Post about "Personal Finance"

Luxury Homebuyers – Here is the Good News and the Bad News

Luxury home buyers have discovered this year that securing mortgage financing for a million dollar home is not as easy as in the past. The deterioration in the credit markets have made it increasingly difficult for buyers to obtain mortgage financing for high priced homes. Nevertheless, the markets have improved throughout the year, with rates and rate spreads falling and more lenders entering the market. Nonetheless, rising rates could make today the final window of opportunity to purchase a home at an attractive price point, and with attractive financing.A jumbo mortgage loan is a home loan in excess of the “conforming loan” limit; a limit is set by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), the regulator for both FNMA (Fannie Mae) and FHLMC (Freddie Mac). The current conforming loans limit is $417,000 ($625,000 in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The secondary market for jumbo loans, however, is limited primarily to mortgage lenders themselves who are backed by lines of credit provided by investment and commercial banks as well as large insurance companies. Because there is less of a secondary market for these larger loans, they tend to be somewhat more difficult to find and priced higher than conforming loans. This rate differential has ranged from.25% to 1.5% depending on the market environment.Over the past several years, as the credit markets became increasingly loose, jumbo loans gained popularity. Many jumbo loans were made to investors and to other borrowers using “stated income” programs, now often referred to as “liar loans”, which required little in terms of income and asset verification. As the credit markets tightened, so did the underwriting of jumbo loans. Full documentation is now mandatory and jumbo loan applicants must demonstrate credit scores of at least 720. In addition, jumbo applicants must not show any 30-day mortgage or rental payment delinquency in the prior 12 months.Three additional factors have created further disparities between conventional and jumbo loan underwriting. These are the required reserves, maximum loan to value, and debt to income ratios. Jumbo loans require that liquid assets equaling 12 months’ reserves reside in the borrower’s financial portfolio with three months’ of bank statements confirming the assets mandated. Conventional borrowers are normally required to prove only 2 months of liquid reserves. Traditional loans can be obtained for up to 95% of the value of the home whereas many lenders cap jumbo loans at a 75-85% loan-to-value. Lastly, the maximum debt to income ratio allowed for a conventional loan is 43% whereas a jumbo loan applicant must only demonstrate a maximum of 40% total combined debt.In addition to increasingly stringent underwriting standards, the market for securitized jumbo mortgage pools has virtually disappeared. Consequently, so did the loans. No more than a year ago, it was difficult to find any fixed rate jumbo financing in the mortgage marketplace. Most borrowers had to settle for adjustable rate loans in the hopes that they would be able to refinance in the future. Furthermore, the number of lenders in the jumbo market also declined, leading to increasingly higher rates.The good news is that, today, there are more lenders in the jumbo loan marketplace. 30-year fixed rate financing is available from select lenders and rate spreads on jumbo mortgage loans have declined relative to conforming loans. In December, 2008, we were seeing spreads on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of almost 2%. Today, these same spreads are down to less than 1%.In addition, as interest rates have fallen, rates on jumbo mortgage have declined. Notice that both rates and spreads have started to increase modestly.This is likely the best time in recent memory and in the near future, to finance a new luxury home or to refinance your current jumbo mortgage. The low rates are due to the government adding liquidity to the market, primarily through Fed mortgage backed security purchases. Rates would be significantly higher had we not had this intervention. The announcement that this practice will be discontinued in the first quarter of 2010, coupled with the likelihood of higher rates due to the falling dollar and dramatically increased government spending, make it likely that we will see higher rates next year. For luxury home sellers this creates a motivation to sell soon despite a relatively weak housing market. It also creates a window of opportunity for buyers to secure financing that may be at the most attractive rate levels we will see for the next decade.In conclusion, we believe that there is positive news for buyers considering rates have moderated and more programs are available in the jumbo space than there were a year ago. Existing borrowers can also take advantage of the changing market by refinancing their adjustable rate loans to fixed rates. While underwriting is indeed more stringent, financing is still available for qualified buyers. The outlook for the future may not be quite as attractive as an increasing rate environment will force many buyers to a lower price point, and a contracting economy leads more potential buyers to re-trench rather than buy that new home. The bottom line: acting now is likely your best strategy if you are a buyer or a seller of a luxury home.

Brainstorming The Ideas for Influencing Your Mobile App Audience

Once the app is downloaded, you have little time to take a sigh of relief, and then again start focusing on making things easier for the them till their goal is achieved.

According to the AppsFlyer, an app marketing company, the global uninstall rate for apps after 30 days is 28%. Entertainment apps are most frequently deleted, whereas apps based on Finance is least frequently deleted. No matter which app category you belong to, your strategy should be to remain in the mobile phones of users for a long time, and not just sit around but to fulfill your purpose as well.

If we analyze the encounters of users with an app step by step, it can help us unveil the critical factors that influence mobile app audiences, so that we can work upon those and achieve our purpose. Here are the details:

Step1. Finding Your App in Appstore

For this, we have to first find out what exactly users type to search an app. Based on a research, it has been found that 47% app users on iOS confirmed that they found the app through the App Store’s search engine and 53% app users on Android confirmed the same.

What have been their search queries? Interestingly, as the per the data provided by the TUNE research, 86% of the top 100 keywords were brands.With little scope for non-branded categories, most of the keywords were either of games of utility apps. Common keywords in the non branded category are: games, free games, VPN, calculator, music, photo editor, and weather.

Leaving brands aside, if we analyze the user-type of a Non-branded category, we will get two types of users:

1. Users are informed, and they know what they are search

2. Users are exploring possibilities, have no precise information in mind.

If you are a mobile app development company, targeting non-branded users, then your efforts must be directed to creating apps that compel these two types of users. To do so, we have to analyze once they are on an app store, what keywords they use to search. Regina Leuwer, with expertise in marketing & communications, bring some light to the subject. She reached out Sebastian Knopp, creator of app store search intelligence tool appkeywords, who shared with her the data of unique trending search phrases. And according to that data, in 2017, there were around 2,455 unique search phrases trending in the US.

Now, if we study these data to get information, we will find that name of the app is critical to attract the attention of the users.

If your app belongs to non-branded category, then make sure your app name is similar to the common search queries but also unique in comparison with your competitors. So that when your app name is flashed, they click it on to it, finding it purposeful and compelling both.

Step 2. Installation

Remember your users are on mobile devices has limited resources, from battery to storage and RAM to Internet. Everything is limited. So better create an application that is easy to download or say get downloaded with 5 minutes. One critical advice here:

1. Keep the application file size small.

If you are a developer, use APK Analyser to find out which part of the application is consuming maximum space. You can also reduce classes.dex file and res folder that contains images, raw files, and XML.

Step 3. Onboarding

After the user has successfully downloaded your mobile application, don’t leave anything on assumptions. Guide them properly. This you can do through an onboarding process, where users can learn the key functionality and where to begin with the mobile app. Below are the 3 things you need to keep in your mind when creating an onboarding process for your users.

Short and Crisp: The entire guidance of features and functions should be completed within few seconds, with easy options loud and clear option to skip.

Precise Information: Don’t introduce them to the app. They already know what they have downloaded. The objective to inform about the key functions and features.

Allow Users to Skip: Let the tech-savvy users skip the intro. Your app is to meet their requirement and not to have a friendly session.

Step 4. Purpose and UI
Here, the stage is set for your app and it is the golden chance for you to impress your users. What is needed here is the collaboration between purpose and UI of the app. It totally depends on the problem-solving capability and ease of use of the mobile app. Interface design plays the critical role, allowing the users to access features of the apps easily and quickly to perform the task for what they have downloaded the app. When it comes to interface design, make sure that the design is interactive and task-oriented. Here are some factors that you must take care off while creating mobile app interface:

1. Usability: The Mobile phone is an epitome of convenience and if your users find it difficult to use your app, then there is no way there are going to make the space for it in their mobile phones. From screen size to the color of the app, there are many factors that are equally critical and need attention.

2. Intuitive: To create an intuitive User Interface, you have to read the mind of the users, and develop a model based on that. The next should be precise, clear and ‘obvious’ in an interface.

3. Availability: Key features should be hidden in the drop down menu or even if so, it should be obvious for the user to look into the drop-down. An intricate work of design and research is required to make essential features available for the customers and they don’t need to navigate here and there.

If you need more help with the user-interface and innovative ideas for a mobile app, write to me [email protected] and I promise to get back to you with interesting mobile app designs.