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You Need a Real Estate Sherpa

Sherpa on a cliff in Himalayas In today’s world, hiring an agent who has a finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. In a normal housing market, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need an experienced guide to help you navigate the process. You need someone you can turn to who will tell you how to price your home correctly right from the start. You need someone who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer. We are, however, in anything but a “normal market” right now. The media is full of stories about an impending recession, a trade war with China, and constant political upheaval. Each of these potential situations could dramatically impact the real estate market. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a ‘Real Estate Sherpa.’ A Sherpa is a “member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region – some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes. They are much more than just guides. This is much more than a normal real estate market. The average guide just won’t do. You need a ‘Sherpa.’ You need an expert who understands what is happening in the market and why it is happening. You need someone who can simply and effectively explain it to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, even in these challenging times. 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.” 

Bottom Line

Hiring an agent who has a finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one.  If you are looking for that agent, give me a call at 516-429-9399.

Homeownership And Your Net Worth

Couple with a child sitting on a couch getting set to unpack in their new home. Recently two U.S. Census Bureau researchers released their findings on the biggest determinants of household wealth. What they found may help shape your view on building your family’s net worth. Many people plan to build their net worth by buying CDs or stocks, or just having a savings account. Recently, however, Economist Jonathan Eggleston and Survey Statistician Donald Hays, both of the U.S. Census Bureau, shared the biggest determinants of wealth,
“The biggest determinants of household wealth [are] owning a home and having a retirement account.” (Shown in the graph below):
[caption id="attachment_40972" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Homeownership And Your Net Worth Graph showing the composition of net worth[/caption] This does not come as a surprise, as we often mention that homeownership can help you to increase your family’s wealth. This study reinforces that idea,
 “Net worth is an important indicator of economic well-being and provides insights into a household’s economic health.”
Having equity in your home can help your family move in that direction, building toward substantial financial growth. According to the report noted above, people are not only creating net worth in the homes they live in, but many are also earning equity in rental property investments too. (See below):Homeownership is the Top Contributor to Your Net Worth | Simplifying The MarketJohn Paulson said it well,
If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one, and if you own two homes buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home.”

Bottom Line

There are financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home. If you would like to increase your net worth, let’s get together so you can learn all the benefits of becoming a homeowner.

FICO® Score to Qualify for a Mortgage?

FICO® Score to Qualify for a Mortgage? It’s common knowledge that your FICO® score plays an important role in your ability to qualify for a mortgage. However, many buyers have misconceptions regarding what exactly is required to get the mortgage loans they need. A recent announcement from CNBC shares that the average national FICO® score has reached an all-time high of 706. The good news for potential buyers is that you don’t need a FICO® score that high to qualify for a mortgage. Let’s unpack the credit score myth so you can become a homeowner sooner than you may think. With today’s low interest rates, many believe now is a great time to buy – and rightfully so! Fannie Mae recently noted that 58% of Americans surveyed say it is a good time to buy. Similarly, the Q3 2019 HOME Survey by the National Association of Realtors said 63% of people believe now is a good time to buy a home. Unfortunately, fear and misinformation often hold qualified and motivated buyers back from taking the leap into homeownership. According to the same CNBC article,
“For the first time, the average national credit score has reached 706, according to FICO®, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.”
This is great news, as it means Americans are improving their credit scores and building toward a stronger financial future.  With today’s strong economy and increasing wages, many Americans have had the opportunity to improve their credit scores. Over the past few years, they have driven the national average up. Since Americans with stronger credit are now entering the housing market, we are seeing an increase in the FICO® Score Distribution of Closed Loans (see graph below):What FICO® Score Do You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage? | Simplifying The MarketBut hang on – don’t forget that this does not mean you need a FICO® score over 700 to qualify for a mortgage. Here’s what Experian, the global leader in consumer and business credit reporting, says: FHA Loan: “FHA loans are ideal for those who have less-than-perfect credit and may not be able to qualify for a conventional mortgage loan. The size of your required down payment for an FHA loan depends on the state of your credit score: If your credit score is between 500 and 579, you must put 10% down. If your credit score is 580 or above, you can put as little as 3.5% down (but you can put down more if you want to).” Conventional Loan: “It’s possible to get approved for a conforming conventional loan with a credit score as low as 620, although some lenders may look for a score of 660 or better.” USDA Loan: “While the USDA doesn’t have a set credit score requirement, most lenders offering USDA-guaranteed mortgages require a score of at least 640.” VA Loan: “As with income levels, lenders set their own minimum credit requirements for VA loan borrowers. Lenders are likely to check credit scores as part of their screening process, and most will set a minimum score, or cutoff, that loan applicants must exceed to be considered.”

Bottom Line

As you can see, plenty of loans are granted to buyers with a FICO® score lower than the national average. If you’d like to understand the next steps to take when determining your credit score, let’s get together so you can learn more.

62% of Buyers Are Wrong About Down Payment Needs

62% of Buyers Are Wrong About Down Payment Needs | Simplifying The Market Contrary to common misconception, down payment needs are often much less than many believe. According to the ‘2019 Home Buyer Report conducted by Nerdwallet, many first-time buyers still believe they need a 20% down payment to buy a home in today’s market:
“More than 6 in 10 (62%) Americans believe you must put at least 20% down in order to purchase a home.”
When potential homebuyers think they need a 20% down payment to enter the market, they also tend to think they’ll have to wait several years (in some markets) to come up with the necessary funds to buy their dream homes. The report continues to say,
“The truth: 32% of current U.S. homeowners put 5% or less down on their home, according to census data.” (as shown below):
62% of Buyers Are Wrong About Down Payment Needs | Simplifying The MarketThe lack of knowledge about the home-buying process is keeping many motivated buyers on the sidelines.

Bottom Line

Don’t let a lack of understanding keep you and your family out of the housing market. Let’s get together to discuss your options today.

5 Homebuying Acronyms [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 Homebuying Acronyms You Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

5 Homebuying Acronyms You Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

 

Some Highlights:

  • Learning the lingo of homebuying is an important part of feeling successful when buying a home.
  • From APR to P&I, you need to know the acronyms that will come up along the way, and what they mean when you hear them.
  • Your local professionals are here to help you feel confident and informed from start to finish…and this infographic will help you as you go.

What to Expect from Your Home Inspection

What to Expect from Your Home Inspection | Simplifying The Market You made an offer and it was accepted.  Your next task is to have the home inspected prior to signing a contract.  But what should you expect from your home inspection? What information and how thorough a report should you expect to receive? Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection. This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you: 1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties. 2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report, the better. 3. References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to discuss their experiences. 4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required. 5. Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible they might miss something they should see. Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection, so they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed. Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, fireplace and chimney, foundation, and so much more.

Bottom Line

They say, ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money into a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible, so you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.