Top 5 Benefits of Using a Professional to Buy a Home

Top 5 Benefits of Using a Professional to Buy A Home | Simplifying The Market

Every year the National Association of REALTORS releases their Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, in which they reveal the results of a yearlong survey of buyers and sellers. The latest profile revealed what actual buyers saw as the benefits of using an agent during the home buying process.

Here are the Top 5:

#1: Helped the Buyer Understand the Process

Whether it is your first time purchasing a home, or you’re an experienced buyer, there are over 230 possible actions that need to happen during every successful real estate transaction.

Having someone to guide you through the process who can simply explain what is going on at every step of the way was sited as the top benefit by 63% of all buyers (that number jumped to 83% with first time buyers).

#2: Pointed Out Unnoticed Features/Faults with the Property

When you start the process of buying a home, you may be too excited to see each potential home for what it is, good and bad. An experienced professional can help you realize the potential hidden gems or risks before you make an offer.  Nearly 60% of all buyers listed this as a major benefit of hiring a professional.

#3: Improved the Buyer’s Knowledge of Search Areas

Whether you are looking to relocate to a new state, or just across town, having someone who knows the neighborhoods in which you are looking can be an invaluable asset.

#4: Negotiated Better Sales Contract Terms/Better Price

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.

#5: Provided a better list of service providers

A great agent has relationships with mortgage professionals, home inspectors, appraisers and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home.

Bottom Line

If you are considering purchasing a home, whether as a first-time or move up buyer, sit down with a local experienced real estate professional in your area and see what they have to offer.

Where Are Prices Headed Over the Next 5 Years?

Where Are Prices Headed Over the Next 5 Years? | Simplifying The Market

Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.  

The results of their latest survey

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.8% in 2014.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 23.5% by 2019.
  • That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.6% over the next 5 years.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 15.1% by 2019.

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.

 

Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home | Simplifying The Market

Eric Belsky is Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University. He also currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Housing Research and Housing Policy Debate. Last year, he released a paper on homeownership – The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons people should consider buying a home.

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study:

1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

2.) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent. 

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”

3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially.

Fear of Low Down Payments Mostly Unwarranted

Fear of Low Down Payments Mostly Unwarranted | Simplifying The Market

After it was announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would again make available mortgage loans requiring as little as a 3% down payment, many people showed concern. Were we going back to the lower qualifying standards of a decade ago that caused the housing market crash? Won’t lower down payments dramatically increase the default rates? Will we again be faced with an avalanche of short sales and foreclosures?

The simple answer is – NO. Let’s look at the data.

While it was happening (2011)

Back in 2011, as we were just recovering from the worst of the Great Recession, many organizations were looking for the cause of the massive default rate on mortgages.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Community Banking Mortgage Project and the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America (MICA) issued a white paper on the subject titled: Proposed QRM Harms Creditworthy Borrowers and Housing Recovery.

Let’s look what the report says:

“In the midst of a very fragile housing recovery, the government is throwing a devastating, unnecessary and very expensive wrench into the American dream. First time homebuyers will have to choose between higher rates today or a 9-14 year delay while they save up the necessary down payment…

High down payment and equity requirements will not have a meaningful impact on default rates. But they will require millions of consumers, who are at low risk of default, to either put off buying a home or pay unnecessarily high rates. The government is penalizing responsible consumers, making homeownership more expensive or simply out of reach for millions. We urge regulators to develop a final rule that encourages good lending and borrowing without punishing credit-worthy consumers.”

The report actually studied the impact a higher down payment would have had on the default rates of loans written from 2002 through 2008. The report states:

“…moving from a 5 percent to a 10 percent down payment on loans that already meet strong underwriting and product standards reduces the default experience by an average of only two- or three-tenths of one percent… Increasing the minimum down payment even further to 20 percent… (creates)  small improvement in default performance of about eight-tenths of one percent on average.”

Today  (2014)

Just last week, the Urban Institute reveled data showing what impact substantially lower down payments would have on default rates in today’s mortgage environment. Their study revealed:

“Of loans that originated in 2011 with a down payment between 3-5 percent, only 0.4 percent of borrowers have defaulted. For loans with slightly larger down payments—between 5-10 percent—the default rate was exactly the same. The story is similar for loans made in 2012, with 0.2 percent in the 3-5 percent down-payment group defaulting, versus 0.1 percent of loans in the 5-10 percent down-payment group.”

Bottom Line

We believe that the Institute concluded their report perfectly:

“Those who have criticized low-down payment lending as excessively risky should know that if the past is a guide, only a narrow group of borrowers will receive these loans, and the overall impact on default rates is likely to be negligible. This low down payment lending was never more than 3.5 percent of the Fannie Mae book of business, and in recent years, had been even less. If executed carefully, this constitutes a small step forward in opening the credit box—one that safely, but only incrementally, expands the pool of who can qualify for a mortgage.”

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional | Simplifying The Market

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover. 

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS“the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional. 

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

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.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

4 Reasons to Buy Before Winter

4 Reasons to Buy Before Winter | Simplifying The Market

It’s that time of year, the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.2% (most pessimistic) and 27.8% (most optimistic).

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

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home. 

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: “Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

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 whether 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 it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

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.

Buying a Home Remains 38% Less Expensive than Renting!

Buying a Home Remains 38% Less Expensive Than Renting! | Simplifying The Market

In Trulia’s latest Rent vs. Buy Report, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 17% in Honolulu, all the way to 63% in Detroit, and 38% Nationwide! This is up from an average of only 5% cheaper in Honolulu in April.

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Rents have continued to increase nationally even as home price increases are starting to slow. Current low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting.
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting next year if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.

Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense. Rental costs have historically increased at a higher rate of inflation. Lock in a mortgage payment now before home prices and mortgage rates rise as experts expect they will.

Debunking 4 Myths about Buying a Home

Debunking 4 Myths About Buying a Home | Simplifying the Market

A recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University revealed when renters were asked why they do no plan to own in the future, financial constraints were a more common response than the perceived lifestyle benefits they may receive from renting. Today, we want to go over those financial challenges and see if we can put some fears to rest and also clear up some misconceptions. Here are the top four financial hurdles that cause renters not to buy:

You Cannot Afford a Home

Well over 50% of renters consider this as a financial barrier to homeownership. However, study after study has shown us that there are major misunderstandings about what is required to purchase a home.

The biggest misconception is the amount of a down payment required. A recent survey revealed that 44% of respondents believed that a 20% down payment was required. In actuality, mortgages are available with as little as 5% down (and even 3% in certain situations).

The same survey showed that 30% of respondents believe that only individuals with ‘high incomes’ can obtain a mortgage. In actuality, there are several programs intentionally created to help moderate income families buy a home of their own (look at the FHA program for example).

You Do Not Have Good Enough Credit to Get a Mortgage

The survey mentioned above showed that 64% of respondents believe they must have a “very good” credit score to buy a home. Most people don’t realize that the average credit score for closed loans has actually dropped 24 points in the last two years. For more information on credit scores click here.

It’s Not a Good Time to Buy a Home

Determining when is the right time to buy a home from a pure financial calculation can be difficult. There are two elements of the cost of a home: the price of the house and the mortgage interest rate. When considering a purchase, you want to have at least an indication where prices and mortgage rates are headed. According to over 100 experts, house values are expected to increase by almost 20% between now and 2018. And Freddie Mac recently projected that mortgage rates would be as much as one full point higher by this time next year.

With both prices and interest rates projected to increase, now is the perfect time to buy a home.

It’s Cheaper to Rent than Buy

This is a myth that doesn’t want to die. However, Trulia recently reported that, in fact, buying is actually dramatically cheaper than renting. Here is what they said:

“Homeownership remains cheaper than renting nationally and in all of the 100 largest metro areas. In fact, buying is 38% cheaper than renting now, compared with 35% cheaper than renting one year ago.”

Bottom Line

If you are even thinking about buying, get the facts from a trained professional. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find out.