Posts Tagged ‘buyers’

A Century of NAR® First House Buyers Guidance…and a Quiz!

My organization—the National Association of Realtors®—offers a wide range of guidance for Burlington families who have decided it’s time to land their first house. With more than a century’s worth of experience, you’d expect nothing less.

Last week I happened across an article the NAR had distilled that looked like a must-read for anyone who is just starting out on the path to buying their first Burlington house. Its title was “8 Critical Things to Do Before Buying a Home”—but it could just as well have been “8 Critical Things to Do Before Buying Your First Burlington House.” Each of the eight was apt—and important to mull over—but it’s the kind of list that’s awfully easy to read without giving much thought to the individual items.

The challenge was to come up with an interesting way to share the ideas with you. The article put the “8 critical things” in order—so I decided to make a game out of them: a quiz.

See if you can guess what was the order—from first to last—that the NAR presented them in. I don’t know that the order I’d choose would match theirs exactly …but see how well yours does:

-A. Amass a down payment

-B. Go mortgage shopping

-C. Ponder the future (*I love this one: wait till you see where the NAR put it!)

-D. Crunch your numbers

-E. Know your credit score

-F. Get educated

-G. Ballpark your closing costs

-H. Interview at least three real estate agents

 

The NAR’s answers are at the bottom, but I have a minor addition for Burlington first house buyers: if you’re just getting started, you can get a head start right now by giving me a call. There’s never an obligation, but I’m always happy to discuss where you are and the options you might already have. In any case, later—when it comes to action H.—you’ll definitely have a head start!

Answer:

D, E, A, F, H, B, C

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

Billerica Mortgage Rates: Perception and Reality

Billerica mortgage rates have been so low for such a long time that it would be surprising if area buyers didn’t begin to take them for granted. It’s only human nature. Addressing would-be home buyers who, though qualified, remain on the sidelines, government-sponsored Freddie Mac headlined the question, “If Housing Is So Affordable, Why Doesn’t It Feel That Way?

The article appeared in Freddie Mac’s Insight publication which noted that right now housing isn’t just affordable—it’s “near record” affordable! HUD’s Housing Affordability Index has been rising for over 35 years, interrupted only briefly by the housing crisis of the mid-2000s. It hasn’t quite sustained the all-time affordability peak but is holding steady well within hailing distance of that 2012 record.

Billerica mortgage rates have cooperated nicely, continuing to go with the national herd. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, U.S. rates averaged 3.90%—down even further from the previous week’s 3.93%. Of course, the 15-year and adjustable rate offerings were even lower.

With that kind of good news, why do the media report “affordability issues” (Mortgage Daily News) and even an “affordability crisis” (PBS)? The answers dwell in both perception and in some underlying realities.

There’s definitely reality in the widespread phenomenon of a shortage of housing supply. Billerica listings may show a number of properties being offered, but the national number of homes up for sale remains “very tight.” The echoes from 2009, when new housing starts hit rock bottom, are still having an effect. In that year, housing starts barely equaled a third of the previous averages. Even though current construction levels are nearly back to normal, they’ve yet to make up for that shortfall.

Less real is the public perception of how much cash is needed for a down payment. Billerica mortgage rates may be tantalizingly low, but when potential local applicants “mistakenly believe they must have a 20% down payment to obtain a mortgage,” the result is a number of otherwise-qualified buyers who don’t know that more than half of today’s borrowers make smaller down payments.

Not mentioned in the Insight article is another psychological factor that could explain two things at once. In The New York Times’ “Politics” section, a commentary sought to explain why the Federal Reserve wasn’t acting to boost interest rates. According to the author, the cause lay with inflation rates, which remain low—“and that’s a problem” for Fed rate-makers. The reason higher inflation would be a good thing (despite common sense) is that it makes consumers feel good when their paychecks go up. “A little inflation can brighten the economic mood…people enjoy the illusion.”

The upshot here may be that even though today’s extraordinarily low Billerica mortgage rates create actual affordability, some well-qualified customers may feel safer staying on the sidelines until the economy starts generating go-go economy headlines. It’s an ironic reality that by the time those headlines materialize, actual affordability might have already begun to slip away.

If you’ve been mulling the wisdom of your own Billerica home acquisition, let me show you some great properties…and some great numbers!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
Laer Realty PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

 

 

Events that Trigger Buyers for Homes for Sale in Bedford

What are the most common changes in circumstances that send buyers out looking for homes for sale? What are the events that trigger typical prospects to comb through the Bedford listings, contact Bedford Realtors®, set out on house tours—and ultimately make the offer that results in the move to a new home?

The answer to that question may be different for everyone, but some in-depth research has come up with interesting similarities among groups of active homebuyers. It matches a conclusion that also conforms with common sense: namely, that the motivating events (or “triggers”) sometimes vary by age group. In other words, when we humans reach similar milestones in life, we often make the same housing decisions—even though the reasons for a couple of them may be mysterious.

I came across the details buried in a report put out this past spring by economist Lawrence Guo in Realtor magazine. The top line of the piece—the part that got the most attention—dealt with the homeownership goals of active home shoppers. “Privacy” was the leading goal; “physical comfort” was second; “stability,” third. Of the styles of homes for sale, “ranch homes” were the most sought-after; the kitchen was considered the most important room, etc. None of these findings were at all mysterious or unexpected.

But when it came to revealing the impetus for a move in the first place—the life event or changed condition that set people checking out the current crop of homes for sale—a few could definitely be tied to the age group of the prospects. Since more than 20 triggering events were identified—each broken down into five different age groups—the resulting graphic was so complicated that most readers’ eyes probably glazed over before many conclusions could be drawn. Most of the findings were unremarkable—as when youngsters weren’t as likely as oldsters to cite “considering retirement” as a triggering event, or when some events were equally named by all age groups. But some were less predictable:

  • Relocating to a new city: most common among 35-44 year-olds; least among those 55-64.
  • Favorable home prices: most cited by 25-34 year-olds; least (fewer than half of that group) among 35-44 year-olds.
  • Favorable interest rates: most pointed to by 45-54 year-olds; least among the 35-44 year-olds … and equally cited (about 1 in 10) by all the other age groups.
  • Desire to live closer to family/friends: as expected, ‘way more prominently named by the 65+ group.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ferret out why home prices are most important to the youngest group, but the greater importance of interest rates to the 45-54 group but not the 35-44s? That one will take some thought. Not a surprise is the across-the-board Number One triggering factor among every age group: “tired of current home”!

If you fit in with that extremely common group, right now there are extraordinary values to be had among today’s homes for sale in Bedford. Give me a call to lay out an itinerary for visits to the ones that match up with your own specific wish list requirements!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
 Laer Realty Partners    Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

 

Housing Opportunity Comes in an Ugly Box

Another great article by guest blogger Kathy Vasel of Sage Bank.  And this goes out not only to the buyers who may be on the fence but also to the sellers.  The same opportunity is out there for you as you will not only be selling your house but more than likely will also be buying one.  This is the time to put your home on the market and make your dreams happen.     Joan Parcewski, Woods Real Estate     joan@woodsre.com    O 978-262-9665   c 978-376-3978

 

Is it really an opportunity now to invest in real estate when it seems to be declining?  Or did you miss the boat?  Those are great questions! You will see why I believe it is still a great investment!  It is not only one of the reasons below but all of them to create this tidal wave of opportunity.   Opportunity doesn’t come in a pretty box with a bow for you to open…it is ugly.  The stars have never been better aligned to buy real estate.  If you wait the opportunity window will close.

Where are the interest rates?  Rates are currently at the lowest level in history.  Let me say that again…rates are at the lowest they have been in history.  Talk to your parents who may have bought their first home with an 18% interest rate.  Do not think the rates will stay where they are forever.  We have been spoiled and this is not reality.  Do not get fooled.  Normally interest rates follow gold prices.  Have you seen the way gold is growing in value?  The Feds are holding rates down which is not normal.   Interest rates are affected by stocks and bonds.  When the stocks decline, bonds improve and interest rates will go up.  The Feds job is to bring inflation to turn the market around.  Inflation helps the government but hurts people.  I predict as a nation the Feds have to have inflation and rates will go up.   The only good thing about inflation for the people is that their home values increase.

Let’s talk about population…there are 310 million people who need a place to live.  They either live in a home, need to buy a home, or rent which will absorb the real estate on the market.  There are approximately 15 million college students.  The normal tracks of life are to graduate, get married, and you guessed it buy a home.   Once they graduate and start buying real estate will soar and bring up values.

Historically, appreciation for real estate is a 6% average.  A great example of appreciation is when Manhattan was sold in the year 1600 for beads and cloth which was equally valued for $24.  If that money was invested into the bank the mathematical calculation with compounded interest would be worth over $200 billion today.  My point is everything appreciates historically even though currently you may not be seeing that appreciation.  So let’s say real estate may only grow in value at 2% to use worst case scenario.   Let’s use this example, if you were to purchase a home today for $100,000 and used $10,000 for a down payment.  With a 2% appreciation growth in that house you gain a $2,000 value.  Since you invested $10,000 that equals a 20% return on your investment.  Are you getting that in your bank account right now?  Not to mention, you will have tax deductions when you buy real estate which increases your wealth and net worth.

Are we at the bottom you might ask?  If the rental for a single family home is at $1,400 per month and you can get a mortgage payment for the same $1,400 per month it is an indication that we are at the bottom.  Oh and by the way, this is absolutely attainable right now.  However, you may be still thinking you want to make sure you get the cheapest purchase price you possibly can and want to still hold out and wait.  Or you may be afraid of overpaying.  If you buy when the market is still going down you are buying right.  Some thoughts you may have are:  I don’t want to settle on this market, I want to buy the cheapest price, I ‘m afraid to over pay.  Fear can turn to greed which may cause you your self inflicted loss.  Do you remember grandparents telling you I wish I bought when?  Don’t let this happen to you.  When the market rebounds and home prices start increasing you will have missed the boat.  When prices increase again that means that it is gone…the market sailed by you.

Are you a follower or a leader?  So here is the real question to think about.  If you are a leader you will do your own research and determine it is without a doubt a remarkable time to buy real estate.  Most leaders make their money when they don’t follow the crowd.  When the crowd starts making purchases it is too late to buy at the lowest level, because everyone is doing it and this causes values to increase.  Remember history repeats itself and what goes down must come up. In 1992 there were many articles written that will make you think you are reading about today’s news.   Do you remember what happened after 1992?  Did we have a real estate boom?

Educate yourself, buy smart…Buy Now!  Go find out about the ugly box of opportunity waiting for you.

Kathy Vasel
Senior Mortgage Consultant
NMLS# 50076
sage bank

 

66 Concord Street, Suite M, Wilmington, MA 01887

 

 

Direct: 978.433.5322
Office: 781.995.3440
Mobile: 978.502.2998
Fax: 781.995.3423
kvasel@sagebank.com

 

Authorized User Facts – guest blogger Kim Carpentier from Valley Credit Repair

Kim came to our office and shared this along with other interesting information about credit.  There is so much we all don’t know and need to know as consumers……Joan Parcewski, Realtor, Woods Real Estate  joan@woodsre.com

Authorized User Facts!

An “authorized user”, (AU) in the credit world, was originally established, back in the day when there was 1 income families. It ensured that housewives were able to attain credit cards as an authorized user on there husband’s account.  After all, the credit cards companies quickly understood that they wanted the “keeper of the finances” to definitely have access to credit even though they could not meet the income requirements.  The AU account was the perfect answer.

An AU is authorized to make charges on the account but not legally responsible to pay back the debt.

On the credit reporting side, the AU’s credit report includes all such cards. So if the payment history and debt ratio of the sponsoring person’s card is good, the AU’s credit scores benefit.  And the opposite is also true.

These accounts, over time, have expanded their reach to more than just married couples. They include children, and other family members and really depends on the comfort level of the sponsor as to who they trust to use the card responsibly.

Yet there is a loop hole. You see, the AU does not need to have possession of the card for the positive credit history to show up on their report. Therefore, I usually suggest to parents, if they have good credit cards, they can help their children establish credit simply by ordering an AU card for them. Once the parent receives the card simply:

  • call the 800# and authorize the card
  • then go out and buy a tank of gas with it
  • then take it home and destroy it (or keep it tucked away someplace)

The parent’s good credit history on that account will then be reflected on their child’s credit report and assist them to establish a good credit history.

I’m sure some of you are seeing how this can also be used in a somewhat dishonest manner for strangers to help others establish a good credit card on their reports and assist them in increasing their credit scores. As a matter of fact, there is a “cottage industry”, that has established itself, where individuals, with a credit card with longevity and good history, are charging upwards of $1,000 to include complete strangers as AU’s on these accounts to deceptively help them build their credit scores.

As a way to combat this misuse of an “authorized users” account, FICO has developed a new scoring system that has the ability to decipher these deceptive accounts. The credit industry is also more closely scrutinizing all authorized user accounts to ensure proper use.

As most good credit programs, there will be those who try and deviously take advantage of the system. My only hope is that the credit industry can respond properly and not throw the good apples out with the bad.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

As Always…….I’m Here to Help!

Have a great week!   Kim

Your “Best Interest” is Our Goal!

Kim Carpentier     Valley Credit Repair & Credit Counseling

kim@valleycreditrepair.com     978-886-7803

 

Buyers Denied Loan, But Still Lose Deposit – A Reprint

The following is a reprint of James Haroutunian’s column that appeared in the Lowell Sun on February 11, 2012

A fellow real-estate lawyer who write the massrealestateblog.com brings attention to a recent appeals-court case that cost a couple their $31,000 deposit.  This case highlights the importance of proper contingency language in purchase-and-sale contracts.

These unfortunate buyers started off like everyone else.  Armed with a pre-approval letter, the buyers’ P&S contract contained a standard mortgage contingency.  It offered a refund of the deposit if the buyers were unable to get a mortgage loan.  A deadline was set and the buyers worked diligently with their lender to get a loan commitment.

These buyers were unique because they did not intend to sell their current home – essentially buying a second home.  When the lender analyzed the buyers debt-to-income ratios, it was determined they could not afford to carry both mortgage payments.

As a result, the lender required the buyers to “list their home for sale.”  When the buyers refused, the lender denied the loan.  Timely notice of the denial was provided, but the sellers refused to release the deposit.  The court determined the buyer’s refusal to list their current home for sale was unreasonable, and in violation of the “prevailing terms and conditions” portion of the mortgage-contingency clause.

Here the court found the lender’s condition reasonable, and the buyers’ refusal to list their home for sale unreasonable.  Thus the buyers LOST their $31,000 deposit.

Sadly, if the issue were addressed upfront, simple language could have been added.  Stating that financing would not be conditional on the buyers’ listing or selling their current home may have lowered the “prevailing conditions” standard enough to save the buyers’ deposit

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real-estate law, estate planning and probate at 630 Boston Road, Billerica.  He invites questions at james@hlawoffice.com or by phone at 978-671-0711.  His blog is found at http://www.hlawoffice.com

 

Top 3 Ways to Turn a Seller Off – A Reprint

This reprint comes from Trulia.com.  It is right on when it comes to buyers. 

Buying and selling a home is a very personal and very emotional time – both from the perspective of the buyer and the seller.   Buyers – you really want to buy this house – make the best possible deal, get the most for your money.  Sellers – you want to seell this house –  make the most profit, get the most you can for all you have invested both financially and emotionally.  And keep in mind there is a market out there of similar homes that help both sides determine what is a fair price – Ultimately the price of each home sold in a neighborhood affects the market value price of the rest of the homes.  This is why foreclosures and short sales have an effect on other home values around them. 

———————————————-

Buyers, if you want a home’s seller to play ball, best practice is to avoid these 3 pitfalls:

1. Unjustified, extreme lowball offers: It’s no secret that buyers have the upper hand in many markets right now. (To be clear, I said ‘many’ – not ‘every’ – your agent can help you understand what the dynamics are in your market.) But let’s be realistic, here. No seller can afford to give away their home at a price far below what it’s worth on today’s market. Lowballing a seller at a price far below the recent sales prices of similar homes in the neighborhood on the ‘let’s-take-a-stab’ plan, is highly likely to turn them off.  And that, in turn, will cause the seller to view your offer – and you – as disrespectful and wasteful of their time. Not only will they turn down your offer, but they may not even bother with a counteroffer, rendering your efforts at securing that particular home dead in the water. Buyers: Review the recent sale prices of similar homes in the neighborhood (aka “comps”) with your agent before you make your offer. Also, ask them to help you factor in other market data, like the average list price-to-sale price ratio and the average number of days neighborhood homes stay on the market. It’s all right to come in lower than asking, if the market data supports such an offer; just be sure your offer is based on reality – and not your fantastical hallucination about scoring the bargain of the millennium.

2. Buyer-side mortgage fails: Plenty of employed buyers with decent credit and cash in the bank have been turned down for a mortgage these past few years. That means buyers can’t assume (a) that they’ll be approved for the amount of loan they need to buy the house they want, or (b) that they’ll be approved for a loan at all. Your inability to get approved for a home loan can create all sorts of problems not just for you, but also for your home’s seller. The average seller’s  worst case scenario is that  they accept your offer only to find out a few weeks, or months, later that you can’t get the loan you need to close the deal. Buyers: It’s not overkill to start working with a mortgage professional as far as six months or a year in advance of starting your house hunt to get pre-approved for a loan. Make sure you get a clear understanding of the amount you qualify for, then work with your real estate agent from there to determine the price range you should house hunt in. And whatever you do – don’t buy a new car, open new credit cards or even change your line of work before your escrow closes, unless you consult closely with your mortgage professional before you make that move. Tip for Sellers: Work with your agent to vet buyers before you sign a contract. Factor in their down payment and earnest money deposit, and feel free to counteroffer these items, not just the offer price. It’s not overkill to have your agent contact the buyer’s mortgage broker to see how reliable the buyer’s pre-approval really is.

3. Bashing the seller’s home: Home bashing happens when buyers start bad-mouthing (aka “trash talking”) the place and/or the neighborhood in hopes of getting a lower asking price. Examples: pointing out all the foreclosures in the area, saying the house down the street just sold for much lower than the asking price on this house, saying you’ll need to rip out the entire kitchen before you even consider moving in – saying any of these things to a seller who happens to be at home during the showing or the inspection is probably one of the fastest ways to turn them all the way off. Buyers: Bad-mouthing a house or neighborhood won’t work to get you a lower price. Instead, it only serves to irritate the seller and motivate them to come up with all sorts of reasons why they shouldn’t sell their home to you! Remember: homes hold incredible emotional experiences for owners. Make an offer you’re comfortable with and keep the negative comments to yourself. If there are legitimate, factual reasons underlying your decision to make an offer at a price the seller might see as a lowball, ask your agent to respectfully communicate those facts to the seller’s agent.

A Realtor will help you not make these mistakes.  Listen to their advice. 

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