Perks Of Selling Your Home This Summer

The housing market forecast for the second part of this year remains positive, but there may not be a better time to sell than now. If you’re wondering what to consider when deciding if now is the time, here are some things to think about:

1. Your House Is Probably Going To Sell Quickly

Homes from the beginning of the year through this summer are selling fast according to the National Association of Realtors. With an average of just 17 days on the market, this indicates buyer competition. Homes going fast is a great sign for sellers. This is a major indicator that buyers are motivated to do (and pay) what it takes to purchase the home of their dreams.

2. Buyers Are Competing For Homes

In addition to selling fast, homes are receiving multiple offers. NAR reports sellers are seeing an average of 5 offers, and these offers are competitive ones. Shawn Telford, Chief Appraiser at CoreLogic, said in a recent interview: “The frequency of buyers being willing to pay more than the market data supports is increasing.” This confirms buyers are ready and willing to enter bidding wars for your home. Receiving several offers on your house means you can select the one that makes the most sense for your situation and financial well-being.

3. Low Supply, High Demand

One of the most significant challenges for motivated buyers is the current inventory of homes for sale, which while improving, remains at near-record lows. Total housing inventory at the end of May was down 20.6% from one year ago. There are signs, however, that more homes are coming to market. If you’re looking to take advantage of buyer demand and get the most attention for your house, selling now before more listings come to the market might be your best option.

4. If You’re Thinking of Moving Up, Now May Be the Time

Over the past 12 months, homeowners have gained a significant amount of wealth through growing equity. In that same period, homeowners have also spent a considerable amount of time in their homes, and many have decided their house doesn’t meet their needs. If you’re not happy with your current home, you can leverage that equity to power your move now. Your equity, plus current low mortgage rates, can help you maximize your purchasing power.

But these near-historic low rates won’t last forever. Experts forecast interest rates will increase in the coming months. As interest rates rise, even modestly, it could influence buyer demand and your purchasing power. If you’ve been waiting for the best time to sell to fuel your move up, you likely won’t find more favorable conditions than those we’re seeing today.

If you’re considering listing your home, this is the time! We are here to assist you in all of your real estate needs, and can guide you through the process. Call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly, MO at 660-263-3393.

Mortgage Myths You’ve Probably Heard

Think you’re not ready to unlock home ownership yet? That the hurdles are too high? You may be short-changing yourself. Many of the things renters believe about home-buying are myths. Here’s the real deal.

Myth: I Have to Put Down 20%.

Saving 20% of the price of a home in many places isn’t just a challenge; it’s a roadblock. And it’s not a must-do. In fact, the median down payment for first-time buyers is 7%. How can you become part of the less-than-20 club?

FHA Loans: The Federal Housing Association (FHA) is an old friend to first-time buyers and others who are ready to become homeowners with less than a 20% down payment. If you qualify, you may be able to get a loan with as little as 3.5% down.

Downpaymentresource.com and NeighborWorks: Some local and state agencies sponsor down-payment assistance programs that help prospective home buyers in different ways. Follow the links to find out if any are available near you.

VA, USDA, and Navy Federal Credit Union loans: Three government-related lenders offer mortgages with as little as zero down. The VA is for veterans and family members; the USDA is for buyers in qualifying locations (typically rural); and Navy Federal Credit Union is for the military, family members, and some government employees.

Gift Funds: Sixteen percent of buyers ask friends or relatives to help jump-start their home ownership with a gift. Talk to your lender first, though. There may be limits to the amount of gifted funds they’ll accept, and they may require your benefactor to sign some paperwork.

Myth: My Low Credit Score Means I Can’t Buy a Home

So, your credit isn’t great. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo your home-buying dreams. Here are some options for those with a less-than-stellar credit score.

FHA loan: With a credit score of 500, you can apply for an FHA loan, but you’ll need a 10% down payment to offset the risk. If your score is a tick better (580), you can participate in their down-payment assistance program, requiring only 3.5%.

A higher down payment: On the off-chance you have enough cash on hand to put down more than 20%, the higher down payment can help those with lower credit scores be less risky for lenders.

A co-signer. Find someone with better credit to co-sign the loan – but understand that if you don’t make the payments, the cosigner will be financially responsible (and their credit will also suffer).

Check your credit report. Maybe your credit isn’t that low after all.Order a copy of your report from all three reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). If you find inaccurate or old information, ask the agencies to correct it.

Myth: I Can’t Afford the Agent’s Commission

Here’s one you can immediately mark off your worry list. Typically, the commission is paid from the proceeds of the sale via the seller. This is one of many reasons to contract with a buyer’s agent. The seller’s agent doesn’t work for you, and you need a pro in your corner.

Myth: My Bank Will Give Me the Best Mortgage

There are a lot of positive things to say about working with your local bank, but assuming they’ll give you the best mortgage is a mistake. Banks are only one type of home-loan lender. Others include credit unions and mortgage companies. Mortgage rates aren’t the same across the board, so contact several institutions to ensure you’re getting the best price.

Or, if you prefer to let the lenders come to you, consider getting a loan through a mortgage broker. Brokers have access to several lenders, and they’ll shop their market, getting you a wider selection of loans. But unless you contract with one, brokers aren’t obligated to find the best deal for you. So you’ll want to shop around for a broker, just as you would for a lender.

Myth: I Was Pre-Approved. I Got The Loan!

Well . . . no. Don’t order that couch from West Elm or pack away your tax documents just yet. You don’t get the loan until:
(a) The seller accepts your offer
(b) Your lender approves the loan (which you’ll need those tax docs for)
(c) You sign the loan papers 

Between (a) and (c), the lender will have the home appraised to ensure its value is in line with the purchase price, check your credit again, and ask you for more documents than you ever knew existed.

So what does “pre-approved” mean for a loan? It tells sellers you’re eligible for a loan and shows them you’re a serious, qualified buyer. This gives them confidence in your offer, increasing your chances of (a), (b), and (c) actually happening.

Myth: The Interest Rate Is What Matters Most

A low interest rate is important, but it’s not the only thing to consider. When shopping around for a loan, check the annual percentage rate (APR). It includes all loan costs, such as origination and processing fees that can vary widely from lender to lender, in addition to the interest rate.

One loan may have a lower interest rate, but the up-front fees cost more than you’d save in interest. The APR lets you compare apples to apples.

Before you sign the loan, your lender will give you a loan estimate, a line-by-line estimate of fees. You’ll find the APR there. Use that rate to compare the loans you’re considering.

How about that? You may be closer to home ownership than you thought. Happy house hunting!

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, contact Advantage Real Estate. Our friendly, professional, and knowledgeable agents are here to answer your questions and guide you through the process of purchasing and/or selling your property. We’re here in Moberly, MO and serve Randolph and surrounding counties in Missouri. 660-263-3393

Don’t Forget to Budget for Closing Costs

When buying a home, it’s important to have a budget and make sure you plan ahead for certain homebuying expenses. Saving for a down payment is the main cost that comes to mind for many, but budgeting for the closing costs required to get a mortgage is just as important.

What are closing costs? According to Trulia, “When you close on a home, a number of fees are due. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the total cost of the home, and can include title insurance, origination fees, underwriting fees, document preparation fees, and more.”

For example, for someone buying a $300,000 home, they could potentially have between $6,000 and $15,000 in closing fees. If you’re in the market for a home above this price range, your closing costs could be greater. As mentioned above, closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your purchase price. 

Trulia gives more great advice, explaining: “There will be lots of paperwork in front of you on closing day, and not enough time to read them all. Work closely with your real estate agent, lender, and attorney, if you have one, to get all the documents you need ahead of time.

The most important thing to read is the closing disclosure, which shows your loan terms, final closing costs, and any outstanding fees. You’ll get this form about three days before closing since, once you (the borrower) sign it, there’s a three-day waiting period before you can sign the mortgage loan docs. If you have any questions about the numbers or what any of the mortgage terms mean, this is the time to ask—your real estate agent is a great resource for getting you all the answers you need.”

As home prices are rising and more buyers are finding themselves competing in bidding wars, it’s more important than ever to make sure your plan includes budgeting for closing costs. Work with your lender and a local real estate professional to be sure you have everything you need to land your dream home.

Advantage Real Estate agents are here to help you with all of your real estate needs. They can advise you about your closing costs and the process of buying and/or selling a property! We serve Randolph and surrounding counties in Missouri. Call our office in Moberly and speak to one of our knowledgeable agents today! 660-263-3393

You’ll Be Glad You Did These 4 August Tasks When January Comes

Go ahead and get that energy audit. And schedule snow plowing.

Take a few minutes out of your pool time this month to do these four tasks.

Then you’ll have more time to eat popcorn in front of the fire next January.

#1 Call the Snow Plow Now

If you live in snow-prone areas, now’s the time to get your name on the snow-plow contractor’s schedule. By the time your car’s buried in the driveway, their rosters will be full.

#2 Schedule Furnace Service

Get ready for sweater weather — and beat the rush — by scheduling the annual fall service for your furnace now. If you don’t already have one, ask about your HVAC company’s twice-a-year maintenance plan. Often, you can get discounted rates, not just for the service plan, but for larger repairs, too.

#3 Get a Home Energy Audit

Save money this winter by scheduling a professional energy audit now. Not only will you learn where your home is prone to energy loss, your auditor may recommend inexpensive ways to save money (like caulking around the baseboards). Energy.gov has info on how pro and DIY energy audits work. Find energy auditors through the Residential Energy Services Network.

#4 Plant Trees

Trees increase home value, so give yours the best start by planting them at the right time. In zones 4-8 (which is most of the United States), that’s late summer and early fall. This gives them time to establish roots before next summer’s heat and drought. 

With Summer still here, it’s hard to think about snow and cold weather. It’s better to be prepared and get ahead of the game before it’s among us. If you’re considering selling or buying, let us help you with getting ready for Winter. We’re eager to assist you in all of your real estate needs. 660-263-3393