Are you currently shopping for a new home? While it’s true that real estate transactions can be stressful, this stress can be minimized by following a few simple tips. For example, following proper etiquette plays a big role in making your real estate experience go smoothly, and in this post we’ll share four key etiquette tips that are sure to help.
Prior to shopping, a buyer should check with a lender to determine the maximum loan amount they qualify for. This is proper etiquette because both the seller and the real estate broker have likely prepared themselves and assume you have as well.
Keep It Professional
Shopping for a home seems personal, but keeping interactions on a professional level can ease the awkwardness of the process. One step in that direction is being considerate of others’ schedules. Proper etiquette includes being realistic about how many properties can be seen in a span of time. Allowing time for a sellers’ special conditions, pets or children is also good etiquette.
Negotiate Through A Representative
When it’s time to negotiate pricing between a buyer and seller, the real estate agent should be used as the intermediary. While touring a property, it is best not to make offers or discuss how much the house is priced for, or make any counter offers without involving the real estate agent. It is also not advisable to point out stains, outdated designs or noticeable damage in the hopes of getting a discount.
Use Closing Credits
Home sellers should not be surprised once a buyer has decided to close and begins to negotiate the price. Home inspections reveal problems a home has and the buyer’s willingness to continue negotiating can depend on how willing the seller is to address those problems. A closing credit can be a win-win for both parties. If the buyer and seller of the home agree on closing credits instead of repairs and inspections, the buyer has the option of hiring a contractor and dealing directly with the contractor if not satisfied. Meanwhile, sellers are typically ready to move out or are not living at the property, so closing credits save them time.
Well-mannered people handle real estate transactions in a way that lets them join the ranks of successful buyers and sellers who operate with as little stress as possible. The good news is that real estate agents can help with understanding what proper home-buying etiquette is. Call a real estate agent to receive guidance on how to navigate a real estate transaction with ease.
Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports for November indicate that home price growth continues to slow. The 20-City Home Price Index dropped by 0.20 percent to November’s reading of 4.30 percent year-over-year.
The five cities with highest year-over-year home price growth rates in November were:
San Francisco, California 8.90%
Miami, Florida 8.60%
Las Vegas, Nevada and Dallas, Texas 7.70%
Denver, Colorado 7.50%
The five cities with the lowest year-over-year growth in home prices were:
Cleveland, Ohio 0.60%
Washington, DC 1.90%
New York, New York and Minneapolis, Minnesota 1.50%
Chicago, Illinois 2.00%
There were no instances of year-over-year depreciation in home prices for the year-over-year readings, but month-to-month readings indicated that slower momentum in year-over-year home prices is producing negative home price readings on a month-to-month basis. First the good news; although no city included in the 20-City Home Price Index had month-to-month home prices increases of one percent or more, there were some gains.
Month-to-Month Home Price Readings Mixed
According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for November, 12 cities posted month-to-month gains for home prices and eight cities saw home prices decline from October to November.
The five cities with the highest month to month home price growth in November were:
Tampa, Florida 0.80%
Miami, Florida 0.60%
Las Vegas Nevada 0.50%
Los Angeles and San Diego, California 0.50%
San Francisco, which led year-over-year home price growth rates for November, posted a month-to-month gain of 0.10 percent.
The five cities with the highest declines in month-to-month home price growth were:
Chicago, Illinois -1.10%
Detroit, Michigan -0.90%
New York, New York -0.80%
Minneapolis, Minnesota -0.70%
Washington, DC -0.50%
In spite of gloomy month-to-month readings for November home prices for cities included in the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price report, overall signs of economic growth persist. In separate reports released Tuesday, The Department of Commerce reported that December sales of new homes rose by 11.60 percent year-over-year.
481,000 newly constructed homes were sold in December as compared to expectations of 455,000 new homes sold and November’s reading of 431,000 sales of new homes in November.
Home Sales Should Continue to Increase with Warmer Weather
As warmer weather approaches, it’s likely that overall home sales will continue to increase. Stronger job markets, low mortgage rates and the possibility of relaxing mortgage standards likely contributed to a jump in consumer confidence for January.
Consumer confidence increased from December’s index reading of 93.10 to 102.90, which was the highest reading since August 2007. Analysts had forecasted an index reading of 96.90 for January. Expectations of wage growth, which has been largely flat post-recession, were seen a significant contribution to January’s boost in consumer confidence.
Renting a home is a good option for some, but buying a home just might be the best thing for you. When you rent a home, you send money to someone else every month in exchange for knowing that you can call on your landlord when the roof leaks, an appliance stops working or your bathroom faucet breaks. There are some big advantages to buying a house that will help you get out of your renting rut and focus more on your future.
Did you know that when you rent a home, you help someone else build equity? Any changes that you make with your landlord’s approval puts money back in his or her pocket. Keeping the yard clean and taking care of routine maintenance builds equity in that property. When you buy a home of your own, you have the chance to build equity of your own, which you can use to obtain a loan later.
Save On Your Taxes
When you rent a house, you cannot deduct the money you spend on your taxes. Though some states will let you make a small deduction based on the total amount you spend in rent each month, you cannot make any deductions on your federal taxes. When you buy a home, you can save with a few different types of deductions.
The federal government lets you make a deduction if your home is worth more than what you currently owe on your taxes. If you purchased your first home, you can make a deduction in regards to your property taxes. You can also deduct money that you spend on some renovations and energy saving appliances.
Put Your Personal Touch On Things
As long as you continue renting, you live in a home that belongs to someone else. Your landlord has final say over what you do and do not do. This often means that you cannot make repairs or significant changes without seeking approval first.
Renting a home lets you put your personal touch on things. You can paint the walls any colors you want, rip out the carpet to add hardwood flooring or even make significant changes outside to turn your new home into your dream home.
Now that you know more about the benefits of buying a home and how that purchase can get you out of the rental rut you’re in currently, turn to a real estate professional for assistance.
Last week’s economic reports included the National Association of Home Builders Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, Housing Starts for December and the FHFA Home Price Index report for November. The National Association of Realtors® also released its Existing Home Sales report for December.
Freddie Mac and the Department of Commerce released their weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Builder Confidence Close to Record High, Housing Starts Rise
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that home builder confidence slipped by one point in January to an index reading of 57. This was not a significant decline as any reading over 50 indicates that a majority of builders are confident about current housing market conditions. January’s confidence reading remained close to a 2005 peak.
Housing Starts rose in December to 1.09 million starts as compared to expectations of 1.04 million starts and November’s reading of 1.04 million housing starts according to the Department of Commerce.
December’s annual reading reflected strong home builder confidence and was the highest for housing starts since 2007. Low mortgage rates and improving labor markets were seen as factors contributing to housing construction.
Existing Home Sales Fall, FHFA Home Price Index Gain
The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes fell to 4.05 million in December, which fell short of 5.08 million expected sales and 4.93 million sales of existing homes in November. Analysts were puzzled at the first drop in sales volume for existing homes since 2010.
Low mortgage rates, job growth and the possibility of less restrictive mortgage requirements were cited by analysts as factors that should have fueled sales of existing homes and should continue to boost home sales as more home buyers enter the market.
FHFA reported that prices of homes associated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages rose 5.30 percent year-over-year in November. This was an increase of 0.90 percent over October’s year-over-year reading of 4.40 percent.
Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Lower
Mortgage rates dropped across the board according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by three basis points to 3.63 percent with discount points higher at 0.70 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage was five basis points lower at 2.93 percent and discount points higher at 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by seven basis points to 2.83 percent with discount points unchanged at an average of 0.40 percent.
Weekly jobless claims fell from the prior week’s reading of 317,000 new claims filed to 307,000 new claims filed. Analysts had expected a reading of 298,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts noted that this was the third consecutive reading above 300,000 new jobless claims since July, but the higher readings were attributed to layoffs of seasonal holiday workers.
Case-Shiller will release its composite home price index reports; new home sales, consumer confidence and consumer sentiment reports are scheduled along with a customary statement from the FOMC at the conclusion of its January meeting.
With the start of the New Year, it’s common to set new resolutions. While there are many goals that are worthwhile, paying off your mortgage as soon as possible can significantly improve your financial position and is a great goal to aim for. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at a few helpful tips for paying your mortgage off sooner.
Refinance To A Shorter Mortgage Term
For example, switching from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year will get your mortgage paid off in half the time it would have originally taken, and it will also lower the total amount owed. By switching to a 15-year mortgage plan, you can save well over a decade’s worth of interest payments.
Carefully Consider How Much Space You Need
Many people have more home than they can afford. By downsizing to a smaller, cheaper house, you should be able to pay more than your minimum payments each month. Other nice perks, such as saving money on heating and air conditioning, may also be able to help make the goal of paying off your mortgage seem more attainable.
Make Payments Every Other Week
Mortgage companies often give borrowers the option of choosing to make payments either every month or every other week. If you opt to pay every other week instead of every month and have a standard, 30-year mortgage, you’ll be able to pay off your debt about six years sooner than expected.
Find a regular expense in your budget that isn’t a necessity and start using that money towards your mortgage instead of what you would normally spend it on. For instance, bringing lunch to work each day instead of eating out could easily save a person at least $100 per month. That’s over $1,000 per year!
Set Extra Money Aside
To pay off your mortgage quickly without having to cut regular expenses, use overtime income, holiday pay and gift money for extra mortgage payments. This way, you can pay down your debt without having to lower your standard of living. Another option is getting a part-time job for a few hours each week and putting the extra income towards your house.
There are many things that you can do to pay off your mortgage quickly, but you don’t have to do them all. Whether you choose one tip from this list or all five, you should be able to start making progress on your loan.