You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!
So why is it better to work with a Realtor when looking at new construction homes?
1. Representation. If you walk into that new home sales office without an agent, you’re no longer allowed to have your own representation, which is very important to have when navigating through the new home sales process.
2. It’s absolutely free. The builder pays your agent’s commission, not you. You have nothing to worry about on that front.
"Always call a professional first."
3. Leverage. A good real estate professional will have two or three lenders, landscapers, home interior designers, and flooring companies on hand so that you can use these resources as you need them. This will also help you compare their rates to what the builder is charging you for various features.
4. Negotiations. The home I’m standing in today is under contract with one of my buyers. When we went under contract, we were able to negotiate $40,000 off the total purchase price simply by asking the right questions. When you use a strong negotiator, you can save thousands of dollars.
Please keep these points in mind before you go into a new home development with any intent to purchase. Always call a professional first.
If you have any questions about this or other real estate topics, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help you.
I’m joined today by Brian Maier of Mortgage Box to give the answer to a big question many people have: What kind of credit score do you need to purchase a house?
There’s a lot of misleading information online when it comes to credit scores. Each lender uses different restrictions and overlays when it comes to approving a loan—ideally, you’ll want to have a credit score of 620 or higher.
However, there are programs that accept scores of 580, and some even accept scores as low as 500.
If your score is over 700, it usually makes the most sense to go with a conventional loan. These loans are driven by credit scores; 740 and higher is the top tier, but for each 20-point increment that your score drops, your interest rate rises. This goes all the way down to 620 for a conventional loan.
"There are programs that accept scores of 580, and some even go as low as 500."
Below this, you have to start looking at FHA and VA loans. FHA loans aren’t based on credit score when it comes to pricing—the interest rate is the same, regardless of a 600 score or an 800 score. Depending on your score, there’s a point where it may make more sense to take an FHA loan over a conventional loan.
If your score is under 580, an FHA loan typically requires additional compensating factors—a 10% down payment, for example. If you’re over 580, you can still put 3.5% down on an FHA loan.
Credit-monitoring companies like Credit Karma can be a little misleading; there are many credit scoring models out there, but lenders use FICO scores. While your Credit Karma score may be 580, our report could say 620. The opposite could also be true, but you can’t know for sure until you speak with a lender.
I’d like to thank Brian for giving us some great insight into how credit scores relate to loan programs. Feel free to give him a call at 702-432-5626 or email Info@MortgageBoxNV.com.
And if you have any other questions or need more information, reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Brian Maier from Mortgage Box finds it surprising how many people think that they need to put 20% down on a home. If they’re saving up for that long, it could be years before they have enough, and they’ll have missed a lot of opportunities in that time. That’s not to mention the appreciation rate; a home that sold at $200,000 two years ago is selling for over $250,000 today. We can’t accurately predict future appreciation, but based on past appreciation, home prices are going up faster than people are able to save for.
The fact is that you don’t need to put 20% down to buy a home. In fact, the majority of Brian’s borrowers put way less than that down. There are programs for first-time homebuyers and for those who are simply buying a primary residence that allow for a down payment as small as 3% out of pocket. He’s also able to get his borrowers lender credits, which help to cover closing costs.
"If you’re looking for a loan program that will allow to you put less than 20% down (or nothing at all), your first step is to align yourself with a great lender."
In essence, you could get into a $200,000 house with only $6,000. That down payment could also be entirely comprised of gift money from a family member.
Other programs like the VA loan don’t require a down payment at all. To qualify for the VA loan, however, you do need to be either in active duty in the military or a veteran. Unlike the FHA and conventional loans, the VA loan doesn’t require you to have monthly mortgage insurance when you put less than 20% down on a home. Another nice feature of the VA loan is the option to do jumbo VA loans, which allow you to borrow up to $1 million and you don’t even have to stay within the conforming loan amounts, which is $484,000 in Clark County. However, once you exceed the conforming loan amounts, the VA loan will no longer be zero-down and you’ll be expected to put a little bit down.
In addition to the rate of appreciation, another thing working against those who are saving up for a down payment is the general trend of interest rates. We’ve had a 10-year bull market run, and over the next few years, rates are projected to increase. By waiting to save for a down payment, it may actually end up costing you a lot more down the road, with home prices and interest rates both on the rise. Those two factors combined could end up pricing you out of the market altogether, so it’s better to put less money down to get into a house, which allows you to budget your payments and ride your home’s appreciation over time.
If you have any questions about this or other real estate topics, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at the Ravago Group.
I get a lot of questions about the home buying process. One of the biggest questions I receive is about how to get started, so I’m joined today by Brian Maier of Mortgage Box, who will be talking to us about the first step in buying a house.
That first step is to talk with a lender. Your lender will be able to walk you through the entire process of securing a mortgage. They don’t just tell you what you can afford—they help you find a price point you’re comfortable paying.
"Lenders can give borrowers the whole picture."
When Brian speaks with his clients, he looks at how a mortgage fits in with their long-term financial goals. 98% of buyers begin their home search online, but online calculators aren’t always accurate when finding out what you can afford, so getting pre-approved and knowing your price point is important.
There are so many variables in play when it comes to calculating a mortgage payment. Numbers can change depending on credit score, type of loan, taxes, etc. Online calculators simply don’t handle these factors, but lenders can give borrowers the whole picture.
If someone thinks they can afford a $300,000 home, then comes to us and finds out their monthly payment is outrageous, it can be difficult for them to backtrack. By speaking with a lender from the outset, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.
I’d like to thank Brian for speaking with us today—if you’d like to contact him, call 702-432-5626 oremail Info@MortgageBoxNV.com.
If you have any real estate-related questions or need further information, feel free to reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
With the Federal Reserve raising interest rates last December, how is this affecting current mortgage rates in our real estate market?
Whenever the Fed raises interest rates, people tend to assume mortgage rates will spike, but according to Brian Maier, mortgage broker and owner of Mortgage Box, there is no direct correlation between the Fed raising interest rates and the long-term future of mortgage rates.
When the Fed raised interest rates last December, that was the federal funds rate—not the mortgage rate. The federal funds rate is the rate at which banks lend to each other—not the consumer. Additionally, the Fed was very transparent about their intention to raise interest rates leading up to December, so by that time, mortgage rates had already adjusted.
"When the Fed raised interest rates last December, that was the federal funds rate—not the mortgage rate."
Mortgage rates peaked around early November, but since then, they’ve actually decreased by about 0.5%, which is huge. They’ll eventually rise again; it’s all a matter of when. In the meantime, though, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the market, which is helpful for mortgage rates. People are pulling money out of their stocks and putting it into bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
This presents a great buying opportunity right now because we don’t know how long they’re going to stay this low. On top of that, the spring market is on the horizon and home sales are starting to pick back up.
If you have any more questions for Brian about how interest rates are impacting our market, you can give him a call at (702) 432-5626 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, if you have any more questions about real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.
The December numbers are in for the Las Vegas residential real estate market, so we wanted to share them with you today.
We ended the year with 8,500 homes on the market. That’s nearly double what we saw in December 2017.
December 2018 also saw about 3,000 homes come on the market, which is up from the 2,500 we saw in December 2017.
Another statistic we like to track is the properties that went under contract, or pending sales. These homes haven’t quite closed yet, but the buyer and seller have agreed on a price and signed a contract. There were 2,400 pending sales in December 2018, down from 2,900 in December 2017.
"If demand remains flat, homes are going to be harder to sell."
Additionally, there were 2,600 closed home sales in December. That’s also down from 3,200 in December 2017.
The percentage of homes closed in December was right at 31%. In December 2017, that figure was almost at 70% because of our limited inventory at the time.
The more homes we have on the market, the more choices buyers will have. If demand remains flat, that’s going to make it harder to sell. In order to maximize your equity, it’s something to keep a close eye on.
If you're thinking about buying a home, now really is a great time to get out there. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have and refer you to a great lender in the area.
If you’re thinking about selling a home, we’d be happy to give you a free, no-obligation comparative market analysis on your home.
If you have any other questions or need anything else from me, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
The 2018 holiday season has officially begun! We hope you are as excited as we are.
We’d like to take a moment to express our gratitude to all of you this Thanksgiving. We have met some truly wonderful people, and we’re proud to have helped so many reach their real estate goals over the years.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without all of your support. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with all of your family and friends—that’s what we plan to do!
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any real estate questions. We would be happy to help you.
Today I’m reporting from the Costco construction site here in Henderson. Opening November 8, 2018, this 148,000 square-foot development marks what will be the fifth Costco in Henderson, and I’m sure all the area members are excited about the prospect. In addition to updating you on the progress of the wholesale club’s construction, I also wanted to fill you in on the real estate market activity we’ve been noticing.
In the Las Vegas market, we have around 7,900 homes for sale, which is up almost 29% from this same time last year, where we had around 5,200 homes on the market.
For properties going under contract, we’re at a low of 3,265; this is the fifth straight month of decline for pending listings. This appears to be a trend that is likely to continue.
"This is the fifth straight month of decline for pending listings, and it appears to be a trend that is likely to continue."
If you’re a buyer, this is a great time to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Also there are more choices for you, given the increase in inventory we’ve seen.
If you’re a seller, there’s still time to capitalize on our great market; we still have a healthy supply of homes compared to the national average.
For any questions you have or if you need help buying, selling, or investing in a home, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to help you out.
(Trivia answer: Costco’s top-selling item is Costco toilet paper. They sell 1 billion rolls per year—that’s enough to wrap around the earth 1,200 times over!)
Today I’m coming to you from Logandale, Nevada, which is about an hour north of Las Vegas.
One of my favorite parts about fall is being able to ride the Logandale trail system, which is 200 miles long and features something for everyone. There’s razor-riding, dirt bike trails, hiking trails, and trails for those who like to rough it in their Jeeps.
Today my ATV Club is out here on the trails, giving back to the community by cleaning up the trail system. We’re picking up debris, painting, and putting up signposts to make it very user-friendly for all those who come to visit.
If you’re not from the area and are looking to move here, this is just one of the hidden gems in the Las Vegas area that you can and should take advantage of.
"The Logan Dale trail system is 200 miles long and features something for everyone."
If you’re already a resident but you haven’t been out here, this is the gateway to the Valley of Fire, so I highly recommend you check it out.
As a final note, a word about the fall market:
Right now, the median price for single-family homes is at a post-recession high of $295,000. Similarly, the median price for condos is at a post-recession high of $170,000. If you’re a seller, now is the time to take advantage of the market. If you’re a buyer, one thing to note is that we’re at two months’ supply of inventory. We haven’t had that much since 2016.
If you have any questions about real estate or if you’d like to check out the Logandale area, please reach out to me. We’d love to have you out here.
Today I’m excited to give you a behind-the-scenes look at a great local charity: the Serving Our Kids Foundation. This 100% grass-roots organization is entirely volunteer-run, and helps to feed local elementary school-aged children who are at-risk or homeless.
To help you better understand how this foundation runs, I met for a quick discussion with my fellow volunteer, Dale Darkas. Dale explains that the Serving Our Kids Foundation raises most of its supplies and donations through their Saturday food drives at Sam’s Club, which tend to collect anywhere between $3,500- and $8,000-worth of food—but the organization also receives donations from other sources as well.
"It only takes a couple hours each week to make a massive difference in the lives of local children."
To give you a couple of examples, one local massage therapist incentivizes her clients to donate by offering discounted services to those who do, and a local Eagle Scout recently donated over 10,000 bottles of water. It just goes to show how many people in the community are pitching in to help make a difference.
Through efforts like these, the foundation is able to serve over 3,000 children across 60 schools every single week.
If you’re interested in getting involved, please visit www.servingourkids.org for more information about what the foundation does and how you can become a part of it. It only takes a couple of hours each week to make a massive difference in the lives of local children.
As always, if you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.