Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Okay. Last post of 2013 and looking forward to a busy, happy, fun 2014 with my new location at CB Prime Realty with the main office in Carbondale.

Lots of interesting data being spit out by Zillow with predictions like:

"We’ll see a rise in mortgage rates.

According to our data, mortgage rates are predicted to hit 5% by the end of 2014. While that’s still low, it’s up from the 3-4% range in 2013, making it more expensive for people to finance a home."


"Homeownership will decline.

Zillow data predicts that homeownership rates will fall below 65% in 2014, the lowest since the mid-1990s. However, the easy lending standards we saw during the housing bubble led to higher-than-normal homeownership, and in the recovery we’re seeing ownership rates normalize. Another issue impacting the decline in ownership is the large number of Gen Y-ers who are renters. This group is the next generation of homeowners, but they’re seeing high unemployment and low wages, which will reduce the number of first-time homebuyers in 2014."

I believe I've already starting seeing these trends. In 2012, with a Presidential election, sales were effected negatively with bank loans becoming harder to process. In 2013, government loans tightened their underwriting so USDA loans, especially USDA Direct, became arduous to achieve. I didn't do any USDA Directs in 2013, mostly because the guidelines became stricter and my folks that could qualify? I urged them to use bankers who could put them in a FHA product.

It has become harder and harder for the first time homebuyer and, in 2014, we're going to see more changes to USDA loans and their underwriting. For the first time, too, we might even see areas in SoIL along the Route 13 corridor excluded from these loans.

All in  all, if you're thinking of selling your home, you're going to have to be careful to screen those who wish to see it. Qualifications for loans will be tighter with more processing and underwriting delays. Even more of a reason to list your house with a Realtor. Seriously.

And for those who are buying: The inventory is still really low in SoIL. If you find a house you can see yourself living in, even if its not perfect...buy it or someone else will.

Buyers get qualified. NOT pre-qualified...I mean, go do the loan app and get qualified. I had two deals die in 2013 because the loan fell apart after these buyers handed over a pre-qualified letter.

Believe me, I will be calling bankers about "pre-qual" letters when I get them. I will be looking out for my clients best interests when I represent the seller. Contracts will stall until I get some assurances these loans are good and the banker is standing with the buyers.

And BUYERS -- don't waste a Realtor's time! If you can't buy now, say so in the first call. Tell me about it and, if I'm doing broker's views, I will call and see if you can tag along. But you are buying my gas. It is a good way to make up you're mind what you really, really want or what you won't do.

Buyer, you may also be surprised at the loan options available. That its easier to get into a house that you might "settle" for right now, live in and fix up with plans to sell it in a year or two. I can help with that as I know what sells, what's not worth the investment or what is worth the investment. As I've said before -- Some of the HGTV shows aren't all bad about what to fix and what not to bother with.

Sometimes, Mr & Ms First Timer, the closing won't give you a huge wad of cash to pay into the next house....but what you've built is credit. You might even put more money into a house and have to bring cash to the table to unload it. But you've built your credit up to the point, that now, you can get that loan for the house you want.

Look at it this way: Buy the fix-up, imperfect house; fix up the majors & make it cute. We then sell it and you're now able to get the bigger loan on the house you love. You didn't lose any money, you built your credit better and faster than paying rent plus you had the added tax benefits of home ownership.

Zillow says home prices will increase.

"Home prices will increase.

Zillow data predicts that home prices will rise 3% in 2014, building on the 5% rise in national home prices we saw in 2013. However, due to higher home prices, a rise in mortgage rates, and increased home inventory, prices aren’t expected to rise aggressively."

I'm not at all sure that's going to be true in SoIL. I am 100% sure that houses priced right for the market will sell. Overpricing your house will cause it to sit on the market longer....no matter how wonderful it is.

All-in-all, buying and selling property is one of the most stressful things you can do. Don't try and do it alone...choose me to help you. I'm fun, I'm experienced and I'm going to be on your side. And I need your listing!!


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