Dallas Business Journal Names The Cooksey Team to ‘2017 Best Places to Work’

DALLAS, Texas, July 10, 2017 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — The Cooksey Team, a top producing retail branch of Mid America Mortgage, Inc., announced today it has been recognized by Dallas Business Journal as one of its “2017 Best Places to Work” in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. More than 500 companies submitted nominations, and only 100 companies were honored.

The Cooksey Team - best 2017
Now in its 15th year, the “Best Places to Work” award showcases outstanding employers of all sizes in the North Texas region, and winners are selected based on a survey of employees conducted by Quantum Workplace, a third-party research firm specializing in employee engagement and experience.

In the survey, employees are asked to rate their workplace based on six categories, including:

  • Communication and resources;
  • Individual needs;
  • Manager effectiveness;
  • Personal engagement;
  • Team dynamics; and
  • Trust in leadership.

“My philosophy has always been, ‘If my staff doesn’t succeed, then I have failed,’ and that’s the approach I’ve taken from day one,” said Michael Cooksey, founder of The Cooksey Team. “Having incorporated The CORE Training methodology into our overall professional development program, I’ve seen my staff achieve amazing results while also delivering an exceptional customer experience to borrowers, and to have those efforts recognized by not only the Dallas Business Journal, but also my staff is truly an honor.”

To view the full list of “2017 Best Places to Work,” visit http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2017/06/26/2017-best-places-to-work.html.

About The Cooksey Team:
Headquartered in Dallas, The Cooksey Team is a top performing retail branch of Texas-based lender Mid America Mortgage and has offices located throughout the North Texas and Los Angeles County areas.

With 16 years in the industry and nearly $800 million in funded loans with Mid America, Cooksey Team Founder Michael Cooksey brings the experience and knowledge needed to lead a successful mortgage transaction. Utilizing The CORE Training methodology, Michael has coached his own staff, as well as loan officers, brokers and real estate agents across the country, to become top producers. Cooksey Team loan officers average six closings per month and $250,000 in annual income.

In addition, the branch has increased its annual origination volume by nearly 50 percent year-over-year and is projected to achieve over $300 million in volume in 2017. For more information on The Cooksey Team, visit http://cookseyteam.com.

About Mid America Mortgage, Inc.:
Mid America Mortgage, Inc., Addison, Texas, is a multi-state, full-service mortgage lender serving consumers and mortgage originators through its retail, wholesale and correspondent channels. In operation since 1940, Mid America has thrived by retaining its entrepreneurial spirit and leading the market in innovation, most recently with its adoption of electronic mortgage closings (eClosings) and promissory notes (eNotes). We offer a wide range of residential home loan programs to meet the needs of most home buyers and homeowners, and are also the nation’s leading provider of Section 184 home loans for Native Americans.

Mid America is looking for tech-savvy, service-oriented mortgage professionals to join its growing team. We are dedicated to providing our employees with industry-leading tools and technology to deliver a great package of competitive pricing, programs and knowledgeable service. Want to join our team? Visit http://www.midamericacareer.com/.

Additional information about Mid America Mortgage, Inc. can be found on the company’s website at http://www.midamericamortgage.com/about/.

Twitter: @midamericamtge @TheCookseyTeam

News Source: Mid America Mortgage, Inc.

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Median Days on the Market Drops to 27! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Median Days on the Market Drops to 27! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their monthly Confidence Index.
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
  • Homes sold in less than a month in 24 out of 50 states, and Washington D.C.
  • Homes typically went under contract in 27 days in May!

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Epic Housing Shortage Being Reported

Epic Housing Shortage Being Reported | Simplifying The Market

The Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University recently released their 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Study, and a recent blog from JCHS revealed some of the more surprising aspects of the study.

The first two revelations centered around the shortage of housing inventory currently available in both existing homes and new construction.

Regarding Existing Home Inventory:

“For the fourth year in a row, the inventory of homes for sale across the US not only failed to recover, but dropped yet again. At the end of 2016 there were historically low 1.65 million homes for sale nationwide, which at the current sales rate was just 3.6 months of supply – almost half of the 6.0 months level that is considered a balanced market.”

Regarding New Home Inventory:

“Markets nationwide are still feeling the effects of the deep and extended decline in housing construction. Over the past 10 years, just 9 million new housing units were completed and added to the housing stock. This was the lowest 10-year period on records dating back to the 1970s, and far below the 14 and 15 million units averaged over the 1980s and 1990s.”

Bottom Line

The biggest challenge in today’s market is getting current homeowners and builders to realize the opportunity they have to maximize profit by selling and/or building NOW!!

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Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate

Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate | Simplifying The Market

Interest rates have hovered around 4% for the majority of 2017, which has given many buyers relief from rising home prices and has helped with affordability. Experts predict that rates will increase by the end of 2017 and will be about three-quarters of a percentage point higher, at 4.5%, by the end of 2018.

Last week’s Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey revealed that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have fallen to their lowest mark this year, at 3.88%. This is great news for homebuyers looking to purchase and homeowners looking to refinance.

The rate you secure greatly impacts your monthly mortgage payment and the amount you will ultimately pay for your home.

Let’s take a look at a historical view of interest rates over the last 45 years.

Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Be thankful that you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

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Buying a Home Sight Unseen Becoming More Common

house key

Thanks to massive advancements in technology, the number of people buying a home without seeing it in person first is on the rise.

According to a recent survey conducted by real estate listing firm Redfin,  one in three recent home buyers (33%) made an offer on their home sight unseen. This is up from one in five (19%) a year ago. 

Agents and other industry professionals are saying these bids are becoming more common in markets where homes sell quickly or where there is a higher interest in real estate among foreign buyers.

Although rising demand surely is the driving force behind this trend, another component – mobile and communication technology – has likely aided in the increase of sight unseen home purchases. According to a recent article from Builder magazine, many sight unseen bids start with tours conducted via smartphone or videoconferencing. These methods of communication can provide potential buyers with a genuine look at the property in real time, without enhanced listing photos or misleading descriptions. Some brokerages are even putting together 3D photograph and video tours of their listed homes, which can be viewed by interested buyers who have access to a virtual reality headset.

However, with VR technology still very new, it’s more likely that the majority of sight unseen buyers are utilizing the more well-known and more easily accessible apps like Skype, Whatsapp or FaceTime.

Sight Unseen Home Purchases & Millennials

According to the results of the Redfin survey, millennials (those who reached adulthood around the year 2000) are three times more likely than their baby boomer predecessors to buy a home sight unseen.

Forty-one percent of millennials surveyed by Redfin said they had made an offer on a home without first seeing in in person. This is up considerably from the 30 percent of Gen-Xers and 12 percent of Baby Boomers who said they had.

“Millennials are already starting to set trends in the real estate industry,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “They are three times more likely than Baby Boomers to make an offer sight-unseen, and they’re more likely than older buyers and sellers to negotiate commission savings.”

Changes in Housing Affordability May Influence Sight Unseen Purchases

The rise in sight unseen home purchases may also be partly due to changes in economic factors. As real estate prices continue to rise in areas with the highest housing demand, it follows that potential buyers who are relocating to these areas may have to make an offer on a home sight unseen in order to get ahead of the competition.

Other economic concerns may also be influencing how, when and where Americans are buying homes. According to the Redfin survey, 40 percent of respondents cited affordable housing as their top economic concern, followed by the income gap between the rich and poor (38%) and the federal budget deficit (27%).

Because so many millennials are struggling with financial burdens like stagnant wages and student loan debt, it’s not surprising that one in five respondents said rising home prices caused them to search for a home in another metro area. Finding a home in a different city may prompt more buyers to place bids before they see the property in person.

Thinking about making an offer on a home, sight unseen? Follow these tips:

  1. Work with an excellent real estate agent. Find one who is experienced, familiar with the area, and is tech-savvy.
  2. If possible, send a representative on your behalf (other than the real estate agent) to scope out the home. This could be a family member or trusted friend who is familiar with your taste and preferences.
  3. Don’t take listing photos at face value. Too many listings use photos that are either out of date, overly enhanced, or shot at angles that make the rooms appear more spacious than they actually are.
  4. Always get a video tour. You and your agent can either set up a real time video tour via FaceTime, Skype or another similar app, or you can get the agent to create a video tour that he or she records and then sends to you for review.
  5. Opt for the real time tour if at all possible. Pre-recorded video tours don’t allow you to ask questions on-the-spot like, “can you show me the master bedroom again?” or “is that hardwood or laminate?” or “what’s that huge stain on the carpet??”
  6. If at any time you feel completely overwhelmed and unsatisfied with the information you’ve been able to gather about the home in question, STOP! Don’t force yourself to put in a bid sight unseen if you’re not feeling confident about the home. Remember, there will be other properties that come along, plus you can always use the extra time to continue saving for your dream home. Buying a home is a HUGE decision and should not be rushed into.

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NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell!

NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell! | Simplifying The Market

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.

REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX

Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in May.

The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger the demand is there).

NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell! | Simplifying The Market

In addition to revealing high demand, the index also mentioned that “compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 24 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in D.C and West Virginia. 

Takeaway: Demand for housing continues to be strong throughout 2017, but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory rose 2.1% to 1.96 million homes available for sale
  • That represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Unsold inventory is 8.4% lower than a year ago, marking the 24th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values.

As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.2- month supply, and houses are going under contract fast. The Confidence Index shows that 55% of properties were on the market for less than a month when sold.

In May, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 27 days. As Yun notes, this will continue, unless more listings come to the market.

“With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. And the supply will continue to ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.

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While home prices climb, mortgages remain affordable

real estate value chart

A recent article from CNN Money pointed out that while real estate prices are skyrocketing across much of the country, the cost of getting a mortgage is actually staying pretty low. To back up this claim, CNN Money’s Kathryn Vasel shared some of the latest home price data and spoke with a leading expert in the industry.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median existing home price climbed to $252,800 in May. This surpasses the last peak that hit in June 2016 of $247,600. As Vasel reiterates, home prices have been on the rise month-over-month for more than five years.

Although higher home prices and more robust real estate values can indicate a healthy market, if prices don’t level off eventually, it could push certain buyers out of the market, namely those in the lower or middle income brackets. A shortage of available housing inventory has only helped spur the growth of home prices, as demand gets more intense across the nation.

But while home prices continue to grow, the cost of financing a home has stayed relatively low.

“Falling mortgage rates help to soften the blow of rising home prices,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com in the CNN Money article.

Gumbinger went on to explain how mortgage rates increased to more than 4% in the weeks following the presidential election, likely due to high hopes for economic improvements. However, as this optimism began to wane, mortgage rates began to drop back down to the near-historic lows we’ve seen for the last decade.

“After the elections, there was fantastic enthusiasm we would get fiscal policy changes and the economy was going to drive forward faster,” Gumbinger told CNN Money. “Not a whole lot has been accomplished on that front…and that has confused the market and dampened enthusiasm.”

But what about the future of mortgage rates? Can we expect rates to stay this low? Most likely not; however, mortgage rates are expected to see a gradual rise over time and remain fairly low for the foreseeable future, Vasel writes. This is probably an accurate assessment, even though it’s difficult to say how mortgage rates will move with any real certainty. After all, mortgage rates are influenced by a variety of economic factors, many of which change on a quarterly or even monthly basis.

According to Vasel’s source, we may see a small peak where rates move to 4.5% between now and the end of the year. Therefore, if you’re on the fence about locking in a mortgage rate, it may be best to do it sooner rather than later.

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Existing Home Sales Surge into Summer [INFOGRAPHIC]

Existing Home Sales Surge into Summer [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Existing Home Sales Surge into Summer [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales reached their third highest mark this year in May.
  • Inventory of homes for sale has dropped 8.4% since last year, marking the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
  • NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say: “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”

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New Home Sales Increase in May

home sold sign

New home sales got a small boost in May, signaling continued growth in new construction and builder confidence.

According to a June 23 press release from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 2.9 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units after an upwardly revised April reading. The data comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We are seeing solid overall growth in new home sales this year,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “Sales are up more than 12 percent from this time last year, and we expect continued gains throughout 2017.”

Inventory of new homes for sale was 268,000 in May, which reflects a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace. Typically, a market with less than six months of supply is considered a seller’s market.

“This month’s report is in line with our forecast, and consistent with solid builder confidence readings,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With more consumers entering the market, further job growth and tight existing home inventory, the new home sector should continue to expand.”

Regionally, new home sales showed moderate increases in two regions and fairly sharp declines in the other two. According to the NAHB press release, new home sales rose 13.3 percent in the West and 6.2 percent in the South. Sales of new homes dropped 10.8 percent in the Northeast and 25.7 percent in the Midwest.

What this could mean for the U.S. housing market

With sales of newly built homes gaining momentum, it could be a good sign that inventory is continuing to work toward meeting demand. Although there is still some disparity between supply and demand in much of the country, new home sales could be the key to closing the gap.

This also provides evidence that home builders could be seeing more work and more opportunities for development in the coming months. With builder confidence continuing to maintain healthy levels, May’s new home sales data reflects the trends behind that growth.

 

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Buyer’s Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar

Buyer's Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar | Simplifying The Market

We previously reported how a shortage of inventory in the starter and trade-up home markets is driving prices up and causing bidding wars, creating a true seller’s market. At the same time, in the premium home market, an over-abundance of inventory has started to see prices come down and put buyers in the driver’s seat, creating the beginning of a buyer’s market.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors released their Existing Home Sales Report which shed some additional light on the impact of inventory levels on sales in each price range.

The chart below shows the year-over-year difference in sales at each price range.

Buyer's Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar | Simplifying The Market

The under $100K range has shown declines in recent years due to the shortage of distressed homes available for sale (just 5% of sales this past month, compared to 35% in January 2012). Sales in the next two price ranges are no doubt being hindered by low inventory as buyers compete for the same home.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, explained:

“Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”

The biggest surprise? This is the first time in years where the $1M and up price range had the highest jump in sales when compared to last year and to all other price ranges (29.1%)! The two price ranges right underneath the $1M range were a close second and third. As the price went up, so did the sales!

With additional inventory available in the higher price ranges, and the economy improving, many luxury buyers are finding it easier to find their dream homes. Yun commented,

“The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who is looking to sell your starter or trade up home and move up to a luxury home, now is the time!

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