Top 4 Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top 4 Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Top 4 Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most “Return On Investment” (ROI).
  • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete remodel of a kitchen are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.

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Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong If They’re Telling You Not to Buy

Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong if They're Telling You Not to Buy | Simplifying The Market

The current narrative is that home prices have risen so much so that it is no longer a smart idea to purchase a home. Your family and friends might suggest that buying a home right now (whether a first-time home or a move-up home) makes absolutely no sense from an affordability standpoint. They are wrong!

Homes are more affordable right now than at almost any time in our country’s history except for the foreclosure years (2009-2015) when homes sold at major discounts. As an example, below is a graph from the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor showing the percentage of median income needed to buy a medium-priced home in the country today in comparison to prior to the housing bubble and bust.

Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong if They're Telling You Not to Buy | Simplifying The Market

As we can see, the percentage necessary is less now than in those time periods.

The Mortgage Monitor also explains that home affordability is better today than it was in the late 1990s in 47 of 50 states.

Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong if They're Telling You Not to Buy | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Your friends and family have your best interests at heart. However, when it comes to buying your first home or selling your current house to buy the home of your dreams, let’s get together to discuss what your best move is, now.

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Feeling ‘Stuck in Place’? You Aren’t Alone… And There’s Hope!

Feeling ‘Stuck in Place’? You Aren’t Alone… And There’s Hope! | Simplifying The Market

Whether you are a renter who is searching for your dream home or a homeowner who feels like your only option is to renovate, you have at least one thing in common: feeling stuck in place.

According to data from the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the average amount of time that a family stays in their home remained at 10 years in 2017. This mark ties the highest marks set in 2014 and 2016. Back in 1985, when data was first collected on this subject, homeowners stayed in their homes for an average of only 5 years.

There are many reasons why homeowners have decided to stay and not to sell. A recent Wall Street Journal article had this to say,

“Americans aren’t moving in part because inventory levels have fallen near multidecade lows and home prices have risen to records. Many homeowners are choosing to stay and renovate, in turn making it more difficult for renters to enter the market.” 

Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist for CoreLogic, equated the lack of inventory to “not having enough oil in your car and your gears slowly [coming] to a grind.”

Historically, a normal market (in which prices increase at the rate of inflation) requires a 6-7 month supply of inventory. There hasn’t been that much supply since August of 2012! Over the course of the last 12 months, inventory has hovered between a 3.5 to 4.4-month supply, meaning that prices have increased and buyers are still out in force!

Challenges in the new-home construction market have “helped create a bottleneck in the market in which owners of starter homes aren’t trading up to newly built homes, which tend to be pricier, in turn creating a squeeze for millennial renters looking to get into the market.”

“Economists said baby boomers also aren’t in a hurry to trade in the dream homes they moved into in middle age for condominiums or senior living communities because many are staying healthy longer or want to remain near their children.”

So, what can you do if you feel stuck & want to move on?

Don’t give up! If you are looking to move-up to an existing luxury home, there are deals to be had in the higher-priced markets. Demand is strong in the starter and trade-up home markets which means that your house will sell quickly. Let’s work together to build in contingencies that allow you more time to find your dream home; the right buyer will wait.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up… Should I Wait to Buy?

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up… Should I Wait to Buy? | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeksFreddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, is calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 3.5%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up… Should I Wait to Buy? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

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5 Tips For a Smooth Home Loan Experience

Five tips for closing your home loan smoothly

Everyone hopes for a smooth home loan experience. To give yourself the best chance of closing your next home loan as expected, consider the following tips even before you start house hunting.

Find an experienced home mortgage professional.
The right home mortgage professional will do much more than take your loan application. Look for someone who will help you understand mortgages, the loan process, and how to make it all work for you. Ask friends and family for referrals and select a professional who will guide you, instruct you, and keep you updated from your first meeting through handing you your keys.

Make sure you have enough money available for a down payment and closing costs.
Your home mortgage professional can give you an estimate of the loan amount you’ll qualify for as well as the amount you would have to pay at closing. Closing costs vary based on a number of factors, but your mortgage professional can give you an idea of how much you should set aside to be safe. Be sure the funds you set aside for your down payment and closing costs are readily available, though off limits for spending. If you’re keeping the funds in an account, be sure to have them in that account a few months before you apply for your loan.

Gather the documents you’ll need.
Ask your home mortgage professional for a list of required documents. You can count on needing bank account statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and alimony and child support payment information, if applicable. For your convenience, some home mortgage professionals may, with your consent, be able to request account statements directly from your financial institutions.

Plan to take the day off for the inspection and the closing.
Your new home’s inspection will be scheduled to take only an hour or two, and your closing, even less. However, unexpected problems can arise on these days, and you’ll want to be able to address the issues promptly, without worrying about your other responsibilities, Also, the inspection and the closing involve other important tasks you’ll want to leave time for.

Attending the inspection of your new home is optional. However, it’s an opportunity to see the house with an expert who will show you everything that could potentially cause you problems. Afterward, you will want to act quickly to negotiate with the seller about any repairs that are needed. The sooner you can agree with the seller to either fix the problems or reduce the purchase price, the better your chance of keeping the closing on track.On closing day, it’s smart to walk through the new house before the closing. This allows you to make sure the seller has left the house in good condition, and with all the inclusions you expected.

Prepare for everything you’ll need to take to the closing.
When you finally make it to the day of your closing, you’ll want to be sure you have everything you need. Ask your home mortgage professional for a list of requirements even before you apply for your loan. Count on needing a photo ID, a cashier’s or certified check for your down payment and closing costs (neither personal checks nor cash are accepted), and proof of homeowners insurance. The closing agent will need to verify that the homeowners insurance policy is already paid for and in effect, so you’ll need to secure the policy several days before closing day.

With the help of your home mortgage professional, and some advance preparation, you can smooth the path to the home of your dreams.