Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out

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Some Highlights:

  • The “Cost of Waiting to Buy” is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices and interest rates were to increase over a period of time.
  • Freddie Mac predicts that interest rates will increase to 4.8% by this time next year, while home prices are predicted to appreciate by 4.8% according to CoreLogic.
  • Waiting until next year to buy could cost you thousands of dollars a year for the life of your mortgage!

 

Mortgage Interest Rates Went Up Again… Should I Wait to Buy?

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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 they may no longer be able to get a rate below 4%. 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 Went Up Again… Should I Wait to Buy? | MyKCM

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.

Mortgage Rates Impact on 2017 Home Values

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There is no doubt that historically low mortgage interest rates were a major impetus to housing recovery over the last several years. However, many industry experts are showing concern about the possible effect that the rising rates will have moving forward.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are all projecting that mortgage interest rates will move upward in 2017. Increasing interest rates will definitely impact purchasers and may stifle demand.

In a recent study of industry experts, “rising mortgage interest rates, and their impact on mortgage affordability” was named by 56% as the force they think will have the most significant impact on U.S. housing in 2017. If rising rates slow demand for housing, home values will be impacted.

To this point, Pulsenomics, recently surveyed a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, asking the question “In your opinion, at what level will the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate significantly slow home value appreciation?” The survey revealed the following:

Mortgage Rates Impact on 2017 Home Values | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Most experts believe that rates would need to hit 5% or above to have an impact on home prices.

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

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There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any way to avoid paying closing costs?

Work with your lender and real estate agent to see if there are any ways to decrease or defer your closing costs. There are no-closing mortgages available, but they end up costing you more in the end with a higher interest rate, or by wrapping the closing costs into the total cost of the mortgage (meaning you’ll end up paying interest on your closing costs).

Home buyers can also negotiate with the seller over who pays these fees. Sometimes the seller will agree to assume the buyer’s closing fees to get the deal finalized, which is known in the industry as ‘seller’s concession.’

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

Why Pre-Approval Should Be Your First Step

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In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

Student Loans = Higher Credit Scores

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According to a recent analysis by CoreLogic, Millennial renters (aged 20-34) who have student loan debt also have higher credit scores than those who do not have student loans.

This may come as a surprise, as there is so much talk about student loans burdening Millennials and holding them back from many milestones that previous generations have been able to achieve (i.e. homeownership, investing for retirement).

CoreLogic used the information provided on rental applications and the applicants’ credit history from credit bureaus to determine if there was a correlation between student loan debt and credit scores.

The analysis concluded that:

“Student loan debt did not prevent millennials from access to credit even though it may delay their homebuying decisions.”

In fact, those with a higher amount of debt actually had higher credit scores.

“Renters with student loan debt have higher average credit scores than those without; and those with higher debt amounts have higher average credit scores than those with lower student loan debt amounts.”

Bottom Line

Millennials are on pace to become the most educated generation in our nation’s history, with that comes a pretty big bill for education. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel:

“Despite the fact that student loan debt has grown into the nation’s second largest consumer debt, following mortgage, and has created a significant financial burden for millennials, it does not appear to prevent millennials from accessing credit.”

Want to speed up closings? 6 tips

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CHICAGO – Dec. 15, 2016 – Homebuyers anxious to move into their new house in a hurry may be discouraged to discover that the average time from contract to close is 50 days, according to Ellie Mae. But Realtors can help clients shorten that timeframe by encouraging a more focused home search and being proactive about paperwork, among other things.

An organized buying process is particularly important for relocation clients and customers who hope to sell one property before buying another. In both cases, buyers tend to be working against tight moving deadlines.

Tips to help buyers complete a transaction faster:

  • Get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified. A pre-qualification is just a quick conversation with a lender who may have only glanced at the borrower’s credit score. A pre-approval is a more thorough review of their credit history. A pre-approval “makes your offer look stronger,” says Adriana Mollica, a sales associate with Teles Properties in Beverly Hills, Calif. “It also minimizes any surprises that may delay or force a cancelation during escrow.”
  • Narrow down options. Buyers with have a long wish list of desired home features are rarely satisfied by the houses they see. Realtors should have a heart-to-heart talk if these buyers also hope to move in quickly and discuss whether their desires are plausible for the area and price range they’re searching in, says Michael Shaffer, broker-associate at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwood Village, Colo. Buyers should narrow their wish list down to the top must-have features and look at only at homes that fit the criteria.
  • Look at homes that have lingered on the market. Homeowners who haven’t sold quickly enough are often the most motivated to negotiate a deal. Buyers should understand the leverage they have when making an offer on a home that has been on the market for a long time, but remember that “a long time” means different things in different various areas. “In some markets, that may be a week or two,” Shaffer says. “In others, it could be a year or more.”
  • Don’t make lowball offers. A strong offer doesn’t have to meet the full list price – but it may mean vowing to make a larger downpayment, offering up more earnest money or accepting an early closing date. Sellers who have a sense of commitment from a buyer may be more likely to accept an offer, particularly as the end of the year nears.
  • Waive contingencies – maybe. Contingency clauses notoriously spark delays, but buyers should weigh whether to give them up. Some contingencies may be worth fighting for. Clients shouldn’t suffer from buyer’s remorse later or land in financial trouble because they waived contingencies.
  • Put paperwork in order. Buyers should already have at least three months of bank statements, pay stubs and letters of explanation for any unusual expenses or financial gifts that are being applied toward a downpayment. Even with a pre-approval, buyers will need paperwork to finalize the transaction, and having it ready upfront could save time. “In most cases, things get held up because paperwork and information isn’t readily available,” says Raena Casteel of the Casteel Little Real Estate Group in Tucson, Ariz.

Source: “Got the Need for Speed? 10 Timely Tricks for Buying a Home in a Hurry,” realtor.com® (Dec. 12, 2016)

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