3 Questions Every First Time Home Buyer Needs to Ask

It’s always a good idea for any first time home buyer to go into the home buying process well educated…forewarned is forearmed I always say.

Every First Time Home Buyer Should Ask These Questions:

1. How much House can I Afford?

Janet SimonsThis first question is largely dependent on how large a mortgage (basically, a home loan) you can handle.

Start your research by using a simple mortgage calculator to see whether you can afford to pay the monthly mortgage on the kinds of houses you have in mind. You may even apply for a mortgage at a lender before you start looking for a home. This is called getting pre-approved for a loan; it will tell you exactly how much you can afford and may make the closing process go faster.

But, remember that owning a home involves more than a monthly mortgage. You’ll also have to consider money you’ll need to have at hand when you make an offer, when you close on a home and on a monthly basis after the home is yours.

Payments you may have to make when you submit an offer and at closing include:

Earnest money, usually 1% to 5% of the cost of the house, which you pay as a deposit on the house when you submit your offer. It is your proof that you are a serious buyer

Down payment, usually 10% to 20% of the cost of the house, which you must pay at closing

Mortgage insurance, paid by borrowers making a down payment of less than 20% Closing costs, usually 3% to 4% of the cost of the house, to pay for processing all the paperwork

Don’t forget the day-to-day expenses you may incur once you own that home.

This includes:

  • Utilities
  • Homeowner or condo association dues
  • Property taxes
  • City and/or County taxes

Apply to the old rule – You don’t want to be house rich but pocket poor!

2. Do I have the right Home Loan?

There are a variety of mortgage types available today, each with advantages and disadvantages depending on how long you plan to live in the home, the financial marketplace and your income potential, among other things.

A fixed-rate mortgage is the most common. In a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate and payment stay the same for the life of the loan. An adjustable-rate mortgage usually starts out at lower interest rates and lower monthly payments than fixed-rate mortgages, but your rate and monthly payments may rise and fall based on a financial index.

There are also several government mortgage programs available, including FHA mortgages, which are designed to help people who might not otherwise qualify for a loan.

You may also have a choice in loan terms. There are 30-year loans and 15-year loans.

3. Am I Buying for the Future?

House hunting can be both exciting and frustrating. Most home buyers see roughly 15 houses before buying one. To make the search easier and faster, nearly half of all house hunters today begin by browsing for properties on the Internet, using web sites like this one.

Once you know what you want and what you can afford, its time to see the houses for yourself. To help stay focused, bring with you a checklist of things that you’ve decided ahead of time are important qualities of your future home.

This might include:

  • Is there enough room for you to grow in?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Is the house in move-in condition or will it need work?
  • Is it close enough to everyday needs, such as grocery stores, schools, work?
  • Will you feel safe here?
  • Do the appliances that are part of the sale work?
  • Is the yard right for your needs?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Is there enough storage?
  • Will you be happy in this house in winter, summer, spring, fall?
  • You may also want to take some exterior and interior photos of each house you visit so that you can keep track of its pros and cons.

You certainly want to be happy with your new home but try not to get paralysis through analysis…

Knowing these 3 questions to ask yourself before you start your home buying process will certainly make you and your first time home buying experience more enjoyable.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Top 5 ‘No Brainers’ to Getting a Good Interest Rate

If My Credit Score is so High, why is my lender telling me I’m not getting a good Interest Rate?

Interest RateI just met with a lovely couple who were doing very well in their jobs, making good money and were ready to make the big leap to homeownership! Sound familiar?

I then had them meet with my lender who quickly got them pre-approved…BUT!

The big but in this case was they both had great credit…BUT…carried a ton of Debt. You know the story, student loans, impulse purchases on big ticket items and the whole “Keeping up with the Jones” mindset that left them with a lot of nice stuff…and a mountain of bills, too!

Debt can be a real killer when it comes to getting a good interest rate…or an interest rate at all! Sadly, some folks have such a high debt to income ratio they are left with very little at the end of the month. Case in point being these nice kids making such good money, with virtually all of it going to pay off old bills and their current lifestyle.

Your debt to income, or DTI, is one of 3 factors lenders use when you apply for a home loan.

Along with your credit score and the loan-to-value ratio, your debt to income is likely the biggest influencer (I know that’s not a real word) in all this! Realizing a lot of debt may be a portent for a lender in your ability to repay your home loan, most buyers who finance their home purchase are faced with a number of issues.

Issue number 1 is getting your debt down and Issue number 2 is…HOW?

Dealing with your Monthly debt payments such as credit cards, alimony & child support, car payments, rent, student loans debt and any personal debt can seem monumental…BUT, it’s not impossible!

There are really only a couple of ways to get your debt to income in check.

  1. Make more money
  2. Get rid of your debt

Which sounds easier? My guess would be number 2…let’s see how.

No Brainer #1 –  Get Hyper-focused on your Bills.

If you’re like some folks I know, you have unopened bills laying all over your desk. When they come in…pay them. Not only will you have that off your plate, you may likely see a jump in your overall credit score and show your lender you are responsible and eager to pay down your debt…ON TIME!

No Brainer #2 – If you only owe a few hundred dollars…just pay it off!

Too often, we just make the minimum payment on stuff…STOP THAT! Pay off those small loans and make larger payments to pay down those bigger debts. If you have less money at the end of the month but less debt to show for it…it’s a very good thing!

No Brainer #3 – Talk to your creditors about lowering your interest rate.

No one likes to deal with these people but you might just find they are more receptive than you think. My lender has some great options for getting these folks to help you lower your rate and I’d love to share those with you…just give me a call.

No Brainer #4 – Pay Cash whenever possible.

I have a friend who was a prime example of living on plastic. Several years ago he decided to just cut those bad boys up and quit cold turkey. Today, he pays cash for everything and never has a card (other than his debit card) in his wallet. Tells me it’s a great deterrent with those impulse purchases and keeps him in balance with his spending.

No Brainer #5 – Stop Buying Stuff! 

This one may come as the hardest thing to do and yet the easiest thing to do to get back on track.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Your Simple Guide to Buying a Home

Before you get started, do some homework. This handy Buyers Guide to buying your home will show you some things to keep in mind as you are hunting for that home of your dreams.


[wpspoiler name=”How Much Can You Afford” ]How much house you can afford is largely dependent on how large a mortgage (basically, a home loan) you can handle.

Start your research by using a simple mortgage calculator to see whether you can afford to pay the monthly mortgage on the kinds of houses you have in mind. You may even apply for a mortgage at a lender before you start looking for a home. This is called getting pre-approved for a loan; it will tell you exactly how much you can afford and may make the closing process go faster.

But, remember that owning a home involves more than a monthly mortgage. You’ll also have to consider money you’ll need to have at hand when you make an offer, when you close on a home and on a monthly basis after the home is yours.

Payments you may have to make when you submit an offer and at closing include:

Earnest money, usually 1% to 5% of the cost of the house, which you pay as a deposit on the house when you submit your offer. It is your proof that you are a serious buyer

Down payment, usually 10% to 20% of the cost of the house, which you must pay at closing

Mortgage insurance, paid by borrowers making a down payment of less than 20% Closing costs, usually 3% to 4% of the cost of the house, to pay for processing all the paperwork

Don’t forget the day-to-day expenses you may incur once you own that home.

This includes:

  • Utilities
  • Homeowner or condo association dues
  • Property taxes
  • City and/or County taxes

Apply to the old rule – You don’t want to be house rich but pocket poor!
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Shop for a Home” ]House hunting can be both exciting and frustrating. Most home buyers see roughly 15 houses before buying one. To make the search easier and faster, nearly half of all house hunters today begin by browsing for properties on the Internet, using web sites like this one.

The internet is a quick way to see whether the houses that are currently available meet the following critical criteria: in the right location, with the right features and at the right price. If you find after your internet search that few properties meet with your expectations, you may want to readjust your criteria change the location, features, price to increase your chances of finding a house that works for you. If you have any difficulties in this initial search, feel free to contact me for assistance. Homes can become available instantly and your agent is always the most current resource for literally up to the minute new home listing information.

Once you know what you want, where you want it and what you can afford, its time to see the houses for yourself. To help stay focused, bring with you a checklist of things that you’ve decided ahead of time are important qualities of your future home.

This might include:

  • Is there enough room for you to grow in?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Is the house in move-in condition or will it need work?
  • Is it close enough to everyday needs, such as grocery stores, schools, work?
  • Will you feel safe here?
  • Do the appliances that are part of the sale work?
  • Is the yard right for your needs?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Is there enough storage?
  • Will you be happy in this house in winter, summer, spring, fall?
  • You may also want to take some exterior and interior photos of each house you visit so that you can keep track of its pros and cons.

You certainly want to be happy with your new home but try not to get paralysis through analysis…
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Find a Real Estate Professional” ]While you’re not required to use a real estate professional, it is a good idea.

A professional has access to a network of contacts and can draw from extensive market knowledge to help pinpoint the right house for you quickly.

A professional also can help you structure your deal to save money, explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mortgages and guide you through the paperwork.

And best of all, our professional services are at no cost to you![/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Research Different Mortgages” ]There are a variety of mortgage types available today, each with advantages and disadvantages depending on how long you plan to live in the home, the financial marketplace and your income potential, among other things.

A fixed-rate mortgage is the most common. In a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate and payment stay the same for the life of the loan. An adjustable-rate mortgage usually starts out at lower interest rates and lower monthly payments than fixed-rate mortgages, but your rate and monthly payments may rise and fall based on a financial index.

There are also several government mortgage programs available, including FHA mortgages, which are designed to help people who might not otherwise qualify for a loan.

You may also have a choice in loan terms. There are 30-year loans and 15-year loans.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Making an Offer” ]When you’ve found a house you really want, its time to make the offer. How much you offer may depend on a number of factors:

  • Is the asking price fair? Here’s where the legwork you put in while shopping for a home pays off. Decide whether this house is priced right or out of line in the current marketplace.
  • Is the house in good condition? Is this house in move-in condition or will it need a lot of work? Take any costs of improvement into consideration when deciding your offer price.
  • Has it been on the market long? Usually the longer a house has been on the market, the more likely it is the owner would accept a lower offer. Or maybe its just overpriced for the market.
  • Is it a sellers’ or buyers’ market? If the houses you’re interested in are being bought as soon as they’re listed, that means you’ve got a lot of competition from other buyers; offer accordingly. If houses aren’t selling fast, you may have more leverage in negotiating a lower price.

Once you’ve determined how much you’d like to offer, work with your real estate professional to submit the proper information. This includes:

  • A complete, legal description of the house
  • The amount of earnest money you’re paying
  • The down payment and financing details A proposed move-in date
  • The price you’re offering
  • A proposed closing date
  • The length of time your offer is valid
  • Details of the deal

This can be just the beginning of the negotiation process. The seller has three options: accept your offer, counter your offer or reject your offer. Let your real estate professional advise you on the best way to present your offer for a good outcome. [/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Begin Contingency Period” ]When your offer has been accepted, the contingency period begins. This is time that allows you to obtain financing, perform inspections and satisfy any other contingencies of your purchase agreement.

Obtaining financing might include loan approval, which will include an appraisal of the property. Also be prepared to make your down payment, which is usually due several days before the close of escrow.

Now is the time to schedule a professional inspection of the property; it is one of the best safeguards you can take before buying. A home inspector should check (and may give you a rough price for repairs on) the electrical system, plumbing and waste disposal, the water heater, insulation and ventilation, water source and quality, pests, foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors and roof.

Keep in mind that the inspector isn’t there to tell you whether you’re getting a good deal. He or she is there to give you an educated and professional opinion on whether the house is structurally and mechanically sound and fill you in on any repairs that are needed.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Buy Homeowners Insurance” ]A paid homeowners insurance policy is required at closing.

Often a real estate professional will help make sure your insurance company and your title officer are working together to put your policy in effect by the close of escrow.

But, if you get your insurance agent involved early in your home-buying process, he or she may also help point out ways to help keep your insurance premiums lower.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Complete Settlement or Closing” ]When the property you’re buying has been inspected and you’ve had your final walk-through of the property to see that all contingency conditions such as final repairs made by the seller — have been met, its time to face the final paperwork.

You will be signing loan documents and closing papers, paying the balance of your down payment and closing costs.

This is the day you get the keys to your new home. Congratulations![/wpspoiler]


 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Why is Buying Real Estate So Challenging Right Now?

If you’re out there in the real estate community, either as an agent or you’re buying real estate, you can not help but notice the incredible lack of homes available.

Why is Buying Real Estate Such a Hard Thing in Todays Market?

Buying Real EstateThere are numerous factors that have contributed to this unbelievable market! Some factors including historically low inventory only serve to make this particular market one of the most challenging in my memory!

So, what are some of the contributing factors to why this is happening? Let’s take a look…


 

Homeowners Still Reeling from the Latest Correction

Simply put, most homeowners that were lucky enough to make it unscathed through the last 7 or so years of the last real estate market are just now even able to consider selling their home. With some sellers really unable financially or with the inclusion of somewhat damaged credit, many simply can not get a new mortgage that would support moving up or down.

I recently had a potential client who wanted to sell their home to downsize to a smaller residence. I had them speak to my lender and after several attempts, their ability to obtain a loan was unsuccessful and they simply opted to stay put. I’ve heard this from other agents in my sphere as well. Some homeowners would love to sell and take advantage of this market but their net proceeds alone would not be enough for them to purchase a home after they sold…so they are just not selling!

Lower Interest Rates

You would think this is a good thing however, the rates are low for folks on the refi side as well! And, that’s exactly what they’ve done! Now comfortably settled, many homeowners have no reason to sell! Couple that with those who are buying real estate and have already taken advantage of these great rates essentially eliminating a good portion of the existing inventory and Viola…you have little to no inventory of available homes for sale.

Some Homeowners are waiting it out 

As with all markets, there are ebbs and flows. Currently, some homeowners are attempting to “Time the Market”! This is resulting in homeowners holding on to their homes in the hopes the market will continue to increase the value of their home. What will happen as it has always happened, eventually, the inventory of homes will begin to increase as the number of buyers begin to decrease essentially leaving some homeowners taking less for their house as inventory of available homes goes up as the buyer base begins to retreat! HINT: Sell now before this happens!!!

Sellers Becoming Buyers

Most sellers I talk to want to make sure they have a home to buy if they sell. This is the issue! If the homeowner themselves enter into the buyer pool and can’t find a home to purchase, they’re forced to find alternate means of residency such as short term rental options which chips away at their downpayment funds!

Lastly, a Lack of New Homes

I’m sure you have noticed a terrific uptick in the number of new homes being built around your area. 2 issues with this…

  1. New home construction (starts) continue to be at an all time low as builders and banks are still feeling the impact of the last real estate market.
  2. The process from start to finish of a new home project or development is very long. From the moment land is acquired to the time you can actually purchase the home can be 2-3 years. Until this process is accelerated, new construction inventory will remain low and prices will only go up as build costs mount for the developers!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


10 Tips to Buying a House

The top 10 things you need to know when buying a home.

buying a homeIt’s always a great experience buying a house when you know what you need to know. Although this is old hat to some, being a new home buyer could leave you with a lot of questions about the process. 

I’ve taken the time to jot down my 10 must know tips before you consider buying a home. It also bears noting, things are always changing and evolving in the real estate industry so this list will most certainly grow.

So, let’s take a look at some helpful tips I always impart to every prospective home buyer.

1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put.

If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner – even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it’s an even worse proposition.

2. Start by shoring up your credit.

Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

3. Aim for a home you can really afford.

The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you’ll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

4. If you can’t put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.

There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a small down payment.

5. Buy in a district with good schools.

In most areas, this advice applies even if you don’t have school-age children. Reason: When it comes time to sell, you’ll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.

6. Get professional help.

Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

7. Choose carefully between points and rate.

When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points — a portion of the interest that you pay at closing — in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time — say three to five years or more — it’s usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.

8. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.

Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

9. Do your homework before bidding.

Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that’s about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

10. Hire a home inspector.

Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal anyway. But that’s just the bank’s way of determining whether the house is worth the price you’ve agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.

Buying a home is a process…knowing what you need to know if vital to making the process work!

I hope you were able to take away some good information from today’s post. If I can elaborate on any of my top 10 items above or answer any questions on something you think I may have missed, do not hesitate to contact me at the information below…and happy home hunting!!!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Are Your Home Buying Expectations Too High?

Fraught with just about every emotion under the sun, home buying can be easy…OR IT CAN BE HARD!

The Highs and Lows of Home Buying

Home BuyingI have a dear friend who has been known to say, “The anticipation of an event is often times greater than the event itself.” Which I’ve come to completely understand.

So often, the idea of buying a home, touring every weekend through open house after open house and even the idea of where to put ‘your’ sofa are wonderful feelings. It’s the expectation after a while that this home buying thing is a ton of fun and oh so carefree.

Those feelings are soon replaced with ‘tasks’ and ‘chores’ like trying to get all your documents together for your home loan, spending days running around trying to get offers and counteroffers signed around and dealing with inspection reports, deadlines and addenda’s!

The reason all this craziness is so…crazy is simply because you didn’t have THE TALK with your real estate broker.

Having THE TALK With You About Home Buying Expectations

If you’ve purchased, or sold for that matter, a home recently…you have at least one story to tell about your experience.

Every so often, I will hear one of my buyers say, “I wish I would have known that.” And, even a seller will say to me, “Our Agent never told us about this when we bought the house.”

It’s not enough to assume the buyer or seller who is entrusting their greatest financial asset knows what you know! In this Go-Go world, it’s important to take the time to understand the layers of “what-ifs” and “should of seen that coming” well before these things become an issue.

Spending the proper amount of time going over scenarios that may arise…because they have and I want you to know about them, is time very well spent. Letting your clients visualize an instance that may come up makes them forewarned and forearmed for what might happen during the transaction. The most important part of this process is when things go smoothly, your clients will attribute it to them having THE TALK more times than not.

Let’s put THE TALK in a Football context. Take the game between our beloved Seattle Seahawks and those poor Green Bay Packers for the 2014 NFC Championship. I’d say that was a game that many thought the Pack were going to win easily. I know some folks; die hard Seahawks fans, actually left the stadium after Russell Wilson threw his 4th interception.

Could anyone on the Packers sideline know what was about to happen in the last 4 minutes or so of that game…NO WAY! There isn’t a player on either team that will ever forget what happened at the end of that game. Yet, there wasn’t a single play that couldn’t have been defended differently had the Packers been better prepared. They let their expectations of going to the Super Bowl get in their way of preparing for the greatest comeback I’ve ever witnessed. OK, I’m getting carried away here.

Simply put, I’ll venture to bet that for as long as any member of the Green Bay Packers continue to play, they will always be forewarned and forearmed that ‘things happen’. And to go from the high’s of thinking you were going to the Super Bowl to the low’s of losing that and more…in less than 5 minutes.

My point is THE TALK is having a conversation about ‘things happening’. You don’t need to necessarily know what or how ‘things happen’ but that helps. No, it’s about helping the buyers take off their rose colored glasses to know this may not be as smooth as they had expected. I’m not talking about scaring you or being a pessimist. In fact, those who know me know I’m the eternal optimist! But, I’m also pragmatic and I think having all your ducks in a row doesn’t always prevent things from not going exactly to plan!

Expectations need to be established, understood and in some cases even tempered so a mole hill doesn’t turn into a mountain. THE TALK should always include ‘what-ifs’.

Home Buying is Fun When You Know the ‘What-ifs’

Take the time to interview your real estate broker and ask a lot of questions…I mean a lot!!! Find out what they know and don’t know. And be realistic that the experience may not always match the expectations and setting those expectations with goals and facts rather than hopes and dreams will always make the home buying process more fun. 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


New Year…New Home

5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015

Expect the home-purchase market to strengthen along with the economy in 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November

Freddie Mac“The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3 percent growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment; further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development; and consumers are more upbeat and businesses are more confident, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015. And with that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity.”

Freddie Mac economists have made the following projections in housing for the new year:

  1. Mortgage rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4 percent. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6 percent and inch up to 5 percent by the end of the year.
  2. Home prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5 percent this year from 9.3 percent last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3 percent in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”
  3. Housing starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in the new year, projected to rise by 20 percent from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5 percent, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.
  4. Single-family originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8 percent, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancings are expected to make up only 23 percent of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.
  5. Multi-family mortgage originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60 percent between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Downpayment Assistance

Is Downpayment Assistance an Option for YOU!

Downpayment AssistanceLast week, I wrote about what to do when you get gift funds for a down payment. I received a number of positive calls with feedback on how helpful the info was. However, the tone with many of the messages and phone conversation I had was, along with the help from family and friends, is there some information on other downpayment assistance ideas and programs available in our area of Washington State.

I thought this was a great idea and so I did some digging and found out that roughly 7 out of 10 Americans are unaware of downpayment assistance programs available for them and their family…and there’s more!

Who can Apply for Downpayment Assistance?

I really don’t think it makes a difference where you live and work, the cost of homeownership is on the rise. Not only are the prices going up but so is the requirements to purchase.

Recently, news came out that Freddie and Fannie were lowering the minimum downpayment requirements from 3.5% back down to 3%. This news is well received and should be a great boost for homebuyers throughout our region.

However, there are still those who are dealing with past credit issues or existing debt and need downpayment assistance in order to realize the American dream of Homeownership. So I have a few links to share with you on help available now:

  • Seattle.gov website has a full list of available downpayment assistance programs designed to help 
  • Washington State Housing Finance Commission offers HomeChoice downpayment assistance, second mortgage loan program for qualified borrowers who have a disability or who have a family member with a disability living with them. Funds up to $15,000. HomeChoice combines with Home Advantage first mortgage loan program. One-on-one counseling is required.

Talk to your lender and ask if there are any additional downpayment assistance programs specific to rural or designated areas they’re aware of!

How Downpayment Assistance Can Help You?

First-time home buyers should expect to pay about 17.4% of their income on a mortgage, compared to 15.3% for more traditional buyers. Despite the hurdles that most millennials face, current affordability for first-time buyers still looks more favorable than the pre-bubble standards from 1985 to 1999, when they could have allocated 22.5% of their income to a mortgage.

A little farther up the age scale, another recent survey finds 63% of Baby Boomers say they plan to stay in their current home when they retire. Of those who said they plan to move, 42% said they would buy a smaller home, 32% said they would buy a larger home and 26% said they plan to buy a the same size home.

I hope you found this information useful. I realize this is a small sampling of what is available out there so do your homework or better yet, contact me and I’ll get you in touch with all the right people to insure you and your home buying experience is seamless and one to remember.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate