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Is your down payment ready?

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

Buying a Home with as Little as 3-5% Down Payment

Buying a Home for as Little as 3-5% Down | Simplifying The Market

We have recently reported on the misconception that many buyers have regarding the down payment necessary to purchase a home. Multiple studies reveal that 40-50% of Americans believe you need between 15-20% of a down payment to be eligible to purchase a home.

This misconception came about as the government just last year debated new guidelines for residential mortgages because of the housing collapse in 2007. Some were arguing that there should be a minimum of 20% or even 30% down payment on all mortgage loans. However, those standards were never implemented.

To counter this misunderstanding, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management, in a recent Executive Perspectives explained that a person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent”.

3% Down Payments Available Soon?

Just last week, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced that mortgages requiring only a three percent down payment may soon be available:

“To increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers, FHFA is also working with the Enterprises to develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97 percent. Through these revised guidelines, we believe that the Enterprises will be able to responsibly serve a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers with lower-down payment mortgages by taking into account “compensating factors.”

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Did your home Sell YET?

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

14,164 Homes Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

14,164 Homes Sold Yesterday! Did Yours? | Simplifying The Market

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is... If it hasn't sold yet this fall, maybe it's not priced properly.

After all 14,164 houses sold yesterday, 14,164 will sell today and 14,164 will sell tomorrow. 14,164!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.17 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,100 homes sell every day. Sales are at the highest pace of 2014.

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn't sold in today's active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.

 

5 Reasons to Sell NOW!

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

#1 Reason You Should Sell Now

#1 Reason You Should Sell Now | Keeping Current Matters

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand’.  If the supply of an item is larger than the amount of people looking to purchase that item, the price will decrease.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), historically there is a natural decline in buyers looking to purchase a home (also known as foot traffic) as the winter months approach. Shown in the graph below:

Foot Traffic to Decline in Winter Months | Keeping Current Matters

NAR goes a step further to say that there is a direct correlation between “foot traffic” and “pending contracts/closed sales one to two months later”.

Bottom Line

The real estate market has done well to recover from the slow start we experienced due in part to the inclement weather at the beginning of 2014.  But with those winter months right around the corner, now may be the best time to get the best price.

 

I WILL work for YOU!

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

5 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent

5 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent | Keeping Current Matters

Are you thinking of selling your house? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant.

You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.

Here are the top 5 demands to make of your Real Estate Agent when selling your house:

1. Tell the truth about the price

Too many agents just take the listing at any price and then try to the ‘work the seller’ for a price correction later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price they are suggesting. Make them show you their plan to sell the house at that price – TWICE! Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to a buyer and then to the bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. A recent survey showed that there was a challenge with the appraisal on 24% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the listing.

2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing

You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.

This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. You agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work.

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them and their family  (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into Super hero when they are negotiating for you and your family with your buyer.

4. Help with the relocation

If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

5. Get the house SOLD!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.

You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!

Are you a Single Woman that Owns a Home?

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

Single Women & Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC]

Single Women & Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Hire Me!

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

Fannie Mae Agrees: Hire a Pro to Sell Your House

Fannie Mae Agrees: Hire A Pro to Sell Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Do you really need an agent to sell your house in today’s market? Here’s what Fannie Mae suggests to sellers on the Know Your Options section of their website:

“Select how you'll market and list the home (e.g., with a real estate agent or for sale by owner). There are pros and cons to each, but unless you are experienced at selling homes, it usually makes financial sense to get professional help—homes sold by agents typically sell at a higher price and spend less time on the market. An agent will also help you determine the best pricing for the house, they'll market the home, and they'll be your advocate throughout the process.”

Let’s go over the points they made:

  • Homes sold by agents typically sell at a higher price
  • Homes sold by agents typically spend less time on the market
  • An agent will help you determine the best pricing for the house
  • An agent will market the home
  • An agent will be your advocate throughout the process

If Fannie Mae says using an agent probably makes sense, perhaps you should interview an agent before putting your house up for sale.

Home Costs---This is Interesting....take a LOOK

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

A Home’s Cost vs. Price Explained

A Home’s Cost vs. Price Explained | Keeping Current Matters

In real estate there is a difference between COST and PRICE. 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 about price but instead about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let us explain.

Recently, we reported that a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists projected that home values would appreciate by approximately 4% from now to the end of 2015.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate will be 5.0% by the end of next year.

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:

The Cost of Waiting A Year | Keeping Current Matters

Is New Construction Your Competition?

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

New Construction = New Competition

New Construction = New Competition | Keeping Current Matters

For the last several years, home sellers had to compete with huge inventories of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). The great news is that the supply of these properties is falling like a rock in the vast majority of housing markets (only 8% of homes sold in August). Many homeowners are now thinking of selling as the impact of this substantially discounted competition has disappeared.

However, every seller of an existing residential property must realize that there is a new form of competition hitting the market: newly constructed homes.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new-home sales topped 500,000, in August, for the first time since 2008.

“This jump in sales activity is in line with our latest surveys, which indicate builders are seeing increased traffic and more serious buyers in the market for single-family homes,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the NAHB.

Broken down regionally, new home sales rose:

  • 50% in the West
  • 29.2% in the Northeast
  • 7.8% in the South
  • and were unchanged in the Midwest

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, perhaps you should do it now to avoid additional competition coming to the market.

Dont be afraid!

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

Buying a Home? Don't Let Fear Get in Your Way

Don't Let Fear Get In Your Way | Keeping Current Matters

Today we are excited to have Steve Harney, the Founder & Chief Content Creator for Keeping Current Matters as our guest blogger.  Steve has over 30 years experience in real estate and is a trusted & sought after speaker. Enjoy!

Last week, I was talking to a young couple I know that was about to close on their first home. They were riding the wild rollercoaster of current mortgage rate swings and were not happy about the mortgage process overall. Yet, when the conversation shifted to finally living in a home that they own, their disposition changed dramatically.

A smile came across their faces as they talked about decorating their son’s bedroom and how much he will enjoy the backyard. They talked about inviting friends over for dinner and their family over for the holidays. The more they talked, the more excited they became.

I asked them if many of their friends were also buying. I was shocked to find out that they weren’t. Why not? Their friends believed that homeownership was financially unobtainable right now. Many wanted to own but didn’t think they could afford the monthly mortgage payment. They decided to rent instead.

I said that, with interest rates and prices where they are today, owning a home might not be any more expensive than renting one. The couple agreed but said their friends were afraid; afraid they might not qualify for a loan, afraid to handle negotiations with a seller, afraid of the home buying process itself.

Wow!

People should not make decisions out of fear!

I’m not saying that every young person should own a home. I am saying that anyone that is qualified and wants to buy should not be afraid of the process. I realize the process may seem daunting but realize over 10,000 homes sell every day in this country. Sit down and discuss your goals with professionals from both the real estate and mortgage industries. Get the facts. Make an informed decision. Don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from living the life of your dreams.

Are you ready to SELL?

by Lois Cox and Current Matters

Why You Should Sell Your House Now!

Why You Should Sell Your House Now! | Keeping Current Matters

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house.  But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at home right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last twelve months which includes the latest spring buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

As we get later into the year, many people have other things (weather, holidays, etc.) that distract them from searching for a home. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

Contact Information

Lois Cox
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties
4725 First Street, #150
Pleasanton CA 94566
925-400-7301 Direct
Fax: 866-466-7886

Cal BRE# 01005829