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Qualifying for a Loan – What do I need to qualify?

by Mayes Harris Team

Before you start searching for your new home, the first step is to speak with a lender and determine your budget. This is being pre-qualified for a loan. Once you find the right home, then your lender will order an appraisal of the property and complete your financing. If this is your first home purchase, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve purchased, understanding how to prepare for the qualifying process is the first step to success.

What do I need to qualify for a home loan?

When preparing for your meeting with the lender gather all the pertinent documentation and bring them with you. Generally speaking, your lender will want to see 2 months of employment pay stubs and bank records as well the past 2 years of tax returns. After reviewing your income and savings, the lender will also order a credit report which shows all your recurring debt and payment history. This will be used to determine your ability to pay the proposed mortgage.

How does credit, down payment and income affect my ability to get a loan?

There are a variety of loan programs available and your lender will review all your options with you so you can determine the best program. Some government guaranteed loan programs, such as the VA or FHA, are more lenient with your credit score requirements as well as other qualifications, such as savings and income ratios.

Qualifying for a home loan might feel overwhelming, but your lender can walk you through the process and requirements. After learning your options, you can make the best financial decision for your new home loan.

Market Report Update: Mecklenburg County's April 2019 Stats

by Mayes Harris Team

It is time once again to take a look back at yet another page on the calendar. This month we begin by reviewing Mecklenburg County's April 2019 Stats.

Let's get started with the Median Sales Price in April. If we look back at 2017, we see a median sales price of $330,296. The following year, 2018, that price increased by +10.1 percent to $363.784. In 2019, we increased again by +2.4 percent to a median sales price of $372,512 in Mecklenburg County.

Next, we are going to review the number of New Listings that came on the market in Mecklenburg County in April. We start with 2 years ago, 2017, and see that there were 1,953 new homes that came on the market. The following year, 2018, there was a decrease of -3.5 percent with1,884 new homes coming on the market. In 2019, there was a slight increase of+2.7 percent with 1,934 new homes coming on the market.

The next statistic we will review is the April Median Days on Market. Starting in 2017, we saw 6 median days on the market and then the following year, 2018, we saw an increase of -16.7 percent with 7 median days on the market. In 2019, we increased to 11 median days on the market.

So there you have it. A quick overview of what is happening in our local market of Mecklenburg County. If you have questions or need real estate assistance than please reach out to us. We would love to help you!!

Priority Tasks When Moving In

by Mayes Harris Team

You did it. You moved into a new home you love and now you’re dreaming of how you’re going to decorate it. But before getting into all of that, there are still some other tasks that need to be at the top of your priority list.

Changing the Locks
Double check them even if you’ve been told that there are new locks installed. It’s better to take safety measures and know that no one else has keys to your home. Call in a locksmith if you want to spend a little money or it can be done yourself.

Call an Exterminator
A great exterminator can take care of any pests that have been lurking in your home.

Get the House Cleaned up
If it isn’t already, clean out the refrigerator, wipe down counters, cabinets, oven if needed, and plumbing fixtures. Prior occupants might have had pets or young children so it’s best to steam clean. This will free your floors of any junk or allergens.

Mechanical Equipment Cleaned
Getting your heating and cooling systems cleaned is crucial and make sure to get a service contract just in case it stops working suddenly.

Get some Closet Organizers
Keep in mind where everything is going to get placed so it can be accommodated in your closet space. A shelf or a coat hook can go a long way for making room for organization.

Meet the Neighbors
You want to reach out to your neighbors as soon as possible. It’s good to establish yourself within the community and you can get advice on some home repairs like which plumber to use.

Having these as priorities will help you move into a clean, working home. And then, you’re ready to move in with all your belongings and start making it yours!

Top Tips for House Hunting Online

by Mayes Harris Team

Hunting for a new home online a is a great place to start your search but
keep in mind that you don’t see everything. Real estate agents are great at
highlighting the features of a house listing online but to make the most of
your time, keep these three things in mind:

Identify your Housing Needs
Preferences are important when house searching. A house may not have
everything you want but it will have most of the things. Be realistic about
pricing and keep in mind the must-have items that will definitely be needed
because this will help narrow your search.

Stay up to Date
When you start your search, make sure you go to sites with up-to-date
Listings directly from the multiple listing service. Realtors post their most
current homes for sale through this. Many sites fail to remove Listings that
are already off the market, and this can lead to you trying to sort through
them and find the recent ones.

Pictures can be Deceiving
Photographers capture Listings at their best. They use different strategies
and tools to boost the appeal of the home like creative editing and
expensive camera equipment known for its effects. What they don’t show is
unappealing parts, like an undone bathroom or small closet.

Go See The Listing After
After you have chosen a house that’s appealing to you, schedule a showing
with your real estate agent. This is the opportunity to see every part of the
house in person and see if it’s a good fit.

Searching online is a great way to learn more about the house you’re
looking for. Even if you’re still unsure about moving, house hunting online
gives potential sellers the basic information.

Buying and Selling at Same Time

by Mayes Harris Team

Either buying or selling a home can be extremely stressful, it can be even more overwhelming if one is trying to do both at the same time. The good news is that this happens all the time and by following a few simple tips, both buying and selling can be a seamless process.

Tips for Buying and Selling at the Same Time

The good news is that you’re planning to move anyway. Before you list your home for sale, why not start packing now? Take personal items and excess furnishings and pack them up and move them to storage. Not only will your home look larger and neater, but you are also getting a start on the move.

Next make sure your agent, or agents, understand the timeline and requirements. There are many standard contingencies which can protect you from owning two homes at once or none at all. Not only can the purchase of your new home be contingent on successfully closing on your current one but you can also reverse the process and ensure you find a replacement before the close as well.

Finally, get the entire family involved. Be excited about the change and create a moving plan in which everyone has a task and there is a plan for the move itself. By taking a few initial steps, moving can be fun and easy.

The Internet Can’t Replace Your Agent

by Mayes Harris Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live in the information age; the Internet offers advice on every topic and real estate is no exception. With more and more home buyers starting their home search online, they are bombarded with advice and information – it can be easy to think that you can learn everything you need to know just by reading articles online.


The truth is your real estate agent does much more than answer your questions and open doors with a special key. A professional real estate agent will be there every step of the way. They have the experience necessary to navigate the complicated home buying process and solve common hiccups that present themselves in every real estate transaction.


Your real estate agent is a local professional. They will start by presenting themselves to the buyer’s agent as someone who will work with them to see the transaction through to a successful conclusion. They have a network of professionals who will work as a team to help you through the process. These include such professionals as lenders, title reps, escrow officers, transaction coordinators, home inspectors, contractors, and handymen, among others.


Most importantly, your agent is your ally in the home buying process. They negotiate on your behalf – armed with experience and understanding of customary charges, costs, and terms. They will ensure that the price you pay for the home is fair for the condition and neighborhood. They will negotiate repairs, if needed and make sure you are protected with the proper contingencies.


The Internet offers lots of great information, but the most important step you can take when buying a new home is hiring a local professional real estate agent. Their knowledge and expertise can’t be found by reading an article or two online.

Mayes Harris Team: RE/MAX National Housing Report for December 2018

by Mayes Harris Team

DENVER – December’s declining home sales and growing inventory solidified 2018 as the year the red-hot seller’s market moved toward a balanced market. Price growth also moderated, though December was the 33rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases in home prices, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report, which includes 53 metro areas.
 
December’s year-over-year decline in home sales of 12.1% set a December record in the 10-year history of the report and also marked the fifth consecutive month that home sales were lower than 2017.  December was 2018’s 10th month of year-over-year declines in home sales with only April and July topping 2017 sales.
 
Most telling was December’s 4.6% growth in inventory, which was also a report record. December’s year-over-year inventory increase marked the third consecutive month of growth – a trend reversing a decade-long streak of year-over-year inventory declines.
 
“December’s inventory gain, continuing the three-month growth trend, is welcome news,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “The market remains choppy and there’s still a long way to go, but these gains represent steps toward a balanced market, which in the long run is healthy for both buyers and sellers.”
 
While 54 Days on Market was a record low for December sold Listings, the 4.1 Months Supply of Inventory was higher than December 2017’s 3.7 months and ahead of November 2018’s 3.9 months supply.
 
Home buyers paid record amounts throughout 2018 as prices grew year-over-year in every month last year, led by June’s Median Sold Price of $258,500 – an all-time report high. Even so, December’s year-over-year increase of 2.1% was 2018’s smallest, and far lower than the 8.1% price growth from December 2016 to December 2017.
 
“Home sales have cooled, especially during the second half of 2018, but that was inevitable given the strong seller’s market that has persisted for nearly a decade,” Contos said. “We believe sales activity can pick back up if the pace of price escalation continues to moderate, interest rates tick further downward, and wage growth continues.”
 
Closed Transactions 
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in December 2018, the overall average number of home sales is down -8.5% compared to November 2018, and down -12.1% compared to December 2017. None of the 53 metro areas experienced an increase in sales year-over-year.
 
Median Sales Price – Median of 53 metro median prices
In December 2018, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $240,000, up 2.1% from November 2018, and up +2.1% from December 2017. Eight metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price, including Honolulu, HI, -7.7%, Birmingham, AL, -4.6%, and Billings, MT, -2.6%. Five metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Boise, ID, +13.1%, Wichita, KS, +11.1%, and Salt Lake City, UT, +10.3%.
 
Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in December 2018 was 54, up three days from the average in November 2018, and down three days from the December 2017 average. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE, at 26, a tie at 37 in San Francisco, CA, and Salt Lake City, UT, and a tie at 38 in Nashville, TN, and Las Vegas, NV. The highest Days on Market averages were in Trenton, NJ, at 113, a tie at 90 in Augusta, ME, and Hartford, CT, and Burlington, VT, at 88. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.
 
Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 53 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in December 2018 was down -10.8% from November 2018 and up +4.6% from December 2017. Based on the rate of home sales in December, the Months Supply of Inventory increased to 4.1 from 3.9 in November 2018 and increased compared to December 2017 at 3.7. In December 2018, four of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply over six, including Miami, FL, at 10.9 and Augusta, ME, at 8.9, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory are San Francisco, CA, at 1.8, Denver, CO, at 2.1, and Minneapolis, MN, at 2.2.
 

 

How Rising Interest Rates Affect Purchasing Power

by Mayes Harris Team

You probably instinctively realize that rising interest rates will affect home buyers. The interest rate you pay can make a big difference in the size of the home loan you will qualify for as well as the price of the home you’ll be able to buy. Mortgage brokers use the monthly mortgage payment to determine how much you can afford to pay. Of course the larger the payment, the harder it is to qualify.

Interest Rate And Its Effect On Affordability

All mortgage payments include principal and interest as part of the total cost. Lenders use this payment to determine how much you can borrow for the home loan. Commonly, you can have 31-35% of your total monthly gross income as a loan payment. It follows that you want the principal portion of your home mortgage payment to be as high as it can be so you qualify for a more expensive home.

The below visual illustrates exactly how the interest rate affects your mortgage payment which directly affects your purchasing power.

Risks Of Waiting To Buy

We are still seeing all-time low rates but more increases are predicted. A home mortgage is the best hedge against inflation. By purchasing a home now, you lock in your monthly housing cost, which as we’ve already seen is the largest monthly expense for most families.

Interest rates are one of the biggest factors that affect your ability to finance a home purchase. Along with your credit score and employment history, the amount of interest you pay on the loan has a big impact on affordability.

Fireplace Design Trends

by Mayes Harris Team

The long evenings of the winter months invite families to stay home and enjoy the warmth of their own home. Naturally, attention turns to the fireplace as both providing extra heat and as the focal point of the room. New technology and environmentally friendly design have brought contemporary updates that are sleek, fashionable and playful.

  • Finishing – Fireplace finishes have changed. New products such as the Cool Wall Series open a wide variety of design options by allowing a cool surface as a backdrop for finishes.
  • Wood – Wood burning fireplaces are back in style. Decorative spaces for wood storage are adding architectural interest.
  • Larger Openings – One of the leading trends in fireplace design is enlarging the viewing window of the fireplace. A simple retrofit of an existing fireplace can make a huge difference in the look of any room.
  • Corner Fireplaces – This popular feature of the 1990s is back with modern updates. Two or three-sided fireplaces with sleek styling and elegant accents, such as wood or metal, are providing a centerpiece for rooms.
  • Fireplace Walls – Linear fireplaces that stretch the length of the wall is one trend showing up in model homes across the country. Monotone colors and clean lines finish this modern trend.

As you can see, we have homes with BEAUTIFUL fireplaces. Contact the Mayes Harris Team, RE/MAX Metro to find your next dream home!!

Market Report October Update: Mecklenburg County

by Mayes Harris Team

Time to do a quick review of the real estate market in Mecklenburg County for October of 2018. Hard to believe we are nearing the end of yet another year. It went fast, didn't it?!

Let's take a look at the summary of a year-over-year comparison for real estate activity in Mecklenburg County starting with October's new Listings. There were 1,958 new Listings in October 2018, which was an 8.1 percent increase from October 2017 where there were 1,811 new Listings.

The median sales price was $250,000 in October 2018, which was a 7.3 percent increase from October 2017, where it was $233,000.

The days on market until sale increased by 6.5 percent to 33 days in October 2018. In the year previous, October 2017, it was 31 days on market until sale.

Here's a nice visual graph which shows a good summarization of year over year changes for Mecklenburg County. New Listings up 8.1 percent, closed sales down 13.6 percent, median sales price up 7.3 percent and months supply of homes increased by 5 percent.

The median sales price chart below shows the direction of the market in an upward motion from 2013 onward. 

If you would like to discuss listing your home or anything about the local real estate market, don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we're here for. 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 39

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