Real Estate

Fear Not, Friendly Home Buyer!

Yesterday we had our monthly sales meeting which normally features a good amount of motivational speak, inventory sharing, a wee bit of market whining (anyone in business has had ‘that deal’; leaning on each other is how you make it to the closing table in one piece!) and a guest willing to share their own information with our company and usually provide breakfast treats.

    Our guest at this months meeting (Dunkin Donuts, good job Nathan!) was a mortgage broker, educating us on the new programs his company has recently embraced. The interesting part is that as the government continues to restrict lending practices, likely in an effort to avoid the same disasterous “bubble” we all helped to pop in the early 2000’s, buyers continue to find ways around that. Statewide, closed sales are up 17.9 percent from one year ago – in spite of the fact that it can be downright tricky to qualify for a loan these days. Credit minimums were 620 three years ago. They then rose to 640 for a sub-prime loan. Now the magic number lingers closer to 680!  In terms of market value, “the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 3Q 2013 was $175,000, up 18.6 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.” *Florida Realtors 2013*  

  As an agent in the field, I can testify that the move in ready single family pool home for under $200,000 is going to be your needle in the haystack.  But this is exciting news, really! Prospective sellers are seeing these trends, and they are listing those homes! Inventory is crucial right now. Our area barely has enough homes coming on the market to counter the ones moving off, which is going to drive prices ever higher and bring back the dreaded bidding war that, believe me, NO buyer hopes to participate in. Good news for sellers, but what about the buyers out there?

    Here’s what I learned. Where one hand takes away, another gives. It’s true that mortgage insurance for FHA loans is continually rising, that interest rates are inching higher, and lets not forget those credit minimums – BUT you do have your own ray of light! Lenders are finding ways to work with the large pool of would-be buyers, people with the money, with the job history, with the credit scores – but also with the baggage of that burst real estate bubble. I can’t tell you how many affluent, well employed renters I’ve worked with these last few years. Finally, programs are coming out forgiving you of your real estate sins and paving the way to a new breed of home owner: the contrite ‘I learned my lesson and I want another chance’ buyer.

   In all areas of lending, leniency and understanding are finally coming to the surface. If you rolled your heartbreaking foreclosure into your even more heartbreaking bankruptcy claim as little as TWO years ago, but your credit score has recovered – guess what? There’s a program for you! If you can document significant hardships that led to your recent short sale, foreclosure or loan modification – guess what? There’s a program for you MUCH sooner than there would have been even six months ago. Like, years sooner. Trust me!

    Or how about the home owner who would never buy a resale home, but would love to build. Too bad he doesn’t have that 20% down just sitting in the bank. Guess what – he doesn’t need it! How does 10% sound? Too high? How about 3.5%, for a brand new home?

  We are entering a new phase in real estate, and finally it seems that the trends are moving toward the consumer. If you’re working with me, you’re looking for a real estate professional who genuinely cares about your experience and satisfaction. Now I can extend my services to recommend a wide range of lending options that will also take your personal interests into consideration. because at the end of the day this business should revolve around each individual person. I can do that for you.  🙂

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