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Buying a Home? 4 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent

Buying a Home? 4 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent

Buying a Home? 4 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent | MyKCM

Are you thinking of buying a home? Are you dreading having to walk through strangers’ houses? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of buying. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge, just like a great doctor or great accountant.

You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish an average agent from a great one.

Here are the top 4 demands to make of your real estate agent when buying a home:

1. Tell the Truth About the Price

When making an offer on the home you want to buy, make sure that your agent walks you through their plan for getting both the seller – and the bank – to accept that price. Too many agents will just take the offer that you suggest and then try to ‘work’ both you and the seller in the negotiating phase later. In a competitive market, you need an agent who is going to help you make the best ‘initial offer’ so that you stand out from the crowd. Every house in today’s market must be sold twice – first to you and then to your bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than the first. When prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the original offer.

2. Understand the Timetable with Which Your Family is Dealing

You will be moving your family into a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of the new school year or a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.

This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can to make it work.

3. Remove as Many of the Challenges as Possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on parts of the purchase offer, don’t expect them to turn into a superhero when they are negotiating with the seller for you and your family.

4. Find the Right HOUSE!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.

You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with buying. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family; if they discover something needs to be done in order to attain your goal, insist that they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!

Buying a Home is 36% Less Expensive Then Renting Nationwide!

Buying a Home is 36% Less Expensive Than Renting Nationwide!

Buying-36-Less-Expensive-STM

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained 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 actually show that the range is an average of 5% less expensive in Orange County (CA) all the way up to 46% in Houston (TX), and 36% Nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • Some markets may tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to discuss the best course of action to get you into your dream home!

Do you know the difference your interest rate makes?

Do You Know The Difference Your Interest Rate Makes? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates have come a long way in the last 30 years.
  • The interest rate you secure directly impacts your monthly payment and the amount of house that you can afford.
  • Experts predict that rates will increase by 3/4 a percent over the next 12 months.
  • Secure a low rate now to get the most house for your money.

Rent Vs. Buy: Either Way You Are Paying a Mortgage

EitherWay-KCM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:

Increasing Gap in Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.

Should I Pay a Mortgage Interest Rate over 4%?

Should I Pay a Mortgage Interest Rate over 4%? | Keeping Current Matters

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Along with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and theNational Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact they may no longer be able to get a rate less than 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades.

Historic Mortgage Rates By Decade | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago; a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

How to Get the Most Money out of the Sale of Your Home

How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize the financial reward when selling their home. But, how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to insuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actually, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house. (see chart)

Impact of Price on Visibility | Keeping Current Matters

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

In a recent article on realtor.com, they gave this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. Yet, studies have shown that typically homes sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Recent research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Median Selling Price FSBO vs Agent | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Price it at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house. Call me today 770-354-0243 to discuss selling your home!

Buying a home can be SCARY, until you know the facts!

Buying A Home Can Be Scary... Until You Know the FACTS! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • 36% of Americans think they need a 20% down payment to buy a home. 44% of Millennials who purchased a home this year have put down less than 10%.
  • 71% of loan applications were approved last month
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 723 in September (the lowest recorded score since Ellie Mae began tracking in August 2011).

Are Millennials Finally Entering the Market?

Are Millennials Finally Entering the Market? | Keeping Current Matters

It appears that Millennials are finally beginning to enter the housing market. In a recentreport, CoreLogic looked at the annual net change in household formations over the last decade (see graph below):

Household Formations | Keeping Current Matters

It appears this is the year that Millennials are finally moving out of their parents’ basements and finding a place of their own. And they are not all renting

According to the National Association of Realtors’ latest Existing Home Sales Report, the percentage of first–time buyers rebounded to 32 percent in August, up from 28 percent in July and matching the highest share of the year set in May.

What has kept the others from buying a home?

Recent surveys have revealed that there are major misunderstandings as to what is required to get a mortgage in today’s lending environment. Many Americans believe you need at least a 780 FICO score and a 20% down payment.

In reality, neither is required. Here are the mortgage statistics (FICO score, % of down payment, mortgage interest rate and debt-to-income ratio) for Millennials who have completed the mortgage process in the first half of this year according to realtor.com:

Millennial Mortgage Statistics | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

More and more Millennials are beginning to enter the housing market. As they begin to better understand the mortgage process, we will see even greater numbers buying a home. If you are a millennial or know someone  who is, call me today 770-354-0243 to discuss buying your first home!

 

Pending Homes Sales Remain Steady

Pending Home Sales Remain Steady | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of REALTORS’ just released the results of their latest Pending Home Sales Index, which showed a small 1.4% decline in signed contracts in August. Pending sales remain strong year-over-year as they were 6.1% higher than August ’14 and have now risen for 12 consecutive months. 

What is the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)?

NAR’s PHSI is “a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings”. The higher the Pending Home Sales Index number, the more contracts have been signed by buyers that will soon translate to sales.

In every major region of the country, pending sales are up year-over-year as shown by the graph below:

Pending Home Sales By Region | Keeping Current Matters

What does this mean for the market?

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR explained:

“Pending sales have leveled off since mid–summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget.”

There is no need to worry

Yun went on to say, “Even with existing–housing supply barely budging all summer and no relief coming from new construction, contract activity is still higher than earlier this year and a year ago.”

So What Does This Mean To Buyers?

There is a lot of competition out there right now for your dream home. Prices are going to continue to climb, act now before you are priced out of your future home. 

What Does This Mean to Sellers?

If you are on the fence about listing your home for sale and debating whether now is the time to move on with your plans of relocating… don’t wait!

There are more buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy their first, second, third, vacation, or investment property now than there has been in years! The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with the demand of these buyers.

Listing your home for sale now will give you the most exposure to buyers and the best sales price. 

Bottom Line

Whether you are planning on buying or selling a house this year, waiting to act no longer makes sense.  Call me today  at 770-354-0243 or email me to discuss your next step

Freddie Mac, Equity Matters a Lot!

Nest-Egg-House-Money-KCM

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

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

Home-Equity.3-KCM