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Mar 05

The Latest In Real Estate News

by EmilyDir

How To Buy A Home In A Tight Housing Market

Shopping for a home is a challenging task right now. Home prices went up 6.3% in December compared to the year prior, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home prices index. That’s likely due to high demand and a tight supply of homes. That makes it a seller’s market, which means—as a buyer—it may be harder to land the home you want. Here are some strategies for making it happen: Do some preliminary shopping. Determine when you’re going to start shopping seriously—that is, when you’ll be ready to start making offers on houses—and start looking two to three months prior to that date. That helps you get a feel for a market, for how things are priced, and for how the bidding process goes. (Do homes frequently go for above ask? How much above? Which homes?) “You’ll develop a sense of what to expect from homes in that market,” says Holden Lewis, research analyst at NerdWallet. “And that’s especially the case if you’re working with an experienced buyer’s agent.” –From Forbes

Chase Offers $3,000 Grant to Low Income Homebuyers

JPMorgan Chase announced it is now offering up to $3,000 in grants and incentives that will cover closing costs and the down payment for homebuyers in low- to moderate income communities. Qualified buyers will be eligible to receive a $2,500 grant along with an additional $500 available for customers getting a DreaMaker mortgage after they complete a homebuyer education course. Currently, more than 90 million Americans currently live in eligible lower income areas, according to the American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau. “We’re committed to helping more families achieve homeownership,” Chase Home Lending CEO Mike Weinbach said. “A common barrier for some families is the upfront cash for closing.” “By providing closing cost and down payment assistance, we can help more families buy homes they can afford now and in the future,” Weinbach said. –From HousingWire

How to buy a House That Hasn’t Been Built Yet

Want to build a home? Then you’ll need a construction loan, and they’re not as easy to obtain as a mortgage. Here’s how to get started and some pitfalls to watch out for. Trisha and Dennis Rawlings, a couple in their early 30s, are moving to suburban Chicago and leaving their over-60-year-old first home in the St. Louis area behind. “We were looking at potentially buying a house,” Trisha says. But in the area where they want to live, the options within their budget were limited to purchasing an older home or building a new one. The couple loved the features of a modern, new-construction neighborhood with a pool, a clubhouse and excellent walkability. And taking out a construction loan and building a house means they’ll avoid the maintenance that comes with an older home. With the supply of existing homes available to buy at “an all-time low “ nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers like the Rawlingses and others — including younger buyers — are looking at other options that include building a house. Here’s how to get started if you decide to build a home. –From SeattleTimes

Could Fannie and Freddie Be Eliminated Without Legislation?

GSE reform has been a hot-button topic ever since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came under government conservatorship during the financial crisis, but it’s one of those talking points that often seems heavy on the talk and light on the corresponding action. This week an assembly of analysts and think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute, introduced a proposal outlining how President Trump could, at least theoretically, move to eliminate the GSEs without having to rely on Congressional support. The plan hinges upon having a Trump-appointed head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government organization tasked with overseeing the GSEs. The FHFA is currently overseen by Obama-era appointee Mel Watt, whose term will conclude at the end of this year. The new paper, which includes among its authors former Reagan White House Counsel and upcoming Five Star Government Forum Keynote Speaker Peter Wallison, argues that a Trump-appointed head of the FHFA could essentially whittle Fannie and Freddie down gradually. This process would involve limiting the types of loans the GSEs could purchase and lowering the size limits for those loans. The authors of the paper said they believed that the plan would allow President Trump to “break this logjam.” –From DSnews

King County Housing Market Kicks Off 2018 Even Hotter Than Before, as Seattle Breaks Price Record

The King County real-estate market finished 2017 as the priciest year in history. And 2018 is off to an even hotter start. Single-family-home prices across the county surged nearly 20 percent in January compared with a year prior, the biggest such annual increase in two years, according to monthly home-sale data released Monday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The price increases left no area untouched: Home values grew 28 percent in the northern part of the county, 19 percent in Seattle, 18 percent on the Eastside, and from 11 to 17 percent across the south end of King County. Seattle’s median price hit $757,000, the most ever, surpassing the previous record set last summer. In West Bellevue, the region’s priciest area, prices surged an unthinkable 93 percent in a year, hitting a record high of $2.72 million for the median house. The typical price across the Eastside — $938,000 — was just a couple of hundred bucks shy of the record set a month prior. Looking for something cheaper? Unfortunately, there’s more bad news. Condo prices surged 23 percent from a year ago. – From SeattleTimes

The Property Brothers Reveal Their Best Money-Saving Secret Ever

"Property Brothers" stars Jonathan and Drew Scott are pros at helping homeowners curb their budgets, and their latest episode reveals what could be their best money saver ever! And get this: The idea appears to come from the buyers, not the bros. Hey, we'll take great advice wherever we can get it, right? In the "Mad About Plaid" episode, Carolyn and Brad and their children Crosby and Bailey have been living with Grandma for two years, helping her through a particularly tough time. But Grandma is in a good place now, so the family feels ready to move out. With Drew's help, they soon find a home they love in the Nashville, TN, area, and buy it for $760,000. At first glance, the house's biggest flaw appears to be the plaid wallpaper in the kitchen. But it's much worse than that. Here's what the brothers discover, and how they manage to sidestep this budget killer with ease. Watch and learn!  –From Realtor.com

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This post was created by: Emily Dir, Marketing Coordinator, Rainier Title

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