In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly 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 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 in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if 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.â
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 with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding âyour 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:
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.
Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.
Its never too late to start saving up to get you that dream home! 2018 is coming and it will be a good start to focus on your priorities. #dreamhome #priorities #savings #investment #realestate #westchester#bronx #yonkersny #realtor #broker #agent #expertadvisor #nyreex#mortgage #homebuying #homeowner #americandream #homebuyer
âWhy is there so much paperwork mandated by the lenders for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today? It seems that they need to know everything about you and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.
Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.
There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today's buyer than perhaps any time in history.
1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank proves beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.
During the run-up to the housing crisis, many people 'qualified' for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this canât happen again.
2. The banks don't want to be in the real estate business.
Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don't want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.
However, there is some good news in the situation.
The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate around 4%.
The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty years ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process, but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990s and 6.29% in the 2000s).
If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of around 4%, they would probably bend over backward to make the process much easier.
Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, letâs be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.
Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this winter makes sense.
1. Demand Is Strong
The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchaseâ¦ and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.
Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.
2. There Is Less Competition Now
Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.
Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.
The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Donât wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.
3. The Process Will Be Quicker
Todayâs competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae's latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 44 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up
If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer's market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly, AND you'll be able to find a premium home to call your own!
Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.7% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.
5. Itâs Time to Move on With Your Life
Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?
Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
That is what is truly important.
Another Home ð¡ SOLD! Got an accepted offer within 30 days and sold ABOVE ASKING PRICE! ð« thanks to our seller for letting us hold our promise and prove our commitment! #homesold #anotherhomesold#closed #recorded #homebuying #homeselling #homebuyer#homeseller #realestate #topagent #agent #broker #realtor#realestateagent #success #sold #passion #commitment #trust #nyreex#expertadvisor #bronx #westchester #yonkersny
According to Freddie Mac'; latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.92%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!
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 will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.
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). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.
Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.
Another Agent made an EXPERT move!
To join our team of experts, visit:
Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let's look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.
Zillow recently reported that:
"In reality, buying or renting a home is an intensely personal decision, with emotional and even financial considerations that go beyond whether to invest in this one (admittedly large) asset. Looking strictly at housing market numbers, there is a concrete point at which buying a home makes more financial sense than renting it."
What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?
1. We recently highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:
2. Studies have shown that a homeowner's net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter.
3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $48,000 in family wealth over the next five years.
4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment- along with a profit margin!!
Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.
So, you've decided to sell your house. Youâve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.
There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home.
Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:
In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.
The current narrative is that home prices have risen so much so that it is no longer a smart idea to purchase a home. Your family and friends might suggest that buying a home right now (whether a first-time home or a move-up home) makes absolutely no sense from an affordability standpoint. They are wrong!
Homes are more affordable right now than at almost any time in our country's history except for the foreclosure years (2009-2015) when homes sold at major discounts. As an example, below is a graph from the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor showing the percentage of median income needed to buy a medium-priced home in the country today in comparison to prior to the housing bubble and bust.
As we can see, the percentage necessary is less now than in those time periods.
The Mortgage Monitor also explains that home affordability is better today than it was in the late 1990s in 47 of 50 states.
Your friends and family have your best interests at heart. However, when it comes to buying your first home or selling your current house to buy the home of your dreams, getting the whole story from a real estate professional is crucial.
Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, is calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.
This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 3.5%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.
Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:
Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.
Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.
Here are seven great reasons not to wait:
Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn't make sense.
Multigenerational homes are coming back in a big way! In the 1950s, about 21%, or 32.2 million Americans shared a roof with their grown children or parents. According to an article by Realtor.com, "Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is now living in a multigenerational household - a household with two or more adult generations, or grandparents living with grandchildren - a level that hasnât been seen in the U.S. since 1950."
Another report that proves this point is the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers which states that 13% of home buyers purchased multigenerational homes last year. The top 3 reasons for purchasing this type of home were:
Valerie Sheets, Spokesperson for Lennar, points out that,
"Everyone is looking for the perfect home for any number of family situations, such as families who opt to take care of aging parents or grandparents at home, or millennials looking to live with their parents while they attend school or save for a down payment."
For a long time, nuclear families (a couple and their dependent children) became the accepted norm, but John Graham, co-author of "Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living," says, "We're getting back to the way human beings have always lived in â extended families."
This shift can be attributed to several social changes over the decades. Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living; "Data suggest that multigenerational living is more prevalent among Asian (28%), Hispanic (25%), and African-American (25%) families, while U.S. whites have fewer multigenerational homes (15%)."
Additionally, women are a bit more likely to live in multigenerational conditions than are their male counterparts (12% vs. 10%, respectively). Last but not least, basic economics.
Valerie Sheets brings to light the fact that home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years. She says that, "As home prices increase, more families tend to opt for living together."
Multigenerational households are making a comeback. While it is a shift from the more common nuclear home, these households might be the answer that many families are looking for as home prices continue to rise in response to a lack of housing inventory.
Think your home insurance policy covers every mishap that can come your way? Keep thinking, friends.
The exact instances that are and aren't covered by typical home insurance depend entirely on the details of your policyâand, contrary to what you may think, each policy is quite different.
"Insurance policies are like snowflakes; no two are exactly the same," says Ashleigh Cloud Trent, an insurance adviser with Swingle Collins and Associates in Dallas. So if you want to know if the odoriferous damage caused by a demented skunk in your kitchen is covered, go read the fine print.
You donât want to be caught off guard. Most standard policies exclude certain things that homeowners might assume are actually covered. Don't bank on your insurance company footing the bill for the following unfortunate situations.
1. Home renovations
A lot of homeowners don't realize they need to take out a specific renovation policy if they're doing major work, even if the contractor has a builder's risk policy.
According to Trent, the builder's risk policy covers only new construction, not the existing structure.
"It's OK if you're just doing cosmetic updates; but if you're taking the roof off, that's more than a standard homeowners policy is designed to protect," she says.
Even if the house is a tear-down, a renovation policy will cover any liability issues for people who wander onto the property and get hurt.
"If someone gets hurt on the property, you're liable," she explains. "If neighborhood kids are playing around in the empty house, that's your liability."
2. Earthquake damage
If you live on a major fault line, it's probably wise to invest in earthquake insurance since it's not usually included in homeowners coverageâeven in the places that need it the most (e.g., California and the Pacific Northwest). If a quake strikes and you don't have this specific policy, you'll be liable for paying for repairs to your property on your own.
3. Slow leaks
Damaged caused by slow leaksâtechnically "seepage and leakage"âcan be denied coverage. Water damage has to be "sudden and accidental," explains Trent.
"A prime example is a client whose contractor nicked a pipe behind a wall. The pipe was connected to a seldom-used guest bathroom, so nobody noticed the leak,â Trent recalls. âWhen they rented out the home years later, the tenants called a few months later to report that the floorboards were warping."
The slow leak cased $25,000 in damageâand the homeowners insurance didn't pay out a nickel.
What if the earth opens up and swallows your house whole? Itâs totally not covered.
"Sinkholes are not covered under the normal home insurance. You would need to add additional coverage for earthquake and/or earth movement," says John Espenschied, agency principal at InsuranceBrokersGroup.com. Sorry, Floridians.
5. Sewer and drain backups
If the sewer backs up and fills your house with raw sewage, you might have to clean up the mess yourselfâand on your own dime.
"In a lot of places, when there's serious rain, the sewers and drains can back up into people's homes," says Trent. "Not all policies will cover that."
6. Meth labs that you had no idea were there
What if you unknowingly rent an apartment to the next Walter White? Thatâs too bad, says Rachel Munoz Florido of JnR Insurance.
"[Our] client's rental home exploded from a tenant's meth lab,â Florido says. âThis was not covered at all due to the exclusion for illegal activity and pollution exposure." (And this, dear readers, is why you have to screen your tenants.)
7. Acts of war
"If the U.S. government determines we are at war and your home is destroyed as a result of the war, you will not be covered," explains Espenschied. Destruction from acts of terrorism, however, is generally covered.
8. Keeping the historical society happy
If you live in a landmark area and you need permission from the historical society to make changes to your home, there might be a cap on how much your insurance will pay to fix a problem. And the historical society might dictate the material you use on your home, no matter how expensive it is.
"A hailstorm decimated all of these historic homes in Dallas recently," says Trent. "What should have been a $9,000 vinyl siding repair ended up costing homeowners $90,000 because the historical society insisted they useâ a specific type of shingle. A typical policy would not have made up that difference.
9. Smell damage
Smells that stick around your home and possessions aren't covered by most policies.
"We had a client in the process of renovating a home who put all of their belongings in a storage unit that happened to be right next to a restaurant," says Trent. "When he went to get his things back, all his possessions, including his mattress, permanently smelled like curry."
With a typical insurance policy, you'd be stuck replacing everything yourself or sleeping on a food-smelling bed.
Each year, most homeowners wait until the spring to sell their houses because they believe that they can get a better deal during the normal spring buyer's market. However, recently released data suggests that a seller's best deal may be available right now. The concept of 'supply & demand' reveals that the best price for an item will be realized when the supply of that item is low and the demand for that item is high. Let's see how this applies to the current residential real estate market.
It is no secret that the supply of homes for sale has been far below the number needed for over a year. A normal market requires six months of housing inventory to meet the demand. The latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there is currently only a 4.2-month supply.
Supply is currently very low!!
A report that was just released tells us that demand is very strong. The most recent Foot Traffic Report(which sheds light on the number of buyers out looking at homes) disclosed that there are more buyers right now than at any other time in the last twelve months. This includes more buyers looking at homes right now than at any time during last yearâs spring market.
Demand is currently very high!!
âWaiting until the spring to list your house for sale made sense in the past. This year is different. The best deal is probably available right now.
A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.
For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesnât have to be!
In order to qualify in today's market, you'll need to have saved for a down payment (73% of all buyers made a down payment of less than 20%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.
Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of whom perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.
Once youâre ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests you follow:
Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.
In Trulia's recent report, Rent vs. Buy: Roommate Edition, they examined the impact that renting with a roommate has in determining whether it is more expensive to rent or buy. The study explains:
"Since we started keeping track in 2012, it's been a better deal to buy than rent in America's largest housing markets – and for much of that time it hasn’t been close."
It then goes on to ask the question:
“But does the equation change for renters who share their rent with a roommate?”
The report reveals:
“While the standard rent vs. buy analysis reveals buying is cheaper than renting in all of the nation's 100 largest metros, this doesn’t hold true for those choosing between renting with a roommate and buying a starter home.”
It seems obvious that sharing the cost of renting your living space by taking in a roommate dramatically decreases your housing expense (which is exactly what the report concluded), but it got us thinking.
What if you purchased a home and took in that same roommate?
The savings you would gain by adding a roommate would also occur if you purchased a home. This presents an opportunity for a list of possible purchasers. Here are two examples:
A smaller, move-down home is almost impossible to find in the current housing market. If the seller-turned-buyer takes on a tenant, they could buy a more expensive home knowing that the additional monies needed to pay the mortgage would be offset with the additional monies they receive in rent. Secondly, the older couple (ex. parents) could get a housing option that probably far surpasses anything else available to them in the current market.
Considering the concept of renting a portion of your house to be able to purchase the perfect home may make sense to many families. You will need to decide if it is right for you.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the results of their latest Existing Home Sales Reportwhich revealed that sales rose 0.7% month-over-month, but remain 1.5% lower than they were a year ago. Some may look at these numbers and think that now is not a good time to sell their house, but in fact, the opposite is true.
The national slowdown in sales is directly tied to a lack of inventory available for the buyers who are out in the market looking for their dream homes! The inventory of homes for sale has fallen year-over-year for the last 28 months and has had an upward impact on home prices.
NAR's Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had this to say,
"Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country.
RealtorsÂ® this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings - especially at the lower end of the market - and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers." (emphasis added)
The houses that are on the market are selling fast, too! According to NARâs Realtors Confidence Index, the median number of days it took for a house to go from listed to under contract over the past three months was 34.
If you are one of the many homeowners who is debating listing your house for sale this year, the time is now! Meet with a local real estate professional who can guide you through the process and discuss the specifics of your market!
A report released by Down Payment Resource shows that 61% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with a down payment of 6% or less.
The trend continued among all buyers with a mortgage, as 73% made a down payment of less than 20%.
An article by Chase points to a new wave of millennial homebuyers:
"We teamed up with Google to help us better understand what customers are searching for and how the home buying landscape is evolving. We found that millennials and first-time homebuyers are making a big splash in the market, and affordability remains top of mind."
Among millennials who purchased homes, David Norris, Loan Depot's Head of Retail Lending, said:
"It's clear from the survey results that Millennials have a lot of anxiety built up about the home buying process.
There is good news, however, as there's more flexibility than most Millennials think regarding how to qualify for a loan and what's needed for a down payment."
If you are one of the many millennials who is debating a home purchase this year, contact a local professional who can help you understand your options and set you on the path to preapproval.
If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! We recently shared data from Trulia's Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today's premium home market, buyers are in control.
The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer which can eventually lead to a price change.
Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.
The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.
But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.
In a Washington Post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:
"Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. Theyâll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want."
The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now's the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.
In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.
The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!
A study by GoBankingRates looked at the cost of renting vs. owning a home at the state level and concluded that in 39 states, it is actually 'a little' or 'a lot' cheaper to own (represented by the two shades of blue in the map below).
One of the main reasons owning a home has remained significantly cheaper than renting is the fact that interest rates have remained at or near historic lows. Freddie Mac reports that the current interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.91%.
Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today's average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates havenât been that high since January of 1995, according toFreddie Mac.
Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home.
Some Highlights:RSS Feed
In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that "the single biggest mistake millennials are making" is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is "an escalator to wealth.â
Bach went on to explain:
"If millennials don't buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter."
In his bestselling book, "The Automatic Millionaire," Bach does the math:
"As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started - owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!"
Who is David Bach?
Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, "The Automatic Millionaire." spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.
He has been a contributor to NBCâs Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Readerâs Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investorsâ Business Daily, and Forbes.
Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice â if you donât yet live in your own home, go buy one.