Economic update for the week ending May 12, 2018

Crude Oil  $70.51  -    Gold  $1,318.40 -    Silver  $16.70   -    EUR/USD  $1.19

Stocks up over 2% this week -  Stock markets gained more than 2% this week. Strong first quarter earnings and a reduced fear of new tariffs sparked a rally this week. Corporate earnings reported for Q1 2018 have been the strongest since the third quarter of 2010. A cessation of talk of imposing tariffs on imported goods and materials has investors feeling that the Trump administration has backed off on those. Fears of a trade war with China caused a sharp selloff in February and March. Oil prices hit a 3 1/2 year high this week. Rising oil prices have helped energy stocks, but have increased prices at the pump.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,831.17, up from last week’s close of 24,262.52. It is up 0.5% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,727.72, up from 2,663.42 last week. It's up 2% year to date. The NASDAQ closed at 7,402.88, up from 7,209.62% last week. It is up 7.2% year to date.

Treasury Bond yields slightly lower this week -  The 10 year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.94% almost unchanged from 2.95% last week. The 30 year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.10%, slightly down from 3.12% last week.

Mortgage Rates unchanged this week -  The May 10, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.55%, unchanged from last week’s 4.55%. The 15 year fixed was 4.01%, almost unchanged from 4.03% last week. The 5 year ARM was 3.77%, up from 3.69% last week. Rates were slightly lower in Friday so next week’s rates could be slightly lower.

Selling a house "As Is". What it means for buyers -  Selling a house "as is" sounds like a pretty sweet deal for sellers. They don't have to hurry around fixing the place up. But what does it mean for buyers? When looking through property listings and the term "as is" appears, some people see it as a warning. Others see it as an opportunity. That might get you wondering, what exactly does "as is" mean?


What does a home inspector look for? A whole lot -  Hiring a home inspector to check out a house before you buy it takes time, but it can save you big money in the end. A home inspector can check for major flaws that might need to be fixed. After all, even if a house looks like it's in great condition, appearances can be deceiving.

What does a home inspector look for? -  In short, a whole lot. They’ve got 1,600 different items on their list to look at. A home inspector's discoveries can help home buyers big-time. Provided you have a home inspection contingency in your offer, you can renegotiate with the seller to fix certain problems or to lower the price. Or, if the problem is more than you want to handle (think faulty foundation or roof on the verge of caving in), you can walk away from the deal with your deposit in hand. Either way, it’s a win-win for the buyer.

A typical home inspector checklist -  Inspectors run down a checklist of potential problems. While we won't list all 1,600, here's the boiled-down version.

How you can help the inspector -  Bring any and all concerns about the property to your inspector before he begins, so he'll keep a sharp lookout for possible problems. If the seller has disclosed damage, give your inspector a heads up about that, too. Another smart move is to accompany the home inspector during his rounds. It’s in your best interest to understand the home, its systems, and potential problems. For instance, an inspector can introduce you to electrical panels and shut-off water valves, and if he spots a problem, he can show you exactly how a system is malfunctioning and what it means. And this info will serve you well not only before you buy, but afterward as well.