Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be Successful

Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be SuccessfulAre you in the market for a new house? In a buyer’s market, finding and closing on a beautiful home can seem very easy. However, if you are shopping when the market is hot, you may end up fighting bidding wars and losing your dream home to a competing buyer. Let’s take a look at four tips that you will need to be successful when house hunting in a hot local real estate market.

Tip #1: Do Your Research Ahead Of Time

It should go without saying that in a hot market you will need to move quickly. Making an effort to do all your research ahead of time will ensure that you do not have to later, once you’ve found the perfect dream home. Check in with your real estate agent to find out what paperwork and other material will be needed.

Tip #2: Get A Mortgage Pre-approval

Once you have found your dream home, you may discover that other buyers are interested or have submitted bids. In this case, it is crucial that you can demonstrate that you have your mortgage financing pre-approved. Remember that the seller wants to close their sale quickly and for the best price. Showing up with pre-approved mortgage financing proves that you are serious about buying their home.

Tip #3: Be Ready To Pounce (But Don’t Be Hasty!)

Speaking of being serious, it is essential that you are ready to pounce on the right listing. A hot market means that you won’t be the only potential buyer checking out a home. The last thing you want to do is find the right house, then end up losing the chance to buy it because of unnecessary delays.

Tip #4: Small Sacrifices Are Okay

The final tip to keep in mind is that sometimes you will have to make a small sacrifice to close the deal. For example, the seller may want some special terms added to the agreement. Alternatively, they might ask you to pick up some of the closing costs. Whatever the case, keep in mind that a hot market means that you lose a bit of leverage. If it’s a small sacrifice, it might be worth it.

Buying a house in a hot real estate market can be challenging, but a little preparation will go a long way in ensuring you are the winning bidder. When you are ready to buy your next home, get in touch with your local real estate professionals.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 16, 2018

Last week’s economic releases on inflation, core inflation, and retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Inflation and Retail Sales Ease in December

Consumer prices fell from November’s reading of 0.40 percent growth to o.10 percent growth in December, which matched expectations. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, dropped to 0.30 percent from November’s growth rate of 0.40 percent. Analysts expected a Core CPI reading of 0.20 percent for December.

Retail sales were lower in December as compared to November’s reading of 0.90 percent growth month-to-month; December’s retail sales grew by 0.40 percent. Core retail sales, which excludes automotive sales grew by 0.40 percent in December as compared to November’s growth rate of 0.90 percent. Analysts expected retail sales to increase by 0.50 percent. Retail sales excluding automotive sales also grew by 0.40 percent as compared to an expected reading of 0.30 percent and November’s growth rate of 1.30 percent.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week with rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaging four basis points higher at 3.99 percent. Mortgage rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage were six basis points higher at an average of 3.44 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was one basis point higher at an average of 3.46 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 268,000 filings as compared to 248.000 new claims expected and 258,000 new jobless claims filed the prior week. Last week’s new jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

This week’s economic releases include readings from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued and a report on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan.

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don’t Know Where to Start? Here’s a Few Tips

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don't Know Where to Start? Here's a Few TipsAre you a renter that has become tired of paying someone else’s mortgage and not building any equity? Or a homeowner who has a growing family and is in need of more space? Whatever the case, if you are in the market for a new home there is no time like the present. Let’s explore a few tips that will help you to prepare for the home buying experience.

Tip #1: Prepare For A Busy Spring Season

First, it should be pretty obvious that you aren’t the only house hunter on the market. Other local individuals and families alike will be searching for a new house to call their own. As you may know, the spring is generally when the local real estate market starts to heat up. So, if you are looking to buy, you may want to address your needs earlier in the spring rather than later. The sooner you can get the paperwork signed, the less of a chance you end up in a bidding war.

Tip #2: Mortgage Rates May Be Trending Up

While this is in no way a prediction, there have been some indications that mortgage interest rates may be trending higher in 2018. If this does end up being the case, the cost of buying a home is going to be a little bit more. So if you can move quickly and get your mortgage pre-approved now, you may find that you end up with a better deal than those families who wait until the summer to make a move.

Tip #3: Prepare Your Finances And Credit In Advance

Finally, it’s a great best practice to ensure that your personal finances are prepared in advance. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with which documentation you will need to have ready. You should also check in with one of the major credit reporting agencies. They will be able to advise you as to whether you have any issues with your credit rating or FICO score.

Buying a home is always an exciting experience – one which can be relatively stress-free if you are prepared. When you are ready to discuss buying your dream home or to view available listings in the local area, give our offices a call. We are here to help you find the perfect house, condo or apartment to suit your needs.

Stuck in a Bidding War? 3 Ways to Win Without Busting Through Your Mortgage Approval Amount

Stuck in a Bidding War? 3 Ways to Win Without Busting Through Your Mortgage Approval AmountAre you planning to make an offer on a new home in a hot housing market? If so, one possibility is that you are going to end up bidding against other buyers who are looking to buy the same home. Unfortunately, in some cases bidding wars are inevitable, and they can be a significant source of stress. Let’s take a look at three ways that you can win a bidding war without having to spend more than you can afford.

Price Is Important, But It’s Not Everything

The first consideration to keep in mind is that price is important, but it isn’t the sole consideration that sellers make when deciding which offer to choose. In fact, for many home sellers, the price is secondary to a variety of other factors.

For example, consider whether or not the sellers need to close quickly. Perhaps they are moving to a new city, or have already bought a new house and are looking to get out of their old one. If you have your mortgage financing pre-approved and your paperwork in order, you can promise a shorter close than other buyers may be able to provide.

Have A Face-To-Face Conversation With The Listing Agent

It’s worth investing the time in a sit-down chat with the seller’s real estate agent to find out what their motivations are. Are they selling for the money, are they moving, are they under pressure or just getting rid of the house to make an upgrade? All are factors that you can use to your advantage in a bidding war.

Another great tip: be sure to find out where the sellers plan to live once they sell their home. If they want to stay in the house, you may be able to buy it and lease it back to them. That’s a difficult offer to refuse.

Be Flexible, But Be Firm

Finally, keep in mind that you will need to be flexible to win a bidding war, but you should remain firm. Don’t bend your offer or terms too much. If you table a great offer and still lose the bidding war, that’s life. You can move on and find another great home to live in.

If you are in a hot real estate market, it’s a good idea to mentally prepare for a bidding war when you submit an offer on a new home. For more insight, contact us today.

How to Run a Quick Financial Health Check Before You Apply for a Mortgage

How to Run a Quick Financial Health Check Before You Apply for a MortgageAre you planning on using a mortgage to help cover the cost of a new home? If so, you will want to prepare your finances and figure out how you will manage all those wallet-draining monthly expenses. Let’s take a look at how to run a quick financial health check to ensure you are ready to apply for a mortgage.

Update (Or Start) Your Monthly Budget

First, it is essential to get the basics out of the way. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start a monthly budget to keep track of your income and expenses. Once you have a mortgage, it will be important to prioritize your monthly payments so that you don’t end up falling behind.

Starting a budget is easy and can be done with mobile apps, software, a spreadsheet or a pen and paper. List all sources of income so that you know exactly how much cash you are working with. Then, list out every one of your expenses. It can be tough to remember them all, so consider using debit and credit card statements from the past few months as a reminder.

Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report

Next, you will want to get a copy of your credit report so you can see what potential mortgage lenders will see when assessing your financial history. This is a free service that you can request once per year, so be sure to take advantage. Note that you will want to use government-approved websites for requesting your credit report. Be wary of scams.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

A down payment is not required for every home purchase, but having one saved up can make the buying process easier. The amount you will want to have saved up will depend on the cost of your home, whether you plan on carrying private mortgage insurance and a variety of other factors. If possible, try to save up an amount close to (or more than) twenty percent of the home’s purchase price.

Ready? Chat With A Professional

Now that you have run a quick financial health check, it is time to meet with a real estate professional. Contact us today.

Can I Buy a Piece of Land and Build a House on It With a Mortgage? Yes — Here’s How

Can I Buy a Piece of Land and Build a House on It With a Mortgage? Yes -- Here's HowHave you been hunting for a new house without finding one that suits your needs? If so, one option that you may want to consider is building a new construction home on a choice piece of land. In today’s blog post we will explore a few different mortgage options for those who are looking to build a brand-new home.

Qualifying For A Construction Mortgage

As with any mortgage product, the first step you will want to take is to begin the qualification process. As your lender does not have a completed house to use as collateral for your loan, qualifying can take a bit longer than usual. Your mortgage lender will gather information about the home you plan to build, including its size, features and who is contracted to build it. The more information you can provide during the qualification process, the better. You might find it helpful to have your builder or general contractor involved as they will have many of the answers needed.

Construction-to-Permanent Mortgages

One type of new construction mortgage is known as a ‘construction-to-permanent’ loan. With this kind of mortgage, you only go through the closing process once. In many cases, while your home is being built you are only responsible for paying off the mortgage interest each month. Once your home is finished, your lender will convert this mortgage into a standard mortgage like any other. You can choose from a variety of amortization periods, interest rates and more.

Standalone Construction Loans

A standalone new construction loan is a bit different. With this product, you borrow money to finance the construction of your home and then again as a permanent mortgage once the home is completed. These loan and mortgage combinations require you to go through the closing process twice and thus your fees may be a bit higher. However, if you are currently living in a home and won’t have much cash until it is sold, this might be the right product for you.

As you can see, building a new home on a piece of land is a bit different than the typical home buying process. To learn more about land available in your area, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to share our expertise.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 8, 2018

Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending, minutes of the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. Labor reports including ADP, Non-Farm Payrolls, and national unemployment were released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Construction Spending Rises; Driven by Residential Building

Residential construction drove November construction spending surpassed expectations of a 0.50 percent increase; Overall, construction spending rose by 0.80 percent in November. Residential construction was up 7.90 percent year-over-year. Single-family home construction rose 8.90 percent year-over-year. Rising rates of single-family construction is good news for homebuyers, who have faced obstacles due to short inventories of available homes. Analysts expected Q4 2017 construction pace to be the highest since Q1 2016.

While more homes for sale could help ease rapidly rising home price, rising mortgage rates could sideline first-time and moderate-income buyers, but Fed policymakers had mixed opinions about raising the federal funds rate forecast for 2018.

Fed Policy Makers Divided Over Projected Interest Rate Hikes

Minutes for the FOMC meeting held December 12 and 13 reflected varied views among Committee members about three projected interest rate hikes in 2018. Analysts watch Fed policy decisions carefully as raising the target federal funds rate typically causes mortgage rates and consumer lending rates to rise.

Labor markets continued to grow and although mortgage lending standards eased somewhat, lenders remained reluctant to fund mortgages and auto loans for those with low credit scores. Inflation hovered beneath the Fed’s objective of two percent, but FOMC members voted to raise the target federal funds rate of 1.25 to 1.50 percent. This increase remained within the accommodative range according to FOMC members.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Average mortgage rates were lower across the board last week. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.95 percent which was four basis points lower than the previous week. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage were six basis points lower at an average of 3.38 percent; rates for 5/1adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.45 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose by 3000 claims to 250,000 new claims, which exceeded expectations of 240,000 new claims and prior week’s reading of 247,000 first-time jobless claims. December readings for the labor sector included ADP payrolls, which tracks private-sector jobs. 250,000 jobs were added in December as compared to November’s reading of 185,000 jobs added. The Commerce Department reported 148,000 new public and private sector jobs added in December against November’s reading of 252,000 jobs added. Analysts expected 195,000 new jobs to be added in December. National unemployment held steady at 4.10 percent, which matched expectations and November’s reading.

The Mortgage Helper: How to Find the Perfect Tenant for Your Basement Suite

The Mortgage Helper: How to Find the Perfect Tenant for Your Basement SuiteDo you have an empty basement or separated suite in your home? If you have a suite sitting empty, you are missing out on collecting some extra monthly income in the form of rent. Let’s take a look at a quick four-step process that will help you find the perfect tenant to rent out your basement suite.

Step 1: Play By The Rules

Is this your first time renting out a home or suite to a tenant? If so, you will want to do a bit of research first. Read up on Fair Housing Rules and other regulations as these will inform you of your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep in mind that you cannot discriminate in any way when it comes to race, religion, gender, family status or disability. Anyone who applies must be given a fair chance.

Step 2: Be Specific In Your Advertising

When you place a rental listing, be as specific as possible in what you are looking for in a tenant. If you are a single, quiet person, you may want someone similar as you will be compatible. Conversely, if you are a young couple, you may clash with a retired senior or someone older. Be as specific as possible but remember that you cannot be discriminatory.

Step 3: Meet Potential Tenants In Person

Be sure to take the time to meet with every short-listed applicant in person. If you are not comfortable with having so many strangers over to your home, consider meeting at a local coffee shop. An in-person meeting will allow you to visually assess the person and determine if your personalities are a fit for living in the same home.

Step 4: Don’t Skip The Checks

Finally, don’t take any shortcuts when performing background, credit and other checks. Ask your tenant for at least one or two references that you can call to verify their rental history. Investing in a credit check will help to assess their risk of missing monthly rent payments. And if necessary, a criminal records check can let you know if they have been in trouble with the law.

As long as you are well-prepared and diligent, finding a suitable tenant for your basement suite can be a painless process. To learn more about real estate opportunities in the local area that are perfect for rentals, contact us today. Our real estate team will be happy to show you around.

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a Profit

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a ProfitAre you starting to grow bored of watching your money go nowhere sitting in a bank account? With today’s interest rates doing little to encourage saving, many individuals are looking elsewhere for new investment opportunities. In today’s blog post we’ll share four essential tips for buying a profitable rental property. Let’s get started.

Buy A Property With Year-Round Potential

Many real estate investors agree that the best rental properties are those that generate income every day of the year. The most straightforward situation to manage is one where you have stable, long-term tenants in place that aren’t going to move or change often. Browse local property listings around schools, colleges, and large employers to see if there are any suitable homes for sale.

Once you gain experience and invest in other properties, consider branching out into vacation or short-term stay homes. But to get started, aim for stability.

Predict Your Income And Expenses

Next, you will want to craft a budget. Have a look through rental listings in your target communities to see what renters are currently paying. This will give you some idea of your potential rental income for a similar-sized home. You can then compare this to your estimated monthly mortgage payment, taxes, utility costs, and repairs. It is impossible to predict precisely how much you will need, but this exercise can quickly prove whether this area is likely to be profitable.

Treat Your Rental Properties Like A Business

Since you have already taken the first steps with a budget, you might as well continue down the path to a full business structure. Most real estate investors set their portfolio up in an incorporated or limited-liability company, which reduces personal exposure. It can also be an efficient way to manage any legal issues that arise as your investments grow. Also, there will be significant tax advantages, including being able to write-off expenses such as repairs, contractor work, and renovations.

Work With Experienced Professionals

Speaking of contractors, it’s worth reminding to only work with experienced professionals who are licensed, certified and have references. Paying for quality work up-front ensures that you won’t have to deal with hefty repair bills due to shoddy workmanship.

When you are ready to invest in rental properties, give us a call. Our professional real estate team is happy to share listings that are perfect for investment and rental income generation.

The Pros and Cons of a Large Down Payment When Buying a Home

The Pros and Cons of a Large Down Payment When Buying a HomeIf you are in the market for a new home, one of the considerations you will need to make is how much to invest in your down payment. Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of making a large down payment when buying your next home.

A Large Down Payment Has Its Benefits

If you have the funds available, you may find a bit of an advantage in a large down payment. The following are a few potential benefits that you may realize.

You Can Afford More ‘House’ – if you are aiming for a large, luxurious home a significant down payment can help you get there. As long as your credit is in line with your needs, a large down payment leaves more room in your mortgage.

You May Pay Less Interest – conversely, if you don’t need to carry a big mortgage you can choose a shorter amortization period for your mortgage. A shorter loan period means that you are likely to pay less in interest.

You Might Not Need PMI – if you can afford to invest more than 20 percent of the home’s value in your down payment, you may not be required to purchase private mortgage insurance.

A Few Of The Downsides

Of course, there are some potential downsides to using a large portion of your available cash as a down payment:

Do You Have The Money? – a large down payment doesn’t make a lot of sense if your finances can’t tolerate that hit right now. If you have your down payment and little else, you might want to reconsider.

You Will Be Less Liquid In The Short Term – keep in mind that once you sign the closing paperwork, your down payment cash is gone. This will leave you a bit less liquid in the short term since you would need to sell your home to get that cash back out.

You Can’t Invest That Money Elsewhere – you won’t be able to use these funds for other investment purposes. Of course, real estate is an investment itself so this may be less of a concern.

Still Have Questions? Get In Touch

Choosing the right amount for a down payment is a decision best made with professional help. Contact your local real estate professional and we will be happy to share our experience and insight.

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