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You May Have More Equity Then You Think!

Home Equity: You May Have More Than You Think | Keeping Current Matters

CoreLogic recently released their 2015 2nd Quarter Equity Report which revealed that 759,000 properties had regained equity in the last quarter. That means that 91% of allmortgaged properties (approximately 45.9 million) are now in a positive equity position. Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, reported:

“For much of the country, the negative equity epidemic is lifting. The biggest reason for this improvement has been the relentless rise in home prices over the past three years which reflects increasing money flows into housing and a lack of housing stock in many markets.”

Obviously, this is great news for the financial situation of many homeowners.

But, do they realize their equity position has changed?

A recent study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are unaware that their equity position has changed…in some cases dramatically. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, only 9% of homes are in that position.

The study also revealed that, though 69% of homes had “significant equity” (greater than 20%), only 37% of Americans realize it.

Significant Equity | Keeping Current Matters

This means that 32% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

Every homeowner should be aware of the true equity in their house and also realize the opportunities that go along with it. If you are unsure of the savings you currently have built up in your home, contact me at 770-354-0243 to help ascertain that number. You may be surprised.

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

Selling Your Home? Price it Right From The Beginning

Price-It-Right

 

In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.

John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered the their price. In his article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price published in Real Estate Economics revealed:

“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”

Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.

Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.

Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.

Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!

One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.

Price & Visibility | Simplifying The Market

A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.

Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?

The Price is Right

Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Let’s get together to discuss what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home, call me today at 7700-354-0243 or email me at [email protected]

 

Should I Rent My House Instead Of Selling It?

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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

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).
Because of the economy, many homeowners cannot make their mortgage payment. What percentage of tenants do you think cannot afford to pay their rent?
Have you interviewed experienced eviction attorneys in case a challenge does arise?
Have you talked to your insurance company about a possible increase in premiums as liability is greater in a non-owner occupied home?
Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? How big a dog?
How will you actually collect the rent? By mail? In person?
Repairs are part of being a landlord. Who will take tenant calls when necessary repairs come up?
Do you have a list of craftspeople readily available to handle these repairs?
How often will you do a physical inspection of the property?
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.

Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace Housing Supply!

Search-KCM

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report.

Inventory Levels & Demand

Sales of existing homes rose 3.2% from May, outpacing year-over-year figures for the ninth consecutive month. Total unsold housing inventory is at a 5.0-month supply.

This is down from May’s 5.1-month supply and remains below the 6 months that is needed for a historically normal market.

Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still around 4%, new programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.

Buyer demand for housing surged to it’s highest level since June 2013.

Prices Rising

June marked the 40th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $236,400 (up 6.5% from 2014).

So What Does This Mean?

The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.

Inventory & Pricing | Keeping Current Matters

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:

“Limited inventory amidst strong demand continues to push home prices higher, leading to declining affordability for prospective buyers.”

NAR’s President, Chris Polychron added:

“The demand for buying has really heated up this summer, leading to multiple bidders and homes selling at or above asking price.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market in 2015, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Contact me at 770-354-0243 or [email protected] to get the process started.

 

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

5 Reasons To Sell NOW!

5 Reasons to Sell You House Now! | Keeping Current Matters

5-Reasons-KCM
As the temperature continues to rise, buyers are coming out ready to purchase their dream home. Here are five reasons that you should list your house for sale now.

1. Strong Buyer Demand

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are significantly more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any point in the last two years!

These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

The National Association of Realtors reported last week that housing supply as slipped to a 5.0-month supply. This is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices.

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 two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. Home Prices Are Skyrocketing

Daren Blomquist, President of RealtyTrac, recently shared insights into why “2015 is a Great Year to Sell” by saying:

“So far in 2015, [sellers] are realizing the biggest gains in home price appreciation since 2007. In June, sellers sold for above estimated market value on average for the first time in nearly two years.”

One major factor driving prices up is the lack of inventory available for the amount of buyers in the market. Often buyers, who find a home that they would like to make an offer on, are met with the reality that they aren’t the only ones interested.

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 over 19.4% from now to 2019. 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 near 4% right now.

Rates are projected to increase by a full percentage point over the next year according to Freddie Mac.

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.

Rising Prices and Appraisals- You have to sell it twice!

Appraisals-KCM

The fact that residential home prices are increasing substantially in most regions of the country is music to the ears of homeowners. However, if you are in the process of selling your home, make sure you realize the major challenge a hot real estate market creates.

Each house must be sold twice; once to a buyer and a second time to an appraiser who represents the bank that will grant the purchaser a mortgage to buy the home (unless it is an “all cash” purchase). In a real market with escalating prices, the second sale may be the more difficult. And a recent survey by Quicken Loans reveals that the gap between what a homeowner believes is the value of their home compared to an appraiser is widening.

Appraisal-vs-Homeowner-Value-KCM

This could lead to an increase in the percentage of real estate transactions being challenged by a ‘short’ appraisal (where the appraiser value is less than the contracted price of the home).

Bottom Line

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you must be prepared for this possibility as it may result in a renegotiation of the price of the home.

Sales will remain HOT this SUMMER!

People always talk about the “spring buying season” when they talk real estate. However, this year it appears as though the summer real estate market will be just as hot.

The most recent Foot Traffic Report released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there are more buyers out looking at homes right now than at any other time in the last two years including the past two springs (in orange below).

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The Foot Traffic Report is compiled from data on the number of properties shown by Realtors. NAR further 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.”
We can see that the number of prospective purchasers out looking at homes has been greater each month this year compared to the same month in 2014. And, though foot traffic fell off last June as compared to May, this year it has increased nicely.

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