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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Taking the Fear out of the Mortgage Process

Taking the Fear out of the Mortgage Process | Simplifying The Market

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (the average down payment on all loans was 11% last month, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.

Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of which perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests to follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score of all closed loans in September was 731, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all of your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

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Buying a Home Can Be Scary… Know the Facts [INFOGRAPHIC]

Buying a Home Can Be Scary... Know the Facts [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

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%.
  • 8% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 731 in September.

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Percentage of Homeownership by Decade and by State

Percentage of Homeownership by Decade and by State | Simplifying The Market

There has been a lot of talk about the falling homeownership rate in the United States. In December 2004, the homeownership rate reached an all-time high of 69.4%, while the current rate is 62.9%. When comparing these two figures, there is some room for concern regarding the difference.

However, today we want to shine some light on the issue by:

  1. Showing what historic homeownership rates have looked like over the last 130 years.
  2. Breaking down the current percentages by state.

Historic Homeownership Rates:

Percentage of Homeownership by Decade and by State | Simplifying The Market

Current Homeownership Rates by State:

Percentage of Homeownership by Decade and by State | Simplifying The Market

All of the states that you see in blue on the map above have a greater homeownership rate than the national average.

Bottom Line

Though the homeownership rate has fallen recently, the percentage is still at a healthy rate compared to historic numbers, and most states currently have a higher percentage than the national average.

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What to Expect When Home Inspecting

What to Expect When Home Inspecting | Simplifying The Market

So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. Realtor.com suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

  1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
  2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report the better in most cases.
  3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
  4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Often membership in one of these organizations means that there is continued training and education provided.
  5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

Ask your inspector if it’s ok for you to tag along during the inspection. That way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!

Bottom Line

They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

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Buying is Now 37.7% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

Buying is Now 37.7% Cheaper Than Renting in the US | Simplifying The Market

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show 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 17.4% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 53.2% less expensive in Miami & West Palm Beach (FL), and 37.7% 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.
  • Home prices would have to appreciate by a range of over 23% in Honolulu (HI), up to over 45% in Ventura County (CA), to reach the tipping point of renting being less expensive than buying.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 145% increase over today’s average of 3.7%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

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 help you find your dream home.

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Sales of Distressed Properties Hit New Low

Sales of Distressed Properties Hit New Low | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report revealing that distressed property sales accounted for 4% of sales in September. This is down from 7% in 2015, and is the lowest figure since NAR began tracking distressed sales in October 2008.

Below is a graph that shows just how far the market has come since January 2012 when distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales.

Sales of Distressed Properties Hit New Low | Simplifying The Market

Existing Home Sales Hit 2nd Highest Figure Since June 

Mortgage interest rates remained well below 4% in September at 3.46%, prompting existing home sales to stay at a healthy annual pace of 5.47 million. Month-over-month sales were up 3.2%.

Inventory of homes for sale remains below the 6-month supply that is necessary for a normal market, as it fell 2.2% to a 4.5-month supply. The shortage in inventory has contributed to the median home price rising an additional 5.6% to $234,200.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say about the lack of inventory:

“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in.”

There is good news though, as Yun went on to say:

“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”  

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. Buyers are still out there looking for their dream home. Let’s get together to determine your best plan.

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7 Graphs That Show the Real Estate Market is Back! [INFOGRAPHIC]

7 Graphs That Show the Real Estate Market is Back! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Distressed property sales fell to its lowest number since NAR began tracking it in 2008.
  • As you can see, with less distressed properties, sales are up in all price ranges except the $0 – $100K price range.
  • Interest rates are still at historic lows, signifying that now is the right time to buy!

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