Home Buyers Feed

What is Your Home Buying Power?

PA - June 2017 - Digital Marketing Campaign - InstagramWhat’s Your Home Buying Power?

If you’re in the market for a new home or investment property, one of the first questions you’ll probably ask is, “What can we afford?” Many buyers become so caught up in how much they can afford that they don’t realize their total buying power—that is, the total amount of purchasing potential they actually have.

Buying Power Defined

Your buying power is comprised of the total amount of money you have available each month for a mortgage payment. This means the money you have each month after fixed bills and expenses. Any money you’ve saved for a down payment, the proceeds from the sale of your current home, if applicable, and the amount of money you’re qualified to borrow all impact your buying power as well. When you take all of this into account, you may find you are able to purchase a larger home or a home in a more desirable neighborhood, or you might realize you should be looking for homes in a lower price range.

Why Buying Power Matters

A common misunderstanding is that a home’s list price determines whether or not you can purchase it. Although it’s important to look at the price tag, it’s essential to consider what your monthly payment will be if you own the home. After all, the purchase price doesn’t include the housing-related expenses, such as annual property taxes, homeowner insurance, associated monthly fees and any maintenance or repairs. Figuring out the payment will prevent you from overestimating or underestimating your buying power. After all, you’ll live with your monthly payment, not the sales price.

Once you have clarity on your buying power, you’ll be able to buy the home you want, instead of settling for a home because you feel it’s the only one you can afford. It will also prevent you from becoming “house poor,” a common term for someone who’s put all their money toward the down payment, leaving them nothing left over for fees outside of their monthly house payment. Both scenarios can negatively impact the lifestyle you want to live. Understanding your buying power can help you get the home you want without sacrificing the lifestyle you desire.

If you haven’t sold your current home yet, a Comparative Market Assessment (CMA) will give you a general idea of how much you may get for your home based on what other homes have sold for in your area. Contact our team for a FREE CMA!

Calculating Your Buying Power

You might be wondering, “How do I know what my buying power is?” Buying power is calculated by adding the money you’ve saved for a down payment and/or the money you made from selling your home (minus fees and mortgage payoff) to all of your sources of income and investments that could be used to make your monthly payment. Make sure to include your monthly pay, commissions or tips, dividends from investments, payments from rental properties or other monthly income you receive as well as the loan amount you’re willing to finance and qualify for.

Most lenders advise buyers to spend no more than 35 to 45 percent of their pretax income on housing, meaning all your income and sources of revenue prior to paying taxes. Make sure you factor in not only your mortgage payment, but also property tax and home insurance to the cost of housing.1 However, other financial experts advise spending no more than a very conservative 25 percent of your after-tax income. Whether you plan to spend the average, play it conservative or split the difference is up to you.

Traditionally mortgage lenders have targeted the ideal housing expense amount to be a ratio of 28 percent or less.2

However, these figures bring up an important point: you don’t have to spend all of your savings and available monthly income on a mortgage payment. It’s important to set money aside for regular home maintenance, unexpected repairs and monthly fees, such as a condominium or homeowners association fee. While the above ratios are commonly accepted, a lender will look at your total financial picture when they decide how much they’re willing to lend. It may be tempting to take out a large loan in order to purchase the home of your dreams, but keep in mind the less money you have to borrow, the stronger your buying power may be.

Want to see what your buying potential is? Head to our blog to find out! [link to blog post on your website]

How to Save for a Down Payment

One way to boost your buying power is to put down a good amount of money when you’re ready to buy, meaning you will have to borrow less. Here are some tips to make saving for a down payment easier.

First-time buyers:

  1. Set a savings goal. One way to figure out how much to save is to use the average sales price for homes that are similar to what you want and figure out your target down payment percentage. For example, if homes are selling for $200,000 in your area and you want to put 20 percent down, you’ll have to save $40,000. Set a goal to save that amount within a specific time frame; just keep in mind the longer you save, the more the average selling price will change. Although the majority of buyers saved for six months or less, 29 percent of all buyers (and 31 percent of first-time buyers) saved for more than two years for a down payment.3


  1. Cut back on expenses. Review your monthly expenses and look for ways to save. Twenty-nine percent of buyers cut spending on non-essentials items and 22 percent cut spending on entertainment while they were saving for a home.3 Think about items you can live without or cut back on temporarily while you’re saving.


  1. Look for ways to boost your income. Get a side job or sell items online or at a garage sale to increase your income in a short amount of time. Be sure to save any windfalls you get, including your annual income tax refund or work bonuses.


  1. Check out home-buying programs. Your state, county or local government may offer special programs, such as grants, for first-time buyers to use.


  1. Ask your family. Thirteen percent of all buyers, and 24 percent of first-time buyers, were given money from family or friends to use toward the down payment of their home.3

Repeat buyers:

More than 52 percent of repeat buyers used the proceeds from the sale of their primary residence toward the down payment on their next home.3 Similarly, 76 percent tapped into their savings accounts.3 If you’re thinking of buying another home, here are more ways to save more money, in addition to the tips listed above:

  1. Rent a room. If you have an income flat (or mother-in-law unit) attached to your home, rent it out and channel the income into a high-interest savings account.


  1. Make your money work for you. If you don’t plan to buy for at least five years, invest it and let the compound interest work for you. Discuss this option with your financial planner or broker to see if this is ideal for you and your goals.


  1. Tap into your 401(k). If you have a 401(k) plan, you may be allowed to borrow a portion of it, the lessor of up to $50,000 or half of its value, for your down payment. Remember, it’s a loan so you’ll have to pay it back. If you leave or lose your job before you’ve repaid the loan, you’ll have between 60 to 90 days to repay the balance or face stiff taxes and penalties.


If you want to buy an investment property

Whether you’re buying a second home or a rental property, here are a couple tips to save for a down payment.


  1. Tap into your equity. If you’ve paid off or paid down your mortgage on your primary home, you may be able to tap into your equity to purchase another property. Contact your lender to learn more about a HELOC or home equity loan.


  1. Get a partner. Find a friend or relative who’s willing to purchase property with you. Typically, you’ll split the costs and profits equally. Just make sure to work with an attorney to create a partnership agreement to fit your situation.

Do you want a clearer picture of your buying power? Would you like to see what kind of homes you can get with your buying power? Give us a call!

Sources:   1. Moneyunder30.com https://www.moneyunder30.com/percentage-income-mortgage-payments

  1.     Credit.com https://www.credit.com/loans/mortgage-questions/how-to-determine-your-monthly-housing-budget/
  2.     National Association of REALTORS, 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

How to Amp Up The Resale Value of Your Home

How to Amp Up The Resale Value of Your Home

Whether you're putting your home on the market this year or in the next five years, it is a smart decision to start building your home's resale value now. Here are some ways to create a comfortable home while making it easier to put more money into your bank account on closing day.

Small Maintenance and Repairs

If you think that home maintenance on the weekends waste your time and energy, think again. The small chores you do around your home prevents it from losing value. Neglecting small maintenance and repairs causes 10% of your home's value to walk out your door and slip through your windows. Most appraisers claim that homes showing little to no preventative maintenance can depreciate from $15,000 to $20,000.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University shows that regular maintenance boosts your home value by about 1% per year. However, ongoing maintenance costs offset that value, which means that regular maintenance actually slows down your rate of depreciation. Furthermore, because homebuyers generally notice any repairs needed upon buying a new home, proactive maintenance lets the homebuyer know that he or she will not have to spend extra money to maintain the basics. This makes your home more attractive, and thus more likely to get higher priced offers.

Maintaining the basics can cost you little money and certainly some effort, but there’s a way to accomplish this very important activity smartly. This article by HouseLogic, for example, shows you how to keep home maintenance below $300 a year.  Planning ahead will also help make maintaining your home easier. Most professional appraisers and real estate agents recommend a proactive maintenance schedule that includes:

  • Keeping enough cash on hand to replace systems and materials
  • Creating and following a maintenance schedule
  • Planning a room redo every year
  • Keeping a notebook of all your maintenance and repairs


The Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech published a study that shows landscaping can increase a home's value by 15%.  The study claims that a home valued at $150,000 could increase its value between $8,300 and $19,000 with the addition of landscaping. Particular landscape elements add different value. For instance, landscape design can increase your home's value by 42%, plant size can increase your home's value by 32%, and diversity in plants can increase your home's value by 22%.

Replace Entrance Doors

If your entry doors are wood, consider switching them out for either fiberglass or steel doors. Steel doors add style and architectural interest to your home while improving security; you can add a deadbolt and electronic keypads to keep out intruders. Unlike wood doors, steel doors do not rot or splinter.

Alternatively, fiberglass doors can be designed to look like wood doors and give your home a modern look. Fiberglass doors conserve more energy than steel doors.

Pricewise, a steel door will cost you $1,335 with a 91% return on investment whereas a fiberglass door will cost you $3,126 with an 82.3% return on investment.

Garage Door Replacement


At first, you might not think that your garage door increases the value of your home. However, your garage door distinguishes your home from the other homes on your block. As the largest entryway of a house, garage doors get noticed first because they're the focal point of your home. If you want to quickly increase the resale value of your home, you need to make the most of this space.


Some interesting things being done with garage doors include:

  • Increased Size: Bigger garage doors help homes stand out more, and homeowners can do more creatively with them.
  • Bold Colors: Bright and bold colors now can complement the color of your home, or you can build a concept around the color of your home.
  • Faux Wood: You can install fiberglass or steel garage doors that look like wood garage doors. This gives your home a new level of sophistication.
  • Windows: Large Windows on your garage door improve the aesthetic of your home, and provide light into your garage so that it's no longer a dark space.


More importantly, a garage door replacement will cost you $1,652 and add $1,512 to the value of your home; that's a return on your investment of 91.5%.

Fiberglass Attic Insulation

While energy efficiency is still not the sexiest selling point of your home, installing fiberglass attic insulation saves energy and garners a big payback on your investment. According to Remodeling Magazine's 2016 Cost vs. Value top trends report, fiberglass attic insulation gained the top return on investment among the 30 projects in this year's report. Using Remodel/Max as the cost source, a fiberglass attic insulation project cost $1,268 nationwide.  Real estate professionals surveyed estimated that the work would boost the price of a home at resale, within a year of its completion, by $1,482. That's a 116.9% return on investment.

Replacing Windows

Replacing your windows is another way to save energy and increase your home's resale value. Replacing your old windows with energy saving models will beautify your home, keep it comfortable, and ease the workload of your HVAC system. According to HGTV, you'll see a reduction in your utility bill by 7% to 15%. However, if you're selling your home, you could expect a 60% to 70% recoupment of your investment. The two types of replacement windows that fetch the best return are vinyl and wood. 

Remodeling Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodeling can get expensive, but small renovations can make your home more buyer friendly. Changing your kitchen's texture and color using a matte finish and neutral colors such as putty or grey enhances your home's resale value. Because matte finishes have transitional qualities, your potential homebuyer can easily match his or her stainless steel or black and white appliances. Also, refinishing cabinetry, or switching to Energy Star™ appliances provide comfort you like and pizazz buyers adore.

Flow is important to any interior design of a home. If you feel that your kitchen hinders a good flow, change it. A small investment to knock out a non-structural wall or remove a kitchen island creates space and provides flow that buyers love.

A minor kitchen remodel can cost you $20,122 while putting $16,716 of resale value into your home; that's an 83% payback on the project. If you want to do a major kitchen model, this can cost you about $60,000 and put about $39,000 of resale value into your home, which is only about a 65% payback on the project. Therefore, consider a minor kitchen remodel first.

Bathroom Addition or Remodel

Likewise, carefully consider adding a bathroom or remodeling your bathroom. Switching out your frosted glass shower doors for glass doors, cleaning the grout, replacing the shower and floor tiles, switching out your sink or toilet, or replacing your sink and shower fixtures can cost you little money.

Adding a bathroom can get expensive, but it can reduce congestion during hectic times and provide your guests with a bathroom. Consult with your real estate agent or a local appraiser before deciding whether a full remodel or addition is right for your situation. While a bathroom remodel will cost you about $18,000 with a return on investment of about 66%, a bathroom addition will cost you about $42,000 with a return on investment of about 56%. Therefore, it's best do your due diligence before working on your bathroom.

Your Needs and Buyers' Wants

On that note, if you need to renovate your home, be sure to consider how those changes will affect its appeal to future buyers. Knowing design trends will give you the opportunity to make changes to your home based on where your needs and your potential buyer's desires intersect, thus increasing your property's resale value drastically.

Designers and design websites provide great ideas when you’re brainstorming home renovations. Keep in mind as you research, however, that you don’t want to sacrifice your needs for a comfortable home just for the sake of what you think a future buyer will want!

Therefore, before you begin making any changes to your home, consult your real estate agent. Real estate agents, because we are constantly working with new buyer clients, have insider insight into what home buyers are looking for now and in the future. We’ll be able to help you make smart choices when remodeling or renovating your home.

If you think you might want to remodel or renovate your home in the near future, or if you are just curious about other ways you can increase its resale value, please reach out to me!

Real Estate UpdateAugust 2016

Hello, ladies and  gentlemen.  This is  Gloria Benaroch with  the  August  edition  of  Keeping  Current  Matters.  what I’m going to do is, first, cover the news, and then cover updates.
First off, the market is really doing very well  so far in  the  first six  months of  the  year.  As a matter  of fact,  Realtor.com gave us this information: 
Number one, nationwide total home sales are up 5% compared with the first half of 2015, Overall,  we  had  the  best  spring  in  a  decade, and the summer’s looking pretty good also.  Insert Monmouth county slide

Monmouth County total single family sales year to date are up 19.7%  
Days on market have increased slight from last year from 63 to 78
Monmouth County total Condo Sales year to date are up  13.5% 
Days on market for condo sales are up slightly from 59 day to 69

Robust appreciation has restored home equity for many home owners, encouraging them to consider selling and buying  again,  which  is  exactly  what  we’re  looking  for.  And,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  I  wanted  to    give  you  a graph, on the existing home sales and pending home sales, so we can compare how far we’ve come over the last couple of years.

The grey that you see right here is 2014. That’s number of sales. Overlaid over that are 2015 and we can see it’s outside of last November, every single month beat 2014. And then we have 2016, the dark blue at  the  top. And every  month so far, we’re beaten 2015. So, we’re really doing  very,  well,      and  we’re blowing some numbers away, which makes the end of this year look very, promising.

Pending home sales is the same situation. Last month, we fell a little bit behind 2015, the first time we didn’t beat the same month year before in two years.].

This month, we’re just about the same as we were in 2015. Now, I don’t think that the pending sales aren’t doing as well because there’s not enough buyers out there.

I believe that we still have an inventory shortage that we have to work on. The good news is, with prices going up, some of that inventory is coming to market. And even Lawrence Yun chief economist let us know that the modest bump in June sales of first time buyers can be attributed to mortgage rates being at  all time lows and perhaps a hopeful indication  that more affordable lower priced homes are beginning to make their way onto the market. Now, let’s take a look at two maps, the seller traffic map in May and the seller traffic map in June. What we can see, ladies and gentlemen, is the dark blue states are showing very strong seller traffic, meaning people are starting to list their homes. 

So, in May, we had thirteen states that were either strong or very strong, the light blue. And this past month, in June, we’ve had twenty states that are strong or very strong. The nationwide housing supply year over year for the last twelve months, every single month over the last twelve months, has been below where we were the year before. So, though we made up some ground in June, we’re still almost 6% below where we were last year that month. So, what do we know? There are more and more people selling, purchasing homes. There are more and more people putting homes into contract. But, we don’t have as many homes for sale as we did last year nationwide. And that can create a challenge.

Another way of looking at it is, Realtor.com went ahead and said, “Alright. Fine. Let’s take a look at this summer versus last summer.”  Demand for housing  this summer  is  up  13%,  according     to  Realtor.com,  while  supply  of  homes for sale is down 5%. So, we’re still not out of the woods yet, ladies and gentlemen, by any stretch of the imagination.  We  know  there’s  still  a  lot  of  excitement  about  people  purchasing  homes,  even  though  the  economy is not doing as well. We just got some numbers last week showing that it’s dismal the growth of the economy. Remember, as we told you over the last couple of months, all the economists, all the experts are calling for housing market to remain strong even when the economy is not. As a matter of fact, Peter Maul (ph), the  Ten  X  chief  economist,  more  jobs  are  being  added  while  unemployment  continues  to  drop,  and  low  mortgage  rates  are  enticing  homebuyers.  So,  solid  demand  should  continue  to  fuel  the  housing  market. 

And in the latest homebuyer pulse survey, and this is people that they were talking to that were not currently homeowners  but  are  considering  purchasing  a  home  in  the  next  five years.  This is  what the survey  showed.  Seventy‐seven percent cited mortgage rates as the most important factor when purchasing a home. Ladies and gentlemen, as we’ll talk about in a few seconds, mortgage rates leveled out and actually starting to pick up a little bit. That could cause another wave of buyers coming to the market. Thirty‐five percent of millennials are putting less than 20% down payment. That’s good news, ladies and gentlemen. The more they get educated to the fact that they don’t need 20% down, the easier it’s going to be for us to help them. Sixty‐three percent will buy a home in the next two years with 21% currently looking. 

Sixty‐three percent of the people they surveyed are going to purchase a home in the next two years. And of that 63%,  21% is  currently looking. So, we  definitely know  demand is  going  to  remain  strong.  And  that  shouldn’t  surprise us, ladies and gentlemen. As Sterling White the cofounder of Holdfolio said, houses are tangible. You can physically see and feel the product. So, you know where your money is going. It’s going into that house. And that’s what makes people feel comfortable about investing in homes. And let’s just take a look at three recent surveys. One by  the Morning consult Survey. Percentage of those surveyed  who  think  each  of  the  following  is  an  excellent  investment.  Forty‐nine  percent  of  the  people  surveyed  think almost one out of two, that owning your own home is an excellent investment. And if you look at number three on the list, 16% think that owning other real estate is also an excellent investment. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, people purchasing their first house or people moving up into the home that they want or moving down into the home that they want, that’s showing that people believe in the American dream, not just from  the social benefits of owning  a home, but  also the financial benefits. And a Gallup  poll a  couple of  months ago showed that, if you compare it against each other, Americans choice for best long term investment is, in fact, real estate. They picked that over stocks and mutual funds, gold, savings accounts, and CDs and bonds. And the recent bank rate financial security index showed when they asked a question, “Which would be the best way to invest money you wouldn’t need for ten years,” 25% said real estate. Again, real estate was the number one  choice  as  a  great  investment.  So,  houses  are  selling.  People  are  saying  they’re  going  to  continue  to  buy.  Now, some  people  might be  saying, “But, wait  a  minute,  Gloria. We’ve read  recent headlines that  said the homeownership rate is actually declining.”

I want you to understand what the homeownership rate really means because it doesn’t mean the number of homeowners are declining. So, let me give you an example. Let’s assume that you had six friends that owned a home, and let’s assume that you had three friends that are currently renting. In that scenario, six out of the nine friends you had are homeowners. That means the homeownership rate amongst your friends is about 67%. Let’s assume that you had four more friends living with their parents. We’ve already established that you friends that are already out on their own, either a homeowner or renter, it’s at 67%. Now, let’s assume that your friends that are living with their parents start to jump into a household of their own, leave their parents’ house. Let’s assume two of them jumped over to be renters, and only one of your friends can afford to be a homeowner right now. 

So, now, you have seven friends that are homeowners, and you have five friends that are not. The number of friends you have that are homeowners went up by one. But, let’s take a look at what the homeownership rate of your friends are. It drops down to 58%. So, understand the homeownership rate doesn’t mean that there are less people that own a home, but because the number of households starting, more and more people move out of their parents’ home. Most of them start as renters. So, for over the next year or so, we’re going to see most people  jumping  out  of  their  parents’  home,  jumping  into  a  rental.  And  that’s  going  to  continue  to  lower  the  homeownership  rate.  Once  they’re  at  a  point  where  they  have  the  student  loan  paid  off,  they’re  getting married, they’re having kids, they’re going to jump from the renter pool over to the homeownership pool, and that’s  going  to  cause  that  number  to  go  back  up  again.  So,  I  don’t  want  you  thinking  that  because  the  homeownership rate is going down, the number of homeowners in this country are going down. That’s not the case. 

And the reason is important that you understand that is because we have to help these people. Let me tell you why in one simple graph. Let’s take a look at the average effect of rent in the United States since 2009 and how much it’s climbed. What we can see, ladies and gentlemen, is the fact that, if you have a friend that’s out there renting right now or if you have the son and daughter of a friend that’s out there renting, their rent is stifling them. We have to help as many of those people, especially those  that are coming right out of  their parents’  home, if they can, to get into a house of their own, if they can afford it and if it makes sense for them. But, if not, and they move into a rental, let’s get them out of that rental situation as soon as possible. Especially because, if we take a look at it, what we see is that, in the lower end departments, the year over year increase in rent in the top fifteen markets in this country has really climbed, meaning that if they’re moving out, especially those young couples of young people moving in an apartment of their own, they’re moving into the lower end apartments. 

That  rent  increase  is  dramatic  compared  to  the  overall  rent  increase.  It’s  important  that  we  help  them  understand  that  they  may  be  able  to  go  ahead  and  purchase  a  home. As a  matter  of fact, from GoBankingRates.com, here is a map of the entire United States. And let’s take a look at which states it’s actually a lot cheaper to own than it is to rent. All those dark blue states are places where it’s a lot cheaper to own. The light blue states, it’s a little cheaper to own. But, if you take a look at across the whole board there, we can see that the vast majority of the country is some shade of blue.

Now, the states where it’s a lot cheaper to rent, Montana and Utah, the states where it’s a little cheaper to rent, Idaho and Colorado and Hawaii. There’s only five states here in the entire country where it’s cheaper to rent than it is to own. In the other forty‐five states, we have to make sure that we let them know, that it’s either a lot cheaper to own, cheaper to own, or you’re going to break even, which are the grey states. I’m not sure they understand that, ladies and gentlemen. Now, this map is set up with… In the resource center, you can actually go back to the actual page that gave us this information. But, it’s set up with a 20% down payment. So, it’s going to be different if they put less than 20% down. And the reason I’m bringing that up, ladies and gentlemen, we have to realize we have to help some of these people. Part of the reason they’re not purchasing a home is many of them still believe that you need 20% down. 

his is directly from Freddy Mac. The three steps to 3% down. Talk to your agent and lender. Find out what is required for 3% down mortgage and take the steps necessary to qualify. Number two, plan to live in a home. One of the biggest requirements is the fact that you must live  in the home you’re buying in order to qualify.  Three percent down mortgages are not for investors. And number three, gather the down payment. Find out if savings you already have will be enough to get you into the dream home. If not, find out what other sources you may be able to use to make your dream a reality. We’re going to continue to delve into that. Alright? Exactly what the cost is and exactly where the help is as we move forward over the next couple of months because we think it’s important as we go through the end of the year that more and more millennials that are moving out of their parents’ home actually do move into a home of their own, actually pay their mortgage off instead of paying their landlord’s mortgage off. So, that’s important to us, and, again, we’re going to spend some time on that over the next couple of months. [00:13:58]

But, ladies and gentlemen, if you just think about putting a down payment on a house versus renting, renting you need first month’s rent, last month’s rent, a security deposit, in many cases, a commission to the broker. When you add that money up, that’s not that far off from a 3% down payment on an average priced home in this  country.  That’s what  we have  to  make sure  that they’re thinking  about.  Now,  not  everyone  should  be  a  homeowner right now. I get that. But, those that should, we should help. Because, ladies and gentlemen, we’re hearing  a  lot  in  the  election  year  about  the  divide  between  those  that  have  and  those  that  don’t  have.  Understand  what  US  Representative  from  Massachusetts,  Mike  Capuano  said  is  true.  The  way  into  the middle  class  for  many  people,  included  me,  he  said,  is  homeownership.  That’s  crucially  important  that  we  understand that. The faster we get people into their first home, the quicker they can start building wealth for their family. [00:15:05]

The quicker they can start building equity in that home, equity that later on could be used maybe to help their kids with their college tuition, equity that can maybe later on be the source of a down payment or seed money for a company they’re thinking about starting. There are direct ties by study after study that are showing that homeownership is exactly that. Not only the way into the middle class for many people, for many people, it’s the only way into the middle class. Let’s make sure we find those people and help them. As) at a time when quickly rising rents, mortgage rates at all‐time lows, and increasing housing wealth, a lot of young adults  in  their  prime  buying  years  are  struggling  to  enter  the  market and  are ultimately  missing  out  on the  stability and wealth accumulation that owning home can provide. [00:15:58]

Let’s make sure we’re on top of that. Let’s make sure that we’re doing what we need to do to help as many people as possible at least understand their options. Again, maybe not everyone’s ready to buy a home. Maybe they’re not financially ready. Maybe they still want to be very mobile as far as their job is concerned. But, those that are ready to  settle down, let them  settle  down  to a home  of  their  own  instead  of  again  a  home  where  they’re paying the landlord’s mortgage every single month. That’s what we do here at KCM. It’s important. Let’s go to the updates. Sales, average days in the market, you can take that and take a look at it as far as where your state is at compared to the rest of the country. We can still see that the vast majority of the country, houses are on the market for less than ninety days. Existing home sales, going all the way back to January 2012, again, these are updates. Some people like to go back and take a look at the historic significance of whatever the sales are right now. And we’re giving you that all the way to 2012. 

If you want to crunch that a little bit, we’re saying, “Alright. Let’s take a look at it for the last two years.” Existing home sales this month, in every single region, they’re up except for the West and the biggest challenge in the West, ladies and gentlemen, is a lack of inventory, not a lack of buyers. Believe me on that. Existing home sales in the 1,000 as compared to last year. And, again, every single month, we beat last year. Last year was a good year.  This year  was  a  better year. And, ladies  and  gentlemen, it’s  my  belief,  a  very  strong  belief  that  2017  is  really going to do much better than even 2016.  New home sales, we started out at an  even match. But look what’s happened since March. Month over month, we’ve done much better than we did last year. People are starting to build right now, and they’re starting to build the houses people need. [00:18:06]

New home sales on an annualized basis in the thousands. Again, we’re seeing it go in the right direction. New home sales by percentage of sales by price range. So, we have to get more of the 150 to 199 home built right now. Alright?  But, we  can  take a look at  exactly  what  the home  builders  are  building  from  a  price  range  standpoint. New home sales, they’re selling fast, ladies and gentlemen. They may be a month from completion to sold. That’s pretty cool. Total home sales, if we add the two of them together, again, month over month we beat last year and, I think, 2017 is going to be even be stronger for us. I’ve already showed you this earlier on, pending home sales.

We dipped a little bit last month compared to last year. But, we’re back even with last year, and I think that number, that dark blue is going to increase as we move forward where last year it decreased pretty dramatically. Pending home sales since 2012, since 2014, again, some of the agents love to have this historic data available to them in case somebody asks a question. Pending home sales last month, year over year, by region. Again, every single region did better than the year before except for the West. And, again, what’s the biggest challenge in the West? Lack of inventory. Part of the reason for lack of inventory, ladies and gentlemen, very simply is there’s a lot less distressed properties for sale. That’s all good news. Except for the fact we have less houses for sale. At this time last year, 10% of all the properties sold were distressed properties, short sales and foreclosures. This year, that number has dropped to 6%, and we can see how far it’s dropped since all the way back in January 2012. 

Let’s jump over to prices for a second. Home prices, again, because there’s a lack of inventory across the board, prices are showing very, very strong. Remember I told you about the West? The West was showing that home sales were down. But, if we take a look at prices, what we can go ahead and see is that prices are in a situation in the West, they’ve rising the most. Why? There’s a lack of inventory. Percent change in sales from last year by price range, the only reason the, on the 100,000 houses have fallen pretty dramatically is because foreclosures and short sales are dried up. Every other price point ends in some cases, as you move up the price points, the numbers are ever greater. (inaudible at00:20:56) price range, going all the way back to June 2012 year over year comparisons,  we’re  not  going  back  to  another  bubble.  We’re  not  getting  into  that  situation.  But,  they  are  remaining strong, ladies and gentlemen. 

As a matter of fact, if we draw a line across the 5%, we can see that every single month since last September, prices are 5% or greater above where they were the year before. What’s the forecast moving forward? Here’s it by state,  as  per Core  Logic.  And again,  every  single state is  showing  a  positive.  Alright?  And  in  many  cases,  they’re showing very strong positives, more than a 5% appreciation. That causes us challenges, which we discuss every single month. The appraised home value opinions compared to homeowner estimates. We’re still off on that by almost 2% on a $250,000 house, that means the appraisal will come in $5,000 short. 

We have to know how to deal with that. Let’s take a look at housing inventory. As I mentioned, seller traffic in June really has shown much better than it has I previous months. Across the south of the United States, we’re starting to see strong and very strong markets. We hope that those blue colors spread across the country. But, that’s  up  to  us,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  to  make  sure  that  that  happens.  Month’s  inventory  homes  for  sales,  historically, going all the way back to January 2011. Months for sale, over the last two years. And, again, once that number drops below that 5% number, that’s what those tannish bars look at. Months inventory of homes over the last twelve months. So, you see exactly what the situation is. Is it getting a little bit better? Yes, a little bit better. 

We’re not under the 4.5%, or 4.5 months, I should say, four and a half months. But, what we can see is we’re nowhere  near the six month’s inventory that  we need.  That’s  why,  I  think,  2017  is  going  to  be  much  better,  ladies and gentlemen. I think that, as prices continue to rise, more and more people are going to be in a position to sell their homes. More and more people are going ahead and put their houses on the market. Because the only thing that’s stopping us from having an unbelievable year this year, and I think that will happen in 2017, is a lack of inventory. And I think that inventory is about to come to market. We look at year over year inventory levels going all the way back. Where’s the housing supply? I show you this already earlier, but we also keep it in the updates. Where is housing supply in the last twelve months? Every single month, we had less houses for sale than we did the same month a year before. New home inventory? Well, that’s a little bit better. But, we see we’re even falling off of last year this past month in June, last year’s numbers.

That’s because new homes are selling, and that’s really, really good. But, we have to make sure that supply is replaced. New inventory of the last twelve months. Now, this is pretty interesting, ladies and gentlemen. We were getting close to September of last year, even the early couple months of this year, we’re getting close to that six month’s inventory, a number that’s so crucial. But, we’re falling again. Again, new homes are selling, and they’re selling faster than they’re putting them up. If you have builders in your marketplace, make sure they see these slides. Make sure they realize the market’s there for them in a very strong way. Jumping over to buyer demand, buyer demand has been strong. Pretty much outside of a few couple of states, Delaware, Connecticut, where  it’s  weak  and  every  other  part  of  the  country  it’s  either moderate,  strong, or  very strong. And the  medium blue and dark blue numbers dominate the country. Strong and very strong buyer traffic.

Foot traffic has fallen off. What has foot traffic fallen off? Remember that’s an indicator of how many people are actually going into houses and taking a look at them. Well, if there’s less houses for sale, there are less people going into those houses. That’s the challenge right now, not demand, but houses for sale that they can actually go look at. We break that down over the last twelve months, and we look at it compared to last year. Again, this does not mean that there’s less demand out there. What this means is there are less houses out there to satisfy that demand. Interest rates, well, they drop like a rock right after Brexit. But, take a look over the last three weeks. They’ve actually turned a corner and are starting to jump a little bit. Where are they going to be going forward? Anyone’s guess is as good as my guess. But, what we promise you we’ll give you every single month is not what our guess is, but what the mortgage rate projections are for the four organizations that are supposed to  know.  Fanny  Mae,  Freddy  Mac,  the  Mortgage  Bank  Association,  and  the  National  Association  of  Realtors.  

And what we can see, looking forward, based on what their numbers are, that this time next year, rates could be almost a half a point higher than where they are now. And if we look at Freddy Mac’s numbers, we can see that, by the end of 2017, those numbers can be dramatically higher than where they are now. No one knows for sure, including these four entities. They’ve been wrong over the last couple of years. People are shocked at how low interest rates have stayed. But, I want you to understand that where we’re at with that is eventually rates are going  to  go  up.  There’s  no  question  about  that.  And  we’re  going to  keep you abreast of  when that  might  happen. As far as mortgage availability is concerned, ladies and gentlemen, it’s getting actually a little bit tighter. Remember, as that drops down, that means mortgage credit availability is tighter. I don’t really understand why that’s taking place right now.

ow, part of the reason we’re part of the equation on that… And if you take a look at that, it’s nowhere near where it was back in June 2004, 2005. We give this to you in case somebody starts saying, “Well, it’s too easy to get a mortgage.” But, if we go back and we look at the mortgage credit availability, it’s falling. I think that part ofthe reason for that is part of that measurement is what it takes to close a loan right now. If we look, as far as days are concerned, we’re still in good shape. We’ve fallen off of the problem that we have with tread at the end of last year, the beginning of this year. And we’re getting back to normal numbers. But, if we look at FICO score, ladies and gentlemen, the FICO  score has dramatically increased over the last couple of months. Now,  part of the reason for this is there are too many people that don’t understand that they can get a mortgage with a lesser FICO score. So, those people are not applying for mortgages, and the only people that are applying for mortgages are people with a higher credit score. That’s part of the reason that number is going up. It’s part of the reason the mortgage availability, credit availability is going down because it looks like it’s taking more to go ahead and close a loan. 

In reality, ladies and gentlemen, part of this is based on the fact that there are people qualified for a lesser FICO score or lesser (inaudible at00:28:20)  or a lesser down payment. They just  don’t know it. So, they’re keeping  themselves out of the market. As we talked about last month, they’re self‐sidelining. FICO score distribution, a lot of people know that 53.9% of the loans that closed, as per Ellie Mae (ph), had FICO scores between 600 and 750. They don’t need a 780 FICO score. But, more and more people are believing that that’s the case. Let’s make sure that they understand that there are loans available out there for them. Let’s not, again… I’ve said this for the third time. Let’s not let them go ahead and pay their landlord’s mortgage. Let’s get them started on paying their own mortgage and building their own wealth. 

Average FICO score, by loan… And we can see an FHA loan and a lot of first time homebuyers will use that loan. It’s 686, not 786. The average backend debt is not that thirty‐six that so many people think it is. Alright? Let them  understand  that.  Help  them  with  that.  If  you  need  help  with  that,  get  together  with  the  mortgage  professional that you’re dealing with and put a presentation together to help people understand. We know that there are more and more people coming and forming a household of their own. Let’s help whatever number of those people that are ready, willing, and able to buy, just don’t know it, well, they’re ready and willing, they don’t know they’re able, let’s make sure that they understand they’re able. 

Now, the election is going to have a big part in this. But, the Wall Street  Journal  just  within  the  last  couple  of  weeks,  showed  what  is  going  to  be  the  breakdown  of  household  formations. And that’s not going to be people buying houses. It’s people leaving their parents’ home and getting a home of their own, whether they’re renting or whether they’re purchasing. 

But, we know a certain percentage of those people will be purchasing. Take a look at this, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s pretty dramatic. From now until 2020, 39% of all the household formations will be Hispanic. And 23% will be white. Moving forward, from 2020 to 2030, that number dramatically changes with forty‐six being Hispanic and 12% being white. To (inaudible at00:33:32) there are Hispanics and other minorities. Ladies and gentlemen,  let’s  make  sure  we’re  prepared  for  that,  especially  in  those  big  numbers.  Forty‐six  percent  of  household  formations,  almost  one  out  of  two  is  going  to  be  a  Hispanic  family.  And  this,  I  downloaded  from Univision. Hispanics in the US that don’t know English well or not at all, by numbers.

That rent  slide  we  did,  and  we want  to keep  it color coordinated  because  we  want  you  to  put  one  of  these  slides, one of these JPEGs on social media each week, just one a week. We’re not asking you to do more than that.  But,  we  want  to  keep  it  color  coordinated  for  each  month, the same  look.  Here’s the average effect  of  renting in the United States. Let people see that. Get that all over the social media. The cost of renting versus owning a home, where it’s cheaper, a lot cheaper to own a home, where it’s somewhat cheaper to own a home because,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  there’s  only  five  states  that  it’s  not  cheaper.  That  same  slide  I  showed  you  before, this summer versus last summer, demand for housing is up, supply of homes is down. Let’s get all of these colored slides into your social media because I think it’s crucially important. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re hearing a lot this election year about the fact that we have to somehow even up this income situation, this wealth situation. Both sides are making the argument. Ladies and gentlemen, we have some sort of control over that. The more people we help get into a home of their own, the more people we help start building family wealth. And, as I said before, that wealth could be used in a lot of different ways. Maybe thirty years from now, it’s their retirement account. Maybe then years from now, they’re helping their kid with their college tuition instead of student loans. Maybe five years from now you come up with this brilliant idea, and  they  just  need  this  little  seed  capital  to  start  a  company  of  their  own  out  of  their  garage,  as  so  many  companies in this country started, including us. 

That seed capital is available there, as long as they own a home and are building equity. I’ve often said, ladies and gentlemen, we don’t list and sell houses for a living. We change people’s lives as our living. The way we do that is list and sell houses. But, what we do is we change families’ lives.

Living by and between the Boxes

Did you know the old adage, "Location, Location, Location" has new twists on what that means. Data shows that having a Starbucks in your neighborhood has a positive impact on home values.

How about the big box retailer? Realty Trac found some  compelling data that the proximity to a Walmart or Target does impact property values.

It turns out that living near a Target may empty your wallet, and it could boost the value of your home.

While living near a Walmart saw an increase in value the homes appreciated at a lower rate than the national average.

Among homeowners who sold in 2015 in the same zip code as that of Target saw a 27% increase in home prices since they purchased their home. That's about 5% higher than the national average which is 22%.

Meanwhile those homes within the same Walmart zip code saw only a 16% price gain falling short of the national average.

So when looking to sell or buy a house you can boast that not only living near a Target is convenient it may actually mean price appreciation down the road.

Coldwell Banker reports ranks most expensive, most affordable markets in New Jersey

Coldwell Banker reports ranks most expensive, most affordable markets in New Jersey

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has released its 2015 Home Listing Report (HLR), which ranks the affordability of 188 real estate markets in New Jersey. The Coldwell Banker HLR named Chatham Township the most expensive market in New Jersey, with an average listing price of $882,260, while Willingboro ranked as the most affordable market in the state, with an average listing price of $134,853.

The annual report is the most extensive home price comparison tool currently available in the United States, ranking the average listing price of four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes in more than 2,700 markets. While other affordability reports provide average or median prices for all homes in a given area, the Coldwell Banker HLR analyzes more than 81,000 four-bedroom, two-bathroom home listings to better address how much a home in one market would cost if the same home were located somewhere else in the country.

“The Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report illustrates the wide variety of housing options available in New Jersey. Whether you want to live on the outskirts of Manhattan, in the scenic Appalachian and Highlands regions, or along the beautiful New Jersey shoreline, this state offers just about any lifestyle you desire. The HLR is an excellent resource for potential home buyers who want to compare home prices in New Jersey and across the United States,” said Hal Maxwell, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y.

The Top 10 Most Expensive
Real Estate Markets in N.J.
by Average Listing Price

1. Chatham Township, $882,260
2. Madison Borough, $847,494
3. Bernards Township, $816,920
4. Westfield Town/Westfield,
5. New Providence Borough,
6. Glen Rock, $725,162
7. Holmdel, $712,088
8. Princeton Junction/West Windsor,
9. Englewood/Englewood Cliffs,
10. Ridgewood, $682,495

The Top 10 Most Affordable
Real Estate Markets in N.J.
1. Willingboro, $134,853
2. East Orange, $150,107
3. Newark, $159,448
4. Bridgeton, $162,310

5. Roselle, $182,229
6. Atco, $182,369
7. Woodbury/Woodbury Heights,
8. Paterson, $190,622
9. Clayton, $200,100
10. Millville, $200,865

According to the HLR, half of the top 100 most expensive markets in the United States are in California; Newport Beach topped the list with an average listing price of $2,291,764 for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home. In contrast, Cleveland ranked as the most affordable market in the Unites States for the third consecutive year, with an average listing price of $74,502 for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home. There is a difference of $2.2 million between the nation’s most affordable and most expensive average listing price, according to the HLR.

Full data for the United States, including affordability rankings of local markets in New Jersey, is available on the Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report website at hlr.coldwellbanker.com.

About the 2015 U.S. Home Listing

Report (Methodology):

The Coldwell Banker U.S. Home Listing Report analyzes the average listing price of four-bedroom, two-bathroom real estate properties on coldwellbanker.com between December 2014 and June 2015 for 81,417 listings in 2,722 markets. The Coldwell Banker franchised affiliates, as well as other franchise brands associated with Realogy Holdings Corp, contribute to listings on coldwellbanker.com. Markets without at least 10 four-bedroom, two-bathroom listings on coldwellbanker.com between December 2014 and June 2015 were excluded from the ranking.

About Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland

County, N.Y.:

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y., a leading residential real estate brokerage company, operates approximately 50 offices with more than 3,100 affiliated sales associates serving all communities from Rockland County, N.Y. to Monmouth County. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y. is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company

Do's and Don'ts of Credit

Here are some important credit related facts that everyone who would like a higher credit score should know! Please pass along to any of your potential clients!


1. Don't Apply For New Credit. Every time that you have your credit pulled by a potential creditor or lender, you can lose points from your credit score immediately. ** Exception to the Case- When pulled for mortgage purposes or car loans, multiple credit pulls will not have a negative impact on a score, if done within a certain time frame**

2. Don't Pay Off Collections or "Charge Offs". If you want to pay off old accounts, do it through escrow, making sure that the debt is yours. Request a "letter of deletion" from the creditor. 

3. Don't Close Credit Card Accounts. If you close a credit card account, it may appear that your debt ratio has gone up. Closing a card will affect other factors in the score, including credit history.

4. Don't Max Out or Over Charge Credit Card Accounts. Try to keep your credit card balances below 40 percent of their limit during the process. Pay Down balances if possible

5. Don't Consolidate Your Debt. When you consolidate all of your debt onto one or two credit cards, it will appear that you are "maxed out" on that card and you will be penalized.


Thank You!



Dominic DiGrazio | Branch Manager

Residential Home Funding Corp.

60 Route 46 East, 2nd floor | Fairfield, NJ 07004

Main(973) 575-1550  ext. 10 | Toll Free: (844)-524-1026

Cell(973) 356-5333  | Fax(973) 575-1551

NMLS # 204838 | Company NMLS # 34973

[email protected]



Avoid Mortgage Insurance with Peoples NEW Combo loan!

Avoid Mortgage Insurance with Peoples NEW Combo loan!
The 80/10/10 loan is re-emerging as a viable option for today’s
homebuyer. This is good news for homebuyers who want more
options when deciding how to finance a home.
The first mortgage is opened at 80% of the home’s purchase price. Then, a second loan is opened at
10% of the purchase price. The second loan is often called a second mortgage, home equity line of
credit (HELOC), or a home equity loan.
This loan allows borrowers to put less than 20% down on a home, while avoiding private mortgage
insurance (PMI) and high FHA costs.
80/10/10 Mortgage Facts
• Minimum credit score of 680 to qualify.
• *No mortgage insurance means you save money!
• No prepayment penalty – Pay down the balance on the higher interest rate 2nd loan without
penalty. Save interest and have a fast and easy way to pay down your overall home loan balance
so all you have left is one low fixed rate.
Want to know if a Combo loan is the right one for you? Contact me today!

Peoples Home Loans
Gerald Santoro
Mortgage Banker
NMLS #630694
198 US 9N, Ste 206
Manalapan, NJ 07762
[email protected]

positive change for markets where housing inventory has been stagnant.

The year ahead holds the promise of positive change for markets where housing inventory has been stagnant. Rising home prices are serving to lift the market – and homeowners – above the low-equity tide. That's a good thing for several reasons.

Increasing home prices = possible inventory boom
Over the next 15 or so months, 8.3 million homeowners (that's 18% of homeowners with mortgages), are expected to gain enough equity in their homes to be able to sell them without being forced into a short sale, according to a recent report by RealtyTrac.1 This assumes that home prices continue to increase at the rate they have since March 2012 – 1.33% per month.

The report shows that this segment of homeowners' equity currently ranges anywhere from 10% negative equity to 10% positive equity. As their equity improves, so does their ability to sell their homes. Another bright spot in the report: 1 in 4 homeowners in foreclosure has positive equity, meaning they stand a better chance to sell their homes before foreclosure proceedings are completed.

The "big boost"
More home inventory is good news for the housing market overall, with buyers having a greater number of choices as the spring season approaches. Rising home prices also contribute to an overall sense of security and optimism. People who feel more financially stable are more likely to spend. "Fewer underwater homeowners is a big plus for the economy," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "The home is still the most important asset most Americans have."2

1 More than 8 million homeowners are 'resurfacing' by Teke Wiggin
2 Rising home prices lift underwater homeowners by Julie Schmit

Rumson September 2012 Real Estate Report


September 1 - September 30, 2012


Total Number of closed sales


Average days on market


Ratio of sale price to list price


Lowest closed price


Highest closed price


Median closed price



Distribution of Closed Sales


# under $500,000


# $500,001 - $1,000,000


# above $1,000,000



Total under contract as of 10/4/12


Total homes available as of 10/4/12


Median price of available homes




Source: Monmouth/Ocean MLS. Information deemed reliable but not

Foreigners Jump into Real Estate Market

"Falling home prices may be plaguing the US economy, but they are candy to foreign investors, who already have a weak dollar on their side.  Buyers from overseas spent roughly $41 billion on US residential real estate last year, a bump up from the previous year. US real estate agents report a surge this Spring especially, as foreign buyers see continued pressure on home prices and ample bargains.  'I don’t think they’re so concerned about the prices dropping as they are about getting value for their money,' says Rick Ambrose, a Coldwell Banker agent in Lake Mohawk, NJ.  Ambrose and his colleague Mary Pat Spekhardt recently hosted two groups of Japanese investors searching for homes on the scenic lake just about an hour outside of New York City.  'They can work here, be close to the city, be close to their corporations and still feel like they’re on vacation. I think that’s really what grabbed everybody.

That’s what got them,' says Spekhardt.  The group of about 35 from Japan also toured properties in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, which are more popular choices among foreign investors.

 A new survey by Trulia.com that tracks searches from potential foreign buyers found LA ranked number one in potential interest traffic, trailed by New York City, Cape Coral, Fl, Fort Lauderdale, FL and Las Vegas.  The greatest interest is from buyers in the UK, Canada and Australia.  'Prices now in the US are generally 30-40% off from the peak.  In addition, the weakness of the dollar gives the Japanese an advantage, as it does the Europeans, of another 20-25% off, so they’re seeing real bargains and opportunities,' notes Ambrose.  The interest is pretty widespread, with Brazilians trolling Miami and Russians and Chinese hunting in Chicago, according to Trulia's survey. 

 What's so interesting to me, though, is that foreigners are so much more ready to jump into the market now than US investors.

Granted, they have, as noted, the weak dollar on their side, but they also seem to have a longer term view. US buyers are so afraid to lose a little in the short term on paper, they don't realize they could gain a lot in the long term. Of course foreign buyers are largely using cash, which many US buyers are lacking.

Credit, or lack thereof, is playing against the US investor.

Prices in Miami are actually beginning to recover, especially in the condo market, thanks to foreign buyers, so much so that the foreigners are beating out the Americans.