Pre-Approval: Be Smart – The First Step to Home Buying

Pre-Approval: Your 1st Step in Buying a Home | MyKCMIn 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 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 in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if 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 local 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.” Aside from the application information it is very important to obtain some upfront expectations on price point, payment amount and cash to close.

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.

Bottom Line

Many potential homebuyers either underestimate or overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so.  Ask us about our Home Express Mortgage Plan and how this can save you time and money in the home buying process.

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Interest Rates Over Time

The Cost Over Time

The Cost Across Time [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • With interest rates still around the mid 4’s, now is a great time to look back at where rates have been over the last 40 years.
  • Rates are projected to climb to 5.0% by this time next year according to Freddie Mac.
  • The impact your interest rate makes on your monthly mortgage cost is significant!
  • Lock in now while you can!

Is a Major Home Renovation Worth It in the Long Run?

Is a Major Home Renovation Worth It in the Long Run? | MyKCM

Last week, we shared 7 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Home To Retire In.For some homeowners, these seven factors can be taken into account with a home renovation, but is it worth it to remodel or change floor plans?

Let’s look at this example.

Let’s say you have a 4-bedroom colonial style home in a great school district. The neighborhood is amazing, and you are very comfortable there, but your kids are all grown up and the original benefits of the home no longer apply.

You’ve always wanted a huge master suite and are considering merging 3 of the smaller bedrooms on the second floor to achieve this dream.

In the short term, you are over the moon excited about your newly renovated oasis.

In the long term, when you go to sell your home down the road, you’ve now taken a 4-bedroom home in a great school district and turned it into a 2-bedroom home. Your pool of potential buyers has shrunk significantly and so has the value of your home (unless you are able to find someone who has the exact needs you have today!).

Why not consider listing your 4-bedroom home now and moving into a gorgeous 2-bedroom with a master suite? Your house can become a home for the next family looking for that perfect neighborhood with a great school district to raise their kids in!

You may even be able to achieve your dream in the same area you love, without having to give up your favorite restaurants and grocery stores.

Bottom Line

If you are debating a major renovation that would change the layout of your home, before you pick up that sledgehammer, let’s get together and discuss the available listings in our area that might meet your needs today!

5 Ways Tax Reform Has Impacted the 2018 Housing Market

5 Ways Tax Reform Has Impacted the 2018 Housing Market | MyKCM

Starting late last year, some predicted that the 2018 tax changes would cripple the housing market. Headlines warned of the potential for double-digit price depreciation and suggested that buyer demand could drop like a rock. There was even sentiment that homeownership could lose its coveted status as a major component of the American Dream.

Now that the first quarter numbers are in, we can begin to decipher the actual that impact tax reform has had on the real estate market.

1. Has tax reform killed off home buyer demand? The answer is “NO.”

According to the Showing Time Index which “tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis” and is a “highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends,” buyer demand has increased each month over the last three months and is HIGHER than it was for the same months last year. Buyer demand is not down. It is up.

2. Have the tax changes affected America’s belief in real estate as a long-term investment? The answer is “NO.”

Two weeks ago, Gallup released its annual survey which asks Americans which asset they believed to be the best long-term investment. The survey revealed:

“More Americans name real estate over several other vehicles for growing wealth as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. Just over a third cite real estate for this, while roughly a quarter name stocks or mutual funds.” 

The survey also showed that the percentage of Americans who believe real estate is the best long-term investment was unchanged from a year ago.

3. Has the homeownership rate been negatively impacted by the tax changes? The answer is “NO.”

Not only did the homeownership rate not crash, it increased when compared to the first quarter of last year according to data released by the Census Bureau.

In her latest Z Report,Ivy Zelman explains that tax reform didn’t hurt the homeownership rate, but instead, enhanced it:

“We have been of the opinion that homeownership is most highly correlated with income and the net effect of tax reform would be a positive, rather than negative catalyst for the homeownership rate. While still in the early innings of tax changes, this has proven to be the case.”

4. Has the upper-end market been crushed by new State and Local Taxes (SALT) limitations? The answer is “NO.”

In the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report it was revealed that:

  • Sales between $500,000 and $750,000 were up 4.5% year-over-year
  • Sales between $750,000 and $1M were up 15.1% year-over-year
  • Sales over $1M were up 17.3% year-over-year

5. Will the reforms in the tax code cause home prices to tumble over the next twelve months? The answer is “NO.”

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate in each of the 50 states over the next twelve months. Appreciation is projected to be anywhere from 1.9% to 10.3% with the national average being 4.7%.

Bottom Line

The doomsday scenarios that some predicted based on tax reform fears seem to have already blown over based on the early housing industry numbers being reported.

Home Buying Myths Slayed

Home Buying Myths Slayed [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!
  • Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.
  • 88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!
  • The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.8%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.1%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

The COST of Your Next Home Will Be LESS Than Your Parents’ Home Was

The COST of Your Next Home Will Be LESS Than Your Parents' Home Was | MyKCM

There is no doubt that the price of a home in most regions of the country is greater now than at any time in history. However, when we look at the cost of a home, it is cheaper to own today than it has been historically.

The Difference Between PRICE and COST

The price of a home is the dollar amount you and the seller agree to at the time of purchase. The cost of a home is the monthly expense you pay for your mortgage payment.

To accurately compare costs in different time periods, we must look at home prices, mortgage rates, and wages during each period. Home prices were less expensive years ago, but paychecks were also smaller and mortgage rates were much higher (the average mortgage interest rate in 1988 was 10.34%).

The best way to measure the COST of a home is to determine what percentage of income is necessary to buy a home at the time. That would take into account the price of the home, the mortgage interest rate and wages at the time.

Zillow just released research that examined home costs using this formula. The research compares the historic percentage of income necessary to afford a mortgage to the percentage needed today. It also revealed the cost if mortgage rates continue to rise as experts are predicting. Here is a graph of their findings*:

The COST of Your Next Home Will Be LESS Than Your Parents' Home Was | MyKCM

Rates would need to jump to 7% in order for the percentage of necessary income to be greater than historic norms.

Bottom Line

Whether you are a homeowner considering selling your current house and moving up to the home of your dreams, or a first-time buyer trying to purchase your first home, it’s a great time to move forward.

*Assumptions in the Zillow report: Buyer puts 20% down, takes out a conforming, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at rates prevailing at the time, earns the median household income, and is buying a median-valued home.