Dealing with Financing

As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.Dealing with Financing 300x200 - Dealing with Financing

Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.

Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.

Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters  CoreLogicreleased their most current Home Price Index last week. In the report, they revealed home appreciation in three categories: percentage appreciation over the last year, over the last month and projected over the next twelve months. Here are state maps for each category:

The Past – home appreciation over the last 12 months

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

The Present – home appreciation over the last month

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

The Future – home appreciation projected over the next 12 months

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Homes across the country are appreciating at different rates. If you plan on relocating to another state and are waiting for your home to appreciate more, you need to know that the home you will buy in another state may be appreciating even faster. Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine your next steps.

 

Source:  Keeping Current Matters

Three ways to ease your fears about making a move.

With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one. This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell—whether to upgrade or find a new neighborhood—there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.

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Look to buy first In most markets it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property. Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying. Even if you don’t see anything on Zillow, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find the right home.

Think outside the box Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale.

Protect yourself legally Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy.

 

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

Two weeks ago, we posted a blog which explained that current increases in home prices were the result of the well-known concept of supply & demand and should not lead to conversations of a new housing bubble. Today, we want to look at home prices as compared to current incomes.

Here is a graph showing the monthly mortgage payment on a median priced home in the U.S. over the last 25 years:

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

Mortgage payments are currently well below the historic average over that time period. Purchasers are not overextending themselves to buy a home like they did on the run-up to the housing crash.

Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently explained in a Forbes article:

“Even though home prices are climbing far above people’s income, exceptionally low mortgage rates have permitted people to buy a home without overstretching their budget. For someone making a 20% down payment, the monthly mortgage payment at today’s mortgage rates would take up 15% of a person’s gross income. During the bubble years, it was reaching 25% of income. The long-term historical average is around 20%. Therefore, a middle-income household does not need to overstretch their budget much if at all to buy a typical home.”

Bottom Line

Due to low interest rates, demand for housing has dramatically increased. This has caused a jump in home prices. However, low interest rates have also allowed the monthly cost of buying a home to remain well below historic norms. We are in a strong housing market, not a housing bubble.

 

Keeping Current Matters

Housing Market To “Spring Forward” This Year

Housing Market To “Spring Forward” This Year | Keeping Current Matters

Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.

Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2015 all fell in April, May or June.

Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your home in 2016, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market.

Source: Keeping Current Matters

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is | Keeping Current Matters

Yesterday, we discussed the reasons why homeownership makes sense, financially. Today we wanted to touch on the emotional or ‘real’ reasons that many Americans strive to become homeowners.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University performs a study every year surveying participants for the reasons that American’s feel are most important in regards to homeownership.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by respondents were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

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

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. 

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents: 

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future? 

Bottom Line

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

 

Source:  Keeping Current Matters

Final 2015 Housing Numbers Now In

Final 2015 Housing Numbers Now In | Keeping Current Matters

Many have questioned the stability of certain sectors of the U.S. Economy, one section in particular is the housing market. Today we would like to share how the experts feel about how we ended 2015 and where they think we are headed in 2016.

How did we do in 2015?

The National Association of Realtors

“Overall, a resilient U.S. economy and very solid job growth in recent years made 2015 a great rebound year for the housing market.

Existing-home sales were at the highest pace (5.26 million) since 2006 (6.48 million) and the Pending Home Sales Index came in at an average of 108.8, the highest annual reading since…you guessed it: 2006 (111.7).”

The National Association of Home Builders

“With the December report on housing starts and permits, preliminary totals for 2015 are now available. Total housing starts at 1.11 million were up 10.8% in 2015 compared to 2014. Single-family starts were up 10.4% to 715,300. All four census regions also experienced increases in single-family starts for 2015.”

What can we expect to start 2016?

Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com Chief Economist

“All indicators point to this spring being the busiest since 2006…

Demand for for-sale housing will grow and will continue to be dominated by older millennials, aged 25 to 34. This demographic has the potential to claim a third of home sales in 2016 and represent 2 million home purchases.”

Source:  Keeping Current Matters

Where Are Interest Rates Headed This Year?

Where Are Interest Rates Headed This Year? | Keeping Current Matters

With interest rates still below 4%, many buyers may be on the fence as to whether to act now and purchase a new home, or wait until next year.

If you look at what the four major reporting agencies are predicting for 2016, it may make the decision for you. The chart below averages the predictions by quarter.

Mortgage Rate Projections | Keeping Current Matters

With the exception of Fannie Mae, the experts agree that interest rates will increase by three-quarters of a percentage point, costing you more to pay back your loan.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rates can put a dent in your family’s wealth.

 

Source:  Keeping Current Matters