How Do You Know If You’ve Found Your ‘Perfect Match’?

How Do You Know If You've Found Your 'Perfect Match'? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

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Final 2015 Housing Numbers Now In

Final 2015 Housing Numbers Now In | Keeping Current Matters

Many have questioned the stability of certain sectors of the U.S. Economy, one section in particular is the housing market. Today we would like to share how the experts feel about how we ended 2015 and where they think we are headed in 2016.

How did we do in 2015?

The National Association of Realtors

“Overall, a resilient U.S. economy and very solid job growth in recent years made 2015 a great rebound year for the housing market.

Existing-home sales were at the highest pace (5.26 million) since 2006 (6.48 million) and the Pending Home Sales Index came in at an average of 108.8, the highest annual reading since…you guessed it: 2006 (111.7).”

The National Association of Home Builders

“With the December report on housing starts and permits, preliminary totals for 2015 are now available. Total housing starts at 1.11 million were up 10.8% in 2015 compared to 2014. Single-family starts were up 10.4% to 715,300. All four census regions also experienced increases in single-family starts for 2015.”

What can we expect to start 2016?

Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com Chief Economist

“All indicators point to this spring being the busiest since 2006…

Demand for for-sale housing will grow and will continue to be dominated by older millennials, aged 25 to 34. This demographic has the potential to claim a third of home sales in 2016 and represent 2 million home purchases.”

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What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent

What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent | Keeping Current Matters

You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:

  1. Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
  2. Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
  3. Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

An agent must be concerned first and foremost about you and your family in order to garner that degree of trust. Make sure this is the case.

Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:

  • Bragging about their success
  • Bragging about their company’s success

An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of the house.

However, you first need to know that they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.

Look for someone with the ‘heart of a teacher,’ who comes in prepared well enough to explain the current real estate market and patient enough to take the time to show how it may impact the sale of your home.

Not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.

You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.

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Homes Selling Quickly Across The Country

Homes Selling Quickly Across The Country | Keeping Current Matters

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Existing Home Sales Report, homes were on market for an average of 58 days in December. This was slightly longer than the 54 days in November, but still better than the 66 days experienced in December 2014.

32% of homes across the country were on the market for less than a month!

Colorado, Utah and Delaware led all states as home are selling in 30 days or less on average. The map below was created using results from NAR’s Monthly Realtor Confidence Survey.

Homes Selling Quickly Across The Country | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Buyer demand remains strong. The inventory of homes available for sale remains low. If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you take advantage of current market conditions!

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This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!!

This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!! | Keeping Current Matters

Recently, on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” said Millennials “don’t give a poo-poo about owning a house.” This thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s give a few examples to make this point.

1.) In the recent National Housing Market Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, it was revealed that:

“…data indicates that millennial renters today have as much desire to own a home as the general population of renters. According to NHS data, the substantial majority of renters age 25-34 say that owning makes more sense than renting from a financial perspective. A majority also agree that owning makes more sense than renting from a lifestyle perspective. The vast majority of millennial renters tell us they plan to own a home at some point in the future.”

2.) A recent Merrill Lynch report found that 81% of Millennials agree that “homeownership is an important part of their personal American Dream”

3.) The most recent H.O.M.E. Survey explained that 85% of Americans ages 34 and under believe that “homeownership is a good financial decision”.

Bottom Line

Kevin O’Leary might be a great white shark when it comes to investing in companies. However, he is just a guppy when dealing with the residential real estate market.

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No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen To, You Should Sell Before Spring!

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen to, You Should Sell Before Spring! | Keeping Current Matters

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed 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 home 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 out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that buyers are still out in force looking for their dream home. 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 supply just dropped to 3.9 months, which is well 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 three 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 increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes 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 itself 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 5.3% 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 below 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by three-quarters of a percent by the end of 2016.

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.

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Harvard: Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially

Harvard: Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially | Keeping Current Matters

We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. The personal reasons to own differ for each buyer, with many basic similarities.

Eric Belsky, the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University expanded on the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership in his paper –The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America.

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study: 

1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

2.) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.” 

3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, contact a local professional who can help evaluate your ability to do so.

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