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Buying Myths

Getting Pre-Approved Should Always Be Your First Step

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach. Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:
“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”
One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application.  You will also need to provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:
  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying. It also often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so.

Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years

Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years | Simplifying The Market According to a new study from Lending Tree, Americans who have filed for bankruptcy may be able to rebuild enough credit to qualify for a home loan in as little as 2-3 years. This is in stark contrast to the belief that many have that they need to wait 7-10 years for their bankruptcies to clear from their credit reports before attempting to apply for either a mortgage or a personal or auto loan. The study analyzed over one million loan applications for mortgages, personal, and auto loans and compared borrowers who had a bankruptcy on their credit report vs. those who did not to find out the “Cost of Bankruptcy.” The study found that 43.2% of Americans who filed bankruptcy were able to repair their credit back to a 640 FICO® Score in less than a year. The percentage of those who achieved a 640 FICO® Score increased to nearly 75% after 5 years. The full breakdown of the findings was used to create the chart below. Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years | Simplifying The Market Americans who were able to repair their credit scores to a range of 720-739 within three years of filing were able to obtain the same financing options as those who had never filed bankruptcy. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, 53.5% of those who were approved for a home loan had FICO® Scores between 600-749 last month. This is great news for Americans who are looking to re-enter the housing market. [caption id="attachment_37304" align="alignnone" width="650"]Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years | Simplifying The Market FICO Score Distribution[/caption] Raj Patel, Lending Tree’s Director of Credit Restoration & Debt-Related Services had this to say:
“People may think that filing a bankruptcy would put you out of the loan market for seven to ten years, but this study shows that it is possible to rebuild your credit to a good credit quality.” “LendingTree’s research found that very few bankruptcy filers have a harder time [obtaining a mortgage] than those who have not filed for bankruptcy.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the millions of Americans who has filed for bankruptcy and think that you have to wait 7-10 years to make your dream of returning to homeownership a reality, let’s get together to find out if you qualify now.

NOT Owning Your Home Can Cost You!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="648"]NOT Owning Your Home Can Cost You a Lot of Money! | Simplifying The Market Homeownership[/caption] Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed. Realtor.com recently reported that:
Buying remains the more attractive option in the long term – that remains the American dream, and it’s true in many markets where renting has become really the shortsighted option… as people get more savings in their pockets, buying becomes the better option.”

What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?

1. In a previous blog we highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:
  • Homeownership is a form of forced savings.
  • Homeownership provides tax savings.
  • Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.
  • Buying a home is cheaper than renting.
  • No other investment lets you live inside of it.
2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter. 3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2018 could build more than $44,000 in family wealth over the next five years. 4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment– along with a profit margin!!

Bottom Line

Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="648"] Renting vs. Buying[/caption] [caption id="attachment_37281" align="alignnone" width="650"]The Cost of Renting vs. Buying Today [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market Renting vs Buying[/caption]

Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting vs. buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.9%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (15.7%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

Freddie Mac: Rising Mortgage Rates DO NOT Lead to Falling Home Prices

Recently, Freddie Mac published an Insight Report titled Nowhere to go but up? How increasing mortgage rates could affect housing. The report focused on the impact the projected rise in mortgage rates might have on the housing market this year. Many believe that an increase in mortgage rates will cause a slowdown in purchases which would, in turn, lead to a fall in house values. Ultimately, however, prices are determined by supply and demand and while rising mortgage rates may slow demand, they also affect supply. From the report:
 “For current homeowners, the decision to buy a new home is typically linked to their decision to sell their current home… Because of this link, the financing costs of the existing mortgage are part of the homeowner’s decision of whether and when to move. Once financing costs for a new mortgage rise above the rate borrowers are paying for their current mortgage, borrowers would have to give up below-market financing to sell their home. Instead, they may choose to delay both the sale of their existing home and the purchase of a new home to maintain the advantageous financing.”
The Freddie Mac report, in acknowledging this situation, concluded that prices are not adversely impacted by higher mortgage rates. They explained:
“While there is a drop in the demand for homes, there is an associated drop in the supply of homes from the link between the selling and buying decisions. As both supply and demand move together in this way they have offsetting effects on price—lower demand decreases price and lower supply increases price.
They went on to reveal that the Freddie Mac National House Price Index is…
“…unresponsive to movements in interest rates. In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. As mortgage rates increase, the demand for home purchases will likely remain strong relative to the constrained supply and continue to put upward pressure on home prices.”
The following graph, based on data from the report, reveals what happened to home prices the last six times mortgage rates rose by at least 1%. [caption id="attachment_37220" align="alignnone" width="650"]Freddie Mac: Rising Mortgage Rates DO NOT Lead to Falling Home Prices | Simplifying The Market Home Prices[/caption]

Bottom Line

Whether you are a move-up buyer or first-time buyer, waiting to purchase your next home based on the belief that prices will fall because of rising mortgage rates makes no sense.

2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="648"]2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | Simplifying The Market Home Buyer Myths[/caption] Urban Institute recently released a report entitled, “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” which revealed that eighty percent of consumers either are unaware of how much lenders require for a down payment or believe all lenders require a down payment above 5 percent.”

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Buyers often overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the same report:
Consumers are often unaware of the option to take out low-down-payment mortgages. Only 19% of consumers believe lenders would make loans with a down payment of 5% or less… While 15% believe lenders require a 20% down payment, and 30% believe lenders expect a 20% down payment.”
These numbers do not differ much between non-owners and homeowners; 39% of non-owners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment and 30% of homeowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment. While many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, they do not realize that programs are available that allow them to put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”

Similar to the down payment, many either don’t know or are misinformed about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify. Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher. To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. 2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | Simplifying The Market As you can see in the chart above, 53.5% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step | Simplifying The Market In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or a pre-approval for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach. Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:
“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”
One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”  Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:
  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

The Cost of NOT Owning a Home

The Cost of NOT Owning Your Home | Simplifying The Market Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed. Zillow recently reported that:
“In reality, buying or renting a home is an intensely personal decision, with emotional and even financial considerations that go beyond whether to invest in this one (admittedly large) asset. Looking strictly at housing market numbers, there is a concrete point at which buying a home makes more financial sense than renting it.”

What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?

1. We recently highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:
  • Owning a home is a form of forced savings.
  • Owning a home provides tax savings.
  • Owning a home allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.
  • Buying a home is cheaper than renting.
  • No other investment lets you live inside of it.
2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter. 3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $48,000 in family wealth over the next five years. 4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent paymentalong with a profit margin!!

Bottom Line

Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.

Is it Too Easy to Get a Mortgage?

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="648"]Too Easy to get a mortgage Too Easy to get a mortgage[/caption] There is little doubt that it is easier to get a home mortgage today than it was last year. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), published by the Mortgage Bankers Association, shows that mortgage credit has become more available in each of the last several years. In fact, in just the last year:
  • More buyers are putting less than 20% down to purchase a home
  • The average credit score on closed mortgages is lower
  • More low-down-payment programs have been introduced
This has some people worrying that we are returning to the lax lending standards which led to the boom and bust that real estate experienced ten years ago. Let’s alleviate some of that concern. The graph below shows the MCAI going back to the boom years of 2004-2005. The higher the graph line, the easier it was to get a mortgage. Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | Simplifying The Market   As you can see, lending standards were much more lenient from 2004 to 2007. Though it has gradually become easier to get a mortgage since 2011, we are nowhere near the lenient standards during the boom years. The Urban Institute also publishes a Home Credit Availability Index (HCAI). According to the Institute, the HCAI:
“Measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates … it is easier to get a loan.”
Here is a graph showing their findings: Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | Simplifying The Market Again, today’s lending standards are nowhere near the levels of the boom years. As a matter of fact, they are more stringent than they were even before the boom.

Bottom Line

It is getting easier to gain financing for a home purchase. However, we are not seeing the irresponsible lending that caused the housing crisis.

Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong If They’re Telling You Not to Buy

Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong if They're Telling You Not to Buy | Simplifying The Market The current narrative is that home prices have risen so much so that it is no longer a smart idea to purchase a home. Your family and friends might suggest that buying a home right now (whether a first-time home or a move-up home) makes absolutely no sense from an affordability standpoint. They are wrong! Homes are more affordable right now than at almost any time in our country’s history except for the foreclosure years (2009-2015) when homes sold at major discounts. As an example, below is a graph from the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor showing the percentage of median income needed to buy a medium-priced home in the country today in comparison to prior to the housing bubble and bust. Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong if They're Telling You Not to Buy | Simplifying The Market As we can see, the percentage necessary is less now than in those time periods. The Mortgage Monitor also explains that home affordability is better today than it was in the late 1990s in 47 of 50 states. Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong if They're Telling You Not to Buy | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Your friends and family have your best interests at heart. However, when it comes to buying your first home or selling your current house to buy the home of your dreams, let’s get together to discuss what your best move is, now.