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If the idea of owning your own vacation home appeals to you, let’s chat.

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Summer is officially here and that means it’s the perfect time to start planning where you want to vacation and unwind this season. If you’re excited about getting away and having some fun in the sun, it might make sense to consider if owning your own vacation home is right for you.

An Ameriprise Financial survey sheds light on why people buy a second, or vacation, home (see below): No Caption Received


  • Vacation destination or a place to get away from the stresses of everyday life (81%) – Having a second home to use as a vacation spot can be a special place where you go to relax and take a break from your daily routines and stressors. It also means you won’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stay when you go there.
  • Better weather (49%) – Buying in a place where there may be nicer weather can be a great escape, especially if it’s cold or rainy where you usually live. It lets you enjoy sunny days and warm temperatures, even when it’s not so nice back home.
  • Rental income (41%) – You can rent it out to other people when you’re not using it, which can help you make some extra money.
  • Primary residence in the future (33%) – You can eventually move into the home full-time during retirement. That means you can enjoy vacations there now and have a getaway ready for your future.
  • Having a venue for gatherings with family and friends (25%) – It would be a special spot where you can have parties, regular family trips, and create fun memories.

Ways To Buy Your Vacation Home

And you don’t have to be wealthy to buy a vacation home. Bankrate shares two tips for how to make this dream more achievable for anyone who’s interested:

  • Buy with loved ones or friends: If you’re okay with sharing the vacation home, you can go in on the purchase price together and pool your resources to make it more affordable.
  • Put a savings plan in place: This will require patience and persistence but consider adding a vacation home savings plan to your budget and contributing to it monthly.

Finding Your Dream Spot with a Little Help from an Agent

If the idea of basking in the sun at your very own vacation home sounds appealing, you might want to start looking now. Summer's when everyone's trying to buy their slice of paradise, so it’s best to start early.

Your first move is to team up with a real estate agent. They know all the ins and outs of the area you want to be in, and which homes you should look at. Plus, they can give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about having a second home and how it can benefit you. The same article from Bankrate says:

Buying real estate in a new area — or even one you’ve vacationed in for many years — requires expert guidance. That makes it a good idea to work with an experienced local lender who specializes in loans for vacation homes and a local real estate professional. Local lenders and Realtors will understand the required rules and specifics for the area you are buying, and a local Realtor will know what properties are available.”
[created_at] => 2024-06-17T20:34:16Z [description] =>

Summer is officially here and that means it’s the perfect time to start planning where you want to vacation and unwind this season.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240617/20240620-Why-a-Vacation-Home-Is-the-Ultimate-Summer-Upgrade-original.png [id] => 54897 [kcm_ig_caption] => Summer is officially here and that means it’s the perfect time to start planning where you want to vacation and unwind this season. If you’re excited about getting away and having some fun in the sun, it might make sense to consider if owning your own vacation home is right for you. An Ameriprise Financial survey sheds light on why people buy a second, or vacation, home (see below): • Vacation destination or a place to get away from the stresses of everyday life (81%) • Better weather (49%) • Rental income (41%) • Primary residence in the future (33%) • Having a venue for gatherings with family and friends (25%) Ways To Buy Your Vacation Home And you don’t have to be wealthy to buy a vacation home. Bankrate shares two tips for how to make this dream more achievable for anyone who’s interested: • Buy with loved ones or friends: If you’re okay with sharing the vacation home, you can go in on the purchase price together and pool your resources to make it more affordable. • Put a savings plan in place: This will require patience and persistence but consider adding a vacation home savings plan to your budget and contributing to it monthly. Finding Your Dream Spot with a Little Help from an Agent Your first move is to team up with a real estate agent. They know all the ins and outs of the area you want to be in, and which homes you should look at. Plus, they can give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about having a second home and how it can benefit you. If the idea of owning your own vacation home appeals to you, let’s chat. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => homegoals,houseshopping,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Why a vacation home is the ultimate summer upgrade. [public_bottom_line] =>

If the idea of owning your own vacation home appeals to you, connect with a real estate agent.

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Why a Vacation Home Is the Ultimate Summer Upgrade

Summer is officially here and that means it’s the perfect time to start planning where you want to vacation and unwind this season.

2
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Affordability is still a challenge, so if you’re looking to buy, you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking advantage of any and all resources available.

The best way to find out what’s out there is to connect with a team of real estate professionals, including a trusted lender and a local agent. 

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There's no denying it's gotten more challenging to buy a home, especially with today's mortgage rates and home price appreciation. And that may be one of the big reasons you’re eager to look into grants and assistance programs to see if there’s anything you qualify for that can help. But unfortunately, many homebuyers feel like they don’t know where to start. 

A recent Bank of America Institute study asked prospective buyers where they lack confidence in the process and need more information. And this is what topped the list:

53% said they need help understanding homebuying grant programs.

So, here’s some information that can help you close that gap.

What Is Down Payment Assistance?

As the Mortgage Reports explains:

“Down payment assistance (DPA) programs offer loans and grants that can cover part or all of a home buyer’s down payment and closing costs. More than 2,000 of these programs are available nationwide. . . DPA programs vary by location, but many home buyers could be in line for thousands of dollars in down payment assistance if they qualify.”

And here’s some more good news. On top of all of these programs, you probably don’t need to save as much for your down payment as you think. Contrary to what you may have heard, typically you don’t have to put 20% down unless it’s specified by your loan type or lender. So, you likely don’t need to save as much upfront, and there are programs designed to make your down payment more achievable. Sounds like a win-win.

First-Time and Repeat Buyers Are Often Eligible

It’s also worth mentioning, that it’s not just first-time homebuyers that are eligible for many of these programs. That means whether you’re looking to buy your first house or your fifth, there could be an option for you. As Down Payment Resource notes:

You don’t have to be a first-time buyer. Over 39% of all [homeownership] programs are for repeat homebuyers who have owned a home in the last 3 years.”

Additional Down Payment Resources That Can Help

Here are a few of the down payment assistance programs that are helping many buyers achieve their dream of homeownership, even now:

  • Teacher Next Door is designed to help teachers, first responders, health providers, government employees, active-duty military personnel, and Veterans reach their down payment goals.
  • Fannie Mae provides down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers living in majority-Latino communities.
  • Freddie Mac also has options designed specifically for homebuyers with modest credit scores and limited funds for a down payment.
  • The 3By30 program lays out actionable strategies to add 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030. These programs offer valuable resources for potential buyers, making it easier to secure down payments and realize their dream of homeownership.
  • For Native Americans, Down Payment Resource highlights 42 U.S. homebuyer assistance programs across 14 states that ease the path to homeownership by providing support with down payments and other associated costs.

If you want more information on any of these, the best place to start is by contacting a trusted real estate professional.

They’ll be able to share more details about what may be available, including any other programs designed to serve specific professions or communities. And even if you don’t qualify for these types of programs, they can help see if there are any other federal, state, and local options available you should look into. 

[created_at] => 2024-06-11T15:03:10Z [description] =>

There's no denying it's gotten more challenging to buy a home, especially with today's mortgage rates and home price appreciation.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240611/20240619-What-You-Need-To-Know-About-Today-s-Down-Payment-Programs-original.png [id] => 54455 [kcm_ig_caption] => There's no denying it's gotten more challenging to buy a home, especially with today's mortgage rates and home price appreciation. And that may be one of the big reasons you’re eager to look into grants and assistance programs to see if there’s anything you qualify for that can help. But unfortunately, many homebuyers feel like they don’t know where to start. A recent Bank of America Institute study asked prospective buyers where they lack confidence in the process and need more information. And this is what topped the list: 53% said they need help understanding homebuying grant programs. So, here’s some information that can help you close that gap. What Is Down Payment Assistance? Contrary to what you may have heard, typically you don’t have to put 20% down unless it’s specified by your loan type or lender. So, you likely don’t need to save as much upfront, and there are programs designed to make your down payment more achievable. Sounds like a win-win. First-Time and Repeat Buyers Are Often Eligible It’s also worth mentioning, that it’s not just first-time homebuyers that are eligible for many of these programs. That means whether you’re looking to buy your first house or your fifth, there could be an option for you. Affordability is still a challenge, so if you’re looking to buy, you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking advantage of any and all resources available. The best way to find out what’s out there is to connect with a team of real estate professionals, including a trusted lender and a local agent. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => What you need to know about today’s down payment programs. [public_bottom_line] =>

Affordability is still a challenge, so if you’re looking to buy, you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking advantage of any and all resources available.

The best way to find out what’s out there is to connect with a team of real estate professionals, including a trusted lender and a local agent. 

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What You Need To Know About Today’s Down Payment Programs

There's no denying it's gotten more challenging to buy a home, especially with today's mortgage rates and home price appreciation.

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  • According to a recent poll from Gallup, real estate has been voted the best long-term investment for twelve straight years.
  • That’s because a home is so much more just than a roof over your head. It’s also an asset that typically grows in value over time.
  • If you’ve been debating if it makes more sense to rent or buy, let’s connect to talk about why homeownership can be a better bet in the long run. 
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No Caption Received

[created_at] => 2024-06-12T19:19:30Z [description] =>

According to a recent poll from Gallup, real estate has been voted the best long-term investment for twelve straight years.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240612/Real-Estate-Is-Still-the-Best-Long-Term-Investment-KCM-Share-original.png [id] => 54599 [kcm_ig_caption] => According to a recent poll from Gallup, real estate has been voted the best long-term investment for twelve straight years. That’s because a home is so much more just than a roof over your head. It’s also an asset that typically grows in value over time. If you’ve been debating if it makes more sense to rent or buy, DM me to talk about why homeownership can be a better bet in the long run. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => homevalues,homeownership,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Real estate is still the best long-term investment. [public_bottom_line] =>
  • According to a recent poll from Gallup, real estate has been voted the best long-term investment for twelve straight years.
  • That’s because a home is so much more just than a roof over your head. It’s also an asset that typically grows in value over time. 
  • If you’ve been debating if it makes more sense to rent or buy, connect with a real estate agent to talk about why homeownership can be a better bet in the long run. 
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Real Estate Is Still the Best Long-Term Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

According to a recent poll from Gallup, real estate has been voted the best long-term investment for twelve straight years.

4
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If you need more strategies for getting ready to buy, let’s connect.

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If homeownership is on your goal sheet for your future, you’re probably working on your savings. And a big priority is making sure you’ve got a plan in place for things like your closing costs, down payment, and more.

Here are a few strategies that can help speed up that process.

Budget and Track Your Expenses: To start, create a detailed budget that tracks the money you’ve got coming in and the money going out. This’ll give you a better look at your finances as a whole.

Cut Down on Unnecessary Spending: Now that you have your budget sheet done and you know how you’re spending your money, look for any line items that aren’t absolutely essential. If you cut down on those, you can re-allocate that cash toward buying a home. Even the little things can add up. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“The majority of first-time buyers did make financial sacrifices to purchase a home. For those who did, the most common sacrifices buyers reported were cutting spending on luxury goods, entertainment, and clothes.”

Automate Your Savings: Once you know how much you want to set aside for your homebuying budget, look for ways to make it easy. If you have to transfer money manually, you may forget to do it. But getting some automatic transfers set up helps drive consistency and removes the temptation to spend it elsewhere. Realtor.com explains:

“If you’re struggling to put enough money away because of the constant temptations to blow your paycheck, consider automating the process. Ask your employer if you can have your paycheck deposited into multiple accounts—if so, instruct it to send a certain percentage of your salary directly into your savings account. Or go through your bank . . .”

Lean into Any Side Hustles You Have: Do you have a gig you do (or have done before) to net some extra cash? Taking on part-time work, freelance jobs, or picking up a side hustle can help give your savings a boost.

Put any Unexpected Cash To Good Use: If you get any sudden windfalls, like a tax refund, bonus, inheritance, or cash gift from family, put it toward your house fund.

By using these strategies and focusing on your savings over time, you can make sure you’re well on the path to having what you need to buy your first home. As Ramsey Solutions says:

“Budgeting shows your money who’s in charge (that’s you). It gives you the power to tell your money where to go instead of having to wonder where it went. It’s how you make any money goals happen—like saving for a down payment.”
[created_at] => 2024-06-04T15:21:54Z [description] =>

If homeownership is on your goal sheet for your future, you’re probably working on your savings.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240604/20240611-Savings-Strategies-Every-First-Time-Homebuyer-Needs-To-Know-original.png [id] => 53935 [kcm_ig_caption] => If homeownership is on your goal sheet for your future, you’re probably working on your savings. And a big priority is making sure you’ve got a plan in place for things like your closing costs, down payment, and more. Here are a few strategies that can help speed up that process. Budget and Track Your Expenses: To start, create a detailed budget that tracks the money you’ve got coming in and the money going out. This’ll give you a better look at your finances as a whole. Cut Down on Unnecessary Spending: Now that you have your budget sheet done and you know how you’re spending your money, look for any line items that aren’t absolutely essential. If you cut down on those, you can re-allocate that cash toward buying a home. Even the little things can add up. Automate Your Savings: Once you know how much you want to set aside for your homebuying budget, look for ways to make it easy. If you have to transfer money manually, you may forget to do it. But getting some automatic transfers set up helps drive consistency and removes the temptation to spend it elsewhere. Lean into Any Side Hustles You Have: Do you have a gig you do (or have done before) to net some extra cash? Taking on part-time work, freelance jobs, or picking up a side hustle can help give your savings a boost. Put any Unexpected Cash To Good Use: If you get any sudden windfalls, like a tax refund, bonus, inheritance, or cash gift from family, put it toward your house fund. By using these strategies and focusing on your savings over time, you can make sure you’re well on the path to having what you need to buy your first home. If you need more strategies for getting ready to buy, DM me. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Savings strategies every first-time homebuyer needs to know. [public_bottom_line] =>

If you need more strategies for getting ready to buy, connect with a local real estate professional.

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Savings Strategies Every First-Time Homebuyer Needs To Know

If homeownership is on your goal sheet for your future, you’re probably working on your savings.

5
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If you want to find out how much equity you have and talk more about how it can make your next move possible, let’s connect.

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Many homeowners looking to sell feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. Today’s mortgage rates are higher than the one they currently have on their home, and that’s making it harder to want to sell and make a move. Maybe you’re in the same boat.

But what if there was a way to offset these higher borrowing costs? There is. And the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

What Is Equity?

Think of equity as a simple math equation. Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . your home’s equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage.”

Your equity grows as you pay down your loan over time and as home prices climb. And thanks to the rapid home price appreciation we saw in recent years, you probably have a whole lot more of it than you realize.

The latest from the Census and ATTOM shows more than two out of three homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):


That means the majority of homeowners have a game-changing amount of equity right now.

How Your Equity Can Help Fuel Your Move

After you sell your house, that equity can help you move without worrying as much about today’s mortgage rates. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com says:

“A consideration today's homeowners should review is what their home equity picture looks like. With the typical home listing price up 40% from just five years ago, many home sellers are sitting on a healthy equity cushion. This means they are likely to walk away from a home sale with proceeds that they can use to offset the amount of borrowing needed for their next home purchase.”

To give you some examples, here are a few ways you can use equity to buy your next home:

  • Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. 
  • Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much at today’s rates. 

The First Step: Determine How Much Equity You Have in Your Home

Want to find out how much equity you have? To do that, you’ll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To understand the current market value of your house, you can pay hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate agent who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report (PEAR).

Once you’ve connected with a trusted local agent and run the numbers, you’re one step closer to making a move you may not have thought was realistic – all thanks to your equity.

[created_at] => 2024-05-31T17:29:00Z [description] =>

Many homeowners looking to sell feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240531/20240606-Your-Equity-Could-Make-a-Move-Possible-original.png [id] => 53718 [kcm_ig_caption] => Many homeowners looking to sell feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. Today’s mortgage rates are higher than the one they currently have on their home, and that’s making it harder to want to sell and make a move. What Is Equity? Think of equity as a simple math equation. Your equity grows as you pay down your loan over time and as home prices climb. And thanks to the rapid home price appreciation we saw in recent years, you probably have a whole lot more of it than you realize. The latest from the Census and ATTOM shows more than two out of three homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages. That means the majority of homeowners have a game-changing amount of equity right now. How Your Equity Can Help Fuel Your Move • Be an all-cash buyer • Make a larger down payment The First Step: Determine How Much Equity You Have in Your Home Want to find out how much equity you have? To do that, you’ll need two things: 1. The current mortgage balance on your home 2. The current value of your home You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To understand the current market value of your house, you can pay hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate agent who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report (PEAR). Once you’ve connected with a trusted local agent and run the numbers, you’re one step closer to making a move you may not have thought was realistic – all thanks to your equity. If you want to find out how much equity you have and talk more about how it can make your next move possible, DM me. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => housingmarket,makememove,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Your equity could make a move possible. [public_bottom_line] =>

If you want to find out how much equity you have and talk more about how it can make your next move possible, connect with a local real estate professional.

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Your Equity Could Make a Move Possible

Many homeowners looking to sell feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now.

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If you’re looking to make a move this June, let’s chat so you know what to expect. We’ll come up with a plan that factors in current market conditions, but still works for you.

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June is a busy month in the housing market because a lot of people buy and sell this time of year. So, if you’ve got a move on your mind and you’re looking to make it happen this month, here’s a snapshot of what you need to know to make sure you’re ready.

If You’re Buying This June

A lot of homebuyers with children like to move after one school year ends and before the next one begins. That’s one reason why late spring into summer is a popular time for homes to change hands. And whether that’s a motivator for you or not, it’s important to realize more buyers are going to be looking right now – and that means you’ll want to be ready for a bit more competition. But there is a silver lining to a move this time of year. This is also when more sellers will list – so you should find you have more options. As an article from Bankrate says:

Late spring and early summer are the busiest and most competitive time of year for the real estate market. There’s usually more inventory listed for sale than other times of year . . . This is a double-edged sword for a buyer, as you will be met with more opportunities but [also] much more competition.”

During this busy season, it’s extra important to work with a trusted real estate agent. Your agent will help you stay on top of the latest listings, share expertise on how to make a strong offer in a competitive market, and give you insight into things like what the home is actually worth so you can make an informed decision when you buy. As Forbes says:

Approaching the market confidently, armed with good information and grounded expectations will take you far. Don't let the hustle of the market convince you to buy something that’s not in your budget, or not right for your lifestyle.”

If You’re Selling This June

Because there are more buyers this time of year, you’re in a great spot as a seller. Many of those buyers are highly motivated to make their move happen before the next school year kicks off – so they’ll likely put in strong offers to try to make that possible. That means, if your house shows well and is listed at market value, you could see your house sell faster or for a higher price. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Warmer weather and the end of the school year encourage more people to buy and sell, respectively. Buyers are looking to move and settle before the new school year begins, contributing to increased competition and, consequently, higher prices.”

You want to be sure you’ve got a great agent on your side to help you with the contingencies on those offers and any negotiations that take place so you can pick the best offer. Make sure you go over closing dates with your agent. Buyers trying to time their move with the school year may need to delay a bit or move faster. This can depend on the school calendar where you live. As U.S. News Real Estate explains:

“ . . if your house goes under contract in early summer, the buyer may ask for a delay in closing or move-in until the school year finishes or their current home has sold. Alternatively, a buyer later in summer may be looking to close quickly and move in under a month. Remain flexible to keep the deal running smoothly, and your buyer may be willing to throw in concessions, like covering some of your closing costs or overlooking the old roof.”
[created_at] => 2024-05-29T14:45:36Z [description] =>

June is a busy month in the housing market because a lot of people buy and sell this time of year.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240529/20240604-What-To-Expect-if-You-Buy-or-Sell-a-Home-This-June.png [id] => 53485 [kcm_ig_caption] => June is a busy month in the housing market because a lot of people buy and sell this time of year. So, if you’ve got a move on your mind and you’re looking to make it happen this month, here’s a snapshot of what you need to know to make sure you’re ready. If You’re Buying This June A lot of homebuyers with children like to move after one school year ends and before the next one begins. That’s one reason why late spring into summer is a popular time for homes to change hands. And whether that’s a motivator for you or not, it’s important to realize more buyers are going to be looking right now – and that means you’ll want to be ready for a bit more competition. But there is a silver lining to a move this time of year. This is also when more sellers will list – so you should find you have more options. During this busy season, it’s extra important to work with a trusted real estate agent. If You’re Selling This June Because there are more buyers this time of year, you’re in a great spot as a seller. Many of those buyers are highly motivated to make their move happen before the next school year kicks off – so they’ll likely put in strong offers to try to make that possible. That means, if your house shows well and is listed at market value, you could see your house sell faster or for a higher price. You want to be sure you’ve got a great agent on your side to help you with the contingencies on those offers and any negotiations that take place so you can pick the best offer. If you’re looking to make a move this June, let’s chat so you know what to expect. We’ll come up with a plan that factors in current market conditions, but still works for you. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => realestateblog,realestatemarket,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => What to expect if you buy or sell a home this June. [public_bottom_line] =>

If you’re looking to make a move this June, chat with a real estate agent so you know what to expect and how to plan for current market conditions.

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What To Expect if You Buy or Sell a Home This June

June is a busy month in the housing market because a lot of people buy and sell this time of year.

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If you want to enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in where you’re living, let’s have a conversation to go over what you need to do now to make this future happen for you.

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With all the headlines and talk about housing affordability, it can be tempting to get lost in the financial side of buying a home. That’s only natural as you think about the dollars and cents of it all.

And while you ultimately need to be able to afford a home you buy, don’t lose sight of why homeownership was so important to you in the first place. That’s because buying a home is so much more than just a financial transaction. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“The benefits of purchasing and owning your place of residence are both financial and emotional – pride in homeownership and the feeling of security are huge intangible benefits.”

Here’s a look at just a few of those more emotional or lifestyle perks, to help anchor you to why homeownership is one of your goals.

A Sense of Satisfaction

Owning a home is often associated with better mental health and well-being. That’s probably because buying a home is a big milestone. And the sense of satisfaction and pride that comes with achieving that goal just feels good. A recent article from the Mortgage Reports says:

“By and large, homeownership brings more satisfaction than renting. . . Surveyees scored the overall happiness level of homeowners at 88% compared to 67% for renters.”

More Stability for Your Family

Another thing that may make homeowners feel more satisfied is that they’re finally able to put down roots. Think about it. If you’re used to moving each time your lease renews and your rent climbs, staying put for a while would be nice not just for you, but for any loved ones that live with you.

A home can provide more predictability and the chance to make long-term friends. That should reduce everyone’s stress too. As NAR explains:

“Families also benefit from homeownership, with studies proving that parents are able to spend less time in a stressed state, therefore spending more time with their children. The ability for parents to feel stable has a huge impact on children’s behavioral issues, educational success, and future economic success.”

A Stronger Feeling of Community

And if you’re also looking for a sense of belonging for yourself, homeownership can help with that too. As FinHabits says:

“Homeowners tend to be more involved in their local communities, leading to a stronger sense of belonging . . .”

It makes sense. Your home connects you to your neighborhood and, by extension, your broader community. That’s because owning a home gives you a stake in that community’s future. So, becoming more involved and wanting to do what you can to help improve the area while making long-term relationships with neighbors is only natural.

The Ability To Make the Space Your Own

And don’t forget, your home is a place that’s all yours. Unless you’ve got specific homeowner’s association requirements, you’re free to customize it however you see fit.

So, if renting has been cramping your style, it’s time to express yourself and jump on the latest trends (if you want to). Whether that’s small home improvements or full-on renovations, your house can be exactly what you want and need it to be. And as your tastes and lifestyle change, so can your home. Picture coming home each day to a place that feels like you. That’s a feeling like no other. 

[created_at] => 2024-05-28T18:47:46Z [description] =>

With all the headlines and talk about housing affordability, it can be tempting to get lost in the financial side of buying a home.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240528/20240603-More-Than-a-House-The-Emotional-Benefits-of-Homeownership.png [id] => 53418 [kcm_ig_caption] => With all the headlines and talk about housing affordability, it can be tempting to get lost in the financial side of buying a home. That’s only natural as you think about the dollars and cents of it all. And while you ultimately need to be able to afford a home you buy, don’t lose sight of why homeownership was so important to you in the first place. That’s because buying a home is so much more than just a financial transaction. Here’s a look at just a few of those more emotional or lifestyle perks, to help anchor you to why homeownership is one of your goals. A Sense of Satisfaction Owning a home is often associated with better mental health and well-being. T More Stability for Your Family Another thing that may make homeowners feel more satisfied is that they’re finally able to put down roots. A Stronger Feeling of Community And if you’re also looking for a sense of belonging for yourself, homeownership can help with that too. The Ability To Make the Space Your Own And don’t forget, your home is a place that’s all yours. Unless you’ve got specific homeowner’s association requirements, you’re free to customize it however you see fit. So, if renting has been cramping your style, it’s time to express yourself and jump on the latest trends (if you want to). If you want to enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in where you’re living, let’s have a conversation to go over what you need to do now to make this future happen for you. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => confidentdecisions,realestate,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => More than a house: the emotional benefits of homeownership. [public_bottom_line] =>

If you want to enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in where you’re living, connect with a real estate agent to go over what you need to do now to make this future happen for you.

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More Than a House: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership

With all the headlines and talk about housing affordability, it can be tempting to get lost in the financial side of buying a home.

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  • Buying a home has powerful financial and non-financial benefits. It creates more stability, helps grow your net worth, and gives you an undeniable sense of pride.
  • While today’s market can be challenging for buyers, use these reasons to remind you of why homeownership is so worthwhile.
  • When you’re ready to enjoy all the amazing advantages that come with owning a home, let’s get in touch.
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No Caption Received

[created_at] => 2024-05-29T15:05:40Z [description] =>

Buying a home has powerful financial and non-financial benefits.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240529/Top-Reasons-To-Own-a-Home-KCM-Share.jpg [id] => 53491 [kcm_ig_caption] => Buying a home has powerful financial and non-financial benefits. It creates more stability, helps grow your net worth, and gives you an undeniable sense of pride. While today’s market can be challenging for buyers, use these reasons to remind you of why homeownership is so worthwhile. When you’re ready to enjoy all the amazing advantages that come with owning a home, let’s get in touch. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Top reasons to own your home. [public_bottom_line] =>
  • Buying a home has powerful financial and non-financial benefits. It creates more stability, helps grow your net worth, and gives you an undeniable sense of pride.
  • While today’s market can be challenging for buyers, use these reasons to remind you of why homeownership is so worthwhile. 
  • When you’re ready to enjoy all the amazing advantages that come with owning a home, get in touch with a local real estate agent.
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Top Reasons To Own a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Buying a home has powerful financial and non-financial benefits.

9
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Climate change is an important factor to think about when buying a home. After all, your home is a huge investment, and you want to be ready for anything that might affect it. Let’s chat so you can find the perfect home.

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Climate change is impacting where people buy homes. As the experts at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explain:

“Sixty-three percent of people who have moved since the pandemic began say they believe climate change is—or will be—an issue in the place they currently live.”

If you’re planning to move, climate change is something you might want to consider, no matter where you are. A recent study from Realtor.com helps put the growing impact climate change is having on real estate into perspective (see below):

No Caption Received


So, how can you be sure your investment is safe from the elements?

For starters, work with a local real estate agent to understand the likelihood of your future home being exposed to hazards like wind, floods, and wildfires. Your agent will know the area and be able to tell you about the risks you’ll most likely face.

Beyond that, there are two important factors to think about: the quality of the home you want to buy and the insurance you’ll need to protect it.

A Home Built to Last

If you’re planning to be in your home for many years, you want to know it’s going to last. One way to think ahead is to work with your real estate agent to ensure the home you buy can withstand environmental hazards. They’re up to date on the most common building and remodeling techniques—like a secondary water barrier on the roof or noncombustible, fire-resistant exterior walls—used to protect homes from the effects of climate change.

And if the home you’re interested in doesn’t have the features you’re looking for, they can help you determine what you may be able to negotiate in the contract or what work it might require in the future.

Insurance To Protect It

Once you’re confident the home you’re looking at is well built, the next step is finding out what it’s going to take to insure it. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, says:

“. . . homeowners are going to become increasingly more aware of risks of living in some areas as it becomes prohibitively expensive or very difficult to obtain hazard insurance.”

In areas where climate risks are having a bigger impact, the right home insurance can make a big difference. And the price of that insurance is an important factor when thinking about your budget and the true cost of buying and protecting your home. Get an insurance quote early in the process because you may want to compare multiple quotes and it can take several weeks to get them.

While this may feel like a lot to consider, don’t worry. An agent can help. Your real estate agent will be your go-to resource on the homebuying process, what to look for and consider, and how climate change may affect your next home. With the right planning and an agent's expert advice, you can make this happen. Homeownership is worth it. And with a great agent by your side, you can make sure the home you find is the right fit.

[created_at] => 2024-05-23T14:24:36Z [description] =>

Climate change is impacting where people buy homes.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240523/20240528-How-Do-Climate-Risks-Affect-Your-Next-Home.png [featured_image_meta] => [id] => 53058 [kcm_ig_caption] => If you’re planning to move, climate change is something you might want to consider, no matter where you are. So, how can you be sure your investment is safe from the elements? For starters, work with a local real estate agent to understand the likelihood of your future home being exposed to hazards like wind, floods, and wildfires. Your agent will know the area and be able to tell you about the risks you’ll most likely face. A Home Built to Last If you’re planning to be in your home for many years, you want to know it’s going to last. One way to think ahead is to work with your real estate agent to ensure the home you buy can withstand environmental hazards. They’re up to date on the most common building and remodeling techniques—like a secondary water barrier on the roof or noncombustible, fire-resistant exterior walls—used to protect homes from the effects of climate change. Insurance To Protect It In areas where climate risks are having a bigger impact, the right home insurance can make a big difference. And the price of that insurance is an important factor when thinking about your budget and the true cost of buying and protecting your home. Get an insurance quote early in the process because you may want to compare multiple quotes and it can take several weeks to get them. Climate change is an important factor to think about when buying a home. After all, your home is a huge investment, and you want to be ready for anything that might affect it. Let’s chat so you can find the perfect home. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => expertanswers,stayinformed,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => How do climate risks affect your next home? [public_bottom_line] =>

Climate change is an important factor to think about when buying a home. After all, your home is a huge investment, and you want to be ready for anything that might affect it. Chat with a local real estate agent so they can help you find the perfect home for you.

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How Do Climate Risks Affect Your Next Home?

Climate change is impacting where people buy homes.

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Owning a home is the American Dream. Veterans give a lot to protect our country, and one way to honor them is by making sure they know about VA home loans.

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For over 80 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have helped millions of veterans buy their own homes. If you or someone you know has served in the military, it's important to learn about this program and its benefits.

Here are some key things to know about VA loans before buying a home.

Top Benefits of VA Home Loans

VA home loans make it easier for veterans to buy a home, and they're a great perk for those who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, some benefits include:

  • Options for No Down Payment: Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment. That’s a huge weight lifted when you’re trying to save for a home. The Associated Press says:
“. . . about 90% of VA loans are used to purchase a home with no money down.”
  • Don’t Require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Many other loans with down payments under 20% require PMI. VA loans do not, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
  • Limited Closing Costs: There are limits on the types of closing costs you pay when you qualify for a VA home loan. So, more money stays in your pocket when it’s time to seal the deal.

An article from Veterans United sums up how remarkable this loan can be:

“For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, $0-down payment mortgages have helped more than 24 million service members become homeowners since 1944.”
[created_at] => 2024-05-21T17:54:10Z [description] =>

For over 80 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have helped millions of veterans buy their own homes.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240521/20240527-How-VA-Loans-Can-Help-You-Buy-a-Home.png [id] => 52857 [kcm_ig_caption] => For over 80 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have helped millions of veterans buy their own homes. If you or someone you know has served in the military, it's important to learn about this program and its benefits. Here are some key things to know about VA loans before buying a home. Top Benefits of VA Home Loans VA home loans make it easier for veterans to buy a home, and they're a great perk for those who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, some benefits include: • Options for No Down Payment: Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment. That’s a huge weight lifted when you’re trying to save for a home. The Associated Press says: “. . . about 90% of VA loans are used to purchase a home with no money down.” • Don’t Require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Many other loans with down payments under 20% require PMI. VA loans do not, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs. • Limited Closing Costs: There are limits on the types of closing costs you pay when you qualify for a VA home loan. So, more money stays in your pocket when it’s time to seal the deal. An article from Veterans United sums up how remarkable this loan can be: “For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, $0-down payment mortgages have helped more than 24 million service members become homeowners since 1944.” Owning a home is the American Dream. Veterans give a lot to protect our country, and one way to honor them is by making sure they know about VA home loans. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => housegoals,makememove,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => How VA loans can help you buy a home. [public_bottom_line] =>

Owning a home is the American Dream. Veterans give a lot to protect our country, and one way to honor them is by making sure they know about VA home loans.

[published_at] => 2024-05-27T10:30:00Z [related] => Array ( ) [slug] => how-va-loans-can-help-you-buy-a-home [status] => published [tags] => Array ( [0] => content-hub ) [title] => How VA Loans Can Help You Buy a Home [updated_at] => 2024-05-27T10:30:21Z [url] => /2024/05/27/how-va-loans-can-help-you-buy-a-home/ )

How VA Loans Can Help You Buy a Home

For over 80 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have helped millions of veterans buy their own homes.

11
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    [agents_bottom_line] => 

Big investors aren’t buying all the homes out there. If you've got questions about what you're hearing about the housing market, let's chat. I can help you understand what's really going on.

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Are big investors really buying up all the homes today?

If you’re trying to find a house to buy, this may be something you’re wondering about. Maybe you’ve read about it or seen reels on social media saying investors buying all the homes is making it even harder to find what the average buyer is looking for. But spoiler alert – there’s a lot of misinformation out there. To clear things up, here's the scoop on what's really happening. A lot of the big investor activity is actually in the rearview mirror already.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) explains:

“Investors of all sizes spent billions of dollars buying homes during the pandemic. At the 2022 peak, they bought more than one in every four single-family homes sold, though more recently their activity has slowed as interest rates rose and supply became tighter.”

The key here is investor activity has slowed significantly, and even during the peak of investor buying, 3 out of every 4 single-family homes purchased were by regular, everyday buyers – not investors. And of the investors who bought over the past few years, most weren’t the big investors you may be hearing about. The vast majority were small mom-and-pop investors – people like your neighbors who own only a couple of homes, maybe even just their main residence and a vacation home.

But let’s focus on the giant, mega-investor firms since that's what is being talked about so frequently on social media right now. Mega investors are those who own 1,000+ properties. You may be surprised to see that, according to the Wall Street Journal, they don’t buy all that many homes (see graph below):

No Caption Received


This graph tells us two things. First, institutional investors were never buying a large percentage of available homes. During the peak in 2022, they bought about 2% of available single-family homes. Second, that percentage has gotten even smaller recently (so small the number rounds down to 0%).

In an effort to understand why that percentage is trending down, private lender RCN Capital asked investors about the challenges they’re facing. Here’s what Jeffrey Tesch, CEO of RCN Capital, found out:

“Investors are already facing many challenges in today’s housing market – rising prices, limited inventory, and higher financing costs.”

Understanding these challenges is important because they show big, mega investors aren’t taking over the housing market.

So, don't fall for everything you hear. They aren't snatching up all the homes and making it impossible for regular people to buy

[created_at] => 2024-05-20T17:48:14Z [description] =>

Are big investors really buying up all the homes today?

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240520/20240522-How-Many-Homes-Are-Investors-Actually-Buying.png [id] => 52768 [kcm_ig_caption] => Are big investors really buying up all the homes today? If you’re trying to find a house to buy, this may be something you’re wondering about. To clear things up, here's the scoop on what's really happening. A lot of the big investor activity is actually in the rearview mirror already. The key here is investor activity has slowed significantly, and even during the peak of investor buying, 3 out of every 4 single-family homes purchased were by regular, everyday buyers – not investors. And of the investors who bought over the past few years, most weren’t the big investors you may be hearing about. The vast majority were small mom-and-pop investors – people like your neighbors who own only a couple of homes, maybe even just their main residence and a vacation home. But let’s focus on the giant, mega-investor firms since that's what is being talked about so frequently on social media right now. Mega investors are those who own 1,000+ properties. You may be surprised to see that, according to the Wall Street Journal, they don’t buy all that many homes. First, institutional investors were never buying a large percentage of available homes. During the peak in 2022, they bought about 2% of available single-family homes. Second, that percentage has gotten even smaller recently (so small the number rounds down to 0%). So, don't fall for everything you hear. They aren't snatching up all the homes and making it impossible for regular people to buy. Big investors aren’t buying all the homes out there. If you've got questions about what you're hearing about the housing market, let's chat. I can help you understand what's really going on. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => realestatenews,realestateagent,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => How many homes are investors actually buying? [public_bottom_line] =>

Big investors aren’t buying all the homes out there. If you've got questions about what you're hearing about the housing market, chat with a local real estate agent. They can help you understand what's really going on.

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How Many Homes Are Investors Actually Buying?

Are big investors really buying up all the homes today?

12
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    [agents_bottom_line] => 

Whether you choose a newly built or an existing home, you may be able to ease some of your concerns over maintenance with a home warranty. To weigh your options and go over what’s the top priority for you, talk to the professionals.

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If one of the main reasons you’re hesitant to buy a home is because you’re worried about the upkeep, here’s some information you may find interesting on both new home construction and existing homes (a home that’s been lived in by a previous owner).

Newly Built Homes Need Less Upfront Maintenance

If you can afford it, you may find a newly built home could help ease your worries about maintenance costs. Think about it, if everything in the house is brand new, it won’t have the wear and tear you may see in an existing home – and that means it’s less likely to need repairs. As LendingTree says:

“Since the systems, appliances, roof and foundation are new, you’re less likely to pay for major or minor repairs within the first few years of homeownership. That can make a big difference for first-time homebuyers who are adjusting to owning rather than renting.”

Plus, many builders also have warranties on their homes that would cover some of the more major expenses that could pop up. As First American explains:

The new systems in your home, like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, are typically covered for one to two years by your builder’s warranty. When something happens to these systems, you contact the builder or their warranty company.”

Existing Homes Can Still Have Great Perks

But it’s worth mentioning, that it’s not just newly built homes that can have warranties. It’s an option for existing homes too.

Your agent may be able to help you negotiate with the seller to add one as a concession on your contract. But you should know that not all sellers will be willing to do that. If they won’t, you could purchase one yourself, if you’d like to. An article from Forbes explains:

During a real estate transaction, a home warranty policy can be purchased by the buyer or the seller.”

And there are benefits for both parties when it comes to a home warranty. According to MarketWatch:

“A buyer’s home warranty benefits both buyers and sellers, as it helps the seller close the deal while providing the future homeowner with peace of mind that they’ll be covered if a system or appliance breaks down . . . Sometimes, a seller will pay for the first year of the home buyer’s warranty to sweeten the deal, but it depends on the real estate market.”

If you’re interested in a home warranty for peace of mind, lean on your agent. They’ll negotiate on your behalf to see if a seller would be willing to cover one for you. Just remember, the likelihood of a seller throwing one in depends on conditions in your local market.

So, Should I Buy New or Existing?

While the need for less upfront maintenance is a great perk for new construction, there are some things a newly built home can’t provide that an existing home can.

For example, existing homes have a lot of character and charm that’s difficult to reproduce. The quirks that come with an older home may make it feel more homey. And, existing homes usually have more developed landscaping and a well-established sense of community. So, it can feel more inviting than something that’s a blank slate, like new construction often is. Not to mention, if you go with new construction, you may have to wait for the home to finish being built based on where it is in the process. It all depends on what’s most important to you.

[created_at] => 2024-05-20T14:28:21Z [description] =>

If one of the main reasons you’re hesitant to buy a home is because you’re worried about the upkeep, here’s some information you may find interesting on both new home construction and existing homes.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240520/20240521-Worried-about-home-maintenance-costs-Consider-this..png [id] => 52689 [kcm_ig_caption] => If one of the main reasons you’re hesitant to buy a home is because you’re worried about the upkeep, here’s some information you may find interesting on both new home construction and existing homes (a home that’s been lived in by a previous owner). Newly Built Homes Need Less Upfront Maintenance If you can afford it, you may find a newly built home could help ease your worries about maintenance costs. Think about it, if everything in the house is brand new, it won’t have the wear and tear you may see in an existing home – and that means it’s less likely to need repairs. Plus, many builders also have warranties on their homes that would cover some of the more major expenses that could pop up. Existing Homes Can Still Have Great Perks But it’s worth mentioning, that it’s not just newly built homes that can have warranties. It’s an option for existing homes too. Your agent may be able to help you negotiate with the seller to add one as a concession on your contract. But you should know that not all sellers will be willing to do that. If they won’t, you could purchase one yourself, if you’d like to If you’re interested in a home warranty for peace of mind, lean on your agent. So, Should I Buy New or Existing? While the need for less upfront maintenance is a great perk for new construction, there are some things a newly built home can’t provide that an existing home can. Whether you choose a newly built or an existing home, you may be able to ease some of your concerns over maintenance with a home warranty. To weigh your options and go over what’s the top priority for you, talk to the professionals. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => makememove,homegoals,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Worried about home maintenance costs? Consider this. [public_bottom_line] =>

Whether you choose a newly built or an existing home, you may be able to ease some of your concerns over maintenance with a home warranty. To weigh your options and go over what’s the top priority for you, talk to the professionals.

[published_at] => 2024-05-21T10:30:00Z [related] => Array ( ) [slug] => worried-about-home-maintenance-costs-consider-this [status] => published [tags] => Array ( [0] => content-hub ) [title] => Worried About Home Maintenance Costs? Consider This [updated_at] => 2024-05-21T15:18:48Z [url] => /2024/05/21/worried-about-home-maintenance-costs-consider-this/ )

Worried About Home Maintenance Costs? Consider This

If one of the main reasons you’re hesitant to buy a home is because you’re worried about the upkeep, here’s some information you may find interesting on both new home construction and existing homes.

13
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    [agents_bottom_line] => 
  • While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. ​
  • Owning a home means you get to say goodbye to rising rents and hello to stability. It also gives you the chance to gain equity as home values rise over time.
  • If you’re ready to learn more about the perks of owning a home, let’s chat. 
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No Caption Received

[created_at] => 2024-05-13T19:35:23Z [description] =>

While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. 

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240513/Should-I-Rent-or-Buy-a-Home-KCM-Share.png [id] => 52142 [kcm_ig_caption] => While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. Owning a home means you get to say goodbye to rising rents and hello to stability. It also gives you the chance to gain equity as home values rise over time. If you’re ready to learn more about the perks of owning a home, let’s chat. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => rentvsbuy,homegoals,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Should I rent or buy a home? [public_bottom_line] =>
  • While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. ​
  • Owning a home means you get to say goodbye to rising rents and hello to stability. It also gives you the chance to gain equity as home values rise over time. 
  • If you’re ready to learn more about the perks of owning a home, connect with a local real estate agent.
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Should I Rent or Buy a Home? [INFOGRAPHIC]

While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. 

14
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Let's team up so you have someone who can keep you in the loop on everything that might impact your move, like how many homes are up for sale right now.

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There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around. But things are starting to look up.

There are more homes up for grabs this year. The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show in April 2024 there were more homes for sale than there were over the last few years (2021-2023):

No Caption Received

 

As Realtor.com explains:

There were 30.4% more homes actively for sale on a typical day in April compared with the same time in 2023, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual inventory growth.”

But does this growing inventory make house hunting easier? Yes and no.

Using the latest weekly data from Calculated Risk, the graph below shows, that even with the growth lately, there are still way fewer homes for sale than there were in the last normal year in the housing market:

No Caption Received


What Does This Mean for You?

If you’ve been looking to buy but put your plans on hold because you just couldn’t find what you were searching for, you might see more options now than you did over the past few years – but don't expect a huge selection.

To check out your growing options, it's a good idea to work with a local real estate agent you trust. Real estate is all about location. And an agent can help you get the scoop on the homes available in the area you're interested in. Bankrate explains:

“In today’s homebuying market, it’s more important than ever to find a real estate agent who really knows your local area — down to your specific neighborhood — and can help you successfully navigate its unique quirks.”
[created_at] => 2024-05-15T14:15:45Z [description] =>

There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240515/20240516-The-Number-of-Homes-for-Sale-Is-Increasing.png [id] => 52370 [kcm_ig_caption] => There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around. But things are starting to look up. There are more homes up for grabs this year. As Realtor.com explains: “There were 30.4% more homes actively for sale on a typical day in April compared with the same time in 2023, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual inventory growth.” What Does This Mean for You? If you’ve been looking to buy but put your plans on hold because you just couldn’t find what you were searching for, you might see more options now than you did over the past few years – but don't expect a huge selection. To check out your growing options, it's a good idea to work with a local real estate agent you trust. Real estate is all about location. And an agent can help you get the scoop on the homes available in the area you're interested in. Bankrate explains: “In today’s homebuying market, it’s more important than ever to find a real estate agent who really knows your local area — down to your specific neighborhood — and can help you successfully navigate its unique quirks.” Let's team up so you have someone who can keep you in the loop on everything that might impact your move, like how many homes are up for sale right now. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => housingmarket,househunting,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => The number of homes for sale is increasing. [public_bottom_line] =>

Team up with a local real estate agent who can keep you in the loop on everything that might impact your move, like how many homes are up for sale right now.

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The Number of Homes for Sale Is Increasing

There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around.

15
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    [agents_bottom_line] => 

It might be a good idea to think about condos in your home search. If you're ready to see what's out there, let's get in touch today.

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Having a hard time finding a first home that's right for you and your wallet? Well, here's a tip – think about condominiums, or condos for short.

They're usually smaller than single-family homes, but that's exactly why they can be easier on your budget. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), condos are typically less expensive than single-family homes (see graph below):

No Caption Received


So, if you're comfortable with a smaller space and want to buy your first home this year, adding condos to your search might be easier on your wallet.

Besides giving you more options for your home search and maybe fitting your budget better, living in a condo has a bunch of other perks, too. According to Rocket Mortgage:

“From community living to walkable urban areas, condos are great options for first-time home buyers and people looking to enjoy homeownership without extensive upkeep.”

Let’s dive into a few of the draws of condos for first-time buyers from Bankrate:

  • They require less maintenance. Condos are great if you want to own your place but don't want to mow the lawn, shovel snow, or fix the roof. Your real estate agent can help explain any associated fees and details for the condos you’re interested in.
  • They allow you to start building equity. When you buy a condo, you build equity and your net worth as you make your mortgage payments and as your condo’s value goes up over time.
  • They often come with added amenities. Your condo might come with access to amenities like a pool, dog park, or parking. And the best part? You don’t have to take care of any of them.
  • They provide you with a sense of community. Buying a condo means you'll be living close to other people, which is nice if you enjoy having neighbors around and making friends. Many condo communities hold fun events like barbecues and parties during holidays for everyone to enjoy.


Remember, your first home doesn't have to be the one you stay in forever. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner so you can start to gain home equity. Later on, that equity can help you buy another place if you need something different.

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo is a lifestyle choice. And if it’s one that appeals to you, they could provide the added options you need in today’s market.

[created_at] => 2024-05-13T18:36:02Z [description] =>

Having a hard time finding a first home that's right for you and your wallet?

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240513/20240515-Why-a-Condo-May-Be-a-Great-Option-for-Your-First-Home.png [id] => 52117 [kcm_ig_caption] => Having a hard time finding a first home that's right for you and your wallet? Well, here's a tip – think about condominiums, or condos for short. They're usually smaller than single-family homes, but that's exactly why they can be easier on your budget. So, if you're comfortable with a smaller space and want to buy your first home this year, adding condos to your search might be easier on your wallet. Besides giving you more options for your home search and maybe fitting your budget better, living in a condo has a bunch of other perks, too. According to Rocket Mortgage: “From community living to walkable urban areas, condos are great options for first-time home buyers and people looking to enjoy homeownership without extensive upkeep.” Let’s dive into a few of the draws of condos for first-time buyers from Bankrate: • They require less maintenance. • They allow you to start building equity. • They often come with added amenities. • They provide you with a sense of community. Remember, your first home doesn't have to be the one you stay in forever. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner so you can start to gain home equity. Later on, that equity can help you buy another place if you need something different. Ultimately, owning and living in a condo is a lifestyle choice. And if it’s one that appeals to you, they could provide the added options you need in today’s market. It might be a good idea to think about condos in your home search. If you're ready to see what's out there, let's get in touch today. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,housingmarket [kcm_ig_quote] => Why a condo may be a great option for your first home. [public_bottom_line] =>

It might be a good idea to think about condos in your home search. If you're ready to see what's out there, get in touch with a local real estate agent today.

[published_at] => 2024-05-15T10:30:00Z [related] => Array ( ) [slug] => why-a-condo-may-be-a-great-option-for-your-first-home [status] => published [tags] => Array ( [0] => content-hub ) [title] => Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home [updated_at] => 2024-05-15T10:30:16Z [url] => /2024/05/15/why-a-condo-may-be-a-great-option-for-your-first-home/ )

Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home

Having a hard time finding a first home that's right for you and your wallet?

16
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The data shows home prices are increasing nationally. Let's chat to see exactly what’s going on with prices in our neighborhood.

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Thinking about buying a home or selling your current one to find a better fit? If so, you might be wondering what's going on with home prices these days. Here's the scoop.

The latest national data from Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) shows they’re going up (see graphs below):

No Caption Received


As you can see, home prices were rising for most of 2023. But over the course of December and January, they were virtually flat – which is pretty normal for that time of year.

But here's what you need to know now. As of February, when the spring market kicked off, prices were on the rise again.

Home Prices Are Going Up in Most of America's Top Cities

After seeing a jump in home prices nationally in February, you might be wondering if they’re going up in your area, too. While it depends on where you live, prices are rising in 18 of the top 20 cities Case-Shiller reports on in the monthly price index (see chart below):

No Caption Received


Most experts also think home prices will keep rising and end the year on a high note. Forbes explains why:

“Even as mortgage rates have reached their highest level since November, persistent demand coupled with limited housing supply are key drivers pushing home values upward.”

How This Impacts You

  • For Buyers: If you’re ready, willing, and able to buy a home, purchasing before prices go up even more might be a smart choice, since home values are expected to keep climbing.
  • For Sellers: Prices are going up because there still aren’t enough homes available for sale right now compared to today’s buyer demand. So, if you work with an agent to price your house right, you might receive multiple offers and sell quickly. 
[created_at] => 2024-05-08T20:34:48Z [description] =>

Thinking about buying a home or selling your current one to find a better fit?

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240508/20240513-Header-Image.png [id] => 51810 [kcm_ig_caption] => Thinking about buying a home or selling your current one to find a better fit? If so, you might be wondering what's going on with home prices these days. Here's the scoop. Home prices were rising for most of 2023. But over the course of December and January, they were virtually flat – which is pretty normal for that time of year. But here's what you need to know now. As of February, when the spring market kicked off, prices were on the rise again. Home Prices Are Going Up in Most of America's Top Cities After seeing a jump in home prices nationally in February, you might be wondering if they’re going up in your area, too. While it depends on where you live, prices are rising in 18 of the top 20 cities Case-Shiller reports on in the monthly price index. Most experts also think home prices will keep rising and end the year on a high note. Forbes explains why: “Even as mortgage rates have reached their highest level since November, persistent demand coupled with limited housing supply are key drivers pushing home values upward.” How This Impacts You • For Buyers: If you’re ready, willing, and able to buy a home, purchasing before prices go up even more might be a smart choice, since home values are expected to keep climbing. • For Sellers: Prices are going up because there still aren’t enough homes available for sale right now compared to today’s buyer demand. So, if you work with an agent to price your house right, you might receive multiple offers and sell quickly. The data shows home prices are increasing nationally. Let's chat to see exactly what’s going on with prices in our neighborhood. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => realestatetipsoftheday,realestatetipsandadvice,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Home prices are climbing in these top cities. [public_bottom_line] =>

The data shows home prices are increasing nationally. Chat with a local real estate agent to see exactly what’s going on with prices in your neighborhood.

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Home Prices Are Climbing in These Top Cities

Thinking about buying a home or selling your current one to find a better fit?

17
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    [agents_bottom_line] => 

Real estate professionals have expertise on what’s working for other buyers like you. Lean on them for tips and advice along the way. As Directors Mortgage says, with that support you can make it happen:

 

The path to homeownership may not be a straightforward one for Gen Z, but it’s undoubtedly within reach. By adopting the right strategies, like exploring down payment assistance programs and sharing living costs with relatives, you can bring your dream of owning a home closer to reality.”

 

Let’s connect to get you set up for long-term success.

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If you’re a member of a younger generation, like Gen Z, you may be asking the question: will I ever be able to buy a home? And chances are, you’re worried that’s not going to be in the cards with inflation, rising home prices, mortgage rates, and more seemingly stacked against you.

While there’s no arguing this housing market is challenging for first-time homebuyers, it is still achievable, especially if you have professionals on your side.

Here are some helpful tips you may get from a pro.

1. Explore Your Options for a Down Payment

If a down payment is your #1 hurdle, you may have options to give your savings a boost. There are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs designed to make homeownership more achievable. And, that’s not the only place you may be able to get a helping hand. While it may not be an option for everyone, 49% of Gen Z homebuyers got money from loved ones that they used toward a down payment, according to LendingTree.

And chances are you won’t need to put 20% down (unless specified by your loan type or lender). So be sure to work with a trusted mortgage professional to explore your options, find out how much you’ll really need, and learn about any guidelines on getting a gift from loved ones.

2. Live with Loved Ones To Boost Your Savings

Another thing a number of Gen Z buyers are doing is ditching their rental and moving back in with friends or family. This can help cut down your housing costs so you can build your savings a whole lot faster. As Bankrate explains:

“. . . many have opted to stop renting and live with family in order to boost their savings. Thirty percent of Gen Z homebuyers move directly from their family member’s home to a home of their own, according to NAR.”

3. Cast a Broad Net for Your Search

When you’ve saved up enough, here’s how a pro will help you approach your search. Since the supply of homes for sale is still low and affordability is tight, they’ll give you strategies and avenues you may not have considered to open up your pool of options.

For example, it’s usually more affordable if you consider a rural or suburban area versus an urban one. So, while the city may be livelier and more energetic, the cost of living may be reason enough to look at something further out. And if you consider smaller homes and condos or townhouses, you’ll give yourself even more ways to break into the market. As Colby Stout, Research Analyst at Bright MLS, explains:

“Being flexible on the types of home (e.g., a condo or townhome versus a single-family home) and exploring more affordable neighborhoods is important for first-time buyers.”

4. Take a Close Look at Your Wants and Needs

And lastly, an agent can help you really think about your must-have’s and nice-to-have’s. Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. You just need to get your foot in the door to start building equity. If you want to buy, you may find making some compromises is worth it. As Chase says:

“An open-minded approach to house-hunting may be one way for Gen Z homebuyers to maintain some edge. This could mean buying in areas that are less expensive. Differentiating needs vs. wants may help in this area as well.”

An agent will help you prioritize your list of home features and find houses that can deliver on the top ones. And they’ll be able to explain how equity can benefit you in the long run and make it possible to move into that dream home down the line.

[created_at] => 2024-05-03T14:26:52Z [description] =>

If you’re a member of a younger generation, like Gen Z, you may be asking the question: will I ever be able to buy a home?

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240503/20240507-Tips-for-Younger-Homebuyers-How-To-Make-Your-Dream-a-Reality.png [id] => 51379 [kcm_ig_caption] => If you’re a member of a younger generation, like Gen Z, you may be asking the question: will I ever be able to buy a home? Here are some helpful tips you may get from a pro. 1. Explore Your Options for a Down Payment If a down payment is your #1 hurdle, you may have options to give your savings a boost. There are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs designed to make homeownership more achievable. And chances are you won’t need to put 20% down (unless specified by your loan type or lender). 2. Live with Loved Ones To Boost Your Savings Another thing a number of Gen Z buyers are doing is ditching their rental and moving back in with friends or family. This can help cut down your housing costs so you can build your savings a whole lot faster. 3. Cast a Broad Net for Your Search When you’ve saved up enough, here’s how a pro will help you approach your search. Since the supply of homes for sale is still low and affordability is tight, they’ll give you strategies and avenues you may not have considered to open up your pool of options. 4. Take a Close Look at Your Wants and Needs And lastly, an agent can help you really think about your must-have’s and nice-to-have’s. Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. You just need to get your foot in the door to start building equity. If you want to buy, you may find making some compromises is worth it. Real estate professionals have expertise on what’s working for other buyers like you. Lean on them for tips and advice along the way. Let’s connect to get you set up for long-term success. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Tips for younger homebuyers: how to make your dream a reality. [public_bottom_line] =>

Real estate professionals have expertise on what’s working for other buyers like you. Lean on them for tips and advice on ways you can get ready to buy. As Directors Mortgage says, with that support you can make it happen:

 

The path to homeownership may not be a straightforward one for Gen Z, but it’s undoubtedly within reach. By adopting the right strategies, like exploring down payment assistance programs and sharing living costs with relatives, you can bring your dream of owning a home closer to reality.”
[published_at] => 2024-05-07T10:30:00Z [related] => Array ( ) [slug] => tips-for-younger-homebuyers-how-to-make-your-dream-a-reality [status] => published [tags] => Array ( [0] => content-hub ) [title] => Tips for Younger Homebuyers: How To Make Your Dream a Reality [updated_at] => 2024-05-07T10:30:48Z [url] => /2024/05/07/tips-for-younger-homebuyers-how-to-make-your-dream-a-reality/ )

Tips for Younger Homebuyers: How To Make Your Dream a Reality

If you’re a member of a younger generation, like Gen Z, you may be asking the question: will I ever be able to buy a home?

18
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    [agents_bottom_line] => 

If you're tired of your rent going up and want to explore the many benefits of homeownership, let’s talk to explore your options.

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Thinking about buying a home? While today’s mortgage rates might seem a bit intimidating, here are two solid reasons why, if you’re ready and able, it could still be a smart move to get your own place.

1. Home Values Typically Go Up Over Time

There’s been some confusion over the past year or so about which way home prices are headed. Make no mistake, nationally they’re still going up. In fact, over the long-term, home prices almost always go up (see graph below):

No Caption Received


Using data from the Federal Reserve (the Fed), you can see the overall trend is home prices have climbed steadily for the past 60 years. There was an exception during the 2008 housing crash when prices didn't follow the normal pattern, but generally, home values kept rising.

This is a big reason why buying a home can be better than renting. As prices go up and you pay down your mortgage, you build equity. Over time, this growing equity can really increase your net worth. The Urban Institute says:

“Homeownership is critical for wealth building and financial stability.”

2. Rent Keeps Rising in the Long Run

Here’s another reason you may want to think about buying a home instead of renting – rent just keeps going up over the years. Sure, it might be cheaper to rent right now in some areas, but every time you renew your lease or sign a new one, you’re likely to feel the squeeze of your rent getting higher. According to data from iProperty Management, rent has been going up pretty consistently for the last 60 years, too (see graph below):

No Caption Received


So how do you escape the cycle of rising rents? Buying a home with a fixed-rate mortgage helps you stabilize your housing costs and say goodbye to those annoying rent increases. That kind of stability is a big deal.

Your housing payments are like an investment, and you've got a decision to make. Do you want to invest in yourself or keep paying your landlord?

When you own your home, you're investing in your own future. And even when renting is cheaper, that money you pay every month is gone for good.

As Dr. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist and VP of Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“If a homebuyer is financially stable, able to manage monthly mortgage costs and can handle the associated household maintenance expenses, then it makes sense to purchase a home.”
[created_at] => 2024-04-29T20:21:06Z [description] =>

Thinking about buying a home?

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240429/20240501-The-Perks-of-Buying-over-Renting.png [id] => 50922 [kcm_ig_caption] => Thinking about buying a home? While today’s mortgage rates might seem a bit intimidating, here are two solid reasons why, if you’re ready and able, it could still be a smart move to get your own place. 1. Home Values Typically Go Up Over Time There’s been some confusion over the past year or so about which way home prices are headed. Make no mistake, nationally they’re still going up. In fact, over the long-term, home prices almost always go up. This is a big reason why buying a home can be better than renting. As prices go up and you pay down your mortgage, you build equity. Over time, this growing equity can really increase your net worth. The Urban Institute says: “Homeownership is critical for wealth building and financial stability.” 2. Rent Keeps Rising in the Long Run Rent just keeps going up over the years. Sure, it might be cheaper to rent right now in some areas, but every time you renew your lease or sign a new one, you’re likely to feel the squeeze of your rent getting higher. So how do you escape the cycle of rising rents? Buying a home with a fixed-rate mortgage helps you stabilize your housing costs and say goodbye to those annoying rent increases. That kind of stability is a big deal. Your housing payments are like an investment, and you've got a decision to make. Do you want to invest in yourself or keep paying your landlord? When you own your home, you're investing in your own future. And even when renting is cheaper, that money you pay every month is gone for good. If you're tired of your rent going up and want to explore the many benefits of homeownership, let’s talk to explore your options. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => The perks of buying over renting. [public_bottom_line] =>

If you're tired of your rent going up and want to explore the many benefits of homeownership, talk to a local real estate agent to explore your options.

[published_at] => 2024-05-01T10:30:00Z [related] => Array ( ) [slug] => the-perks-of-buying-over-renting [status] => published [tags] => Array ( ) [title] => The Perks of Buying over Renting [updated_at] => 2024-05-01T13:34:06Z [url] => /2024/05/01/the-perks-of-buying-over-renting/ )

The Perks of Buying over Renting

Thinking about buying a home?

19
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When it comes down to it, buying a home gives you a benefit renting just can’t provide – and that’s the chance to gain equity. If you want to take advantage of long-term home price appreciation, let’s go over your options.

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You may have seen reports in the news recently saying it’s more affordable to rent right now than it is to buy a home. And while that may be true in some markets if you just look at typical monthly payments, there’s one thing that the numbers aren’t factoring in: and that’s home equity. Here’s a look at how big of an impact equity can have and why it’s worth considering as you make your decision.

What the Headlines Are Based on

The graph below uses national data on the median rental payment from Realtor.com and median mortgage payment from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to compare the two options. As the graph shows, especially if you’re not looking for a lot of space, it can be more affordable on a monthly basis to rent:

 No Caption Received


But if you’re looking for something with 2 bedrooms, the gap between the median rent and the median mortgage payment starts to shrink to a difference that may be more doable. The median monthly mortgage payment is $2,040. The median monthly rent for 2 bedrooms is $1,889. That’s a difference of about $151 a month. But here’s what happens when you factor in equity too.

How Equity Changes the Game

If you rent, your monthly rental payments only go toward covering your housing costs and your landlord’s expenses. So other than saving a bit more per month and maybe getting your rental deposit back when you move, the money you spent on housing each month is gone – forever.

When you buy, your monthly mortgage payment pays for your shelter, but it also acts as an investment. That investment grows in the form of equity as you make your mortgage payment each month and chip away at what you owe on your home loan. Your equity gets an extra boost as home values climb – which they typically do.

To give you a clearer idea of how equity can really stack up fast, here’s some data for you. Each quarter, Fannie Mae and Pulsenomics publish the results of the Home Price Expectations Survey (HPES). It asks more than 100 economists, real estate professionals, and investment and market strategists what they think will happen with home prices. In the latest release, those experts say home prices are going to keep going up over the next five years.

Here's an example of how equity builds based on the projections from the HPES (see graph below):

No Caption Received


Imagine you purchased a home for $400,000 at the start of this year. Chances are, since you bought, you plan to stay put for a while. Based on the HPES projections, if you live there for 5 years, you could end up gaining over $83,000 in household wealth as your home grows in value.

Here’s how that stacks up compared to renting, using the overall median rent from above:

 No Caption Received


While you may save a bit on your monthly payments if you rent right now, you’ll also miss out on gaining equity.

So, what’s the big takeaway? Whether it makes more sense to rent or buy is going to vary based on your personal finances. It’s not a good idea to buy if the numbers truly don’t work for you. But, if you’re ready and able, adding equity as the final puzzle piece may be enough to help you realize buying is a better move in the long run.

[created_at] => 2024-04-15T18:31:01Z [description] =>

You may have seen reports in the news recently saying it’s more affordable to rent right now than it is to buy a home. 

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240415/20240417-Is-It-Better-To-Rent-Than-Buy-a-Home-Right-Now.png [id] => 49408 [kcm_ig_caption] => You may have seen reports in the news recently saying it’s more affordable to rent right now than it is to buy a home. How Equity Changes the Game If you rent, your monthly rental payments only go toward covering your housing costs and your landlord’s expenses. So other than saving a bit more per month and maybe getting your rental deposit back when you move, the money you spent on housing each month is gone – forever. When you buy, your monthly mortgage payment pays for your shelter, but it also acts as an investment. That investment grows in the form of equity as you make your mortgage payment each month and chip away at what you owe on your home loan. Your equity gets an extra boost as home values climb – which they typically do. Imagine you purchased a home for $400,000 at the start of this year. Chances are, since you bought, you plan to stay put for a while. Based on the HPES projections, if you live there for 5 years, you could end up gaining over $83,000 in household wealth as your home grows in value. While you may save a bit on your monthly payments if you rent right now, you’ll also miss out on gaining equity. So, what’s the big takeaway? Whether it makes more sense to rent or buy is going to vary based on your personal finances. It’s not a good idea to buy if the numbers truly don’t work for you. But, if you’re ready and able, adding equity as the final puzzle piece may be enough to help you realize buying is a better move in the long run. If you want to take advantage of long-term home price appreciation, let’s go over your options. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Is it better to rent than buy a home right now? [public_bottom_line] =>

When it comes down to it, buying a home gives you a benefit renting just can’t provide – and that’s the chance to gain equity. If you want to take advantage of long-term home price appreciation, talk to a local real estate agent to go over your options.

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Is It Better To Rent Than Buy a Home Right Now?

You may have seen reports in the news recently saying it’s more affordable to rent right now than it is to buy a home. 

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Your tax refund can help you reach your savings goal for buying a home. Let’s talk about what you’re looking for, because your home may be more within reach than you think.

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Have you been saving up to buy a home this year? If so, you know there are a number of expenses involved – from your down payment to closing costs. But did you also know your tax refund can help you pay for some of these expenses? As Credit Karma explains:

“If one of your goals is to stop renting and buy a home, you’ll need to save up for closing costs and a down payment on the mortgage. A tax refund can give you a start on the road to homeownership. If you’ve already started to save, your tax refund could move you down the road faster.”

While how much money you may get in a tax refund is going to vary, it can be encouraging to have a general idea of what’s possible. Here’s what CNET has to say about the average increase people are seeing this year:

The average refund size is up by 6.1%, from $2,903 for 2023's tax season through March 24, to $3,081 for this season through March 22.”

Sounds great, right? Remember, your number is going to be different. But if you do get a refund, here are a few examples of how you can use it when buying a home. According to Freddie Mac:

  • Saving for a down payment – One of the biggest barriers to homeownership is setting aside enough money for a down payment. You could reach your savings goal even faster by using your tax refund to help.
  • Paying for closing costs – Closing costs cover some of the payments you’ll make at closing. They’re generally between 2% and 5% of the total purchase price of the home. You could direct your tax refund toward these closing costs.
  • Lowering your mortgage rate – Your lender might give you the option to buy down your mortgage rate. If affordability is tight for you at today’s rates and home prices, this option may be worth exploring. If you qualify for this option, you could pay upfront to have a lower rate on your mortgage.

The best way to get ready to buy a home is to work with a team of trusted real estate professionals who understand the process and what you’ll need to do to be ready to buy.

[created_at] => 2024-04-11T14:21:30Z [description] =>

Have you been saving up to buy a home this year?

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240411/20240415-Ways-To-Use-Your-Tax-Refund-If-You-Want-To-Buy-a-Home.png [id] => 49099 [kcm_ig_caption] => Have you been saving up to buy a home this year? If so, you know there are a number of expenses involved – from your down payment to closing costs. But did you also know your tax refund can help you pay for some of these expenses? While how much money you may get in a tax refund is going to vary, it can be encouraging to have a general idea of what’s possible. But if you do get a refund, here are a few examples of how you can use it when buying a home. According to Freddie Mac: • Saving for a down payment – One of the biggest barriers to homeownership is setting aside enough money for a down payment. You could reach your savings goal even faster by using your tax refund to help. • Paying for closing costs – Closing costs cover some of the payments you’ll make at closing. They’re generally between 2% and 5% of the total purchase price of the home. You could direct your tax refund toward these closing costs. • Lowering your mortgage rate – Your lender might give you the option to buy down your mortgage rate. If affordability is tight for you at today’s rates and home prices, this option may be worth exploring. If you qualify for this option, you could pay upfront to have a lower rate on your mortgage. The best way to get ready to buy a home is to work with a team of trusted real estate professionals who understand the process and what you’ll need to do to be ready to buy. Your tax refund can help you reach your savings goal for buying a home. Let’s talk about what you’re looking for, because your home may be more within reach than you think. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => housegoals,starterhome,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Ways to use your tax refund if you want to buy a home. [public_bottom_line] =>

Your tax refund can help you reach your savings goal for buying a home. Connect with a local real estate professional about what you’re looking for, because your home may be more within reach than you think.

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Ways To Use Your Tax Refund If You Want To Buy a Home

Have you been saving up to buy a home this year?

21
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Other homeowners are getting used to rates and deciding to move. Let’s chat to go over what matters most to you and if it’s time for you to jump back into the market too. 

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When mortgage rates spiked up over the last few years, some homeowners put their plans to move on pause. Maybe you did too because you didn’t want to sell and take on a higher mortgage rate for your next home. But is that still the right strategy for you?

In today’s market, data shows more homeowners are getting used to where rates are and thinking it may be time to move. As Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics, explains:

“Listings are up a bit as life events and job changes are putting increasing pressure on locked-in homeowners to sell their homes. Homeowners may also be slowly coming to the realization that mortgage rates aren’t going back anywhere near the rate on their existing mortgage.

A recent study from Bank of America sheds light on some of the things homeowners say would make them sell, even with rates where they are right now (see visual below):

a group of blue and white icons


What Would Motivate You To Move?

Now that you know why other people would move, take a minute to think about what would make a move worth it for you. Is it time to take a chance and go for your dream job, even though it’s not local? Are you looking for a neighborhood that has more to offer and a close-knit sense of community? Maybe you just need more space, you’re looking for your next great adventure, or you want a house that opens up rental opportunities to pad your income.

And here’s something else to consider. Mortgage rates are still expected to go down over the course of the year. And once that happens, there’s going to be a big rush of buyers jumping back into the market. While you could delay your plans until rates drop, you’ll only have more competition with those buyers if you do.

So, does that mean it’s worth it to move now, even with rates where they are? The answer is: that it depends.

You'll want to consider today’s mortgage rates, where they’re expected to go from here, and what would prompt you to want to make a change as you decide on your next steps. An expert can help with that. 

[created_at] => 2024-04-04T19:02:22Z [description] =>

When mortgage rates spiked up over the last few years, some homeowners put their plans to move on pause.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240404/20240410-Should-I-move-with-today-s-mortgage-rates.png [id] => 48486 [kcm_ig_caption] => When mortgage rates spiked up over the last few years, some homeowners put their plans to move on pause. Maybe you did too because you didn’t want to sell and take on a higher mortgage rate for your next home. But is that still the right strategy for you? In today’s market, data shows more homeowners are getting used to where rates are and thinking it may be time to move. What Would Motivate You To Move? Now that you know why other people would move, take a minute to think about what would make a move worth it for you. Is it time to take a chance and go for your dream job, even though it’s not local? Are you looking for a neighborhood that has more to offer and a close-knit sense of community? Maybe you just need more space, you’re looking for your next great adventure, or you want a house that opens up rental opportunities to pad your income. And here’s something else to consider. Mortgage rates are still expected to go down over the course of the year. And once that happens, there’s going to be a big rush of buyers jumping back into the market. While you could delay your plans until rates drop, you’ll only have more competition with those buyers if you do. So, does that mean it’s worth it to move now, even with rates where they are? The answer is: that it depends. You'll want to consider today’s mortgage rates, where they’re expected to go from here, and what would prompt you to want to make a change as you decide on your next steps. An expert can help with that. Other homeowners are getting used to rates and deciding to move. DM me to go over what matters most to you and if it’s time for you to jump back into the market too. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => expertanswers,stayinformed,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Should I move with today’s mortgage rates? [public_bottom_line] =>

Other homeowners are getting used to rates and deciding to move. Talk to a local real estate agent to go over what matters most to you and if it’s time for you to jump back into the market too. 

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Should I Move with Today’s Mortgage Rates?

When mortgage rates spiked up over the last few years, some homeowners put their plans to move on pause.

22
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Lots of other people with student loan debt are able to buy their own homes. Talk to a lender to go over your options and see how close you are to reaching your goal.

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If you have student loans and want to buy a home, you might have questions about how your debt affects your plans. Do you have to wait until you’ve paid off those loans before you can buy your first home? Or is it possible you could still qualify for a home loan even with that debt? Here’s a look at the latest information so you have the answers you need.

A Bankrate article explains:

Roughly 60 percent of U.S. adults who have held student loan debt have put off making important financial decisions due to that debt . . . For Gen Z and millennial borrowers alone, that number rises to 70 percent.”

This includes one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, buying a home. But you should know, even with student loans, waiting to buy a home may not be necessary. While everyone’s situation is unique, your goal may be more within your reach than you realize. Here’s why. 

Can You Qualify for a Home Loan if You Have Student Loans?

According to an annual report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 38% of first-time buyers had student loan debt and the typical amount was $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 loans. And you may be able to do the same, especially if you have a steady source of income. As an article from Bankrate says:

“. . . you can have student loans and a mortgage at the same time. . . . If you have student loans and want a mortgage, there are multiple home loan programs you might qualify for . . .”

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

You don’t have to figure this out on your own. The best way to make a decision about your goals and next steps is to talk to the professionals. A trusted lender can walk you through your options based on your situation, and share what’s worked for other buyers.

[created_at] => 2024-04-04T14:19:58Z [description] =>

If you have student loans and want to buy a home, you might have questions about how your debt affects your plans.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240404/20240408-Don-t-Let-Your-Student-Loans-Delay-Your-Homeownership-Plans.png [id] => 48394 [kcm_ig_caption] => If you have student loans and want to buy a home, you might have questions about how your debt affects your plans. Do you have to wait until you’ve paid off those loans before you can buy your first home? Or is it possible you could still qualify for a home loan even with that debt? Here’s a look at the latest information so you have the answers you need. A Bankrate article explains: “Roughly 60 percent of U.S. adults who have held student loan debt have put off making important financial decisions due to that debt . . . For Gen Z and millennial borrowers alone, that number rises to 70 percent.” This includes one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, buying a home. But you should know, even with student loans, waiting to buy a home may not be necessary. While everyone’s situation is unique, your goal may be more within your reach than you realize. Here’s why. Can You Qualify for a Home Loan if You Have Student Loans? According to an annual report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 38% of first-time buyers had student loan debt and the typical amount was $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 loans. And you may be able to do the same, especially if you have a steady source of income. The key takeaway is, for many people, homeownership is achievable even with student loans. Lots of other people with student loan debt are able to buy their own homes. Talk to a lender to go over your options and see how close you are to reaching your goal. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,homegoals,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Don’t let your student loans delay your homeownership plans. [public_bottom_line] =>

Lots of other people with student loan debt are able to buy their own homes. Talk to a lender to go over your options and see how close you are to reaching your goal.

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Don’t Let Your Student Loans Delay Your Homeownership Plans

If you have student loans and want to buy a home, you might have questions about how your debt affects your plans.

23
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Keep in mind that you don't always need a 20% down payment to buy a home. If you're looking to make a move this year, let’s connect to start the conversation about your homebuying goals.

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If you’re planning to buy your first home, saving up for all the costs involved can feel daunting, especially when it comes to the down payment. That might be because you’ve heard you need to save 20% of the home’s price to put down. Well, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. That means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize.

As The Mortgage Reports says:

“Although putting down 20% to avoid mortgage insurance is wise if affordable, it’s a myth that this is always necessary. In fact, most people opt for a much lower down payment.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, for all homebuyers today it’s only 15%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 8% (see graph below):

a graph of a number of blue squares


The big takeaway? You may not need to save as much as you originally thought.

Learn About Resources That Can Help You Toward Your Goal

According to Down Payment Resource, there are also over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and many of them are intended to help with down payments.

Plus, there are loan options that can help too. For example, FHA loans offer down payments as low as 3.5%, while VA and USDA loans have no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

With so many resources available to help with your down payment, the best way to find what you qualify for is by consulting with your loan officer or broker. They know about local grants and loan programs that may help you out.

Don’t let the misconception that you have to have 20% saved up hold you back. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, lean on the professionals to find resources that can help you make your dreams a reality. If you put your plans on hold until you’ve saved up 20%, it may actually cost you in the long run. According to U.S. Bank:

“. . . there are plenty of reasons why it might not be possible. For some, waiting to save up 20% for a down payment may “cost” too much time. While you’re saving for your down payment and paying rent, the price of your future home may go up.”

Home prices are expected to keep appreciating over the next 5 years – meaning your future home will likely go up in price the longer you wait. If you’re able to use these resources to buy now, that future price growth will help you build equity, rather than cost you more.

[created_at] => 2024-02-22T19:13:41Z [description] =>

If you’re planning to buy your first home, saving up for all the costs involved can feel daunting, especially when it comes to the down payment.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240222/20240226-The-Truth-About-Down-Payments.png [id] => 44337 [kcm_ig_caption] => If you’re planning to buy your first home, saving up for all the costs involved can feel daunting, especially when it comes to the down payment. That might be because you’ve heard you need to save 20% of the home’s price to put down. Well, that isn’t necessarily the case. Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. That means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, for all homebuyers today it’s only 15%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 8%. The big takeaway? You may not need to save as much as you originally thought. Learn About Resources That Can Help You Toward Your Goal According to Down Payment Resource, there are also over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and many of them are intended to help with down payments. With so many resources available to help with your down payment, the best way to find what you qualify for is by consulting with your loan officer or broker. They know about local grants and loan programs that may help you out. Don’t let the misconception that you have to have 20% saved up hold you back. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, lean on the professionals to find resources that can help you make your dreams a reality. Keep in mind that you don't always need a 20% down payment to buy a home. If you're looking to make a move this year, DM me to start the conversation about your homebuying goals. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => realestate,homeownership,homebuying,realestategoals,realestatetips,realestatelife,realestatenews,realestateagent,realestateexpert,realestateagency,realestateadvice,realestateblog,realestatemarket,realestateexperts,realestateagents,instarealestate,instarealtor,realestatetipsoftheday,realestatetipsandadvice,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => The truth about down payments. [public_bottom_line] =>

Keep in mind that you don't always need a 20% down payment to buy a home. If you're looking to make a move this year, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to start the conversation about your homebuying goals.

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The Truth About Down Payments

If you’re planning to buy your first home, saving up for all the costs involved can feel daunting, especially when it comes to the down payment.

24
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A home is a place that reflects who you are, a safe space for the ones you love the most, and a reflection of all you’ve accomplished. Let’s connect if you’re ready to break up with your rental and buy a home.

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Chances are at some point in your life you’ve heard the phrase, home is where the heart is. There’s a reason that’s said so often. Becoming a homeowner is emotional.

So, if you’re trying to decide if you want to keep on renting or if you’re ready to buy a home this year, here’s why it’s so easy to fall in love with homeownership.

Customizing to Your Heart’s Desire

Your house should be a space that’s uniquely you. And, if you’re a renter, that can be hard to achieve. When you rent, the paint colors are usually the standard shade of white, you don’t have much control over the upgrades, and you’ve got to be careful how many holes you put in the walls. But when you’re a homeowner, you have a lot more freedom. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.”

Whether you want to paint the walls a cheery bright color or go for a dark moody tone, you can match your interior to your vibe. Imagine how it would feel to come home at the end of the day and walk into a space that feels like you.

Greater Stability for the Ones You Love Most

One of the hardest things about renting is the uncertainty of what happens at the end of your lease. Does your payment go up so much that you have to move? What if your landlord decides to sell the property? It’s like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Jeff Ostrowski, a business journalist covering real estate and the economy, explains how homeownership can give you more peace of mind in a Money Geek article:

“Homeownership means you are the boss and have the biggest say in your lifestyle and family decisions. Suppose your kids are in public school and you don't want to risk having them change schools because your landlord doesn't renew your lease. Owning a home would remove much of the risk of having to move.”

A Feeling of Belonging

You may also find you feel much more at home in the community once you own a house. That’s because, when you buy a home, you’re staking a claim and saying, I’m a part of this community. You’ll have neighbors, block parties, and more. And that’ll give you the feeling of being a part of something bigger. As the International Housing Association explains:

“. . . homeowning households are more socially involved in community affairs than their renting counterparts. This is due to both the fact that homeowners expect to remain in the community for a longer period of time and that homeowners have an ownership stake in the neighborhood.”

The Emotional High of Achieving Your Dream

Becoming a homeowner is a journey – and it may have been a long road to get to the point where you’re ready to take the plunge. If you’re seriously considering leaving behind your rental and making this commitment, you should know the emotions that come with this owning a home are powerful. You’ll be able to walk up to your front door every day and have that sense of accomplishment welcome you home. 

[created_at] => 2024-02-12T15:47:07Z [description] =>

Chances are at some point in your life you’ve heard the phrase, home is where the heart is.

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240212/20240214-Why-So-Many-People-Fall-in-Love-with-Homeownership.png [id] => 43073 [kcm_ig_caption] => Chances are at some point in your life you’ve heard the phrase, home is where the heart is. If you’re trying to decide if you want to keep on renting or if you’re ready to buy a home this year, here’s why it’s so easy to fall in love with homeownership. Customizing to Your Heart’s Desire Your house should be a space that’s uniquely you. And, if you’re a renter, that can be hard to achieve. But when you’re a homeowner, you have a lot more freedom. Greater Stability for the Ones You Love Most One of the hardest things about renting is the uncertainty of what happens at the end of your lease. Does your payment go up so much that you have to move? What if your landlord decides to sell the property? It’s like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. A Feeling of Belonging You may also find you feel much more at home in the community once you own a house. That’s because, when you buy a home, you’re staking a claim and saying, I’m a part of this community. You’ll have neighbors, block parties, and more. And that’ll give you the feeling of being a part of something bigger. The Emotional High of Achieving Your Dream Becoming a homeowner is a journey – and it may have been a long road to get to the point where you’re ready to take the plunge. If you’re seriously considering leaving behind your rental and making this commitment, you should know the emotions that come with this owning a home are powerful. A home is a place that reflects who you are, a safe space for the ones you love the most, and a reflection of all you’ve accomplished. DM me if you’re ready to break up with your rental and buy a home. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => firsttimehomebuyer,opportunity,housingmarket,househunting,makememove,homegoals,houseshopping,housegoals,investmentproperty,emptynest,downsizing,locationlocationlocation,newlisting,homeforsale,renovated,starterhome,dreamhome,curbappeal,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Why so many people fall in love with homeownership. [public_bottom_line] =>

A home is a place that reflects who you are, a safe space for the ones you love the most, and a reflection of all you’ve accomplished. Connect with a local real estate professional if you’re ready to break up with your rental and buy a home.

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Why So Many People Fall in Love with Homeownership

Chances are at some point in your life you’ve heard the phrase, home is where the heart is.

25
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    [agents_bottom_line] => 

Planning a move? Your home equity can really help you out. Let’s connect to see how much equity you have and how it can help with your next home.

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Are you on the fence about selling your house? While affordability is improving this year, it’s still tight. And that may be on your mind. But understanding your home equity could be the key to making your decision easier. An article from Bankrate explains:

Home equity is the difference between your home's value and the amount you still owe on your mortgage. It represents the paid-off portion of your home.
You'll start off with a certain level of equity when you make your down payment to buy the home, then continue to build equity as you pay down your mortgage. You'll also build equity over time as your home's value increases.”

Think of equity as a simple math equation. It's the value of your home now minus what you owe on your mortgage. And guess what? Recently, your equity has probably grown more than you think.

In the past few years, home prices skyrocketed, which means your home's value – and your equity – likely shot up, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize.

How To Make the Most of Your Home Equity Right Now

If you're thinking about moving, the equity you have in your home could be a big help. According to CoreLogic:

“. . . the average U.S. homeowner with a mortgage still has more than $300,000 in equity . . .”

Clearly, homeowners have a lot of equity right now. And the latest data from the Census and ATTOM shows over two-thirds of homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):

 


That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.

After you sell your house, you can use your equity to help you buy your next home. Here’s how:

  • Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. Investopedia states:
“You may want to pay cash for your home if you're shopping in a competitive housing market, or if you'd like to save money on mortgage interest. It could help you close a deal and beat out other buyers.
  • Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much money. The Mortgage Reports explains:
Borrowers who put down more money typically receive better interest rates from lenders. This is due to the fact that a larger down payment lowers the lender’s risk because the borrower has more equity in the home from the beginning.”

The Easy Way To Find Out How Much Equity You Have

To find out how much equity you have in your home, ask a real estate agent you trust for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR). 

[created_at] => 2024-02-07T17:07:42Z [description] =>

Are you on the fence about selling your house?

[exclusive_id] => [expired_at] => [featured_image] => https://files.keepingcurrentmatters.com/KeepingCurrentMatters/content/images/20240207/20240208-Home-Equity-Can-be-a-Game-Changer-When-You-Sell.png [id] => 42533 [kcm_ig_caption] => Are you on the fence about selling your house? While affordability is improving this year, it’s still tight. And that may be on your mind. But understanding your home equity could be the key to making your decision easier. Think of equity as a simple math equation. It's the value of your home now minus what you owe on your mortgage. And guess what? Recently, your equity has probably grown more than you think. In the past few years, home prices skyrocketed, which means your home's value – and your equity – likely shot up, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize. How To Make the Most of Your Home Equity Right Now If you're thinking about moving, the equity you have in your home could be a big help. According to CoreLogic: “. . . the average U.S. homeowner with a mortgage still has more than $300,000 in equity . . .” After you sell your house, you can use your equity to help you buy your next home: • Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. • Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much money. The Easy Way To Find Out How Much Equity You Have To find out how much equity you have in your home, ask a real estate agent you trust for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR). Planning a move? Your home equity can really help you out. DM me to see how much equity you have and how it can help with your next home. [kcm_ig_hashtags] => sellyourhouse,moveuphome,dreamhome,realestate,homeownership,realestategoals,realestatetips,realestatelife,realestatenews,realestateagent,realestateexpert,realestateagency,realestateadvice,realestateblog,realestatemarket,realestateexperts,instarealestate,instarealtor,realestatetipsoftheday,realestatetipsandadvice,justsold,keepingcurrentmatters [kcm_ig_quote] => Home equity can be a game changer when you sell. [public_bottom_line] =>

Planning a move? Your home equity can really help you out. Connect with a local real estate agent to see how much equity you have and how it can help with your next home.

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Home Equity Can Be a Game Changer When You Sell

Are you on the fence about selling your house?