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5 Stats that Prove the Real Estate Market is Getting Stronger
5 Stats that Prove the Real Estate Market is Getting Stronger | Keeping Current Matters
Whenever there is talk about an improving housing market, some begin to show concern that we may be headed toward another housing bubble that will be followed by a crash similar to the one we saw last decade. Here are five data points that show the housing market will continue to recover, and that a new housing crisis is not about to take shape. 1) Mortgage availability is increasing, but is nowhere near the levels we saw in 2004-2006. A buyer's chances of being approved for a mortgage have increased over the last three years; That's good news for the market. This is not a precursor to another challenge, as many experts maintain that it is still too difficult for many buyers to attain house financing. As Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, recently explained:
"The havoc during the last cycle was the result...of speculation fueled by loose credit. That's the exact opposite of what we have today."
2) The Housing Affordability Index, which measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home, based on the most recent price and income data. The current index shows that it is more affordable to buy a home today than at any other time between 1990 and 2008. With median incomes finally beginning to rise, houses should continue to remain affordable and housing demand should remain strong. 3) Home prices are well within historic norms. Prices have increased substantially over the last several years; However, those increases followed the housing crash of 2008 and national prices are still not back to 2006 levels. If there were no bubble (and subsequent bust), today's prices would actually be lower than if they were measured by historic appreciation levels from 1987-1999. 4) Demand for housing, as measured by new household formations, is growing. The Urban Land Institute projects that 5.95 million new households will be formed over the next three years. Even if the homeownership rate drops to 60%, that would be over 3.5 million new homeowners entering the market. 5) New home starts are finally beginning to increase. This helps eliminate the number one challenge in the industry - lack of inventory. And it does so in two ways:
  1. Some first time buyers will, in fact, purchase a newly constructed home.
  2. Many current homeowners will move-up (or move-down) to a new construction and then put their current home on the market.
This means that there will be an increase in both new construction and existing home inventories. Agents: Join us later on today for our free webinar at 2PM ET/1PM CT as we give you the tools and understanding you'll need to calm your clients' doubts and position yourself as a market expert. Reserve your seat today for "5 Graphs that Prove the Housing Market is Strong and Will Continue to Surge."

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on September 23rd, 2016 11:11 AMLeave a Comment

Ready to Make an Offer? 4 Tips for Success

Ready to Make an Offer? 4 Tips for Success | Keeping Current Matters So you've been searching for that perfect house to call a 'home' and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true! Freddie Mac covered "4 Tips for Making an Offer" in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

"While it's not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer."
This 'tip' or 'step' really should take place before you start your home search process. As we've mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

"Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country."
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 4.7-month supply. This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a 'normal' market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream home. Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:
"Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford."
Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand above the rest.

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

"It's likely that you'll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you'll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford. Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met."
If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to "always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home. If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can typically re-negotiate the terms or cancel the contract."

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in their market on your side is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on September 21st, 2016 9:42 AMLeave a Comment

September 13th, 2016 11:02 AM
5 Reasons to Sell This Fall
5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | Keeping Current Matters
School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall:

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors' Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase... and are in the market right now! Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR's latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months. This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall. Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month's new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don't wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. According to Freddie Mac's latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It's Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on September 13th, 2016 11:02 AMLeave a Comment

August 29th, 2016 2:37 PM

Market Conditions Improve Chances of Rate Hike, Says Yellen

Market Conditions Improve Chances of Rate Hike, Says Yellen

In a recent speech at Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen supported the anticipation of two possible rate hikes this year, noting that the case for a rate hike has strengthened.

“In light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase in the federal-funds rate has strengthened in recent months,” Yellen said.

Job gains have averaged 190,000 over the past three months, and in addition to the rising labor market, experts believe that the “strengthening” Yellen points to could be based on the bolstered dollar and the recovery of economic confidence post-Brexit, which stalled rate predictions back in June.

Yellen commented heavily on the need to refresh the Fed’s toolkit in order to hold off the next recession. Friday’s release of the August jobs report will likely offer insight into when the next rate hike may occur.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 29th, 2016 2:37 PMLeave a Comment

Whether You Rent or Buy, You're Paying a Mortgage
Whether You Rent or Buy, You're Paying a Mortgage | Keeping Current Matters
There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord's. As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:
"Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That's yet another reason owning often does--as Americans intuit--end up making more financial sense than renting."
Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:
"With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you'll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years - unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades."
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of 'forced savings' which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity. Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac's latest report shows that rates across the country were 3.43% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 24th, 2016 9:38 AMLeave a Comment

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers
2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters
Fannie Mae's "What do consumers know about the Mortgage Qualification Criteria?" Study revealed that Americans are misinformed about what is required to qualify for a mortgage when purchasing a home.

Myth #1: "I Need a 20% Down Payment"

Fannie Mae's survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 76% of Americans either don't know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required. Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home. New programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%. Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home. 2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!

Myth #2: "I need a 780 FICO Score or Higher to Buy"

The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don't know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) 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 the latest Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see below, 54.1% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749. 2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

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

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 23rd, 2016 9:33 AMLeave a Comment

5 Things Renters Should Know About Owning

For renters who aspire to be home owners, transitioning from an apartment to a house requires a shift in their thinking that they may not be prepared to make. The financial changes that come with owning, the need to consider planting longer-term roots in a neighborhood, and new neighborhood rules are things renters may not be thinking about enough.

Read more: Where Buying Beats Out Renting the Most

As their real estate agent, it’s important for you to be there for your clients when they’re embarking on a life-changing event such as buying a home.

Moving can already be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, but it may be doubly so for a new home owner. In order to be their most reliable resource, using your knowledge and experience to provide them with guidance, share these helpful nuggets of information with your clients so their transition from renter to owner can be as smooth as possible.

They need to understand how their financial investment is changing. Renters may see an increase in their monthly rent every lease term, but they don’t see exactly where it goes — toward property taxes and insurance, even “luxuries” such as trash pickup. As home owners, they don’t have a landlord who handles all those details, so they need to be ready to juggle the financial responsibilities of home ownership. Have an open conversation with your clients about these changes and the importance of budgeting to make sure they make smart financial decisions during this process.

They need to be happy with their location for the long-term. As a renter, you can bounce around from home to home every year if you want. But when you own a home, you have to stay put — unless you plan on renting it out, which most home owners don’t. Impress upon your client that location is going to play a much more significant role in their future, so they should think about evaluating school districts, access to amenities, and commute time now as they search for their next home.

They may need to abide by new rules. Renters don’t think about possible homeowner association rules they may be governed by, such as trash pickup rules or any curfews or rules pertaining to animals. Make sure to get all the information on neighborhood rules and associations to help your client understand what their new obligations will be.

They’ll need to get into the mindset of an owner. Life as your client knows it is about to change. Once your client purchases a new home, they will no longer have a landlord to tend to their many needs, including lawn care and plumbing. The best way you can help them as their real estate agent is to provide them with contact information for local industry experts. They will eventually need certified specialists ranging from HVAC companies to carpenters to electricians. Let them know they don’t have to do everything themselves.

They should know their neighbors can affect their value. Renters don’t care who their neighbors are as long as they’re quiet (enough). But your client is now going to want to know whether their new neighbors are renters or home owners. This knowledge can help your clients gauge current and future home value in the neighborhood. If the neighborhood consists mostly of rental properties, it is likely a home owner will lose money on their house in the future. Renters do not always feel responsible for maintaining their properties the way home owners do. Property value comes down to curb appeal. Less-appealing neighborhoods often have more-appealing prices, which is not always good for buyers and home owners


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 22nd, 2016 2:37 PMLeave a Comment

Real Estate Values Today Compared to Pre-2008 Peak
Real Estate Values Today Compared to Pre-2008 Peak | Keeping Current Matters
This housing market has many people talking about home values; where they are and where they are headed. It's also interesting to look back and see how home prices compare to values prior to the housing crisis. Every quarter, Freddie Mac releases their House Price Index. The index usually provides monthly home values for:
  • the nation as a whole
  • each of the 50 states
  • 367 metropolitan statistical areas
This quarter, the report also included a look at today's home values as compared to Pre-2008 values. Here is a graphic that breaks down the numbers on a state-by-state basis: Real Estate Values Today Compared to Pre-2008 Peak | Keeping Current Matters

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 15th, 2016 12:55 PMLeave a Comment

Buying Remains 36% Cheaper than Renting!

Buying Remains 36% Cheaper than Renting! | Keeping Current Matters In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report fromTrulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 5% less expensive in Orange County (CA) all the way up to 46% in Houston (TX), and 36% Nationwide! A recent study by GoBankingRates looked at the cost of renting vs. owing a home at the state level and concluded that in 36 states it is actually 'a little' or 'a lot' cheaper to own, represented by the two shades of blue in the map below. Buying Remains 36% Cheaper than Renting! | Keeping Current Matters One of the main reasons that owning a home has remained significantly cheaper than renting is the fact that interest rates have remained at or near historic lows. Freddie Macreports that rates fell again last week to 3.43%.

Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying - and rates haven't been that high since 1989.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 13th, 2016 12:18 PMLeave a Comment

August 11th, 2016 11:30 AM

What Does Home Mean to You?



What Does Home Mean to You? | Keeping Current Matters

No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own home are, more often than not, the more powerful or compelling ones.

Every year, The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University conducts a survey to find driving factors behind why Americans decide to buy a home.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by participants of the survey were not financial. 

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with the means for comfort and security is the number two reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. 

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building, or do you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on August 11th, 2016 11:30 AMLeave a Comment

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