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Lower Rates Spark Higher Loan Demand

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 17, 2017 - 11:00pm

A slight decrease in mortgage rates brought refinancers and home shoppers back to lenders last week. 

Categories: Real Estate

Buying a Home? Factor These Into Your Interest Rate Calculations

RisMedia - October 17, 2017 - 2:27pm

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The mortgage process can be complicated if you jump in without any prior knowledge on home-buying and lending. The best tool you can arm yourself with is an understanding of how your mortgage interest rate is calculated.

Credit can make or break you.

Your credit score will determine how reliable you are in the lending world. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate will likely be. Check your credit on one of the three major credit reporting agency sites—TransUnion, Experian and Equifax—or your credit card company may have a free credit report service (although these aren’t as reliable). Improve your FICO score for a better chance at a lower interest rate.

Factor in size and location.

  • State or County: Even your place of residence can affect your rate.
  • Local Mortgage Lenders: Shop around. Interest rates can vary from company to company even if they’re located in the same town.
  • Loan Size: The size of your home can also impact your interest rate. The bigger the loan, the higher your interest rate will be if you’re not putting more money down.
  • Down Payment Size: Your mortgage interest rate may also depend on how much you’re putting down and if your loan includes closing costs and private mortgage insurance (PMI). Putting down less than 20 percent can increase your risk factor and may require PMI, but your interest rate may be lower depending on the loan.

Not all loans are created equal.

Loan Length: Your loan terms play a bigger role in interest rate calculations than you think. Have you decided whether you want to pay off your loan in 15 or 30 years? You may pay more per month with a shorter term, but you’ll be paying less interest over the life of your loan. Short-term loans may also have a smaller interest rate.

Fixed or Adjustable: You’ll also have to consider whether a fixed- or adjustable-rate loan is right for you. Your interest rate can change over time if you choose an adjustable-rate loan. It may start off low or fixed, but can increase over time depending on market conditions. Fixed-rate loans, however, will have a higher interest rate attached to them.

Loan Type: Interest rates can also vary according to your loan type. Choosing a loan can be overwhelming, but a local lender should be able to provide you with the best options. Some of the more popular loans are conventional, FHA and VA loans. While FHA loans have less down payment restrictions and a smaller interest rate, your monthly payment can be more expensive due to the required PMI added on. VA loans can have smaller interest rates and don’t require PMI like FHA does. Conventional loans are widely accepted in the real estate industry as dependable, but your interest rate may be higher.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Buying a Home? Factor These Into Your Interest Rate Calculations appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Will Future Homes Withstand Earthquakes?

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 16, 2017 - 11:00pm

Researchers say they’ve invented a type of cement that can withstand a 9.0 earthquake. 

Categories: Real Estate

Wisconsin Bans Major Rent-to-Own Operator

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 16, 2017 - 11:00pm

Wisconsin has banned one of the nation’s largest operators of rent-to-own homes from working in the state—will other states follow...

Categories: Real Estate

Childless Buyers Buoy Condo Market

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 16, 2017 - 11:00pm

Home shoppers without children are a growing segment in the housing market, and they tend to desire smaller houses than previous generations....

Categories: Real Estate

Washington Sees Spate of Open House Thefts

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 16, 2017 - 11:00pm

Police in Western Washington say that the hot housing market is prompting more thefts at open houses, warning real estate professionals and...

Categories: Real Estate

3 Techniques to Be the Best Sales Listener

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 16, 2017 - 11:00pm

If you have a predisposition to dominate the conversation, here are some ways to reel it in and let clients know you hear them.

Categories: Real Estate

Where You Can Still Snag a Foreclosed Property

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 16, 2017 - 11:00pm

Foreclosures are at an 11-year low, but they haven’t dried up everywhere.

Categories: Real Estate

San Francisco: The Sweet Spot for Trick-or-Treaters

RisMedia Consumer News - October 16, 2017 - 2:14pm

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The annual Trick-or-Treat Index from Zillow puts San Francisco in the sweet spot: No. 1 for trick-or-treaters.

Zillow Trick-or-Treat Index 2017 (PRNewsfoto/Zillow)

 

Analysts at Zillow began with the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), concocting a formula that includes home values, how close homes are in proximity to each other, and the share of 10-year-olds (and younger) in a given market. Bubble, bubble…

“Searching for neighborhoods with the best candy is a Halloween tradition for many kids and their parents,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Our annual list is a fun way for families to see how their neighborhood stacks up against others when it comes to trick-or-treating. These are places we think will have plenty of candy and lots of young kids running around from door to door.”

In the City by the Bay, the top three neighborhoods for trick-or-treaters are Presidio Heights, Sea Cliff and Golden Gate Heights; in No. 2 San Jose, the top three are West San Jose, Willow Glen and Cambrian Park.

Is your city out of the running this year? Fear not.

“If you don’t live in one of these cities, look for areas that are getting into the Halloween spirit with decorations and lots of costumed kids,” Gudell says.

See the 2016 Trick-or-Treat Index.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post San Francisco: The Sweet Spot for Trick-or-Treaters appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

On the House: What to Expect When It’s Time to Get Your Home Inspected

RisMedia - October 16, 2017 - 2:04pm

(TNS)—Buying a house can be difficult enough—especially in today’s market.

Even after a seller accepts an offer, the sale is not a done deal until certain “contingencies” are met. Some are straightforward: Some buyers stipulate, for example, that a sale cannot proceed until they sell their current home. Other contingencies are more complicated. Either way, all are in place to protect buyers and sellers, allowing either to walk away from a deal if their conditions are not met.

Navigating these contract conditions can be confusing, and in today’s hot real estate market in which some buyers are waiving contingencies in order to win bidding wars, it can be difficult to determine which are important.

These days, real estate agents say they have seen buyers waive inspection contingencies to make their offers more attractive. In doing so, buyers are forgoing their rights to an independent inspection, meaning they cannot ask the seller for repairs or walk away from a property if it turns out to be unsatisfactory. In short, buyers are accepting a house as is—and potentially, all of its hidden problems.

To help buyers decide how important independent inspections are, we spoke to real estate agents and inspectors about what goes into a home inspection, and whether waiving that condition is a good idea.

What exactly is a home inspection?
In most typical real estate transactions, a home inspection is the next step that occurs after a bid is accepted. Buyers are responsible for hiring the inspector before the deal closes, and the process is in place to protect them.

The inspector’s job is to examine a home, determining whether there are problems with its exterior or interiors, from the foundation to the roof. The inspector provides a report to a buyer, who can then bring that information to a seller and use it back at the bargaining table.

How quickly do I have to schedule one?
“It depends on the contract and the state you’re in,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors. But typically, he adds, buyers have five to 10 days after a home goes under contract.

Lesh’s advice: Once a home is under contract, contact an inspector immediately.

“Inspectors are busy, especially in hot markets,” he says. “Some people tend to forget and wait until the last minute. You really only have a few days.”

How can I find a well-respected home inspector?
Regulations for home inspectors differ across the United States. In New Jersey, for instance, inspectors are licensed and regulated by the state’s Home Inspection Advisory Committee. To become certified, inspectors must, by law, complete 180 hours of study courses, including 40 hours of unpaid field work in the presence of a licensed inspector. Each inspector must pass a national exam, and complete continuing education every other year.

In Pennsylvania, by contrast, home inspectors are not regulated by the state, and instead are required to be a “member in good standing of a national home inspection association,” such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (interNACHI). Each association has its own requirements on certification and continuing education; for example, ASHI requires inspectors to pass the national exam and to complete 250 inspections to become certified. Continuing education is also required.

What does my home inspection cover?
A general home inspection is a noninvasive exam of a seller’s home.

“The standards of practice are pretty uniform,” says Pete Ciliberto, owner and chief inspector of Real Estate Inspections, an inspection group. “We are covering all the major components and systems of a house—all of the structural elements, the foundation, exposed framing,” and more.

What that means: A general inspector will inspect the general structure of the roof, and the gutters and downspouts around it. He or she will make sure the home’s “flashing”—the thin layer of waterproof material that prevents water from getting into where it does not belong—is correct. The heating and air conditioning systems are also inspected to ensure they are up to snuff. So are ceilings and floors, chimneys and vents. The ventilation of attics is inspected, and a generalized overview of electrical systems is completed.

“There are probably over 200 things that we inspect,” Lesh says.

What does it not include?
Many things are not included, inspectors say. An inspection is not technically exhaustive, they pointed out, nor does it determine a property’s suitability. Inspectors are not required to determine whether a building is up to code, and they are not required to move furniture, enter crawlspaces, or offer any services besides the inspection.

Most important, the experts said, inspectors are not required to determine the presence of rodents or pests. They are not required to assess air quality or test for mold, mildew or fungus. Airborne and environmental hazards are also excluded, meaning radon, lead paint and asbestos tests are not conducted in a general inspection.

However, buyers can bring in specialists if they have particular concerns—or hire a general inspector who may be trained in a specialized area.

“There are guys who do mold testing, air sampling, and other ancillary services,” Lesh says. “If you want one person to take care of the whole thing, you can (find someone) to do that.”

Why should I get one—and should I waive that contingency?
When making a financial decision as significant as purchasing a home, you want to confirm that you are making a wise investment. While inspections are not holistic, they offer a snapshot of a home’s condition, and can give you fair warning of what repairs may be needed now or in the near future. Plus, agents point out, after an inspection report is issued, a buyer can use the report to ask a seller for repairs—or can walk away entirely.

“They can ask for anything they want or can terminate for any reason—they do not have to say why,” says Mike McCann, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, which has offices in the Mid-Atlantic region. “The fall-through rate is only about 10 to 15 percent of the time, but I will tell you now, over 90 percent of the time, concessions are made after the inspections.”

McCann says he advises clients to never waive the inspection.

“If they don’t own the home, there are many things about it that they don’t know yet. You can’t check the roof. You can’t see every joist. Having a professional go through that is very important.”

©2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post On the House: What to Expect When It’s Time to Get Your Home Inspected appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Beverly Carter’s Family Sues Her Brokerage

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 15, 2017 - 11:00pm

The lawsuit alleges that Crye-Leike, the real estate company Carter worked for when she was murdered on the job in 2014, failed in its duty to...

Categories: Real Estate

Top Amenities for Relocating Baby Boomers

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 15, 2017 - 11:00pm

A new survey reveals the items on most retirees’ wish lists as they consider moving to a new home in their golden years.

Categories: Real Estate

California Wildfires Heat Up Housing Crunch

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 15, 2017 - 11:00pm

Areas of the state affected by wildfires may have an inadequate supply of emergency housing for victims because those markets were already facing...

Categories: Real Estate

Why Single-Family Rentals Gain Market Edge

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 15, 2017 - 11:00pm

It’s the fastest-growing segment in the housing market, outpacing owner-occupied single-family homes and all multifamily housing.

Categories: Real Estate

Lot Prices in Midwest Hit Record High

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 15, 2017 - 11:00pm

Builders are paying more for new-home lots, and those expenses will be passed on to home buyers.

Categories: Real Estate

Best Alternatives to Pricey Urban Meccas

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 15, 2017 - 11:00pm

Realtor.com® names “metro matchups”—places comparable to big cities in many ways but whose housing prices largely remain...

Categories: Real Estate

Buying in a Seller’s Market: Who’s the Winner?

RisMedia - October 15, 2017 - 11:01am

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The change of season often brings a shift in real estate market conditions. Inventory tends to decline and buyers may become more aggressive in their home search. This change can affect real estate transactions in a variety of ways.

Here’s what you need to know about buying or selling a home in a seller’s market:

Time is valuable.
Buyers don’t have as many options as during the peak purchasing months. This means more competition because there aren’t as many homes to look at in their price points. Buyers need to know what they want. If they absolutely need three bedrooms, then they’ll have to ignore that two-bedroom house or risk losing out on better opportunities.

They will also need to be prepared to make offers quickly. Buyers without a preapproval will not be considered and will likely miss out on highest and best deadlines by the time they obtain one. On the other hand, sellers will have an easier time selling their home. If in good condition, their home will likely be the cream of the crop during low-inventory months.

Offers are aggressive.
In a seller’s market, buyers will often have to deal with multiple-offer situations. If they don’t bring their best offer to the table, they will most likely lose out. Sellers can also prioritize stronger terms. They may decide to go with a lower offer if the buyer can close faster or is putting more money down.

A combination of the highest purchase price with a 20 percent down payment and a reliable lender is usually the winner. Of course, you can’t forget that cash is king. An all-cash offer will likely trump any others on the table.

Negotiations are a game changer.
Unfortunately, buyers may lose some negotiating power in a seller’s market. Unless the seller is incredibly motivated to get rid of their property, they may take advantage by refusing to take care of some inspection items. Buyers should be wary of asking for too much, as even big-ticket items may not be taken care of. Unless something is a safety or health hazard, it shouldn’t even be brought up.

Sellers may also decide to be more selective about what they are leaving with the house. They may decide not to include appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher or washer and dryer.

Even small things like tone in a negotiation email should be taken into consideration. Alienating the sellers this early in the game can force them to go with a back-up offer.

Real estate agents are essential.
Even though a seller’s market clearly tips the scale in one direction, buyers are more likely to lose out if they are not working with an experienced agent. Likewise, sellers may not even be aware of their advantage without the help of a real estate professional. Agents will advocate for their clients—whether they are buyers or sellers—by helping them get as much as possible during sale price and inspection negotiations.

Things that may not seem significant—such as getting all of the paperwork submitted correctly, sending emails to the opposing agent and doing due diligence on the property—can make a huge difference in a seller’s market.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Buying in a Seller’s Market: Who’s the Winner? appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Sell Your Listing With the Right Music

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

A little music may be what your listing needs to make buyers feel more welcome, some real estate pros say.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Take a Leap This Week

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage posted its largest week-over-week increase since July. 

Categories: Real Estate

Parents Helping Kids Compete in Bidding Wars

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

To help their adult children, parents are taking out equity in their own home so their kids can buy a home of their own. 

Categories: Real Estate