Two Graphs That Scream List Your House Today

Two Graphs That Scream You Should List Your House Today! | Keeping Current Matters

The spring and summer months have always been known as a very popular time for homebuyers to start the search for their dream home. This year is no different!

We all learned in school that when selling anything, you will get the most money if the demand for that item is high and the inventory of that item is low. It is the well-known Theory of Supply & Demand.

If you are thinking of selling your home, here are two graphs that strongly suggest that the time is now. Here is why…

DEMAND

According to research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer activity this year has far outpaced the same months in 2014. Purchasers who are ready, willing and able to buy are in the market at great numbers.

Foot Traffic | Keeping Current Matters

According to NAR, “Foot Traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.”

SUPPLY

The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from NAR revealed that the current supply of housing inventory is at a 5.1 month supply, which remains below the 6-months necessary for a normal market.

Inventory of Homes for Sale | Simplifying The Market

Buyer demand is far outpacing the supply of homes available for sale.

Bottom Line

Listing your house for sale when demand is high and supply is low will guarantee the offers made will truly reflect the true value of your property.

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Sellers Dilemma: OTM, FSBO or List Again?

Sellers Dilemma: OTM, FSBO or List Again? | Keeping Current Matters

At the end of June, in every region of the country, hundreds of homeowners have a tough decision to make. The ‘listing for sale agreement’ on their house is about to expire and they now must decide to either take their house off the market (OTM), For Sale by Owner (FSBO) or list it again with the same agent or a different agent.

Let’s assume you or someone you know is in this situation and take a closer look at each possibility:

Taking Your Home off the Market

In all probability, after putting your house on the market and seeing it not sell, you’re going to be upset. You may be thinking that no one in the marketplace thought the house was worthy of the sales price.

Because you are upset, you may start to rationalize that selling wasn’t that important after all and say,

“Well, we didn’t really want to sell the house anyway. This idea of making a move right now probably doesn’t make sense.”

Don’t rationalize your dreams away. Instead, consider the reasons you decided to sell in the first place. Ask your family this simple question:

“What made us originally put our home up for sale?”

If that reason made sense a few months ago when you originally listed the house, chances are it still makes sense now. Don’t give up on what your family hoped to accomplish or on goals your family hoped to attain.

Just because the house didn’t sell during the last listing contract doesn’t mean the house will never sell or that it shouldn’t be sold.

Re-Listing with your Existing Agent

For whatever reason, your house did not sell. Perhaps you now realize how difficult selling a house may be or that the listing price was too high, or perhaps you’re now acknowledging that you didn’t exactly listen to your agent’s advice.

If that is the case, you may want to give your existing agent a second chance. That’s a perfectly okay thing to do.

However, if your agent didn’t perform to the standard they promised when they listed your home you may want to either FSBO or try a different agent.

For Sale by Owner

You may now believe that listing your house with an agent is useless because your original agent didn’t accomplish the goal of selling the house. Trying to sell the house on your own this time may be alluring. You may think you will be in control and save on the commission.

But, is that true? Will you be able to negotiate each of the elements that make up a real estate transaction? Are you capable of putting together a comprehensive marketing plan? Do people who FSBO actually ‘net’ more money?

If you are thinking about FSBOing, take the time to first read: 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner.

List with a New Agent

After failing to sell your home, you may no longer trust your agent or what they say. However, don’t paint all real estate professionals with that same brush. Have you ever gotten a bad haircut before? Of course! Did you stop getting your hair cut or did you simply change hair stylists?

There is good and bad in every profession—good and bad hair stylists, agents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, police officers, etc. And just because there are good and bad in every line of work doesn’t mean you don’t call on others for the products and services you need. You still get your hair cut, see a doctor, talk to a lawyer, send your kids to school, etc.

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact a local real estate professional and discuss the possibilities.

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Buy vs Rent: What Really Creates Family Wealth?

Buy vs Rent: What Really Creates Family Wealth? | Keeping Current Matters

There has been recent press regarding whether or not it makes better financial sense to rent rather than buy in today’s housing market. As an example, the recently released June Summary of the BH&J Buy vs. Rent Index reported:

“…as of the end of the first quarter of 2015, the housing market in the U.S. and all cities in the index are trending either closer to renting being the superior option or strictly favoring renting over purchasing a home.”

The summary goes on to explain that:

“The index conducts a “horse race” comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.” (emphasis added)

Though the math may be correct, we are not as sure of the conclusion. Even if you check the methodology offered by the BH&J report itself, you will find that they realize:

“…any extra savings from renting might be spent on non-wealth enhancing goods resulting in any benefits from renting versus owning disappearing in a cloud of consumption spending rather than savings.”

The Concept of ‘Forced Savings’ and Wealth Accumulation

Many believe the wealth accumulation of homeowners is tied into the concept of “forced savings”. The New York Times late last year published an editorial entitled, Homeownership and Wealth Creation, which discussed this concept. The article explained:

“Homeownership requires potential buyers to save for a down payment, and forces them to continue to save by paying down a portion of the mortgage principal each month.”

“Even in instances where renters have excess cash, saving a substantial amount is difficult without a near-term goal, like a down payment. It is also difficult to systematically invest each month in stocks, bonds or other assets without being compelled to do so.”

Many of the points that were made in the article are on track with the research done by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which agrees that “forced savings” is a major advantage of homeownership. In a paper, The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America, they concluded:

“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.”

The Truth is in the Historical Data

Edwards Deming once said: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”

Let’s look at the data on this subject. The Federal Reserve has conducted a study titled: Survey of Consumer Finances. The study found that the average net worth of a homeowner ($194,500) is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($5,400).

Bottom Line

The New York Times editorial articulated it best:

“Homeownership long has been central to Americans’ ability to amass wealth; even with the substantial decline in wealth after the housing bust, the net worth of homeowners over time has significantly outpaced that of renters, who tend as a group to accumulate little if any wealth…As a means to building wealth, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.”

If you are a renter who is considering making a purchase, sit with a local real estate professional who can explain the benefits of signing a contract to purchase over renewing your lease!

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4 Reasons to Buy NOW!

4 Reasons to Buy NOW! | Keeping Current Matters

Summer is here! The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market! Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.8% (most pessimistic) and 26.7% (most optimistic).

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 started to inch up, most experts predict that they will begin to rise even more over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up approximately three quarters of a percentage point over the next 12 months.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from 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.”

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 whether 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 it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

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.

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How Will Mortgage Rate Hikes Impact Home Sales?

How Will Mortgage Rate Hikes Impact Home Sales? | Keeping Current Matters

When mortgage interest rates begin to climb, experts immediately begin to discuss home affordability indexes. They calculate how an increase in rates will slow home purchases as more and more potential buyers are priced out of the market. Today, with home prices also increasing, many believe that home sales may slow down rather dramatically.

This may prove to be true in the long term. However, in the short term, increasing mortgage rates may have the opposite effect. Many buyers who have been sitting on the fence may realize that delaying their purchase no longer makes sense.

Last week, in a CNBC article, Matt Weaver of Florida-based PMAC Lending explained the impact an increase in rates will have:

“These increases really help the home-buying market. It really gets buyers to really understand that ‘wait a minute, rates are at an all-time low, let’s react now, let’s react before they go higher’.”

As an example, we can look to 2013 when interest rates spiked up by a full percentage point over a two month period. The result is that many buyers rushed to the market on the fear that rates would continue to climb. It didn’t necessarily increase the number of sales that year dramatically.

However, it did seem to move some sales up in the year as evidenced by the chart below:

Home Sales & Impact of Mortgage Rate Spike | Keeping Current Matters

We can see that the sales cycle did not follow a more normal cycle (2014) with more sales being pushed into July and August and slightly less sales in September and August.

Bottom Line

If you are waiting to put your house on the market, think twice. Now may be the perfect time to sell as buyer competition will continue to heat up as more purchasers jump into the market. You may also save a pretty penny on the monthly mortgage payment of your next home by selling now before rates shoot up.

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Mortgage Rates Just Jumped Over 4%. Now What?

Mortgage Rates Just Jumped Over 4%. Now What? | Keeping Current Matters

Last week, mortgage interest rates jumped over the 4% mark for the first time this year according to Freddie Mac’s Mortgage Market Survey.

In an article in Housing Wire, a Bankrate analyst explained:

“Mortgage rates rocketed higher following a stronger than expected monthly employment report. The good news on the job front further solidifies the notion that the Federal Reserve will likely begin raising interest rates soon, perhaps in the third quarter of this year.”

This is the same type of commentary we heard back in the spring of 2013 when the talk of the Fed possibly raising rates caused mortgage interest rates to surge by a full percentage point from the end of April through the end of June of that year.

Will We See that Same Surge in 2015?

No one knows for sure. However, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors are each calling for rates to continue their upswing over the next six quarters.

Here is a chart comparing 2013 to this year:

Mortgage Rate Spike Comparison | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Though no one can definitely say where rates will be six months from now, most experts believe they will be higher. If you are thinking of buying your first home or are considering a move up to the house of your family’s dreams, now may be the best time to do it.

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5 Demands You Should Make on Your Listing Agent

5 Demands You Should Make on Your Listing Agent | Keeping Current MattersAre you thinking of selling your house? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct?

Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge; just like a great doctor or great accountant.

You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.

Here are the top 5 demands to make of your Real Estate Agent when selling your house:

1. Tell the truth about the price

Too many agents just take the listing at any price and then try to the ‘work the seller’ for a price correction later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price they are suggesting. Make them show you their plan to sell the house at that price – TWICE! Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to a buyer and then to the bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. A survey showed that there was a challenge with the appraisal on 24% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the listing.

2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing

You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.

This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work.

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

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.

4. Help with the relocation

If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

5. Get the house SOLD!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.

You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!

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