Daydreaming About Your Perfect Home? Know What You WANT vs. What You NEED

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen in order to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
  • ‘Should Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must haves’ and some of the ‘should haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must haves,’ most of the ‘should haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.

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How Historically Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.47%. Rates have remained at or below 3.5% each of the last 16 weeks, marking a historic low.

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 at or about $1,100 a month.

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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, $6,250). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 4% by this time next year.

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

Americans Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment

According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index Poll, Americans who have money to set aside for the next 10 years would rather invest in real estate than any other type of investment.

Bankrate asked Americans to answer the following question:

“Which would be the best way to invest money you did not need for more than 10 years?”

Real Estate came in as the top choice with 25% of all respondents, while cash investments (such as savings accounts and CD’s) came in second with 23%. The chart below shows the full results:

20160727-KCM

Sterling White, co-founder of Holdfolio, gave one reason as to why real estate may have ranked so high.

“Houses are tangible. You can physically see and feel the product. So you know where your money is going.”

July’s poll also found that for the “26th consecutive month, Americans’ sense of financial well-being improved when taking into account debt, savings, net worth, job security, and overall financial situation.”

Bottom Line

We have often written about the financial and non-financial reason homeownership makes sense. It is nice to see that Americans have returned to a belief in homeownership as the best investment.

House Hasn’t Sold Yet? Take Another Look at Your Price!

The residential housing market has been hot. Home sales have bounced back solidly and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007. Demand has remained strong throughout the summer as many real estate professionals are reporting bidding wars with listings actually selling above listing price. What about your house?

If your house hasn’t sold, it is probably because of the price.

If your home is on the market and you are not receiving any offers, look at your price. Pricing your home just 10% above market value dramatically cuts the number of prospective buyers that will even see your house. See chart below.

20160802-ENG-KCM

Bottom Line

The housing market is hot. If you are not seeing results you want, sit down with your agent and revisit the pricing conversation.

Rents Skyrocket at Highest Rate in Almost a Decade

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was released by the Labor Department last week. An analysis by Market Watch revealed the cost of rent was 3.8% higher than a year ago for the second straight month in June. That’s the strongest yearly price gain since 2007.

This coincides with a report released earlier this month in which AxioMetrics announced that rents are continuing to increase in 2016. The report revealed:

  • There was a 3.7% increase in effective rents in the second quarter of 2016 as compared to the same period last year.
  • That the effective rent growth this quarter compared to last quarter was 2.3%.
  • Annual effective rent growth was positive in 49 of the top 50 markets, based on number of units. Only Houston was negative, at -1.4%, as the fallout from energy-industry job losses and excess construction continues.

Here is a graph to illustrate the rate of increase over the last several years:20160720-ENG-KCM

3 Reasons to Buy Luxury Property THIS Year!!

The housing market is hot, with prices rising as demand far outpaces supply in almost every region. However, when it comes to luxury real estate, things are quite different. In the upper-end market, inventory is plentiful in most locations.

For that reason, prices haven’t skyrocketed as they have in the lower and mid-tier markets. This, coupled with sensational mortgage rates, means that this may be the perfect time to purchase the luxury property you have always desired.

Let’s break it down into the three major reasons to act now:

1. There are more homes from which to choose

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, inventory in the upper end is increasing, while it is decreasing at the lower and mid-tier price ranges. Here is a graph showing the average increase/decrease in inventory for the first four months of this year as compared to last year:

Luxury-Inventory-KCM

2. Prices are becoming more reasonable

In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal also talked about prices in the luxury market. They explained that downward price adjustments have been more common in the luxury market than in markets with lower prices. They went on to say:

“The growing number of price cuts suggests luxury-home sellers are becoming more realistic about property values as sales have slowed, said several real-estate veterans.”

Not only will you have more to choose from, but you may also be able to get the property at a reduced price.

3. Mortgage rates are at historic lows

In the past, one of the drawbacks to purchasing a luxury property was the larger mortgage rate on “jumbo” loans which are often required on high end properties.

However, HSH.com just revealed that jumbo rates just set new record lows:

“While conforming fixed-rate mortgages eased a little this week, 30-year fixed-rate jumbos declined enough to break into new record low territory (3.66%), besting the previous low set in April by two basis points.”

Bottom Line

More choices, better prices and historically low mortgage rates may make this the perfect time for you to own one of those luxury properties you and your family have always fantasized about.