Financial Friday

February 9, 2018

Americans Gain Confidence In Housing As Home Prices Rise

The latest Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index rose 3.7 points in January to 89.5, reversing the decrease seen in December and an all-time survey high. Those who said now is a good time to buy a home increased 3% to 27% in January. Those who say now is a good time to sell a home increased 4% to 38%. Those who said they expect home prices to go up over the next 12 months increased 8% to 52%, a new survey high.

Jerome Powell Sworn In As Fed Chair

On Monday, Jerome Powell took the oath of office and was sworn in as the next Fed chair, replacing Janet Yellen, for a four-year term. Yellen stepped down last Friday from the Fed Board of Governors, even though her term was set to last until January 21, 2024.

How To Find More Starter Homes for First-Time Buyers

Inventory shortages are particularly critical in entry-level price points. Use these strategies to help expand housing options for your clients.

  • Help your clients rethink their wants versus need. A renovated kitchen or finished basement can be moved to the want list as homebuyers can utilize a Certainty Home Loans renovation loan to finance these upgrades.
  • Location is perhaps the biggest price determiner, so the quickest way to find cheaper housing options is to widen the geographic scope of their search.
  • Be proactive about finding entry-level inventory, even before you begin working with a first-time buyer, by knocking on doors, sending letters, and posting on social media, asking people if they want to sell.
  • Reach out to expired listings and FSBOs to gauge their determination to sell.
  • Get first-home buyers pre-qualified for a mortgage before taking them out on showings so that their lender is confident that the buyer can afford a home in the high-priced markets. A lender experienced in your region can identify first-time homebuyer and government assistance programs if they need it.

10 Technologies That Will Change Real Estate In 2018

The process of listing, viewing, buying and selling properties has become much more streamlined with listing websites, e-signed documents and mobile apps. The 10 members of the Forbes Real Estate Council share the programs and tools they’re most excited about, and how they’ll impact real estate buying, selling and investing.

1. Tokeet is an app that can help you manage multiple vacation rental properties on various sites from one platform. 
2. Artificial Intelligence will take care of ongoing prospecting, lead generating and old fashion customer service.
3. Technology Is Increasing Transparency to provide borrowers and brokers with more information from their lenders throughout the transaction process.
4. Data-Driven Insights can help to optimize the tenant experience by providing the developers of commercial, residential or retail space with an understanding of how space gets used.
5. Deal Management Platforms enable investment firms to build and leverage every deal they’ve ever processed to increase productivity and reduce errors in underwriting and due diligence.
6. Virtual Reality to enable clients to truly experience a property without setting foot into a physical space.
7. Automated Valuation Models (AVM), like what Enodo provides for multifamily, allow investment companies to quickly produce revenue and expense information needed to efficiency and objectivity analyze a deal.
8. Rogue Platform will enable agents to work remotely using tools that include a library of hundreds of videos, webinars and live streams. An online contract signing tool, performance tracking dashboard and property marketing blast feature will also be available.
9. Geo And Social Media Advertising opportunities are growing for real estate with Snapchat, Instagram, Google and Facebook offering targeted geofencing ad opportunities to target the offices of your competition or properties being shown with your ads that hit buyers or investors on their mobile devices with your messaging as they are touring another property.
10. Electronic Notary Services, such as Notarize, enable you to connect done virtually and securely with a Notary Public by a live video call from any device, eliminating the expense and inconvenience associated with coordinating wet signatures.

Green Building Standards and Practices for Single-Family Homes

A new report from the National Association of Home Builders found that in a sample of homes from 246 single-family builders, roughly one-fourth have enough green features to be certified, but only 11% have been NGBS certification. The NAHB explains that homes typically scored higher overall under the 2015 NGBS standard as opposed to the 2012 standard.

To qualify for a particular green building rating (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Emerald), the NGBS requires, at a minimum, that total points earned across all sections of the standard meet a certain threshold. About a quarter of the homes in the survey sample had enough points (231 or more) for a bronze rating when scored according to the 2015 NGBS, and 1.6% reached the 334 points needed for silver. None had the 489 points needed for gold or the 611 needed for emerald.

green building certifications

Hottest Kitchen Design Trends for 2018

  • Bold colors – Embrace the trend by using different colors for your island and countertops, or choose complementary shades to highlight the lower cabinets from the upper ones.
  • New twists on white-on-white – To mix up the monochromatic vibe, designers are introducing vibrant lacquers and bold countertops. Or, for a more nuanced fresh take, pair painted gray cabinets with large expanses of white countertops and walls.
  • Anything but stainless-steel appliances – As homeowners add color and flair to their kitchen, they’re trading in their metallic appliances for ones in vibrant colors or unique designs, in particular, vintage-inspired, European-style ranges—complete with metal-wrapped accents.
  • Durable materials that require zero maintenance, such as quartz surfacings such as Silestone and Dekton, a stain- and heat-resistant surface for the kitchen.
  • Larger-format tile placed in a geometric pattern.
  • Workhorse islands that incorporate everything (including the kitchen sink) from bar seating and open shelving to dishwashers and wine refrigerators can be found tucked into a well-designed kitchen island.
  • Farmhouse design which uses natural materials, like reclaimed wood, and rich, polished metals for kitchen plumbing fixtures, lighting, and hardware.

kitchen design trends


Information Courtesy of Jason Browning – Certainty Home Loans 

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