What Buyers and Sellers Need To Know About the Appraisal Gap
It’s economy 101 – when supply is low and demand is high, prices naturally rise. That’s what’s happening in today’s housing market. Home prices are appreciating at near-historic rates, and that’s creating some challenges when it comes to home appraisals.
In recent months, it’s become increasingly common for an appraisal to come in below the contract price on the house. Shawn Telford, Chief Appraiser for CoreLogic, explains it like this:
“Recently, we observed buyers paying prices above listing price and higher than the market data available to appraisers can support. This difference is known as ‘the appraisal gap . . . .’”
Why does an appraisal gap happen?Basically, with the heightened buyer demand, purchasers are often willing to pay over asking to secure the home of their dreams. If you’ve ever toured a house you’ve fallen in love with, you understand. Once you start to picture yourself and your furniture in the rooms, you want to do everything you can to land the property, including putting in a high offer to try to beat out other would-be buyers.
When the appraiser comes in, they look at things a bit more objectively. Their job is to assess the inherent value of the home, so they’re going to study the facts. Dustin Harris, Appraiser Coach, drives this point home:
“It’s important for everyone to understand that the appraiser’s job in the end is to remain that unbiased third party, to truly tell the client what that home is worth in the current market, regardless of what decisions have been made on the price side of things.”
In simple terms, while homebuyers may be willing to pay more, appraisers are there to assess the market value of the home. Their goal is to make sure the lender isn’t loaning more money than the home is worth. It’s objective, rather than emotional.
In a highly competitive market like today’s, having a discrepancy between the two numbers isn’t unusual. Here’s a look at the increasing rate of appraisal gaps, according to data from CoreLogic (see graph below):
What does this mean for you?Ultimately, knowledge is power. The best thing you can do is understand appraisal gaps may impact your transaction if you’re buying or selling. If you do encounter an appraisal below your contract price, know that in today’s sellers’ market, the most common approach is for the seller to ask the buyer to make up the difference in price. Buyers, be prepared to bring extra money to the table if you really want the home.
Above all else, lean on your real estate agent. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, your trusted advisor is your ally if you come up against an appraisal gap. We’ll help you understand your options and handle any additional negotiations that need to happen.
Bottom LineIn today’s real estate market, it’s important to stay informed on the latest trends. Let’s connect so you have an ally to help you navigate an appraisal gap to get the best possible outcome.
What You Can Do Right Now To Prepare for Homeownership
As rent prices continue to soar, many renters want to know what they can do to get ready to buy their first home. According to recent data from ApartmentList.com:
“The first half of 2021 has seen the fastest growth in rent prices since the start of our estimates in 2017. Our national rent index has increased by 11.4 percent since January . . . .”
Those rising rental costs may make it seem impossible to prepare for homeownership if you’re a renter. But the truth is, there are ways you can – and should – prepare to purchase your first home. Here’s some expert advice on what to do if you’re ready to learn more about how to escape rising rents.
Start Saving – Even Small Amounts – NowExperts agree, setting aside what you can – even smaller amounts of money – into a dedicated savings account is a great starting point when it comes to saving for a down payment. As Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez, Founder of Zero-Based Budget Coaching LLC, says:
“I recommend saving for a home in a ‘sinking fund’ . . . . This is a savings account separate from your emergency fund that you use to save for a short or mid-term expense.”
Zuniga-Sanchez adds saving in smaller increments can help make a large goal – such as saving for a down payment –achievable:
“Breaking up your goals into smaller bite-sized pieces by saving incrementally can make a large daunting number more manageable.”
Assess Your Finances and Work on Your CreditAnother tip experts recommend: take a look at your overall finances and credit score and find ways to reduce your debt. According to the HUD, the average credit score of first-time homebuyers is 716. If you’re not sure what your credit score is, there are numerous online tools that can help you check. If your score is below that average, don’t fret. Remember that an average means there are homeowners with credit scores both above and below that threshold.
If you find out your score is below the average, there are several ways to improve your credit before you apply for a loan. HUD recommends reducing your debt as much as you can, paying your bills on time, and using your credit card responsibly.
Start the Conversation with Your Advisor TodayFinally, it’s important to talk to someone who understands the market and what it takes to become a first-time homebuyer. That’s where we come in. A trusted advisor can help you navigate your specific market and talk you through all the available options. Having the right network of real estate and lending professionals in your corner can help you plan for the homebuying process as well as determine what you can afford and how you can get pre-approved when you’re ready.
Most importantly, we can help you understand how homeownership is achievable. As Lauren Bringle, Accredited Financial Advisor with Self Financial, says:
“Don’t write home ownership off just because you have a low income . . . . With the right tools, resources and assistance, you could still achieve your dream.”
Bottom LineIf you’re planning to be a homeowner one day, the best thing you can do is start preparing now. Even if you don’t think you’ll purchase for a few years, let’s connect today to discuss the process and to set you up for success on your journey to homeownership.
5 Reasons Today’s Housing Market Is Anything but Normal
There are many headlines out there that claim we’re reverting to a more normal real estate market. That would indicate the housing market is returning to the pre-pandemic numbers we saw from 2015-2019. But that’s not happening. The market is still extremely vibrant as demand is still strong even while housing supply is slowly returning.
Here’s the definition of normal from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
“conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern: characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine.”
Using this definition, here are five housing industry metrics that prove we’re nowhere near normal.
1. Mortgage RatesIf we look at the 30-year mortgage rate chronicled by Freddie Mac, we can see the average rates by decade:
Currently, mortgage rates are anything but usual, typical, or routine.
2. Home Price AppreciationAccording to Black Knight, a housing data and analytics company, the average annual appreciation on residential real estate prices since 1995 has been 4.14%.
According to the latest forecast from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), home price appreciation will hit 14.1% this year, which will be greater than any year since Black Knight began collecting this data.
Currently, home price appreciation is anything but usual, typical, or routine.
3. Months’ Supply of Inventory (Homes for Sale)According to NAR:
“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace. Historically, six months of supply is associated with moderate price appreciation, and a lower level of months’ supply tends to push prices up more rapidly.”
As of the latest Existing Homes Sales Report from NAR, the current months’ supply of inventory stands at 2.6. That’s less than half of a normal supply.
Currently, the supply of homes for sale is anything but usual, typical, or routine.
4. Days It Takes To Sell a HomeThe days-on-market metric gives an indication of how hot a market is and how quickly homes are selling. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the average days on market stood at 35, according to NAR. Today, that number is cut in half and is now at 17 days.
Currently, the days-on-market metric is anything but usual, typical, or routine.
5. Number of Offers per ListingAccording to NAR, the number of offers per listing stood at 2.2 in 2019. Today, that number is double at 4.5.
Currently, the number of offers per listing is anything but usual, typical, or routine.Bottom LineWhen…
With the correct person by your side, the buying and selling process doesn't have to be full of stress, doubt and anxiety - it can actually be FUN! Contact Jacquelyn Duke today to learn more.
Jacquelyn Duke, Realtor®
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