Buyers in today’s market often have questions about the importance of getting a home appraisal and an inspection. That’s because high buyer demand and low housing supply are driving intense competition and leading some buyers to consider waiving those contingencies to stand out in the crowded market.
But is that the best move? Buying a home is one of the most important transactions in your lifetime, and it’s critical to keep your best interests in mind. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from the appraisal and the inspection, and why each one can potentially save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the road.
The home appraisal is a critical step for securing a mortgage on your home. As Home Light explains:
“. . . lenders typically require an appraisal to ensure that your loan-to-value ratio falls within their underwriting guidelines. Mortgages are secured loans where the lender uses your home as collateral in case you default on the agreed-upon payments.”
Put simply: when you apply for a mortgage, an unbiased appraisal – typically required by your lender – is the best way to verify the value of the home. That appraisal ensures the lender doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.
When buyers are competing like they are today, bidding wars and market conditions can push prices up. A buyer’s contract price may end up higher than the value of the home – this is known as an appraisal gap. In today’s market, it’s common for the seller to ask the buyer to make up the difference when an appraisal gap occurs. That means, as a buyer, you may need to be prepared to bring extra money to the table if you really want the home.
We’re in the ultimate sellers’ market right now. If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling, you have a huge advantage in today’s housing market. High buyer demand paired with very few houses for sale makes this the optimal time to sell for those who are ready to do so. Whatever the move you want to make looks like, here’s an overview of what’s creating the prime opportunity to sell this summer.
High Buyer Demand
Demand is strong, and buyers are actively searching for homes to purchase. In the Realtors Confidence Index Survey published monthly by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic is considered “very strong” in almost every state. Homebuyers aren’t just great in number right now – they’re also determined to find their dream home. NAR shows the average home for sale today receives five offers from hopeful buyers. These increasingly frequent bidding wars can drive up the price of your house, which is why high demand from competitive homebuyers is such a win for this summer’s sellers.
Low Inventory of Houses for Sale
“For most sellers listing sooner rather than later could really pay off with less competition from other sellers and potentially a higher sales price… They’ll also avoid some big unknowns lurking later in the year, namely another possible surge in COVID cases, rising interest rates and the potential for more sellers to enter the market.”
Purchaser demand is so high, the market is running out of available homes for sale. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:
Mortgage rates have recently hit record lows, and many Americans are jumping at the opportunity to buy new homes as well as refinance.
According to the Mortgage Banking Association (MBA), mortgage applications have been surging since March 2020 when the Fed slashed interest rates in response to the coronavirus pandemic. By year-end, mortgage applications are expected to double in volume compared to economists’ original 2020 predictions.
Mortgage refinancing applications are also on the rise: Currently, Americans are applying for refinancing loans at a 38% higher rate than they were this time last year.
Refinancing your house means essentially taking out a brand new loan, often for the remainder that you owe on the property (but not always). Depending on how much equity you have in the house (i.e. what you’ve paid on it already) and what your credit score is when applying, refinancing might offer you one or more benefits, including:
a lower interest rate (APR)
a lower monthly payment
a shorter payoff term
the ability to cash out your equity for other uses
When you’re faced with economic uncertainty, refinancing your mortgage can help give you some breathing room. But at the same time, if you’re struggling financially, refinancing can be a little more complicated. If you have a bad credit score, you’ll need to take a few steps to ensure you can even qualify. And when you do qualify, you want to make sure your refinanced mortgage is better than your original mortgage, not worse.
Below, CNBC Select spoke with senior community development loan officer at Quontic Bank Darrin Q. English about what to keep in mind while refinancing your home with less-than-perfect credit. He shares 3 tips to keep in mind.
Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850, and borrowers within a certain range can qualify for mortgage loans. While you don’t need a perfect 850 credit score to get the best mortgage rates, there are general credit score requirements you will need to meet in order to take out a mortgage.
Prospective home buyers should aim to have credit scores of 760 or greater to qualify for the best interest rates on mortgages.
However, the minimum credit score requirements vary based on the type of loan you take out and who insures the loan. Of our list below, conventional and jumbo loans aren’t insured by the government and often have higher credit score requirements compared to government-backed loans, like VA loans.
Having a higher credit score makes a big difference in the amount of money you pay over the course of a loan. Borrowers with scores in the higher range can save thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of a mortgage.
Today’s housing market is making a truly impressive turnaround, and it’s also setting up some outstanding opportunities for buyers and sellers. Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home this year, there are perks today that are rarely available, and definitely worth looking into. Here are the top two.
The Biggest Perk for Buyers: Low Mortgage Rates
The most impressive buyer incentive today is the average mortgage interest rate. Just last week, mortgage rates hit an all-time low for the eighth time this year. The 30-year fixed-rate is now averaging 2.88%, the lowest rate in the survey’s history, which dates back to 1971 (See graph below):This is a huge advantage for buyers. To put it in perspective, it means that today you can get a lower rate than any of the past two generations of homebuyers in your family if you decide to purchase at this time.
With the strength of the current housing market growing every day and more Americans returning to work, a faster-than-expected recovery in the housing sector is already well underway. Regardless, many are still asking the question: will we see a wave of foreclosures as a result of the current crisis? Thankfully, research shows the number of foreclosures is expected to be much lower than what this country experienced during the last recession. Here’s why.
A quitclaim deed is a document that is used to transfer ownership of real property from one party to another. Quitclaim deeds are also sometimes called quit claim deeds or quick claim deeds because they are a fast way to accomplish real estate transfers.
Transferring Title with a Deed
There are several ways to transfer real estate title. A warranty real estate deed transfer is the most common type of deed used when properly is sold to a third party in a typical real estate transaction.
A warranty deed promises that the person transferring the property has good title to it and the right to sell it. It includes protections for the buyer, such as compensation if there is anyone else who holds superior title to the property. This type of deed promises that there are no liens on the property such as a mortgage, tax lien, or creditor’s liens.
When a warranty deed is executed, a title search (a check of past deeds and liens for the property) is conducted to verify the seller has good title. Title insurance is usually purchased as part of the sale to protect the new owner if there is a problem. Warranty deeds are always filed with the county after they are executed.
Over the past several weeks, Freddie Mac has reported the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to record lows, all the way down to 3.03%. Last week’s reported rate reached the lowest point in the history of the survey, which dates back to 1971 (See graph below):
More than ever, our homes have become an integral part of our lives. Today they are much more than the houses we live in. They’re evolving into our workplaces, schools for our children, and safe havens that provide shelter, stability, and protection for our families through the evolving health crisis. Today, 65.3% of Americans are able to call their homes their own, a rate that has risen to its highest point in 8 years.
June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to reflect on the benefits of owning your own home. Below are some highlights and quotes recently shared by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). From non-financial to financial, and even including how owning a home benefits your local economy, these items may give you reason to think homeownership stretches well beyond a sound dollars and cents investment alone.
With over 90% of Americans now under a shelter-in-place order, many experts are warning that the American economy is heading toward a recession, if it’s not in one already. What does that mean to the residential real estate market?
“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”
COVID-19 hit the pause button on the American economy in the middle of March. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are all calling for a deep dive in the economy in the second quarter of this year. Though we may not yet be in a recession by the technical definition of the word today, most believe history will show we were in one from April to June.