Monday, December 22, 2014

A Different Christmas Poem


 Merry Christmas Friends,

Please take a few moments to read "A Different Christmas Poem":


"The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
       I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
       My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
       My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
       Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
       Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
       Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
     My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
       Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
       In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
       So slumbered I, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
       But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
       And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

       Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
       A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
 
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
       Perhaps a Trooper, huddled here in the cold.

      Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
       Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
       "Come in this moment. It's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
      You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

       For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
       Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
      Then he sighed and he said, "It's really all right,
       I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."


To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
       To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
       For when we come home, either standing or dead,
      To know you remember we fought and we bled.
      Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
     That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."


May we always remember our Service Men & Women during this Christmas season

~Amy

Thursday, December 4, 2014

RE/MAX Monthly Housing Report

Hi Friends,
Every month RE/MAX National puts together a detailed report on what is happening in Real Estate across the country.  I wanted to share this month's report with you - so you can see how the Real Estate market is fairing in the last quarter of 2014.

Take a look at this month's housing report:
RE/MAX National Housing Report
Keep in mind, this information is a snapshot review of the real estate marketplace nationwide. So if you're interested in a more detailed look at the Salem-Keizer market, please let me know & I'll be happy to put together some information for you!


As always, please let me know if you have any questions at all!

~Amy

Thursday, October 30, 2014

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying A Home

Hi Friends,


From: 3 Question to Ask Before Buying a Home:
 
"If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home. 

There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:
  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of the space
What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:
  • Home values will appreciate by 4% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.5% by 2018.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 11.2% by 2018.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of RealtorsFannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision."


And as always, please let me know if you have any questions or I can be of any help at all.
~Amy
Source: KCMBLOG.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Buying A Home? You Don't Need to Go It Alone!

Hi Friends,
Purchasing a home is one of, if not entirely, the largest & most significant purchases a person makes in their lifetime.

Take a look at this article, Buying A Home? You Don't Need to Do It Alone!  You don't have to go it alone when buying your first or next home!
 

 "Discover Home Loans conducted an interesting survey that revealed how prepared homebuyers are for the actual mortgage process.
The survey reported that 94% of prospective buyers believe they are making a good investment decision if they buy a home. The survey also explained that 66% of buyers reach out to real estate agents to help determine whether buying a certain home would be a good investment.
However, there is less certainty regarding the mortgage process.

Most buyers overwhelmed

The majority of potential buyers are actually overwhelmed with the plethora of information available about the home financing process.  Here are some interesting highlights from the report:
  • Nearly 66% feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available
  • 76% of those under the age of 30 feel overwhelmed
  • 76% of first time buyers feel the same way
  • 54% of those buyers who have previously owned also were overwhelmed
  • 59% of buyers turn to mortgage bankers to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers
  • 49% of buyers turn to real estate agents to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers

There is help available…use it!

Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans, gives great advice:
“The industry is becoming more transparent in an effort to help homebuyers become informed about changes that may affect their process. The sheer amount of information can lead to confusion and stress. Those looking to purchase should work closely with their lender and realtor to make sure they are comfortable with mortgage terms and understand the impact a loan will have on their finances.”

Bottom Line

Purchasing a home can put great pressure on a family. Reach out to the best mortgage and real estate professionals in your market for assistance throughout the process."

As always, let me know if you have any questions!
~Amy
**Source: KCMBlog.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Don't Wait! Move Up to the Home You Always Wanted!


Hi Friends!

There's nothing worse than that feeling of being stuck wondering whether to stay or to make a move.

With a stabilizing market, even here in the Salem-Keizer area, folks are still wondering if now is the time.

Take a a look at this article, Don't Wait! Move Up To The Home You Always Wanted!, as it offers some wisdom on how the current & projected interest rates could affect your buying power in the coming months.




As always, let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of help!


~Amy
Source: KCM Blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why You Should Sell Your House NOW!

Hi Friends!

It's finally Fall here in Salem - and so many are wondering how, and if, to move forward with the process of selling their home.

Take a look at this article, Why You Should Sell Your House Now, and consider the insight this author offers.  

"School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house.  But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at home right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last twelve months which includes the latest spring buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!
As we get later into the year, many people have other things (weather, holidays, etc.) that distract them from searching for a home. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.
There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.
Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).
The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?
Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important."

 As always, let me know if your thoughts or have any questions!

~Amy

 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How Interest Rates Impact Family Wealth

Hi Friends!

Interest rates are always in the news - and always the hot topic when it comes to entering the real estate market; at any price point.

So in my reading recently, I came across the article below that may offer some insight on how current & anticipated interest rates might impact you & your family's real estate decision making.


"With interest rates still in the low 4%’s, many buyers may be on the fence as to whether to act now and purchase a new home, or wait until next year.
If you look at what the experts are predicting for 2015, it may make the decision for you.

Predictions for 2015 3Q:

Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth.

Let’s look at it this way…

The monthly payment (principal & interest only) on a $250,000 home today, with the current 4.1% interest rate would be $1,208.
If we take that same home a year later, the Home Price Expectation Survey projects that prices will rise about 4% making that home cost $10,000 more at $260,000.
If we take Freddie Mac’s rate projection of 4.8%, the monthly mortgage payment climbs to $1,364.
Some buyers might not think that an extra $156 a month is that bad. But over the course of 30-year mortgage you have spent an additional $56,160 by waiting a year."

With these expected changes in interest rates - take the opportunity now to make the most of your real estate buying power!

And as always, please let me know if you have any questions!

~Amy
Source: KCM Blog

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Buying a House? 4 Reasons to DO IT NOW

Hi Friends,

There may be some of you who are going back & forth about whether it's a good time to make your first or next home purchase.

There are so many factors that play in to making that decision for every family.  

But I came across the article below during my regular reading, and thought it might prove helpful for those who are in that exact position.  Wondering when or it to make that move.

Take a read & let me know if you have any questions!

"Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 30.8% (most optimistic) and 9.4% (most pessimistic). The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although the Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage are currently around 4.2%, Freddie Mac is projecting that rates will increase to 5.2% by this time next year. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage

As a research paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: “Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

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? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is 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" 
Source: KCM Blog

As always, please let me know if there's any way I can be of help!

~Amy  

 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Special Welcome to Terri Hays!

Hi Friends!

It is a great honor of mine to be able to introduce our newest team member of The McLeod Group here at RE/MAX Integrity.




Terri Hays, Buyer Broker for The McLeod Group
503-371-5209
terrihays@integrityagents.com


Terri comes to our team with energy & excitement to work with Buyers as they search for their ideal home!

We are looking forward to continued success for Terri & The McLeod Group as we work together for you, our clients! 

~Amy

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Buying a Home: The Cost of Waiting

Hi Friends!


I often hear from Sellers & Buyers alike that they're going to "wait" for the market to get "better."  But sometimes that waiting can cost you much more than you may have been expecting!

Take a moment and look over this article I found in my reading.  I'm hopeful this information may help some of you who are trying to decide if now is the right time to make a change!


"Whether you are a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, you should look at the projections housing experts are making in two major areas: home prices and mortgage rates.

PRICES

Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists were recently surveyed. They were asked to project where home prices were headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve month period was approximately 4%.

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

In their last Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac predicted that 30 year fixed mortgage rates would be 4.8% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 4.14%.

What does this mean to you?

If you are a first time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:

 If you are a move-up buyer currently looking at a home priced at $500,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:

Bottom Line

With both home prices and interest rates projected to increase, buying now instead of later might make sense."

As always, please  let me know if you have any questions at all!
~Amy
*Article courtesy of KCMBlog.com

Thursday, June 19, 2014

4 Reasons to Buy Your Home NOW!














Hi Friends,
 
Many of our buyer clients often have significant reasons to start their home purchase process.

But there are times when you may not be sure if now is just quite the right time to make a move.

Here are four great reasons why now might be the best opportunity to move & buy your next home now!

4 Reasons to Buy Your Home Now!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or how I can best help you make that next move!


~Amy 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Moving Up? Do It NOW!

  
 
Hi Friends,

I often hear from clients & friends alike that they plan or want to wait to make their next move until their current home is "worth more."  What typically ends up happening is that the amount that these clients & friends want to make on their home is usually the same or similar amount that their dream home price increases.

In my reading, I thankfully came across this article that offers some additional insight on why waiting to make "more" might not always end up with the desired result.  Take a look & let me know your thoughts! 

"A recent study revealed that the number of existing home owners planning to buy a home this year is about to increase dramatically. Some are moving up, some are downsizing and others are making a lateral move. Another study shows that over 75% of these buyers will, in fact, be in that first category: a move-up buyer. We want to address this group of buyers in today’s blog post.

There is no way for us to predict the future but we can look at what happened over the last year. Let’s look at buyers that considered moving up last year but decided to wait instead.
Assume they had a home worth $300,000 and were looking at a home for $450,000 (putting 10% down they would get a mortgage of $405,000). By waiting, their house appreciated by approximately 10% over the last year (based on the Case Shiller Pricing Index). Their home could now sell for $330,000. That would mean an additional $30,000 in equity assuming they didn’t incur any expenses in selling the home.

But, the $450,000 home would now be worth $495,000. Adding the original 10% down payment ($45,000) to the additional equity ($30,000), they would now have a $75,000 down payment. That would still need a mortgage of $425,000.

Here is a table showing what additional monthly cost would be incurred by waiting:
Moving Up? Do It Now | The KCM Crew

According to the Home Price Expectation Survey, home prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 6% over the next eighteen months. Interest rates are also expected to rise by as much as another full percentage point in that same time period according to FreddieMac. If your family plans to move-up to a nicer or bigger home, it may make sense to move now rather than later."

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or want to take advantage of still great rates coupled with great pricing!

~Amy

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Selling A House? FannieMae Says Use an Agent!

Hi Friends!

Ever wonder if it's worth using an agent to sell your home?

Well here's what FannieMae has to say about it!

 In one of the biggest financial transactions of a person's life - it almost always makes sense to utilize the skills of a professional!

As always, I'm here if you have any questions!
~Amy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Think You Should "For Sale By Owner?" THINK AGAIN!

Hi Friends!

Wondering if you should "For Sale By Owner" your home?

Take a look at the graphic below for insight on how this option might not bring in your best rate of return!


As always, let me know if you have any questions!
~Amy

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

With Rates & Prices on the Rise - Do You Know the True Cost of Waiting?

Hi Friends,
There's always lots of talk about waiting for the "perfect" time to buy.  Perfect rates matched with perfect pricing.  But often, this "perfect" scenario comes so quickly, and quietly, that most miss out.

In this week's article, I found some great insight on what the actual impact could be for those who are waiting for that "perfect" moment to make their move.

 
With Rates & Prices on the Rise, Do You Know the Cost of Waiting?
 
As always, let me know if you have any questions -- I'm happy to help give more detailed insight on how these two factors could be impacting your position to make that next home purchase.


~Amy

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

3 Reasons to Sell Your Home This spring!

Hi Friends,

Often times, Sellers find themselves wondering when is the right time to sell their home.

And I can say that in my 23 years as a Realtor - the Spring season is the #1 time of year to be selling your home!

In my reading recently, I came across the article below that offers even more support for my observation!  

"3 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Spring"

"Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.
These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition - For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.
The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.
Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year."

As always, I'm here if you have any questions!

~Amy