Buying a home is an exciting milestone, but after you've completed the purchase and moved in, you're responsible for maintenance. In other words, you no longer have a landlord to fix that running toilet or a leaky faucet.
Luckily, you don't need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.
Pets are family - do you have a plan for your pet in an emergency? Including pets in emergency plans helps your family's ability to respond to an emergency. Be prepared: make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your pet.
Take these steps to add your pets to your evacuation plan.
Assign pet evacuation to an adult. Everyone should know how to act during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other parent and the children to focus on their part of the evacuation plan, so there's no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.
Keep evacuation maps and pet carriers readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.
Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It'll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!
Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it's possible that a dog or cat will run off while you're focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it's safe to return to the area.
There are a number of reasons why you might choose to upsize to a larger home. A bigger family, an increase in income, the need for a home workspace or perhaps a change of lifestyle. Whatever the reason, there a number of questions to consider before you decide upsizing is the next step for you.
Remodeling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space, but it can be costly, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That's when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution.
WHERE DO YOU NEED MORE SPACE?
The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it's important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space-it'll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations, when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.
If you need more space, but don't necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave beyond, your lifestyle-and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays-might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It's your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.
Air leaks in a home can emerge from cracks and openings in doors and windows. Air trapped inside the walls of your home can seep out through floorboards and around electrical outlets. It takes more energy to heat and cool your home if you have air leaks, which will increase your utility bills. To learn how to find air leaks in your home, you will need to conduct tests around your house that involve using your hand.
Do an air pressure test.
You can quickly check for air leaks with a simple test using household items. Seal your home by completely closing all doors, windows, and vents and turning off exhaust fans. Then pass a burning incense stick along the edges of all doors, windows, and other openings to the outside. If the smoke is forced into or away from an opening, youâve found a leak.
Inspect doors and windows.
To check for leaks near your windows, attempt to rattle the frame. This will reveal whether there are gaps along the edges. Also check for cracks in the frame, loose screws in locks, or gaps anywhere in the window.
Door hinges and thresholds are common places for air leaks.
Deteriorated weather stripping can also lead to leaks and the door itself can develop cracks that allow air to pass through.
Skylights are a little trickier to test and examine, but you can still do it yourself.
Check for water stains near your skylights, which is a dead giveaway of a leak. If you suspect there is one, you'll have to get on the roof for a closer inspection. Look for loose shingles, cracked roofing cement, and debris.
An American family spends an average of $500 per year on cleaning supplies. That's a lot of money, especially toward products that are made mostly of water! In the spirit of saving, we bring you ways to seriously scrub down your budget: homemade household products. If you cut a couple of percentage off of your cleaning-supply spending you could save a lot each year.
Hardwood floors bring an earthy, warm beauty to your home. They're durable and, with proper care, last for decades. You can keep them looking lovely by following these tips on how to clean hardwood floors.
Hiding scratches: If you've got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don't worry if it's a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it'll look like a variation in the wood grain.
Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.
Clever decor: It's not a long-term solution, but sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement.
Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you'll need to spot sand with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain and seal the repaired area.
Paying off mortgages takes time, but it's helpful to know that there are ways to shorten your mortgage payments by months or even years. Here are some ways to help you beat the loan clock legitimately and save thousands of dollars in the process.
Any additional payments to the principal amount (the original sum of money borrowed in a loan), helps to cut down the amount of interest that you will pay over the life of your loan and can also help to shave years off the loan as well.
When you make 'extra' payments toward your loan, the key is to let your lender/bank know that you want the extra funds to go toward your principal balance as they will not automatically do this for you.
You don't have to double your mortgage payment to make a big difference either!
If you have a 30-year mortgage on a median-priced home ($250,000) with a 5% interest rate, you'll be responsible for a $1,342.05 monthly principal and interest payment. Over the course of the loan, if you pay your exact monthly payment, you will have paid $233,133.89 in interest alone!
Paying a Little Extra Can Pay Off Big
1. Pay an additional 1/12th of your mortgage payment every month
Benefit: In the example above, adding $111.84 to your monthly mortgage payment might not seem like a lot, but each year you will have paid one extra month's worth of payments which will shorten the term of your loan by 4 years and 8 months, all while saving you $42,000 in interest!
2. Pay an additional $50 per month towards your mortgage
Benefit: Fifty dollars might not seem like enough to make a difference on the term of your loan, but that small amount will save you over $21,000 in interest and will take over 2 years off the end of your loan. Twenty-eight years from now, you'll be happy to pay off your loan that much sooner!
3. Make one-time lump sum payments when you can
Benefit: If you find yourself with a little extra money after a yearly bonus, a tax return, or from investment dividends, paying that money towards the principal can cut your costs. This option, however, is less predictable than the extra monthly payments.
If you have higher interest debts, like credit cards, consider using any extra funds you have to pay those debts down before applying that money towards your mortgage. Also, if you do not plan on staying in your home for more than 10 years, paying extra toward your mortgage might not make sense.
If you're wondering what strategies would work best for you to shorten the term of your loan, consult a local real estate professional who can answer your questions or connect you with someone who can.
Buying your own home can be intimidating and requires a lot of preparation, on top of this; we all have our own personal reasons why we chose renting over owning a home. According to our trusted source, there's about 74% of renters planning to own a home in the future. We totally agree, and for one good reason, rising rental cost is upon us.
According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying in the next 5 years, with 38% planning to buy in the next 2 years!
When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said that rising rental costs were their top reason, and 42% of renters believe that their rent will rise every year. The full results of the survey can be seen below:
It's no wonder that rising rental costs came in as the top answer! The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below!
There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again... why are they renting?
When asked why they haven't purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that "a 20% down payment is required to buy a home."
If the majority of those who believe they haven't saved a large enough down payment believe that they need 20% down to buy, that means a large number of renters may be able to buy now!
If you are one of the many renters who is fed up with rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today's market, contact a local real estate professional who can help you on your path to homeownership.
One of the best things about Americans is that we learn quickly. The last real estate market crash in 2008 was a huge event that left the nation traumatized. A lot have been speculating about the future of real estate since then, paying close attention to all trends and changes, making them seem a bit paranoid. Good news is, everyone has is now more aware because of that, people are now more responsible and all signs point to a better more stable 2019 for the real estate industry.
What happened then...
When real estate values began to surge last decade, people started using their homes as personal ATMs. Homeowners would refinance their houses and convert their equity into instant cash (known as "cash-out" refinances). Because homes were appreciating so rapidly, many homeowners tapped into their equity multiple times.
This left homeowners with little-or-no equity left in their homes, so when prices started to fall many homeowners found their houses in a negative equity situation (where the mortgage amount was greater than the value of the home). When some of these homeowners saw that there was no value left in their houses, they just stopped paying their mortgages altogether.
Banks eventually foreclosed on those homes and the foreclosures drove prices down even further and put more homes in the negative equity category. This cycle continued, leading to the worst housing crash in almost one hundred years.
What's happening now...
Again, Americans are seeing their home equity grow. Today, over 48% of all single-family homes in the country have over 50% equity, and yes, some families are tapping into that equity. However, this time around, homeowners are not making irresponsible decisions. According to the latest information from Freddie Mac, the total equity being "cashed out" is a fraction of what it was leading up to the crash.
Here are the numbers:
The recklessness that accompanied the build-up in equity prior to the last crash does not exist today. That makes this housing market much more secure than the one we had heading into 2008.
Whether it's because of proximity to work or business or simply because your family has grown. You will come to think at some point that your home cannot keep up with your needs anymore.
It may seem hard to imagine that the first home you purchased (which made your dreams come true) might not be the home that will allow you to achieve the rest of your dreams. The good news is that it's okay to admit that your home no longer fits your needs!
According to CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index, prices in the starter home market have appreciated faster than any other category over the last year, at 9.4%. At the same time, inventory in this category has dropped 14.2%.
These two stats are directly related to one another. As inventory has decreased and demand has increased, prices have been driven up.
This is great news if you own a starter home and are looking to move up to a larger home as the equity in your home has risen as prices have gone up. Even better is the fact that there is a large pool of buyers out there searching for your starter home to help them achieve their American Dream!
If you have outgrown your starter home, contact a local real estate professional who can explain the market conditions in your area and help you find your next home!
For many Americans, July 4th is a day to lounge by the pool, barbecue, and watch fireworks. But before you celebrate with a bang, make sure you're prepared. Many assume homeowners insurance will cover any damage they cause. Although this usually is true--there are exceptions.
Home purchases are big decisions made not without hesitation. It's normal to question one's self-capability to pay for such at first. Nevertheless, some brave through this intimidating ordeal and managed just fine.
We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of Realtors' most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first-time buyer:
You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first homes. If you're still hesitating or debating whether or not you should go for it, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine if your dream home is within your grasp today.
Price plays a crucial role in deciding whether an owner will sell his/her home or a buyer will buy it. But how does one set a price that's neither too low not to earn profit nor too high to deter potential buyers?
Today we'll talk about how the home appraisal process works. A home appraisal is a required part of the loan process and is conducted by a certified appraiser who evaluates and determines the property's fair market value.
The appraiser's report includes a detailed look at the home's general condition and a review of the surrounding area. Since housing markets fluctuate--as do home values--appraisers rely heavily on recent home sales within the last six months in the local area to determine fair market values.
Appraisals also take into consideration any improvements and upgrades, as well as the land's value. It is important to note that appraisal guidelines are dictated by legal requirements as well as the type of loan being issued. The appraiser's job is to provide an objective, impartial and unbiased assessment of the property's fair market value.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the home appraisal process, get in touch with a professional.
In one of our previous posts, we have discussed why now is the best time to sell your home why-sell-your-house-now.html. For those who have realized and recognized the opportunity, you may find this information very helpful.
In today's market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.
Here are the top five reasons:
1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers
According to the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from NAR, last year 95% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 15% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
2. Results Come from the Internet
Where did buyers find the home they actually purchased?
3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:
The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent's commission. The seller and buyer can't both save the commission.
A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don't actually save anything, and in some cases, may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent. One of the main reasons for the price difference at the time of sale is:
If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property. The study showed that the difference in price between comparable homes of size and location is currently at an average of 6% this year.
Why would you choose to list on your own and manage the entire transaction when you can hire an agent and not have to pay anything more?
Your time, effort, and money means a lot and you get to save more of them if you seek help from a professional. Nevertheless, before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.
Get ready for the Monsoon - just a week away! Put outdoor toys and cushions away, trim your trees and secure young ones with stakes, add weather stripping to windows and doors to prevent dust, water and critters from heading inside your home, and have a couple of pieces of plywood handy.
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It's apparent that home values are swiftly increasing due to the lack of supply while demand continues to expand in our housing market today. Experts foresee an increase of 5% (or greater) in home value over the next twelve months. In result, bank appraisal could be a bit challenging in this market.
When prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the same neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.
Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth and what an appraiser's evaluation of that same home is.
March 2015 marked the first month of a three-year gap between what an appraiser and a homeowner believed a home was worth. That gap widened to 2.65% in September 2015 and had consistently hovered between 1.0% and 2.0% through November 2017. The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last three years:
In the latest release, the disparity was the narrowest it has been since March 2015, as the gap between appraisers and homeowners was only -0.33%. This is important for homeowners to note as even a .33% difference in appraisal could equate to thousands of dollars that a buyer or seller has to come up with at closing (depending on the price of the home).
Bill Banfield, Executive VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges homeowners to find out how their local markets have been impacted by supply and demand:
"The appraisal is one of the most important, although sometimes least predictable, parts of the mortgage process. The Home Price Perception Index is a way to illustrate the differences of opinion, and these differences affect everything from the type of mortgage a borrower can get to the expectations a seller has about the proceeds available upon the sale of their home."
Every house on the market must be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then again to the bank (through the bank's appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale may be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, meet with an experienced professional who can guide you through this and any other obstacles that may arise.
Who wouldn't want to have their dream home right away? I guess -- none. For a first-time home buyer, especially to those in working-class, a starter home is a smart choice. A place of your own with lower expenses sounds good, right? However, prices in starter home category continue to rise in the market which gives home buyers second thoughts.
A recent CNBC article revealed that there are many factors that delayed older millennials (ages 25-35) from buying a home earlier in their lives. The aftereffects of the Great Recession teaming up with larger education costs forced many to either remain living in their parent's homes or to rent. With the economy continuing to improve, many millennials have been able to break into better-paying jobs which have helped spur down payment savings. As the dream of homeownership comes closer to reality, many millennials are saving for their forever homes.
According to the latest statistics from NAR, 30% of millennials bought homes for $300,000 or more this year (up from 14% in 2013). Diane Swonk, Chief Economist at Grant Thornton weighed in saying, "They rented for longer. Now they're going to where they want to stay." More and more millennials are settling down, getting married, and starting families, which is a huge factor driving them to look for larger homes.
Increased competition in the starter home market has also been a driving force in waiting to afford their dream homes. Inventory in the starter home market is down 14.2% from last year, according to research from Trulia. This has driven prices up and has led to bidding wars. Many first-time buyers who were originally looking for starter homes are realizing that for just a little bit more of an investment, they could afford trade-up or premium homes instead.
If it is your first time to buy a home, seek help from a professional. Do some research and look for a real estate agent that will guide you to find your dream home which you can afford.
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When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase homes with down payments below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
What is PMI?
Freddie Mac defines PMI as:
"An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It's a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.
Once you've built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment."
As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:
"The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio - the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value - and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed."
According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 5%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their homes). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.
Here's an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:
The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:
"It's no doubt an added cost, but it's enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment."
If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until youâve saved a larger down payment, meet with a professional in your area who can explain your marketâs conditions and help you make the best decision for you and your family.
If you are considering selling your current home, to either move up to a larger home or into a home in an area that better suits your current family needs, great news was just revealed.
Last week, Trulia posted a blog, Not Your Fatherâs Housing Market, which examined home affordability over the last 40+ years (1975-2016). Their research revealed that:
"Nationally, homes are just about the most affordable theyâve been in the last 40 yearsâ¦ the median household could afford a home 1.5 times more expensive than the median home price. In 1980, the median household could only afford about 3/4 of the median home price.
Despite relatively stagnant incomes, affordability has grown due to the sharp drop in mortgage rates over the last 30 years - from a high of over 16% in the 1980s to under 4% by 2016.
Of the nation's 100 largest metros, only Miami became unaffordable between 1990 and 2016. Meanwhile, 22 metros have flipped from being unaffordable to becoming affordable in that same time frame."
Here is a graph showing the Affordability Index compared to the 40-year average:
The graph shows that housing affordability is better now than at any other time in the last forty years, except during the housing crash last decade.
(Remember that during the crash you could purchase distressed properties - foreclosures and short sales at 20-50% discounts.)
There is no doubt that with home prices and mortgage rates on the rise, the affordability index will continue to fall. That is why if you are thinking of moving up, you probably shouldn't wait.
If you have held off on moving up to your family's dream home because you were hoping to time the market, that time has come.
As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today's housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home's ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.
According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.
"It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities - all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property."
Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?
"If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage."
The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.
"As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline."
As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?
"Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind."
As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.
"Renting won't do if the dog can't come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits."
Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your 'furever' friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?
"No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility."
Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn't mean that down the road you wonât need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.
"Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!"
How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.
When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, contact a local real estate professional who can evaluate your ability to sell your house in todayâs market and get you into your dream retirement home!
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.
Prices Will Continue to Rise
CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.
Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage
There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlordâs.
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of 'forced savings' that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.
Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
It's Time to Move on with Your Life
The 'cost' of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.
But what if they weren't? Would you wait?
Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their most recent Existing Home Sales Report. According to the report:
"The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $240,500, up 5.8 percent from January 2017 ($227,300). January's price increase marks the 71st straight month of year-over-year gains."
Seventy-one consecutive months of price increases may have some concerned that current home values may be overinflated.
However, at the same time, Zillow issued a press release which revealed:
"If the housing bubble and bust had not happened, and home values had instead appreciated at a steady pace, the median home value would be higher than its current value."
Here are two graphs that help show why home prices are exactly where they should be.
âThe first graph shows actual median home sales prices from 2000 through 2017.
By itself, this graph could heighten concerns as it shows home values rose in the early 2000s, came tumbling down and are now headed up again. It gives the feel of a rollercoaster ride that is about to take another turn downward.
âHowever, if we also include where prices would naturally be, had there not been a boom & bust, we see a different story.
The blue bars on this graph represent were prices would be if they had increased by the normal annual appreciation rate (3.6%). By adding 3.6% to the actual 2000 price and repeating that for each subsequent year, we can see that prices were overvalued during the boom, undervalued during the bust, and a little bit LOWER than where they should be right now.
Based on historic appreciation levels, we should be very comfortable that current home values are not overinflated.
Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?
Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.
1. Price it a LITTLE LOW
This may seem counter-intuitive, but let's look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their homes a little OVER market value will leave them with room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).
2. Use a Real Estate Professional
This, too, may seem counter-intuitive. The seller may think they would make more money if they didn't have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.
A study by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don't actually save any money, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.
In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:
"FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate."
The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.
Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.
The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.
Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac's U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next 12 months.
How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?
Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.
According to CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 7.0% from this time last year and are predicted to be 4.2% higher next year.
If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next home.
Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family's wealth. Meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home.