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Posts Tagged ‘home prices’

How Much Does The Interest Rate Really Affect Your Buying Power?

I am going through old listings that couldn’t sell at the owner’s desired price and through files of home owners who didn’t try to sell after getting a market analysis (CMA) for their home because of the value at that time. The good news for those homeowners is that prices are coming up in the Clarkston area and have been for the past couple years. But for buyers- if you look at your payment instead of price- prices are still very low.

As an example I just pulled up a listing I had in 2007 that was asking $400,000. At that time the interest rate for mortgages was at an average of 6.34%. When I checked the Freddie Mac web site I found the average interest rate last month was 3.92%.

What does this mean from the buyer perspective? If you would have bought that particular house for $305,000 in 2007 your payment (principle and interest) would be the same as if you were to pay $400,000 today. That’s a hundred thousand dollars worth of buying power just in the difference in the interest rate.

But it gets better!!! The property taxes on that house have dropped from just over $6k/year to just over $4600/year. That’s $116/month savings in your house payment.

Interest rates are not going to stay this low forever. Home prices are on the rise– not skyrocketing, but steadily rising. If you have been holding off buying waiting for the market to hit bottom I think we may be there- especially when you factor in the mortgage interest rate and property taxes. AND the cherry on top is the fact that your property taxes will be capped to 5% or the rate of inflation as long as the house is your primary residence. So for the example above it will take quite a while before property taxes are back at 2007 amounts.

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Jackie Hawley
ReMax Encore, Clarkston
Jackie@JackieHawley.com

Cell: (248) 736-6407

www.MiRelocation.com

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Am I Overpaying? Is the listing overpriced? What is the house worth?

All questions, or variations of questions, most buyers ask when buying a house. They are valid questions with not easy or pat answer. The value of the home depends on your point of view.

Webster defines “value” as “a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged” or “the monetary worth of something.”

Out of everything that is currently on the market: Is it the best house for you, with an asking price you would be comfortable paying? If you were assured the asking price is fair, would you feel like you were settling with this particular house? If the house is everything you were hoping for in your price range, then you’re not overpaying.

Websters defines “market value” as “a price at which both  buyers and sellers are willing to do business.”

Now that doesn’t mean it will appraise. Appraisals are usually needed to get a mortgage.

My definition of “appraised value” is “a price determined by a licensed appraiser who is following both government and lender guidelines.”

Some of the rules appraisers have to follow for most residential loans, that can and do affect “value” are (among others):

  • they are limited on the amount of value they can give outbuildings
  • they are limited on the amount of value they can give to land when buying a home on acreage
  • they are limited on the amount of value they can give for upgrades such as top of the line windows, 50 year warranted roof, finished basements, crown molding, upgraded cabinets, flooring, light or plumbing fixtures…..

Other factors that can affect the appraised value are the lack of comparable sales. If you are selling a custom lakefront home on a lake that has had mostly cheap foreclosure sales, converted cottages, the appraisal could come in low. Especially if the house is on one of the more desirable lakes- the sold comps for more custom homes may come from a less desirable lake and there’s really no way to adjust value for the lake.

If you are buying a house with a hundred thousand dollar indoor arena and another fifty thousand in oak fencing and 20 acres, the lender expects the seller to give little to no value to the barns, fencing and land.

Do these things have value to the consumer? Are there things about the house you want, that have value to you, that an appraiser may not consider? If so, are you able and prepared to pay the difference if the appraisal comes in below the agreed upon sale price?

If you are unable to pay the difference between appraised value and what the seller is willing to sell for, then we would need to determine an approximate value an appraiser would come in at and not exceed that price in negotiations.

If you are able to pay the difference, you need to decide what the value of a particular house is for you. Basing your purchase solely on appraised value can cost you more in the long run.

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Jackie Hawley
ReMax Encore, Clarkston MI

Cell: (248) 73606407

Email: Jackie@JackieHawley.com  

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When buying a home in Oakland or Lapeer County Michigan a standard contingency is financing (the buyer obtaining a mortgage for the house). Normally, part of the financing process is an appraisal, and the cost of the appraisal is born by the purchaser.

  • So is this the purchaser’s appraisal?
  • And is the appraisal for the protection of the purchaser?

The answers are no and no.

If it really was the buyer’s appraisal, the buyer would get a say in who the appraiser is. Or at least the buyer’s loan officer would get a say.

Loans mortgage appraisalsThe appraisal is for the protection of the lender. The lender loans money to a purchaser, and that money is secured by the house and, rightfully, the lender wants to make sure the value is there.

Because of some of the asinine changes in the mortgage process over the past couple years, the loan officer is no longer able to hire, or even speak to, the appraiser. The lender (loan officer) contacts an appraisal management company who then assigns an appraiser. And like in anything in life, there are good and bad appraisers.

So you the consumer can interview and choose the best real estate agent to work with. Interview and choose the best loan officer to work with, choose the best home inspector, best insurance agent, best title company … But no say on who appraises the home you are trying to buy.

Appraisers themselves are finding themselves under scrutiny because some want to blame them for the housing mess we are currently in. And the result has been overly cautious appraisers. And many inconsistencies in appraisals.

I had a sale earlier this summer where 2 appraisals were ordered from the same appraisal management company, for the same property within a few weeks of each other. The contract price for the house was $380,000 and it was one of multiple offers. So the free market pretty much set a price of $380,000. One appraisal came in with a value of $300,000. The other appraisal came in at a value of $362,000. Both were local appraisers.

I had another sale where I was on the listing end (a short sale) and it was another property with multiple appraisals. Between the buyer and the lien holders there was a total of 5 appraisals. 5 appraisers came in with 5 different values.

horse racing first and last equalOne of the main problems I’m seeing on the appraisals is the appraisers aren’t giving value for quality. Everything is size and location with very few adjustments, and those adjustments are for things like walk out basement vs standard basement. Maybe a few thousand for a finished basement vs an unfinished basement. If the comparable sales are in the same sub you may see an adjustment for location within the sub.

What I’m not seeing is when the house isn’t in a subdivision is credit for a more desirable neighborhood. In the first example above, that house was on a lake in Independence Township with Clarkston schools. Part of that lake is in Waterford with Waterford schools. Homes in the Clarkston school district have always garnered a higher price than Waterford schools- but not according to the appraiser.

I’m also not seeing credit given for quality. Top of the line Anderson or Pella windows will get zero value. Wood interior doors as opposed to the typical builder’s grade plastic feeling doors will get zero value. Upgraded cabinets, counters, light and plumbing fixtures will get ZERO value.

Now take 2 houses in the same or similar neighborhoods, and house a has builder grade everything and house b had the same floor plan built but upgraded everything mentioned above– should both those houses sell for the same price?

From a buyer perspective you may be thinking “Great! I can get $50K mattress money extra downpayment if house doesn't appraiseworth of upgrades for free.” Maybe not. You may find the perfect house and are willing and able to pay for quality. You spend $300+ on a home inspection. You spend $300+ on an appraisal, and the appraiser comes in $30K lower than the agreed upon price. The seller does not have to come down on price. If  the seller won’t come down, and if you still want the house, you would need to come up with the extra $30,000. If you don’t have it, you won’t get the house. You may have to settle for mediocrity in order to get a mortgage. Or in the case of the lake house above, maybe a lesser school district.

By the criteria many appraisers now feel they need to use, with the value determined solely by size and location, that is the same as saying the first place horse in the Kentucky Derby has the same value as the last place horse in the Kentucky Derby- all the same age, about the same height and all the same class of horse.

When I represent a buyer, I will perform a market analysis on the house you want to offer on. I will give you my opinion of value and back that opinion with comparable sales. I will also give my opinion on what I think the appraised value will be, and if there’s a difference, you will need to prepare yourself to possibly lose the house you want or pony up the difference. And if you are a person who feels that quality has value, be prepared to come up with additional down payment.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me about buyer representation if you are considering purchasing a home in North Oakland or Lapeer County.

Jackie Hawley
cell: (248)736-6407
Jackie@JackieHawley.com
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You Are One of Multiple Offers! Is the Other Agent Lying?

I believe it would be a pretty accurate statement that the general consensus is that the housing market in Southeast Michigan is still in the crapper. That’s not to say it’s a “bad” market- that’s all relative. Unit sales are up and prices in some areas look like they may be stabilizing, but still a lot of homeowners out there who are upside down on their mortgages. I don’t think we’ve seen the end of foreclosuresshort sale listings are on the rise, unemployment is still high and one number I can’t find is the underemployment rate.

Crapper! So with all this horrible housing market combined with this crappy economy, with the media blasting to the world that sellers are desperate and bank owned homes are being given away- how can there be multiple offers on a house? Is the other agent lying? How often has a buyer’s agent heard that question? And how can we blame our buyers for asking?

Dear Mr./Ms. Buyer,

Most of the agents in the Oakland and Lapeer County areas are REALTORS, which means they belong to the National Association of Realtors, aka the NAR. The NAR has a code of ethics that prohibits agents from southeast michigan real estate southeast michigan homeslying about pertinent facts and we’re supposed to treat everybody honestly. There might be an occasional agent who would lie in an attempt to squeeze more out of you, but if I ever caught one lying to me about multiple offers, I would take them up on ethics charges in a heartbeat. I promise.

The fact is that our inventory is low and much of what is for sale is overpriced. So the few, properly priced homes are receiving competing bids and often selling at or over asking price.

So unlike the skit on an old Cheech and Chong 8 track (that I can’t play- no working 8 track player) this is one instance of even though is looks like crap, smells like crap and tastes like crap– it really isn’t crap.

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