Should Boomers Buy or Rent after Selling?

Should Boomers Buy or Rent after Selling? | Simplifying The Market

In a recent CNBC article, it was reported that many baby boomers are selling their current homes and moving into rentals, rather than purchasing another home.

“Between 2009 and 2015, the number of renters aged 55 or above rose 28 percent, while those aged 34 or younger only increased 3 percent…

Meanwhile, more than 5 million baby boomers across the nation are expected to rent their next home by 2020, according to a 2016 analysis from Freddie Mac.”

This makes sense in the short term for many reasons. If you are moving to a different part of town or a new region of the country, you may decide to rent until you pick the perfect home in an area you love. However, is renting a good long-term strategy?

A mortgage payment remains fixed. Rents, however…

The Census Bureau recently released their 2017 third quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

Should Boomers Buy or Rent after Selling? | Simplifying The Market

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 you should rent or buy your next home, you should take this into consideration.

Bottom Line

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home instead of renting. Let’s get together so we can help you decide what the best step is for you and your family!

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What is the Cost of Waiting Until Next Year to Buy?

What is the Cost of Waiting Until Next Year to Buy? | Simplifying The Market

We recently shared that over the course of the last 12 months, home prices have appreciated by 7.0%. Over the same amount of time, interest rates have remained historically low which has allowed many buyers to enter the market.

As a seller, you will likely be most concerned about ‘short-term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned about price, but instead about the ‘long-term cost’ of the home.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by this time next year. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, home prices will appreciate by 4.7% over the next 12 months.

What Does This Mean as a Buyer?

If home prices appreciate by 4.7% over the next twelve months as predicted by CoreLogic, here is a simple demonstration of the impact that an increase in interest rate would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

What is the Cost of Waiting Until Next Year to Buy? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If buying a home is in your plan for 2018, doing it sooner rather than later could save you thousands of dollars over the terms of your loan.

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Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success!

Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success! | Simplifying The Market

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 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 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.

Bottom Line 

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!

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Confidence in Housing Makes Near-Record Return

Confidence in housing made a near-record return in November in the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI), derived from Fannie’s National Housing Survey® (NHS). The HPSI overall posted 87.8 in November, 2.6 percentage points higher than the month prior. The Index hit all-time highs in February of this year, and again in June and September.

“In November, the HPSI rebounded to near its all-time high, returning the Index to its gradual upward trend and suggesting fairly stable consumer home-buying attitudes,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist and senior vice president at Fannie Mae. “These results are consistent with our expectation that the housing market will continue its modest expansion going forward.”

The share of homebuyers surveyed for the Index who believe now is a good time to buy rose seven percentage points to 29 percent, while the share of sellers who believe now is a good time to sell rose four percentage points to 34 percent. The share of those surveyed who believe home prices will go up rose six percentage points to 46 percent.

Confidence could be impacted, however, by tax reform. Both the House and Senate bills, currently in conference, contain homeownership provisions.

“Next month’s survey should offer the public a first look at the influence that potential tax reform may have on consumers’ views toward housing and the broader economy,” Duncan says.

Source: Fannie Mae

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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NAR Power Broker Roundtable: A Look at the Year Ahead

This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable introduces Christina Pappas, district sales manager for The Keyes Company and incoming moderator of the Roundtable for 2018.

Moderator: Robert Bailey, Broker/Owner, Bailey Properties Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif.; 2017 Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Panelist: Christina Pappas, District Sales Manager, Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; 2018 Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Robert Bailey: Welcome, Christina! It seems impossible that a year has passed since I stepped into this liaison post, but it has, and it’s been a busy year at that. It’s been challenging but productive, and I have to say, I’ve enjoyed every discussion we’ve had, so it’s a real pleasure to put the reins in your very capable hands.

Christina Pappas: Thanks, Robert. I’ve been following your monthly discussions with interest, and I appreciate the fact that there’s always something of value for brokers and agents to take away. I look forward to scheduling timely topics to explore and adding new and diverse perspectives.

RB: For readers who may not know you, Christina, I should point out that you literally grew up in the real estate world, the daughter of Mike Pappas, whose Keyes Company has been a force in Florida real estate for—believe it or not—more than 90 years!

CP: Yes, well, that’s true, and in fact, we’ve been a family business for most of that time. My grandfather bought the company from the original owner more than 50 years ago, so my dad literally grew up in it, as well. You might say we are poster kids for the family-owned real estate business.

RB: All of which means you are well aware of the issues brokers are facing. In the last year alone, for example, we’ve come through a national election, a changing of the guard at NAR, and a series of natural disasters that has touched many thousands of lives and is impacting our industry in many ways.

CP: Those natural disasters have been top-of-mind for me and, in fact, will be the topic for my first Power Broker Roundtable discussion next month. I think it’s crucial for brokers everywhere to be prepared for the worst, and we need to share precautionary practices that work when you need them—especially from those who have experienced firsthand the havoc that Mother Nature can wreak.

RB: As brokers and as an industry, we have plans and goals for next year. But we need the flexibility to adapt, if we need to, to unknown or unforeseen issues—and I know you’ll do a fine job of making these exchanges relevant. I will look forward to it, and I know you’ll do a fine job of rounding up a dynamite panel. What else are you thinking of in terms of topics?

CP: Well, we’ve all talked about millennials from the standpoint of buyers, but as I can attest from my own experience, millennial agents are the up-and-coming generation. I’d like to talk about how they are redefining our industry, and what we can take from that now.

RB: Interesting—and timely. Clearly, you’ve done some thinking.

CP: I have. I also think there’s great value in revisiting wire fraud, which is becoming more of an issue as we speak, and the best ways to guard against it, and succession planning, which is a hot topic as a generation of boomers, including my own father, begin to look ahead toward retirement.

RB: And I assume you’ll want to tackle how tax reform, in whatever final form it takes, will impact the state of the market.

CP: Absolutely, and any other issues that new legislation may toss into the arena. The point of this Power Broker Roundtable, I believe, is to be open, ready, and flexible—to recognize what’s on the minds of our broker colleagues and share our best strategies for dealing with them…which brings up another point.

RB: What’s that?

CP: As I take over this chair, I want to emphasize exactly what my new NAR role means. I will be acting, as you have for the past year, as a liaison between brokers and NAR. I hope to bring to the forefront some noteworthy NAR news and messages, but I also want to hear from brokers out there about topics they’d like our panels to explore—and, for that matter, from brokers who may never have served on one of these Roundtable panels, but would like to participate now. I’m reachable any time, CPappas@keyes.com, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

RB: Well said, Christina. You’ll be a credit to the post, and I anticipate some noteworthy columns.

CP: That’s my goal—to keep them on-point and relevant—and thanks to you, Robert, for all you’ve done to keep our broker community current over the past year.

RB: My pleasure. Best going forward, Christina. I look forward to next month’s discussion!

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Women’s Homeownership: A Sanctuary

For real estate agents to be better prepared to serve women homebuyers, they must recognize women’s power as a buying pool and understand the meaning of homeownership to women—the fastest-growing and most exciting market in the housing ecosystem.

Delaying marriage, higher educational attainment and presence in higher-paying jobs have made women a budding home-buying market:

  • According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), single women comprised 17 percent of homebuyers in the past year, while single men made up 7 percent.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2016, 49.8 percent of single women were homeowners compared to 46.8 percent of single men, and single women have outpaced single men in homeownership since 1986.

Women’s success in homeownership is an inspiring feat—as they’ve had to balance the gender wage gap and higher mortgage rates—and, despite these developments that have assisted women homebuyers, their personal willingness and sacrifice to become homeowners is where the credit is due.

A Sanctuary
To women, homeownership doesn’t simply mean growing wealth or diversifying portfolios. A woman’s home is her sanctuary, a place of personal freedom, security and comfort in an impacting world. Single women pursue homeownership for various reasons, but they all relate to the desire for freedom—in where they want to live, and how they want to live.

In response to NAWRB’s question regarding how important women consider homeownership and their personal home-buying obstacles on the subreddit AskWomen (/r/AskWomen), one respondent stated, “I enjoy it [homeownership] and am privileged enough to be able to budget for both mundane upkeep and larger maintenance issues. It gives me the freedom to use the property as I see fit, gives me the space that I always wanted, but never had while renting, and, all told, actually costs less per month than renting did.”

This relationship with your house is an irreplaceable characteristic of owning where you live. The confidence and security of knowing you have the power to use and modify your property as you please is an indescribable feeling. From being closer to family and having a property for their pets to providing a stable home to raise children, women are searching for these freedoms.

One of the most long-term aspects of women’s homeownership is the benefit it carries for future generations. Homeownership is an invaluable contributor to generational growth, and women homeowners are effectively paving the way for future generations of women and girls to succeed.

As a real estate professional, understand that single women aren’t waiting for marriage to obtain these benefits; they will make necessary sacrifices to attain them, whether it means taking a second job or adjusting their budgets to afford a down payment. Women are living their single lives fully, and they’re empowered.

Understanding the motivations of women homebuyers and what owning a home truly means to them will help real estate professionals serve this fast-growing buying pool.

Desirée Patno is president and CEO of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB).

For more information, please visit www.nawrb.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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In It to Win It: CENTURY 21 North Shore

A Culture of Teamwork Keeps CENTURY 21 North Shore at the Top of Its Game

“Happy agents are productive agents.” That’s the reasoning of Jim D’Amico, dynamic broker/owner and chief motivator of CENTURY 21 NS Group/North Shore of New England, a Massachusetts-based firm whose more than $1 billion in real estate sales last year is validation of his belief. D’Amico, who has overseen more than 25 years of company growth, understands that his agents are a driving force in the firm’s success. “I’ll stop whatever I’m doing to take a call from one of my agents,” says D’Amico. “I appreciate their value and I want them to know it—to know I’m there for them 24/7 and I value their success as much as they do.” But confident and comfortable agents are only a part of D’Amico’s business philosophy. In this exclusive interview, he shares the vision and strategies that help to motivate continued growth.

Barbara Pronin: Jim, let’s start with a recap of your career path in real estate, and how you came to lead your company.
Jim D’Amico:
I actually started right after college. My dad, a longtime successful property owner in Chelsea, Mass., suggested I get my training as an agent at CENTURY 21. He was a firm believer in the brand before I really knew anything about it. In my first full year, I sold only two homes and I figured I may have chosen the wrong career path. I interviewed in the corporate sector and decided to join a small, successful firm in Chelsea called Florence Lipp Real Estate. Florence was not only a leader in the market; she controlled the market. There, I was trained and mentored by Diane Cambria, who helped me list and sell over 50 homes in my second full year. Then, in 1995, my dad heard the CENTURY 21 agency in Chelsea was up for sale. I rushed over to talk to the seller and made my way through a long and shaky process, but finally, at the ripe old age of 25, I was able to close on the sale with franchisor approval—and the rest, as they say, is history.

BP: How many offices and agents does the firm currently have?
JD:
We have 725 of the industry’s best agents in 41 locations throughout New England, and more to come.

BP: How would you describe your firm’s positioning in your marketplace? What sets it apart from the competition?
JD:
We are a top company both regionally and nationally, and I’m thankful for that, but what sets us apart from others is our agent-centric value system and our teamwork culture. Teams have been an overused term in our industry recently, but what I consider a team culture is people who help one another and root for one another even when they don’t get a financial benefit. That is teamwork. When it comes to our value proposition, we keep it simple. We don’t charge our associates for every little this and that. Charging for errors and omissions coverage, technology, copies, sign installations and more just gets in the way of an agent’s success. It’s very simple for us. Our agents get a great split and we provide great tools. We allow our agents to build their teams as they see fit. We don’t micro-manage. We are here to support them. We thrive on what I call “uber-communication.” That’s the reason I answer my cellphone every time an agent calls me, and if I get an email with a concern from an agent, I pick up the phone and call them. We have a two-email rule: If you have to send a third email on the same topic, don’t. Pick up the phone. I don’t want to ignite some kind of email chain of thoughts that can somehow get misunderstood. It’s all about directness for me, and getting to the root of the agent’s concern and working through it to everyone’s satisfaction. It’s the same kind of thoughtfulness and problem-solving we bring to our customers. They know we’ll do our level best to make their real estate goals a reality.

BP: How have you grown the company over the years in terms of offices and agents?
JD:
We have been very successful both in recruiting top talent and in being a resource for company leaders in the area who are looking for an exit strategy. Since 2016, we have added 24 locations and more than 390 agents to our company.

BP: What attracts agents to your firm, and why do they stay?
JD:
Two things, actually. First, our culture is very strong, as I’ve already indicated, but also our value proposition beats the competition hands down. We offer finite training from the best in the business, unbeatable support, including our own call center, and 100-percent reimbursement for training and retreat participation.

The second big focus is technology. We lead the charge on CENTURY 21’s ZAP and Business Builder lead-generation programs, and provide the best in lead flow technology to our agents from the new realtor.com® stack of FiveStreet, Top Producer, etc. In short, we deliver over 2,000 leads a month to our team, and while many owners are out selling homes, I’m out there assisting our team members in the field or overseeing operations to ensure our people are being properly supported and getting paid promptly. Our business model is no secret, so the best agents want to be with us.

BP: Can you expand a bit on how your business culture works—and on your leadership philosophy?
JD:
For one thing, we have a 100-percent happy rule. In my view, you can’t be successful if you’re not happy, so the rule is, if you aren’t 100-percent happy, you need to pick up the phone and call me so I can see what we can do to change that. For another thing, we lead by example. We don’t ask any of our staff to do what we wouldn’t do ourselves. I was raised with the rule that if you see a scrap of paper on the ground, you pick it up—and that’s the kind of “we’re in this together” culture that we’ve built with our agents and support staff. We’re here for each other every day. Our agents have a say in all we do, from office functionality to décor to systems to policies and guidelines. A lot of company leaders say they listen to staff, but here, we actually do. We don’t manage in a vacuum. We run a transparent and fun operation.

BP: What’s your strategy for effectively marketing the firm and best serving the needs of prospects and clients?
JD:
While other companies market the brand or the company, we market our agents. It’s a fact that all the best agents work at CENTURY 21 NS. That’s what we want prospects to know, and our customers back that up. It’s why our referral and repeat business rates are as high as they are, and why we are consistently on a growth curve.

BP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology, online marketing and social media?
JD:
We have great managers and great tech people who are focused on putting the needs of our agents on the table and researching the best ways to make them happen. We are presently working on converting to a paperless environment. We use Lone Wolf Technology’s operating system and dotloop, for example, to help us streamline procedures and move us into a paperless world.

BP: We understand you’ve joined forces with Led2Serve as a way of giving back. Can you tell us a little about that?
JD:
Led2Serve facilitates local and global service projects with a focus on the environment, education and housing—projects like painting a school, building a ramp for the disabled or manning an environmental clean-up effort. We donate a portion of every transaction to help support efforts like those, and our agents, friends and families are able to get personally involved in projects that directly help to better our communities and the world around us.

BP: So, what’s on deck for Century 21 NS?
JD:
In three words: grow, grow and grow. Life is short. We have one shot at this thing, and we are committed to offering the best service to the most people by growing our strength in our current markets, and being the new kid in town in as-yet untapped markets. In short, we will continue to acquire and expand our locations through judicious acquisition, and also to attract and support the industry’s best agents—career professionals who are happy in their work and who are totally focused on understanding and helping to fulfill the real estate needs of their clients.

For more information, please visit www.century21northshore.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post In It to Win It: CENTURY 21 North Shore appeared first on RISMedia.

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3 Tips for Making Your Dream Home a Reality [INFOGRAPHIC]

3 Tips for Making Your Dream Home a Reality [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

3 Tips for Making Your Dream Home a Reality [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Realtor.com shared their “5 Habits to Start Now If You Hope to Buy a Home.”
  • Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking a lot about it.
  • Living within a budget will not only help you save money for down payments but will help you pay down other debts that might be holding you back.

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The #1 Reason to List Your House Today!

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today! | Simplifying The Market

Many people believe that selling their house during “the spring buyers’ market” is the best thing to do. Their reasoning is that there will be more buyers than there are during the winter months and, therefore, their house will sell quicker and for a higher price.

Historically, this made sense. However, today’s real estate market is not following the rules of the past.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) measures buyer “foot traffic” each month. It receives data on the number of properties shown to a prospective purchaser by a Realtor® (based on the number of lockboxes used). The data reveals the number of buyers out actively looking for a home, not just window shopping on the internet. NAR explains:

“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.”

According to the latest Foot Traffic Report, buyer traffic is greater now than it was during this year’s spring market and there are more buyers out now than at any other time in the last five years (March of 2012).

The chart below shows that buyer activity over the last three months (blue bars) was greater than it was during this past spring market (green bars).

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are waiting for next spring to list your home because you think that’s when the buyers will be out in force, perhaps you should reconsider. Buyers are out right now!

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Home Prices Up 7% from Last Year

Home Prices Up 7% from Last Year | Simplifying The Market

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated by 7.0% from October 2016 to October 2017. This marks the second month in a row with a 7.0% year-over-year increase.

A lack of supply of homes for sale has led to upward pressure on home prices across the country, especially in areas where both existing and new home inventory have not kept up with buyer demand.

CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft elaborated on the significance of such a large year-over-year gain, 

“Single-family residential sales and prices continued to heat up in October. On a year-over-year basis, home prices grew in excess of 6 percent for four consecutive months ending in October, the longest such streak since June 2014.

This escalation in home prices reflects both the acute lack of supply and the strengthening economy.”

This is great news for homeowners who have gained over $13,000 in equity in their home over the last year! Those homeowners who had been on the fence as to whether or not to sell will be pleasantly surprised to find out that they now have an even larger profit to help cover a down payment on their dream home.

CoreLogic’s President & CEO Frank Martell had this to say,

“The acceleration in home prices is good news for both homeowners and the economy because it leads to higher home equity balances that support consumer spending and is a cushion against mortgage risk. However, for entry-level renters and first-time homebuyers, it leads to tougher affordability challenges.”

Any time the price of a home goes up there will likely be concern about the affordability of that home, but there is good news. Mortgage interest rates remain at historic lows, allowing buyers to enter the housing market and lock in a low monthly housing cost.

Rents Are Also Rising

The report went on to mention that over the same 12-month period, median rental prices for a single-family home have also risen by 4.2%.

With rents and home prices rising at the same time, first-time buyers may find the task of saving for a down payment a little daunting. Low down payment programs are available and have been a very popular option for first-time buyers. The median down payment for first-time buyers in 2017 was only 5%! 

Bottom Line

If you are looking to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in our neighborhood and discuss your options!

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