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Hi Again. I'm back. That icy storm week was really something wasn't it?! Today I'm sharing an article that explains down payment amounts.
What Are the Benefits of a 20% Down Payment?
If you’re thinking of buying a home this year, you may be wondering how much money you need to come up with for your down payment. Many people may think it’s 20% of the loan to secure a mortgage. While there are plenty of lower down payment options available for qualified buyers who don’t want to put 20% down, it’s important to understand how a larger down payment can have great benefits too.
The truth is, there are many programs available that allow you to put down as little as 3.5%, which can be a huge benefit to those who want to purchase a home sooner rather than later. Those who have served our country may also qualify for a Veterans Affairs Home Loan (VA) and may not need a down payment. These programs have really cut down the savings time for many potential buyers, enabling them to start building family wealth sooner.
Here are four reasons why putting 20% down is a good plan if you can afford it.
1. Your interest rate may be lower.
A 20% down payment vs. a 3-5% down payment shows your lender you’re more financially stable and not a large credit risk. The more confident your lender is in your credit score and your ability to pay your loan, the lower the mortgage interest rate they’ll likely be willing to give you.
2. You’ll end up paying less for your home.
The larger your down payment, the smaller your loan amount will be for your mortgage. If you’re able to pay 20% of the cost of your new home at the start of the transaction, you’ll only pay interest on the remaining 80%. If you put down 5%, the additional 15% will be added to your loan and will accrue interest over time. This will end up costing you more over the lifetime of your home loan.
3. Your offer will stand out in a competitive market.
In a market where many buyers are competing for the same home, sellers like to see offers come in with 20% or larger down payments. The seller gains the same confidence as the lender in this scenario. You are seen as a stronger buyer with financing that’s more likely to be approved. Therefore, the deal will be more likely to go through.
4. You won’t have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
What is PMI? According to Freddie Mac:
“PMI is an insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It's a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%. Once you've built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”
As mentioned earlier, when you put down less than 20% when buying a home, your lender will see your loan as having more risk. PMI helps them recover their investment in you if you’re unable to pay your loan. This insurance isn’t required if you’re able to put down 20% or more.
Many times, home sellers looking to move up to a larger or more expensive home are able to take the equity they earn from the sale of their house to put down 20% on their next home. With the equity homeowners have today, it creates a great opportunity to put those savings toward a 20% or greater down payment on a new home.
If you’re looking to buy your first home, you’ll want to consider the benefits of 20% down versus a smaller down payment option.
My Final Tips
If you’re thinking of buying a home and are already saving for your down payment, let’s connect to discuss what fits best with your long-term plans. There are a lot of choices available from a low down payment of 3.5% to the 20 % down payment discussed above. There are even ways to help cover some of a buyer's closing costs. We can structure an offer to purchase a home so that it works for you. I'm here to help answer any questions you have about buying or selling a home in Southeast Texas.
Today was an exciting day for me. I received a letter from the President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. It said Coldwell Banker is pleased to honor my exceptional performance and it exemplifies the best and brightest in real estate today. Wow!
I'm not going to lie and say 2020 was an easy year. It wasn't. It was one of the toughest years of my whole real estate career. I've won awards for many consecutive years that rank me among the top of sales professionals at Coldwell Banker Real Estate. 2020 was the hardest. Covid, home schooling not by choice, virtual showings, you name it there were challenges. That's why the award this year means more. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Beaumont, Lumberton or any part of Southeast Texas I would enjoying discussing your goals with you.
Turn to an Expert for the Best Advice, Not Perfect Advice
As we approach the anniversary of the hardships we’ve faced through this pandemic and the subsequent recession, it’s normal to reflect on everything that’s changed and wonder what’s ahead for 2021. While there are signs of economic recovery as vaccines are being issued, we still have a long way to go. It’s at times like these we want exact information about anything we’re doing. That information brings knowledge, and this gives us a sense of relief and comfort in uncertain times.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home today, the same need for information is very real. But, because it’s such a big step in our lives, that desire for clear information is even greater in the homebuying or selling process. Given the current level of overall anxiety, we want that advice to be truly perfect. The challenge is, no one can give you “perfect” advice. Experts can, however, give you the best advice possible.
Let’s say you need an attorney, so you seek out an expert in the type of law required for your case. When you go to her office, she won’t immediately tell you how the case is going to end or how the judge or jury will rule. If she could, that would be perfect advice. What a good attorney can do, however, is discuss with you the most effective strategies you can take. She may recommend one or two approaches she believes will be best for your case.
She’ll then leave you to make the decision on which option you want to pursue. Once you decide, she can help you put a plan together based on the facts at hand. She’ll help you achieve the best possible resolution and make whatever modifications in the strategy are necessary to guarantee that outcome. That’s an example of the best advice possible.
The role of a real estate professional is just like the role of a lawyer. An agent can’t give you perfect advice because it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going to happen throughout the transaction – especially in this market.
An agent can, however, give you the best advice possible based on the information and situation at hand, guiding you through the process to help you make the necessary adjustments and best decisions along the way. An agent will lead you to the best offer available. That’s exactly what you want and deserve.
My Final Thoughts
There are numerous things I enjoy about being a Southeast Texas Realtor. Getting to meet new people and help them with one of the most important decisions they make is on the list. Working as a guide helping you understand the Southeast Texas real estate market is on the list. Being your advocate to help you get the best sales price possible for your home is also rewarding and near the top of the list. So let me conclude with this - If you’re thinking of buying or selling this year, let’s connect to make sure you get the best advice possible.
If you have read my blog before you know that I have been helping people buy and sell houses in Southeast Texas for over 12 years now. In those years I can't count the number of times that I have been asked about getting a home inspection and getting an appraisal. By the way, I recommend anyone buying a home in Southeast Texas get both. Your lender will require the appraisal. It will be up to you if you want to have a home inspection. The answer is Yes! Yes, you do want a home inspection.
What’s the Difference between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection?
If you’re planning to buy a home, an appraisal is an important step in the process. It’s a professional evaluation of the market value of the home you’d like to buy. In most cases, an appraisal is ordered by the lender to confirm or verify the value of the home prior to lending a buyer money for the purchase. It’s also a different step in the process from a home inspection, which assesses the condition of the home before you finalize the transaction. Here’s the breakdown of each one and why they’re both important when buying a home.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“A home purchase is typically the largest investment someone will make. Protect yourself by getting your investment appraised! An appraiser will observe the property, analyze the data, and report their findings to their client. For the typical home purchase transaction, the lender usually orders the appraisal to assist in the lender’s decision to provide funds for a mortgage.”
When you apply for a mortgage, an unbiased appraisal (which is required by the lender) is the best way to confirm the value of the home based on the sale price. Regardless of what you’re willing to pay for a house, if you’ll be using a mortgage to fund your purchase, the appraisal will help make sure the bank doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.
This is especially critical in today’s sellers’ market where low inventory is driving an increase in bidding wars, which can push home prices upward. When sellers are in a strong position like this, they tend to believe they can set whatever price they want for their house under the assumption that competing buyers will be willing to pay more.
However, the lender will only allow the buyer to borrow based on the value of the home. This is what helps keep home prices in check. If there’s ever any confusion or discrepancy between the appraisal and the sale price, your trusted real estate professional will help you navigate any additional negotiations in the buying process.
Here’s the key difference between an appraisal and an inspection. MSN explains:
“In simplest terms, a home appraisal determines the value of a home, while a home inspection determines the condition of a home.”
The home inspection is a way to determine the current state, safety, and condition of the home before you finalize the sale. If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you as a buyer have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. Your real estate agent is a key expert to help you through this part of the process.
The appraisal and the inspection are critical steps when buying a home, and you don’t need to manage them by yourself. Let’s connect today so you have the expert guidance you need to navigate through the entire homebuying process.
I'm here to help answer any questions you have about selling or buying a home in Southeast Texas. I help people sell and buy homes in Beaumont, Lumberton, Orange, and Vidor. I cover them all. Let's talk about your home buying and selling goals for 2021.
If your new years plans call for a new home then you'll want to read this article. It may be better to buy now in the winter than to wait for the traditional spring home buying season in Southeast Texas.
Should I Wait for Lower Mortgage Interest Rates?
Historically low mortgage rates are a big motivator for homebuyers right now. In 2020 alone, rates hit new record-lows 16 times, and the trend continued into the early part of this year. Many hopeful homebuyers are now wondering if they should put their plans on hold and wait for the lowest rates imaginable. However, the reality is, acting sooner rather than later may be the actual win if you’re ready to buy a home.
According to Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst for Bankrate:
“As vaccines become more widely available and a return to normal starts to come into view, we’ll see mortgage rates bounce off the record lows.”
While only a slight increase in mortgage rates is projected for 2021, some experts believe they will start to rise. Over the past week, for example, the average mortgage rate ticked up slightly, reaching 2.79%. This is still incredibly low compared to the trends we’ve seen over time. According to Freddie Mac:
“Borrowers are smart to take advantage of these low rates now and will certainly benefit as a result.”
As mortgage rates rise, the increase impacts the overall cost of purchasing a home. The higher the rate, the higher your monthly mortgage payment, especially as home prices rise too. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says:
“The forces behind the drop in rates have been shifting over the last few months and rates are poised to rise modestly this year. The combination of rising mortgage rates and increasing home prices will accelerate the decline in affordability and further squeeze potential homebuyers during the spring home sales season.”
What does this mean for buyers?
Right now, the inventory of houses for sale is also at a historic low, making it more challenging than normal to find a home to buy in many areas. As more buyers hit the market in the typically busy spring buying season, it may become even harder to find a home in the coming months. With this in mind, Len Keifer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, recommends taking advantage of both low mortgage rates and the opportunity to buy:
“If you’ve found a home that fits your needs at a price you can afford, it might be better to act now rather than wait for future rate declines that may never come and a future that likely holds very tight inventory.”
My Final Suggestion
While today’s low mortgage rates provide great opportunities for homebuyers, we may not see them stick around forever. If you’re ready to buy a home, let’s connect so you can take advantage of what today’s market has to offer.
If you are ready to get pre-qualified but don't know the best lenders to contact, I can help. For the past twelve plus years I have worked with some of the best loan officers in Southeast Texas. If you want the list of the top lenders I recommend contact me here on the blog. Getting pre-qualified is the best thing you can do when you are ready to start looking for a home.
Supply and Demand
The supply of homes for sale in Beaumont and Lumberton remains very low. With less than a 4 month supply of homes for sale in many parts of Southeast Texas and building costs being at an all time high the demand for homes remains robust.
Interest rates continue to drive home buying demand. The shortage of supply continues to press prices upward. What will happen in 2021?
What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values?
According to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Insights Report, nationwide home values increased by 8.2% over the last twelve months. The dramatic rise was brought about as the inventory of homes for sale reached historic lows at the same time buyer demand was buoyed by record-low mortgage rates. As CoreLogic explained:
“Home price growth remained consistently elevated throughout 2020. Home sales for the year are expected to register above 2019 levels. Meanwhile, the availability of for-sale homes has dwindled as demand increased and coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks continued across the country, which delayed some sellers from putting their homes on the market.
While the pandemic left many in positions of financial insecurity, those who maintained employment and income stability are also incentivized to buy given the record-low mortgage rates available; this is increasing buyer demand while for-sale inventory is in short supply.”
Where will home values go in 2021?
Home price appreciation in 2021 will continue to be determined by this imbalance of supply and demand. If supply remains low and demand is high, prices will continue to increase.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the current number of single-family homes for sale is 1,080,000. At the same time last year, that number stood at 1,450,000. We are entering 2021 with approximately 370,000 fewer homes for sale than there were one year ago.
However, there is some speculation that the inventory crush will ease somewhat as we move through the new year for two reasons:
1. As the health crisis eases, more homeowners will be comfortable putting their houses on the market.
2. Some households impacted financially by the pandemic will be forced to sell.
Low mortgage rates have driven buyer demand over the last twelve months. According to Freddie Mac, rates stood at 3.72% at the beginning of 2020. Today, we’re starting 2021 with rates one full percentage point lower than that. Low rates create a great opportunity for homebuyers, which is one reason why demand is expected to remain high throughout the new year.
Taking into consideration these projections on housing supply and demand, real estate analysts forecast homes will continue to appreciate in 2021, but that appreciation may be at a steadier pace than last year. Here are their forecasts:
My Final 2 Cents
In Lumberton and Beaumont there's still a limited number of homes for sale for the great number of purchasers looking to buy them. Home prices will continue to rise, although probably at a more moderate pace than they did in 2020. Until the supply of homes begins to increase, which is expected later this spring/summer, prices will keep going up.
If you are thinking of selling a home in Southeast Texas, let's connect. Waiting until spring might not be the best decision this year.
The thought of selling a home on your own so you can save the real estate commission might be tempting but before you do here's a few reasons to hire a top local Realtor.
Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Choosing the right real estate professional to work with is one of the most important decisions you can make in your homebuying or selling process.
- The right agent can explain current market conditions and break down exactly what they mean for you.
- If you’re considering buying or selling a home this year, let’s connect so you can work with someone who has the experience to answer all of your questions about pricing, contracts, negotiations, and more.
Hello, Let's Connect
If you just found my blog, hello. My name is Diane McNelis. I'm one of the top local real estate agents with Coldwell Banker Southern Homes. For the past twelve years I've been helping buyers and sellers in Southeast Texas. Before that was a licensed Realtor in the state of Florida. If you are starting to think about buying or selling a home in Beaumont, Lumberton, or Orange in 2021 let's connect.
If you live in Southeast Texas and one of your New Year Resolutions is to sell your home this year, you should read this article.
Is This the Year to Sell My House?
If one of the questions you’re asking yourself is, “Should I sell my house this year?” consumer sentiment about selling today should boost your confidence in the right direction. Even with the current health crisis that continues to challenge our nation, Americans still feel good about selling a house. Here’s why.
According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae, 57% of consumer respondents to their survey indicate now is a good time to buy a home, while 59% feel it’s a good time to sell one:
“The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home remained the same at 59%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell decreased from 35% to 33%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell increased 2 percentage points month over month.”
As you can see, many still believe that, despite everything going on in the world, it is still a good time to sell a house.
Why is now a good time to sell?
There simply are not enough homes available to meet today’s buyer demand, and they’re selling just as quickly as they’re coming to the market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), unsold inventory available today sits at a 2.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from a 2.5-month supply from the previous month. This record-low inventory is not even half of what we need for a normal or neutral housing market, which should have a 6.0-month supply of unsold inventory to balance out.
With so few homes available for buyers to choose from, we’re in a true sellers’ market. Homeowners ready to make a move right now have the opportunity to negotiate the best possible contracts with buyers who are feeling the pull of intense competition when it comes to finding their dream home. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, notes how quickly homes are selling right now, further confirming the benefits to sellers this season:
"The market is incredibly swift this winter with the listed homes going under contract on average at less than a month due to a backlog of buyers wanting to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates."
However, this sweet spot for sellers won’t last forever. As more homes are listed this year, this tip toward sellers may start to wane. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, more choices for buyers are on the not-too-distant horizon:
“The bright spot for buyers is that more homes are likely to become available in the last six months of 2021. That should give folks more options to choose from and take away some of their urgency. With a larger selection, buyers may not be forced to make a decision in mere hours and will have more time to make up their minds.”
A Few Final Thoughts
The number of homes for sale is close to an all time low in Southeast Texas. Take a look at how few homes are for sale in these popular towns and neighborhoods:
- Lumberton 54 homes for sale
- Fannett 12 homes for sale
- Sour Lake 20 homes for sale
- Beaumont West Neighborhoods 90 homes for sale
If you’re ready to make a move, let’s connect today to determine the best next step when it comes to selling your house this year.
Frequent readers of the blog know that I keep a close eye on home sales in Westchase Village. In fact, I snail mail a postcard to home owners in Westchase Village monthly to keep them up to date on home sales trends in the neighborhood.
This month's postcard is the 2020 review. Here's a sneak peak. It goes out in the mail this week.
There are currently six homes for sale in Westchase Village. The lowest price is $279,900. The highest is $629,900. The average price of a home in the neighborhood is currently $448,500. There are a few remaining lots in Westchase Village where new construction homes can be built. Homes range in size from approximately 2,000 square feet up to 5,000 square feet.
If you would like more information on Westchase Village in Beaumont, Texas or any other neighborhood in Southeast Texas, let's visit. As a local, professional Realtor I'm here to help you with your home selling and buying goals. You can reach me on the blog, my text or email.
Diane McNelis, Coldwell Banker Southern Homes
Before you sell a home in Southeast Texas read this!
3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year
It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces. However, despite the anticipation of what’s to come, we can still have deep sentimental attachments to the home we’re leaving behind. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale depending on how we manage them.
When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes when it’s time to move. Being mindful and prepared for the process can help you stay on the right track when selling your house this year.
1. Price Your Home Right
When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraiser to determine the fair value for your house. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be aware that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you set the true value of your home.
2. Keep Your Emotions in Check
Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average tenure, or the time a homeowner has owned their home, has increased from 5 to 10 years (as shown in the graph below):This is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.
For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate and separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.
3. Stage Your Home Properly
We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.
Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk down the hall. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.
I'm glad you found my blog and read today's tips. I've been selling homes in Southeast Texas, as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Southern Homes for the past twelve years. As one of the top listing agents year after year, I have the experience to help you sell your home for top dollar. Customer service is my top priority. If you are looking for an agent you can trust and rely on, let's talk. Today’s sellers’ market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s connect so you have the help need to navigate through the process while prioritizing these must-do’s.
Diane McNelis, Coldwell Banker Southern Homes
Are you thinking about selling your home in 2021? You might think trying For Sale By Owner in Southeast Texas is a way to save the real estate commission. Did you know studies show for sale by owner homes actually sell for less than those homes listed by a professional local real Realtor?
Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake
There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following items.
1. Your Safety Is a Priority
Your safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your potential buyers.
2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer
Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 43% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 97%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house.
3. There Are Too Many Negotiations
Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:
- The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
- The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
- The appraiser, if there is a question of value
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.
4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage
Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. You need someone who’s working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.
5. FSBOing Is Becoming More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint
The documentation involved in the selling process is growing dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners think they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.
A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:
“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place, potentially driving the price higher, too.
Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, let’s connect to discuss your options.
If you still aren't sure about listing your home with a top local professional Realtor, let's talk. I'm glad to prepare a market analysis for your home and discuss pricing with you at no cost or obligation.
Diane McNelis, Coldwell Banker Southern Homes