Tag Archives: real estate sale

An Easy Way to Find the Perfect Real Estate Agent

An Easy Way to Find the Perfect Real Estate Agent | Keeping Current Matters

There is a plethora of real estate information available today in the news and on the internet. It can be extremely confusing at times.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, you need an agent who can help make sense of this rapidly evolving housing market. You need an agent who can help you price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process. You need an agent who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer.

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience so much easier.

But, how do you identify which agents truly understand what is happening and will take the time to simply and effectively explain what it means to you and your family?

One simple way is to check out the agent on social media. What are they posting on Facebook and Twitter? Are they using their social media platforms to share relevant, helpful information or are they just posting cherry pie recipes and cartoons? The best agents are committed to educating the consumer so they can feel confident when they are buying or selling a home.

What they are posting online will help you determine which agents meet the criteria that Dave Ramsey suggested you look for: someone with the heart of a teacher!

Freddie Mac: Equity Matters (a Lot!)

Freddie Mac: Equity Matters (a Lot!) | Keeping Current Matters

According to a Merrill Lynch survey, over 80% of the people in this country believe that homeownership is still “an important part of the American Dream”. There are many financial and non-financial reasons people feel this way.

One of the biggest reasons is because it helps build family wealth. Last week, Freddie Mac posted about the power of home equity. They explained:

“In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage. You build equity by paying down your mortgage over time and through your home’s appreciation. In a nutshell, your money is working for you and contributing toward your financial future.”

They went on to show an example where a person bought a home for $150,000 with a down payment of 10%, resulting in a loan amount of $135,000. The buyer secured a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.5% with a monthly mortgage payment of $684.03 (not including taxes and insurance). They then illustrated what would happen after seven years of making a mortgage payment, assuming 3% per year home appreciation (the historic national average):

Home Equity Calculation | Keeping Current Matters

And that number continues to build as you continue to own the home. Merrill Lynchpublished a report earlier this year that showed the average equity homeowners have acquired at certain ages.

Average Home Equity by Age | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Home equity is important to building wealth as a family. Referring to the first scenario above, Freddie Mac explained:

“Now, if you continued to rent, and made the same payment of $684.03 per month, you’d have zero equity and no means to build it.

Building equity is a critical part of homeownership and can help you create financial stability.”

When is it a Good Time to Rent? Definitely NOT Now!

When is it a Good Time to Rent? Definitely NOT Now! | Keeping Current Matters

People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

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

Median Asking Rent Since 1988 | Keeping Current Matters

At the same time, a report by Axiometrics revealed:

“The national apartment market’s annual effective rent growth rate of 5.1% in June 2015 represented a 47-month high, and continued a streak of 5.0%-plus rent growth that is now the longest in at least six years, according to apartment market research. The effective rent growth in June 2014 was 3.7%, putting June 2015’s exceptional performance into perspective.

This is the highest rate since the 5.3% of July 2011. The metric has reached at least 5.0% for five straight months, the longest such streak since Axiometrics started monthly reporting of annual apartment data in April 2009.”

Where will rents be headed in the future?

Stephanie McCleskey, Axiometrics vice president of research, commented on the above report in an article by Real Estate Economy Watch:

“Rent growth is just shy of the post-recession peak, and the June metrics reflect the continued strength of the apartment market. The demand for apartments is still strong, despite the record number of new units being delivered this year. Tight occupancy is why landlords can push rents higher.”

Bottom Line

If you are ready, willing and of course able to buy, now may make sense.

The Main Reason You Should Not Wait to Buy…

The Main Reason You Should Not Wait to Buy | Keeping Current Matters

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released their 2015State of the Nation’s Housing report. The report concentrated on the challenges renters in this country are facing because of the diminishing supply of quality rental units and dramatically escalating rents.

However, there was also information buried within the report that revealed that now is definitely the time to buy your first home or move-up to the home of your family’s dreams. With home prices still below peak values and mortgage rates still near historic lows, the monthly mortgage payment on a median priced home is less than at almost any time in the last 25 years.

Here is a graph which helps visualize the data from the report:

Median Mortgage Payment | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

With home prices increasing and mortgage rates projected to increase, now is the time to buy.

Homeownership: A Key to Well-Being in Retirement

Homeownership:¬ A Key to Well-Being in Retirement | Keeping Current Matters

There has been much talk about homeownership and whether it is a true vehicle for building wealth. A new report looks at the impact owning a home has on the financial wellbeing of people closing in on their retirement years (ages 55-64).

In recently released study by the Hamilton Project, Ten Economic Facts about Financial Well-Being in Retirement, it was revealed that:

1. Middle-class households near retirement age have about as much wealth in their homes as they do in their retirement accounts.

“Over the past quarter century the largest single source of wealth for all but the richest households nearing retirement age has been their homes, which accounted for about two-fifths of net worth in the early 1990s and accounts for about one-third today.”

2. Home equity is a very important source of net worth to all but the wealthiest households near retirement age.

“Home equity is an important source of wealth for middle income households, accounting for more than one-third of total net worth for the second, third, and fourth quintiles of the net worth distribution… The fifth quintile has a much larger share in business equity—almost a quarter—than any other quintile. (The figure leaves out the bottom quintile of households because they have negative net worth. It is likely that these households will rely almost exclusively on Social Security in retirement.)”

Here is an asset breakdown for the middle 20% of Americans determined by median net worth ($165, 720):

Components of Net Worth | Keeping Current Matters

Obviously, the data again proves that homeownership has a big role in building wealth for American families.

What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy?

What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy? | Keeping Current Matters

First-time homebuyers are flocking to the housing market in greater numbers than any time in the last few years. Renters who are ready and willing to buy are now realizing that they are also able to as well. Many first-time buyers are Millennials (born between 1981 – 1997).

If you are one of the many in this generation who sees your friends and family diving head first into the real estate market, and wonder if now is the time for you to do the same, keep reading!

The Cost of Waiting to Buy is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices and interest rates were to increase over a period of time.

Let’s look at an example of what the experts are predicting for the upcoming year, and what that really would mean for you. Let’s say you’re 30 and your dream house costs $250,000 today. Right now mortgage interest rates are at or about 4%.

Your monthly mortgage payment (principal & interest only) would be $1,193.54.

But you’re busy, you like your apartment, and moving is such a hassle. You decide to wait until next year to buy. CoreLogic predicts that home prices will appreciate by 5.1% in the next 12 months; this means that same house you loved now costs, $262,750.

Freddie Mac predicts that over this same period of time, interest rates will be a full point higher at 5.0%. Your new payment per month is now $1,410.50.

The difference in payment is $216.96 PER MONTH!

That’s basically like taking $8 and tossing it out the window EVERY DAY!

Or you could look at it this way:

  • That’s your morning coffee everyday on the way to work (average $2) with $10 left for lunch!
  • There goes Friday Sushi Night! ($50 x 4)
  • Stressed Out? How about a few deep tissue massages with tip!
  • Need a new car? You could get a brand new car for $217 a month.

Let’s look at that number annually! Over the course of your new mortgage at 5.0%, your annual additional cost would be $2,603.52!

Had your eye on a vacation in the Caribbean? How about a 2-week trip through Europe? Or maybe your new house could really use a deck for entertaining. We could come up with 100’s of ways to spend $2,603, and we’re sure you could too!

Over the course of your 30 year loan, now at age 61, hopefully you are ready to retire soon, you would have spent an additional $78,105.60, all because when you were 30 you thought moving in 2015 was such a hassle or loved your apartment too much to leave yet.

Or maybe there wasn’t an agent out there who educated you on the true cost of waiting a year. Maybe they thought you wouldn’t be ready. But if they showed you that you could save $78,000 you’d at least listen to what they had to say.

They say hindsight is 20/20, we’d like to think that 30 years from now when you are 60, looking back, you would say to buy now…

Should I Rent My House Instead of Selling It?

Should I Rent My House Instead of Selling It?  | Keeping Current Matters

The results of Fannie Mae’s June 2015 National Housing Survey, were just released showing that more and more homeowners are warming up to the idea that now may be a great time to sell their home.

The amount of respondents that stated that now is a good time to sell rose three percentage points to a survey high of 52%; which may translate to a healthier market as more homes are listed in the coming months.

At the same time “the percentage of respondents who expect home rental prices to go up rose to 59% – a new survey high.” Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, gave this insight: “The expectation of higher rents is a natural outgrowth of increasing household formation by newly employed individuals putting upward pressure on rental rates.”

There is a chance that those who believe rental prices will rise may consider renting their house rather than selling it at this time.

However, if you have no desire to actually become an educated investor in this sector, you may be headed for more trouble than you were looking for. Are you ready to be a landlord?

Before renting your home, you should answer the following questions to make sure this is the right course of action for you and your family.

10 Questions to ask BEFORE renting your home

  1. How will you respond if your tenant says they can’t afford to pay the rent this month because of more pressing obligations? (This happens most often during holiday season and back-to-school time when families with children have extra expenses).
  2. Because of the economy, many homeowners cannot make their mortgage payment. What percentage of tenants do you think cannot afford to pay their rent?
  3. Have you interviewed experienced eviction attorneys in case a challenge does arise?
  4. Have you talked to your insurance company about a possible increase in premiums as liability is greater in a non-owner occupied home?
  5. Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? How big a dog?
  6. How will you actually collect the rent? By mail? In person?
  7. Repairs are part of being a landlord. Who will take tenant calls when necessary repairs come up?
  8. Do you have a list of craftspeople readily available to handle these repairs?
  9. How often will you do a physical inspection of the property?
  10. Will you alert your current neighbors that you are renting the house?

Bottom Line

Renting out residential real estate historically is a great investment. However, it is not without its challenges. Make sure you have decided to rent the house because you want to be an investor, not because you are hoping to get a few extra dollars by postponing a sale.

A+ Reasons to Hire A Real Estate Professional

A+ Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Hiring a Real Estate Professional to buy your dream home, or sell your current house is one of the most ‘educated’ decisions you can make!
  • A Real Estate Professional has the experience needed to help you through the entire process.
  • Make sure that you hire someone who knows current market conditions & can simply & effectively explain them to you & your family!

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What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage? | Keeping Current Matters A recent survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less. Here are the results from a Digital Risk survey done on Millennials: Millennials Down Payments | Keeping Current Matters

2. FICO Scores

The Ipsos survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower. Here are the numbers from a recent Ellie Mae report: FICO Score Of Approved Loans | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective purchaser who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to buy but not sure if you are also ‘able’, sit down with someone who can help you understand your true options.