What Does the Recent Rash of Price Reductions Mean to the Real Estate Market?
Last week, in a new report from Zillow, it was revealed that there has been a rash of price reductions across the country. According to the report:
- There are more price cuts now than a year ago in over two-thirds of the nation’s largest metros
- About 14% of all listings had a price cut in June
- Since the beginning of the year, the share of listings with a price cut increased 1.2%
- This is the greatest January-to-June increase ever reported, and more than double the January-to-June increase last year
Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas further explained:
“A rising share of on-market listings are seeing price cuts, though these price cuts are concentrated at the most expensive price-points and primarily in markets that have seen outsized price gains in recent years.”
What this DOESN’T MEAN for the real estate market…
This doesn’t mean home values have depreciated or are about to depreciate.
A seller may put a home worth $300,000 on the market for $325,000 hoping a bidding war will occur and an overanxious buyer will pay more than its actual value. That has happened often over the last few years. If the seller gets no offers and reduces the price to $300,000, it doesn’t mean the home dropped in value. It is still worth $300,000.
Home prices will continue to appreciate over the next 12 months. In this same report, Terrazas remarks:
“It’s far too soon to call this a buyer’s market, home values are still expected to appreciate at double their historic rate over the next 12 months, but the frenetic pace of the housing market over the past few years is starting to return toward a more normal trend.”
What this DOES MEAN for the real estate market…
This does mean that sellers should be more conservative when it comes to the price at which they list their homes – especially sellers in the upper end of each market.
Sellers have been listing their homes at inflated prices hoping a super-hot market will deliver a buyer willing to pay virtually any price to ensure they don’t lose the house. That strategy has worked somewhat successfully over the last two years. However, the time that strategy would have worked may have passed.
Again, quoting Aaron Terrazas in the report:
“The housing market has tilted sharply in favor of sellers over the past two years, but there are very early preliminary signs that the winds may be starting to shift ever-so-slightly.”
Prices are not depreciating. However, if you want to sell your house quickly and with the least amount of hassles, pricing it correctly from the beginning makes the most sense.
The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that the main reason why non-homeowners do not own their own homes is because they believe that they cannot afford them.
This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.
1. Down Payment
A recent survey by Laurel Road, the National Online Lender and FDIC-Insured Bank, revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan.
According to the survey, 53% of Americans who plan to buy or have already bought a home admit to their concerns about their ability to afford a home in the current market. In addition, 46% are currently unfamiliar with alternative down payment options, and 46% of millennials do not feel confident that they could currently afford a 20% down payment.
What these people don’t realize, however, is that there are many loans written with down payments of 3% or less.
Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
An Ipsos survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores for approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.
The average conventional loan closed in May had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with an average score of 676. The average across all loans closed in May was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in May.
There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they get married or start a family, some might think they are too young, and still, some others might think their current incomes would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.
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. Let’s meet to determine if your dream home is within your grasp today.
Summer is traditionally a busy season for real estate. Buyers come out in force and homeowners list their houses for sale hoping to capitalize on those buyers who are looking to purchase before the new school year. This year will be no different!
Buyers have already been out in force looking for their dream homes and more are on their way. The challenge is that the inventory of homes for sale has not kept up with demand, which has led to A LOT of competition for the homes that are available.
A recent article by the National Association of Realtors touched on the current market conditions:
“Realtors® in areas with strong job markets report that consumer frustration is rising. Home shoppers are increasingly struggling to find an affordable property to buy, and the prevalence of multiple bids is pushing prices further out of reach.”
Realtor.com went on to explain why buyers are flocking to the market in such big numbers:
“A booming economy and stable employment in most parts of the country have created a new generation of eager home buyers – and led to fevered price battles spilling over into some unexpected, smaller markets.”
Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for Realtor.com had this to say about competition:
“Multiple-offer scenarios are no longer reserved to the usual big, fast-moving markets…demand for homes has spilled outward into secondary, smaller markets, and more buyers are gearing up to face fierce competition in more places around the country.”
Realtor.com looked at the number of homes that were selling above asking price to determine which markets were heating up. Below are the Top 10:
- Akron, OH
- Worcester, MA
- Lexington, KY
- Irvine, CA
- Greensboro, NC
- Sioux Falls, SD
- Madison, WI
- Louisville, KY
- Tacoma, WA
- Little Rock, AR
Let’s get together to discuss our exact market conditions so that we can help you create a strategy to secure your new home in this competitive atmosphere!
When homeowners decide to sell their houses, they obviously want to get the best possible price for their home 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 a buyer’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Home Buyer & Seller Generational Trends Report, the first step that “42% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.”
However, the report also revealed that 94% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes ultimately purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% of buyers purchased their homes directly from a seller whom they didn’t know.
Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (52%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (38%), or to help understand the process (60%).
The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who 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.
If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.
- Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).
- Minor bathroom renovations can go a long way toward improving the quality of your everyday life and/or impressing potential buyers.
- Upgrading your landscaping or curb appeal helps get buyers in the door. These upgrades rank as the 2ndand 4th renovations for returns on investment.
- There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract “more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
- “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home."
- "“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property."
- FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
- The data suggests the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.
- The National Association of REALTORS® recently surveyed their members for their Confidence Index.
- 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.
- Homes sold in less than 60 days in 35 out of 50 states and Washington D.C.
- Homes typically went under contract in 30 days in March!
- - Home Prices
- - Mortgage Standards
- - Mortgage Debt
- - Housing Affordability
With home values appreciating at record rates, some are concerned that we may be heading for another housing bubble like the one we experienced a decade ago. One of the major culprits of that housing boom and bust was the loosening of standards for mortgage credit.
In a study done at the University of North Carolina immediately after the crisis, it was revealed that:
“Lenders began originating large numbers of high risk mortgages from around 2004 to 2007, and loans from those vintage years exhibited higher default rates than loans made either before or after.”
A study by John V Duca, John Muellbauer, and Anthony Murphy concluded that those risky mortgages caused the housing crisis:
“Our findings indicate that swings in credit standards played a major, if not the major, role in driving the recent boom and bust in US house prices.”
How do today’s mortgage standards compare to those from 2004 to 2007?
The Mortgage Bankers’ Association tracts mortgage standards in their Mortgage Credit Availability Index(MCAI). A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. While the chart below shows the index going back to that period between 2004 and 2007 when loose standards caused the housing bubble, we can see that, though the index has risen slightly over the last several years, we are nowhere near the standards that precipitated the housing crisis.
If anything, standards today are too tight and are preventing some qualified buyers from getting the mortgage credit they deserve.
People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, we want to make certain that everyone understands that now is NOT a good time to rent.
The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. According to their report, here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:
As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to buy a home of your own instead.
One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, let’s meet to determine if you are able to today!
A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and released by SunTrust Mortgage found that “55% of homeowners with a child under the age of 18 at the time when they purchased their home said that the opinion of their offspring played a major role in their home buying decision.”
When the results were broken down by the parent’s age, millennials (those 18-36) led the way with 74% of homeowners saying that their child’s opinion was a factor in choosing which home to buy. Eighty-three percent of renters believe that their child’s opinion would be a deciding factor when looking to purchase a home.
So what features in a home are most important to kids?
Coming in at 57%, it should come as no surprise that gaining their own bedrooms was the top most-desirable feature of any home for kids, followed by a large back yard to play in at 34%.
Todd Chamberlain, Head of Mortgage Banking at SunTrust explained the reasoning behind the survey,
“As a parent of two kids, I know from experience that including children in the home buying process is not only fun for the whole family, but also educational for our homebuyers of tomorrow.”
If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, make sure to highlight all the kid-friendly features your home has to offer so that you can sway the real decision makers.
The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest points in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2018.
However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but supply is not keeping up.
Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:
“The worsening inventory crunch through the first three months of the year inflicted even more upward pressure on home prices in a majority of markets. Following the same trend over the last couple of years, a strengthening job market and income gains are not being met by meaningful sales gains because of unrelenting supply and affordability headwinds.”
“As we head into late spring, the demand for purchase credit remains rock solid, which should set us up for another robust summer home sales season. While this year’s high rates – up 50 basic points from a year ago – have put pressure on the budgets of some home shoppers, weak inventory levels are what’s keeping the housing market from a stronger sales pace.”
“The dynamics of increased competition and buyer frustration are unlikely to change…In fact, the direction of the trend is pointing to a growing mismatch between the pool of prospective buyers and existing inventory.”
If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.
Selling Your House on Your Own Could Cost You
In this extremely hot real estate market, some homeowners might consider selling their homes on their own which is known as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). They rationalize that they don’t need a real estate agent and believe that they can save the fee for the services a real estate agent offers. However, a study by Collateral Analytics reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, 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. 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.”
Why would FSBOs net less money than if they had used an agent?
Conclusions from the study:
As Dave Ramsey, America’s trusted voice on money, explains:
“Research has shown that, between mistakes, lack of negotiating skills, pricing errors and general exposure on the market, you’ll cost yourself more than the real estate commission…You’ll come out slightly better and with a lot less hassle if you use a top-shelf agent.”
Don't Wait to Sell Your House! Buyers Are Out Now
Recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests that a now is a great time to sell your home. The concept of ‘supply & demand’ reveals that the best price for an item is realized when the supply of that item is low and the demand for that item is high. Let’s see how this applies to the current residential real estate market.
It is no secret that the supply of homes for sale has been far below the number needed to sustain a normal market for over a year at this point. A normal market requires six months of housing inventory to meet the demand. The latest report from NAR revealed that there is currently only a 3.6-month supply of houses on the market.
Supply is currently very low!
A report that was just released tells us that demand is very strong. The most recent Foot Traffic Report (which sheds light on the number of buyers who are actually out looking at homes) disclosed that “foot traffic grew 10.5 points to 52.4 in March as the new season approaches."
Demand is currently very high!
Waiting to sell will only increase the competition between you and all of the other sellers putting their houses on the market later this summer. If you are debating whether or not to list your home, let’s get together to discuss the conditions in our market.
How Current Interest Rates Can Have a High Impact on Your Purchasing Power
According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 4.61%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history! The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power. Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford 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 home within the national median price range while keeping your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.
With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year. Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.
Why Have Interest Rates Jumped to a 7-Year High?
Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have climbed from 3.95% in the first week of January up to 4.61% last week, which marks a 7-year high according to Freddie Mac. The current pace of acceleration has been fueled by many factors. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, had this to say:
“Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked bond markets and led to higher mortgage rates over the past week. Not only are buyers facing higher borrowing costs, gas prices are currently at four-year highs just as we enter the important peak home sales season.”
But what do gas prices have to do with interest rates? Investopedia explains the relationship like this:
“The price of oil and inflation are often seen as being connected in a cause-and-effect relationship. As oil prices move up or down, inflation follows in the same direction.”
You may have noticed that filling your gas tank has become substantially more expensive in recent months. The average national gas price has climbed nearly $0.50 from the beginning of the year, leading to the highest price for Memorial Day weekend since 2014. As rates go up, your purchasing power goes down, but don’t worry; rates are still well below the averages we’ve seen over the last four decades.
“Freddie Mac said this year’s higher rates have not yet caused much of a ripple in the strong demand levels for buying a home seen in most markets, but inflationary pressures and the prospect of rates approaching 5 percent could begin to hit the psyche of some prospective buyers.”
Buying sooner rather than later will help lock in a lower rate than waiting, as the experts believe rates will continue to climb. Even a small increase in interest rates can have a big impact on your monthly housing cost.
If you are planning on buying a home this year, keep an eye on gas prices the next time you’re at the pump. If you start to feel a big jump in price, know that rates are probably on their way up too.
50% of Homes Sold in 30 Days in March [INFOGRAPHIC]
4 Reasons Why Today's Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again
With home prices rising again this year, some are concerned that we may be repeating the 2006 housing bubble that caused families so much pain when it collapsed. Today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago. There are four key metrics that explain why:
1. Home Priced
There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone.
Frank Nothaft is the Chief Economist for CoreLogic (which compiles some of the best data on past, current, and future home prices). Nothaft recently explained:
”Even though CoreLogic’s national home price index got to the same level it was at the prior peak in April of 2006, once you account for inflation over the ensuing 11.5 years, values are still about 18% below where they were.” (emphasis added)
2. Mortgage Standards
Some are concerned that banks are once again easing lending standards to a level similar to the one that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.
The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI). According to the Urban Institute:
”The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default - that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”
The graph below reveals that standards today are much tighter on a borrower’s credit situation and have all but eliminated the riskiest loan products.
3. Mortgage Debt
Back in 2006, many homeowners mistakenly used their homes as ATMs by withdrawing their equity and spending it with no concern for the ramifications. They overloaded themselves with mortgage debt that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) repay when prices crashed. That is not occurring today.
The best indicator of mortgage debt is the Federal Reserve Board’s household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages, which calculates mortgage debt as a percentage of disposable personal income.
At the height of the bubble market a decade ago, the ratio stood at 7.21%. That meant over 7% of disposable personal income was being spent on mortgage payments. Today, the ratio stands at 4.48% – the lowest level in 38 years!
4. Housing Affordability
With both house prices and mortgage rates on the rise, there is concern that many buyers may no longer be able to afford a home. However, when we look at the Housing Affordability Index released by the National Association of Realtors, homes are more affordable now than at any other time since 1985 (except for when prices crashed after the bubble popped in 2008).
After using four key housing metrics to compare today to 2006, we can see that the current market is not anything like the bubble market.
This Just In: Data Says May is the Best Month to Sell Your Home
According to a newly released study by ATTOM Data Solutions, selling your home in the month of May will net you an average of 5.9% above estimated market value for your home.
For the study, ATTOM performed an “analysis of 14.7 million home sales from 2011 to 2017” and found the average seller premium achieved for each month of the year. Below is a breakdown by month:
ATTOM even went a step further and broke their results down by day.
Top 5 Days to Sell:
- - Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
- - Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
- Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
- - Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time
- 49% on the internet
- 31% from a Real Estate Agent
- 7% from a yard sign
- 1% from newspapers
- The buyer who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
- The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
- The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
- The appraiser if there is a question of value
It should come as no surprise that May and June dominate as the top months to sell and that 4 of the top 5 days to sell fall in those two months. The second quarter of the year (April, May, June) is referred to as the Spring Buyers Season, when competition is fierce to find a dream home, which often leads to bidding wars.
One caveat to mention though, is that when broken down by metro, ATTOM noticed that while warmer climates share in the overall trend, it turns out that they have different top months for sales. The best month to get the highest price in Miami, FL, for instance, was January, and Phoenix, AZ came in with November leading the charge.
If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, the time to list is NOW! According to the National Association of Realtors, homes sold in an average of just 30 days last month! If you list now, you’ll have a really good chance to sell in May or June, setting yourself up for getting the best price!
Let’s get together to discuss the market conditions in our area and get you the most exposure to the buyers who are ready and willing to buy!
How Much Has Your Home Increased in Value Over the Last Year?
Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. In CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, they revealed that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year.
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 February 2017 to February 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 that 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, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in your area and your price range.
What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy a Home?
” To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity "
Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success!
So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true! Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:
1. Understand How Much You Can Afford
”While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.” This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process. Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).
2. Act Fast
”Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.” The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for ‘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 soon as possible.
3. Make a Solid Offer
Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:
”Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”
Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways that you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market!
4. Be Prepared to Negotiate
”It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford. Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”
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 cancel the contract.
Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in their market on your side is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dreams of homeownership a reality!
Valentina Hauso Realtor Associate, Coldwell Banker Guidance Realty
" To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity "
Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step
In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach. Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:
”It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”
One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “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:
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.
Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.
Valentina Hauso Realtor Associate, Coldwell Banker Guidance Realty
”To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity "
Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t FSBO
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
Recent studies have shown that 95% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 17% 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?
The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.
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:
4. FSBOing Has Become More and More Difficult
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.
The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.
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:
”Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
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?
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.
”To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity "
Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Agent
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers in which they surveyed recent home buyers and sellers about their experiences. An entire section of the profile is dedicated to buyers’ experiences with their real estate agents. If you are looking to buy in 2018, here are the top 5 benefits of using a real estate agent when buying your dream home as cited by recent buyers:
1. Helped the buyer understand the process – 60%
If you are new to the home buying process, an experienced real estate professional can explain exactly what to expect during the entire transaction so you aren’t caught off guard.
2. Pointed out unnoticed features/faults with the property – 56%
Whether it’s pointing out possible uses for an extra bedroom/office, or using their trained eye to see potentially disastrous hazards that may be hiding out of site, your agent is there to protect your interests and make sure your home buying experience is a good one.
3. Negotiated better sales contract terms - 47%
When it comes to negotiating the complex terms of your contract and coming to an agreement with the seller, it never hurts to have someone who has been there before on your side. If earlier in your search you found a couple of less than desirable features on the home you are going to purchase, your agent can make sure that contingencies are in place for you to pay the best price. Their analysis of comparable properties in the area will also help to make sure that your dream home is priced properly for the market.
4. Provided a better list of service providers - 46%
Real estate agents are titans of networking. Many have a list of preferred providers who they have worked with in the past and who they trust to work as a part of your team to make your dream come true. This can include mortgage professionals (listed as the #8 reason to use an agent at 22%), home inspectors, plumbers, contractors, painters, landscapers, home stagers, and so many more!
5. Improved the buyer’s knowledge of search areas - 44%
Local real estate professionals are often members of community organizations and are usually well versed in their area’s history. Their ties to the community make them a great resource whether you plan to relocate to a new area or across town.
If your plans for 2018 include purchasing your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options and to help you make the most powerful and confident decisions for you and your family.
Valentina Hauso Realtor Associate, Coldwell Banker Guidance Realty
”To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity "
Rents are on the Rise: Don’t Get Caught in the Rental Trap!
There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top benefits is protecting yourself from rising rents, by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.
Don’t Become Trapped, A recent article by Apartment List addressed rising rents by stating:
”Rents are up 2.7% year-over-year at the national level. Year-over-year growth continues to fall between the 2.1% rate from this time last year and the 3.4% growth rate from October 2015.”
The article continues explaining that:
”Despite the seasonal slowdown, rents are still up year-over-year in 89 of the 100 largest cities.” Additionally, the Urban Institute revealed that, “Over a quarter of renters, or 11.1 million households, are severely cost burdened, spending at least half their income on rental housing.
These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.
It’s Cheaper to Buy than Rent.
As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia shows that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 6.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 57% less expensive in Detroit (MI) and 37.4% nationwide!
Know Your Options Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 24,000 renters found that 80% of millennial renters plan to eventually buy a house, but 72% cite affordability as their primary obstacle. Aside from affordability, one in three millennial renters have concerns about their credit scores, and another 53% said that a down payment is an obstacle. Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!
Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage now!
Valentina Hauso Realtor Associate, Coldwell Banker Guidance Realty
To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity "
Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Annual Pace in 11 Years [INFOGRAPHIC]
Top 4 Real Reasons We Buy A Home
There's More To A Bubble Than Rising Home Prices
Where Do We Stand Today Regarding Speculation?
There are two measurements that are used to determine the speculation in a housing market:- The number of homes purchased by an investor and - The number of homes being flipped (resold within a twelve-month period) As compared to 2005, investor purchases are down dramatically (from 23% to 13%) and so is flipping (from 8.2% to 5.7%). McBride explains: “There is currently some flipping activity, but this is more the normal type of flipping (buy, improve and then sell). Back in 2005, people were just buying homes and letting them sit vacant - and then selling without significant improvements. Classic speculation.
What are the experts saying about speculation in today’s market?
DSNews recently ran an article which asked two economists to compare the speculation in today’s market to that in 2005-2007. Here is what they said:
Dr. Eddie Seiler,& Chief Housing Economist at Summit Consulting: “The speculative ‘flipping mania’ of 2006 is absent from most metro areas.”
Tian Liu, Chief Economist of Genworth Mortgage Insurance: “The nature of housing demand is different as well, with more potential homeowners and far fewer speculators in the housing market compared to the 2005-2007 period.”
And what does McBride, who called the last housing bubble, think about today’s real estate market? Sixty days ago, he explained: “In 2005, people were just buying homes and letting them sit vacant - and then selling without significant improvements. Classic speculation. And even more dangerous during the bubble was the excessive use of leverage (all those poor-quality loans). Currently lending standards are decent, and loan quality is excellent …I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble - and I don’t expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust.
Speculation is a major element of the housing bubble formula. Right now, there are not elevated percentages of investors and house flippers. Therefore, there is not an elevated rate of speculation.
What Are The 4 Reasons To Buy A Home This Fall!
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.
Happily Ever Homeowner
Married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics last year at 66% of all buyers.
Looking For Your Dream Home? Know What You Want Vs What You Need
In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.
The Great Escape
Reward Yourself with a Personal Retreat Space
By definition, a retreat is a quiet or secluded place designated for rest and relaxation. Whether you have an actual getaway in the form of a second dwelling or you simply crave an escape inside your one and only home, it's helpful to have a spot to chill out when seeking solitude.
If you have ever entered a room and instantly feel a sense of relief, pay attention to the details that surround you. For starters, it could be the color palette; perhaps the color scheme consists of soothing neutral hues or cheerful and bright tones that transport you to a tropical destination.
Celebrate Family with This Winter Menu
Brie-and-apple-stuffed chicken breasts with apple cider pan sauce.
Your real estate professional skills were amazing
Valentina's real estate professional skills were amazing .You helped me all the way along .You are awesome I am pleased to have met you and enjoyed every moment working with you .You are a wonderful person. Thank you so much for helping me buy a home.
A wonderful help in finding our first home
When we decided to buy a house Valentina answered all our questions and ease our nerves about the process. She was such a wonderful help in finding our first home she knew about the city we were in it never pressured us to buy a house over our budget. Even though she lives out of town she had a list of houses twice a week at least, she drove out here and showed us as many houses as possible. She kept us updated on every house we put an offer in, which was a few. We praise Jesus for Valentina and all the hard work that she did and his blessing us with our first home. Casey & Lea
Thank you so much, and we highly recommend Valentina to be your realtor!
We are planning to move to the Philippines for personal reasons and decided to sell our house here in Antioch. I found Valentina online, when I was checking the value of our house. It all started when Valentina gave us some papers with helpful tips on preparing to sell a house with her business card. At that time, we already talked to a different realtor, and we found Valentina more knowledgeable and accommodating, that's why we chose her. My husband and I are thankful that we got her to help us sell our house. Couldn't find anyone as patient, polite, and helpful like her. We appreciate all she did for us to be able to prepare the house. It was very nice of her, always asking us, if we needed help with anything, and she did. We could have not prepared the house on time for the open house without her. We're happy that we got nine offers in a week. And with Valentina's knowledge, the whole process was smooth, up to the closing. Thank you so much, and we highly recommend Valentina to be your realtor!
A very good agent
Hi Valentina , we wanted to thank you for helping us find and buy the home of our dreams. Your help was very important in this processes and we wanted you to know that we are grateful . Valentina is very smart and she is a very good agent a great listener (highly recommend ) she is also patient understanding this was a big deal for us she took time to explain the process and was more than willing to show any home that was available . She's very timely as in never late and never rescheduling she took calls at after hours at night and on the weekends to answer questions . We had Our loan closed early in 27 day because of Valentina alone with our lender , together they took care of business and got the job done , she is a grade A agent and pleasure to work with . thank you so much .
Recommend Valentina Hauso
Valentina Hauso has worked with me with my real estate clients for the past two years. She is always polite, respectful, ethical, and has the best interest of the client in mind. She shows up when she says she will, and does the work necessary to get the job done for the client. I highly recommend her as a real estate agent in today’s booming residential market.
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- Board Certified Credit Consultant
- Marketing And Corporate Management
- National Association of Realtors (NAR)
- B.S. Business Administration
- California Association Of Realtors
- Cal Bre # 02008369