Despite the popularity, it's hard to believe that there are still a few brave Americans out there that's out of the loop on the information circle on their benefits. Let's extend a helping hand to make sure all of them get these well-deserved benefits for themselves.
If you are a veteran or you know someone who is, here is a breakdown of the VA Home Loan benefits that can be used to achieve the American Dream!
Top 5 Benefits of a VA Home Loan
One of the most important first steps when applying for a VA Home Loan is obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). "The COE verifies to the lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed loan."
You Can Apply for a VA Loan if You:
It's normal to hesitate on big decisions such as buying your first home, you don't want to jump the gun only to regret it afterward. Some may say you can never tell until you give it a try, wrong! Truth is, owning a home is costly enough as it is, what more is real estate mistake. There are ways to find out how you fare in the market, and the outcome may pleasantly surprise you.
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. Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine if your dream home is within your grasp today.
We all know how competitive the real estate market has become due to the recent mortgage interest rate increase and scarcity of inventory. You don't want to jump into the market unprepared and waste time an effort, so we came up with a guide for your buying experience to be as smooth and pleasant as possible.
Below are 4 steps provided by Freddie Mac to help buyers make offers, along with some additional information for your consideration:
1. Determine Your Price
"You've found the perfect home and you're ready to buy. Now what? Your real estate agent will be by your side, helping you determine an offer price that is fair."
Based on your agent's experience and key considerations (like similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood or the condition of the house and what you can afford), your agent will help you to determine the offer that you are going to present.
Getting pre-approved will not only show home-sellers that you are serious about buying, but it will also allow you to make your offer with confidence because you'll know that you have already been approved for a mortgage in that amount.
2. Submit an Offer
"Once you've determined your price, your agent will draw up an offer, or purchase agreement, to submit to the seller's real estate agent. This offer will include the purchase price and terms and conditions of the purchase."
Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways in which you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market! A licensed real estate agent who is active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer.
3. Negotiate the Offer
"Oftentimes, the seller will counter the offer, typically asking for a higher purchase price or to adjust the closing date. In these cases, the seller's agent will submit a counteroffer to your agent, detailing their desired changes, at this time, you can either accept the offer or decide if you want to counter.
Each time changes are made through a counteroffer, you or the seller have the option to accept, reject or counter it again. The contract is considered final when both parties sign the written offer."
If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to "always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home." If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller or even cancel the contract altogether.
4. Act Fast
The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a 'normal' market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.
Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as quickly as possible.
Whether you're buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in his or her market is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Happy house hunting!
As most of us know, real estate markets in most areas have been very competitive due mortgage interest rate increase and low inventory of homes for sale. Now that the inventory has loosened up a lot of people have conflicting impressions about it.
"With the rate of home price appreciation starting to decelerate alongside the uptick in inventory, we expect significant debate whether this is a bullish or bearish sign."
Is this a sign the market might crash?
There are those who look at the increase in inventory as a sign that we are returning to the market we saw last decade. However, a closer look shows that we are nowhere near the levels of inventory we reached before the crash in 2008.
A normal market would have about 6-months inventory, but the latest Existing Home Sales Report issued by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:
"Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace up from 4.1 months a year ago."
A decade ago, prices began to rapidly depreciate in June 2007. At that time, we had a 9.1-month supply (more than double what it is today) and inventory kept rising until it hit a peak of 11.1 months in April of 2008.
With the current levels of buyer demand, any such increase in months supply is highly unlikely. As Danielle Hale, realtor.com's Chief Economist explains:
"After years of record-breaking inventory declines, September's almost flat inventory signals a big change in the real estate market. Would-be buyers who had been waiting for a bigger selection of homes for sale may finally see more listings materialize. But don't expect the level to jump dramatically.
Plenty of buyers in the market are scooping up homes as soon as they're listed, which will keep national increases relatively small for the time being."
What will be the result of the increase in inventory?
The increase in inventory will allow many families who had been unable to find a home to finally become homeowners. Again, we quote from the 'Z Report':
"In our view, the short-term narrative will probably be confusing, but more sustainable growth and affordability will likely be the end result."
If you are either a first-time or second-time buyer who has given up, check with a local real estate professional to see if new listings have come to the market in your area.
The real estate market has become competitive and intimidating place in some areas. It's best to prepare yourself before entering the market for your home purchase.
In a recent realtor.com article entitled, "How to Find Your Dream Home-Without Losing Your Mind," the author highlights some steps that first-time homebuyers can take to help carry their excitement of buying a home throughout the whole process.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your SearchOne 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, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.
This step will also help you narrow your search based on your budget and won't leave you disappointed if the home you tour, and love, ends up being outside your budget!
2. Know the Difference Between Your 'Must-Haves' and 'Would-Like-To-Haves'
Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the 'man cave' of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?
Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like and then qualify them as 'must-haves', 'should-haves', or 'absolute-wish list' items. This will help keep you focused on what's most important.
3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood You Want to Live In
Every neighborhood has its own charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, the article suggests test-driving the area. Make sure that the area meets your needs for "amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit."
4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It
Evaluate your family's needs and settle on a style of home that would best serve those needs. Just because you've narrowed your search to a zip code, doesn't mean that you need to tour every listing in that zip code.
An example from the article says, "if you have several younger kids and donât want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod-style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main."
5. Document Your Home Visits
Once you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy and documenting what you love and donât love about each property you visit. They even go as far as to suggest snapping a photo of the 'for sale' sign on the way into the property to help keep the listings divided in your photo gallery.
Making notes on the listing sheet as you tour the property will also help you remember what the photos mean, or what you were feeling while touring the home.
In a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home.
Reports both recent and old imply that one of the reasons for the current home price inflation is the dwindling supply. Low inventories are due to Baby Boomers' unwillingness to sell their homes. Let's find out how this is wrong.
Here's what some of the experts have to say on the subject:Aaron Terrazas, Senior Economist at Zillow, says that "Boomers are healthier and working longer than previous generations, which means they aren't yet ready to sell their homes."
According to a study by Realtor.com, 85% of baby boomers indicated they were not planning to sell their homes.
It is true that baby boomers are healthier and are thus working and living longer, but are they also refusing to sell their homes?
Last month, Trulia looked at the housing situation of seniors (aged 65+) today compared to that of a decade ago. Trulia's study revealed that:
"Although seniors appear to be delaying downsizing until later in life, as a group, households 65 and over are still downsizing at roughly the same rate as in years past."
Trulia also explains that,
"5.5% of households 65 and over moved, pretty evenly split between moves to single family (2.7%) and multifamily (2.4%) homes. In 2005, these percentages were virtually the same, with 5.5% of senior households moving, including 2.5% into single family and 2.5% into multifamily homes."
So, if these percentages are the same, what is the challenge?
Recent reports tell us that the older population grew from 3 million in 1900 to 47.8 million in 2017.
In addition, the Census recently revised the numbers from their National Population Projections:
"The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history...By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18."
If you are a baby boomer who is not sure whether you should downsize or move to a warmer climate (other people are doing it, why not you?), call a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your options today!
You'll be missing out on a lot of things if you skip pre-approval in your checklist. Fear of down payment and credit score hinder a lot of potential home buyers' decision-making process, with pre-approval you can do away with hesitation and show sellers that you mean business.
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:
Many potential homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary 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.
There have been countless reports saying that home prices nowadays are more expensive that is was 10 years ago. While this is accurate, most reports do not include why this is not necessarily a bad thing. Let's find out why.
The reason is that homes were less affordable 25, 20, or even 11 years ago than they are today.
Obviously, buying a home is more expensive now than during the ten years immediately following one of the worst housing crashes in American history.
Over the past decade, the market was flooded with distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) that were selling at 10-50% discounts. There were so many distressed properties that the prices of non-distressed properties in the same neighborhoods were lowered and mortgage rates were kept low to help the economy.
Low Prices + Low Mortgage Rates = High Affordability
Prices have since recovered and mortgage rates have increased as the economy has gained strength. This has and will continue to impact housing affordability moving forward.
However, let's give affordability some historical context. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issues their Affordability Index each month. According to NAR:
"The Monthly Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent monthly price and income data."
NAR's current index stands at 138.8. The index had been higher each of the last ten years, peaking at 197 in 2012 (the higher the index the more affordable houses are).
But, the average index between 1990 and 2007 was just 123 and there were no years with an index above 133. That means that homes are more affordable today than at any time during the eighteen years between 1990 and 2007.
With home prices continuing to appreciate and mortgage rates increasing, home affordability will likely continue to slide. However, this does not mean that buying a house is not an attainable goal in most markets as it is less expensive today than during the eighteen-year stretch immediately preceding the housing bubble and crash.
As the shortage of existing homes continues to drive home prices up, new home sales are giving us a glimpse of how the foreseeable future home sales will look like.
According to the latest New Residential Sales Report from the Census Bureau, new construction sales in August were up 3.5% from July and 12.7% from last year! This marks the second consecutive month with double-digit year-over-year growth (12.8% in July).
Below is a table showing the change in starts, completions, and sales from last August.
Other notable news from the report is that the percentage of new construction sales in the $200-$299k range has continued to break away from the $300-$399k range.
This shows that builders are starting to build lower-priced homes that will help alleviate some of the inventory challenges in the starter and trade-up home categories. The chart below shows the full breakdown.
If you are thinking of buying or selling in today's market, you no doubt have heard that there is a shortage of existing homes for sale which has been driving home prices up across the country. The additional new construction coming to the market could help alleviate this shortage, but we are still not back up to pre-crisis levels.
With recent market developments such as the mortgage interest rate increase and dwindling supplies, many of us expected a significant bump in home prices this year. But recent reports indicate that this year marks the first time since 2016 when home prices did not mark up by 6%.
CoreLogic's Chief Economist Frank Nothaft gave some insight into this change,
"The rise in mortgage rates this summer to their highest level in seven years has made it more difficult for potential buyers to afford a home. The slackening in demand is reflected in the slowing of national appreciation, as illustrated in the CoreLogic Home Price Index.
National appreciation in August was the slowest in nearly two years, and we expect appreciation to slow further in the coming year."
One of the major factors that has driven prices to accelerate at a pace of between 6-7% over the past two years was the lack of inventory available for sale in many areas of the country. This made houses a prized commodity which forced many buyers into bidding wars and drove prices even higher.
According to the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report, we are starting to see more inventory come to market over the last few months. This, paired with patient buyers who are willing to wait to find the right homes, is creating a natural environment for price growth to slow.
Historically, prices appreciated at a rate of 3.7% (from 1987-1999). CoreLogic predicts that prices will continue to rise over the next year at a rate of 4.7%.
As the housing market moves closer to a 'normal market' with more inventory for buyers to choose from, home prices will start to appreciate at a more 'normal' level, and that's ok! If you are curious about home prices in your area, talk to a local real estate professional who can show you what's going on!
There are countless reasons why we should have a home of our own. financial benefits, social benefits, emotional benefit, and the list goes on. Today, let's discuss the top 4 reasons backed up by studies.
Realtor.com reported that:
"Buying remains the more attractive option in the long term - that remains the American dream, and it's true in many markets where renting has become really the shortsighted option...as people get more savings in their pockets, buying becomes the better option."
What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?
1. In a previous blog, we highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:
3. Less than a month ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2018 could build more than $49,000 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 your home has many social and financial benefits that cannot be achieved by renting.
Today's real estate market are driven by two influential forces, interest rates & supply. Whether we like it or not our system are ultimately governed by these two which can stiffen or soften a particular market area with the slightest movements by its needle.
Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and are now over three-quarters of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.72% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week.
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.
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 over 5% by this time next year.
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 4.3-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 78 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 three 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, in June, July, and August, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.
This is a trend to watch as we move further into the fall and winter months. 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.
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.
Although it's true that another increase just occurred recently, our current rates are still low compared to what we had back 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago. Some buyers may have missed to take advantage of the lowest rate in history, but we're still at the lower end to date historically speaking.
Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased by close to a quarter of a percent over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to rise another quarter of a percent by next year.
Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:
Though you may have missed 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.
The simplest analogy I could give is a seesaw, imagine supply is on one end and demand is on the other. When supply drops the demand will rise accordingly, thus opening an opportunity to raise prices.
The map below was created after asking the question: "How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?"
The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey showed that in 38 out of 50 states buyer demand was slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong. Only six states had a 'stable' demand level.
The index also asked: "How would you rate seller traffic in your area?"
As you can see from the map below, 23 states reported 'weak' seller traffic, 22 states and Washington D.C. reported 'stable' seller traffic, and 5 states reported 'strong' seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for homes.
Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, meet with a local real estate professional in your area who can help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!
For the sake of views and likes, some writers will intentionally use words that they think would make their headlines look more appealing despite of the fact that the thought and idea change greatly with it, misleading leading readers and netizens alike.
Many of these headline writers will confuse ''softening home prices'' with ''falling home prices,'' but there is a major difference between the two.
The data will begin to show that home values are not appreciating at the same levels as they had over the last several years (softening prices). This does NOT mean that prices are depreciating (falling prices).
Here is an example: Over the last several years, national home values increased by more than 6% annually. If you had a home worth $300,000 at the beginning of the year, it would be worth $318,000 by year's end. If the appreciation rate "falls" to 4%, that $300,000 house would be worth $312,000 at the end of next year - a $6,000 difference.
The price of the home did not fall. It just didn't increase at the level it had the previous year.
Appreciation rates are projected to end this year at approximately 5%, and then drop to somewhere between 4-5% next year. This drop in appreciation rate will cause home price increases to soften.
Again, this does not mean that home prices will depreciate, but instead that they will appreciate more slowly.
Be careful when reading headlines that discuss home values. Some headline writers will be legitimately confused and will use the word falling in place of softening. Others will realize that the headline "Home Prices are Falling!" will get more clicks than "Home Prices are Softening" and will intentionally write the more compelling headline.
The way we plan and live our lives greatly depend on our ability to pay for the things we use and will be using. At the top part of most people's list is mortgage. Changes in mortgage rate directly impact us and our day to day lifestyle.
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 year.
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 6.2% from this time last year and are predicted to be 5.1% higher next year.
If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become a reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next homes.
Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family's wealth, so don't wait until next year! Meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home now.
One of the main reasons why real estate have been at the top of the list of great investments is its structurally sound appreciation model. The premise is, as time goes, the population grows but the land mass of a region remains the same. Thus, circling back to the ever dependable law of supply and demand. The rate on increase of a home's value varies greatly per location and it's economic state.
CoreLogic broke down appreciation even further into four price ranges, giving us a more detailed view than if we had simply looked at the year-over-year increases in national median home price.
The chart below shows the four price ranges from the report, as well as each one's year-over-year growth from July 2017 to July 2018 (the latest data available).
It is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor which determines how much your home has appreciated over the course of the last year.
Lower-priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize.
If you are planning to list your home for sale in today's market, find a local agent who can explain exactly what's going on in your area and your price range.
With the amount of time spent in its current state, it's a little hard to establish the true norm for everyone. Newcomers to the industry who experienced the pre-bubble burst market may perceive what we have now as their norm. Some may have an ideal vision of how the normal market status should be and some may base it on how things were before the bubble burst.
After the bubble burst in June 2007, values depreciated 6.1% annually until February 2012. From March 2012 to today, the market has been recovering with values appreciating 6.2% annually.
These wild swings in values were caused by abnormal ratios between the available supply of inventory and buyer demand in the market. In a normal market, there would be a 6-month supply of housing inventory.
When the market hit its peak in 2007, homeowners and builders were trying to take advantage of a market that was fueled by an "irrational exuberance."
Inventory levels grew to 7+ months. With that many homes available for sale, there weren't enough buyers to satisfy the number of homeowners/builders trying to sell, so prices began to fall.
Then, foreclosures came to market. We eventually hit 11 months inventory which caused prices to crash until early 2012. By that time, inventory levels had fallen to 6.2 months and the market began its recovery.
Over the last five years, inventory levels have remained well below the 6-month supply needed for prices to continue to level off. As a result, home prices have increased over that time at percentages well above the appreciation levels seen in a more normal market.
That was the past. What about the future?
We currently have about 4.5-months inventory. This means prices should continue to appreciate at above-normal levels which most experts believe will happen for the next year. However, two things have just occurred that are pointing to the fact that we may be returning to a more normal market.
1. Listing Supply is Increasing
Both existing and new construction inventory is on the rise. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors revealed that inventory has increased over the last two months after thirty-seven consecutive months of declining inventory. At the same time, building permits are also increasing which means more new construction is about to come to market.
2. Buyer Demand is Softening
Ivy Zelman, who is widely respected as an industry expert, reported in her latest 'Z' Report:
"While we continue to expect a resumption of growth in resale transactions on the back of easing inventory in 2019 and 2020, our real-time view into the market through our Real Estate Broker Survey does suggest that buyers have grown more discerning of late and a level of "pause" has taken hold in many large housing markets.
Indicative of this, our broker contacts rated buyer demand at 69 on a 0-100 scale, still above average but down from 74 last year and representing the largest year-over-year decline in the two-year history of our survey."
With supply increasing and demand waning, we may soon be back to a more normal real estate market. We will no longer be in a buyers' market (like 2007-February 2012} or a sellers' market (like March 2012- Today}.
Prices won't appreciate at the levels we've seen recently, nor will they depreciate. It will be a balanced market where prices remain steady, where buyers will be better able to afford a home, and where sellers will more easily be able to move-up or move-down to a home that better suits their current lifestyles.
Returning to a normal market is a good thing. However, after the zaniness of the last eleven years, it might feel strange. If you are going 85 miles per hour on a road with a 60 MPH speed limit and you see a police car ahead, you're going to slow down quickly. But, after going 85 MPH, 60 MPH will feel like you're crawling. It is the normal speed limit, yet, it will feel strange.
That's what is about to happen in real estate. The housing market is not falling apart. We are just returning to a more normal market which, in the long run, will be much healthier for you whether you are a buyer or a seller.
If you're debating on moving to your dream home, you might be in luck. In some areas in the U.S. home equities rise which could give way to spending less for the long-awaited dream home for the lucky 25% of homeowners with a mortgage.
Home equity is defined as the difference between the home's fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens (loans) on the property. While homeowners pay down their mortgages, the amount of equity they have in their homes climbs each time the value of their homes go up!
According to the latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, "13.9 million U.S. properties in Q2 2018 were equity rich -- where the combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property's estimated market value -- representing 24.9% of all U.S. properties with a mortgage."
This means that nearly a quarter of Americans who have a mortgage would be able to sell their homes and have a significant down payment toward their next home. Many who sell could also use their new-found equity to pay off high-interest credit cards or help children with tuition costs.
The map below shows the percentage of properties with a mortgage in each state that were equity rich in Q2 2018.
If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, contact an agent in your area to discuss your options!
Any process can prove tricky to someone new. Let alone, the complicated procedure of selling homes, to agents helping out the ordeal could be less difficult. Good thing we have this tips to make your life easier.
Memorize the Market
When a market turns and sudden transition occurs, study your potential market response with the sudden changes. As a listing agent and local market expert, mastery of the signs of a shift and having the means to communicate the new reality to your sellers is a must. Our job is to help our potential sellers understand the turns. We should sent out extensive communiques to our existing sellers and also tweaked our listing presentation to encompass the new reality.
Understand the Motivation
Seller motivation is primary. The genuine willingness to do whatever is necessary to sell is very essential. On the other hand, if they are not highly motivated and is after for "testing the market", refer them your competitor across town. Once the listing expires, circle back around.
Know the Numbers
Statistics in average days on the market, sold price, price-per-square-foot, and percentage of current active properties with recent price reduction are vital in helping sellers understand the current market and effectively position their home to sell. In addition to these numbers, using Clarus Market Metrics is highly recommended for these charts and graphs help sellers see the current metrics at a glance.
Effective home selling is all about three P's - preparation, pricing and promotion. These 3 P's are interconnected and must complete the process of listing. Different pricing techniques are essential in different approach:
1) maximum price for an increasing market
2) for downward market - seller's better understanding that prepared homes are the ones that sell while the rest remain active is implied.
Nail the Pricing
Pricing is the most important among the three P's. Such as in a declining market, buyers preferred the best prepared property at the lowest possible price. Effective pricing strategies are very essential as Wisdom states, "price ahead of the market" - if a market has turned downward, educate your sellers to price their listings below the last sales.
Promote the Home
Promotion is the key. Effective promotion includes anything that will keep prospective buyers engaged with the listing on their phone. Thoughtful preparation, use of social media thru targeted ads on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and innovated technologies such as virtual reality (VR), drone footage, 3D tours and video, professional pictures and beautiful staging. Persuaded through follow up email campaigns and other means to cover all the promotional bases.
Respond to the Leads Quickly
Ensure to have a systematic response systems in place to capture leads and let your sellers know that their property must be available for showing when a prospective buyer wants to come through. All inquiries and concerns should be addressed accordingly by the respective person in charge who is well equipped with knowledge and skills. For further enhancement, a comprehensive disclosure system and report package is available and is user friendly.
Know your Options
Innovation is progress. Trying new measures or practices to excel and help the sellers when the market was down could possible boost them to gain more including credits toward closing costs, bonuses to buyer agents, interest rate buy-downs, termite report clearance and the like.
Master the Scripts
Continuous coaching, training and scripts practices will definitely improve and develop the professional skills and mastery of the agents in their field of work.
Take Listings You Can Sell
Compete effectively in our market by knowing not just the market numbers but yours as well. Significant and efficient advertising budget must be applied for each listing. Mastery of the fundamentals with effective cash flow and client management are substantial and very useful to succeed when the market turns or declines.
Within the property market, there is much written about when the best time to buy and sell is. Just like trading other investments you can try to play the market to your advantage and this certainly applies with investment buyers, but when it comes to selling a home, it is often more about the right time for you rather than trying to judge the wider market.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently commented:
"Contract signings inched backward once again last month, as declines in the South and West weighed down on overall activity."
Yun goes on to say:
"The reason sales are falling off last year's pace is that multiple years of inadequate supply in markets with strong job growth have finally driven up home prices to a point where an increasing number of prospective buyers are unable to afford it."
In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction, including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.
As a potential seller, you are in the driver's seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.
There are no complex forces at work here, just a normal case on Supply and Demand imbalance. Figures shown below are from the best and most reliable source explaining the future of the market. Let's find out more.
The Foot Traffic Report
by the National Association of Realtors
Methodology: Every month SentriLock, LLC provides NAR Research with data on the number of properties shown by a REALTOR. Lockboxes made by SentriLock, LLC are used in roughly a third of home showings across the nation. Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.
Latest Report: "Foot Traffic climbed 3.2 points to 55.8 mid-summer in July. Additionally, the diffusion index is higher than last year by 13.5 points. Despite a healthy economy and labor market, supply and new construction remains unable to keep up with buyer demand."
Synopsis: Buyer demand remains strong.
The Showing Index
Methodology: The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis, a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends.
Latest Report: "Showing activity throughout the country increased by 0.3 percent year over year in July, the third consecutive month that the U.S. ShowingTime Showing Index recorded buyer interest deceleration compared to the previous year. The June 2018 figures revealed a 0.0 percent change in showing traffic from 2017, while May showed a 1.2 percent year-over-year increase. The 12-month average year-over-year increase was 4.6 percent."
Synopsis: Buyer demand is softening
Realtors Confidence Index
by the National Association of Realtors
Methodology: The REALTORS Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
Latest Report: "REALTORS reported slower home buying activity in July 2018...The REALTORS Buyer Traffic Index registered at 62, down from the same month one year ago (69). This is the fifth straight month (since March 2018) that Realtors reported a decline in buyer activity compared to conditions one year ago."
Synopsis: Buyer demand is softening
The Real Estate Broker Survey
in the 'Z' Report by Zelman and Associates (subscription needed)
Methodology: Proprietary survey results of real estate executives.
Latest Report: "While we continue to expect a resumption of growth in resale transactions on the back of easing inventory in 2019 and 2020, our real-time view into the market through our Real Estate Broker Survey does suggest that buyers have grown more discerning of late and a level of "pause" has taken hold in many large housing markets. Indicative of this, our broker contacts rated buyer demand at 69 on a 0-100 scale, still above average but down from 74 last year and representing the largest year-over-year decline in the two-year history of our survey."
Synopsis: Buyer demand is softening
Again, three of the four most reliable measures of buyer activity are reporting that demand is softening. We had a strong buyers' market directly after the housing crash which was immediately followed by a strong sellers' market over the last six years.
If demand continues to soften and supply begins to grow (as is projected to happen), we will return to a more neutral market which will favor neither buyers nor sellers. This "more normal" market will be better for real estate in the long term.
If you're ready to sell your home but just waiting for the right time, then you're in luck my friend. There's a saying that goes, "strike while the iron is hot" and right now, the iron is ablaze. You should put your property up in the market while it's filled with able, willing and eager buyers.
Between 1987 and 1999, which is often referred to as the 'Pre-Bubble Period,' home prices grew at an average of 3.6% according to the Home Price Expectation Survey.
The chart below shows the forecasted year-over-year prices for 2018 (predictions made in 2017). According to their predictions, the average appreciation over the course of 2018 should be 4.8%, which is still greater than the 'normal' appreciation of 3.6%.
If we layer in the actual price appreciation that has occurred this year, we can see that over the course of 2018, home prices have appreciated by an average of 6.9% and have outpaced projections all year!
What does this mean?
The tale of today's real estate market is one of low inventory, high demand, and rising prices. The forces at work can be simply explained with the theory of supply and demand. That being said, if a large supply of inventory were to come to the market, prices may start to appreciate closer to the forecasted rate which would STILL be greater than the historic norm!
If you are a homeowner whose house no longer meets your needs, now may be a great time to list your home and capitalize on the equity you have gained over the last year to make a significant down payment on your next home!
If you're debating on buying a new home for your family in the future, the best time to buy is now. Here are four good reasons why you should buy a home this fall.
1. Prices Will Continue to Rise
CoreLogic's latest Home Price Insights report reveals that home prices have appreciated by 6.2% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.1% over the next year.
Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have already increased by half of a percentage point, to around 4.5% in 2018. 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 half a percentage point to around 5.1% 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.
3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage
There are some renters who have not yet purchased homes 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 landlord's.
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of 'forced savings' that allows you to build equity in your home which you can then tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person building that equity.
Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
4. 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.
Research shows that a great number of prospective home buyers came from a family who owned a home as compared to those who grew up in a family who rents. This is great news as most millennials are raised by baby boomers which we all know to be a generation of homeowners.
According to an analysis of millennial homeowners, the homeownership rate of those whose parents rent their homes is 14.4%, while the rate amongst millennials whose parents are homeowners is 31.7%!
"A young adult's odds of homeownership are highly correlated with their parent's homeownership.
Without controlling for such factors as age, income, education, marital status, and race or ethnicity, there is a 17 percentage-point gap between the homeownership rate for young adults whose parents are renters and young adults whose parents are homeowners."
The study also revealed that as a parent's net worth increases, so does the likelihood that their child will own a home. These two findings are not surprising as we know from the Survey of Consumer Finances that a homeowner's net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter.
Below is a breakdown of the relationship between a parent's wealth and a millennia's likelihood to own a home.
Even though millennials took longer than many of the generations before them to start home searches of their own, the data shows that they will not be waiting much longer!