Up They Go!

The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 0.25 percentage point on Wednesday. It was just the third time that the Fed has increased rates since the financial crisis. In short, this means higher borrowing costs for everything from credit cards to mortgages. And looking ahead through 2017, a few more are expected. Now, what could balance the hike is deregulation with some changes possibly coming to the Dodd-Frank Act which made it more difficult for big banks to work with borrowers. All of which means if you’re thinking about moving, more food for thought and possible reasons for you to act today vs. tomorrow. And as always, my team is here to help. Just let us know!

Waiting in the Wings?

If you are like many who are waiting in the wings to buy property, perhaps there’s no time like the present. Rates are creeping up and are expected to creep higher as the year progresses. Inventory is low and could go lower. So most industry experts are urging those clients postponing a purchase to act sooner than later. Why specifically?

Rates on 30-year mortgages bottomed out at 3.55% last summer. Now that the Federal Reserve finally decided to raise its key interest rate, mortgage rates have been climbing slowly. Today, the average rate is just above 4%; by 2019 or 2020, rates could easily climb to 6%.

According to Kiplinger, “It is highly likely that sometime this year, it will become clear to bond markets that both the deficit and inflation are headed higher, pushing rates higher as well.”

And inventory paints an even clearer picture of why you should start shopping today vs. tomorrow. In November 2016, there were only 1.85 million homes for sale. That’s a nearly 10% drop from the year before. And it continues a trend of steady decline since just before the housing crash, when inventory peaked.

So open those wings (and bank accounts) and fly into the house of your dreams. There’s no better feeling when you’ve landed and building that nest egg with property.

Picture courtesy of Will Saunders/Comedy Wildlife 2016

Winning with Love

Today’s housing market can be very aggressive. If priced right, and in a great location, a property can have multiple offers. So how do you win?

Beyond having an awesome agent, one way is to write a “LOVE LETTER” to the seller. Explain why you have chosen their home. In your own words, and sentiments, help the seller to understand why they should move forward with your offer and perhaps not another – even if the other offer is presenting more money. Emotions play a role on both sides so your “LOVE LETTER” just might win you the house of your dreams.

Making Cake out of Auctions

Trying to buy a property at a probate auction sounds scary to many. Sure, there are some uncertainties, such as the price you’ll pay. But once you know the steps, what once seemed insurmountable just might be a cakewalk.

For starters, find a property that has been identified as a probate auction. This usually happens after a homeowner doesn’t pay the mortgage or taxes and the bank files a notice of default with the county recorder. If the homeowner doesn’t pay the balance owed or renegotiates the loan with the lender, it can go to auction. This may take anywhere from a few months to a year or more.

Once you find an property to be auctioned, many times there will be a preview. This allows you to actually visit the property, talk to a representative from the firm handling the auction, and get an idea of what’s waiting for you should you move forward.

On the day of the auction, you (and your REALTOR if you have one) show up 30 to 60 minutes prior to the auction time so you can register and receive your bidder card. You also should have in hand a check cashier’s check made payable to the firm (in most cases) handling the auction along with a blank personal check used for a 10% deposit should you win.

Now you’re ready to go. But be prepared it goes quick! It’s a live auction that is wrapped up in as little as five minutes!

One final detail to consider is probate sales are subject to the Court Confirmation. The court can accept a higher bid if they are made in court and they are in an amount equal to or higher than the first minimum overbid which is 5% (plus another $500 of the auction day bid). This idea of showing up to court and outbidding someone who won at auction can be frustrating so being prepared is essential. This way you aren’t surprised and can manage your expectations and know how to proceed should this happen to you.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

To my dear Heather, and friend, congrats on the closing of your home this week. This picture captures so much of why it was such a great journey to share with you. And thank you to Jason for the introduction and confidence you placed in me to help. It’s always special to receive referrals as it validates what I strive so hard to give my clients – a positive, happy and successful real estate experience.

Seller’s Continue to Drive the Market

Spring selling season is in full force. And as expected, it continues to be a seller’s market. What does this mean exactly? For starters, we first look at inventory and how many months it would take to push through what’s current without any new listings hitting the market. In short, if there are six months or less of inventory, then it’s a buyers market because supply is low but demand is high. If there are six months or more of inventory, then demand is low and supply is high. All of which means for buyers, expect a more aggressive negotiation and more competition. Want to know more? Have questions? Click or call to chat more.

Bye Bye Clover!

If you’re like me, having the perfect yard is a constant battle. Dry conditions can turn it brown. Neighbor’s dogs can turn it yellow. And weeds can destroy it. Of those three, there’s one you can control. So in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, heres a link from Scott’s that gives helpful information on controlling pesky clover. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


How Long Does it Take to Close?

For planning purposes, especially for first time home buyers, you need to know how long it may take from when you begin your search to the day you close. So in general terms, because many factors play into this timeline, it’s good to assume you’ll be looking with your REALTOR® for six to eight weeks – visiting properties and utilizing the internet. Of course inventory impacts this timetable but two months is a good start. From there, if you work with a good lender, they should be able to close on average 45 days after the seller accepts your contract. All of which means 12-14 weeks, or three to four months, is how long it might take for you to go from kicking off your search with your REALTOR® to the day you receive keys to your new home.