American-Dream-

Homeownership is Still a Huge Part of the “American Dream”

There have been some who have voiced doubt as to whether or not the younger generations still consider buying a home as being part of the “American Dream”. A study by Merrill Lynch puts that doubt to rest.

According to their research, every living generation still believes that owning a home is in fact important. Here are the numbers:

Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream | Keeping Current Matters

This should not surprise us as many studies have revealed the benefits enjoyed by the families who own their own home. One such study was done by the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University that addressed a major financial benefit to owning your own home: forced savings. The report explains:

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The Merrill Lynch study proves this point with the following data on home equity (a form of savings):

Average Home Equity | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

There are many reasons that owning a home makes sense. The financial reasons are powerful. As one participant in the Merrill Lynch study put it:

“When I was younger, I always worried about that monthly mortgage payment. Now that I am retired, I have the peace of mind of knowing I own my home free and clear.”

 

Article from www.keepingcurrentmatters.com

 


 

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Why You Should Hire A Professional When Buying A Home!

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if you are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift out the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home”.

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home.

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

 

Article by www.Keepingcurrentmatters.com

 


 

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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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New York Times

New York Times: Homeownership is Best Way To Build Wealth

The housing market has made a strong recovery, not only in sales and prices, but also in the confidence of consumers and experts as an investment. In a New York Timeseditorial entitled, Homeownership and Wealth Creationthey explain:

“Homeownership long has been central to Americans’ ability to amass wealth; even with the substantial decline in wealth after the housing bust, the net worth of homeowners over time has significantly outpaced that of renters, who tend as a group to accumulate little if any wealth.”

Many of the points that were made in the article are on track with the research that theFederal Reserve has also conducted in their Survey of Consumer Finances.

The study found that the average net worth of a homeowner ($194,500) is 36x greater than that of a renter ($5,400).

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) expanded on the Federal Reserve’s research and projected that by the end of 2015, the average homeowner will have nearly 41x the net worth of a renter. Their findings are detailed in the graph below:

Increasing Gap In Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

One reason for this large discrepancy in net worth is the concept of ‘forced savings’ created by having a mortgage payment and was explained by the Times:

“Homeownership requires potential buyers to save for a down payment, and forces them to continue to save by paying down a portion of the mortgage principal each month.”

“Even in instances where renters have excess cash, saving a substantial amount is difficult without a near-term goal, like a down payment. It is also difficult to systematically invest each month in stocks, bonds or other assets without being compelled to do so.”  

Bottom Line

“As a means to building wealth, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.” If you are a renter who is considering making a purchase, sit with a local real estate professional who can explain the benefits of signing a contract to purchase over renewing your lease!

Article by – KCM KeepingCurrentMatters


 

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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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Is There More of a Role for Investors in a Real Estate Recovery?

It’s been a rough ride for homeowners and many investors since 2006 when it seemed that the good times would never end. But they did. The millions of foreclosures have done a lot to put a damper on the American Dream. The younger generations are no longer set on buying that first home. Many of them are living with their parents because they can’t even afford rent.

Investors have stepped up over the past six or more years, accounting annually for more than 30 percent of all home purchases. Some of that buying has been in blocks of hundreds or thousands of homes by major investors like the Blackstone Group. One recent headline tells us that the percentage of purchases by investors rose to 42 percent in one month. As long as the foreclosures keep coming there will be investor participation, but the competition for good houses has heated up. That competition is bringing higher prices, thus the media articles about a “market recovery.”

It’s weak, even if we can call it a recovery at all. There is still a large hole which the first time buyers used to fill. Just tracking prices isn’t working like it has in past markets. This is a new situation, and old statistical models may be misleading. The multiple strategies used by investors have all worked really well over the past few years:

• Wholesaling: Investors use location and negotiation skills to locate properties at deep discounts and then quickly sell them to other investors who wouldn’t have found them on their own. The sale can also be to a retail buyer, but there’s far less of that activity in current markets.
• Fix & Flip: The investor buys a distressed property and does renovation and repairs, many times selling them within three months or so to a rental property investor or possibly a retail customer.
• Rental Investors: These people buy homes with the long-term goal of renting them out for positive monthly cash flow over expenses, and a profit from appreciation at sale in the future.

All of these strategies are still working, but they’re mostly just contributing to the movement of Americans from homeownership to tenant status. This may be the future, at least for the next five to ten years until the economy has a chance to improve and unemployment decreases. It’s been a nice ride for real estate investors, and it’s not over. However, if we consider the dream of homeownership wounded but not dead, things will turn around at some point and buyers will be back. However, they may want to buy but still be hampered by their credit, lack of down payment cash, employment uncertainty, or student debt.

Even long-term rental property investors must have an exit strategy, and it’s in that exit strategy that investors may be able to help renters move back to ownership. The goals of both parties are aligned, as the buyers will be taking the home off the books of the investor when they want to liquidate the investment. Perhaps there’s a way to increase the number of potential buyers for that investment property by making it easier for them to buy.

Rent-to-own or lease-purchase arrangements have been around for a long time. A buyer who may not be ready to purchase but would like to do so can lease the home with an option to buy at some point in the future. They may need to build a down payment, or improve their credit. There are a number of benefits for the investor in this type of arrangement:

1. The tenant buyer really wants to own the home, so they’ll take better care of it.
2. The lease agreement may be structured with the tenant buyer paying some of the repairs and maintenance, definitely not part of a regular lease.
3. In many cases the tenant buyer will pay a higher rent, increasing cash flow.

A rental home investor with a plan to sell a home five to eight years in the future, perhaps to buy a more expensive rental or invest elsewhere, normally would just follow their plan and list it for sale. They’re already marketing the home for tenants, but now could take a different approach. How about helping a strapped tenant who wants to own but has a few hurdles to jump? Instead of just marketing for a tenant, changing the marketing approach to locating tenants who want to own could work for both sides.

The investor gets a three to five-year lease-purchase agreement providing the tenant with the option to buy on or before the lease expires. The timing of the expiration is when the investor wants to sell. The price is set to provide the desired profit for the investor. The tenant buyer has a plan with a due date, and they can begin to move toward ownership, taking great care of the home. It’s really no big change for the investor, just a different marketing approach. Should the tenant not exercise their option to buy, the investor is just fine, as they can list the home for sale as they would have anyway. It’s a win-win and may help bring back the dream.

Written by Dean Graziosi– New York Times Best Selling Author


 

 

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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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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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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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