30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Holds Steady

As of May 5, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.72%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of May 5, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.72%.

Mortgage rates fall to lowest levels in months.

“Mortgage rates fell slightly again this week, pushing rates to their lowest level since mid-to-late February,” said Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman. “With few surprising economic data or pandemic-related developments this week, mortgage rates and the bond yields that tend to influence them saw little reason to move significantly over the past seven days. Unlike stocks, bonds and mortgage rates brushed aside comments made by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in which she suggested (but did not recommend) that interest rates will likely have to rise somewhat in order to ensure that the economy doesn’t overheat. But this period of relative calm will be put to the test in the coming days. April employment figures and inflation data, two key gauges of the economy’s path forward, are due this week, and stronger-than-expected readings of either – or both – reports will likely revert mortgage rates back upward.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.09%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.38%.

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 2.79% 2.84% 0.09%
20-Year Fixed 2.66% 2.73% 0.04%
15-Year Fixed 2.1% 2.19% 0.02%
10-Year Fixed 2.03% 2.15% -0.08%
7/1 ARM 2.24% 2.94% 0.24%
5/1 ARM 2.27% 3.08% 0.17%
3/1 ARM 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.79% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,231. A 20-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.66% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,612. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.1% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,944. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.03% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,764. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.24% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,144. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.27% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,149. 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 2.41% 3.07% 0.16%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.49% 2.75% 0.1%
15-Year Fixed FHA 2.23% 2.94% 0.08%
15-Year Fixed VA 2.42% 2.89% 0.17%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.59% 2.97% 0.02%
5/1 ARM VA 3.09% 2.77% -0.22%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.41% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,170. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.49% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,183. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.23% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,962. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.42% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,989. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.59% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,200. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 3.09% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,279. 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 3.24% 3.28% 0.06%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.3% 3.34% 0.23%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.83% 2.9% 0.09%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.5% 2.6% 0.1%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.65% 3.1% -0.28%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.66% 3.15% -0.18%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 2.14% 2.74% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.24% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,606. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.3% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,416. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.83% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,093. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.5% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,656. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.65% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,418. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.66% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,420. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,259. 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

What Is Real Estate Due Diligence?

There isn’t an Easy Button for doing your due diligence. It’s really a time-consuming process, and few people have any idea what to do.

Purchasing and owning real estate is always high risk — whether it’s a single family home that you’ll occupy or a 50-unit apartment building for income. You’ll hear experts say to make sure to “do your due diligence” when buying property, but what does that actually mean? What is due diligence?

The truth is, there isn’t an “easy button” for doing your due diligence. It’s really a time-consuming process, and few people have any idea what to do. So here is what it means and some of the steps you should consider and perform.

Do your homework

Due diligence means taking caution, performing calculations, reviewing documents, procuring insurance, walking the property, etc. — essentially doing your homework for the property BEFORE you actually make the purchase. If there are too many issues with the property — and that means too much potential risk and cost — then you can cancel your purchase agreement and look for a better property.

Here are just a few of the steps that apply to both personal residences and investment properties, although some may only apply to one.

Shop the marketplace

Make sure you know what the market has to offer. Too many people look at just a few properties, put in an offer and purchase. You should spend several months looking at properties before you buy.

Mortgage financing

Make sure the mortgage deal you get is fair and in line with competitors. Probably less than 20 percent of people get two bids for their financing, so they don’t know whether they’ve received a fair deal.

Pencil out your investment

If you’re buying an investment property, it’s vital to pencil out your deal. How do you know whether it’s a good deal if you haven’t done the math and compared it to other opportunities?

Property inspection

You probably had an inspection, but did you go to it? Did you review the inspector’s remarks on all the work that needs to be done? Then did you call a contractor or go to a home repair store to see how much it will cost to put the property in the shape you desire? Renovating properties is hugely expensive and high risk, so make sure you get estimates for the work before you decide to move forward with a purchase.

Insurance

Did you check to see whether an insurance policy can be written for the property? How much will it cost? Some areas, such as fire-prone or hurricane-prone areas, might not even be able to get a policy. And even if they do, it might be prohibitively expensive. Get some bids before you’re too far along in your purchasing process.

Homeowners association

Do you know how to review the HOA documents to avoid communities that are in disastrous shape, out of money or have significant construction issues? This is actually a pretty complicated task, but you don’t want to buy into a total mess of an HOA. If you do, you will feel some discomfort as the years go by and you have to deal with the issues and special assessments that you will be required to pay.

Title insurance & plat

Did you look at the title abstract and insurance policy? This will help you see if there are some issues that should concern you. Talk to the title insurance company agent and lawyer to help you review the documents. Also look at the plat of the property, have the easements plotted by title and walk the property for encumbrances.

Those are just a few of the many items that make up due diligence when buying real estate. Remember, you have to do these before you close escrow on the property. If you fail to do the proper tasks, problems might arise that were preventable, and might make your real estate experience less than palatable, or downright life changing! Or they might cause you to lose all the money you’ve put into the property.

Leonard Baron is America’s Real Estate Professor®. His unbiased, neutral and inexpensive “Real Estate Ownership, Investment and Due Diligence 101” textbook teaches potential real estate buyers how to make smart and safe purchase decisions. He is a San Diego State University Lecturer, blogs at Zillow.com, and loves kicking the tires of a good piece of dirt! More at ProfessorBaron.com.

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

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Hovers Above All-Time Low

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Mortgage rates fall despite strong economic data reports.

“Mortgage rates fell again this week, continuing the downward trend they’ve exhibited for most of April,” said Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman. “In what was a relatively unremarkable week for mortgage rates, the modest movement was partially driven by discussions about a proposed increase in capital gains tax rates – which placed downward pressure on bond yields and thus rates – and anticipation of a key announcement by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the Central Bank has no immediate plans to increase interest rates or curb the purchases of mortgage-backed securities – a position that placed more downward pressure on bond yields and is likely to result in more mortgage decreases in the coming days. Looking ahead, with a slew of key economic reports on the horizon – including consumer spending and inflation data – the relatively muted mortgage rate activity from the past couple weeks may transition to more significant movements.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.11%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.55%.

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 2.8% 2.85% 0.08%
20-Year Fixed 2.66% 2.73% 0.03%
15-Year Fixed 2.1% 2.19% 0.02%
10-Year Fixed 2.01% 2.15% -0.08%
7/1 ARM 2.28% 2.96% 0.22%
5/1 ARM 2.34% 3.1% 0.15%
3/1 ARM 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.8% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,232. A 20-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.66% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,613. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.1% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,944. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.01% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,762. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.28% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,151. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.34% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. 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 2.33% 2.99% 0.24%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.54% 2.81% 0.05%
15-Year Fixed FHA 2.11% 2.85% 0.17%
15-Year Fixed VA 2.53% 3.02% 0.04%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.6% 2.97% 0.02%
5/1 ARM VA 3.06% 2.75% -0.19%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.33% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.54% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,191. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.11% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,946. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.53% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,004. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.6% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,200. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 3.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,273. 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 3.22% 3.27% 0.07%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.29% 3.33% 0.24%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.86% 2.94% 0.06%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.52% 2.6% 0.1%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.68% 3.07% -0.25%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.61% 3.06% -0.09%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 2.14% 2.74% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.22% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,602. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.29% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,414. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.86% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,102. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.52% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,660. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.68% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,427. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.61% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,406. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,259. 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

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Rises

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Mortgage rates fall despite strong economic data reports.

“Mortgage rates fell again this week, continuing the downward trend they’ve exhibited for most of April,” said Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman. “In what was a relatively unremarkable week for mortgage rates, the modest movement was partially driven by discussions about a proposed increase in capital gains tax rates – which placed downward pressure on bond yields and thus rates – and anticipation of a key announcement by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the Central Bank has no immediate plans to increase interest rates or curb the purchases of mortgage-backed securities – a position that placed more downward pressure on bond yields and is likely to result in more mortgage decreases in the coming days. Looking ahead, with a slew of key economic reports on the horizon – including consumer spending and inflation data – the relatively muted mortgage rate activity from the past couple weeks may transition to more significant movements.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.11%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.55%.

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 2.8% 2.85% 0.08%
20-Year Fixed 2.66% 2.73% 0.03%
15-Year Fixed 2.1% 2.19% 0.02%
10-Year Fixed 2.01% 2.15% -0.08%
7/1 ARM 2.28% 2.96% 0.22%
5/1 ARM 2.34% 3.1% 0.15%
3/1 ARM 0% 0% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.8% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,232. A 20-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.66% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,613. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.1% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,944. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.01% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,762. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.28% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,151. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.34% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. 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 2.33% 2.99% 0.24%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.54% 2.81% 0.05%
15-Year Fixed FHA 2.11% 2.85% 0.17%
15-Year Fixed VA 2.53% 3.02% 0.04%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.6% 2.97% 0.02%
5/1 ARM VA 3.06% 2.75% -0.19%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.33% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,159. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.54% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,191. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.11% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,946. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.53% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,004. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.6% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,200. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 3.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,273. 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 3.22% 3.27% 0.07%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.29% 3.33% 0.24%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.86% 2.94% 0.06%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.52% 2.6% 0.1%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.68% 3.07% -0.25%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.61% 3.06% -0.09%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 2.14% 2.74% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.22% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,602. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.29% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,414. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.86% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,102. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.52% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,660. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.68% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,427. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.61% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,406. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,259. 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

How to Negotiate Lower Rent With a Potential Landlord

It starts with determining your leverage.

By Alex Starace for MyFirstApartment.com

When you’re looking for an apartment, you might be under the impression that the list price is the only price. In some cases, that’s true. But if you’re a bit savvier, you could end up negotiating your way into a great deal. Before you approach the landlord, however, make sure you’ve done your homework.

Determine your leverage     

Are you in a tight or loose rental market? In tight markets — where there are more renters than available apartments — it’s unlikely a potential landlord will negotiate. Why? If three or four other people are willing to pay list price for the apartment, a landlord has little motivation to lower the price for you.

A good way to determine whether you’re in a tight rental market is to browse apartment listings for a few days. How many open units are in each building? How quickly do listings disappear? The longer the listings are on the market and the more listings per building, the looser the market. Another way to tell: Have you had any apartment showings canceled because the place was suddenly rented? If not, this again points to a looser market.

In loose markets, landlords will be anxious to rent their place, even at a rate lower than list price. After all, an empty unit is a money-sink for landlords. If you’re offering to fill the vacancy, the landlord might be happy to lower the price, especially if the choice is between renting to you or letting the apartment sit on the market a month longer.

Can you demonstrate that you are a responsible person? Even in a tight market you can have personal leverage. Landlords want security and predictability. In the long run, these things save a landlord a lot of money. If you can demonstrate that you have these qualities — the primary attributes landlords look for are a steady job and good credit — you may get a landlord to knock a bit off your rent or to make other concessions.

Can you show commitment to staying? If you’re planning on staying in the apartment for two or three years or longer, that’s a big benefit in a landlord’s eyes. When a landlord has to rent an apartment to a new tenant every year, he or she loses a lot in transaction costs (repainting, brokers fees, professional cleaning fees), as well as in the simple effort of finding a new tenant. So if you’re planning on staying a while, highlight this when discussing what makes you a great potential renter.

Negotiate from strength

After you have determined where your points of leverage are, it’s time to make your move. When approaching the landlord, the key is to be confident and calm. Avoid hyper-aggressiveness or a mouse-like timidity. A good way to strike the right balance and show confidence is to know your stuff. Know what an average apartment rents for in the neighborhood. Compare the amenities in the apartment to those available in nearby complexes. Have in mind a price you think is fair for your potential place, and have reasons why — whether it’s because the kitchen is too small, or it doesn’t provide parking, or it’s simply too expense relative to comparable places in the neighborhood. And emphasize your points of leverage — that you’ll be a responsible, long-term tenant.

When negotiating, ask for an even lower price than you’re hoping to pay. Do this for two reasons: First, you might end up getting it. Second, if the landlord is at all interested in bargaining, you’ll likely need to meet halfway between your initial offer and the list price. If you give a low (but not unreasonable) initial offer, meeting somewhere in the middle will be a win for you, and both you and the landlord will feel like you’ve made a good deal.

In the end, successful negotiating is all about knowing the market, doing research about the specific apartment in your sights and negotiating calmly and rationally. If you do all this, you have a good chance of paying lower monthly rent. Good luck!

 Related:

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

5 Tips for Approaching the Open House

In this article:

For decades, sellers and their agents have been using open houses to help generate interest in their listings. Open houses give the general public the chance to view a home without scheduling a private showing. While open houses do get a lot of curious neighbors and casual browsers, they can be a good opportunity for serious buyers to decide if a home is worth pursuing further, or a way to get a better grasp on neighborhood home values. 

In fact, 59% of home buyers attended an open house during their shopping process last year and 43% of buyers said attending the open house was very or extremely important to determining if the home was right for them.* On average, home buyers attended 2.6 open houses before buying.

Whether you’re a sincere buyer or simply curious about the inside of a home, you should know how open houses work and understand how you can be a good open house attendee. 

Note: If open houses are restricted or unavailable due to public health concerns, work with your agent to arrange a private tour or video tour. All Zillow-owned homes include a self-tour option — just use our app to unlock the door and tour at your convenience.

What is an open house?

An open house is an event during which potential buyers can tour a home that’s on the market. It’s usually hosted by the seller’s listing agent, or by the seller themselves, in case of a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) listing. Open houses usually take place on weekends, during a set range of hours typically midday.

Open house benefits for buyers

No scheduling required: Unlike a private showing, you don’t need to set up a specific appointment to see a home. Simply show up during the open house hours and view the home at your own pace. 

Scope out the competition: If you’re interested in a home, attending the open house can help you gauge interest from other buyers. This can be helpful when determining how quickly you need to submit an offer and how much you should offer. 

Understand current home values: Seeing what homes are selling for in your area and what you can buy at a particular price point can be helpful if you’re just starting your search. 

Redefine your nonnegotiable home features: Checking out homes in person can help you redefine your list of must-haves: Do you really need that extra bedroom? What does a backyard of this size really look like?

How do open houses work?

Not every seller or listing agent will hold one, but here’s the typical process for sellers setting up an open house:

  1. The seller and their agent determine a day and time for the open house.
  2. The agent lists the open house on the local MLS.
  3. The agent advertises the open house on social media, online and with print ads or flyers. 
  4. The agent prepares for the open house — purchasing refreshments, printing flyers, setting up signs and adding little touches to make the home feel welcoming to buyers. (Yes, as a shopper, you can eat the cookies.)
  5. The agent hosts the event, greeting buyers and answering questions about the property and community.
  6. Buyers remove their shoes, tour the home, take pictures and video (if allowed) and jot down important notes. 
  7. Any buyer who liked the house will contact their own agent. They’ll then set up a private showing to see the home again or they’ll submit an offer right away — the latter is common in fast-moving real estate markets.

Who hosts an open house?

The person hosting an open house could be any one of the following: 

  • Listing agent: As the person hired to sell the home, the listing agent should be an expert on the property. 
  • Listing agent’s team member or associate: A busy listing agent may also send another agent in their place — either someone on their team or another agent in their office. They should be experts in the local market, but may not be as familiar with the individual home. 
  • Homeowner: If a home is for sale by owner (FSBO), the homeowner will be hosting their own open house. They’re undoubtedly the expert on the home, but their local market expertise may be limited. 

How to prepare for an open house

There are times when you might just stumble upon an open house while you’re on a walk or running errands. But if you’re intentionally looking for open houses as part of your home-buying strategy, try these tips.

Seek out relevant open houses

If you plan to visit multiple open houses in one day, make sure you’re focusing on listings that fit your criteria for budget and location. It’s not worth wasting time looking at homes outside your budget or those that are too far from your work or school. 

Tip: With Zillow’s home search tool, buyers can filter by homes with upcoming open houses (this filter can be applied in addition to other search filters like price, bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage and location). When you use the open houses filter in conjunction with filters for your other criteria, you can easily find the right open houses for your search.

A map of home listings on Zillow.

You can also tour most Zillow-owned homes any time between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., any day of the week — just select the tour option on the listing. Although the listing agent will not be present, you can avoid a busy open house and rest assured the property is in move-in ready condition.

Do research on the market beforehand

With help from your agent or on your own, find out how each home you’re planning to visit stacks up against others nearby. Is the price in line with similar listings in the area? Are there any defects? Has it gone under contract recently and then returned to the market? Are there a lot of other interested buyers? Has it been sitting on the market for a long time? (“Days on market” is an indicator of a stale listing, but the standard number of days on market can vary based on where you live.)

Stay open-minded

If you’re searching on a tight budget in a hot neighborhood, there’s a good chance that the home that fits the bill will need some TLC. Fortunately, attending an open house can give you a better idea of the home’s condition and potential, while also giving you the opportunity to ask renovation-related questions — e.g., the location of load bearing walls and the details of local regulations. 

How to attend an open house

Now that you’ve done your research and are prepared to add some open houses to your home search, here’s what you should do once the day arrives. 

Ask questions

An open house is your best opportunity to ask the listing agent (or their associate) your questions — don’t be shy. Ask questions that you wouldn’t be able to answer just by reading a home’s listing description, such as:

  • What are the HOA restrictions?
  • Has the seller done a property tax appeal?
  • Have there been any recent renovations or repairs?

Tip: If you’re not currently working with an agent and you ultimately decide you aren’t interested in a particular home you tour, the open house could help you see if the listing agent might be the right person to represent you — many agents represent both buyers and sellers. 

Be honest

If anyone other than the listing agent or the homeowner is hosting the open house, they’re likely an agent hoping to find potential buyer clients. If you’re already working with an agent (or if you have no real interest in buying), be honest.

Check for damage and disrepair

Professional or edited photos can make a home look a lot better online than it is in person. At an open house, take the opportunity to closely evaluate a home’s condition and take note of any potential defects that would factor into your offer price. 

Assess the windows: Look for flaking paint, misaligned sashes and condensation due to air leaks. These could be signs of windows that need replacement. 

Check for water damage: Look for warped baseboards, ceiling stains and musty smells. 

Make note of cracks: Noticeable cracks in the ceiling or drywall could indicate foundation issues. 

Test functions: Open cabinets, doors and drawers. Run the faucets. Check the water pressure. An open house is a good opportunity to make sure every part of the home is in good working order. 

Gauge potential renovation needs: Home improvements can really add up. As you walk through a home, keep an eye out for urgent renovation needs like floors, fixtures or large repainting projects.

Open house tips for buyers

Whenever you attend an open house, put yourself in the seller’s shoes — you’re letting a bunch of strangers walk through your home while you’re not there. While every seller wants their open house to net a buyer, they also want to keep their home safe and their furnishings free of damage.

Do

  • Take off your shoes or wear booties if requested.
  • Greet the host and provide your name.
  • Sign in if necessary or requested (this is a safety issue for the seller and their agent).
  • Take notes on your phone about your likes, dislikes and follow-up questions.
  • Ask if you can capture a video (if the listing doesn’t already include a video).
  • Respect other buyers and guests. 
  • Wait for others to exit a room before you enter.
  • Provide feedback if requested.
  • Thank the person hosting the event.

Don’t

  • Refuse to comply with an agent or homeowner’s house rules.
  • Criticize the home or the owner’s style.
  • Listen in on other visitors’ conversations.
  • Touch the owner’s belongings.
  • Let kids run around without supervision.
  • Bring food or beverages in (except water).
  • Reveal information that would compromise your negotiating power, like your budget or level of interest in the home.
  • Bring pets.

*Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019 survey data

Source: zillow.com

Do You Own the Land Under Your Home?

Do your due diligence to ensure you know about liens, easements or land grants made on property you’re thinking about purchasing.

When you buy a home, you probably assume that you own everything in and around it within the property lines. But in some parts of the country, homeowners are discovering the property they’re buying does not fully include the land beneath it.

For example, in Tampa Bay, FL a family realized at closing that their home builder had already signed away the rights to the land underneath their home to its own energy company. The “mineral rights” grant gave the energy company the freedom to drill, mine or explore for precious minerals beneath the home.

How is this even possible, and how can it be avoided? Who really owns the land beneath your home? Here’s what you need to know.

You probably own the land

Generally speaking, it’s likely that you own the property underneath and around your house. Most property ownership law is based on the Latin doctrine, “For whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to heaven and down to hell.”

There can be exceptions, though. On occasion, a buyer will uncover an easement for a driveway or walkway that goes through their property. This is why it’s important to carefully review contracts and disclosures.

Contract and disclosures

A seller, be it a home builder or a homeowner, can’t claim any sort of rights to the property without first disclosing those rights in the real estate contract or in some sort of disclosure statement.

Each state is different with regard to how things are disclosed. Many disclosure statements require the seller to tell the buyer whether or not someone else has laid claim to the property or if the buyer is limited to claims in the future. If the seller is unaware, or the home you’re purchasing is in a state that doesn’t require the seller to disclose, then you should carefully review the property’s title report before signing off.

Preliminary title report

There can be a situation in which a seller doesn’t know that someone else has laid claim to the property. For example, this could happen in the case of a resale in a newer subdivision where the current owner bought from a homebuilder directly.

Throughout the years, there have been instances when an easement, encroachment or even a small mechanic’s lien sits on a title unbeknownst to the current seller. When this happens, all parties must work together to determine the best course of action. Access to the land below your home would have to be granted via a deed and, as such, it would show up on the preliminary title report.

The title report provides ownership information and acknowledges loans, deeds or trusts, easements, encroachments, unpaid property taxes or anything else that has been recorded against the property. If a homebuilder deeded mineral rights to themselves, for instance, they would have had to record that deed. If so, it stays on the title report until they and the current owner agree to take it off.

How to avoid last-minute disclosures

In Tampa Bay, unsuspecting homeowners signed over to the builder’s holding company the “eternal rights to practically anything of value (found) buried underground, including gold, groundwater and gemstones,” according to the Tampa Bay Times. If that weren’t enough, homeowners who didn’t realize they had signed over the mineral rights, or who did so at the last minute under duress, could have trouble selling their home later to wary buyers.

With any home purchase, you should give yourself enough time so that you can do your due diligence, either as a contingency to the contract or in the period leading up to the contract before you sign it.

When buyers think about due diligence, they immediately think “property inspection.” And in the case of new construction, it’s uncommon to do an inspection. But there is so much more to due diligence than a simple property inspection.

Never wait until the closing to discover such a big disclosure, as the unfortunate buyers in Tampa Bay experienced. It’s common practice for a good listing agent or seller, in states where disclosure is required, to raise something like mineral rights as a red flag to all buyers from the get-go.

Deeding access to the land below your home isn’t simply some “fine print” buried in the closing papers that could be easily overlooked. Such a disclosure would require paragraphs, if not pages, of documentation.

Best course of action: Review all documentation, disclosures and title paperwork prior to signing a real estate contract or during a due diligence period. If you’re uncertain, ask your agent for help reviewing the documents or hire a real estate attorney to pore through the paperwork on your behalf.

Related:

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

Is Land a Good Investment?

Most knowledgeable real estate investors will agree that buying land is not a good idea. There’s just way too much risk.

If you bought land in California in the 1970s, you’d probably opine that land is a good investment. If you bought it in 2006, and now it’s worth a fraction of what you paid, your opinion would probably differ. Most knowledgeable real estate investors will agree that buying land is not a good idea, and this includes buying small parcels of land and/or potentially investing in a large land deal. There’s just way too much risk.

Land is speculative

Here is the issue with land: It’s a 100 percent speculative investment. You are 100 percent hoping that the value will go up to provide you a fair rate of return. And it might. But will it go up enough to provide you a fair rate of return for the extreme risk that you are taking holding that land?

Here’s the risk

Let’s say you buy $100,000 worth of land, and you pay cash. It’s still going to cost you money each month to cover property taxes and insurance. And, here’s the kicker: It’s also costing you the opportunity cost of capital.

You probably took $100,000 out of your mutual fund account, or other financial asset, to buy the land. And when that money was in the financial account, it was probably earning interest — let’s say 5 percent — but now it’s not earning anything because you took it out of your account to buy some dirt. So you’re really effectively losing 5 percent in wealth each year because you’re not earning that return. Unless, of course, the land goes up that much in value plus compensating for property taxes, insurance and other annual costs.

As an example, if you have $100,000 and put it into a mutual fund, you’d earn 5 percent, or $5,000, per year. That’s cash in the bank that you can reinvest to earn even more money. After 10 years you’d have your original $100,000, plus $50,000 to $70,000 additional cash/financial asset earnings.

On the other hand, if you bought land, you’d earn no interest or dividends, and after 10 years you’d have a piece of dirt that you’ve been paying taxes on. Will your land have gone up enough in value to match the returns you would have earned on a financial asset?

In addition to those significant financial issues, land also can be contaminated, undevelopable or have significant development restrictions, among other issues.

Who might consider land?

Land may be a good investment for home building companies and long-term corporate land investors with extensive development and entitlement skills and experience, and significantly diversified portfolios of land to reduce their overall risk. But for small investors, it’s a high-risk gamble with little chance of earning a fair rate of return. There are much better investment opportunities, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, rental properties or, quite frankly, heading to Las Vegas for the weekend (where, by the way, many an investor has learned some tough land investment lessons in the past decade!).

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

5 Tips for Finding a Rental With a Large Dog

It’s not uncommon for pet-friendly apartment communities to have weight and breed restrictions. What should the owner of a large dog do?

Finding an affordable and comfortable apartment can be an incredibly time-consuming process. Add a large dog to the mix, and it’s next to impossible.

That’s what Jan Even, owner of a 90-pound Rottweiler mix, experienced during her Bay Area apartment search. She was planning to rent in San Francisco or the East Bay and began her search by looking at pet-friendly apartments.

“I couldn’t find a single place that would accept my dog. She’s perfectly well-behaved, but a lot of the places that bill themselves as pet-friendly have restrictions about types of dogs they will accept,” she said. “Eventually we concluded we weren’t going to be able to find a rental because of our dog. Now we’re looking at real estate to buy.”

It’s not uncommon for apartment communities — even those that are dog-friendly — to have weight and breed restrictions. So, what’s the owner of a large dog to do?

Look into single-family rentals

Large apartment complexes are mostly likely to have size and breed restrictions in their pet policies. Landlords of individually-owned properties are more likely to be flexible and accept large dog breeds on a case-by-case basis. Use keywords like “pet friendly” or “dog friendly” in your search filter to narrow down rental listings.

Use advocacy groups as a resource

There are plenty of other dog owners who have been in your shoes. The Humane Society of the United States has a list of tips for finding rental housing with pets. Your local animal shelter, breed rescue or advocacy group likely has a list of apartment communities that will accept your specific breed. For example, the website My Pit Bull is Family has a list of pit bull-friendly rental housing providers in each state.

Have all your documents prepared

In addition to preparing documents like obedience training and vaccination records, ask your landlord or veterinarian to write a reference for your pet, vouching for your dog’s behavior.

“A reference from a previous landlord can be huge in changing the mind of the landlord,” said KC Theisen, director of pet care issues at the Humane Society of the United States. “One other thing I recommend, in addition to pet resumes and references is a pet interview. If your dog is a great dog, offer to bring them by the rental office for a meet and greet. It’s very hard for a landlord to look at a sweet, well-mannered dog in the eye and say no.”

Plan extra time for the search

Understand that finding a rental with a large dog may not be easy. Allot additional time to find the right home for you and your dog. If you’d normally give yourself one month to find an apartment, double that to two since a good majority of rentals won’t be pet-friendly. If you really need extra time, consider getting a short-term rental and boarding your dog while you continue your search.

Be flexible

Finding a rental with a large dog may require flexibility on your end. Understand that you may be required to pay an additional pet deposit, pay extra for insurance that covers your dog’s breed or even rent on a month-to-month basis until your pooch earns the landlord’s approval. Follow the pet guidelines to show that you and your dog are model tenants and willing to work with the landlord.

As you look for a place to rent, above all, sell yourself as a responsible pet owner. “The thing about big dogs is that they’re not that different from a small dog in terms of the amount of space they need or damage they’re going to do,” explained Theisen. “Each dog is an individual.”

Do you have any tips for finding a rental with your large dog? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

Related:

Source: zillow.com

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Falls to New Record Low

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Abstract illustration of houses and charts

As of April 28, the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow for 30-year fixed mortgages was 2.78%.

Mortgage rates fall despite strong economic data reports.

“Mortgage rates fell again this week, continuing the downward trend they’ve exhibited for most of April,” said Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman. “In what was a relatively unremarkable week for mortgage rates, the modest movement was partially driven by discussions about a proposed increase in capital gains tax rates – which placed downward pressure on bond yields and thus rates – and anticipation of a key announcement by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the Central Bank has no immediate plans to increase interest rates or curb the purchases of mortgage-backed securities – a position that placed more downward pressure on bond yields and is likely to result in more mortgage decreases in the coming days. Looking ahead, with a slew of key economic reports on the horizon – including consumer spending and inflation data – the relatively muted mortgage rate activity from the past couple weeks may transition to more significant movements.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.11%, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.55%.

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% -0.05%
20-Year Fixed 2.72% 2.79% -0.04%
15-Year Fixed 2.13% 2.21% -0.03%
10-Year Fixed 2.02% 2.14% -0.12%
7/1 ARM 2.65% 3.25% -0.1%
5/1 ARM 2.49% 3.19% 0.02%
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 2.72% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,621. A 15-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.13% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,948. A 10-Year Fixed loan of $300,000 at 2.02% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,762. A 7/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.65% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,208. A 5/1 ARM loan of $300,000 at 2.49% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,183. 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 2.33% 2.99% 0.53%
30-Year Fixed VA 2.6% 2.89% -0.21%
15-Year Fixed FHA 2.06% 2.84% -0.06%
15-Year Fixed VA 2.62% 3.13% 0%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.69% 3% -0.14%
5/1 ARM VA 2.35% 2.45% 0.09%

A 30-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.33% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,158. A 30-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.6% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,200. A 15-Year Fixed FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.06% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,939. A 15-Year Fixed VA loan of $300,000 at 2.62% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,017. A 5/1 ARM FHA loan of $300,000 at 2.69% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,214. A 5/1 ARM VA loan of $300,000 at 2.35% APR with a $75,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $1,162. 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 3.27% 3.32% -0.03%
20-Year Fixed Jumbo 3.71% 3.76% -0.3%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.86% 2.94% -0.06%
10-Year Fixed Jumbo 2.63% 2.7% 0%
7/1 ARM Jumbo 2.59% 2.81% 0.04%
5/1 ARM Jumbo 2.39% 2.73% 0.19%
3/1 ARM Jumbo 2.14% 2.74% 0%

A 30-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.27% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,618. A 20-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 3.71% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $3,545. A 15-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.86% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $4,101. A 10-Year Fixed Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.63% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $5,690. A 7/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.59% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,400. A 5/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.39% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,336. A 3/1 ARM Jumbo loan of $600,000 at 2.14% APR with a $150,000 down payment will have a monthly payment of $2,259. 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