Reflecting on 2020

We have so much to be grateful for!

Starting our own firm is definitely one of the big highlights, along with helping all of our AMAZING clients! We have been so honored that so many have trusted and referred their friends and family to us this past year and are continuing to do so! We feel so blessed to do what we do, and we want to thank each and every one of you for all of your support, trust, and kind words.

It means the world to us, and we promise to continue to give exemplary service to all and to give back every chance we get!!

2021 is looking to be another standout year for the Messa Group! 🥳
We are excited to be able to bring even bigger and better value to our clients, and look forward to introducing you to our new and improved Concierge Service, as well as other fun and amazing things!

We wish you all peace, love, good health… and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🤩

We Have a BIG Announcement

We are so very excited to announce that The Messa Group Real Estate has officially gone from being a team to…our very own brokerage FIRM!!  

Nothing is changing for our clients AT ALL…well, except that we will be able to offer even more amazing value to them, including a much bigger Concierge Service offering!  

To say we are thrilled is an understatement. 2021 is going to be AMAZING, and we can’t wait to share it with all of you!! ❤️

Why It Makes Sense to Sell Your House This Holiday Season

If you’re one of the many homeowners thinking about taking your house off the market for the holidays, hang on. You definitely don’t want to miss the great selling opportunity you have right now. Here’s why this month is the optimal time to make sure your house is available for holiday buyers.

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale has dropped to an astonishing all-time low. It now sits at a 2.5-month supply at the current sales pace.

Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ market, in which there are enough homes available for active buyers (See graph below):

Why It Makes Sense to Sell Your House This Holiday Season | Keeping Current Matters

When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is today, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. This means competition among purchasers rises and more bidding wars take place, making it essential for buyers to submit very attractive offers.

As this happens, prices rise and sellers are in the best position to negotiate deals that meet their ideal terms. So, if your neighbors decide to remove their listings this season, your house may quickly rise to the top of a holiday buyer’s wish list if you stay on the market.

Today, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase. Record-low mortgage rates and a year filled with unique changes have prompted buyers to think differently about where they live and to take action. The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with this high demand, making now the optimal time to sell your house.

Bottom Line

Home prices are appreciating in today’s sellers’ market. Making your home available over the next few weeks will give you the most exposure to buyers who will be actively competing against each other to purchase it.

We are Thankful and Full of Gratitude!

In a year when everything around us has changed, most of us have become pretty good at adapting. This Thanksgiving will not be like any other holiday we have shared together.

We say this because we have all been stretched to adapt and do nearly everything differently. We visit each other differently; we eat differently; and we even shop for groceries differently. But the thing is, Thanksgiving is about doing the same thing, the same way…every year.

Can you remember the last time a friend or family member tried to put a new spin on a traditional dish? There was at least one person who didn’t respond well to this! 

No matter what changes this year, the one thing that shouldn’t change is the reason we celebrate this day together. We break bread together because we are thankful. We are thankful that we are friends; we are thankful we are family; and we are thankful that no matter what, we come together in the spirit of gratitude. Because no matter what we do differently, we will do it differently together and that should never change. 

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

We are super excited to have partnered with Tena Pearce-Sherman and team at Handy in the Valley to provide a family a free holiday light install.  On behalf of Handy in the Valley and The Messa Group Real Estate we want to thank our community for all the heart felt holiday light nominations. We are excited to report that a family has been chosen! We will be lighting up the house of a single mom who’s raising 3 young children and we couldn’t be more excited for them. We have such a wonderful community.

Because we were so touched by the submissions, we, along with Handy in the Valley and our amazing friends at Keep it Local Snoqualmie Valley, are going to be helping a couple more of the submitted families in a different way. Stay tuned as we may very well look to our community to help support this effort.

Thank you again so much!!

For a full article featured in Living Snoqualmie, go here: https://bit.ly/3jDoagM

Two Important Impacts of Home Equity

Equity continues to rise, helping American homeowners secure a much more stable financial future. According to the most recent data from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained $9,800 in equity over the past year. In addition, experts project 2020 home prices to continue rising. With prices going up, equity gains will also keep accelerating. Black Knight just reported:

“The annual percent change in the overall median existing single-family-home price has skyrocketed in the past several months, with recent numbers at three to five times higher than rates seen in the past several years.”

Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist at Zillow, just qualified recent price increases as “jaw-dropping” and “within a hair’s breadth of double-digit year-over-year appreciation.”

Knowing equity will help enable many homeowners to better survive the economic distress caused by the ongoing pandemic, it’s important to break down two key homeowner benefits of increasing equity.

1. Equity Increases a Homeowner’s Options to Buy a New Home

Aside from the financial damage of the last seven months, there has also been a tremendous emotional toll on many people. Shelter-in-place mandates, quarantine requirements, and virtual schooling have all made us re-evaluate the must-have requirements a home should deliver. Having equity in your current house gives you a better opportunity to move-up or build your perfect home from scratch.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, recently explained:

“As homeowners gain equity in their homes, they are more likely to consider using that equity to purchase a larger or more attractive home – the wealth effect of rising equity.”

If you need to make a move, the equity in your current home can help make that possible – right now.

2. Equity Enables Homeowners to Help Future Generations

An increase in home equity grows overall wealth, which can transfer to future generations. The Federal Reserve, in an addendum to their recent Survey of Consumer Finances, explains:

“There are numerous ways families can transmit wealth and resources across generations. Families can directly transfer their wealth to the next generation in the form of a bequest. They can also provide the next generation with inter vivos transfers (gifts), for example, providing down payment support to enable a home purchase or a substantial wedding gift.”

The Federal Reserve also explains another way wealth (including the additional net worth generated by an increase in home equity) can benefit future generations:

“In addition to direct transfers or gifts, families can make investments in their children that indirectly increase their wealth. For example, families can invest in their children’s educational success by paying for college or private schools, which can in turn increase their children’s ability to accumulate wealth.”

Bottom Line

Equity can help a homeowner grow their confidence in a more stable financial future. It provides near-term move-up options and creates a positive impact for future generations. In many cases, the largest single investment a person has is their home. As that investment appreciates in value, financial options increase too.

Housing Market on Track to Beat Last Year’s Success

Back in March, as the nation’s economy was shut down because of the coronavirus, many were predicting the real estate market would face a major collapse. Some forecasts called for a 15-20% decline in transactions. However, six months later, it seems as though the housing market has fully recovered.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanannounced last week:

“Since hitting a low point during the initial stages of the pandemic, the only major industry to display immunity to the economic impacts of the coronavirus is the housing market. Housing has experienced a strong V-shaped recovery and is now exceeding pre-pandemic levels.”

The Economic & Strategic Research Group at Fannie Mae upgraded its forecast for home sales last week:

“Housing data over the past month continued to show a strong V-shape rebound, helping drive the broader economy. Existing home sales jumped to a pace not seen since 2006…We have substantially upgraded our forecasts for both new and existing home sales. For 2020, total home sales are now expected to be 1.3% higher than in 2019.”

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) agrees. In their last Pending Sales Report, NAR shared projections from Chief Economist Lawrence Yun:

“Yun forecasts existing-home sales to ramp up to 5.8 million in the second half. That expected rebound would bring the full-year level of existing-home sales to 5.4 million, a 1.1% gain compared to 2019.”

Yun’s forecast for 2021 was even more optimistic, stating, “Home sales will ramp up again next year, increasing between 8% – 12%.”

Bottom Line

The housing market has come roaring back and looks as though it may even surpass last year’s success.

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, hit the nail on the head when he said“On an aggregated level, the housing economy remains rock solid despite the shock and awe of the pandemic.”

Why Get Pre-Approved?

Here is why it is SO important to be Pre-Approved in the Homebuying Process!

You may have heard that pre-approval is a great first step in the home buying process. But why is it so important? When looking for a home, the temptation to fall in love with a house that’s outside your budget is very real. So, before you start shopping around, it’s helpful to know your price range, what you’re comfortable within a monthly mortgage payment, and ultimately how much money you can borrow for your loan. Pre-approval from a lender is the only way to do this.

According to a recent survey from realtor.com, many buyers are making the mistake of skipping the pre-approval step in the home buying process:“Of over 2,000 active home shoppers who plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, only 52% obtained a pre-approval letter before beginning their home search, which means nearly half of home buyers are missing this crucial piece of paperwork.This paperwork (the pre-approval letter) shows sellers you’re a qualified buyer, something that can really help you stand out from the crowd in the current ultra-competitive market.How competitive is today’s market? Extremely – especially among buyers.With limited inventory, there are many more buyers than sellers right now, and that’s fueling the competition. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes are receiving an average of 2.9 offers for sellers to negotiate, so bidding wars are heating up.

Pre-approval shows homeowners you’re a serious buyer. It helps you stand out from the crowd if you get into a multiple-offer scenario, and these days, it’s likely. When a seller knows you’re qualified to buy the home, you’re in a better position to potentially win the bidding war and land the home of your dreams.Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com notes:“For ‘a buyer in a competitive market, it’s typically essential to have pre-approval done in order to submit an offer, so getting it done before you even look at homes is a smart move that will enable a buyer to move fast to put an offer in on the right home.’”

In addition, today’s housing market is also changing from moment to moment. Interest rates are low, prices are going up, and lending institutions are regularly updating their standards. You’re going to need guidance to navigate these waters, so it’s important to have a team of professionals (a loan officer and a real estate agent) making sure you take the right steps along the way and can show your qualifications as a buyer at the time you find a home to purchase.

Bottom Line

In a competitive market with low inventory, a pre-approval letter is a game-changing piece of the home buying process. If you’re ready to buy this year, reach out to a local real estate professional (who can also connect you with a trusted lender) before you start searching for a home.

#BeKindSV FACE MASKS are here!

We are now offering these masks FREE to our clients! 
Contact us for further information!


They will also be for sale to help raise money for the
Snoqualmie Valley Community Network!

Beyond Grateful

WOW! What an incredible first half of 2020 it has been for The Messa Group! We’ve been honored to have so many people trust and even refer their friends and family to us! 2020 has been incredibly challenging for many, and we are very grateful for all of the amazing people in our lives and in our community that have rallied to overcome all of the obstacles that have been thrown at us all! We are so blessed to do what we do, and we want to thank each and every one of you for all of your support and trust. It means the world to us, and we promise to continue to give exemplary service to all and to give back every chance we get!! 

We look forward to an AMAZING 2nd half of 2020, and HOPEFULLY, we will be able to be out in the community running into all of you VERY SOON…WARNING: be ready for a HUGE hug!!!!

ALSO, We will be offering these #BeKindSV facemasks for FREE to all of our past and current clients. They will also be for sale to help raise money for the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network!

Stay tuned…we will let you know when they are available!

New Trend?

A surge of homebuyers are moving to the Suburbs… Is this a new trend?

As remote work continues on for many businesses and Americans weigh the risks of being in densely populated areas, will more people start to move out of bigger cities? Spending extra time at home and dreaming of more indoor and outdoor space is certainly sparking some interest among homebuyers. Early data shows an initial trend in this direction of moving from urban to suburban communities, but the question is: will the trend continue?

According to recent data from Zillow, there is a current surge in urban high-end listings in some larger metro areas. The month-over-month increase in these homes going on the market indicates more urban homeowners may be ready to make a move out of the city, particularly at the upper end of the market.

Why are people starting to move out of larger cities?

With the ongoing health crisis, it’s no surprise that many people are starting to consider this shift. A July survey from HomeLight notes the top reasons people are actually moving today:

More interior space

Desire to own

Move from city to suburbs

More outdoor space

More space, proximity to fewer people, and a desire to own at a more affordable price point are highly desirable features in this new era, so the list makes sense.

John Burns Consulting notes:

“The trend is accelerating faster than anyone could have predicted. The need for more space is driving suburban migration.”

In addition, Sheryl Palmer, CEO of Taylor Morrison, a home building company, indicates:

“Most recently, we’re really seeing a pickup in folks saying they want more rural or suburban locations. Initially, there was a lot of talk about that, but it’s really coming through our buyers today.”

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also shares:

“New home demand is improving in lower density markets, including small metro areas, rural markets and large metro exurbs, as people seek out larger homes and anticipate more flexibility for telework in the years ahead. Flight to the suburbs is real.” 

Will the shift pick up speed and continue on?

The question remains, will this interest in suburban and rural living continue? Some, like Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) think the possibility is there, but it is still quite early to tell for sure. Yun notes:

“Homebuyers considering a move to the suburbs is a growing possibility after a decade of urban downtown revival…Greater work-from-home options and flexibility will likely remain beyond the virus and any forthcoming vaccine.”

While much of the energy behind this trend has largely been accelerated by the current health crisis, monitoring the momentum over time is critically important. Businesses are discovering new and innovative ways to function in remote environments, so the shift has the potential to stick. Much like the economic recovery, however, the long-term impact may hinge largely on the health situation throughout this country.

Bottom Line

Early data is showing a shift from urban to suburban markets, but keeping an eye on this trend will help us understand how it will ultimately play out. It may just be a temporary swing in a new direction until Americans once again feel a sense of comfort in the cities they’ve grown to love.

Current Market Update

According to the latest FreddieMac Quarterly Forecast, mortgage interest rates fell to historically low levels this spring and they’re projected to remain low. This means there’s a huge incentive for buyers who are ready to purchase. And homeowners looking for eager buyers can take advantage of this opportune time to sell as well.

There’s a very positive outlook on interest rates going forward, as the projections from the FreddieMac report indicate continued lows into 2021:

“Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021.”

With mortgage rates hovering at such compelling places, ongoing buyer interest is bound to keep driving the housing market forward. Rates also reached another record low in June, so homebuyers are in what FreddieMac is identifying as the buying mood:

“While the rebound in the economy is uneven, one segment that is exhibiting strength is the housing market. Purchase demand activity is up over twenty percent from a year ago, the highest since January 2009. Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to declining inflationary pressures, putting many homebuyers in the buying mood. However, it will be difficult to sustain the momentum in demand as unsold inventory was at near record lows coming into the pandemic and it has only dropped since then.”

There’s no doubt that even though buyers are ready to purchase, it’s hard for many of them to find a home to buy today. Mortgage rates aren’t the only thing hovering near all-time lows; homes available for sale are too. With housing inventory as scarce as it is today – a nearly 20% year-over-year decline in available homes to purchase – keeping buyers in the purchasing mood may be tough if they can’t find a home to buy (See graph below):

What does this mean for buyers?

Competition is hot with so few homes available for purchase and low mortgage rates are helping to drive affordability as well. Getting pre-approved now will help you gain a competitive advantage and accelerate the home buying process, so you’re ready to go when you find that perfect home you’d like to buy. Working quickly and efficiently with a trusted real estate professional (THAT WOULD BE US!!) will help put you in a position to act fast when you’re ready to make your move.

What does this mean for sellers?

If you’re thinking of selling your house, know that the motivation for buyers to purchase right now is as high as ever with rates where they are today. Selling now before other sellers come to market in your neighborhood this summer might put your house high on the list for many buyers. Homebuyers are clearly in the mood to buy, and with today’s safety guidelines and precautions in place to show your house, confidence is also on your side.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, there’s great motivation to be in the housing market, especially with mortgage rates hovering at this historic all-time low. Let’s connect today to make sure you’re ready to make your move.

Let’s Talk About Mortgage Forbearance & Interest Rates

Thank you to Whitney Pauley of Caliber for sharing this info.

The Covid-19 Coronavirus has led to some challenging times for all of us.

The Government has created the CARE Act, to assist homeowners whose income may have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus. One of the components of the CARE Act is the possibility of mortgage forbearance.

Forbearance is often misinterpreted. And while it is intended to help, it can have some dangerous repercussions. Many people are mistakenly thinking that forbearance equals forgiveness. It does not.

Forbearance means that the payments will be suspended for a short period of time, initially up to 6 months, but will need to be caught up when the forbearance period is over.

Think about when you buy something at a furniture store that offers “no payments” for 3 months. You still must pay for the furniture…the payments are just deferred.

But mortgage forbearance is even worse if the borrower has dug themselves in a deep hole and can’t catch up. Should this happen, the lender will enforce their right to be paid, which may cause the borrower to be foreclosed upon. They could lose all the equity in their home in the process.

Forbearance is designed to help those as a measure of last resort. It is not a free pass and may have serious consequences.

Our best advice is to call your mortgage company if you have any questions or need to get help with your monthly payments. PLEASE do not assume you can just stop making your payments.

Interest Rates:

Interest rates are EXPECTED to be at all-time lows for the next 6 months, and possibly even hold for up to 18 months. For every .50% in rate (3.875%-3.375% on a $650,000 loan amount), allows the buyer to purchase $50K more in home value. With rates holding low, it should allow people to afford more when the market comes back.

Mortgage companies appear to be figuring out all the logistics of everything…what programs are available, how to price loans, and how to manage capacity so they can continue to help clients lower their payments and stay in their homes.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions about these or any other topics!