THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN
BUYING A HOME
(Spring 2015 Edition)
4 REASONS TO BUY YOUR HOME NOW!
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.
- Prices Will Continue to Rise
The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.7% (most pessimistic) and 27.5% (most optimistic).
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
- Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up approximately three quarters of a percentage point over the next 12 months.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.
- Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage
As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:
“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”
- It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.
But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?
Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.
BUYING A HOME?
CONSIDER COST NOT JUST PRICE
As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, you must be concerned not about price but instead about the ‘long term cost’ of the home. Let us explain.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately three quarters of a percentage point over the next twelve months. Many experts are calling for home prices to also increase over the next year.
What Does This Mean as a Buyer?
Here is a simple demonstration of what impact an interest rate increase would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today if home prices appreciate by the 4.4% predicted by the experts in the Home Price Expectation Survey:
YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL WHEN BUYING A HOME
Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!
You Need an Expert Guide if You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path
The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift out the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home”.
You Need a Skilled Negotiator
In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until
Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family? If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.
Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.
HOME PRICES OVER THE LAST YEAR
Every quarter, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reports on the Year-over-Year changes in home prices. Below you will see that prices are up, year-over-year broken down by region.
Looking at the breakdown by state, you can see that each state is appreciating at different rates. This is important to know if you are planning on relocating to a different area of the country. Waiting to move may end up costing you more!
WHERE ARE MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES HEADED?
The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to look at where rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year.
Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s 2015 U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook.
As you can see interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of 2015.
How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?
Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.
Waiting to secure the home of your dreams may mean having to tighten the budget, or sacrificing on luxuries that may be taken for granted today.
The experts predict that home prices will appreciate by 4.4% over the course of 2015. If both predictions become reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their home.
Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth. Meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home.
GETTING A MORTGAGE:
WHY SO MUCH PAPERWORK?
Why is there so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today? It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.
Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.
There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.
- The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.
During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their homes. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.
- The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business.
Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million+ short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.
However, there is some good news in the situation.
The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably around 4%.
The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty years ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s).
If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of approximately 4%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.
Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.
RENTERS’ VIEWS OF HOMEOWNERSHIP
Freddie Mac recently released their Perceptions of Renting and Homeownership Study in which they surveyed more than 2,000 Americans on renting in the post financial crisis market.
Their goal was to learn about “renters’ preferences toward the housing choices available to them, the constraints preventing them from obtaining housing that they think would better suite their needs and the drivers for their decisions.”
Renters were asked to indicate how much they agree or disagree with statements about homeownership. Not surprising was the fact that the top 12 responses represented a large amount of non-financial reasons to own a home.
Here are the top responses broken into the Financial & Non-Financial Aspects.
No matter what reasons ring true with you, meeting with a local real estate professional to evaluate your situation is the first step on the path to obtaining everything on this list.
WHERE ARE PRICES HEADED OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS?
Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why there is tremendous value in the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of more than 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
The results of their latest survey:
- Values appreciated by 4.4% in 2015
- Cumulative appreciation will be 19.3% by 2019
- That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.6% over the next 5 years.
- Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of almost 11.7% by 2019
Individual opinions make headlines. This survey is a fair depiction of future values.
HARVARD: 5 FINANCIAL REASONS TO BUY A HOME
Eric Belsky is Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University. He authored a paper on homeownership – The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons people should consider buying a home.
Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study:
1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.
“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”
2.) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.
“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”
3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”
4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.
“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”
5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.
“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”
We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for many social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially.
HOMEOWNERSHIP’S IMPACT ON NET WORTH
Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth. A study by the Federal Reserve formally answered this question.
Two of the findings revealed in their report:
- A homeowner’s net worth is over thirty-six times greater than that of a renter.
- The average homeowner has a net worth of $195,400 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,400.
The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way for a family to build wealth in America.
4 DEMANDS TO MAKE ON YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT
Are you thinking of buying a home? Are you dreading having to walk through strangers’ houses? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of buying. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant.
You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.
Here are the top 4 demands to make of your real estate agent when buying a home:
- Tell the Truth About the Price
Too many agents just take your offer at any price and then try to ‘work’ both the seller and you while negotiating later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price you are offering. Make them show you their plan to get both the seller – and the bank – to accept that price. Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to you and then to your bank.
The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. A recent survey showed that there was a challenge with the appraisal on 24% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the original offer.
- Understand the Timetable with which Your Family is Dealing
You will be moving your family into a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.
This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work.
- Remove as Many of the Challenges as Possible
It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.
Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on parts of the purchase offer, don’t expect them to turn into a super hero when they are negotiating with the seller for you and your family.
Find the Right HOUSE!
There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.
You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with purchasing. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that finding the right house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. rethinking price), insist they have the courage to inform you.
Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!
GALLUP POLL: RE BEST LONG TERM INVESTMENT
The Gallup organization released their Economy and Personal Finances Poll which asked Americans to choose the best option for long term investment. It was no surprise that real estate returned to the top position over other investment categories (gold, stocks/mutual funds, savings accounts/CDs and bonds).
Back in 2011, gold was the most popular long-term investment among Americans. However, with the housing market improving across the U.S. and home prices rising, more Americans now consider real estate the best option for long-term investments.
The poll also revealed that real estate was considered to be the best long term investment by all four subgroups by age and two out of three by income:
HOMEOWNERSHIP STILL THE AMERICAN DREAM
There has been some who have voiced doubt as to whether or not the younger generations still consider buying a home as being part of the “American Dream”. A recent study by Merrill Lynch puts that doubt to rest. According to their research, every living generation still maintains that owning a home is in fact important.
(The results are on the right)
This should not surprise us as many studies have revealed the benefits of homeownership enjoyed by the families who own their own home. One such study was done by the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University that addressed a major financial benefit to owning your own home: forced savings. The report explains:
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”
The Merrill Lynch study proves this point with the home equity data below (a form of savings).
There are many reasons that owning a home makes sense. The financial reasons are powerful. As one participant in the Merrill Lynch study put it:
“When I was younger, I always worried about that monthly mortgage payment. Now that I am retired, I have the peace of mind of knowing I own my home free and clear.”
CONTACT ME TO TALK MORE
I’m sure you have questions and concerns…
I would love to talk with you more about what you read here, and help you on the path to buying a home. I look forward to hearing from you…
RE/MAX DFW ASSOCIATES