GOOD APPROVAL

Stop Wondering What Your Budget Is & Get Pre-Approved!

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show that you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are not in an incredibly competitive market, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have

relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments

2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be

sold quickly for cash

3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase

4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted. And the truth is, if you are shopping for a home just about anywhere in Souther California, no seller will take you serious without being pre-approved.

If the thought of purchasing a home has crossed your mind, even just for a moment, you owe it to yourself to get the information and learn what you qualify for. Knowledge is power and the numbers are just a call away.

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NEED OR WANT?

DO YOU NEED IT…OR DO YOU WANT IT?

GET YOUR LIST RIGHT!

Young buyers (Millennials & Gen Z’ers) have waited longer than previous generations to enter the housing market for their first home. However, this hasn’t stopped them from dreaming about the home they will eventually buy. Many spend hours searching listings and building Pinterest boards of their favorite home features. According to a survey from Open Listings, 70% of single renters are more likely to spend their Sunday nights swiping through house listings than dating profiles.

All that time window shopping has led 45% of millennials to expect the first home they buy to be their “dream home”! They are willing to wait longer, save more for a larger down payment, and are pickier about the listings they want to tour and the features that they want to see in their first home.

Waiting a little longer to buy a home than their parents or grandparents did has also helped young buyers become more established in their careers prior to making such a large purchase. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, recently commented, “Older millennials are now entering the prime earning stages of their careers, and the size and costs of homes they purchase reflect this. Their choices are falling more in line with their Gen X and boomer counterparts.”

In some areas of the country, high competition in the starter home market forces young buyers to wait longer. The extra money they save during that time opens their search to bigger, more expensive homes. If this trend continues, older millennials will skip the starter home altogether, going straight to a trade-up or premium home instead.

One trouble is that in this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is challenging to determine what is a need and what is a must. If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the “man cave” of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now? The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

“Must-Haves” – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).

“Should-Haves” – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.

“Absolute-Wish List” – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It also lets your agent know what features are most important to you before they start showing you houses in your desired area. If you are one of the many young renters planning on buying your first home soon, let’s get together to help determine exactly what you need.

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PMI DEMYSTIFIED

PMI WHAT?

Whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts when it comes to buying a home. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase homes with down payments below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%. Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 13%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 7%, while repeat buyers put down 16% (no doubt aided by the sale of their homes). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

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The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be,

but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Whether you think you should keep saving for a bigger down payment or pull the trigger where you are at, we would love to be part of the discussion and always just a call away.

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GET THAT MONEY RIGHT - GET IT TIGHT!

HOW TO GET YOUR MONEY TO WORK FOR YOU

There has been a lot written about the benefits of homeownership. One benefit that continues to rise to the top is the added wealth homeowners gain by paying their mortgage while their home increases in value over time. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently broke down the equity gained from price appreciation and principal payments in their Economists Outlook Blog and homeowners who purchased their homes five years ago have already gained almost $80,000 in equity over that time with 80% of the gains coming from price appreciation.

For a homeowner who purchased their home 30 years ago, they have gained nearly $250,000 in equity with 70% coming from price increases. The full results can be seen in the chart below.

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According to the Home Price Expectation Survey, a family who purchased a median priced home this January can expect to gain more than $42,000 over the next five years simply from price appreciation alone.

Your home is one of the only investments you can live inside as you pay it off over time. If you are ready to use your housing costs to build wealth, let’s get together to discuss how to make your dream a reality. And if renting doesn’t seem that bad, consider this.

In a recent Insights Blog, CoreLogic reported that rent prices have skyrocketed since 2005. Meanwhile, the typical mortgage payment has actually decreased.

“CoreLogic’s national rent index was up 36% in December 2018 compared with December 2005, while the typical mortgage payment was down 4% over that period.”

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You may be asking why the difference between the costs of renting versus owning? It makes sense that rents have risen. However, how did mortgage payments decrease? CoreLogic explained:

“It’s mainly because mortgage rates back in December 2005 were significantly higher, averaging 6.3% for a fixed-rate 30-year loan, compared with 4.6% in December 2018. The national median sale price in December 2005 – $190,000 – was lower than the $220,305 median in December 2018, but because of higher mortgage rates in 2005 the typical monthly mortgage payment was slightly higher back then – $941 – compared with $904 in December 2018.”

Additionally, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that purchasing a home requires less of your monthly paycheck.

According to the Economists’ Outlook Blog, NAR’s February 2019 Housing Affordability Index showed that the “percentage of income needed” to pay the typical mortgage has decreased the last three months.

• November – 17.3%

• December – 16.9%

• January – 16.2%

• February – 15.9%

Boiled Down

What does this all mean to the current housing market? We think First American said it best in a post last week:

“The mortgage rate-driven affordability surge has arrived just in time... Rising affordability has already benefited home buyers and, if the lower rate environment persists, we’re in for a great spring home-buying season.”

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The Curious Mind of the Baby Boomer.

Inside the Mind of a Baby Boomer.

If you are a “baby boomer” (born between 1946 and 1964), you may be thinking about selling your current home. Your children may have finally moved out. Your large, four-bedroom house with three bathrooms no longer fits the bill. Taxes are too high. Utilities are too expensive. Cleaning and repair are too difficult. You may be ready to move into a home that better fits your current lifestyle. Many fellow boomers have already made the move you may be considering. The National Association of Realtors recently released their 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Report. The report revealed many interesting tidbits about both categories of baby boomers: younger boomers (ages 54 to 63) and older boomers (64 to72). Here are a few of the more interesting topics.

Percentage of Buyers who Looked Online First

• All Buyers: 44%

• Younger Boomers: 46%

• Older Boomers: 44%

Where Boomers Found the Home They Purchased

The two major ways buyers found the home they purchased:

• All buyers: 50% on the internet, 28% through a real estate agent

• Younger Boomers: 46% on the internet, 33% through a real estate agent

• Older Boomers: 36% on the internet, 35% through a real estate agent

Distance Seller Moved

The distance between the home they purchased and the home they recently sold was much greater for boomers than the average seller.

• All sellers: 20 miles

• Younger Boomers: 27 miles

• Older Boomers: 50 miles

Tenure in Previous Home of Seller

The percentage of older boomers who lived in their previous home for more than 20 years was almost twice the amount of the average seller.

• All sellers: 16%

• Younger Boomers: 20%

• Older Boomers: 31%

Primary Reason to Sell their Previous Home

• Want to move closer to friends or family

• Home too large

• Retirement

View of Homeownership as a Financial Investment

• 83% of Younger Boomers see homeownership as a good investment

• 82% of Older Boomers see homeownership as a good investment

If you are a boomer and thinking about what your options might be, we’d love to be part of the conversation. We’re just a call away.

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