Selling a Home in 2018: Three Things You Need to Know

Are you thinking about selling your home in 2018? If so, there are some things you need to know before you start down the path. Here are three important trends sellers should be aware of in 2018.

1. Home prices continue to rise in most markets.

Home prices across the United States have risen steadily over the last couple of years. While some cities have leveled off a bit, the overall trend has been upward in nature. This is expected to continue in 2018 as well. The economist at Zillow, for example, recently forecast that home prices nationwide would rise by an average of 3.2% over the next 12 months (through November 2018).

What it means to sellers: If you’re planning to sell your home in 2018, you should have an experienced real estate agent help you determine your list price. Chances are, your home’s value has changed since you first purchased it. That’s why it’s important to do a thorough round of research using current sale prices and other market data.

2. Housing inventory is still tight across the country.

According to housing experts, a “balanced” real estate market has around five to six months worth of supply. In November, the country on average had about a  three-month supply of homes for sale. That’s well below what is considered to be a balanced market. Some of the tightest markets – like those in the Pacific Northwest – have even less inventory. But this is a trend that applies to most cities across the country.

What it means to sellers: Housing markets with limited inventory tend to favor sellers over buyers. In such a market, there are typically plenty of buyers looking for homes, but not enough properties listed for sale to meet that demand. This gives sellers an advantage when it comes to price negotiation. With that being said, you still have to price your home realistically based on current market conditions. And this is another area where an experienced real estate agent can help you.

3. Loan limits have increased, and the mortgage industry has eased.

Federal housing officials recently increase loan limits for conventional, FHA and VA home loans. This is good news for sellers, because it increases the chance that a buyer can afford to purchase your home. Additionally, there has been some easing within the mortgage industry over the last couple of years. For example, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will now purchase home loans with debt-to-income ratios up to 50% (they used to set the bar lower).

These changes will likely result in a more robust mortgage market, with a higher percentage of loans that actually close. This is good news for home buyers and sellers alike.

So there you have them, three important trends a home seller should know about in 2018. Home prices are expected to continue rising, though they could slow down a bit over the coming months. Inventory conditions will likely remain tight in 2018. And it could be easier for some borrowers to qualify for mortgage financing.

Low Inventory Will Be an Issue for U.S. Real Estate Market in 2018

A low inventory of homes for sale could be an influencing factor for many real estate markets across the country in 2018. That is the general consensus among housing analysts and economists, according to a recent survey conducted by Zillow.

Limited housing inventory has been an issue for home buyers in many markets across the country, going back over the last couple of years. According to the latest estimates (as of December 2017), the U.S. real estate market has about a three-month supply of homes for sale, on average. A balanced real estate market is said to have five to six months of supply, according to economists.

That means most real estate markets across the country are experiencing constrained inventory conditions. Perhaps that’s why home prices have been rising steadily over the last couple of years.

Economists Say Limited Inventory Still a Factor

In November 2017, Zillow published the results of its latest “Home Price Expectations Survey.” This is a quarterly survey of more than 100 housing market experts and economists nationwide. In the latest survey, low home-building activity and inventory levels were singled out as one of the most surprising and significant housing trends of 2017. Additionally, most of the respondents said they expected those conditions to continue throughout 2018.

It’s a supply and demand story, as always. Many real estate markets across the country are experiencing steady demand from buyers, but there just aren’t enough homes listed for sale to meet that demand. Under such conditions, home prices tend to rise over time. That’s what we have seen during 2017, and it is expected to continue (to some degree) into next year.

According to the survey mentioned above:

“Looking ahead into 2018, the largest group of panelists indicated the era of persistently very low mortgage interest rates the market has enjoyed over the past few years may be coming to a close – 36.5 percent of those with an opinion said low mortgage rates were most likely to change next year. Just 16.7 percent said low levels of building activity were likely to change in 2018, with only 6.3 percent saying low inventory levels were likely to significantly change.”

Surviving and Thriving in a Tight Real Estate Market

In a tight real estate market, home buyers have to work extra hard to find a suitable property, and to get their offers accepted. This is one of many reasons why it’s wise to have professional help from a real estate agent.

It’s also a good idea to have your financing arranged ahead of time, before entering the market. For cash buyers, this means having the money in the bank with statements to prove it. Home buyers who are planning to use a mortgage loan can benefit from being pre-approved by a lender. A pre-approval letter will show sellers that you are serious about – and capable of – purchasing their home.

With tight real estate inventory conditions expected to continue into 2018, home buyers should be prepared to move quickly when the right property comes along. Due to the historically low levels of homes for sale, competition will likely remain high throughout 2018.

5 Things To Do Before Buying A Home

 

First-time home buyers usually have a lot of questions about the home buying process, and rightfully so. It can seem overwhelming if you’ve never been through it before. Where do you even begin?

Have no fear. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most important preliminary steps you should take, before entering the market.

5 Things to Do Before Buying a Home

Your home buying experience may differ from the one outlined below. For instance, if you’re paying cash and don’t need a mortgage loan, steps 3 and 4 won’t apply to you. With that being said, most home buyers will benefit from following these five preliminary steps.

1. Check Your Credit Reports and Scores

Mortgage lenders use credit reports and scores to see how you have borrowed and repaid money in the past. Your credit reports are basically a history of your past borrowing activity. Your credit score is a three-digit number that’s derived from the information within your reports.

According to industry experts, home buyers generally need a credit score of 580 or higher to qualify for a mortgage loan, and 750 or higher to qualify for the lowest interest rates. But these numbers are not set in stone.

You can order order your credit reports online, for free, by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. You can obtain your credit scores from myFICO.com, for around $20 per score. Check your reports for errors, and have them corrected if you find any mistakes. Check your scores to see where you stand in terms of mortgage qualification.

2. Determine Your Budget

Mortgage lenders cannot tell you where your financial comfort zone lies. That’s not their responsibility or their business model. The only thing a lender can tell you is the amount they are willing to lend you. You should determine your home buying budget for yourself, before you start talking to lenders.

Start by taking a good, hard look at your net monthly income (a.k.a., take-home pay), and your recurring monthly expenses. Subtract your expenses from your income, and work down from that number to determine your maximum mortgage payment amount. And don’t forget to leave some emergency funds in the bank.

3. Research and Choose a Type of Mortgage

Do you know the difference between a fixed-rate mortgage and an ARM? If not, you’ve got some homework to do. The key to success when choosing a mortgage is to consider your long-term plans and find a loan that matches those plans. To do this, you must learn the pros and cons of the primary loan types.

Fixed-rate home loans are generally best for people planning to stay in a home for a long time. Adjustable-rate (ARM) loans might offer savings in the short term, but are less predictable over the long term.

4. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

Pre-approval is when a mortgage company reviews your financial and credit history to determine your “creditworthiness.” When you get pre-approved for a certain loan amount, there’s a good chance you’ll receive a final approval for that amount as well (though it’s not a guarantee).

Having a pre-approval letter in hand shows sellers that you’re serious about — and capable of — buying their home. And this goes a long way, especially in a competitive real estate market.

5. Find a Real Estate Agent

It’s always a good idea to hire a professional real estate agent when buying a home. When you compare the standard agent commission to the size of the investment you’re making in your home, you’ll see the value and reason in hiring an agent. And remember, the agents’ commissions are usually paid by the seller, out of their proceeds. So there’s really no reason for you to fly solo.

Article courtesy of BlogStream content service.

 

 

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