Tips on Selecting a Real Estate Agent

This is a really good infograph on how to chose the right REALTOR. It can with so many to choose from.  Here's a list of 6 important traits of  knowledgeable one

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Protect your mortgage closing from scammers

It’s National Homeownership Month, and the FTC and the National Association of Realtors® want to remind you that scammers sometimes use emails to rob home buyers of their closing costs and personal information.

Here’s how the scam works: hackers break into the email accounts of buyers or real estate professionals to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. The hacker then sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes.

If you’re buying a home and get an email with money-wiring instructions, STOP. Email is not a secure way to send financial information. Instead:

  • Contact the company through a number or email address you know is real. Don’t use phone numbers or links in the email.
  • Don’t open email attachments, even from someone you know, unless you’re expecting it. Opening attachments can put malware on your computer.

If you’ve already sent money to a scammer, act quickly.

  • If you wired money through your bank, ask them right away for a wire recall. If you used a money transfer company, like Western Union or MoneyGram, call their complaint linesimmediately.
  • Report your experience to the FTC and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Report as soon as you can and give as much information as you can. If your bank asks for a police report, give them a copy of your report to ic3.gov.

Learn more about protecting yourself from phishing and what to do if your email is hacked. If you gave your information to a scammer, visitIdentityTheft.gov.

It’s tough being a first-time buyer in today’s housing market.

Home prices are hitting record highs in many parts of the country, often selling for more than the asking price, and going from list to contract in a record 37 days, according to Redfin.

“We’ve never seen a faster or more competitive market,” says Redfin spokeswoman Rachel Musiker. “Basically this market isn’t for the faint of heart.”

Don’t make it even harder (or more expensive) for yourself by making these common mistakes:

1. Assuming you won’t get approved for a mortgage

Ideally, you’d like to have as little debt as possible, an impeccable credit score, and a 20% down payment before borrowing money for a home. However, even borrowers with less can get loans in today’s market, thanks to options like Federal Housing Authority loans, which are meant to help out low-income and first-time buyers.

2. Interviewing only one lender

The fees and rates offered by lenders may vary substantially, and they all offer different service levels and different loan products. Be sure to at least chat with a big bank, a regional bank or credit union, and an online lender.

3. Not getting pre-approved early on

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage serves two important purposes: First, it gives you a realistic understanding of how much you can spend on the house. Second, it shows sellers that you’re serious and gives you slightly more standing if you’re competing for homes with all-cash buyers.

Make it less stressful by gathering up relevant financial documents like bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs, and by checking your credit report for errors in advance. “Given the competitive interest rate environment and the competitive housing market, it’s a good idea to be prepared and organized before you start the process,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.

4. Maxing out your mortgage limit

Just because a lender says that you can borrow a certain amount, doesn’t mean you should borrow that much. Staying below that limit will give you more financial flexibility to cover the added expenses that come with purchasing a home, as well as long-term changes to your income.

Create a budget that includes how much money you can spend on housing costs each month, and then use those numbers to figure out what your “real” limit should be.

5. Letting your emotions control your decisions

Buying a home can be a long and frustrating process. These days, starter homes go quickly, and it’s common for first-time buyers to experience rejection on the first offers they make. In that kind of environment, it’s easy to fall in love with a house that’s out of your budget, or get caught up in the heat of a bidding war and end up paying more than you expected.

“It’s OK to get excited when you think you’ve found your house, but you don’t want to put yourself in a bad spot,” says David Tina, President of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

6. Waiving contingencies without understanding the risks

In highly competitive markets, it’s becoming increasingly common for buyers to make offers that aren’t contingent on financing or inspection. While waiving contingencies can make your bid more desirable to a seller, it can make the transaction much more risky for you. Have a conversation with your realtor and a lawyer before opting out of contingencies in your contract. In a worst-case scenario, you may end up losing your deposit.

7. Allowing your credit score to change before the close

A pre-approval letter is not a guarantee of funding, and if your credit score or income levels change drastically between the pre-approval and the closing of the loan, lenders may change their terms or rescind the offer entirely. While you’re home shopping, be sure to pay all your bills on time and steer clear of new credit accounts, even if that means you have to wait to pick out your furniture. If possible, try not to switch jobs until after you close, particularly if you’re moving into a new industry.

An earlier version of this story said homes go from list to closing in 37 days, according to Redfin. In fact, they go from list to contract.

A Seller’s Market? Consumers Express Diverging Sentiment on Home Buying and Selling in May

June 07, 2017

A Seller’s Market? Consumers Express Diverging Sentiment on Home Buying and Selling in May

Matthew Classick

202-752-3662

WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 0.5 percentage points in May to 86.2. The slight decrease can be attributed to decreases in three of the six HPSI components being larger on net than the three increases. The net share of Americans who reported that now is a good time to buy a home reached a record low after falling 8 percentage points, while the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home reached a record high, increasing 6 percentage points. This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy. Americans also expressed greater belief that mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months, with that component increasing 5 percentage points. Finally, the net share of consumers who think home prices will go up fell by 5 percentage points this month.

“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market, perhaps due in part to concerns over finding an affordable replacement home. Prospective homebuyers are likely to face continued home price increases as long as housing supply remains tight.”

HOME PURCHASE SENTIMENT INDEX – COMPONENT HIGHLIGHTS

Fannie Mae’s 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in May by 0.5 percentage points to 86.2. The HPSI is up 0.9 percentage points compared with the same time last year.

  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home fell 8 percentage points to 27%, reaching a new survey low
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell increased by 6 percentage points to 32%, rising from last month’s decline to a new survey high.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up decreased by 5 percentage points in May to 40%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next twelve months rose 5 percentage points to -52%, following the trend from last month.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell 6 percentage points to 71%, back near the level seen in March.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 5 percentage points to 18% in May.

ABOUT FANNIE MAE’S HOME PURCHASE SENTIMENT INDEX

The Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) distills information about consumers’ home purchase sentiment from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey® (NHS) into a single number. The HPSI reflects consumers’ current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions and complements existing data sources to inform housing-related analysis and decision making. The HPSI is constructed from answers to six NHS questions that solicit consumers’ evaluations of housing market conditions and address topics that are related to their home purchase decisions. The questions ask consumers whether they think that it is a good or bad time to buy or to sell a house, what direction they expect home prices and mortgage interest rates to move, how concerned they are about losing their jobs, and whether their incomes are higher than they were a year earlier.

ABOUT FANNIE MAE’S NATIONAL HOUSING SURVEY

The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey (NHS) polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts, six of which are used to construct the HPSI (findings are compared with the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). As cell phones have become common and many households no longer have landline phones, the NHS contacts 60 percent of respondents via their cell phones (as of October 2014). For more information, please see the Technical Notes. Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future. The May 2017 National Housing Survey was conducted between May 1, 2017 and May 23, 2017. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae.

DETAILED HPSI & NHS FINDINGS

For detailed findings from the May 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index and National Housing Survey, as well as a brief HPSI overview and detailed white paper, technical notes on the NHS methodology, and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Surveys page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth special topic studies, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies of NHS results.

To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.

June 07, 2017 A Seller’s Market? Consumers Express Diverging Sentiment on Home Buying and Selling in May Matthew Classick 202-752-3662 WASHINGTON, DC – The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 0.5 percentage points in May to 86.2. The slight decrease can be attributed to decreases in three of the six HPSI components being larger on net than the three increases. The net share of Americans who reported that now is a good time to buy a home reached a record low after falling 8 percentage points, while the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home reached a record high, increasing 6 percentage points. This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy. Americans also expressed greater belief that mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months, with that component increasing 5 percentage points. Finally, the net share of consumers who think home prices will go up fell by 5 percentage points this month. “High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market, perhaps due in part to concerns over finding an affordable replacement home. Prospective homebuyers are likely to face continued home price increases as long as housing supply remains tight.” HOME PURCHASE SENTIMENT INDEX – COMPONENT HIGHLIGHTS Fannie Mae’s 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in May by 0.5 percentage points to 86.2. The HPSI is up 0.9 percentage points compared with the same time last year. The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home fell 8 percentage points to 27%, reaching a new survey low The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell increased by 6 percentage points to 32%, rising from last month’s decline to a new survey high. The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up decreased by 5 percentage points in May to 40%. The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next twelve months rose 5 percentage points to -52%, following the trend from last month. The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell 6 percentage points to 71%, back near the level seen in March. The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 5 percentage points to 18% in May. ABOUT FANNIE MAE’S HOME PURCHASE SENTIMENT INDEX The Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) distills information about consumers’ home purchase sentiment from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey® (NHS) into a single number. The HPSI reflects consumers’ current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions and complements existing data sources to inform housing-related analysis and decision making. The HPSI is constructed from answers to six NHS questions that solicit consumers’ evaluations of housing market conditions and address topics that are related to their home purchase decisions. The questions ask consumers whether they think that it is a good or bad time to buy or to sell a house, what direction they expect home prices and mortgage interest rates to move, how concerned they are about losing their jobs, and whether their incomes are higher than they were a year earlier. ABOUT FANNIE MAE’S NATIONAL HOUSING SURVEY The most detailed consumer attitudinal survey of its kind, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey (NHS) polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts, six of which are used to construct the HPSI (findings are compared with the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). As cell phones have become common and many households no longer have landline phones, the NHS contacts 60 percent of respondents via their cell phones (as of October 2014). For more information, please see the Technical Notes. Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future. The May 2017 National Housing Survey was conducted between May 1, 2017 and May 23, 2017. Most of the data collection occurred during the first two weeks of this period. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae. DETAILED HPSI & NHS FINDINGS For detailed findings from the May 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index and National Housing Survey, as well as a brief HPSI overview and detailed white paper, technical notes on the NHS methodology, and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Surveys page on fanniemae.com. Also available on the site are in-depth special topic studies, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies of NHS results. To receive e-mail updates with other housing market research from Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group, please click here.

Which Loan is right for your home?

Which Loan is Right for Your Home [Infographic] Some Down Payment requirements vary with the lender.

Pricing your home

Top 4 Most Common Pricing Mistakes | Jacksonville Real EstateTop 4 Most Common Pricing Mistakes | Jacksonville Real Estate

Daily market update: June 21, 2017

We’ll add more market news briefs throughout the day. Check back to read the latest.

Most recent market news

Wednesday, June 21

‘Consumer resilience’ boosts May existing-home sales

  • May existing-home sales rose 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 5.62 million — up from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April.
  • This month’s sales pace is 2.7 percentage points above May 2016 and is the third highest SAAR sales pace over the past year.
  • The median existing-home price for all housing types in May rose 5.8 percentage points to $252,800, which marks the 63rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
  • Single-family home sales were at a SAAR of 4.98 million — a 1.0 percentage point month-over-month increase and a 2.7 percentage point year-over-year increase. The sales price for single-family homes increased by 6.0 percentage points to $254,600.

“The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”

Mortgage rates

News from earlier this week

Tuesday, June 20

30-year fixed mortgage rates fall slightly; current rate is 3.68 percent, according to Zillow Mortgage Rate Ticker

  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate on Zillow® Mortgages is currently 3.68 percent, down three basis points from this time last week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell Tuesday, then hovered between 3.65 percent and 3.73 percent for the rest of the week before settling at the current rate.
  • The rate for a 15-year fixed home loan is currently 2.96 percent, while the rate for a 5-1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is 2.94 percent.
  • Below are current rates for 30-year fixed mortgages by state. Additional states’ rates are available at: http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-rates.
State Current30-Year Fixed Rate (6/20/17) Last Week’s 30-Year Fixed Rate (6/13/17) Change in Basis Points
California Mortgage Rates 3.67% 3.72% -5
Colorado Mortgage Rates 3.71% 3.72% -1
Florida Mortgage Rates 3.67% 3.69% -2
Illinois Mortgage Rates 3.71% 3.73% -2
Massachusetts Mortgage Rates 3.67% 3.70% -3
New Jersey Mortgage Rates 3.68% 3.71% -3
New York Mortgage Rates 3.80% 3.76% +4
Pennsylvania Mortgage Rates 3.67% 3.68% -1
Texas Mortgage Rates 3.65% 3.69% -4
Washington Mortgage Rates 3.71% 3.74% -3

“Despite some volatility following the release of weak inflation data and relatively dovish comments from Fed officials after the Central Bank raised short-term interest rates, mortgage rates were flat last week,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “We expect less volatility this week, though several Fed speeches and housing data could move markets slightly.”

Email market reports to press@inman.com.