by janet | May 24, 2023 | Buyers, First Time Home Buyers, Rent vs. Buy
You’re probably feeling the impact of high inflation every day as prices have gone up on groceries, gas, and more. If you’re a renter, you’re likely experiencing it a lot as your rent continues to rise. Between all of those elevated costs and uncertainty about a potential recession, you may be wondering if it still makes sense to buy a home today. The short answer is – it does. Here’s why.
Homeownership actually shields you from the rising costs inflation brings.
Freddie Mac explains how:
“Not only will buying today help you begin to build equity, a fixed-rate mortgage can stabilize your monthly housing costs for the long-term even while other life expenses continue to rise – as has been the case the past few years.”
Unlike rents, which tend to rise with time, a fixed-rate mortgage payment is predictable over the life of the mortgage (typically 15 to 30 years). And, when the cost of most everything else is rising, keeping your housing payment stable is especially important.
The alternative to homeownership is renting – and rents tend to move alongside inflation. That means as inflation goes up, your monthly rent payments tend to go up, too (see graph below):
A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to protect yourself from future rent hikes. With inflation still high, when your rental agreement comes up for renewal, your property manager may decide to increase your payments to offset the impact of inflation. Maybe that’s why, according to a recent survey, 73% of property managers plan to raise rents over the next two years.
Having your largest monthly expense remain stable in a time of economic uncertainty is a major perk of homeownership. If you continue to rent, you don’t have that same benefit and aren’t as protected from rising costs.
A stable housing payment is especially important in times of high inflation. Connect with a real estate agent so you can learn more and start your journey to homeownership today.
by janet | May 23, 2023 | Buyers
For many of us, visiting the same vacation spot every year is a summer tradition that’s fun, relaxing, and restful. If that sounds like you, now’s the time to think about your plans and determine if buying a vacation home this year makes more sense than renting one again. According to Forbes:
“. . . if the idea of vacationing at the same place every year makes you feel instantaneously relaxed, buying a vacation home might be a wise move.”
To help you decide if making a move like this is right for you, let’s explore why you may want to consider purchasing a vacation home today.
Benefits of Owning Your Vacation Home
You don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay. It can be a challenge to find a rental where you want, when you want. Some summer vacation destinations are more popular than others, meaning your favorite place may be booked up in advance. Bankrate explains why owning your vacation home means you don’t have to worry about that sort of inconvenience:
“. . . a second home can offer a place to have quality time with your family and ensures that you always have a vacation destination.”
It’s an investment. Home values typically appreciate over the long haul. That holds true for your vacation home as well, especially if it’s in an area with growing market demand. This can help grow your net worth with time.
Vacation homes may provide tax benefits. If you own a vacation home, you may be eligible for tax deductions based on where it is. However, before buying, you’ll want to consult with a tax professional to discuss first as taxes can vary by location.
It could potentially turn into a retirement location. If you love the location of your vacation home, you could potentially sell your primary residence and retire there in the future.
How a Pro Can Help You Find Your Perfect Match
As you’re preparing for summer vacation, remember, you could potentially visit your second home instead of another rental unit or hotel. If that sounds appealing to you, a
local real estate agent is your best resource. They have the knowledge and resources to help you understand the area and what vacation homes are available in your budget. Plus, these agents can explain the perks of how owning a second home can benefit you.
If any of these reasons for owning a vacation home resonate with you, reach out to a trusted real estate agent. You still have time to enjoy spending the summer in your vacation home.
by janet | May 19, 2023 | Buyers, Infographic, Interest Rates
- If you’re looking to buy a home, you should know even a small change in mortgage rates has an impact on your purchasing power.
- These charts show how rates generally affect your monthly payment.
- The best way to navigate changing mortgage rates and make an informed buying decision is to rely on the expertise of a local real estate professional and mortgage lender.
by janet | May 17, 2023 | Buyers, Housing Market Updates, Pricing, Seller
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release its latest Existing Home Sales Report tomorrow. The information it contains on home prices may cause some confusion and could even generate some troubling headlines. This all stems from the fact that NAR will report the median sales price, while other home price indices report repeat sales prices. The vast majority of the repeat sales indices show prices are starting to appreciate again. But the median price reported on Thursday may tell a different story.
Here’s why using the median home price as a gauge of what’s happening with home values isn’t ideal right now. According to the Center for Real Studies at Wichita State University:
“The median sale price measures the ‘middle’ price of homes that sold, meaning that half of the homes sold for a higher price and half sold for less. While this is a good measure of the typical sale price, it is not very useful for measuring home price appreciation because it is affected by the ‘composition’ of homes that have sold.
For example, if more lower-priced homes have sold recently, the median sale price would decline (because the “middle” home is now a lower-priced home), even if the value of each individual home is rising.”
People buy homes based on their monthly mortgage payment, not the price of the house. When mortgage rates go up, they have to buy a less expensive home to keep the monthly expense affordable. More ‘less-expensive’ houses are selling right now, and that’s causing the median price to decline. But that doesn’t mean any single house lost value.
Even NAR, an organization that reports on median prices, acknowledges there are limitations to what this type of data can show you. NAR explains:
“Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data.”
For clarification, here’s a simple explanation of median value:
- You have three coins in your pocket. Line them up in ascending value (lowest to highest).
- If you have one nickel and two dimes, the median value of the coins (the middle one) in your pocket is ten cents.
- If you have two nickels and one dime, the median value of the coins in your pocket is now five cents.
- In both cases, a nickel is still worth five cents and a dime is still worth ten cents. The value of each coin didn’t change.
The same thing applies to today’s real estate market.
Actual home values are going up in most markets. The median value reported tomorrow might tell a different story. For a more in-depth understanding of home price movements, reach out to a local real estate professional.
by janet | May 8, 2023 | Buyers, Housing Market Updates, New Construction
If you’re looking to buy a house, you may find today’s limited supply of homes available for sale challenging. When housing inventory is as low as it is right now, it can feel like a bit of an uphill battle to find the perfect home for you because there just isn’t that much to choose from. If you need to open up your pool of options, it may be time to consider a newly built home.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Census, there’s positive news when it comes to new home construction. When you look at the first three months of this year, you’ll find:
- More new homes were completed and are ready to sell. This gives you more move-in-ready options for your search.
- Builders broke ground and started construction on more single-family homes. This means there are more homes intended for one household in the beginning stages of construction, allowing you the opportunity to customize one to your liking.
- The number of permits for building new single-family homes ticked up. This shows builders are ramping up to start on even more home construction soon.
And, while this is all good news for broadening your options for your home search, there are other perks that come with considering a newly built home.
When you buy a new home under construction, you can tailor it to your unique needs and taste. Bankrate says:
“Building means customizing. . . . instead of wishing your home had a certain kind of flooring, a sunroom or some other special amenity, you’ll be able to tailor the property to your exact needs.”
Brand New Everything
Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s all brand new and uniquely yours from day one.
And, because everything is new, you’ll likely find there are fewer maintenance and repair needs up front. As Realtor.com explains:
“. . . if something does go wrong with your new home, not only are there likely some manufacturer warranties in place, but many builders also include additional home warranties . . .”
Lastly, building a home gives you the opportunity to incorporate more energy-efficient options that can help lower your costs over time – which can feel especially important when inflation’s raising many of the costs around you.
If you’re having trouble finding your dream home in today’s market, it may be time to consider newly built homes as an option. Partner with a real estate professional to learn more about what’s available in your local area.
by janet | May 4, 2023 | Buyers, Demographics, Seller
Downsizing has long been a popular option when homeowners reach retirement age. But there are plenty of other life changes that could make downsizing worthwhile. Homeowners who have experienced a change in their lives or no longer feel like their house fits their needs may benefit from downsizing too. U.S. News explains:
“Downsizing is somewhat common among older people and retirees who no longer have children living at home. But these days, younger people are also looking to downsize to save money on housing . . .”
And when inflation has made most things significantly more expensive, saving money where you can has a lot of appeal. So, if you’re thinking about ways to budget differently, it could be worthwhile to take your home into consideration.
When you think about cutting down on your spending, odds are you think of frequent purchases, like groceries and other goods. But when you downsize your house, you often end up downsizing the bills that come with it, like your mortgage payment, energy costs, and maintenance requirements. Realtor.com shares:
“A smaller home typically means lower bills and less upkeep. Then there’s the potential windfall that comes from selling your larger home and buying something smaller.”
That windfall is thanks to your home equity. If you’ve been in your house for a while, odds are you’ve developed a considerable amount of equity. Your home equity is an asset you can use to help you buy a home that better suits your needs today.
And when you’re ready to make a move, your team of real estate experts will be your guides through every step of the process. That includes setting the right price for your house when you sell, finding the best location and size for your next home, and understanding what you can afford at today’s mortgage rate.
What This Means for You
If you’re thinking about downsizing, ask yourself these questions:
- Do the original reasons I bought my current house still stand, or have my needs changed since then?
- Do I really need and want the space I have right now, or could somewhere smaller be a better fit?
- What are my housing expenses right now, and how much do I want to try to save by downsizing?
Once you know the answers to these questions, meet with a real estate advisor to get an answer to this one: What are my options in the market right now? A local housing market professional can walk you through how much equity you have in your house and how it positions you to win when you downsize.
If you’re looking to save money, downsizing your home could be a great help toward your goal. Talk with a real estate agent about your goals in the housing market this year.