Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Crafting an Accecptable Offer

Table-250.jpg

An agent was presenting a contract to a single, senior woman who was moving into a retirement home.  It was a full price offer with reasonable terms and timelines but the seller wouldn’t accept it.  When the agent probed deeper, she discovered that the seller was concerned with her dining room table.

It had been the first piece of nice furniture that she and her husband had purchased and they had literally spent a lifetime celebrating and making decisions at that table.  It troubled the owner to think that the table would go to strangers who might not appreciate it as much as her family had.

The agent told the elderly seller that she knew of a church nearby that had a community room filled with lovely tables like hers.  If she liked the idea, the agent would call the church to see if they’d like to have it.  Once a new home for the table was found, the sale of the home went smoothly.

Lower inventory and increased demand in certain price ranges have increased the frequency of multiple offers on the same home.  Sellers are frequently faced with a decision dilemma on which offer to accept and the price may not be the most important factor.

Sellers generally need the equity from the sale of their home to purchase another one but they also don’t want to have to temporarily move if they’re not able to get into the home they’re purchasing.  Flexible buyers have discovered the value in coordinating the sale and possession of the homes.

Sellers want to know when they make a decision on an offer, that the buyers will be able to perform as the contract is written.  The more contingencies that can be eliminated or minimized, the more comfortable a seller will feel about the certainty that it will close according to schedule.

The buyer should be pre-approved with all verifications and credit reports having been done.  Simply having a loan officer’s opinion is definitely not the same thing as a pre-approval.

There is a unique dynamic to every transaction because the parties are individuals with infinite priorities and values.  The art of the deal takes place when these unique variables are considered to define a mutually acceptable offer involving price, terms and conditions. The role and experience of the agents contribute to the successful outcome.

Homeownership: A Few Stats and Quotes

Homeownership: A Few Stats and Quotes | Keeping Current Matters

2014 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

"About two-thirds (65%) of homeowners say they are confident they would get the asking price for their home if they were to put it on the market today (up from 40% in 2010)."

Financial Security Index Survey

"Eighty nine percent of Americans feel that buying a home is an important part of achieving the American Dream."

"How America Views Homeownership" Survey

"Sixty eight percent of Americans feel that now is a good time to buy a home."

Housing Confidence Index

"A two-thirds majority of renter households said that owning a home someday is a specific goal that they are determined to reach, or something that they think about a lot."

Fannie Mae

"Homes have accounted for 23.5% of American's wealth on average since 1959. That's nearly double the proportion U.S. households and nonprofits have invested in stocks."

Wall Street Journal

"A measure of owners' equity as a share of the value of real-estate holdings hit 53.6% in the second quarter, up from 53.2% in the first quarter and below 50% a year earlier. For most Americans, a home is their biggest asset, so the growing level of home equity suggests improvements in the economy are now reaching more Americans."
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This article originally posted by Keeping Current Matters. Read more articles like this at www.KCMblog.com.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Crafting an Accecptable Offer

Table-250.jpg

An agent was presenting a contract to a single, senior woman who was moving into a retirement home.  It was a full price offer with reasonable terms and timelines but the seller wouldn’t accept it.  When the agent probed deeper, she discovered that the seller was concerned with her dining room table.

It had been the first piece of nice furniture that she and her husband had purchased and they had literally spent a lifetime celebrating and making decisions at that table.  It troubled the owner to think that the table would go to strangers who might not appreciate it as much as her family had.

The agent told the elderly seller that she knew of a church nearby that had a community room filled with lovely tables like hers.  If she liked the idea, the agent would call the church to see if they’d like to have it.  Once a new home for the table was found, the sale of the home went smoothly.

Lower inventory and increased demand in certain price ranges have increased the frequency of multiple offers on the same home.  Sellers are frequently faced with a decision dilemma on which offer to accept and the price may not be the most important factor.

Sellers generally need the equity from the sale of their home to purchase another one but they also don’t want to have to temporarily move if they’re not able to get into the home they’re purchasing.  Flexible buyers have discovered the value in coordinating the sale and possession of the homes.

Sellers want to know when they make a decision on an offer, that the buyers will be able to perform as the contract is written.  The more contingencies that can be eliminated or minimized, the more comfortable a seller will feel about the certainty that it will close according to schedule.

The buyer should be pre-approved with all verifications and credit reports having been done.  Simply having a loan officer’s opinion is definitely not the same thing as a pre-approval.

There is a unique dynamic to every transaction because the parties are individuals with infinite priorities and values.  The art of the deal takes place when these unique variables are considered to define a mutually acceptable offer involving price, terms and conditions. The role and experience of the agents contribute to the successful outcome.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gallup Poll: Real Estate “Heading in the Right Direction”

Real Estate In a recent Gallup poll, Americans were asked to rate 24 different business sectors and industries on a five-point scale ranging from "very positive" to "very negative." The poll was first conducted in 2001, and has been used as an indicator of "Americans' overall attitudes toward each industry". For the first time since 2006, Americans had an overall positive view of real estate, giving the industry a 12% positive ranking. Real Estate Americans' view of the real estate industry worsened from 2003 to the -40% plummet of 2008.  Gallup offers some insight into the reason for decline:

Prices Dropped

"In late 2006, real estate prices in the U.S. began falling rapidly, and continued to drop. Many homeowners saw their home values plummet, likely contributing to real estate's image taking a hard hit."

Housing Bubble

"The large drops in the positive images of banking and real estate in 2008 and 2009 reflect both industries' close ties to the recession, which was precipitated in large part because of the mortgage-related housing bubble."

Bottom Line

"Although the image of real estate remains below the average of 24 industries Gallup has tracked, the sharp recovery from previous extreme low points suggests it is heading in the right direction."
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This article originally posted by Keeping Current Matters. Read more articles like this at www.KCMblog.com.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What You Don't Know About Your Credit Score... Could Cost You!

What You Don't Know About Your Credit Score Could Cost You! | Keeping Current Matters Today we are excited to have Nabil Captan as our guest blogger. Nabil is a nationally recognized credit scoring expert, educator, author and producer. In today's post, he explains how what you don't know about your credit score could end up costing you. Enjoy! – The KCM Crew Informed consumers considering a home purchase today want to do the right thing and plan ahead. Many do not seek immediate professional guidance from a Realtor or a mortgage loan officer. Instead, they hunt for hours online, looking at numerous websites for available homes for sale. They also consult websites to find the best interest rate and terms for future monthly mortgage payments. Many consumers feel betrayed, cheated and at times embarrassed to learn that the credit scores they counted on, to get that specific interest rate for their loan, are not used by mortgage lenders. When shopping for a good mortgage interest rate, consumers also need to know their credit score, and utilize an online mortgage calculator to compute future monthly mortgage payments. A Google search for "credit score" will yield hundreds of results. The consumer accepts the provider's terms and conditions to get a free credit score. Terrific! Unaware that in exchange they just received a meaningless credit score that lenders never use. They also handed over their Non-Public Personal Information (NPPI) to that credit score provider for life. Before we go any further, let's look at available credit scoring products available to consumers today:
  • FICO credit score from Fair Isaac Corporation/myfico.com, range 300 to 850
  • Plus Score from Experian, range 320 to 830
  • Trans Risk Score from TransUnion, range 300 to 850
  • Equifax Credit Score from Equifax, range 300 to 850
  • Vantage Score from all three bureaus, two ranges, 300 to 850 and 501-990

What is a FICO Score?

In 1958, Bill Fair and Earl Isaac, a mathematician and engineer, formed a company in San Rafael, California. They created tools to help risk managers make a better decision when taking financial risk. Today, 90 percent of all lenders use the FICO score, first created in 1989 by Fair Isaac, and it's the only score Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Agency and Veterans Affairs will accept in underwriting loans they guarantee.

What is a Consumer Score?

The three credit bureaus, in their understanding of the credit scoring model created by FICO, decided to create their own scoring models, and in 2004 – 2006 they unveiled the "consumer" scores: Plus Score, Trans Risk Score, Equifax Credit Score, and Vantage Score. However, these are not genuine FICO scores, and mortgage lenders don't use them. Consider this comparison: Would you buy a watch that gives the approximate time of day? The three credit bureaus work with major financial institutions, professional organizations, comparison sites, personal finance businesses, clubs such as Costco, AAA, Sam's Club, and many data-mining brokers to bombard consumers in the race of the free credit score mania, all with the enticement of a "consumer" score that is not used by lenders, in hopes of obtaining subscriptions or fees from consumers. Fees that are totally unnecessary!

Know Your Score

Gaining access to one's own credit report and credit score prior to loan approval with no strings attached could be helpful, and at all times beneficial. With little effort, inaccuracy of information can be instantly corrected at the credit bureau level, and with a few simple steps, credit scores could be enhanced. For example, paying down revolving account balances before a creditor's statement-ending date (the creditor later updates account information with the credit bureaus), thus reducing revolving account balances at a particular point in time, will positively add more points to a score. It's priceless.

More Information

Consumers have a legal right to access their annual credit report at no charge once a year from annualcreditreport.com, a site sponsored by the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These reports provide all the basic consumer data, but do not reveal a credit score. If you have a need for the FICO credit score that is actually used by mortgage lenders, myfico.com is the website to visit. For $19.95 per bureau, consumers can purchase a customized credit report with a genuine FICO score. Additional websites to visit: the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (cfpb.gov) for true answers to questions about any financial concepts, financial products, dispute and complaint submissions, and much more.

Today's homebuyer has instant access to answers. To be relevant in today's market, real estate professionals need to know the absolute correct response to basic credit questions. It's important.

Copyright 2014 Nabil Captan, Captan & Company. All rights reserved. _____________________________________________________________________ Have You Set Up Personalized Posts Yet? | Keeping Current MattersMembers: Sign in now to set up your Personalized Posts & start sharing today!

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This article originally posted by Keeping Current Matters. Read more articles like this at www.KCMblog.com.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Truth About Buying a Home: You DON'T Need 20% Down

The Truth About Buying a Home: You DON'T Need 20% Down | Keeping Current Matters In a recent survey, How America Views Homeownership, it was revealed that 68% of Americans feel that now is a good time to buy a home and 95%said they want to own a home if they don't already. Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo home mortgageproduction, explains:
"Although the home buying process has changed in many ways in recent years, our survey found Americans still view homeownership as an achievement to be proud of and many believe that now is a good time to buy a home."

Confusion Creates Paralysis

However, the survey also reported that many are afraid to purchase a home because of uncertainty about "qualifying for a mortgage or navigating the home buying process". Though 74% said they "know and understand" the financial process involved in buying a home, they also gave answers that suggest otherwise. For example:
  • 30% of respondents believe that only individuals with high incomes can obtain a mortgage
  • 64% of respondents believe they must have a "very good" credit score to buy a home
  • 44% believe that a 20% down payment is required
In actuality many of these beliefs are unfounded. Let's look at the question of down payment: Freddie Mac, in a recent blog post addressing the issue, confirmed that there is misinformation regarding the amount necessary when determining the down payment for a home purchase:
"Did you know 40 percent of today's homebuyers using mortgage financing are making down payments that are less than 10 percent? And how about this: since 2010, the number of people putting down less than 10 percent for conventional loans has grown three fold.  So, not only are low down payment options real, they represent a significant portion of today's purchases."
In a separate Executive Perspectives, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac's VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management explained further:
  • A person "can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets)".
  • Qualified borrowers can further reduce the down payment coming out of their own pockets to 3 percent by lining up gifts from family, grants or loans from non-profits or public agencies.

Education is the Key

Boyle talked about the importance of educating potential buyers:
"Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent."
Codel agreed:
"It is important for prospective homebuyers to feel empowered to ask lenders and real estate agents questions about available options, such as down payment assistance or FHA loan programs or VA loans for veterans."

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised. ___________________________________________________________________

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Not a member yet? Click Here to learn more about KCM's newest feature, Personalized Posts.

This article originally posted by Keeping Current Matters. Read more articles like this at www.KCMblog.com.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Seller Safety Plan

43997828_250pixel.jpgSeptember is REALTOR® Safety month when special attention is focused on the security of having a home on the market and the concerns for the well-being of owners is a day-to-day effort.  The following list may help sellers secure their home and minimize risk.

  • Locks – doors and windows should be locked at all times.  Additional locks like deadbolts or safety locks can provide a higher level of security.
  • Home lighting - turn on the lights prior to prior to purchasers arriving to improve the showing.  Not only will they be able to see things better, it could prevent them hurting themselves unnecessarily. Outdoor motion-sensor lights provide additional security.
  • Eliminate the possible hazards – try to identify anything that might cause a person to trip and fall such as loose objects on the floor or floor coverings that aren’t properly secured.
  • Security system – If you have a security system, it should be monitored and armed, especially when you’re away from home.  Most systems will allow you to program a temporary code that agents will be able to use based on your instructions. 
  • Prescription medications – remove or secure the drugs before showing the home.   
  • Secure valuables – jewelry, artwork, gaming systems;  mail containing personal information like bank and credit card statements, investment reports;  wine and liquor can also be a security issue.
  • Remove family photos –pictures can be distracting to prospective purchasers but the concern at hand is to eliminate photos of a wife, teenage daughter or children that might provide information to a possible pedophile or stalker who could be posing as a buyer.
  • Remove weapons – the reason to remove guns should be obvious to everyone but a knife block on the kitchen counter can become an opportunity of convenience.
  • Unexpected callers - when some people see a for sale sign in the yard, they think that it’s an invitation to look at the home immediately. Keep your doors locked so that people can’t let themselves in. If they ring the doorbell and want to see the home but aren’t accompanied by an agent, ask them to call your listing agent.

These precautions should be taken before the photos or virtual tours are made.  Having these items in plain sight in the pictures posted on the Internet can unwillingly provide prospective criminals with a menu of what is available.

Agents cannot protect a seller’s valuables other than to inform the owner of potential threats to their security.  In most cases, the seller’s agent will not be present at home showings and even if they were, it is not always practical nor desirable to follow the buyers and their agent through the home.