Making the right choice in real estate can be daunting, but having great information from real estate agents and other professionals can help make your decision easier. We bring you the best real estate articles of November 2022 to make your decision more informed.
Knowing the Difference Between Assessed Values and Market Values
The value of your home is important to you and the local government. Property taxes depend on the assessed value of the home and decide some of the costs to live in the property. The market value of the home will also become important if you are looking to sell or refinance, but valuations for these purposes might be very different.
While you might think there is a strong link between the assessed value and the market value of a home, there isn’t generally. The assessed value is the valuation used by the municipality to collect taxes. Whereas the market value is the amount a buyer is willing to pay for the home.
Bill Gassett helps draw a line between the assessed value of property so that you don’t confuse these similar terms. He also goes into detail about how assessors find the value, and what you can do if the assessment is inaccurate.
Contingencies to Include with Your Offer
Home buying can be exciting, but with so much money involved, there are risks too. When you buy a home, there are contracts and legal terms to deal with to make sure both the buyer and the seller are protected.
These things can be confusing and are something that you will need to come to terms with to help you understand the process.
When you make an offer on a property, contingencies can be one point of confusion. Which contingencies do you need, and what can you leave out of your offer? There could also be pressure from the seller to drop contingencies, but which ones can you safely give up?
Luke Skar looks at the most common contingencies that you could include in the purchase contract. These contingencies will protect your earnest money should something be wrong with the home or if you encounter other problems.
How Big is an Acre of Land?
Buying land is an aspiration for many people, and owning acres of land can certainly sound impressive. But if you are buying a property that is one acre or 1.5 acres, what does that really mean?
Kevin Vitali helps you visualize the size of an acre, and delves into the interesting history behind this unit of measurement. The term acre stems from seventh-century England and means 43,560 square feet. It was considered to be what one man and two oxen could plow in a 12-hour day, though Kevin helps you visualize the size in ways that are easier to understand in this day and age.
Kevin shows how large an acre is in comparison to stadiums, and even queen mattresses. His article also looks at what a larger lot means to the value of your home when you come to sell.
Defining the Differences Between Real Estate Agents and Brokers
If you are not working in the real estate business, you might not realize that there is actually a difference between brokers and agents. These terms are frequently used interchangeably, but there are significant differences between these two roles.
A real estate agent will represent their clients when they are buying or selling a home. And to be a real estate agent, training needs to be completed and state exams passed. A broker has to meet these requirements and can work for clients in the same way, but they have other responsibilities and options as well.
The differences between real estate agents and brokers are looked at by Bill Gassett in this interesting article. A career in real estate might also be something you are thinking about, and Bill’s article will give you a clearer understanding of whether this is right for you.
Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?
Being debt free is a dream for many people. Finally freeing yourself from the responsibility of making mortgage payments each month is a great feeling. But even if you have the finances to pay off your mortgage and finally stop wasting money on interest payments to the lender, is it actually the right choice?
Without mortgage payments to make each month, you will have more disposable income. You can use this money to splash out on things you’ve always wanted or to make investments for the future, but whatever your plans are, the decision might not be as straightforward as you imagine.
It might be the case that you will be better off investing money in the stock market, where you could make more money than you would save on interest payments.
If you have debts, the interest on these loans is likely to be higher than your mortgage. So taking care of debts first is normally a better option.
You also need to consider your retirement. If you are near retirement, paying off the mortgage could be more attractive and mean lower outgoings. But if you are further away from retiring, investing might offer a better return.
There are also things like mortgage fees and tax deductions to consider, and Michelle covers these to give you a better understanding of what you should do.
Winning a Bidding War
If you have fallen in love with a home, finding out that there are other interested buyers will be disappointing. Entering into a bidding war might make you assume you’ll need to spend a lot more to buy the home, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
Kyle Hiscock provides some very valuable information to anyone buying a home in a competitive market. From your earnest money, contingencies, appraisal gaps, and closing dates, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of winning a bidding war.
Dealing with Higher Mortgage Rates
The real estate market is always changing, and right now the increases in interest rates mean it is more difficult for sellers. This swings things in favor of buyers and leaves sellers with more things to think about.
Higher interest rates mean buyers cannot afford to spend as much as they previously could, as they still need to afford their monthly mortgage payments. Sellers cannot expect to receive as much money for their home as they could have done last year, but there are still things you can do to make the best of the situation.
Paul Sian offers tips for sellers to help navigate the current market conditions and find a buyer for their home. While you might be worried about increasing mortgage rates, some options and choices will make selling, even in more difficult conditions, still very possible.
Earnest Money vs. Down Payments
When you’re buying a home, you’re expected to have cash available that needs to be paid at certain points in a transaction. There are many fees and costs that you might not expect if you are a first-time buyer or if it has been a while since you purchased your last home. Two of these costs are earnest money and down payments.
When you make an offer on a home, the seller will often expect you to hand over a good faith deposit, also known as earnest money. This shouldn’t be confused with a down payment, which is required at closing.
Earnest money and down payments differ in many ways but still make up a large expense when you purchase a home. Both of these costs involve paying a percentage of the purchase price of the home, so you’ll want to be aware of what these terms really mean.
Earnest money can affect how the seller looks at your offer and it can be at risk if something goes wrong during your purchase. Down payments can affect the amount of interest you will pay on your mortgage and the other expenses that are involved when getting a home loan.
Luke Skar takes you through everything you need to understand about earnest money and down payments. This should leave you less in the dark and better prepared for these costs during the home-buying process.
Things You Need to Know About Appraisals Contingencies
Buying a home involves bringing in professionals that could have the power to completely derail your purchase. This can create stressful situations for the buyer and the seller when they are unfamiliar with the process.
One of the parts of a real estate transaction that can cause concern is the appraisal. It could mean that the buyer isn’t able to finance the purchase of the home if an appraiser doesn’t consider it worth the amount offered.
But what can you do if the home you have made an offer on doesn’t appraise? An appraisal contingency could help you if you find yourself in this situation.
When a home is bought or sold, an appraisal contingency is often included. This protects the buyer, ensuring their earnest money is protected should their financing not be approved. Sharon Paxson lays out the details of the appraisal contingency, helping buyers and sellers have a clearer understanding of the process and their options.
It might be the case that there is pressure to give up this contingency to make your offer look better to the seller. However, this is often not a good option which could mean more risks when buying a home.
Changing Market Conditions
When is the right time to buy a home? This is a question that many buyers struggle with, and the answer isn’t straightforward.
The real estate market has changed quite a lot since the summer when sellers were in a better situation. But now, with fewer buyers around, a different approach might be needed.
Vicki Moore looks at some of the changing aspects of buying and selling a home in these different conditions. While you might want to time your purchase just right, waiting can mean missing out.
Perhaps you might decide that buying a home right now isn’t right for you. You could conclude that the current situation offers you an opportunity as the buyer to get a better price. But ultimately, whether right now is the right time to buy or sell depends on if you are ready and need to move.
Whenever you decide to purchase, you need to consider the market and whether it favors buyers or sellers, changing your approach to make the best of the situation. Though the real estate market is changing, the picture isn’t the same everywhere. In some markets, there will be more competition than in others, and you will need to adjust accordingly.
This month’s articles offer valuable advice to buyers and sellers even in changing market conditions. While change is a constant, it doesn’t need to be something that prevents you from finding your dream home, and there are always opportunities.
PREVIOUS REAL ESTATE ROUNDUPS
Have a look at some of the excellent advice from previous real estate roundups.
- The best real estate articles from October 2022 – See last month’s roundup of great content.
- The best real estate articles for September 2022 – get a recap of some of the best buyer and seller articles for September.
About the author: the above roundup of the best articles from November 2022 was written by Luke Skar. Luke is a 19+ year veteran of the mortgage industry. He strives to stay updated with the latest changes and trends in mortgage lending and real estate.
Through his mortgage blog, websites, and social media accounts, his goal is to help the community with as much factual knowledge as possible that benefits all parties in real estate transactions.