Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2019 is starting out, and will be, an amazing year for you and yours.
I am reaching out to you today to share some VERY exciting news. It has been wonderful to help so many families find homes, investment properties, save homes for those that needed it with my short sale and foreclosure knowledge and help others sell as they transition into something more comfortable for their changing lifestyle. I have been blessed by many of you referring me to your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you!
Life IS ever changing and because of the ever-changing nature of the real estate market, it’s imperative that my clients have the most up-to-date information available. My philosophy is that the market waits for nobody, and that’s why I pledge to go beyond the standard level of service even after your home has closed. I always want my clients to feel free, and comfortable, to contact me with questions, referrals for home repairs, or to just say hi!
With change in mind I am excited to announce that I have officially brought on an amazing, buyer’s specialist to assist me in providing the quality of service I want to give my clients and they deserve. Please help me in welcoming Britt Maltos to my team!
I am excited to partner with a Realtor who, like myself, is from Washington. I feel it gives us so much more knowledge of the neighborhoods we are helping families in. Britt grew up in Ballard and lives in Edmonds with her husband and kids. I grew up in Lynnwood and then the north Seattle area. My first apartment was in Ballard before moving to Redmond for many years and finally settling in the Everett/Snohomish area with my family.
I like to say we’re your local homegrown Real Estate team!
When you have Real Estate needs you want someone who knows the prospective area inside and out, someone who will not only find you the best property for your needs, but the best neighborhood as well. A team that can direct you to which loan product works best for you and knows of many that will save you money along the way. A team that now gives CASH back to our local community heroes (firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, teachers, healthcare, and military) when they buy or sell a home with us. A team that is qualified to help seniors with downsizing or lifestyle changes and providing a senior discount (new)!
That’s where we come in: We can provide you with information that will inform your real estate decisions. So, rest assured that as long as you’re in the market, we are committed to be your neighborhood specialists and more.
Even if you are not considering buying or selling a home now, if any of your friends, family or colleagues express an interest and would appreciate the level of service we provide please, feel free, to give out our contact information. We would be happy to chat with them and promise to take great care of them.
Thank you, It is so rewarding to help families make their real estate dreams come true.
If the real estate market is your barometer, there are several key indicators to investigate:
Supply and demand plays a role. When there are not many homes for sale (low inventory), this often means home prices are higher, and the market becomes more competitive for buyers. This is the case in 2018. However, inventory levels have been steadily increasing June-August this year, and actually surpassed August 2017 levels. If inventory levels continue to increase, that’s a good sign for buyers for the remainder of 2018.
Inventory of homes for sale will affect pricing. More homes for sale will typically drive down prices, where as low inventory of homes for sale typically means there is higher buyer demand, and it will usually push prices up. This is the case in 2018 where most markets are experiencing low inventory and higher prices. The existing home price increase in August 2018 marks the 78th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains according to the National Association of Realtors. Some early estimates for 2019 show that home prices will continue to increase around 3% in most markets. Great if you’re selling a house, but challenging if you’re buying. It makes buying in 2018 look even better.
House prices typically drop the longer a home stays on the market. When this happens, it’s a good sign the market is cooling off or correcting. This year, in most markets, homes have sold relatively fast. This means potential buyers need to have their ducks in a row so they can act fast on the home they want.
According to Realtor.com, it’s the perfect time to buy a house because fall and winter tend to be better for home buyers, and this year is no exception. Housing inventory is on the rise, and that may mean lower prices and more bargaining power for buyers. That, combined with sellers who are anxious to get the sale done before the holidays, makes fall and winter a great time to buy.
The interest rate is a big topic of conversation this year, and probably one you’ve kept top of mind when asking, “Should I buy a house in 2018?” The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates a couple of times this year. Two or three more rate hikes are being predicted, which may mean a more expensive mortgage for you. In September, the rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 4.88 percent, which is the highest level for the 30-year mortgage since 2011, according to Bankrate. But, you need to understand this is still well below the average over the past 45 years outlined below with FreddieMac data since 1972.
Trying to time your home-buying decision to take advantage of low interest rates or a buyer’s real estate market are smart home-buying strategies, but the real question is: Is it the right time for you, personally, to buy a house or maybe it would be better to rent?
Some of you may not be a current home owner and are probably asking yourself, “Should I buy a house in 2018 or rent?” In order to figure out whether it would be better to rent or buy a house, consider these factors in addition to the current interest rate and real estate market:
The interest rate can be as low as it’s ever going to go, but if your credit score is shaky, you’re not going to be able to take advantage of that. People with lower credit scores pay higher interest rates, and the amount can add hundreds to your monthly mortgage payment. Improving your score, no matter what the market is doing currently, is the smarter way to go.
If you haven’t checked your credit lately, you might want to take a look at it. Last year, credit reporting companies announced they were changing the way they handle negative information, resulting in many people seeing a spike of up to 40 points on their credit score. This overhaul was caused by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which found problems with the reporting of collections and tax liens and as a result, that data has been removed from millions of credit reports.
However, particularly for home buyers, a tax lien or civil judgement can still interfere with your ability to get a loan. LexisNexis Risk Solutions found that people who have a tax lien or judgement are five and a half times more likely to go into pre-foreclosure or foreclosure, so mortgage lenders may well pull a LexisNexis report to find out, even if it no longer appears on your credit report.
FICO scores (credit scores) range from 300 to 850. If yours is 700 or above, you’ll qualify for a better interest rate on a loan, so that’s the score you’re shooting for.
If your score is less than 650, here are some ways to improve it:
Most financial experts agree that your housing costs should be no more than 30 percent of your income. Can you find an affordable home based on what you’re earning now? Also look at your debt-to-income ratio. If you’ve got a high amount of debt and a relatively low income, it will be more difficult to get a home loan. Pay down your debt before applying.
However, there has never been a better time to increase your income by finding a new job. Unemployment is at an 18-year low, which means it’s a job seeker’s market out there. Take a look at the average salary range for your position in your area to gauge how your employer stacks up.
Experts recommend putting down 20 percent or more. Why? There are a few reasons. If you put less than 20 percent down, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance, which, on a $300,000 loan, will cost you an extra $250 each month. Another reason to make a larger down payment is to protect yourself in the event that you have to move shortly after you purchase the home, if you get a new job in another city or if your spouse is transferred, for example. With a small or nonexistent down payment, you might find yourself underwater, owing more than you can sell the home for, if real estate prices have fluctuated.
In addition to the down payment, you’ll need money for closing costs. According to Motley Fool, you can expect to pay around 2 to 5 percent of the value of the property. So on that same loan of $300,000, you’ll pay in the neighborhood of $6,000 for closing.
And, if you’re still asking yourself, “Should I buy a house in 2018,” don’t forget to consider having enough cash on hand to cover your mortgage if you or your spouse loses a job, and have enough in savings for repairs if something goes wrong or breaks.
Bottom line, do your homework. Review these items and get to know your personal situation so you are prepared to discuss everything with a real estate and mortgage professional when your ready, whether it’s in 2018 or not.
Interested in doing a deeper dive? Here are some additional resources:
8 Advantages to Buying a House
First Time Home Buyer Tips
Wondering How to Get a Mortgage and Stop Paying Rent?
Financial Considerations When Buying a Home
Rent or Buy: The Great Debate
Ready to speak with a specialist, committed to heroes like you? Sign up and speak with one of our real estate or mortgage specialists in your area to learn more about how they can help you through the home-buying process and maximize your hero savings. Our heroes save, on average, more than $2,400 if they use our local specialists to purchase their home. There’s no obligation, and we guarantee the most hero savings among all national programs.
I am privileged to announce that I have officially joined the Homes for Heroes organization in their mission to help heroes across the country save thousands of dollars in the process of buying or selling their home.
What is Home for Heroes?
Homes for Heroes is an organization that was formed after the tragic events of 9/11 as a way to say “Thank You” to the heroes of our nation. The Homes for Heroes organization is composed of a network of real estate professionals who are prepared to give real savings to those who serve their communities when they buy, sell, or refinance a home. This program is our way to say, “Thank you!”
Who qualifies as a hero?
Our core group of local heroes includes but is not limited to: Military personnel, Police Officers, Firefighters, First Responders, Educators, and Health Care Workers. If you think you might qualify, please contact me and tell me about what you do for your community. When you are buying, selling or refinancing a home, let us say thank you for all that you do!
How much will I save?
The total amount you save will depend on the final selling or buying price of your home. Homes for Heroes Affiliate Realtors agree to rebate equal to 25% of the gross commission they receive on your transaction. Discounted lender fees are also offered on purchases and refinances with a Homes for Heroes lender. The savings can be thousands of dollars!
Are there a lot of extra applications, forms, and paperwork?
No! Homes for Heroes promises no extra forms, no red tape, no fine print, no hidden fees, and no catch!
Homes for Heroes offers me the chance to help our local community heroes achieve their dreams of home ownership. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please contact me for more info or you can register now at www.snohomishcountyheroes.com to get started.
What is it?
Homes for Heroes is a national program dedicated to providing extraordinary savings to heroes who provide extraordinary services to our community each and every day, when they buy or sell a home.
What are the savings?
Savings will depend on the sales price of the home. As an example, a $300,000 house would receive over $3,000 in credits and discounts from all the participating affiliates and vendors involved.
What does it cost me?
Nothing because it’s FREE. There is no cost to you. All costs are covered by your local participating vendors.
Can I buy any home and in any area?
Yes. This is not a government program with limitations or restrictions. This is the private sector giving back simply as our way to say Thank You for all that you do every day.
Are there any other benefits or savings after my transaction is done?
Yes. Through the “Friends of Heroes” Network participating vendors will offer discounts on various other services such as moving, storage, pest, lawn care, plumbing, electrical, cleaning and remodeling to name a few.
Are there a lot of extra applications, forms or some future obligation?
None. The Homes for Heroes Promise is:
No hidden fees No red tape No catch
How do I find out more?
Go to HOMESFORHEROES.COM or scan the QR code below on your smart phone. Let us know who you are and what you do. A local affiliate will contact you with no obligation.
Thank you for your service and helping to keep our neighborhoods safe!
National Police and EMS week may 11-17th.
Are you a Hero that is looking to save on your next home sale or purchase and all the services that go along with it? Contact me and I will show you how easy it is.