Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score

Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score | Keeping Current Matters

Knowing your credit score or getting a recent copy of your credit report is one of the first steps that you can take toward knowing how ready you are to start the home buying process.

Make sure all the information listed on your report is accurate and work to correct any mistakes. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be to receive a better interest rate for your mortgage, which will translate into more ‘home for your money.’

Many potential buyers believe that they need a 750 FICO® Score or higher to be able to purchase a home. The truth is that according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report, over 53% of loans were approved with a FICO® score under 750 last month!

Here are some tips for improving your credit score:

  • Make payments, including rent, credit cards, and car loans, on time.
  • Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards.
  • Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit.
  • Check for errors on your credit report and work toward fixing them.
  • Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score.
  • Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score.

Once you know your score, your next step will be finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this will ensure that you know your budget before you start looking for your dream home.

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Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most?

Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | Keeping Current Matters

Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors puts the annual increase in the median existing-home price at 5.6%. CoreLogic, in their most recent Home Price Index Report, revealed that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year.

CoreLogic broke appreciation down ever further into four price ranges which gives a more detailed view than simply looking at the year-over-year increases of the national median home price.

The chart below shows the four tiers and each one’s growth from July 2016 to July 2017 (the latest data available).

Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | Keeping Current Matters

It is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor in determining how much it has appreciated over the course of the last year. Lower priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum, due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on listing your home for sale in today’s market, find a local agent who can explain exactly what’s going on in your area and your price range.

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Should I Buy a Home Now? Or Wait Until Next Year?

Should I Buy a Home Now? Or Wait Until Next Year? [INFOGRAPHIC]| Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The Cost of Waiting to Buy is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices & interest rates were to increase over a period of time.
  • Freddie Mac predicts interest rates to rise to 4.4% by next year.
  • CoreLogic predicts home prices to appreciate by 5.0% over the next 12 months.
  • If you are ready and willing to buy your dream home, find out if you are able to!

5 Reasons to Sell Your Real Estate This Fall

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | Simplifying The Market

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market.

This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but that number has jumped to an average of almost nine years since 2008. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 43 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move-up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.0% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is important. Thinking of buying or selling?  We truly know the local market. Call 708-529-5839 today!

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What to Do After the Equifax Data Breach

(via Thefederalsavingsbank.com )

On Sept. 7, credit bureau Equifax announced it discovered a data breach, which gave hackers access to personal information on about 143 million U.S. consumers, plus that of some Canadian and U.K. citizens.

The data breach lasted from mid-May through July. Hackers could see names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers and some driver’s license numbers. Further, about 209,000 U.S. consumers’ credit card numbers and about 182,000 U.S. consumers’ dispute documents –
which contain personal identifying information – were accessed.

In short, hackers may have accessed enough information to open unauthorized accounts or lines of credit.

Consumers can protect themselves by taking matters into their own hands. Here’s what you can do to keep your personal and financial information under wraps:

Step 1: Find out if you were affected

Equifax created a website – www.equifaxsecurity2017.com – so consumers could determine if they were one of the 143 million whose personal information was accessed. The site requires your last name and the final six digits of your Social Security number.

Whenever you’re entering sensitive information – partial Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or answering any security questions – it’s not wise to be on a public Wi-Fi network. Do this at home or on a secure network you trust; the hotspot at your favorite cafe doesn’t count.

Security blogger Brian Krebs wrote that some consumers found that, after entering the same information at different times, received different results. Krebs notes that it might be prudent to just assume that you are one of the many who were affected.

Step 2: Pull your credit report

There’s an easy way consumers can find out if someone has tried to open an account or line of credit in their name. This is through annualcreditreport.com, a website mandated by Congress so that consumers can access one free credit report every year from each of the major three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

Everyone should make a habit of doing this anyway. Now is the perfect time to start if you aren’t doing this already.

Step 3: Sign up for credit monitoring

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring services to consumers through www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Krebs explains that these types of services alert you if someone steals your identity, but doesn’t prevent the theft from occurring in the first place.

Still, it can help you take the right steps in the aftermath of identity theft.

Step 4: Initiate a credit freeze

A credit freeze prevents anyone who has your personal information (yourself included) from opening an account or line of credit in your name. This is the most secure way to protect yourself from fraud or identity theft.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, to initiate a credit freeze, you need to contact each of the three credit bureaus individually by phone. Here are their numbers:

Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
TransUnion: 1-888-397-3742
Experian: 1-888-909-8872

You’ll need to provide information like your name, Social Security number, address and birth date.

When you freeze your credit, you’ll receive a unique PIN. This is the key you’ll use to unlock your credit if you decide to open a new account. Keep this in a secure location.

If you have any questions about how this breach may affect the mortgage lending process, reach out to The Federal Savings Bank.

I specialize in helping clients purchase and refinance homes in all 50 states.
I can finance your primary residence, vacation home, and investment property.
Please call or email me today if I can help you or anyone you know!

 

Brian Kohlstedt Photo Brian Kohlstedt
Senior Vice President, NMLS# 216947
direct:(312) 738-8440
fax:(312) 491-5303
briank@thefederalsavingsbank.com
http://www.thefederalsavingsbank.com/briankohlstedt
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Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High

Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High | Keeping Current Matters

According to Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report, 1.5 million Americans have purchased a home with down payments under than 10% over the last 12 months. This is great news for buyers as this marks a 7-year high.

Many mortgage programs offered by agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae allow buyers to put down as low as 3% to purchase their dream homes. The strength of the housing market has aided buyers who used low-down-payment programs to buy. As a recent CNBC article points out,

“Defaults on recent low down payment loans, so far, are slow, but that is as much a factor of the good credit quality as it is the strength of the housing market. Home prices are rising incredibly fast, meaning those borrowers are gaining equity in their homes quickly.”

Low down payments aren’t just great for first-time homebuyers. These programs have allowed homeowners who want to capitalize on the equity they have in their homes to use the profit from their sale to pay off high-interest credit cards, fund education or even start a business.

According to a new Census Report, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs , home equity was used to start 7.3% of all businesses in the United States, which equates to over 284,000! The industries that saw the most growth from home equity are accommodation & food services, manufacturing and, retail trade.

Bottom Line

Gone are the days of ‘20% down or no mortgage.’ What could you build with the equity in your house? Contact us today – (708) 529-5839 cell –  real estate professionals who can evaluate your ability to achieve your dreams. We work with many first-time home buyers.

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Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission

For sale by owner? Forgetaboutit. Okay, really, it has been proven that not only all of the previously discussed items about properties for sale by owner aka FSBOs (it wasn’t too long ago, that we shared this post about why working with an experienced Real Estate Agent is better than trying to sell by owner) but FSBOs end up not gaining anything and sometimes costing the seller more!

Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission | Keeping Current Matters

One of the main reasons why For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe they will save the commission an agent charges for getting their house on the market and selling it. A new study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)

Why would FSBOs net less money than if they used an agent?

The study makes several suggestions:

  • “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids on with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
  • “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
  • “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.

Three conclusions from the study:

  1. FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
  2. The differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%.
  3. The sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money.

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Homer Glen Real Estate Market Update

How’s the Homer Glen real estate market?

Click play to view the Homer Glen Real Estate Market Update for July 2017.

Looking to buy or sell real estate in Homer Glen or the Chicago suburbs? Judy Glockler is consistently one of the top producing agents in the area. Contact us today: 708-529-5839

Make sure to like our new Facebook page to be notified of posts and great real estate and area related information!

 

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Hey, Millennial Homeowners: It May Be Time to Sell

Contrary to what many believe, Millennials are not the ‘renter’ generation. Millennials purchased a larger percentage (34%) of homes in the U.S. than any other age group in 2017 and the most recent Census Bureau report shows that the homeownership rate among Millennials is finally on the rise.

Many Millennials took advantage of post housing crash prices and the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit and jumped into homeownership in 2010. If you are one of these buyers, now may be the time to sell for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. Equity Build-Up

Home prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2012 and your house may have appreciated by more than you think. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their Q2 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report revealed that:

“…homeowners who sold in the second quarter realized an average price gain of $51,000 since purchase — the highest average price gain for home sellers since Q2 2007, when it was $57,000.

The average home seller price gain of $51,000 in Q2 2017 represented an average return of 26 percent on the previous purchase price of the home, the highest average home seller return since Q3 2007, when it was 27 percent.”

2. Projected Home Price Increases

If you just got married or just found out you are about to become a parent, you may have plans to move up a bigger home or perhaps move to a different area. Waiting to buy a more expensive home in this market probably doesn’t make sense. The experts contacted for the Home Price Expectation Survey are projecting home prices to increase by nearly 5% over the next year. Yes, your house’s price will increase but not as much as a home currently valued higher than yours.

3. Projected Interest Rate Increases

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors are each projecting mortgage rates to increase over the next year.
Higher PRICES + Higher INTEREST RATES = LARGER MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

If you are lucky enough to be one of those Millennials who purchased a house in 2010 (or even later), now might be the perfect time to move up to the home of your dreams!