Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE

 

Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE | MyKCM

In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5%+ over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth, as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home.

Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges anyone looking to buy or sell in today’s market to remember the impact of this challenge: 

“While a 1 or 2 percent difference in home value opinions may not seem like a lot, it could be enough to derail a mortgage.

A homeowner [or a buyer] could be forced to bring more cash to closing in order to make a mortgage work if the appraisal is lower than expected. On the other hand, if an appraisal comes in higher, they could be surprised with more equity than they had planned. Either way, if owners are aware of their local markets it will lead to smoother mortgage transactions.”

The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last 12 months.

Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to discuss this and any other obstacle that may arise.

The High Impact of Low Interest Rates on Your Purchasing Power

 

The High Impact of Low Interest Rates on Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.96%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.

The High Impact of Low Interest Rates on Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.

5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner!

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner! | MyKCM

In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers 

Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 16% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?

  • 51% on the internet
  • 34% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 8% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With 

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years. 

The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent 

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $185,000, while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $245,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $60,000 more for your home, as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let’s get together and discuss the options available in your market today.

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What You Need to Know About The Mortgage Process

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Rates Are Actually Much Higher This Week. Here’s Why

After spending more than a month holding fairly steady near 8-month lows, rates are moving quickly higher this week. Not only are the underlying reasons somewhat opaque but there are multiple media outlets reporting the “lowest mortgage rates of the year.” What’s really going on here?

The discrepancy between actual mortgage rate movement and certain news stories is easy to explain (as seen in a past newsletter), so let’s start there.  At issue is the fact that Freddie Mac’s weekly rate survey is a longstanding industry benchmark for mortgage rates.  It’s heavily relied-upon by analysts working in the secondary mortgage market as well as journalists who simply use it as their one source for a weekly mortgage rate update.

Because the report is released at 10am on Thursday morning, we tend to see a glut of news stories offering similar conclusions about mortgage rate movement.  This seemingly unified message only adds to the confusion.  After all, if all these big news organizations are telling us that rates are at the lowest levels of the year, it must be true, right?

WRONG!

Freddie’s data is GREAT for long-term analysis of general mortgage rate trends but it does a GREAT DISSERVICE to prospective borrowers keeping an eye on day-to-day changes.

The reason is strikingly simple: rates can move every day, but Freddie’s survey only covers the first 3 days of any given week.  Moreover, most of the responses tend to come in on Monday and Tuesday.

In other words, Freddie’s survey is best described as “Monday/Tuesday rates vs last Monday/Tuesday’s rates.” This creates obvious problems if rates are making bigger moves in the second half of any given week–especially if they moved in the opposite direction during the first half of the week.

Here’s how all of the above played out this time around.  Mortgage rates were indeed in line with the year’s lowest levels on Monday (only June 14th was any better as far as individual days are concerned).  But the next 3 days all saw rates move convincingly higher.  Freddie’s survey responses–being weighted toward the start of the week–simply didn’t capture the magnitude of the rate spike (it will be reflected in next week’s numbers unless we get a friendly bounce between now and then).

The bottom line is that rates are definitely not at 2017’s lowest levels.  In fact, in terms of day-over-day changes in actual lender rate sheets (remember, humans respond to surveys, and they might not all be cross-checking actual rate sheets before firing off their responses to Freddie), rates are as high as they’ve been since May 16th.

A major caveat is that the recent range of mortgage rates has been exceptionally narrow by historical standards.  It’s also been holding fairly close to the lowest levels in 8 months.  Still, the amount of movement over the past few days adds up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars for some borrowers’ loan quotes.  That could be quite the surprise if they’ve just heard about the “lowest rates of the year” on the evening news.

2017-6-29 nl1

What’s Moving Markets?

Now that we know WHAT mortgage rates have actually been doing, let’s talk about WHY.  If you remember the so-called “taper tantrum” in 2013 (the market reaction to the Fed signalling its intent to buy fewer bonds), then you’re halfway there.

This time around, the focus is on the European Central Bank (ECB), whose bond buying puts it in the same league as the Fed in terms of impact on financial markets.  Whereas the Fed has long since stopped expanding its balance sheet (they may even begin shrinking it later this year), the ECB continues adding more bonds to its balance sheet every month.

Given the huge impact of the taper tantrum in the US, investors are on guard for any indication of tapering in the EU.  ECB President Mario Draghi gave just such an indication in a series of comments earlier this week.  He spoke of deflation being replaced by reflation, above-trend growth, and the need to gradually adjust bond-buying parameters.

ECB Officials would subsequently try to explain that Draghi was aiming for comments that balanced positive developments with the ongoing need for substantial bond buying.  But the takeaway for market participants was that the ECB is moving closer and closer to tapering.

Why should rates in the US care about what’s going on with the European Central Bank?  To make a long story short, global bond markets (which drive interest rates) are interconnected and interdependent to a certain degree.  US rates might not respond to European rates in lock-step, but they definitely respond.  As such, it’s no surprise to see European benchmark rates surging and US rates following with a more measured version of the same move.

2017-6-29 nl2

Is this the end of low rates forever?  Not by a long-shot.  First of all, we’re only a few days into a move that took several months to play out in the US.  We can’t yet know if European rates are embarking on a similar journey.

Even if that happens, it’s good to keep in mind that rates generally move higher when central banks are actually in a bond-buying cycle.  True, that sounds terribly counterintuitive (after all, if the Fed/ECB are buying bonds, rates should be going down), but the following chart with QE time-frames in the US doesn’t lie.

2017-6-29 nl4

Don’t read too much into this chart because it could be competently argued several ways.  The point of posting it is to offer perspective.  What might seem like a surefire reason for rates to move higher could merely be the catalyst for a temporary correction in the bigger picture.  After all, most economists and analysts thought low rates were a thing of the past by the end of 2010 and 2013.  The subsequent years were the best 2 years of the recovery.
Housing-Specific News

There were several interesting developments in housing this week.  2 weeks after comments on a potential “housing emergency” due to tight inventory, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) now says the perception of a seller’s market could provide motivation for owners to list their homes, thus relieving some of the inventory pressure.

As for the month of May, there was no such relief in sight.  The NAR blamed lopsided supply and demand for the lowest Pending Home Sales levels since January.  Despite the justification, it’s worth noting that this index hasn’t been able to get back above its current range since the meltdown.

2017-6-29 nl3

Both Black Knight and Case-Shiller released their monthly home price indices.  Both set record highs at the national level, and both reports agree that the national numbers are being dragged higher by several outstanding regional markets.  Of the two, the Case-Shiller report did more to provide a counterpoint to the positivity, citing some signs of deceleration.

5 Ways A Reverse Mortgage Can Fit Into Your Retirement Plan

5-Gold

How can a Reverse Mortgage be used for retirement security?

  1. Replace cash reserves
  2. Delay drawing Social Security payments and pension payouts
  3. Loan Proceeds are not considered income and can be used as a tax- free income supplement
  4. Eliminate monthly mortgage payments to help increase cash flow
  5. Buffer spending of investments in a down market

 

The Big Picture

Home equity is a dynamic financial tool that should be discussed when planning your retirement.

Call or Email me to set up a free consultation on the pros and cons of a Reverse Mortgage and how it may fit into your families long term plans.

Tyson Underwood – 310-540-1330 or tyson@american-california.com

 

2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

 

2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | MyKCM

In Realtor.com’s recent article, “Home Buyers’ Top Mortgage Fears: Which One Scares You?” they mention that “46% of potential home buyers fear they won’t qualify for a mortgage to the point that they don’t even try.”

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Buyers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the First Quarter 2017 Homeownership Program Index (HPI) from Down Payment Resource, saving for a down payment was the barrier that kept 70% of renters from buying.

Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource had this to say,

There are many mortgage-ready renters today, but they don’t know it. Often, homebuyers remain sidelined for years due to the down payment.

Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, but programs are available that allow buyers put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

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 Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.

2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | MyKCM

As you can see in the chart above, 53.2% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

Bottom Line

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

Pre-Approval Should Always Be Your First Step

 

Pre-Approval Should Always Be Your First Step | MyKCM

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

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 selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” 

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home?

 

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? | MyKCM

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 91,000 properties regained equity in the first quarter of 2017. This is great news for the country, as 48.2 million of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

One million borrowers achieved positive equity over the last year, which means risk continues to steadily decline as a result of increasing home prices.”

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2017 as well, as he had this to say:

Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

According to the Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), more homeowners are beginning to realize that they may have more equity than they first thought.

This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy.

78.8% of homeowners have significant equity (more than 20%) in their homes today!

This means that many Americans with a mortgage have an opportunity to take advantage of today’s seller’s market. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue:

“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market. However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market…” 

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2017! Let’s get together to evaluate your situation!

The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning

 

The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning | MyKCM

We often discuss the difference in family wealth between homeowner households and renter households. Much of that difference is the result of the equity buildup that homeowners experience over the time that they own their home. In a report recently released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), they reveal how valuable equity can be in retirement planning.

Craig Copeland, Senior Research Associate at EBRI, recently authored a report, Importance of Individual Account Retirement Plans and Home Equity in Family Total Wealth, in which he reveals:

“Individual account retirement plan assets, plus home equity, represent almost all of what families have to use for retirement expenses outside of Social Security and traditional pensions. Those families without individual account assets typically have very low overall assets, so they have almost nothing to draw from for retirement expenses.”

The report echoed the findings of a working paper, Home Equity Patterns among Older American Households, authored by Barbara Butrica and Stipica Mudrazija of Urban Institute. Fannie Mae highlighted these findings for their blog The Home Story this past winter, quoting Butrica and Mudrazija:

 “For most adults near traditional retirement age, a home is their most valuable asset — dwarfing retirement accounts, other financial assets, and other nonfinancial assets. Although relatively few retirees tap into their home equity, having it provides financial security… In fact, many retirement security experts argue that the conventional three-legged stool of retirement resources — Social Security, pensions, and savings — is incomplete because it ignores the home.”

USAToday interviewed two area experts to comment on the EBRI report. Randy Bruns, a private wealth adviser with HighPoint Planning Partners, agreed with the findings:

“Social Security and home equity are major pieces of the retirement puzzle.”

Wade Pfau, Professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services and author of Reverse Mortgages: How to use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement, said having the equity without a plan to use it won’t help:

“Home equity is a very important asset for American retirees, and so it is important to think about how to make best use of home equity in retirement planning.”

Bottom Line

Whether you use the equity in your home through a reverse mortgage or by selling and downsizing to a less expensive home, it should be a crucial piece of your retirement planning.