Stephanie A. Rizzuto

Loan Officer NMLS#: 145265

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If you remember the days before online listings, virtual tours, and e-signing, you understand just how much things have changed in the real estate industry. Clients focus has shifted towards marketing, content creation, and overall responsiveness of agents which makes the ability of modern realtors to keep up with the move toward mobile more important than ever.  According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, a statistic that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001. While tech hasn’t replaced the need for an agent, realtors need to be fluent in industry advancements (and the client demands that come with them) more than ever. A Real Estate Agent’s Changing Role Jeremy Wacksman , Chief Marketing Office at Zillow, commented on technology in the industry: Before, you spent a lot of time doing information gathering, collecting, and responding. The internet really opened the doors. Agents are freed up to help get the deals done. But now they have to be an agent, negotiator, price setter, and a community resource. Glenn Orgin , CEO of the real estate tech platform Richr, would agree. In a recent interview, he stated that, “The introduction of virtual services allows sellers to stage homes in virtual reality, so buyers can easily view homes from any location”. With data being made more accessible than ever, Orgin sees technology shifting the role of a realtor to a local market expert and service provider. Realtors will need to take advantage of new technology to help their team become more responsive when keeping up with their clients. ...

Homeowners in the US are currently estimated to be 400% more likely to be equity-rich than underwater. Findings From the 4th Quarter Home Equity & Underwater Report  ATTOM Data Solutions’ 4th quarter US Home Equity & Underwater Report showed that only 1 in 16 homes in the US were considered “underwater”. The report indicates approximately 14.5 million residential properties in the US were considered “equity-rich” in the 4th quarter. This number represents 26.7% of the 54.5 million mortgaged homes in the United States. For a home to be considered “equity-rich”, the combined estimated amounts of loans on the property must be 50% or less of the property’s market value.  On the flipside, homes that are considered “underwater”, meaning that the combined loans on that home are worth at least 25% more than the property’s market value, account for only 6.4% of all US properties with a mortgage.  Todd Teta, chief product officer of ATTOM Data Solutions , noted that,  Homeownership continued boosting household balance sheets across the United States in the fourth quarter of 2019, as people paying off mortgages were much more likely to be in equity-rich territory than seriously underwater.“That marked yet another sign of how much the country has benefited from an eight-year housing-market boom. Some big gaps in equity levels persist between regions and market segments. But as home values keep climbing, financial resources keep building for homeowners, which provides them with leverage to make home repairs, help their children through college or take on ...

Whether your family is welcoming new additions making for a larger household or your current living space doesn’t have the room you desire to entertain others and fit everything you need, buying a larger home is a process and making the decision to upsize takes a lot of factors into consideration. Current homeowners looking to purchase a larger home can do so by utilizing their home equity. What is home equity? How can you increase it? Check out these answers to some common questions to determine if purchasing a larger home is right for you and your family.  What is home equity?  Simply put, home equity is a homeowner’s financial interest in a home that can increase over time. Home equity typically starts when a mortgage is made out on a home and homeowners begin to make monthly payments. For example, if a home is $200,000 dollars and the owners purchased it at full value with a 20 percent down payment and a loan from the bank for the remaining amount, they have 20 percent of the purchase price or $40,000 that they own. Depending on the worth of the house as well as the down payment, home equity can be used towards the purchase of another home. In a 2019 Q3 U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report conducted by ATTOM Data Solutions, 14.4 million residential properties in the United States were considered equity rich, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50% or less of their estimated market value. In other terms, these homeowners have at least 50% equity can use it towards the purchase of a new home.  How can you increase your home equity for a larger home purchase? Over time, ...

The past decade has proven to be incredibly dynamic when it comes to the housing market. Ten years ago, the United States was still battling the effects of the Great Recession where real estate arguably suffered the most. It took until the middle of the decade for the greatest buyer’s market in history to turn into the greatest seller’s market. We’ve gone from having too many homes to sell to not having enough. Buying a home has remained a vital part of the American Dream and it’s important to come prepared to the start of a new decade.  Come Prepared with Pre Approval Loans and a Credit Score to Match  With inventory of homes for sale facing a major shortage across the nation, getting a preapproval for a home loan is more important than ever. Shopping for homes before gaining a preapproval letter is a common mistake. Pitfalls with student loans, significant recent cash deposits, and the manner in which self-employed income is reported can cause serious delays when it comes to getting a mortgage. A credit score of 620 or above is typically the minimum score required to buy a house.  Don’t Be Tempted to Overbuy  Consider three times your income as a starting point when considering debt-to-income ratios . Don’t be enticed by beautiful photos and luxurious amenities. Get preapproval for your mortgage so you can move quickly when you do find the right house.  Preparing to Make a Down Payment  Many people think that they need 20% down. However, 6% was the median down payment for first-time home buyers in 2019. For repeat buyers, the average was closer to 16%. Understand the ...

Whether you’re a recent college graduate or have spent some years working and saving, making your first home purchase may have crossed your mind. Thoughts about the current real estate market, the affordability of a home, and the timing of being a first-time buyer may have quickly followed as well. However, buying a home is more attainable than you think and can be a valuable tool in building your net worth and overall wealth.  The Earlier The Better  The earlier you start, the earlier you save. EMIs (equated monthly installments) are lower when you opt for a longer tenure of loan. By opting for a longer loan early on, you’ll be able to take advantage of low monthly payments when you need them and eventually repay the loan or increase the EMI amount as you become more financially stable in later years.  Studies have shown that those that purchased their first home in their twenties had an average of $10,000 left on their mortgage at age 60. Those that waited until their thirties averaged around $50,000 but typically purchased more expensive homes.  Tax Breaks When you take out a loan to purchase a property, you will be eligible for a tax deduction against the interest paid on the loan. If you itemize on your income taxes, you can  deduct all or a portion of your mortgage interest and property taxes.   You’re also eligible for a big exclusion in place to help reduce your capital gains tax when you’re ready to sell.   Investment Potential  If you buy property in a developing area, chances are that the property will yield a high return within a few years. ...

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