Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.

The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates

As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.

Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | Simplifying The Market

As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.

Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down?

The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:

“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.

So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.

And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”

Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?

Bottom Line

Each person’s situation is unique. To make the best decision for you, let’s connect to explore your options.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Why You Should Consider Condos as Part of Your Home Search

Why You Should Consider Condos as Part of Your Home Search | Simplifying The Market

The historically low inventory over the past few years led to challenges for many buyers trying to find a home that met their needs and their budget. If you’re in the same boat, you should know the recent shift in the housing market may have opened up doors for you to restart your search.

The inventory of homes for sale has increased this year, and that’s giving buyers much needed options. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says:

“. . . today’s shoppers have more than 5 homes to consider for every 4 they had at this time a year ago.”

But perspective is important. Overall, housing supply is still low. If you need even more choices, expanding your search by adding additional housing types, like condominiums, could help.

Exploring Condos Could Add Options That Fit Your Budget

One thing to consider is condos generally differ from single-family homes in average space and floorplans. But that size difference is one reason why condos can be a more affordable option. According to a recent report from realtor.com, condo buyers paid roughly 7% less for their home than buyers of other housing types last year. With rising mortgage rates and home prices, the relative affordability of a condo could be worth considering.

Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner. Buying a condo now can springboard you into a bigger home later on. An article from the Urban Institute explains:

Because condos and co-ops are generally more affordable, they tend to help first-time homebuyers step onto the first rung of the homeownership ladder. These buyers often use the equity on their condo to then purchase a larger single-family home.

In other words, owning a condo will help you start building wealth in the form of home equity. In time, the equity you build can fuel a future purchase should you decide you want to buy a home with more space or different amenities.

Condo Living Provides Several Great Perks

Boosting the number of options in your budget during your home search is just one reason to consider condos, but there are several other benefits to condo living.

First, they tend to require minimal upkeep and lower maintenance – and that can give you more time to spend doing the things you enjoy. A recent article from Bankrate highlights this, saying:

Condos can be a good option for anyone who wants to keep home maintenance to a minimum . . . if the roof is leaking or the carpet in the lobby needs to be replaced, that’s not your responsibility — the condo association handles those duties.”

Plus, since many condos are located in or near city centers, they offer the added benefit of being in close proximity to work and leisure. Again, realtor.com explains:

“Buying a condo, which is generally less expensive than a single-family home, enables a household to afford to own in the middle of it all, and often means a newer-built home with less maintenance responsibility.”

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo can be a lifestyle choice. And if that appeals to you, they could give you the added options you need to buy your first home.

Bottom Line

Adding condominiums to your housing search could be a great move. If you’re ready to search condos in our area, let’s connect today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

If you’re following today’s housing market, you know two of the top issues consumers face are inflation and mortgage rates. Let’s take a look at each one.

Inflation and the Housing Market

This year, inflation reached a high not seen in forty years. For the average consumer, you probably felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. It may have even impacted your ability to save money to buy a home.

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to lower inflation, the August data shows the inflation rate was still higher than expected. This news impacted the stock market and fueled conversations about a recession. It also played a role in the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrate says:

“. . . the Fed has raised rates again, announcing yet another three-quarter-point hike on September 21 . . . The hikes are designed to cool an economy that has been on fire. . .”

While their actions don’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions have contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market. A recent article from Fortune explains:

“As the Federal Reserve moved into inflation-fighting mode, financial markets quickly put upward pressure on mortgage rates. Those elevated mortgage rates . . . coupled with sky-high home prices, threw cold water onto the housing boom.”

The Impact on Rising Mortgage Rates

Over the past few months, mortgage rates have fluctuated in light of growing economic pressures. Most recently, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate according to Freddie Mac ticked above 6% for the first time in well over a decade (see graph below):

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

The mortgage rate increases this year are the big reason buyer demand has pulled back in recent months. Basically, as rates (and home prices) rose, so did the cost of buying a home. That pushed on affordability and priced some buyers out of the market, so home sales slowed and the inventory of homes for sale grew as a result.

Where Experts Say Rates and Inflation Will Go from Here

Moving forward, both of these factors will continue to impact the housing market. A recent article from CNET puts the relationship between inflation and mortgage rates in simple terms:

“As a general rule, when inflation is low, mortgage rates tend to be lower. When inflation is high, rates tend to be higher.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, has this to say about where rates may go from here:

“Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth. The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, . . .”

While there’s no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, there is something you can do to stay informed, and that’s connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what’s happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting. They can provide you with the best advice possible.

Bottom Line

Rising inflation and higher mortgage rates have had a clear impact on housing. For expert insights on the latest trends in the housing market and what they mean for you, let’s connect.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market?

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Simplifying The Market

If recent headlines about the housing market cooling and buyer demand moderating have you worried you’ve missed your chance to sell, here’s what you need to know. Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just eased from the peak intensity we saw over the past two years.

Buyer Demand Then and Now

During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows, and that spurred a significant rise in buyer demand. This year, as rates increased due to factors like rising inflation, buyer demand pulled back or softened as a result. The latest data from ShowingTime confirms this trend (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Simplifying The Market

The orange bars in the graph above represent the last few months of data and the clear cooldown in the volume of home showings the market has seen since mortgage rates started to rise. But context is important. To get the full picture of where today’s demand stands, let’s look at the July data for the past six years (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Simplifying The Market

This second visual makes it clear that, while moderating compared to the frenzy in 2020 and 2021, showing activity is still beating pre-pandemic levels – and those pre-pandemic years were great years for the housing market. That goes to show there’s still demand if you sell your house today.

What That Means for You When You Sell

The key to selling in a changing market is understanding where the housing market is now. It’s not the same market we had last year or even earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to sell has passed.

While things have cooled a bit, it’s still a sellers’ market. If you work with a trusted local expert to price your house at the current market value, the demand is still there, and it should sell quickly. According to a recent survey from realtor.com, 92% of homeowners who sold in August reported being satisfied with the outcome of their sale.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just moderated this year. If you’re ready to sell your house today, let’s connect so you have expert insights on how the market has shifted and how to plan accordingly for your sale.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Saturday, September 17, 2022

What Kind of Medicare Plan Might Fit Your Unique Needs? – Part Three

* * * THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT  * * *  

If you are just viewing this article and have not yet read Part One, please go back two weeks to the first of the series; begin there followed by Part Two a week ago. I am sharing this with you as a public service - no monetary or other consideration is exchanged between Tim and myself. Find out more about how we know each other in Part One today!  Al Cannistra


Our Guest Author today:  Tim Allen, BA, MM, CSA

“What Kind of Medicare Plan Might Fit Your Unique Needs?” (part three)



Client Tales – Part Three of a Three-Part Series


Welcome to Part 3 of Client Tales, where we’ve been sharing stories about Medicare beneficiaries, what plans worked best for each one and why. With Annual Enrollment right around the corner, the goal of this series is for you to be able to know which of the various options out there might best fit your unique needs and to help you avoid costly mistakes. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all your options.

So far in this series we have looked at Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans as well as Medigap supplement Plans G and High Deductible G through the eyes of my clients. We’ve shared stories based on my real-life clients to help bring the plans to life and to determine which plan might be better suited in a variety of life situations. I hope that you’ve seen through these true stories that there is no “one size fits all!” 

In this session we will look at plans for people with chronic health conditions as well as for military veterans. We’ll also compare them side by side and end with a short quiz designed to help you determine what might be a good fit for you. 

Below is a chart, which may be helpful to compare the costs of an HMO, PPO, or Medicare Advantage plan (in the 2nd Column) to the Plan G supplement and High Deductible G plans that we talked about in our first two podcasts.  






















The figures you see above are for a female, non-smoker, aged 65 based on current 2022 plan options. Notice that the premium of a Medicare Advantage Plan might be as low as $0, or it could be $25 for some PPO plans. They include Part D and most have no medical deductible. The annual premiums + the maximum out-of-pocket will be $0 if the plan is never used but could be as high as $12,500 with high utilization out of network.



You would pay $2,066.16 with a Plan G if you never use it; If fully utilized, your annual cost would be $2,299.16. 

Now look at the High Deductible G. If never used, your maximum out-of-pocket would be $804.96. In a bad year where everything that could go wrong did go wrong your maximum out-of-pocket would be $3,294.96. 

My wife and enrolled in and love this plan because we have the freedom to see any provider who accepts Medicare and risk of financial loss is reasonably low. 

Medigap Supplement Plans C, Plan F and Plan F High Deductible are still available to people who turned 65 prior to January 1, 2020. 

























Plans C, F and F High Deductible may have a higher premium cost, but they have no separate Part B deductible. If you turned 65 prior to January 1st of 2020 and are interested in one of these plans, please click here to contact me or capture this QR code: 






There is no one-size-fits-all! But when we compare Medicare supplements to Medicare Advantage plans, the light bulb clicks on in the minds of my clients and most become comfortable with what type of plan might fit their needs. For example, the chart below shows that:
Except for a deductible, supplements will cost $0 Doctor & Hospital cost vs Low copays for Medic Advantage plans.
Usually, supplements have higher premiums vs lower or $0 premium. 























You may see any doctor who accepts Medicare in the United States on a supplement vs. no coverage out-of-network on an HMO, and higher cost out-of-network on a PPO. You can receive care in an emergency room anywhere in world on both plans and most but not all Urgent Care is considered in-network for both.
People who travel like the freedom of the supplement vs. cost-conscious clients who prefer low or no premiums.
There is a $233 annual Pt. B deductible vs. none on most Medicare Advantage plans.
Medigap supplements require a separate Pt. D plan but are included in most Medicare Advantage plans.


Most Medigap supplements do not offer value-added services vs. Medicare Advantage plans as in the chart below:























All plans offer worldwide E.R. But know this: The person who has only Medicare and no supplement or advantage plan does NOT have emergency or urgent care coverage worldwide. And remember, if you have only Medicare, you are only covered at 20%, which leaves you at risk for catastrophic financial loss.























If you know anyone who has a chronic illness such as diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, or someone on kidney dialysis, Click here to contact me. We carry plans that are especially designed for them. There is a chronic illness form that they will need to fill out so and I’ll be happy to provide more information. 


I reside and work in San Antonio, a great military city. If you are a veteran, kudos to you & a major shout out. Thank you for your service. 

If you’re in a V.A. Health plan, did you know that there are plans available for you that can put money back into your social security check, give you access to civilian providers and give you additional benefits. 





Well, you’ve met 6 clients of mine and heard their stories in these 3 podcasts. I hope that you’ve come to see that there is no one-size-fits-all plan and that a plan that meets one person’s needs does not necessarily fit for others. Each has its place. Capture this QR code or click this link to try out our Medicare calculator and select the option that might best fit you.




I’ve got a question for you: Who would you call if you had a heart pain?
A 1-800# and trust that they would give you the right advice? 
A friend or family member? (Uncle Elmer said he took castor oil & it worked great for him!) Not so much, right?
Are you the kind of person who would google “heart pain” and self-diagnose to self-prescribe based on what you read? 
There’s a lot of slick Advertising out there that catches your eye, tugs on your heart & makes you feel good. So, you grab the phone & call that 1-800# so they’ll send you the new miracle treatment? No, chances are high that you would call the best Cardiologist in town. So why not call a proven, local insurance agent to help you find a Medicare plan? You’d be surprised how many fail to do this and as a result often make costly mistakes that they later regret. 

What sets us apart?
We carry the major plans & stay up to date with changes throughout the year. 
We’ll help you stay with your doctors. That’s one of our highest priorities. We’re not just going to put you on a plan that will pay us a high commission.
We’ll research your medications and find plans with your lowest premium and medication cost. 
We’ll secure a plan which meets your unique needs.
& BTW – We Return phone calls!

Well, we’re going to wrap this up, but can I ask you a favor? If the guidance I’ve given you today was of value, hire me as your agent to help you find the right plan! 

The good news? I don’t charge for my services; The insurance companies pay me when you sign up. So, employ me. I’d love to be your personal agent, your boots on the ground! 

Incidentally, we also offer Affordable Care Act plans for those under 65, and much more. So, check out our website and click on the BBB logo there to find out what others have to say about our service. Then tell your friends & family you’ve found the best agent in the whole state! Just Kidding 😊. But do send me the names of family or friends that need our help! We’ll do our best for you and for them!  

I look forward to working with you in the days to come to help you find a plan that is of great value – that’s uniquely you! Thank you for your time!

Tim Allen

This series was written by Tim Allen who has been helping Medicare beneficiaries since 2005, TX License 1355125. He is the founder of Your Retirement Inc and Sales Production Coach at Affordable Health Insurance Agency where he’s trained his agents for the past 14 years. He is a Certified Senior Advisor, a member of both the Multi-Million Dollar Round Table and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. His bride has stuck with him for 45 years and they’ve been blessed with 2 wonderful children, 6 grandchildren, and one “in the oven.”  Favorite pastimes include performing, composing & arranging music, kayaking, fishing, woodworking and being a Papa to his grandies.


This podcast is his original work and the pictures within are his exclusively or he has purchased the right to use them.

Credits: 


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Three Things Buyers Can Do in Today’s Housing Market

Three Things Buyers Can Do in Today’s Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

It’s clear the 2022 housing market has been defined by rising mortgage rates. With rates on the rise, it’s also become more costly to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Compared to one year ago, the monthly mortgage payment rose to $1,944 from $1,265, an increase of 53.7%.”

If you’re thinking of buying a home or have been trying to recently, that’s a big increase in a monthly mortgage payment – and it may be causing you to press pause on your plans. This jump is making homes less affordable, especially compared to the last two years when mortgage rates were at historic lows.

The good news is you can navigate today’s housing market and this rising rate environment with a few simple tips. Here are three things you may want to consider to help make your homeownership goals a reality.

1. Expand Your Search Area and Criteria

If you’ve been looking for a home in the city center or a specific area that’s starting to feel out of your price range, you may want to try looking a little further out in a location that could be more affordable. Expanding your search location or re-prioritizing the items on your wish list can open up opportunities you haven’t considered, and that could help you afford more of what you need (and want) in a home. As CNET notes:

“Area growth is likely to keep pace with the market, which means that the outskirts of town might be hopping within five years. Consider stepping out of your ideal location by searching in the nearby cities. You may find better prices and more square footage.”

2. Explore Alternative Financing Options

Working with a trusted lender to learn about the different loan types and options is essential too. According to Nerd Wallet:

“A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements.”

Experts know how to point you in the right direction when it comes to exploring ways to find the best home loan for your situation. With rising mortgage rates making it more costly to finance a home today, there may be an ideal option out there your loan officer can introduce you to. This could make a home purchase more affordable and within your financial reach over the life of your loan.

3. Look for Grants, Gift Funds, and Down Payment Assistance

There are also many options available when it comes to securing the funding you need to purchase a home. One valuable resource to explore is downpaymentresource.com. Searching for specific down payment assistance options available in your local community could be a game changer when it comes to taking your first step toward homeownership. As NAR indicates:

“Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.”

Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.

Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what’s available in your area.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been searching for a home and have found yourself stepping out of the process because you’re worried about rising costs, let’s connect. Having a team of local advisors on your side may be just what you need to guide your search in a new and more affordable direction.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Saturday, September 10, 2022

What Kind of Medicare Plan Might Fit Your Unique Needs? – Part Two

THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT   

If you are just seeing this article and have not yet read Part One, please go back one week to the first of the series. I am sharing this with you all as a public service - no monetary or other consideration is exchanged between Tim and myself. Find out more about how we know each other in Part One today!  Al Cannistra



Our Guest Author today:  Tim Allen, BA, MM, CSA


“What Kind of Medicare Plan Might Fit Your Unique Needs?” (part two)



Client Tales – Part Two of a Three-Part Series


Welcome to Part 2 of Client Tales, where we’ve been sharing stories about Medicare beneficiaries, what plans worked best for each one and why. With Annual Enrollment right around the corner, the goal of this series is for you to be able to know which of the various options out there might best fit your unique needs and to help you avoid costly mistakes. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all your options.



My name is Tim Allen and we’ve been helping Medicare beneficiaries since 2005, TX License 1355125. I am the founder of Your Retirement Inc and Sales Production Coach at Affordable Health Insurance Agency where I’ve trained our agents for the past 14 years. I am a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Round Table and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. My bride has stuck with me for 45 years and we’ve been blessed with 2 wonderful children, 6 grandchildren, and one “in the oven.”  Favorite pastimes include performing, composing & arranging music, kayaking, fishing, woodworking and being a Papa to his grandies.


So far in this series we have looked at the Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans through the eyes of my clients. In this session we will look at two popular Medigap supplement options with excellent value: G Plan and High Deductible G Plan. Would either of these plans work well for you and why? We’re going to share with you some rea-life Client Tales to help make that clear. I think you’ll see through these true stories that there is no “one size fits all!” BTW, the names and pictures have been changed to protect the identity of our clients.

Client Tale #4 


William is our 4th Client. He had a heart transplant 2 years before turning 65 and was on his employer plan. At age 65 he had to leave that plan and went on Medicare. His anti-rejection medications for the new heart were very expensive and he still had many visits each year with specialists.

He did not like having to pay a higher premium for a Medicare supplement, but he chose that option with a Prescription Drug Plan to keep his costs for treatment as low as possible. This was the best fit for him. Many people think they can’t afford a Medicare Supplement. But even if William’s premiums were $2500 a year that would still be much less money than the approximate $3,400  - $12,500 maximum out‐of‐pocket cost of a Medicare Advantage plan when used a lot! As you can see, there is no “one size fits all!”

Medicare Supplements work with Medicare. Generally, Medicare pays 80% of the cost and your plan picks up the 20%. You may also be responsible for a $233 Part B deductible. But otherwise, you pay $0 for medical care. Supplements feature the Broadest Provider Choice. There are no Referrals Required and they are preferred by many Providers.  What’s the downside? There is usually a higher monthly premium, and a separate stand-alone drug plan is required. There are often no (or less) Value Ads such as dental, vision or a health club membership. Health questions are not asked when you first turn 65, leave an employer, move out of state, or have another special election period. But otherwise, you may be denied coverage or charged more based on your health. 


Client Tale #5 

Our 5th Client Tale involves educators in the state of Texas that were on the Teachers’ Retirement System Health Plan (known as TRS), which is a very good fit for some people. But there may be other options out there for others through private health plans that could save them a lot of money and still provide excellent coverage. 

My wife and I are a good example (pictured on the left). When my wife turned 65, she was in TRS. Jane was a retired teacher paying $135 per month in premium and my premium was more than $400. As a couple, we are saving more than $400 per month on a Medigap High Deductible G supplement with a Part D plan. There is no network, so we can go to any provider that accepts Medicare without a referral. If you are interested in this, there is a form that you will need to send to TRS and we’ll be happy to tell you more about it.   









Please capture this QR code or contact us at yourretirementinc.com.      




The G High Deductible Medigap Supplement plan may be one of the best‐kept secrets out there. Just like Plan G it is accepted by any provider who accepts Medicare. There is no Network to worry about. 
It has a low premium:
• $35 Month for a female, 65-year-old non-smoker ‐ $76 Month at age 80
• $40 Month for a male, 65-year-old nonsmoker ‐ $88 Month at age 80.
It has a $2,490 Deductible which may function like an 80/20 Plan with a $2,490 Maximum Out-of-Pocket: Medicare will always pay the first 80%. Your 20% cost share accumulates toward the $2,490 deductible and when you reach that point you pay no more for the year and are covered at 100%. But your premiums are far less than plan G rates. This may not be the best alternative for everyone, but it provides an excellent value for many. It’s like having a Rolex watch on a Timex budget! See the illustration below regarding how it works:






















Final Thoughts

We covered the Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO in podcast 1 and explored two of the Medigap Supplements in podcast 2. Do you know which plan will work well for you? It may not be possible to make that decision with the limited information that we’ve explored so far.  So, tune in again for our third and final podcast next week where we will explore more options. We’ll also compare the plans sided by side. Finally, we will have a short pop quiz to confirm what you’ve learned. Again, there is “no one size fits all” – but which one is a perfect fit for you? 







Click on this link or capture this QR code to watch a 25-minute video 
that will explore these options in more detail: 




This podcast is my original work and the pictures within are mine exclusively or I have purchased the right to use them.


By Tim Allen, BA, MM, CSA


We will publish Part Three one week from today. Make sure you come back for more great information.
Al Cannistra



Other pictures and/or charts created by Tim Allen..


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Should I Sell My House This Year?

Should I Sell My House This Year? | Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season as buyer demand slows and the number of homes for sale grows. But that shift actually gives you some unique benefits when you sell. Here’s a look at the key opportunities you have if you list your house this fall.

Opportunity #1: You Have More Options for Your Move

One of the biggest stories today is the growing supply of homes for sale. Housing inventory has been increasing since the start of the year, primarily because higher mortgage rates helped cool off the peak frenzy of buyer demand. But what you may not realize is, that actually could benefit you.

If you’re selling your house to make a move, it means you’ll have more options for your own home search. That gives you an even better chance to find a home that checks all of your boxes. So, if you’ve put off selling because you were worried about being able to find somewhere to go, know your options have improved.

Opportunity #2: The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Just remember, while data shows the number of homes for sale has increased this year, housing supply is still firmly in sellers’ market territory. To be in a balanced market where there are enough homes available to meet the pace of buyer demand, there would need to be a six months’ supply of homes. According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in July, there was only a 3.3 months’ supply.

While you’ll have more options for your own home search, inventory is still low, and that means your home will still be in demand if you price it right. That’s why the most recent data from NAR also shows the average home sold in July still saw multiple offers and sold in as little as 14 days.

Opportunity #3: Your Equity Has Grown by Record Amounts

The home price appreciation the market saw over the past few years has likely given your equity (and your net worth) a considerable boost. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

“Home owners trying to decide if now is the time to list their home for sale are still in a good position in many markets across the country as a decade of rising home prices gives them a substantial equity cushion . . .” 

If you’ve been holding off on selling because you’re worried about how rising prices will impact your next home search, rest assured your equity can help. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion (if not all) of the down payment on your next home.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Saturday, September 3, 2022

What Kind of Medicare Plan Might Fit Your Unique Needs?

Introduction

My regular readers know that we keep this blog pretty much to real estate and posts that are unique one time articles. We are breaking all norms with this first post of a 3 part series - our very first trilogy if you will. And there is good reason for that.

I have known the author for more than a decade. Tim and I were introduced by a mutual acquaintance at a time of need for our family. I had an aging parent struggling with many medical expenses and high out of pocket costs. We were in need of a solution. 

The first meeting was by phone and during that time Tim took note of all the current doctors and agreed to research an insurance plan that keep the medical providers intact. A couple days later, he came out to the house and presented the options. If memory serves me, his systems searched something near 500 plan options.

He found a plan that met all the criteria and that was my first introduction to a Medicare Advantage plan. It was an outstanding option and proved to be the solution we needed. Since then, Tim has helped me personally with the right plan, which we review every year and I have literally referred dozens of friends and associates to his office knowing that they are in good hands.

So, I hope you enjoy this series and if you have a need, please give Tim a call. In the interest of full disclosure, Tim is not paying for us to publish this article nor do we receive any sort of commission or other form of payment. Call this a public service from us and I hope it will help you or someone you know.

Al Cannistra


Our Guest Author today:  Tim Allen, BA, MM, CSA

“What Kind of Medicare Plan Might Fit Your Unique Needs?”


Client Tales – Part One of a Three-Part Series

Welcome to Client Tales, where you will read stories about Medicare beneficiaries, what plans worked best for each one and why. With Annual Enrollment right around the corner, the goal of this series is for you to be able to know which of the various options out there might best fit your unique needs and to help you avoid costly mistakes. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all your options.




Tim Allen, presenter, has been helping Medicare beneficiaries since 2005, TX License 1355125. He is the founder of Your Retirement Inc and Sales Production Coach at Affordable Health Insurance Agency where he’s trained their agents for the past 14 years. He is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Round Table and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. His bride has stuck with him for 45 years and they’ve been blessed with 2 wonderful children, 6 grandchildren, and one “in the oven.”  Favorite pastimes include performing, composing & arranging music, kayaking, fishing, woodworking and being a Papa to his grandies. 

Sometimes the best way to get your arms around a concept is through a story! So, we’re going to present six different client tales about two popular Medicare supplement options with excellent value: G Plan and High Deductible G Plan.

We’ll also share about Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO Plans that are used by many of our clients, plans for people who receive extra help, plans for people with chronic illnesses like diabetes or chronic heart failure, plans for Veterans, and plans for Retired Educators. 

Which plan would work well for you and why? We’re going to share with you some rea-life Client Tales to help make that clear. I think you’ll see through these true stories that there is no “one size fits all!” BTW, the names and pictures have been changed to protect the identity of our clients.

Client Tale #1 

Rosita and Carl are married with a monthly income of $2,000 and resources of $12,500. 


male female couple on a nike













Resources include checking, savings, investments, and cash value of life insurance. They do not include residence, car, your personal belongings. Rosita and Carl are on Medicare. They didn’t know it, but they could apply for Extra Help as eligible Qualifying Individuals and did not have to pay the $170.10 Part B Premium.

We helped them get Part B and the Extra Help as Qualifying Individuals so they could receive Part B at no cost. They have the full benefit of Medicare and saving a lot of money on medical and drug copays as well!  

Check out this chart to see if you might qualify:


Medicaid Extra Help Chart

If you are eligible, you may receive Extra Help in the Medicare Savings Program which may pay your $170.10 Part B premium. You’ll receive all those extra benefits - and you may pay less for medical and drug costs!

If you think you might be eligible for this program or one that may possibly pay far more, we will help you apply but we’ll need your written authorization - Please capture this QR code:  



BTW - What plan do you think worked well for Carl and Rosita? It was an HMO, and we’ll take a closer look at that after our next client.) 





Client Tale #2 

When client #2 Angela turned 65, she had become a Real Estate broker. Prior to retirement as an architect, she had designed and built a beautiful Padre Island home on the bay, and had a small yacht tied to her pier out back.

cabin cruiser docked at pier













She could afford the most expensive Medicare plan available. What plan do you think she chose? Most people in my seminars tell me that she must have bought a supplement! But Angela chose an HMO Medicare Advantage plan. Here’s why: all her physicians and hospitals were in network, she would receive dental, vision and coverage for hearing aids. Also, she would pay no more premium at her fitness center, which would now be a part of the Silver Sneakers program. She did not mind needing a referral from her Primary Care Physician to see a specialist because she always did that anyway. She was excited that she did not have to pay the high monthly cost of a supplement. Do you see? There is no one size fits all!

What is a Medicare Advantage HMO?

An HMO is a Health Maintenance Organization which features care managed by a primary care physician who coordinates beneficiary care with specialists and puts a high priority on preventive care. People on HMO plans tend to have better health outcomes than those on other plans. Most HMO plans have $0 premium, the lowest copays, the richest benefits, and the most value-added services. So, why doesn’t everyone have an HMO? Some do not care for the required Primary Care Provider referral to see specialists. Compared to the PPO or Medicare Supplement, these plans also have smaller networks – and except for emergency room, urgent care, and travel plans with some HMOs, beneficiaries must stay within the network or insurance will not pay. 


Client Tale #3

Client Tale #3 is Sally. She had an HMO when she first turned 65 and was very happy with it. She had no health issues and saw her doctor once a year for her annual physical, mammogram, pap smear and blood work.

portrait of a woman reddish blonde hair















Then she came down with Multiple Sclerosis and the specialists who were recommended to her were not in her HMO network. She didn’t have confidence in her new specialists. She started going to rehab 3 days a week at $480 per month. Her plan had a maximum out of pocket of $5,900, which she quickly used up from all the doctor and hospital visits and she worried as she saw her small savings account dwindle.

She now wanted a Medicare supplement but did not qualify because of her illness. What plan did she move to during Annual Enrollment to see the specialists that she really wanted to see?  

Sally Moved to a PPO – a Preferred Provider Organization. 

They have larger networks than HMO plans. No referral is required. They can be used out-of- network, although that may be at a higher cost. That means an increased risk of financial loss if highly utilized: Based on the current plans in Texas, their maximum Out-of-Pocket, could be more than $12,000 if out of network. They have less value-added benefits than HMO plans. But on a positive note, some plans have national networks; Like some HMO plans, certain PPOs will even put money back into your monthly Social Security checks to help toward your Part B premium. 


Final Thoughts

Do you know which plan will work well for you? But what about a G Medigap Supplement? What about a High Deductible G Medigap Supplement? Most people – even many agents are not aware of this little gem. Again, there is “no one size fits all” – but which one is a perfect fit for you? Watch for the second podcast in our series to explore more Medicare plan options. Click on this link or capture this QR code to watch a 25-minute video that will explore these options in more detail: 




This podcast is my original work and the pictures within are mine exclusively or I have purchased the right to use them.




By Tim Allen, BA, MM, CSA


We will publish Part Two one week from today. Make sure you come back for more great information.
Al Cannistra

Friday, September 2, 2022

New Fall Guides Are Here


 





















You can get them at any time with registration - using the links in the rightmost column, or get them now from my Google Workspace account.

The new guides are free to all, so share as you wish:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/10zKgUbJgYB5rEUQwFo1wOvDNQvIyOK-T?usp=sharing


Help someone you know - share the link!  Reach out to us if we can help. Al Cannistra


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

What’s Actually Happening with Home Prices Today?

What’s Actually Happening with Home Prices Today? | Simplifying The Market

One of the biggest questions people are asking right now is: what’s happening with home prices? There are headlines about ongoing price appreciation, but at the same time, some sellers are reducing the price of their homes. That can feel confusing and makes it more difficult to get a clear picture.

Part of the challenge is that it can be hard to understand what experts are saying when the words they use sound similar. Let’s break down the differences among those terms to help clarify what’s actually happening today.

  • Appreciation is when home prices increase.
  • Depreciation is when home prices decrease.
  • Deceleration is when home prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower or more moderate pace.

Experts agree that, nationally, what we’re seeing today is deceleration. That means home prices are appreciating, just not at the record-breaking pace they have over the past year. In 2021, data from CoreLogic tells us home prices appreciated by an average of 15% nationwide. And earlier this year, that appreciation was upward of 20%. This year, experts forecast home prices will appreciate at a decelerated pace of around 10 to 11%, on average.

The graph below uses the latest data from CoreLogic to help tell the story of how home prices are decelerating, but not depreciating so far this year.

What’s Actually Happening with Home Prices Today? | Simplifying The Market

As the green bars show, home prices appreciated between 19-20% year-over-year from January to March. But over the last few months, the pace of that appreciation has decelerated to 18%. This means price growth is still climbing compared to last year but at a slower rate.

As the Monthly Mortgage Monitor from Black Knight explains:

“Annual home price growth dropped by nearly two percentage points . . . the greatest single-month slowdown on record since at least the early 1970s. . . While June’s slowdown was record-breaking, home price growth would need to decelerate at this pace for six more months to drive annual appreciation back to 5%, a rate more in line with long-run averages.”

Basically, this means, while moderating, home prices are still far above the norm, and we’d have to see a lot more deceleration to even fall in line with more typical rates of home price growth. That’s still not home price depreciation.

The big takeaway is home prices haven’t fallen or depreciated nationwide, they’re just decelerating or moderating. While some unique and overheated markets may see declines, nationally, home prices are forecast to appreciate. And when we look at the country as a whole, none of the experts project home prices will net depreciate or fall. They’re all projecting ongoing appreciation.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our local area, let’s connect.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here