3 Year-End Steps For Every Renter

Along with year-end parties, comes New Year goal setting, right? It’s time to look forward and envision where you see yourself this time next year. Is owning a home on your list of goals?

Before you stumble upon that dream home while out looking at holiday lights, take these three simple year-end steps that will jump start your journey to homeownership. You’ll be well on your way to a new home before that New Year’s Eve countdown begins. 

1. Simple budget review

How much are you currently spending each month on rent and other housing related expenses, like utilities? What is that amount annually? Do you anticipate any rent increases?

Take a look at your other expenses too. You want to have a solid understanding of your monthly income and expenses so you know what you can handle for a mortgage payment. This exercise will keep you from jumping into a mortgage payment that stretches you and your family too far.

And, with homeownership comes home maintenance so it’s important to have a cushion for those necessary (and sometimes fun!) projects.

2. Interview lenders

Mortgages are never one size fits all. You want to work with a lender who can listen to your goals and budget to find the best fit for you. Make a plan to talk to at least three lenders before year end. Learn about their low down payment options, fees and the monthly and lifetime cost of your mortgage.

Check out our five essential lender interview questions for a guide on what to ask prospective mortgage lenders.

3. Search for down payment programs

Do you know about homebuyer programs that can help you save on your down payment and closing costs? Down payment programs can give you a major homeownership boost in the form of grants, forgivable loans and tax credits. But, they also require approvals and paperwork so you want to get your options on the table soon.

Investigate what’s available in the area you plan to buy. Use our program finder to answer a few question about your household to narrow down your options. Review your results with your agent and lender.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Story Provided by Down Payment® Resource

Real Estate Referrals

Referrals

“I’d like to ask you a quick question because I’m taking on new clients in my real estate business now. Who do you know of your family, friends, neighbors or work associates that I can help sell a home or buy a new one in the next 6-12 months?”

Why pocket listings harm buyers, sellers and agents

As competition has soared in recent years for California’s low inventory of homes for sale, the share of pocket listings has grown. Pocket listings are shared only with the seller’s agent’s chosen network, making them exclusive. In San Francisco, the share of homes sold this way increased 68% from 2010 to 2018, according to Redfin.

The lucky homebuyers who learn about a pocket listing strike gold, as they end up dealing with less or even no competition. Sellers can feel like they’re getting a better deal, too, because they do fewer showings. Agents with ties to exclusive listings gain a reputation for being well-connected, able to show their clients homes not yet available on the multiple listing service (MLS). Even better, pocket listings often give seller’s agents the opportunity to earn a double fee by representing both seller and buyer.

But are pocket listings really such a great deal?

Here are the serious drawbacks to pocket listings:

  • for sellers, their listing gets fewer views, meaning their home is more likely to sell for a lower price, with less favorable terms than if they had opened it up to all buyers;
  • for buyers, the majority of pocket listings are not available to them, resulting in a lower MLS inventory; and
  • for agents, their pocket listing is likely to sell for less, resulting in a lower fee — unless they manage to snag an unrepresented homebuyer, in which case they demand a double fee — but this is problematic on several levels.

While pocket listings may seem desirable to agents due to the possibility to generate a second fee and a quicker sale, these agents are in danger of breaking the cardinal rule: putting their individual interests above their client’s best interests. This stems from the issue of dual agency, when a broker represents opposing principals in the same transaction.

Why is dual agency problematic? Though a dual agent needs to work diligently on behalf of both clients, they are prevented from fully negotiating on behalf of either client, unable to simultaneously negotiate the highest and best price for the seller, and the lowest and best price for the buyer.

Further, homebuyers of color are disproportionately affected by pocket listings, according to Redfin, the California Association of Realtors and a 2017 study on pocket listings. The majority of pocket listings are available to White networks and buyers of color aren’t alerted to these pre-market homes. This drives down buying opportunities for people of color, furthering the homeownership gap between ethnicities.

Something of a compromise is the official “coming soon” listing, which leaves open the benefits of a pocket listing for sellers and their agents, while making the listing available to homebuyers on the MLS.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently directed its members to refrain from pocket listings. Further, “coming soon” listings can be listed no earlier than one day before the full listing goes live. These changes will need to be implemented by NAR’s 800+ MLS’s by May 1, 2020.

Story provided by Carrie B. Reyes

Hello, Genoa Town Residents!

Genoa Nevada Logo

There have been multiple mountain lion(Puma councolor) sightings on the west side of Town (mountain side). We encourage all residents and visitors to be aware of their presence and take the necessary steps to prevent any life-threatening human/wildlife interactions.


This includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Make sure ALL trash is disposed of in proper wildlife resistant containers.
  2. Be aware of tracks, scratch marks and sign (scat) in your yard and surrounding areas.
  3. Monitor your pets when they are outdoors in the evening, dawn and dusk.
  4. Enclose all small livestock in predator proof enclosures.
  5. If you see a mountain lion, or a bear, stand your ground. Do not run. Make noise and move with purpose. 

Genoa has notified the Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and we will keep you updated on any response from the Agency.
If you have seen mountain lions on your property please contact the Town with a location and time of the sighting.

Carson Valley 12 month Real Estate Update

An update of the Carson Valley real estate market for the past 12 months shows the number of residential sales declined 6% from 2018 figures, down to 748 units. Median sales prices during the same time period increased 4.2%. However the Lake Tahoe area of Douglas County heated up in 2019 with a 25% increase in the number of residential homes sold. The increase in numbers from 106 to 133 units does not include 6 lakefront sales. The median sales price for the lake area also increased 13.9% to $900,000. I’m seeing an increase in the number of families wanting to leave California. Happy Holidays! Sign up below for my future blog post.

Fannie, Freddie New Mortgage Application Form

freddie mac logo

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released a redesigned mortgage application form in October. The Uniform Residential Loan Application is a standardized form used by borrowers when applying for a mortgage. This is the first time in 20 years there has been a change to the standard mortgage application form.

Presently, no specific date for the mandatory use of the new URLA has been set. But the GSEs will publish an interactive fillable PDF version of the new URLA in early 2020.
The new form explicitly references real estate sales contracts and requires the borrower to submit to the lender before closing any changes or new information including “providing any updated/supplemental real estate sales contract.” Additionally, the new form demands the borrower state that the terms and conditions of any real estate sales contract are true the best of their knowledge and that, “I have not entered into any other agreement, written or oral, in connection with this real estate transaction.” 

The new form also requires a more explicit statement as to the borrower’s intended occupancy. For single family property the borrower will indicate whether their intended occupancy is “Investment, Primary Residence, Second Home” or “Other.” 

Carson Valley Community and Senior Center

Douglas County Community Center

One of our largest local attractions is the Douglas County Community and Senior Center. It opened December 6, 2014, and is at the heart of Gardnerville, NV. With offerings for seniors, adults and youth all are welcomed and can find an activity to enjoy. Come for their contact classes, sports programs, fitness center, arcade, room rentals or senior services and find more than you came for! Learn more by visiting their website today.

Terrazza at Genoa Lakes

Terrazza at Genoa Lakes

Phase 1 at Terrazza is now open for sales. Lot prices are currently set between $295,000 and $310,000. You will have five years to begin construction. HOA dues are currently $224 monthly and include club house access at Genoa Lakes. There are currently four floor plans with three elevations available for each plan; Mountain Modern, High Desert and Modern Farmhouse. These beautiful homes will start at 2950 square feet (SF), 3300 SF, 3600 SF and 3800 SF. We are excited to offer a $5000 credit towards buyer closing costs of our custom homesites or developer homes if purchased before December 31, 2019. To learn more about this new project visit the Terrazza website here. If you decide to contact Mike Dunn or Sonja Leonard please mention my name – Robert Stiles, REALTOR® at Chase International. I’d also be happy to meet you at the property if you’re new to the area. Call me at 775-309-8454. Thank you.

Latest Real Estate Report

NAR

Here come the holidays. It’s the time of year for good cheer. It’s also the time of year when many sellers take their homes off the market, or wait until January to list them. But the smart money says they’re wrong to do so. For one thing, there’s usually less competition to attract would-be buyers during the holiday season. Busy with holiday parties, buying gifts and perhaps taking a family vacation, sellers don’t have the time to make their homes ready for sale, so they don’t even bother. But if they wait, other folks in the same boat will also be listing their houses. And before long, all of you could be vying for the same buyer. For another thing, people out looking at houses during the holiday season are not tire-kickers. They’re serious. They are just as busy as you are, but they’ve made buying a priority. Some need to find a place right away — maybe they’ve been transferred into the area, for example. And since they won’t have much inventory to choose from, you might be able to sell quicker — and at a higher price. Inside, your holiday decorations will make the house festive and welcoming. Yes, you’ll have to keep the place tidy. But nothing is as inviting as holiday decor. “Decorated homes engage the emotions,” says Debbie Reynolds of Platinum Properties in Clarksville, Tennessee. “Remember: Emotions buy.” Source: Lew Sichelman, The Housing Scene

A new survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 63% of those polled in Q3 2019 say they believe now is a good time to buy. Of those respondents, 34% said they “strongly” believe now is a good time to buy. “Interest rates are at historically low levels, so I see no sign of the optimism about home buying fading,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. The survey reported that of those who believe now is a good time to buy, the silent generation (born between 1925 and 1945) were most likely to believe now is a good time to buy, with 75% expressing that belief. Older baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) followed as 72% believe now is a good time to buy a home. According to the NAR, 54% of respondents who have an income of under $54,000 said now is a good time to buy a home. The amount of people who believe now is a good time to buy increased as incomes went up, rising to 64% for those earning between $50,000 and $100,000. Seventy-two percent of those who make more than $100,000 say now is a good time to buy. “Not surprisingly, as incomes increase, the process of buying a home is less of a strain,” Yun said, “This has always been the case, but in this third quarter survey, we see it to an even greater extent – high earners are more open to buying a home.” Source: DS News

A strong economy, coupled with low interest rates, has jacked up the demand and the prices for vacation homes, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The data focused on 206 counties, or 6.6 percent of the total housing market, identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as vacation home counties. The median sale prices within vacation home counties increased by 36 percent between 2013 and 2018, compared to the 31 percent increase during the same period on all existing and new home sales. “Some people may visualize the common popular vacation destinations in the U.S. when considering a vacation home, such as counties in Florida or California,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “And although those locations have their share of vacation properties, we see that some homeowners prefer some of the other counties, including those in Massachusetts and New Jersey. These areas are often known for harsh weather conditions, but are popular nonetheless.” Source: NAR 

3 People You Need on Your Home Buying Team

DOWN PAYMENT MONEY

When it comes to home buying, you don’t have to go it alone. You need a team to succeed. Here are three key people you want on your side.

Homeownership advisor

A nonprofit homeownership advisor can serve as a home buying coach, helping you understand the best plan for your individual situation. They can guide you on homeownership process, how to work on credit issues, understand different loan terms and find homeownership education courses.

Find HUD approved housing counseling agencies or search across Framework’s network of homeownership advisors.

Homeownership education is often required for down payment assistance programs and helps set you up for success. The type of course may vary from program-to-program. Get a jump start by checking out online courses.

Lender

Your lender can offer a range of mortgage loans that may also include down payment and closing cost help. Ask your lender what down payment assistance programs they offer. Discuss your eligibility for programs and compare programs with first mortgage options.

Your lender can also help you navigate the down payment program application process while you are getting qualified for a home loan.

Real estate agent

When you use a down payment assistance program, both you and the home must qualify. That’s why it’s really important for your real estate agent to know what home financing solutions you are considering.

Your agent can help you find homes that are eligible for down payment help and also present the best offer to a seller.

When interviewing agents, ask how often they work with first-time homebuyers, their process for educating new buyers and their knowledge of down payment assistance programs.

Team work in real life

ABC News 7 On Your Side Consumer Expert, Michael Finney highlights just how a home buying team works in a recent story.

Ivan is a 24-year-old new homebuyer who used his team to buy a home in a very competitive, high-cost market. He used a down payment assistance program for the $8,000 down he needed on the $410,000 home.

Watch how they all helped Ivan reach his goal.

Ready to find out what programs are available in your market? Use our program search tool. On each program, you can discover “participating lenders” who are approved to work with the program.

DOWN PAYMENT RESOURCE®