1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your SearchOne 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 whether or not your dream home is within your reach. This step will also help you narrow your search based on your budget and won’t leave you disappointed if the home you tour, and love, ends up being outside your budget!
2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’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? Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like and then qualify them as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help keep you focused on what’s most important.
3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood You Want to Live InEvery neighborhood has its own charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, the article suggests test-driving the area. Make sure that the area meets your needs for “amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”
4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to ItEvaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that would best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code, doesn’t mean that you need to tour every listing in that zip code. An example from the article says, “if you have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.”
5. Document Your Home VisitsOnce you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy and documenting what you love and don’t love about each property you visit. They even go as far as to suggest snapping a photo of the ‘for sale’ sign on the way into the property to help keep the listings divided in your photo gallery. Making notes on the listing sheet as you tour the property will also help you remember what the photos mean, or what you were feeling while touring the home.
Bottom LineIn a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home. I've helped may buyers find the home of their dreams... I can help you too! Call or text me at 516-429-9399,
“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 through 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:
- Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
- Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
- Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
- Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time
Bottom LineMany potential homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary 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. Ask me to recommend any number of mortgage professionals that will be happy to help you get started on your path to home ownership.
Buyer DemandThe map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?” The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey showed that in 38 out of 50 states buyer demand was slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong. Only six states had a ‘stable’ demand level.
Seller SupplyThe index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?” As you can see from the map below, 23 states reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 22 states and Washington D.C. reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 5 states reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for homes.
Bottom LineLooking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together so I can help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!
“On my honor, I promise to aid in man’s quest for shelter, to recognize I’m not just in the business of houses — I’m in the business of dreams in the shape of houses. To disclose all illegal additions, shoddy construction, murders, and ghosts. And to put my clients’ needs before my own.”While this might seem silly, as it was definitely written with humor in mind, the themes of helping someone achieve the American Dream and putting a client’s needs above his own are not to be taken lightly.
Bottom LineWhen you make the decision to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, make sure you look for an agent who exemplifies these values and will help you through every step of the process.
Bottom LineIf you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.
What is PMI?Freddie Mac defines PMI as:
“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%. Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:
“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.”According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 5%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their homes). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes. Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI: The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:
“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”
Bottom LineIf you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and help you make the best decision for you and your family. You can call or text me at 516-429-9399. I'm only too glad to help!
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”Do your research. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of professionals they’ve worked with in the past and have had good experiences with. Look for members of your team who will be honest and trustworthy; after all, you will be trusting them to help you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Whether this is your first or fifth time buying a home, you want to make sure that you have a Realtor® who is going to have the tough conversations with you, not just the easy ones. If your offer isn’t accepted by the seller, or they think that there may be something wrong with the home that you’ve fallen in love with, you would rather know what they think than make a costly mistake. According to the Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report: “Buyers from all generations primarily wanted their agent’s help to find the right home to purchase. Buyers were also looking for help to negotiate the terms of sale and to help with price negotiations.” Additionally, “Help understanding the purchase process was most beneficial to buyers 37 years and younger at 75 percent.” Look for someone to invest in your family’s future with you. You want an agent who isn’t focused on the transaction but is instead focused on helping you understand the process while helping you find your dream home.
Bottom LineIn this world of Google searches, where it seems like all the answers are just a mouse-click away, you need a Realtor® who is going to educate you and share the information that you need to know before you even know you need it.
Glut of Million Dollar Homes
Being a research-oriented Realtor® for nearly 20 years, I’m always curious about how laws and trends affect housing prices. Getting a grasp on the direction prices are headed gives me an advantage over most of my competitors and has led to my success.
I’m sure you’ve heard, by now, the new Tax Bill has included legislation limiting the tax deduction for mortgage interest and further imposes limits on deductions from state and local taxes. These two changes alone will hurt home values in New York with high-end home values being hurt the most. Pete King said, “most economists I’ve spoken to believe prices will fall between 10% – 20%.”
Realizing homes are commodities, it stands to reason that when supply goes up, demand and prices come down. With that thought in mind, I was curious to see just how many high-end homes are coming to market in Nassau and Suffolk counties compared to past years. What I found was an eye-opener!
High end up 37%
Measuring Nassau and Suffolk Counties from Jan 1 to March 15 in 2018, there was a 37% increase of million dollar homes hitting the market when compared to the same timeframe in 2017!
I will be updating this post to compare year over year increases periodically. Make sure you bookmark this page and return to the updated information.
My best advice if you have a high-end home you’re contemplating selling – don’t wait! While it may already be too late to be early, don’t wait until the traditional selling season begins in April. The earlier you place your home on the market, the less competition you should face and the easier time you will find to sell.
Call or contact me if you would like to see statistics for your town.
That hasn’t happened this year.Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with the recent increase in rates, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Many more buyers are jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2017 all fell in April, May, or June. Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.
Bottom LineIf you are planning on selling your home in 2018, let’s get together to evaluate the opportunities in our market.
1. What do you do with all this paperwork?Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional is an expert in his or her market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.
2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?There are over 180 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to make sure that you achieve your dream?
3. Are you a good negotiator?So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. After looking at the list of parties that you will need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll soon realize the value in selecting a real estate professional. From the buyers (who want the best deals possible), to the home inspection companies, all the way to the appraisers, there are at least 11 different people who you will need to be knowledgeable of, and answer to, during the process.
4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to a study by Collateral Analytics, FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by real estate agents:
“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.
5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?There is so much information out there on the news and on the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer? Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.