Showing posts from March, 2011

Mortgages: Is What You Believe Actually True?

by Dean Hartman
What if everything you believed to be true about mortgages, wasn’t actually true after all? Would you rather know now or later? In my experience, I have come to understand that many, if not most, clients come ‘pre-conditioned’ by what has long been termed “conventional wisdom”.
For generations, people have been told that when buying a home, they should:
■ Make a big down payment
■ Obtain a fixed-rate-mortgage; 15 years if you can afford it
■ Make additional principal payments whenever possible
■ Pay off your loan as quickly as you can
People see a mortgage as a “necessary evil”- one that they should be afraid of and try to eliminate as soon as they can. And while the concept of being mortgage-free may seem attractive on the surface (and may have been an acceptable strategy in the past), we no longer live in the same world that our parents and grandparents did. Unlike previous generations:
■ We will not have the same job for life. Most people will have five to six differ…

Real Estate: GOLDen Opportunity of This Decade

by Steve Harney Everyone wants to comment on the current real estate market. They want to talk about how now is not the time to buy a home. Some even argue owning a house has never been a great investment. Most say it will be a long time before real estate again begins to appreciate. It all sounds so familiar to me. It was just a decade ago that many made the same arguments about gold as an investment. Gold had dropped from over $400 an ounce to $250 an ounce (a 40% decline) from February 1996 to August 1999. People ran from gold as though it was a plague. Lord William Rees-Mogg, the current Chairman of The Zurich Club, in 1997 said: “No investment has been so thoroughly exploded as gold; most people think that there will no more be another gold boom than there will be another boom in tulip futures in The Netherlands.” Two years later in 1999, Don Wolanchuk author of the Wolanchuk Report explained: “Everybody hates gold. You can’t have a bottom until everybody is out. And everybody is…

Double Dip or Double Your Money? … or Both?

by The KCM Crew Last week, MacroMarkets LLC announced the results of the March 2011 Home Price Expectations Survey, compiled from 111 responses of a diverse group of economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists. Many media sources reported on the survey’s comment about a projected ‘double dip’ in prices. What the media didn’t aggressively cover was the other projection in this same report. Today we want to shed light on both portions. Double Dip There is no doubt the survey looked negatively on house prices through the rest of 2011. Robert Shiller, MacroMarkets co-founder and chief economist said: “Overall, the sentiment among our expert panel regarding the U.S. housing market outlook continues to deteriorate. Now they are expecting only a weak recovery, and even that is not until 2013. This uninspiring view must be influenced by the persistently weak market fundamentals – high unemployment, supply overhang, an unabated foreclosure crisis, and constrained mor…

The 4 Stages Of Wealth Building As A Homeowner

by Dean Hartman One of the primary objectives of owning a home is to let the home appreciate over time and become a pillar of a family’s financial strength. But before we can discuss “wealth”, we need to identify the stages to get there. Stage 1 Having “Emergency Cash” is the first stage. It’s having $5-7,000 liquid for life’s inconveniences (the boiler breaking down, the car needing work, etc). When faced with the inevitable challenges that arise, many people are forced to run to their credit cards to make it through. They become stuck with high interest rate, non-tax deductible borrowing. Stage 2 The second stage is the elimination of “Bad Debt”. We define “Bad Debt” as any debt whose interest is not tax deductible. Obviously, those high interest rate credit cards must be the first to go. But we also want to divest ourselves of the borrowing associated with car loans, boat loans, student loans, and personal loans because it typically can be done cheaper. Stage 3 Shockingly, when you…

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Distressed Sales: State by State

by The KCM Crew

We have often written on the impact foreclosures and short sales have on the value of the house next door. The Center for Responsible Lending has done great reporting on the subject. It seems distressed properties will be a challenge we will need to deal with for some time. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Sales Report. The report said:

Distressed homes – sold at discount – accounted for a 39 percent market share in February, up from 37 percent in January and 35 percent in February 2010.

This week, NAR released an Economic Outlook. In the report, they covered the percentage of overall sales that distressed properties represented in each state. Here is a map that accompanied the report:

Bottom Line
Distressed properties have a major impact on house values in a marketplace. Where there is a large percentage of distressed properties, home prices will continue to soften until we work our way through this inventory.

If you are considering Relocat…

We Think We're Going to Believe Grandpa

by The KCM Crew

There are those currently debating the financial advantages of owning a home. Some are looking at studies and reporting that homeownership has never really been a great investment.

One of these people is Jack C. Francis, a former Federal Reserve economist and professor at Baruch College. He said in a recent CNBC article:

“For generations, parents and grandparents have been telling us that the way to get ahead was to buy a house and keep making payments with a fixed interest rate and after 20 or 30 years it would be way up in value and that was your nest egg in old age. You could either live in it rent free or sell it and use the proceeds to rent an apartment.”

The article goes on to explain the rest of Mr. Francis’ comment:

That was good advice until 2006 when home prices collapsed, he says, and it “may become good advice 10 years from now, but right now it’s not.”

Mr. Francis bases his conclusions on a study he completed which covered the years 1978 through 2008. In his s…

Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

by The KCM Crew

Business Insider’s Money Game interviewed real estate expert Barbara Corcoran earlier this week. This is what she said about buying in this market:

“We have a regular real estate miracle happening right now. We not only have record low prices, but we also have cheap money.”

A second real estate icon, Donald Trump, just a few weeks ago said:

“This is a great time to go out and buy a house. And if you do, in 10 years you’re going to look back and say, ‘You know, I‘m glad I listened to Donald Trump’.”

Maybe it’s time to start listening to the people who have made fortunes buying and selling real estate. They may know best!!

If you are considering Relocating to Colorado Springs, Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Springs, considering Selling a Home in Colorado Springs, or want more information on the Colorado Springs Real Estate Market, Contact your Colorado Springs Real Estate Expert, Mike MacGuire Today!

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The Impact Foreclosures Have on House Prices

by The KCM Crew

Home values are again beginning to fall. What has caused this renewed downward pressure on prices? It can be directly tied to the number of distressed properties in the region which have shredded values in some marketplaces. Foreclosures and short sales impact prices in two major ways.

They are discounted competition to the house next door

When a home buyer decides to purchase, price is a major component in the equation. Every buyer wants to make sure they are getting an excellent deal especially after what has taking place over the last five years. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures, on average, sell for a 41% discount and short sales sell for a 19% discount.

These distressed properties might not be in the same physical condition as the non-distressed properties. However, at sizable discounts, many purchasers are more than willing to do the necessary repairs. Every buyer who buys a distressed property is one less eligible buyer for the other homes. Less demand in a mar…

What Homeownership Truly Means

by Steve Harney

Last week, my son and I were flying home after spending a week at The LeadingRE Conference in Las Vegas. He said he couldn’t wait to sleep ‘in my own house’ again. That made me think of this blog post I wrote last year. – Steve

My Son, His New Home, and What It Means

Every week we try to help you put an accurate value on housing in today’s real estate market. We give you all the charts, report on all the surveys, and quote every housing expert willing to talk on the subject. And we are still not 100% sure what prices should be. At best, we can only tell you what we think.

This week was different. I was able to personally FEEL the true value of a home. My older son closed on his first home yesterday. I have the great fortune to work with him at our company. I get to see him a lot when I am not traveling. This week I was home and got to spend every day with him.

I saw how nervous he was as he got all the last minute paperwork together. I heard the relief in his voice when he…

Will I Get More Money If I Wait?

by The KCM Crew

Sellers in any real estate market are looking to get the best possible price. If you are looking to sell in the next year, today’s price may well be the best price. Home values stabilized somewhat in 2010. Many hoped that was a sign that values had bottomed out and we would see price appreciation in 2011. Studies released this week have painted a different picture.

If we look at CoreLogic’s January Home Price Index (HPI), we see that prices are again beginning to decline:

National home prices, including distressed sales, declined by 5.7 percent in January 2011 compared to January 2010…

Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic, said, “A number of factors continue to dampen any recovery in the housing market. Negative equity, which limits the mobility of homeowners, weak demand and the overhang of shadow inventory all continue to exert downward pressure on housing prices. We are looking out for renewed demand in the coming months as the spring buying season gets underway…

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Hire a Smart Duck

by Steve Harney

You can learn so much just by observing nature. Last week, I was staying at a fabulous hotel in southern California. My wife and I were having lunch at an outside table at the hotel restaurant. It was impossible not to notice the ducks that gathered around the tables at the restaurant looking for food. The birds would wait for the people to leave and then they would flock to the tables looking for crumbs that were dropped to the floor. There were dozens of birds fighting over the scraps left behind. Every duck did the same thing; except for one.

This duck was different. Instead of waiting for the couples to leave, this duck would wait only until the food was originally delivered. At the moment the staff delivered the food, the duck would race to the table and look up at the people who were about to eat. Surprisingly, every person immediately took something from their plate and feed it to this duck. They fed the duck BEFORE they began to eat.

This duck didn’t settle for sc…

Homeownership: What Americans Think

by The KCM Crew

There is a growing number of people debating whether the government should continue its level of support for homeownership. Mortgage assistance is being pulled back and even the mortgage-tax-deduction is now up for debate. We want to look at how the people of this country view owning a home and the reasons they buy. Last week, Fannie Mae released the National Housing Survey. Here are the survey’s more interesting findings.

Belief in Homeownership

96% of all homeowners said homeownership has been a positive experience.
84% of Americans still believe that owning a home makes more sense than renting. Even 68% of renters believe owning makes more sense.
64% consider buying a home as a safe investment. Buying a home was considered safer than buying stocks by over three times the number of people (64% vs 17%).
2 in 3 Americans believe that lifestyle benefits of homeownership (65%) are superior to the financial benefits (32%).

Top Non-Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

Lifestyle Benefit…

Redistrubuting Wealth to the RICH?

by The KCM Crew

Many people are placing the concept of homeownership under attack. There is more and more debate whether we should limit government assistance to homeowners. The administration just came out with their Reforming America’s Housing Finance Market: A Report to Congress. The report acknowledges the advantages of homeownership:

“…which has helped millions of middle class families build wealth and achieve the American Dream.”

The paper also talks about curtailing a century of government assistance for American homeownership (ex. the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac):

“But our plan also dramatically transforms the role of government in the housing market. In the past, the government’s financial and tax policies encouraged housing purchases and real estate investment over other sectors of our economy, and ultimately left taxpayers responsible for much of the risk incurred by a poorly supervised housing finance market.

Going forward, the government’s primary role should be …

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For Buyers: The Financial Opportunity of a Lifetime?

by The KCM Crew

We often point out that a buyer should be more concerned about the COST of a home rather than the PRICE. Price obviously is a component of cost. However, unless you buy all-cash, you must also be concerned about the financing of the purchase. The price and the financing together determine the cost of a home. Today, we want to look at only the financing piece.

An opportunity exists today because of recent government involvement; an opportunity that may never again be available in our lifetimes. There has been much discussion about what role the federal government should have in supporting homeownership. We will leave our opinions on the debate for another time. However, we want to alert you to two advantages available to a purchaser today that may disappear in the future:

Historically low interest rates
The ability to lock in these rates for thirty years

Interest Rates

Because of the financial crisis, the government stepped in and instituted a series of programs which pushed …

If Your Goal Is to Buy Low, Buy NOW!

by The KCM Crew

There is a very famous saying which asserts “Sell High, Buy Low”. It is obviously great advice no matter what the investment. Below is a graph showing the cycle of investments. It shows the points of maximum risk and maximum opportunity when purchasing. We want to sell high (point of maximum risk) and buy low (point of maximum opportunity).

The challenge is how to determine when we have hit bottom if you are a purchaser. The only time you can guarantee a bottom is after you pass it.

However, there is more and more evidence that the COST of a home has in fact hit bottom. Notice we have used the word COST. Unless you are an all cash buyer, you must take into consideration the expense of financing a property to determine the true cost of purchasing the home. Interest rates have increased over the last quarter; and the rise in rates has counteracted any fall in prices.

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you were going to take out a $200,000 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage in Novem…