How To List Your Home for the Best Price

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If your plan for 2019 includes selling your home, you will want to pay attention to where experts believe home values are headed. According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home prices increased by 4.7% over the course of 2018. The map below shows the results of the latest index by state. Real estate is local. Each state appreciates at different levels. The majority of the country saw at least a 2.0% gain in home values, while some residents in North Dakota and Louisiana may have felt prices slow slightly. This effect will be short lived. In the same report, CoreLogic forecasts that every state in the Union will experience at least 2.0% appreciation, with the majority of the country gaining at least 4.0%! The prediction for the country comes in at 4.6%. For a median-priced home, that translates to over $14,000 in additional equity next year! (The map below shows the forecast by state.) So, how does this help you list your home for the best price? Armed with the knowledge of how much experts believe your house will appreciate this year, you will be able to set an appropriate price for your listing from the start. If homes like yours are appreciating at 4.0%, […]

Thinking of Selling Your House? This is a Perfect Time!

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It is common knowledge that a great number of homes sell during the spring buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that is a good strategy this year. The other listings that come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market during this season in comparison to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months during which most people listed their homes for sale in 2018. This graphic shows the results: The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,520,000. That number spiked to 1,870,000 by May! What does this mean to you? With the national job situation improving and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for homes right now. Bottom Line If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring […]

5 Reasons to Love Hiring A Real Estate Pro

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Highlights: Hiring a real estate professional to guide you through the process of buying a home or selling your house can be one of the best decisions you make! They are there for you to help with contracts, explaining the process, negotiations, and pricing (both when making an offer or setting the right price for your home). One of the top reasons to hire a real estate professional is their understanding of your local market and how the conditions in your neighborhood will impact your experience.

How to Get a Better Perspective on Affordability

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Headlines spotlight the fact that buying a home is less affordable today than it was at any other time in more than a decade. Those headlines are accurate. Understandably, buying a home is more expensive now than immediately following one of the worst housing crashes in American history. Over the past decade, the market was flooded with distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) selling at 10-50% discounts. There were so many that this lowered the prices of non-distressed homes in the same neighborhoods. As a result, mortgage rates were kept low to help the economy. Prices have since recovered. Mortgage rates have increased as the economy has gained strength. This has impacted housing affordability. However, it’s necessary to give historical context to the subject of affordability. Two weeks ago, CoreLogic reported on what they call the “typical mortgage payment”. As they explain: “One way to measure the impact of inflation, mortgage rates and home prices on affordability over time is to use what we call the ‘typical mortgage payment.’ It’s a mortgage-rate-adjusted monthly payment based on each month’s U.S. median home sale price. It is calculated using Freddie Mac’s average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment… The typical mortgage […]

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale

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One of the biggest challenges sellers face when listing their house is decluttering. Cleaning out some of the more personal decorating choices allows buyers to imagine themselves living in the house. Those planning to sell soon are in luck! Marie Kondo, the inventor of the KonMari Method of Tidying Up, has gained popularity with her new Netflix series. She gives some great tips for sorting through years of accumulated possessions that we all collect in our homes. “The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.” When you subjectively look at all of your belongings, you can sort through the ones that mean the most to you. Not only will you increase space for more joy-bringing items in your new home, but you will also have a much easier time packing remaining belongings! “Remember, tidying up isn’t about getting rid of stuff. It is about creating an environment that sparks joy and improves your quality of life.” When selling […]

One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy a Home

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The largest obstacle renters face when planning to buy a home is saving for a down payment. This challenge is amplified by rising rents, which has eaten into the amount of money renters have leftover for savings each month after paying expenses. In combination with higher rents, survey after survey has shown that non-homeowners (renters and those living rent-free with family or friends) believe they need to save upwards of 20% for their down payment! According to the “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership” study commissioned in partnership between the Urban Institute, Down Payment Resource, and Freddie Mac, 39% of non-homeowners and 30% of those who already own a home believe they need more than a 20% down payment. The percentage of those who are aware of low down payment programs (those under 5%) is surprisingly low at 12% for non-homeowners and 13% for homeowners. In a recent Convergys Analytics report, they found that 49% of renters believe they need at least a 20% down payment. The median down payment on loans approved in 2018 was only 5%! Those waiting until they have over 20% may already have enough saved to buy now! There are over 45 million millennials (33%) who are mortgage ready right now, meaning their income, debt, and […]

Whose Mortgage Do You Want to Pay? Yours or Your Landlord’s?

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There are some people who haven’t purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. However, everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”: “While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.” With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at MBA, explained: “The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market.” As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings,’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity. As mentioned before, interest rates are […]

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw the Best Super Bowl Parties!

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Highlights: Watching the big game at home with your friends & family offers many advantages. There’s more room to entertain a large crowd, and you don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord if you cheer too loudly! The kitchen is big enough to make as many appetizers as you want, and if some of your guests are only there to watch the commercials, they can do so on a different TV in another room!

Do You Know How Much Your Home Has Increased in Value?

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Last year we saw headlines about a possible housing market bubble, and many wondered if Americans still felt confident about the value of their homes. Recently, the 2018 Houzz & Home Study revealed: “Homeowners with mortgages have seen their home equity more than double since 2011, increasing to a record-setting $8.3 trillion in 2017.” The average homeowner gained $16,200 in home equity between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 according to the latest release of CoreLogic’s Home Equity Report. Since 2011 home values have increased significantly throughout the country, with prices rising by 5.1% in 2018 alone. When surveyed, homeowners revealed the top four reasons why they felt their homes had increased in value. Desirable Location Improved National Economy Improved Local Economy Low Home Inventory in My Area As we can see, not only does the data show that the homes have appreciated, but homeowners also believe they know why. Many have taken advantage of the opportunity to use their newly found equity to sell their current house and move up to their dream home! 2019 will be a good year for the homeowners that still want to take advantage of their home equity! CoreLogic forecasts that home prices will increase by 4.8% by the end of the […]

4 Proven Ways Real Estate Can Build Sizable Family Wealth

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Recently, David Greene, co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast and a nationally renowned author and speaker, wrote an article in Forbes explaining how investing in real estate could help build wealth. Many of the points he made also apply to a family owning their own home. Here are a few: 1. Appreciation “The rising of home prices over time, is how the majority of wealth is built in real estate. This is the ‘home run’ you hear of when people make a large windfall of money. While prices fluctuate, over the long run real estate values have always gone up, always, and there is no reason to think that is going to change. One thing to consider when it comes to real estate appreciation affecting your ROI is the fact that appreciation combined with leverage offers huge returns. If you buy a property for $200,000 and it appreciates to $220,000, your property had made you a 10% return. However, you likely didn’t pay cash for the property and instead used the bank’s money. If you consider that you may have put 10% down ($20,000), you actually have doubled your investment, a 100% return.” 2. Leverage “By nature, real estate is one of the easiest assets to […]