Tag Archives: prices

Debunking the “instant equity” myth

Q: If I buy a home that previously sold for more than $400,000, but I pay only around $200,000, doesn’t that mean I have instant equity?

A: In a word? No.

Here’s the deal. In real estate, we think of equity as the difference between what your home is worth and what you owe on it. It’s the amount of your home’s value that you actually own, after any mortgage or other debts that are secured by the property.

Historically, the way homeowners hoped to build equity in their homes was primarily by paying off their mortgages. However, over the last decade or so, this evolved so that many homeowners expected their primary means of building equity would be by the stratospheric appreciation in home values. If homes simply kept growing in value, then equity would continue to build, as a matter of course.

Given these definitions, technically, the phrase “instant equity” should refer to the difference between what your home is worth at the time of closing and your mortgage balances — i.e., what you owe on it. For most buyers, that would mean their instant equity was the amount they had put down on the home.

However, people typically use the phrase “instant equity” to mean that you’ve bought a home that is worth more than you paid for it (not what you owe on it). It is this use of the phrase that you’re likely getting at.

The fact that the home sold for more than $400,000 at some time in the past (a time near the top of the market six years or so ago, most likely) is entirely irrelevant to your equity position on it now. You might indeed be closing this transaction with instant equity, but if so, that would be because the property is currently worth more than the $200,000 purchase price, not because of what it was worth in a time that is long gone — a mystical fairyland in which banks lent mortgage money without checking on borrowers’ ability to repay it, which ultimately led to a dramatic climb in home prices.

Some would say that whether or not you have instant equity, the fact that the property once sold for $400,000 shows that (a) a buyer was once willing to pay that, and (b) that the property could climb to that price again. These facts are both true, strictly speaking, but do not in any way help you determine whether this particular property is the windfall opportunity that you seem to think it might be.

Here’s why: A home’s value at any given time is what a willing and qualified buyer would be willing and able to pay for it at that time. Today’s market dynamics are simply not comparable to those of yesteryear, so you cannot assume that a buyer on today’s market would pay a top-of-market price for the place.

A buyer could not and would not pay $400,000 on today’s market for that home; if he needed a mortgage to fund the purchase, the bank and appraiser would simply not allow him to do so. And if he were a cash buyer, it just wouldn’t make sense for him to pay such a price, presuming that he could buy another, similar home in the area for closer to $200,000 than $400,000.

The only way for you to know whether you have instant equity in this home, and how much, is to figure out what you believe the property is worth on today’s market, and calculate the difference between whichever of the following you find to be the most relevant for your purposes: (a) the amount of loan indebtedness you have on the property or (b) the amount you paid for the property.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is an author and the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com.

Buying is winning the lottery

With the current residential real estate market for buyers in the throngs of a literal feeding frenzy, due to the rising infestation of investor buyers, the buyer looking to buy a home for their family to live in is having massive competition.

While inventory is currently contracting and sales are on the rise, six months from now we will know for sure if the market will be positive–meaning that values will finally be officially on the rise. There are some areas that are seeing an increase in values.

I have several listings that range in the low price ranges of $200’s, to $600K — and  these are seeing multiple offers from investors and owner-occupied buyers.  This makes it tough on the buyer purchasing for a family as a first-time buyer who do not have a lot of money to put down. There are up to 10 offers in a matter of a few days on almost all properties now.

This scenario should continue making this a very frustrating time for the first-time,  FHA government & conventional low down payment, or Military Veteran no down payment buyer. This group has to compete with the “all-cash” and 20%+ down payment conventional loan buyers, who usually win due to the restrictions on condition of property by the government loans like FHA and VA, or the low down conventional investor guidelines.

So, how does the low-money-down buyer get in a position to win the property for the buyer who has to compete with the big money buyer? Make sure you are interviewing your perspective agent on how this process will be handled. In this market, this is necessary not only for sellers, but also for buyers. Repairs or a price reduction in a short sale can be done and I can show you how.

Experience is GOLDEN!! Properties having no equity to several liens, a bankruptcy, etc. will not close with an average or most experienced agents, whether representing a buyer or a seller. I have helped several listing agents while I represent a buyer get the property sold in these scenarios.

Whether buying or selling, you owe it to yourself to call me now. The time is now to buy and you will have the most success and satisfaction with the agent who can maneuver through the maze while leveraging you the best deal. I am here to serve you to make sure you WIN the LOTTERY!

Thank you for reading and God Bless.

Price is not all that matters in real estate sales

Negotiation strategies differ depending on how well the home is priced and who’s on the other side. If you’re trying to buy a short-sale listing where the lender has to agree to accept less than the amount owed, the seller doesn’t have much say in the negotiations about price unless he can contribute money to pay down the loan amount.

Regardless of who you’re dealing with, you’re more likely to grab a seller’s or lender’s attention if you are preapproved for the mortgage you’ll need and can provide verification of cash for the down payment and closing costs.

Many buyers feel that cash is king. If buyers are willing and able to pay all cash with no mortgage, no hassling with the lender and no appraisal contingency, they feel they’re owed a price concession.

Not all sellers agree. Some, who are confident in the value of their home, would rather work 

with an offer from a well-qualified buyer who needs to obtain a mortgage but who will pay a higher price.

Before you start negotiating, you should understand as much as you can about the other party. For instance, if the sellers are moving to a retirement home, they might go for the highest-priced offer in a multiple-offer situation, even though it might not be ideal in other regards. If they are liquidating their last asset, every penny will count.

An all-cash or large-cash-down buyer might not be able to negotiate a “deal” based on the fact that no 

lender will be involved. But if the home is a good value and suits your long-term needs, you might increase your offer price and include a mortgage. This way, you conserve cash for other uses.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Many buyers don’t want to negotiate. They want their first offer to be their best offer. Usually, the only time this is effective is if yours is the only offer, the house is priced right for the market, and you offer full price. In this market, you’re better off planning for some negotiation, and not putting all your cards on the table at once.

In most areas, the home-sale market still favors buyers. A lot of sellers are selling for less than they paid. Some have to bring money to the closing. Sellers who have owned for years are selling for less than they would have years ago. It’s natural that they would want to try for the highest price possible.

Negotiations are about more than price. Generally, the fewer the contingencies or the cleaner the contract, the more attractive it will be to the seller. Closing and possession dates can become issues at the bargaining table. What’s included and excluded, time periods to satisfy contingencies, and virtually everything in the contract is negotiable.

Since everything is up for grabs, be clear about what’s not negotiable — for instance, you can’t go over a certain price. Show flexibility in areas that will hopefully be valuable to the sellers, such as buying “as is” regarding some needed repairs. Don’t waste your time with sellers who are firm at a price that is considerably over market value. Wait until they become realistic while you continue looking. Some sellers eventually get tired of having their home listed and reduce the price to market value. Others don’t.

Sellers need to understand that buyers in today’s market will walk away from a negotiation if they feel they’re not getting anywhere or are being treated unfairly. Buyers could become suspicious or disappear if they’re told by the sellers or their agent that other buyers are lining up to make an offer when they aren’t.

THE CLOSING: A smart strategy is to defend your position while being honest and fair with the other party.

Dian Hymer is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

Price is not all that matters in real estate sales

Negotiation strategies differ depending on how well the home is priced and who’s on the other side. If you’re trying to buy a short-sale listing where the lender has to agree to accept less than the amount owed, the seller doesn’t have much say in the negotiations about price unless he can contribute money to pay down the loan amount.

Regardless of who you’re dealing with, you’re more likely to grab a seller’s or lender’s attention if you are pre-approved for the mortgage you’ll need and can provide verification of cash for the down payment and closing costs.

Many buyers feel that cash is king. If buyers are willing and able to pay all cash with no mortgage, no hassling with the lender and no appraisal contingency, they feel they’re owed a price concession.

Not all sellers agree. Some, who are confident in the value of their home, would rather work with an offer from a well-qualified buyer who needs to obtain a mortgage but who will pay a higher price.

Before you start negotiating, you should understand as much as you can about the other party. For instance, if the sellers are moving to a retirement home, they might go for the highest-priced offer in a multiple-offer situation, even though it might not be ideal in other regards. If they are liquidating their last asset, every penny will count.

An all-cash or large-cash-down buyer might not be able to negotiate a “deal” based on the fact that no lender will be involved. But if the home is a good value and suits your long-term needs, you might increase your offer price and include a mortgage. This way, you conserve cash for other uses.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Many buyers don’t want to negotiate. They want their first offer to be their best offer. Usually, the only time this is effective is if yours is the only offer, the house is priced right for the market, and you offer full price. In this market, you’re better off planning for some negotiation, and not putting all your cards on the table at once.

In most areas, the home-sale market still favors buyers. A lot of sellers are selling for less than they paid. Some have to bring money to the closing. Sellers who have owned for years are selling for less than they would have years ago. It’s natural that they would want to try for the highest price possible.

Negotiations are about more than price. Generally, the fewer the contingencies or the cleaner the contract, the more attractive it will be to the seller. Closing and possession dates can become issues at the bargaining table. What’s included and excluded, time periods to satisfy contingencies, and virtually everything in the contract is negotiable.

Since everything is up for grabs, be clear about what’s not negotiable — for instance, you can’t go over a certain price. Show flexibility in areas that will hopefully be valuable to the sellers, such as buying “as is” regarding some needed repairs.

Don’t waste your time with sellers who are firm at a price that is considerably over market value. Wait until they become realistic while you continue looking. Some sellers eventually get tired of having their home listed and reduce the price to market value. Others don’t.

Sellers need to understand that buyers in today’s market will walk away from a negotiation if they feel they’re not getting anywhere or are being treated unfairly. Buyers could become suspicious or disappear if they’re told by the sellers or their agent that other buyers are lining up to make an offer when they aren’t.

THE CLOSING: A smart strategy is to defend your position while being honest and fair with the other party.

Dian Hymer is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

Event: Half-off admission for San Diego Museum Month

It’s not too late to enjoy half-off admission for San Diego’s Museum Month. The program, hosted by Macy’s, lasts until the 29th of February, and is a great way to learn a bit of history, science, or the arts and enjoy yourself! This special event applies to all 40 museums within the San Diego Museum Council membership. Just a few of the museums available to visit for a discount; go to SanDiego.orgfor the full list.

San Diego Museum MonthYou must pick up a Museum Month Pass at any of Macy’s fourteen locations within Temecula, Imperial Valley, or San Diego area. Up to four visitors can use one pass to gain admission for half-off. The amount of admission will vary, as the admission prices are different for each museum. More information regarding this special museum event is viewable at www.SanDiegoMuseumCouncil.org, or by calling (619) 276-0101.
 
I noticed this information regarding the San Diego Museum Month on SanDiego.org; you can read their post here: “San Diego Museum Month: Half-Off Admission.” 

Cash is king in today’s housing market

In these financially uncertain times in the housing market, all-cash sales are attractive offers to homesellers, but come with a condition–they usually must settle for less. In a typical housing market, if your home receives multiple offers (from prospective cash-carrying and/or those pre-approved for a loan), you will accept the highest bid.  But in this current market, mortgages can be hard to come by, and sellers often will take less in order to have the deal go through. 

The outcome: lowering prices despite fewer listings and rising demand.  According to the Star Tribune’s article below, the increased amount of cash offers is offsetting other postive trends that, if there weren’t these cash offers, should lead to higher prices.

All-cash offers in today's real estate marketThis all-cash trend is especially prevalent in distressed sales, where investors are the main buyers, and who typically deal with cash as it is. Short sales and foreclosures accounted for 42% of active listings last month, on average in metro areas. Read more about what the Star Tribune has to say on this topic in their article below:

In today’s topsy-turvy housing market, cash rules

Financing uncertainties make those cash offers alluring, but sellers often must settle for less money to guarantee a deal.

When Chris and Diane Finney decided to buy a bank-owned condo in St. Paul, they knew there would be competition.

Their strategy? Offer less — but offer cash.

While others said they would pay more, they needed to finance the deal. The bank took less and took the cash.

“We were in the driver’s seat,” Chris Finney said.

In a normal housing market, multiple bids usually lead to higher home prices, and the highest bid wins. But when credit markets are tighter and appraisals are often lower, many sellers will take less to be sure that the deal will get done.

“If I get five offers on a property and the cash offer is darned close to being one of those top offers, I’d take the cash offer any day,” said Marshall Saunders, owner/broker at Re/Max Results.

In December, 33 percent of all U.S. home sales were cash deals — a record since the downturn started in 2006, according to Campbell Survey and Inside Mortgage Finance. As a result, home prices can’t gain much traction because many sellers won’t necessarily accept the highest offer.

For most home buyers, it’s confounding to be rejected because they are financing the deal. For the housing market, it means more downward pressure on prices despite tight supplies and rising demand.

“It’s a real sign of what’s going on,” said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. “All things being equal, cash wins.”

The volume of cash deals is offsetting other positive trends in the market that should be leading to higher prices. The number of houses on the market has fallen to an eight-year low, and sales are up double digits. At the same time, home prices continue to fall.

At least a third of all homes sales last year involved an investor, Cecala said, and they often pay cash…

Read more of this article from the Star Tribune: “In today’s topsy-turvy housing market, cash rules.”

Mortgage Reform, Refinance, Really?

My Thoughts on the Current Real Estate Market: Mortgage Reform, Refinance, Really?

With interest rates at the lowest rate in history, and foreclosures bursting through the ceiling still at this writing, I ask myself, why is this still happening?  How does the 1-in-4 upside-down homeowner out there, staring at their bank and scratching their head, get help to avoid walking away?

The empty promises, or the so-called “helping hand” being offered by the banks and the government, is still a joke to say the least. For the people who sold their home in recent years, they are in a position to buy or have already bought another home and recovered from that stress of “What do I do?” while taking advantage of the low interest rates and prices.

upside-downIt still is not too late to make that leap and start over–because the faster you do, the faster you will recover. Property values are not expected to go anywhere for at least two more years, and the laws for selling short sales that protect homeowners will expire at the end of this year. Laws allow a purchase after two years of selling a short sale. With a consultation with me and strategy, you could pay off most of your unsecured debt, while not paying your mortgage. This can only be done with someone who has had experience with this. I have done this with clients that have recouped while living in their home for over 3 years without paying a mortgage.

The latest reform laws are offering a glimmer of hope; however, when and how these guidelines are implemented by the banks and government is clear to not happen for awhile.  The state governments will have to also be on board. At this time, California is weighing the settlement being offered for unlawful foreclosure practices from five of the larger banks that have agreed to pay a settlement.

My opinion is that any settlement should accompany a mandate that the banks must reduce every upside-down property out there to fair market values, to allow the homeowner an opportunity to keep their home; granted that the home is not dilapidated to the point that the owner does not have the funds to repair the home or care for it after the refinance. This exclusion is warranted to the extent that a home that is in bad shape is only dropping or keeping the values low in the neighborhood and should be taken care of. In a perfect world, the banks would allow the homeowner funds after the refinance to repair the home–heck, let’s go for it all!

As always, my gratitude to you for reading my blog.  Please share your opinions or questions–I look forward to any questions I can answer or help I can give!

John A. Silva, Realtor

(619) 890-3648 | www.JohnASilva.com

Is it a “Happy New Year” for the Housing Market?

Goodbye 2011 & Hello 2012! Is this a Happy New Year?

Is it goodbye to a bad year or hello to the same?  While the economy is still struggling, unemployment slightly better, and real estate showing signs of improvement only to retract its position, I believe the glass is still half full, with an asterisk.

What's in store for 2012's housing market?The holiday season began strong on Thanksgiving weekend, reports are that retailers numbers receded which led to heavy markdowns the week of Christmas. Final numbers are still to come, while job growth is modest, mostly in low-paying sectors like retail and hospitality. This past year also saw an increase in credit card spending for gifts as a result of higher gasoline, food prices, and general inflation.

With mortgage rates still at historic low rates, the housing industry is still struggling with values dropping, even though sales have shown signs of recovery. With more than one in every five borrower still owing more than their home is worth, many homeowners are too pressed to spend on much more than the essentials which leave us to the big question: WHAT SHOULD I DO?

With all predictions expecting more of the same this year as last, there is still and always will be optimism, but each homeowner out there who is still upside-down, either waiting for or in a modification, is so far upside down that they most likely will never recoup the past negative equity in the future.  They are at the same time struggling to make ends meet with just the essentials. Mortgage companies and investors are still holding the belt tight and are not reducing principle for most people waiting for  modifications or who have them–leaving homeowners to finally make that decision that enough is enough.

There are opportunities to purchase and leave your upside-down home, but you would need to act fast. Other opportunities are also available and action now will help you live a life more care-free and stress-free in a fast-paced, ever-uncertain economic time.

Call me now and let’s talk. My direct line of contact is 619-890-3648.

God Bless