Owning Your Home: The American Dream
When people think about the factors involved in the American Dream one that always makes the list is owning your home. It is a strong sign of financial stability and success. No matter how modest your beginnings, freely working to make this happen has long been a hallmark of the American Dream.
However, lately there have been media rumblings that perhaps owning your home is not the gold standard for American success that it once was. The argument is that the financial advantages to owning your home are no longer sound.
Does Renting Make More Sense?
Yes, it is true that there are situations where owning your home makes less financial sense than renting. Most of these reasons hinge on the anticipated length of residence. According to The New York Times, “Buying tends to be better the longer you stay” mainly since the upfront expenses are distributed over time. Included in one of its Upshot commentaries, the Times introduces a calculator that adds up “Initial,” “Recurring,” and “Opportunity Costs.” These figures show different buy and rent instances as a tool to show at what monthly rental cost “renting is better.”
The Times calculator precisely illustrates the monetary benefits renting can often have. However, it overlooks one very significant component of owning your home. It is the feature that is inherent whenever a family chooses to move from renting to buying. It starts with the first savings started for the down payment on a home. This benefit continues till the mortgage is paid off.
There are certain emotional advantages of owning your home. Also, a clear benefit is the financial independence home ownership usually brings. Take into consideration the Federal Reserves last report “Changes in U.S. Family Finances” during the span of time from 2010 to 2013. It concluded that median incomes fell 5%, while “the median net worth of homeowners increased 4%, whereas that of renters or other homeowners did not change.”
We would love the opportunity to help turn your American dream into reality. Start today with a call to our office!
Home Loans In The Now
As far as home loans go, Ellie Mae is in the know.
The tech company makes available automation software to a big portion of the mortgage finance industry. Ellie Mae gets the complete picture of residential sales and financing as it deals with more than a third of all U.S. home loans. From its vantage point, it gets an immediate picture of the reality.
Recently Ellie put out a news release that included some thought-provoking facts that may interest home owners or future home buyers. They are well-timed pointers about the trends of U.S. home loans. Also provided are details about what is necessary when applying and what amount of money will be needed. If you are applying soon, consider what follows. Here are some of the latest facts about this year’s late summer and early fall activity.
Home Loan Changes
- Refinancing loans are down from 38% to 29%.
- September’s 30 year interest rate decreased just a bit to 4.91%.
- The average FICO score increased to 727.
- ARMs or adjustables rose as a percentage of loans given, at 7.2% of the market. This is up about half a percentage point from August which is no surprise since home prices have increased.
- The time it takes to close stayed the same at 45 days.
It is true a home must sell two times: first to the buyer, and then to the lender. If you are looking to buy or sell soon, being knowledgeable about trends in residential finances will make the process go smoother. We keep apprised of all the latest information and trends. Call today for a no cost, no obligation consultation.
Home Buyer! What Are Your Questions?
Recently the National Association of Realtors compiled a list of responses to common questions a typical home buyer might ask their agents. The list is as follows:
- “How much should I spend?” You must look at your entire financial picture, which can be simple when you use a “house affordability calculator.” Skip past the ads listed first; most will ask you for your personal details before giving you a result.
- Can I sell my home and buy one at the same time?” This would include an understanding of possible offer contingencies. Also, some sellers choose to rent while house searching.
- “What will the seller agree to take?” The NAR’s proposal is to take 5% off the list price. However, every circumstance is unique. I believe a better suggestion would be to bear in mind the seller’s information and current market comps. Also, always get your agent’s take.
- “What about a home inspection? Is it necessary?” Yes! As a home buyer, it must be done. When a home appears to be in perfect condition, it can be enticing to just skip the inspection. However, the report produced by your home inspector will be a worthwhile use of your time and money. You may find yourself looking at it long after you have settled into your new home.
- “When is too late to back out?” You will likely lose your deposit money if you change course without a reason. However, a good offer should include provisions to cancel a purchase for reasonable reasons like inspection conclusions and loan terms.
One thing is for certain about the typical home buyer, they will have many questions before they have chosen their perfect home. We are always here to answer any questions you may have! Call today!
Neighborhood of Your Choice?
When you are moving to a new town sizing up potential neighborhoods is a great first step. You may find yourself completely absorbed in finding the perfect home, but it won’t be the best choice if the neighborhood is not what you are looking for.
Doing a little online research can be valuable in gathering information about possible neighborhoods. Other than simply googling it, you can explore websites like City-Data or Nextdoor to gain even more insight. Once you have gotten a feeling for the neighborhood, you will be able to approach open houses and showings with a leading edge. And don’t forget to ask the neighbors! Neighbors are an incredibly rich resource of information that many home buyers simply fail to investigate.
Initiating laid back conversations in a neighborhood grocery store or coffee house are some of the most valuable ways to find interesting tidbits about the neighborhood and surrounding community. Most neighbors will love telling you all about the following three topics.
- Crime: Is crime an issue? Is there a Neighborhood Watch?
- Events: Are there block parties or neighborhood garage sales?
- Schools: What are the best schools in the area?
The answers to these questions will be a good gauge of the quality of life in a neighborhood. They will often serve to open conversation to wider subjects, so you can gain an even deeper understanding. After talking to several people, you will get an impression of how friendly the area is and how welcome you will feel there. If you like the community it is a good indicator that others will think highly of it too. This is a good sign for the future of property values.
When you work with our team, we will start you out with an extensive range of local knowledge – and of course the most up to date information on neighborhood developments. Call us today!
Have You Found the Perfect Coral Springs House?
It has been mostly uncontested since its initial presentation in 2014: the list of nine elements that create the “perfect house.” Initially devised for a Houselogic feature by builder John Riha, the nine attributes that make up a perfect house make a more valuable list than other comparable collections.
The nine are:
- Single Level (unless there is an amazing view from a higher floor)
- Nine-foot ceilings (excluding grand rooms)
- Southern Exposure
- Outdoor Living Space
- Maximize Insulation
- Separate Master Bedroom (meaning “suite”)
- Low Maintenance Siding
- Great Storage (A Must!)
- Ergonomic touches
The Tenth Feature in the Perfect Coral Springs House
John Riha supplemented this list with a tenth feature, however. It is one I Completely agree with as I am sure most Coral Springs buyers will also. The bonus feature for the perfect Coral Springs house is an “intangible” element – defined as the traits that showcase individuality and personality. They “keep a house from being cookie-cutter.”
Listing your house with our team is a great move in the hunt for another model: the perfect Coral Springs house buyer. There is only a single item on the “perfect” list portraying that person: it is a house buyer who has been searching for a home just like yours. Call us when you are ready to put your home on the market!
Sage Advice From a Real Estate Team
The Best Advice When Hiring a Realtor®
Real estate agents may be one of the only professions in a double nature type of profession.
Take for example a family practice medical doctor. He doesn’t practice family medicine by day and switch to being a surgeon by night.
No more than an attorney representing the plaintiff will turn around and become the prosecuting attorney in a later case.
In contrast, a real estate agent can start the day showing houses and negotiating on a buyer’s behalf. Then switch over in the second part of the day review purchase offers for a listing they represent and negotiate on the seller’s behalf. Luckily this isn’t a split personality disorder. In fact, for a Realtor, it’s all in a day’s work.
The new real estate business model is teams. A basic real estate team will consist of a buyer’s agent, a listing (seller’s) agent and an administrative assistant. Real estate teams can get more complex from there, but this is the where a team starts. That being said, there is no difference between the classes a listing agent has to pass as compared to the classes a buyer’s agent has to pass. They’re all the same. One agent could do it all. But why would they want to? Like the African Proverb says: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a team.
Which begs the question, with all of the moving parts in one transaction why would one agent want to do it all? And how can they be effective in managing multiple transactions all in different stages? The answer: It’s very difficult.
When you bring in a real estate team you have real estate “specialists”, not “generalists”. For example us, The Miranda Team. Our listing agent only works with sellers, and our buyer’s agent only works with buyers. This allows each of our agents to focus all of their attention on doing what they’re hired to do. When we get a property under contract with our client we pass the file to our administrator to handle all of the paperwork from contract to closing. We still go to inspections, appraisals etc and handle all of the negotiations, but our admin does all of the office work. Likewise our Inside Sales Agent handles all of the phone calls letting everyone know the property is available for sale and proactively searching for buyers. And each agent’s continuing education is geared specifically towards their specialty.
The subject of real estate double nature came up when we came across an article earlier this week discussing The 3 Things you shouldn’t talk about with a listing agent (for a buyer when out looking at homes with their real estate agent). The 3 things the author listed are: How much you like or dislike a house; what’s your purchase budget; and let your agent do all of the talking – which seems more like “don’t say anything” as opposed to what not to say.
As a team we certainly agree with all three. Keep in mind the same advice goes for sellers also. Your agent is there to use their knowledge and experience to gather the necessary information and prevent you from divulging too much and placing yourself in a weaker position during negotiations – and doing all of this with a smile. These are all situations where experience is key.
Bottom line, when hiring an agent there is no difference between the education requirements of a listing agent or a buyer’s agent. But every agent has different levels of experience. And every agent has strengths and weaknesses. After all, we are all human. Wouldn’t you want an agent that specializes in transactions similar to yours? When purchasing, wouldn’t you prefer an agent that only works and negotiates on behalf of buyers? Or when selling, working with an agent that works and negotiates only on behalf of sellers? A good buyer’s agent will have a different personality than a good listing agent. Working with a team allows each agent to specialize in their profession and allows us to place the right agent with the right job.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Coral Springs or anywhere in Broward County, The Miranda Team has an agent for you. English and Spanish speaking. Buyer’s agent, Seller’s agent and inside sales agent. And our administrator is ready to hold the office together. Take our advie and give us a call so we can talk about how we will make your next real estate experience better with our 6 Star ****** Guarantee. Most agents are OK with 5 stars, we promise 6 stars.
Or if you have a friend, family member or co-worker we can help, please pass our information along.
Answering a Common Question: Mortgage Refi FICO Scores
Satisfying Coral Springs Mortgage Refi Candidates’ Curiosity
If you use a credit card or Coral Springs bank checking account’s online system, you may have noticed the appearance of a free service: FICO score tracking.
You find it as a clickable area with a link title like “Your FICO® score” or just “FICO®.”
For many years, each of the major credit reporting agencies were mandated by law to honor any consumer’s request for a copy of their credit scores. But that was a once-a-year deal. For access to regular updates, you had to pay for a subscription. Particularly for consumers working to improve their credit scores, the paid services became a prudent monthly expense. The arrival of anytime free FICO score reporting eliminated much of that need.
Of course, tracking your FICO score is only useful if you know how the lending institutions will view it—and the answer to that is anything but clear-cut. Not only does each lender have their own confidential requirements, but since there are three separate reporting agencies, Coral Springs consumers have three FICO scores (and they’re rarely the same).
Even so, let’s face it: the single piece of information most everybody wants to know is what FICO score is needed to buy a home? or to refinance a home? Even if the answer is imprecise, it’s human nature.
To quell that curiosity, at least one source is willing to report what amounts to an average of approximations: it’s called EllieMae®. Ellie is a company that serves banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies by providing a raft of automated tools—but those are for industry insiders. As a sideline, they also put out a monthly Origination Insight Report with statistics drawn from the home loans processed through their systems. Including some that most future Coral Springs home loan applicants will be interested to learn:
Average FICO score for conventional mortgage refis closed last month: 732
Average score for conventional purchases: 752
Average for FHA purchases: 681
Average FICO score — all loans: 724.
Average time needed to close: 43 days.
The percentage of mortgage refis grew to 39% of all loans. Most likely because interest rates decreased “for the sixth straight month” to 4.2%. EllieMae reckons that constitutes “a new 2017 low”—something Coral Springs refi and home loan applicants will be interested to know!
Those bargain basement interest rates continue to create a terrific opportunity for Coral Springs real estate. Call The Miranda Team for a no-obligation discussion about how you might take advantage of the current real estate environment!
As always please feel free to share this article with a friend or family member that would find this information useful.
Mortgage Application Success: The Single Underlying Factor
A Single Underlying Factor When Applying for a Mortgage
Every mortgage lender develops their own unique guidelines for evaluating the factors contained in a home loan application.
These may change from time to time so that their portfolios stay “balanced”—that is, so that the cumulative risk represented by the entire batch of home loans do not exceed the level of risk they wish to assume.
Potential Coral Springs mortgage applicants are bound to be curious about which factors are most influential for that decision.
Their curiosity is why you can find hundreds of “Top 5” and “Top 7” lists of “mortgage application factors”—and why home loan originators pay top dollar to advertise on them.
Given that the factors mortgage companies examine are hardly secret, it’s not surprising that all of the lists are pretty similar. It’s also true that the individual factors all have something to do with a single underlying element. (I’d call it the “hidden factor” if it weren’t right out there in the open). Here’s a typical list seen as it relates to that single underlying factor:
- Down payment (underlying factor: size of loan). If, say, $50,000 will be available for the down payment, a $200,000 home loan would be easier to grant than one for $600,000. Many mortgage firms have relaxed their requirements—but inevitably look harder as a down payment percentage declines.
- Debt level; aka Debt-to-Income ratio (underlying factor: size of loan). Lenders analyze an applicant’s monthly cash flow to determine how much will be available to pay the monthly mortgage payment. The size of the loan—thus amount of the payment—determines if that’s easily doable.
- Loan type (underlying factor: size of loan). Conventional loans carry stricter qualifying factors than do other types. For instance, if the size of the loan is beyond the conforming loan limitation, jumbo loan requirements pitch in.
- Employment history (underlying factor: size of loan). Starter homes requiring smaller loans are often right-sized for younger borrowers with shorter employment records.
- Credit Score. Typical descriptions say things like, “Borrowers who need to finance more will need a higher credit score of 700 or above…” In other words (you guessed it), underlying factor: size of loan.
Success when applying for a mortgage loan does involve all of these factors and more but that’s just another way recognizing the common sense notion that home loans are granted to those who can demonstrate the ability to repay. The last time that notion was abandoned, the global financial crisis ensued.
The corollary for house hunters is equally clear: determine your comfortable budgetary range first–then go out and find your new home. The mortgage lenders will fall into line—and The Miranda Team be delighted to help!
Please feel free to share this with a friend that may find this information useful.
Is Amazon.com Set To Dominate The Real Estate Industry
Real Estate’s Unlikely New Player: Amazon.com
It’s official, Amazon has entered into the real estate business.
Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’ve entered in a big way.
In fact, I’d say it’s really happening in a “tiny” way.
A couple weeks ago, the unlikely news came in that the internet giant made it’s first move into the real estate word. Considering Coral Springs real estate (or any real estate for that matter) is by the very definition “local” The idea of mail order buying and selling may not include real estate. With this in mind, Amazon has found a way to succeed where many other industries have assumed failure (high-end fashion for example). As such, could Coral Springs (and more cities) be monopolized by Amazon Prime home sales? This question at least bears looking into.
After a little studying up on Amazon “real estate” it turns out Coral Springs real estate is not likely to be overcome by Amazon, not anytime soon at least. When searching on Amazon for “homes for sale“, the few listings for sale that showed up don’t seem likely to tempt many home shoppers looking for homes in the Southeast Florida region. The few homes for sale on Amazon were only able to be found when we specifically searched “tiny homes”- and the short list of homes offered were found listed between books written on how to build and design these tiny cabins.
If you don’t watch HGTV you may be wondering, what’s a “tiny home”? The answer may be relative, but if you go to Tiny House Community they would give the following definition: “…It’s a home of 400 square feet or less, either on wheels or a foundation. I consider a home of between 400 and 1000 square feet to be small.”
Although further research would show that some can be as small as 80 square feet. Most are in the 300 to 350 square foot range.
Even though you may not find too many “tiny homes” in Southeast Florida, and more specifically Coral Springs. It is a nation-wide phenomenon, very quickly becoming a movement. The “tiny house” concept is not as far-fetched as it may sound. If you’ve ever taken a vacation in a camper, or stayed for any stretch of time on a “house boat” or pleasure boat, then you already know your living space can be reduced to a significant minimum when planned carefully.
But I digress, back to Amazon. At the time of this writing the first listing was a pre-fabricated house converted from a shipping container. Marketed like an expert, the details point out the key selling points (in this instance, they included the fact that the container is “new”). For sale at a nifty $12,995.00 + $2,000 shipping and handling, or another for $36,000.00 + $3,754.49 shipping. Either one is even more thrifty if the $0.00 estimated tax is accurate. Customer reviews are mixed, with one in particular pointing out a possible issue: meeting building codes. Which can be especially tricky in Coral Springs and Southeast Florida in general. Plus, millions of Amazon Prime members who relish their free delivery are bound to be disappointed upon finding their new home isn’t eligible for free delivery.
All this being said, if your home buying or selling criteria require more than just a “tiny home”, The Miranda Team is here to help. And if you are looking for a “tiny house” give us a call anyway. We’ve done our research and may be able to offer some guidance before or during your “tiny home” search. There are communities in Florida that are embracing this movement.
As always please feel free to share this article with anyone and everyone you think may find this information helpful. We look forward to speaking soon.
The Best Time To Buy Real Estate Is…
Halloween: The “NEW” Start of The Holidays
Tis’ the season to be jolly! It’s that time of the year again.
Well, not quite yet.
But it is the season for pumpkin spice everything!
And pretty soon you’ll hear those sleigh bells ringing again.
It also means by November 1st, holiday advertising will commence at full speed, and will be around for the remainder of the year.
Believe it or not, the Thanksgiving start of the holiday season is a thing of the past. In fact, Hallmark has already begun their “Countdown to Christmas”, postal boxes are overflowing with gift catalogs and storefronts are merely weeks away from their transformation into snow-filled winter wonderlands.
Insofar as real estate in Coral Springs is related, there are a handful of advantages to buying, or selling during the holiday season. Believe me, there are clear advantages. But is it the best time to buy?
One trusted real estate company known for their education is FortuneBuilders. In one article they discuss why “the holidays are the best time to buy”. For your convenience, we’ve summarized their content for you.
- Less is more (especially when it comes to inventory). Sure there will likely be less inventory on the market. But more importantly, there will be less buyers. Less buyers equals less competiton which equals more opportunity for you!
- The power of a motivated seller. During the holidays, there may be no bigger form of leverage than the motivation of sellers. If someone is selling a home during the holidays, chances are, they have a compelling reason to do so. This is doubly true if the property has been on the market for awhile. And keep in mind, financial institutions are often motivated to get foreclosure properties “off the books” before the end of the calendar year
- Tax benefits. This particular advantage will obviously depend on your particular financial situation, and what your tax liability looks like for the current calendar year. But closing on the purchase of a property in the waning months of a year can give you major tax advantages heading into the following year.
- Lower interest rates. Historically, interest rates tend to be lower during the holidays. And not due to “Yuletide cheer,” but limited demand (there’s just less financial business being done in late November and December).
- Faster closing. Lenders, brokers, realtors — even inspectors — are often motivated to get a deal done before the end of the year. This can bring welcome focus and speed to a process that can take longer in non-holiday months.
At the moment, home buying during the holidays may seem like distant preoccupations. But beginning in November, these home buying ideas will suddenly to come together. So for those looking to buy in the near future, whether in Coral Springs, Broward County, or anywhere in the United States, the reality is, they’ll be shopping in the holiday market “atmosphere”. As the real estate educators put it, “some of the best deals you can make during the holidays involve real estate, not 72-inch televisions.”
Remember, you don’t have to wait until after Halloween for a complete preview of Coral Spring’s current inventory of soon-to-be holiday deals. Feel free to call The Miranda Team Real Estate Group anytime for a quick conversation on how we can assist you in snagging a great holiday real estate deal. And if now is the best time to buy. Or if you have a friend, family or co-worker that this article could help, please share with them. Happy Festivus!