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    Wednesday, June 28, 2017   /   by Ryan Stein

    Buyer's Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar

    We previously reported how a shortage of inventory in the starter and trade-up home markets is driving prices up and causing bidding wars, creating a true seller’s market. At the same time, in the premium home market, an over-abundance of inventory has started to see prices come down and put buyers in the driver’s seat, creating the beginning of a buyer’s market.
    Last week, the National Association of Realtors released their Existing Home Sales Report which shed some additional light on the impact of inventory levels on sales in each price range.
    The chart below shows the year-over-year difference in sales at each price range.


    The under $100K range has shown declines in recent years due to the shortage of distressed homes available for sale (just 5% of sales this past month, compared to 35% in January 2012). Sales in the next two price ranges are no doubt being hindered by low inventory as buyers compete for the same home.
    N ...

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    Tuesday, June 27, 2017   /   by Ryan Stein

    Pre-Approval Should Always Be Your First Step

    In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.
    Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.
    Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

    “It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

    One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professio ...

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    Monday, June 26, 2017   /   by Ryan Stein

    2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

    In Realtor.com’s recent article, “Home Buyers’ Top Mortgage Fears: Which One Scares You?” they mention that “46% of potential home buyers fear they won’t qualify for a mortgage to the point that they don’t even try.”
    Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”
    Buyers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the First Quarter 2017 Homeownership Program Index (HPI) from Down Payment Resource, saving for a down payment was the barrier that kept 70% of renters from buying.
    Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource had this to say,

    “There are many mortgage-ready renters today, but they don’t know it. Often, homebuyers remain sidelined for years due to the down payment.”

    Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, but programs are available that allow buyers put down as little as ...

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    Friday, June 23, 2017   /   by Ryan Stein

    The Cost of Renting vs. Buying in the US

    Some Highlights:

    Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
    Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (29.2%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (15.8%), the choice becomes obvious.
    Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

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    Thursday, June 22, 2017   /   by Ryan Stein

    The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning

    We often discuss the difference in family wealth between homeowner households and renter households. Much of that difference is the result of the equity buildup that homeowners experience over the time that they own their home. In a report recently released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), they reveal how valuable equity can be in retirement planning.
    Craig Copeland, Senior Research Associate at EBRI, recently authored a report, Importance of Individual Account Retirement Plans and Home Equity in Family Total Wealth, in which he reveals:

    “Individual account retirement plan assets, plus home equity, represent almost all of what families have to use for retirement expenses outside of Social Security and traditional pensions. Those families without individual account assets typically have very low overall assets, so they have almost nothing to draw from for retirement expenses.” ...

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