Free Home Value Report Search For Homes

Expert Tips for Home Buyers & Sellers

Our mission at The Gresh Group is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, our team of professionals can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Why Are Homebuyers Feeling Optimistic?

Why are homebuyers more optimistic than they have been in the past few years? Here’s what we found.
Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

Here’s a paradox for you: Right now, homebuyer confidence is at an all-time high, according to a survey performed by Fannie Mae. Furthermore, an increasing number of people, particularly renters, think now is a good time to buy a home. Yet at the same time, housing inventory remains very tight. It’s down 6.5% nationally from last year. Home prices are also up 6.9% nationally over last year. 

In other words, homebuyers are optimistic at a time that the market seems to be favoring sellers. So, what's going on? Why are homebuyers so optimistic all of a sudden? Here are three possible explanations:

1. Lending is loosening up. Over the past several years, mortgage rates have seen historical lows. This has meant that homes are actually more affordable, in spite of the increase in prices. However, lending has been very tight. Fortunately, that’s changing. Lenders are approving mortgages at the highest rate since 2011, with 77% of mortgages for home purchases approved.

2. Jobs are looking good. At the moment, fewer homebuyers are worried about losing their jobs, according to the same Fannie Mae survey. It's not just job security that's contributing to greater optimism about buying a home. Overall income is higher, making homes more affordable by comparison. The median household currently has 150% of the income needed to buy a median home, compared to a historical average of just 125%.

Lenders are approving mortgages at the highest rate since 2011.

3. Long-time renters are ready to buy. Millennials, the generation of people born after 1980, have largely opted out of homeownership until now. They have been renting for a longer time, putting them higher up on the pay scale compared to previous generations of first-time homebuyers. But now, many millennials are finally hitting an age when they are willing to commit to buying instead of renting. This is reflected in the Fannie Mae report, which states that much of the increase in homebuyer optimism comes from current renters.

What all does this mean for you? If you're looking to buy a home, all of the above reasons should give you confidence that now is indeed the right time to buy.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, click the links above to search for homes on the MLS or find out how much your home is currently worth.

And if you have any questions about the Northern Virginia real estate market, whether you're thinking of selling or buying, give me a call at 703-328-3434 or email me at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. I'm here to help. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Don't Let Fear Stop You from Applying for a Mortgage

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (73% of all buyers made a down payment of less than 20%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history. Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of whom perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you. Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests you follow:
  1. Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO® Score of all closed loans in September was 724, according to Ellie Mae. 
  2. Start gathering all your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

Friday, October 27, 2017

How Will the Fed’s Latest Decision Affect Buyers and Sellers?

The Fed’s announcement to cut back its balance sheet means the longer you wait to buy or sell a home, the harder it might be for you.
Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

The Federal Reserve just announced a move that will have a big impact on both home buyers and sellers.

At the latest Fed meeting on September 20th, Fed Chair Janet Yellen announced that the Fed would start to cut back its balance sheet. While that might sound boring compared to the usual announcements of Fed rate hikes, it's actually a very big deal. 

You see, when the financial crisis hit 10 years ago, the Fed needed to take emergency measures, so it injected a huge amount of money into the economy. The Fed did this by buying up various financial assets totaling $3.5 trillion, an enormous sum that made up almost 25% of the entire U.S. economy at the time. 

This money helped stabilize various markets and get the economy back on track. However, the Fed is confident that the economy is now doing well enough for it to slowly start taking some of that money back. And that's exactly what this announcement was all about. 

As you can imagine, this is going to have a massive impact throughout the economy, including on real estate. According to experts, it will inevitably put upward pressure on consumer borrowing costs, such as mortgage rates, which have stayed fairly low in spite of the Fed's actions so far.

if you’re thinking of entering the real estate market, now’s the time to do so.

In other words, if you are thinking of buying a home, the Fed's most recent move will eventually make it more expensive for you to do so because you will be paying more in interest. If you are looking to sell your home, this might mean there will be fewer interested buyers, which might drive prices down and might make it harder to sell.

Now, this won't happen immediately, because the Fed's balance sheet rollback will be gradual. As a matter of fact, the Fed is only reducing its balance sheet by a mere $10 billion a month to start with—just a drop compared to the $4.5 trillion total.

But make no mistake, while the Fed's moves will take time to bear fruit, they will drive up interest rates, particularly as the Fed ramps this process up in the coming months. 

That's why if you've been thinking of getting into the real estate market, now is such a crucial time. 

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, give me a call at 703-328-3434 or send me an email at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. We can discuss all your real estate needs, as well as details about the Fed's recent announcement and what it means for you. I look forward to hearing from you!