Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Aug. 9, 2019

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

 

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments? | Simplifying The Market

 

Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into home ownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.

1. How much do you really need for a down payment?

There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Mae shows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 – 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.How Much Do You Know About Down Payments? | Simplifying The MarketThere are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.

We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts home ownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!

2. How can I get help with my down payment?

Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:

Assistance from Family Members

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800…They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.

That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.

The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.”

That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.

Bottom Line

If buying a home is one of your long-term goals, you may be able to get there sooner than you think by tapping into one of the many down payment assistance programs available. I have several lenders I work with that can assist you with the down payment option that works best for you, just call or text Becky at 775-857-7519

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 26, 2019

Do You Know How Much Your Home Has Increased In Value?

Last year we saw headlines about a possible housing market bubble, and many wondered if Americans still felt confident about the value of their homes. Recently, the 2018 Houzz & Home Study revealed:

Homeowners with mortgages have seen their home equity more than double since 2011, increasing to a record-setting $8.3 trillion in 2017.”

The average homeowner gained $16,200 in home equity between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 according to the latest release of CoreLogic’s Home Equity Report.

Since 2011 home values have increased significantly throughout the country, with prices rising by 5.1% in 2018 alone. When surveyed, homeowners revealed the top four reasons why they felt their homes had increased in value.

  1. Desirable Location
  2. Improved National Economy
  3. Improved Local Economy
  4. Low Home Inventory in My Area

As we can see, not only does the data show that the homes have appreciated, but homeowners also believe they know why. Many have taken advantage of the opportunity to use their newly found equity to sell their current house and move up to their dream home!

2019 will be a good year for the homeowners that still want to take advantage of their home equity! CoreLogic forecasts that home prices will increase by 4.8% by the end of the year.

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who would like to find out your current home value, let’s get together to discuss the hidden opportunities in your home!

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 26, 2019

Why A Normal Market Is Just What We Need

 

The housing market has been hot for a while now. Homes have been flying off the shelves as fast as they have been listed. Buyers have been competing in bidding wars just to find a home to buy, let alone find their dream home.

This ‘seller’s market’ has driven home prices to new heights. Home price appreciation averaged over 6% across the country.

However, home price growth has recently started to cool down. The latest report from CoreLogic shows that home prices have only risen by 4.7% over the last 12 months.

Many buyers and sellers planning to enter the housing market this year have started to wonder if we are headed towards another housing crash. Ralph McLaughlin, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, recently stated in an interview,

“There’s no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for a recession. We’re seeing a cooling of the housing market, but nothing that indicates a crash.

The real elephant in the room here is housing supply.”

The simple answer is we are returning to a ‘normal’ market. The inventory of homes for sale more closely matches the demand in the market. The added supply means fewer buyers are outbidding each other. Therefore, prices are experiencing less upward pressure. McLaughlin went on to explain,

“If there are a lot of homes on the market and suddenly no one wants to buy them, you’ll get into a downward spiral of price competition. Right now, however, we’re in the opposite situation, there isn’t an over-abundance of homes on the market.”

As more renters looking for their piece of the American Dream enter the housing market, demand for housing will continue to grow. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University estimates over 30 million new households will enter the market from now through 2040.

“There’s the natural life cycle of young people getting older and starting to do adult life things which include … buying a house and that’s a lot of potential inertia that could last indefinitely.”

Bottom Line

Home prices will start to appreciate by historical norms as we continue to head towards a more ‘normal’ market, rather than the over 6% seen over the course of the last couple of years. This is great news! Homeowners looking to sell their home will have buyers, as more buyers will be able to afford them!


View homes for sale in Reno

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 16, 2019

Which Down Payment Strategy Is Right For You?

 

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. 

Feel free to call or text me to discuss which option could be right for you. 

Becky Johnson

775-857-7519

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 26, 2019

Qualify For A Home Loan

 

There are many misconceptions buyers, particularly first-time buyers, have when they're looking into mortgages. The process of applying for a mortgage can feel daunting, but don't allow concerns of tighter lending requirements keeps you from pursuing homeownership. Remember, if you have any questions regarding your situation, please give us a call; we're happy to discuss your options with you.

Myth 1: If you prequalify for a loan, you're pre-approved.

There's a difference between prequalifying for a loan and getting pre-approved. Prequalifying for a loan will give you a general idea of your budget based on self-declared assets and debt. Pre-approval goes a step further and allows lenders to investigate your credit and financial history in order to commit to loaning a certain amount. If you're set on buying, getting pre-approved allows you to write an offer when you're ready.

Myth 2: You need 20% down.

A large down payment has its benefits, but it's not required. Having a down payment of less than 20% means you'll have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) or government-backed mortgage insurance if you have a FHA loan. Many state and local housing authorities and community agencies offer down-payment assistance programs for eligible potential homebuyers.

Myth 3: You need perfect credit.

Although near perfect is sure to help you qualify for a really low interest rate, its not essential. The minimum score for a FHA loan is 580 to quality for low down payment advantage at 3.5%. if your score is lower than this, you may need to have a 10% down payment to qualify for a loan. However, many home loan programs have different minimums.

 

Myth 4: You can't have any debt to qualify for a loan.

When you apply for a mortgage, a lender wants to know you'll be able to pay their money back. As long as you show you're responsible by making payments on time, having one or two credits, student loans or a car loan may actually help, rather than hurt, you when trying to qualify for a loan. However, if the amount of debt you have exceeds a certain percentage (lenders call those front-end and back-end ratios), it may impact whether or not you'll qualify. If you're concerned, give us a call and we'll discuss your options.

Myth 5: Your income determines how much borrow.

While your income plays a role, it is not the sole determiner. Your debt-to-income ratio, which factors how much debt you have in relation to your income, is much more important. As long as it is at a reasonable level, you may qualify for a variety of loans.

Myth 6: A lender will only consider one of your credit scores.

Lenders pull borrowers credit from all three credit services and settle on the middle score.

*Example: a borrower's Equifax is 690, Experian is 720, and TransUnion is 705 then the 705 score would be used.

If you have a co-borrower, lenders use the highest credit score between the two of you.

Myth 7: If you went through a short sale or foreclosure you can't qualify for a mortgage again for seven years.

If you underwent a short sale or foreclosure during the housing recovery, you may still purchase a home within 2-4 years of a short sale and 3-7 years of a foreclosure. If you plan to apply for a mortgage in the future, start to improve your credit right now away so you can apply when you're ready. Don't wait to start getting ready.

Myth 8: The rate you've quoted when you pre-qualify is the rate you'll get when you apply.

Rates change daily and are connected to the daily trading of mortgage bonds, which means the rate you're quoted may increase or decrease through the day. Typically lenders don't lock borrowers into a rate until that borrower is under contract to purchase a property as lock extensions can be costly.

Myth 9: Your interest rate is equal to the true cost of your mortgage rate.

Your annual percentage rate (APR) represents the true of your mortgage and includes the whole gamut, including your interest rates, points, mortgage insurance, and fees. Since it includes all of these figures, it tends to be higher than your interest rate. When you're considering rates, be sure to take your APR into account.

Myth 10: Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) will dramatically increase your monthly payment every month.

It depends. While the amount varies based on your loan-to-value ratio and your credit score, the average amount ranges between $40 and $80 per month for every $100,000 borrowed. However, if you have a conventional mortgage, once you've built more than 22% equity in your home, and are current on payments, you may not to pay PMI.

Are you afraid you won't qualify for a mortgage?

More than half of potential buyers polled said they'd like to buy a home soon, but haven't applied for a mortgage because they're worried they would not qualify. The good news 43% of buyers found the mortgage application approval process no more difficult than expected. 

If you have questions on applying for a mortgage, just give me a call 775-857-7519

Becky Johnson 

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 15, 2019

Don't Get Caught In The Rental Trap

 

Every year around this time, we take time to reflect and plan for next year. If you are renting your current home but have dreams of homeownership, your plan for the new year may include buying, and you wouldn’t be alone!

According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying in the next 5 years, with 38% planning to buy in the next 2 years!

When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said that rising rental costs were their top reason, and 42% of renters believe that their rent will rise every year. The full results of the survey can be seen below:

Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap in 2019 | Simplifying The Market

It’s no wonder that rising rental costs came in as the top answer! The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below!

Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap in 2019 | Simplifying The Market

There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again… why are they renting?

When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”

If the majority of those who believe they haven’t saved a large enough down payment believe that they need 20% down to buy, that means a large number of renters may be able to buy now!

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is fed up with rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to help you on your path to homeownership.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 5, 2019

Buying A Home This Year?

 

Buying A Home This Year? Here’s What to Watch For

 

As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here's What to Watch | Simplifying The Market

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here's What to Watch | Simplifying The Market

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to discuss the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory and what they could mean for you.

Call or Text  Becky Johnson at 775-857-7519

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 29, 2018

Where is the Housing Market Headed in 2019?

 

 

Some Highlights:

  • ­Interest rates are projected to increase steadily throughout 2019, but buyers will still be able to lock in a rate lower than their parents or grandparents did when they bought their homes!
  • Home prices will rise at a rate of 4.8% over the course of 2019 according to CoreLogic.
  • All four major reporting agencies believe that home sales will outpace 2018!
Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 21, 2018

No Housing Bubble

 

 

Real estate is shifting to a more normal market; the days of national home appreciation topping 6% annually are over and inventories are increasing which is causing bidding wars to almost disappear. Some see these as signs that the market will soon come tumbling down as it did in 2008.

As it becomes easier for buyers to obtain mortgages, many are suggesting that this is definite proof that banks are repeating the same mistakes they made a decade ago. Today, we want to assure everyone that we are not heading to another housing “bubble & bust.”

Each month, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA) releases a measurement which indicates the availability of mortgage credit known as the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to the MBA:

“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is calculated using several factors related to borrower eligibility (credit score, loan type, loan-to-value ratio, etc.).” *

The higher the measurement, the easier it is to get a mortgage. During the buildup to the last housing bubble, the measurement sat at around 400. In 2005 and 2006, the measurement more than doubled to over 800 and was still at almost 600 in 2007. When the market crashed in 2008, the index fell to just over 100.

Over the last decade, as credit began to ease, the index increased to where it is today at 186.7 – still less than half of what it was prior to the buildup of last decade and less than one-quarter of where it was during the bubble.

Here is a graph depicting this information (remember, the higher the index, the easier it was to get a mortgage):

No Bubble Here! How New Mortgage Standards Are Helping | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Though mortgage standards have loosened somewhat during the last few years, we are nowhere near the standards that helped create the housing crisis ten years ago.

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 14, 2018

4 Reason We Buy A Home

4 Reasons Why We Buy A Home!

We often talk about why it makes financial sense to buy a home, but more often than not, the emotional reasons are the more powerful or compelling ones.

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 homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones.

1. Owning your home offers you the stability to start and raise a family

Between the best neighborhoods and the best school districts, even buyers without children at the time of purchase may have these things in mind as major reasons for choosing the locations of the homes that they purchase.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers you not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place that allows you to relax after a long day!

3. You have more space for you and your family

 

Whether your family is expanding, an older family member is moving in, or you need to have a large backyard for your pets, you can take this all into consideration when buying your dream home!

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and style

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

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first-time home buyer 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.

Posted in Buying a Home