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Buying a House This Year? This Should Be Your 1st Step!

18 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show that you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are not in an incredibly competitive market, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home‘ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary to qualify for a mortgage. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so today.

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The Best Time to List Your House? TODAY!

16 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

You may have heard that the housing market is softening. There is no doubt that buyer traffic has decreased. There are fewer purchasers in the market than there were last month and at this time last year. What you may not have heard, however, is that there is still a severe shortage of listing inventory in many regions of the country.

In a recent interview discussing the housing market, First American’s Chief Economist Mark Fleming put it simply:

“The biggest challenge is really the availability of supply.”

When we look at available inventory numbers released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), we see that the actual number of homes for sale has decreased in each of the last five months.

The Best Time to List Your House? TODAY! | Keeping Current Matters

What does this mean to you as a seller?

The best time to sell is when there is less competition. That guarantees you a better price and fewer hassles in the transaction.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your house this year, the best time to put it on the market might be right now. Check with a local agent to see whether that is true in your neighborhood.

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Buying A Vacation Property? Now Is A Good Time!

14 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Every year around this time, many homeowners begin the process of preparing their homes in case of extreme winter weather. Some others skip winter all together by escaping to their vacation homes in a warmer climate.

For those homeowners staying at their first residence, AccuWeather warns:

“The late-week cold shot should fade next week, but this is a warning shot for winter’s return late in the month and early February.”

Given this, it’s time to go and stock up on winter weather supplies! However, if you’re tired of shoveling snow and dealing with the cold weather, maybe it’s time to consider obtaining a vacation home!

According to the Investment & Vacation Home Buyers 2018 Report by NAR:

72% of vacation property owners and 71% of investment property owners believe now is a good time to buy.”

It’s time to take advantage of the equity in your home. As the latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions stated:

“Nearly 14.5 million U.S. properties (are) equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 433,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.

The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q3 2018 represented 25.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage.”

This means that over a quarter of Americans who have a mortgage would be able to use some of their home equity to make a significant down payment toward a vacation home, and many are doing just that! According to the same report by NAR:

“33% of vacation buyers purchased in a beach area, 21% purchased on a lakefront, and 15% purchased a vacation home in the country.”

Many homeowners who are close to retirement will use some of their equity to purchase vacation homes, which may eventually become their permanent homes post-retirement!

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by investing in a vacation home, contact an agent in your area to discuss your options!

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Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here’s What to Watch

11 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here's What to Watch | Keeping Current Matters

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here's What to Watch | Keeping Current Matters

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, make sure that you have an experienced local agent who can help you navigate the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory.

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What Makes a House a Home For You?

09 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

We frequently talk about why it makes sense to buy a home financially, but more often than not the emotional reasons are the more powerful or compelling ones.

No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of a home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones.

1. Owning your home offers stability to start and raise a family

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their minds as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers you not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place that allows you to relax after a long day!

3. You have more space for you and your family

Whether your family is expanding, an older family member is moving in, or you need to have a large backyard for your pets, you can take all this into consideration when buying your dream home!

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and style

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t do all of these things in your own home?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

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4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash

07 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the real estate market heading into 2019. That uncertainty has raised concerns that we may be headed toward another housing crash like the one we experienced a decade ago.

Here are four reasons why today’s market is much different:

1. There are fewer foreclosures now than there were in 2006

A major challenge in 2006 was the number of foreclosures. There will always be foreclosures, but they spiked by over 100% prior to the crash. Foreclosures sold at a discount and, in many cases, lowered the values of adjacent homes. We are ending 2018 with foreclosures at historic pre-crash numbers – much fewer foreclosures than we ended 2006 with.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | Keeping Current Matters

2. Most homeowners have tremendous equity in their homes

Ten years ago, many homeowners irrationally converted much, if not all, of their equity into cash with a cash-out refinance. When foreclosures rose and prices fell, they found themselves in a negative equity situation where their homes were worth less than their mortgage amounts. Many just walked away from their houses which led to even more foreclosures entering the market. Today is different. Over forty-eight percent of homeowners have at least 50% equity in their homes and they are not extracting their equity at the same rates they did in 2006.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | Keeping Current Matters

3. Lending standards are much tougher

One of the causes of the crash ten years ago was that lending standards were almost non-existent. NINJA loans (no income, no job, and no assets) no longer exist. ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) still exist but only as a fraction of the number from a decade ago. Though mortgage standards have loosened somewhat during the last few years, we are nowhere near the standards that helped create the housing crisis ten years ago.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | Keeping Current Matters

4. Affordability is better now than in 2006

Though it is difficult to afford a home for many Americans, data shows that it is more affordable to purchase a home now than it was from 1985 to 2000. And, it requires much less of a percentage of your income today than it did in 2006.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

The housing industry is facing some rough waters heading into 2019. However, the graphs above show that the market is much healthier than it was prior to the crash ten years ago.

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Homeownership Remains a Huge Part of the American Dream

04 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

As we head into 2019, many news outlets and housing experts warn that the housing market may slow down. Over the last six years, the inventory of homes for sale has been near historic lows, which has been the force behind increasing home prices.

This has been great news for sellers as many of them have been able to capitalize on the demand in the market and sell their homes quickly and at a great profit.

One of the big reasons why inventory has remained so low for so long is that an entire generation of home buyers is finally buying! The millennial generation (ages 19-35) has been the driving force behind bidding wars in many areas of the country as they ditch their renter lifestyles and put down roots in new communities.

First American recently released a study entitled “How ‘Renter’ Millennials Will Transform the Housing Market.”In their study, they explained that:

“…As more millennials age into their early-to-mid thirties, and begin to get married, have children and form households, they will continue to be the primary drivers of homeownership demand.”

Because of this, it is safe to say that one aspect of 2019’s housing market that WILL NOT slow down is the demand for housing from young renters who are no longer satisfied living in someone else’s homes.

According to the latest Housing Vacancies and Homeownership Report from the Census Bureau, home buyers under 35 are already out-buying older Americans. The chart below shows the year-over-year change in homeownership rate by those under and over the age of 35.

Homeownership Remains a Huge Part of the American Dream | Keeping Current Matters

The national homeownership rate spiked to its highest level in 2004 and then steadily declined until the second quarter of 2016 when it reversed course. Homebuyers under the age of 35 are the reason for that shift.

More than half of the purchase mortgages originated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2018 were to first-time homebuyers. In fact,

“according to Census Bureau and First American calculations, over the next 10 years, aging millennials are expected to purchase at least 10 million new homes. By 2060, it is estimated millennials will have produced more than 20 million first-time home buyers.”

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who is nervous that the demand for your home will slow, don’t worry! If your home is priced competitively, there will be demand for years to come as this generation of renters is finally able to buy!

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Why Houses DO NOT Sell in a Strong Market

02 Jan 2019 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

As we approach the end of the year, many homeowners find themselves asking the question, “If we’re currently in a strong real estate market, why won’t my house sell?

Below are the 5 most common reasons why a listing contract will expire:

1. The Price

Sometimes when the market is hot, homeowners attempt to set their listing price higher. Their hope is that a motivated buyer will be willing to pay any price for a house in their desired neighborhood! Sellers must remember, though, that in today’s market a house must be sold twice; first to the buyer and then to their bank.

A buyer can agree to pay the homeowner’s asking price, but after the bank conducts their appraisal, the price might need to be adjusted. The bank will only give the buyer a mortgage for the value of determined in the appraisal.

Sellers must also keep in mind that today’s homebuyers are well-educated. Before they look to buy a house, they have already seen many houses online. They’ve done their research on the neighborhoods they are interested in, including information on the school districts in the area.

They will know if your house seems overpriced and will not waste their time considering it. This is why it’s so important to make sure that your home is priced right from day one on the market!

2. The Condition of the House

In many areas, builders are taking advantage of the lack of inventory of homes for sale by building new houses. These newly constructed homes create competition for existing homes in the market. For this reason, many homeowners are making renovations and updates to their homes to compete with the new construction in their marketplace.

Most agents recommend that homeowners declutter their houses before putting them on the market. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home instead of focusing on the current homeowner’s decor.

It’s important to take care of the small problems like dripping faucets and torn screens, while also remembering to remove any posters hanging in your teenager’s bedroom. Making sure your home is in perfect condition will make buyers fall in love with it and will ultimately help you get the right price for your house!

3. Seller’s Motivation

Why did the seller put their house on the market in the first place? Is the seller’s motivation still the same as it was when they first listed?

If homeowners are really motivated to sell, they will make sure their houses are both priced right and in good condition. The seller’s motivation will push them to consider all offers and help them make the right decision for their family’s future.

4. Marketing Plan

Having a marketing plan is important! According to NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 95% of buyers searched online for a home last year. The days of looking for a newspaper ad or yard sign in your preferred neighborhood are over.

If you want to sell your home, you need a real estate professional who understands your local market and knows how to promote your home online. Something as simple as using pictures taken by a professional photographer can make a huge impact in advertising your home!

5. Lack of Communication with Your Agent

Keeping an open line of communication with your agent is crucial in getting your home sold with the least amount of hassles, in the right amount of time, and for the right price! From the beginning, establish a continuous line of communication with your agent, and make sure you review your agreement often to see if any changes need to be made. For example, adjusting the selling price!

Bottom Line

There are houses selling every single day because they are listed at the right price, have the right marketing plan, and are staged for the sale. If for some reason your home didn’t sell and you’re still motivated to get it sold, contact a local real estate professional who can help you figure out the reason your house isn’t selling!

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