Jun 30, 2015
In case you set your alarm clock to go off when it was time to buy a home, that clang you may be hearing from somewhere in the distance could be it (figuratively speaking, of course). The reason has to do with the direction of Lewes mortgage rates (among others).
Now, I realize this could come across a little bit like Aesop’s boy who cried ‘Wolf’ since a year and a half ago the experts were unanimous in predicting that mortgage rates would rise throughout 2014 (to at least 5%, if I remember correctly). And not only did they not jump—after a short rise, they actually fell!
The experts were wrong. To the extent I agreed with their call, I was, too—but at least I wasn’t lonely. And I also try to be clear that predicting the future of any financial movement is never a sure thing. The same is true today…but…
Last week, less than a week after the Federal Reserve monetary policymakers emerged from their meeting, Bankrate web commentator Janna Herron published a view that sent alarm bells ringing in my head. It makes so much sense, I feel compelled to share it. Already publicized in the rest of the media was the announcement that 15 of the 17 Fed officials now agree that they expect to raise the federal funds rate at some point within the next 6 months (and one expert was quoted as expecting that as early as September or October). Fifteen out of 17 is a 88% majority, so it couldn’t get much clearer. The funds rate has been cemented to the ground at precisely zero for almost seven years. Since 2008.
Lewes mortgage rates are based upon that Fed funds rate. When it rises, mortgage rates have to rise, or lenders would have to be reclassified as charitable enterprises (not likely). The reasons given for the Fed governors’ near-unanimous prediction are both the rise in the pace of job gains and, as was reported, “The Fed also noted improvement in housing.”
Now, that news may have prompted Lewes mortgage-rate watchers to sit up and take notice—but not necessarily have them hearing alarm bells going off. But there were two other pieces of information:
· First, the current national mortgage rates reported last week rose. They were pegged at just over the 52-week average for 30-year fixed loans, but at 4.13% it remained below the 4.33% of a year before. In other words, still (perhaps momentarily) in the historically basement-level range.
· Second, new mortgage activity began to rise, moving 1.6% up from a week before. Applications had been dropping, but now they were on the move. This while home builder confidence levels soared, with expectations hitting the highest levels in nearly a decade.
As with any batch of economic numbers, the signs can be interpreted in multiple ways, but one way sure does seem to stand out: mortgage rates are attractive now, housing activity is almost certainly on the rise, and mortgage rates and monthly payments are very likely to become more expensive. The same thought may be occurring to more and more people as we enter the summer home-buying season: “What if I could pay less every month for the same home…for the next 30 years…”
Note to Lewes home-buyers. Listen carefully: that could be the sound of your own alarm bell going off! If you think you hear it, now would be a great time to give me a Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com
Jun 30, 2015
For years, there was little debate about the need for open houses in Bethany Beach: almost without exception, unless the seller of a Bethany Beach home objected, at least one or two open houses were an accepted part of how most real estate agents went about marketing the property.
Today, along with all the other changes that define modern real estate marketing, the potency of open houses is up for serious debate. Virtual online tours are increasingly popular among Bethany Beach real estate sellers and buyers—the ‘use’ statistics that tell agents how often the different parts of their sites are viewed prove that. Since open houses were formerly held in order to display a property to members of the general public—and since virtual tours do the same thing—it’s truly a question that deserves a hard look.
Here are three of the main reasons I see frequently cited for why open houses are still useful—and some both pros and cons for each:
1. Open Houses Can Bring Higher Prices
Pro: Open houses are most important for high demand properties when there is low inventory for similar homes. It can be possible to stage open houses in combination with delayed offer reviews—in this scenario, the seller hosts several open houses leading up to a final date when he or she will review competing offers.
Con: The same is accomplished with well-produced virtual tours. Interested viewers then contact the agent, who is able to qualify the prospects who will be invited for an actual on-site showing. Competing offers are just as likely to develop.
2. Open Houses Are More Convenient for Sellers
Pro: People want to sell their Bethany Beach homes as quickly as possible if for no other reason than they must keep their houses spotless and organized while on the market. Open houses are one way for sellers to have to prepare fewer times for their home to be displayed to buyers.
Con: Virtual tours accomplish the same thing for a far broader cross-section of the public. Professional photographers use their photo session to record the property at its spotless best, which is then on display 24/7/365—not just for one or two days!
3. Open Houses are More Convenient for Prospective Buyers
Pro: Interested parties can pop in for an on-site tour without the hassle of contacting the agent and scheduling an appointment—basically, of making even a minor level of commitment in advance of knowing much about the property. Open houses thus broaden the property’s exposure.
Con: Serious home shoppers are going online en masse; the effort expended on an open house is better spent preparing for interested, qualified buyers.
Every Bethany Beach home for sale presents uniquely individual marketing opportunities and challenges. Ruling out open houses (or ruling them in) as a one-size-fits-all solution is not the way I expand the reach and appeal of the properties I represent. To talk about how we can maximize your own Bethany Beach real estate opportunity, just give me a Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at email@example.com, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.
Jun 30, 2015
“WHY YOUR RENT CHECK JUST KEEPS GOING UP” was the headline in CNN Money’s real estate special report last month, which could have explained to Seaford renters why it is that U.S. rents keep rising faster than home values. After all, that doesn’t seem to make sense!
The list of reasons was long, and taken all together, fairly convincing:
· Millennials are renting longer
· Housing inventory is tight and getting tighter
· The housing crash scared those who would otherwise have become homeowners
· Baby Boomers are downsizing
· Rental construction slowed when confidence sank after the housing crisis
It all comes down to demand and supply—less of the latter, more of the former. Although the author may have exaggerated a detail or two (“…there just aren’t enough ‘For Rent’ signs to keep up with the demand”), more than one Seaford renter will probably agree with the gist of the piece: rents have been on the rise long enough that it makes you want to think about the alternative: buying.
Some of the more extreme cases are urban: in San Francisco and Denver, for instance, renters have seen yearly increases of 15% and 11.6%, respectively, according to Zillow. Seaford renters can find themselves in something of a bind, though—since those higher rent bills make saving for a down payment more difficult. It’s just one reason. Per CNN, “There are a bunch of things keeping renters on the sidelines, meaning “the folks that would be normally making the switch to become homeowners are still taking up the rental units.”
The result: more units remain occupied, vacancies go down; rentable units remain scarce…so prices renters pay continue to go up.
Will this Catch-22 situation persist forever? Most likely not: the broad economic news is that this year’s steady job growth coupled with the pronounced turnaround in builder confidence is likely to loosen the supply stranglehold. Last Tuesday, there was also the kind of news that can prompt builders to really get going: government data showed purchases of new U.S. homes surged (particularly in the Northeast and West), with sales of new homes soaring 24% so far in 2015. That’s the best showing since 2007.
Of course, before supply outstrips demand, the situation puts landlords in an advantageous position. Seaford investors who bought rentable properties during the downturn can now enjoy steady returns from their properties, or decide to sell in a robust market. If you are leaning in that direction, it’s the perfect time to give me a Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.
Jun 30, 2015
When it comes to making legal distinctions, the ones connected with buying and selling Dewey Beach houses have lasting consequences—so it’s important that they be the intentional kind. Although Three Dog Night might have sincerely believed that One is the Loneliest Number—that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to the title of an Dewey Beach home.
The majority of Dewey Beach houses are purchased by married couples. Families that remain intact can make property title issues relatively straightforward. But as the second half of the 20th century progressed, the culture became more accepting of people living together prior to marriage. Because of its impact on how people—especially couples—apply for home loans and refinances, the matter of legal title more often came into play.
I don’t offer legal advice, so will simply point out that there are key differences when you hear terms like Tenants in Common, Tenants by the Entirety, or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship. Being aware of those distinctions will allow future homeowners to choose which form will serve them best. Couples—especially those expecting to be married down the road—need to consider how things might change should they decide to refinance. It can make a difference if, for instance, a co-signer should later be required. When a Dewey Beach homeowner refinances and adds a spouse who was not named on the original mortgage, the spouse may be added to the title or deed. Those and other changes to a property’s title then has tax implications. Married couples may acquire title automatically through Tenancy by Entirety, as well as through rights of survivorship.
The key is to understand the implication of single and joint ownership. In the event of divorce, as with any material change, other rules may apply, too—which is another reason to recommend a consultation with counsel to clarify all related issues.
It’s always an exciting moment when you are about to take on the ownership of a home—certainly cause for celebration. Yet it’s also important to have an honest discussion with your spouse in order to put any existing issues on the table. It's amazing how many couples embark on home ownership (or refinancing) while dealing with significant relational issues. Some meet the issue by drafting a legal agreement that lays out what will happen with the property depending upon specified contingencies. Such agreements won’t carry weight with a mortgage company to effect removal of a person's name from a mortgage in the case of divorce—in most cases, a home would have to be refinanced again to remove a spouse's name from a mortgage.
Understanding the fine print can’t help but reduce the risk of unforeseen consequences down the line. Titles and title insurance may seem to be dull details that automatically confirm intended outcomes, but those outcomes have to be thought through and specified. The good news is they do get properly addressed every day in the course of acquiring a home. Pointing out the important details are just one element of my service: which is to help you every step of the way! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at email@example.com, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.