Are you thinking of buying a home? Are you dreading having to walk through strangers’ houses? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of buying. 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 4 demands you need to make of your Real Estate Agent when buying a home:
1. Tell the truth about the price
Too many agents just take your offer at any price and then try to ‘work’ both the seller and you while negotiating later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price you are offering. Make them show you their plan to get both the seller – and the bank – to accept that price. Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to you and then to your bank.
The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. A recent survey showed that there was a challenge with the appraisal on 24% 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 original offer.
2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing
You will be moving your family into 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. You 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 parts of the purchase offer, don’t expect them to turn into a super hero when they are negotiating with the seller for you and your family.
4. FIND the right house!
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 purchasing. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that finding the right 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. rethinking price), 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!
We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form. Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.
There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.
- The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again
- The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business. Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.
However, there is some good news in the situation. The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably below 5%.
The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of <5%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.
Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, 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 projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 30.8% (most optimistic) and 9.4% (most pessimistic).
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 Increasing
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.
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.
American consumers’ perception of the residential real estate market was revealed in a recent survey by Edelman Berland. They interviewed 2,500 Americans who are “in the market” to buy or sell a home. Respondents were between 25-64 years old with a household income of at least $50,000.
Here are the key findings of the survey:
BELIEF in the HOUSING MARKET
There is a strong belief among this segment of the population that the housing market is on the right track and that is committing almost 7 out of 10 to buy or sell a home this year. Millennials belief in real estate is actually higher than the overall population.
- 77% of consumers (and 85% of Millennials) have a favorable view of housing
- 79% of people (and 83% of Millennials) believe the housing market is on the right track
- 69% of consumers said they are committed to buying or selling a home now
The extreme weather faced by much of the U.S. definitely delayed many real estate transactions. That pent-up demand is now being released causing price appreciation in many regions of the country. This rise in prices and the expected increase in interest rates is causing many purchasers to buy sooner than later.
- The main reason (45%) people waited to make a real estate transaction is they were waiting for spring weather to arrive
- 76% of consumers believe that pent-up demand will create even more competition for existing homes
- 74% of consumers are most concerned about higher than expected prices when buying a home this spring
- 83% of consumers are motivated to act sooner than later because they fear interest rates will increase
Other interesting findings from the survey (broken down by buyers and sellers):
- 80% of real estate consumers are more committed to buying
- 78% of potential buyers said it will be easier to purchase a home this spring since “homeowners want to sell”
- 72% are encouraged because “the economy is improving”
- 46% of buyers said spring was a more favorable time to buy a home
- 28% of buyers said summer was a more favorable time to buy a home (an 8% increase over last summer)
- 83% of real estate consumers are more committed to selling
- 63% of sellers are buoyed this spring by the improving economy and their perception that buyers are motivated following the difficult winter
The real estate market will continue to gain ground through the summer as more and more people realize this is a great time to move. And, the vast majority (88%) of those surveyed realized that hiring a real estate professional is important to their home buying or selling success.
Many experts are currently discussing a variety of topics such as real estate as an investment, the movement on mortgage interest rates and reasons to buy now instead of waiting. It is important that we realize that this does not apply solely to the first time home buyer.
The opportunity that exists in real estate today is there for everyone.
However, the family that already owns a home might be thinking that, if they wait, their home could be worth more next year than it is now. And that may cause them to delay moving up to the home of their dreams thinking it makes good financial sense. Actually, the opposite is true. This is the best chance a family has to buy up into the home that makes sense for their family right now.
We must realize that whatever percentage of value we gain on our house will also be gained on our dream home.
Let’s assume your current home is worth $500,000. Your house will be worth $520,000 next year if prices rise by 4% over that time (a number projected by the Home Price Expectation Survey).
However, the $750,000 home you are hoping to move into will also appreciate by about that same 4%. That means next year it will be valued at $780,000. You wouldn’t make $20,000 by waiting. You would actually be losing $10,000 ($30,000 – $20,000).
And, you will pay a lower interest rate on the mortgage than you probably will next year.
Plug in the numbers that apply to your house and the home you are longing to buy and see what the bottom line turns out to be for you.
That is how wealth is built in this country – by purchasing real estate at the right time, at the right price and at the right terms.
Go out and find your family’s dream house and buy it! Ten years from now, you will be glad you did!
A recent study revealed that the number of existing home owners planning to buy a home this year is about to increase dramatically. Some are moving up, some are downsizing and others are making a lateral move. Another study shows that over 75% of these buyers will, in fact, be in that first category: a move-up buyer. We want to address this group of buyers in today’s blog post.
There is no way for us to predict the future but we can look at what happened over the last year. Let’s look at buyers that considered moving up last year but decided to wait instead.
Assume they had a home worth $300,000 and were looking at a home for $450,000 (putting 10% down they would get a mortgage of $405,000). By waiting, their house appreciated by approximately 10% over the last year (based on the Case Shiller Pricing Index). Their home could now sell for $330,000. That would mean an additional $30,000 in equity assuming they didn’t incur any expenses in selling the home.
But, the $450,000 home would now be worth $495,000. Adding the original 10% down payment ($45,000) to the additional equity ($30,000), they would now have a $75,000 down payment. That would still need a mortgage of $425,000.
Here is a table showing what additional monthly cost would be incurred by waiting:
According to the Home Price Expectation Survey, home prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 6% over the next eighteen months. Interest rates are also expected to rise by as much as another full percentage point in that same time period according to FreddieMac. If your family plans to move-up to a nicer or bigger home, it may make sense to move now rather than later.
Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why the Home Price Expectation Survey is a great barometer. 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 4.4% in 2014.
- The cumulative appreciation will be 19.5% by 2018.
- 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 9.4% by 2018.
Individual opinions make headlines. This survey is a fairer depiction of future values.