Homes Sold by Jessica Harless | NextHome Realty Center

Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters

Sometimes it can feel like everyone has advice when it comes to buying a home. While your friends and loved ones may have your best interests in mind, they may also be missing crucial information about today’s housing market that you need to make your best decision.

Before you decide whether you’re ready to buy a home, you should know how to answer these three questions.

1. What’s Going on with Home Prices?

Home prices are one factor that directly impacts how much it will cost to buy a home and how much you stand to gain as a homeowner when prices appreciate.

The graph below shows just how much experts are forecasting prices to rise this year:Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home | Simplifying The MarketContinued price appreciation is great news for existing homeowners but can pose a significant challenge if you wait to buyUsing these forecasts, you can determine just how much waiting could cost you. If prices increase based on the average of all forecasts (12.46%), a median-priced home that costs $350,000 in January of 2021 will cost an additional $43,610 by the end of the year. What does this mean for you? Put simply, with home prices increasing, the longer you wait, the more it could cost you.

2. Are Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Going To Last?

Another significant factor that should inform your decision is mortgage interest rates. Today’s average rates remain close to record-lows. Much like prices, though, experts forecast rates will rise over the coming months, as the chart below shows:Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home | Simplifying The MarketYour monthly mortgage payment can be significantly impacted by even the slightest increase in mortgage rates, which makes the overall cost of the home greater over time when you wait.

3. Why Is Homeownership Important to You?

The final question is a personal one. Before deciding, you’ll need to understand your motivation to buy a home and why homeownership is an important goal for you. The financial benefits of owning a home are often easier to account for than the many emotional ones.

The 2021 National Homeownership Market Survey shows that six of the nine reasons Americans value homeownership are because of how it impacts them on a personal, aspirational level. The survey says homeownership provides:

  • Stability
  • Safety
  • A Sense of Accomplishment
  • A Life Milestone
  • A Stake in the Community
  • Personal Pride

The National Housing & Financial Capability Survey from NeighborWorks America also highlights the emotional benefits of homeownership:Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home | Simplifying The MarketClearly, there’s a value to homeownership beyond the many great financial opportunities it provides. It gives homeowners a sense of pride, safety, security, and accomplishment – which impacts their lives and how they feel daily.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is life-changing, and buying a home can positively impact you in so many ways. With any decision this big, it helps to have a trusted advisor by your side each step of the way. If you’re ready to begin your journey toward homeownership, let’s connect to discuss your options and begin your journey.

Sold by Jessica Harless | Appraisals

What To Expect as Appraisal Gaps Grow

In today’s real estate market, low inventory and high demand are driving up home prices. As many as 54% of homes are getting offers over the listing price, based on the latest Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Shawn Telford, Chief Appraiser at CoreLogicelaborates:

 

“The frequency of buyers being willing to pay more than the market data supports is increasing.”

While this is great news for today’s sellers, it can be tricky to navigate if the price of your contract doesn’t match up with the appraisal for the house. It’s called an appraisal gap, and it’s happening more in today’s market than the norm.

According to recent data from CoreLogic19% of homes had their appraised value come in below the contract price in April of this year. That’s more than double the percentage in each of the two previous Aprils.

The chart below uses the latest insights from NAR’s Realtors Confidence Index to showcase how often an issue with an appraisal slowed or stalled the momentum of a house sale in May of this year compared to May of last year.What To Expect as Appraisal Gaps Grow | Simplifying the MarketIf an appraisal comes in below the contract price, the buyer’s lender won’t loan them more than the house’s appraised value. That means there’s going to be a gap between the amount of loan the buyer can secure and the contract price on the house.

In this situation, both the buyer and seller have a vested interest in making sure the sale moves forward with little to no delay. The seller will want to make sure the deal closes, and the buyer won’t want to risk losing the home. That’s why it’s common for sellers to ask the buyer to make up the difference themselves in today’s competitive market.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re buying or selling, let’s connect so you have an ally throughout the process to help you navigate the unexpected, including appraisal gaps.

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters
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Don’t Forget to Budget for Closing Costs

 When buying a home, it’s important to have a budget and make sure you plan ahead for certain homebuying expenses. Saving for a down payment is the main cost that comes to mind for many, but budgeting for the closing costs required to get a mortgage is just as important.

 What Are Closing Costs?

According to Trulia:

When you close on a home, a number of fees are due. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the total cost of the home, and can include title insurance, origination fees, underwriting fees, document preparation fees, and more.”

For example, for someone buying a $300,000 home, they could potentially have between $6,000 and $15,000 in closing fees. If you’re in the market for a home above this price range, your closing costs could be greater. As mentioned above, closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your purchase price. 

Trulia gives more great advice, explaining:

“There will be lots of paperwork in front of you on closing day, and not enough time to read them all. Work closely with your real estate agent, lender, and attorney, if you have one, to get all the documents you need ahead of time.

The most important thing to read is the closing disclosure, which shows your loan terms, final closing costs, and any outstanding fees. You’ll get this form about three days before closing since, once you (the borrower) sign it, there’s a three-day waiting period before you can sign the mortgage loan docs. If you have any questions about the numbers or what any of the mortgage terms mean, this is the time to ask—your real estate agent is a great resource for getting you all the answers you need.”

Bottom Line

As home prices are rising and more buyers are finding themselves competing in bidding wars, it’s more important than ever to make sure your plan includes budgeting for closing costs. Let’s connect to be sure you have everything you need to land your dream home.

Keeping Current Matters: Buying MythsDown PaymentsFirst Time Home BuyersFor BuyersMove-Up BuyersPricing

Selling you home in a sellers market | Jessica Harless

What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market

Monday, March 29th, 2021

If you’ve given even a casual thought to selling your house in the near future, this is the time to really think seriously about making a move. Here’s why this season is the ultimate sellers’ market and the optimal time to make sure your house is available for buyers who are looking for homes to purchase.

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale is still astonishingly low, sitting at just a 2-month supply at the current sales pace.

Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ market in which there are enough homes available for active buyers (See graph below):What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market | Simplifying The MarketWhen the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. As a result, competition among purchasers rises and more bidding wars take place, making it essential for buyers to submit very attractive offers.

As this happens, home prices rise and sellers are in the best position to negotiate deals that meet their ideal terms. If you put your house on the market while so few homes are available to buy, it will likely get a lot of attention from hopeful buyers.

Today, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. Low mortgage rates and a year filled with unique changes have prompted buyers to think differently about where they live – and they’re taking action. The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with this high demand, making now the optimal time to sell your house.

Bottom Line

Home prices are appreciating in today’s sellers’ market. Making your home available over the coming weeks will give you the most exposure to buyers who will actively compete against each other to purchase it.

Jessica Harless | NextHome President's Circle Award

Press Release: Jessica Harless Named A President’s Circle Award Winner

March 16, 2021

NextHome recognizes Jessica Harless for her sales achievements in 2020

Pleasanton, CA — 3/16/2021 — NextHome is proud to congratulate Jessica Harless NextHome Realty Center in Cypress TX, on her achievement in receiving the President’s Circle Award. Her hard work in 2020, having sold 31 units and over $12.5M in volume, has been recognized by the NextHome franchise with this award.

The NextHome franchise, established in 2014, has experienced tremendous growth due to its consumer-focused branding, technology, and marketing. The franchise currently has 480+ offices across the country with over 4,400 members, in 48 states. Recently, the brand has been recognized as the No. 1 Franchise in the country for customer satisfaction by Franchise Business Review, ranked No. 79 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500® list, and No. 3344 on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies, along with many other accolades.

The NextHome franchise wouldn’t be where it is today without the “NextHomies” behind the brand. The “Humans Over Houses” slogan coined by NextHome has turned into a philosophy adopted by NextHomies as the meaning behind why they do what they do, and why they do it so well.

Recognizing hard work and dedication runs deep within the NextHome franchise through their annual Awards Program. The franchise is proud to recognize nearly 600 NextHomies for their impressive track record of sales achievements in 2020.

“Every year, I have the great privilege of congratulating each award winner on their impeccable performance from the previous year. And while this year it is through a video instead of on the main stage during our annual conference, sharing these recognitions is even more rewarding,” said James Dwiggins, Chief Executive Officer of NextHome, Inc. “Our NextHomies have gone through so many challenges last year due to the pandemic and tight inventory, but their underlying goal has never shifted, never faltered, they’ve continued to help families find their next home. Thank you for continuing to make a difference in the real estate industry, and in the lives of your communities.”

“NextHomies have always been much more than a real estate professional in their local communities. When your profession is to help others, that passion doesn’t stop at the end of a deal,” said Imran Poladi, Vice President of NextHome, Inc. “This past year, when each and every one of our communities experienced hurt and fear, our members stepped up to be a resource for their people. I’m overwhelmed, with hopefulness, that during a time of such negative circumstances, people were still able to reach the American Dream of homeownership thanks to hard-working, and caring, NextHome real estate professionals.”
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About NextHome, Inc.
NextHome, Inc. is an independently owned national franchisor with a focus on changing the way consumers work with local agents and shop for real estate online. The NextHome franchise has 480+ offices and 4,400+ members across 48 states. The company closes over 29,000 transactions annually worth over $8.2B in volume.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Each office is an independently owned and operated business. 

NextHome #1 in Satisfaction

NextHome Named #1 in Satisfaction by FBR

Hello everyone,

It brings us great joy, and even more humility, to announce that NextHome has been ranked the number one franchise in the country in owner satisfaction by Franchise Business Review (FBR) for 2021!

Over 300 franchise brands participated in FBR’s research in 2020. More than 28,000 franchise owners shared their feedback on 33 benchmark questions about their experience and satisfaction with their franchise system. The independent survey covered areas such as training and support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations, and financial opportunity.

Only seven years after its inception, our company has climbed to the very top of this list, landing the No. 1 position across all categories. This follows our No. 1 ranking in the real estate category and No. 3 overall for 2019 as announced last year.

Our entire corporate team would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you, our amazing NextHomies across the country. Without your support, we would not have the pleasure of achieving this incredible milestone together.

Thank you again and congratulations to each and every one of you!

To read more about FBR and this recognition, please click HERE.

Regards,

 

James Dwiggins
Chief Executive Officer | NextHome, Inc.
facebook.com/dwigginsj | linkedin.com/in/dwigginsj

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Home Prices | Jessica Harless Next Home Realty Center

Home Values Projected to Keep Rising

As we enter the final months of 2020 and continue to work through the challenges this year has brought, some of us wonder what impact continued economic uncertainty could have on home prices. Looking at the big picture, the rules of supply and demand will give us the clearest idea of what is to come.</p

Due to the undersupply of homes on the market today, there’s upward pressure on prices. Consider simple economics: when there is high demand for an item and a low supply of it, consumers are willing to pay more for that item. That’s what’s happening in today’s real estate market. The housing supply shortage is also resulting in bidding wars, which will also drive price points higher in the home sale process.

There’s no evidence that buyer demand will wane. As a result, experts project price appreciation will continue over the next twelve months. Here’s a graph of the major forecasts released in the last 60 days:Home Values Projected to Keep Rising | Simplifying The Market

I hear many foreclosures might be coming to the market soon. Won’t that drive prices down?

Some are concerned that homeowners who entered a mortgage forbearance plan might face foreclosure once their plan ends. However, when you analyze the data on those in forbearance, it’s clear the actual level of risk is quite low.

Ivy Zelman, CEO of Zelman & Associates and a highly-regarded expert in housing and housing-related industries, was very firm in a podcast last week:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

With demand high, supply low, and little risk of a foreclosure crisis, home prices will continue to appreciate.

Bottom Line

Originally, many thought home prices would depreciate in 2020 due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus. Instead, prices appreciated substantially. Over the next year, we will likely see home values rise even higher given the continued lack of inventory of homes for sale.

Shared from Keeping Current Matters

When the Inspection report is not good...

What to do When the Inspection report isn’t good

BY AMERICAN HOME SHIELD |OCTOBER 15, 2020

Whether you’re representing the buyer or the seller, the home inspection can be a critical time in the real estate transaction process. When the home inspection report is good, a collective sigh of relief can often be detected from agents and clients alike. When the home inspection report isn’t good, it’s time for agents to swing into action. Here are some steps to consider:

Know your market.

To some extent, reaction to a less-than-stellar inspection report may be tempered by whether you’re dealing with a buyers’ or a sellers’ market. If it’s a buyers’ market, sellers may be on the line to fix most of the deficient items noted in the report before the deal can continue. In a sellers’ market, buyers may not have as much negotiating power. It’s important to understand the current real estate climate and explain to your clients how the market conditions factor into home inspection expectations.

Work with the other agent.

As soon as possible, contact the other agent in the transaction to discuss the inspection report findings. Acknowledge that the report contains bad news and start the conversation about next steps. As much as possible, try to get a sense of their reaction and willingness to make concessions.

Ask for more time.

The real estate contract often specifies a date or timeframe for removing the home inspection contingency. Requesting an extension of that date may give you and your clients the chance to consider the report, gather additional information or estimates, negotiate repairs, fix deficient items, or decide your next steps. If you think some extra time would help keep the deal on track, request it.

Get multiple estimates.

If the cost of repair work noted in the report concerns the buyer or the seller, gathering several quotes from qualified sources may help pinpoint what exact costs are likely to be. In some cases, repair costs may be lower than the client’s project, which can be reassuring. If the estimates come in higher than clients predict, they have the accurate information they need for negotiation and decide whether to move forward.

Communicate.

With accurate figures in hand, have a heartfelt conversation with your clients to understand how the inspection report affects their financial and emotional commitment to the deal. Be ready to communicate their position to the other agent clearly.

Negotiate.

After you’ve assessed market conditions, have an accurate understanding of costs involved, and have communicated with your clients, it’s time to negotiate. In some cases, you may be negotiating which repairs the seller needs to make before the deal can close. In other cases, you might negotiate a reduction in selling price or a credit at closing to cover the repair costs. If you’re facing an unusual inspection issue, seek advice from trusted colleagues who may have handled similar situations in the past.

Request documentation.

For everyone’s protection, specify that sellers submit documentation of repair work performed from qualified service professionals. It’s also a good idea to schedule a follow-up inspection or a walk-through to confirm that the negotiated work was satisfactorily completed.

Add American Home Shield® Home Warranty Coverage.

300,000 real estate transactions per year include American Home Shield home warranties, and for a good reason. In addition to offering important budget protection for covered items, American Home Shield coverage can help mitigate unexpected home inspection issues to keep transactions on track. Home warranty protection can also offer valuable reassurance to buyers, especially when the age or condition of covered home systems and appliances are in question.

When home inspection reports are disappointing, it’s important for clients to see their agent responding calmly and deliberately. They will always remember the valuable, professional, and steady guidance that you offer during a critical time.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

Homes Sold By Jessica Harless | NextHome Realty Center

Thinking of Selling Your Home?

Selling a home can be a process, even in a hot seller’s market.

Homes Sold By Jessica Harless | NextHome Realty Center
By prepping your home a few months in advance, you can reduce your stress and increase the odds of finding a buyer quickly after listing. Take a look at this handy checklist I’ve created to ensure you know all the important steps that go into selling your home.

If at any time, you’d like to discuss the home selling process, don’t hesitate to reach out! My specialty is getting homeowners the best possible price for their home.

Download Your copy of The checklist