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.

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Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends

As we move into the second half of the year, one thing is clear: the current real estate market is one for the record books. The exact mix of conditions we have today creates opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Here’s a look at four key components that are shaping this unprecedented market.

A Shortage of Homes for Sale

Earlier this year, the number of homes available for sale fell to an all-time low. In recent months, however, inventory levels are starting to trend up. The latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report from realtor.com says:

“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.”

This is good news for buyers who crave more options. But even though we’re experiencing small gains in the number of available homes for sale, inventory remains a challenge in most states. That’s why it’s still a sellers’ market, giving homeowners immense leverage when they decide to make a move.

Buyer Competition and Bidding Wars

Today’s ongoing low supply, coupled with high demand, creates a market characterized by high buyer competition and bidding wars. Buyers are going above and beyond to make sure their offer stands out from the crowd by offering over the asking price, all cash, or waiving some contingencies. The number of offers on the average house for sale broke records this year – and that’s great news for sellers.

The latest Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says the average home for sale receives five offers (see graph below):Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends | Simplifying The MarketFor buyers, the best way to put a compelling offer together is by working with a local real estate professional. That agent can act as your trusted advisor on what terms are best for you and what’s most appealing to the seller.

Home Price Appreciation

The competition among buyers is driving prices up. Over the past year, we’ve seen home price appreciation rise across the country. According to the most recent Home Price Index (HPI) from CoreLogic, national home prices increased 15.4% year-over-year in May:

“The May 2021 HPI gain was up from the May 2020 gain of 4.2% and was the highest year-over-year gain since November 2005. Low mortgage rates and low for-sale inventory drove the increase in home prices.”

Rising home values are a big part of why real estate remains one of the top sought-after investments for Americans. For potential sellers, it also means it’s a great time to list your house to maximize the return on your investment.

A Rise in Home Values and Equity

The equity in a home doesn’t just grow when a homeowner pays their mortgage – it also grows as the home’s value appreciates. Thanks to the jump in price appreciation, homeowners across the country are seeing record-breaking gains in home equity. CoreLogic recently reported:

“…homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 62% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 19.6% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $1.9 trillion, and an average gain of $33,400 per borrower, since the first quarter of 2020.”

That’s a major perk for households to leverage. Homeowners can use that equity to accomplish major life goals or move into their dream homes.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, there’s no time like the present. Let’s connect to talk about how you can take advantage of the conditions we’re seeing today to meet your homeownership goals.

From Keeping Current Matters…
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
Houston area firework Displays

Fourth of July Firework Displays In & Around Houston

I am reposting from https://mommypoppins.com/

Red, Hot, & Blue Festival and Fireworks Extravaganza – July 3 & 4 – The Woodlands

This 4th of July celebration boasts a weekend of activities throughout The Woodlands that kick off with a parade on Saturday, July 3 and strolling entertainment, live music, concessions and more on Sunday, July 4. Sunday evening concludes with fireworks.

2021 Baytown July 4th Celebration – July 3 & 4 – Baytown

Come out for two days of 4th of July fun in the city of Baytown. Saturday kicks off the festivities with an evening of live music. Sunday enjoy an Independence Day parade, more live music, a 4th of July ceremony, and a fireworks extravaganza.

Shell’s Freedom over Texas Live Broadcast – July 4 – Downtown Houston

Freedom Over Texas is presenting a modified July 4th celebration with performances by Jimmie Allen, the Houston Symphony, headliner Lee Brice, and other musical guests. The big finale includes a fireworks show by Reliant.

Tomball’s July 4th Celebration & Street Fest –July 4 – Tomball

Celebrate America’s independence at Tomball’s annual July 4th Celebration with an evening of fireworks, food, music, and more.

City of Nassau Bay 4th of July Celebration – July 4 – Clear Lake

Get ready to get wet, because a water war is the opening event of this 4th of July celebration! Other activities include a celebration in the park, a Veterans parade, and fireworks to wrap up the night.

Rosenberg’s Family 4th Celebration – July 4 – Rosenberg

Spend the evening celebrating your patriotism at the Family 4th Celebration in Rosenberg. The evening has live music, local food vendors, a kids’ zone, horse-drawn wagon rides through the Nature Park, and fireworks show to conclude the night.

Katy Freedom Celebration Fireworks – July 4 – Katy

The 4th of July fireworks display at Katy Mills Mall/Typhoon Texas is going forward this year! Note that the daytime Freedom Celebration at Katy Heritage Park will not take place in 2021 due to ongoing projects.

2021 Fulshear Freedom Fest – July 4 – Fulshear

Come out to the 2021 Fulshear Freedom Fest for an evening of live music from The SPAZMATICS, local food trucks, vendor booths, and a spectacular Independence Day fireworks show.

July 4 Fireworks + Concert at Kings Harbor – July 4 – Kingwood

Celebrate our country’s birthday with a live concert by Shotgun Road Band at 7 pm and, weather permitting, fireworks display off the pier at 9:30 pm.

Galveston Independence Day Fireworks & Parade – July 4 – Galveston

Galveston Island is celebrating Independence Day with its annual parade of floats, military vehicles, and performers, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the gulf to conclude the evening.

Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular – July 4 – Memorial

Celebrate the 4th of July at CityCentre with an Independence Day bash featuring live music from Hybrid 7 and  15-minute fireworks spectacular.

Fourth of July Celebration at Kemah Boardwalk – July 4 – Kemah

Come enjoy a patriotic fireworks show over Galveston Bay and live music and entertainment on the Boardwalk to celebrate the 4th of July.

Celebration of Freedom in Pearland – July 4 – Pearland

Celebrate Independence Day with an evening of strolling entertainment, live music, food trucks, vendors, a Presentation of Colors, giveaways, and fireworks.

Deer Park 4th Fest – July 4 – Deer Park

Celebrate the 4th of July with an evening of outdoor attractions and games, live music, and an amazing fireworks display to cap off the night.

Pasadena’s Fireworks at the Fairgrounds – July 4 – Pasadena

Enjoy an evening of delicious food and amazing fireworks at Pasadena’s Fireworks at the Fairgrounds event.

Kingwood’s Annual July 4th Festival – July 4 – Kingwood

Join your neighbors, friends, and family for a 4th of July festival full of live music from several different local musicians and bands and lots of fireworks!

Friendswood’s 126th Annual July 4th Celebration – July 4 & 5 – Friendswood

Celebrate the 4th of July with activities on both Sunday AND Monday. On Sunday head to Centennial Park for food, live music, and a fireworks show. On Monday enjoy a parade, vendors, entertainment, and more at Stevenson Park.

 

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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

Home Buying | House and Keys | Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Tips for Buying a Home in a Seller’s Housing Market

Here’s some sound advice for home buyers from HousingWire | February 4, 2021, 8:00 am By Aly J. Yale

Should you buy a home in a seller’s market?

1. Qualify for the lowest mortgage rate you can
Home prices have been on a tear in recent months, and according to Realtor.com, they’ll rise another 5.7% just this year. Fortunately, record-low mortgage rates can help offset those rising prices — that is, if you can snag them.

To make sure you’re getting the best rate possible, take time to boost your credit score first. Pay down debts, settle any overdue accounts and alert credit bureaus of any errors on your credit report. Saving up a larger-sized down payment can also help your case.

2. Get pre-approved before beginning your home search
A mortgage pre-approval is non-negotiable in this environment. Not only can it give you a good price range to work with, but it can also make sellers more likely to choose your offer.

When faced with multiple bids, pre-approved ones are typically stand-outs, indicating a buyer is prepared, ready to buy and a safe bet to follow through with the deal.

3. Work with an experienced agent
Having a great real estate agent can give you the upper hand in a seller’s market. For one, they can speed up the search for you. They can alert you ASAP when a suitable property hits the market, they can schedule day-of tours (or even tour homes for you) and they might even know of up-and-coming listings that aren’t quite public yet.

Thanks to their experience and expert negotiation skills, agents can also help you submit a more competitive offer when you do find that dream house.

4. Consider buying when it’s not a seller’s housing market
Most experts predict things will get easier toward the end of the year — particularly when vaccines are more widely spread. This will likely spur more on-the-fence sellers to list their homes, boosting inventory and tamping down price growth.

Here’s how Dannielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, put it in her recent 2021 forecast: “The housing market in 2021 will be much more hospitable for buyers as an increased number of existing sellers and ramp-up in new construction restore some bargaining power for buyers, especially in the second half of the year.”

The long and short of it? If you can wait a few months to buy that home, you probably should.

The bottom line
It might be a seller’s market, but finding an affordable home is still possible. If you take time to prep your credit and finances, get pre-approved for your mortgage and enlist a great agent, achieving the American Dream may be easier than it seems.

Sellers Market (2)

Buying In A Sellers Market

Winning Strategies for Buyers in a Sellers’ Market

  • Expect the Sellers’ Market to continue for at least the first months of 2021
  • Buying a home in today’s sellers’ market doesn’t have to feel like an uphill battle.
  • Here are four ways to make sure you’re positioned for success when making a home purchase, even when the scale tips toward sellers.
  • Let’s connect to make sure you’re armed for victory in the housing market this season.

Homes Sold By Jessica Harless | NextHome Realty Center

Infographic Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters
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

Group of  paper airplanes, orange one is the first place, can be used leadership/individuality concepts. ( 3d render )

Why Is It so Important to Be Pre-Approved in the Homebuying Process?

You may have heard that pre-approval is a great first step in the homebuying process. But why is it so important? When looking for a home, the temptation to fall in love with a house that’s outside your budget is very real. So, before you start shopping around, it’s helpful to know your price range, what you’re comfortable within a monthly mortgage payment, and ultimately how much money you can borrow for your loan. Pre-approval from a lender is the only way to do this.

According to a recent survey from realtor.com, many buyers are making the mistake of skipping the pre-approval step in the homebuying process:

“Of over 2,000 active home shoppers who plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, only 52% obtained a pre-approval letter before beginning their home search, which means nearly half of home buyers are missing this crucial piece of paperwork.

This paperwork (the pre-approval letter) shows sellers you’re a qualified buyer, something that can really help you stand out from the crowd in the current ultra-competitive market.

How competitive is today’s market? Extremely – especially among buyers.

With limited inventory, there are many more buyers than sellers right now, and that’s fueling the competition. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes are receiving an average of 2.9 offers for sellers to negotiate, so bidding wars are heating up.

Pre-approval shows homeowners you’re a serious buyer. It helps you stand out from the crowd if you get into a multiple-offer scenario, and these days, it’s likely. When a seller knows you’re qualified to buy the home, you’re in a better position to potentially win the bidding war and land the home of your dreams.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com notes:

“For ‘a buyer in a competitive market, it’s typically essential to have pre-approval done in order to submit an offer, so getting it done before you even look at homes is a smart move that will enable a buyer to move fast to put an offer in on the right home.’”

In addition, today’s housing market is also changing from moment to moment. Interest rates are low, prices are going up, and lending institutions are regularly updating their standards. You’re going to need guidance to navigate these waters, so it’s important to have a team of professionals (a loan officer and a real estate agent) making sure you take the right steps along the way and can show your qualifications as a buyer at the time you find a home to purchase.

Bottom Line

In a competitive market with low inventory, a pre-approval letter is a game-changing piece of the homebuying process. If you’re ready to buy this year, let’s connect before you start searching for a home.

Homes Sold By Jessica Harless | NextHome RealtyCenter

How Is Remote Work Changing Homebuyer Needs?

With more companies figuring out how to efficiently and effectively enable their employees to work remotely (and for longer than most of us initially expected), homeowners throughout the country are re-evaluating their needs. Do I still need to live close to my company’s office building? Do I need a larger home with more office space? Would making a move to the suburbs make more sense for my family? All of these questions are on the table for many Americans as we ride the wave of the current health crisis and consider evolving homeownership needs.

According to George RatiuSenior Economist for realtor.com:

“The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers’ geographic options and driving their motivation to buy, even if it means a longer commute, at least in the short term…Although it’s too early to tell what long-term impact the COVID-era of remote work will have on housing, it’s clear that the pandemic is shaping how people live and work under the same roof.” 

Working remotely is definitely changing how Americans spend their time at home, and also how they use their available square footage. Homeowners aren’t just looking for a room for a home office, either. The desire to have a home gym, an updated kitchen, and more space in general – indoor and outdoor – are all key factors motivating some buyers to change their home search parameters.

A recent realtor.com-HarrisX survey indicates:

“In a June poll of 2,000 potential home shoppers who indicated plans to make a purchase in the next year, 63% of those currently working from home stated their potential purchase was a result of their ability to work remotely, while nearly 40% [of] that number expected to purchase a home within four to six months and 13% said changes related to pandemic fueled their interest in buying a new home.

Clearly, Americans are thinking differently about homeownership today, and through a new lens. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:

“New single-family home sales jumped in June, as housing demand was supported by low interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.”

Through these challenging times, you may have found your home becoming your office, your children’s classroom, your workout facility, and your family’s safe haven. This has quickly shifted what home truly means to many American families. More than ever, having a place to focus on professional productivity while many competing priorities (and distractions!) are knocking on your door is challenging homeowners to get creative, use space wisely, and ultimately find a place where all of these essential needs can realistically be met. In many cases, a new home is the best option.

In today’s real estate market, making a move while mortgage rates are hovering at historic lows may enable you to purchase more home for your money, just when you and your family need it most.

Bottom Line

If your personal and professional needs have changed and you’re ready to accommodate all of your family’s competing priorities, let’s connect today. Making a move into a larger home may be exactly what you need to set your family up for optimal long-term success.