Move Up Buyers

3 Questions to Ask If You Want to Buy Your Dream Home

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, CoreLogic forecasted a rise by 4.7% from December 2016 to December 2017. On a home that costs $250,000 today, that same home will cost you an additional $11,750 if you wait until next year.

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:

3 Questions to Ask If You Want to Buy Your Dream Home | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

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.

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♛ The Impact of Homeownership on Educational Achievement

The Impact of Homeownership on Educational Achievement | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on educational achievement. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • The decision to stay in school by teenage students is higher for those raised by home-owning parents compared to those in renter households.
  • Parental homeownership in low-income neighborhoods has a positive impact on high school graduation.
  • Though homeownership raises educational outcomes for children, neighborhood stability may have further enhanced the positive outcome.
  • Children of homeowners tend to have higher levels of achievement in math and reading and fewer behavioral problems.
  • Educational opportunities are more prevalent in neighborhoods with high rates of homeownership and community involvement.
  • The average child of homeowners is significantly more likely to achieve a higher level of education and, thereby, a higher level of earnings.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

*The next two Thursdays, we will report the study’s findings on the impact homeownership has on civic participation and a family’s health.

 

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying a Home!

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!!

Almost every real estate conversation revolves around the continuous rise in house values over the last four years. Some have even mentioned a concern about another possible bubble forming. However, the recent increase in prices can be attributed to a very simple principle: supply and demand.

DEMAND

Demand for single-family housing has continued to increase as the economy slowly moves forward. Recent surveys have shown that over 80% of each generation still believes that homeownership is a part of the American Dream. And a recent Gallup survey showed that Americans believe that real estate is the best long-term investment.

SUPPLY

Over the last several years, many homeowners were unable to put their homes on the market for an assortment of reasons (family finances, no or limited equity in the home). There has been a pent-up supply of sellers who have wanted to move but couldn’t. Below is a graph depicting the number of years families have historically stayed in a home. We can see there is pent-up seller demand.

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!! | Keeping Current Matters

As the economy improves and more families reach the point of significant equity (20%), we will see these homes come to market. As supply then matches demand, the acceleration of home price increases will begin to slow.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the families that have been chained to your current home over the last 5-7 years, now may be the time to break free and find the home of your dreams.

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW!

People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their first quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW! | Keeping Current Matters

A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that rents rose “faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.”

The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc. report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually. 

Where are rents headed?

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned that:

“Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they’ll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead.”  

Bottom Line

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say in the latest Existing Home Sales Report:

 “With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now.”

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, meet with a local real estate professional who can help determine if you are able to today!

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Keeping Current Matters

The latest report from Freddie Mac shows that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% last week, slightly down from the week before (3.66%), and nearly 20 points lower than a year ago (3.80%).

This is great news for homebuyers who are dealing with rising prices due to a low inventory of homes for sale in many areas of the country. Freddie Mac expressed their optimism for the rates to remain low throughout the spring in a recent blog post:

“We expect mortgage interest rates to stay well under 4% as we head into the heart of the spring homebuying season. We’re predicting it to be the best one in 10 years, which should provide even greater opportunities for first-time homebuyers.”

Below is a chart of the weekly average rates in 2016, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Keeping Current Matters

Rates have again fallen to historic lows yet many experts still expect them to increase in 2016. One thing we know for sure is that, according to Freddie Mac, current rates are the best they have been since last April.

Sean Becketti, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac recently explained:

“Since the start of February, mortgage rates have varied within a narrow range providing an extended period for house hunters to take advantage of historically low rates.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your ultimate dream home, now is a great time to get a sensational rate on your mortgage.

Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble

Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

With home prices expected to appreciate by over 5% this year, some are beginning to worry about a new housing bubble forming. Warren Buffet addressed this issue last week in an article by Fortune Magazine. He simply explained:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Later, when questioned whether real estate and/or mortgaging could present the same challenges for the economy as they did in 2008, Buffet said:

“I don’t think we will have a repeat of that.”

What factors are driving home prices up?

It is easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. There is a lack of housing inventory for sale while demand for that inventory is very strong. According to a recentsurvey of agents by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic was seen as either “strong” or “very strong” in 44 of the 50 states (the exceptions being: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware).

Also, in NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Report, it was revealed that the index was the highest it has been in a year.

What does the future bring?

As prices rise, more families will have increased equity in their homes which will enable them to put their home on the market. As more listings come to market, price increases should slow to more normal levels.

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, recently addressed the issue:

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners. Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply and demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy & affordable home values into the future.”