It’s Sunday morning.
You’re scheduled to go out and see houses later on with your real estate agent. But it’s nasty outside. It’s beyond pouring. You can’t even imagine walking from the car into a house. You’d rather just cancel the appointment and hang inside, maybe watch some TV.
You can always go see the house next weekend.
But should you wait for next weekend?
Should you even wait to go see houses only during the weekend?
There’s five weekdays you can go see houses. Is there a better day than a Sunday?
What if someone else scoops up the house before you end up getting out to see it? Right?!
Sure. Totally a possibility. And, totally a reason to motivate and go see that house today in the rain.
But that’s not the point of this article. The point is that the best day to see a house is not necessarily Sunday. It’s also not necessarily not Sunday.
The best day to go see a house is when it’s raining. Even better if it’s raining heavily. And it’s best if it’s been raining for a few days straight.
It’s the future. You skipped going to see the house in the rain, but you ended up buying it eventually. Of course you had a home inspection done on the house during the process. But that was a sunny day, and it hadn’t rained in some time.
Then, after you’ve lived in the house for a while, you start to notice a drip in the ceiling. Or some dampness in the basement. Or worse, actual water on the basement floor.
You’d probably be pretty upset. You’d feel like the owner should’ve disclosed it. You feel like there’s...
Let's face it, everyone either knows a real estate agent, or is connected to one through six (probably less) degrees of separation. Between friends and relatives, and the stereotypical representation of real estate agents on television and in pop culture, the general public has adopted some assumptions about agents that are very far from the truth. Here are ten things that people assume about real estate agents that just aren’t true:
1. They make “easy money”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. The only people who could ever possibly make the case that being an agent is an easy way to make money are those who have never done it. It’s hard, uncertain work, with many instances of months wasted on a deal that doesn’t ever close. The only thing easy about it is reading the Lighter Side of Real Estate.
2. They are required to show you houses even if you’re not pre-approved
There are definitely agents who will show you houses without a pre-approval (or at minimum a pre-qualification), but an agent is not required to, and most experienced agents probably won’t. The ability to qualify for financing dictates whether or not a deal is even possible, so an agent is simply saving you from disappointment (or worse) by asking you to get pre-approved.
3. Zillow is more accurate than they are
It would be wonderful if Zillow (and similar websites) were accurate in their home valuations, but if you compared their results to actual appraised values, in most cases you’d burst out laughing. Real estate agents want you to get as much money as possible for your house, but oftentimes reality gets in the way. Trust your realtor to give you a fair market assessment for your...
So your home's on the market — are you jazzed about getting it sold? Good. But there are a few things you need to know. More specifically, ten things. They’re called “The Ten Commandments of Selling a Home.”
Read them. Absorb them. Emblazon them to memory, because one tiny mis-step can make your dream of moving on to your next home come crashing down like a sandcastle at high tide.
(See below for text transcription)
The Ten Commandments of Selling a Home
- Thou shalt vacate the house for all showings.
- Thou shalt assume every day is a showing day. Keep it clean and clutter free, with pets properly secured.
- Thou shalt not turn off utilities before closing.
- Thou shalt fill out property condition disclosure completely and disclose all known defects.
- Thou shalt not stop paying the mortgage.
- Thou shalt not rely upon Zillow to determine your sales price (that’s what your agent is for).
- Thou shalt make all beds before all showings (which includes NOT being in bed during showings).
- Thou shalt send anyone inquiring about the property to your agent.
- Thou shalt not call your agent at 11 PM.
- Thou shall not cook broccoli.
There’s no denying that it’s tough out there for buyers. The inventory shortage has created a market that’s more competitive than normal. As a potential buyer, you might be thinking “I should probably wait until next year to make a move.”
But if you want to get the best deal on a home, you should probably rethink that idea.
According to the most recent US Home Price Insights from CoreLogic, home prices are expected to rise 5.7% year-over-year—meaning a house you might be considering buying today will be 5.7% more expensive if you wait until this time next year to make a purchase.
What does that look like? Let’s say the house you’re considering making an offer on today is priced at $275,000. With a 5.7% increase, at this time next year that same house is projected to be listed at $290,675—$15,675 more than you’d pay today.
Not only are home prices projected to go up, but so are mortgage rates; Freddie Mac predicts that by the end of 2018, mortgage rates will increase an entire percentage point year-over-year—which will only make buying a home more expensive.
If you’re waiting to buy a home in the hopes it will be affordable next year, do yourself (and your wallet) a favor—stop waiting and make a purchase.
Some potential buyers face roadblocks on the road to homeownership. But according to a recent report from Urban Institute, many of those roadblocks are self-created in the form of misconceptions about what it takes to purchase a home.
According to the report, a whopping 80% of are either unaware of how much is required for a down payment or believe they need to save 5% or more of the total purchase price in order to make a purchase (with 50% believing a lender either expects or requires a 20% down payment in order to approve a mortgage).
This information, of course, is false. There are plenty of lenders out there that will approve loans with either no or an extremely low down payment (in fact, according to the National Association of Realtors' Realtors Confidence® Index , 61% of first-time buyers in 2017 made a down payment of 6% or less.)
With so many potential buyers out there operating with false information, it's no wonder so many renters (53%, according to the Urban Institute Report) consider saving for a down payment a major obstacle on the way to homeownership.
If you're considering buying a home but holding back because you don't think you can afford a down payment, do some research. Look for no or low interest payment lending options like FHA loans. The reality of owning a home might be...
There's no denying it: Homes that are staged well definitely stand out. Not only does the right amount of decluttering, organizing and accessorizing make your home more attractive, it can actually increase its value.
According to the National Association of Realtors' 2015 Profile of Home Staging Report, 32 percent of buyers' agents believe their clients are willing to offer one percent to five percent more for staged homes. What's more, 81 percent of agents said home staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home.
If that's not enough to convince you, take a look at these before-and-after photos to really illustrate how powerful home staging can be.
1. Cool kitchen
Attractive barstools and place settings make you want to sit right down for lunch! The hardware upgrade on the cabinets makes a big difference too.
According to the National Association of Realtors® Existing Home Sales Report, existing home sales declined for two straight months in December and January. So, whereas winter might have been on the slower side for home sales, that's about to change come spring.
Spring is always a hot time for real estate, but according to experts, this spring is going to be one for the record books. "It's probably the most competitive spring housing season we've seen since right before the housing crisis," said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, in a recent Realtor.com article.
If you've been thinking about selling your home, now is the time to do it. A market like the one experts are predicting for this spring will create competition for property, thus driving up prices for your home.
After the housing crisis of 2008, many homeowners found themselves "upside down" on their properties, with their mortgage balances significantly higher than the value of their home. According to Zillow, negative equity in the US peaked 31.4% in Q1 of 2012, meaning nearly one-third of all mortgage holders in the US owed more on their homes than it was valued.
But luckily, the housing market has rebounded from the housing crisis, and homeowners have almost completely regained equity in their homes. According to CoreLogic's most recent Home Equity Insights report, in Q4 of 2017 only 4.9% of all mortgaged properties had negative equity, with the number of homes with negative equity dropping 21% year-over-year (from 3.2 million homes to 2.5 million homes).
If you've been thinking about selling but were waiting for your home to recover its value, now is the time to make a move. The dramatic decrease in negative equity, combined with the current inventory shortage, make it an ideal time to sell and to get the most value for your home.
Has your air conditioner ever failed on a hot summer day? It's a struggle no homeowner wants to deal with. When you own a home it's important to budget annually for repairs that might be needed and anticipate when things might need to be replaced.
If you take care of your home, your appliances and fixtures should last longer. This means keeping them clean, performing regular maintenance and preventing unnecessary wear. Even the most well-kept homes will need repairs at some point and it helps to know how long you should expect your items to last. We've put together a list of how long certain household fixtures and appliances should hold up.
Check out each of the rooms below, or click here to see the full infographic.
Fixtures outside your home can suffer the most wear and tear of anything you own because they are constantly exposed to the elements. However, they are usually some of the most sturdy and are typically built to last. These are the items you will likely have to pay more for but luckily not as often.
- Window Unit Air Conditioner: 10 Years
The typical window unit air conditioner can last anywhere from 8–12 years depending on how much it's used and how well it's taken care of. Be sure to turn the unit off when it's not needed and clean the air filter often.
You can expect 10–15 years of reliable service from a garage door depending on how often it's used. To prolong its life, apply...
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 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.
Spring is in full swing, and you know what that means: the days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising, and in just a few short weeks we'll be heading into the warmer months of summer. Summer is one of the best times of year; children are out of school, it's the perfect time to explore the great outdoors, and of course, everyone's favorite: good ol' summer vacation. After the freezing temperatures of winter and the unpredictability of spring, you and your family are probably more than ready for the warm, summer weather. But the question is: is your home? Here are 5 tips to get your home ready for warmer weather:
1. Get your A/C checked
The summer heat is great for beach days and splashing in the pool. But when you're done enjoying the sunshine, you'll want to open the door to a nice, cool interior. But if your air conditioner isn't working properly, you can quickly find yourself with no escape from the rising temperatures. The best time to get your air conditioning in working order is before summer hits. Start by changing out the filters. Dirty filters make it harder for your A/C unit to do its job, lower the efficiency of your air conditioning system and waste energy. After you replace the filters, let your air conditioning system run for an hour or so to see how its cooling; a test run will give you insight into any potential problems you need to have serviced. You should have an HVAC professional service your air conditioning system once a year. Even if you don't notice any obvious problems, servicing your A/C annually will keep it running better for longer. Spring is the best time of year to get your A/C service; once summer hits, most HVAC companies are booked solid through the summer months, and the last thing you want is to...
We all know the premise of home-flipping shows: An investor buys a veritable dump and then, with the help of a team of ready-and-willing contractors and landscapers, transforms it into the best-looking home on the block. Next, that intrepid buyer turns around and sells it for a hefty profit. Sounds like a straightforward formula for financial success, right? Well, not quite. What makes for entertaining television doesn't always translate into a win beyond the high definition flat screen. The following are nine ways home-flipping shows mislead viewers. So, if you're considering turning this into your next career or even a side gig, you may want to separate fact from fiction first.
1. Tight turnarounds aren't always realistic
In order to realize as large a profit as possible, it's important to flip the property as quickly as you can, otherwise paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance quickly chips away at your bottom line. While sales tend to happen quickly on TV, the reality is that even if you have a willing buyer, getting pre-approved and securing the financing doesn't happen overnight. For anxious sellers, that ticking clock is a constant reminder that every passing day means a little less money in their pockets.
2. Finding a dedicated team isn't easy
As far too many homeowners know, not all contractors are created equal....
Thanks to the timing of the 2008 financial crisis, millennials have a reputation as a generation that's laden with financial struggle. And while it definitely took some time for this younger generation (millennials are considered anyone 36 years or younger) to recover, if you're judging by the real estate data, it's safe to say that in 2018, millennials are doing just fine. According to the National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, in 2017, millennials made up the largest share of homebuyers on the market at 34%, putting them well ahead of Gen Xers (28%) and Baby Boomers (Younger Boomers, aged 52 to 61, came in at 16%, while Older Boomers, aged 62 to 70, made up 14%). Out of that 34% of millennial buyers, 66% were buying a home for the first time, meaning more millennials are making the transition from the outrageously expensive rental market to a more long-term investment of owning a home. What's the reason for so many millennial buyers flooding the market? For one, renting has become so expensive, buying a home is often times the more affordable choice (according to a recent report from Zillow, renting is more expensive than owning in the majority of the US' major metro areas). And with a variety of non-traditional lending options on the market that require little or no down payment, buying a home is becoming more and more accessible for younger buyers.
When you're looking for a home, you probably have a couple of lists in your head: the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the absolute deal-breakers. Unfortunately, most of the places on this list fall into that third category, unless, of course, you're handy or have a big budget for repairs. Check out these strange but hilarious home fails that would definitely have you looking elsewhere.
1. A tree grows in... the driveway
Buying a home is about to get a lot more expensive.
According to a recent report from Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates are predicted to rise in 2018. The rate for a 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage was 3.9% in Q4 of 2017, and it is forecasted to jump an entire percentage point to 4.9% by the end of 2018.
A percentage point might not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference in how much you'll pay for your home over the length of your mortgage.
If you took out a $350,000 30-yr fixed rate mortgage, your monthly payment at 3.9% would be $1650.84. At 4.9%, it would be $1857.54 - and you'd pay a whopping $74.413.73 more in interest over the course of the loan. If you're thinking about buying, now is the time to do it. If you push off buying a home until later in the year, you're likely going to face significantly higher mortgage rates - and end up paying tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars more for your home than you would if you made the purchase today.
With Valentine's Day fast-approaching, there's no denying love is in the air. Let's think for a moment about the person who's always there for you, helping to make your dreams come true. We're talking about your real estate agent, of course. Just what does it take to make the agent who's done so much for you swoon? There are plenty of ways to build a harmonious, lasting, and fulfilling relationship that will take you from starter home to happily ever after. Check out this list of things that'll make your agent fall head over heels in love with you.
1. Refer your friends and family
Talking up your real estate agent to friends and family is the greatest gift you can give. Being a connector is a wonderful way to help your favorite agent build and grow their business. Go ahead, brag about how amazing your agent is; they'll adore you for it.
2. Make sure your open house is pet-free
Barking dogs, loose hamsters, and roaming lizards are a huge turn-off to potential homebuyers. Securing your pets or taking them off-premises will mean the world to your agent, who probably has better things to do than herd your cats.
3. Get pre-approved
Millennials, which is the generation comprised of people born from 1980 to 1998, are buying homes at a much lower rate than previous generations in favor of renting or moving back in with their parents after college. And a large reason they're not buying?
Because they believe they can't afford it. According to data from Apartment List, 72% of millennials say they can't afford to buy a home.
One of the major roadblocks millennials believe stands in their way to homeownership is the down payment. But many millennials are operating with incomplete or incorrect information about how to purchase a home. According to a Fannie Mae survey, 73% of millennials surveyed were unaware of lower down payment options (like the ability to pay 3% to 5% of the home's purchase price instead of the traditional 20%).
These lower down payment options are increasingly common in today's market. According to a recent NerdWallet report, 30% of all homebuyers put down 3% or less when purchasing a home.
If you're a millennial who's holding off on buying a home because you can't save for a 20% down payment, look into lower down payment options. Depending on your financial situation, owning a home may be more economical than renting... and if you go with a lower down payment loan, you won't...
One of the biggest hurdles that potential buyers have to overcome on the road to homeownership is saving for a down payment. Traditionally, you needed a 20% down payment in order to secure a loan and purchase a property. And for many people dreaming of buying property, this large up-front investment put homeownership out of their reach.
But times have changed. Depending on your creditworthiness, you might not need a 20% down payment to purchase a home. In fact, in some cases you don't even need a 10% down payment. According to the National Association of Realtors' Realtors Confidence® Index, 61% of first-time buyers in 2017 made a down payment of 6% or less.
Low-down-payment mortgage options, like FHA loans, are making the possibility of homeownership a reality for a new generation of potential homeowners who have the financial means to manage their mortgage payments but don't have the ability to stash away 20% of the total cost before making a purchase.
If you've been putting off homeownership because you're worried your savings account can't support a hefty down payment, start talking to lenders. Even if you don't have any money to put towards a down payment, the possibility of owning a home is within your reach.
According to a recent study by Zillow, owning a home is more affordable than renting in most metro markets across the United States. According to the study, renters pay an average of 29.1% of their household income towards rent, while homeowners only pay an average of 15.4% towards their mortgages. This means renting eats up nearly twice as much of your income as owning a home.
Data Source: Zillow
Thanks to rising rents, homeownership is becoming a more sensible option across the nation, and renters are taking notice. According to the National Association of Realtors' Realtors Confidence® Index, 39% of homebuyers from October 2016 to November 2017 were renting at the time of their purchase, which means that 39% of buyers made the transition from renter to homeowner. And many of them did so without breaking the bank on a down payment. In fact, 61% of first-time buyers made a down payment of 6% or less.
If you're currently renting, it's time to reevaluate your situation. Why throw away nearly 30% of your income on rent when you can spend almost half as much and have a home to show for it?