Real Estate Information

Pleasanton Real Estate Blog

Lois Cox

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 142

You too can Buy a home!

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current
 
Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step | Simplifying The Market

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” 

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

This could be an option for you.

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current
 
How to Save on a Mortgage Payment Whether Buying or Selling | Simplifying The Market

How to Save on a Mortgage Payment Whether Buying or Selling

In Trulia’s recent reportRent vs. Buy: Roommate Edition, they examined the impact that renting with a roommate has in determining whether it is more expensive to rent or buy. The study explains:

“Since we started keeping track in 2012, it’s been a better deal to buy than rent in America’s largest housing markets – and for much of that time it hasn’t been close.”

It then goes on to ask the question:

“But does the equation change for renters who share their rent with a roommate?”

The report reveals:

“While the standard rent vs. buy analysis reveals buying is cheaper than renting in all of the nation’s 100 largest metros, this doesn’t hold true for those choosing between renting with a roommate and buying a starter home.”

It seems obvious that sharing the cost of renting your living space by taking in a roommate dramatically decreases your housing expense (which is exactly what the report concluded), but it got us thinking.

What if you purchased a home and took in that same roommate?

The savings you would gain by adding a roommate would also occur if you purchased a home. This presents an opportunity for a list of possible purchasers. Here are two examples:

  1. The first-time buyer: As the report explains, many young adults already live with a roommate. If they purchased a new home, perhaps that roommate (or someone else) would be willing to rent a room in their new house. The rent could help offset the mortgage payment.
  2. The empty-nester seller looking to move: Their home may no longer fit their current lifestyle. They may now be looking for something a little smaller with all the bedrooms on the ground level. These families may be able to open a bedroom to an older family member (parents, aunts & uncles, etc.). This would kill two birds with one stone.

A smaller, move-down home is almost impossible to find in the current housing market. If the seller-turned-buyer takes on a tenant, they could buy a more expensive home knowing that the additional monies needed to pay the mortgage would be offset with the additional monies they receive in rent. Secondly, the older couple (ex. parents) could get a housing option that probably far surpasses anything else available to them in the current market.

Bottom Line

Considering the concept of renting a portion of your house to be able to purchase the perfect home may make sense to many families. You will need to decide if it is right for you.

 

What to Look for in a Real Estate Team

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current

What to Look for in Your Real Estate Team | Simplifying The Market

What to Look for in Your Real Estate Team

How do you select the members of your team who are going to help you make your dream of owning a home a reality? What should you be looking for? How do you know if you’ve found the right agent or lender?

The most important characteristic that you should be looking for in your agent is someone who is going to take the time to really educate you on the choices available to you and your ability to buy in today’s market.

As Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Do your research. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of professionals whom they have used in the past and have had good experiences with.

Look for members of your team who will be honest and trustworthy; after all, you will be trusting them with helping you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

Whether this is your first or fifth time buying a home, you want to make sure that you have an agent who is going to have the tough conversations with you, not just the easy ones. If your offer isn’t accepted by the seller, or they think that there may be something wrong with the home that you’ve fallen in love with, you would rather know what they think than make a costly mistake.

According to a Consumer Housing Trends Study, millennials have already started to prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

Look for someone to invest in your family’s future with you. You want an agent who isn’t focused on the transaction but is instead focused on helping you understand the process while helping you find your dream home.

Bottom Line

In this world of Google searches, where it seems like all the answers are just a mouse-click away, you need an agent who is going to educate you and share the information that you need to know before you even know you need it.

Now is a good time to sell....

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current

More Americans Say Now is a Good Time to Sell! | Simplifying The Market

More Americans Say Now is a Good Time to Sell!

Recently released data from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey revealed that rising home prices were the catalyst behind an eight-point jump in the net percentage of respondents who say now is a good time to sell. The index is now 21 points higher than it was this time last year.

Overall, 62% of Americans surveyed said that now is a good time to sell (up from 58%), while 26% of respondents said that now is not a good time to sell (down from 30%). The net score is the difference between the two percentages, or 36%.

According to CoreLogic, home prices are now up 6.7% over last year and 78.8% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity (defined as 20% or more).

As home prices have increased, more and more homeowners have realized that now is a good time to sell their homes in order to take advantage of the extra equity they now have.

At the same time, however, rising prices have had the exact opposite impact on the good-time-to-buy scale as many buyers are nervous that they will not be able to afford a home; the net score dropped 5 points to 18%.

Doug Duncan, Vice President & Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, had this to say,

“In the early stages of the economic expansion, home selling sentiment trailed home buying sentiment by a significant margin. The reverse is true today.

The net good time to sell share is now double the net good time to buy share, with record high percentages of consumers citing home prices as the primary reason for both perceptions. Such a sizable gap between selling and buying sentiment, if it persists, could weigh on the housing market through the rest of the year.”

Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale, which has driven prices up across the country. Until the supply starts to better match demand, there will be a gap between the sentiments surrounding buying and selling.

Bottom Line

If you are considering listing your home for sale this year, now is the time!

Thinking of Making a MOVE?

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current

Want to Keep up with the Joneses? Now's the Time

Want to Keep Up with the Joneses? Now’s the Time | MyKCM

Does your current house fit your needs? Does it seem like everyone else is moving up and moving on to more luxurious surroundings? Are you wondering what it would take to start living your dream life?

Market conditions around the country have presented an opportunity like no other for those who are looking to make the jump to a premium or luxury home.

The National Association of Realtors reports that national inventory levels are now at a 4.3-month supply. A normal market, where prices appreciate with inflation, has 6-7-months inventory. The national market has echoed the conditions felt in the starter and trade-up markets as inventory has declined year-over-year for 25 consecutive months.

The chart below shows the relationship between the inventory of homes for sale and prices.

Want to Keep Up with the Joneses? Now’s the Time | MyKCM

According to Trulia’s latest Inventory Report, the inventory of homes for sale in the two lower priced markets has dropped by double digit percentages over the last 12 months (16% for starter and 13% for trade-up homes). While the inventory of homes in the premium home category has dropped by only 4%.

This has created a seller’s market in the lower-priced markets, as 54% of homes were on the market for less than a month in the last Realtors Confidence Index, and a buyer’s market in the luxury market, where homes were on the market for an average of 160 days according to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Bottom Line

If you are even thinking of listing your home and moving up to a luxury home, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to do so. Homeowners across the country are upgrading their homes, why can’t you? Your dream home is waiting!

Single and want to buy a home?

by Lois Cox
 

Singles Are Falling for Their Dream Home First [INFOGRAPHIC]

Singles Are Falling for Their Dream Home First [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • According to NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the share of recent homebuyers who were single at the time of purchase held steady at 24% last year.
  • The percentage of first-time buyers who were single females rose to 17% (up from 16%), as the share of single men dropped from 11% to 8%.
  • The primary reason for buying a home amongst singles was the desire to own a home of their own (38% for women and 37% for men).
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Are you ready to buy a home?

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current
 
The 5 Greatest Benefits of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

The 5 Greatest Benefits of Homeownership

Recently, Freddie Mac reported on the benefits of homeownership. According to their report, here are the five benefits that “should be at the top of everyone’s list.”

  1. Homeownership can help you build equity over time.
  2. Your monthly payments will remain stable.
  3. You may have some tax benefits.
  4. You can take pride in ownership.
  5. Homeownership improves your community.

Let’s expand on each of Freddie Mac’s points:

Homeownership can help you build equity over time.

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun reported that now the net worth gap is 45 times greater.

Your monthly payments will remain stable.

When you purchase a home with a fixed rate mortgage, the majority of the payment (principle and interest) remain constant. On the other hand, rents continue to skyrocket. Your housing expense is much more stable if you own instead of rent.

You may have some tax benefits.

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership.

Here are four items from the Briefing Book:

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • Property Tax Deduction
  • Imputed Rent
  • Profits from Home Sale

You can take pride in ownership.

Most surveys show that a major factor in purchasing a home is the freedom you have to design the home the way you want. From paint colors to yard accessories, you don’t need a landlord’s permission to make the house feel like a home.

Homeownership improves your community.

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study explained:

“Homeownership does create social capital and provide residents with a platform from which to connect and interact with neighbors…Owning a home means owning part of a neighborhood, and a homeowner’s feelings of commitment to the home can arouse feelings of commitment to the neighborhood, which, in turn, can produce interactions with neighbors.”

Bottom Line

There are many benefits to homeownership. That is why it is still a critical piece of the American Dream.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Call Me.... its a great time to sell.

by Lois Cox
 
75% of Homeowners Think Now is a Good Time to Sell! | Simplifying The Market

75% of Homeowners Think Now is a Good Time to Sell!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the findings of their Q2 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey. The report covers core topics like, “if now is a good time to buy or sell a home, the perception of home price changes, perceived ability to qualify for a mortgage, and [an] outlook on the U.S. economy.”

The survey revealed that 75% of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, compared to 70% last quarter. This is a considerable increase from more than a year ago when 66% agreed.

Even though homeowners believe that now is a good time to sell, many have not taken the step to list their homes, as inventory shortages still exist across the country. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

“There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy…

As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

Bottom Line

If you are wondering if now is a good time to sell your house, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available in our market.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer! | Simplifying The Market

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer!

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 7.1% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.9% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4%. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgageeither yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you? 

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Now is a good time to sell.

by Lois Cox and Keeping Matters Current
 
Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market | Simplifying The Market

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market

The real estate market is moving more and more into a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the summer, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

"Sellers are in the driver's seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers. Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen."

Tom O’Grady, Pro Teck CEO

“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months.

This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia

“Nationally, housing inventory dropped to its lowest level on record in 2017 Q1. The number of homes on the market dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.1% over the past year.”

Freddie Mac

“Tight housing inventory has been an important feature of the housing market at least since 2016. For-sale housing inventory, especially of starter homes, is currently at its lowest level in over ten years. If inventory continues to remain tight, home sales will likely decline from their 2016 levels. …all eyes are on housing inventory and whether or not it will meet the high demand.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 142

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