In spite of a small climb in housing inventory, pending home sales rose 3.1%. Inventory levels, however, are still low. So, we won’t be seeing a big change in prices until there are more homes to sell. If you’re thinking of selling, it’s still a good time.
Mortgage rates are also on the rise—increasing from 3.5% in 2015 to 4.25% today. It’s all relative though, as Steve reminds us that 4% interest rates are still low enough to make the cost attractive.
For this Real Estate Round-Up, Terry Story is “in the house”, in person with Steve, and kicks off the conversation with how good credit can help you, even as a renter. When Terry does a rental, the first thing she looks at is the tenant’s credit score.
As Terry puts it, a landlord’s major goal is to get paid every month and to make sure that his property does not get trashed. A good credit score demonstrates that the tenant has managed finances responsibly and makes it easier to forgive other things, such as the desire to have a pet because there is a correlation between a good credit score and the way that people keep up a house
Steve begins Real Estate Round-Up by asking Terry Story for an update on home flipping, which was big back in 2004-2005. Homes bought for the purpose of flipping represented about 5.9% of all single-family homes and 5.7% of all condos sold in 2017, so 94% are buying homes to live in them.
A handful of Florida cities—Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Miami—ranked at the top of the list on flipper homes, even after a slight decline in flipping in the Miami area.
As a financial advisor, Steve often gets asked if today’s ultra-low mortgage interest rates might soon be gone forever. Terry Story notes that rates are now the lowest she has ever seen in her lifetime and doesn’t think they can go any lower. With the economy doing well, she believes rates are only going to rise.
Terry reminds listeners that rates were artificially suppressed in order to pull us out of the housing crisis, but now that we’re in a strong seller’s market, it’s time for the party to end on low-interest rates.
Steve kicks off Real Estate Round-Up by noting that home prices have risen to such a degree that small mom-and-pop investors are starting to partner up with others in order to afford them. Investment properties have surged about 25% from 2014 to 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors, and have attracted investors who are keen to flip homes to try and make some money.
The market is very tight in the $300,000 entry-level range, so investors are teaming up to buy more expensive homes where competition is not as pronounced.
Continuing on last week’s Real Estate Round-Up thread, Terry Story believes sellers are often unclear about a buyer’s “as is with right to inspect” a property before completing a sale. This leads to confusion and frustration, especially after sellers have completed price negotiations on an as-is sale and believe it’s a done deed.
The right-to-inspect clause gives a home buyer the right to have the property inspected before concluding the sale. If they don’t like the results of the home inspection, buyers have three choices: a) accept the property and move forward, b) renegotiate price and repair terms with the seller, or c) just flat-out walk away.
Steve kicks off Real Estate Round-Up with a study which shows that first-time home buyers tend to, on average, pay about $2,200 more for their homes than regular, non-first-time home buyers. Terry says this is because first-time home buyers generally purchase lower-priced starter homes, which is a really aggressive market compared to larger homes.
First-time home buyers are competing against investors and other first-time home buyers and have likely lost out on a few previous bids. Since they are eager to close a deal, they tend to pay a little bit more than seasoned buyers who might sit back a little and wait it out. First-time buyers typically focus on the positives, don’t really concentrate on or even evaluate the negatives, and often let their emotions get the better of them. Fortunately, though, paying a few thousand more doesn’t really matter in the long run.
Another common issue deals with the home inspection disclosure of defects in a house that’s up for sale. On this, The Supreme Court (Johnson vs. Davis) ruled that the seller must disclose all facts that materially affect the value of the property. Realtors, too, have an obligation to disclose issues that impact the value of a property. The straightforward path is to be honest and disclose everything up front to avoid problems and expensive litigation down the road.
Mar 1, 2018
Ever had an extraordinary experience as you were going about your work? Well, Terry Story did. Her tale starts with Terry driving a client (“Jane”) around, looking for a replacement property to buy after Terry got Jane an offer on her house that would give Jane about $200,000 in home equity proceeds after the sale was finalized. But before completing the sale, Terry wanted to make sure Jane had a suitable replacement house that she could move into after she sold her current home. Feb 22, 2018
With tremendous stock market gains over the past eight years, investors are increasingly looking at locking in their gains and diversifying into assets such as rental real estate. But being a landlord comes with its own set of positives and negatives. Feb 14, 2018
The sweeping tax reform, that was signed into law on December 22, 2017, is a massive document riddled with errors, handwritten notes, and the like, so the real impact on real estate isn’t quite clear. What is clear is the elimination of mortgage interest deduction on new home loans bigger than $750,000. (Existing mortgages are grandfathered in.) The deduction also applies to second homes. Terry believes the interest elimination may lower demand for homes priced above $750,000. Feb 7, 2018
In her Real Estate Survival Guide, Terry urges first-time home buyers to not shy away from the housing market. She says people shy away from purchasing a home due to psychological reasons such as the unfounded fear of exposing their credit history. Those fears are unfounded because preapproval for a home loan does not need a credit check, and simply applying for a home loan will not ding your credit score. So, if you’re in the market for a home, go forth without worrying about damaging your credit. Jan 31, 2018