770-354-0243

fax 770-783-8896 / Email Me

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!

Baby Boomers Finding a New Freedom

Baby Boomers Finding Freedom In Retirement | Keeping Current Matters

Within the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any other generation during that same time period, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…

In a recent Merrill Lynch study“Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing. 

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.

The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)

Crossing The Freedom Threshold | Keeping Current Matters

As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.”

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.

Merrill Lynch Moving In Retirement | Keeping Current Matters

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with fewer children at home, they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, feel free to contact me, I would love to help! 770-354-0243-Cell

2016 Homeowners Net Worth will be 45X Greater then Renters

2016: Homeowner’s Net Worth Will Be 45x Greater Than a Renter | Keeping Current Matters

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 recent Forbes article the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief EconomistLawrence Yun predicts that in 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:

Increasing Gap in Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Put Your Housing Cost to Work For You

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 80% 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 through homeownership, give me a call  at 770-354-0243 or email me at [email protected]  and let’s get you started!

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).

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?

question mark
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.