The Perks of Buying a Home in the Fall

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 16, 2015. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.

As we close out a summer marked by rising home prices and limited supply, we’re conditioned to expect the inevitable end-of-season slowdown. But the change of season doesn’t mean activity drops off completely – in fact, fall’s arrival presents opportunities for homebuyers, in part due to a “back-to-school mentality,” according to a survey by ERA Real Estate.

If you’re a prospective homebuyer, tap into that renewed sense of motivation – and consider the following perks – while hunting for a home this fall.

You can enjoy year-end tax breaks. Buying before the year’s out allows fall homebuyers to take advantage of tax breaks such as the mortgage interest and property tax deductions. “There are certain deductions that can be claimed by homeowners only,” explains 1040Return.com Founder John Gregory. “If you have taken out a homeowner’s loan, consider these deductions as Uncle Sam’s gift to you.” To learn more about the tax benefits available to homeowners, click here.

You can sidestep the multiple-bid minefield. Bidding wars dominated low inventory markets this summer, but competition tends to wane as activity slows in the fall. With fewer folks searching for homes, fall homebuyers can spend less time chasing supply and more time finding – and getting – the perfect home.

You may have more bargaining power. Aside from less competition, fall homebuyers may have the opportunity to purchase their home of choice at a reduced price, especially when negotiating with sellers who had hoped to unload their homes over the summer.

Related Link: If Your Home Didn’t Sell This Summer, Don’t Despair – Fall and Winter Are Great Times to Sell, Too

You’ll be home for the holidays – literally. As ERA reports in their survey, fall homebuying activity is also fueled by emotional motivation. “As vacations wind down after Labor Day and people become more focused, the desire to be in a new home for the holidays is a historically strong driver of fall home sales,” says ERA President and CEO Charlie Young.

 

Posted by Suzanne De Vita on RISMedia’s House Call

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NAR Reports Show It’s A Great Time to Sell!

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when the demand for that item is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that right now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered in the latest Pending Home Sales Report and Existing Home Sales Report.

THE PENDING HOME SALES REPORT

The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) are down 2.3% from last year and have continued to fall on an annual basis for seven straight months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

“The reason sales are falling off last year’s pace is that multiple years of inadequate supply in markets with strong job growth have finally driven up home prices to a point where an increasing number of prospective buyers are unable to afford it.”

Takeaway: Demand for housing is strong and will continue to grow in 2019. Without an influx of new listings for sale, pending home sales will continue to decline. Listing now means you will be able to take advantage of the demand currently in the market.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales-based, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory decreased 0.7% to 5.34 million homes available for sale in July
  • This represents a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Sales are now 1.5% below a year ago

There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:

“Led by a notable decrease in closings in the Northeast, existing home sales trailed off again last month, sliding to their slowest pace since February 2016 at 5.21 million.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies: When there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation; between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation; and more than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values. As Yun notes, we are (and will remain) in a seller’s market and prices will continue to increase unless more listings come to the market.

“Listings continue to go under contract in under a month, which highlights the feedback from Realtors® that buyers are swiftly snatching up moderately-priced properties. Existing supply is still not at a healthy level, and new home construction is not keeping up to meet demand.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. Prices will continue to rise if a sizable supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out looking for your house.

Posted by The KCM Crew

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5 Reasons You Should Sell This Fall!

Here are five reasons why listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase…and are in the market right now! In fact, more often than not, multiple buyers end up competing with each other to buy the same homes.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now 

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon!

Historically, a homeowner stayed in his or her home for an average of six years, but that number has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. Many homeowners have a pent-up desire to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all that they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the average time it took to close a loan was 44 days.

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

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The abundance of inventory available in these higher price ranges has created a buyer’s market for anybody looking to purchase these homes. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.1% over the next year. 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.

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 feel you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take 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.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

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September Home Checklist

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage!

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplained:

Over the last three years, renter house-buying power has increased fast enough to keep pace with house price appreciation, so the share of homes that a renter can afford to buy has remained the same since 2015.

Although mortgage rates are expected to rise, they are still low by historic standards, and real household incomes are the highest they have ever been. Assuming this trend continues, our measure of affordability, which takes into account income, interest rates, and house prices, indicates thathomeownership is still within reach for renters.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.51% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Buying a House? 6 Questions You’d Never Think to Ask, but Should

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When buying a house is high on your priority list and you spot The One—the house that has everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more—it can be tempting to put pedal to the metal and close the deal as quickly as possible. But slow down!

No home is perfect beneath the surface, and few know this better than your real estate agent. And that means it’s time to sit down with this professional and pepper him with questions about the place you’re hoping to make your own.

And while certain questions seem rather obvious—should you offer full price, how soon can you close—there are many others you may not think to ask an agent at this pivotal juncture. But you should!

Here are six questions to ask a real estate agent to flush out what he’s truly thinking, that could help you figure out if this place is really right for you.

1. ‘Would you buy this house?’

This question may be the ultimate litmus test of whether you should purchase a home. If your agent would have reservations about buying the house for himself, that’s a waving red flag. So if you get the sense your agent isn’t as enthusiastic about the home as you are, ask why. His answer might give you pause, too.

2. ‘What is the sales history of this house, and how would it affect my offer?’

Before making an offer on a house, ask your agent for the property’s sales history, says Chris Dossman, a real estate agent with Century 21 Scheetz in Indianapolis.

Was it previously an expired listing? Was it leased? Was it ever a bank-owned property or other type of distressed home? These factors could suggest a home has been a struggle to sell—which could mean you could snap up this home at a bargain-basement price.

3. ‘What contingencies do you think are worth getting—and skipping?’

“When buyers and sellers get cold feet about the purchase or sale of a home, they sometimes think they can just back out,” says Linda Sanderfoot, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker in Neenah, WI. But when a seller accepts a buyer’s offer, both parties sign a legal and binding contract—an official document that requires the buyer and seller to execute the transaction.

So how binding that contract is depends on the details. Some contracts have contingencies built in that enable the buyer or seller to walk away from the deal without penalty. And contingencies are often included for a home inspection and an appraisal.

But note that having too many contingencies tends to turn off sellers, so make sure to strike the right balance by asking your real estate agent for guidance. For instance, you might be OK waiving a home inspection contingency if the home is newly constructed, whereas it’s more essential with an older home that might need extensive repairs.

4. ‘Are there any upcoming condo or homeowners association assessments?’

When you purchase a condominium or a home within a homeowners association, you’ll receive the HOA’s financial documents, which outline important information such as reserve funds and CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions).

These condo docs and disclosures can be hundreds of pages long—which could overwhelm home buyers, who could forget to check if there are any upcoming assessments. Assessments are periodic one-time payments made to the HOA above and beyond the monthly fee, usually to cover capital improvements or repairs. Since they will affect your monthly housing expenses, you’ll want to know whether they could go up anytime soon—and your agent is adept at navigating these documents to pinpoint the answer.

5. ‘What’s happening in this neighborhood, and how will that affect home prices?’

Good real estate agents hear everything about what’s happening in the communities where they do business. And although federal fair housing laws prohibit real estate agents from commenting on a neighborhood’s demographics, your agent can still give you advice on whether you’re making a solid investment based on local housing market trends and economic factors that affect home values.

So go ahead and ask: Are the neighborhood’s home prices rising or falling? Are there new amenities (e.g., parks, shopping, public transportation, Whole Foods) being built in the area?

These are all important things to consider before buying a house, and a real estate agent can help you cut through the noise and really tell you what’s up.

6. ‘Can you recommend a home inspector/handyman/real estate attorney in the area?’

Local expertise matters not only with the real estate agent you hire, but also the other professionals you could meet while negotiating this real estate deal. So if you need recommendations for a home inspector, handyman, real estate attorney, or anyone else on your home-buying journey, make sure to ask your agent for recommendations to boost the odds of smooth sailing.

 

Posted by Daniel Bortz on realtor.com

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The Net Worth of a Homeowner is 44x Greater Than A Renter!

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. Their latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was recently released.

The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner was $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

That is why, for the fifth year in a row, Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment. This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26% and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

Greater equity in your home gives you options

If you want to find out how you can use the increased equity in your home to move to a home that better fits your current lifestyle, let’s get together to discuss the process.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

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