Buyers want to build a home? It’ll take 7 months

CHICAGO – Aug. 17, 2016 – The average time it takes to complete a new single-family home is seven months in Florida and nationally, according to recent Census Bureau data. That completion time includes nearly a month for getting the permit to start the project – 27 days in Florida – and then another 6 months to complete the construction.

Houses built for sale took the shortest amount of time – 6 months to complete after obtaining building permits. On the other hand, homes built by owners averaged the longest time at nearly a year. Homes built for rent averaged about 9 months from permit to completion, the data shows.

Homebuyers generally have the longest waits for a new home in the New England area, which had the longest time from permit to completion at 10 months. On the other hand, the Mountain region had the shortest amount of time at 6 months. The region also has the shortest waiting period from permit to construction start.

Breakdown by region of the average months from permit to completion of a new single-family home

  • Pacific: 8 months
  • Mountain: 6 months
  • West North Central: 8 months
  • West South Central: 7 months
  • East North Central: 8 months
  • East South Central: 8 months
  • New England: 10 months
  • Middle Atlantic: 10 months
  • South Atlantic: 6 months

Average days by region from permit to start on a new home

  • Pacific: 31 days
  • Mountain: 15 days
  • West North Central: 20 days
  • West South Central: 35 days
  • East North Central: 23 days
  • East South Central: 25 days
  • New England: 28 days
  • Middle Atlantic: 27 days
  • South Atlantic: 27 days

Homes in metro areas took, on average, nearly 7.5 months to complete – about 2 months shorter than homes started in non-metro areas.

The 2015 Census data also found that 66 percent of single-family homes sold while under construction, 32 percent sold before construction started, and 12 percent sold within one month of completion.

The percentage of single-family homes completed last year that were not yet sold was only 6 percent, the same percentage as the first quarter of 2016.

Source: “Time to Build a Single-Family Home in 2015,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (July 20, 2016)

Why Student Debt May Not Hinder Homeownership

Rates BHStudent debt has long been thought to hinder new homeowners from entering the housing market, but recent data from Fannie Mae shows that this may not be a factor anymore.

The report says that according the Federal Reserve, total student debt in America has more than tripled in the last decade to more than $1.3 trillion in April. Meanwhile, the U.S. homeownership rate is near a 48-year low at 63.5 percent, according to the Commerce Department’s report for the first three months of this year.

According to the report and data from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey, potential buyers with student loans who received a bachelor’s degree, or a higher level of education, are found to be 27 percent more likely to be homeowners than those who are high school graduates who didn’t attend college and therefore have no student debts.

This study notes that the issue of student debt is likely to affect the homeownership rates of certain groups of people more than others. For example, those who completed at least a bachelor’s degree without student debt were 43 percent more likely to be homeowners than high school graduates who didn’t attend college and don’t have student debt.

“Before we ran this analysis, we knew [student debt] would likely hurt homeownership rate, but we didn’t know to what degree,” says Qiang Cai, an economist with Fannie Mae.

The report still states thought that while student debt may delay homeownership, it doesn’t eliminate the idea altogether. For example, renters ages 25 to 44 with student debt are shown to be 28 percent less likely to buy rather than rent their next home compared to those without student loans.

While graduating debt-free makes owning a home easier, the report states that economists across the board agree over the importance of a college degree when it comes to unemployment and income levels. Likewise, another study about homeownership and student debt by the Federal Reserve looked at credit reports and data on college attendance from the National Student Clearinghouse. The study shows there’s a major gap in homeownership between those who do and don’t go to college, similar to the results found from the Fannie Mae study.


Buying a House, the First Steps

September 24, 2015 Home SearchMortgages


Now that the initial paperwork has been done, it’s time to find your new home. No doubt you’ve already been online and have probably seen a house or two. You may even have a good idea of what your new address will be.

But let’s take a couple of minutes and fine-tune the process a bit. There might be an idea or two here that hasn’t yet occurred to you.

Ready, set, house hunt!

Once you obtain a preapproval letter, you’ll know exactly the price range in which you should be house hunting, and sellers will negotiate with confidence that you can close the deal. This makes a big difference, especially when you’re looking for a home in a hot market. Plus, real estate agents want to spend most of their time only with preapproved buyers.

Another benefit of having that green light in hand: Since you’ve provided a lot of the initial information to qualify for a loan, you have a head start in completing the underwriting process. That can speed the process along once you have a contract for a particular home. Depending on how long your house hunting has been going on, it’s likely you’ll have to update some, if not all, of the financial information that you initially provided to obtain the preapproval.

So we’ve laid out the reasons why a preapproval is so important, provided guidance for obtaining a preapproval letter and discussed the benefits of having that piece of paper in your hand. Now it’s time to do what you’ve been waiting for: hit the streets and find your new home.

Target your potential neighborhoods

You probably have a neighborhood in mind, or at least an idea of what it should look like, how it will feel and its general location: in the city or away from it all; convenient to shopping or next to nothing. Once you start seriously house hunting, you might be surprised how much you learn — and where you want to be.

Don’t just walk through the house—make sure you spend time in the neighborhood, too. What’s within easy walking distance? Do you like the vibe? Most people just walk through the open house, but getting a sense of the neighborhood, during the day and night, can be just as important.

If you’re new to an area, you’ll need all the guidance you can get. In some cities you might be advised to live “in the Mission,” “within the Loop,” “south of the river” or “uptown.” Everybody has an opinion. It’s a good idea to find a trusted real estate agent to guide you through your new city to help find the home that’s just right for you.

If you’re already familiar with what will be your long-term hometown, the questions can be even more specific. Single-family or condo? Ranch or Victorian? New construction, “gently used” or well-worn?

If you have children, deciding on the right school district will help narrow down your neighborhood. If not, you may be more interested in proximity to mass transit, coffee shops or food trucks.

House-hunting tools you can use

Armed with apps, you’re the mighty house hunter of the subdivision safari. Check out these online tools:

  • Trulia and Zillow: These co-owned websites and related apps offer detailed maps of neighborhoods with lot-level prices, heat maps of crime statistics, school profiles and more. Zillow’s “Zestimates” of home values and future price forecasts are an interesting home-comparison gauge.
  • Doorsteps Swipe: It’s kind of like the Tinder for real estate. You can “like” your favorite listings, which then can be organized by location and even shared with friends. The app promises to “learn” your preferences and track what’s important to you: number of bedrooms, baths, price or location.
  • HomeSnap: Drive by a home and want to know more? Snap a photo and this app will offer more information, such as price, interior photos, prevailing property taxes, public school info and more.
  • House Hunter: This app helps keep you organized with notes, pictures and a scoring tool that lets you identify houses that best match what you’re looking for. You can prioritize among 80 different home features and add custom features that are important to you.
  • Promises to update listings of millions of homes every 15 minutes. You can search houses for sale by school and school district and even get alerts on price changes.

Sliding into home

Few homes are perfect, but you can realistically shoot for finding a great home — one that you can truly love. Just know that there will be some compromises along the way.

The National Association of Realtors says the average homebuyer takes about 10 weeks to find what he or she is looking for. That means you’ll be doing a lot of research, walk-throughs, drive-bys and comparisons over coffee. Take your time; don’t make a rash decision and don’t get desperate. Your new home is out there waiting for you. It may just take a little time to find it.

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. 

5 bounce-back tips after a foreclosure or short sale

HIGHLAND, Calif. – Aug. 12, 2016 – Philip and Denise Powell lost their home in 2011 after Philip’s hours as a pastor were cut in half and Denise was sidelined by a surgery. But they were determined to become homeowners again, so they rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

The Highland, California, couple got financial counseling. They took control of their credit reports, tackled high-interest debts and cut spending. In 2015, they bought another home.

“We thought we’d never recover,” Philip Powell says, recalling the devastation they felt after losing their home. “No one in California was ready for the crash; it hit us hard.”

Their story is typical of the more than 9.3 million homeowners who lost a home through a distressed property sale from 2006 through 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors.

As rents rise, low mortgage rates persist and the economy gradually improves, some who lost their home in recent years will be able to re-enter the housing market. A 2015 study by the NAR found that 1.5 million previous homeowners might be eligible to buy within the next five years, based on the time it takes to boost credit scores and save for a down payment, as well as mandatory wait times to buy another house.

For those looking to put down homeownership roots once more, here are five tips:

1. Know your options: You no longer have to wait seven years after a bankruptcy or foreclosure to buy another home, says Ray Carlisle, president of the national nonprofit NID Housing Counseling Agency. For homeowners who had extenuating circumstances such as prolonged income loss or major medical expenses, Fannie Mae has shortened its waiting periods to two years after a pre-foreclosure sale – a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure – and to three years after a foreclosure. That’s down from the standard waiting periods of four and seven years, respectively.

To get a Federal Housing Administration loan after a foreclosure, the standard wait time is now three years – and as little as one year with extenuating circumstances, says April Brown, a spokeswoman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

2. Change your bad money habits: Focus on paying down debt, creating a solid savings strategy and avoiding new splurge purchases. Saving for a downpayment and closing costs is one of the biggest hurdles that homebuyers face. Start socking away bonuses, windfalls, tax refunds and other extra cash in a savings account. Setting up automatic deposits to your savings account is another way to grow your downpayment reserves, and it removes the temptation to spend money unnecessarily.

3. Repair your credit: The FHA’s minimum credit score requirement for maximum financing is 580. Some lenders offer loans at that minimum, Carlisle says, but other mortgage lenders require a FICO score of 640 or higher. Paying off high-interest debt on time each month and not taking out new loans or running up your credit cards will help build your credit score. Also, ask your utility providers or landlord to report your on-time monthly payments to the major credit bureaus to have those count on your credit report, too.

4. Beware of predatory lenders: If you encounter lenders that try to seduce you with “special” zero-down home loans or people who recommend rosy rent-to-own or land contract agreements, run the other way. Carlisle says that 80 percent of NID’s clients are minorities who are disproportionately targeted by predatory lenders. Never sign any contract you’re unsure of, and have a housing counselor, real estate attorney or different lender look it over to get a second opinion.

5. Seek help from the pros: Not only can housing counselors help you address credit issues and set up a savings plan, they can connect you with state, local and private resources that can ease your path to homeownership, Brown says.

Call me today @ 850 496-6412 to see how you can grow your credit and know the mindset of creditors.  I enrolled with this expert and in my new house! Everyone leaves with over a 700 score!

AP Logo Copyright © 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet, Deborah Kearns.


Top 10 States for Foreclosures in Q2

Market Studies BHAfter the release of CoreLogic’s Foreclosure Report and RealtyTrac’s Q2 2016 U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report, the new data between the two showed that 11.9 percent of all U.S. properties that had a mortgage at the end of the second quarter of this year were determined to be in foreclosure, a percentage decrease from the 12 percent reported last quarter as well as the decrease from the 13.3 percent from Q2 in the year prior.

“Rising home prices are lifting all home equity boats: bailing out seriously underwater homeowners and enriching homeowners who already have positive equity,” Darin Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions said in a press release. “While that national trend is consistent in most markets across the country, there are still some local markets and sub-markets that have been largely left behind by the housing recovery and which still have a high percentage of underwater homeowners.”

Of these foreclosures, the ten states shown to have the most foreclosures consisted of Massachusetts, Ohio, Connecticut, South Carolina, Illinois, Florida, Nevada, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. Here is a break-down of what the foreclosure rates look like in these states for Q2 according to a report from


Massachusetts sits in the number ten spot with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 1,332 housing units. This is an increase from June 2016 of 20.11 percent and an increase from July 2015 of 21.42 percent.


Ohio ranks number nine on the list with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 1,269 housing units. This is a decrease from June 2016 of 22.05 percent and a decrease from July 2015 of 26.39 percent.


Connecticut ranks number eight on the list with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 1,213 housing units. This is an increase from June 2016 of 11.32 percent as well as a similar increase from July 2015 of 11.83 percent.

South Carolina:

South Carolina sits in the number seven spot with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 1,162 housing units. This is a decrease from June 2016 of 6.86 percent as well as decrease from July 2015 of 19.97 percent.


The number six spot on the list falls with Illinois holding a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 1,125 housing units. Illinois saw a decrease from June 2016 of 21.51 percent and a decrease from July 2015 of 35.05 percent.


Florida finds its spot on the list in the middle with number five because of a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 808 housing units. Florida shows a decrease from June 2016 of 4.92 percent and an even larger decrease from July 2015 of 49.26 percent.


The number four spot goes to Nevada with a foreclosure rate rate of 1 in every 805 housing units. This state shows an increase from June 2016 of 15.35 percent despite a decrease from July 2015 of 26.57 percent.


For Maryland, the number three spot seems appropriate with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 772 housing units. This state sees a decrease though from June 2016 of 16.11 percent as well as a decrease from July 2015 of 33.25 percent.

New Jersey:

This state ranks number two on the list with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 610 housing units. This is a decrease from June 2016 of 16.3 percent and a decrease from July 2015 of 14.54 percent.


The number one spot is taken by Delaware with a foreclosure rate of 1 in every 570 housing units. This is an increase from June 2016 of 41.37 percent and an increase from July 2015 of 101.78 percent.



Buyers know less about credit scores than you think

NEW YORK – Aug. 10, 2016 – Consumers tend to significantly underestimate the importance of their credit scores, and many have very little knowledge about them except the basics, according to a national survey sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America.

“The good news is that consumers understand the basics of credit scores, such as the importance of making loan payments on time,” says Stephen Brobeck, CFA’s executive director. “The bad news is that this knowledge is limited and, each year, can cost them hundreds of dollars in fees on services and additional interest on consumer loans.”

Millennials, aged 18 to 34 years old, know the least about credit scores when compared to older generations: 89 percent of gen Xers in the study knew that 700 is typically a good credit score compared to 73 percent of millennials. They’re also less experienced: While nearly two-thirds of gen Xers reported obtaining a free credit score at some point in their lives, only 51 percent of millennials had.

CFA and VantageScore offer an interactive credit score quiz where consumers and their financial advocates can test their knowledge.

“While the credit scoring industry is always innovating and changing, practicing good credit behaviors and understanding the basics about your credit score are fundamentally important,” says Barrett Burns, president and CEO of VantageScore Solutions. “We encourage consumers, educators and anyone counseling others about borrowing money to take our online quiz and become empowered to make the right decisions to reach and maintain excellent creditworthiness.”

Source: “Consumers Underestimate the Cost of Low Credit Scores,” Real Estate Economy (July 1, 2016)

Call me @ 850 496-6412 on how to understand the credit scoring system and grow your credit.  I have a “guaranteed” contact and I was a client and in my new home! It was an investment to me and my family!

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