Q: What should I do to prepare my home for sale?

A: Start by finding out its worth. Contact a real estate agent for a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties. Or get a certified appraiser to provide an appraisal.

Next, get busy working on the home’s appearance. You want to make sure it is in the best condition possible for showing to prospective buyers so that you can get top dollar. This means fixing or sprucing up any trouble spots that could deter a buyer, such as squeaky doors, a leaky roof, dirty carpet and walls, and broken windows.

The “curb appeal” of your home is extremely important. In fact, it is the first impression that buyers form of your property as they drive or walk up. So make sure the lawn is pristine – the grass cut, debris removed, garden beds free of weeds, and hedges trimmed.

The trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs and fix-ups, especially if there are few homes on the market but many buyers competing for them. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the only way to sell your home in a down market.

 

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 866-977-7623.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.


Mortgage Rates Reverse Course

Mortgage rates moved lower for the first time in four weeks, according to recently released data from Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.71 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 24, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.73 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.69 percent.

"The Federal Reserve's decision last week to maintain the current level of the Federal funds rate combined with the reduction in their forecast for growth triggered a 3-basis point drop in the 10-year Treasury yield,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac. “As a consequence, the 30-year mortgage rate declined 2 basis points to 3.71 percent. However, comments this week by several members of the Fed, including the presidents of the Richmond, San Francisco, and Atlanta banks, indicated that a June rate hike is still on the table."
 
The 15-year FRM averaged 2.96 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from the last week when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.97 percent.

Data say the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.89 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from the week prior, when it averaged 2.93 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.92 percent.

For more information, visit www.freddiemac.com

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 866-977-7623.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.


Q: Is a reverse mortgage good for elderly homeowners?

A: A reverse mortgage is an increasingly popular option for older Americans to convert home equity into cash. Money can then be used to cover home repairs, everyday living expenses, and medical bills.

Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the homeowner, who continues to own the home and hold title to it.

According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, the money given by the lender is tax-free and does not affect Social Security or Medicare benefits, although it may affect the homeowners’ eligibility for certain kinds of government assistance, including Medicaid.

Homeowners must be at least 62 and own their own homes to get a reverse mortgage. No income or medical requirements are necessary to qualify, and they may be eligible even if they still owe money on a first or second mortgage. In fact, many seniors get reverse mortgages to pay off the original loan.

A reverse mortgage is repaid when the property is sold or the owner moves. Should the owner die before the property is sold, the estate repays the loan, plus any interest that has accrued.

 

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 866-977-7623.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.


Survey Gauges Early Consumer Reaction to New TRID Rules

Consumers don't seem too excited about acting under the latest mortgage rules, according to recently released ClosingCorp findings from a new national consumer survey of repeat homebuyers that provides insight into how the new TRID rule is impacting the customer experience.

The survey interviewed 1,000 repeat homebuyers who had purchased a home both before and after the new TRID rule took effect on Oct. 3, 2015. Here are some of the findings:

  • Of those surveyed, 64 percent said it was easier getting a mortgage under the old rules, than under TRID.
  • In terms of the time it took to get and close a mortgage, 57 percent said it took more time under TRID than it did previously.
  • However, a similar percentage (63 percent) said that the new “Know Before You Owe” forms for loan estimates and closing disclosures were easier to understand than the old forms.
  • Of those surveyed, 68 percent said the new forms did a better job preparing them for the closing costs they would have to pay (6 percent disagreed). Similarly, 65 percent of the respondents said that the costs and fees were “explained better” in their most recent experience.
  • However, slightly more than half (51 percent) of the respondents said there were more “unexpected costs, fees and surprises” in their most recent experience.
  • Being able to shop for service providers (title companies, inspectors, pest services, etc.) is one of the consumer benefits highlighted in the new TRID forms. Additionally, 78 percent of the consumers said they were informed about this option and nearly three quarters (74 percent) of those consumers said they took advantage of it. Another 55 percent said they saved money as a result.
  • Interestingly, of the consumers not informed that they could shop for different services, 61 percent were women and 39 percent were men, raising the question of why female homebuyers have a different experience than their male counterparts.
  • Nearly three quarters of those surveyed (70 percent) said that the actual closing of the transaction was faster this time, 19 percent said it was about the same, and only 11 percent said it was slower.

“There’s been a lot of speculation about TRID’s impact and its value to consumers,” says Brian Benson, chief executive officer of ClosingCorp. “Our new study of consumers who have bought homes and gotten mortgages both the new and the old way suggests that TRID is making it easier for consumers to understand the costs and fees that they’ll face at closing. But at the same time, the new rules are adding time and anxiety to the closing process and more than half of the respondents still said they encountered ‘unexpected costs, fees and surprises’.

“The findings suggest that our industry has more work to do to get comfortable with the TRID forms and processes, and to educate consumers and their advisors. Our clients and partners believe technology and integrated data and communications will provide the long-term solution to these challenges.”

Source: www.closing.com

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 866-977-7623.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.


Q: What is a mortgage and how does it work?

A: A mortgage makes homeownership possible for most people. In the simplest terms, it is a loan that is secured by real property. The lender holds title to the home until the loan is completely repaid. If you fail to pay up, the lender has a right to take the property, sell it, and recover the money that is owed.

The amount of a mortgage will vary greatly depending on the down payment you make to reduce the amount of money that is needed to finance the home. You may put as much money down as you like, or you can sometimes pay as little as 3 to 5 percent of the purchase price, or sometimes nothing at all. The more you put down, the more you reduce the amount that is financed, thereby lowering your monthly payment.

The monthly payment consists of both principal and interest but also typically includes additional amounts to cover property taxes and insurance – specifically hazard insurance and private mortgage insurance, the latter of which is required for down payments less than 20 percent of the purchase price.

Homebuyers in the U.S. have access to several different types of mortgage loans.

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 866-977-7623.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.


A Step-by-Step Moving Checklist

Made the decision to move? Congratulations! You’re one step closer to living in the home of your dreams. Make your move go as smoothly as possible by following this checklist, mapped out in timeline format by the experts at Roadway Moving.

60 Days Before You Move…

• Start strategically planning your move, step-by-step, to alleviate the stress of last-minute packing and planning.

• Think about holding a garage sale before your move to help reduce the amount of stuff you bring into your new home.

30 Days Before You Move…

• Check-in with your mover regarding details for move-in day.

• Confirm with your moving company that they will be able to connect or disconnect cable, Internet, electric and any additional services you're using.

• Begin packing and develop an unpacking plan for move-in day.

2 Weeks Before You Move…

• Clear out any rooms in your house that haven't been emptied yet.

• Collect all of your most valuable belongings, such as jewelry, and keep them separate from the rest of your packed items.

On Move-In Day…

• Compile a list of items you’ll need for your first night in your new home, such as bottled water, snacks, towels and toilet paper.

• Take inventory of all boxes that were picked up and delivered to your new home, making sure everything is there before the movers leave.

Source: Roadway Moving

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 866-977-7623.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.


Home Flipping On the Rise in 75 Percent of Markets

Home flipping shot up in 2015, with 179,778 U.S. single family homes and condos flipped, 5.5 percent of all single family home and condo sales during the year, according to the recently released RealtyTrac® Year-End and Q4 2015 U.S. Home Flipping Report.
 
The 5.5 percent share of U.S. home flips in 2015 was up from a 5.3 percent share in 2014, marking the first annual increase in the share of homes flipped following four consecutive years of decreases. The share of homes flipped in 2015 increased from the previous year in 83 of 110 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas nationwide analyzed for the report (75 percent).
 
“As confidence in the housing recovery spreads, more real estate investors and would-be real estate investors are hopping on the home flipping bandwagon,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “Not only is the share of home flips on the rise again, but we also see the flipping trend trickling down to smaller investors who are completing fewer flips per year. The total number of investors who completed at least one flip in 2015 was at the highest level since 2007, and the number of flips per investor was at the lowest level since 2008.”
 
There were 110,008 investors or entities that completed at least one home flip in 2015, the highest number of home flippers since 2007, when there were 130,603 home flippers. The peak in the number of active home flippers was in 2005, with 259,192. There were 1.63 home flips per investor in 2015, the lowest ratio of flips per investor since 2008.
 
“More inexperienced home flippers with a smaller financial cushion could be a sign of an over-speculative market, but the data indicates that flippers in 2015 continued to operate within relatively conservative margins,” Blomquist continues. “Homes flipped in 2015 were on average purchased at a 26 percent discount below estimated market value and re-sold by the flipper at a 5 percent premium above estimated market value.”
 
Share of Homes Flipped in 2015 Above 2005 Levels in 11 Percent of Markets
The 5.5 percent share of U.S. homes flipped in 2015 was still well below the peak of 8.2 percent of U.S. homes flipped in 2005.
 
Counter to the national trend, the share of homes flipped in 2015 was above 2005 levels in 12 of the 110 metro areas (11 percent) analyzed in the report, including Pittsburgh (19 percent above 2005 levels); Memphis (18 percent above 2005 levels); Buffalo, N.Y. (12 percent above 2005 levels); San Diego (4 percent above 2005 levels); Seattle (4 percent above 2005 levels); Birmingham, Ala. (4 percent above 2005 levels); and Cleveland (3 percent above 2005 levels).
 
Metro areas with the biggest year-over-year increase in share of flips were Lakeland, Fla. (up 50 percent); New Haven, Conn.t (up 45 percent); Jacksonville, Fla. (up 41 percent); Homosassa Springs, Fla. (up 40 percent); and Akron, Ohio (up 37 percent).
 
The Miami metro area had the most homes flipped of any market nationwide in 2015, with 10,658, representing 8.6 percent of all Miami-area home sales for the year and up 4 percent as a share of all sales from 2014. 
 
Average Gross Flipping Profit at a 10-Year High in 2015
Homes flipped in 2015 yielded an average gross profit of $55,000 nationwide, the highest average gross profit for homes flipped nationwide since 2005, when the average gross profit on flipped homes was $58,750. The average gross flipping profit is the difference between the purchase price and the flipped price (not including rehab costs and other expenses incurred, which flipping experts estimate typically run between 20 percent and 33 percent of the property’s after repair value).
 
The average gross flipping profit of $55,000 in 2015 represented an average gross return on investment (ROI) of 45.8 percent, up from 44.2 percent in 2014 and up from a 35.3 percent in 2005. The annual peak in average gross flipping ROI was 2013 at 46.0 percent. The average gross ROI is the gross profit expressed as a percentage of the original purchase price.
 
Markets with Highest Average Gross Flipping Profits, ROI and Increase in ROI
Among 110 metro areas with at least 250 flips in 2015, those with the highest average gross flipping profit in dollars in 2015 were San Francisco ($145,000); San Jose, Calif. ($145,000); New York ($120,000); Los Angeles ($115,000); and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif. (110,000).
 
Markets with the highest average gross ROI on homes flipped in 2015 were Pittsburgh (129.5 percent); New Orleans (99.2 percent); Philadelphia (98.4 percent); Cincinnati (89.7 percent); and New Haven, Conn. (89.6 percent).
 
Markets with the biggest increase in average flipping gross ROI in 2015 compared to 2014 were Boise, Idaho (85 percent increase); Hartford, Conn. (51 percent increase); Ocala, Fla. (49 percent increase); Homosassa Springs, Fla. (41 percent increase); and Huntsville, Ala. (39 percent increase).
 
Highest Share of Home Flips in Nevada, Florida, Alabama, Arizona and Tennessee
States with the highest share of flips in 2015 were Nevada (8.8 percent); Florida (8.0 percent); Alabama (7.4 percent); Arizona (7.1 percent); and Tennessee (6.9 percent).
 
Among states with at least 1,000 single family homes flipped in 2015, those with the biggest year-over-year increase in share of flips were Connecticut (up 23 percent); Oregon (up 21 percent); Maryland (up 19 percent); Illinois (up 18 percent); and New Jersey (up 17 percent).
 
Among 110 metro areas with at least 250 flips in 2015, those with the highest share of flipping as a percentage of all single family home sales were Memphis (11.1 percent); Fresno, Calif. (9.2 percent); Las Vegas (9.2 percent); Tampa (9.2 percent); and Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. (9.1 percent).
 
For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 866-977-7623.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.