Homeownership is the Key to Well-Being in Retirement

Home-Equity

There has been much talk about homeownership and whether it is a true vehicle for building wealth. A new report looks at the impact owning a home has on the financial wellbeing of people closing in on their retirement years (ages 55-64).

In recently study by the Hamilton Project, Ten Economic Facts about Financial Well-Being in Retirement, it was revealed that:

1. Middle-class households near retirement age have about as much wealth in their homes as they do in their retirement accounts.

“Over the past quarter century the largest single source of wealth for all but the richest households nearing retirement age has been their homes, which accounted for about two-fifths of net worth in the early 1990s and accounts for about one-third today.”

2. Home equity is a very important source of net worth to all but the wealthiest households near retirement age.

“Home equity is an important source of wealth for middle income households, accounting for more than one-third of total net worth for the second, third, and fourth quintiles of the net worth distribution… The fifth quintile has a much larger share in business equity—almost a quarter—than any other quintile. (The figure leaves out the bottom quintile of households because they have negative net worth. It is likely that these households will rely almost exclusively on Social Security in retirement.)”

Here is an asset breakdown for the middle 20% of Americans determined by median net worth ($165, 720):

2Components-of-Net-Worth

Obviously, the data again proves that homeownership has a big role in building wealth for American families 

Are you prepared to retire and ready to start a new life?  YES?, We the ASSAL team are here to help you reach your goal faster, easier and with a smile on your face while planning your future. Call us today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com– you can count on our help every step.

Is now a good time to Rent? Definitely NOT!

No-Rent

People often ask us whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau just released their second quarter median rent numbers.

Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

Increase-in-rents

At the same time, a report by Axiometrics revealed:

“The national apartment market’s annual effective rent growth rate of 5.1% in June 2015 represented a 47-month high, and continued a streak of 5.0%-plus rent growth that is now the longest in at least six years, according to apartment market research. The effective rent growth in June 2014 was 3.7%, putting June 2015’s exceptional performance into perspective. 

This is the highest rate since the 5.3% of July 2011. The metric has reached at least 5.0% for five straight months, the longest such streak since Axiometrics started monthly reporting of annual apartment data in April 2009.”

Where will rents be headed in the future?

Stephanie McCleskey, Axiometrics vice president of research, commented on the above report in an article by Real Estate Economy Watch:

“Rent growth is just shy of the post-recession peak, and the June metrics reflect the continued strength of the apartment market. The demand for apartments is still strong, despite the record number of new units being delivered this year. Tight occupancy is why landlords can push rents higher.”

Bottom Line

Tired of paying rent? Are you ready, willing and able to start a new life? if you answered YES, now may make sense, it might not be a good time to rent however is a good time to buy,  We (the ASSAL team) are not for rent nor for sale but YES to help you reach your goal faster, easier and with a smile on your face! Call us today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com– you can count on our help every step of the way.

The REAL Reasons to Buy a Home

Real Reasons to Buy

We often talk about the financial reasons why buying a home makes sense. But often, the emotional reasons are the more powerful, or compelling reasons. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University performs a study every year surveying participants for the reasons that American’s feel are most important in regards to homeownership.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by respondents were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchasing their home, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list.

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Conclusion 

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in their life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.  We the ASSAL team are another reason for you to buy a house, while reaching your goal faster, easier and with a smile on your face! Call us today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com– you can count on our help every step of the way.

Don’t Wait to Move Up to Your Dream Home!

Dont Wait

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to their dream home. With interest rates still near 4% and home values on the rise, now may be a great time to make a move.

Sellers should realize that waiting while mortgage rates are increasing probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain budget for your monthly housing costs.

Here is a chart detailing this point:

Buyers Purchasing Power

With each quarter percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now give us a call  to help you get your dream home. We at the ASSAL team want to make sure you get the most house for your hard earned money, while reaching your goal faster, easier and with a smile on your face! Call us today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com– you can count on our help every step of the way.

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed? This Fall? Next Year?

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be.

Mortgage Rates

That is why it is important to look at where rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year.

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s July 2015 U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next 12 months.

Mortgage Rate

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, the SVP & Chief Economist for CoreLogic, had this to say in their latest Market Pulse:

“If you are thinking of buying a home and have the financial means to do so, this could be a good time to take a look at the neighborhoods you are interested in. We expect home prices in our national index to be up about 4.3% in the next 12 months, and mortgage rates are also likely to increase over the next year.”

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next home.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth. Meet with us to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home. Remember We at the ASSAL team want to make sure you get the lowest mortgage rate possible, while reaching your goal faster, easier and with a smile on your face! Give us a call today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com– you can count on our help every step of the way.

Things to Consider When Buying a Home (Summer Guide 2015)

Check List Guide

Thank you to those that  have e-mailed us with questions and concerns about things to consider when buying a home, since we care about you, the ASSAL team has put together a guide called “Buying a Home – Buyer Guide”.

Click here to view our “Buying a Home Summer Guide 2015″This powerful “Buyer Guide” will help you simply and effectively understand the current market opportunities.

As we said it before, Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?. The ASSAL team is here to help you, call us, We want to make sure you have all answers to those questions and/or concerns and most important to help you overcome your fears and reach your goal faster, (the goal is for you to buy your dream home) easier and with a smile on your face! Give us a call today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com– you can count on our help every step of the way.

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional Today!

We Help each other to reach the goal
We Help each other to reach the goal

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers and/or buyers think that they can sell and/or buy through a for sale by Owner also known as FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,700 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?. We at the ASSAL team want to make sure you reach your goal faster, easier and with a smile on your face! Give us a call today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com– you can count on our help every step of the way.

What is a Housing Bubble? Is One Forming?

Bubble

The recent talk of Greece and its financial challenges has some questioning whether the U.S. could also return to the crisis we experienced in 2008. Some are looking at the rise in real estate values and wondering whether we are in the middle of another housing price bubble.

What actually is a price bubble?

Here is the definition according to Jack M. Guttentag, Professor of Finance Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania:

“A price bubble is a rise in price based on the expectation that the price will rise. Sooner or later something happens to erode confidence in continued price increases, at which point the bubble bursts and prices drop. What makes it a price bubble is that the cause of the price increase is an expectation that the price will increase, which sooner or later must reverse itself.”

Does Professor Guttentag believe we are in another housing bubble?

In a recent article, he explained:

“My view is that we are a long way from another house price bubble. Home buyers, lenders, investors and regulators now understand that a nationwide decline in house prices is possible — because we recently lived through one.”

What are home prices doing?

Though home values are continuing to appreciate, the acceleration of the increases has slowed to year-over-year numbers which reflect a healthy housing market. Here is a chart showing year-over-year appreciation since January of last year:

Case-Shiller

We can see that appreciation rates have dropped from double digit numbers to more normal rates of 5% or lower.

Bottom Line

We think Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal put it best in a recent tweet:

“Predictions of a new national home price bubble look unfounded for now, according to data.”

Interested in selling your home or looking to buy one, give us a call today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com. We will look forward to hearing from you!

For Sellers – Two Graphs That Scream List Your House Today

Supply-Demand

The spring and summer months have always been known as a very popular time for homebuyers to start the search for their dream home. This year is no different!

We all learned in school that when selling anything, you will get the most money if the demand for that item is high and the inventory of that item is low. It is the well-known Theory of Supply & Demand.

If you are thinking of selling your home, here are two graphs that strongly suggest that the time is now. Here is why…

DEMAND

Foot-Traffic
According to NAR, “Foot Traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.”

According to research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer activity this year has far outpaced the same months in 2014. Purchasers who are ready, willing and able to buy are in the market at great numbers.

SUPPLY

The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from NAR revealed that the current supply of housing inventory is at a 5.1 month supply, which remains below the 6-months necessary for a normal market.

Buyer demand is far outpacing the supply of homes available for sale.
Buyer demand is far outpacing the supply of homes available for sale.

Bottom Line

Listing your house for sale when demand is high and supply is low will guarantee the offers made will truly reflect the true value of your property. Interested in selling your home or looking to buy one, give us a call today at 786.554.8063 or send us an email at george@georgeassal.com. We will look forward to hearing from you!

Your Neighborhood Realtor: Why Your Neighborhood Matters just as Much as Your New Home

Coral Way Banyan Trees

Last week I was having a conversation with a friend, and she asked me a question I get often—Why do you call yourself the neighborhood realtor?

It comes down to one simple reason—I would never put you somewhere I wouldn’t live. And when I’m making a decision about where to live, I’m taking years of experience into account and taking zero risk. The surroundings of your new home, your future neighborhood, can be just as important as the house itself.   And if I’m going to help you find a house, or buy one for myself, I’m thinking about the following things:

  • The neighbors and the block around the corner
  • The school district
  • The reason cited for the current home owner’s decision to sell
  • Other homes up for sale in the area
  • Predicted increase or decrease in property value

If you run every morning, I’m going to take a walk around the block to make sure you’ll feel safe beyond your street. If you have kids, I know that you’re looking to put their education first—and in Miami, location is everything. If you’re an investor, I’m going to make sure that your real estate investment is based on proprietary market insight and research. And if you work in another part of town, I’m going to have a good estimate on what your commute will look like every morning and what upcoming construction could affect that.

I know the questions to ask, so that you don’t have too, and in fact, I have customers for this very reason in my own neighborhood of Silver Bluff.

As a 26-year-old arriving to the United States,  I worked hard to have a piece of the “American dream” and one of the biggest parts of that dream is home ownership. Home ownership isn’t something I take lightly, as I know the work it takes to get to that point, and it is no coincidence that I got into the business of helping people find homes. Whether you are looking to find your first home or make a move into a much bigger one, I’m ready to be part of your process start to finish, in English or Spanish, night or day.

A proud Venezuelan born to Arabic parents, my time in the US was not my first exposure to hard work or a dream for better opportunity. My parents owned a store where I spent my summer vacations, and I shared my parents’ love for working with people and their strong work ethic—something I incorporate into my work every day, and something I’m looking forward to sharing more and more with you on this blog.

Moving forward, I’d like to share more of my insight on neighborhoods in and around Miami, quick tips for how to move a house faster, ideas for a less painful move or open house prep and of course, a few must-see listings. My goal is to help you, even if we aren’t in direct contact, and I’d love to hear from you with any questions.