With the housing market back up to the pre-recession rates, a more stable job market and better loans, many are finally considering purchasing their first home. While the dream of purchasing a new home is easier to achieve, still it’s good to be mindful of the basic ground rules of responsible credit. We’ve worked with many first-time buyers that get disqualified during the underwriting process because of making these 10 mistakes.
Are you considering buying your first home soon? Congratulations! Owning a home is a huge step, and a huge investment in your future. While the process can be very fun and exciting, it can also be a bit overwhelming, especially to first time home buyers. Before you decide to put an offer in on a house, you’ll want to do a bit of research and be sure you are making the best decision for you.
Here are some common mistakes often made by first time home buyers:
In theory, putting your money into the stock market instead of your home could give you higher returns. In practice, however, few renters actually do invest successfully in the stock market. Owning a home has significant financial benefits, especially for people in Seattle where it’s expensive to rent. A report by the National Association of Realtors found homeowner’s net worth ranged from 31 to 46 times that of renters in the past 15 years.
As your home goes up in value, so too does your net worth.
Many people like to set financial goals for the New Year. Increasing your net worth is all about paying down debt and saving more. But homeowners’ net worth is positively influenced by factors beyond their control such as a booming real estate market in Seattle. As your home goes up in value, so too does your net worth. Even if you missed the beginning stages of the housing recovery, it’s still a great time to realize the benefits of homeownership.
The importance of having a good credit score when buying a home is not something most people find surprising. A person’s credit score provides their lenders with a great deal of important information about the person and how much they could afford to spend on a home.
However, what most people don’t know is what exactly that number means and the role in places in whether or not you get a mortgage or where you are able to get your mortgage from. In addition to determining whether or not you can qualify for a mortgage, it can determine the type of home you can buy, what your interest rate is, and much more!
Minimum Credit Scores
Sure, everyone knows there is such a thing as a ‘good’ credit score or a ‘bad’ credit score. You also know that good credit scores allow you to get a mortgage while bad ones don’t. But what exactly is a good credit score?
According to the latest statistics announced by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) the rate of pre-existing homes being sold is at the highest for the year. This comes after August’s disappointing news that the rate had dropped 1.8%.
September’s statistics show an increase of 2.4% (this correlates to an equivalent of 5.16 million homes being sold). It is important to note that although this is the highest rate for the year thus far, it is still 1.7% lower than this time last year. In September of 2013 approximately 5.26 million homes were sold.
Economists are optimistic citing a less competitive housing market with low interest rates which lead to stronger home sales.
Additionally, when looking at the sales of single family homes, the trend is similar. There was a 2.0% in September compared to August. However, this is overall lower than the rate recorded this time last year. Economists are optimistic citing a less competitive housing market with low interest rates which lead to stronger home sales.
The perfect “retirement home” for many Seattle baby boomers today isn’t necessarily located in a retirement community. Experts say a lot of boomers want to be surrounded by people of all ages in retirement. When purchasing a home in the Seattle area, it’s important to find builders that will accommodate any special concerns you have related to aging in place. An elder-friendly new construction home in Washington State is one that has an overall floor plan and features that make it easier to get around and be safe. According to a recent Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate survey cited by Next Ave. about baby boomers and their retirement homes, the most important features boomers look for when purchasing a home is low-maintenance features. Instead of downsizing to an apartment or small condo, most baby boo mers are planning to buy a better lifestyle. The Next Ave. article pointed out that older homebuyers specifically want diversity and to live around people who stimulate them. Some Seattle-area new homes can be built with specific aging-in-place designs in mind.
A good home builder can build you a home with a low maintenance exterior as well as low-maintenance shrubs and plants. If you choose a floor plan with a patio and porch, a builder can make sure the outdoor living areas are easily accessible with a walker or even wheelchair. If you are not building your home then there are many things you can do to make the home more accessible on the exterior but you will want to verify there are not any neighborhood restrictions preventing altering the exterior of the home.
Overall floor plan
A one-story home is ideal. Also, it’s important to have well-lit hallways that are at least 36-inches wide andno steps between rooms to prevent trips and falls. Lights at the entryway can make it easier to see in order to open the front door lock.
Focus on flooring
The flooring in an elder-friendly home needs to be non-slip, especially in the entryway and bathrooms. If you do choose a harder surface such as tile, consider placing non-slip rugs in key areas.
Other ideas include customizing your home with special showers with no thresholds, seating areas and grips.You can also install easy-to-read thermostats, touch light switches, lighting in closets, pull-out shelving in the kitchen, and anti-scold controls on faucets. Searching for a home with plenty of natural light is a nice feature especially in Seattle.
At Alise Roberts & Company, we take the extra time to meet face-to-face with our clients. Our Realtors can show you resale homes as well as new construction models so you can get a feel for what’s right for you and your family. For more information about how we can help you find a retirement-friendly new home, pleasecontact us.
Are you ready to be a home owner? If the answer is YES, good for you! There are many great benefits of home ownership.
While many future homeowners know the neighborhood, the size, and the price range of their home, many often do not consider an integral piece of the puzzle: what type of mortgage is right for me?
Let’s look at four types of mortgages, and see which is the best fit for YOU.
• FHA loan. This is a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. A great aspect of this loan is they offer a lower down payment than other conventional mortgage loans. A drawback is an FHA loan limits the size of the loan.
According to some of the latest statistics for Seattle’s housing market, the median home price has risen to the highest it has been since August 2007. This is intriguing news for prospective home buyers and sellers alike.
According to The Seattle Times, the median home price has risen dramatically. The word median means middle, so the middle range price of a home has increased. This is not necessarily the same thing as average (the difference might seem negligible, but can actually make a big difference).
The median home price has risen dramatically
In August of 2007 the median price for a single family home in Seattle was $501,000. In August of 2014 the median home price was $543,500. It is also important to note that these are the prices homes actually SOLD for. Interestingly enough the median price for June was only $499,000.
Why the price changes?
Seattle has a very good job market. In June 2014 Washington state’s unemployment rate was only 5.8% according to the most recent statistics. This is the lowest it has been in six years.
Combine the increase in employed workers with good interest rates and more people are now able to purchase homes. This gives the market more competition.
Seattle’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in six years.
The Seattle Times article also lists specific statistics for many of the neighborhoods in Seattle. The median home prices are certainly an interesting statistic to keep an eye on. They can be indicative of the overall housing market and economic climate of our area.
For more information about buying and selling a home, please contact us.
Last week we focused on how Seattle is becoming a hot spot for retirees. But for Millenials it remains a sought after hot spot when searching for a home. Seattle is an area with a lot of young energy as well as new money for real estate. A recent report by the National Association of Realtors named Seattle as one of the best cities for Millennial home buyers or young adults in their 20s and early 30s. According to an article by CNN Money that cited the report, some of the factors that made Seattle and several other cities stand out included strong job growth and affordable home prices. Living in Seattle has several perks for younger buyers.
The National Association of Realtors named Seattle as one of the best cities for Millennial home buyers or young adults in their 20s and early 30s.
One of the reasons real estate is booming in Seattle is due to tech jobs that attract young workers. According to CNN Money, between 2010 and 2012, 28 percent of those moving into Seattle were Millennials compared to 23 percent for the average major city. Job growth is at about 2.6 percent. In addition to start-up companies, some of the major employers include Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks.
According to an article by Forbes, Seattle is credited as being the birthplace of the hipster craze. For young people wanting to buy real estate in Seattle, one of the most “hip” areas is Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA. Another hip neighborhood noted by Forbes was the Ballard neighborhood. Homeowners in Ballard, a Northwest Seattle area, can walk to antique shops, restaurants, a movie theater, the Ballard Farmers market and parks. Nightlife and coffee shops make Capitol Hill a popular place for Millennials to buy homes.
In Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, Martha Rose Construction in Seattle built “extreme green homes.”
Seattle is home to several green or eco-friendly homes. For example, the woman-owned GreenPod Development builds new Seattle modular homes. In Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, Martha Rose Construction in Seattle built “extreme green homes.” The homes were awarded the 5 Star Built Green award. When shopping for real estate in Seattle, young house hunters can find many homes with high “Green IQ’s.” Some resale homes are also landscaped with native plants to protect the native butterflies, birds and other wildlife.
Many baby boomers are retiring to urban areas, including Seattle. According to one article by the Wall Street Journal, many boomers born between 1946 and 1964 like the young energy of hip, urban neighborhoods. The article cited an American Housing Survey that revealed almost 10 percent of households headed by someone 55 and older in central cities lived in condos compared to about 7 percent in 2005. Experts say boomers are creating a demand for luxury townhomes and condos in prime neighborhoods in the Seattle area. If you are a baby boomer hoping to retire to Washington State, there are plenty of attractive neighborhoods in Seattle.
Baby boomers are creating a demand for luxury townhomes and condos in prime neighborhoods in the Seattle area.
Northwest Seattle area is an appealing area for baby boomers purchasing a home for an active retirement. Named by Seattle Magazine as one of the Best Seattle neighborhoods, Ballard boasts antique shopping, a much-loved independent movie theater, parks and foodie-favorite restaurants. Boomers can enjoy the Norwegian Independence Day parade, the Ballard Farmers market and cooking classes at The Pantry.
Queen Anne was also listed as one of the top Seattle neighborhoods by Seattle magazine. The 2.8-square-mile area is home to ballet, opera and theaters. Boomers may enjoy the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market as well as the Seattle International Film Festival. Boomers interested in homes with character may be interested in the Queen Anne-style houses from the late 1800s.
South Lake Union
The South Lake Union neighborhood is alive with the energy of creative people working. Baby boomers may be interested in purchasing a home in South Lake Union with its many bakeries, shops, restaurants, coffeehouses and the old Seattle ambiance of industrial warehouses and fishing boats.
Although Bellevue isn’t in the city of Seattle, this community is just a quick drive over the I-90 bridge right into downtown. Bellevue is likened as a mini-Seattle but with lower crime and a more community-type feel. Purchasing a home in West Bellevue is a good move for baby boomers who want to be close to Bellevue Square and fine restaurants which are all within walking distance and intertwined by convenient skybridges. Hop on I-90 east and you are also minutes to many hot hiking spots as well as nature scenes. Also just a 30-mile drive east to Twin Falls and Chism Beach Park.
If you are hoping to retire to Washington State, there are plenty of attractive neighborhoods in Seattle.
Purchasing a home in one of the many hip, urban neighborhoods in Seattle can be an exhilarating experience for pre-retirees and retirees. By hiring an experienced Realtor who knows the area well, you can have that competitive edge when bidding on prime real estate properties.
For more information about finding a condo, townhome or single-family home in Seattle’s best neighborhoods at any stage of life, please contact us.