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As Renting Becomes More and More Unaffordable, Homeownership Is On The Rise

When people think “affordable housing,” they typically think of renting. However, that’s no longer the case. According to Realtor.com’s most recent Market Outlook Report (from September 2017), rents rose year-over-year in an astonishing 78% of counties across the US. In fact, renting has become so unaffordable, it’s officially become more expensive than homeownership. According to a recent study by Zillow, homeownership is more affordable than renting in the majority of metro markets across the US.

This unexpected shift in affordability is steering people away from renting and straight into their own homes. According to a recent article from Realtor.com, the homeownership rate in the US rose year-over-year for the fifth consecutive quarter in April 2018 to 64.2%. The country also lost 286,000 renter households, which is the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines. 

If you’re still a renter, the time to transition to homeownership is now. Rents are continuing to rise, and if you continue to rent, you’re throwing away money that could be better spent on owning your own home—and building your wealth in the process. Contact us; we will step you through the home buying process.

 

 

Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Financing

Younger Generation of Home Buyers Turning To Non-Traditional Loans In Record Numbers

The vast majority of people buying homes are financing their purchase through a loan. According to the Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors®, 88% of buyers finance their home purchase. And when you look at the younger generation of buyers, that number jumps to a whopping 98%. And that younger generation of buyers? They’re exploring non-traditional lending options in record numbers.

According to the report, only 55% of buyers under the age of 37 used a traditional loan to finance their home—meaning nearly half purchase a home using non-traditional financing options.

Perhaps the biggest reason behind the upward trend in younger buyers exploring non-traditional loans is lower down payments. While traditional loans typically require a 20% down payment, non-traditional loans require much less. And because saving for a down payment is a major obstacle for younger buyers (according to the report, 24% of buyers aged 37 or under listed it as the most difficult part of the home buying process), loans that require less of an upfront investment are much more appealing.

The Takeaway If you’re a younger buyer thinking about purchasing a home, there’s a reason your peers are exploring non-traditional loan options. Consider your options to see what works for you. You might want to consider doing the same. 

Bankruptcy and Purchasing a Home

Dealing with a Past Bankruptcy? You Can Still Buy A Home—And Sooner Than You Might Think

In the past 6 years, more than 5 million Americans have filed for bankruptcy. And while many people believe that filing for bankruptcy causes long-term financial ruin and will keep them from ever being able to purchase a home, it turns out that might not be the case.

According to "The Cost of Bankruptcy", a recent study from Lending Treehttps://www.lendingtree.com/bankruptcy/the-cost-of-bankruptcy/ within a year, 43% of people with a bankruptcy on their record are able to get their credit score to 640 or higher, which is the credit level typically necessary to qualify for a mortgage. Within two years of filing bankruptcy, that number jumps to 65% and at five years, 75% of people who filed bankruptcy have a FICO score of 640 or above.

Now, if you have a bankruptcy on file and a credit score on the lower end of the qualifying spectrum, you're likely to pay higher interest rates. But if you can get your score up, your bankruptcy is unlikely to have a major impact on your loan. According to the study, people with a credit score between 720 and 739 who applied for a mortgage three years after filing for bankruptcy were offered similar interest rates to those without a bankruptcy on their credit file.

If you have a bankruptcy on your credit file, buying a home is still possible. Focus on raising your credit score and you might be able to make your dream of homeownership a reality sooner than you ever thought possible. Contact us, for  more information regarding resources to help you navigate your credit score. 

Housing Inventory Outlook

Total Housing Inventory Rises 4.1% From December

 

It’s been a tough market out there for buyers. According to the recent Housing Shortage Report from Realtor.com, the United States is in the midst of its worst housing inventory shortage in over two decades.

But it looks like that might be changing.

According to the National Association of Realtors most recent Existing Home Sales Report, total housing inventory rose 4.1% from December to January, with 1.52 million homes for sale across the country. This is still lower inventory than January of last year, but it’s a positive sign that the end of the housing shortage may be in sight.

Most experts predict mid-to-late 2018 should see major changes in the number of homes on the market. According to a recent article from Realtor.com’s economics team, the second half of the year will see a major increase in inventory flooding the market thanks to new construction—which is great news for buyers.

The Takeaway

The low inventory markets across the country have been experiencing has been a real challenge for buyers. But thankfully, it looks like the coming year is going to be a much friendlier environment for buyers looking to purchase a home.

Tips for Selling Your Home

Sold! A First Timer’s Checklist For Selling Your Home

 

As a homeowner, the selling process can be an overwhelming experience – especially for first timers. Since they’ve never been through the experience of selling a home, many homeowners feel a bit lost as to what they need to do before they can pass their keys over to the next owners.

But not to worry! Here’s a checklist that covers all the essentials for homeowners getting ready to sell their first property:

Sprucing Things Up

Before homeowners list their home, they will want to handle any minor fixes that might keep them from getting top dollar for their property and spruce things up to make the home more attractive to potential buyers.

While every home is different, some areas that homeowners will want to revamp before listing their home include:

Painting

Painting is a relatively easy and inexpensive fix, but it can really make a difference in how a home presents. Before listing, homeowners should plan to refresh both the exterior and interior paint.

It also helps to use neutral colors when repainting a house that’s about to go on the market. Bold colors can be off-putting or distracting to potential buyers. Using neutral colors like white, beige, or gray, will help potential buyers see the property, not the paint.

Landscaping

The first thing potential buyers will notice when viewing a home is the landscaping. If the yard is in shambles or there are human-sized weeds sprouting from every corner, it can be a deal breaker.

Investing in landscaping upgrades will add to a property’s curb appeal and can help land a higher selling price. If the outdoor area hasn’t been landscaped, adding flowers, small trees and greenery can go a long way. If the property already has a garden, cleaning the area up (including raking, pruning and adding additional plants to fill in any visible gaps) will suffice.

Cosmetic Repairs

If there are minor and/or inexpensive repairs that need to be done to the property, it can be helpful for the homeowners to take care of them prior to listing. Small repairs, like steam cleaning the carpets or fixing a leaky shower, are quick, easy and inexpensive fixes, but can make a big difference when showing the home.

While homeowners will want to leave more major repairs and remodels for the potential buyers, cleaning up small problems will yield big results when they put their home on the market.

Staging

It’s important for homeowners to stage their home in a way that’s appealing to potential buyers. Staging can either be done with the help of a professional organizer and decorator or independently, but proper staging should include:

  • Decluttering the home
  • Removing any personal items
  • Reorganizing, rearranging and/or removing furniture to make the home feel more open and spacious
  • Thoroughly cleaning the home
  • Arranging the home to highlight the property’s best features (for example, pulling back curtains to showcase a gorgeous view or moving any furniture that blocks interesting architectural details)
  • Adding decorative items to enhance the space

Staging a home in a way that appeals to buyers can have a huge impact on the selling process. 

Choosing An Agent

Once the property is ready to be shown to potential buyers, it’s time to find an agent.

Choosing the right real estate agent is HUGELY important, particularly for first time sellers. Having the right real estate agent representing the property can mean the difference between a quick, painless and positive selling process and a long, drawn out nightmare.

When choosing a real estate homeowners should consider:

Does this agent specialize in this type of property and in this area?

Whenever possible, homeowners should work with an agent who possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience selling the type of property they’re looking to sell within their market.

Different types of properties and different markets have different nuances, and working with an agent who understands those nuances can help homeowners sell their home quicker and for a higher price than working with an agent who isn’t as knowledgeable.

What’s the agent’s track record?

One of the best predictors of future success is past success. When choosing a real estate agent, homeowners should ask what their track record of success is. How many homes have they sold in the past year? What’s the average time their properties stay on their market? What percentage of their deals come in at the asking price or above?

Understanding a real estate agent’s past performance can help homeowners understand what they might expect during the selling process and helps to set up proper expectations for both the homeowners and the agent.

What’s the agent’s plan for selling the property?

Homeowners should also ask what their agent’s plan is for selling the property. What marketing channels will they leverage to make sure the property gets in front of the right people? How aggressively do they plan to market the property? What’s their backup plan should they not be successful with their typical marketing strategies?

It’s an agent’s job to sell a property, but there are many ways to do that. Homeowners will want to find out upfront what their agent’s plan is to make sure it’s in line with what they’re looking for.

Selling a property can be overwhelming for first time sellers. But by following the steps in this checklist, homeowners can take the necessary steps to selling their home quickly, easily and with as little stress as possible.

 

Reasons to Buy Now

Home Prices Predicted To Rise Nearly 5% By January 2019

 

According to the most recent CoreLogic Home Price Insights Report, housing prices across the nation are expected to rise a total of 4.8% between January 2018 and January 2019.  According to CoreLogic’s predictions, a home that’s listed for $350,000 today will cost you $366,800 in January 2019—a change of $16,800 in just 12 months.

And not only are homes getting more expensive, but so are mortgages; according to a recent report from Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates are predicted to rise a full percentage point by the end of the year (from 3.9% for a 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage at the end of 2017 to 4.9% by the end of 2018). 

The Takeaway 

Between the rising housing costs and increased interest rates, you can end up paying tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) more for the same home at the end of 2018 than you would today. So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a home, you need to act sooner rather than later to secure the best deal.

Ready to Buy? Give us a call.

Moving to the Area

4 Tips For Buying A Home From A Distance

 

Chances are, if you’re looking for a new home, you’re ready for a change of scenery. And while that might mean just a new property or a new neighborhood, for many potential homebuyers, that often means a new city. And if you’re considering buying property in a city other than the one where you currently reside, you probably have a lot of questions about the process. Will you have to fly to your new city every weekend to look at properties? Will you miss out on hot properties? Is it even possible to buy without physically being in your city?

Buying a home from a distance certainly presents its own set of unique challenges, but by no means is it impossible. Here are four tips for buying a home from a distance to make the process easier, faster, and less stressful for you and your family:

1. Gather information

 

When you’re buying property in an unfamiliar city, the first thing you need to do is educate yourself. Gathering information on the city, the neighborhoods, the cost of living, and general property information is essential to help you make an informed decision. Without it, you’ll likely waste time and energy exploring homes that ultimately aren’t the right fit for you.

For example, you might see a home that matches all of your criteria and think “Great! We should look at this home!” But once you do your research, you might learn that while the home is great, it’s in an undesirable area, doesn’t have the walkability you’re looking for, or has a subpar school system that wouldn’t be the right fit for your children.

Thoroughly researching your new city and the different areas within it will help you save time by only viewing properties that fall within the neighborhoods you want to live in. Do research on the internet and, if possible, connect with residents of the city (friends of friends are always a great resource) to get their take on where to live and where to avoid.

2. Choose the right real estate agent

 

The key to successfully buying a new home from a distance is choosing the right real estate agent. You want to work with someone who’s an expert in your new market and who you trust to check out properties on your behalf when you’re not around.

Since you’re not in town to pop by and view properties, you only want to spend time on properties that check all of your boxes and that could be a serious contender for purchase. Ideally, your real estate agent will act as your eyes and ears, going to see properties, eliminating ones that aren’t the right fit for you, and only bringing your attention to the ones they feel hit the mark.

You also need a real estate agent with a sense of urgency. Most markets move quickly, and since you’re at a distance, you need to trust that your agent is working for you and making sure you don’t miss any hot opportunities.

3. Decide your boundaries and parameters up front

 

Once you find your agent, it’s important that you set your boundaries and parameters up front. How often will you fly in to view properties? If the perfect home came along, would you purchase it sight unseen? Do you want a virtual tour of every home your real estate agent is considering or just the ones they feel are perfect?

By setting proper expectations up front, you’ll avoid any miscommunications or misunderstandings during the purchase process, which could otherwise be exacerbated by the distance between you and your agent.

4. Leverage technology

 

Thanks to technology, there’s never been a better time to search for properties from afar. And if you want to have the easiest, fastest, and most positive experience with distance homebuying, you need to leverage the technology available to aid your home search.

When exploring neighborhoods, use online sites to get an idea of how easy it is to navigate your new neighborhood. Use real estate sites to explore everything from selling history to school systems and ratings to estimated taxes for properties you’re considering purchasing. Have your real estate agent use video conferencing technology during property walk-throughs so you can get a sense of the layout and flow of properties. And when you’re finally ready to buy, have your real estate agent use a file management program to get all the necessary documents signed and delivered (without you ever having to leave your computer desk).

Trying to find and buy a home in a city you don’t live in can be a challenge. But when you do your research, know what you want, find the right agent, and make technology work in your favor, finding your dream home in a far away zip code won’t be as difficult as you might think. 

Check out our listings to see some great properties at an affordable price. 

When You Hire a Realtor, You’re Also Partnering With These 10 Pros

 

Whether you’re putting your home on the market or searching for your dream house, a Realtor is going to help you achieve your goal as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.

From striking the best deal to simplifying that often-daunting paperwork, these pros truly do and know significantly more than their job title implies. In order to maximize your value and minimize your stress level, your agent must take on many roles to get the job done.

1. Photographer

We’re all familiar with that expression, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” but when it comes to selling houses, a great photo might be worth a thousand walk-throughs. Because most homebuyers are browsing the web before hitting the open house circuit, photography has the power to reel them in or convince them to keep scrolling.

Who’s going to make that tiny half-bath look like it’s large enough to host Thanksgiving dinner? Photographers, er, Realtors know just the right angles to show off your home and make it look so good you might wonder why you’re putting it up for sale in the first place.

2. Magician

Though they may not carry a wand, Realtors are experts at working a little magic when it comes to transforming the average home into a stunning showplace. They also have the ability to make things happen. Negotiation stalled? A great Realtor is often able to reach an agreement when others would’ve considered all hope lost. Pulling proverbial rabbits out of their hats is par for the course.

3. Chauffeur

According to the National Association of Realtors, its agents log approximately 30,300 miles annually for business-related driving. With their trusty GPSs and chargers, cars are virtual mobile offices for agents on the go. Visiting the car wash is almost a prerequisite for this post.

4. Home stager

Knowing exactly which furnishings to keep and which to store takes a home from meh to marvelous. Recognizing that clean countertops, perfect accessories, and a well-placed plant may make all the difference, Realtors will put your furnishings to work for you and remove those that work against you. (Dogs playing poker painting, we’re looking at you!)

5. Landscaper

Never underestimating the value of curb appeal, Realtors aren’t afraid to whip out their green thumbs when yards require a little TLC. Let’s be honest: If a lawn doesn’t look well-maintained, buyers assume the interior is probably in shambles as well. Enough said.

6. Psychiatrist

For most people, a home is the largest asset they’ll ever own. So it’s natural that from time to time both sellers and buyers require a little hand-holding along the way. According to home design and improvement site Houzz, simply making home renovations can lead 12 percent of couples to consider divorce. We imagine those figures only increase when you think about all that’s at stake with a home sale or purchase — not to mention moving!

7. Plumber

Toilets have an uncanny knack for overflowing just seconds before an open house begins. Water pressure in a bathroom sink or shower somehow dwindles down to a trickle moments before a buyer is about to cross the threshold. But never fear, Realtors are ready. If they can’t fix it themselves in a hurry, chances are they’ve got a connection who’ll have it repaired in no time.

8. Life coach

Whether buying or selling, sometimes clients need a little pumping up — as in “You’ve got this!” From qualifying for a mortgage to hiring a mover, Realtors have your back and are rooting for you every step of the way.

On other occasions, clients may benefit from a bit of tough love. Realtors aren’t afraid to tell clients what’s best for them when they lose perspective.

9. Home inspector

Going beyond the simple white-glove test, your Realtor will notice everything from less-than-gleaming light fixtures and mismatched doorknobs to sagging gutters and cracks in the foundation. If you’re selling, these extra touches will make your home sparkle during an open house and prevent any unwanted surprises from popping up on an inspection report.

If you’re the buyer, you want these eagle eyes on your side as well, pointing out repairs that may help you get a better price or at least help you negotiate when the time comes.

10. Marketing guru

Marketing is so much more than ‘For Sale’ signs and postcard mailers — but, of course those are important too. Having a branded online presence and knowing how to harness the power of social media is key when it comes to promoting properties. Much like Mad Men‘s Don Draper, Realtors are powerful storytellers at a time when every word counts.

With so many talents wrapped up in one title, it kind of makes you look at those commissions in a whole new light, right? We are here to help.

Pricing Myths

7 Pricing Myths You Need to Get Past If You Want to Sell Your Home

When homeowners are preparing to put their properties on the market, the most important aspect usually foremost in their minds is money. Setting the asking price accurately can mean the difference between getting an offer quickly and having a house languish for months, drawing little interest.

With that in mind, it’s important that potential sellers block out a lot of the noise that often surrounds the intricate art and science of pricing. There are plenty of myths that may cause sellers to lose sleep at night as they attempt to separate fact from fiction.

1. ‘If we keep waiting, a better offer will come along!’

When sellers receive an offer from the first showing, they may be skeptical or hesitant to accept it, wondering if other prospective buyers would be inclined to pay more. Thoughts of potential bidding wars could cause sellers to want to wait and see who else falls for their place. But, remember the old adage, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” If the offer is a fair one, entertain it and count your blessings.

2. ‘Getting an offer right away, means the agent priced it too low!’

When sellers receive an offer early in the process, as excited as they might be, many can’t help but wonder, “Should we have asked for more money? Did our agent price it too cheaply?” While it’s natural to be skeptical (and even a little greedy), receiving an offer on the early end of the spectrum most likely means your home was priced accurately and attractively. If you trust your agent, you know he or she didn’t pick a number out of the sky, but rather based it on extensive market research. So, be glad your sale is moving in the right direction.

3. ‘We should price it so there’s room to negotiate!’

Let’s be honest: Most sellers would love to get top dollar for their homes. But overpricing it with the intention of being willing to accept a lower offer may just leave you empty handed in the long run. Plus, if you have to drop your ask multiple times, buyers may begin to wonder what’s wrong with the place — other than the price, that is.

4. ‘That’s not what my Zestimate says it’s worth!’

Have you ever noticed how homeowners are eager to believe Zestimates or other automated valuation models when that price exceeds their expectations? Yet, when the opposite happens, they assume it’s outdated or erroneous information? The point we’re making is, these numbers can be inaccurate, so again, trust your agent over the Internet. 

5. ‘We can add all renovation costs to the asking price!’

Sellers may adore the improvements and renovations they’ve made and want to add in those costs to the asking price. But remember, not every change is going to land a huge return on investment. If you’re curious about what you can expect on those fixes, check out Remodeling Magazine‘s annual ‘Cost Versus Value’ report to get an idea of which upgrades yield the biggest bang for your buck. Also, as you’re making changes, bear in mind that the infinity pool you view as an asset may just seem like a huge liability to a buyer.

6. ‘My Realtor® overpriced my house to make a larger commission.’

Agents are paid a percentage of the selling price of the home. However, even if they were to raise the ask by $25,000, in most cases that would yield an additional $1,500 in commission, which would then be divvied up between the broker the agent is working for and the buyer’s agent, leaving your agent with less than $750 more in his or her pocket. It’s hard to imagine an agent would blow a potential quick sale — and take on weeks or months of additional showings and marketing expenses — for a few hundred dollars.

7. ‘Reducing the price is a sign of weakness!’

While no homeowner is eager to drop the listing price, if time is passing and there’s been little interest, it could be time to consider lowering the ask. Remember, time is money. While you’re waiting for someone to meet your price, you’re still paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance etc. Plus, sometimes, lowering the price can put your home in front of a group of new buyers, which could generate a lot more interest and, ultimately, get the price back up closer to where it was in the first place.

 

Think Owning A Home Is Out Of Your Reach? Think Again

In the current economic climate, a lot of renters thinking homeownership is out of their reach. But if you think buying a home is out of reach, you might want to think again.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Confidence® Index, first-time buyers accounted for 29% of all home sales from late 2016 to late 2017. That’s nearly one-third of all home sales! And there’s a reason so many people are making the transition from renting to owning…

Rents are rising. According to a recent Zillow study, the median US rent is taking up 29.1% of household income, and costing tenants a whopping $2,000 more per year.

Data Source: Zillow

As renting becomes less economical, more and more tenants are exploring homeownership. And thanks to low down payment mortgage options (61% of first-time buyers made a down payment between 0 and 6%, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Confidence® Index), homeownership is more accessible for first-time buyers than ever, making it the ideal time to make a move.

The Takeaway

If you’re currently throwing a large chunk of your paycheck towards your rent, now’s the time to make a move and buy your first home. Not only is homeownership one of the best investments you can make in your future, but thanks to rising rents, you may also find yourself saving money in the short-term.

Call us at Crites Real Estate Auction & Appraisal we would love to help you find your new home.

Laurie Crites | 785-375-9272 | Contact Me
339 West 6th St - Junction City, KS 66441
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