Hispanic couple outside home

Pending Home Sales Retreat Again in August but Remain at Healthy Level

Pending home sales retreated in August but remained at a healthy level of activity and have now risen year–over–year for 12 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. A modest increase in the West was offset by declines in all other regions.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward–looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 1.4 percent to 109.4 in August from 110.9 in July but is still 6.1 percent above August 2014 (103.1).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says even with the modest decline in contract signings, demand continues to outpace housing supply and elevate price growth in numerous markets. “Pending sales have leveled off since mid–summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget,” he said. “Even with existing–housing supply barely budging all summer and no relief coming from new construction, contract activity is still higher than earlier this year and a year ago.”

According to Yun, sales in the coming months should be able to roughly maintain their current pace. However, he warns that there are looming speed bumps that have the potential to impact housing.

“The possibility of a government shutdown and any ongoing instability in the equity markets could cause some households to put off buying for the time being,” adds Yun. “Furthermore, adapting to the changes being implemented next month in the mortgage closing process could delay some sales.”

The national median existing–home price is expected to increase 5.8 percent in 2015 to $220,300. Yun forecasts total existing–home sales this year to increase 7.0 percent to around 5.28 million, about 25 percent below the prior peak set in 2005 (7.08 million).

The PHSI in the Northeast fell 5.6 percent to 93.3 in August, but is still 8.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index inched down 0.4 percent to 107.4 in August, and is now 6.5 percent above August 2014.

Pending home sales in the South declined 2.2 percent to an index of 121.5 in August but are still 4.1 percent above last August. The index in the West rose 1.8 percent in August to 104.9, and is now 7.6 percent above a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing–home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales–contract activity parallels the level of closed existing–home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing–home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: Existing–home Sales for September will be reported October 22, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be October 29; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.

 

Article Source :  Realtors.org

 


 

 

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The Cost of Waiting to Buy a Home

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their July edition of the Housing Affordability Index. The index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.

NAR looks at the monthly mortgage payment (principal & interest) which is determined by the median sales price and mortgage interest rate at the time. With that information, NAR calculates the income necessary for a family to qualify for that mortgage amount (based on a 25% qualifying ratio for monthly housing expense to gross monthly income and a 20% down payment).

Here is a graph of the income needed to buy a median priced home in the country over the last several years:

Qualifying income | Keeping Current Matters

And the income requirement has accelerated even more dramatically this year as prices have risen:

Qualifications | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Some buyers may be waiting to save up a larger down payment.  Others may be waiting for a promotion and more money. Just realize that, while you are waiting, the requirements are also changing.

 

Original Post from www.keepingcurrentmatters.com


 

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Renters Insurance

How Renters Insurance Will Help Cover The Loss of Your Valuables

Red Rock Management (www.RedRockManagementLV.com)  encourages all tenants to purchase renter’s insurance.  Many tenant’s inquire as to why we ask them to purchase rental insurance.  Below is an outline by Farmers Insurance as to the importance of having renter’s insurance.

HOW RENTERS INSURANCE WILL HELP COVER YOUR VALUABLES

Imagine a moment you’ve just returned home from a long day at work to find there’s been a fire. Everything you owned has been destroyed: your flat-screen TV, computer, furniture, books, game consoles, CDs, jewelry, collectibles and clothing. Where will you stay until your home is renovated? Who will pay to replace all your belongings? Not your landlord.

A Renters insurance policy can be the answer. It provides coverage to help you to replace your lost or damage items. If you suffer a covered loss, we’ll reimburse you for your lost or damaged items. And if the loss makes your home uninhabitable, we’ll also pay for the additional living costs for hotel, meals and related expenses.

Renters policies are affordable, generally ranging from $15-$25 each month. For less than a dollar a day, you can have valuable insurance coverage!

BENEFITS

– Personal property coverage

– Personal liability coverage

– Additional living expenses

OPTIONAL COVERAGES

– Personal articles floater

– Jewelry, furs, fine arts

 

 


 

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House with cash

Buying with cash saves cash – and time

An article by Real Estate Agent Leslie Sargent Eskildsen, discusses the differences of Buying a house with cash or taking out a loan.

She writes, “Just recently, a reader asked me about the difference between buying a house with cash and buying a house with a home loan. That’s a great question!

Here’s a rundown of the differences.

Buying a house with cash saves you money. You don’t have to pay for an appraisal. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t pay for an appraisal, you just don’t have to.

Buyers using a home loan have to pay for an appraisal. The lender requires an unbiased, licensed appraiser to give a thoroughly researched and documented report on the value of the home so the lender is confident you’re paying the right price and that they are making a sound investment.

A home buyer paying cash also saves on other lender related costs including a credit report, loan origination fee, flood certification, tax service fee (the lender has to be aware of any back taxes owed) lender required title insurance and any points a borrower chooses to pay to bring down the interest rate on the money borrowed.

In addition, a cash buyer is not required to purchase home owner’s insurance.

When you get a home loan, the lender requires evidence of insurance, and you pay for a full year up front.

I’d never recommend not buying home owner’s insurance. However, when you’re buying a house with cash, you can work it out directly with your insurance carrier as to the frequency of payments.

When you are buying with cash, you also save on escrow fees including the loan tie-in fee, the loan documentation prep fee, and the notary fees (you’re not signing anything that needs to be notarized).

The more subtle aspects of buying with cash include the need to prove you have the cash up front with your offer. This means you need to submit, up front, bank statements showing sufficient funds to cover the price.

If you are flush with tons of cash, you may want to keep a bank account that only has a balance large enough to cover the cost of the house and your share of the escrow fee and a processing fee.

You have no need to show the seller how much you have overall.

You get to keep your financial status a secret, as opposed to a buyer getting a home loan. Those who buy with a loan have to provide full financial disclosure to the lender to qualify for the loan.

There’s much less paperwork required when buying with cash. You can also close escrow much more quickly. You do not have to budget time for the appraisal review, underwriting review, management review, and all the time to prepare and review loan documents.

There’s also the advantage of representing less risk to a home seller. If you show the seller the money up front, and if your offer is a figure that is acceptable to the seller, you will probably win out over a buyer who needs a loan. Cash is much easier and less risky.”

 

Source: OC Journal – leslieeskildsen.com.

 


 

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Looking to maximize your rental income without spending a lot of money out-of-pocket?

Looking to maximize your rental income without spending a lot of money out-of-pocket? Tenants don’t want to cook in a dark, cramped, outdated space. Increase the wow-factor of your property by updating your kitchen. Stainless steel appliances are nice, but if you’re remodeling on a budget, read on for some easy, low-budget ways to improve your kitchen. Plus, if you decide to sell in the next 5-10 years, a mid-range kitchen remodel  can give you up to a 70% return on your investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report

Paint Cabinets White

Are your kitchen cabinets a little beat up? Do you have wood cabinets that look dated and make the room gloomy? You can easily upgrade your kitchen by painting your cabinets white. White cabinets work with all types of design styles, so whether your tenant’s style leans more toward rustic or modern, they’ll be able to make their belongings fit nicely. White cabinets also give you a neutral palette to try out an array of stylish backsplashes or even a bold color for a statement wall.

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Via Modernize.com

 

Add Interesting Lighting

Lighting is an inexpensive way to add some real style to your kitchen. Pendant lamps or even a chandelier are great tools for integrating your cooking and eating space–whether it’s a breakfast nook or an adjacent dining room. You can also play with scale to make a cavernous space feel more intimate or a small space more cozy and welcoming.

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Via Modernize.com

If you have a kitchen that tends to get very hot, consider adding a light fixture with a ceiling fan. Your tenants will appreciate it in the warm summer months.

 

Maximize Storage Space

Even if you have a small kitchen, you’ll be able to meet the needs of your tenants with some smart storage solutions.,. Install multiple shelf units within cabinets to double and sometimes triple the storage space. In the area under the sink–always tight because of plumbing–install some handy door racks inside the cabinet to keep supplies organized. You can also make the most of those faux drawers (typically found below the sink) by converting them to tilting drawers that hold sponges and other small cleaning supplies. If you’re working with limited space for dishes, utensils, spices or small cooking accessories, look underneath the cabinets. There are ample options for installing racks with hooks to hang coffee mugs or utensils; magnetic strips for cutlery sets, dish drying racks and even spice shelves. The space underneath cabinets can provide an incredible amount of unexpected storage space, and in a neat and tidy manner.

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Via Modernize.com

 

Utilize a Non-Traditional Island

If you have the space, consider adding an island to your kitchen. The island will provide valuable counter space for preparing meals and can serve as a dining room table for small family dinners or as a serving buffet during parties. Depending on the type of island you select, you may also be able to get some extra storage space out of it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money of a factory produced island (that may or may not match your cabinets). Instead, consider non-traditional islands like a repurposed dresser or bookshelves. Here are some great DIY inspirations for kitchen islands. Whatever you end up using, just make sure to fasten the island to the floor to keep the surface stable.

 

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Source : Bryn Huntpalmer, Editor of Modernize.com Via Modernize.com


 

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Now’s the Time to Buy for Some

Now’s the Time to Buy for Some
For some, now is a great time to buy real estate, especially Las Vegas real estate. Home
values are poised perfectly for an upswing in appreciation. There is a demographic of people
who can really score in this market. According to Yahoo:
“Dual-income customers should definitely buy a home now,” says George Kaiser, vice president
of banking operations for Northbrook Bank and Trust and West America Mortgage Co., its
sister company. “People with assets in reserve and a credit score of at least 680 should buy
as well. Anyone with a credit score less than that will have to verify their income.”

For others it is also a great time to get involved. For some it’s not. If you need help
determining whether or not the Las Vegas real estate market is right for you now get in
contact with your Las Vegas Realtor at www.RedRockManagementlv.com.


 

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Local Real Estate Markets May Get Involved in Housing

Local Real Estate Markets May Get Involved in Housing, Literally Buying and Selling Homes
An article in CNN this morning was very intriguing and will likely spark some political
skirmish. As mentioned in the article:

“Under the House plan, the Department of Housing and Urban Development would dole out the
loans and grants based on the number of foreclosures and home prices in an area. Cities
could use the money to buy foreclosed homes, renovate the homes to make them compliant with
housing codes, and resell or rent them.”
The goal is to help keep neighborhoods and the city as a whole in good shape since there are
so many vacant homes on the market. They tend to be run down.

In Las Vegas we’re seeing a significant number of homes that are vacant. There has been
issues with dilapitated homes and associated values. Some Las Vegas real estate agents are
wrapped up in these properties and are able to get good deals on them. However, if buyers
aren’t available it takes some technique to sell these properties. We’ll keep an eye out to
see if the bill passes.


 

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Home Refinancing Attempts Increase

Home Refinancing Attempts Increase…

Recent interest rates cuts have motivated many to attempt to refinance their property.
However, many may be unable to do it successfully. Mortgage lenders are looking for
considerable qualifications. The house must have equity, the borrower must have good credit
and work history, and the house needs to appraise well in the real estate market they live
in.

Many have tried to lock in better rates and a better term for their home but are unable to
because of the previous loan they acquired. To find out if you qualify contact your lender
or your real estate agent who can refer you.

 

 


 

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Consider This When Investing

Consider This When Investing in Real Estate

 

The real estate market is improving in many parts of the country. So if you’re thinking about investing in real estate, now might be the time to get your feet wet.

Real estate investing can be quite profitable. Some investors make a comfortable living buying and flipping properties — putting tens of thousands of dollars in their pockets in only a few weeks. Meanwhile, other investors take a different approach and move into a home they’re fixing up with plans to sell for a profit in two or three years.

No matter the approach you take, investing in real estate generates cash that can go toward the purchase of your new residence, or you can use this money to build your savings account or prepare for retirement. It doesn’t take special skills to start investing in real estate, but there are several factors to consider before making your first purchase.

1. What are your plans for the property?

Determine your plans for the property before investing in real estate. Will you live in the home, fix up the property and sell a few years later? Will you get tenants and make the home a rental property? Then again, maybe you’re more interested in buying and flipping real estate for a quick profit.

There are different ways to proceed with investing your money, time and energy into a property. Weigh the pros and cons of different types of real estate investments and choose the one that best fits your situation.

2. Which mortgage option is right for you?

Real estate investors can choose from different types of mortgages depending on their plans for a property. For example, an adjustable-­rate mortgage might work if you’re buying and flipping real estate, or if you plan on living in an investment property short-­term.

Adjustable-­rate mortgages have an initial fixed­-rate period up to five years followed by annual rate adjustments. A rate adjustment means the mortgage interest rate increases or decreases based on the market.

Typically, adjustable-rate mortgages start out with a rate lower than most fixed­-rate mortgages. If you’re keeping an investment property for a short span of time, there’s the option of getting an adjustable-­rate mortgage and selling the property before your first rate adjustment.

On the other hand, if you’re keeping an investment property long-­term, consider a fixed-­rate mortgage so your interest rate and monthly payment will remain the same for the duration of the term.

3. How much cash do you need to fix up the place?

Investing in real estate can require sizable cash, especially since properties you purchase might need renovations or improvements. If you’re buying a foreclosure that will be your primary residence and a future investment property, you might qualify for the FHA 203(k) loan.

This loan provides funds to purchase the property, plus funds to improve the condition of the property. On the other hand, if you’re buying and flipping a property, the bank can help with investment property loans.

Make sure you schedule a home inspection before buying real estate so you’ll know what to expect cost-­wise with fixing up the property.

4. Is the property is an ideal location?

You can have a lovely property, but if it’s located in an undesirable part of town, it might take longer to find a buyer or tenant. Location matters in real estate. Some people only look for properties in good school districts, and others prefer buying or renting homes near an interstate or major highway for easier access to work.

When looking for properties to buy, pay attention to school ratings, nearby amenities, and consider whether the property’s in a safe, quiet neighborhood.

Real estate investing can be profitable, but you shouldn’t jump into investing without doing your homework. Buying and financing properties is easier when you know what to expect, and when you can build a relationship with a knowledgeable mortgage officer and realtor.

Source: Evan Potter – Total Mortgage


 

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Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Foreclosure

 

 

Foreclosure filings were reported on more than 1 million U.S. properties during the first half of 2012, which means there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to invest in the foreclosure market.

Be aware, though, that purchasing a foreclosure can be complicated; costly mistakes sit in wait for would-be buyers who have not done their homework.

Zillow polled some real estate agents to learn about the most common mistakes they see when it comes to buying foreclosure properties.  Here are their tips to help you avoid costly blunders:

1. Don’t limit yourselfIt’s OK to go into your property search with the intent to purchase a foreclosure, but don’t wear blinders and assume those are the only homes you should check out. Yes, there are some competitively priced foreclosures on the market, but the same can be said of traditional listings.

Foreclosures often come with baggage – liens against the property, repairs that need to be made, and so forth. A traditional seller might be more flexible about taking care of repairs or negotiating price. Additionally, if you limit your search to foreclosed properties, you may not end up in your desired neighborhood or with the style of home you’ve always dreamed of.

Don’t rule anything out. Keep an open mind so you end up with the best house for your money.

2. Don’t go it aloneFind a real estate agent versed in the complexities of the foreclosure market. Whether you’re looking at a pre-foreclosure, short sale or bank-owned properties, you’re going to need the guidance of a professional who has a background in buying and selling these types of properties in your local market.

Similarly, you must remember that real estate agents are not lawyers. Foreclosure laws and regulations are tricky, and they vary from state to state. Don’t rely on your real estate agent for legal advice; be prepared to consult with a local real estate attorney who understands how these purchases work.

3. Know your stuffKnow how much you can spend. Know the neighborhood where you want to buy. Know the process. Securing early financing is important because it will ensure that you are qualified to purchase the property. Being pre-approved will give you greater bargaining power when the time comes to make an offer.

Target a specific neighborhood or two to avoid becoming overwhelmed by listings. Ask your agent to notify you of listings within these neighborhoods that meet your other criteria, such as size and cost. Check comparable recent sales to get a good feel for the market.

Even though you’re working with a qualified agent and lender, you need to do some work upfront to become familiar with the basics of the foreclosure process.  Learning the lingo will give you credibility, which will help others realize you’re serious about this buying endeavor. Basic know-how may give you the added bargaining power you need to negotiate a better price.

4. Don’t skip the inspectionSure, the house looks good, but what’s going on inside the walls and under the floor boards?

A 2011 survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 72 percent of U.S. homeowners agree the home inspection they had when they purchased their current residence helped them avoid potential problems; 64 percent of respondents reported that their home inspection saved them money.

The American Society of Home Inspectors website (www.ashi.org) includes a searchable database of certified inspectors.

Tag along while the inspector is looking at the property. Ask questions. Take notes. Most inspectors charge $300 to $500 for their services; it’s up to you to figure out how much it’s going to cost to rectify deficiencies.

5. Look beyond todayBecause a foreclosed home may decline further in value, it’s smart to approach the transaction with a long-term perspective. Sure, you may be hoping to flip the property and quickly resell, but what if you can’t? Are you prepared for the long haul? What will the property cost if you hold onto it for five or 10 years? Pencil out the numbers, or you may suffer long-term financial repercussions.

Source – Zillow Foreclosure center


 

 

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