Buying and owning your home can make a big difference in your life by bringing you joy and a sense of belonging. And with June being National Homeownership Month, it’s the perfect time to think about all the benefits homeownership provides.
Of course, there are financial reasons to buy a house, but it’s important to consider the non-financial benefits that make a home more than just where you live.
Here are three ways owning your home can give you a sense of accomplishment, happiness, and pride.
Owning a home is associated with better mental health and well-being. Gary Acosta, CEO and Co-Founder at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), explains:
“Studies have shown the emotional and psychological benefits that homeownership has on a person’s health and self-esteem . . .”
Similarly, Habitat for Humanity says:
“Residential stability among homeowners is related to improved life satisfaction, . . . along with better physical and mental health.”
So, according to the experts, owning a home can improve your psychological wellness by making you feel happier and more accomplished.
Your home connects you to your community. Homeowners tend to stay in their homes longer than renters, and that can help you feel more connected to your community because you have more time to build meaningful relationships. And, as Acosta says, when people stay in the same area for a longer period of time, it can lead to them being more involved:
“Homeowners also tend to be more active in their local communities . . .”
After all, it makes sense that someone would want to help improve the area they’re going to be living in for a while.
Your home is a place that’s all yours. When you own it, unless there are specific homeowner’s association requirements, you’re free to customize it however you see fit. Whether that’s small home improvements or full-on renovations, your house can be exactly what you want and need it to be. As your tastes and lifestyle change, so can your home. As Investopedia tells us:
“One often-cited benefit of homeownership is the knowledge that you own your little corner of the world. You can customize your house, remodel, paint, and decorate without the need to get permission from a landlord.”
Renting can limit your ability to personalize your living space, and even if you do make changes, you may have to undo them before your lease ends. The ability homeownership gives you to customize and improve where you live creates a greater sense of ownership, pride, and connection with your home.
Owning your home can change your life in a way that gives you greater satisfaction and happiness. Let’s connect today if you’re ready to explore homeownership and all it has to offer.
Buying your first home is an exciting decision and a major milestone that has the power to change your life for the better. As a first-time homebuyer, it’s a vision you can bring to life, but, as the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shares, you’ll have to overcome some factors that have made it more challenging in recent years:
“Since 2011, the share of first-time home buyers has been under the historical norm of 40% as buyers face tight inventory, rising home prices, rising rents and high student debt loads.”
That said, if you’re looking to purchase your first home, here are two things you can consider to help make your dreams a reality.
Being able to pay for the initial costs and fees associated with homeownership can feel like a major hurdle. Whether that’s getting a loan, being able to put together a down payment, or having money for closing costs – there are a variety of expenses that can make buying your first home feel challenging.
Fortunately, there are a lot of public and private first-time homebuyer programs that can help you get a loan with little-to-no money upfront. CNET explains:
“A first-time homebuyer program can help make homeownership more affordable and accessible by offering lower mortgage rates, down payment assistance and tax incentives.”
In fact, as Bankrate says, many of these programs are offered by state and local governments:
“Many states and local governments have programs that offer down payment or closing cost assistance – either low-interest-rate loans, deferred loans or even forgivable loans (aka grants) – to people looking to buy their first house . . .”
To take advantage of these programs, contact the housing authority in your state and browse sites like Down Payment Resource.
It’s a sellers’ market, meaning there aren’t enough homes on the market to meet buyer demand. So, how can you be sure you’re doing everything you can to find a home that works for you? You can increase your options by considering condominiums (condos) and townhomes. U.S. News tells us these housing types are often less expensive than single-family homes:
“Condos are usually less expensive than standalone houses . . . They are also less expensive to insure.”
One reason why they may be more affordable is because they’re often smaller. But they still give you the chance to get your foot in the door and achieve your dream of owning and building equity. Beyond that, another major perk is they typically require less maintenance. As U.S. News says in the same article:
“The strongest reason for purchasing a condo is that all external maintenance is usually covered by the condo association, such as landscaping, pool maintenance, external painting, paving, plowing and more. This fee also covers some internal maintenance, such as gas, electric, plumbing, HVAC and other mechanical systems.”
Townhomes and condos are great ways to get into homeownership. Owning your home allows you to build equity, increase your net worth, and can fuel a future move.
The best way to make sure you’re set up for success, especially if you’re just starting out, is to work with a trusted real estate agent. They can educate you on the homebuying process, help you understand your local area to find options that are right for you, and coach you through making an offer in a competitive market.
Today’s housing market provides some challenges for first-time homebuyers. But, there are still ways to achieve your goals, like utilizing first-time homebuyer programs and considering all of your housing options. Let’s connect so you have an expert on your side who can help you navigate the process.
Comparing real estate metrics from one year to another can be challenging in a normal housing market. That’s due to possible variability in the market making the comparison less meaningful or accurate. Unpredictable events can have a significant impact on the circumstances and outcomes being compared.
Comparing this year’s numbers to the two ‘unicorn’ years we just experienced is almost worthless. By ‘unicorn,’ this is the less common definition of the word:
“Something that is greatly desired but difficult or impossible to find.”
The pandemic profoundly changed real estate over the last few years. The demand for a home of our own skyrocketed, and people needed a home office and big backyard.
It was a market that forever had been “greatly desired but difficult or impossible to find.” A ‘unicorn’ year.
Now, things are getting back to normal. The ‘unicorns’ have galloped off.
Comparing today’s market to those years makes no sense. Here are three examples:
If you look at the headlines, you’d think there aren’t any buyers out there. We still sell over 10,000 houses a day in the United States. Of course, buyer demand is down from the two ‘unicorn’ years. But, according to ShowingTime, if we compare it to normal years (2017-2019), we can see that buyer activity is still strong (see graph below):
We can’t compare today’s home price increases to the last couple of years. According to Freddie Mac, 2020 and 2021 each had historic appreciation numbers. Here’s a graph also showing the more normal years (2017-2019):
We can see that we’re returning to more normal home value increases. There were several months of minimal depreciation in the second half of 2022. However, according to Fannie Mae, the market has returned to more normal appreciation in the first quarter of this year.
There have already been some startling headlines about the percentage increases in foreclosure filings. Of course, the percentages will be up. They are increases over historically low foreclosure rates. Here’s a graph with information from ATTOM, a property data provider:
There will be an increase over the numbers of the last three years now that the moratorium on foreclosures has ended. There are homeowners who lose their home to foreclosure every year, and it’s heartbreaking for those families. But, if we put the current numbers into perspective, we’ll realize that we’re actually going back to the normal filings from 2017-2019.
There will be very unsettling headlines around the housing market this year. Most will come from inappropriate comparisons to the ‘unicorn’ years. Let’s connect so you have an expert on your side to help you keep everything in proper perspective.
If you’re trying to decide if now’s the time to sell your house, here’s what you should know. The limited number of homes available right now gives you a big advantage. That’s because there are more buyers out there than there are homes for sale. And, with so few homes on the market, buyers will have fewer options, so you set yourself up to get the most eyes possible on your house.
Here’s what industry experts are saying about why selling now has its benefits:
“Inventory levels are still at historic lows. Consequently, multiple offers are returning on a good number of properties.”
“We have not seen the traditional uptick in new listings from existing homeowners, so undersupply of housing will continue to heighten market competition and put pressure on prices in most regions. Some markets are already heating up considerably, but price premiums that we saw last spring and summer are unlikely.”
“Well-priced, move-in ready homes with curb appeal in desirable areas are still receiving multiple offers and selling for over the asking price in many parts of the country . . .”
“. . . sellers who price and market their home competitively shouldn’t have a problem finding a buyer.”
If you’re thinking about selling your house, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.
You’re probably feeling the impact of high inflation every day as prices have gone up on groceries, gas, and more. If you’re a renter, you’re likely experiencing it a lot as your rent continues to rise. Between all of those elevated costs and uncertainty about a potential recession, you may be wondering if it still makes sense to buy a home today. The short answer is – it does. Here’s why.
Homeownership actually shields you from the rising costs inflation brings.
Freddie Mac explains how:
“Not only will buying today help you begin to build equity, a fixed-rate mortgage can stabilize your monthly housing costs for the long-term even while other life expenses continue to rise – as has been the case the past few years.”
Unlike rents, which tend to rise with time, a fixed-rate mortgage payment is predictable over the life of the mortgage (typically 15 to 30 years). And, when the cost of most everything else is rising, keeping your housing payment stable is especially important.
The alternative to homeownership is renting – and rents tend to move alongside inflation. That means as inflation goes up, your monthly rent payments tend to go up, too (see graph below):
A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to protect yourself from future rent hikes. With inflation still high, when your rental agreement comes up for renewal, your property manager may decide to increase your payments to offset the impact of inflation. Maybe that’s why, according to a recent survey, 73% of property managers plan to raise rents over the next two years.
Having your largest monthly expense remain stable in a time of economic uncertainty is a major perk of homeownership. If you continue to rent, you don’t have that same benefit and aren’t as protected from rising costs.
A stable housing payment is especially important in times of high inflation. Let’s connect so you can learn more and start your journey to homeownership today.
The process of buying a home can feel a bit intimidating, even under normal circumstances. But today's market is still anything but normal. There continues to be a very limited number of homes for sale, and that’s creating bidding wars and driving home prices back up as buyers compete over the available homes.
Navigating all of this can be daunting if you’re trying to do it alone. That’s why having a skilled expert to guide you through the homebuying process is essential, especially today. Bankrate shares this perspective:
"Advice and guidance from a professional real estate agent can be invaluable, particularly amid a hot or unpredictable housing market."
All of these reasons combined may be why 86% of recent buyers used an agent according to the latest Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR also has this to say about why an agent is so essential today:
“A great real estate agent will guide you through the home search with an unbiased eye, helping you meet your buying objectives while staying within your budget. Agents are also a great source when you have questions about local amenities, utilities, zoning rules, contractors, and more.”
It starts with trust. You’ll want to know you can trust the advice they’re giving you, so you need to make sure you’re connected with a true professional. No one can provide perfect advice because it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going to happen at every turn – especially in today’s market. But a true professional can give you the best possible advice based on the information and situation at hand.
They’ll help advocate for you throughout the process and coach you on the essential knowledge you need to make confident decisions. That’s exactly what you want and deserve.
It’s critical to have an expert on your side who is skilled in navigating today’s housing market. If you’re planning to buy a home this year, let’s connect so you have a real estate advisor on your side to give you the best advice and guide you along the way.
The spring housing market has been surprisingly active this year. Even with affordability challenges and a limited number of homes for sale, buyer demand is strong, and getting stronger.
One way we know there are interested buyers right now is because showing traffic is up. Data from the latest ShowingTime Showing Index, which is a measure of buyers actively touring homes, makes it clear more people are out looking at homes than there were prior to the pandemic (see graph below):
And though there’s less traffic than the buyer frenzy of the past couple of years, we’re not far off that pace. There are a lot of interested buyers checking out available homes right now.
But why are buyers so active at a time when mortgage rates are higher than they were just last year?
With inflation still high, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) repeatedly hiking the Federal Funds Rate, and a lot of chatter in the media about a recession, it might surprise you just how strong today’s job market is. What might be even more surprising is the fact that it appears to be getting stronger (see graph below):
Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports how many new jobs were added to the U.S. job market. The graph above shows 88,000 more jobs were created in April than in March. In fact, the April numbers beat expert projections. That’s a solid indicator the job market is growing.
Ever since the Fed began fighting inflation, many people expected the low unemployment rate we’ve seen over the past couple of years to rise – but that hasn’t happened.
In fact, what has happened is the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.4% – a 50-year low (see graph below):
With so many people steadily employed and financially stable right now, they’re still able to seriously consider buying a home.
If you’re thinking about selling your house this year, a market with active buyers is music to your ears. That’s because there’ll be increased interest in your home when you put it on the market, especially at a time when the number of homes for sale is so low.
To get started, your best resource is an experienced real estate agent. They can help you price your house appropriately, navigate the offers you’ll receive, negotiate effectively, and minimize your stress and hassle.
There are plenty of buyers out there right now trying to find a home that fits their needs. That’s because the job market is strong, and many people have the stable income needed to seriously consider homeownership. To put your house on the market and get in on the action, let’s connect.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release its latest Existing Home Sales Report tomorrow. The information it contains on home prices may cause some confusion and could even generate some troubling headlines. This all stems from the fact that NAR will report the median sales price, while other home price indices report repeat sales prices. The vast majority of the repeat sales indices show prices are starting to appreciate again. But the median price reported on Thursday may tell a different story.
Here’s why using the median home price as a gauge of what’s happening with home values isn’t ideal right now. According to the Center for Real Estate Studies at Wichita State University:
“The median sale price measures the ‘middle’ price of homes that sold, meaning that half of the homes sold for a higher price and half sold for less. While this is a good measure of the typical sale price, it is not very useful for measuring home price appreciation because it is affected by the ‘composition’ of homes that have sold.
For example, if more lower-priced homes have sold recently, the median sale price would decline (because the “middle” home is now a lower-priced home), even if the value of each individual home is rising.”
People buy homes based on their monthly mortgage payment, not the price of the house. When mortgage rates go up, they have to buy a less expensive home to keep the monthly expense affordable. More ‘less-expensive’ houses are selling right now, and that’s causing the median price to decline. But that doesn’t mean any single house lost value.
Even NAR, an organization that reports on median prices, acknowledges there are limitations to what this type of data can show you. NAR explains:
“Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data.”
For clarification, here’s a simple explanation of median value:
The same thing applies to today’s real estate market.
Actual home values are going up in most markets. The median value reported tomorrow might tell a different story. For a more in-depth understanding of home price movements, let’s connect.
Even though home prices have moderated over the last year, many homeowners still have an incredible amount of equity. But what is equity? In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how your equity grows over time:
“Housing wealth (home equity or net worth) gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage.”
The equity you build up over the years can be used to your advantage when you sell your current house and buy your next home. If you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or it’s possible you have too much space and need something smaller. No matter the situation, your equity can be a powerful tool you can use to help you make a move in today’s market. That’s because it may be some (if not all) of what you need for your down payment on your next home.
And how much equity you have may surprise you. A recent survey from Realtor.com finds many homeowners today estimate they’ve built up a significant amount of equity:
The latest data from CoreLogic helps solidify why homeowners are feeling so good about the equity they’ve likely gained over time. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, says:
“While equity gains contracted in late 2022 due to home price declines in some regions, U.S. homeowners on average still have about $270,000 in equity, nearly $90,000 more than they had at the onset of the pandemic.”
If you’re looking to leverage your equity to boost your buying power in today’s market, having a trusted agent by your side makes a difference.
A real estate professional can help you better understand the value of your home, so you’ll get a clearer picture of how much equity you likely have. As a recent article from Bankrate says:
“Hiring a skilled real estate agent can give you a realistic estimate of home prices in your area and how to price your current home. Using that figure, you can calculate how much equity you have and what your net proceeds will look like, so you can apply that money toward the down payment and closing costs of your new home.”
Having a solid understanding of your equity is key when it comes to making decisions about buying or selling your home. A skilled agent can help you navigate the often-complicated process of selling your house and ensure the transaction goes smoothly.
Today, many homeowners are sitting on a substantial amount of equity, and you may be one of them. Let’s connect so we can estimate how much equity you have and plan how you can use it toward the purchase of your next home.