6 Significant First Time Home Buyer Statistics and Trends

 

 

Statistical Analysis from the Broker

As a person aspiring for employment in the real estate sector, there are some statistics that need to be known to have an edge over competitors in the industry. One also needs to know the most effective approaches that lead to success in the field. The good news is that there has been research on several of these aspects and you could use the findings to be successful in your work.

 

The Home Search Process

Real Estate Agents continue to be a critical component in the home buyers search process. Home buyers are relying heavily on online sources and their agents to provide information, with decreasing use of some sources, such as newspapers and open houses. Home buyers typically spend 12 weeks searching for a home and preview an average of 12 properties before deciding on their purchase. The Internet has become an essential and indispensable tool in the home search process with 90% of home buyers using it to search for homes, and 52% of buyers stating that the use of the Internet was the first step taken during the home buying process.

Property Searches

The most popular strategy employed by client to seek property is the internet. Up to 88% of people hoping to buy property will turn to the internet as a source of information. Also, 87% will go for the services of an agent whereas 55% of them will watch out for yard signs as well. Newspapers will also be used as a source of information by 30% of prospective home owners as will magazines. Despite the significant number of people who check out for homes to buy in newspapers, only 2% get their dream homes from this source. 

Agent Statistics

Statistics also seek to show the agents that these prospective home owners solicit assistance from in their search for home ownership. 66% of property owners actually worked with the first agent they contacted for such help. 16% of them had to talk to two agents before choosing the one to involve while 13% of home owners made their pick of an estate agent after contacting three agents.

Where are the Buyers?

To know the places from where most buyers found the homes they ended up buying would also be crucial for your marketing. The internet leads in this category with 40% buying homes they found there while agents were responsible for 35% of the homes bought. Yard signs are also crucial as a source of information in this regard and account for 11% of homes bought just like friends whose references led to 6% of the sales. Thus, for one who wishes to sell a house, he has 20 times more chances to make a successful sale by advertising on the internet when compared to newspaper ads.

Marketing Listings

Marketing of listings is also an important element of the work done by estate agents. The internet is used as a marketing platform by 97% of the agents while yard signs are employed by 77%. The open house strategy is used 58% of the times whereas newspaper and magazine ads account for 31% and 25% respectively. Direct mail and syndication sites as well as videos are also used. 73% of property owners would go for services from agents willing to do a video yet only 14% use them currently.

Use Technology

Technology is being more and more appreciated by these workers and 49% of them believe that it helps them serve clients more conveniently and maintain a competitive edge. 19% of them feel that they need technology to keep in line with the competition while 8 % believe it saves time. Hence, the strategies of real estate agents definitely have to include technology today more than ever.

Sources: The National Association of Realtors Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers, Real estate tech trends report

 

Fair Housing Act Guarantees Equal Opportunities for Everyone:  What you CAN and CAN NOT Say

 

The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) creates equal housing opportunities for all persons living in America by administering laws that prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status.

The Fair Housing Act makes it federally illegal to discriminate in the sale, lease or rental of real property based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. So, interestingly enough, there are some simple words and phrases that are acceptable and some that will land you in tons of trouble.

As a Real Estate Broker, Agent, Apartment Community Manager, Private Home Seller, Renter or Landlord, it is imperative you and your staff are knowledgeable about the Fair Housing Act and its guidelines.

Because we live in the greatest country in the known world, America offers its amazing diversity of citizens the opportunity to purchase or rent a place to call home without the threat of discrimination. Here are a few terms to keep in mind:

What You Can NOT Say

When advertising or showing property, stay away from using these types of descriptions:

  1. Student Housing; Mature
  2. Adults; Kids/No Kids
  3. Exclusive Community
  4. Traditional or Private
  5. Unmarried or Married
  6. Senior Citizens Only
  7. Empty Nesters
  8. Gay Friendly/Straight

These are terms that tend to imply a discriminatory attitude toward possible exclusion from a sale or rental. Be careful because terms like

  • Private
  • Semi-Private
  • Restricted
  • Traditional 
  • Integrated can be misconstrued as discriminatory.

 Try to be more specific and qualify your description by saying, 

  • “Private: Gated Entrance” instead of “Private Community or Subdivision”

Don’t use racial or significant landmarks of national origin when providing directions. Omit the fact that it’s near Arlington Cemetery or St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Give specific street directions to avoid confusion.

When describing the property, you have a bit more freedom. Tell your potential clients it’s a traditional brick home with a private entrance. Do they know that there is a mother-in-law suite and a second kitchen in the basement? Is the property secluded? Mention it. And don’t forget the large, walk-in closets, the private backyard and the huge master bedroom on the main floor. Attract business clientele by mentioning its potential for a professional or executive looking for the right place to call home. Non-smoker is even okay to use.

The term “No Pets” is tricky. No pets are fine, but if you are looking to rent the property the landlord must make allowances for those who require pets to assist them (i.e. the visually impaired).

It’s always a good idea to keep current and knowledgeable about the laws and regulations that affect the Real Estate industry.Thus far in 2013, there has been 13 HUD (Housing and Urban Development) discrimination cases.

If you would like more information, please visit the website for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Top 7 Apps for House Hunters

My family and I are packing for vacation to Greece (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos and Crete) and I was searching for Travel photography apps that can help us capture the beauty of our experience in our images.

Speaking of apps, it made me think, “what apps would benefit my clients during their search for “Homes in Atlanta” (or any city in Georgia) and it sparked this blog.

House hunting is done 90% online (now, don’t quote me because I just made that 90% up, but it seems as though most house hunters are using the internet or their mobile phones to search for homes more than anything else). Am I wrong? … Probably Not…

Thanks to online platforms such as Zillow and Redfin, searching for homes that fit your criteria has become way easier than driving through neighborhoods searching for “For Sale” or “Realtor” signs. **Driving through neighborhoods IS a step in the home buying process once you have decided the neighborhood you would like to live in (but we’ll get to that in more detail in another post).

There are more apps than you may think are out there for house hunters. To make life easier, I’ve put together a quick cheat sheet with all of the FREE apps available. Everybody knows, we love Freebies!

redfin

Redfin

You really can’t go wrong with Redfin. With features like foreclosure notifier, short sales alters, and for-sale-by-owner listing updates, it’s one of the most simple real estate apps on the market. You can search nearby homes, schools, condos, open houses, and townhouses, and see photos, top-down maps, and more. A host of built-in sharing tools also let you send your favorites via text message, email, or social media.

Download now for:

ANDROID IOS

homes

Homes.com

Homes.com gives you access to millions of homes, apartments, condos, townhome and rental home listings at your fingertips. Better yet, you can sort the results by neighborhood market conditions, neighborhoods, foreclosure status — which includes listings from REO, HUD, and others. They’ve got the sexiest mortgage calculator to project your mortgage range or rent payments. Each listing is packed with property photos and stats too, and when you find one that you love, you can share it via a text message, messenger, email, Facepage and MyFace.

Download now for:

ANDROID IOS

xome

Xome

Xome, an integrated real estate platform, aims to streamline the home-hunting process with innovative search tools. Xome Zoom lets you “zoom in” on any of the 100 million homes in Zoom’s property list (refreshed every 15 minutes), and filter search results by property type, price range, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, nearby schools, square footage, open houses, and a slew of other popular metrics. Xome’s Walk Score and school information also show which communities might be a good fit for you and your family, while Xome’s aptly-titled Value feature shows the market value for a given property. One of the app’s other hallmarks, Xome Concierge, puts you in touch with an agent, who can schedule a showing and answer questions about the property at hand.

Download now for:

ANDROID IOS

zillow

Zillow

Zillow is one of the most comprehensive — and customizable — real estate services on the market. Its Zestimate tool lets you look up the rent or worth of any property in the United States, and robust search tools let you search by foreclosure stats, property type (single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, condos, and more), geographic location, address, region, price, and features such as the number of beds and baths. Social tools include a Renter profile, which helps you reach potential landlords and realtors, and a sharing tool that lets you circulate finds among friends and family. When you’re finally ready to commit, Zillow makes it easy to track down a local lender who’ll pre-approve you for a mortgage.

Download now for:

ANDROID IOS

homesnap

HomeSnap

One of my absolute favorite apps, HomeSnap. HomeSnap is not your average house hunting app. You can Snap a picture of any home and the app will show you details like, home value estimates, interior photos, beds, baths, taxes, lot boundaries, related schools, school ratings, etc. Or if you’re in a neighborhood, you can simply open the app and it will show you any home that is on the market, sold or has an open house etc. HomeSnap says it has 20-percent more agent listings than national portals, and that its buying tools are “best in class.” It certainly does seem that way, especially given you can also chat with realtors and landlords directly after taking a photo. I love this app!

Download now for:

ANDROID IOS

trulia

Trulia

Starting your search is simple with Trulia. Trulia instantly shows beautifully detailed real estate listings based on your location and automatically remembers the properties you like to provide better recommendations. Or, if you know just what you’re looking for, you can search homes for sale, homes for rent, or apartments for rent by location, feature, size, price, keyword, and much, much more. Then Trulia can send you real-time updates about your favorite listings and notify you when new homes hit the market that match your preferences. When you find a house or apartment that looks interesting, share it with your friends, family, or significant other, or connect with a realtor. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Trulia features an affordability breakdown that calculates the full cost of owning your dream home, as well as an open house scheduler, a mortgage calculator, voice controls, a chat platform, iMessage support, and support for Android Wear smartwatches. It’s definitely not a boring app.

Download now for:

ANDROID IOS

realtor

Realtor.com

The Realtor.com app claims to provide the best list of homes tailored to your needs and provides homes you otherwise might miss; it also claims to show more homes for sale than any other real estate app. You can browse listings (updated every 15 minutes) with their SnipSnap feature (you snap a photo of a real-life “For Sale” sign and it will use recognition to show you detailed listing information). You can also filter listings based on the address, city, zip code, home prices, the number of beds and baths, square footage, and a multitude of other metrics, and listings include information about price, sales, schools, and more. The app even supports Google’s Chromecast, meaning you can stream open house and apartment info — including directions — to your TV.

Download now for:

ANDROID IOS

I hope these apps are helpful during your home search. Let us know which is your favorite. Drop a line below.

Tootles!!!

5 Tips for First Time Homebuyers

If you’re planning to buy your first home in the next year or so, you should know up front that it can be a stressful experience. It is one of the biggest investments that you will make in your life and that alone is enough to escalate one’s stress levels.

We’ve prepared tips for buyers to help make the process easier and less stressful.

 1. Decide whether you really want to buy – Purchasing a home is the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Make sure you are fully ready to buy. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you tired of paying rent?
  • Have you decided to pay your own mortgage and not your landlord’s?
  • Have you outgrown your current home?
  • Are you looking for an investment portfolio?
  • Are you looking for a rental property?
  • Would you like a larger yard?
  • Would you rather live in a different area?
  • Do you want to shorten your commute?
  • Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property

Answering these questions will give you a WHY (your purpose…everybody has one)!

2. Get a free copy of your credit report from annual credit report– Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies EACH YEAR. Once you have your report, review it carefully for errors.  If you find errors or discrepancies on your report, start clearing them up right away. Inaccurate info on your report should be reported to a credit reporting agency and the creditor directly. You can also file a dispute with the credit reporting agency for free.

3. What can you afford? – You should plan to spend between 25 percent and 33 percent of your gross monthly income on just your housing expenses, depending on how conservative you want to be with your finances. Comparatively, mortgage lenders generally agree you can pay between 28 percent and 36 percent of your gross income in total debt. Speaking with a mortgage broker is the best way to confirm how much house you can afford.

4. Set a savings goal – Once you know what you can afford, take a hard look at your current lifestyle and determine how much you need to save—and where you can make some cuts. Reducing unnecessary daily expenses, like buying gourmet coffee or eating meals out, can turn into big savings each month.

5. Educate yourself on the current lending market and collect all the information you need to present to a lender – As you prepare for your big purchase, work on getting all of your documentation together so you are ready to apply for your home loan. Keep all of your documents in one safe and secure place  You’ll find current copies of lending guidelines online for Freddie MacFannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration.

Gather and organize all of the documents your lender will need:

  • W2 forms 
  • Copies of completed federal tax forms for the last two years
  • Copies of one month’s worth of pay stubs
  • Copies of the last two or three bank statements for every bank account, IRA, 401(k), or other retirement or brokerage account you may have

By preparing now for your home purchase, you can avoid the hassles that come with buying a home.

(We’ll have a few more blogs about organization and tips that we use to stay organized and stress free during home buying process, including our Milestone Manager Planner)