Sunday, January 11, 2015

Getting The Lowest Interest Rate

This past week, I received an email containing the latest interest rate news from a preferred lender of ours at Keller Williams.  I receive multiple emails per week with different rates from different banks, so I have a habit of marking them as read and attempting to return to them at a later time.  As we all know, this is a strategy that never works.  Things get busy, more emails pile up, and you seldom return to the information.

I have a few buyer clients that have decided that 2015 is their year to purchase, so when the rates came this time, I knew it was information I needed to not put off until later.  Rates have been low for a couple of years now, but when I opened the sheet and didn't see a number above 4% for any type of mortgage, I was blown away.

I don't want to advertise any exact numbers on the blog for various reasons, but it was a good reminder that the deal you can get on a mortgage right now is incredible.  If 2015 may be the year your decide on a purchase or a sale & purchase, it's getting close to the time where you want to be making initial contacts, especially to lenders.

A few things to remember-

1.  Rates change-  They are low now, but until you get in touch with a lender and begin the loan process, your rate isn't locked in.  I'm not in the market to predict the future, so I can't say how long they'll be low.

2.  Don't over-purchase-  With lower rates, comes more affordability.  Don't over purchase just because you can get a great rate.  I always like to think of the purchase less for the rate and the purchase price, and more for the monthly payment that I'll be paying for the next 30 years.  It doesn't make sense to lock up a higher monthly payment by buying a more expensive house just because you can get a lower rate.  Sounds simple, but it has handcuffed many people in the past.

3.  You don't have to buy-  I've had a number of people in the past few years say "rates are so low, I should be buying."  To some degree it is true, but that isn't the way to think about making a six-figure purchase.  Low rates make buying more a part of the conversation, but your reasons for purchasing a home should be more than low interest rates.

4.  Closing is #1-  Rates are important, but the most important thing is working with a lender that can get a deal closed.  When I recommend lenders, I always tell clients that I recommend people that I've closed deals with.  We all have an interest in getting you into your new home as quickly and efficiently as possible.  You could be getting the best rate in the world, but if the lender cannot get the deal done, the rate doesn't matter.  Lesson:  when you shop for lenders, don't just shop rates.  Make a decision based upon a variety of factors including recommendations, comfort level, rates, fees, and any other factors that are important to you in purchasing your home.

If you'd like my list of recommended lenders, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to get you in touch with any of the folks I consistently do business with.

Take care,
Scott Morrison
scottmorrison@kw.com



Thursday, January 1, 2015

Home Values Rising


Happy New Year!
I'd imagine that buying or selling a home (or both!) is going to be on many 2015 resolution/ goal lists. Such a big financial transaction and lifestyle change is something that should be planned out far in advance.  The latest report from the Columbus Board of Realtors suggests that we are in a "sustainable market" as home prices are steadily rising and  surpassing pre-recession levels.  

See the full report here:  Central Ohio Housing Report - November 2014

Questions to ask yourself as you consider whether buying or selling is right for you:

Seller:
What should I do to prepare my home for sale?
Beyond the obvious things like tidying up, decluttering, and making the home presentable, I believe the most important thing is to sit down and make sure that you know where you are going next. I think that many people see the rising values and think that they can get money for their home, but then have no idea what they are going to look for next. Meet with a Realtor and come up with a full plan months in advance. Also, get advice for any upgrades that make the home more desirable at a cost that you'll get a good ROI.

When is the best time for me to list?
I believe that the "best time" is whenever you are ready. Whenever the home is prepared, your future is somewhat clear, and you feel comfortable with the process. Many folks think that the Spring is the best time to list because of the changing weather. I cannot say that this is either true or false, it all depends on your goals. Spring is a great time to list, but it's also a prime time to have a ton of competition in and around your area. Meet with Realtors and lenders a few months in advance so that you can make an educated decision.

Buyer:
With values up, should I wait to buy?
The best time to buy is the time at which you are ready to buy. When you have a stable job, a steady income, and are ready for the ups and downs of home ownership. Attempting to time the market isn't something that is going to be worth your time.  Buy when you are ready, buy smart, and make sure you l
ove the home you are buying, don't just buy to buy.

What should I do first?
If you are thinking of buying this year, it's time to be referred to a lender. If you know of a lender you want to use... great! I'd be happy to refer you to any lender that I've successfully closed transactions with. You can shop around for rates, but the most important factor should be whether or not the lender can get the deal closed. Don't just chase the best rate. Make sure you are comfortable with the people and company that you choose to work with.

There are several more questions that a buyer or seller may want to ask. If you have a question that is on your mind, feel free to email me anytime... I'd be happy to get you the best answer!

I hope that 2015 brings you happiness! If a real estate transaction is a part of the plan, I'd love the opportunity to serve as your Realtor.  Have a great year!

Take care,
Scott Morrison
scottmorrison@kw.com