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If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.
Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.
1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.
For example, a survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”
This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:
A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
A place where you and your family feel safe
More space for you and your family
Control of that space
What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.
2. Where are home values headed?
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in December (the latest data available) was $232,200, up 4.0% from last year. This increase also marks the 58th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.
If we look at the numbers year over year, CoreLogicforecasted a rise by 4.7% from December 2016 to December 2017.
What does that mean to you?
Simply put, with prices increasing each month, it might cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy.
3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, and Fannie Mae have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below:
Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.
So you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!
Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:
1. Understand How Much You Can Afford
“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”
This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ really should take place before you start your home search process.
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).
2. Act Fast
“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.
Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.
3. Make a Solid Offer
Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:
“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”
Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand out above the rest.
4. Be Prepared to Negotiate
“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.
Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”
If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made, with the seller, or cancel the contract.
Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!
It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year.
The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring, as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months in which most people listed their homes for sale in 2016.
The three months in the second quarter of the year are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,820,000.
That number spiked to 2,140,000 by May!
What does this mean to you?
With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer.
It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home today.
Open floor plans continue to reign. Eighty-four percent of builders say that in the typical single-family home they build, the kitchen and family room arrangement is at least partially open. Fifty-four percent say it’s completely open, according to responses from a September 2016 National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
“Completely open” essentially means the two areas are combined into the same room. Partially open signifies areas separated by a partial wall, arch, counter, or something less than a full wall.
Seventy percent of recent and prospective home buyers say they prefer a home with either a completely or partially open kitchen-family room arrangement; 32 percent say they prefer the arrangement completely open, according to an NAHB survey.
Only 16 percent of buyers say they want the kitchen and family rooms in separate areas of the house.
As demand continues to increase for open floor plans, homeowners of existing-homes are also looking to open up their kitchen and family room areas. Professional remodelers report that 40 percent of their projects involved making the floor plan more open by removing interior walls, pillars, arches, etc., according to first quarter of 2016 data in the Remodeling Market Index.
Horror stories often abound when house hunting enters the conversation. Whatever you’ve heard, it’s natural to feel a little apprehensive when making what could be one of the biggest purchases in your life.
Moving is one of the most stressful situations that a person can go through. It’s one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most stressful. So if you’re in the market for a house, follow these tips to drop the drama at the door during your search for a home.
Know What You Want
The first step to avoid house hunting drama is to really sit back and think about what is most important to you. What are your non-negotiables? Location? Educational opportunities? Price? Daily commute? Once you have determined what is important to you and your family, then begin your home search.
Stick to Criteria
Be sure to check that the communities in which you are conducting your search include homes that align with your values. This will narrow down your scope so you are not looking at hundreds of homes, just the ones that fit in your criteria. If you do your research ahead of time, you can be more confident that what you want is available in the area that you want. Looking in an area that’s not going to provide the home type that you want is going to cause frustration.
The search for the right home can take long enough, let alone with extra interruptions. Avoid paperwork hiccups by submitting all of the necessary documents to make sure your loan is completely preapproved. So if there is any issue, it is identified early on in the process and not the moment that you’re trying to submit a contract on the property.
Remember that you don’t make your monthly payment to the price of the home. Price is relative to the mortgage you are able to obtain. So be sure to get your numbers locked down so you know what price range you are most comfortable with.
Choose the Right Person
When choosing a real estate agent, do your research. Meet with them to make sure you are a fit. Give them your expectations and make sure they have the ability to get the job done.
Hiring the right home inspector could also ensure a smoother home buying process.
It’s all in the reports that they provide. The ideal reports by inspectors include detailed explanations as well as photographs. Unfortunately, some reports consist of a two- to three-page checklist. This can create frustration on the buyers and the sellers part because you don’t have clear enough documentation on what the problem is.
Communication is Key
Communication is the antidote for any drama disease. The more open the client is with the agent, the less drama is going to present itself in the transaction. You have to trust your agent and relate to them as a confidant, as an ally.
Be open about your biggest stressors and fears in the home buying process with your real estate agent. If you are prone to anxiety and stress, don’t be embarrassed by that, but bring that to your agent.
Know Your Personality
Let’s face it. Most of us have at least one drama queen in our lives. And some of us might just be one. Be true to yourself. If you know that you’re a drama-filled person, then embrace that. A good real estate agent will have experience in working with all different kinds of people and family dynamics. If that’s your personality type, make your agent aware.
Procrastination causes drama. If you have a deadline, many real estate professionals recommend beginning four to six months ahead of time to start educating yourself on the process. Do some research on your local housing market. For example, find out the average amount that is negotiated in your community. Have the right expectations, or else you’re setting yourself up for frustration. A little preparation will go a long way in helping your assumptions stay reasonably accurate.