A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.
For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!
In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (the average down payment on all loans was 11% last month, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.
Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of which perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.
Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests to follow:
- Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score of all closed loans in September was 731, according to Ellie Mae.
- Start gathering all of your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
- Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
- Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
- Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!
Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.
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- 36% of Americans think they need a 20% down payment to buy a home.
- 44% of Millennials who purchased a home this year have put down less than 10%.
- 8% of loan applications were approved last month.
- The average credit score of approved loans was 731 in September.
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There has been a lot of talk about the falling homeownership rate in the United States. In December 2004, the homeownership rate reached an all-time high of 69.4%, while the current rate is 62.9%. When comparing these two figures, there is some room for concern regarding the difference.
However, today we want to shine some light on the issue by:
- Showing what historic homeownership rates have looked like over the last 130 years.
- Breaking down the current percentages by state.
Historic Homeownership Rates:
Current Homeownership Rates by State:
All of the states that you see in blue on the map above have a greater homeownership rate than the national average.
Though the homeownership rate has fallen recently, the percentage is still at a healthy rate compared to historic numbers, and most states currently have a higher percentage than the national average.
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So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.
This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.
How to Choose an Inspector
Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. Realtor.com suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:
- Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
- Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report the better in most cases.
- References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
- Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Often membership in one of these organizations means that there is continued training and education provided.
- Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.
Ask your inspector if it’s ok for you to tag along during the inspection. That way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.
Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!
They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.
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The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show 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 actually show that the range is an average of 17.4% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 53.2% less expensive in Miami & West Palm Beach (FL), and 37.7% nationwide!
Other interesting findings in the report include:
- Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
- Home prices would have to appreciate by a range of over 23% in Honolulu (HI), up to over 45% in Ventura County (CA), to reach the tipping point of renting being less expensive than buying.
- Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 145% increase over today’s average of 3.7%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.
Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to help you find your dream home.
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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report revealing that distressed property sales accounted for 4% of sales in September. This is down from 7% in 2015, and is the lowest figure since NAR began tracking distressed sales in October 2008.
Below is a graph that shows just how far the market has come since January 2012 when distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales.
Existing Home Sales Hit 2nd Highest Figure Since June
Mortgage interest rates remained well below 4% in September at 3.46%, prompting existing home sales to stay at a healthy annual pace of 5.47 million. Month-over-month sales were up 3.2%.
Inventory of homes for sale remains below the 6-month supply that is necessary for a normal market, as it fell 2.2% to a 4.5-month supply. The shortage in inventory has contributed to the median home price rising an additional 5.6% to $234,200.
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say about the lack of inventory:
“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in.”
There is good news though, as Yun went on to say:
“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”
If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. Buyers are still out there looking for their dream home. Let’s get together to determine your best plan.
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- Distressed property sales fell to its lowest number since NAR began tracking it in 2008.
- As you can see, with less distressed properties, sales are up in all price ranges except the $0 – $100K price range.
- Interest rates are still at historic lows, signifying that now is the right time to buy!
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Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. In some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers out looking for a home, which has caused prices to rise.
The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s latest US Economic Outlook, the average American household gained over $11,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.
The map below was created from CoreLogic’s report and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home from June 2015 to June 2016 (the latest data available).
For those that 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, and even invest in starting small businesses, allowing them to pay of their mortgage sooner or move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.
CoreLogic predicts that home prices will appreciate by another 5% by this time next year. If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options!
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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 with rose-colored glasses.
Do you really need that farm sink in the kitchen in order 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 now?
The first step in your home buying process should be to get 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!
Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.
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According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.47%. Rates have remained at or below 3.5% each of the last 16 weeks, marking a historic low.
The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.
Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments at or about $1,100 a month.
With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $6,250). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 4% by this time next year.
Act now to get the most house for your hard earned money.
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