Why Pre-Approval Should Be Your First Step

Why Pre-Approval Should Be Your First Step | Simplifying The Market

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount 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:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

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.

Bottom Line

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.

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Is This the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do it Early

Is This the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do it Early | Simplifying The Market

It appears that Americans are regaining faith in the U.S. economy. The following indexes have each shown a dramatic jump in consumer confidence in their latest surveys:

  1. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
  2. National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Small Business Optimism Index
  3. CNBC All-America Economic Survey
  4. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey

It usually means good news for the housing market when the country sees an optimistic future. People begin to dream again about the home their family has always wanted, and some make plans to finally make that dream come true.

If you are considering moving up to your dream home, it may be better to do it earlier in the year than later. The two components of your monthly mortgage payment (home prices and interest rates) are both projected to increase as the year moves forward, and interest rates may increase rather dramatically. Here are some predictions on where rates will be by the end of the year:

HSH.com:

“We think that conforming 30-year fixed rates probably make it into the 4.625 percent to 4.75 percent range at some point during 2017 as a peak.”

Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the 30-year fixed mortgage rate hits 4.75 percent.”

Mark Fleming, the Chief Economist at First American:

“[I see] mortgage rates getting much closer to 5 percent at the end of next year.”

Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist:

“By this time next year, expect the 30-year fixed rate to likely be in the 4.5 percent to 5 percent range.”

Bottom Line

If you are feeling good about your family’s economic future and are considering making a move to your dream home, doing it sooner rather than later makes the most sense.

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You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home

You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home | Simplifying The Market

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to do it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

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3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Buying a Home Come True [INFOGRAPHIC]

3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Buying a Home Come True [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Realtor.com recently shared “5 Habits to Start Now If You Hope to Buy a Home in 2017.”
  • 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 now will help you save money for down payments and pay down other debts that might be holding you back.

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Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home!!

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home!! | Simplifying The Market

Last week, CNBC ran an article quoting self-made millionaire David Bach explaining that not purchasing a home is “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”

Bach went on to explain:

“If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”

In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:

“As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”

Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show appearing more than 100 times, has been a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS, and has been profiled in many major publications, including The New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

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Year-Over-Year Sales Increases Reach Double Digits in 5 Price Categories

Year-Over-Year Price Appreciation Reaches Double Digits in 5 Price Categories | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that, compared to last year, home sales are up dramatically in five of the six price ranges they measure.

Homes priced between $100-250K showed a 20.7% increase year-over-year. This is an impressive increase, showing that November was an excellent month for home sales in this price range.

But surprisingly, the 20.7% increase in sales in this range was not the highest percent change achieved, as sales of homes over $250,000 increased by double-digit percentages with sales in the $750,000- $1 million range showing the largest increase, up 43.2%!

As prices in many markets continue to accelerate, it is no surprise to see the percentage of homes in the higher price ranges increasing.

Here is the breakdown:

Year-Over-Year Price Appreciation Reaches Double Digits in 5 Price Categories | Simplifying The Market

Homes under $100,000 were the only group to show negative appreciation of sales at -2.4%. This not only points to the lower inventory of homes available for sale in this price range but also speaks to the overall strength of the housing market.

What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit down with your agent to see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

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Year-Over-Year Price Appreciation Reaches Double Digits in 5 Price Categories

Year-Over-Year Price Appreciation Reaches Double Digits in 5 Price Categories | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that, compared to last year, home sales are up dramatically in five of the six price ranges they measure.

Homes priced between $100-250K showed a 20.7% increase year-over-year. This is an impressive increase, showing that November was an excellent month for home sales in this price range.

But surprisingly, the 20.7% increase in sales in this range was not the highest percent change achieved, as sales of homes over $250,000 increased by double-digit percentages with sales in the $750,000- $1 million range showing the largest increase, up 43.2%!

As prices in many markets continue to accelerate, it is no surprise to see the percentage of homes in the higher price ranges increasing.

Here is the breakdown:

Year-Over-Year Price Appreciation Reaches Double Digits in 5 Price Categories | Simplifying The Market

Homes under $100,000 were the only group to show negative appreciation of sales at -2.4%. This not only points to the lower inventory of homes available for sale in this price range but also speaks to the overall strength of the housing market.

What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit down with your agent to see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

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5 Reasons to Resolve to Hire a Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 Reasons to Resolve to Hire a Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • As we usher in the new year, one thing is for certain… if you plan to buy or sell a house this year, you need a real estate professional on your team!
  • There are many benefits to using a local professional!
  • Pick a pro who knows your local market and can help you navigate the housing market!

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You Need an Agent Who Will Put You First

You Need an Agent Who Will Put You First | Simplifying The Market

When it comes to buying a home, whether you are a rookie homebuyer or have gone through the process many times, having a local real estate expert who is well versed in the neighborhood you are looking to move into, as well as the trends of that area, should be your goal.

One great example of an agent who is in your corner and is always looking out for your best interests is one of the main characters on ABC’s Modern Family, Phil Dunphy.

For those who aren’t familiar, the character Phil is a Realtor with a huge heart who always strives to do his best for his family and his clients.

In one recent episode, Phil even shared the oath that he created and holds himself accountable to:

“On my honor, I promise to aid in man’s quest for shelter, to recognize I’m not just in the business of houses — I’m in the business of dreams in the shape of houses. To disclose all illegal additions, shoddy construction, murders, and ghosts. And to put my clients’ needs before my own.” 

While this might seem silly, and it was definitely written with humor in mind, the themes of helping someone achieve the American Dream and putting a client’s needs above your own are not to be taken lightly. 

Bottom Line

When you make the decision to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, make sure you look for an agent who exemplifies these values and will help you through every step of the process.

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Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 45x Greater Than A Renter’s

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 45x Greater Than a Renter’s | Simplifying The Market

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that by the end of 2016, the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.

The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction:

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 45x Greater Than a Renter’s | Simplifying The Market

Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.

The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 85% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:

“Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy today!

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