by Nikki Buckelew on April 30, 2015 in For Buyers, For Sellers, Senior Market
We are pleased to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger for today’s post. Nikki has extensive experience working with seniors and is the Founder & CEO of the Senior Real Estate Institute. Enjoy! – The KCM Crew
If you have not bought or sold a home in a few years (or maybe decades) it is likely that there are more than a few new trends in real estate that you will encounter as you begin to interview real estate agents.
One particular trend now common among many real estate brokerage firms is called the practice of “going paperless.” This can be a bit scary for some people, especially senior adults who are not accustomed to using computers in their personal or professional lives.
If you are one of the many with reservations about the paperless process, you will want to talk with your agent about any concerns or questions you have. In this article we have provided some basic information about the paperless process and some key questions to ask your real estate agent.
How your agent handles your questions may just help you determine if he or she is the right agent for you!
Going paperless simply means that instead of printing out every contract, form or disclosure for your signature, you may be asked to sign certain documents electronically.
This could mean:
While some have experienced this type of technology before and are perfectly willing and comfortable using it, others are not. Frankly, the first time I was asked to sign a real estate document electronically via email I was a bit perplexed and required some guidance.
If you have not been exposed to this type of technology, it can seem a little overwhelming, especially if introduced to it in the midst all of the other things going on during a move. This is why it’s important to educate yourself on the front end, mitigating potential delays, avoiding unnecessary frustration, and preventing surprises down the road.
Good agents know that the best method (and frequency) of communication is the one that best serves the client, so getting this agreed upon early in the relationship is paramount — for both you and the agent.
If you want to communicate strictly by phone, be sure that you and your agent agree on the protocols for leaving and returning messages, hours of availability, and which phone numbers are best for certain times of day. Similar discussion around email, text messaging, and other modes of communication should be had as well, if that is your desired method of information delivery.
The goal here is to find out your options. Many agents are still in the conversion process of going paperless and they are more than willing to use “more conventional” methods of getting signatures.
Some may be required, however, by their respective brokerage firms to utilize only paperless systems. If this is the case, ask the agent to show you examples of the types of things that may be asked of you during the course of working together.
If after a quick tutorial, you aren’t comfortable with the electronic signature process, it’s “OK” to choose an agent who can better accommodate your preferences.
Even if you are completely prepared to enter the paperless world with no reservations whatsoever, it can only be done if you have the right equipment. Before agreeing to a paperless process, ask the agent to do a “test run” using a non-official/non-binding document on your system to insure its functionality.
My dad (self described “non-techy” and proud of it), has a computer, printer, smart phone, email address, and wifi. He does not, however, have the faintest idea how they work or how to pull up attachments in his email.
When he decided to purchase a new home this past year using a reverse mortgage, the lender was located out of state, which meant everything was done via email — electronically. Needless to say, I was dad’s tech support in this situation. If you do not have a trusted advisor who can help you with troubleshooting potential technology issues, make sure your agent or their staff is capable, patient, and willing to personally walking you through the steps.
Options are the key. While some agents are extremely flexible in how they deliver their services, others may be married to a very specific process or style. Insure the agent you are considering is willing and able to do what is right for you, based on your comfort level, knowledge, and ability.
It goes without saying that it is critical to have the conversation with your real estate professional about their paperless processes and communication methods.
Not only will doing so put your mind at ease regarding unfamiliar territory, but it may also provide your agent with necessary information so he or she can serve you more effectively.
by The KCM Crew on April 20, 2015 in For Buyers, For Sellers
The April 2015 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook from Freddie Mac revealed that they are optimistic about the real estate market in 2015. As a matter of fact, the sub-title of the report was “Great Expectations”.
What made Freddie Mac so optimistic? Here are a few highlights from the report:
“For the remainder of the year we should see a resumption of solid economic growth and acceleration in housing activity. Notwithstanding a disappointing March jobs report the acceleration is already underway.”“With spring upon us, housing markets are poised to accelerate and we expect the best year for home sales since 2007. Despite harsh winter weather to start the year, home sales through February are only off from the 2013 pace by 7,000 sales... Pending home sales were up 3.1 percent in February to the highest level since June 2013. This marked the fourth consecutive month for rising pending home sales showing positive momentum in general for the housing market.”
“For the remainder of the year we should see a resumption of solid economic growth and acceleration in housing activity. Notwithstanding a disappointing March jobs report the acceleration is already underway.”
“With spring upon us, housing markets are poised to accelerate and we expect the best year for home sales since 2007. Despite harsh winter weather to start the year, home sales through February are only off from the 2013 pace by 7,000 sales... Pending home sales were up 3.1 percent in February to the highest level since June 2013. This marked the fourth consecutive month for rising pending home sales showing positive momentum in general for the housing market.”
“By the end of the spring home buying season in June, we should be well above the pace of home sales for any year since 2007.”“We are as optimistic about trends in housing markets moving forward as we have ever been since the depths of the Great Recession.”
“By the end of the spring home buying season in June, we should be well above the pace of home sales for any year since 2007.”
“We are as optimistic about trends in housing markets moving forward as we have ever been since the depths of the Great Recession.”
“Due to strong growth, we are expecting house prices to increase 4.0 percent in 2015.”
On available supply:
“With low mortgage rates, improving labor markets, and rising demand, one key issue for housing over the next two years will be the lack of supply of for-sale and for-rent homes.”“Many metro areas that have seen robust job growth and population increases are facing shortages of available for-sale inventory.”
“With low mortgage rates, improving labor markets, and rising demand, one key issue for housing over the next two years will be the lack of supply of for-sale and for-rent homes.”
“Many metro areas that have seen robust job growth and population increases are facing shortages of available for-sale inventory.”
“However, by the end of the year long-term interest rates should only increase modestly, ending the year at about 4.3 percent for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.”
Note: Freddie Mac worded this as being not that crucial. However, a 4.3% mortgage rate is about a .75 increase over current rates.
Things are looking good for the real estate market. If you are thinking of selling, contact an agent to discuss how this applies to your neighborhood.
by The KCM Crew on April 16, 2015 in First Time Homebuyers, For Buyers
Everyone knows the social advantages of home ownership. However, some question the financial benefits of owning a home. Three recent studies shed some light on the issue.
RealtyTrac recently released a report comparing home price appreciation to wage growth over the last two years. The study revealed that home price appreciation has outpaced wage growth in 76% of U.S. housing markets during that time period. By how much? Here is a graph showing their findings:
And we all know the importance of home appreciation in determining the net wealth of most American families. Merrill Lynch just issued a report covering the issue. Their findings are shown here:
It obviously makes financial sense to be a homeowner.
The survey company Pulsenomics just issued their findings on the cost of owning versus the cost of renting. They compared historical averages to the cost you can expect to pay today.
Posted: 23 Apr 2015 04:00 AM PDT
"After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March. The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years."
Posted: 09 Apr 2015 04:00 AM PDT
"A number of factors contributed to a loosening of credit in March: Freddie Mac's introduction of their 97 LTV program (Fannie Mae's was implemented in December) [and the] additional loosening of parameters on jumbo loan programs… Although credit remains tight by historical standards, this increase in availability, coupled with low rates and job market strength, should lead to stronger home purchase activity this spring."
Posted: 15 Apr 2015 04:00 AM PDT
“It’s kind of a seesaw right now between supply and demand. One of the reasons for fewer sales is not so much a lack of demand but a lack of supply, especially in the price range the majority of buyers were looking for.”
“Total sales are still running below expectations for the year. Don't blame winter weather, though. Blame the lack of supply.”
“Inventory is still very low (down 0.5% year-over-year in February). This will be important to watch over the next month at the start of the spring buying season.”
“Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices to near unsuitable levels. Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity.”
“The National Housing Trend Report shows that inventory has decreased 10.9 percent year over year.”
“Tight inventory is a main reason the ball is still in the sellers' court.”
“We’re a bit low on the supply-side which could force prices up for buyers, further hammering home that we’re in a seller’s market.”
by The KCM Crew on March 30, 2015 in For Sellers
As the temperature rises, buyers are coming out ready to purchase their dream home. Inventory is still below historic numbers and demand is strong. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity for you and your family.
Here are five reasons to list your home now.
Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last 12 months which includes last spring’s buyers’ market. 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.
Housing supply just dropped to 4.6 months, which is under the 6 months’ supply that is 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 two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.
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 continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.
One of the biggest challenges of the housing market in recent times has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.
If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19.3% from now to 2019. 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 under 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase by about three quarters of a percent by the end of 2015.
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.
Posted: 24 Mar 2015 04:00 AM PDT
Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them and their family (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into a super hero when they are negotiating for you and your family with the buyer.