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House Hunt in the Summer, Purchase in the Fall

House Hunt in the Summer, Purchase in the Fall

Even though November has sprung, it isn’t too late to get in on the hottest home buying season.

Recently announced as being the best month to buy a home by RealtyTrac, Fall brings better prices and tax advantages.

“On average . . . buyers get a 2.6% discount below estimated market value,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac to “It’s that middle month between the summer selling season and the holidays [when] people are trying to squeeze in a purchase or a sale.”

Some of the top reasons making Fall hot include sellers ready to negotiate, the potential for a rate hike, year-end tax advantages and an opportunity to see how the home has been maintained through a HVAC evaluation.

Sandra O’Connor regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors adds that there is nothing like being home for the holidays. “Holidays generally are a time for sharing and what could be better than observing traditions, or making new ones, in a new home!”

Save Thousands When You Buy this Fall

“The summer months are the busiest in term of the amount of people looking, but that also means there is more competition and this summer in Michigan we consistently saw multiple offers on properties and some of those buyers are still in the market now,” explains Tamela Ekstrom, Ferndale, MI-based broker/owner of HAVEN Real Estate + Design.

“In the fall, people don’t have as much competition, so prices don’t get forced as high,” she says. “Also, sellers tend to lower their pricing so they aren’t stuck with a listing going stale over the winter months, so we see a lot of activity in the fall.”

Ekstrom’s market is especially hot right now as fall colors and crisp air drives buyers. “In my market of Detroit, Michigan, people like to look in this weather because it’s not as hot or humid as the summer months. The fall months are spectacular for showing homes because the air is crisp and visually the homes show well with the backdrop of fiery hues of the leaves turning colors.” Most people are keeping in mind they would like to close by the holidays, so this is the best time to look if they want to have family over for dinners or cozy up to the fire by then, she adds.

Making warm memories seems to be high on many buyer’s minds as CUNA Mutual Group reports credit union first-mortgage originations “are on pace to reach record levels in 2015,” up an estimated 46% over 2014.

Rates Remain Stable--for Now

While Ekstrom says a rate increase is still looming overhead, she continues to see buyers and homeowners save money in a low rate environment. “I have one client who purchased three years ago, at an extremely low interest rate, but just got an estimate that they can still save another $100 a month on their mortgage if they refinance now,” she says. “I’m also seeing buyers interested in making a purchase now, before rates go up, so they can get more house for their money.”

As of late October, the 30-year fixed-rate average dipped to 3.76% and the15-year fixed-rate average continues to stabilize at 2.98%. The Fed said refinance activity made up 59.5% of all applications.

Credit Unions Remain the Hottest Deal Around

Although rates remain low, one of the best resources for a mortgage loan is at a credit union. From rock bottom rates and flexible terms, to promotions and top service.

For instance, Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union ($176 million, Houston, TX) recently gave away a year free of mortgage payments to one lucky member.

The campaign honored its member base of teachers through a “Spotlight Teacher” campaign. Principals from each of Cy-Fair’s 86 schools nominated a “Spotlight Teacher” to be honored at the event. Each of the Spotlight Teachers were entered into a random drawing for the credit union’s one-year mortgage giveaway.

The giveaway winter, Cheryl Price ended up receiving one-year worth of mortgage payments totaling $24,000.

“I have been a member of Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union since I was a child,” she said in a release. “I am very thankful to the credit union for this tremendous gift. It will allow me to purchase my first home, something that would not have been possible before.”

Freedom First Credit Union ($300 million, Salem, VA) is doing something similar with its "Freedom to Save” mortgage sweepstakes. The credit union partnered with a local television station to offer 6 months of free rent or mortgage payments. Sweepstakes runs through November 25, 2015.

Eric Esser, chief mortgage lending officer at Community Financial Credit Union ($600 million, Plymouth, MI) said credit unions have become the “go to” destiny for many borrowers.

“We potentially could have our best year ever,” Esser told Hometown Life. “All the credit unions are benefiting from that fact that the bank crisis turned a lot of people off to the big banks.”

In addition to rates, service and flexibility, Esser adds, “We try to provide a difference here. We will do some lending that most folks won’t do.”

By Gina Ragusa
Published November 2, 2015
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