The more equity in your home, the more options you have. Since equity is determined by the difference between value and what is owed on a property, when homes lost value during the Great Recession, homeowners’ equity decreased.
Negative equity occurs when the value is less than the mortgage owed. According to CoreLogic, 91% of all mortgaged properties have equity and only 4.4 million properties remain in negative equity at the end of the second quarter in 2015.
A homeowner, who qualifies, can release part of their equity by refinancing the existing loan and taking out additional cash or by getting a home equity loan. The benefits include:
It could be as simple as waiting for positive home equity so owners can move to another home without having to pay out-of-pocket expenses to sell their home.
An Automated Valuation Model, AVM, is a computer approach that looks at public records to make a determination based on square footage, comparable sales and other elements. It is as easy as putting your address in a blank but unfortunately, AVM results may only be accurate about 20% of the time.
A popular AVM, Zestimate®, states “It is considered a starting point at determining a home’s value.” While an AVM contains some of the same information as a comparable market analysis, it lacks a critical human factor.
Having a pair of experienced eyes consider aspects that are not easily quantified can make a big difference. A skilled professional can tell which properties are truly comparable. A knowledgeable expert can recognize features, floorplans and other things that can affect value but are difficult to quantify.
Even if a person isn’t ready to sell their investment, they like to know its value. It is easy to find the price of stocks or mutual funds on any given day but the value of a home is more difficult.
Regardless of whether you’re just curious as to how much your home is worth or are ready to monetize your equity, I’m available to give you that information without obligation. If you’re not ready now, just keep the letter for when you are.
Rents are continuing to increase to the point that in most markets, it is significantly less expensive to own than to rent. Even after you factor repairs into the equation, the low interest rates, principal accumulation due to amortization, appreciation and tax savings lower the monthly cost of housing.
Low inventories coupled with strong demand cause a rising effect on prices. Another reason for higher values is that builders, especially in certain price ranges, have not ramped up new home starts to keep up with the demand.
Recently, the Federal Reserve announced that they intend to start raising rates. Most experts agree that higher interest rates are a foregone conclusion; it is just a matter of when it will happen.
A $300,000 home today could cost considerably more one year from now. With a 20% down payment, if prices go up by 3% and the interest rates increase by .5%, the principal and interest payment at 3.625% would be $1,094.52 for 30 years compared to $1,198.05 at 4.125%.
The question is not necessarily “can you afford the additional $103.53 more per month that you’d have to pay for the home during the 30 year term?” More importantly, “How would you feel about having to pay more because you weren’t ready to make a decision and what would you have spent it on if you didn’t have to pay a higher payment?”