The kids are headed back to the classroom and it got me thinking that a lot of adults could use some schooling as well. So much has changed in mortgage and real estate in the last few years and recent numbers from Black Knight Financial Services show evidence of housing market recovery:
- Home prices are up 5.3% year-over-year
- Prices as of June rose for the 50th consecutive month
Interest rates are still low, but a lot of young people grew up during a time of great real estate distress and haven’t experienced the strong markets that propelled the worth and wealth building of their parents. They also haven’t experienced the evolution of interest rates and how high they’ve been to know anything other than the “historic lows” we’ve had for years. They won’t last…it’s time to get schooled up on the current market and what’s involved in buying a home to make an educated decision as to whether homeownership is possible and the right decision for the long run. The GCS Title team and I work with many outstanding, experienced real estate and mortgage professionals who can “teach” you what’s involved in the process and “instruct” you on your options. We’re happy to introduce you! ~Charlie
…when a house goes on the market these days! Zillow’s June Market Report says properties are selling one week faster than they did a year ago and there are 5% fewer homes on the market. The average time on market for a home is 78 days nationwide – including the time it takes to close! Here are some things people need to know about these fast-paced market conditions: Both home buyers and home sellers need to get ready – because things are going to move quick once the sale is set in motion. If you’re buying your first home – or if you’re a seller moving to another home – make sure you have your financing lined up and that you’re pre-approved (that’s different from pre-qualified). If you haven’t found an experienced, professional Realtor and lender to work with – we can help!
Also, GCS Title is all about the customers. We understand the pressures buyers and sellers are under and what how important the transaction we are closing for you is. You can count on us to “bring the hustle” and make sure you can keep up with the market, your closing date and your goals. We’re here to help! ~Charlie
If you read the team bios at gcstitle.com, you’ll notice themes: We all appreciate how every day in this business is different, we thrive on solving problems and we love helping people – not only buyers and sellers who are going through an important transaction that they only do a handful of times in their lives, but the Realtors as well. The 2016 National Association of Realtors member profile came out recently and I noticed that the median gross income for agents with 16 years of experience or more went up $4600 last year – great news for those seasoned pros. Not so great news was the fact that NAR members with two years of experience or less fell $600. Being self-employed and working on straight commission is challenging and we understand the importance of every client and transaction to the Realtors we work with and we consistently work to help agents and loan officers to develop business instead of simply asking them for it.
Closings and everything that goes into them is our business at GCS but we believe our role extends beyond that in the industry and beyond. We also work with our real estate and lending partners to reach out to the buying and selling public, participate in community events with Spare Key, support our veterans through organizations like the American Warrior Initiative. We believe we’re all in this together and we’re always looking for ways to support our partners and community. How can we help you? ~Charlie
Home prices are up again, though not as much as previous months. It’s funny…the real estate and lending industry trades announce things like the 5% year-over-year home appreciation gain noted in the April S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index cautiously because the April gain was less than the one in March. Here’s where you need to grab the grain of salt: The gain was 5.1% in March – so the “drop” was a whopping .1%. Here’s what the Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at the S&P Dow Jones Indices had to say: “… the greatest threat to U.S. housing may come from across the Atlantic and from the domestic political scene.” While the Brexit vote and the crazy presidential race we’re watching are important, they don’t change the fact that we all need a place to live and the biggest expense most people have each month goes to housing. SO, as industry experts and TV pundits wring their hands in print, on air and online, talk to local industry experts about what’s going on in your neighborhood, city and personal housing scenario. Ask questions…find out how you’re doing personally and if there are any adjustments that you should or could make to protect yourself or advance your goals. Checking in with experienced real estate and mortgage professionals should be part of a regular routine. The news can be really scary, but your local experts are here to interpret markets and events and can give you great advice and peace of mind.
Are you done yet? If you think your holiday shopping is taking a while and costing a lot, check out what MN first time home buyers are up against according to research from Zillow and Allianz:
- MN First time buyers typically rent for six years. Consumers rented an average of 2.6 years before buying in the 1970s
- MN First time home buyers are spending 2.6 times their annual incomes on homes. Consumers spent approximately 1.7 times their annual incomes on homes in the 1970s
While people might not be home shopping for six years, the idea of homeownership is out there and on their brains while they’re writing those rent checks. This means MN Realtors and MN lenders will likely be in touch with people for longer periods of time before they buy their first MN home. And, if they’re NOT in touch, they should be. With everything that’s happened in the last few years and the new regulatory climate, it’s more important than ever to be very intentional with our marketing and make sure we’re educating the public and building solid, long-term relationships. There are simple ways to do this which are effective and compliant. Let’s talk about communicating to consumers in this new world – while prices and financing are still so favorable.
I don’t usually run around urging people to write their Congressional representatives, but I do want to let Realtors, Loan Officers and consumers know about something that’s a bit odd so that you can decide for yourselves what you think about it. Back in 2011, Congress enacted guarantee fees (G Fees) that get reflected in the interest rates paid by borrowers who get loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. G Fees were supposed to expire in ten years, but Congress is thinking about extending them as part of – get this – a highway bill. Also interesting is that G Fees are charged on home loans but the money often goes to fund other federal programs like highways. The Association of Mortgage Professionals is opposing the extension of G Fees, with its president saying, “G Fees have essentially become a hidden tax on home buyers that can discourage home ownership and to price many more young and low to moderate income borrowers out of the market, which is especially alarming given that rental costs are also making it difficult for the less affluent to find a place to live.”
I didn’t write it, but I absolutely approve this message! ~Charlie Lawson
Realtors and Loan Officers: What do you think? We’d love to hear your feedback!