Stop Wondering What Your Budget Is & Get Pre-Approved!

Stop Wondering What Your Budget Is & Get Pre-Approved!

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show that 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 not in an incredibly competitive market, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not 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 through 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.

2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

Freddie Mac recently released a report entitled, “Perceptions of Down Payment Consumer Research.” Their research revealed that,

“For many prospective homebuyers, saving for a down payment is the largest barrier to achieving the goal of homeownership. Part of the challenge for those planning to purchase a home is their perception of how much they will need to save for the down payment…

…Based on our recent survey of individuals planning to purchase a home in the next three years, nearly a third think they need to put more than 20% down.”

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Buyers often overestimate the funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the same report:

22% of renters and 31% of homeowners believe lenders require 20% or more of a home’s sale price as a down payment for a typical mortgage today. And,

“If a 20% down payment was required, 70% of those who were planning to buy a home in the next three years said it would delay them from purchasing and nearly 30% indicated they would never be able to afford a home.”  

While many believe at least 20% down is necessary to buy the home of their dreams, they do not realize programs are available which permit as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined!

Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”

Many either don’t know or are misinformed concerning the FICO® score necessary to qualify, believing a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | Keeping Current MattersAs indicated in the chart above, 52.4% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

Expert Advice: Staging Your Home for Selling Season

If you own a home, it is likely one of your largest investments. When the time comes to move up or downsize, you want to do everything in your power to protect your equity and get your asking price – or more. One way to ensure your home is listed, and purchased, at the right price point is to work with a real estate agent to boost your home’s buyer appeal. Check out these home-staging tips from experts across the country.

  1. Depersonalize and Neutralize

A home filled with someone else’s personal belongings and clutter can make potential buyers feel as though they are invading private space.

“Neutralizing the atmosphere encourages buyers to envision themselves living there,” says Leslie Cain with RE/MAX Realty Affiliates in Carson City, Nevada. “Think of staging your home as an investment – it typically costs less than a first price reduction [if the home doesn’t sell].”

  1. Focus on Feature Rooms

Your real estate agent can help you see your home from the buyer’s eyes. Focus on the dining and living areas as well as the master bedroom.

“A common mistake is relocating clutter to closets – buyers will look there, too,” said Kathy Henne with RE/MAX Finest in Piqua, Ohio. “It’s best to move all unnecessary belongings out of the house and keep the space as sparsely furnished as possible. Once you have a cleared space, make sure to give it a deep cleaning.”

  1. Go Virtual

You want your home to be clean and decluttered, of course, but not having enough furniture can also be a problem, says Cynthia Fazzini with the Fazzini Group at RE/MAX Realtec Group in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“Since most potential homebuyers begin their home searches online, we often recommend digital staging to our clients with vacant homes,” said Fazzini. “Adding in furniture, artwork and rugs gives the home warmth and helps the buyer envision how the space can look with their belongings and decorations. We recently took on a new construction home that was vacant and had been on the market for six months with multiple price reductions. After digital staging, the house was under contract in seven days.”

2 Reports That Say Now Is A Great Time To Sell Your Home

20190306-Share-KCM

Heading into the spring buying market, there are strong trends starting to emerge.

The inventory of homes for sale has increased on a year-over-year basis for eight months in a row. Home price appreciation has continued to grow, although at a slower rate. The homeownership rate has reached heights last seen in 2014, with millennials and Generation X leading the way!

Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the recent reports that have been released and what they mean for the spring buying season!

1. National Association of Realtor’s Existing Home Sales Report

Sales of existing homes were down for the third consecutive month in January. Some of this can be explained by the natural seasonality that the real estate market experiences every year, and some can be explained even further by a lack of homes available for sale on the market.

Inventory

For the last eight months, the inventory of homes for sale has been higher when compared to the same month the year before. The challenge in the market is the mismatch of the type of home that is available for sale. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home are often competing with other buyers to stand out, often outbidding each other.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, agrees that the market is still experiencing an inventory shortage.

“In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed.”

Home Prices

The median home price for homes sold in January was $247,500. This is up 2.8% from January 2018 and marks the 83rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The 2.8% growth in home prices represents the smallest year-over-year change since February 2012 but is a welcome change for buyers who had feared being priced out of the market.

Days on the Market

Properties that sold in January were on the market for an average of 49 days with 38% of homes on the market for less than a month.

Yun is positive about how today’s market conditions will help buyers this spring,

 “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”

2. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Report

The national Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 4.6% to 103.2 in January from 98.7 in December. An index score of 100 is considered normal. All four major regions of the country experienced gains in January, with the largest increase coming in the South.

 “The PHSI is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.”

Increases in the PHSI often predict increases in the level of home sales in the coming months, which is great news for the housing market leading in to spring! Yun had this to say,

“Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers.”

Bottom Line

The housing market in 2019 will require homeowners to list their house at the right price to attract buyers. If interest rates continue to stay low while wages increase, and more inventory comes to market, 2019 could be one of the best years for home sales in recent history.

Source: Keeping Current Matters

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

Do you know how much your home has increased in value? | Rob Andre

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.

 

Article Source: Keeping Current Matters

Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner

20181231-STM

In today’s market, as home prices rise and a lack of inventory continues, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for most sellers.

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers

According to NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 95% of buyers searched online for a home last year. That is in comparison to only 13% of buyers looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home, do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?

  • 50% on the Internet
  • 28% from a real estate agent
  • 7% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by putting out a lawn sign or putting an ad in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 7% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they can save on the real estate commission by selling on their own, but they don’t realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe that they can save on the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent. One of the main reasons for the price difference at the time of sale is that,

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property. The study showed that the difference in price between comparable homes of size and location is currently at an average of 6% this year.

Why would you choose to list on your own and manage the entire transaction when you can hire an agent and not have to pay anything more?

7 Reasons To List Your House For Sale This Holiday Season

20181119-Share-STM

Every year at this time there are many homeowners who decide to wait until after the holidays to list their homes for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

    1. Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their new employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
    2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
    3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
    4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
    5. There is minimal competition for you as a seller right now. Inventory of homes for sale traditionally slows in the late fall, early winter. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:

20181119-KCM-ENG

  1. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream homes during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
  2. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge and reach new heights which will lessen the demand for your house in 2019.

Bottom Line 

Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.

 

Source: Keeping Current Matters

Best Ski Resorts in Utah

Utah is a popular destination for Ski lovers. With so many high mountains and thousands of skiable terrain, Utah has attracted a lot of Ski Resorts. So far, Utah is one of the most affordable Ski destinations, typically leading neighboring Colorado in terms of big-name Ski resorts.

Let us see some of the best Ski resorts in Utah.

  • Park City Mountain Resort

The Park City Mountain Resort is one of a kind Ski palace for skiers. It has a characteristic extensive terrain, great après ski facilities and atmosphere, and Park City main town towards the base of the slope. The Park City Mountain Resort is joined with the Canyons Ski Resort in late 2015, making it one of the largest ski resorts in Utah, second only to the Powder Mountain. More so, The resort sits comfortably on 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, giving enough options to skiers of different skills level.

  • Deer Valley

Deer Valley offers a remarkable skiing experience like no other in Utah. With a good mix of terrain for all level of skiers and first-class facilities, you will definitely enjoy your activities at this Ski resort. Deer Valley is just about 45 minutes away from Salt Lake City and two miles up the road from downtown Park City.

While this resort is popularly known to be occupied by family tourists, the mountain has an incredible terrain that will keep even the most advanced skiers occupied. There are over 100 runs spread out to over 200 acres of land and 6 mountains. To ensure safety and optimum skiing experience, the Deer Valley limits the total number of skiers per day to 7,500. Thus, the mountains are not too crowded to enjoy.

Another interesting aspect of the Deer Valley is the hill dining. Enjoy the luxurious day lodges with traditional wood fireplaces, towering win

ben-koorengevel-367448-unsplash

dows, and a long list of meal menu. There are different grades of accommodation, ranging from contemporary to more luxury accommodations. The customer service here is also wow!

  • Snowbird

Snowbird is typically a resort for advanced skiers. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most scenic ski resorts in Utah with sharp mountain peaks that giv

e the ski a tougher challenge. Snowbird is adjacent to the famous Alta Ski Resort and you can Ski both terrains together with a joint ticket. Thus, you have a longer terrain to ski and keep you busy indefinitely.

  • Alta

Ask most skiers about their top favorite resorts in Utah; Alta would definitely top their list. Alta dates back to 1938 and this ancient skiers-only resort captures over 500 inches of snow annually. This ski resort has different terrains and is generally skewed towards intermediate skiers who like to ski off the groomed runs.

  • Snowbasin

Snowbasin is just an hour drive from the north of Salt Lake City and 30 minutes from Ogden. Although this resort is often overlooked, it contains first-class facilities and about 3,000 acres of skiable terrain to explore. The hill is dominated by blue and black runs while green runs cascade down the lower region of the mountains.

What’s more, the day lodges and restaurants in Snowbasin are arranged in a log style. These buildings are characterized by high ceilings, unending walls of windows for maximum ventilation, huge stone fireplaces, wooden beams, and giant chandeliers. Snowbasin is one of the oldest ski resorts in the USA. It hosted some activities in the 2002 Winter Olympics and also features in a popular American horror movie, Frozen, in 2010.

  • Powder Mountain

Powder Mountain has a full range of skiing options, including backcountry terrain and cat skiing. If you have not tried any of this, you should plan to visit your next visit to the Powder Mountain. The resort is just about an hour drive from the north of Salt Lake City. Powder Mountain became the largest ski hill in North America when it comes to skiable terrain with the addition of two new lifts in 2017, totaling 8,464 acres. r

  • Solitude

Last but not the least is the solitude ski resort located near to the end of Big Cottonwood Valley. The resort features 77 runs and three bowls spread across over 1,200 acres. Solitude is dominated primarily of intermediate and beginner runs. Generally, Solitude is a perfect place to ski in a group or with family due to the layout of the hill.

There are accommodation facilities in the village near the resort. Accommodation categories include a hotel, many condominiums, private homes, and townhomes all managed and controlled by the Solitude Resort.

Bottom line

Utah is a home to several popular and high-rated ski resorts in the US. However, we can only cover 7 of them in this article. Try out any of the resorts discussed above and have a wonderful ski experience.

6 Haunted Places in Utah

Halloween is just around the corner. It’s not too late to get in some last-minute thrills with your friends. Check out these haunted places around Utah, if you dare!

 

  • Ted Bundy’s House

Some may not know that the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy, had a residence in Utah. The residence has since been demolished. However, the cellar to the right of the foundation can still be accessed. Some speculate that he stored his victims’ bodies in the cellar. With a hole busted in the door, only the most daring will venture inside.

  • Rio Grande Railroad Depot

Recently restored to its beautiful former glory, the Rio Grande Railroad Depot still reports ghostly activity. Reports cite an apparition of a dark-haired woman appearing in nathan-wright-993104-unsplashthe first-floor ladies’ room and the café. Rumors say that she was run down by a train. Furthermore, security guards report hearing footsteps and heavy breathing late at night also on the first floor. Guards also report hearing loud noises and flickering lights coming from the cellar.

  • Hobbitville

Located across street from Westminster College, Hobbitville also known as Allen Park, boasts small houses, creepy statues and violent “hobbits.” A gentleman reports that he and his friends decided to “check the place out” late one night. They kept seeing an old, beat-up car just sitting in the entrance with its lights off. Eventually the car pulled out and followed them. Even when they thought they lost the car, it would pop back up near them. You can read his full account of the creepy tale along with his other adventures here.

  • Mountain Meadows Massacre Site

Reports say that the 1857 massacre occurred when a group of settlers were brutally murders by Mormon Militia. Many of the area’s visitors report hearing cries on the wind and a feeling of great sadness overwhelm them. One visitor, Jill, reported similar phenomenon during her visit to the St. George area, “I visited there when I first moved to St. George 3 years ago, I had an overwhelming sadness come over me, and sharp pains in my legs. I’m in good shape, so it wasn’t the walking, it was different, like burning, or prickling heat, and it was in March, and cool outside.”

  • Haunted Old Mill

The Cottonwood Paper Mill burned down in 1893 leaving only a stone skeleton. The structure was partially rebuilt in 1927 for a dance hall. In the 70’s and 80’s the abandoned stone structure was used as a haunted house and craft boutique. Declared a historic site in 1966 and condemned in 2005, the owners indicate no future development plans for the mill. Visitors beware that the mill is private property and trespassing can come with a hefty fine.

  • Kirk Hotel

Located in Tooele, witnesses reported ghostly happenings such as objects being moved, doors and cupboards being opened and closed by themselves and orbs appearing in photographs at the Kirk Hotel. In 2015, one lady named Amanda reported her account of living at the Kirk Hotel when she was a young girl:

“Back when I was 8 years old me my mom and my brother lived on the third floor, I’m 24 now and remember this as it was just yesterday very frightful experience I had, my mom was great friends with the owner and his wife. I always had bad feelings about the place. One day me and my brother were sitting in the living room when a vase shattered into millions of pieces I thought wow maybe it was the wind that knocked it over due to the window was cracked a bit. Then the day after I was in my room playing some music my mother was taken a nap. My bedroom blinds feel down and went up and back down an my radio station turned an then it turned off I immediately ran in there with my mom scared I told her she said it’s the wind I said no there’s no wind coming into my bedroom. That night my mother had went to the bar came home me and my brother were in bed asleep. We herd her holler my brother’s name get your but in bed now we ran in there and said what going on she said y’all can just stop playing games we looked at each other and both said what we r asleep she said bullshit u was under my bed shaking it we said no we wasn’t even in here a few minutes later she felt someone in her bed playing with her hair she turned the light on an nothing was there… After all this we stayed until I started seeing a lady standing in are window from out back in the yard… Very scary place I couldn’t go back.”

7 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Fall

Fall brings such beautiful orange, yellow and red foliage. It’s easy to forget that colder temperatures and unpredictable weather conditions lie just around the corner. Following are seven steps to help you ready your home for the coming season.

  • Clean the gutters

You will want to clear your gutters of leaves and other debris. Make sure to clear your drainpipe and downspouts as well to prevent clogging. If you experience below freezing temperatures during the winter months, you will need to drain and weather proof all outdoor faucets.

  • Clean the fireplace and chimney

If your house has a fireplace and chimney, you should clear out the ash and charred wood. Hire a professional to clean the chimney itself. Request that the professional checks the damper within the chimney. You will want to ensure that is tightly closed to prevent drafts.

  • Get a heating inspection

You can start by checking your home’s vents to insure they aren’t blocked by furniture, carpet, curtains or other obstructions. The cents and filters also need a good dusting and cleaning. Next, make an appoin

tment with a professional for your annual HVAC check-up to ensure your heating system runs smoothly all winter long.

  • Store AC units

You want to unplug, take down and store all removable window air conditioning units. Your central air unit may also need winterizing. Make sure to dust and clean the units before covering or storing them.

7 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Fall | Rob Andre

  • Inspect for drafts

Locating and taking care of drafts early in the season will ensure that you stay warm, save energy and reduce your heating bills throughout the season. Start by examining windows and doors for cracks. Seal anything that you find to prevent drafts.

  • Install storm windows

First, remove, clean and store any removable screens on your windows. Next, replace the screens with storm windows. The storm windows help prevent costly air leaks and drafts for a fraction of the cost of replacement windows.

  • Inspect the water heater

Readying your water heater is one the best ways to prepare for the colder months. Start by draining the water heater and then clearing out any debris that has settled within the tank. You also can have your water heater inspected by a professional to ensure it’s in good working order.