The information delivered by your neighborhood real estate agent in the past is now available on the internet. You no longer need agents for information regarding which homes are for sale or what houses in your neighborhood sell for. You can easily find that information online. This information itself is no longer what you need from your real estate professional. However, you still need someone to deliver a thoughtful analysis of this information.
“There’s a large gap between information and actionable knowledge.”
In other words, information by itself is essentially useless.
What’s truly important is being able to understand, analyze, and use the information for the best outcome. And that’s what a real estate professional’s job has become!
What you really want is someone who can…
- Analyze all the available information
- Connect the dots and let you know if now is a good time to buy or the right time to sell
- Take the time to explain your options—simply and effectively
You now need a real estate agent who truly understands the market and can help you feel confident that you are making the right decisions for you and your family.
Two recently released reports indicate that both young adults (Millennials) and teenagers (Generation Z) still see homeownership as an important piece of their future success.
A report by The Demand Institute, Millennials and Their Homes: Still Seeking the American Dream, revealed that the Millennial Generation is optimistic about their financial future and still believe in homeownership. The findings were based on a survey of millennial households (ages 18 to 29).
The report predicted that:
- 8.3 million new Millennial (Gen Y) households will form in the next five years
- $1.6 trillion will be spent on home purchases by Millennials and $600 billion on rent over the next five years
Millennials optimistic about their finances and homeownership
Of those surveyed:
- 74% expect to move within the next five years
- 79% expect their financial situation to improve
- 75% believe homeownership is an important long-term goal
- 73% believe homeownership is an excellent investment
- 24% already own their home and
- An additional 60% plan to buy a home in the future
- 44% do think it would be difficult to qualify for a mortgage
What about the next generation (today’s teenagers)?
A recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens® revealed that Generation Z (teens ages 13-17) is very traditional in their views toward homeownership and is willing to sacrifice to attain the American Dream.
Findings from the survey show:
- 82% of Gen Z teens indicate that homeownership is the most important factor in achieving the American Dream.
- 89% said owning a home is part of their interpretation of the American Dream
- 97% believe they will own a home
- 77% percent chose owning a home over owning a business
It seems that the belief that homeownership as a huge part of the American Dream still beats in the hearts of the young people of this country.
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.”
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.
“About two-thirds (65%) of homeowners say they are confident they would get the asking price for their home if they were to put it on the market today (up from 40% in 2010).”
“Eighty nine percent of Americans feel that buying a home is an important part of achieving the American Dream.”
“Sixty eight percent of Americans feel that now is a good time to buy a home.”
“A two-thirds majority of renter households said that owning a home someday is a specific goal that they are determined to reach, or something that they think about a lot.”
“Homes have accounted for 23.5% of American’s wealth on average since 1959. That’s nearly double the proportion U.S. households and nonprofits have invested in stocks.”
“A measure of owners’ equity as a share of the value of real-estate holdings hit 53.6% in the second quarter, up from 53.2% in the first quarter and below 50% a year earlier. For most Americans, a home is their biggest asset, so the growing level of home equity suggests improvements in the economy are now reaching more Americans.”
In a recent Gallup poll, Americans were asked to rate 24 different business sectors and industries on a five-point scale ranging from “very positive” to “very negative.” The poll was first conducted in 2001, and has been used as an indicator of “Americans’ overall attitudes toward each industry”.
For the first time since 2006, Americans had an overall positive view of real estate, giving the industry a 12% positive ranking.
Americans’ view of the real estate industry worsened from 2003 to the -40% plummet of 2008. Gallup offers some insight into the reason for decline:
“In late 2006, real estate prices in the U.S. began falling rapidly, and continued to drop. Many homeowners saw their home values plummet, likely contributing to real estate’s image taking a hard hit.”
“The large drops in the positive images of banking and real estate in 2008 and 2009 reflect both industries’ close ties to the recession, which was precipitated in large part because of the mortgage-related housing bubble.”
“Although the image of real estate remains below the average of 24 industries Gallup has tracked, the sharp recovery from previous extreme low points suggests it is heading in the right direction.”
Today we are excited to have Nabil Captan as our guest blogger. Nabil is a nationally recognized credit scoring expert, educator, author and producer. In today’s post, he explains how what you don’t know about your credit score could end up costing you. Enjoy!
Informed consumers considering a home purchase today want to do the right thing and plan ahead. Many do not seek immediate professional guidance from a Realtor or a mortgage loan officer. Instead, they hunt for hours online, looking at numerous websites for available homes for sale. They also consult websites to find the best interest rate and terms for future monthly mortgage payments. Many consumers feel betrayed, cheated and at times embarrassed to learn that the credit scores they counted on, to get that specific interest rate for their loan, are not used by mortgage lenders.
When shopping for a good mortgage interest rate, consumers also need to know their credit score, and utilize an online mortgage calculator to compute future monthly mortgage payments. A Google search for “credit score” will yield hundreds of results. The consumer accepts the provider’s terms and conditions to get a free credit score. Terrific! Unaware that in exchange they just received a meaningless credit score that lenders never use. They also handed over their Non-Public Personal Information (NPPI) to that credit score provider for life.
Before we go any further, let’s look at available credit scoring products available to consumers today:
- FICO credit score from Fair Isaac Corporation/myfico.com, range 300 to 850
- Plus Score from Experian, range 320 to 830
- Trans Risk Score from TransUnion, range 300 to 850
- Equifax Credit Score from Equifax, range 300 to 850
- Vantage Score from all three bureaus, two ranges, 300 to 850 and 501-990
What is a FICO Score?
In 1958, Bill Fair and Earl Isaac, a mathematician and engineer, formed a company in San Rafael, California. They created tools to help risk managers make a better decision when taking financial risk. Today, 90 percent of all lenders use the FICO score, first created in 1989 by Fair Isaac, and it’s the only score Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Agency and Veterans Affairs will accept in underwriting loans they guarantee.
What is a Consumer Score?
The three credit bureaus, in their understanding of the credit scoring model created by FICO, decided to create their own scoring models, and in 2004 – 2006 they unveiled the “consumer” scores: Plus Score, Trans Risk Score, Equifax Credit Score, and Vantage Score. However, these are not genuine FICO scores, and mortgage lenders don’t use them. Consider this comparison: Would you buy a watch that gives the approximate time of day?
The three credit bureaus work with major financial institutions, professional organizations, comparison sites, personal finance businesses, clubs such as Costco, AAA, Sam’s Club, and many data-mining brokers to bombard consumers in the race of the free credit score mania, all with the enticement of a “consumer” score that is not used by lenders, in hopes of obtaining subscriptions or fees from consumers. Fees that are totally unnecessary!
Know Your Score
Gaining access to one’s own credit report and credit score prior to loan approval with no strings attached could be helpful, and at all times beneficial. With little effort, inaccuracy of information can be instantly corrected at the credit bureau level, and with a few simple steps, credit scores could be enhanced. For example, paying down revolving account balances before a creditor’s statement-ending date (the creditor later updates account information with the credit bureaus), thus reducing revolving account balances at a particular point in time, will positively add more points to a score. It’s priceless.
Consumers have a legal right to access their annual credit report at no charge once a year from annualcreditreport.com, a site sponsored by the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
These reports provide all the basic consumer data, but do not reveal a credit score. If you have a need for the FICO credit score that is actually used by mortgage lenders, myfico.com is the website to visit. For $19.95 per bureau, consumers can purchase a customized credit report with a genuine FICO score.
Additional websites to visit: the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (cfpb.gov) for true answers to questions about any financial concepts, financial products, dispute and complaint submissions, and much more.
Today’s homebuyer has instant access to answers. To be relevant in today’s market, real estate professionals need to know the absolute correct response to basic credit questions. It’s important.
Copyright 2014 Nabil Captan, Captan & Company. All rights reserved.