Every week, we ask a Miami real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we spoke with Ana Solis, a Realtor associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.
Miami Agent (MA): Technology has become an increasingly important part of being a successful real estate agent. How have you incorporated technology into your business?
Ana Solis (AS): Thanks to the internet and related technology, we are able reach our prospective buyers, sellers and our colleagues in an infinite number of ways. This includes social media profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging and other online interactive media vehicles. We are able to constantly stay in touch with the public, and most of the time, they are the ones reaching out to us. Also, the importance of reaching and communicating with our colleagues is underestimated and technology helps facilitate this important action.
MA: In 2014 alone, John Burns Real Estate Consulting estimates that upwards of 400,000 home transactions will be lost due to student debt. When you take on a client with heavy student debt, what steps do you take to make sure they’re in the best purchasing position possible?
AS: Debt in general is definitely an obstacle to securing conventional loans with desirable interest rates and other terms. Heavy debt will negatively impact the client’s income to debt ratio and will therefore negatively impact the credit score and borrowing power. This issue affects everyone but it especially affects the younger professionals because they are often earning entry-level salaries. High debt and low income is a signal that a client may not yet be ready to purchase a home. If they are not ready, I try to help them commit to a plan. I also suggest that the client work on a budget and consult with a financial advisor. Owning a home is a big step, especially for first-time homebuyers, so it requires a strategy. Satisfying the revolving debt and carefully reviewing the credit reports for errors or the over-reporting of debt will help. Loan pre-approval is the first step, and buying well within the client’s means is very important to me.
MA: Single-family home prices, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, increased 6.4 percent in August. Have you noticed this trend, and do you worry the market might become overvalued?
AS: I have observed the trend myself. The single-family home values have been rising for quite some time, well before August. I believe that there was a sharper increase since August because the inventory was noticeably smaller, and buyers can secure loans because lenders are more confident with the more gradual increase this time. The loan approvals and numbers have increased and I believe that the lenders are curbing their risk with slightly higher interest rates. I feel that the values will continue to rise but that the rate of increase will level off somewhat. To me, this would signal a strong and healthy single-family home market. The fate of condominium market is harder to predict.