Thursday, February 24, 2022

The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today

The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today | Simplifying The Market

Almost every industry is currently struggling with supply chain disruptions. This also applies to the current U.S. housing market, where buyer demand far exceeds housing supply.

Purchaser demand is very strong right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their latest Existing Home Sales Report which reveals that sales surged in January. Existing home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.5 million – an increase of 6.7% from the prior month, with sales up in all regions. However, there’s one big challenge.

Inventory Is at an All-Time Low

Because purchaser demand is so high, the market is running out of available homes for sale. The above-mentioned report states that the current months’ supply of inventory of homes for sale has fallen to 1.6 months. This prompts Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, to say:

“The inventory of homes on the market remains woefully depleted, and in fact is currently at an all-time low.”

Earlier this month, realtor.com released their inventory data for January. It helps confirm this point. Here’s a graph comparing inventory levels for January over the last six years:

The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, new listings coming on the market have decreased over the last four years (shown in blue in the graph). The graph also reveals that carry-over inventory has plummeted in recent years. This is because listings are now sold so quickly, they don’t stay on the market long enough to carry over month-to-month (shown in green in the graph). In other words, homes are not staying on the market for months as they had prior to the pandemic. In the report mentioned above, NAR reveals that:

“Seventy-nine percent of homes sold in January 2022 were on the market for less than a month.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains it like this:

“A higher velocity of sales (lower [Days on Market]) helps to explain a housing market characterized by both higher sales & lower inventory. Many resale transactions are happening so quickly that they ‘flow’ in & then out of the ‘stock’ between the fixed monthly measurement of inventory.”

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Anyone thinking of putting their home on the market shouldn’t wait. A seller will always negotiate the best deal when demand is high and supply is limited. That’s exactly the situation in the real estate market today.

Later this year, inventory (and by extension, your competition) will increase as many homeowners are waiting to put their homes on the market in the spring and early summer.

In addition, Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says:

“Housing starts start off 2022 strong, just edging out 2021 for most in January since 2006.”

As these newly built homes are completed, they will also become competition for your house. This gives you a tremendous opportunity right now. Don’t wait for that increase in competition in your area. If you want to sell in 2022 and are ready to start the process, today is the day to list your house.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to sell, let’s connect to get your house on the market while today’s inventory situation is in your favor.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals | Simplifying The Market

In today’s housing market, there are far more buyers looking for homes than sellers listing their houses. Based on the concept of supply and demand, this means home prices will naturally rise. Why is that? When there are more people trying to buy an item than there are making that item available for sale, that drives prices up. And that’s exactly the case in today’s housing market. So, knowing what’s happening with the inventory of homes for sale and the demand for housing is crucial for today’s buyers and sellers.

Nationally, Demand Is High and Supply Is Very Low

The latest buyer and seller activity data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates buyer traffic heavily outweighs seller traffic today, as shown in the maps below. There are far darker blues (strong buyer activity) on the left and much lighter blues (weak seller activity) on the right. In other words, this shows how the demand for homes is significantly greater than what’s available to purchase.

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals | Simplifying The Market

What Does This Mean if You’re a Seller?

Supply is struggling to keep pace with demand. In fact, the inventory of homes for sale recently hit an all-time low. That gives you an incredible advantage when you sell your house. With so few listings, it’s likely more potential buyers will view your house – especially if you work with an agent to price it right. That means there’s a high chance you’ll receive multiple offers or buyers will enter a bidding war for your house. And that dynamic can drive the sale price of your home up.

What Does This Mean if You’re a Buyer?

As a buyer with fewer options available, you’re likely to see more competition, so you need to be strategic to win. First, make sure you have a trusted professional on your side. Your real estate agent will help you understand your local market and work with you to act quickly when the time is right. Even when it’s challenging to find a home, you can still succeed as a buyer today if you have a trusted advisor on your side every step of the way.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a homebuyer, seller, or both, knowledge truly is power. Let’s connect today so you can better understand what’s happening in our local market and achieve your homebuying and selling goals this year.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The Perks of Owning More Than One Home

The Perks of Owning More Than One Home | Simplifying The Market

Many things have changed over the past couple of years, and real estate is no exception. One impact is an increased desire to own more than one home. According to the recent Luxury Market Report from Luxury Home Marketing:

“As trends such as remote working and flexi-hours took hold in 2021, so too did the flexibility of relocating as well as the growth of second homeownership.”

This may be because the pandemic has altered how we think about our homes. Where we live has become, more than ever, our safe space and our getaway. And with the rise in remote work, more people are reconsidering where they want to live and buying second homes to give them greater flexibility. If you fall in that category, here are just a few of the perks you’ll enjoy, and how owning a second home may be a great decision for your lifestyle and your future.

Enjoy a Change in Scenery (or Weather)

When you have two homes, you can alternate between them as the weather changes or as you crave different scenery. Do you want to live in an area with a particular season? Would alternating between a resort and a suburban setting be ideal? With two homes, you have those options. Being able to move between homes based on which location best suits you at the time gives you added flexibility and variety that can help increase your happiness.

Build Your Wealth Faster

You may have heard that home equity is skyrocketing, thanks to ongoing home price appreciation. CoreLogic reports that the average homeowner gained $56,700 in equity over the last year. With home prices projected to continue rising, if you purchase a second home, you could benefit from rising equity on both properties to build your wealth (and your net worth) even faster.

Be Closer to Loved Ones

The pandemic has also reignited the importance of being near our loved ones. One option worth exploring is whether you want your second home to be near the people who matter most in your life. This makes it easier to see your loved ones but still gives you your own dedicated, private space so you can be nearby for major life events or longer visits.

Lock in Your Expenses

Buying a second home today and locking in your mortgage rate may be a good option if you’re looking to stabilize your housing costs for the long haul. If you’re approaching retirement or are looking to use your second home as your permanent residence in the future, buying that house now with today’s rate and price may be a good financial decision. That way, no matter what happens with rates and prices in years ahead, your monthly payment is locked in for the next 15-30 years.

Bottom Line

Having multiple homes has considerable benefits. If owning a second home is something you’re interested in, let’s connect to explore your options, discuss the benefits, and take the next step to start your home search.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | Simplifying The Market

In an annual Gallup poll, Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment. And it’s not the first time it’s topped the list, either. Real estate has been on a winning streak for the past eight years, consistently gaining traction as the best long-term investment (see graph below):

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | Simplifying The MarketIf you’re thinking about purchasing a home this year, this poll should reassure you. Even when inflation is rising like it is today, Americans agree an investment like real estate truly shines.

Why Is Real Estate a Great Investment During Times of High Inflation?

With inflation reaching its highest level in 40 years, it’s more important than ever to understand the financial benefits of homeownership. Rising inflation means prices are increasing across the board. That includes goods, services, housing costs, and more. But when you purchase your home, you lock in your monthly housing payments, effectively shielding yourself from increasing housing payments. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, explains it like this:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”

If you’re a renter, you don’t have that same benefit, and you aren’t protected from increases in your housing costs, especially rising rents.

History Shows During Inflationary Periods, Home Prices Rise as Well

As a homeowner, your house is an asset that typically increases in value over time, even during inflation. That‘s because, as prices rise, the value of your home does, too. And that makes buying a home a great hedge during periods of high inflation. Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbes, notes:

Tangible assets like real estate get more valuable over time, which makes buying a home a good way to spend your money during inflationary times.

Bottom Line

Housing truly is a strong investment, especially when inflation is high. When you lock in a mortgage payment, you’re shielded from housing cost increases, and you own an asset that typically gains value with time. If you want to better understand how buying a home could be a great investment for you, let’s connect today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Sunday, February 20, 2022

It’s About the Labels


I think it is some time since I posted something directed toward my fellow real estate agents; this one actually reaches outside the business and is suitable for anyone who has a need for labels. Maybe you run a small business, create artsy things, custom baked goods, bottle some of your own wine – you get the idea. You decide the need. 

One of the gifts I like to give clients who purchase a home through me is a gift I hope they will never use. Yes, I said a gift I hope they never use. It is fun to serve that up to first time clients and see the reaction. No kidding – I like to give them a fire extinguisher (which they never have a reason to use).

And, since I hope the gift will be around many years, I like to add my personal label to whatever the manufacturer added at production time. You want to make sure NOT to cover any portion of the manufacture's label because it could be something very relevant or important. I also prefer to make sure the label has an awesome look and feel – and stays in place, permanently. Besides giving a gift of safety it is also a gift of longevity and a reminder when my clients are ready to sell and buy another home…   from me!

Anyway, I found a company that does a great job on colorful, durable labels and here you go https://www.wizardlabels.com. There is no hidden link in there and you do not need to tell them how you found them, so feel free to use the link or search to find them yourself in your favorite browser. You can shop their site or request a free sample pack which I did. I am not posting a picture of their samples since they have company names on them but I am sharing their video with you.

And, you may wonder why I have expressed a stronger than usual interest in this company. One of my grandfather’s used to own a printing company (before my time and sadly no family member chose to continue it). In his day the printing process was very different than a modern digital shop. Enjoy the video and if you order anything, please shoot me some feedback or post your comments for all to see.  Thanks for reading, Al

 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

A recent survey revealed that many consumers believe there’s a housing bubble beginning to form. That feeling is understandable, as year-over-year home price appreciation is still in the double digits. However, this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Here are four key reasons why today is nothing like the last time.

1. Houses Are Not Unaffordable Like They Were During the Housing Boom

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Conventional lending standards say a purchaser should not spend more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.

Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate, even after the recent spike, is still well below 6%. That means the average purchaser today pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then.

In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta addresses that exact point:

“The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S., but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward.”

Affordability isn’t as strong as it was last year, but it’s much better than it was during the boom. Here’s a chart showing that difference:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

If costs were so prohibitive, how did so many homes sell during the housing boom?

2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. As an example, let’s review the number of mortgages granted to purchasers with credit scores under 620. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. In defining those with a score below 620, they explain:

“Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk.”

Buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score that low, but they’re considered riskier borrowers. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the 14 years since.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers that acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified. Let’s take a look at what that means going forward.

3. The Foreclosure Situation Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve issues a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

There’s no doubt the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. However, there are fewer than 800,000 homeowners left in the program today, and most of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, explains:

“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect.”

Why are there so few foreclosures now? Today, homeowners are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area.

Homeowners, however, have learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time, as evidenced by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000, what happened last time won’t happen today.

As the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic explains:

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”

There will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we saw during the crash. So, what does that mean for the housing market?

4. We Don’t Have a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory, which is causing the acceleration in home values to continue.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a shortage of homes for sale.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried that we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above show data and insights to help alleviate your concerns.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

What Every Seller Needs To Know About Renovating This Year

What Every Seller Needs To Know About Renovating This Year | Simplifying The Market

If you’re planning to sell this year, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It’s crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you’re making your list of projects to tackle this year.

1. The Number of Homes for Sale Is Very Low

Housing inventory sits far below what is normally considered a balanced market. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the latest data indicates inventory is hitting an all-time low. Because there’s such a limited supply of homes available for sale, you’re in a unique position when you sell your house to benefit from multiple offers and a quick process.

But you want to do so while buyers are still scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending time and money on renovations before you sell could mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. Of course, certain repairs may be important or even necessary. The best way to determine where to spend your time – and your money – is to work with a real estate advisor to confirm which improvements are truly needed and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.

2. Buyers May Be Willing To Take on Projects When They Purchase Your House

Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves to get the house they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. A recent survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.

If more buyers are willing to tackle repairs on their own, it may be wise to let the future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. Depending on the structural condition of your house, your efforts may be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior to make sure the home stands out. Instead of over-investing in upgrades, the buyer may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects to tackle that will give you the greatest return on your investment.

3. Your Agent Will Help You Spotlight the Upgrades You’ve Made

Over the past year, many people made a significant number of updates to their homes. The most recent State of Home Spending report finds:

“Home improvement spending rose 25% year-over-year to $10,341. Homeowners who invested in home improvement did an average of 3.7 projects, up from 2.7 in 2020, . . .”

With more homeowners taking on more projects in the past 12 months, there’s a good chance you’ve already made updates to your home that could appeal to buyers. If that’s the case, your real estate advisor will find ways to highlight those upgrades in your listing.

The same is true for any projects you invest in moving forward. No matter what, before you renovate, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.

Bottom Line

In a sellers’ market like today’s, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. Let’s connect today so you can find out where to target your efforts before you list.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Are You Ready To Fall in Love with Homeownership?

Are You Ready To Fall in Love with Homeownership? | Simplifying The Market

Financial benefits are always a key aspect of homeownership, but it’s also important to understand that the nonfinancial and personal benefits are why so many people genuinely fall in love with their homes. When you own your home, you likely feel a sense of emotional attachment because of the comfort it provides, but also because it’s a space that’s truly yours.

Over the past two years, we’ve learned to love our homes even more as we’ve stayed home more than ever due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result, the personal and emotional benefits our homes provide have become even more important to us.

As the most recent State of the American Homeowner from Unison puts it:

“Despite the upheaval and uncertainty of the past year, one thing has stayed the same: the home continues to be of the utmost importance and a place of security and comfort.

When the health crisis began, the world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:

  • 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
  • 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
  • 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners now love their homes even more as our emotional attachments to them have grown:

Are You Ready To Fall in Love with Homeownership? | Simplifying The Market

That sense of emotional connection genuinely reaches far beyond the financial aspect of homeownership. Because they’re our shelters – ones that we can genuinely call our own. Our homes touch our hearts and can also positively impact our mental health.

As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLC, says:

“Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.

Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It’s also a lifestyle decision.

Bottom Line

There are so many reasons to fall head over heels for homeownership. Your home will provide a place to customize and call your own, in addition to stability and security. If you’re ready to fall in love with homeownership, let’s connect so you can get started on your homebuying journey today.

 

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It.

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | Simplifying The Market

When you’re selling any item, you usually want to sell it for the greatest profit possible. That happens when there’s a strong demand and a limited supply for that item. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now’s the time to list.

1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter

A recent article in Inman News explains:

“Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early, according to economists. . . . ‘Home shopping season appears to already be in full swing!’”

And they aren’t the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime. The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | Simplifying The Market

As the data indicates, buyers are very active this winter. Last December saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. And remember – you want to sell something when there’s a strong demand for that item. That time is now.

2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low

Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number is the lowest we’ve seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | Simplifying The Market

And don’t forget, the best time to sell an item is when there’s a limited supply of it available. This graph clearly shows how extremely low housing supply is today.

Even Though Supply Is at a Historic Low, Home Sales Are at a 15-Year High

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 – the highest annual level since 2006. This means the market is hot and homeowners are in a great place to sell now while sales are so strong.

NAR also reports available listings by calculating the current months’ supply of inventory. They explain:

“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.”

The current 1.8-months’ supply is the lowest ever reported. Here are the December numbers over the last five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | Simplifying The Market

The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high, and supply is low. That gives sellers like you an incredible opportunity.

Bottom Line

If you agree the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low, let’s connect to begin discussing the process of listing your house today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

The Path To Homeownership Can Be Steeper for Some Americans

The Path To Homeownership Can Be Steeper for Some Americans | Simplifying The Market

As we celebrate Black History Month, we honor and recognize the past and present experiences of Black Americans. A significant part of this experience is investing in a home of their own. While equitable access to housing has come a long way, the path to homeownership is still steeper for households of color. It’s an important experience to talk about, along with how working with the right real estate experts can make all the difference for diverse homebuyers.

We know it’s a more challenging journey to achieve homeownership for some because there’s still a measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, the lowest homeownership rate persists in the Black community (see graph below):

The Path To Homeownership Can Be Steeper for Some Americans | Simplifying The Market

Homeownership is an essential piece for building household wealth that can be passed down to future generations. However, there are obstacles in the homebuying process that can negatively impact certain racial and ethnic groups, including the Black community. This can delay or prevent many from achieving homeownership, challenging their ability to grow their net worth. A report by Vanessa G. Perry of the George Washington University School of Business and Janneke Ratcliffe of the Urban Institute explains:

“. . . households of color have much lower homeownership rates than white households and consequently hold, at the median, just one-eighth the wealth of white households.”

On top of that, when Black households do become homeowners, research shows they pay more for those homes overall than the average household. Raheem Hanifa, a Research Analyst for the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, tells us:

“Black homeowners not only have primary mortgages with higher interest rates than white homeowners with similar incomes, they also have higher interest rates than white homeowners with substantially lower incomes, . . . Black homeowners have experienced systemic barriers to homeownership and wealth-building opportunities that have limited their ability to access credit, which is a key component in receiving low mortgage interest rates.”

For Black homebuyers, the inequity that remains in housing can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts on their sides throughout the homebuying process. These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice. They’re also compassionate allies who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way.

Bottom Line

Opportunities in real estate improve every day, but there are still equity challenges that many face. Let’s connect to make sure you have an advocate on your side as you walk the path to homeownership.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Don’t Let Student Loans Delay Your Homeownership Dreams

Don’t Let Student Loans Delay Your Homeownership Dreams | Simplifying The Market

If you’re looking to buy a home, you may be wondering how your student loan debt could impact those plans. Do you have to wait until you’ve paid off your student loans before you can buy your first home? Or could you qualify for a home loan with that debt?

To give you the answers you’re searching for, let’s take a look at what recent data shows. That way, you know what to expect and what to do next to achieve your dream of becoming a homeowner. While everyone’s situation is unique, your goal may be more within your reach than you realize.

Do you have to delay your plans because of student loans?

If you’re worried your student loans mean you have to put your homeownership goals on hold, you’re not alone. In fact, many first-time buyers believe they have to delay their plans. According to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

When asked specifically about purchasing a home, half of nonhomeowners say student loan debt is delaying them from purchasing a home (51%).”

When asked why their student loans are putting their plans on the back burner, three key themes emerged:

  • 47% say their student loans make it harder to save for a down payment
  • 45% say they think they can’t qualify for a home loan because of existing debt
  • 43% say they believe the delay is necessary even though they’ve never applied for a mortgage

No matter which reason resonates most with you, you should know a delay may not be necessary. Here’s why.

Can you qualify for a home loan if you have student loans?

In the same NAR report, data shows many current homeowners have student loan debt themselves:

“Nearly one-quarter of all home buyers, and 37% of first-time buyers, had student debt, with a typical amount of $30,000.”

That means other people in a similar situation were able to qualify for and buy a home even though they also had student loan debt. You may be able to do the same, especially if you have a steady source of income. Apartment Therapy drives this point home:

“. . . buying a home with student loans is possible, experts say. The proof is in the numbers, too: Some 40 percent of first-time homebuyers have student loan debt, according to the NAR study.”

The key takeaway is, for many people, homeownership is achievable even with student loans. 

The best way to make a decision about your goals and next steps is to talk to the professionals. A real estate advisor can walk you through your specific situation, your options, and what has worked for other buyers like you. They can also connect you with other professionals in the industry who can help. You don’t have to figure this out on your own – lean on the experts so you have the information you need to make an informed, confident decision.

Bottom Line

Many other buyers with student loan debt are already achieving their homeownership dreams. Maybe it’s time to take the next step toward making yours a reality. Let’s connect to discuss your options and find out how close you are to achieving your goal.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Consumers Agree: It’s a Good Time To Sell

Consumers Agree: It’s a Good Time To Sell | Simplifying The Market

In today’s sellers’ market, many homeowners are weighing their options and trying to decide if they should sell their house. If you’re in that group, you may be balancing things like the ongoing health crisis, rising mortgage rates, and your own changing needs to determine your best time to make a move.

However, recent data shows that time may already be here. According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae, 76% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell.

Looking back over the past few years, its clear consumers are incredibly optimistic today. The graph below shows the percent of survey respondents who say it’s a good time to sell a house, and their positive outlook is on the rise. The big dip near the middle of the chart indicates how consumer sentiment about selling dropped at the beginning of the pandemic as uncertainty about the health crisis and its impact grew. The good news is, the trend today shows a continued, drastic improvement, and people are feeling more and more confident with time about selling a home.

In fact, survey respondents think it’s an even better time to sell a house today than they did in the lead-up to the health crisis. The latest survey results indicate we’re at one of the strongest peaks in seller sentiment since March of 2019, hitting highs when 77% of people thought it was a good time to sell only twice before in June and October of 2021.

Consumers Agree: It’s a Good Time To Sell | Simplifying The Market

Why Are Consumers So Optimistic About Today’s Housing Market?

From record-high equity gains to record-low housing supply and significant buyer demand, homeowners have more motivation than ever to sell. There are more buyers in today’s market than there are homes for sale, and that’s driving home prices up, making it a great time to sell your house.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the current supply of homes for sale today is at a 1.8-month supply, which is an all-time low. When the supply of homes for sale is low, sellers will likely see more offers, which is exactly what’s happening right now. As NAR notes:

“The average home for sale is receiving 3.8 offers today, up from 3.3 offers just one year ago.”

Bottom Line

With the inventory of houses for sale so low today pushing home prices in an upward direction, it’s no wonder consumers think it’s a good time to sell. If you’re ready to take advantage of today’s favorable sellers’ market, let’s connect today.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Saturday, February 5, 2022

How to Cope When You Lose the Bidding War on Your Dream Home

 Our Guest Author Today: Matthew Schwimmer

Varying stacks of coins next to a toy wooden house













Perfect, ideal, dreamlike - these appear to be the words we chase throughout our lives. The tricky thing about them is they often lead to heartbreak. When the worst does happen, it can seem impossible to recover from. Still, if we were to peel away a few layers and scratch under the surface, we would realize that they are just words. Words we gave too much meaning to. Finding the picture-perfect house is an arduous journey; it takes a lot out of you. Reaching the finish line and having the rug pulled out from under your feet is a horrible experience. As you crash to the ground, so do your dreams. Or do they? See, the thing with words is, we misuse them. There is no one single perfect object but many semiprecious ones. It's never as bad as it may seem. Here is a quick guide on how to cope when you lose the bidding war on your dream home.


The Process of Grieving

Seems like a good place to start. Why? Simply because, even if you are the most well-grounded, rational, logically-oriented person in the world, you can't skip those feelings of anger and frustration. So, you should allow yourself to go through the five well-known stages. As you slug through denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, you will know you are one step closer to that all-important acceptance. The sooner you get there, the quicker you can get back on your feet. New houses await; new finish lines are calling to you. Just keep this in mind, there are many impressive houses out there. Yes, you missed out on one, but at the end of the day, you missed out on one. This first stage is crucial, as you need to be clear-headed to prepare for the subsequent phases.


The Learning Process

Mistakes are only helpful if we learn something from them. I understand that at this point, you might be asking yourself if you had misread the title and have entered into some kind of semi-hippy self-help section of the internet. Don't worry; you haven't! I just needed to get the philosophical parts of the recovery process out of the way first. See, in most cases, you will have utilized the services of an agent, especially if you are buying your first home. They helped you with the initial process of finding a home and making a bid. They can also help you now that the deal has fallen through. Ask them why it didn't work out. This knowledge will be crucial, as it means you can adjust your strategy accordingly. It could stop you from losing the bidding war next time round.


Books, letters, pencils, and a red apple on a desk







Life is one big learning experience, we never really leave the classroom, and the more we know, the wiser our actions will be







The Budget

Now we get to the more practical part. An excellent place to start is your price range. This is a good tip you can use at any time, but especially when inventory is low and you are looking at a 'seller's market'. You will always have several buyers competing for the same house in these cases, and a bidding war is almost unavoidable. It would help if you had some bidding power. You can acquire it by not looking at homes at the top of your budget. With these homes, you are already stretched to the limit. If it is expected that the house will sell, for example, at 10% over the initial asking price, you've already lost the battle. Leave a little leeway; give yourself some wiggle room. If you can offer 10% above the asking price and are bidding against others who are already at the top of their max budget, the math is on your side! Another aspect to consider is the purchasing power, which is fortunately not all that difficult to calculate.


A magnifying glass, a small house, and a piggy bank behind them









Never have a couple of toys so perfectly encapsulated the process; you need to find the perfect house in accordance with a realistic budget






Escalation Clause

This is a nifty little tool. It can seriously lower the chances of you being outbid. It essentially means you are offering to pay a certain sum above the highest bid the seller has received. In other words, you can't be taken out of the running so easily by the aforementioned pesky rug at the end of the finish line! Of course, you can set a limit, so the opposite doesn't happen, and you end up offering way above what you can realistically afford. You can also employ other tactics to make your offer more attractive. Getting a pre-approval is all the rage in 2022, and for a good reason.


How to Cope When You Lose the Bidding War on Your Dream Home? Heard of the 80-20 Rule?

This lovely rule ties in quite neatly with what I was talking about earlier, you know, when I seemed to be more concerned with the derivation of words and your outlook on life rather than buying homes. What the rule boils down to is that "no house is perfect." Say it with me; no house is perfect. So if you are already on evolutionmoving.com looking to get a quote for the move just because you think you've found a one-of-a-kind home, hold on for a just little while longer. In most cases, the most a home will fulfill is 80% of your requirements and wants. To be clear, this is a very substantial amount. Hence, the illusion of perfection. The problem is you think there are no more like it. Experience has taught us otherwise. See, the next home could have a different 80%, some features that the one you lost didn't. That could make it just as good, maybe even better. Furthermore, there are some home features you can recreate. If you saw something interesting, maybe think about how it could be implemented in a different house.


Pause

Let's have a breather. 

Better? Always helps when you slow things down. There is one more thing that could help. It's circumstantial, as someone under pressure to find a home doesn't have this luxury, but if you do, you can always wait for inventory to improve. If homes, especially good ones, are scarce, playing the waiting game for a bit could work to your advantage. In the meantime, you can always read up on why the housing supply remains relatively low and plan accordingly.


A cup with a spoon and buttons with the word pause written on them, representing how to cope when you lose the bidding war on your dream home




How to cope when you lose the bidding war on your dream home? Sometimes it's best to take a break and wait for things to settle a little





Let's Take a Step Back

We haven't touched upon the actual process of buying your first home. Now that you know how to handle the potential heartbreak of losing your first bidding war, which, I hope you now see, is not all that tragic, let's take a look at what comes before that. As a first-time buyer, there are many things for you to consider. There is a lot to do from the initial decision to a list of wants and needs, all the way through questions of financing, home inspections, and finding a good realtor. Therefore, if you are a first-time buyer, be sure you are ready for what lies ahead. The better prepared you are, the smoother the journey will be.


Closure

There you have it, how to cope when you lose the bidding war on your dream home! As you can see, it's not as bleak as it may have initially appeared; nothing in life ever is. Thought you were going to get out of this without a big philosophical ending, did you? Fat chance! It may be tiring, it may be frustrating, but once it's your turn to come out as the winner and you finally move into your new home, you'll see it was worth it. After all, it's not about the journey, but the destination, and what makes a home great are the people living there, not hardwood floors and ceramics!

 




Guest Author:

Matthew Schwimmer, Blogger and Writer

https://evolutionmoving.com



Pictures Used:

https://pixabay.com/photos/money-home-coin-investment-2724245 

https://unsplash.com/photos/OyCl7Y4y0Bk

https://unsplash.com/photos/NpTbVOkkom8

https://www.pexels.com/photo/keyboard-keys-in-a-bowl-8386425

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | Simplifying The Market

If your needs are changing, you may be thinking about sharing a home with additional loved ones, such as grandparents, adult children, or other extended family members. Whether it’s for financial or health-related circumstances, or simply because you’ve reached a new phase of life, you might be wondering if living with multiple generations under the same roof is a good move for you. Many people have found themselves in a similar situation and they’ve already made the choice to live in a multigenerational home.

What Is a Multigenerational Home?

The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. They include households with grandparents and grandchildren under the age of 25. As you weigh your options and decide if multigenerational living is right for you, here’s some helpful information highlighted by other homeowners living with additional loved ones.

The Benefits of Multigenerational Living

A recent report from Generations United surveyed individuals living in a multigenerational setting and asked them about the key benefits of this housing arrangement. It says:

Nearly all Americans who live in a multigenerational household (98%) feel their household functions successfully, citing various aspects of home design, family relationships and interactions, and supports and services influencing their success.”

The study identifies some of the top benefits of this lifestyle as an improved financial situation, better mental and physical health, strengthened bonds with loved ones, and more (see chart below):

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | Simplifying The Market

Those are just some of the reasons why most people who decide to live in this situation find it worthwhile. As Donna Butts, Executive Director at Generations United, says:

Families may come together from need, but they are staying together by choice. Indeed, more than 7 in 10 (72 percent) of those currently living in a multigenerational household plan to continue doing so long-term.”

With More Adults Living Under One Roof, You May Need More Space

If you decide to look for a multigenerational home, it’s important to understand what everyone will need to make the arrangement work to its fullest. Something that often makes the top of the list for homeowners living with multiple generations is additional space for privacy. This could mean more bedrooms and bathrooms or features like an in-law suite or a basement.

If you’re realizing your current house doesn’t provide the room you need for multigenerational living, an expert real estate advisor can help you navigate the process to find the right home that works for you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

Living in a multigenerational household has real and impactful benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about these options in our local area, let’s connect so you can find a home that fits your changing needs.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

The Top Indicator if You Want To Know Where Mortgage Rates Are Heading

The Top Indicator if You Want To Know Where Mortgage Rates Are Heading | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage rates have increased significantly since the beginning of the year. Each Thursday, Freddie Mac releases its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. According to the latest survey, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen from 3.22% at the start of the year to 3.55% as of last week. This is important to note because any increase in mortgage rates changes what a purchaser can afford. To give you an idea of how rising mortgage rates impact your purchasing power, see the table below:

The Top Indicator if You Want To Know Where Mortgage Rates Are Heading | Simplifying The Market

How Can You Know Where Mortgage Rates Are Headed?

While it’s always difficult to know exactly where mortgage rates will go, a great indicator of where they may head is by looking at the 50-year history of the 10-year treasury yield, and then following its path. Understanding the mechanics of the treasury yield isn’t as important as knowing that there’s a correlation between how it moves and how mortgage rates follow. Here’s a graph showing that relationship over the last 50 years:

The Top Indicator if You Want To Know Where Mortgage Rates Are Heading | Simplifying The Market

This correlation has continued into the new year. The treasury yield has started to climb, and that’s driven rates up. As of last Thursday, the treasury yield was 1.81%. That’s 1.74% below the mortgage rate reported the same day (3.55%) and is very close to the average spread we see between the two numbers (average spread is 1.7).

Where Will the Treasury Yield Head in the Future?

With this information in mind, a 10-year treasury-yield forecast would be a good indicator of where mortgage rates may be headed. The Wall Street Journal just surveyed a panel of over 75 academic, business, and financial economists asking them to forecast the treasury yield over the next few years. The consensus was that experts project the treasury yield will climb to 2.84% by the end of 2024. Based on the 50-year history of following this yield, that would likely put mortgage rates at about 4.5% in three years.

While the correlation between the 30-year fixed mortgage rate and the 10-year treasury yield is clear in the data shown above for the past 50 years, it shouldn’t be used as an exact indicator. They’re both hard to forecast, especially in this unprecedented economic time driven by a global pandemic. Yet understanding the relationship can help you get an idea of where rates may be going. It appears, based on the information we have now, that mortgage rates will continue to rise over the next few years. If that’s the case, your best bet may be to purchase a home sooner rather than later, if you’re able.

Bottom Line

Forecasting mortgage rates is very difficult. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, once said:

“You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is don’t ever try and forecast interest rates and or, more specifically, if you’re a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong.”

However, if you’re either a first-time homebuyer or a current homeowner thinking of moving into a home that better fits your changing needs, understanding what’s happening with the 10-year treasury yield and mortgage rates can help you make an informed decision on the timing of your purchase.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Not Sure Who to Get to Host an Event? Here Are a Few Fun Ideas.


If you’re planning an event, you may be having difficulty deciding what kind of person would be an ideal host. Here are a few fun ideas that will help you decide who to hire for hosting duties.




Celebrity Impersonator

Celebrity impersonators have been considered a niche form of performance artist for some time, but they have been popularized in recent years with the blossoming of social media and increased interest in political and satirical comedy. 


Everyone from Elvis impersonators to trump impersonators have been hits at parties and events for years, and the performance style is only growing. When seeking a celebrity impersonator, you want to find someone who looks, sounds, and acts the part, as well as someone who runs their impersonation as a business rather than a hobby or gag. 

Actor

You might be thinking that hiring an actor would only work at film screenings and festivals, but this isn’t the case. Actors have been hired in the past to host all kinds of events, from conferences to award shows to medical charities, and even participate in events involving things like climate change activism. Actors tend to have causes that they align with, and the topics of the films they appear in are occasionally relevant to conference topics. Choosing an actor is a great way to put a recognizable face, and something of a “Brand” on an event that will both draw in more attendees, and provide them with a memorable experience. 




Model

Models can be hired for all of the same reasons above. Many also have charitable causes that they have an affinity for, and have stretched beyond the confines of modeling work into external activities that may be relevant to a conference. 


Having said that, models are largely hired to appeal to people visually, so one has to be careful about the context of the conference before hiring them. 

It might be great to hire a fitness model for a convention about fitness, but hiring them for a business conference when they know nothing about the company, or a private party for a bunch of crotchety old men is not the greatest idea.


Comedian

A comedian’s humor is a fantastic asset to most kinds of events, since laughter is a tremendous way to boost morale, increase comfort, and encourage people to bond. Hiring a comedian to host  would break up any feared monotony and add a touch of entertainment and comic relief to the happenings. It has also become exceptionally simple to hire a comedian these days. With social media and hiring apps like specialguestapp.com, it is easier than ever to find talent and hire them for your events.




Inspirational Speaker

Hiring a motivational speaker to host your event is an excellent idea. No matter the content or context of the event, a motivational speaker can bring a much-needed sense of wisdom and enlightenment. 


Guests can be hired through wonderful websites like specialguestapps.com to host events and bring a self-care flare to what may otherwise be a serious, or even draining array of programming.