The Reason They’re Called Benefits

Benefits of VA financing 2.pngThe Veterans Administration guarantees home loans for eligible veterans. It is considered an attractive loan because the veteran can purchase the home with no down payment up to specific loan limits and no mortgage insurance. This makes the monthly payment considerably lower.

Let’s assume a buyer wants to purchase a $200,000 home and can get a 4.5% interest mortgage for 30 years.

A FHA loan would require a $7,000 down payment plus $3,377.50 in up-front MIP which can be rolled into the mortgage. The monthly mortgage insurance premium would be $221 per month for a total payment of $1,215.94.

The VA loan doesn’t require a down payment. There is a 2.15% VA funding fee that can be rolled into the mortgage which would make the principal and interest payment on $204,300 much less at $1,035.16.

The revised loan limits for 2014 are published by VA and can change each year especially based on high-cost areas. However, a lender can allow a home purchase in excess of these amounts with a 25% down payment on the amount above the limit.

If a purchaser wants to buy a $600,000 home in an area where the VA limit is $417,000, the lender could require a $45,750 down payment and make a $554,250 mortgage. In this example, the purchaser is able to get in for less than 10% down payment and no mortgage insurance.

Veterans with the available funds for a down payment should compare all loan products to consider which will provide the lowest cost of housing. A skilled real estate professional and a trusted mortgage advisor can be valuable resources.

All my best,
Myra Spano, REALTOR®
 

About the Author:
 
Myra Spano is a service and results oriented real estate agent with her client’s goals as top priority.  Myra is recognized as a top producing agent in her office in Virginia Beach and enjoys working with both buyers and those selling their homes.
 
For information about purchasing a home in Virginia Beach, visit her website.  This site is focused on homes available for sale in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Email, call or text to make an appointment begin your home search.
 
If you are considering selling your home in Virginia Beach or one of the surrounding areas, visit the seller’s website to request a Free Market Analysis of your property.
 
Myra Spano & Prudential Towne Realty is awaiting to provide the real estate guidance you need.  Contact us now to make your home dreams come true!
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A Positive Month for Hampton Roads Real Estate

A Positive Month for Hampton Roads Real Estate
Virginia Beach, Virginia – July 2014
 
Statistical reports for June 2014 are indicative of a positive real estate market for Hampton Roads. A majority of the metrics that measure the local housing market show clear-cut growth, with residential listings, pending sales and settled sales all experiencing increased year-over-year results. The distressed market continues to improve as well.
 
Residential active listings increased 12.04% when compared to June 2013. Each of the region’s seven major cities (Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach) saw year-over-year increases in the number of homes for sale. Similar to the previous month, Chesapeake and Suffolk saw the largest year-over-year increases at 18.97% and 18.70% respectively. The months’ supply of inventory for residential homes for sale is currently 6.98 months, which is a mild 7.88% increase from June 2013’s 6.47 months.
 
The number of residential pending sales for the region swelled 15.68% from the year prior, with Newport News and Portsmouth contributing impressive increases of 44.70% and 30.63% respectively. In fact, all seven of the region’s major cities saw year-over-year increases in pending sales, a statistic that often influences settled sales over the next 30-90 days.
 
For the first time this year, residential settled sales increased year-over-year. June 2014 saw a 1.22% uptick in the number of residential settled sales when compared to the same period of time in 2013. Portsmouth experienced the most dramatic improvement, with a gain of 30%. Newport News and Norfolk followed with the next highest increases of 6.75% and 5.98% respectively. Conversely, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Hampton suffered declines in their settled sales.
 
The region’s median sales price is currently $217,500, down 3.33% from June 2013. Individually, of the area’s major cities Portsmouth has the lowest median sales price of $134,950 and Chesapeake has the highest at $259,208.
 
Distressed homes, those that are either short sales or foreclosures, had less significance on the region’s market during June 2014. Distressed homes accounted for just 17.36% of all residential active listings for the month, which is down 4.32% from the same period of time last year, and marks the sixth consecutive month they’ve declined. June’s distressed homes accounted for 20.08% of all residential settled sales, a decrease of 2.76% from June 2013, and down 9.41% from the beginning of the year.

June 2014 Summary
All Categories
June 2014
June 2013
Percent Change
Total Property Active Listings
15,131 13,581 11.41%
Total Residential Active Listings
12,336 11,010 12.04%
Total Property Pending Sales
2,283 1,973
15.71%
Total Residential Pending Sales
2,176 1,881
15.68%
Total Property Sales
2,173 2,130
2.02%
Total Residential Sales
2,081 2,056
1.22%
Total Residential New Construction Sales
248 300
-17.33%
Median Residential Sales Price
$217,500
$225,000
-3.33%
Months’ Supply of Inventory
6.98
6.47
7.88%
* Total Property statistics include all property types (Residential, Commercial, Duplex, Apartment and Land & Farms), resale and new construction.
 
* Months’ Supply of Inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months average sales activity.
 
All my best,
Myra Spano, REALTOR®
 

About the Author:
 
Myra Spano is a service and results oriented real estate agent with her client’s goals as top priority.  Myra is recognized as a top producing agent in her office in Virginia Beach and enjoys working with both buyers and those selling their homes.
 
For information about purchasing a home in Virginia Beach, visit her website.  This site is focused on homes available for sale in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Email, call or text to make an appointment begin your home search.
 
If you are considering selling your home in Virginia Beach or one of the surrounding areas, visit the seller’s website to request a Free Market Analysis of your property.
 
Myra Spano & Prudential Towne Realty is awaiting to provide the real estate guidance you need.  Contact us now to make your home dreams come true!
 
About REIN:
 
Real Estate Information Network, Inc., (REIN) serves real estate brokers in the Tidewater / Hampton Roads area of Virginia from Williamsburg east to Virginia Beach and south to the North Carolina border. REIN is an independent MLS owned by broker stockholder members. Currently there are approximately 530 real estate firms with 650 offices, 6100 real estate agents, and 155 appraiser members using REIN. For more information visit http://www.REINMLS.com.

Indecision Costs

iStock_000009336073Small 250.jpgMore money has been lost to indecision than was ever lost to making the wrong decision. The economy and the housing market have caused some people to take a “wait and see” position that could cost them in lost opportunities as well as almost certain higher costs in the future.

To illustrate what the opportunity cost might be, let’s compare what the value of the down payment two years from now would be if it was invested in a certificate of deposit, the stock market or used to purchase a home today.

A 3.5% down payment on a $175,000 home is $6,125.00. If it was invested in a CD that would earn 2%, a person would have $6,372 in two years. The earnings would be taxed as ordinary income tax rates. It wouldn’t earn much but it would be safe and secure.

The same amount would grow to $7,013 in the stock market if you picked the right stock or fund and it yielded 7%. The earnings would be taxed at the long term capital gains rate. The return could be greater but so is the risk involved.

If this person were to purchase a home today that appreciated 2% in value over the next two years, the equity in the home would grow to $18,769 due to value going up and the unpaid balance going down.

Your Best Investment.png

The question, we all must ask ourselves is “where should our money be invested?” Try Your Best Investment to see the difference it will make based on your price range, down payment and earning rate.

All my best,
Myra Spano, REALTOR®
 

About the Author:
 
Myra Spano is a service and results oriented real estate agent with her client’s goals as top priority.  Myra is recognized as a top producing agent in her office in Virginia Beach and enjoys working with both buyers and those selling their homes.
 
For information about purchasing a home in Virginia Beach, visit her website.  This site is focused on homes available for sale in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Email, call or text to make an appointment begin your home search.
 
If you are considering selling your home in Virginia Beach or one of the surrounding areas, visit the seller’s website to request a Free Market Analysis of your property.
 
Myra Spano & Prudential Towne Realty is awaiting to provide the real estate guidance you need.  Contact us now to make your home dreams come true!

Every Renter Should Know

Questions.jpgThe first home purchase can be the culmination of years of planning and consideration. Buyers typically look for 12 weeks and use a variety of information sources for research before purchasing. However, many renters are not near as thorough in their study.

Like any other commitment a person makes, careful consideration and understanding is required. There are things that every renter should know before they rent a home or apartment.

  1. A lease is a binding, legal document.
  2. Understand the lease before signing and ask questions.
  3. Get the complete agreement in writing instead of verbal statements.
  4. Tenants have rights too and they vary depending on the state and city.
  5. Tenants need renter’s insurance for their personal belongings and liability.
  6. The landlord is responsible for a habitable and safe environment and should typically pay for repairs due to normal wear and tear.
  7. Do a walk-through of the property before signing a lease.
  8. Don’t withhold the rent to settle a disagreement with landlord.
  9. The landlord must return your deposit or tell you why it is being held in a reasonable time.
  10. It may cost you considerably less to own the home than to rent.

With the exceptionally low mortgage rates available, the house payment including taxes and insurance can easily be less than the market rent of a home. By the time you factor in appreciation, forced savings due to amortization, leverage and tax savings, the actual cost of housing could be close to half of the rent even if a reasonable repair allowance is factored. Check out your net cost of housing.

net cost of housing.png

All my best,
Myra Spano, REALTOR®
 

About the Author:
 
Myra Spano is a service and results oriented real estate agent with her client’s goals as top priority.  Myra is recognized as a top producing agent in her office in Virginia Beach and enjoys working with both buyers and those selling their homes.
 
For information about purchasing a home in Virginia Beach, visit her website.  This site is focused on homes available for sale in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Email, call or text to make an appointment begin your home search.
 
If you are considering selling your home in Virginia Beach or one of the surrounding areas, visit the seller’s website to request a Free Market Analysis of your property.
 
Myra Spano & Prudential Towne Realty is awaiting to provide the real estate guidance you need.  Contact us now to make your home dreams come true!

Distressed Listings Activity Lowest in 4 Years

Distressed Listings Activity Lowest in 4 Years
(Virginia Beach, Virginia – June 2014)

To-date, the Hampton Roads real estate market has avoided the pitfall of too few listings, as experienced in other parts of the country. In fact, residential active listings increased significantly in May 2014 from the prior year. Unfortunately residential pending and settled sales have not kept pace, and experienced declines for May. Good news for the sales statistics is that distressed sales activity is dropping as well.

Last month’s residential active listings increased 9.54% when compared to May 2013. Each of the region’s seven major cities (Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach) saw year-over-year increases in the number of residential homes for sale. Suffolk and Chesapeake were dominant contributors to this jump, with increases of 17.82% and 17.05% respectively. The months’ supply of inventory of residential homes for sale is currently 6.9 months, up 4.86 % from May 2013 when it was 6.58.

Residential pending sales decreased year-over-year for the second time in 2014, with a slight 1.83% decline for the region in May. Despite the regional drop, Newport News, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach saw gains in pending sales of 35.37%, 20.49% and .33% respectively. Suffolk and Hampton experienced the largest declines of 15.03% and 11.04%.

For the fifth consecutive month residential settled sales have declined from the prior year. Norfolk and Virginia Beach were major contributors to the region’s drop, with year-over-year declines of 12.99% and 10.89%. Going against this trend, Suffolk, Newport News and Hampton saw increases of 28.70%, 9.09% and 7.56% respectively. While May’s sales may be down, the region’s median sales price for a residential home is currently $210,000, up 2.44% from May 2013’s median sales price of $205,000.

Distressed homes, those that are either short sales or foreclosures, had considerably less impact on the region’s real estate market during May 2014. Distressed homes accounted for only 17.97% of all
residential homes for sale in May 2014, down 4.44% from May 2013. The percentage of distressed homes as active listings has steadily declined each month in 2014, and has now reached its current level which is the lowest reading in 4 years, when it was 17.39% in May 2010. In the arena of residential settled sales, distressed homes accounted for 21.26% of all sales during May 2014, which is down 4.99% from May 2013, and down 8.23% from the beginning of the year.

May 2014 Summary

All Categories May 2014 May 2013 Percent Change
Total Property Active Listings 15,019 13,753 9.21%
Total Residential Active Listings 12,173 11,113 9.54%
Total Property Pending Sales 2,319 2,322 -0.13%
Total Residential Pending Sales 2,204 2,245 -1.83%
Total Property Sales 2,044 2,123 -3.72%
Total Residential Sales 1,953 2,030 -3.79%
Total Residential New Construction Sales 217 236 -8.05%
Median Residential Sales Price $210,000 $205,000 2.44%
Months’ Supply of Inventory 6.9 6.58 4.86%

* Total Property statistics include all property types (Residential, Commercial, Duplex, Apartment and Land & Farms), resale and new construction.
* Months’ Supply of Inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months average sales activity.

About REIN
Real Estate Information Network, Inc., (REIN) serves real estate brokers in the Tidewater / Hampton Roads area of Virginia from Williamsburg east to Virginia Beach and south to the North Carolina border. REIN is an independent MLS owned by broker stockholder members. Currently there are approximately 530 real estate firms with 650 offices, 6000 real estate agents, and 155 appraiser members using REIN. For more information visit http://www.REINMLS.com.

All my best,
Myra Spano, REALTOR®
 

About the Author:
 
Myra Spano is a service and results oriented real estate agent with her client’s goals as top priority.  Myra is recognized as a top producing agent in her office in Virginia Beach and enjoys working with both buyers and those selling their homes.
 
For information about purchasing a home in Virginia Beach, visit her website.  This site is focused on homes available for sale in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Email, call or text to make an appointment begin your home search.
 
If you are considering selling your home in Virginia Beach or one of the surrounding areas, visit the seller’s website to request a Free Market Analysis of your property.
 
Myra Spano & Prudential Towne Realty is awaiting to provide the real estate guidance you need.  Contact us now to make your home dreams come true!

Fifteen Will Get You Three

15 vs 30.pngFreddie Mac chief economist, Frank Nothaft, says that affordability, stability and flexibility are the three reasons homebuyers overwhelmingly choose a 30 year term. However, for those who can afford a higher payment, there are three additional reasons to choose a 15 year term: save interest, build equity and retire the debt sooner.

First-time buyers have a higher tendency to use a minimum down payment and are very concerned with affordable payments. It is understandable that the majority of these buyers select 30 year, fixed-rate mortgages.

Consider a $200,000 mortgage at 30 year and 15 year terms with recent mortgage rates at 4.2% and 3.31% respectively. The payment is $433.15 less on the 30 year term but the interest rate being charged is higher. The total interest paid by the borrower if each of the loans was retired would be almost three times more for the 30 year term.

mortgage.png

Another interesting thing about the 15 years mortgage is that more of the payment is going to principal than interest from the very first payment. It would take over 13 years on the 30 year mortgage for the principal to exceed the interest allocation.

Some people might suggest getting a 30 year loan and making the payments as if they were on a 15 year loan. That would certainly accelerate amortization and save interest. The real challenge is the discipline to actually make the payments on a consistent basis if you don’t have to. Many experts cite that one of the benefits of homeownership is a forced savings that occurs due to the amortization that is not necessarily done by renters.

All my best,
Myra Spano, REALTOR®
 

About the Author:
 
Myra Spano is a service and results oriented real estate agent with her client’s goals as top priority.  Myra is recognized as a top producing agent in her office in Virginia Beach and enjoys working with both buyers and those selling their homes.
 
For information about purchasing a home in Virginia Beach, visit her website.  This site is focused on homes available for sale in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Email, call or text to make an appointment begin your home search.
 
If you are considering selling your home in Virginia Beach or one of the surrounding areas, visit the seller’s website to request a Free Market Analysis of your property.
 
Myra Spano & Prudential Towne Realty is awaiting to provide the real estate guidance you need.  Contact us now to make your home dreams come true!

Make Good Offers Better

iStock_000019216251Small-250.jpgIt’s disappointing, frustrating and sometimes, discouraging when you lose a home you want to buy.

One of the hardest lessons for today’s buyers is that writing an offer doesn’t mean that you’ll get the home or even a counter-offer. The low inventory affecting many of the housing markets requires a different strategy to give you the best chance to get the home you want.

  1. Make your best offer initially; you may not get a chance to accept a counter.
  2. Submit a written pre-approval letter from the lender.
  3. Increase earnest money above what is considered normal.
  4. Make a larger down payment.
  5. Eliminate unnecessary contingencies.
  6. Don’t ask for personal property not included in the listing agreement.
  7. Pay your own customary closing costs.
  8. Shorten the inspection period.
  9. Buy the home “as is” subject to inspections which still allows you to get your earnest money back if the inspections are unacceptable but doesn’t require the seller to make repairs.
  10. Write the seller a hand-written, personal letter telling them why you want their home; include a picture of your family.
  11. Offer to use the seller’s or listing agent’s preferred title company.
  12. If you can pay cash, do so and arrange financing after closing. Be prepared to show proof of available funds.
  13. Schedule the closing as soon as possible but let the seller know you can be flexible.
  14. Once you decide on a home, act with expedience.
  15. Ask your real estate professional if they have any other suggestions.

Think of making an offer like applying for a job. You want to make your best impression and show why you are the best choice. You won’t always know that there are multiple offers. Approach the process like the competition is doing their best to get the home.

All my best,
Myra Spano, REALTOR®

About the Author:
Myra Spano is a service and results oriented real estate agent with her client’s goals as top priority.  Myra is recognized as a top producing agent in her office in Virginia Beach and enjoys working with both buyers and those selling their homes.
For information about purchasing a home in Virginia Beach, visit her website.  This site is focused on homes available for sale in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Email, call or text to make an appointment begin your home search.
If you are considering selling your home in Virginia Beach or one of the surrounding areas, visit the seller’s website to request a Free Market Analysis of your property.
Myra Spano & Prudential Towne Realty is awaiting to provide the real estate guidance you need.  Contact us now to make your home dreams come true!