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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 & interest rates were to increase over a period of time.

Freddie Mac predicts interest rates to rise to 5.1% by the end of 2019.

CoreLogic predicts home prices to appreciate by 4.8% over the next 12 months.

If you are ready and willing to buy your dream home, find out if you are able to!

A loaf of bread used to be a nickel. A movie ticket was a dime. Not anymore. Houses were also much less expensive than they are now. Inflation raised the price of all three of those items, along with the price of almost every other item we purchase.

The reason we can still afford to consume is that our wages have also risen over time. The better measure of whether an item is more expensive than it was before is what percentage of our income it takes to purchase that item today compared to earlier. Let’s look at purchasing a home.

The COST of a home is determined by three major components: price, mortgage interest rate, and wages. The big question? Are we paying a greater percentage of our income toward our monthly mortgage payment today than previous generations? Surprisingly, the answer is no.

Historically, Americans have paid just over 21% of their income toward their monthly mortgage payment.

Though home prices are higher than before, wages have risen as well. And, the most important component in the cost equation – the mortgage rate – is dramatically lower than it was in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Today, according to the latest Home Affordability Index just released by the National Association of Realtors, Americans are paying 17.4% of their income toward their mortgage payment. That is much lower than the 21% average previous generations have paid.

Bottom Line

The cost of purchasing a home today is a bargain compared to previous generations when we look at it from a percentage of income basis. However, with mortgage rates expected to increase and home prices continuing to appreciate, that will not always be the case. Whether you are buying your first home or looking to move-up to a more expensive home, purchasing sooner rather than later probably makes sense.

If you’ve ever watched “The Price is Right,” you know that the only way to win is to be the one to correctly guess the price of the item you want without going over! That means your guess must be just slightly under the retail price.

In today’s shifting real estate market, where more inventory is coming to market and home values are projected to appreciate at lower rates, homeowners will not be able to price their homes as aggressively as they were able to just last year.

They will have to employ the same strategy: be the closest without going over!

As we have explained before, pricing your home at or slightly below market value actually increases the number of buyers who will see your home in their search!

Over the last six months, more inventory has come to market while the months’ supply of inventory available has dropped. This means that the the demand for homes to buy is still very strong throughout the country!

Homeowners who make the mistake of overpricing their homes will eventually have to drop the price. This leaves buyers wondering if the price drop was caused by something wrong with the homes when in reality nothing was wrong, the price was just too high!

Bottom Line

If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, make sure you have a real estate professional on your side to help you properly price your home from the start!

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:

Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments

Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash

Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase

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 homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary to qualify for a mortgage. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so today.

Some Hightlights:

With interest rates still around 4.5%, now is a great time to look back at where rates have been over the last 40 years.

Rates are projected to climb to 5.0% by this time next year according to Freddie Mac.

The impact your interest rate makes on your monthly mortgage cost is significant!

Lock in a low rate now while you can!

You may have heard that the housing market is softening. There is no doubt that buyer traffic has decreased. There are fewer purchasers in the market than there were last month and at this time last year. What you may not have heard, however, is that there is still a severe shortage of listing inventory in many regions of the country. In a recent interview discussing the housing market, First American’s Chief Economist Mark Fleming put it simply: “The biggest challenge is really the availability of supply.” When we look at available inventory numbers released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), we see that the actual number of homes for sale has decreased in each of the last five months.

What does this mean to you as a seller?

The best time to sell is when there is less competition. That guarantees you a better price and fewer hassles in the transaction.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your house this year, the best time to put it on the market might be right now. Let’s get together to evaluate the demand for your house in our market!

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states, “Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.” In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!

Will This Trend Continue?

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors, mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.

Bottom Line

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors, mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.


Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive, but let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their homes a little OVER market value will leave them with room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

HGTV gives this advice:

“First impressions are everything when selling your home. Studies have shown that the first two weeks on the market are the most crucial to your success. During these initial days, your home will be exposed to all active buyers.

If your price is perceived as too high, you will quickly lose this initial audience and find yourself relying only on the trickle of new buyers entering the market each day. Markets are dynamic, and your price has an expiration date. You have one chance to grab attention. Make sure your pricing helps you stand out on the shelf — in a positive way.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may believe that he or she will make more money without having to pay a real estate commission, but studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research by the National Association of Realtors in their 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that, “the median selling price for all FSBO homes was $200,000 last year. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $264,900 – nearly $65,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the money you get for your house.

Some Highlights:

If you are planning on listing your house for sale this year, here are the top four home improvement projects that will net you the most Return on Investment (ROI).

Minor bathroom renovations can go a long way toward improving the quality of your everyday life and/or impressing potential buyers.

Upgrading your landscaping or curb appeal helps get buyers in the door.

These upgrades rank as the 2nd and 4th best renovations for returns on investment.

Following last year’s real estate market was like riding a rollercoaster. The market started off strong in 2018 and then softened before finishing with a mild flurry. However, one thing that did not waiver was America’s belief that owning a home makes sense from a financial standpoint. An end-of-the-year survey by the Federal Reserve Bank’s Center for Microeconomic Data revealed that: “The majority of households continue to view housing as a good financial investment.” And that percentage has increased over the last three years.

Bottom Line

Though there is some uncertainty as to how the real estate market will perform over the next twelve months, one thing remains very certain: America’s belief in homeownership.

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