A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today.
1. Down Payment
The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.
Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
2. FICO Scores
The survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.
The average conventional loan closed in March had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with a 685 score. The average across all loans closed in March was 722. The graph below shows how the average FICO Score required has come down over the last 12 months and has stayed around 722 for the last six months.
Bottom Line info
If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, sit down with a professional who can help you understand your true options. Contact us today. 910-279-9398.
Posts Tagged ‘Brunswick Forest’
When thinking about retirement, choosing a location can be an overwhelming decision. How do you narrow down the choices? The very best place to retire for you might be on a beach…or in the mountains…or near family…or in the same house you’ve lived in for years. It’s a personal decision that no one else can make for you. However, if you haven’t already settled on a retirement destination, an objective analysis of your options can help narrow your search.
In order to get started, we suggest that you start by thinking about the lifestyle you are looking for. Remember to take into account that you may not need to be close to “work” anymore. The time you used to spend commuting and working will be “free time” now. So if you don’t have to be close to work, what services and recreation do you really need to be close to? The beach, golf courses, nature, marina access and grand kids are some of the responses we hear when talking to clients ready to retire. Some of the other topics that may be of equal importance are climate (4 seasons), proximity to an airport, healthcare, cost of living and tax benefits. All of these points of interest are reasons that so many “Baby Boomers” are choosing to move to North Carolina.
Once you have selected the area of the country, trying to find the perfect spot that offers everything you want may still prove to be difficult. Geared towards retirees, many developers have opted to design planned communities which offer location, amenities and an active lifestyle. Define “active”, it means something different to almost everyone which is why you will find planned neighborhoods with equestrian centers, marinas, golf courses, spas, airplane runways, racquet clubs, golf cart only islands, dog parks, community gardens, dining and shopping. With all of these options, no wonder people can be overwhelmed. From my experience the most common question when discussing retirement location is “how will I meet new friends”? Leaving an area where you have worked and raised a family, the relationships and ties to that area can be hard to relinquish. One thing is certain though, moving into a planned community will give you so many opportunities to make new life-long friends. Social clubs and events are the best part of planned communities and the best way to find people with similar interests. Retirement is called the “golden years” for a reason! It should be the best time, totally dedicated to you and what you love to do, even if it is sitting on your porch reading a book.
Now you have decided on the area and type of lifestyle you want, it is time to visit that area and explore the possibilities. Be flexible and adventurous! Get out and meet the locals. Ask them what they enjoy most about living there. If you golf, schedule a tee time and request to play with members so that you have another opportunity to get information from someone that has been in your shoes. It is also important to talk to a local REALTOR. This is where you will get the best area info, tax rates, home values and the “ins and outs” of the area. REALTORS can also represent your interests as the buyer, when visiting planned communities. What most buyers don’t realize is that when you walk into an onsite sales office, those sales agents represent the seller, not you. Protecting your interests and personal information is the best and main reason that people elect to use REALTORS for buying homes. Don’t we all want our own personal advocate? A REALTOR has a duty to the client they are representing and that relationship can greatly benefit a buyer. Be open and honest about your goals for your new home and listen to suggestions and comments from your REALTOR. Once you have brought your REALTOR up to speed, jump in the car and visit some of the communities that meet your criteria. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or say no to something that doesn’t interest you. As you visit these neighborhoods, walk through model homes and share your thoughts on design, lay out, size and location. Sometimes seeing what you don’t want will solidify in your mind what you do want. Visit the amenities in the community, ask about the Home Owners Association Bylaws and Dues so you have an idea of your financial commitment above and beyond the price of your home. When you think you have found the perfect community learn about the proximity to the services that are most important to you. If you still have the warm and fuzzies then start looking more specifically at homes or house plans that you can customize. This is really where all the fun begins!
When most people think about housing trends, they think about wall colors, cabinet styles and materials. As lives become more complicated, priorities shift and the definition of family has changed significantly. In response to these shifts in society, the housing trends change and adapt. The economic situation for many homeowners has also caused adjustment to future housing plans.
Location, Location, Location! Yes this has always been the most important aspect of choosing a home. In the past, people focused on a location because of family, job or cost of living. Now the number one priority in regards to location comes down to the walkability of restaurants, shopping and services.
We are all familiar with “green” building however the shift to “well” building is right around the corner. “Well” building continues the avoidance of harmful materials and the highlight of water and energy conservation with a new focus on design that enhances the life of the occupants. “Biophilic” design involves window and door placement to strive for a seamlessness between the home and the great outdoors. Increasing natural light and adding LEDs with dimmers and colors that can be changed according to time of day or weather. The lighting can simulate circadian rhythms in the body to improve sleep patterns which in turn is a boost to your health. In similar terms, a “well” home is all about being healthy in your body and in your mind.
In one of our early posts, we discussed the ever growing sustainable movement which has thousands of yards adorned with edible landscaping, backyard chickens and even bee hives. Going a few steps farther is a new housing trend called “Agrihood”. These are planned communities with a “nod” to communal living. The idea is to incorporate farming into planned neighborhoods where homesites are larger, community gardens and livestock herds cover the common areas and neighbors work together maintaining the needs of the farm. You may even see community kitchens and dining rooms instead of tennis courts and pools. The shared work and “fruits of labor” create a sense of pride and connection between neighbors. We expect to see more of these communities popping up as the sustainable movement spreads.
Managing power usage continues to be a top concern for home owners. In addition to solar panels there has been a huge boost in the number of “smart homes” which help to manage usage by automatically adjusting heating/cooling settings and lighting to accommodate time of day as well as weather. Most of the “smart home” technology can be accessed and manipulated by a cell phone app.
Consumers are demanding low maintenance features and materials as they no longer want to spend their weekends mowing grass and painting the deck. The focus has shifted to materials and systems with a greater longevity and durability. A good example is hand built brick walls, they will last for centuries rather than just one owner. This goes along with the push to build structures to withstand severe weather. Many builders and homeowners are “opting to go beyond what is required” says Philadelphia developer Nino Cutrufello.
To further to the low maintenance push, folks are choosing to build smaller, more open floorplans. Including creative use of space and smaller bedrooms allow for overall smaller structures. Since the bedroom is typically where we spend the least amount of time it makes sense to make these rooms smaller. This also is the case for families housing multiple generations. Private entrances offer a feeling of separation and independence while still being cost effective and family oriented.
With such a shift in housing trends it will be interesting to see what effect if any these changes have on the resale market. We may start to see more and more renovations to retro fit homes for the “new style” of living.
From the places that draw crowds to the places that help you escape them, when you are in North Carolina you will find it all. Those of us who call it home experience its beauty daily. For others that #visitnc and wish to return time and time again, consider purchasing this year.
- CNN Money reports home prices are climbing. Wilmington is expected to rise 8% through third quarter 2014.
- CBS Money Watch predicts 2014 will be another year of gains for the real estate market.
- The National Association of Realtors indicated in their March report that a shortage of inventory is proving problematic.
- Albeit still low, according to Forbes, the average mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is expected to rise the most recent year’s 3’s to 5.5% this year.
- The coast of North Carolina is gaining in popularity. New Hanover and #Brunswick Counties in particular continue to get national exposure on film and are experiencing growing awareness through national publications. CNN Money Magazine listed Wilmington, NC real estate as the #7 city to invest in and #Brunswick Forest located in Leland just outside of Wilmington and near Southport, NC has been given the Bliss Award Winner designation, Best North Carolina Community of the Year for the Coastal Southern North Carolina area.
At Coastal Realty Connections we understand buying is often an emotional choice. So more than the statistics, it is about finding the place that matches your natural rhythms, provides activities that bring you joy, and above all brings you peace of mind.