You Don’t Need To Hear These From Your Real Estate Agent…

What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent | Keeping Current Matters

You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:

1.    Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)

2.    Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset

3.    Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

An agent must be concerned first and foremost about you and your family in order to garner that degree of trust. Make sure this is the case.

Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:

§ Bragging about their success

§ Bragging about their company’s success

An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of the house. However, you first need to know that they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important. Look for someone with the ‘heart of a teacher,’ who comes in prepared well enough to explain the current real estate market and patient enough to take the time to show how it may impact the sale of your home. Not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.

You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.

 

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Millennials: Rent or Own a Home? And “Mr. Wonderful’s” thoughts…

This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!! | Keeping Current Matters

Recently, on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” said Millennials “don’t give a poo-poo about owning a house.” This thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s give a few examples to make this point.

1.) In the recent National Housing Market Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, it was revealed that:

“…data indicates that millennial renters today have as much desire to own a home as the general population of renters. According to NHS data, the substantial majority of renters age 25-34 say that owning makes more sense than renting from a financial perspective. A majority also agree that owning makes more sense than renting from a lifestyle perspective. The vast majority of millennial renters tell us they plan to own a home at some point in the future.”

2.) A recent Merrill Lynch report found that 81% of Millennials agree that “homeownership is an important part of their personal American Dream” 3.) The most recent H.O.M.E. Survey explained that 85% of Americans ages 34 and under believe that “homeownership is a good financial decision”.

Bottom Line

Kevin O’Leary might be a great white shark when it comes to investing in companies. However, he is just a guppy when dealing with the residential real estate market.

 

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Appraisals…One Of The Reasons Why You Need A Professional!

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

First American Title issues a quarterly report, the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which “measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues”. Their 2015 4th Quarter Edition revealed some interesting information regarding possible challenges with appraisal values as we head into 2016.

“The fourth quarter RESI found that title agents continue to believe that property valuation issues will be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year.” 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank. Another monthly report by Quicken Loansmeasures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation. Here is a chart showing that difference for each month through 2015. Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why we suggest that you use an experienced real estate professional to help set your listing price.

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Why You Should Sell Before Spring!

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen to, You Should Sell Before Spring! | Keeping Current Matters

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed today, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season. Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages. Here are five reasons to sell now. 

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that buyers are still out in force looking for their dream home. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now! Take advantage of the strong buyer activity currently in the market. 

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 3.9 months, which is well under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last three years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference). The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next 12 months according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by three-quarters of a percent by the end of 2016.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

 

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Getting A Mortgage? This is a Must Read!

What Do You Actually Need to Get a Mortgage? | Keeping Current Matters

Fannie Mae recently released their “What do consumers know about the Mortgage Qualification Criteria?” Study. The study revealed that Americans are misinformed about what is required to qualify for a mortgage when purchasing a home. Here are three takeaways:

§ 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO score is necessary

§ 86% of Americans either don’t know (59%) or are misinformed (25%) about what an appropriate Back End Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratios is

§ 76% of Americans either don’t know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required

To help correct these misunderstandings, let’s take a look at the latest Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.

FICO SCORES

Average FICO Score | Keeping Current Matters

BACK END DTI

Average Back End DTI | Keeping Current Matters

DOWN PAYMENTS

Average Down Payments | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will definitely make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

 

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5 Reasons You Need To Hire a Professional when Buying or Selling!

Thinking of Buying? Selling? 5 Reasons You Need To Hire A Professsional | Keeping Current Matters

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO. The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $210,000 compared to $245,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know 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 an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

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Is it a good time to Rent?

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? 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 recently released their third quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:Median Asking Rents | Keeping Current Matters A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that rents rose “faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.”  The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually.

Where are rents headed?

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned that:

“Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they’ll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead.” 

Bottom Line

According to the WSJ article:

“In general, the higher rents go, the more difficult it will be for young people to save for down payments, making them likely to rent even longer.”

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, meet with a local real estate professional who can help determine if you are able to today!

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The American Dream of Home Ownership is Still Very Much Alive

American Dream of Homeownership Still Very Much Alive | Keeping Current Matters

In a recent post, Trulia examined whether homeownership was again being seen by adults in the US as a “part of their personal American Dream.” Over the last five years:

§ The percentage of U.S. adults who believe homeownership is part of their American Dream increased from 70% to 75%

§ The percentage of 18-34 Year-olds who believe homeownership is part of their American Dream increased from 65% to 80%

Here is a graph of the survey over the last five years:

American Dream of Homeownership | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

As the housing industry recovers from the crisis of 2008-2010, Americans belief in homeownership as part of their own personal American Dream has also made a strong comeback.

Know The Difference Between Cost & Price When Buying a Home

Buying A Home? Do You Know The Difference Between Cost & Price? | Keeping Current Matters

As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, you must be concerned not about price but instead about the ‘long term cost’ of the home. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by about three-quarters of a percentage point over the next twelve months. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, home prices will appreciate by 5.2% over the next 12 months.

What Does This Mean as a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact an interest rate increase would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today if home prices appreciate by the 5.2% predicted by CoreLogic over the next twelve months:Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters