New Fannie Mae Appraisal Program: Helping or Hurting?

New Fannie Mae Appraisal Program: Helping or Hurting? | Simplifying The Market

Every home must be sold TWICE! Once to the buyer, and once to the bank appraiser if a mortgage is involved.

The second sale may have just become more difficult.

A new program announced by Fannie Mae may slow down the home-sale closing process by causing more disputes over prices between sellers and buyers.

In a recent Washington Post article they explained the basics of the program:

“Starting Jan. 26, Fannie plans to offer mortgage lenders access to proprietary home valuation databases that they can use to assess the accuracy and risks posed by the reports submitted by appraisers.” 

“The Fannie data will flag possible errors in the appraiser’s work before the lender commits to fund the loan, will score the appraisal for overall risk of inaccuracy and may provide as many as 20 alternative “comps” — properties in the area that have sold recently and are roughly comparable to the house the lender is considering for financing but were not used by the appraiser.”

Using the additional information provided by Fannie Mae, the lender can then ask for an explanation from the appraisal company for any discrepancies and request an amended appraisal.

This added step in the process of determining the price of the home to be bought/sold, could add time to the closing process and cost to the appraisal for the additional work.

Why is this happening?

Fannie Mae wants lenders to make informed decisions when agreeing to the amount of a loan that a buyer will be approved for.

“Excessive valuations create the risk of future losses to lenders and investors if the borrower defaults and the house goes to foreclosure.”

What is the process now?

As a seller:

You’ve put your house on the market, picked an agent who has helped you determine that the best price to list your home for is $250,000, and found a buyer willing to pay that price. The appraiser comes to the home and agrees your home is worth the asking price and writes their report. Everything is working perfectly!

As a buyer:

You’ve found your dream home, in the right neighborhood, in the right school district, with the perfect yard, at the high end of your budget, but all the pluses are worth it. You agree on a price and start daydreaming about living in your new home.

What happens after January 26th?

The lender submits the appraisal report to the new Fannie Mae program and they come back with “lower-risk comps” that value the home at $230,000. The lender then turns to the appraisal company to justify the $20,000 difference, adding time and frustration to the process.

If the lender does not agree with the reasons for the price difference they will not lend the buyer the amount they need to purchase their dream home and the amicable, agreeable sale turns into a heated justification of the higher price. The buyer may even have to give up on the home if the funding isn’t there.

An article by Housing Wire shares the appraiser’s point of view:

“The bottom line, appraisers say, is this could lead to delays to closings and higher costs, as well as a depression of prices in markets where prices are rising.

Appraisers complain that if they have to justify every step of their comps for their valuation, rather than those coming from the one-size-fits-all evaluation from Fannie, it will delay closing, throw off buyer and seller timetables, and delay real estate broker commissions.”

Bottom Line

The fear of some real estate practitioners is that if appraisers feel as though they are constantly being second-guessed, they may become more conservative in their assessments, impacting home values and slowing growth in the market.

5 Demands to Make on Your Listing Agent

5 Demands to Make on Your Listing Agent | Simplifying The Market

Are you thinking of selling your house? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant.

You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.

Here are the top 5 demands to make of your Real Estate Agent when selling your house:

1. Tell the truth about the price

Too many agents just take the listing at any price and then try to the ‘work the seller’ for a price correction later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price they are suggesting. Make them show you their plan to sell the house at that price – TWICE! Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to a buyer and then to the bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. Surveys show that there was a challenge with the appraisal on almost 20% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the listing.

2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing

You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.

This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work. 

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them and their family (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into a super hero when they are negotiating for you and your family with the buyer.

4. Help with the relocation

If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

5. Get the house SOLD!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.

You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!

#1 Reason to Sell Now

#1 Reason to Sell Now | Simplifying The Market

If you are one of the many homeowners out there who are debating putting their home on the market in 2015, don’t miss out on the opportunity that currently exists. There will be significantly less competition in the winter months than in the spring.

According to the National Housing Survey released by Fannie Mae, 45% of homeowners “say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months.”

What Does This Mean?

Homeowners are unaware that interest rates are projected to go up by all four major reporting institutions – This is big news for move-up buyers reflecting the overall amount of housing inventory that will be on the market.

If existing homeowners believe that mortgage interest rates are not going to increase, then they won’t be inclined to make a move by putting their home up for sale, meaning less competition for sellers who list now.

Don’t Wait!

The study also revealed that:

“Those who say it is a good time to buy a house rose to 68%” & “the share of respondents who think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today decreased by 3 percentage points.”

As Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae explains:

“We expect consumer attitudes toward housing to improve as the pickup in the overall economy lifts employment and income prospects.“

Bottom Line

There are buyers out there who are ready to make a move. If your goal this year is to move up to your dream home, what are you waiting for?

Homeowners’ Tough Decision: OTM, FSBO or List

Homeowners’ Tough Decision: OTM, FSBO or List | Simplifying The Market

At the end of the year, in every region of the country, hundreds of homeowners have a tough decision to make. The ‘listing for sale agreement’ on their house is about to expire and they now must decide to either take their house off the market (OTM), For Sale by Owner (FSBO) or list it again with the same agent or a different agent. Let’s assume you or someone you know is in this situation and take a closer look at each possibility:

Taking Your Home off the Market

In all probability, after putting your house on the market and seeing it not sell, you’re going to be upset. You may be thinking that no one in the marketplace thought the house was worthy of the sales price.

Because you are upset, you may start to rationalize that selling wasn’t that important after all and say,

“Well, we didn’t really want to sell the house anyway. This idea of making a move right now probably doesn’t make sense.”

Don’t rationalize your dreams away. Instead, consider the reasons you decided to sell in the first place. Ask your family this simple question:

“What made us originally put our home up for sale?”

If that reason made sense a few months ago when you originally listed the house, chances are it still makes sense now. Don’t give up on what your family hoped to accomplish or on goals your family hoped to attain.

Just because the house didn’t sell during the last listing contract doesn’t mean the house will never sell or that it shouldn’t be sold.

Re-Listing with your Existing Agent

For whatever reason, your house did not sell. Perhaps you now realize how difficult selling a house is or that the listing price was too high, or perhaps you’re now acknowledging that you didn’t exactly listen to your agent’s advice.

If that is the case, you may want to give your existing agent a second chance. That’s a perfectly okay thing to do.

However, if your agent didn’t perform to the standard they promised when they listed your home you may want to either FSBO or try a different agent.

For Sale by Owner

You may now believe that listing your house with an agent is useless because your original agent didn’t accomplish the goal of selling the house. Trying to sell on your own this time may be alluring. You may think you will be in control and save on the commission.

But, is that true? Will you be able to negotiate each of the elements that make up a real estate transaction? Are you capable of putting together a comprehensive marketing plan? Do people who FSBO actually ‘net’ more money?

If you are thinking about FSBOing, take the time to first read: 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner.

List with a New Agent

After failing to sell your home, you may no longer trust your agent or what they say. However, don’t paint all real estate professionals with that same brush. Have you ever gotten a bad haircut before? Of course! Did you stop getting your hair cut or did you simply change hair stylists?

There is good and bad in every profession—good and bad hair stylists, agents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, police officers, etc. And just because there are good and bad in every line of work doesn’t mean you don’t call on others for the products and services you need. You still get your hair cut, see a doctor, talk to a lawyer, send your kids to school, etc.

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact me and we can sit down and discuss the possibilities.

Freddie Mac: 2015 Home Sales to Hit 2007 Levels

Freddie Mac: 2015 Home Sales to Hit 2007 Levels | Simplifying The Market

According to Freddie Mac’s latest U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook, U.S. home sales in 2015 will show increase to the numbers associated with a normal real estate market. Here is their projection:

“We are projecting a 4 percent rise in sales to 5.6 million, which would mark the highest level of annual sales since 2007.”

And their optimism was seconded by both the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Freddie Mac: 2015 Home Sales to Hit 2007 Levels | Simplifying The Market

It seems that an improving economy and jobs market will mean a very healthy housing market.

Confusing Real Estate News? An Agent Can Help

Confusing Real Estate News? An Agent Can Help | Simplifying The Market

Below are the headlines from three separate news releases issued over a one month period:

11/3/2014 – Millions of Potential New Households Waiting Out the Recovery

11/11/2014 – Experts: First-Time Homebuyers’ Weak Finances Holding Back Housing Market

And then, the contrarian view:

12/2/2014 – In 2015, Millennials Will Be Biggest Home Buying Group

It sure seems that the group that released the first two stories emphatically disagrees with the organization that published the last news release.

Amazingly, the same entity published all three reports. What?

It seems the company (a well-respected provider of housing information) reported that those forming new households are not looking to buy a home. They actually surveyed over one hundred housing experts who agreed. But 30 days later, they reported that millennials (most new households) will be the biggest group of home buyers this year. All in one month!!

All the headlines could actually be true. However, a consumer reading them might be misled. This is evidence of how difficult it is to actually understand the intricacies of today’s housing market. Even the experts can seem confused.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of either buying or selling a home, it is probably best to engage a local real estate professional to help you successfully navigate the ins-and-outs of today’s real estate transaction.