5 Reasons It’ll Pay to Sell Your Home Early in 2018

By 

It’s been nearly a decade since the Great Recession delivered the worst housing crash in modern memory. But these days, the fallout feels squarely in the rearview mirror. Markets have bounced back with fervor, and confidence is skyrocketing: From Charlotte, NC, to Stockton, CA—and everywhere in between—homes are flying off the market at record prices, and buyers are still clamoring to get in the game.

One thing is clear: It’s a great time to be a seller.

“We’ve seen two or three years of what could be considered unsustainable levels of price appreciation, as well as an inventory shortage that resulted in a record low number of homes for sale across the country,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®.

In other words: Today’s buyers are exhausted. And in many cases that means they’re willing to sacrifice to get a toehold in the market.

Sounds like the stuff of seller’s dreams, right? But know this: If you plan to sell in 2018—and you want to unload your home quickly and for maximum money—your window of opportunity may be rapidly narrowing. Here’s why you should get moving ASAP.

1. Rates are still historically low, drawing buyers into the market

We may not be enjoying the rock-bottom interest rates of yore, but by historical standards, today’s 30-year mortgage rates—hovering just above 4%—are still low. And experts agree mortgage credit will remain relatively cheap for most of the year.

That means the getting’s still good for buyers—and, subsequently, for sellers looking to unload their homes.

But rates are on the rise, and it’s been widely predicted that they’ll reach 5% before year’s end. Buyers know that the longer they wait to buy, the more expensive it will be.

Roughly translated, that means you’d be wise to list your home earlier in the year, before more rate hikes kick in. Not only will you capture the market of buyers scurrying to close a deal, but if you’re buying after you sell, you’ll also benefit from those lower rates.

2. Inventory remains tight—and demand high

Simply put, there are more buyers than available homes—particularly in red-hot markets where land is scarce and it isn’t cheap to build.

And the housing shortage will likely get worse before it gets better: Realtor.com data predict inventory will remain tight in the first part of this year, reaching a 4% year-over-year decline by March.

Sellers, that means this is your opportunity to be wooed. Buyers, their choices limited, are going to great lengths (and making some major concessions) to win the house, says Katie Griswold, a Realtor® with Pacific Sotheby’s in Southern California.

“We’re in a very favorable seller’s market,” she says. “We’re seeing bidding wars—which push up prices—and buyers are submitting offers with very pro-seller terms, like forgoing the repair request or waiving the appraisal contingency.”

And cash investors are in the mix, too, accounting for 22% of all home sales transactions in November 2017 (up from 20% in October), according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Those cash buyers are snapping up homes in an already tight market and keeping some first-time buyers at bay (sorry, buyers!). But if you’re selling, you stand a better shot at an all-cash offer—one you just might be crazy to refuse.

Of course, there’s a catch: Inventory levels are predicted to begin rising in the fourth quarter, marking the first inventory gain since 2015 and setting the stage for more dramatic housing gains to come. So if you’re thinking of selling, start preparing now in order to walk away with a sweet paycheck.

3. Home prices are still increasing

From coast to coast, home prices continue to rise—which translates to more money in your pocket when you sell.

But the gains are predicted to be more moderate than in years past. Realtor.com data suggest a 3.2% increase year over year, after finishing 2017 with a 5.5% year-over-year increase.

Bottom line: You still stand to make a pretty profit if you sell this year, but the earlier you can list, the better off you’ll be.

4. People have more money in their pocket

Record levels of consumer confidence, low unemployment, and stock market surges are setting the stage for high home buyer turnout in 2018. For the first time since the 1960s, the Fed has projected that the unemployment rate will drop below 4%, and the domestic stock market is enjoying a nearly unprecedented rally.

The housing market is already reflecting this boom: Existing-home sales soared 5.6% in November 2017 (the most recent month for which data are available) and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years, according to the NAR.

“Incomes are growing and people are finding better and more stable jobs,” Vivas says. Buyers “are feeling pretty good about (their) finances.”

And thanks to the GOP tax legislation, which nearly doubles the standard deduction, we’ll see fewer people itemizing, says National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

“The income effect of that is that most people are getting a tax cut—which should help (buyer) demand,” Dietz says.

All of these factors combined mean more buyers could be on the hunt, with more money in their pockets to shell out on a home for sale—possibly yours!

5. Millennials are ready to commit

Millennials, often crippled by student debt, have been especially hampered by rising interest rates and high home prices.

But the aforementioned conditions are ripe in 2018 for these first-time buyers to take the plunge, and experts predict that millennials will make up a vital part of the buyer pool over the coming year: Millennials could account for 43% of home buyers taking out a mortgage in 2018 (a 3% year-over-year increase), according to realtor.com data.

“As people move into their 30s, they’re looking to move from renting to homeownership,” Dietz says. “And we predict that trend will continue even more this year.”

More home buyers flooding the market can only mean good things for sellers—at all price points.

 

 

https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/reasons-to-sell-your-home-in-2018/?identityID=10808323&MID=2018_0112_WeeklyNL&RID=1283933402&cid=eml-2018-0112-WeeklyNL-blog_1_reasonstosellin2018-blogs_trends

Should You List in January Or Wait for the Spring Selling Season?

BY BRENDON DESIMONE 

Thousands of homeowners speak to their real estate agent this time of year to consider their sale options — typically for the spring. It takes a few months for the agent and seller to plan and prep to list the home, so starting now makes sense.

Over the years, we’ve asked sellers if they would consider listing their home in January, right after the first of the year. At first, they look at us like we’re crazy. “Who sells a home in the dead of winter?” they ask.

As it turns out, many sellers not only successfully make it happen, but actually end up better off. Here’s why.

Buyers are out 24/7/365

In the past, buyers waited for spring to start their shopping because that’s when the majority of listings hit the market for the spring selling season.

Today’s buyers look at listings all day, every day. They have apps on their phone, get listings texted and emailed to them, and don’t care about the time of year.

They’re looking for inventory, and will buy homes well before the spring. List your home in January, and you will have a captive audience.

Bonuses, inheritances and tax implications

Each year, real estate agents’ phones ring come January. Previously active buyers want to re-engage, and new buyers come out of the woodwork. What causes this yearly phenomenon?

The end of the year often brings family events, financial activities and discussions about gifting for tax implications. Conversations about inheritances and taxes, money and homeownership seem to occur at many families’ holiday dinners.

Additionally, at year’s end, people take stock of their incomes, find out about work bonuses, and start thinking about whether they want to spend another year renting. Buyers start to take a second look at the tax implications of homeownership, too.

Whether it’s a new buyer who moves quickly or a previously active buyer who re-engages, these house hunters are around in January and will look at your home if it’s for sale.

Where’s the competition?

Typical sellers wait until spring to list. There’s no doubt that visible grass, blooming flowerbeds, and a spotlight on outdoor areas make houses more inviting.

But that also means that there might be two or three similar houses for sale in your neighborhood or school district, in your price range. Thus, it changes the supply-and-demand balance.

You’re better off being the only game in town when it’s time to sell. The more homes on the market, the more the buyers spread out.

Buyers shopping in January understand that the home won’t show as well as it does in the spring and summer months. Many of them don’t care. Having photos of your home during these times of year will help them envision it in the warmer seasons.

If you’re a flexible seller — meaning that you aren’t under any time restrictions or time frames to sell, and your home is already in showing condition — consider listing in mid- to late January. You can always control and negotiate your closing deadline with a buyer. If someone falls in love with the home, they may not mind waiting until April to close.

Also, many buyers have been at it for many months (sometimes years). So, come January, they are tired of open houses Sundays and the real estate hunt. This is your target buyer and, in part, they’re why it’s better to list in January than to wait until spring.

 

 

 

Should You List in January Or Wait for the Spring Selling Season?

How to Fix Your Credit to Buy a Home

Most of us long to own a home. We see this idealized place as our shelter in bad times. We love the thought of being able to decorate the entire series of rooms to our unique specifications. Here is our own abode, where we can plant a garden, entertain friends and raise children. Somehow, renting an apartment just isn’t the same.

Unfortunately, for many of us, buying a home is a difficult prospect because of one major drawback, a poor credit history. Bad credit almost always creates complications when trying to purchase something as big as a home.

That three-digit credit score and our credit report can make the difference between being granted a home loan and being rejected out of hand. Why? Because our credit report tells a financial story of us as payers of debt, and it has a long memory. Few people manage to go along forever without making a single financial mistake, and the fact is that many times, those people who pay cash for everything, end up with a lower credit score than those of us who juggle debt.

The worse your credit report is, the harder it will be to acquire a home loan. That is why it is imperative, before you go house shopping and long before you need to move, to study your credit report and clean it up as much as you possibly can. In several months to a year’s time, you can improve your credit report and raise your credit score. Then you will have a much better chance of moving into your own home at a competitive interest rate.

A low credit score means that you will be charged a much higher interest rate when you apply for a home loan. Additionally, you will be required to contribute a much larger down payment of cash. Finally, if your score is very low, you might simply be denied altogether, although virtually every mortgage company now has special programs designed to help those with bad credit get loans for home purchases.

If you have a steady job and a steady income, if you have worked in the same field for two years or more and if you are able to put 10-20 percent down on a home, you will find your chances of acquiring a home loan greatly improved, even if you have a very low credit score. Getting a loan from the bank or credit union where you already do business is sometimes easier. There are other things you can do to improve your chances as well.

Figure out where you’re at right now

If you are working to improve your credit in order to buy a home, get a copy of your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies. Why? Because they will not be exactly the same and you need to know what is on every one. Some creditors send information to all three agencies, but some only send reports to one or two. Additionally, when a mortgage lender pulls your report to check your history, they will use the middle score from all three to decide whether or not to qualify you for a loan.

If you have not ordered a copy of your credit report in the last year, you are entitled to a free copy from all three bureaus. These will not include your credit score, however, to get that, go to www.myfico.com where you will be charged a small fee.

Make yourself comfortable and start assimilating the information on your reports. Check every single item. Verify that everything is correct, including your name, Social Security number, current and previous addresses, list of employers, debts and any public records concerning you.

You will most likely discover errors on your credit report. These errors could be dragging your credit score down. It is not uncommon for people to find errors of such magnitude that their credit score is hundreds of points less than it should be. These errors can be caused by simple mistakes, like transposing a 6 for a 5, but they can also be due to criminal identity theft. Either way, you need to know.

Now you must begin the work of cleaning up your credit report as much as you possibly can. This generally requires an exchange of letters. Keep careful notes and copies of everything you do. Send your letters via certified mail. If the credit reporting agency cannot verify the questionable information that you are disputing, they must remove it, and they only have thirty days to respond to you.

If you don’t have the time to expend this effort, or you feel it is too complicated, you can easily get the aid of a reputable credit repair agency. These skilled and experienced people accomplish this kind of repair work every day, and they know how to make positive things happen.

After each questionable item is removed from your credit report, make sure to insist that the credit bureau mail you a revised, corrected copy. Now you are on the way to owning a home!

There is no instant, painless way to repair your credit, even when there are inaccuracies on your report, especially if you are struggling to save money. Plan on exercising patience with this process. The end result is worth the effort.

Why your credit score is so important

You will often see your credit score referred to as a FICO score. This three-digit number, running anywhere from 300-850, is calculated by complex mathematical equations and is used as a way to determine if you are a good credit risk.

Your credit score is determined by taking each of the following five sections of your credit report and weighting them according to a set standard.

  • Payment history: 35%

  • Outstanding debts: 30%

  • Length of your credit history: 15%

  • Types of credit you’ve used: 10%

  • Amount of new credit: 10%

Problems arise when your score falls below approximately 650. If your score runs beneath that number, you should expend determined effort to clean up your report and raise your score. This would include eliminating any inaccuracies on your reports, as mentioned, but also includes paying off whatever outstanding debts you can and making certain that you make your monthly payments on time. A year’s worth of on-time payments will raise your score and show a mortgage lender that you are responsible.

Lenders will look at

  • Your employment history and your identity: Make sure all of this is completely correct.

  • Inquiries made on your credit: This can hurt you, and it might not be something you knew about. If you apply for credit cards, for whatever reason, there could end up being five or six inquiries on your credit report. This makes lenders suspicious of your credit-worthiness. If these inquiries stretch out over time, they are counted individually and this makes things look worse. Most of us shop around for the best interest rate when it comes to buying a car or home, however, so the credit reporting agencies look at inquiries made within fourteen days of each other as only one inquiry.

  • How you have paid your debts in the past: Your credit report details how you have handled credit and debt in the past. It will show your credit limits, whether you were ever late with a payment, how long it took you to pay things off, how high you charged credit, etc.

  • Public record information: Here is where the credit report lists things like bankruptcies, foreclosures and liens.

Explain things to a lender in writing

Provide the lender, in writing, the reason for your poor credit score. Explain your situation if a certain credit card bill was never forwarded to your new address, or if a postal employee was stealing the neighborhood mail. Explain late payments due to a job layoff. Even when a lender’s computer kicks you out of the system, a human being will take a second look at your loan application to see if there is any way to make things work. Some lenders are more sympathetic and flexible than others. You may have to shop around a bit to find them.

Find a good mortgage broker

Mortgage brokers provide a valuable service. They know which lenders will work fairly with people who have had credit challenges. A mortgage broker “shops” for the best lender for your unique situation and can end up saving you a substantial amount of money.

The seller-financed loan

Sometimes buying a home from the homeowner is the best bet. This person might not check your credit, and could be more flexible about how the home is purchased. Sometimes a homeowner is as eager to sell as you are to buy, and creative methods can be set up to suit both of you. The seller can carry the loan, for example. A “wraparound” mortgage might be an option. That happens when the seller still owes money on the home and you take over the mortgage payment, plus an additional amount that covers the balance. Wraparounds are not legal in all states.

Mortgage pre-approval

You can get pre-approved for a home loan before you ever look at a single house. First, get your credit report as clean as it can be, pay off as many outstanding debts as you can and raise your credit score as much as possible. Then go to a mortgage lender or broker and get yourself a pre-approval certificate.

In this case, a mere “pre-qualifying” letter is not the same thing. You need to have the lender actually pull your credit report and pre-approve you as would be done if you had already picked out a home.

The lease-to-purchase option

If you already rent the home you would like to buy, and the homeowner agrees to sell it to you, a portion of your rent will go toward your down payment. At a certain agreed-upon date, you will have accumulated some equity. Never forget that if you embark upon this option and for some reason it does not work out, the money you have spent will not be returned.

Borrow the sum you need from your relatives, friends, 401K or IRA

Though this should probably be a last resort, it is an option for many people. Additionally, the Roth IRA has a special provision just for this purpose. With the Roth, you are allowed to withdraw up to $10,000 in order to buy a first home.

If you do borrow money, you need to disclose this information to the lender. If the money provided was a gift and does not need to be paid back, provide proof of this in writing.

Warnings

When you apply for a home loan and everything has worked out, be careful not to mess things up. Do not go out and finance a car, for instance, while you are waiting for your home purchase to close. It could throw off your credit ratio and ruin the entire loan process. To be safe, try not to charge anything or apply for any other loans during this sensitive period. You could end up losing your earnest money on top of losing the home you want to buy.

How to get your credit reports

To get your FICO credit score, visit www.myfico.com. This website is packed with other helpful financial tips, and ideas about how to raise your score.

The three major credit reporting bureaus have set up a central website, address and phone number where we can get our free annual credit reports. This organization can be reached through their web site at www.annualcreditreport.com or at their toll free number: 877-322-8228. You can print a copy of their request form from www.ftc.gov/credit and mail it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281 
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Never give up the dream of owning a home

Less than perfect credit does not mean you will never own a home. Put in the work to clean up your credit reports and hang in there. Owning a home is a dream worth achieving.

 

 

 

 

https://www.creditrepair.com/articles/loan-center/buying-a-home-with-poor-credit

November Sales Statistics

Sacramento area home sale prices decreased by 1.9% in November compared to October. November’s median sales price was $348,250.

 

The amount of single family homes listed for sale in November decreased by 24%. If you’re wondering if it’s a good time for you to sell, call us and we would be happy to go over the numbers with you.

 

Many homeowners would like to know about how long it would take to sell their home. While the amount of time varies, the average DOM (days on the market) in November was 27. The above chart shows that 70% of homes were on the market for 30 days or less. If you would like to know more about why a home may sit on the market longer than average, then give me a call.

10 reasons you should never buy or sell without an agent

BY CARA AMEER

  • As a layperson, you don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to handling the single largest transaction you’ll likely make in your life.
  • A real estate agent serves as a ninja negotiator to achieve the best price and terms that the market will bear while protecting your interests.
  • Agents are connected to a plethora of industry professionals to help you get the deal done.

As with most important things in life, you wouldn’t try to handle a legal situation without an attorney, build your own house or take on the IRS solo to challenge a tax matter. Well, buying or selling a home is no different.

Here are 10 reasons you should never buy or sell a home without an agent.

1. Knowledge is not power

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing when it comes to real estate. At the click of a mouse or a tap on your phone, you can get an instant valuation of your property.

Is that value realistic? On which properties is it based? What did those properties have that yours does or does not? What were the dates and details of those sales?

That valuation could be significantly more or less than what your property is actually worth. Just like using the internet to self-diagnose a medical issue is not the best idea, the same applies to real estate.

2. What do you know about the market?

To the above point, as a seller, do you know what other options buyers are likely to consider when they are looking at your home? Do you know who the typical buyer audience is, where they are coming from and how to find them?

Do you know what agents likely work with this group? What is the average number of days on market for homes in your area, and what percentage of the asking price are they getting? Are there any particular terms of sale that are a trend in your area, such as sellers paying closing costs for buyers or other concessions?

As a buyer, what types of properties are most realistic for your price range and the kind of financing you will be doing?

A good agent educates you about “real estate reality” as far as what you can get for your money in your desired areas and criteria that are important to you.

Lastly, whether a buyer or seller, do you know why properties in one particular location sell faster than another? Are there challenges, perceived or real that could affect values?

A stellar agent can prevent you from making an expensive mistake when it comes to buying (such as a home near a soon-to-be-constructed highway or busy railroad tracks — no wonder it was priced so cheap). And alternatively, that same agent can help sellers position their property in the best way when taking into account external factors around it that can affect value.

3. Agents are expert problem-solvers

So what happens when the inspection reveals termites, a roof leak, a house that needs to be replumbed — or worse yet when an inspector paints a picture of a fairly minor repair issue in a far worse light than it is? What happens when an appraisal comes in at less than contract sales price?

These are run-of-the-mill issues that agents face every day. They don’t make our palms sweat and cause us to faint, but instead we stand tall in the face of the myriad challenges this business presents.

My first broker told me, “If you aren’t solving problems, you aren’t selling real estate.” How true this is.

If you are selling your home on your own and encounter these situations, can you prevent the buyer from running for the hills? Do you have a plethora of experts you can call upon, often at a moment’s notice, who can help?

As a buyer, do you really want to be addressing repair items with a seller directly? Sellers are so often in “repair denial,” particularly when they are trying to sell their home on their own — there are never any issues as far as they are concerned.

4. Overcoming objections is what agents excel at

You are selling your home on your own. Do you have a record of who has come through and when? If they had an agent, who it was and what the buyer thought of it? If they didn’t buy your home, what did they buy instead and why?

That’s what agents working with sellers manage. Are there any themes emerging? If there are concerns that are presenting as a challenge for buyers, do you know how to address them?

Are there ways to combat these objections by providing additional information or consulting with needed designers, contractors, landscapers, the homeowners’ association and so on?

Superstar agents can effectively address objections such as “didn’t like layout” or “needs too much work” and know how to position a property effectively, so buyers go from “just looking” to locking an offer up.

5. Effective negotiation skills are key

As a seller, you received a low offer on the property. Do you make a counteroffer, outright reject it or not respond?

As a buyer, you want to make an offer that asks the seller for everything and the kitchen sink (well, because it’s attached, it conveys as part of the house anyway).

How do you formulate a strategy? Do you know your opponent and have you gathered much intelligence about them? How much should you offer or counteroffer?

Does your response risk alienating the other side? What about more than one offer? How do you facilitate, manage and negotiate effectively to keep all interested buyers in play?

The negotiation landscape can get complex, which is why a third party is always beneficial in acting as a buffer zone to separate emotion from facts and work to reach an objective outcome.

6. Preventive medicine equals more money in your pockets

The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies when it comes to real estate because surprise is never a good thing when it comes to buying or selling.

A good agent walks you through the necessary steps before you start your property search or put your property on the market.

As a buyer, there are certain things you must do before starting your property search, such as getting prequalified — preferably preapproved — so you don’t waste time looking at properties that aren’t a match, and so that you don’t waste a seller’s time coming through a home that you cannot afford.

As a seller, are there items that should be addressed before putting your property on the market? Should you get a pre-listing inspection, and are there any repair items that need to be taken care of?

What about staging or editing your furnishings and decor? What items make the most sense for you to address to position your home for maximum exposure?

Do you need a floor plan created for your home? Is there any pertinent information you need to pull together that is critical for the sale?

In short, a top-notch agent guides you on critical steps you need to take before stepping into the market that will save you time, headaches and hassle when an offer comes through.

7. Marketing expertise is needed to sell your home

Image is everything when it comes to real estate, and a poorly presented property is like showing up at the Oscars without using a stylist.

Do you have access to the right photographers, video producers, stagers and interior designers to make your property shine?

Although you might think marketing your property on your own is easy, there is a difference between playing photographer and hiring someone with an objective, critical eye for what kind of marketing will attract the right buyers.

Are you able to find the money shot? What photos are going to best present the property? Should a drone be used, and for which shots?

Are you able to create a video to effectively tell your property’s story and how to best find that story and articulate it? What kind of marketing collateral can you prepare that’s going to communicate the features, benefits and advantages of your property over another effectively, and how is that collateral going to be distributed?

Do you have access to vendors that might be able to offer incentives or discounts for buyers who could benefit from their services with the new home?

8. Social network exposure is unmatched

Can you broadcast your property across numerous websites and various social media networks to pique buyer and agent interest — locally, nationally and possibly internationally?

Are you able to reach hundreds, thousands or even more with the click of a mouse? Are you able to use predictive analytics and targeted digital marketing to put your property in front of the right prospects? A top agent is skilled in making your property go viral in just seconds.

9. Agents have mad connections

Real estate agents are connected to just about everyone and everything. The three degrees of separation rule applies here.

Agents are constantly in the know — it’s their job to be. They leverage their relationships with real estate related service providers, lenders — and, most importantly, other agents — to help bring the sale together.

Agents exchange and share advice and ideas that can help one another, and by networking and information-sharing, they help bridge the gap between for sale and sold.

They also have access to properties that are not officially on the market and often know deals not advertised that builders might be offering in terms of discounts or specials that can help save you money.

Need a handyman or a really good painter? Ask your agent about the contacts he or she has, and get hooked up with great providers.

10. Trusted advice and an available point person are a seller’s best friend

Who else can you go to with a question or concern almost any time of the day or night? Yes, as much as we don’t like to admit it, there is no such thing as office hours for real estate.

A good real estate agent is your trusted adviser every step of the way, and unlike your attorney or accountant, you won’t get charged for every phone call or email.

Who else can you unload your qualms, fears and worries upon regarding the buying and selling process? When your peanut gallery of friends, family and co-workers are giving you confusing advice, who can you trust for objective information to make the best possible decision?

Don’t go into the buying and selling process blind. Let a real estate professional be your guide so that you can celebrate this incredible milestone without worry, knowing that the heavy lifting and problem-solving was done for you.

 

 

 

https://www.inman.com/2016/06/16/10-reasons-you-should-never-buy-or-sell-without-an-agent/

Slaying That Credit Score – New Tips For A New Year

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI

Getting ready to buy a house or just thinking about it? Where to buy, what to buy, and how you’ll afford it are probably top of mind. But if you’re not also concentrating on your credit score – and by concentrating on, we mean actively trying to raise your scores as much as possible – you’re not looking at the whole homebuying picture.

Not only can does your credit score factor greatly into what you’ll pay for your house, it can keep you from being able to buy one, period. “Your credit history determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay,” said eloan. “A credit score provides an easy way for lenders to numerically judge your credit at a point in time. It gauges how likely you are to repay your loan in a timely manner. The better your history appears, the more attractive you become as a loan customer.”

Thankfully, your credit score is not static; it can (and does) change all the time, and there are all kinds of ways to improve it, some better than others. We’re running down the smartest options to boost your score in the new year.

Shoot for perfection

850 is the best score you can possibly get, and, while it may seem completely out of reach, there are people who actually crest that credit mountain and reach the top. “It’s the Holy Grail of all credit scores: 850. On the widely used FICO credit score scale, approximately one in every 200 people achieves perfection, at least as of a 2010 estimate by the Fair Isaac Corporation,” said The Motley Fool. Careful budgeting and detailed attention to every aspect of their financial picture are the umbrella tactics they use to get and maintain that score – and they’re ones you should be using, too.

Or, shoot for 750

If 850 is out of reach within a reasonable timeframe (reasonable being the maximum amount of time you want to wait before buying a home), try for 750. This is the magic number for many lenders and creditors. “It puts the ball completely in the corner of the consumer rather than the lender, said The Motley Fool. “You’ll often have lenders fighting for your business, and in nearly all instances, you’ll be offered the best interest rate by lenders, meaning you’ll have the lowest possible long-term mortgage and loan costs of any consumer.”

Talking to your lender about the items on your credit report that have the best chance of raising your score is key. You may think that paying off that old unpaid account from six years ago is an easy way to get a score bump, but is it about to fall off of your report on its own?

Set up automatic payments

According to CreditCards.com, a good 35 percent of your credit score is taken from your payment history. You may have missed payments in the past that you need to deal with now, but you certainly don’t want to make another mistake while you’re trying to get homebuyer-ready. Almost every creditor, from your utilities to your car payment to any outstanding student loans you may have, offers the option of automatic payments. This is the easiest way to ensure you never miss a payment because you got busy or spaced on the due date.

But, just remember to make sure there is enough cash in your account to cover the payments on the day the money will be coming out. If you have been busy moving funds into savings for your down payment, you’ll want to set a reminder to put money back into whatever account your auto payments are attached to.

Ask before you shut down credit cards

The amount of credit you have is a factor in qualifying – or not – for a mortgage. Too much debt is a bad thing. But, long-term credit use that has been managed properly can be helpful to your score. If your lender does recommend getting rid of some of your available credit, it likely won’t be older cards. “Length of credit history is considered when determining your score – so the longer you’ve had a credit card, the better,” said CNN Money.

Also beware that closing any card triggers a change in your “utilization,” and that might not be a positive. Be sure to consult with your lender first.

Watch your credit limits

Banks don’t look kindly on those who have used all of their available credit because it gives the appearance that you’re not living within your means. “The amount of available credit you use is the second most important factor in your score,” said NerdWallet. “Experts recommend you keep your balance on each card below 30% of your limit — if your limit is $5,000, your balance should be under $1,500.”

Of course, even lower is better. Get to 20% or even 10%, and you’ll be in great shape. But don’t go below that. While it may seem like a zero balance would indicate that you are financially savvy, banks like to see responsible credit management. That means using your cards and paying down the balance to a reasonable level every month.

Pay down your debt…but check with your lender first

If you’re trying to weigh the best tactics for improving your credit and you don’t have the funds to take care of every outstanding wrinkle on your credit report and pay down your existing debt at the same time, you definitely want to check with your lender before you make any move. Every dollar is important, and while NerdWallet notes that your credit score will “soar” as you “pay off your debt as aggressively as possible without acquiring more,” it could be that your lender has a strategy that places more importance on other credit issues in your report, or has structured your credit repair according to a different timeline.

This underscores the importance of working with a lender who is skilled and experienced in credit repair. Using the tools our lender gave us, we were able to improve our score by almost 100 points in four months, allowing us to qualify for the home we wanted and get a great interest rate.

Don’t be afraid to refinance

You may end up buying a home before you get your credit score exactly where you want it to be. If you’re in an appreciating market, which much of the country is, and your score continues to rise after you close escrow, you might be in a position to refinance sooner than you think. Especially if you buy your home with an FHA loan, their streamline refinance program can potentially lower your rate without an appraisal, a credit check, or job/income verification.

 

 

 

 

http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/buyersadvice/item/1007375-20171130-slaying-that-credit-score-new-tips-for-a-new-year?rtmpage=null

Am I Ready To Sell My House?

Am I Ready To Sell My House?

 

7 Signs You’re Ready to Sell Your House

Should I sell my house? If you’ve been asking yourself this question lately, we’ve got good news: It’s a great market for sellers! Limited inventory continues to drive home prices up, and the latest data from the National Association of Realtors shows that nearly half of recently sold properties were on the market for less than a month.(1)

Of course, the decision to sell your house isn’t based solely on market conditions. You have to take your personal situation into account—and that’s where expert advice comes in handy.

Here are seven signs you’re ready to sell your house:

1. You’ve got equity on your side.

For most homeowners, being financially ready to sell your house comes down to one factor: equity. During the housing meltdown of 2008–09, millions of homeowners found themselves with negative equity, which meant they owed more on their homes than they were worth.

Clearly, selling your home when you have negative equity is a bad deal. That’s called a short sale. Breaking even on your home sale is better, but it’s still not ideal. If you’re in either situation, don’t sell unless you have to in order to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure.

For the last several years, home values have been on the rise—by leaps and bounds in many cases—and that means most homeowners are building equity. Their homes are now worth more than they owe on them, and that trend will persist as they pay down their mortgages and home values continue to increase.

Figuring out how much equity you have may sound complicated, but the math is actually simple. Here’s how it works:

First, grab your latest mortgage statement and find your current mortgage balance.

Next, you’ll need to know your home value. While it’s tempting to use figures from online valuation sites to determine how much your home is worth, they’re not always accurate. Ask one of our agents to run a free comparative market analysis (CMA) for the best estimate.

Once you have those two numbers in hand, simply subtract your current mortgage balance from your home’s estimated market value. The difference will give you a good idea of how much equity you have to work with.

So how much equity is enough?  At the very least you want to have enough equity to pay off your current mortgage with enough left over to provide a 20% down payment. But if your sale can also cover your closing costs, moving expenses and an even larger down payment—that’s even better.  Additionally, putting 20% or more down on a home keeps private mortgage insurance (PMI) at bay. That could save you hundreds of dollars each year!

2. You’re out of debt with cash in the bank.

If you didn’t have all your financial ducks in a row your first time around the home-buying block, you probably learned a few things the hard way. Like the fact that Murphy can smell “broke” from miles away. If it can go wrong, it will! Put those lessons to good use and be a money-smart home buyer the next go-round!

Start by taking a hard look at your finances. If you’ve paid off all your nonmortgage debt and have three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund, that’s a good sign you’re financially mature enough to purchase a home again.

3. You can afford to buy a home that fits your lifestyle better.

Another factor to consider is how well your home meets your everyday needs. Perhaps you could use another bedroom (or even two) to accommodate your growing family. Or maybe your kids have all moved out and you’re ready to downsize.  Empty nesters can really benefit from selling while rates are low. It’s freeing to sell a large home, pay cash for a smaller one, and invest the rest for your retirement.

Whether you’re sizing up or down, make sure your mortgage fits your budget. Dave recommends keeping your monthly payment to 25% or less of your take-home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

4. You can cash-flow the move.

Don’t get so carried away by the excitement of your next home that you forget to account for the cost of leaving your current one. Hiring professional movers? Save up cash to cover the cost of packing up and hauling your stuff away.

You should also invest a little to get your current place ready for prime time. Focus your home improvement dollars on paint, curb appeal, plus kitchen and bath upgrades.  A little bit of fresh paint and elbow grease can go a long way into making a great impression—and getting your home sold fast!

Want a bonus tip that doesn’t cost a dime? Clear out the clutter. Neat closets and tidy shelves make your home look larger!

5. You’re emotionally ready to sell.

If the numbers show you’re financially ready to make a move, great! But don’t forget—selling your home is an emotional issue, too. Before you plant the “For Sale” sign in the front yard, take a minute to answer just a few more questions:

  • Are you ready to put in the work to get your house ready for house hunters?
  • Are you committed to keeping it ready to show for weeks or months?
  • Are you ready to hear the reasons why potential buyers believe your home is not perfect?
  • Are you ready for honest—and sometimes hardball—negotiations over what buyers are willing to pay for your home?
  • Are you really ready to move out and leave the place where your family has made memories?

Don’t get us wrong; we’re not trying to talk you out of selling your home! We just want you to be completely ready when you do decide to move on to the next stage of your family’s life.

A qualified real estate agent will give you a clear picture of what it’s like to sell your house, and also help you discern if now is the right time for you, both financially and emotionally.

6. You Understand the Market (a Little Bit)

No one can predict how the housing market will perform. But the National Association of Realtors expects modest growth for existing homes in 2018. Despite the possibility of rising mortgage rates, home sales in 2018 are forecasted to grow around 7% percent, with the median price increasing 5%.(2)

Home Values Are Riding High

With rents up and mortgage rates down, many renters are looking to buy their first home. There’s just one problem: They’re having trouble finding homes for sale within their price range.

According to Trulia, there are 20% fewer entry-level homes on the market today than there were this time last year.(3) A lot of investors snatched up bargains on entry-level homes when the market was down and turned them into rental properties. 

If you took economics in school, you learned all about supply and demand. When supply is down and demand goes up, prices trend upwards as well. That means your home might be worth more than you think. Consider the numbers:

  • According to the National Realtors Association, U.S. homes are on the market an average of only 34 days, that’s four less than last year.(4)
  • Recent listings of starter homes are 8% less than searches, which means there are more house hunters than homes available for sale (5).

In other words, the market’s hot for just about any home seller—but especially if you’ve got a starter home to sell.

7. You Have a Real Estate Agent

The reasons already mentioned are essential to consider before selling your home this year. But remember, your real estate market is unique—and so is your financial situation. Consult an experienced real estate agent to find out how the 2018 housing market is shaping up in your area so you can decide if a sale makes financial sense for your family.

Partner with a pro you can trust to provide honest advice so you can do what’s best for you and your budget. A good agent puts service before sales—but knows how to get things done when it’s time to sell.

 

Selling your home is a big deal.  A real estate agent does more than just schedule showings of your home.  They bring experience and confidence to the table when they handle their many job duties, which include:

  • Giving you advice about updates or repairs that will make your home more attractive
  • Helping you set a price for your home
  • Marketing your home so it receives as much exposure to potential buyers as possible
  • Scheduling showings with potential buyers
  • Advising you as you negotiate offers
  • Handling all the required paperwork

 

Don’t trust an amateur with one of your biggest financial investments. Work with a high-octane agent who knows your market

An experienced real estate agent can help you navigate the search for your next home, too.  Be sure to have some backup options ready in case your home sells quickly and you can’t find a new place you love right away. You don’t want to rush into a home you can’t afford or don’t really like just because it’s available. 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/ready-to-sell-your-home

Selling Your Home During The Winter

Selling Your Home During The Winter

Thinking of selling your home sometime next year? Why wait? Existing home sales have increased from November to December an average of 4.5% in the past three winters. That means even though there are less homes on the market, buyers are out there buying at a steady, if not increased, pace. That’s great news for you winter sellers!

If you’ve got a home on the market right now, you might feel like the Grinch stole your Christmas. Everyone knows winter is the season of giving and spring is the season of selling. Plus, working home showings into a busy holiday schedule is like trying to shove a 20-foot tree into your living room.

If you’re ready to sell your house, you don’t have to wait. Selling during the holidays doesn’t have to spell disaster. You may be surprised that there are actually advantages to selling your home in the winter! Here are some of our favorites.

The Internet Has No Seasons

Traditional home buying and selling seasons have evolved as a result of instant internet access to property listings. While spring is still the hottest home-buying season, serious home buyers are always on the lookout, checking out the latest listings on their tablet before bed or while waiting for their kid’s football game to end.

Today’s buyers do the bulk of their home searches online, and that’s especially true when the weather outside is not so cheerful. This means your online listing and photos are especially important. Make sure you use high-quality photos that show off your home’s selling points. Photos of the exterior in all seasons can help, as can including a video tour and night shots of the exterior with all the lights on.

Make sure you work with an experienced real estate agent to get your listing up-to-snuff for online house hunters. An expert agent can help you know how to show off your home’s best features. 

Competition Dries Up

Come spring, sellers will flood the market and your home will be just another fish in a great big pond. But right now, you’ve practically got the market to yourself.

Since 2014, existing home inventory has fallen an average of 15% from November to December. That’s 15% less competition on the market if you list your home during the winter! Buyers have fewer homes to choose from, which means you could sell your house faster.    

Buyers Mean Business

Most folks want to curl up under a blanket next to a warm fire on a cold winter day. If a buyer is trudging around in freezing weather to look at your home, they must be serious. That’s because many winter buyers are working against a deadline, whether it’s an expiring lease, relocation, or a contract on their current home.

Getting Tax Breaks Before Year-End

Winter home buyers may also be motivated to capture the tax benefits of buying a home before year-end. 

Home buyers can write off some of the expenses of their home purchase on their taxes. There are usually multiple tax benefits of owning a home they can take advantage of, too. Typically, a homeowner can count on the following being tax-deductible:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums
  • Real estate taxes

All of these tax benefits could make a potential home buyer want to get a house bought and closed before the new year. And if you’re selling your home and buying another, you could ring in the new year with more tax breaks, too!

Remember that selling or buying a house can complicate your tax situation, which is why it’s always a great idea to lean on a tax expert’s knowledge. They can make sure you get every deduction and credit you’ve earned.

Time Off 

You may think people are less likely to see your home in the midst of their hectic holiday schedules. That can definitely be true, but keep in mind most people have more time off around the holidays. That means more time for browsing their favorite home apps, dreaming about their future decor, and even scheduling home showings.

3 Tips to Setting the Buying Mood

Nothing says welcome home quite like walking out of the cold into a nice, warm house that’s dressed up for the holidays. Admit it: Your home looks goo-ood this time of year!

It’s easier to make a house feel like home in the wintertime. Here are a few tips to help you set the buying mood.

  • Keep it simple. Decorations should accent—not overpower—a room. Less is more. You don’t want your Christmas tree to take up half the living room.
  • Crank up the cozy. Light a fire in the hearth, play soft holiday music in the background, and prepare fresh-baked goods or mulled cider for guests.
  • Shine a light outside. Winter days get dark early. Brighten your home’s exterior with outdoor spotlights. A few holiday lights are okay. Just save the Clark Griswold light show for next year.

Remember . . . the nicer your home presents itself, the more likely it is to sell—and for more money. 

Ready to Sell Your Home?

With all these advantages on your side, hopefully selling your home in the winter won’t feel so daunting. We know you’ve probably got a lot on your plate this time of year, though, so we’ve put together some resources to help you check everything off your home-selling list.

Call us today!

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/selling-your-home-in-winter

October Sales Statistics

Sacramento area home sale prices increased by 2% in October compared to September. October’s median sales price was $355,000.

 

The amount of single family homes listed for sale in October decreased by 6.7%. If you’re wondering if it’s a good time for you to sell, call us and we would be happy to go over the numbers with you.

 

Many homeowners would like to know about how long it would take to sell their home. While the amount of time varies, the average DOM (days on the market) in October was 25. The above chart shows that 72% of homes were on the market for 30 days or less. If you would like to know more about why a home may sit on the market longer than average, then give me a call.

September Sales Statistics

Sacramento area home sale prices decreased by 0.3% in September compared to August. September’s median sales price was $348,000.

 

The amount of single family homes listed for sale in September increased by 1.2%. If you’re wondering if it’s a good time for you to sell, call me and I would be happy to go over the numbers with you.

 

Many homeowners would like to know about how long it would take to sell their home. While the amount of time varies, the average DOM (days on the market) in September was 24. The above chart shows that 76% of homes were on the market for 30 days or less. If you would like to know more about why a home may sit on the market longer than average, then give me a call.