The Housing Market is Doing Just Fine

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There are some that think that housing affordability is a challenge. Historically, that’s not true. Others think that home prices are approaching bubble values. If we look back over the last sixteen years, that is also not the case. As a matter of fact, the numbers show that the U.S. residential real estate market is doing just fine.

Here are two articles and excerpts that make this point:

The Housing Market Is Finally Starting to Look Healthy – The NY Times

It has been an excruciatingly long time coming, but the housing sector in the United States is finally getting healthy. Thank millennials and thank homebuilders who are starting to produce more of the starter houses young people demand.”

Why the U.S. Housing Market Is Good and Getting Even Better – The Street

“Interest rates are so low now that a family can buy the median-priced U.S. home on income of less than $45,000 a year — about $11,000 less than the median household income. And half of America’s houses are cheaper than that.”

There are those worried that all this positive talk resembles what was being said in 2004 and 2005. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains the difference very simply but effectively:

“The havoc during the last cycle was the result of building too many homes and of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.” (emphasis added)

What Does Home Mean to You?

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No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own home are, more often than not, the more powerful or compelling ones.

Every year, The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University conducts a survey to find driving factors behind why Americans decide to buy a home.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by participants of the survey were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with the means for comfort and security is the number two reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list.

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building, or do you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

5 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Pro

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Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions, are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible) to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,700 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional? Please don’t hesitate to call me at 407-925-7721.

Homeownership Finally Makes Political Debate

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I steer clear of talking politics and religion with even the best of friends. But, I think this is a factual and informative perspective.

Finally, the issue of homeownership has become a platform talking point in this year’s presidential debate. Yesterday, one of the candidates running for President spoke out about the importance of homeownership in America. One candidate remarked:

“Homeownership is about more than just owning a home. It is about putting roots down in a community with better schools, safer streets and good jobs. And it is about building wealth, as homeowners build equity in their home one mortgage payment at a time…We must make sure that everyone has a fair shot at homeownership.”

This post isn’t political!

It doesn’t matter who said it first. It doesn’t matter the political party. What matters is that EVERY candidate for our country’s highest office realizes the important role homeownership plays in the development of our nation. The fact that homeownership was finally brought to the forefront of the debate is great news – no matter which way you lean politically.

A Million+ Boomerang Buyers about to Enter Market‏

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TransUnion recently released the results of a new study titled The Bubble, the Burst and Now – What Happened to the Consumer? The study revealed that 1.5 million homeowners that were negatively impacted by the housing crisis could re-enter the housing market in the next three years. TransUnion defined “negatively impacted” as…

“…those who were 60+ days past due on a mortgage loan, lost their mortgage through foreclosure, short sale or other non-satisfactory closure, or had a mortgage loan modification between the Bubble and Burst.”

Other interesting findings in the study:

  • During the mortgage bubble in 2006, 78 million consumers, or 43% of credit-active consumers in the U.S., had a mortgage
  • More than 8% of these consumers were “impacted”
  • 5 Million consumers will again be eligible for a mortgage in the next four years

Here are the number of consumers who will meet mortgage guidelines over the next four years.

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Bottom Line

If you are a family that experienced the impact of the last housing crisis, now may be the right time to again buy your own home.

The Rich Are Different

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The Changing Luxury Market

I am a specialist in luxury homes and marketing luxury goods to clients throughout the world. This current economic climate though has changed my opinion of the definition of luxury. Times change, people change and luxury has changed.

Luxury clients were once an elite group of individuals who were fairly obvious to even the most amateur of sales executives. But luxury elite status has dimmed somewhat as firstly, many people are now able to afford luxury goods and secondly, many luxury clients remain cautious after the real estate and financial meltdown.

Today’s luxury homeowner may look wealthy (expensive diamonds, cars, art) but underneath their demeanor is a homeowner who is living month to month and wondering how to maintain appearances. It’s a fragile world and frankly, they are ill prepared.

Today’s TRUE luxury client often looks different and buys based on knowledge and experience. The smart ones are people who have not fallen prey to every excess on the market, purchased a bucket load of baubles and continue to drive the latest most expensive cars. I am finding many luxury clients asking me to assist them as they work through a financial downturn they never anticipated or saved for.

It’s a scary world. Our next election means a great deal for our economy. As I have said in the past, home sales equal a strong economy.

Today’s luxury client could mean dreadlocks and diamonds. In other words – today’s luxury is not the obvious…in fact, it’s the reverse.

Today’s luxury buyer has invested well and with discretion. They may may drive a Ford and not have a multi-million dollar medieval castle. They wear jeans and Nikes. The high-end buyer is unique and totally in tune with the market.

80% of today’s luxury buyers are tech savvy and researches every purchase. And most importantly, today’s luxury customer rarely buys on impulse. Long term investments are the rule with multiple properties instead of one show home. It’s actually an interesting turn of events.

I am reminded of my grandmother who came from great wealth but lived her later years in a charming bungalow of about 970 square feet. She mowed her own yard in knee highs and pearls. She drank her tea on fine china in a tiny kitchen. That’s somewhat representative of today’s luxury.

They luxury buyers are different, they act different and they have a certain rule for living that is going to redefine the future. They may not have a million dollar home but their home will be chic and charming. Gaudy is out and tasteful and charming is in. Small is the new big. This is going to be amazing to watch the old world appeal of outlandish display transformed by a new era of discrete buyers.

To quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The rich are different…”