When you’re buying or selling, the obvious source to get your real estate question answered is your agent but where do you go the rest of the time? As a homeowner for many years to come, you’ll need reliable help and solid suggestions.
Our business goal is to have a select group of our friends and past customers who consider us their lifelong real estate professional. We want to earn that trusted position so they’ll enthusiastically refer their friends to us. Our plan to achieve this is simply to help these people with all of their real estate needs not just when they buy or sell but for all the years in between.
Throughout the year, we offer reminders and suggestions by email and social media that benefit your homeowner experience. When we find good articles to help you be a better homeowner, we’ll pass them along. You’ll discover new ways to maintain your property, minimize expenses and manage debt and risk.
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We’re here for you and your friends…now and in the future. Please let us know how we can help you. Email Charles
We’ve probably all said or at least thought “if I knew then, what I know now, I would have done things differently.” We should have stayed in school longer. We should have listened to our parents. We should have bought Apple stock in 2002 for $8.50 that sells for $400 today. Or we could have bought gold in 2000 for under $300 for a four-fold profit today.
Years from now, if we look back at 2012, we may say that it was the best buyer’s market ever. Even now, in 2013, it’s apparent that both housing and mortgage prices are going up and they may never return to the record low levels.
The housing affordability index, which is considered to be good at 100, had increased to over 200 this past December, January and February. Shrinking inventories and rising prices in most markets have caused the index to fall to 172.7 for May 2013.
This market applies equally to acquiring a home to live in or a home to use as a rental. It is estimated that about 30% of the property purchased last year was done by investors. It is understandable because the positive cash flows far exceed most other investment alternatives.
Homeowners moving up in a rising market may sell their home for more by waiting but it will also cost them more for a new house. Typically, a person buys a 50% larger home when they move up. If they wait for prices to go up 10% on the $150,000 home they’re selling, they’ll realize $15,000 more but will pay $22,500 more for the new home purchase. They’ll actually net $7,500 less by waiting for prices to go up and may have to pay a higher mortgage rate too.
The question homebuyers and investors alike are faced with today is whether they will be saying years from now that they seized or missed an opportunity of a lifetime.
Planning for retirement is obviously important and many times, an activity plagued by procrastination. Some people plan to have their home paid for by that magical date so they won’t have payments after they retire. It makes sense to eliminate a large recurring expense before they quit working.
One strategy would be to be make regular principal contributions in addition to the payments so that it will eliminate the debt by the target retirement date.
Let’s say that a homeowner refinanced their $200,000 mortgage at 4% last year with the first payment due on May 1, 2012. Under normal amortization, the home would be paid for at the end of the term; 30 years in this example.
By making additional principal contributions with each payment, it would accelerate the payoff on the home. An extra $250.00 a month would pay off the mortgage in 10 years. $524.55 extra with each payment would pay off the loan in 15 years; and $796.23 would pay off the loan in 12 years.
Having a home paid for at retirement has the obvious benefit of no house payment. It is also a substantial asset that could be borrowed against or sold if unanticipated events should occur.
Another strategy might involve purchasing a smaller home now to use as a rental that you intend to live when you retire; see Retirement Home Now.
To make some projections to pay off your own mortgage, use this Equity Accelerator.
Rising interest rates are great if you are renewing a certificate of deposit but not so much when you’re borrowing money. With interest rates on the rise as well as home prices, housing affordability is a concern for would-be homeowners.
A rough rule of thumb is that a person’s or family’s housing should not exceed 28% of their monthly gross income. While rental rates and home prices have been consistently increasing, mortgage rates have been soaring in the past month. In one week, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, they jumped by .5%.
This means that people have to pay a larger percentage of their income for housing unless their incomes have been increasing at an equal pace. A $200,000 mortgage would be over $100 more per month if closed in July compared to closing at the interest rates available in January of 2013.
If rates increase by .5% by the time you close on the same size mortgage, payments would increase by almost $60 per month. In order to keep the payments the same, a borrower would have to put an additional $11,000 down to lower the mortgage amount.
Check out how your payment would be affected if interest rates continue to rise.
The National Association of REALTORS® suggests that housing is more affordable now than one year ago. However, with all of the variables in play including inflation that was not addressed in this piece, it is unclear how long conditions will remain “affordable”.
Not many buyers have assumed a mortgage in the past 25 years. Most people think it was because FHA and VA in the late 80’s began to require that buyers qualify for the assumptions. Not having to qualify for a mortgage would certainly benefit certain buyers.
If a homeowner must qualify for an assumption like a new loan, they’ll generally choose the mortgage with the lower interest rate. Over the past 25 years, rates have been trending down but it appears that rates have bottomed out and will gradually increase. As they continue to rise, the lower rates on the FHA and VA loans created in the last few years will appeal to buyers even if they do have to qualify for the assumption.
There are significant advantages to assuming one of these government insured mortgages if the current interest rate on a new loan is higher:
1. Mortgage is further into amortization schedule
2. Lower interest rate loans amortize faster than higher interest rate loans
3. Lower closing costs than a new mortgage
4. Easier to qualify than on a new mortgage
5. No appraisal required
FHA assumptions are only allowed as owner-occupied residents. The borrower must meet current FHA guidelines for borrowers. The total debt ratio including house payment to be assumed cannot exceed 41% of borrowers’ monthly gross income.
VA loans are also assumable with buyer qualification. However, in order for the veteran Seller to have their eligibility reinstated, the buyer must also be a veteran with eligibility.
A 1% difference in the current rates and a lower assumable mortgage rate begins to make it very attractive to assume a mortgage. When the differential becomes even greater, assumptions will become more prevalent than they’ve been in over twenty years.