5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner

5 Reasons You Should Not For Sale By Owner | Keeping Current Matters

Some homeowners may consider trying to sell their home on without the assistance of a real estate professional, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). We think there are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five of our reasons

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO.

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an extensive internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3.  Actual Results also come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years. 

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the same commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $184,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $230,000.   This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $46,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

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Buying a Home with as Little as 3-5% Down Payment

Buying a Home for as Little as 3-5% Down | Simplifying The Market

We have recently reported on the misconception that many buyers have regarding the down payment necessary to purchase a home. Multiple studies reveal that 40-50% of Americans believe you need between 15-20% of a down payment to be eligible to purchase a home.

This misconception came about as the government just last year debated new guidelines for residential mortgages because of the housing collapse in 2007. Some were arguing that there should be a minimum of 20% or even 30% down payment on all mortgage loans. However, those standards were never implemented.

To counter this misunderstanding, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management, in a recent Executive Perspectives explained that a person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent”.

3% Down Payments Available Soon?

Just last week, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced that mortgages requiring only a three percent down payment may soon be available:

“To increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers, FHFA is also working with the Enterprises to develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97 percent. Through these revised guidelines, we believe that the Enterprises will be able to responsibly serve a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers with lower-down payment mortgages by taking into account “compensating factors.”

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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#1 Reason You Should Sell Now

#1 Reason You Should Sell Now | Simplifying The Market

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand’.  If the supply of an item is larger than the amount of people looking to purchase that item, the price will decrease.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), historically there is a natural decline in buyers looking to purchase a home (also known as foot traffic) as the winter months approach. Shown in the graph below:

Foot Traffic To Decline in Winter Months | Simplifying The Market

NAR goes a step further to say that there is a direct correlation between “foot traffic” and “pending contracts/closed sales one to two months later”.

Bottom Line

The real estate market has done well to recover from the slow start we experienced due in part to the inclement weather at the beginning of 2014.  But with those winter months right around the corner, now may be the best time to get the best price.

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Buying A Home? You Don’t Need To Do It Alone

Buying a Home? You Don't Need to Do it Alone | Keeping Current Matters

Discover Home Loans conducted an interesting survey that revealed how prepared homebuyers are for the actual mortgage process.

The survey reported that 94% of prospective buyers believe they are making a good investment decision if they buy a home. The survey also explained that 66% of buyers reach out to real estate agents to help determine whether buying a certain home would be a good investment.

However, there is less certainty regarding the mortgage process.

Most buyers overwhelmed

The majority of potential buyers are actually overwhelmed with the plethora of information available about the home financing process.  Here are some interesting highlights from the report:

  • Nearly 66% feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available
  • 76% of those under the age of 30 feel overwhelmed
  • 76% of first time buyers feel the same way
  • 54% of those buyers who have previously owned also were overwhelmed
  • 59% of buyers turn to mortgage bankers to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers
  • 49% of buyers turn to real estate agents to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers

There is help available…use it!

Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans, gives great advice:

“The industry is becoming more transparent in an effort to help homebuyers become informed about changes that may affect their process. The sheer amount of information can lead to confusion and stress. Those looking to purchase should work closely with their lender and realtor to make sure they are comfortable with mortgage terms and understand the impact a loan will have on their finances.”

Bottom Line

Purchasing a home can put great pressure on a family. Reach out to the best mortgage and real estate professionals in your market for assistance throughout the process.

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New Construction = New Competition

New Construction = New Competition | Keeping Current Matters

For the last several years, home sellers had to compete with huge inventories of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). The great news is that the supply of these properties is falling like a rock in the vast majority of housing markets (only 8% of homes sold in August). Many homeowners are now thinking of selling as the impact of this substantially discounted competition has disappeared.

However, every seller of an existing residential property must realize that there is a new form of competition hitting the market: newly constructed homes.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new-home sales topped 500,000, in August, for the first time since 2008.

“This jump in sales activity is in line with our latest surveys, which indicate builders are seeing increased traffic and more serious buyers in the market for single-family homes,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the NAHB.

Broken down regionally, new home sales rose:

  • 50% in the West
  • 29.2% in the Northeast
  • 7.8% in the South
  • and were unchanged in the Midwest

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, perhaps you should do it now to avoid additional competition coming to the market.

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Should I Rent My House Instead of Selling It?

Should I Rent My House Instead of Selling It? | Keeping Current Matters

A recent study has concluded that 39% of buyers prefer to rent out their last residence rather than sell it when purchasing their next home.

The study cites that many homeowners were able to refinance and “locked in a very low mortgage rate in recent years. That low rate, combined with a strong rental market, means they can charge more in rent than they pay in mortgage each month… so they are going for it.”

This logic makes sense in some cases. Residential real estate is a great investment right now.

However, if you have no desire to actually become an educated investor in this sector, you may be headed for more trouble than you were looking for. Are you ready to be a landlord?

Before renting your home, you should answer the following questions to make sure this is the right course of action for you and your family.

10 Questions to ask BEFORE renting your home

  1. How will you respond if your tenant says they can’t afford to pay the rent this month because of more pressing obligations? (This happens most often during holiday season and back-to-school time when families with children have extra expenses).
  2. Because of the economy, many homeowners cannot make their mortgage payment. What percentage of tenants do you think cannot afford to pay their rent?
  3. Have you interviewed experienced eviction attorneys in case a challenge does arise?
  4. Have you talked to your insurance company about a possible increase in premiums as liability is greater in a non-owner occupied home?
  5. Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? How big a dog?
  6. How will you actually collect the rent? By mail? In person?
  7. Repairs are part of being a landlord. Who will take tenant calls when necessary repairs come up?
  8. Do you have a list of craftspeople readily available to handle these repairs?
  9. How often will you do a physical inspection of the property?
  10. Will you alert your current neighbors that you are renting the house?

Bottom Line

Again, renting out residential real estate historically is a great investment. However, it is not without its challenges. Make sure you have decided to rent the house because you want to be an investor, not because you are hoping to get a few extra dollars by postponing a sale.

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Why You Should Sell Your House Now!

Why You Should Sell Your House NOW! | Keeping Current Matters

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house.  But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at home right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last twelve months which includes the latest spring buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

As we get later into the year, many people have other things (weather, holidays, etc.) that distract them from searching for a home. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

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Be Quiet Chicken Little! Real Estate is Just Fine

Be Quiet Chicken Little! The Sky is Not Falling | Keeping Current Matters

The latest Existing-Home Sales Report from NAR revealed that sales decreased 1.8 percent in August. Many might start to panic, but let’s see what the report really shows.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist explains “there was a marked decline in all cash sales from investors. On the positive side, first-time buyers have a better chance of purchasing a home now that bidding wars are receding and supply constraints have significantly eased in many parts of the country.”

There is Still A LOT of Good News:

  • The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $219,800, which is 4.8 percent above August 2013. This marks the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
  • 40% of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.
  • Distressed home sales remain at single digits for the second straight month, at 8%, down from 12% last year this time.
  • More buyers qualified for mortgages to purchase a home in August, as evidenced by the decline in the number of all cash buyers from 29% to 23%.

New Home Sales Surge:

Newly built single-family home sales surged 18% in August, the highest level in six years according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Experts Agree:

“This robust level of new-home sales activity is a good sign that the housing recovery is moving towards higher ground,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Historically low mortgage rates, attractive home prices and firming job and economic growth should keep the housing market moving forward in 2014.”

Yun adds, “As long as solid job growth continues, wages should eventually pick up to steadily improve purchasing power and help fully release the pent-up demand for buying.”

Bottom Line

Now is still a great time to buy a home, whether as a first time homebuyer or you’re moving up to the home of your dreams, don’t let the headlines scare you from making the best decision for your family.

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