Lack of Homes for Sale Slowing Down the Housing Market

Lack of Homes for Sale Slowing Down the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the winter, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

National Association of Realtors

“Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 10.8%…which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory has fallen year-over-year for 19 straight months and is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace.”

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com

“More than two-thirds of the markets are seeing less inventory now compared to a year ago.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“The dismal number of listings in the affordable price range is squeezing prospective first-time buyers the most. As a result, young households are missing out on the wealth gains most homeowners have accrued from the 41% cumulative rise in existing home prices since 2011.”

Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic

“The lack of affordable supply is really driving up home prices.”

Peter Muoio, Chief Economist at Auction.com

“Tight housing inventory remains a constraining factor limiting stronger sales growth…

We expect further price growth to entice more homeowners to list their homes, particularly as existing homeowners have greater equity.”

Bottom Line 

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.

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Posted on February 6, 2017 at 11:07 am
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Seven Ways to Save for Your Bucket List Travel

(TNS)—Whether your bucket list consists of big travel goals such as taking a cruise around the world or simpler wishes such as a weeklong road trip, travel costs money. The surest way to make your travel dreams come true is to set money aside designated for those bucket list adventures. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Save the Change
You might be surprised at how quickly your change adds up when you implement this old school way of saving money. Try using an actual bucket to remind yourself why you are tossing in pennies and nickels every evening.

Step Up to Saving Bills
Amplify your change bucket with stacks of bills. Clear a spot on your nightstand or desk drawer the size of a dollar bill, then start stacking. (Odd Tip: The boxes for iPhones 6 and up are just about the right size for stacking dollar bills, so now you finally know what to do with that sturdy white box you’ve been hanging onto.) When your stack reaches the top of the box or the drawer, take it to the bank.

Open a Separate Bank Account
When your bucket change and bills start stacking up, open a bank account dedicated to travel. A simple savings account that you can transfer money into from your checking account works best and usually won’t incur fees.

Consider a PayPal Account
Why not use something as simple as PayPal as your travel fund? You can transfer money into it from your checking account any time, then let it become your out-of-sight, out-of-mind bucket list fund. Bump up the balance by selling stuff you don’t need on eBay. The money goes right where you want to save it, not in your wallet. When travel time gets closer, get a PayPal debit card to use for the trip.

Buy Travel Gift Cards for Yourself
If money really tends to slip through your fingers, try buying yourself gift cards from the airline you plan to use for your bucket list travel. You will be amazed at how quickly a stack of $25 gift cards can add up to the cost of a flight. Watch for seasonal bonuses from the airline that can make your stack of cards grow even faster. Be sure to keep your cards in a secure spot—one you will remember.

Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card
While it’s okay to study up on all the card offers out there, keep in mind that the card that will get you to your bucket list soonest is the one with rewards you actually want to use. Don’t apply for cards from airlines you rarely fly on, or from a cruise line that is not actually on your bucket list. Pick a card that closely aligns with your travel goals, then use that card for day-to-day purchases instead of reaching for your debit card. Try paying your bill weekly to keep from running up the balance or topping it with interest charges.

Set Up a Stash
Start an investment account with as little as $5 with Stash, an app on your smartphone. Stash lets you set up an investment account with your goals and risk level in mind. Link it to your bank account, set up automatic weekly investments, then let Stash do the work for you.

©2017 Travelpulse

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Posted on February 5, 2017 at 7:13 pm
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Daydreaming About Your Perfect Home? Know What You WANT vs. What You NEED

Daydreaming About Your Perfect Home? Know What You WANT vs. What You NEED | Simplifying The Market

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

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 in order 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 to get 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!

Bottom Line

Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.

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Posted on February 5, 2017 at 11:05 am
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5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Super Bowl Parties! [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Super Bowl Parties! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Highlights:

  • Watching the Big Game at home with your friends & family offers many advantages.
  • There’s more room to entertain a large crowd, and you don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord if you cheer too loudly!
  • The kitchen is big enough to make as many appetizers as you want, and if some of your guests are only there to watch the commercials, they can do so on a different TV in another room!

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Posted on February 3, 2017 at 11:06 am
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Buying a Pool Table for That New Remodel? Check Out This Spacing Guide First

Pool tables are often a fixture of basement remodeling; they’re a great way for children and adults to enjoy their time. However, installing these tables may not be as easy as one would think. Imagine finishing your basement remodel and realizing your spacing is off and you don’t have enough room to play. It’s a nightmare that happens far too often.

Below we’ve placed a guide, put together by PoolDawg, which informs people of exactly how much space they’ll need in order to properly use their pool table. Logically, these measurements may change slightly from person to person depending on stance, height and comfort level.

Check it out:

pooldawg-pooltable-v5-1

Proper Pool Table Spacing created by PoolDawg

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.

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Posted on February 2, 2017 at 9:06 pm
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No Matter What the Groundhog Says, Here are 5 Reasons to Sell Before Spring!

No Matter What the Groundhog Says, Here are 5 Reasons to Sell Before Spring! | Simplifying The Market

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which groundhog you listen to today, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season.

Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their homes on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.

Here are five reasons to sell now.

1. Demand is Strong 

Foot traffic refers to the number of people who are out, physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show that the number of buyers out looking for their dream homes in December reached the highest mark since February 2016.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now! Take advantage of the strong buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now 

Housing inventory just dropped to a 3.6-month supply, which is well under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices; however, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last four years. Many of these homes will be coming to market soon.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home, while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait for this other inventory to come to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.7% over the next 12 months according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by half a percentage point by the end of 2017.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

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Posted on February 2, 2017 at 11:06 am
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Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale

Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | Simplifying The Market

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market demand. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between Seller Traffic (supply) and Buyer Traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”

Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | Simplifying The Market

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes in that area. Only six states had a weak demand level.

Seller Supply

The Index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”

As you can see from the map below, the majority of the country has weak Seller Traffic, meaning there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for their dream homes.

Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet the buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!

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Posted on February 1, 2017 at 11:01 am
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Four Ways to Jumpstart Your Credit Score

Improving your credit score can sometimes be a lengthy project. Consumer advisor Brian Acton tells Yahoo Finance if you are planning to apply for a mortgage or other major loan, there are five strategies you can use that can help bump up your credit score in as little as 30 days:

Become an authorized user. You can piggyback off someone else’s good credit by having them add you as an authorized user to an account they’ve had for some time. As an authorized user, you can benefit from this responsibly managed account once it is added to your credit profile. (Understand, however, that if you use the account irresponsibly, both your credit scores will suffer.)

Request a credit limit increase. If you have a timely payment history with your credit card issuer, the issuer will likely grant you a limit increase if you ask for it. Since your credit utilization rate figures heavily in your credit score, an increase in the limit can help your score—so long as you resist increasing your spending.

Pay down your cards. Because—as indicated above—a lower balance positively affects your credit utilization rate, make the effort to curb your current spending and use any extra funds you can muster to pay down existing debts.

Check for credit report errors. An error on your report can weigh down your score, while removing one can result in great improvement. Since most credit reporting errors are resolved in about 30 days, pull your report from AnnualCreditReport.com and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. If something seems amiss, such as an unreported debt payoff, disputing it right away can make a big difference in your credit score.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Posted on January 31, 2017 at 9:15 pm
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Thinking of Making an Offer? 4 Tips for Success

Thinking of Making an Offer? 4 Tips for Success | Simplifying The Market

So you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ really should take place before you start your home search process.

As we’ve mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand out above the rest.

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home. If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can typically re-negotiate the terms or cancel the contract.”

Bottom Line 

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

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Posted on January 31, 2017 at 11:03 am
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Newlyweds: Here Are 5 Factors to Consider when Buying Your New Home

Now that the wedding is over, you and your spouse are ready for the next exciting milestone: homeownership. There are so many factors you need to keep in mind and you want it to be a pleasant house-hunting experience. The following are just a few things you should take into account when you’re in the market for a new home.

Neighborhood
Marriage is a big transition and it may come with some adjustments to your lifestyle. Have a talk with your spouse and discuss your long-term goals, such as whether you want to start a family or move to a different location for job possibilities. You also should take into account the safety of the neighborhood, the school district in which you live and the amount of families that reside in the area. If you’re thinking about having kids in the near future, having great public schools nearby is important.

Required Space
Discuss what your expectations are for square footage and the general space you want within your home. Keep in mind the space you need for day-to-day activities, family gatherings and your future children. Create a list that helps you prioritize what kind of space is important to you as individuals and as a couple. For example, if you host a lot of parties, you may want to prioritize a large kitchen and living room. If one of you works from home or needs office space, put that on the top of your list.

Keep in mind that compromise is often necessary. Identify which spatial features are and aren’t deal-breakers. House Simple compares some of the things you may want to compromise on, such as the amount of space versus the location, and the fixable faults, like ugly hardware or kitchen countertops.

Bed and Bath Layout
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home is another important factor you should discuss. Talk about whether or not you want your home to be able to lodge many bodies or if you would prefer to not have visitors. Just make sure you don’t go over your budget, because the number of rooms and bathrooms has a major influence on the asking price of the house. Decide if you really need that extra guest bedroom if it means sacrificing a large kitchen or the perfect location.

If you intend to add on an extra bedroom or bathroom in the future, check the county’s code and permit requirements and the potential cost of the addition. HomeAdvisor puts the cost of a total bathroom remodel at an average of $9,348. If this is less than what it would cost to buy a house with an extra bathroom, then it may be worth it to wait and build a bathroom that is to your exact specifications.

Hidden Expenses
When you determine your budget for your home, make sure you include any ongoing expenses the home has. Utilities are a major cost that vary based on the sustainability and efficiency of your house. Consider the cost it may take to upgrade your heating and cooling system, major appliances, and windows and doors. It may cost more upfront but save you a lot of money in the future, so it’s important to figure out what you can afford in the short and long term. You also should be aware of costs like homeowners association dues, structural update costs, property taxes, insurance and any other regional fees.

Home Security
Look for a home that you can keep safe and sound with solid security features. Search for houses that have trees and tall shrubbery around the lot’s perimeter so they can block the street view of your home. This natural barrier is pleasant to look at and helps prevent burglars from scoping out or monitoring your home.

You also should protect your new valuable asset with a security camera system. Take note of houses you are looking at that have existing CAT5e or BNC security camera cabling. This can save you time and money on security camera installation. Even if your dream house doesn’t have these wires already doesn’t mean that you can’t have this safety feature, though. Installing a full security camera system is not as complex as it once was and doesn’t necessarily require professional installation. Once you know what you’re looking for, you should choose a security camera system that has the security features you need to feel safe and protected night and day, such as HD resolution, long-range night vision, audio capabilities, or ultra-wide angle lenses.

Shopping for your first home as a newlywed couple should be a fun and memorable experience. Be sure to discuss your needs ahead of time, stick to your budget and enjoy the process.

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.

The post Newlyweds: Here Are 5 Factors to Consider when Buying Your New Home appeared first on RISMedia.

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Posted on January 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm
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