• Mon, 12 Mar 2018 13:53:52 +0000: Inventory Continues to be a Challenge - InTouch

    In any given market, inventories fluctuate based on supply and demand considering area and price range. The National Association of REALTORS considers a balanced market to be a six-month supply of homes.47945268-250.jpg

    If it takes longer than six months to sell, it is thought to be a buyer's market and less than six months, a seller's market. Most buyers and sellers probably feel a balanced inventory is more like three months' supply of homes.

    The inventory of existing homes has been reduced to approximately 1.5 million houses which is 10.3% lower than a year ago. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis there are 5.7 months' supply of new homes currently on the market in the U.S.

    Inventory has a direct impact on price. When demand is constant, but inventory is reduced, price tends to increase because the same number of people are trying to buy a smaller than normal number of homes.

    As easy as it is to recognize the signs of spring, one should be able to spot the direction prices will be moving. When prices and mortgage rates are increasing, buyers are affected by not being able to afford the same price or size of homes.

  • Mon, 05 Mar 2018 13:46:06 +0000: Your Refund Could be the Difference - InTouch

    One of the silver linings to filing your income tax return is finding out that you are going to receive a refund. If you happen to be one of these fortunate taxpayers, your next decision is what to do with it. With the average tax refund around $3,000, it could be the difference that makes a home a reality sooner rather than later.46795263-250.jpg

    Many would-be buyers think it takes 10% or more down payment to purchase a home, but actually, it can be much less. There are VA and USDA mortgages that have no down payment for qualified buyers. FHA has a 3.5% down payment program and FNMA has 3% down payment mortgages for qualified creditors.

    Closing costs for originating new mortgages can easily range from two to three percent of the purchase price but most lenders will allow the seller to pay part or all of them based on the agreement in the sales contract.

    While the average tax refund might not cover the down payment on the median price home, it certainly helps. Your refund could make it as simple as 1-2-3 to get into a home.

    1. Get the hard, cold facts for the homes and mortgages in your area and price range.
    2. Get pre-approved with a trusted mortgage professional.
    3. Start looking at homes.

    Call me at (727) 434-1673 or JohnNoell@Realtor.com to get started.

  • Mon, 26 Feb 2018 13:36:54 +0000: Fair Skies on Horizon - InTouch

    Buyers who have been concerned about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel more comfortable about moving forward with their decision to purchase. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to treat real estate as a favored investment.31496145-250.jpg

    Whether it is for a home to live in as your principal residence or to use as rental property, the tax laws are in place but other dynamics to be concerned with are not; mortgage rates are expected to rise as well as prices.

    Reasons to buy now:

    1. The mortgage interest deduction is intact for most taxpayers.
    2. The capital gain exclusion for principal residences up to $500,000 remains in place.
    3. Taxpayers can elect annually to take newly increased standard deduction or itemize deductions whichever will benefit them the most.
    4. The house payment with taxes and insurance is most likely cheaper than the rent.
    5. Rents will continue to rise making the difference even greater in the future.
    6. Lock-in the principal & interest payment with a fixed-rate mortgage.
    7. 30-year mortgage terms are available to most borrowers.
    8. Prices will likely increase due to lower inventories and several years of low housing starts.
    9. Section 1031 exchanges, capital gains and depreciation remain the same for rental properties.

    For a summary of specific real estate provisions in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, click here.

  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:23:12 +0000: Historical Perspective - InTouch

    In 1968, mortgage rates were 8.5%. The next year, rates went down to 7%. Homeowners could buy a 15-20% larger home for the same payments if they could find someone to assume their mortgage.Mortgage rate history2a.png

    FHA and VA mortgages were very popular in certain price ranges and they allowed anyone to assume the mortgage regardless of the credit. If you could find a person to take over your note, you were free to qualify for another mortgage.

    In October 1981, mortgage rates reached 18.63%. A $250,000 mortgage had a monthly principal and interest payment of $3,896.46. As astronomical as that rate sounds, people were still buying homes and were good investments.

    Four years later, they were still over 12%. The monthly payment was $2,571.53. Believe it or not, people were excited to be paying only 2/3 what they had to pay a few years earlier.

    Fast forward to late 1991 when the rates went below 9% and that same payment was to $2,015.16. At the turn of the 21st century, rates were 8.15% and that made the payment $1,860.62. Not much change in rates during that decade.

    If we look around the housing bubble, late 2008, the rates were 6.04% and the payment was $1,505.31. By 2009, mortgage rates had fallen below 5%. The lowest mortgage rate was 3.31% on November 2012 with a payment of $1,096.27.

    Rates fluctuated for the next few years until now, and most of the experts are expecting them to be above 5% by the end of 2018.  Rates have increased each week for the last six weeks to 4.38% with payments of $1,240.12.

    The average mortgage rate for the past 47 years is a little over 8%. The real estate and mortgage markets are cyclical. Rates have been historically low for a long period but will probably continue to rise. Most buyers don’t pay cash and mortgages enable them to purchase now. Based on history, even 8% would be an excellent rate. Until it reaches that point again, everything lower is a bargain.

  • Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:20:36 +0000: The "Right" Agent and the "Right" Home - InTouch

    Some buyers think that finding the right home is the critical part of the buying process and that is how they determine which agent to use. While it is important, there may be a broader skill set to consider when selecting your real estate professional.what buyers want-2017.png

    The most recent NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers indicate that 52% of buyers do want help in finding the right home to purchase. There was a time when the public did not have access to all the homes on the market, but the Internet has changed that.

    Helping to negotiate the price and terms of sale were identified by almost 25% of the buyers. No one wants to pay more than is necessary and the terms of the sale can be as important as the price.

    The next largest area of assistance that buyers value has to do with financing and the paperwork. Even if a buyer has been through the process before, it very likely could have been several years and things have probably changed.

    Since the cost of housing is dependent on the price paid for the home and the financing, a real estate professional skilled in these specialized areas can be very valuable in finding the "right" home. An agent’s experience and connections to allied professionals and service providers is equally important.

    Ask the agent representing you to specifically list the tools and talent they have available to address these areas.