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First Time Home Buyers

No… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW!

No… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | Simplifying The MarketThe Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that non-homeowners cite the main reason for not currently owning a home, as not being able to afford one.This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

NAR’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 39% of non-homeowners say they believe they need more than 20% for a down payment on a home purchase. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO® Scores

An Ipson survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.The average conventional loan closed in August had a credit score of 752, while FHA mortgages closed with a score of 683. The average across all loans closed in August was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in August.No… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options.

A Tale of Two Markets: An Update

A Tale of Two Markets: A 6-Month Update | Simplifying The MarketSix months ago, we reported that the mismatch between the type of inventory of homes for sale and the demand of buyers in the US was causing the formation of two markets.In the starter and trade-up home categories, there were significantly more buyers than there were homes for sale, causing a seller’s market. In the premium, or luxury, home categories, the opposite was true as there was a surplus of these homes compared to the buyers that were out searching for their dream homes, which created a buyer’s market.According to the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of existing homes for sale in today’s market is at a 4.2-month supply. Inventory is now 6.5% lower than this time last year, marking the 27th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases.Looking at the latest report from Trulia, we can see that not much has changed, and in fact, recent natural disasters across the country have made inventory conditions even direr.Trulia’s market mismatch score measures the search interest of buyers against the category of homes that are available on the market. For example: “if 60% of buyers are searching for starter homes but only 40% of listings are starter homes, [the] market mismatch score for starter homes would be 20.”The results of their latest analysis are detailed in the chart below.A Tale of Two Markets: A 6-Month Update | Simplifying The MarketNationally, buyers are searching for starter and trade-up homes and are coming up short with the listings available, which is leading to a highly competitive seller’s market in these categories.Premium homebuyers, on the other hand, have the best chance of less competition and more inventory of listings in their price range with a 14.7-point surplus, which is creating more of a buyer’s market.

Bottom Line

Real estate is local. If you are thinking about buying OR selling this fall, let’s get together to discuss the exact market conditions in your area.

Which Home Values Have Increased the Most?

Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | Simplifying The MarketHome values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors puts the annual increase in the median existing-home price at 5.6%. CoreLogic, in their most recent Home Price Index Report, revealed that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year.CoreLogic broke appreciation down ever further into four price ranges which gives a more detailed view than simply looking at the year-over-year increases in the national median home price.The chart below shows the four tiers and each one’s growth from July 2016 to July 2017 (the latest data available).Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | Simplifying The MarketIt is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor in determining how much it has appreciated over the course of the last year. Lower priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum, due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on listing your home for sale in today’s market, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in your area and your price range.

Should I Buy a Home Now? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Should I Buy a Home Now? Or Wait Until Next Year? [INFOGRAPHIC]| Simplifying The MarketShould I Buy a Home Now? Or Wait Until Next Year? [INFOGRAPHIC]| Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • The Cost of Waiting to Buy is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices & interest rates were to increase over a period of time.
  • Freddie Mac predicts interest rates to rise to 4.4% by next year.
  • CoreLogic predicts home prices to appreciate by 5.0% over the next 12 months.
  • If you are ready and willing to buy your dream home, find out if you are able to!

Most Homebuyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | Simplifying The MarketAccording to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, most homebuyers are surprised by closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.
“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”
Bankrate.com gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.  Can you find the state in tan?  There's only one!More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | Simplifying The MarketKeep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. According to Freddie Mac,
“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • “The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”
  • The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.
  • Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day that they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like, or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream

Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream | Simplifying The MarketHearth just released their 2017 State of the American Dream report which showed that Americans still see homeownership as an integral piece of the American Dream. The report confirmed that “all generations–including millennials–agree homeownership is very important to achieving the American Dream.Americans ranked “owning a home I love” higher than any other options (including “starting a family” and “finding a fulfilling career”) as an important part of the American Dream.Despite some claims that homeownership’s importance to the American Dream is in decline, the report found that the dream of homeownership remains strong.Of Americans who said they think achieving the American Dream is important, 70% think homeownership is important to the dream, and 41% think homeownership is very important to the dream.

What about Millennials?

Hearth addresses the desires of millennials by explaining:
“Contrary to popular opinion, millennials who want to achieve the American Dream are 5% more likely than Baby Boomers to think homeownership is important. And two-thirds of millennial renters view homeownership as important to the American Dream. Although millennials are often portrayed as fickle and transient, they actually seek the stability of homeownership even more than their parents.”

Other Key Findings from the Report:

  • Homeowners are 126% more likely than non-homeowners to view homeownership as a way to build wealth. Nevertheless, homeowners still overwhelmingly associated homeownership with a family living space.
  • Homeowners are 24% more likely than non-homeowners to see homeownership as an achievement that reflects hard work.
  • Millennials are 77% more likely than baby boomers to see a home primarily as a way to build wealth.
  • Baby boomers are 98% more likely than millennials to see a home as a way to pass wealth down to children or family.
  • Millennials are 29% more likely than baby boomers to see a home as an achievement that reflects hard work–an outcome we expected given that many millennials are still working hard to afford their first homes.

Bottom Line

The report concluded:
“This survey revealed a powerful finding: Across demographic groups, homeownership remains a precondition of the American Dream.”

Happily Ever Homeowner

Happily Ever Homeowner | Simplifying The Market

Married Couples Buying Homes

Married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics last year at 66% of all buyers, according to the most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. It is no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more attainable.Many couples are deciding to use what would otherwise be their wedding fund as a down payment on their first home, as unmarried couples made up 8% of all first-time buyers last year. If you’re single, don’t fret; you can still buy your dream home! Single women made up 17% of first-time buyers in 2016, while single men accounted for 7% of buyers.According to a survey by the Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the United States at the start of the year was $25,961, which equates to a 10% down payment on a median priced home.A recent article from the New York Times found that many singles are now asking their parents to allow them to use the money they’ve saved up for their wedding day to instead buy a home.In the case of Carrie Graham, a Protestant minister from Austin, TX, her parents had saved a ‘five-figure sum’ for her wedding and were more than willing to give her that money as a down payment on her dream home. Graham told The New York Times,
“Buying the home wasn’t me saying, ‘I’m never going to get married’ or I am going to get married.’ My own home had way more than equity benefits. It was a real gift to have a home in an extremely desirable neighborhood in a city that I love. It’s brought me joy.”

Bottom Line

More and more first-time homebuyers are finding a way to purchase their dream homes, even if that means delaying their dream weddings.

Looking for Your Dream Home?

Looking for Your Dream Home? Know What You Want vs. What You Need | Simplifying The Market

Looking For Your Dream Home?

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.If you’ve been thinking about buying your dream home for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest.  They start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you find your dream home that is way outside of it.The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:
  • ‘Must-Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • ‘Should-Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute-Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It will also let your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.