Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates Simplifying The Market

Last year, the Federal Reserve took action to try to bring down inflation. In response to those efforts, mortgage rates jumped up rapidly from the record lows we saw in 2021, peaking at just over 7% last October. Hopeful buyers experienced a hit to their purchasing power as a result, and some decided to press pause on their plans.

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market Simplifying The Market

It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who closely follows the economy or not, chances are you’ve heard whispers of an upcoming recession. Economic conditions are determined by a broad range of factors, so rather than explaining them each in depth, let’s lean on the experts and what history tells us to see what could lie ahead. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, says:

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Is It Time To Sell Your Second Home?

Is It Time To Sell Your Second Home? Simplifying The Market

During the pandemic, second homes became popular because of the rise in work-from-home flexibility. That’s because owning a second home, especially in the luxury market, allowed those homeowners to spend more time in their favorite places or with different home features. Keep in mind, a luxury home isn’t only defined by price. In a recent article, Investopedia shares additional factors that push a home into this category: location, such as a home on the water or in a desirable city, and features, the things that make the home itself feel luxurious.

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago Simplifying The MarketThere’s no doubt today’s housing market is very different than the frenzied one from the past couple of years. In the second half of 2022, there was a dramatic shift in real estate, and it caused many people to make comparisons to the 2008 housing crisis. While there may be a few similarities, when looking at key variables now compared to the last housing cycle, there are significant differences.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment?

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | Simplifying The Market

If you’re getting ready to buy your first home, you’re likely focused on saving up for everything that purchase involves. One cost that’s likely top of mind is your down payment. But don’t let a common misconception about how much you need to save make the process harder than it could be.

Understand 20% Isn’t Always the Typical Down Payment

Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . nearly a third of prospective homebuyers think they need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. This myth remains one of the largest perceived barriers to achieving homeownership.

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. This means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, the median down payment today is only 14%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 6% (see graph below):

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | Simplifying The Market

Learn About Options That Can Help You Toward Your Goal

If saving for a down payment still feels like a challenge, know that there’s help available. A real estate professional and trusted lender can show you options that could help you get closer to your down payment goal. According to latest Homeownership Program Index from Down Payment Resource, there are over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and the majority are intended to help with down payments.

Plus there are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5%, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, be sure to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Down Payment Resource. Then, partner with a trusted lender to learn what you qualify for on your homebuying journey.

Bottom Line

Remember, a 20% down payment isn’t always required. If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have a trusted lender so you can explore your down payment options.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

What Are Your Goals in the Housing Market This Year?

What Are Your Goals in the Housing Market This Year? | Simplifying The Market

If buying or selling a home is part of your dreams for 2023, it’s essential for you to understand today’s housing market, define your goals, and work with industry experts to bring your homeownership vision for the new year into focus.

In the last year, high inflation had a big impact on the economy, the housing market, and likely on your wallet too. That’s why it’s critical to have a clear understanding of not just the market today, but also what you want out of it when you buy or sell a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, so that you can stay in your home long enough that buying is a sound financial decision.

Here are a few questions you can start thinking through as you fine tune your goals for 2023.

1. What’s Motivating You?

You’re dreaming about making a move for a reason – what is it? No matter what’s happening in the market, there are still many compelling reasons to buy a home today. Your needs may have changed in a way your current house can’t address, or you could be ready to step into homeownership for the first time and have a space that’s truly your own. Use what’s motivating you as a guidepost in partnership with an expert advisor to help make sure your move will give you a lasting sense of accomplishment.

2. What Does Your Next Home Look Like?

You know you want to move, but how would you describe your dream home? The available supply of homes for sale has grown, and that could mean more options to choose from when you buy. Just be sure to keep your budget in mind and work with a trusted real estate professional to balance your wants and needs. The better you understand what’s essential and where you can be flexible, the easier it can be to find the home that’s right for you.

3. How Ready Are You To Buy?

Getting clear on your budget and savings is essential before you get too far into the process. Working with a local agent and a lender early is the best way to make sure you’re in a good position to buy. This could include planning how much to save for a down payment, getting pre-approved for a home loan, and assessing your current home equity if your move involves selling your existing house.

A Professional Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Process

Buying or selling a home is a big process that takes expertise to navigate. If that feels a bit overwhelming, you aren’t alone. According to a recent Harris Poll survey, one in five respondents see a lack of information or knowledge about the homebuying process as a barrier from owning a home. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from your goals this year. A trusted expert can bridge that gap and give you the best advice and information about today’s market.

Bottom Line

Let’s connect to plan how your dreams for 2023 can become a reality.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Planning To Sell Your House? It’s Critical To Hire a Pro.

Planning To Sell Your House? It’s Critical To Hire a Pro | Simplifying The Market

With higher mortgage rates and moderating buyer demand, conditions in the housing market are different today. And if you’re thinking of selling your house, it’s important to understand how the market has changed and what that means for you. The best way to make sure you’re in the know is to work with a trusted housing market expert.

Here are five reasons working with a professional can ensure you’ll get the most out of your sale.

1. A Real Estate Advisor Is an Expert on Market Trends

Leslie Rouda Smith, 2022 President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“During challenging and changing market conditions, one thing that’s calming and constant is the assurance that comes from a Realtor® being in your corner through every step of the home transaction. Consumers can rely on Realtors®’ unmatched work ethic, trusted guidance and objectivity to help manage the complexities associated with the home buying and selling process.”

An expert real estate advisor has the latest information about national trends and your local area too. More importantly, they’ll know what all of this means for you so they’ll be able to help you make a decision based on trustworthy, data-bound information.

2. A Local Professional Knows How To Set the Right Price for Your House

Home price appreciation has moderated this year. If you sell your house on your own, you may be more likely to overshoot your asking price because you’re not as aware of where prices are today. If you do, you run the risk of deterring buyers or seeing your house sit on the market for longer.

Real estate professionals provide an unbiased eye when they help you determine a price for your house. They’ll use a variety of factors, like the condition of your home and any upgrades you’ve made, and compare your house to recently sold homes in your area to find the best price for today’s market. These steps are key to making sure it’s set to move as quickly as possible.

3. A Real Estate Advisor Helps Maximize Your Pool of Buyers

Since buyer demand has cooled this year, you’ll want to do what you can to help bring in more buyers. Real estate professionals have a large variety of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure your house gets in front of people looking to make a purchase. Investopedia explains why it’s risky to sell on your own without the network an agent provides:

You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home.”

Without access to the tools and your agent’s marketing expertise, your buyer pool – and your home’s selling potential – is limited.

4. A Real Estate Expert Will Read – and Understand – the Fine Print

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. NAR explains it like this:

“Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. . . . Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what all the fine print means and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

5. A Trusted Advisor Is a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, buyers are also regaining some negotiation power as bidding wars ease. If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be responsible for any back-and-forth. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all the above parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

Bottom Line

Don’t go at it alone. If you’re planning to sell your house this winter, let’s connect so you have an expert by your side to guide you in today’s market.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Applying For a Mortgage? Here’s What You Should Avoid Once You Do.

Applying For a Mortgage? Here’s What You Should Avoid Once You Do. | Simplifying The Market

While it’s exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating after you’ve applied for your mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close. Here’s a list of things you may not realize you need to avoid after applying for your home loan.

Don’t Deposit Large Sums of Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Don’t Make Any Large Purchases

It’s not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgage. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances.

Don’t Cosign Loans for Anyone

When you cosign for a loan, you’re making yourself accountable for that loan’s success and repayment. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

Don’t Switch Bank Accounts

Lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is much easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

Don’t Apply for New Credit

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car, when you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), it will have an impact on your FICO® score. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

Don’t Close Any Accounts

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn’t true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those aspects of your score.

Do Discuss Changes with Your Lender

Be upfront about any changes that occur or you’re expecting to occur when talking with your lender. Blips in income, assets or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. Ultimately, it’s best to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

Bottom Line

You want your home purchase to go as smoothly as possible. Remember, before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make major life changes, be sure to consult your lender – someone who’s qualified to explain how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, December 22, 2022

What Makes a House a Home?

What Makes a House a Home? | Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying the long-term financial benefits of owning a home, but today’s housing market may have you wondering if now’s still the time to buy. While the financial aspects of buying a home are important, the non-financial and emotional reasons are too.

Home means something different to all of us. Whether it’s sharing memories with loved ones at the kitchen table or settling in to read a book in a favorite chair, the emotional connections to our homes can be just as important as the financial ones. Here are some of the things that make a house a home.

1. You Can Be Proud of Your Accomplishment

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Whether you’re setting out to buy your first home or your fifth, congratulations will be in order when you’ve achieved your goal. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end of your journey will truly make your home feel like a special place.

2. You Have Your Own Designated Happy Place

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Sometimes that’s just what you need to feel recharged and content.

3. You Can Find the Space To Meet Your Needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (like retirement, dedicated space for a hobby, or a personal gym) or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for entertaining, you can invest in a home that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You Can Customize Your Surroundings

Looking to try one of those decorative wall treatments you saw online? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to create an in-home yoga studio. You can do all these things in your own home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning to purchase your first home or you’re ready to buy a different home to meet your needs, consider the emotional benefits that can turn a house into a happy home. When you’re ready to make a move, let’s connect.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

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Confused About What’s Going on in the Housing Market? Lean on a Professional. | Simplifying The Market

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Bottom Line

No matter what, be yourself.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Homeowners Still Have Positive Equity Gains over the Past 12 Months

Homeowners Still Have Positive Equity Gains over the Past 12 Months | Simplifying The Market

If you’re a homeowner, your net worth got a big boost over the past few years thanks to rapidly rising home prices. Here’s how it happened and what it means for you, even as the market moderates.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan.

Because there was a significant imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase over the past few years, home prices appreciated substantially.

And while home price appreciation has moderated this year, and even depreciated slightly in some overheated markets, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost all the equity you gained during the pandemic frenzy.

To prove you still have equity you can use, the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic finds the average homeowner equity has actually grown by $34,300 over the past 12 months.

That’s right, despite the headlines, the average homeowner still gained positive equity over the last year in just about every market. While the gains aren’t as dramatic as they were in the previous quarter due to home price moderation, they’re still significant. And if you’ve been in your home for longer than a year, chances are you have even more equity than you realize.

While that’s the national number, if you want to know what happened over the past year in your area, look at the map below from CoreLogic:

Homeowners Still Have Positive Equity Gains over the Past 12 Months | Simplifying The Market

Why This Is So Important Right Now

While equity helps increase your overall net worth, it can also help you achieve other goals, like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you’ve built up comes back to you in the sale, and it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling because you weren’t sure what the headlines meant for your bottom line, rest assured you’ve still gained equity in recent years, and it can help fuel your move.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained over time can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, let’s connect.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here