A few weeks ago, before and in anticipation of the poor July sales number, some of Keller Williams' best minds got together and came up with a new Stimulus Plan. This one would not be government run and would apply to every Buyer in the market. Here's how the new program works.
Keller Williams Realtors have many of their Seller clients paying up to 2 "points" at closing in order for a Buyer of their home to receive a "sub 4%" 30 year fixed interest rate. Depending on the Lender and the property, the rate offered has typically been 3.75% to 3.875%. The advantage to the Seller is increased interest in their property due to an offer of the lowest fixed interest rate in 50 years.
The advantages to the Buyer are plentiful. First, the Buyer will save every single month with a lower interest rate. Second, the lower rate allows a Buyer to qualify for a higher priced home. Third, the "points" paid by the Seller are actually tax deductible for the Buyer as "interest paid" in the current tax year. Fourth, if the mortgage is an FHA or VA loan, it is assumable to a Buyer that qualifies in the future. This gives today's Buyer a very valuable asset to offer in the future sale of their home. Fifth, in most cases, we find the Buyer will actually save 10% of the purchase price over the life of the loan.
Here's an example.
- The Buyer purchases a home for $250,000 and obtains an FHA Loan with 3.5% down.
- The Seller pays 2 "points", which totals about $4,900, in order for the Buyer to obtain a 3.75% 30 year fixed rate instead of a 4.25% rate.
- The Buyer saves about $70 per month in payments, has a $4,900 tax write off and will save over $26,000 in interest and taxes over the life of the mortgage!
The savings over a shorter period of time are obviously much less, $7,500 over 5 years for instance. However, the value of that 3.75% assumable FHA loan may be extremely high when rates are back up to 6% or 7% in the next 5 years. What a great selling feature that will be!
It's understood the program won't benefit every Buyer. If a Buyer plans to stay in their home for less than 3 years, they may actually be better off just taking the 2 points as a closing costs credit from the Seller or a price reduction. However, who is out there buying a home right now thinking they will only live there for a couple of years? Sounds a little risky to me.
The advantage of the program to Realtors is twofold. One, they have another marketing tool for their listings (other than just continual price reductions). Two, they have a message they can share with their sphere of influence to generate additional interest in the Real Estate Market. After all, the Government Stimulus Plan was a good program to those who qualified, but at the end of the day, its biggest value was that it gave Realtors a message they could share with their clients and sphere of influence. It helped Realtors take action and get on the phone.
The more Realtors share the message that the market is stabilizing and interest rates will most likely never be this low again in our lifetime, the better off we will all be.
**NBC Action News just ran a segment on this:**
"Realty Group Offers 'Stimulus Program' to Sweeten Deal for Potential Buyers" -- posted 8/25/10, Leawood KS (... and you may even see a familiar face in this clip --wink--)
PS ... Here's a link to the property featured in the example calculations following my interview: www.8610Meadow.com