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There are many misconceptions about the credit score needed to buy a house. Recently, it was reported that 24% of renters believe they need a 780-800 credit score to be considered for a mortgage. The reality is they are misinformed!
Only 25% of the Americans have a FICO® Score between 740 and 800. Here is the breakdown according to Experian:
- 16% Very Poor (300-579)
- 18% Fair (580-669)
- 21% Good (670-739)
- 25% Very Good (740-799)
- 20% Exceptional (800-850)
Randy Hopper, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending for Navy Federal Credit Union said,
“Just because you have a low credit score doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a home. There are a lot of options out there for consumers with low FICO® scores,”
There are many programs available with low or no credit score requirement. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) now requires a minimum FICO® score of 580 if you want to qualify for the low down payment advantage. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not set a minimum credit score requirement, but most lenders require a score of at least 640. Veterans Affairs (VA) loans have no credit score requirement.
As you can see, none of them are above 700!
It is true that the average FICO® score for all closed loans in January was 726, but there are plenty of people taking advantage of the low credit score requirements. Here is the average FICO® Score of closed FHA Loans since April 2012 according to Ellie Mae:As you can see, that number has been dropping for the last seven years. As a matter of fact, the average FHA Purchase FICO® Score reported in January 2019 was 675!
One of the challenges is that Americans are unsure about their credit score. They just assume that it is too low to qualify and do not double check. Credit.com confirmed that only 57% of individuals sought out their credit score at least once last year.
“Since October 2009, the average year-over-year FICO® Score has steadily and consistently increased, from a low of 686 in 2009 to the latest high of 704 as of 2018.”
Here is the increase in the average US FICO® Score over the same period of time as the graph earlier.
At least 84% of Americans have a score that will allow them to buy a house. If you are unsure what your score is or would like to improve your score in order to become a homeowner, let’s get together to help you set a path to reach your dream!
Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to buy a home! Here are four reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.
1. Prices Will Continue to Rise
CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next year.
Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 4.41% last week. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.
3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage
Some renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.
Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.
But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?
Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family, or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.
- In the majority of the country, this weekend marks the start of Daylight Savings Time as we set our clocks forward an hour on Sunday at 2:00 AM EST.
- Whether you plan on buying or selling this spring, these tips could help you ‘spring ahead’ of your competition!
- Spring brings two things: more buyers & more sellers! Get prepared now to stand out in the crowd!
Study after study shows that no matter what generation Americans belong to, the vast majority believe that homeownership is an important part of their American Dream. The benefits of homeownership can be broken into two main categories: financial and non-financial (often referred to as emotional or social reasons.)
For Americans approaching retirement age, one of the greatest benefits to homeownership is the added net worth they have been able to achieve simply by paying their mortgage!
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University focused on homeowners and renters over the age of 65. Their study revealed that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters at this age group was actually 47.5 times greater, with nearly half their net worth coming from home equity!
Homeowners over the age of 65 are much more financially prepared for retirement and often own their homes outright if they were fortunate enough to purchase their homes before the age of 36.
Their 30 years of mortgage payments have paid off as they gained equity through their monthly payments and as home values appreciated.
It is no surprise that lifelong renters have had a hard time accruing net worth as the latest Censusreport shows that the Median Asking Rent has been climbing consistently over the last 30 years.
Your monthly mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ building your net worth with every payment!
Recently, David Greene, co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast and a nationally renowned author and speaker, wrote an article in Forbes explaining how investing in real estate could help build wealth. Many of the points he made also apply to a family owning their own home. Here are a few:
“The rising of home prices over time, is how the majority of wealth is built in real estate. This is the ‘home run’ you hear of when people make a large windfall of money. While prices fluctuate, over the long run real estate values have always gone up, always, and there is no reason to think that is going to change.
One thing to consider when it comes to real estate appreciation affecting your ROI is the fact that appreciation combined with leverage offers huge returns. If you buy a property for $200,000 and it appreciates to $220,000, your property had made you a 10% return. However, you likely didn’t pay cash for the property and instead used the bank’s money. If you consider that you may have put 10% down ($20,000), you actually have doubled your investment, a 100% return.”
“By nature, real estate is one of the easiest assets to leverage I have ever come across—maybe the easiest. Not only is it easy to leverage the financing of it, but the terms are incredible compared to any other kind of loan. Interest rates are currently below 5%, down payments can be 20% or less, and loans are routinely amortized over 30-year periods.”
3. Paying Off the Debt
“One of the best parts of investing in real estate is the fact that … you’re slowly paying down your loan balance with each payment to the bank… After enough time passes, a good chunk of every payment comes off the loan balance, and wealth is created.”
4. Forced Equity
“Forced equity is a term used to refer to the wealth that is created when an investor does work to a property to make it worth more…
Example of this would be adding a third or fourth bedroom to a property with only two, adding a second bathroom to a property with only one, or adding more square footage to a property with less than the surrounding houses.”
Though Green was talking about investors, the same could be said about a family upgrading their own home.
Green put it best by saying:
“There are many ways to build wealth in America, but real estate might be the safest, steadiest and simplest way to do so.”
Over the course of the last thirty years, a shift has happened. An entire generation has been raised to believe that a college education is their key to unlocking opportunities that were not available to their parent’s or grandparent’s generations.
Due to this, student loan debt has soared to $1.5 trillion and represents the largest category of debt, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt in 2010 and never looking back. As more and more Americans continue their education amongst rising tuition costs, this number will no doubt increase.
Many housing experts have blamed student loans for a drop in the homeownership rate for young families, and to an extent, they’ve been right. Increased debt at the time of graduation has no doubt limited young people from being able to afford a home at the same rate as their parents or grandparents did at the same age.
In a recent Forbes article, the author explained that “in just the class of 2017, the average student has about $40,000 in debt — almost enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home.”
The Federal Reserve set out to determine exactly how much impact student loan debt has had on the homeownership rate of those 18-34 (millennials). Their results found that,
“Every $1,000 in student loan debt delays homeownership by about 2.5 months, but it doesn’t prevent homeownership entirely.
In fact, by the time college grads reach their 30s, those with student loan debt have a homeownership rate nearly identical to those who didn’t take out loans.” (emphasis added)
In the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the Fed report, they found that recent graduates prioritize paying off their student loans over saving for a down payment, despite their desire to be a homeowner. Many with debt want to “get that monkey off (their) back (before they) make any new investments.”
This has just delayed the wave of young home buyers from hitting the market. But as Danielle Hale, the Chief Economist at realtor.com warns,
“2020 will be peak millennial, the year when the largest number of millennials will turn 30.”
By age 30, those who attained a bachelor’s degree right after high school will be one or two years away from paying off their loans and will have been in their career long enough to earn a higher salary.
In the long run, research shows that attaining a bachelor’s degree or more actually increases the chances that someone will become a homeowner.
If you are one of the many millennials who has prioritized paying down your student loans over saving for a down payment, you’re not alone. Even if you are a couple years away from paying off your loans, let’s get together to help you determine if waiting really is the best decision for you!
For centuries, people in this country have seen homeownership as part of the American Dream. Whether they were born here or immigrated from another country, they wanted to own a piece of America. With so many prominent societal changes over the last few decades, it is fair to ask if people in America still feel the same way about owning a home. The answer was made abundantly clear in two separate reports released earlier this month.
In their market trends report, As Housing Trends Shift, So Does Renter, Buyer and Seller Sentiment, Trulia revealed that:
“After two years of no change, the share of Americans who say that homeownership is part of their personal “American Dream” ticked up from 72 percent to 73 percent of Americans.”
At the same time, the National Association of Realtors released their Aspiring Home Buyers Profile. As the report explained:
“For both homeowners and non-homeowners alike, homeownership is strongly considered a part of the American Dream. For non-owners, roughly 75 percent reported that homeownership is part of their American Dream. For owners, nine in 10 believe it is part of their American Dream.”
The belief among the vast majority of Americans, whether they rent or own, is that purchasing a home still remains a major step toward accomplishing the American Dream.
When homebuyers begin their research, they want to see all their available options! In many cases, they will include both new construction and existing homes in their search; but is a new construction home really the house of their dreams?
According to a recent survey by Zillow, of the 38% of total buyers that added new construction to their list, only 11% ultimately purchased a newly constructed home!
They added that 71% of these buyers are repeat buyers who are financially secure, with 45% using the money from the sale of their previous homes to make a purchase.
Below are some reasons why buyers are interested in purchasing a new build:
- Everything in the house is new/never used (49%)
- To be close to family (41%)
- The home is the best value for their money (37%)
- Appealing home features (34%)
- Desirable location (34%)
So, then why did most of the buyers surveyed choose not to purchase a new home?
Buyers could not find new construction in the desired neighborhood, and some felt that new construction is not established (e.g., landscaping, community, neighbors).
Buyers face the end of a lease or sale of their previous property and could not wait for a house to be built.
Some buyers felt that new construction base prices were deceiving. Adding upgrades and HOA fees no longer made the home fit in their price range.
For some buyers, new construction homes are too “cookie cutter,” and models are limited. Others feel that the charm and uniqueness of an existing house trumps one that’s never been lived in.
Not all buyers are looking for a newly built house! There are many buyers looking for “the charm and uniqueness” of an existing home. If you are considering selling your house, don’t wait! Let’s get together to come up with a plan to feature the charming details of your house to future buyers.