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August
29

Buying Rather Than Building - Haring Realty

To build or buy? That's one of the first questions every homebuyer asks themselves before making a decision. Both choices offer plenty of benefits and plenty of challenges. Our REALTORS® know it's a difficult choice, but we also know that in most cases, buying a home is the better choice that offers far more advantages than drawbacks. As you consider your options, there are five key advantages every homebuyer should consider.

  1. Existing Homes Are Move-In Ready
    The vast majority of existing homes are sold in move-in-ready condition. In most cases, the work that needs to be done is more of a "want" than a "need." For instance, you may want to repaint a room or change the flooring, but you don't need to do it immediately. This gives you time to thoroughly consider your options, find a contractor to perform the work, etc.

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July
25

Down Payment Amounts - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

When looking for Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, many buyers feel intimidated by the idea of the down payment. As in other kinds of loans, the down payment is the cash amount you'll "put down" to secure the transaction and get the financing you need.

Our REALTORS® know this is a potentially confusing issue. Advice about down payments has changed in recent years. Whenever the housing market takes a big swing, it's important to double-check all of your assumptions. A qualified real estate agent is the best person to ask.

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May
31

Avoiding Buyer Burnout - Haring Realty

Even in a buyer's market with plenty of affordable houses with little competition, buying a home is a stressful endeavor. This stress is amplified in today's market, where prices remain high and scant inventory leads to bidding wars. You can quickly become emotionally drained between finding a home that suits your needs and navigating a grueling loan approval process. Our REALTORS® can take some of the strain off your shoulders, but it's just as important to arm yourself with information to avoid buyer burnout.

Read on for some tips and tricks on navigating what can be both a stressful and joyful journey.

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January
31

Financing in 2022 - Homebuyers - Haring Realty

Our REALTORS® have been getting many questions about what to expect from the housing market in the coming year. No matter whether you're interested in Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, there are plenty of opportunities.

The big question on everyone's mind is how financing will change in 2022.

Over the last year, many places in the country have seen home prices skyrocket. Homeowners have had the chance to attract abundant attention, with many homes receiving competitive bids from multiple buyers at once. As a result, quite a few homes have sold for well over asking price.

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December
13

Buyer Closing Costs - Haring Realty

Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases most people will ever make. And, just like when you go shopping at the store, the sticker price is not the home's total price. This can come as a shock to many first-time home sellers and first-time homebuyers alike, which is why our REALTORS® want you to know everything about closing costs and how they affect the final price you pay for your new dream home.

  • Fees and Commissions
    You will also need to factor in real estate agent fees and commissions. These can be around 6%, but they vary depending on the agent. The seller is the party that typically pays the agent fees and commissions. The seller also pays for title insurance and any pro-rated property taxes on the property. It is also the seller's responsibility to pay any HOA fees, attorney fees, and escrow money owed to the buyer. To help ink the deal, some contracts allow the seller and buyer to split, or have the buyer pay 100 percent of, the owner's title fees on cash deals.

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November
8

VA Loans in 2021 - Haring Realty

Our REALTORS® know that no matter what your homebuying goals are, the process of getting a loan can seem intimidating. Whether you're looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, the question of financing looms large for most buyers.

If you're a U.S. military veteran, the Veterans Administration loan program may be a good fit for you.

Known popularly as the "VA home loan," it's one of the biggest benefits offered to America's veterans. It grants a wide range of perks compared to conventional loans, including no down payment and attractive rates. There are many other advantages that you might qualify for.

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September
20

Buy a Home - Improve Credit Score - Haring Realty

Before looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, many would-be buyers take time to improve their credit scores. As a general rule, the better your credit is, the easier it is to access home loans on favorable terms. That usually means better interest rates and saving thousands over a mortgage's life.

Our REALTORS® have helped many clients understand how to tackle this process. We have spoken to many people who have put off their plans to buy a home due to their low credit score, even when they have substantial current income.

Luckily, you can improve your credit score in 2021 no matter where you start from!

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June
28

Early Offer - Buy a House - Haring Realty

You've been browsing Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale for quite some time now and have finally found something perfect for you and your family's needs. You're ready to take the plunge and put in an offer on the house. But how long should you wait ?There's really no conventional answer to that question. But in a seller's market, when inventory is low and demand is high, you may have to go above and beyond to make sure you submit an early offer and that it stands out from the competition. Here's what you should know about making early offers along with strategies for making a winning one.

Potential Problems with Early Offers

Making an offer isn't as simple as knocking on the door and informing the seller you'll take the house. Your intentions trigger the start of an intricate process between you and the seller. Don't expect the seller to accept your offer just because it came in first. Sellers usually think they've priced their home too low when an offer comes in fast. So, they want the house to have the longest exposure possible on the open market and get bids from a large number of buyers. An early offer would need to be mighty attractive for the seller to accept it instead of waiting too long for better offers.

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June
7

Competitive Housing Market - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

Real estate markets across the country are red hot. It is not uncommon for sellers to receive numerous offers within days of listing their property. Time and time again, our REALTORS® have seen homes sell for well above their listing price. If you have your eye on the perfect property for your next home, we recommend taking the time to get prepared before you jump into the pool of buyers eager to get their hands on your dream home.

  • Preapproval
    Start by getting preapproved for a loan. This is more rigorous than a prequalification process and shows you precisely where you stand and how much the lender will loan for your purchase. There are multiple advantages to this when searching for Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale. It helps narrow down your search to only those properties within your price range. This speeds up the process considerably. It also shows you how high you can go if a bidding war breaks out. Equally important, when multiple offers are submitted, sellers are more likely to accept offers from preapproved buyers than those who are merely pre-qualified.

    In fact, be prepared to pay more than the listing price. This is especially true for well-maintained homes in desirable locations. It's not unheard of for homes to sell for 100-110% or more of the asking price. As you search, factor this into your calculations and search for homes that are 95% or less of your preapproval.

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April
19

FICO Score Importance - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

At Haring Realty, our REALTORS® know that some aspects of the home-buying process can be confusing.

Even buyers who have been through it all before don't know everything. And it can be even more worrisome for first-time buyers, who wonder about all the things they aren't familiar with yet. That can put a damper on the fun of looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale.

One subject comes up again and again: Financing. Where to find a mortgage and how to get the best deal.

Choosing the best mortgage for you can save you thousands of dollars across the life of your mortgage. But buyers often go into the process knowing little about one of the most important factors that can influence your mortgage terms: your FICO score.

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October
24

Sales of Distressed Properties Hit New Low | MyKCM

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report revealing that distressed property sales accounted for 4% of sales in September. This is down from 7% in 2015, and is the lowest figure since NAR began tracking distressed sales in October 2008.

Below is a graph that shows just how far the market has come since January 2012 when distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales.

Sales of Distressed Properties Hit New Low | MyKCM

Existing Home Sales Hit 2nd Highest Figure Since June 

Mortgage interest rates remained well below 4% in September at 3.46%, prompting existing home sales to stay at a healthy annual pace of 5.47 million. Month-over-month sales were up 3.2%.

Inventory of homes for sale remains below the 6-month supply that is necessary for a normal market, as it fell 2.2% to a 4.5-month supply. The shortage in inventory has contributed to the median home price rising an additional 5.6% to $234,200.

NAR's Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say about the lack of inventory:

"Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in."

There is good news though, as Yun went on to say:

"There's hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate."  

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. Buyers are still out there looking for their dream home. Let's get together to determine your best plan.

October
18

How Historically Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.47%. Rates have remained at or below 3.5% each of the last 16 weeks, marking a historic low.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments at or about $1,100 a month.

How Historically Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $6,250). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 4% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard earned money.

October
17

 

Don't Disqualify Yourself… Over Half of All Loans Approved Have a FICO Score Under 750 | MyKCM

The results of countless studies have shown that potential home buyers, and even current homeowners, have an inflated view of what is really required to qualify for a mortgage in today's market.

One such study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, revealed that many Millennials have not yet considered purchasing a home, simply because they don't believe they can qualify for a mortgage.

The article quoted Jessica Lautz, the National Association of RealtorsManaging Director of Survey Research, as saying that there is a significant population that does not think they will be approved for a mortgage and doesn't even try. The article also quoted Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos: 

"I do think that there's a sense out there in the marketplace among borrowers that credit may not be available, especially for people with lower credit scores."

Ellie Mae's Vice President, Jonas Moe recently encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage:

"Many potential home buyers are 'disqualifying' themselves. You don't need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy."

So what credit score is necessary?

Below is a breakdown of the FICO Score Distribution of all closed (approved) loans in August from Ellie Mae's latest Origination Report.

Don't Disqualify Yourself… Over Half of All Loans Approved Have a FICO Score Under 750 | MyKCM

Over 50% of all approved loans had a FICO Score under 750. Many potential home buyers believe that they need a score over 780 to qualify.

Bottom Line

If owning a home of your own has always been a dream of yours and you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to! Let's get together to determine if your dreams can become a reality sooner than you thought!

October
7

 


Mortgage Rates by Decade Compared to Today [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The interest rate you secure for your mortgage greatly influences your monthly housing costs.
  • In the 1980s, 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged in the high 12s making the monthly principal and interest payment over $2,000.
  • Interest rates are still at historic lows; this is a great time lock in your housing cost and protect yourself from increasing rents, or refinance your current mortgage.
August
31

 

 

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | MyKCM

There are some industry pundits claiming that residential home values have risen too quickly and that current levels are on the verge of another housing bubble. It is easy to see how this thinking has taken form if we look at a graph of home prices from 2000 to today.

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | MyKCM

The graph definitely looks like a rollercoaster ride. And, as prices begin to reach 2006 levels again, it "seems logical" that the next part of the ride would be downhill. However, this graph includes the anomaly of the price bubble and the correction (the housing crash).

What if the bubble & bust didn't occur?

Let's assume that instead of the rise and fall in home prices that we saw last decade, we just had normal historic appreciation from 2000 to today. According to the 100+ experts that are surveyed for the Home Price Expectation Survey, normal annual appreciation for residential single family homes from 1987 to 1999 was 3.6%.

Starting with the median home price in 2000, we added 3.6% to it each year since then. Here is that graph intermixed with the above graph.

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | MyKCM

What this shows us is that, had the bubble and crash not occurred and instead we just had normal annual appreciation over this period, prices would actually be greater than they are today.

Bottom Line

There is no reason for alarm as prices seem to be right in line with where they should be.

August
30

 

 

Why Is There So Much Paperwork to Sign to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today's buyer than perhaps any time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage.

During the run-up in the housing market, many people 'qualified' for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can't happen again.

2. The banks don't want to be in the real estate business.

Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don't want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation.

The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allows you to get a mortgage interest rate as low as 3.43%, the latest reported rate from Freddie Mac.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990's and 6.29% in the 2000's). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of less than 4%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let's be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

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