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Now is the Time to Buy the Luxury Home

Now is the Time to Buy the Luxury Home

Now is the Time to Buy the Luxury Home

If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! We recently shared data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control. 

The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer which can eventually lead to a price change.

Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

In a Washington Post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

“Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

Bottom Line

The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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Don’t Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Don't Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Don’t Be Surprised by Closing Costs

According to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.

After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.

“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”

Bankrate.com gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.

Don't Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. According to Freddie Mac,

“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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Panama City Beach Condo Sales

Panama City Beach Condo Sales

 Panama City Beach Condo Sales

NEW YORK – Oct. 20, 2017 – Home shoppers without children are a growing segment of the housing market, and they tend to want smaller houses than previous generations.

In the latest numbers released by the CDC, the fertility rate among women 15 to 44 years old hit its lowest level since data collection began 108 years ago. And as more couples delay having kids or opt to have fewer children, their housing needs will differ from previous generations who tended to have bigger families.

Fewer than eight in 10 childless buyers purchased a detached single-family home between July 2015 and June 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Condos and townhomes are becoming a popular option among those who do not have children.

“Buyers may value smaller/attached homes in the future,” The Mortgage Reports notes in a recent article. “Increased demand for these types of homes could amp up your resale value.”

In general, detached homes have been known to appreciate faster and hold their value longer than attached homes, according to Tamara Dorris, adjunct real estate professor at American River College in Sacramento, Calif. But that could change.

“We’re seeing more and more people not having children by choice or purchasing homes as singles,” Dorris says. “These people tend to live in urban areas and have homes with less maintenance – such as attached homes.”

Could the rise of childless couples lead to less demand for detached single-family homes?

“If others fit the mold of not having children, there could be a decline in buyers who might have an interest in your detached home,” Mark Lee Levine, professor at the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver, told The Mortgage Reports. “But there is no right or wrong answer as to whether it’s better to buy attached or not attached. Buyers need to consider many issues that will impact the potential interest in their home and when they become sellers.”

Source: “Studies Show Mistakes Childless Couples Make When Buying Property,” The Mortgage Reports (Oct. 15, 2017)

© 2017 Florida Realtors

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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Four Reasons to Buy a Home this Fall

Four Reasons to Buy a Home this Fall

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.0% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If purchasing a home for you and your family is the right thing for you to do this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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The Rental Trap

The Rental Trap

The Rental Trap

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top benefits is being able to protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don’t Become Trapped

A recent article by ConsumerAffairs addressed the continuous rise in rents, stating:

“The cost of putting a roof over your head continues to go up. Not only are home prices still rising, but the cost of rent rose 0.5% in June.”

Additionally, in the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University’s 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Report, it was revealed that,

“Despite a slight improvement from 2014, fully one-third of US households paid more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2015. Renters continue to be more likely to face cost burdens…the number of cost-burdened renters (21 million) considerably outstrips the number of cost-burdened owners (18 million) even though nearly two-thirds of US households own their homes.”

These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.

It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia shows that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 24,000 renters found that 80% of millennial renters plan to eventually buy a house, but 72% cite affordability as their primary obstacle. Aside from affordability, one in three millennial renters have concerns about their credit scores, and another 53% said that a down payment is an obstacle.

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage now!

 

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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What to do when Disaster Hits

What to do when Disaster Hits

What to do when Disaster Hits

NEW YORK – Sept. 6, 2017 – Hurricane Harvey has damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and put countless families into a financial tailspin. If you’re affected by a natural disaster, what does it mean for your mortgage? Here are frequently asked questions and answers.

What should I do first?

Get in touch with the following entities:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can register with FEMA online, in person at a disaster recovery center or by calling 800-621-3362.
  • Your homeowners insurance company, plus your flood or earthquake insurance company, if either applies to your situation.
  • Your mortgage servicer. That’s the company that you send your monthly payments to; it might not be your original mortgage lender.

I can’t pay my mortgage. What are my options?

If the disaster makes it impossible to make your monthly house payments, ask your servicer for mortgage forbearance. A forbearance ‘allows you to stop making your payments for an agreed-upon time,’ says Lisa Tibbitts, director of public relations for Freddie Mac.

In a forbearance agreement, you might make partial payments or stop making payments for a specific time. Generally, a forbearance lasts up to six months and can be extended up to another six months. Interest still accrues during the time you aren’t making full monthly payments. But under a forbearance agreement, the lender won’t charge late fees or report you to credit bureaus.

The lender will want you to catch up on your missed payments after the forbearance period is over. That might involve paying extra every month for a few years, modifying the loan or reaching some other negotiated agreement.

To talk with a Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselor before agreeing to forbearance, call 800-569-4287.

What aid is available?

Direct federal aid consists mostly of loans from the Small Business Administration. As odd as that may seem, the SBA is in charge of delivering disaster-related loans to individuals and families.

The SBA extends loans at favorable interest rates to replace or repair primary residences. You can borrow up to $200,000 to cover renovation or construction costs. Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, the SBA will lend you up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as clothing, furniture, appliances and vehicles.

FEMA offers grants to fill in gaps between insurance payouts and SBA loans. The maximum grant is $33,300 per household for disasters that happen in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2017. Grants can be used for expenses such as basic home repairs that aren’t covered by insurance, temporary rent and disaster-caused medical and child care.

The Federal Housing Administration has a program that’s designed to help disaster survivors rebuild or buy replacement homes. Under the Section 203(h) program, the FHA insures mortgages for people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in disasters. Borrowers don’t have to make a downpayment.

My house was destroyed. Should I keep paying the mortgage?

You should do your best to maintain your credit score. That means paying the home loan if you can afford it until you have talked with the servicer and have reached a settlement with the insurance company.

The way lenders look at it: You promised to repay your loan when you signed your mortgage documents at closing. “The borrower is liable for the loan debt, and making their payment is part of the borrower’s contractual obligation,” Alicia Jones, Fannie Mae spokeswoman, said in an email.

Note: If you apply for a loan from the SBA, it runs a credit check before inspecting your property. That’s one reason to preserve your credit score by paying your bills on time as best you can.

What happens if I stop mortgage payments without telling my servicer?

If you stop making payments without permission from your mortgage servicer, you could be charged late fees and your credit score could fall.

Homeowners “should call their lender,” says Brian Sullivan, supervisory public affairs specialist for HUD. “Don’t stop answering the phone. Don’t stop opening your mail.”

Talk with your mortgage servicer before you miss a payment. The servicer might offer forbearance.

What if I can’t contact my mortgage servicer?

Whether your loan is guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, insured by the FHA or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the servicer is expected to reach out to you.

In response to Hurricane Harvey, Freddie Mac is allowing servicers to “verbally grant” 90-day forbearances, and Fannie Mae is letting servicers grant 90-day forbearances ‘even if they cannot contact the impacted homeowner immediately.’

Even so, you should call the servicer or answer the mortgage company’s calls.

What happens if I’m in foreclosure?

Mortgage servicers receive foreclosure guidance from federal agencies, and the recommendations vary depending on the disaster.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the VA and the FHA have suspended foreclosures for 90 days in the Hurricane Harvey disaster area.

The house I was buying was destroyed or damaged. What happens now?

If a disaster happens between appraisal and closing, “the lender is expected to take prudent and reasonable actions to determine whether the condition of the property may have materially changed since the effective date of the appraisal report,” according to Fannie Mae’s guide to lenders.

If the damage is relatively minor and covered by insurance, the mortgage can be closed. But if the damage is uninsured, or if it’s major, then the house must be repaired before the mortgage can go through.

Copyright © 2017 The Steuben Courier Advocate, Holden Lewis. All rights reserved. The article “What to Do After a Disaster Hits Your Home, Mortgage,” originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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Tourism in Panama City Beach

Tourism in Panama City Beach

Tourism in Panama City Beach

Tourism in Panama City has climbed over the last year, with May marking the fourth consecutive month of double-digit growth for the city.

Visit Panama City Beach and the Bay County Tourist Development Council announced that tourism numbers were up 14 percent in May as compared to the same month in 2016. In addition, overall numbers have increased by 14.8 percent for the fiscal year, which began in October 2016.

The tourism growth is being attributed to a new advertising campaign entitled “Make it Yours,” along with special events, visitor loyalty and ideal weather conditions. The fiscal improvements are also due to Tourist Development Tax, which is a five percent tax on short-term rentals including hotels and condominiums.

“Our continued success has brought an energy and excitement to Panama City Beach that is contagious for both our visitors and the entire community,” Visit Panama City Beach President and CEO Dan Rowe said in a statement.

The Tourist Development Tax funds marketing and promotional activities led by the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the money is also used for beach cleaning and grooming, product improvement and beach renourishment.

Panama City was named the “Top Trending Spot for a Summer 2017 Vacation Rental Stay” by TripAdvisor earlier this year, and the area prides itself on providing opportunities for visitors to live the Panama City Beach brand throughout the summer season.

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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Homeownership Beats Renting

Don't Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Homeownership Beats Renting

LOS ANGELES – July 27, 2017 – Arizona, Nevada and Washington, D.C. are among the 11 states where it’s more affordable to rent than it is to buy a home. But owning a home still beats renting in Florida, according to a study by website GOBankingRates.

GoBankingRates surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and identified which states are best for buying a home and which are better suited for renting. The study, based on rental data on Zillow, was sourced to June 28, 2017. For the cost of owning, the study assumed a 20-percent downpayment on a 30-year fixed loan.

In Florida, homeowners have the advantage. They GOBankingRates study found that the average monthly rent of $1,543 is $167 higher than the cost of an average monthly mortgage of $1,376. The difference amounts to about $2,000 per year that the average Florida family would save by owning rather than renting, though actual savings would differ by metro area and other variables.

The 11 states where renting a home is less expensive than buying one include Arizona, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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Millennial Homeowner? Now is the time to sell!

Millennial Homeowner? Now is the time to sell!

Millennial Homeowner? Now is the time to sell!

Contrary to what many believe, Millennials are not the ‘renter’ generation. Millennials purchased a larger percentage (34%) of homes in the U.S. than any other age group in 2017 and the most recent Census Bureau report shows that the homeownership rate among Millennials is finally on the rise.

Many Millennials took advantage of post housing crash prices and the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit and jumped into homeownership in 2010. If you are one of these buyers, now may be the time to sell for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. Equity Build-Up

Home prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2012 and your house may have appreciated by more than you think. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their Q2 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report revealed that:

“…homeowners who sold in the second quarter realized an average price gain of $51,000 since purchase — the highest average price gain for home sellers since Q2 2007, when it was $57,000.

The average home seller price gain of $51,000 in Q2 2017 represented an average return of 26 percent on the previous purchase price of the home, the highest average home seller return since Q3 2007, when it was 27 percent.”

2. Projected Home Price Increases

If you just got married or just found out you are about to become a parent, you may have plans to move up a bigger home or perhaps move to a different area. Waiting to buy a more expensive home in this market probably doesn’t make sense. The experts contacted for the Home Price Expectation Survey are projecting home prices to increase by nearly 5% over the next year. Yes, your house’s price will increase but not as much as a home currently valued higher than yours.

3. Projected Interest Rate Increases

The Mortgage Bankers’ AssociationFreddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtorsare each projecting mortgage rates to increase over the next year.

Higher PRICES + Higher INTEREST RATES = LARGER MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

Bottom Line

If you are lucky enough to be one of those Millennials who purchased a house in 2010 (or even later), now might be the perfect time to move up to the home of your dreams!

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

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Selling your Home

Selling your Home

Selling your Home

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.

REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX

Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in May.

The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger the demand is there).

Selling your Home

In addition to revealing high demand, the index also mentioned that “compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 24 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in D.C and West Virginia.” 

Takeaway: Demand for housing continues to be strong throughout 2017, but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory rose 2.1% to 1.96 million homes available for sale
  • That represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Unsold inventory is 8.4% lower than a year ago, marking the 24th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values.

As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.2- month supply, and houses are going under contract fast. The Confidence Index shows that 55% of properties were on the market for less than a month when sold.

In May, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 27 days. As Yun notes, this will continue, unless more listings come to the market.

“With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. And the supply will continue to ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.

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Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.