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March 23rd, 2017 2:34 PM
4 Great Reasons to Buy This Spring!
4 Great Reasons to Buy This Spring! | Keeping Current Matters
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.8% over the next year. The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4% over the last couple months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by at least a half a percentage point this time next year. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet 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 an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity. Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 23rd, 2017 2:34 PMLeave a Comment

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Magical sunrise over sleepy, foggy neighborhood

As rising rents sweep the country, the channel between the cost of owning and the cost of renting continues to slim. According to the latest Florida Atlantic University national index, today’s active rental prices make for a great time to purchase a home.

“We are not where we were in 2012, when nearly any purchase was a sound financial decision,” said Ken Johnson, Ph.D., real estate economist and index authors, in a recent press release. “However, overall, we are now in a situation where aggressive marketing from sellers combined with due diligence and sound negotiation from buyers is creating a housing market that’s more in line with what we’ve seen historically.”

The index, called the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, shows that 15 of the 23 cities studied are set in buy territory, while another five are only marginally in rent territory. This news only further fortifies the positive outcome of the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which showed home prices rising at the highest annual increase since June 2014, roughly 5.8 percent year-over-year. Out of the 23 cities studied in the BH&J index, the only urban places to show discouraging market conditions are Dallas, Denver and Houston.

“The scores for Dallas, Denver and Houston have worried us for some time now,” said Eli Beracha, Ph.D., co-author of the index and assistant professor in the T&S Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU. “The last time we saw scores of this magnitude, housing market crashes soon followed.”

The overall verdict seems to be, if you can afford to buy in, the time to do so is now.

To reach their finding, the FAU index incorporated property appreciation from housing markets around the country. This data is joined by rental, maintenance and alternative investment data streams. Together, these factors can indicate when (and why) housing markets might change direction.

For more information, visit http://business.fau.edu/buyvsrent


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 14th, 2017 11:44 AMLeave a Comment

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March 9th, 2017 8:27 AM

Gen X Homeowners Make Comeback after Coming Up in the Crash

Gen X Homeowners Make Comeback after Coming Up in the Crash

Homeowners in Generation X are making a comeback after coming up in the housing crash, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently released Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study for 2017. More Gen X homeowners—who were most dogged by the downturn—are set to sell this year, having regained enough equity lost in the recession.

“Gen X sellers’ median tenure in their previous home was 10 years, which puts many of them selling a property they bought right around the time home values were on the precipice of declining,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “Fortunately, the much stronger job market and 41 percent cumulative rise in home prices since 2011 have helped a growing number build enough equity to finally sell and trade up to a larger home. More Gen X sellers are expected this year, and are definitely needed to ease the inventory shortages in much of the country.”

Gen X has taken a backseat to millennials in recent years, who have been the primary source of opportunity in housing, Yun says. More activity on the part of Gen X homebuyers and sellers this year opens up new prospects in the market.

According to the survey, the share of Gen X homebuyers grew to 28 percent—the largest percentage since 2014—but is behind the share of millennial homebuyers, 34 percent, and the share of baby boomer homebuyers, 30 percent. The trend toward multigenerational living is going strong, driven by baby boomers housing adult children who either have not moved out or moved back in after moving out.

“The job market is very healthy for young adults with a college education, but repaying student debt and dealing with ever-increasing rents on an entry-level salary are forcing many to either shack up with several roommates or move back home,” says Yun. “This growing trend of delayed household formation is one of the main contributors to the nation’s low homeownership rate.”

Student loan debt is also an issue for Gen Xers and younger boomers, though Gen Xers have the biggest burden, with a student debt load of $30,000—more than millennials’ $25,000 and boomers’ $10,000, according to the survey. Student debt plays a major role in the ability to save for a down payment on a home; in fact, 55 percent of millennial homebuyers, 29 percent of Gen X homebuyers and 9 percent of boomer homebuyers report student debt has stifled their savings.

“Repaying student debt also appears to be slowing some current homeowners who went to graduate school and now can no longer afford to sell and trade up because of their loans,” Yun says. “Nearly a third of homeowners in a NAR survey released last year said student debt is preventing them from selling a home to buy a new one.”

Gen Xers aside, there are shifts occurring in the millennial generation. One significant movement, according to survey, is the presence of children: 49 percent of millennial homebuyers have at least one child, prompting more home-buying activity in the suburbs.

“Millennial buyers, at 85 percent, were the most likely generation to view their home purchase as a good financial investment,” says Yun. “These strong feelings bode well for even greater demand in the future as more millennials settle down and begin raising families. A significant boost in new and existing inventory will go a long way to ensuring the opportunity is there for more of them to reach the market.”

What hasn’t changed, according to the survey, is the need for a real estate professional. Ninety percent of those surveyed worked with a real estate professional to buy or sell a home—92 percent of millennial homebuyers and 90 percent of millennial sellers, and 88 percent of Gen X homebuyers and 89 percent of Gen X sellers.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 9th, 2017 8:27 AMLeave a Comment

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Over Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs
Over Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | Keeping Current Matters
According to a recent survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the 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 recently gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. to be able 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. Over Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | Keeping Current Matters Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range. your costs could be significantly more. 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.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 2nd, 2017 10:10 AMLeave a Comment

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How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home?
How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home? | Keeping Current Matters
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of the data points that has changed dramatically is the median tenure of a family in a home. As the graph below shows, for over twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2008, that average is almost nine years – an increase of almost 50%. How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home? | Keeping Current Matters

Why the dramatic increase?

The reasons for this change are plentiful! The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move. With home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, 93.7% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 79.1% of them having at least 20% equity, according to CoreLogic. With the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago. One other reason for the increase was brought to light during a recent presentation by Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist of NAR, at the Realtor’s Summit in San Diego, CA. Yun pointed to the fact that historically, young homeowners who were either looking for more space to accommodate their growing family or looking for a better school district were more likely to move more often (every 5 years). The homeownership rate among young families, however, has still not caught up to previous generations resulting in the jump we have seen in median tenure!

What does this mean for housing?

Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstances. They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple planning to start a family that currently lives in a one-bedroom condo. These homeowners are ready to make a move. Since the lack of housing inventory is a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on February 28th, 2017 3:35 PMLeave a Comment

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3 Questions to Ask If You Want to Buy Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask If You Want to Buy Your Dream Home | Keeping Current Matters If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market. Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money. For example, a survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.” This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:
  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space
What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in December (the latest data available) was $232,200, up 4.0% from last year. This increase also marks the 58th consecutive month with year-over-year gains. If we look at the numbers year over year, CoreLogic forecasted a rise by 4.7% from December 2016 to December 2017. On a home that costs $250,000 today, that same home will cost you an additional $11,750 if you wait until next year.

What does that mean to you?

Simply put, with prices increasing each month, it might cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, and Fannie Mae have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below: 3 Questions to Ask If You Want to Buy Your Dream Home | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on February 15th, 2017 9:51 PMLeave a Comment

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February 11th, 2017 10:04 PM

Buyers Are Searching For Your House

Buyers Are Searching For Your House | Keeping Current Matters The most recent Pending Homes Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors revealed a slight bump in contracts with an increase of 1.6% in December. This news comes as existing home sales are also forecasted to be on pace for 5.54 million in 2017, a 1.7% increase over 2016, which was the best year for sales in a decade. The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed. According to NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun,
Pending sales bounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels to sign a contract.

So, what’s the problem?

Buyers are searching for existing homes, but supply is not keeping up with their demand! Yun went on to explain,
The main storyline in the early months of 2017 will be if supply can meaningfully increase to keep price growth at a moderate enough level for households to absorb higher borrowing cost. Sales will struggle to build on last year’s strong pace if inventory conditions don’t improve.” (emphasis added)

Bottom Line

Buyers are out in force right now! If you are considering selling your home this year, the early months of 2017 will be your best option. Contact a local professional today to capitalize on current market conditions.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on February 11th, 2017 10:04 PMLeave a Comment

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No Matter What the Groundhog Says, Here are 5 Reasons to Sell Before Spring!

No Matter What the Groundhog Says, Here are 5 Reasons to Sell Before Spring! | Keeping Current Matters
Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which groundhog you listen to today, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season. Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their homes on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.

Here are five reasons to sell now.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people who are out, physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show that the number of buyers out looking for their dream homes in December reached the highest mark since February 2016. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now! Take advantage of the strong buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory just dropped to a 3.6-month supply, which is well under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many 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 four years. Many of these homes will be coming to market soon. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home, while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference). The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait for this other inventory to come to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend to a smoother transaction.

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 4.7% over the next 12 months 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. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by half a percentage point by the end of 2017.

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 back 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 February 2nd, 2017 4:22 PMLeave a Comment

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Thinking of Making an Offer? 4 Tips for Success

Thinking of Making 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 that 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 3.6-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 homes. 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 out 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 professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting! 

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on January 31st, 2017 12:20 PMLeave a Comment

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January 30th, 2017 10:52 AM

How Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power

How Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | Keeping Current Matters
According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 4.09%, which is still very low in comparison to recent history! The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power. Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget. The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments at or about $1,100 a month. How Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | Keeping Current Matters With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $6,250). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on January 30th, 2017 10:52 AMLeave a Comment

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