facebooktwittergoogle plus google plusReal Estate Blog YouTube My Escrow(800) 336-3629

HomeContact UsCommunity InfoNews & EventsEn Espanol

Category Archives: home prices - Page 2

Breaking/Good News for Housing Industry

2014-10HousingIndustryNews

Two monumental decisions in U.S. housing regulations this week are major victories for homebuyers – and the housing industry at large.

For starters, the final qualified residential mortgage, or QRM, rule eliminates the highly controversial requirement of a specific down payment amount, bringing the rule in line with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s qualified mortgage, or QM, rule. The latter was created to protect borrowers from predatory lending practices.

Another victory for housing: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are releasing new guidelines that will allow borrowers with lackluster credit profiles to obtain loans with a down payment as low as 3 percent by considering “compensating factors.” Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt, who oversees both Fannie and Freddie, announced the government’s new plan in hopes of quelling lenders’ fears when the government-backed loans they sell go sour.

Additionally, Fannie and Freddie also plan to loosen demands on lenders to buy back defaulted mortgages, creating more stability, confidence and clarity for the lending industry.

RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly applauded the announcements, which ultimately help first-time homebuyers, as well as those who earn lower incomes, to more easily obtain government-backed loans.

“This is great news for our industry, and it’s a welcomed change we’ve been advocating at RE/MAX,” Kelly says. “Taking a measured but less stringent approach to lending creates more stable housing conditions and, most importantly, opens the doors to homeownership for qualified, willing homebuyers who’ve been sidelined in the wake of the downturn.”

Read more about these key housing developments:

NAR: QRM Mortgage Rule Could Ease Credit for Consumers
Los Angeles Times: Regulator unveils plan to spur lending by Fannie, Freddie
New York Times: Federal Housing Finance Agency Unveils Plan to Loosen Rules on Mortgages

Sellers: It’s Risky Pricing High to ‘See What Happens’

hourglass on sand in desert

Every seller wants to get the best deal for their house—especially when you consider that as much as $500,000 in profit can be earned tax-free. So why not just price your house to the moon? After all, you can just bring it down later, right?

Well, there are a few problems with that. If you price high and then slowly start bringing it down…and down…and down…buyers are going to notice. It makes that home start to seem like it’s in a bargain bin. You want your home to appear like a deal, not cheapened goods. When it sits on the market for an extended time because of overpricing, buyers are going to wonder why. Would you feel urgency as a buyer if you read that a property was listed 180 days ago? Probably not.

To set a realistic price, consider these tips:

  • Do your due diligence. What have houses like yours sold for when the deal was made in a reasonable time? And what were the original prices of those homes?
  • Have an honest discussion with your real estate agent. He or she knows the area, and wants to sell your home as quickly as possible for the most competitive price. What does he or she think is reasonable?
  • Be an assertive seller, but don’t overplay your hand. Remember, the little extra money you hold out for may not be worth the six months or year of mortgage payments you’re stuck paying in the meantime!

Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help you price your home to sell.

May 2014 RE/MAX National Housing Report

Home Sales Rise, Market Finds Stability

For the 2nd month in a row, April home sales rose higher than sales in the previous month. While April sales were 10.9% higher than March, they remained below the same period last year by 7.8%. Only two of the 52 metro areas included in the April report experienced lower sales than the previous month. Year-over-year home prices continued to push higher in April, with a 5.8% increase, which is lower than the 10.7% increase seen in April 2013. While both credit availability and inventory remain tight, April became the 13th consecutive month with fewer inventory losses than the previous month. At the rate of home sales in April, the Months Supply of inventory fell to 3.9, where a supply of 6.0 indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.

See the full report here : http://remaxallpro.com/pdfs/REMAX-National-Housing-Report_May-2014.pdf

Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

24813473_650x

Looking to buy a home soon? If so, you’ll want to start saving for a down payment – and thinking about getting pre-approved for a home loan. But before you do, it’s worth checking your credit score to see whether you need to bring it up to increase your chances of qualifying.

Your first step is to visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit report. Some of the things lenders will look for include your debt-to-income ratio, the number of late payments, recent credit inquiries and how many credit accounts you have open.

For an additional fee, you can visit www.MyFico.com to learn your FICO score, which is a key factor in your ability to qualify for a loan and a reasonable interest rate. The higher your score is, the better your chances are of getting a reasonable interest rate.

If you find out that your score isn’t yet at an ideal place to qualify for an affordable home loan, consider taking a few months to get it within a range that improves your chances of qualifying.

Here are a few key tips from Bankrate.com, a leading online aggregator of financial rate information:

  • Pay your bills on time every month. Late payments lower your credit score.
  • Try to pay off your existing balances each month, or keep them within a reasonable range. Your debt-to-income ratio is a big factor in determining your credit worthiness and ability to repay a home loan​.
  • Don’t close any accounts for six months, especially your older credit accounts. They help establish your long-term credit history.
  • Need a score boost quickly? Speed the process up with rapid rescoring through a lender who is subscribed to this special service. If you have legitimate errors on your credit report, rapid rescoring can address and correct them in as little as 72 hours. The service can run about $50 per account but could save you thousands on your loan.

Your agent is a great resource for advice. Contact a RE/MAX All-Pro agent  or RE/MAX Mortgage Division, Mountain West Financial to learn how you can improve your credit score and better your chances of getting pre-approved for a home loan.

 

Listing Photos: What to Look for When Shopping

AntelopeValley-listings

These days, very little is left to the imagination when it comes to browsing homes for sale online. With virtual tours, professional photos and mapped locations, it’s easy to see what you might be getting – before you ever set foot in a potential purchase. Technology certainly has its advantages, doesn’t it?

These listing features help you, the homebuyer, narrow down your home search and direct your real estate agent to specific properties. And although you shouldn’t risk ruling out an otherwise perfect property based solely on its online reputation – hey, even houses have bad days – photos and videos can help save time and energy when it comes to building your short list of homes to tour.

So what should you really be looking for based on these photos, videos and mapping tools? Start with:

  • Layout. Does it meet your space needs? Are the only bathrooms upstairs? Is there a pantry?
  • Potential Repairs. Have the original hardwood floors seen better days? Are you up for the challenge of rehabbing?
  • Yard maintenance. Does the home feature a half-acre yard – on a hill – with 30 bushes that need regular pruning? Will you have time to maintain it all – and is the yard worth the effort?
  • Lot location. Are you concerned about being on a corner lot at one of the neighborhood’s main intersections?

Remember, photos and videos can’t always capture everything, so consider your top three priorities in a home. When you think you’ve found them in a property online, it might be worth taking a look in person – even if that shade of green in the kitchen isn’t your first choice.

The best thing you can do is see what’s really there. Contact a RE/MAX real estate agent who can help you find your picture-perfect place.

Fit to Sell: Why a Home Doesn’t Sell

Help close the gap between what homebuyers are looking for – a home that’s updated and well-maintained – and what’s actually available on the market. By doing so, your home has a better chance of selling quickly and for more money.

Watch the most recent RE/MAX “Fit to Sell” video to learn what three steps are needed to sell your home – and which three major elements can affect its sale.

Looking for more tips and tools on selling your home? Watch all the videos in the RE/MAX “Fit to Sell” series.

5 THINGS TO WATCH IN HOUSING IN 2014

RAP-glasshouse-FB650x

It looks as though 2013, had two parts… At the beginning of the year, low housing inventory and interest rates promoted bidding wars. That in turn, escalated prices quickly. Then, mid year the bidding wars slowed down due to raised interest rates.

There are many speculations about the housing market in 2014 here are 5 things to watch for…

1. WILL INVENTORY RISE?

Prices go up when there is low inventory. Foreclosures are slowing and New construction hasn’t picked up. Traditional buyers aren’t listing as many homes. The consensus view is that price growth continues at a somewhat slower pace, but that consensus view could be wrong—for the third year in a row—if there aren’t more homes for sale.

2. WHERE IS THE HOME-CONSTRUCTION RECOVERY?

Some economists say new-home demand could remain muted because many move-up buyers don’t have enough equity to “trade up” to that new home. Key issues to watch here: What happens to household formation, and do builders begin to throttle back price gains in favor of selling more homes in 2014?

3. WHAT HAPPENS TO MORTGAGE CREDIT?

Even if it gets easier to get a loan—by no means a given—borrowing costs and fees could rise. Banks also face new mortgage regulations that could keep most of them cautious. Borrowers with more volatile or harder-to-document incomes, including the self-employed or those who make a lot of money on commissions, bonuses, or tips, could continue to face tough sledding.

4.  WHAT WILL INVESTORS DO WITH THEIR HOMES?

A handful of institutional investors have purchased tens of thousands of homes that are being rented out. Can owners perfect the expense management associated with maintaining and leasing tens of thousands of individual homes?

5.  WHEN DOES HOUSING HIT A TIPPING POINT ON AFFORDABILITY

On the one hand, rising prices are giving many homeowners equity in their homes again—an extremely positive development to the extent it means these borrowers are less at risk of foreclosure.
But price inflation is making housing less affordable. This will be a bigger problem if cash buyers retreat from the market in 2014 and/or if interest rates rise in a meaningful way.

Read full article BY NICK TIMIRAOS:  http://blogs.wsj.com/five-things/2014/01/07/5-things-to-watch-in-housing-in-2014/

Escalation Clause: A Helping Hand in Bidding Wars

46633333-650x

Are homes for sale snapped up right and left in your targeted neighborhoods? That’s the case in some real estate markets today, and it often leads to that dreaded house hunting reality: bidding wars.

If you’re considering buying a house in an area where bidding wars are common, talk to your agent about including an escalation clause as part of your offer. It can become an important tool in a multiple-offer situation.

An escalation clause means that your offer is automatically increased by a certain amount in response to a competing buyer’s higher bid, with a maximum offer price stated in the contract.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you’re offering $120,000 on a house. In your escalation clause, you specify your bid can automatically go up by $2,000, for example, with a maximum offer of $135,000. When another buyer bids $122,000, your lower offer doesn’t lose out right away, because the clause automatically escalates it to $124,000.

There are some important considerations to make regarding escalation clauses. Your real estate agent might advise against it based on the homebuying climate in your local market; it might be that some sellers won’t consider an offer that contains the clause. On the other hand, your agent might see it as the leg up you need in your area.

Also, you’ll need to ensure your mortgage pre-approval amount allows for those increases – and you can afford the higher monthly payments that come with approaching your maximum buying power. It’s smart to talk it over with your agent and run your plans by your lender before deciding to use an escalation clause.

The point: Low inventory and bidding wars don’t have to discourage you from making an offer on that dream home. You have options. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can discuss all of them with you.

RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon Fun Facts…

remax-balloon-facts-FINAL-small-1

 

It’s one of the most recognized corporate symbols on the planet, and understandably so. At seven stories tall, the RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon grabs attention wherever it flies.

First introduced at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 1978, the balloon perfectly represented the RE/MAX network’s “Above the Crowd” commitment to quality. Today, the nearly 120 RE/MAX Hot Air Balloons in operation comprise the largest fleet on the planet.

In logo form, the RE/MAX Balloon is even more prevalent. It adorns countless business cards, advertisements, vehicles, yard signs, billboards, websites, T-shirts – you name it. In other words, the RE/MAX Balloon is virtually everywhere, and when AV residents see it, they think of the local RE/MAX All-Pro agents they know in the Antelope Valley!

Obama Says, ‘Let’s Allow Everybody to Refinance’

bigstock-Holding-Real-Estate-24233264

 

It was encouraging to hear that housing is solidly on the Obama Administration’s radar. The president confirmed this during a live online interview August 7th.

Of particular note were his comments about HARP 3, the proposed third version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP was first introduced in 2009 to help struggling homeowners reduce their mortgage payments by refinancing their government-secured loans (mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

HARP 3 would make it easier for all homeowners, whether they have a government-secured loan or a private one, to refinance their mortgage.

Despite all the great news in housing (there’s plenty of it in the RE/MAX National Housing Report), the truth is that there are still many homeowners who are underwater or who haven’t regained all of the equity they lost during the recession. Most of the people this pertains to probably bought their homes at the peak of the market, when home values were inflated and interest rates were closer to 7 percent.

If homeowners were able to take advantage of the amazing interest rates right now (about 4.5 percent!), they’d be able to regain equity more quickly; they wouldn’t be paying as much interest at the same time that their home’s value is inching higher.

HARP 3 would be good for homeowners, for neighborhoods, for the housing market, and for the overall economy. And it’s especially good that there’s buy-in all the way at the top.

As President Obama noted, if more people are able to refinance their homes, they’re more likely to feel comfortable taking on something like a car loan. When consumer confidence is high, that’s when the economy is at its strongest.

If you think a HARP 3 program would be good for the United States, let your congressman or congresswoman know.

If you’re a homeowner who’s struggling, contact a RE/MAX All Pro Agent who can help you reach the best resolution.