Date Archives: April 2017

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April
28

For all the hurdles to homeownership, one obstacle is stubbornly more insurmountable than the rest: the down payment. Renters are having trouble stacking up the savings to place a down payment on a home, according to the recently released Zillow® Housing Aspirations Report (ZHAR). Seventy percent of renters surveyed in the report say the down payment is more of a hindrance than debt (cited by 50 percent of those surveyed), job security (38.5 percent) and qualifying for a mortgage (53.2 percent)—though those aspects are barriers, as well. Low supply was a roadblock for just 11.2 percent of those surveyed. "With home values close to record highs, it's no surprise renters are concerned about coming up with enough money to buy a home," says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. "Rising rents are also a factor—it's extremely difficult to save when you're paying record-high rents." The irony? The difficulty of coming up with a down payment is keeping most renters from saving money as a homeowner. In 33 of the 35 major metropolitan areas, a monthly mortgage is less expensive than monthly rent. Though renters have low down payment options, the long-term savings gained with 20 percent down—a general standard—often outweigh those earned upfront. "While it is possible to put down as little as 3 percent on a home, the trade-off is a higher interest rate and costly private mortgage insurance—a financial trade-off that may make sense for some buyers," Gudell says. Renters, still, have not lost sight of their homeownership goals. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed are "confident" in their ability to afford a home "someday;" 25 percent have a more definitive timeline, planning to buy a home in the next three to five years. Twenty-two percent of millennial renters, markedly, plan to buy a home in the next one to two years. Only 2 percent of millennial renters plan on never buying a home. Importantly, 66 percent of those surveyed equate owning a home with the American Dream. For more information, please visit www.zillow.com

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

April
20

Buying a new house is an exciting process that marks a new chapter in life. For many people, it's fun to shop around and tour different properties. When you're serious about purchasing a home, there are a few important parts of the property to check before you move in. The Neighborhood You should feel comfortable with the quality of the neighborhood, which will influence the value of your home. Look at the condition of the other homes and check to see if people are loitering at different times of the day. The house should also be in proximity to your job, or nearby schools if you have children. Some individuals who don't have a family may want to purchase a home in a good school district due to the impact that it'll have on the value of the property. Storage Space The storage space that is available in the home influences how much clutter will be left out in the open. Look for plenty of storage space that is available in the bedroom closets or in the kitchen to ensure that you can comfortably fit everything that you own without feeling cramped. Plumbing System Run the faucets to inspect the water pressure and ask the owners if the pipes are insulated. Hire professionals to check if the radiators are working and if the hot water tank needs to be replaced soon. The Roof The roof is one of the more costly features of the home and protects the interior setting from damage due to environmental elements. Hire a professional roofer to determine the lifespan of the roofing material and if it needs any repairs. The tiles or shingles should be secure on the roof deck, and there shouldn't be any leaks present. Sufficient Drainage Many buyers make the mistake of overlooking the drainage on the property, but it can cause issues if not in good shape. Insufficient drainage can lead to severe structural problems in the home. Although it can be easy to fall in love with a house, there are several areas to check before making an offer to ensure that you won't run into problems down the road. By taking the time to inspect each part of the property, you can have peace of mind knowing you're making a good investment. By Kara Masterson

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

April
8

Buying a home for the first time can be complex and daunting, especially in a competitive housing market. A new book, "My First Home: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Ultimate American Dream," aims to help first-time buyers navigate the process. Below are five tips from author Shashank Shekhar, a blogger, media source and radio and television personality: 1. Move Quickly In this kind of market, if you see a home you like, you'd better be prepared to jump on it. Don't hem and haw—make the offer. 2. Understand the Seller's Needs The best deal is not always the most money. The seller might be in escrow on their new home. They need their current residence—the one you're wanting to buy—to close before they can move, so you need to move from contract to closing quickly. Sometimes, it could be the opposite: The seller wants to stay in the home longer than the typical 30-45 days for closing. In that case, offering rent back to the seller might be a clincher. It's your real estate agent's job to find out the real motivations and needs of the seller and craft your offer accordingly. Sometimes it's obvious; other times, it's not. 3. Get Your Loan Officer to Call the Listing Agent When you make an offer, the loan officer should explain to the listing agent that you are well qualified and that the transaction will close on time. Sellers and listing agents feel more comfortable working with loan officers who are proactive in their communication. They also feel more assured that the loan won't fall through. 4. Be Aggressive on the Terms and/or Price In most cases, you need to be ready to be aggressive with terms like quick closing, no appraisal/loan/inspection contingencies, etc. Be sure to discuss these with your loan officer and real estate agent. You need to be qualified to take such risks with your earnest money deposit—or else, don't do it! 5. Hire a Real Estate Agent Work with a real estate agent that understands the market. Agents who truly understand market dynamics and are well connected can get their clients' offers accepted even when it's not the highest. Work with people actively closing real estate transactions—your nephew's girlfriend is only a good option if she's legitimately qualified. Source: Shashank Shekhar, Arcus Lending

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

April
6

Between down payments and closing costs, buying a home is a big financial commitment that may seem out of reach for those who ultimately choose to rent instead. However, in today's market environment of rising rents, the difference in cost between renting and owning is actually narrowing, making this a favorable time to buy a home in most U.S. cities. According to the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, 15 of the 23 cities covered are solidly in buy territory, while another five are only marginally in rent territory. Want to know if buying is a better than renting for you? Ask yourself the following questions: How stable is my employment situation? Lenders will take the length of time you've spent at your current job into consideration, so if you've jumped around a lot or just started a new position, that may work against you. Are you ready to settle down for awhile? Buying a home is an excellent long-term investment, not usually a quick flip. So if you're still testing out different cities or interested in seeing the world, renting may be a better option. What shape is your credit in? Your credit score weighs heavily in securing a favorable mortgage loan. If yours is not in the best shape, it may be better to rent while you work at building a better credit profile. What's your true financial picture? While your salary may seem more than sufficient to make your projected mortgage payments, keep in mind that homeownership involves many different costs, from property taxes to repairs. So run the numbers carefully before deciding to buy. The best way to decide whether to rent or buy is to consult a real estate professional in your area. If you'd like more real estate information, please contact me. Published with permission from RISMedia.

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