May 2019 Market Update

Median Sales Price up 5.9% to $270,000 in Greater Phoenix
Sales Rebound, Up 3.7% Over Last Year

May 019 Market Update

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For Buyers:

The median rent paid on single family rentals through the Arizona Regional MLS is currently $1,625 per month, which is comparable to what the mortgage payment would be on a median-priced $270,000 home with 4% down at today’s interest rate (including approximate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance).  If a buyer were to purchase that home today, within 5 years they would have nearly $35,000 in equity just from making their mortgage payment, not including any appreciation in value. If prices were to rise at a modest 2.1% per  year (the average long term rate of inflation) within that same 5 years, then they would have an additional $43,000 in equity just from appreciation. This scenario would result in $78,000 in total equity within 5 years and by year 3 they would be able to remove any mortgage insurance from their payment, which would save another $200 per month approximately.

For Sellers:

Low interest rates are continuing to fuel buyer demand and there are now 2.5% more listings  under contract today than there were last year at this time and 3.7% more sales. All in all an impressive rebound as interest rates have remained below 4.2%, keeping affordability stable  for the time being. Increased demand in the 2nd quarter has resulted in strengthening the weakening seller market after a full 7 months of decline. May is typically the highest month for listings under contract and buyer activity is expected to decline from here through December as it typically does every year.  Don’t think you’ve missed the boat if you need to list however.  On average since 2001, about 52% of all sales happen in the first half of the year and 48% in the second.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Phoenix metro , Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn we can help! Search for homes at Valleywide.realestate where you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more. Visit our blog at NextHome Valleywide for a monthly Phoenix Market Update.

Top 10 Buyer Myths

top 10 buyer myths

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably received your share of advice from family and friends. Add to that the constant stream of TV shows, news segments, and social media posts that over-simplify the home buying process for easy entertainment.

With so much information to sift through, it can be tough to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why we’re revealing the truth behind some of the most common home buyer myths and misconceptions.

Buying a home is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. If you arm yourself with knowledge and a qualified team of support professionals, you’ll be well equipped to make the right choices for your family and financial future.

DON’T FALL FOR THESE TOP 10 BUYER MYTHS

Myth #1: You need a 20% down payment.

Plenty of buyers are purchasing homes with down payments that are much less than 20% of the total cost of the property. Today, you can buy a home with as little as 3-5% down.

There are multiple programs out there that allow you to have a lower down payment, and a lender or mortgage broker can talk you through which option is the best for you. Since you’re putting less money down, you’re a riskier borrower to your lender than people who put down a full 20%. Because of this, you will most likely need to pay mortgage insurance as part of your monthly payment.

Myth #2: Real estate agents are expensive.

Your agent is with you every step of the way throughout your home buying journey, and he or she spends countless hours working on your behalf. It sounds like having an agent is expensive, right? Well, not for you. Buyers usually don’t pay a real estate agent’s commission. Your agent’s fee is paid for at closing by the seller of the home you’re buying.1 The seller knows to factor this cost into the property’s total purchase price.

Myth #3: Don’t call a real estate agent until you’re ready to buy.

The earlier you bring in an agent to help with the purchasing process, the better. Even if you’re in the very early stages of casually browsing Zillow, a real estate professional can be a huge help.

They can create a search for you in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you get notifications for every house that meets your criteria as soon as it hits the market. The MLS is typically more up-to-date than popular home search sites like Zillow and Trulia. Setting up a search a few months before you’re considering buying gives you a good idea of what’s out there in your town that’s in your budget. Reviewing the MLS and speaking with an agent as soon as possible can help you set realistic expectations for when you actually start the house hunting process.

Myth #4: Fixer-uppers are more budget friendly.

We’ve all watched the shows on HGTV that encourage people to go after fixer-uppers because they’re more affordable and allow buyers to eventually renovate the home to include everything on their wishlist. But, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes, homes that need a lot of work also require a lot of money. Big renovations, like add-ons, a total kitchen remodel, or installing a pool, take a lot longer than it looks on TV. If you’re really interested in a fixer-upper, ask your agent to show you a mix of newer homes and older homes. If you fall in love with an older home that needs a lot of work, get some quotes from contractors before you buy so you know the real cost of the renovations and see if you can work them into your budget.

Myth #5: Your only upfront cost is your down payment.

Your down payment is big, but it isn’t the only money you’ll spend during the home buying process. At closing, you’ll pay your down payment, but you’ll also bring closing costs to the table. Closing costs are typically anywhere from 2-4% of the total purchase price of the home.2 This amount includes the cost for items like homeowners insurance, title fees, and more.

You’ll also need to pay for an inspection before closing, which usually costs a few hundred dollars. This price will be higher or lower based on the size of your new property. Your lender will also require an appraisal. An appraiser will come in and inspect the home to determine how much it’s worth. Depending on your lender, you may have to pay this when the appraisal is conducted or it might be rolled into your closing costs.

Myth #6: You need a high credit score to buy a house.

You don’t need perfect credit to buy the perfect home. There are loans out there that buyers with lower credit scores can qualify for. These are good options for people who have had credit issues in the past, but some of them come with additional fees you will need to pay. Speak to a few local lenders or mortgage brokers to talk through which options might be best for you.

Myth #7: You can’t qualify for a mortgage if you’re still paying off student loans.

While some buyers may feel more comfortable paying off their existing debts before taking the leap into homeownership, it’s not a requirement. When you’re applying for a mortgage, the lender takes a close look at your debt-to-income ratio.3 If you want to calculate this on your own, add up all of your monthly debt payments and divide those by your monthly income. When you’re lender does this, they’re trying to make sure that you will be able to afford your monthly mortgage payments along with your other existing payments. If your income is high enough to allow you to make all of these payments each month, having a student loan will most likely not stop you from getting a mortgage.

Myth #8: You should base your budget on what your lender approves.

How much house you qualify for and how much you can afford are two totally different numbers. When you prequalify for a mortgage, your lender will look at your income, debt, assets, credit score, and financial history to determine how much money you might qualify for.4 For some people, this number might be much higher than you thought because lenders tend to approve for the highest amount they think you can afford. But that doesn’t mean that’s how much you should borrow.

Instead, figure out how much house you can actually afford. An online mortgage calculator can be a good first step in determining this number. We recommend thinking about what you want your monthly payment to be as a starting point. And remember to include your principal, interest, taxes, and, insurance. You should also think about ownership expenses that aren’t part of your monthly payment, like HOA dues and maintenance.

Myth #9: It’s all about location.

You’ve heard the phrase. Location, location, location is basically the real estate industry’s motto, but we’ll let you in on a little known secret: It’s not always true. Yes, location is great to consider when it comes to school districts and commute times, but you also need to think about how the home will function for you and/or your family’s lifestyle. If a family of five is choosing between a one bedroom condo in the bustling city center and a 4-bedroom home out in the suburbs, the latter is probably the best, most functional choice for them. Also, by buying in a less sought after neighborhood, your property taxes will most likely be much lower!

Obviously, you might still want to choose an area with great resale potential, and this is something that your agent can speak to you about. They’re an expert in your city and are constantly monitoring buying and selling trends.

Myth #10: If you look hard enough, you’ll find a home that checks every box on your wishlist.

You’ve seen that famous house hunting show. And while we have our suspicions about how real it is, the one thing they get right is that almost every buyer needs to compromise on something. Yes, the perfect house that meets every item on your wishlist is probably out there, but it’s also probably double or triple your budget.

A long wishlist can be a great starting point for figuring out what you want and don’t want, but we recommend narrowing that wishlist down to the top five things that are important to you in order of priority. We also recommend noting on your wishlist what your absolute deal breakers are, like “must have a yard for our dog,” and noting what you can live without, like “heated bathroom floors.”

This is a great list to discuss when you first start talking to an agent. A good real estate agent will be able to look at your list and find properties that might work for you. By coming to that first meeting with realistic expectations and knowledge about home buying rather than a bunch of myths heard here and there, you’ll be able to start the process off on the right foot and be in your new house in no time.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, there’s no reason to go through the home buying process without an advocate on your side. We’re here to answer your questions and do the hard work for you, so you can spend your time dreaming about your new home. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Get a FREE copy of our Home Buyer’s Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready

Now that we’ve cleared up these common homebuyer myths, find out if you know the steps you should take to prepare financially before you apply for a mortgage.

See our March 2018 post and get mortgage ready today!

Sources:

  1. Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/realtor-fees-closing-costs/
  2. The Balance –  https://www.thebalance.com/buyer-s-closing-costs-1798422
  3. StudentLoanHero – https://studentloanhero.com/featured/student-loans-buying-house/
  4. Zillow – https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-learning/pre-qualification-vs-pre-approval/

April 2019 Market Update

Mortgage Payments Drop $50 per Month on a Median Priced Home
Listings Under Contract Up 19% in 5 Weeks!

2019-04 Infographic

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For Buyers:

Buyers got a break last month as 30-year mortgage rates dropped significantly from an average of 4.41% to 4.08%, which is the lowest they have been since January 2018. On a $267,000 home (the median sales price in Greater Phoenix) the drop equated to nearly $50 per month in savings on principle and interest, which was enough to get many buyers off the couch and looking for homes. This rate drop combined with an increased conventional loan limit up to $484K and a 32% increase in weekly seller price reductions meant that price ranges between $200K all the way up to $800K saw a combined 19% increase in contracts written over the last 5 weeks. Contract activity is expected to increase at this time of year anyway due to seasonality, but last year over the same 5 weeks it only increased 8.6%. For buyers who are still waiting for prices to begin declining, their wait just got longer.

For Sellers:

The drop in mortgage rates could not have come at a better time for sellers. Up until 6 weeks  ago the negotiating advantage sellers have been enjoying for years in Greater Phoenix had weakened to the point where the market was on track to enter balance within a matter of months and price appreciation would have begun to slow even more. However by April 4th the average 30-year mortgage rate (as reported by Freddie Mac) had dropped to a 15-month low. This spurred buyer activity and resulted in Listings Under Contract, which were 10.2% below 2018 last month, to sharply increase and surpass 2018’s April count by 0.8%. Currently sales volume is down 9.6% from last April, however when these contracts close escrow over the next 4-6 weeks May and June should fare much better. Don’t get too excited though, the seller market is still much weaker than last year. Affordability and demand were helped by this interest rate drop but could quickly be negated as prices continue to rise. Sellers still need to be mindful of their asking price to get under contract before buyer activity seasonally begins to decline between May and the end of the year.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Phoenix metro , Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn we can help! Search for homes at ChandlerAreaHomeSearch.com where you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more. Visit our blog at NextHome Valleywide for a monthly Phoenix Market Update.

True Market Value?

March 2019 - MVP - Social Media Image

What is True Market Value?

It’s easy to look up how much money you have in your savings account or the real-time value of your stock investments. But determining the dollar value of a home is trickier.

As a seller, knowing your home’s worth helps you price it correctly when you put it up for sale. If you price it too high, it may sit on the market. But price it too low and you may be losing out on a good chunk of money (nobody wants that!). For buyers, it’s important to know a home’s worth before you make an offer. You want your offer to be competitive, but you don’t want to overpay for the property.

Even if you’re not a buyer or seller right now, as a current homeowner you might just be curious about the value of your home. Keeping track of your home’s worth year over year helps you understand the trends in your market. So when you are ready to sell, you can take advantage of a good window of opportunity.

The good news is, a professional real estate agent—who understands the nuances of your particular area and neighborhood—can determine the true market value of your property … and at no cost to you!

THE THREE TYPES OF HOME VALUES

When you start the process of buying or selling a home, you’ll frequently hear the words appraised value, assessed value, and true market value. It’s important to know the difference between each one so you can make better, informed decisions.

Appraised Value

A professional appraiser is in charge of determining the appraised value of a home. These appraisals are typically required by a lender when a buyer is financing the property. And while the lender is the one requiring this information, the appraiser does not work for the lender.1 However, the appraiser is preparing the appraised value for the benefit of the lender.

The appraised value protects the lender’s interest and assures that they are not over-extending on the loan for the property. For example, imagine a seller lists a home for $400,000. They reach a deal with the buyer to sell the home for $375,000. However, if an appraiser evaluates the property and determines that the appraised value is actually $350,000, then the lender will not lend for an amount higher than that appraised value of $350,000.2  In these scenarios it is critically important to be working with a professional agent who understands how to properly handle this dicey situation.

When determining appraised value, an appraiser will compare the property to similar homes in the neighborhood, and they’ll evaluate factors such as location, square footage, appliances, upgrades, improvements, and the interior and exterior of the home.  It is important to note two factors about appraised value:

  1. Appraised value is a theoretical model and appraisers are limited in their ability to fully account for market conditions  which means that in a rapidly moving market–either up or down–an appraised value can be completely at odds with the True Market Value.
  2. Every appraisal is prepared by a human being, and appraised value can vary widely by the choices made by that individual, including comparables and adjustments made–or not made.

Assessed Value

The assessed value of a home is determined by your local municipal property assessor. This value matters when your county calculates property taxes each year. The lower your assessed value, the less property tax you’ll pay.3

To come up with this value, your assessor will evaluate what comparable homes in the neighborhood have sold for, the size of your home, age, overall condition, and any improvements or upgrades that have been made. However, most assessors don’t have full access to your home, so their information is limited.

Assessments are done annually to determine how much property tax you owe. Many counties use a multiplier (typically between 60%-80%) to calculate the final assessed value. So, if the assessor determines that the value of the home is $300,000, but the county uses a 70% multiplier, the assessed value of the home would be $210,000 for tax purposes.4

If your assessed value isn’t as high as you envisioned, don’t sweat it. Many homeowners appeal their assessment in favor of a lower valuation so that they can save money on property taxes. If you’re interested in appealing your property tax assessment, let us know. We offer complimentary assistance and would be happy to help you build your case.

True Market Value

True Market Value is established by market forces and is completely independent of either appraised or assessed value. It basically refers to the value that a willing, qualified and educated buyer is willing to pay for the property. A good real estate agent is an expert in determining True Market Value because they have hands-on experience buying and selling properties. They understand the mindsets of buyers in your market and know what they’ll pay for a property given its unique combination of location, upgrades, condition, etc.

As a seller, knowing your True Market Value is important because it helps you choose how much to list your property for. It can also help you decide if you want to make any improvements to your home before putting it on the market. Your agent can help you figure out which updates and upgrades will have the biggest impact on your True Market Value.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ONLINE CALCULATORS?

When figuring out your home’s value, you will want to take a look at popular real estate sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia. Or you can use our own online estimator here:

NEXTHOME VALLEYWIDE ONLINE HOME VALUE ESTIMATOR

When you use an online calculator to determine your home’s value on these sites, it is important to remember that it is just an estimate. These sites all have their own algorithms for coming up with their estimates. For example, Zillow comes up with their “Zestimates” by calculating “public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.” 5

Online estimates can be a great starting point for opening up the conversation about your home’s True Market Value. But even Zillow recommends that you use a real estate agent for coming up with the actual market value of your home. The site says that once you get your “Zestimate,” you should still get “a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent.”

Having a professional agent involved in this process is essential because they understand the market better than a computer ever could. They’re showing property in your area every single day, and they know the particular preferences of buyers and sellers in the area. Young professionals, large families, empty nesters, and other groups are all looking for different things in a home. A local agent has most likely worked with all of them, so they understand what every segment in your market is specifically looking for.

HOW AN AGENT FINDS YOUR HOME’S TRUE MARKET VALUE

So, how does an actual real estate agent determine True Market Value? They’ll start by doing a comparative market analysis (CMA). This means they’ll compare your home’s features to similar properties in your area. For the CMA, the agent looks at the below factors to influence their assessment of your home’s worth:6

  • Neighborhood sales – Your agent will look at similar, recently sold homes in your neighborhood to see what they sold for and what they have in common with your house.
  • The exterior – What does your home look like from the outside? Your agent will factor in curb appeal, the style of the house, the front and backyard, and anything else that impacts how the house looks to everyone walking and driving by.
  • The interior – This is everything inside the walls of the house. Square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, appliances, and more all influence the overall market value.
  • Age of the home – Whether you have a newer or older home affects the number your agent comes up with as part of their assessment.
  • Style of the home – The style of your home is important because buyers in different markets have different tastes. If buyers prefer ranch-style homes and you have one, then your home may sell for a premium (aka more money!).
  • Market trends – Because a local agent has so much experience in your market, they have their finger on the pulse of your area’s trends and know what buyers are willing to pay for a property like yours.
  • Location, location, location – This one’s probably the most obvious. Your agent will think about how popular the area is, how safe it is, and what schools are like.

It is part science and part art and a computer algorithm simply can’t take all of these factors into account when calculating the value of your home. The reality is, nothing beats the accuracy of a professional agent when it comes to determining a home’s True Market Value.

YOUR AGENT IS THERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY

Determining a home’s true market value is a real estate agent’s forte. If you’re a seller, your agent will help you find your home’s market value so you can list it at the right price.

For buyers, your agent will help you determine the value so you can come up with a fair offer. Your agent can also set up a personalized home search on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for you so you’ll receive emails of listings that meet your criteria. This will help you see what’s out there in your city and how properties are being priced.

Get a Complimentary Report With Your Home’s True Market Value

Curious about your home’s True Market Value? Call, email, or text us to request a free, no-obligation Broker Price Opinion (BPO) to find out exactly how much your home is worth in today’s market.

Sources:

  1. Chicago Tribune – https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/chi-ugc-article-what-is-the-difference-between-market-value-a-2013-09-30-story.html
  2. SFGATE – https://homeguides.sfgate.com/market-value-vs-appraised-value-1206.html
  3. ValuePenguin – https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/what-is-the-assessed-value-of-a-house
  4. Movoto – https://www.movoto.com/blog/homeownership/assessed-value-vs-market-value/
  5. Zillow – https://www.zillow.com/how-much-is-my-home-worth/
  6. Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/assessed-value-vs-market-value-difference/

March 2019 Market Update

Price Reductions up 71% in $200-250k Range

Sellers:  Get Competitive–It’s “Buyer Season”

March 2019 Market Update

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For Buyers:

Good news for buyers over the past few weeks, interest rates came down a few notches. That combined with the increased loan limit for conventional financing gave buyers a little boost.  The new loan limit for conventional financing in Maricopa County is $484,350 as of a few months ago and the new limit for FHA financing is $314,827. Just 3 years ago, the limits were $417,000 and $271,050 respectively. The FHA limit increase hasn’t had as much impact on buyer demand as the conventional increase thus far. While the overall market is down 8.7% in sales this month, the biggest winner has been the $500K-$600K price range which is up 15%.

For Sellers:

“Buyer Season” in Greater Phoenix typically lasts from February to May with a peak in April.  Sellers who decide to list their home in March should be aware that they have just 8-10 more weeks of peak buyer activity before the summer slowdown. This is a very competitive time for sellers. Price reductions are at their seasonal peak in the luxury price ranges, however it’s most noticeable in the battleground price range of $200K-$400K. The number of weekly price reductions on listings between $200K-$250K are up a whopping 71% where competing supply is 32% higher than last year and price reductions are up 42% between $250K-$400K where supply is 26% higher. It’s a good idea to be competitive in both price and condition right out of the gate as buyer demand remains below normal overall in Greater Phoenix.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Phoenix metro , Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn we can help! Search for homes at ChandlerAreaHomeSearch.com where you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more. Visit our blog at NextHome Valleywide for a monthly Phoenix Market Update.