Should You Refinance Your Home?

With recent interest rates lowering, many homeowners are wondering if they should refinance.

To decide if refinancing is the best option for your family, start by asking yourself these questions:

Why do you want to refinance?

There are many reasons to refinance, but here are three of the most common ones:

  1. Lower your interest rate and payment – This is the most popular reason. If you have a 5% interest rate or higher, it might be worth seeing if you can take advantage of the current lower interest rates, hovering below 4%, to reduce your monthly payment and overall cost of the loan.
  2. Shorten the term of your loan – If you have a 30-year loan, it may be advantageous to change it to a 15 or 20-year loan to pay off your mortgage sooner.
  3. Cash-out refinance – With home prices increasing, you might have enough equity to cash out and invest in something else, like your children’s education, a vacation home, or a new business.

Once you know why you might want to refinance, ask yourself the next question:

How much is it going to cost?

There are fees and closing costs involved in refinancing, and Lenders Network explains:

“If you were to refinance that loan into a new loan, total closing costs will run between 2%-4% of the loan amount.”

They also explain that there are options for no-cost refinance loans, but be on the lookout:

“A no-cost refinance loan is when the lender pays the closing costs for the borrower. However, you should be aware that the lender makes up this money from other aspects of the mortgage. Usually pay charging a slightly higher interest rate so they can make the money back.”

If you’re comfortable with the costs of refinancing, then ask yourself one more question:

Is it worth it?

To answer this one, we’ll use an example. Let’s assume you have a $200,000 home loan. A 4% refinance cost will be $10,000. If you want to lower your interest rate from 6% to 4%,  then refinancing is going to save you $244 per month. To break even ($10,000/$244), you need to continue owning your home for over 40 months.

Now that you know how the math shakes out, think about how much longer you’d like to own your current home. If you plan to stay for more than 3 years, then maybe it is advantageous for you to refinance.

If, however, your current home does not fulfill your present needs, you might want to consider using your potential refinance costs for a down payment on a new move-up home. You will still get a lower interest rate than the one you have on your current house, and with the equity you’ve already built, you can finally purchase the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

There are many opportunities for growth in the current real estate market. To find out what’s right for your family, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you understand your options and guide you toward the best decision. Call my office today for guidance!

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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4 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

Since June of last year, we have seen an increase in the inventory of homes for sale month per month. Every spring and summer, the inventory increases because people want to sell their home. For those with children, they may want to be in their new home for the beginning of the school year.

If you are one of those sellers, you may find these 4 tips helpful in getting your home sold more quickly.

Make buyers feel at home

Declutter your home! Pack away all personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. Make them feel like they belong in this house! According to the Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors, 83 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize themselves in the home.

Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but, “¼ of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 and 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”

Keep it organized

Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized! Before the buyers show up, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. It is also a good idea to put out some cookies fresh from the oven or a scented candle. Buyers will remember the smell of your home! According to the same report, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers.

Give buyers full access

One of the top four elements when selling your home is access! If your home is available anytime, that opens up more opportunity to find a buyer right away. Some buyers, especially those relocating, don’t have much time available. If they cannot get into the house, they will move on to the next one.

Price it right

As we mentioned at the beginning, more inventory coming into the market guarantees there will be some competition. You want to make sure your home is noticed. The key to selling your house in 2019 is ensuring it is Priced to Sell Immediately (PTSI). That way, your home will be seen by the greatest amount of buyers and will sell at a great price before more competition comes to market!

Bottom Line

If you want to sell your house in the least amount of time at the best price with as little hassle as possible, a local real estate professional is a useful guide. Call me today to find out what you need to do to sell your home more quickly.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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Is Mortgage Debt Out of Control

The housing crisis of the last decade was partially caused by unhealthy levels of mortgage debt. Homeowners were using their homes as ATMs by refinancing and swapping their equity for cash.

When prices started to fall, many homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of their home). As a result, they walked away. This caused prices to fall even further.

Headlines are again talking about record levels of mortgage debt, making the comparison to the challenges that preceded the housing crash. However, cumulative debt is not an important data point. If we look at the debt as a percentage of disposable personal income, we are at an all-time low.

According to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, more than 1-in-4 homes with a mortgage have at least 50% equity. The report explains:

“Over 14.5 million U.S. properties were equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 834,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.”

Bottom Line

Unlike 2008, homeowners have a comfortable level of mortgage debt and are sitting on massive amounts of home equity. They will not be walking away from their homes if the housing market begins to soften.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Home Tidy During Showings

Keeping your home looking like a furniture showroom for long stretches isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to keep your house ready for showings while you’re still living in it.

Attack the Clutter

As you prepare your home for showing, start with a major de-cluttering. Throw out, recycle or give away things you don’t use. Getting rid of junk will make your home more appealing to prospective buyers and free up space for you to neatly store things when it’s time to tidy up for a showing.

Rent Storage Space

Keeping things neat is easier when you have fewer things. An off-site storage unit can help (and you can keep it as messy as you like).

Start Packing

Packing most of your dishes and large baking and cooking items frees up cabinet space that you can use to stash items you use on a regular basis. It also gives you a head start on packing for your move.

Rope off a Room or Two

If you can, temporarily rope off rooms or areas from the kids, pets or spouses to contain your mess in a smaller space while your house is listed. But remember to make those rooms look nice, too, before the showing!

Buy Hiding Spots

The home sections of discount stores are filled with attractive fabric boxes and fashionable bins that can simultaneously hide junk and match your decor.

Stash it under the Bed

Invest in a couple of under-the-bed bins that you can use to store everything from socks to kids’ toys in when faced with a last-minute showing.

When showing your home, it pays to work with a professional. Call my office and get started today!

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

Thevossteam.com
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Prepare Your Home for an Open House

Ready to sell your home and feeling a little stressed out about the open house? Don’t be! Open houses are a great way to showcase your home with potential buyers coming through your door. Make sure to do these outdoor items before your open house so that interested buyers will want to make an offer on your home:

Keep It Mowed

Having a lush and well-kept lawn is one of the simplest landscaping elements that can increase the resale value of a property. Initial impressions are important in selling a home and one of the first things that potential buyers will notice is the front lawn. Make sure to mow your lawn the day before an open house in order to keep an overall fresh look. Allowing your lawn to grow too long may deter some buyers or even subconsciously cause them to discount their potential offer. If you can’t make time to mow the lawn before the open house, consider hiring a lawn care service to do it for you.

Clear It Away

Whether it is leaves, weeds, or trash that blew into your yard, make sure that your lawn is in top condition at the start of an open house. Rake leaves and clear away debris that has gone unnoticed for far too long. Pick up sticks that may have fallen from a recent storm and make sure to kill and remove all weeds in the lawn and garden beds in order to leave a good impression. Do a thorough overview of your lawn before an open house to make sure that things have been picked up and put away.

Add Some Color

Invite potential buyers into your home by adding pops of color near the front door. A simple pot with bright flowers will leave a positive impression on those entering your home. You may also consider adding a few planters near walkways to subtly welcome potential buyers.

Light It Up

Most open houses are planned in the afternoon where lighting most likely won’t be needed, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore your outdoor lighting. Update your outdoor patio lights that will look sharp even without the lights on. Or consider adding walkway lighting that adds a safety feature to the home. Solar pathway lights are easy to install and are also energy efficient.

Fix the Small Things

Could your mailbox use a coat of paint? Is there a ripped window screen that needs to be replaced? Be sure to do these things prior to an open house. Other areas that are easily overlooked include a rust spot on the front door or a lightbulb that is burnt out on the patio lighting. These small projects are easy to forget when trying to sell a home but may become detractors for potential buyers. Make sure that everything is in tip-top condition so that potential buyers will see only the good parts of your home.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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Why You Should Hire a Professional

When everything in today’s world is just a short Google search away, you may find yourself wondering why you should hire a real estate professional to help you buy or sell a home.

Now more than ever, you need an expert on your side who is going to guide you through the complicated processes and not let anything get in the way of achieving them. Buying or selling a home is definitely not a DIY project you want to mess up. Here are a few ways a professional can help you navigate buying or selling a home:

There’s more to real estate than just finding the home

It has been noted that there are over 230 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to ensure you achieve your dream?

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

Today’s market is cut throat and hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Know what the home you are buying or selling is actually worth 

How are you to know exactly what is going on in your local housing market with it comes to the flood of information on the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates? How do you know what is accurate? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

Today’s real estate market is highly competitive. Having a professional who’s been there before to guide you through the process is a simple step that will give you a huge advantage and I’m here to help. Call my office to explore your options today!

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

Thevossteam.com
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4 Reasons to Sell Your Home this Summer

Instead of wondering whether or not you should sell your home this fall, consider selling this summer. Here are 4 reasons to sell your home this summer:

1: Buyer Demand Will Remain Strong

Buyers are out in force looking for their dream homes! Buyers are often competing with one another for the listings that are available! According to NAR, the median days on the market for a listing was only 24 days last month!

2: There is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market.

3: There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in both down payment & mortgage payment, if you wait.

4: It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

If you’re considering selling your home this summer give my office a call to help you navigate your options.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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Three Things You Should Know About the Market

A lot is happening in the world, and it’s having a direct impact on the housing market. The reality is this: some of it is positive and some of it may be negative. Some we just don’t know yet.

The following three areas of the housing market are critical to understand: interest rates, building materials, and the outlook for an economic slowdown.

1. Interest Rates

One of the most important things to consider when buying a home is the interest rate you will be charged to borrow the money. Recently, we have questioned, “Are Low-Interest Rates Here To Stay?” The latest information from Freddie Mac makes it appear they are. We are currently at a 21-month low in interest rates.

2. Building Materials

Talk of tariffs could also affect the housing market. According to a recent article, the National Association of Home Builders reports that as much as $10 billion in goods imported from China are used in home building. Depending on the outcome of the tariff and trade discussions between several countries, there could be as much as a 25% boost in the cost of building materials.

3. Economic Slowdown

Previously, it was stated that we could expect a recession in late 2019 or early 2020. As spring approached, however, it’s been reported that economists had started to push that projection past 2020.  Now, three leading surveys indicate that it may begin in the next eighteen months.

Bottom Line

We are in a strong housing market. Wages are increasing, home prices are appreciating, and mortgage rates are the lowest they have been in 21 months.  Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, it’s a great time to be in the market. Give me a call today and I will help you navigate your options!

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

RE/MAX National Housing Report for May 2019

Home Sales Accelerate While Inventory Hits 34-Month High

May home sales ticked slightly higher year-over-year, ending a 9-month streak of declines, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. At the same time, inventory grew for the eighth consecutive month, representing the most units for sale since August 2016 in the report’s 54 metro areas.

Homes sold quickly, as evident in the Days on Market average of 47 – the second-fastest May average in the 10-year history of the report. And home sales increased 15.3% from April to May – the second-highest April-May jump in report history.

Home sales were up 0.4% over May 2018 – the first year-over-year gain since July 2018. The number of homes for sale increased by 4.9% year-over-year to set a report record for the highest May growth. However, based on the pace of home sales, May’s 2.6 Months of Inventory was down compared to April’s 2.8 months and the 2.9 months of May 2018.

The Median Sales Price of $259,500 was up 3.4% year-over-year, representing the lowest May increase since 2011.

“The spring selling season was in full bloom during the month of May, offering both buyers and sellers something to like,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Buyers are generally finding increased selection along with moderating price increases.  At the same time, in general, sellers are selling their homes quickly while still enjoying some price gains. Bottom line, the market is operating efficiently right now, and homes are selling, on average, at a good clip.”

Closed Transactions

Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in May 2019, the overall average number of home sales is up 15.3% compared to April 2019, and up 0.4% compared to May 2018. Leading the month-over-month sales increase were Billings, MT at +64.2%, Burlington, VT at +61.6%, and Minneapolis, MN at +35.8%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices

In May 2019, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $259,500, up 3.3% from April 2019, and up 3.4% from May 2018. Three metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price: San Francisco, CA at -5.1%, Honolulu, HI at -3.2%, and Billings, MT at  -1.6%. Three metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages: Milwaukee, WI at +14.2%, Boise, ID at +13.6%, and Albuquerque, NM at +10.2%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas

The average Days on Market for homes sold in May 2019 was 47, down five days from the average in April 2019, and up two days from the May 2018 average. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 25, and San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO, both at 26. The highest Days on Market averages were in Augusta, ME at 106, Miami, FL at 87, and Hartford, CT at 84. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 metro areas

The number of homes for sale in May 2019 was up 4.5% from April 2019 and up 4.9% from May 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in May 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 2.6 from 2.8 in April 2019 and decreased compared to 2.9 in May 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In May 2019, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, only Miami, FL at 6.2 reported a months supply at or over six. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were Boise, ID at 1.2, Omaha, NE at 1.3, and Manchester, NH and San Francisco, CA, both at 1.4.

 

Contact me or my team for more information on the market status and we will be glad to help you!

 

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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Surprise Dad with 5 DIY Home Improvement Projects

For Father’s Day this year, get your dad something he’ll really appreciate – help him tackle his home improvement to-do list. Here are a few suggestions:

Trim the Yard

Don’t stop at simply mowing the grass and weeding the beds. Try adding some class with edging. Plastic, rubber, and stone edging pieces are easy to install and a simple way to clean up the yard.

Wash the house

Rent a power washer from your local home improvement store and with just a few hours of work, you can return Dad’s home and driveway to its former glory. Be careful around windows, doors, and screens because the high-pressure flow could cause damage Dad won’t be thrilled about.

Service the AC

Take a look at his air conditioning system. You can clean or swap out the filter on your own. Leaving it too long can clog the system and cause the air conditioning to malfunction. Take a look at the pan under the unit. If there’s water in it, there might be a clog in the drain line that you can flush yourself. If the unit needs more help, schedule a pro for regular service and pick up the tab for Dad.

Finish the Deck

Give the man who has it all a nice space to unwind by cleaning, sanding and staining the deck. A good power wash will brighten the wood by blasting off a layer of grunge and a coat of stain will help seal out the elements and keep the wood intact.

Build a Fire Pit

Get creative with gravel, stone, and bricks and don’t forget to buy chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers for the inaugural s’mores.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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