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The Louisville Real Estate Blog

Louisville Kentucky Real Estate Blog

The Difference An Hour Can Make [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Difference an Hour Can Make [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Every Hour in the US Housing Market: 

  • 634 Homes Sell
  • 347 Homes Regain Positive Equity
  • Median Home Values Go Up $1.46
...

Picking a Real Estate Agent through Facebook

Picking a Real Estate Agent through Facebook | Keeping Current Matters

According to a joint study released by Google and the National Association of Realtors, 2 of 3 people searching for a prospective real estate professional research them “extensively online prior to working with them". And, that number is probably increasing every day.

Are social media channels such as Facebook really a good place to gather information about an agent before using them? If so, what should you look for?

There is a plethora of information on any subject available on social media sites such as Facebook. A recent study by the Pew Research Center revealed that 63% of Americans now even get their news from Facebook (up from 47% in 2013).

It is no different for both buyers and sellers of real estate. Yes, Facebook is a good place to gather information about the housing market and “checkout” an agent you are considering hiring to help buy or sell a home.

What should you be looking for in an agent’s Facebook presence?

You want an agent that cares more about you and your family than they care about bragging about themselves. One way to determine this is to look at what they post on their Facebook page. Are they more interested in ‘hawking’ a listing or bragging about their accomplishments or are they trying to post insightful information that will help you make the best decision for you and your family?

At a recent real estate conference, Guy Kawasaki, an executive fellow at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley, gave the following advice to the Realtors in attendance:

“Value comes in the form of information...

Why You Should Hire A Professional When Buying A Home!

Why You Should Hire A Professional When Buying A Home! | Keeping Current Matters

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if you are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift out the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home”.

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home.

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with...

2016: Homeowner’s Net Worth Will Be 45x Greater Than a Renter

2016: Homeowner’s Net Worth Will Be 45x Greater Than a Renter | Keeping Current Matters

Every three years the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a recent Forbes article the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that in 2016 the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.

The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction:

Increasing Gap in Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Put Your Housing Cost to Work For You

Simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings’. Every time you pay your mortgage...

Buying A Home Can Be SCARY… Until You Know The FACTS! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Buying A Home Can Be Scary... Until You Know the FACTS! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • 36% of Americans think they need a 20% down payment to buy a home. 44% of Millennials who purchased a home this year have put down less than 10%.
  • 71% of loan applications were approved last month
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 723 in September (the lowest recorded score since Ellie Mae began tracking in August 2011).
...

Family Wealth Grows as Home Equity Builds

Family Wealth Grows as Home Equity Builds | Keeping Current Matters

With residential real estate values rising quite substantially in most parts of the country over the last few years, many homeowners are seeing a major increase in their family’s wealth as equity continues to build in their house.

recent study by the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University revealed that home equity grew nicely last year and has grown dramatically over the last five years…

...

Applying For A Mortgage: Why So Much Paperwork?

Applying For A Mortgage: Why So Much Paperwork? | Keeping Current Matters

We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

  1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again
  2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business. Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation. The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably at or below 4%.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process...

Buying a Home Remains 35% Less Expensive than Renting!

Buying a Home Remains 35% Less Expensive than Renting! | Keeping Current Matters

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% in Honolulu (HI), all the way to 55% in Sarasota (FL), and 35% Nationwide!

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation. “In the past year, these two trends have made homeownership even more affordable compared with renting.”
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.  

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase ...

Where Will Home Prices Be Next Year? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Where Will Home Prices Be Next Year? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some interesting facts:

  • 25 states are forecasted to achieve higher levels of appreciation in the next 12 months than already achieved in the last year.
  • 25 state and the District of Columbia are forecasted to experience a slow in appreciation.
  • All 50 states & D.C. are forecasted to achieve some level of positive price appreciation.

Even though each state is appreciating at different levels, you need to know the Cost of Waiting until next year to buy your dream home!

...

Do You Really Think Your Landlord Pays for Repairs?

Do You Really Think Your Landlord Pays for Repairs? | Keeping Current Matters

A recent article that appeared on Nasdaq.com addressed the issue of whether it is best to buy or rent in today’s real estate environment. The article was very fair in discussing both options.

However, there was one portion of the article that we questioned. One of the experts was quoted as saying:

“For some people, the choice is very clear: Buying a home can be more costly, given the cost of the purchase itself, plus taxes and insurance, plus maintenance and repairs.”

This argument is often made in defense of renting. However, we don’t believe it makes logical sense. They claim that, as a renter, you won’t have the expenses of “taxes and insurance, plus maintenance and repairs”. Do they really believe that the landlord pays all those expenses for their tenants?

The vast majority of landlords own rentable real estate as a form of investment. As any other investor would, they expect to make a return on that investment (ROI) - otherwise known as profit. In order to make a profit, the landlord needs to include EVERY expense they incur into the rent…AND THEN ADD A PROFIT MARGIN!!

We think it is incorrect to advise a prospective renter that they won’t have the same expenses that a homeowner would have. They just pay those expenses to a landlord with a “premium” built in.

...

New Home Sales Surge

New Home Sales Surge | Keeping Current Matters

According to the latest report from the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, newly constructed home sales jumped 5.7% month-over-month and 21.6% year-over-year to an annual pace of 552,000.

Many buyers are looking to the new homes market to make up for the lack of existing home sales inventory. National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe explains:

"Today's report indicates the release of pent-up housing demand as the overall economy strengthens, consumer confidence grows and mortgage interest rates remain low. The housing market should continue to move forward at a modest but more persistent pace throughout the rest of 2015."

Regionally, the Northeast led the way with a 24.1% increase in new home sales, followed by the South (7.4%) and West (5.4%). Sales in the Midwest declined by 9.1%.

The inventory of new homes for sale currently sits at a 4.7-month supply down slightly from July (4.9) and significantly from August 2014 (5.4).

Buyers who purchased a new home were willing to spend more to get the amenities that they wanted. The median home price for new homes was $64,000 higher than existing homes in August at $292,700!

Approved applications for building permits...

4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits

4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits | Keeping Current Matters

It's that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get-togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don't have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 10.5% (most pessimistic) and 25.5% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households...

New Home Sales Surge By 5.7%! [INFOGRAPHIC]

New Home Sales Surge By 5.7%! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The median price of a newly constructed home is currently $292,700.
  • Sales are up 5.7% month-over-month and 21.6% year-over-year.
  • Many buyers are looking to new homes as an option due to the lack of inventory of existing homes for sale.
...

Sales Up In (Almost) Every Price Range! Oct 2015

Sales Up In (Almost) Every Price Range! | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure.

Only those homes priced under $100,000 showed a decline (-7.7%). The decline in this price range points to the lower inventory of distressed properties available for sale and speaks to the strength of the market.

Every other category showed a minimum increase of at least 5.6%, with sales in the $250,000- $500,000 range up 16.9%!

Here is the breakdown:

Sales Up In Almost Every Price Range | Keeping Current Matters

What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit with your agent and see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

...

#1 Reason to List Your House Today

#1 Reason to List Your House Today! | Keeping Current Matters

If you are debating listing your house for sale this year or even early next year, here is the #1 reason not to wait!

Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace the Supply of Homes For Sale

According to the National Association of REALTORS’ (NAR) Foot Traffic report, there are more buyers out in the market right now than at any other time in the past three years.

The graph below shows the significant increase in foot traffic experienced this year compared to 2014.

Foot Traffic Year-Over-Year | Keeping Current Matters

The latest Existing Home Sales report shows that there is currently a 5.2-month supply of homes for sale. This remains lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market and well below August 2014 numbers.

The chart below details the year-over-year inventory shortages experienced so far in 2015:

Inventory Supply | Keeping Current Matters...

How Quickly Are Homes Selling In Your State?

How Quickly Are Homes Selling In Your State? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their Confidence Index
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
  • Homes sold in less than 60 days in 39 out of 50 states and Washington D.C.
  • Only Vermont had a median sold date longer than 90 days.
...

Is it Time to Downsize your Home?

Is it Time to Downsize your Home? | Keeping Current Matters

A recent study by Edelman Berland revealed that of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future 33% plan to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why that would make sense to many Americans.

In a recent blog post, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, discussed the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by...