J. Kent Erickson, Broker Associate
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Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score

Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score Knowing your credit score or getting a recent copy of your credit report is one of the first steps that you can take toward knowing how ready you are to start the home buying process. Make sure all the information listed on your report is accurate and work to correct any mistakes. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be to receive a better interest rate for your mortgage, which will translate into more ‘home for your money.’ Many potential buyers believe that they need a 750 FICO® Score or higher to be able to purchase a home. The truth is that according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report, over 53% of loans were approved with a FICO® score under 750 last month! Here are some tips for improving your credit score: Make payments, including rent, credit cards, and car loans, on time. Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards. Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit. Check for errors on your credit report and work toward fixing them. Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score. Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score. Once you know your score, your next step will be finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this will ensure that you know your budget before you start looking for your dream...

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Low Inventory Cause Home Prices to Maintain Fast Growth

Posted by on Nov 17, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Low Inventory Causes Home Prices to Maintain Fast Growth The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their latest Quarterly Metro Home Price Report last week. The report revealed that severely lacking inventory across the country drained sales growth and kept home prices rising at a steady clip in nearly all metro areas. Home prices rose 5.3% over the last quarter across all metros. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, discussed the impact of low inventory on buyers in the report: “Unfortunately, the pace of new listings were unable to replace what was quickly sold. Home shoppers had little to choose from, and many had to outbid others in order to close on a home. The end result was a slowdown in sales from earlier in the year, steadfast price growth and weakening affordability conditions.” What this means to sellers Rising prices are a homeowner’s best friend. As reported by the Washington Post in a recent article post: “The rise in median sales prices has made current homeowners much more willing to sell their home, and that willingness is one of the main drivers behind the inventory that does make it on to the market. While it hasn’t been enough to meet demand, it has made the situation much better, compared with even three or four years ago.” What this means to buyers In a market where prices are rising, buyers should take into account the cost of waiting. Obviously, they will pay more for the same house later this year or next year. However, as Construction Dive reported, the amount of cash needed to purchase that home will also increase. “These factors have created a situation where the market keeps moving the goalposts in terms of the down payment necessary for first-time homebuyers to get into a home.” Bottom Line  If you’re thinking of selling and moving down, waiting might make sense. If you are a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving up, waiting probably doesn’t make...

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Why Sell Now Instead of Later? The Buyers Are Out Now

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why Sell Now Instead of Later? The Buyers are Out Now Each year, most homeowners wait until the spring to sell their houses because they believe that they can get a better deal during the normal spring buyer’s market. However, recently released data suggests that a seller’s best deal may be available right now. The concept of ‘supply & demand’ reveals that the best price for an item will be realized when the supply of that item is low and the demand for that item is high. Let’s see how this applies to the current residential real estate market. SUPPLY It is no secret that the supply of homes for sale has been far below the number needed for over a year. A normal market requires six months of housing inventory to meet the demand. The latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there is currently only a 4.2-month supply. Supply is currently very low!! DEMAND A report that was just released tells us that demand is very strong. The most recent Foot Traffic Report (which sheds light on the number of buyers out looking at homes) disclosed that there are more buyers right now than at any other time in the last twelve months. This includes more buyers looking at homes right now than at any time during last year’s spring market. Demand is currently very high!!  Bottom Line Waiting until the spring to list your house for sale made sense in the past. This year is different. The best deal is probably available right...

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The Difference An Hour Makes in Real Estate

Posted by on Nov 13, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Difference an Hour Makes in Real Estate [INFOGRAPHIC] Every Hour in the US Housing Market:  624 Homes Sell 347 Homes Regain Positive Equity Median Home Values Go Up...

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Multigenerational Households May Be the Answer to Price Increases

Posted by on Nov 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Multigenerational Households May Be the Answer to Price Increases Multigenerational homes are coming back in a big way! In the 1950s, about 21%, or 32.2 million Americans shared a roof with their grown children or parents. According to an article by Realtor.com, “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is now living in a multigenerational household – a household with two or more adult generations, or grandparents living with grandchildren – a level that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since 1950.” Another report that proves this point is the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers which states that 13% of home buyers purchased multigenerational homes last year. The top 3 reasons for purchasing this type of home were: To take care of aging parents (22%, up from 19% last year) Cost savings (17%) Children over the age of 18 moving back home (16%, up from 14% last year) Valerie Sheets, Spokesperson for Lennar, points out that, “Everyone is looking for the perfect home for any number of family situations, such as families who opt to take care of aging parents or grandparents at home, or millennials looking to live with their parents while they attend school or save for a down payment.” For a long time, nuclear families (a couple and their dependent children) became the accepted norm, but John Graham, co-author of “Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living,” says, “We’re getting back to the way human beings have always lived in – extended families.” This shift can be attributed to several social changes over the decades. Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living; “Data suggest that multigenerational living is more prevalent among Asian (28%), Hispanic (25%), and African-American (25%) families, while U.S. whites have fewer multigenerational homes (15%).” Additionally, women are a bit more likely to live in multigenerational conditions than are their male counterparts (12% vs. 10%, respectively). Last but not least, basic economics. Valerie Sheets brings to light the fact that home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years. She says that, “As home prices increase, more families tend to opt for living together.” Bottom Line  Multigenerational households are making a comeback. While it is a shift from the more common nuclear home, these households might be the answer that many families are looking for as home prices continue to rise in response to a lack of housing...

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5 Reasons Homeownership Makes ‘Cents’

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

5 Reasons Homeownership Makes ‘Cents’ The American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. Recent reports show that the US homeownership rate has rebounded from recent lows and is headed in the right direction. The personal reasons to own differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities. Today we want to talk about the top 5 financial reasons you should own your own home. Homeownership is a form of forced savings – Paying your mortgage each month allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life for renovations, to pay off high-interest credit card debt, or even send a child to college. As a renter, you guarantee that your landlord is the person with that equity. Homeownership provides tax savings – One way to save on taxes is to own your own home. You may be able to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, and profits from selling your home, but make sure to always check with your accountant first to find out which tax advantages apply to you in your area. Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost – When you purchase your home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you lock in your monthly housing cost for the next 5, 15, or 30 years. Interest rates have remained around 4% all year, marking some of the lowest rates in history. The value of your home will continue to rise with inflation, but your monthly costs will not. Buying a home is cheaper than renting – According to the latest reportfrom Trulia, it is now 37.4% less expensive to buy a home of your own than to rent in the US. That number varies throughout the country but ranges from 6% cheaper in San Jose, CA to 57% cheaper in Detroit, MI. No other investment lets you live inside of it – You can choose to invest your money in gold or the stock market, but you will still need somewhere to live. In a home that you own, you can wake up every morning knowing that your investment is gaining value while providing you a safe place to live. Bottom Line Before you sign another lease, let’s get together to help you better understand all your...

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The Mortgage Process: What You Need to Know

Posted by on Oct 7, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Mortgage Process: What You Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC] Some Highlights: Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%. You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don’t have perfect credit. Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can...

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What to Look for in Your Real Estate Team

Posted by on Sep 30, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What to Look for in Your Real Estate Team How do you select the members of your team who are going to help you make your dream of owning a home a reality? What should you be looking for? How do you know if you’ve found the right agent or lender? The most important characteristic that you should be looking for in your agent is someone who is going to take the time to really educate you on the choices available to you and your ability to buy in today’s market. As Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises: “When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” Do your research. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of professionals whom they have used in the past and have had good experiences with. Look for members of your team who will be honest and trustworthy; after all, you will be trusting them with helping you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Whether this is your first or fifth time buying a home, you want to make sure that you have an agent who is going to have the tough conversations with you, not just the easy ones. If your offer isn’t accepted by the seller, or they think that there may be something wrong with the home that you’ve fallen in love with, you would rather know what they think than make a costly mistake. According to a Consumer Housing Trends Study, millennials have already started to prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience: “While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.” Look for someone to invest in your family’s future with you. You want an agent who isn’t focused on the transaction but is instead focused on helping you understand the process while helping you find your dream home. Bottom Line In this world of Google searches, where it seems like all the answers are just a mouse-click away, you need an agent who is going to educate you and share the information that you need to know before you even know you need...

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Happily Ever Homeowner

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Happily Ever Homeowner Married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics last year at 66% of all buyers, according to the most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. It is no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more attainable. Many couples are deciding to use what would otherwise be their wedding fund as a down payment on their first home, as unmarried couples made up 8% of all first-time buyers last year. If you’re single, don’t fret; you can still buy your dream home! Single women made up 17% of first-time buyers in 2016, while single men accounted for 7% of buyers. According to a survey by the Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the United States at the start of the year was $25,961, which equates to a 10% down payment on a median priced home. A recent article from the New York Times found that many singles are now asking their parents to allow them to use the money they’ve saved up for their wedding day to instead buy a home. In the case of Carrie Graham, a Protestant minister from Austin, TX, her parents had saved a ‘five-figure sum’ for her wedding and were more than willing to give her that money as a down payment on her dream home. Graham told The New York Times, “Buying the home wasn’t me saying, ‘I’m never going to get married’ or I am going to get married.’ My own home had way more than equity benefits. It was a real gift to have a home in an extremely desirable neighborhood in a city that I love. It’s brought me joy.” Bottom Line More and more first-time homebuyers are finding a way to purchase their dream homes, even if that means delaying their dream...

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5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense. 1. Demand Is Strong The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market. 2. There Is Less Competition Now Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon. Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but that number has jumped to an average of almost nine years since 2008. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell. 3. The Process Will Be Quicker Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 43 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January. 4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move-up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own! Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.0% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. 5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living...

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