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Dan Harwood

Sales Associate

My Blog

Renters: It is about to Get A Lot Worse

9/30/2015

Renters: It is about to Get A Lot Worse | Keeping Current Matters

We often promote homeownership over renting when a family is ready, willing and able to purchase. There are both financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home of your own. Based on the headlines below, many news outlets agreed with us after they reviewed a recent report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies andEnterprise Community Partners.

The study states that the number of households spending 50% or more of their income on rent is expected to rise by over ten percent in the next decade. They concluded:

“Overall, this white paper projects a fairly bleak picture of severe renter burdens across the US for the coming decade.”

What do other experts think of the report? You can tell by the headlines they chose to introduce their stories:

“Renters, get ready to take it on the chin” - CNBC

“The Rent Crisis Is About to Get a Lot Worse” - Bloomberg Business

“Renters Will Continue to Struggle for the Next Decade” - World Street Journal

“Why the renting crisis could be about to get a lot worse” - Fortune Magazine

“Soaring rents are a problem that will only get worse” - Business Insider

“High rents are here to stay” - The Real Deal

Bottom Line

If you are thinking about buying a home and are financially positioned to do so, now may be better than later.

You can download the entire white paper here: Projecting Trends in Severely Cost-Burdened Renters

Don’t Wait To Buy Your Dream Home

9/29/2015

Don’t Wait to Buy Your Dream Home | 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 either a first-time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned only about price but also about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let us explain.

There are many factors that influence the ‘cost’ of a home. Two of the major ones are the home’s appreciation over time, and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase their home. The rate at which these two factors can change is often referred to as “The Cost of Waiting”.

What will happen over the next 12 months?

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices are expected to rise by 4.7% by this time next year.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Tablepredicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will appreciate to 4.7% in that same time.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters

Thinking of Selling? 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale By Owner

9/28/2015

Thinking of Selling? Why You Shouldn't For Sale By Owner | Keeping Current Matters

In today's market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five reasons:

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

 2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 88% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 21% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3. Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspaper

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $208,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $235,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $27,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

Existing Home Sales Slow Amongst Tight Inventory [INFOGRAPHIC]

9/25/2015

Existing Home Sales Slow Amongst Tight Inventory [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales slowed down slightly in August but remained 6.2% higher than August 2014.

  • Inventory levels remain below the 6 months necessary for a normal market at a 5.2-month supply.

  • First Time Buyers rebounded in August to make up 32% of sales, matching a 2015 high.

How Much Must You Trust Your Listing Agent?

9/24/2015

How Much Must You Trust Your Listing Agent? | Keeping Current Matters

You and your family have decided to sell your house. It is now time to choose a real estate professional to help with the process. One of the major attributes this agent must possess is trustworthiness. To what degree do you need to trust them?

You must have enough trust in them that you feel comfortable they will accomplish all four things below:

1. Sell possibly the largest asset your family owns

In many cases, a home is the largest asset a family has. Studies have shown that the equity many families have in their home is the largest percentage of that family’s overall wealth.

2. Set the correct market value on that asset

Pricing is crucial even in the best of markets. You want to get the best price for your home without putting your house at a value that buyers will have little interest.

3. Set the time schedule for the liquidation of that asset

Your family probably has a certain timetable for the sale of your house and the move into your next home. Coordinating the home selling process to meet certain schedules can be tricky.

4. Set a fair fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

You will need to pay a commission to an agent for selling the home and coordinating all elements of the selling transaction including possible future negotiations (ex. with a home inspector or appraiser).

That’s a lot of trust. Make sure you pick a true professional to help with the sale of your home.

Agents: Do you know how to establish trust before you even walk in the door? Join us for our free webinar later today, The 5 Elements of the Perfect Listing Presentation!

Is Qualifying for a Mortgage Getting Easier?

9/23/2015

Is Qualifying for a Mortgage Getting Easier? | Keeping Current Matters

There has been a lot of talk about how difficult it is to get a home mortgage in today’s lending environment. However, three recent reports have revealed that lending standards are beginning to ease. This is great news for both first time buyers and current homeowners looking to move or buy a second vacation/retirement home. Let’s look at the three reports:

The MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index

This index, issued by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, measures the availability of credit available in the home mortgage market. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of a loosening of credit. We can see that the index has been increasing nicely this year:

Mortgage Credit Availability Index | Keeping Current Matters

Fannie Mae’s latest Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey

This survey revealed that more lenders report that mortgage lending standards across all loan types are easing. The survey asked senior mortgage executives whether their company’s credit standards have eased, tightened, or remained essentially unchanged during the prior three months. The gap between lenders reporting easing as opposed to tightening over the prior three months jumped to approximately 20%. This represented a new survey high of "net easing." In addition, the share of lenders who expect their organizations to ease credit standards over the next three months also ticked up this quarter.

Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, addressed this easing of standards:

"For the first time in seven quarters, we see a pronounced increase in the share of lenders, particularly medium- and larger-sized lenders, reporting on net an easing of credit standards … This is a significant result in light of public discourse on credit availability and standards … Overall, we expect that lenders' tendency toward easing credit standards, together with relatively low mortgage rates and a strengthening labor market, will continue to support the housing market expansion."

Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report

The easing of credit standards is also confirmed in this report which showed that the average FICO score on a closed loan fell to its lowest point in well over a year. Here is a chart of average FICO scores on closed loans so far in 2015:

Ellie Mae FICO Scores | Keeping Current Matters

Just keep an eye on interest rates…

Although this is all great news, there was one challenge in the recently released data.Ellie Mae reported that the average interest rate on closed loans is beginning to inch upward:

Ellie Mae Interest Rates | Keeping Current Matters

What this means to you…

If you are a first time buyer or a current homeowner thinking of moving up to a bigger home or buying a vacation home, now may be the time to act. Mortgage lending standards are beginning to ease and interest rates are beginning to inch up.

3 Graphs That Scream List Your House Today!

9/22/2015

3 Graphs That Scream List Your Home Today! | Keeping Current Matters

In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.8-month supply. This is significantly lower than the 6 months inventory necessary for a normal market.

Inventory | Keeping Current Matters

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand this year has significantly surpassed the levels reached in 2014.

Foot Traffic | Keeping Current Matters

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase).

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality 69% of homeowners actually do!

Equity | Keeping Current Matters

Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

Bottom Line

If you are debating selling your home this year, meet with a local real estate professional that can evaluate the equity you have in your home and the opportunities available in your market.

3 Graphs That Scream List Your House Today!

9/22/2015

3 Graphs That Scream List Your Home Today! | Keeping Current Matters

In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.8-month supply. This is significantly lower than the 6 months inventory necessary for a normal market.

Inventory | Keeping Current Matters

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand this year has significantly surpassed the levels reached in 2014.

Foot Traffic | Keeping Current Matters

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase).

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality 69% of homeowners actually do!

Equity | Keeping Current Matters

Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

Bottom Line

If you are debating selling your home this year, meet with a local real estate professional that can evaluate the equity you have in your home and the opportunities available in your market.

A+ Reasons to Hire A Real Estate Professional

9/4/2015

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!

 

What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

9/3/2015

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.

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