Home Price Surge to Ease in 2014 but Interest Rates May Rise

housing marketMany buyers took their time searching for a new home in 2013. Prices and mortgage rates were low but took an unexpected jump in late May which forced home buyers to have to make a decision whether to buy then and which home to buy. Due to a shortage of houses on the market potential buyers found themselves caught in bidding wars and many ended up paying well over the asking price. It became a seller’s market.

Experts believe that in 2014 prospective buyers will not be able to afford the homes they would normally be able to due to interest rates rising which will make it more difficult to fund the purchase. There will be more homes available on the market because the rise in home prices have caused the value of homes to rise up above owners’ mortgage debt.

Experts also say that if the tech industry continues to boom as it has in the past couple of years, there will be a higher demand for housing. If tech stocks suffer, it could cause a problem around the Puget Sound. If Boeing decides to build its 777X outside the state of Washington, its widebody plant in Everett would shrink dramatically, effecting its 40,000 employees. Those employees may decide to sell their homes instead of wait for prices to fall which would greatly impact the market.

Overall, it will be easier to find a home to buy but may be more difficult to get the funding to do so. If people are not able to afford to buys homes in 2014, it is likely home prices might fall a bit to accommodate to buyers as a whole.

Sell Your Home Quickly With These 5 Helpful Tips

HouseMany homes sit on the market for months and even years. Owners think that lowering the asking price will entice buyers but it only sends red flags and creates the idea that there is something wrong with the house that is causing it to not sell. Owners become frustrated and not sure what to do. If you follow the 5 tips below, you won’t have to worry as these tips will help your home sell quickly.

1.   Price it Low:   Many owners are hesitant to set an asking price lower than the estimated value of their home but it helps sell the house quickly. Most want to ask more than the value to give room to drop the price during negotiations but by asking a lower price, more buyers become interested and compete for the home which often results in a selling price that is higher than the value of the home and a much shorter time spent on the market. A real estate agent in Northern California listed a house for $535,000 even though it had been appraised at $560,000. The house had multiple bidders and sold for $575,000 within weeks.

2.   Try a New Sales Approach:   If your house is not selling and nobody is looking, try a new approach to advertising your home. Put out a larger ad that gives little, but important, information. The info should catch the buyer’s interest and lure them in. Use a photo that shows nice curb appeal and descriptive words. Be sure to keep the house clean so that buyers will be intrigued with what they see.

3.   Do Not Try to Fight the Market:   If in general houses are just not selling, don’t try too hard to get exactly what you want for your home. In a not-so-great market, many people have a hard time getting financed or can’t buy a new home until theirs sells. You may not get the price you hoped for but by accepting a lower offer you will be done with the deal and less stressed.

4.   Renovations Don’t Guarantee a Sale:   Although a new coat of paint or new carpet may make your home look nicer and allow the asking price to go up a little, spending a ton of money on renovations will not necessarily sell your home or at least not for the price you would hope for. A lot of sellers spend thousands of dollars making changes hoping that they can sell their home for a higher price and earn their money back that was spent on the renovations. Some changes are good but for the most part the price is based on appraisals of the surrounding houses. If you ask $100,000 more than what the houses in your neighborhood are worth because you remodeled the kitchen and put in new floors, buyers will find your home to be over priced and walk away.

5.   Advertise Your Home Online:   In this day and age everyone is doing everything online. There are more people searching for homes online than there are circling ads in the paper. Post an ad online using attractive and good quality pictures to advertise your home. Use social media to get the word out that you are selling. People aren’t walking into real estate offices asking “find me something” as often as they used to. They are now coming in with a list of homes they found advertised online.

Bonus Tip:   Find a good realtor. Interview at least 3 real estate agents before choosing one. Be sure to trust them and their methods. Selling houses is what they do for a living and they know what they are doing.

Home Buying Credit Options

homeBuying a home is exciting and stressful especially if you are a first time home buyer. Finding the right home can be challenging but the biggest challenge is financing it. You need to have enough money in the bank to convince the lender you can make monthly payments on top of having enough to cover the costs of closing the loan in order to obtain a mortgage loan. Some home buyers search for available home buyer credits to help fund the purchasing process. Here are a few options available:

Mortgage Credit Certificate: MCC is available for first time home buyers in certain states and provides up to $8,000 in tax credits for those who have not owned a home in the previous three years, meet certain income criteria and will be using the new home as their permanent residence.

Good Neighbor Next Door Program: This program makes homes available for up to 50 percent off the listing price as long as the buyer agrees to live in the home for at least three years. HUD offers credits to school teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who purchase single-family homes in areas targeted for revitalization.

Credits for Native American Buyers: HUD provides two programs for Native Americans who wish to buy a home. Native Americans are given access to sources to private mortgage financing to buy homes in Indian or Alaskan Native areas through the Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program. Members of Indian tribes who cannot qualify for mortgages through other sources can be guaranteed a loan through The Tribal Housing Activities Loan Guarantee Program.

The Federal Housing Authority has several other options to help reduce the burden of financing a home for first time home buyers, single parents, minorities and people with moderate-low income.

Seattle Home Prices Take a Dip in August

housingFor the past six months the Seattle housing market has experienced price gains but in August the median price for single-family homes dropped to $430,000, $3,000 less than in July. 2,560 homes were sold in August, 88 less than July. It is not known if this is the start of a new pattern or simply just a hiccup. Rising interest rates might have deterred buyers from choosing to purchase last month. According to Freddie Mac the average interest rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage was 4.46 percent in August which is up from 4.37 percent in July and 3.35 last December.

5 Steps to Take Before Buying Your First Home

home buyerWith the housing market heating up again it has become more competitive and lenders are demanding more documentation regarding the sale process which means that as a first time buyer you want to be prepared and not have anything that can snarl the process. The following 5 steps will help a first time home buyer prepare for their first home purchase.

1.  Be sure to check your credit report. Make sure that there isn’t anything that shouldn’t be on there such as paid off balances, fraudulent charges or even family members’ credit. Your credit should be as clean as possible. Pay off any and all debt possible. If you feel the need to cancel any credit cards, do so strategically. If you decide to cancel multiple credit cards in a short time period be aware that can send out red flags to lenders. The best thing to do is to close the newest cards. Lenders like to see that you have a long standing relationship with credit companies as well as have more credit available a month than what you spend. It is also a good idea to have a savings account.

2.  Create a monthly budget so that you know what to expect spending wise when you buy a home. Wright down all your finances and as you save money for your first home, live as if you are making a mortgage payment so that you will be prepared spend less money once the home is bought. Be sure to stick to your budget.

3.  Be sure to find a good agent to help you in the search and buying process of your first home. Your agent should be showing you homes with in your price range, listen to your wants and needs pertaining to the house, help you become a strategic bidder, guide you through the process and they should be concerned about making you happy and not solely about their commission.

4. Find a good lender. It is important to find a lender that explains all aspects of the loan to you and one that is willing to look over your credit report with you and give advice as to what you can do to improve it. Be sure to interview several lenders before choosing one and wait until you find one you are happy with before having your credit checked. It will be another red flag and bump on your credit report if it shows your credit has been checked several times within a short time period. Do not settle for what may seem like the best deal such as settling with a lending company which you found and signed up with online. You may get a good rate but when the time comes to speak with an agent you may have difficulty getting a hold of one.

5. Keep a look out for properties and be ready to make an offer. The market has become competitive and you want to be quick at making a wise and competitive offer. Don’t make large purchases such as a new car which may lower your housing budget. When you find the house you are interested in, call utility providers and ask for usage history or contact the HOA so that you are aware of the average costs of living at a certain property and you don’t end up going over budget. Remember to continue to live and spend as if you are already making house payments so that you don’t end up under budget.

Short sales having same effect as foreclosures

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Many people who sold their home in a short sale are having problems getting back in the market due to the fact that their credit reports and scores indicate that they had been foreclosed on. This is preventing many from being able to qualify for a home loan and mortgage even though they may have cleaned up their credit and have twenty percent cash aside for a down payment. How and why is this happening?

The current credit reporting system does not have a code that distinguishes a short sale from a foreclosure. The code only shows that a home was foreclosed on and not sold in a short sale. This doesn’t seem quite fair and is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla, requested that the FTC and CFPB investigate the issue and penalize any responsible parties if they do not fix the coding issue within 90 days.