REal Skinny - What's Going on in Real Estate in Your Area
Produced by the HD Realty Team with John L Scott Lacey
At a Glance:
For Real Estate Investors
Do’s and Don’ts of Tenant Screening - Steps to keep you out of legal trouble!
- Inspired by the Feb 2018 article in Realtor Mag written by Robbie Cronrod
Current lawsuits have resulted in renters being awarded anywhere from $40,000 and higher because landlords violating the Fair Housing Act. These losses could have been avoided if the landlord had just followed a few simple steps:
You shouldn’t ask any questions or base any housing-related decisions on an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status, and you mustn’t promote a property in terms such as “great building for single professionals.”
Do apply your policies and procedures uniformly - if you run credit checks on some of your renters but not all, then you are opening yourself up for someone claiming bias.
Don’t get too personal on rental application forms! It works like job interviews - stay away from questions about spouses, children, etc. You can provide space for an applicant to list all the individuals who would be living in the apartment.
Do choose a “colorblind” screening service. Some services have a scoring system that enables landlords to establish their preferred tenant profile based on specific parameters, such as income, past evictions, and credit score. The software then evaluates each applicant according to the criteria and returns a “recommend” or “not recommend” verdict completely independent of race, religion, or other potentially discriminatory factors.
Don’t automatically reject an applicant with a criminal record. The US Dept of Housing and Urban Development issued a memo as a warning about having blanket policies that exclude felons or using arrest records. You have to show that you are evaluating each individual on a “case by case” basis.
Do stay abreast of new developments affecting screening. As an example, the recent amendments to the Tenant Protection Act reduces eviction history to 3 years from 7
Do keep all documentation for up to 10 years.
Do send a declination when rejecting a potential tenant. This document, also called an “adverse action letter,” specifies the reason or reasons for rejecting a rental application, such as income, employment, or credit history.
Do call your attorney when in doubt!
For Current Buyers / Sellers / Home Owners
Should you Buy or Wait?
• The Cost of Waiting to Buy is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices & interest rates were to increase over a period of time.
• Freddie Mac predicts interest rates to rise to 5.1% by 2019.
• CoreLogic predicts home prices to appreciate by 4.3% over the next 12 months.
• If you are ready and willing to buy your dream home, find out if you are able to!
Median Home Prices as of Feb 2018 For King / Pierce / Thurston County
For Commercial Investors
Interest Rates Rising, Inflation Fears and Upward Pressure on US Cap Rates
World Property Journal Pointed out this week that the CBRE is concerned that the recent rise in inflation and higher interest rates is going to put upward pressure on the US Cap rates. They reminded us that US cap rates were largely flat outside of the retail sector in H@ 2017 due to a shift in refinancing rather that transaction volumes. Read more here.
Mortgage Rates in the US Continue to Climb for the Seventh Straight Week
Freddie Mac News Facts
• 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.40 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending February 22, 2018, up from last week when it averaged 4.38 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.16 percent.
• 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.85 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.84 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.37 percent.
• 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.65 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.63. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.16 percent.
Economy Watch: Seattle Tops Nation for STEM Job Opportunities
Markets with good STEM employment opportunities are likely to enjoy strong real estate fundamentals as well, according to a recent WalletHub report on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Seattle is the No. 1 US market for STEM job growth out of 100 metro US markets, followed by Boston. Read more here
The HD Realty Team with John L Real Estate
A real estate expert, entrepreneur, and business growth specialist. Scott is a veteran with a love of supporting veterans, individuals in the middle of relocation challenges and folks that are just transitioning from season of their life to another. Scott and his team is here to help you make that next move or investment as stress free as possible with his domestic and international partnerships.
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Scott Hollis and John L Scott Real Estate, do not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein, and will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance heron. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. Consult a professional before making any investment decision.
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