Aug. 16, 2019

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of shows like “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Love It or List It,” all in one sitting.

When you’re in the middle of your real estate-themed TV show marathon, you might start to think everything you see on the screen must be how it works in real life. However, you may need a reality check.

Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:

Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them.

Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors, the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.

Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.

Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes shown are already sold and are off the market.

Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.

Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy.

Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the open house.

Truth: Of course, this would be great! Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but they are only one piece of the overall marketing of your home. Keep in mind, many homes are sold during regular showing appointments as well.

Myth #5: Homeowners decide to sell their homes after a 5-minute conversation.

Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and move on with their lives and goals.

Bottom Line

Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee you can make the home of your dreams a true reality. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
Aug. 8, 2019

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.

1. How much do you really need for a down payment?

There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Mae shows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 – 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.

There are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.

We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts homeownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!

2. How can I get help with my down payment?

Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:

Assistance from Family Members

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800…They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.

That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.

The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.

That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.

Bottom Line

If buying a home is one of your long-term goals, you may be able to get there sooner than you think by tapping into one of the many down payment assistance programs available. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
Aug. 5, 2019

Shasta County Market Update - August 2019

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of August.


From the Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

Homes Sales Report

Homes sales for the month of July finished at 282 homes closed, up from 280 in July 2018. The CARR fire at the end of July 2018 had a slight impact on overall closings for that month. The slight difference indicates that if the fire had not occurred, this year's July closings would have been slightly lower.

Home Inventory Report

Home inventory for the month of July finished at 1,146 homes for sale. This is down from 1,187 just one year ago in the same month. The recent reduction in home inventory can be largely contributed to the lack of new homes being constructed for sale in the local market.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates dropped drastically in the month of July (3.75% average on a 30 year loan) and have just reached the lowest levels in over 3 years. The recent drop in rates will increase overall buyer demand and will likely provide an additional boost to the market.

Appreciation Forecast

Forecasting home appreciation is always a challenging task and each price range range performs differently. Generally speaking, homes priced below $500k will likely receive a boost in value due to overall low inventory and the recent interest rate drop. Homes priced over $500k will likely continue to sell with some regularity but will likely not receive an equal boost in value due to overall sluggish buyer demand and increased supply.

Bubble Markets

It has become an understandable concern for some that a bubble in local home prices may be forming. This concern is largely due to the fact that we have had an extended period of positive growth. It is important to keep in mind that the recent economic recovery has been extremely slow in comparison to the previous bubble. In fact, in the local market average selling prices for homes across all price ranges is still below the previews peak of 2006. The slide below compares July 2006 to July 2019.

Currently, local Investors represent a very small portion of all sales (estimated at 11%) and institutional investors are a non factor in our local market. In addition, home buyers are highly qualified and financing is based on fixed rate mortgages. The troubling signs that plagued our last local housing bubble are essentially non existent. The largest concern for the future of real estate locally may actually be the low interest rate environment. As rates eventually tick up, there may be a corresponding reduction in buyer demand and softening in home prices. When this may happen is anyone's guess.

The bubble forming that should not go unnoticed is in destination markets like Idaho, Washington, Utah and Texas. These destination markets have enjoyed robust growth and serious spikes in sales prices. Once these destination markets have reached a serious premium, it is likely that the scales will shift, supplies will grow and prices will soften. Once the sticker shock of the destination markets is apparent, markets like Shasta County will once again look like a bargain in comparison. I am clearly biased when it come to this topic as I am a lifelong resident of Shasta County, but a believe the data is on my side.

You can view the average value of your home instantly by visiting www.shastahomevalue.com

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to review these reports. I also appreciate the feedback that many of you share with me each month. If you have any additional questions regarding real estate we are always here to help. Make it a great August!    

Your Realtor

Josh Barker

P.S. You can view all of our past real estate market updates by visiting www.reddinghomes.com/blog

Posted in Josh's Blog
July 29, 2019

3 Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home Now

 

Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to move up to the home of your dreams, now is a great time to purchase a home. Here are three major reasons to buy today.

1. Affordability

Many people focus solely on price when talking about home affordability. Since home prices have appreciated throughout the past year, they assume homes are less affordable. However, affordability is determined by three components:

  • Price
  • Wages
  • Mortgage Interest Rate

Prices are up, but so are wages – and interest rates have recently dropped dramatically (see #2 below). As a result, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) latest Affordability Index report revealed that homes are MORE affordable throughout the country today than they were a year ago.

“All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The South had the biggest gain in affordability of 6.9%, followed by the West with a gain of 6.0%. The Midwest had an increase of 5.8%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 1.8%.”

2. Mortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage rates have dropped almost a full point after heading toward 5% last fall and early winter. Currently, they are below 4%.

Additionally, Fannie Mae recently predicted the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.7% in the second half of 2019. That compares to a 4.4% average rate in the first quarter and 4% in the second quarter.

With mortgage rates remaining near historic lows, Fannie Mae and others have increased their forecasts for housing appreciation for the rest of the year. If home price gains are about to re-accelerate, buying now rather than later makes financial sense.

3. Increase Family Wealth

Homeownership has always been recognized as a sensational way to build long-term family wealth. A new report by ATTOM Data Solutions reveals:

“U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $67,500, up from an average gain of $57,706 in Q1 2019 and up from an average gain of $60,100 in Q2 2018. The average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.”

The longer you delay purchasing a home, the longer you are waiting to put the power of home equity to work for you.

Bottom Line

With affordability increasing, mortgage rates decreasing, and home values about to re-accelerate, it may be time to make a move. Let’s get together to determine if buying now makes sense for your family. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
July 24, 2019

Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today

Shifting trends and industry-leading research are pointing toward some valuable projections about the status of the housing market for the rest of the year.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or if you just want to know what experts are saying is on the horizon, here are the top three things to put on your radar as we head into the coming months:

 

  1. Home prices are appreciating at a more normal rate: Home prices have been appreciating for about ten years now. Experts at the Home Price Expectation Survey, Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae are forecasting continued growth throughout the next year, although it should be leveling-off to normal appreciation (3.6%), as we move into 2020.
  2. Interest rates are low: Over the past 30 years, the average mortgage rate in the United States has been 8.27%, and rates even peaked as high as 18% in the 1980s. Today, at 3.81%, the rate is considerably lower than the historical 30-year average. Although experts predict it may climb into the low 4% range in the near future, that’s still remarkably lower than our running average, suggesting a great time to get more for your money over the life of your loan.
  3. An impending recession does not mean there will be a housing crash: Although expert research studies such as those found in the Duke Survey of American CFOs and the National Association of Business Economics, are pointing toward a recession beginning within the next 18 months, a potential recession isn’t expected to be driven by the housing industry. That means we likely won’t experience a devastating housing crash like the country felt in 2008. Expert financial analyst Morgan Housel tweeted:

“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”

In fact, during 3 of the 5 last U.S. recessions, housing prices actually appreciated:

Bottom Line

With prices appreciating and low-interest rates available, it’s a perfect time to buy or sell a home. Let’s get together to discuss how you can take the next step in the exciting journey of homeownership. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
July 9, 2019

Now’s the Time to Move-Up and Upgrade Your Current Home!

 

Homes priced at the top 25% of the price range for a particular area of the country are considered “premium homes.” In today’s real estate market, there are deals to be had at the higher end! This is great news for homeowners wanting to upgrade from their current house.

Much of the demand for housing over the past couple of years has come from first-time buyers looking for their starter home. Many of the more expensive homes listed for sale have not seen as much interest.

According to ILHM’s Luxury Report, this mismatch in demand and inventory of luxury and premium homes has created a Buyer’s Market. For the purpose of the report, a luxury home was defined as one that costs $1 million or more.

“A Buyer’s Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point.”

The authors of the report were quick to point out that current conditions at the higher end of the market are no cause for concern.

“While luxury homes may take longer to sell than in previous years, the slower pace, increased inventory levels and larger differences between list and sold prices, represent a normalization of the market, not a downturn.”

Luxury can mean different things to different people. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it could be a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent find you the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you are debating upgrading your current house to a premium or luxury home, now is the time! As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
July 8, 2019

Shasta County Market Update - July 2019

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of July.


From the Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

The first half of 2019 continues to remain on pace year over year in regards to the number of home sales and the number of listings on the market. The stability in both home sales and home inventory available for purchase has allowed home prices to remain stable with a slight increase in the lower end and tapering off as home prices move towards the upper end. Interest rates for mortgages have also remained competitively low allowing home ownership to remain attainable to many entry-level buyers. This month we will review several of the hottest topics trending during the first half of 2019. 

Home sales

Home sales for the first half of 2019 finished at 1,614 units sold up from 1,588 one year ago.  The modest 1.6% increase in home sales suggests that the market has normalized and home prices will likely move into a phase of stabilization as well. The month of June revealed a slowdown in home sales finishing at 275 down from 335 one year ago in the same month.  If this trend continues, we may see a slowdown in overall home sales for the second part of 2019.

Home Inventory

Home inventory available for purchase in the first half of 2019 finished at 3,385 down from 3,432 one year ago. Again, the modest 1.4% decrease in overall inventory available in the first half of the year reflects a more balanced and stable real estate market. The month of June revealed a slowdown in new listings coming to the market finishing at 411 down from 483 one year ago in the same month. If the trend continues, we may see a reduction in homes available to purchase compared to last year.

Interest Rates

Interest rates have continued to remain historically low. Rates are currently averaging just below 4% and are expected to remain low in the short term. The lower rate environment is contributing to overall affordability and is the primary reason that entry-level home buyers are still very active in the local market.  

Goldilocks Economy

Many experts are describing the current economy as the "Goldilocks Economy". The economy is not very hot or very cold. The country is experiencing a strong economy with historically low unemployment. Wages are also increasing with low inflation which means more money in peoples pockets. To top it off, mortgage rates have remained historically low while the inventory of homes for sale is increasing, which can help keep home prices within realistic ranges. Clearly, the state of the economy does not reflect every one personal situation, but when it comes to housing, the overall economy plays a major role.

Future Expectations

Real Estate continues to be viewed as the best long term investment. Home ownership is still America's leading source of personal wealth. 

Home inventory for sale is projected to climb in the future which will keep affordability in check and provide options for many new and existing homeowners.

The availability of financing is expected to remain strong and likely become even more attainable in the future. As lenders loosen guidelines to increase homeowner participation we can expect sales to remain strong.

You can view the average value of your home instantly by visiting www.shastahomevalue.com

Thank you for your time, and make it a great day!     

Your Realtor,

Josh Barker

P.S. You can view all of our past real estate market updates by visiting www.reddinghomes.com/blog

Posted in Josh's Blog
July 2, 2019

Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need!

 

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the “man cave” of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • “Must-Haves” – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • “Should-Haves” – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • “Absolute-Wish List” – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It also lets your agent know what features are most important to you before they start showing you houses in your desired area. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 24, 2019

Why Is So Much Paperwork Required to Get a Mortgage?

 

When buying a home today, why is there so much paperwork mandated by the lenders for a mortgage loan application? It seems like they need to know everything about you. Furthermore, it requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form. Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any other time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank proves beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.

During the run-up to the housing crisis, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.

2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business.

Over the last several years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and negotiating an additional million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they have to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in this situation.

The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a low mortgage interest rate.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty years ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process, but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990s and 6.29% in the 2000s).

If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of around 4%, they would probably bend over backward to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 17, 2019

5 Reasons to Sell Your House This Summer

 

Here are 5 compelling reasons listing your home for sale this summer makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other for the same home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in most of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in his or her home was six, but that number has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. Many homeowners have a pent-up desire to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners are granted the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their home over the last couple of years for fear that they would not find a home to move in to. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you to decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. Buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 43 days. (Last numbers available.)

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has created a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, it will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important. 

As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog