.
  • Flexible online courses allow you to study on your own schedule.
  • Affordable tuition rates and interest-free payment plans put Allied’s real estate training into your hands without setting you back.
  • This is more than a New Year’s goal - the sooner you begin learning, the sooner you can begin earning.

Plus, you will have the 20-plus years of education experience, national accreditation, superior student and educational support, and exceptional admissions representatives that Allied offers to help you get started. You’ll never be more prepared for a new career than you are now – ask Allied today about how to begin real estate school. Even if you are already studying with Allied, why not refer a friend who would enjoy working in the real estate industry?

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