Home is where the heart is

Home is where the heart is

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The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University performs a study every year surveying participants for the reasons that American’s feel are most important in regards to homeownership.

The top four reasons to own a home cited by respondents were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchasing their home, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase. 

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the No. 2 reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. 

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The fifth reason on the list, is the No. 1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents: 

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future? 

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in their life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home. For more information, please contact The Olear Team today!

Home is where the heart is

One more time, real estate is a great investment

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In a recent blog post on Marginal Revolution, economist Alex Tabarrok discussed homeownership as an investment.

Here is what Mr. Tabarrok had to say:

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment. First, it’s not good to have a significant share of your wealth locked into a single asset. Diversification is better and it’s easier to diversify with stocks. Second, unless you are renting the basement, houses don’t pay dividends. Stocks do. You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market. You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?” 

Here is a rebuttal:

We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well.

Eric Belsky, the managing director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University expanded on the top financial benefits of homeownership in his paper –The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America.

Let’s use some quotes from Belsky’s study to address comments by Mr. Tabarrok:

Tabarrok:  

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment.”

Belsky:

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

Tabarrok:

You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market.”

Belsky:

“Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

Tabarrok:

“You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?”

Belsky:

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.

Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, contact a local professional who can help evaluate your ability to do so. For more information, please contact The Olear Team today!

Home is where the heart is

How to get the most money when selling your house

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Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a little low

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little over market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

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Instead of the seller trying to “win” the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a real estate professional

This too may seem counter intuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

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Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house. For more information, please contact The Olear Team today!

Home is where the heart is

Low inventory causes home prices to accelerate

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their latest Quarterly Metro Home Price report earlier this month. The report revealed that home prices are not only continuing to rise but that the increases are accelerating. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, discussed the impact of low inventory on buyers in the report:

“Without a significant ramp-up in new home construction and more homeowners listing their homes for sale, buyers are likely to see little relief in the form of slowing price growth in the months ahead.”

Here are the percentage increases of home prices for the last two quarters:

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What this means to sellers

Rising prices are a homeowner’s best friend. As reported by CoreLogic in a recent blog post:

“With demand strong and inventory thin, the share of homes selling for the list price or more has also returned to pre-bust levels. With inventory tight, homes are more likely to sell above the asking price.”

What this means to buyers

In a market where prices are rising, buyers should take into account the cost of waiting. Obviously, they will pay more for the same house later this year. However, as Construction Dive reported, the amounts of cash necessary to buy a home will also increase.

“These factors have created a situation where the market keeps moving the goalposts in terms of the down payment necessary for first-time homebuyers to get into a home.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling and moving down, waiting might make sense. If you are a first time buyer or a seller thinking of moving up, waiting probably doesn’t make sense. For more information, please contact The Olear Team today!

Home is where the heart is

Mortgage rates again at historic lows

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Just two weeks ago, we posted an article discussing where mortgage interest rates may be heading over the next twelve months. We quoted projections from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association and the National Association of Realtors. Each predicted that rates would begin to rise slowly and steadily throughout 2016.

However, shaky economic news and a volatile stock market have actually caused rates to drop six out of the last seven weeks, and have remained at 3.65% for the past two weeks.

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Rates have again fallen to historic lows yet many experts still expect them to increase in 2016. The only thing we know for sure is that, according to Freddie Mac, current rates are the best they have been since April 2015.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your ultimate dream home, now is a great time to get a sensational rate on your mortgage. For more information, please contact The Olear Team today!

Home is where the heart is

Future home values: Where do the experts think they are headed?

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Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

The results of their latest survey:

Home values will appreciate by 3.7% over the course of 2016, 3.3% in 2017 and 3.2% in the next two years, and finally 3.1% in 2020 (as shown below). That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.3% over the next 5 years.

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The prediction for cumulative appreciation slowed slightly from 21.6% to 17.7% by 2020. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 10.9%.

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Bottom Line

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values. For more information, please contact The Olear Team today!