Strong Temptations for Home Buying

The monthly cost of owning a home is more affordable now than in the past 15 years, and is less expensive than renting in numerous cities, according to The Wall Street Journal’s third-quarter survey.

Low home prices mixed with low mortgage rates—hovering at 4 percent or even lower—are creating an appealing buyer’s market, analysts say. For example, buyers today have a 77 percent increase in their borrowing power compared to 1991, Dan Green, a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati, told The Wall Street Journal. To illustrate: He says that in 1991 a $1,700 mortgage payment allowed a borrower to take out a $200,000 mortgage, whereas today the home owner taking advantage of current low rates can get a $350,000 loan for that mortgage payment amount.

In the 28 cities that The Wall Street Journal tracked, it found monthly mortgage payments on the median-priced home—including taxes and insurance—to be lower than the average rent levels in 12 of the metro areas.

Atlanta was found to be the city where owning was more favorable to renting by the most. For example, the monthly rent on the median-priced home there was $539 during the third quarter (with a 20 percent down payment) compared to the average asking rent which averaged $840, according to data provided by Marcus & Millichap.

Nationwide, apartment rents are expected to rise by about 4 percent this year, which may make the owning vs. renting picture tilt even higher, according to some analysts.

Despite the appealing housing picture for home buyers, some buyers continue to stay on the sidelines, unable to sell their current home, qualify for mortgages due to the tightening of credit, or keep a steady job, housing expert say.

Source: “Stronger Lure for Prospective Home Buyers,” The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 26, 2011)

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Home Buying and Selling Tips for Fall

HGTV’s real estate site Front Door says the weeks between now and the end-of-the year holidays are the best ones to find a bargain. Here are some of their tips for fall buyers and sellers:

Fall Sellers:
· Replace faded summer plants with fall-blooming flowers and add autumn decorations to the home.
· Expect low-ball offers and be prepared with higher counter offers.
· Freshen up listing photos by shooting pictures that make it less obvious that the seasons have changed.
· Price the home to sell. A price that is a little lower than the competition may be a winning move.
· Be willing to show the property and hold open houses whenever potential buyers are ready.

Fall Buyers:
· Look for motivated sellers who have a reason to move on by the end of the year.
· Explore new constructions. Builders are often particularly interested in selling before the new tax year.
· Beware of fall maintenance issues. Consider overflowing gutters and leaf-covered lawns warning signs.
· Shape offers carefully. Even in this market it is possible to turn sellers off with a too-low bid.

Source: FrontDoor.com (09/16/2010)

Front Gate Properties, We’re selling the BEST Real Estate in Aiken, SC.