Futuristic Homes: 3D Saves Inventory?

We all know the real estate market has been tight on inventory – although construction has seemed to pick up and ease buyer tension, there are still labor shortages and rising costs of materials.

So, what could be a possible solution to this growing problem?

3D Printing!

Companies are coming out of the woodwork to offer a new printing technology to help transform the way we build houses and currently see the real estate market.

Mighty Buildings, a construction technology company based in Oakland, is doing just that. They’re printing homes with a synthetic stone that the company invented, called Light Stone Material. Their printer creates 3D panels that are applied to a steel frame. Robots then add insulation and interior woodwork, while finishes that appear to look like siding or brick can be applied to the outside. Features that might be too complicated for a robot to assemble, like cabinets, air conditioning, and appliances, are than added by workers.

The company can print a 350-square foot home in under 24 hours with almost zero waste, since the printer only creates what is necessary.

Other companies in Texas and New York are following suit.

What does this mean for the wider spectrum of construction within real estate?

Experts are agreeing that we’d be looking at more of a hybrid approach when it comes to building. With the technology still being relatively new, there’s a lot to discuss in terms of where it will fall in the cycle of construction.

But the one thing many builders and real estate experts agree on: it is faster and cheaper to build – which may just help alleviate contractors’ burden as of late.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Title Industry Cloud Service Cyber Attack

We’ve published many articles on the seriousness of cyber attacks in the title industry – to read on about how you can protect your investment, check out our articles, here.

Recently, cyber attackers infiltrated a major title industry cloud service provider, Cloudstar. Cloudstar is still, currently, offline following the attack.

According to the American Land Title Association (ALTA), Cloudstar operates six data centers throughout the United States and has more than 42,000 users (Alliance Title currently has not used Cloudstar in the past or presently).

Cloudstar immediately brought in third-party experts to assist in recovery efforts and law enforcement.

Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, wrote to business leaders under the Biden administration this past June on the importance of stopping and punishing ransomware attacks. The letter explains the Biden administration’s urgency to seek to disrupt cyber attacks and holding “countries that harbor ransomware actors accountable.”

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed a ransomeware guide that includes best practices and a response checklist. Review here.

For more real estate industry news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Potential Homeowners Overestimate Down Payment

For years and years, consumers have held on to the belief that a 20% down payment is required to purchase a home.

And that 20% becomes a deterrent for many would-be homeowners.

According to the National Association of Realtors’® recent survey, the average down payment among all buyers is actually much, much lower – it’s just 12%.

So where did potential homebuyers get the idea that 20% is the requirement? Financial experts agree that a 20% down payment is ideal, because it helps homeowners avoid extra costs, like private mortgage insurance. Obviously, if a 20% down payment is something in your wheelhouse, then it’s the favorable opinion to put that much down.

But is a 20% down payment reasonable, or even possible for most?

NAR’s example of almost unreachable 20% down payments points to the Los Angeles area, where a 20% down payment could be between $200,000 to $400,000 – and that’s just an entry-level, single-family home. 

So clear the idea that you need 20% to even enter the arena of becoming a homeowner – because it’s just not true. Younger buyers (those aged between 22-30) tend to put down the least, at an average of 6%. Those between the ages of 31 and 40 make an average 10% down payment.

NAR”s infographic

But that’s not even the lowest a potential homeowner can go when it comes to making a down payment. Some lenders allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3%, and even some government programs allow no money down (VA issue loans).

If you’re sweating at a 20% down payment, you’re not alone. There are other options for you to reach your goal – as long as you talk with your lender and real estate agent to better understand your finances and where you’re at.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Commercial Spaces on High Demand

Covid has changed a variety of ways on how we live our lives – and shopping is one of them. Real estate is seeing businesses trying to search for bigger commercial spaces to house the products they need for growing e-commerce demands at record pace.

JLL, a commercial real estate services firm, released a new report showcasing big businesses – Walmart, Target, Big Lots, TJX, and Costco – aggressively competing for more warehouse space. The main reason? Amazon has been locking down and buying up warehouses across the country; other businesses are trying to catch up.

What does this surge in commercial spaces mean for prices? According to CBRE data, commercial spaces surged nearly 10% in the first five months of 2021 compared to the year prior.

A great example of warehouse prices spiking is in the town of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is predicted to jump 61% in 2021 compared to 2020 – because nearly half of the nation’s population is within a one-day drive.

Craig Meyer, President of JLL Industrial for the Americas, explains, “We’ve been on a long-term journey of shifting consumer behavior from buying in stores online. That’s the existential driver for demand in the U.S.”

Real estate experts are turning their eyes to the commerce industry – and we’ll have to wait and see how 2021 shapes up.

Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog for more real estate news.

Home Value Rises When Going Green

If you’ve always been on the fence about “going green” for your home – the statistics prove it: the upgrade is worth it in the long run.

According to Porch.com, homes with solar panels list 56% above the average home price. Just how much more, you ask? Well, solar paneled homes cost an average of $680,000 – about 48% more than the average home in the area.

Obviously, the states that are better friends with the sun turn a higher profit than those who don’t. The study found that the top 25 cities with the priciest homes with solar are in California.

Home buyers are searching for homes that are environmentally friendly, while also helping them save on energy bills in the long-run. And if it boosts your home value, why not?

Looking for more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog!

The Home Increase Boom

If you’re shopping in the real estate market right now, then you understand the extreme prices the nation is currently seeing.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)’s recent study found that housing prices across the country rose 16% from April 2020 to April 2021.

Their study – purchase data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – shows pretty big percentage jumps across the states.

  • Mountain division – Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming = rose 21% year over year.
  • Pacific division – Washington, Oregon, and California = rose 18% year over year.
  • East Coast division – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts = rose 18% year over year.

Dr. Lynn Fisher, FHFA’s Deputy Director of the division of research and statistics, explains, “This unprecedented price growth persists due to strong demand, bolstered by still-low mortgage rates, and too few homes for sale.”

With mortgages rates rising a little above 3% for the first time since April last week, market experts are keeping tabs on what’s to come.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

FHA Helps Potential Homeowners Carrying Student Loan Debt

If you’re like the many post-university students in America, then you understand the burden that comes with holding and carrying your student debt.

For wanna-be-homeowners with student debt, the situation can come even harder. Many loans are weary of your debt-to-income ratio, thus, making it harder for you to obtain the financial assistance you need to purchase a home and become a homeowner.

Luckily, it looks like eases of requirements are changing.

Last summer, the National Association of Realtors® joined a team of roughly 20 housing groups in calling on leadership at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the FHA to help change underwriting policies that calculate a borrower’s student loan debt.

Specifically – the aim was to close the gap between White and Black Americans when obtaining a mortgage loan. According to NAR, the gap between the two is larger today than it was in 1960, and Black homebuyers are more than twice as likely than Whites to have student loan debt and be rejected for mortgage loans.

The meeting ended up launching the Black Homeownership Collaborative. This group will continue to push for policy reforms and work with the FHA’s student loan change. These updates in policy will remove “unnecessary constraints for otherwise creditworthy borrowers” in helping to aid first-time homebuyers and underserved communities.

Student loans – and your race – shouldn’t prevent you from becoming a homeowner and fulfilling your real estate dreams.

For more updates on the policy change, check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s site here.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: When to Follow-Up

The dreaded call-back. The terrifying email pursue.

What all agents know and fear: the follow-up.

Now, maybe not all agents fear the follow-up – but there is always a certain pause as to when an agent should follow-up with a potential lead.

So, how do you know?

Rely on Previous Conversation

Each client will be different in terms of when to follow-up. Think back on your conversation with them: what was their urgency, what was their main topic (finances, finding a lender, finding an agent, finding the right neighborhood, etc.).

Gather exactly what it is they were needing and pursuing, and obviously, how quickly they needed results. Follow your gut with your past conversation with them, and base that off when to reach out to them. Be sure that when you reach out to them, you include information that touches on what they were looking for previously and how you can help.

Try and Schedule a Meeting

One major piece of advice is to not try and win a lead over phone call, text, or email. You should always push to meet in person (or Zoom, etc.) when selling exactly who you are, your commission prices, etc.

After you’ve reminded them of who you are, and mentioning that you remember they were trying to find a home in “X” neighborhood, ask if they’d like to schedule a time to chat in person or through a web-video platform to learn more about the ways you can help.

Looking for more real estate tips and tricks? Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

What’s A Closing? – A Homebuyer Guide

You searched for months on Zillow, you hired a real estate agent to guide you through the homebuying process, and now – closing time.

Except….what is a closing, anyway?

We get lots of questions like this all the time. But essentially – the closing (or the settlement, as it can be called in some states) is the important part of the purchasing process. This is the stage you legally commit to your mortgage loan.

Title insurance – an Owner’s Policy – protects your property rights. This one-time fee protects your important property rights for as long as you or your heirs own the property. Without title insurance, real-life title problems could affect your property rights.

Owner’s Policy protects you from:

  • Unpaid mortgages
  • Unpaid property taxes
  • Child support liens
  • Missing heirs who could claim the property belongs to him or her
  • Missed easements or rights of way that could limit your use of the property

Here’s what you can expect when you go to your title & escrow office for your closing:

  • Talk with your real estate agent on where to “shop” for the closing agent who will gather all your legal documents, close the loan, and handle the money involved in your purchase (ahem, us!)
  • During the closing, you’ll sign many documents. Some of the documents you’ll sign include:
    • Closing Disclosure: This contains the terms and cost of your transaction. Your lender, by law, must provide the Closing Disclosure to you three days before your closing appointment.
    • Promissory Note: This is your promise to repay the mortgage to your lender. It details the amount you owe, the interest rate, the dates when payments are to be made, the length of time for repayment, and where the payments will be sent. It also details consequences if you fail to make payments.
    • Deed of trust: Also called a Security Instrument or Mortgage, this document transfers legal ownership of the property with the condition that the lender may foreclose on your home if you fail to repay your mortgage.

Don’t be scared of your closing and your title insurance. It’s put in place to protect YOU, the buyer, from any real-life title problems that may occur on your property. And you don’t want that.

Enjoy your home, and congratulations on your closing!

For more real estate guides, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Up, Up, and Away: Mortgage Applications Rise

Mortgage applications are seeing better days; after three straight weeks of declines, mortgage applications have increased 4.2% since June 11th. Purchase and refinance also increased, with refinances up 5.5%.

Why the sudden rise of applications?

The 30-year fixed rate fell to 3.11%, which is the lowest rate it’s been since May. And, although applications are starting to tick back up again, it is still 22% lower than the same week one year ago. Think peak quarantine – plenty of potential homebuyers were trying to find more and better space.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) share of total mortgage applications increased to 9.6% from 9.5% the week prior.

For a full breakdown of mortgage news statistics, check out Mortgage News Daily’s article.