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When a House Becomes a Home

When a House Becomes a Home | Simplifying The Market

It’s clear that owning a home makes financial sense. But lately, the emotional side of what drives homeownership is becoming increasingly important.

No matter the living space, the feeling of a home means different things to different people. Whether it’s a familiar scent or a favorite chair, the feel-good connections to our own homes can be more important to us than the financial ones. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Owning your home is an accomplishment worth celebrating

You’ve put in a lot of work to achieve the dream of homeownership, and whether it’s your first home or your fifth, congratulations are in order for this milestone. You’ve earned it.

2. There’s no place like home

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

3. You can find more space to meet your needs

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

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and your style

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

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a repeat buyer who’s ready to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the non-financial factors that turn a house into a happy home.

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The Perks of Putting 20% Down on a Home

The Perks of Putting 20% Down on a Home | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’re probably wondering what you need to save for your down payment. Is it 20% of the loan, or could you put down less? While there are lower down payment programs available that allow qualified buyers to put down as little as 3.5%, it’s important to understand the many perks that come with a 20% down payment.

Here are four reasons why putting 20% down may be a great option if it works within your budget.

1. Your Interest Rate May Be Lower

A 20% down payment vs. a 3-5% down payment shows your lender you’re more financially stable and not a large credit risk. The more confident your lender is in your credit score and your ability to pay your loan, the lower the mortgage interest rate they’ll likely be willing to give you.

2. You’ll End Up Paying Less for Your Home

The larger your down payment, the smaller your loan amount will be for your mortgage. If you’re able to pay 20% of the cost of your new home at the start of the transaction, you’ll only pay interest on the remaining 80%. If you put down 5%, the additional 15% will be added to your loan and will accrue interest over time. This will end up costing you more over the lifetime of your home loan.

3. Your Offer Will Stand Out in a Competitive Market

In a market where many buyers are competing for the same home, sellers often like to see offers come in with 20% or larger down payments. The seller gains the same confidence as the lender in this scenario. You are seen as a stronger buyer with financing that’s more likely to be approved. Therefore, the deal will be more likely to go through.

4. You Won’t Have To Pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

What is PMI? According to Freddie Mac:

“For homeowners who put less than 20% down, Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI is an added insurance policy for homeowners that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage.

It is not the same thing as homeowner’s insurance. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that’s required if you make a down payment less than 20%. . . . Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your monthly payment.”

As mentioned earlier, if you put down less than 20% when buying a home, your lender will see your loan as having more risk. PMI helps them recover their investment in you if you’re unable to pay your loan. This insurance isn’t required if you’re able to put down 20% or more.

Many times, home sellers looking to move up to a larger or more expensive home are able to take the equity they earn from the sale of their house to put 20% down on their next home. With the equity homeowners have today, it creates a great opportunity to put those savings toward a larger down payment on a new home.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a home, consider the benefits of 20% down versus a smaller down payment option. Let’s connect so you have expert advice to help make your homeownership goals a reality.

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The Average Homeowner Gained $56,700 in Equity over the Past Year

The Average Homeowner Gained over $56,700 in Equity over the Past Year | Simplifying The Market

When you think of homeownership, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are you might focus on the non-financial benefits, like the security or stability a home provides. But what about equity? While it can be overlooked, a homeowner’s equity helps build long-term wealth over time. Here’s a look at what equity is and why it matters.

For a homeowner, your equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. So, as home values climb, your equity does too. That’s exactly what’s happening today. There aren’t enough homes on the market to meet buyer demand, so bidding wars and multiple offers are driving prices up. That’s because people are willing to pay more to buy a home. Right now, this low supply and high demand are giving current homeowners a significant equity boost.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains it like this:

Home price growth is the principal driver of home equity creation. The CoreLogic Home Price Index reported home prices were up 17.7% for the past 12 months ending September, spurring the record gains in home equity wealth.

To find out just how much rising home values have impacted equity, we turn to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic. According to that report, the average homeowner’s equity has grown by $56,700 over the last 12 months.

Curious how your state stacks up? Check out the map below to find out the average equity gain for your area.The Average Homeowner Gained over $56,700 in Equity over the Past Year | Simplifying The Market

How Rising Equity Impacts You

If you’re already a homeowner, equity not only builds your wealth, it also opens doors for you to achieve your goals. It works like this: when you sell your house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. You can use those proceeds to fuel your next move, especially if you’ve decided your needs have changed and you’re looking for something new.

If you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, understanding the importance of equity can help you realize why homeownership is a worthwhile goal. It builds your wealth and gives you peace of mind that your investment is a wise one, not just from a lifestyle perspective, but from a financial one too.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a current homeowner or you’re ready to become one, it’s important to know how equity works and why it matters. If this inspires you to make a move, let’s connect to explore your options and find out what steps you need to take next.

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Homebuyers: Be Ready To Act This Winter

Homebuyers: Be Ready To Act This Winter | Simplifying The Market

To succeed as a buyer in today’s market, it’s important to understand which market trends will have the greatest impact on your home search. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says there are two factors every buyer should keep their eyes on:

“Going forward, the conditions buyers face are primarily dependent on two things: mortgage rates and housing supply.

Here’s a look at each one.

Mortgage Rates Projected To Rise in 2022

As a buyer, your interest rate directly impacts how much you’ll pay on your monthly mortgage when you purchase a home. Rates are beginning to rise, and experts forecast they’ll continue going up in 2022 (see graph below):Homebuyers: Be Ready To Act This Winter | Simplifying The Market As the graph shows, mortgage rates are expected to climb next year. But they’re still low when you compare to where they were just a few years ago. That presents today’s buyers with some motivation to lock in a low mortgage rate before they climb higher.

More Homes Are Expected To Be Available This Season

The other market condition buyers need to monitor is the number of homes available for sale today. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the current supply of inventory sits at just 2.4-months. To put that into perspective, a 6-month supply is ideal for a balanced market where there are enough homes to meet buyer demand.

However, there may be good news for buyers who are waiting for more options. A recent realtor.com survey shows more sellers are planning to list their homes this winter, meaning more choices will likely be available soon.

What Does That Mean for You?

Even if your options improve some this season, it won’t significantly shift market conditions overnight. According to NAR, many more listings need to be available to move closer to a more neutral market:

“Given the average monthly demand . . . , 3.55 million homes should be on the market to meet a level of inventory equal to six months of demand, implying a shortage of homes for sale of 2.24 million.”

So remember, even with more homes expected to come to market this season, competition among buyers will remain fierce as there still won’t be enough homes for sale to meet the current demand. That means you’ll need to act quickly when you’re ready to make an offer.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning on buying a home this winter, more options are welcome news, but it doesn’t mean you should slow down. Let’s connect today so you have an expert on your side to help act as quickly as possible when the right home for you hits the market.

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2022 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC]

2022 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

2022 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • What does the coming year hold for the housing market? Here’s what experts project for 2022.
  • Mortgage rates are projected to rise and so are home prices. Experts are forecasting buyer demand will remain strong as people try to capitalize on rates and prices before they climb, creating another strong year for home sales.
  • Let’s connect so you can make your best move in the new year.

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Homebuyers Are Going on a Shopping Spree This Winter

Homebuyers Are Going on a Shopping Spree This Winter | Simplifying The Market

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, which means some shoppers have wrapped up their holiday buying. But there’s still a group of buyers that are very active this holiday season – homebuyers.

Experts anticipate the real estate market will see a flurry of activity this winter, and that’s great news for today’s sellers. If you’re planning on listing your home, there’s no need to wait until the spring for better conditions – today’s real estate market is already heating up.

Buyers Have Warmed Up to the Idea of Purchasing This Winter

The past 18 months brought about significant lifestyle changes for many of us, including the rise in remote work, job changes, and even early retirement for some. For many people, it’s prompting a search for their next home now rather than waiting for warmer months.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), points out how this winter may see a significant number of sales:

“Compared to other past winter seasons, this winter season’s sales activity will be stronger. . . . This winter, there will be more sales compared to pre-pandemic winters going back all the way to 2006.”

You might be wondering: what does strong sales activity mean for you? It means there are likely to be more buyers active in the market this winter – far more than more normal, pre-pandemic years.

In the same article, Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, puts it in these simple terms:

Sellers can expect to see plenty of buyers.”

The more buyers there are in the market, the more likely it is your home will get noticed. That can lead to a multiple-offer scenario or a potential bidding war. Receiving multiple offers on your home means you can select the right offer and terms for your situation – so you can truly win as a seller when you list your house this winter.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you don’t need to wait until the spring. Buyers are ready now. Let’s connect to discuss why selling this holiday season could be the gift that keeps on giving.

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What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022?

What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022? | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking of buying a home in today’s housing market, you may be wondering how strong your investment will be. You might be asking yourself: if I buy a home now, will it lose value? Or will it continue to appreciate going forward? The good news is, according to the experts, home prices are not projected to decline. Here’s why.

With buyers still outweighing sellers, home prices are forecast to continue climbing in 2022, just at a slower or more moderate pace. Why the continued increase? It’s the simple law of supply and demand. When there are fewer items on the market than there are buyers, the competition for that item makes prices naturally rise.

And while the number of homes for sale today is expected to improve with more sellers getting ready to list their houses this winter, we’re certainly not out of the inventory woods yet. Thus, the projections show continued appreciation, but at a more moderate rate than what we’ve seen over the past year.

Here’s a look at the latest 2022 expert forecasts on home price appreciation:What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022? | Simplifying The Market

What’s the biggest takeaway from this graph? None of the major experts are projecting depreciation in 2022. They’re all showing an increase in home prices next year.

And here’s what some of the industry’s experts say about how that will play out in the housing market next year:

Brad Hunter of Hunter Housing Economics explains:

“. . . the recent unsustainable rate of home price appreciation will slow sharply. . . . home prices will not decline. . . but they will simply rise at a more sustainable pace.”

Danielle Hale from realtor.com agrees:

Price growth is expected to move back toward a normal range, but this is on top of recent high prices, . . . So prices will [still] hit new highs. . . . The pace of price growth is going to slow notably . . . ”

What Does This Mean for the Housing Market?

While home price appreciation is expected to continue, it isn’t projected to be the record-breaking 18 to almost 20% increase the market saw over the past 12 months. Overall, it’s important to note that price increases won’t be as monumental as they were in 2021 – but they certainly won’t decline anytime soon.

What Does That Mean for You?

With motivated buyers in the market and so few homes available to purchase, the imbalance of supply and demand will continue to put upward pressure on home prices in 2022. And when home price appreciation is in the forecast, that’s a clear indication your investment in homeownership is a sound one.

Bottom Line

It’s important to know that home prices are not projected to decline in the new year. Instead, they’re forecast to rise, just at more moderate pace. Let’s connect to make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening with home price appreciation in our market, so you can make an informed decision about your next move.

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Advice for First-Generation Homebuyers

Advice for First-Generation Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

The sense of pride you’ll feel when you purchase a home can’t be overstated. For first-generation homebuyers, that feeling of accomplishment is even greater. That’s because the pride of homeownership for first-generation buyers extends far beyond the homebuyer. AJ Barkley, Head of Neighborhood and Community Lending for Bank of America, says:

“Achieving this goal can create a sense of pride and accomplishment that resonates both for the buyer and those closest to them, including their parents and future generations.”

In other words, your dream of homeownership has far-reaching impacts. If you’re about to be the first person in your family to buy a home, let that motivate you throughout the process. As you begin your journey, here are three helpful tips to make that dream come true.

1. Reach Out to a Real Estate Professional

It’s important to reach out to a trusted advisor early in your homebuying process. Not only can an agent help you find the right home, but they’ll serve as your expert advisor and answer any questions you might have along the way.

The latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed first-time homebuyers to see how their agent helped them with their home purchase (see chart below):Advice for First-Generation Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, your agent is a great source of information throughout the process. They’ll help you understand what’s happening, assess a home’s condition, and negotiate a contract that has the best possible terms for you. These are just some of the reasons having an expert in your corner is critical as you navigate one of the most significant purchases of your life.

2. Do Your Research and Know What You Can Afford

The second piece of advice for first-generation homebuyers is practical: do your research so you know what you can afford. That means getting your finances in order, reviewing your budget, and getting pre-approved through a lender. It also means learning the ins and outs of what it takes to pay for your home, including what you’ll need for a down payment.

Many homebuyers believe the common misconception that you can’t purchase a home without coming up with a 20% for a down payment. As Freddie Mac says:

“The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.”

The chart below shows what recent homebuyers have actually put down on their purchases:Advice for First-Generation Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

On average, first-time buyers only put 7% down on their home purchase. That’s far less than the 20% many people believe is necessary. That means your down payment, and your home purchase, may be in closer reach than you realize. Keep that in mind as you work with a real estate professional to better understand what you’ll need for your purchase.

3. Don’t Lose Sight of What Home Means to You

Finally, it’s important keep in mind why you’re searching for a home to begin with. Overwhelmingly, first-generation homeowners recognize the financial and non-financial benefits of owning a home. In fact, in a recent survey:

  • 73% of first-generation homeowners say the safety and security homeownership provides is increasing in importance.
  • Nearly two-thirds of first-generation homeowners say the importance of building equity in a home is growing more important as well.

As AJ Barkley explains:

“For many first-generation homeowners and their families, homeownership has a unique importance, given the collective efforts to overcome financial challenges that can often span generations…”

Bottom Line

If you’re a first-generation homebuyer, being prepared and working with a trusted expert is key to achieving your dream. Let’s connect today so you can get started on your path to homeownership.

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If You Think the Housing Market Will Slow This Winter, Think Again.

If You Think the Housing Market Will Slow This Winter, Think Again. | Simplifying The Market

From the opportunity to take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates to changing homeowner needs, Americans have more motivation than ever to buy a home. According to the experts, buyers are making moves right now, creating an unseasonably strong housing market for this time of year.

As we wrap up the fall season and move into the winter months, here’s a look at what several industry leaders have to say about the continued momentum in the current market, and what it means as we head into the early part of next year.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors (NAR)

“This solid buying is a testament to demand still being relatively high, as it is occurring during a time when inventory is still markedly low. The notable gain in October assures that total existing-home sales in 2021 will exceed 6 million, which will shape up to be the best performance in 15 years.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist, First American

“So far in November, purchase applications point to another strong month in sales. Still low rates and demographic demand support this strength, even as affordability and inventory headwinds remain.”

The M Report

“The demand for housing in the United States has reached a fever pitch, a trend that opposes the norm of this time of the year when the market cools as the winter months set in.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American

Strong demographic demand will continue to act as the wind in the housing market’s sails.”

What does this mean for the winter housing market?

Buyers are actively in the market, and they’re competing for homes to purchase. With the momentum coming out of this fall, all signs point to the winter housing market picking up steam, making it much busier than in a more typical year. And as we’ve seen in so many ways, 2020 and 2021 were anything but typical in real estate. It looks like 2022 may be joining that list before we know it.

Bottom Line

If you think the housing market will slow down this winter, think again. Whether you’re thinking of buying a home, selling your house, or both – let’s connect to determine if this winter is your best time to make a move too.

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A Happy Tail: Pets and the Homebuying Process [INFOGRAPHIC]

A Happy Tail: Pets and the Homebuying Process [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

A Happy Tail: Pets and the Homebuying Process [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • It’s no secret that we love our furry friends – about 70% of U.S. households have pets. What may come as a surprise is how large a role they play in the homebuying process.
  • Americans spend $1,163 a year on their pets, and nearly half of pet owners say they would move for better accommodations and amenities for their pets.
  • If you’re thinking of adding a furry friend, or if you already have, let’s connect to discuss how you can find a home that meets all your pet’s needs.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters