Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership!

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $3,143 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $3,436 last year. Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals. For anyone looking to buy a home in 2019, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment! The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state.Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%. Veterans Affairs Loans allow many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down. If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment? The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in Oklahoma looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 85% closer to that dream! Bottom Line Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax…

Is Your House Priced To Sell Immediately (PTSI)?

In today’s real estate market, with more houses coming to market every day and eager buyers searching for their dream home, setting the right price for your house is one of the most important things you can do. According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, home values have risen at over 6% a year over the past two years, but have started to slow to 4.4% over the last 12 months. By this time next year, CoreLogic predicts that home values will be 4.6% higher. With prices slowing from their previous pace, homeowners must realize that pricing their homes a little OVER market value to leave room for negotiation will actually dramatically decrease the number of buyers who will see their listing! (see the chart below)Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price their house so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing so, the seller will not be negotiating with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers competing with each other over the house. The key to selling your house in 2019 is making sure your house is Priced To Sell Immediately (PTSI)! That way, your home will be seen by the most buyers and will sell at a great price before more competition comes to market! Bottom Line If you are debating listing your house for sale, let’s get together to discuss how to price your home appropriately for our area and maximize your exposure…

Do 46 Million Millennials Know They Are Mortgage Ready?

Many have written about the millennial generation and whether or not they, as a whole, believe in homeownership as part of attaining the American Dream. Millennials have taken longer to obtain traditional milestones than the generations before them, such as getting married, having kids, and buying a home. However, that does not mean that they do not still aspire to achieve those things. History shows that people tend to buy their first home around age 30. Nearly 5 million millennials will turn 30 in the next two years. This will continue to fuel demand for housing. This is also one of the many reasons why the millennial homeownership rate has continued to grow over the past few years. 48.4% of Americans between the ages of 30-34 now own a home. There are over 46 million millennials (33% of the generation) who are considered “Mortgage Ready”, meaning they meet the qualifications to be approved for a mortgage today! a FICO Score ≥ 620 a Back-End Debt to Income Ratio ≤ 25% no Foreclosures or Bankruptcies in the last 7 years no severe delinquencies in 1 year Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, commented on the findings of the report, “We now know there are millions of buyers with the income & credit necessary to qualify to buy a home. The biggest question is: Do they know it? …Unfortunately, many renters don’t investigate homeownership simply because they don’t believe it’s an option.” The good news is that more and more millennials…

What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A House?

There are many misconceptions about the credit score needed to buy a house. Recently, it was reported that 24% of renters believe they need a 780-800 credit score to be considered for a mortgage. The reality is they are misinformed! Only 25% of the Americans have a FICO® Score between 740 and 800. Here is the breakdown according to Experian: 16% Very Poor (300-579) 18% Fair (580-669) 21% Good (670-739) 25% Very Good (740-799) 20% Exceptional (800-850) Randy Hopper, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending for Navy Federal Credit Union said, “Just because you have a low credit score doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a home. There are a lot of options out there for consumers with low FICO® scores,” There are many programs available with low or no credit score requirement. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) now requires a minimum FICO® score of 580 if you want to qualify for the low down payment advantage. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not set a minimum credit score requirement, but most lenders require a score of at least 640. Veterans Affairs (VA) loans have no credit score requirement. As you can see, none of them are above 700! It is true that the average FICO® score for all closed loans in January was 726, but there are plenty of people taking advantage of the low credit score requirements. Here is the average FICO® Score of closed FHA Loans since April 2012 according to Ellie Mae:As you can see, that…

Want To Increase Your Family’s Wealth? Here’s How!

Everyone should realize that unless you are living somewhere rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. Buying your own home provides you with a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to use your monthly housing costs to increase your family’s wealth. Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are paying off a portion of the debt that you took on to purchase your home. Therefore, you own a little bit more of your home every month in the form of home equity. As your home’s value increases, you also gain home equity. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists. They are asked to project how residential home prices will appreciate over the next five years for their Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES). The latest data from their Q1 2019 Survey revealed that home prices are expected to round out the year 4.3% higher than they were in January. For the next 5 years, home values will appreciate by an average of 3.21% a year. This is great news for homeowners! For example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January of this year. Simply through their home appreciating in value, those homeowners can build their home equity by over $40,000 over the next five years. Let’s look at the potential equity gained over the same period of time at some higher price points: In many cases, home equity is a large portion of a family’s overall net…

Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out! Buy A Home This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: Interest Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have dropped to 4.41% from near 5% in 2018. Take advantage of more inventory coming to market in the spring to find your dream home! Buying now will allow you to start earning equity today!

Homeownership is a Cornerstone of the American Dream

“The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.” The famous quote attributed to Mark Twain can apply to homeownership in the United States today. During the housing bubble of the last decade, the homeownership rate soared to over sixty-nine percent. After the crash, that percentage continued to fall for the next ten years. That led to speculation that homeownership was no longer seen as a major component of the American Dream. That belief became so widespread that the term “renters’ society” began to be used by some to define American consumers. However, the latest report by the Census Bureau on homeownership shows that over the last two years, the percentage of homeowners has increased in each of the last eight quarters. Going forward… It appears the homeownership rate will continue to increase. The 2019 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile recently released by the National Association of Realtors revealed that 84% of non-owners want to own a home in the future. That percentage increased from 73% earlier last year. Bottom Line In the United States, the concept of homeownership as part of the American Dream is very much alive and well.

What’s Going On with Bidding Wars?

In a strong seller’s market, like the one we have experienced over the past few years, bidding wars are common and expected. This makes sense! A seller’s market is defined as a market in which the inventory of homes for sale cannot satisfy the number of buyers who want to purchase a home. According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, bidding wars occur when two or more parties repeatedly outbid each other as they compete to purchase something- in this case, a home. In some areas of the country, first-time buyers have been met with fierce competition throughout their experience. Some have been out-bid multiple times before finally winning a bid on a home to call their own. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is currently a 3.7-month supply of homes for sale. With the current number of houses listed for sale and the level of demand from buyers, this means it would take 3.7 months for all the homes listed to sell if no additional listings came to market. Any supply number under a 6-month supply is considered a seller’s market. According to NAR, the housing market hasn’t had a 6-month supply of homes for sale since August 2012. Good News for Buyers A recent report shows that the percentage of houses sold including a bidding war before settling on a final price decreased from 53% in January of 2018 to 13% this year. One reason for the decline is…

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to buy a home! Here are four reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting. 1. Prices Will Continue to Rise CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next year. 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 fixed rate mortgage came in at 4.41% last week. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by 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 Some renters 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 have equity in your home that you…

Why an Economic Slowdown Will NOT Crush Real Estate this Time

Last week, the National Association for Business Economics released their February 2019 Economic Policy Survey. The survey revealed that a majority of the panel believe an economic slowdown is in the near future: “While only 10% of panelists expect a recession in 2019, 42% say a recession will happen in 2020, and 25% expect one in 2021.” Their findings coincide with three previous surveys calling for a slowdown sometime in the next two years: The Pulsenomics Survey of Market Analysts The Wall Street Journal Survey of Economists The Duke University Survey of American CFOs That raises the question: Will the real estate market be impacted like it was during the last recession? A recession does not equal a housing crisis. According to the dictionary definition, a recession is: “A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.” During the last recession, prices fell dramatically because the housing collapse caused the recession. However, if we look at the previous four recessions, we can see that home values weren’t negatively impacted: January 1980 to July 1980: Home values rose 4.5% July 1981 to November 1982: Home values rose 1.9% July 1990 to March 1991: Home values fell less than 1% March 2001 to November 2001: Home values rose 4.8% Most experts agree with Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist, who recently explained: “There’s no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for…