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Get Pre-Approved and Stand Out from the Crowd!

by Melissa Thompson

Across the country right now, the number of buyers seeking homes far outnumbers the number of homes available.  Because of this, the housing market is super competitive and buyers often need to do something 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 in a less competitive market, knowing your budget will give you security of knowing if a home is within your reach.

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 with this process.  Once you have chosen a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with vital information regarding your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.

There are 4 Cs that aid in determining the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  • Capacity: Your current and future ability to make 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 want to purchase.
  • Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time.

Getting pre-approved not only shows sellers you are serious, but also speeds up the process of completing the purchase once your offer has been accepted.

Many people overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage.  If you are ready to buy, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at what you can afford!

Thinking about buying your own Memphis TN home, Call your local expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526.

Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out...

by Melissa Thompson

Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The “Cost of Waiting to Buy” is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices and interest rates were to increase over a period of time.
  • Freddie Mac predicts that interest rates will increase to 4.8% by this time next year, while home prices are predicted to appreciate by 4.8% according to CoreLogic.
  • Waiting until next year to buy could cost you thousands of dollars a year for the life of your mortgage!
  •  

Learn more about buying or selling Memphis Real Estate at yourkeytomemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or [email protected]

 

Will Housing Affordability Be a Challenge in 2017?

by Melissa Thompson

Will Housing Affordability Be a Challenge in 2017? | Keeping Current Matters

Some industry experts are saying that the housing market may be heading for a slowdown in 2017 based on rising home prices and a jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here is how NAR defines the index:

“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”

Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.

The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home.

Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market.

But, wait a minute…

Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize during that time the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of housing inventory with as many as one out of three listings being a distressed property (foreclosure or short sale). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.

The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.

However, let’s remove the crisis years and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008:

Will Housing Affordability Be a Challenge in 2017? | Keeping Current Matters

We can see that, even though prices have increased, mortgage rates are still lower than historical averages and have put the index in a better position than every year for the nineteen years before the crash.

Bottom Line

The Housing Affordability Index is in great shape and should not be seen as a challenge to the real estate market’s continued recovery. 

Learn more about buying Memphis Real Estate at yourkeytomemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or [email protected]

 

Is This the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do it Early

by Melissa Thompson

Is This the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do it Early | Keeping Current Matters

It appears that Americans are regaining faith in the U.S. economy. The following indexes have each shown a dramatic jump in consumer confidence in their latest surveys:

  1. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
  2. National Federation of Independent Businesses' Small Business Optimism Index
  3. CNBC All-America Economic Survey
  4. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey

It usually means good news for the housing market when the country sees an optimistic future. People begin to dream again about the home their family has always wanted, and some make plans to finally make that dream come true.

If you are considering moving up to your dream home, it may be better to do it earlier in the year than later. The two components of your monthly mortgage payment (home prices and interest rates) are both projected to increase as the year moves forward, and interest rates may increase rather dramatically. Here are some predictions on where rates will be by the end of the year:

HSH.com:

“We think that conforming 30-year fixed rates probably make it into the4.625 percent to 4.75 percent range at some point during 2017 as a peak.”

Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the 30-year fixed mortgage rate hits 4.75 percent.”

Mark Fleming, the Chief Economist at First American:

“[I see] mortgage rates getting much closer to 5 percent at the end of next year.”

Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist:

“By this time next year, expect the 30-year fixed rate to likely be in the 4.5 percent to 5 percent range.”

Bottom Line

If you are feeling good about your family’s economic future and are considering making a move to your dream home, doing it sooner rather than later makes the most sense.

Contact The Melissa Thompson Team for help answering all your home buying questions! 901-729-9526 or [email protected]

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New Home Sales Race to Keep Up with Demand

by Melissa Thompson

New Home Sales Race to Keep Up with Demand [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Many buyers who are searching for their dream homes are turning to new home construction after 10% of all new home buyers sighted a lack of inventory of existing homes as their reason for purchase.
  • The median home price decreased slightly from September’s high of $314,100 to $304,500 in October.
  • The West saw the largest month over month jump in sales at 28.7%.

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Starting the search for your dream home? Meet with The Melissa Thompson Team for help explaining the market’s conditions and making the best decision for you and your family. 901-729-9526 or [email protected]

Have You Put Aside Enough for Closing Costs?

by Melissa Thompson

Have You Put Aside Enough for Closing Costs? | Keeping Current Matters

There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that you need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home, or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that there are many loan programs that allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage.  These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any way to avoid paying closing costs?

Work with your lender and real estate agent to see if there are any ways to decrease or defer your closing costs. There are no-closing mortgages available, but they end up costing you more in the end with a higher interest rate, or by wrapping the closing costs into the total cost of the mortgage (meaning you’ll end up paying interest on your closing costs).

Home buyers can also negotiate with the seller over who pays these fees. Sometimes the seller will agree to assume the buyer’s closing fees in order to get the deal finalized.

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

 

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers

by Melissa Thompson

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters

Fannie Mae’s “What do consumers know about the Mortgage Qualification Criteria?” Study revealed that Americans are misinformed about what is required to qualify for a mortgage when purchasing a home.

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Fannie Mae’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 76% of Americans either don’t know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required.

Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home. New programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%.

Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters

As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!

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

The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO score is necessary to qualify.

Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at the latest Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see below, 54.1% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will definitely make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

 

4 Stats That PROVE This Is NOT 2005 All over Again

by Melissa Thompson

4 Stats That PROVE This Is NOT 2005 All over Again | Keeping Current Matters

Recent research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) examined certain red flags that caused the housing crisis in 2005, and then compared them to today’s real estate market. Today, we want to concentrate on four of those red flags.

  1. Price to Rent Ratio
  2. Price to Income Ratio
  3. Mortgage Transactions
  4. House Flipping

All four categories were outside historical norms in 2005. Home prices were way above normal ratios when compared to both rents and incomes at the time.

NAR explained that mortgage transactions as a percentage of all home sales were also at a higher percentage:

“Loose credit was one of the main culprits of the housing crisis. Mortgage lending expanded dramatically as unhealthy housing speculation reached its peak and was met by the highest level of credit availability as measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The index measures the overall mortgage credit condition by the share of home sales financed by mortgages. This metric does not capture credit quality, but it does set a view of the importance of financing in supporting the housing market.”

House flipping was rampant in 2005. As NAR’s research points out:

“Heightened flipping activity is a clear indication of speculation in the real estate market. A property is considered as a speculative flip if the property is sold twice within 12 months and with positive profit. Flipping is a normal part of a healthy housing market. In an inflated housing market, expectations about short-term profit from pure price appreciation are very high; therefore, the level of flipping activity would show evidence of being heightened.”

Here are the categories with percentages reflecting the unrealistic ratios & numbers of 2005 as compared to the current market. Remember, a negative percentage reflects a positive gain for the market.

4 Stats That PROVE This Is NOT 2005 All over Again | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

They say hindsight is 20/20… Today, experts are keeping a close watch on the potential red flags that went unnoticed in 2005.

 

Would You Qualify for a Mortgage Now?

by Melissa Thompson

Would You Qualify for a Mortgage Now? | Keeping Current Matters

The widespread myth that perfect credit and large down payments are necessary to buy a home are holding many potential home buyers on the sidelines. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Report, the average FICO score for all closed loans in May was 724, far lower than the 750 or 800 that many buyers believe to be true.

Below is a graph of the distribution of FICO scores of approved loans in May (the latest available data):

Would You Qualify for a Mortgage Now? | Keeping Current Matters

Looking at the chart above, it becomes obvious that not only do you not need a 750+ credit score, but 54.9% of approved loans actually had a score between 600 and 749.

More and more experts are speaking up about the fact that if potential buyers realized they could be approved for a mortgage with a credit score at, or above, 600, the distribution in the chart above would shift further to the left.

Ellie Mae’s Vice President, Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage: 

“The high median credit score is due to many millennials believing they won’t qualify with the score they have - and are therefore waiting to apply for a mortgage until they have the score they think they need.” (emphasis added)

CoreLogic’s latest MarketPulse Report agrees that the median FICO score does not always tell the whole story:

“The observed decline in originations could be a result of potential applicants being either too cautious or discouraged from applying, more so than tight underwriting as the culprit in lower mortgage activity.”

It’s not just millennials who believe high credit scores and large down payments are needed. Many current homeowners are delaying moving on to a home that better fits their current needs due to a belief that they would not qualify for a mortgage today.

So what does this all mean?

Moe put it this way:

“Many potential home buyers are 'disqualifying' themselves. You don't need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who has always thought homeownership was out of their reach, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you start the process of being pre-qualified to see if you are able to buy now!

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BREXIT: What’s the FIXIT for U.S. Home Buyers and Sellers?

by Melissa Thompson

BREXIT: What’s the FIXIT for U.S. Home Buyers and Sellers? | Keeping Current Matters

Now that much of the dust has settled and the panic has waned, let’s take a look at what impact Britain’s exit from the European Union may have on the U.S. housing market.

The most immediate impact of Brexit will be on mortgage interest rates. Interest rates have remained at historic lows for the last several years. Contrary to what many experts believed, rates have remained low throughout the first half of 2016.

Possible impact of Brexit on mortgage rates?

In a recent article, the Washington Post explained:

“Brexit has spawned the recent bout of volatility in global financial markets. That has anxious investors scurrying for safety -- and few assets are safer than U.S. Treasuries. High demand for government debt pulls down interest rates.

That all translates into ultra-low mortgage rates for American households. And with Britain voting for Brexit, they could go even lower.”

However, the lower rates caused by Brexit may be short lived as Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin pointed out in a recent post:

“While the departure of the UK from the European Union has driven down the 10-year bond, and thus mortgage rates, we expect them to rebound later in the year as uncertainty over the economic consequences of the departure lifts.”

Bottom Line

Rates are already at historic lows. The UK’s exit from the EU almost certainly guarantees they will remain low (and possibly go lower) over the next few months. If you were thinking of buying your first home or trading up to the house of your dreams, this may be the time to act. The cost of money may never be better for a potential buyer.

By: KCM Crew

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 67

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