Your home-buying priorities

93598665What are the features you want to see in your next home? The National Association of Realtors recently surveyed home buyers nationwide on the home features that are most important to them. They found that the typical home buyer currently is looking for a three- bedroom, two-bathroom home with a garage and updated kitchen.

The study also found that home buying needs and preferences vary by age. According to the survey, family needs were the biggest factor in prioritizing home amenities for home buyers under the age of 55. For many families with small children, for example, features such as the number of bedrooms, school quality and yard size can be important considerations. For those 55 years and older, privacy—having a space solely their own—was the main goal. In that age group, the number of bedrooms and lot size are not as important for many home buyers.

Contemporary and colonial homes were the preference of Millennials, while ranch homes, which typically have a single level and no stairs, are the most popular home style for buyers 55 and older. Lastly, while many home buyers age 55+ are moving from other homes, many Millennials are moving from rentals and purchasing their first homes. In fact, the survey shows that rent increases are driving many Millennials to become homeowners this year.

Finding the right residential mortgage company makes all the difference when buying a home. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or moving up, our in-house financing, wide variety of loan options and five-star customer service are designed to make your financing experience as stress-free as possible.

The first step toward homeownership

76765603_MAre you ready to purchase a home, but you’re not sure if you qualify for a mortgage? In the latest Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey by the National Association of Realtors, non-homeowners were asked about what they believe would prevent them from purchasing a home. Limited income was No. 1 (47 percent of respondents), followed by student loan debt (30 percent), rising rent (28 percent) and health and medical costs (14 percent).

Non-homeowners were also asked the potential reasons why qualifying for a mortgage would be difficult. Again, income was the top factor (45 percent), followed by less-than-perfect credit (34 percent) and too much debt (26 percent). Another 29 percent said they lacked the financial knowledge or did not know the first step needed to qualify.

If you want to purchase a home, but you’re not sure if you are in the right financial situation to do so now, it’s never too early to visit Primary Residential Mortgage and discuss your financial situation. Visiting us early can provide you with the information you need to be a better home loan candidate and can provide an outline of what you need to do to be in a position to buy a home. You can learn about the wide variety of home loan programs available. To qualify for a mortgage, you might need to work on increasing your credit score, pay down some student debt or do a better job of keeping your expenses under control over a period of time leading up to applying for a home loan. Put yourself on the path to homeownership, Visit us today.

What you need to know about the earnest money deposit

29909069 - business woman prepare writing a checkWhen making an offer on a home, you’ll need to decide how much you’re going to offer for the property and how much to offer in earnest money. The earnest money deposit is an important part of the home buying process. It’s an amount of money that is used to show sellers that a buyer is serious — or ‘earnest’ — about buying their home. Sellers rarely accept offers that don’t include an earnest money deposit.

Your real estate agent will help you decide how much earnest money to offer. In some cases, you’ll offer a set amount, such as $1,000. In other cases, a percentage of the amount offered on the home — such as 1% to 2% — is more appropriate. In the many competitive housing markets, an earnest money deposit of as much as 3% to 4% or more might be warranted. If you end up purchasing a home, your earnest money is typically held by a title company or the seller’s broker — depending on the state in which the transaction is taking place — and will be applied toward your down payment and closing costs.

Larger earnest money deposits — especially in competitive housing markets and in multiple offer situations — can signal to a seller that you’re serious. What happens to that money if the home sale doesn’t go through? A purchase contract should spell out instances in which an earnest money deposit would be refunded, such as if the buyer’s financing falls through, a home inspection finds a costly hidden defect or the home in deemed uninsurable.

PRMI loan officers recognized for outstanding customer service

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At Primary Residential Mortgage, we are dedicated to providing the very best home loan experience possible for our customers. That’s why we’re happy to announce that one dozen PRMI loan officers have been recognized nationally for the outstanding customer service they provide to their customers.

PRMI loan officer Kaley Giessing, ranks in the top 10 on a list compiled by online marketing firm SocialSurvey. In the top 50 are PRMI loan officers Billy Leopold, David Lesjak, Jim Conway and Steve Wilcox. In the Top 100 are: Craig Pollard, Jeff Senker, John Thomas, Jon Wald, Kyle Travers, Lane Baron and TJ Jager.

To compile its list of the top 100 U.S. loan officers nationwide, SocialSurvey collected feedback from 200,000 customers of 20,000 loan officers.

We know that a happy work environment and a great customer experience go hand-in-hand. When we enjoy what we do, it’s easy to deliver a knockout experience. Learn more about what makes PRMI such a great place not only to get a home loan but to grow your career.

What are you waiting for?

48217628_MThinking of waiting another year or two to buy a home? If home prices and mortgage rates increase in the next year or two, home buyers could end up with significantly less buying power than they have today.

Today’s mortgage rates are near historic lows. But they aren’t expected to stay that way. Various housing groups and economists are predicting mortgage rates will rise to between 4.5% and 5% by the end of the year.

The National Association of Realtors also is expecting home prices to increase in 2018 by an average of 3.2 percent nationally, with the highest appreciation predicted in the lower price ranges, which are in high demand. The combination of higher home prices and higher mortgage rates could make for a mortgage payment that’s significantly higher than it would be if the home were purchased now.

There are, of course, many other factors that come into play in the decision to buy a home, such as how long you plan to stay in your home, the stability of your job and how much money you’ve saved up for a down payment.

As an industry leader, Primary Residential Mortgage has helped more than 225,000 valued customers achieve the American dream of homeownership. As mortgage professionals, we make home buying easier for you with our broad range of custom loan programs.

What are you doing with your tax refund this year?

71837107 - ecstatic young couple celebrating their new homeIt’s tax season again, and many Americans are getting tax refunds. Big refunds. According to the IRS, the average U.S. tax refund is more than $3,000, with some families getting thousands more. A large refund could be a nice addition to a downpayment savings fund. If you haven’t started saving for a home yet, it’s a great way to get started.

How much do you need to save? Visit us and we’ll crunch some numbers for you. Surveys show that many first-time home buyers overestimate the amount of money they need to be able to buy a home. The median U.S. downpayment last year was 10 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. There is a variety of low-downpayment and even some no-downpayment home loan programs available that can help reduce the amount of money you’ll need to bring to the closing table.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward owning your own home, work with a team that can provide the personal attention you deserve. At Primary Residential Mortgage, we’ve helped more than 200,000 borrowers fulfill their dream of home ownership. We’d love to help you, too!

Are you planning to move this year?

31009982 - woman sealing boxes ready for house move2018 is shaping up to be a big year for interstate moving activity. But where are people moving to — and from? That’s a question that can be answered by the United Van Lines’ Moving Study. The 41st annual report by the nation’s largest moving company tracks state-to-state migration patterns.

According to the company, the top inbound states in 2017 — where most people are moving to —were Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and South Dakota. The survey includes people moving for employment and for other reasons, such as retirement.

Markets ‘in balance,’ meaning that there’s about the same number of people moving in as are moving out, include states such as New Hampshire and Nebraska. Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Kansas are the five states with more people moving away than moving in. For more information about the study, go to this link.

Are you planning on making a move this year? With more than 280 locations nationwide and growing, Primary Residential Mortgage is probably somewhere you want to find us.

Renting? Now may be the time to buy a home

Finally a home of our ownShould you continue to rent a home in 2018 or is it time to buy? Your job situation plays a big role in that decision. How stable is your employment? Buying could make more sense right now if you aren’t thinking about switching jobs, your employer is not reducing its workforce or if your company isn’t planning to move you to a different city or state.

How long do you plan to remain in your home? Generally, the more time you plan to live in a home, the more sense it makes to buy. The U.S. Breakeven Horizon, compiled by real estate website Zillow.com, is designed to provide an estimated number of years one needs to live in a home for buying to make more sense than renting. Factors such as expected growth in rents and home values, price-to-rent ratios and mortgage interest rates are included in the analysis. Nationally, that figure is 1.8 years. For more information about the Breakeven Horizon, go to this link.

While a variety of factors may influence the buy-versus-rent decision, there’s one that continues to make buying a home so attractive: Low mortgage rates. Take a look at average mortgage rates since 1971 and you’ll see that today’s rates are extremely favorable. Low mortgage rates help families stretch their home buying dollars.

The link between homeownership and happiness

71266853 - excited family explore new home on moving dayDid you know that numerous studies over many years show a link between owning a home and happiness and overall well-being? The most recent one, from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, shows that homeowners generally have higher financial well-being than non-homeowners.

In the CFPB’s report, homeowners have an average financial well-being score of 58. That’s higher than both renters (with average of 49) and those who neither rent nor own (average of 50). The U.S. average financial well-being score is 54. You can read the entire report at this link.

Research studies have linked owning a home to a number of positive outcomes. Researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of San Diego, for example, have linked homeownership to a reduced risk of teenage pregnancy and a lower possibility that a child will drop out of school. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that children of parents who own their own homes are more likely to score higher in reading and math and have fewer behavioral problems.

At the very least, buying the right home can be a key ingredient in being happy, according to a report by HomeAdvisor. The company’s research in the area has found that homeowner happiness boils down to an affordable and comfortable home in a safe and connected neighborhood and with a reasonable commute. Good things to keep in mind during your next home search.

Five housing trends for 2018

9042176401What’s in store for the nation’s housing market in 2018? The National Association of Realtors offers a glimpse at some of the most significant changes that are expected. Here are five key takeaways:

Housing inventory is expected to increase. Strong demand has depleted the inventory of available homes in markets throughout the country. The association projects U.S. year-over-year housing inventory growth to enter positive territory by fall 2018 for the first time since 2015. That’s good news for home buyers. Most of the inventory growth is expected in U.S. homes priced above $350,000, followed later by lower-priced starter homes.

Price appreciation expected to moderate. U.S. home prices are forecasted to slow to 3.2 percent growth year-over-year nationally, down from about 5.5 percent in 2017. Appreciation likely will end up being highest with lower-priced entry-level homes, which continue to be in extremely high demand.

Millennials will be a bigger part of overall home buying activity. Millennials are on track to comprise about 43 percent of home buyers taking out a mortgage by the end of 2018, up from an estimated 40 percent in 2017. Their influence on the US. housing market is expected to grow in the coming years.

Demand is pushing home sales higher in the South. Cities such as Tulsa, Okla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Dallas; and Charlotte, N.C. are expected to see home-sales growth of 6 percent or more, compared with 2.5 percent nationally.

Uncertainty surrounds tax reform. Tax reform could have a positive effect on housing in some respects, not so much in others. Stay tuned.