5 Sizzling Reasons To Buy A Home During Housing’s Hottest Season

The Heat Is On: 5 Sizzling Reasons to Buy a Home During Housing’s Hottest Season
By Rena Behar | Jun 15, 2017
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flammulate/iStock; stevanovicigor/iStock
The days are getting longer. Ice cream truck jingles echo up and down the block. But the surest sign that summer is here? It just might be those “For Sale” signs popping up like dandelions in your neighborhood.

Yep, we’re smack dab in the middle of the most popular time of the year to buy and sell a home. If you’re thinking of starting your home search, your first instinct as a savvy shopper might be to stay away and wait for the weather—and the market—to cool down. Why battle the crowds and bidding wars if you’re in no rush to move?

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But there’s no reason to sweat the idea of buying in the summer. In fact, there are some distinct advantages to making your way into the marketplace during housing’s hottest season—as long as you can stand the heat of a little competition.

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1. Prices aren’t necessarily higher

“A huge myth about the real estate market is that homes sell for more in the summer and less in the winter. This is simply not true,” says Dippy Chhina of Dippy Real Estate.

Let’s be clear: Home prices do usually peak in June–August. And it’s a seller’s market in most areas. But other forces beyond the summer sun play a major role in a home’s asking price, Chhina notes. They include the number of similar homes also for sale in a given area, interest rates, and the job market.

“What is true, however, is that there are more homes on the market in summer than in the winter, and there is also a higher number of sales in the summer than the winter,” Chhina says.

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Which leads us to our next summer-buying advantage.

2. Inventory is broader

You wouldn’t buy a car from a dealer with only two models for sale, so why limit your options when it comes to picking a house? The open-plan kitchen you’ve been yearning for or a home in a stellar school district is much more likely to pop up in a busier marketplace.

“The large inventory offers significantly more opportunities for purchasers to identify specific floor plans, amenities, and locations,” says Sarah Lilly of Five Star Lakeshore Real Estate. Buyers “feel more confident in their search because additional properties hit the market every week.”

In some less competitive markets, knowing that there are plenty of homes for sale can give you more leverage for price negotiation, and peace of mind knowing that if you have to walk to away, another home will be just around the corner.

3. Buying and selling at the same time could be easier

If you need to sell your current home before you can buy another, you’ll likely have an easier time with the balancing act during the summer. Rather than getting trapped with two mortgages, you could have a more seamless transition in a busier market.

“If the client needs to sell a home before buying, the home will be more likely to sell, and potentially at a good price, allowing the client to purchase their new home sooner,” says Joe Lopez of Connect Realty.

But remember, these transactions take time, so if you’re planning on pulling off a double act, get ready as soon as possible so you can capture as much of that golden season as you can.

4. School’s out for summer

Any beleaguered parent can tell you why this factor is crucial. By waiting until summer to make your move, you can minimize disruption to your kids’ lives. Plus, their schedule is clear to bring them along to showings. (Beware, though, not all agents appreciate young kids underfoot.)

“House hunting during the summer break from school means that kids can more readily attend showings— important when offer time is of the essence and parents want each member to approve of the new family home,” says Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Bruce Elliott, of Regal R.E. Professionals.

And if the sellers have kids, they might also be trying to cement a sale in time for the new school year—and will likely be more motivated toward the end of the season.

“Sellers who find their properties still on the market as summer draws to a close and the ranks of buyers thin out may be more open to price negotiation,” Elliott says. “In addition, those buyers who were unable to secure a home after months of looking and making offers may become fatigued and drop out of the hunt.”

5. You’ll get to know the lay of the land

It’s easier to do a little detective work on your potential home when the weather’s nice and the days are longer. Trees and flowers are in full bloom, so you’ll get a better idea of your prospective new yard. You can step out on that back porch and envision what it will really, truly be like to live there and host your long-anticipated Margarita Mondays. Plus, everyone’s more active, so you’ll get a better feel for the community.

“Summer brings people out of their homes, so while you are home shopping with your agent, you will get the chance to take the pulse of the neighborhood and see your potential neighbors,” says Kyle Springer of South Central Homes.

“Families can often get a feel for the neighborhood’s kid population during the day in the summer,” Elliott says. “Here in Orlando, where daytime temperatures reach the high 90s and so many homes have pools, buyers listen for sounds of shouting and splashing.”

But beware! Sometimes the romance of summer can distract you from some red flags.

“It is fine to stop and smell the roses, but also pay attention to what lurks behind them,” says Jerry Grodesky of Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate.

For example: the eyesore of a junk pile in your neighbor’s yard. Or the giant cellphone tower you didn’t see through those beautifully full trees—that now you can’t unsee. And make sure that foliage isn’t blocking any potential problems with the home, such as foundation issues or peeling roof tiles.

You should also use this opportunity to test how the property holds up in warm weather. See how well the air conditioning works when it’s pushing 100 degrees outside, and open all the windows to see if any stick or simply won’t open. Of course, your home inspector will check these things, but it never hurts to get a jump-start.
Rena Behar is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She’s contributed to The Wirecutter, Groupon, Texas Monthly, and other publications. Follow @renadb

Could Paint Be an Energy Source for Homes?

Could Paint Be an Energy Source for Homes?

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2017
The paint on the wall may soon be a source of energy for a home. Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, say “solar paint” will be available to homeowners in the next few years.

It’s a sunlight-absorbing paint developed by RMIT researchers that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air. Even a brick wall could potentially be turned into an energy-harvesting form of real estate, says lead researcher Torben Daeneke.

“Our new development has a big range of advantages,” Daeneke told Science Daily. “There’s no need for clean or filtered water to feed the system. Any place that has water vapor in the air—even remote areas far from water—can produce fuel. … This system can also be used in very dry but hot climates near oceans. The sea water is evaporated by the hot sunlight, and the vapor can then be absorbed to produce fuel. This is an extraordinary concept, making fuel from the sun and water vapor in the air.”

Source: “Solar Paint Offers Endless Energy From Water Vapor,” Science Daily (June 14, 2017)

Exclusive: Quicken may quit U.S. home-loan program in dispute over bad mortgages

Quicken Loans, the third biggest mortgage lender in the U.S., is considering backing away from a government program that provided critical support to the housing market during the financial crisis, the latest in an exodus of big lenders from the program.

The departure of the biggest lenders from the U.S. Federal Housing Administration program, which helps first-time homebuyers, could translate into big losses for taxpayers during the next housing downturn, analysts said. Officials at the FHA said they are not alarmed by that risk.

Quicken along with JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co – all of the top four mortgage lenders in the United States – are tussling with the FHA over how the agency deals with loans that sour.

The three major banks, not satisfied with the way the FHA resolved their complaints, have scaled back their lending through the program. Now Quicken, the largest FHA lender, is looking at bowing out as well, company founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert told Reuters. It is also considering cutting the risk it takes in the program, he said.

Quicken accounted for almost 6 percent of the FHA’s loan volume in the first half of 2015, or about $6 billion of loans, according to trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

The FHA is arguing with lenders over when it is entitled to back out of the insurance that its program provides. When a borrower gets an FHA loan, the agency essentially guarantees the mortgage against default, and promises to pay the lender if the homeowner reneges on his or her obligations.

Unlike most other government home-loan programs, borrowers who get FHA loans can make a down payment equal to as little as 3.5 percent of the home purchase price, which makes the mortgages appealing to first-time buyers who may struggle to pull together big upfront payments. Because borrowers are paying for mortgage insurance, they pay higher interest rates on their loans.

The FHA pays out on all default claims almost immediately, and only reviews them later to make sure it got complete and accurate information about borrowers when it first guaranteed the mortgages. If it finds that it did not, it will demand that the lender reimburse it for the insurance payout, the way a life insurer might sue to recover funds paid out on a policy purchased by a smoker who failed to disclose his habit on his application and died of lung cancer.

Lenders including Quicken say the FHA demands repayments for even the most minor of mistakes that a bank may make when extending a loan, to force them to bear the agency’s losses, making the government’s insurance an illusion.

When Wells Fargo and Bank of America balked at the FHA’s strict interpretation of the rules, the Department of Justice sued them. The government has settled with Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase over their FHA obligations, but not with Wells Fargo or Quicken.

Quicken, feeling like it was being strong-armed into settling, sued the Department of Justice April 17 before the government sued it six days later. Current fights over the FHA could have a big effect over how the agency weathers the next housing crisis. The smaller lenders that now make up most of the FHA’s client base may struggle to stay solvent whenever the next housing downturn comes, meaning when the agency tries to push loans back to them, they may not have the resources to repay the government.

About 80 percent of the loans in the FHA program are made by lenders who are not banks, most of which are relatively small. That figure compares with about 50 percent at the height of the crisis.

“It could potentially be an issue in the next downturn,” said Tom Lawler, an economist who warned of an impending housing bubble in 2006 when he worked at Fannie Mae. But with mortgage credit quality improving now, “you shouldn’t lose sleep over it today,” he said.

BETTER THAN FREDDIE

During the last crisis, the FHA performed better than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together needed $188 billion of support, but it still needed help — $1.7 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

The FHA acknowledges that having more thinly capitalized lenders may be an issue in the next crisis. Ed Golding, principal deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the FHA program, said that the FHA is charging enough for its insurance to absorb future losses. During the financial crisis, the FHA played a critical role in keeping mortgage credit flowing, guaranteeing more than a third of home purchase loans being made in some years after the housing market crash. That figure fell to 19 percent in 2014.

The FHA and lenders are fighting over how serious the underwriting errors are in loans that go bad. Quicken said in its lawsuit that the FHA’s parent agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Department of Justice, both sought penalties from the lender for overstating a borrower’s income by just $17, or for lending $26 too much on a $99,500 loan.

“Characterizing such ‘transgressions’ as false claims upon which any damages should be owed … is inconsistent with common sense, basic principles of fairness, and the FHA’s prior practices and procedures,” Quicken said in its lawsuit.

The DOJ lawsuit says that the lender submitted hundreds of loans for FHA insurance that it knew did not meet the agency’s standards, and Quicken’s problems were more serious than simple typos. It accused Quicken of having a “culture that elevated profits over compliance.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman would not address the Quicken lawsuit, but said via email that “the conduct that the government has pursued reflects clear, systematic, and knowing violations of meaningful and substantive FHA requirements.

(Reporting by Dan Freed; Editing by Dan Wilchins and John Pickering)

Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/12/02/us-quicken-mortgages-idUSKBN0TL0CA20151202#vomII7TfKR4GhKP2.99

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