Think You Need 20% Down to Purchase a New Home? Maybe Not!

According to a recent Zillow survey, 2 out of 3 renters consider the task of coming up with money for a down-payment the number one hurdle in buying a home. If you are currently in this boat, you are not alone… and just for your information, there are many resources out there designed to help you overcome this challenge!

Our team here at NextHome Discovery wants to help you discover them and get you into your dream home quickly!

Happy couple in front of sold sign

Take it from current home owners who took advantage of the programs and resources available to them to get them in their new homes. There are more ways than you think and your Realtor will gladly keep you informed.

Home-buyers are getting more and more creative these days, because quite frankly, times are changing. With average home prices higher now than they were in the past, 20% down just isn’t feasible to most, while it used to be what most home-buyers aimed to accomplish. In fact, the median down payment is now closer to 10% and has been since 2013 according to the NAR. It doesn’t change the fact that a 20% down payment helps to save money on the monthly mortgage payment and PMI (private mortgage insurance) costs.

Still, there are several loan options available to most future home-seekers. Down payments as low as 3.5% (with clauses to eventually remove PMI costs) can and will get people into their dream home these days. Also, little to zero down payment may be needed for U.S. military veterans, service members or residents of certain rural areas. Teachers, fire fighters, and other service job holders may qualify to receive additional down-payment assistance and there are over 2,100 funding programs available according to Downpayment Resource, who tracks home buyer down payment assistance programs.

Where there’s a will there’s always a way.

If saving up or tapping into retirement plans aren’t cutting it and you’re willing to look into other, less traditional methods of coming up with a down payment for your future home, you will likely stumble across many options! One company for example, although not yet in Florida, allows you to tap into your home’s future equity to double your down payment today.

The possibilities of home-ownership seem endless and promising. If you’re ready to start looking at your options today, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our knowledgeable and professional Realtors!

Check out this recent article for more tips on overcoming the down payment obstacle.

Hillsborough County Remains a Seller’s Market with Low Monthly Supply of Inventory in April

A key metric we like to monitor when looking at the health of the Tampa Bay real estate market is the Month’s Supply of Inventory (MSI). The generally accepted benchmark for a healthy market, one that favors neither the seller or the buyer, is 5.5 months supply of inventory. Anything higher than that would be considered a buyer’s market, anything lower – a seller’s market.

So how is MSI calculated?

You divide the current inventory in the market by the 12-month average of monthly closed sales. By dividing by the average of monthly closed sales, we eliminate seasonal effects such as the busy spring selling season or the slow winter season.

Looking at single family homes in Hillsborough County for the month of April 2017, we are currently at a 2.7 months supply of inventory. What this means is if no new single family homes were listed for sale in Hillsborough County, the current supply would be depleted in only 2.7 months!

 

Last 12 months monthly supply of inventory in Hillsborough County.
Last 12 months monthly supply of inventory in Hillsborough County.

Looking at the chart above you’ll notice that we have been at  or below 3 months supply of inventory for the past 12 months. In fact, check out the chart below and you’ll see we’ve been at or below 3 months supply since around September 2015!

 

MONTHLY SUPPLY OF INVENTORY SINCE 2013

So what does this mean for you if you are looking to buy or sell real estate anywhere in Hillsborough County?

With the steady low inventory over the past few years, seller’s are still in the driver’s seat. This means there are more buyers in the market bidding on the same limited supply of housing available. Simply put, this is still a great time to sell! We are seeing multiple offers on a daily basis on listings, especially those in highly desirable parts of Hillsborough County.

Now this isn’t all bad news for buyers. What it means is you need to be sure to align yourself with an experienced real estate professional skilled in negotiation, listening to your needs, identifying the right property for you, and moving quickly on it. It is also another reason why it is vital that buyers get pre-approved by a reputable lender so the pre-approval letter can be submitted with your offer. When it comes to multiple-offer situations, showing the seller you have the financial ability to close on their home goes a long way!

Have more questions about the market or looking to sell or buy in Tampa Bay? Reach out to one of our associates or email our office at connect@DiscoverYourPlace.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeowners: Protect Your Investment by Choosing the Right Roof

When buying a home in Tampa Bay, or if you already own a home here, it’s imperative that you consider your roof as an investment. Most people look at “a roof over their head” as a basic need. Not only does your roof protect your home itself, but the very valuable things within, including your family. Consider what a roof protects you from – sun exposure, several months of summer afternoon showers common to Florida, a humid environment that can easily lock in moisture, and winds that in some locations can easily shuffle around debris during a storm. Your roof is the barrier between you and the outside elements. As much as Floridians live here because we love the sun, it still pays a toll on your roof!
Given the facts, let’s consider what steps can be taken in choosing the right roofing system to protect one of the most valuable investments you’ll ever make – your home.

 

1. Cost

Your roof is measured in squares and should be done so by a licensed roofer. One square is 100 square feet, or 10′ by 10′. Not to be mistaken with the same square footage as the interior of your home as you must consider the pitch (or slope) of your roof. Once you have your roof measured accurately you can use that information to get a rough estimate together based on the materials you plan to use. Don’t forget to include the cost of labor and warranty.
The national average for a roof replacement, according to numbers reported by approximately 25,000 HomeAdvisor members was $7,061; and the average in Tampa (zip code 33602 used for reference) based on 328 HomeAdvisor members was $7,884.

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind you will have to take the following into consideration when it comes to comparing your cost to any average cost:

  • Roof size
  • Pitch
  • Installation
  • Materials
  • Number of layers
  • Stripping off old layers
  • Where you live
  • Code requirements
  • If you have a lot of skylights, chimneys, plumbing pipes or other adornments that need to be addressed during the installation

We recommend you get at least three estimates from reputable roofing companies before making a decision. Ask your Realtor for references as they’d be more than happy to provide this information to you!

 

2. Materials
There are several roofing materials to choose from but it would be wise to consider your personal needs in addition to climate conditions, etc., prior to choosing the material based only on the up-front ticket price. You might want to consider the immediate and long-term savings of a higher costing material; ie lower utility bills, better insurance rates, less frequency of replacement or repair. Some popular materials used in Tampa are below:
  • Asphalt shingles – most commonly used in Tampa and around the nation
  • Wood – lightweight, durable, and suitable for extreme weather conditions
  • Metal – long lasting and investment-wise a great purchase
  • Tile/Cement – resistant to fire and high-winds and aesthetically pleasing
  • Slate – minimal maintenance, long lasting, and durable

Keep in mind that not all roof types can be used on all roofs. Your favorite roofing material may not work for your roof! One material may actually be preferred or regulated by professionals over another depending on your roof type; ie. a flat roof vs a roof with a high pitch. It’s important to seek professional guidance when it comes to choosing the right roofing system for your home. You may also have some guidelines and restrictions outlined by your Homeowner’s Association so it’d be a good idea to check with them prior to making your purchase to avoid any unnecessary fines or replacement costs.

3. Contractor/Installation
Carefully selecting a roofing contractor is just as important as selecting the right roofing system for your home. At the end of the day a roof installed incorrectly can cost you far more in the long run. From structural damage to the frame and interior, to leaks and distress caused by a patchy, unwarranted job, it’s important that you do some research and again, don’t just consider the ticket price of the labor. When it comes to choosing your Tampa roofing contractor or company, it’ll be well worth it to invest in someone who is licensed, insured and bonded, experienced (with references) and someone who is professional. In addition, it is recommended you use a company who offers a legitimate warranty and that will be around in the future to make any necessary repairs.
If you have any questions about your roofing investment, please reach out to once of our experienced and professional NextHome Discovery team members today! We’d be happy to guide you.

Title Company 101

Title companies are frequently used entities in the real estate business. Not only do they do the necessary research to make certain that real estate property titles are legitimate and offer title insurance to prove it, but they also often maintain escrow accounts – meaning they can hold the money needed to close (as a third-party […]

It’s Closing Time, What to Expect!

Buying or selling real estate in the near future? Here’s a few things to consider!

Ever wonder why a title company is typically part of your real estate transaction? Although you may only see them once in the transaction – at closing – believe us, a good title company plays a pretty crucial role in the success of buying or selling real estate! They facilitate the closing with both the seller and the buyer, file and properly record documents, work with your lender and insurance companies, review your title commitment and issue your title insurance. Arguably the glue to your transaction, title companies generally play the neutral party in your real estate transaction.

businesswoman outside officeSome of the most frequently asked questions about title and closing are answered below. We’re all about helping you understand the “why” behind the what.

Why is title insurance needed? Like possessing the title of your car means you own it, possession of a clear title of a property means it’s yours, right? Well… let’s hope so! Title insurance provides a layer of protection to your right of ownership. In other words, if someone approached you with claim to the title of your property, you’d want some assurance that they couldn’t possibly have a case, right? From unknown heirs, forged signatures on deeds, liens, fraudulent or innocent documentation errors, title companies provide a necessary blanket of protection to you through the issuance of a title insurance policy. Title insurance isn’t just something YOU will want, but you guessed it, your mortgage lender is going to require it as they too will want their interest in your property protected. Bottom line: Title insurance protects buyers from loss of value from defects to the title of real property.

How and when do you pay for it and how often? How long does my policy last? Thankfully title insurance is typically a one-time premium paid at the closing table, in the form of a typical closing cost. Your policy will last throughout your entire ownership of the property and will be passed along to your heirs.

Closing costs? What are they? Closing costs are considered all the costs required to close your transaction and will vary per party in the transaction.

AS-IS PC

Your FAR BAR As-Is Purchase Contract has a neat break down of who can expect to pay what at closing time, but usually it will include everything from the balance of your down-payment, loan origination fees, discount points, to pro-rated taxes and agent fees, etc. It’s a good idea to shop around a few recommended lenders so you can estimate what you’ll be paying in closing costs ahead of time, like before putting in an offer on a home with your agent! Also, before closing, be on the look out for a closing disclosure with the numbers ready for your review. You’ll want to communicate with your agent to make sure the title company’s calculations of credits and debits are correct per the agreed upon terms outlined in the contract.

What forms of payment are accepted for deposits (earnest money) and closing? Cash or credit cards are never acceptable forms of payments. Limitations and restrictions apply to personal checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks. Wires are always accepted and most common, however, be aware of a rise in wire fraud in recent years. Check out our WIRE FRAUD PREVENTION NOTICE and always remember to call the title company to confirm wire instructions. Hackers are getting sophisticated by hacking email accounts and sending incorrect wire instructions to their accounts while you unsuspectingly assume it was sent by your agent or the title rep. Again, always call and speak to the title company before wiring any funds.

We hope you find this information helpful.  If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the near future, our team of knowledgeable Realtors will provide you with the service you’re in search of. NextHome Discovery promises to make your real estate experience memorable. We’re reliable, informed, and trustworthy. Don’t just take our word for it either… See for yourself. Contact us today!