The Howell Realty Group Real Estate News and Information

 

Sept. 11, 2017

Looking for Your Dream Home? Know What You Want vs. What You Need

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • Must-Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • Should-Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • Absolute-Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

Aug. 29, 2017

Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High

According to Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report, 1.5 million Americans have purchased a home with down payments under than 10% over the last 12 months. This is great news for buyers as this marks a 7-year high.

Many mortgage programs offered by agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae allow buyers to put down as low as 3% to purchase their dream homes. The strength of the housing market has aided buyers who used low-down-payment programs to buy. As a recent CNBC article points out,

“Defaults on recent low down payment loans, so far, are slow, but that is as much a factor of the good credit quality as it is the strength of the housing market. Home prices are rising incredibly fast, meaning those borrowers are gaining equity in their homes quickly.”

Low down payments aren’t just great for first-time homebuyers. These programs have allowed homeowners who want to capitalize on the equity they have in their homes to use the profit from their sale to pay off high-interest credit cards, fund education or even start a business.

According to a new Census Report, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, home equity was used to start 7.3% of all businesses in the United States, which equates to over 284,000! The industries that saw the most growth from home equity are accommodation & food services, manufacturing and, retail trade.

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

Aug. 27, 2017

Don’t Disqualify Yourself… 52% of Approved Loans Have A FICO® Score Under 750

The results of countless studies have shown that potential home buyers, and even current homeowners, have an inflated view of what is really required to qualify for a mortgage in today’s market.

One such study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that many millennials have not yet considered purchasing homes simply because they don’t believe they can qualify for a mortgage.

A recent article about millennials by Realtor.com explained that:

“About 72% of aspiring millennial buyers said they’re waiting because they can’t afford to buy…”

The article also explained that 29% of millennials believe their credit scores are too low to buy.The problem here is the fact that they think they will be denied a mortgage is keeping them from even attempting to apply.

Ellie Mae’s Vice President Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they won’t qualify for a mortgage:

“Many potential home buyers are ‘disqualifying’ themselves. You don’t need a 750 FICO® Score and a 20% down payment to buy.”

So, what credit score is necessary?

Below is a breakdown of the FICO® Score distribution of all closed (approved) loans in July from Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Report.

Over 52% of all approved loans had a FICO® Score under 750. Many potential home buyers believe that they need a score over 780 to qualify.

 

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

Aug. 20, 2017

Why Is It Important to Use a Professional to Sell Your Home?

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the first step that “…44% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.”

However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

Posted in For Sellers, FSBO's
Aug. 14, 2017

Homes Are Selling Quickly Nationwide

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report, which revealed that homes were on the market for an average of 28 days in June. This is a slight increase from the 27 days reported in May, but down from 34 days reported a year ago.

54% of homes across the country were on the market for less than a month in June!

Among the 27 states with homes selling in 30 days or less are Washington, Utah, California, and Colorado. The map below was created using results from NAR’s Monthly Realtors Confidence Index Survey.

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

July 31, 2017

Be Careful Not to Get Caught in The Rental Trap!

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top benefits is being able to protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don’t Become Trappe


A recent article by ConsumerAffairs addressed the continuous rise in rents, stating:

“The cost of putting a roof over your head continues to go up. Not only are home prices still rising, but the cost of rent rose 0.5% in June.”

Additionally, in the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University’s 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Report, it was revealed that,

“Despite a slight improvement from 2014, fully one-third of US households paid more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2015. Renters continue to be more likely to face cost burdens…the number of cost-burdened renters (21 million) considerably outstrips the number of cost-burdened owners (18 million) even though nearly two-thirds of US households own their homes.”


These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.

It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia shows 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 show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 24,000 renters found that 80% of millennial renters plan to eventually buy a house, but 72% cite affordability as their primary obstacle. Aside from affordability, one in three millennial renters have concerns about their credit scores, and another 53% said that a down payment is an obstacle.

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

July 26, 2017

Americans Still Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment

According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index Poll, Americans who have money to set aside for the next 10 years would rather invest in real estate than any other type of investment.

Bankrate asked Americans to answer the following question:

“What is the best way to invest money you wouldn’t need for 10 years or more?”

Real Estate came in as the top choice with 28% of all respondents (3% higher than last year), while cash investments - such as savings accounts and CD’s - came in second with 23% (the same as last year). The chart below shows the full results:

The article points out several reasons for these results:

“After bottoming out at the end of 2011 following the worst housing collapse in generations, home prices have gone gangbusters recently, climbing back above their record pre-crisis levels. Prices jumped 6.6 percent during the 12 months that ended in May, according to CoreLogic.

Toss in persistently low interest rates, tax goodies that come with owning a mortgage, and the psychological payoff from planting your roots, and maybe it’s no wonder real estate remains popular.”

The article also revealed that:

“Bankrate’s Financial Security Index — based on survey questions about how people feel about their debt, savings, net worth, job security and overall financial situation — has hit its third-highest level since the poll’s inception in December 2010.

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

July 24, 2017

Rising Home Prices Mean Great News for Homeowners

Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. As we mentioned before, in some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers who are out looking for homes, which has caused prices to rise.

The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s Homeowner Equity Report, the average American household gained over $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.

The map below was created using the same report from CoreLogic and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home during the 1st quarter of 2017 (the latest data available).





For those who are worried that we are doomed to repeat 2006 all over again, it is important to note that homeowners are investing their new-found equity in their homes and themselves, not in depreciating assets.

The added equity is helping families put their children through college, invest in starting small businesses, pay off their mortgages sooner and even move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.

Bottom Line


You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

July 19, 2017

84% of Americans Believe Buying a Home is a Good Financial Decision

According to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey, 84% of Americans now believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. This is the highest percentage since 2007 – before the housing crisis. Those surveyed pointed out five major reasons why they believe homeownership is a good financial decision:

  1. Homeownership means the money you spend on housing goes towards building equity, rather than to a landlord
  2. Homeownership creates the opportunity to pay off a mortgage and own your home by the time you retire
  3. Homeownership is an investment opportunity that builds long-term wealth and increases net worth
  4. Homeownership means a stable and predictable monthly mortgage payment
  5. Homeownership allows for various deductions on federal, state, and local income taxes

The survey also revealed that the majority of Americans strongly agree that homeownership helps create safe, secure, and stable environments.

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

July 17, 2017

Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW!

If you thought about selling your house this year, now more than ever may be the time to do it! The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently commented:

“Buyer interest is solid, but there is just not enough supply to satisfy demand. Prospective buyers are being sidelined by both limited choices and home prices that are climbing too fast.”

Yun goes on to say:

"Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it's clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions."

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction, including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact the Howell Realty Group to discuss the possibilities.

Posted in For Sellers