While cruising through Instagram recently, I came across a post that indicated 37% of homeowners in the United States THINK they have more than 20% equity while, in reality, 74% ACTUALLY have more than 20% equity. Since this was social media, of course, I accepted this fully at face value. The creators of such services have nothing but altruistic intentions, right?
However, I knew that if I didn’t dig a little deeper into the claims of this cute little post by a very nice real estate agent, I wouldn’t have anything more to write about in this week’s newsletter – and I certainly didn’t want to let anyone down. I quickly found the source of the statistics being quoted – Fannie Mae and CoreLogic– and dug up some other tidbits that you might find interesting. (Let’s be honest: if you’re still reading this, I’ve either captured your interest or you’re sitting at your 7-year-old’s soccer game with nothing to do because the game has been temporarily halted so the goalkeeper can fix the ribbon in her hair.)
In an update to CoreLogic’s report, that 74% has climbed to 79.1%. Please don’t make me do the math on how many people that 5.1% increase represents, but I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere between a “boatload” and “gazillion”. Either way, that’s a lot of people you as real estate agents can help sell their current homes and look for new ones. Let’s do a little trivia here, just to keep things light.
While Arkansas has the lowest percentage (67.3%) of homeowners with more than 20% equity, which state has the highest percentage (91.9%) with more than 20% equity?
If you guessed Utah, your love for the Mormons is duly noted, but you’d be wrong. The folks in Texas are the winners in this one. On their boot-covered heels are Oregon at 89.2% and Washington at 88.0%.
These stats and numbers are fine and dandy, but what’s the point in trotting them out there for all to see? (Warning: shameless commercial is imminent.) We have a system in place to help our real estate agents know when their clients’ homes have reached and exceeded that 20% equity threshold. If you’ve been in the business for a few years, that database of clients is pretty hefty. Rather than your having to go through that list client by client and figuring out whose equity is where, we can do the work for you and let you know when each client has reached that magic number. Isn’t that what a mortgage partner SHOULD be doing for you (you know, when we’re not cruising around on Instagram looking for cat photos and trying to decide if the dress is blue or gold)? Work smarter by letting us work harder for you.
Do you have a family member or friend from another country who wants to buy a home here in the United States? Now, the only thing they need to qualify is their passport.
No income verification. No reserves. Just 30% down and an international credit report or letter of good standing with their current financial institution.
This applies to second homes, non-owner occupied residences, and 1-4 unit properties.
This is not a guarantee of eligibility; simply a blog entry to let you know we have far more than the vanilla-flavored loan options.
Neighborhood Regret. While that sounds more like a name for an ‘80s cover band who plays the Starlight Lounge at your local Holiday Inn on Tuesday evenings, it’s a term I came across in a recent article about how homeowners feel about the areas in which they purchase their homes. Wakefield Research conducted a survey of 1,000 “Americans” (I’m honestly not sure if they asked to see proof of citizenship, but in today’s political climate, you never know), and 36% of homebuyers who recently moved regret the neighborhood in which they purchased. In that same survey, 77% don’t believe there’s a reliable way to find complete neighborhood information in order to find the perfect neighborhood. (I have news for them, there’s a 100% fact there’s no such thing as a “perfect” neighborhood, but I digress.)
The point that 36% of homebuyers regret their neighborhood choice isn’t all that surprising, right? What I did find interesting, though, was that the study indicated that both commute time and crime rate were big factors of consideration for the perfect neighborhood, but they tied for second at 37%. What topped the list as the most important consideration in the deciding factor for neighborhood choice at 48%? “Vibe”. Yes, you read that correctly. How in the name of all things holy and real-estate-related do you classify and quantify “vibe” in a neighborhood (peace, love, and a friendly HOA)? While I’m sort of shaking my head because you can’t objectively define “vibe”, I have to admit that I get what they mean at an instinctual level. Lack of social activity in an area, as well as street noise, frequent traffic, and lack of public transportation, were cited as reasons for homebuyer unhappiness. Here’s where it gets even weirder.
While buyers have said they want reliable sources of information on a neighborhood before purchasing a home, less than 40% searched for photos of other parts of the neighborhood. Also, even though safety ranked second on the list of items causing neighborhood regret, three quarters of homeowners did absolutely no research on crime statistics or police reports before purchasing and moving into their homes. Further, almost half of them never visited their potential new home at night before making that purchase and move. That’s sort of like going to McDonald’s and asking the pimply-faced teenager working the register to craft a list of dining options for you that will both help you lose weight and improve your complexion.
As we all know, while we as mortgage and real estate folks ever endeavor to provide buyers with facts and intelligence on which to base their choices, the purchase of a home is ultimately an emotional decision 99% of the time. This doesn’t mean that we should abandon our fact-based approach – in fact, we should probably double our efforts and take a cue from this study and compile a packet with neighborhood photos and safety statistics. Then, we might want to insist on taking them out to the neighborhood in the evening. If we’re lucky, we’ll roll up on a block party, and they’ll be serving street tacos – no one can regret tacos, right?