Gwinnett County Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local single family market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!  We are your local parkview and brookwood school real estate expert.  Give Harry a call at 404-213-6811 and find out how Harry Patel can help you sell your home for the most money and least hassle.

July 15, 2021

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

An important factor in today’s market is the number of homes for sale. While inventory levels continue to sit near historic lows, there are indications we may have hit the lowest point we’ll see. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, recently said of our supply challenges:

It looks like inventory may have hit a bottom (we’ve seen this in the higher frequency data as well). Unsold inventory in May was at 2.5 months supply, up from 2.4.

To put it into perspective, the graph below shows levels of inventory rising since the beginning of the year:Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCMWe’re still not close to a balanced market, which would be a 6 months’ supply of homes for sale. However, we are seeing a slow but steady increase in homes coming up for sale. And that leaves many buyers and sellers wondering the same thing: what does that mean for me?

Buyers: More Options Are Arriving, so It’s Time To Act

If you’re a buyer, more inventory coming to market is a welcome sight. More supply means more options and less competition, which could mean fewer bidding wars.

 

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According to the latest Monthly Single Family Housing Market Trends Report, supply levels are continuing to increase, which is different from the typical summer market:

“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.

If you’re having trouble finding your next home, this news should give you the hope and motivation to keep your buying process moving forward. Experts project mortgage rates will begin increasing, which will make purchasing a home less affordable as time passes. You can still capitalize on today’s low interest rates, so stick with your search as more homes come to market.

Sellers: Our Housing Supply Challenges Aren’t Over Yet, so Now Is the Time To Sell

If you’ve been putting off selling your house, you shouldn’t wait much longer. The year’s month-over-month gains in homes for sale have helped buyers, but we’re still very much in a sellers’ market.

As the graph below shows, even with the number of homes for sale rising, we’re still well below the supply levels we’ve seen historically:Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCMOf course, more homes are coming to market now, and more are expected in the coming months. Selling your house this summer gives you the chance to get ahead of the competition and maximize your sales potential before more homes are put up for sale in your neighborhood.

Bottom Line

More homes for sale means more options for buyers and more competition for sellers. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, let’s connect today to discuss your options and why it’s still a good time to make your move.

July 5, 2021

Home Builders Ramp Up Construction Based on Demand

 

Home Builders Ramp Up Construction Based on Demand | MyKCM

If you’re thinking of buying a home, there really is no time like the present. With today’s low mortgage rates, you have a great opportunity to get more home for your money. The challenge is inventory. Like you, many buyers want to capitalize on these market conditions, and it’s leading to more buyer competition and bidding wars.

If you’re having a hard time finding a single home to buy, it may be time to talk to your trusted real estate advisor about a newly built home. Early indicators show new-home construction is beginning to ramp up. While new homes alone won’t be able to fix all of the inventory challenges, this does mean you’ll soon have more options as you search for a home. As a buyer, a newly built home may be exactly what you’re looking for – it’s brand new, and with builder customization options, it’s uniquely yours from the ground up.

Here’s what industry experts are saying about new homes coming to market:

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says recent research could indicate upward momentum when it comes to new home construction. Evangelou refers to the volume of new homes where construction began during a set period, known in the industry as housing starts.

According to that research, housing starts reached their highest level since 2006 in March of this year – an encouraging sign for the industry. While they dipped slightly in April, Evangelou reiterates that the level of housing construction is heading in a positive direction compared to recent years:

“…we are currently building 24% more homes than we typically have built in April in the last couple of decades. Thus, housing construction is trending upward with housing starts likely to reach 1.6 million for all of 2021 and rise further to 1.7 million in 2022.”

 

As new data pours in, it further confirms this trend. According to the latest Monthly New Residential Construction report from the U.S. Census Bureau, housing starts increased even more in May, which continues the ongoing upward trend (see graph below) and indicates that ground is being broken on even more new homes.Home Builders Ramp Up Construction Based on Demand | MyKCMRobert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), singles out another encouraging sign:

“It is also worth noting that the number of single-family homes permitted but not started construction continued to increase in May, rising to 142,000 units.”

This insight that there’s also an uptick in single-family homes permitted serves as an additional sign that more new homes lie ahead. It’s important to realize that the construction doesn’t have to start on these homes before you may be able to purchase one. According to the Monthly New Residential Sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau, many new homes are selling before construction even begins (see graph below):Home Builders Ramp Up Construction Based on Demand | MyKCMThese signs are all good news for housing inventory. And as the recent challenges of rising lumber prices and dwindling lumber supply begin to improve, builders will be able to increase their production even more in the months ahead.

Bottom Line

While the inventory challenges we’re facing today won’t be solved overnight, the increase in new-home construction means your house may have more competition in the market. Let’s connect to talk about finding your dream home and the newly built homes available in our area.

July 4, 2021

Save Time and Effort by Selling with a Real Estate Agent

 

Save Time and Effort by Selling with an Agent | MyKCM

Selling a house is a time-consuming process – especially if you decide to do it on your own, known as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). From conducting market research to reviewing legal documents, handling negotiations, and more, it’s an involved and highly detailed process that requires a lot of expertise to navigate effectively. That’s one of the reasons why the percentage of people selling their own house has declined from 19% to 8% (See graph below):Save Time and Effort by Selling with an Agent | MyKCMTo help you understand just how much time and effort it takes to sell on your own, here’s a look at a few of the things you need to think about before putting that “For Sale” sign up in your yard.

1. Making a Good First Impression

While it may sound simple, there are a lot of proven best practices to consider when prepping a house for sale.

 

  • Do you need to take down your personal art?
  • What’s the right amount of landscaping to boost your curb appeal?
  • What wall colors are most appealing to buyers?

If you do this work on your own, you may invest capital and many hours into the wrong things. Your time is money – don’t waste it. An real estate agent can help steer you in the right direction based on current market conditions to save you time and effort. Since we’re in a hot sellers' market, you don’t want to delay listing your house by focusing on things that won’t change your bottom line. These market conditions may not last, so lean on an agent to capitalize on today's low inventory while you can.

2. Pricing It Right

Real estate professionals have mission-critical information on what sells and how to maximize your profit. They’re experienced when it comes to looking at recent comparable homes that have sold in your area and understanding what price is right for your neighborhood. They use that data to price your house appropriately, maximizing your return.

In a FSBO, you’re operating without this expertise, so you’ll have to do your own homework on how to set a price that’s appropriate for your area and the condition of your home. Even with your own research, you may not find the most up-to-date information and could risk setting a price that’s inaccurate or unrealistic. If you price your house too high, you could turn buyers away before they’re even in the front door, or run into problems when it comes time for the appraisal.

3. Maximizing Your Buyer Pool (and Profit)

Contrary to popular belief, FSBOs may actually net less profit than sellers who use an agent. One of the factors that can drive profit up is effective exposure. Simply put, real estate professionals can get your house in front of more buyers via their social media followers, agency resources, and proven sales strategies. The more buyers that view a home, the more likely a bidding war becomes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average house for sale today gets 5 offers. Using an agent to boost your exposure may help boost your sale price too.

4. Navigating Negotiations

When it comes to selling your house as a FSBO, you’ll have to handle all of the negotiations. Here are just a few of the people you’ll work with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate potential complications that may pop up. When appraisals come in low and in countless other situations, they know what levers to pull, how to address the buyer and seller emotions that come with it, and when to ask for second opinions. Navigating all of this on your own takes time –a lot of it.

5. Juggling Legal Documentation

Speaking of time, consider how much free time you have to review the fine print. Just in terms of documentation, more disclosures and regulations are now mandatory. That means the stack of legal documents you need to handle as the seller is growing. It can be hard to know and truly understand all the terms and requirements. Instead of going at it alone, use an agent as your shield and advisor to help you avoid potential legal missteps.

Summary

Selling your house on your own is a lot of responsibility. It’s time consuming and requires an immense amount of effort and expertise. Before you decide to sell your house yourself, let’s discuss your options so we can make sure you get the most out of the sale.

July 1, 2021

What To Expect as Appraisal Gaps Grow

 

What To Expect as Appraisal Gaps Grow | MyKCM

In today’s real estate market, low inventory and high demand are driving up home prices. As many as 54% of homes are getting offers over the listing price, based on the latest Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Shawn Telford, Chief Appraiser at CoreLogic, elaborates:

“The frequency of buyers being willing to pay more than the market data supports is increasing.”

While this is great news for today’s sellers, it can be tricky to navigate if the price of your contract doesn’t match up with the appraisal for the house. It’s called an appraisal gap, and it’s happening more in today’s market than the norm.

According to recent data from CoreLogic19% of homes had their appraised value come in below the contract price in April of this year. That’s more than double the percentage in each of the two previous Aprils.

The chart below uses the latest insights from NAR’s Realtors Confidence Index to showcase how often an issue with an appraisal slowed or stalled the momentum of a house sale in May of this year compared to May of last year.What To Expect as Appraisal Gaps Grow | MyKCMIf an appraisal comes in below the contract price, the buyer’s lender won’t loan them more than the house’s appraised value. That means there’s going to be a gap between the amount of loan the buyer can secure and the contract price on the house.

In this situation, both the buyer and seller have a vested interest in making sure the sale moves forward with little to no delay. The seller will want to make sure the deal closes, and the buyer won’t want to risk losing the home. That’s why it’s common for sellers to ask the buyer to make up the difference themselves in today’s competitive market.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re buying or selling single family homes, let’s connect so you have an ally throughout the process to help you navigate the unexpected, including appraisal gaps.

 

 

June 26, 2021

Homeowner Wealth Increases Through Growing Equity This Year

 

Homeowner Wealth Increases Through Growing Equity This Year | MyKCM

Building financial wealth and stability remains one of the top reasons Americans choose to own a single family home, and as a homeowner, your wealth often grows without you even realizing it. In a recent paper published by the Urban Institute, Home Ownership is Affordable Housing, author Mike Loftin illustrates how homeowners increase their equity and their wealth simply by making monthly mortgage payments:

“The principal portion that reduces the loan balance builds the homeowner’s equity. In doing so, the principal payments behave like an automatic savings account. The principal payment is not money going out; it is money staying in.”

But home equity – the difference between the value of your home and what you currently owe – isn’t just built through your monthly principal payments. Home price appreciation plays a vital role in growing your equity and, ultimately, your wealth.

As Freddie Mac explains:

“Homeownership has cemented its role as part of the American Dream, providing families with a place that is their own and an avenue for building wealth over time. This ‘wealth’ is built, in large part, through the creation of equity…Building equity through your monthly principal payments and appreciation is a critical part of homeownership that can help you create financial stability.”

Homeowners Continue To See Equity Increase

CoreLogic recently published their latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report, and it shows continued growth in equity amidst record home price appreciation. The report provides several key takeaways, all of which point to rising wealth for homeowners:

  1. The average equity gain of mortgaged homes during the past year was $33,400
  2. The current average equity of mortgaged homes is greater than $216,000
  3. There was a 6% increase in total homeowner equity over the past year
  4. Total U.S. homeowner equity has reached nearly $1.9 trillion

Here, you can see the equity gains by state:Homeowner Wealth Increases Through Growing Equity This Year | MyKCM

Equity Provides Homeowners with Flexibility

In addition to being a critical tool in building wealth, a homeowner’s equity also provides significant flexibility. When you sell your house, the accumulated equity comes back to you in the sale. Recent increases in home equity coupled with record-low mortgage rates mean it could be the perfect time for homeowners looking to make a move.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“Existing homeowners today are sitting on record amounts of equity. As homeowners gain equity in their homes, the temptation grows to list their current home for sale and use the equity to purchase a larger or more attractive home.”

Increasing equity also helps families facing challenges brought on by the pandemic. Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, explains in the recent Homeowner Equity Insights Report:

“Homeowner equity has more than doubled over the past decade and become a crucial buffer for many weathering the challenges of the pandemic. These gains have become an important financial tool and boosted consumer confidence in the U.S. housing market, especially for older homeowners and baby boomers who've experienced years of price appreciation.”

 

Summary

Home equity has always been a powerful wealth-building tool, and homeowners continue to see their financial stability increase. Let’s connect today so you can better understand how much equity you have in your current home or if you’re ready to take the next step in building your savings as a homeowner.

 

 

June 26, 2021

Homebuyers: Hang in There

 

Homebuyers: Hang in There [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Today’s sellers’ market provides unique challenges—and benefits—for single family home buyers.
  • Current low interest rates won’t last forever, and home prices are forecast to rise.
  • If you’re a homebuyer, hang in there. Homeownership improves your quality of life, and the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term challenges.

 

 

June 7, 2021

REAL ESTATE TERMS

 

A


Adjustable Rate Mortgage: (ARM):  
A home loan that can adjust the interest based upon market rates after the set fixed period on the note has expired. Generally an ARM will carry a lower interest rate than a fixed rate mortgage but is considered riskier because the interest rate is not fixed for the life of the loan.

Amortization: A term used to describe the process of paying off a loan over a predetermined period of time at a specific interest rate. The amortization of a loan includes payment of interest and a portion of the outstanding principal balance during each payment cycle.

Amortization Schedule: Provided by mortgage lenders, the schedule shows how over the term of your mortgage the principal portion of the mortgage payment increases and the interest portion of the mortgage payment decreases.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): A term used in the Truth-In-Lending Act to represent the full cost of a loan. Stated as a yearly rate, APR includes base interest rate, loan origination fee (points), commitment fees, prepaid interest and other credit costs that may be paid by buyer.

Application Fee: The fee that a mortgage lender charges to apply for a mortgage to cover processing costs.

Appraisal: A professional analysis, including references to sales of comparable properties, used to estimate the value of the property.

Appraiser: A professional who conducts an analysis of the property, including references to sales of comparable properties in order to develop an estimate of the value of the property. The appraiser’s report is called an “appraisal”.

Appreciation: An increase in the property’s value due to changes in market conditions, the opposite of depreciation.

Assessed Value: The value that a public taxing authority places upon personal property for the purposes of taxation.

Assumable Mortgage: A mortgage that can be taken over and “assumed” by the buyer when a property is sold. This type of mortgage is quite popular if the seller has a low interest rate and the market rates are considerably higher.

B

Balloon Mortgage: A mortgage that typically offers low rates for an initial period of time (usually 5, 7, or 10) years; after that time period elapses, the balance is due or is refinanced by the borrower.

Bankruptcy: Legally declared unable to pay your debts as they become due. Bankruptcy can severely impact your ability to borrow money. Talk to a credit counselor as soon as you realize you are having problems paying your bills on time to try to prevent bankruptcy.

C

Closing (Closing Date): When the real estate transaction between buyer and seller is completed. The buyer signs the mortgage documents and the closing costs are paid. The sale of the property is finalized by delivery of deed and the disbursement of funds necessary to the sale or loan transaction. Also known as the settlement date. In Washington, Sellers and Buyers sign documents one to two days prior to Close.

Closing Costs (Settlement Costs): The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs and items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask a lender or real estate professional for a complete list of closing cost items.

Condominium: A unit in a multiunit building. The owner of a condominium unit owns the unit itself and has the right, along with other owners, to use the common areas but does not own the common elements such as the exterior walls, floors and ceilings or the structural systems outside of the unit; these are owned by the condominium association. There are usually condominium association fees for maintenance for building and property upkeep, taxes and insurance on the common areas and reserves for improvements.

Counter-offer: An offer made in return by the person who rejects the previous offer.

Credit Bureau: A company that gathers information on consumers who use credit and sells that information in the form of a credit report to lenders.

Credit History: A credit history is the record of your usage of credit. It is a list of individual consumer debts and an indication as to whether or not these debts were paid back in a timely fashion or “as agreed”. Credit institutions have developed a complex recording system of documenting your credit history.

Credit Report: A document used by the credit industry to examine an individual’s use of credit. It provides information on money that individuals have borrowed from credit institutions and a history of payments.

Credit Score (FICO): A computer-generated number that summarizes an individual’s credit profile and predicts the likelihood that a borrower will repay future obligations.

D

Debt-To-Income Ratio: A comparison of gross income to housing and total monthly expenses.

Deed: The document that transfers ownership of a property.

Default: The inability to pay monthly mortgage payments in a timely manner or to otherwise meet the mortgage terms.

Deposit: See Earnest money.

Delinquency: Failure of a borrower to make timely mortgage payments under a loan agreement.

Discount Point: Paid at closing and calculated as a percentage the total loan amount, discount points are prepaid interest used to reduce the interest rate on a loan.

Down Payment: The portion of a home’s purchase price that is paid in cash and is not part of the home loan.

E

Earnest Money Deposit: The deposit you make to show in good faith that you are committed to buying the home. The deposit will not be refunded to you after the seller accepts your offer unless one of the sales contract contingencies is not satisfied. Your earnest money deposit is credited back at closing towards down payment or closing costs if the offer is accepted.

Escrow Account: A separate account into which the lender puts a portion of each monthly mortgage payment; an escrow account provides the funds needed for such expenses as property taxes and homeowners insurance.

F

Fair Housing Act: A law that prohibits discrimination in all facets of the homebuying process on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

Fair Market Value: The hypothetical price that a willing buyer and seller will agree upon when they are acting freely, carefully, and with complete knowledge of the situation.

Fannie Mae: Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA); a federally-chartered enterprise owned by private stockholders that purchases residential mortgages and converts them into securities for sale to investors; by purchasing mortgages, Fannie Mae supplies funds that lenders may loan to potential homebuyers.

FHA: Federal Housing Administration; established in 1934 to advance homeownership opportunities for all Americans; assists homebuyers by providing mortgage insurance to lenders to cover most losses that may occur when a borrower defaults; this encourages lenders to make loans to borrowers who might not qualify for conventional mortgages.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A home loan with an unchanging interest rate for the life of the loan and constant principal and interest payments.

Flood Insurance: Insurance that protects homeowners against losses from a flood; if a home is located in a flood plain, the lender will require flood insurance before approving a loan.

Foreclosure: A legal process in which mortgaged property is sold to pay the loan of the defaulting borrower.

Freddie Mac: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLM); a federally-chartered corporation that purchases residential mortgages, securitizes them, and sells them to investors; this provides lenders with funds for new homebuyers.

G

Ginnie Mae: Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA); a government-owned corporation overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ginnie Mae pools FHA-insured and VA-guaranteed loans to back securities for private investment; as with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the investment income provides funding that may then be lent to eligible borrowers by lenders.

Good Faith Estimate: An estimate of all closing fees including pre-paid and escrow items as well as lender charges; must be given to the borrower within three days after submission of a loan application.

H

Homeowner’s Insurance: A policy that protects you and the lender from fire or flood which damages the structure of the house; a liability, such as an injury to a visitor to your home; or damage to your personal property, such as your furniture, clothes or appliances. Homeowner’s insurance: an insurance policy that combines protection against damage to a dwelling and its contents with protection against claims of negligence or inappropriate action that result in someone’s injury.

Housing Expense Ratio: The percentage of your gross monthly income that goes toward paying for your housing expenses.

Home Inspection: A professional inspection of a home to review the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Home Warranty: Offers protection for mechanical systems and attached appliances against unexpected repairs not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Housing Counseling Agency: Provides counseling and assistance to individuals on a variety of issues, including loan default, fair housing, and homebuying.

HUD: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; established in 1965, HUD works to create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans; it does this by addressing housing needs, improving and developing American communities, and enforcing fair housing laws.

HUD-1 Settlement Statement: A final listing of the costs of the mortgage transaction. It provides the sales price, and down payment, as well as the total settlement costs required from the buyer and seller.

I

Index: A measurement used by lenders to determine changes to the interest rate charged on an adjustable rate mortgage after the fixed period of the loan has expired.

Inflation: The number of dollars in circulation exceeds the amount of goods and services available for purchase; inflation results in a decrease in the dollar’s value.

Interest: The cost you pay to borrow money. It is the payment you make to a lender for the money it has lent to you. Interest is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed.

Interest Rate: The cost to borrow money expressed as a percentage.

Insurance: Protection against a specific loss over a period of time that is secured by the payment of a regularly scheduled premium.

J

Judgement: A legal decision; when requiring debt repayment, a judgement may include a property lien that secures the creditor’s claim by providing a collateral source.

K

L


Lien: A claim or charge on property for payment of some debt. With respect to a mortgage, it is the right of the lender to take the title to your property if you default and do not make the payments due on the mortgage.

Loan: Money borrowed with intent to repay.

Loan Fraud: Purposely giving incorrect information on a loan application in order to better qualify for a loan; may result in civil liability or criminal penalties.

Loan-To-Value (LTV) Ratio: A percentage calculated by dividing the amount borrowed by the price of the home to be purchased; the higher the LTV, the less cash a borrower is required to pay as down payment.

Lock-In: Since interest rates can change frequently, many lenders offer an interest rate lock-in that guarantees a specific interest rate if the loan is closed within a specific time.

Loss Mitigation: A process to avoid foreclosure; the lender tries to help a borrower who has been unable to make loan payments and is in danger of defaulting on his or her loan.

Loan Origination Fees: The fee paid to your mortgage lender for their services of processing the mortgage application. This fee is usually in the form of a percentage of the loan amount.

Low Down Payment Feature: A loan program that requires little or no money down to purchase.

M

Margin: An amount the lender adds to an index to determine the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage.

Market Value: The current value of your home based on what a willing purchaser would pay. The value determined by an appraisal is often used to determine market value.

Mortgage: A loan secured by a lien on your home and property that secures the promise to repay a loan. In some states the term mortgage is also used to describe the document you sign to show that you have granted the lender a lien on your home; other states use a deed of trust document instead of a mortgage. It may also be used to indicate the amount of money you borrow, with interest, to purchase your house. The amount of your mortgage is usually the purchase price of the home minus your down payment.

Mortgage Broker: An independent finance professional that specializes in bringing together borrowers and lender to facilitate real estate mortgages.

Mortgage Insurance (MI or PMI): A policy that protects lenders against some or most of the losses that can occur when a borrower defaults on a mortgage loan; mortgage insurance may be required for borrowers with a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s purchase price.

Mortgage Lender: The lender providing funds for a mortgage. Lenders also manage the credit and financial information review, the property and the loan application process through closing.

Mortgage Rate: The cost or the interest rate you pay to borrow the money to buy your house.

Mortgage Banker: A company that originates loans and resells them to secondary mortgage lenders like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

N

O

Offer: A formal bid from the homebuyer to the home seller to purchase a home, generally put forth in writing.

Origination: The process of preparing, submitting, and evaluating a loan application; generally includes a credit check, verification of employment, and a property appraisal.

Origination Fee: Paid at closing and calculated as a percentage the total loan amount, origination points are paid to the mortgage company originating the loan for their services.

Open House: When the seller’s real estate agent opens the seller’s house to the public. You do not need a real estate agent to attend an open house.

P

PITI: Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance: The four elements of a monthly mortgage payment; payments of principal and interest go directly towards repaying the loan while the portion that covers taxes and insurance goes into an escrow account to cover the fees when they are due.

PMI: See mortgage insurance.

Pre-Approval: Lender commits to lend to a potential borrower for generally 30 to 45 days; commitment remains as long as the borrower still meets the qualification requirements at the time of purchase.

Pre-Approval Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you are a serious buyer.

Pre-Qualify: A lender informally determines the maximum amount an individual is eligible to borrow.

Pre-Qualification Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender that states that you are pre-qualified to buy a home but does not commit the lender to a particular mortgage amount.

Pre-Foreclosure Sale: Allows a defaulting borrower to sell the mortgaged property to satisfy the loan and avoid foreclosure. Also known as a Short Sale.

Premium: An amount paid on a regular schedule by a policyholder that maintains insurance coverage.

Prepayment: Payment of the mortgage loan before the scheduled due date; may be subject to a prepayment penalty.

Principal: The amount of money borrowed to buy your house or the amount of the loan that has not yet been paid back to the lender. This does not include the interest you will pay to borrow that money. The principal balance (sometimes called the outstanding or unpaid principal balance) is the amount owed on the loan at any given time. It is the original loan amount minus the total repayments of principal you have made to date.

Points: Paid at closing and calculated as a percentage the total loan amount. For example, if a loan is made for $50,000, one point equals $500.

Predatory Lending: Abusive lending practices that include making a mortgage loan to an individual who does not have the income to repay it or repeatedly refinancing a loan, charging high points and fees each time and “packing” credit insurance on to a loan.

Q

R

Radon: A toxic gas found in the soil beneath a house that can contribute to cancer and other illnesses.

Replacement Cost: The cost to replace damaged personal property without a deduction for depreciation.

Rate Cap: The limit on the amount that the interest rate on an ARM can increase or decrease during any one adjustment period.

Ratified Sales Contract: A contract that shows both you and the seller of the house have agreed to your offer. This offer may include sales contingencies, such as obtaining a mortgage of a certain type and rate, obtaining acceptable inspections on the home, making repairs, closing by a certain date, etc.

Real Estate Professional: An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. The real estate professional is paid a percentage of the home sale price by the seller. Unless you have specifically contracted with a buyer’s agent, the real estate professional represents the interest of the property seller. Real estate professionals may be able to refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers, but are generally not involved in the lending process.

Refinancing: Paying off one loan by obtaining another; refinancing is generally done to secure better loan terms (like a lower interest rate).

REALTOR®: A real estate agent or broker who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, and its local and state associations.

RESPA: Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act; a law protecting consumers from abuses during the residential real estate purchase and loan process by requiring lenders to disclose all settlement costs, practices, and relationships.

S

Securities: A financial form that shows the holder owns a share or shares of a company (stock) or has loaned money to a company or government organization (bond).

Settlement: Another name for closing.

Subordinate: To place in a rank of lesser importance or to make one claim secondary to another.

Survey: A property diagram that indicates legal boundaries, easements, encroachments, rights of way, improvement locations, etc.

Sweat Equity: Using labor to build or improve a property as part of the down payment.

T

Title: The right to, and the ownership of, land by the owner. Title is sometimes used to mean the evidence or proof of ownership of land; although another term used for that is “deed”.

Title Insurance: Insurance that protects lenders and homeowners against loss of their interest in the property because of legal problems with the title.

Truth In Lending Act (TILA): Federal law which requires disclosure of a truth in lending statement for consumer loans. The statement includes a summary of the total cost of credit such as the APR and other specifics of the loan.

U

Underwriting: The process a lender uses to determine loan approval. It involves evaluating the property, the borrower’s credit, and ability to pay the mortgage.

Uniform Residential Loan Application: A standard mortgage application that your lender will ask you to complete. The form requests your income, assets, liabilities and a description of the property you plan to buy, among other things.

V

W

Warranties: Written guarantees of the quality of a product and the promise to repair or replace defective parts free of charge.

X

Y

Z

June 6, 2021

April 2021 Home Sales Report

April 2021 Sales and Average Sales Price Overview

There were 7,273 closings for Residential Single Family Detached in April 2021. This reflects an increase of 23% over April 2020.

There were 1,744 closings for Residential Single Family Attached in April 2021. This reflects an increase of 55% over April 2020.

The average sale price for Residential Single Family Detached was $417,018 for April 2021 vs. $330,748 for April 2020.

The average sale price for Residential Single Family Attached was $320,917 for April 2021 vs. $290,893 for April 2020.

YTD 2021 Sales and Average Sales Price Overview

There were 25,302 closings for Residential Single Family Detached for YTD 2021. This reflects an increase of 9% over YTD 2020.

There were 6,209 closings for Residential Single Family Attached for YTD 2021. This reflects an increase of 31% over YTD 2020.

The Residential Detached Average Sales Price YTD through April 2021 was $386,893 vs. $318,966 for YTD 2020. This represents an increase of 21% for YTD 2021 vs. YTD 2020.

The Residential Attached Average Sales Price YTD through April 2021 was $312,298 for YTD through April 2021 vs. $284,461 for YTD 2020. This represents an increase of 10% for YTD 2021 vs. YTD 2020.

April 2021 Active Inventory Overview

Active inventory level for Residential Single Family Detached continues to drop with 6,288 active listings as of the end of April 2021 vs. 16,640 active Residential Single Family Detached listings as of the end of April 2020. This represents drop in active inventory for Residential Single Family Detached of 62%.

Active inventory level for Residential Single Family Attached continues to drop with 1,979 active listings as of the end of April 2021 vs. 3,720 active Residential Single Family Attached listings as of the end of April 2020. This represents drop in active inventory for Residential Single Family Attached of 47%.

Total Active Listings All Property Types

April 2021 March 2021 April 2020

14,845 14,134

28,733

There were 13,455 new listings entered for all property types in April 2021 vs. 10,467 new listings entered for all property types in April 2020. Total new listings entered for all property types in YTD 2021 was 46,683 vs. 45,858 new listings entered for all property types in YTD 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: FMLS

June 6, 2021

Invest in Home Remodels With Personal Health and Wellness In Mind

Guest Article by Natalie Jones, homeownerbliss.info

With so many people staying in due to the pandemic, concerns about maintaining the health of our homes are on the rise. Issues that are easy to ignore when you are out and about all day become more pressing when you’re home all the time for months on end. Even if you have plans to eventually relocate, it’s a good idea to invest in home improvements that can enhance personal wellness. Local real estate expert Harry Patel offers guidance on some of the more effective and affordable ways to make your single family home healthier and more appealing to potential buyers.

Start by decluttering.

A messy, disorganized house takes its toll both physically and mentally. Numerous studies have linked clutter to negative feelings, and even increased anxiety and depression. Clutter can detract from one’s physical well-being too. Clutter makes it difficult to clean, so dust and allergens accumulate, and dirty areas can harbor harmful bacteria and mold. Living in clutter can even lead to physical injury: disorganized clutter puts one at risk of tripping and falling.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Tidying up has to go beyond simply moving all your possessions into boxes or closets. You need to sort through and get rid of things you don’t need that are taking up space. This is especially important if you plan to put your single-family home on the market soon. Opening a closet and having a heap of junk fall out may be funny on television, but in real life, it makes a bad impression. Once you have created a new space in your home, it will be easier to make healthy choices like working out or meditating. You could also set aside a spare room for reading and relaxation. 

Do a deep clean.

Once the clutter is out of the way, clean your house as thoroughly as possible. If you have any curtains, give them a good wash. Blinds should be wiped down with a gentle cleanser or vinegar solution.  Carpets should not only be vacuumed but also shampooed to get rid of deeply ingrained dust and grime. Give all your furnishings and baseboards a good dusting—and don’t neglect light fixtures and ceiling fans, either. Removing accumulated dust will decrease allergens and make your home brighter and more appealing.

Get rid of any potential toxins.

One of the easiest ways to minimize toxins in the home is to switch out chemical-based cleaners with more natural or gentle ones. Look for varieties like Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation or Dr. Bronner’s, which you can find at stores like Walmart or Target. If you buy online, you can usually dig up Target coupons or Walmart promotions.

Be mindful of the plastics you are using too, especially for food storage since many contain harmful substances. Install a water filtration system if you have concerns about heavy metals or microorganisms in your water supply. You can also reduce harmful toxins by simply adding a few houseplants to your interior—this will also improve your ambiance and brighten your mood.

Go green when you renovate.

Changes that are worth investing in for home appeal and future resale include painting, floor remodels, and landscaping improvement. Be sure to look into eco-friendly options when you consider these or other updates. If you’re fixing your lighting, for example, purchase eco-friendly bulbs and materials—or see how you can open or alter windows to increase the natural lighting in your home. If your walls or trim need to be repainted, try some of the nontoxic environmentally friendly paints on the market.

Work with a good contractor.

For other alterations, such as flooring or window replacement, you may require the help of a professional. Shop around for a reliable and affordable contractor who will work with you on eco-friendly renovations. Instead of carpet, consider using sustainable material such as bamboo or cork, or environmentally friendly materials like concrete or reclaimed hardwood. If you decide the exterior of your home also needs a refresh, talk to a landscaping contractor about setting up a low water use yard.

It doesn’t take much to make your home a healthier place, and changes to your environment can even help you develop better wellness habits. Renovating your single-family home with an eye toward health and wellness can also make it more appealing to buyers. With so much extra time at home right now, take the opportunity to make your home the healthy retreat you need.

If you are thinking of selling your home or are in search of a new single family home in Gwinnett County, contact Harry Patel Real Estate.

Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 31, 2021

Buying a Single Family Home Is Still Affordable

 

Buying a Home Is Still Affordable | MyKCM

The last year has put emphasis on the importance of one’s home. As a result, some renters are making the jump into homeownership while some homeowners are re-evaluating their current house and considering a move to one that better fits their current lifestyle. Understanding how housing affordability works and the main market factors that impact it may help those who are ready to buy a home narrow down the optimal window of time in which to make a purchase of Single Family Homes.

There are three main factors that go into determining how affordable homes are for buyers:

  1. Mortgage Rates
  2. Mortgage Payments as a Percentage of Income
  3. Home Prices

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) produces a Housing Affordability Index. It takes these three factors into account and determines an overall affordability score for housing. According to NAR, the index:

“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”

Their methodology states:

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 signifies that family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment.”

So, the higher the index, the more affordable it is to purchase a home. Here’s a graph of the index going back to 1990:Buying a Home Is Still Affordable | MyKCMThe blue bar represents today’s affordability. We can see that homes are more affordable now than they’ve been at any point since the housing crash when distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) dominated the market. Those properties were sold at large discounts not seen before in the housing market for almost one hundred years.

Why are homes so affordable today?

Although there are three factors that drive the overall equation, the one that’s playing the largest part in today’s homebuying affordability is historically low mortgage rates. Based on this primary factor, we can see that it’s more affordable to buy a home today than at any time in the last eight years.

If you’re considering purchasing your first home or moving up to the one you’ve always hoped for, it’s important to understand how affordability plays into the overall cost of your home. With that in mind, buying while mortgage rates are as low as they are now may save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.

Summary

 

If you feel ready to buy, purchasing a home this summer may save you a significant amount of money over time based on historical affordability trends. Let’s connect today to determine if now is the right time for you to make your move.

Single Family Homes For Sale - Lilburn - Lawrenceville - Stone Mountain - Snellville - Grayson

 

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