Your "Local" Specialist Blog

September 4th, 2015 9:10 AM
A+ Reasons to Hire A Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 04 Sep 2015 04:00 AM PDT

A+ Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Hiring a Real Estate Professional to buy your dream home, or sell your current house is one of the most 'educated' decisions you can make!
  • A Real Estate Professional has the experience needed to help you through the entire process.
  • Make sure that you hire someone who knows current market conditions & can simply & effectively explain them to you & your family!

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on September 4th, 2015 9:10 AMLeave a Comment

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15,315 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

Posted: 01 Sep 2015 04:00 AM PDT

15,315 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours? | Keeping Current Matters There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is... If it hasn't sold yet, maybe it's not priced properly.

After all 15,315 houses sold yesterday, 15,315 will sell today and 15,315 will sell tomorrow.


That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 15,315 homes sell every day. The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.8 months supply of inventory available for sale, (6 months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’). This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers.

Bottom Line

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn't sold in today's active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on September 3rd, 2015 4:06 PMLeave a Comment

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52% Likely to Buy in the Next 5 Years!! Are You?

Posted: 27 Aug 2015 04:00 AM PDT

52% Likely to Buy in the Next 5 Years!! Are You? | Keeping Current Matters
According to the recently released BMO Harris Bank Home Buying Report, 52% of Americans say they are likely to buy a home in the next five years. Americans surveyed for the report said they would be willing to pay an average of $296,000 for a home and would average a 21% down payment. The report also had other interesting revelations.

Those Looking to Buy

  • 74% of those looking to buy a new home will consult a real estate agent
  • 59% said they will visit online real estate websites
  • 37% will seek recommendations from friends and family
  • 78% plan to get pre-approved before seriously searching for a home

Those Who Already Own

  • 75% of current home owners set a budget before looking for a home. 16% ended up spending less while 13% went over their budget.
  • 63% of American homeowners spent under six months looking for a new home before they made a purchase.
  • 8% bought their home without participating in an active real estate search - or even any plan to buy at all - because a specific property caught their attention.
The last point is very interesting: Of those that purchased a home, 8% bought “without any plan to buy at all”. A property caught their attention and they acted on it.

Why are More People not Planning their Next Move?

Why are people that are considering a move not putting their home search to a plan, and instead, buying only when a property catches their attention? A recent article by Fannie Mae may give us that answer, there is evidence that a large numbers of homeowners are dramatically underestimating the equity they have in their current home. The report explains:
“Homeowners may be underestimating their home equity. In particular, if homeowners believe that large down payments are now required to purchase a home, then widespread, large underestimates of their home equity could be deterring them from applying for mortgages, selling their homes, and buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

Perhaps it is time to sit with a real estate professional to determine the actual equity you have in your house and take a look at the opportunities that currently exist in the real estate market. This may be the perfect time to move-up, move-down or buy that vacation home your family has always wanted.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on September 1st, 2015 10:06 AMLeave a Comment

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August 27th, 2015 1:34 PM
Don’t Get Caught In The Renter’s Trap

Posted: 25 Aug 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Don't Get Caught In The Renter's Trap | Keeping Current Matters
There are many benefits to homeownership. One of top ones is being able to protect yourself from rising rents and lock in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their findings of a study in which they studied “income growth, housing costs and changes in the share of renter and owner-occupied households over the past five years in metropolitan statistical areas throughout the US.”

Don’t Become Trapped

The study revealed that over the last five years a typical rent rose 15% while the income of renters grew by only 11%. If you are currently renting, this disparity in growth could get you caught up in a cycle where increasing rents continue to make it impossible for you to save for a necessary down payment. The average renter in the United States pays 30% of their income on housing compared to that of a homeowner who can expect to spend 15%. In many metro areas the percentage of income spent on housing is even higher and continues to rise every year. Like in San Francisco, CA, where the average renter spends 59% of their monthly income on housing or nearly 65% in Boston, MA. Homebuyers who purchased their home over the same five-year period locked in their housing costs and were able to grow their net worth as home values have increased and their mortgage balances have gone down.

Know Your Options

Perhaps, you have already saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire reported that analysts at Nomura believe:
“It’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment. It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)
As we have reported last week, over 60% of Millennials who recently bought a home put down less than 20%; 36% put down less than 5%. Your dream home may be more attainable than you ever imagined!

Bottom Line

Don’t get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Have a professional help you determine if you are eligible to get a mortgage.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 27th, 2015 1:34 PMLeave a Comment

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Should I Wait to Put Down a Bigger Down Payment?

Posted: 26 Aug 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Should I Wait to Put Down a Bigger Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters
Some experts are advising that first time and move-up buyers wait until they save up 20% before they move forward with their decision to purchase a home. One of the main reasons they suggest waiting is that a buyer must purchase private mortgage insurance if they have less than the 20%. That increases the monthly payment the buyer will be responsible for. In a recent article, Freddie Mac explained what this would mean for a $200,000 house: Difference Between a 5% and 20% Down Payment | Keeping Current Matters However, we must look at other aspects of the purchase to see if it truly makes sense to wait.

Are you actually saving money by waiting?

CoreLogic has recently projected that home values will increase by 4.3% over the next 12 months. Let’s compare the extra cost of PMI against the projected appreciation: PMI vs Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters If you decide to wait until you have saved up a 20% down payment, the money you would have saved by avoiding the PMI payment could be surpassed by the additional price you eventually pay for the home. Prices are expected to increase by more than 3% each of the next five years. Saving will also be more difficult if you are renting, as rents are also projected to increase over the next several years. Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell explained in a recent report:
"Our research found that unaffordable rents are making it hard for people to save for a down payment ... There are good reasons to rent temporarily – when you move to a new city, for example – but from an affordability perspective, rents are crazy right now. If you can possibly come up with a down payment, then it's a good time to buy a home and start putting your money toward a mortgage."
Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal recently agreed with Dr. Gudell:
“For some renters there may be a way out: Buy a house. Mortgages remain very affordable.”

Mortgage rates are expected to rise…

Freddie Mac is projecting that mortgage interest rates will increase by almost a full percentage point over the next 12 months. That will also impact your mortgage payment if you wait.

Bottom Line

Sit with a real restate or mortgage professional to truly understand whether you should buy now or wait until you save the 20%.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 26th, 2015 4:25 PMLeave a Comment

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Existing-Home Sales Soar to Highest Level in Eight Years

increaseExisting-home sales increased in July, while low inventory levels and rising prices are the largest factors lowering sales to first-time buyers to their lowest share since January, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released Thursday.

Total existing-home sales rose 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million in July from a downwardly revised 5.48 million in June. July sales were at the highest pace since 5.79 million in February 2007. Existing sales have now increased year-over-year for ten consecutive months and are 10.3 percent above the pace a year ago at 5.07 million.

The report also found that single-family home sales increased 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.96 million in July to their highest level since 5.08 million in February 2007. Single-family sales were 4.83 million in June, and are now 11.0 percent above the 4.47 million pace a year ago.

Source: NAHB

Many economists believe that the growth in existing-home sales can be mostly attributed to growth in the employment sector.

“In some markets, this boost has been led by job growth –a key sign that the recovery is on track,” said Selma Hepp, Trulia’s chief economist. “As millennial employment improves, young adults will continue to move out of their parent’s homes and form their own households, first as renters and then as homeowners.”

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist added, “The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now. As a result, current homeowners are using their increasing housing equity towards the down payment on their next purchase."

According to the NAR, the median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $234,000, which is 5.6 percent above July 2014. This in increase marks the 41st consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The median existing single-family home price was $235,500 in July, up 5.8 percent from July 2014.

"Despite the strong growth in sales since this spring, declining affordability could begin to slowly dampen demand," Yun said. "Realtors in some markets reported slower foot traffic in July in part because of low inventory and concerns about the continued rise in home prices without commensurate income gains."

NAR reported that total housing inventory declined 0.4 percent to 2.24 million existing homes available for sale at the end of July. This total is now 4.7 percent lower than a year ago when inventory levels reached 2.35 million.

“Tight inventory across the country continues to put pressure on home prices,” Hepp said. “As more potential buyers are being pushed out of the market, home sellers may be reluctant to sell if there is a perception that they might not be able to find another home to buy–thus perpetuating the problem.”

Another decline was recorded in the percent share of first-time buyers in July for the second consecutive month. First-time buyers in July lowered to 28 percent from 30 percent in June, the lowest share since January of this year which was 28 percent.

"The fact that first-time buyers represented a lower share of the market compared to a year ago even though sales are considerably higher is indicative of the challenges many young adults continue to face," Yun said. "Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a down payment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options."

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 20th, 2015 5:08 PMLeave a Comment

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August 18th, 2015 7:47 PM

Buying and Selling “Off-Season”

Buying and Selling “Off-Season”

There are many variables that determine what is considered the peak buying and selling season in real estate. It varies by geographical region and is affected as well by the economy. Generally speaking, for home sellers, many real estate experts have traditionally considered the “peak season” to be around late January to early May. Reasons varied from buyers wanting to close late spring or early summer when school ends, moving during good weather, and not wanting to interfere with summer breaks and vacations. The negative impact on buyers during this peak time can be more competition resulting in higher prices and lower inventory.

home search onlineTimes have changed and there ARE benefits to buying and selling “off-season”. Many of today’s buyers AREN’T shopping around school schedules, many are single first-time buyer’s, couples with grown children that are ready to downsize, job relocations, as well as investors in income property. Today’s buyers are savvy and use the Internet to preview listings year round, which means real estate can be very active outside the peak months. A serious buyer is always looking. With fewer houses on the market in the fall and winter, sellers have less competition. Also, selling in fall or winter could allow the seller to take advantage of the coming new spring inventory for buying a new home.

Additional off-season benefits for buyers and sellers can be a faster turnaround for services such as lenders, appraisers, settlement attorneys and inspectors. In many areas, the weather is better and scheduling is easier for showings, as fewer buyers are coming through.

Once summer ends, many sellers whose listings have stayed on the market will be more desperate for offers. They may have purchased a home contingent on selling their old home. If you are a buyer and are having difficulty finding the right house, ask your agent to look at listings that were recently taken off the market and request a showing if the owner is still motivated to sell.

To attract serious buyers, it is important to price your home to sell. Consider adding a home warranty to add value to your listing and give potential buyers confidence. Staging a home with the colors of the fall and winter season can create a warm and welcoming feel. Keep it simple, clean and uncluttered. When selling a home, you need to make the best first impression, no matter what the season!

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 18th, 2015 7:47 PMLeave a Comment

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August 7th, 2015 1:13 PM
Freddie Mac: Equity Matters (a Lot!)

Posted: 23 Jul 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Freddie Mac: Equity Matters (a Lot!) | Keeping Current Matters
According to a Merrill Lynch survey, over 80% of the people in this country believe that homeownership is still “an important part of the American Dream”. There are many financial and non-financial reasons people feel this way. One of the biggest reasons is because it helps build family wealth. Last week, Freddie Mac posted about the power of home equity. They explained:
“In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage. You build equity by paying down your mortgage over time and through your home's appreciation. In a nutshell, your money is working for you and contributing toward your financial future.”
They went on to show an example where a person bought a home for $150,000 with a down payment of 10%, resulting in a loan amount of $135,000. The buyer secured a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.5% with a monthly mortgage payment of $684.03 (not including taxes and insurance). They then illustrated what would happen after seven years of making a mortgage payment, assuming 3% per year home appreciation (the historic national average): Home Equity Calculation | Keeping Current Matters And that number continues to build as you continue to own the home. Merrill Lynch published a report earlier this year that showed the average equity homeowners have acquired at certain ages. Average Home Equity by Age | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Home equity is important to building wealth as a family. Referring to the first scenario above, Freddie Mac explained:
“Now, if you continued to rent, and made the same payment of $684.03 per month, you'd have zero equity and no means to build it. Building equity is a critical part of homeownership and can help you create financial stability.”

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 7th, 2015 1:13 PMLeave a Comment

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New Report Finds Waiting to Buy a Home Could Cost Thousands

New Report Finds Waiting to Buy a Home Could Cost Thousands

With interest rates and home prices expected to climb in the next year, the financial penalties of delaying or forgoing a home purchase in today’s market have become very steep, according to the inaugural Opportunity Cost Report released recently by®, a leading provider of online real estate services operated by News Corp subsidiary Move, Inc.

The proprietary report examines a wide range of factors, including the long-term financial impact of owning versus renting a home, the likely monetary gain renters forego in waiting to buy and the financial benefits of homeownership by market.

“Current market conditions give buyers the opportunity to build substantial wealth in the long-term, compared with renters and later buyers, in advance of the projected increase in mortgage rates and continuing price appreciation,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for®. “The problem is inventory is low, which has many would-be home buyers –especially first timers – standing on the sidelines and missing out on potentially material financial gains.”

Nationally, the estimated wealth an average buyer would accumulate over a 30-year period based on today’s dollars totals $217,726. Although some markets are more buyer-friendly than others, national data shows homeowners see significant financial benefits as compared to lifetime renters. In 88 percent of MSAs, buying a home produces a financial benefit of at least $100,000 over 30 years.

Ten markets offer an especially considerable upside to owning, with estimated 30-year financial gains above $500,000, and opportunity costs of waiting three years as high as $200,000. These MSAs, in California and other Western states, are relatively expensive markets with strong housing demand and limited supply. The potential long-term wealth in these areas is the greatest nationwide, and likewise, the long-term financial penalty for delaying ownership is substantial, due to price appreciation, escalating rents, and higher mortgage rates on the horizon.

“This analysis looks solely at the financial reasons to buy a home, based on assumptions about rising mortgage rates and changes in home values,” Smoke says. “It’s important to remember that a home purchase decision is deeply personal. Potential buyers need to consider factors such as upcoming life events, job security and potential relocation, in addition to financial benefits, because they too can have a significant impact on ownership.”

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 3rd, 2015 4:54 PMLeave a Comment

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July 31st, 2015 11:19 PM

Exciting Changes to Freddie Mac Guidelines!

Freddie Mac recently announced some exciting changes to their current policies and underwriting guidelines. These changes are considerably positive, to both industry professionals and consumers. Here are the changes that will have the biggest impact to you and your business:

Debt-to-income ratio calculation
Effective for loans closing on or after August 1, 2015, the minimum monthly payment amount that must be included in the debt-to-income ratio (“DTI”) calculation for deferred student loans will decrease from 2% to 1% of the outstanding balance.

Increase in Maximum Number of Financed Properties
Effective for loans closing on or after October 26, 2015, the maximum number of financed properties that a borrower may own or be obligated on, will increase from four (4) to six (6) when the transaction is for a second home or investment property (1-unit only). In addition, the maximum Loan-to-Value (LTV) for these purchase transactions will be 85% (mortgage insurance applies).

Rental Income
Effective for loans closing on or after October 26, 2015, Freddie Mac is removing their previous requirement that the borrower have a two-year history of managing investment properties, in order to use rental income for qualifying purposes.

Rent Loss Insurance
Effective for loans closing on or after October 26, 2015, Freddie Mac is removing their previous requirement that the borrower have at least six (6) months of rent loss insurance coverage, when using rental income from the subject investment property for qualifying purposes.

The removal of these restrictions will make a measurable difference in your homebuyers’ purchasing power, and lighten their burden of proving their creditworthiness.

USDA Upfront Guarantee Fee Increase

USDA Rural Development announced an increase to the upfront guarantee fee on Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) Loans from 2% to 2.75% beginning with Conditional Commitments issued on or after October 1, 2015. Fortunately, the annual fee is unchanged and will remain at .50%.

I hope this information gives you and your clients more opportunities to succeed in today’s housing market. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on July 31st, 2015 11:19 PMLeave a Comment

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