The Woodlands & Surrounding Areas Community Real Estate Blog

Welcome to my real estate information blog.

Oct. 17, 2017

Buying Remains Cheaper Than Renting In 39 States

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained 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!

A study by GoBankingRates looked at the cost of renting vs. owning a home at the state level and concluded that in 39 states, it is actually ëa littleí or ëa lotí cheaper to own (represented by the two shades of blue in the map below).

One of the main reasons owning a home has remained significantly cheaper than renting is the fact that interest rates have remained at or near historic lows. Freddie Mac reports that the current interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.91%.

Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over todayís average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates havenít been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home. Contact Tiffany Patterson, RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring 281-850-5861 direct or email tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com to find out whether renting or buying in The Woodlands is right for you. 

Oct. 3, 2017

Should I Buy a Home Now? Or Wait Until Next Year?

Cost of Waiting To Buy A Home in The Woodlands [Infographic]

Some Highlights:

The Cost of Waiting to Buy is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices & interest rates were to increase over a period of time.

Freddie Mac predicts interest rates to rise to 4.4% by next year.

CoreLogic predicts home prices to appreciate by 5.0% over the next 12 months.

If you are ready and willing to buy your dream home, find out if you are able to!

 

Contact Tiffany Patterson, RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring at 281-850-5861 tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com

 

« Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? » GET YOUR INSTANT HOME VALUE HERE! 

 

Sept. 29, 2017

How To Get The Most Money From The Sale of Your Home

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

Home Selling Chart

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would make more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

A new study by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save any money, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house. Contact Tiffany Patterson for more information about selling your home | tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com | 281-850-5861 | Get Your Complimentary PRE-LISTING GUIDE

Posted in Selling
April 6, 2017

The 'REAL' News about Housing Affordability

Some industry experts are claiming that the housing market may be headed for a slowdown as we proceed through 2017, based on rising home prices and a potential jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). 

Here is how NAR defines the index:

"The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data."

Basically, a value of 100 means a family yarning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify. 

The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home. 

Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market. 

But, wait a minute...

Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize that during that time, the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock. 

The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall. 

However, let's remove the crisis years (shaded in gray) and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990-2008:

Though prices and rates appear to be increasing, we must realize that affordability is composed of three ingredients: home prices, interest rates, and income. And incomes are finally rising. 

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q1 2017 U.S. Home Affordability Index. The report explained:

"Stronger wage growth is the silver lining in this report, outpacing home price growth in more than half of the markets for the first time since Q1 2012, when median home prices were still falling nationwide. If that pattern continues, it will help turn the tide in the eroding home affordability trend."

Bottom Line

Compared to historic norms, it is still a great time to buy from an affordability standpoint. To buy or sell a home in today's market, contact your local real estate expert, Tiffany Patterson with RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring at 281-850-5861 or tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com.

 

March 29, 2017

Looking to Move-Up to a Luxury Home in The Woodlands? Now's the Time!

If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home in The Woodlands TX, or any community within the Houston metroplex, 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, or can be found at a discount. 

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 recent 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 hight and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs, and are looking to step into a luxury home...Now's the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true. To get started, call your local real estate expert, Tiffany Patterson at RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring, 281-850-5861 or tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com.

March 21, 2017

It's a Seller's Market! Should I Downsize Now?

 

 

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses in the near future are planning to scale down. Let's look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller's market. 

In a blog, Dave Ramse, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep. 

2. Let's assume you save $500 a mont on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1-1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years. 

3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can't pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10-20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process. 

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in an article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers and some additional information that could help. 

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: "For some folks, it's a matters of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you'll be able to better narrow down your housing options."

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profits from the sales of their current homes and splitting it in order to put down payments on smaller homes in their current locations, as well as on vacation/retirement homes where they plan to live when they retire. 

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today's values which makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise. 

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: "For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they've held on to their properties long enough to have a positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home."

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (>20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic's latest Equity Report revealed that 78.9% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the lifestyle you've always dreamt about. 

 

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your Woodlands home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let's meet up to help guide you through the process. Contact Tiffany Patterson at 281-850-5861 or tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com for more information about buying or selling a home in The Woodlands TX surround areas. 

March 6, 2017

The Connection Between Home Prices and Family Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

 

So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

 

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

 

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.4% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $11,000 in equity in just one year.

 

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $43,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

 

 

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today! Contact Tiffany Patterson for more information about buying or selling a home at (281) 850-5861 or tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com.

March 2, 2017

Texas Mortgage Rates Impact on 2017 Home Values

 

There is no doubt that historically low mortgage interest rates were a major impetus to housing recovery over the last several years. However, many industry experts are showing concern about the possible effect that the rising rates will have moving forward.

 

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are all projecting that mortgage interest rates will move upward in 2017. Increasing interest rates will definitely impact purchasers and may stifle demand.

 

In a recent study of industry experts, “rising mortgage interest rates, and their impact on mortgage affordability” was named by 56% as the force they think will have the most significant impact on U.S. housing in 2017. If rising rates slow demand for housing, home values will be impacted.

 

To this point, Pulsenomics, recently surveyed a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, asking the question “In your opinion, at what level will the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate significantly slow home value appreciation?” The survey revealed the following:

 

 

 

Bottom Line

Most experts believe that rates would need to hit 5% or above to have an impact on home prices. Contact Tiffany Patterson for more information about buying or selling a home at (281) 850-5861 or tiffany@tiffanypattersongroup.com.

 

Nov. 2, 2016

Maximize your home photo session

When paying for professional photography to sell your home, it's important to showcase the home's features to the max. To accomplish this, there are a list of to do's to go by.

My listings photographer sends my clients this list and I think it's spot on if you REALLY want to make your home look attractive online without the fluff that can sometimes be distracting in the MLS.
Home preparation and staging decisions must be ready prior to the arrival of the photographer. Prepare the home as you would for a showing.

Inside
General Areas of the House
1. Have all light bulbs working and turned on prior to the photographer’s arrival
2. Turn all fans off
3. Blinds down and open/window treatments pulled back
4. Hide pet related items including bowls, kennels, beds, toys, etc.
5. Place pets in a separate room or garage
6. Remove all seasonal decorations


Kitchen
1. Remove all magnets, photos, etc. from refrigerators
2. Hide garbages
Empty the sink and remove dish soap and cleaning supplies
3. Turn on lights above the sink, stove and under cabinets
4. Clear the kitchen counters, less is more

Bathroom
1. Hide all toiletries (shampoo/conditioners, soaps, toothbrushes, etc.)
2. Hide robes, dirty clothes and scales
3. Remove all rugs in the master bathroom

Outside
1. Park vehicles away from the front of the house so they can’t be seen from inside the house
2. Absolutely no contractors can be working outside or inside the property at the time of the shoot
3. Mow grass and remove all debris from the sidewalks and driveways
4. Remove pet waste
5. Remove children’s toys including larger items such as trampolines, playhouses, sandboxes, etc.
6. Put garbage and recycling cans inside the garage
7. Roll up or store hoses
8. Hide any pet related items like chains, bowls, toys, etc.
9. Neatly arrange patio furniture
10. Remove and store pool cleaner, nets and chemical bottles
11. Cover or clean exterior of grills
12. Make sure water sprinklers do not run for two hours before (we need driveways and patios dry)
13. Remove all seasonal decorations

Twilight Photos
1. Park vehicles away from the front of the house
2. Turn all lights on inside and outside the house including pool and spa (no flood lights)
3. Turn all fans off on the inside and the outside of the house
4. Spa and water features on
5. Outdoor fire areas lit

 

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Aug. 11, 2016

Tips to Picking a Paint Color

The most affordable way to dramatically change a living space is with paint. Whether painting just mouldings and cabinets, walls or an accent wall, picking the right color isn't an easy task. Below are a few tips to live by when picking your paint color.

I. TAKE INSPIRATION WITH YOU.

Before you go to pick up paint samples, bring some inspiration along with you, like a decorative pillow, a sample of fabric or anything that resembles the color you'd like in your new space.

II. TAKE THE SAMPLE OUTDOORS.

Paint samples never look the same under artificial lighting in the paint store. Collect all the samples you like and step outside to narrow them down. Chances are, the colors will change a little under natural light. You want to use natural light when choosing a paint to mimic the natural light that comes into the windows of your home.

III. BE BRAVE IN SMALL SPACES.

If you're painting a small space, such as a powder bath or library, go bolder than you normally would. You can get away with painting rooms like this a darker color.

 
IV. MIXING HUES.
 
Try mixing 50% more or less on the same color sample to make areas pop. For example, you may want the ceiling a different color than the walls. Accent walls are not really as popular anymore, but it's great to change the color from room to room as long as they flow well together or are different hues of the same color.
 
 
 
I hope these tips help. If you're still unsure before you select a paint, buy paint samples in various colors and try directly on the wall at least 12" away from one another and up close to the moulding. This will give you an even better idea of the right color for that particular spaces' lighting. Happy painting!