30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Returns to Record Low

As of September 15, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.67%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of September 15, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.67%.

Mortgage rates remain flat, but upward movements may be on the horizon.

“Mortgage rates moved slightly lower this week, barely budging as markets await a signal for a more pronounced move in either direction,” said Zillow Senior Economist Matthew Speakman. “Rates have stayed basically flat over the past few weeks, and where they head from here is dependent on two key factors: COVID-19 cases and potential actions taken by the Federal Reserve. While COVID cases remain elevated, they are showing some early signs of plateauing – news that is undoubtedly good for the world, but could place more upward pressure on mortgage rates. The Fed, meanwhile, continues to wrestle with whether, how, and when to tighten monetary policy at a time when inflation and joblessness remain elevated. A softer-than-expected August inflation reading this week likely lowered the odds that the Fed announces any immediate moves to tighten policy at their upcoming September conference, but the fact that interest rates haven’t moved much in recent weeks indicates that investors are still waiting for more certainty. All told, there’s a good chance that mortgage rates will move notably in the coming weeks, but the jury’s still out on which direction they’ll head.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 1.99%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.34%.

Check Zillow for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

The weekly mortgage rate chart above illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate for the past week. Here’s a comprehensive look at the current mortgage rates for all loan types:

Today’s Average Rates for Conventional Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed 2.84% 2.9% -0.07%
20-Year Fixed 2.54% 2.62% 0%
15-Year Fixed 2.06% 2.16% -0.02%
10-Year Fixed 2.06% 2.19% -0.06%
7/1 ARM 2.4% 3.06% 0.04%
5/1 ARM 2.35% 3.18% 0.01%
3/1 ARM 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.84% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,239. A 20-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.54% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,595. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,939. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,768. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.4% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,169. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.35% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,162. A 3/1 ARM loan of $0 at 0% APR with a $0 down payment will have a monthly payment of $0. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Government Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed FHA 2.25% 2.9% 0.05%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.48% 2.74% -0.02%
15-Year Fixed FHA 1.75% 2.41% 0.22%
15-Year Fixed VA 1.89% 2.35% 0.45%
5/1 ARM FHA 3.11% 3.27% 0.08%
5/1 ARM VA 2.44% 2.41% 0.07%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.25% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,146. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.48% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,181. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 1.75% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,896. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 1.89% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,915. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 3.11% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,282. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 2.44% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,176. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Today’s Average Rates for Jumbo Loans

Program Interest Rate APR 1 Wk Change
30-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.87% 2.91% 0.03%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.14% 3.19% -0.05%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.6% 2.68% 0.03%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.78% 2.93% 0%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.43% 3.06% -0.02%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.24% 3.12% 0.05%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.87% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,486. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,370. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.6% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,027. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.78% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,733. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.43% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,347. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.24% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,291. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $0 at 0% APR with a $0 down payment will have a monthly payment of $0. All monthly payments displayed assume a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 80% and 740 credit score, and do not include amount for taxes and insurance. The actual monthly payment may be greater.

Source: zillow.com

Contingent Offers Are Useful for Buyers, but Will They Turn Off Sellers?

Contingent offers can be a challenge for home buyers because they are in the process of selling one home while purchasing another.

When homeowners decide it’s time to move to another house, they face the quandary of deciding whether to wait until their old place sells before looking for a new home. Waiting generally makes it more financially feasible to purchase a new home, but you risk having to rush around to find a suitable place to live once your old home sells. And it’s not always possible to wait—sometimes circumstances like a job transfer or a baby on the way demand a speedier move.

What are contingent offers?

Enter the contingency offer, also known as an offer with a catch. You promise you will buy, but only if your own home sells. It’s an option that’s growing in popularity because it keeps you from being locked into a purchase you can’t afford. But it can also cause you to lose your dream home if you’re unable to find a buyer for your own home.

A seller can move on, but only if your contract says so

So, what right does a seller have to ultimately pass on your offer if it’s tied up in a contingency like selling your home? The answer lies in your contract, and each contract is different.

“Whether or not [a seller can] accept a new offer and bump you guys out completely depends on the contract that you signed. You need to go over the details in the contract to see what outs the seller has,” says Melanie Atkinson, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Tampa, FL.

Some contingency clauses allow the seller to cancel the contract if you don’t provide a loan commitment within 30 days. Others stipulate that you can’t purchase another property until your home is under contract.

There’s also the 72-hour “kick-out clause,” which requires you to remove the contingency from your offer within three days of the seller receiving another offer; otherwise that seller can “kick out” your contract and move forward with the other buyer who made the better offer.

Courting other offers

If a seller—or the seller’s agent—is still marketing the property to other interested buyers, the seller is required to disclose that there’s an executed contract on the house. But continuing to show it is legal, and Atkinson says it’s in a seller’s best interest to do so. After all, courting other offers is a seller’s contingency plan, something to protect the seller if the sale of your house falls through.

“The contingency may continue until you actually close on the house, and the seller may be able to accept other offers all the way up to that time,” says Phil Lunnon, a Realtor with Lunnon Realty in Lakewood, CO.

So how do you calm your fears about losing a home? If you’re in talks with a motivated buyer for your house, Lunnon suggests removing the contingency in your offer. “If you are confident that the buyer of your home is committed to closing on your home, remove the contingency.”

Of course, that means you’ll be banking on the purchase of your house going through; however, if you’re on the same page as the buyers, removing the contingency on your offer will prove to the sellers you’re committed and improve your chances of closing on the home you really want.

Source: realtor.com

8 Tips for Lowering Your Homeowners Association Dues

Llike any budget, there could be lots of ways to reduce HOA expenses.

Whether you just bought a condo or have owned one for years, you’ve probably accepted the monthly homeowners association (HOA) dues at face value. But there are reasons why you shouldn’t.

HOA dues are money out of your pocket. They can have a huge impact on your decision to buy, or not buy, a particular condo. For example, you might have fallen in love with a condo in a big complex but decided you just can’t afford the HOA dues. Also, high HOA dues can be a deterrent to future buyers, too, when you go to sell later.

An HOA is made up of residents of the condo building or complex — volunteers who are busy with their jobs and families just like everyone else. It could be that no one on the HOA board has time to look for ways to reduce the monthly HOA dues.

But like any budget, there could be lots of ways to reduce expenses. Here’s how you can have a positive impact on your HOA dues.

1. Ask to see the HOA budget

As a condo owner, you have the right to review the HOA budget. Get a copy and check it over thoroughly. If you have questions, ask the HOA president or a board member.

2. Join the HOA board

If you’re on the board, you’ll have more opportunity and more clout to dig into the HOA’s finances — such as its contracts with the property management company, landscapers and so on.

3. Review the HOA’s contracts

An HOA often has agreements with a variety of vendors: the property management company, a landscaping/grounds maintenance company, and so on. In some cases, those agreements or contracts may have been negotiated years ago and might be renegotiated today in more favorable terms for the HOA.

For example, the recent buyer of a condo in an Atlanta complex felt like the HOA dues were too high. So he asked to join the board, and the members were happy to have him. He then performed an audit and discovered money was being wasted in several areas, such as on landscaping/gardening.

The HOA’s agreement with its gardener had been negotiated five years earlier. The gardener, by default, raised his fees every year. The Atlanta condo buyer, with the HOA’s approval, sought bids from a variety of other gardening companies and succeeded in finding a reputable gardener at a lower monthly cost.

4. Reduce landscaping costs

If finding another landscaping or gardening company isn’t an option, maybe the HOA can reduce the frequency of these services, without jeopardizing aesthetics. It’s worth asking.

5. Determine if HOA is paying too much in property management fees

In large condo developments, the property management company would likely be the one to lead the charge to reduce expenses. But they’re unlikely to advocate lowering their own fees. So you’ll need to work with your HOA directly in exploring ways to reduce the property management company’s fees.

6. Look at insurance premiums

Insurance is often a big HOA expense. Get quotes for insurance premiums and be prepared to renegotiate with your current carrier once your policy comes up for renewal.

7. Defer non-essential maintenance or other projects

Aside from HOA dues, condo owners are often hit with assessments to cover things such as roof repairs and hallway painting. Talk to the HOA board about deferring any non-essential HOA projects for a year or two.

8. Reduce reserves, if possible

Every HOA has reserve funds to cover unexpected expenses. Over time, those reserves, if not tapped, build up. Find out how much the HOA has in reserves. If it’s a healthy amount and no major improvement or repair projects are in the works, ask the HOA board to consider temporarily reducing the amount it puts into reserves every month.

Easier said than done?

Most HOAs will welcome your participation. But your belt-tightening suggestions may require a formal vote from HOA board members or the entire association before they’re enacted.

At any rate, understand that changes to the budget may not happen overnight. Finding the fat, renegotiating fees, and asking for additional bids can be extremely time consuming.

Still, it’s worth a try. Talk to your HOA president, treasurer or other board member. Tell them your goal is to simply explore possible ways to lower the association’s cost for everyone’s benefit. A little bit of legwork may save you — and your neighbors — some money every month.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Source: zillow.com

3 Ways to Protect Your Escrow Deposit

In this article:

When buying a home, you’ll probably hear your lender or real estate agent use the word escrow. The term escrow can describe a few different functions, from the time your offer is accepted to the day you close on your home — and even after you become a homeowner with a mortgage.

There are essentially two types of escrow accounts. One is used throughout the homebuying process until you close on the home. The other, commonly referred to as an impound account, is used by your mortgage servicer to manage property tax and insurance premium payments on your behalf.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as financial or legal advice, guarantees or warranties of any kind. Reference to escrow accounts here refers to an escrow account established to facilitate the purchase transaction of a new home.

What is an escrow account?

An escrow account is a contractual arrangement in which a neutral third party, known as an escrow agent, receives and disburses funds for transacting parties (i.e., you and the seller). Typically, a selling agent opens an escrow account through a title company once you and the seller agree on a home price and sign a purchase agreement. When you’re buying a home, this escrow account serves two main purposes:

  1. To hold earnest money while you’re in escrow
  2. To handle and disburse the funds until all escrow conditions are met and escrow is closed

How does escrow work?

When you make an offer on a home, the seller may require you to pay earnest money that will be held in an escrow account until you and the seller negotiate a contract and close the deal. This earnest money gives the seller added assurance that you do not intend to back out of the deal, and it protects them in the event that you do. It also motivates the seller to pick your offer over others.

During the escrow process, the escrow agent will handle the transfer of the property, the exchange of money, and any related documents to ensure all parties receive what they are owed. This removes uncertainty over whether either party will be able to fulfill its obligations, and it helps ensure that neither party is favored over the other.

What does in escrow mean?

When you hear the phrase “in escrow”, it means that all items placed in the escrow account (e.g., earnest money, property deed, loan funds) are held with an escrow agent until all conditions of the escrow arrangement have been met. The conditions usually involve receiving an appraisal, title search and approved financing.

While the earnest money is in escrow, neither you nor the seller can touch it. Once conditions are met, the earnest money will likely be applied toward the purchase price or your down payment on the home.

What does it mean to close escrow?

To close escrow means that all of the escrow conditions have been met. You’ve received a home loan, and the title has legally passed from the seller to you. During the closing of escrow process, a closing or escrow agent (who may be an attorney, depending on the state in which the property is located) will disburse transaction funds to the appropriate parties, ensure all documents are signed and prepare a new deed naming you the homeowner.

Afterward, the escrow officer will send the deed to the county recorder for recording before escrow is officially closed. Once closed, you and the seller will receive a final closing statement and other documents in the mail. Check the statement carefully and call the closing agent immediately if you spot an error. Save the statement with your most important papers, as you will need it when you file your next income tax return.

What is an escrow payment?

After you purchase a home, you’ll be responsible for maintaining insurance on the property and paying state and local property taxes. The property tax and insurance premiums you owe are the escrow payments made to your escrow or impound account.

The impound account ensures that the funds for taxes and insurance are available and that premiums are paid on time. Your lender doesn’t want you to miss a tax payment and risk a foreclosure on the home. They also don’t want you to miss a homeowners insurance payment, or they may be forced to take out additional insurance on your behalf to cover the home in the event of property loss or severe damage.

How monthly escrow payments work

The amount of escrow due each month into the impound account is based on your estimated annual property tax and insurance obligations, which may vary throughout the life of your loan. Because of this, your mortgage servicer may collect a monthly escrow payment, along with your principal and interest, and use those collected funds to pay taxes and insurance on your behalf. 

Your lender will notify you 30 days before your next payment if the amount changes. You can also ask your mortgage servicer to walk you through the local impound account funding schedule that applies to your loan. If there are insufficient funds in your impound account to cover the taxes and insurance, your monthly mortgage payment may increase (even though your principal and interest will stay the same on fixed-rate loans).

Initial escrow payment at closing

Lenders usually require at least two months’ worth of insurance and property tax funds in the impound account at closing. The amount you have to prepay into an impound account for these costs is based on your location. Keep in mind that these funds aren’t additional closing costs. Instead, you’re prepaying extra months of home insurance and property tax bills that you would be required to pay when due. Your mortgage servicer will list the initial escrow payment amount due at closing on your loan estimate.

Your escrow analysis statement

Each month, your mortgage statement will show you how much you’ve accrued in your impound account. And each year, your mortgage servicer is required by law to send you an annual escrow account analysis showing you some of the following:

  • The amount of funds received from you
  • The amount of funds paid out for insurance and property tax
  • An estimation of how much the escrow portion of your monthly payment may increase or decrease based on the premiums owed
  • Notice if you don’t have enough funds in your account to pay the estimated tax and insurance due in the next bill (i.e., escrow shortage)
  • Notice if you have a negative balance in your account that is owed to bring your account to current (i.e., escrow deficiency)

Is an escrow account required?

An escrow account for paying property tax and homeowners insurance is generally required by lenders who originate VA, FHA and conventional loans. In some instances, lenders may allow the homeowner to pay the property tax and home insurance as a lump sum instead of setting up an escrow account. If you waive escrow, be aware that some lenders may charge you a fee or an increased interest rate.

While you may not be required to set up an escrow account, you can choose to open one voluntarily to break up insurance and property tax payments into smaller amounts, keep track of payment due dates and avoid surprise bills at the end of the tax year.

Need a home loan? Contact a pre-approval lender today to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Source: zillow.com

Utah Housing Market Update June 2021

The Utah real estate market continued seeing highs and lows. Here’s your monthly update on what’s happening.

Data from Utah MLS from June 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021.

Sale Price

The median home price in Utah hit $500K for the first time in June, only three months after it passed $400K. The median home price in June was $151K higher than June 2020, an increase of 43%. The median home price rose by $25K from May, a 5% monthly increase. Prices have risen rapidly, even compared to the past few years.

Days on Market (DOM)

Utah homes still sold in less than a week on average in June. The average DOM was down by 67% from last year, with homes selling 12 days faster than they did a year before. The average DOM stayed steady from May, with no change. The figure was up by one day from the all-time low in April. With supply still limited and demand at a fever pitch, Utah homes sold quickly last month.

Inventory

Inventory continued its gradual rise from March, a good sign for prospective homebuyers. There were 3,688 fewer homes on the market than in the previous year, a 54% year-over-year decrease. June saw 492 more homes on the market than May, an 18% increase. With more homes coming up for sale, the market should become less competitive for buyers hoping to get an offer accepted on the home they want.

Monthly Sales

Monthly home sales were down by 7% from the previous year, with 352 fewer homes sold. However, home sales rose by 15% from May, with 710 more homes sold. Home sales have been rising since January, following Utah’s normal seasonal real estate sales trend. The most likely explanation for the slight dip in sales year-over-year is the restricted supply of available housing. When fewer houses get listed for sale, naturally, fewer houses will sell.

Turn to a Homie

Homie has local real estate agents in all of our service areas, including Utah. These agents are pros in everything they do, including understanding the local real estate market, so they can help you regardless of market conditions. Click to start selling or buying and to get in touch with your dedicated agent.

Source: homie.com

10 Steps to Finding Your First Rental

When you’re looking for an apartment for the first time, it can be overwhelming.The best way not to panic is to break the process down into 10 sequential steps.

When you’re looking for an apartment for the first time, it can be overwhelming. The best way not to panic is to break the process down into 10 sequential steps. The timeline will mostly depend on how long it will take you to save the upfront cash you’ll need, but after the money is in the bank, you should be in your own place in no time.

Determine your price range

There are two common ways to do this: You can divide your monthly take-home income by three. (For example, if you take home $1,800 a month after taxes, you could afford a place that costs up to $600 per month.) Or divide your annual gross income (before taxes and other deductions) by 40. (For example, if you made $40,000 a year, you could afford a place that cost up to $1,000 per month.) Either way gives you a rough idea of your maximum budget.

Start saving

Before long, you’ll need to put down a security deposit (usually equal to one month’s rent), plus the first month’s rent. And that doesn’t even include application fees and credit-check fees you may be charged. So start saving now, particularly because moving itself can cost anywhere from $200-$2,000, depending on the distance of the move and how much you do yourself.

Check your credit

Management companies will be checking your credit once you start applying. You don’t want to be caught flat-footed, so check if there are any blemishes on your report at the free Annual Credit Report website, which is sponsored by the federal government. If you have great credit, you have nothing to worry about. If your credit has blemishes, you may need to ask a friend, parent or relative if they would be willing to serve as your co-signer on a lease. In any case, be ready to explain your low score to potential landlords and what you are doing to fix it.

Settle on a neighborhood

Whether you’re moving crosstown or across the country, the best way to decide on a neighborhood is to visit. Also, ask friends who already live in the neighborhood what they think. Another thing to consider is affordability — we’d all love to live in SoHo, but most of us can’t afford it. In other words, be realistic. To determine the cost of a neighborhood, go online to see what an average 1- or 2-bedroom runs. A good rule of thumb is that at least a third of the listings in your neighborhood of choice should be within your budget. If it’s any fewer than that, you’re going to have limited options.

Start looking

Find listings online, but also remember to network among friends and colleagues, respond to “For Rent” signs you see in-person and cold-call management companies that have appealing buildings. If the rental market in your chosen city is really tight, you may need to use a broker. That will typically cost one month’s rent, so to move in you’ll need to have three months of rent in cash. Ouch! Also, be wary of red flags. If you know a particular landlord or management company is involved in poor practices, don’t even bother looking at their places.

Another word of advice: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. When dealing with a potential landlord, the conversation should be respectful and straightforward. And remember to always Google the address of the building as a final precaution.

Put in an application

Once you find a great place, don’t get cold feet. If it’s within your budget, in a neighborhood you love and with a solid management company, then apply. If your credit score is good — or you have a co-signer lined up — you’re likely to get it!

Sign the lease

Your lease is a contract, so make sure you understand it. Often, if you have issues with certain points on the lease, you can alter or discuss them with the management company before signing. So read the lease carefully. A few things to look out for: the penalty for breaking the lease early, the policy for fixing issues with the apartment, how much notice you must give if you want to renew and the rules for getting your security deposit back.

Transfer/set up your utilities

Call the utility companies at least a week in advance, so you have a buffer in case you need to schedule an appointment. Other things to think about: You should get renter’s insurance before you move in, and you should also change your address with the USPS. Depending on where you’re moving, you may also need to register for parking stickers, change your driver’s license (if you’re changing states) and get a local library card.

Conduct a walk-through

During the walk-through, you need to document any pre-existing problems you find with the apartment, so that you’re not held liable. This means testing everything from the burners on the stove to the quality of the carpet to the functioning of the refrigerator. If anything’s off, document it. If the landlord needs to fix something, get it in writing. This is the best way to protect yourself, your future home and your security deposit.

Make the move

If you’re moving long distance, schedule movers several weeks in advance (prime dates book up quickly). If you’re finally moving out from your parent’s basement, they’ll probably help you pack up the station wagon and drive you! In any case, start packing early: It takes longer than you think, and if you’re not totally packed when the movers arrive, you’re courting disaster. Also, label your boxes and make sure you have staples such as toilet paper, light bulbs and cleaning supplies at the ready. You’ll need them right away when you move in.

This may all seem like a lot, but if you break it down step by step, finding and moving to a new apartment becomes very manageable. And nothing beats that great feeling you’ll have when you first walk into own apartment.

MyFirstApartment.com helps novice renters successfully navigate the first year of living on their own. The blog shares proven tips and tricks for everything from finding the perfect rental or roommate, to furnishing on a small budget or no budget, to dealing with landlords or roommate’s girlfriends.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Source: zillow.com

Homie Highlight: Allison Timothy

Title: Buy Team Manager

As a buyer agent and manager, Allison helps people navigate the real estate market and find the home that’s right for them and fits their budget. With more than 23 years in real estate and approximately 30 deals under her belt, Allison has the experience and expertise to help people find their new home.

Allison’s Background

Allison was born and raised in Utah. In high school, Allison studied interior design. That’s when she realized she wanted to center her career on people’s homes. Initially, she wanted to be a general contractor but was discouraged from it because of her gender. That fueled the fire in her to pursue her passion even more. She won interior design contests and thrived in her program.

After high school, Allison studied psychology at the University of Utah, got her real estate license, and worked at her father’s mortgage company. She bought a house with her brother, planning to fix it up and flip it. She ended up keeping the house and renting it out. She bought a few more houses and realized she really enjoyed real estate. After that, she became a real estate coach for Franklin Covey. Then she started coaching for Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame. Allison worked for Kiyosaki for 18 years, traveling to coach people all over the world on real estate and entrepreneurship principles.

In her spare time, Allison loves spending time with her kids. Her two oldest are twins, and they do competitive mountain biking. The family has 21 animals at their home, including chickens.

Why Homie?

Allison first heard about Homie from the famous billboards. She also heard gossip about Homie at her former brokerage. She was looking for a buyer-centered brokerage, so it piqued her interest. Allison’s former brokerage was very competitive, and she didn’t like that. She wanted something different after her experience with real estate in other parts of the world.

When Allison came to Homie, she loved the team-oriented atmosphere. Agents helped each other out rather than competing. She liked that Homie was making things better for buyers and putting them at the center. In Allison’s eyes, customer service is at the heart of the Homie brand.

Now, Allison likes working at Homie so much, she has already convinced another agent to work here. She likes that she’s never alone as an agent. Allison feels she always has support, and someone is always there to answer her questions. She feels the company takes care of her and doesn’t put too much pressure on her to make more sales or get more leads. Allison likes Homie’s one-stop shop because it means she can take any problems she has to a team of experts who she trusts.

Join the Disruption

If you want a career you love, want to help change the lives of others, and want to join a company in disrupting the real estate industry, check out careers at Homie!

Want to learn more about what Homie real estate agents do for their clients? Click here.

Read other Homie stories:

Homie Highlight: Jessee Hagans
Homie Highlight: Kelley Washam
Homie Highlight: Tonya Bassett

Source: homie.com

Denver Housing Market Update June 2021

Denver’s real estate market is still red-hot, with average closed prices still climbing. Check out below to see how the Denver area housing market performed in June:

Data from ReColorado from June 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021.

Monthly Sales

Monthly sales in the Denver area increased again, landing at 6,460. This is a slight 3.46% increase from June 2020.
graph showing 6,460 monthly sales in June 2021

New Listings

June had increased new listing numbers with 7,671 new listings, a slight increase at 4% from June of 2020. Pending listings were down 9% from June of 2020 at 6,661.
graph showing 7671 new listings in June 2021

Sale Price

Sales price has continued to rise month over month for Denver and June was no exception. The average closing price in June was $642,167, a +21% year-over-year increase.
graph showing average sales price at $642,167 in June 2021

Days on Market (DOM)

The Denver real estate market continues to speed up. Denver area homes spent an average of 10 days on the market during June, which is an impressive 15 day decrease from June of 2020.
graph showing average days on market at 10 in June 2021

A Word From Phillip Kranefuss, Homie CO Head of Real Estate

“Market momentum is slowing. It is unclear if this is latter half of the year market-softness, as we’ve seen in previous years, or if this will be actual structural change and indicative of a market moving further in balance.”

Turn to a Homie

Are you ready to jump into the market as a buyer or seller? Homie’s experienced local real estate agents can help you have the best experience possible throughout the entire process. These agents know how to put together that perfect offer to help you get your dream house if you’re a buyer, and they know how to make sure you get the offer you’re looking for if you’re a seller. Click to start selling or buying and get in touch with your dedicated agent.

Read more about buying in Denver.

Denver Neighborhood Guide: Washington Park
Denver Neighborhood Guide: Capitol Hill
How to Buy a Home in Denver, Colorado

Source: homie.com

4 Tips for Buying a Fixer-Upper

In this article:

While the process of buying and renovating fixer-upper homes has increased in popularity due to fix-and-flip home improvement TV shows, not everyone is cut out for  major renovation projects. 

In fact, only 19% of homeowners said their home needed serious updates, and only 3% said their home needed a complete overhaul, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2020. 

Buying a fixer-upper involves purchasing the least desirable home on the block and overseeing its transformation. Whether you’re considering a fixer as an investment — and you plan to sell after construction is complete — or you’re fixing up a home to make it your own, there’s a lot to consider when buying a fixer-upper, from home price to construction costs to financing. 

What is a fixer-upper home?

A fixer-upper is a home that needs repairs, but not so many that it’s uninhabitable or worthy of being torn down. 

Fixer-uppers are usually offered for a lower price than homes in better condition, which makes them appealing to buyers looking to maximize their purchasing power or investors looking to flip the property and turn a profit. 

Should I buy a fixer-upper home?

Most often, people buy fixer-upper homes because the cost of purchasing the home plus renovation costs may total less than what they’d pay for a comparable home in good condition. 

Here are some of the key reasons buyers decide on buying a fixer-upper:

Reduced price

If you have your eye on a popular neighborhood, either for resale value or your own lifestyle, you may be able to get a better deal buying a fixer upper in your desired location and renovating it than purchasing an already-updated home. 

Customizable improvements

When you purchase a fixer-upper, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fixtures and finishes (within your budget, of course). Renovating a fixer-upper can be ideal for buyers with very specific tastes or those who want more control over the aesthetics of their home. When buying a fixer-upper, you avoid paying for the renovations someone else completed, especially if you don’t like them. 

Older home charm

The character of older homes isn’t easy to replicate. Buying an older home in need of some TLC can allow you to restore and maintain time period details, while bringing the home up to today’s efficiency, safety and comfort standards. 

Make a profit

Whether you’re planning to flip or live in the home for a few years before selling, you may be able to turn a good profit based on the renovations you make. Your return on investment depends on the types of renovations you complete, the materials you use and the quality of the work. If profit is the goal, select popular home improvements in your market to increase property value and appeal to a wide variety of buyers. 

Tax incentives

In some metropolitan areas, such as Philadelphia and Cincinnati, buyers who purchase a fixer-upper and renovate to improve the property value may be eligible for a tax abatement or credit. 

How to find fixer-upper homes

Finding the right fixer-upper is all about where you look. Here are a few strategies for finding the right home. 

Search online: Use Zillow to search for homes below market value. You can search keywords such as “fixer upper,” “needs work” or “TLC” to narrow down potential properties. 

Work with an agent: A local buyer’s agent should be able to help you find fixer-upper homes in your desirable neighborhoods. Well-connected agents may even be able to show you homes that haven’t hit the market yet, via word of mouth. 

Search auctions, foreclosures and short sales: Distressed properties may be in fine structural condition but are sold below market value in order to offload them quickly. It’s important to note that these homes are usually sold as-is, and disclosures might not be available, so be sure you have enough extra money in your budget to cover surprise issues. 

What to look for when buying a fixer-upper home

When shopping for a fixer-upper, prioritize the things you can’t change about a home (like its location), or things that would be too costly to change (like significant structural renovations). Here are key factors to consider:

Location

Location is the most important thing to look for, because it can’t be changed. Look for a fixer-upper in a desirable or an up-and-coming neighborhood in order to maximize potential resale value. Finding the right location will also ensure that you’re happy in the home. Pay attention to things that might be important to you, like school ratings, nearby parks and restaurants and commute times. 

The home’s location will also play a part in determining your renovation budget and estimating the home’s post-renovation value. The quality of finishes and upgrades you select should be in line with comparable homes in the same neighborhood if your goal is to recoup costs on resale.

Layout and size

With a fixer-upper, you might be able to change the layout as you see fit, but pay attention to any design and layout ideas that would require removing load-bearing walls. This can be a costly exercise, and sometimes it’s just not possible. Home additions to increase square footage are also expensive and might not be allowed, depending on local zoning requirements and laws. 

Home condition

There’s a difference between a fixer-upper and a home with significant structural defects. Structural and mechanical problems are a lot more expensive to fix than cosmetic ones. Be sure to hire a home inspector to gain knowledge of the home’s positives and negatives — hiring a home inspector is an invaluable step, even if you’re buying a home as-is. Here’s what should be on your home inspection checklist for a fixer-upper:

  • Strong foundation
  • Up-to-code electrical
  • Proper plumbing
  • Solid roof condition (should come with roof certification)
  • HVAC and/or central AC
  • Functional windows

Straightforward cosmetic updates

Prioritize homes that have outdated or worn out finishes that don’t appeal to the general public but can be updated affordably and without too much effort. Ideally, the fixer-upper you buy will only need cosmetic upgrades. Look for homes with:

  • Peeling or dated paint (interior and exterior)
  • Older bathroom fixtures and tile
  • Dated kitchen cabinetry
  • Laminate or tile countertops
  • Stained carpeting
  • Hardwood floors in need of refinishing
  • Leftover belongings or trash that need to be removed
  • Neglected landscaping
  • Old or non-functioning appliances

How to buy a fixer-upper

Buying a home that needs work can be risky, because you won’t know the full condition of the home until you start tearing down walls. That’s why doing your due diligence on the property and neighborhood ahead of time is key.

Get a professional home inspection

When you put an offer on a house, be sure to include an inspection contingency. An inspection contingency allows you to back out of a deal and get your earnest money deposit back if the inspection reveals that the home has serious hidden defects.

Even homes marketed as being in “as-is condition” can be inspected — the only difference is with an as-is home, the seller is telling you that they do not want  to make any repairs based on your findings. 

The buyer is responsible for the cost of  an inspection, which ranges between $250 and $700, depending on the size of the home and your location. In addition to a general inspection, you might also opt for specialized inspections for trouble areas. Common specialty inspections include pests, sewer lines, radon, lead-based paint and structural inspections. Costs for specialty inspections are similar to general inspections. 

A structural inspection reviews the home’s structural integrity, but also lets you know of any natural hazards nearby that could impact the resale value or your own health and safety. You may also consider hiring a structural engineer to assess the property before you make an offer. It will cost between $500-$700 but could save you thousands of dollars in future foundation repairs.

Hire an architect and general contractor

An architect can create a new layout for a home, create plans and blueprints and tell you what is and isn’t possible. Some cities require you to submit architectural plans to acquire home permits, making an architect a necessity. The average cost for an architect is around $5,000, depending on the scope of your project. 

Your home inspector should be able to give you a rough estimate of what it would cost to adequately repair problem areas that come up in an inspection, but since they’re not the one who will be doing the work, it’s best to get a more accurate quote from a contractor. Whatever they quote you, add a 10% contingency for any problems that come up along the way. Be sure to get quotes from a few contractors and do your due diligence in checking their licensing and customer reviews. 

Budget for improvements

Working with your contractor, be sure that your budget takes into consideration all applicable costs. Don’t forget to include:

  • Permit fees, if applicable
  • Cost of materials, like flooring, paint, light fixtures, cabinetry, countertops and hardware
  • Cost of labor, including general contractors, plumbers, electricians and inspectors
  • Cost of living during renovations, if the home will be uninhabitable during the project

Know your limits

Above and beyond the financial concerns, you also need to gauge your tolerance for a major renovation project, especially if you plan to save money by doing some of the work yourself. Home renovations are not as easy as they look on TV and if it’s your first time, a lot can go wrong. Even if everything goes right, there’s a lot of hassle involved in a large-scale construction project. You’ll have to live in a construction zone or move elsewhere temporarily, while still paying all the carrying costs for the home. 

If the thought of a months-long renovation is more than you’re willing to take on, but you’re looking for a move-in-ready home, consider a Zillow-owned home. Every home has been recently repaired for buyers to avoid costly surprises. 

Financing options with fixer-upper loans

You can purchase a fixer-upper with a traditional conventional loan then pay for all the improvements out of pocket. Or, you can get a fixer-upper mortgage that’s designed to help you finance both the house itself and the renovations. Common types of home loans for fixer-uppers are: 

FHA 203(k) standard

An FHA 203(k) Standard loan finances the purchase and renovation of a primary residence. Here are the key requirements:

  • Minimum credit score of 500 with a down payment of 10%, or a credit score of at least 580 with down payment of 3.5%
  • The total cost of the loan must fall under FHA mortgage limits in your area
  • No luxury improvements (like pools) are allowed, but structural work is allowed
  • Requires a HUD consultant to approve the architectural plans, oversee payments to contractors and review inspections to ensure the home meets structural integrity and energy efficiency standards
  • There are limits on how soon you can resell (not within 90 days)
  • The contractor is paid out of an escrow account managed by the lender

FHA 203(k) streamlined

This financing option has similar requirements as the FHA 203(k) Standard, but it’s meant for simpler, cosmetic renovation projects, as it has a spending limit. 

  • Minimum credit score of 500 with a down payment of 10%, or a credit score of at least 580 with down payment of 3.5%
  • For cosmetic upgrades under $35,000
  • There are limits on how soon you can resell (not within 90 days)
  • The contractor is paid out of an escrow account managed by the lender

HomeStyle loan

A HomeStyle loan is a combination home loan and home improvement loan, guaranteed by Fannie Mae. 

  • Minimum credit score of 620; minimum down payment of 3 or 5%, depending on a few factors like owner occupancy, first-time home buyer status and income
  • Allows for other improvements that aren’t covered under an FHA 203(k), like pools and landscaping—but note that all improvements need to be “permanently affixed to real property (either dwelling or land)”
  • The contractor is paid out of an escrow account managed by the lender
  • You must use a certified contractor

CHOICERenovation

A CHOICERenovation loan is a combination home loan and home improvement loan, guaranteed by Freddie Mac. 

  • You can finance renovations that cost up to 75% of a home’s value
  • Money can be used for upgrades that prevent natural disasters
  • You can DIY the work and get a down payment credit
  • Requires multiple appraisals to ensure you’re upholding the terms of the contract and that the agreed-upon renovations make the home meet its estimated value

Source: zillow.com

How Do I Know Where My Property Lines Are?

Knowing the location of your property boundary lines means you will know where to legally place features such as fences, pools, garages or driveways.

Aside from not holding late-night band practice in your garage, knowing the location of your property lines is one of the best ways to avoid disputes with your neighbors.

Property lines are the defined points where one owner’s land ends and the neighboring property begins. A property owner uses boundary lines to determine where to legally place features such as fences, pools, garages or driveways. Erecting a structure on or partially on another person’s property can lead to disputes and, often, lawsuits.

Finding out where your property lines are is not difficult:

Check your deed

Your deed contains a description — in words — of your property’s boundaries. Following the description, you should be able to measure from named landmarks to determine the location of your boundaries. Just be warned: The description may rely on the location of a tree that no longer exists or a creek that has gone dry.

If the most recent deed for your property does not contain this sort of description, it will refer you back to an older deed. Keep following the references back, until you find a deed with a description of the boundaries.

Review your property survey

When you bought your home, it’s likely you received a map, also known as a plat, showing property lines and measurements. If it wasn’t included with your paperwork, check with your local clerk’s or surveyor’s office. Some of these maps may be available online, while others will be hard copies or microfiche copies. Even maps of neighboring properties can be valuable if they show shared property lines.

If you live in a subdivision or neighborhood in which many homes appear to have been built around the same time, it is possible your deed’s legal description will be vague, reading something like “Parcel 17, New Castle Development” or “Lot 7, Second Addition.” This is an indication that surveyors created multiple lots at the same time and drew one map showing where they were all located. You should be able to find the master plat in public records.

Hire a surveyor

If you don’t have a survey or plat — or at least not one that’s at all up-to-date or specific — you may choose to hire a professional to do a land survey. The surveyor can measure and map the property and will generally also mark the corners of the property with stakes.

The cost of hiring a professional surveyor depends on your location and project. If you decide to hire a surveyor, ask friends and family members for referrals. You’ll want to meet with several potential surveyors to discuss your needs and choose one who is experienced and with whom you feel comfortable working.

The surveyor needs to be licensed with your state and should carry professional liability insurance, which can cover you if the surveyor makes a mistake in the survey. Ask if the surveyor is willing to walk your property lines with you following the completion of the survey. Also ask about the equipment the surveyor uses; GPS and CAD, for instance, allow for more precise surveys than those possible before these innovations. You must also tell your surveyor why you need a survey and exactly which services you require. This will ensure that the fee estimate you receive is as accurate as possible.

Source: zillow.com