Think Home Prices Are High Now? Why They’re Likely to Keep Going Up!

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“Prices are increasing faster than we expected them to because of the continual shortage of new homes coming onto the market,” says Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner of realtor.com. “People that had been holding back on buying a home … now have good, steady jobs and are less worried about losing their jobs and hence are going into the housing market.” If the shortage of homes continues, prices could rise 7% to 8% year over year in 2017, he says. Ouch.

That means buyers on a budget “will be able to afford one less bedroom [or need to] accept a house with a longer commute,” Kirchner says.

The first quarter of the year marked the strongest quarterly sales pace in a decade, according to the report. “Prospective buyers poured into the market,” NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Those able to successfully buy most likely had to outbid others—especially for those in the starter-home market.” Read more.

The Importance of Using a Professional to Sell Your Home – call #ReginaSingh

Call your local professional #ReginaSingh

The Importance of Using a Professional to Sell Your Home | Keeping Current Matters When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold. In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the percentage of buyers who used the internet in their home search increased to 94%. However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know. Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%). The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? Call me #RealEstateGuru

You need a Real Estate Guru – allow me to assist.

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? | Keeping Current Matters Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home. Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate. Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender. Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items. Credit Score – A number ranging from 350-800, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750. Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage. Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month. Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance. Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years. Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation. Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017. Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets. Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click here. Real Estate Professional – An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate professionals can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process.

The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first.

Using a home equity line of credit to go green

For clients who’ve closed on a home and want to make energy-efficient updates — or clients looking to make similar upgrades prior to selling — a home equity line of credit could be a great option to help pay for a wide range of home improvements.

Energy-efficient upgrades in particular are a great way to both add value and reduce expenses in the long term. Installing insulated windows or updating heating and air conditioning systems are relatively simple projects that can help clients lower their utility costs — but clients may also want to consider integrating these smaller updates into larger upgrades like a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Of course, these projects can get expensive, which is why a home equity line of credit (HELOC) could be a good resource for your clients. In fact, home improvements and remodeling have traditionally been among the most common reasons homeowners take out a HELOC.

There are a number of benefits to using a HELOC to pay for planned upgrades:

  • Flexibility. Once someone opens a HELOC, they may draw out funds as needed up to a predetermined credit limit.
  • Convenience. Most financial institutions provide checks that can be used to pay directly from the client’s HELOC for services used (for example, a contractor) and purchases made (for materials, appliances, etc.). Or, they can use secure online banking to transfer funds from a HELOC to their checking account to pay for home improvements.
  • Low interest rates. Typically, the interest rates on a HELOC are much lower than on most credit cards.
  • Possible tax advantages. Tell clients to check with their financial advisor to learn more about what kinds of tax advantages they may qualify for with a HELOC.

The Bank of America Real Estate Center can help clients figure out how much they may be able to borrow for a HELOC. Once they go to the site and type in their home’s street address, they’ll instantly see an estimated range of what their home is worth. Generally, they’re allowed to borrow a portion of their home’s equity (defined as the appraised home value less what is owed).

 

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp?

  • ‘Millennials’ are defined as 18-36 year olds according to the US Census Bureau.
  • According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 31 years old.
  • More and more ‘Old Millennials’ (25-36 year olds) are realizing that homeownership is within their reach now!
Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

#Millennials Flock to #LowDownPayment Programs

Millennials Flock to Low Down Payment Programs | Keeping Current Matters

A recent report released by Down Payment Resource shows that 65% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with a down payment of 6% or less in the month of January. The trend continued through all buyers with a mortgage, as 62% made a down payment of less than 20%, which is consistent with findings from December. An article by DS News points to the new wave of millennial homebuyers:

“It seems that the long-awaited influx of millennial home buyers is beginning. Ellie Mae reported that mortgages to millennial borrowers for new home purchases continued their ascent in January, accounting for 84 percent of closed loans.”

Among millennials who purchased homes in January, FHA loans remained popular, making up 35% of all loans closed. Ellie Mae’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy Joe Tyrrell gave some insight into why:

“It is not surprising to see Millennial borrowers leverage FHA loans because they typically offer lower down payments and lower average FICO score requirements than conventional loans. Across the board, we’re continuing to see strong interest in homeownership from this younger generation.”

Bottom Line

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.

Thinking of Selling? Now Is the Time to Act.

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If you thought about selling your house this year, now may be the time to do it. The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, revealed in a recent article that:

“The biggest challenge to buyers this spring will be simply finding a home to buy and getting it successfully under contract. That’s because the supply of homes for sale is at an all-time low, and yet demand is strong and getting stronger.”

Smoke goes on to say:

“We started the year with the lowest inventory of homes available for sale that we’ve ever seen on realtor.com. While we did see inventory grow 2% in February, total inventory was down 11% over last year.”

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.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.