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Archive for the ‘For Buyers’ Category

What’s Going on with Home Prices? Ask a Professional.

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What’s Going on with Home Prices? Ask a Professional. | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this year, you may have questions about what’s happening with home prices today as the market cools. In the simplest sense, nationally, experts don’t expect prices to come crashing down, but the level of home price moderation will depend on factors like supply and demand in each local market.

That means, moving forward, home price appreciation will continue to vary by location, with more significant changes happening in overheated areas. Here’s a quick snapshot of what the experts are saying:

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says:

“The major question on the minds of homeowners and aspiring buyers alike is what will happen to home prices. . . Soaring prices were propelled by all-time low mortgage rates which are a thing of the past. As a result, home price growth is expected to continue slowing, dipping below its pre-pandemic average to 5.4% for 2023, as a whole.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

“House price appreciation has slowed in all 50 markets we track, but the deceleration is generally more dramatic in areas that experienced the strongest peak appreciation rates.”

Taylor Marr, Deputy Chief Economist at Redfin, says:

“For those bearish folks eagerly awaiting the home price crash, you’ll have to keep waiting. As much as demand is pulling back supply is as well reducing downward pressure on prices in the short run.”

John Paulson, Founder of Paulson & Co., says:

“It’s true – housing may be a little frothy. So housing prices may come down or they may plateau . . .”

What Does This Mean for You?

The best way to get the answers you need is to lean on a local real estate advisor. They’ll be able to explain the latest trends in your specific market so you can make a confident and informed decision on your next step toward buying or selling a home.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices today, let’s connect so you have the latest on our local market.

Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer in Today’s Market

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Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer in Today’s Market | Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying mortgage rates are higher now than they were last year. And if you’re thinking about buying a home, this may be top of mind for you. That’s because those higher rates impact how much it costs to borrow money for your home loan. As you set out to make a purchase this winter, you’ll need to be strategic so you can find a home that meets your needs and budget.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

“The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, . . . Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be given the diminished purchasing power.”

In other words, it’s important to be mindful of what’s a necessity and what’s a nice-to-have when searching for a home. And the best way to understand this is to put together a list of desired features for your home search.

The first step? Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand what you can borrow for your home loan, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s out of reach. Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list (and prioritize) all the features of a home you would like.

Here’s a great way to think about them before you begin:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
  • Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, a garage, etc.).
  • Dream State – This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).

Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They’ll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

Putting together your list of necessary features for your next home might seem like a small task, but it’s a crucial first step on your homebuying journey today. If you’re ready to find a home that fits your needs, let’s connect.

What You Want To Know If You’re Pursuing Your Dream of Homeownership

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What You Want To Know If You’re Pursuing Your Dream of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

If you’re a young adult, you may be thinking about your goals and priorities for the months and years ahead. And if homeownership ranks high on your goal sheet, you’re in good company. Many of your peers are also pursuing their dream of owning a home. The 2022 Millennial & Gen Z Borrower Sentiment Report from Maxwell says:

“Many young adults have demonstrated their resolve to embark on the journey toward homeownership soon. More than half of millennials and Gen Zs plan to apply for a mortgage sometime within the next year.”

Let’s take a look at why homeownership makes the top of so many young buyers’ to-do list and what you need to consider to achieve your goals if you’re one of them.

Top Motivators To Buy a Home

Before you start the homebuying process, it’s helpful to know why homeownership is so important to you. The survey mentioned above sheds light on some of the top reasons why younger generations are looking to buy a home. It finds:

No matter which of these resonates the most with you, know there are many financial and non-financial reasons why you may want to buy a home. While your top motivator may be different than that of your friends, they’re all equally valid and worthwhile.

Key Obstacles and How To Overcome Them

Whether your homeownership goals come from the heart or are driven by financial aspirations (or both), it can still be hard to know where to start when you’re looking to buy a home. From understanding the homebuying process, to getting pre-approved, and exploring down payment options, it’s a lot to wrap your head around.

The same Maxwell survey also reveals key challenges for potential buyers. Thankfully, the knowledge and guidance of a trusted real estate professional can help you overcome both. Here’s a look at two of the hurdles potential homebuyers say they face:

1. The Mortgage Process Can Be Intimidating

In the Maxwell study, 33.37% said one of their obstacles was that the mortgage process is confusing or difficult to understand.

An article by OwnUp helps explain why the mortgage process is so challenging for buyers:

“There is a general lack of knowledge about home financing. Mortgages are a complicated topic with no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s difficult to understand the space, let alone determine what the right course of action is based on your unique financial picture.

While you may be tempted to do a quick search online to find instant answers to your questions, it may not get you the information you need to understand the full picture. Especially when it comes to financial advice, you want to lean on a true expert. Having trusted professionals on your side can help you to learn what it takes to achieve your dream of homeownership. Not to mention, an expert can give you advice specific to your situation, not generic advice like you’ll find online.

2. It’s Hard To Know How Much You Need To Save

In the Maxwell study, 45.75% believe they don’t have enough saved to cover their down payment or closing cost expenses.

What you may not realize is that, today, there’s a growing number of down payment assistance programs available nationwide to help relieve this pressure. A report from Down Payment Resource says:

“Our Q3 2022 HPI report revealed a 1.6% uptick in the number of homebuyer assistance programs available to help people finance homes, raising the number of programs to 2,309, a net increase of 36 over the previous quarter.”

Additionally, as the housing market cools, buyers are regaining some negotiation power and more sellers are willing to work with buyers to help with closing costs.  Understanding what’s out there and the options available may help you achieve your dream of homeownership faster than you thought possible.

Bottom Line

If you’re serious about becoming a homeowner, know it may be more in reach than you think. Lean on trusted professionals to help you overcome challenges and prioritize your next steps.

Why There Won’t Be a Flood of Foreclosures Coming to the Housing Market

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Why There Won’t Be a Flood of Foreclosures Coming to the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

With the rapid shift that’s happened in the housing market this year, some people are raising concerns that we’re destined for a repeat of the crash we saw in 2008. But in truth, there are many key differences between what’s happening today and the bubble in the early 2000s.

One of the reasons this isn’t like the last time is the number of foreclosures in the market is much lower now. Here’s a look at why there won’t be a wave of foreclosures flooding the market.

Not as Many Homeowners Are in Trouble This Time

After the last housing crash, over nine million households lost their homes due to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they gave it back to the bank. This was, in large part, because of more relaxed lending standards where people could take out mortgages they ultimately couldn’t afford. Those lending practices led to a wave of distressed properties which made their way into the market and caused home values to plummet.

But today, revised lending standards have led to more qualified buyers. As a result, there are fewer homeowners who are behind on their mortgages. As Marina Walsh, Vice President of Industry Analysis at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:

For the second quarter in a row, the mortgage delinquency rate fell to its lowest level since MBA’s survey began in 1979 – declining to 3.45%. Foreclosure starts and loans in the process of foreclosure also dropped in the third quarter to levels further below their historical averages.”

There Have Been Fewer Foreclosures over the Last Two Years

While you may have seen recent stories about the number of foreclosures rising today, context is important. During the pandemic, many homeowners were able to pause their mortgage payments using the forbearance program. The program gave homeowners facing difficulties extra time to get their finances in order and, in many cases, work out a plan with their lender.

With that program, many were concerned it would result in a wave of foreclosures coming to the market. That fear didn’t materialize. Data from the New York Fed shows there are still fewer foreclosures happening today than before the pandemic (see graph below):

Why There Won’t Be a Flood of Foreclosures Coming to the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

That means, while there are more foreclosures now compared to last year (when foreclosures were paused), the number is still well below what the housing market has seen in a more typical year, like 2017-2019.

And most importantly, the number we’re seeing now is still far below the number we saw during the market crash (shown in the red bars in the graph). The big takeaway? Don’t let a headline in the news mislead you. While foreclosures are up year-over-year, historical context is essential to understanding the full picture.

Most Homeowners Have More Than Enough Equity To Sell Their Homes

Many homeowners today have enough equity to sell their homes instead of facing foreclosure. Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, the average homeowner has gained record amounts of equity in their home. And if they’ve stayed in their homes even longer, they may have even more equity than they realize. As Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, says:

Homeowners have very high levels of tappable home equity today, providing a cushion to withstand potential price declines, but also preventing housing distress from turning into a foreclosure. . . the result will likely be more of a foreclosure ‘trickle’ than a ‘tsunami.’”

A recent report from ATTOM Data explains it by going even deeper into the numbers:

“Only about 214,800 homeowners were facing possible foreclosure in the second quarter of 2022, or just four-tenths of one percent of the 58.2 million outstanding mortgages in the U.S. Of those facing foreclosure, about 195,400, or 91 percent, had at least some equity built up in their homes.”

Bottom Line

If you see headlines about the increasing number of foreclosures today, remember context is important. While it’s true the number of foreclosures is higher now than it was last year, foreclosures are still well below pre-pandemic years. If you have questions, let’s connect.

Home Sweet Home: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Home Sweet Home: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Home Sweet Home: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • While there are many financial perks to owning a home, there are also powerful non-financial benefits to consider if you’re thinking about making a move.
  • Homeownership allows you to express yourself, gives you greater privacy and comfort, enhances your connection to your community and loved ones, and is an achievement to feel proud of.
  • Let’s connect today to discuss all that homeownership has to offer.

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale

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What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’re likely trying to juggle your needs, current mortgage rates, home prices, your schedule, and more to try to decide if you want to jump into the market.

If this sounds like you, here’s one key factor that could help you with your decision: there are more homes for sale today than there were at this time last year. According to Calculated Risk, for the week ending in November 18th, there were 47.7% more homes available for sale than there were at the same time in 2021. And having more options for your home search may be exactly what you need to feel confident about making a move.

Here’s a look at where the increased housing supply is coming from so you can get a better sense of what’s happening in the market today and what it means for you.

What Caused the Growth in Housing Inventory This Year?

The increase we’ve seen in housing supply this year isn’t from the source you think it is. Rather than an influx of recent homeowners listing their houses for sale (known as new listings), the primary reason the supply has grown is because homes are staying on the market a bit longer (known as active listings).

That’s happening because higher mortgage rates and home prices have helped moderate the peak frenzy of buyer demand, which has slowed down the pace of sales. And, as the pace of sales has eased, inventory has grown as a result.

The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show that it’s active listings, not new listings, that have driven the growth we’ve seen over the past few months:

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale | Simplifying The Market

And while overall inventory gains may slow down this winter due to typical housing market seasonality, you still have a chance to capitalize on the current supply.

What This Means for Your Home Search

Regardless of the source, the increase in available housing supply is good for buyers. More homes available for sale means you have more options to choose from as you search for your next home, and you may even have more time to consider them.

So, if you tried to buy a home last year and lost out in a bidding war or just couldn’t find something you liked, this may be the news you’ve been waiting for. If you start your search today, those additional options should make it less difficult to find a home you love, especially as some other buyers pause their search this holiday season.

Just remember, housing supply is still low overall, so it won’t suddenly be easy – it’ll just be less challenging than it was at this time last year. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“Despite this improvement in the number of homes actively for sale, active listings still lag their pre-pandemic levels.”

The increase in housing supply helps put you in a great position to kick off the new year in your dream home. And who better to help you find it than a trusted, local real estate professional?

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to jump into the housing market and see what’s available in our local area, let’s connect.

Mortgage Rates Will Come Down, It’s Just a Matter of Time

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Mortgage Rates Will Come Down, It’s Just a Matter of Time | Simplifying The Market

This past year, rising mortgage rates have slowed the red-hot housing market. Over the past nine months, we’ve seen fewer homes sold than the previous month as home price growth has slowed. All of this is due to the fact that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has doubled this year, severely limiting homebuying power for consumers. And, this month, the average rate for financing a home briefly rose over 7% before coming back down into the high 6% range. But we’re starting to see a hint of what mortgage interest rates could look like next year.

Inflation Is the Enemy of Long-Term Interest Rates

As long as inflation is high, we’ll see higher mortgage rates. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen indications that inflation may be cooling, giving us a glimpse into what may happen in the future. The mortgage market is eagerly awaiting positive news on inflation. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:

The housing market is expected to face continued uncertainty heading into 2023 as consumers, financial markets, and policymakers work through their respective challenges in today’s economy. . . . we are watching for any additional stability in the MBS market, signs of cooling inflation, and/or less aggressive Federal Reserve action to give us confidence that mortgage rates are past their peak.”

What Does This Mean for the Future of Mortgage Rates?

As we get through the inflation battle and start to see that coming down, we should expect mortgage rates to follow. We’ve seen nods of this over the past couple of weeks. As the Federal Reserve works to bring inflation down, mortgage rates will come down as well. Bill McBride from Calculated Risk says:

My current view is inflation will ease quicker than the Fed currently expects.”

As we look toward next year, we certainly hope he’s right.

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates will come down – it’s just a matter of time. The hope is we continue to see more positive news on inflation, and that’ll bring mortgage rates down. This will give prospective homebuyers more buying power and lead to more homeowners throughout the country.

More People Are Finding the Benefits of Multigenerational Households Today

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More People Are Finding the Benefits of Multigenerational Households Today | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking of buying a home and living with siblings, parents, or grandparents, then multigenerational living may be for you. The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. And the number of individuals choosing multigenerational living has increased over the past 50 years.

As you consider this option for your own home search, know it could help you on your homeownership journey and provide you with other incredible benefits along the way.

Living with Loved Ones Could Help You Achieve Your Homeownership Goals

There are several reasons people choose to live in a multigenerational household, and for many, the arrangement is a personal one. But according to the Pew Research Center, the top reason people choose to live together today is financial.

A recent study from Freddie Mac also finds more people are choosing to buy a home together so they can save money in the homebuying process. As the study says:

“. . . an increasing percentage of young adult first-time homebuyers are relying on support from older generations, including their parents, to buy a home together.

For these individuals, combining their resources can help them achieve their dream of buying and owning a home. By pooling their incomes together to make that purchase, they may be able to afford a home they couldn’t on their own.

Other Key Benefits of Multigenerational Living

Not to mention, living in a home with loved ones can have other benefits too, like giving you more quality time to spend together. Darla Mercado, Certified Financial Planner and Markets Editor for CNBC.com, explains how this living arrangement can help on a personal and financial level:

“Residing with relatives can offer advantages . . . you can pool multiple streams of income, for instance. And in households with young children, grandparents can pitch in with child care.

If this sounds like a great option for you, it’s important to work with a trusted real estate professional to discuss your needs. They can help you navigate the process to find the right home for you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

More people are discovering the benefits of multigenerational living. For the best information and help deciding what’s right for your personal situation, let’s connect and start the conversation today.

Why It May Be Time To Add Newly Built Homes to Your Search

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Why It May Be Time To Add Newly Built Homes to Your Search | Simplifying The Market

If you put a pause on your home search because you weren’t sure where you’d go once you sold your house, it might be a good time to get back into the market. If you’re willing to work with a trusted agent to consider a newly built home, you may have even more options and incentives than you realize. That may be why the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says the share of buyers looking for new construction is increasing:

“According to the quarterly Housing Trends Report, the popularity of new construction homes is continuing to rebound . . .”

Here’s a few reasons more buyers may be drawn to newly built homes.

More Options To Choose from and Potential Builder Incentives

When looking for a home, you can choose between existing homes (those that are already built and previously owned) and newly constructed ones. While the inventory of existing homes has increased this year, it’s still below more typical years like 2019. Currently, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace. For reference, a roughly 6-month supply is considered a balanced market, leaving us in a sellers’ market today.

While it’s a smaller segment of the overall inventory of homes for sale, the supply of newly built homes has grown even more. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explains:

New single-family home inventory remained elevated at a 9.2 months’ supply (of varying stages of construction). A measure near a 6 months’ supply is considered balanced.”

Here’s why this matters for you. While you have more homes to choose from in either category, there’s one extra benefit of newly built homes. Because the inventory of newly built homes has grown so much, builders are motivated to sell their properties before they build more.

Back in the housing crash of 2008, builders were building too many homes, and that oversupply is part of what contributed to the housing bubble bursting. Now, builders don’t want to have a surplus of inventory in their pipeline, and many are offering buyers incentives to help move that inventory along. As Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, explains:

“. . . a continual increase in the number of completed homes available for sale is now occurring, with the inventories of such homes now at the highest level since July 2020. . . . This suggests to us that builders may be increasingly willing to offer more aggressive incentives and discounts to maintain sales of completed inventory.”

While specifics will vary by builder and market, some buyers are seeing builders reduce prices and offer incentives. To find out what’s available in your area, lean on a trusted real estate professional.

Lifestyle Benefits of Buying a Newly Built Home

In addition to more supply and the potential for builder incentives, newly built homes have various benefits that may suit your lifestyle. For example, you likely won’t have as many little repairs to tackle, like leaky faucets, shutters to paint, and other odd jobs around the house. That can free up time for you to do other things you’re passionate about.

Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s brand new and uniquely yours from day one. You’ll have all new appliances, windows, roofing, and more. These things can help lower your energy costs, which can add up to significant savings over time. You may even have the latest and greatest technology features built into your new home.

Builder sums up why some buyers today are turning to newly built homes:

“For some, it’s the lure of something new and modern. For others, it’s the move-in ready experience. And now there’s another factor to consider when making this decision: technology.”

If any of these benefits appeal to you, it’s time to connect with a trusted real estate advisor to learn more.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering a newly built home, let’s connect so you have an expert guide on what’s available in our local market. Together we’ll explore your options and the benefits of an all-new home.

VA Loans: Making Homes for the Brave Achievable [INFOGRAPHIC]

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VA Loans: Making Homes for the Brave Achievable [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

VA Loans: Making Homes for the Brave Achievable [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • VA Loans can help make homeownership possible for those who have served our country.
  • These loans offer great benefits for eligible individuals and can help them buy a VA-approved house or condo, build a new home, or make improvements to their house.
  • Homeownership is the American Dream. One way we can honor and thank our veterans is to ensure they have the best information about the benefits of VA home loans.